Review of ‘Twice in a lifetime’ by Jodie Griffin.

Talia Wasserman is a widow with grown-up daughters who just got a job as a civilian assistant to Lieutenant Eve Pope, chief of Police Community Relations. Their chemistry is hard to ignore but boss-subordinate relationships are frown upon. To make matters worse, there is a criminal on the lose endangering female police officers. Can Talia find love twice in a lifetime and not lose her partner again?

‘Twice in a lifetime’ is an interracial romance with a small side of mystery. Kudos to the author to feature two women in their early fifties, both with grown-up children and a bisexual protagonist who is in a lesbian relationship for the first time. This provides a realistic view of a bisexual character who didn’t have to deal with homophobia before because she was married to a man.Read More »

Review of ‘1st Impressions. A Cassidy James Mystery’ by Kate Calloway.

Cass James moved to the small lake town of Cedar Hills, Oregon after her partner died. Not needing to work, she finds herself learning the private detective ropes after her best friend suggested it. Erica Trinidad stopped by her uncle’s lake house on her way to Canada. That night, her uncle was murdered and abandoned in the lake. Erica ends up hiring Cass to help solve the murder for which she has now become the prime suspect. Things get more complicated as Cass unravels the case and finds herself in the thick of it.

This is a fun story that grabs your attention with the very first sentence. The setting is this little town of a few hundred where crime is not common. However, it seems any of the residents are capable of murder overnight. It was fun to “come along” with Cass for the interviews and have a guess at who was involved in the crime. That said, there was no major plot twist, which may disappoint serious mystery/thriller readers alike. The story could have also benefited from more action scenes early on instead of saving most of it until later in the book.

I actually did not realize this book was published during my freshman college year, 1996, until I finished it. There was mention of poor cellphone reception in the town but I assumed it was just due to the location. Now I see how it was simply because cellphone networks were not well established then. It was interesting to see how Cass had to call from a pay phone and check her home answering machine! That’s a blast from the past.

This is the first of eight books in the series. The mystery is the book’s main focus and the romance is the side story, but it feels more like the foundation for more to come. I will be reading the rest of the series to see what happens with the leads and the rest of these likable characters.

Overall a nice read culminating in good action. 3.5 stars

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Review of ‘Payback’ by Charlotte Mills.

Detective Constable Kate Wolfe is sent as a disciplinary measure from London to a small town in Cheshire, England. There she meets Detective Chief Inspector Helen Taylor, a seasoned police officer who left a promising career in London due to personal issues. In a deceptive quiet town, they both have to investigate a series of arson attacks, a murder and a missing person while, at the same time, dealing with their mutual attraction.

Despite its title and cover, ‘Payback’ is a mystery as much as a romance. The prologue starts the thriller part in style, hitting the reader like a bucket of cold water. In the romance department, Kate and Helen’s chemistry takes a bit longer to take shape. At the beginning the author seemed to be telling more than showing their mutual attraction, but once the characters spent more time together in the investigations, their connection felt realistic and their intimate scenes hot.

Written in third person from the point of view of both main characters, the leads are well-rounded and multilayered as well as the secondary ones. Set in England, the story has a definite British feel. The plot is smartly woven to keep the reader turning pages and there’s a massive twist in the end that I didn’t see coming. I understand that the author is woking on a sequel. However, this book’s conflicts are completely solved. If you are a fan of Cari Hunter’s books, you might like this one too. Highly recommended.

Overall, a page-turner thriller and an enjoyable romance for fans of both genres alike. 4.5 stars.

ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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