Struggling to connect with ‘Wavering convictions’.

Lesbian Book Review of ‘Wavering convictions’ by Erin Dutton.

I have to say I was a bit disappointed by this lesbian book. It wasn’t a badly written book or anything, I just found myself struggling to connect to it. I like Dutton, I’ve enjoyed most of the books I’ve read of hers and I was actually looking forward to this. To be honest, this almost didn’t feel like a Dutton book, but that’s just my opinion since something felt a little off here.

I actually thought this book had an interesting premise. Two women that meet and share a few sparks only to find they are connected through a crime. I can’t really recall reading a lesfic book with a premise like this before so I have to give Dutton credit for that. I’m just disappointed that it didn’t end up working for me. Actually, the book almost made me feel uncomfortable. I didn’t like the feeling I got while reading this, and one thing I can say about Dutton is she is normally a very comfortable author. This is one of the reasons why this book didn’t really feel like it was one of hers.Read More »

Review of ‘Secrets in a small town’ by Nicole Stiling.

3.75 Stars. I thought this was a fun debut. It’s not a perfect read, it had a few issues, but it was really entertaining and exactly the kind of book I needed. For the past week, I have had a house full of family company, including an eight-month-old baby. I love my extended family but they are loud and a bit messy so it has been a whirlwind with no quiet time for me to read. The reason I bring this up is a week without reading could be why I found this book so appealing. It was like finding a glass of water in the desert so your mileage may vary slightly.

While this is a crime/mystery romance the crime part is not too heavy. I actually don’t think you have to be a mystery fan to enjoy this. There is just enough excitement and mystery to keep you turning the pages, but it never gets too dark or heavy. I liked that I didn’t guess who the “bad guy/girl” was. I had an idea, but I ended up being way off, so I appreciate that Stiling didn’t make it too easy to figure out.

When it came to the main characters I had fun with them. You have a really likeable and sweet Chief of Police in Micki and you have an ice queen Town Manager named Savannah. Savannah is an ice queen, to say the least. I almost worried Stiling was going a little too far with her character, but it did give the characters this intense sexual love/hate chemistry in a few scenes. I did think the characters fell out of the “hate” into the “like” period a little quickly, but I think that is something that Stiling will get better at as she becomes a more seasoned author.

Overall, I thought this was a good, entertaining read. It has a few bumps, but it is a very readable and enjoyable debut. I would not hesitate to read Stiling again in the future.

An ARC was given to me for an honest review.

Review of ‘Moonlight Avenue’ by Gerri Hill.

Finley Knight is an ex-cop turned into a private investigator living a solitary life in Corpus Christi, Texas. She prefers working solo but when former security guard Rylee Moore offers her services as a receptionist / assistant, Finley cannot resist her charms. When an apparently routine cheating-wife case changes into a murder investigation, Police Detective Dee Woodward gets involved. Dee prefers to do things by the book while Finley was never a stickler for the rules, but as events escalate and get extremely dangerous, the three women will need to work together and leave their differences, and their feelings, aside to defeat an extremely violent gang.

This is a very entertaining, fast-paced, crime mystery book by Gerri Hill with a romance at the side but with a lot of prominence in the story. The mystery plot is quite complex with many layers to unveil and a good number of suspects. Despite this, Ms. Hill manages to pull off a credible and absorbing story that keeps the reader guessing until the end. The novel is written from the point of view of Finley, Rylee, and Dee who are multilayered characters with distinctive personalities and backgrounds. The age-gap romance is slow-burn and sweet, with very well-written chemistry in which opposites attract. The sex scenes have all the ingredients known to Ms. Hill: they are hot, sensual and romantic all at the same time.

The landscape of Corpus Christi (Texas Gulf Coast) with its beautiful beaches and bay area is a frequent feature in Ms. Hill’s romances. By setting this novel during winter time with its foggy and cloudy days, however, the author sets the perfect tone for the mystery. The depiction of the impoverished neighbourhoods where most of the action takes part also contributes towards an eerie backdrop and makes a great contrast with the most affluent areas which the Gulf Coast is known for.

Even though the case is completely resolved and the main romance has a satisfying conclusion, there is room for a sequel to this novel. I hope that Ms. Hill decides to write a book that features Dee more prominently and develops Finley’s relationship with her estranged mother. I wouldn’t hesitate to read book 2.

Overall, a very entertaining and page-turning mystery with a sweet, slow-burn romance at the side. 4.5 stars.

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

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Review of ‘In the Company of Crocodiles’ by Maggie Brown.

Ex-Australian Secret Service Agent Vivian Andrews retired to a quiet Aussie town when in need of emotional and physical healing. All is well until she finds a corpse in a nearby swamp. She meets behavioral scientist Claire Walker, a government agent looking for a missing young man, when she returns to town to report the dead body. Claire was tasked with recruiting Vivian for the assignment as a guide to the wilderness. Together they must uncover the true reason for the missing young man while escaping the brutal environment surrounding them.

This book pulls you into the Australian outdoors right off the bat with a first chapter croc encounter that was fantastic and left you shaken but hooked. I actually took a minute to settle after reading that! I loved reading about the flora and fauna. The descriptions were well done and the information was functional to the story and did not feel cumbersome or like an information dump.

The romance was in the middle of all the action. I would have liked to see more from Claire as she came out looking like an inadequate government agent. I’m sure some of it was because Vivian was such a strong, capable character. Claire simply seemed to be relegated to the background too many times. I feel this detracted from the pairing to a certain degree. The attraction was there though and all in all, there was no instantaneous love which will please many readers. There were a couple of sex scenes that were okay until one remembered they were in the jungle with limited opportunities for proper hygiene… Exactly.

I would like to take a moment to praise Linda Callaghan for the phenomenal cover design. Lex recommended this book and I knew exactly which one she meant, even remembered it was on sale (thank you Bella Books!) because of this great cover. Stunning, eye-catching, with a font that blends beautifully with the background. Mission accomplished Ms. Callaghan!

Overall, a solid action romance. 4 stars.

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Review of ‘The blood runs cold’ by Catherine Maiorisi.

4.50 Stars. I enjoyed the first book in the Chiara Corelli Mystery series but I liked this one much more. This is a tried and true mystery book. It had everything I like in a good mystery and I could not set the book down. While I always suggest reading books in order, I do think you could start here if you really wanted. There are a few small references to book one and some characters you would be missing a little background on, but the overall mystery is all contained in this one book.

This story is about a lead detective Corelli and her partner detective Parker. Corelli went undercover to take down dirty cops so she is still shunned by many in the department. Parker, due to her family’s political connections is a bit of an outcast herself. The two teamed up out of necessity to watch each other’s backs, but they make a really good team anyway. A new case with plenty of media puts Corelli right back in the spotlight. Can she find the killer and still keep her job?

As I mentioned in my first review these are not romance books. While I would still call this a lesfic book, only one of the mains, Corelli, is a lesbian. Do not go reading this book hoping for two partners falling in love. These books are for mystery fans. However, I did notice a possible love interest for Corelli in book one. That character is back but we are still at the very possible beginning stages. I have my fingers crossed for some romance in the next installment because I like the chemistry between them.

I made clear this is a mystery book and this is where this book shines. I thought the mystery was really well written. There are a lot of characters and names so you do have to pay attention, but it is worth it. It was not until the 90% mark that I had an epiphany and figured out the killer. Because I love mystery books (and have read a ton) I usually figure them out too quickly. So when a mystery author can keep me in suspense and guessing for most of the book… well, I love when that happens. Plus the killer was not out of left field either. All of a sudden the clues Maiorisi carefully crafted all throughout the book clicked for me so I felt like I was actually there solving the crime. It was just well done and I’m a happy camper.

Another thing I was happy about is that the character of Corelli seemed to grow in this book. She is finally starting to realize she may have PTSD and how she doesn’t always treat her partner well. While I did like Corelli in the first book, she is not always a nice person. She was much more likable in this installment. These books and the character of Corelli remind me a little of the Micky Knight books by Redmann. There is not as much life drama, but both have well-written mysteries with a main character you don’t always like but root hard for anyway.

This book is easy for me to recommend to mystery fans. It is a book to read carefully, but it was a good put-together mystery with a worthy pay off. I’m excited about a possible book 3. I sure hope one is planned because I really like the way the story arc is heading.

An ARC was given to me for an honest review.

Review of ‘Perfect partners’ by Maggie Cummings.

Sara Wright is an elite police dog trainer fully committed to her job and happy to avoid any relationships with her coworkers. But when trainee Isabel Marquez enters her life with her gorgeous looks and charm, Sara finds very hard to stick to her own set of rules. Will Sara stay away from Isabel or give love a chance?

This is a sweet romance with the intriguing background of a police K-9 division training facility. Ms. Cummings, who is a police officer herself, submerge the reader into this fascinating world. It is interesting to see how officers and dogs train in different tasks for the detection of explosives. The author develops the bond between Isabel and her dog Chase in a realistic and, at the same time, charming way. Chase steals the show with his unconditional love and work discipline. Theirs is such a strong bond that casts a shadow on Sara and Isabel’s chemistry.

Regarding the romance itself, the attraction is ok but nothing off the charts. Their conflict makes sense in the scheme of things but I didn’t feel enough tension as it was solved fast. There is a bit of action at the end, but it felt rushed too.

Overall, a light and sweet romance with the intriguing background of a police K-9 division training facility. 3.5 stars.

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

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