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MommaSaysToRead

Momma Says to Read

Avid reader/reviewer and editor. I don't pull punches when I review, love it or hate it, you get what I think.

Telling more than showing

The Breathless - Tara Goedjen

Big, gloomy house - check. A family going back generations - check. Secrets - check. A bit of the supernatural - check. If I were ticking off a list of elements for the making of a Gothic mystery, The Breathless certainly fits the bill. The author sets a scene that is haunting and dark as the story moves back and forth between present day and almost one hundred fifty years ago to the beginnings of Blue Gate and the Cole family. In present day, we have a group of teenagers struggling to deal with the loss of one gone way too soon, a father who has checked out on life, and a grandfather who knows far more than he is able to tell. In the past, we have the story of a young Grady Cole, delving into things better left alone to save those he loves. This spooky tale had the potential to be something unforgettable with mystery and the dark aspect of the supernatural. As our main character, Mae, digs into things best left buried, family secrets are revealed bit by bit. The uncovering of those secrets should’ve leant an air of suspense to the story, but it was a bit too easy to see where it was going. The biggest drawback for this reader was that the story quickly became repetitive and seemed to wander almost aimlessly at times, particularly in the modern day chapters. I also found some of the characters to be more nuisance than any benefit to the tale. For example, Mae’s sister, Elle, was irritating at best and while I kept expecting her to play some role in the storyline, I found no reason for her presence. The question of whether or not Mae’s actions would prove fruitful did keep me reading, but I found the story of Grady Cole and his forbidden love that started it all to be the most interesting parts of this tale and quickly began to look forward to those chapters. In the end, the author’s writing style of telling more than showing and the continual going over and over of the same information made this one a little too easy to set aside for later.

Romance with a twist

SEAL'd Honor (Brotherhood of SEAL'd Hearts) - Gabi Moore

A Navy Seal with secrets and a retired journalist - what can possibly go wrong? Or maybe the question is what can possibly go right? 

In a time when you can't open a newsletter or browse a book website without seeing a multitude of Navy Seal romances, I'll admit to becoming a bit tired of the same old story. Then we have Gabi Moore, who gives us the sexy Navy Seal along with a bit of darkness, some suspense and intrigue, and steamy times that are nothing short of scorching hot. Kay and Jack are both a bit jaded by life and circumstances. They've suffered loss and betrayal, so it's not easy for either of them to trust. When Jack begins to reveal a secret that proves dangerous to anyone who knows it, possible betrayal may be the least of their worries. 

Wonderfully written and utterly riveting, this newest addition to the Brotherhood of SEAL'd Hearts series is romance with a twist and impossible to put down. 

 

Dark and gritty

Reclaim Me (The Jaded Series Book 2) - Alex Grayson, Toj Publishing, Karen McAndrews

Mac and Mia's story is a second chance romance that was a long time coming and for a small town, Jaded Hollow is certainly full of secrets. While ten years going by without anyone finding out what broke this pair up requires a bit of suspension of belief, Mac and Mia are so good together that you can't help but root for them. The story is well-written and the author has a writing style that quickly pulls you into the lives of the people of Jaded Hollow. From Bailey's continuing to come out of her protective shell, to Nick dealing with his loss and Andrew's quirky, fun-loving flirtations, even the secondary characters are endearing and interesting, making this reader want to know more about them. Mac and Mia's journey back to each other is filled with angst that is quite dark in its nature, but with love and trust, there comes a ray of light in that darkness. Reclaim Me is more than just a romance, it's a tale of family, love, loss, and finally hope.

Great addition to the World of Shadows

The Vatican Children (World of Shadows) - Lincoln Cole

This second book in The World of Shadows has a somewhat slower build than the first book, but that doesn't make it any less compelling. As Arthur and Niccolo search for the Bishop, they must also learn to trust each other. Niccolo soon finds that his naiveté about the world and the evils that lurk may either be his undoing or push him to lengths he never believed possible, while Arthur learns that his resolve to do things differently may not be so easy to accomplish. The story builds in suspense as well as action as our heroes uncover the Bishop's terrifying plans. With a heart-pounding conclusion unveiling a plot that is the stuff nightmares are made of, The Vatican Children is a solid addition to the series and has this reader anxiously awaiting what comes next.

As the World of Shadows is an ongoing story, I highly recommend reading The Everett Exorcism before starting this one. The series is wonderfully written and impossible to put down from the very first page.

The Whispering Room by Dean Koontz

The Whispering Room - Dean Koontz

This second Jane Hawk novel continues our heroine's search for people behind the nanotechnology that has turned her world upside down. As it is a continuing story, and picks up where the first book left off, The Whispering Room is more action driven than the beginning of Jane Hawk's story. With that in mind, I highly recommend reading The Silent Corner first to get the full story of how Jane got to this point. 
The ideas of creating a Utopian world and mind control aren't new, but Koontz takes that to a whole new level in this techno-thriller. As Jane's journey progresses, and the action intensifies, the creep factor builds to the point of spine-tingling chills. With whiplash inducing twists and turns an utterly terrifying plot unfolds, making for some jaw-dropping revelations and a story that this reader couldn't put down. 
It's always refreshing to find a strong female lead, and Jane embodies everything that we think of in a heroine. She is determined, talented, and fierce in the face of a massive conspiracy, but at the same time, her love of family and desire to help those in need shines through. 
Once again, Dean Koontz reminds us that the scariest things aren't always those that go bump in the night - sometimes they come from the very people who are supposed to keep us safe. After turning the last page, I'll be anxiously awaiting the next page-turner in Jane Hawk's story.

Compelling

CHRIS (MC Bear Mates Book 6) - Becca Fanning

The Silent Corner is a bit of slow starter, but the author's talent for compelling prose draws the reader in. As the story progresses and our heroine gets deeper and deeper into a conspiracy that is both massive and terrifying, the pace picks up and makes this tale impossible to put down. One woman against the mysterious Them (with a capital T), Jane Hawk's story moves from one terrifying clue to the next, leaving her with few options and even fewer people to trust. Being the master of paranoia that he is, Dean Koontz plays on the 'what if' niggling voice in us all - What if They could do that? - and builds a horrific world where things aren't always what they seem. True-to-form, the story builds in suspense and action until the author leaves us in jaw-dropping anticipation of the next piece of the puzzle in Jane Hawk's journey for justice. 

Charming and witty

Sweet Tea and Sympathy (A Southern Eclectic Novel Book 1) - Molly Harper

Molly Harper is a new to me author and after reading this one, I'm wondering how I've missed her. Sweet Tea and Sympathy is packed full of the charm and wit that is so often associated with small-town Southern life. Margot's journey from working with the Chicago elite to a job in the family business is a completely engaging tale that I found impossible to out down. With quirky characters, a rumor mill that spreads news faster than any media source, and small town politics, I found myself laughing out loud, oohing and ahhing, and genuinely rooting for this sweet Southern family - sometimes all at the same time. This is an absolutely charming tale of life, love, family, and finding happiness and contentment in the most unlikely of places. This author has quickly become one to watch for this reader and Sweet Tea and Sympathy is a book that I highly recommend. 

On a personal note, living in a small, Southern town (not quite as far South as Lake Sackett) and connecting with my own father late in life, I found so many things in Margot's journey that touched me in more ways than just an entertaining story. And I have to agree with Aunt Tootie - if you add sugar to cornbread, it's cake! (Just sayin')

Amusing and compelling

The Roommate 'dis'Agreement - Leddy Harper

This strangers to friends to lovers romance is a wonderfully written tale of two people with secrets and no one to depend on. The dialogue is good mix of silly and serious as Cash and Jade get to know each other and we also get an element of suspense surrounding Cash's job and Jade's past. I did figure out those secrets fairly easily, but that didn't take away from the story for me. The author does a fantastic job of pulling the reader into this compelling read that's packed full of witty dialogue, emotions, and a bit of intrigue. 

Wonderful Characters

A Beautiful Forgiveness (the NYC Series Book 3) - Alora Kate, Alora Kate, Silvia Curry

Alora Kate wraps up the NYC series with Lucas' story. I've loved Lucas since the beginning of this series and he's certainly pulled at the heartstrings with his unrequited love for Ki, but nothing comes close to the roller coaster ride that is his life in this third installment of the series. Just as he's determined to move on and get on with his life, he's hit with something that he doesn't know how to handle. London and Lucas have so many obstacles to overcome and more than once, I wasn't sure which way their romance would go. This book is certainly the most emotional of the series, but the author knows her stuff and wraps things up perfectly for this crazy and engaging group of characters. The book, as well as the whole series, is beautifully written and these characters are some that I won't soon forget. This is part of a continuing story and I highly recommend the whole series. More than just romance, we get some suspense, action, a bit of intrigue, and best of all, it's filled with friends and family that pull together and stand by each other, faults and all. 

Lots of Angst

Two-Man Advantage - Toni Aleo

Two-Man Advantage is an emotionally charged read. The book is well-written and the flow is good, but it's a bit more on the angsty side than I care for. Matty is young and in the closet while the older, more experienced, Wells is out and proud. That's where the problem starts for this pair and where it continues for most of the story. I did love the wedding scene and thought, but found it a bit hard to believe that no one present would out Matty. Matty's waffling, while understandable, made me want to both hug him and shake him, often at the same time! The book did hold my interest and is a solid first in the genre for the author, just a little too much angst for my tastes.

Second Chance Romance

He Loves Me...KNOT - RC Boldt

He Loves Me... Knot went a little differently than I expected, but that didn't turn out to be a bad thing. When the story got going, I thought there would be more of the love/hate thing between Knox and Emma with him determined to get revenge, but it didn't quite play out that way. The book is well-written and witty, and the characters are absolutely fabulous. It's not often that I like the secondary characters as much, or even better at times, than the main characters, but in this case, I most certainly did. Becket is absolutely charming and everyone needs a Granddad like Emma's. 

This is my first read by RC Boldt, but after reading this charming and witty romance, it won't be my last. In fact, I'll be anxiously awaiting Becket's story!

Romance and a bit of suspense

Seducing the Defendant (The Conflict of Interest Series) - Chantal Fernando

After reading the blurb on this one, I expected more on Scarlett's case and Jaxon fighting the attraction, but this one is more about the romance and Scarlett's transformation. This is an emotional read with both, Jaxon and Scarlett, having their own things to deal with. We also have the added suspense of who actually killed Scarlett's husband and the connections to the Wind Dragons MC. Having not read the Wind Dragons series, I'm not sure if the characters mentioned were an integral part of that series, but I had no problem following the story. 

Jaxon and Scarlett didn't have that same fiery chemistry as I found in Tristan and Kat's book, but their story is just as good. Jaxon is tender and patient with Scarlett as she finds herself again and they do have good chemistry. 

Overall, Jaxon and Scarlett's story is a well-written, emotional tale that kept me turning pages.

Lust, not love

Cuffed by His Charm: A Dirty Little Secrets Novel - Stacey Kennedy

Let me start by saying that I haven't read the other books in this series, but I didn't have too much difficulty figuring out the connections between this group of friends. That part of the story line was interesting and it was obvious that this group would do anything for each other. The romance between Gabe and McKenna was where I ran into problems. I was put off by Gabe's initial treatment of McKenna, but as the story progressed, he did redeem himself. McKenna, however, was the source of much eye-rolling and head shaking. From the star ratings that I've seen, I realize that I'm in the minority here, so I will try to explain without too many spoilers. McKenna loves her brother and would do anything for him, which I can understand. What I couldn't understand was her willingly participating in a "scene" with Gabe right after finding evidence that her brother could be in serious trouble. I completely understand two people with a strong attraction coming together in times of stress, but this situation seemed almost separate from any worries McKenna may have had. Gabe had no reason to care what happened to McKenna's brother, other than his feelings for her, but at times it felt like I was reading two separate stories - one that was an emotional hunt for Evan and another that was a steamy BDSM light romance. Again, toward the end, I was a bit confused about the money. I don't know if it was intentional, but it came across that McKenna didn't want Gabe when she though he'd paid one amount, but when the truth comes out, it's a different story. I'm still confused as to why it matters how much was paid as long as her knight came riding in to save her. The romance between this pair never felt like a romance to me. A strong physical attraction, yes, and Gabe does things that only a man who loves a woman would do, but I never felt like McKenna had anything more than lust for him. 

Slow pace

Darkness at the Edge of Town: An Iris Ballard Thriller - Jennifer Harlow

Darkness at the Edge of Town does have an interesting premise, but the story is a bit drawn out and slow at times. I haven't read the first Iris Ballard novel, and there were things mentioned in this one that were confusing. The author does eventually explain some things as the story progresses, but I spent most of the book feeling like I was behind on the characters and what led them to this point in their lives. The book is well-written and even with the slow pace, it was a compelling and suspenseful read. However, I wouldn't call this one a thriller by any means. It does pick up in the end, but while there is suspense surrounding the cult and its leader, and Iris' snark was entertaining, the book lacks that heart-pounding element that I look for in a thriller. I did find some things a little hard to swallow, especially when Iris attempts to infiltrate the cult to find her brother. From the beginning of the story, we know that Iris is quite well-known and her face has been splashed all over the media, plus being so close to her childhood home. Good or bad, publicity is talked about, especially in a small town. I find it hard to believe that it takes as long as it does for anyone to recognize this woman who is so prevalent in the news. As I said, I haven't read the first book, so maybe that would've put a different spin on this for me, but in the end, the stretch of imagination required combined with the slow pace made it just an okay read for me. 

Engaging, emotional, and scorching hot

The Nerds and the CEO: A #GeekLove Ménage Romance (The Nerd Love Equation) - Allyson Lindt

The Nerds and the CEO is a fun, fast-paced menage romance. I love that the author gives us a close-up view of the tech-y stuff without getting so technical that it loses those of us that are technologically challenged (raises hand). This trio is really good together and there is great chemistry between the three of them - both in and out of the bedroom. The story line is interesting with plenty of twists to keep the pages turning and the characters feel so real that they practically leap off the page. Once again, Allyson Lindt has given us a story that is engaging and emotional as well as scorching hot. 

Charming and witty romance

Perfect Match - Lila Monroe

This is my first read by Lila Monroe, but it won't be my last. Perfect Match is charming and witty, making for a fast-paced, lighthearted tale. McKenna is a great combination of sass and determination and Jack is such an endearing playboy. Their banter and the lengths that MaKenna goes to get Jack's backing for her business are amusing and fun. The chemistry between this pair is almost palpable and they are so good together, even when they won't admit it.

Perfect Match is part of the Lucky in Love series, but works well as a standalone. It's well-written with likable characters, some chuckle-worthy situations, and a fast-paced, sexy romance.