Category Archives: Nell’s Reviews

Rakes and Roses by Josi S. Kilpack

A wholly different kind of romance.

Title:  Rakes and Roses
Author:  Josi S. Kilpack
Series:  Mayfield Family #3
Publish Date: May 5, 2020
Source: Shadow Mountain Press – for my independent review

Publisher’s Description: A Mayfield Family Romance

Lady Sabrina endured an abusive marriage, a miscarriage, and early widowhood to emerge as a smart, successful, confident woman who found a way to make her mark in a man’s world. She has friends and purpose, but cannot hide from the emptiness she feels when the parties are over and the friends have gone home to families she will never have.

Harry Stillman may be charming and handsome, but he’s a gambler and a rake who has made a mockery of his privileges. He turns to the mysterious Lord Damion for financial relief from his debts, but still ends up beaten nearly senseless by thugs and left in an ally.

When Lady Sabrina comes upon Harry after the attack, she remembers the kindness Harry once showed to her six years ago and brings him to her estate to heal. Though their relationship begins on rocky footing, it soon mellows into friendship, then trust. But Lady Sabrina needs to keep Harry at a distance, even if he is becoming the kind of man worthy of her heart. After all, she is keeping a secret that, if exposed, could destroy everything she’s so carefully built.

Nervous Nellie’s nervousness necessitates knowledge of the novel. In other words …SPOILERS. *BEWARE*


Nervous Nellie says…

I loved the Mayfield Family romances to date and Rakes and Roses came from a different angle.  It’s still a proper romance but it’s the heroine that is completely the hero in this case.

The male protagonist is a down an out individual that has wasted his money, talent and resources on booze and gambling.  He does not recover quickly and save the day.  This is a study of how one man could get himself into such dire straights – beyond saving, but yet find a saving grace.

I found this story more along the lines of true life as far as what substance abuse can do to a person’s life.  How people that are thought of as friends, really are not there to prop you up, but let you fall a little farther.

This is not a modern story with a little historical thrown in for good measure, this is a true historical that, I feel, brought to the surface some of the darker elements of that time.

I have never read a romance that put an widely spread issue such as gambling and substance abuse into light as this one did.  Also, I found it quite extraordinary that once the male protagonist felt he could stand on his own, he didn’t just take over and assume the part of all powerful.  He still depended on the heroine and that’s what made it so special.

Our reviews in this series…

 

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A Bad Day for Sunshine by Darynda Jones

Sheriff Sunshine Vicram finds her cup o’ joe more than half full when the small village of Del Sol, New Mexico, becomes the center of national attention for a kidnapper on the loose.

Title:  A Bad Day for Sunshine
Author:  Darynda Jones
Series:  Sunshine Vicrum #1
Publish Date: April 7, 2020
Source: Netgalley – all opinions are my own – no incentive given

Publisher’s Description: Sheriff Sunshine Vicram finds her cup o’ joe more than half full when the small village of Del Sol, New Mexico, becomes the center of national attention for a kidnapper on the loose.

Del Sol, New Mexico is known for three things: its fry-an-egg-on-the-cement summers, its strong cups of coffee—and a nationwide manhunt? Del Sol native Sunshine Vicram has returned to town as the elected sheriff—an election her adorably meddlesome parents entered her in—and she expects her biggest crime wave to involve an elderly flasher named Doug. But a teenage girl is missing, a kidnapper is on the loose, and all of it’s reminding Sunny why she left Del Sol in the first place. Add to that trouble at her daughter’s new school and a kidnapped prized rooster named Puff Daddy, and Sunshine has her hands full.

Enter sexy almost-old-flame Levi Ravinder and a hunky US Marshall, both elevens on a scale of one to blazing inferno, and the normally savvy sheriff is quickly in over her head. Now it’s up to Sunshine to juggle a few good hunky men, a not-so-nice kidnapping miscreant, and Doug the ever-pesky flasher. And they said coming home would be drama-free.

Nervous Nellie’s nervousness necessitates knowledge of the novel. In other words …SPOILERS. *BEWARE*


Nervous Nellie says…

It was good read Darynda Jones again. She has her trademark style from Charlie and incorporates it into Sunshine. There are the hilarious quotes that start the chapter and the snarky responses that are full on Charlie except are now being used as marquee signs about the town.

This story has a little paranormal in it but it could amp up throughout the series, just like with Charlie. There is a smoldering love interest, a quirky best friend, funny parents and a daughter. All the elements that can be mirrored from the Charlie Davidson series. There isn’t any sex in this story, but it is alluded to in conversation. There is no gore, but there is a murder. It’s a long ago murder that needs to be solved, but it’s one that isn’t hard to guess at the conclusion, HOWEVER,  I am sure that it won’t be as cut and dried as I think, which is a thrill.

I felt the story was chaotic and popping up with new characters every other page.  That could be because it’s a new series and the foundation has to be laid.   I enjoyed the back stories to the people of the town and their idiosyncrasies.  Every small town has those citizens that are strange and weird.  Each small town has those cases that just make you want to shake your head and ask, “Seriously?” Being the Sheriff, Sunshine would know them all. Darynda Jones knows how to make loveable characters. I like the way the daughter has got more of a focus, but I also think there is something about her that will bring the paranormal to the forefront. The book is wrapped around a town with key players waiting in the wings for their que.

I am somewhat on fence with this book.  I don’t want to disrespect this title or the author, but it’s hard for me to not make comparisons to her other work. There are a lot of reviews raving about this story, and I don’t debate that it’s good, but the cast has been cast before. It could be that the mix of characters that Darynda uses is her secret recipe and Sunshine Vicrum series will take on a life of it’s own. Here’s to hoping it’ll become it’s own singular style.

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The Dark Communion by Joey Ruff

Swyftt was a copper, a priest, a Night Hunter, a husband, a father. Now he’s just a burnt-out PI.  The only one that anyone can turn to when they encounter the other.

Title: The Dark Communion
Author:  Joey Ruff
Series: The Midnight Defenders #1
Publish Date: March 25, 2020
Source:  received from author – all opinions are my own and I did not receive this book as incentive

Publisher’s Description: When Daddy, Gramps, drunk Uncle Billy…whoever it was, looked at you when you were a little kid, blankets around your neck, trembling in bed, sure-as-shit convinced that there was something out to get you under your box-spring, in your closet, and they told you there wasn’t anything there – that monsters didn’t exist – they were lying to you.

Jono Swyftt knows this because that’s what he does. He kills things. Bad things. Nightmare things: Orcs, trolls, haunts, gnomes…the bloody Easter Bunny.

Swyftt was a copper, a priest, a Night Hunter, a husband, a father. Now he’s just a burnt-out PI with an arsenal of big-ass guns – an unrepentant foul-mouth who keeps everyone at arms length – and yet, whether your problem is a mating orgy of Cyclopes, a murderous imaginary friend, or a strip club full of horny Sirens, everyone from US Senators to Julia Roberts knows he’s the one man to call.

When a high-school student hires him to find a missing autistic boy and a catatonic billionaire runs away from a nursing home, it’s up to Swyftt, his partner, and his ward to piece together the clues and stop the nightmare that’s feeding on the city with an underground ring of serial-kidnapping bums. But that’s what Swyftt does. He’s the very last line of paranormal defense in the greater Seattle area.

And he ain’t bloody cheap.

Nervous Nellie’s nervousness necessitates knowledge of the novel. In other words …SPOILERS. *BEWARE*


Nervous Nellie says…

I would qualify this book as a horror novel. There is no sex. There is a lot of violence and some gore.  It involves missing and murdered children.  There is bad language.  It’s probably not for the faint of heart.

Right out of the chute, I’m going to tell you that I give this book 4 stars.  The premise is horrifying, but when you are looking for a dark thrill, that’s where it’ll lead ya.

Children are missing.  There are no leads for the cops and Jono wants to steer clear of the whole mess.  Why is that? Well, because it’s easier to look the other way and not see what is really there. It’s much easier to not see the child you lost in the faces that are taken…if you don’t look. He’d much rather not think about the things that are out there that could easily fit the criteria of child-nappers.  The horrid and scary things.  The monsters.  To clarify, the things that aren’t human.

Jono has an interesting life set up for himself.  He’s his deceased PI partner’s daughter’s caretaker.  He lives with a rich friend who has been cast away by his own family.  He has a paranormal PI business that is used by the rich and famous as well as those that are regular joes like you and me. He is also haunted by what creatures he’s seen and the mayhem in which these creatures create.

He knows what could be taking these children and in order to stop this…this…thing, he has to find it and put it down.  The only problem with that plan is that he needs more than himself to do it.  There is a non believer in the FBI that is trying her best to pin bad things on Jono.  Oh, and to throw the whole thing into a further uproar? Jono has the gift of Psychometry.  He touches something and can see into it’s past. He has to race time to stop the children from being taken.  He has to convince the cops to keep him out of jail.  He has to convince himself that he can really do some good.

The battle scenes are page turners.  The protagonist isn’t lovable but neither can I find fault in his actions.  He’s not exactly a hero, more like a survivor.  He does what he has to do and the job he has is worse than scary.  Very few will thank him for his work and even less will acknowledge he ever did it in the first place.

It’s a good book.   It’ll suck you in when you give it a try.

Other books similar to this that you may like to try…

 

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Devil Inside, Quincy Harker, Demon Hunter by John G. Hartness

The Quest for Glory continues as Quincy Harker travels to Charleston looking for a missing Archangel and becomes embroiled in local magical turf wars and potentially murderous politics.

Title: Devil Inside
Author:  John G. Hartness
Series:  Quincy Harker, Demon Hunter #10
Publish Date: May 19, 2017
Source: purchased by reviewer

Publisher’s Description: Quincy Harker is back!

The Quest for Glory continues as Quincy Harker travels to Charleston looking for a missing Archangel and becomes embroiled in local magical turf wars and potentially murderous politics. Things really heat up when an evil wizard tries to burn the city to the ground, with Harker at ground zero in the conflagration!

Glory gave up her wings to save the world, now Harker and the Shadow Council are working to get them back. To do that, they have to locate eight AWOL Archangels and convince them to go back to work. But not all these angels want to get back to the business of Heaven, and not all of them even remember who they are.

Nervous Nellie’s nervousness necessitates knowledge of the novel. In other words …SPOILERS. *BEWARE*


Nervous Nellie says…

This is part of a series of the Shadow Council files.  Right now the council’s primary goals is to get archangels to all come together to find God and get him back into his throne.

It seems like the archangels are kind of jerks and really don’t care to help.  Quincy has to convince his charge to return, but in the mean time the Charlston coven has a proposition for Quincy.  To kill a necromancer.  Quincy really doesn’t appreciate being used as an assassin, so he investigates.

Short story, quick case.  Nice little read.

 

Our reviews in this series…

 

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Blood and Blade by Lauren Dane

It’s been only days since Rowan and her friends eliminated the immediate threat to magic users and Vampires, but they’re already back on the hunt. Rowan’s out for vengeance, and she’s never been more driven—or angry.

Title: Blood and Blade
Author:  Lauren Dane
Series:  Goddess with a Blade #6 
Publish Date: December 30, 2019
Source: purchased by reviewer

Publisher’s Description:  But she’s up against a being stronger than any she’s ever fought. To bring it down she’ll need more than the powers the goddess Brigid gave her…

This time she’ll need her friends, too.

She knows her husband will always have her back. As an ancient Vampire and Scion of North America, Clive has more clout and dominance than almost anyone. Rowan’s small but trusted inner circle insist they’ll join her in the thick of the battle, even as she argues it’s too dangerous for them. She’s also got a new dog. Familiar. Whatever. Star is a magical being put in Rowan’s path to help and protect her.

The hunt for ancient evil takes Rowan and her team to London and back to Las Vegas, bringing with them an unexpected alliance. Fortified by their rage, grief and determination, Rowan and her friends will stop at nothing when they track their enemy to the high desert in a final, deadly showdown.

Nervous Nellie’s nervousness necessitates knowledge of the novel. In other words …SPOILERS. *BEWARE*


Nervous Nellie says…

I like this series.  The last book was a little on the lame side, but this one brings Rowan back with a vengeance.  She’s ready to do battle with the thing that killed Carey and her friends.

Carey is not forgotten as he is mentioned a few times in this book.  He does have a replacement, but he will never be forgotten.  Genevieve the witch is back lending a hand as well.  I wasn’t sure about her but she’s working her way into my good guy list.

The Blood Front is rearing it’s ugly head and in a place that is not the best political position for Clive.  I know the First is cold and heartless, but he is so volatile that Rowan has to tread carefully to keep her husband alive.  Which she does, so don’t worry.

The ending of this story took a surprising end for me.  I really didn’t see it coming.  With that being said, I’m not really sure that Rowan has had many dealings with this kind of creature, so maybe I can use that as an excuse.

Rowan does get the ever living stuffing beaten out of her as does Clive and others.  The Dust Devils make an interesting appearance witch is pretty darn cool.  It was a good story all in all and not at all like the last book.  Whew.  I was worried there.

 

Our reviews in this series…

 

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