When Lightning Strikes (by Brenda Novak)

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Simon O’Neal is a hard drinking, womanizing Hollywood superstar. He surrounds himself with people who fawn over him and won’t call him on his reckless behavior.
Gail Dimarco was his PR consultant until she sacked him as a client. But after an over-zealous employee intimated that Simon sexually assaulted Gail, they need to get together and do some serious damage control.

Simon is in a bitter custody battle for his son, and any more bad press will destroy his already shaky case. To rehabilitate his reputation, Gail marries him and they flee Hollywood for Gail’s hometown of Whiskey Creek.

When Lightning Strikes is a cute contemporary romance about a broken man and an insecure woman. Away from the craziness of Hollywood, Simon is able to set his life in order, and in Simon’s arms Gail is feeling treasured for the first time in her life. But someone has other plans and will do anything to ensure that Simon and Gail don’t succeed.

Fans of Robyn Carr and Toni Blake would probably enjoy When Lightning Strikes

Many thanks to Harlequin and Netgalley for this ARC

A Thin, Dark Line (by Emma Elliot)

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“I need to know what happened fifteen years ago, Cormac. I need to understand. Because I think what’s going on now is connected to what took place then. T-to you.”
His expression was bleak. “Let it go. The past is over and done with.”
“Apparently not. It looms over us. Over the whole damn town.”
“Leave it alone, Eloise.”
I bristled. “I can’t. I won’t.”

Cormac O’Malley has returned to his home town of Dogwood, Ohio after serving 15 years in prison for murder. The town is boiling with  anger that a murderer is amongst them and when local librarian, Eloise Carmichael gives him a job as a handyman, the town turns against her as well.

It soon becomes apparent that there are dangerous men in the town who are plotting against Cormac, men who have secrets they will kill to protect. Eloise risks everything in her search for the truth about a crime committed fifteen years earlier.

A Thin, Dark Line is a very well written romantic suspense. In some ways it reminds me a little of an Alfred Hitchcock movie. Alfred Hitchcock rarely showed violence in his movies. He hinted at it and left the rest to the imagination of his audience. It’s hard to believe that this is a debut. It’s really that good.

“Now, tell me why you’ve decided you’re boring.”
I Worried a cuticle ad said, “Jane, when I burn a piece of toast, do you know what I do?”
“Um…Throw it away?”
“No! I scrape off the burnt parts and carry on.”

Many Thanks to Netgalley and The Writer’s Coffee Shop Publishing House for providing me with this ARC.

My Life as a White Trash Zombie & Even White Trash Zombies get the Blues (by Diana Rowland)

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My Life as a White Trash Zombie

Everything about Angel is on the wrong side of the tracks. She lives in a run down house with her abusive drunk of a father. Her boyfriend is a deadbeat and she can’t even hold onto a dead end job.

That is, until she is turned into a zombie. Now things are starting to look up for her. She has a job at the morgue which she is actually good at. She’s had to give up the drugs and alcohol and she’s managed to find a few friends who think more of her than she thinks of herself.

But there a zombie hunter out there somewhere and she needs to find him before he turns his attention to her.

My life as a White Trash Zombie is seriously good fun. It flows beautifully is suffused with snarky and intelligent humor, has a good dose of adventure and mystery and just a little romance. It works on every level.

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Even White Trash Zombies get the Blues

The second in the White Trash Zombie series is every bit as good as the first.

Just when Angel’s life is starting to look up, a body she picked up from a mysterious research facility is stolen from her at gun-point, and with her criminal record, nobody is believing her story. Now her job is on the line, her relationship with her new boyfriend Marcus is on the rocks, and someone is killing off witnesses.

If she doesn’t get to the bottom of the mystery her parole might be revoked and she could very well end up back in jail. With little choice she accepts some help from an unlikely source and the race is on to solve the puzzle and save the day.

With these two books Diana Rowland has well and truly cemented her place as a favorite author. The White Trash Zombie books are reminiscent of Molly Harper’s Jane Jameson / Half Moon Hollow books. They are intelligent, snarky, good fun and easy to read. I love everything about them.

Confessions of an Angry Girl

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As I get to the last turn, I suddenly see pom-poms in my peripheral vision. A few of the girls are lined up on the side of the track, like they’re cheering someone on. I’m tempted to look back to see who it is, but I’ll lose my stride if I do. I keep going. I get closer and closer to them, and I realize too late that it’s Lena, Susan and Regina. Just as I’m about to pass them, they chant, “How did Daddy’s Little Girl like the gynecologist?”

Rose is having a bad year. Her father was killed by an IED in Iraq. Her mother, consumed with guilt and grief, has become distant. Her brother has run off to college and seems to be doing just fine. Her best friend, Tracy, is only interested in having sex with her jerk of a boyfriend and becoming a cheerleader. To top it all off, Regina, one of the cheerleaders has it in for Rose. Regina is convinced that Rose is trying to steal her boyfriend Jamie…and maybe she is.

Before I know what I’m doing, I’m running across the lanes that separate me from the cheer bitches. It doesn’t matter that it’s three against one. After everything Regina has done to me, I want the satisfaction of hurting her. I run faster. I start screaming.
Lena and Susan look like deer caught in the headlights of an oncoming car⎯ I must seem like a complete maniac, flying at them, covered in blood, screaming like a madwoman⎯

Confessions of an Angry Girl resonates. It deals with a whole grab bag of issues facing young adults, including bullying; pier pressure; binge drinking; sex; anger; and grief, without ever preaching or getting sentimental. Louise Rozett doesn’t treat young adults like idiots, she tells her story and allows them to draw their own conclusions.

Tracy. Tracy told her I kissed Jamie.
I slam into Regina with every ounce of strength I have, knocking her to the ground.

If you liked Easy by Tammara Webber or Almost by Anne Eliot you will probably like Confessions of an Angry Girl.
Thanks to Harlequin and Netgalley for providing me with this ARC.

The Angel (by Tiffany Reisz)

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“God have mercy on me, a sinner.”
“‘Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten in God’s sight. But even the hairs on your head are all counted. Do not be afraid; you are of more value than many sparrows.'”
Nora smiled. Luke chapter twelve, verses six and seven— one of her favorite passages.
“Bless me Father, for I have sinned. It has been…”
“Eight days,” Søren supplied.
“Eight days since my last confession. Let’s see…where to start?”
“Pace yourself, Eleanor. If you forget something, I will remind you.”

The Angel is the second in Tiffany Reisz’s Original Sinners series. Twelve months have past since Nora returned to Søren at the end of The Siren. As a priest and a Dominant their relationship must remain a secret, so when Søren is nominated for a promotion within the church he ships Nora, and Michael off to the country and away from a reporter who is snooping around looking for a scandal.

“Michael, the eponymous Angel” http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/336801143 has been emotionally abused by his father because of his kink. He is a submissive, a person who finds both sexual pleasure and emotional fulfillment in submitting to a Dominant. Griffin is a bisexual Dom who has never loved anyone. His longest relationships have lasted no more than a few weeks. When Michael arrives at Griffin’s country estate there are immediate sparks between them.

The Angel is a very different book to The Siren. It is a much brighter book, more fun and a lot more sexual. Both are equally good but if you want them to be the same, you’ll be disappointed. Tiffany Reisz has mentioned that all the books in this series will be very different from one another.

Apart from the obvious male/female you would expect from erotic fiction, The Angel contains male/male/female and male/male scenarios. I imagine some readers (particularly male readers) would run for the hills when they hear that, but they’d be missing out on an amazing book. The way Tiffany Reisz writes is so sincere that I think any reasonable person will enjoy her books.

“He stepped forward. As he brushed past her he dipped his head and whispered in her ear, “I’m not afraid of you.”

Thanks to Harelquin and Netgalley for providing me with this ARC.

Almost (by Anne Eliot)

Almost

Without another word, I turn my back and start for my Jeep, wondering if he can hear how loudly he’s made my heart pound.
“Okay then, see you after school, Jess. It’s a date. We’ll have some fun! Good luck on your afternoon final!”
He sounds like a stupid megaphone. When I don’t answer and hunch my shoulders, his low laugh adds a trail of goose bumps coursing down my neck.

As a high school freshman, Jess was drugged and almost raped at a party. That single night has defined every day of her life in the years since then. Unable to sleep at night because of the nightmares, she is perpetually tired. She survives on short naps in her car and Red Bull energy drinks.

When she meets Gray she comes up with a plan which will allay her parents’ fears and allow her to attend college. His job is to pretend to be her boyfriend and give her the air of normalcy. But he isn’t pretending, and he has a secret that could destroy any chance he has with her.

Almost took quite a while to get going. I think I was nearly 50% through before it finally had me hooked. Honestly, I could have walked away from it without any regrets…but I’m glad I didn’t. Despite the slow start and the difficult topic, this is a really good book, both satisfying and uplifting.

“I know I’m acting crazy but I’m in love with this girl. Major love. And I have no idea what to do about it, so it’s messing with my sanity.”

The Care and Feeding of Stray Vampires (by Molly Harper)

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An unexpected side effect of the Great Coming Out in 1999 was the emergence of all-night industries, special products, and cottage businesses, like mine, that catered to the needs of “undead Americans.” Companies were tripping over one another to come up with products for a spanking-new marketing demographic: synthetic blood, protein additives, dental-care accessories, lifelike bronzers. The problem was that those companies still hadn’t figured out packaging for the undead and tended to jump on bizarre trending bandwagons, the most recent being a brand of plasma concentrate that came pouring out of what looked like a Kewpie doll. You had to flip back the head to open it.

It’s even more creepy than it sounds.

Iris Scanlon has managed to carve out a little niche for herself running daytime errands for Half Moon Hollow’s undead community. But despite working for vampires, she doesn’t quite trust them and goes to great lengths to keep contact to a minimum. That is until she finds her newest client lying on the kitchen floor, poisoned. After saving his “unlife” he offers her a small fortune to shelter him for a few weeks. She’s none too happy but needs the money and so finds herself living under the same roof with a sexy vampire and her smart mouthed younger sister.

I don’t quite know how Molly Harper does it. I generally start to lose interest in a series after two or three books, but despite these books all following the same basic formula, here am I returning to Half Moon Hollow, KY for the sixth visit and loving it just as much as Nice Girls Don’t Have Fangs (Jane Jameson book 1). She has become an author whose name I type into Google on an almost weekly basis. I want to be the first to know about her next project. I want to be the first to read it. I just can’t help myself. She writes funny, intelligent and snarky books about vampires, werewolves and other creatures of the night. The Care and Feeding of Stray Vampires doesn’t disappoint, it delivers exactly what I have come to expect.