Saving Justice (by Tasman Gibb)

Contemporary Romance

After a dog fighting ring is smashed, Justice, a traumatised dog is taken to Dog Haven Sanctuary to be rehabilitated. Marlo who is in charge of the sanctuary has suffered just as much trauma in her life as Justice. Suffering from PTSD after a sexual assault she prefers the company of dogs to people.

After his wife was killed in a revenge attack aimed at him, Adam took a leave of absence from the police force in New Zealand and accepted a job for an animal welfare organisation. In the U.S. to observe the law enforcement response to dog fighting, he meets Marlo and immediately recognises the signs of PTSD.

Together they slowly bring Justice back from his almost withdrawn state and as they are working with Justice, Adam also starts to help Marlo deal with her traumas. But with anti-Pit Bull groups agitating to have Justice declared dangerous and destroyed, the dog-fighting criminals out on bail and a spy within the sanctuary, tensions are boiling over, and before long Adam will need to return to New Zealand leaving Marlo once again on her own.

Saving Justice was a bit of a mixed bag for me. I loved the Dog Haven Sanctuary…the rehabilitation of Justice, even the idea that there were anti-Pit Bull groups trying to steal Justice and have him euthanised. But what could have been a great story was lost in the telling.

I don’t really know why Adam was a New Zealander except for the fact that the author originally came from New Zealand. It added an extra layer of complexity to a story which was already quite dense. Adam is supposedly a tough as nails cop, but for most of the book he came across as a one of those hippie / counsellor…’how does that make you feel’ types.

Most of my friends loved this, giving it four and five stars. I think I’ll be on my own in rating it three stars.


Once in a Lifetime (by Jill Shalvis)

Contemporary Romance

It’s difficult to get past a bad reputation, and in the small town of Lucky Harbor, Aubrey has the worst reputation. Wanting to put her past behind her, she creates a list of all the people she has wronged and then sets about apologising and asking for forgiveness. But not everyone in the town is willing to forgive and forget.

Returning to Lucky Harbor after years of traveling from one war zone to the next, Ben is at loose ends. Unsure about what to do with his life he accepts a job helping Aubrey renovate an old book store. As he watches Aubrey deal with her past they grow closer and eventually fall in love. But Ben is the last name on her list, and she knows that when he finds out what she did he will walk away.

Jill Shalvis is something of a comfort read for me. Her books aren’t particularly challenging, there really aren’t all that many surprises but to be honest that’s why I enjoy them as much as I do. She knows what her readers wants and she delivers.

Many thanks to Grand Central Publishing and Netgalley for providing me with this ARC

Carousel Sun (by Sharon Lee)

Fantasy (I think)

Kate Archer is the Guardian of Archer’s Beach, Maine and the areas around. She is able to communicate with the land, and where necessary can use magic to restore land that has long been neglected to life and vitality. 

Since returning to Archers Beach after a time away, the town’s fortunes are on the rise and with the tourist season upon them, town folk are for the first time in many years have hope for the future. But Joe Nemeier, a drug dealer who has set up shop in the town has sworn to destroy her and her family and he has enlisted the help of a fire elemental in his mission.  

Carousel Sun is quite an interesting book. It’s one of those rare books which doesn’t bring to mind any other book…totally unique. That said, I struggled with this book.  There is a lot going on in this book and the central story really didn’t kick in until I was half way through, and even then it didn’t really feel like the main game.  

The language of this book was difficult.  It is set in Maine and most of the dialogue is in that very unique New England brogue. Added to that, rather than using terms for her beings that I have encountered before (e.g. fae, witch, sprite), terms which work as a type of shorthand and can deliver all the information a reader needs without any explanation, she has done her own thing. So we have Tremway (something like fae I think) and the Land (who apart from being the earth appears to have the personality of a large shaggy dog).

Overall, despite feeling confused for a good portion of the book, it was oddly satisfying. That said, I would probably encourage those who might be interested to read book one first. I think a lot of the difficulty I had with this book would be fixed if I had read the first book.  

Many thanks to Baen Books and Netgalley for providing me with this ARC.

Against the Dark (by Carolyn Crane)

Romantic Suspense

When her Aunt Aggie is kidnapped and held for ransom, Angel Ramirez, a master safe-cracker is forced out of retirement to do one last heist.  The job; to steal a fortunes worth of diamonds from Walter Borgola, a sadistic and perverted mobster.

After Angel does the impossible –– cracks the un-crackable safe, Cole tracks her down and makes her an offer she can’t refuse. Either she returns to Borgola’s mansion, posing as his girlfriend and breaks into a second safe, or he will hand her over to Borgola.

Angel and Cole embark on a mission in which the cost of failure is hundreds of innocent lives, and being caught will result in their death at the hands of a sadist.

Against the Dark is amazing. I read the second book in the series a couple of weeks ago, and was so impressed that the minute I finished, I paid my money and bought this one. I’ve heard a few people say they thought book two was a much better book, but honestly I can’t see it. With books as good as these, it’s hard to draw a distinction, it would be like saying an Aston Martin is better than a Maserati.  Against the Dark had the same disturbing under-current you see in many of Karen Rose’s books, and I think fans of Karen Rose will love this series. But I would recommend this book to pretty much anyone, with the one caveat that there are some steamy sex scenes. Honestly, if you don’t want to see me go all fanboy on you, you probably shouldn’t ask me for a book recommendation any time soon.

Impatiently waiting for book three.