Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Fatal Destiny by Marie Force ~ Review

Title: Fatal Destiny (Fatal #3.5)
Author: Marie Force
Genre: Adult, Romantic Suspense
Length: 180 pages
Publisher: Carina Press
Release Date: January 1, 2011
Source: Freebie

Reviewed by: Jasmyn

With the week of their wedding finally upon them, Washington, D.C., Police Lieutenant Sam Holland and her fiance, Senator Nick Cappuano, are at odds. In the aftermath of a tragic loss, they struggle to reconnect as the big day draws near, but their work keeps pulling them apart. When a new clue into a cold case surfaces, Nick asks Sam not to take any foolish chances before the wedding and to leave it alone for the time being.

Sam agrees, but she can't let it go entirely and winds up trapped in an explosive situation. Then an unwelcome visitor from her past threatens her future happiness... With trouble at every turn, will Sam survive long enough to walk down the aisle?

Fatal Destiny was a great novella that was all about the good feels leading up to Sam and Nick's wedding. It also sets the stage for some future drama (or so it seems) that has the potential to shake up our main couple's lives. This was more of a bridge between books four and five (which I totally loved) than a full story unto itself. We do get to meet a really amazing character - the wedding planner - who manages to keep Sam and Nick on track, on schedule, and on their merry way for the wedding. She was a force of nature, and I have it on good authority that she pops up again in a future book (yay!).

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

The Art Whisperer by Charlotte Elkins and Aaron Elkins

Title: The Art Whisperer (Alix London #3)
Author: Charlotte Elkins, Aaron Elkins
Genre: Adult, Mystery
Length: 260 pages
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Release Date: August 19, 2014
Source: Purchased

Reviewed by: Jasmyn

When art conservator Alix London spots a forgery, she knows trouble will follow. So she’s understandably apprehensive when her connoisseur’s eye spots something off about a multimillion-dollar Jackson Pollock painting at Palm Springs’s Brethwaite Museum—her current employer.
Alix is already under fire, the object of a vicious online smear campaign. Now the Brethwaite’s despicable senior curator, obsessed with the “maximization of monetized eyeballs,” angrily refuses to decommission the celebrated Pollock piece. But it’s only when a hooded intruder attacks Alix in her hotel room that the real trouble begins. And when FBI Special Agent Ted Ellesworth—with whom Alix had inadvertently, but thoroughly, botched a budding relationship just a year prior—turns up to investigate the Pollock, Alix knows she’s about to have her hands full.
In her third mystery, Alix London must see through mirages in the desert to uncover the knotted history of the painting—and save herself in the process.
Alix London is making a reputation for herself as the "Art Whisperer," capable of telling if a painting is authentic or not by just looking at it. And her intuition is never wrong, it might just take her a little while to prove it. This reputation is getting her in trouble this time. She's being targeted online by a smear campaign, and it's strangely tied to her new job at a small museum.

She's determined to save her reputation and find out who is behind the attacks. But she'll end up needing some help on this one, and she's not sure exactly what her relationship with FBI Agen Ted Ellesworth is anymore. Which is another minefield that she will need to navigate.

I really enjoy how the mysteries in the series build off each other. The characters are dynamic from book to book, and their growth and development adds to the storyline and enhances the mystery and sleuthing as we go on. I'm also learning a bit about art, and I love how the authors tie it all together is such great stories.

Monday, May 7, 2018

Hollywood Dirt by Alesandra Torre

Title: Hollywood Dirt (Hollywood Dirt #1)
Author: Alesandra Torre
Genre: Adult, Contemporary Romance
Length: 414 pages
Publisher: Independent
Release Date: September 7, 2015
Source: Purchased
Reviewed by: Jasmyn

Cole Masten. Abandoned by his superstar wife, Hollywood’s Perfect Husband is now Hollywood’s Sexiest Bachelor: partying hard and screwing even harder. Watch out Los Angeles, there's a new bad boy in town.

Summer Jenkins. That’s me, a small town girl stuck in Quincy, Georgia. I cook some mean chicken and dumplins, can bluff a grown man out of his savings in poker, and was voted Most Friendly my senior year.

We were from different worlds. Our lives shouldn’t have collided. But then Cole Masten read a book about my small town. And six months later, his jet landed on our dusty airstrip, and he brought Hollywood with him.

From the start, I knew he was trouble. For our town. And for me.

Sometimes, opposites just aren’t meant to attract.


I loved this book. It was full of great characters (including a rooster), some hilarious situations, and stubbornness. I love when stubborn characters butt heads, and Cole and Summer definitely fit that bill.

Summer is a true southerner. She knows all the southern small town rules and niceties that a person must follow if they want to be part of polite society, but she's not quite welcome still. The reason is amazing. It's one of the best revenge stories ever, but it turned most of the residents against her. Yet Summer is the one that finds herself the center of attention again when Cole demands that she plays the leading lady in the film his is not only starring in, but directing.

There is tons of humor and watching as these two make the transition from barely tolerating each other, through friendship, and on to something bigger had me smiling the entire time. The antics and situations they found themselves in as they tried to one-up each other were amazing - and the rooster - the rooster stole the show a few times.

This is a light-hearted fun romance. I laughed out loud and couldn't stop grinning the whole time.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

A Cruise to Die for by Charlotte and Aaron Elkins

Title: A Cruise to Die For (Alix London #2)
Author: Charlotte Elkins, Aaron Elkins
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Length: 256 pages
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Release Date: September 3, 2013
Source: Purchased
Reviewed by: Jasmyn

This should be the cushiest job Alix London’s ever had.

The second Alix London mystery finds the art restorer in a world brimming with idle luxury, spectacular locations, and deadly intrigue.

Surrounded by art and wealth and the sun-drenched Greek isles, she’s aboard a sumptuous mega-yacht with no responsibilities save the occasional lecture to the guests of her temporary employer, Panos Papadakis, one of the world's richest men. But there’s a catch: Papadakis has long been suspected of being at the center of a multi-million dollar Ponzi scheme and Alix is actually there as an undercover operative of FBI special agent Ted Ellesworth, a member of the Bureau’s Art Crime Team. They hope Alix can gather the inside information they need to finally put the cagey Papadakis away.

Alix’s exposure to the enormous wealth of high-end collectors and the shadier aspects of the art trade—the avarice, naked greed, and ingenious scams—somehow brings her closer to her charming, "reformed" rogue of a father, and helps crystalize in her own mind just where she fits into the mix.


When FBI agent Ted Ellesworth asks Alix to help be his eyes and ears during an art auction on a luxury yacht, it seems more like a vacation than a job. Elkins did a great job showing the luxury and decadence of the Greek tycoon's yacht and captures some of the very unique personalities on board very well.

What she finds instead is a possible counterfeit, maybe a murder, and a stream of finances that just isn't adding up. Once again she's neck deep in a mystery involving the high-end art world. This one was a little more convoluted than the first with lots of hands in the pot and tangled webs wrapping around things.

One of the best things about the series so far - I don't figure it out halfway through. There are enough hints that point me in a general direction, but the big reveal only happens when Alix and her "crew" all get together and share their collective information. The fact that it takes the entire team to figure out all the details in the end only makes things better.

The ending of this was quite intense though. More so than I expected, but it kept me on the edge of my seat until the last page.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Lover Unleashed by J.R. Ward

Title: Lover Unleashed (Black Dagger Brotherhood #9)
Author: J.R. Ward
Genre: Adult, Paranormal Romance
Length: 512 pages
Publisher: NAL
Release Date: March 29, 2011
Source: Audiobook Purchase
Reviewed by: Jasmyn

Payne, twin sister of Vishous, is cut from the same dark, warrior cloth as her brother: A fighter by nature, and a maverick when it comes to the traditional role of Chosen females, there is no place for her on the Far Side... and no role for her on the front lines of the war, either.

When she suffers a paralyzing injury, human surgeon Dr. Manuel Manello is called in to treat her as only he can—and he soon gets sucked into her dangerous, secret world. Although he never before believed in things that go bump in the night—like vampires—he finds himself more than willing to be seduced by the powerful female who marks both his body and his soul.

As the two find so much more than an erotic connection, the human and vampire worlds collide... just as a centuries old score catches up with Payne and puts both her love and her life in deadly jeopardy.


Lover Unleashed continues Ward's story of the Black Dagger Brotherhood with the full introduction of Payne. I've seen her sparring with Wrath in the Sanctuary in the past book, but now she's on Earth with a horrible injury to her neck. Right off the bat there were a few storyline inconsistencies with her past and Vishious that really bothered me at first. But I'm so deep into the series now that I just had to keep going.

Very glad that I did. One of my favorite things about this book was seeing one of the women, Doc Jane, playing a major role after her romance was done. My biggest complaint about the series so far is that we seem to lose track of the women. There aren't many updates or glimpses into their lives unless it's directly related to the Brotherhood. But we got to see a lot of Doc Jane here - and it was a side of her that we hadn't really seen before.

She has to make the call to bring a human surgeon in to help repair the damage to Payne's spinal cord, and Dr. Manuel Manello is the only one she trusts to operate on the vampire female. And, of course, something happens between them that no one really understands. Payne and Manello will have to fight to be together and find a way to merge their two worlds.

On the war front, we don't see too much going on. Lash doesn't play a role in this story. The conflict was all within the main characters - a bit of a change from past books in the series. I loved how the story progressed and seeing some new characters in the mix - but still - I want to see the women play more in the story from book to book.