Indie Book Review: Sailor’s Warning by Noelle Greene

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Review:

This is the second book by Noelle Greene that I’ve read, and another one I loved. The characters are so real, no stereotypes here – just complicated, flawed human beings. I particularly liked Rob (the hero) as he is honestly one of the most realistic male characters I have ever read in a romance. Quite simply, he’s a bit distasteful at times due to his arrogance or presumptions, but rather than making him dislikeable it actually makes him honest. We are made from our own experiences, and this can result in poor judgement on our own part. There was a moment early in the book when he meets the heroine when her illness is at its worst, an illness that causes her hair to fall out and strips her of her youth. Rather than feeling pity for her (as I expected) he felt disgusted, and then ashamed of himself. It is a reaction many people have in the face of such sickness, and I was surprised the author didn’t shy away from describing it. There was nothing rosy about the scene, just honest and terrible humanity.

Rob takes a long time to redeem himself, to become honest with his own flaws and expectations for life. While I would call the genre of this novel suspense/mystery romance, there are ample doses of family drama and personal discovery too. The hero and heroine are entirely equal in this book as they both go through their own, intersecting journeys. Okay, I’ve talked enough about the hero, let’s hear about the heroine!

Meri Darrow is a scientist (yay!) whose career and health are in tatters (boo!). She’s one smart cookie, although maybe if she’d read as many Agatha Christie novels as I had she might’ve guessed one of the twists earlier (I swear, some novels are as good as textbooks for the things you can learn). Her character is equal parts fierce and wary, her illness (I’m being vague deliberately) having sapped much of her vigour, but not all! As she recovers, she starts to dig towards the truth of the experiments at her old labs. The subsequent mystery and suspense are so much fun. Honestly, what’s not to like about Sailor’s Warning? It has everything I could want! (Hooray for complex characters!)

I received this book in exchange for an honest review.

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Sailor’s Warning, by Noelle Greene

Book Length: 255 pages

Suspense/Mystery Romance (Adult Fiction)

According to the Blurb:

They want her complete silence. He wants her complete surrender.

He’s ambitious. Meri Darrow has Rob McLain pegged. He’s a fund manager, more interested in profit than innovation. Rob wants the privileged life she rejected long ago, right down to the showy ocean view villa. Cute as he is, he’s definitely not her type. But Meri needs Rob’s help after she is suddenly fired from her dream job developing a breakthrough anti-aging drug.

She’s a lightning rod for trouble. Rob is shocked how much he wants this brilliant but naïve scientist, even though helping her could ruin his career. Then there’s her mysterious illness. This intense attraction scares the hell out of him.

They can’t win. Now Rob is about to lose everything he’s worked for. Meri’s attempts to do the right thing have only brought fear and death, putting Rob and his little boy in danger. The best thing she can do for them is walk away.

Flash Fiction: Digging Up Dirt

In response to a past prompt from Charli at the Carrot Ranch

Months wasted. The evidence piled up, but it was piling the wrong way – Marianne Gillespie was proving herself to be a frustratingly upstanding citizen.

So why was she blackmailing me?

The solution seemed so simple: I could no longer afford to pay her, so I had to dig up her dirt. After all, blackmailers should be shifty right? Honest people don’t blackmail you. Honest people go to the cops.

After all, what she had could put me away for a long time… and she’d been sitting on it for a long time…

…long enough to make her an accessory.

Digging Up Dirt

Indie Book Review: Lover’s Intuition by Noelle Greene

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Review:

Ah, to be back reading! And Noelle Greene’s writing style was exactly what I needed to get sucked back into this wonderful pastime.

Camille is a great main character: the perfect mix of strength and, by her own honesty, messed-up-ed-ness (what? I can make up words for my review). It was easy to become invested in her story, to feel her fear, her sadness, her passion… and her depression.

Honestly, that woman is put through the wringer. Every time she gets a little win… but I won’t spoil it for you. This book is a great mix of drama, romance, mystery & intrigue. Camille & Will’s relationship is passionate and toxic, so much so I was fearful it would end in tragedy. The story went in some really dark directions, and sometimes I felt it was getting too dark or too sad but I could not stop reading! I was exhausted by the end! But I was rewarded. I like my endings to be satisfying, and maybe a little gratifying, so I was glad the book didn’t just ‘drop off’ at the end. I will admit, I was lost a couple of times (especially through some of the forest scenes… but maybe that was the point), but I didn’t mind that. I guess I was little disappointed there wasn’t more to Camille’s ‘gift’, but then again it was nice to read a story were the paranormal side of things was a bit closer to how it might work in the real world.

Recommended for those wanting a dark, dramatic spin on their paranormal romances.

I received this book in exchange for an honest review.

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Author goodreads page.

Lover’s Intuition by Noelle Greene

Blue Mill Series #1

Book Length: 344 pages

Paranormal Romance/Mystery (Adult Fiction)

According to the Blurb:

A psychic must use her gift to save the skeptic she loves.

Camille Jorgensen is starting over in a small town after a heartbreaking loss. On the night she meets reclusive billionaire Will Holloway, her sixth sense suddenly goes haywire. Although Camille’s intuition whispers that evil will strike, she doesn’t know when, why, or where.

Sweet, sexy, and possibly delusional Camille is Will’s New Age nightmare. She’s the only woman to detect deep passion beneath his cool facade. But tenderness checked out of his soul long ago, and logic—unlike the people he loved—has never abandoned him.
After a friend is brutally murdered, Camille resolves to use her psychic gift to help find the killer. Now she and Will are in the crosshairs of a sociopath with powers of his own and a shocking secret. Camille must outsmart both the sociopath and the drug cartel thugs tailing him, or she and Will won’t survive to find the love they deserve.

Indie Book Review: Shallow Waters by @RebeccaJBradley

Review:

Crime isn’t really my genre (I like cozy mysteries, not so much the gritty stuff), but since I follow Rebecca Bradley on wordpress, I was interested in reading what she’d written and decided to pick up her book. Shallow Waters sucked me right into the cold and gritty world of British police procedurals, and I was surprised at how quickly my reading experience turned from a ‘just out of curiosity’ to ‘I have to know what happens next!’ The atmosphere and the characters were done so well, and the crime was so compelling: there was so little information at the start, then it seemed to be an open-and-shut case before it spiralled into something much darker and sinister. I really enjoyed getting to know the Detective-Inspector and her world. There was just the right amount of personal drama and drive, and the ending was suitably tragic.

I’ve become attached to DI Hannah Robbins, so I’m looking forward to where this series goes. Even though crime isn’t really my thing, I found a lot to enjoy here. Has it changed my attitude to the whole genre? No, not really, but I ‘get’ it now, and I find police-procedurals more appealing than I did before.

Recommended for anyone with even a passing interest in crime.

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Author Goodreads Page.

Author website.

Amazon buy link.

Shallow Waters, by Rebecca Bradley

Book Length: 370 pages

Police Procedural Crime (Adult Fiction)

According to the Blurb:

‘A gritty police procedural, with no-holds barred and a shocking insight to the reality of some. Dark and disturbing, yet exceptionally compelling.’ – Mel Sherratt, author of Taunting The Dead.

‘Tense, compelling and utterly absorbing. DI Hannah Robbins is a force to be reckoned with.’ – Jane Isaac, author of The Truth Will Out.

When the naked, battered body of an unidentified teenager is found dumped in an alleyway, post-mortem finds evidence of a harrowing series of events.

Another teenage death with the same MO pushes DI Hannah Robbins and her team on the Nottingham City division Major Crimes Unit, to their limits, and across county borders. In a race against the clock they attempt to unpick a thick web of lies and deceit to uncover the truth behind the deaths.

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Flash Fiction: Second Time’s the Charm

In response to Susan Lattwein’s Flash Fiction Prompt

No matter how much I kicked, no matter how much I screamed, no noise was loud enough to attract any attention. He must have parked in the middle of nowhere, or else the enclosed boot of the car was muffling everything I did. No one was coming for me.

The minutes ticked by, my ears settling to catch even the faintest noises, but there was nothing to hear. The inside of the boot stank like old meat. I wondered if I should try kicking again, maybe trying to focus my attack on the lock? I rolled over and tried to finger my bound hands across the lid, trying to locate something I could target. The crunch of footsteps on loose gravel froze me. I managed to take a deep shuddering breath before the boot popped open and harsh yellow light blinded me from above.

I snapped my eyes shut as he grabbed my elbow and wrenched me out of the car. Somehow, I managed to stay on my feet as I was half-dragged away from the solitary light. The fresh air brought the smell of salt and humus. I opened my eyes.

A road overgrown with weeds led to a little pier jutting out over the mud bank. It reminded me of the boardwalks I used to take when I was a kid, looking for guppies, frogs, and toadfish. This was a proper lake though, not just a little billabong. The water had to be deep.

There was no doubt in my mind why I was here. My whole life had been innocent, inconsequential. I’d made sure to anger nobody, learning from mistakes long past. The man didn’t speak, but I knew what he wanted.

“You want revenge.”

He took no notice of me, his gait unchanging. My shoes hit the wood and he pushed me in front of him, holding me at arm’s length.

“Look, you’re either just a psycho-killer, or you remember as much as I do. Which is it?”

Ever forwards, unrelenting.

“Okay, let’s say you do remember. That was the past – I can’t do anything about it now!”

We got to the end of the pier. I turned to him and opened my mouth to speak, but he just dived in, dragging me along with him.

Salty water rushed into my mouth, eyes, and ears. My hands still tied behind me, I was helpless to fight against him. This was exactly how it had gone. He was weaker than me back then, our roles reversed, and I had held him under until he stopped moving. It hadn’t even been anything personal – he was an old man who was taking too long to die, and he was making the country sick because of it. Everyone had turned a blind eye.

Before I lost consciousness, I wondered vaguely if he’d kill the others too, for what we did in our past lives.

 

Indie Book Review: Shattered, by Becky Durfee

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Review:

Yet again Becky Durfee has managed to create a fresh and compelling mystery. This time, the spirit that visits Jenny Watkins can talk, and talks quite a lot, but Jenny can’t understand Russian! Going by the few words she can pick up, she once again uses her amateur detective skills to pursue justice for the dead.

While I had a niggling issue with how the protagonist searched for clues in the last book, this time Jenny’s got her head on straight. We also get to see some finality to what Jenny wants out of her marriage (that’s to say, she wants it to end), and it’s great to see Jenny take another step towards becoming the person she wants to be.

We also finally get to meet Jenny’s family, and get some shocking revelations to boot!

Another exciting and enthralling mystery with the most relatable woman in the world. Have I mentioned I love this series?

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Author Goodreads Page.

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Shattered, by Becky Durfee

Jenny Watkins Mysteries #3

Book Length: 176 pages

Paranormal Cozy Mystery (Adult Fiction)

According to the Blurb:

Psychic Jenny Watkins’ world has been turned upside down. Everything she once knew to be fact has come into question, and she is faced with choices that could impact the rest of her life.

As she deals with the crisis in her personal life, she is contacted by a young murder victim who lived in America but spoke no English. Relying solely on timing and intuition, Jenny tries to interpret the clues and find justice for a woman stripped of life too soon.

Book Review: Ghost a la Mode by Sue Ann Jaffarian

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Review:

Upon starting this book I knew I’d picked up the right paranormal cozy mystery for my holiday reading. There’s just something about the tone, pace and style that feels right, you know? Ghost a la Mode has received variable reviews on Goodreads, but for me it really hit the spot. Then again, I’m willing to suspend a lot of disbelief in exchange for a good yarn and colourful characters, and that’s what I got!

With more than a little urging from ghost Granny Apples, Emma finds herself in her ancestor’s old gold rush town to investigate a hundred-year-old murder. Why? Initially, it was just because she had nothing better to do with her time, but Emma (and me) quickly becomes intrigued with the history of the town, her family, and the murder. It’s not one of those mysteries where you can work out whodunit before its revealed (because the reader doesn’t get exposed to all the facts until the end), but the sleuthing process was enjoyable enough to keep me turning the pages. I loved the search for clues, I loved the ghostly and lively banter, and I loved the main character (which is very important, of course) so I got plenty out of this book. Recommended as a casual read for lovers of the genre.

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Ghost a la Mode, by Sue Ann Jaffarian

Ghost of Granny Apples Mystery #1

Book Length: 312 pages

Paranormal Cozy Mystery (Adult Fiction)

According to the Blurb:

Granny was famous for her award-winning apple pies and notorious for murdering her husband Jacob at their homestead in Julian, California. The only trouble is, Granny was framed, then murdered. For more than one hundred years, Granny’s spirit has been searching for someone to help her see that justice is served… and she hits pay dirt when she pops in to a seance attended by her great-great-great-granddaughter, modern-day divorced mom Emma Whitecastle. Together, Emma and Granny Apples solve mysteries of the past starting with Granny’s own unjust murder rap in the final days of the California Gold Rush. Along with a sprinkling of history, this spirited new mystery series features the amateur sleuth team of Emma Whitecastle and the spirit of her pie-baking great-great-great-grandmother, Granny Apples.

Indie Book Review: Betrayed by Becky Durfee (Jenny Watkins Book 2)

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Review:

After loving the first book so much, I was excited to read the sequel and finished it quickly. Becky Durfee has set up a wonderful paranormal mysteries series, nicely paced with another compelling mystery.

This time, it isn’t about figuring out whodunit – the visiting spirit shows Jenny exactly who her killer is. Instead, the challenge is to figure out a) who this man is and b) how to prove he’s a killer to the police. Instead of a cold case, we get a current murder. Instead of a forgotten victim, we have a whole town in mourning for this tragedy. With a few already established characters , this book is a perfect sequel – take everything that a reader loved about the first book (which is why they’ve bought the second), and make the mystery and perspective so completely different from the first so that it’s all fresh and new. A perfect match of the ‘same-same, but different’ mantra.

I did have a niggling “why aren’t they pursuing (x) more?” when Jenny was doing her amateur detective work, but for all my annoyance, Jenny did do the understandable thing in that circumstance by deferring to the police. It isn’t what I would’ve done, but Jenny isn’t me, and what she did was within her character so I couldn’t blame her.

Having said that, she does take some very bold steps by the end of the book, twisting what I accepted as an almost-cozy mystery into something more thriller-ish with its edge of danger. Nice.

A worthy sequel, and a series to watch.

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Betrayed, by Becky Dufree

Jenny Watkins Mystery #2

Book Length: 204 pages

Paranormal Mystery (Adult Fiction)

According to the Blurb:

Someone, somewhere, had been strangled.

Psychic Jenny Watkins’ second vision comes through the eyes of the victim. While she doesn’t know when or where the strangulation took place, she does get a good look at the killer. With little else to go on besides an image in her mind, Jenny races to put a name to the face before he strikes again.

The sequel to Driven, Betrayed offers an unusual plot, an element of romance and humor throughout.

Author Goodreads Page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7123147.Becky_Durfee

Author Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/JennyWatkinsMysteries

Amazon Buy Link: http://www.amazon.com/Driven-Jenny-Watkins-Mystery-Book-ebook/dp/B00CXX0LOC/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1421712621&sr=8-1&keywords=driven+becky+durfee

Indie Book Review: Driven by Becky Dufree

Driven cover

Review:

“Insisting on being happy isn’t being selfish. It’s necessary.”

  • Elanor Whitby (wickedly awesome character)

First off, this is currently a free book on amazon for Martin Luther King Day. GO AND GET IT!

It’s been a long time since I couldn’t put down a book, and longer still when I’ve read a book in a day. Even when I really like a book, I would pace it out over at least two or three days. Even when I couldn’t put a book down, I would because I had other things that had to be done. But the stars aligned and the more I read Driven, the more I was sucked in until I had to finish it.

Of course, it isn’t a bloody tome of a thing so that really helped. Short and to the point, every single moment in this book had a purpose.  No filler, no padding, no bullsh*t that has ticked me off many times before. And I loved every moment of it.

A paranormal mystery wrapped up in a tale of self-discovery where our protagonist realises that throughout her life, she’s just been ‘going through the motions’ and that she has to work out what she really wants to do. This book ticked all my boxes, as if it were written just for me. Crazy how someone on the other end of the world can write a tale that speaks to me like this.

The characters were brilliant, realistic, complicated and so very, very different from each other. I love how the book ended – it was so naturally done, nothing was forced, and everything was well reasoned. How often do you read a story where you think it’s going to go in an obvious direction, and then it surprises you by bringing a solid dose of reality that in the real world, things just don’t work that way? I cannot be more specific than that because I do not like to spoil things. If you read it, you’ll know what I’m talking about: the characters’ relationships are not forced, and they are not idealistic.

I was asked to review Driven by the author. Obviously my thoughts are my own and not everyone is going to love this book as much as I did, but I think if you have similar tastes in paranormal mysteries and journeys of self-realisation as me then you will love this book. I went and bought the sequel straight away, that’s how much I loved it.

Also, that moment when you recognise the cover picture in the story O.O awesome 🙂

Author Goodreads Page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7123147.Becky_Durfee

Author Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/JennyWatkinsMysteries

Amazon Buy Link: http://www.amazon.com/Driven-Jenny-Watkins-Mystery-Book-ebook/dp/B00CXX0LOC/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1421712621&sr=8-1&keywords=driven+becky+durfee

Driven, by Becky Dufree

Jenny Watkins Mystery #1

Book Length: 197 pages

Paranormal Mystery (Adult Fiction)

According to the Blurb:

Jenny Watkins is an ordinary elementary school teacher who buys a ramshackle old house with her husband Greg, intending to renovate the structure back to its original grandeur. Shortly after moving in, Jenny begins to hear voices, prompting her to look into a long-forgotten sixty-year-old missing persons case. During her investigation she meets a spunky elderly woman who causes Jenny to re-examine the way she looks at life.

This inspiring story offers believable characters, an intriguing plot, and plenty of humor throughout. The first book in a promising new series, Driven is sure to leave readers looking for more.

Mini Story: The Hidden House

Not a single soul in the whole neighbourhood knew who owned the house behind the walls, nor if anyone lived there. It was easily the biggest block on the highest point of the hill, so the land alone would be valuable whether or not the house was. That was the thing – the walls surrounding the property were so high that only a hint of a red roof could be seen, and that was when I was standing on my own roof! I couldn’t tell if the house was brick or wood or wide or long, only that the tallest point of the roof was red.

“If you’re so keen to find out…” Denny grinned, looking up at me through his sunglasses. “I dare you to climb the wall.”

I returned the grin. Denny knew I would never do anything about my curiosity unless I was challenged. Carefully, I slid back down the roof to the ladder and asked Denny to hold it again.

“What do I get?” I asked when I could face him again.

“Nothing.” His grin grew wider. “You’ll never get over that wall. There’s no purchase – you’d need a ladder three times the length of this one.”

I realised he was right. “How about I do one better?” I asked. “I’ll walk through the front gate.”

Denny shook his head. “You can try. No one gets in.”

Even the gate was as high as the wall, though I could see a person-sized door which must have been openable. The wooden palings were so close together that I couldn’t even spy anything through the cracks.

I knocked. Several times. Then I shouted.

Denny, leaning on the wall next to me, shook his head. “You’re not getting in.”

I sighed and rested my head on the wooden gate, trying again to see something, anything. Between the pale white wood, I thought I could see a blur of red. Red bricks? I stared and tried to angle myself to get the best perspective. It didn’t help. I was about to pull away when there was a blur of movement, and the colour changed to the deepest brown. It was so sudden I flinched backwards and lost my place. I tried in vain to find it again, but my accidental peephole was gone.

“What is it?”

“I thought… I thought I saw I saw someone.”

Denny snickered. “Well, if someone was there, they don’t want you in, do they?”

My hands had been resting against the gate. Reluctantly, I pulled away.

“I told ya you’d never get in.”

I didn’t say it, but he was wrong. I just had to build a bigger ladder.