Cheers, friends, and welcome to our Best of 2018 reviewer picks!!! We’re continuing the countdown to the end of the year with Maryann’s fave reads, so enjoy and be sure to enter the Giveaway!
One-Eyed Royals by Cordielia Kingsbridge – In Cash Plays I was disappointed in Dominic, but Levi takes disappointment to a whole different level here. When their lives are on the line, Dominic’s thoughts hit home. I don’t think Levi really understood what Dominic has faced: “Dominic sometimes wondered if Levi ever thought about what it meant that Dominic had been a Ranger…if he ever considered the things Dominic must have done in eight years of war, or if he ever asked himself how many men Dominic had killed.”
Martine, Leila, Stanton, Carlos and Jasmine are all a solid support system for Dominic and Levi, no matter their problems. Rebel plays a big part in this novel, and we get to see her in action. She’s a big asset to Dominic. This line from Dominic says it all: “Let me rephrase, what I’m saying is that I will not allow this to happen. If you attempt to leave this room with either of these men, I will kill you. If you harm either of them in any way, I will kill you. And if by some miracle of chance my shot misses, my dog will tear out your throat.”
In closing, One-Eyed Royals took on a new meaning for me, and I’m not even going to attempt to speculate what Cordelia Kingsbridge has cooked up for the final installment, A Chip and a Chair.
A Change of Worlds by Josh Aterovis – A Change of Worlds is another amazing addition to the Killian Kendall Mysteries series. Killian is not always on the mark and does find himself in some suspenseful and dangerous situations, but I think what makes this series special is not only the complex mysteries and detailed investigative process. Killian Kendall being a young adult is special too, and this fifth installment highlights his innocence, maturity, and determination. There are also some good surprises for Killian in this one.
If you enjoy a good mystery in the YA genre, I highly recommend reading the series, beginning with Bleeding Hearts, which is special and will introduce you to Killian Kendall and Seth Connelly. I so admire Josh Aterovis. Although he was discouraged, he didn’t give up the fight to get this book published. This series is fantastic, and I hope he gives us more to look forward too!
The Campbell Curse by Olivier Bosman – John Billings grows in this novel. He still has his addiction problem, and his sweet companion Tilly, and he also struggles with an unhealthy infatuation of sorts with Clarkson. It’s difficult at times to hide his feelings and the hurt that comes to the surface. Meeting Hal Westbrook, however, has Billings examining his life choices more closely, and he makes a very important decision. I’ve liked Billings from the very beginning of this series and always felt sad for him, but this novel sees a major change in him and brings him into the light.
Author Olivier Bosman claims it takes him a long time to write a novel. The Campbell Cursewas worth the wait. It’s absolutely entertaining and a page turner, an excellent addition to the series, and I’m looking forward to the next installment! With the narrative descriptions and turns of phrase, he takes us back in time, to England in the late 1800s, and I like the way the story was constructed, with the Campbell diary coming into play at the right intervals. As for the mystery, the plot was excellent and has all the right elements and suspicious characters.
Hiding the Moon by Amy Lane – Burton and Ernie couldn’t be more opposite, as Burton is confident and has family that he cares about, and due to a tragic accident, Ernie has been on his own since he was seventeen. Ernie’s got a “gift” that at times can be dangerous to himself and can also give relief to others. And, he has a magical hold on Burton and keeps Burton wondering how he could let himself get so wrapped up in Ernie. Ernie really wants and needs a home, family, and cats, and Burton wants to make that a reality.
Along with the drama, suspense, explosions and danger, Amy Lane still sneaks in her brilliant sense of humor, with some very interesting aliases and lines to make you chuckle. But, most of all, the author delivers some poetic, tender, heartwarming and heart-rending moments between her amazing cast of characters. Lane didn’t fail to make this a page-turner for me, and I have high hopes that the author will bring us some more exciting novels to add to this series. I give her high praise for the Fish Out of Water series and for giving Racing for the Sun and Hiding the Moon their rightful places in the series.
The Lovely Pines by Don Travis – This installment in the BJ Vinson Mysteries series stays true to form in its vivid descriptions and historical details about the New Mexico territory as well as its amazing cast of characters. The mix of mysteries that pop up are well plotted, with a variety of suspects, suspense and danger. The investigative, legal and police processes as well as the coordination and trust that BJ has with those who assist him is well done. Even though Paul wasn’t as heavily involved the way he was in The City of Rocks, he’s there for BJ at a crucial moment. I’m more than curious to see what Mr. Travis has planned for BJ and Paul, and where the next mystery may take them.
Late Fees by Marshall Thornton – Besides this being a puzzling and intriguing mystery, Thornton brings real issues into the mix: HIV/AIDs, AZT and alternatives to taking the medication, greed, viatical settlements, and support groups which have Noah giving more deep thought to his own plight with HIV. Noah never complains or makes his HIV an issue, he’s told very few people about it, and is noble in his decision to protect the people around him. He thinks about the future and doesn’t want anyone to suffer or have to face what he did with his ex, Jeffers. He’s even gone so far as to deny himself a relationship. For Noah, at this point, there is no HEA, but he does take a step in the right direction in his fight with HIV.
There are very few characters that I let get under my skin, but Marshall Thornton makes Noah seem so real in dealing with his personal issues that it just shreds my heart. I highly recommend this exceptional series. I’m not sure what’s planned for Noah Valentine’s future, but I for one hope that there’s more to come.
Every Other Weekend by TA Moore – Besides being a suspenseful and multi-layered mystery, TA Moore brought out some tender and harsh emotions in this story. Every Other Weekend exposes issues that families try to cover up for the sake of appearances, loyalty and the family name. I really liked Kelly’s character, his heart was in the right place, and even Clayton wore his heart on his sleeve when it came to Maxie. But, most of all, Clayton and Kelly come to an understanding and are willing to put it all on the line for the sake of love. I liked the secondary characters in the story as well. They brought humor, positivity and love to the telling.
This is an absolute page-turner for me, and I’m becoming a big fan of TA Moore’s work.
Digging Deeper by Bellora Quinn and Sadie Rose Bermingham – One thing I have to say is that the writing team of Quinn and Bermingham keeps taking the elemental powers to the next level. This plot is dark and gritty, and the abuse is beyond horrendous and is a major factor in tearing down a growing trust between Mari and Jake. Even though they take a big step in their relationship, along with a new profession for Jake, there’s still a crack in their bond. The authors make it difficult, and I want both Mari and Jake to find that peace and trust for their relationship become more solid.
The whole premise of the elemental powers captivates me and makes me wonder what other powers will come into play. The mysteries are twisted, and the plots are riveting and deal with dark secrets and situations. Elemental Evidence is an amazing series, and it continues to pique my curiosity! I highly recommend this fragile and dangerous world of Mari and Jake’s.
Swings & Roundabouts by Jackie Keswick – Jackie Keswick can do no wrong. Swings & Roundabouts is a superbly written novel about parenthood and the changes that affect the lives of two loving men. It also brings out the worries and fears in two wonderful boys, Daniel and Nico, and how their past still makes life difficult at times. Jack and Gareth give it their all to have a special rapport with Daniel and Nico, and it pulls at the heartstrings. The romance between Jack and Gareth is not overly explicit; the flirting, warmth, and chemistry they share is just pure and honest love. Even with the boys and a solid support unit in Roz and Aidan, Jack and Gareth still find ways to have some alone time and keep the romance alive.
The novel is set up in three parts and is not without suspense and danger for Jack and Gareth. There are several cases they team up to solve: a man accused of stealing six million dollars, the security issues at Nancarrow, and a murder.
I follow a few series and The Power of Zero is one that tops my list. I highly recommended it.
In the Pines by Laura Lascarso – Laura Lascarso has created a well-written, intriguing, suspenseful, dark YA murder mystery, and it’s just a tad gory too. It touches on loss, suicide, and depression, and how Charlie and his mother try to recover from their personal tragedy. I really liked the relationship Charlie has with his mother, no matter the ups and downs. He’s an amazing character, a good sleuth, and is the glue that holds this story together. Dare was also an interesting character; I almost thought he was guilty along with several of the secondary characters, who all have something to hide. I was totally entertained by this page-turner mystery, and now I’m looking forward to seeing what the author has in-store for Charlie in the next installment of this series.