Struck by Amanda Carlson
Struck is the first in her new PNR Phoebe Meadows series. A young woman finds out the hard way that she is the result of a liaison between Odin and a shieldmaiden. Forced on the run, she finds herself struggling to accept her destiny while trying to stay alive. I am a fan of Amanda Carlson’s and Viking/Norse mythology so I was excited to be offered an arc. I really wanted to like this one but there was just no connection for me. I like the potential of what Phoebe and the arc could become but watching her and the arc set up was painful. Her inability to accept what was right in front of her left her and those helping her in hot water. I found her struggles to survive more irritating them adventurous.The narrative was odd. It felt forced at times; the humor an uncomfortable addition. The storyline also seemed to struggle to find balance between the seriousness and more comedic aspects, giving the story an unbalanced feel. While reading, I kept feeling as though I was missing some pivotal scene. Certain plotlines didn’t reveal well or skipped around so much I became lost. I did like the secondary characters-especially the witches who I thought were very well developed-but not enough to keep me engaged. I may try again in the future but for now I don’t feel this series is for me.
Louisiana Longshot by Jana Deleon (Free right now)
Comedic Cozy Mystery/Suspense
This series has been compared to the Stephanie Plum series but in my opinion it is FAR FAR better. The heroine, Fortune Redding, is a CIA operative whose brains and skills are only matched by her snark and common sense. A fun down to earth heroine whose last assignment goes far south and lands her in hot water with a huge bounty on her head. Her boss has the perfect answer though and Fortune soon finds herself smack dab in the middle of Sinful, Louisiana, posing as an ex-beauty queen/librarian who has come to the small town to settle her deceased aunt’s estate. When she discovers a bone in her backyard on her first day there, Fortune’s intent to lay low is blown out of the water and soon she finds herself pulled into a mystery that spans years. Add in a gray-haired mafia that secretly runs the town, bootleg booze that is served in cough syrup bottles, a banana pudding recipe worth dying over, and a local hot shot deputy who is not all that convinced Fortune is who she says she is and you have a southern cozy mystery that will leave you crying with laughter.
Troublemaker Linda Howard
Troublemaker is the first book in a new romance suspense series by Linda Howard that revolves around a group of men involved in black ops. Morgan Yancy is part of this group-called GO Teams- that cleans up “situations” the government wants handled quietly. Ambushed and wounded during his downtime, his boss sends him to an ex- sibling in small town in West Virginia to recuperate and hide while the group tries to discover who was sent to kill Yancy and why. While there, Morgan finds himself falling in love with the town, the residents, a dog, and the dog’s owner-Isabeau.
I haven’t read Linda Howard in a while. I loved her earlier books but in recent years she went very heavy on the suspense and extremely weak on the romance and I found it not to my taste. I was surprised to see her starting a new romance suspense series and decided to give it a try. I enjoyed overall but was amazed at the lack of suspense, action, and mystery involved in the story. We spend 95% of our time watching Morgan and (Bo) slowly build a relationship. I enjoyed the small town’s eccentricity and the small subplot invoked but couldn’t help be disappointed that the mystery is solved in what amounts to a single conversation. The dog, Tricks, was better developed and had more scene time.
Romancing the Fashonista by K.M. Jackson
A cute and light novella about Melinda Mitchell, who signs up for Facebook one tipsy night then regrets it as people start tagging her in old pictures. But she is reintroduced to her high school crush, Nolan, and they meet each other at their fifteen year high school reunion. Sparks ignite as they get to know each other again. I liked Melinda’s relationship with her girlfriends in this book – that is done well. Coming in at 100 pages, I would have liked to see more of a romance between Melinda and Nolan, especially because Melinda is a big stubborn and defensive. I had a hard time believing Melinda really is a big fashion maven that everyone knows – that didn’t come across that well. But a cute and flirty novella for sure.