All posts tagged mystery

Book Review – Deadly Curiosities

Published 28/03/2014 by leannecrabtree


Name: Deadly Curiosities

Author: Gail Z. Martin

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Release Date: 25th June 2014

Rating: DNF (@60%)

I received this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Cassidy Kincaide owns Trifles & Folly, an antique/curio store and high-end pawn shop in Charleston, South Carolina that is more than what it seems. Dangerous magical and supernatural items sometimes find their way into mortal hands or onto the market, and Cassidy is part of a shadowy Alliance of mortals and mages whose job it is to take those deadly curiosities out of circulation.

Welcome to Trifles & Folly, an antique and curio shop with a dark secret. Proprietor Cassidy Kincaide continues a family tradition begun in 1670—acquiring and neutralizing dangerous supernatural items. It’s the perfect job for Cassidy, whose psychic gift lets her touch an object and know its history. Together with her business partner Sorren, a 500 year-old vampire and former jewel thief, Cassidy makes it her business to get infernal objects off the market. When mundane antiques suddenly become magically malicious, it’s time for Cassidy and Sorren to get rid of these Deadly Curiosities before the bodies start piling up.

The cover grabbed me and the synopsis made me think this could be quite a fun read.

It turned out it took a lot of reading. That’s not to say it was bad or anything, for me it was just okay; nothing special. I just prefer shorter books. And ones with less description. (I’m probably the only one who feels like that!)

And for them to have at least a bit of romance in them. By the half way point I’d given up on anything romantic happening. There wasn’t the slightest whiff of it at all. I like a bit of action in stories but I love it when it ends in some sexual tension between characters and there was nil. I’m a romance reader and I, wrongly, assumed that this would be like every other UF book I’ve read where there would be some romance mixed in the storyline.

Getting past the lack of romance, I liked the abilities of Cassidy and Teag. It was a refreshing change to read about something different. Not that I don’t love my shifters and vampires but every so often it’s nice to get a different take on things and seeing the history of items when you touch them and being able to piece together information on the internet and through books as a Weaver were definitely new to me.

I must confess that the lack of romance in the book put me off and I struggled to become interested in the storyline. I’m not the biggest fan of ghost stories and I’m no history buff so having to read all the back story of the Charleston really put me off.

Being honest, I have to say that this wasn’t my sort of book at all but if you like urban fantasy books with lots of description/back story with the occasional flashbacks and no romance, then this is likely perfect for you.

Book Links:

Amazon UK: Deadly Curiosities

Amazon US: Deadly Curiosities

Next review(s): N/A

Book Review – Talented

Published 18/03/2014 by leannecrabtree

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Name: Talented

Author: Sophie Davis

Genre: Dystopia, Romance, Young Adult

Release Date: 11th January 2012

Rating: 3½ out of 5 stars

I received this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

When Talia Lyons was just a child, her parents were murdered before her eyes. Offered a choice between accepting their fate and exacting revenge, Talia trains to become one of the country’s deadliest assassins in order to kill the man responsible for their deaths: Ian Crane. Luckily, Talia was born with a gift- the ability to read and influence the minds of others. At sixteen, Talia is poised to graduate from the McDonough School for the Talented, where she learned to control her abilities. Now there is only one obstacle standing between her and the retribution she craves… Talia herself.

Her greatest asset may also be her undoing; while a formidable weapon in the field, Talia’s talents prevent her from both shutting off the mental connection she shares with her questionable boyfriend and blocking out the thoughts of a beguiling fellow recruit. But Talia can’t afford to have the feelings and distractions of a normal teenage girl, when her life is far from normal.

She must regain the single-minded determination that has brought her this far, or it may cost Talia her life when she finally faces Crane. And even after being molded in to a weapon of war, she’ll still have to find the strength it takes to pull the trigger.

Yet again I was drawn to the cover. Then I checked out the synopsis and I thought, “This should be good!” So I requested to read it and got the go ahead several days ago.

I’ll admit it took me a good 20%-25% to really get into it, mainly because of all the description and back story that was thrown in, but once that was out of the way I got quite into it.

Character wise, I have to admit that for the first 40% or so that Talia annoyed me. She seemed rather whiney and didn’t like it when Donovan or others didn’t go along with what she wanted to happen. At the same time Donovan seemed off, himself, though the reason behind that soon came to light. One person I did like was Erik, one third of Talia’s Hunter team. I liked him from the start but there was one scene; one lovely scene involving him and Talia after a mission that made me almost fall for him. It was so sweet. Then there’s Henri, the last member, and leader of their team. He seemed like a pretty great guy, taking care of them on missions and making sure they were up to scratch with their mental and physical abilities.

The world building was pretty good, with lots of detail to help you picture it in your head.

I was waiting for Natalia’s showdown with Ian Crane for most of the book, since that was what the synopsis mentioned, and it was mentioned in the last 30%, though the mission itself actually started with about 15% of the book to go.

As usual, I choose books for the romance aspect and I wasn’t disappointed. The thing between Talia and Erik was really good when it got going.

Overall, I liked this but the information overload at the beginning and the annoying character traits knocked it down half a star for me. A good first book into the series, though. I’m not in any hurry to continue the series but I may read the second book at some point.

Link to book:

Amazon UK: Talented (Talented Saga #1)
Amazon US: Talented (Talented Saga #1)

Next review(s):

Book Review – Undertow

Published 13/02/2014 by leannecrabtree


Name: Undertow (The UnderCity Chronicles, #1)

Author: S.M. Stelmack

Genre(s): Contemporary Romance, Mystery/Intrigue, (slight) Horror

Release Date: 29th April 2013

Rating: 3½ out of 5 stars

I received this copy in exchange for an honest review.

Lindsay Sterling’s niece has gone missing in the New York underground and the cops do nothing except pass along a name. Jack Cole. Twenty years ago they were good buddies but horrors have changed them both. Lindsay lost her entire family except for her niece in a car accident, and Jack was held captive in New York’s underbelly for nearly two years by demented sub-humans. It was a soul-sucking experience that’s left him a shell of a man. He refuses to descend into that hell again, especially for a girl who’s probably dead anyway. But when Lindsay is nearly killed there after going it alone, Jack feels compelled to save her skin. Jack navigates Lindsay through a strange territory, populated with the eccentric, the insane and the desperate. Each encounter takes them closer to Lindsay’s niece but also closer into the clutches of the mad creatures that will enslave them.

The cover grabbed my attention straight away; it looks dark and kinda scary. I like to read a bit of everything as long as it has some romance to it, so.

The prologue definitely grabbed my attention  and left me wondering what was down there in the tunnels under New York City.

Fast forward eighteen years, Lindsay and Jack now are thirty-three, and she needs his help. When she finally manages to get him to agree, they head underground and I was amazed at the detailed description of the communities they come across, and the variety. Some seemed rather crazy while others were pretty laid back. It was interesting.

We see from both Lindsay and Jack’s POV, which turns out to be very interesting. He tries to act like he doesn’t care about her (in Lindsay’s POV), I think in an attempt to keep himself removed from the rest of the world after what he went through at the hands of the Moles. Then seeing from his own POV that he does care and that he does want to help her. I like him: a LOT.

Seeing the occasional flashback of Jack’s time being held underground by the Moles was kinda creepy. What they did to him… *shudders*

It’s hard to go into too much detail about this book without giving some stuff away but I was drawn into the book easily. Maybe it was the romance aspect that was present from early on or maybe it was the mystery about what was down in the Undercity. Whatever it was, I liked it.

Next review: Turned

Book Review – Sempre

Published 07/02/2014 by leannecrabtree


Name: Sempre

Author: J.M. Darhower

Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Mafia

Release Date: 25th November 2013

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I received this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

A sexy novel about two seventeen-year-olds—one a victim of human trafficking; the other the son of the man who enslaved her—who fall in love and question everything they ever believed…

Haven Antonelli and Carmine DeMarco grew up under vastly different circumstances. Haven, a second-generation slave, was isolated in the middle of the desert, her days full of hard work and terrifying abuse. Carmine, born into a wealthy Mafia family, lived a life of privilege and excess.

Now, a twist of fate causes their worlds to collide. Entangled in a web of secrets and lies, they learn that while different on the surface, they have more in common than anyone would think.

In a world full of chaos, where money and power rule, Haven and Carmine yearn to break free, but a string of events that began before either of them were born threatens to destroy them instead. Murder and betrayal are a way of life, and nothing comes without a price—especially not freedom. But how much will they have to sacrifice? Can they escape their pasts? And, most of all, what does it mean to be free?

I’ve been looking at this story for a long time, undecided on whether to read it or not. Truthfully, it sounded a bit like C.J. Roberts’ Captive in the Dark series only with slightly younger characters but I was wrong.

At the start I was a little confused. Was she dreaming or had it really happened? But in the end it didn’t really matter much as the story quickly progressed.

I felt sorry for Haven a lot, being a second generation slave and having no idea what certain things are and what some words mean must have been hard for her and gave her an innocence that I wasn’t expecting considering the life she’d had. I have to admit sometimes it made me smile, if not laugh, like the cherry coke scene. Creative thinking!

The gradual change in Haven and Carmine’s relationship grabbed me immediately and I cared what happened to them, both individually and as a couple. If a book can make me care about the characters, then I’m hooked. And I was. They were such a sweet couple with Carmine having to learn how to love someone at the same time that Haven was.

It’s like there  are two parts to the story. One with Haven and Carmine away from the Mafia. And one following Vincent, Carmine’s dad, as he goes back and forth between his family and his other family: the Mafia.

Then there was the mystery surrounding him. Has he taken Haven to rescue her? Or for some darker reason? It was all very intriguing.

I just HAVE to mention Dominic. He was awesome and I really liked the way he treated Haven from the moment she arrived at the house.

This drew me in completely and I couldn’t stop thinking about it when I put it down and would quickly pick it back up again. It was long–500+ pages–but it was completely captivating and I cant wait to read the second book, Sempre: Redemption.

Next review: Stolen Songbird

Book Review – Elect

Published 30/12/2013 by leannecrabtree


Name: Elect (Eagle Elite, #2)

Author: Rachel Van Dyken

Genre: New Adult, Mystery

Release Date: 10th December 2013

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

I received this ARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Would you die for the one you love?
Nixon Abandonato made his choice. And now he has to pay the price. Tracey is the love of his life, but being with him has made her a target of his family’s enemies. The only way to keep Trace alive is convince the world she means nothing to him.

Trace Rooks has fallen irrevocably in love with the son of her family’s sworn rival, and she knows in her bones nothing can tear them apart. Until Nix suddenly pushes her away and into the arms of his best friend… But Trace isn’t ready to give up on a future with Nix–and if he won’t fight for them, she will.

In the end, a sacrifice must be made. A life for a life. For what better way to cover a multitude of sins than with the blood of a sinner . . .

You can find my review of the first book, Elite, here

This one seemed more of a mystery than the first. Who was behind the killing? Who was Phoenix scared of? What did he know that made him so scared? Ooh, let the snooping begin.

So we’re back with our beloved characters from the first: Nixon, Trace, Chase, Mo, Tex…Phoenix, and we’re still hip deep in the family business. Only this time it’s worse, much worse. The original Sicilian family is on it’s way over to investigate the death of another leader and it isn’t looking good for anyone.

After Phoenix’s actions in the last one, I cant say I was very warm at his reappearance in this but the more I read the more I began to feel sorry for him. He wasn’t all bad; he’d just been forced to do bad things from an early age, stuff he didn’t want to do and it had begun to be ingrained in him. In the end, he did the right thing and that put him back up with the rest of ’em for me.

Chase. *sigh* He’s such a great guy and deserves happiness. I loved him in Elite but in this…well, I fell even faster and harder, seeing how he struggles with his feelings while at the same time trying to do the right thing. Nawwwww, he’s lovely. :’)

I was intrigued throughout when more information came out about who the bad guy was and I was eagerly awaiting his demise for the last 20% or so of the book.

It’s hard to write too much without spoiling it. All I’ll say is that the ending has left me wanting more!!

If you read and enjoyed the first, you should totally check this out too.

Book Review – Willing Captive

Published 27/11/2013 by leannecrabtree


Name: Willing Captive

Author: Belle Aurora

Genre: Contemporary Romance, Funny, New Adult

Release Date: 26th September 2013

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Delilah “Lily” Flynn is used to her drab existence. Lily’s been living it for twenty two years.
Her boring life is suddenly turned on its head when she’s rudely kidnapped from her bedroom.
Or so she thinks.

Nox Taylor is far too high up in his field to be assigned a babysitting job.
There’s nothing more he wants than to complete his mission so he can be rid of the smartass tomboy, Lily.

Day after day, Nox watches Lily and her strange ways. She’s unlike any woman he’s ever met.
Getting close to the girl is purely for her own protection…right?

Lily never imagined she’d make her first real friends in captivity.
What lengths would she go through to keep them?

After seeing a lot of people I follow on Goodreads giving this 5 stars, I just had to buy it yesterday when it was 77p and then just couldn’t resist reading it and WOW!

I loved this. From start to finish, I was hooked.

I liked Lily. She was both sweet and fiery and gave as good as she got when needed. As for Nox, he had a cockiness to him that drew me in from the moment he removed his mask. I loved watching their relationship develop throughout, it was both fun and sweet and I fell in love with them.

The storyline was interesting and unique. I wasn’t sure what was going to happen but I’ll tell you now, I was NOT disappointed.

I wasn’t expecting for the…case? to finish at the 75%-ish mark and from there I was wondering where it was going to go with still a quarter of the book to read. I’ll admit for a good 10% or so I had a steady stream of tears running down my cheeks, thinking: No! I refuse to believe it! and then the tears continued for a different reason.

It’s a sweet and emotional story with a thread of humour throughout and it was right up my street. If anyone knows a story like this (and/or Wallbanger by Alice Clayton) then please let me know. Thanks.

I highly recommend you read this if you like romances with a bit of humour and a captivating storyline 🙂

Book Review – Mine to Take

Published 11/08/2013 by leannecrabtree


Name: Mine to Take

Author: Cynthia Eden

Genre: Contemporary, Romantic Suspense

Release Date: 12th June 2013

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

I received this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Sometimes you want someone so much…
Sometimes you need someone so much…
Lust can become love.
And love can turn into a deadly obsession.


Skye Sullivan knows that someone is watching her. Not just watching—stalking her. Months ago, Skye was involved in a dangerous car accident. The accident ended her dancing career and sent her fleeing back to Chicago. Skye is convinced that her stalker caused the crash, and she fears that he won’t stop pursuing her, not until she’s dead.

When someone breaks into her apartment in Chicago, Skye turns to the one man she believes can protect her—Trace Weston. Once, Trace was her lover. Two lost souls, they’d come together in a firestorm of need and desire. But then Trace had pushed her away. He’d joined the military, vanishing from her life. She’d put all of her emotion into dancing, and she’d tried to forget him.

Now Trace is one of the most successful men in the United States. Rich, driven, and carrying dark secrets, he agrees to help Skye. He’ll protect her from the danger that lurks in the darkness, but Trace wants more than to just be a guard for Skye.

He wants her. And he’ll take her. The years have changed him, hardened him. He’s not just a poor kid from the streets any longer. Now, he can have anything—or anyone—that he wants. And the one woman he has always wanted has just come back into his life. He won’t let her go again.

But with the threats mounting against Skye, she suspects that her stalker may be intimately close. He’s a man who knows her too well. As his attacks grow ever more dangerous, she realizes that if she trusts the wrong man, she could be making a fatal mistake.

Lust. Love. Obsession.

Just how far would you go in order to possess the one person you want the most?

l love the cover of this; it’s very evocative. It caught my attention straight away. I should probably say that if a cover doesn’t look very good, I’m not very likely to read the synopsis. I know it sounds bad, but it’s how I choose my books. (This isn’t always the case, I might add, but generally it is.)

The story was just as good as the cover with some hot scenes and an engaging storyline.

This is my third book by Cynthia Eden (Bound In Sin and A Bit of Bite, are the other two) and I’ve enjoyed all of them. Her style of writing and the characters she creates are extremely engaging. This was no exception.

Trace was hot. The obvious desire he had for Skye was captivating and I was engrossed in their back-story and what started it all off between them and how he was going to get her back after letting her go ten years ago. He was so intense but it didn’t come across as annoying, to me it came across as passionate and almost desperate.

Skye was strong and somewhat stubborn but I’m surprised she didn’t break under the mounting pressure of the stalker. At certain points she just seemed so fragile but she always came out more determined. I liked that about her.

Not to mention the whole stalker issue and them trying to figure out who it was. I had a few suspicions about who it might be and questioned myself throughout about my thoughts when further information came out. I wasn’t quite expecting who it turned out to be either, not until right near the end.

If you like a domineering guy, then this is right up your street. If you like romantic suspense, then you’ll love this. I’m looking forward to reading more books from the author.

Next review(s): Dead Sexy Dragon (another ARC I was approved for)