#BookReview “The Bellhop Only Stalks Once” by Cat Hickey

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An anonymous shrieking toddler and an annoying, overly attentive, flirtatious young bellhop not only interrupt a young woman’s morning yoga routine on the beach, but they’re just the beginning of the vacay-from-hell.

Chloe’s already on edge, proven when Cooper, the steadfast and dependable… and controlling and boring fiancé back home continues to intrude into her thoughts.

Determined to enjoy her Costa Rican getaway, Chloe pushes the negativity from her mind and goes on a guided tour of the island’s volcano trails a few hours away the next day.

However, during her outing, the pesky bellhop, Jaime, shows up again, waving his arms and calling her name. Perturbed, before Chloe can respond, Jaime disappears… without a trace. No one else saw Jaime. Not the park ranger or the resort employees escorting her, but they all discount anything serious happening to the errant bellhop.

Unable to shake her feelings of dread, especially after finding a pendant of Tlaloc—referred to by locals as the God of Death—on the spot where Jaime disappeared, Chloe’s fears are realized when other bellhops go missing from Club Pacifica and other surrounding resorts.

Before the mystery is solved, Chloe will make two new friends, confront a drug dealer, assault a chicken, take a mind-altering drug, become a prime suspect in the case, and develop feelings for one of the resort employees.

And Cooper shows up.

As Chloe plays private investigator, she’s also on a path to self-discovery. One she’s avoided for far too long… and may not live long enough to enjoy.

While I would have liked more details about Chloe’s backstory, her growth during the story made up for what I didn’t know. She’s surrounded by a great cast of characters who may or may not be worthy of her trust.

Despite the dark overtones of kidnapping, The Bellhop Only Stalks Once is a fun read. Well-written with a smooth pace, it was an easy one-sitting read as I needed to know “what happened next.” Mystery readers will enjoy Chloe’s journey.

Enjoy!

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Lies, secrets, and a sinister plot hide in broad daylight at the heart of the Club Pacifica.

A beautiful tropical resort, exciting new friends, and a handsome guest liaison – it’s the perfect getaway for Chloe, a free-spirited Baltimore girl just getting to know herself. But the vacation of a lifetime quickly takes a dark turn when a young, overly flirty bellhop starts following her everywhere. It gets even worse when he disappears, and Chloe is the sole witness.

As bellhop after bellhop goes missing, she struggles to figure out what’s happening. When suspicion falls upon her, Chloe must not only try to rescue the kidnapped bellhops, but also to clear her name.

Complicating things further is the relationship she forms with Mateo, Club Pacifica’s guest liaison. Charming and easygoing, he is everything that her fiancé at home is not, and she finds herself fighting a growing attraction to him. But can he be trusted?

She soon discovers that she’s landed herself in a world of secrets, and, worse, that these are not just those of others, but also the secrets she keeps from herself.

Can she find her way through all the lies to finally discover the truth before it’s too late?

Purchase Link – http://mybook.to/bellhop

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#BookReview “Carnal Knowledge” by Rachael Tamayo

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When twenty-six-year-old Wren Addison wakes up bruised and bloodied with no memory of the night before, she believes she’s been sexually assaulted. Blaming herself for letting her guard down, she doesn’t report the assault and tries to move on.

Until it happens again. A fresh wound and a needle mark make Wren realize she’s being targeted, but with no memory of what happened, she still doesn’t contact law enforcement. However, when Wren has a serious car accident and doctors find bruises on her not related to the accident, Wren is forced to not only tell her story to the police but also deal with Ricky, the cheating husband she walked out on six months ago.

Between Ricky, a former cop, and the detectives, Wren learns a serial killer has her in his sights, and the bloody cat-and-mouse game he plays before the kill means Wren only has weeks to live.

As the investigation begins, Wren takes stock of her unimpressive life. Losing her mom at a young age, grandparents who weren’t bad people raised her but she felt more like a piece of the furniture instead of family. Meeting the charismatic Ricky in her teens, they married as soon as she turned twenty-one. Now five years later, she’s a glorified secretary nearing divorce, on probation for driving drunk, and the next name on a killer’s list.

Wren’s mental state is frazzled, and who’s wouldn’t be? But she makes too many questionable… and just plain poor decisions.

And she’s allowed to.

Meaning, for someone who’s the focus of a serial killer investigation, I never believed Wren felt the gravity of the situation, or simply ignored it. Even when I can’t connect with a character, I can understand them. I can’t say that about Wren Addison. She lamented her impending death SEVERAL times (and used it as a weak excuse too many times), but her actions—to me—were more in line with someone facing a tax audit.

But even Wren can’t derail the suspense as the killer escalates his game by taunting her with texts and photos of his time with her. No matter where she goes or who she’s with, he finds her, leaving evidence of his bloodlust but no clues to his identity. When the killer strikes close to home, Wren is not only left terrified but wracked with guilt.

They finally make a connection into what was believed to be random murders, and it shocks Wren to learn she shares that connection. However, before she can make any decisions, she comes face to face with a serial killer and someone will die.

An amazing plot twist had me on the edge of my seat, and I was not ready for that ending! Wow! Did not see that coming! Who? What? NICE!

This book two in the series can be read as a standalone and I do recommend it.

Enjoy!

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Synopsis:

What do you do when you know you’re on a serial killer’s hit list? Six women are dead, and Wren Addison is the next victim on the SMS Killer’s list—or so she’s been told after waking in a pool of blood with no memory of the events that have transpired. Newly separated and struggling to start her life over after her husband’s infidelity, Wren tries to remember what happened to her, but nothing is adding up as more horrors unfold around her. With her life on a timer and the murderer taunting her, she realizes there is nothing typical about this serial killer. Wren is pushed to the edge as she dances between knowing she’s likely to die and fighting to be the first to survive. As the truth starts to emerge, she rises to the challenge and decides not to go down without a fight.  

Someone is going to die, and she’s determined it won’t be her.

Book Details:

Genre: Psychological Thriller

Published by: Tangled Tree Publishing

Publication Date: July 11th 2020

Number of Pages: 301

ISBN: 9781922359124

Series: A Deadly Sins Novel, #2 || Stands Alone

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

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#BookReview “Closer Than She Knows” by Kelly Irvin

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When a serial killer uses the names of the villains in her favorite murder mysteries to taunt her, life unravels for court reporter Teagan O’Rourke.

The written taunts are found each time the murderer takes the life of someone Teagan knows. Two women are murdered within hours of each, and the killer promises there will be more… including Teagan.

Her siblings—all members of law enforcement—scramble to keep her safe, but Teagan doesn’t want to be protected or play the victim. When her father, a retired detective and department consultant, figures out the killings are connected to another serial killer he sent to prison, she wants in on the investigation.

As witnesses are questioned and court records combed, Teagan is thrown for another loop when an attempt is made on the life of Max Kennedy, the man she loves but refuses to commit to.

Well-written with a steady pace, this read has a solid plot and good subplots. As each layer of mystery is lifted, the killer seems more out of reach and no one knows who or where he will strike next.

However, I had issues with two points.

Despite the O’Rourke family’s close connections to law enforcement, I found it incredible that so much information was allowed outside of the department, that members of the department held meetings in-home for the family, and that Teagan was allowed to be part of all of it.

Teagan O’Rourke is my other issue.

An only child, Teagan lost her mother at a young age and felt betrayed by her father when he remarries a woman with three children—betrayal she keeps close to the vest for the most part.

A woman of faith, the passive woman didn’t follow her father into law enforcement… but two of her step-siblings did and another went into law. This makes Teagan feel ‘set apart’ and is supposedly the reason for her determination to be independent.

To me, it just made her annoying.

Teagan did all the “right” things… she went to church, volunteered with the youth, and invited others to church, but to me, her spirituality was reactive, not proactive. It was like a cloak left to her by her mother and grandmother she put on to shield herself from the ugliness in the world, especially some of the heinous crimes she transcribed in court. To me, Teagan was not God-led, but rather made her decisions and considered them God-accepted.

As a vet with PTSD and seven years sober from prescription drug abuse and alcoholism… AND a suicide attempt, Max was much more believable, leaning on his faith to see him through and not just calling on it to save him.

But, not connecting with the main character has never stopped me from enjoying a story, and as this one comes full circle, I couldn’t put it down. The killer craves media coverage and notoriety, and Teagan finally gives it to him… and he escalates before showing his hand.

To be honest, I figured out the “who” but not the “how” and I wasn’t ready for the reveal. Well done!

Readers of crime fiction and suspense will enjoy Closer Than She Knows.

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Synopsis:

 

A serial killer bent on revenge . . . and striking too close to home. Teagan O’Rourke has always loved murder mysteries. In her job as a court reporter, she has written official records for dozens of real-life murders. She’s slapped evidence stickers on crime scene photos. She’s listened to hours of chilling testimony. But she’s never known the smell of death. And she never thought she might be a victim. Until now. A young police officer is murdered just inches away from her, and then a man calling himself a serial killer starts leaving Teagan notes, signing each with the name of a different murderer from her favorite mystery novels. Panicked, Teagan turns to her friend Max Kennedy. Max longs for more than friendship with Teagan, but he fears she’ll never trust someone with a past like his. He wonders how much of God’s “tough love” he can take before he gives up on love completely. And he wonders if he’ll be able to keep Teagan alive long enough to find out. As Teagan, Max, and Teagan’s police officer father race to track down the elusive killer, they each know they could be the next victim. Desperate to save those she loves, Teagan battles fears that once haunted her in childhood. Nothing seems to stop this obsessed murderer. No matter what she does, he seems to be getting closer  

Book Details

Genre: Romantic Suspense

Published by: Thomas Nelson

Publication Date: June 9th 2020

Number of Pages: 352

ISBN: 0785231862 (ISBN13: 9780785231868)

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

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#BookReview “Gloria the Summer Fun Bus” by Sue Wickstead

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5/5 Stars!

I read Gloria the Summer Fun Bus, to my five-year-old grandnephew, Jordan, while he was visiting one afternoon. We enjoyed a marvelous story, and he learned a meaningful lesson.

Gloria is the latest city bus remodeled into an interactive play area for children to enjoy during school holidays. When Gloria’s driver, Bridget, greets the latest group of children, they’re all very excited and eager to board the bus, especially little Harry.

But Harry’s older brother, Max… not so much. He thinks the bus covered with bright, colorful pictures is for babies and wants nothing to do with it.

Just as Jordan wanted to watch Netflix instead of hearing a story.

But as I continued to read, two little boys, one fictional and one real, learned about kindness, compromise, and giving new and different things a try. Jordan enjoyed the story so much, I had to read it to him again.

And make him a pirate hat. Thaaaanks, Sue Wickstead!  ^_^

A delightful and fun story great for story time or early readers, Gloria the Summer Fun Bus gets five shiny stars from me!

Enjoy!

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Gloria is a special Playbus.

She is painted with bright colours that makes her stand out. Now she is ready for a summer of fun, but will Max enjoy the adventure.

Why don’t you join in the fun, too?

Purchase Links

Amazon UK  

Amazon US  

Author Website

Waterstones

Barnes and Noble

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G I V E A W A Y

Win a signed copy of Daisy Daydream Bus Rhymes and Jokes

(Open to UK Only)

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E N T E R

*Terms and Conditions –UK entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box above.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days, then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will be passed to the giveaway organizer and used only for fulfillment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for dispatch or delivery of the prize.

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#BookReview “Pauper and Prince in Harlem” by Delia C. Pitts

 

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4/5 Stars!

When his young friend is gunned down yards away from him in what appears to be a drive-by shooting, a jaded PI is determined to find those responsible. He’s not prepared for his investigation to lead him into a large-scale high finance conspiracy that even has government agencies perplexed.

As he tracks his only lead in the shooting, a transgendered boy, the PI encounters street people who live by a code, henchmen who don’t, and the realization of just how far he’ll go for street justice.

SJ Rook is not the slick, polished, alpha-male private detective of pop culture. He’s divorced, broke, war-wounded, and trying to eke out an existence as the muscle of a neighborhood detective agency. He has good gut instinct, but his life is plagued by bad luck and bad decisions. Rook owns his part in the path his life took, even if he’s almost out of optimism. But fourteen-year-old Zaire had potential and a chance at a good life and someone took his chance away from him… and they need to pay for that.

Characters are well-developed and relatable. As he struggles with his identity and place in the world, young Whip has a breezy, youthful outlook on life, even as his life is in jeopardy. Sabrina, daughter of the detective agency owner, is a strong female character who proves women can be feminine and tough. She has Rook’s back even though her life… and his could make a drastic change. Street people Odette and Eddie tugged at my heartstrings because, despite their meager existence, they didn’t wallow in self-pity and looked out for their tribe in a way even some blood relations don’t.

This fast-paced read is gritty and unapologetic. While it is the fourth book of the series and I have read none of the others, strong, detailed writing delivered a story I didn’t feel was missing anything. Rook’s journey to justice will appeal to lovers of crime fiction and suspense, and I do recommend Pauper and Prince in Harlem.

Enjoy!

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A vulnerable kid. A brutal enemy. An addled ally. Blood runs cold on Harlem’s hottest summer night when drive-by assassins shoot up a crowded playground, killing the teen-aged friend of private eye SJ Rook. Only fourteen, the kid was smart, affectionate, and alive with potential. His sudden death strikes the cynical Rook through the heart. Was this boy the victim of a cruel accident? Or was he targeted by gang hit men in a ruthless display of power?

To find the killers, Rook must enlist the help of another teen, Whip, a mysterious runaway witness. Whip is a transgender boy whose life on the streets has drawn him into the realm of a violent mob kingpin. Damaged by his mother’s rejection, Whip doesn’t want to be found. Not by the cops or by community do-gooders. And certainly not by Rook, a resolute stranger with vengeance on his mind. Rook’s search for the elusive kid becomes a dangerous trek through the meanest corners of his neighborhood.

Racing from desolate homeless camps to urban swamps, from settlement houses to high-rise palaces ruled by greed and corruption, the determined Rook pursues his quarry. An unexpected twist in the detective’s relationship with his crime-fighting partner, Sabrina Ross, threatens to derail his mission. Noble tramps, vicious thugs, and a pint-sized trigger woman also complicate Rook’s efforts to protect Whip. When a mob prince and a hobo hold the boy’s life in the balance will Rook’s grit and imagination be enough to save Whip and bring the killers to justice?

Purchase Links

Amazon UK   

Amazon US

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Win 1 of 5 print copies of Pauper and Prince in Harlem (5 Winners)

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#Review “Tooth for Tooth (Talion Series Book 2)” by J.K. Franko

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5/5 Stars!

“Well, I wasn’t expecting that,” was my reaction several times through much of the four hundred pages of Tooth for Tooth.

There’s no such thing as a perfect murder and the karmic consequences of actions kick in doors like an L.A. SWAT team. What began in book 1 as vigilante justice/retribution has flipped to survival of the fittest—or craftiest, in this case—as two of the four bad actors don’t make it to the end of book 2.

The author’s slow, meticulous build continues with details that seem unimportant… until ten pages later when I sat up and my mouth dropped open! Franko also does an impressive job of baiting with distractions then dropping plot twists that change everything.

As the rape victim in book 1 who had to watch her rapist go free, Kristy Wise was one of only two characters I had any sympathy for, but after so much death and loss, she showed she was a force to be reckoned with. The other character was Billy Applegate, whose childhood trauma had directed most of his adult life.

But everyone else? Nope! I understood them as parents, but they were all just too “into it,” especially Roy with his list of rules, and Deb’s apparent ability to simply forget and move on to the next thing. Tom is pitiful but learning just how dirty his hands are said a lot about him.

The cops are also unimpressive. To be fair, law enforcement has endless cases to deal with and don’t have the luxury of focusing on one case, especially one four years old with very little evidence. Yet, college senior Kristy and grieving mom Liz Bareto pieced together most of the puzzle and even shared info with detectives that reinvigorated the case. Not a good look for professional lawmen and investigators.

A great continuation of the Talion Series that closes the walls in on the good and bad and the living and dead. Even our anonymous storyteller will not escape unscathed from this tightly woven web of lies and deceit. Tooth for Tooth is complicated, suspenseful, and intelligent, and I highly recommend it… but not without reading book 1, Eye for Eye, first. Motivations and repercussions will not make sense without ALL the details. Fortunately, you have a couple of months to catch up before book 3, Life for Life drops!

Enjoy!

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Synopsis:

 

What would YOU do?

What would you do if you got away with murder? Would you stop there? Could you?

Susie and Roy thought that they committed the perfect crime.

Their planning was meticulous. Their execution flawless.

But, there is always a loose end, isn’t there? Always a singing bone.

Now, while enemies multiply and suspicions abound, their perfect world begins to crumble.

The hunters have become the hunted.

IN THIS BLISTERINGLY RELENTLESS SEQUEL TO HIS DEBUT SHOCKER, EYE FOR EYE, J.K. FRANKO TAKES READERS ON A BREATHTAKING JOURNEY OF CAT AND MOUSE

Book Details:

Genre: Thriller, Suspense, Crime, Legal

Published by:Talion Publishing

Publication Date: April 4th 2020

Number of Pages: 400

ISBN: 9781999318819

Series: Talion Series, #2

Purchase Links: Amazon || Goodreads

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This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for JK Franko. There will be six (6) winners. Two (2) winners will each win one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card. Two (2) winners will each win TOOTH FOR TOOTH by JK Franko (print) and two (2) winners will each win TOOTH FOR TOOTH by Jk Franko (eBook). The giveaway begins on June 1, 2020 and runs through August 2, 2020. Void where prohibited.

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#BookReview “Ghosts & Liars (The Impossible Julian Strande Pt 2)” by Kathryn Ann Kingsley

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Title: Ghosts & Liars
Series: The Impossible Julian Strande Pt 2
Author: Kathryn Ann Kingsley
Genre: Villain Romance/PNR Ghost Romance
Release Date: June 2, 2020

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5/5 Stars!

Book 2 of The Impossible Julian Strande picks up right where book 1 left off, so I’ll do the same with my review.

Julian is nuts!

There. It had to be said. But he is so freakin’ adorable at times, I’ll forgive him anything. Almost.

Though Julian comes out of hiding, Alice is still in the dark as she works to solve his puzzle. Enraged when his sexual advances return, she threatens to leave the estate for good, and Julian does the unthinkable. He kidnaps Charles.

Knowing the demented magician has killed before, Alice races against the clock to find his corpse, hoping Charles is still alive.  When she learns the truth, Alice’s reaction is explosive but led by her heart, an easy but short-lived peace wins out. When I looked down and saw I was ONLY a third of the way through the book, I knew this would not end well.

Peace and trust are shattered when Julian confesses the truth about Billy. Devastated, Alice tries to leave the estate and learns the true depths of Julian’s depravity. It still creeps me out!

Suspense amps up as Julian rushes to complete his ultimate goal for Alice. But Alice Monroe is having none of it!

The nerdy geek-girl is smarter than she believes and possesses strength she didn’t know was inside her. I was cheering as she worked to beat Julian at his own game. She wrestles with her heart and conscience, but fear is her motivator to win before her captor reaches the point of no return.

Julian is even more Phantom-like in book 2 as he straddles a fine line between true love and madness. Like the Phantom, Julian’s treatment in his early childhood shaped his life and it followed him into the afterlife.

I was ready for a bittersweet ending, but that would have been too easy. The author drops a plot twist I didn’t see coming, but… it made sense and made me smile because the heart wants what the heart wants.

I highly recommend this read, but please read book 1 first! Reading Ghosts & Liars without reading Illusions of Grandeur first would be like eating a hamburger bun without the patty. You might get full, but you’ll know you’re missing something!

Enjoy!

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The stunning conclusion of the Impossible Julian Strande, where all the magician’s greatest secrets are revealed…for better or worse.
As the caretaker of the Strande Mansion, Alice got far more than she bargained for when she accepted the job. Between trying to crack the code of the sinister Julian Strande and her new love affair with Charles, the current owner of the museum, she has a lot to balance.
Alice didn’t believe in ghosts. That was until she met Julian Strande. Unfortunately, it seems the legends of the ghost of the estate are all very real, and he seems to have become obsessed with her.
Charles has promised her that Julian is harmless and just playing pranks. That he enjoys the company after all those years alone. It’s too bad that Charles may not be all he seems…
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Author’s Note: Julian Strande is a villain. Ergo, he is not always the nicest man. This story has a HEA, but it may be a tough ride getting there. Warning: This story contains elements of horror, and may be triggering to some individuals.

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#BookReview “A Wish For Jinnie” by Audrey Davis

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4/5 Stars!

Hard to believe that a story that includes a humiliated thirty-something woman dumped by her arrogant fiancé, a pub owner and his grown son watching Alzheimer’s steal their wife and mother away, a lonely middle-age café owner tempted to cross the line with a married man, a tormented young single mom battling alcoholism and desperate for a break, and… a genie could be a romantic comedy.

But it is… and a good one!

Jinnie Cooper is trying to piece together an existence in the small village of Cranley after her fiancé, Mark, the JERK, calls off their engagement. Embraced by the village’s quirky residents, she soon takes two part-time positions, one at Out of the Attic Antiques—which is one step above a junk store—for Sam Addin and the other for Ken McCroaty at the Jekyll and Hyde Pub.

Determined to avoid getting involved with any man ever again, Jinnie cannot deny her growing attraction to forty-something Sam, but then, there’s also Ken’s handsome son, Ed, who’s closer to her age. She gives herself a reality check, though because Sam is a successful author, has a witchy ex-wife, and a son in college, and Ed has a girlfriend. Besides, there’s no way neither man could be interested in someone like her.

When Jinnie picks out a few items from Sam’s store to fix up her meager flat, her life will never be the same because one of the items is an old, battered lamp.

A Wish for Jinnie is a fun read with much of the laughs provided by Dhassim, a genie of indeterminate age who redefines wish-fulfillment. His manic personality and endless barrage of questions overwhelm Jinnie until she learns even genies aren’t immune to broken hearts.

Story characters are well-developed and easy to relate to but the standout for me was Wilma, Jinnie’s eighty-six-year-old grandmother who lived alone, read tea leaves, and rolled her own cigarettes! Jinnie adores the cantankerous old woman who says and does as she pleases. Wilma is a social media maven and even has thousands of followers on Twitter… and all the headaches that come with it – HA!

But it wouldn’t hurt Jinnie to be more like Wilma. For me, she was a wet rag from the beginning. To be fair, she was unceremoniously dumped by the JERK, who did a number on her self-esteem. But from her recollections, Jinnie had issues before getting involved with the JERK. She was stunned he was attracted to someone like her and shocked he asked her to move in with him and proposed. She never felt worthy of the JERK, and his treatment of her did nothing to build her up. However, her image of herself was contradicted by the residents of Cranley, who called her pretty and even beautiful.

It’s Dhassim who helps Jinnie come into her own though, as she comes to understand him… and herself. She takes another direction with her wish-fulfillment that is life-changing, and not just for her.

I would like to have known more about Dhassim’s past, but not knowing doesn’t take away from the story. However, the sweet ending makes me wonder if I’ll see Jinnie… and Dhassim again.

I recommend this read that’s full of snarky wit and love. But don’t go all in thinking of Robin’s Williams’ genie… Dhassim doesn’t like him.

Enjoy!

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SYNOPSIS

What if wishes really could come true?

When Jinnie Cooper is dumped by her fiancé and exiled to a job in an antique shop in a sleepy Scottish village, little does she know a battered old lamp is about to shake up her life.

Genie Dhassim grants wishes. But he also wants a few of his own to come true. Letting him explore the outside world proves nerve-wracking as Dhassim has an uncanny knack of putting his pointy-slippered foot in it.

As Jinnie grows closer to her employer Sam, Dhassim discovers his time on earth is running out.

Can both Jinnie and Dhassim find true happiness? Or are those wishes that cannot be granted?

Purchase Links

AMAZON UK  

AMAZON US  

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#BookReview “Illusions of Grandeur (The Impossible Julian Strande Pt 1)” by Kathryn Ann Kingsley


Title: Illusions of Grandeur
Series: The Impossible Julian Strande Pt 1
Author: Kathryn Ann Kingsley
Genre: Villain Romance/PNR Ghost Romance
Release Date: May 5, 2020

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5/5 Stars!

Ghosts are real.

At least that’s what Alice Monroe believes long before the end of this read.

But then, I believe it too!

The introverted gamer and geek-girl is happy with her new position as live-in caretaker for the Strande Estate. Once home to illusionist, Julian Strande, the four-story mansion is now a public attraction featuring tours and magic shows.

Alice isn’t put off by the rumors of people disappearing, unexplained accidents, or of the mansion being haunted by Strande himself, but when things not only go bump in the night, they talk… and touch, her fear is outweighed by curiosity and excitement. Julian Strande is haunting his home and he’s a little creepy and a lot pervy. The things he does to her shouldn’t be possible, and… she shouldn’t enjoy it.

However, as she grows closer to the mansion’s current owner, Charles Mensonge, Alice is conflicted. Julian will not be denied, but she’s falling in love with Charles, the arrogant, controlling magician’s great-grandnephew… and the spitting image of him.

When Alice confesses her love for Charles to his uncle, things settle down, but not for long. The mansion, its mazes, and Julian’s mysterious disappearance one hundred years ago become obsessions for her and the pragmatic puzzle-solver doesn’t realize her search takes her closer to Julian and his plans for their future.

Great read that pulled me in from the beginning. The author’s attention to detail made the Strande Mansion a formidable character that had me doodling on a scratch to see the things described.

Alice and Charles are weird… but in a good way. She smoothes his sharp edges and he pulls the withdrawn loner from her comfort zone. They’re a cute couple and have good chemistry even though I knew despite his candid, abrupt personality, Charles wasn’t telling Alice everything.

And then there’s Julian, a one-hundred-fifty-year-old, self-centered ghost with an attitude. Being dead doesn’t stop him from lording over the mansion, dispensing his brand of punishment when people annoy him, much like the Phantom in Phantom of the Opera. The author calls this read villain romance and she nailed it as Julian veers off into psycho-land, flipping between a caring, attentive lover and a harsh dominant. A sleeping Alice doesn’t hear the secret he whispers in her ear, but she’s sharp and will figure it out. Right?

You won’t have to suspend belief for this paranormal tale. Julian Strande will convince you it’s real and not an illusion. Trust me.

Enjoy!

Check back next Friday for my review of book 2, Ghosts and Liars. You’re not ready for this! 😀 😀

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Alice has never been much for ordinary, and her new job at the mysterious Strande Mansion comes complete with strange noises, a sinister ghost, creepy legends, and a sexy amateur magician.
Of course, Alice doesn’t actually believe in ghosts, but what she encounters at the Strande Mansion has her questioning a lot of things—including whether or not her gorgeous new boss is as skilled in the bedroom as he is at illusions.
Julian Strande may have died a century ago, but that doesn’t stop him from taking a keen interest in the new caretaker of his estate. It’s been such a long time since he’s had anyone to play with. And he plans to have a great deal of fun with Alice. That is, if she doesn’t run screaming from his home first…
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Author’s Note: This book is what I would call “villain romance.” This story is for anyone who always finds the villain more interesting than the hero. That said, they are therefore sometimes not the nicest of male heroes. This story has a HEA, but it may be a tough ride getting there. This story has mature themes and content.

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