Audiobook, Contemporary Romance, Review Books, Romantic Suspense, Suspense & Thriller

Dark Memento (Verona Bay, #1) by Katie Reus


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Title: Dark Memento by Katie Reus
Series: Verona Bay, Book 1
Narrated By: Heather Costa, Jeffrey Kafter
Release Date: October 15, 2019
Format: Audiobook (7 hrs and 3 mins)
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Romantic Suspense
Blurb: Welcome to Verona Bay, a small coastal town where the secrets just won’t stay buried—and people aren’t always who they seem.

She was the one that got away…

Eight years ago Serenity Washington watched as her twin sister was murdered. She was lucky to escape the same grisly fate. With her sister’s killer in jail, she relocated and tried to move on with her life. She married a man in the Air Force and started a family, but when her husband dies unexpectedly she moves back to the last place she remembers being happy—Verona Bay, FL.

Now that she’s come home, it’s all starting again…

Within months of Serenity’s homecoming, she receives a ‘gift’—a bracelet from her sister that was never recovered after her death—and a taunting note. Terrified for herself and her young daughter, she turns to the local sheriff for help. But there’s only so much they can do without proof that the gifts aren’t more than sick pranks. There’s been no DNA, no fingerprints left behind—nothing to indicate who’s leaving them. As the horrifying gifts arrive with increasing frequency, Serenity has no doubt that she’s the ultimate target. But with her sister’s murderer—a confessed serial killer—still behind bars, she has no idea who’s stalking her.

She turns to the one man she’s been trying to keep her distance from…

Former Marine Lucas Jordan has been hung up on single mom Serenity since she moved back to Verona Bay, but she’s made it clear she’s not looking for a relationship. When she’s targeted, however, all bets are off. He won’t sit by while she’s terrorized, and with her and her daughter’s lives in danger he’s prepared to stand his ground and protect them both. Together they face the impossible task of trying to figure out who to trust before they all wind up six feet under.

img_4544This book started immediately with a traumatic incident. Serenity and her twin sister Savannah Washington were kidnapped and tortured by the serial killer Michael Black. It was suspenseful and angst-filled in the first few chapters. Serenity escapes but her twin sister didn’t survive the ordeal but the killer was captured.

Serenity tries to build her life despite the PTSD, she got married and had a daughter. When her husband dies, Serenity moves back to her hometown of Verona Bay. She opens a business and begins to establish her life but Serenity begins to receive mementos taken from her during her imprisonment. It appears that she is being stalked again. She’s afraid and her high school friend Lucas Jordan wants to help her. But Serenity is afraid to let him into her life because people close to her are being hunted and murdered. Its not safe to be around her and she isn’t sure the FBI can protect her and her daughter. Lucas is determined to protect Serenity and young daughter Harper, but as more than just a friend. This one was a nail bitter!

It was really well written, suspenseful and I couldn’t stop listening. There was some darkness, but Serenity was a fighter. Her will to survive was undeniable. She wouldn’t allow the serial killer to break her and she was determined to win for herself and her twin who didn’t make it. This is a really good beginning to a new series.

*I received this audiobook in exchange for an honest opinion.

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Contemporary Romance, LGBTQ, Review Books, romance

Someday, Someday by Emma Scott


Someday, SomedayTitle: Someday, Someday by Emma Scott
Release Date: November 24, 2019
Format: Kindle (374 pages)
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Gay Romance
Blurb: How long would you wait for love?

Max Kaufman was kicked out of his home as a teen and his life has been an uphill battle ever since. From addiction and living on the streets, to recovery and putting himself through nursing school, he’s spent the last ten years rebuilding his shattered sense of self. Now he’s taken a job as a private caretaker to Edward Marsh III, the president and CEO of one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world. Max soon learns Marsh’s multi-billion-dollar empire is a gold and diamond-encrusted web of secrets and lies.

The longer Max works and lives with the Marsh family, the tighter the secrets tangle around him. And his heart—that he’s worked so hard to protect—falls straight into the hands of the distant, cold, and beautiful son of a dynasty…

Silas Marsh is set to inherit the family fortune, but his father is determined his heir be the “perfect” son. Before Silas can take over the company and end its shady business practices, he must prove himself worthy…and deny his true nature.

Silas must choose: stand up to his father by being true to himself and his undeniable feelings for Max. Or pretend to be someone he is not in order to inherit everything. Even if it means sacrificing a chance at happiness and real love.

This novel was storytelling at it’s finest. I have always enjoyed Emma Scott’s work, but this book is on another level of greatness. I was moved to tears but I smiled a lot at the same time.

Many of us take for granted the unconditional love we receive from our families. Affirmation isn’t freely given to those who don’t fit into the mold that parents or society doesn’t see as normal. The result is a feeling of incompleteness and pain. “They promised us that if we changed, we’d be loved. That we could go home.” In following the journey of Silas, Max and Edward, I am reminded of how badly we all want the acceptance and love of our families.

I loved both Max and Silas, but I admit that Eddie captured my attention immediately. There was subtle strength in his resistance to being marginalized. Everyone dismissed him but he saw and understood everything! The author did an awesome job developing the characters that I empathized with their predicament and rooted for their happiness. Each character from the protagonists to the antagonists evolved as the book progressed. Just following them navigate their lives as outcasts was emotional, yet informative especially concerning PTSD. I appreciated the lesson that they needed a little more than love to heal from their trauma. I am a firm believer in therapy and love so I am thankful that the author didn’t sugarcoat the work that must be done to become whole again.

I have been thinking about these characters for days now because I have heard of similar stories in our real society and it just breaks my heart. How many people saw the pain of the rejection that gay people faced and turned a blind eye? I pray that our communities continue to be more open-minded and accepting of one another. This book was painful, but it also gave me such hope and joy. I loved everything about this book. Keep in mind that while this was a romance story, the real message was about acceptance. This is definitely going on my favorites shelf.

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Review Books, Romantic Suspense, Suspense & Thriller

Hidden (Deep Ops, #1) by Rebecca Zanetti


Title: Hidden by Rebecca Zanetti
Series: Deep Ops, Book 1
Narrated By:
Release Date: September 25, 2018
Format: Kindle edition (advance reading copy)
Genre: Suspense, Thriller, Romantic Suspense
BLURB: Hide. That’s all Pippa can do to escape the terror chasing her. But now that she’s off the grid in a safe house, she finds plenty of interesting things to watch through the window. Like her new neighbor, with his startling green eyes, killer smile, and sexy bad-boy tattoo . . .

Run. Malcolm West is fleeing the hell he unleashed in his last assignment as an undercover cop. A backwoods bungalow sounds like the perfect place to start over. Until he discovers he’s been set up . . .

Fight. Someone’s gone to a lot of trouble to bring them together. No matter how much he resents that, and his own driving needs, Malcolm will have to dig deep and let loose the banished killer inside himself, or Pippa’s fears could come true faster than the flip of a bolt in a lock . . .

A very good start to a new series. The first half gave me goosebumps as it was very suspenseful almost like the beginning of a scary movie. The second half of the novel was definitely more of a romantic suspense story. I definitely on board for this new series.

Pippa Smith was on the run and appeared to have severe anxiety issues while Detective Malcolm West was drowning in alcohol as a coping mechanism for his PTSD. When Malcolm was asked to take a new undercover assignment investigating a terrorist threat involves the cult Pippa used to belong to, Malcolm is forced to cozy up to the reclusive woman. But Pippa is suspicious of everyone especially law enforcement so Malcolm has his work cut out for him.
It became really clear that Pippa and Malcolm were yearning for a connection to someone or something. They both wanted to be free of their past and also sleep well at night. They both have been looking over the shoulder for so long that peace is a luxury they dare not wish for. How can he get her to share her past when he won’t come clean about his own secrets?

I enjoyed Malcolm and Pippa getting to a place where they had someone to trust and finding love. It was really fast for people with trust issues but I’ll chalk it up to them being starved for human contact. I enjoyed this story as it had just enough romance to keep me going but I was really curious about that serial killer.

This series is a departure from what Rebecca Zanetti’s normal narratives but it definitely had her signature style especially with the sex scenes. I think her last four books have all featured a spanking scene but I am not sure Pippa and Malcolm had achieved that level of comfort after just a week of knowing each other. Especially for a woman who is in counseling and possible on medication for her panic attacks. I would have liked more development and discussion about Pippa’s anxiety and Malcolm’s PTSD. However, the author laid down a foundation for an off the books Homeland Security Department task force ~ The Requisition Force. I think it’s going to be really good as each member gets their own story. Each task member has a compelling backstory and I am really looking forward to hearing it, especially the dog Roscoe.

*I voluntarily read this advanced reading copy gotten from Netgalley. All opinions are my own honest opinions.