Tag: Mira

Retro-Review: The Perfect Murder by Brenda Novak

Posted November 8, 2017 by Casee in Reviews | 1 Comment

Retro-Review: The Perfect Murder by Brenda NovakReviewer: Casee
The Perfect Murder (The Last Stand, #6) by Brenda Novak
Series: The Last Stand #6
Published by MIRA
Publication Date: September 29th 2009
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 448
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For more than a year, Sebastian Costas has been trying to unravel the truth behind the murder of his ex-wife and son. Despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, he's convinced that her second husband—a cop—committed both murders, then faked his own death. Now Sebastian has followed the slimmest of leads to Sacramento…and that's where he finally gets the break he needs. Jane Burke, an investigator with The Last Stand, calls him in connection with a separate crime—a crime that could lead him straight to the man he's been looking for.

Once married to a serial killer, Jane has spent the past five years rebuilding her life. And with Sebastian she finally has a chance at happiness. But the man they're after is after them, too. For him this has become a personal battle, one he's determined to win. Whatever it takes…

*****As part of our 10 year anniversary celebration, we’ll be re-posting old reviews and posts that make us cringe, laugh or sigh all over again.*****

Holly: It’s interesting to me that 8-10 years down the road we’re still reading the same authors. I love that we’ve been able to go the distance with them. 

This review was originally posted on November 5, 2009.

This is the first book in this series that I wasn’t really looking forward too. The reason is that I was never really interested in the character of Jane Burke. I understand that I’m supposed to be sympathetic to her since she was married to a serial killer, but that was never the case. I never really felt bad for her. I felt bad for the situation she was in. I felt bad that she lost someone she loved. I just never felt bad for her. She made her bed. So I wasn’t very happy when I saw that she was going to be the heroine.

Jane is trying to make a name for herself at The Last Stand. With the help of Skye and Sheridan, Jane wants to help victims like herself. That’s another thing. While I guess she was technically a victim, I never saw her as such. I guess I’m not very sympathetic. When Skye and Ava go to South America on a paying job and Sheridan is out on maternity leave, Jane is in charge of The Last Stand. Hoping to prove herself, Jane takes a job for two teenage girls that have gone missing.

Sebastian Costas has been following Malcolm Turner for over a year. Since Malcolm killed Sebastian’s ex-wife and son then faked his own death, Sebastian has been on his trail. With his funds running low and time running out, Sebastian follows him to Sacramento. He has never been able to convince anyone that Malcolm is alive, but he has never doubted that. When his investigation puts him in Jane’s path, the two end up working together since their cases seem to be related.

Jane is understandably wary of getting involved with any man, let alone a man that has as much baggage as she does. I just wasn’t really feeling the relationship between Jane and Sebastian. I wanted to. By the time they actually met, I was starting to like Jane as a character. I liked Sebastian as well, even though he was obsessed with revenge.

Brenda Novak writes chilling villains. She has definitely proved herself as far as that goes. She is right behind Karen Rose in that respect, something that is pretty hard to do. At the beginning of the book, Malcolm seems to be the person that you would not want to meet in a dark alley. As the book goes on, he loses his steam. He ends up being rather pathetic. That was disappointing b/c Brenda Novak always comes through when it comes to her villains.

This is my least favorite of the series. Even being my least favorite, it was still a good read.

3.75 out of 5.

This book is available from Mira. You can buy it here or here in e-format.

Other books in the series:

Trust Me Stop Me Watch Me The Perfect Liar The Perfect Murder


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Review: Family Sins by Sharon Sala

Posted November 3, 2016 by Casee in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Family Sins by Sharon SalaReviewer: Casee
Family Sins by Sharon Sala
Series: Death Comes to Eden #1
Published by MIRA
Publication Date: October 25th 2016
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 416
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble


Felled by a cowardly shot to the back, Stanton Youngblood has just enough time before he dies to leave a single clue to his killer's identity: the word Wayne, scrawled in his own blood.

That word means everything to his widow. Leigh Youngblood was once Leigh Wayne, but she left her wealthy family behind thirty years ago when she fell in love with Stanton, a betrayal the Waynes have never forgiven. Now she publicly vows to discover which of her siblings thinks money and power are enough to cover up a murder.

Back in town to find his father's killer, prodigal son Brody finds his search for justice comes with an unexpected ray of light. He's loved Talia Champion forever, but when she said she couldn't marry him, he left town and never looked back. This time it's Talia who needs him, and it isn't in him to deny her anything.

But the killer still has a score to settle, and if that means spilling more blood—so much the better.

First thing is first. Brody is Bowie. I’m not sure how they got that one wrong in every synopsis that I looked at. So now that is out of the way.

Leigh Wayne married Stanton Youngblood against her family’s wishes and never looked back. It’s been thirty years and she hasn’t regretted a single moment. When she is working in her garden and hears a gunshot from where Stanton would be walking, her intuition kicks in and she go tearing after the sound. She finds Stanton face down in the dirt, shot in the back with the name “Wayne” scrawled in Stanton’s writing. Leigh is devastated to lose Stanton, but before she can grieve, she is going to bring her family to justice.

Calling her four boys home (three live on the mountain, one with her, and Bowie lives away from home), Leigh starts planning what she is going to do. When the constable of both towns don’t start investigating the Wayne’s, Leigh begins the investigation herself and makes a promise to the constable of her town…he better start investiating or she will and she will bring him down with her family.

The Wayne’s are your typical “nothing can touch me” family. They believe they’re above the law. They don’t know who killed Stanton, but they know that it was one of them. Still, they’re above the law. When Leigh storms their house, they all realize that they’re not off the hook. Leigh isn’t going to rest until she finds out who killed her husband in such a cowardly way.

Bowie in the meantime has moved to the head of the family. He’s also realized the love of his life, Talia, turned down his proposal seven years ago not because she didn’t want to marry him but because her father was sick. So that whole romance is going on during the suspense. It was kind of weird. Thrown in as an after thought.

Then there was a gigilo, a gay Wayne, a Wayne aunt that was sharing the gigilo, Bowie and Talia that were finding their love again, and another Wayne (maybe the killer, maybe not) that tried to kill Bowie and Talia. All sorts of shenanigans. Honestly. What resonated with me the most was Leigh’s grief. She had been with Stanton for thirty years. She couldn’t sleep in their bed without him. She could barely look at places on their property. Her grief literally reached through the pages. It was devastating.

Rating: 3 out of 5.


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Excerpt: The Ex-Factor by Eva Woods

Posted September 1, 2016 by Rowena in Promotions | 2 Comments

The Ex-Factor by Eva Woods is a book that was brought to my attention by a promo request but I sure am glad that it was brought to my attention because this book looks good.

The Ex-Factor by Eva Woods
Releases on August 11, 2016 by Mira

Is it possible to freecycle love?

Modern dating is hard, especially when all you meet are liars, oddballs, men who wear Superman pants and men who live with their mums.

So why not date someone who already comes pre-approved? Just because your friend’s ex wasn’t right for her doesn’t mean that he won’t be right for you. That’s Marnie’s new plan for herself and her three best friends, perennially single Helen, recently divorced Rosa and cynical lawyer Ani.

Through bad dates and good, the four friends begin to realise that there are advantages to dating pre-screened men…but there can be some serious pitfalls to falling for your friend’s ex.

This book sounds like a hoot! I can’t imagine that I’d be gung ho about dating my friend’s exes. Mostly because my friends don’t have exes that I’d be interested in. There’s a reason they became exes but this sounds like a lighthearted look into all of that and I’m mighty interested.


Order the Book:



Rosa was sitting at her desk again, running through her mental checklist. Eye make-up smears? Check, she’d stopped wearing it two weeks ago, after she’d interviewed a mid-list actress without realising she had massive smudges all down her cheeks like Dick Van Dyke in Mary Poppins. Snot on face, dress, hair? Check, she’d taken to carrying around so many tissues that were she to fall out of an aeroplane she would probably survive without even minor bruising. Her floral dress, cardigan, and thick tights might have caused her fashion-forward boss to visibly wince that morning, but at least she looked respectable. Was she currently making loud gasping sob noises without even noticing? Check, unless she’d gone deaf at that frequency. All was fine, or at least as fine as it could be given her husband had left her two months before.

She looked at the copy on her screen. Star of TV cop drama ’Aving a Laugh Natasha Byrd lived up to her name at our brunch. Picking at a salad, she told me she eats only once a day and…

Crap. Like jungle drums, she knew when David was approaching. Rosa’s desk was right on the route to the main meeting room, and the editorial conference must have ended early—most days she hid in the loos at this time, waiting for him to get safely back to his desk. Only one thing for it. After grabbing her phone, she slid gently to her knees and ducked under the desk again. It was cosy down there, among the trailing leads and decades-old dust. It was fast becoming her new favourite place.

‘…So I think let’s go big on detox for Jan—more quinoa, more mung—what’s the newest grain, anyone?’

Ow! The castor of Rosa’s chair, pushed aside by unseen hands, rolled over her thumb. ‘Holy CRAP,’ she yelled, before she could stop herself.

Oh no. ‘Bloody hell, are you OK?’ She peered up to see Jason Connell, the new whizz-kid editor who’d been poached from clickbait site Listbuzz, along with her boss, Suzanne, who was in metal-look leggings and on a two-week Botox cycle.

‘What are you doing, Rosa?’ demanded Suzanne. ‘Aren’t you a bit old for hide-and-seek?’

But Rosa could only look at the third person in the group, in his skinny red jeans and clashing yellow T-shirt. The man she’d married five years ago, the man she’d intended to spend her life with. Who she’d never expected to see wearing red jeans, or packing up his collection of vinyl and moving out, or for that matter, sleeping with an intern. She’d advised him against the jeans, but he’d bought them anyway, and in retrospect that should have been a sign.

‘Rosa?’ David was staring down at her. ‘Are you all right?’

‘Fine!’ She tried to summon every ounce of journalistic nous that might be left to her. ‘Um, it’s a new trend I’m testing. It’s called—head-desk-space.’

If that doesn’t piqued your interest, I don’t know what would. Be sure to check out the other blog stops on this blog tour.


About the Author

Eva Woods lives in London, where she writes and teaches creative writing. She likes wine, pop music, and holidays, and thinks online dating is like the worst board game ever invented.


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Guest Review: Shadow Study by Maria V. Snyder

Posted March 29, 2016 by TG in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: Shadow Study by Maria V. SnyderReviewer: TG
Shadow Study by Maria V. Snyder
Series: Study Series #4, Soulfinders #1
Also in this series: Night Study
Published by MIRA
Publication Date: February 24th 2015
Genres: Fiction, Fantasy
Pages: 416
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble

New York Times bestselling author Maria V. Snyder wowed readers with Poison Study, the unforgettable story of poison taster Yelena. Now she's back with a new tale of intrigue.

Once, only her own life hung in the balance...

Oddly enough, when Yelena was a poison taster, her life was simpler. But she'd survived to become a vital part of the balance of power between rival countries Ixia and Sitia. Now she uses her magic to keep the peace in both lands--and protect her relationship with Valek.

Suddenly, though, they are beset on all sides by those vying for power through politics and intrigue. Valek's job and his life are in danger. As Yelena tries to uncover the scope of these plots, she faces a new challenge: her magic is blocked. She must keep that a secret--or her enemies will discover just how vulnerable she really is--while searching for who or what is responsible for neutralizing her powers.

Yes, the days of tasting poisons were much simpler. And certainly not as dangerous...

Okay so I want to start this off by saying that Poison Study is my favorite book of pretty much all time. So I was nervous going into Shadow Study. What if it ruins the first books for me? What if the characters suck?

They didn’t. This book didn’t do anything but make me love Poison Study even more. Now then, on to the review.

My main impression of this book was that it was setting up for the next one. It wasn’t necessarily a bad thing, but I almost felt like there was no true climax. But the conflicts in this story are definitely fresh and new, and the character development is worth the “to be continued….” Feeling.

Also Valek’s backstory. That’s all I have to say.

I’d give this a solid 4/5 for character development and writing, with points taken for the somewhat anticlimactic ending.


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Review: Night Study by Maria V. Snyder

Posted March 22, 2016 by TG in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Night Study by Maria V. SnyderReviewer: TG
Night Study by Maria V. Snyder
Series: Study Series #5, Soulfinders #2
Also in this series: Shadow Study
Published by MIRA
Publication Date: February 1st 2016
Genres: Fiction, Fantasy
Pages: 400
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble

New York Times bestselling author Maria V. Snyder transports readers back to the realms of Sitia and Ixia in an exciting new Study novel full of magic, danger and intrigue. 
Ever since being kidnapped from the Illiais Jungle as a child, Yelena Zaltana's life has been fraught with peril. But the recent loss of her Soulfinding abilities has endangered her more than ever before. As she desperately searches for a way to reclaim her magic, her enemies are closing in, and neither Ixia nor Sitia is safe for her anymore. Especially since the growing discord between the two countries and the possibility of a war threatens everything Yelena holds dear.  
Valek is determined to protect Yelena, but he's quickly running out of options. The Commander suspects that his loyalties are divided, and he's been keeping secrets from Valek…secrets that put him, Yelena and all their friends in terrible danger. As they uncover the various layers of the Commander's mysterious plans, they realize it's far more sinister than they could have ever imagined.

So, I want to start off once again by saying that the first 3 books of the study series are my absolute favorite books. I talk about them all the time, and I could probably quote Poison Study line for line. When I heard new books were coming out, I had some mixed emotions. That constant fear that the sequel will ruin the prequel is very relevant, but once again the book held true to the tone of the first trilogy.

That isn’t to say however, that I was 100% satisfied with this book. The first 30 pages were hell, because I was convinced that this was where the sequels quit being cool. Thankfully Snyder knows what she’s doing (I hope lol) and redeemed the first chapters with the rest of the book. Even a true skeptic like myself could understand why the things that happened were necessary (and in character!)

Overall the developments with Valek and Yelena’s relationship soothed my shipper heart, and the new characters kept things good and spicy.

So I’d give this book an 4/5 for spice and intrigue, taking points off for the first 30 pages of hell.


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