Release Day Book Review: Fatal Break by Beth Prentice

Screenshot_20190820_002850I absolutely loved this third murder mystery adventure featuring Samantha Reynolds in Beth Prentice’s new book in the Aloha Lagoon series. #3 in the Samantha Reynolds Mysteries and book #15 in the Aloha Lagoon series, Fatal Break is my favourite read so far. Samantha does a wonderful job of playing at amateur detective and getting herself into all sorts of trouble, this time she’s out to clear her BFF who has been accused of murdering her ex-boyfriend and she is very determined.

Samantha and Casey’s relationship has grown even stronger after the events that occurred in Lethal Tide and it was so lovely to experience this couple all loved up.

Once again poor Detective Ray has to deal with Samantha and her friends as they go about trying to clear Alani’s name. These are some of my giggle moments.

There are some seriously funny moments throughout this novel and I got a great giggle from Samantha’s exploits as well as her internal dialogue. She’s great fun.

There’s plenty of conclusion jumping and her usual ability to make 2+2=7, there are some red herrings and shifty behaviour (thankfully not Casey this time), but ultimately Samantha does a great job of being a magnet for trouble.

If you want a fun read, I recommend you pick up the Samantha Reynolds Mysteries, you’ll want to read them in order to get the whole feel for Samantha and her friends and family. As well as to enjoy life at Aloha Lagoon 😊. I’d still like to visit one day, despite the seemingly high murder rate.

Thanks to Beth Prentice for providing me with a digital copy of this book in return for an honest review.

My reviews for

#1 (#3) Deadly Wipeout

#2 (#10) Lethal Tide

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Book Review: Lethal Tide by Beth Prentice

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I’ve just finished book #2 in the Samantha Reynolds Mysteries which is book #10 in the Aloha Lagoon series. Samantha decides once again to do some amateur sleuthing to clear her boyfriend’s name this time and ends up putting herself and her friends in danger.

I was determined to read this before book #3 (#15) comes out on the 20/8/19.

Samantha is good fun, she has a tendency to jump to conclusions and 2+2 often equals 7, but her heart is definitely in the right place and she’s extremely passionate. In this case though, I thought some of Samantha’s conclusions were fair enough and I was right there with her jumping to conclusions of my own.

So, after reading Deadly Wipeout, I thought Samantha’s boyfriend Casey was pretty wonderful. I started to have my doubts during this latest adventure; I thought maybe I’d been mistaken. He did some pretty questionable things, and his behaviour with the Lori was disheartening, I felt he should have put her in her place straight away, even though I knew nothing was happening. I have to say, I completely detested Lori from the start and that only got more intense as the story progressed. I have issues with women who make moves on another person’s partner.

This cosy murder mystery sees one of Casey friends from the past turn up at Aloha Lagoon and then subsequently is found murdered by Samantha, her brother Luke and BFF Alani. Soon after, a couple of Casey’s other past friends show up at Aloha Lagoon, this is when the questionable behaviour, secrets and conclusions (2+2=7) start to happen.

This was a great read though and a mystery that had some red herrings. I’ve often wondered if I’d chose to play amateur detective if the opportunity arose, but I think, probably not. I love how Samantha doesn’t have much of a filter and I like how she describes the people she sees; I feel for poor Detective Ray when he is questioning Samantha in his investigations.

I do worry about the number of murders that seem to happen in this small place. I’m not sure I’d want to holiday or live there after all.

Another fun read, I’m looking forward to picking up Beth’s new book Fatal Break tomorrow night since I’m lucky enough to have gotten my hands on an early copy.

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Book Bingo round 17 and New Release Book Review: Singapore Sapphire by A.M. Stuart

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This fortnight I am crossing off the square Book with a place in the title, author Alison Stuart pointed out that this would be the perfect book for that square.The choices are getting smaller. If you have any suggestions for the remaining squares, I’d love to hear them.

Early twentieth-century Singapore is a place where a person can disappear, and Harriet Gordon hopes to make a new life for herself there, leaving her tragic memories behind her–but murder gets in the way.

Singapore Sapphire (Harriet Gordon Mystery #1)Singapore Sapphire is book #1 in the Harriet Gordon Mystery series and was a great introduction to this new character and setting of 1910 Singapore. I enjoyed this novel a great deal and thought Harriet was a great character, she was a contradiction of the times and definitely not one to be kept in a box. Harriet takes things into her own hands doing some investigating of her own to try and figure out who the murderer is.

My favourite character after Harriet was Inspector Robert Curran who is in charge of the murder investigation. He was another character who was ahead of the times and didn’t always toe the line. I really enjoyed his interactions with Harriet and how he realised it would be helpful to have her on his side rather than trying to make her stand on the sidelines.

This isn’t a simple murder though and there are many twists and turns, people who aren’t who they seem to be and mysteries that arise from the past.

The imagery that Ms Stuart manages to portray through her words was wonderful and I could absolutely see Singapore as it was in 1910. The characters of the ‘good guys’ and the ‘bad guys’ were well written, I definitely wouldn’t have wanted to be on the bad guys hit list.

I look forward to the next Harriet Gordon Mystery.

Thanks to NetGalley and Berkley Publishing Group for providing me with a digital copy in return for an honest review.

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Book Review: Deadly Wipeout by Beth Prentice

Screenshot_20190815_194425Deadly wipeout is part of the Aloha Lagoon series, a series of books written by different authors but set on the same island. Beth currently has two books in this series, book 3 Deadly Wipeout and book 10 Lethal Tide and book 15 Fatal Break, which will be out next week.

Beth’s Aloha Lagoon stories are focused around the quirky character of Samantha Reynolds who has a tendency for getting herself into trouble. This was a fun read, with some good laughs and a dose of intrigue.

I had to laugh straight up when Samantha goes to a job interview as a surf instructor and has absolutely no idea what she is doing, lol, it’s something like I might do myself, in at the deep end and all that jazz.

On Samantha’s first day, a body washes up in the surf and she is drawn into a murder mystery that sees her putting herself in danger while uncovering secrets and trying to clear the names of those closest to her.

I loved the cast of characters who are part of Aloha Lagoon and who welcome Samantha to the island. There’s hunky British bartender Casey, who I’m totally in love with, what a hunny he is. Then there’s fabulous new best friend Alani who owns the surf shop. Samantha’s brother Luke is a great brother even if he can be moody at times. Alani’s grandmother is good fun and I enjoy the scenes she is in while the girls are gathering information (or is that gossip).

The bad guys are not very nice at all, and really, they aren’t overly smart either. But they can be dangerous. There is plenty of intrigue as the murder is uncovered.

I really enjoyed my first visit to Aloha Lagoon Resort and am going back to visit Samantha and co tonight with Lethal Tide. If I could I’d consider moving there for the perfect weather alone. I am concerned about the murder rate however.

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New Release Book Review: Undara by Annie Seaton

Screenshot_20190815_194529Undara by Annie Seaton was something different from this author and a really great read. A dual timeline read based around a phenomenon called the Undara Lava Tubes which are in Queensland and which I had never heard of before this novel. They are fascinating and I have added these to my list of places I want to see.

This novel is full of mystery, friendship, grief, healing, misunderstandings, crime, family drama and the land. The tubes are as much a character as the people. One of the main mysteries which will be solved dates back 100 years and involves the disappearance of 2 children. This is a rather heartbreaking mystery.

Emlyn arrives at Hidden Valley to set up for her team to research and explore the Undara Lava Tubes, she is struggling with grief and guilt and the breakdown of her marriage. Travis who owns the land, is a struggling farmer with family dramas of his own and has only allowed the research team on his land because of the money they are willing to pay, he is not happy about them being there.

These two characters go through a lot of emotional changes through working with each other, they form a friendship that will help them both to heal. They will also set in motion events that are totally unexpected and that will lead to danger for Emlyn and big repercussions for everyone.

The exploration of the lava tubes in search of insect life was fascinating, Annie Seaton has done some incredible research into this phenomenon and it shows in the details that she includes in the story.

The land of Hidden Valley is in itself a character, the descriptions of this often barren landscape due to lack of rain were so well written, I could easily see the place as if I were there. Annie delves into the struggles farmers are facing in these uncertain times as well as the greed of mining companies just out to make a dollar.

There is a lot going on in this novel and it all ties together extremely well, leading to a book that was hard to put down.

Thanks to NetGalley and Harlequin Australia HQ Fiction for providing me with a digital copy of this novel in return for an honest review.

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Release Day Book Review: Lone Star Defender by Jennie Jones

The last book in the Calamity Valley series sees the third sister Pepper have her chance at finding Mr Right and breaking the family curse for good. Except Pepper isn’t interested in finding Mr Right. Along with Mr Right and breaking a curse, Pepper has to save her town from completely dying out.

Screenshot_20190729_163343I enjoyed this final book in the trilogy, it can be read alone, I’ve only read books two and three, book one is still waiting quietly in the Kindle vault and I was able to grasp what was going on, I think it would flow better if you did read the series as it is written though and it’s such an enjoyable series, romance with a touch of Paranormal, that why wouldn’t you want to read them all.

Pepper is a headstrong character who doesn’t always think before she speaks, with so many things placed on her shoulders, she seems to do it a lot, getting herself into strife more than once.

Her old friend Jack, and the person who has been tasked with keeping her safe, is a lovely guy, who has mixed emotions about Pepper.

Both are in denial of the things they really want, there’s some unspoken secrets and conversations from the past that should have been worked out years ago, but are now continuing to cause issues for Pepper, Jack and some family members.

Once again the bad developer guys are back and causing plenty of trouble for Pepper and the townsfolk.

There was plenty of humour in this novel and I enjoyed once again the paranormal tilt to the story.

It seems a shame to say goodbye to Calamity Valley, but at least all three towns are in good hands.

Thanks to NetGalley and Tule Publishing for a digital copy of this book in return for an honest review.

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Lies by Kylie Scott Blog Tour & Excerpt

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Lies, a steamy, fast paced standalone filled with the perfect blend of heat and humor from New York Times bestselling author Kylie Scott, is available now!

I loved this book, read my review here

About the book:

Betty Dawsey knows that breaking things off with Thom Lange is for the best. He’s nice, but boring, and their relationship has lost its spark. But steady and predictable Thom, suddenly doesn’t seem so steady and predictable when their condo explodes and she’s kidnapped by a couple of crazies claiming that Thom isn’t who he says he is.

Thom is having a hellish week. Not only is he hunting a double agent, but his fiancé dumped him, and thanks to his undercover life, she’s been kidnapped.

Turns out Thom is Operative Thom and he’s got more than a few secrets to share with Betty if he’s going to keep her alive. With both their lives on the line, their lackluster connection is suddenly replaced by an intense one. But in his line of work, feelings aren’t wanted or desired. Because feelings can be a lethal distraction.

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Excerpt:

“You’re going to break his heart.”

“No, I’m not,” I say. “That’s sort of the whole point. If I really thought leaving him would break his heart, then I probably wouldn’t be leaving him in the first place.”

My best friend, Jen, does not look convinced.

Boxes fill a good half of the room. What a mess. Who knew you could accumulate so much junk in only twelve months? At least we weren’t together so long that I can’t remember who owns what. One year is about the sweet spot for this issue in relationships, apparently.

“The fact of the matter is, we’re not in love. We have no business being engaged, let alone getting married.” I sigh. “Have you seen the packing tape?”

“No. He’s just such a nice guy.”

“I’m not debating that.” I climb to my feet, then head up the stairs to the second bedroom. Thom’s unofficial workout room/home office. Not a room I normally go into. But it only takes a bit of rummaging to find what I’m looking for. Whatever else might be said about them, insurance assessors are organized. The bottom drawer of Thom’s desk has a neat stash of stationery. I grab a couple rolls of thick tape.

“And leaving him this way…” Jen continues as I head back down.

“How many times have I told him we need to talk? He’s always putting it off, saying it’s not a good time. And now he’s away again. I’ve been messaging him for the last week and he barely replies.”

“You know he has to drop everything once a job comes up. I realize he’s not the most exciting guy, Betty, but—”

“I know.” I smack down a line of tape with extra zest, sealing the lid of the last box. In this Operation Abandon Ship Posthaste, I know I’m definitely slightly the bad guy. But not totally. Say sixty/forty. Or maybe seventy/thirty. It’s hard to tell to what degree. “I do know all of that. But he’s always busy with work or away on some business trip. What am I supposed to do?”

A sigh from Jen.

“When you realize you’ve made such a monumental mistake, it’s hard to sit and wait to fix things. Nor is it fair on either of us to keep up the pretense.”

“Guess so.”

“And the fact that he’s yet again made no effort to prioritize our relationship and make a little time for me in his busy schedule is just further proof that I’ve made the right choice in ending this now before it gets any more complicated. End of rant.”

Nothing from her.

“Anyway, you’re supposed to be on my side. Stop questioning me.”

“You wanted to get married and have children so badly.”

“Yeah.” I sit back on my heels. “I blame it all on playing with Ken and Barbie’s dreamhouse when I was little. But it turns out that being in a relationship with the wrong person can be even lonelier than being alone.”

Jen and I have been friends since sharing a room in college. We’ve witnessed the bulk of each other’s dating ups and downs. For some reason, I’m the type of girl who guys will go out with, but don’t tend to stick with. Apparently, I’m fuckable—just not girlfriend material. Maybe it’s my smart mouth. Maybe it’s the whole not fitting current societal expectations of beauty i.e. I’m fat. Maybe I was born under an unlucky star. I don’t know; it’s their loss. Like anyone, I have my faults, but all in all, I’m awesome. And I have a lot to give. Too often in the past few months, I’ve had to keep reminding myself of this fact.

“There are just so many jerks out there,” Jen says. “I was happy that you’d found a good one.”

“I think I’d prefer a jerk who was genuinely into me than a nice guy phoning it in.

Honestly, I’d rather go adopt a dozen cats and settle into old age and isolation than be with someone who treats me as if I’m an afterthought.”

She looks at me for a long moment, then nods slowly. “I’m sorry it didn’t work out.”

“Me too.”

“Time to start filling up the cars. Boy, do you owe me.”

I smile. “That I do.”

Jen stands and stretches before picking up one of the boxes labeled kitchen. “I just didn’t want you to do something you’d regret, you know?”

“I know. Thank you.”

Alone in the two-bedroom condo, everything is silent. My parting letter sits waiting on the coffee table with his name written on the front. A slight bulge in the

envelope betrays the shape of my engagement ring. It’s a sweet, simple ring. One small diamond perched on a band of yellow gold. My hand feels wrong without it. Naked. They say there are different love languages and you have to take the time to learn your partner’s needs. It’s like he and I never quite got there. Or maybe I’m just crappy at relationships.

The bridal magazines I’d collected are in the trash. Perhaps I should have taken them into the florist shop where I work so someone could get some use out of them. But this feels more symbolic, more definite. My family are a couple of states away, and I have only a few of what I’d classify as good friends. Being an introvert makes it hard to meet people. A boyfriend, a husband, would mean I’m no longer alone. Someone cares about me and puts me first. At least part of the time. Only Thom doesn’t any of the time, so here we are.

I tighten my ponytail of long dark hair. Then, in a rare display of dexterity that my yoga instructor would be proud of, I stack three boxes in my arms and head outside into the hot afternoon sun. Jen’s Honda Civic is parked at the curb, the trunk standing open as she moves things about inside. My old Subaru sits in the driveway waiting to be filled. Birds are singing and insects chirping. It’s your typical mild autumn day in California.

That’s when the condo blows up behind me.

About Kylie Scott

Image previewKylie is a New York Times and USA Today best-selling author. She was voted Australian Romance Writer of the year, 2013, 2014 & 2018, by the Australian Romance Writer’s Association and her books have been translated into eleven different languages. She is a long time fan of romance, rock music, and B-grade horror films. Based in Queensland, Australia with her two children and husband, she reads, writes and never dithers around on the internet.

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