SECRET SISTERS by Jayne Ann Krentz

SecretSisters
Publisher: Berkley
Released: December 8, 2015
Source: Review copy from the publisher
Rating: ★★★★


Madeline and Daphne were once as close as sisters—until a secret tore them apart. Now it might take them to their graves.

They knew his name, the man who tried to brutally attack twelve-year-old Madeline in her grandmother’s hotel. They thought they knew his fate. He wouldn’t be bothering them anymore…ever. Still their lives would never be the same.

Madeline has returned to Washington after her grandmother’s mysterious death. And at the old, abandoned hotel—a place she never wanted to see again—a dying man’s last words convey a warning: the secrets she and Daphne believed buried forever have been discovered.

Now, after almost two decades, Madeline and Daphne will be reunited in friendship and in fear. Unable to trust the local police, Madeline summons Jack Rayner, the hotel chain’s new security expert. Despite the secrets and mysteries that surround him, Jack is the only one she trusts…and wants.

Jack is no good at relationships but he does possess a specific skill set that includes a profoundly intimate understanding of warped and dangerous minds. With the assistance of Jack’s brother, Abe, a high-tech magician, the four of them will form an uneasy alliance against a killer who will stop at nothing to hide the truth…


SECRET SISTERS is an exciting novel of romantic suspense, and also the first book I’ve read by Jayne Ann Krentz. The blurb drew me in with the promise of a spooky abandoned hotel on an island in the Pacific Northwest, and it just got better from there. The main character, Madeline, and her grandmother fled the island twenty years earlier and left some dark secrets buried there. Now her grandmother is deceased, and Madeline is back on the island to confront her past. There, she reunites with her “secret sister” Daphne to try and solve a deadly mystery that began all those years ago.

I enjoyed the mystery in this book, and though this is romantic suspense, the romance part didn’t take over the story, which for me is a good thing! Along with Madeline, there is Jack, her company’s security expert. There’s strong chemistry between the two, though both have scars from the past that make starting a relationship difficult. While Madeline’s felt real and understandable, Jack’s felt a bit forced and took a long time to come to the surface.

SECRET SISTERS is a fast-paced, suspenseful book that takes readers down a dark and twisted path. The Gothic, creepy hotel setting was a perfect fit for this story. Looking forward to reading more from Ms. Krentz.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher thorough NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Book Review: THE GHOSTS OF CRAGERA BAY by Dawn Brown (Harlequin E Shivers)

GhostsCollageSeries: Harlequin E Shivers (Box Set, Volume 3)
Publisher: Harlequin E
Release Date: July 7, 2014
Source: Review copy from NetGalley
Rating: ★★★★½

Declan James is the reluctant heir to a crumbling Welsh estate with a deadly history. He’ll never sell Stonecliff with a parapsychologist poking around fueling ghostly rumors. But his truce with beautiful Dr. Carly Evans is destined to end in bloodshed.


I’ve read three out of the four books from the Harlequin E Shivers Box Set, Volume 3, and THE GHOSTS OF CRAGERA BAY is definitely the darkest and spookiest. It gave me chills! After his biological father dies, Declan James/Meyers inherits his family’s dreary estate on the Isle of Anglesey, Wales. All he wants to do is sell the dank place known as Stonecliff as soon as possible and return to his life in Seattle.

Unfortunately, there are two major problems interfering with Declan’s plan. First, the creepy bog on the property called The Devil’s Eye has been a hub of evil over the past few decades, including numerous murders and hauntings, and no one knows why. Secondly, persistent parapsychologist Dr. Carly Evans wants to investigate Stonecliff’s unexplained paranormal activity, and she has an idea about why evil is drawn to The Devil’s Eye. If she can prove her theory, it will make selling the place all the more difficult.

THE GHOSTS OF CRAGERA BAY was a fast-paced, creepy-good Gothic romance that I really enjoyed. I was intrigued by the complex and gruesome history of Stonecliff and the mysterious bog. Declan was the consummate Gothic hero – brooding, tortured, sexy, and needing a good woman to save his soul. Carly was a likable heroine, with smarts, determination, and a fearless streak a mile long.

While reading this, I didn’t realize there were two previous books connected to it — THE DEVIL’S EYE and THE WITCH OF STONECLIFF. You don’t need to read them in order to enjoy, but I would like to go back and find out more back story details, especially about Declan’s half-sisters, Brynn and Eleri.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Book Review: ATONEMENT by B.J. Daniels

atonement
Series: Beartooth, Montana, #4
Publisher: Harlequin HQN
Released: February 25, 2014
Source: Review copy from NetGalley

Just how far are people willing to go to keep their secrets?

Protecting the citizens of Beartooth, Montana, is never an easy job. One year later, Sheriff Dillon Lawson still feels guilty that he couldn’t save his twin brother, Ethan. But the biggest test of his bravery comes when Tessa Winters arrives, claiming to be pregnant…with Ethan’s baby. At first, Dillon can’t decide if this beautiful woman is a con artist or a victim. If Ethan didn’t die in that car crash, then where is he—and why is he hiding?

Now, Dillon is prepared to do anything to uncover the truth…anything except admit his growing feelings for Tessa. But with violence threatening, Tessa and Dillon must trust in each other to save not only themselves…but also Tessa’s unborn child.

———

I was in the mood for a cowboy romance, and the blurb for ATONEMENT grabbed my attention. This is the first B.J. Daniels book I’ve read, so I’m jumping into this series late, and I did feel like I was missing parts of the back story.

The book starts out strong when the angry and pregnant heroine, Tessa, comes to Montana searching for her baby’s father, Ethan. Instead, she finds his twin brother, Dillon (who she didn’t know about), and Dillon claims that his brother died over a year ago, which Tessa knows couldn’t be possible. Dillon assumes Ethan has gotten himself in big trouble again, and that’s why he’s playing dead, so Dillon and Tessa set out to uncover the mystery and find Ethan.

The book switches back and forth between the Tessa/Dillon/Ethan story line and a murder mystery involving the town’s sheriff, Frank, and his girlfriend, Nettie. I’m assuming that Frank & Nettie’s story is being carried over from a previous book. While I was intrigued by their mystery, I thought it detracted from Tessa & Dillon’s story. It wasn’t easy keeping everyone and everything straight, and I felt disconnected.

I liked Dillon and Tessa as a couple, and I was rooting for them. With her being pregnant with another man’s baby, theirs was a unique and sweet romance that took time to grow. I did wonder, though, how a smart and strong woman like Tessa could have fallen for a screw up like Ethan. I guess love makes us do crazy things.

I think those who have read the previous books in this series will probably like ATONEMENT more than I did, though I enjoyed seeing how both mysteries played out in the end.

Rating: 3 Stars

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.