Carla Loves To Read


Adult Fiction

Seconds to Live (Scarlet Falls #3) by Melinda Leigh

278696564 Stars

Published June 28th 2016 by Montlake Romance

This is the third book in the Scarlet Falls Trilogy and it is Mac Barrett’s story as well as Stella Dane’s story. Stella is a newly promoted detective and she is on the case of missing and murdered women. The first victim was a highschool friend of Stella’s. She does not want the second kidnapped woman to become a murder victim, but time is running out. Meanwhile, Mac returns home from the jungles of South America after being almost killed by drug runners. He is also told that his father is dying and if he wants to see him one last time, he needs to get home. Stella and Mac begin to rekindle a friendship they started in the first book of this series and they begin to fall in love. As Stella finds herself in a rush against time to find the third victim, the Barrett family come to her aid in style.

Mac and Stella both have to deal with guilt and reveal secrets while working together to solve two murders and find their missing friend. Mac also needs to decide on whether he will stay in Scarlet Falls and live the type of life he never thought he wanted. The main characters are written with just the right balance of flaws and personal growth. This is a suspenseful story and it kept me guessing until the end when the culprit was finally revealed to the reader. hot romance and suspense that keeps you guessing. I have enjoyed this romantic suspense series. More suspense, with just enough romance to add to the story and not detract. I like watching the relationship between Stella and Mac grow amidst all the danger that surrounds them. This is a series, but this and any of the books can be read as a standalone, however I would recommend reading them in order. I enjoyed listening and reading along with this book from Kindle Unlimited.

Continue reading “Seconds to Live (Scarlet Falls #3) by Melinda Leigh”


Minutes to Kill (Scarlet Falls #2) by Melinda Leigh

243545553.5 Stars

Published June 30th 2015 by Montlake Romance

This is the second in the Scarlet Falls series, but the first I read/listened too. This was a romance hidden in the pages of an intense suspense book. The subject matter was quite disturbing as it dealt with human trafficking of underage girls as well as rape and murder. This stuff actually happens all over the world, so sometimes it is hard to read about. This did not take up a lot of the book, but enough to make it hard to read at times. Hannah, a successful lawyer, finds herself in the middle of a kidnapping and unfortunately fails at saving the young teenage girl. She can’t forget the look of terror in that poor girl’s eyes, and she can’t give up on trying to find her. The kidnapper, gets her back, but is concerned that he can be identified. Grabbing Hannah’s purse, he now knows how to find her and he will not give up even if it means traveling cross country to do it.

The criminals in this book are psychopaths. They are nasty and leave a trail of bodies in their wake. With all this going on, you would think this book would be a depressing story, but the romance kept it headed in the right direction and saved the story for me. Brody was a great hero. He respected Hannah and was a perfect match for her strong willed personality. I loved hearing about her family and how her father made sure all his children had the skills to protect themselves in any situation. My one complaint was that the ending was a bit anti-climactic. I would rather that all the girls had been saved and the ring squashed, but that isn’t the way most things end. Jewel survived and Hannah was happy about that, but it was just meh. I recommend this for readers who like a little romance with their suspense, and those who prefer a little less heat. If you can not stomach the topic of sex trafficking and rape, then you might want to pass on this one. Once again, I love being able to read and listen to this book at the same time from Kindle Unlimited.

Continue reading “Minutes to Kill (Scarlet Falls #2) by Melinda Leigh”

Liar Liar (Nicole Graves Mysteries #3) by Nancy Boyarsky

Liar Liar (Nicole Graves Mysteries #3)4 Stars

Published September 25th 2018 by Light Messages Publishing

Liar Liar by Nancy Boyarsky, is the first book in the Nicole Graves Mystery series that I have read. I would probably recommend that readers start at the beginning of this series and I know that I will go back and read the first two. In this book, Nicole Graves finds herself in a predicament once again. She is continuing to get in hours working as a PI, when her co-worker calls out sick. Nicole is entrusted to look after a witness in the high-profile, Oceanside University rape trial. Wanting to do her job and see justice served, she takes on the assignment despite her newly-engaged fiance’s concerns for her safety and privacy. After spending time with the rape victim in close quarters, Nicole catches small things that lead her to believe the victim may not be as truthful as others think. Will this young football player have his future derailed by this young girl? Is he telling the truth? Who else is lying in this mess? When Nicole decides to do some investigating on her own, she puts her relationship on the line. How far will she go to find the truth?

I was not sure what to expect when I started this book, but it was an excellent mystery. I was fully invested in this story, having a hard time stopping it when I had things to do. I really like the character of Nicole. She is smart and persistent and I really like her desire to seek justice and the truth. While the subject matter of a rape trial can be off putting, this book has no graphic descriptions of the crime. This is not a cozy mystery, but it has the same clean feel to it. There is a gripping storyline that had me thinking of various scenarios and the twist near the end was a good one. The red herrings along the way were there, but not obvious until you looked back on the story. A great mystery story that I would recommend to any mystery lover. I listened to the audiobook narrated by Jane Oppenheimer was well done and I enjoyed listening to this one.

Continue reading “Liar Liar (Nicole Graves Mysteries #3) by Nancy Boyarsky”

Lone Star Christmas (Coldwater Texas #1) by Delores Fossen

Lone Star Christmas4 Stars

Published September 25th 2018 by Hqn

Lone Star Christmas is the first in a new series set in the small town of Coldwater, Texas. Callen , Laramie hightailed it out of Coldwater when he was 18, never planning to return. When he receives an invitation to the wedding of Buck, his foster father and his longtime girlfriend Rosy, Callen declines. When he gets a call from Shelby, Jake’s daughter, he decides to head to Coldwater to find out what is going on. Shelby tells him Jake needs him. He is worried about seeing Shelby again, as he was in love with her all those years ago, and does not know how he will feel seeing her again. This is Callen’s and Shelby’s story. They must deal with some feelings that resurface, other family members, Buck’s secret, the wedding and someone who tries to stir up trouble. Will they be able to find their way to each other? Will Callen decide to stay in Coldwater? Only time will tell.

I really enjoyed this romance, even though the sex scenes were a bit more descriptive than I am comfortable with. It was funny and emotional all at the same time, with a certain cuteness as well. I loved the characters, the small town, the gossiping townsfolk, and the laugh out loud moments. I still can’t picture those beautiful red dresses with the added embellishments from Rosy on the QT. That wedding would have been a sight to see in real life. Callen and Shelby were great together. I was rooting for Callen to find some healing from his past and see that coming home would help him. He and his brothers went through some terrible situations. It was great to see, that even when angry that Callen took off never to look back, the brothers were there for one another when push came to shove. I can’t wait to see the other three brothers find their perfect mate and Happily Ever Afters. If you enjoy a great romance with a bit of physical loving thrown in, family dynamics and an unselfish man who gave a home to many foster children, then you will love this story. I will certainly watch for more in this series. The publisher, HARLEQUIN, generously provided me with a copy of this book to read. The rating, ideas and opinions shared are my own.

Continue reading “Lone Star Christmas (Coldwater Texas #1) by Delores Fossen”

Sister of Mine by Laurie Petrou

Sister of Mine4 Stars

Published April 17th 2018 by HarperCollins Publishers (Canada)

Published August 7th 2018 by Crooked Lane Books (U. S.)

When I started reading reviews on this book around the blogosphere, as well as seeing that the author is Canadian, I picked this book up at the library to read. This is a domestic thriller with a lot of family drama. There are secrets, life-changing secrets, and debts that need to be paid. I do not want to give the plot and story away, so will be very brief in that area.

When their father leaves the home at a young age, their mother raises them alone. Penny promises her mother that she will look after Hattie if anything ever happens to her. When she dies, Penny promises herself that she will look after Hattie. After Penny’s husband dies in a house fire, Penny and Hattie live together in their childhood home. When Penny brings a man home, Hattie and Jameson hit it off and their lives change again. Things between all of them will never be the same. Words such as “you owe me” are said, hidden resentments, jealousy, secrets and lies bubble to the surface. Will their loyalty and sisterly bonds be enough to weather any storm? Will the burden of keeping a secret burn a hole in their relationship and sever their bond?

This is a well-written domestic thriller. The sisters are well developed and the central focus remains on their volatile relationship throughout. Fire is central to this story, whether deliberate or not, they are dangerous and can kill. From the very beginning of this story, you know something bad happened between these two sisters, and that is what kept me reading. I was not prepared for the ending of this book at all, but it was true to the theme of Sisters. What will they do for each other?

Continue reading “Sister of Mine by Laurie Petrou”

Dear Mrs. Bird by A.J. Pearce

Dear Mrs. Bird3.5 Stars

Published July 3rd 2018 by Scribner

Emmeline Lake, Emmy, works for a solicitor by day and volunteers by answering phones for the fire brigade a few nights a week due to London being blitzed regularly by the Luftwaffe. This is not her dream job. She dreams of becoming a war correspondent or a journalist covering political intrigue. Discovering a newspaper ad for part-time work at The London Evening Chronicle, she immediately applies for this part-time job and is hired. Imagine her surprise when she finds out that the job she has gotten is nothing more than a junior typist job for Woman’s Friend Magazine. She is to read letter sent in to Mrs. Bird, then type her responses for the column Henrietta Helps. The only problem is that the imposing Mrs. Bird has a list of unacceptable topics or words, so she answers very few letters. Because Emmy reads the letters and feels badly for those who will not get a reply, she secretly decides to send kindly responses to women desperate enough to write in and sign them Mrs. Bird. When the bombing of London hits too close to home for Emmy, she has to deal with her best friend’s injuries and emotional problems.

“Dear Mrs. Bird” is a historical fiction novel that elicits a lot of feelings and emotions. The reality of what happened in London during the blitz is heartbreaking. This book is a tribute to the women remaining at home in a country under siege. This is reflected with Emmy who is also a volunteer with the Fire Brigade, answering calls each night as the bombings occur, as well as with those who write letters to Henrietta Bird seeking advice as they try to deal with their real problems. At times it is funny and light, but also sad and horrifying as we see the destruction and losses. There were a few times that I was very frustrated with Emmy. She tended to be a bit overbearing and dishonest at various times in the story. Overall, I enjoyed this story and if you like WWII stories, historical fiction, women’s stories, then I recommend you give this book a try. The publisher, Scribner, generously provided me with a copy of this book to read. The ratings, ideas and opinions are my own.

Continue reading “Dear Mrs. Bird by A.J. Pearce”

I See Life Through Rosé-Colored Glasses (The Amazing Adventures of an Ordinary Woman #9) by Lisa Scottoline, Francesca Serritella

I See Life Through Rosé-Colored Glasses (The Amazing Adventures of an Ordinary Woman, #9)4 Stars

Published July 10th 2018 by St. Martin’s Press

I have read several of these essay books by Lisa and Francesca and I enjoy them. They are a collection of short anecdotes (newspaper column-type) of their lives. This book highlights many humorous moments in their lives and allows you a peak at various areas such as their love life, pets, jobs, friends etc. The authors poke fun at themselves and at each other yet nothing is ever said in a mean-spirited way. It is obvious they have an incredibly close relationship. Throw in the jokes and jibes that come with a large Italian family, body changes, wardrobe malfunctions, technology and phobias and everyone will find something in this book that they can identify with and laugh at themselves. These are great books that I would recommend to other mothers and daughters so they can see the other side of the coin. Because each story is a short chapter this is a great book for busy people because they can pick it up and read a story in between their busy tasks. Women will definitely enjoy this book and probably all the others this mother/daughter team has written. I am definitely going to continue reading these humorous books so I can laugh at both my and their lives. We need that. The publisher, St. Martin’s Press, generously provided me with a copy of this book to read and enjoy, the rating, ideas and opinions are my own.

Continue reading “I See Life Through Rosé-Colored Glasses (The Amazing Adventures of an Ordinary Woman #9) by Lisa Scottoline, Francesca Serritella”

What I’ve Done (Morgan Dane #4) by Melinda Leigh

What I've Done (Morgan Dane #4)5 Stars

Published September 18th 2018 by Montlake Romance

In this fourth Morgan Dane romantic thriller, we once again find Morgan and her boyfriend, P.I. Lance Kruger, working a case that has a connection to someone they know. The book opens with a young woman, Haley Powell, waking up with blood on her hands and feet, and a blood trail from the bedroom she is sleeping in through the hallway and to a dead body. She remembers nothing that happened after leaving a bar with the victim. We also learn about the death of Lincoln Sharp’s partner years earlier when he was a cop. He promised his dying partner that he would take care of his family. Haley, is his daughter.

Morgan was a former prosecutor but she is now on the other side of the courtroom taking on cases as a defense attorney. This book actually has her in court defending a man who has some issues with anger management, much to Morgan’s detriment. Morgan is a tough as nails lead who is backed by her P.I. partners who are also very likable. She is also extremely smart, which balances the brawn from the men. The romance between Morgan and Lance has been a slow build over the previous books, kept in the background of some intense cases with plenty of action in the investigations. There’s just the right amount of questioning suspects, following clues and forensics to give it a realistic feel with some great twists and turns along the way.

What I’ve Done by Melinda Leigh is a great addition to the romantic suspenseful Morgan Dane series. Each book in the series features a new case to solve so they could be read as standalone however, there is a lot of character development and background that carries over book to book so I would recommend reading it in order. This is a wonderful series that I have breezed through as I can’t wait to see what is next for this trio.  I have been listening to this series via Kindle Unlimited and the narration is wonderful. It is easy to determine which character is speaking and the action is intensified with the voice. I recommend it to lovers of mystery, crime, and romantic suspense.

Continue reading “What I’ve Done (Morgan Dane #4) by Melinda Leigh”

Don’t Call Me Cupcake (The Holloway Girls #1) by Tara Sheets

Don't Call Me Cupcake (The Holloway Girls, #1)4.5 Stars

Published April 24th 2018 by Zebra Shout

In the small town of Pine Cove, the Holloway family have been known for their magic for generations. Emma’s family has baked magic infused cupcakes to fix what ails, bring contentment, success, or lift someone’s spirits. Emma meets a new, handsome man in town and sells him her “success” cupcakes. He eats all three, before Emma finds out that he is Hunter Kane, a big city entrepreneur who has come to Pine Cove Island to build a competitive business near her cupcake/sweet shop. Emma can’t afford to lose any business as money is very tight. Her old house is in need of urgent repairs, her mortgage is past due, and she can’t pay her rent on her shop. Emma wants Hunter gone, so she and her cousin plan to whip up a cupcake that will make him want to leave. Unfortunately, their intense and irresistible attraction to one another has Emma reevaluating her plan of baking a magical “be-gone” cupcake to get rid of him.

Don’t Call Me Cupcake was a sweet, magical romance that I really enjoyed. Hunter and Emma knock heads a bit when they first meet, but sparks flew every time they were together. They were fun together and even though there was a mutual attractions, they were careful and did not rush into a physical relationship. I loved the magical aspect to the story. We had Emma’s special cupcakes, Juliet’s magic with plants and flowers and the house itself. Things were moved and found all over the place and always when they were needed. The story itself was sweet, with wonderful townspeople, some good character building, some angst, missteps, and even an ex-boyfriend who causes some problems. Pine Cove sounded like a quaint, beautiful seaside town, making the story even more charming, and a place I would love to visit. I really enjoy the Holloway Girls and look forward to reading Juliet’s story in the next book in this series coming out later this month.

Continue reading “Don’t Call Me Cupcake (The Holloway Girls #1) by Tara Sheets”

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