Carla Loves To Read



The Marsh King’s Daughter by Karen Dionne

The Marsh King's Daughter5 Stars

Published June 13th 2017 by G.P. Putnam’s Sons

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Hour of Need (Scarlet Falls #1) by Melinda Leigh

227308704.5 Stars

Published December 9th 2014 by Montlake Romance

I read the second and third books of this trilogy before this one. It was okay, there were not a lot of things that I already knew that the story was spoiled, but if you can read them in order, that is what I would recommend.

The story begins with Lee and Kate Barrett being shot and killed while out for dinner. Left behind are their two young children, three siblings and a father with dementia. Major Grant Barrett returns home from Afghanistan to care for his niece and nephew until one of his siblings is in a position to do so. He’s reeling from shock and grief over their murders, and he feels out of his element caring for two small children. Grant’s main objectives are bringing his brother’s killer to justice and the welfare of his brother’s orphaned children. He thinks this the worst of his problems until the house is burglarized, someone tries to kidnap the teenage babysitter and the children, and his neighbour, Ellie, the babysitter’s mother, is threatened. What was Lee into? Who is looking for casefiles of a civil suit? Why is a killer after the children? When Hannah and Mac arrive home and band together, the Barrett family will not stop until they know the children are safe and the murderer is behind bars.

Grant is a great romantic hero. He is strong, protective, handsome, and determined to find his brother’s killer, but with tenderness that any female would find hard to resist. He was so good with the kids. Six-year-old Carson immediately latched onto Grant, his only security after finding out his parents were never coming home. Baby Faith was a colicky four-month-old that could test any parent’s limits with lungs loud enough to wake the dead. Family and neighbours took turns helping out with the children as Grant adjusted. Ellie was also a great character, a single mom trying to do what’s best for her family. She was scared to death over the threat to her family, and was not sure who to trust, but as she got to know Grant better, she realized that he would also protect her and her family. As Grant and Ellie got to know each other better, they remembered the tug they felt the last time they met. They tried to resist their feelings toward each other as Grant was heading back to Afghanistan after his leave ended.

Hour of Need combined all the elements of romantic suspense that I love: danger, mystery, action and a solid love story. Grant and Ellie were likable, multilayered characters making this more than just an action packed mystery, but a story with heart and depth. The next two stories in this series, sharing the stories of Hannah and Mac are just as well written and entertaining.

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A Merciful Secret (Mercy Kilpatrick #3) by Kendra Elliot

A Merciful Secret (Mercy Kilpatrick, #3)4 Stars

Published January 16th 2018 by Montlake Romance

This is the third book in the Mercy Kilpatrick series and the best one so far. FBI Agent Mercy Kilpatrick is not only a dedicated agent, she is also a ‘prepper’, not a an anti-government person, but someone who believes that a catastrophe will occur someday and they need to be prepared. She was raised this way by her parents and even though she left home as a teenager, it is ingrained in her mind. She has a cabin deep in the woods where she goes every chance she gets where she has stockpiled food, ammunition, and other supplies. She is on her way to her cabin late one night, when a young girl runs out of the woods, covered in blood, asking her to help her grandmother. She has been stabbed in a ritual way and does not survive. Knowing this is not an FBI case, she calls Police Chief Truman Daly to the scene. It is the next day that they discover a judge, miles away in Portland has been killed the same way. What is the connection between the judge and an elderly woman known as a witch, complete with potions and spells and many ritual knives hidden behind the wall. Now it is an FBI case.

The book is well written with a great plot. Even though this series is labelled romantic suspense, I find it is more suspense with a bit of romance. The young girl, Morrigan, and her mother Salome, are running from someone, but it is not until the very end of the book that we finally find out who is after them and why. The suspense builds and builds until the surprising, explosive ending. Of course Mercy is once again threatened and in some danger as she does her best to protect these citizens of Eagle’s Nest. I love the character of Truman. He is steady strong, standing by Mercy in her personal dealings with her family and when she needs his support through her work. They are a great couple. I am glad to see their relationship move forward. This book can be read as a standalone, but I would recommend that you read them in order to find out the whole story of Mercy and her family. Once again, I read and listened to this book with Kindle Unlimited. I continue to enjoy listening to this series.

Continue reading “A Merciful Secret (Mercy Kilpatrick #3) by Kendra Elliot”

A Merciful Truth (Mercy Kilpatrick #2) by Kendra Elliot

328851784 Stars

Published June 6th 2017 by Montlake Romance

I am really enjoying my Kindle Unlimited Subscription, especially with these read and listen books. I am enjoying the narration of this series by Teri Schnaubelt. She is a great narrator and does a good job with the voices in this story. In this addition to the series, the book starts off with a bang. There have been some small fires in the town, so when the barn fire is called in there is not a big concern until two deputies get killed. This brings in the FBI, with Mercy Kirkpatrick being the main agent investigating the crimes. This is the second book in the series, and even though there is enough information to bring the reader up to date, I would recommend reading this series in order.

Mercy is a great character with quite a past. She was born to a family of preppers, but shunned by them since her late teens, when she moved away to go to school. She is working hard trying to repair the relationship with her family, but not having a lot of success. She is leary of trusting anyone, but she has gotten involved with Police Chief Truman Daly since they worked together in the last book and has decided to remain in Eagle’s Nest, Oregon. She has taken on the care of her niece Kaley, since her brother Levi was killed in the first book of this series. This shows us another side of Mercy. I enjoy seeing Mercy’s growth in this book. She is learning to trust again and repairing relationships with some of her family. Truman is still a bit of a mystery, as his role in the story seems to be helping Mercy solve the crimes and as her partner to assist her in dealing with trauma and the situations she finds herself in. I hope to see more of him in future books as well as learn more about him.

Kendra Elliot does a great job with the “Prepper”storyline. We see the spectrum of anti-government sentiment that seems to go along with this group. Although Mercy’s family are preppers, they are not strong advocates in militias. As Mercy gets involved in this investigation and closer to the man who seems to be “in charge” of this new group setting up in Eagle’s Nest, she becomes worried about her family and how they are involved with this group. The ending came hard and fast once you reached the climax and I raced to the end to see what was going to happen. There was a big twist at the end that I was not expecting, and it added to a great ending. I am looking forward to the next book in this series, A MERCIFUL SECRET.

Continue reading “A Merciful Truth (Mercy Kilpatrick #2) by Kendra Elliot”

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”

Her Last Goodbye (Morgan Dane #2) by Melinda Leigh

Her Last Goodbye (Morgan Dane #2)4.5 Stars

Published September 26th 2017 by Montlake Romance

Chelsea Clark, a loving young mother to two young children, disappears. When the police focus on her husband Tim, he hires Morgan Dane, an attorney. Morgan, a widow with three children, teams up with Lance Kurger, a retired cop and P.I. to investigate. As they uncover things, and poke into the wrong anthills, Morgan finds herself becoming a target of a stalker and possible kidnapper. Will they find Chelsea before she ends up dead?

Her Last Goodbye is the second book in the Morgan Dane series by Melinda Leigh. This book finds Lance and Morgan becoming closer in their personal relationship. Morgan’s sisters also make an appearance in this story showing how close and loyal they are to family. I enjoyed meeting Morgan’s youngest daughter as well. She is a cutie who is a bit leary of some, but not all. When she is scared, her actions and feelings will melt your heart. This book was a thriller that has a few small twists and a huge one near the end. I had an inkling something big was coming and I was right. I really enjoyed the plot and the quick pace of this story. The romance part of the book is not a huge story line, but meshes well with the action that is taking place. This is the second book in the series, but you can read it as a standalone, however, I loved the first book as well and recommend not missing any. I listened to the audio book that was available on Kindle Unlimited and it was very well done, once again, pulling me in to the action just a bit more than reading it. I am looking forward to picking up the next one in this series, Bones Don’t Lie.

Continue reading “Her Last Goodbye (Morgan Dane #2) by Melinda Leigh”

Mercy by Michael Palmer, Daniel Palmer

261145104.5 Stars

Published May 17th 2016 by St. Martin’s Press

The book opens with someone killing a terminally ill patient, a mercy killing, except the patient did not ask for it. Dr. Julie Devereux is a critical care physician working in Boston. She’s also an advocate for death with dignity. She believes that patients should be able to end their suffering on their own terms, that is until her fiancee suffers serious injuries and paralysis in a motorcycle accident. When he begs Julie to help him die, she enlists the help of a volunteer with the organization Very Much Alive to help Sam recover his desire to live. Sam starts to get better, when he suddenly dies. Julie orders an autopsy and what she finds leads her in a search for the reason for several unusual deaths. With the help of others in the hospital, she puts together the pieces at risk to her own job.

The philosophical debate that is the heart of this novel is very timely. Mercy or murder? Do the terminally ill or the severely disabled deserve the right to die at their own request and in their own time to avoid inhumane suffering? Or should suicide or assisted suicide in those cases remain illegal and generally thought immoral? Would allowing it lead to abuse or reduced care? Beyond this question, this is a Medical thriller that had me reading fast and furious. This was a realistic story (as far as the ill patients, discussion of right to die) with lots of medical action and terminology, intensive care, pathology, laboratory analysis and more. Of course there are also plotlines that are a bit far-fetched, but there is always license with fiction to fictionalize. I liked the character of Julie. She was a hard worker, very smart and intuitive, friendly to her co-workers and willing to put herself out there to find out what was going on. The only think I was unsure of was the fact that she is able to disconnect from work completely when she goes home. I wish I could have done that and I was in education, not as stressful or life altering as a medical career. This was a fast-paced story that I really enjoyed! I was unable to solve the full mystery of who was involved in these killings until the very end when it was all put together and revealed to the reader, yet it all made sense. I have read one other book by Michael Palmer, but will definitely be looking for others.

Continue reading “Mercy by Michael Palmer, Daniel Palmer”

Lie to Me by J.T. Ellison

Lie to Me4 Stars

Published September 5th 2017 by Mira Books

This is a domestic thriller, that bounces between 3 and 4 stars. When I first started to realize a bit of what was going on in this story, I thought, this is just like Gone Girl. Well, there are some similarities, but with the final twists and turns, truths coming out and the various story lines pulled together, it was no Gone Girl. There were some slow parts in the middle of the book, which dragged it down a bit, but the ending made up for this.

I listened to the audiobook of this one and at times, I had to go back and listen to something again. There were subtle pieces of information that I had to make sure I understood. The first half of the story is told from Ethan’s point of view, then the second half switches to Sutton’s perspective. While these two both had compelling stories and strong voices the addition of a third unknown narrator added something downright menacing to the story. This person speaks directly to the reader in a bitter, cruel voice that sent chills up my spine. The chapters were brief, I kept saying I will just listen to one more. I actually stayed up late into the night to finish this book. Most of the story is told in the present but there are times when it flips back to various times in Sutton and Ethan’s relationship that helped to shed light on how they came to be at the awful point they’re at today.

Sutton and Ethan are both writers who have had their ups and downs. Unfortunately, that is one os the things that caused their relationship to have difficulties. They were both competitive and jealous and Ethan did not think much of Sutton’s type of book. When they were having difficulty in their marriage, Ethan decides that they should have a baby. Sutton did not want a child, but once he was born, she loved him very much. When he tragically dies from SIDS, she falls apart and ends up in a psychiatric hospital. When Sutton disappears, her friends accuse Ethan of doing something to her. Besides this, I am not going to give away anymore of the plot.

J.T. Ellison does a wonderful job of taking her readers for a ride. Just when you think you have something figured out, something happens to take you in a different direction. This was an entertaining, dramatic story. It is intelligently crafted and delivered twists and turns right up until the final pages. I am ready to pick up J.T. Ellison’s newest book to go on another roller-coaster ride. Continue reading “Lie to Me by J.T. Ellison”

Double Blind (Kendra Michaels #6) by Iris Johansen, Roy Johansen

Double Blind (Kendra Michaels, #6)3 Stars

Published July 17th 2018 by St. Martin’s Press

If you are a fan of Iris Johansen, you will enjoy this story. If you have read any of the Kendra Michaels books, this is another suspenseful story involving her well-honed senses that she developed while she was blind and trained after her successful stem cell surgery. There is not as much of her life dealing with music therapy in this book, which I missed. Once again, Michael Griffin, Special Agent in charge of the San Diego FBI office, draws Kendra into a case involving dead and missing women. A woman has purposely run into traffic and been killed a few blocks from Kendra’s home. The police have found an envelope containing a memory stick with Kendra’s name on it. Luckily she has Lynch, the man called upon by governments or their agencies for special jobs. Lynch stays at Kendra’s side while she is consulting on this case. As usual, she becomes a target from the psychopath that she and the FBI are trying to find.

Jessie Mercado, a private detective and friend to Kendra, also makes an appearance to help Kendra with some surveillance. Olivia, Kendra’s best friend is also important to the story in both the hero and victim role. The women in this story are strong, smart, have amazing skills, are determined and close to fearless. They are also loyal to one another and their true friends. The pacing and plot kept me turning the pages to see what was going to happen next. I am finding that these books are still enjoyable, but not necessarily as heart pounding as they were when I started reading them. The writing and story are still good, it is my interest that is waning somewhat. This is a series that does not have to be read in order, but as characters have been added to it, it will help you understand about the relationships if you do. The publisher, St. Martin’s Press, provided me with a copy of this book to read. The opinions stated are my own.

Continue reading “Double Blind (Kendra Michaels #6) by Iris Johansen, Roy Johansen”

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