Carla Loves To Read



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”

The Wife by Alafair Burke

The Wife4.5 – 5 Stars

Published January 23rd 2018 by Harper

The wife, Angela. is our narrator. She is somewhat of a stepford wife loved her husband and son Spencer, but she has a huge secret, in fact several. The husband Jason is a successful author, business man and university professor, he is also a huge flirt. They are living in a dream home in Greenwich Village and their son attends a prestigious private school. Rachel, an intern at work, enters the story with some accusations against Jason and things start to get messy. Angela will do anything to protect her husband (or will she)? The second narrator, Detective Corinne Duncan is relentless and keeps showing up on the couples front door step. She is sure that she will evenutally turn Angela against her husband. We’ll soon find out just how good an investigator she is and what Angela is willing to do or not do to protect Jason.

In THE WIFE, Alafair Burke has created the perfect blend of a character driven suspense novel with some police investigation, some legal maneuvering and a lot of family and friendship drama and angst. Burke is a gifted storyteller and creates tension in small ways. The story is very realistic and timely, with all the women coming forward recently. The story is full of twists, some small, some large but not obvious. There are clues throughout the book, and I had begun to piece some things together before they were revealed, but that ending …. WOW! If you love psychological suspense, legal wrangling, questions of guilt and innocence with a twist, then you need to read this book.

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The Girl from the Sea by Shalini Boland

The Girl from the Sea4 Stars

Published June 9th 2016 by Adrenalin Books

I enjoyed this story very much. I listened to it on audio and at seven hours, I listened to it off and on over a day and a bit. The story seemed a bit familiar, woman washes up on a beach and has amnesia. Her boyfriend shows up at the hospital and claims her. She heads home trying to piece her life back together but this “new woman” doesn’t feel comfortable in this life. Does she dump her boyfriend? Does she go after Jack from the rowing club? How did she end up in the sea?

The story may have familiar themes, but the actual storyline had some very different twists and turns to it. As the story unwinds you think you know what happened, then boom, another clue is revealed to take you in a different direction. The story is tied up nicely even though not what I expected, and I was happy with the ending. I will be reading more by this author.

Continue reading “The Girl from the Sea by Shalini Boland”

The Forgotten Ones by Steena Holmes

The Forgotten Ones4.5 Stars

Published April 1st 2018 by Lake Union Publishing

The Forgotten Ones is a heart-breaking novel that will break your heart many times over. It explores mental illness and how it affects families, love and loss.

Elle is a nurse who works in pediatrics at the local hospital with her best friend Brennley. Bren works in the cancer ward and tells Elle about one of her patients. David is a cranky old man who has no one to spend time with him. He is estranged from his daughter and his granddaughter does not even know he exists. When Bren helps him write one last letter to his daughter, she realizes that her patient is actually her best friend Elle’s grandfather. Elle has never met this grandfather and was always told by her mother Marie that her grandparents were both dead. Elle is curious and wants to meet her grandfather. She wants to find out about her mother’s past and get to know this man. Elle starts meet with David on a regular basis and he starts telling her stories about her mother Marie’s past as well as his and Gertie’s relationship with her. Marie is not happy that Elle is seeing her grandfather. Grace, her mother’s caregiver continually tells Elle that his stories are not true. Will Elle ever find out the truth about her mother’s past? Is David telling the truth?

Elle is a very strong young woman. She has cared for her mother for years, but is trying to have a life of her own. Family ties are strong and so is loyalty. David is a sad character. He has dealt with woman all his life that have mental illness in varying degrees, but his love for his wife, Gertie, leads him to make some bad decisions that not only affect his life, but his daughter’s and granddaughter’s as well. The emotions that this book evokes are strong and have left me thinking about what I would do in the same situation. What will you do for the person you love? If you enjoy an emotive read, pick this one up. Continue reading “The Forgotten Ones by Steena Holmes”

The Girl in the Woods by Patricia MacDonald

The Girl in the Woods3 Stars

Published June 1st 2018 by Severn House Publishers

The Girl in the Woods by author Patricia MacDonald was a very twisty story. It is the story of Blair both before and after her move from home. At the age of 13, Blair’s best friend Molly is murdered after her Uncle Ellis sends her home alone in the rain. Blair has always felt guilty about this situation. Uncle Ellis took the girls in after their mother died and he was not a very good guardian. he was bigoted, cheap, mean, and more. The only thing he did not seem to do was sexually or physically assault the girls. When Blair got the opportunity, she left, got a great education and started her own business. When she gets the call that her sister is now in hospice, she returns home to spend time with her in her last few days or weeks. Shortly before Celeste dies she whispers a confession to Blair that reveals that the man who has been in prison for 15 years for killing Molly is innocent. Blair is shocked and promises Celeste that she will do everything she can to free him. It is not easy to get those in authority to listen, believe, and become involved in freeing a convicted man. Blair realizes that it is up to her to find the real killer in order to keep her promise to Celeste. There are a lot of clues still out there and as Blair finds more and more information, the story takes several turns.

The characters in the story are all fascinating. Ellis Dietz, the crotchety uncle, is easy to dislike, until he does something that makes you think, maybe he is not all bad. The P.I. that Blair hires seems to not care about the case, but then does everything he can to help Blair. The newspaper reporter who starts off helping Blair, leaves her high and dry when it benefits her. Even Blair’s young nephew has to make some pretty heavy decisions and as young people often do, takes a misstep along the way that could be very dangerous.

The Girl in the Woods by author Patricia MacDonald was a good story. I enjoyed the book not only for the psychological suspense but also for the questions it brought to my mind about the whole plot of the story. What would you do in this situation? The thing I did not like was that there were several themes that seemed to be taken from various stories and lumped together in this book. I did figure out who the murderer was early in the story, but not why. I liked this book and once I started reading I finished it quickly as I wanted to see what would happen next. Those who enjoy thriller/suspense stories, will enjoy this one. The publisher generously provided me with a copy of this book via Netgalley.

Continue reading “The Girl in the Woods by Patricia MacDonald”

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