Perfect Husband: A Fake Marriage Romance by Leslie Johnson

Author’s Synopsis

Met another girl. Sorry, Tiff. It’s over.

My ex dumped me with a text. That’s okay, I met a hot blonde. Yep, he was hot all right. Enough to make me forget about Andy as I ran my gaze over his godlike features. Strong jaw. Muscles that were evident even beneath the expensive material of his suit. He needs a favor. What do I have to lose?

My Views

This is a sweet romance with good lead characters but somewhere in the middle, I fell out of love with the story. When the couple stopped talking and gave themselves some time out I no longer related to the characters and the story fell flat. It made for an uncomfortable read for a while but it did get back on track. I’m a big fan of conflict in romances but this felt too uncomfortable for my liking. I’ll still give the book a four-star rating though.


Perfect Husband


The Firemaker (China Thrillers #1) by Peter May

Author’s Synopsis

Margaret Campbell, a Chicago forensic pathologist, has been invited by the Chinese government to teach at the Beijing police university. She has accepted the six-week assignment with misgivings but is desperate to escape a troubled life in America. Arriving in Beijing, she checks “nothing to declare” on the health declaration they gave her on the plane—nothing, that is, “except a broken heart and a wasted life, neither of which was contagious.”

She gets off to a bad start when her car knocks senior detective Li Yan off his bicycle. In a furious clash, he dresses her down in perfect English. But Li soon finds himself reintroduced to Margaret by his superiors when the newly promoted detective’s first case requires Margaret’s special expertise to identify a horribly burned corpse. Thrown together to track down the killer, Margaret and Li must bury their personal and cultural differences when they uncover a conspiracy that threatens not only their lives, but the lives of millions.

My Views

I’m a fan of May’s work and I prefer the audio versions read by Peter Forbes who gives May’s beautiful language a melodic voice. His books are usually set In Scotland and the Hebridean Isles but these stories centre on an American woman in China and I wasn’t sure if I liked it at first. I soon changed my mind.

The story unfolds and the detective element is balanced nicely with a hint of romance but not enough to put the book in the romance genre. Margaret is a strong female lead but she has very little power in China where, the moment she opens her mouth, every conceivable faux pas pops out resulting in loss of face for anyone nearby.

Li’s reluctance to get involved with Margaret is palpable but when they’re thrown together, he slowly begins to warm to her. Li’s innate innocence is endearing but his current case takes a turn for the personal.

May’s beautiful description and eye for the aesthetics in life still shines through even though the difference between his portrayal of China and that of Scotland are worlds apart and that is what makes his books so addictive.

The Firemaker

Cruel to be Kind by Cathy Glass

Author’s Synopsis

Cruel To Be Kind is the true story of Max, aged 6. He is fostered by Cathy while his mother is in hospital with complications from type 2 diabetes. Fostering Max gets off to a bad start when his mother, Caz, complains and threatens Cathy even before Max has moved in. Cathy and her family are shocked when they first meet Max. But his social worker isn’t the only one in denial; his whole family are too.

My Views

This story was both incredibly sad and uplifting. Glass’ memoirs are beautifully and honestly told, and the story is full of heartbreak and tragedy. Glass doesn’t tint the memory to give it an angle, and this honesty is difficult to hear but it isn’t all sad. The author’s ability to make a difference both physically and emotionally is what the story is about and also the reason why it should be told. She’s one of life’s angels.

Cruel to be Kind

Bottling It (A Wayfair Witches Cozy Mystery) by A. A. Albright

Author’s Synopsis

Wanda Wayfair is a bit of a late starter.

At almost twenty-one she still hasn’t received her magical powers, and she’s running out of time. But that doesn’t bother Wanda. Much. Not when she can spend all of her time in the human world and pretend that her coven doesn’t exist. But when Wanda takes a job at Berrys’ Bottlers, working with the handsome Will Berry and his unpleasant Aunt Alice, she soon realises that she’s a lot closer to the magical world than she thought.

All over Dublin, humans are murdering witches. When asked why, all they’ll say is, ‘I dunno why I done it.’ But Wanda thinks she does know why they’ve done it – and hopefully she’ll receive her power in time to help her coven discover the truth.

My Views

Wanda is used to being a witch without any powers so when strange things start to happen to her she brushes them aside. Starting a new job under the steamy gaze of Will Berry and the ever-watchful eye of his judgemental aunt are hard enough but moving to a new house with plenty of surprises should top her over the edge but it’s the talking rat that catches her focus once more.

This cosy mystery is not all that cosy when the main character is in constant motion but it makes up for that by introducing the reader to a whole new world with some really cool characters. I can’t say that I’m going to miss the rat when I pick up book two in this series but I’m sure Wanda will have a new friend to keep her ultra-busy.

Bottling It


The Alamo (John Milton #11) by Mark Dawson

Author’s Synopsis

John Milton has finally found a place to escape the bloodshed: off-season Coney Island. No tourists. No special ops. Just peace and quiet. But when a local boy witnesses a grisly murder, Milton can’t resist investigating.

Milton uncovers a vicious drug kingpin and a group of crooked cops from a notorious precinct known as “The Alamo.” Against such dangerous foes, Milton’s quest for redemption could come to an end.

My Views

No matter where John goes he always runs into trouble and this time is no exception. Wanting to help a family suffering from a bad neighbourhood he begins to root out the evil but pretty soon he’s the one being questioned and he’s not sure who he can trust.

I’m a big fan of the John Milton series but my favourite of the stories are the ones which involved children. John Milton maybe a hard-arsed killer but there’s still a soft centre in there and the innocent bring it out. Milton is a strangely likeable character and I am kind of hoping he gets some romance further down the line – hint, hint Dawson…

The Alamo.jpg

Miss Frost Saves the Sandman: A Nocturne Falls Mystery (Jayne Frost #3) by Kristen Painter

Miss Frost saves the sandman

Author’s Synopsis

Welcome to Nocturne Falls, the town that celebrates Halloween 365 days a year. Jayne Frost is a lot of things. Winter elf, Jack Frost’s daughter, Santa Claus’s niece, heir to the Winter Throne and now… private investigator. Sort of.

When the Sandman comes to Santa’s Workshop, the shop Jayne manages, to do his first ever book signing, it’s a major event. He’s kind of a supernatural celebrity and she needs to keep him happy. All is well until trouble shows up at the party thrown in his honor. Trouble in the form of Luna Nyx, the Mistress of Nightmares and his creepy counterpart. The Sandman’s assistant says Luna is dangerous, and Jayne believes it when her dreams turn dark. Can Jayne keep the Sandman safe from this gothic goddess? Or will Luna’s threats put them both to sleep for good?

My Views 

Jayne Frost is back along with a few friends including the adorable Spider, her talking cat. Not only is she dating two of the best-looking men in town but she’s also right at the heart of yet another crime. Who knew a winter elf could have so much fun?

I am a little addicted to Spider. Jayne is great fun, but the cat is my favourite character. This story is yet another easy read mystery with a light and breezy feel. The magic and mystery are charming as are the characters. I must admit that I can’t wait to find out who Jayne chooses out of her eager dates but my money is on the vampire.

Broken Melody: A Twisted Vampire Tale by Jospeh Kiel

Author’s Synopsis

Carefree student Melody Freeman has just woken up with a hangover from hell, no memory of the night before and two bite marks on her neck. With a nagging desire to find out just what she got up to last night, she again hits the city with her best friend Rachel to retrace their steps.

What follows soon descends towards another night of forgotten debauchery until Melody learns the truth: last night she was infected… by a vampire. Worse still, a group of vampire slayers have captured her and when the sun comes up the next morning and fangs sprout from her mouth, Melody will be executed.

But that is unless she can undo the transformation by finding the very vampire that infected her and killing him. Melody and Rachel set out on the hunt into the forbidden corners of Meridian on the ultimate all-nighter. It will be a night of warped challenges and perversions, filled with sex, drugs and rock ‘n roll. A twisted race against time before she turns…
My Views

This full-action book is refreshingly British. Melody isn’t the kind of character you want to fully identify with but secretly you get her, you’ve been her, and you still hanker after her zest for life. Kiel has created a seedy underground world within a fictional, albeit typically British, city and filled it with mysterious paranormal creatures and regular human lowlifes. The story is a journey where Melody’s life remains precariously balanced but that doesn’t stop her on her quest.

This novel is darkly funny, intriguing, and strangely emotional. The cover really suits the book and I hope Kiel creates some kind of series out of this standalone story because the characters are desperate to come out to play.

Broken Melody