Audiobook Review: Almost Missed You by Jessica Strawser

Narrator: Therese Plummer

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Title: Almost Missed You by Jessica Strawser
Release Date: March 28th 2017
Format: e-ARC (320 pages) Format: Audiobook: (9 hrs and 39 mins)
Genre: Suspense, Thriller
Published By: St. Martin Press
Purchase Links: Amazon US Barnes & Noble

Violet and Finn were “meant to be,” said everyone, always. They ended up together by the hands of fate aligning things just so. Three years into their marriage, they have a wonderful little boy, and as the three of them embark on their first vacation as a family, Violet can’t help thinking that she can’t believe her luck. Life is good.

So no one is more surprised than she when Finn leaves her at the beach—just packs up the hotel room and disappears. And takes their son with him. Violet is suddenly in her own worst nightmare, and faced with the knowledge that the man she’s shared her life with, she never really knew at all.

Caitlin and Finn have been best friends since way back when, but when Finn shows up on Caitlin’s doorstep with the son he’s wanted for kidnapping, demands that she hide them from the authorities, and threatens to reveal a secret that could destroy her own family if she doesn’t, Caitlin faces an impossible choice.

Told through alternating viewpoints of Violet, Finn and Caitlin, Almost Missed You is a powerful story of a mother’s love, a husband’s betrayal, connections that maybe should have been missed, secrets that perhaps shouldn’t have been kept, and spaces between what’s meant to be and what might have been.

four-stars

This book was definitely a page turner. I had no idea what to expect and I listened to the entire audiobook in one sitting. At the center of this book was a missing three-year-old boy and his frantic mother desperately looking answers to help her find him.

Violet and her husband Finn took their three-year-old son Bear to Florida for their first big family vacation. Finn takes Bear out so Violet can catch some sleep but when she wakes up, Finn and Bear have vanished. The question became, why would Finn take Bear and disappear.

I knew something wasn’t right after I heard how perfect Violet and Finn were. Those kinds of comments foreshadow some unfortunate revelation that the only insiders would be privy to know. Then there was Caitlin, Finn’s best friend but also a close friend to Violet who was caught in the middle.

The author weaved this tale using the viewpoints of Violet, Finn and Caitlin both using the past as well as the current situation. I was able to follow the audio without getting lost because each person has different voice and different motive. As the secrets began unraveling, the true fear and driving force behind each character’s actions were exposed.

This story reminds me that communication is the foundation of any lasting relationship. These characters didn’t divulge some seriously important facets of their pasts and those secrets came to threaten their shallowly built future. It was well written and completely absorbed in the story.

I was desperately trying to figure out what the mystery at the heart of the abduction of a little boy. The author did a job of creating sympathy for Finn, Violet, Caitlin and George. They were all flawed but were redeemable. This book was quite intriguing and it had a lot more depth than I was anticipating. The ending was satisfying and I would recommend this book to those who love suspense thrillers.

Snared (Elemental Assassin #16) by Jennifer Estep

Series:
Narrator: Lauren Fortgang
Source: Netgalley

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Title: Snared by Jennifer Estep
Series: Elemental Assassin #16
Release Date: April 25th 2017
Format: e-ARC (400)
Genre: Paranormal Romance; Urban Fantasy
Published By: Pocket Books
Purchase Links: Amazon US Barnes & NobleSna

If you don’t know Gin “the Spider” Blanco, you don’t know dangerous female heroines.

Irony 101—The Spider herself snared in someone else’s web…

Another week, another few clues trickling in about the Circle, the mysterious group that supposedly runs the city’s underworld. Gathering intel on my hidden enemies is a painstaking process, but a more immediate mystery has popped up on my radar: a missing girl.

My search for the girl begins on the mean streets of Ashland, but with all the killers and crooks in this city, I’m not holding out much hope that she’s still alive.

A series of clues leads me down an increasingly dark, dangerous path, and I realize that the missing girl is really just the first thread in this web of evil. As an assassin, I’m used to facing down the worst of the worst, but nothing prepares me for this new, terrifying enemy—one who strikes from the shadows and is determined to make me the next victim.

four-half-stars

This installment was one of my favorites in the series. It continues this new mystery of Gin’s mother Eira Snow and her involvement with the Circle. I love this series and I love the characters. Each book holds my interest because they are action-packed and the mystery Gin Blanco has to solve always keeps me thoroughly entertained.

Book 16 started immediately as Gin was spying on Hugh Tucker in her attempts to unravel the clues left behind by Fletcher Lane. Even while eavesdropping, Gin and Finn can’t figure out the identity of the leader of “The Circle”. But they are getting close. First, the gang has to help Jade Jamison, a local mob boss, because the Lipstick killer kidnapped Jade’s little sister Elissa, the little sister of Jade.

What I love about this author is the way she weaves a story using the past simultaneously with the present. I feel as though Fletcher is alive because he is so instrumental in all of Gin’s escapades. Either that or Fletcher was one hell of a sage because he was light years ahead of his time when it came to predicting what his protege would need in the future. Finn seemed to be much better emotionally than the last couple of books after the betrayal by his mother Deidra Shaw. He was back to trading witty repartee with Gin. I found myself chuckling a lot in this book. The snarky delivery by the Spider makes her one of my favorite heroines. She’s sassy and smart-alecky but she always gets the job done.

This book was definitely top 3 best installments in this series. If you love the past books, this one is the same but continuing this slow revelation about the Circle. I’m hoping the leader of the The Circle is as fierce as the legendary fire elemental, Mab Monroe, because no other villain has measures up. I’m looking for a crime lord who will make the Ashland quake in their boots.
Ezi

Extrasensual Perception by Rayna Vause

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Extrasensual perception: by Rayna Vause
Series: Dreamspun Desires #26
Release Date: January 15, 2017
Pages: 208 • Format: eARC
Published By: Dreamspinner Press
Purchase Links:
DreamspinnerKoboAmazon

If a stalker doesn’t kill them, the heat between them might.

Christopher Vincent is desperate enough for a job that he accepts an offer to entertain as a psychic in a friend’s nightclub. Jackson Whitman, one of the club’s co-owners, is less than thrilled by the new act. To him, psychics are ridiculous and a liability. But when they come face-to-face, attraction flares to life between them.

Someone is watching Jack and Chris from the shadows. What starts as a series of creepy encounters leads to deadly attacks.

Jack and Chris must set aside their differences and work together to survive a homicidal stalker. But can they survive their explosive connection?

three-stars

Okay so another foray into the Dreamspun Desires series for me. This one was meh. I didn’t hate it, but didn’t love it either. I do enjoy the buildup of the relationship between Chris & Jack. I liked the premise of the story. I had a problem with figuring out who said what some times, it was no break in pov partners. That bothered me enough to not be happy with the end result. Or I should say the abrupt end result. It was really no buildup for me as far as the plot goes. I would have really loved to see bigger excursions, and more then the physical side for Chris & Jack. Right now their entire relationship is physical, and I don’t know if its believable seeing as they hadn’t spoken in 5 years after a kiss. Chris seems to harbor some feelings of resentment towards Jack for treating him like a second class citizen, but it took no time for them to dive in bed together? Makes no sense to me really,

This was my first book by this author, and I think I’m willing to give her a second try. This didn’t work for me. It’s kinda low angst so that might appeal to readers, and I liked the idea surrounding the occult elements in the story. I never did figure out why not go back to Chris’s mother for help. I know she is recovering, but seeing as she is the reason for starting this mess I think a little help was needed. I didn’t see any person of Dooley in this book, that did seem like filler information. I mean he didn’t add or take away to the story, but was kinda there for the most part. 3 stars might be generous for me, but I don’t think I can recommend this either.

About Rayna Vause

Rayna Vause writes stories that mix a little action, a little adventure, and a little paranormal. Her books feature gay and straight couples because, to her way of thinking, everyone deserves a happily ever after.

A perpetual student, Rayna has collected more degrees and certifications then she cares to admit. She is also a cat lover, a martial artist, a video game enthusiast, a Disney fanatic, and a Pop Tart aficionado.

Rapture In Death by J.D. Robb

Rapture In Death by J.D. RobbSeries: In Death #4
on 1996
Pages: 310
AmazonB&N
They died with smiles on their faces. Three apparent suicides: a brilliant engineer, an infamous lawyer, and a controversial politician. Three strangers with nothing in common - and no obvious reasons for killing themselves. Police lieutenenat Eve Dallas found the deaths suspicious. And her instincts paid off when autopsises revealed small burns on the brains of the victims. Was it a genetic abnormality or a high-tech method of murder? Eve's investigation turned to the provocative world of virtual reality games - where the same technique used to create joy and desire could also prompt the mind to become the weapon of its own destruction.
four-half-stars

Leave it to Eve to find work on her honeymoon. The delectable Roarke and Eve are winding down their three week off planet honeymoon when a resort employee is found dead and presumed a suicide. Back on Earth, more bodies with the same puzzling pattern turn up. Eve has a very short time to make her case as she falls into a shocking revelation affecting her relationship with Roarke.

With a mounting number of victims, no suspects and no clues, Eve really has to dance quickly to keep the case alive and chase her instincts to solve this new brand of elusive ‘serial’ killer. New characters are introduced, some more likable and some more smarmy than others and entertaining nonetheless. For this reader, the cleverness of the crime was a character as well.

This installment’s a very good entry to the series. There was a lot of sex, it was a fast paced case with snappy dialog and off the pages changes for Eve’s buddies. Mavis career is going strong as is her romance; Peabody’s been bumped to recurring status and gets to show off how closely she’s been watching Eve’s moves. This exciting rapid read wants desperately to be devoured in an hour!

Clear: A Death Trippers Novel by Jessica Park

Clear: A Death Trippers Novel by Jessica Parkon 2015-03-09
Pages: 260
AmazonNarrator: Arielle DeLisle
Stella Ford’s grasp on reality is already loose, and it’s about to come undone.

When the college junior flees Chicago and leaves her toxic family behind, she heads for coastal Maine to find the one person who brought her peace years ago: Sam Bishop. But the Sam she once knew now has painful secrets.

Stella is determined to heal them both. Healing, however, is a challenge when the walls of her everyday existence collapse. And when Sam’s best friend is his worst enemy.

When the line between life and death blurs.

When an end is just a beginning.

When lust and rage rule.

Yet during extraordinary chaos, there can be extraordinary love, even if that love comes with a twist.

Welcome to death tripping.

A thriller, a paranormal, and a passionate romance, CLEAR crosses genres and breaks boundaries.
two-stars

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This book started interesting enough with a young Stella Ford in the hospital after her father and sister got into a car accident while out buying her a birthday present. Apparently, there was a fatality and Stella’s mother blamed Stella for the reason her husband and daughter are embroiled in this tragedy. Stella’s mother begins her reign of terror against Stella.

After years of intense of verbal abuse, Stella runs away from home to find Sam Bishop, a stranger who once showed her kindness while Stella was in the waiting room after the car accident long ago that changed the course of her life.

Once in Maine and with Sam Bishop, Stella starts discovering who she is really is and begins to enjoy life again…and then the story takes a Twilight Zone-ish turn.

What started as contemporary new adult romance turned into a supernatural, paranormal romance with the addition of Sam Bishop’s best friend Costa Jordan. The story about self discovery and healing morphed into a story about adrenaline chasing by “Death Tripping”.
twilight zone photo: twilight zone twilight-4.jpg

This second half of the story is where it fell apart for me going from a 3-4 star to almost DNF:
1. Gone was the story about Stella and her mother’s toxic relationship.
2. Gone was the story about Stella and her confusion.
3. Gone was the touching embrace of Stella by Sam Bishop’s family, in favor of an overdose of Costa.
4. Gone was the story about fixing Stella, but fixing Sam and Costa. Which was a weird relationship of brothers, best friends, sexual partner, competitor. Honestly, their relationship boggled the mind.
5. Gone was “honest yet hurting” Sam, replaced by one with half truths essentially drawing Stella into his drama with Costa without giving her an out.

Other problems was the unresolved issues with her sister & mother, her father, and a promising college stint in favor of what is tantamount to chasing a high. While I tried to find sympathy for Costa, he was just so immature and self centered. His loss obviously affected him but he used it as a sword against all around him. The price for Costa’s healing threatened to consume Stella, Sam and by extension the Bishop family who have been so good to him.

I just disliked this twist in the story especially the ending reveal. That was the most galling part of the story–that we are to believe that Costa never remembered the day of his loss. The second moment that changed his life. #unbelievable

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This book turned out to be an utter disappointment for me. I am grateful that I have previously read Flat-Out Love before I read this book and Left Drowning or I would have been completely unaware of how good this author’s writing can really be.

*Special Thanks to Tantor Audio for the audiobook given in exchange for honest review.

Review: Home Work (Life Lessons #3) by Kaje Harper

Review: Home Work (Life Lessons #3) by Kaje HarperSeries: Life Lessons #3
on October 5th 2012
Pages: 356 pages
Amazon • (Website, Facebook, Goodreads)
Mac and Tony thought the hard part was over. They’re together openly as a couple, sharing a home and building a life with their two children. It’s what they dreamed of. But daughter Anna struggles with the changes, Ben is haunted by old secrets, Mac’s job in Homicide still demands too much of his time, and Tony is caught in the middle. It’s going to take everything these men can give to create a viable balance between home and work. Especially when the outside world seems determined to throw obstacles in their way.
four-half-stars

★★★★½
Another slight cliff hanger? Kaje Harper, you are killing me. You know how much I love Mac!!!

Mac and Tony are now raising their kids, Anna & Ben together as one family unit. They are trying to make the transition as bachelors to fathers with young children. They were definitely struggling to create a routine. Mac’s job as a homicide detective still required a lot of odd hours and Tony was overwhelmed trying to fill in the gap by himself.

Mac had difficulty setting boundaries with work time and home time and Tony seemed to be getting resentful of having all home life duties dumped on him. How can Mac let Tony and the kids see they are his #1 priorities when he is never there?

My enjoyment of this book was elevated by the supporting cast: Oliver, Bree, Jamie and Gina. They are the ones who kept this relationship from crumbling under the weight of the all expectations. They just wrapped the foursome with their love and it grounded the story. Obviously Mac loves Tony, but this is the most expressive and open Mac has ever been and Tony needed that. Tony is great for Mac and I loved Mac finally putting Tony’s needs first. The only thing that I am waiting for is the final act of complete honesty and trust, when Mac tells Tony some of the past pains that he still hides from Tony. The trip to the bondage club definitely touched on that issue a bit. I hope Mac will let Tony in and let Tony help him heal both physically. and emotionally.

Oliver is shaping up to be such an awesome partner. That’s what I love about Kaje Harper, the realism of her writing. It has truly been a process for Oliver to accept that his partner Mac is gay, and what that means for them at work. Bree, Jamie and Mama Gina are just awesome, the kids really needed that female touch and they are getting it in spades. Those kids are definitely getting the love they need to feel secure in this new family unit.

The murder investigation really took a dark turn, and I was so disappointed that IA let Terrence off the hook. I understand why, but I am hoping that Terrence will face more repercussions in the future because he continues to allow his bigotry affect his work. I am looking forward to the resolution of that murder case in book 4.

About Kaje Harper

I live in Minnesota, where the two seasons are Snow-removal and Road-repair, the mosquito is the state bird, and where sometimes in winter it can be breathtakingly beautiful. Of course, the deepfreeze chill contributes to the breath-taking, but Minnesota’s a kindly, quiet place and it’s home to me now. I’ve been writing for far longer than I care to admit (*whispers – forty years*), mostly for my own entertainment, and currently am focused on M/M romance (with added mystery, fantasy, history, SciFi…) I also have a few Young Adult stories released under the pen name Kira Harp.

My first professionally published book, Life Lessons, came out from MLR Press in May 2011. My husband finally convinced me that after all that time writing, I really should submit something, somewhere. I was thrilled when it was accepted. I have a weakness for closeted cops with honest hearts, and teachers who speak their minds, and I had fun writing the four novels and three freebie short stories in the series. I’ve been just delighted by the reception Mac and Tony have received.

My first free book became the first story that I actually released – I put it up a month before Life Lessons just for the fun of getting it out there. Lies and Consequences began as a reaction to the November 2010 election. It looked like the repeal of DADT might be derailed by the political shift and I put the insanity of that law into the book. Then as I was finishing the first draft in mid-December the repeal passed. Which was great, but prompted a rewrite to a lighter and more action/romance book. This was a solo effort and I learned a lot from writing and releasing it and from the reviews. Check Smashwords for that one and many of my other freebies.

I now have a decent backlist in ebooks and print, both free and professionally published. A complete list with links can be found on my Books page. This writing thing is addictive. So read, comment, tell me what you like and what you don’t, and help me make the upcoming books even better. I have an author page on Goodreads where I do a lot of book reviews, and this blog is reposted there.

You can find me to chat on my author page on Goodreads most easily – I hang out on Goodreads a lot because I moderate the Goodreads YA LGBT Books group there. I also post free short YA stories on that group, more than 50 of them so far.

You can also email me : kajeharper ~at~ yahoo ~dot~ com or find me on Facebook –