The Tell-Tale Purr

“The Tell-Tale Purr” from Death Wears a Beauty Mask by Mary Higgins Clark

If you haven’t figured it out this is a play on the famous short story, The Tell-Tale Heart, by Edgar Allen Poe. It really is ingenious, even borrowing lines from the original story but infusing it with a few other things…namely cats.

Our narrator is someone who likes having money and hates almost everything and everybody. One person he especially dislikes is his grandma who he has to be nice to as she has a ton of money and he stands to inherit, just as long as he stays sucking up to her.

One day at a dinner party he gets a most marvelous idea of how to bump his grandma off without being suspected of murder. She has a weak heart and is absolutely terrified of cats. Scared to death of them, they being the perfect thing to end her. He could use their cries to scare her into a heart attack, but how?

Hmmm…?

The elevator! Grandma just has one installed, and on a stormy night when power cuts out she could be trapped in there, him playing recordings of cats which should induce a heart attack.

So the plan is put into action, mean yowling cats are caught and recorded until he has a horrifying symphony.

Dinner comes when such weather is horrible. He leaves as normal and returns in secret-turning off the power, trapping grandma, and playing his merciless tune to terrify her.

But things do not turn out as expected.

WHAT! I’m HOOKED!!!

Thoughts After Reading:

Oh, such an amazing read. So good and such a great twist of an ending. AMAZING!

For more Mary Higgins Clark, go to Haven’t We Met Before?

For more from Death Wears a Beauty Mask, go to The Man Next Door

For more cat-centered mysteries, go to Crazy, VA

For more short stories, go to A Much Expected Murder

Sunset Reads: William & Cristina

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Sunset Reads: William & Cristina (Sunset Reads #1) by D.C. Triana

Since the death of her mentor and surrogate mother and having been publicly dumped by her boyfriend; romance novelist Cristina Cruz has had a hard time writing a new book.

Romance is hard to imagine when your life feels bleaker than bleak.

To add to her pain and frustration, the new owner of Sunset Reads, her publishing company, and son of her mentor, William Jameson, is back in New York City and trying to completely make over the company from top to bottom. This includes demanding a new novel from Cristina, and insulting the few pages she has written. Cristina cannot believe that his mother ever thought these two were meant to be and plotted to put them together. With all this drama and pain it appears the only thing she has to look forward to is an attractive blind date, set up by one of her best friends.

William Jameson has not had the easiest life. It started with watching his mother throw her life into turmoil when she married an abusive man, Christopher. After spending years of him also being emotionally and physically abused by the man, he left home. He at first joined the military, later achieving his business degree in England, and even having a short stint as a novelist under a pseudonym. Now he is back in New York for good and eager to take over his mother’s company, revolutionize it, and carry on her legacy. He clashes with many of the employees and writers; none as bad as with Cristina Cruz; as he prepares to march the company into the modern world. He hasn’t really been in a relationship since the death of his fiancé, but is interested in this blind date his neighbor is setting him up with.

Both are shocked to find themselves paired with each other; Cristina deciding that she will do all she can to avoid the man as much as possible; while William is just as determined to pursue her. But whatever each other’s feelings are, they soon find out that they are going to be tied in ways they never would have expected. William’s mother set up a very tricky will in order to cut out her abusive ex-husband Christopher, who provided the original start up capitol and owns a percentage of the company. With her death her shares are divided between William and Cristina, making them both major owners in the company; and forcing the two to spend a lot of time together in reinventing Sunset Reads.

But the most interesting clause of the will, is that if William was to have a child all of the stock that William’s ex-stepfather was given would revert to that child.

Christopher is enraged when he discovers all the particulars and sets out to destroy William, the company, and whoever stands in his way for power. William finds himself making some hard choices. Should he peruse Cristina, the love of his life, subsequently endangering her? And if he does pursue her will Cristina only think it is because he wants to have a child and cut out his ex-stepfather? Or should he give up in his pursuit and allow the woman he loves to live a safe life with another man?

I wonder…

Thoughts After Reading:

I have to admit this book really surprised me. At first I thought it was just going to be another clichéd romance novel that would be dull in it’s predictability. Instead I found myself enjoying the way the author D.C. Triana wrote these characters; their traits coming off as more as comfortable rather than feeling overdone.

I also really enjoyed reading about the publishing world and the other side of writing. As one who knows very little about the path a novel travels from written idea to being out in stores; I thought it was fascinating the information presented in this novel, taking it in a completely different direction then most.

I also enjoyed the suspenseful aspects of this novel. From reading the description I never thought that it would take such a mysterious and thrilling turn as William and Cristina find themselves threatened and having to outwit a cunning adversary. It made it rather hard to stop reading as the reader becomes entangled in trying to find out if they will overcome such a ruthless person and his plots.

I’d have to give this book a four out of five stars to reward its interesting characters, different perspectives, and the ability to surprise the reader.

For more mysteries revolving around romance novelists, go to Murder at Oklahoma

For more mystery reviews, go to Miss Polly Had a Dolly

The Murder at the Vicarage

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The Murder at the Vicarage (Miss Marple #1) by Agatha Christie

So I’m sure you all have been wondering when I was going to do an Agatha Christie novel. Well, I have been planning to do one, I just hadn’t gotten around to it quite yet.

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So here we are finally, our first Agatha Christie review and the first of the Miss Marple series:

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Leonard Clement is the Vicar in the village of Saint Mary Mead. His wife, Griselda, is twenty years younger than him, very pretty, and incompetent as a Vicar’s wife. She has no idea what she is doing or how to run the house.

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The Vicar’s nephew, Dennis, also lives with them.

This day the Vicar has said something very unchristian, but he is being driven crazy by Colonel Lucius Protheroe the local magistrate.

“…anyone who murdered Colonel Protheroe would be doing the world at large a service.”

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Never say that in a murder mystery.

The Vicar’s schedule is interrupted by Lettice Protheroe, the Colonel’s daughter. She goes on about how her father is in horror about the artist in town, Lawrence Redding, painting her. She also goes on about how Anne, her stepmother, hates her. She then leaves as she is late for an appointment .

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After that the Vicar sees that the clock on his table shows it is a quarter to four. He decides to help out his wife and go to one of her dreaded tea parties. Gossip flows, even though the Vicar preaches against it, as we hear about Colonel Protheroe’s many disputes; whether Miss Cram is really a secretary; Laurence and Lettice are probably having an affair; who the new mysterious woman Mrs. Lestrange might be that has recently joined the community, etc.

The Vicar later accidentally comes upon Anne Protheroe, and sees that she is cheating on her husband with the artist not Lettice.

“When she had gone, I felt very uneasy. I felt that hitherto I had misjudged Anne Protheroe’s character. She impressed me now as a very desperate woman, the kind of woman who would stick at nothing, once her emotions were aroused. And she was desperately, wildly, madly in love with Lawrence Redding…”

Later Lawrence comes over for a dinner party and pleads with the Vicar to not say anything. The Vicar tells Lawrence the same thing that he told Anne, they shouldn’t be acting in such a way. She is a married woman. Lawrence wishes that the Colonel was gone as that would solve everything.

“If this were only a book,” he said gloomily,” the old man would die–and a good riddance to everybody.”

Not-Good

The next day is an unpleasant one, and to make things worse the Vicar runs into the Colonel who wants to have a private appointment to meet with the Vicar, and the Vicar is not looking forward to it. The Colonel is annoying, mean, and pretty much despised by all for good reason.

Hate him.

Hate him.

Later he runs into Curate Hawes, who looks extremely ill. He sends him home to bed.

Griselda is gone for the day in London, and the Vicar returns home at four to work on his sermon, but that is stopped when Mr. Redding  comes to tell him he is right, he needs to leave Anne or else he will ruin everything for her.

The Vicar then is given a call that Mr. Abbott of Lower Farm is dying. It is two miles away and there is no way he’ll be back in time for his appointment with the Colonel. He tries to phone him, but the Colonel is out and not expected to return for quite some time. The Vicar does the only thing he can do, leave a message with his maid and then go out to comfort the bereaved.

Hopefully that will be fine.

Hopefully that will be fine.

When the Vicar comes home, he finds out that Redding is there as well. Mr. Redding seems ill and is talking strangely.

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The Vicar finds that odd but continues into the vicarage where he finds the Colonel, dead.

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So who killed this hated man? The area is teaming with suspects, and the number ones are none other than Anne and Redding.

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The Vicar, Griselda, and Dennis; decide to investigate as the latter two love mysteries. But as they start, they discover there are a lot more questions and a whole can of worms are opened.

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The clock is revealed to have been tampered with, the actual time of death being unknown. Anne and Redding have tried to take the blame for each other. Do they really believe the other a murderer and trying to protect them or just hiding their own guilt?

HMMM

Then it is revealed that the Colonel’s first wife returned to the village even though the Colonel promised her horrible things would happen if she did. Did she kill him to be with her daughter? Did her daughter kill him to be with her mother? To get her inheritance.

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What’s with all these anonymous phone calls?

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Dennis came home earlier from his tennis party than he had said, could he have done it? Griselda took an earlier train than she said, did she even go to London? Was it the Vicar?

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One thing can be sure, the mystery will be solved with Miss Marple on the case.

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Thoughts After Reading:

I loved this book.

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Christie is a master at creating twists and turns and making you suspect, then doubt, and always not quite sure who did it until all is revealed at the end.

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Fantastic book, and we will be reviewing more as time goes on.

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For more Agatha Christie, go to Agatha Christie: The Woman and Her Mysteries

For more classic mystery, go to A Study in Scarlet

For more reviews, go to The Witch Hunter’s Tale

Cookie Dough or Die

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Cookie Dough or Die (Cookie Cutter Shop Mystery #1) by Virginia Lowell

After Olivia Greyson’s divorce to a renowned surgeon, she moved home to Chatterley Heights, Maryland. While she was trying to figure out what to do next with her life Olivia was befriended by Clarisse Chamberlain, entrepreneur and businesswoman, who encourages her to buy the historic Gingerbread House and follow her dream to open a cookie shop.

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Since then she and her best friend Maddie have been running the shop together. Olivia runs the numbers and planning; while Maddie is the creative one who is in charge of the baking and making fantastical creations.

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Olivia is catching up on her beauty rest when she hears something downstairs. It’s not a robber, but Maddie coming over to create something fun and wonderful for Spring. After her, the hunky Sheriff Del comes with a a sad message for Olivia; Clarisse was found dead, and it looks like suicide.

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Olivia knows that Clarisse would never kill herself and sets off to discover who murdered her.

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The suspect list is long and complicated. There are her two dueling sons; Hugh and Edward; that have always wanted to inherit the full power of the business. Could they have killed her for the inheritance? Before one was written out of the will?

HMMM

Tammy, Olivia’s old best friend from elementary school, also has a strong motive. She has been in love with Hugh for as long as she can remember. They dated at one time, but Hugh was distracted by another, Jasmine, and Clarisse was set against Tammy from that day on. Even when Jasmine left the picture, Clarisse hated any girl that wanted Hugh. Could Tammy have killed Clarisse in order to marry Hugh?

Very fishy

Hmmmmmm?

And what of Jasmine who just mysteriously disappeared? Is she somehow involved with this?

I wonder...

I wonder…

When a local postman hints that he knew Clarisse received some information from a private detective; he ends up on the hit list.

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It turns out he was poisoned by one of Olivia and Maddie’s cookies.

You know what that means...something is about to happen

Now it is clear that they are the next target. Can Olivia solve the murder before she is killed too?

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Thoughts After Reading:

I didn’t really care for this book. I was a bit disappointed too, as I waited three months for the book to come in from a sister library to read but it wasn’t as good.

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The mystery itself was good, but the way it was carried out was seriously lacking.

Not-Good

The story was okay except there is a lot of information about the characters that we aren’t given which make it a bit confusing. For a first book, it is best to not confuse the reader.

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I didn’t like the mom character as  felt she was far too cliché and boring.

A character like this again?!

A character like this again?!

The end wasn’t all that good either. The mystery was intriguing, but the resolution was too quickly wrapped up. It was very murky mysterious, and then all of a sudden crystal clear. I felt they need more leeway time, steps leading it up to the resolution.

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It was also weird to have a mystery book that features dogs instead of cats. I’m not against dogs or anything, I like them too. But cats and mysteries just seem to go hand in hand. Having a mystery book without one and a dog instead is just so unusual. After all, cats are just so amazing.

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For more mysteries involving a cookie shop, go to Cream Puff Murder

For more Southern mysteries, go to Bloom and Doom

For more suicides as a cover for murder, go to Murder and Other Unnatural Disasters

For more death by poison food, go to A Pinch of Poison 

For more Charles Dickens quotes, go to Gorgonzola Cream Cheese Log

For more mystery reviews, go to Sleeping Beauty

Death on Demand

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Death on Demand (Death on Demand #1) by Carolyn G. Hart

Thoughts Before Reading:

So I started this series with the book Deadly Valentine (Death on Demand #6) when I picked up an autographed copy at a library book sale. I love book sales.

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I really enjoyed that book and decided to start the series from the beginning, and let me tell you I wasn’t disappointed with it. While at times it may be predictable the character and stories always leave me coming back for more.

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Plot Synopsis:

So the book starts off strong with our murderer listing out the items they need to kill their intended victim:

1 Pair of Doctor’s Rubber Gloves

1 Spool of Black Extra-Strong Button-and-Carpet Thread

A Handful of Assorted Keys

Clear Fingernail Polish

Polish Remover

1 Dart

And just one more, the most important of all…

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We can’t reveal that just yet. The murderer needs a little more mystery.

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So Annie Laurence inherited the mystery bookstore, Death on Demand on Broward’s Rock, when her uncle died a few months ago.

Aw...

Aw…

Annie loves the store, as she has always been a book lover and mystery aficionado.

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She loves everything about the bookstore, except this upcoming Sunday. There are quite a few writers who reside on Broward’s Rock, south Carolina, giving Annie the idea to create a writer’s night in which they take turns lecturing or planing a program.

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It had been going well until mean, nasty Elliot Morgan dropped a bomb that he was going to blow apart the next meeting with his new book, all about the famous writers living on the island. Why does he have to go and ruin everything?

Really Mike?

WHY!

To further her anxiety, her old boyfriend is on his way.

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Annie met Max Darling after college when she was trying to strike it big on stage in New York. She was an actress, while Max was one of the producers. Max Darling is from an extremely wealthy family, so wealthy that he doesn’t need to work. Annie left him as she felt it wouldn’t work out as she was born in a lower economic scale and was only able to go to college on a scholarship.

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Max however is not one to give up on something he believes in and has tracked her down to Boward’s Rock using his charm, wit, and acting abilities.

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That day the store is closed, but Annie goes in for some inventory to settle her nerves as she contemplates what will happen tonight.

Tonight will be horrible!

Tonight will be horrible!

Max decides to stay that night and assist Annie with her writer’s group. The writers all enter in at their own pace. Captain Mac is a retired cop who moved to Broward’s Rock and was a friend of Annie’s uncle. He’s also been a big help to Annie after her Uncle Amos’ death. He’s not a writer, but participates in giving insight into police procedure and criminal experience.

1944: Dana Andrews puts the spotlight on Gene Tierney during the interrogation scene of the film noir, 'Laura', directed by Otto Preminger.

Emma Clyde is a mystery queen, and author of the famous Marigold Mystery Series.

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Janis and Jeff Farley; Jeff the writer of children books while Janis is the illustrator.

Fritz Hemphill who does green beret shoot ’em up war books.

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Kelly Rizzo who did psychological thrillers.

Sorry but I don't think so.

And Elliot bringing up the rear.

Hate him.

Hate him.

Just then Harriet Edelman comes in bursting with news that the vet Jill Kearney was murdered the night before.

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She went in to look on an animal recovering from a procedure and interrupted a robbery. She was smacked in the head and because of her thin skull, died from it.

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Suddenly Elliot announces his newest non-fiction book. Titles Criminal Minds, all about the horrible, scandalous things done by the authors who reside here on Broward’s Rock.

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Just then the lights go out, a scream rings, and when the lights come on Elliot dead by a poison dart.

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Chief Frank Saulter believes that Annie is the murderer, having first killed her uncle for her inheritance and then Elliot when he threatened to reveal it all in his book.

Not-Good

With Annie racing against the clock, it is up to her and Max to do some private detecting to figure out who the real killer is.

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As they start looking into what dirt Elliot had on the bunch this is what they find out.

  • Captain Mac admits that he was involved in a paternity suit.
  • Annie tells Max how she helped a friend escape a bad marriage and save their child by having the friend be admitted to a hospital under her name and give the baby up for adoption.
  • Kelly has had crimes of animal killing following her all over. She says her sister is the one that does it and she is just protecting her, but is that the truth?
  • Hal Douglas’ wife disappeared. Many believe he killed her, but he insists that he is innocent.
  • Harriet supposedly stole a story and printed it under her own name.
  • Jeff beats Janis.
  • Emma’s husband was cheating on her and then just happened to “fall overboard”.

Who is the killer? And will Annie figure it out before he strikes again? Or worse, she is put on trial for murder.

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Thoughts after reading:

So I love this book and the way Carolygn G. Hart writes the characters. Annie and Max are just fantastic!

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Annie is not only lovable but intelligent and able to out the pieces together quite nicely.

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I also love how sweet Max is and how he stays in the end to open his “private detective agency that isn’t a private detective agency.”

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*Spoiler Alert*

I only have two issues with the book:

  1. If Max has so much money, why didn’t they just buy a laptop to read Elliot’s disk instead of sneaking into Elliot’s house and Annie getting injured. You think that would be much easier for them right?
  2. I figured the mystery out really early on. Her uncle died and was investigating two places, where guess what Captiain Mac was the only person involved with one of them. I mean, come on. A paternity suit, you know it had to more than that Annie. Also, how could a police officer retire and afford an expensive house like he does. It’s obvious he’s dirty.

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But to tell the truth I really didn’t care about either one as I just loved the characters and decided to read the whole series.

And as I love this series you will be seeing a lot more reviews on them in the future!

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For more books from library book sales, go to A is for Alibi

For more mystery reviews, go to A Pinch of Poison

 

No Limits

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No Limits (Ultimate #1) by Lori Foster

No Limits (Ultimate #1) by Lori Foster is a sexy, suspense story. Cannon “the Saint” Colter: Mixed Martial Artist, hunk, and all around good guy; is returning to his hometown in Ohio.

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An old family friend, Tipton Sweeney, has passed away and left him an inheritance. Cannon doesn’t need the money, but has just finished a gruesome fight and eager for a break.

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There he discovers that Sweeney left him half of his house and pawnshop, the other half given to his granddaughter Yvette.

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Yvette Sweeney was a sweet beautiful girl that Cannon rescued from kidnappers back when she was a teenager. She always had a crush on him, but Cannon wouldn’t allow anything to happen, as she was far too young. Now charged by her grandfather to convince Yvette to stay in Ohio, he also decides that it is the perfect time to let her know how much he cares for her.

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Yvette Sweeney has just returned home to face the loss of her grandfather and all the bad memories she longs to forget. When she discovers that she will be sharing half the inheritance with Cannon; she decides to prove to him and everybody that she is calm, collected, and not a victim anymore.

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Cannon surprises her as he is intent at not only helping her overcome her past, but also face her issues of the day. While these two steam up their relationship, it appears that someone isn’t happy with Yvette’s return.

Uh-oh

Uh-oh

Somebody wants her gone, but who could it be? A crazy female fan of Cannon? Her obsessed ex-boyfriend? Or somebody else altogether?

urkelgif interesting hmm

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Thoughts After Reading:

This was a really suspenseful book, as Foster knows how to craft a spellbinding story. She really keeps one on the edge of their seat as you try to determine who is after Yvette and why they want to scare her off.

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Foster’s characters are also amazing, Cannon is the perfect guy as he is not only physically impressive with his MMA build, but also really emotionally there for Yvette. He cares about all her hang-ups, wounds, and insecurities and works with her to empower her and help her overcome those issues.

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Yvette is adorable and one that anyone can relate to, as who hasn’t had something in their life scar them and find it hard to find others, especially a romantic partner, who understand what they need to overcome that.

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The secondary characters are just as lovable, as all of Cannon’s MMA fighter friends are really endearing. Most of all Arnie Jacobson, who is like Cannon’s brother and just as protective of Yvette as if she were his own sister.

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Another great character is Vanity, Yvette’s friend from California and a stereotypical California girl. This brash and bold girl is definitely going to add some color in the books to come.

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The only issue I had was that this book was way too extreme in the “sexy” part. I got it for free and thought the synopsis was interesting, but the graphic ways Foster describes the relationship between Cannon and Yvette was too much for me.

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Other than that I thought the story and characters were great, leaving me wondering what’s next to come in the Ultimate Series. Although I’m not sure I could handle another one.

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Too much for me

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For more reviews, go to Cherry Cheesecake Murder