Saturday, April 8, 2017

Book Review: TOO HARD TO FORGET, by Tessa Bailey

Tessa Bailey
Forever, 2017
336 Pages

“Peggy Clarkson is returning to her Alma Mater with one goal in mind; confront Elliott Brooks, the man who ruined her for all others and remind him of what he has been missing.”

Too Hard to Forget is the third book in Tessa Bailey’s Romancing the Clarkson series and for me was the one with the most mystery surrounding it. The few glimpses of Peggy Clarkson in the previous two books let us know she had a score to settle but that was it. The mystery made this story full of surprises and for me and by far my favorite of the series.

Peggy is the youngest of the Clarkson siblings and a former college cheerleader who wears 4 engagement rings around her neck from her failed engagements. On their way to New York City to fulfill her mother’s last wish she stops in Cincinnati to see Elliott Brooks, famed college football coach nicknamed the “Kingmaker”. Not much is talked about in the previous books about their relationship but there are plenty of flashbacks throughout the book that show exactly what kind of relationship there was between Peggy who was a student at the time (teacher/student taboo.. yes!!!!) and Elliott. Flashbacks are very hard to do right but in this book they were perfect and added a depth to both the story and the characters which really helped me to understand exactly why they were both so pained even after 3 years.

Throughout the book as we see Peggy and Elliott dance around each other (and crash into each other!) Tessa gives us glimpses into Elliott’s internal struggle with his past and his strong faith. What started as the embodiment of the sin lust turned into something more which neither one expected and were unsure how to deal with. Add in Elliott’s daughter and his high profile coaching job and this story had more layers than an onion. What I loved most though was how as the book went on we started to see the layers peel one by one. Not too fast, not too slow. The flow and the character development was perfect from beginning to end. Often in series the later books can seem forced or rushed. There was absolutely none of this. Of course as expected there were plenty of the steamy scenes that Tessa Bailey is known for however what pleasantly surprised me was the sweetness of this story as I viewed the synopsis as a “women with a score to settle” type book.

Overall I could not have loved this book more. It had something for everyone. Sweet second chance love story? Check. Teacher/Student taboo? Check. Super-hot sex scenes with an uber dominate and powerful hero? Double check. Too Hard to Forget left me wanting more and definitely lived up to its title as I will not be forgetting it any time soon!


Eliza Wise is a Travel Planner, and mother of 4 school age kids who started reading as an escape from reality and is now an active member of the Indie Romance Community. Eliza is most interested in ebooks. Her Kindle is her best friend. Genres she is prefers reviewing: Contemporary Romance, Most Erotica (Some BDSM, but stays away from violence)

Monday, April 3, 2017

Book Review: CONSPIRACIES, by F. Paul Wilson

F. Paul Wilson
CONSPIRACIES (Repairman Jack #3)
Forge, 2000
317 pages
Private Detective / Supernatural / Suspense

Don't get me wrong, I enjoy a good fantasy novel. I know how to suspend reality when watching a movie. But there is something about talking monkeys (Planet of the Apes excluded) that bothers me almost as much as talking dogs or cats in adult fiction novels (NOT excluding Jim Butcher's THE AERONAUT's WINDLESS) . I can't help but find it cheesy.

Anywho ...

Repairman Jack is not the guy to call if your dishwasher is on the fritz, there is a hole in your roof, or your car won't start. Jack's for hire, but doing handy jobs around one's property is not what he is about. Jack's specialty is finding people. And he's selective about the jobs he takes on.

That is why when Lew Ehler shows up asking for Jack's help, the Repairman almost turns him away. The reason he doesn't is simple. Lew's wife has gone missing. She did, however, manage to get to her husband a message. She wanted him to hire Jack, explaining only Jack could help.

Intrigued, because Jack had no idea who this Mel Ehler was, Jack takes the assignment. But the case only goes from odd to crazy in a heartbeat. Mel is part of a bizarre group of conspiracy theorists that specialize in anything and everything alien-related, from UFOs to alien abductions.

At a special invite-only convention downtown, Jack and Lew crash the event. Turns out Mel had been working on a theory that might bring a new light onto the idea of intelligent lifeforms beyond our little planet earth. It is possible she has found the truth. She had planned to make a major announcement on the last day of the convention.

And it is possible that Mel put her life in jeopardy because of her discoveries! Maybe there were people out there who did not want the truth exposed? Maybe there were people out there who feared everything they once believed was about to be shattered by Mel's findings? And maybe, just maybe, people are crazy and should be locked up off of the streets?

Whichever way, Repairman Jack found himself committed to the cause! His investigation brings his past dealings with the supernatural into the forefront, and he begins questioning his own sanity, his own reality, and is all too aware of his own growing fears. Something beyond loons and nuts are at the giant convention. There is a murderer in their midsts. And if Jack isn't careful he could wind up the one dead before finding out whatever happened to Mel Ehler!

Although not my favorite Repairman Jack story (I've only now read the three), it was still a fun, and entertaining tale. I am not discouraged, and will continue on with the series. I love the human aspect of Jack's life --his ongoing relationship with Gia and her daughter Vicky. Above all, I really like the way F. Paul Wilson writes. Witty. Dry sense of humor. Character depth. The perfect amount of descriptions. An enjoyable narrative ... what's not to like? Except monkeys. Talking monkeys.

Phillip Tomasso
Author of the Severed Empire Series,
and The Vaccination Trilogy

Book Review: STRIP JACK, by Ian Rankin

Ian Rankin
STRIP JACK (Inspector Rebus #4)
Orion Publishing Group, 1992
304 pages
Crime / Mystery

If I was going to name this novel, I'd call it something more appropriate like Red Herring, or Red Herring Central. Holy cow did he pack a million-and-one characters into a taut 304 page novel. I like to keep notes when I read a book, but this one kind of got out of hand. I count (give or take) thirty characters. Probably was more. My pen might have run out of ink. However. aside from thinking I might forget who someone was, the story was solid.

John Rebus has his hands full. Aside from looking into a stolen collection of rare books, he is involved in Operation Creeper. There is a bordello in town. On the good side of town --in a prominent area where well-off residents live. When the police are tipped off to the illegal operation, they have no choice but to shut her down!

During the raid, a prominent Parliament figure is snagged in the arrests. Gregor Jack was in one of the rooms, and with one of the prostitutes. Worse, someone tipped off the media. When Jack was led out of the whore house the journaists pounced. Rebus knew something smelled funny. The information about the raid was leaked to the press. Could Gregor Jack have been the target all along?

Rebus becomes even more involved in the politician's life when Elizabeth Jack --Gregor's wife-- turns up dead. And even though the similarities around her death closely match a recent murder, and the killer is confessing to both crimes Rebus isn't convinced.

With a host of likely suspects, but with seemingly no motive, Rebus begins to dig for answers, for the truth . . . Burying himself in the job, Rebus puts his personal life on hold. The dedication to the work could cost him more than he expected to lose.

While not my favorite Jack Rebus novel, STRIP JACK was still a quick read. I truly enjoy Ian Rankin's writing style. He fills each page with wonderful dialogue, and compelling narrative. The main cast of characters (Jack Rebus, Brian Holmes, Chris Kemp, etc.) are all there, and as always, we --the reader-- get more insight into them as they grow more and more into "people," as well.

Phillip Tomasso
Author of the Severed Empire Series,
and The Vaccination Trilogy