#BookReviews- Playing it Safe @AshleyCWeaver, Secrets in the Blood @RoLuvsSims, Comfort & Joy by Kristin Hannah


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I’m so far behind on writing reviews that I may never catch up, lol, but I’ll give it the old college try. 🙂

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The third in the Electra McDonnell series from Edgar-nominated author Ashley Weaver, Playing It Safe is a delightful World War II mystery filled with spies, murder, romance, and wit.

London is under attack and danger has become its citizen’s bedfellow. Safecracker and thief Ellie McDonnell helps her country as recompense after a theft gone wrong. Her would-be jailer? Major Ramsey of British Intelligence and he plans to use her specialized skillset to end the war.

Her assignment- travel undercover to the port city of Sunderland and wait for further instructions- irritating man. Is it her fault she narrowly avoids death thanks to a chivalrous gentleman, only to witness his demise shortly after her arrival? And then there’s the puzzling note gripped in his lifeless hand.

The mystery begins.

A possible Nazi counterfeiting ring allowing spies to hide under their very eyes, an assassin who will stop at nothing to protect the German’s secret, and a building romance between Ellie and the Major makes this a thrilling page-turner.

I’m loving this series!

“I voluntarily read an ARC of this book which was provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.”

Secrets have been buried in a steel town for many years, but someone is about to blow the lid off them and rock this little town. 

Secrets in the Blood starts off with a powerful prologue featuring two young brothers who witness the horrifying death of a parent.

Now, several years later, we are introduced to Shane Weston, a handsome handyman come to Cassidy’s family’s tourist-driven frontier town supposedly looking for work, but there’s more to his story and anger in his steely eyes. Cass’s grandfather urges her to tread carefully around the drifter, if not for her insatiable curiosity and an attraction she can’t deny.

West is on the run and takes sanctuary in the western town his brother helps to operate, unsure of his welcome. The two have been estranged for years and their reunion is strained, compounded by West’s accusations and the dead bodies piling up since his arrival.

The characters are multi-faceted, the setting interesting. This is a richly compelling mystery novel that left me guessing right to the end!

Everything is as it seems in quiet Rain Valley, and in an instant, Joy’s world is ripped apart, and her heart is broken. On a magical Christmas Eve, a night of impossible dreams and unexpected chances, Joy must find the courage to believe in a love—and a family—that can’t possibly exist, and go in search of what she wants . . . and the new life only she can find.

Recently divorced and alone at Christmas, Joy Candellaro wants nothing more than to escape the holiday and all the joy it entails. She impulsively jumps a plane headed for the Pacific Northwest and is shocked out of her depression when the plane goes down, crashing into the Olympic rainforest. Turning away from rescue, Joy stumbles for miles drawn to a place she’s never been- a guest lodge on the shores of a breathtaking lake in the woods. There she meets a lonely boy and his gruff father.

Bobby can’t cope with the loss of his mother and uses an imaginary friend for comfort, leaving his father worried and unsure of how to help his son. He has no time to cater to strangers, especially one who brings out his protective instincts like the frail Joy. But Bobby seems to connect with her, the two of them bonding in a way that warms his heart even as he tries to separate them before his son gets hurt.

Joy finds a new purpose in life by bringing father and son together again and begins to consider a new beginning until a shocking discovery turns her world upside down.

A surprise twist to this sweet holiday romance caught me unaware and made me think this wasn’t going to be the happy conclusion I’d hoped for. Very cleverly done!

One of the cute visitors we have investigating the winter garden- a thrush.

38 Comments Add yours

  1. Annika Perry says:

    Terrific reviews, Jacquie and I can relate to being behind on reviews – I’ve been hopeless last year and hope to make up for it in 2023. I’ve become a huge fan of Kristin Hannah and this is one I’ll check out as well. It is great how she manages to surprise at the ending and yes, not always the pure happy ending one expects.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. But oh, so powerful! She’s one of the best writers I’ve ever read.
      Thanks for stopping by, Annika, it’s great to hear from you!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Mae Clair says:

    I’m with you, Jacquie—I am so far behind on reviews I’m not sure I will even attempt to catch up. But you’ve given me the ambition to try to post a few. It’s always fun seeing what others are reading and finding new books.

    These all sound good, but Comfort & Joy sounds like one to really touch the heart. It’s interesting what you said about the ending. I’m intrigued!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Kristin Hannah is an auto-buy for me, Mae. Her books immerse the reader in her characters’ journeys- so good!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Darlene says:

    Some great reviews! So many great books, so little time. xo

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Isn’t that the truth? lol

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Jan Sikes says:

    It’s so hard to catch up, Jacquie. I’ve given up trying to catch up from the holidays. Just moving on. 🙂 “Secrets in the Blood” intrigues me. I’m heading over to check it out! Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Kymber Hawke says:

      Thank you so much, Jan. I hope you like it.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. I’m glad you found one that takes your interest, Jan- enjoy!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. It’s definitely difficult to keep up, Jacquie. I think you do a fantastic job! Thanks for sharing your reviews. I appreciate them! xo

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, Jill. I enjoy trolling the blogs to find new reads 🙂

      Like

  6. So difficult to keep up, Jacquie! Thanks for sharing your thoughts on these great-looking books and congratulations to the authors. Happy New Year! Hugs 💕🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Kymber Hawke says:

      Thank you, Harmony! xo

      Liked by 2 people

    2. Happy New Year! I’d probably do better by reviewing right after reading a book, but… 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Kymber Hawke says:

    Thank you so much, Jacquie, for including my book among such others that are so outstanding! I was so surprised, and I can’t thank you enough for reading and being so kind.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sorry it took so long to get the review up, Kymber. I really enjoyed the story!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Kymber Hawke says:

        You have nothing to apologize for, dear Jacquie. I’m so honored you even read my story. 🙂 Thank you so much. I hope to do more reviews on my site.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. balroop2013 says:

    I know what you say about writing the reviews Jacqui. I’ve skipped many and Hannah’s books are so good, with so many reviews that I feel what more can I say! 😀 Thanks for sharing your thoughts about these books.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Her ratings are incredible! I love the diversity in her stories, too. They’re so immersive.

      Like

  9. Sophie @BewareOfTheReader says:

    I am always afraid of reading Kristin Hannah’s books as she rarely gives us a HEA!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. She’s such a powerful writer though! lol

      Like

  10. Gwen M. Plano says:

    Thank you for sharing your excellent reviews, Jacquie. I’m behind on my reviews, in fact, it feels like I’m behind on every front. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m right there with you, Gwen. We should start a behind group, lol

      Like

  11. D.L. Finn, Author says:

    They all sound good, Jacquie 🙂 I agree it is hard to keep up on writing reviews, but that doesn’t stop me from reading…lol
    Cute little thrush!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve never seen thrush’s here before. They’re friendly little guys!

      Like

      1. D.L. Finn, Author says:

        Aw, they are sweet. I used to watch them as a kid.

        Liked by 1 person

  12. Good reviews, Jacquie. The only one I’ve read is Secrets in the Blood–spot on with your review.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. These are all excellent choices 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Great reviews, Jacquie. You’ve been busy. I’ve also read Kymber’s debut book Secrets in the Blood and thought it was wonderful. The rest are new to me, but wow was I drawn to the cover of Comfort & Joy. Isn’t that gorgeous? Thanks for all the recommendations. My kindle is very happy. 🙂 And winter might be here but the sun is coming back. Hang in there with your garden birds.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The cover for Comfort & Joy drew me to the book- it’s beautiful. We’ve had a couple of double-digit days and I can feel spring around the corner 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s only the middle of January, but I know exactly what you mean. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Our cherry trees bloom the end of February- not to brag or anything, lol

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Ha. Portland is the same way. We’re about a month behind them up here in the mountains.

            Liked by 1 person

          2. Did you get the big snowfall thanks to the tropical storm hovering off our coast?

            Liked by 1 person

          3. No. Our weather has been boringly normal. I guess that’s a good thing considering all the climate troubles around the world. We’re expecting lots of rain.

            Liked by 1 person

  14. HI Jacquie, I must say that all three of these sound good, I particularly like the sound of the first one. I am also behind on reviews but more for the classic books I’ve read than other books. I make a bit effort to get book reviews for fellow writers done and I only have one to do for Judith Barrow’s latest novel currently.

    Like

  15. Marvelous reviews, Jacquie. You’ve made me want to read all of these. Congratulations to the authors. Hugs all around.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My job is done then, lol

      Like

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