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

  1. 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

  2. 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

  3. 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

  4. 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

  5. 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

  6. 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

  7. 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

  8. 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.


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