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GREAT Women Characters!

Birth Marked: Book 1 The Markers by Maria Violante

birthmarked“The world that we all knew before, could wake up in feeling safe… now it seems that everything has been turned upside down.” – Tori Amos

Charlie Kale’s life has turned upside down, in so very many ways. Her live-in got sick, so she took care of him, working her ass off as a semi driver. Then? He walked out on her. Don’t let yourself be fooled – yes, there is a lot of just sitting there, when you drive. But there is a lot of stress, a lot of people cutting you off and acting stupid. And when you weigh 80,000 lbs. or more, getting started and stopped can mean death for the idiot in the convertible, the minivan, the SUV. But Charlie (and yes, that is what is on her birth certificate) loves her new job and her coworkers. Yes, she is torn up over the loser dumping her, but she knows she can pull it together and get on with her life – and this time she can start spending her own money.

Well, for about five minutes. Then? She is hit from the side by what appears to be a drunk driver, hit hard enough to knock the tandems out from under her trailer. The truck flips, which is bad enough. Hey, at least it didn’t blow up and burn with her and the tiny dog she found on the side of the road not a half hour before inside. Her life is lying on its side, but they are both alive.

Annnd then . . .

What was that hairy black thing that slammed into her windshield? And then there is the guy with the blood on his shirt and the gun pointed at her head, seemingly determined to Shoot. Her. Dead. Wow. Attitude much? That is bad enough, but what comes next is a nightmare of unbelievable proportions. Everyone is apparently determined to murder Charlie, and her own body has apparently joined the party. An ancient secret society, populated solely by men, are determined to make sure that Charlie is put down before she can grow into who they think she is destined to be. Oh, and BTW?

Monsters are real.

Charlie is one of the most special female heroes I have run across in a long time, simply because she isn’t really a hero at all. Chubby from too many hamburgers and too many hours behind the wheel, she is perfectly normal. Yes, once ‘turned on’ she has a ‘superpower’. But it isn’t one she can control. She can’t kick ass and take names – she is more likely to trip over her own feet, which she does quite often. Stumblin’ bumblin’ trying to make it through the day, totally out of her element. But she is willing to at least try – though the whole idea of “Everyone is out to slaughter and I have no one to trust” and oh, BTW, that whole “monsters are real” thing? Yeah. Not so much fun. I love Charlie, and the supernatural storyline is unique and kept me reading way too long into the night, till I could barely hold my eyes open. And then? Well, I grabbed the second in this two-book series and kept reading, of course!

Monsters and Markers (The Markers Book 2)Monsters and Markers (The Markers, #2)

“I don’t know of any other creature on earth other than man that will sit in a corner and cry because of some painful experience in the past.” –  Pat Morita

Book 2 of The Markers series opens immediately after the first book. Charlie has finally escaped from the horrors of the Markers compound, but at a horrific cost. Oh, and let’s not forget the whole Just-fled-for-my-life-and-was-ambushed-by-Captain-Anger-Issues-and-Mind-Rape-Man thing. Cause, ya know, her life isn’t hard enough as it is, right? On the run, fleeing the most powerful secret society in the world, monsters beyond your wildest nightmares, weird glow powers she doesn’t understand. And then you are stuck in the back of a Buick after a five hour drive with no bathroom breaks listening to the world’s most annoying males bicker like preteens . . . can someone just please, please stop the world? Charlie is quite ready to get off and enjoy a little peace, quiet and safety, thank you very much. Instead, things go from bad to worse . . . to “Which one of these guys who are claiming to be determined to save me is really a traitor to our little group?”

I greatly enjoyed book 1, Birth Marked, and this second volume didn’t in any way let me down. Maria Violante did a wonderful job in creating a believable supernatural world set within our own, and some really vile bad guys who are at the same time truly believable. I had expected a good second book, and I wasn’t disappointed.

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Review: The SEAL’s Angel by Petie McCarty #MysterySuspense #StrongHeroine

“I’ll tell you what I’m fighting for. Not for England, nor her allies, nor any patriotic cause. It’s all come down to the hope of being with you.” ― Lisa Kleypas, Love in the Afternoon

“War always reaches the depths of horror because of idiots who perpetuate terror from generation to generation under the pretext of vengeance.” ― Guy Sajer, The Forgotten Soldier

“The footprints of an Angel in your life are Love.” ― Genevieve Gerard

Cory Rigatero is one strong young woman. A young woman who has suffered loss and betrayal, pain and suffering, and still keeps right on getting up in the morning, fighting to keep her family’s legacy, Bel Tesoro, “Beautiful Treasure” the family resort on the edge of Cory has lost everything. Her parents. Her brother, a SEAL, listed MIA two years ago. Now, it is her and Vern, her manager and general handyman at Bel Tesoro, a pile of bills, and a desperate need to keep Bel Tesoro alive.

Her brother Brian’s last words before he left her all alone six years ago were, “I prayed for a guardian angel for you last night to dog your steps while I’m gone…”

She is going to need that angel – because bad things are happening at Bel Tesoro. Things that may land Bel Tesoro in the hands of Percy “Senior” Standish, local rich bully, who is determined to buy Bel Tesoro out from under Cory and raze it to the ground in order to build honeymoon cottages as part of his own huge, overblown, high class resort on the other side of the lake. And if bad – read, ‘expensive’ – things continue to happen, she may have no other choice.

Of course, the bad things didn’t start happening until “Mac” shows up, all bearded, long haired Harley riding drifter. Vern trusts him, so Cory lets him stay to work. But when two of her resort clients nearly drown due to sabotaged kayaks, and Cory herself nearly dies when the dock collapses, trapping her under the pilings, Mac becomes suspect number one for the sabotage.

There are layers of story here. The sabotage at the resort. A mysterious package from her brother, who has been listed as dead for the last two years. And a break in by two foreign speaking men, “Where’s Formula?” Cory is terrified now not only of losing Bel Tesoro – but of losing her life.

I loved this book. Really loved it. The story line is well-developed, and the characters are believable. There is mystery, suspense, thrills. Cory is a strong woman character without being over-the-top, and highly likable. The pace is fast, and Cory barely has the chance to catch her breath as things spin out of control around her. And the very ending? Well, it was, in a word, a great ending. You will have to read it to find out what happens, but it left me with a huge smile on my face. Again, I loved this book and highly recommend it to mystery and suspense lovers with a quirky sense of humor.

As an aside – a major character in the book? Lucky Luciano. If you aren’t familiar with America Mobster History, Lucky Luciano, Bugsy Siegel, and Meyer Lansky were three of the most famous American mobsters in history. History comes into play here in Lucky’s story and how it crosses and melds with Cory’s great-grandfather, Brocconi “Brock” Rigatero’s history as he built Bel Tesoro. Lucky’s history crosses my own, as my own grandfather was Lewis Archer Cooper, Chief of Police in Hot Springs, Arkansas during the period. Family stories say that Arch, besides being COP, also owned bars and, uh, hum, “bath houses,” with Lucky. Seeing as how Lucky was arrested in Hot Springs by a federal agent who was investigating “Other Matters” in Hot Springs at the time, I got a huge kick out of reading about Lucky’s part in this story! Oh, and as for one of my pet peeves? GREAT COVER!! It caught my eye right away and led me to read the blurb, which made me want to read the book. Awesome!

I received this book from Reading Alley in exchange for a realistic review. This is the third Mystery Angel Romance. Each stand-alone love story has an angel hidden in the plot, and the angel’s identity is not revealed until the finale unless the reader figures it out first.

About the Author

Petie McCartyPetie McCarty spent a large part of her career working as a biologist at Walt Disney World — “The Most Magical Place on Earth” — where she enjoyed working in the land of fairy tales by day and creating her own romantic fairy tales by night. She eventually said good-bye to her “day” job in order to write her stories full-time. Petie is a member of Romance Writers of America, and she shares homes in Tennessee and Florida with her horticulturist husband, a spoiled-rotten English Springer Spaniel addicted to pimento-stuffed green olives, and a noisy Nanday Conure named Sassy who made a cameo appearance in Angel to the Rescue.

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