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Review: Chilling Effect by Melissa F. Miller

Chilling Effect (An Aroostine Higgins Novel Book 2) - Melissa F. MillerThe more laws, the less justice. — Marcus Tullius Cicero

The law has no compassion. — Christopher Darden

Assistant U.S. Attorney Aroostine Higgins has done something I didn’t think could be done. She made me read a ‘lawyer book’ – and actually fall in love with a ‘lawyer character’. Awesome. You have to realize, I have no patience with the American (or any other) “Justice System”. Because there is no “justice” to be had. Frederick Douglass had it right, all those years ago: Where justice is denied, where poverty is enforced, where ignorance prevails, and where any one class is made to feel that society is an organized conspiracy to oppress, rob and degrade them, neither persons nor property will be safe. And it hasn’t gotten any better.

Aroostine is Lenape, one of the tribes of Native Americans the white man destroyed. They came in, stole the lands, murdered the people, and the ones they didn’t murder they shoved onto reservations in the poorest lands possible – barren, useless lands no one else wanted. And then? And then, they stole our children. Aroostine is a Lost Child. Her grandfather took her when her parents died. Then, when her grandfather died, she was taken by a white family and raised white. She has no history, no connection with her peoples. But that is about to change.

Aroostine, an attorney with the DA’s office in Pennsylvania, and her husband Joe, are in Oregon, trying to piece their lives, and their marriage back together. This is the second in a series, I really hate that I missed out on the first one – I will be going back to read it. Apparently, Aroostine was an up-and-comer in DC and her hubby Joe, a master carpenter, was a jerk, unable to handle her success. Things happened, but this volume, while touching on the happenings, doesn’t ruin my reading of the first book. I will catch up when I read “Critical Vulnerability” – which I will read.

Aroostine’s vacation is interrupted when her old boss, Sidney Slater, Director of the Criminal Division of the Department of Justice, – the man who threw her under the bus on their last case – asks her to check in on an embezzlement case on the Chinook Reservation. Well, injuns’ is injuns’, right? (Crossing eyes) Surely she will ‘fit in’ and be able to find out why their whistle blower has clammed up. So much for a vacation. And when Aroostine walks in to her whistle blower’s house to find him dead in his chair with a bullet between his eyes, it begins a tightly paced story of mystery, murder, and ultimately heartbreak that kept me enthralled.

What really interested me was Miller’s grasp of life on the reservation. Her characters felt ‘real’ and her of a mindset so very different from the white mans was surprisingly believable.

I will be reading the first in the series, and placing the series on my watch list for new installments.

I received this book from the publisher in exchange for a realistic review. All thoughts are my own. If you are a mystery lover, you should check it out.

Melissa F. Miller, AuthorABOUT the author

I’m Melissa F. Miller, author of the Sasha McCandless legal thriller series and the Aroostine Higgins legal thriller series.  I’m also a practicing attorney. When I’m not in court or on the playground with my three delightful children, I’m hard at work on my next novel.

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Touring With Katy!!! My Book Tour Post For “See Jane Fall”

sjf
The new Heart of Montana Romance! Click the cover to purchase – if you are a romance reader, I can’t recommend Katy highly enough.

The beauty of a woman is not in a facial mode but the true beauty in a woman is reflected in her soul. It is the caring that she lovingly gives the passion that she shows. The beauty of a woman grows with the passing years. – Audrey Hepburn

A mother takes twenty years to make a man of her boy, and another woman makes a fool of him in twenty minutes. – Robert Frost

Jane has a life I would never want to even attempt. Orphaned at ten, she is shuffled off to live with her uncle Mays, her father’s twin brother and his family. Broken hearted and alone, she is shuffled to the side by her aunt and their daughter, Sara, who are furiously jealous of any attention that her uncle bestows upon her – the only daughter of his beloved twin.

There is another difficulty – for Sara is that incredibly rare creation of nature, a perfect beauty. The kind of beauty that leaves women in despair, and whom men . . .? Well, drooling idiot comes to mind. And let’s just say that Sara has that whole “bee-atch” thing down to a science. Hateful, vicious, self-centred, cruel, demanding, “fill in nasty descriptor here.” And Jane? Well, being the technical assistant to now supermodel Sara for the last five years (because uncle asked, and of course Jane can’t turn him down), Jane has withstood more poisonous vituperation than any one sweet, gentle, kind, good natured woman should have to stand.

As the third in the Heart of Montana Romance series, you no doubt can guess that the next shoot is to be set in Yellowstone, one of the most beautiful parks in the world, much less the United States. As always, Katy gives you a taste of the awesome beauty of Northern Montana all through the book, from the Loop to Sheepeaters, Old Faithful and Yellowstone Lake. The town of Gardiner plays its part as well, acting as the quaint and historical setting for all 720 of its inhabitants.

Coming ahead to set things up for Sara, or ‘Samara’ as she calls herself now, Jane meets Lars Lindstrom, who is set to be the local tour guide for Samara’s entourage. Fully loaded down with Samara’s ‘send ahead’ luggage: “I think it was eight bags. Maybe nine. Maybe eighty-six thousand and twenty-four. I can’t remember.” And the first thing Lars thinks is. . . “She really wasn’t much to look at.” Sigh. And there you go. The set up for pain, misunderstandings, and sheer stupidity on the part of the male population of the little town of Gardiner – and especially on the part of one naïve Swede named Lars. One stupid, drooling, fawning, naïve Swede named Lars. Sigh. So, though Lars is apparently drawn to Jane’s wit, courage, kindness, and a growing knowledge of how lovely she truly is, and refuses to believe that he will fall into Samara when she arrives, lured to her by her breathtaking beauty – and though Jane wishes with all her heart that she could be wrong, that he could be that .01% of the population that doesn’t fall under her spell – well.

Believe me, Samara is one person that anyone with a conscience should happily love to hate. And my blood boiled with it, I must admit. The thing Sara truly doesn’t comprehend? Beauty is ever to the lonely mind a shadow fleeting; she is never plain. She is a visitor who leaves behind the gift of grief, the souvenir of pain1. Sara may be beautiful for a few more, fleeting years – but Jane. Jane will be beautiful forever… But will Lars figure that out? Or will he, like so many others, be merely another broken toy, flung aside by a spoiled, vindictive child-woman, while Jane herself is once again left to fade into the background? No way, People. You HAVE to read this book; I certainly am not going to tell you!

Katy’s handling of Samara and Jane, as well as Lars, Nils, Maggie, and the rest of the characters in this third of this marvelous series, is as wonderfully handled as always. She draws you into the characters and the landscape, and the reader can’t help but long for the stunning vistas of Montana, and the presence of its people, as the story wraps around your heart and mind and pulls you in.

And is it silly to say how much I love the Swedish language peppered throughout the story? Katy imbues her books with the strength and loyalty that threads throughout the families in her books. The feeling of not only history and pride in heritage, but the love and compassion that the families have for not only their blood relations, but for their friends and neighbors. Vardefull (I can’t find the a with the two little dots over the top, darn umlauts!) Anyway, the word means “valuableprecious” sort of what I feel about Katy’s books. One way or the other, this has always been one of my favorite things about her writing. Her focus on a family life lived well, even if Jane’s personal family is a train wreck, Lars’ definitely isn’t.

Fair warning: Toward the end of the book one of the characters decides to engage in a BDSM lifestyle, although graphic scenes are not included in the book. This bothered me. If you are offended by this “lifestyle” as I am, please keep this in mind.

This book was provided to me by Heather Davenport at Book Plug Promotions in return for an honest review. No remuneration was exchanged. All thoughts and statements are my own.

________
1 Christopher Morley

Blurb:
When a plain Jane photographer faces off with her supermodel cousin to win an easygoing cowboy’s heart, someone’s going to fall. Hard.
Synopsis:

DIZZYING HEIGHTS

When his company is contracted by a magazine to help with a fashion photo shoot, easy-going Yellowstone tour guide Lars Lindstrom rolls his eyes. This means he’ll have to “babysit” supermodel Samara Amaya’s assistant. Little does he know that Jane Mays, Samara’s down-to-earth, smart-mouthed assistant and cousin, with her smoky voice and surprisingly soft heart, is someone of whom he can’t get enough—or that spoiled Samara has her sights set on a weekend fling with him and will do just about anything to get her way.

When a plain Jane faces off with a supermodel to win a cowboy’s heart, just about anyone can end up taking a fall. This time it’ll be for good.
AUTHOR BIO:katy-regnery-2

KATY REGNERY, contemporary romance author of the Heart of Montana and Enchanted Places series, has always loved telling a good story. She credits her mother with making funny, heartwarming tales come alive throughout her childhood. A lifelong devotee of all romance writing, from Edwardian to present-day, it was just a matter of time before Katy tried her hand at writing a love story of her own. Living in northern Fairfield County, Connecticut, where her writing room looks out at the woods, her family creates just enough cheerful chaos to remind her that the very best love stories of all are the messy and unexpected ones.

Please track down Katy on Twitter (@KatyRegnery) or Facebook (KatyRegnery) where she loves interacting with her fansespecially at #LunchtimeLiveWithKaty every weekday from 12-1pm EST.

Katy Regnery Links!
• Katy Regnery (Goodreads): https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7211470
• Katy Regnery (Amazon Author link): http://www.amazon.com/Katy-Regnery/e/B00FDZKXYU/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1394938840&sr=8-2-ent
• Facebook: www.facebook.com/KatyRegnery
• Twitter: @KatyRegnery
• By Proxy (Goodreads): https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18299829-by-proxy
• Midsummer Sweetheart, Heart of Montana #2 (Goodreads): https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20613919-midsummer-sweetheart
• See Jane Fall, Heart of Montana #3 (Goodreads): https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20920630-see-jane-fall
Purchasing Links:
By Proxy – http://amzn.to/1lcMKV3
Midsummer Sweetheart – http://amzn.to/1aRG3UA
See Jane Fall – http://tinyurl.com/lgmxr6w

 

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Review: ARC for “By Proxy” – Katy Regnery

byproxy
Click to go to GoodReads site for By Proxy!

There are some really strange laws in this country of ours. Did you know that, in the state of Montana, it is illegal to have a sheep in the cab of your truck without a chaperone?  And it is illegal for a man and a woman to have sex in any other position other than missionary style? I don’t know which of those laws disturbs me more.

Then there is the Montana “Marriage by Proxy” law. There are even companies whose sole purpose is to arrange these proxy marriages. Hum? A ‘proxy marriage’? Yep! If you and your sweetie are military personnel stationed overseas, one or both of you can have a ‘stand-in’ for your wedding.

In Katy’s new book, “By Proxy” this odd little law leads to a funny, touching and lovely little tale set in beautiful Montana, on the edge of Yellowstone National Park.  Kristian is posted in Afghanastan, while his fiancée Ingrid is posted in Germany. A weekend leave leaves Ingrid ‘in the family way’, a condition that has both families up in arms, and makes a quick wedding rather imperative.  Bring on Jenny, Ingrid’s best friend, and Sam, Kristian’s cousin, and let the fireworks begin!

I truly enjoyed this sweet little book. Jenny is a lovely young schoolteacher, a small town girl with three big brothers and a heart as big as the state she lives in. Sam however, is a hard drinking, hard partying city-boy. And when a storm, a plow and a missing judge bring on a weekend with Sam stuck in the tiny town of Gardiner, what happens is a truly funny and touching story.

This is a light, fun read that I truly enjoyed.

__________________
I was asked by the author to review this book. This in no way affects my review of this or any other book in the series. Opinions are my own.

Review: Pawnbroker by Jerry Hatchett

pawnbroker
Click for “Pawnbroker” Goodreads Page

A Five-Star Thriller

Law. . . It was all a game, one whose outcome was usually determined not so much by right and wrong as by who had the money and who held the power.”

In the case of “Pawnbroker” by Jerry Hatchett, law as game and money and power is the whole point. Gray Bolton is a simple pawnbroker. He spends his days with the poor, the downtrodden, the hopeless and helpless of society. It isn’t a fancy life for the son of a powerful Judge, but with a wife and two little girls, Gray is content. Until the unthinkable happens.

This is an exceptionally tight thriller. Cleverly written, with engaging twists and turns, along with a smattering of humor, this is a novel you won’t want to put down. The greed, nepotism, and inherent evil of a group of people with no restraints upon their power is shown in its clear brutality and total disregard for human life and the liberties the ‘law’ is supposed to provide.

Growing up in the South myself, Jerry’s take on the rotten core of politics and law inherent in the “Good Old Boy” mentality is spot-on. Not all Southern politicians and ‘peacekeepers’ are evil, but both historically and in modern times, the Southern political and legal climate is just as convoluted and inherently twisted (if not more-so) than the overall political climate of the U.S. and the world. There is a fascinating secondary story line to the book that makes excellent use of Jerry’s forensics background and keeps the story interesting on several levels.

As in real life, it’s not always easy to discern who the ‘good guys’ are, but by this book’s end, the good guys will leave a lasting mark on the reader’s mind, as will the ‘bad guys’. If you like well written thrillers with likable characters, as well as truly despicable ones and a well developed story line, give Hatchett’s work a try. You won’t be disappointed.

I received this book in exchange for a review. https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/1357824 As always, however, all reviews are based upon my personal feelings about the book with no basis in how I actually received the book.

Review: Blood, Justice, LLP

blood justiceWell, I always knew lawyers were blood-sucking monsters. Juno just does a killer job of pointing that out!

Being ex lawyer bait, (put him through law school, then . . .) I know how obnoxious and self centred lawyers can be, especially litigation lawyers. Throw in a couple thousand years of being self-described Masters of the Universe, and the nightmare blooms. And these guys are a garden of bloom . . .

First, the book is very well written. You understand the characters, the legal work is excellent, and you truly believe the actions of these people. It is unique in it’s savage take on ‘bloodsucking’ of all types. What removed a star, for me, was a total lack of caring for any of the characters involved. I didn’t truly like a single one of them, and couldn’t care less what happened to them. However, the sheer excellence of the writing kept me going, kept me involved in the story to the end.

If you like legal thrillers more than paranormals, this is probably more up your alley. I like some legal thrillers, and some I find absolutely mesmerizing. This one fell somewhere in-between for me, but for others this will definitely be a five star read.

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