Third Eye by Rick R. Reed

Who knew that a summer thunderstorm and a lost little boy would conspire to change single dad Cayce D’Amico’s life in an instant? With Luke missing, Cayce ventures into the woods near their house to find his son, only to have lightning strike a tree near him, sending a branch down on his head. When he awakens the next day in the hospital, he discovers he has been blessed or cursed—he isn’t sure which—with psychic ability. Along with unfathomable glimpses into the lives of those around him, he’s getting visions of a missing teenage girl.
When a second girl disappears soon after the first, Cayce realizes his visions are leading him to their grisly fates. Cayce wants to help, but no one believes him. The police are suspicious. The press wants to exploit him. And the girls’ parents have mixed feelings about the young man with the “third eye.”
Cayce turns to local reporter Dave Newton and, while searching for clues to the string of disappearances and possible murders, a spark ignites between them. Little do they know that nearby, another couple—dark and murderous—are plotting more crimes and wondering how to silence the man who knows too much about them.

Gah! I’ve mentioned before that this author is full of hits or misses for me, but when it’s a hit, it’s impossible to put down. Sleep’s overrated, right? – That was my initial response after finishing Third Eye. When I stop and think about it and looking back at the books by Rick R. Reed that I’ve read, I think the horror and suspense books, the ones that keep me on the edge of my seat, give me chills and keep me awake are the ones that I enjoy the most. I’m not sure what that says about me… or him, but… maybe it’s one of those things that we shouldn’t dwell on… That doesn’t mean that I’m going to avoid the romance books by this author, it just means that I now know that I have a preference. 😉

Not surprisingly, Third Eye is not for the faint of heart. The bad guy is terrifying and evil as well as extremely unpredictable – a truly scary combination. There was also some other sketchy characters thrown into the mix and more than one character that grew on me as the story progressed. There were also more than a few “parents” in this story that didn’t deserve the title and at least one that I “yelled” at – more than once.

I couldn’t really fault the police or others for not believing Cayce, but I admired him for not giving up and continuing to try. There were twists and turns and danger around every corner and Rick R. Reed left little to the imagination when it came to what monsters are capable of.

The only real issue I had with Third Eye was a personal one. I wanted a certain character to get knocked down a few notches – which I’m sure she did, but I wanted to “see” it. I can’t say more, but I’m pretty sure you’ll agree with me when it happens.

I picked up Third Eye as another re-release and there have been a few more. I can’t wait to see what I’ve missed and decide what I’ll read next from this author.

A New Empire (Fog City #3) by Layla Reyne

Legacies were made to be rewritten.
Assassin Hawes Madigan wants to do right—by his family, his organization, his city, and the man he’s falling for, ATF agent Christopher Perri. But Hawes’s rules are being challenged by someone willing to kill for the old ways. To save his soul and his empire, Hawes must make an impossible decision: fight from the outside or bend the knee to win back his throne from within.
Chris is used to being the inside man, the one undercover. Now, he’s on the outside marshaling forces in support of the man and the ring of assassins he was supposed to take down. His mission shifted when he found something that’s been missing for ten long years—a home, with Hawes.
As Hawes and Chris make a dangerous play for control, the lines between allies and traitors blur. Trusting the wrong person could destroy the legacy Hawes envisions for the Madigans. But not trusting anyone, or each other, could mean lights out on their love and lives forever.
The King and King Slayer fight together in this thrilling conclusion to the Fog City Trilogy!

Sometimes there’s a really fine line between good and bad. I think that’s why I fall for “bad guys” in books more often than not. There’s no way that people should view an assassin as a “good guy”, but that’s exactly what Hawes is – or at least what he’s trying to be.

Hawes and Chris have come a long way since they first met in Prince of Killers. Their relationship took another turn in King Slayer and now all their cards are on the table. At least most of them.

On the surface, it seems crazy to sympathize with an assassin, but given Hawes’ situation, it was impossible not to. He was betrayed by someone he should have been able to trust. Someone who should have wanted to protect him, instead of destroy him. My heart broke for him in more than one situation, but he did have a few people he could trust with no question.

Chris had his own baggage that he needed to sort through and his situation was no less heartbreaking than Hawes’. These were two people who found each other at just the right time. Even if they were totally clueless in the beginning.

A New Empire was the perfect ending to the Fog City series. And… even though it’s the end, I hope that we get to see some of these characters again. This would probably be a good time to mention that this is not where you should start because A New Empire is definitely NOT a standalone. These characters (all of them) go through a lot to get to this point. So yeah, start with Prince of Killers. Since that one ends in a jaw-dropping cliff hanger, you’re lucky that you can then immediately pick up King Slayer. You’re welcome!

Murder Takes the High Road by Josh Lanyon

Librarian Carter Matheson is determined to enjoy himself on a Scottish bus tour for fans of mystery author Dame Vanessa Rayburn. Sure, his ex, Trevor, will also be on the trip with his new boyfriend, leaving Carter to share a room with a stranger, but he can’t pass up a chance to meet his favorite author.
Carter’s roommate turns out to be John Knight, a figure as mysterious as any character from Vanessa’s books. His strange affect and nighttime wanderings make Carter suspicious. When a fellow traveler’s death sparks rumors of foul play, Carter is left wondering if there’s anyone on the tour he can trust.
Drawn into the intrigue, Carter searches for answers, trying to fend off his growing attraction toward John. As unexplained tragedies continue, the whole tour must face the fact that there may be a murderer in their midst—but who?

I’m pretty far behind with my Josh Lanyon reads. Murder Takes the High Road is only the third book I’ve read by this author. (Fatal Shadows & Dangerous Ground) I have no idea why it’s taken me this long to pick one up, but now that I’ve gotten a taste for this author’s style, I’ll definitely be checking out more.

There was a lot going on in Murder Takes the High Road, but it didn’t make things confusing. It simply made the pages turn faster. There was the fact that Carter had to dodge his ex at every corner (along with his new significant other), the mystery of who exactly John was and what he was doing on a tour centered around a specific author who he obviously knew little or nothing about, the mystery of death apparently plaguing the trip and the actual tour itself.

The romance was sweet, the mystery was intriguing and the suspense was nail biting… I loved every minute of it. 😉 Twists, turns, mysteries within mysteries, a fairly unlikely suspect and just a little bit of romantic heat. The perfect mix. 😉

Cask Strength (Agents Irish and Whiskey #2) by Layla Reyne

Professionally, the FBI team of Aidan “Irish” Talley and Jameson “Whiskey” Walker is as good as it gets, closing cases faster than any team at the Bureau. Personally, it’s a different story. Aidan’s feelings for Jamie scare the hell out of him: he won’t risk losing another love no matter how heart-tripping the intimacy between them. And loss is a grim reality with the terrorist Renaud still on their trail, leaving a pile of bodies in his wake.
Going undercover on a new case gets them out of town and off the killer’s radar. They’re assigned to investigate an identity theft ring involving a college basketball team in Jamie’s home state, where Jamie’s past makes him perfect for the role of coach. But returning to the court brings more than old memories.
As secrets and shocking betrayals abound, none may be more dangerous than the one Jamie’s been keeping: a secret about the death of Aidan’s husband that could blow his partner’s world apart and destroy forever the fragile bonds of trust and love building between them.

The plot thickens… Single Malt ended with quite a revelation – that Jamie promised not to share with Aidan. It also left Jamie in a very precarious position. He was getting closer to Aidan and secrets between lovers never ends well.

I gotta say, I’m loving this series and Cask Strength cemented that feeling. Even though these two characters broke my heart – more than once. Jamie was all in when it came to his feelings about Aidan. The only thing was that Aidan was only all in when he was physically with Jamie. Nothing’s ever exactly what it seems and things started getting really interesting when the agents went under cover.

I don’t want to give too much away, but both Jamie and Aidan thought they had reason to be jealous. Jamie seemed to be in his element when he got back on the court. Then lines started blurring when Aidan worked under cover way too well.

As things in the identity theft case started to wrap up, the case they left behind took another strange turn. The cliff hanger in Cask Strength wasn’t quite as crazy… well, not in the same way, anyway… as Single Malt. That doesn’t mean that I can’t wait to pick up Barrel Proof. Even though I’m pretty sure I’m not going to be ready to say goodbye to Jamie or Aidan, Cask Strength ended in a twist that I never saw coming and I’m kinda hoping that there’s a perfectly reasonable explanation, but…

Earthless (The Survivors #1) by Jason Letts

earthlessIn 2166, Earth was destroyed. It wasn’t an alien spacefleet firing from above. It was a bomb planted in the center of the planet before humanity even existed. In an instant, the human population dropped from 11 billion to 1,066. 
I’m Loris Roderick, set to take command of the Magellan space station. I didn’t know I was to become the de facto leader of our species when its survival hung by a thread. 
We should run, hide in some corner of the galaxy to eke out what existence we can. But I’d rather we get our revenge. 

CreativeDeedsReadsDisclosure1It’s been a while since I’ve read any books by Jason Letts, but picking up Earthless reminded me why I enjoyed his books so much. His fantasy worlds are complex and intriguing. Even though Sci-Fi isn’t my ‘go-to’ genre, I still enjoyed this fast paced and suspenseful introduction into the Survivors series.

Loris was a commander who was set up to fail, at least he felt that way. He had less experience than others in line for a command position, but he was good at what he did. There were those in the ranks who thought he only got to where he was out of respect for his mother. He had a lot to prove before things got even more out of control and Earth was destroyed.

There were a lot of twists and turns in Earthless. More than one character had ulterior motives and a few weren’t exactly who they seemed. It was hard to know exactly who to trust, which kept things interesting. Loris didn’t take any of this lying down even when he had to fight against pretty much everyone to do what he knew was right.

Earthless didn’t end in a cliff hanger exactly, but there is definitely much more to come. The second book in the series, Sightless, was recently released and I’m sure it won’t be long before I add it to my official TBR list. It so happens I have a couple of other Jason Letts books that are also begging to be read. Stay tuned. 😉


Conscience (Bellator Saga #2) by Cecilia London

ConscienceAn escape plan foiled….
A determined woman….
One last tiny sliver of hope….
Jack will find me.
The Fed wants answers. And Caroline is determined not to provide them. They pull out all the stops, testing her sanity, testing her strength, testing her humanity.
Jack will find me.
Subject to cruel and merciless treatment at the hands of a government she once trusted, Caroline clings to her sole lifeline, her only chance at maintaining her tenuous hold on reality: her memories of her husband, Jack, her children, Marguerite and Sophie, and the friends who mean the world to her.
Jack will find me.
But what happens when hope starts to fade? How long until her interrogators cross over into the unspeakable sadism she fears? How long before she finally breaks apart?
Part Two of a Six Part Saga. Conscience (approximately 120,000 words) is not a standalone and must be read after the first book in the Bellator Saga, Dissident. All books in the series end in a cliffhanger. For readers 18+. This book contains adult situations including graphic violence, explicit (consensual) sex and light BDSM, psychological and physical trauma, and an oftentimes raw, dark, and gritty plot.

CreativeDeedsReadsDisclosure1After I finished the first book in the Bellator Saga, Dissident, I mentioned that I walked away with more questions than answers. In case your curious, Conscience answered a lot of them, but not totally. The second book in this saga gave readers a little bit more insight into what lead to the horrific future that is depicted, but not a full explanation. Since that’s pretty much the definition of ‘suspense’ I can’t get too upset. After all, there are 4 more books left for Cecilia London to play with our emotions. I’m pretty sure she’s up to the task.

Conscience picked up pretty much where Dissident left off. If readers didn’t figure out how ruthless the new government was before, it was pretty evident within the first couple of chapters. This book pretty much brought out every emotion imaginable, but the strongest were polar opposites… Love and Hate. Love – this was probably the strongest of all the emotions and it was felt between Caroline and her children, friends and especially Jack. Hate – there were so many people that brought out this emotion, I don’t even know where to start. Intermingled with both of these were terror, humor, fear, remorse and so much more. I’d be remiss though if I didn’t include lust in that list. As promised, the heat between Caroline and Jack was definitely turned up a notch or two. 😉

The unique formatting of Conscience is pretty much the same as Dissident. The chapters alternate between The Past and The Fed. I not only expected it in the second book, but it was a welcome diversion. The Fed chapters were so intense, violent and emotional that a break into Caroline’s memories into The Past was not only an escape for Caroline, but for the reader as well. As the end of the book grew closer, those glimpses were less of an escape. That’s okay though because by the time I got that far, I couldn’t put the book down.

As the author also promised, Conscience ends in a cliff hanger and more hangs in the balance this time than at the end of Dissident. Even more questions are raised and that makes me want the next book sooner rather than later. As I said before, for being a new author, Cecilia London definitely has this ‘evil author’ thing down pretty good.



Red Fox (Experiment in Terror #2) by Karina Halle

RedFoxIn the for­got­ten town of Red Fox, New Mex­ico, a Navajo cou­ple is tor­tured by things unseen and by motives unknown. Wild ani­mals slink through their house in the dark, a bar­rage of stones pound their roof nightly, and muti­lated sheep car­casses are turn­ing up on their prop­erty. Armed with a cam­era and just enough to go on, Perry and Dex travel to the des­o­late locale, hop­ing to film the super­nat­ural occur­rences and add cred­i­bil­ity to their flail­ing web­cast. Only their show has a lot more work­ing against them than just grow­ing pains. Tested by dubi­ous ranch hands, a ghost from Dex’s past, and shape shift­ing decep­tion, the ama­teur ghost hunters must learn to trust each other in order to fight the most ancient of myths…or die trying.

I’m not ashamed to say that this book scared the crap out of me. I had to keep reminding myself that there are 9 books in the Experiment in Terror series, so Dex and Perry were reasonably safe. The more I read, the more I had to keep reminding myself of that fact.

Red Fox begins just a little while after Darkhouse ends. Their first webcast has broadcast and they can’t let any grass grow under their feet before they start the next one. Perry has even more riding on its success now than ever and her only ally in her new career path is Dex. Trust is kind of tough when both parties keep things hidden from each other. That just adds to the tension built in this story.

I love stores based on mythology and Native American legends are some of my favorites. That aspect of this story totally drew me in and didn’t let go even when things got seriously dark. From the time they entered Red Fox, Dex and Perry were in danger. The biggest problem they faced, other than trying to survive, was that they had no idea who they could and couldn’t trust. No one was exactly what they seemed, so they had no idea where the real danger was coming from. Then, it got worse.

Regardless of how scary these books are, I know that I won’t be able to stay away. Beyond the danger that Dex and Perry put themselves in, there’s also the romantic tension between them. Since the books are told from Perry’s POV readers know exactly where her feelings lie, but Dex is a mystery. He’s unstable, mentally and emotionally. One minute he acts like he cares about Perry as much as she does for him and the next he’s distant and professional. It’s driving me nuts, and I totally love it.

Dead Sky Morning is up next and it’s already ready and waiting for me. 😉


The Cold Dish (Walt Longmire #1) by Craig Johnson

ColdDishWalt Longmire, sheriff of Wyoming’s Absaroka County, knows he’s got trouble when Cody Pritchard is found dead. Two years earlier, Cody and three accomplices had been given suspended sentences for raping a Northern Cheyenne girl. Is someone seeking vengeance? Longmire faces one of the more volatile and challenging cases in his twenty-four years as sheriff and means to see that revenge, a dish that is best served cold, is never served at all.

I admit that this series probably never would have made it on my reading radar if I hadn’t first watched the series on TV. I also have to admit that I never would have considered watching the series if a group of people I follow on line hadn’t talked about NF picking up the series after A&E network dropped it. The fact that I immediately searched out the Walt Longmire series by Craig Johnson after I ran out of episodes to watch should tell you something. 😉 I’m going to mention the similarities and differences between the two later in the review, don’t worry.

Walt Longmire is not your average literary hero… well, actually, he is average. He’s handsome in a rugged way. He’s over 50 and he’s described more than once as being out of shape. He’s been mourning the loss of his wife long enough in his friends’ opinion, which reinforces the fact that he’s surrounded by people who care about him as much as he cares about them. He’s honest, loyal, well educated, has a strong sense of honor… basically he’s one of the most ‘real’ characters I’ve read in a long time. One of my favorite parts of reading this book was his inner dialogue. I loved it. His thoughts are easy and honest and yes, he tends to ramble, but that keeps it entertaining.

The Cold Dish takes Walt back to a case that has haunted him for a couple of years. Sometimes justice isn’t exactly fair and the punishment comes no where near fitting the crime. That was how most people felt about the boys involved in the rape case. That fact made finding a likely suspect in the death of one of the defendants almost impossible to narrow down. There were a lot of people who could have decided to become a vigilante and not blink an eye. That also meant that Walt probably knew the killer, which made his job even harder.

With the help of his best friend Henry and his staff he goes about the task of finding the killer before the next boy is killed. The story has lots of twists and turns and seems to take them a couple of steps back with every new clue they find. I can honestly say that I had no clue who the killer was until it was revealed. It might have been because I was so caught up in the story, but I think it had more to do with the writing being so good.

Beyond the good story there was a lot of witty dialogue. There are a lot of conversations between Henry and Walt. Some serious, some comical. This one was one of my favorites…

I looked past Henry in disbelief as he turned to hand me the rifle. “If you do not shoot him, I will.”
“We don’t have any bullets, or I would seriously consider it.” He laughed and pulled a gleaming .45-70 from his shirt pocket and held it up. “Where did you get that?”
“Off your desk, where do you think?”
I pulled the handle and opened my door. “We’re trying to keep somebody from shooting him.”
He stated out the other side. “I am beginning to question the logic in that.”

Which brings me to my comparison between the books and the TV series. Honestly, I love them both. There are characters that are in both. Some are similar and some have been changed slightly to fit the TV series. The descriptions of the characters aren’t quite the same in some instances, but that didn’t bother me at all. I will admit that even though I liked Craig Johnson’s descriptions, I found myself picturing the TV characters in my head as I read the book. What can I say, I was introduced to them first. 🙂 One thing that bothers me in reading written dialogue on a regular basis is the lack of contractions. It just seems so formal in normal conversation to not use them. In a strange way Henry’s lack of contraction use made me smile. Not only did Walt mention the fact but that’s exactly how the character on the TV series talks as well. There’s also a strong spiritual aspect that I enjoy in both the book and the TV series. Sometimes familiarity is a good thing. As far as the story line goes, at least for the first book, you may think you know how the story’s going to pan out if you’ve watched the series, but the book takes a totally different slant, which I enjoyed. It kept me on my toes and it allows me to watch and read and not have either outcome spoiled. It’s the little things really. 😉

So, my obvious advice to those of you who have either watched or read about Walt Longmire, treat yourself to both. I don’t watch a lot of TV, but when I find a show I like, I have no problem telling people about it. Reading the book is a no brainer. I can’t wait to pick up the rest of the series.


Blood Street by Carl Alves

BloodStreetAlexei chose the wrong neighborhood to claim his latest victim. Now Philadelphia mob boss Enzo Salerno is determined to hunt down the man who killed his associate in such gruesome fashion in his South Philly row home.
Perplexed by this unnatural murder, Salerno uncovers clues that lead him to believe that this was not a mob hit, and that a vampire was responsible for this death. Magnus, the leader of Alexei’s brood, must now use all of his resources to save them from both the mafia and the FBI.

I’ve been introduced to a couple of new authors lately. I don’t take every review request I receive, but when the description of one piques my interest, I can’t turn it down. That’s what happened when I received the request for Blood Street. It wasn’t because it was a book like all the others I had been reading lately. It was more because it wasn’t.

CreativeDeedsReadsDisclosure1Vampires are one of my favorite entities when it comes to supernatural beings, but most of the vampire books I read are PNR. There was nothing romantic about Blood Street… at least not much. The story was basically about a mob boss and the FBI agent whose soul agenda is to catch him teaming up to fight against a ruthless group of vampires. It was full of blood, gore, broken loyalty and shaky alliances. Not a light read by any stretch of the imagination, but a good read nonetheless.

Blood Street was also a book that pushed me into a totally different perspective. Not that the vampires I usually read about are less ruthless than Carl Alves’ version. It’s just that I usually find myself picking a side and forming a connection with one group or character. There were characters that I liked in Blood Street, but none that I really loved. Each one had moments that I sympathized with them, but they also had moments when they made me see the darker side of them and totally understand why they were the villain. For the record, I liked having my perspective shaken a little.

It’s kind of hard to say whether or not good won out over evil by the end of Blood Street. It was definitely a stand alone book, but there was enough left open at the end to make way for the story to continue. Enough that I think I’ll probably be checking out more of Carl Alves’ books just so I don’t lose track of what else he may have in store.


Dissident (Bellator Saga #1) by Cecilia London

dissident new coverShe once was important. Now she’s considered dangerous.
In a new America where almost no one can be trusted, Caroline lies unconscious in a government hospital as others decide her fate. She is a political dissident, wanted for questioning by a brutal regime that has come to power in a shockingly easy way. As she recovers from her injuries, all she has are her memories. And once she wakes up, they may not matter anymore.

I’m not exactly sure what I expected when I picked up Dissident. Whatever those expectations were, it definitely went beyond them. Although it started a little slow (minus the prologue… there was nothing slow about that) once I got into the story, I couldn’t put it down.

CreativeDeedsReadsDisclosure1One thing that you have to understand about Dissident is that you will walk away with more questions than answers. That’s not a bad thing, at least it wasn’t for me. When the author asked me if I’d like to read and review Dissident, I was totally honest with her. It takes me a while to get into a Dystopian book. I just have a hard time wrapping my head around the alternate worlds. She explained to me that there was a lot of back story in Dissident with flashbacks that ease readers into the world she created. Once I started reading, I thought I was going to be totally confused. The chapters alternate between the present and the past. Turns out, it was the perfect way to draw me in.

DissidentMost of the book is focused on the past. It’s Caroline’s personal story and you get to know her and her friends very well. It makes what’s happening in the present hard to understand. That’s the scary part. There’s enough reality in Dissident to make the future that Caroline faces totally believable.

Like I said, there are a lot of unanswered questions at the end of Dissident. Readers still don’t know exactly what events took place to bring Caroline to where she ended up. Her fate and others hang in the balance at the end. One book under her belt and Cecilia London already has the evil author thing down. Conscience, the next book in the Bellator Saga is scheduled to release in August… Needless to say, I can’t wait.