Books & Reviews


5 Stars – NetGalley Reviewer – A romance you will not want to end. Great characters and plot keep this book fun and you wanting to turn the pages. This author knows how to write a great story. 



5 Stars from Long and Short Reviews – LASR – Family Forever was also voted as book of the month! Review excerpt: Family is so important in a person’s life. Family does not always have to be blood. I loved the pace of the story. Not too fast or slow. With Dylan’s brothers and the rest of the characters that came into play, I think the author did a great job of not only pulling me in but she made me feel. Overall a great book with a romance and a climax that will either make you smile or cry happy tears. An easy recommend.

5 Stars from P Leslie – A truly heartwarming book, with realistic yet down to earth characters, who capture your heart. I smiled, laughed, and enjoyed the simmering yet intense connection between Dylan and Marissa. A beautiful story and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I’m definitely adding Valerie to my favourite author list…

5 Stars from Carolyn – Just adored this book! Your heartstrings are tugged on both sides. First you have this family of boys that are left alone after a tragic accident with their parents and are now being raised by a gentle, sweet man, Dylan, that devotes himself to his brothers, yet still finds time to think of and do for others. Marissa is the daughter of the town drunk and is shunned by most of the town…

5 Stars from Christine Campbell –  The end is awesome you may need tissues…


PI Book Cover Front

Lynn Smith – Five Stars – Elizabeth Shaw has her life planned out. She never steps away from the plan. Never letting anything get in the way. Not friends, men or family. Moving to Chicago from New York is part of the plan. Finding a house she loved, she couldn’t wait to move in. Seeing toys and bikes out doors next door, she questions who her neighbor is and how many children they have. She doesn’t need the noise. Meeting Joe Antonetti and his two children didn’t exactly get them off to a good start. Joe thought Elizabeth a beautiful women but she really needed to loosen up. As they are thrown together more often then either of them like, things start heating up. Sometimes life is better then what you plan.

Loved Elizabeth, she started out so unbending. As her past comes to light, you see why. Who can resist two children who insist on trying to be her friend or they hot and sexy father. Joe has been raising his children on his own since his wife’s death. He didn’t think he would ever move on, but Elizabeth sneaks into that open and empty place in his heart. There is so much they need to work through and when something tragic happens to Elizabeth. She needs to learn to learn to let people who love her help her through it. Definitely one of the must read books this year. Loved the flow and the direction of the story. I received an arc of this book in exchange for an honest review.



Cowgirl USA – I really enjoyed this third Spinelli book. It had a great mystery, dark humor (you can tell from the cover) and action. Shannon is a social worker, involved with the sexy Nick Spinelli. They have been through the mill together and just as both of them think their lives will slow down, Shannon turns up missing. I don’t want to give too much away but I loved the intricacy and authenticity of the Irish feud that becomes the center of the plot. Watching Spinelli plow through the St. Patrick’s Day festivities while trying to rescue his woman is pure entertainment. This is a must-read for anyone who loves this Irish holiday and a good romantic suspense.

Harlie’s Books, a different review blog – A mystery, suspense, dark humor, romance, a sexy cop, a red-headed heroine and an Irish feud, plus kidnapping.  Yep, I’m there.  I just wish that I had read the first two books in the series, just because I love Nick and Shannon so much.  They are fun couple that just has had the craziest holidays EVER!!!!  Don’t worry about reading the books in order.  I wasn’t lost at all but at the same time, I want to read them just because…
How I loved Nick.  I don’t have but one book boyfriend, Noah Clayborne courtesy of Julie Garwood and her Buchanan series, Nick is coming in a close second.  He had from the beginning.  Sexy, a true man’s cop and extremely protective of Shannon.  Much in love is he but will he realize it before it’s too late?  He’ll do anything to protect Shannon but this time he has much to fight through to save her.  Oh yes, he is like the knight in shining armor and in this book Ms. Clarizio makes in swoon worthy, not eye rolling.  Again, I need to read the other mysteries…just because.
Shannon is your typical Irish lass and smart, sexy and devoted to Nick.  What woman wouldn’t be at this point?  Unfortunately for her, she is the biggest pickle and doesn’t quite see a way out of it without some sacrifices.  Swoon.  Let’s not forget that according to some back story, she has been through a lot since meeting Nick and I would have to say this is my only grip with the book.  Three holidays…three mysteries…three near death experiences…Let’s give the kids a night off just because they deserve it.
Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE the mystery and suspense in the book.  Much to figure out with twists coming that you don’t see coming and a conclusion…WOW!!!  But seriously, I would love a short something where it’s just the two of them without all the doom and gloom.  :)  But then again, it wouldn’t be a Nick and Shannon story without all that in it.  That’s half the fun of this couple.  They wouldn’t be a couple if NOT for it all.  Plus, the secondary characters are well drawn and only add to the couple.
I was surprised at the length of the book.  Before I knew it, the book was over.  *sniff*  It was a quick read, but the pacing worked.  Great characters make this book and series work.  I LOVE series that follow the same couple throughout.  I love watching their relationship grow and sometimes falter but in the end they are there for each other.  The smexy times are there and well though out.  😉  *sigh*  Again, Nick is the man.
Run, don’t walk and pick up this book but ONLY if a swoon worthy, knight in shiny armor and an Irish lass row your boat.  Plus, the mystery and suspense, too.  Two of Harlie’s favorites.  Nick and Shannon are definitely in the top 3 of my all time favorite couples…EVER.
recommend-harlies- new


Unforeseen Book Cover 6 red B2 - Final Front Only for Amazon

Nichole’s Sizzling Pages Reviews –  4 Star:

This was truly a very mysterious and action filled romantic suspense. But it had quite a few swoon worthy sweet elements in a a very touching love story. I have a very, very delicate balance with my love/hate relationship when it comes to romances where the heroine or hero has lost their first love. It has to be handled in a way that I don’t feel like the new person has just come in at second best. Alex’s story broke my heart and I wanted her to have someone to help her heal so badly. Peter was that perfect sweet and protective hero for her. He was a true gentleman and he adored her and even the fact that her lost husband was his best friend just really in the grand scheme of things made him love her more.


Taken by Surprise Cover - Final - Front Only for Kindle5star-flat-web

Review Rating:
5 stars!
Reviewed By Anne-Marie Reynolds for Readers’ Favorite

Taken by Surprise by Valerie J Clarizio is full of suspense, mystery and romance. Clare Ulster is engaged to high-flyer Sean, but when she finds him in bed with two other women, it’s the last straw. Leaving her fiancé and her job as a probation officer behind, she moves to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, into her grandparents’ old house in a bid to start again. Iron City is peaceful and quiet, just what she needs to get herself together and get her life back on track. Unfortunately, she isn’t going to get her wish. Sean has followed her and insists on making trouble for her, more than he ever did before. Her relationship with Matt, fire chief and town player, lands her in hot water with all of his admirers and leads to a whirlwind of trouble, including murder and kidnapping. Will Clare survive to tell the tale? Can Police Chief Jack save her from the trouble that has followed her?

Taken by Surprise by Valerie J Clarizio was a great read. It was all action, right from the word go, with no let up throughout the whole book. You have to feel sorry for Clare – she seems to find herself in trouble, no matter where she turns, and it seems that the snakes she tosses out of her garage are tame compared to the human snakes that enter her life. I thought the plot was very well written, it ran naturally and there were plenty of twists and turns to keep me interested. The characters were exceptionally well suited to the plot and written in such a way that the reader will get to know them intimately. The lives of the characters were brought into the story gradually, keeping them alive, and giving more meaning to the story. Excellent book, and I hope to read more from Ms. Clarizio.

~ Darla Tong ~ This story has something for everyone’s palate – sweet, salty, savory. The author does an excellent job of building the suspense and bringing the multi-faceted plot to a conclusion just at the right time.



Covert Exposure was previously released under the title of Cookies for Santa.


New Review – 4 Star – Readers’ Favorites – Michelle Stanley

Valerie J. Clarizio has written a very nice book. Covert Exposure (A Nick Spinelli Mystery) is a pleasant, light-hearted romance-suspense. I think the theme is good and like how the author neatly combines the social work segments into the mystery. It had a natural approach, and she was not hesitant to make her characters show their true feelings. Readers will get a brief, but effective glimpse into the operations of Social Services. I like Nick a lot and think he has a great sense of humour, especially when he is with Shannon, who was too emotional, although nice. The dialogue was unforced and contained sufficient wit at times. Covert Exposure is not too violent or graphic. It is a short, fast-paced story that’s quickly read.

The Book Maven

Spinelli has had a tough day.  First his mentor and father figure retires and then he is reassigned to the Child Services department.  But, the bright spot in his day is when he meets his partner, Shannon O’Hara.  His bright spot quickly becomes dark when they can’t seem to work together.  The more they fight and hate each other the more they start to feel for each other.  When the Santa and an Elf that Shannon works with at the Mall are found dead she is soon dragged into a case that Spinelli is working.  The closer Spinelli gets to both the killer and Shannon the tougher it is for him.  Can he manage to find the bad guy before they find Shannon?

I really enjoyed this book.  Spinelli was a fantastically fun character.  It wasn’t just Spinelli though.  The story was a great story that unfortunately we could possibly find in the newspaper.  That aspect alone gave this story a level of realism.  With the realism, the fun characters and the spicy love story between Shannon and Spinelli join together for a great book.  I am so glad this is only the first book in the series because I can’t wait to read the next book.  I definitely enjoyed the book, the characters and the story.  Valerie Clarizio did a phenomenal job and she has found a fan in me.


~Review by Raven of the Reviewing Vixens~

Cookies for Santa by Valerie Clarizio is a Romantic Suspense that takes us to the time of giving in the Christmas season, but not everything is as it first appears.

Detective Nick Spinelli’s partner has just retired and he’s now at loose ends. He’s a solo cop in Homicide with no new partner in sight. Unfortunately his boss decides to lend him out to the Child Services division. He doesn’t handle children well, not in the least, but the “green eyed angel” he’d be more than glad to get his hands on. Well, right up until the moment she takes a hate for him, then it’s nearly all out war.

Shannon O’Hara is a case worker for the Child Services division of the Social Services Department. Because of the holiday season things around the office are even more stressful and busy. What she doesn’t need is a cop with a chip on his shoulder and major attitude. Not in the job she has to do, not when there are children are involved.

But there’s a lot more going on, most of it revolving around Shannon’s weekend gig as an Elf for Santa at the mall. When the man playing Santa and an Elf turn up dead, things get all the more complicated between her and Nick Spinelli.

This is a great little story; the tension between them could practically be cut with a blade. They need one another and yet are constantly fighting each other at every turn. The author keeps the heat turned up on high between them from the moment they meet until the very last page. A great addition to anyone’s shelf.

  Excellent read – highly recommended

~Diane Courtney~ Way to go girl!!!!  I finished your book last night and am hoping you are working on your next one.   You definitely have the talent for writing.  I am a huge fan of Debbie Macomber and Susan Mallery and you seem to have that same flare/style of writing.  Hope you continue to pursue this dream and keep writing, just let me know when the next one comes out.  I am now an avid fan.

~Darla Tong~ Cookies for Santa has all the ‘ingredients’ – sugar, spice, romance, suspense – all you need to add is a cozy fireside and a mug of your favorite holiday  beverage and you will have the perfect reading experience. I think the author  should start a contest of suggestions on who should be cast as the leading  characters in the movie someday. Fun!

~The Reading Reviewer/Mary Gramlich~ Valerie Clarizio has written a wonderful story with amazing characters and an  interesting turn of events you just never see coming. Christmas is all about  surprise and this book shows what happens when you unwrap a great one.

~Maddie Cochere / Author of the Susan Hunter Mystery Series~ Whether it be the friction between Shannon and Spinelli when they first meet or
when they first kiss, there are plenty of sparks in this entertaining romance suspense novella. The characters are easy to care about and root for,
the writing is solid, and the mystery/suspense is well done. A very entertaining first book from Valerie Clarizio, and I’m looking forward to the next one!

~Aubrey Wynne ~I love Nick Spinelli!   A goody-two-shoes social worker is partnered with a tough, thick-skinned detective. Nick Spinelli is hot, sexy and funny. He ries unsuccessfully to use his usual wit and charm to win the girl. He strikes out. He dons a Santa suit. Bingo. But the suit brings more trouble than just the girl. The story has the flavor of the old 1950’s detective movies but modern day.  I would have preferred more action (great scenes at the end) but I’ll look forward to that in the next book. Spinelli’s character was spot on and well-developed. Hopefully we’ll get to know Shannon better in the sequel. I heard a third is coming out this year. I love Clarizio’s style and look forward to seeing how she progresses with this series.


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2 responses to “Books & Reviews

  1. Pingback: Computer? eReader? Hardcover Book? | Breezy Books

  2. Maddie, thanks for reading my book. I popped on over to you blog and read your post, Computer? eReader? Hardcover?, and though I love reading on my Kindle I do like the feel of holding a hardcover book in my hands as well:)

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