Genre: Mystery & Detective

Guest Review: Fan the Flames by Katie Ruggle

Posted July 12, 2016 by Jen in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Fan the Flames by Katie RuggleReviewer: Jen
Fan the Flames by Katie Ruggle
Series: Search and Rescue #2
Also in this series: Gone Too Deep, In Safe Hands
Published by Sourcebooks, Sourcebooks Casablanca
Publication Date: June 7th 2016
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Suspense, Mystery & Detective, Women Sleuths, Amateur Sleuth, Contemporary, Action & Adventure, Thrillers, Small Town & Rural
Pages: 448
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three-half-stars

He's a firefighter.He's a Motorcycle Club member.And if a killer has his way...he'll take the fall for a murder he didn't commit.

Ian Walsh is used to riding the line between the good guys and the bad. He may owe the club his life, but his heart rests with his fire station brothers...and with the girl he's loved since they were kids. Ian would do anything for Rory. He'd die for her. Kill for her. Defend her to his last breath?and he may just have to.

Every con in the Rockies knows Rory is the go-to girl for less-than-legal firearms. When she defends herself against a brutal attack, Rory finds herself catapulted into the center of a gang war, with only Ian standing between her and a threat greater than either of them could have imagined.

In the remote Rocky Mountains, lives depend on the Search & Rescue brotherhood. But in a place this far off the map, trust is hard to come by and secrets can be murder...

Search & Rescue Series: On His Watch (novella) Hold Your Breath (Book 1)Fan the Flames (Book 2)Gone too Deep (Book 3)In Safe Hands (Book 4)

Let me just state right off the bat while I totally get why some people love them, I generally don’t like motorcycle club books. I frequently have issues with the criminal element, especially when the hero or heroine is directly involved, and it just knocks me out of the story. But I really, really loved Hold Your Breath, the first book in Katie Ruggle’s Search and Rescue series, so I decided to take a chance on the second book, which features a hero in motorcycle club and a heroine who owns a gun shop. While I had some issues with this book, I enjoyed it more than I expected.

We met the hero, Ian, in book 1. He’s a firefighter in this town in the Rocky Mountains, and he’s also a member of a local motorcycle club. Rory is his friend and owner of the local gun shop. When she defends herself from an attack by some members of Ian’s club, it puts her on the wrong side of the club sets off an even greater conflict for Ian. Ian has to protect Rory and himself. Moreover, the murder investigation from book 1 is still continuing here, and Ian gets unhappily tangled in that case as well.

Let’s start by talking about the MC! Ian has been involved in the club since he was a kid, and they basically took the place of his absent biological family. He is also a firefighter, though, which means he’s part of the close-knit team that includes police, fire, and search and rescue. Obviously, his work colleagues are on a different side of the law from his club. This causes lots of conflict for Ian, and it makes people on both sides angry at him. I thought his continued loyalty to the club made sense, though, because even though he does not like their criminal activities he feels like he owes them something.

I grew up in the club. They’re family. I can’t abandon my family, even if some of them make pisspoor decisions. 

I think what saved the MC plot line for me was that Ian eventually does have to take a stand for what is right, because the club crosses a line. I appreciated that Ian and everyone else could see that line, too.

The other characters in this series are fantastic as well. We get to see more of Lou and Callum, the couple from book 1. We also see more of the other colorful personalities in town. I particularly loved the firefighters. With one exception, they are a strong and supportive team, and they are on Ian’s side despite the conflicts his club membership brings. I liked that, and I liked that Ian had people like that in his corner. The dialog between the firefighters was snarky and had me laughing repeatedly.

So what didn’t I like? First, I had some trouble relating to Rory. It’s not that there was anything wrong with her, but I just struggled to connect with her. She’s funny and self-sufficient but that wasn’t quite enough for me. Her parents were seriously unbalanced doomsday preppers who lived in a secret bunker and tortured Rory with apocalyptic drills and training. I did like that Rory somehow managed to claw her way up from that dismal childhood but it was hard to understand. Now she owns a gun shop, and the story was very, very heavy on the gun talk, which got kind of boring for me.

What was most problematic for me, though is that Rory sells illegally modified firearms to known criminals like Ian’s MC. I kept thinking how scary and dangerous that was and how it led to all the trouble Rory finds herself in during this book. The book kind of ignores the illegal gun sales by saying “well, the MC wasn’t doing anything THAT bad”, but it’s admitted that the club members have killed people before so…? I had trouble understanding why otherwise law-abiding Rory would have such a blind spot there. Like book 1, Fan the Flames is written from Rory’s point of view, so the fact that I had trouble relating to her made it a bit harder for me to get into the story.

I thought Rory and Ian had some good chemistry, but I didn’t think we saw enough about where that came from. Again, seeing just Rory’s point of view of course limited my perspective a bit, but I wasn’t quite sure what started Ian’s attraction. I got that Rory was inexperienced with men so naturally she’d be reluctant to act on her crush on Ian, but what motivated Ian? Why did he have a crush on sheltered, socially awkward Rory? Why did he wait so long to act on it, and what suddenly and very abruptly got him moving at the start of this book? I really would have liked to hear his side!

I was hoping this book would be a home run for me, but even though it wasn’t I can definitely say it’s the first MC book I genuinely enjoyed. Other MC fans will probably enjoy this one even more than I did.

Grade: 3.5 out of 5

*I received a review copy of this book from the publisher.

three-half-stars

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Review: Alone in the Dark by Karen Rose

Posted July 7, 2016 by Casee in Reviews | 3 Comments

Review: Alone in the Dark by Karen RoseReviewer: Casee
Alone in the Dark by Karen Rose
Series: The Cincinnati Series #2
Published by Penguin
Publication Date: February 2nd 2016
Genres: Thrillers, Mystery & Detective, Romance, Suspense
Pages: 736
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The New York Times bestselling author of Closer Than You Think returns with a breathtaking new novel of suspense in the Cincinnati series—one that crosses the line between danger and desire, and justice and revenge.   Homicide Detective Scarlett Bishop has seen enough bad guys slip through the cracks and innocent victims go unavenged to know that good doesn't always prevail. So far she’s been able to lock away her rage and her vigilante fantasies. That lock is about to break.   Former Army Ranger Marcus O'Bannion is a fierce champion of victims’ rights. His secret past gives him good reason. He believes he’s seen the depths of human depravity, but then his investigation into the murder of a young girl who once asked for his help lures him and Scarlett down a dark, dark road—and straight into the crosshairs of a dangerous, powerful underground ring that deals in human trafficking. To stop them, Scarlett and Marcus have to be just as cunning and just as ruthless. But first they have to make it out alive.
From the Paperback edition.

Karen Rose is amazing. Don’t let the 736 pages put you off. I read this book in two days. I would have read it in one, but I had a migraine. Even that barely stopped me from reading it. Rose has a way of sucking you into her world and not spitting you out until the very last page. She is one of those authors for me. She has been from the start. She’s gotten even better over time, which seems impossible.

Marcus O’Bannion was introduced the previous book, Closer Than You Think. I read it over a year ago, so I remember Marcus only briefly. In Alone in the Dark, Marcus is helping a young girl named Tala that asked for his help after weeks of shying away from him. When at last she agreed to meet him, she was only able to tell him a few things before she was gunned down and died in the alley. He immediately called Detective Scarlett Bishop, the only homicide detective he actually trusts. The one he’s had feelings for since nine months before when he was shot and she sat at his bedside.

Scarlett Bishop is far from okay as a cop. She thinks that she’s losing her edge and she will soon be kicked off the force. When she gets a call from Marcus, she immediately responds. Not only is the address he gave her close to her house, but she has had feelings for him since she sat at his bedside nine months before when he lost his brother to a serial killer.

As Scarlett and her partner, Deacon Novak, start looking at the scene and start gathering evidence, they both know (as does Marcus) that this isn’t a random killing. After looking at all the evidence, including the autopsy, they immediately realize they have a case of human trafficking. Marcus starts working the case with Scarlett even those he owns a newspaper, an occupation that Scarlett despises more than any other. Still, Marcus is so invested in the case because Tala asked for his help, she can’t kick him off.

The human trafficking angle is highly disturbing, but brings the book all together. Rose leads you into the minds to the traffickers themselves and how they have no empathy for their victims. To them, they are dollar signs. The torture that went on is highly disturbing. However, the book wouldn’t be the same without it. Plus the head trafficker starts having problem with his security team and he has no earthly idea why.

I loved this book. It makes me sad that we have to wait until next February for the next book in this series. There were very interesting secondary characters and I am very hopeful that the one I’m thinking will be next in the series. If you’ve never read Karen Rose, you’re really missing out!

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

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Review: Brotherhood in Death by J.D. Robb

Posted March 30, 2016 by Casee in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Brotherhood in Death by J.D. RobbReviewer: Casee
Brotherhood in Death by J. D. Robb
Series: In Death #42
Also in this series: Creation in Death, Strangers in Death, Suite 606, Salvation in Death, Kindred In Death, Naked in Death, Glory in Death, The Lost, Rapture in Death, Immortal in Death, Fantasy in Death, New York to Dallas, Celebrity in Death

Publication Date: February 2, 2016
Genres: Fiction, Crime, Mystery & Detective, General
Pages: 400
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four-stars

JUSTICE IS SERVED.

Edward Mira is a powerful man, with a lot of enemies. But when the former senator is violently abducted, Lieutenant Eve Dallas suspects his kidnap is more personal than political. Someone is seeking justice; the bloodier the better.

Edward's cousin Dennis was injured during the abduction - and that makes things very personal for Eve and her husband Roarke. Dennis is a beloved friend, married to NYPSD's top profiler Charlotte Mira.

But as Eve delves deeper into the case, dark secrets emerge that could tear the family apart. Edward Mira has friends in high places - and they all seem to be hiding something. As her investigation takes a shocking turn, Eve finds that not all victims are innocent, and that some bonds are forged not in friendship, but in blood.

Brotherhood in Death wasn’t what I was expecting, yet it made complete sense by the middle of the book.

Dennis Mira and his cousin, Edward Mira, are in a dispute over their grandparents house. Dennis made a promise that the house would never be sold. Edward on the other hand is doing everything he can to sell the house. When Dennis heard that Edward was meeting a Realtor, he headed to the house immediately. When he got there, he heard arguing. When he called out, the arguing stopped. After entering the house, Dennis goes into the study and sees Edward badly beaten. When he goes to help, Dennis is knocked in the back on the head, sending him into unconsciousness.

When he awakens, Edward is gone and he has a hole in the back of his head. He immediately calls his wife who is none other than Dr. Mira (if you read this series and don’t know Dr. Mira, you must live under a rock). Dr. Mira immediately calls Eve even though it’s a missing person case instead of a murder.

Eve is sure that Edward Mira will turn up dead within 24 hours and it turns out she’s not wrong.Tortured beyond belief. It doesn’t take Eve long to put the pieces together, including the fact that at least two women are responsible for his brutal torture. The only question is why? When another, then another ends up as dead Senator Mira, Eve is finally slapped in the face when what the women are doing and why. You’ll have to read the book yourself 😉

I love the In Death series. Eve and Roarke are one of my favorite romance couples. I especially like when they fight, which is sick, I know. But how do you go through a marriage with no bumps along the way? I like reading about the bumps Eve and Roarke go through because they always fall back on logic. As an illogical person, it’s something that’s fascinating to read. Even after years of being married to Roarke, Eve still doesn’t understand the rules of marriage. The give and take. It’s not because she doesn’t try, she just doesn’t know.

Rating: 4.0 out of 5

four-stars

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Lightning Review: Immortal in Death by J.D. Robb

Posted January 6, 2010 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Lightning Review: Immortal in Death by J.D. RobbReviewer: Holly
Immortal in Death by J. D. Robb
Series: In Death #3
Also in this series: Creation in Death, Strangers in Death, Suite 606, Salvation in Death, Kindred In Death, Naked in Death, Glory in Death, The Lost, Rapture in Death, Fantasy in Death, New York to Dallas, Celebrity in Death, Brotherhood in Death
Published by Penguin
Publication Date: 1996
Genres: Fiction, Mystery & Detective, General, Police Procedural, Women Sleuths
Pages: 320
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four-stars

She was one of the most sought-after women in the world. A top model who would stop at nothing to get what she wanted -- even another woman's man. And now she was dead, the victim of a brutal murder. Police lieutenant Eve Dallas put her professional life on the line to take the case when suspicion fell on her best friend, the other woman in the fatal love triangle. Beneath the facade of glamour, Eve found that the world of high fashion thrived on an all-consuming passion for youth and fame. One that led from the runway to the dark underworld of New York City where drugs could fulfill any desire -- for a price . . .

 

This is one of my favorite In Death books. I think because this is the first time we really see Eve open up. She shows a lot of emotional growth here, plus she opens the door to new friendships.

It was easy to figure out who the killer was, but I still enjoyed the basic plot and watching Eve and her team work it out. I was disappointed in the timeline of the investigation though. It seems strange that both Eve and Roarke would be working right up until the night of the wedding.

All of Eve’s past is revealed in this book, and I found it just as shocking and horrific this time around. I hate that she pushes Roarke away, and yet that’s one of the most real parts of the book. After everything she suffered I’d be upset if she reacted differently.

Overall I’m just as impressed this time around.

4.5 out of 5

For a full list of the books and their reading order, see here.

This book is available from Berkley. You can buy it here or here in e-format.

four-stars

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Lightning Review: Rapture in Death by J.D. Robb

Posted January 5, 2010 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Lightning Review: Rapture in Death by J.D. RobbReviewer: Holly
Rapture in Death by J. D. Robb, Nora Roberts
Series: In Death #4
Also in this series: Creation in Death, Strangers in Death, Suite 606, Salvation in Death, Kindred In Death, Naked in Death, Glory in Death, The Lost, Immortal in Death, Fantasy in Death, New York to Dallas, Celebrity in Death, Brotherhood in Death
Published by Penguin
Publication Date: 1996
Genres: Fiction, Mystery & Detective, General, Police Procedural, Women Sleuths, Romance, Suspense
Pages: 310
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Goodreads
four-stars

They died with smiles on their faces. Three apparent suicides: a brilliant engineer, an infamous lawyer, and a controversial politician. Three strangers with nothing in common - and no obvious reasons for killing themselves. Police lieutenenat Eve Dallas found the deaths suspicious. And her instincts paid off when autopsises revealed small burns on the brains of the victims. Was it a genetic abnormality or a high-tech method of murder? Eve's investigation turned to the provocative world of virtual reality games - where the same technique used to create joy and desire could also prompt the mind to become the weapon of its own destruction.

 

This novel takes place right at the end of Eve and Roarke’s honeymoon. I think this is the first book where we really see them in harmony with each other.

Once again Eve’s case spills over into her personal life. People keep killing themselves, but Eve is convinced they were helped along. Her only evidence – besides her gut feeling – is each had a small blip on the brain. For me it isn’t ever hard to figure out who the villains are, but it is a joy watching Eve work. I especially liked the moral and social implications this case delved into. Mind control/mood control is a very scary thing.

There’s one scene in particular with Roarke that’s very emotional to read about. I will say, reading this book knowing what’s going on ahead of time really changed the tone of some of the scenes. The first time around my reaction was much different than it was this time around.

Something about the end of this book strikes me as odd, however. I don’t want to spoil it, but Eve’s reaction during the very last scene of the book seems off somehow. I can’t quite put my finger on why it’s wrong, though.

Overall a good entry.

4 out of 5

For a full list of the books and their reading order, see here.

This book is available from Berkley. You can buy it here or here in e-format.

four-stars

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