Genre: Romantic Suspense

Review: For You by Kristen Ashley

Posted January 21, 2020 by Casee in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: For You by Kristen AshleyReviewer: Casee
For You by Kristen Ashley
Series: The 'Burg #1
Also in this series: Hold On
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: January 14, 2015
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: First & Third Person
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 535
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
three-half-stars
Series Rating: three-stars

Librarian's note: Alternate cover edition of ASIN B004S81POK.

Lieutenant Alexander Colton and February Owens were high school sweethearts. Everyone in their small town knew from the moment they met they were meant for each other. But something happened and Feb broke Colt’s heart then she turned wild and tragedy struck. Colt meted out revenge against the man who brought Feb low but even though Colt risked it all for her, Feb turned her back on him and left town.

Fifteen years later, Feb comes back to help run the family bar. But there’s so much water under the bridge separating her and Colt everyone knows they’ll never get back together.

Until someone starts hacking up people in Feb’s life. Colt is still Colt and Feb is still Feb so the town watches as Colt goes all out to find the murderer while trying to keep Feb safe.

As the bodies pile up, The Feds move in and a twisting, turning story unravels exposing a very sick man who has claimed numerous victims along the way, Feb and Colt battle their enduring attraction and the beautiful but lost history that weaves them together.

Wow. This book is long. It took me three weeks to read it because it just went on and on. When I was halfway through it, I couldn’t believe that I was only halfway. It just dragged on and on. I liked it, but it was way too long.

Alec Colton has loved February Owens for what seems like his entire life. That’s why he was devastated when she broke up with him, seemingly for no reason. Not only did she break up with him, she married someone else then disappeared. Twenty two years after she left him, Feb is back in the ‘Burg. Colton avoids her as best he can, but that proves to be impossible when someone starts murdering people close to Feb. No matter what happened between the two, Colton will always protect Feb. Whether she wants his protection or not.

Feb was devastated when she was forced to break up with Colton. What was even worse is he acted like he didn’t know why. That sends her running. Right into the arms of her soon-to-be ex-husband. Although they don’t stay married long, Feb knew it was a mistake. The only man she wants is Colton, even with how he betrayed her.

When the murderer escalates and seems to be fixed on Feb’s lovers, past and present, Colton moves Feb into his house where he can better protect her. Colton doesn’t know if having her move in is the best or worst idea that he’s ever had. What Colton does realize is that after rekindling their relationship, he’s not letting her go. The murderer has other plans. No one is going to be with Feb but him.

Like I said, this book was pretty long. I skimmed some, read some, but mostly read. I really love reunion stories and this was definitely that. I’m really looking forward to reading this series.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

The ‘Burg

three-half-stars


Tagged: , , , , , , ,

Guest Review: Under Currents by Nora Roberts

Posted January 2, 2020 by Tracy in Reviews | 2 Comments

Guest Review: Under Currents by Nora RobertsReviewer: Tracy
Under Currents by Nora Roberts
Narrator: January LeVoy
Publisher: Macmillan Audio
Publication Date: July 9, 2019
Format: Audiobook
Source: Library
Point-of-View: Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 436
Length: 14 hours and 36 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
three-stars

Within the walls of a tasteful, perfectly kept house in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains, young Zane Bigelow feels like a prisoner of war. Strangers—and even Zane’s own aunt across the lake—see his parents as a successful surgeon and his stylish wife, making appearances at their children’s ballet recitals and baseball games. Zane and his sister know the truth: There is something terribly wrong.

As his father’s violent, controlling rages—and his mother’s complicity—become more and more oppressive, Zane counts the years, months, days until he can escape. He looks out for little Britt, warning her Be smart. Be careful. In fear for his very life, he plays along with the insidious lie that everything is fine, while scribbling his real thoughts in a secret journal he must carefully hide away.

When one brutal, shattering night finally reveals cracks in the façade, Zane begins to understand that some people are willing to face the truth, even when it hurts. As he grows into manhood and builds a new kind of family, he will find that while the darkness of his past may always shadow him, it will also show him what is necessary for good to triumph—and give him strength to draw on when he once again must stand up and defend himself and the ones he loves…

This is a difficult review to write.  Not only because of the subject matter, but because I don’t want to add spoilers into it.

You’d think that the Bigelow family was perfect.  They had a big beautiful house, lots of money, the father is a doctor and the mother doesn’t even have to work!  The children are darned near perfect as well!  But behind closed doors no one knows the abuse that the wife and children suffer at the hands of the Dr. Bigelow – a monster. The mom does nothing to help her children as she’s fine with the abuse as long as he doesn’t hit her face.

WTF?

When the son of the family, Zane, is 14 years old his father goes a bit nuts and hurts every family member.  When the daughter calls the police, their father blames everything on Zane stating that he went crazy.  The police believe the father because he’s a doctor and why would he lie? Ugh.

The story eventually moves on to Zane’s adulthood and him falling for a new woman in town. She also was abused by her husband and is looking for a new life.  Zane is now a lawyer and has just moved back to town after working in a large city for years.  The story is about them falling in love and adjusting to their new lives.  Of course there can’t be a HEA without a villain to try to ruin it all.

This book is told in four parts. The first part was incredible, though very hard to listen to.  The abuse was graphic and hard to hear, but it was written incredibly well and narrated perfectly.  Unfortunately, parts 2-4 fell flat for me.  There were definitely things happening but there was too much every-day life being told.  I get that books need that, but not for 3 parts of the book, imho.  The parts that had to do with the villain were predictable and not that exciting.

The romance (and I use that term loosely) was truly unimaginative. I guess I just expect more from Roberts.  I know this isn’t classified as a romance, but if you’re going to include one in the book then it needs to be done well and I just can’t say that it was.

Overall it was a decent read, but not one I can highly recommend. That said, I adored the narrator, January LeVoy. Strong voice, great characters voices, and just a pleasure to listen to.

Rating: 3 out of 5

three-stars


Tagged: , , , , , , ,

Review: Into the Dark by Karen Rose

Posted December 2, 2019 by Casee in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: Into the Dark by Karen RoseReviewer: Casee
Into the Dark by Karen Rose
Series: Cincinnati #5
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: November 14, 2019
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Pages: 608
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Casee's 2019 GoodReads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-half-stars
Series Rating: five-stars

When Michael Rowland saves his younger brother Joshua from the clutches of his stepfather, he runs for his life with his brother in his arms. From his hiding place he sees the man who has made their lives a misery taken away in the trunk of a stranger's car, never to be seen again.

Doctor Dani Novak has been keeping soccer coach Diesel Kennedy at arm's length to protect him from her dark secrets. When they are brought together by the two young brothers who desperately need their help, it seems they might finally be able to leave their damaged pasts behind them.

But as the only witness to the man who kidnapped and murdered his stepfather, Michael is in danger. As Diesel and Dani do all that they can to protect him, their own investigation into the murder uncovers a much darker web of secrets than they could have imagined.

As more bodies start to appear it's clear that this killer wants vengeance. And will wipe out anything that gets in his way...

Unsurprisingly, this book packs quite the emotional punch. Karen Rose has such a gift for pulling the reader into the story only to spit you out at the end with all the feels. That was Alone in the Dark for me. Whenever there is a child involved, especially in KR book, it hits me hard. Like really hard. This book was no different.

Michael Rowland has been abused by his stepfather for years. The only reason he hasn’t run away is because he has to protect Joshua, his little brother. When he sees his stepfather inject Joshua with something, the fight is on. Michael gets Joshua away safely. For now. When Brewer comes looking for them, Michael hides in the bushes along the road. He then witnesses something that is hard to comprehend. A man murdering his stepfather. Michael is deaf so he didn’t hear anything that was said. He does feel relief that Brewer is dead, followed by terror that the killer will come after him and Joshua next.

Diesel Kennedy coaches peewee soccer. Joshua is on his team. When his brother, Michael, runs six miles to make sure he is okay, it sends up red flags for Diesel. The only person he can take the boys to is Dani Novak. Dani is not only a doctor, but she is able to do emergency foster care for deaf children. When Dani and Diesel realize the extent of Michael’s abuse, they will not let him out of their site. Diesel has taken it upon himself to protect Dani and the boys, something he takes very seriously. It is hard for him to be around Dani because she’s been rejecting his advances for 18 months. Still, Diesel can only look at the situation as the chance it is to make Dani see that they would be good together.

With Michael able to identify the killer, he is now being hunted by the killer. Who is not just a killer, but a serial killer. Dani, Diesel and all their friends now have to fight to keep the boys safe when it becomes evident that the killer won’t stop coming after Michael. And what a crack team they are together. I loved the dynamic with all the friends and visiting couples that I have read about in previous books.

KR did a superb job here. I was angry at the killer, yet at the same time rooting him on. If that’s not effed, I don’t know what is. KR just has that knack. I loved Michael and Joshua. Their problems were very real and they came out loud and clear through the pages. Dani and Diesel’s love was sweet and passionate. I liked that once Dani decided she was in, she was all in. With Diesel and with the boys. This is yet another book that shows Karen Rose is on top of the romantic suspense genre and not leaving anytime soon.

Rating: 4.25 out of 5.

Cincinnati


four-half-stars


Tagged: , , , , , ,

Sunday Spotlight: Into the Dark by Karen Rose

Posted December 1, 2019 by Casee in Features, Giveaways | 5 Comments

Sunday Spotlight is a feature we began in 2016. This year we’re spotlighting our favorite books, old and new. We’ll be raving about the books we love and being total fangirls. You’ve been warned. 🙂

I love Karen Rose. She is at the top of her game with Alone in the Dark. If you like romantic suspense, or romance, or suspense, you need to give Karen Rose a try. She will not disappoint. She hasn’t disappointed me once as a matter of fact!

Sunday Spotlight: Into the Dark by Karen RoseInto the Dark by Karen Rose
Series: Cincinnati #5
Also in this series: Into the Dark
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: November 14, 2019
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 480
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Series Rating: five-stars

When Michael Rowland saves his younger brother Joshua from the clutches of his stepfather, he runs for his life with his brother in his arms. From his hiding place he sees the man who has made their lives a misery taken away in the trunk of a stranger's car, never to be seen again.

Doctor Dani Novak has been keeping soccer coach Diesel Kennedy at arm's length to protect him from her dark secrets. When they are brought together by the two young brothers who desperately need their help, it seems they might finally be able to leave their damaged pasts behind them.

But as the only witness to the man who kidnapped and murdered his stepfather, Michael is in danger. As Diesel and Dani do all that they can to protect him, their own investigation into the murder uncovers a much darker web of secrets than they could have imagined.

As more bodies start to appear it's clear that this killer wants vengeance. And will wipe out anything that gets in his way...

Excerpt

Cincinnati, Ohio
Saturday, March 9, 5:40 a.m.

Michael shifted in the chair in the corner of Joshua’s bedroom, trying to get comfortable as he kept watch over his little brother, who slept peacefully, unaware that anything had happened tonight. At least there was that. Joshua wouldn’t have the memory of being drugged by their stepfather. Of their escape through the old orchard.

Michael had tried to sleep in his own bed. He truly had. God only knew, he was exhausted
enough. But every time he closed his eyes, he saw Brewer jabbing Joshua with a syringe and carrying him away. He’d tried to force his brain to see Brewer going limp under the big bald man’s hands, but his brain kept seeing the bastard getting up and walking away. That wasn’t what had happened, but until Michael knew for sure that Brewer really was dead, he’d be on pins and needles, waiting for his mother’s husband to come home.

And watching over Joshua. It wasn’t like anyone else was going to. Their mother had never been what anyone would call maternal, but she’d gotten much worse since Brewer had entered their lives.

He shifted again, then froze as a familiar rumble beneath his feet sent an even more familiar bolt of fear through his body.

The garage door. Someone had opened it.

Someone is here.

Michael shot to his feet, fumbling for the gun he’d taken from Brewer’s safe. Tucking it into the waist of his jeans at his back, he looked around the room wildly, nearly scooping Joshua up into his arms.

But again he froze. There was no time. Someone was coming.

Someone is here.

Brewer? Or . . . He remembered the big bald man tossing Brewer’s keys into the air. Had the man come back? Had he killed Brewer and come back? For us?

Oh God. He saw me. Knows I saw him kill Brewer. He thinks I’ll tell. He’ll kill me, too.

Michael’s brain told him to run, until his gaze fell to his little brother, still asleep. I’ll keep you safe. I won’t let him touch you. I promise.

Stepping back, Michael hid behind the chair and drew the gun. He’d kill whoever walked
through that door. Unless it was his mother. Her, he’d let live. Although she didn’t deserve to.

He’d gone to her, terrified and bleeding. Scared. He’d told her what her husband had done, the first time it had happened more than two years ago. And the second. And the third. But she hadn’t believed him. Or she’d claimed as much.

You’re lying, she’d told him. Michael could still feel the sting of her slap across his face. It was a wonder she hadn’t broken any of his teeth. But he hadn’t been lying about all the things her husband had done to him.

He’d threatened to go to the police, hoping they’d believe him, but his mother told him that they’d take him away— and maybe her, too. He and Joshua would go to foster care, but not together. They’d be separated, she’d told him, and everyone knew what happened to kids in those homes. Joshua would be hurt and it would be Michael’s fault. Unless he stayed quiet. So he had, enduring his stepfather’s “visits” in the night, hoping that Brewer would just go away.

Now he had. Because he’s dead.

He shuddered, pushing those thoughts from his mind. Not now. He couldn’t lose it now. Later, he’d fall apart. Later, when Joshua was safe.

Joshua, the only reason he’d stayed in this house. This hell.

Michael clutched the gun in both hands, willing them not to shake. Willing his eyes to stay open, even though he wanted to clench them shut and pretend none of this was happening. Because the door was opening. Slowly.

He held his breath, his heart hammering in his chest. No, no, no. It couldn’t be Brewer. Brewer was dead. Please let him be dead. Please let this be Mom. Please.

A shadow appeared in the doorway. Big. Hulking.

It was the man. The bald man. The man who’d killed Brewer with his bare hands. He was here. He stepped into the room, the moonlight from the window reflecting off his head as he stopped at the foot of Joshua’s bed.

Michael could see his face clearly. Memorized his features. Every detail, so that he could tell the police.

No, no, you won’t. You can’t tell the police. Because they wouldn’t believe him. His mother would tell them he was a liar. Just like she’d done when he’d told her that her new husband came to his bed at night.

She’ll find a way to blame me. That’s the way it’s always been.

He glanced at the gun he held in his shaking hands. I won’t need to tell the police, because I’m going to kill him.

Except the man didn’t touch his brother. He simply stood there, his gaze fixed on Joshua. There was no anger on the man’s face. None of the lustful leering that Michael had seen so often in Brewer’s eyes. Actually, the man looked . . . relieved. And that didn’t make sense.

The man’s gaze jerked up and Michael wondered if he’d made a sound. But the man didn’t
come closer. He just turned on his heel and left the room.

Michael sagged back against the bedroom wall, letting out the breath he’d been holding. A few minutes later he felt the rumble of the garage door going back down.

He crept to the window and peeked out into the night. And sucked in a breath when he saw the big man running down the driveway, toward the flickering light at the road, a suitcase in his hand.

He was gone.

Michael and Joshua were alone again.

Michael’s entire body began to shake. He stumbled to the chair just as his legs gave out. He didn’t have to wonder what would have happened if the man had discovered him there. He’d have put his hands on Michael’s throat and choked him until he’d gone limp, just as he’d done to Brewer.

Oh God. Oh God. I would have been dead. And Joshua would be all alone, unprotected. He
glared at the gun in his hand. He’d frozen. He should have shot the man as he’d stood next to

Joshua’s bed, but he’d frozen.

I won’t freeze next time. If he comes back, I’ll be ready.

Cincinnati

Giveaway Alert

We’re giving one lucky winner their choice of one of our Sunday Spotlight books. Use the widget below to enter for one of this month’s features.

Sunday Spotlight: December 2019

Are you as excited for this release as we are? Let us know how excited you are and what other books you’re looking forward to this year!

About Karen Rose

Internationally bestselling, RITA-award winning, author Karen Rose was born and raised in the Maryland suburbs of Washington, DC. She met her husband, Martin, on a blind date when they were seventeen and after they both graduated from the University of Maryland, (Karen with a degree in Chemical Engineering) they moved to Cincinnati, Ohio. Karen worked as an engineer for a large consumer goods company, earning two patents, but as Karen says, “scenes were roiling in my head and I couldn't concentrate on my job so I started writing them down. I started out writing for fun, and soon found I was hooked.”

Her debut suspense novel, DON'T TELL, was released in July, 2003. Since then, she has published more than fifteen novels and two novellas. Her twenty-second novel, SAY YOU'RE SORRY, will be released in 2019.

Karen's books have appeared on the bestseller lists of the New York Times, USA Today, London's Sunday Times, and Germany's der Spiegel (#1), and the Irish Times, as well as lists in South Africa(#1) and Australia!
​​
Her novels, I'M WATCHING YOU and SILENT SCREAM, received the Romance Writers of America's RITA award for Best Romantic Suspense for 2005 and 2011. Five of her other books have been RITA finalists. To date, her books have been translated into more than twenty languages.

A former high school teacher of chemistry and physics, Karen lives in Florida with her husband of more than twenty years, two dogs, and a cat.


Tagged: , , ,

Throwback Thursday Review: Fragile by Shiloh Walker

Posted October 24, 2019 by Casee in Reviews | 8 Comments

Throwback Thursday Review: Fragile by Shiloh WalkerReviewer: Casee
Fragile by Shiloh Walker
Series: Rafferty #1
Also in this series: Fragile
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: February 3, 2009
Format: Print ARC
Source: Author
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 346
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Six years after trading in his combat gear for hospital scrubs, Luke Rafferty is faced with things just as heartbreaking as those on the battlefield. The abused children being brought in by the pretty redheaded social worker tug at his soul like nothing he's ever known.

For Devon Manning, being a social worker is a rewarding job, but also a constant reminder of her own troubled youth. Devon takes everything one day at a time—unable to form a relationship with anyone except the children she rescues.

When Luke meets Devon, he thinks he might have found what he's been looking for, but in order to get the life he wants, Luke has to break through Devon's emotional barriers and make her realize that his healing touch might be just the complication her life needs...

I didn’t really expect to like Devon. She’s exactly the type of heroine that I can’t really get behind. The heroine that doesn’t need anyone except for herself. The “tough-as-nails, I’ll kick your ass before I let you touch me, I don’t need you” heroine. You know the heroine I’m talking about. That’s the type I expected Devon to be, even while I was reading the beginning of the book. And she is that type of heroine, to a certain extent. She’s is tough, but that’s b/c she has to be. She is closed off from men, but she’ll open up to the right man. She needs family and she needs friends. So she was as I expected her to be, yet she was also more.

When it comes to being a social worker, Devon knows that she’s running on fumes. But she won’t give up. She won’t stop b/c there is always one more child to save, one more child that could be looking for what she looked for as a child. A way out; a way to a better place. The part of her job that she hates the most brings Luke Rafferty into her life. As an ER doctor, Luke deals with the worst of the worst. But the kids Devon brings in always tear at his heart the most. As does Devon herself. Luke never thought about settling down until he meets Devon.

Devon has definite problems with intimacy. What I liked about her was that she was willing to discuss it with Luke. She was willing to overcome her fears to be with this man that she knew was special. As for Luke, he knows a victim when he sees one and he can tell that Devon is one. That’s not enough to deter him from a relationship with her. Soon they’re in a full-fledged affair.

Unfortunately Devon’s work brings her into contact with parents that resent her presence in their lives. One case turns violent when Devon helps a teenage boy out of an abusive home. The boy’s father doesn’t take kindly to Devon’s part in taking him away.

The circumstances force Devon and Luke to get close faster than either of them anticipated. Basically there are two storylines going on here. That was a little much for me. I understand why they were both necessary. They were each there to throw the reader in the opposite direction. I can appreciate that. So even though it was a little over the top, Shiloh made it work.

I was glad there wasn’t a paranormal aspect to this book.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Rafferty

four-stars


Tagged: , , , , , ,