Genre: Romantic Suspense

Guest Review: Every Last Breath by Juno Rushdan

Posted May 15, 2019 by Jen in Reviews | 2 Comments

Guest Review: Every Last Breath by Juno RushdanReviewer: Jen
Every Last Breath by Juno Rushdan
Series: Final Hour #1
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Publication Date: April 30, 2019
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 418
Add It: Goodreads
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four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

48 hours2 covert operatives1 chance to get it right

Maddox Kinkade is an expert at managing the impossible. Tasked with neutralizing a lethal bioweapon, she turns to the one person capable of helping her stop the threat of pandemic in time: the love of her life, back from the dead and mad as hell at her supposed betrayal. Recruiting Cole to save millions of lives may be harder than resisting the attraction still burning between them, but Maddox will do whatever it takes...even if it destroys her.

When Maddox crashes back into Cole Matthews' life, he wants to fight back. He wants to hate her. But the crisis is too strong to ignore, and soon the two former lovers find themselves working side-by-side in a breakneck race to stop a world-class killer with a secret that could end everything.

It’s a secret agent book! I am always down for a good spy thriller, and this book didn’t disappoint.

Maddox Kinkade is an elite operative with a covert government organization trying to stop a bioterrorist attack. The problem is, the person they need help from is none other than the fiance she thought dead. For his part, Cole Matthews let Maddox think he was dead because she betrayed him. He doesn’t particularly care about helping the US government, but he doesn’t want to look the other way as people are murdered. Plus, he finds he’d still do anything for Maddox. They have to move beyond their past together and go all in to find and stop the terrorist threat.

Maddox is my favorite kind of heroine–she’s prickly, smart, and so very capable. She can fight with the best of them, and I adored seeing Cole slowly realize he didn’t need to protect his little woman. Cole was even pricklier, however. He feels so betrayed and hurt by Maddox, and it makes him snippy and mean at first. To be honest, the whole betrayal was a bit vague in my mind–it had something to do with Maddox telling her CIA father information about Cole’s Russian organized crime family. However, to me it seemed more like the real issue was that her family was in law enforcement while his were in crime! “Betrayal” or not, it didn’t seem realistic that they could have worked out when they were so young. They both needed to grow up and get the perspective of a little time and space.

The terrorist plot was great. You know who they’re chasing, and you get lots of scenes from his perspective. I love the cat-and-mouse story, where the killer seems to always be one step ahead. I also love a good “traitor in our midst” plot, and this book had that as well. In short, the plot ticked my buttons!

As with most action romances, there were some things that didn’t quite make sense. I didn’t know why the agency let Cole in on the operation. I get that they don’t have to follow the “regular rules” of law enforcement, but no way would they let a civilian (and one connected to organized crime no less) in on a case like this. Plus Cole’s family and their crime connection was not well explored. His dad was supposedly trying to go legit, but his brother is not, and what exactly did Cole have to do with anything? There’s also a little bit of melodrama in Maddox’s past. (Small SPOILER ALERT for a content warning: there’s talk of miscarriage in the book.) But listen, I don’t read action romance for the accuracy or relatability. None of this bothered me enough to diminish my enjoyment of the book!

This was an excellent story from a new author, and I cannot WAIT to read more.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Final Hour

four-stars


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Sunday Spotlight: Taken by Rebecca Zanetti

Posted May 5, 2019 by Casee in Features, Giveaways | 3 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 don’t usually read novellas, but I will always make an exception for Rebecca Zanetti. In fact, I’m not reading very many romantic suspense books these days. Again, I made an exception for Rebecca Zanetti. You should too! I highly recommend starting with the Sin Brothers and moving on from there.

Sunday Spotlight: Taken by Rebecca ZanettiTaken by Rebecca Zanetti
Series: Deep Ops #1.5
Also in this series: Hidden (Deep Ops, #1), Hidden (Deep Ops, #1)
Publisher: Kensington
Publication Date: April 30, 2019
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 103
Length: 3 hours and 8 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
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Series Rating: four-stars

Hunter Holt might be the most stubborn ex-soldier ever born, but when he’s called on to help find a lost foster kid, he jumps into action. Even if it means working with the woman who broke his heart five years ago—the woman who still haunts his dreams . . .

Faye Smith has spent five long years trying to get her life back on track. She knows she should’ve turned toward Hunter and not away from him. But they both had too many demons to destroy. Maybe now they’ll get another chance—and save someone else’s life too . . .

But first they’ll have to stop arguing long enough to trust the Deep Ops team. Hunter was a lost boy himself once. In fact, he ran away from the exact same man, their monster of a father. Now he and Faye will have to unite to find the brother he never knew—and maybe each other . . .

 

Excerpt

To say that things hadn’t ended well for them would’ve been the understatement of a century—heck, of the entire existence of human beings on Earth. Even a caveman breakup, with swinging mammoth bones and the throwing of fire, would’ve seemed like an afternoon at the beach compared to the day Faye and Hunter called it quits.

Which explained why her hands were sweaty and her tennis shoes kept tripping over the exposed tree roots of the barely-there path on the way to his cabin. Pine trees closed in from every direction, and an animal squawked in the distance. The sound probably came from a bird, but the beast sounded like it had teeth. Did some birds have teeth? She’d had to toss a decapitated bunny off her deck last year because of a sociopathic owl hunting the forest behind her house. So if not teeth, then maybe claws.

At the moment, she’d rather face that owl than Hunter Holt. He would not be happy to see her, and he’d be downright hostile to the news she was bringing. Dread and anticipation boiled inside her at the prospect of seeing him again. Her first love. Heck, her only love. Man, he’d been everything.

Maybe he’d gotten fat and bald in the past five years and had taken up smoking, which would give him wrinkles. The thought cheered her. Then hopefully she’d stop having dreams about him that resulted in her seeking a cold shower.

She turned a corner, and the side of his cabin came into view. It faced the Smoky Mountains and Dogwood Creek, which rushed by surprisingly fast for late June. A tumble of large rocks angled up from the water to a man-made stone wall designed to protect the wood and rock cabin from flooding.

He came out from the rear of the cabin, his gait easy, his gaze alert. No doubt his bizarre instincts had warned him of her approach half a mile down the trail. “Faye.”

Ah, shoot. Neither fat nor bald. In fact, the bastard looked better than ever. “Hunter,” she said, drawing on years of practice to keep her voice level and calm.

His intense blue eyes, the color of a male indigo bunting in the height of mating season, revealed absolutely no emotion. His dark blond hair was cut short and yet was still shaggy—thick enough for a woman to spend some serious time running her hands through it. Despite the short beard and mustache he wore, the hard angles of his face proved he’d grown even more handsome in the past five years. His chest had broadened, and cut muscles shifted beneath the worn cotton of his shirt. “What are you doing here?”

Had his voice deepened? She held her stance on the trail, the toe of her shoe angled on a rock. “Miss Angelina sent me.”

Finally, emotion. His eyebrows rose, and he moved toward her as if unable to help himself. “Is she okay?” Urgency roughened the edges of his southern accent.

“She’s fine,” Faye murmured, something hurting inside her chest. Would he have had the same reaction if somebody had approached him about her? After all these years, the good and bad, would he have cared one bit if something happened to her? Not that it mattered. Not anymore. “She wants our help. That means…” Faye lifted a shoulder.

He sighed and tucked his thumbs in his front pockets. “We help.”

She nodded. The man might be one of the deadliest on the planet, and the crankiest, but when Miss Angelina called, you went, no matter who you were, or who you’d become.

“Why send you?” he asked.

Ouch. Seriously. Double ouch. “I’m the only one she’s been able to reach so far,” Faye said, her hand all but itching to grab a rock and hurl it at his stubborn head. The stone facade of his face was starting to piss her off, and he probably knew it. “Would it kill you to have a cell phone?”

His frown deepened. “I have a cell phone, and Miss Angelina has the number. Called me just last week.”

Huh. What in the world did that mean? Faye tilted her head. “And she hasn’t called you yesterday or today?”

“Nope.”

Well. That was interesting, and not just a little disconcerting. Everything in Faye wanted to hand off the case to Hunter and head back to figuring out what do with her life in Louisville. But Miss A had been insistent that Faye work it to the end, and there was some logic there, considering Faye had once been a shrink. A mistake among many in her life. She drew off her beige backpack, because her shoulders were starting to ache. “Perhaps Miss A wanted me to deliver these to you.”

His gaze dropped to the pack, and then he sighed. “You might as well come inside, then.”

“How could a girl refuse such a gallant offer?” she snapped, holding the pack with her good arm and starting for the green-painted side door.

The quickest flash of a smile lifted his lips for a moment. When she came abreast of him, he reached for the backpack.

She jerked it away. “I’ve got it.”

“It looks heavy.” He reached for it again, his long arm easily snaking across her body to grasp the strap.

“No.” She pulled again, engaging in a tug of war reminiscent of when they were kids. Finally, she twisted her torso, and he either had to let go or pull her entire body toward him.

He didn’t let go.

Instead, he grabbed both straps and pulled, jerking her up against his much harder and taller form. His scent of man and wild maple hit her so fast she gasped as memories flooded in. “When are you gonna learn that life isn’t fair?” He lifted, and she had no choice but to relinquish the bag or somehow grow ten inches. “You’re five-four, a buck twenty, and in a physical fight, you’re not gonna win.”

“Five-five,” she retorted, releasing the bag and instantly punching him in the gut as hard as she could. Pain ripped from her wrist up her arm. His darn ribs were steel.

He sucked in air, pained. “I’d forgotten your sucker punch.”

“You’re a moron.” She turned away, pissed beyond belief that she’d lost the backpack.

“So you’ve said, on more than one occasion,” he drawled, back in control again. “In fact, I believe that’s the last thing you yelled at me.”

“Actually,” she said, looking over her shoulder directly at him, “I believe it was ‘I love you, and I’m sorry.’” Then she turned and shoved open the door to his cabin.

Deep Ops

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: May 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 Rebecca Zanetti

Rebecca Zanetti is the author of over twenty-five romantic suspense, dark paranormals, and contemporary romances, and her books have appeared multiple times on the New York Times, USA Today, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and iBooks bestseller lists. She lives in the wilds of the Pacific Northwest with her own Alpha hero, two kids, a couple of dogs, a crazy cat…and a huge extended family. She believes strongly in luck, karma, and working her butt off…and she thinks one of the best things about being an author, unlike the lawyer she used to be, is that she can let the crazy out.


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Guest Review: Stone Cold Heart by Laura Griffin

Posted April 25, 2019 by Jen in Reviews | 3 Comments

Guest Review: Stone Cold Heart by Laura GriffinReviewer: Jen
Stone Cold Heart by Laura Griffin
Series: Tracers #13
Also in this series: Deep Dark
Publisher: Pocket Books
Publication Date: March 26, 2019
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 384
Add It: Goodreads
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three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

When local rock climbers stumble upon abandoned human bones in a remote Texas gorge, Sara Lockhart is the first to get the call. She has a reputation as one of the nation’s top forensic anthropologists, and police detective Nolan Hess knows she is just the expert he needs to help unravel this case. Although evidence is scarce, Nolan suspects the bones belong to a teenage climber who vanished last summer.

But as Sara unearths strange clues, she finds chilling similarities to a case from her past—a case that now threatens to rock Nolan’s community. While Sara digs deep for answers, the stakes rise higher as another young woman disappears without a trace. Investigators work against the clock as Sara races to discover the truth, even if her harrowing search brings her face to face with a stone-cold killer.

In the latest Tracers book from Laura Griffin, we’re back following a Delphi Center employee. This time it’s Sara Lockhart, a forensic anthropologist.

There’s not much to say about the plot of the book that isn’t in the cover copy or that doesn’t spoil some of the mystery. This is a much more twisty, turny mystery than some of the other Tracers books, and I enjoyed that about it. Sara’s expertise and instincts are invaluable to uncovering the extent of the crimes and piecing together who might have done it. It’s a fun ride, but not necessarily a solution you can “guess” (or maybe I’m just not clever enough, haha). I love the nerdy investigation details that Griffin uses in this series, and Sara is a prime example of that.

The romance between Nolan and Sara is a fine little love affair, though not exactly a passion for the ages. Sara is pretty reticent to get involved with Nolan because of a bad past relationship. It’s a bit cliche and does perhaps go on too long, but I did appreciate that she wasn’t whiny or angsty about it. She just wants to focus on her career and not get distracted by a relationship. I like that she’s confident and smart and happy with that. Nolan is fine, too. Pretty stereotypical cop character, although he does totally respect Sara’s expertise and autonomy which is always good to see. There’s no getting around that their relationship is a bit of a slow burn, and I felt like they don’t get much past the beginning embers in this book. I have hope for them in the future, though!

I enjoyed this book and am always happy when we veer back into the smart science nerds at the Delphi Center. I think it would be a fun read for Tracers fans, and even readers new to the series should be able to pick up this book with no trouble.

Grade: 3.5 out of 4

Tracers

three-half-stars


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Guest Review: Consumed by J.R. Ward

Posted April 5, 2019 by Tracy in Reviews | 4 Comments

Guest Review: Consumed by J.R. WardReviewer: Tracy
Consumed (Firefighters #1) by J.R. Ward
Series: Firefighters #1
Also in this series: Consumed (Firefighters, #1)
Publisher: Gallery Books
Publication Date: October 2, 2018
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Romantic Suspense
Pages: 417
Add It: Goodreads
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two-half-stars
Series Rating: three-stars

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the popular Black Dagger Brotherhood series comes a brand-new novel about arson investigator, Anne Ashburn, who is consumed by her troubled past, her family’s scorched legacy, and her current case: chasing a deadly killer.

Anne Ashburn is a woman consumed...

By her bitter family legacy, by her scorched career as a firefighter, by her obsession with department bad-boy Danny McGuire, and by a new case that pits her against a fiery killer.

Strong-willed Anne was fearless and loved the thrill of fighting fires, pushing herself to be the best. But when one risky decision at a warehouse fire changes her life forever, Anne must reinvent not only her job, but her whole self.

Shattered and demoralized, Anne finds her new career as an arson investigator a pale substitute for the adrenaline-fueled life she left behind. She doesn't believe she will ever feel that same all-consuming passion for her job again--until she encounters a string of suspicious fires setting her beloved city ablaze.

Danny McGuire is a premiere fireman, best in the county, but in the midst of a personal meltdown. Danny is taking risks like never before and seems to have a death wish until he teams up with Anne to find the fire starter. But Danny may be more than a distraction, and as Anne narrows in on her target, the arsonist begins to target her.

From the creator of the bestselling Black Dagger Brotherhood, get ready for a new band of brothers. And a firestorm.

I want to say that I loved this book but that is so far from the truth of the matter, I can’t even lie about it.

Anne Ashburn is a wreck of a woman.  From page one of the book she has a chip on her shoulder about the size of Montana.  She is a woman in a man’s world and she’s out to prove that she’s just as good as the others.  She very well may have been, until she decided that ignoring the rules about staying in pairs and striking out on her own, in the middle of a burning building, was a good idea. Not only does her best friend almost die by trying to save her, but she loses a limb.  Yeah, great idea, Anne. facepalm

So now Anne can’t be the firefighter she lived to be because she’s minus an arm.  Now she’s investigating arson and hates it.  She has a shitty work ethic and does whatever she damn well pleases most of the time.   When she starts investigating fires that deal with warehouses, like the one she was in, she starts to discover that things aren’t as they should be.  She teams up with Danny, eventually, but does she depend on him when she figures out whodunit?  Of course not – she’s too much of a woman to depend on a man! Ugh.  She actually goes to a remote location by herself and what happens actually proved beyond a shadow of a doubt what an idiot this woman was.  Seriously, she is what Ward thought was a good heroine?  Puhleease. I hope no young adult reads this and thinks Anne is someone to emulate.

Do I recommend this book?  Uh, no.  I did give it an extra ½ star because I read to the end, but that was more like me not being able to take my eyes off a train wreck.  Just sayin’.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5

two-half-stars


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Review: Keep Me Safe by Maya Banks

Posted March 21, 2019 by Casee in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Keep Me Safe by Maya BanksReviewer: Casee
Keep Me Safe (Slow Burn #1) by Maya Banks
Series: Slow Burn #1
Also in this series: Burn for You (Slow Burn, #1), Melt for You (Slow Burn, #2), Ache for You (Slow Burn, #3)
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: October 7, 2014
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 307
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Casee's 2019 GoodReads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
one-star
Series Rating: two-stars

A sizzling story of a woman who risks her life and her heart to find a wealthy man’s missing sister — the first novel in a sexy new romantic suspense series from #1 New York Times bestselling author Maya Banks.

When Caleb Devereaux's younger sister is kidnapped, this scion of a powerful and wealthy family turns to an unlikely source for help: a beautiful and sensitive woman with a gift for finding answers others cannot.

While Ramie can connect to victims and locate them by feeling their pain, her ability comes with a price. Every time she uses it, it costs her a piece of herself. Helping the infuriatingly attractive and impatient Caleb successfully find his sister nearly destroys her. Even though his sexual intensity draws her like a magnet, she needs to get as far away from him as she can.

Deeply remorseful for the pain he’s caused, Caleb is determined to make things right. But just when he thinks Ramie's vanished forever, she reappears. She’s in trouble and she needs his help. Now, Caleb will risk everything to protect her — including his heart....

Oy, this book. It was not what I was expecting. It seemed sort of Dream Man by Linda Howard. Not that I was expecting a Linda Howard book. No, I just enjoy books about psychics. It’s more than safe to say that I did not enjoy this book. Not even a little bit.

When Caleb Devereaux’s younger sister, Tori, is abducted, he goes looking for psychic Ramie St. Claire. Caleb doesn’t doubt her ability as Tori is psychic herself. By the time he tracts Ramie down, he is furious with her. How could she hide herself away from the world when she can help people like Tori? It’s only when he forces (yes, forces) Ramie to take Tori’s scarf thus living Tori’s nightmare with her that Caleb realizes why Ramie is in hiding.

When Caleb shows up at her door and sends into a nightmare she can’t get out of, she is sure that it will finally be the end to her. No such luck. She tells Caleb where his sister is and he leaves her house, telling her that he will be back. That, more than anything, gives her the strength to get her body moving so she can leave the sanctuary she has made for herself. For if Caleb can find her then he can find her too.

A year later and Ramie is desperate. He has finally caught up with her. Ramie has nothing left expect a marker to call in to Caleb Devereaux. He comes to immediately. I understood that he would come to her aid, but I didn’t understand the immediate attraction. It was weird. Not to mention that instead of actually thanking Ramie for saving her life, Tori was a complete and total bitch to her. I understood on some level, but it was childish on another.

After Caleb and Ramie were reunited the whole book just went downhill. The part that made me want to read the book (psychic) actually made the book unbearable. I have zero plans to read the rest of this series. Zero. Zip. Zilch.

Rating: 1 out of 5.

Slow Burn

one-star


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