Publisher: Harlequin Intrigue

Guest Review: The Rebel by Adrienne Giordano

Posted October 8, 2015 by Jen in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: The Rebel by Adrienne GiordanoReviewer: Jen
The Rebel by Adrienne Giordano
Publisher: Harlequin Intrigue
Publication Date: September 15, 2015
Genres: Romantic Suspense
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three-half-stars

A brilliant civil lawyer, David Hennings has always been the outsider—at odds with his wealthy family, shunning relationships, defying convention as a sexy leather-jacketed biker. Which is why sculptor Amanda LeBlanc agrees to his request to reconstruct a skull from a cold case murder. The instant heat between them is scorching.

But once Amanda takes the job and gets too close to the rebellious attorney, her carefully balanced life is upended by a series of methodical attacks. Someone doesn’t want her to finish the job. Now David will risk everything not to lose the woman he unknowingly put in jeopardy.

As the book opens, an off duty detective finds a skull in an empty lot in Chicago, obviously the victim of a murder. Years later, he’s still bothered by the unsolved crime and approaches artist Amanda LeBlanc to see if she can do a reconstruction to aid in identifying the woman. Amanda wants nothing to do with it, but the conversation is overheard by Pamela Hennings, wife of a famous lawyer-turned-investigator. Mrs. Hennings decides that this cold case needs solving, so she asks her son David to help convince Amanda to do the reconstruction. He manages to convince her to try a reconstruction, and he is pleasantly surprised by their mutual attraction. When disturbing things start happening to Amanda, she and David have to also investigate why someone might be causing trouble for her.

My favorite part of the book was David and Amanda’s relationship. I appreciated that they were open and honest with each other. Amanda lets David know what she needs to self soothe, and she stands up to David when she needs to. David in particular isn’t shy about letting Amanda know he’s interested. He admits he feels something new and exciting for her, and I like that just he wants to explore it instead of immediately tossing around words like “forever” like so many do in romances. While the two have an immediate attraction, for the most part they get to know each other before they really act on it. The story still takes place in a matter of days, but it doesn’t feel too rushed in the timeline of the plot. Their dialogue was snappy and fun. I’m always a sucker for a book set in Chicago, too, though I did wish the author made a little more use of the setting.

In contrast to their great moments of honesty, at other times David and Amanda both read as immature. Amanda is almost compulsively averse to emotional upheaval, even the good kind. She obviously has some unexplored angst due to her childhood. David has tons of issues with his family, and that’s where I felt like he seemed particularly immature. It’s not that I didn’t think the conflicts with his family were believable, but the way he handles them made him seem more like a young man than a grown man, which was unappealing. For instance, at one point he has a fight with his sister and gets mad at Amanda because she didn’t take his side. He actually says she needs to be on “Team David” at all times. I rolled my eyes there. I just didn’t enjoy that petty, immature side of him, and it didn’t mesh with his character elsewhere. I also really disliked his sister Penny. Penny is the heroine from an earlier related book, The Defender. I suspect she comes across very differently in her own book, but here she was unpleasantly sharp and mean. David was no saint, but I couldn’t help feeling like he was making much more of an effort to get along than Penny was. I certainly don’t feel inclined to read about her perspective in her own book. The mystery in this book was also just a touch flat. I liked the premise, but I felt like the villain came out of left field, and the whole thing relied on a few too many coincidences for my liking. It had good bones, but maybe needed a bit more fleshing out to feel realistic.

Overall, this book was a bit of a mixed bag for me. I felt like there were some missteps, but I still enjoyed myself.

Grade: 3.5 out of 4

This book is available from Harlequin Intrigue. You can purchase it here or here in e-format. This book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

three-half-stars


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Guest Review: Bridal Armor by Debra Webb

Posted August 30, 2013 by Judith in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review:  Bridal Armor by Debra WebbReviewer: Judith
Bridal Armor (Colby Agency, #51) by Debra Webb
Series: Colby Agency #51
Publisher: Harlequin, Harlequin Intrigue
Publication Date: August 20th 2013
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Romantic Suspense
Pages: 224
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four-stars

Two agents' forgotten love is rekindled in USA TODAY bestselling author Debra Webb's Colby Agency: The Specialists series.

Someone was out to get Thomas Casey. His profession had taught him to trust no one. So when Johara di Rossi abducted him on his way to his beloved niece's wedding, Thomas assumed the worst—despite their intimate history.

Though attachments made him vulnerable, Thomas was haunted by regret for walking away from Jo years ago. No other woman had stirred such intense desire in him. Now, snowbound in an isolated cabin, with a determined enemy from his past closing in, suspicion begins to melt away as the embers of their passion reignite.

Wow!  This is a really complicated novel that will keep lovers of espionage and mystery on the edge of their seats.  The director of a government agency that is a branch of the CIA that isn’t supposed to exist is on the way to his niece’s wedding to give the bride away.  But what starts out as a bit of family leave time turns into a witch hunt by those who are trying to end not only Thomas Casey’s career but his life as well.  Intercepted by a woman who was his lover five years previously, Thomas begins to understand the extent to which his enemy has gone to do him great harm, and possibly those he loves.  What he doesn’t plan on is the renewal–the resurgence of his gut-deep attraction to Jo Rossi in spite of the fact that she is the governmental equivalent to Internal Affairs and may well be a part of the conspiracy.

This novel is layer upon layer of trouble, so much so that the reader will have a hard time deciding who the bad guys are. The sexual tension between Jo and Thomas keeps on building throughout the novel and the relentless nature of the enemy’s action against Thomas never lets up.  Ms Webb has written a story that literally leaps off the page continually and it was one of those that I started and didn’t put it down except for bathroom breaks.

This series of novels have been wonderful reading and it is always fun to re-visit characters that have figured prominently in past stories.  That all this murder and mayhem is set against the backdrop of a family wedding is sheer genius on the part of the author.  It is certainly a study in contrasts and yet it seems to ramp up the tension even more.  There’s not a lot of erotic action in this novel.  Yet it is deeply erotic in that the intent is there, the tension is palpable, and the sense that it was going to happen eventually–but we just don’t know when.   Just goes to show that the sexiest novels are sometimes those were the sex is implied or delayed.  That is certainly the case here.

Harlequin’s “Intrigue” imprint has come out with some wonderful stories.  This one is no exception.  And if you have been reading Ms Webb’s books in this particular series you will love this one as well.

I give the novel a rating of 4.25 out of 5.

You can read more from Judith at Dr J’s Book Place.

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

four-stars


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Guest Review: Alpha One by Cynthia Eden

Posted January 3, 2013 by Book Binge Guest Blogger in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Alpha One by Cynthia EdenReviewer: Judith
Alpha One (Shadow Agents, #1) by Cynthia Eden
Series: Shadow Agents #1
Publisher: Harlequin, Harlequin Intrigue
Publication Date: January 2nd 2013
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 224
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four-stars

"Julie's missing. You have to get her back."

The minute he got the message, undercover agent Logan Quinn sprang into action. Getting Juliana James out of Mexico alive was the Elite Ops covert agent's only priority. But once the senator's daughter was safely back in their Mississippi hometown, Logan had a new mission: to get another chance with the woman he couldn't lose again.

Juliana had never forgotten the day, ten years ago, when Logan left her heart in pieces. Now he was back in her life, sworn to protect her from the ruthless weapons dealer who wanted her dead. As passion blindsided her --and she was once again thrust into danger -- Julie realized how much she'd risk for one more day in Logan's arms.

They’re “shadow agents” and they have the fear-inducing knack of getting in and getting out without anyone knowing they’re coming or that they’ve even been there.  Ten years ago they rescued the senator’s daughter, saving her from a burning building.  She worried for years about the other prisoner who was being harrassed and tortured by the leader of a weapons cartel.  Yet she never knew what happened to him.  Now she is once again in the sites of that ruthless criminal and once again Logan is called upon, with his team, to protect her and keep her alive.  What comes alive once again is the passion they shared and the possibilities Logan walked away from a decade ago.

This is another cover-ops suspense novel but it is so very well done.  There are mysteries galore here, unanswered questions piling up as the story proceeds and in the middle is a woman’s life that Logan and his team never seem to be able to get out of range of those who would destroy her.  And in the midst of all this tension and secrets, there is the sexual tension between these old lovers, both of whom still know that a greater portion of their hearts belongs to the other.  It’s a fast a furious read, never letting the reader get comfortable, not taking up a great deal of time as it is not an overly long story.  But the author has packed every page with action and tension and suspense while pairing it with the frustration these lovers are experiencing as they try to find their way back to one another.  Juliana also makes some discoveries that upend everything she thought she knew about herself and her life so that there are twists and turns, secrets revealed and some of those are life-threatening.

This could be classified as a short novel, but this line of novels has been one of Harlequin’s best in recent years.  It’s the kind of novel that you can read in a relatively short space of time and one that will never be boring.  As a fan of that curious mixture known as romantic suspense fiction, I was delighted to find this novel and as one who has enjoyed Ms Eden’s work in the past, it was really great to find out that once more she has nailed the genre and given her readers a terrific story.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

I give it a rating of 4 out of 5.

You can read more from Judith at Dr J’s Book Place.

This book is available from Harlequin. You can buy it here or here in e-format. This book was provided by the publisher for an honest review.

four-stars


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Review: Copy That by Helenkay Dimon

Posted September 10, 2012 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Copy That by Helenkay DimonReviewer: Rowena
Copy That by HelenKay Dimon
Publisher: Harlequin, Harlequin Intrigue
Publication Date: August 7th 2012
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Romantic Suspense
Pages: 288
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four-stars

Returning from his latest Border Patrol assignment, Jeremy Hill seeks sanctuary in his twin brother's home. The last thing he expects to find is an armed man already inside, or Meredith Samms, a gorgeous tenant caught in the cross fire. Then he discovers that the gunman's attack is meant for his twin brother, who is nowhere in sight, and Jeremy must take matters into his own hands. Searching for his brother while trying to protect this girl next door, Jeremy finds himself caught up in the danger he'd become all too familiar with. In his world, everyone's a target and anyone can be a suspect, so Jeremy has no room for emotions. But what Meredith stirs within him may complicate this unexpected mission to the point of no return….

This was a pretty quick read and one that I enjoyed a lot. This book follows Jeremy Hill and Meredith Samms as they try to stay alive so that they can act on their attraction that quickly became so much more.

Jeremy Hill works for the border control and has lately been working under cover trying to bring down a bad guy. Now that bad guy is in jail and wants Jeremy’s blood. Jeremy has a twin brother who works for the DIA and does black ops stuff so he’s got lots of enemies as well. After the under cover operation wraps, Jeremy is given some time off for R&R so he heads over to the house that he co-owns with his twin brother Garrett and finds a whole lot of stuff that he wasn’t expecting. Surprises that come with loud booms and lots of fire.

In the midst of all the booms and fires, Jeremy meets Garrett’s tenant Meredith Samms and saves her life. He takes her under his protection and they get real close. There’s attraction simmering underneath the surface and even though the timing is way off, it’s there and there’s really nothing that either of them can do about it.

Meanwhile, Jeremy’s twin brother is going through a rough patch with his fiancee’ and he’s trying to make things right at the same time that he’s trying to keep everyone he loves alive because the bad guys took Sara (his fiancee) captive and so he had his hands busy trying to save everyone.

For such a short story, Helenkay Dimon did a great job with the telling of it all. Having to tell an entire story in such a short space can’t be easy and while I wished for more at the end, I still enjoyed the story as a whole. There was action, there was steamy sexual chemistry with the main couple and an interesting backstory. It didn’t take me long at all to finish the book because I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough to find out what was happening next. This is why I don’t read many Harlequins because a lot of the time, the shortness of the stories don’t really work for me but this one did and I’m glad.

If you’re looking for something short with loads of action and steamy romance, this definitely fits the bill.

Grade: 4 out of 5

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

four-stars


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