Publisher: Kensington

Guest Review: Hidden by Rebecca Zanetti

Posted October 4, 2018 by Jen in Reviews | 3 Comments

Guest Review: Hidden by Rebecca ZanettiReviewer: Jen
Hidden (Deep Ops, #1) by Rebecca Zanetti
Series: Deep Ops #1
Also in this series: Hidden (Deep Ops, #1)
Publisher: Zebra
Publication Date: September 25, 2018
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 400
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
four-half-stars

Hide. That’s all Pippa can do to escape the terror chasing her. But now that she’s off the grid in a safe house, she finds plenty of interesting things to watch through the window. Like her new neighbor, with his startling green eyes, killer smile, and sexy bad-boy tattoo . . .

Run. Malcolm West is fleeing the hell he unleashed in his last assignment as an undercover cop. A backwoods bungalow sounds like the perfect place to start over. Until he discovers he’s been set up . . .

Fight. Someone’s gone to a lot of trouble to bring them together. No matter how much he resents that, and his own driving needs, Malcolm will have to dig deep and let loose the banished killer inside himself, or Pippa’s fears could come true faster than the flip of a bolt in a lock . . .

Pippa lives essentially in the middle of nowhere, secluded except for the sexy new guy who moved into the only nearby house. Malcolm is also running from his life as an undercover cop and the demons of his past. It turns out someone wants Malcolm for a new operation, though, and Pippa is his target. She might be involved with a terrorist plot, and while Malcolm just can’t believe she’s a terrorist, he knows she’s lying and hiding something. Malcolm has to learn to work with his new team and get the info they need about Pippa, although that gets increasingly difficult as he gets to know her. Neither Malcolm nor Pippa can trust the other, but if they don’t they may not be able to stop an attack.

I loved this book. Pippa and Malcolm were richly drawn and interesting characters, both with their own baggage and their own hopes. Both of them were so damaged by their past, though both have channeled that in different directions. Pippa was traumatized by her childhood, experiencing panic attacks and terrible nightmares and largely cloistering herself in her house out of fear. In many ways, though, she’s better off than Malcolm–she is in (online) therapy, has a fulfilling job that doesn’t require her to leave her house, and isn’t self-medicating with alcohol like Malcolm. Malcolm has been working undercover for years, and the stress of being so deep undercover for so long has taken its toll on him. He’s got some serious PTSD and some unhealthy coping mechanisms, and it was tough to read about at first. The way Pippa sees Malcolm’s pain and wants to offer comfort was just lovely, and Malcolm realizes he wants to do the same for her.

There was a bit of a different tone from many of Zanetti’s other books. Malcolm is still WAY alpha, but he demonstrates a deep awareness of how he might appear threatening to Pippa, and he goes out of his way to avoid that not for self-serving reasons but because he doesn’t want to contribute to her fear. There’s also a lot more consent talk than Zanetti’s books usually feature. Of course, he still is bossy and gets off on dominating her in bed, but I honestly appreciated that Malcolm isn’t as much of a cave man as Zanetti’s usual heroes. (The book was still way sexy too.) I hope she continues that trend.

By far my favorite part of the book is Malcolm’s new team of “Homeland Defense Department” agents. They are all misfits and outcasts, people with secrets in their past that got them sent to the middle of nowhere to handle the cases no one else thinks are important. They start to develop friendships in this book, and it’s clear they will become a tight knit and top notch team. Each and every one of them is fantastic, especially the dog Roscoe who provides a ton of comic relief. I CANNOT wait to read about all of them in future books.

This book did have a few inconsistencies, like how Pippa warmed to Malcolm and started falling for him so quickly. I also would have liked Pippa to find out the truth about Malcolm a little earlier. She does find out early enough to resolve some conflict and have a role in stopping the attack, but I would have preferred just a little more time for her to come to terms with Malcolm’s lies.

These are pretty minor quibbles, though. Mainly I just had a great time reading this book, and I am beyond excited to see it continue.

Grade: 4.5 out of 5

Deep Ops

four-half-stars


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Review: Hidden by Rebecca Zanetti

Posted September 27, 2018 by Casee in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Hidden by Rebecca ZanettiReviewer: Casee
Hidden (Deep Ops, #1) by Rebecca Zanetti
Series: Deep Ops #1
Also in this series: Hidden (Deep Ops, #1)
Publisher: Zebra
Publication Date: September 25, 2018
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 400
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
four-stars

Hide. That’s all Pippa can do to escape the terror chasing her. But now that she’s off the grid in a safe house, she finds plenty of interesting things to watch through the window. Like her new neighbor, with his startling green eyes, killer smile, and sexy bad-boy tattoo . . .

Run. Malcolm West is fleeing the hell he unleashed in his last assignment as an undercover cop. A backwoods bungalow sounds like the perfect place to start over. Until he discovers he’s been set up . . .

Fight. Someone’s gone to a lot of trouble to bring them together. No matter how much he resents that, and his own driving needs, Malcolm will have to dig deep and let loose the banished killer inside himself, or Pippa’s fears could come true faster than the flip of a bolt in a lock . . .

Pippa is hiding. Forced by her mother to join a cult when she was young, Pippa finally escaped. She has basically turned herself into a shut-in. When her new neighbor spots her spying on him while he’s moving in, she has the mother of all panic attacks. She doesn’t know who this new neighbor is. Only that she doesn’t know him. She doesn’t trust people she doesn’t know, anymore than she trusts people that she does know. What she soon learns about her neighbor is that he has his own demons.

Malcolm West is fresh off an undercover job. He was under for two years and became good friends with the person he was bringing down. In the end, Malcolm had to kill the guy that had become like family to him. After that, Malcolm is out. He wants nothing to do with undercover or police work. That changes when he meets his sexy new neighbor. Suddenly he finds his house invaded by Angus Force, a federal agent in the HDD. Angus tells Malcolm that Pippa is actually a sleeper. She’s waiting on an order from the cult (she escaped) leader to go blow some shit up. Malcolm doesn’t buy it, especially when he starts getting to know Pippa. He can’t deny that she is lying to him, but he’s doing the same thing. Because now he wants to prove that she’s innocent and he can’t do that if she keeps lying to him.

As she and Malcolm start spending more time together, Pippa finds herself falling deeper and deeper. Malcolm is the kind of man she has fantasized about. Then she realizes that something about him just doesn’t add up. He tells her he is in requisitions, but gets emergency phone calls in the middle of the night. She finally figures out that he has been undercover and she has been his assignment. Pippa is devastated. Especially when she understands that she has been nothing but a job to him.

Malcolm doesn’t care what Pippa thinks of him. He knows she’s innocent and he’s going to prove it with or without her help. Oh and another thing? He’s not going to let her go.

I really enjoyed reading Hidden. It was a great start to a new series by Zanetti. She’s introduced some great characters and I’m really looking forward to reading more. Malcolm and Pippa were both so damaged, they were naturally drawn to each other. Pippa tries to help Malcolm at the risk of her own safety which really showed her true character. I can’t wait until the next book!

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Deep Ops

four-stars


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Guest Review: Hot and Badgered by Shelly Laurenston

Posted August 23, 2018 by Jen in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Hot and Badgered by Shelly LaurenstonReviewer: Jen
Hot and Badgered (Honey Badger Chronicles, #1) by Shelly Laurenston
Series: Honey Badger Chronicles, #1
Also in this series: Hot and Badgered (Honey Badgers Chronicles #1)
Publisher: Kensington
Publication Date: March 27, 2018
Format: eARC
Point-of-View: Third Person
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
four-half-stars

It’s not every day that a beautiful naked woman falls out of the sky and lands face-first on grizzly shifter Berg Dunn’s hotel balcony. Definitely they don’t usually hop up and demand his best gun. Berg gives the lady a grizzly-sized t-shirt and his cell phone, too, just on style points. And then she’s gone, taking his XXXL heart with her. By the time he figures out she’s a honey badger shifter, it’s too late.   Honey badgers are survivors. Brutal, vicious, ill-tempered survivors. Or maybe Charlie Taylor-MacKilligan is just pissed that her useless father is trying to get them all killed again, and won’t even tell her how. Protecting her little sisters has always been her job, and she’s not about to let some pesky giant grizzly protection specialist with a network of every shifter in Manhattan get in her way. Wait. He’s trying to help? Why would he want to do that? He’s cute enough that she just might let him tag along—that is, if he can keep up . . .

A series featuring honey badger shifter sisters? YES PLEASE!

This is yet another spin-off from Laurenston’s eternally growing shifter books, and it is a great addition to the world. The series centers on the three MacKilligan half sisters: Max, Stevie, and Charlie, the heroine of this first book. The women have a crappy father who takes “deadbeat” to a whole new level. They’ve basically spent their entire lives trying to extricate themselves from their dad’s schemes and the incredible danger he constantly puts them in. (And let’s face it, they are constantly making their own enemies too!) In this book, their lives are once again in danger thanks to their dad, and they come to the attention of the secret shifter organization we’ve see in the other books, called The Group. Charlie also meets Berg, a large and sweet bear shifter. When Berg takes a liking to Charlie, he starts to help them and quickly gets himself and his two siblings sucked into the MacKilligan’s bananas world.

I love these sisters! Charlie, Max, and Stevie are all messed up in their own ways, but they never fail to support each other. They argue and give each other a hard time, but they always have each other’s back. This is some fierce female love right here. (Figurative and literally fierce–these ladies are violent and aggressive, as you would expect from honey badgers!) I also love Berg and his siblings. They are triplets, and while they are infinitely more well-adjusted than the MacKilligan sisters, they are just as devoted to each other. I know it’s rare in real life to have sibling relationships like these, but I love the fantasy in my books.

Charlie is an excellent character, too. She is an organizer, a manager, and a people handler. She’s the one who often talks them out of the messes her sisters and her dad get them into. Her talents aren’t as flashy, or scary, as her sisters’, but she’s really the glue that keeps them all together and functioning. In a way she reminded me of Toni Jean-Louis Parker from Laurenston’s Wolf with Benefits (and we see a bit of Toni in this book too), but without so much of the type-A arrogance that makes Toni a bit off-putting at times. Berg is a great match for Charlie as well. He’s a quiet, strong support for her and does so without dampening her strengths or trying to get between her and her sisters. You can tell Berg is the first person who’s simply supported Charlie without any expectation of something in return, and it takes Charlie a while to figure out what to do with that kind of love. Once she does, though, it’s adorable.

This book is very much in the vein of Laurenston’s other shifter books, but I do think the MacKilligan sisters are some of her most interesting and fun characters so far. I loved this book and can’t wait to read more.

Grade: 4.5 out of 5

 

four-half-stars


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Guest Review: More or Less a Countess by Anna Bradley

Posted August 6, 2018 by Tracy in Reviews | 2 Comments

Guest Review: More or Less a Countess by Anna BradleyReviewer: Tracy
More or Less a Countess (The Somerset Sisters #2) by Anna Bradley
Series: The Somerset Sisters #2
Publisher: Lyrical Press
Publication Date: August 7, 2018
Format: eARC
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Historical Romance
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
three-half-stars

Finding a worthy husband should be simple for three beautiful debutantes in Regency London. But the Somerset sisters have a way of making it delightfully complicated...

Violet Somerset has always preferred a library to a ballroom, but to please her grandmother she agreed to one London season. With nothing to show for it but heartbreak, she's reconciled to spinsterhood. Until a notorious rogue known as the Devil of Dare requests an introduction to her timid, gentle youngest sister, Hyacinth. Violet will do anything to stop the match—even if it means posing as Hyacinth herself.

Nicholas Balfour, the Earl of Dare, is enjoying the life of a rake far too much to take a wife. But he must keep his promise to his grandmother. He'll simply choose the meekest bride he can find, install her at his estate, then carry on as before. Hyacinth sounds perfect—until he discovers that her sweet demeanor hides the tongue of a viper and the mind of a bluestocking.

As Violet's ruse threatens to unravel, however, she may find the tables turned. Soon she may have no choice but to tolerate her handsome fiancée—or fall in love with him.

Nicholas Balfour, the Earl of Dare hates England. He’s been in Italy for years, since his brother died, and he never wanted to return.  Now his father is dead and he returns to England to assume the title.  Unfortunately his aunt holds all of the purse strings and she’s demanding he stay in England, find a bride, and get an heir.  Nicholas hates that he has to comply in order to live the life he wants but he agrees.  He decides he’ll find a woman, propose, get a baby in her and get back to Italy and his mistress within a few months.

Nick is at a dinner party with an old friend when he hears Hyacinth Somerset play the pianoforte.  He’s entranced and immediately thinks to court her.  He even thinks she’s pretty.  He approaches her, even though they’ve not been introduced and asks to call on her the following day. She refuses.  He’s shocked but not too put off and returns the next day.  When he finds that Hyacinth’s grandmother is gone he asks for Miss Somerset, not realizing that he’s asking for Hyacinth’s sister, Violet – the woman he was actually speaking with the night before.  He couldn’t tell Violet and Hyacinth apart (even though they’re not twins) and since Violet would do anything to protect her incredibly shy younger sister she went along with acting like Hyacinth.

Violet is a bluestocking.  She is writing a book and sketching pictures of the famous places in London. Her grandmother says that some of the places she wants to go to aren’t ladylike, so she won’t allow her to go.  Violet wants nothing to do with Nick.  He’s a rake and she wants him gone.  He keeps asking if he can call and she keeps refusing and he keeps showing up.  She finally realizes that she can use him to her advantage.  She agrees to go driving with him but directs him to the places that she wants to go.  Nick is horrified at first but then the longer he gets to know Hyacinth, the more he likes her.  In fact he starts to fall in love, which was never in his plans.  When he finds out that he’s been courting Violet, however, he’s not sure love will be enough.

This was a really cute story.  I really liked Nick even though he was a rake.  Yes, he wasn’t nice at first, only thinking of himself, but he was so kind to Violet.  I loved how he started to appreciate her quirks and even planned outings that he would never have taken another lady on.  Yes, he started out being an ass but then I started to feel bad for him because Violet wasn’t coming clean about her identity.

Violet was interesting. Like most bluestockings in romance novels she was single-minded in her endeavors. I really didn’t like her pulling the wool over Nick’s eyes and wanted her to come clean, but we don’t always get what we want. Lol.  Despite those issues I really liked her.  She had a great personality and I liked her a lot.

This was a good story and while I didn’t read book one in this series I’m positive I’ll be reading the next one when it comes out.

Rating: 3.75 out of 5

The Somerset Sisters

three-half-stars


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Review: Provoked by Rebecca Zanetti

Posted July 31, 2018 by Casee in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Provoked by Rebecca ZanettiReviewer: Casee
Provoked (Dark Protectors, #5) by Rebecca Zanetti
Series: Dark Protectors #5
Also in this series: Marked (Dark Protectors, #7), Fated (Dark Protectors, #1), Claimed (Dark Protectors, #2), Hunted (Dark Protectors, #3), Consumed (Dark Protectors, #4), Marked (Dark Protectors, #7), Shadowed (Dark Protectors, #6), Vampire's Faith (Dark Protectors, #8)
Publisher: Lyrical Press
Publication Date: June 30, 2015
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Pages: 336
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
four-stars

A Time For War…

A casualty of the war between the demons and the vampires, Jase Kayrs has been missing for six long years. His older brothers want answers—but they’re going to have to get them from an unlikely source. For when Kane Kayrs tracks down Amber Freebird, what he finds is a blonde, vegan  pacifist who has no intention of using her skills in his war…A Time For Love…

Amber enjoys her life of chaotic freedom and has no intention of falling in line just because a sexy-as-sin vampire insists on order.  Unfortunately, he discovers she may be the only hope they have of finding his brother, and there’s no way he’s going to let her go—even if it means mating her to gain her cooperation.  The two are as different as can be, yet when the dominant Kane and the untamed Amber finally unite to rescue Jase, they just may find that opposites really do attract…Includes a preview of Rebecca Zanetti’s exciting new series, The Scorpius Syndrome


85,800 Words.

Based on the summary of this book, I did not expect to like it as much as I did. Amber Freebird? A vegan eating pacifist? Really? For a Kayrs vampire? Insane. Especially for Kane Kayrs, unarguably on of the smartest beings on the planet. Kane doesn’t like disorder; Amber is nothing but disorder. Kane loves eating meat; Amber loves tofu. Kane will not let his mate run headlong into danger; Amber would run into danger every day. Opposites attract in this case.

Kane went looking for Amber because they need her to fight the demons. There are very few demon destroyers left in the world since the demons hunted them down and killed them. They are the only ones that can combat the brutal psychic attacks that demons can send to a person. When Kane finds Amber, he is shocked that he found her first. She gives off so much power, she’s like a beacon telling the demons “Come kill me”. He has no idea how she has stayed hidden for so long, but he has her now. He also doesn’t think he wants to let her go.

Amber is not having any of it. Kane is crazy as far as she’s concerned. With all his talk about vampires, demons, the Realm, and witches, Amber is certain he belongs in the psych ward, not on the streets. For his own good of course. She has no plausible explanation for attraction to the crazy man. The problem is that he won’t go away. Then demons attack and she realizes that he’s not so crazy after all. Going on the run is the last thing that Amber wants to do. Her grandmother is in the hospital after a bad spill and she doesn’t want to leave her. Kane, of course, takes care of that and they are soon on their way to the Kayrs bunker.

I found it vastly amusing that Kane wanted to keep Amber out of danger, yet she had to go each time to help with the demon attacks. Amber is a pacifist, dammit. She doesn’t want to be fighting. Their story was a sweet one. I did find it sad that Amber thought she wasn’t good enough for Kane because she wasn’t educated enough. Kane handled that like a pro and it made me like him even more.

We also get an intense look into what Jase Kayrs has been going through and man, it isn’t pretty. I can’t wait to read how he overcomes his imprisonment. This was another great book in the series. This title is so perfect for Kane and Amber because Amber does nothing but provoke Kane. And he loves it. Kudos to Rebecca Zanetti.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Dark Protectors

four-stars


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