Publisher: MIRA

Throwback Thursday Review: The Heart of a Killer by Jaci Burton

Posted August 8, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 3 Comments

Throwback Thursday Review: The Heart of a Killer by Jaci BurtonReviewer: Holly
The Heart of a Killer by Jaci Burton
Series: The Killer #1
Publisher: MIRA
Publication Date: October 25, 2011
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 407
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four-half-stars
Series Rating: five-stars

No one said coming home would be easy. But for Dante Renaldi, it's murder.

Before the Special Forces hero has even unpacked his bags from twelve years of active duty, he's embroiled in murder—corpses bearing the brutal trademark he's seen only once before—on the worst night of his life.

The last time Detective Anna Pallino saw Dante Renaldi, they were in love. Now, he's part of the connection to a string of fresh homicides and a horrible assault that Anna only survived thanks to him.

More than anything, Anna wants to trust Dante. But as the bodies and the coincidences stack up, Anna will have to decide, and fast: Is the man she owes her life to the very same one who wants her dead?

*** Every Thursday, we’ll be posting throwback reviews of our favorite and not-so-favorite books. Enjoy! ***

Narrator: She was not, in fact, coming out of her romantic suspense funk. It’s still going, some 8 years later…

This review was originally posted on Nov 15, 2011.

It looks like I might be coming out of my romantic suspense funk. I really enjoyed this. It’s a gripping tale filled with twists and turns. I suspected the killer early on but enjoyed watching the rest figure it out.

The main – and secondary – characters were well written. Anna was annoying at times, but then so was Dante. They have a lot of baggage between the two of them. It was hard watching them struggle to get over their past feelings and focus on the present. Especially Anna. She really clung to her hurt and anger over Dante leaving so abruptly.

Aside from that, I found both characters to be well balanced and likable. The trauma they suffered when Anna was attacked followed them through their lives. Burton did a bang up job of showing us how each of them was still dealing with what happened that night. I felt really connected to them, and understood where each of them was at.

The romance was very well done. Anna and Dante had a lot of chemistry, but physical attraction isn’t everything. Their emotional connection was strong despite the long separation. Between the two – the physical and emotional – I was fully invested in them finding their HEA.

I figured out pretty early on who the villain was, but I enjoyed watching the others clue in. I’m really looking forward to the next installment.

Burton balanced the suspense and romance perfectly. Fans of her more erotic romance titles might be disappointed – there isn’t a lot of sex here. Personally I think that worked in the context of the story and didn’t take away from the romance at all.

Overall a well written, chilling suspense flavored with the perfect amount of romance.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

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

four-half-stars


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Sunday Spotlight: Diamond Bay by Linda Howard

Posted August 4, 2019 by Casee in Features, Giveaways | 8 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. 🙂

This is an oldie, but goody. Kell Sabin is smokin’ hot and Rachel is a strong, capable heroine. This book has everything. Romance, suspense, hot sex. If y’all haven’t read this book, what are you waiting for? It’s a gem that you don’t want to miss out on!

Sunday Spotlight: Diamond Bay by Linda HowardDiamond Bay by Linda Howard
Series: Rescues #2
Also in this series: Heartbreaker, Midnight Rainbow (Rescues #1)
Publisher: MIRA
Publication Date: November 24, 1997
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 247
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Series Rating: four-stars

Rachel Jones wasn't looking for trouble, much less a man, but in Kell Sabin she found both. On a hot summer's night Kell is washed up - barely alive - on a Florida beach and into Rachel's life. Her instincts tell her to help him, and their love blossoms as he recovers from his injuries. But by falling in love with Kell, Rachel has put her own life in danger from the forces that want him dead. Once fate has brought them together, can they learn to live apart?


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Excerpt

“Have we been sleeping together?”

Her breasts had tightened painfully, begging for that touch to be transferred to them, for him to claim them as he had before.His question destroyed what little concentration she had left.”This… there’s only this one bed. I don’t have a couch, only the love seats – ”

“So we’ve been in the same bed for four days,” he interrupted, stopping a flow of words that she had felt edging toward incoherency. His eyes were glittering again, but this time with a different fire, and she couldn’t look away. “You’ve been taking care of me.”

She drew a deep, shuddering breath. “Yes.”

“All alone?”

“Yes.”

“You’ve been feeding me.”

“Yes.”

“Bathing me.”

“Yes. Your fever – I had to sponge you with cool water to keep it down.”

“You did everything that had to be done, took care of me like a baby.”She didn’t know what to say, what to do. His hand was still on her, his palm warm and hard against the softness of her flesh.

“You touched me,” he said. “All over.”

She swallowed. “It was necessary.”

“I remember your hands on me. I liked it, but when I woke up this morning I thought it was a dream.”

“You did dream,” she said.

“Have I seen you naked?”

“No!”

“Then how do I know what your breasts look like? How they feel in my hands? It wasn’t all a dream, Rachel. Was it?”

A hot, wild blush colored her face, giving him an answer even before she spoke. Her voice was stifled, and she looked away from him, her embarrassment at last freeing her from his gaze.

“Twice, when you woke up, you… uh…grabbed me.”

“Helped myself to the goodies?”

“Something like that.”

“And I saw you?”

She made a helpless gesture toward her neck. “My nightgown drooped when I bent over you. The neckline was hanging open….”

“Was I rough?”

“No,” she whispered.

“Did you like it?”

Rescues

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: August 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 Linda Howard

Linda Howard is the award-winning author of many New York Times bestsellers, including Up Close and Dangerous, Drop Dead Gorgeous, Cover of Night, Killing Time, To Die For, Kiss Me While I Sleep, Cry No More, and Dying to Please. She lives in Alabama with her husband and two golden retrievers.


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Throwback Thursday Review: The Vampire Dimitri by Colleen Gleason

Posted October 11, 2018 by Tracy in Reviews | 4 Comments

Throwback Thursday Review: The Vampire Dimitri by Colleen GleasonReviewer: Tracy
The Vampire Dimitri (The Draculia Vampire Trilogy, #2) by Colleen Gleason
Series: The Draculia Vampire Trilogy #2
Publisher: MIRA
Publication Date: April 19, 2011
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Pages: 374
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three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

"Dunkel und dekadent, temperamentvoll und verführerisch... Die Londoner Drakulia werden dich in Atem halten." -- Lara Adrian

“Wunderbar … Ich habe dieses Buch geliebt!” --Heather Graham

“Man kann sich auf Colleen Gleason verlassen, wenn man packenden Lesestoff sucht! --Jeaniene Frost

Dimitri der Earl von Corvindale sollte eigentlich glücklich sein: Endlich heiratet diese starrköpfige Miss Maia Woodmore. Sein sterbliches Mündel (auch Gast in seinem Haus) hat den Drakule Aristokraten schon lange genervt – und längst verzaubert. Mit jedem Tag fällt es ihm schwerer, die normalen Gelüste eines Vampirs zu unterdrücken.

Miss Woodmore hat eine … ungewöhnliche Familiengeschichte, was Vampire anbetrifft, und sie selbst ist mit einem scharfen Verstand ausgestattet, der über weibliche Intuition weit hinausgeht. Die Ehe wird ihr alles geben: Sicherheit, Ansehen, Zufriedenheit. Alles, was eine wohlerzogene junge Dame sich nur wünschen kann. Bis auf Leidenschaft.

In dem bevorstehenden Kampf zwischen den beiden Drakule Faktionen werden alle Lügen entlarvt, und Maia und Dimitri müssen im Angesicht großer Gefahr und in tiefster Verzweiflung ihren eigenen, außergewöhnlichen Pakt besiegeln – kraft einer Leidenschaft, die mit allem bricht.

Every Thursday, we’ll be posting throwback reviews of our favorite and not-so-favorite books. Enjoy!

This review was originally posted on April 27, 2011.

In this book we meet Dimitri again who we met in book one. He is a member of the Draculia – a vampire – and also an peer of the realm. In book 1 Corvindale became ward of three women who were in danger from another vampire. He was at odds with them – especially the oldest, Maia Woodmore but it doesn’t stop him from finding her fascinating. He wants to be in control, he wants her to stop talking, and to stop going into his inner sanctum and organizing stuff – he just wants to be left alone! But yet he finds himself going to a masked ball and there he ends up kissing Maia under the guise of the Knave of Diamonds.

When Maia finds out that Dimitri is the Knave of Diamonds…and she has since found out that Corvindale is a vampire she’s at first horrified that she kissed a vampire! But then she wonders if the kiss was just so memorable because it was done in secret, not knowing who the other person was, or was it wonderful because it was just wonderful? Dimitri is more than up for testing things out and it ends up being hot. lol Yes, the stubbornness of the h/h was a bit much at times but Dimitri hated himself so much for being who he was it was hard to not to like the man for insisting that Maia stay away from him.

But Corvindale is so focused on becoming human again and getting away from Lucifer (especially since it’s been done before) that he can’t focus on Maia and what’s between them. But what if what’s between them, in the end, is the answer to all of his research?

I have to say that I definitely liked book 2 better than I did book 1 in this series. I liked Corvindale so much more than Voss and that made a huge difference for me. I was actually invested in the romance and that helped a whole lot. That being said there was a problem I had with the book and that was the almost redundant first part of it. It was a simultaneous telling of some of the same events in book 1 – they were just happening off page in book 1. We get things from Dimitri and Maia’s points of view. While this was interesting I really felt like I was reading a chunk of book one over again and I didn’t care for that at all. Once we get past the part that was simultaneous and just focused on the current romance I really liked the book so much more.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

The Draculia Vampire Trilogy

three-half-stars


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Throwback Thursday Review: Moonlight Road by Robyn Carr

Posted June 14, 2018 by Casee in Reviews | 4 Comments

Throwback Thursday Review: Moonlight Road by Robyn CarrReviewer: Casee
Moonlight Road by Robyn Carr
Series: Virgin River #10
Also in this series: Virgin River, Whispering Rock, Virgin River, A Virgin River Christmas, Second Chance Pass, Second Chance Pass, Second Chance Pass, Temptation Ridge, Paradise Valley, Forbidden Falls, Forbidden Falls, Angel's Peak, Forbidden Falls, Promise Canyon, Wild Man Creek, Promise Canyon, Harvest Moon, Bring Me Home for Christmas, Redwood Bend, Sunrise Point, Shelter Mountain, Moonlight Road
Publisher: MIRA
Publication Date: March 2, 2010
Point-of-View: Third Person
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 409
Add It: Goodreads
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three-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

WITH HER BELOVED YOUNGER SIBLINGS SETTLED AND HAPPY, ERIN FOLEY HAS EMPTY NEST SYNDROME. AT AGE THIRTY-FIVE.

So she's hitting the pause button on her life and holing up in a secluded (but totally upgraded --- she's not into roughing it!) cabin near Virgin River. Erin is planning on getting to know herself ... not the shaggy-haired mountain man she meets.

In fact, beneath his faded fatigues and bushy beard, Aiden Riordan is a doctor, recharging for a summer after leaving the navy. He's intrigued by the pretty, slightly snooty refugee from the rat race --- her meditating and journaling are definitely keeping him at arm's length. He'd love to get closer ... if his scruffy exterior and crazy ex-wife don't hold him back.

But maybe it's something in the water --- unlikely romances seem to take root in Virgin River ... helped along by some well-intentioned meddling, of course.

Reading last week’s Throwback review got me all nostalgic. I started reading all the old Virgin River reviews when I came across my review of Moonlight Road. Last week’s review and this review are so different that I had to share. For real though, what happened to this series?

This review was originally posted on March 16, 2010.

This commenter had it right. The Virgin River books are starting to read more like women’s health manuals for the premenopausal (and even post menopausal) than real romance. There is actually a scene between Mel and Jack where Jack tells her that HE misses HER periods. Why? Because having sex with her during her period was a turn-on. You know, he could show her that he wants her no matter what. SERIOUSLY. What man says that? Even Jack—my favorite VR hero—shouldn’t be able to get away with that. Because men don’t say that. Do they?

I really liked Aiden and Erin. Their initial meeting had me laughing. From each of their perspectives, it’s clear that they both have the wrong impression. Aiden thinks that Erin is an ice queen (i.e. bitch). Erin thinks that Aiden is a homeless bum. As they get to know each other, Erin slowly realizes that Aiden is far from a bum. The Virgin River books tend to move slow. I liken it to life in Virgin River. Nothing ever comes quickly. So it’s over several weeks/months that Aiden and Erin start getting to know each other.

Aiden had been married about eight years ago and for three months. He’s horrified when it’s crazy ex turns up at his family’s place in Virgin River acting like she wants to get back together. The ex is pretending that she wants him back even though Aiden knows it’s a crock of crap. Still, she has a way of making the situation turn in her favor. Then she goes to visit Erin and feeds her a bunch of lies about Aiden.

That’s when it started falling apart for me. Erin knows Aiden, she’s even falling in love with them. He’s great in bed and they have fun together. So the fact that Erin immediately decides that she can’t trust him totally turns me off of her. I understood why, but I didn’t understand how. Aiden warned her about his ex long before she paid Erin a visit. It wasn’t something that blindsided Erin. Yet she’s willing to believe a psycho?

Then there is Mel. Mel—my favorite Virgin River heroine—who went CRAZY in this book. She turned into a character that I didn’t recognize. I understood her reaction to the particular situation she found herself in, but I found her way of dealing with it completely unlike her. She completely tries to railroad Jack into doing something he doesn’t want to do. There’s something even worse, but to tell you would be to spoil it.

This book was just a hot menopausal mess. I liked Erin (other than the whole distrust thing) the best b/c it seemed like she came the farthest. She opened herself up to life and found someone to love.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Virgin River

three-stars


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Throwback Thursday Review: Moonlight Road by Robyn Carr

Posted June 7, 2018 by Judith in Reviews | 5 Comments

Throwback Thursday Review: Moonlight Road by Robyn CarrReviewer: Judith
Moonlight Road by Robyn Carr
Series: Virgin River #10
Also in this series: Virgin River, Whispering Rock, Virgin River, A Virgin River Christmas, Second Chance Pass, Second Chance Pass, Second Chance Pass, Temptation Ridge, Paradise Valley, Forbidden Falls, Forbidden Falls, Angel's Peak, Forbidden Falls, Promise Canyon, Wild Man Creek, Promise Canyon, Harvest Moon, Bring Me Home for Christmas, Redwood Bend, Sunrise Point, Shelter Mountain, Moonlight Road
Publisher: MIRA
Publication Date: March 2, 2010
Point-of-View: Third Person
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 409
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Series Rating: four-stars

WITH HER BELOVED YOUNGER SIBLINGS SETTLED AND HAPPY, ERIN FOLEY HAS EMPTY NEST SYNDROME. AT AGE THIRTY-FIVE.

So she's hitting the pause button on her life and holing up in a secluded (but totally upgraded --- she's not into roughing it!) cabin near Virgin River. Erin is planning on getting to know herself ... not the shaggy-haired mountain man she meets.

In fact, beneath his faded fatigues and bushy beard, Aiden Riordan is a doctor, recharging for a summer after leaving the navy. He's intrigued by the pretty, slightly snooty refugee from the rat race --- her meditating and journaling are definitely keeping him at arm's length. He'd love to get closer ... if his scruffy exterior and crazy ex-wife don't hold him back.

But maybe it's something in the water --- unlikely romances seem to take root in Virgin River ... helped along by some well-intentioned meddling, of course.

Every Thursday in 2018, we’ll be posting throwback reviews of our favorite and not-so-favorite books.

This review was originally posted on March 16, 2011.

This is the 10th novel in the Virgin River series and Robyn Carr keeps on keeping on when it comes t o giving her readers another compelling love story.  There are carry-over characters in all these stories and for me that just makes the context richer with each succeeding story.  Several of these novels have featured the Riordan family and here we meet another of the brothers.

This story revolves around two people who are at loose ends, a critical juncture in their personal individual history.  Erin has raised her siblings and her entire life up until this point has been taken up with finding ways to empower them to find their happiness.  Now she is alone, delighted that they are settled and happy, but still alone.  She has so many projects to fill her time, to help her get back in touch with herself, to help her find her own path.  For some reason she is just simply bored.  Now what?

Aiden Riordan has come home from many years as a Navy doctor and is taking the summer to be near his brother Luke, to spend some time in the outdoors, to hike and explore, to unwind after the pressures of being on ship and in the Middle East.  He knows he will continue to practice medicine but not where that will happen.  He has really put the future on hold but in spite of a rich family heritage and wonderful relationships with him mom and brothers, he is, for all intent, alone.  He’s not really sure he wants to be alone, but that’s where he is right now.

This novel is really how these two people begin what is initially a rocky acquaintanceship that moves into tentative friendship, companionship, some bed frolic, and so and so forth.  Neither is really sure whether they want this relationship to escalate into more–actually Aiden knows before Erin does–so they spend time doing things that Erin hasn’t ever done and which Aiden hasn’t done since before his Navy days.  His initial meeting with her is nearly enough to kill any chance between them permanently–he nearly scares her half to death because he looks like a scruffy mountain man who is prowling the Northern California mountains as a sexual predator.  But they get past that and their friendship is launched.

Once again Ms Carr has produced a novel that is full of authentic humanity, with relationships that are good and not so good, with people who are enduring and surviving and some who are living abundantly.  There is doubt about the future, hope and disappointment all mixed together.  There are con artists and those who are angry when others are happy, and these sick individuals keep trying to pollute the good in other people’s lives.  They are in this story, too.  Erin and Aiden both struggle with trust issues–with accepting the good that life offers, with opening themselves up to the joys of imperfect but exciting human connections, with allowing the future with its mystery and risks to just be there for them.  This is their journey of discovery, and while Erin and Aiden are finding their way toward each other and learning to circumvent the potholes in life’s road, other residents of Virgin River–those we have met and loved in previous stories–continue to be challenged with their own joys and sorrows.

I find these novels so endearing.  I am excited everytime a new one appears.  I know that some readers think the stories are all the same.  I don’t.  I never tire of the human drama, of the players on life’s stage, of observing and learning from the experience of others.  This novel once again makes that possible.  And in her usual expert style, Ms Carr continues to bring the existing residents of Virgin River alive for us while introducing new people and expanding our acquaintance with additional residents.  Many decide to remain in Virgin River.  It is, after all, a microcosym of life.  Others come to that special place, experience what they need to move forward in their lives, and settle elsewhere.  What really matters is that Virgin River brings all these people together and as their lives glance off one another, all are made better.

Moonlight Road is a delightful and winsome love story.  I hope you’ll read and enjoy as much as I did.  I give it a rating of 4.25 out of 5.

Virgin River


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