Publisher: Zebra

Guest Review: No Other Highlander by Adrienne Basso

Posted March 2, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: No Other Highlander by Adrienne BassoReviewer: Tracy
No Other Highlander by Adrienne Basso
Series: The McKennas #2
Published by Zebra
Publication Date: February 28th 2017
Genres: Medieval, Scottish
Pages: 368
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three-half-stars

Scottish Highlands, 1334: The McKenna clan flourishes under a family of warriors, fierce and righteous, faithful to their own until the last. But to produce an heir, the widowed eldest son must risk his heart again . . .

Lady Joan Armstrong Fraser was once the indulged and pampered daughter of a laird. But marriage to a brute changed her. When he sets her aside, she has only her wits and her beauty to protect herself and her child from the chaos of her former home. She will have to find another husband—a man whose strength is more than a weapon against the weak. A man she can trust . . . if such a man even breathes.

Sir Malcolm McKenna has known Lady Joan since her childhood, a spoiled princess as dangerous as she is lovely. But when she steps forward to protect him against a false accusation, he discovers a character stronger than he guessed—and an attraction he yearns to explore . . .

Malcolm McKenna has been accused of devirginizing a woman, promising her marriage and then disappearing.  The woman is the daughter of the McPhearson laird and he’s so mad now that his daughter has given birth that he’s put a price on Malcolm’s head. When Malcolm hears about this he’s shocked! Though he was drunk during the fete that this liaison supposedly took place, he thinks he’d remember deflowering a woman!  Malcolm’s father, Laird McKenna, decides to meet with the McPhearson to work out the issue.  They decide to meet on Armstrong territory as it’s neutral territory.

Joan Armstrong is a woman who married a monster. He was brutal and abused her both verbally and physically.  He finally put her aside and got an annulment stating that she was insane.  She doesn’t like the stigma of insanity but she’s certainly happy to be out from under his thumb.  Unfortunately coming home with her two-year-old son isn’t a happy reunion.  Her father doesn’t want her there because of the embarrassment Joan has brought to him and the family/clan.  She tries to do all she can to help but it’s never enough for her father.  She knows she’ll never remarry so what will she do if her father does remarry – she’ll no longer be needed.  When the McPhearson’s and the McKenna’s show up Joan is happy to look after them but being on the outside of the discussion she sees what no one else does – that Malcolm’s truly wrongly accused.  When the truth comes out the McPhearson wants Malcolm to marry his daughter anyway but in a stroke of inspiration Malcolm states he’s already engaged to Joan.

To say that Joan’s not happy about Malcolm’s declaration is an understatement but Malcolm is attracted to her and knows that he can care for her and her son.  He finally talks her into agreeing and they head off to McKenna lands.  Joan has agreed to marry Malcolm but will she ever be able to trust a man again and open her heart.

This was a great story.  I loved Joan and the love she had for her son.  She’d had such a bad marriage and she truly deserved happiness but she never thought it would come to her in yet another marriage.  I loved how Malcolm slowly brought her out of her shell and was so patient with her.  He knew that she’d had a rough go of it with her previous husband and though he wanted to bed her he took things slow and easy with her.  He was a good man through and through and he made a great hero.  Once Joan opened up a bit we got to see that she was a good woman as well.  I thought that the pair were perfect together and was so happy when everything worked out.

Besides Joan’s husband and his dastardly deeds during one portion of the book there really wasn’t a villain involved in No Other Highlander.  I really enjoyed the story being relationship driven and not having to worry about a whodunit as well.  The book was fun and funny as well as touching and emotional which to me was a good mix.

Rating: 3.75 out of 5

three-half-stars


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Review: Justice Ascending by Rebecca Zanetti

Posted January 27, 2017 by Casee in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Justice Ascending by Rebecca ZanettiReviewer: Casee
Justice Ascending by Rebecca Zanetti
Series: The Scorpius Syndrome
Also in this series: Mercury Striking, Shadow Falling
Published by Zebra
Publication Date: January 31, 2017
Genres: Post Apocalyptic, Romance
Pages: 400
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Before surviving the Scorpius bacterium, Tace Justice was a good ole Texas cowboy who served his country and loved his mama. After Scorpius, the world became dark, dangerous, and deadly... and so did he. The Vanguard medic is stronger, faster, and smarter than before, but he's lost the line between right and wrong. His passion is absolute, and when he focuses it on one woman, there's no turning back for either of them.

Sami Steel has been fighting to survive right alongside Tace, convincing the Vanguard soldiers she's one of them. In truth, Sami is a former hacker turned government agent who worked at The Bunker, where scientists stored both contaminants and cures. Only she knows the location, and she's not telling. Yet when sexual fire explodes between her and Tace, she'll face even that hell again to save him.

Tace Justice was introduced in Mercury Striking as an affable, yet strong character. He was a down-to-earth good ‘ol boy who landed in the inner circle of Jax Mercury. As a field medic, his skills are in demand in post-apocalypse Los Angeles. When he is infected with the Scorpius Syndrome, he doesn’t get Vitamin B in time to come out on the other side of the virus unscathed. Tace doesn’t much care, but he knows he’s different. He’s not quite a Ripper, but he believes he’s on his way to becoming one.

Sami Steele has secrets. Big secrets. But she’s not sharing the biggest of them all. She knows where the Bunker is. The Bunker that everyone thinks the cure for Scorpius Syndrome is. They might be right, but Sami isn’t leading them into hell, which is exactly what the Bunker is as far as she is concerned. Yet when Tace seems to be one of the few that rejects the Vitamin B, Sami knows she can no longer keep quiet. Only at the Bunker can she find the way to save him.

Tace was happy to remain strictly co-workers with Sami until he was infected with Scorpius. After that, all bets were off. His obsession with sex moved onto an obsession with Sami. Not just with Sami, but with her safety. He is so intent on keeping her safe that he is risking his own safety, something that Jax isn’t so keen on. He doesn’t like his lieutenants fraternizing and he lets them know it. Nothing can keep these two apart, not even Scorpius.

I’m digging this series. Post-apocalypse romances really get to me because you strip everything down to survival. So falling in love in a week doesn’t seem out of the ordinary. Nothing is out of the ordinary when it comes down to it. You’re stripped to your core and it’s survival of the fittest. I can’t wait to see what Zanetti comes up with next.

Rating: 4.25 out of 5.


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Guest Review: Kill Without Shame by Alexandra Ivy

Posted January 20, 2017 by Jen in Reviews | 2 Comments

Guest Review: Kill Without Shame by Alexandra IvyReviewer: Jen
Kill Without Shame by Alexandra Ivy
Series: ARES Security #2
Published by Zebra
Publication Date: December 27, 2016
Genres: Romantic Suspense, Contemporary
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three-half-stars

Five brave military heroes have survived the hell of a Taliban prison to return home—and take on civilian missions no one else can. They’re the men of ARES Security. Highly skilled, intimidating, invincible, and one by one, tested again and again…

Lucas St. Clair’s prestigious family had a political future neatly planned out for him—one that didn’t include his high school sweetheart, Mia Ramon. Under their pressure, Lucas gave her up. But since surviving captivity, he’s a changed man—and a crucial member of ARES Security. When he discovers a dead man clutching a picture of Mia that bears a threatening message, his fiercest protective instincts kick in, and he knows he must go to her.

Mia has never forgiven Lucas for breaking her heart, and she’s convinced her feelings for him are in the past. But it’s soon clear that isn’t true for either of them. Now, determined to solve the crime and keep Mia safe, with his ARES buddies backing him up, Lucas will have to reconstruct the murder victim’s last days—and follow a lethal trail that leads right back to the fate of the woman he still loves…

“A fantastic blend of romance and suspense…thrilling to the end.” --Mary Burton, USA Today bestselling author on Kill Without Mercy

In Kill Without Shame, we meet yet another amazing security team of badasses, this time called ARES. The members are all former military guys who were held prisoner together in Afghanistan. Lucas St. Clair is one of them, though unlike the rough backgrounds most of them have, Lucas comes from a rich political family. He turned his back on that life for good after coming back home, and now he’s rich and successful all on his own. When he finds out his high school girlfriend Mia is in danger, he immediately rushes to her side. He left her once, but he never stopped loving her (naturally), and now he has to convince her that not only can he keep her safe but he wants back in her life for good. Mia and Lucas have to figure out who wants her dead and put a stop to their plans.

This was a fun and interesting book! As you can probably guess, it doesn’t exactly break new ground, what with the secret team, the “I dumped you for your own good but I never forgot you” that Lucas has going on, and the headstrong but smart heroine. Still, I enjoy those stories so for me this one worked. I liked that Mia doesn’t immediately roll over and let Lucas in. She doesn’t trust him at first, nor should she. Well, she trusts his skills at keeping her safe pretty quickly, but she doesn’t trust his intentions and makes him work to regain that trust. Even better, Lucas understands why she doesn’t trust him and doesn’t push her or get mad at her for her reticence. He knows he screwed up, and he knows he needs to earn her back. I did also appreciate that his reasons for leaving her originally aren’t totally bogus (just a little bit, ha). Looking from the outside in, we readers can see neither Lucas nor Mia was really ready to handle their love yet. We can see that time to mature and some tough life experiences for both of them have made them stronger and better prepared to be together.

I liked the mystery in the book. There are some pretty big twists and turns, and even though I could kind of figure out who the villain might be fairly early, that person’s motivations weren’t quite clear at first. The book isn’t action-packed but the pace was fairly steady. Unfortunately, Lucas and Mia do something profoundly stupid towards the end, which was out of character and unnecessary except as a way to allow the villain to get to them in a dramatic fashion.

For me, this was a solid book in a new-to-me series, and I’ll be looking forward to more.

Grade: 3.5 out of 5

*I received a review copy of this book from the publisher.

three-half-stars


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Review: Shadow Falling by Rebecca Zanetti

Posted September 23, 2016 by Casee in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Shadow Falling by Rebecca ZanettiReviewer: Casee
Shadow Falling by Rebecca Zanetti
Series: The Scorpius Syndrome #2
Also in this series: Mercury Striking, Justice Ascending

Publication Date: August 30th 2016
Genres: Apocalyptic & Post-Apocalyptic, Dystopian, Romance
Pages: 400
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four-stars

Before the Scorpius Syndrome tore through North America and nearly wiped out the population, Vivienne Kennedy was the FBI’s best profiler. The bacteria got her anyway. But she survived. She recovered. And when she woke up from a drug-nightmare of captivity, her skills as a hunter of men had gone from merely brilliant to full-on uncanny. Her mysterious rescuer wants her to put them to the test. But no matter how tempting he is, with his angel’s eyes and devil’s tongue, Vinnie knows she shouldn’t trust him.
If the FBI were still around they would rate Raze Shadow as one of the bad guys. His military training can’t wipe out his association with the Mercenaries, the most feared gang in a thousand miles. His loyalties are compromised. He won’t even tell Vinnie his real name. But there’s no FBI in the new America of fear and firepower, only instinct and risk.
And the way his arms wrap around Vinnie tells its own story. Whatever else Raze is concealing, he can’t hide his desire . . .

I am really loving this series. I love post-apocalyptic books. How would I be in a post-apocalypse world? How would you be? I think I would die in the first wave of deaths. Holly wouldn’t. I’ve seen the survival gear in her trunk. Maybe I wouldn’t. I would just need to find her car. Which would be hard considering we love several states away from each other.

Back to the review. I really enjoyed this book, but I liked Mercury Striking more. That’s where we are first introduced to Raze. He was as shady in that book as he is in his own book. When Vanguard goes to rescue Lynne from the Ripper President of the United States in Mercury Rising, Raze finds Vivienne Kennedy. Vinnie has been held prisoner by the President because he thinks she knows where the Bunker is. The Bunker is thought to have supplies and hold the cure for the Scorpius Syndrome. The problem is that Vinnie has no idea where the Bunker is. By the time she’s rescued, she’s been abused and drugged beyond imagining.

Raze is immediately drawn to Vinnie. She is vulnerable and his protective instincts immediately come to the forefront. It’s almost too bad for Vinnie that Raze is going to turn her over to the Mercenaries.

The next part of the review contains spoilers, so read on at your own risk…

View Spoiler »

Vinnie knows that Raze isn’t what he seems, but she can’t help but be attracted to his need to protect her. Feeling safe is a precious commodity in this new world and the only time she feels safe is when she is with Raze. Vinnie also knows that the drugs have done something to her brain, but Raze doesn’t seem concerned that she’s going crazy. Talking to her dead aunt is something that is of great concern to Vinnie, but Raze thinks nothing of it.

When Raze’s betrayal does come to life, Raze fights like hell to keep his place in Vanguard, keep the girl, and get his sister to safety. I would have respected him much more if he would have gone to Jax from the beginning, but he redeemed himself when he finally manned up and did it after View Spoiler ».

It’s official, I’m hooked on this series. I can’t wait until the next book comes out.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

four-stars


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Guest Review: At Any Cost by Mandy Baxter

Posted June 1, 2016 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: At Any Cost by Mandy BaxterReviewer: Tracy
At Any Cost by Mandy Baxter
Series: U.S. Marshals #4
Published by Kensington
Publication Date: May 31st 2016
Genres: Romance, Contemporary, Suspense
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two-stars

Fast, cunning, and driven, he'll do whatever it takes to nail the most violent federal perps. But she is the one danger he'll never see coming…

She can't remember when she wasn't afraid. She can't go to the police. And "Olivia Gallagher" is only a day away from fleeing her Idaho wilderness life before biker gang leader Joel Meecum finally catches up with her. So keeping her rugged new neighbor at arm's length is the only safe play. Until Livy can't resist one last hungry chance to feel alive…

For U.S. Marshal Nick Brady, taking his vacation next door to Meecum's ex-girlfriend seemed the smartest way to find him. But suddenly, nothing is making sense. How could this feisty, straight-talking brunette ever get mixed up with Meecum's brutal crew? And why is he breaking his oath and getting so close that all he wants is to keep her safe? Now as the clock ticks, Nick and Livy's only chance at escape may be the one they can't survive…

Nick Brady has been with the US Marshal service for a mere three months and he’s already in the director’s office because he’s in trouble.  He wants to hunt fugitives, that’s why he joined, but the director wants him to work the courts, escorting prisoners to and from.  Boring.  The director tells him that’s now on a forced vacation (read: Suspension) but Nick isn’t about to sit around and sip cocktails.  He decides to follow up on a lead that they had on one of their top 15 fugitives, Joel Meecum.  There was a possible lead on Meecum’s ex-girlfriend that he follows which takes him to Idaho.

Nick rents a cabin across the street from Olivia Gallagher who he believes is actually Kari Hanson.  He befriends her but soon they can’t deny their attraction to each other and fall in bed together.  Unfortunately, when Livy finds out that Nick knows exactly who she is he’s not sure that their relationship will be able to go any farther.

Let me start by saying that I really wanted to like this book.  It had a good premise and I obviously liked the blurb or else I wouldn’t have read it.  That being said this was just an ok read for me.

Nick was a not really a likable guy and that bothered me.  Yes, he had good intentions with wanting to find Meecum but he bucked authority to do it.  Now I’m not all about following the rules but Nick was almost to the point of going vigilante to get the bad guy and that didn’t sit well with me.  I also didn’t like that he started a relationship with Livy knowing that he was lying to her about who he was.  This doesn’t normally bother me but it did in this instance for some reason.

Livy was a careful woman.  She locked doors and checked things constantly for her own safety.  When she so easily lets Nick into her life and starts doing things she knows are out of her norm, therefore putting herself in danger, I really questioned it.  That just wasn’t her and she didn’t seem like the type of person to just agree to go out on dates after meeting Nick when she had previously been afraid of her own shadow.  IDK, it just didn’t make sense.

The story itself dragged for me.  I needed more action and less sex as the sex scenes went on and on.  I found myself skimming those time and again.  I hate to say I got bored after a while but I did.  The very last portion of the book was when the action happened, which was good, but by that time it was just too late to salvage the book for me.  This was my first read by this author so I’ll give her another chance in the future.

Rating: 2 out of 5

Reading Order

One Night More
One Kiss More
One Touch More
At Any Cost
Locked and Loaded

two-stars


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