Tag: 4.0 Reviews

Guest Review: Touch of Red by Laura Griffin

Posted February 21, 2018 by Jen in Reviews | 5 Comments

Guest Review: Touch of Red by Laura GriffinReviewer: Jen
Touch of Red (Tracers, #12) by Laura Griffin
Series: Tracers Series #12
Published by Pocket Books
Publication Date: October 31st 2017
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 368
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four-stars

When crime scene investigator Brooke Porter arrives at the home of a murdered woman, the only thing more shocking than the carnage is the evidence that someone escaped the scene. But where is this witness now? A thorough search of the area yields more questions than answers, and before Brooke even packs up her evidence kit, she’s made it her goal to find the witness and get them out of harm’s way.

Homicide detective Sean Byrne has seen his share of bloody crime scenes, but this one is particularly disturbing, especially because Brooke Porter is smack in the middle of it. Sean has had his eye on the sexy CSI for months, and he’s determined to help her with her current case—even if it means putting his attraction on hold so he and Brooke can track down a murderer. But as the investigation—and their relationship—heats up, Sean realizes that keeping his work and his personal life separate is more complicated than he ever imagined; especially when the killer sets his sights on Brooke.

I was excited about CSI Brooke Porter when she was introduced in the last Tracer’s book, and for the most part her story didn’t disappoint. Brooke works for the Delphi Center, and she’s working with detective Sean Byrne to solve a murder. She’s also coming out of a messy, toxic relationship, and that causes some problems for her and her relationship with Sean.

I thought the investigation plot of this book was very strong. I really could not have predicted where this one would end up based on the initial murder! This isn’t a serial killer story like so many of the Tracers books have been, and I admit it was a good change of pace to get something different. Plus the villain is responsible for some awful things, and it’s satisfying to see that person get their just desserts in the end. I also really liked Sean and Brooke, both as individuals and as a couple. I thought they were a great compliment, and I could absolutely see them working out in the long term.

I did have some issues that kept nagging at me after I finished reading, though. First, there’s a plot line with Brooke’s ex-boyfriend that I just didn’t like. He was emotionally abusive and is starting to stalk her in this book. I didn’t see a need for that and felt like it was just gratuitous. Plus, the issue wasn’t really handled seriously in my mind. The whole thing is basically resolved by Sean threatening the guy, which was lame and felt out of character for Sean AND for the ex. That plot point goes nowhere and feels like it’s only there to manufacture a way for Sean to protect Brooke until the major villain starts to focus on her.

The other thing that bothered me was more subtle, and it wasn’t something that even bothered me while I was reading. It was only after, as I started to think about the book, that it started to get under my skin. Brooke doesn’t want a relationship at the start of the book. She admits she’s rushed from bad relationship to bad relationship for years, and she feels like she needs time alone to figure out what she wants and who she is independent of a man. She tells Sean this repeatedly, and he tells her he totally respects that. But then all he does is push her to start something with him. Obviously, Brooke wanted him as well, and it’s clear the reader is supposed to recognize that Sean is a great match for Brooke (and he very much is). My problem isn’t even that Sean sticks around after she tells him she doesn’t want a relationship. My problem is that he says “Yes I totally get it” while secretly thinking “But I really want her so I’ll keep trying to convince her and then she’ll see the light.” I just don’t like it when books subvert the heroine like that. It reinforces the idea that if it’s “true love” it’s ok to push past a woman’s boundaries and ignore what she’s telling you. It didn’t feel necessary, and it didn’t reflect well on Sean in my mind.

Despite these issues, I truly did enjoy this book. It was well paced, a good mix of excitement and geeky investigation, and had a great central couple.

Grade: 4 out of 5

Tracers Series

four-stars


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Guest Review: To Tame a Wolf by Joann Black

Posted February 19, 2018 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: To Tame a Wolf by Joann BlackReviewer: Tracy
To Tame a Wolf by Joann Black
Published by The Wild Rose Press
Publication Date: September 27th 2017
Genres: Historical Romance
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four-stars

Summoned from her contemplative life in the abbey, Alexandra Ashford finds herself at the mercy of her malicious guardian, a cousin she fears and despises. He plans to force her to marry his crony and so forfeit her estate. Her only chance of escape is to trust the wounded man imprisoned by her cousin.

Taken captive and chained to his torturer's floor, clan laird Ian McGregor is left for dead after a brutal beating. He has little hope of escape. But when his enemy's betrothed offers him freedom and asks for his help, he realizes revenge could be sweet indeed.

Facing seemingly unbeatable odds to escape and reach the McGregor stronghold, their greatest challenge is fighting their growing attraction. How will Alexandra react when she realizes she’s the prisoner of the McGregor laird who considers her the “betrothed” of his enemy?

Alexandra wants nothing to do with her guardian and hopes to spend the rest of her life at the Abbey.  Unfortunately he calls for her and tells her that he plans to marry her off to a man who’s just as vile as her guardian.  She hatches a plan to get out of dodge.  She sets the man free who’s chained up in the main hall and asks him to take her to the McGregor clan, hoping that their laird will allow her sanctuary.  She has no idea that the man she frees is the laird and he become quite smitten with Alexandra.

This was a great little historical.  It was a quick read and just kind of hit in all of the right places for me.  Alexandra setting Ian free, their flight to freedom and everything that entailed and of course their attraction to each other.  The author did a fine job of giving us simmering tension between Ian and Alexandra, I loved it.

If you want a simple yet entertaining historical romance to read then this is the book for you.

Rating: 4 out of 5

I do have to say that the cover of the book is absolutely ridiculous.  Why in heaven’s name are they staring at his pec?  I just don’t get it!  You can see my thoughts on it here (and Holly’s too!).

four-stars


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Review: Blood Fury by J.R. Ward

Posted February 15, 2018 by Casee in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Blood Fury by J.R. WardReviewer: Casee
Blood Fury (Black Dagger Legacy, #3) by J.R. Ward
Series: Black Dagger Legacy #3
Published by Ballantine Books
Publication Date: January 9th 2018
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Pages: 411
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A vampire aristocrat, Peyton is well aware of his duty to his bloodline: mate with an appropriate female of his class and carry on his family’s traditions. And he thought he’d found his perfect match—until she fell in love with someone else. Yet when his split-second decision in a battle with the enemy endangers the life of another trainee, Peyton has to face the idea that his future, and his heart, actually lie with another.

Novo, as a female in the Black Dagger Brotherhood’s training program, feels like she has to prove herself to everybody—and she has no interest in being distracted by falling in love. But when Peyton proves to be so much more than a rich playboy, she is forced to confront the tragedy that has broken her soul and closed her off from love.

As the two grapple with Novo’s past and Peyton’s present, another couple must contend with an erotic connection that is unparalleled—and potentially scandalous.

Saxton, who has had his heart broken, discovers in himself a deep-seated attraction to Ruhn, a new member of the household. But will the other male explore the connection? Or will he close his mind and his heart to what could be true love . . . and cost Saxton everything?

Although the characters overlap between the Black Dagger Legacy and the Black Dagger Brotherhood series, the BDL series has overtaken the BDB. I am forcing myself to be a realist. Blood Fury is only the third book in a series that could potentially be eighty three books long. Zsadist’s book was the third book in the BDB series. At that time the series was still exciting and fresh as a daisy. What number are we at now? Fourteen? Twenty two? I digress. It’s not just the new look at the series, it’s the actually characters of the series. While they all have their stories, they aren’t hardened like the warriors are. It’s refreshing.

Blood Fury brings us the story of four characters. We have Peyton and Novo. We also have Saxton, who straddles both series, and Ruhn. I am not quite sure why Saxton and Ruhn got their story in a BDL book. Sure everything go explained away, but their story didn’t belong in this series.

Peyton and Novo have been dancing around each other since Blood Vow, which was book two. Novo is attracted to Peyton, but doesn’t have time for a man that is in love with another woman. A woman that is already mated. Peyton is attracted to Novo and he thinks he’s in love with Paradise. It’s only after he almost kills Novo by protecting Paradise (who doesn’t need protecting) that he realizes that he mourns a friendship that was made at an incredibly dark time for the glymera. Peyton and Paradise come from a world where friendship like theirs just aren’t formed and what he thought was love was nothing compared to what he feels for Novo.

Novo knows she’s attracted to Peyton and accepts that attraction. What she won’t accept is the squishy feelings he invokes in her. She’s been through enough in her life, losing who she thought was her mate to her sister. Right before she miscarried his young. Novo is someone that has never belonged anywhere in life, but she finds a home in Peyton. The love story between these two is intense. There are no BIG MISUNDERSTANDINGS, which was amazing. They are two people that have been misunderstood their whole lives. Finding each other is something that neither one of them ever expected and they don’t take it for granted. Then, well, this:

She was not his sun or his moon, but his galaxy.

I admit, I got misty. Novo was so deserving of everything Peyton was willing to give her. Of course she almost threw it all away, but she’s a smart girl.

Saxton and Ruhn. Ruhn and Saxton. Honestly, the summary of the book is misleading because it’s actually Saxton that almost ruins what could be what he’s been looking for his whole life. Saxton knows that what he feels for Ruhn is different. Even different than what he felt for Blay. Then he almost throws it away. What a fucking idiot. It doesn’t take him long to put his head out. As for Ruhn? I don’t think you could get a more perfect character. He definitely has his demons, but he is not going to miss out on life because of them. Ruhn isn’t bitter. He isn’t resentful of what he’s had to go through. He just is. I loved him.

There are parts of this book that definitely pulled at me. I was surprised that I liked it as much as I did. I was correct when I said that it would be easily finished once I sat down and actually read. It’s a fast read and will pull you in.

4 out of 5.

Black Dagger Legacy


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Guest Review: How to Ensnare a Highlander by Michelle McLean

Posted February 6, 2018 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: How to Ensnare a Highlander by Michelle McLeanReviewer: Tracy
How to Ensnare a Highlander (The MacGregor Lairds #2) by Michelle McLean
Series: The MacGregor Lairds #2
Also in this series: How to Lose a Highlander
Published by Entangled, Entangled Scandalous
Publication Date: February 12th 2018
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 227
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four-stars

When Lady Elizabet Harding’s family is targeted by the notorious Highland Highwayman, she finds herself wounded and an unwelcome guest of the charming outlaw who’d ruined her reputation earlier that day. Elizabet only wants to get even for her family’s downfall, but the more time she spends with the scoundrel, the more complicated her feelings become.

By day, Laird John MacGregor graces the court of Charles II. By night, he exacts revenge on his enemies – one of whom is betrothed to the fiery heiress who has, quite literally, fallen into his arms. The daughter of one enemy and promised to another, Elizabet should be the last person John wants. Yet even as she exasperates him, she is all he has ever desired for himself. When her life is put in danger, he will do anything necessary to protect the women he never expected to love…even if it means they cannot be together.

Lady Elizabet’s family is set upon by a notorious highwayman and then when Elizabet is accidentally shot, he takes her with him when he leaves in order to heal her.  He has no idea he’ll fall in love with her.  Elizabet is charmed by the man called Jack but he’s after her father and the man she’s supposed to marry.  She doesn’t care about her supposed betrothed but ruining her father will ruin her mother Elizabet won’t stand for that.  Jack wants Elizabet to turn on her father, but she won’t.  Jack is stuck in revenge mode because of the smuggling that Elizabet’s father and betrothed are involved in.  Because of that smuggling his brother was killed and he’ll stop at nothing to ruin the men.  Except…when it comes to Elizabet he’s not sure that he can do it if it makes her unhappy.  He falls in love with her and she with him but she’s all but married to someone else. How can they ever be together, especially when truths come out and people go to prison?

This was such a good story.  I was really on the edge of my seat for most of the book and the end made me very happy. I loved how McLean didn’t wrap things in a pretty little bow at the end.  She made things more like they might have been in real life and I appreciated that.  I would have liked to have seen her father and betrothed pay, but I understood why that never happened.

Reading about Jack and Elizabet falling in love was a pleasure.  There were extenuating circumstances when Elizabet got shot and he didn’t want her to die so that’s why he took her with him.  His friends told him to take her home but he was so attached to her by that time he couldn’t bring himself to do it until he had no more excuses.  I loved the way that they talked and came to trust each other, despite the fact that Jack never took his mask off.

I really enjoyed my second read by this author and will look into reading more from her.  I just saw that she writes contemporary romance under the name Kira Archer so I’ll have to check those out as well.

The MacGregor Lairds Series

Rating: 4 out of 5

four-stars


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Guest Review: The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory

Posted February 5, 2018 by Tracy in Reviews | 3 Comments

Guest Review: The Wedding Date by Jasmine GuilloryReviewer: Tracy
The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory
Published by Berkley Books
Publication Date: January 30th 2018
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 304
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four-stars

A groomsman and his last-minute guest are about to discover if a fake date can go the distance in a fun and flirty debut novel.

Agreeing to go to a wedding with a guy she gets stuck with in an elevator is something Alexa Monroe wouldn't normally do. But there's something about Drew Nichols that's too hard to resist.

On the eve of his ex's wedding festivities, Drew is minus a plus one. Until a power outage strands him with the perfect candidate for a fake girlfriend...

After Alexa and Drew have more fun than they ever thought possible, Drew has to fly back to Los Angeles and his job as a pediatric surgeon, and Alexa heads home to Berkeley, where she's the mayor's chief of staff. Too bad they can't stop thinking about the other...

They're just two high-powered professionals on a collision course toward the long distance dating disaster of the century--or closing the gap between what they think they need and what they truly want...

Alexa is visiting her sister Olivia’s hotel room in order to celebrate with her as Olivia just made partner at her law firm.  While in the elevator on the way up to the room the power goes out and she’s stuck in an elevator with Dr. Drew Nichols who is San Francisco for his ex’s wedding.  They have such a good time conversing on the elevator that when they finally get out, Drew asks Alexa to the wedding with him as his date.  He unfortunately slips and says she’s his girlfriend so she has to play the part.  After the wedding their sexual tension gets the best of the two and they end up having a great time in bed together.  After that they make arrangements to fly to each other on weekends to see each other.

Alexa really liked Drew but he says that he doesn’t really “do” relationships so she tries to keep her emotions separate, but it turns out to be impossible.  Drew never has a girlfriend but when he thinks of breaking it off with Alexa it practically gives him hives because he doesn’t want that.  Unfortunately life and his ex’s get in the way of things and soon Alexa is seeing that any future relationship with Drew is impossible, or is it?

This was a really cute story. I liked how it was light-hearted for the most part and only had a couple of angsty moments.  Drew was a pretty big player but once he’d found Alexa that was it for him. Of course it took a while for him to admit that to himself but I thought he was great with her.

Alexa fell for Drew hard and fast but was reluctant to admit her feelings, which might have been a good thing.  Sometimes I think that it’s best that couples get in these arguments because it makes them see what life would be like without the other and I think it makes them appreciate the relationship so much more.  That’s not always the case, but in this book it was true.

The story is pretty simple and straightforward, getting a tad bit slow in the middle, but overall a good read.

Rating: 4 out of 5

four-stars


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