Tag: Berkley

Throwback Thursday Review: Closer Than You Think by Karen Rose

Posted September 17, 2020 by Casee in Reviews | 1 Comment

Throwback Thursday Review: Closer Than You Think by Karen RoseReviewer: Casee
Closer Than You Think (Cincinnati Series, #1) by Karen Rose
Series: Cincinnati Series #1
Also in this series: Alone in the Dark (Cincinnati Series #2)
Publisher: Signet
Publication Date: February 3, 2015
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 688
Add It: Goodreads
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four-half-stars
Series Rating: five-stars

From the New York Times bestselling author of Watch Your Back and Did You Miss Me comes the newest novel by “the queen of romantic suspense” (Crime and Punishment).

Psychologist Faith Corcoran is desperate to escape the stalker who’s made her life a nightmare for the past year—desperate enough to run to the one place that has been her nightmare far longer. Both boon and bane, her recent inheritance of her grandmother’s old house in Cincinnati offers sanctuary in which she can start her life anew, but requires that she face the dark memories that still resonate to this day.

But she has no idea how close to home her fears still are.

Two college girls have gone missing in the area, and FBI Special Agent Deacon Novak is called to work on the case. When his inquiry unexpectedly leads him to Faith, he finds a beautiful and brave woman he can’t help but fall for. Soon they’ll discover that this seemingly simple investigation is anything but. Reaching back decades into Faith’s own past, it will shatter everything she believes to be true and will give terrifying new meaning to flesh and blood.

This review was originally posted on April 14, 2015.

Closer Than You Think was the best book I’ve read in ages. It actually drove me to write a review. A lot of you don’t remember me, I’m sure, but I actually used to read and review books regularly here at Book Binge. O_o. Now, I hardly read and when I try to review, the cursor just sits there are stares at me. The it’s asks me “Well,are you just going to sit there?”. No, I’m not. I’m turning you off and going to take a nap.

As it happened, Closer Than You Think was a book that I could not put down. I finished it in two days and that’s only because of running my daughter around to soccer. Onto the review…Faith Corcoran has changed her name, took all her money out of the bank and leaves Florida for Cincinnati, where she just inherited a home from her grandmother. After being stalked by the man she put in prison for over a year.

The first night she arrives home, the key doesn’t work to the lock, so he heads back down the winding hill. Coming back the next day after getting the power turned on and the locks changed, Faith runs into what she thought was an animal, but soon realizes is a young, terrorized, horrified woman. Faith’s car goes over the embankment but she quickly climbs up the bank to make sure the woman is all right. Finally the cops get there.

When Deacon Novak arrives at the scene, he doesn’t know what to think. Faith brings out his primal instincts, but he knows she has to be on the suspect list until they can cross. Her off. After all, the victim seemed to come from her house as it was the only one between the accident site and her house. The only problem with the house is that someone has been using the basement as a torture chamber and no one has any idea.

They have multiple suspects; a stalker that may have followed her up from Florida. Two uncles that may have an ax to grind because she alone inherited the house. Or one of the uncles could be working with the stalker. Or it’s someone other than all three of them. All you do know is from the killer’s pov, he wants her dead. Badly.

Karen Rose writes some of the best sociopathic villains I’ve ever read. That’s part of the reason I can never put her books down. I’ve also been waiting to read Deacon Novak since he was first introduced in the books. Karen Rose does write some of the best suspense out there, but she also writes some of the best romantic suspense. Deacon and Faith were drawn to each other from the beginning. Deacon couldn’t help but want to protect Faith. As for Faith, as cheesy as it is, she feels an animal attraction to Deacon which is not like her at all. When you put all these elements together, there is nothing I didn’t like about the book. There is a lot of family stuff I left out, but suffice to say if you don’t read this book, you’re missing out.

Rating: 4.75 out of 5.

Cincinnati

four-half-stars


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Review: A Heart of Blood and Ashes by Milla Vane

Posted September 14, 2020 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: A Heart of Blood and Ashes by Milla VaneReviewer: Holly
A Heart of Blood and Ashes by Milla Vane
Narrator: Nicole Poole
Series: A Gathering of Dragons #1
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: February 4, 2020
Format: eARC, Audiobook
Source: NetGalley, Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 555
Length: 15 hours and 16 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Goodreads Challenge, Holly's 2020 Goodreads Challenge, Holly's 2020 Reading Challenge
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four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

A generation past, the western realms were embroiled in endless war. Then the Destroyer came. From the blood and ashes he left behind, a tenuous alliance rose between the barbarian riders of Parsathe and the walled kingdoms of the south. That alliance is all that stands against the return of an ancient evil - until the barbarian king and queen are slain in an act of bloody betrayal.

Though forbidden by the alliance council to kill the corrupt king responsible for his parents’ murders, Maddek vows to avenge them, even if it costs him the Parsathean crown. But when he learns it was the king’s daughter who lured his parents to their deaths, the barbarian warrior is determined to make her pay.

Yet the woman Maddek captures is not what he expected. Though the last in a line of legendary warrior-queens, Yvenne is small and weak, and the sharpest weapons she wields are her mind and her tongue. Even more surprising is the marriage she proposes to unite them in their goals and to claim their thrones—because her desire for vengeance against her father burns even hotter than his own…

I’ve been waiting for Milla Vane (aka Meljean Brook) to return to writing for years. When this book popped up on NetGalley, I actually squee’d out loud. Then I started it and…wasn’t in the mood. It had nothing to do with the book, I just wasn’t feeling a dark epic fantasy at that time. Fast forward to this month; I saw the audiobook and decided to purchase it. I’m really glad I did. I ended up loving the narrator.

Maddek is determined to avenge the death of his parents at the hands of a neighboring kingdom. When the traditional path is closed to him because of the alliance, he decides to take his revenge in another way…by killing the heir to their thrown. The problem? Yvenne is nothing like he expected. She’s small, weak and nothing like the warrior queen he expected. She’s also just as determined to bring her father down as Maddek is. Though he trusts her not at all, he agrees to take her as his wife if it means being able to kill her father and brothers.

The overall theme of this novel is very dark, and so are the actions of both characters. Maddek was bent on revenge and could see nothing else. Yvenne was determined to kill her father and claim her kingdom. She was also determined to make Maddek into a king, whether he wanted it or not. Yvenne was fierce, for all her physical frailty. I loved how she stood up for herself, and wielded her tongue like a weapon. I liked their dynamic, though his vow that he would rip her tongue out if she spoke of his mother was frustrating. I understood Maddek’s need for vengeance, but I didn’t love the way he treated Yvenne. I wish he’d have wised up a little sooner. In the end, I forgave him because Yvenne did.

I did think it moved a bit slow in parts and the world-building took some time, but I enjoyed the book as a whole.

3.75 out of 5

A Gathering of Dragons

four-stars


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Throwback Thursday Review: Dangerous Tides by Christine Feehan

Posted August 27, 2020 by Casee in Reviews | 3 Comments

Throwback Thursday Review: Dangerous Tides by Christine FeehanReviewer: Casee
Dangerous Tides by Christine Feehan
Series: Drake Sisters #4
Also in this series: Turbulent Sea, Hidden Currents, Magic in the Wind, The Twilight Before Christmas, Oceans of Fire, Dangerous Tides, Safe Harbor, Turbulent Sea, Hidden Currents, Hidden Currents
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: July 1, 2006
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Pages: 354
Add It: Goodreads
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five-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

With her sensual blend of paranormal romance and breathless suspense, New York Times bestselling author “Christine Feehan boldly goes where no writer has ever gone”*. Now she introduces Libby Drake, of the magical Drake sisters—each mysterious, gifted, and enchanted by prophecies of love…
Dr. Libby Drake is sensible and practical. To her more adventurous sisters, she’s always been the “good girl”. Certainly not the kind to attract the attention of a genius like Ty Derrick—until a tragic accident leaves the handsome biochemist at her mercy.
Acting on her uncanny ability to heal, she stirs in the reawakened Ty his own long-suppressed desires for the woman who saved his life. But he’s not the only man with designs on Libby Drake. Her miraculous and selfless power has also captured the attention of a dangerously influential admirer. He’s pursuing the elementally gifted beauty for his own wicked purpose. And he’s willing to go to deadly lengths to make it happen.

This review was originally posted June 11, 2020.

I think this book may be my overall favorite in the series. Though I like Libby as well as I like the other Drake sisters, it’s Ty that really does it for me in this book. I loved his analytical way of dissecting everything. Nothing he says or does is w/ malice, so the way he would come off sounding all pompous and arrogant was extremely amusing.

Ty and Libby have always been drawn to each other (they all are, aren’t they?). Ty, in his analytical way, decides that it’s time to settle down. The one he wants is Libby Drake. That almost doesn’t happen when Ty is helping with a rescue and his harness snaps, plunging him over a 100 feet to the rocks below.

When Libby knows that it’s Ty that everyone is whispering about, she can’t make herself leave. Of all the sisters, her gift is the most tangible. When Libby puts her hands on someone, she heals them. And though she’s risking the life of herself and her sisters, she can’t not heal Ty.

Ty doesn’t know how he survived and neither do his doctors. He looked at his scans and knew he should be dead. He knows Libby helped him somehow, but he’s not sure exactly what she did. He knows he doesn’t believe the gossip about the Drake sisters being magical.

What’s funny about that is that Ty doesn’t think Libby is crazy. He just thinks that she’s under the influence of her family and all he needs to do is get her away from them. He doesn’t think that the Drake’s are bad people. He just thinks they’re delusional.

Tyson took a deep breath and stopped her, swinging around so his body was directly in front of hers. His fingers tightened around her hand, threatening to crush her bones. “Here’s the thing, Libby. I’ve thought a great deal about this. I don’t believe in magic. It doesn’t make sense to anyone with a logical brain. Whatever you and your sisters do isn’t real. I don’t know if your family originally used sleight of hand to con people, but whatever the origins, I’ve observed you enough to know you believe you’re able to heal people.”

Libby opened her mouth to speak but he shook his head and pulled her hand to his chest. “Just hear me out. I think you’re experiencing psychosomatic symptoms, much like a false pregnancy, but we can work on that together. I know I can help you see that no one can really heal anyone with magic. You’re smart. You’ll see it in time.”

She could only stare dumbly, torn between wanting to laugh and to cry. He was so
earnest, his expression grave and his blue eyes holding her gaze captive. “I’ll see that I make myself ill pretending to heal people?” Obviously she could pick them. If only he would just keep his mouth closed she might get somewhere with him.

“Putting it that way sounds bad. It’s more like you’ve been brainwashed, programmed to believe it and your brain tricks your body into experiencing the symptoms. And that can be dangerous to your health.”

He tightened his fingers around hers when she tried to move away from him. “Don’t,
Libby, don’t pull away. I’ve thought this whole thing through. I want a relationship with you. You’re able to understand me, we’re interested in the same things and I think you’re an incredible woman. I’m willing to pay the price of accepting your family. It really is worth the sacrifice to be able to see you.”

Her eyebrow shot up. “How courageous of you to take on my crackpot, con-artist
family.” She tilted her head to one side. “So I don’t really heal people, but I’ve convinced myself so strongly that I can that I manifest psychosomatic symptoms of the people I think I’ve healed. That’s what you think really happens, huh?”

“Yes. If you just open your mind to the possibility, I’m certain it would make more sense to you. You’re a scientist, Libby, a doctor. You want to heal people because you’re so compassionate, but no one can really do that. Haven’t you ever watched the faith healers in the tents and realized they’re bilking the public?”

“How do you know they are?” She started walking back toward her house, this time
holding his hand so he wouldn’t let go.

“It’s been proven time and time again. The faith healers have been investigated and
debunked. Seriously, Libby, I could show you many of the reports. I looked them up over this past week and prepared them in a file for you. It’s all there in black and white.”

“You did that for me?” She smiled her sweetest smile, wandering slowly up the path to
her house. “Tyson Derrick, how considerate of you. I had no idea you were such a
thoughtful man.”

He let his breath out. “I was afraid you’d be upset, Libby. I was prepared for you to take this in a negative way, but I should have realized you’d reason it out.” He stopped on the path to their house. “You want to go home already? I’d like to spend more time with you.”

bwahahaha. That is just so Ty; coming up with a scientific explanation for it. Little does he know what he’s in for.

Still, even with Ty’s lack of belief in her magic aside, someone is still trying to kill him or at least sabotage his research. When Libby gets caught in the crossfire, Ty goes all caveman. Which is pretty hot.

For those of you that have read this series, what’s your favorite book?

Rating: 4.75 out of 5.

Drake Sisters

five-stars


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Review: Desolation Road by Christine Feehan

Posted July 6, 2020 by Casee in Reviews | 11 Comments

Review: Desolation Road by Christine FeehanReviewer: Casee
Desolation Road by Christine Feehan
Series: Torpedo Ink #4
Also in this series: Judgment Road (Torpedo Ink #1), Judgment Road, Vengeance Road (Torpedo Ink #2), Vendetta Road
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: July 7, 2020
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 480
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Casee's 2020 Goodreads Challenge, Goodreads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
two-stars
Series Rating: three-stars

Take the ride of your life with the Torpedo Ink motorcycle club in this thrilling romance novel from #1 New York Times bestselling author Christine Feehan.    Torpedo Ink is Aleksei “Absinthe” Solokov’s whole life. They’re his brothers, his family—his everything. But that doesn't stop him from wanting something that only belongs to him. That’s why the tough biker has spent the last six weeks at the library, reading every book he can get his hands on and watching the prim and proper librarian who makes his blood rush.    For the past six weeks, Scarlet Foley has been fantasizing about the handsome, tattooed man whose eyes follow her every move. She senses he's dangerous. She wants him to get close enough to touch. She wishes she could let him know the real woman, not the one she pretends to be. But Scarlet has a plan to carry out, and she can’t afford any distractions.   Absinthe is well aware that Scarlet is hiding something. She’s a puzzle he intends to solve, piece by intoxicating piece….

Aleksei “Absinthe” Solokov lives and breathes Torpedo Ink. He, along with his brothers and sisters, survived hell on earth to get where they are today. Absinthe thinks he only needs his family, but that changes when he decides to head to the library for some quiet time. It’s at the library that he lays eyes on her. The Librarian. For six weeks he travels between Caspar and the library, all to spend time in the same building as the woman that suddenly and irrevocably caught his eye. Absinthe knows he’s not a good man. Not even that is going to keep him away from the woman that brings his body to life, for the first time in his entire life.

Scarlet Foley has noticed Absinthe in her library. How can she not notice the gorgeous, tattooed stranger that has been coming in for six weeks. Scarlet never thought she would find a man that would intrigue her like Absinthe has. Her feelings about him are irrelevant because Scarlet has someone after her. She promised herself years ago that she would never be put in a position again where someone she loved would get hurt. Scarlet has a past that she’s hiding and she won’t let anyone get close enough to find out her secrets. Until Absinthe.

Their attraction is mutual and fiery. Scarlet never thought that she would find a man that would be her equal in all aspects of life, but that’s exactly what she’s found with Absinthe. What she doesn’t expect is the demons that he has in his past and still carries with him in the present. Absinthe doesn’t want to burden Scarlet with his past and so it seems that the relationship will not work after all. Scarlet wants an equal partner and Absinthe is apparently not going to be that person. Then he tells her everything. Well, almost everything.

As they’re getting to know each other, Absinthe knows that Scarlet isn’t as she seems. She’s not just the sexy librarian that he was first attracted to. She never lets her back face the door, she carries weapons, and she’s more than cautious about her surroundings. Of course, Torpedo Ink being who and what they are, they find out her secrets. Absinthe is appalled when he learns about her past. He would have preferred to learn it from Scarlet herself, but they can’t afford to wait to find out in their line of business. Armed with all the information he has on her, Absinthe can now protect her. And protect her he will.

This was my least favorite book of the series. To say that I hated it would be harsh, but it was so freaking close to hate. Each member of Torpedo Ink have their own horror stories about what they had to go through growing up in Russia. Absinthe had a fetish that carried over from those days. View Spoiler » Like WTAF. This book made me realize that Feehan’s writing has been subtly changing over the last few books. There are some things she won’t touch and sometimes she goes way overboard. Will the real Christine Feehan please stand up?

I always enjoy going back to the Torpedo Ink world, I just didn’t enjoy this book as much as I was expecting to. I really liked Absinthe in the previous books. He was incredibly intriguing and I couldn’t wait to read his book. Now I wish I hadn’t.

Rating: 2 out of 5.

Torpedo Ink

two-stars


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Sunday Spotlight: The Marriage Game by Sara Desai

Posted June 14, 2020 by Holly in Features, Giveaways | 1 Comment

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. 🙂

Sunday Spotlight: The Marriage Game by Sara DesaiThe Marriage Game by Sara Desai
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: June 9, 2020
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 304
Add It: Goodreads
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A high stakes wager pits an aspiring entrepreneur against a ruthless CEO in this sexy romantic comedy.

After her life falls apart, recruitment consultant Layla Patel returns home to her family in San Francisco. But in the eyes of her father, who runs a Michelin starred restaurant, she can do no wrong. He would do anything to see her smile again. With the best intentions in mind, he offers her the office upstairs to start her new business and creates a profile on an online dating site to find her a man. She doesn’t know he’s arranged a series of blind dates until the first one comes knocking on her door…

As CEO of a corporate downsizing company Sam Mehta is more used to conflict than calm. In search of a quiet new office, he finds the perfect space above a cozy Indian restaurant that smells like home. But when communication goes awry, he's forced to share his space with the owner's beautiful yet infuriating daughter Layla, her crazy family, and a parade of hopeful suitors, all of whom threaten to disrupt his carefully ordered life.

As they face off in close quarters, the sarcasm and sparks fly. But when the battle for the office becomes a battle of the heart, Sam and Layla have to decide if this is love or just a game.

Exclusive Excerpt

Sam walked quickly up the stairs to his new office suite, a box of office supplies under one arm. The scents of curry, coriander, and mild incense permeated the air, making his stomach rumble. An accident on the I 280 meant the one-hour journey had taken an extra forty-five minutes, and he would have to hustle if he wanted to get in a workout before the gym closed.

He reached the second floor and walked down the hallway, his footsteps muffled by the mint green carpet that matched the patterned wallpaper on the walls. The frosted glass door to the office was slightly ajar.

Puzzled, Sam pushed it open and walked into the small reception area. Twilight streamed through the large windows on the far side of the modern, open-plan office, spreading lazy orange fingers over the polished wood floor. A stack of boxes tottered inelegantly on the maple reception desk, and a ghastly purple couch had been placed against the wall beside a glass table with a sequined ceramic elephant base. Sam had little interest in interior decor, but the combination offended even his unschooled aesthetic sensibilities.

Crossing the floor past the reception desk, he entered the office proper. Recently renovated and boasting floor-to-ceiling windows, polished wood floors, and exposed brick walls, the spacious office also had a private boardroom and small kitchenette. Nasir had furnished the office with a large cherry boardroom table and two desks, one multicolored and made of metal rods and glass by an obscure interior designer named Eagerson, and the other a traditional two-pillar desk made of rosewood and nickel-plated brass. Sam had mentally claimed the traditional desk; the Eagerson was more Royce’s style.

And then he saw her, shuffling through a massive pile of papers on his rosewood desk.

She was in her mid to late twenties, her long dark hair streaked electric blue and tied up in a ponytail that brushed the graceful curve of her slender neck. Long, thick lashes brushed over soft bronze cheeks, and her plump lips glistened.

He coughed.

She screamed.

He retreated a few steps, but not quickly enough to evade the barrage of office supplies flung in his direction. Small erasers bounced off his chest, and a sharpened pencil almost took out his eye. When she lifted a stapler, he held up his free hand, palm forward in a gesture of surrender. “Do you really want to compound your crimes by adding assault, or even murder, to the break-and-enter charge?” he asked, unable to hold back his irritation.

“Who are you? What are you doing here?” She grabbed her cell phone off the desk, brandishing it like a weapon. “Answer, or I’m calling the police.”

“Please do. Then you can explain to them what you’re doing in my office.”

“This is my office.” She thumped the stapler on the desk. “My father leases this space as well as the restaurant downstairs.”

“And you are . . . ?” Beautiful. Stacked. Frightened. Furious. A number of adjectives came to mind, not the least of which described her generous breasts and lush curves. Too bad she had such terrible taste in music. Had she picked up that unfortunate Nickelback T shirt at a thrift store? Or was she really a fan?

“Layla Patel. Nasir Patel is my father.”

“I’ll need to see some ID.” He held out his hand, gesturing impatiently.

“Seriously?” Her eyes widened and her nostrils flared. “Is this the new way of breaking and entering? You ask for ID so you can make sure you’re robbing the right place? How about you give me your ID so I can tell the police who to arrest?”

Sam added a few more adjectives to his list: snarky, sarcastic, sassy. He almost couldn’t believe this was the daughter of the famous Indian restaurateur who had turned his ethnicity into a brand.

“Well . . . ?”

He tried to think of something intelligent to say. Anything. He was used to being in control of every situation and handling dilemmas quickly and decisively, but the longer he looked at her, the less able he was to command his power of speech. Everything about her was so vivid, so vibrant, from the shine of her knee-high boots to the fire blazing in her eyes.

“Sam.” For a second, he forgot his last name. “Sam . . .”

Her lips quirked at the corners. “Samsam? That’s your name?”

“Sam Mehta.”

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: June 2020

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 Sara Desai

Sara Desai has been a lawyer, radio DJ, marathon runner, historian, bouncer and librarian. She lives on Vancouver Island with her husband, kids and an assortment of forest creatures who think they are pets. Sara writes sexy romantic comedy and contemporary romance with a multicultural twist. When not laughing at her own jokes, Sara can be found eating nachos.


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