Tag: Berkley

Sunday Spotlight: Untouchable by Jayne Ann Krentz

Posted January 13, 2019 by Holly in Features, Giveaways | 4 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. 🙂

Sunday Spotlight

Sunday Spotlight: Untouchable by Jayne Ann KrentzUntouchable (Cutler, Sutter & Salinas, #3) by Jayne Ann Krentz
Series: Cuttler Sutter and Salinas
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: January 8, 2019
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 336
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A man's quest to find answers for those who are haunted by the past leads him deeper into the shadows in this electrifying novel from the New York Times bestselling author of Promise Not to Tell.

Quinton Zane is back.

Jack Lancaster, consultant to the FBI, has always been drawn to the coldest of cold cases, the kind that law enforcement either considers unsolvable or else has chalked up to accidents or suicides. As a survivor of a fire, he finds himself uniquely compelled by arson cases. His almost preternatural ability to get inside the killer's head has garnered him a reputation in some circles--and complicated his personal life. The more cases Jack solves, the closer he slips into the darkness. His only solace is Winter Meadows, a meditation therapist. After particularly grisly cases, Winter can lead Jack back to peace.

But as long as Quinton Zane is alive, Jack will not be at peace for long. Having solidified his position as the power behind the throne of his biological family's hedge fund, Zane sets out to get rid of Anson Salinas's foster sons, starting with Jack.

Order the Book:

AMAZON || BARNES AND NOBLE || KOBO

Excerpt

Jack clipped the phone to his belt and stood looking down at the thrashing surf. The wild waves appeared chaotic; all the more so today in the wake of the storm. But the reality was that they were the end result of the spectacularly complex network of currents generated by the unfathomable power of the world’s oceans.

There were fierce forces at work but there was also a rhythm; a pattern. If you had enough data you could unravel the deepest mysteries of the sea.

Theoretically, if you had enough data you could predict a rogue wave.

Sometimes he wondered if he had followed the wrong career path. He could have lost himself in the study of fluid dynamics. Instead, he had immersed himself in the deep, dark undercurrents of the criminal mind.

Then again, maybe he had never really had a choice. Winter claimed that in order to do his best, most satisfying work, he had to heed the call of the inner voice that urged him to explore certain kinds of crimes. He had to work the cold cases, the cases that kept people awake at night.

He understood the dark lure of what Winter labeled his “mission.” But he had studied enough bad guys to know that there were serious risks involved. He wondered if Winter realized that his mission was damn close to what could be described as a compulsion. And compulsions were driven by very deep, very dark currents.

He told himself that he could always swim back to the surface. But what if he got caught in a riptide and became disoriented, like a diver hit with the unpredictable effects of nitrogen at depth? The poetical term for it was rapture of the deep. The slang was narced. It could thrill you or terrify you. It could also kill you.

“Jack?”

Winter’s voice yanked him out of the dark thoughts. Back to the surface.

He turned away from the crashing waves with a sense of relief and watched her come toward him. The dark fire of her hair was tightly bound up under a scarf to protect it from the cleaning operation. The old-fashioned apron that Arizona had provided covered her from throat to knee. For once she was not wearing all black. She had on an old, faded pair of jeans and a plaid flannel shirt. Her hands were sheathed in oversized cleaning gloves.

Beautiful, he thought.

At the sight of her the ominous darkness that hovered at the edge of his own personal Darknet receded. The crisp, blustery day got a little brighter. And suddenly the currents of his investigation began to come into sharper focus.

“How’s the cleanup going?” he asked.

“It’s not as bad as I thought it would be.” Winter came to a halt in front of him. “Most of the blood was soaked up by the rug under the coffee table. We wrapped it in the sheet of plastic that AZ brought with her. She’s going to discard it in the town dump. I’ll never be able to look at the coffee table the same way again but AZ understands. She promised to replace it. Aside from that, it’s mostly a matter of sweeping and straightening.”

“Good.” He glanced at the cabin and then looked back at her. “Did you come out here to take a break?”

“No.” She searched his face. “I came out here to see how the conversation with your foster dad went.”

And maybe because she had seen him standing on the edge of the bluff, looking down at the surf, Jack thought. The possibility that she might suspect he was a little unstable was starting to really piss him off.

Cuttler, Sutter and Salinas

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: January 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 Jayne Ann Krentz

The author of a string of New York Times bestsellers, Jayne Ann Krentz uses three different pen names for each of her three “worlds.” As Jayne Ann Krentz (her married name) she writes contemporary romantic-suspense. She uses Amanda Quick for her novels of historical romantic-suspense. Jayne Castle (her birth name) is reserved these days for her stories of futuristic/paranormal romantic-suspense.


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Review: Evidence of Desire by Lexi Blake

Posted January 7, 2019 by Casee in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: Evidence of Desire by Lexi BlakeReviewer: Casee
Evidence of Desire (Courting Justice #2) by Lexi Blake
Series: Courting Justice #2
Also in this series: Order of Protection (Courting Justice #1)
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: January 8, 2019
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 352
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four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

A fast-paced contemporary romance that sizzles from the New York Times bestselling author of Order of Protection where passion for the law isn't the only thing heating up the courtroom.

Isla Shayne knows she's in over her head. As former all-star linebacker Trey Adams's personal lawyer, she's used to handling his business dealings and private financial matters, not murder charges. She needs to find an experienced criminal attorney who speaks her client's language. David Cormack of Garrison, Cormack and Lawless is exactly what she needs in the courtroom--and the only man she wants in the bedroom.

For David, taking on the Adams case means diving back into a world he thought he'd left behind and colliding head on with tragic possibilities he's in no mood to face. There's a reason professional football is in his past and no matter how close Isla gets to the truth he intends to leave it there.

But long days working on the case together lead to hot nights in each other's arms. As their feelings grow, the case takes a deadly twist that could change the game between the two lovers forever.

This book was a surprise to me. After reading Order of Protection, I wasn’t too hopeful, but this is Lexi Blake. This book was fast paced, but sad. It revolves around football and CTE. CTE or Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy is a brain condition that is contracted by multiple hits to the head. It is quite prevalent in football players. Lexi Blake did such an amazing job of writing how CTE can affect a family. It was heartbreaking.

Isla Shayne is more than the Adams family lawyer. More than that, she is their advocate and their friend. She looks out for their interests. When Miranda Adams, daughter of Trey and Portia Adams calls her in the middle of the night to tell her something is wrong at her parents penthouse, Isla rushes to meet her. That’s the kind of person Isla is. She tells Miranda to wait downstairs then goes to investigate. Trey Adams has CTE and she doesn’t want his daughter to see him if he is in one of his episodes. What she finds is worse. It’s a bloodbath. Portia Adams has been murdered and Trey is holding her dead body is his arms.

David Cormack is a football player turned criminal lawyer. When he’s asked to be Trey’s attorney, he doesn’t hesitate. Looking at Trey is hard for him because he knows that he could be Trey in 15-20 years. David himself took more hard hits than he could count playing football and CTE is a real possibility in his future. But for now, he has to figure out how to keep Trey out of jail. He doesn’t care if he killed his wife or not, he just has to keep him out of the prison hospital.

David and Isla were such an interesting couple. It was like glass half-empty to glass-half full. Negative vs. positive. Isla was absolutely one hundred percent certain that Trey would never kill Portia even if he was in one of his rages. David is just as certain that Trey could have done it if he was out of his mind. Isla disagrees, but remains silent. She always just remained silent and bulldozed her way through everyone. I really enjoyed her.

I loved their relationship. David tried to break things off with Isla for her own good. Usually that drives me up the freaking wall. This time it didn’t because he had a valid reason. It did go on a bit too far in my opinion, but again, it showed Isla’s inner strength. I loved that about her.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Courting Justice

four-stars


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Review: Wild Hunger by Chloe Neill

Posted January 4, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Wild Hunger by Chloe NeillReviewer: Holly
Wild Hunger by Chloe Neill
Series: Heirs of Chicagoland #1
Publisher: Berkley Books
Publication Date: August 14, 2018
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Alternating First and Third
Genres: Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy
Pages: 352
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three-stars
Series Rating: three-stars

In the first thrilling installment of Chloe Neill's spinoff to the New York Times bestselling Chicagoland Vampires series, a new vampire will find out just how deep blood ties run.

As the only vampire child ever born, some believed Elisa Sullivan had all the luck. But the magic that helped bring her into the world left her with a dark secret. Shifter Connor Keene, the only son of North American Central Pack Apex Gabriel Keene, is the only one she trusts with it. But she's a vampire and the daughter of a Master and a Sentinel, and he's prince of the Pack and its future king.

When the assassination of an ambassador brings old feuds to the fore again, Elisa and Connor must choose between love and family, between honor and obligation, before Chicago disappears forever.

Wild Hunger is the start of The Heirs of Chicagoland spinoff series. This is my first Chloe Neill. I meant to read the Chicagoland Vampire series years ago but never got around to it. Since this is the start of a new series (featuring the heirs of the characters from the Chicagoland series) I figured it was a good place to start. While the premise was interesting and the overall story good, the main characters were very immature.

Elisa Sullivan is the only vampire child ever born. As she’s grown up, she’s found it difficult to find her place in the world without constantly being judged by what her parents have done. She ended up going to school in Paris and taking an apprenticeship with a vampire house for a year after. Her first assignment is to guard the members of the Paris house as they travel to Chicago to a peace summit being led by her parents. When a vampire is killed the first night of the summit and a shifter is blamed for it, Elisa knows there’s something fishy going on. Determined to get to the bottom, she and her best friend, along with Connor, son of the local pack alpha, team up to investigate.

I really enjoyed the basic premise of the story. Trying to puzzle out how the fairies were involved in the scheme with the vampires is what kept me reading. Elisa and Connor were both pretty immature and didn’t do a lot for me. Elisa, especially, drove me crazy. She jumped into things without thinking and kept a major secret from pretty much everyone for the entirety of the book. She read more like an 18-year-old than a 23-year-old.

This read more like a young adult novel than anything else. As the book wore on, the immaturity of the heroine really began to bother me and detracted from my overall enjoyment. It’s possible I’d feel differently if I’d read the Chicagoland series and therefore had some kind of connection to these characters. As it stands, I doubt I’ll continue on.

2.75 out of 5

Heirs of Chicagoland

three-stars


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Review: Red Wolf by Jennifer Ashley

Posted December 7, 2018 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Red Wolf by Jennifer AshleyReviewer: Holly
Red Wolf by Jennifer Ashley
Narrator: Cris Dukehart
Series: Shifters Unbound #10
Also in this series: White Tiger (Shifters Unbound, #8)
Publisher: Berkley Books
Publication Date: May 2, 2017
Format: eARC, Audiobook
Source: Library, NetGalley
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 336
Length: 10 hours and 15 minutes
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three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

The New York Times bestselling author of Guardian's Mate returns to the world of the Shifters and a tale of a new love under fire...

A man is only as strong...

Red wolf Shifter Dimitri has fought his whole life for respect. It is claimed that red wolves are tainted with coyote blood and therefore not pure. He may not be skilled at verbally defending himself, but because he's a bodyguard, tracker, and champion of the fight clubs, his fists are always ready for some rough and tumble. However, he'd prefer a roll in the hay with the woman who is his oldest friend.

...as the woman who's got his back...

A spirited leopard Shifter and a fellow tracker, Jaycee Bordeaux has no problem forging a mate bond with Dimitri, but soon the two are called to infiltrate a rogue group bent on enslaving Shifters. Jaycee may have defended Dimitri from taunts before, but they now face a more lethal danger--one that threatens not only the future of their people, but also their love.

I really like the Shifters Unbound series by Jennifer Ashley. Red Wolf follows two un-collared shifters from Kendrick’s pack, Dimitri and Jaycee. They were introduced in White Tiger. Jaycee thought she was in love with her alpha (Kendrick), but realized it was just being safe and loved in the pack she wanted. When Kendrick and his mate start mate bonding, Jaycee and Dimitri end up in bed together, too. They’ve been best friends as long as either of them can remember. Dimitri had a speech impediment and Jaycee is the only one who seems to always get him. During a tense situation Dimitri mate-claimed Jaycee, in the hope that he could tell her not to put herself in danger. That didn’t work. Still, the mate-claim stands until Jaycee either accepts it or rejects it. She wants to accept it because she loves Dimitri and wants him in her life, but she doesn’t want to be controlled by a male. Nor does she want to lose the easy friendship they have. For Dimitri, there’s never been anyone but Jacyee. He didn’t claim her on a whim, he’s wanted her all along. When they’re put on an undercover op, their mate-claim will really be tested and Jaycee will have to decide what’s really important.

This started out slow, with a lot of the focus on Jaycee’s internal feelings and exploring a borrowed house. It does eventually pick up and I really enjoyed the second half. The story-arc is continued from White Tiger, and we also saw threads from other books coming together here. Ashley has a wonderful, solid writing voice that really brings this world to life. Though the romance was slow and somewhat lacking, the overall story-arc and progression of things inside the world really worked for me. I love how she tugs so many threads at once. In this book we see how many of them are connected.

I didn’t much care for Jaycee’s internal struggle about the mate-claim. Her main hesitation was that she didn’t want to be controlled or under the thumb of another. That would make sense if Dimitri ever tried to control her. He didn’t want her in danger, of course, but that’s because he loved her. He never tried to stop her from doing her job and in fact often encouraged her. So her fears there were groundless and therefore didn’t hold sway with me. The outside conflict was much more interesting and kept me reading.

3.75 out of 5

Shifters Unbound

three-half-stars


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Review: Rookie Move by Sarina Bowen

Posted December 5, 2018 by Casee in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: Rookie Move by Sarina BowenReviewer: Casee
Rookie Move (Brooklyn Bruisers, #1) by Sarina Bowen
Narrator: Nicol Zanzarella, Rock Engle
Series: Brooklyn Bruisers #1
Also in this series: Rookie Move, Rookie Move, Hard Hitter, Rookie Move, Hard Hitter (Brooklyn Bruisers #2), Pipe Dreams, Pipe Dreams, Pipe Dreams (Brooklyn Bruisers, #3), Brooklynaire (Brooklyn Bruisers #4), Bountiful (True North, #4; Brooklyn Bruisers, #4.5)
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: September 6, 2016
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible Romance Package
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 303
Length: 9 hours 53 minutes
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two-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

The first novel in a sexy new series featuring the hockey players of the Brooklyn Bruisers and the women who win their hearts—from the USA Today bestselling author of the Ivy Years series. 
In high school they were the perfect couple—until the day Georgia left Leo in the cold...
  Hockey player Leo Trevi has spent the last six years trying to do two things: get over the girl who broke his heart, and succeed in the NHL. But on the first day he’s called up to the newly franchised Brooklyn Bruisers, Leo gets checked on both sides, first by the team’s coach—who has a long simmering grudge, and then by the Bruisers’ sexy, icy publicist—his former girlfriend Georgia Worthington.   Saying goodbye to Leo was one of the hardest things Georgia ever had to do—and saying hello again isn’t much easier. Georgia is determined to keep their relationship strictly professional, but when a press conference microphone catches Leo declaring his feelings for her, things get really personal, really fast....

This book was unbearable from start to finish. From the narrators to the story itself to the heroine, I disliked it immensely. The only saving grace to this book was Leo, the hero.

Let us start with the narrators. There were two, a male and a female. The male voice was just…off. Nothing like I would have imagined Leo’s voice to sound like. I always laugh a little when the men read dialogue from the heroine during a sex scene, but this narrator was roll-your-eyes-out-of-your-head eye rolling. Oh and when he voiced Leo’s mom? Are you fucking kidding me? That’s what my kids used to sound like when they tried to imitate me when they were six. It really pulled me out of the book. The female narrator was pretty bad too. Her voice was so breathy, it just didn’t work. Plus as the voice of Georgia, I was more imagining nails-on-a-chalkboard. She sounded like a porn star during the sex scenes.

My dislike of this book began and ended with the heroine. Georgia Worthington was awful. I mean truly, truly awful. The only reason I didn’t DNF this book is because I plan on continuing this series and I’m anal about leaving a book unfinished. It was a close thing though. I wanted to “toss” it at least three separate times. Georgia and Leo’s age was somewhat murky. I couldn’t tell if they were twenty four or twenty six. Maybe twenty five? I have no idea. What I do know for certain is that I wanted to brain Georgia with one of those stilettos that she hates so much.

Georgia and Leo have history. It’s all about to come to a head when Leo is traded to the Brooklyn Bruisers. The Bruisers is a professional hockey team of which Georgia is the interim lead publicist for. As an aside I would say that the publicist profession is my second least favorite profession when reading. I simply don’t like them. When you had in the fact that the heroine was insufferable, a disaster is brewing. Anyway, Georgia and Leo haven’t seen each other for anywhere from four to six years. They were high school sweethearts. Then there was a horrible night that Georgia was raped at a party. After that, nothing was ever the same. But should/would it be? Regardless of that, Georgia dumps Leo because he doesn’t look at her with desire anymore. Holy shit. Seriously.

Now, in the present, Georgia can only think back to how great it was in the past with Leo. Before the rape. When they were teenagers. TEENAGERS. Grow the fuck up. Are you an adult? I know things were great, but you’ve evolved. Leo has evolved. Stop holding on to your TEENAGE past. Georgia just had the most shortsighted, brainless reasons for saying no to a relationship with Leo. He might be traded. He’ll never look at her the way he used to. They can never had what they had in the past. She can’t have a relationship with a player. On and on it goes. It got really old.

Leo was delightful. I really loved him. He was funny. I loved his sense of humor. As much as he loved hockey and has wanted to play it his entire life, he is willing to give it all up for Georgia. I have no idea WTF he was thinking there. I wouldn’t give her a glass of water if she was on fire. This right here is the epitome of who Leo is.

“Fuck that,” he said. “You and I don’t have one-night stands. We have forevernight stands.”

How can you not fall in love with Leo?

Even with how much I loved Leo, I detested Georgia even more. Did I already tell you she was insufferable? I know I did. It bears repeating. Georgia was insufferable. Not one likable thing about the woman.

Rating: 2 out of 5.

Brooklyn Bruisers

two-stars


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