Tag: Bookish Thoughts

Standalone Series Books: Yes, That’s a Thing

Posted November 6, 2018 by Holly in Discussions | 5 Comments

Holly: Lately, Rowena and I have been increasingly frustrated with the number of authors who label their books as standalones when they are, in fact, part of a series.

The Chase by Elle Kennedy is the first book in the Briar U series, which is a spinoff of the Off-Campus series. Yet the description says, “A sexy standalone novel from New York Times and international bestselling author Elle Kennedy!”

The blurb for Part-Time Lover by Lauren Blakely says, “From #1 New York Times bestselling author Lauren Blakely comes a sexy new standalone romance…”, yet it features characters we met in Wanderlust (Part-Time Lovers series).

Rowena: It seems to me that this is a new development, at least in romance because I don’t ever remember going through this before. Books in a series could be read as standalone but they were linked by something. Some of those series were linked together by characters, some were linked by the world that they were set in, and sometimes they had a story arc that went through multiple books, but that last one wasn’t necessary or even the case for every series. I can’t agree with what Holly says above enough. It is possible for a book to read as a standalone but still be part of a series.

She also mentions that there are some readers that prefer to read standalones and that’s fine, you should be able to love and want what you want. We prefer to know that characters we meet and love in one book, also show up in their own books…because then it’s not a standalone, it’s part of a series and should be labeled as such.

I just finished reading Sleepover by Serena Bell and though the book is listed as a standalone, I just know that the hero’s brother Brooks is going to get his own book because the ending led the reader to believe as much. The ending also announces the engagement of a couple from another book that was released back in June of this year. So this book is definitely part of a series and is linked together by the characters but if you were a new reader of this author (like me), you wouldn’t know that. “Sleepover is a standalone novel with no cheating, no cliffhangers, and a satisfying happily ever after. This ebook includes an excerpt from another Loveswept title.” Yet, it follows Do Over and Head Over Heels.

She’s not the only author that is guilty of this. She’s just the latest one that I’ve read and my frustration continues to grow and grow and grow. Holly hears about this frustration every time so we figured it was time to write this post.

Here are some examples of series with books that can be read as standalones but are linked together under the series umbrella.

The 21 Wall Street Series by Lauren Layne

This series follows three friends who work together on Wall Street. You don’t have to read the first book to get the second book, or the third book. The only thing that links these books together are the heroes in each book are friends. That’s it.

FBI/US Attorney Series by Julie James

Here’s another series that doesn’t need to be read in order. Each book can be read as a standalone and the series follows a different couple in the same world.

Colorado Mountain Series by Kristen Ashley


The same deal applies here with this series. They don’t really need to be read in order but there are recurring characters in each of these books. Some characters show up in all of the books, some show up in only a few but the common link in these books are the characters. The point is, the books can be read as standalones, but they’re connected in some way.

I’m not sure if this is a publisher thing or an author thing but whoever is in charge of making these decisions, please change this back. If books are linked in any way, readers should know that. I’m not sure when books being part of a series became a bad thing but I promise, I don’t see it as such.

The more you know and all of that…


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Books Holly Would Hate If She Read Them Today

Posted October 17, 2018 by Holly in Discussions | 5 Comments

While formatting some old posts, I came across some reviews I’d written for books in Susan Mallery’s Fool’s Gold series. Reading my reviews, I started to wonder if I read those books today, would I still give them such high marks? Just reading through my reviews had me shaking my head. I gave up reading some authors years ago, because I know that, while I loved them in my youth, they’d never hold up to my reading standards now.

Chasing PerfectAlmost PerfectFinding Perfect

Chasing Perfect, Almost Perfect and Finding Perfect by Susan Mallery
Released 2010-2012
Publisher: HQN Books
Genres: Contemporary Romance
My Reviews: Chasing Perfect, Almost Perfect, Finding Perfect

Return to where it all began—the romance, the friendships, the community, the warmth and laughter of Susan Mallery’s New York Times bestselling series Fool’s Gold.

Nestled in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains, Fool’s Gold, California, is a charming town like no other, where newcomers and locals alike find endless—if unconventional—opportunities to fall in love.

From Charity Jones, a city planner hired to create jobs that will keep the town’s men from moving away, to Liz Sutton, still trying to shed the stigma of being the girl from the wrong side of the tracks, and Pia O’Brian who, despite having a disastrous romantic track record and the parenting skills of a hamster, has inherited three frozen embryos, Fool’s Gold is overflowing with quirky characters, passionate moments and heartfelt emotion.

I really enjoyed this series back when, but just reading my reviews had my blood pressure up. I’m glad I enjoyed the books when I read them the first time. I definitely won’t be going back to read them again.

Almost HeavenAlmost Heaven by Judith McNaught.
Released: June 1, 1991
Publisher: Pocket Books
Pages: 384
Genres: Historical Romance

#1 New York Times bestselling author Judith McNaught crafts a powerful and unforgettable tale of two willful lovers in a twisting path of secrets throughout nineteenth-century Great Britain.

The Countess of Havenhurst, Lady Elizabeth Cameron, possesses a rare gentleness and fierce courage to match her exquisite beauty. But when she is discovered in the arms of Ian Thorton—notorious gambler and social outcast—her reputation is shattered. Thorton, rakishly handsome but with a mysterious lineage, embarks on a voyage to Elizabeth’s heart. Unfortunately, this journey is fraught with intrigue, scandal, and a venomous revenge. Destined for each other, yet wary of the other’s motives, Elizabeth and Ian engage in a dance of suspicion and passion that tests the very soul of their star-crossed love, from London’s drawing rooms to the mysterious Scottish Highlands. Will Elizabeth find true love or is Ian merely a ruthless fortune hunter at heart?

McNaught was one of my favorite authors back in the day. I was always swept up in her tales and so anxious to see what would happen. Almost Heaven was a particular favorite. Ian. Sigh. I know if I read it today the drama would be too much. As it is, just the memory of all the drama Elizabeth creates makes my teeth clench. I’m going to keep my happy memories of JM and stay far, far away from re-reading this book.

The GiftThe Gift by Danielle Steele
Released: February 5, 1996
Publisher: Dell Books
Pages: 288
Genres: Historical Romance

On a June day, a young woman in a summer dress steps off a Chicago-bound bus into a small midwestern town. She doesn’t intend to stay. She is just passing through. Yet her stopping here has a reason and it is part of a story that you will never forget.

The time is the 1950s, when life was simpler, people still believed in dreams, and family was, very nearly, everything. The place is a small midwestern town with a high school and a downtown, a skating pond and a movie house. And on a tree-lined street in the heartland of America, an extraordinary set of events begins to unfold. And gradually what seems serendipitous is tinged with purpose. A happy home is shattered by a child’s senseless death. A loving marriage starts to unravel. And a stranger arrives—a young woman who will touch many lives before she moves on. She and a young man will meet and fall in love. Their love, so innocent and full of hope, helps to restore a family’s dreams. And all of their lives will be changed forever by the precious gift she leaves them.

This is a book I read at a time in my life when I needed the story. Thinking back, I’m sure much of it was problematic, but at the time I didn’t see the flaws. I was swept up in the tale of this brave girl who was on her own, dealing with an unwanted pregnancy in the 1950s. The story truly touched me. There’s no way I’d feel the same if I read it today, but I’ll keep my fond memories.

Prince of DreamsPrince of Dreams by Lisa Kleypas
Released August 1, 1995
Publisher: Avon Books
Pages: 416
Genres: Contemporary Romance
My Review: Prince of Dreams

A wealthy and bitter exile, he most dangerous and desirable man in all of England, he burns to possess a proud, headstrong beauty who is promised to another. But winning Emma Stokehurst’s exquisite hand through threats and determination does nothing to fill the empty spaces in Nikola’s heart—until passion’s magic carries the handsome, tormented prince back to a bygone era of splendor and romantic dreams. For there his destiny awaits him in a distant life. And in one remarkable woman’s tender touch—achingly familiar but gloriously new—he must seek the elusive promise of ecstasy . . .and learn, at last, to love.

This is an old school novel by Lisa Kleypas. I love the last 1/4 or so of this book. Adore it, in fact. But the first 3/4 are pretty rough to get through (and yes, Nikolai did cheat ::wince::). I don’t know that the last 1/4 would make up for all the terrible if I read it now.

Night PlayNight Play by Sherrilyn Kenyon.
Released: August 1, 2004
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Pages: 384
Genres: Contemporary Romance

Bride McTierney has had it with men. They’re cheap, self-centered, and never love her for who she is. But though she prides herself on being independent, deep down she still yearns for a knight in shining armor.

She just never expected her knight in shining armor to have a shiny coat of fur…

Deadly and tortured, Vane Kattalakis isn’t what he seems. Most women lament that their boyfriends are dogs. In Bride’s case, hers is a wolf. A Were-Hunter wolf. Wanted dead by his enemies, Vane isn’t looking for a mate. But the Fates have marked Bride as his. Now he has three weeks to either convince Bride that the supernatural is real or he will spend the rest of his life neutered–something no self-respecting wolf can accept…

But how does a wolf convince a human to trust him with her life when his enemies are out to end his? In the world of the Were-Hunters, it really is dog-eat-dog. And only one alpha male can win.

I loved Bride and Vane back in the day. Adored them. I loved how petty Vane was, getting back at Bride’s ex. How cute they were together, all of it. But I can’t imagine reading the book now and feeling the same way. I grew out of SK some time back.

via GIPHY


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Books Rowena Would Hate If She Read Them Now

Posted October 10, 2018 by Rowena in Discussions | 7 Comments

This month, Holly, Casee and I are sharing the books we liked back in the day that we would probably hate if we read them now. You know, the books that used to make our hearts race and then sigh happily but because we’re older, we’re different and our tastes have changed, we know that if we were to try reading these books now, our reading experience would not be the same.

When I first started reading romances, I was young and I loved historical romances. They were my main love and I loved re-reading Julie Garwood, Judith McNaught and Linda Howard over and over again. These days, my most read genre is contemporary. I am drawn to the more modern romances because I connect more with them. I still love historicals but I don’t read nearly as many of them as I used.

I’m also a different reader now. I used to have such patience with characters and storylines. I used to never DNF books. I read every book that I picked up from beginning to end but becoming a book blogger has changed that for me. I don’t have the time or the patience to continue a book that I just do not care for. Life is too short to waste time on books that I’m not invested in.

These changes in myself led me to this list. Check it out.

Virgin River

Virgin River by Robyn Carr
Released on March 20, 2007
Publisher: Mira Books
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 386
My Review: Virgin River

“Wanted: Midwife/nurse practitioner in Virgin River, population six hundred. Make a difference against the backdrop of towering California redwoods and crystal-clear rivers. Rent-free cabin included.” When the recently widowed Melinda Monroe sees this ad she quickly decides that the remote mountain town of Virgin River might be the perfect place to escape her heartache, and to reenergize the nursing career she loves. But her high hopes are dashed within an hour of arriving: the cabin is a dump, the roads are treacherous and the local doctor wants nothing to do with her. Realizing she’s made a huge mistake, Mel decides to leave town the following morning.

But a tiny baby, abandoned on a front porch, changes her plans…and a former marine cements them into place.

Melinda Monroe may have come to Virgin River looking for an escape, but instead, she finds her home.

I used to love small town romances but aside from a series or two that I’m mostly reading for the authors themselves and not the small towns, I don’t read them very often. I gave up the Virgin River series after a handful of books in the beginning and what I remember not caring about is all of the cheesy nosiness of everyone in town. If I read this book now, I’d want to rip my hair out. So it just figures that Netflix announces that they’re bringing the Virgin River stories to life in a short series, right? Ehh.

Only His by Susan Mallery
Released on September 11, 2011
Publisher: HQN
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 344
My Review: Only His

Wedding bells are ringing in Fool’s Gold, but not for Nevada Hendrix. Her triplet sisters are engaged, and even her mother has a more active love life than she does. Determined to make a fresh start, she applies for her dream job, only to discover that her new boss is her first love. Maybe she could overlook the fact that they’ve seen each other naked, but she’ll never forget the way he broke her heart.

Tucker Janack agrees to Nevada’s “business only” ground rules. After all, love is a trap that the construction millionaire has avoided his whole life. But when great business partners turn out to be so much more, every rule gets broken. Will either of them be willing to try again…or will their past get in the way?

This book is one of the triplets books from the Fool’s Gold series by Susan Mallery and I don’t remember much about the romance itself but I don’t think I’ll ever forget how cheesy everything else was in the book. All of the happy couples doting on each other, the pregnancies and just over the top happiness. You’d think it would be a good thing but if I were to read this book again, I’d hate it. I’d probably throw up. All of that cheesy happiness would grate on my nerves so I’ll probably never read this again.

The Best of Someone Else’s Life by Kerry Reichs
Released on October 13, 2009
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 431
My Review: The Best Day of Someone Else’s Life

Despite being cursed with a boy’s name, Kevin “Vi” Connelly is seriously female and a committed romantic. The affliction hit at the tender age of six when she was handed a basket of flower petals and ensnared by the “marry-tale.” The thrill, the attention, the big white dress—it’s the Best Day of Your Life, and it’s seriously addictive. But at twenty-seven, with a closetful of pricey bridesmaid dresses she’ll never wear again, a trunkful of embarrassing memories, and an empty bank account from paying for it all, the illusion of matrimony as the Answer to Everything begins to fray. As her friends’ choices don’t provide answers, and her family confuses her more, Vi faces off against her eminently untrustworthy boyfriend and the veracity of the BDOYL.

Eleven weddings in eighteen months would send any sane woman either over the edge or scurrying for the altar. But as reality separates from illusion, Vi learns that letting go of someone else’s story to write your own may be harder than buying the myth, but just might help her make the right choices for herself.

I remember enjoying this book back when I read it but reading through my review, I don’t think I’d stomach reading it again now. I do remember being confused because there were so many characters introduced and it was a bit of a bother to keep them all straight in my head. I don’t think that would slide so smoothly with me now and I just have no interest in this kind of book anymore.

Whitney, My Love by Judith McNaught
Released on January 1, 1991
Publisher: Pocket Books
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 538
My Review: Whitney, My Love

Under the dark, languorous eyes of Clayton Westmoreland, the Duke of Claymore, Whitney Stone grew from a saucy hoyden into a ravishingly sensual woman. Fresh from her triumphs in Paris society, she returned to England to win the heart of Paul, her childhood love … only to be bargained away by her bankrupt father to the handsome, arrogant duke.

Outraged, she defies her new lord. But even as his smoldering passion seduces her into a gathering storm of desire, Whitney cannot, will not, relinquish her dream of perfect love.

As much as I love Judith McNaught’s older stuff, I don’t think that this particular book would go over well for me if I were to read it now. Between that scene and Whitney’s personality, I just don’t think it would work for me. This was almost one of my least favorite McNaught books and if I were to read this one again, I know that it would shoot straight to the top of my I HATE THESE BOOKS list so I don’t think I’d let myself go there again. Nope. Just, nope.

Twilight by Stephenie Meyer
Released on July 18, 2007
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Pages: 513
My Review: Twilight

Isabella Swan’s move to Forks, a small, perpetually rainy town in Washington, could have been the most boring move she ever made. But once she meets the mysterious and alluring Edward Cullen, Isabella’s life takes a thrilling and terrifying turn. Up until now, Edward has managed to keep his vampire identity a secret in the small community he lives in, but now nobody is safe, especially Isabella, the person Edward holds most dear. The lovers find themselves balanced precariously on the point of a knife-between desire and danger. Deeply romantic and extraordinarily suspenseful, Twilight captures the struggle between defying our instincts and satisfying our desires. This is a love story with bite.

Oh man, I used to love the hell out of this book. When I first read it, I was obsessed. Then it became a movie and I loved that too but if I were to read the books now (for the first time), I think that I’d hate it. I would probably think that Edward was on the same page as Christian and is a psychopathic stalker who needed to relax and Bella would drive me absolutely bat shit crazy if I were to read about her now. I don’t have a lot of patience for uninteresting characters and Bella just isn’t interesting to me anymore so I would probably either hate this book or DNF it, one of those.

Have you read any of the books listed on this list? Do you think they’d stand the test of time if you were to read them now? Are there any books that you loved before but would probably hate if you read them now? Share in the comments!


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Books Casee Would Hate If She Read Them Now

Posted October 3, 2018 by Casee in Discussions | 8 Comments

My reading tastes have changed drastically, yet really haven’t changed at all in some ways. Still, there are some books that really make me wonder wtf I was thinking. These are some of those books.

Shades of Twilight by Linda Howard
Release Date: July 1996
Publisher: Pocket Books
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 384

Roanna Davenport was raised a wealthy orphan on her grandmother’s magnificent Alabama estate, Davencourt, where she had a passion for horses, a genius for trouble, and a deep love for her cousin, Webb. But everyone expected Webb to marry their ravishing cousin, Jessie. When he did, Roanna’s desire became no more than the stuff of dreams — until the night Jessie was found bludgeoned to death.

After the shocking murder of his wife, Webb left for Arizona, abandoning the legacy that he had once believed was all he wanted. But then an all-grown-up Roanna walked into a dingy bar in Nogales to bring him home; the mischievous sprite he had known ten years earlier was no more. Gone, too, was her fire. In its place was ice that melted at his touch. Webb is drawn back to Davencourt, to Roanna, and to the killer that once destroyed his life and waits only for the chance to finish the job….

Roanna and Webb are COUSINS. Cou-sins. Cousins. Blech. Not to mention Webb is a total asshole. I don’t know what I was thinking to like this book in any way, shape or form.

A Kingdom of Dreams (Westmoreland #1) by Judith McNaught
Release Date: May 31, 1991
Publisher: Pocket Books
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 438

Abducted from her convent school, headstrong Scottish beauty Jennifer Merrick does not easily surrender to Royce Westmoreland, Duke of Claymore. Known as “The Wolf”; his very name strikes terror in the hearts of his enemies. But proud Jennifer will have nothing to do with the fierce English warrior who holds her captive, this handsome rogue who taunts her with his blazing arrogance. Boldly she challenges his will… until the night he takes her in his powerful embrace, awakening in her an irresistible hunger. And suddenly Jennifer finds herself ensnared in a bewildering web… a seductive, dangerous trap of pride, passion, loyalty, and overwhelming love.

Jenny was a total bitch. Honestly, the woman undermined Royce time after time, plotted against him and didn’t care if he died. Then a switched flipped and she loved him. WTF.

Gone Too Far (Troubleshooters #6) by Suzanne Brockmann
Release Date: July 1, 2003
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Genre: Romantic Suspense, Military
Pages: 536

In her sizzling, award-winning novels of suspense, bestselling author Suzanne Brockmann delves into the adrenaline-rushed world of counter terrorism–and taps into the real passions of its brave men and women. Now in her widely anticipated hardcover debut, she spins a story of action, intrigue, and romance, as a U.S. Navy SEAL and an FBI agent race to unravel a mystery–while confronting their own unresolved feelings for each other.

In his career as one of America’s elite warriors, Lt. Sam Starrett can do no wrong. In his private life, Sam–the king of one night stands–has done little right. Now, he’s waiting for a divorce and determined to stay active in his young daughter’s life. But when Sam shows up at the door of his ex-wife’s home in Sarasota, Florida, he makes a grisly discovery. His daughter is gone and the body of a woman lies brutally murdered on the floor.

FBI agent Alyssa Locke’s relationship with Sam has been overwhelmingly intense and nearly catastrophic, yet it refuses to end. The last time she saw Sam was six months earlier, when they worked together to stop terrorists from assassinating the U.S. President. Much to her dismay, Alyssa is assigned to lead the murder investigation and once again the two are face to face. When explosive information surfaces linking Sam to the still unsolved assassination plot, the stakes are raised. With her reputation hanging in the balance, and her loyalties in question, Alyssa is faced with an impossible dilemma:arrest a man she believes to be innocent, or risk her career.

While Alyssa tries to fight their intense attraction, Sam is determined to heat things up between them once again. And the complex case pushes them both to the wrong side of the law–and on the run to discover the truth. As more agents step into the chase, and with Sam’s daughter still unaccounted for, neither Alyssa nor Sam can predict just how deadly hot this situation is about to become. . . .

A thrilling novel that ranges back into the days of World War II, into friendships, families, liaisons, betrayals, and the code of honor that binds the U.S. Navy SEALs, Gone Too Far is an electrifying experience in suspense–and a brilliant tale of lives lived on the edge.

Oh Lord. Sam Starrett. AKA Crybaby. I don’t think I could read this book without rolling my eyes. I understand that he was supposed to be a hero that was super in touch with his emotions, but really?

Heaven, Texas (Chicago Stars #2) by Susan Elizabeth Phillips
Release Date: April 1, 1995
Publisher: Avon
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 384

Come heck or high water, Gracie Snow is determined to drag the legendary ex-jock Bobby Tom Denton back home to Heaven, Texas, to begin shooting his first motion picture. Despite his dazzling good looks and killer charm, Bobby Tom has reservations about being a movie star — and no plans to cooperate with a prim and bossy Ohio wallflower whom he can’t get off his mind or out of his life. Instead, the hell-raising playboy decides to make her over from plain Jane to Texas wildcat.

But nothing’s more dangerous than a wildcat with an angel’s heart in a town too small for a bad boy to hide. And all hell breaks loose when two unforgettable people discover love, laughter, passion — and a match that can only be made in Heaven.

I don’t hate this book per se, but if I reread it I think I would almost hate Bobby Tom Denton. He was a total ass to Gracie although it was under layers of charm and humor. Still, an ass is an ass.

Lover Unbound (Black Dagger Brotherhood #5) by J.R. Ward
Release Date: October 1, 2007
Publisher: Signet
Genre: Paranormal, Romance
Pages: 502

The ruthless and brilliant brother Vishous possesses a destructive curse and a frightening ability to see the future. As a member of the Brotherhood, he has no interest in love or emotion, only the battle with the Lessening Society. But when a mortal injury puts him in the care of a human surgeon, Dr. Jane Whitcomb compels him to reveal his inner pain and taste true pleasure for the first time-until a destiny he didn’t choose takes him into a future that does not include her…

I didn’t particularly like this book after I was done reading it, but I know I would hate it if I re-read it. Jane literally dies and comes back as a ghost. Seriously, JRW? Where do you get this stuff?

Dark Prince (Dark #1) by Christine Feehan
Release Date: April 5, 2005
Publisher: Leisure Books
Genre: Paranormal, Romance
Pages: 447

Carpathians are an immortal race of beings with animal instincts. Every Carpathian male is drawn to his life mate: a Carpathian or human female able to provide the light to his darkness. Without her, the beast within slowly consumes the man until turning vampire is the only option.

Raven Whitney is a psychic who has used her gift to help the police track down a serial killer. Now she is determined to escape the glare of recent publicity for the peace and quiet of the Carpathian Mountains.

Prince Mikhail Dubrinsky is the leader of his people but, as his ancient Carpathian race grows ever closer to extinction, he is close to giving in to the heavy weight of loneliness and despair.

From the moment their minds touch, Raven and Mikhail form a connection. But there are those who incorrectly view all Carpathians as vampires, and are determined to give their extinction a helping hand.

I will never, ever re-read this book because it holds a special place in my heart. It’s the first paranormal that I ever read. I know I wouldn’t like it now because of how Mikhail virtually forced Raven into his world. Not cool.

So looking at this list has me like WTF.


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2018 Releases Casee Should Have Read by Now

Posted September 12, 2018 by Casee in Discussions | 4 Comments

This is my list of books that I’m surprised I haven’t read. Since this list, I have read Order of Protection by Lexi Blake and started listening to No Woman Left Behind by Linda Howard. That’s how annoyed with myself I was for not reading these books. Unfortunately no wine was involved in the reading/listening to of these books.

Order of Protection by Lexi Blake
Released on June 5, 2018
Publisher: Berkley
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 368

To high-end defense attorney Henry Garrison, Win Hughes is a woman he met during one of the most trying times of his life. She’s soft and warm, and he finds solace in their brief relationship. But Win has a secret. She’s actually Taylor Winston-Hughes—born to one of the wealthiest families in the country, orphaned as a child by a tragic accident. Win moves in the wealthiest circles, but her lavish lifestyle hides her pain.

When her best friend is murdered in the midst of a glittering New York gala, Win’s charged with the crime, and the only person in the world she wants to see is Henry.

Henry is shocked at the true identity of his lover, but he can’t reject the case. This trial could take his new firm into the stratosphere. Still, he’s not getting burned by Win again. And yet every turn brings them closer together.

As the case takes a wild turn and Win’s entire life is upended, she must look to the people she’s closest to in order to find a killer. And Henry must decide between making his case and saving the woman he loves…

I am honestly shocked with myself. The fact that I haven’t read this book is unbelievable to me. I have a handful of authors who could write a grocery list and I would read it. Lexi Blake is one of those authors. See? Shocked.

The Woman Left Behind by Linda Howard
Released on March 6, 2018
Publisher: William Morrow
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 368

Jina Modell works in Communications for a paramilitary organization, and she really likes it. She likes the money, she likes the coolness factor—and it was very cool, even for Washington, DC. She liked being able to kick terrorist butts without ever leaving the climate-controlled comfort of the control room.

But when Jina displays a really high aptitude for spatial awareness and action, she’s reassigned to work as an on-site drone operator in the field with one of the GO-teams, an elite paramilitary unit. The only problem is she isn’t particularly athletic, to put it mildly, and in order to be fit for the field, she has to learn how to run and swim for miles, jump out of a plane, shoot a gun…or else be out of a job.

Team leader Levi, call sign Ace, doesn’t have much confidence in Jina—who he dubbed Babe as soon as he heard her raspy, sexy voice—making it through the rigors of training. The last thing he needs is some tech geek holding them back from completing a dangerous, covert operation. In the following months, however, no one is more surprised than he when Babe, who hates to sweat, begins to thrive in her new environment, displaying a grit and courage that wins her the admiration of her hardened, battle-worn teammates. What’s even more surprising is that the usually very disciplined GO-team leader can’t stop thinking about kissing her smart, stubborn mouth…or the building chemistry and tension between them.

Meanwhile, a powerful Congresswoman is working behind the scenes to destroy the GO-teams, and a trap is set to ambush Levi’s squad in Syria. While the rest of the operatives set off on their mission, Jina remains at the base to control the surveillance drone, when the base is suddenly attacked with explosives. Thought dead by her comrades, Jina escapes to the desert where, brutally tested beyond measure, she has to figure out how to stay undetected by the enemy and make it to her crew in time before they’re exfiltrated out of the country.

But Levi never leaves a soldier behind, especially the brave woman he’s fallen for. He’s bringing back the woman they left behind, dead or alive.

The last book of Linda Howard’s that I really loved was Cry No More. I’m so sad that her writing has becoming so much different. I find that I’m excited when she releases a new book, then I’m disappointed when I read it. It may be time for some LH re-reads.

Edge of Darkness by Karen Rose
Released on February 6, 2018
Publisher: Berkley
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 640

A Cincinnati detective questions everything he knows–and everyone he trusts–in the new novel of romantic suspense from New York Times bestseller Karen Rose.

Homicide detective Adam Kimble is no stranger to battling demons. But Meredith Fallon is a different kind of weakness: one that could actually be good for him, if only he would let himself depend on her. Meredith has loved Adam for a year, and seeing how hard he’s worked to deal with his PTSD makes her feelings only stronger, but she respects his needs. Her work keeps her busy anyway: she counsels sexually abused women like Mallory Martin to help them reintegrate into the world.

But someone doesn’t want Meredith helping women like Mallory, and Meredith finds herself in the crosshairs of a very determined killer. Adam would risk anything for her, but they’ll soon find out she isn’t the only target…

This woman is the queen of RS. The number of pages in this book is daunting, but I always finish quickly because I have to see what happens next.

Nobody Does it Better by Lexi Blake
Released on February 20, 2018
Publisher: DLZ Entertainment LLC
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 394

A spy who specializes in seduction

Kayla Summers was an elite CIA double agent, working inside China’s deadly MSS. Now, she works for McKay-Taggart London, but the Agency isn’t quite done with her. Spy master Ezra Fain needs her help on a mission that would send her into Hollywood’s glamorous and dangerous party scene. Intrigued by the mission and the movie star hunk she will be shadowing, she eagerly agrees. When she finds herself in his bed, she realizes she’s not only risking her life, but her heart.

A leading man who doesn’t do romance

Joshua Hunt is a legend of the silver screen. As Hollywood’s highest paid actor, he’s the man everyone wants to be, or be with, but something is missing. After being betrayed more than once, the only romance Josh believes in anymore is on the pages of his scripts. He keeps his relationships transactional, and that’s how he likes it, until he meets his new bodyguard. She was supposed to keep him safe, and satisfied when necessary, but now he’s realizing he may never be able to get enough of her.

An ending neither could have expected

Protecting Joshua started off as a mission, until it suddenly felt like her calling. When the true reason the CIA wanted her for this assignment is revealed, Kayla will have to choose between serving her country or saving the love of her life.

Kayla!! I’ve looked forward to her book, but for some silly reason I haven’t read it yet.

Shelter in Place by Nora Roberts
Released on May 29, 2018
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 448

It was a typical evening at a mall outside Portland, Maine. Three teenage friends waited for the movie to start. A boy flirted with the girl selling sunglasses. Mothers and children shopped together, and the manager at the video-game store tending to customers. Then the shooters arrived.

The chaos and carnage lasted only eight minutes before the killers were taken down. But for those who lived through it, the effects would last forever. In the years that followed, one would dedicate himself to a law enforcement career. Another would close herself off, trying to bury the memory of huddling in a ladies’ room, hopelessly clutching her cell phone–until she finally found a way to pour her emotions into her art.

But one person wasn’t satisfied with the shockingly high death toll at the DownEast Mall. And as the survivors slowly heal, find shelter, and rebuild, they will discover that another conspirator is lying in wait–and this time, there might be nowhere safe to hide.

NR is my go-to when I can’t get into a book. I’m going to try it on audio because it seems like I never have enough reading time.

Face Off by Brenda Novak
Released on August 28, 2018
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 416

SHE VOWED NEVER TO BE A VICTIM AGAIN. BUT NOW A KILLER HAS HER IN HIS SIGHT. . .

Tortured and left for dead at sixteen, Evelyn Talbot turned her personal nightmare into her life’s work―studying the disturbing psychopathy of some of the world’s most vicious serial killers. Now a leading psychiatrist at Hanover House in a small Alaskan town, she tries to believe the past will never come back to haunt her―until a woman goes missing from a cabin nearby, and every clue points to the man who once brutalized her…

As her boyfriend, who is the area’s only police, begins to investigate―and finds not one but two bodies―Evelyn can’t forget that her would-be killer, Jasper Moore, was never caught. But there are no new faces in tiny Hilltop, no one who seems suspicious or potentially violent. In this twisted game of cat and mouse, Evelyn is certain of only one thing―Jasper must be hiding in plain sight. And if she can’t find him before he comes for her, she won’t be lucky enough to survive twice…

I’m super surprised I haven’t read this book. It’s the third book in the Evelyn Talbot Chronicles. The second book was a cliffhanger, so I should be dying to read this book.

In closing, I’ve realized that I have a serious problem. I’m not reading enough. I’m going to change that. Or try to change that. If I could add more hours to the day, I would.


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