Tag: Harlequin HQN

Review: The Darkest Promise by Gena Showalter

Posted July 31, 2017 by Casee in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: The Darkest Promise by Gena ShowalterThe Darkest Promise (Lords of the Underworld, #13) by Gena Showalter
Series: Lords of the Underworld #13
Also in this series: The Darkest Torment
Published by Harlequin HQN
Publication Date: June 13th 2017
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Pages: 432
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New York Times
bestselling author Gena Showalter returns with a sizzling Lords of the Underworld story about an iron-willed sovereign and the somber beauty who melts him with a glance

Possessed by the demon of Misery, Cameo isn't allowed to experience joy. If she dares, her memory is wiped clean. With no other recourse, she sneaks into a land more fantastical than any fairy tale, determined to find the one man with the key to her redemption.

Lazarus the Cruel and Unusual rules his kingdom with a single unwavering focus: to build his army and annihilate his enemies. Nothing distracts him - until Cameo. He is relentless in his quest to make her smile and seduce her into his bed.

As dark forces conspire against them, threatening to destroy the fragile bond they've forged, the once-calm Lazarus grows crazed. Every heart-stopping kiss and wicked touch causes Cameo to teeter on the brink of happiness. But if she falls, she risks forgetting him forever

Cameo has longed for happiness, but knew it was out of her reach. She doesn’t remember details of her short time with Lazarus, but she knows it was special. Cameo is the keeper of the demon Misery and her demon doesn’t let her have a moment of happiness. Once she feels even a second of happiness, she forgets. Over the centuries, she hasn’t just forgotten the good things, she’s forgotten the bad. That devastates Cameo.

Though she loves her family, she knows it’s time to go her own way. She decides to make her way to Lazarus to get answers. She gets them as soon as she seems him. They had something. Something good. Something that was even great.

Lazarus is shocked to find Cameo in his kingdom. He’s even more shocked that she doesn’t remember him. He also surprised to realize that Cameo is his mate. Which isn’t a good thing. When the men in his family find their mates, their veins start to crystalize rendering them, well, statues. As much as Lazarus wants Cameo, he is not willing to give up his revenge for her. And oh does he have plans for revenge.

Cameo has no idea the impact she is having on Lazarus. All he is trying to do is seduce her. She’s having a hard time saying no. The only thing that is holding her back is that he barely seems to like her. It would help his efforts if he showed some sort of affection for her. As it stands, he seems to hardly tolerate her, only wanting her physically.

I loved this book, I hated the ending. I was really disappointed because up until the end, I was really enjoying the book. It’s the first book I read since May and I really couldn’t put it down. I adored Lazarus. After two thousand years of wanting revenge, he gave up everything for Cameo. Even his life.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.


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Guest Review: Dead Don’t Lie by L.R. Nicolello

Posted October 10, 2014 by Jen in Reviews | 6 Comments

Genres: Romantic Suspense

Dead Don't LieJen’s review of Dead Don’t Lie by L.R. Nicolello

You can run from the past…but you can never truly hide…

Detective Evelyn Davis delves deep into the minds of monsters for a living. She’s the best psychological profiler in the Seattle P.D., with a talent that comes from heartbreaking experience. When Evelyn was just eighteen, she received word of her family’s murder in the form of a horrifying video. Fifteen years later, tracking down other psychopaths is the only thing that brings her some peace.

But now two local families have been wiped out. Though the chilling crime scenes suggest murder-suicides, Evelyn believes a serial killer is at work. So does Special Agent Marcus Moretti, whose easy charm and fiercely protective instincts are breaking down all her defenses. Evelyn needs to put aside her emotional attachment to find the madman stalking her city—but with each discovery, this case becomes more personal. She’s starting to suspect the killer wants her—and he is edging closer with every step, ready to make Evelyn pay a devastating price….

Fifteen years ago, young Evelyn Davis was embarking on a modeling career, until her family was brutally murdered and her life was turned upside down. Now, Evelyn is the Seattle Police Department’s top detective and profiler. When a string of family murders start happening, Evelyn is put on the case. The police also bring in the help of FBI Agent Marcus Moretti, a man who instantly draws Evelyn’s professional, and personal, attention. Evelyn, Marcus, and the rest of the team are in a race against the clock to find the madman before the killings continue and before the killer gets to Evelyn.

The character explored in the most depth is really Evelyn. She’s incredibly strong, having lived through the horrific murder of her family and complete loss of her old life. She moved on and built a new life for herself, and it was great to see her strength shine through. Marcus was a great foil for her, too. He’s patient and sensitive to her past trauma, and he treats her with the respect so many of the other men on the police force refuse to give her. Their relationship does move a little too fast–Evelyn is spilling all her secrets and sleeping with him pretty rapidly, and I felt like commitments made at the end were too hasty given the circumstances–but I could believe that they were the right “fit.”

There isn’t really a mystery, per se, because the killer isn’t anyone we as readers could guess. The hunt is very tense and suspenseful, though admittedly the killer’s ultimate motivation didn’t end up making a lot of sense to me. Still, the book is fast paced and kept me mostly interested.

And now for a spoilery bit. This is a pretty big plot point in the book (skip this paragraph if you wish!), but this is the kind of thing I definitely prefer to know about books. I read a lot of romantic suspense, and it’s rare that very important characters get killed. There might be a semi-important person who dies, or there might be people who are very important to the main characters but who we as readers don’t spend much direct time with. That’s not what happens in this book! Evelyn’s only real friends are her partner Ryan, his wife Kate, and their two young children. She repeatedly calls them her “family,” and they basically helped her rebuild herself and her new life. In the first half of the book, Ryan and Kate are major characters. We spend time at their house, see their kids, watch them befriend Marcus, learn how protective they are of Evelyn, etc. And then they are all (except for the youngest boy) killed! And I don’t just mean killed off screen–we actually see the killer torturing them, and we get specific descriptions of the intensely grisly crime scene. I loved Ryan and Kate, and reading about their murder had me feeling physically ill. I actually have a pretty high tolerance for gore and grisly crime in books, but this was past my personal threshold. I have a hard time when characters I know and love are killed off, and I really, REALLY don’t like when kids get killed. For me, this took away most of my enjoyment of the book and made it hard to finish. I’ve tried to put my personal preferences aside when assigning a grade, but I’m giving this spoiler for people like me who try hard to avoid seeing likeable characters brutally murdered.

So, if you’re like me, you might need to steer clear of this book. However, if you enjoy serial killer stories, and the above spoiler isn’t a deal breaker for you, Dead Don’t Lie might be a satisfying read.

Grade: 3.5 out of 5

This book is available from Harlequin HQN digital. You can purchase it here or here in e-format.  This book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


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Guest Review: In Your Dreams by Kristan Higgins

Posted October 9, 2014 by Tracy in Reviews | 2 Comments

Guest Review: In Your Dreams by Kristan HigginsReviewer: Tracy
In Your Dreams by Kristan Higgins
Series: Blue Heron #4
Published by HQN Books
Publication Date: September 30th 2014
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four-half-stars

Everyone loves Jack Holland, but Emmaline Neal needs him. Her ex-fiancé is getting married in Malibu and, obviously, she can't go to the wedding alone. In Manningsport, New York, tall, blond and gorgeous Jack Holland is practically a cottage industry when it comes to rescuing desperate women. He knows the drill, Em figures, so he won't get the wrong idea.

What Jack needs is an excuse to leave town. Ever since rescuing four teenagers from a car wreck, he's been hailed as a hero and the attention is making him itchy, especially since his too-pretty ex-wife is back, angling for a reunion. He's always liked Emmaline. She needs a weekend date? No problem.

So when they wind up in bed together, Em chalks it up to red wine and chocolate cake, just one impulsive night not to be repeated. But Jack's pushing for more, and if she lets down her guard, either she'll get her heart crushed again, or discover that Jack's worth more than just dreaming about.

 

Tracy’s review of In Your Dreams (Blue Heron #4) by Kristan Higgins

Emmaline is a cop in the small town of Manningsport, New York. When she gets a wedding invitation to her ex-fiance’s wedding she knows she has to attend to prove to him and everyone else that she’s over him, but she needs a date. She doesn’t want a fake boyfriend date, more like a friend who’ll be a human shield.

She tries to find one but strikes out with her friend Allison’s ex-husband’s cousin’s friend – who is a piece of work (this scene had me laughing so hard I almost fell off my chair) but that doesn’t work out. Of course Manningsport is small so everyone finds out she needs a date and her friend Faith asks her brother, Jack, who acts as date to a lot of women. He just loves helping out and he agrees to be Em’s date for the wedding from hell.

Em and Jack know each other because they’re on the same hockey team together but they’ve never said more than hi and bye to each other. When they head to California for the wedding they get to know each other better and Jack really like what he sees. He’s not looking for a relationship but he loves being with Em and soon they’re dating.

Jack loves being with Em but he has some issues that he’s not facing at all. One of them is huge – he’s got a serious case of PTSD from saving four boys from a car accident. One ended up in a coma and he blames himself that he couldn’t save that one boy faster. He denies he has an issue but Em can see it clearly. On top of that his ex-wife, Hadley, is in town trying to get him back but that will never happen. The problem is is that he’s a really nice guy and he’s not mean or rude to anyone. This makes it look to Em as if he still cares about Hadley even though he really wants her gone.

Em and Jack are wonderful together but they have their moments. Unfortunately his PTSD, Hadley and her machinations, and a couple of bad decisions on Em’s part might just have them broken up for good.

I really liked this book a lot! I loved that Em wasn’t this petite little thing and that she was more of a tomboy. I thought it was a great contrast to Hadley was a sweet little southern belle (hold on while I choke). It was nice to see Jack not dating just one type of woman and branching out. He saw the beauty, the loveliness in her that apparently not many other people had seen and I loved that he did.

The story had so much involved in it but it was done well and I didn’t feel like I was ever overwhelmed with information. We got to see Em as a cop in action, her working with at risk kids, her psychologist parents who are amazingly nuts, her wonderful sister who loves Em dearly and her with her friends. Then for Jack we got to see him with his wonderful family and their nutty goodness and his work with his father. With the flashbacks to Jack and Em’s former lives with their significant others we got a huge insight into the people they’ve become.

All of the parts of the book worked so well and I enjoyed almost every minute of it. The story was witty and fun, incredibly funny at times as well, but it also had some very touching and heartfelt moments in it that brought tears to my eyes. It really was a great blend of love, family and friendship.

I’m the first to say that I’m a fan of Higgins’ books but this one is definitely one of my favorites.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

This title is available from Harlequin HQN. You can buy it here or here in e-format. This book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

four-half-stars


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Guest Review: Badlands by Jill Sorenson

Posted January 10, 2014 by Judith in Reviews | 1 Comment

Badlands Judith’s review of Badlands (Aftershock #3) by Jill Sorenson

Love is the most dangerous territory of all . . .

Every day, bodyguard Owen Jackson puts his life on the line — and keeps his feelings for Penny Sandoval locked away. Assigned to protect Penny’s father, a presidential candidate, Owen can’t get emotionally involved. That is, until Penny and her young son, Cruz, are abducted and taken deep into the California badlands.

Owen knows the bleak territory from his childhood. Worse, he knows the gang leader making ransom demands — his own brother, Shane. When a terrified Penny escapes into the desert with Cruz, Owen has to save her: from the elements and from the gang in close pursuit. Owen has hidden the darkness in his past from Penny. Now his only chance of keeping her alive is to let her see the man he really is — even if it means losing the only woman he’ll ever want.

When most of us hear the term “badlands” I think we envision those remote and colorful hills in South Dakota.  That’s not the territory which forms the context of this romantic suspense tale.  Rather, this novel is set in the deserts of the Imperial Valley and the Salton Sea, the area where even most Californians seldom venture and certainly a part of Southern California most know little if anything about.  Certainly most Americans don’t realize that the Salton Sea is the largest body of water in California and its saline content rivals even the Dead Sea.  It is here that the bulk of this story is told and where readers are given a full and descriptive look at the desolation and remote quality of places only familiar to poverty stricken families and those attempting to cross into the United States from Mexico.   Owen Jackson is one of those “trailer trash” kids that has grown up with poverty and abuse, whose life has been peppered with difficulties, a short prison term, and now a possible new start in life as a bodyguard to a potential presidential   candidate.  Most of all, Penny Sandoval has brought a sense of life, of loving presence, of kindness and enduring friendship into his life, all because he saved her life and the life of her infant son as he delivered Cruz amid the debris and confinement of a massive earthquake five years earlier.  He has loved her for a very long time.  And now he will be putting his life on the line for her as well as any potential future between them when she finds out about his roots, his past involvement in the Aryran Brotherhood while in prison, and his relationship to the man who has kidnapped her and her son for ransom and political pressure against her father, the first Hispanic presidential candidate.

This is not a simplistic and fluffy love story kind of novel.  It is filled with stress and angst, anger and hurt, evil perpetrated in the name of racism and political pressure that would keep the “white” race predominant in American politics.  It is about a man whose desire for redemption has driven him away from all that defined him as a kid and a younger man, whose experiences have taught him the worth of being a man of integrity and kindness, a man who must still bear the stigma of “ex-con” and who is still vulnerable to the manipulation by powerful men like Penny’s father.  There were times when it wasn’t all that easy to follow the action in the story.  Yet as the novel progressed it all began to make sense with the various strands of the story coming together in the end.  There will be a number of occasions when readers will wonder if Owen and Penny will ever get their HEA.  But isn’t that the tension in any good romance novel?  The author has taken the time, using a note-worthy economy of words, to flesh out the various characters, some of whom figure prominently and others who are only present around the edges of the story.  All, however, are necessary and keep the reader moving forward.  This compelling tale has no dead spots, those irritating groups of pages when there’s lots of descriptive language or internal monologue but not much that moves the story along.  That kind of content is missing and believe me, it isn’t missed at all.

Readers who like romance mixed in with mystery and suspense will find this to be an enjoyable and worthy read.  It’s one of those novels that makes the reader glad to have spent the time experiencing the story and I, for one, am delighted to have been given that opportunity.  It’s really worth the investment of time and energy to enjoy.

I give it a rating of 4 out of 5

The Series:
Book Cover Book Cover Book Cover

You can read more from Judith at Dr J’s Book Place

This title is available from Harlequin HQN.  You can buy it here or here in e-format.  This book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


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Guest Review: Christmas on 4th Street by Susan Mallery

Posted December 24, 2013 by Tina R in Reviews | 0 Comments

christmas on 4th street
Tina’s review of Christmas on 4th Street (Fools Gold #12.5) by Susan Mallery

There’s nowhere better to spend the holidays than with New York Times bestselling author Susan Mallery in the town of Fool’s Gold, where love is always waiting to be unwrapped… Noelle Perkins just got a second chance at life, and she intends to make the most of every minute. That’s why she ditched a frustrating legal career to open her own store in Fool’s Gold, California. The Christmas Attic celebrates everything that’s magical about her favorite season. Business is booming, and as a bonus, gorgeous army doctor Gabriel Boylan has offered to help out during the holiday rush.

Gabriel’s memories of Christmas past contain more sour grapes than sugar plums, thanks to a drill sergeant father who ran his home like a boot camp. Spending the holidays with his family while he recuperates from injury sounds as appetizing as last year’s eggnog. Still, there are some enjoyable distractions in town, including sunny, sexy Noelle…and the red-hot mistletoe kisses they can’t stop sharing.

Gabriel didn’t think he was made for happily-ever-afters. But when fate hands you a love as sweet and surprising as this, only a fool could refuse….

Christmas on 4th Street is the newest story in the Fool’s Gold series. I was so glad that the series included a holiday story. Fool’s Gold is such a great place that I was looking forward to returning there for the holidays. I have read every book in this series, and have enjoyed them all. The residents of Fool’s Gold are the kind of people you want to know – the kind of people that you want to be your own neighbors. I was thrilled when I received the book in the mail, and even more when I saw the gorgeous sparkly cover! It really added to the festive feeling of the book.

Noelle Perkins loves Christmas. And being frustrated with an unsatisfying legal career, she decides to open a shop called The Christmas Attic in Fool’s Gold California. Gabriel Boylan is an army doctor and is home recuperating from an injury, and he just happens to be the twin brother of Gideon, who we all met in a previous Fool’s Gold story. Not at all excited about his overbearing father coming to visit during the holiday, he decides to work part time at Noelle’s shop. This is where the attraction begins.

I really loved this story of Noelle and Gabriel’s budding romance. I thought they made a cute couple, and I love the snarky humor that Noelle brought to the story. Although Gabriel is attracted to Noelle, he is afraid to get hurt again. And Noelle, being the strong woman that she is, decides that although she too has been hurt, she will not let that stop her from finding love again. Their story is proof that you should never give up on love.

Susan Mallery has done it again with another great couple from the heartwarming town of Fool’s Gold. There are so many other great characters to find out about – I am definitely looking forward to more! Christmas on 4th Street is a sweet holiday romance that will make you smile, and maybe even laugh a little . And it is a must-read for any Fool’s Gold fan!

I would like to thank the author for allowing me to be part of her Review Crew for the Fool’s Gold Series. I received this book in return for an honest review.

I rate this one a 3.5

This book is available from Harlequin HQN Books.  You can purchase it here or here in e-format.  This book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


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