Tag: Holly’s Reviews

Review: Hour of Need by Melinda Leigh

Posted May 21, 2018 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Hour of Need by Melinda LeighReviewer: Holly
Hour of Need (Scarlet Falls, #1) by Melinda Leigh
Series: Scarlet Falls #1
Published by Montlake Romance
Publication Date: December 9, 2014
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 338
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two-half-stars

While fighting in Afghanistan, Major Grant Barrett receives devastating news: his brother and sister-in-law have been murdered in Scarlet Falls, the sleepy suburb of Grant’s youth. Emotionally scarred from war, the career soldier returns home on emergency leave to temporarily care for his orphaned nephew and niece. But when someone tries to kidnap the kids and their teenage babysitter, Grant knows it’s not a random act…and neither were the murders.

Already devastated by her neighbors’ violent deaths, Ellie Ross is shattered by the attempted abduction of her teenage daughter so she desperately turns to Grant for help. As they navigate a deadly search for the truth, they struggle with growing feelings for each other and Grant’s impending return to deployment.

But time is running out. The killer is growing bolder by the hour, and Ellie and Grant must find him before the children become his next victims.

I really struggle with Romantic Suspense. The characters often do things that make no sense to me, or the mystery is so easy to figure out I end up being really bored. Though I do enjoy mysteries and suspense in audio. I haven’t read Melinda Leigh before, but she had good reviews so I figured I’d give her a try. The blurb does a good job of outlining the plot, so I don’t feel the need to recap.

I enjoyed the narrator, but I spent most of the book irritated at the way the characters acted. The heroine made silly choices that put herself and her family in danger. The hero supported her in those choices when it made no sense, and often rushed into danger himself without thought.

As a romance, this was cute. He had to come home on emergency leave to care for his niece and nephew when his brother and sister-in-law were murdered. Seeing this confirmed bachelor soldier deal with a colicky infant and heartbroken kindergartner was sweet and endearing. His budding relationship with the next door neighbor was sweet, too. I liked the two of them together and the way their families blended.

As a suspense novel it didn’t work for me, but as a romance it was sweet. There’s a good chance others will enjoy the suspense more.

2.75-3.0 out of 5

Scarlet Falls

two-half-stars


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Throwback Thursday Review: Rewriting Monday by Jodi Thomas

Posted May 17, 2018 by Holly in Reviews | 4 Comments

Throwback Thursday Review: Rewriting Monday by Jodi ThomasReviewer: Holly
Rewriting Monday by Jodi Thomas
Published by Penguin
Publication Date: April 7th 2009
Genres: Fiction
Pages: 352
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four-stars

Reporter Pepper Malone moved to Bailey, Texas, after a news story nearly got her killed. Now she wants to be left alone to do her job in relative peace and quiet. But when the newspaper’s staff is targeted by a madman with a grudge against the media, Pepper is drawn back into the public eye—and into the arms of the paper’s handsome owner.

Every Thursday in 2018, we’ll be posting throwback reviews of our favorite and not-so-favorite books.

This review was originally published on September 23, 2009.

 
I generally don’t like books that feature journalists. Too often they’re willing to sellout the people in their lives for a story. Obviously that isn’t always the case, and Jodi Thomas is a great example to go by with Rewriting Monday.

Pepper Malone lost her job as one of Chicago Tribune’s best reporters when a story goes bad. She ends up broke and alone in Bailey, TX and decides to stick around after seeing the local newspaper is hiring.

Mike McCulloch gave up his dream of being a teacher to run the newspaper after his father and older brother passed away. He’s been kind of floating along ever since, not really connecting to anyone or anything. When Pepper blows into his office, it’s like she slapped him awake. Now he can’t get his mind off of her.

When bad things start happening at the paper, Mike and Pepper both believe each is the target. Pepper is surprised to learn the paper has been receiving threats for months, and Mike knows Pepper is hiding something about her past, but isn’t sure what.

Pepper was kind of a breath of fresh air. She’s had some hard knocks, but that doesn’t take away from her sunny personality. She was an upbeat person without being annoying and I liked that she drew Mike out of his shell. Her innate curiosity came across well. Mostly she just seemed genuinely interested in people.

Mike was the strong, silent type who tended to push people away. It wasn’t that he didn’t care about the people of Bailey, it’s just that he was struggling to raise his niece and to come to terms with his decision to stay at the paper.

Pepper and Mike worked well together. Not just personally, but professionally. They seemed to really feed off of each other. Their relationship was one that grew over time with lots of conversation. It wasn’t like some where they jump right into bed together then try to work the details out later.

The town kind of took on a life of its own and provided a wonderful backdrop for the story. I think Thomas really excels at writing small town life. Once again I was transported to a small Texas town and really wanted to move there. The secondary characters also enriched the story, and I really enjoyed the secondary romance between the bakery owner and her estranged ex-husband.

As for the mystery, I think it really took a backseat to the romance between Pepper and Mike and the everyday life of the town. It didn’t take me long to figure out who was behind the threats, so the end didn’t surprise me. It almost felt kind of anti-climatic, but that’s often how I feel when it comes to mysteries, so it could just be.

Overall I very impressed with the characters and the setting. Thomas really excels at writing smalltown romance that really sucks you in. Highly recommended.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

four-stars


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Review: The Woman Left Behind by Linda Howard

Posted May 14, 2018 by Holly in Reviews | 5 Comments

Review: The Woman Left Behind by Linda HowardReviewer: Holly
The Woman Left Behind (GO-Team, #2) by Linda Howard
Series: GO-Team #2
Also in this series: Troublemaker, Troublemaker, Troublemaker, The Woman Left Behind (GO-Team, #2)
Published by William Morrow
Publication Date: March 6, 2018
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 368
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three-half-stars

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.

Linda Howard is a long time favorite of mine, but her more recent books haven’t worked as well for me as her older ones. I went into this with some trepidation, but I ended up really enjoying it. Jina’s strength and determination really came through as she tried to earn her place on the GO-Team. Her snarky attitude and dry wit really carried the book. What might have been a story slogged down with minor details was instead fun and fresh because of Jina. Her constant muttering and threats, plus her sheer strength of will, had me cheering for her from the beginning. I enjoyed Levi and the other members of the GO-Team, as well as the political aspects, though that part of the story definitely took a backseat to Jina’s training.

Where I struggled was Jina’s decision at the end of the book. It was jarring and extremely problematic considering the content of the book. I’d have rather half the book been focused on her training and the other half her doing missions with the team.

View Spoiler »

There were some questions left unanswered and I hope we’ll see more books in the series in the future. Jina’s strength of will and determination made this an engaging read. The ending was problematic and pulled down my overall grade.

3.25 out of 5

GO-Team

three-half-stars


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Review: Planet Dragos by Thea Harrison

Posted May 14, 2018 by Holly in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: Planet Dragos by Thea HarrisonReviewer: Holly
Planet Dragos (Elder Races, #9.8) by Thea Harrison
Series: Elder Races #9.8
Also in this series: Lord's Fall, Pia Saves the Day & Peanut Goes to School, Dragos Takes a Holiday, Night's Honor, Night's Honor, Dragon Bound, Midnight's Kiss, Midnight's Kiss, Dragos Goes to Washington, Shadow's End, Pia Does Hollywood, Liam Takes Manhattan, Pia Does Hollywood, The Chosen: A Novella of the Elder Races, Planet Dragos (Elder Races, #9.8)
Published by Self-Published
Publication Date: May 14, 2018
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 130
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four-half-stars

From New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Thea Harrison comes the final novella featuring Pia and Dragos…

Pia’s latest pregnancy has become a daily challenge, her relationship with Dragos strained with argument. That hasn’t stopped them from achieving a compromise and traveling to Las Vegas to celebrate their friend Rune’s wedding to his mate Carling.

From the moment they arrive, the trip goes awry. Death walks in Vegas, and Pia is kidnapped as an ancient enemy makes a move to destroy the Great Beast once and for all.

But the Great Beast has other plans.

On Planet Dragos everything goes the way he arranges it—unless someone decides to cross him, and God help them then, because he doesn’t know how to back down, and he doesn’t ever, ever let up….

I love Dragos and Pia. The Elder Races series is wonderful all around, but every time we return to Pia and Dragos I cheer a little on the inside.

These slice-of-life novellas are lovely. It’s great seeing where the Lord of the Wyr is, and how things are going with his family. In the previous book, Moonshadow, we met a new character who reappears here. I’m curious about him and hope we see more.

Aside from that, I loved seeing Pia and Dragos come to another turning point in their lives together. I was surprised at the choice they made at first, but it makes so much sense now that I think about it. I can’t wait for the next installment. I won’t lie, I’m anxious to see what happens with Liam.

4.25 out of 5

Elder Races

four-half-stars


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Review: Dark Desires by Eve Silver

Posted May 8, 2018 by Holly in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: Dark Desires by Eve SilverReviewer: Holly
Dark Desires by Eve Silver
Series: Dark Gothic #1
Published by Self-Published
Publication Date: December 5, 2016
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Gothic, Historical Romance
Pages: 352
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Goodreads
three-half-stars

"A dark and delicious gothic. I gobbled it up in a single sitting. Oh, how I have missed books like this!"--New York Times bestselling author Linda Lael Miller

Betrayed by those she trusted, penniless and alone, Darcie Finch is forced to accept a position that no one else dares, as assistant to dangerously attractive Dr. Damien Cole. Ignoring the whispered warnings and rumours that he's a man to fear, she takes her position at his eerie estate where she quickly discovers that nothing is at it seems, least of all her handsome and brooding employer. As Darcie struggles with her fierce attraction to Damien, she must also deal with the blood, the disappearances ... and the murders.

With her options dwindling and time running out, Darcie must rely on her instincts as she confronts the man she is falling in love with. Is he an innocent and misunderstood man ... or a remorseless killer who prowls the East End streets?

..".beguiling gothic tale..."--Bookpage

Dark Desires by Eve Silver is the first book in her Dark Gothic series. It’s currently free for Kindle. I’ve had this book in my TBR pile for ages. I love Gothic novels. I was looking for something dark and decided to give it a try.

Darcie Finch is the daughter of a wealthy merchant who lost his fortune. Though she has the manners of a lady, she was betrayed by the person she held most dear and she’s now penniless and alone. Forced to be a maid-of-all-work, she accepts a position with Dr. Damien Cole, despite the dark rumors she’s heard about him. When he discovers her artistic abilities, he makes her his assistant. As she gets to know the doctor she struggles with her doubts and suspicions about him, and his strange comings and goings. The more she comes to care for him, the more she wonders if he’ll be her savior…or the death of her.

Dark Desires had a good creep factor, with the dark doctor doing nefarious things, creepy carriage house and pounding rain storms. There’s even a nod to Jack the Ripper. I wasn’t as fully invested in the characters and I’d hoped to be, and I kept waiting for a big twist that didn’t come. I enjoyed the romance, but I wish the characters had been developed a bit more.

Though this wasn’t a favorite read, I will be continuing on with the series. I’ve heard great things about Silver. I’m sure things only get better from here.

3.25 out of 5

I love these covers.

Dark Gothic

three-half-stars


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