Tag: Linda Howard

Throwback Thursday Review: Cry No More by Linda Howard

Posted October 4, 2018 by Casee in Reviews | 8 Comments

Throwback Thursday Review: Cry No More by Linda HowardReviewer: Casee
Cry No More by Linda Howard
Publisher: Ballantine
Publication Date: April 27, 2004
Format: Print
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 392
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Goodreads
five-stars

Fueled by an obsession to fill the void in other people’s lives, Milla Edge finds lost children—all the while trying to outrun the brutal emotions stemming from a tragedy in her past. Traveling to a small village in Mexico on a reliable tip, Milla begins to uncover the dire fate of countless children who have disappeared in the labyrinth of a sinister baby-smuggling ring. The key to nailing down the organization may rest with an elusive one-eyed man. As Milla’s search for him intensifies, the mission becomes more treacherous. For the ring is part of something far larger and more dangerous, reaching the highest echelons of power. Racing into peril, Milla suddenly finds herself the hunted—in the crosshairs of an invisible, lethal assassin who aims to silence her permanently.

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

This review was originally posted on October 2, 2009.

When I first read this book, it was only a year or so after I first discovered Linda Howard. After the Night, Shades of Twilight, Son of the Morning; I loved them. I wanted Gray, Web, and Niall to be real b/c I wanted to marry them. Going from that to Cry No More is not an easy transition. In fact, it’s kind of like the lights going on after you spent two hours in complete darkness. Now it’s clear that Linda Howard evolved as a writer. At RWA a few years back, a friend and I were in LH’s line. My friend had brought her hardcover of Cry No More. LH laughed and said that she didn’t think anyone would be bringing that book to sign. I was silently thinking the same thing. Now I wish I had brought my copy.

This book is the journey of Milla Edge. When her infant son is ripped out of her arms in Mexico, Milla almost dies trying to get him back. Her quest for answers and her relentless search for her son destroyed her marriage. She became a different person after Justin was kidnapped. Going through something that no mother wants to imagine made Milla harder. If she never would have lost her son, the core of her personality would have been the same, but she wouldn’t have gotten the edginess she has now.

After ten years pass, Milla starts losing hope but still won’t give up. When she finally gets a lead, she ruthlessly follows it even knowing that it could lead to her death. Diaz is a name that is whispered throughout Mexico. He’s thought to be an assassin. Milla doesn’t care who he is if he can help her find Justin. And that’s exactly what he does.

This book was an emotional roller coaster. There is little to no humor. The whole thing is very raw. Linda Howard did such an amazing job of writing Milla that I felt that I was Milla. I felt her anguish. I felt her heartache and her regret. I also felt her hope and despair. The whole thing was just very powerful.

Milla’s only goal is to find Justin, however that is not all she finds. Together, she and Diaz uncover an adoption smuggling ring and an organ smuggling ring. The path they travel will lead them to Justin, but it will also lead them somewhere that they weren’t prepared to go.

There is romance between Milla and Diaz, but it took a backseat to telling Milla’s story. Even then, it was still powerful stuff. Pure LH.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

five-stars


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Review: The Woman Left Behind by Linda Howard

Posted September 28, 2018 by Casee in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: The Woman Left Behind by Linda HowardReviewer: Casee
The Woman Left Behind (GO-Team, #2) by Linda Howard
Narrator: Saskia Maarleveld
Series: GO-Team #2
Also in this series: Troublemaker (GO-Team, #1), Troublemaker (GO-Team, #1), Troublemaker (GO-Team, #1), The Woman Left Behind (GO-Team, #2), The Woman Left Behind (GO-Team, #2)
Publisher: William Morrow
Publication Date: March 6, 2018
Format: Audiobook
Source: Library
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 368
Length: 11 hours, 35 minutes
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Goodreads
three-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.

I’m relatively new to listening to audiobooks. I’ve listened to four audiobooks in my life. I listened to a Harlen Coben books (weird, huh?) about 20 years ago when he was super popular. In more recent times, I’ve listened to the first two Harry Potter books and this book. I adored the narrator of the HP books. I am on the fence about this narrator. I admit, some of it was me. She talked super slow. Like super slow. I didn’t know I could speed it up. My bad. So I did that and it wasn’t so bad.

Jina Modell works in Communications for a paramilitary organization. She likes being safe in an office. Her life changes when a test that she didn’t even know she had taken shows that she has an aptitude for field work. She’s put into training with a GO-Team and a year of heaven and hell commences.

She’s immediately attracted to Levi Butcher, the GO-Team leader, but knows it can’t go anywhere. For one, he’s her team leader. For another, it’s clear that he doesn’t think much of her. As a woman, Jina thinks that she has to prove herself more than any man would. So she pushes herself harder and farther than she ever thought she could go.

Levi wants her. He has wanted her since the first time he heard her raspy, sexy as hell voice. But she’s off limits. To him and to the guys on the team. If he breaks his own rule, it would kill the trust he has with his team and he is not willing to do that, not even for Jina. So he pushes her harder that he’s ever pushed anyone. He doesn’t cut her any slack, hoping she will quit, knowing that she’ll quit. Except she thrives like he doesn’t expect. Soon she’s a member of their team and Levi knows he might never have her.

When a mission takes them to Syria, they have no idea that they’ve been setup. When the mission that Jina is directing the drone from explodes, Levi is sure that he’s dead. He can’t go back for her body until he gets his injured men to the helicopter. When he does and he turns to go back for Jina, he’s astounded when he sees her running toward the helicopter.

They left her. That’s all Jina could think. She ran five hours in the desert. Five hours until her feet were nothing but raw meat to get to the helicopter before she was left in the desert. Logically she knew that Levi thought she was dead and was going to come back for her. He had to take care of the two injured teammates. But it doesn’t help. He left her.

I’m not really sure how I feel about this book. LH’s writing has changed drastically. I’m just not really emotionally invested. There was so much of the book that concentrated on Jina’s training, it got boring. Like I know that she’s honed like the blade of a knife. She’s a kick ass woman. Hear her roar. I really admired her. I also admired Levi for his restraint. The tension between the two was off the charts. Still, there was something missing for me.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

GO-Team

three-stars


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Summer Reading Challenge Review: Midnight Rainbow by Linda Howard

Posted August 29, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 8 Comments

Summer Reading Challenge Review: Midnight Rainbow by Linda HowardReviewer: Rowena
Midnight Rainbow (Rescues #1) by Linda Howard
Series: Rescues #1
Also in this series: Heartbreaker
Publisher: Mira Books
Publication Date: February 1, 1986
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 256
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Goodreads

Grant Sullivan had been one of the government's most effective agents, and he's agreed to rescue Jane Hamilton Greer, a wealthy socialite possibly engaged in espionage. In the time they spent together, questions of guilt and innocence began to fade against the undeniable reality that two people from such different worlds should never have met.

This is the second book that I read for our Summer Reading Challenge and while there were things that I didn’t like in the book, overall I really enjoyed the story.

So retired government agent Grant Sullivan is approached by a really rich guy with a job offer that he can’t exactly refuse. Grant just wants to be left alone so that he can work on his farm and live out the rest of his life in peace but when Jane Hamilton Greer needs to be rescued in Costa Rica, Grant knows that he’s the best person for the job because nobody can move in the jungle the same way that he can. The money from this job will pay off his mortgage and he’ll be set for life so why not?

Jane doesn’t make rescuing her easy. When Grant gets to her, she messes up his plans by attacking him and then trying to run away from him. When their escape plans go wrong, they are in each other’s company for longer than they anticipated and their relationship changes fast. They’re running from the man who kidnapped Jane in the first, the man with all kinds of bad guy connections and their ride off the island doesn’t work out so they’re on their own. Grant is grumpy, Jane feels guilty and emotions run high.

As far as characters go, I really liked Jane. She was smart, she was strong and she wasn’t one of those annoying heroines that spend most of the time in the jungle complaining about how much walking they did. She tried to help Grant with whatever she could help him with and she didn’t try to make things more difficult for the two of them. I really liked the person that she was and at times, I didn’t think Grant deserved her.

There were times when I wanted to kick Grant in his junk because he was so mean but boy did I end up loving the heck out of him in the end. I loved when he went to his Mom in the end and told her that he was getting married. I thought that was adorable.

I will say that a couple of things kept throwing me out of the story. The lack of protection, the lack of communication about protection (they just kept having unprotected sex after unprotected sex without any kind of discussion on anything) and how dated the story was. Also, Jane fell in love way too fast with Grant but despite those minor issues, I still really enjoyed this one. Haha, go figure. I read this one pretty fast and was invested in what was happening so I know that I’ll probably read this one again.

Overall, the story itself was pretty basic. Hero rescues heroine because heroine was taken by the bad guys, the bad guys chase hero and heroine all over Costa Rica, they make it out alive and fall in love but I really did come to love both Grant and Jane. Jane was my kind of heroine and Grant was gruff and tough but he didn’t have any afro puffs. Still, he rocked on with his bad self. This is classic Linda Howard and if you’re a fan of her older romantic suspenses then you’ll enjoy this one. Thanks for the recommendation, Holly & Casee.

Grade: 4 out of 5

Rescues


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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 (GO-Team, #1), Troublemaker (GO-Team, #1), Troublemaker (GO-Team, #1), The Woman Left Behind (GO-Team, #2), The Woman Left Behind (GO-Team, #2)
Publisher: William Morrow
Publication Date: March 6, 2018
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 368
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
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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Guest Review: The Woman Left Behind by Linda Howard

Posted May 9, 2018 by Jen in Reviews | 4 Comments

Guest Review: The Woman Left Behind by Linda HowardReviewer: Jen
The Woman Left Behind (GO-Team, #2) by Linda Howard
Series: GO-Team #2
Also in this series: Troublemaker (GO-Team, #1), Troublemaker (GO-Team, #1), Troublemaker (GO-Team, #1), The Woman Left Behind (GO-Team, #2), The Woman Left Behind (GO-Team, #2)
Publisher: William Morrow
Publication Date: March 6th 2018
Point-of-View: Third Person
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 368
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
three-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.

Jina Modell works for an off-the-books paramilitary agency, doing something related to communications. When she’s reassigned to a field unit, she joins Levi “Ace” Butcher’s team. Jina is not prepared for the physical demands of being in the field. Levi is determined to train her harder than the other recruits because he doesn’t want to put his team’s safety in jeopardy for an unprepared teammate. Jina keeps surprising him, and herself, by overcoming each new challenge through sheer grit and determination. As she gets more comfortable with the team, though, it becomes harder to ignore the white-hot attraction between her and Levi. When a dangerous mission goes sideways, Levi and Jina have to make some difficult choices, and it changes them both.

I thought Jina was completely excellent–funny, tough, and so practical. She absolutely made the book for me. I enjoyed reading about her training, even the mundane aspects, because she was just such a great character. She knew how to put the guys in their place without coming across as shrill or unyielding, and I adored that. I really loved Levi too and thought he was a great match for Jina because he cared about her but still respected her abilities. The side characters were excellent too. All the guys on the team were a hoot, and it was fun to read about their dynamic.

But then, nothing much happens. The training goes on and on…and on. Like, literally the whole book was Jina’s training. There are a few smoldering moments between Jina and Levi, but they are few and far between. Of COURSE it wasn’t a good idea for them to get busy. He was her boss and responsible for the cohesiveness of the team. I get that. But it made for a romance very light on the romance. Jina and Levi have almost no one-on-one conversations the entire book–time is mostly spent in Jina’s head (with some glimpses of Levi’s perspective) or with the whole team interacting. When they do finally get down to business it was sexy and great, but that didn’t happen until the book was over.

My biggest problem with the book is indeed the ending. I won’t spoil it (even though I really want to discuss it more!), but I’ll just say I disliked Jina’s behavior at the end. I was ok with her choices but not her reasons. It made her seem wishy washy and didn’t seem to match her behavior throughout the rest of the book. Also, the book tries to squeeze a thousand pounds of plot and a bunch of sex into the last 40 pages. Seriously, little happens for chapter upon chapter, and then suddenly a whole ton of shit goes down in quick succession and boom, the end. We saw glimpses from the perspective of the Congresswoman villain (not a spoiler, it’s in the cover copy) throughout the whole book so you’d think it would have made me more invested in her, but it didn’t. I didn’t understand what her plan was, and when she is taken down at the end I didn’t feel much satisfaction.

I liked the characters in this story and enjoyed reading it, but based on the cover copy I was expecting more action and more survival. That’s not what I got, and I wanted a bit more from the book.

Grade: 3 out of 5

GO-Team Series

three-stars


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