Tag: Linda Howard

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)
Publisher: William Morrow
Publication Date: March 6, 2018
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 368
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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)
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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Throwback Thursday Review: Cover of Night by Linda Howard

Posted April 5, 2018 by Holly in Reviews | 15 Comments

Throwback Thursday Review: Cover of Night by Linda HowardReviewer: Holly
Cover of Night by Linda Howard
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication Date: June 27th 2006
Genres: Fiction
Pages: 352
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Goodreads
two-half-stars

For breathless action, gripping suspense, and intense romance, bestselling author Linda Howard never misses a beat–and her thrilling new novel will have your heart racing.

In the charming rural town of Trail Stop, Idaho, accessible to the outside world by only a single road, young widow Cate Nightingale lives peacefully with her four-year-old twin boys, running a bed-and-breakfast. Though the overnight guests are few and far between–occasional hunters and lake fishermen–Cate always manages to make ends meet with the help of the local jack-of-all-trades, Calvin Harris, who can handle everything from carpentry to plumbing. But Calvin is not what he seems, and Cate’s luck is about to run out.

One morning, the B&B’s only guest inexplicably vanishes, leaving behind his personal effects. A few days later Cate is shocked when armed men storm the house, demanding the mystery man’s belongings. Fearing for her children’s lives, Cate agrees to cooperate–until Calvin saves the day, forcing the intruders to scatter into the surrounding woods.

The nightmare, however, is just beginning. Cate, Calvin, and their entire community find themselves cut off and alone with no means to call for help as the threat gathers intensity and first blood is drawn.
With their fellow residents trapped and the entire town held hostage, Cate and Calvin have no choice but to take the fight to their enemies under the cover of night. While reticent Cal becomes a fearless protector, Cate makes the most daring move of her life . . . into the very heart of danger.

From the Hardcover edition.

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

This review was originally posted on April 21, 2008.

How many of you have read Danielle Steel? I used to read her all the time when I was younger, but after awhile the repetitiveness of her writing started to wear on me and I gave up on her. I’m not talking about the constant reuse of key phrases, either, but the way she feels she has to explain the same point again and again and again.

That’s exactly what Linda Howard did in this novel. Contrary to popular belief, I am not an idiot. If you explain something to me once, I get it. I don’t need you to repeat the same point over and over. Truly.

Three years ago, Cate’s husband died of a Staph infection, leaving her a widow with very young twin boys. In an effort to provide financially for them and to escape all of the memories of Seattle, she moves to Trail Stop, Idaho, a very small community nestled in the mountains of Idaho and miles from everything. The town is surrounded on three sides by mountains and has only one road for access.

Life is pretty peaceful for her and her twins. She’s made some friends, though she’s mostly kept people at arms length. The local handyman, Calvin Harris, is at her house almost every day, because it’s an old Victorian and seems to need constant repairs. Otherwise, though, besides one women she considers a close friend, she doesn’t really socialize in town.

Our story begins when she has this guest come and stay who sneaks out the window during the day and leaves all his stuff behind. At first she’s irritated that he ditched out like that, then she’s worried about him, thinking he may have had an accident or something, then she goes back to being irritated when he’s still gone two days later.

In the meantime, we find out that the guest who skipped out the window is actually a CPA who stole some very incriminating evidence from some mobster and is attempting to extort an extreme amount of money from him. Well, as you can imagine, our mobster guy isn’t very happy about that, so he hires this shady PI/Contract Killer guy to go after him. They eventually track him to the B&B in Trail Stop…and this is where the story goes south. Wayyyy South.

The thing about this book is…it wasn’t that interesting BEFORE the contract killer shows up. But AFTER that? It was so over-the-top-unbelievable I was almost in stitches. Seriously.

Here’s the skinny. Contract Killer and his little minion decide to rent a room in Cate’s BB. They overhear Cate and her friend talking about how she’s suspicious of them, so rather than being all stealthy and searching for the things CPA boy left behind, they rush at her with guns and demand his stuff. She’s getting ready to comply when Cal the Handyman shows up to get the mail. She sends him on his way, but on the off chance that something isn’t right he circles back around and…saves the day.

Now, the thing is, up until this point, Cal can’t string two words together in Cate’s presence. He’s painfully shy around her and even turns BEAT ASS RED when he’s near her. I think LH was trying to make us see that he had different sides by throwing a few other scenes with him in it, but it didn’t work. Not for me anyway.

But back to my bitching review. So Cal figures out that Cate’s in trouble, circles around, knocks one of the Contract Killers on the head and takes the other one by surprise and disarms him. In the name of keeping things calm, he hands over CPA Boy’s suitcase and sends them on their way. Yeah, dumb but whatever.

Conveniently, Cate’s mom is visiting from Seattle, and wants the twins for a few weeks, so the next morning Cate sends them on their way, because she’s paranoid and wants them safe. Ok, that makes sense. But it was just too neat and tidy that her mom was there when this went down.

The twins hit the road and the Contract Killers check out the suitcase. Well, well, what do you know. Seems there isn’t any shaving stuff or personal toiletries in the bag, so they figure she’s holding out on them. So what do they do? Well, they decide to take the entire town hostage, of course.

stares

Yes, I said take the entire town hostage. Because Cate may or may not have a shaving kit that may or may not include the thing that Mobster Dude’s CPA stole from him. Is that not the most ridiculous thing you’ve ever heard?

From there on it was just dumb. The POV’s jumped around entirely too much, but we didn’t get hardly anything from the hero. We come to understand that he’s been in love with Cate since she moved there, and that he was formerly a Marine, so he’s well able to handle the situation, but that’s pretty much it. I really liked what I saw of him, and I liked Cate for the most part, too. Although she could have buckled in the face of such craziness, she rose to the occasion and did what needed to be done. But overall? The character development sucked, IMO. There just wasn’t enough focus on the two main protagonists to make them real characters to me. The twins were sort of cute, but since they only lasted like the first 20 pages or so I can’t really say they grabbed me.

Basically, the storyline was WAY over the top, we didn’t get to see enough from the hero’s POV and she jumped around WAY too much. During one chapter there were seven different POV’s, none of them the hero.

Overall, I wasn’t impressed. At all. It’s not the worst Linda Howard I’ve ever read (All That Glitters and The Independent Wife hold that title) but it was close.

2.5 out of 5

This book is available from Ballantine. You can buy it here or here in e-format.

two-half-stars


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Guest Review: The Woman Left Behind by Linda Howard

Posted March 5, 2018 by Tracy in Reviews | 5 Comments

Guest Review: The Woman Left Behind by Linda HowardReviewer: Tracy
The Woman Left Behind by Linda Howard
Publisher: William Morrow
Publication Date: March 6th 2018
Format: eARC
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 400
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
four-stars

Levi Butcher is singularly devoted to his work. As team leader for the GO-Team, his unwavering focus is on the mission. Levi knows all too well that one minor distraction can hold deadly consequences. But with the soothing, sensual voice of "Babe," the team’s communication expert, constantly in his ear, keeping his concentration on the dangerous work at hand is becoming extremely difficult.

Jina Modell definitely doesn’t feel like a "Babe," especially when she’s working with the gruff, no-nonsense Levi. When the base where she’s stationed is attacked, Jina manages to escape but the rest of the team, working some distance away, is exfiltrated, thinking Jina died in the explosion—leaving her stranded. To survive, she’s got to figure out how to get back to safety before she’s discovered by the enemy.

Levi would never willingly leave a soldier behind, especially a brave woman whose sweet voice haunts his every thought. Once he discovers Jina is alive, the tenacious warrior will walk into fire to save this intriguing woman who has captured his heart.

Jina is a tech geek.  She loves her job working in communications in a climate-controlled environment.  She makes good money and likes what she does.  When she finds out she’s being reassigned to a GO-team she’s not thrilled, to say the least.  The first day she heads out to the training ground and instead of training with the other 9 re-assignees her GO-team takes over.  They figure that A) they need to make sure that she’s trained properly and B) she’s the only woman so it’s a special case.  Jina has both a younger and an older brother and was always in competition with them.  Quitting is not an option, but she doesn’t have to do it quietly.  She mouths off and cusses them constantly, much to the amusement of the team.

Ace is the team leader and he does not want some tech geek to get in the way of his team’s success.  From day one he’s not thrilled about Jina and he wants nothing more than for her to quit.  Not because he thinks a woman can’t hack it but because as long as Jina is on his team he can’t make a move on her and he desperately wants to make a move on her.

Jina does an amazing job and she’s soon out on missions with her team.  One mission to Syria, however, goes FUBAR and the team thinks her dead.  While Jina loves her tech she doesn’t love being in the desert by herself, trying to catch up to her team and is determined to make it out, no matter what it takes.

I’d love to say that I’ve read all of Howard’s books but that’s not true at all.  Of her many books this is only my 6th read of Howard’s.

This was a really good book, imho. I was completely intrigued by the premise after reading the blurb and once I started reading I didn’t want to put the book down.  The characters, the situations and little bit of romance were the thing that kept me going.

Jina is a character, let me tell you.  I absolutely loved her spirit.  I know that it was a competitive thing that kept her going and refusing to quit but I loved that she never gave up.  Her verbal lashings of the team were hilarious and perfect for the situation.  I understood her desire to be a part of the team and she did that by being herself.  She had a love/hate relationship with Ace.  He was constantly hot and cold with her and I wasn’t surprised she found it confusing.

Ace wasn’t a bad guy.  He had such mixed feelings about Jina being on the team.  He wanted her for himself so he wanted her to quit the team.  Despite that he was impressed by her determination to do her best and be her best.  When their mission goes FUBAR and she’s left behind I couldn’t blame him.  He did what any other team leader would have done.  In the end Jina recognized that and I was happy when she got past it all.

The book was a good one and I really liked it.  I’m not a die-hard Howard fan so I’m not comparing this to earlier works or writing.  It is what it is and I enjoyed it, I think you will too.

Rating: 4 out of 5

four-stars


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