Tag: Nico Rosso

Guest Review: Renegade Protector by Nico Rosso

Posted November 20, 2018 by Jen in Reviews | 2 Comments

Guest Review: Renegade Protector by Nico RossoReviewer: Jen
Renegade Protector by Nico Rosso
Publisher: Harlequin Intrigue
Publication Date: November 20, 2018
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Alternating Third Person
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 256
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two-half-stars

When intimidation turns to deadly force,

It’s time for Frontier Justice.

If ruthless developers want Mariana Balducci’s land, they’ll have to kill her for it. And they nearly succeed—until Ty Morrison foils her attacker. The sexy San Francisco cop is part of a secret organization called Frontier Justice. Mariana is tough, but she realizes she can’t win this fight alone. And when bullets fly, Ty realizes battling bad guys is easier than fighting their sizzling attraction.

Look for 6 new titles from Harlequin Intrigue every month!

Harlequin Intrigue: Edge-of-your-seat mysteries, fearless romance…resourceful women and tough-as-nails men fight for survival.

Mariana Balducci is being pressured to sell her family’s California apple orchard to developers. When the developers start switching from hard-sell business tactics to all-out threats and violence, Mariana doesn’t know if she can hold out…until Ty Morrison swoops in to lend support. Ty doesn’t offer much information about himself or why he’s there to help, but Mariana needs him if she’s going to get the developers off her back and preserve her family’s heritage. Ty has an alternate agenda, however, and when Mariana finds out she may never forgive him.

There were many things I liked about this book, and many things I didn’t. I did actually like the romance between Mariana and Ty. It moves too fast like so many romantic suspenses, but they do seem to have a great connection. I believed that they’d be a good couple going forward. I like that there was a lot of action in the book–there is a lot happening and it kept me interested. I also liked Mariana and Ty. Both were kind of broody but were smart and driven. Plus, the people in this world are diverse in a casual and realistic way, not entirely white as other Harlequin books would have you believe.

Unfortunately, the book also suffers from some of the same criticisms I often have with Rosso’s books. He focuses much more on description and inner thoughts than on dialogue, and his description is sometimes overwrought and kind of silly. Take this passage where Ty is describing eating an apple from Mariana’s orchard:

Savoring it this way strengthened the connection he’d been feeling with her all night. Her work, part of herself, was in his mouth, intimate and close. An apple had never made his blood rush like this.

A little dramatic, especially when he just met hours ago her, no? It’s not bad exactly, but it does get a little old as the story goes on. The plot also has way too much that doesn’t make sense. It’s never properly explained why these seemingly legit land developers would suddenly become willing to kill someone, beyond “money.” Mariana also just lets Ty into her life immediately, with very little mistrust or hesitation. Girl, you have no idea who he is or why he is there, and you barely ask any questions! It’s dangerous and, more importantly, draws out Ty’s lie of omission for absolutely no reason. 

Worse, the larger story arc that I assume will be continued in future books makes no sense. There is almost no explanation given for Ty’s secret mission. He wants to rebuild an organization his ancestors helped found, called Frontier Justice, that…got justice? On the frontier? I really had no idea what that meant beyond that they “helped.” And now Ty, who is AN ACTUAL POLICE OFFICER I might add, wants to create a vigilante justice organization. In this book, they do some pretty illegal stuff to help Mariana, too. He doesn’t seem to plan to quit his day job so how exactly would that work? I don’t know if there was just not enough attention given to world-building/explanation or if the whole premise is poorly designed, but either way, I rolled my eyes a bunch.

It probably sounds like I hated this book, but I definitely didn’t and I really struggled with wanting to give this a 3 instead of 2.5. I was disappointed in parts of the plot, for sure, but I think (?) this will be the start of a new series. I hold out some hope that future books will work better on that front. Still, this book has a different vibe and tone than your average Harlequin Intrigue, and I appreciate that. I appreciate Rosso’s voice, even if I don’t always love his stories, which is why I am glad to see him bringing something fresh to Harlequin.

Grade: 2.5 out of 5

two-half-stars


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Guest Review: Seconds to Sunrise by Nico Rosso

Posted January 16, 2017 by Jen in Reviews | 2 Comments

Guest Review: Seconds to Sunrise by Nico RossoReviewer: Jen
Seconds to Sunrise by Nico Rosso
Series: Black Ops: Automatik #3
Also in this series: Seconds to Sunrise
Publisher: Carina Press
Publication Date: January 16th 2017
Format: eARC
Genres: Romantic Suspense
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three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Readers of Maya Banks’s KGI series will love the adrenaline-fueled, pulse-pounding suspense of Nico Rosso's SECONDS TO SUNRISE
She thought she’d lost everything…

April Banks thought her website crashing was just a glitch. Starting the online forum for war widows has been the only thing keeping her together since her husband died, and she won’t let anything interfere with her work. But this is no technical malfunction—cyberterrorists have targeted the information locked in April’s website and they’ll do anything to get it. Even if that means removing April. Permanently.

He’ll make them pay…

Automatik gave former SAS agent James Sant a way to protect the innocent again. He thinks life in the shadows is all he deserves…until he meets his newest assignment. April is everything James has never let himself want and he knows she’s already had too much heartbreak in her life to risk feeling for him. But keeping things professional while hunting the hackers with the gorgeous widow is going to be the hardest job he’s ever taken on.

This book is approximately 75,000 words

One-click with confidence. This title is part of the Carina Press Romance Promise: all the romance you’re looking for with an HEA/HFN. It’s a promise! Find out more at CarinaPress.com/RomancePromise

This is the third book in Nico Rosso’s Black Ops: Automatik series, and this time we meet Automatik operator James Sant, who is called in to help widow April Banks. April runs a website for war widows, and it’s given her a purpose and helped her move on after her own husband died in combat. The site was hacked and brought down, though, and personal data of site visitors was stolen. (Why? Personally I was never clear on why the hackers were trying to accomplish. The premise seemed a little flimsy.) James and April have to physically track down the hackers so they can protect the site users and put a stop to whoever is behind the attack.

This book is a bit of fun and fast paced action. I always love a good road trip, and we get one here. James and April have to chase clues through multiple states to track down the hackers, which leads to some great get-to-know-you time. James is an interesting character because he’s not always been with the “good guys”. He has some major guilt and you can see why he’d be so dedicated to spending the rest of his life making up for past choices, as it were. I enjoyed seeing him work to move beyond his past and acknowledge the good he has done since. I also loved the short scene with his dad. I wish we had gotten to spend more time with him, because seeing James with his family really drove home the point that he WAS a decent guy who just made some questionable choices.

I often feel like Rosso’s books are great for the action but not as great at touching your heartstrings, and Seconds to Sunrise was no exception. I expected more emotion from April’s story in particular, as she lost a husband she loved to war. Instead, I felt like the story just assumed it was obvious that such a loss was really painful, instead of helping us see April’s pain. There was also a little depth missing from James and April’s relationship. The right pieces are all there, but the dialogue and inner thoughts just don’t quite express that deeper emotional connection that I personally enjoy in romances. It’s not that I didn’t like them as a couple or enjoy reading their story, but I certainly didn’t end the book with a sweet sigh and won’t be fondly remembering their relationship. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, just something you want to know going in.

If you like action packed romances with racially/ethnically diverse characters and some hot sex, check this one out.

Grade: 3.5 out of 5

*I received a review copy of this book from the publisher.

three-half-stars


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Guest Review: Seconds to Sunrise by Nico Rosso

Posted January 5, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 3 Comments

Guest Review: Seconds to Sunrise by Nico RossoReviewer: Tracy
Seconds to Sunrise by Nico Rosso
Series: Black Ops: Automatik #3
Also in this series: Seconds to Sunrise
Publisher: Carina Press
Publication Date: January 16th 2017
Format: eARC
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Add It: Goodreads
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three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

She thought she’d lost everything…

April Banks thought her website crashing was just a glitch. Starting the online forum for war widows has been the only thing keeping her together since her husband died, and she won’t let anything interfere with her work. But this is no technical malfunction—cyberterrorists have targeted the information locked in April’s website and they’ll do anything to get it. Even if that means removing April. Permanently.

He’ll make them pay…

Automatik gave former SAS agent James Sant a way to protect the innocent again. He thinks life in the shadows is all he deserves…until he meets his newest assignment. April is everything James has never let himself want and he knows she’s already had too much heartbreak in her life to risk feeling for him. But keeping things professional while hunting the hackers with the gorgeous widow is going to be the hardest job he’s ever taken on.

April Banks survived the death of her husband by starting a website for that supported military widows.  The site grew and eventually there was a financial component so that if the need arose, and people wanted to help those in need, they could.  Now a hacker has crashed her site and is trying to get all of the financial information off of the site.  If successful, thousands of women would have their credit cards and identities revealed.  April tries to stop them but can’t get a lead on who is behind it all.

Enter James Sant. He is an ex-SAS agent who now works for a group called Automatik.  They help those who can’t help themselves and April is one of them.  He and his partner are assigned to just watch her but soon it becomes obvious that the hacker has hired out people to get April out of the picture.  Instead of just watching, James ends up partnering with April and they head out to check out leads when they get them and are attacked time and again.  During it all April and James become closer and April starts to see that maybe there is life after tragedy.

Seconds to Sunrise is the third book in the Black Ops: Automatik series.  I didn’t read the first two books in the series but this was a decent stand alone novel.

I thought the book had a good premise and I liked the characters for the most part.  I did find that I wanted to get to know them more by the end of the story, however.  I think I was supposed to feel more emotional toward April due to the loss of her husband but I never really felt that.  Did I think it sad and tragic? Absolutely, but I didn’t have an emotional reaction to it.  Because of this I couldn’t fully grasp April’s hesitance in going after James and I believe that put a damper on the entire story for me. I couldn’t even get into the sex scene because I wasn’t feeling the connection between the H/h (and it was a long scene!).

That being said, there were some things I definitely liked about the book.  The action scenes were great.  I’ve always loved Rosso’s action scenes as they’re written so well that I feel that I’m there in the middle of it all.  I also  liked the aspect of the story that pertained to James and his issues with his past.  He wasn’t proud of them at all and had hidden the information from everyone.  Meeting April made him realize that he couldn’t live with the guilt and secrecy and he came clean to her and his coworkers.  That was a wonderful part of the book which I liked a lot.  Overall it was a good suspense novel…I just wasn’t feeling the romance part of it.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

three-half-stars


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Guest Review: Ironheart by Nico Rosso

Posted February 8, 2016 by Jen in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Ironheart by Nico RossoIronheart by Nico Rosso
Publisher: Macmillan
Publication Date: January 18th 2016
Genres: Fiction, Fantasy
Pages: 125
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four-stars

Love is a battlefield...
Superhero Vince “The Anvil” can take on knives, bullets, and bombs, but he’s not invincible. It was a hard hit when Kara, AKA “Snapdragon,” flew off after their explosive affair. And he’s especially vulnerable when she returns, looking for his help.
Kara is new to the superhero game, and villain TechHead is too much for her and her teammates to handle. He’s determined to use their combined power to fuel his ultimate weapon. Her only chance to take him on is with Vince’s brutal skill. But bringing Vince into the fight leaves her exposed to the white hot passion that had scared her away in the first place.
When TechHead captures Kara, Vince will stop at nothing to rescue her–even if it means sacrificing his heart.

Ironheart was previously released as part of the Holding Out for a Hero anthology.

Ironheart was my very first superhero romance, and I liked it!

Vince and Kara, otherwise known by their superhero names “The Anvil” and “Snapdragon”, had an intense but brief fling a while ago, but Kara broke it off abruptly. After that, Vince ends up dropping out of his superhero group and disappearing to live a normal life, though he mostly spends his time pining after Kara. When she shows up out of the blue at the same time as some thugs attacking him, Vince is suspicious, but still hot for her, naturally, so he gives her a chance. He and Kara seem to be reconciling, until Vince realizes Kara hasn’t been entirely truthful about her reason for finding him again. Can they put aside their issues to help stop a super villain?

This story is short, but it was so much fun! Rosso creates a mostly fleshed-out, albeit narrowly focused, superhero world. Vince and Kara’s powers are explained (as much as any superhero powers are ever “explained”), and they actually have character arcs. Vince has to accept what he really wants, which is to be a superhero, and to be with Kara. Kara needs to accept all the parts of herself and embrace who she really is in order to be the best superhero, and partner, she can be. They both change and find out more about themselves and the other person in the course of a story, which is not an easy feat in a shorter book.

Probably the neatest part is that Vince and Kara are both super–no one has to save anyone else, or at least it’s not the same person always doing the saving. And really, Kara’s powers are cooler and probably more powerful than Vince’s, but it’s a total non-issue for Vince. The book doesn’t take itself too seriously either. It isn’t mocking superheroes, but it also acknowledges that superheroes are kind of funny too, which I liked. And have you ever wondered what would happen if superheroes had sex? Well, this book provides one potential answer: shit falls down and/or lights on fire. I assume that means no sex in a bed for these two or the fire department would have to be involved! (And apparently Kara’s powers allow her to make a little internal birth control device, hands down my favorite contraceptive reference EVER in a romance.)

Because the book is short, it’s inevitable that some things would not be as well explained as I would have liked, like who/what exactly gave Snapdragon her powers, what was going on with The Anvil’s group (Omni Force), how exactly the superhero political/organizational structure works, etc. I could overlook a lot of those details though because they didn’t take away from the relationship storyline. I did roll my eyes a bit at how Vince seemed so broken up over losing Kara when they’d hardly been together long (weeks? maybe only days? I wasn’t clear). He still thinks of her every day months later and is tortured by her memory. Really? Seems kind of melodramatic, Anvil! I believe these two had an intense connection, but maybe they needed a little more time to explore it. I loved the two of them once they were back in contact–I just thought the back story was weak.

I know there are a few other superhero romances floating around (and I will most certainly be looking for them now), but not many. I am honestly puzzled why there aren’t more, given how popular superheroes are lately. I sure hope there will be a series coming from this world because it was a ton of fun, and I’d love to hear more about some of the side characters.

Grade: 4 out of 5

*I received a review copy of this book from the publisher.

four-stars


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Review: Heavy Metal Heart by Nico Rosso

Posted September 29, 2013 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Rock Star. Front man. Demon. A descendant of satyrs and the lead singer in a band that feeds on the energy of its audience, Trevor Sand is growing weary of the constant need to perform. He needs the legend of the Muse—a woman destined to be a demon’s eternal companion and only source of sustenance—to be true.

Misty Grant has never been bold, but when Trevor singles her out among hundreds at a concert, she takes him up on his explicit offer. During an erotic night in his hotel room, she learns that his touch is as electric as his lyrics. But when Trevor’s demon is aroused, her desire turns to horror and she runs.

Knowing that he’ll die if he loses her, Trevor must find Misty before his enemies do. But even if he can save her, he knows that regaining the trust of his fated Muse will be his greatest challenge.

Trevor Sand is an elemental descended from satyrs. He and his friends who are in his rock bank live and breathe off of the energy that the audiences produce. They have lived for thousands of years and will continue to live as long as they can feed off this energy. Trevor and his band mates, Lee and Wolfgang, have heard of the legend of the Muse. None of them actually believe that one woman exists that can feed them for the rest of their lives – without the need for the audience. That is until Trevor meets Misty.

Misty is a huge fan of Trevor Sand and his band. She feels that the songs that Trevor sings have been written specifically for her and when she heads to a small venue that they’re playing she’s thrilled to see Trevor notice her. After the gig Misty seeks Trevor out and they head back to his hotel where sex abounds. Trevor is so excited to actually see and know that his Muse exists and that he’s found her that he shows Misty his true form. Being the smart girl she is she takes off but is soon attacked by Trevor’s enemies who wish them both dead. Trevor shows up and saves Misty and that begins a night of the two getting to know each other, Misty getting to know how she has been changed – both emotionally and physically – and many other run ins with the bad guys.

This was an interesting story. I liked the idea of the elementals and I understood from the story that he had come to be more…substantial from the music that he would play and that would feed him. I just wasn’t quite sure how the demon part of Trevor came into it. I might have missed that explanation but I’m not sure I did. If that could be explained further – maybe in future books – that would be great.

Trevor and Misty’s relationship was fast, like, really fast. The whole book takes place over the course of a night and you would think that it just wouldn’t work but Rosso really did a great job bringing the couple together and making it work within such a short time period.

I do have to say that almost all of the hotel scene, when Misty goes with Trevor after the show, had this kind of transcendent existential feel to it that I really wasn’t digging. I get that Trevor’s not human but the conversations between Misty and Trevor were just odd, imho. I couldn’t get into them and that really ruined the first sex scene for me as I wasn’t feeling the connection between the two characters.

Overall it was a good first story in the series. I’ll be reading further books and look forward to seeing what happens next.

Rating: 3 out of 5

Nico Rosso


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