Tag: Penguin

Sunday Spotlight: The Girl Who Knew Too Much by Amanda Quick

Posted May 7, 2017 by Holly in Features, Giveaways | 8 Comments

Sunday Spotlight is a feature we began in 2016. This year we’re spotlighting our favorite books, old and new. We’ll be  raving about the books we love and being total fangirls. You’ve been warned. 🙂

Sunday Spotlight

Sunday Spotlight: The Girl Who Knew Too Much by Amanda QuickThe Girl Who Knew Too Much by Amanda Quick
Published by Berkley
Publication Date: May 9th 2017
Pages: 352
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When Hollywood moguls and stars want privacy, they head to an idyllic small town on the coast, where the exclusive Burning Cove Hotel caters to their every need. It’s where reporter Irene Glasson finds herself staring down at a beautiful actress at the bottom of a pool…
The dead woman had a red-hot secret about up-and-coming leading man Nick Tremayne, a scoop that Irene couldn’t resist—especially since she’s just a rookie at a third-rate gossip rag. But now Irene’s investigation into the drowning threatens to tear down the wall of illusion that is so deftly built around the famous actor, and there are powerful men willing to do anything to protect their investment.
Seeking the truth, Irene finds herself drawn to a master of deception. Oliver Ward was once a world-famous magician—until he was mysteriously injured during his last performance. Now the owner of the Burning Cove Hotel, he can’t let scandal threaten his livelihood, even if it means trusting Irene, a woman who seems to have appeared in Los Angeles out of nowhere four months ago…
With Oliver’s help, Irene soon learns that the glamorous paradise of Burning Cove hides dark and dangerous secrets. And that the past—always just out of sight—could drag them both under…

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Excerpt

Excerpt of THE GIRL WHO KNEW TOO MUCH by Amanda Quick

Irene stopped at the edge of the long lap pool and looked down at the body sprawled gracefully on the bottom. It was fifteen minutes past midnight. The lights had been dimmed in the grand spa chamber, but in the low glow of a nearby wall sconce, it was possible to make out the dead woman’s hair floating around her pretty face in a nightmarish imitation of a wedding veil.

Irene turned away from the pool, intending to run to the entrance of the spa to summon help. Somewhere in the shadows, shoe leather scraped on tiles. She knew then that she was not alone with the dead woman. There was a faint click and the wall sconces went dark.

The vast spa chamber was abruptly plunged into dense shadows. The only light now was the ghostly glow from the moon. It illuminated the section of the spa where Irene stood. She might as well have been pinned in a spotlight.
Her pulse pounded and she was suddenly fighting to breathe. The nearest exit was the row of French doors behind her. But they were on the opposite side of the long lap pool. The side door that she had used to enter the spa was even farther away.

She concluded that her best option was to sound as if she was in command of herself and the situation.
“There’s been an accident,” she said, raising her voice in what she hoped was a firm, authoritative manner. “A woman fell into the water. We’ve got to get her out. There might still be time to revive her.”
That was highly unlikely. Gloria Maitland looked very, very dead.

There was no response. No one moved in the shadows.

Somewhere in the darkness water dripped, the faint sound echoing eerily. The humid atmosphere was rapidly becoming oppressive.

There were two possible reasons why the other person on the scene might not come forward, Irene thought. The first was fear of scandal. The Burning Cove Hotel was one of the most exclusive on the West Coast. Located almost a hundred miles north of Los Angeles, it offered a guarantee of privacy and discretion to those who could afford it. If the rumors were true, it had sheltered a list of guests that ranged from powerful figures of the criminal underworld to Hollywood stars and European royalty. Times might be hard elsewhere in the country, but you’d never know it from the luxury and opulence of the Burning Cove Hotel.

The stars and aspiring stars came to the hotel to escape the prying eyes of the always hungry reporters of the Los Angeles newspapers and the Hollywood gossip columnists. So, yes, it was possible that the watcher in the shadows feared being discovered in the vicinity of a woman who had just drowned. That kind of scandal could certainly taint a budding film career.

But there was another reason the other person might not want to assist in what would no doubt be a futile rescue effort. Perhaps he or she had been directly responsible for the death of the woman in the pool.
The thought that she might be trying to coax a killer out of hiding sent another jolt through Irene. She decided to make a run back to the side door.

But she had waited too long. Running footsteps sounded in the darkness, ringing and echoing off the tiled walls and floor. The other person was not fleeing the scene, Irene realized. Instead, he or she—it was impossible to tell which—was coming toward her.


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About the Author

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Jayne Ann Krentz is the author of more than fifty New York Times bestsellers. She has written contemporary romantic suspense novels under that name, as well as historical and futuristic romance novels under the pseudonyms Amanda Quick and Jayne Castle, respectively. Learn more at jayneannkrentz.com and connect with her on facebook.com/JayneAnnKrentz.

Review: Pipe Dreams by Sarina Bowen

Posted May 2, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 4 Comments

Review: Pipe Dreams by Sarina BowenReviewer: Rowena
Pipe Dreams by Sarina Bowen
Series: Brooklyn Bruisers #3
Also in this series: Rookie Move, Rookie Move, Hard Hitter, Rookie Move, Hard Hitter (Brooklyn Bruisers #2), Pipe Dreams
Published by Penguin, Berkley
Publication Date: May 2nd 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 336
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four-stars

A goalie has to trust his instincts, even when taking a shot to the heart…

Mike Beacon is a champion at defending the net, but off the ice, he’s not so lucky. A widower and a single father, he’s never forgotten Lauren Williams, the ex who gave him the best year of his life. When Lauren reappears in the Bruisers office during the playoffs, Beacon sees his chance to make things right.

Lauren hates that she’s forced to travel with the team she used to work for and the man who broke her heart. There’s still undeniable sexual tension running between her and Mike, but she won’t go down that road again. She’s focused on her plans for the future—she doesn’t need a man to make her dreams of motherhood come true.

Lauren plays her best defensive game, but she’s no match for the dark-eyed goalie. When the field of play moves to Florida, things heat up on the beach.

One of Mike’s biggest fans doesn’t approve—his teenage daughter. But a true competitor knows not to waste the perfect shot at love.

Pipe Dreams is the third book in the Brooklyn Bruisers series and it follows Mike Beacon as he tries to win Lauren Williams over again. It’s a second chance romance that I was pleasantly surprised by. I wasn’t a real big fan of Lauren in the previous books but I really enjoyed getting to know her in this book. I knew that her story was a complicated one and I was right. Old feelings, new feelings, she was hit with all of these, all of the time and I admired the hell out of the way that she handled everything. From fighting her attraction to the man that broke his heart to handling the treatment she got from that same man’s teenaged daughter, Lauren was a straight up champ!

I think this is my favorite book in the series so far. I really enjoyed seeing the past relationship and the present relationship between Mike and Lauren. It wasn’t an easy romance to get through and Mike handled things so badly but I thought he more than made up for his past transgressions. I really enjoyed the family that he made for himself and I loved how he brought Lauren into the fold. This was such a heartwarming romance that I damn near swooned multiple times while reading it.

Lauren, holy cow was she great. I enjoyed getting to know her and I really enjoyed watching her finally let people close to her again. She was completely broken hearted but she grew into her own skin and learned how to live by herself and become a formidable woman. I loved seeing her friendships with the other girls grow and grow and grow and I loved that Mike wanted her to have friends and to have everything she deserved to have…even love, with him.

Mike juggled lots of hats in this book, from father to player to lover and friend and I thought he wore each hat well. He had an abundance of love to give and he was never shy about spreading his love around. I loved the relationship he had with his daughter, with his daughter’s manny and the love he had for his friends and teammates. He was patient and kind and an all around hot, sexy piece of goodness. His love for Lauren completely melted me and I loved that Lauren was able to give him the love he craved. They were so good together and I loved seeing them grow to love and trust each other again. I love that Mike didn’t let her reservations deter him from fixing things between them and loving her so fully and completely. I just adored these two.

This was a great addition to the Brooklyn Bruisers series and it’s got me salivating for more. I cannot wait for Nate and Becca’s story though I’m also low key wanting stories for Silas and a couple of other guys on the team. I’ve got my fingers crossed. Definitely recommend. Go forth and read this book, it’s great!

Grade: 4.25 out of 5

four-stars

Review: Midnight Target by Elle Kennedy

Posted April 25, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Midnight Target by Elle KennedyReviewer: Rowena
Midnight Target by Elle Kennedy
Series: Killer Instincts #8
Also in this series: Midnight Revenge, Midnight Rescue, Midnight Alias, Midnight Games, Midnight Pursuits, Midnight Action, Midnight Revenge, Midnight Captive, Midnight Target
Published by Penguin, Berkley
Publication Date: April 25th 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Romantic Suspense
Pages: 384
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four-stars

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Score and Midnight Revenge...

Four years ago, Cate’s entire life changed when she discovered she was the daughter of a supersoldier. But Jim Morgan’s overprotectiveness has pushed her away. These days, she’s working as a freelance photographer and living the dangerous life Jim never wanted for her.

When Cate snaps a photo linking a corrupt South American politician with the leader of a notorious drug cartel, her mercenary father leads a team to rescue her—only to get shot and critically wounded in the process.
As Morgan’s operatives rally together on a revenge mission, they’re faced with new alliances and old heartaches. Cate is forced to work with David “Ash” Ashton, the man who broke her heart two years ago, while Liam Macgregor and Sullivan Port resurface after years apart to finally try to deal with everything they’d left unsaid.

Soon it’s all-out war between the cartel and the mercenaries—with two couples caught in the middle of the blood feud. Love and redemption are within their reach...but first they have to make it home alive.

I’m really sad that this book marks the end of our Killers Instincts journey. It’s been a wild and bumpy ride and I adored every, well almost every minute of it. So many people in this world found their true love while blowing shit up and killing bad guys and at the end of the day, that’s pretty freaking fantastic.

This book follows two couples as they circle each other toward that elusive happy ending. These guys fought their feelings for so long that it was great to finally get somewhere where they were concerned. Cate and Ash’s romance is one that I low key struggled with in this book because for a huge chunk of the story, I wanted to kick Cate’s ass. She was a complete brat with a shitty attitude that pissed me off left and right in the beginning. I’m glad that she finally comes around and stops being a little shit but by that time, I was so over her and fully invested in everything else that was happening.

I struggled a bit with Ash’s devotion to Jim Morgan. I understood it but I wanted him to get over himself and tell Jim point blank that he wasn’t messing around with Cate. It was beyond obvious that he was in love with her, almost from the very beginning and I wish that he would have had a little faith in Jim…let Jim know where you stand as far as his daughter goes and stop being a little scaredy cat. As dumb as I thought Ash acted, he was still sexy as hell. Haha. I adored how alpha he was and how determined he was to protect his boo, even when she was being a freaking shit-head. Their romance wasn’t my favorite part of this book but I enjoyed everything else so I wasn’t too disappointed in that.

Liam and Sully have been circling each other for some time now and Liam’s got it pretty bad for the hottie Australian. Their story starts a few books before this one and I loved seeing Liam come as far as he did, where his sexuality was concerned. I loved how fully he owned himself and his feelings in the end when things fell into place for him and Sully.

Their romance was hot and it was passionate and I completely adored the both of them. I loved seeing Sully doing better than the last time I saw him. I loved seeing Liam struggle and then get things right in the end. I also really liked that Liam stood up for himself and didn’t let Sully ruin love for him.

The overall story regarding the shit going down in Guatana was pretty entertaining too. I mean, I loved seeing everyone come together to help Jim Morgan. Holy cow, my heart hurt for Isabel, Holden and everyone else who was shitted on during the whole mission. But, Elle Kennedy did a great job of bringing everyone together and showcasing just how super this team was when they worked together.

So while Cate drove me nuts for a good chunk of the book, everything else made up for my frustrations with her. I’m sad that this series has come to an end but I thought this book ended the story on a high note.

4 out of 5

four-stars

Guest Review: Going Nowhere Fast by Kati Wilde

Posted April 24, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: Going Nowhere Fast by Kati WildeReviewer: Tracy
Going Nowhere Fast by Kati Wilde
Published by Penguin, InterMix
Publication Date: April 18th 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
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three-half-stars

Two hearts.
Three rules.
Four weeks to break them all.

When Aspen Phillips’ best friend invites her on a month-long road trip, she has serious mixed feelings. Sharing their tight quarters will be Bramwell Gage, overprotective brother and all-around jerk. Bram may be ridiculously sexy, but he’s made no effort to hide how he feels about Aspen—that she’s trash who’s no good for his sister. But Aspen is determined to get along with the uptight millionaire—and to keep her promise, concealing a secret about his sister that Bram can never know.

But after a scorching kiss reveals that Bram’s feelings toward her run much hotter than she believed, Aspen's emotions swerve into a complete 180. Suddenly the girl who has nothing has everything—but only as long as the truth about his sister remains hidden. Because when all the secrets and promises unravel, she risks losing it all...

Aspen is meeting her best friend, Bethany, so that they can go on a post-college graduation trip.  Unfortunately Bethany’s brother, Bram, will be going as well and Aspen and Bram don’t get along.  The first time they met Aspen and Bethany were getting back from a rave they’d gone to and Bethany was drunk.  Since they were freshmen they were underage and Bram didn’t like the fact that Aspen was “ruining” his sister and having a bad influence on her. This continued for four years so the thought of spending a month with Bram is not something Aspen is looking forward to.

When Aspen gets to the meeting place Bram is there but Bethany is nowhere in sight.  Aspen gets a text from Bethany stating that she’s checking herself into a rehab but doesn’t want Aspen to tell her brother where she is, even though they’re close siblings.  One thing leads to another and Aspen ends up on the trip with Bram anyway.  During the time they’re traveling they discover a lot about each other and they end up creating a truce…or two…or 85.  They’re so attracted to each other that they decide to have “hate” sex, but can it really be considered hate sex when at least one of them is in love with the other?

I have to say that I love romance travel stories.  Something about moving from place to place and well, being separated from your norm just does something for me.  I think because it’s all that more exciting when they get home and they discover that it works at home as well as it does on the road.  In this case, that didn’t exactly happen but it still worked out in the end.

Aspen had once been a middle class girl but then her father got cancer and died, her mother lost her nursing job as she couldn’t take care of dying people any longer, the family lost their house because the medical bills were astronomical.  Now they scrape together what they can.  Aspen was thrilled to go on the trip as it was pretty much all expenses paid but she hated that Bram was going.  She knew that he loved his sister but he was so over-protective with Bethany it bothered Aspen.  She knew it stemmed from their parents dying in a car accident when Bram was 19 years old but Aspen felt that Bram needed to be a brother to Bethany, not a father figure.  Because of the father figure mentality, he was quite harsh with Aspen and what he felt where her bad influences on Bethany.  He was constantly telling her this and it started to get on my nerves after a while, I must say.  I knew that he was attracted to Aspen but despite their “truce” he still was harsh with her.

Aspen was a strong woman but a person can only take so much before they break.  In her case it was Bram still being angry toward her supposedly bad influences even after they were having sex and having a good time together. He kept telling her that he shouldn’t want her and shouldn’t be with her and of course she thought it was because she was poor and he was a millionaire and that he was slumming and felt bad about it. My problem came when she actually told Bram all of this and he was shocked at the revelation.  He basically told her that he had never thought badly about her because of being poor and that she was projecting her bullshit on to him.  As this is a first person POV book we had never been privy to Bram’s thoughts, only Aspen’s, and as such was led to believe that Bram was an ass but was he?  The guy that I had just spent 75% of the book kind of disliking isn’t who I thought he was and now I’m supposed to like him?  Gah!  I’m so confused!  When I then looked back at Bram, not through Aspen’s eyes, I realized he’s not a bad guy.  While he could be an ass he wasn’t as mean and judgey as I thought and made me rethink my entire take on the book.  It was exhausting.

Bram ended up being an emotionally scarred hero and by the end of the book I liked him. Yes, he could be overbearing but he did it with good intentions and he had a big heart.  I was quite happy that Bram and Aspen finally worked out their issues and got their HEA – they worked hard for it and deserved it.

Despite my issue (named above) I also liked the writing in the book and the secondary characters.  I’ve only read one set of short stories by Wilde and they were erotic romances.  This was a good full length novel and made me want to read more of her books.

Rating: 3.75 out of 5

three-half-stars

Review: The Thing about Love by Julie James

Posted April 17, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 5 Comments

Review: The Thing about Love by Julie JamesReviewer: Rowena
The Thing About Love by Julie James
Published by Penguin, Berkley
Publication Date: April 18th 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 368
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four-stars

Two undercover FBI agents can hide who they are from everyone but each other in the latest novel from the New York Times bestselling author of Suddenly One Summer.

FBI agents Jessica Harlow and John Shepherd have a past. The former lawyer and cocky Army ranger clashed during their training at Quantico, gladly going their separate ways after graduating from the Academy. Six years later, the last thing either of them expects is to run into each other again–assigned to work as partners in a high-profile undercover sting.

For both of them, being paired with a former rival couldn’t come at a worse time. Recently divorced from a Hollywood producer and looking for a fresh start, Jessica is eager to prove herself at her new field office. And John is just one case away from his dream assignment to the FBI’s elite Hostage Rescue Team. In order to nail a corrupt Florida politician, they’ll have to find a way to work as a team–a task that becomes even trickier when they’re forced to hole up at a romantic, beachfront resort as part of the investigation. Suddenly, the heat behind their nonstop sparring threatens to make the job a whole lot more complicated. . .

Julie James has been a favorite of mine since she was a newbie romance novelist with the release of her very first book, Just the Sexiest Man Alive. Every year she has written a book that I absolutely loved and all these years later, she’s still writing books that I enjoy. As a reader, that makes me a happy camper because who doesn’t love enjoying book after book from their favorite authors?

Anyway, The Thing about Love is another fabulous addition to James’ backlist and it follows a couple of new to us FBI special agents who work for, wait for it….Nick McCall who is not a new to us character. 🙂 So while this book doesn’t follow our normal FBI Squad, we do see a bunch of them around and my inner FBI/US Attorney’s fangirl squeed with joy.

So the story starts out with John Shepherd walking in on some bad news at home so he throws himself into work. The best way to get over betrayal is is to drown yourself in work, right? Well, that’s what John does and he also decides that maybe a change would be good for him. He accepts the offer to join a huge task force in Virginia but he’s got one last undercover job that he has to do before he leaves and that job’s got him partnered up with a woman he went to FBI school with at Quantico. The girl that he had a huge crush on but didn’t return so instead of spending some happy time with each other, they spent the entire time trying to one up each other and that relationship follows them to their new undercover gig all these years later.

Jessica Harlow isn’t a fan of being partnered up with John Shepherd on this job but she’s a professional and she can handle him. She remembers John as being the douche canoe from class that was heaps better than everyone at everything and lorded his superior skills around, especially toward her. Especially when she was shooting guns and lagging behind everyone else in all of the physical aspects of the FBI. All these years later, she’s great at every part of being an FBI special agent and he can choke on all of his “encouragement”.

The chemistry between these two from the very beginning was sizzling. I ate every scene up and even when I wanted to pull Jess’ hair (because let’s face it, she’d beat my ass so that’s the extent of what I thought about doing to Jessica Harlow), I loved reading this book. It was fun and the romance was hot so I was entertained which makes the book a winner for me. It took me no time at all to dig into this book and I was invested in both John and Jess from the very beginning. There were times when a lot of the FBI jargon went over my head but mostly, it was just entertaining. I liked it a lot.

I definitely recommend this book if you enjoyed the other books by Julie James. It’s fun, it’s fresh and there’s lots of eye candy (old and new) so what’s not to love?

Grade: 4.25 out of 5

four-stars