Tag: Romantic Suspence

Review: Midnight Revenge by Elle Kennedy

Posted March 27, 2017 by Casee in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: Midnight Revenge by Elle KennedyReviewer: Casee
Midnight Revenge by Elle Kennedy
Series: Killer Instincts #7
Also in this series: Midnight Revenge, Midnight Rescue, Midnight Alias, Midnight Games, Midnight Pursuits, Midnight Action, Midnight Captive, Midnight Target, Midnight Target
Publisher: Signet
Publication Date: February 2nd 2016
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 363
Add It: Goodreads
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Series Rating: four-stars

From the USA Today bestselling author of Midnight Captive, the latest Killer Instincts novel is “off-the-charts-hot”* romantic suspense that takes readers into the heart of an enigmatic mercenary...
Out of all the stone-cold mercenaries in Jim Morgan's black ops organization, Derek “D” Pratt is the most intimidating. He is tight-lipped and covered in tattoos, and even the other guys on his team are afraid to ask him about his past. D’s been off the grid for years, but after his teammate Sullivan is mistakenly captured in his place, D is forced to come out of hiding and face his demons.
When D lands in Mexico, he’s ready to risk everything to save his friend. To complicate matters, Sofia Amaro, a feisty doctor whom D had a one-night stand with months ago, has tracked him down. And in an instant she’s unintentionally caught up in his life-threatening rescue mission.
Now D must extract not one but two people from the most violent world he's ever encountered. And one of them is carrying his child...

Of all the books in the series, this was the one I wanted the most. Well, after Trevor and Isabel.

Derek Pratt has been the most elusive of Jim Morgan’s mercenaries. He’s been a total dick since Midnight Rescue. It’s always been somewhat strange that he’s even on the team. He’s almost an anti-hero. He’s even fucked (there’s no other word for it), Noelle, the Queen of Assassins. Which is strange. I had no idea how Kennedy would write a heroine that could put up with him. He doesn’t make apologies for who he is. He’s there for the rush and the adrenaline. He tells himself that he doesn’t care about his teammates, but that’s a lie.

When his teammate, Sullivan Port, is mistaken for him and taken in his place, D knows he has to make it right. He accepts that his past has finally caught up with him. He doesn’t accept that someone close to him has been caught in the crossfire. He heads to Mexico after he gets a lead to Sully after six months of silence. What happens next is something even D never expected.

Sofia Amaro spent one night with D and she ended up pregnant. She doesn’t want to tell him over the phone, so she chases him down to Mexico. That’s something that I have a problem with. I don’t understand heroines that put themselves in danger. She’s pregnant so she should be thinking of someone other than herself. She knows what D does for a living, but she went after him anyway. It doesn’t really matter that she went with an escort, she still put herself in danger.

Sofia continued to make bad decision after bad decision. She fell in love with D for reasons I couldn’t understand. He was a total dick to her. She obviously saw something in him that I didn’t. Not that he wasn’t amazing, because he was. This couple just didn’t click for me. I don’t know why. I really wanted them to, but they didn’t.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.


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Guest Review: Bayou Hero by Marilyn Pappano

Posted November 3, 2016 by Jen in Reviews | 9 Comments

Guest Review: Bayou Hero by Marilyn PappanoReviewer: Jen
Bayou Hero by Marilyn Pappano
Publisher: Harlequin
Publication Date: January 6th 2015
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 288
Add It: Goodreads
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four-half-stars

In this book from USA TODAY bestselling author Marilyn Pappano, one family's scandal is responsible for a rising body count…

Even for an experienced NCIS agent like Alia Kingsley, the murder scene is particularly gruesome. Someone killed in a fit of rage. Being the long-estranged son of the deceased, Landry Jackson quickly becomes a person of interest. But does Landry loathe his father as much as the feds suspect?

It's clear to Alia that Landry Jackson has secrets, but his hatred for his father isn't one of them. Alia feels sure Landry isn't the killer, but once more family members start dying, she's forced to question herself. What if the fierce attraction between her and Landry has compromised Alia's instincts?

I haven’t been able to get this book out of my head for DAYS, and I’ve been sitting on this review, trying to balance my desire to tell someone about this ambitious book with my uncertainty about how I really feel about parts of it. This is a good book…possibly even a great book, but it’s complicated, so this review is gonna be long!

Let me start out with a huge trigger warning: This book deals with the rape of children. There is nothing graphic, but this issue is THERE in a painful and persistent way through much of the book. So, take care!

Alia is an NCIS investigator assigned to look into the murder of an Admiral in New Orleans. He and some of his household staff were brutally stabbed. His son Landry absolutely hated his father, so he is naturally a suspect. When other people connected to the family start showing up dead, too, Alia and Landry start to realize the killings are connected to the family’s dirty secrets.

What did I like?

  • Alia is tough and smart and I want to know her in real life! I love her dedication to her job, her occasional gallows humor, her good-natured bickering with her ex husband, her quiet support for Landry, and her love for food. She’s also part Vietnamese and her heritage actually seems like a part of her life, not just window dressing. She brings a much needed lightness to the book, and I loved her.
  • Even though we never “meet” Alia’s family in person I loved them too, based on a couple short phone conversations and what we know of them from Alia. I thought it was so important to get an example of a healthy family (and a healthy military family, at that) to contrast with the sick dynamics of Landry’s family. Alia’s parents aren’t perfect, but they love her unconditionally and support their daughter in her endeavors without trying to be overprotective or bossy. Hooray for functional families!
  • It’s set in New Orleans and uses that city to excellent advantage. The sticky heat, the hidden wealth behind the wrought iron gates, the amazing food, the tourists who come without seeing the real city…all of it is evocative without being some kind of caricature of New Orleans.
  • There is no instalust, no lightning bolts from the sky, no uncontrollable pants feelings. Alia and Landry act like two normal people who at first can’t trust each other for very legitimate reasons. The attraction builds slowly, and even once they start spending social time together they move slowly because of Alia’s job investigating Landry’s dad’s murder. (The romance does still move pretty fast in terms of actual days, but in page numbers it’s well paced.)
  • THEY DON’T CREATE A CONFLICT OF INTEREST BY SLEEPING TOGETHER! Yes I am yelling because I am not sure I can think of another romantic suspense I’ve read, and I read a lot of them, where the solution that Alia and Landry use here has ever come up. I won’t tell you what the solution is, but it is mature and responsible and why the fuck have I never seen it before?
  • I haven’t mentioned Landry yet. Don’t get me wrong, I liked him too, though maybe not as much as Alia. What I did appreciate about him is that he isn’t afraid of his feelings for Alia. He knows he feels something serious for her, and he knows he wants it to be long term. He isn’t a closed off, broody a-hole, which would have been the easy route to take with this character.

And now for some very spoilery discussion, because this gets at the heart of why I wasn’t sure exactly how to feel about parts of this book.

As a child, Landry was repeatedly raped by a group of his father’s male friends for years before escaping with the help of a distant relative. The friends actually traded their kids around as sex objects; Landry’s younger sister and all the male and female children of the friends were also raped routinely. It is completely horrifying and disgusting, and reading about it made me nauseous. There aren’t any graphic descriptions at all, but Landry’s pain is excruciating to read about.

I’m always leery of books that use rape as a backstory or sensational plot, and it’s hard to escape the fact that the rapes do add a level of sensationalism to the story, although I think the author is careful to portray it as the awful crime it is. On the other hand, there are almost no romances where the hero is the one who was raped, and I worry it’s because authors and readers think it makes the hero seem less manly. So perhaps this is a story that is important to tell, if it’s done properly.

Part of why I hesitated to write this review was because I was going over all the details in my mind searching for mishandling of this topic. Overall, I do think the sexual abuse was handled sensitively. Landry certainly has issues, but he is able to have a largely functional life and build relationships with other people. The book makes it crystal clear he doesn’t do it on his own, though. He needs years of therapy with a skilled doctor, and even then he is still struggling with certain things. He has heartbreaking moments where he feels ashamed or angry at himself, though he talks himself down from those moments by recalling his therapist’s advice. And most importantly, Alia and the other characters in the book don’t treat Landry as less-than because of his trauma. To my untrained eyes, it felt respectfully handled. 

So why my complicated feelings? Most of my hesitation was due to the killer. I could see it coming, and I didn’t like it. The killer had their own very serious mental health issues, which were less gracefully handled. Was it too cartoonish? Was it a cheap “crazy killer” cop out? Was it just there for sensationalism? I’m honestly not sure, but I do know that I didn’t want that character to be the killer. While Alia and Landry get a happy ending, nobody else really does.

To be honest, I am impressed with Pappano and Harlequin for even trying to tell a story like this, because I sure as hell did not expect this when I picked up the book! This was much deeper, more nuanced, and more gut wrenching than your average category romance. While I’m still not exactly sure how I feel about some elements, I am not sorry I read it. 

Grade: 4.25 out of 5

four-half-stars


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Blog Tour: Race the Darkness by Abbie Roads

Posted October 17, 2016 by Rowena in Promotions | 2 Comments

Genres: Paranormal Romance

race-the-darkness-bt-ban

race-the-darkness

Abbie Roads has a new paranormal romantic suspense series out and the first book is Race the Darkness. It came out on October 4th and Casee reviewed the book this morning. You can read her review here.

We are excited to be a part of Abbie Road’s blog tour. We have an excerpt to share and who doesn’t love a great excerpt? Check it out!

Race the Darkness by Abbie Roads
Series: Fatal Dreams #1
Release Date: October 4, 2016
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Genres: Paranormal, Romantic Suspense

Cursed with a terrible gift…

Criminal investigator Xander Stone doesn’t have to question you-he can hear your thoughts. Scarred by lightning, burdened with a power that gives him no peace, Xander struggles to maintain his sanity against the voice that haunts him day and night-the voice of a woman begging him to save her.

A gift that threatens to engulf them

Isleen Walker has long since given up hope of escape from the nightmare of captivity and torture that is draining her life, her mind, and her soul. Except…there is the man in her feverish dreams, the strangely beautiful man who beckons her to freedom and wholeness. And when he comes, if he comes, it will take all their combined fury and faith to overcome a madman bent on fulfilling a deadly prophecy.

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Excerpt

Isleen floated in that sweet spot between reality and waking. The only thing penetrating her sleepy haze was the scent of warm graham crackers and autumn leaves. It was a scent she was familiar with, one she loved. It was the scent of all her favorite memories. It was the scent of Xander.

A predawn haze of gray lit the room, touching everything with its soft color. Her head was pillowed on his shoulder, her face pressed against his neck, her body encased in the security of his arms, and he had one of his legs tossed over her thighs. Not since she was a little girl—too naive to know pain existed in the world—had she felt this absolutely safe.

Something strange seemed to happen whenever she was near him. The sheer power of his presence salved the wounds of her past and shaped her into the strong and capable woman she was meant to be. The real her. The person she would’ve been if she hadn’t endured so much horror. The person she’d only had a chance to be in her nightly dreams of Xander. And weren’t those dreams doozies?

Memories of him from her dreams flooded her mind, heating her body. Their nightly escapades had always been vivid and oh, so intimate. Her female parts wanted to nestle and squirm in closer to him, to satisfy the longing building from the mere memories of dreams, but she was already as close as she could get with her clothes on. Just what would happen if her clothes were off? Didn’t that bring to mind explicit, triple X-rated thoughts?

From her dreams, she knew what lay underneath his clothes, knew he was spectacular. Everywhere. And the hard length of him moving inside her, filling her so deliciously… It was a miracle that a body could feel so wanting and wonderful at the same time.

Her awareness of just how they were lying in the bed—groin to groin—gave her another flash of heat. Or was that longing? She could feel him through his pants, resting against her needy bundle of nerves. Her attention narrowed more and more until the only thing she could think about, the only thing she could feel was him right there, right where she wanted him.

She tried to hold still, not to move, not to disturb what was already the best moment of her waking life, but her body had other intentions. Excruciatingly slowly, so she didn’t wake him, she rocked her hips forward and back, rubbing against him. Instead of offering any satisfaction, need blazed brighter. If she didn’t stop, she’d end up dry humping him in his sleep.

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About the Author

abbie-roads

WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | GOODREADS | INSTAGRAM | PINTEREST | TWITTER

Seven Things about Abbie Roads:

1. She loves Snicker Parfaits. Gotta start with what’s most important, right?
2. She writes dark emotional books featuring damaged characters, but always gives her hero and heroine a happy ending… after torturing them for three hundred pages.
3. By day she’s a mental health counselor known for her blunt, honest style of therapy. At night she burns up the keyboard. Well… Burn might be too strong a word. She at least sits with her hands poised over the keyboard, waiting for inspiration to strike. And when it does—the keyboard might get a little warm.
4. She can’t stand it when people drive slowly in the passing lane. Just saying. That’s major annoying. Right?
5. She loves taking pictures of things she thinks are pretty.
6. She’s represented by Michelle Grajkowski of 3 Seas Literary.
7. Her first book will be out October 2016 through Sourcebooks.


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