Tag: Romantic Suspense

Review: Love and Let Die by Lexi Blake

Posted February 14, 2017 by Casee in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Love and Let Die by Lexi BlakeReviewer: Casee
Love and Let Die by Lexi Blake
Series: Masters and Mercenaries #5
Also in this series: Dungeon Royale
Genres: Romance, Romantic Suspense, BDSM
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four-stars

A Tragic Love Story Charlotte Dennis's mission was clear: distract and misdirect CIA operative Ian Taggart by any means necessary. If she failed, she would never see her sister again. With her training, it should have been simple, but after one night in Ian's arms, she knew that saving her sister would mean losing the man of her dreams. Ian was tracking a terrorist when he met the beautiful American daughter of a Russian mobster. His instincts told him Charlotte was trouble, but his body craved her like a drug and his heart would not be denied. She took his ring and his collar. For once he was truly happy. But as he closed in on his target, her betrayal cost him his mission while her sacrifice saved his life. As she died in his arms, Ian vowed he would never love again. A Dangerous Reunion For five years, Charlotte has thought of nothing but returning to her husband, her Master. Working in the shadows, she has devoted herself to earning a chance to reclaim her place in Ian's life. But forgiveness isn't a part of Ian's vocabulary. Nothing is more important to Ian Taggart than his new mission. But the information he needs is firmly in the hands of the woman who betrayed him. To catch his most dangerous prey, Ian will have to let Charlotte back into his life. As the hunt takes them to some of the world's most exotic locations, the danger grows and their passion reignites. Will Ian forgive his wayward submissive...or lose her again?

I picked up this book after I read Satisfaction. Ian Taggart was in the book and of course I had to read his book. I do have to say that I realized in the last several years, I’ve turned into a prude. I used to read BDSM, but I haven’t in quite sometime. When I read the blurb, it talked about Masters and collars and I knew I wouldn’t like it. What do I know? I loved this book!

When Charlotte Dennis shows up at his door, Ian Taggart can’t believe his eyes. After all, his wife died in his arms three years before. When she starts talking about why she betrayed him and almost got one of his friends killed, he is not unmoved. He loved his wife, but nothing she can say will make him take her back.

Charlotte had to protect her sister, Chelsea, from the Russian mob. When they were young, their mother was murdered by their father and taken back to Russia. Charlotte was forced to do anything her father asked, from assassinating someone to robbing banks…all so their father would leave Chelsea alone. To get herself and her sister away from Russia, she makes a deal with the devil. The last thing she expected was to fall in love with the man she was sent to distract.

Although he can never forgive her, Ian isn’t above using Charlotte. As for Charlotte, she will take Ian anyway she can get him as long as he loves her again. Together they track down the man responsible for sending Charlotte and Chelsea on the run.

The BDSM part didn’t bother me at all once I got through my initial prudish nature. It actually made the romance more romantic. Charlotte is an incredibly strong heroine. Reading about her submitting to Ian didn’t bother me at all. In fact it made the book better because she was so strong. I can’t recommend this book or this series enough.

Rating: 4.25 out of 5.

four-stars

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Review: Satisfaction by Lexi Blake

Posted February 13, 2017 by Casee in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Satisfaction by Lexi BlakeReviewer: Casee
Satisfaction by Lexi Blake
Series: Lawless Series #2
Also in this series: Ruthless, Satisfaction
Published by Berkley Books
Publication Date: January 3rd 2017
Genres: Romance, Romantic Suspense
Pages: 384
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four-half-stars

The sizzling second novel in a sexy new contemporary romance series featuring the Lawless siblings from "New York Times "bestselling author Lexi Blake. Brandon Lawless is a man on a mission: obtain the information that will clear his father s name. He s willing to do whatever it takes even seduce his enemy s personal assistant, the beautiful and innocent Carly Hendricks. But with her beguiling smile and captivating intelligence, Brandon soon realizes he doesn t want to deceive Carly, he wants to win her over both in the boardroom and the bedroom. Then a twisted crime leaves Carly vulnerable and Brandon finds himself reeling. The stakes of his mission are now life or death Carly s life. And Brandon realizes he s lost his heart to an amazing woman and his plan must succeed, because the stakes are no longer just revenge, but a once in a lifetime love."

I absolutely loved this book. This is the best book I’ve read this year. I know it’s only been a month, but I couldn’t put this book down. Bran. Brandon. Bran. Bran. Bran. Bran. Oh how I love thee. I really thought I would want Drew’s book because he was so nerdy in a hot kind of way, but Bran really snuck up on me and just smacked me in the face.

Drew was supposed to be the one that went in and swooped Carly off her feet a la Riley and Ellie. Bran wasn’t so keen on that plan, so he went in before Drew could and laid it out straight. Patricia Cain murdered his parents, he and his siblings were taking her down, could she please help? Cue the misbelief. Not that Patricia Cain was innocent. Carly didn’t have blinders on when it came to her boss. She knew exactly what kind of woman she was. No, Carly thought that Bran was batshit crazy.

Carly was exactly the kind of woman that Bran was drawn to. A woman that needed help. Not to mention the hotness factor. Bran knows that his plan to lay it out for her was exactly right. Having Drew go in and manipulate her the way that Riley did to Ellie would never have worked out. This way, Bran could help her with her problems (which were many) and the Lawless siblings could take down Patricia Cain. If Bran could get some time with Carly between now and then, all the better.

When Carly leaves Bran, she still isn’t sure. That all changes when her ex-husband’s problems turn up on her doorstep quite literally. Suddenly she’s calling Bran and he’s sleeping on her couch. She’s agreed to help him and he’s pretending to be her boyfriend. Then they’re not pretending. Carly is falling in love with a man that might not know how to love her back. It’s readily apparent that Bran has issues that he refuses to acknowledge let alone discuss.

Bran had a serious case of PTSD stemming from his childhood. While the Lawless siblings are closer than most, they have more problems than most as well. Bran was left in foster care long after he should have been. Drew finally admits that it was easier for Bran to be left in the system while he was starting up 4L than to bring him home. He tells Bran that revenge came first. It was heartbreaking. Once that comes out in the open, it finally brings Bran some peace.

Carly and Bran are just perfect for each other. Carly has so little control in her life thanks to Patricia Cain that she grabs it where she can. Bran is glad to cede control to her in every place except for the bedroom. It works surprisingly well for them. I love it. Carly was a little insecure which got a little old, but Bran more than made up for it. He was so damaged, but he confronted it head on and that was refreshing. I loved him.

There was a twist at the end of the book that I didn’t see coming and I can’t wait until June!

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

four-half-stars

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Guest Review: Final Exit by Lena Diaz

Posted January 26, 2017 by Jen in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: Final Exit by Lena DiazReviewer: Jen
Final Exit by Lena Diaz
Series: EXIT Inc #3
Published by Avon
Publication Date: January 31st 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Romantic Suspense
Pages: 384
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three-stars

Lena Diaz concludes her sexy, suspenseful EXIT Inc. series as an FBI agent teams up with a beautiful assassin to uncover a deadly government conspiracy...

After a tragic mistake nearly destroyed his life, Special Agent Kade Quinn will do whatever it takes to save his career. His latest mission? Track and capture the remaining EXIT operatives to determine if they’re still a threat. But his next target—a stunning female assassin—is both elusive and dangerously appealing.

Bailey Stark has outsmarted the FBI so far, but she’s tired of running. Tired of watching her friends ambushed by government agents in tactical gear and never seen again. She suspects they aren’t being evaluated—they’re being exterminated—and she’s determined to convince Agent Quinn his mission is a lie before it’s too late. Bailey doesn’t want to rely on him. She definitely shouldn’t desire him. But she knows teaming up with the skilled, sexy agent may be her only hope.

Kade doesn’t want to believe Bailey’s claims, but he promises to keep her safe. Trusting one another is difficult. Fighting their attraction is harder. And as they uncover the disturbing truth behind his mission . . . staying alive will be nearly impossible.

I’ve been reading Diaz’s EXIT series from the beginning. I loved the premise–a secret “black ops” type organization that everyone thought was helping the good guys ends up doing some bad things due to a leader with another agenda. We see piles of these black ops groups in romance, and I was very interested in the idea of them crossing the line of good vs bad and how operatives who thought they were the good guys would react. While I enjoyed it, the series never quite lived up to its potential.

This final book centers on Bailey, a former EXIT assassin on the run. Kade is the government agent hunting her, but she keeps alluding his grasp (because she is a super BAMF). Bailey knows EXIT agents caught by the government for “evaluation” are ending up dead instead, and she has no plans to be one of them. Kade believes he’s simply rounding up agents so they can be debriefed and assessed to see if they were part of the bad contingent that took over EXIT. When Bailey tells him the truth, he doesn’t believe it, but his sense of honor compels him to look into the matter further, and he starts to realize something hinky is going on. Eventually he throws in with Bailey and resolves to help her get to the bottom of things.

Bailey was great. She’s tough, brilliant, and loyal to her friends. She can more than hold her own with all the boys in her field! I liked that Kade is tough and smart too. He and Bailey are evenly matched, and it leads to some good tension, sexual and otherwise. There is a lot of fast paced action that kept me reading, and I liked getting the resolution to this series.

The overall series just didn’t grab me like I wanted it to, though. There are tons of not-very-memorable characters, and even though I’ve read the whole series I still struggled to remember who everyone was. Mostly, I didn’t think that the really big issues were explored like they should have been. For instance, all these assassins truly believed they were doing “good” deeds and killing people who deserved it. Finding out that you were killing people based on grudges and selfish interests? That is huge! I would have liked to see more discussion of how the EXIT operatives felt about the situation. What does a revelation like this mean about secret, off-the-book organizations? How will all these operatives live with what they’ve done going forward? Those issues were briefly touched on, but not given any depth. It was a major lost opportunity, in my opinion.

Grade: 3.25 out of 5

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

three-stars

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Guest Review: At Close Range by Laura Griffin

Posted January 25, 2017 by Jen in Reviews | 8 Comments

Guest Review: At Close Range by Laura GriffinReviewer: Jen
At Close Range (Tracers, #11) by Laura Griffin
Series: Tracers #11
Also in this series: Deep Dark
Published by Pocket Books
Publication Date: January 31st 2017
Genres: Police Procedural, Romantic Suspense
Pages: 368
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four-stars

New York Times bestselling author Laura Griffin “delivers the goods” (Publishers Weekly) again with the eleventh title in the gritty, heart-pounding Tracers series.
When a lakeside tryst ends in a double murder, police detective Daniele Harper arrives on the scene determined to get answers. Clues are everywhere, but nothing adds up. Dani turns to the Delphi Center crime lab for help, but soon regrets it when her secret attraction to their chief firearms examiner threatens to distract her from the most important case of her career.
As a ballistics expert and former Navy SEAL, Scott Black knows firearms, and he knows he can help Dani unravel her case. Scott has managed to hide his interest in his best friend’s younger sister for years, but when her investigation brings them together, the sparks between them quickly get out of control. Scott resolves to keep his hands off Dani and his eyes on the goal—identifying a killer. But when that killer zeroes in on Dani, all bets are off. There isn’t a line Scott won’t cross to convince Dani to trust him so that he can help her take down a ruthless murderer who has her in his sights.

Tracers book 11! This time we’re largely back on the police side of investigations, following detective Dani Harper as she investigates a double homicide. She gets forensic help from various experts at the Delphi Center, including Scott Black. Scott is her brother’s friend, a former SEAL, and a guy she’s had a low key crush on for years. Scott too has some pants-feelings for her, but he’s mostly stayed away because of his friend, he’s not good enough, you know the drill. The homicide case quickly gets much more complicated than anyone expected, and both Dani and Scott end up right in the middle of it all. They have to navigate their attraction while trying to put a stop to the killings.

This was the kind of book where I mostly enjoyed it while I was reading it, but after I put it down some things started bothering me. It was fairly fast paced and exciting. The first two murders turn out to be just the tip of the iceberg, and I liked that Griffin kept things interesting and exciting throughout. There’s no “figuring out” for the reader to do, but you do come along for the ride as Dani, Scott, and the rest of the police uncover details. I definitely got hooked and wanted to know how it all would be resolved. It was great to catch up with some past characters, and we get to meet another Delphi Center employee, Brooke, who I assume is going to be a future heroine. I am very intrigued by her so far!

There were quite a few weak points in the book for me, though. Like I said, while I was reading the book I was into the plot, but after I was done I couldn’t help thinking that some of the details were kind of ridiculous or unresolved. The villains have a really complicated plan that didn’t entirely make sense to me – it seemed far fetched.

I also wasn’t entirely feeling the romance. Scott is a really private, stoic guy. He seems to have PTSD or some other mental/emotional issues as a result of his combat experiences, but that’s just kind of glossed over. He and Dani have a lot of sex but do very, very little talking. Dani admits she really hasn’t spent much time with Scott after he came back from combat, so who is she really in love with? The kid/teen version of Scott she knew in the past, or the adult with piles of baggage and severe communication issues? Scott jerks her around a lot, acting like she’s just a fling and and saying some cruel things to her. He knows he’s hurting her but he selfishly continues doing it because he wants to, and I didn’t love that about him. Then the ending was also rushed, and Scott suddenly flips and is Mr. Commitment. It wasn’t entirely unsatisfying, but I would have preferred more build up. Plus, just like the hero in Beyond Limits (book 8), Scott steamrolls Dani and tries to take over her investigation. There was even a near-repeat of the moment I hated from book 8, where Scott grossly violates investigation protocol in a way that could get Dani in serious trouble, and instead of holding him accountable she caves and sleeps with him. I wanted Dani to stand up for herself a bit more, and I wanted Scott to acknowledge he was being a dick, but that didn’t happen.

Despite the problems, I still had a good time reading the book! The characters were interesting, the investigation details fascinating, and the plot fast paced. I think other Tracers fans will enjoy it too.

Grade: 3.75 out of 4

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

 

four-stars

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Guest Review: The Devil’s Daughter by Katee Robert

Posted January 24, 2017 by Jen in Reviews | 2 Comments

Guest Review: The Devil’s Daughter by Katee RobertReviewer: Jen
The Devil's Daughter by Katee Robert
Series: Hidden Sins #1
Published by Montlake Romance
Publication Date: January 24th 2017
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 301
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four-stars

Growing up in a small town isn’t easy, especially when you’re the daughter of a local cult leader. Ten years ago, Eden Collins left Clear Springs, Montana, and never once looked back. But when the bodies of murdered young women surface, their corpses violated and marked with tattoos worn by her mother’s followers, Eden, now an FBI agent, can’t turn a blind eye. To catch the killer, she’s going to have to return to the fold.
Sheriff Zach Owens isn’t comfortable putting Eden in danger, even if she is an elite agent. And he certainly wasn’t expecting to be so attracted to her. As calm and cool as she appears, he knows this can’t be a happy homecoming. Zach wants to protect her—from her mother, the cult, and the evil that lurks behind its locked gates. But Eden is his only key to the tight-lipped group, and she may just be closer to the killer than either one of them suspects…

Zach Owens is the police chief in the small town of Clear Springs, Montana. When a local teenage girl is found murdered and another goes missing, suspicion falls on the local cult. Then Eden Collins shows up claiming someone sent her a crime scene picture of the murdered girl. Eden is no random stranger, though. She is an FBI agent who specializes in cults, and she’s also the daughter of the local cult leader. Eden escaped her mother’s clutches years ago, and being back in town is frightening and painful for her, but she feels compelled to help catch the murderer and stop it from happening again. Zach isn’t sure he can trust Eden, but because of her inside knowledge of the cult he needs her help. The closer she gets to the truth, though, the more it seems like Eden herself may be tied up in the case in ways she never expected.

This was an exciting book that kept me hooked till the end. I admit I’m sort of darkly fascinated by cults, so for me the plot of this book was creepy and engaging. The cult leader, Martha Collins, was a great complicated character. She’s a twisted, Machiavellian genius, and Robert kept me guessing about Martha’s motivations right up to the end. Even better, Eden was kept guessing, too. She would think she knew the truth, but then she’d talk to her mom and suddenly have a small seed of doubt. Her mom was a master of gaslighting, so Eden was constantly questioning her judgments and reminding herself that her mom was a manipulator. It made for a tense story, and it highlighted the challenges Eden faced coming back to Clear Springs.

Eden was definitely my favorite part of the book. She didn’t just have a bad childhood; she had a horrific childhood. As one would expect, she has a whole lotta emotional problems as a result, like a compulsion towards perfection and a severe fear of intimacy. But the fact that she was able to rise above her childhood and lead a fairly successful adult life was awesome. What I liked best was her confidence in herself. Given her mother’s tactics and manipulations, it would have been perfectly understandable if Eden was plagued with self doubt. While she can’t escape some of that, overall she trusts herself, which is what allows her to mostly avoid the emotional traps Martha sets for her. She’s not TSTL, and she works hard to put aside her personal issues in order to look at the case objectively. For instance, when she starts to suspect that the case somehow relates to her personally, she doesn’t just brush it off. She acknowledges that maybe she’s too close to look at things clearly and calls in outside help, even though it means admitting to her boss that she’s in over her head. I loved her intelligence and professionalism!

The romance was…fine. I liked Zach well enough, and I did like that right off the bat he doesn’t see Eden as a quick lay. He isn’t dreaming of marriage or anything, but he wants to get to know her and explore whether there might be something more there than simple lust. Because the murder plot was fast paced and tense, though, there wasn’t as much time as I would have liked for Eden and Zach to get to know each other. The ending is definitely a HFN, which I thought made sense. I wasn’t entirely convinced that Eden and Zach could make it work, however, at least not without some major compromises that I’m not sure either would be prepared to make. That left me feeling a little bittersweet about the ending.

This was a fairly dark, gritty book, but it was fast paced, complex, and exciting, and it worked for me.

Grade: 4 out of 5

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

four-stars

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