Tag: Romantic Suspense

Guest Review: Every Last Breath by Juno Rushdan

Posted May 15, 2019 by Jen in Reviews | 2 Comments

Guest Review: Every Last Breath by Juno RushdanReviewer: Jen
Every Last Breath by Juno Rushdan
Series: Final Hour #1
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Publication Date: April 30, 2019
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 418
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four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

48 hours2 covert operatives1 chance to get it right

Maddox Kinkade is an expert at managing the impossible. Tasked with neutralizing a lethal bioweapon, she turns to the one person capable of helping her stop the threat of pandemic in time: the love of her life, back from the dead and mad as hell at her supposed betrayal. Recruiting Cole to save millions of lives may be harder than resisting the attraction still burning between them, but Maddox will do whatever it takes...even if it destroys her.

When Maddox crashes back into Cole Matthews' life, he wants to fight back. He wants to hate her. But the crisis is too strong to ignore, and soon the two former lovers find themselves working side-by-side in a breakneck race to stop a world-class killer with a secret that could end everything.

It’s a secret agent book! I am always down for a good spy thriller, and this book didn’t disappoint.

Maddox Kinkade is an elite operative with a covert government organization trying to stop a bioterrorist attack. The problem is, the person they need help from is none other than the fiance she thought dead. For his part, Cole Matthews let Maddox think he was dead because she betrayed him. He doesn’t particularly care about helping the US government, but he doesn’t want to look the other way as people are murdered. Plus, he finds he’d still do anything for Maddox. They have to move beyond their past together and go all in to find and stop the terrorist threat.

Maddox is my favorite kind of heroine–she’s prickly, smart, and so very capable. She can fight with the best of them, and I adored seeing Cole slowly realize he didn’t need to protect his little woman. Cole was even pricklier, however. He feels so betrayed and hurt by Maddox, and it makes him snippy and mean at first. To be honest, the whole betrayal was a bit vague in my mind–it had something to do with Maddox telling her CIA father information about Cole’s Russian organized crime family. However, to me it seemed more like the real issue was that her family was in law enforcement while his were in crime! “Betrayal” or not, it didn’t seem realistic that they could have worked out when they were so young. They both needed to grow up and get the perspective of a little time and space.

The terrorist plot was great. You know who they’re chasing, and you get lots of scenes from his perspective. I love the cat-and-mouse story, where the killer seems to always be one step ahead. I also love a good “traitor in our midst” plot, and this book had that as well. In short, the plot ticked my buttons!

As with most action romances, there were some things that didn’t quite make sense. I didn’t know why the agency let Cole in on the operation. I get that they don’t have to follow the “regular rules” of law enforcement, but no way would they let a civilian (and one connected to organized crime no less) in on a case like this. Plus Cole’s family and their crime connection was not well explored. His dad was supposedly trying to go legit, but his brother is not, and what exactly did Cole have to do with anything? There’s also a little bit of melodrama in Maddox’s past. (Small SPOILER ALERT for a content warning: there’s talk of miscarriage in the book.) But listen, I don’t read action romance for the accuracy or relatability. None of this bothered me enough to diminish my enjoyment of the book!

This was an excellent story from a new author, and I cannot WAIT to read more.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Final Hour

four-stars


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Guest Review: Stone Cold Heart by Laura Griffin

Posted April 25, 2019 by Jen in Reviews | 3 Comments

Guest Review: Stone Cold Heart by Laura GriffinReviewer: Jen
Stone Cold Heart by Laura Griffin
Series: Tracers #13
Also in this series: Deep Dark
Publisher: Pocket Books
Publication Date: March 26, 2019
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 384
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three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

When local rock climbers stumble upon abandoned human bones in a remote Texas gorge, Sara Lockhart is the first to get the call. She has a reputation as one of the nation’s top forensic anthropologists, and police detective Nolan Hess knows she is just the expert he needs to help unravel this case. Although evidence is scarce, Nolan suspects the bones belong to a teenage climber who vanished last summer.

But as Sara unearths strange clues, she finds chilling similarities to a case from her past—a case that now threatens to rock Nolan’s community. While Sara digs deep for answers, the stakes rise higher as another young woman disappears without a trace. Investigators work against the clock as Sara races to discover the truth, even if her harrowing search brings her face to face with a stone-cold killer.

In the latest Tracers book from Laura Griffin, we’re back following a Delphi Center employee. This time it’s Sara Lockhart, a forensic anthropologist.

There’s not much to say about the plot of the book that isn’t in the cover copy or that doesn’t spoil some of the mystery. This is a much more twisty, turny mystery than some of the other Tracers books, and I enjoyed that about it. Sara’s expertise and instincts are invaluable to uncovering the extent of the crimes and piecing together who might have done it. It’s a fun ride, but not necessarily a solution you can “guess” (or maybe I’m just not clever enough, haha). I love the nerdy investigation details that Griffin uses in this series, and Sara is a prime example of that.

The romance between Nolan and Sara is a fine little love affair, though not exactly a passion for the ages. Sara is pretty reticent to get involved with Nolan because of a bad past relationship. It’s a bit cliche and does perhaps go on too long, but I did appreciate that she wasn’t whiny or angsty about it. She just wants to focus on her career and not get distracted by a relationship. I like that she’s confident and smart and happy with that. Nolan is fine, too. Pretty stereotypical cop character, although he does totally respect Sara’s expertise and autonomy which is always good to see. There’s no getting around that their relationship is a bit of a slow burn, and I felt like they don’t get much past the beginning embers in this book. I have hope for them in the future, though!

I enjoyed this book and am always happy when we veer back into the smart science nerds at the Delphi Center. I think it would be a fun read for Tracers fans, and even readers new to the series should be able to pick up this book with no trouble.

Grade: 3.5 out of 4

Tracers

three-half-stars


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Review: Keep Me Safe by Maya Banks

Posted March 21, 2019 by Casee in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Keep Me Safe by Maya BanksReviewer: Casee
Keep Me Safe (Slow Burn #1) by Maya Banks
Series: Slow Burn #1
Also in this series: Burn for You (Slow Burn, #1), Melt for You (Slow Burn, #2), Ache for You (Slow Burn, #3)
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: October 7, 2014
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 307
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Casee's 2019 GoodReads Challenge
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one-star
Series Rating: two-stars

A sizzling story of a woman who risks her life and her heart to find a wealthy man’s missing sister — the first novel in a sexy new romantic suspense series from #1 New York Times bestselling author Maya Banks.

When Caleb Devereaux's younger sister is kidnapped, this scion of a powerful and wealthy family turns to an unlikely source for help: a beautiful and sensitive woman with a gift for finding answers others cannot.

While Ramie can connect to victims and locate them by feeling their pain, her ability comes with a price. Every time she uses it, it costs her a piece of herself. Helping the infuriatingly attractive and impatient Caleb successfully find his sister nearly destroys her. Even though his sexual intensity draws her like a magnet, she needs to get as far away from him as she can.

Deeply remorseful for the pain he’s caused, Caleb is determined to make things right. But just when he thinks Ramie's vanished forever, she reappears. She’s in trouble and she needs his help. Now, Caleb will risk everything to protect her — including his heart....

Oy, this book. It was not what I was expecting. It seemed sort of Dream Man by Linda Howard. Not that I was expecting a Linda Howard book. No, I just enjoy books about psychics. It’s more than safe to say that I did not enjoy this book. Not even a little bit.

When Caleb Devereaux’s younger sister, Tori, is abducted, he goes looking for psychic Ramie St. Claire. Caleb doesn’t doubt her ability as Tori is psychic herself. By the time he tracts Ramie down, he is furious with her. How could she hide herself away from the world when she can help people like Tori? It’s only when he forces (yes, forces) Ramie to take Tori’s scarf thus living Tori’s nightmare with her that Caleb realizes why Ramie is in hiding.

When Caleb shows up at her door and sends into a nightmare she can’t get out of, she is sure that it will finally be the end to her. No such luck. She tells Caleb where his sister is and he leaves her house, telling her that he will be back. That, more than anything, gives her the strength to get her body moving so she can leave the sanctuary she has made for herself. For if Caleb can find her then he can find her too.

A year later and Ramie is desperate. He has finally caught up with her. Ramie has nothing left expect a marker to call in to Caleb Devereaux. He comes to immediately. I understood that he would come to her aid, but I didn’t understand the immediate attraction. It was weird. Not to mention that instead of actually thanking Ramie for saving her life, Tori was a complete and total bitch to her. I understood on some level, but it was childish on another.

After Caleb and Ramie were reunited the whole book just went downhill. The part that made me want to read the book (psychic) actually made the book unbearable. I have zero plans to read the rest of this series. Zero. Zip. Zilch.

Rating: 1 out of 5.

Slow Burn

one-star


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Review: Say You’re Sorry by Karen Rose

Posted March 4, 2019 by Casee in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: Say You’re Sorry by Karen RoseReviewer: Casee
Say You're Sorry (Sacramento, #1) by Karen Rose
Narrator: Joel Froomkin
Series: Sacramento #1
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: February 21, 2019
Format: Audiobook, eARC
Source: Publisher, Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 544
Length: 24 hours and 6 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Casee's 2019 GoodReads Challenge
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four-half-stars
Series Rating: five-stars

Special Agent Gideon Reynolds has tried hard to put his past behind him. He escaped the violence of his cult upbringing when he was just thirteen, and since then routine and discipline have been his way of making sense of the world. But when a petite blonde woman crashes into his life, he begins to realize that a little bit of chaos might not be so bad.

Daisy Dawson has had more than her fair share of pain too—but she's done being a victim. Daisy's determined to explore every new experience she can—including getting to know the dark and serious FBI investigator she meets when she fights off a masked attacker one night.

It soon becomes clear that Daisy's attack was just the beginning. Now the bloodied bodies of young women are showing up all over California, and, as Gideon tries to find the killer, it's clear that Daisy is in more danger than they ever realised...

I started and listened to most of this book on audio. The narrator was simply awful. That was a huge disappointment because the narrator of Monster in the Closet was amazing. Even with that, I hung in like a champ because I really wanted to listen to it at work. I ended up reading the last 40ish%.

The Sacramento series is a spin-off of the Baltimore series. I had no idea until I started listening to the heroine’s backstory. Then I had to back it up and listen to it again because it sounded so familiar. Daisy Dawson is Taylor Dawson’s stepsister from Monster in the Closet. Taylor’s mom lied to her husband, Daisy’s father, about Taylor’s bio dad being after them. So they went into hiding for years. That really messed Daisy up. She started drinking when she was fourteen and went into rehab when she was seventeen. She’s an amazingly strong woman.

Daisy knows someone is following her. She’s sure it is one of her dad’s people. Although the truth came out about her stepmother’s lying, her dad can’t let her live her life. She goes down an alley after him (insert eyeroll) and is instead attached by a man with nylon mask on. After a valiant fight and with the help of her dog, Daisy manages to get away from her attacker. She also rips what she finds out is a locket from around his neck.

When her good friend and Sacramento PD detective, Rafe Sokolov, arrives at the scene and sees the locket, he immediately calls his friend Gideon Reynolds. He recognizes that the design on the locket is the same as a tattoo that Gideon has. Gideon gets to the scene as fast as he can and is floored by two things. The first thing is that he has finally found a lead back to the cult that he escaped from as a young teenager. The second is that he cares more about what Daisy Dawson went through then something he’s been searching for for years.

When it becomes apparent that Daisy is going to remain a target, Gideon volunteers to be the one to protect Daisy. Together they start digging into his past. When the past collides with the present, it puts both Gideon and Daisy in danger. Now they have a cult to find and a serial killer to outsmart.

I really loved this book. A lot. There are a few things location wise that threw me off because I used to live in Sacramento. So I knew that Gideon’s house was not by where he worked. I got over that because I love Karen Rose. The cult angle was very interesting. The dynamic between Gideon and his sister Mercy was interesting as well. It was obvious that Mercy and Rafe are going to have a book and I’m curious to see how exactly that is going to work. I’m just really looking forward to the next book.

Bravo on this one, KR.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Sacramento

four-half-stars


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Guest Review: The Fearless King by Katee Robert

Posted February 5, 2019 by Jen in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: The Fearless King by Katee RobertReviewer: Jen
The Fearless King (The Kings, #2) by Katee Robert
Series: The Kings #2
Also in this series: The Last King
Publisher: Forever
Publication Date: February 5, 2019
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Third Person
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 368
Add It: Goodreads
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four-stars
Series Rating: five-stars

Fake boyfriend. Real danger.

Journey King is an expert at managing the family business. But when her father returns to Houston hell-bent on making a play for the company, Journey will do anything to stop him, even if that means going to Frank Evans for help. Frank deals in information, the dirtier the better. Rugged and rock solid, he’s by far her best ally—and also the most dangerous.

Frank knows better than to get tangled up with the Kings. But something about Journey’s rare vulnerability drags him deep into enemy territory . . . and into her darkest past. Pretending to be her boyfriend may be necessary for their plan to work, but Frank soon finds helping Journey is much more than just another job—and he’ll do whatever it takes to keep her safe.

The Last King by Katee Robert was one of my favorite books of 2018, so I was beyond excited to get a hold of The Fearless King. I wasn’t disappointed!

Frank Evans appeared in book 1 as Beckett’s best friend. He’s a real estate mogul and general financial powerhouse in Houston, and he has an extensive network of information gathering and general badass employees across the city. In other words, he gets things done. Journey King is Beckett’s estranged cousin, and after Beckett drove her mother out of town in the last book, the energy company the family runs has been scrambling to adjust. Journey and Frank clearly have some unacknowledged attraction, but they try to stay far away from each other. When Journey’s father shows back up and puts their control of the company in jeopardy (and terrorizes Journey in the process), she turns to Frank for help.

This series is not too melodramatic or cheesy to be tolerated, but it does include piles of drama for a rich Texas family. For me, it strikes the right balance between soap opera and romantic suspense. You do have to suspend a bit of disbelief, however. You have to believe that these families could really be so cold and calculating, and you have to believe that there won’t be any serious legal or social consequences for anyone at the end of the book. I was down with it; you may not be.

Journey’s father is a straight up garbage human being. Trigger warning: Journey and her siblings were physically abused by their father as children. There are no graphic descriptions given; in fact, no one says much beyond acknowledging the abuse (and mentioning it was not sexual). The book is not abuse porn! In some ways, though, the lack of description makes it a bit harder to understand Journey’s terror. She is clearly terrified of her father and has suffered severely because of the abuse for her entire life. Her father’s mere presence sends her into an emotional and physical tailspin, which is what leads her to seek help from Frank. We just have to trust that something very, very messed up happened in Journey’s childhood.

My favorite part of the book is Journey’s growth. She starts the book constantly calling herself “the weakest link.” She believes she is broken and incapable of standing up to her father as a result of his emotional abuse. He conditioned her to believe she was weak. As the book goes on, however, Journey starts to believe in herself again. She realizes she has a role to play in protecting her family and Frank, and that gives her a sense of purpose and courage. I just loved seeing her transformation! I also love that while Frank’s support is a comfort and helps her see herself through new eyes, he is not the one who “fixes” her.

I also appreciated that this book acknowledges that Frank, an African American, faces racism, and that that racism has shaped his choices and his personality. His father went to prison unfairly because of a justice system biased against him, and Frank is always aware that no matter how much money he makes, he will always be looked down on by racist Houston socialites. Kudos to Katee Robert for not glossing over Frank’s skin color and for acknowledging that racism exists, even in Romancelandia.

While I’m not quite as in love with this book as I was with book 1, I am 100% here for the King family and this series.

Grade: 4 out of 5

The Kings

four-stars


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