Tag: Romantic Suspense

Review and Giveaway: Hello Again by Brenda Novak

Posted November 13, 2017 by Casee in Giveaways, Reviews | 3 Comments

Review and Giveaway: Hello Again by Brenda NovakReviewer: Casee
Hello Again by Brenda Novak
Series: The Evelyn Talbot Chronicles #2
Also in this series: Her Darkest Nightmare
Published by Headline
Publication Date: November 2nd 2017
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 352
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-stars

From NYT bestseller Brenda Novak comes the next installment of Dr. Evelyn Talbot and her murderous home for psychopaths in Hello Again.

SHE CAN MAKE SENSE OF A COMPLEX CRIMINAL MIND.Evelyn Talbot, a psychiatrist at a maximum-security prison in Alaska, studies some of the world's worst serial killers. But she’s about to meet her most elusive patient at Hanover House yet: Dr. Lyman Bishop, AKA the Zombie Maker given his fondness for performing ice-pick lobotomies on his victims. A brilliant cancer researcher, Bishop is either the most cunning psychopath Evelyn has ever encountered—or he is wrongly convicted.

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN A CRIMINAL CAN SEE INTO HER OWN?When a new ice-pick fatality occurs, it seems Bishop really was wrongly convicted. Except...Evelyn has a personal connection to the victim and that suggests the killer may be someone from her own past: Jasper Moore, her high school boyfriend who tortured her and left her for dead when she was only sixteen. Jasper also murdered three of her friends—and was never caught. Is he trying to send a message with this copycat crime? The only thing Evelyn knows for sure is that if Jasper is on her trail, she might not be able to escape again . .

It took me a bit to get into the book, but not because it wasn’t good. Once I was into it, I was glad I was on a road trip and it wasn’t my turn to drive because I couldn’t stop reading. Novack really has a way of drawing you in and keeping you on the edge of your seat. The suspense is thrilling in this book, breathtaking even, when you consider the danger that Evelyn finds herself in when the book comes to an end. Evelyn studies psychopaths so she can put away the one that got away. Jasper. The one who tortured and almost killed Evelyn and murdered two of Evelyn’s friends when she was sixteen. Evelyn finds the minds of these criminals fascinating and just wants to find Jaspar so she can stop living in fear; so her parents can stop worrying about her.

It doesn’t help that she doesn’t feel like she can start a life with Amarok who she loves desperately but can’t let herself go completely with. When he leaves to go investigate what he thinks are murders committed by Jaspar, Evelyn gets a taste of what life might be like without him and it’s something that she isn’t happy with. As for Amarok, he’s all in with Evelyn and if it means hunting Jaspar down himself, he is willing to do that. He will even go to the parents who helped him escape.

Meanwhile back home, Evelyn is dealing with the killer dubbed the “Zombie Maker”. Dr. Lyman Bishop was the last person anyone ever expected to be the Zombie Maker but they found the panties of the victims in his house. Evelyn isn’t sure of his guilt. At first. Then she sees the killer behind that facade he presents to the world and she knows he’s exactly where he’s supposed to be. Too bad it comes to light that the police planted evidence in the case and Lyman Bishop is about to be released. Evelyn is in a race against the clock to get Bishop’s sister out of his care, something that he has sworn he will retaliate against her for if she’s successful at. Evelyn isn’t someone that will give up and leaving someone to be victimized is unheard of for her.

I really enjoyed this book. Even enjoyed it more than Her Darkest Nightmare. It was more than just a criminal getting even with Evelyn because she was his doctor. It was matching wits against wits. Evelyn doesn’t apologize to anyone for who she is. When Amarok’s old flame comes into town and they come face to face, Evelyn holds her ground and it is divine. I didn’t care for the woman and how she came onto Amarok at all. I actually lost a bit of respect for Amarok during the exchange. Evelyn is a kick ass heroine, a survivor. And she will have plenty to survive during the next book because Jaspar is back.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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four-stars


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Retro-Review: The Perfect Murder by Brenda Novak

Posted November 8, 2017 by Casee in Reviews | 1 Comment

Retro-Review: The Perfect Murder by Brenda NovakReviewer: Casee
The Perfect Murder (The Last Stand, #6) by Brenda Novak
Series: The Last Stand #6
Published by MIRA
Publication Date: September 29th 2009
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 448
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four-stars

For more than a year, Sebastian Costas has been trying to unravel the truth behind the murder of his ex-wife and son. Despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, he's convinced that her second husband—a cop—committed both murders, then faked his own death. Now Sebastian has followed the slimmest of leads to Sacramento…and that's where he finally gets the break he needs. Jane Burke, an investigator with The Last Stand, calls him in connection with a separate crime—a crime that could lead him straight to the man he's been looking for.

Once married to a serial killer, Jane has spent the past five years rebuilding her life. And with Sebastian she finally has a chance at happiness. But the man they're after is after them, too. For him this has become a personal battle, one he's determined to win. Whatever it takes…

*****As part of our 10 year anniversary celebration, we’ll be re-posting old reviews and posts that make us cringe, laugh or sigh all over again.*****

Holly: It’s interesting to me that 8-10 years down the road we’re still reading the same authors. I love that we’ve been able to go the distance with them. 

This review was originally posted on November 5, 2009.

This is the first book in this series that I wasn’t really looking forward too. The reason is that I was never really interested in the character of Jane Burke. I understand that I’m supposed to be sympathetic to her since she was married to a serial killer, but that was never the case. I never really felt bad for her. I felt bad for the situation she was in. I felt bad that she lost someone she loved. I just never felt bad for her. She made her bed. So I wasn’t very happy when I saw that she was going to be the heroine.

Jane is trying to make a name for herself at The Last Stand. With the help of Skye and Sheridan, Jane wants to help victims like herself. That’s another thing. While I guess she was technically a victim, I never saw her as such. I guess I’m not very sympathetic. When Skye and Ava go to South America on a paying job and Sheridan is out on maternity leave, Jane is in charge of The Last Stand. Hoping to prove herself, Jane takes a job for two teenage girls that have gone missing.

Sebastian Costas has been following Malcolm Turner for over a year. Since Malcolm killed Sebastian’s ex-wife and son then faked his own death, Sebastian has been on his trail. With his funds running low and time running out, Sebastian follows him to Sacramento. He has never been able to convince anyone that Malcolm is alive, but he has never doubted that. When his investigation puts him in Jane’s path, the two end up working together since their cases seem to be related.

Jane is understandably wary of getting involved with any man, let alone a man that has as much baggage as she does. I just wasn’t really feeling the relationship between Jane and Sebastian. I wanted to. By the time they actually met, I was starting to like Jane as a character. I liked Sebastian as well, even though he was obsessed with revenge.

Brenda Novak writes chilling villains. She has definitely proved herself as far as that goes. She is right behind Karen Rose in that respect, something that is pretty hard to do. At the beginning of the book, Malcolm seems to be the person that you would not want to meet in a dark alley. As the book goes on, he loses his steam. He ends up being rather pathetic. That was disappointing b/c Brenda Novak always comes through when it comes to her villains.

This is my least favorite of the series. Even being my least favorite, it was still a good read.

3.75 out of 5.

This book is available from Mira. You can buy it here or here in e-format.

Other books in the series:

Trust Me Stop Me Watch Me The Perfect Liar The Perfect Murder

four-stars


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Guest Review: Say No More by Liliana Hart

Posted October 18, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: Say No More by Liliana HartReviewer: Tracy
Say No More by Liliana Hart
Series: Gravediggers Series #3
Also in this series: Gone to Dust
Published by Pocket Books
Publication Date: July 25th 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Romantic Suspense
Pages: 368
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four-stars

Sometimes the dead do rise...

Dante Malcolm is a man of refined tastes. He was once a part of Britain's Elite Intelligence Force, but there was a reason he'd never been able to capture Simon Locke, the notorious thief who always seemed to be one step ahead. That's because Dante and Simon were one and the same, until Dante's double life eventually caught up with him and now he belongs to the Gravediggers.

Liv Rothschild is a Detective Inspector with Interpol and is the one responsible for catching MI-6's most notorious agent in his final heist--except the heist killed him. But something has never felt right about his death, and it's haunted her for months. It was too easy, and Dante Malcolm was too smart to go down that way.

Dante might belong to the Gravediggers in body, but his heart and soul will always belong to the next job. The rest of the team doesn't know about his alter ego because he made sure the information went missing from his file. So when the job he's always waited for seems like a possibility, he sneaks out of the country like a thief in the night, only to run into the only woman who's ever been able to match him in wit--and passion--for the job. Except they're standing on opposite sides of the law--and only one of them can walk away with the prize.

Dante was born as Lord Dante Malcolm but when he was recruited into MI6 he was thrilled.  When he had the chance to become an international thief he took that position as well.  He did this with a clear conscience as he would only take things that had already been stolen from someone else.  He’d just take something else for himself while he was doing the job.  Strange, I know. He was then recruited into the Gravediggers and for all intents and purposes he was dead.

Dante hasn’t been thrilled in his time with the Gravediggers.  He is loyal to the other members and would die for them but their boss, Eve Winters, constantly has him doing side jobs that the other members don’t know about.  This story has him going after Russian nuclear missile launch codes in Dubai.  When he gets there he doesn’t expect to run into the woman he was in a relationship with at the time of his death.

Liv works for Interpol, or she did until recently.  She was working with Dante trying to catch the international thief, Simon Locke, and she had no idea that Dante was Simon.  When he died she was devastated by not only his death but the betrayal she felt at finding out that he’d lied to her about Simon Locke.  Liv is in Dubai looking for 10 girls who are in the middle of a sex trafficking ring.  She quit her job at Interpol when they wouldn’t give her authorization to go after the girls.  The last thing she expects is to see her dead ex-boyfriend breaking into the vault that she’s trying to break into.

To say that Liv is mad at Dante’s deception is a bit of an understatement.  To say that when Dante’s fellow Gravediggers are enraged and feeling betrayed when they find out the truth about Dante and his side work for Eve is putting it mildly.  Everyone was pissed at Dante but when the heads cooled they knew they had to work together to get not only the launch codes into the right hands, but also save the 10 little girls.

Another good book in the Gravediggers series.  I liked both Dante and Liv in this story even though Dante was a bit of an ass at times.  He was still charming and good-hearted and I couldn’t help but like him.

Liv had personal reasons for getting into the fight against sex-trafficking.  Her twin sister had been kidnapped when they were six and had never been found.  Liv had lived her life trying to find Elizabeth with no luck.  She wanted to save as many little girls as she possibly could.  She was a good person and frankly at times I thought she was a bit too good for Dante when he was acting the ass, but they ended up fitting nicely.  The romance in this book definitely took a back seat to the launch codes and sex trafficking issues but that was as it should be. This was who Liv and Dante were and how they lived their lives so it was nice to see the relationship grown within the job.

Rating: 3.75/4 out of 5

four-stars


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Guest Review: Going Dark by Monica McCarty

Posted September 14, 2017 by Jen in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: Going Dark by Monica McCartyReviewer: Jen
Going Dark by Monica McCarty
Series: The Lost Platoon #1
Published by Penguin, Berkley
Publication Date: September 5th 2017
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 352
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three-stars

The members of a top secret SEAL Team can't keep their passion under wraps in this thrilling contemporary romantic suspense series from New York Times bestselling author Monica McCarty.

Like Rome's Lost Legion, a SEAL platoon goes on a mission and vanishes without a trace.

After walking into a trap on a covert op in Russia, the men from top secret SEAL Team Nine are presumed dead. Not knowing whom they can trust, and with war hanging in the balance, the survivors must go dark and scatter around the globe.

Marine ecologist Annie Henderson joins her new boyfriend on a trip to the Western Isles of Scotland to protest a hazardous offshore drilling venture. When she realizes that she may be swept up in something far more dangerous than she'd intended, there is only one man she can turn to. . . .

She and the mysterious but sexy dive boat captain haven't exactly gotten off to the best start, but something about his quiet confidence makes her think that he's the kind of man she can depend on. Because he's gruff and guarded, she can tell Dan Warren has secrets. But she could never imagine how high the stakes are for him to keep his cover, even as he risks everything to protect her. . . .

In Going Dark, marine ecologist Annie has come to Scotland to join a protest against a new offshore drilling location. Her boyfriend is the one who recruited her to come and stage a sit-in on the rig, but once they get to Scotland she feels uneasy about his behavior and about his friends. When she discovers what the group is really plotting, she has to put her trust in Dan, the mysterious captain of their chartered boat. Soon, the two are running for their lives from the people Annie has made angry, but the situation threatens to expose Dan’s own secrets, with deadly consequences.

This book was a bit of a mixed bag for me. I liked the action, and I liked the the times when Dan and Annie were trying to plot out strategy. One thing this book does that I’ve not seen much before is attempt to address politics. Annie is an environmental protester and committed to things like civil disobedience. Dan is a conservative ex-SEAL who has little sympathy for protests or what he sees as liberal whining. There’s no overt discussion of politics per se, but the two do debate lots of current issues. It’s not like Dan and Annie spent the whole book arguing, but it was enough to be noticeable.

On the one hand, I kind of admired that McCarty even attempted to address political differences in a romance novel. Often, the people in romances have jobs that clearly relate to politics and current events, but that is almost never acknowledged. You don’t think SEALs would have strong opinions about current events given that they are involved in so many of them? To pretend otherwise seems silly. I guess I appreciated the effort! However, I also found the debates kind of annoying. While I think Annie was a bit more open to nuance in some things than Dan, overall I found both frustratingly stuck in their opinions. I ended up thinking less of both characters. I can see why authors just avoid these topics, because I was annoyed at both Dan and Annie so frequently, and politics was just one more difference I wasn’t convinced they could surmount.

Differences really were my main issue with the book, though. I was convinced that Dan and Annie were in lust, and I was convinced that they made a great pair when the chips were down. I was not, however, convinced that they would make a great pair when they were back to their real lives. As I already discussed, they had really different views politically, but more than that they wanted different things out of life. Even if Dan gets his tangled problems sorted out, is he really going to want to settle down? Would Annie be happy with a spouse who was frequently gone and, more importantly, not excited by any of the things she’s excited by? I just couldn’t see it working long term.

I didn’t have a bad time reading this book, but neither was I captivated.

Grade: 3 out of 5

three-stars


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DNF Review: Wired by Julie Garwood

Posted August 31, 2017 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

DNF Review: Wired by Julie GarwoodReviewer: Holly
Wired (Buchanan-Renard, #13) by Julie Garwood
Series: Buchanan-Renard #13
Published by Berkley
Publication Date: July 4th 2017
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 336
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
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dnf

A beautiful computer hacker and a bad-boy FBI agent must collaborate—in more ways than one—in the sizzling new novel from #1 New York Times bestselling author Julie Garwood.

Allison Trent doesn’t look like a hacker. In fact, when she’s not in college working on her degree, she models on the side. But behind her gorgeous face is a brilliant mind for computers and her real love is writing—and hacking—code. Her dream is to write a new security program that could revolutionize the tech industry.

Hotshot FBI agent Liam Scott has a problem: a leak deep within his own department. He needs the skills of a top-notch hacker to work on a highly sensitive project: to secretly break into the FBI servers and find out who the traitor is. But he can’t use one of his own. He finds the perfect candidate in Allison. Only, there’s one problem—she wants nothing to do with his job and turns him down flat.

What Liam doesn’t know is that Allison is hiding secrets that she doesn’t want the FBI to uncover. But Liam will do nearly anything to persuade her to join his team, even break a few rules if that’s what it takes. A temptation that could put his job—and both of their futures—on the line…and longing for more . . .

It’s been a lot of years since I read (or tried to read) a Garwood contemporary romantic suspense. I have mad love for her older historicals, but her contemporary voice has never worked for me. I figured I’d give her another try and see if, with some distance from her historicals, I’d feel differently.

I only made it through about 3 chapters before setting this aside. I was mostly bored while reading it. The magical spark I’m used to from her historicals – the one I found missing in her earlier RS novels – wasn’t there. Nothing really grabbed me or pulled me in.

I usually give a book at least 50-100 pages before setting it aside, but I just couldn’t force myself to continue.

DNF

dnf


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