Tag: Romantic Suspense

Guest Review: Kill Without Shame by Alexandra Ivy

Posted January 20, 2017 by Jen in Reviews | 2 Comments

Guest Review: Kill Without Shame by Alexandra IvyReviewer: Jen
Kill Without Shame (ARES Security, #2) by Alexandra Ivy
Series: ARES Security #2
Published by Zebra
Publication Date: December 27, 2016
Genres: Romantic Suspense
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three-half-stars

Five brave military heroes have survived the hell of a Taliban prison to return home—and take on civilian missions no one else can. They’re the men of ARES Security. Highly skilled, intimidating, invincible, and one by one, tested again and again…  Lucas St. Clair’s prestigious family had a political future neatly planned out for him—one that didn’t include his high school sweetheart, Mia Ramon. Under their pressure, Lucas gave her up. But since surviving captivity, he’s a changed man—and a crucial member of ARES Security. When he discovers a dead man clutching a picture of Mia that bears a threatening message, his fiercest protective instincts kick in, and he knows he must go to her.   Mia has never forgiven Lucas for breaking her heart, and she’s convinced her feelings for him are in the past. But it’s soon clear that isn’t true for either of them. Now, determined to solve the crime and keep Mia safe, with his ARES buddies backing him up, Lucas will have to reconstruct the murder victim’s last days—and follow a lethal trail that leads right back to the fate of the woman he still loves…  “A fantastic blend of romance and suspense…thrilling to the end.” --Mary Burton, USA Today bestselling author on Kill Without Mercy

In Kill Without Shame, we meet yet another amazing security team of badasses, this time called ARES. The members are all former military guys who were held prisoner together in Afghanistan. Lucas St. Clair is one of them, though unlike the rough backgrounds most of them have, Lucas comes from a rich political family. He turned his back on that life for good after coming back home, and now he’s rich and successful all on his own. When he finds out his high school girlfriend Mia is in danger, he immediately rushes to her side. He left her once, but he never stopped loving her (naturally), and now he has to convince her that not only can he keep her safe but he wants back in her life for good. Mia and Lucas have to figure out who wants her dead and put a stop to their plans.

This was a fun and interesting book! As you can probably guess, it doesn’t exactly break new ground, what with the secret team, the “I dumped you for your own good but I never forgot you” that Lucas has going on, and the headstrong but smart heroine. Still, I enjoy those stories so for me this one worked. I liked that Mia doesn’t immediately roll over and let Lucas in. She doesn’t trust him at first, nor should she. Well, she trusts his skills at keeping her safe pretty quickly, but she doesn’t trust his intentions and makes him work to regain that trust. Even better, Lucas understands why she doesn’t trust him and doesn’t push her or get mad at her for her reticence. He knows he screwed up, and he knows he needs to earn her back. I did also appreciate that his reasons for leaving her originally aren’t totally bogus (just a little bit, ha). Looking from the outside in, we readers can see neither Lucas nor Mia was really ready to handle their love yet. We can see that time to mature and some tough life experiences for both of them have made them stronger and better prepared to be together.

I liked the mystery in the book. There are some pretty big twists and turns, and even though I could kind of figure out who the villain might be fairly early, that person’s motivations weren’t quite clear at first. The book isn’t action-packed but the pace was fairly steady. Unfortunately, Lucas and Mia do something profoundly stupid towards the end, which was out of character and unnecessary except as a way to allow the villain to get to them in a dramatic fashion.

For me, this was a solid book in a new-to-me series, and I’ll be looking forward to more.

Grade: 3.5 out of 5

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

three-half-stars

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Guest Review: Seconds to Sunrise by Nico Rosso

Posted January 16, 2017 by Jen in Reviews | 2 Comments

Guest Review: Seconds to Sunrise by Nico RossoReviewer: Jen
Seconds to Sunrise (Black Ops: Automatik #3) by Nico Rosso
Series: Black Ops: Automatik #3
Also in this series: Seconds to Sunrise
Published by Carina Press
Publication Date: January 16th 2017
Genres: Romantic Suspense
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three-half-stars

Readers of Maya Banks’s KGI series will love the adrenaline-fueled, pulse-pounding suspense of Nico Rosso's SECONDS TO SUNRISE
She thought she’d lost everything…
April Banks thought her website crashing was just a glitch. Starting the online forum for war widows has been the only thing keeping her together since her husband died, and she won’t let anything interfere with her work. But this is no technical malfunction—cyberterrorists have targeted the information locked in April’s website and they’ll do anything to get it. Even if that means removing April. Permanently.
He’ll make them pay…
Automatik gave former SAS agent James Sant a way to protect the innocent again. He thinks life in the shadows is all he deserves…until he meets his newest assignment. April is everything James has never let himself want and he knows she’s already had too much heartbreak in her life to risk feeling for him. But keeping things professional while hunting the hackers with the gorgeous widow is going to be the hardest job he’s ever taken on.
This book is approximately 75,000 words
One-click with confidence. This title is part of the Carina Press Romance Promise: all the romance you’re looking for with an HEA/HFN. It’s a promise! Find out more at CarinaPress.com/RomancePromise

This is the third book in Nico Rosso’s Black Ops: Automatik series, and this time we meet Automatik operator James Sant, who is called in to help widow April Banks. April runs a website for war widows, and it’s given her a purpose and helped her move on after her own husband died in combat. The site was hacked and brought down, though, and personal data of site visitors was stolen. (Why? Personally I was never clear on why the hackers were trying to accomplish. The premise seemed a little flimsy.) James and April have to physically track down the hackers so they can protect the site users and put a stop to whoever is behind the attack.

This book is a bit of fun and fast paced action. I always love a good road trip, and we get one here. James and April have to chase clues through multiple states to track down the hackers, which leads to some great get-to-know-you time. James is an interesting character because he’s not always been with the “good guys”. He has some major guilt and you can see why he’d be so dedicated to spending the rest of his life making up for past choices, as it were. I enjoyed seeing him work to move beyond his past and acknowledge the good he has done since. I also loved the short scene with his dad. I wish we had gotten to spend more time with him, because seeing James with his family really drove home the point that he WAS a decent guy who just made some questionable choices.

I often feel like Rosso’s books are great for the action but not as great at touching your heartstrings, and Seconds to Sunrise was no exception. I expected more emotion from April’s story in particular, as she lost a husband she loved to war. Instead, I felt like the story just assumed it was obvious that such a loss was really painful, instead of helping us see April’s pain. There was also a little depth missing from James and April’s relationship. The right pieces are all there, but the dialogue and inner thoughts just don’t quite express that deeper emotional connection that I personally enjoy in romances. It’s not that I didn’t like them as a couple or enjoy reading their story, but I certainly didn’t end the book with a sweet sigh and won’t be fondly remembering their relationship. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, just something you want to know going in.

If you like action packed romances with racially/ethnically diverse characters and some hot sex, check this one out.

Grade: 3.5 out of 5

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

three-half-stars

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Review: Gone From Me by Linda Winfree

Posted January 12, 2017 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Gone From Me by Linda WinfreeReviewer: Holly
Gone From Me (Hearts of the South, #10) by Linda Winfree
Series: Hearts of the South #10
Also in this series: Truth and Consequences, What Mattered Most, His Ordinary Life, Uncovered, Fall Into Me, Memories of Us, Hearts Awakened, Facing It, Hold On To Me
Published by Samhain Publishing
Publication Date: May 10th 2016
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 292
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four-stars

"Their life was a fairy tale until it all came tumbling down."
"Hearts of the South," Book 10
Georgia Bureau of Investigation agent Amy Bennett isn t sure when her own Prince Charming went AWOL from their marriage, but she s certain of one thing. She wants him back. She and Rob had it all: law-enforcement careers they loved and each other. Yet somehow he s wound up sleeping on the couch and emotionally beyond her reach.
Rob is trying to put the pieces back together, but battling his own demons while starting over in a small-town sheriff s department is pushing him and his marriage to the breaking point.
His very first missing person s case threatens to end anything but happily ever after for the families involved. Then a young man goes missing too, and the pressure has Rob reaching for the nearest lifeline. The one that s dangling by the barest of threads his wife.
And though Amy s grip is strong, her love may not be enough to keep Rob from slipping away.
"Warning: Contains a husband who s holding too much in, and a wife who ll do anything to get him to let go, even meet him halfway on their last piece of common ground in bed. Also: cop bonding between cops who talk like cops.""

I’ve been waiting years and years for Winfree to start writing again. I was concerned after so many years I wouldn’t enjoy her latest, but that wasn’t the case. I fell into the story right away. I felt like I was visiting old friends.

Amy and Rob got married right out of college. They were madly in love and things were going swimmingly, until they started trying for kids. After years of not being able to conceive the stress finally became too much to bear and they decided to adopt. Only they suffered a one-two blow when their application was denied after Rob was laid off from his job with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. While he was still reeling from that, his father, the person he was closest to in the world aside from Amy, suddenly died.

Months later they’ve moved to Chandler County, Georgia and he’s taken a position on the local police force. Despite their love for one another, their marriage is on the rocks. Rob pulled away from Amy after losing his father, and she didn’t know how to turn to him with her feelings about their lack of success in getting pregnant. When their long-time friend, and Rob’s co-worker, hits on Amy right in front of him, it’s the last straw. Finding their way back to each other isn’t going to be easy, but they know something has to give. Either they fight for their marriage or they give up on it and walk away.

There’s a suspense plot that runs throughout the book, but I felt the focus was on Amy and Rob’s failing marriage. Both have work to do on themselves and on their marriage, and I enjoyed watching them find their way.

I loved reconnecting with old characters and meeting new ones. This felt like coming home and visiting family I’d lost touch with. I’m so glad she’s continuing with this series.

4 out of 5

four-stars

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Guest Review: The Fixer by HelenKay Dimon

Posted January 11, 2017 by Jen in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: The Fixer by HelenKay DimonReviewer: Jen
The Fixer by HelenKay Dimon
Series: Games People Play #1
Published by Avon
Publication Date: December 27th 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Romantic Suspense
Pages: 384
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four-stars

He’s known only as Wren. A wealthy, dangerously secretive man, he specializes in making problems disappear. A professional fixer, Wren hides a dark past, but his privacy is shattered when Emery Finn seeks him out—and what she wants from him is very personal.

Some people disappear against their will. Emery’s job is to find them and bring closure. Wren is the only person who can help solve Emery’s own personal mystery: the long-ago disappearance of her cousin. Just tracking down the sexy, brooding Wren is difficult enough. Resisting her body’s response to him will prove completely impossible.

Anonymity is essential to Wren’s success, yet drawn by Emery’s loyalty and sensuality, he’s pulled out of the shadows. But her digging is getting noticed by the wrong people. And as the clues start to point to someone terrifyingly close, Wren will have to put his haunted past aside to protect the woman he loves.

Emery Finn’s cousin disappeared when they were kids, and Emery has dedicated much of her life to finding her. She comes across the name “Wren” in connection with the case and sets about tracking him down, a task much easier said than done until Wren himself steps in to convince her to stop asking questions. He requires privacy because he is a highly sought after “fixer” who makes problems disappear for the wealthy and powerful, but somehow he just can’t stay away from Emery. He starts to help her against his better judgment, and when dangerous things start happening he goes all in!

This book really worked for me, mostly because of Wren! He is domineering, autocratic, and amazing at everything he does, but he’s a little more than your average alphahole. He doesn’t have great social skills and struggles to relate to others beyond a few long-time friends. Even better, he KNOWS he’s kind of weird and autocratic and wants to make better choices when it comes to Emery. Now, he doesn’t always succeed, and he very seriously oversteps at one point, but what redeems him for me is that after he’s done instinctively reacting in the moment, he pauses and checks in with Emery before he goes any farther. He wants to fix his mistakes and respect her autonomy and wishes.  We also meet his good friend Garrett (who better get his own book some day!), and the fact that Garrett clearly trusts Wren but also acknowledges that he sometimes oversteps gives the reader permission to do the same. And crucially, Emery doesn’t let him get away with that shit. Right from the start, she won’t stand for bossiness, but she also doesn’t hold his awkwardness or lack of social skills against him. She brings light and energy to his pretty dark life. I loved them together. They also have some great sexual tension as they circle each other and try to decide how much they can trust the other. Yum!

The relationship is what made this book a winner, because the rest of the book didn’t exactly blow me away. The mystery is a bit of a stretch, and the villain was kind of odd. There also aren’t many details given about Wren’s work. What precisely does a “fixer” do? You get the sense it’s somewhat unsavory but not exactly bad either, but that’s about it. While we find out about Wren’s background, we don’t really get much about his current life. 

I liked this one a lot, and I can’t wait to read more of this series.

Grade: 4.25 out of 5

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

four-stars

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Guest Review: Seconds to Sunrise by Nico Rosso

Posted January 5, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 3 Comments

Guest Review: Seconds to Sunrise by Nico RossoReviewer: Tracy
Seconds to Sunrise by Nico Rosso
Series: Black Ops: Automatik #3
Also in this series: Seconds to Sunrise (Black Ops: Automatik #3)
Published by Carina Press
Publication Date: January 16th 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Romantic Suspense
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
three-half-stars

She thought she’d lost everything…

April Banks thought her website crashing was just a glitch. Starting the online forum for war widows has been the only thing keeping her together since her husband died, and she won’t let anything interfere with her work. But this is no technical malfunction—cyberterrorists have targeted the information locked in April’s website and they’ll do anything to get it. Even if that means removing April. Permanently.

He’ll make them pay…

Automatik gave former SAS agent James Sant a way to protect the innocent again. He thinks life in the shadows is all he deserves…until he meets his newest assignment. April is everything James has never let himself want and he knows she’s already had too much heartbreak in her life to risk feeling for him. But keeping things professional while hunting the hackers with the gorgeous widow is going to be the hardest job he’s ever taken on.

April Banks survived the death of her husband by starting a website for that supported military widows.  The site grew and eventually there was a financial component so that if the need arose, and people wanted to help those in need, they could.  Now a hacker has crashed her site and is trying to get all of the financial information off of the site.  If successful, thousands of women would have their credit cards and identities revealed.  April tries to stop them but can’t get a lead on who is behind it all.

Enter James Sant. He is an ex-SAS agent who now works for a group called Automatik.  They help those who can’t help themselves and April is one of them.  He and his partner are assigned to just watch her but soon it becomes obvious that the hacker has hired out people to get April out of the picture.  Instead of just watching, James ends up partnering with April and they head out to check out leads when they get them and are attacked time and again.  During it all April and James become closer and April starts to see that maybe there is life after tragedy.

Seconds to Sunrise is the third book in the Black Ops: Automatik series.  I didn’t read the first two books in the series but this was a decent stand alone novel.

I thought the book had a good premise and I liked the characters for the most part.  I did find that I wanted to get to know them more by the end of the story, however.  I think I was supposed to feel more emotional toward April due to the loss of her husband but I never really felt that.  Did I think it sad and tragic? Absolutely, but I didn’t have an emotional reaction to it.  Because of this I couldn’t fully grasp April’s hesitance in going after James and I believe that put a damper on the entire story for me. I couldn’t even get into the sex scene because I wasn’t feeling the connection between the H/h (and it was a long scene!).

That being said, there were some things I definitely liked about the book.  The action scenes were great.  I’ve always loved Rosso’s action scenes as they’re written so well that I feel that I’m there in the middle of it all.  I also  liked the aspect of the story that pertained to James and his issues with his past.  He wasn’t proud of them at all and had hidden the information from everyone.  Meeting April made him realize that he couldn’t live with the guilt and secrecy and he came clean to her and his coworkers.  That was a wonderful part of the book which I liked a lot.  Overall it was a good suspense novel…I just wasn’t feeling the romance part of it.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

three-half-stars

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