Author: Adrienne Giordano

Guest Review: Deadly Odds by Adrienne Giordano

Posted August 1, 2016 by Jen in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Deadly Odds by Adrienne GiordanoReviewer: Jen
Deadly Odds (Casino Fortuna #1) by Adrienne Giordano
Series: Casino Fortuna #1
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: June 26, 2016
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Romantic Suspense
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Series Rating: five-stars

At Casino Fortuna, stakes are high and the nights are hot…

FBI agent-turned-consultant Kate Daniels hit the jackpot with her new assignment. A cheat is cashing in on the Strip, and she’s hired by Vegas’ biggest name to ensure his glamorous casino isn’t a target. Fortuna is a high roller’s paradise, all gleaming marble and dollar signs. Even a single flaw in security could cost big bucks. Kate can’t afford distractions. Especially the tall, dark and perfectly chiseled kind. Business and pleasure don’t mix. And sleeping with the boss is a dangerous gamble.

Fortuna’s VP of casino operations, Ross Cooper, is gaming’s golden boy. He’s got a head for business, an eye for beautiful women, and a love for the Vegas lifestyle. When he spots a gorgeous redhead casing his blackjack tables, Ross is more than a little intrigued—he’s suspicious. But Kate is no thief…she’s working for him? Ross hates surprises almost as much as the idea of trouble in his casino.

Kate quickly proves she’s more than a pretty face. Her instincts and smarts are just as enticing. And when her investigation turns deadly, Ross will risk it all to keep her by his side.

I almost stayed away from this book, because I was pretty sure I knew what it was about: a rich, domineering alpha casino boss in a gritty, tough business who gets off on ordering around a sexy lady, which isn’t a bad thing but isn’t always my cuppa. Instead, I was pleasantly surprised to a get a really funny, sweet, and exciting story with a cast of characters I just plain loved reading about.

Kate Daniels is a security consultant hired to help the new Fortuna casino outside Las Vegas tighten up their security in light of recent troubles at other casinos. She has to work with casino manager Ross Cooper, who is majorly attracted to her but doesn’t particularly appreciate his boss bringing in outside help. Kate and Ross immediately start circling each other but know it’s not a good idea to mix business and pleasure. Plus, catching the cheater becomes even more important when it looks like the Fortuna is getting hit as well.

I was madly in love with both Kate and Ross. Both of them are scary good at their jobs, and I appreciate a hero and heroine who have skills and enjoy their careers. Ross is, as Kate puts it, a “glad-hander”. He is amazing at working the extremely wealthy high rollers the casino caters to, and he is equally skilled at managing the complex beast that is a casino. He’s shot to the top of his profession and landed his dream job in his early 30s–they don’t call him the golden boy for nothing. But best of all, he’s not a jerk! He genuinely cares about his employees and the people around him, and while he is a bit of a player, he is honest with and respectful of the women he dates. It’s so rare to read about a hero who’s uber-successful in business that is NOT an alphahole. Don’t get me wrong, he’s definitely bossy and cocky, but he’s still a regular, decent guy. However, it was also fun to see Kate knock him down a peg or two. He has to work for her, as it should be!

Kate is also ridiculously smart and good at her job. She can pick out the slightest detail and understands how to read people, which is why she’s so good at spotting cheaters. The two of them together were great, too. Up until the last part of the book, they do a great job of communicating with each other and being honest about their feelings. They are both kind of surprised and freaked out by not only their attraction but how much they genuinely enjoy each other’s company, and it’s so cute to see them just baffled by what is happening. I would read a whole series about Kate and Ross catching casino cheats because I adored them.

There is a small but delightful cast of side characters too, especially Don, the Fortuna’s very old school head of security who is a laugh riot. The dialog between all the characters is funny and sharp, and the casino lingo and insider glimpses really brought the setting to life. Plus, the mystery isn’t half bad. I had an inkling of who might be involved early on, but the whole thing was more complex than I assumed at the start. This isn’t a dark or gritty book, nor is it particularly action packed, but that gives Kate and Ross time to get to know each other.

I did get a little frustrated by the conflict that drives the lovers apart near the end. Ross gets (unjustly) upset over something Kate does, which seemed out of character for the smart, cautious business man he was. Kate too flies off the handle and runs away too fast. It seemed more inflated than it had to be, and it put just a tiny damper on my enjoyment.

Still, it’s a minor complaint. I thought this book was fantastic, and as it looks like this is the start of a new series, I’ll definitely be looking forward to more.

Grade: 4.5 out of 5

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


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Guest Review: The Rebel by Adrienne Giordano

Posted October 8, 2015 by Jen in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: The Rebel by Adrienne GiordanoReviewer: Jen
The Rebel by Adrienne Giordano
Publisher: Harlequin Intrigue
Publication Date: September 15, 2015
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Add It: Goodreads
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A brilliant civil lawyer, David Hennings has always been the outsider—at odds with his wealthy family, shunning relationships, defying convention as a sexy leather-jacketed biker. Which is why sculptor Amanda LeBlanc agrees to his request to reconstruct a skull from a cold case murder. The instant heat between them is scorching.

But once Amanda takes the job and gets too close to the rebellious attorney, her carefully balanced life is upended by a series of methodical attacks. Someone doesn’t want her to finish the job. Now David will risk everything not to lose the woman he unknowingly put in jeopardy.

As the book opens, an off duty detective finds a skull in an empty lot in Chicago, obviously the victim of a murder. Years later, he’s still bothered by the unsolved crime and approaches artist Amanda LeBlanc to see if she can do a reconstruction to aid in identifying the woman. Amanda wants nothing to do with it, but the conversation is overheard by Pamela Hennings, wife of a famous lawyer-turned-investigator. Mrs. Hennings decides that this cold case needs solving, so she asks her son David to help convince Amanda to do the reconstruction. He manages to convince her to try a reconstruction, and he is pleasantly surprised by their mutual attraction. When disturbing things start happening to Amanda, she and David have to also investigate why someone might be causing trouble for her.

My favorite part of the book was David and Amanda’s relationship. I appreciated that they were open and honest with each other. Amanda lets David know what she needs to self soothe, and she stands up to David when she needs to. David in particular isn’t shy about letting Amanda know he’s interested. He admits he feels something new and exciting for her, and I like that just he wants to explore it instead of immediately tossing around words like “forever” like so many do in romances. While the two have an immediate attraction, for the most part they get to know each other before they really act on it. The story still takes place in a matter of days, but it doesn’t feel too rushed in the timeline of the plot. Their dialogue was snappy and fun. I’m always a sucker for a book set in Chicago, too, though I did wish the author made a little more use of the setting.

In contrast to their great moments of honesty, at other times David and Amanda both read as immature. Amanda is almost compulsively averse to emotional upheaval, even the good kind. She obviously has some unexplored angst due to her childhood. David has tons of issues with his family, and that’s where I felt like he seemed particularly immature. It’s not that I didn’t think the conflicts with his family were believable, but the way he handles them made him seem more like a young man than a grown man, which was unappealing. For instance, at one point he has a fight with his sister and gets mad at Amanda because she didn’t take his side. He actually says she needs to be on “Team David” at all times. I rolled my eyes there. I just didn’t enjoy that petty, immature side of him, and it didn’t mesh with his character elsewhere. I also really disliked his sister Penny. Penny is the heroine from an earlier related book, The Defender. I suspect she comes across very differently in her own book, but here she was unpleasantly sharp and mean. David was no saint, but I couldn’t help feeling like he was making much more of an effort to get along than Penny was. I certainly don’t feel inclined to read about her perspective in her own book. The mystery in this book was also just a touch flat. I liked the premise, but I felt like the villain came out of left field, and the whole thing relied on a few too many coincidences for my liking. It had good bones, but maybe needed a bit more fleshing out to feel realistic.

Overall, this book was a bit of a mixed bag for me. I felt like there were some missteps, but I still enjoyed myself.

Grade: 3.5 out of 4

This book is available from Harlequin Intrigue. You can purchase it here or here in e-format. This book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


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