Tag: Berkley

Sunday Spotlight: Last Seen Alone by Laura Griffin

Posted September 26, 2021 by Holly in Features, Giveaways | 2 Comments

Sunday Spotlight is a feature we began in 2016. This year we’re spotlighting our favorite books, old and new. We’ll be raving about the books we love and being total fangirls. You’ve been warned. 🙂

Sunday Spotlight: Last Seen Alone by Laura GriffinLast Seen Alone by Laura Griffin
Publisher: Penguin, Berkley
Publication Date: September 28, 2021
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 336
Add It: Goodreads
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When they face the most baffling missing person's case of their careers, a fiercely ambitious lawyer and a homicide detective have no one to turn to for help except each other, from New York Times bestselling author Laura Griffin.
Up-and-coming attorney Leigh Larson fights for victims of sexual extortion, harassment, and online abuse. She is not afraid to go after the sleaziest targets to get payback for her clients. Leigh is laser-focused on her career--to the exclusion of everything else--until a seemingly routine case and a determined cop turn her world upside down.
Austin homicide detective Brandon Reynolds is no stranger to midnight callouts. But when he gets summoned to an abandoned car on a desolate road, he quickly realizes he's dealing with an unusual crime scene. A pool of blood in the nearby woods suggests a brutal homicide. But where is the victim? The vehicle is registered to twenty-six-year-old Vanessa Adams. Searching the car, all Brandon finds is a smear of blood and a business card for Leigh Larson, attorney-at-law.
Vanessa had hired Leigh just before her disappearance, but Leigh has no leads on who could have wanted her dead. Faced with bewildering evidence and shocking twists, Leigh and Brandon must work against the clock to chase down a ruthless criminal who is out for vengeance.

Excerpt

Brandon found his partner exactly where he’d expected. Antonio stood beside the food truck in front of the courthouse, pumping ketchup onto a pair of hotdogs.

He glanced up from his lunch as Brandon approached.

“How’d it go? She know her?”

“I don’t know,” Brandon said.

“Well, did you ask her?”

“Yeah. She said Vanessa Adams isn’t a client.”

Antonio frowned. “So, what’s the problem?”

“She lied.”

“How do you know?”

“I could tell.”

Brandon couldn’t say how, exactly. But he had a nose for BS. And Leigh Larson, attorney-at-law, had been lying through her pretty white teeth.

“But why would she lie about knowing Vanessa?” Antonio asked.

“No idea,” Brandon said.

With his hotdogs fully loaded, Antonio stepped away from the food truck. Day or night, rain or shine, his partner never missed a meal. Even after grabbing less than three hours of sleep, he’d shown up for work this morning with bag full of breakfast tacos. The kid worked out like a maniac and was constantly scarfing down food.

“These are good.” Antonio said around a mouthful. “You want one?”

“No.”

Brandon glanced back at the courthouse, where the security line still stretched all the way to the park.

“She’s hot, though.”

He turned around. “What’s that?”

“The attorney.” Antonio smiled. “Don’t tell me you didn’t notice.”

Brandon didn’t comment. He’d have to be dead not to notice. Leigh Larson was definitely hot. The skirt, the heels, the sleek dark hair pulled back in prim bun.

But the main thing he’d noticed was her eyes. They were forest green, and they’d gone from surprised to wary the moment she noticed him watching her. She’d taken one look at him and tried to hightail it out of there.

Not exactly the response he usually got from women. Criminals, yeah, but not women in general. She’d said she was late for court, and that explained the rush, maybe, but it didn’t explain the lie.

Leigh Larson had lied to him—he was sure of it. What he didn’t get was why.

“Well, we may have a better lead anyway.” Antonio crumpled his first wrapper into a ball and pitched it into a trash bin before chomping into the second hotdog. “The lab called while you were in there. They just got the Toyota in. Who’d you talk to over there?”

“Jane,” Brandon said.

“Oh, yeah? Well, she must like you because they bumped us to the front of the line. They’ve already started processing the vehicle and get this. The smear on the door? They did a quickie test and confirmed the blood is human.”

Brandon wasn’t surprised. After four years in homicide, he was good at reading stains. The real question was, did the blood belong to Vanessa Adams, who was still apparently missing after abandoning her car on that highway more than fourteen hours ago?

And then there was the pool of blood Antonio had discovered in the woods. It was no small amount, and one look at it had prompted Brandon to get on the phone with his lieutenant to request a team of CSIs out there, stat, to process the scene.

Brandon took out his phone now and pulled up the photo he’d taken last night. The blood pool—still coagulating—had been discovered beside a burned tree stump. The sight had put a lead weight in Brandon’s gut as he tried to imagine what happened. Someone had been injured or worse, and the logical candidate was Vanessa. Had she been shot? Stabbed? Bludgeoned?

Despite combing the area, they’d turned up no shell casings or drag marks—nothing beyond that one pool of blood by the stump in the woods.

At this point, they didn’t know if that blood matched the smear in the car, or if it was Vanessa Adams’s. To determine that, they needed DNA tests, which meant submitting samples to the notoriously backlogged DNA lab, and jumping to the front of that line would take a hell of a lot more than a friendly phone call to Jane, especially since their case wasn’t even officially a homicide.

Yet.

Giveaway Alert

We’re giving one lucky winner their choice of one of our Sunday Spotlight books. Use the widget below to enter for one of this month’s features.

Sunday Spotlight: September 2021

Are you as excited for this release as we are? Let us know how excited you are and what other books you’re looking forward to this year!

About Laura Griffin

author photo

Laura Griffin is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of more than twenty-five books and novellas. Her books have been translated into fourteen languages. Laura is a two-time RITA® Award winner (for Scorched and Whisper of Warning) as well as the recipient of the Daphne du Maurier Award (for Untraceable). Her book Desperate Girls was named one of the Best Books of 2018 by Publishers Weekly. Laura lives in Austin, Texas, where she is working on her next novel.


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Review: Last Guard by Nalini Singh

Posted July 19, 2021 by Casee in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Last Guard by Nalini SinghReviewer: Casee
Last Guard by Nalini Singh
Narrator: Angela Dawe
Series: Psy/Changeling Trinity #5
Also in this series: Silver Silence, Silver Silence, Silver Silence, Ocean Light, Ocean Light , Wolf Rain , Wolf Rain, Alpha Night, Alpha Night
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: July 20, 2021
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Alternating Third Person
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 384
Length: 10 hours and 52 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Casee's 2021 Goodreads Challenge
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four-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

New York Times bestselling author Nalini Singh returns to a world devastated by change in her award-winning Psy-Changeling Trinity series, where two people defined by their aloneness hold the fate of the Psy in their hands…
Termed merciless by some, and a robotic sociopath by others, Payal Rao is the perfect Psy: cardinal telekinetic, CEO of a major conglomerate, beautiful—and emotionless.
For Canto Mercant, family and loyalty are everything. A cardinal telepath deemed "imperfect" by his race due to a spinal injury, Canto cares for the opinions of very few—and ruthlessly protects those he claims as his own. Head of intel of the influential Mercant family, he prefers to remain a shadow in the Net, unknown and unseen. But Canto is also an Anchor, part of a secretive designation whose task it is to stabilize the PsyNet. Now that critical psychic network is dying, threatening to collapse and kill the entire Psy race with it.
To save those he loves, Canto needs the help of a woman bound to him by a dark past neither has been able to forget. A woman who is the most powerful Anchor of them all: Payal Rao. Neither is ready for the violent inferno about to ignite in the PsyNet…or the passionate madness that threatens to destroy them both.

Canto Merchant & Payal Rao are both A-Psy. As anchors for the PsyNet, it isn’t just their job to keep the PsyNet from failing. It’s a compulsion for them. They can’t not do anything & everything to save the Psy race.

When Canto contacts Payal about being the voice for the anchors, he has no idea how intertwined their histories are. Since the time he was old enough, he has been searching for the girl that saved his life in the “rehabilitation” school they were both at. They didn’t know each other’s names. All they knew was the numbers that were assigned by the school. For Canto, 3K is a girl that was his salvation. Searching for her has become his obsession in life though he has never had so much as a lead on his 3K. His search for her has to be put on the back burner because the PsyNet is failing. Payal is a hub anchor, much like himself. The only difference as far as he can see is that Payal is Silent whereas Canto never was fully Silent. Then he sees her.

Payal walks a very fine line in her life. She’s the CEO of the Rao family holdings. She has a brother that would like nothing more than to murder her in her sleep, a sister she has to hide from her father & brother, and she’s a hub anchor. When Canto Merchant contacts her, Payal knows she can’t say no. If the anchors don’t get involved, the PsyNet will fall. Already the Ruling Coalition is discussing breaking the PsyNet into pieces. Both Payal & Canto know that doing that will not work. So she agrees to meet Canto. And gets the shock of her life.

Canto & Payal were thrown away when they were children because they hadn’t initialized as A’s. Payal couldn’t control her emotions. Canto couldn’t use his legs. It hurt to read how they were treated. Then it made me smile to read about how Canto looked after Payal & Payal protected Canto.

“Payal, you don’t have to hide me from them.” It came out hard, a near-snarl.
“Yes, I do. A solemn statement that cut him to the bone. “Because you’re my person. The only one I have. I need to protect you.”

This isn’t just about two children that formed a bond that nothing could destroy. It’s about children that were forgotten, children that weren’t protected, and children that died. All because they were A’s. It’s about the journey two A children took to find their way back to each other.

I could honestly go on and on about this book. I was barely able to put it down. I’m so excited to see where the series goes from here. I’m starting to think I’m getting a glimmer of what the end of the series will look like. Maybe.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Psy-Changeling

Psy-Changeling Trinity

four-half-stars


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Throwback Thursday Guest Review: The Bliss Factor by Penny McCall

Posted June 24, 2021 by Book Binge Guest Blogger in Reviews | 2 Comments

Throwback Thursday Guest Review: The Bliss Factor by Penny McCallReviewer: Judith
The Bliss Factor by Penny McCall
Series: FBI #5
Also in this series: Be A Good Girl (FBI, #3)
Publisher: Penguin, Berkley
Publication Date: February 2, 2010
Point-of-View: Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 336
Add It: Goodreads
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four-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Rae Blissfield became the world’s most buttoned-up accountant to escape childhood hell: growing up in a traveling Renaissance faire, thanks to her hippy-dippy parents. And now they’re begging her to help (babysit) one of their colleagues. Trouble is, the beyond-hunky Connor Larkin needs more than babysitting; he needs a bodyguard! Unbeknownst to everyone, Connor is an undercover FBI agent posing as a blacksmith. But after being attacked, Connor has lost his memory and thinks he actually is a medieval armorist.

Unfortunately, Connor’s amnesia hasn’t stopped the bad guys’ pursuit. Now Bliss and Connor are running for their lives, he’s falling in love, and he’s starting to remember things he doesn’t want to: dangerous things – things about Bliss even she doesn’t know. And for Connor, protecting Rae from the truth is all that matters, even if it kills him.

This review was originally published March 24, 2010

Rae Blissfield is not so different from many who have sought education in order to escape a childhood that has grown into a life that can no longer be tolerated. Such was the experience of this beautiful but “closed off” woman who just wants to be in the same place longer than two weeks, who is tired of the tirades of her hippy parents, and who is willing to live alone in order to be mistress of her own fate. She makes a very good living and while her life is often dull and boring – doing taxes really doesn’t make anyone’s blood sing – she is content to be “settled.”

A call from her parents who are vendors at the local Renaissance Faire brings her back into this world she wants so desperately to leave behind. She sees her parents annually when they come to Michigan, but beyond that she is not ever intending to be a part of their life again. Now they are presenting her with a dilemma that will ultimately be life-changing in more ways than she could ever anticipate. Asked to provide a sort of “sanctuary” for the colleague who has been assaulted and who has lost his memory. Rae’s parents are convinced that Connor Larkin’s well-being is at risk and are asking her to give him a home away from the Faire for a week.

Wow!! What a week! The attraction between Rae and Connor was immediate and he has openly courted her further attention. The tension between these two really doesn’t abate throughout the entire book. It is a romance that is sizzling and funny, intriguing with interesting repartee. However, the insistent pursuit of these two takes them way out of their comfort zones, especially Rae, who has so carefully built her stable life and who must now figure out a way to fulfill her parents’ concern and save her job at the same time, all the while trying to find a way to navigate her way through her feelings and her attraction to Connor that just seems to keep on keeping on.

This is a true suspense novel and as such doesn’t come up with easy answers. Rae makes some discoveries about her family that throw her for a really big loop. Connor’s growing attachment to her and her discovery of her feelings for him are complications that distract from their mutual desire to find those who are putting their lives and the lives of Rae’s family in danger. To find those people is to also find the criminal mind who has involved the Renaissance Faire and its people in criminal enterprise for many months. Lovers of suspense and mystery will love this book – it is a very good read. The plot twists and turns, and the ending was quite unexpected. Through it all sizzles the attraction between Rae and Connor, and that simply makes a good suspense novel even better.

I enjoyed this book and while I have not read other Penny McCall novels, I think I will be doing so in the near future.

I give this book a 4.5 rating out of 5.

FBI

four-half-stars


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Review: The Intimacy Experiment by Rosie Danan

Posted June 16, 2021 by Rowena in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: The Intimacy Experiment by Rosie DananReviewer: Rowena
The Intimacy Experiment by Rosie Danan
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: April 6, 2021
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Third Person
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 336
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Rowena's 2021 Goodreads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-half-stars

Naomi and Ethan will test the boundaries of love in this provocative romance from the author of the ground-breaking debut, The Roommate.

Naomi Grant has built her life around going against the grain. After the sex-positive start-up she cofounded becomes an international sensation, she wants to extend her educational platform to live lecturing. Unfortunately, despite her long list of qualifications, higher ed won't hire her.

Ethan Cohen has recently received two honors: LA Mag named him one of the city's hottest bachelors and he became rabbi of his own synagogue. Taking a gamble in an effort to attract more millennials to the faith, the executive board hired Ethan because of his nontraditional background. Unfortunately, his shul is low on both funds and congregants. The board gives him three months to turn things around or else they'll close the doors of his synagogue for good.

Naomi and Ethan join forces to host a buzzy seminar series on Modern Intimacy, the perfect solution to their problems--until they discover a new one--their growing attraction to each other. They've built the syllabus for love's latest experiment, but neither of them expected they'd be the ones putting it to the test.

I really enjoyed The Roommate and liked Naomi’s character in there so I was really looking forward to jumping into my ARC of The Intimacy Experiment.

Naomi Grant is Josh from The Roommate’s ex-girlfriend. When we first meet her, I wasn’t a fan. I thought she was a snobby brat but the more I read The Roommate, the more she grew on me. You could tell that there was a lot more to Naomi Grant than met the eye, so I was thrilled that she got her own happy ending because I wasn’t wrong. Naomi Grant was a fantastic heroine who completely won me over…and her hero, Ethan? Yeah, I want all of his smoke. He was the perfect hero for Naomi and I never really looked at rabbi’s or even thought of a romance novel hero who was a rabbi but Ethan was all that and a bag of chips and I loved him to pieces.

Honestly, I was wary going into this book because I wasn’t that interested in a romance about a rabbi and an ex-porn star but I’m glad that I read it anyway because I really liked it. I think I enjoyed it a smidge more than I did The Roommate and I adored Josh and Clara so that was a bit of surprise. Rosie Danan has cemented herself on my radar. I will definitely be reading more of her stuff. She’s got a great writing style that is easy to follow and you can tell that she works hard in her word choices because she took an unconventional romance novel couple and made them just work.

I really loved the way that she handled the heavy topics brought up. It was honest and refreshing and I loved it so much. I loved that Ethan knew how he felt about Naomi and didn’t shy away from them. I loved how patient he was and just how he loved Naomi. Naomi was no slouch either. I freaking loved her. She was strong and she was smart and seeing her struggle with her faith had me thinking about my own faith. Rosie Danan did such a great job of making me sit up and take notice of the stuff that I haven’t given thought to and I’m glad that she did because it made me connect with Ethan and Naomi all the more.

There’s a lot to love about this book and if Rosie Danan is on your TBR list, pick up her books. Read them. I promise you’ll like it. This one was a good one for sure.

4.5 out of 5

The Roommate

four-half-stars


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Sunday Spotlight: Murder at Sunrise Lake by Christine Feehan

Posted June 13, 2021 by Holly in Features, Giveaways | 2 Comments

Sunday Spotlight is a feature we began in 2016. This year we’re spotlighting our favorite books, old and new. We’ll be raving about the books we love and being total fangirls. You’ve been warned. 🙂

Sunday Spotlight: Murder at Sunrise Lake by Christine FeehanMurder at Sunrise Lake by Christine Feehan
Publisher: Penguin, Berkley
Publication Date: June 29, 2021
Genres: Suspense, Thriller
Pages: 432
Add It: Goodreads
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#1 New York Times bestselling author Christine Feehan reaches new heights of passion and suspense in this thrilling novel that takes readers deep into the California backcountry, where a woman is tormented by visions of a killer.

It starts in her dreams. Hideous flashes from a nightmare only she can stop. Images of a murderer stalking the ones she cares about most...

Stella Harrison thought she got away from the traumas of her past. Running the Sunrise Lake resort high in the Sierra Nevada mountains has brought her peace, even though she doesn't truly share her quiet life with anyone. Not even Sam, the hired handyman that notices everything and always seems to know exactly what she needs.
Stella doesn't know anything about Sam's past, but somehow over the last two years his slow, steady presence has slipped past her defenses. Still, she knows she can't tell him about her recent premonitions. So far there's been no murder. No body. No way to prove what's about to happen without destroying the life she's built for herself.

But a killer is out there. And Stella knows that this time she'll do whatever it takes to stop him.

Excerpt

Mommy, Daddy’s doing the bad thing again.

The child’s voice very clearly said the words she’d said to her mother when she was four years old. When she was five. When she was seven.

Stella Harrison knew she was dreaming but she still couldn’t fight her way to the surface. This was the fifth night in a row she’d had the dream and the camera had widened the lens just a little more, as it had every night, so she saw additional pieces of the hideous nightmare she couldn’t stop. The man fishing. He wore denim bibbed overalls tucked into high olive-colored waders. A blue cap was pulled low over his eyes so she couldn’t see his face. There were boulders among the heavy reeds and plants that grew thick along the shore, creeping out into the lake. He’d made his way through the boulders to get out from under the shade of several trees.

She tried to warn him. Yelling. Calling out. Don’t cast. Don’t do it. Every night she saw his line go into the same spot. That little darker area that rippled in rings like a little round pool, so inviting. The fisherman always did the same exact thing, like a programmed robot. Stepping forward, casting, the lure hitting perfectly, sinking into the middle of that inky spot, dropping beneath the water into the depths below.

The camera switched then and she could see beneath the water. It should have been tranquil. Peaceful. Fish swimming. Not the man in the wet suit, waiting for that hook, waiting to tug and enter into some kind of terrible game with the fisherman above the surface. The fight for the fish became a real life-and-death battle, with the fisherman lured farther and farther from the safety of the shore and into the reeds and rocks—closer to the threat that lurked beneath the water.

The mythical fish appeared to be fighting. He seemed big, and well worth the exhausting battle. The fisherman paid less and less attention to his surroundings as he reeled the fish nearer to him and realized he was close to winning his prize.

Without warning, the killer beneath the water rose up right in front of the unsuspecting fisherman, slamming him backward so that his waders couldn’t find traction on the muddy floor of the lake. The fisherman hit his head hard on the boulder behind him and went down. Immediately, the killer caught his legs and yanked hard, dragging him under the water and holding him there while the fisherman thrashed and fought, weak from the vicious blow to his head from the boulder.

Stella could only watch, horrified, as the killer calmly finished the scene by dragging the body to the surface for just a few moments so he could pull the bottom of the wader along a boulder. The killer then pulled the fisherman back into the water and tangled him in his own fishing line just below the water line in the reeds and plants close to the shore. The killer calmly swam off as if nothing had happened.

The lens of the camera snapped shut and everything went black.

Stella woke fighting a tangle of sheets, sweat dripping, hair damp. She sat up abruptly, pressing the heels of her hands to her eyes. Rubbing, scrubbing her palms down her face over and over. Trying to erase the nightmare. Not again. It had been years. Years. She’d made a new life for herself. New friends. A place. A home.

Now the nightmare was back and recurring. This was the fifth time she’d had it. Five times in a row. It wasn’t like she lived in a big city. Usually, if murder was happening, everyone would know, especially in a small town. But this killer was brilliant. He was absolutely brilliant and that was why he was going to get away with it—unless she brought attention to the murders. Even then, she wasn’t certain he would get caught.

She hadn’t realized she was rocking herself back and forth, trying to self-soothe. She forced herself to stop. She hadn’t done that in years either. All those terrible habits she had developed as a child, that came back as a teen, she’d managed to overcome. Now, she found they were sneaking back into her life.

 

From MURDER AT SUNRISE LAKE published by arrangement with Berkley, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC. Copyright © 2021 by Christine Feehan.

 

Giveaway Alert

We’re giving one lucky winner their choice of one of our Sunday Spotlight books. Use the widget below to enter for one of this month’s features.

Sunday Spotlight: June 2021

Are you as excited for this release as we are? Let us know how excited you are and what other books you’re looking forward to this year!

About Christine Feehan

I live on the beautiful Northern California coast and draw much inspiration from the beauty around me. I've always been a writer, for as long as I remember. My sisters were forced to read all of my books from the time I could write a story on paper.

I love family. I love my brothers and sisters, my children, my grandchildren and my great grandchildren. My home was always full of kids and children give me so much joy.

I also love my "sisters of the heart", those friends who have supported me through my life, laughed with me, cried with me and loved me regardless of how crazy my life got. I am a strong supporter of women helping each other which is why I became a third degree black belt and taught self-defense to women who'd been abused.

I love people and dogs, good books and great coffee and I'm lucky to know just how blessed I am.


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