Tag: Penny McCall

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
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
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.



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What I Read Last Week

Posted February 22, 2010 by Tracy in Features | 15 Comments

Happy Monday!

It’s been a crazy week at my house. Hubby is still recuperating and I’m still taking care of him. My youngest then got sick on Saturday with a high fever, vomiting and a bad cold. Oy. I think I need a caretaker for the caretaker. lol Other than that life is good. I got a lot of reading done this week…especially this weekend taking care of my youngest. She just wanted me to hold her while she stared at the wall so I read. Poor thing.

At one point this week I was trying to think of the name of a book. I had to go back through my blog to find it since I could remember the premise but not the character names. I found the book but discovered that I really have been slacking on the book descriptions and just telling how I felt about the book. I will endeavor to do better with this. If I start slacking off you can give me a cyber slap. 🙂

Book Giveaway winner!  I used my high tech name generator (aka put names in a basket and have my friend Shannon draw one out) and the winner of Catch Me If You Can by LB Gregg is:


Congrats Joder!  I have the email address that you left on my blog when you entered.  I will send you Catch Me to you on March 2nd! 

Now – on to what I read:

First up for the week was The Truth About Lord Stoneville by Sabrina Jeffries. This is book one in the Hellions of Halstead Hall series about 5 siblings who were more or less raised by their grandmother. Said grandmother, who is a wealthy woman due to her husband’s brewery has said that all of the siblings must marry within a year or they will receive no money. Since none of them are flush by any means and depend on her they are not happy about this turn of events. The Marquess of Stoneville – the oldest son – decides to thwart his grandmother by bringing home the most unacceptable bride he can find…one straight from a brothel. Except he runs into Maria Butterfield and due to crazy circumstances pretty much bribes her into being his pretend bride. They of course fall in love cuz this is a romance, after all. I really liked this book a lot. I thought Maria and Oliver played off each other very nicely and it just gave me the warm fuzzies. lol 4.25 out of 5

The next book was Trouble in Mudbug by Jana Deleon. This was a recommendation from the lady at New and Recycled Romance but I just couldn’t get into it. I may go back and finish it sometime but IDK. I got about 100 pages into the story – a botanist in Louisiana who was being investigated, but we don’t know why – and she inherits an entire preserve from her dead m-i-l who in life hated her – Oh, and said m-i-l is now haunting her and she’s the only one who can see her ghost – and I just couldn’t read any further. When the heroine of the story kept saying that she was doing things that she would never in a million years do…like breaking and entering…I just couldn’t keep reading. DNF

The Bliss Factor by Penny McCall was next and again I had to put the book down for lack of interest. Again, got about 125 pages in and had to put it down. A woman is asked by her hippie-like parents to “watch” a friend of theirs. Only the man was hit on the head and since he was working the renaissance fair he thinks that’s his time period and doesn’t understand this strange new world. Not my thing, unfortunately. DNF


Next up was Bareback by Chris Owen. I read this one for my m/m challenge. I really liked it. You can read my review here. 4 out of 5

Remember I said that I had a lot of books to read for The Book Binge? Well, I tried to get through a bunch of the ebooks this week. All but two were novellas so it made for fast reading. It looks like I read a lot but really when you think about it the 3 novellas and 1 short equal 1 full length novel. 🙂 

1) The first was Hidden Desires by Elizabeth Lapthorne. A woman goes to Mardi Gras in New Orleans and not only picks up a magical mask but meets the man of her dreams. 3.25 out of 5 Review here
2) The next was Mardi Gras by Lacey Alexander. The story of a woman who is crazy about her boss that she’s known since she was about 12. She puts on a costume during Mardi Gras so she can finally do him like she wants because she knows she can never have his heart. Things don’t always work out as planned though. 4 out of 5. Review here
3) Pet Me by Amarinda Jones. Drusilla goes to a pet store to find a replacement fish for the one she’s accidentally killed. She meets Cormack who’s fighting her for the fish and they find instant lust and eventually love. A very funny novella that I enjoyed. 4.25 out of 5. I’ll let you know when my review posts.
4) Heart of Gold by Riley Ashford. This is the story of a woman who buys an abandoned, supposedly haunted plantation in the south. She meets ghosts, learns its history and meets a very alive descendant that turns her heart and her body upside down. 3.75 out of 5. I’ll let you know when my review posts.
5) Master of Fire by Angela Knight. This is book 11 in the Mageverse series. I’ve been waiting impatiently for another addition to this series for about 2 years. It was a good one. Arthur and Gwen’s son Logan is being targeted by an assassin so they send a witch to guard him with strict instructions not to tell Logan what she is and definitely not sleep with him (doing so 3 times will turn him to a vamp). Yeah, things don’t always go as planned – with the relationship or the assassin. 4 out of 5. I’ll let you know when my review posts.

Next was the book for my DIK Reading Challenge. I chose Bed of Roses by Nora Roberts for this month’s read. The story of Emma and Jack and their friendship turning into much, much more. You can read my review on Wednesday. 4.25 out of 5

Lift Me Up by Rayne Auster was the following read. This novella is the story of Avery who has a heart wrenching experience in the elevator of his apartment building. He is so distraught he can’t quite make it into his apartment. His new neighbor, Dylan, accidentally trips over him and it’s a match made in heaven. Well, almost. It was a cute story. The telling in first person was a little odd at times but it was good. 3.25 out of 5

And last but not least was my Tracy’s TBR Challenge read (actually 3 of the books I read this week I’ve had for more than 3 months, but who’s counting?) was It’s In His Kiss by Julia Quinn. I had read the first 6 Bridgerton books fairly quickly but I think I’d gotten a little burned out on them. This is book 7 and follows Hyacinth who is helping Gareth St. Clair interpret his paternal grandmother’s diary. This leads them to spending more time together but also to start looking for some diamonds that are supposedly hidden in the St. Clair home. It’s a very cute love story that I very much enjoyed reading. Hyacinth had kind of bugged me in previous books but she really didn’t in this one which I was really surprised about. I liked her spunk in this book where in previous books her mouth just annoyed me. 4.25 out of 5

Happy Reading!

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Review: Packing Heat by Penny McCall.

Posted April 28, 2009 by Rowena in Reviews | 4 Comments

Publisher: Berkley, PenguinGenres: Romantic Suspense

Hero: Cole Hackett
Heroine: Harmony Swift
Grade: 3 out of 5

When a cool computer whiz-turned-convict is paired with a sexy FBI agent, love on the run turns into something much more than just fun.

I picked up this book from my TBR pile because I liked the cover. I thought it was fun and sexy and I was curious to see if I would like the story as much as I liked the cover.

This book follows FBI Agent Harmony Swift as she tries to manuever her way through the system to 1) break Cole Hackett out of prison and 2) free her good friend from kidnappers. She needs Cole’s computer skills to move some money that the FBI won’t move for the kidnappers so that she could free the only father figure she’s had since her parents died. She’s new to being a field agent and it’s clear from the jump why her superiors won’t put her in the field. She’s much too emotional and that’s so true. Harmony jumped into this little situation that she created for herself and at the beginning of the book, it felt like Harmony was in over her head and she was kind of just flailing about trying to make things work.

This book was definitely action packed, it was one action scene after another. They were running from the cops, running from the FBI and then they were jumping on trains and just..on the run. The action scenes definitely kept the story moving but it kind of took away from the characters. I mean, I saw the characters running for their lives and I was hoping that they’d make it out alive but I didn’t really know the characters. I knew their names and I knew that Cole was in prison because the FBI dicked him over and then I knew that Harmony’s parents died when she was a kid and that she was blonde but that’s about it. As the story progressed, we learned a little bit more about them but when I put this book down, I can’t say for certain that I would remember either the hero or the heroine a few months from now.

Cole Hackett has a big chip on his shoulder and he hates the FBI. They dicked him over and stole 8 years of his life and that big ass chip on his shoulder was understandable. He’s a computer nerd who beefed up in prison because he didn’t want to be anybody’s bitch so he learned to fight and he got muscles and turned himself into a sexy man, I thought he was a pretty decent hero. When we first meet Cole, he just got out of prison, he’s horny and he’s stuck with a gorgeous blonde and when she gets drunk and throws herself at him, he turns her away because she’s drunk? That made me laugh. Aside from the fact that even after I finished the book, I didn’t feel as if I knew Cole. The only thing I knew for certain was that he was a hot little computer nerd. Very sexy, but that’s it.

Same with Harmony. She was smart as a whip and witty to boot but after all was said and done, that’s really all I knew about her. Well that and she was lusting after Cole like it was nobody’s business. Harmony is an FBI Agent who is on a mission. One that’s not really sanctioned by the FBI but she needs to do what she needs to do to save the life of the only man that has given a damn about her since her parents died. The FBI won’t save him so she takes it upon herself to save him and to pull it off, she needs Cole’s help.

This was a pretty decent first Penny McCall read. I enjoyed the action scenes, I enjoyed watching Cole and Harmony together and watching them run for their lives but because I didn’t finish the book with a good sense of who the main characters were, it chipped away at my enjoyment of the book as a whole. I wanted more character development and I just didn’t feel like I got that but it was still an okay read and I would recommend this to anyone who wants to read those fast paced, action packed romances.

This book is available from Berkley Sensation. You can buy it here.

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