Tag: Romantic Suspense

Guest Review: In Her Sights by Katie Ruggle

Posted August 9, 2019 by Jen in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: In Her Sights by Katie RuggleReviewer: Jen
In Her Sights by Katie Ruggle
Series: Rocky Mountain Bounty Hunters #1
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Publication Date: March 26, 2019
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 336
Add It: Goodreads
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four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Five bounty-hunting sistersDeep in the heart of the RockiesFighting to save each other...and the men who steal their hearts

Bounty hunter Molly Pax fought hard for everything she has, turning the bail recovery business she shares with her sisters into an unqualified success. So when their sticky-fingered mother jumps bail and puts the childhood home up as collateral, Molly's horrified. To make matters worse, every two-bit criminal in the Rockies now sees her family's misfortune as their next big break.

She needs help, stat.

Enter rival bounty hunter John Carmondy: six feet of pure trouble, with a cocky grin to match. John's the most cheerfully, annoyingly gorgeous frenemy Molly's ever had the pleasure of defeating...and he may be her only hope of making it out of this mess alive.

Like Stephanie Plum but want her to actually get with, and stick with, a guy? In Her Sights might appeal!

Molly Pax owns a bounty hunter business with her sisters. They have built a life in spite of their truly deadbeat mom who has done nothing but drag them down their entire lives. When their mom gets them into the kind of trouble that could easily ruin everything they’ve worked for, Molly has to turn to rival bounty hunter John Carmondy for help. She and John have to work together, even though they hate each other…don’t they?

I thought this book was a lot of fun. Ruggle does a great job with characters and dialogue that are funny but not ridiculous. The banter between Molly and John is excellent, but my favorite part is probably the relationships between the sisters. Molly is totally devoted to her family, and in fact she’s more of the mother than their actual mother. She will do anything to save her family, and you get the sense that her sisters feel the same. I always love reading about strong families, and this was definitely a good one. 

I really enjoyed the progression of John and Molly’s relationship too. John is a giant teddy bear, contrary to what Molly thinks of him at first. The story is written in third person but is limited to Molly’s perspective, so like Molly we don’t totally know what John is thinking. Unlike Molly, however, as the reader we can immediately see John has a crush on her and she’s the one misinterpreting his actions. On the one hand I wanted him to just tell her upfront how he was feeling, but on the other hand I could understand why you wouldn’t be rushing to confess your attraction to someone who treated you like the enemy. It’s clear Molly is feeling an attraction, too, and once she finally recognizes it they make an adorable couple. 

I always love a good bounty hunter story, and this one fits that trope perfectly. It’s fun to see Molly and her sisters doing their jobs. They’re all smart and tough and capable, and I had a great time getting to know them.

Grade: 4 out of 5

Rocky Mountain Bounty Hunters

four-stars


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Throwback Thursday Review: The Heart of a Killer by Jaci Burton

Posted August 8, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 3 Comments

Throwback Thursday Review: The Heart of a Killer by Jaci BurtonReviewer: Holly
The Heart of a Killer by Jaci Burton
Series: The Killer #1
Publisher: MIRA
Publication Date: October 25, 2011
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 407
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four-half-stars
Series Rating: five-stars

No one said coming home would be easy. But for Dante Renaldi, it's murder.

Before the Special Forces hero has even unpacked his bags from twelve years of active duty, he's embroiled in murder—corpses bearing the brutal trademark he's seen only once before—on the worst night of his life.

The last time Detective Anna Pallino saw Dante Renaldi, they were in love. Now, he's part of the connection to a string of fresh homicides and a horrible assault that Anna only survived thanks to him.

More than anything, Anna wants to trust Dante. But as the bodies and the coincidences stack up, Anna will have to decide, and fast: Is the man she owes her life to the very same one who wants her dead?

*** Every Thursday, we’ll be posting throwback reviews of our favorite and not-so-favorite books. Enjoy! ***

Narrator: She was not, in fact, coming out of her romantic suspense funk. It’s still going, some 8 years later…

This review was originally posted on Nov 15, 2011.

It looks like I might be coming out of my romantic suspense funk. I really enjoyed this. It’s a gripping tale filled with twists and turns. I suspected the killer early on but enjoyed watching the rest figure it out.

The main – and secondary – characters were well written. Anna was annoying at times, but then so was Dante. They have a lot of baggage between the two of them. It was hard watching them struggle to get over their past feelings and focus on the present. Especially Anna. She really clung to her hurt and anger over Dante leaving so abruptly.

Aside from that, I found both characters to be well balanced and likable. The trauma they suffered when Anna was attacked followed them through their lives. Burton did a bang up job of showing us how each of them was still dealing with what happened that night. I felt really connected to them, and understood where each of them was at.

The romance was very well done. Anna and Dante had a lot of chemistry, but physical attraction isn’t everything. Their emotional connection was strong despite the long separation. Between the two – the physical and emotional – I was fully invested in them finding their HEA.

I figured out pretty early on who the villain was, but I enjoyed watching the others clue in. I’m really looking forward to the next installment.

Burton balanced the suspense and romance perfectly. Fans of her more erotic romance titles might be disappointed – there isn’t a lot of sex here. Personally I think that worked in the context of the story and didn’t take away from the romance at all.

Overall a well written, chilling suspense flavored with the perfect amount of romance.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

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

four-half-stars


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Guest Review: Tightrope by Amanda Quick

Posted July 24, 2019 by Jen in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: Tightrope by Amanda QuickReviewer: Jen
Tightrope by Amanda Quick
Series: Burning Cove #3
Also in this series: The Other Lady Vanishes (Burning Cove #2)
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: May 7, 2019
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 309
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three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

An unconventional woman and a man shrouded in mystery walk a tightrope of desire as they race against a killer to find a machine that could change the world.

Former trapeze artist Amalie Vaughn moved to Burning Cove to reinvent herself, but things are not going well. After spending her entire inheritance on a mansion with the intention of turning it into a bed-and-breakfast, she learns too late that the villa is said to be cursed. When the first guest, Dr. Norman Pickwell, is murdered by his robot invention during a sold-out demonstration, rumors circulate that the curse is real.

In the chaotic aftermath of the spectacle, Amalie watches as a stranger from the audience disappears behind the curtain. When Matthias Jones reappears, he is slipping a gun into a concealed holster. It looks like the gossip that is swirling around him is true—Matthias evidently does have connections to the criminal underworld.

Matthias is on the trail of a groundbreaking prototype cipher machine. He suspects that Pickwell stole the device and planned to sell it. But now Pickwell is dead and the machine has vanished. When Matthias’s investigation leads him to Amalie’s front door, the attraction between them is intense, but she knows it is also dangerous. Amalie and Matthias must decide if they can trust each other and the passion that binds them, because time is running out.

This book brings us back to Burning Cove, California, a vacation getaway for the rich and famous in 1930s Hollywood. Amalie Vaughn is a former trapeze artist who left her career under tragic and inauspicious circumstances. She has moved to Burning Cove to start a new life and open a bed and breakfast. When her first guest is unfortunately murdered, she gets tangled up in something nefarious. Matthias Jones is investigating in Burning Cove as well. At first he sticks close to Amalie because he is searching for information, but quickly he starts sticking close to her for more personal reasons. 

I recognize that this series is nothing ground breaking, but for me it is lots of fun. I really enjoy the world Quick has painted, and I enjoy revisiting Burning Cove in each book. This one in particular felt like a good old fashioned mystery. The murdered guest is a self proclaimed inventor of robots, and that added a fun flavor to the intrigue. Similarly, Amalie’s background as a trapeze artist is glamorous and unique, and I loved that she’s able to use some of her past skills to save herself in the end. 

Matthias and Amalie make a nice couple, although Mathias isn’t particularly interesting to me as a character. No one knows quite what he does, though the rumor is that he’s mixed up with criminals. It was all a little silly. I did like that he appreciates Amalie and her abilities, and like the other heroes in the series he respects and values the heroine’s independence. There’s also a whiff of the supernatural in his backstory, though it’s never really identified as such as nothing much comes of it. I’m not sure if this is supposed to be a slight callback to Quick’s Arcane Society series or not, but I didn’t really think it added anything to the story.

This series has become a kind of comforting world for me to visit. It never knocks my socks off, but it’s romantic, unique, and interesting, and I like the characters Quick has created.

Grade: 3.5 out of 5

Burning Cove

three-half-stars


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Guest Review: Beyond Risk by Connie Mann

Posted July 3, 2019 by Jen in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Beyond Risk by Connie MannReviewer: Jen
Beyond Risk by Connie Mann
Series: Florida Wildlife Warriors #1
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Publication Date: January 29, 2019
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 416
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two-half-stars
Series Rating: three-stars

The river runs wild …

Former Fish & Wildlife Officer Charlotte “Charlee” Tanner still carries the guilt of a tragic drowning accident that occurred on her watch. She hoped moving back home to the wilds of central Florida would provide a safe haven—until she learns the death was no accident, and she’s the intended target.

… But no wilder than their passion.

Tough and decisive, Lieutenant Hunter Boudreau loves his new job as a law enforcement officer with the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission. Charlee is his best friend, so when she comes under fire, he’s not letting her out of his sight until the killer is caught. But Charlee won’t sit by and let anyone else die for her.

As danger closes in and Charlee and Hunter’s attraction threatens to consume them, Charlee has to decide if she can trust Hunter. And to save Charlee, Hunter will have to trust her, too.

Charlee Tanner has moved back home to help with her family’s business, running wilderness and river tours in Florida. She had left home after a tragic incident in which a boy died while on an excursion with Charlee, but her family needs the help so she is trying to get back into the swing of things. When another boy is almost killed while on a trip with Charlee on the anniversary of the earlier death, things start looking suspicious. Hunter is a new leader in the Fish and Wildlife Service and Charlee’s best friend. He begins investigating the attacks, with Charlee’s help. Things escalate with the mystery and between Hunter and Charlee, who both are attracted to each other but are hesitant to start anything.

This book was…fine. I liked the action–there is a lot of chasing and investigating. I also liked that Charlee is a wilderness guide. It provided a fun, interesting setting for the story. She’s (mostly) capable and tough, and she knows how to survive. I also appreciate that she has a friendship with Hunter before a romance. Even though we come into the story after their friendship has been developed, I always enjoy a friends-to-lovers progression.

Overall, though, I didn’t think Hunter and Charlee’s romance was particularly compelling. They were both clearly interested in each other, but they each held back. Charlee was coming off a relationship with a jerk who definitely wasn’t right for her, so some initial hesitation at first made sense. It goes on way too long, however. She’s supposedly been friends with Hunter for a long time. She knows he’s not like her ex and never will be. It didn’t make much sense why she kept resisting so long. Plus, I didn’t really feel the passion there. Hunter definitely feels protective of Charlee, but he seems to feel protective of everyone! Moreover, Charlee’s brothers are part of the team of officers Hunter has recently taken over supervising. There is a whole sub-plot, where there is tension among the officers about his new role. It felt out of place and unexplored, and then there is a ridiculous “my brothers won’t like us dating” conflict, which I never appreciate. Why her brothers would care about her dating a stand-up guy like Hunter makes no sense. I wanted more passion, more conversation, and more grown ups all around.

This book wasn’t a total miss, but it certainly wasn’t one of my favorites either.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

two-half-stars


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Sunday Spotlight: Devoted to Love by Shayla Black

Posted June 30, 2019 by Holly in Features, Giveaways | 1 Comment

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: Devoted to Love by Shayla BlackDevoted to Love by Shayla Black
Series: Devoted Lovers #2
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: July 2, 2019
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 336
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He was sent to guard her body… he didn’t expect her to steal his heart.

Her sister’s wedding was hardly the place to find a hook up, but after one look at friend-of-the-groom and special operative Josiah Grant, small-town Texas beauty Magnolia West immediately fell in lust. After a stunningly sensual night together, Maggie is prepared for the two of them to go their separate ways. After all, she’s not a happily-ever-after kind of girl. But Josiah—and danger—change her plans.

Josiah isn’t looking for love…but Maggie rouses his body and stirs his heart like no other woman. She’s got a rocky romantic past, and a smart man would steer clear. But when the murder quotient in Kendall County rises and all signs point to a mysterious group nearby who have been harassing Maggie’s family, he can’t leave her unprotected—especially when he realizes he’s fallen hard for her.

As tension mounts and the menace closes in, Josiah will do anything to prove to Maggie that their love is real…but can they stay alive long enough to share it?

Excerpt

DEVOTED TO LOVE

Book Binge – exclusive excerpt

“Now give me your mouth so I can start doing unspeakably dirty things to it, designed to give you all the pleasure you can handle.”

“You don’t have to ask me twice.” She raised her face to his, her heart pounding, her belly tightening.

Josiah slipped a hand around her nape and bent to her. It seemed to take forever for him to come close. But as he drew nearer, she deciphered his masculine scent. Fresh-chopped wood, earthy moss, all man. He was a heady aphrodisiac as she breathed him, then let out a little moan.

He was there, luring her deeper under his spell, hands callused yet soft as his fingers tightened around her neck. He exhaled against her lips. The citrus and spice of their drinks lingered on his breath. Even his size made her feel petite and protected. Sure, he could hurt her. He’d probably learned a hundred ways how. But Maggie didn’t believe for one second he ever would.

Arching closer, she tried to rush their kiss. She needed to feel him. Josiah hadn’t really touched her yet, and already she ached. What would it feel like when he was inside her, possessing her, thrusting into her with all his strength and determination?

At the thought, a whimper escaped her throat. Their lips nearly touched. So close . . . His free hand at the small of her back pressed her body against his.

The hard insistence of his erection dug into her flesh. Holy hell, he was massive and obviously ready to make her feel good. She was beyond eager. Why was he dragging out this kiss?

“Hurry.”

“Hmm,” he murmured as his lips brushed her cheek and glided toward her ear. “You’re trembling.”

She was. Maggie could hear it in her inhalations, feel it in the grip of her hands tightening on his shoulders as she tried to drag him closer. “You’re tormenting me.”

He chuckled in her ear, the sound a low rumble that did crazy things to her insides. “Yes, I am. I like that it’s working.”

As he nuzzled his stubbled cheek across her skin and dragged his lips down her jaw, she tensed, drew in an impatient breath, and found her thigh creeping up his hip. She invited him deeper. He caught her leg in his grip and pressed her closer, nudging her exactly where she needed his steely length.

“Kiss me already,” she demanded.

“I’m getting there.”

But he still wasn’t in any hurry. His lips bypassed hers again, hovering just above her mouth, leaving her tingling and sensitive.

She tried to crush their lips together and get relief. But once again he was stronger and faster. Next thing Maggie knew, his lips were at her temple, skimming down her hairline. He inhaled her. The hand at her nape shifted up to graze her scalp. Then he grabbed her hair, closed his fist around the strands, and tugged. She shivered in need.

With a satisfied smile, he nipped her lobe, his teeth just sharp enough to snag her attention. Without a word, he forced her to acknowledge his growing mastery.

Never in her admittedly colorful love life had she ached for a man this badly. The fact that he hadn’t even kissed her, that they were still fully clothed, and yet she was powerless against his seduction wasn’t lost on Maggie. This man was going to utterly undo her. He would probably ruin her for months, maybe years. That should worry her. She should care. But right now, she didn’t. She simply yearned to dive into the pleasure and drown. The consequences would come later.

“Josiah . . .”

“What is it, baby?”

His whisper was pure sex. Her nipples hardening, her fingernails digging into his skin, a keening cry falling from her lips. “Please . . .”

“That’s the magic word. Oh, I’m going to love hearing you beg.”

Devoted Lovers

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.

center>Sunday Spotlight: June 2019

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 Shayla Black

Shayla Black is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of more than sixty novels. For twenty years, she’s written contemporary, erotic, paranormal, and historical romances via traditional, independent, foreign, and audio publishers. Her books have sold millions of copies and been published in a dozen languages.

Raised an only child, Shayla occupied herself with lots of daydreaming, much to the chagrin of her teachers. In college, she found her love for reading and realized that she could have a career publishing the stories spinning in her imagination. Though she graduated with a degree in Marketing/Advertising and embarked on a stint in corporate America to pay the bills, her heart has always been with her characters. She’s thrilled that she’s been living her dream as a full-time author for the past ten years.

Shayla currently lives in North Texas with her wonderfully supportive husband, her daughter, and two spoiled tabbies. In her “free” time, she enjoys reality TV, reading, and listening to an eclectic blend of music.


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