4.5* 'Wow, this book ended on a high note! Whew!' Stars
ETA: Update - New release date moved up to May 2014
WITHIN TEMPTATION is a solid, well-plotted, 4.5* 'Wow, this book ended on a high note! Whew!' Stars
ETA: Update - New release date moved up to May 2014
WITHIN TEMPTATION is a solid, well-plotted, and sexy romance suspense set in Temptation, West Virginia. And it is a DEBUT novel, which seriously blows me away! I have read many veteran authors in this genre who never came close to the writing quality and plot-building of Tanya Holmes. She uses alternating first-person POV of both the hero and heroine, so we get to see the story and romance unfold in real-time from their perspective. I am used to seeing this writing style in new-adult romances, but this is the first time I've seen it in romance-suspense. And it worked great.
The Crime The story circles around the 12-year old murder of Shannon's mother Lilith Bradford, and the release of Trace Dawson from prison. He was found guilty of the murder based on bogus evidence and circumstances that were carefully crafted to pin the murder on him. The town folks nicknamed him the Butcher Boy, and his return home is anything but warm and welcoming.
Shannon Bradford Shannon's testimony was key to convicting Trace of her mother's murder, but she now questions everything she claimed to have witnessed. She has many lost memories, and as some start to return things do not add up. She suspects foul play, and turns to Trace for help tracking down the truth. But is this rich and privileged woman on to something, or are the memories of her childhood crush on Trace just confusing her?
Trace Dawson Trace just wants to lie low and get his probation over with so he can leave this town, but the town folks are making it impossible. His employer and longtime friend Cholly is suffering a back-lash from hiring Trace, and the bane of his existence Shannon is insisting he help her find out the truth of what really happened twelve-years ago.
Trace and Shannon are from opposite worlds; she is from the rich and privileged, and he is from the poor and disadvantaged. They met as kids and formed a special bond of friendship. As different as their worlds were they shared many similarities -- including abusive parents. Now adults, their class difference is even more blaring, but their bond soon returns and it sparks a deep and passionate romance that defies all social expectations of them.
My Thoughts WITHIN TEMPTATION is a multi-layered suspense where nothing is as it seems. As one thing is uncovered more questions arise, a pace that continues until the final reveal which rocks the town. (view spoiler)[I loved how the mystery was done in layers, and how there was more than one person 'guilty' of this or that, yet not everyone understood the connections of what their part meant. Most suspense stories pin all the bad stuff on one person, but in this case 'guilt' was multi-layered based on the different contributions to the whole. That really brought my rating up! There is a 'bad guy', you just have to keep pealing back those layers. (hide spoiler)]
As you can tell, I really enjoyed this one! It started a bit slow and I had some early concerns, but as it picked up the pace I became glued. It really picks up at the halfway point, and the first half lacks much 'romance' or 'suspense'. That part of the book lays down much of the story that will build on the rest of the book.
The romance was sweet, steamy, passionate, and believable. Oh, I have no doubt that these two are going to live the best and most well deserved HEA, even despite the large social class differences between them. This is a definite 'must read' for romance suspense fans.
ARC provided by the author Tanya Holmes in exchange for an honest review. Thank you Tanya!
And thank you to Didi for this awesome book recommendation. I now owe you one. ;-)
Wow, another hit my MK Schiller! I have been glomming her short back-list since reading The Do-Over last week, a 4.5 'I'll Wait For You Forever' Stars!
Wow, another hit my MK Schiller! I have been glomming her short back-list since reading The Do-Over last week, and this was another great read. But unlike her other two books which were solid romance comedies, A GIRL BY ANY OTHER NAME surprised me since I would classify it as a romance suspense with a deeper and more serious storyline. Personally, I think it really shows the range that this talented author is capable of writing.
A GIRL BY ANY OTHER NAME explores the tender and undying love between Cal and Sylvia that began at the age of ten. Their story unfolds with many back-flashes to their youth, and back again to present time. I am not always a fan of the back and forth timeline, but in this case I believed it really enhanced the overall story.
Sylvia is the proverbial girl-next-door, and a bit odd. Her father and her moved next door to Cal's family when she was just ten, shortly after her mother passed away. In time their friendship turned into a first love, but not without challenges from school buddies and family members. At age 16 she disappears from his life, believed to dead, but Cal can't accept it. He knows her too well, and while he hasn't a clue where she is or why she would disappear, it sends him on a life long journey to find her. (I won't lie, I cried buckets at this part of the book!!)
Present day is ten years after her disappearance, where Cal is an instructor at a community college in Portland, Oregon. What unfolds in the later half of the book reveals answers to a lot of questions we had in the first half, and FINALLY we get a reunion that made my heart sing! It was steamy HOT too!! But danger still lurks, and revealing her secret can be the most dangerous thing for all of them.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, even the second half. I agree with other reviewers that is took a turn at that point of the story, but mostly because we lost the back-flashes which worked so well in the first half. I really missed the connection between past and present times. But I loved getting to see these two together again FINALLY, and with a chance for real happiness. I didn't always like Cal's possessiveness, but I understood it. It was a great read, looking forward to more by this author.
I would highly recommend this to fans of sexy steamy romance suspense stories.
Deep Into the Night is book 2 in the Hartz Island series, and picks up a few months after book 1 ended.
The H/h in this book is actress Cassie Ryan an Deep Into the Night is book 2 in the Hartz Island series, and picks up a few months after book 1 ended.
The H/h in this book is actress Cassie Ryan and ICE agent Jack Wyatt, and they continue the search to break a crime ring dealing in human trafficking on the west coast. We also get a new twist in the suspense with Cassie's ex-boyfriend, a ruthless Russian mobster.
We met Jack in book 1, but Cassie is new in town. She used to live there, but moved away years ago to become an actress. After much physical abuse, she escapes her Russian mobster boyfriend and hides out in Hartz Island. She soon crosses paths with Jack, her childhood crush, and now the sparks are back.
The story unfolds slowly and with a lot of detail, but it does provide enough background so you could jump into this story without reading book 1. However, I would recommend reading these books in order, as there is a lot of back story that gets re-introduced.
Jack and Cassie work together spying on potential suspects, and using her acting ability to get closer to the truth about the human trafficking crime ring. It was quite interesting and well plotted out, but it made me question how easily he recruited her for these dangerous missions. I had to suspend my disbelief a bit and just go with it.
Overall, I enjoyed this one, but not as much as book 1. The angst level was low, and the story gets bogged down in a lot of details that simply didn't seem relevant to the story. The romance was also just 'tepid', and took a backseat to the suspense and intrigue. Unfortunately, I didn't 'feel' the connection with these two, and the HEA wasn't the satisfying ending I prefer in reading romances. It was realistic, but fell a bit flat for my tastes.
DNF @25% This book isn't bad, but it was not holding my interests. I don't think I am in the mood for a dark romance suspense, so I will set it asideDNF @25% This book isn't bad, but it was not holding my interests. I don't think I am in the mood for a dark romance suspense, so I will set it aside for now. I may pick it up again later when I am looking for something along this line. ...more
Wild on You is a fun and light romance suspense with some cheeky humor and sexy banter, but plan on suspending your disbeliefs a bit for this one. Thi Wild on You is a fun and light romance suspense with some cheeky humor and sexy banter, but plan on suspending your disbeliefs a bit for this one. This is book one in a new series staring hot and sexy former Navy SEALs who now work for Chase Justiss of The Justiss Alliance security firm.
For comparison, the writing and storyline reminds me a lot of author Christie Craig, who also writes fun over-the-top romance suspense novels with cheeky humor and a good dose of heat. If you like her books, or that format, I'd recommend this series. If you are looking for something along the lines of Troubleshooters by Suzanne Brockmann, this isn't your book.
This is Risk's story. He is a former SEAL and a complete thrill-seeking adrenaline junkie. His first official case is to babysit Addie, a spunky lesbian animal rights activist who has pissed off a legion of groups with her less-than-legal methods to protect animals. Her overbearing, ex-military father hired The Justiss Alliance security firm against her will, and she isn't ready to play by Risk's new rules.
As you can well guess, Addie isn't really a lesbian and the sparks quickly fly between these two. But everything else is true, as she is ruthless in her pursuit of saving animals from terrible (and often fatal) conditions, and will put her own life at risk if necessary. After nearly losing her life to save a young tiger named Tigs, she has no choice but to admit what her father already knew: someone wants her dead.
The story moves at a clip pace and ends with a dramatic life-and-death encounter with the bad guys. It has a good dose of naughty steam as well. This has the insta-lust-to-love formula, but it worked for this type of story. While the dialogue felt a bit forced, and Addie border lined as a TSTL heroine at times, I still enjoyed it.
As I said earlier: this book requires you to suspend your disbeliefs and just go with it. This book isn't big on accuracy or realism, its more farcical and silly. I am not sure I will stay with this series though, it was good but I wasn't blown away.
This is a stand-alone read, but I would recommend you first read Wild Hearts, a short novella that explains the teams suspension from the SEALs program and introduces each of the new characters. This story will re-visit the event that took place in Mexico (but not in much detail), so it is not required, but you will get a much better understanding of the teams dynamic if you read it first.
More hot and sexy Navy SEAL heroes?! Oh, bring it on!!
Wild Hearts is a short story that introduces us to the main characters in Tina Wainscott's new More hot and sexy Navy SEAL heroes?! Oh, bring it on!!
Wild Hearts is a short story that introduces us to the main characters in Tina Wainscott's new romance suspense series, Justice Alliance, and teases readers with a bit about each of these super-hot adrenaline-junkie heroes.
This is not a romance story, but it was a fun look at a 'defuckle' mission in Mexico that made an elite group of Navy SEALs decide to join a private security firm Justiss Alliance, which sets up the background to the series.
I am now off to read book one is this series Wild on You.
This was such a fun read starring Emily Murphy, the little sister from Thoroughbreds and Trailer Trash. She is all grown up and has big dreams, even i This was such a fun read starring Emily Murphy, the little sister from Thoroughbreds and Trailer Trash. She is all grown up and has big dreams, even if those dreams keep changing. After deciding to become an actress, and spending far more money on agents, photo shoots, clothes and auditions than she could afford, she takes a sub-par roll doing background work. The movie is based on a famous race horse, and set on the actual ranch where the horse lived.
This turned out to be far more a mystery read than a romance, but there is still a fun bit of romance too. And a pretty good HEA! Emily is immediately taken with the handsome, famous horse trainer Dan Barrett. After a chance meeting, he offers to help her find a small bit part. He is well known in the industry for not bedding the actresses, but damn, his desire for Emily is a lot to resist.
There are several fun secondary characters that I also enjoyed. The mystery was captivating, even if the 'killer' was obvious early on. It was a nice mix of light laughs, passionate romance, and a captivating mystery. I loved seeing Jenna and Burke again too.
As I mentioned already, Studs and Stilettos was more mystery story than romance story. Unlike other books by this author, the mystery takes up most of the pages and the steam factor is quite mild. The story used 'fade to black' sex scenes, leaving it all up to the readers imagination. If that works for you, then I highly recommend this book. And while it stars the little sister from a previous book, this one stands alone and can be read in any order.
Great action, tons of rescues, and a steamy romance, but with multiple scattered storylines and a mo 3.5 'Strong Potential But Missed the Mark' Stars.
Great action, tons of rescues, and a steamy romance, but with multiple scattered storylines and a motley crew of secondary characters that are not so easy to like.
Good news: Of all the books Brockmann has written post Troubleshooters series, this is my favorite so far.
Bad news: However, this new series is not on the same par as TS. At least not yet. And don't be fooled that this is a TS spin-off, because it is not.
Is Do or Die a TroubleShooters spin-off? DO OR DIE is a *loose* spin off of the Troubleshooters series, and shares the same fictional terrorist country of Kazbekistan. A few of the more familiar names from the TS series are dropped, but none of them make an appearance. So if you have never read the TS series, you will have no problem following this story. But if you want some reunion time with past TS characters you will be disappointed.
The Story Prologue: This story opens with a fun, over-the-top, intense nail-biting scene where he shows off his charm and abilities. Ian is a former Navy SEAL seemingly living a shady lifestyle, and we get to see that in full action. (I had high hopes at this point, then unfortunately it goes into a long lull until nearly the halfway point when things pick up again.)
Chapter 1 and beyond: Fast forward a few years...
Ian is released from jail against his will, and his brand new lawyer (which he never wanted!) Phoebe is certain there is more to his case than Ian lets on. These two soon become tangled in a game of hide and chase with a string of bad guys. Ian's own family is embroiled in a scandal that puts his brothers family at risk, and leaves Ian taking the blame for crimes he might not have committed.
Phoebe is a smart lawyer but she is new to this job, which means she may understand the textbook laws but doesn't always recognize the shenanigans of the bad guys. She quickly finds herself a target, and Ian her protector.
These two soon find themselves in hiding, being chased, and of course being rescued until they can form a plan and group with the right people to help them. Secondary characters begin to join in and help these two out, some from the lawful side (FBI) and some from the shady side of the law.
The story continues with more and more chasing, rescuing, and near misses. Threats are made, more sub-plots are revealed, and a we get a lot of sexy flirting between Ian and Pheobe. More and more plots are unveiled throughout the book, which keeps the Ian and Phoebe moving and facing more and more enemies. And of course, more rescues!
The main plot comes late, but in it Ian, Phoebe, and their motley crew of shady secondary characters are all tasked with rescuing a few kidnapped children. Meanwhile Ian is still trying to keep his brother safe from a mob family bent on killing him, so the stakes in this story soon get very high indeed.
My Thoughts Despite the fast paced storyline and a solid romance, it actually left me bored for nearly the first half of the book. The main part of the story doesn't come until halfway through the book, which I think is part of why the first half felt so slow. I couldn't figure out where the story was going. Thankfully, it does pick up in the later half.
This story is filled with rescues, rescues, more rescues, and finally... more rescues!! And when the romance between Ian and Phoebe heat up, I thought it was the best part of the book. The suspense storyline and the secondary story lines weren't nearly as interesting. In fact, I thought the secondary characters were all a bit depressing.
Part of my issue is this book has 'first-book-itis'; trying too hard to set up a new series and getting bogged down with multiple (and often boring) threads introducing so many characters.
Through much of the book I wondered if he is more of a Robin Hood type, or simply just a criminal hood? (Honestly, I am not sure we ever get a clear answer!) There are many layers to his motivations of being a criminal, and I believed his intentions are good, but none-the-less he is a law breaker. Phoebe is his lawyer, who gets pulled into a fast paced drama and quickly finds herself under Ian's protection.
I wish I could say I liked and cared for most of the secondary characters, but I can't. They bickered too much, and with some exceptions they were not genuinely nice or interesting people. Nor can I say that I wish any one of them would get their own book, because I don't. I have no idea who will be the H/h of the next in the series, but if it is any of the characters we have already met I may not be up for reading it.
Overall, this was a good romance story. I think Brockmann is setting up this series to center around an agency that is similar to Troubleshooters, but this time mixing it up with some shady characters who are not the decorated war hero types. The series has a promise of being gritty, which I hope it achieves. I enjoyed this book, but am on the fence if this could turn into a solid series on par with Troubleshooters.
This was a really good freebie political/suspense thriller with treasure hunting, a secret political club with deep control over world affairs, and laThis was a really good freebie political/suspense thriller with treasure hunting, a secret political club with deep control over world affairs, and layers upon layers of intense plotting. There is no doubt the author has deep knowledge about all things nautical. She did a great job blending facts with fiction, including the historical search for an actual missing WW2 submarine lost over 60-years ago.
If you are a romance fan like me, you should know that is does have a strong romance element but this is not a traditional romance book. The ending leaves us open for a sequel, so we might see more of Cole and Riley. (view spoiler)[(One mildly steamy romance steam, some great chemistry between two likable characters, the 'L' word is used, and the possibility of an HEA still exists by the end). (hide spoiler)]
Cole and Riley find themselves working together to locate a missing WW2 submarine that was lost over 60-years ago, and which Cole believes holds the secret that got his father killed just three years past. To make it more enticing, he is certain there are gold coins on the submarine as well.
It was a beefy read at over 500 pages. I really enjoyed it, especially given that this isn't my normal type of read. It did have its weak moments at time with the plotting, and I did question some decisions that were made, but mostly it was a tightly woven suspense thriller. There was also quite a bit of 'bad guy info dumping' that I get frustrated with. ((Why is it bad guys always have to give a full confessional before they can kill the hero or heroine, only to be foiled because they spent so much time talking?)) I also had some issue with the ending, and I don't mean the wild coincidences that occur. (view spoiler)[Toward the end of the story, with a bad guy out to kill them they a) return to the exact spot the bad guys will find them, and then b) they split up instead of staying together. Riley is out of sight, on her own, with only radio contact available. It worked for the high-action ending, but I did not believe for a second these characters were so careless to make this deadly, stupid decision. (hide spoiler)]
Overall, this was a really good political/nautical suspense/thriller read with complex plotting and intrigue. If this is your cuppa, my guess this is one of the better books out there in this genre. If you prefer reading romances, this might be a disappointment but it wont miss the mark completely.
Lastly, I got this one for free at Amazon, so a big thank you to the author for the great opportunity to find it and read it. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
DNF This was a tough book to DNF as the core of this story had great potential. But the delivery was just not there for me, and I found myself strugglDNF This was a tough book to DNF as the core of this story had great potential. But the delivery was just not there for me, and I found myself struggling to keep an interest with these characters.
The opening scene starts off with a riveting rescue ops, so I had great hope the rest of the story would deliver more of the same. Jack is a Navy SEAL, injured on duty in South America. He saves several fallen comrades, and they escape a total goat-fucked operation.
Weeks later Jack is back in Coronado, CA recovering from his head injury. He has little recollection of the operation, but knows the death count was high - and included his best friend Don. He is now on leave with the order to treat his head injury through therapy in hopes of regaining his lost memory.
So far, so good! Then he meets Laurie, a physical therapist and adopted daughter to one of his commanding officers. The attraction was instant for both, but this is where I started losing some interest. The conversation between these two felt forced and stilted. They quickly start making out, but instead of hooking up they end up insulting each other and walking away. I had to re-read that scene just to make sure I understood why things went from hot to cold. I still don't fully get it.
The next day, Jack decides to apologize to Laurie. For reasons I am not completely sure, he figured out he was wrong and wants to apologize. He makes an appointment to see her at her office, and shows up with a huge bouquet of roses. After a brief and stilted conversation, she forgives him and agrees to take him on as a patient.
Again - so far, so good! Then the conversation shifts again. In one breath she says she's not going to have relations with a patient, yet she flirts away with him. This leads to a very brief quicky, which we are suppose to believe was some seriously hot sex. Uh no, it was just a quicky - wham, bam, thank you mam kind of quicky.
Jack suffers with hallucinations, brought on by his PTSD. He has several visits/conversations with Don, his dead best friend. I actually liked this part of the story quite a bit, and its what kept me reading as far as I did. Jack is trying to work out what happened, but his mind is so muddled from the injury. As his memory starts to return, we know it will reveal some dangerous secrets.
I made it up to the 50% mark, but the choppy pacing of the relationship, and the over-reactions of some of the secondary characters, was just off for me. Jack and Laurie moved way too fast for the amount of time they actually spent together. Her adoptive dad's reaction to their relationship was overly dramatic. Their conversations felt stilted and scripted, which made it hard to connect with these characters. They had a wooden feel to them. They went hot/cold a few times and I had to re-read each of them to see what I missed.
Also, I was expecting a steamy read. Jack and Laurie make a lot of suggestive comments to each other, some quite racy, but the sex scenes are pretty much non existent. They're either short and quick (two or three paragraphs), or it was a full fade to black.
Lastly, I do realize this is an ARC copy so I cannot expect perfect formatting, so I'll look past all of the paragraphs that bled together. But there was also some blaring issues with the writing in places, which I hope gets fixed before the actual book is published. One particular part that stood out is how the author wrote inner-dialogue. In many areas when Jack was thinking to himself, she used quotation marks instead of italics. In other areas, she did use italics. Each time she used a quote I re-read to see if I missed something. Was he talking out load or to someone? Not as far as I could tell.
I only made it to the 50% mark, so much could have changed in the last half. The core story really had great potential, and when the story moved along I was truly interested. But so much kept pulling me out of the story. I needed to re-read a lot of scenes to see if I missed something. The choppy pacing, the stilted conversations, the over-acting, and even the formatting issues became too much. I do think the author has great potential. If this book just had a good polish, it could have been spectacular.
ARC copy provided by Sourcebooks Casablanca through Netgalley.com
3.5 - A good ending to the MacKenzie Mountain family saga by Linda Howard.
This is Chance's story, the adopted young man who lived on the streets, nea3.5 - A good ending to the MacKenzie Mountain family saga by Linda Howard.
This is Chance's story, the adopted young man who lived on the streets, nearly wild, until Wolf and Mary adopted him at the age of 14. Now a grown man and a former Army Ranger, Chance is working undercover on a mission to bring down a known terrorist. After discovering that his enemy has a beautiful daughter, he sets a plan of seduction into motion to find out just what she knows.
Sunny wants to avoid captures from her father, and she also has a sister that she protects, so as a result she has spent her entire life on the run. When a random meeting with a handsome pilot offers her a chartered flight to Seattle, she doesn't think twice. But when the airplane goes down in a remote area due to faulty fuel pump, her life takes on a new meaning for her. Chance is pure temptation, and under the circumstances she sees no reason to refuse him.
I enjoyed this steamy romance, but will admit I wasn't impressed with Chance's tactics of using Sunny. While it was clear he had emotions for her and he really was a good guy, his mission to extract information from her using seduction was his highest priority. The lies roll of his lips, and she doesn't suspect a thing.
When Sunny discovers his deception, I guess I wanted more groveling and fighting. The resolution was pretty quick, but it was still very sweet and sexy. The suspense action toward the end of the book was also exciting, and it wasn't easy to predict. I liked that. I also enjoyed seeing Wolf and Mary again, plus the rest of the brothers and their children.
This wasn't my favorite of the series, but I was happy to have more. It made for a nice romance read, albeit I had to stretch my beliefs at times. I listened to it on audio, and I enjoy the narration too.
ME: "Hey, this is just like Fifty-Shades of Grey!!"
YOU: "Noooo, seriously?!!"
ME: "Yes, really!!"
I kno 4* 'Fifty Shades Didn't Write it First' Stars
ME: "Hey, this is just like Fifty-Shades of Grey!!"
YOU: "Noooo, seriously?!!"
ME: "Yes, really!!"
I know, I know… It seems as if EVERY book these days is being compared to the Fifty phenomenon. But to me, Fifty is just recycled material and this book is yet more proof. Romance authors have been writing about super sexy, powerful, rich billionaires with an obsessive streak for a ‘mousy’ heroine for YEARS! Tortured heroes? Also been done, done, and done. But somehow if you toss in more salty language, make the sex scenes a bit more ‘kinky’ (cough, cough **period sex **cough, cough), and ramp up the angst some people might believe it’s brand-spanking (pun intended) new.
The romance suspense by Linda Howard Now You See Her was written 10-years ago, and features a remarkably handsome gazillionaire Richard Worth obsessively falling for the innocent, mousy-but-sexy heroine Paris Sweeney. Kabam! I am talking HOT connection, insta’ lust, and quivering body parts. Richard is well endowed, bedroom savvy, and only has eyes for his heroine. (Sound familiar??)
Richard is separated from a cheating wife, and mourning the loss of their unborn child. An ex-Army Ranger, he is not a man to mess with. The divorce proceedings suddenly get complicated quickly when he wants to ‘fuck’ (his word!) Sweeney NOW. He is obsessed with having her. And she wants him too! But… not until he is a single man who can offer her more.
Sweeney has a special gift; she can see ghosts. After meeting Richard her paranormal gift manifests into her sleep walking and painting murder scenes of actual murders. Turns out Richard's soon-to-be ex is pissing all kinds of people off, and (surprise, surprise! NOT) ends up murdered. And Sweeney has been slowly painting the death scene over the last several nights. Now someone wants to kill her! But not if Richard can help it. He will protect his woman at all costs.
I won’t tell you more of the plot, but I can say the Fifty storyline is nothing new folks. There are of course a lot plot differences as well, but many of the main plot points are strikingly similar. And since many books with less similarities are being compared, I think we also can also throw this one on that huge pile.
While Richard didn’t want to hurt Sweeney for his own pleasures, and there isn’t any period sex (thank GOD!), it is hardly the first romance book to feature an obsessive and horny hot billionaire stalking/pursuing a sexy-but-mousy heroine who will resist him until it drives him mad with want.
Just saying, that's all. Your mileage may vary.
While this isn’t my favorite Linda Howard book, it is a solid romance suspense classic. Several months ago I picked this up at an Audible sale knowing that it’s hard to go wrong with a book by Linda Howard – and I was right. 9 1/2 listening hours well spent.
This was another really good romance suspense done Nora Roberts style. In all of her books she infuses so much about the characters life to paint a viThis was another really good romance suspense done Nora Roberts style. In all of her books she infuses so much about the characters life to paint a vivid picture of how they live and think, a device that can works great but sometimes consumes the story too much. In Chasing Fire the details about smoke jumping were fascinating, relevant, and not over done.
The heroine is the captain of a smoke jumper squad, a tough lady who takes her job of protecting her crew seriously. When a tragedy occurs, it begins to haunt her.
The story takes place a year later, when a hot new smoke jumper joins her team. He is fascinated by her, but respectful of her boundaries. They build a professional friendship, but there is no mistake that both want more. The romance had a nice, slow build up. so believable!
The suspense aspect was interesting, but highly predictible. Still, the story and characters were so engaging I didn't really mind. Someone was sabotaging the equipment of the jumpers, destroying property, and even commiting murder. As a reader, I thought it was easy to identify the bad guys, but I enjoyed how H/h put the pieces together to finally nail the perp. It was well thought out, and didn't rely on dumb luck.
There was also a sweet secondary romance with her dad, I liked him a lot so was happy for him to find love too.
The audiobook was well narrated too! I enjoyed listening to this narrator. If not for the predictibility of the bad 'guy', I would have rated this a bit higher....more
A lite romance suspense with many good pages of sexy fun moments, but sadly with a predictable and over-the-top ending.
I didn't love it, didn't hateA lite romance suspense with many good pages of sexy fun moments, but sadly with a predictable and over-the-top ending.
I didn't love it, didn't hate it.
Zach and Savannah were first loves, broken apart when Zach left for the military. Ten years later, both of them find themselves back in the small town of Midnight, and with a lot of hurt feelings to overcome. There are also a few mysteries a foot, including the possible murders of Savannah's parents 20 years ago.
The romance between Zach and Savannah was fun and hot, and I always love a story where unrequited lovers overcome their obstacles. Zach never stopped loving her or feeling guilty about the way he left without ever saying goodbye. I loved his passion for her, but it got a bit clingy and possessive at times. Still, these two together felt right and boy could they burn up the sheets (and stairs...)
The mystery was not a favorite part of this book for me. I had trouble caring about it as anything other than fodder to keep the hero and heroine together. I felt it became obvious fairly early who was a main culprit, so the red hearings didn't through me much. But the ending of the mystery? Sorry, but it was pure eye-rolling, info-dumping, confession-purging craziness.
Compared to Christy Reece's Last Chance series (a series I absolutely loved, and who is Ella Grace's alter-ego), this series is more simple, down-to-earth, relationship focused without all of the superhero spies, worldwide terrorist organizations, and bullets flying.
I liked the small town feel and a more simple mystery to solve for the most part, but I don't know if this series is going to cut it for me. I may try another, but if it ends with the massive info-dump Q&A style confession just to help us discover the bad guy, I will be done.
Overall another great, tear jerking read for the I-Team fans!! But to be completely honest, this was not my favorite in the series. While there was muOverall another great, tear jerking read for the I-Team fans!! But to be completely honest, this was not my favorite in the series. While there was much to enjoy in this story and the ending will tug heavily on your heart, I did have some issues with the slower paced storyline.
Unlike past books in this series, STRIKING DISTANCE takes more time developing the romance between its protagonists, and tones down the amount of adrenalin pumping, over-the-top suspense we are used to seeing in every chapter. A lot of fans will love this change, but for me I felt it needed more action to keep me fully engaged in the story. Many chapters ended without that 'hook' that keeps a reader clamoring for more and willing to stay up all night as they simply can't put the book down.
Don't get me wrong, STRIKING DISTANCE does have some great action moments and it started with one of the most intense prologues I have ever read, leaving me biting my nails for more. But then the story fast forwards a few years and it slows considerably.
The good news is we get a far more believable romance as it is not rushed over a short period of mere days while they constantly dodge bullets and thwart bad guys. Javier & Laura get to know each other on a deeper level, and they don't mistake having sex with falling in love. There are a lot of tender, sweet moments between Javier & Laura that will have you sighing heavily!
The bad news is the slower paced storyline got a bit tedious. The story spends a lot of time with the H/h relaxing, chatting, lounging, dining, watching TV and otherwise just hanging out. The bad guys are more speculative and the suspense is not as intertwined as we saw in past books. The times where the suspense does pick up and danger is imminent, the resolution comes quick. Discovering who the 'bad guy' was not as climatic as other stories either.
Javier & Laura were great characters. They both suffer from PTSD issues. We learn early on about Laura's time in captivity when the world thought she was dead, and how utterly tragic Javier had it fighting on the war front as a SEAL member. Their stories will break your heart, and make you so glad they found each other. Together they are medicine for each others soul, and we get quite a few laughs and smiles watching them fall in love.
The heat is also turned down a bit compared to past stories, but I didn't mind at all. Sex scenes are meant to advance the romance, and in this book they are PERFECTLY done. Laura's past trauma makes her unsure if she will ever enjoy sex again, so the exploration between these two to rediscover sexual passion was just as hot as any sex scene.
So overall this was a great story, I just wished it had more suspense intertwined and less time with Javier & Laura calmly relaxing so much. I guess I like a bit more suspense in my romance suspense reads.
I love this author and will certainly read more from her, but this was not the romance suspense balance I enjoy. This story is much more focused on thI love this author and will certainly read more from her, but this was not the romance suspense balance I enjoy. This story is much more focused on the mystery of race horses suddenly not qualifying for major races, and less on the romance between Dino, the horse trainer, and Becky, a dedicated nurse to a billionaire horse owner.
The mystery was also predictible, and I felt it portrayed Becky as a bit clueless when so much happens in front of her yet she never puts the pieces together nor informs Dino until things are too late. It was a stretch to believe she was put in the position of being Martha's eyes and ears at the track, but I liked her chemistry with Dino so I could easily just go with it.
I did enjoy this as a romance, just wish there were more. If you are interested in the sport of horse racing, I think you'll enjoy this one quite bit. There is a lot of information about racing, which I also found interesting. ...more
Told primarily through the point of view of a hero who suffers with severe PTSD, The Edge of Courage is gripping and sexy romance suspense. If you likTold primarily through the point of view of a hero who suffers with severe PTSD, The Edge of Courage is gripping and sexy romance suspense. If you like a damaged and tortured hero, and enjoy the fast pace of a military romance suspense, this is a must read. And for .99 cents, it’s a great bargain, too!
Rocco Silas returned to the US after spending seven years in deep cover in Afghanistan as an operative for the Army’s elite Red Team program of trained assassins. A cover so deep, he began to believe it himself. The village he lived in was destroyed by explosives, and his memory of the events are not clear. Nightmares haunt him of dead loved ones, and now he is struggling to find ‘normal’ once again in hopes of being healthy enough to return to Afghanistan and find what his soul is calling out for: his son.
Wow, Rocco’s story was truly the best part of this book. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the romance and the action too, but his story took me by the throat. And I loved that the story was told through his POV! I don’t know much about PTSD, but his story felt so real and heart breaking. The author doesn’t sugar coat his disorder either, we see him break down on several occasions. In the early part of the book, his PTSD consumes him. But it is also what made Mandy such a great heroine for him, as she had the patience, understanding and fortitude to deal with his ghosts.
The suspense part of this story centers around Mandy and a string of odd accidents plaguing her construction project on her ranch. Her brother Kit, also a military member of the elite and secret Red Team, recommends she hire Rocco to help around the ranch and keep his eye out for any threats. We soon learn they were not mere accidents, but a terrorist revenge plot on her brother Kit. What unfolds brings all five members of the newly formed Tremaine Industries, a security firm that employees many ex-military guys with special skills. If Rocco joins them, there will be six.
The threats continue to escalate all the way til the end, even after you believe some threats have been neutralized. There are unsolved areas as well, so you know we will see more of some bad guys in future books. The author really puts her characters through the ringer, too! What happens to Mandy near the end was something I did NOT see coming.
The romance aspect of this story wasn’t as convincing for me, at least in the beginning, but by the end I totally bought it. Mandy is instantly attracted to Rocco, but at first I had a hard time understanding why. I don’t doubt she felt something for him, but initially he wasn’t nice and he clearly came with a boat load of baggage. I also had a hard time picturing this man as ‘tall, dark and handsome’ (as Mandy describes him) when we know he spent the last many months in a hospital on some strong meds, plus he still doesn’t eat or sleep, so I pictured him more of a sickly gaunt person based on his past. (Oh well, this is fiction so just roll with it, right?!)
The sex scenes were hot and plentiful too, although I felt they came surprisingly early as they barely knew anything about each other. Some of the sex scenes came at odd times too, but I have learned to expect that when reading sexy romance suspense books. As their relationship developed and intertwined with the suspense, I started to believe in these two and could see their attraction. By the end, I was convinced these two had what it takes for an HEA.
Overall, I really enjoyed this one! As sexy military romance suspense books go, this was a good one. Maybe not as good as many by Suzanne Brockmann, but a still a fun and exciting read.
Lastly, I can tell this is going to be one of those series where you HAVE TO READ IT IN ORDER. The start of several other stories are already forming, including Kit and Ivy. And then there is Ty’s story, who is still dealing with the demons of his dead and abusive father. His story arc is left as a cliff hanger too! We meet many of the town folks as well, and I imagine many will figure more prominently in future books.
(((Thanks for the recommendation Anne and Buggy!!)))