4,5 stars I really enjoyed BN a lot. Eric totally redeemed himself from previous books yet remaind true to his character as it was portrayed in earlier...more4,5 stars I really enjoyed BN a lot. Eric totally redeemed himself from previous books yet remaind true to his character as it was portrayed in earlier books. Trish was awesome! I loved her strength and resilience. This book was headed towards 5 stars but the scene involving Trish's ex didn't quite work for me so I had to mark it down to 4 and the end, that beautiful end that made me cry pulled it up to my final rating of 4,5 stars
As much as I like it not being a never-ending series, I will miss the Vegas Top Guns! Every single book in this series has educated me on my preferences and boundaries and for that alone the entire series deserves a fixed spot on my keeper shelf! And I am so ready for more Katie Porter!
Fave Quote: [Eric]“I don’t always talk well.” “Of course you don’t.” Leah laughed as she walked back toward Fang and the revelers. “You have a penis. I wouldn’t expect any different.”(less)
Daniel 'Danny' Escobar is a former Marine, now bodyguard with Contego Agency, all ex Marines. He was almost blown up by a suicide bomber which turned...moreDaniel 'Danny' Escobar is a former Marine, now bodyguard with Contego Agency, all ex Marines. He was almost blown up by a suicide bomber which turned him into a war hero and his injury led him to permanently resigning from active duty. His shitty chilhood with an addict for a mother and his past mistakes made him into the hotheaded and guilt-ridden man.
Daniel and Hope were high school sweethearts until Daniel put her life in danger and wanted nothing to do with her anymore after she got engaged to someone else while he was in military bootcamp. At least that's what they both have been led to believe.
Hope Walker is a psychologist at a women's shelter. Danny was her first love and now when she's in need of protection because of a mob hit put out on her he returns into her life. Hope is stubborn and compassionate and believes in the good she does with her shelter. I found Danny's reaction to Hope's place of work a bit excessive. I understood his aversion to shelters but to me it was too easily used as the trigger for the conflict between Danny and Hope. To be honest I thought he was being unreasonable about it and didn't get why he was so upset and ready to put all the blame on himself and make it all about him without getting all the facts first. Hope is actually trying to make sure kids under her care don't have to suffer what he went through.
I love it when I try a new-to-me author, start reading and before I know it I'm halfway through the book. This is what happened to me with Ann Mayburn's GUARDING HOPE. I answered to a call for reviewers for this book because when I read the premise, blurb and an excerpt I felt this would be a book I'd like. And I really did. Not in the least because of Mayburn's agreeable and crisp writing. Her voice and style are perfectly suited for this I/R romantic suspense with a reunion romance trope. Once I started reading I couldn't stop and whenever I had to (pesky EDJ) I couldn't wait to get back to it.
In romantic suspense it's hard to find the balance between the romance and the suspense plot but Ann Mayburn nailed it. And on top of that she writes amazingly sexy love scenes. Explicit and laced with primal need they are exactly the sex scenes I love to read. I loved the dynamics and dialogues between Danny and his friends, Boden and Omar. Despite the trashtalking that they use as a coping mechanism you feel they would go through hell and back for each other. I look forward to the stories of these friends and hope they have their own books in the future.
In short: this first encounter with Ann Mayburn's writing was a big success and I have another author to add to my ever-growing favorites list.
Fave Scene: - the guys doing tequila shots with hot sauce in it > priceless! What a way to introduce your hero and his friends - the escape from Hope's house > I didn't realize I was holding my breath until I finished the scene! - the shower scene at the safe house > holy smokes that was hot! - the scene with Rebecca and Danny > so sweet! Kids in romance novels are my weakness
Fave Quotes: Well, that settled it. She was an idiot, a masochistic fool who couldn’t wait to throw her heart back into the emotional food processor that was Danny.
She stopped so abruptly he ran into her, then stumbled back just as quickly. After glancing up and down the hall to make sure no one was around, she poked a finger into his chest. “Look, you don’t want to be here and I don’t want you here, but if you say or do one damned thing to upset anyone here, I swear to god, I will rip your balls off and shove them up your nose.”
Hope crawled over to Boden and a bright wave of relief washed through him as he reaffirmed that she was alive and in once piece. She placed her hand on his cheek. “Open your eyes, pretty boy. I want to see those baby blues.” Boden smiled and said in a weak voice, “Only if you show me your tits.” Hope gave a startled laugh and leaned back. “I thought you were dying. You survive this and I’ll find someone to show you their tits. I’m afraid if I did it Danny would shoot you.”(less)
Evie Baker is a chef turned shampoo girl after trusting her business partner and lover who couldn't be trusted. After her restaurant is close...more3,5 stars
Evie Baker is a chef turned shampoo girl after trusting her business partner and lover who couldn't be trusted. After her restaurant is closed she’s forced to go back to her hometown. I immediately took a liking to Evie who grew up as an outsider (tomboy and poor amidst rich girly girls)! She gave her virginity to Matt Girard, her best friend since they were little kids, and he took it, stomped on it and her feelings and then left for the military, leaving her to deal with the aftermath. Now they are both back in the town they grew up in and danger that threatens Evie throws them together.
Evie was a mix of vulnerability and strength that worked very well for me. Despite his action when he was a teenager, Matt was great too. He had this intense, strong silent type vibe going with pain and guilt simmering just beneath the surface. He was sincere in admitting to his past mistakes, which redeemed him early in the book. What I loved in both of them was how straightforward and direct they were. Matt and Evie as characters is what made the book for me.
I must say HOT PURSUIT is one of those books that I find to review because there was something missing for me but I can't exactly pinpoint what it is. I liked it well enough to want to read the next book in the series but I can't say I loved it or that it blew me away (no pun intended). The romance wasn't all consuming and I missed some of the sense of urgency in the suspense that propels the romance to the next level, something I loved in other romantic suspense novels that evoked my mad love for the genre.
This book is a mix between contemporary romance and suspense romance and maybe that was the issue for me. Maybe there was too much suspense to make it a great small-town contemporary romance and not enough depth in the suspense to make it a thrilling suspense/military romance. A few decisions made by Matt and the development of the romance at times felt rushed and against character for both Matt and Evie.
This being said the characters were great and I loved them and I also really liked a few unexpected twists in the suspense. What I also loved was the subtle humor and the great way Lynn Raye Harris described growing up and living in the South. The look and feel of the small Southern town came across very well through the writing and the characters. It felt genuine and non-intrusive to the rest of the story.
HOT PURSUIT is a very nice blend of Southern small-town contemporary romance and military romantic suspense. I loved the characters and the writing style. I enjoyed reading it enough to want to read the next story in the series.
Fave Scene: - the dance at the party by the lake > the scene was a perfect combo of emotion, humor and sexual tension
Fave Quotes: Just one dance and we go our separate ways, got it?” Because she didn’t want to feel this tangle of emotions again. This tiny blossoming in her heart that said she was going to be in so much trouble if she didn’t shut it down quickly.
He was comforting her, giving her his strength, telling her it was okay. And he was doing it all with his lips and tongue. She moaned into his mouth and sank into the deliciousness of a kiss with this man she could love. (less)
Memorable Scenes: - when Rusty invites Nathan to her graduation > choked up - when Van, Ethan & Swanny catch up with Nathan and Shea >...more3,75 stars
Memorable Scenes: - when Rusty invites Nathan to her graduation > choked up - when Van, Ethan & Swanny catch up with Nathan and Shea > especially the moment with Swanny and Shea was awesome
Shea Peterson has a gift that enables her to connect and talk to people in their minds and take their pain and suffering. She’s resilient, protective of her sister, fierce and tough.
Nathan Kelly is a soldier kept imprisoned when a mission goes wrong. He’s loyal, capable, quiet and resilient. At first I couldn't get a clear image of Nathan. I only got glimpses of his character. Understandably as the trauma of his captivity dominated his characterization but this also made it hard for me to connect with him as the hero of this book.
First I want to talk about what didn’t work for me in this 4th installment of the KGI series.
People who follow my blog and reviews know I am not a fan of paranormal elements in contemporary romance or romantic suspense, which is why I started WHISPERS IN THE DARK kinda reluctantly when I found out it had this paranormal element. There are a few authors who make RS with paranormal elements work for but this is the first time the element is introduced mid-series and I'm still on the fence how I feel about that.
At the start of the book I was really trying to suspend disbelief about Shea's gift and trying to think of the book as a paranormal RS. But I kept wondering, where does the connection between Shea and Nathan come from. Randomness? Or is there a reason for the link? Has Shea done this before? In other words there were a lot of questions popping up in my head and I was hoping they would be answered as the story unfolded. They weren’t entirely.
The mind speak seriously bothered me in this book. Again, if it had been a PNR I could've overlooked it but this is a contemporary RS series and though I really enjoyed the romance and suspense I wasn't wowed by the paranormal element that was clearly a very big part of the plot. I prefer these elements to be subtle in RS. But that's my personal taste and preference. It doesn't mean the book is bad or I didn't enjoy this installment of the KGI Series because there were also things I really liked and loved about it.
I really liked the suspense part that weren't the supernatural elements. The parts of finding Grace and identifying and going after the baddies were great and I really enjoyed that part of the suspense. I also enjoyed some surprising turns and twists in the plot I really didn't see coming.
I loved the romance part of WHISPERS IN THE DARK. Though the supernatural element wasn't my favorite part, the moment Nathan and Shea actually met brought the romance to the foreground in a great way. I did think the making love part came a bit quickly but again brilliantly written and it was hot as heck!
Another thing that makes me stick with this series is that, as always, the banter between the Kelly brothers and among the KGI teams was awesome. They are one constant in this series that never fails to please me.
Regardless of what I thought of the plot or my dislike of supernatural abilities in romantic suspense I love Maya Banks' writing. It's intense, fast-paced and this book read like a dream. Once I started reading and got over the mind speak stuff I just couldn't stop.
Though WHISPERS IN THE DARK wasn't my favorite in the series so far, it still was a good read and a nice addition to the series. It was unique in the series, (nothing I hate more than carbon copies in a series) and fitting the characters as all previous books have been. Though the next book also has supernatural elements, I'm looking forward to it and to the other future books as I foresee lots of good stuff coming in this series.
Favorite Quotes: “Quit looking like you just got a hand job from a drag queen,” Garrett muttered beside him. “How the fuck do you know what I look like?” Donovan asked irritably. “It’s dark as shit out here.” “Don’t need to see you to know you have that pinched, tight-ass look on your face. […]”
Their gazes locked, and he realized she meant to kiss him. Every part of his body and soul reached for her, strained for her, wanting her touch with a need that verged on obsession. She licked her lips just before she pressed them to his. It was a little nervous gesture that melted his heart. He reached up to frame her shoulders and he kissed her back, no longer bothering to hide the fact that he wanted her more than he wanted to breathe. He’d already pretty much given up breathing for her. Their lips fused hotly. They fit. So goddamn perfect. Her body molded softly to his. Such a contradiction. Softness to his hardness. Smooth to his rough. Perfection against imperfection.
“Don’t hide from me, Nathan. Don’t hide your scars from me. I more than anyone know how youreceived them. They aren’t ugly. They’re beautiful. Honorable. Signs of courage and of unflaggingdetermination.”
Oh hell. A warm, lush, naked woman coming on to him? Nothing in the military had prepared him for an onslaught like this. The never-surrender thing went right out the window, and he started waving the white flag like a dog wagging his tail.
Memorable Scenes: - the one (first) night in Hawaii > It was so hot it melted my brain cells - the scene with the scarves > the action...more4,5 stars!
Memorable Scenes: - the one (first) night in Hawaii > It was so hot it melted my brain cells - the scene with the scarves > the action with that one scarf... OMG! *fans self*
INFATUATION is the first book of Melissa Schroeder’s I’ve read for review and the third one in total. I read her first two Harmless books way back when I didn’t even fathom reviewing the romance novels I was reading. So when this book was offered for review I grabbed it with both hands!
And I do not regret the grabbing! With a heroine (Shannon Dupree) who is strong, capable and positively a woman whom any man would want standing in his corner and a Navy Seal hero (Francis ‘Kade’ McKade) who is sexy, quiet and commanding Melissa Schroeder gave me an awesome read.
Melissa Schroeder knows how to crank up the heat in the love scenes. The start of the book set the tone and it didn't let down till the very last page and word. The added subtle hint of BDSM just made it all the more interesting. When sex scenes in a book give me goose-bumps I know I have a scorcher in hand.
And next to the burn-the-pages heat there was so much more to INFATUATION. Starting with the small, subtle military plot of a mission gone FUBAR and the consequences of that to the members of the team. But there was also great characterization and a cast of secondary characters that were intriguing to say the least.
Schroeder has a writing style that I took a liking to from the very first page. She combines heat and emotions with humor, great characters and fabulous dialogues, making this book fast-paced and character-driven. Reading INFATUATION makes me want to go back and start the Harmless series again from the start and review them all.
INFATUATION is an awesome contemporary, erotic and military romance that was such a joy to read, I finished it in 24 hrs while having to work. It was sizzling hot and emotional. The two things I always seek in the erotic romances I read. (less)
First line: Scarlett Bailey approached the entrance to the bar with equal parts trepidation and excitement.
Memorable S...moreRating: 7 out of 10 - GOOD READ!
First line: Scarlett Bailey approached the entrance to the bar with equal parts trepidation and excitement.
Memorable Scenes: The scene just before the pool game starts > hot!
Quick & Dirty-review:
Ingredients/Summary: Interesting stuff on a pool table, a little bit of dirty talk and the fulfillment of a fantasy.
Characters: Normally I break this part down into hero and heroine but because the story was so short I didn’t get an extensive enough picture of the characters to send them through my usual character analysis so I’m sweeping them all up together in one short paragraph
The main characters of this story are the commanding and forceful Sergeant Michael Conner and Scarlett Bailey. Scarlett is a passionate wicked woman underneath the veneer of a straight-laced marine, looking for a good time with the man she's longed for, ever since she was placed in his unit.
Writing: I need to read more of Eve Cassidy's work to be able to form a founded opinion but this short story definitely made me want to taste more
Likes: - set up of the story and build-up of the sexual tension - the unexpected twist at the end of the story
Dislikes: - the shortness of the story that didn’t leave room for exploration of the characters
Verdict: Extremely short (only 32 pages) but very hot ménage story with an unexpected little twist at the end. Liked it but would love to read 'the whole story' on Michael and Scarlett.
Favorite Quotes: Then she spotted him in the form of snug jeans riding low on his waist and a black . . . between her thighs and her skin tingled clear to her scalp.
He looked up just in time to see her lick it, slam it and suck it on a tequila shot and his mouth watered at the sight.
First line: There were a number of men who would do any job Marcus Lattimer wanted done. Memorable Scenes: - Garrett a...moreRating: 8 out of 10 - GREAT READ!
First line: There were a number of men who would do any job Marcus Lattimer wanted done. Memorable Scenes: - Garrett and Sophie’s meals > they slowly bring them together - Rusty's part in the book > heartbreaking - Sarah holding Garrett at gunpoint, demanding answers > loved this kick-ass side of Sarah - Sarah realizing she'd fallen in love with Garrett > total awww-moment - The Kelly brothers standing up for Rusty > cue the bawling
Garrett Kelly is the hero of this third KGI. He’s calm, intense, patient, and meticulous. He has a chivalrous streak a mile long and puts up a tough front and sometimes he’s very cautious of trusting those he doesn’t know well but he is very protective and caring and would go through fire for those he loves.
Sarah Daniels is Garrett’s heroine in this book. It was hard for me to get a real clear picture of Sarah. She'd seem strong and resilient one moment and would then completely fall apart the next. About a third to halfway into the book I still couldn't get a grasp on her. Yet this didn't mean I didn't like her as a heroine. She was skittish, loyal brave and smart and she didn't come across as one of those TSTL romantic suspense heroines.
HIDDEN AWAY was a completely different book for me than NO PLACE TO RUN was and though I liked NO PLACE TO RUN much better as I clicked with it on so many more levels, I still had a great time reading HIDDEN AWAY. I can absolutely appreciate that Maya Banks is writing such varied books in this series. Nothing bothers me more than installments of a series (in any subgenre) being carbon copies of each other. I really admire Maya Banks' ability to give me totally different books in this series and yet keep the series a cohesive, coherent whole in which each book and each couple has its rightful place.
One thing I loved in the first two books, was a little less for me in HIDDEN AWAY. The suspense started out very promising with a first chapter that immediately had my attention but soon the suspense was pushed back a little by the romance, secondary storylines and emotional stuff going on. I must also say that I liked the second part of the book better than first part. In the last third of the book the suspense picked up considerably and when the other KGI members were brought in, I welcomed the heart-racing suspense I'd been missing. Yet, at the end I was a little disappointed as the suspense in this installment just fell a bit short compared to the first two books. It just didn't put me at the edge of my seat like books 1 and 2 did. And also certain threads of the suspense felt like they were left unexplained or brushed over a little.
As I mentioned the romance took a more prominent place over the suspense in HIDDEN AWAY and I thought the build up of the romance was perfectly done. The slow pace and less heat of the romance fit the characters, especially Sarah and her background. It wouldn't have been right if Garrett and Sarah jumped each other from the start and I think Maya Banks handled this very well, even if it did make the book less steamy than the previous one.
I can't escape the comparison of Maya Banks' romantic suspense with another favorite of mine: Stephanie Tyler. Like Tyler in LIE WITH ME, in HIDDEN AWAY Banks wrote a villain I'm ambivalent about. Yes he's a bad man but the way he cared about his sister and her wellbeing made it hard for me to truly despise him as I should have when it comes to villains in romantic suspense novels.
Once again I loved the banter and bond between the brothers and their ability to make fun of themselves, their self-deprecating humor is so funny you can’t help but read their banter with a smile on your face. But…when push comes to shove they are also capable of handling sticky situations together. This is something that Maya Banks nails in every single installment of this series and something that makes this series a favorite on my keepers’ shelf
Though I definitely enjoyed this installment, the lack of intensity both in heat and suspense and my inability to really click with Sarah made it my least favorite of the 3 KGI books so far. Still the romance, emotionality, humorous banter and the Kelly family make this book totally worth the 8/10 rating I'm giving it.
Favorite Quotes: He grunted under his breath. He hated this kind of shit. He didn’t do undercover crap. That was more Sam’s forte. He’d much rather go in, blow the shit out of the bad guys then go home and have a beer.
No, it wasn’t fear of him as someone who posed a potential risk to her safety. It was the fear a woman had when she sensed a man who could overpower her senses and reduce her to instincts to those of a primal being. It was a heady sensation. It filled her mind and soul with a vibrancy that awakened a deep longing. To possess and be possessed.
He lowered his voice. “They won’t hurt you.” She squeezed back. ”I know. If you trust them, so do I. I’m just so…” Her voice trailed off. Yeah, me too, honey. Me too. But we’re going to make it just fine. And then I’m going to fulfill a little promise I made.” Her brow wrinkled in question. “You. Me. Naked. Me inside you. As many times as I can get there.”
“Come here,” he said in a sexy, husky voice. When she looked up there was a predatory gleam in Garrett’s eyes. A look that told her she was his and he planned to lay claim. Oh but she loved that look. No one had ever looked at her with such intensity. Like he dared anyone to take what was his away. Like he wanted to devour her in a single bit and savor the taste.
Cameron 'Cam' Moore is Delta Force. Hard, proud and honorable. Thanks to things in his past he’s indebted to Gabriel Creighton and forced t...more4,5 stars!!
Cameron 'Cam' Moore is Delta Force. Hard, proud and honorable. Thanks to things in his past he’s indebted to Gabriel Creighton and forced to do black ops for him as it's either the black ops or 2 consecutive life sentences in jail. Easy choice. There’s no love lost between them and Cam wants out. He’s had enough and is going to use Gabriel's only daughter as leverage to get out of from under the man’s thumb.
This only daughter is author Skylar 'Sky' Slavin, who writes thrillers. She recently (5 months earlier) had a kidney transplant, donated by her father, after which he’s disappeared of the grid. With both parents in the CIA she’s been taught to distrust military types and knows her way around explosives, firearms, self-defense and locked places. As all Stephanie Tyler's heroines, Sky is tough and resilient, having survived stuff she’s determined to hold on to her strength, yet she has a vulnerability that makes it impossible for me not to like or admire her.
I love enemy's daughter tropes, and LIE WITH ME has that trope written all over it! But it's so much more too: it's intricate with complex and characters that are fleshed out well with back-stories that delve deep under the surface. The romance did feel a bit rushed in the beginning, relying very much on instant attraction and sexual chemistry. Though it was really hot I expected a little more build-up there. That being said, the love scenes are awesome and beautifully written, rough, raw, intense and fitting the characters and the story. And I liked that the characters themselves (Cam and Sky) were questioning the speed with which their feelings were developing.
Next to Cam and Sky there are two important secondary characters that are also the couple having the secondary romance in this book. Cam’s best friend Dylan Scott is a former fellow Delta Force now turned sort of a rogue spy-for-hire. He’s paired up with Riley Sacadano, former Navy now on her own, a private contractor and in search of what happened to her dad, a CIA agent who was murdered in the line of duty. Both Dylan and Riley play crucial roles both the main plot and a few subplots.
When an author writes a villain that I feel tempted to sympathize with for his crappy childhood while at the same time despising him for what he puts other the people in the book through, you deserve my praise! Also when you give me a semi-villain with so much back-story delivered gradually enough to slowly come to the conclusion that even though he's not a good or honorable man, he would go through fire for his loved ones. And this is the kind of characters Stephanie Tyler gave me in LIE WITH ME next to the awesome main and secondary couple. How can I not love her books?
There were quite a few plots going on in the book and the common factor in the different plotlines seems to be Gabriel Creighton, actually he was an element in all the plotlines except for the romances. It was fascinating to slowly figure out how everything locked together and find out what was going on and working towards the inevitable and climactic conclusion where all loose ends get tied up and the separate threads come together.
I am not telling anything more about the plots than I already did as with romantic suspense, you need to find out and put things together for yourself when you read it. Suffice to say that I love the multiple plots that come together approach that is familiar in romantic suspense and which Stephanie Tyler takes on splendidly. I had several aha-moments where seemingly unconnected things clicked together, linking the plots and offering deeper knowledge and understanding for events earlier or later in the book. Awesome how Stephanie Tyler does this with all her military romances. And I’m a big fan of the "come full circle" feel her suspense plots have.
Romantic suspense books are filled with characters; primary, secondary and walk-ons, however Stephanie Tyler keeps it very manageable, only introducing characters that are necessary for the plots that are unfolding. And those characters all contribute with their own POVs, some –understandably-- more than others.
I must also include a warning that I don't think LIE WITH ME is for people who didn't like Stephanie Tyler’s first trilogy. I know there are people who didn't like the many POVs Steph uses, I however love that. To me they give insight and depth to the suspense and the characters. LIE WITH ME is written in that same style with multiple storylines and POVs and the occasional flashbacks. I loved the tiny reference to HOLD ON TIGHT, no matter how small if you've read HOLD ON TIGHT you'll pick up on it.
I adore Stephanie Tyler's writing and her brand of romantic suspense. Her men are capable, unapologetic and ruthless, yet tender and passionate with their woman. The women are vulnerable yet strong and independent. The suspense in LIE WITH ME is thrilling, intricate and awesomely put together including some kick-ass fight sequences. I was jumping from one speculation to the other. The romance is poignant and intense, the love scenes fog up will your glasses and an added treat was the secondary romance and the way she set up the next book's couple without giving away too much.
If you like a romantic suspense with several subplots coming together from different angles combined with a touching and complicated romance, you'll love LIE WITH ME as much as I did.(less)