Sugar Hill is a pretty typical book for a category romance. Sweet and short and just a little bit hot. Because of the length restrictioRating: 3.5 / 5
Sugar Hill is a pretty typical book for a category romance. Sweet and short and just a little bit hot. Because of the length restriction, the story is a little bit underdeveloped at points. Things that could have been fleshed out weren't. But it wasn't a bad story. It was fairly good.
The storyline isn't all that original. It's a theme that I've read numerous times before - rich boy, poor girl, disapproving family members who scheme to separate them, and a secret that the heroine is afraid to reveal. A pretty common storyline that's a bit overdone. That was the only thing for me that counted against the book. I knew how it was going to go and there wasn't anything to make the book stand-out against others like it.
It's a nice short read though when you want some pure romance. For Barton fans who like her more recent full-length romantic suspense novels, this is nothing at all like them so you should only read this if you also like standard category romance books....more
I enjoyed this book quite a bit. Mostly for the suspense plot than for the romance or the characters.
The summary/description on the book page gives aI enjoyed this book quite a bit. Mostly for the suspense plot than for the romance or the characters.
The summary/description on the book page gives a good overview of the book so I won't bother to write another summary.
At times during this book, Quinn isn't exactly my favorite character. Not that I disliked him. But he's a total man-whore player and it's a bit of a turn-off when the hero is someone who admits he just likes to fuck women whenever, wherever he can. During the book, he is even involved with another character, and almost yet another. Even after he develops an interest in Annabelle, he goes off and screws someone else because Annabelle had him so out of whack and he needed a release. When a guy acts like that, his ability to be monogamous is rather questionable. So I never quite developed an emotional attachment to Quinn, but he was likable enough.
The romance is okay. For 3/4ths of the book, it is pretty much non-existent. Then suddenly they are all over each other. I would have liked something a little more gradual. A few stolen kisses or whatever, instead of the lust explosion that within like a page has Annabell telling him she loves him.
So those two aspects of the story weren't the greatest for me. But the suspense plot was really good. It's not particularly intense. It's more of a winding mystery with a moderate level of intensity. Barton tries to direct suspicion onto various characters and it works to a certain degree. I had a fairly good idea in which direction the bad guy was going to come from. The plot and the way it was written kept me interested in the story.
I loved the use of connected characters in this book. For people who have read other of Barton's romantic suspense releases, you'll find a number of familiar characters. Griffin Powell (The Murder Game) is a secondary character, along with Judd Walker (The Dying Game), Jim Norton (Close Enough To Kill). And there are numerous mentions of Johnny Mack Cahill (After Dark). It's great to see those characters again or see another aspect of them.
If you're looking for a book with a solid romance, this may not be the one to read. But if you like a good romantic suspense plot where the suspense is more prominent, then this is a good one to pick....more
A Time To Die is a great romantic suspense book. I'd give it a solid 4 stars, probably 4.5 if I could. But it's not quite a 5.
The story starts off witA Time To Die is a great romantic suspense book. I'd give it a solid 4 stars, probably 4.5 if I could. But it's not quite a 5.
The story starts off with young reporter Lexie in the African country of Gadi where a brutal tyrant is about to be inaugurated president. While she's reporting, an assassination team kills the president and in the crossfire, Lexie is seriously wounded, nearly paralyzed for life. She's saved by one of the soldiers, Deke...who just might also be the same man who accidentally shot her.
Ten years later, she's recovered as much as she ever will. But she's never forgotten the gray-eyed soldier who risked everything to save her. Deke, however, has never gotten over the guilt. He secretly kept track of her for 5 years, but stopped when she was better. Now he's an investigator/bodyguard for the Dundee agency...and is shocked when his new assignment makes him the bodyguard of Lexie, who has been receiving terrorizing death threats. There's instant chemistry between the two, but Deke can't get over what he did to her. And once Lexie finds out the truth, she doesn't know what to think or to do. Of course, none of that will matter if the psycho after her succeeds.
One of the things I loved about this book was the unique dynamic between Lexie and Deke. With Deke mostly likely being the man who fired the bullet that nearly severed her spine. You don't usually get such an interesting situation between characters. It was interesting to read how things worked out between them. They had a really great chemistry and I really wanted them to work things out(which of course they would).
I also really enjoyed the secondary couple of Bain/Cara. Now they had some serious chemistry. But I got the feeling as I was reading that they wouldn't work things out, which was disappointing. Then I read on Barton's website that they would be a secondary couple for her next book, the last Protectors book, Dying For You. So I'm excited to see how things go with them in that book.
Storyline-wise...Barton always knows how to draw me in with the plots of her books. She did a great job in this one casting suspicion onto the various suspects. I was pretty sure who it was, but she made me second guess myself more than once.
The only thing I would liked to have seen was a more thorough resolution between Lexie and Deke regarding the past and the shooting. I felt like she skimmed past that a little bit. I wanted them to have a serious conversation about what happened, and it didn't come. So that's really the only thing that seemed missing to me. Otherwise, I really enjoyed this one, as is usual with Barton's long romantic suspense books....more
Another good book from Barton. Not utterly fantastic five-star worthy, but a solid 4-star. Which is typical of her books for me. I usually enjoy themAnother good book from Barton. Not utterly fantastic five-star worthy, but a solid 4-star. Which is typical of her books for me. I usually enjoy them quite a bit, but they tend to be lacking...something...to give them that extra kick to make them really great.
To read this book, you really have to have read Barton's previous book, The Dying Game. You'll end up a bit lost if you don't. The plots are fairly heavily intertwined. Which relates to one of the minor problems I had with the book.
Despite the fact that timeline wise there is a year's space between the two books (plots), the beginning of The Murder Game has this feel as if I'd just turned the page from one book to the next. Barton jumps right into the new book full force. I ended up feeling a little disconnected from the storyline, but more so the characters. I read The Dying Game months and months ago so the details had faded quite a bit. Then this book throws you right into the plot and characters and I found myself stopping and trying to refresh my memory on the last book. A slower start to the book would have been better, in my opinion, with more introduction to the characters.
I think because of what I mentioned above, it wasn't until about 150-200 pages into the book that I really started to feel the Griffin/Nicole relationship and connect with the main characters. For a little while in the beginning, Nic annoyed me quite a bit with her attitude, but once I got into the book more, I liked her. And once the romantic angle picked up, I enjoyed it. Griff and Nic make an interesting couple.
Plot-wise...no complaints. I don't think the plot is quite as intense as the previous book, but it was still good. And creepy. The chase scenes were well done really engaging. One thing I didn't quite like, though, was how much Barton personalized the soon-to-be victims. There was one woman who Barton played up as a loving wife and mother, made us like her...then snuffed her out. And it was rather depressing. I just didn't think it was necessary to personalize them as much as Barton did. But that's a personal preference.
The most disappointing aspect of the book for me was how Barton dealt with Griffin's mysterious past and his "missing" ten years. I wanted more. She gives the basic details of where he was and what happened, and then a deeper detail here and there in short flashbacks, but it wasn't enough for me. I finished the book, and was like 'that's all I get?' His missing past has been this big thing, and I just expected a deeper explanation, more details. They didn't come. So I was disappointed in that aspect.
Overall, though, a good read. I wasn't bored at any point and I wanted to keep reading even when I was tired. If a couple of things had been done differently, it would have been a great book for me. ...more
I don't think I've yet read a book by Beverly Barton that I didn't like. This one was no exception. I enjoyed Cold Hearted from the beginning to the eI don't think I've yet read a book by Beverly Barton that I didn't like. This one was no exception. I enjoyed Cold Hearted from the beginning to the end.
Though it's not considered an official series, this book is part of the Griffin Powell/Powell Agency universe - as are all of Barton's non-Protector's, full-length novels. Most of them (with the exception of the Game books) can be read as stand-alones, this one included.
Cold Hearted features Powell Agent Rick Carson, who had brief mentions/appearances in one or two other books. Rick has been assigned to investigate the death of Senator Dan Price. The police believe it was a suicide, but Price's family thinks he was murdered and as the Powell Agency to investigate. Heading up the top of the list of suspects is Price's widow, Jordan. From the start, Rick is torn between two emotions over the beautiful young widow - his relentless attraction, and his unrelenting suspicion. Because this isn't the first time Jordan has been widowed. Her first husband died in a hunting accident, and her fiance before that in a car accident. For Rick, there's no such thing as coincidence in a case like this. So he can't help but wonder if he's falling for a cold hearted murderer.
Barton did an excellent weaving this rather sordid tale. The scenes with the bad guys thought had me suspecting just about everyone because though the scenes give lots of clues, you never really know until the end who has been killing people left and right. It really keeps you head into the story trying to figure out who did what and why.
The romance angle, for me, was about the only place the book lacked a bit. Really, until page like 320 or so (out of about 400 pages) the H/H share only one kiss. Which in a way is understandable because Jordan is completely closed off emotionally, and Rick honestly thinks she's could be a black widow murderer. Still, it's disappointing to have so little actual romance in the book. So I wouldn't have minded a bit of a boost in that area. But I did like Rick and Jordan mostly even if it was a little hard to get a feel for them as a couple because for most of the book their relationship is so contentious and rife with suspicion.
I also enjoyed the "cameos" with Nic and Griffin. They are one of my favorite Barton couples and she gives up a couple nice scenes with them in the book. And I'm curious about the storyline Barton appears to be building up with recurring character Yvette Meng. Sounds like it will be an interesting one.
So for you Barton fans, or general fans of romantic suspense novels, I'd definitely recommend this one. It was and enjoyable book to read, even if a little low on romance. I look forward to more books from Barton in the Powell "universe."...more
The last book in Beverly Barton's popular "Protectors" series...which is rather sad. I haven't read all the books, yet, but I've enjoyed the ones thatThe last book in Beverly Barton's popular "Protectors" series...which is rather sad. I haven't read all the books, yet, but I've enjoyed the ones that I have read, especially the longer ones. This one included.
Anyway, Dying For Youfeatures not only the oft-requested couple Lucie and Sawyer, but also wraps up storylines for Cara and Bain, and Daisy and Geoff. Though you might be able to read this book as a stand-alone and not have many problems, it reads almost as a sequel to the last "Protectors" book A Time To Die - it's got many of the same characters and situations - and it also has obvious connections to other past books in the series.
The book starts off with Lucie finally getting fed up with Sawyer's treatment of her at Dundee's because of their past together. So she leaves and takes a job as Cara Bedell's personal bodyguard. On a trip out of town, Lucie is kidnapped because her abductors believe she is Cara. When he finds out, Sawyer comes riding to the rescue. It's soon learned that it may not be just a kidnap for ransom, but that someone wants Cara dead. And while all this is going on, Cara is trying to convince Bain they can make a relationship work despite her being filthy rich, and Daisy decides to go after her man, Geoff. Lucie and Sawyer must also dredge up the past and finally put their issues behind them...all the while trying to find out who wants Cara dead.
I liked Dying For You a lot, but I don't think I could say I 5-star loved it. It wasn't quite there for me, but it was still a solid 4-stars, maybe 4.5. I'd probably go with 4.5 if one thing at the end hadn't really annoyed me.
This is a very busy book, though. There are three romantic couples...and though Lucie and Sawyer are supposed to be the main one, Cara and Bain get a lot of face-time as well. Which I didn't mind too much since I grew to really like them in the last book. Daisy and Geoff have their scenes as well, but they're more in the background. I enjoyed all the relationships in the book, though. The characters were all great, lots of torturous emotional angst...and the requisite HEA's. I will say that maybe Lucie and Sawyer could have gotten a little more focus. After the build up they had, readers really wanted their story, and for them to have to share space with not one, but two other couples is just a smidge disappointing. But I don't think it ruined the story or anything. Their relationship just wasn't as full-bodied as it perhaps could have been.
As for the plot of the book...I had no problems with it, though it was a bit predictable. I had a good idea who the bad guy(s) were going to be. Still, it was an interesting story and because of it's close ties to story situation in the last book, everything is familiar and comfortable. I thought the ending (the plot wrap-up) could have been more solid. The bad guy is arrested, then there's like two more chapters to tie up the relationships, but no mention of what happened with the case. So you're left wondering what happened there (convictions, jail, etc). And I was ENDLESSLY annoyed by the fact that Barton neglected to resolve the fate of a certain character...who was seriously injured near the end. The last word was that the person was in serious condition and that if they survived the next 48 hours they should survive...and then there's nothing else. It's never mentioned what happened to the character. And it annoyed the hell out of me. I really hate it when authors seem to forget to wrap-up an issue.
That was my only major annoyance. Otherwise, I enjoyed Dying For You. Good romance, great characters, interesting storyline...an all around solid read. But I'm kinda sad that this is the last "Protectors" book. At least there will be more of Barton's Griffin Powell-related books....more
There were good points to this book, and bad points. I didn't exactly like it all that much, but I didn't really dislike. Mostly, I just thought it coThere were good points to this book, and bad points. I didn't exactly like it all that much, but I didn't really dislike. Mostly, I just thought it could have been written better.
Plot-wise, it was a good book. I enjoyed the storyline and the main characters; a fairly typical good vs evil / serial killer story. Barton did an excellent job of keeping you guessing about the bad guy. She gives you a number of suspects and I could never quite figure out which on it was because none were overly obvious. It kept you into the book and kept you wondering. The main secondary characters of Jazzy and Jacob were good too. I enjoyed the friendship between Jazzy, Jacob, and Genny.
The down side of this book was that - in my opinion - Barton spent too much time on the other numerous characters, at a sacrifice to Dallas and Genny. There were just so many characters she dumped into the book, some entirely inconsequential, and some as potential bad guys. Some were necessary, but Barton still spent too many pages on them. Because of that, I didn't feel like Dallas and Genny got enough attention. There wasn't much discovery time with them. It was like there entire romance was built on an intangible connection that both felt. I wanted more quality getting-to-know-you moments with them. All the asides just made the book a bit scattered and my attention kept wandering.
So all in all, The Fifth Victim is an okay read, something you wouldn't mind taking out from the library, but not something to rush right out and get. There are 2 connected books, but as yet, I haven't decided if I'm going to read them....more
This was a pretty good book. It's closer to a Karen Rose type of romantic suspense than say a Nora Roberts romantic suspense. I enjoyed the charactersThis was a pretty good book. It's closer to a Karen Rose type of romantic suspense than say a Nora Roberts romantic suspense. I enjoyed the characters a lot, and the storyline was fairly good. With a few tweaks, I would have probably loved this book.
Series Note: this book is part of the Powell Agency/Griffin Powell universe. There are sections of this book that relate directly to past storylines and if you haven't read those, you're going to be confused.
Eighteen months ago, Cathy Cantrell's preacher husband went to answer the doorbell and died because of it when gasoline was thrown on him and he was set on fire. Cathy watched her husband burn to death. After six months of trying to hold it together, she suffers a nervous breakdown when another religious figure is murdered. A year after that she is finally returning home to restart her life. But she's not the same person she once was.
Jackson Perdue has just returned to his hometown after a devastating war injury. He's taken a job with the sheriff's department and is given the task of looking into cold cases - which includes Mark Cantrell and another man's death. Jack planned to stay away from Cathy; they'd had a youthful romance nearly 17 years ago that broke both their hearts. But the chemistry is still there and the two can't stay away from each other. Then another religious man is killed and Cathy must find the strength to keep herself together. And Jack must help figure out who is murdered men who seemed above reproach.
My favorite thing about this book were the two lead characters, Cathy and Jack. I thought Cathy was a fantastic heroine. She'd been a bit meek and subservient for most of her life, but the tragedy she went through helped her find her true self. It was great to read about her taking charge of her life and not letting people walk all over her anymore. She made a great heroine. And I enjoyed Jack as well. He's a little bit dark and broody in some ways, but mostly just a nice guy.
The romance between them was great. There was instant chemistry between them the moment they saw each other again for the first time in seventeen years. And even though both told themselves they couldn't go back, they just couldn't stay apart. Their romance had a nice sweet edge to it.
So those two things were my favorite part of the book. There were a couple things I didn't quite like, or like as much. One was that there were a freakin' ton of characters in this book. Normally that doesn't bother me too much in other books, but in this one, the author gave POV sections to more than a few characters...the hero, the heroine, the heroine's son, the antagonist, potential victims, supporting characters (Maleah, Nic, Griffin, etc). The POV's kept jumping around and it got annoying. Plus it also took away time from the H/H.
There were also some POV scenes that I just thought were unnecessary or ill-fitting. For one thing, the POV scenes with Nic and Griff (an H/H from previous books) seemed completely extraneous to the story. I understand that the author was trying to convey that all is not well with them and that more of Griffin's secret past is coming to haunt him, but those part of this book just did not fit. At least in my opinion. I mean, you're reading the book...about the H/H and the plot then suddenly you jump to a different setting and different characters and read randomly about Nic being upset with Griffin. It was so out of place because that issue had nothing at all to do with this specific book. It was kind of obvious the author just plopped it in to further the Nic/Griffin storyline and set up upcoming turmoil. Which I get the need to do, but there had to be a better way to fit it in.
Also - and I've had this issue with Barton before - I hate it that she gives POV's for a secondary characters, letting us know all about them, how good they are, how much they've overcome, etc...and then they get whacked. It's such a total downer to think 'oh, what a nice guy!...damn, now he's dead'. What's the need for doing that?
Aside from that, the plot was fairly good. Might not have been the most original I've read. It's a theme I've read more than once before. I thought the suspense aspect could have been a bit stronger if the police procedural part was stronger (Karen Rose's books are much better in this aspect). Considering the hero was a cop, I didn't think the police aspect was played up enough.
I can't really comment on the whodunnit part because I cheated and peeked at the end of the book to see who it was. So sue me ;) I wanted to know. Even so, I did think that at a certain part of the book it because obvious who the antagonist was. I did wish Barton had included a scene at the end where the antagonist reveals to his/her hostages why each person was killed. I don't think Cathy ever got to know why Mark was murdered.
Anyway, this was still a good book even though some things bugged me. They mostly just kept the book from being really great but didn't make me dislike it in any way. It was still a pretty engaging read and I definitely look forward to the next book from Barton which will continue some storyline's from this book (Maleah, Jack's sister; Lorie, Cathy's best friend; and Nic and Griffin)....more