Monday, September 19, 2016

Review: Family Illusions (A Hidden Dangers Novel, #1) by Bess George

Book Blurb:

Charlie Gomez’s life has never been easy. To shield her from her family’s dark past, her mother raised her as an illegal immigrant. She’s spent her life scraping by, never believing anything better was possible. Her mother’s death brings an unexpected windfall - she finally has the opportunity to search for the truth. Now she has a job, a place, and a purpose. The only negative in her new life is her antagonistic sexy new boss.

Jaxon Roberts is no stranger to hardship, but luck and the kindness of his adoptive father turned his life around and gave him something worth fighting for. Beautiful, headstrong Charlie Gomez could be his star employee, or the ruin of a business he’s dedicated to protecting. Reluctantly forced into working alongside her, the last thing he wants is to fall in love.

Once the lid to the past has been pried open danger comes tumbling out. When Charlie disappears, Jaxon is faced with a choice...walk away and preserve the world he knows, or fight for a future with the one woman who can truly teach him what family is all about?

My Review:

Family Illusions by Bess George was an intriguing read that took me right into the pages of an unexpected plot.  Charlie has no idea what she's set in motion with what she does with some papers she finds that her mother has hidden.  Then the death of her mother sends Charlie to places she never dreamed she'd end up, living a life she didn't think she'd ever have, finding people she never knew existed and a part of her that was always missing.  When Jaxon appears in Charlie's orbit, there is a lot of tension between them, but circumstances keep them together. Unanticipated feelings simmer beneath the surface, and just as they bubble up and the future looks hopeful, the secrets and danger surrounding Charlie come bursting out...There is still a battle to fight and difficult decisions to make, for both of them.

The plot of Family Illusions and the evil lurking beneath the pages pulled me in and at the same time horrified me.  Horrified because it could happen, and Bess George writes this plot in a realistic way.  I could feel the evil in some characters and the hopelessness in others.  I liked how she drew the mystery, tension, and what could happen next out, as we watched Charlie live her life at the same time.  

Charlie grew on me as her character developed in Family Illusions.  She came across as a bit naive at times and didn't always think about possible consequences to actions.  I did like how determined she was and could feel what she felt at times.  She is certainly not perfect, and she is a heroine that brings out all kinds of emotions!  I liked watching the evolution of her and Jaxon's relationship and learning more about him.

Family Illusions is not a cliffhanger, but the plot is not quite done and I'm interested to see where Bess takes us next!

Romantic suspense readers will enjoy Family Illusions.

4/5 stars

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Sunday, September 18, 2016

Review: Tango & Lace by Misty Dietz

Book Blurb:

World renowned geoarcheologist Jackson Whiteside has come home to Colorado to care for his grandmother and teach at CSU…not to rekindle the passionate, but doomed love affair with gramma’s high-spirited neighbor whose memory has haunted him half-way across the globe. But the moment he sees his feisty, melodramatic ex, his cortisol levels spike. And he damn well knows he’s about to unearth more layers of their relationship…whether his neurotransmitters like it or not.

If there’s one thing dancer and dispatch operator Mya Castillo can do well, it’s Tango. But dancing with her feet is one thing...dancing with her heart is another. Especially when she has no choice but to accept her ex— the world’s most unintentionally sexy professor—as her stand-in partner for the biggest performance of her life.

Jack’s two-year scientific immersion has kept a tight lid on his dangerous right-brained proclivities, but his irritatingly illogical gut is telling him the attack on Mya’s dance partner jeopardizes more than just her dance studio. It bodes evil toward the woman he still loves beyond reason, so this is one dance he won’t sit out.

My Review:

Tango and Lace by Misty Dietz was a riveting, fast paced novella that I really got into and enjoyed!  Jackson has 'finally' come home to help care for his grandmother Rosie and help fix up her house.  But home also means seeing his former lover Mya...a hot blooded woman with whom things ended poorly.  Mya is part of his grandmother's life, so there is no way they can avoid each other.  When they meet again, all kinds of sparks fly, but Mya is determined not to fall for him again.  Circumstances push them together with a little help from Rosie, but can either of them risk their heart for the other again for someone they're never truly gotten over?  Suddenly there is more than their hearts at risk though, and as danger stalks Mya, they find the walls they've build to protect themselves for each other crumbling.  Will they be able to take the chance?  Or is it too late for second chances?

I loved this novella!  In particular I loved Mya!!!  She is feisty, passionate, and holds nothing back!  She literally holds nothing back!  I loved the Spanish phrases that fly out of her mouth, her hot temper. her passion for family, her caring for others, even her life plan is one of passion for her...and eventually her passion for Jackson.  She is a powerful, strong main character who will stick with me.  She is a heroine I can clearly see in my mind.  Make no mistake, Jackson is just as lovable and a very strong hero.  He's also passionate, but for him it doesn't flow out of him as easily!  The care these two so obviously have and fight against for each other is palpable throughout Tango and Lace.  The suspense of danger directed towards Mya adds a lot of edge to Tango and Lace, and Misty had me totally fooled about who it was and what would happen!

The secondary characters are just as powerful and relevant to the plot.  As usual, Rosie shows up, and she is a constant in this series.  I love her.  She is definitely not your typical grandmother and if mine was still alive I'd love it if she was like Rosie!  All of the secondary characters stand strong and show up from other books in this series, but for me it is Rosie who shines.

Despite some conflict and tension, and an unexpected danger thrown into their lives, they all handle it so well and felt like a family I'd love to be a part of ((both families!).

Tango & Lace is part of the Hard Men of the Rockies novella series, but this one is a definite stand alone. I would highly recommend it to any romance reader who liked strong family connections and second chances!

5/5 stars

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Thursday, September 15, 2016

Review: Blackmail and Lace (A Hard Men of the Rockies Novella, #5) by Tracy A. Ward

Book Blurb:

Grayson Montgomery is on a mission and bad boy Adam Holder is on the top of her bucket list. When the successful defense attorney mistakes her for an old flame, Grayson doesn’t hesitate to use a misleading video to bring him to his knees and blackmails him into a trip he would never make. Duty-bound to a deathbed oath, Grayson doesn’t count on the intense attraction between them or how much she’s falling for the sexy bachelor.

Adam Holder loves women, but he loves success even more. He would never jeopardize his career, until a case of mistaken identity makes him look guilty of a crime he’d never commit. Not willing to take a chance with his future, Adam submits to the blackmail of a beautiful woman while plotting his revenge…but when their sparks of passion ignite, Adam forgets his thoughts of retaliation and risks it all to win Grayson’s heart.

My Review:

Blackmail and Lace by Tracy A. Ward was an entertaining, touching, and sexy read that took me on an emotion filled journey.  From heart ache to hope and new beginnings, I went along with Grayson as she embarks on promises to her sister that eventually become promises to herself.  Adam Holder is on her list and suddenly right on her path...doing what she can to use him to fulfill a promise, it soon becomes apparent to them that there is much more to life than just doing what is expected of you.  As the attraction between them quickly flares to life, can the past make way for the future?

I loved this fast paced read.  The attraction is quick, the action is hot, and the emotions are intense.  Everything is written so well and in such a way that it makes all that immediateness believable.  Adam and Grayson felt right together, but their pasts collide in unexpected ways and it was uncertain if that could be overcome.  There is some conflict and tension in their struggle, but the feelings remain strong which gave me hope.

The majority of the plot is over a short period of time, but I never felt that it was rushed and I felt like the story that needed to be told was told.  I saw a lot of growth in Grayson in Blackmail and Lace.  I felt that she deserved to live her life how she wanted to live it and hoped she would take that leap.

I enjoyed Blackmail and Lace and felt really good with how Tracy concluded it.  I'd recommend Blackmail and Lace to any romance reader.

4/5 stars

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Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Review: Red Lace (The Hard Men of the Rockies) by Kym Roberts

Book Blurb:

He knocked on death’s door, but she refused to let him walk in…

Ty Beckinsale was a dead man…until an angel in red lace saved him and disappeared into the night. Tortured with memories but unable to pursue leads to determine her identity until after he recovers, Ty seeks the assistance of the experts at Achilles HeAl, a private physical rehab facility for the rich and famous. Or in his case, the infamous—an ex-Secret Service Agent hell-bent on avoiding the media. His road to recovery, however, leads him straight to the woman he can’t forget—a woman he vows to protect from a past he can’t leave behind.
Fear consumes her, drives her to build walls no one can penetrate…

Secrets and lies have driven Faith Artino to turn her business into a compound. She’s secure, safe and satisfied with life. Until Ty Beckinsale walks in and knocks down all her barriers with a chemistry she can’t deny. But her fear of betrayal stops her from seizing the moment and from taking what she wants more than anything else—a passion so strong, it can’t be destroyed.

A life-time sentence of loneliness awaits, unless Faith opens her door to the one man who’s stolen her heart.

My Review:

Kym Roberts throws us right into the action from the start of Red Lace when Ty is injured, fighting not only for his life, but for the people he was supposed to protect.  In the cold darkness of a snowy night, and unexpected angel in red lace saves him...then disappears.  Is it coincidence or fate when they find themselves meeting up under much different circumstances?  Heat simmers below the surface as their mutual attraction grows.  There are unknowns, doubts, and trust issues in their path though, and they might just be too much to overcome, even if they both know what and who they really want.

This was the first book I read in The Hard Men of the Rockies series, and as much as Ty was, I was in a bit of a daze at the beginning about what was going on.  However with a good pace and great writing, Kym had me drawn into Red Lace quickly and I enjoyed the journey I went on with Ty and Faith!  They both have some issues that have brought them to where they are today, and I liked feeling like I was getting into their heads through dual POV's.  The heat between them simmers.  They are very attracted to one another, but the relationship is slow to build which worked well with the plot.  This really highlighted the growth these characters did in the span of this novella.

Rosie, Ty's grandmother is a strong secondary character and I absolutely adore her and she works her way into everything!

The length of Red Lace was just right for the story being told.  I liked that it started fast and just kept going!  Hopeful, sweet and sexy, any romance reader will enjoy Red Lace.

4/5 stars

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Monday, September 12, 2016

Review: Her Darkest Nightmare (The Evelyn Talbot Chronicles #1) by Brenda Novak

Book Blurb:

Evelyn Talbot knows that a psychopath can look perfectly normal. She was only sixteen when her own boyfriend Jasper imprisoned and tortured her—and left her for dead. Now an eminent psychiatrist who specializes in the criminal mind, Evelyn is the force behind Hanover House, a maximum-security facility located in a small Alaskan town. Her job puts her at odds with Sergeant Amarok, who is convinced that Hanover is a threat to his community…even as his attraction to beautiful Evelyn threatens to tear his world apart. 
Then, just as the bitter Alaskan winter cuts both town and prison off from the outside world, the mutilated body of a local woman turns up. For Amarok, this is the final proof he needs: Hanover has to go. Evelyn, though, has reason to fear that the crime is a personal message to her—the first sign that the killer who haunts her dreams has found her again. . .and that the life she has so carefully rebuilt will never be the same…

My Review:

In Her Darkest Nightmare by Brenda Novak, the remote Alaska setting is perfect for this intense and frightening read!  Evelyn Talbot has a very interesting career.  With a past that drives her, she studies psychopaths.  The most dangerous offenders in a maximum security prison called Hanover House in Alaska.  Her career is her life, and a brief relationship with Sergeant Amarok earlier was over before it really started.  Their career's collided, their beliefs separate them.  But as winter storms approach, so does danger...and murder.  Amarok is convinced the recent murders are tied to Hanover House, but Evelyn thinks they are a lot more personal and directed at her.  Soon the two of them are spending a lot of time together, and through conflict, tension, fear, insecurity and hope, they become closer...but can a killer be stopped before Evelyn's world falls apart again?

Her Darkest Nightmare is a riveting, scary, suspenseful read with a touch of romance and relationship angst.  I liked the mix of the two in Her Darkest Nightmare, how the relationship and the suspense tie together, how they are both so uncertain.  In many ways Evelyn has overcome her past, but in other ways it still holds her back from her future, especially any personal relationships.  Despite her attraction to Amarok, she resists.  Amarok is so obviously interested in Evelyn, even if he wishes she'd never come to his town.  That way he'd never know what he couldn't have.  The push and pull between Evelyn and Amarok is believable in their situation, although some parts of Evelyn's resistance are a bit too angsty in my opinion for a character of her maturity and experience.  

There are a lot of twists and turns in this well researched plot, and Brenda Novak kept me guessing.  The pace was great and I was easily absorbed in this world.  I'd recommend Her Darkest Nightmare to readers who like thrilling romantic suspense.

4/5 stars

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Sunday, September 11, 2016

Review: Deadly Affair (Southern California Violent Crimes Taskforce #4.5) by Misty Evans and Amy Manemann

Book Blurb:

Deadly Affair, an SCVC Taskforce novella

Cooper Harris, head of the SCVC Taskforce and nicknamed The Beast, isn’t afraid of anything…except that the woman who rocks his world may be about to dump him. Celina is acting distant and secretive while an engagement ring burns a hole in Cooper’s pocket. Whisking her away for a romantic weekend at a Northern California vineyard, he hopes to reignite the spark between them and get up the nerve to finally ask her to marry him.

Feisty crime scene photographer Celina Davenport hates keeping secrets. The baby growing inside her is cause for celebration, but Cooper has a son from a previous marriage and claims he doesn’t want more children because of his dangerous job. Celina understands what makes The Beast tick, and she also knows he’ll be a great dad to their child. She only needs the perfect moment to break the news.

Before either can come clean, Cooper and Celina stumble upon human bones and realize the beautiful vineyard hides a dark and haunting past filled with love, betrayal and murder. Can they unravel the mystery buried in the Northern California hills and bring a killer to justice? Or will the secrets they’re keeping from each other put them in deeper danger than they could ever imagine?

My Review:

In Deadly Affair by Misty Evans and Amy Manemann, DEA Special Agent Cooper's life's work is to bring down cartel members.  Celine met Cooper when she worked on a task force with him.  Now an FBI forensic photographer, Celine and Cooper are very involved with each other.  Ready to move to the next step, Cooper takes Celina away for a romantic weekend at a B & B on a vineyard.  They are both in for surprises this weekend, but the weekend takes a dramatic turn from romance to work related with the discovery of human remains.  Cooper and Celina might not be local, but they are still determined to find answers for a long dead person.  As they try to do this, will they find the answers they are looking for personally also?

I enjoyed this fast paced romantic suspense by Misty Evans and Any Manemann.  It fascinates me how authors can co-write a book so seamlessly that you never know where one finishes and the other starts.  I liked how they worked the mystery of the bones and long ago murder, but managed to easily bring the plot back to Celina and Cooper and their relationship.  Because as we see, real life doesn't wait.

I liked Cooper and Celina, and I could feel the connection between them as much as I could feel that hint of insecurity people in relationships sometimes have.  I liked that we saw the personal and professional sides of them in Deadly Affair, and the plot blended this well and relevantly.  They felt like real people who cared not only about each other but about doing their jobs.  I was very interested to see if they'd get to what they'd each planned for the weekend, their reactions, and how it would work out.  The mystery/suspense part of the plot is actually quite sad, bringing forward a hidden history and a story few would have known if Celina and Cooper hadn't spotted the bones.  I had a vague inkling about the mystery, but it played out in a way I didn't really expect at all, and Misty and Amy really made me feel for this person and those who knew this person.

The secondary characters and setting are perfect.  They are an important part of the plot, so I won't delve deeply into them, but I liked the characters used in Deadly Affair!

Misty Evans and Amy Manemann held my interest in this fast paced, intriguing, and emotional novella.  I would recommend Deadly Affair to any romantic suspense reader.  Part of the Southern California Violent Crimes Taskforce series, it can be read alone, but the whole series is worth reading!

4/5 stars

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Monday, August 29, 2016

Review: Wanted (FBI Heat #3) by Marissa Garner

Book Blurb:

For San Diego's elite FBI agents, risking their lives is standard procedure when it comes to capturing the city's most dangerous criminals - but falling in love is the greatest risk of all. 

Kat MacKenzie knows something is terribly wrong at the Diablo Beach Nuclear Power Plant, but she can't figure out if it's computer error, equipment malfunction, or human sabotage. Unfortunately, the only person she can trust with the problem is the man she left at the altar two years ago. If Dillon doesn't already hate her, he surely will once he discovers why she abandoned him.

The last person he expects to call him is the woman who broke his heart. But FBI Special Agent Dillon O'Malley can't ignore Kat's plea for help-not when national security may be at stake. As enemies become clear and catastrophe threatens, can Kat and Dillon put the past behind them to save the day and secure their future?

My Review:

In Wanted by Marissa Garner, when Kat makes uneasy discoveries at work, she turns to the one person she thinks will be able to help her - Dillon, an FBI Special Agent.  It's not that easy though, because Dillon is also the man she left at the altar two years ago.  She still trusts him and she still loves him, even if she is keeping secrets from him.  For him to help her she doesn't need to tell her secrets though...she just needs to find out what is going on at the Diablo Beach Nuclear Power Plant.  Dillon grew up in foster care and has always felt unlovable. He shuts himself off from caring, especially after how things ended with Kat.  Because he still doesn't know why they ended.  But he does know despite the betrayal and heart break she caused, he can't say no to her...not with so much at stake.  Putting the past behind them might not be so easy though, and neither will uncovering what is going on at the nuclear power plant.  Will they be able to do either or both?

The mysterious part of the plot of Wanted felt realistic, because something like what was happening seems like something that could happen!  I liked the suspense, and the slow unraveling of the why, how and who as Kat and Dillon raced to find out what was going on.

I alternately liked Kat and didn't like her all that much.  She made some significant decisions that impacted other people on her own, made a lot of assumptions, and caused a lot of hurt.  Especially to Dillon.  What made it worse was that she knew what he came from and his feelings on certain issues.  That she loves him made her actions all the more difficult for me to easily accept.  There were other parts of her I liked, personally and professionally, and she really is determined, brave, and not one to back away from some issues.  She is not perfect by any means, and that made her feel more real.  I really liked Dillon.  The way Marissa wrote his character just brought him to life and made me feel so much for him and the boy he was.  He does a lot, and he is a lot more than he gives himself credit for.  I liked that he didn't brush Kat off despite their past.  As that past comes to light with the danger that follows them, he handles it remarkably!  I think both of these characters grew a lot in Wanted, and I hoped they'd have a chance to not only uncover what is going on in the nuclear power plant, but that they'd get their second chance.

The romance and suspense in Wanted is a good mix, and both complement the other.  The pace of the story is steady and strong.   Part of Marissa Garner's FBI Heat series, Wanted can be read as a stand alone.  I'd recommend Wanted to romantic suspense readers.

4/5 stars

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