Thursday, December 19, 2013

Review: The Way Home by Cindy Gerard

Title: The Way Home
Series: One-Eyed Jacks
Author: Cindy Gerard
Read copy: eBook
Published: October 29, 2013
Publisher: Gallery Books
ISBN: 1476735220
ISBN-13: 9781476735221

Killed in Action—the most dreaded words imaginable for a soldier's wife. Jess Albert has been living with them for four years, since the death of her husband in Afghanistan. Finding blessed numbness in routine, she doesn't dare to look ahead, any more than she can bear to look back. Then Tyler Brown, a former special-ops warrior, shows up at her small general store in Minnesota North Woods, jarring her back to life. Jess knows better than to fall in love with another man who places duty to his country before love of his wife- but there's no denying the longing and the hope for a future that Ty makes her feel.

A world away, a man ravaged by years of captivity and torture, a man with no memories, finally escapes- clinging to life and sanity in a hostile land. In his darkest hour, he awakes in a lantern-lit cave to find a woman at his side. Dark-haired and dark-eyes, her touch is caring, despite the resentment he hears in her voice and sees on her face. Rabia is bound by honor to save the lost American soldier in her keeping, this broken warrior from a war that has brought so much devastation to her land. But is it honor igniting her compassion for her enemy, or is it something more?

While a Black Ops team plans a daring rescue mission to bring the solider home, two women on opposite sides of the world walk a dangerous path between betrayal and honor, and must find for themselves where to draw the lines between duty and love.

My rating:

***copy provided by publisher through NetGalley***

Four years ago Jess' husband was declared KIA and now she's finally ready to 'start living' again with a new man in her life and by her side. Unfortunately, right before the wedding, she receives some shocking news. Her husband is still alive. *gasp*

Unfortunately, this book committed 'suicide by blurb'. There's no other was to describe it. It's all there. The big twist. In the freaking blurb. And hence makes the book incredibly predictable. And incredibly boring. I just kept turning the pages (figuratively speaking, since I read an eBook), going "come on, come on, let's get it over with, bring the husband back".

It would've worked a lot better if the 'big twist' were kept hush-hush. The impact, the shock, and the 'gaspage' would've been much, much greater.

But instead I just kept waiting for the big news to break and the guy to be back...And, of course, the whole Afghani rescuer story was so utterly predictable it made my teeth hurt.

Still, it wasn't badly written, just badly 'blurbed'.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Review: Dominating BDSM Billionaires - The Complete Series Bundle by Malia Mallory

Title: Dominating Billionaires - The Complete Series Bundle
Series: Dominating BDSM Billionaires
Author: Malia Mallory
Read copy: eBook
Published: October 15, 2013
Publisher: eXcessica Publishing
ISBN: 1301634417
ISBN-13: 9781301634415

His Need, Her Desire

Executive assistant Tabitha Quinn didn't come to Hawaii to be spanked. But when vacationing businessman Marcus Granger saves her from drowning, they begin an affair that moves from the beach to the bedroom and straight into an experience Tabitha's never had before: dark-haired, blue-eyed Marcus is a dominant, and spanking is just the beginning. The sex is intense, the emotion even more so, until they both must decide if this is a holiday fling or the real thing.

His Desire, Her Surrender

Tabitha Quinn's Hawaii vacation was anything but ordinary. Dominant billionaire Marcus Granger saved her life, swept her into his bed, and then left her heartbroken. Now she's back in New York, mourning the man she's sure she'll never see again.

Marcus may have left handprints on her skin, but Tabitha's left handprints on his heart: he tracks her down, and they resume the sizzling affair they began in the islands.

Tabitha belongs to Marcus body and soul in bed, but she worries she doesn't belong in his high-stakes world. They've already dodged a murder attempt, and now Marcus is fighting off a competitor's takeover. When the rival company obtains critical information, suspicion falls on Tabitha. She has to prove she's innocent--and worthy to wear Marcus's collar.

Her Wish, His Command

Doctor Anna Foster may just get what she wants: sexy fellow researcher Jonah Granger. She's been in love with him for years, but Jonah has always been more interested in work at his family's business, Granger Pharma, than romance. Now that they've admitted their attraction, Anna may even be able to tell him what she really wants: to submit to him.

But Granger Pharma faces a hostile takeover. Sensitive data and samples are missing from Anna and Jonah's lab; it may be corporate espionage. Everyone is under suspicion and, and they're even beginning to question each other. Anna must discover the truth if she's going to save both her job and her relationship with the man she dreams of serving.

His Passion, Her Temptation

Granger Pharma executive Monica Granger is hiding her relationship from her family. She has to. Her lover is the son of her father's biggest business rival. Ben Coron is more than Monica can resist; he's everything she's ever wanted—including dominant in bed.

But when Coron Health makes a play for Granger Pharma, Monica's relationship—and her life—blow wide open. She loses her job, and her family rejects her. Someone's stealing Granger's vital trade secrets, and worse, Monica's brother is dodging attempts on his life.

Their passion is too strong to keep Monica and Ben apart for long. They must thwart the takeover and heal the rift between their families. If they don't, they'll never trust one another enough to pursue the dominance and submission they both need.

My rating:

***copy provided by publisher through NetGalley***

I just couldn't get into the story (stories), just couldn't. The voice simply didn't agree with me. The stories read more like a school assignment than a published work that's gone through an (extensive) editing process. I just couldn't get past the "she got up, went out, came back in, did this, did that". I couldn't relate to or empathize with the characters, and even the "erotic" parts seemed perfunctory at best.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Review: Detained by Ainslie Paton

Title: Detained
Author: Ainslie Paton

Read copy: eBook
Published: September 2, 2013
Publisher: Escape Publishing
ISBN: 0857990772
ISBN-13: 9780857990778

Confined in a cold, dull room in the depths of a Shanghai airport, a journalist chasing a career break and a businessman with a shadowy past play a game of truth or dare — deliberately not exchanging names.

They tell each other their most painful secrets and burning desires. One dare leads to a kiss and a wild night of illicit passion, setting off a dangerous sequence of events, bringing exposure and disgrace.

Only the brutal truth can save them. But it will also rip them apart. And it will take more than daring before they can build a new truth together.

My rating:

***ARC provided by publisher through NetGalley***

I can't believe I succeeded in reading it. Really, a feat worthy of Hercules if you ask me.

Well, it started out okay. Good premise, very Harlequin-like secretive hero, very Harlequin-like heroine, very Harlequin-like plot...Unfortunately, when that ended, the book didn't. And it all went downhill from that. A twist too many for my comfort, until it all got so damn repetitive, the plot twists more and more elaborate (and outlandish)...And still the author kept on piling and piling on all that unnecessary and utterly unneeded crap.

Until even the initial lukewarm enthusiasm disappeared and I just kept turning the pages (okay, sliding my finger on my eReader's screen) out of sheer boredom, rather looking forward to what Ms. Paton will come up with next.

And even that wasn't enough to raise the rating.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Review: Carved in Stone by Kate Douglas

Title: Carved in Stone
Author: Kate Douglas

Read copy: eBook
Published: September 13, 2013
Publisher: Beyond the Page Publishing
ISBN: 1937349780
ISBN-13: 9781937349783

Archaeologist and folklore expert Nate Murdock has discovered ancient stone carvings that will either revolutionize thinking in his field or get him laughed out of it entirely, and he’s hired world-renowned photographer Alex Martin to document his find and bolster his claim. When the alluring Alexandra Martin, not Alex, shows up for the job, Nate’s not sure whether to send her packing or take her into his arms.

Alexandra Martin, the daughter of the famed photographer and just as talented with a camera, is a dark-haired and dark-eyed beauty. Years ago her father built his reputation on photographs he’d stolen from her, and she’s out to prove once and for all that she’s the real deal. When the opportunity to work with the celebrated and ruggedly handsome Nate Murdock falls into her lap, she jumps at the chance—whether he likes it or not.

As tempers flare and accusations fly, the two dig in for a battle of wills and an uneasy truce at their remote mountainside camp. But when drug smugglers trap them in a cave and leave them to die, Nate and Alexandra realize they must trust each other—and the fiery passion growing between them—and surrender to a mysterious force as it guides them through a perilous escape and the acceptance of a powerful love as primal and compelling as the mountain itself.

My rating:

***copy provided by publisher through NetGalley***

Yet another book I just couldn't bring myself to finish. But with this one I admitted defeat even earlier. I just couldn't get into the story. The heroine has issues from the get go. Especially with chauvinistic men. Since the hero didn't strike me as that much of a chauvinist, the result was skipping to the middle of the story. There I discovered the depth of heroine's issues, so I skipped to the end (thinking that maybe she comes around in the end and that'll make me read the entire book from the start). Nope. I went with chapter 13 (out of 16) and was slapped in the face by the same issues. And then she ran. She blamed her father, she blamed her ex, she blamed everybody for her issues but herself...And I wanted to choke her. She finally came around at the very end and even then the hero came to her and not the other way around.

Ugh. I just couldn't. Sorry.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Review: Hard to Handle by Jessica Lemmon

Title: Hard to Handle
Series: Love in the Balance
Author: Jessica Lemmon
Read copy: eBook
Published: October 1, 2013
Publisher: Forever
ISBN: 1455573795
ISBN-13: 9781455573790


Sadie Howard never dates a guy more than once-but Fate has other plans for her when it comes to Aiden Downey, the one that got away. Aiden loved her, left her, and broke her heart. Yet suddenly she's bumping into him at every turn, driven to distraction by his wicked grin and rock-hard body. Now she can't resist finishing what they started-as long as she doesn't let herself fall in love...


Aiden Downey threw away the best thing he ever had when he let Sadie go, and now he's determined to win back the woman he's always wanted. Sadie agrees to let him into her life-and her bed-as long as there are no strings attached. But Aiden's not about to make the same mistake again. Can he convince her to take a second chance on a once-in-a-lifetime love?

My rating:

***copy provided by publisher through NetGalley***

A year ago he broke her heart, because he decided to take care of his dying mother, now he's back...And they end up together.

That's what I was able to glean from what I read. Because I was unable to finish it. I started it, stopped, and read the last few chapters. That's it.
I just couldn't get into it. Maybe because of the whole backstory between the two, maybe because of the unbelievability of the backstory between the two (the part about them never sleeping together while they were actually together was just too much out there for this day and age, but maybe I'm just jaded)...Maybe it was just the author's voice that wasn't up my alley.
And then the final few chapters introduced the 'other side' of the heroine, the hide-behind-a-wall type that doesn't emerge from behind that wall until it's almost too late...Such a cliché. I guess we were lucky there was no near-death experience involved.

This just wasn't for me.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Review: Searching for Someday by Jennifer Probst

Title: Searching for Someday
Series: Love Spells
Author: Jennifer Probst
Read copy: eBook
Published: November 24, 2013
Publisher: Simon&Schuster
ISBN: 1476744971
ISBN-13: 9781476744971

Kate has given up on love—at least for herself. She is both blessed and cursed with the ability to sense a romantic connection between two people—a gift that her family passed down for generations. When Kate launches her own matchmaking company, Kinnection, with her two best friends in a cozy New York town, she has to put aside her own romantic disasters to make her business a success.

But when a furious man stalks into her office and accuses her business of being a scam, Kate is given the ultimate challenge to prove herself. Slade puts himself in her hands and asks Kate to find him love. Enraged at his arrogance but stubbornly eager to prove herself, Kate agrees, dedicating herself to the journey of finding him love...only to find herself falling for him along the way.

My rating:

***ARC provided by publisher through NetGalley***

Kate and her two friends at Kinnections matchmaker agency have recently signed a new client. But with that client come additional baggage in the form of the client's overprotective older brother. An older brother who's decided the ladies working at Kinnections are all frauds and is ready to sue them if they don't render the contract with his sister void.

Well, Kate can't have any of that, so they compromise. She'll find him a match, too, and convince him love exists in the process. Oh, if only it were that easy.

This book started off great. The characters were nicely fleshed-out, cute, and quirky, the plot was interesting, the narration flowed wonderfully, making me turn the pages, curious as to what might happen next.

Unfortunately by the middle of the book, my enthusiasm was all but gone. There were just too many issues combined between the hero and heroine. And while I could see his point, I just couldn't get her. She was co-owner of a matchmaking agency, she believed in love and all that jazz, yet was afraid to let herself go with this particular guy that made sparks fly (almost literally) every time he touched her.
Then, for a time, they finally saw reason, issues sprouted up, they broke up, and, since this is Romancelandia, got back together quickly. Cute, right? Might be if it ended there. But no, they had to go through the same process once more. And that was the final nail in the coffin for this book to get more than a three-star rating. I like some decent push-and-pull between the protagonists, but only to a certain point. These two crossed that proverbial line in the sand.

Three stars for the first half of the book.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Review: Accidentally In Love With...A God? by Mimi Jean Pamfiloff

Title: Accidentally In Love With...A God?
Series: Accidentally Yours
Author: Mimi Jean Pamfiloff
Read copy: eBook
Published: October 29, 2013
Publisher: Forever
ISBN: 1455546925
ISBN-13: 9781455546923

Trapped for decades, a powerful god seeks freedom . . . and revenge. But the only thing that can save him is the passion of a woman's touch...

Emma Keane is your average city girl trying to get a date. There's just one thing holding her back: the disembodied male voice speaking to her through her mind. Sound kind of crazy? Maybe. But crazy turns downright deadly when the voice persuades her to travel to the wilds of the Mayan jungle. There she will free his body-his incredibly hot, muscled, naked body.

Humans are so frail, so undisciplined, so susceptible to love. And when this ancient being connects with Emma, the feelings she sparks drive him utterly mad. Protective, keep-her-close, never-let-her-go kind of mad. Which might not be such a bad thing because from the moment the beautiful, passionate Emma unshackles his body, they are hunted at every turn. Now he'll have to do everything in his power to keep her safe. But will it be enough?

My rating:

***copy provided by publisher through NetGalley***

She's been hearing his voice in her head for her entire life. But recently he's become a real pain, preventing her from getting a life (read: love life). She really needs to get this guy out of her head.

And he has a solution—travel to Mexico and free him.

Mexico, Mayan ruins, ancient gods, ancient god-feuds, an ancient god with a hunky voice (and later on a hunky body). Seems like my sort of book, right?

Unfortunately, wrong.

I just couldn't get into the story, but I refused to let it become yet another DNF, so I persevered, hoping it might get better, it might pull me in. Nope. Didn't happen.

  • The constant changes in narrative modes (jumping between first-person POV of the heroine and third-person POV of the hero) annoyed the crap out of me from the get-go. Chose one and stick to it, please.
  • The changes in voice, maybe slight, in different narrative modes also bugged me.
  • I just couldn't grasp the concept of a seventy-thousand(or something)-year old god using modern language.
  • All the 'screaming' done in this book (even the male characters screamed!) got on my nerves.
  • I just didn't 'get' the whole lets-destroy-the-world scenario. Maybe my attention was already shot by that point and I simply didn't care, I don't know.
  • I. Loathed. The. Heroine. I know, I know, feeling something about the protagonists is better than not feeling anything. But this went beyond normal obtuse, somewhat TSTL Romancelandia heroine. She was a whiny, bratty, bitchy, selfish, idiotic, jumping-to-conclusions, self-centered bitch, and I simply couldn't understand the fascination a GOD (!) could have for her. I just couldn't see it.
  • I didn't really feel the hero either. Yeah, he was there, I was told he was the hero, he received much 'screen-time', but I just didn't get the 'hero' vibe. He was supposed to be a god, for eff's sake, but he acted like any other guy out there with all the chest-thumping, keeping the chick at arms length, yadda, yadda, yadda. He wasn't even badass, and I've come to expect major badassery from a god (or a romance hero). This one was just meh. Average Joe, even.
  • There was just so much crammed into the story—romance, suspense, world-building, gods and goddesses, the links/bonds between the deities and humans, the destroying of the world etc. There was too much of everything and it ended up clashing instead of 'working together' to form a coherent story.

It just didn't work. Not even the humor, sorry. Didn't even crack a smile. I guess I was just too busy rolling my eyes.

Review: Safe in His Arms by Renee Rose

Title: Safe in His Arms
Author: Renee Rose

Read copy: eBook
Published: July 30, 2013
Publisher: Stormy Night Publications
ISBN-13: 9781301453849

For as long as she could remember, Becca dreamed of a dominant man to take her in hand, and Zac, the handsome Marine she met at her sister's wedding, filled the role with aplomb… for a weekend. Then the fling came to an end, Zac went off to war and died for his country, and Becca learned she carried a child who would be born without a father.

Seven years later, Becca has done her best to move on and forget about Zac… until the day she walks into her kitchen to find the man she believed she would never see again locked in mortal combat with her son’s nanny, and realizes everything she thought she knew about Zac was a lie.

Like all Black Ops agents, Zac doesn't exist in any government record. His life is a series of deadly missions, and relationships of any kind are unsanctioned. But he keeps one secret. He watches over Becca, the beautiful daughter of a rogue agent, and Parker, the six-year-old boy he fathered that fateful weekend. When he spots a known assassin in their apartment posing as a nanny, he's forced to reveal himself and take them to safety… whether Becca likes it or not.

While Becca may have enjoyed his dominance once, bending her to his will again may not be quite so easy. He is
determined to keep her safe, however, and if a long, hard spanking is required, he is more than willing to oblige. Having Becca over his knee rekindles more than his passion, though; even when the immediate danger has passed, he finds it much more difficult to “ghost out” on his family again. Must he resign himself to protecting those he loves from afar, or can he find a way to be the man Becca needs and longs for, the man who is worthy of her submission and her love?

My rating:

***copy provided by publisher through NetGalley***

A one-weekend stand seven years ago resulted in a kid. A kid with a dead father...Only that father seems rather alive as he's wrestling (not in a kinky way) with the nanny in their kitchen.

If this was longer than 85 pages it would've remained unfinished. Because although it tried to come up with a plot about a ghost operative secretly watching over the woman he loves and his child, while also trying to apprehend a similar ghost operative who're apparently stolen some top-secret shit...I just didn't buy it. It read more like a not-very-well-written PWP short story, catering to readers who like spank-related "storylines", badly disguised as a romantic suspense novella.

It just doesn't work like that for me.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Review: Edge of Sight by Roxanne St. Claire

Title: Edge of Sight
Series: The Guardian Angelinos
Author: Roxanne St. Claire
Read copy: eBook
Published: November 1, 2010
Publisher: Forever
ISBN: 0446574236
ISBN-13: 9780446574235

The killer she can't escape...
The heartbreak she can't forget...
The one man who can stop them both.

When Samantha Fairchild witnesses a murder in the wine cellar of the restaurant where she works, the Harvard-bound law student becomes the next target of a professional assassin. Desperate for protection the authorities won't provide, Sam seeks help from Vivi Angelino, an investigative reporter who recruits her brother, Zach, to protect Samantha. A Special Forces vet with the scars to prove he's equally fearless and flawed, Zach takes the job, despite the fact that he and Sam once shared a lusty interlude that ended when he left for war and disappeared from her life. Now, as they crack a conspiracy that leads to Boston's darkest corners, Sam and Zach must face their fears, desires, and doubts, before a hired killer gets a second shot...

My rating:

Three years ago they shared nineteen days of bliss before he returned to war. As goodbye, she told him she loved him. He didn't respond. And he didn't contact her again.

Now, she finds herself in the cross-hairs of a killer and turns to her old friend for help. The sister of the man who broke her heart. Only it's not Vivi Angelino that awaits her on her doorstep, but her brother Zach. Only he's a different man. Scarred, darker, broodier...And the only man who can keep her safe.

Well, well, well. What to say that hasn't already been said in the three years this book is available to its readers. Nothing, I guess, but I'll try.

Equal parts sweet, heartbreaking, romantic, bittersweet, hot and suspenseful with a tortured hero with a heart of gold that doesn't think he deserves to be loved and fearing the emotion because love ends (mommy issues, what can you do), a heroine that just might be his soul mate but is too blind to see the truth when it's right in front of her nose, a plethora of secondary characters (the Angelino-Rossi family) that provides the right amount of levity and makes the reader want to read more about them, a twisty suspense sub-plot with two different parties involved, and a wily killer for hire that you won't see coming.

Characters were nicely fleshed-out, the romance sweet and dramatic (you might want to read Taken to the Edge to get 'the feel' of what happened between the two three years ago), the suspense nicely delivered. Great voice, great narrative flow. Loved it.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Review: Taken to the Edge by Roxanne St. Claire

Title: Taken to the Edge
Series: The Guardian Angelinos
Author: Roxanne St. Claire

Read copy: eBook
Published: November 1, 2010

Prequel for the first installment of The Guardian Angelinos series, Edge of Sight.

My rating:

Just a perfect remedy for the reading funk I've fallen into after the last DNF read.

Short, hot, and with a bitter-sweet ending it made me salivate for the real deal (the first book in the series).

Taken to the Edge - FREE DOWNLOAD!

Review: Down By The Water by Anna Cruise

Title: Down By The Water
Author: Anna Cruise

Read copy: eBook
Published: September 15, 2013
Publisher: Indie Inked
ISBN: 5269875691280

Lily can't escape the past.

Ten years after a tragedy tore her family apart, Lily is on her way to college for what she hopes will be a fresh start. Instead, she finds herself broken down in the place she swore she'd never return to, the place by the water that damaged her family beyond repair. When Ty Reilly offers her help, she reluctantly accepts, eager to get her car fixed and get the hell out of town.

But before that can happen, an eerily similar recurrence stops Lily cold. With her identity and ties to the old tragedy revealed, new suspicions cast a bright light on Lily. Everyone around her – the guy who offered her help, her own wayward sister, and the town sheriff who remembers her from a decade earlier – begins to wonder if her reappearance is merely a coincidence or if she's somehow involved.

As Lily begins to thread together strands from the past with the present, she realizes that there's no such thing as a coincidence down by the water.

And that you can't ever really leave the past behind.

My rating:

***copy provided by publisher through NetGalley***

Ten years ago, during a family vacation, Lily's sister drowned. And now, on her way to college, Lily's car breaks down on the outskirts of the town where tragedy had struck.

I really hate not finishing books. Hate it. But in a way I did finish it, I just skipped the middle. Actually I skipped most of it. I read the ending to see whether I'd be compelled to go back and read the book in its entirety.

It just didn't work for me. Mostly because it was written in first-person POV, which more and more appears to be my nemesis. It's just too limiting for my taste, granting the reader only a limited view of the story, a view through only one eyes. And that, with only one exception, really bugs me. And the fact the story was told from a twenty-year-old 'girl' didn't help matters.
But it wasn't just the first-person POV that bugged me with this story. The author's voice simply didn't appeal to me, making the narration and flow of the story stiff.

The mystery was also very disappointing to me. First of all, it took too much time to get to the point, to what the mystery actually was, and since I stopped reading at the end of chapter six, I also didn't get the entire picture. And I stopped at chapter seven because of the above-mentioned 'issues' and the fact I realized who the killer was.
Of course I didn't believe I was actually right, so I went and read the final few chapters. And lo and behold. I actually nailed the killer's identity.
And since I discovered the killer in chapter six (of 56!), that doesn't really seem a very good incentive to go back and continue reading from chapter seven.

I'm sorry to say this just wasn't the right book for me.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Review: Hustlin' Texas by K.C. Klein

Title: Hustlin' Texas
Series: Texas Fever
Author: K.C. Klein
Read copy: eBook
Published: December 5, 2013
Publisher: Kensington Books
ISBN: 1601831498
ISBN-13: 9781601831491

Only one person in Oak Groves is happy to see bad girl Nikki Logan back in town...

Oak Groves’ most beloved bachelor, Jett Avery, lives by a simple set of rules. Getting involved with a complicated woman isn’t one of them. He learned that the hard way two years ago when he spent one of the most incredible nights of his life with Nikki Logan. But then she hightailed it out of town, never to be seen again—until now. It might be time to break one of those rules...

Picking up the pieces of her life, Nikki is back in Oak Groves, face to face with the one man she’s done her best to forget. But she has her reasons for being here—and they don’t include winding up in bed with Jett. Especially since he’ll never forgive her once he finds out the truth about why she’s back...

My rating:

***ARC provided by publisher through NetGalley***

Two years ago she split after their one night together and his confession of love, now she's back in town, and despite everything that happened, despite knowing her, he's pulled back into her orbit...

This was a cute little story with one important distinction from the rest of romances out there show/hide spoiler—there was no sex until the end. The story flowed nicely, though I could've done without the few scenes involving Jett's (the hero) sister, but those were probably groundwork for the next book (as Jett and Nikki's 'one-night-stand' featured in the first book in the series, or so I've gathered from the reviews), the romance was sweet and cute, the added suspense mini-cameo served its purpose nicely (to make the heroine see reason), and the characterization was very good.

Now, speaking of characterization, and this being me, I have to talk about the heroine. Because Nikki Logan should be featured in the dictionary alongside the term 'issues'. Yes, plural. The girl had ISSUES. Self-destructive, self-deprecating, using anger and spite as protective mechanisms, completely blind to the real feelings people might hold toward her, utterly convinced she didn't deserve kindness or love...And like all such heroines, she needed a near-death experience (literally!) to make her see reason.
For the better part of the story, I was rooting for her hero, Jett, to pull his head out of the sand, see what she was like, and run for the hills. Of course he didn't, which makes him the perfect romance hero (at least perfect for this book and for this heroine). Because he's loved her for years, he stuck around, and once she sashayed back into town was determined to keep her there. By any means necessary. Even mastering 'the most boring game in the world' (his words, not mine).

Once I realized that any reaction toward the heroine (even dislike) was better than none, and glimpsed the real Nikki her through Jett's eyes, I ended up really enjoying this story—Nikki's bristly nature, Jett's composedness (seeing him lose that cool was something and protectiveness, their interactions and relationship...This really was a wonderful story.

Review: Targeted by Katie Reus

Title: Targeted
Series: Deadly Ops
Author: Katie Reus
Read copy: eBook
Published: October 1, 2013
Publisher: Signet
ISBN: 110161773X
ISBN-13: 9781101617731

Hidden in plain sight…

Former Marine sniper and current NSA agent Jack Stone has a new face to go with his new identity. But he still has the same tortured memories—which include the woman he let get away years ago, when they were teenagers. Now his new assignment in Miami will put him so close to the woman he’s never been able to forget, he could reach out and touch her—if only she weren’t under suspicion.

When Sophie Moreno uncovers evidence linking the medical supply company she works for with arms smuggling—and worse—she doesn’t know who to turn to. After a shocking betrayal, she realizes the only person she can trust is a mysterious new person in the company—a man with hauntingly familiar eyes.

As Sophie questions her intense attraction to this man and Jack struggles not to blow his cover, the two of them must race against the clock to stop terrorists from killing scores of people—starting with them.

My rating:

Sam Kelly, Marine sniper, died five years ago in Afghanistan. The same day Sam Kelly died, Jack Stone, NSA operative was born. New face, new identity, new past...Old memories. Filled with one woman, Sophie Moreno. The same woman who now works for a company the NSA is investigating as being possibly involved with smuggling of biological weapons. Jack is called in. To get close to Sophie, his boss orders, and find out what she knows.

It seems she knows a little too much since someone is taking shots at her...

Sometimes impulse buys pay off, and this book is one of them.

Well-written, well-paced, great characterization (the hero was just so 'wow', and though the heroine turned a bit annoying toward the end, I'm glad she wasn't whiny and swoony in the middle of all the action), wonderful action, good intrigue, nice romance...What more can I ask from a romantic suspense novel?
I especially liked the new identity/new face ploy. And the fact she (or her subconscious) recognized him. Awww. Be still my romantic heart.

I'm looking forward to the next books in this series, hoping Jack's friend Levi gets his own story. And yeah I think, Wesley Burkhart, the big bad boss, deserves his own book as well.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Review: Sinister by Lisa Jackson, Nancy Bush, Rosalind Noonan

Title: Sinister
Author: Lisa Jackson, Nancy Bush, Rosalind Noonan

Read copy: eBook
Published: November 26, 2013
Publisher: Zebra
ISBN: 1420125788
ISBN-13: 9781420125788

A Killer's Patience

Twenty years ago, a fire ravaged the Dillinger family's old homestead, killing Judd Dillinger and crippling his girlfriend. Most people blamed a serial arsonist who'd been seen around town. But strange things are happening in Prairie Creek, Wyoming, again.

Will Be Rewarded

Ira Dillinger, the family's wealthy patriarch, has summoned his children home for his upcoming wedding. Eldest son, Colton, and his siblings don't approve of their father's gold-digging bride-to-be. But someone is making his displeasure felt in terrifying ways, setting fires just like in the past. Only this time, there will be no survivors.

In Blood

As fear and distrust spread through Prairie Creek, soon all the Dillingers, and those closest to them, are targets--and suspects. A killer has been honing his skill, feeding his fury, and waiting for the moment when the Dillingers come home--to die. . .

My rating:

A killer is waiting on the periphery of a ranch in Wyoming, stalking the Dillinger family. Because now is the perfect time to strike, with all the Dillingers gathered on the ranch to attend their father's wedding.

This book started off great, thrusting the reader straight into the mind of the killer...Unfortunately it quickly fizzled after that.

At the beginning I was rather apprehensive because of the three-author collaboration. Such stories don't often work for me, because it's rather obvious which author wrote which part. This one helped matters by clearly delineating which part was written by which author...And the fact each part dealt with a different couple (for the requisite romantic storyline).

Unfortunately I was only interested in one couple (the first one—the part written by Lisa Jackson), and the way that conflict was resolved left much to be desired. Actually, it required too much suspension of disbelief for me.
show/hide spoiler
Eighteen years ago he split, leaving her heartbroken (she was 18 at the time, he 20). He's obviously moved on since then, married, had a kid, though they both died in a car crash. Now he's back (EIGHTEEN years later), finds out he has a kid from an short affair after he skipped town (the kid's mother is marrying the guys' father), and is determined to try again with his first sweetheart whose apparently carried a torch for him for half of her life. And she's actually okay with it, boinking him two days after he returns to town. And contemplating marriage at the end of the book. Sorry, but there's just something not very okay with this picture for me.
The other two stories involving the first story 'hero's' sisters and their intended somehow didn't measure up to the first one.

Now, onto the suspense which was the strongest point of this book. Or so it seemed from the beginning. There were snippets of the killer's POV thrown in between everything else (the romance, the investigation, the dysfunctionality of the two rival families, the Dillingers and the Kincaids), and although those snippets were short, they were 'sweet'. And I was really looking forward to discovering the identity of the killer and his motives.
Unfortunately they both came out of the left field for me. I just couldn't buy it and since it all ended rather iffily, if you ask me, it made the entire book end on a very 'meh' tone.

Maybe if it was shorter, more concise (there were just too many story-lines in there) and if the suspense resolution was a bit better though-out and executed...I don't know. I just expected more. The prologue and first chapter were promising, but then it all went downhill. Pity.