Genre: Suspense

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Audiobook – If You Know Her – Shiloh Walker – 4.5 stars

June 12, 2017 Audiobook, Listened to in 2017, Reviewer -, Steph 2

Audiobook – If You Know Her – Shiloh Walker – 4.5 starsIf You Know Her by Shiloh Walker
Published by Tantor Media on 2012
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Suspense, Contemporary
Pages: 390
Format: Audiobook
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four-half-stars

A SHADOW IN THE WINDOW

Nia Hollister doesn’t scare easily. She’s returned to Ash, Kentucky, with a vengeance—and with a mission: find the killer who brutally ended her cousin’s life. What she didn’t count on was trembling with desire every time she sees Law Reilly. If any man can help her escape the nightmares for a while, it’s him. But can she allow herself to take comfort in those strong arms when her sister’s killer still roams free?

She may think she’s a bad ass, but she should not have come back to his town. He is watching her—as she slips into Law Reilly’s house, as she storms into the sheriff’s office. These men won’t be able to protect her when her time comes. Timing is everything, though he can’t wait forever. She’s nosing around the woods, looking for his hiding place. Yes, he is watching her . . . through the window . . . in her bed . . .

If she’s not scared, she should be . . . because he is very good at what he does.

This is the last in the series where we FINALLY get to know who the killer is.  This book has a great amount of heat between our hero and heroine but mainly we finally get to know who the killer is.  I can honestly say that I did know who it was from book one but I know many who read/listened to it did not have a true clue.  There was suspicion but as others have said there is misdirection that makes some doubt their instincts.

Nia isn’t a girlie girl or in any way a woman who wants to be just a wife … She’s very independent and driven to figure out who actually killed her cousin.  She’s not happy with what she’s found out and comes back to Ash to get to the bottom of this.  She’s got a partner in Ezra and in Law but she isn’t willing to sit back to let Ezra slowly uncover the truth.  She pushes.  She makes inquiries that cause the killer to become worried.  She just won’t back down even as attacks and incidents start to occur that make it clear the killer isn’t happy with her actions.  She also is fiercely attracted to Law but isn’t easily caught by him.  When she finally lets him in for a fling what results is more than she expects so she does make some errors.  I do like that she stayed true to her character so even the dark moment was expected even as I was pissed about it.

Law is at a crossroads…  His best friend has now managed to get her life back and is moving on with the love of her life.  His former crush has moved on with the love of her life … and… Law… well Law is still trying to understand what caused him to be instantly, crazily attracted to Nia.  He writes that off as she won’t be back around but then she storms back in to town.  He’s definitely protective but he doesn’t completely try to control her.  He wants her safe and to wait for help versus storm the castle alone.  I liked how growly he was but also the fact that once he had her that he didn’t hold back.  He was in love completely and still made sure that Nia was able to make her own mind up.  He knows that she isn’t going to be easy but he’s willing to play the long game in order to get the results he wants.

Now…  the killer… He’s completely fucked up and when you get more of his story you’ll be stunned at how good he was at putting on a facade.  He’s hidden himself from the public so well and the lengths he goes to in order to try to get out of this is stunning.  We do have some casualties but that is expected and there will be a lot of work to do for Ezra to get his new town thru it.  Ash will never be the same as they recover from this.

four-half-stars

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Audiobook – If You See Her – Shiloh Walker – 4 stars

June 5, 2017 Audiobook 2

Audiobook – If You See Her – Shiloh Walker – 4 starsIf You See Her by Shiloh Walker
on 2012
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Contemporary, Suspense, Thrillers
Pages: 391
Format: Audiobook
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
four-stars

A FACE IN THE MIRROR

Hope Carson may not look like a survivor, but she has escaped an abusive ex-husband and recovered from a vicious assault. Now she endures the painful memories and suspicious rumors surrounding her involvement in the attack. Her ex is a cop, so the last people she trusts are law enforcement officials—and she certainly doesn’t trust how the local DA makes her feel inside.

Remy Jennings should know better. He has no business falling for a woman who he suspects may have a deeply troubled mind. And even if he did make a move, she’d bolt like a frightened rabbit. But how can he deny a burning desire that threatens to consume him? As Hope’s past catches up with her in the worst way, Remy is determined to break through her defenses, earn her trust, and keep her safe in his arms—before it’s too late.

We enter book two in this trilogy and still don’t have a bead on who the killer is but… as I said in my review of book one I did have an idea which seemed to get firmed up a bit in this one for me.  We get to see more on Lena and Ezra so that makes it nice to get to understand their relationship a bit more but this book really does pull Hope and Remy to the forefront.

Hope is someone who desperately needs to be free from her past but she can’t outrun it nor is she ready to truly face it in the beginning of this story.  She will make you happy as she fights so hard for her friend Law but she is so scared of her past that she doesn’t always fight for herself.  I loved her spirit as she realized that some people were on her side and that Remy was not what she expected.  She also shows her true strength as she finally stands up for herself in so many ways.  You’ll enjoy her spunk and watching her finally own what she wants and who she is.  As someone who has felt like she was invisible and her feelings/wants weren’t important by those who should have been supportive… I cheered her on.

Remy made me smile so many times during this story.  He really is so amazingly supportive of Hope but even he struggled to balance his need to protect her and his need to make sure she knew she was strong enough.  He also struggles with making sure that he isn’t misreading her reactions to him.  He wants her so much but also knows that she’s been thru so much so struggles to balance this so she can heal.  I adored him but appreciated it when he made mistakes and Hope called him on them.  This helped both of them find that middle ground where both of their needs were heard and met.

The story is fairly fast paced and I admit to being quite sad when someone I liked fulfilled his part in this story.  I didn’t see that coming but at the same time I appreciated why it went the way it did.  I also quite enjoyed seeing Law play a larger role in this and the way it played out folding so nicely in to the next story.  This is definitely a trilogy where waiting until all three books were out was such a great idea.  I don’t know if I would’ve been happy waiting for the third story to release…

Narration was nicely done with the pacing and vocal nuances adding to the story without distracting me from the characters.

four-stars

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Shadow Reaper – Christine Feehan – 5 stars – Paperback Giveaway!

May 30, 2017 NetGalley 6

I received this book for free from . This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Shadow Reaper – Christine Feehan – 5 stars – Paperback Giveaway!Shadow Reaper by Christine Feehan
Published by Penguin on May 30th 2017
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Paranormal, General, Contemporary, Suspense
Pages: 400
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five-stars

#1 New York Times bestselling author Christine Feehan returns to her scorching-hot series starring a Chicago crime family that has built its empire in the shadows...

Billionaire playboy Ricco Ferraro knows no other life. Being a shadow rider is in his blood—but so is a haunting desperation stemming from the secrets of his dark past. His recklessness puts not only his life at risk, but also the future of his entire family. To save them all, he must find a woman who can meet his every desire with a heat all her own...

Just when Ricco has given up hope, he meets her—a mysterious woman whose shadow connects with his. She’s someone looking for a safe haven from the danger that has stalked her over the last several months. In Ricco’s embrace, she finds one. But the darkness in which they so often find sanctuary can also consume them...

Welcome Rockie to the blog with her first review… Yeah I might’ve chosen this one for her on purpose but… look below for a treat…

I had the ability read an ARC for Shadow Reaper! I really love this series! Shadow Reaper is the continuation of Shadow Rider and Ricco’s story! I fell in love with Ricco and his family in the first story.

Shadow Reaper is a fast paced story, Christine Feehan is a master at what she does. This story flows through. There are several times during the story to fall deeper in love with Ricco! The art of shibari is interesting and to see it through Ricco’s eyes when he ties up Mariko. To see how he feels about Mariko throughout the book is amazing. Ricco was in a downward spiral that almost killed him.
Enter Mariko who was sent to kill him, because she is going to lose her brother if she doesn’t. Ricco’s past is about to make a jump into his present because someone is trying to kill him and his family. Ricco knew Mariko was sent to kill him, but he knew she was the love of his life and he didn’t know how to keep her without shibari and knew that they could do shibari together and live out their lives together.
If you haven’t picked up Shadow Rider and want to read Shadow Reaper go ahead, you don’t have to read the first book to read this. You should go ahead and pick up these books and read them! Christine Feehan is simply amazing.

 

Now I quite enjoyed this one as well so I agree that the darkness Ricco is in at the start was disturbing but as we read this story we get the reasons behind it… it will make you fall in love with him as he comes out of the darkness.  Now… to win a copy of the book in paperback… Welcome Rockie to the blog by saying hi and if you have any suggestions for her reading pleasure.  Just post a reply here on the blog by 11:59 pm Central on June 6th to have a chance to win…

five-stars

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Audiobook – If You Hear Her – Shiloh Walker – 4 stars

May 29, 2017 Audiobook, Listened to in 2017 1

Audiobook – If You Hear Her – Shiloh Walker – 4 starsIf You Hear Her by Shiloh Walker
on April 30, 2012
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Suspense, Contemporary, Thrillers
Pages: 400
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
four-stars

A CRY IN THE WOODS

The scream Lena Riddle hears in the woods behind her house is enough to curdle her blood—she has no doubt that a woman is in real danger. Unfortunately, with no physical evidence, the local law officers in small-town Ash, Kentucky, dismiss her claim. But Lena knows what she heard—and it leaves her filled with fear and frustration.

Ezra King is on leave from the state police, but he can’t escape the guilty memories that haunt his dreams. When he sees Lena, he is immediately drawn to her. He aches to touch her—to be touched by her—but is he too burdened by his tragic past to get close? When Ezra hears her story of an unknown woman’s screams, his instincts tell him that Lena’s life is also at risk—and his desire to protect her is as fierce as his need to possess her.

For those of you who know me… this idea of me listening to books goes against everything I’ve ever said about audiobooks.  I have found a time and place where I can actually stand them now so be prepared to see more reviews of audiobooks.

In this case, I finally got around to the Ash trilogy by Shiloh Walker.  The narrator was fun to listen to and the book flowed well.  I did find that the story was tight and I wasn’t completely invested in Ezra and Lena until closer to the end but the story was fun to follow.

There is something up in the small town of Ash, Kentucky that is sinister and depraved.  We get introduced to most of the main characters of the trilogy in this title but we will have to wait until the last two books to completely flesh out the story.  We see a man at a crossroads with no plans for the future but a mess to resolve from his past.  I admittedly was invested in Ezra as soon as we met him because there is something about a man struggling with injuries and trauma that draws me in.  He’s strong but there is a vulnerability and softness that shines thru as we get to know him.  This is a good man who has had his foundations taken out from under him and he’s smarting from what he thinks is his instincts letting him down.  He’s a curious man though so when things start to happen you aren’t going to see him just ignore them to take the easy path.  I liked how he accepted Lena from the beginning even if he did make some mistakes along the way.

Lena was something else.  I liked her but I did a bit frustrated as she tended to react first when people were trying to help her rather than actually understand where they were coming from.  She had times where that reaction was the right one but it did get me a bit upset a couple of times as I saw her reaction being a bit misguided.  Before anyone takes my head off… yes I get where she was coming from in that others had often taken it upon themselves to talk over her or do things in the interest of her best interests.. I get it… I really do but there are a couple of times where she jumps to that conclusion with people who haven’t done that to her.  I appreciated that she owns up when she overreacts and that the ones who are caught in the fire don’t hold that moment against her.  I also appreciate her calling people out when they do it in the way that is condescending and troubling… see I am capable of seeing where there are issues and love that she speaks up.  She’s strong and her willingness to call Ezra on his shit made me smile.

The overall story arc is awesome so I will just say make sure to put aside time to listen to or read all three titles in a row.  I am happy to say that I figured out who the villain is in the series in book 2 but there are hints in this one that niggled at me but didn’t firm up until book 2.  I can see why people might miss the hints but the stories are interesting with twists one might not see coming.  Take a chance and read or listen to this series… I don’t think you’ll be sorry.

four-stars

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Shift – Sidney Bristol – 3 stars

August 19, 2016 NetGalley, Read in 2016 1

I received this book for free from NetGalley.com . This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Shift – Sidney Bristol – 3 starsShift by Sidney Bristol
Published by Kensington on July 26th 2016
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Suspense, Contemporary, Action & Adventure
Pages: 320
Source: NetGalley.com
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three-stars

Nothing shines like classic cars under the Miami heat. With engines revving hot and emotions running high, sparks are sure to fly . . .

Tori Chazov isn't exactly the girl next door. For one, if the neighbors found out she's an FBI asset and the daughter of a KGB defector, she'd have to grab her go bag and run. Then there's her day job: making magic happen under the hood of big beautiful muscle cars. She's more likely to be wearing engine grease than mascara, and most guys don't fantasize about their mechanics.

But then most girls don't fantasize about FBI tech geniuses, either, and Tori has it bad for Emery Martin. Emery has a past. She can see it in the way he keeps his body honed like a weapon, in the mysterious scars under his snap-button shirts. She can see it in the way his eyes follow her around the room, even though he never says a word.

He's going to have to start talking now, though. A vicious Russian hit squad is on the way to Miami to take Tori out for good. And without Emery's help, she might not make her last great escape . .

This wasn’t a perfect book but I did enjoy the main characters and find myself wanting to read the next one in the series.  I am going to have to chat with someone that I know that read and DNFd book one to see what that one holds but I would like to see what Gabriel has in store.  If you haven’t read book one I think you will be ok as I wasn’t completely aware of that being out (yeah I know I’m a mess).

Emery is basically a master hacker, information gatherer and overall super-agent even though he isn’t really an agent or maybe he is or …  yeah his exact ties to the FBI aren’t fully clear but he’s the assumed brainiac/geek/nerd but what he actually is well…  let’s just say I’d love to be in Tori’s shoes when his attention is fully focused on her.  He’s got his secrets (which I wanted to know more about dammit) and past which impacts his choices in life.  He’s convinced that Tori isn’t in to him but he’s been in to her for quite a while now and when circumstances push them together he takes advantage of them.  I liked his devotion to her and keeping her safe but the fact that he doesn’t try to fully cocoon her made me happy.  He’s also quite controlling in the sex scenes we get but it is a good kind of controlling even though I sort of wish we’d gotten more glimpses of this but the story arc kept them busy outside sexy times.  I look forward to seeing him a bit more in Gabriel’s story but know we probably won’t get much more of his backstory.

Tori was a fun character in a lot of ways.  She’s initially having conversations in her head with her dream version of Emery but admits that this is nothing compared to what she wants from real Emery when she finally spends time with him.  She’s had a crush on who she thought he was but the real him just completely does it for her.  She’s loyal to her twin sister, Roni, and her father but there’s a part of her who wonders if she’ll find someone that can accept who she is.  Her history was interesting as well so perhaps we’ll get more of this when/if Roni’s book comes out.  I liked how uncertain she was about being sexy for Emery but also enjoyed that she didn’t completely obsess over it.  She’s who she is and luckily for her he’s completely in to who she is so while she might want to have the more girly trappings the fact she doesn’t have to really does it for her.

Overall a good, fast read but I do wish we had a bit more time to completely know both of them.

three-stars

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Shadow Rider – Christine Feehan – 4 stars

June 28, 2016 Read in 2016, Snagged at Con 2

I received this book for free from the publisher . This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Shadow Rider – Christine Feehan – 4 starsShadow Rider by Christine Feehan
Published by Penguin Publishing Group on June 28th 2016
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Suspense, Paranormal
Pages: 480
Source: the publisher
Buy on Amazon
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four-stars

The #1 New York Times bestselling “queen of paranormal romance”* is back with a sexy new series starring a Chicago crime family that hides a dark, mystical secret...

Whether it’s fast cars or fast women, Stefano Ferraro gets what he wants. When he’s not fodder for the paparazzi, he commands Ferraro family businesses—both legitimate and illegitimate.

While their criminal activity is simply a rumor yet to be proven, no one knows the real truth. The Ferraros are a family of shadow riders capable of manipulating light and dark, an ability Stefano thought ran in his family alone—until now…

With little left to her name, Francesca Cappello has come to Chicago in hopes of a new life. She wasn’t expecting to attract the attention of a man with primal hunger in his eyes, driven to claim her as his to protect and to please. And if he discovers her secret, it could ruin her...

So at RT in Las Vegas this year I met a fun person, Amy, who was jonesing for this book…  I went to the Feehan event because I had others who I know love her stories but after seeing the trailer and being around people who were so excited..  I knew I wanted to read this.  Imagine my surprise when it ended up being one of the books that Erin and the team at Berkley were nice enough to include in the bags they gave bloggers.  Amy also got lucky enough that Jo (Kindle Jo) had her copy and didn’t need it so…  AMY SCORED ONE!  I have to say that still ranks as my favorite moment of the convention as the look on her face was priceless.

I went in to this with a slight bit of knowledge about the Shadow Riders but still wasn’t sure if I’d enjoy this or not but I have to say I need book 2 NOW because this story drew me in and the fact that I want to know more about the rest of the family.  There is something seriously messed up with the way they were raised but there is such a strong sense of family that you can’t help being curious about who will be their matches.  The good thing for people who get addicted is that there are branches of the family so my guess is that if this goes well there will be a lot of stories to tell.

Francesca was a strong character who was put in a bad spot and truly only wants to be safe.  She doesn’t want to be beholden to anyone but I also adore that even when she gets the windfall from our hero she is stubborn enough to not want to use any of it.  I liked her strength and the fact that she does want to be her own person even as she is offered the world.  She’s also such a generous soul who is so drawn to our hero even when he pulls his caveman stunts but calls him on it then understands it as she gets to know the real him.  I liked how she argued but she wasn’t stupid and knew when to back down.  She doesn’t run stupidly in to trouble which made me happy.

Stefano… dude he was such an ass at the beginning.  He is used to getting things his way and truly struggles with the fact that something he never thought would happen not only has happened but is happening to HIM.  He’s not as huge of an ass as I thought initially because once you get to know him you’ll understand why he is the way he is.  Does he have stalker tendencies?  Yes.  Would you be frightened if someone in real life behaved the way he does with her?  Oh HELL YES.  Did I still love his overbearing self at the end of the story?  Yep Yep Yep…  GIMME MORE…  He’s sexy as hell and instantly devoted to his Francesca as soon as he senses her.  There is something about such a dominant man being brought to his knees by his finding the love of his life that just does it for me.  He’s not a good man by traditional standards but is a good man in so many respects.  You’ll understand when you find out the family business…

I can’t wait for more stories from this series and look forward to reading all of them as soon as possible.

four-stars

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Before the Fall – Noah Hawley – 4 stars

June 4, 2016 Grand Central, Read in 2016 1

Before the Fall – Noah Hawley – 4 starsBefore the Fall - FREE PREVIEW (Prologue and Chapter 1) by Noah Hawley
Published by Grand Central Publishing on January 19th 2016
Genres: Fiction, Literary, Thrillers, Suspense
Pages: 34
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four-stars

From the Emmy, PEN, Peabody, Critics' Choice, and Golden Globe Award-winning creator of the TV show Fargo comes the thriller of the year.

On a foggy summer night, eleven people-ten privileged, one down-on-his-luck painter-depart Martha's Vineyard on a private jet headed for New York. Sixteen minutes later, the unthinkable happens: the plane plunges into the ocean. The only survivors are Scott Burroughs-the painter-and a four-year-old boy, who is now the last remaining member of an immensely wealthy and powerful media mogul's family.

With chapters weaving between the aftermath of the crash and the backstories of the passengers and crew members-including a Wall Street titan and his wife, a Texan-born party boy just in from London, a young woman questioning her path in life, and a career pilot-the mystery surrounding the tragedy heightens. As the passengers' intrigues unravel, odd coincidences point to a conspiracy. Was it merely by dumb chance that so many influential people perished? Or was something far more sinister at work? Events soon threaten to spiral out of control in an escalating storm of media outrage and accusations. And while Scott struggles to cope with fame that borders on notoriety, the authorities scramble to salvage the truth from the wreckage.

Amid pulse-quickening suspense, the fragile relationship between Scott and the young boy glows at the heart of this stunning novel, raising questions of fate, human nature, and the inextricable ties that bind us together.

This was an interesting book showing how things can change in a blink of an eye and what you think was true maybe wasn’t so true after all.

We have one couple that seem to love one another but his drive keeps him away from them most of the time.  They’ve stood the test of a child abduction but perhaps things aren’t as happy as they seem.  The glimpses we get of this couple and their daughter were moving in many ways as we get to see a sense of what might’ve been if the plane hadn’t gone down.  You also feel a huge sense of sadness that JJ doesn’t get to have more time with his mom.  I liked what we got to see of her and how much she truly loved her kids but still seemed to not be comfortable in the world she stumbled in to.  Her husband also seemed to be a good man under the drive and seeing what happened after the crash while knowing what happened on his last day in his office made me wonder what if…

We have a couple that to me never seemed to be in synch even in the glimpses we got of them from before the crash.  The tidbits made me wonder what made them get together in the first place?  What kept them together other than appearances?  At the same time we see how they lived just before the crash and this makes you wonder what really plays out behind closed doors both on a professional level and a personal one?  I wanted to know more about how he got started on the path he was on…  what might’ve come out if the crash didn’t happen… wanted to know more about the others who had a hand in it… I just wanted more.

We have the man who just happened to barely make the plane and wasn’t really supposed to be on there.  How he used a memory from childhood to save himself and JJ.  How this accident and quirk of fate took him down a path he couldn’t imagine but one that he was uniquely suited for.  I liked Scott.  I truly liked him and appreciated how he moved thru this event while not letting others dictate his path.  I loved how he seemed to be more present than anyone else in the story and didn’t hide away from the truth as it was presented to him.  I appreciated how he saw things others didn’t see but also didn’t claim to know all the answers.  He just was….. I’d love to see where he goes and how JJ grows up….

There are other characters that weave around this story and seeing their parts play out made this an interesting read.  You are pulled in various directions, across various time periods but it all makes sense as the acts play out.  I appreciated this as we got to see the lives interrupted… lives cut short because..

Yeah you thought I would give away the details of what happens but honestly that would wreck it.  Take a chance and read this…  I know I’m glad I grabbed it while at BEA as it kept me entranced as these stories played out.

four-stars

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Kidnapped By The Billionaire – Jackie Ashenden – 4.5 stars

March 8, 2016 Macmillan, NetGalley, Read in 2016 1

I received this book for free from NetGalley.com . This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Kidnapped By The Billionaire – Jackie Ashenden – 4.5 starsKidnapped by the Billionaire by Jackie Ashenden
Published by Macmillan on 2016-03-01
Genres: Contemporary, Fiction, Romance, Suspense
Pages: 400
Source: NetGalley.com
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four-half-stars

Get lost in the deeply passionate, darkly sensual new novel from Jackie Ashenden, Kidnapped by the Billionaire.
He kissed her the way he’d run her down, conquering her, taking her…

A priceless plan. An illicit attraction.
Seven years ago, billionaire-turned-bodyguard Elijah Hunt lost everything he had—his family, his future—and now he wants revenge. But when he decides to kidnap the daughter of the man who ruined his life, Elijah gets a lot more than he bargained for. Violet Fitzgerald is nothing like her corrupt wealthy father. In fact, she’s so disarmingly independent—and irresistible—that she just might be dangerous…

And a love that’s too good to be true.
Violet never thought she’d feel a connection to her captor. But there’s something beneath Elijah’s steel-bodied exterior that makes her want to know him more deeply…and surrender to his every demand. But once Elijah’s erotic fantasies become a reality—and he and Violet develop a real romantic connection—he finds himself in a quandary: Is he still the one in control? Or has Violet imprisoned him—body and soul?

Jackie Ashenden's novels are:
"Sexy, emotional." -Laurelin Paige, New York Times bestselling author
"Tantalizing . . . explosive."-Publishers Weekly (starred review) on Mine to Take
"Not to be missed."-RT Book Reviews

Ok, Jackie is a master at making you want to hate the hero but then love him as you get to understand more about their demons and what has driven them to be the damaged men you meet.  Elijah is no exception as he is driven to a desperate act in order to complete his mission.  You’ll sort of hate him but he’s someone that was given one of the hardest moments that anyone could ever survive and came out the other side a different man.

We’ve seen Elijah in the previous books as he seemingly thwarts our other leads in their pursuit of their own revenge and answers but as we discover in this story he had his own ax to grind with our bad guys.  He’s now having to scramble to complete what he believes to be the best revenge for his loss but, as he discovers when he meets our heroine, perhaps what he needs has been standing right in front of him in the guise of a spoiled princess.  I loved how severely he lived his life because of his trauma but as we saw the walls tumble down around his inner self there is a man with such a deep heart and feelings that just needed to find a new mate.

I LOVED VIOLET *ahem* I really loved Violet and how she surprised everyone with how strong she is.  She really got to come in to her own true self and find out that she was ready to be seen as the strong person she was.  She really surprised me as she let go of her dreads which allowed her to hide and accepted that she couldn’t escape Elijah.  She tried but was smart enough to wake up quickly and embrace what she was stuck with.  As she opens her eyes and heart to a man that is not what he seems, she also has to realize who her family truly is and accept that her biological ties may not be what she should focus on.  I also appreciated that she pushed Elijah and accepted his dark side while working to make sure he saw the light side that deserved to live.  She’s insightful and isn’t willing to just take the easy ride if push comes to shove she can and will push hard.

This series has been so wonderful to read and I look forward to much more from Jackie.  I know she will push me to the dark side but then deliver heroes that love their partners with no reserve once they accept that this is truly theirs.

four-half-stars

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Deadly Strain – Julie Rowe – 3.5 stars

June 15, 2015 Carina Press, NetGalley, Read in 2015 0

I received this book for free from NetGalley.com . This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Deadly Strain – Julie Rowe – 3.5 starsDeadly Strain by Julie Rowe
Published by Carina Press on 2015-06-15
Genres: Action & Adventure, Contemporary, Fiction, General, Military, Romance, Suspense
Pages: 242
Source: NetGalley.com
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
three-half-stars

Book one of Biological Response Team

Major Grace Samuels, a trauma surgeon deployed to Afghanistan, spends her life helping her fellow soldiers overcome disease and combat injuries. But her own wounds are harder to heal. Wracked with guilt over the death of a fellow soldier, she finds comfort in her only friend and appointed bodyguard, weapons sergeant Jacob "Sharp" Foster.

Sharp feels more for Grace than a soldier should, more than he wants to admit. When the team discovers a new, quick-to-kill strain of anthrax, he tries to focus on the mission to find its source. He knows he can help Grace defeat her demons, but first they must defeat the deadly outbreak.

Sharp is Grace's most loyal ally, but in close quarters, he starts to feel like more. She can't watch someone else she cares about die—but she might not have a choice. The closer they get to finding the source of the strain, the closer it gets to finding them.

79,830 words

Interesting story about modern day biological warfare and those who work to keep us safe.  I look forward to more from this series as the work that went in to researching the biological weapon and special forces personnel showed in a believable threat with action that kept me interested during the story.

Grace just wants to do her job and do it well.  She wants nothing more than to save lives and make a difference to those she works with but she’s also haunted.  She will never forget people she’s served with and lost but one loss haunts her more than any other.  When they get a call to go check out a suspicious set of deaths at a relatively remote outpost, she has to come to terms with not only her past but the man who wants to be there for her future in order for any of them to have a future.  She’s driven and damn good at what she does which shines thru even as she doubts herself because of survivor’s guilt.  I liked how she would work herself to the bone in order to get answers but mainly liked that she does what she has to in order to survive and complete the mission.  She is someone that I would want in my corner should the worst happen as you know that she will sacrifice herself if it means more survive.

Jacob..  *swoon*…  he’s something else but I would expect him to be all that and a bag of chips.  He’s Special Forces but he’s also a man who has discovered the woman that makes him a bit crazy.  He’s driven to protect Grace from not only outside threats but also herself as he discovers more about how driven she is.  When he pushes her you understand her frustration with him but you also see why he pushes her to let go.  She needs someone who will act as a relatively neutral voice of reason in order to get her to eat and take care of what her body needs.  She really does need a babysitter in some respects but the way Jacob goes about it occasionally made me laugh.  He was someone that while driven to defend his woman also realized that she was quite capable of holding her own.  He didn’t coddle her but instead worked to make her see his side even as much as she hated that.

Overall this was an interesting story with some information that will frighten those who haven’t kept up with modern or heck even old-school biological warfare.  The weapon described is frightening in nature made more so by how much of a possibility this is.  I hope that we never see something like this created but one never knows what evil is out there.

 

three-half-stars

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Make You Mine – Jackie Ashenden – 4.5 stars

May 5, 2015 NetGalley, Read in 2015, St. Martin's Press 1

I received this book for free from NetGalley.com . This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Make You Mine – Jackie Ashenden – 4.5 starsMake You Mine by Jackie Ashenden
Published by Macmillan on 2015-05-05
Genres: Contemporary, Fiction, Gothic, Romance, Suspense
Pages: 384
Source: NetGalley.com
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
four-half-stars

In the Nine Circles Club, one lucky man gets more than his share of money, power, and women--until he meets a beautiful opponent who plays in the name of love…in Make You Mine by Jackie Ashenden.
He's raising the stakes.
International playboy Alex St. James always plays to win. Whether it's betting on a high-stakes card game--or bedding a high-class socialite--the gorgeous world-class gambler knows how to beat the odds using his brains, his body, and a whole lot of charm. But there's one woman who's immune to Alex's bag of tricks--which makes her the perfect challenge…and the ultimate prize.
She's going all in.

Once a special operative in her native Russia, Katya Ivanov knows what kind of man Alex is. As his personal bodyguard, she's seen him seduce the richest women, place the riskiest bets, and break the hardest players. But to even a score from her past, she's willing to take a gamble on her reckless boss. Even if she has to pretend to be his lover. Even if he drives her mad with desire. And then she never wants this dangerous game to end…

This story made me very happy!  We have a really strong heroine with a hero that can definitely keep up but can’t keep his guard up around a woman who makes him feel.

Alex has a lot of secrets that he has buried for years.  This has cost him his family but also has hardened him to the point where he thinks all he wants is a quick bit of play and then move on to the next no-strings-attached fling.  He plays hard and unless you are paying attention you will see him as a playboy with a ton of money who really doesn’t care for anything.  After dice are found with his stepfather that gain access to an exclusive poker tourney it is determined that he needs to be the one who attends.  Alex wouldn’t have let it be anyone else but now he needs to figure out how to keep protection around him without making the person he is targeting aware of it.  His idea is to use his female bodyguard but when he sees her in something other than work clothes and also spends more time around her…. well…  then it gets complicated.  His story will make you mad, sad and then joyful as we find out his past then celebrate his future with a partner who truly knows him.

Katya is an amazing heroine in many respects.  She and Alex are definitely peas in a pod in more ways than they know so seeing two extremely stubborn people find one another was explosive.  There is so much she has kept buried for so many years in order to make others happy so she struggles with figuring out what it is she wants and needs.  The fact that she is absolutely loyal to those who don’t really deserve it was heartbreaking but I still enjoyed her even with the big chill she presents.  She’s not cold in any way, shape or form but she needed to find someone that could push her to expand her limits.  She’s also intriguing in the way we see her start to feel… be a woman with wants and needs… but mainly open up to someone that deserves it.

I can’t wait for the next story as the pair will be quite entertaining….  he’s going to make it clear to her that she’s HIS….

four-half-stars

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