Genre: Thrillers

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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
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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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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
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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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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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Last Kiss – Jessica Clare/Jen Frederick – 5 Stars

May 1, 2015 Berkley Trade, Read in 2015, Readathon 2015, Sent 1

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

Last Kiss by Jessica ClareJen Frederick
Published by Penguin on 2015-05-05
Genres: Contemporary, Fiction, Romance, Suspense, Thrillers
Pages: 384
Source: the publisher
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five-stars

From the bestselling authors of Last Hit and Last Breath comes the next dark and sensual tale in the Hitman series that crosses the line between danger and desire...

Naomi: When I was kidnapped I thought only of survival. I don’t thrive well in chaos. That’s why I gave my captors exactly what they wanted: my skill with computers. Making millions for a crime lord who kept me imprisoned in his basement compound kept my family safe. When he was taken out, I thought my ticket to freedom had arrived. Wrong. I traded one keeper for another. This time I’m in the hands of a scarred, dark, demanding Russian who happens to be the head of the Bratva, a Russian crime organization. He wants my brain and my body. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t intrigued, but I can’t be a prisoner forever...no matter how good he makes me feel.

Vasily: At a young age, I was taught that a man without power is a puppet for all. I’ve clawed—and killed—my way to the top so that it is my heel on their necks. But to unify the fractured organization into an undefeatable machine, I need a technological genius to help me steal one particular artifact. That she is breathtaking, determined, and vulnerable is making her more dangerous than all of my enemies combined. But only I can keep her safe from the world that she now inhabits. Soon, I must choose between Naomi and Bratva law. But with every day that passes, this becomes a more impossible choice.

I have enjoyed this series and seeing two people who have a lot of issues find the person who understands them…Yeah … I can handle that.

Naomi is different from most people.  She is used to being the outsider but has a tender soul who wants nothing more than to be understood.  She’s got Aspergers Syndrome which makes it difficult for her to relate to most and is misunderstood.  As I see this in the real world I enjoyed the care that was taken to show her struggle with the compulsions and needs that her mind has to have in order to process what of the world she can let in.  Her personality shines through and watching her fall in love with our hero was wonderful.  She’s strong as hell and very open about most things even as she struggles with letting anyone truly see her.  Her comments as they explore the physical side of their relationships often made me giggle and how she responds to what he needs was eye-opening for both of them.

Vasily… yeah I have wanted his story from book one.  I am thrilled that he found a woman who needs him but also pushes him to be more than just a volk.  He’s still a volk and not a good man in the traditional sense but for where he comes from and what he is…  yeah he’s a good man.  It pained me to discover what was behind his hatred of touch but watching him fall for a woman who needs him and isn’t afraid of his job–  WORTH IT!  I loved seeing his struggle with wanting to take her and denying himself out of fear.  I also enjoyed seeing him work thru issues and ultimately fight for what was right for his people even as he didn’t believe they would follow the man that had nothing.  He has himself and Naomi but mainly they follow him because at his core he is what they need and should aspire to.

 

five-stars

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Last Breath – Jessica Clare/Jan Frederick – 5 stars

March 4, 2015 Berkley Trade 0

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

This book may be unsuitable for people under 17 years of age due to its use of sexual content, drug and alcohol use, and/or violence.
Last Breath – Jessica Clare/Jan Frederick – 5 starsLast Breath by Jessica ClareJen Frederick
Published by Berkley Publishing Group on 2015-03-03
Genres: Contemporary, Fiction, Romance, Suspense, Thrillers
Pages: 368
Format: Paperback
Source: the publisher
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five-stars

From the bestselling authors of Last Hit comes the next in the steamy series that explores the exquisite power of our darkest passions . . .

Regan: I never really knew what misery was until the day I was kidnapped and sold for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Two months later, I’m at a brothel in Rio when I meet Daniel Hays. He says he’s here to save me, but can I trust him? All I know of him are his sarcastic retorts and his tendency to solve every dispute with his gun. He’s also the only safe thing in my world, and I know it’s wrong to fall in love with him, but I can’t seem to help myself. He says he’ll protect me until his last breath, but I don’t know if I should believe him or even if I can.

Daniel: For the last eighteen months, one goal has dictated every action I’ve taken. I’ve left the Army, turned paid hit man, and befriended criminals all across the globe to find my kidnapped sister. In every brothel I raid and every human trafficking truck I stop, I hope the next face I find is my sister’s. In a hidden brothel in Rio, I find Regan Porter, bruised but not broken, and still sane despite her weeks in captivity. I should leave her behind or send her home, because the last thing either of us needs right now is to get involved. But with every passing minute, I find I’m less able to let her go.

MATURE AUDIENCE

I put the content warning up for this one because it has a very brutal start but damn if it isn’t worth every second of reading.  I loved Nikolai but Daniel is nothing to sneer at and his heroine Regan is definitely his match.

We met Regan in Last Hit as our sweet heroine’s nice yet more worldly roommate who gets the raw end of the deal when they are kidnapped and because she is an extra she is sold in to the sex trade.  Regan does what she needs to in order to survive but she doesn’t make it easy for the men who come to see an American cry and snivel.  She’s using every trick she can think of to check out while things are being done to her but she may be almost to her breaking point by the time a man comes to purchase her for his private use.  What she gets is a man determined to get her out of the situation and get her back to people in the states that have been looking for her.  I loved how she was so ready to fight but also was smart enough to bide her time for the correct opening.  I also loved how she worked so hard to keep it together when most would’ve given up and settled in to die.  She’s a fighter and as she spends more time around her rescuer we get to see that she isn’t completely healed but on her way to a life that will be perfect for the woman she has become.  Regan is a survivor in many ways but I loved seeing her open up to Daniel as time passes.  She deserves every bit of happiness that she gets and he will be the man who makes sure she wants for nothing.

Daniel was a character I enjoyed in our brief glimpses of him in Nikolai’s book but this story showed how much depth he really has.  He’s been searching for his sister who was kidnapped and believed sold in to the sex trade with some thinking she’s already dead.  Daniel will not believe it so has in many respects sold his soul to the devil in order to get news about women matching his sister’s description in the underground sex trade.  He’s rescued a few from slavery but still hasn’t found her.  He’s agreed to do the dirty work of getting Regan back with the hopes that this will also lead him to his sister and with the Bratva needing a line on a hacker.  He soon finds that not only is there more to Regan’s kidnapping than they expected but this strong woman is someone that he can’t live without even as he won’t hold her to anything.  He was amazingly patient with her and protective of her but in a way that felt natural and not smothering.  He just wants her happy and whole but doesn’t expect her to want him even as he craves her.

This story is not for the faint of heart but was very compelling and kept me cheering for Regan as she reclaims herself and also for Daniel as he gets the answers that his entire family needs to heal.  I’m gladly going to keep up with this series as they continue to release….

five-stars

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Last Hit – Jessica Clare/Jan Frederick – 5 stars

February 5, 2015 Berkley Trade, Read in 2015, Sent 1

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

Last Hit – Jessica Clare/Jan Frederick – 5 starsLast Hit by Jessica ClareJen Frederick
Published by Berkley Publishing Group on 2015-02-03
Genres: Contemporary, Fiction, Romance, Suspense, Thrillers
Pages: 368
Format: Paperback
Source: the publisher
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
five-stars

From two bestselling authors—the first in a deliciously bold new series that takes readers to the most dangerous edge of desire . . .

Nikolai: I have been a contract killer since I was a boy. For years I savored the fear caused by my name, the trembling at the sight of my tattoos. The stars on my knees, the marks on my fingers, the dagger in my neck, all spoke of danger. If you saw my eyes, it was the last vision you’d have. I have ever been the hunter, never the prey. With her, I am the mark and I am ready to lie down and let her capture me. Opening my small, scarred heart to her brings out my enemies. I will carry out one last hit, but if they hurt her, I will bring the world down around their ears.

Daisy: I’ve been sheltered from the outside world all my life. Home-schooled and farm-raised, I’m so naive that my best friend calls me Pollyanna. I like to believe the best about people. Nikolai is part of this new life, and he’s terrifying to me. Not because his eyes are cold or my friend warns me away from him, but because he’s the only man who has ever seen the real me beneath the awkwardness. With him, my heart is at risk . . . and also, my life.

*hangs head in shame* Yes I know Mel..  I know..  bad Stephanie for not reading this earlier…  I’m just a bad, bad girl…  *snickers*

Anyway I have to say I am mad at myself for not deciding to pick this up earlier but I am glad I finally read it because man oh man is Nikolai something else.  There is not a lot of sexy times in this book but you know what…  IT DOESN’T NEED IT!  There is so much tension in this book that you won’t miss the main event and will be happy when these two finally have that moment.  This book is more about two on the surface different people that really are the perfect match.  We have sweet, virginal (yes… VIRGINal) Daisy, who is so naive and overwhelmed by life in the real world, and Nikolai, who is  jaded and in his eyes filthy not fit for anything good.

The journey these characters take is one of discovering your worth, your heart and finally living free from the tethers of your past.  I adored seeing Nikolai struggle with small talk and how to court Daisy.  He’s so used to just having sex as a form of stress release and it meaning nothing than a way to take the edge off that trying to woo someone is just a foreign concept to him.  This is a man who has no friends but has only existed to kill and earn money.  He has a heartrending past and watching him finally become fully human was beautiful.

Daisy is fully human but has spent her life being isolated from the outside world by a man who was battling his own demons.  I loved her enthusiasm about even the tiniest things and appreciated that she didn’t hate her father but wanted to do nothing more than help him.  Her guilt where he was concerned is honest and raw which I appreciated.  I also liked that she understands how naive she is but doesn’t use it to throw up her hands and quit.  She’s stubborn and strong which shows as things come to light.  Her ability to see Nikolai as a human being is tested but thankfully she sees thru to his core personality even as she feels betrayed.

I personally cannot wait for Daniel and Reagan’s story to unfold next plus look forward to seeing more of Nikolai/Daisy in later stories.  If you are looking for a book that is more about tension and building a relationship even if it is shrouded in lies then this one is for you.

 

five-stars

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