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Currently Browsing: military/suspense romance
Dec
28

Review: The Christmas Cowboy Hero by Donna Grant

Review: The Christmas Cowboy Hero by Donna Grant The Christmas Cowboy Hero Author: Donna Grant Reviewer: VampBard Rating: A What I’m Talking About: Yes, please! A new series from Donna Grant! Combining military with cowboys? Yummy! The Heart of Texas series is going to be my new military/cowboy go-to. In The Christmas Cowboy Hero, Clayton is our tortured hero. You’d think that having been a Navy SEAL would harden him against all the touchy-feely stuff. Totally not so, and poor Clayton has more to deal with than the average SEAL. I really liked Clayton’s characterization because it seemed like there were real issues he was taking care of and he buried some things from his past super deep so he could move on with his life. Funny how that doesn’t work out, huh? With all the things going on at the family ranch, seems like Clayton needs someone by his side. Enter Abby Harper. I’m pretty sure that Abby should be named Ms. Selfless Heroine 2017. When her brother gets in over his head, Abby is there for him—which brings us to how Abby and Clayton meet. As an overprotective mom, I had to suspend belief for a few beats until I got back into the story when Abby made some of her choices. But, honestly? It wasn’t a big deal. I’m the mom who has daily contact with her college junior. LOL. Watching the relationship between Abby and Clayton develop was wonderful—the slow-burn between them drew me in and kept me reading as their characters grew and blossomed. The changes between the characters at the end compared to the beginning? Absolutely lovely. As secondary characters, Abby’s brothers as well as Clayton’s parents and a particular ranch hand were prominent. Even with a larger cast of characters, Ms. Grant made each unique and fully developed—which I appreciate. I almost thought we were going to get a surprise pregnancy, but I’m happy with the outcome—I think the characters wouldn’t have handled the alternative. I’m excited to read the next installment of the Heart of Texas series! My Rating: A, Loved It About the Book: ’Tis the season for ex-Navy SEAL Clayton East to come home for the holidays―even if the mood at home is anything but festive. His father is ill. The East Ranch is in financial trouble. And now it’s on Clayton, the prodigal son, to make sure his family doesn’t lose everything. Headstrong Abby Harper is like a mother to her younger brothers, who she’s helped...
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Oct
25

Review + Blog Tour: Kill Game by Cordelia Kingsbridge

Review + Blog Tour: Kill Game by Cordelia Kingsbridge Kill Game Author: Cordelia Kingsbridge Reviewer: B. Rating: A- What I’m Talking About: Given that I had mixed reactions to the only other title I’ve read by this author, I was eager to give this new series a try—and I’m extremely glad that I did. From its quick-witted characters to a villain that I found myself sympathizing with on occasion to a plot that kept me guessing the entire time, Kill Game had everything I adore in a good suspense story. Although I did develop a particular fondness for Dominic, I liked both he and Levi a great deal. This isn’t the first time I’ve read a story involving a detective and a bounty hunter, and, while there was certainly the familiarity of strong dislike giving way to an improbable compatibility, nothing felt tired or overdone about either character. Chasing down a serial killer forces them to reexamine their own lives, more than their opinions of one another, and I enjoyed being so drawn in by the evolution of each man so far. With Levi on the verge of an engagement to his long-term boyfriend, and Dominic disinterested in any relationship whatsoever, the author incites a more thorough examination of each character than would be possible if there was a rush to an immediate HEA. Whether it’s addiction, moral ambiguity in the absence of guilt, or the pitfalls of allowing affection to devolve into a kind of currency, there’s a lot to consider here. The use of dual narrators in this case not only allows readers to get to know the characters more thoroughly, but proved to be an effective means of sharing their perceived culpability. One of the things I liked best about Kill Game is that, while the attraction between Dominic and Levi is undeniably there, this story is all about the suspense, rather than romance. Just as the killer exists between the law and “justice,” neither Levi nor Dominic seem likely to solve the mystery on their own. In fact, they make bigger strides when the lines get blurry, which kept the narrative as a whole from becoming predictable. Throughout the story, I examined and discarded plausible suspects, sometimes more than once, and was still delightedly second-guessing myself by the end. Already, Seven of Spades looks to be an exciting, well-written series, and I’m happy to watch it unfold from the very beginning. Likable and imperfect, Dominic and Levi are a great match for one another,...
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Oct
9

Review: A Shot at Love by Peggy Jaeger

Review: A Shot at Love by Peggy Jaeger A Shot at Love Author: Peggy Jaeger Reviewer: Jen Rating: B/B- What I’m Talking About: Agent Kyros (Ky) Pappandreos has been working on a mafia case for three years when the only witness is shot and killed on the streets of New York, along with two of Ky’s men. Photographer Gemma Laine happened to be in the right place at the wrong time. Capturing faces of New Yorkers for her next book, she witnesses and records the entire event on her camera… making her Ritandi’s next target. When there is one attempt too many on Gemma’s life while she’s in FBI custody, Ky realizes he has a mole within his team, and takes her safety into his own hands. The pair hide out in a remote cabin and come to realize that while hiding away, they both have never felt more alive or free. A Shot at Love is the second romance in the Will Cook for Love series. While the book takes place in the same world and involves the same characters as the first, it is a standalone read. And even with their similarities, the two books are unique and independent. A Shot at Love definitely falls more in the romantic suspense subgenre than the first title, which also contained a bit of action. Ky and Gemma are a great couple. They share similar values and interests. They are both physically strong and mentally sharp. I enjoyed watching the pair as they each learned more about the other; each pleasantly surprised that their physical attraction is rooted in something deeper. It’s like I could feel the awe in each as they grew closer together, becoming more and more entwined. I especially liked that the professional aspect of Ky’s job and getting involved with Gemma is addressed and always on his mind. The author gives Ky support in the form of an additional protector, helping ease the way for the couple to pair up. Ky and Gemma have a palpable chemistry that explodes when they touch, especially their first couple encounters. My only small complaint is that the pair is a bit goofy with their talk, in bed. They are silly in a way that made me think both are nervous, which may be exactly the point. Gemma has some serious trust issues, and the author does a great job developing the character. However, I wanted Gemma just to take charge and let go of her fears (which...
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Oct
5

Listen Up! Author Interview + Giveaway: Linda Poitevin (Shadow of Doubt)

Listen Up! Author Interview + Giveaway: Linda Poitevin (Shadow of Doubt) Welcome to my weekly feature that focuses on audiobooks. It’s time to… Today you are in for a treat! I have author Linda Poitevin as my guest. She recently released her first book in audiobook format and she’s here to share a bit about the experience AND she’s giving away one copy of her new audiobook Shadow of Doubt. Please help me welcome Linda to the blog! Interview with Linda Poitevin: Jen: Greetings Linda and welcome to That’s What I’m Talking About. We are excited to have you share a little about making your first audiobook. First, can you share a bit about your recent release, Shadow of Doubt? Thank you so much for inviting me to visit, Jen! I’m thrilled to be here…and to be able to share my excitement with your audience! Shadow of Doubt is indeed my first audiobook, and I’m practically dancing with glee over it. The book is an edge-of-your-seat romantic suspense that features Kate Dexter, a Canadian cop who quite literally runs into a man on a dark country road in the middle of a storm. Cut off from help, she loads him into her vehicle, only to discover that he’s also been shot. With her cop interest well and truly piqued, she takes him back to her parents’ farm and patches him up, intending to turn him over to the local force as soon as the storm lets up…except when he regains consciousness, Jonas Burke claims he’s a U.S. ATF agent who’s been framed for murder. One thing leads to another, and before she knows it, Kate finds herself on the run alongside him as they try desperately to get to the evidence he needs to clear his name…and to save both their lives. Jen: So, Shadow of Doubt is an audiobook release only. Did you know when you wrote the story that it would be made into an audiobook? If so, did you write things a bit differently to accommodate an audio production? If not, did you have to edit the story for audio? Shadow of Doubt is actually a story I wrote years ago that I’d bottom-drawered. I dusted off the story last year and rewrote it, releasing it on Wattpad a chapter at a time as I went. I intended to self-publish once it was complete, but just before that happened (I’d already had a cover designed and a copy edit done and everything, lol), Wattpad partnered with Hachette Books to turn 50 Wattpad...
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Sep
25

Review: Rank & File by L.A. Witt

Review: Rank & File by L.A. Witt Rank & File Author: L.A. Witt Reviewer: B. Rating: A- What I’m Talking About: Although he’s never sure what kind of challenges each day will bring on NAS Adams, Senior Chief Will Curtis has always loved his career in the Navy. And, despite the toll it’s taken on his personal life, he can’t imagine doing anything else. Even so, a one-time only, forbidden hookup with a sexy younger officer might be exactly what he needs to get over his lying, cheating ex. It would have been perfect, if once had been enough. Having been surrounded by his family’s military heritage his entire life, Lieutenant Brent Jameson always assumed he’d spend the rest of his days continuing the tradition. Following any other path was, literally, unthinkable. But, choosing between a future he doesn’t believe in and the “unduly familiar” relationship that makes him happy won’t be easy—and it’s bound to hurt either way. While I’ve generally liked the other stories I’ve read in the Anchor Point series, Rank & File is my favorite yet. PTSD and alcoholism are extremely important issues, and I think the author has always dealt with them well. But, Will and Brent’s struggle to find happiness was more external and possibility-oriented, and I became increasingly invested in the outcome as the narrative progressed. Rank & File is also one of the steamier novels in the series. Brent and Will’s relationship begins with a very naughty hookup in a public place, and it’s indisputably clear that they’re both getting exactly what they want. The frequency with which their encounters continue could have strained the other aspects of the story if it was the only indication of their compatibility, but it’s not. On the contrary, sex between Will and Brent has another welcome purpose: it opens the door to the kind of intimacy they both crave, but would never explore otherwise. Another refreshing thing about Rank & File is that it handily dodges the “anything for love” trope that would likely have diluted the internal conflicts both men deal with throughout the story. The unfairness of the policy that is technically causing Will and Brent problems on the surface is certainly noted, but the narrative wisely doesn’t rely on it as a scapegoat. Each must make a difficult choice based on certain things they can’t change, even if an intersection of those paths in the future isn’t guaranteed. Rank & File is absolutely among my favorite of the...
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Sep
12

Review: Contracted Defense by Piper J. Drake

Review: Contracted Defense by Piper J. Drake Contracted Defense Author: Piper J. Drake Reviewer: Gikany and Una Rating: B What We’re Talking About: Contracted Defense is the third title in the Safeguard series and was a gripping blend of humor and action.  Gikany and Una continue to like this suspenseful romantic series, even though the romance moves a little quickly for our tastes. One of the elements that we like about this series is that even though the main couple may fall in love quickly, it still ends with the Happily-For-Now, allowing the couple time to date as the next novel begins.  We like that for all the drama and intense passion, they still will take their time not jumping into the forever after. Adam and Victoria’s introduction was as awkward as it was funny.  Although Adam is deeply attracted to Victoria, Gikany and Una enjoyed how Victoria attempted to distance herself and act professional.  Their frankness as they sorted their attraction to each other while working together was mature and a welcome realistic foundation to a burgeoning relationship.  We enjoyed the contrast of Adam’s more flexible and laid-back attitude to Victoria’s more reserved “type ‘A’ personality.” It was fascinating watching them learn to work with each other and while learning from each other.  Though they fell in love quickly it was not thoughtless nor without seriousness of commitment. The continuing overarching plot of establishing Safeguard and struggling against Edict, an unscrupulous competing firm, is gripping.  We look forward to learning more about the seeming bias that Edict has against Safeguard.  There must be more going on in that organization and with the relationship they seem to have with Phoenix Biotech. Adam and Victoria’s story was suspenseful and passionate.  Although their relationship moved awfully quickly, we enjoyed the open communication between them along with their willingness to learn and grow. Though Edict was thwarted again, we look to learning more about the animosity between the firms.  If you enjoy a militaristic suspense romance, you should give the Safeguard series a try. Our Rating:  B, Liked It About the Book: Time is running out and the enemy is at the gate. Adam Hicks may be the rookie at Safeguard, but he’s no novice in the field. Retired from active duty after multiple tours and back fresh from a brief rest in New Zealand, he’s itching to return to action. But the challenge he hoped for arrives in an unexpected form: his sexy yet stern new partner. The...
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Jul
31

Review: Luca by Sarah Castille

Review: Luca by Sarah Castille Luca Author: Sarah Castille Reviewer: VampBard Rating: A- What I’m Talking About: Sarah Castille has done it again. I have a secret love for mafia stuff, and romantic suspense is the perfect outlet for me to feed my need. We met Luca in Nico’s book, and I loved that one, too. Part of the reason I loved Nico so much was because I needed to know more about Luca. One of the most awesome things we get in Luca is that we get kick-ass Gabrielle. She is definitely no shrinking flower, and doesn’t need a man to take care of her. What I love the most about Gabrielle’s character is that she ALLOWS Luca to be a Mr. Bossypants. And this, ladies and gentlemen, is the way to write an Alpha male. Pull out your stereotypes about mafia dudes. Got ‘em? Okay. They’re all supposed to be full of themselves and their heritage. That is a thing in this series, but I love the way that Ms. Castille has managed the over-the-topness with Luca. Because there’s no way Gaby is going to put up with a chest-thumping, hard-headed Italian going all Caveman on her. Dear Gaby has a ton-o-crap going on, too. Through all of it, she believed in herself and her ability to do what needed to be done. Um. The end? I did NOT see that coming. Not until the end. Maybe I should’ve picked up hints earlier, but I was too engrossed in Luca and Gaby. They’re a wonderful couple, and I hope you fall as hard for them as I have. And…I can’t wait until the next title. According to Ms. Castille’s GR profile, Frankie’s book is next. **fangirls** My Rating: A- Enjoyed A Lot About the Book: Luca Rizzoli was nearly destroyed by a brutal betrayal that cost him his family. Now a ruthless crime boss in the city of sin, he lets nothing touch his frozen heart–until a smoldering encounter with a beautiful stranger ignites his passion. One night isn’t enough for a man who takes what he wants, but his mysterious temptress has slipped away. For two years police detective Gabrielle Fawkes has lived for revenge. But a night of indulgence with a sexy stranger changes everything. Powerful, charming, and deliciously dangerous Luca, has his own private reasons for offering to help her pursue the drug lord who killed her husband. There’s a lot Luca isn’t telling her and the more she...
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Jul
25

Review + Blog Tour: Get a Grip by L.A. Witt

Review + Blog Tour: Get a Grip by L.A. Witt Welcome to the Riptide Publishing/L. A. Witt blog tour for Get a Grip, the latest Bluewater Bay story! Every comment on this blog tour enters you in a drawing for a choice of two eBooks off my backlist (excluding Get a Grip) and a $10 Riptide Publishing store credit. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on July 29th, and winners will be announced on July 30th.  Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. More info at the end of this post Review: Get A Grip Author: L.A. Witt Reviewer: B. Rating: insert your letter (only) grade rating What I’m Talking About: Like anyone else would surely be, Shane Andrews was completely unprepared to be a teenaged dad, especially when he ended up raising his daughter alone. Now, two more kids and two divorces later, he’s ready to reach beyond his role as the responsible father and experience some of the fun and sexual abandon he missed out on all those years ago. When an unexpected disaster on the Wolf’s Landing set brings him together with a sexy firefighter, Shane gets more than he bargained for. Having been burned in the past in more ways than one, Aaron Tucker gets his kicks via random hookups, rather than jumping into fires—or relationships. Casual suits him just fine, thanks. Until the lonely father of three he wanted in his bed suddenly claims a piece of his heart without his noticing. But, Aaron’s new longing for a commitment with Shane can’t go anywhere if the latter won’t stop running. Get a Grip, the latest in the Bluewater Bay series, has a lot going for it. I thought Shane was pretty relatable as a single father of three who had to grow up too fast, and is trying to work through the guilt and accept his own desire to play for a while, now that his kids are getting older. Aaron was just as intriguing, if not more so, given his openness, enthusiasm, and increasing affection for Shane. And while it wasn’t without an awkward moment or two, there were plenty of very nicely written scenes in the story that kept me involved and eager to stick with the narrative to the end. Even though the protests from both Shane and Aaron became a little too rote towards the end of the story, I still found it extremely rewarding when they both realized they’d been in an accidentally successful monogamous relationship the entire time....
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Jul
19

Review: Pieces of Me by Shiloh Walker

Review: Pieces of Me by Shiloh Walker Pieces of Me Author: Shiloh Walker Reviewer: VampBard Rating: A What I’m Talking About: Pieces of Me is a book about survival, first and foremost. Well, to me, anyway. Shadow Harper is living with the hell her ex created, and she’s learning to move past it—using whatever coping strategies she needs to use. Readers need to know that there’s a lot of domestic abuse and emotional abuse flashbacks in this book, and it isn’t for the feint-hearted. I was really conflicted and made to think while reading this title, however. I think that Shadow did herself a solid—so readers will see a survivor. What I wasn’t so keen on was how it seemed like she let Jenks in pretty fast, but I could overlook that in the name of the ‘leap of faith’ I try to use when reading. I thought a lot, that’s for sure. I’m not even really sure her relationship with Jenks is important enough to legit be on the table. It’s the act of trusting again and finding balance that was important, in my opinion. I struggled with the ending—things aren’t tied up in a neat little bow. I wonder if Ms. Walker is going to give us another title in this universe. There’s enough room for that to happen. As is customary when I review a romantic suspense, I can’t write a lot in my review without spoilers, so I don’t. Just know this is an important story, and one that needs to be told. I was riveted to the page from beginning to end—in typical Shiloh Walker style. My Rating:  A, Loved It About the Book: Obsession can be deadly…  Nobody knows that better than Shadow Harper. It seemed like a dream come true when a rich, suave older man noticed her during her second year of college. Stefan Stockman seemed to love her obsessively. He came into her life and swept her off her feet, seduced her, married her…and then slowly, eventually, that dream come true became a living nightmare. Now, three years after she finally escaped him, she’s trying to put her life back together. Haunted by memories, struggling with post-traumatic stress, she spends most of her time locked away in her home on Pawley’s Island, a small town on the South Carolina coast. Her rare moments of joy come from her trips to the nearby beach. She compulsively checks the locks on her doors, makes sure she has her cell...
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Jul
10

Review: The Legend by Donna Grant

Review: The Legend by Donna Grant The Legend Author: Donna Grant Reviewer: VampBard Rating: A What I’m Talking About: As always with military romance, there’s an element of suspense. The Legend is no exception—and I love the way Ms. Grant weaves pieces of the information we’ve already learned through the previous two books in the series as reminders, or for readers that are new to the Sons of Texas books. This book was about the third Loughman brother, Wyatt. Now, until this point in the series, Wyatt has been pretty aloof, and I definitely had a driving desire to know more about him and his ‘tortured hero’ status. Because, we ALL want to know more about the tortured heroes. 🙂 As the leader of a Delta Force squad, he’s used to people A) listening to him/taking orders from him, and B) having the loyalty of his men. I think that’s one of the big things about Wyatt that I liked seeing. How he handled different things—not just the romance part of the storyline. He’s a thinker, and I felt like he was honest about parts of his life and held back on others—i.e., romance with Callie. Because, he screwed up once, right? Callie Reed comes from a ‘mafia’ family. They have wanted Callie back in their clutches for over a decade—since she escaped them. What I love most about Callie’s character is the way she relates to Wyatt while still protecting herself. Callie’s gifts & talents make her an asset in the battle against the Saints—the baddies we met in the first book of the series who are waaaayyyyy more than originally thought. As always, with RS, I’m not going to give a lot of details because it’s spoilery and I don’t roll that way. But…I definitely need MORE ORRIN!!! The patriarch of the Loughman family NEEDS at least a novella My Rating:  A, Loved It About the Book: A LONE STAR LOVER Callie Reed doesn’t need a man to protect her. An expert sharpshooter and renegade hacker, this Texas-born spitfire’s got the skills and the courage to stand up to any danger―no matter how deadly. But when she becomes the target of a shadowy organization known as the Saints, Callie is forced to team up with the one man she can’t outshoot: the gorgeous, and infuriating, Lone Star legend named Wyatt Loughman… A Delta Force Colonel with a rock-hard body and stone-cold heart, Wyatt has been teasing and tormenting Callie since they were playmates...
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