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Currently Browsing: military/suspense romance
Mar
6

Review: Flash of Fury by Lea Griffith

Review: Flash of Fury by Lea Griffith Flash of Fury Author: Lea Griffith Reviewer: Jen Rating: B- What I’m Talking About: Kingston McNally, ex-Navy SEAL, is the leader of a black ops team known as Endgame Ops. A year ago on a dangerous mission in Beirut, King’s group was betrayed by one of their own. Now it’s his mission to end Horace Dresden, the man responsible for the death of his teammates. However, someone has put Allie Redding in his path and her safety is quickly becoming his number one priority. Allie Redding spent the past few years as a Peace Corps volunteer in Africa and is looking forward to a mani/pedi and McDonald’s french fries back at home. She’s instantly attracted to the hottie in the seat next to her, and she even indulges in a little “what if” daydreaming. But her fantasies are short lived when her plane is hijacked by the terrorist group, Boko Haram. Now she and her new found ally, King, are on the run while trying to figure out who they can trust. Flash of Fury is the first exciting story in Ms. Griffith’s Endgame Ops series. The story opens with a bang and never EVER slows down. As the first book in the series, the author spends a great deal of time introducing the key players and laying the groundwork for the world. Generally this is handled well in Flash of Fury, but I did get lost a few times; partially because of the volume of information, and partially because this material is just the framework for something larger to which I am not yet privy. While I liked that the author didn’t dumb down conversations for the reader, it made it difficult to follow along as there is a lot of subterfuge and layers of conspiracy in play. The overall plot line of the book is the rescue and return of Allie to her father in the U.S. It’s a good story, but there is entirely way too much running for my tastes. Seriously… every time King and Allie make it to a safe house, they are compromised. It got old after a while; I just wanted them to have a respite that lasted longer than a couple of hours (they actually do but injuries don’t count in my book!). The larger story involves weeding out the leaks that lead to the botched mission in Beirut and how it all ties in with Allie. There was significant movement...
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Feb
28

Review: Darkness by Kate Sherwood

Review: Darkness by Kate Sherwood Darkness Author: Kate Sherwood Reviewer: B. Rating: A- What I’m Talking About: Several months into his “vacation” working as under-sheriff for his high school friend and lover, Kayla, Jericho Crewe has re-adapted to things far better than he’s willing to admit. Unlike his job as an officer among the anonymous multitudes of LA, however, Mosely, Montana lays every consequence of his actions bare and unavoidable. Much like his feelings for his other former lover, and ongoing complication, Wade Granger. The first in this series, Long Shadows, was a compelling introduction to Jericho’s story, and hooked me from the start. The second, Embers, drew me in, but I still felt like more of an outsider, possibly because of Jericho’s own fight with his own convictions. Darkness, however, was an entirely different experience for me as a reader. Jericho isn’t surrendering so much as he’s accepting the truths about himself that he couldn’t outrun. Jericho is correct when he refers to Kayla and Wade as the angel and the devil (respectively) on his shoulders. But, after three books worth of Jericho waging his own internal battle, I was delighted to see him realize they were sort of telling him the same thing: sometimes, the law can’t dictate what’s right and wrong. Sometimes, that distinction can only be found in the intentions of the actors—in the heart. While I’ve consistently found Wade to be an extremely compelling character, I was especially happy with the dynamic between he and Jericho in Darkness. For the first time, Jericho seems to understand that he has the power to truly hurt Wade with his assumptions and distrust of Wade’s intentions. Wade’s protectiveness and boundaries when it comes to his own sense of right and wrong echo Jericho’s realization that sometimes the law just isn’t good enough. The epiphany that finally allows Jericho to see what Wade really means to him, and the intimate and reflective moments that followed were some of my favorite parts of the series so far. All in all, Darkness is an excellent addition to an already strong series. My appreciation of Jericho increased substantially over the course of the novel, and my affection for Wade did much the same. These characters have definitely grown on me as I’ve gotten to know them better, and I highly recommend reading this series from the beginning. With only one story left, I can’t help but be both excited and worried to see what happens next,...
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Feb
6

Interview + Review: Embers by Kate Sherwood

Interview + Review: Embers by Kate Sherwood Embers Author: Kate Sherwood Reviewer: B. Rating: B+ What I’m Talking About: Now that he’s temporarily relocated back home to Mosely, Montana, Jericho Crewe has a lot to sort out. Between working for his old friend and former lover at the sheriff’s office, dealing with the family he didn’t know he had, and recovering from a recent gunshot wound, he’s been busy. His inability to keep his mind off his other former lover, Wade Granger, isn’t helping matters, either—especially when buildings start exploding and bodies begin turning up. While I liked this story very much, I did have a little more difficulty connecting with Jericho. Having been a patrol cop in LA for five years, and a marine for eight years before that, Jericho’s clearly no fool. That he had the determination to reinvent himself after escaping from Mosely also speaks to a strong will and notable resourcefulness. But, he always seems to be a step or two behind here, and his ongoing confusion wasn’t as understandable to me now that he’s been back home for a while. Regardless, it was extremely interesting to watch him try to balance between his own past and present, and Jericho is likable enough that I was pulling for him all the way through. Wade, on the other hand, is still my favorite character, and his role as a “mastermind” is the best part of this series to me so far. Now that Jericho is back home, Wade seems to be shifting gears on the fly and the suspense that’s constantly generated by his actions kept me glued to every scene. It looks as if Wade had shaped his life around a missing puzzle piece, only to discover that that same piece had somehow changed its shape during its absence. Now, things are different in his world, too, and I couldn’t help but appreciate both Wade’s aptitude, as well as his frustrations. Another thing I thoroughly enjoyed about Embers is that the author has taken the traditional notion of the “prodigal returned” and turned it into something else entirely. Jericho didn’t just leave home. He changed. But, not as much as he thinks he did, which is pretty entertaining. Not really an outsider, he’s able to maintain a level of credibility with the “locals” that he’s very willing to use to help him solve the crimes being committed—even though he seems surprised that he still has any. One of the older deputies puts...
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Jan
16

Review: Afraid to Fly by L.A. Witt

Review: Afraid to Fly by L.A. Witt Afraid To Fly Author: L.A. Witt Reviewer: B. Rating: B- What I’m Talking About: I’ve read quite a few titles by this author, many created under various pen names, and have always enjoyed her writing very much. The first story in the Anchor Point series, Just Drive, also received a lot of good reviews, even though I missed it when it was released. So, I was a little disappointed when Afraid to Fly gave me a fair bit of difficulty. One particularly significant stumbling block for me came from the use of dueling first person POVs throughout the narrative. Although each chapter is titled to reflect whose perspective is being presented, the story still became confusing, especially during longer strings of dialogue. Travis and Clint have such similar experiences that things frequently got muddled when they were together. This wasn’t a constant issue, but it happened often enough that I had to reread several scenes in order to clarify who was saying what. In addition to the above, I had a difficult time accepting Clint’s decision to tell Travis about the incident that led to his downfall and the destruction of his marriage. So much was made about the repercussions attached to it, clearance levels, and nondisclosure agreements that kept him silent for so long that Clint’s sudden about face seemed “off” somehow. Although, I was still glad he was able to get that secret out in the open. There were other issues that affected my submersion in the story, including Travis’ repeatedly stated cynicism about the future of their relationship. Additionally, Clint “comes out” to his office associates during the very first scene, but is worried on other occasions about what his ex-wife would say if his bisexuality was discovered. Lastly, while penetrative sex certainly isn’t necessary, I found it odd that Travis was determined to push his physical limitations in several other ways (taking the stairs instead of the elevator, the bi-annual health screening, etc.), but not when it came to his intimate moments with Clint. Far from being entirely negative, however, there was also a lot to appreciate about Afraid to Fly. For a start, both main characters are in their 40’s, which is both rare and interesting in my reading experience. The same similarities that presented themselves as pitfalls in one context made the connection between Travis and Clint seem even more valid in another. Many of the issues that our military have to live...
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Jan
13

Review: The Protector by Donna Grant

Review: The Protector by Donna Grant The Protector Author: Donna Grant Reviewer: VampBard Rating: A- What I’m Talking About: The saga to find Orrin (Cullen’s dad) continues in this fast-paced continuation of the Sons of Texas series. Seriously. Find. Him! I want Orrin to get a HEA, too!!! Could it be the mousy doctor??? Enough with projecting my own needs as a reader. I think I liked The Protector better than the first book in the series, The Hero. I liked Cullen and Mia better as a couple because they felt more balanced—they could both take care of themselves. Both Cullen and Mia have demons. What really pushed me forward when reading was the next squishy middle I’d run across. You guys know what I’m talking about. The hard-core military that project the image of calm, cool, collectedness who show vulnerability. The Russian involvement and the way the series arc played out in The Protector, I’m champing at the bit for the third book in the series, The Legend, up for preorder & releasing June 27th. My Rating: A- Enjoyed A Lot About the Book: When Marine Force Recon captain Cullen Loughman learns that his father’s been kidnapped, he will do whatever it takes to find him. In order to achieve his mission, Cullen will need to team up with the best of the best—someone who just happens to be the most stunning woman he’s ever laid eyes on… This isn’t the first rodeo for ex—Air Force pilot Mia Carter. Still, Cullen’s bad-boy good looks and charm are distracting her from duty. . .and it appears that the feeling is mutual. As Mia and Cullen make their descent into a dark, dangerous world, their attraction reaches the boiling point. But is their desire worth the risk when a ruthless enemy is waiting in the wings—or will their Lone Star love conquer all?  Release Date: January 3, 2017 Publisher: St. Martin’s Press Series: Sons of Texas #2 Genre: Military Romantic Suspense Format(s): paperback (305 pages), e-book, audiobook Book Source: Publisher/NetGalley Purchase Info: Amazon Reviews in the Series: The Hero by Donna Grant (Sons of Texas...
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Jan
2

Review: Kill Without Shame by Alexandra Ivy

Review: Kill Without Shame by Alexandra Ivy Kill Without Shame Author: Alexandra Ivy Reviewer: Jen Rating: B+ What I’m Talking About: Five soldiers became five brothers when they were held in Taliban prison for weeks of brutal torture. It’s been over two years since returning from the war, and now the men run a successful security firm in Texas. Lucas St. Clair, hostage negotiator, comes from a wealthy, well-connected family who expected him to be a big-wig statesman. Yet after his time as a POW, Lucas left his manipulative family for his brothers-in-arms, founding ARES Security. However, when high school friend Anthony “Tony” Hughes was murdered near ARES offices, Lucas is drawn back to his hometown of Shreveport, LA, and face-to-face with Mia Ramon — the one that got away. Mia Ramon has come a long way since she last saw Lucas St. Clair, taking over her father’s small lawn mowing business and turning it into a successful landscape company. She doesn’t have time for Lucas to waltz back into her life after he broke her heart 15 years ago. Yet, when she learns that her friend Tony was murdered with a photo of her in his hands, she realizes that Lucas may be the only one to help her find Tony’s murderer. Once again, Alexandra Ivy weaves a suspenseful tale that captured me from page one. Kill Without Shame is the second story in Ms. Ivy’s ARES Security series. Although there is a small overall story arc, the romance and mystery are very much standalone, with no connection to the first book. Lucas and Mia’s story is gripping and sweet. The romance and suspense are well balanced. I liked that Mia and Lucas had a strong history, which gave their romance solid footing in the perilous situations. And there was little confession of feelings at inappropriate times – something that is a huge pet peeve of mine for romantic suspense titles. Lucas and Mia had a friendship and attraction that was easy to rekindle because neither ever got over the other. The author does a wonderful job establishing their backstory, filling it with strong emotions, which gave credibility and strength to the situation. While Lucas wanted to be all alpha-caveman, he listened to the good advice of his friends, meeting strong-willed Mia on middle ground when it came to the investigation. And both were upfront about lingering hurt from the past, allowing them to quickly move past the pain and onto the future. The mystery of who shot Tony...
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Dec
21

Review: Absolute Trust by Piper J. Drake

Review: Absolute Trust by Piper J. Drake Absolute Trust Author: Piper J. Drake Reviewers: Gikany and Una Rating: B What We’re Talking About: Gikany and Una thought Absolute Trust might have been the last book in the True Heroes series.  We are happy to say that it is not the final book.  We liked Brandon and Sophie’s story overall and look forward to more. Since the first book where we met Brandon and Sophie (and couldn’t help but observe their tension) we have waited for their story.  Although there were a couple odd notes, Brandon and Sophie’s journey was a satisfying one.  Sophie and Brandon’s trouble was never their attraction to each other or their personalities.  Brandon felt he needed to make something of himself so he could hope to be worthy of Sophie.  Sophie never understood why Brandon ran off from her, and it remained a sore point with her once Brandon returned.  To make things worse, he never tried to rekindle their relationship; he seemed content with her friendship. The tension and attraction between Brandon and Sophie was tangible.  Her giving nature was a compliment to Brandon’s devotion and protectiveness.  There was a strong theme of second chances in this journey and we really liked it.  Brandon did have to prove himself to Sophie, but she forgave him easily once the truth was out.  The plot against Sophie seemed strange, but plausible.  Although the perpetrators appeared to be very experienced, they seemed to go for convoluted methods rather than a taking a simpler rout. We enjoyed having one of the dogs in the kennel be a main character.  Hadyn, a German Sheppard Dog, was a fascinating character.  His training was, of course, an excellent bonus for Brandon and Sophie as they worked to keep Sophie safe.  However, the addition of the cat was a bit odd.  Although we enjoyed the interaction between the cat and Hadyn, we did think the cat tagging along for an on-the-run getaway a bit strange. Overall, we liked Absolute Truth and look forward to more in the series.  With the kennel expanding, we anticipate more staff joining them and therefore more stories in this engaging world. Brandon and Sophie’s story was worth waiting for. If you enjoy a military romance with furry sidekicks, you may want to pick up this series. Our Rating:  B, Liked It About the Book: LOVE IS THE GREATEST RISK OF ALL After multiple tours of duty, Brandon Forte returns to his hometown on a...
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Dec
6

Review: The Hero by Donna Grant

Review: The Hero by Donna Grant The Hero Author: Donna Grant Reviewer: VampBard Rating: B What I’m Talking About: Stepping out of my comfort zone, I picked up The Hero by Donna Grant. I don’t read a lot of military romantic suspense—honestly, I only read one series and it’s by an author I know I love. Got me another. I’m excited to come in on the ground floor for Ms. Grant’s Sons of Texas series. I liked her writing style. I’m sure I’ll be over-the-moon for it by the time I read the next book, The Protector, scheduled for release January 3, 2017. I’m all over any story about Russians. Which Rocky movie was it with Dolph Lundgren? I don’t know, either…but there was a Russian dude in this book that made me think of him. But this story wasn’t really about the Russians. Or the contracts (like, pew pew—gun with a silencer—you’re dead contracts). Or even the fact that Owen, our hero, was a SEAL. Not even because Natalie—our heroine—was working at the Russian embassy. Nope. This story was about forgiveness—not just of other people, but forgiving one’s self and being okay with personal demons. In the blurb, we read about Natalie being all torn up about Owen leaving her high and dry back when they were kids (they’re in their early thirties). These two share SERIOUS history. And they’re both horribly broken in different ways. What I liked most about Natalie was her tenacity. The way she didn’t back down from a challenge, and the way she came up with new solutions. She’s a problem-solver. Unless it come to her personal life. And Owen? *sigh* The boy can flip a switch. He’s a trained killer, but some of the scenes? *fans self* Totally hot. Even in the middle of crisis. He’s genuine as well as being hot and deadly. I’m not going to say I fell for him, but heroes like Owen Loughman might sway me over to military romance. There’s three Loughman brothers. And there’s the dad, Orrin, too. I’m wondering whether we’ll get three or four titles from the series. I’m hoping for four. My Rating:  B, Liked It About the Book: Owen Loughman is a highly-decorated Navy SEAL who has a thirst for action. But there’s one thing he hasn’t been able to forget: his high school sweetheart, Natalie. After more than a decade away, Owen has returned home to the ranch in Texas for a dangerous new mission that...
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Oct
3

Review: Can’t Hide From Me by Cordelia Kingsbridge

Review: Can’t Hide From Me by Cordelia Kingsbridge Can’t Hide From Me Author: Cordelia Kingsbridge Reviewer: B. Rating: C What I’m Talking About: As a member of a highly-skilled ATF team, Charles Hunter is a clever, adept agent who takes his profession seriously. Having recently broken off an engagement, the last thing he needs is to reconnect with another ex-lover during an emergency extraction from the latter’s current undercover assignment. Still hurting and bitter, Charles isn’t prepared for all the ways his life spins out of control when a stalker complicates the situation, and all the secrets he’s tried to hide come crashing down on him. Ángel Medina has been living a lie for two years. When he was given the chance to go undercover and bring down one of the most notorious cartels on the ATF’s hit list, he had to take it. Letting go of the man he loved to do it wasn’t easy, but he wasn’t willing to live his life as someone’s “dirty little secret,” either. But, when his only contact to the real world goes missing, and an extraction is his only hope of survival, his past and present collide in ways he could never have expected. On initial examination, Can’t Hide from Me, by Cordelia Kingsbridge, had a lot going for it: a diverse cast of characters, strong personalities, a range of sexual identities, suspense, as well as a path to redemption and second chances. Yet, as I got further into the narrative, I found that there were a few issues that I was never able to accept or ignore enough to become truly engaged with the story. One of my biggest issues is that I thought there was too much sex for the story trying to support it. It’s not the actual quantity of sex scenes that bothered me exactly, it’s just that, due to the characters’ circumstances, and the suspenseful intent of the narrative, a majority of these encounters seem more gratuitous than purposeful. Given the nature of Ángel’s most recent undercover operation, as well as the addition of a stalker who’s clearly much closer than should have been possible with an elite ATF team, a lot of the sex in Can’t Hide from Me seems emotionally and mentally reckless, at best. I try to ignore the “heat ratings” of a story, however, so others may not have any qualms about the situation. While I usually love suspense and mystery in the stories I get to review, it just...
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Sep
6

Review: Her Rogue Alpha by Paige Tyler

Review: Her Rogue Alpha by Paige Tyler Her Rogue Alpha Author: Paige Tyler Reviewers: Gikany and Una Rating: DNF / C What We’re Talking About: This is an odd review to write since only Una finished the book, but we do that we were disappointed with Layla and Jayson’s story. Una finished the novel, but found herself feeling let down.  The connection between Layla and Jayson was forged early in the series.  Their story is one we have waited for: a shifter who just joined the X-Ops and her wounded soldier.  However, Jayson is emotionally abusive.  The abuse is substantial enough to make us feel that there should possibly be trigger warnings for this book.  In the end he does apologize for being selfishly brooding in his disability, but it was long overdue.  He was brash and reckless in the beginning, and Layla accepted that all the pain he caused her was okay because he loves her.  Their reunion in a battlefield was odd and seemed untimely.  The plot of Jayson’s mission was convoluted and far-fetched – especially his abilities.  At the end of the novel, there is a revelation about Jayson that Layla reads and then destroys – without the reader being privy to it.  This carrot dangling was infuriating to Una.  Since this part of the story was told from Layla’s perspective, we should have been privy to the message.  It would have been preferable to have her destroy the note without looking. The plot that kept Una reading was regarding a thief.  This plot line is tied to the search for the enemy within the X-Ops.  Una found this storyline fascinating and intriguing.  And knowing it is not the end of seeing the thief, we hope to see her in a future novel. Gikany did not finish this novel.  The emotional abuse that begins between Layla and Jayson was too much.  By the 25% mark, the urge to have Layla punch Jayson and leave him was too great for Gikany.  She felt that there was no way he could redeem himself, and he just didn’t deserve her love.  Gikany could not stand to read anymore. Although we do agree that this novel did not go altogether well, Una was able to finish it.  Both Gikany and Una were disappointed in this long awaited story.  Una will read the next novel in the series but Gikany will not. Una’s Rating:  C, Finished It – Liked some, didn’t like some Gikany’s Rating:  DNF – Did...
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