logo
Currently Browsing: military/suspense romance
Jul
26

Review: Ultimate Courage by Piper J. Drake

Review: Ultimate Courage by Piper J. Drake Ultimate Courage Author: Piper J. Drake Reviewers: Gikany and Una Rating: B-/C+ What We’re Talking About: Ultimate Courage is the second novel in the new True Heroes series. Though we enjoy the premise and the nature of this series, this novel struck an off-note with Gikany and Una. You need not have read the first novel in the series, Extreme Honor, to be able to enjoy this one.  So far it seems that these can be read as standalone, but that may change as the series continues.  What we really love about this series is that there are two happily-ever-afters in each novel. Or, should we say, the happily-ever-after involves three characters, our main couple and a dog. In Ultimate Courage you have the journey of Elisa and Alex as well as Sousa’s journey. We really enjoy how Sousa is a main character, not just a plot device.  Each dog has had a personality of their own, along with their own coming-of-age/challenge to overcome on their road to a happy ending. Sousa was a great character.  This German Shepherd dog was an interesting character.  We enjoyed his instincts as well as his development.  Though it was a bit obvious to us what his calling was as a working dog, it was fun to watch as the “silly humans” figured it out.  Another character that we really liked was Boom, Alex’s daughter.  Her spunky personality, coupled with her care and concern for others, was touching.  We really enjoyed the warmth and humor she brought to the novel.  We also enjoyed seeing David and Lyn (the major couple from the first novel) again.  Additionally, the story gives us a bit of an introduction to the next couple. Unfortunately what fell flat with us was a major plot point in this story.  As many followers of our reviews will know, we are very particular when it comes to characters that have suffered abuse.  Especially violent or long-term abuse, the treatment of the abuse and how a character reacts to it can be a pet-peeve with us depending on how an author addresses it. Though Ms. Drake is not as cavalier as some have been, we still felt that Elisa’s abuse was not as fully fleshed-out as it should have been.  For a woman who was in a four-year relationship characterized by extreme emotional abuse with the immediate threat of physical abuse, we felt her emotional and physical involvement with Alex was rushed. ...
Read More
Jul
15

Review: Romanced by a SEAL by Cat Johnson

Review: Romanced by a SEAL by Cat Johnson Romanced by a SEAL Author: Cat Johnson Reviewer: Jen Twimom Rating: B What I’m Talking About: Having watched Jon and Ali fall for one another in the first Hot SEALs book, Night with a SEAL, I was excited to read their follow up story in Romanced by a SEAL. As the book opens, Jon and Ali have been living together for a while, but their relationship is stagnant. Unknown to his teammates/friends and Ali, Jon decides to take an off-the-record job going undercover to infiltrate ISIS. Of course his secrecy is causing all sorts of tension at home. Overall, I enjoyed Romanced by a SEAL, especially since Jon and Ali’s initial story concluded with an HFN ending. The couple went through some major ups and downs in this one, tugging at my heart more than once. While the first half of the book focused on Jon’s mission and the troubles between the pair, the second half was a joy to read, following the couple as they worked through their very serious issues and communication breakdown. Once the pair started talking and working through things, I felt the tempo of the book improved, and I sunk into the story more. As per usual, Ms. Johnson’s attention to military detail is impressive. I appreciated the detail and (I’ll assume) accuracy of Jon’s situation as he went undercover. However, for me, it felt a bit misplaced in this romance story, especially since it is on the shorter side. Personally, I want more relationship building and less seriousness in the first half of the book. Jon’s situation was very delicate and extremely serious, and while the author does a very good job keeping the tone appropriate to the situation, I felt that the military storyline overtook the romance for too much of the book. In the end, Romanced by a SEAL was a delightful read, and the second half of the book made up for any issues I had in the earlier parts of the story. While I had a couple small issues, the author did a great job eventually addressing any matters that concerned me. I like that, overall, the storylines felt realistic yet HEA. My Rating:  B, Liked It About the Book: As a SEAL, Jon Rudnick dodged copper and lead without flinching, but just the thought of one tiny gold band around his ring finger sends him into a cold sweat. Love is one thing, but marriage is another. He’s...
Read More
May
31

Review: At Any Cost by Mandy Baxter

Review: At Any Cost by Mandy Baxter At Any Cost Author: Mandy Baxter Reviewer: Jen Twimom Rating: C- What I’m Talking About: Deputy U.S. Marshal Nick Brady hasn’t even been on the job three months and he’s already being reprimanded. Although he’s doing his job, on the side he’s been working off the grid, capturing the bad guys – taking work from other Deputies. Because of his inability to follow orders, Nick earned a mandatory one month leave of absence. But instead of using that time to reflect on his mistakes, he decides to pursue a most-wanted case, using a lead no one else tried. He’s going after Joel Meecum, ex-pres/member of the Black Death MC. Nick believes Joel’s ex is living under an assumed name in McCall, Idaho. Livy Gallagher has spent the last four years afraid for her life. Moving as necessary, changing her identity as often, she’s found some normalcy teaching ski lessons in McCall. But her life gets turned upside down when a sexy man moves into the rental unit across from hers. Livy needs to decide if she can trust this sexy stranger and allow herself the human companionship she so sorely misses. At Any Cost is filled with intense action and sultry sex scenes. But unfortunately, I never really got into the story or connected with the characters. Nick is an arrogant jerk who thinks because he is good at catching the bad guys, the rules don’t apply to him. Now, I’m all for the self-assured alpha male who does what he pleases. And I love me some vigilante Captain America who goes against authority because he is just and noble. But Nick is none of these. He only cares about winning, with little regard for his fellow Marshals. Granted we find out later his motivation for his obsessive actions, but by then, it has little impact on my feelings toward the character. The biggest problem is he doesn’t seem to learn from his behavior, and the book doesn’t deal with the outfall from his actions. I just never liked Nick enough to enjoy his story or romance. Livy, I mostly enjoyed. However her constant repetitive mantra that it is “better to be alone than dead” wore me down. Attracted to Nick from first sight, Livy felt a connection and trust that was borne out of loneliness, at least it seemed that way to me. Regardless, she decides to finally let her guard down and enjoy a human connection with Nick....
Read More
May
18

Review: Deadly Testimony by Piper J. Drake

Review: Deadly Testimony by Piper J. Drake Deadly Testimony Author: Piper J. Drake Reviewers: Gikany and Una Rating: B What We’re Talking About: Gikany and Una liked this second novel in the Safeguard series.  Kyle and Lizzy are not the stereotypical couple in a military romance.  We enjoyed the honesty of their characters, their uniqueness, and their journey. Kyle and Lizzy do not have the typical roles that one sees in military romance.  Kyle is the “damsel” in the distress while Lizzy is the hero.  We enjoyed this change.  We liked how Kyle, although trained in martial arts, was not a fighter in that sense.  He was vulnerable, and we appreciated seeing a man struggle with the stress of being hunted.  Likewise, Lizzy is a stone-cold killer – when she needs to be.  Although this facet of her job has taken a toll, she was still warm and kind.  The warring character traits in Lizzy made her human.  The contrasts between Kyle and Lizzy complimented each other and we loved the respect Kyle had for her. For all of our enjoyment, we did encounter a couple of off notes.  We were slightly disappointed in the lack of background of Kyle. There was much about him that was alluded to, but not conveyed.  We understood his crimes, but not the full extent of his “badness”.  Don’t get us wrong, his selfish, egocentric ways lead him to being on the wrong side of the law, but he wasn’t inherently evil.  In fact, he was fairly noble and protective in his own ways, especially when he decided to clean up his act.  For all his faults, Kyle does try to do right. The other item is something of debate between Gikany and Una.  Gikany thought that Lizzy’s PTSD was minimized. It was mentioned in the beginning but never truly addressed.  Una thought that Lizzy wasn’t suffering from PTSD but struggling with the after-math of doing her job, compartmentalizing the realities of her role, and the job that she does as a sniper.  Either way, we found Lizzy’s battle-harden persona compelling as she protected Kyle while also falling for him. The plot of keeping Kyle safe from assassins was gripping. We liked the flow of the story and the rhythmic pace between the romance and the suspense.  Kyle and Lizzy were an intriguing couple and their honest, although quick, courtship and romance were mesmerizing.  Although the passion moved quickly, in the context of their roles, it was believable.  The bad...
Read More
May
2

Review: The Trouble with Temptation by Shiloh Walker

Review: The Trouble with Temptation by Shiloh Walker The Trouble with Temptation Author: Shiloh Walker Reviewer: VampBard Rating: A What I’m Talking About: I have been waiting for this book. I needed to know what was going to happen with Brannan and Hannah. If you haven’t read the first title in the series, Headed for Trouble, you should get on that. The Trouble with Temptation picks up where the first title in The McKays series leaves off. Ms. Walker’s writing is engaging and drew me in from the start. We’re immediately dropped back in the world of the McKays, with our focus on Hannah and Brannan—who were introduced in the previous title. There are innumerable examples, but one of my favorite passages was Hannah’s description of Brannan at the beginning of Chapter Six: “He was too big. He was too beautiful. Even after the past few days, Hannah was hard-pressed to come up with any other summation of Brannon McKay. She wasn’t talking about his physical appearance, either, although he sure as hell didn’t lack for that, either. Everything about him was larger than life.” What we learn through the course of this title is that Hannah has amnesia and doesn’t remember the stuff at the end of the previous title. Even when she doesn’t trust herself, as a reader, I find myself rooting for her. She’s not the whiny, take-a-backseat-to-a-powerful-man woman. Nope. She knows she’s got this on her own—even pregnant. She keeps her independence through times that are *ahem* less than fun, and maintains a sense of self even when things are going well. She’s frustrated at all the right things, and while I’ve never experienced amnesia (lucky…there’s times I’d *like* to forget things…), but I hope I’d be the same. I really adore Hannah and the way her character develops and grows through this part of the series arc. Now. Brannan. If ever there were a rich Alpha male, Brannan is probably the poster child. He doesn’t throw his money around, but he doesn’t deny he’s got it, either. It’s just a part of who he is. While there’s some skeletons hanging in his closet, regarding Hannah, he really is the perfect person for her. He just isn’t secure enough in himself to ‘come clean’ with some details. I think a BIG part of what drives the plot of The Trouble with Temptation is the suspense aspect of the plot. Introduced in the first title of the series, there’s some trouble afoot, dear reader....
Read More
Apr
25

Review: The Obsession by Nora Roberts

Review: The Obsession by Nora Roberts The Obsession Author: Nora Roberts Reviewer: Nima Rating: A- What I’m Talking About: Nora Roberts is a prolific writer.  As such, she is known for a certain predictability, if not being formulaic in her writing style.  Her ardent fans like this about her style.  I have enjoyed a few of her books over the years, but haven’t necessarily sought them out.  The Obsession was not at all what I expected from Roberts.  Like so many of her other books, The Obsession was not just a story of an empowered woman looking to build a new life after some kind of insert-male-oppression-here and stumbles upon a trust-worthy love. While it had those elements, The Obsession felt different in a fresh way for Roberts. Told in sections, the writing is surprisingly intimate.  While it does have some predictability, I figured out “who done it” about two-thirds of the way through, I enjoyed the metered pacing.  The addition of a murder mystery subplot dispelled the contrived feeling that can come from contemporary romance where they have to kiss by page “this” and be a couple by page “that.” Rather, the story unfolded in a cautious, true-to-life amble that lets intimacy build, even sneaking up on main characters Naomi Bowes and Xander Keaton.  I loved that Roberts even paused to give us that moment when they each knew they were in love with the other. The first section is a true departure for Roberts and sucked me in immediately.  It begins with an eleven year old Naomi, dreaming of the bicycle she hopes will be her birthday present.  On this hot, sticky summer night she wakens early, willing a breeze to break up the heat.  With her face to the window and unable to go back to sleep, she spies her father going into the woods with a flashlight.  She follows, hoping for a glimpse at the bike that maybe he has stashed somewhere to keep it a secret.  What she finds is not a dream bicycle, it is the reality that her father is one of the most notorious serial killer/rapists of all time. Naomi’s experiences, as they’re unfolded to us, step by step through the woods, felt real. The daze she’s in while she reacts to what she finds felt real.  By the end of section one, I had to finish the book. The obvious next question for Naomi is what now? She begins to  question everything she thought she knew. ...
Read More
Mar
18

Review + Giveaway: Between Ghosts by Garrett Leigh

Review + Giveaway: Between Ghosts by Garrett Leigh Between Ghosts Author: Garrett Leigh Reviewer: B. Rating: A What I’m Talking About: Losing his older brother to a war he’s never agreed with would have been bad enough for Connor Regan to live with, but for that hurt remain adrift with no understanding to anchor it is worse. Going on assignment with a SAS team that’s seen the worst the war has to offer—and to one of the most dangerous regions there is—seems like his best chance for some answers. What he finds will change him forever, and lead him to the first man Connor isn’t sure he can survive without. Sergeant Nathan Thompson isn’t a man with a lot of time on his hands. With one mission beginning almost before the previous one has ended, he can’t seem to find the hours to sleep, much less babysit a civilian reporter who’s managed to be embedded with his team. But, the “hack” gets under his skin faster than Nat ever imagined he would, and keeping Connor safe quickly becomes far more than just an obligation. Ordinarily, the speed with which Connor and Nat become attached would have concerned me. But, Between Ghosts is set in the middle of a never-ending war, and that, justifiably, made a huge difference. That a physical connection could be a balm in the midst of so much destruction, and that the heart might just as quickly follow—especially when time inherently must be counted so differently—I could easily accept. Ms. Leigh depicts the temporary nature of living through war very convincingly, making the relationship that evolves between the two men something worth cherishing, rather than dismissing. I found both Connor and Nat easy to believe in. Neither was very predictable, and accepting that their different personalities might be complimentary wasn’t a problem. At first, there seems to be little more to Nat than the gruff Sergeant whose responsibilities weigh so heavily on him. However, this proves not to be the case. Connor, in contrast, has plenty going on from the start, including his own, personal undertaking, and watching that mission disintegrate as his understanding of the situation increased made me feel as badly for him as I did for the soldiers he accompanied. Connor and Nat aren’t the only characters that stood out in Between Ghosts. It didn’t seem as if there were any negligible characters to me, each being imbued with such individuality and heartfelt connection to one another that I held my...
Read More
Feb
24

Review: A Covert Affair by Katie Reus

Review: A Covert Affair by Katie Reus A Covert Affair Author: Katie Reus Reviewers: Gikany and Una Rating: B What We’re Talking About: A Covert Affair is the fifth offering in the Deadly Ops series.  This romantic suspense series follows ultra-secretive NSA operatives as they combat evil (both domestic and foreign) while finding their soulmates along the way.  Gikany and Una overall liked the story of Nathan and Amelia. In this installment we follow Nathan, an operative who was wounded in the previous novel.  He has recovered and is returning to duty on a mission that reconnects him to his lost love, Amelia.  When they were young, Amelia broke Nathan’s heart and it seems neither of their hearts has recovered.  Nathan wants to know why Amelia ended things so they can have a fresh start.  Amelia is afraid once Nathan knows the truth, she will lose him forever.  Further complicating the rekindling of their romance, Amelia is connected to a suspect and Nathan’s boss wants to use her to gain information about him.  Although Amelia is a civilian, she is tough, smart, determined and capable of handling this subterfuge.  However, there is more at play than it seems and someone has Amelia in their deadly sights. We truly enjoyed Amelia and Nathan’s journey.  Their previous connection gave a foundation and depth to the sizzling attraction we experienced.  Although the reason for Amelia’s abrupt dissolution of her relationship with Nathan was easily figured out, Nathan’s reaction was not.  We liked that what Amelia feared would be an unforgivable offense was neither trivialized nor overly played.  Both showed maturity, though they did lack some open and honest communication, and being privy to their individual thoughts gave credence to their reactions.  Their story is what kept Gikany and Una glued to the page. The story about the missing women, however, was not quite to our liking.  This was partially due to how the plot line played out, but mostly because the motivation behind the missing women was depraved and creepy.  Without giving anything away, it seemed the antagonists did not thoroughly grasp the ramifications of their nefarious plot.  It would have made more sense to have preserved more of the victims, thus keeping their operation better hidden.  The mastermind behind the operation was surprising, however.  Although it is well foreshadowed, it was easy to dismiss this character. Although it is not clear whom the next book will focus on, we look forward to reading the next suspenseful installment in...
Read More
Feb
24

Review: Strong Signal by Megan Erickson & Santino Hassell

Review: Strong Signal by Megan Erickson & Santino Hassell Strong Signal Authors: Megan Erickson & Santino Hassell Reviewer: B. Rating: A+ What I’m Talking About: Garrett Reid has a long way to go until the end of his latest—and last—deployment. All he wants to do is to put in his hours working on the vehicles at the base and log some time on his favorite MMORPG. But, the untimely demise of his character at the hands of a ringer leads him on a quest for payback that turns into something entirely unexpected. Gamer extraordinaire Kai Bannon is mostly happy in his carefully constructed world. He’s got a highly successful Twitch stream, a steady income from several gaming companies, and a loyal following that provides him with plenty of backup whenever the creeps come out to play. But when a surly Army mechanic reaches out from halfway around the globe, Kai can’t help but want more of what the man is offering. It would be perfect if the idea of venturing beyond the walls of his apartment didn’t leave him shaking in a cold sweat. I had been itching to get my hands on this story since the moment it was teased online a couple of months ago, and I’m very happy to say it was better than I imagined it would be. Strong Signal absolutely nails the intricacies of online relationships, and wonderfully validates the potential to form genuine connections with others that would never be possible in the “real world.” As someone who has made several of my most meaningful friendships via the internet, I couldn’t agree more. In this first offering from what is sure to be an exceptionally relatable and compelling series, Ms. Erickson and Mr. Hassell tackle a lot of simple truths about the bonds that are sometimes formed on the internet, and do so in a matter-of-fact way that made perfect sense to me. The emotions themselves might be complicated, but the fact that they manifest legitimately is not. Though it certainly isn’t a flawless system, the boundless essence of the internet offers Kai and Garrett more opportunities to explore their own natures in ways that simply aren’t possible where an abundance of physical proximity extinguishes the desire or ability to do so. Fairly early in the story, Garrett says: “But things were different via email. The words just came out.” I found both Garrett and Kai to be frustrating, entertaining, and enormously likable characters. They are so different in many ways, and yet they...
Read More
Feb
11

Review: Midnight Revenge by Elle Kennedy

Review: Midnight Revenge by Elle Kennedy Midnight Revenge Author: Elle Kennedy Reviewer: VampBard Rating: B+ What I’m Talking About: I’ve been reading the Killer Instinct series from the beginning. I’ve been ITCHING to get my hands on D’s story. Until now, he reminded me a lot of J.R. Ward’s Zhadist. I think I’m still processing his character a little, but I’m not quite as inclined to draw the comparison anymore. Here’s the thing, everyone loves a damaged hero. It seems the more screwed up they are, the more we fall for them. While I may have swooned a time or two over D’s jaded innocence, I don’t think he’s my new book boyfriend or anything. Don’t get me wrong—I do honestly super like this book. I’m just not as connected to D as I thought I’d be. We find out a lot of backstory about him. It’s not pretty, folks (and I didn’t expect it to be). While there’s absolutely nothing on-page, there’s pedophilia mentioned several times. I don’t think there was as much character growth as I wanted to see with D, either. It was probably unreasonable of me to have expectations going in for this title and this character. I really like Sofia, though. She has the ability—like most doctors, I assume—to deal with a situation in-the-moment and freak out about it later. When she becomes pregnant after a one-and-done with D, I applaud her for the way she intends to handle it. She’s willing to raise the baby on her own, and feels like she’s totally got this. What surprised me was how bad ass Sofia was. While she may have been shaking like a leaf on the inside, her calm, cool exterior gave her street cred with the baddies. And impressed D. There’s Boston/Sully news, folks. That’s all I’m gonna say. Besides I want the Boston/Sully book. Midnight Revenge by Elle Kennedy could be read as a stand-alone, I think—but readers would be seriously jonesing for more about this band of mercenaries and inhale the backlist. I look forward to more titles in the Killer Instincts series. My Rating: B+ Liked It A Lot About the Book: Out of all the stone-cold mercenaries in Jim Morgan’s black ops organization, Derek “D” Pratt is the most intimidating. He is tight-lipped and covered in tattoos, and even the other guys on his team are afraid to ask him about his past. D’s been off the grid for years, but after his teammate Sullivan...
Read More
Page 3 of 1112345...10...Last »
logo
Powered by WordPress | Designed by Elegant Themes