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Currently Browsing: military/suspense romance
May
19

Review + Giveaway: Behind the Mask by Carolyn Crane

Review + Giveaway: Behind the Mask by Carolyn Crane Behind the Mask Author: Carolyn Crane Reviewer: Jen Twimom Rating: A+ What I’m Talking About: As a former CIA agent and co-founder of The Associates, Zelda knows she has no choice but to step in on behalf of her twin sister Liza, who is going to be “loaned to” a Mexican drug cartel for the weekend. Although she hasn’t been undercover in six years, since the mission that broke her, she understands that getting into Brujos’ territory would save countless lives. However, when things go horribly wrong and Zelda is further traded to the dangerous El Gorrion cartel, she realizes that she may have to break cover and escape. Hugo is a loaner, but enjoys his isolated life outside of Buena Vista, Valencia. However, when El Gorrion’s men threaten the town and its rare savincas crop, Hugo knows he must resurrect a dangerous ghost from his past. When he finds an American prostitute among the men he goes after, he decides to take her captive to help him around the house, seeing something more in her eyes that the woman she claims to be. I absolutely love The Associates series, and think Behind the Mask may be my favorite title of the series. I love how the author parcels out clues and information, while the reader waits to see how it will all play out. The suspenseful storyline is intelligent and exciting. And Ms. Crane’s story makes me feel. There were parts when I was afraid to read the book because I knew it would have to get bad before it got good. Bringing me into the world and keeping me so emotionally and mentally engaged made for a very rewarding read. Additionally, there are some intense scenes between Zelda and her co-founder, Dax, that are all the more powerful for those who’ve read the series from the beginning. I completely adored both main characters. Even though she’s one of the Associates’ founders, we’ve never really known anything about Zelda, so she felt like a fresh, new character to me. She is haunted, and this journey is very cathartic. Since part of the story is shared from her POV, the reader is privy to the wide array of emotions and steps she must go through to begin to heal. Her passion and inner-fire were a complete joy to read. Likewise, Hugo had his own path of self-discovery, realizing that the ghosts he’d laid to rest are still under the...
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May
15

Review: Chasing Danger by Katie Reus

Review: Chasing Danger by Katie Reus Chasing Danger Author: Katie Reus Reviewer: Gikany & Una Rating: B What We’re Talking About: For fans of the Deadly Ops series, Chasing Danger is an exciting and passionate novella.  Although it had been awhile since Gikany and Una had read the last books, we did remember Hannah, Sophie’s friend from the first book who also makes a cameo in the second. We liked Hannah and Dax’s journey.  Since it was so short, it helped that they had a past together.  The obstacles in their relationship were serious, but we liked how they communicated and overcame them.  Their communication was really good once Sophie moved past the hurt that kept her deaf to Dax’s pleas.  We loved Dax’s integrity.  Having his point of view really helped us to not only understand the difficult position he was in, but it also clearly showed his desire and commitment to Sophie. The ruthless antagonist story arc did stretch our belief and reality a bit, but it was still an enjoyable read in a good military suspense/romance series. For a person to be so intelligent and yet so dense seemed a bit strange, but it did give credibility to his off-kilter sanity. Overall, fans of this series will enjoy this short novella and we encourage them to read it.  We enjoyed this treat and look forward to more in the series. Our Rating:  B, Liked It About the Book: Chief Nursing Officer Hannah Young is accustomed to working under pressure, but even she’s still reeling in the aftermath of a horrific terrorist attack on Miami. And things only get worse after a knife wielding maniac tries to kill her. Desperate for help, Hannah must turn to the one man she never thought she’d see again. After spending an intensely passionate night with Hannah, NSA Agent and former Delta Force operative Dax Costas fell off the face of the earth. He got called away for a two week mission with no way to contact her. Now he can’t get the smart, sexy woman out of his head. She might be angry at him, but when it appears she has a stalker, Dax moves her under his roof and into his protection. Unfortunately, whoever wants Hannah dead will stop at nothing. And if Dax can’t identify the perpetrator in time, it could be too late to discover if there is more between him and Hannah than just heated passion… Release Date: April 21, 2015 Publisher:...
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May
1

Review: Snowcroft Safehouse by Christi Snow

Review: Snowcroft Safehouse by Christi Snow Snowcroft Safehouse Author: Christi Snow Reviewer: B. Rating: A- What I’m Talking About: One year ago, Declan Jasper, aka “Dex,” lead singer of a famous rock band, lost his bandmates when a rigged explosion onstage killed them all. Now known as “Finn Alexander,” he’s the reluctant pawn of the FBI, hiding out in the tiny town of Snowcroft in an effort to keep him alive until he can testify. Getting involved with someone in the midst of all the chaos is the last thing he has in mind. But, there’s no denying that the reserved, gray-eyed man behind the bar in a local tavern draws him like no one else has since before his world fell to pieces. Jack Walker is the single father of a middle school student, his restaurant and bar is painfully understaffed, and staying lonely and closeted for the sake of his daughter is becoming more and more difficult to bear. That he can’t get the quirky, sexy new band teacher at her school off his mind is an unwelcome addition to the pile, to say the least, and resisting the man is crucial to keeping his world from spinning out of control. Still, something has to give, and soon, and following his heart might be the very thing to save him after all. Although I enjoyed the first story in the series, I liked this one even better. There seemed to be an easier feel to the interplay between all the characters, and a more confident tone all around that Snowcroft Lost, in retrospect, didn’t achieve quite as uniformly. Any awkwardness stemmed from the uncertainty between Finn and Jack and made those scenes more earnest and believable than they would have been otherwise. The tension in the story also builds along two distinct lines, and Ms. Snow does an admirable job maintaining their separateness without letting the reader forget either one. I did have a little bit of trouble accepting the necessity of the extremes Finn’s nemesis goes to in the end, but it definitely left a strong impression. There’s actually quite a bit going on in Snowcroft Safehouse that could have had a negative impact on the story, yet doesn’t. One man is closeted, one isn’t. One has a child, one doesn’t. One of them has lost everything. The other has everything to lose. Nevermind the bogeyman lurking on the periphery, waiting to pounce. The constant doubts about a long-term relationship between Jack...
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Mar
18

Review: Kissed by a SEAL by Cat Johnson

Review: Kissed by a SEAL by Cat Johnson Kissed by a SEAL Author: Cat Johnson Reviewer: Jen Rating: B+ What I’m Talking About: Kissed by a SEAL is the fourth book in Ms. Johnson’s delightful Hot SEALs series, which follows the lives of former Navy SEAL teammates who have remained close friends. While each book is a standalone romance, almost all of the characters are featured in each of the stories, giving readers the opportunity to better know the players involved from the start. Darci Mann, sister of former SEAL Rick, is often present when the guys get together. She has long lusted after Zane (to his ignorance), and she was a bit heartbroken when he found love with Missy (Book 2). Meanwhile, Chris Cassidy, retired SEAL, stood by and watched the woman he cared about give her attention to his friend who didn’t deserve it. Hiding his true feelings for Darci behind jokes and friendship, Chris never made a move. Kissed by a SEAL is another hit from Cat Johnson’s sexy Hot SEALs series. Chris and Darci’s story was exciting and sexy, especially when shared from his POV. The author does a wonderful job establishing Chris’s long standing feelings for Darcy, and it is laughable just how clueless she is. The fact that I’ve watched both individuals interact in previous books made their hookup more all the more satisfying. I completely adore Chris and LOVE the fact that he is *gasp* forty years old! Mature and sexy! While the author does an amazing job sharing how much Chris cares for Darci, I wanted more time to see Darci’s change of heart from being caught up on the wrong guy to realizing she cared about Chris. I wished that transition would have started earlier in the book so that I would have had more time with the pair as a couple. With that said, I still enjoyed their romance. Additionally, watching GAPS (the group’s private security firm) begin to take off and see a mission was satisfying. I look forward to reading more about the team and would love to go back and revisit the couples who are just starting out in their fledgling relationships. Overall, Kissed by a SEAL is an entertaining, sexy romance. My Rating:  B+ Liked It A Lot About the Book: Retired Navy SEAL Chris Cassidy knows the bro code—no messing around with teammates’ sisters. But, Chris never was one for following rules. Besides, Rick’s gorgeous sister Darci is worth breaking a few rules...
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Feb
24

Review: One Kiss More by Mandy Baxter

Review: One Kiss More by Mandy Baxter One Kiss More Author: Mandy Baxter Reviewer: Jen Twimom Rating: B- What I’m Talking About: Landon McCabe is a U.S. Marshal who enjoys excitement, risks, and adrenaline. He’s not particularly happy with his latest assignment, babysitting Emma Ruiz, the socialite daughter of federal Judge Javier Ruiz who was arrested and put into custody of government six years ago because of extortion and bribes for verdicts. Landon recalls the hard-core party girl, who liked to pull pranks on Landon and his team all those years ago. But he also remembers his attraction to the beautiful woman and realizes that his attraction hasn’t diminish over the past six years. Now that the cancer-ridden Javier has escaped federal custody, Emma is the government’s only link to finding the man. Although tied to the preceding U.S. Marshals book, One Kiss More is an enjoyable standalone story. The author does a great job bringing readers into the story by developing a detailed history around and between Landon and Emma. Ms. Baxter peels apart their stories, giving readers one layer at a time until all of the pieces fit together. Emma is a fabulous character; a joyful balance of brains, wit, and beauty. While she may not have anticipated the danger she brought upon herself in her actions to prove her father innocent, she has a big heart and strong nature that makes her such a likable lead. Due to the nature of their relationship – Landon a government officer and Emma a potential witness and/or suspect – the couple spends a LOT of time longing for one another in secret. While there are a few sizzling moments when Landon actually makes a move on Emma, for the majority of the book, the only action occurs during long, lustful inner monologues. While this added tremendous sexual tension to the story, it started to irritate and frustrate me after a while. A similar situation happened in the first book, One Night More, I had hoped the second book would kick up the chemistry a notch. Unfortunately, their first, full-on sexual encounter doesn’t occur until nearly two-thirds of the book is finished. However, it’s not just a matter of sex, but more the fact that Landon is so hot and cold with his emotions as he struggles to deal with his attraction to Emma. If the couple would have just talk things out instead of hiding behind their respective rolls, I would have been much happier. It...
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Jan
26

Review + Giveaway: In His Keeping by Maya Banks

Review + Giveaway: In His Keeping by Maya Banks In His Keeping Author: Maya Banks Reviewer: VampBard Rating: A- What I’m Talking About: I ate up this book. Literally. I would have read it in one sitting, if I’d had the time. That’s usually the case with Maya Banks’s titles, though. Especially the Slow Burn series. In His Keeping was no exception. Take a little Alpha male, a damsel-in-distress, some paranormal abilities, a dash of kidnapping and you’ve got the wild roller coaster that was In His Keeping. The action kept me riveted to this title, and looking forward to the next title in the series. What drew me into the story was the love that Ginger and Gavin had for Ariana. The lengths that they would go to, in order to protect their daughter. I think that the exploration of how much Ari was wanted pulled at my mom-heartstrings, and kicked in my mom-instincts as I read. It was pretty cool that Ginger and Gavin played a pretty significant role in the story, too. Ariana is super naïve when the story starts. She knows she has telekinesis, but she’s had to hide this aspect of herself for her entire life. Only her parents knew. Her over-protective parents. She’d never used her ‘gift’ purposely. She’d always been careful, so she wouldn’t be discovered. With an event that happened to bring her powers into the public eye, Gavin and Ginger do what parents do best: protect their kids. Only, things don’t go quite as planned. In the end, Ari ends up being totally kick-ass. I want her on my team. Beau. Broody, Alpha, and in control. He comes into Ari’s life at a time when she needs a protector, and someone to help her make sense of all the chaos that surrounds her. Ultimately, what I liked most about Beau is that he wasn’t afraid to let his emotions show with regard to Ari. And it was totally out-of-character for him. This tough guy, the one who is all ‘protect and serve’, is brought to his knees by a slip of a woman that has wormed her way into his heart. His worry about her is intense, and made my own gut churn with concern. What I liked most about In His Keeping was that differences were celebrated. Ari wasn’t deemed as damaged and didn’t need ‘fixing’. She was believed in and not viewed as a ‘freak’ because of her gift. The fact that she eventually embraced her gift...
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Jan
22

Review: SEALed at Midnight by Cat Johnson

Review: SEALed at Midnight by Cat Johnson SEALed at Midnight Author: Cat Johnson Reviewer: Jen Twimom Rating: C+ What I’m Talking About: Thom Grande, age 28 and divorced father of two, feels broken and alone. His ex really messed him up, and he’s not been with a woman in 18 months. To top that off, all of his buddies are getting out of the military, leaving Brody as his only friend left on his SEAL team. Then, on a dangerous mission Thom is injured and suffers temporary memory loss. Virginia Starr has had no luck in the dating department. Alone and introverted, she takes a house-sitting job for the winter, moving away from family at Christmas time. One night, Ginny finds a stranger, frozen and clearly distraught, hiding in the barn. Bringing him inside to warm him up, the pair find themselves inexplicably drawn to one another. I have mixed feelings about SEALed at Midnight. After loving the first two books in the series, I had high hopes for this one. And while the story moved quickly and the romancing was sexy, I had some issues with the plot. First, I was a bit disturbed at how Virginia and Thom meet… he clearly has psychiatric issues, and Ginny not only just lets him into the house that she doesn’t own, but cuddles up to him. I don’t care how frostbitten the boy was or how cute he may be, this just doesn’t sit well with me. Second, the pair spends very little time together, yet by the end of the book, they are ready to try a long distance relationship. I felt it was too soon, in that the author hadn’t truly established a strong connection between the pair. I needed a few more scenes with Ginny and Thom together, talking, smexing, whatever, but something more. Overall, SEALed at Midnight is a steamy story, but left me unsatisfied. This story is full of promise and easily could have been a B+ or better, but while I enjoyed reading the novella, the story felt cut short and left me hanging. I don’t know if I would even classify the book as an HFN (happily for now), due to the fact that the couple didn’t even meet until after 50% mark and shared only a handful of scenes together. I’m hoping that Ms. Johnson takes the time to finish Thom and Ginny’s story in a future title. My Rating: C+ Liked It, but I had issues About the...
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Jan
7

Review: Fragmented by Stephanie Tyler

Review: Fragmented by Stephanie Tyler Fragmented Author: Stephanie Tyler Reviewer: Jen Twimom Rating: B- What I’m Talking About: Brought into the Section 8 team under unfortunate circumstances, Dr. Drea Timmons decided to stick with the covert ops group to hide from her ex Danny and his motorcycle club, Outlaws Angels. However, after an accident on their last mission, Drea ended up losing many of her memories, including those of her new friends and romantic interest, Jem. With help from friends, Drea is trying to piece together her life and stay under the radar. Jem has fallen hard for Drea, but won’t make a move until she remembers everything about him, both the good and the bad. Feeling he’s unworthy of her advances and too dangerous to make a commitment, Jem fights his emotions and tries to stay focused on Section 8’s mission to stop human traffickers. But when Drea’s safety is compromised, Jem realizes he is the only one who can protect Drea, regardless of his own deadly situation. Fragmented begins immediately after the preceding story, Unbreakable, but then quickly jumps months ahead in time. One thing that I really liked about the opening chapters of the book is how the author uses Drea’s efforts to recall her own memories as a means to remind readers of the complex and complicated history of Section 8 and events from the first two books. When I originally read those titles, I found much of the world building confusing. Using Drea’s recovery flows well and allows newcomers to jump into the series as well. I really enjoyed the first half of the book as Drea slowly comes to remember her time with Section 8 and her feelings for the handsome Jem. The couple works well together; smoldering sexual tension coupled with raw and honest emotions. Jem’s conflicted feelings – pulling him towards Drea while simultaneously trying to keep her at a distance – add fabulous anticipation to the brewing romance. I also appreciate that the author didn’t wait until the end of the story for Drea to recover her lost memories. There is a big shift in the storyline midway through the book, and I didn’t enjoy the second half of the story as much as the first part. After Section 8 completes its mission, they suddenly find out that they are under surveillance and wanted by the feds and a group lead by the wealthy Ethan. In addition, the federal government is after Drea because of...
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Dec
31

Two Reviews from the Hot SEALs series by Cat Johnson

Two Reviews from the Hot SEALs series by Cat Johnson Night with a SEAL Author: Cat Johnson Reviewer: Jen Twimom Rating: A- What I’m Talking About: Jon Rudnick is one of a handful of elite Navy SEALs. Constantly on dangerous missions overseas, he is home for a short time and enjoying a Fourth of July barbecue with his best friends at former teammate Rick and his sister’s home. Even though he’s unavailable for any type of longterm commitment, Ali catches his eye. Alison (aka Ali) Cressly attends a fun get together at her coworker/friend, Darci’s home. For some reason Darci and Rick are determined to see Ali and Jon hook up, but Ali has no intentions of ever getting together with a military man. However, after a steamy one-night stand, Ali admits to herself that she wouldn’t mind being a distraction for Jon. Overall, I really enjoyed this novella. For a shorter length story, it is packed with intense emotions and carries a solid story. I like how the pair got to know each other over time – even though they only saw each other once in a while. The author does a great job building in Jon’s angst over his military career, so when he makes an important decision involving his career, it’s not surprising nor does it feel contrived. The couple is well-balanced. The romance is ultra hot and steamy, and the HFN (Happily For Now) is realistic and satisfying given the setting. There is a dramatic moment that may have been a bit over-the-top, however, it provided the catalyst needed for change. Night with a SEAL is an exciting opening to what promises to be a steamy, sexy, exciting series. My Rating:  A- Enjoyed A Lot About the Book: Ten years of dedication to the Navy taught SEAL Jon Rudnick one thing—he’s not afraid to risk life and limb for his country. But when navigating military red tape begins to present more challenges than the enemy it makes Jon question his future. So does Alison Cressly, the woman he can’t get out of his head. When Ali’s life is threatened and military rules won’t allow him to intervene, Jon decides it’s time to take back control. Release Date: July 22, 2014 Publisher: self-published Series: Hot SEALs #1 ISBN: #978-1500425258 Genre: Military Romance, novella Format(s): paperback (168 pages), e-book, audiobook Book Source: Author Saved by a SEAL Rating: A+ What I’m Talking About: Zane Alexander has a hate-hate relationship with his wealthy father. In fact, he joined...
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Nov
14

Review: No Boundaries by SE Jakes

Review: No Boundaries by SE Jakes No Boundaries Author: SE Jakes Reviewer: B. Rating: A- What I’m Talking About: I’ve become a huge fan of many of Ms. Jakes’ other series, including some written under her other pen names, so I was very eager to read the first of the Phoenix, Inc. stories, as well. No Boundaries introduces us to two intriguing and volatile characters, Cole Jacobs and Marcus Lowry, both of whom have pasts that they’d rather not revisit—ever. Unfortunately, the past is never so acquiescent, and, in Cole’s case, it is sometimes deadly. Ms. Jakes never fails to write relatable, compelling characters, and I immediately liked Cole a great deal. He is young, resilient, and beautiful, but the self-assured exterior he presents to everyone around him masks a vulnerability that defies the image he tries so hard to project. He is wary and more than a little jaded, and although he knows exactly what he is, he has no concept of his own potential. Fortunately, that changes over the course of the story, and Cole eventually realizes that what he wants most is both noble and good, and that even someone “like himself” deserves to be loved. Marcus, on the other hand, needs an entirely different kind of saving. After his last, disastrous operation for the CIA, the snarly, burned-out private investigator has been limiting himself to “boring,” safe cases that aren’t fulfilling, but don’t put anyone at risk, either. Having been betrayed by his ex-boyfriend as well, he’s about as cynical as they come, and his immediate distrust of his new charge reveals more of his own issues than Cole’s. The one thing he can’t deny is that Cole makes him absolutely crazy on several levels, which just might be exactly what they both need after all. No Boundaries is a suspenseful, well-written tale of vengeance and redemption that easily kept me guessing right along with the characters. With such an adept and highly dangerous stalker in play, I couldn’t help but be nervous for all the men involved, and wanted him brought down just as badly as they did. There were quite a few close calls that worried me a great deal, combined with the stress caused by Marcus’ continual attempts at romantic self-sabotage. None of which I could possibly resist. This story moves quickly and hits hard, making the characters’ much deserved moments of intimacy all the more appreciated. The relationship between Cole and Marcus doesn’t begin gently, but rather,...
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