Review: Outlaw’s Honor

I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Outlaw’s HonorOutlaw's Honor (Cahill Ranch #2) by B.J. Daniels
Series: Cahill Ranch #2
Published by Harlequin Books on May 30th 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Romantic Suspense
Pages: 384
Goodreads
four-stars

FINAL DECISION:  The series improves as the characters fall into their places. I enjoyed this book as part of the series and I especially loved Darby who is sweet and honorable.  The story slowly unwinds the motives of the characters and I enjoyed the journey.

THE STORY:  Darby Cahill has a quiet life running the bar he and his twin sister own in a small town in Montana. While attending a fair, he sees a woman who shakes his foundations.  Ironically, that same woman tries to pickpocket him later. He is even more shocked when that woman, Mariah Ayres arrives at his bar asking for a job. He hires her while the two dance around what actually happened and what Mariah’s motives are.  Darby becomes more concerned when he discovers that Darby is running and is in danger.

OPINION:  This is a slowly developing romance that is combined with a suspense story.  The story unfolds as the characters motives become known.  The way that Daniels structures this series there is development on various storylines (upcoming romances and overarching mysteries).  A lot happens in this book on various levels.

I enjoyed the mystery in this one and the continuing storyline of the series.  My favorite part of this story is Darby who is simply adorable as a hero.  He is a good man who falls for Mariah instantly — love at first sight — and despite all the circumstances, Darby cannot help but do everything he can for Mariah.

Mariah’s story is complex and only revealed later in the book.  I won’t disclose her story here because part of the development of the story is the questioning of her motives. The romance here is sweet and most of the drama of the series is from the mystery and the external danger.

This book advances the overarching story in the series and I can’t wait to find out more.

WORTH MENTIONING:  The story about Darby’s brother is the one I have been waiting for. More happens here for those who have been following the story.

CONNECTED BOOKS:  OUTLAW’S HONOR is the second book in the Cahill Ranch series. While the story here is independent as to the romance, there is an overarching storyline mystery that continues from the first book.  It’s better to read this series as a whole because there are unanswered questions after this book as well.

STAR RATING:  I give this book 4 stars.

NOTE:  I received an ARC of this book via Netgalley in order to provide a review.  I was not required to write a positive review.  All opinions contained herein are my own.

four-stars

Review: Just One Touch

Review: Just One TouchJust One Touch (Slow Burn, #5) by Maya Banks
Series: Slow Burn #5
Published by Avon on May 23rd 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Romantic Suspense
Pages: 352
Goodreads
three-half-stars

“But the simple truth was that he needed her every bit as much as she needed him, and he couldn’t come up with a reason that made any sense to him.”

FINAL DECISION:  A good romantic suspense with a paranormal bent.  The weakest part of the story is the instant love between the main characters.  That being said, the two are a good match and the story is well paced and filled with twists.

THE STORY: Isaac Washington comes out to his car after getting coffee and bagels to find someone attempting to steal his vehicle.  Instead of the thief he expected, Isaac finds Jenna — a young abused woman who is fleeing for her life.  When Isaac is shot by her pursuers, he finds out why.  Jenna saves Isaac’s life when she heals his mortal wound.  Once he meets her, Isaac, who works for Devereaux Security is determined to use his skills to protect this vulnerable woman.

OPINION:  This was a good suspense story with a paranormal twist as is true of the other book in the Slow Burn series.

The main weakness of the story from my view is the instant love aspect.  Before the two even know anything about one another, there is something between them.  (That works in many books where there is a paranormal or supernatural aspect, but here there is no “mate” or explanation for the instant connection).  But this book is anxious to get into the suspense story and deep into the potential of the relationship.  I can put aside my initial disbelief in the instant love if the rest of the story is good…and this one worked for me.

Isaac is a strong alpha protector and is determined to protect Jenna and make those who have harmed her pay.  While he is possessive, he is also completely devoted to Jenna from almost the moment that they meet.  He throws over everything in his life to help her.  While the devotion appears unrealistic at times, it also jacks up the tension and suspense in the story because the immediate devotion he has for Jenna makes the story move.

Jenna begins the story abused and weak.  But she does not stop there.  Much of the story is about Jenna discovering herself and obtaining autonomy over herself.  There are quite a few twists and turns in the story and I don’t want to give any of the plot away because the suspense is an essential part of the story.

WORTH MENTIONING:  Readers should be willing to accept Banks version of the Alpha male who is possessive with a lot of talk about the heroine belonging to him.  Some might find it a little too aggressive and controlling.

CONNECTED BOOKS:  JUST ONE TOUCH is the fifth book in the Slow Burn series.  While there are overlapping characters, this story is independent of others in the series and can be read alone.  There are plenty of appearances by the characters from the other books and readers of those books will be happy for the updates.

STAR RATING:  I give this book 3.5 stars.

NOTE:  I received an ARC of this book via Edelweiss in order to write a review.  I was not required to write a positive review.  All opinions contained herein are my own.

three-half-stars

Review: Hurricane

I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: HurricaneHurricane (Cutter Cay #5) by Cherry Adair
Series: Cutter Cay #5
Published by St. Martin's Paperbacks on April 4th 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Romantic Suspense
Pages: 320
Goodreads
four-half-stars

FINAL DECISION:  A story that perfectly balanced angst, drama, adventure and good old fashioned sexiness.  Two people who haven’t recovered from the failure of their marriage discover that what they really need is one another.

THE STORY:  Rydell Case’s life fell apart just over a year ago when he lost a big salvage to his business enemies the Cutters, his wife left him and things just kept falling apart as his ship was hijacked.  Now, Rydell is determined to salvage silver from another wreck but he needs the boat his wife got in the divorce to do it.  And he intends to get the boat no matter what he needs to do.  Addison D’Marco can’t believe the nerve of Ry to come and take over her ship when he hasn’t spoken to her in over a year.  She is determined to move on perhaps with the man who has asked her to marry him – but how can she do that when Ry is here and sexier than ever.

OPINION:  This book was an exciting ride from the start with a great deal of heart and angst. I really loved it!  Ry and Addy are so perfect for one another from the start that readers are taken on a journey to discovery what destroyed their marriage.  The story is so sad and emotional that it gives this story depth and drama.

Ry is a man who has almost hit bottom. His entire world is falling apart around him and he is determined to stop the slide and recover.  His taking of Addy’s ship allows him to both search for his underwater treasure and also have the possibility of confronting Addison.  Ry was the villain in the prior book but this book gives his side of the story which is more sympathetic than I expected.  In fact, I found his story so persuasive, that I thought that Addy had the wrong side in this one.

Addy begins the book believing that she was the injured party. My one complaint about this book is that she doesn’t really ever acknowledge her part in the disintegration of her marriage.  Honestly, I thought that she was wrong at least as much as Ry was.  While she is angry at him, she really needed to accept that she was the accessory to everything that happened.

At the same time, this book doesn’t wallow in its emotional drama.  There is good dose of actual adventure drama to keep the story hopping.  Just when it seems that the story between Ry and Addison might be resolved, the plot picks up and there is much going on.  Murders, hijackings, danger, shoot outs.  There is plenty here for anyone who wants either emotional drama and depth or action and adventure.

WORTH MENTIONING:  Content warning SPOILER!!

This book deals with SIDS and the death of a child.

CONNECTED BOOKS:  HURRICANE is the fifth book in the Cutter Cay series.  While there are overlapping characters, this book can be read as a complete standalone.

STAR RATING:  I give this book 4.5 stars.

NOTE:  I received an ARC of this book via Netgalley in order to provide a review.  I was not required to write a positive review.  All opinions contained herein are my own.

four-half-stars

Review: Wait for Dark

Review: Wait for DarkWait for Dark (Bishop/Special Crimes Unit #17) by Kay Hooper
Series: Bishop/Special Crimes Unit #17
Published by Berkley on March 7th 2017
Genres: Paranormal, Romantic Suspense
Pages: 304
Goodreads
four-stars

FINAL DECISION:  This is a weird and creepy story (a good thing in this series!) but what I love best is getting more character development from Hollis and more about her relationship with Reese.

THE STORY:  Hollis Templeton has progressed from being a victim to now becoming a team leader for the SCU.  She and her partner Reese DeMarco come to Clarity, North Carolina in order to investigate a series of deaths that appear to be accidents and yet seem like something much more sinister when the sheriff discovers that each victim received a text message stating “Wait for Dark” before their deaths.  Not only is the team investigating strange crimes but Hollis’s paranormal senses are continuing to evolve as she has to confront her own past as a victim.

OPINION:  I really liked this one because while the focus was appropriately on the suspense story and the investigation, there was quite a bit about Hollis’s own struggles.  I have loved reading about Hollis’s development throughout the series and this book takes her development to another level.  Just a warning though — things are not completely resolved and I expect we will get more Hollis books in the future.

What I like best about this book is that there is a real question about what is going on for a good portion of the book.  That builds drama and interest.  This is not a mystery book. You are not going to be able to gather suspects and evidence and find out what is happening.  This story is just creepy and strange and filled with scary images and possibilities.

WORTH MENTIONING:  I was glad to see Bishop and Miranda.  I keep wishing for another book with the two as the focus.

CONNECTED BOOKS:  WAIT FOR DARK is the seventeenth book in the Bishop/Special Crimes Unit series.  This book really needs to be read in context of other books in the series to truly appreciate it.  It is not necessary to read all the books in the series first, but I recommend reading TOUCHING EVIL, SENSE OF EVIL, BLOOD DREAMS, BLOOD SINS, BLOOD TIES, HAVEN, HOSTAGE, and HAUNTED first.

STAR RATING:  I give this book 4 stars.

four-stars

Review: Stormchaser

I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: StormchaserStormchaser (Cutter Cay #4) by Cherry Adair
Series: Cutter Cay #4
Published by St. Martin's Paperbacks on March 7th 2017
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 352
Goodreads
three-stars

FINAL DECISION:  A story with lots of lies and deceit on the heroine’s part, the connection between the characters really works.  My complaint about the book is that her lies are forgiven way too soon.

THE STORY: Jonah Cutter is the illegitimate brother of the Cutter clan. He has a lot to prove to himself and to make himself feel that he belongs in the family. He believes he has found Atlantis and brings the skeptic Dr. Calista West aboard to prove it. Calista has agreed to come onto the project for only one reason — she is working with the Cutter’s enemy and intends to thwart Jonah’s project.  But that was before she met Jonah and begins to have her loyalties challenged.

OPINION:  This book was a fun read as it twisted in ways that I did not expect when it began.

Calista is a woman who intends to help her only family with his revenge against his enemies, the Cutters. She will help him sweep in and steal Jonah’s find.  She is a widow, but pretends to be married in order to keep herself safe from any advances by Jonah. But she doesn’t expect to find a man who she can admire and a project that might actually be the find of the century.  Nor does she expect to begin to fall in love with the one man she should keep away from.

Jonah can’t keep his eyes off Calista, but he has no intent of making any moves on a married woman.  His own family history protects him from the moral hazard — or so he believes.  Even as he knows that Calista is off-limits, he cannot stop thinking about her.

I enjoyed this book which has a twisty and unexpected plot. What Jonah has discovered and the crew’s attempts to uncover its secrets keeps moving the story forward.  I liked the chemistry between these characters and I especially liked Jonah who was a nicer guy than I expected in the beginning.

And that leads to my complaint about the book.  Calista lies to Jonah throughout the book but when her lies are uncovered, there are no real consequences for her. She is forgiven after only a short time and after no groveling on her part. Although a huge part of the plot of the book, there is no confrontation with the enemy and no serious consequences for Calista.  I just think there needed to be more considering the magnitude of the deception.

WORTH MENTIONING:  This book really made me want to read the next book in the series which will be about the Cutter family’s enemy.

CONNECTED BOOKS:  STORMCHASER is the fourth book in the Cutter Cay series.  It not not necessary to read the other books first, however, because I haven’t and I didn’t feel that I missed anything.

STAR RATING:  I give this book 3 stars.

NOTE:  I received an ARC of this book via Netgalley in order to provide a review.  I was not required to write a positive review.  All opinions contained herein are my own.

three-stars

Review: When All The Girls Have Gone

Review: When All The Girls Have GoneWhen All The Girls Have Gone by Jayne Ann Krentz
Published by Berkley on November 29th 2016
Genres: Commentary, Romantic Suspense
Pages: 304
Goodreads
three-stars

FINAL DECISION: This is a nice romantic suspense but not spectacular.  I liked the characters and there was good action but I probably wouldn’t pick it up again.

THE STORY:  Charlotte Sawyer is a social director for a retirement community.  Charlotte is careful, caution and risk adverse. She was just ditched by her “perfect” fiance. She receives a key and a note from a friend of her stepsister and finds out that her stepsister’s friend just died under somewhat strange circumstances.  Her own stepsister is unreachable at a “tech-less” retreat and when Charlotte comes to see what the note and key are for, she meets Max Cutler.  Max is a private investigator and former-profiler who has come to Seattle after his divorce to build a new life. Max is looking into the death. He and Charlotte partner up to investigate what is going on. The two find themselves in danger.

OPINION:  I enjoyed this book while reading it, but I didn’t feel that it had the power and memorability of many of Krentz’s books.  The romance was good and the suspense aspect was interesting with lots of twists, but I didn’t walk away thinking I would want to read this book again.

I liked the characters of Max and Charlotte.  They are grounded people who are both rebuilding their lives.  I thought that they had a good rapport.  I did feel the relationship between them grew naturally out of their interactions. I also enjoyed that they are both flawed and there isn’t any big drama between them.

The suspense story was twisty and although much of the story was revealed during the book, there were still surprises.  Things were not what they seemed to be. As I mentioned, I enjoyed this book but it wasn’t a story that I loved so much I would return to it again.

WORTH MENTIONING:  I think this book appears to be the beginning of a series.

CONNECTED BOOKS:  WHERE ALL THE GIRLS HAVE GONE is a standalone.

STAR RATING:  I give this book 3 stars.

three-stars

Review: Puppets

Review: PuppetsPuppets by Jenna Ryan
Published by Harlequin Books on December 1st 1992
Genres: Contemporary, Romantic Suspense
Pages: 250
Goodreads
three-stars

“Today I’m a teller of tales. Tomorrow, who knows? I live in the vaults beneath the Puppet Theater, but no one know exactly where. Sometimes I go up and wander through the streets of Paris, but not so much now as when I was young.

“Now I will tell you a story, and maybe when I’m finished, I’ll be wiser than I am at this moment.”

FINAL DECISION:  Seemed like a great idea, but most of the story was the mystery with little in the way of romance.  The couple seemed already set immediately and there was no real story between them. An okay read, but not one I would pick up again.

THE STORY:  Raul Sennett lives in an underground lair beneath the Paris Puppet Theater. He spends his time watching the new human puppet Katarina Lacroix. He wants her and lures her beneath the theater.  But Raul has secrets which keep him confined in his lair. Katarina has her own secrets and tragedies which sent her fleeing to Paris. Now the two navigate the secrets and shadows surrounding them.

OPINION:  I was disappointed in this book because I expected something more than I got. The entire book is mystery with little romance involved.  I’d term it a suspense book with a small smattering of relationship.  The description seemed like it would be moody romance based on the Phantom of the Opera theme, but instead, the story was all mystery.

I just didn’t care enough about the solution of the story.  The book was well written and had some creepy vibes to it as it tilted between mystery, suspense and paranormal.  I just wish there was more romance involved.

WORTH MENTIONING:  This book has a strange paranormal vibe to it.

CONNECTED BOOKS:  This book is a standalone.

STAR RATING:  I give this book 3 stars.

three-stars

Review: The Lady and the Lion

Review: The Lady and the LionThe Lady and the Lion (Once Upon a Time) by Kay Hooper
Series: Once Upon a Time #6
on December 13th 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Romantic Suspense
Pages: 192
Goodreads
four-half-stars

FINAL DECISION:  I loved this book because of the moody atmosphere, the great use of the fairy tale concept and the connection between the characters.  Yes, there is insta-love, but in the fairy tale concept, it works.

THE STORY:  Erin Prentice is taking a vacation from the controlling nature of her father when she meets a voice across a hotel balcony.  Keith Donovan intends to take revenge on the men who killed his family.  He is playing a dangerous game and doesn’t have time for romance.  Despite this, however, Keith is pulled by Erin’s voice and her reminding him who he actually is.

OPINION:  I loved this book. The story is loosely inspired by the tale of a man who lives as a lion by day and a man by night. The idea of duality, of hidden identities is what this book is based on.

Keith Donovan is a man who seeks revenge.  Pretending to be a cartel member by night, he is attracted to the moments in the dawn when he talks to the hidden woman in the next hotel balcony because it grounds him and makes him remember who he actually is.  He risks getting lost in the role that he is playing.

Erin Prentice is a woman who is trying to find out her own identity after living so much for her father’s life. She accepts the extreme limits that Keith places on their relationship because she falls for him and wants what she can get.  She isn’t weak and she knows that there are limits to what she can accept, but she wants what she can get right now.

I loved the way this story developed as one about revenge and the power of love. About choice and pain and what makes life worth living.  Yes, there is instant love here and the story isn’t really realistic, but the characters are intriguing and I love how the story focuses on their relationship rather than getting lost in the crime story.

WORTH MENTIONING:  This book was originally published as a Loveswept series romance in 1990.

CONNECTED BOOKS:  THE LADY AND THE LION is book six in the Once Upon a Time series (although it was published fifth). These books can be read as standalones as they only are connected by the fairytale concept and the matchmaker who makes brief appearances in each of the book.

STAR RATING:  I give this book 4.5 stars.

four-half-stars

Review: Her Darkest Nightmare

Review: Her Darkest NightmareHer Darkest Nightmare (The Evelyn Talbot Chronicles, #1) by Brenda Novak
Series: The Evelyn Talbot Chronicles #1
Published by St. Martin's Paperbacks on August 30th 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Romantic Suspense
Pages: 432
Goodreads
four-half-stars

FINAL DECISION:  I loved this book primarily because of Evelyn and her hottie state trooper Amarok, but I also enjoyed the mystery which was twisty and creepy and kept me guessing.

THE STORY:  Dr. Evelyn Talbot was only a teenager when her world was torn apart by her psychopath boyfriend killed her best friends then imprisoned and tortured Evelyn for three days before leaving her for dead.  Twenty years later, Evelyn studies psychopaths. She is in charge of a maximum security facility which is studying serial killers. Located in a small town in Alaska, Evelyn is not the most popular person for bringing these killers to town.  It has placed her on opposite sides of State Trooper Sergeant Amarok who also tempts Evelyn as no man ever has.  Now a mutilated body of a woman seems to confirm Amarok’s deepest fears about the facility while Evelyn fears that the monster who almost killed her before may have returned.

OPINION: I am a longtime mystery and suspense reader but I prefer my books with a strong dose of romance.  I enjoyed this book because I like Evelyn with all her hangups due to her encounter as a teenager with her psychopath boyfriend.  Evelyn is damaged and while she is accomplished professionally, she is stunted in her relationships.

I love the sweetness of her reaction to Amarok and, for me, their relationship centers and makes the rest of the book worth reading.  While I enjoy a good, creepy suspense, I like to have sweeter and lighter moments as well as a reason to care about the characters.  I like these two and look forward to reading more about them.

I always find it difficult to review suspense and mystery books because I don’t want to give too much away.  That being said, I think this one kept me guessing until the end.  I thought I had it figured out and then the story would twist and go in a new direction.  Plus, there is some really creepy and messed up stuff going on.  I always admire a story that I don’t solve immediately.  There are plenty of suspects here and I didn’t guess the right one, but was satisfied that the ultimate solution was supported in the story.

The mystery/suspense story intertwines so well with Evelyn’s own personal journey that I was fully engaged during the entire book.  This book can satisfy both romantic suspense readers and those who just like a good mystery.

WORTH MENTIONING:  There are still threads of the overarching story for the series that are left at the end of this book, but the main mystery of the book is completely resolved.

CONNECTED BOOKS:  HER DARKEST NIGHTMARE is the first book in the Evelyn Talbot Chronicles series.  There is a prequel but this book can be read without having read that.

STAR RATING:  I give this book 4.5 stars.

four-half-stars

Review: Into Dust

I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Into DustInto Dust (The Montana Hamiltons, #5) by B.J. Daniels
Published by HQN Books on July 26th 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Romantic Suspense
Pages: 368
Goodreads
four-stars

FINAL DECISION:  Action packed and very intriguing romantic suspense. There is more suspense than romance, but I enjoyed this one enough to want to read more of the series.  A warning that the story is not self-contained.

THE STORY:  When Cassidy Hamilton, youngest daughter of potential US President, is almost kidnapped off the street, she is saved by cowboy Jack Durand. The two end up on the run trying to find out who wants Cassidy.  The truth strikes close to home for both Cassidy and Jack as it appears that family might be at the heart of the danger that both are in.  The conspiracy that the two tumbled into is decades old and people will kill to bring the conspiracy to fruition.

OPINION:  I really liked that the book began with immediate action.  The book was very focused on the suspense portion of the story.  There is a romance, but I wouldn’t read the book for the romance alone because the focus of the story is the mystery suspense.

The book is filled with overlapping stories and points of view which makes the book a big puzzle.  I thought the book was filled with tension and drama and I worked to figure out who was being deceptive and who was honest.

The suspense story is definitely the highlight.  There is a lot going on here and I think it might have been even better if I had read the other books in the series.

The romance between Jack and Cassidy was pretty predictable at first but wrapped in a very tension filled and dramatic storyline.  I was completely surprised by how their romance ended up.  The story is not complete here and the twist at the end might end up disappointing those looking for a pure romance.  I ended up being completely enthralled by the story and definitely will be reading the next book to find out what happens.

WORTH MENTIONING:  This is the first book by B.J. Daniels that I have ever read, I thought it was good and I now want to read the Montana Hamiltons series from the beginning.

CONNECTED BOOKS:  INTO DUST is the fifth book in the Montana Hamiltons series. I have not read any of the other books in the series, but I was able to figure out most of what was going on. I suspect that the book would be even better if I had read the other books in the series.

STAR RATING:  I give this book 4 stars.

four-stars