Review: Promise Not to Tell

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: Promise Not to TellPromise Not to Tell by Jayne Ann Krentz
Series: ,
Published by Berkley on January 2nd 2018
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 304
Goodreads
four-stars

FINAL DECISION: A solid suspense story but I enjoyed most the relationship between these two damaged and vulnerable people.

THE STORY: Virginia Troy has struggled with the after effects of her childhood in a cult where the members deaths were orchestrated by the cult leader (who is presumed dead, but might not be). When a former cult member ends up dead under mysterious circumstances, Virginia turns to a private investigator to help learn the truth. Cabot Sutter also was a child in the cult and he also is still haunted by the events. When the investigation draws them closer together, Virginia and Cabot need to figure out who is murdering people and also whether they can overcome their pasts to build a relationship together.

OPINION: I liked this book because there was a renewed focus on the characters over the suspense plot. Not that there isn’t an interesting plot, but I read these books for the relationship and so I enjoyed seeing these characters maneuver around one another.

Cabot and Virginia are both haunted by their past and in one another they find acceptance and understanding. I liked that their relationship is based upon their mutual problems that have separated them from other lovers in the past. However, that is really the only tension between them. Besides the suspense story, there is little drama in the relationship.

I liked the focus on the created family and how these survivors have dealt with a past that could have destroyed them all.

The suspense story has many twists and turns and just when it seems that the story is resolved, things go off in a different direction. Things fit together but there are many layers which was enjoyable.

I was especially excited by the ending of the book which previews the drama that is going to be present in the next book.

WORTH MENTIONING: This book also sets up the scenario for the next book in the series.

CONNECTED BOOKS: PROMISE NOT TO TELL is the second book in an apparent trilogy about three brothers. I say apparent because the publisher has chosen to not promote the fact that these books are connected (probably to not turn off casual readers who don’t want to start with book 2). Goodreads has indicated these books as being the Cutler, Sutter and Salinas series so I will go with that. This book can be read as a standalone, but there are definite continuing storylines and overlapping characters.

STAR RATING: I give this book 4 stars.

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

four-stars

Review: When All The Girls Have Gone

Review: When All The Girls Have GoneWhen All The Girls Have Gone by Jayne Ann Krentz
Series: ,
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.  UPDATE: this book is the first of the Cutler, Sutter and Salinas series although it is not advertised as such.

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

STAR RATING:  I give this book 3 stars.

three-stars

Top 10 Favorite Books of 2015

This list of ten books is not necessarily my best reviewed books of 2015.  Rather, these are ten books which stuck with me for one reason or another.

10. Pia Does Hollywood by Thea Harrison — This novella does exactly what I love.  It revisits characters from the series and moves their story forward.  This novella has a tight story line and reminds me how much I love Dragos and Pia as a couple.

9. The Rogue Not Taken by Sarah MacLean — A classic road story, this first book in MacLean’s new series ticks all the classic romantic tropes — two protagonists who start out hating and fighting one another but soon cannot help being attracted to one another, a highwayman, illicit nights spent on the road together, and a rake brought to his knees.

8. Secret Sisters by Jayne Ann Krentz — Perfect balance between romance and suspense in this story of the past that comes back to haunt the heroine. I loved the twists and turns of the suspense story and also the connection between the hero and heroine.

7. The Bourbon Kings by J.R. Ward — A book I was inclined to dislike merely because of its description which sounds like a 1980s Dynasty or Dallas description, I found the story of this rich family that is falling apart on all sides to be compelling.  These are not always likable characters but their development makes great drama. The story is a  sweeping and epic family drama with a lot of romance.

6. Luck be a Lady by Meredith Duran — I love these cross-class romances.  Here, the hero is a criminal mastermind and the heroine is a woman who wants nothing more than to be a strong business woman.  Challenging all her assumptions Catherine has about herself, Nick is clever, daring, rough and sexy.  Their interactions are what I remember most from this book.

5. Archangel’s Enigma by Nalini Singh — Nassir, Nassir, Nassir.  Cuddly as a cat and as dangerous as a viper, Nassir is such unique character.  His search for his mate is as singular as Nassir’s own nature.  I loved that we get to know so much about Nassir and yet he becomes more mysterious and compelling.  Mee-yow!

4. Rock Redemption by Nalini Singh — The only author with two books on my list, Nalini Singh has two diverse genres.  Rock Redemption is her contemporary series about the members of a rock band.  When Noah and Kit were introduced earlier in the series, readers discovered that Noah purposely destroyed any potential relationship between them by having Kit catch him having sex with a groupie.  How these two find a path together is my most heartbreaking and angst filled read of the year.

3. Dukes Prefer Blondes by Loretta Chase — This book has a quirky relationship between a barrister and an aristocrat.  The two of them have a very bantering relationship with lots of arguments and discussions which draw them together.  I always love the sense of place that Chase novels have with many historical details.  Chase makes a stuffy lawyer very sexy.

2. Sweetest Scoundrel by Elizabeth Hoyt — Hot, hot, hot. This story between a sensualist and a woman who fears even being alone with a man is romantic and sexy while also being sweet and gentle.  Hoyt’s Maiden Lane series is one of my all time favorites and this book’s story is big and bold and sexy — and so is Asa Makepeace.

1. The Legend of Lyon Redmond by Julie Anne Long — My favorite book of the year did something that is almost impossible — exceeded high expectations. The final book of the Pennyroyal Green series, this book tells the star-crossed lovers story of Lyon and Olivia whose families rival the Capulets and Montagues. Lyon and Olivia’s story has been a catalyst throughout the series and thus readers had high expectations for their story. This book was beautiful, emotional and one of the best closures of a series I have ever read.

Review: Secret Sisters

Secret Sisters
Secret Sisters by Jayne Ann Krentz
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Perfect Balance Between Romance and Suspense

“No matter what happens,we will be secret sisters forever.”

FINAL DECISION: SECRET SISTERS perfectly balances romance and suspense into a book that thrills the nerves and satisfies the heart. Twisty and clever, this book doesn’t give up all its secrets until the very end.

THE STORY: Eighteen years ago, darkness entered the lives of two young girls who were best friends. Madeline Chase and Daphne Knight were unseparable until a man came taking one and leaving the other. Madeline has survived after the brutal attack that sent her fleeing from Cooper Island and continues to inhibit her ability to have a lasting relationship with a man. Now the head of the successful Sanctuary Creek Inns, Madeline is called back to the Island to deal with the property where she was attacked. Jack Rayner works hotel security for Madeline’s business despite her attempts to get rid of him. When a murder forces Madeline to tell Jack the truth about her past, the two work together to uncover the secrets that refuse to stay buried on Cooper Island.

OPINION: I loved this book in a way I haven’t loved a Jayne Ann Krentz book in a long time. It is no secret that I have been somewhat disappointed in the recent Krentz books because to me it felt that the romance was suffering and the books were becoming more suspense than romance. This concerned me because as a longtime reader of romances, have seen some of the best known writers turn primarily to suspense and crime drama books where romance is either non-existent or highly diminished. With this on my mind, the blurb for this book concerned me because it seemed that the emphasis was completely on the mystery with little mention of the romance.

I primarily read romance and I like it that way. I read a wide variety of books that fall within the broad romance genre, but I do prefer that my books have a positive romantic relationship that is integral to the story. Happily, SECRET SISTERS satisfied all my romance needs while providing a twisty and tricky suspense story that kept me turning pages until the very last one.

“She had spent eighteen years keeping secrets. She was good at it.”

The characters in SECRET SISTERS are strong individuals who have experienced pain and yet have grown stronger. I especially liked Madeline – a woman who has been damaged and yet has become successful and while she lives with pain, she does not allow herself to wallow in victimhood. She struggles and with her fears, but she constantly challenges herself. She is adult and accomplished. Her match is Jack who is a modern western hero.

“In the mythic past that infused the modern southwest, you have a man like Jack a badge and sent him out into the dusty street at high noon to stop the bad guy.”

Jack is definitely a brains over brawn type of hero. Smart and savvy, Jack has experience being a profiler and thus is able to anticipate the actions of others. Unfortunately, this knowledge also haunts Jack. He has his own secrets in his past. He knows that he wants Madeline but also knows that his past makes him unsuitable for any long term relationship. Coincidentally, Madeline also has difficulties with long term relationships. They find in one another, however, a reason to regret their limitations. I appreciated that these characters talk to one another, are adult and don’t do stupid things.

The other major characters in the book are Madeline’s friend Daphne and Jack’s brother Abe. These two have a romance themselves, but it is secondary to the more developed relationship between Madeline and Jack.

“She concluded that Abe Rayner was going to be irritating. However, there was something reassuring about him.”

Daphne is an interior designer and a recent widow. Part of the significant action in the book is Daphne and Madeline rediscovering one another and the healing that their friendship provides.

Abe is an Information Analyst and a definite geek. Shorter than Daphne, he is not a traditional hero, but his relationship with Daphne provides a nice counterpoint to the more complicated and complex relationship between Madeline and Jack.

The suspense story captivated me until the end. It had multiple surprises and even when things seemed to be resolved, there was more to be revealed. This is a book about secrets and just about everyone has a secret. I believe that the best part of this book is finding out where the mystery is going and thus I don’t want to reveal too much. I was glad that I didn’t peak at the end of the book to find out the ultimate conclusion because the journey of discovery was especially enjoyable in this book. The mystery stems from what happened to Madeline and Daphne eighteen years before and I found the solution to be intriguing and satisfying.

The mystery and the romance in this book mutually reinforce one another. The romance is developed through the mystery and the mystery in turn gives urgency to the romance. This is one of Krentz’s best.

WORTH MENTIONING: I love a man who cooks and cooks well.

CONNECTED BOOKS: SECRET SISTERS is a standalone.

STAR RATING: I give this book 5 stars.

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