When Lightning Strikes (Whiskey Creek, #1)
by Brenda Novak Series: Whiskey Creek #1 Published by Harlequin MIRA
on August 28, 2012 Genres: Contemporary Pages:
FINAL DECISION: This book grew on me as it progressed. The star here is the growing relationship between Gail and Simon who talk to one another like adults. The book avoids so many of the expected relationship pitfalls that it constantly surprised me.
THE STORY: Gail DeMarco left Whiskey Creek to form her own public relations firm. But she managed to torpedo her own business when she dropped Hollywood superstar actor Simon O’Neal because he is self-destructing after his divorce. Simon’s revenge is using his star power to strip Gail of her clients. Desperate to save her business, Gail decides to sacrifice her pride and apologize to Simon. As part of the plan to help Simon regain custody of his son by improving his image, Simon needs a upright wife — and Gail fits the bill. A marriage of convenience quickly turns into something more as Simon tries to right his life and Gail finds herself caring too much for her difficult client.
OPINION: What I really loved about this book is that even with a bunch of crazy Hollywood tabloid stuff going on, the real center of this book is the time that Gail and Simon spend together talking and relating to one another.
When the book began, I worried that the book would be about the crazy drama and I didn’t like the idea of Simon much. But that is exactly the place the book wants the reader to be in the beginning. Gail begins to learn about Simon as the reader does. The time they spend together gave this book heart. I loved them as they bantered and revealed themselves emotionally to one another. And I especially loved that all the cliches of how they could be pulled apart melted under adult conversation and trust.
WORTH MENTIONING: I love the group of friends that are the basis of this series. The relationships between them add dimension to the characters in the story.
CONNECTED BOOKS: WHEN LIGHTNING STRIKES is the first book in the Whiskey Creek series (although there is a prequel that is not necessary to read).
STAR RATING: I give this book 4 stars.
Fire and Ice (Ice, #5)
by Anne Stuart Series: Ice #5 Published by Harlequin MIRA Genres: Romantic Suspense Goodreads
My Absolute Favorite of the Series
“He’d taken one look at her and felt his world begin to crumble away.”
THE STORY: Reno is the grandson of a Japanese mobster. His cousin is an operative for the Committee, a covert operations group, which Reno has recently worked with as well. Jilly Lovitz is the sister of the wife of Reno’s cousin. When some deadly people come to kill Reno’s cousin, Reno has to rescue Jilly. Jilly and Reno had met before and neither has been able to forget the other. As Reno and Jilly run for their lives, international killers and dangers closer to home are revealed.
OPINION: I love this book. Full of adventure and excitement, it also has one of the sweetest romances between two prickly people who fight and argue and fall in love. It’s not sweet in the typical sense, but somehow Reno and Jilly are sweet and funny in a strange way. This book and its characters feels different. Punked out gothic outfits for disguises, the immersion in the Japanese pop culture. The book feels youthful and playful even while the storyline is deadly and dangerous. It is an interesting combination and definitely unique. It’s not a typical book or hero but it is fun, exciting and romantic.
WORTH MENTIONING: Reno is definitely not my usual type of hero: tattooed, bright red dyed hair and unearthly contact lenses. But by the end of the book, I adored him. Younger and less hardened than the other heroes in the Ice series, Reno is more irreverent and in a twisted way, sweeter than the others. At the same time he is a seriously deadly man as well.
FINAL DECISION: FIRE AND ICE is on my favorite’s list because Reno is a hero that I never expected to love. The fact that his and Jilly’s story is so exciting and fun and unexpected makes this a book that I love to reread.
CONNECTED BOOKS: FIRE AND ICE is the fifth book in the Ice Series. This book can be read as a standalone but is closely connected with ICE BLUE and would probably be best read after that book.
STAR RATING: I give FIRE AND ICE 5 stars.
by Anne Stuart Series: Ice #3 Published by Harlequin MIRA Genres: Romantic Suspense Goodreads
Thrilling, Dangerous Romantic Suspense
“He really didn’t know what he’d do Kiss her. Shoot her. She was making him crazy, and he couldn’t afford to let that happen.”
THE STORY: Summer Hawthorne, a museum curator, is kidnapped over a Japanese urn given to her by her beloved nanny. She ends up rescued by Takashi O’Brien, a man who might be more dangerous than those who kidnapped her. Taka is a man who has been given the order to kill Summer in order to keep the secrets that she holds: the location of temple ruins in Japan to be used by a cult to bring about mass destruction. Taka and Summer both have darkness within them and somehow they recognize one another even as the story tips between Summer’s certain death and Taka’s desire to rescue her.
OPINION: I absolutely love this book. Summer and Taka are one of my favorite couples in this series. There is a dearth of Asian heroes and I especially liked the interracial aspects of this story. The two of them have a dangerous edge throughout the story. Taka almost kills Summer multiple times and even though he knows he must, he continually finds reasons to stop. Summer is overwhelmed by the events happening to her and yet she demonstrates and incredible amount of strength. At times, there is so much tenderness between them even as they both fight against it. The action and adventure in this story is non-stop and even apart from the emotional story between these characters, it is a fun ride. Stuart has a different type of hero. Taka is deadly, not only to others but also the heroine. What I like best about this book is that there is also tenderness from Taka despite himself. This book also has some hot airplane sex and who can resist that?
WORTH MENTIONING: Adore, adore Taka’s cousin Reno who has his own book in FIRE AND ICE. Readers of this book might guess who the heroine is.
FINAL DECISION: This is my second favorite book of the series. Filled with action and the type of dark anti-hero that Stuart is known for, Taka believes himself immune from love, but he can’t resist Summer.
CONNECTED BOOKS: ICE BLUE is the third book in the Ice Series. It can be read as a standalone although there are overlapping characters that might remain mysterious if the reader is not familiar with the series.
STAR RATING: I give this book 5 stars.
Cold As Ice (Ice, #2)
by Anne Stuart Series: Ice #2 Published by Harlequin MIRA
on September 17, 2012 Genres: Romantic Suspense Pages:
Dark Romantic Thriller
“He’d been a gray ghost before, now he was a fallen angel. The man was a chameleon, capable of turning into anything he wanted, and he assured her those persona were lethal. And she believed him.”
THE STORY: Genevieve Spenser is a high powered attorney who believes she has given up her idealistic views. When she comes to get signatures on a document for an important client of the firm, she ends up in the middle of a kidnapping perpetrated by the assistant of her client. Peter Jensen at first appears bland and non-threatening, but Genevieve learns that Peter is extremely dangerous and deadly. Peter knows that the innocent Ms. Spenser is likely to be a casualty in the Committee’s attempt to prevent more damaging events. From the beginning, however, Peter is unwilling to sacrifice Genevieve even though he knows he will likely have no choice.
OPINION: I just love Stuart’s anti-heroes who are especially good in the Ice Series. This book is filled with action and adventure and reluctant romance. This is definitely not your sweet loving book. This book is raw and harsh and sometimes it is difficult to see how these characters can have a happy ending. Peter is a highly trained killer and he knows that there is no clear line between the good guys and the bad guys. Peter almost immediately doesn’t want to have Genevieve be a victim. He is known as the Iceman and she begins to melt him despite himself. Genevieve believes herself jaded and cold but doesn’t realize that she is an infant compared to the dangerous people she encounters here. A reader will not get an intense emotional connection between these characters. At times their relationship seems more hate than love, but somehow it works. Despite both their wishes, these characters fall in love and form a strong bond.
WORTH MENTIONING: Stuart has a particular style with her heroes who are killers and are always on the edge of being dangerous to the heroine.
FINAL DECISION: Love, love Stuart’s ruthless anti-heroes. This is a tremendous romantic thriller with action and adventure galore.
CONNECTED BOOKS: COLD AS ICE is the second book in the Ice series about the covert agency known as the Committee. While there is some overlap of characters, COLD AS ICE can be read independent of the first book in the series.
STAR RATING: I give this book 5 stars.