Sep 25, 2017

Book Review: Claiming Alexis

Nothing is more important to Blake Anderson than the work he does with his brothers at Ace Security. At least that’s what he thinks until he meets the fiercely independent Alexis Grant. The security firm’s new intern pushes all his buttons—and makes his temperature rise. But giving in to temptation might be risky business.

Alexis can tell that Blake has his doubts about her ability to commit. But while most people look at her and see only a flighty rich girl, she knows he sees much more. Determined to prove herself to Blake, Alexis jumps at the chance to work undercover. And when her case takes a dangerous turn, she puts her trust—and her heart—in his hands.

Now, as Alexis digs into the deadly secrets of a local gang, Blake will lay everything on the line to protect the woman he’s come to love.

* * * * *

This series just keeps getting better.  Alexis is a very strong woman who will do what is right even though it might put her in danger.  And she is so tired to being thought as the stupid little right girl.

Blake is the middle son of the triplets and he really prefers to fade into the background.  He's not looking for a relationship but there is just something about Alexis especially when he wasn't able to run her off.

I really enjoyed this book.  There was a lot of character interaction including with Grace who pops into the story.  The tension and danger is delicious,  More then once, I was yelling at Alexis to get her butt out of there.  

I think that any of my readers who enjoy romantic suspense with a lot of heat between the main characters will enjoy reading CLAIMING ALEXIS.

*** I received this book at no charge from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.  All opinions expressed within are my own.
Sep 22, 2017

Book Review: Claiming Grace

For Logan Anderson, moving on from a traumatic past means moving back to his hometown of Castle Rock, Colorado, to start a personal-security business with his brothers. But it’s not long before Logan runs into Grace Mason, his best friend from high school…and the woman who never answered his letters during his Army years.

Grace was pleasantly surprised to see Logan return to Castle Rock, despite their falling-out ten years ago. Everyone always assumed they would end up together, including Grace, who had eyes only for him. But as Logan eventually escaped their town, Grace got pulled further into her family’s controlling grasp—and farther away from the man she loved.

Now, united by scars both visible and not, the two must fight to free Grace from the suffocating hold of her family. But the Masons won’t let go easily—and they’ll do whatever it takes to keep the couple apart.

                                                                        * * * * *

I have to admit that I wasn't too sure that I would like this book because of Grace.  She had been emotionally abused by her parents all of her life and I just didn't see how she would be able to go from a victim to a strong woman all in one book.  Boy was I surprised at her strength once she was out of their control.

Logan also come from a background of abuse from his mother.  And I want to give huge kudos to Ms. Stoker for bringing up the fact that women can also be the abusers. This issue is mainly not talked about because most men will not report that they are the ones being abused. 

I ended up really enjoying CLAIMING GRACE and am ready to dive into the next book in this series.  The characters are all wonderfully developed and I loved watching Grace grow throughout the book.  The dialogue is on point and the pacing is tight.  I am sure that any of my readers who enjoy romantic suspense will enjoy this book.

*** I received this book at no charge from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.  All opinions expressed within are my own.

Book Review: Mask of Shadows

I Needed to Win.
They Needed to Die.

Sallot Leon is a thief, and a good one at that. But gender fluid Sal wants nothing more than to escape the drudgery of life as a highway robber and get closer to the upper-class—and the nobles who destroyed their home.

When Sal steals a flyer for an audition to become a member of The Left Hand—the Queen’s personal assassins, named after the rings she wears—Sal jumps at the chance to infiltrate the court and get revenge.

But the audition is a fight to the death filled with clever circus acrobats, lethal apothecaries, and vicious ex-soldiers. A childhood as a common criminal hardly prepared Sal for the trials. And as Sal succeeds in the competition, and wins the heart of Elise, an intriguing scribe at court, they start to dream of a new life and a different future, but one that Sal can have only if they survive.

* * * * *

MASK OF SHADOWS is a well written fantasy. Ms Miller does an excellent job of world building to the extent that I could almost smell the stench of the cities that Sal does jobs within.  The characters themselves are also very well done.  I swear that I would recognize some of them if I met them on the street.  

What really sets this book apart from other fantasies is the fact that Sal is gender fluid.  I just love how Sal describes it.  Sal is a he is he is wear male clothing, a she if wearing a dress and they if the clothing can't be ascribed to either gender.  MASK OF SHADOWS  is the first fantasy that I have read that addresses this issue and it's an important one as I feel that everyone should be able to be the gender that fits them best.

I do feel that readers who enjoy fantasy will enjoy this book.  There is violence within the story but no graphic sex beyond kissing.  This is the first book in this series and I can't wait to be able to follow more of Sal's story.

*** I received this book at no charge from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.  All opinions expressed within are my own.

Sep 19, 2017

Book Review: The Last Move

Catching monsters helps FBI agent Kate Hayden keep her nightmares at bay. Now an urgent call brings her back to San Antonio, the scene of her violent past. A brutal new murder shows hallmarks of a serial killer nicknamed the Samaritan. Tricky part is, Kate already caught him.

Either Kate made a deadly error, or she’s got a copycat on her hands. Paired with homicide detective Theo Mazur, she quickly realizes this murder is more twisted than it first appeared. Then a second body is found, the mode of death identical to a different case that Kate thought she’d put behind her.

Now Kate and Detective Mazur aren’t just working a homicide; the investigative pair is facing a formidable enemy who knows Kate intimately. While Mazur is personally trying to protect Kate, the closer they are drawn to the killer, the clearer it becomes that in this terrifying game, there is only one rule: don’t believe everything you see…

* * * * *

THE LAST MOVE is a particularly delicious crime drama with so many twists and turns that a seat belt is required.   Kate Hayden is so accustomed to putting everything into her work that she comes across as being emotionless which is far from the truth.  Theo Mazur wasn't too sure about calling in the FBI until he meets Kate.  They have really good chemistry right from the start though it is subdued.  

I don't want to give anything away about the story but I do have to say that I was glued to the page right from the very beginning.  And the ending was as satisfying as the beginning with a conclusion that I didn't see coming at all.  This book was written as a stand alone but I am crossing my fingers for more as I would love to be able to keep up with Kate and Theo.

I think that any of my readers who enjoy suspense or crime dramas will love this book.  It has it all; great characters, witty dialogue, well paced plot and a stunning conclusion.   Be sure check out THE LAST MOVE.

*** I received this book at no charge from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.  All opinions expressed within are my own. 
Sep 18, 2017

Book Review: The Hunting Grounds

Maggie Gaines used to be an FBI agent—top of her class and one of the bright, up-and-coming stars—until she spectacularly fell apart during her first high-profile case. That was eight years ago. Now she’s a ranger at Glacier National Park, and she’s found some measure of peace. But when the body of a murdered woman is discovered, she must finally put the past behind her and work with the one man she thought she’d never see again.

For months, Vic Sutherland has been hunting a killer who’s been targeting unsuspecting hikers in national parks—and now the predator has come to Glacier. Vic knows the case will bring him face-to-face with his former partner, yet nothing can prepare him for seeing Maggie again after all these years, or for the memories of passion it stirs in both of them.

As the investigation brings them closer together—and closer to the killer—Maggie and Vic fear they have only each other to trust. But even that might not be enough to make it out of Glacier alive.

* * * * *

Now I am an indoor person.  Never seen any reason to subject myself to all the bugs that call the outdoors home.  However after reading all the gorgeous descriptions that Ms. Roberts has put into her book has me rethinking my stance on the great outdoors.

Maggie has been carrying baggage since her time in the BAU including how her and Vic parted.  She has found peace working in the Park Service but when dead bodies start showing up, she is going to have to rethink her peace especially when Vic shows up to work the case.  There is a definite tension between Maggie and Vic which could effect them working together unless they manage to get all under control.

Along with the drama between the main characters, there is also an unsub who is extremely comfortable out in the wilderness.  An unsub who seems to stay one step ahead of everyone hunting him.  This fact kept me on the edge of my seat and glued to the pages.

I recommend THE HUNTING GROUNDS to any of my readers who enjoy a well written romantic suspense with taut pacing, good dialogue, great characters and a surprising conclusion.  I somehow missed the first book in this series and I plan on going back to catch up.

*** I received this book at no charge from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.  All opinions expressed within are my own.
Sep 16, 2017

Book Review: Close To Home

While investigating the hit-and-run death of a young boy, Seattle homicide detective Tracy Crosswhite makes a startling discovery: the suspect is an active-duty serviceman at a local naval base. After a key piece of case evidence goes missing, he is cleared of charges in a military court. But Tracy knows she can’t turn her back on this kind of injustice.

When she uncovers the driver’s ties to a rash of recent heroin overdoses in the city, she realizes that this isn’t just a case of the military protecting its own. It runs much deeper than that, and the accused wasn’t acting alone. For Tracy, it’s all hitting very close to home.

As Tracy moves closer to uncovering the truth behind this insidious conspiracy, she’s putting herself in harm’s way. And the only people she can rely on to make it out alive might be those she can no longer trust.

* * * * * 

There is no way around it. I love this series!  It is set locally to myself in Seattle so I recognize the places that Tracy is investigating. I also really enjoy the camaraderie and caring of the team she works with. Kins, Del, Tracy and Faz are all wonderfully developed characters. They have all grown so much. 

In CLOSE TO HOME, there are actually two different cases that end up merging into one. Cases that involve the military and span from Kitsap county up to Seattle.   This book also brings in to focus a crisis that is occurring across the US. The tension is high with little breaks to catch your breath, the dialogue is on point and the conclusion surprising. 

As I am sure you can guess, I highly recommend this book. Heck, I highly recommend this series. I think that any of my readers who enjoy crime drama or police procedurals. I can hardly wait for the next book. 

** I received this book at no charge from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.  All opinions expressed within are my own.
Sep 14, 2017

Book Review: The Strawberry Hearts Diner

Being broke, unemployed, and stranded back in the tiny town of Pick, Texas, was not part of Jancy Wilson’s plan. Yet here she is, watching her car literally go up in smoke—along with her last-ditch hope of staying with her cousin in Louisiana. When Jancy spies a Help Wanted sign hanging in the window of the quaint Strawberry Hearts Diner, the memories of the two years she spent there as a teenager—and the lure of the diner’s beloved strawberry tarts—are enough to draw her in and plant her feet…but only temporarily.

Raised by parents who refused to settle anywhere for long, Jancy has never known what it is to have roots. Now that Jancy’s swept up by the warmth and character of this quirky little community—and by the pull of an old crush—it’s beginning to feel like home. She’s making friends and even discovering the sweetness of falling in love. But when the town is threatened, Jancy knows it will take more than its legendary tarts to save it. Can she fight for this little Texas town—knowing she might not stay forever?

* * * * *

This is book that just warmed my heart as it shows how our past shapes us but doesn’t need to define us. And it features four strong women of three different generations. I really liked Jancy, Emily, Vicky and Nettie.  They are willing to stand up for themselves and their town. I also liked the town of Pick and the chance to meet the townspeople.  Pick has a strong identity for such a small burg because of those folks and their traditions. 

Now as you can tell, I very much enjoyed my time in Pick and Ms. Brown has done a wonderful job with the pacing, the descriptions and the dialogue.  It was wonderful to watch the characters change and grow.  My only issue at all is the fact that there is a lot of head hopping. And often with no warning leaving the reader floundering for a few seconds try to decipher just which of the women is thinking or talking. 

I do think that my readers would very much enjoy THE STRAWBERRY HEARTS DINER if they enjoy contemporary romance set in a small town.  I am really hoping that this was just the first book in a series. 

** I received this book at no charge from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.  All opinions expressed within are my own.
Sep 12, 2017

Book Review: Too Scot to Handle


As a captain in the army, Colin MacHugh led men, fixed what was broken, and fought hard. Now that he's a titled gentleman, he's still fighting-this time to keep his bachelorhood safe from all the marriage-minded debutantes. Then he meets the intriguing Miss Anwen Windham, whose demure nature masks a bonfire waiting to roar to life. When she asks for his help to raise money for the local orphanage, he's happy to oblige.

Anwen is amazed at how quickly Lord Colin takes in hand a pack of rambunctious orphan boys. Amazed at how he actually listens to her ideas. Amazed at the thrill she gets from the rumble of his Scottish burr and the heat of his touch. But not everyone enjoys the success of an upstart. And Colin has enemies who will stop at nothing to ruin him and anybody he holds dear.

* * * * *

TOO SCOT TO HANDLE has everything that I look for in a historical romance.  There is a very intelligent and feisty heroine,  a hero that prizes her for her individuality and a villain that is determined to get his way.  This book has the added benefits of some interesting orphans and Anwen's family who have appeared before.

I really enjoyed this book and was more then willing to get up some sleep to race to the satisfying conclusion.  Ms Burrowes has done her usual superb job with both the characters and taking her reader back to an earlier time in England's history.  I really feel that my readers who enjoy a historical romance with a bit of heat and heartwarming characters will love this book. 

*** I received this book at no charge from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.  All opinions expressed within are my own.

Sep 11, 2017

Book Review: Penhale Wood

If it's the last thing she ever does, Iris will find Sophie's Killer and make her pay.

On a cold December night in Cornwall, nanny Karen Peterson disappeared with three-year-old Sophie Flynn. The next day, the child's body was found on a riverbank in Penhale Wood.

A year later, Sophie's mother, Iris Flynn, appears on the doorstep of investigating officer Rob McIntyre, determined to make him reopen her daughter's case. McIntyre has his own personal demons, but Iris hijacks his life in order to find the woman she thinks is responsible for Sophie's death. Following the slimmest of leads, they are soon confronting ghosts from the past and a chameleon-like killer who will do anything to stay hidden.

* * * * *

I really wasn't too sure about this book in the beginning.  It was rather slow and I found the main character Rob McIntyre rather whiny.  That changed however somewhere around the middle of the book.  McIntyre started to grow on me probably because he decided to focus on someone other than himself.  I think that what really kept me going was Iris.  She is an interesting character who when she sets her mind to something, she is incredibly strong.  She practically had to drag McIntyre kicking and screaming into re-investigating the murder of her daughter.  

Ms. Thomas is a good writer and every word is perfect.  I just found the pacing a bit slow which means that if I hadn't been reading this book for a review, it would have gone in that dreaded 'couldn't finish' pile.  However this book would be perfect for anyone that enjoys a slower pace especially as it has such a wonderful conclusion.  It is a great look at being a policeman in a smaller town in Britain and I am sure that some of my readers would really enjoy PENHALE WOOD.

*** I received this book at no charge from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.  All opinions expressed within are my own.

Sep 5, 2017

Book Review: The Downside

In an age of cybercrime, Finn is the last hardhat. He's a professional thief with a unique specialty: He only steals big things--autoracks, factory lines, machinery. You might call what he does "heavy lifting." And he's no stranger to the downside of his chosen profession; he's done seven years' hard time to prove it.

Fresh out of prison and flat broke, Finn has a line on his biggest job ever. A beautiful woman with her own agenda has put him back in touch with a shady Wall Street billionaire. The job? Breaking into a private commodities vault and hauling out fifty million dollars worth of the precious metal rhodium. It's big, it's heavy, and it'll pull a lot of exposure. In other words, it's right up Finn's alley.

The vault is located underground in a high-security rail yard in New Jersey. The plan? Tunnel in. But there's only one group that can get it done, and Finn will have to call in the crackerjack team that landed him in prison in the first place: Asher, a cranky oilfield driller; Corman, a bearlike railway man; and Jake, a charismatic machinery expert--joined by Nicola, a female hacker who alternates between white and black hats.

Cracking the most heavily guarded private vault in North America? No problem. Hauling fifty million dollars in precious metal out past guards, dozens of policemen, and an armored SWAT battalion? Even easier. But navigating the betrayals of double-crossing partners, the machinations of a hedge-fund billionaire gone bad, and the ambiguous proposals of a woman with her own agenda? That's when things get twisty. This is the heist that will truly test Finn's mettle, and he'll need nerves of steel just to get out alive. But he's sure of one thing: This time, there's got to be an upside.

* * * * *

Wow!  I just finished THE DOWNSIDE and fell in love with Finn who is definitely an old school criminal.  No computers for him.  In fact, he reminds me of guys that you will meet in your local neighborhood bar after their shift except for the fact that he tends to get paid a lot more when things go right.  And it's his turn for things to go right.

I do have to say that Mr. Cooper does a brilliant job with his characters.  Some of them you will click with, others not so much.  Just like the folks that you meet in real life.  Along with Finn, I really liked the characters of the hacker Nicola and Corman who is a jack of a lot of trades.   

The reader is given the inside view to a caper that definitely involves some heavy lifting.  We get to see as all the details fall into place as the big night comes closer and closer.  We even get to join the gang as the heist takes place.  A lot of twists and turns as the tension ratchets up.

I would recommend THE DOWNSIDE to any of my readers who enjoy a good thriller or crime drama.  Personally I am hoping to see some more books with Finn and his crew.

*** I received this book at no charge from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.  All opinions expressed within are my own.