Tag Archives: Contemporary

Blood Lust by Alexandra Ivy

 

St. Louis crime lord and renegade sentinel assassin Bas Cavrilo still remembers the first and last time he saw gorgeous clairvoyant Myst. That was the night they created their daughter Molly until Myst dropped 2 month old Molly at his apartment and disappeared again. Now Myst is back and Bas is demanding to know why, especially since Molly only recently survived a kidnapping by his enemies.

Bas listens as Myst explains being sold to the Brotherhood as a teen after a vision she’d create an Armageddon weapon, her escape and years of being their prey. Bas contacts The Mave, Lana to provide protection for Molly at Valhalla while he and Myst seek answers. Lana and Bas’ time as more than friends is long past but piques both Myst and Wolfe’s jealously when Lana agrees to help.

Brotherhood leader Stella’s confident it’s time for the weapon. As her minions search for confirmation the rumbles are heard in Valhalla and Stella plans beyond the step of eliminating Highbloods. Meticulous planning, a breach and a deviation from protocol are the perfect storm to position Stella for even more power when she stumbles onto things she can’t recognize. But then the big guns take aim.
Rating:4.25stars

One Perfect Lie by Lisa Scottoline

***A complimentary copy of this read was furnished by St. Martin’s Press through NetGalley in exchange for an unbiased review***

The only thing true about Chris Brennan was there was no limit to what he’d do to get what he wanted. Right now he needed to become a teacher at Central Valley high where he could be near the town’s scions and their less worthy counterparts deepest secrets. Teenagers and their secret was a virtual cornucopia of information.

Minimum suspense and a slower pace are allotted as the stage is set with introductions, bits of background and the excitement a new, single, handsome teacher that’s eager to coach the baseball team can bring. It picks up as Chris sifts until only Evan Kostis, Raz Sematov and Justin Larkin remain as perfect candidates for his nefarious scheme.

With Mindy Kostis abandoned for her husband’s work, Susan Sematov still reeling from her husband’s death and busy single mother Heather Larkin, Chris easily presents himself as a man willing and able to help their sons on the path to manhood. The outing hints as a study of lonely mothers and their sons and gains momentum as Chris’ perfection bumps against these own family secrets.

For this reader’s taste, the slow burn inherent of a cast this size, the mystery of the antagonist and how to much to share when as well as the amount of red herrings, plot twists, turns and background make it almost impossible for the reader to definitely choose a foe. The ebb and flow of the information means nothing can be discounted to stay ahead in a fairly good thriller with strong, personable characters.
Rating:4stars

Deadly Fallout by Katie Reus

Few knew the reason Dr. Zoe Hansen changed jobs, apartments and friends was she’d caught the attention of a stalker. She was safe while he was out of the country. But he returned and Zoe became his hobby again. Red Stone Security’s resources, specifically former SEAL Sawyer McCabe step up to guard Zoe’s body…er life. Then her stalker is found dead and Zoe’s arrested of his murder.

Though cleared of the murder charge, it was obvious someone framed Zoe which meant her life could still be in danger. Receiving mystery mail means it’s not over and Sawyer’s not leaving Zoe’s side as the smoldering embers they shared become flames. Being influentially despicable bought Zoe’s stalker many enemies and plenty of false friends as the police uncover suspects galore.

Lively Zoe runs the gamut of emotions and has excellent chemistry with agent du jour, Sawyer in this nicely written and vividly woven tale. The reader is quickly invested in an illusion of a love affair at its most terrifying. It shakes a strong, capable and independent woman to her core first she lives with fear then fights to keep her friends, love and on her terms. Definitely a series favorite!
Rating:4.5stars

Take Me Back by Rosalind James

 

***A complimentary copy of this read was furnished by Montlake Romance through NetGalley in exchange for an unbiased review***

Jim Lawson left Paradise to become an Army Ranger. He left a tearful Hallie in his wake before coming back to be the deputy sheriff. Henry Cavanaugh tried to force broken-hearted Hallie to stay but couldn’t. Now Hallie inherits her wickedly vindictive father’s wealth, but only if she lives in his home and stays out of Jim’s bed. Henry knew love for Jim could bring Hallie back but is Jim worth millions to her?

There could have been a helping hand in Henry’s death and somebody’s not quite as calm as they appear or maybe they’re not happy to see the prodigal daughter return. With Paradise being a small town and all, it doesn’t take long for the conditions of Hallie’s inheritance to become public and less time than that for townsfolk to become interested in the outcome as they sneak peeks at the couple.

Luckily, Hallie’s plans are to collect her money and leave, not settle down in Paradise. But seeing each other again reminded Jim and Hallie the feeling between them was anything but dead. Five years bring changes and in Jim’s case its family. He’s now a widower and a father. But for this reader’s taste the circumstances around Henri’s death and the star couple were a bit frustrating.

There are few things that can always be counted on but some sure things are in this series. One is the story will be well written and the characters have full lives. Another is the flawed hero is definitely older and wiser than twenty-something. He’s learned something from his mistakes and can admit he’s been a jerk. Also, there will be so many suspects they kill the suspense until you just want it to be over.
Rating:3.75stars

The Unyielding by Shelly Laurenston

 

***A complimentary copy of this read was furnished by Kensington through NetGalley in exchange for an unbiased review***
Not quite ready to share her theories with her sister Crows, Erin decides to check them out on her own first. Raven Stieg Engstrom isn’t too pleased when he’s asked to watch out for banthe tiny, gorgeous, funny, chaos-magnet of a Crow, Erin Amsel. As it turns out she could use a bodyguard. It seems everybody she ever met and some she hasn’t are trying to kill her.

Stieg may be the angry pile of muscle many think he is but he’s terrifyingly protective when it comes to Erin. Because it would be fun to annoy Stieg and keep her sister Crows from asking questions Erin decides she’ll be Stieg’s houseguest. The more the pair are together, the more they want to be together. Erin and Stieg were a good couple, especially after Stieg realized she’d taken liberties with him.

Meanwhile, Raven’s, Crows and the rest of the Nine have met and decided the only one among them all that has a chance of stopping Gallveig’s return and continuing to live was Erin. They just haven’t had a chance to tell her. Erin suspects she knows who is responsible for Gallveig’s imminent return which will bring about Ragnarok and whose ever really ready for an apocalypse?!?

Wrapping the Ragnarok arc Gillvieg had no intention of living her existence in Hel. Given the high stakes, the clans were cooperative and a few of the gods checked in with support. All bets are off and nothing’s off limits as Erin and Stieg suit up in full warrior mode on their quest. This reader loved that the hero moments were plentiful and more than fierce, they were formidable.

However, the sheer number of obvious scenes designed to stress the incessant cuteness of Erin’s antics were too much, too one-note and crossed the line into annoying silliness more often than not for this readers taste, affecting my overall enjoyment of the outing. Based on ratings, this opinion is a minority.
Rating:3.75stars

Under His Protection by Katie Reus

While Mina looked at lingerie in preparation for her wedding to Blue, newest Red Stone Security agent, Ivan Mitchell looked at lingerie shop owner Julieta Mederos. Ivan was enchanted by the petite beauty from the moment he saw her and it doesn’t hurt that she’s Lizzy’s best friend. Noticing Jules pale at the bridal shower, Ivan quickly finds out she’s being stalked and assigns himself as her protection.

Though Jules had been noticing Ivan she wasn’t certain they were looking at each other the same way or for the same reason. Now that they’re seeing things eye to eye she’s grateful for his help. Ivan’s sure the explicit texts and vandalism incidents at Jules’ shop are connected and attaches himself to her side.

Distracted by everything, Jules brings Ivan into the bosom of her family. They’re charmed, especially when they find out about his Ranger background and how seriously he’s taking the threats to Jules’ life. Meanwhile, her stalker is more than a little upset that there’s now a man in Jules’ life and steps up his elaborate plans to solidify his own future with her.
Rating: 3.75stars

Hot Protector by Lynn Raye Harris

Though he ignored her and resented his neglectful father who seemed to dote on his adoptive daughter, Sophie Nash crushed on stepbrother Special Ops soldier Chase “Fiddler” Daniels during his annual visits when she was a pre-teen. A dozen years later he doesn’t recognize the just his type woman when she wakes him from a much needed sleep.

Dear old dad sent Sophie to Chase for protection against her problem. No sooner does Sophie get her tale of fear, possible murder and a threat by Androv, a threat on the HOT watch list, than Chase’s apartment explodes with them in it. They barely escape to the nearby forested area with their lives and pursuers that won’t give up since Maggie took proof and needs Chase to help her retrieve it. In Paris!

With Androv’s best assassin on their trail with knowledge of their destination and no official help from HOT, Chase is mostly on his own in protecting Sophie as the flames between them become blazes. Beautiful, innocent, self-conscious Sophie has no idea of the explosive secrets on the flash drive she stole or how far Androv would go to get it and her back in his possession where they both belonged.

Unable to officially assist or investigate or not, the Hostile Operations Team isn’t sitting on the sidelines when there’s a damsel in distress that means anything to one of their own, even if it means giving up much needed vacation. Especially if the threat is already on their radar and Androv most definitely is. Mostly because now that they know what he’s up to.

Skirting the edge of taboo may never have been this exciting as the outing fits the series mold and doesn’t stint on romance, action, intrigue or the lusciously delicious and intoxicatingly dangerous Ian Black in addition to the usual sexy alpha warriors of HOT!
Rating:4.5stars

Unconditional by Lauren Dane

A dozen years ago Pacific pack enforcer Josh Neelan was turned and didn’t know how to cope so he left Roseburg and Michelle Slattery without a word. Before Josh left, Michelle planned to tell him how she felt and that she was a witch. Now a police officer with a personal stake in a missing person’s case, Michellle has to ask the pack to help track down the victim while resisting Josh’s charms.

Michelle refuses Josh’s offer to let the pack handle it but learns Mages are suspected of being behind a rash of kidnappings and deaths of witches and weres across the continent. With Michelle calm about the otherness of the wolf lifestyle, she and Josh found time to mate as the mystery of the kidnappings and murders deepened.

With the Cascadia pack ruling family mated off, this outing spins to its allies and connected pack, Pacifica by introducing a new threat. Leads Josh does well in the spotlight and his lady choice, Michelle is strong and independent without being irritating. Cameos from Cascadia Wolves and (presumably) De La Vega fan favorites and new characters fanned the all hands on deck urgency of the read.
Rating:4stars

Rescue Me by Susan May Warren

***A complimentary copy of this read was furnished by Fleming H. Revell Company through NetGalley in exchange for an unbiased review***

Willow Rose’s dreams are small but right now they seem to be pipe dreams. A trip outside Mercy Falls, to be the youth pastor, to be part of a traditional family and realize her crush on Deputy Sam Brooks doesn’t seem too much to ask. But Sam’s eyes are only for her sister Sierra.

Sierra liked Sam but he could never be her billionaire ex-boss Ian and she needed to get Ian out of her system, though she wouldn’t initiate or stop a break-up with Sam, if that’s what he wanted. Sam wanted his casual dates with Sierra to turn into something more serious but he rescuing a couple of wayward teens cancelled the dinner when he’d planned to ask.

The rescue was a turning point. Sam’s brother Pete was a hero, Sam was almost killed by a bear sow protecting her cubs, workmates Pete and Jessi’s relationship took on the possibility of romance and amid an adrenaline crush Willow kissed Sam and he kissed back after accidently baring his soul to her. Guilt takes the driver’s seat as they all work around their feelings.

This new to me author presented a clean romance with likeable characters and a complex but easy to invest in story line where clear morals, ethics and responsibility sometimes failed under the mantle of human interference. Those same characters shucked the guilt, accepted the responsibility, learned to forgive others as well as themselves and move forward
Rating: 4stars

Fated by Lauren Dane

Enforcer Megan Warden wants to be mated more than anything except maybe not being trapped in a car for hours on her way to a wedding with her mother and grandmother lamenting her lack of a mate. Layla’s anchor, Dr. Shane Rosario was raised human not wolf but made sure he came to the wedding to see Lay. When Shane and Megan’s eyes met, he’d never be happier to be a wolf.

With the war settled, danger non-existent and all the Warden siblings mated this emotional outing was good but this reader missed the danger, excitement and tension that had been the series norm. It was difficult for this reader to see strong, self-assured Megan askew, likable Shane brought huge human elements to the tale as he had no idea of pack-life or familial bonds.
Rating: 4stars

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