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review 2017-09-05 02:27
Review: Going Dark by Monica McCarty
Going Dark (The Lost Platoon) - Monica McCarty

My review cross-posted from Wit and Sin

 

When things go horribly wrong on a mission in Russia, the surviving members of SEAL Team Nine are ordered to scatter and go dark. It’s been two months since everything went to hell, and Senior Chief Dean Baylor is now living under the radar in Scotland, working as a dive boat captain. He doesn’t need any complications, especially if they come in the form of beautiful marine ecologist Annie Henderson. Annie is on the Isle of Lewis to protest a potentially hazardous offshore drilling venture, but when she learns the activists she arrived with are up to something dangerous, she has no one to turn to for help except for the even more dangerous looking dive boat captain. It’s the second time in two months that things go south for Dean, but he’s not about to let anything happen to Annie, even if it means risking blowing his cover.

Monica McCarty starts off her Lost Platoon series with a bang. Going Dark is an intense, interesting, and engaging romantic suspense. I’ve enjoyed Ms. McCarty’s historical romances in the past, so I was thrilled to discover that she’s every bit as adept when it comes to romantic suspense.

What sets Going Dark apart from a lot of the military romances I’ve read lately is the characters. Badass heroes are a dime a dozen, but while the members of SEAL Team Nine are definitely strong alphas, they’re not over the top (which I was grateful for). Dean is a strong, resourceful, straight-shooting conservative hero. He’s both sexy and endearing, but he doesn’t have the best opinion of people like Annie, who he considers liberal academics in their ivory towers. Annie is a liberal vegetarian marine ecologist who is an idealist at heart. Though she can be naïve, Annie won me over because she truly has a good heart and is trying to make the world a better place. The two seem like total opposites, but they actually fit one another perfectly. I loved that they were able to discuss their different ideologies and that they actually listened to one another when they were disagreeing. Ms. McCarty did a great job of showing where Dean and Annie came from and the events that shaped them and their beliefs. It’s not an easy thing to do, particularly given the current political climate, which is why this really stood out to me. I read most of Going Darkin one sitting because I really enjoyed the dynamic between Dean and Annie.

The suspense plotline involving eco-terrorists balanced out the romance and kept the story moving at a good pace. While I enjoyed this storyline, I’m definitely more invested in the overarching series plot. I want to know who betrayed SEAL Team Nine and why. One of the people looking for answers is Colt, a former member of Dean’s platoon. The subplot involving Colt and his ex-wife, Kate, had me on the edge of my seat. The two of them made such a strong impression that they almost threatened to steal the show. I say almost, because Dean and Annie were definitely the heart and soul of the story and they really left a good impression on me. I finished Going Dark a well-satisfied reader and I cannot wait to see what Ms. McCarty has in store for the rest of the Lost Platoon.


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

Source: witandsin.blogspot.com/2017/09/review-going-dark-by-monica-mccarty.html
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review 2017-06-26 19:49
Review: Wired by Julie Garwood
Wired - Julie Garwood

http://witandsin.blogspot.com/2017/06/review-wired-by-julie-garwood.html

 

Wired is a slightly difficult book for me to review. Julie Garwood has written some of my absolute favorite romances and I always look forward to her newest releases. Because I’ve been a fan of hers for more than half my life, it’s disappointing to say that – while Wired isn’t bad and I don’t regret reading it – the story fell flat more often than not.

Let’s start with the good: Allison. Wired is really her story and while some might take issue with how perfect she is (an off-the-charts genius hacker who is also a stunningly gorgeous model with no flaws other than she’s too giving to people who don’t deserve it), this honestly didn’t bother me because I loved her focus, intelligence, and the fact that she’s so confident when it comes to her abilities. She’s a woman determined to make a name for herself in what’s still a largely male-dominated field, so I was willing to suspend disbelief at some of the over-the-top aspects because of this. My favorite thing about Wired is actually her friendship with Jordan (the heroine of Shadow Dance); I loved that the two heroines connected and became friends through their shared intellectual interests.

A heroine as smart as Allison needs a hero who isn’t intimidated by her and appreciates her for who she is, and Liam fits the bill. Liam was a scene-stealer for me in the last Buchanan-Renard book, Fast Track. In that book he practically oozed charisma and hinted at an interesting past that made me incredibly eager to get my hands on his book. Yet in his own story, the intriguing man I’d been so excited to read about was gone, replaced by a rather generic hero without much of a personality. I actually went back and re-read parts of Fast Track to make sure I hadn’t been thinking of the wrong character because I was so surprised. The Liam of Wired is intelligent, handsome, constantly on the move, yet always in the right place at the right time, but that’s about as far as his character goes. There simply wasn’t much to him and I was incredibly disappointed we didn’t get to delve into his character at all. Perhaps in part because of this, the romance between Liam and Allison was a bit of a letdown. There was no chemistry, only a little spark (and that was when they hit the sheets), and there was no natural development in their relationship. It felt like boxes were being checked off in order to fulfill the most basic romance requirements.

The suspense part of this romantic suspense involved not one, but three plots converging around Allison. Between an abusive aunt and uncle harassing her for money, a disgraced FBI agent out to get her, and a former roommate stealing her program, Allison has a lot on her plate. There’s potential in each of these storylines, but over the course of the story they become an increasingly jumbled mess.

Even though I had a number of issues with Wired, I do want to stress that it’s not a bad book. I always enjoy Ms. Garwood’s writing and even though the story didn’t work for me on the whole, it’s still a fun read. Liam and Allison are likeable characters and the scenes where they interacted with past Buchanan-Renard heroes and heroines added a dash of liveliness to the tale. So while I think there were a lot of missed opportunities in Wired, I still believe it would make a pleasant beach read this summer.


FTC Disclosure: I received the e-book edition of this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Source: witandsin.blogspot.com/2017/06/review-wired-by-julie-garwood.html
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review 2017-05-09 04:20
Review: The Girl Who Knew Too Much by Amanda Quick
The Girl Who Knew Too Much - Amanda Quick

http://witandsin.blogspot.com/2017/05/review-girl-who-knew-too-much-by-amanda.html

 

Secrets and murder pair excellently with '30s Hollywood glam in The Girl Who Knew Too Much. I’m a longtime Amanda Quick fan, and the setting of this story is what drew me in first. I loved seeing her delve into the world of 1930s Hollywood; the mix of glamour and dirty, dangerous secrets was incredibly appealing. Add in the setting of a gorgeous hotel marred by murder, a former magician hero whose career-ending injury hasn’t robbed him of all his tricks, and a reporter heroine with a few things to hide of her own, and I was hooked.

Irene knows as much about creating a new persona as any silver screen star. She had to run fast and far from a past that even now threatens to shake her world. I liked Irene. She’s a smart reporter with an eye for detail, she’s loyal to those who deserve it, and she’s good at thinking on her feet. She may have come to Burning Cove Hotel to get the scoop on an up-and-coming star, but when she finds a dead body in the hotel spa, her agenda quickly changes. Her partner in crime-solving is none other than the hotelier himself, Oliver Ward. Oliver was once a famous magician (and I may or may not have geeked out over the tricks of his trade), but during one of his performances something went horribly wrong, seriously injuring Oliver and ending his career. He’s made a new life for himself as the owner of the Burning Cove Hotel, and he has no intention of letting a murderer hide on his property. He and Irene make a great team. They click, to put it simply, and they have an easy chemistry that makes their slide into love appealing to read about.

The Girl Who Knew Too Much has a bit of a slow burn mystery, mostly because there are a lot of players in the game and a number of secrets. It takes time to get to know everyone, but the various characters and personalities added a lot to the world. And things definitely heat up when the mystery deepens and the danger becomes more prominent. While I can’t say much without spoiling the story, I will say that I loved seeing how Ms. Quick put all those puzzle pieces she laid out together. The world of 1930s Hollywood, the shine and the grime of the entertainment industry, made The Girl Who Knew Too Much incredibly interesting and I hope Ms. Quick returns to this era again.


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

Source: witandsin.blogspot.com/2017/05/review-girl-who-knew-too-much-by-amanda.html
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review 2017-04-21 06:58
Review: Midnight Target by Elle Kennedy
Midnight Target (A Killer Instincts Novel) - Elle Kennedy

http://witandsin.blogspot.com/2017/04/review-midnight-target-by-elle-kennedy.html

 

Midnight Target hits the ground running and never lets up. Emotions are high, sexual tension runs hot, and the action is top-notch. As the final book in the Killer Instincts series, the stakes are bigger than ever with the full force of Jim’s mercenaries and Noelle’s chameleons all out for blood when Jim is critically wounded. Elle Kennedy definitely knows how to send her badass heroes and heroines off in style, and this is one hell of a satisfying end to the series with almost all of our favorite characters getting a moment or two to shine and not one, but two sexy-as-sin romances taking center stage.

Cate Morgan grew up in a gilded cage, a prisoner of her maniac grandfather until she was found by her father, Jim. Cate’s cut from the same cloth as her father. She’s a thrill-seeker, someone who – even as a teenager – knew she wasn’t cut out for a normal life. But Jim wants her wrapped in cotton, and his overbearing protectiveness pushed her away. Now a photojournalist on assignment in South America, Cate’s life takes a turn when she snaps a photo of a supposedly dead drug dealer. With killers hot on her heels, she has no choice but to call her father. And when Jim’s wounded rescuing her, Cate is forced to work with David “Ash” Ashton – the one man she wants nothing to do with. Ash broke her heart, and nothing makes her madder than the fact that she’s still attracted to him.

Ash has had it bad for Cate for years, but he knows he can never have her. Their difference in ages and the fact that he’d never do anything to lose the respect of Jim, the man who gave him a chance, a job, and a home, makes her off-limits. But with blood running hot and danger around every corner, the sexual tension between them is about to boil over. Cate and Ash are two people clearly meant to be together, and I loved the flashbacks that showed their history, built up the tension, and had me rooting for these two to get together. It isn’t easy for them. Ash’s loyalty to Jim means he tries to push Cate away, and he hurts her in the process. But readers can see how completely head over heels he is for her, and the fact that he’s so totally in love with her just melted my heart. They come into their own both as individuals and as a couple in Midnight Target and their growth is fantastic to watch.

As previously mentioned, there’s a second romance in this book and it’s the one I’ve been waiting for: Liam Macgregor and Sullivan Port. For the past few books Ms. Kennedy has been ramping up the tension between these two smokin’ hot mercs and I’ve been dying for their story. It’s been two years since Liam and Sully last saw each other and when they reconnect…holy smokes. Attraction, longing, anger, fear, and love are all intertwined and bottled up in each of the men. Their confrontations are insanely hot and you could power a whole village with the emotional charge from their scenes. Every minute Ms. Kennedy made us wait for their love story was absolutely worth it because Liam and Sully rocked. The angst, raw desire, and pure want between them packs one heck of a punch and I stayed up way too late reading Midnight Target because I could not put the book down until Liam and Sully got their happily ever after. Nobody can mix passion, anger, and love together quite like Elle Kennedy, and Liam and Sully are perfect examples of her talent.

I could spend pages going on about Liam and Sully because they rank right up there with Jim and Noelle when it comes to favorite couples of mine, but it’d be remiss of me not to mention the action outside the two romances. The mission is personal this time for all the characters and the upped stakes definitely kept me engaged. Ms. Kennedy isn’t afraid to make things dark and gritty, and with a drug lord targeting first Cate, then the entire team, the suspense is sure to keep you on the edge of your seat. The world these mercs and assassins live in is bloody and grim, but it makes the characters and romances shine all the brighter in contrast.

Midnight Target has raw passion, high stakes, boundless energy, and two powerful love stories. It’s a stellar read fans old and new of the Killer Instincts series are sure to enjoy. Every obstacle the protagonists face is worth it when there’s an ending as satisfying as the one in this book. I loved Midnight Target and I cannot wait to read it again and again!


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

Source: witandsin.blogspot.com/2017/04/review-midnight-target-by-elle-kennedy.html
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review 2017-03-12 21:02
Review: Fair Chance by Josh Lanyon
Fair Chance - Josh Lanyon

http://witandsin.blogspot.com/2017/03/review-fair-chance-by-josh-lanyon.html

 

The stakes are high, the mystery arresting, and the romance fantastic in Fair Chance. Josh Lanyon hits all the right notes in the third All’s Fair book. Fair Chance was impossible for me to put down, and it was likely a terrible idea to start it late at night because I was up until almost dawn finishing it. But a book hangover is totally worth it when you have characters like Elliot Mills and Tucker Lance keeping you awake.

It’s almost impossible for me to describe how much I enjoy reading about Elliot and Tucker, so I’ll put it this way: they’re right up there with Adrien English and Jake Riordan (if you’re a Lanyon fan, you know that’s high praise). In Fair Chance Elliot and Tucker have more or less settled into their lives, but the Sculptor case is still infringing on their happiness. The Sculptor (the villain from the first All’s Fair book, Fair Game) is fixated on Elliot and being behind bars won’t stop him from exacting his revenge. What no one knew was that the Sculptor had an accomplice, and the clock is ticking for Elliot to find out who that is…because Tucker has gone missing.

Elliot’s been in danger and has had a personal stake in some form in each of the All’s Fair stories, but there’s an added tension in Fair Chance. Tucker’s abduction (not a spoiler since it’s in the book blurb) ups the intensity and had me glued to the book. While the mysteries are always engaging in this series, Tucker and Elliot themselves are what made me fall in love with the books, so it’s no surprise I was wholly invested in this story. Elliot is our eyes and ears for this series and he’s an interesting, complex, and flawed protagonist. I’ve loved that he isn’t perfect and have enjoyed watching him grow as a character. As for Tucker…I think he might just be my favorite of Lanyon’s characters. Tucker is dominant, protective, and emotionally open and vulnerable in a way that grabs my heart. He isn’t perfect either, but he’s a fantastic hero I could read about all day. I’ve loved watching he and Elliot grow as a couple – it’s part of what makes this series shine – and seeing how far they’ve come makes the story all the more rewarding.

Fair Chance is the third book in the All’s Fair series, and I highly recommend reading Fair Game and Fair Play before jumping into this book. The mystery and the romance are both far more fulfilling if you’ve read all the books in order. This book reads like the final in the series, but there’s just enough of an opening that I can hope Lanyon returns to Elliot and Tucker one day. I absolutely loved Fair Chance and I cannot recommend it highly enough. It’s an intense, exciting, and wholly rewarding romantic suspense tale.


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

Source: witandsin.blogspot.com/2017/03/review-fair-chance-by-josh-lanyon.html
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