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Search tags: mystery-and-thriller
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review 2018-06-18 06:53
Deadly Intent by Pamela Clare
Deadly Intent - Pamela Clare

Joaquin Ramirez, I-Team's resident photographer and Pulitzer Prize winner, arrives at a supposed-homicide-with-body-disappearance scene, only to be met with anger by a bystander. Turns out, the woman knows the victim and is the last one to have seen the man alive.
Mia Starr dislikes photojournalists. She's seen first hand, what an unscrupulous photo bug can do to get a story, but Joaquin seems to be different, and quickly turns out to be different, since he puts her first instead of the story.

Someone is killing former soldiers and trying to pin it to Mia, and Joaquin is there to help her out. And when the killer with the grudge turns on her, it's Joaquin to stand there, between her and a bullet.


A month after the hostage situation at a Christmas party, the I-Team is back in the thick of it. This time it's Joaquin's turn to shine, and to save the day.

I never really thought about Joaquin as a main protagonist. He had sidekick and friend written all over him in the other books. I'm glad, though, I got to see this other side of him. Looks like I underestimated him, and let's face it, side by side with Julian, Marc or Zach, he didn't stand a chance.
But in his story, the hero side of him came out, alongside the salsa-dancing, and yeah, I could understand Mia perfectly. ;) He was tender and gentle when he needed to be, determinedly protective, and definitely heroic there toward the end of the book. A truly wonderful hero.
His heroine, Mia, was an acquired taste, with her idiosyncrasies and all her contradictions and insecurities. It took a special kind of man to show her just who and what she truly was.
I didn't really buy their rushed romance, but I'm glad they found each other in the end.

The villain also had much to be desired, although the big reveal as to his identity came as a surprise (I certainly didn't see it coming); his motive left me scratching my head&mdas;why go after all those people, instead of just focusing on Mia?
But the suspense was gripping and served as a nice little catalyst for the two protagonists to meet and for the "romance" to bloom.

The characters were great as always (I loved all the "cameos", and it's always a pleasure seeing Julian and Marc in action, complete with marital spats and bickering), the pacing spot-on, the writing superb...This one is definitely one of my favorite series.

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review 2018-06-13 16:13
Deep as the Dead by Kylie Brant
Deep as the Dead (The Mindhunters Book 9) - Kylie Brant

The serial killer, known as the Tailor, has struck again. Three bodies in a span of just two weeks after three years of silence...

Ethan Manning knows the killer is escalating and he needs a task force. Fast. What he gets is one single forensic profiler that brings back memories both good and bad...



This series is now so far removed from the first few installments (which I loved), that I can barely believe it.

Bland characters with zero chemistry, a predictable (and unnecessary, in my opinion) conflict between the two leads, plodding pacing, and a very uninteresting villain.

A huge disappointment.

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review 2018-06-13 16:12
Ocean Light by Nalini Singh
Ocean Light - Nalini Singh

After taking a fatal bullet to the chest, Bowen Adrian Knight wakes up deep under the ocean, with a mechanical heart in his chest and a still ticking bomb in his brain. The chip he's had implanted to ward off Psy telepathic attacks is still malfunctioning and still threatening to blow up his brain when it finally gives.

But a BlackSea scientist has maybe found a solution. It still gives him only a five percent chance of survival, but even that is better that instant oblivion. Especially once Bowen lays eyes on the scientist's cousin and resident chef, Kaia Luna. She might hate his guts, but he's persistent, and he can be patient—he's not security chief for nothing...



This was the first Nalini Singh book I had to sleep on, before writing a review about. And I still don't really know what sort of rating it should get, so I'm going with the middle ground. There were so many things right about it (the first half) and so many things not exactly right (second half of it).

Let me start with the good—I loved Bo. I might've been ambivalent toward him when he first appeared, but NS certainly did him a solid with his story. He's no Hawke or Kaleb, but he's a worthy competitor with Max the only other human hero in this series.
He shone in his story, his past and his issues making him a well-rounded character, and his protective streak, his compassion and his emotions making him a worthy hero.

The heroine, Kaia, unfortunately, didn't really make an impact. I sort of liked her, but I never really warmed up to her, and the second half of the story, with her phobia and her idiotic reasoning for not telling Bo about it, and her even more idiotic reasoning of using said phobia to push him away (after she was the one who made things beyond complicated in the first place), ruined her character for me, and ruined every chance she had of getting a pass as a Bowen-worthy heroine.
I just wanted to smack her about the head...Several times.
And that final reversal of her issues felt more like a cop-out than anything else. A pretty little bow to tie it all nicely.

I liked the initial drama of the "impossible" romance, not in the star-crossed-lovers sense, but in the one-of-them-is-dying sense. I loved the intensity, the desperation behind Bowen's wooing of Kaia, despite his knowledge of just how little time he has.
Yet that intensity kept deteriorating the more the story progressed, until it vanished completely as the plot turned into something akin to a soap opera with obstacle upon obstacle thrown into the path of maybe Bowen having a chance after all; and that final race against the clock pushed it a little too far over the edge of melodramatic for my taste.
Unlike its predecessor, where we trembled after that breakup, wondering just how it might all work out in the end (even though we knew it would, this one failed to provide that anxiety...It was like the book was holding our hand telling us it would all be fine while promising heartbreak.

As for the suspense, I liked it. I wasn't crazy about it, but it provided the much needed balance to the supposed tearjerker of the romance. I liked the twists and turns, the guessing game, the red-herring and the surprising reveals (especially that last "villain" proved to be a doozy. Good job.
Yet the ending to it all (so far) came so abruptly, cutting the flow of the story completely off, instead of slowly cruising to a stop.
It felt like a few parts were missing, making the reading experience even more jarring than it already was.

Having read all the above it might look like I didn't really care about the story. I did. The first half was very good, it's the second half that's the problem for me.

But I liked (most of) the characters—especially the secondary cast (Kaia's turtle grandmother was a hoot), and the cameos (Mercy, Hawke, and Kaleb) made my heart sing.
And the ending made me look forward to the future.

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review 2018-06-11 16:43
Review: Shelter in Place by Nora Roberts
Shelter in Place - Nora Roberts

On July 22, 2005 three teenagers enter a small-town mall and open fire. The first nine-one-one caller is a sixteen-year-old girl who luckily went to the bathroom as one of her best friends is killed in the theater, while the second gets critically injured.
The second nine-one-one caller is a college student on break from his summer job at the mall's Italian restaurant who hides in the kiosk with the body of the girl he invited on a date and a four-year-old boy separated from his mother.

The rampage lasts only eight minutes, but it will impact many lives in the years to come. The college student will become a cop, searching for answers and justice, while the girl will go on pretending like nothing happened, until their meeting, thirteen years after the massacre will force her to look and to embrace the past...And her future.

But there's someone else embracing the past, fanning the flames of rage, and demanding vengeance for the "unjust" death of one of the shooters. Someone who orchestrated the assault, and is now targeting all those that survived it.



This book was a study in calm before the storm and the storm that follows said calm. But instead of only one storm, the story was comprised of many, with calms between them serving as perfect augmenters of suspense and anticipation.

The book starts with a traumatic, aggressive event, a very contemporary topic of a mass shooting in a very public place with many casualties. Friends, families, loved ones are dead, those that survive have to live their lives with scars—some with physical, but all with deep emotional and psychological ones.
And this story shows us how different people cope with the same event and its aftermath. Some choose to embrace the event, letting it hone them to be better, to find answers, look for justice...Some stick their head in the sand, refusing to acknowledge it even happened, alienating those that love them—until they're eventually forced to really look at what happened and finally process it, and maybe find some sort of peace and absolution from guilt.

It wouldn't have worked the way it did without the characters, of course, and Nora Roberts is a true master of character portrayal and development. The cast was a motley crew of individuals and different personalities, but it all worked, flowing together seamlessly, pushing the story forward, keeping the reader engaged, and eagerly awaiting what would happen next.
The romance, though rather rushed (in hindsight) worked for that very reason—I got to know the two characters before they were together, I became invested in them, and I could see and understand what drew them to each other and why they were, in the end, perfect together.
I loved both Simone (the usual NR heroine, flawed, scarred and with deep issues) and Reed (the typical NR hero, affable when he needed to be, but with a core of steel, a protective streak a mile wide, and a great sense of humor), but I must say Simone's a little psychic grandmother, CiCi, ended up being my favorite character of the bunch.

And let's not forget the villain. Unlike most NR novels, where the baddie isn't revealed until the very end, we got to "live" the story through the villain's eyes as well in this book. And let me tell you, those scenes with the vengeful sociopath as "main character" made for a pretty chilling reading, yet gifting us with a hefty dose of suspense and thrills.

This book was a perfect mix of great characters (even the bad ones), wonderful relationships, hot romance, and edge-of-your-seat suspense.

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review 2018-05-31 11:29
Snap
Snap - Belinda Bauer

by Belinda Bauer

 

This was an entertaining story. It starts with three children left in their mother's car broken down on the roadside while she goes to make a phone call, promising to be only ten minutes. However, she doesn't return at all. The author does a brilliant job of taking us through the thoughts and emotions of the eldest, Jack, who has been left in charge though he's only eleven. With a snappy sister and a baby that probably needs changing, he suddenly has far too much responsibility.

 

The chapters alternate between the story of the children and another character, Catherine, who is a pregnant woman from a few years later and who also faces a difficult and frightening situation. The connection isn't immediately obvious.

 

When the connection gets made, things get a lot more fast paced. Even before then, the idiosyncrasies of the various characters keep the story interesting. I liked Jack. The mystery of their mother's disappearance dominates much of the story and there are some flashbacks, especially in Jack's dreams. It's all done very smoothly so that I never felt confused about time periods or when Jack was dreaming again.

 

In some ways, some of the characters weren't quite believable and bordered on a few clichés. The police procedures definitely wandered into the highly unlikely. However, I didn't care. It was a good story and I enjoyed the read, even anticipating some of the unlikely directions it was heading towards near the end.

 

The only thing I didn't like about the end is that Catherine's story was left partially unresolved. I'd like to have known what happened next. Jack on the other hand I felt satisfied about.

 

There were some interesting psychological aspects of the story throughout. Jack's motivations were clear and his cleverness in tight situations is what made me feel sympathetic towards him.

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