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review 2017-04-30 02:56
Pleasantly surprised
Heart of Deception - Taylor Chase
Anger rose to the fore, and he pulled away from her. "Nothing has changed. You still want to rule me."
Her eyes went black when he thwarted her, a darkness that could devour him. Then a small flame flickered in their depths. Silent laughter. "Maybe I want you so much because I can't rule you."
"That won't stop you from trying."
"Or you from resisting." Her lips curved, the small taunting smile mocking herself as well as him. "Are you afraid of losing?"
"No." A lie to add to all the other lies. Already too much had changed because of her.
"Then savor the struggle, my rebel." Viv laughed openly now. Her gleaming eyes invited him to join in the mockery.
 


This story reminded me that writing is a craft and when, it seems, authors are given time to research and develop their stories, they can transport you to different worlds. What a hidden gem this turned out to be. 

The suspense/mystery storyline is more the focus than the romance; in fact, our leads have an instant attraction and later use the word love a bit out of the blue. But what a mystery storyline it was, there is a plot to poison Queen Elizabeth I and replace her with Mary Queen of Scots. Christopher Marlowe makes an appearance along with others as the hero's family is jailed for suspected treason. Our hero leaves the war in Netherlands and meets up with his friend (epic bromance complete with watery eyes, hugs, and friendship flashbacks) to try and find out who set his family up. I'm not going to lie, the cast of characters is large, complete with code names, and the tangled weave is difficult to follow and unravel but dang if it didn't interest me. 

Even though the story starts off and initially seems to want to be from the hero, the heroine steals the spotlight and thunder. The backstories going on here, y'all! It almost felt like the heroine's part was first written for a male character and the author decided to switch it up and create one badass woman; one of the most real in her honesty, sexual desires, and sense of self. This was published 20yrs ago and it makes me want to weep with how many written heroines today fall very short of her. 

This story has a fair bit of violence and I kind of want to call this a medium erotic, it's not the focus of the story but the sex scenes are descriptive and naughtily hot but not in the tone of cheap porn. This had a very All Through the Night by Connie Brockway feel to me, probably why I liked it. 

Anyway, the focus in the mystery/suspense, the cast of characters gets a bit wide, fairly quick romantic relationship development, the end wraps up a bit quickly (the mystery was doled out fairly slowly only to have the players and explanations throw out in a rush), and a character with a paranormal (psychic) ability added very late in the game. However, this was very well written and the depth of the main characters, especially the heroine, was amazing. If you ever come across this book, snatch it up.

*I just saw that the author wrote a book featuring the character with a paranormal ability, so maybe not so randomly throw in as much as series bait.
 
 

 

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review 2017-04-28 03:13
Lethal Lies by Rebecca Zanetti
Lethal Lies (Blood Brothers) - Rebecca Zanetti

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

Heath and his blood brothers are still on the run and fighting their past. However, when he meets Anya, the danger of entanglements might be too hard for him to fight.
Anya decides that fighting back against the serial killer playing with her is better than watching others die around her. When she announces on live tv that her and Heath are engaged, she knows the danger she is putting herself in, but she never could have imagined the greatest danger was to her heart. 

There was no mercy when monsters harmed women. 

Book two in the Blood Brothers series reunites us with the Lost Boys. This time it is Heath who is the hero and with a mother who was killed by an abusive boyfriend, he has a big time trigger for men who hurt women. When he sees Anya with bruises, no matter of the innocent reasoning, and finds out that the Copper Killer serial killer is after her, he instantly goes into protector mode. This past hurt and resulting trigger for Heath, while emotional, was a bit overplayed and repetitive. The numerous times he saw red or freaked out made him seem less strong protector and more auto-pilot brainless alpha. The story didn't flush out his personality enough for me, he seemed like he only had two depths, alpha protector and hot for Anya. I did enjoy the scenes where Heath and the brothers interacted but I missed other personality nuances. 

She studied him, her eyes darkening. Finally, one corner of her mouth quirked. "You're a beneath the surface kind of guy, aren't you?" 

I kind of had the same problem with Anya, she had the hots for Heath (while kind of sorta but not being afraid of him) and wanted to be in charge of capturing the Copper Killer. At times she seemed brave and others she seemed needlessly talking big game while blindingly doing nothing. I also thought the emotion of losing her sister and fighting her attraction to Heath felt off, would she be fighting sexual thoughts the night of her sister's funeral? I think, ultimately, the uneven feelings I had with the lead characters came from the meandering feel from the story. 

The beginning of the story gets going right away, with the back story and a continuing story thread I wouldn't recommend this as a standalone, but it also felt a bit choppy. It eventually smooths out as we are re-introduced to the handful of cast of characters that include Heath's brothers and the villains. Dr. Madison, who created the brothers (also the tie-in to the author's previous series Sin Brothers), Sheriff Cobb who works for Dr. Madison but also has a personal vendetta against the brothers, and Daniel, a soldier still working for Dr. Madison. The Dr. Madison and super soldier secret military program is intriguing, interesting and what I found captured my attention the most. As it is the continuing story thread, there is no resolution here but you can feel things building up in a crescendo. 

Mostly, I found this book to be a slow moving, repetitive layover in the series. Heath and Anya have a bit of insta-love, the must protect Anya but Anya demanding to be in charge, bickering with FBI, and forced serial killer tie-in went in circles for too long. The next book is about the last Blood Brother, Denver. I'm hoping for more of the action, chemistry, and movement in the interesting super soldier program that appeared in the first. 

"I like you, too," she said. Yeah, she'd just opened herself up. Perhaps she was crazy. His upper lip quirked. "You're dangerous lady." 

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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 2017-04-02 18:10
The Obsession by Nora Roberts - My Thoughts
The Obsession - Nora Roberts

I can always trust what I'm going to get with a Nora Roberts book and to date, I don't think I've been disappointed.  I thought this might be a first as I made my way through the first few chapters.  It was like an episode of Criminal Minds and that's not really how I want my Noras to be!  *LOL*  But then we got on with the story and things all fell into place.

All my fave elements were there, the hot hero, the heroine that I would love to share a bottle of wine and a giggle with, the supporting cast of friends and family and the obligatory dog or two.  Most importantly, the banter was there.  One of my favourite things about Nora books is the banter, indeed all the dialogue, between the characters.

In reading other reviews of this book, a lot of folks moaned about how much there was of the renovation talk.  I had no problem with it as that whole part of the plot was mirroring the inner journey of Naomi, our heroine.  What drove me nuts was the constant description of all the food!  I'm so not a foodie.  *LOL*

I enjoyed how Naomi and Xander fell in love and I totally enjoyed their courtship.  Yeah, Xander might be a little perfect, but it's a perfect I like and it makes me happy, so...  :)

The suspenseful part of the story was okay, not Nora's best nor her worst, but again, it felt like an episode of Criminal Minds and while that's one of my favourite shows, it's not really what I want in my Nora books.  I don't think it was too difficult to figure out who the bad guy was once the mystery part really got going.

Anyway, it was a Nora and I liked it.  :)

(By the way, I didn't really set out to read two books with the same title back to back, it just happened.  *LOL*)

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review 2017-04-02 16:40
Standalone?!?
Sunshine - Robin McKinley

What I can only assume is a superb April Fools joke by the book gods, my first themed book for April Singles turned out to be an actual Non-series book (if you aren't as obsessed with my life as I am, usually during this theme I laugh, groan, and joke how all the books I pick for this turn out to be actually in a series). What is wrong with this you ask? There is no way on earth this should be a contained to one freaking book story. 

 

Don't believe me? Imagine if you will, if Darkfever by Karen Marie Moning had been a standalone. Don't just shrug and move on, GO THERE. Because I have been to that bellow to the book gods place thanks to this book.

 

This reminded me a lot of Moning's series, incredible created universe, first person pov from heroine who is young and not aware of her own power, plethora of characters who could be good or evil, a dark mysterious intriguing dude, and a will they or won't they. Oh, and there's Mel. Who is Mel you ask? He's our heroine's boyfriend, who is sweet, sexy, and affable. I know there is more to his story because of the clues we are given but I'll never really know, because STANDALONE.

 

If this reminded me of Darkfever so much, why only 2.5 stars? It has the addictive reading quality but oh boy is our first person pov heroine into rambling. She goes off on tangents, which sometimes have observational little life nuggets but mostly make you want to skim. There's also a feeling of being dizzily just dropped into the world and I spent most the beginning trying to understand who and what story the author was telling.

 

If you want your vampire stories a little darker, the vampires in this world definitely not of the sparkle quality and something a little off the beaten path, this would be a good pick. Just be prepared to gird your loins at how rambling the heroine can get. Also, did I mention the whole no series thing? 'Cause seriously, you'll probably live at least 2.4% of your life always wishing you could know if Pat is evil, who the Goddess of Evil truly is, and if Mel is Sunshine's Tree.

 

This story is magical but DARK magic because it will leave you feeling like you're in a straight jacket bouncing off padded walls crying and screaming to book gods about how you "Just need to know if Sunshine and Constantine bang!!"   

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