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Search tags: mystery-suspense
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review 2018-07-15 03:11
Applauding author trying a different style
Retreat - Jay Crownover

His look, the way his entire face tightened in hungry, appreciative lines made me feel like something more, made me feel like I deserved to be worshiped and maybe even loved. If that was how he looked at his girl, then I never wanted to be anything else.


Cyrus Warner had just as many control issues as I did, which was why we both liked to test the other’s limits and neither one of us liked to fail.
 



This was pretty different from the usual Crownover stories I have read and I not only applaud the author for trying something new but I really enjoyed it.

Mostly first person from heroine's pov, she's a bit cranky, has some trust issues, and been burned but I liked her tough cookie act up against our hero. Hero's a cool, straight-shooter, sexily self-assured, and wary of love cowboy who wears motorcycle boots. They played off each other well and had some hot scenes (who knew campground showers could be such a scorching sex setting). 

Hero's brothers with heroine's bestfriend feature heavily, they're stars of the next books in the series and worked great to add and round out the story. There's some mystery/action/suspense that will keep the pages turning. I thought the last 1/3 or so of the ending was slowed things way down and there were even some sex scenes I started to skim, I felt like the story dragged on a bit too much and the action and danger our characters found themselves in got fantastical and instead of feeling sad/worried, it lost me. 

Otherwise, this was a great something different and I'm definitely going to continue reading in the series.

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review 2018-07-09 02:45
Review: Off the Grid by Monica McCarty
Off the Grid - Monica McCarty

Reviewed for Wit and Sin

 

When a top secret mission goes wrong in Russia and more than half of SEAL Team Nine is killed, the survivors are ordered to scatter and go dark. Only not everyone is willing to let them stay off the grid. Reporter Brittany Blake can smell a government cover up a mile away and since this one involves her missing – possibly dead – brother, she’s not about to let it rest until she discovers the truth.

John Donovan hates being stuck in Finland, doing nothing, while he waits for orders from his lieutenant commander. And while he would like to pretend otherwise, John also can’t move past the death of his best friend and teammate, Brandon Blake. When he’s ordered to shut Brittany up – for her safety as well as the rest of his surviving teammates – it throws him for a loop. Years ago, Brandon made it clear Brittany was off-limits. But with the adrenaline rush of danger and the pull neither John nor Brittany can deny, it’s clear that some promises are meant to be broken…

I really struggled with rating Off the Grid. On the one hand, Monica McCarty’s writing is engaging, drawing me into the book and keeping the story moving at a quick clip. The action is cinematic and the overarching series question of who betrayed SEAL Team Nine and why was interesting. That being said, I struggled with the characters which kept me from liking this book as much as I wanted to.

Brittany Blake gave me flashbacks to Lois Lane (always a good thing). She’s a reporter with a sharp mind and dogged determination to get her story. She has been wronged more than once by a government cover up and her brother is one of the missing SEALs, so I did understand why she was so determined to find out what happened to the group of men she dubbed “The Lost Platoon.” That being said, Brittany’s strengths were also her weaknesses. She can get tunnel vision, which is frustrating when she doesn’t seem to fully understand – or more importantly care – that she’s putting other lives in danger besides her own. One of those lives belongs to John Donovan, the man who broke her heart five years ago. John is known for his laid-back ways, but he’s mostly intense and frustrated in this book. He definitely has reason to be, but at times it felt like his personality had melted away and we were left with a generic military hero, which was a pity. John and Brittany do have chemistry, but their romance paled in comparison to the sexual tension between two supporting characters. Added to that, Brittany and John suffer from the same problem that a lot of characters in this book do: a lack of honest communication. It’s a common enough plot device, but it’s one that I find a bit frustrating, so people who aren’t bothered by this may like their romance more than I did.

Off the Grid isn’t just John and Brittany’s story. Former SEAL Colt and his ex-wife, CIA analyst Kate are working to discover who betrayed Colt’s former team. Colt and Kate are the reason I am so invested in this series. Their chemistry is off-the-charts explosive and the pure drama keeps me coming back for more. The pain, anger, distrust, and lust practically jump off the page and I cannot wait to see if/how Ms. McCarty makes things work for these two. She definitely has her work cut out for her, because even though I got a fair sense of Colt’s history and why he acts the way he does, he definitely is cruel to Kate; so much so that I’m honestly not sure if I should be rooting for him to win her back. Whether or not he does, he and Kate livened up the book and their storyline ensures that I’ll be back for Out of Time, the next Lost Platoon book.


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/2018/07/review-off-grid-by-monica-mccarty.html
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review 2018-07-05 15:16
Birthright by Nora Roberts
Birthright - Nora Roberts

When 5,000-year-old bones are discovered in a field in Maryland, archaeologist Dr. Callie Dunbrook is called to head the excavation project. Unfortunately, her ex-husband, and love of her life, decides to join as lead anthropologist.

Soon, though, the pain of the implosion of their marriage is forgotten, as a stranger starts claiming Callie is her long-lost, kidnapped daughter, and death starts plaguing their archaeology project.


This book was classic Nora Roberts. Wonderful, realistic, flawed characters, drama, explosive chemistry and passion, and intriguing suspense rife with mystery and murder.

I loved the two protagonists, and I absolutely loved their second-chance romance. It was obvious they cared deeply about one another, but never bothered to actually get to know each other while they were married, never bothered to talk things through, hence the implosion. This second time around, thanks to Jake's stubborn refusal to let Callie go a second time, their relationship finally got a chance to grow beyond the stage of sexual attraction and frenzy, and they finally managed to communicate.
I found the initial conflict (and what led to their separation in the first place) a little out of sync with everything I got to know about both characters, especially Callie. I didn't understand her inability to trust him, her inability to realize his feelings, even though he failed to verbalize them. It didn't really gel with her past, since there were no real issues connected to "the conflict" in said past. And since the reader never really gets a chance to see the two before the start of the story, this "mystery" was never resolved.
But their romance worked, because it evolved, it grew in front of the reader's eyes, as the two got to know each other better and maybe for the first time.
And as all NR romances, it had its sweet moments, its dramatic and angsty moments, it had its fights, and it had sizzling chemistry and passion.

The rest of the cast could've easily paled in comparison to the two protagonists, but that's not how Nora Roberts rolls. Each had their own personality, their own issues, their own demons, and their own things in common with the rest, making their relationships and interactions shine no matter what.
The secondary romance was cute and sweet, especially compared to the main one, and the intricacies of the connections between the cast a real pleasure to read.

And then we come to the suspense. It could've easily worked without it, but the suspense added that extra layer of intrigue, mystery, and yes, danger. At first, it looked like two random sub-plots thrown into the story together, until, in the end, it turned out it was all connected.
The subject matter was chilling (and once again easily translated into out every day "normal" lives), and the lengths, the culprits went to to keep the truth buried, even more so.
The suspense elements kept us guessing, kept the characters on their toes, and kept the two protagonists occupied with more pressing matters than fighting. ;)

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review 2018-07-03 16:41
Return to Jenkins Cove by Rebecca York, Ann Voss Peterson & Patricia Rosemoor
Christmas Spirit (A Holiday Mystery at Jenkins Cove) - Rebecca York
Christmas Awakening (A Holiday Mystery at Jenkins Cove) - Ann Voss Peterson
Christmas Delivery (A Holiday Mystery at Jenkins Cove) - Patricia Rosemoor

***copies provided by publisher through NetGalley***

CHRISTMAS SPIRIT by Rebecca York
Chelsea Caldwell is right back where she started, seeing ghosts and being the talk of the town. Yet there's something sinister happening in the small town of Jenkins Cove, and Chelsea might just be the person to uncover it.


It felt like this book couldn't decide what it wanted to be. Romantic suspense, paranormal romance? Each separate classification would've worked, unfortunately, mixed together created an unfortunate mess.

The characters were bland and dull, the plot got lost in the suspense/paranormal/killer/ghosts mess, and the romance left me utterly cold.


CHRISTMAS AWAKENING by Ann Voss Peterson
After ten years, Marie Leonard is back in Jenkins Cove determined to discover why her father's been murdered...But she'll have to deal with skepticism by the local chief of police, the man who broke her heard ten years ago, and a killer determined to silence her forever.


Though this one also had some paranormal elements, it was a much more straightforward romantic suspense story than its predecessor.

Unfortunately, the suspense aspect was the only thing I enjoyed about this one, even though the villain's motive left much to be desired.
The characters were bland (the hero was a self-pitying fool and I simply couldn't stand his moaning toward the end), and the romance tepid.


CHRISTMAS DELIVERY by Patricia Rosemoor
Lexi thought Simon, the father of her preteen daughter, dead for thirteen years, but instead of dead, he's merely been through hell, thanks to human traffickers operating in the small town of Jenkins Cove.
But now, Simon is back, determined to make whoever the culprit is pay...


This second-chance quasi-romance left me utterly cold. The characters were dull and bland, I didn't care about their relationship in the past (since we never got to see it) or in the now (because they simply weren't that compatible).

The main suspense arc of this "series" was never that interesting, so the resolution (rather predictable in all ways) didn't bring much satisfaction.

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review 2018-07-01 16:31
Through the Fire by Katie Ruggle
Through the Fire - Katie Ruggle

***ARC provided by publisher through NetGalley***

Kit Jernigan is the new cop in Monroe, Colorado. After one of their own working with the criminals that turned the small town into a post-apocalyptic movie set, she doesn't take it personally that her three colleagues on the K9 unit are taking their time in trusting her. What chafes is the fact they apparently can't figure out their girlfriends' new roommate isn't what she seems. Why are these three cops willing to trust a stranger over her cop instincts?

There's something off with the woman, Kit feels it in her bones...


Yes, this series at least ended on a high note. Even though it didn't concentrate on victims getting their second chances like the first three did, it featured a strong, confident leading lady (the cover should feature a woman, since the heroine is the one with the dog...and the gun), with killer instincts, and an adorable dog.

I liked Kit's strong cop-woman persona, and I liked her a little awkward girl-with-a-crush persona as well. It matched very well with the adorkable hero, and every scene these two shared, made me smile.
The romance felt a little rushed, since most of the story revolved around the trouble in Monroe and the newest arrival (not to mention the scenes from the villain's point of view), so the reader didn't spend much time with the hero and heroine, but they were cute together, highly compatible, and I loved that he trusted her from the get go.

Unlike her three partners, who were strangely obtuse in their inability/unwillingness to see the truth until it was almost too late—and even then, Kit had to save the day. Girl power!
I never particularly cared for either of the three previous heroes, so their reactions in this book weren't disappointing from the character point of view, but they were disappointing from the point of view of their profession.

The suspense was good, though, keeping the reader guessing just what the villain's purpose was and how that purpose would be accomplished, though I found the resolution to Jules' familial drama rather quickly brushed aside and ended. After all the angst from the first book and through the rest, the "finale" of it all felt like it was written more as an afterthought than a worthy solution.

Beside the strange reactions from the three previous heroes and the easy solution to the problem that began the whole series, this story delivered.
Wonderful protagonists, solid suspense, and an utterly adorable canine partner.

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