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Search tags: suspense-and-thriller
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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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review 2018-06-27 16:11
Blood Magick by Nora Roberts
Blood Magick - Nora Roberts

They were never meant to be together, she one of the three, he the spawn of evil, carrying his mark, yet Branna and Fin still fell in love. Oath, blood and the curse of a dying witch might've kept them apart for more than ten years, but now, as the final battle approaches and the future is uncertain, they must take what moment they can to experience what has been denied them.


And then this happened. After two books of hyping the "epic, star-crossed lovers" tale of the eldest of the three recent descendants of Sorcha, the Dark Witch and the man carrying the blood (and mark) of Cabhan, the evil sorcerer that killed Sorcha and her man, bringing about the creation of the three and prompting Sorcha's curse, this is what we got.
Blah, blah, blah, boohoo to me, I-love-you-but-cannot-be-with-you-no-matter-what-but-have-to-be-with-you-no-matter-what, wringing of hands, cooking, cleaning, blah, blah, blah, let's-make-some-more-witches, let's-make-demon-poison, blah, blah, blah, the end.

This is this third book in a nutshell. Boring.

Where was the drama? Where was the angst of this star-crossed, doomed, cursed love? I have no idea. This book sure didn't deliver.
Even the characters and their interactions were boring. There was no sign of friends and family from the previous two books. They were just there for form's sake, to warrant another book, if you will.
There sure wasn't enough material for an entire book in this story, so it had to be filled with ballast and redundant scenes (cooking, cleaning, making of soaps, taking strolls in the woods...)

Even the final confrontation with the big bad wasn't that satisfying. It read like overkill, too large-scale, too much everything; it actually turned into almost a parody (and it would've, if this series had any more books to come).

Come to think of it, the entire arc of the trilogy didn't have enough story meat to fill three books. It could've easily been condensed into a single one (like Three Fates for example). It would've packed more of a punch, instead of spreading itself thin.

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review 2018-06-26 15:38
Shadow Spell by Nora Roberts
Shadow Spell - Nora Roberts

They've known each other since they were children, but they were always only friends. Then, one night after his near brush with death, things change with a sizzling kiss, and their friendship evolves, strengthening the circle against evil...


The evil Cabhan still isn't vanquished (that's why it's called a trilogy folks), but the bonds of family, blood, love and friendship still hold true in this particular trilogy. It was like visiting with old friends, ones you know from childhood, ones you share joy and sorrow, know their deepest secrets. And this is what I love most about Nora Roberts writing—realistic characters. True, they're mostly flawed, with deep-seated issues and scars, but they feel real, normal, living, human. Their relationships and interactions are always a pleasure to read.

This time it was Connor and Meara's turn. It could've gone the icky way, this friendship of theirs "marred" by deeper emotions, but having gotten to know both of them, the reader knows and feels those emotions are already there, they just needed to be dug out.
It brought heartache and annoyance (thanks to the heroine and her abandonment issues), but it also brought joy and laughter. Much needed before the final battle begins; both with Cabhan, but mostly between Branna and Fin.

This was the middle one of the trilogy, so it didn't bring anything really new to the table as far as the big bad is concerned (except for a few new forms of fighting him and him eluding them), and nothing really new about the characters (except for the two best friends turning into lovers), but it wasn't bad.

Well-written and well-paced, it gave us the calm before the storm, some lighthearted scenes, and the warning to brace before the big finale.

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