2017 Book #48 – Beyond Reason by Kat Martin

51rgLPburgLTitle: Beyond Reason
Author: Kat Martin
Date finished: 5/31/17
Genre: Romantic suspense
Publisher: Zebra Books
Publication Date: May 30, 2017
Pages in book: 400
Stand alone or series: #1 in new Texas series
Where I got the book from: NetGalley NOTE: I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

Five weeks ago Carly Drake stood at her grandfather’s grave. Now she’s burying Drake Trucking’s top driver, and the cops have no leads on the hijacking or murder. Faced with bankruptcy, phone threats and the fear of failure, Carly has to team up with the last man she wants to owe—Lincoln Cain.
Cain is magnetic, powerful, controlling—and hiding more than one secret. He promised Carly’s granddad he’d protect her. The old man took a chance on him when he was nothing but a kid with a record, and now he’s the multi-millionaire owner of a rival firm.
But Linc’s money can’t protect Carly from the men who’ll do anything to shut her down, or the secrets behind Drake Trucking. If she won’t sell out, the only way to keep her safe is to keep her close . . . and fight like hell.

My rating:  2.75 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. This book tells the story of Carly Drake and Lincoln Cain.  Carly has recently inherited Drake Trucking Company from her grandfather, and she returns to Iron Springs, Texas to settle down and build her business.  After being a flight attendant for years, she’s had plenty of adventures and now wants to settle into somewhere she can call home.  Little does she know though that she is walking right into the path of a vicious drug lord. Linc promised Carly’s grandfather that he would look out for her after Joe’s death, and so he too finds himself drawn into a dangerous world of criminal activity.  And as Linc fights to protect Carly at all costs, they both discover a connection they never expected.
Overall this wasn’t my favorite book. Carly as a character was just way too insecure for me, I found it hard to connect with her character because she was so contradictory. She supposedly had such great backbone and that’s why Linc loved her, but I feel like someone with that much backbone would recognize their own self worth and not constantly feel that Linc couldn’t possibly actually care for her.  She spent most of the book convinced that Linc was way out of her league just because he was a millionaire and that they would never end up together. I get that she had been burned by men in the past but it just got a bit repetitive for me. And she kept trying to leave when she got scared of the depth of the feelings involved in their new relationship, completely ignoring the fact that a drug lord was trying to hunt her down. That part made me frustrated, like worry about your life first, feelings second. Other than that, the interactions between all of the characters felt somewhat stilted and forced, dramatic scenes that should have been full of tension fell flat and sometimes felt awkward. The plot was really busy too, it felt like there were so many different things going on all squished into one plot it felt like to much sometimes. The story line wasn’t awful it just didn’t grab at me. I wouldn’t say that I would recommend or not recommend it, give it a try if it sounds interesting to you.

The bottom line: This was not my favorite book. The plot line had potential but there was just a lot going on within the plot. And I couldn’t get connected to the characters at all, the plot and characters both fell a little flat for me.

Link to author website

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2016 Book #116 – Til Death Do Us Part by Amanda Quick

51qlhx3infl-_sx329_bo1204203200_Title: Til Death Do Us Part
Author: Amanda Quick
Date finished: 12/8/16
Genre: Historical fiction
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: April 19, 2016
Pages in book: 342
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: BookBrowse NOTE:I received this book for free from BookBrowse in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

Calista Langley operates an exclusive “introduction” agency in Victorian London, catering to respectable ladies and gentlemen who find themselves alone in the world. But now, a dangerously obsessed individual has begun sending her trinkets and gifts suitable only for those in deepest mourning—a black mirror, a funeral wreath, a ring set with black jet stone. Each is engraved with her initials.
Desperate for help and fearing that the police will be of no assistance, Calista turns to Trent Hastings, a reclusive author of popular crime novels. Believing that Calista may be taking advantage of his lonely sister, who has become one of her clients, Trent doesn’t trust her. Scarred by his past, he’s learned to keep his emotions at bay, even as an instant attraction threatens his resolve.
But as Trent and Calista comb through files of rejected clients in hopes of identifying her tormentor, it becomes clear that the danger may be coming from Calista’s own secret past—and that only her death will satisfy the stalker…

My rating:  4.0 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. I received this book from Book Browse in a giveaway a few months back and I finally got some time to read it. This book tells the story of Calista Langley and Trent Hastings. Calista runs an “introduction agency” out of her house, creating a safe environment for people of the gentry to meet new people and learn about new things at the same time. It’s kind of like a modern day singles mixer. And this is how Calista ends up meeting Trent, who comes in to try and prevent his sister from being scammed by a fortune hunter at home of Calista’s singles events. Trent is a well known local author. His Clive Stone detective series has been immensely popular. And when someone begins focusing on Calista in a very deadly way, Trent must pull on all his research and do everything in his power to help protect her.
Overall I liked this book. I enjoy Jayne Ann Krentz books and all her other pen names. This book was fairly predictable for an Amanda Quick novel, it follows a pretty similar story line: independent woman comes under some kind of threat and a stoic and seemingly tamed beastly man comes along to save her. It’s a good story line formula and this book was no exception. The plot was interesting and set at a good pace so the reader doesn’t get bored at any points. Calista is fierce and independent, exactly as I’d expect. The cast of characters were all endearing and the villain was not someone I would have expected, which made it quite a good suspense. Overall I enjoyed this book and I would say if you’ve liked other Quick novels to give this one a read.

The bottom line: I liked this book, it had an interesting story line and was a good read. It was pretty standard plot line for this author, I would recommend if you’d read and enjoyed other Amanda Quick novels.

Link to author website

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

2016 Book #69 – The Witness by Sandra Brown

51Fjdq-jF4L._SX326_BO1,204,203,200_Title: The Witness
Author: Sandra Brown
Date finished: 7/12/16
Genre: Fiction, romantic suspense
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing (Reprint)
Publication Date: Originally 1996, Reprint March 29, 2016
Pages in book: 418
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: Target – purchased

Blurb from the cover:

Kendall Deaton pulls herself and her baby out of a wrecked car, and a mixture of courage and fear gets her to the top of a ravine, where she flags down help. But she doesn’t dare reveal her true identity to the authorities. Instead, she plans her immediate escape. Her perilous flight begins.
The best public defender in Prosper, South Carolina, Kendall had stumbled upon the town’s chilling secret, turning her marriage to one of the town’s most powerful men into a living hell. Now Kendall is a terrified mother trying to save her child’s life…a reluctant witness who knows too much about an insidious evil…and a woman surrounded by forces that will stop at nothing to protect what is “theirs.”

My rating:  4.0 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: So if you read my blog you know that overall I am definitely a fan of Sandra Brown. I’m slowly trying to make my way through her backlist and since I’ve been so good at avoiding my ARC’s lately I decided to pick up. However, I have a tip for my future self: Never pick up a Sandra Brown book on a Sunday night unless you are (1) on vacation that week or (2) have somehow discovered in the future that sleep is no longer needed. Once I start reading a Sandra Brown book it is so hard for me to put it down. I was up until midnight last night finishing it. This book was about Kendall Deaton, a defense attorney in Prosper, South Carolina, who stumbles on a horrible crime out in the woods one night. In order to survive she runs away without leaving any trace, hoping to escape the clutches of a dangerous and deadly adversary. I don’t want to go too much into the plot line because of the twists and turns, I don’t want to give anything away! Even though some of the plot twists were somewhat predictable, they were all great and the story line kept me on my toes throughout. The only plot twist that didn’t really fit for me was the one at the end, I almost felt like it was added as an afterthought. It didn’t fit well for me with the rest of the story, but that’s just me!
Overall I really liked this book. It was definitely a page-turner, and my heart was pounding throughout the book. I must warn you readers, some parts of this book were downright gruesome, but it only adds to the evil character of the villains. I really liked this book overall and I would definitely recommend it, especially to Sandra Brown fans!!

The bottom line: This was a great read. The plot line definitely had my heart pounding and I was interested in the story right through to the end. There were a couple somewhat slow parts for me but overall was definitely a great book.

Link to author website

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

2016 Book #47 – Troublemaker by Linda Howard

51nHA6Z+dQL._SX328_BO1,204,203,200_Title: Troublemaker
Author: Linda Howard
Date finished: 5/14/16
Genre: Romantic suspense
Publisher: William Morrow
Publication Date: May 10, 2016
Pages in book: 400
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: Edelweiss NOTE: I received this book for free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

For Morgan Yancy, an operative and team leader in a paramilitary group, nothing comes before his job. But when he’s ambushed and almost killed, his supervisor is determined to find out who’s after the members of his elite squad—and why. Due to worries that this unknown enemy will strike again, Morgan is sent to a remote location and told to lay low and stay vigilant. But between a tempting housemate he’s determined to protect and a deadly threat waiting in the shadows, keeping under the radar is proving to be his most dangerous mission yet.
The part-time police chief of a small West Virginian mountain town, Isabeau “Bo” Maran finally has her life figured out. She’s got friends, a dog, and a little money in the bank. Then Morgan Yancy shows up on her doorstep. Bo doesn’t need a mysterious man in her life—especially a troublemaker as enticing and secretive as Morgan.
The harder they fight the intense heat between them, the closer Morgan and Bo become, even though she knows he’s hiding from something. But discovering the truth could cost Bo more than she’s willing to give. And when Morgan’s cover is blown, it might just cost her life.

My rating: 4.25 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. This is my fourth book that I’ve finished during the Bout of Books 16 read-a-thon and was the fourth one on my goals list. Also, this book will count towards my “PopSugar 2016 Checklist” reading challenge, marking off the “a book that’s guaranteed to bring you joy.” Linda Howard is one of my all-time favorite authors and this is the first book she’s published in a while so I knew I was going to to love it and since it was by my favorite author, that it would bring me joy. This book is about Isabeau “Bo” Maran, who is the chief of police in a very small town in West Virginia.She is surprised when she arrives home one day to discover a recently wounded man waiting in her driveway, Morgan Yancy. Bo’s jerk of a stepbrother, Axel, decided the best place to hide his best operative (Morgan) was in the middle of nowhere, which just happens to be where Bo lives. Bo is not exactly excited about having a house guest but she feels too bad for Morgan in his extremely weak state to send him away. So she lets him stay and recuperate at her house with her and her dog, Tricks.
Overall I really liked this book a lot! I haven’t seen anything new from this author in the last couple years so I was screaming like a fan girl when I found out about this release. They say that Linda Howard is the master of romantic suspense and I think that title still holds true. I was engrossed in this book and didn’t want to put it down. While it was suspenseful, it was also so very sweet. Bo’s small town is so welcoming to Morgan and so loving and supportive to Bo. There were a lot of really touching moments. Tricks was honestly one of the coolest pieces of the book, she was Bo’s dog and was a very interesting character. Bo and Morgan were great characters to get to know better and had great chemistry and tension in the book. I am so very glad that Linda Howard published a new book this year!

The bottom line: I am a huge fan of Linda Howard, she is probably one of my all-time favorite authors. This book was suspenseful and thrilling, I didn’t want to put it down. I would definitely recommend!

Link to author website

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

2016 Book #41 – Lake of Dreams by Linda Howard

51gKes3bHzL._SX320_BO1,204,203,200_Title: Lake of Dreams
Author: Linda Howard
Date finished: 5/2/16
Genre: Romantic suspense
Publisher: Pocket Star
Publication Date: May 2, 2016, originally published 1995
Pages in book: 73
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: NetGalley NOTE:I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

House painter Thea Marlow hasn’t been sleeping very well. Her nights are plagued by dreams, the setting by the water and the mysterious man who appears in them always the same. But the outcome of the dream changes nightly: sometimes the man loves her…and sometimes he kills her. Desperate for some much needed relaxation, Thea travels to her family’s remote country lake house. Imagine her surprise when a knock at the door reveals the man from her dreams…who happens to have just rented the house next door.
So will he love her—or will he kill her?

My rating:  4.5 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. Also, this book will count towards my “PopSugar 2016 Checklist” reading challenge, marking off the “a book that’s under 150 pages” check box since this novella was only 73 pages. This one was actually a re-read for me but when I saw it available on NetGalley I thought this would be a great time to re-read it! This book is about Thea Marlow, who retreats to her family’s lake cottage after a month of strange, extremely detailed, life-like dreams, hoping that the rest and relaxation she usually finds at the lake will help her catch up on her sleep. Unfortunately, over the last month she has developed an extreme, debilitating fear of water, completely out of nowhere. And then she meets the man renting the neighboring cottage, who has eyes exactly like the man Thea’s been dreaming about every night for the past month.
Overall, I just love this novella. This was a re-read for me, so I already expected to like it but reading this again just reminded me how much I love Linda Howard’s books. For me she is the master of creating a gut-twisting suspense while also developing a love story. I thought the way she developed the relationship between the two main characters in such a short span of time (73 pages) was expertly done. And the plot line is really creative, I would love to read a full length book with the same plot line idea. This novella goes fast because it is so short but it is still a really good read and one that I would most definitely recommend!!

The bottom line: I would definitely recommend this one. I am a huge fan of everything Linda Howard writes and this one may be a short story but it definitely doesn’t disappoint. Suspenseful, thrilling, and sexy! Must read!

Link to author website

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

2015 Book #116 – Mean Streak by Sandra Brown (Re-read)

51teSFEPCWL This was my November book club book for the Fiction Lover’s Book Discussion. I was debating at first whether or not to read it since I just read it last year (you can see my original review post here) but I enjoyed it so I decided to read it again. I’m not going to do my usual review post since I’ve already technically reviewed the book, instead I’m going to add any additional notes I have on the book and also discuss any interesting items that came up during our book club’s discussion.

MY THOUGHTS:

In addition to the thoughts on this book that I initially expressed during my review of the book last year, I thought I would share some thoughts I had this go-around. I always find it interesting the little things that you pick up on when you read a book (or watch a movie) a second or third (or etc) time around. This book is pretty straight forward so I didn’t pick up a lot of extra hidden meaning items that I didn’t quite get the first time around. I still really enjoyed the story though, which is a mark of a good book for me. This book still held my interest throughout the whole story even though I just read it last year.

BOOK CLUB DISCUSSION POINTS: **(SPOILERS INCLUDED)**

Everyone seemed to overall like the book ok but to be honest this probably wasn’t a great pick for a discussion book, mostly because there isn’t much to discuss. The characters and the story line don’t really bring up many discussion items or questions.  One of the things that came up is that the beginning of the book we’re lead to believe that the main guy character is a bad guy who has done something awful and there is a lot of effort and different pieces of the story line that lead the reader to think this. The turn around though when we find out he’s really like an ex-FBI agent, its not an easy transition for the reader to follow necessarily.
Other than that there wasn’t much to talk about, we all agreed it was a pretty interesting book that keeps the reader engaged. Happy reading!

2015 Book #88 – Friction by Sandra Brown

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Title: Friction
Author: Sandra Brown
Date finished: 8/18/15
Genre: Romantic suspense
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Publication Date: August 18, 2015
Pages in book: 416
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: NetGalley NOTE: I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

Crawford Hunt wants his daughter back. Following the death of his wife four years ago, Crawford, a Texas Ranger, fell into a downward spiral that left him relegated to deskwork and with his five-year-old daughter Georgia in the custody of her grandparents. But Crawford has cleaned up his act, met all the court imposed requirements, and now the fate of his family lies with Judge Holly Spencer.
Holly, ambitious and confident, temporarily occupies the bench of her recently deceased mentor. With an election upcoming, she must prove herself worthy of making her judgeship permanent. Every decision is high-stakes. Despite Crawford’s obvious love for his child and his commitment to being an ideal parent, Holly is wary of his checkered past. Her opinion of him is radically changed when a masked gunman barges into the courtroom during the custody hearing. Crawford reacts instinctually, saving Holly from a bullet.
But his heroism soon takes on the taint of recklessness. The cloud over him grows even darker after he uncovers a horrifying truth about the courtroom gunman and realizes that the unknown person behind the shooting remains at large . . .and a threat.
Catching the real culprit becomes a personal fight for Crawford. But pursuing the killer in his customary diehard fashion will jeopardize his chances of gaining custody of his daughter, and further compromise Judge Holly Spencer, who needs protection not only from an assassin, but from Crawford himself and the forbidden attraction between them.
FRICTION will keep you on the edge of your seat with breathtaking plot twists and the unforgettable characters that make Sandra Brown one of the world’s best-loved authors. It is an extraordinary novel about the powerful ties that bind us to the ones we love and the secrets we keep to protect them.

My rating: 4.0 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: This book will be counting towards my goal for ARC August reading challenge, it is #9 on list from my sign up post. I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. I am a HUGE fan of Sandra Brown’s books, one of my first posts ever on my blog I talked about her book Deadline that I had read in 2013. There was a huge plot twist in the end that I never saw coming and it just floored me. I think that was my main issue, because Deadline really took my so much by surprise I was sitting through most of this book waiting for the other shoe to drop and for there to be that WTF moment and it happened but it wasn’t the shocker that I thought it would be. So I finished the book almost like still waiting for something more to happen instead of just enjoying what I was reading. So I guess my advice with this book is just to enjoy it and not look too much into the story because it is a good story but if you think too hard you’re going to make it harder for yourself to enjoy it.
Anyways so this book was about Judge Holly Spencer and Crawford Hunt, a Texas Ranger who is petitioning for custody of his daughter (Georgia) from the girl’s grandparents. I guess when Georgia was still a baby, her mom died and then Crawford came like unhinged and the grandparents had to take care of the baby for awhile and now they don’t want to give her back. Which honestly is one of the few things I ended up not liking about this book. Crawford’s father-in-law Joe was like a complete jerk to him and thought he should’ve gotten more of what was coming to him than he did. Crawford so obviously loved that little girl I don’t understand why Grace and Joe were trying to keep her from her own father, it still makes me mad just thinking about it. Moving on, Holly was the judge deciding whether Georgia would be returned to her father or not. But before Holly made her decision, a freaky scary guy came into the courtroom and started shooting up the place. Crawford helps to save Holly’s life and then from there we have to try and figure out who the shooter was.
Overall I really liked this book, it had a great story line and it was a quick read for me even though it was a fairly long book. I really just love how Brown draws you into the story and you just have to know what’s going to happen so you keep reading (even if its way past your bedtime). Her books are continually ones that I end up with book hangovers because I just can’t ever seem to get to a point where I can put it down and go to sleep. This book was another good one of hers, though I have to be honest Deadline is still my favorite I’ve read of hers so far. The tension between Holly and Crawford literally crackles and you can feel the magnetic pull between the two. No matter how hard they try to fight it, they are drawn to each other time and again. This book will keep you on your toes through the end!

The bottom line: I really enjoyed this book, I was hooked into the story from the beginning. It was a good suspense, I wouldn’t say it is my favorite written by this author but it is a good book! I would recommend it.

Link to author website

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page