2017 Book #80 – Pretend You’re Safe by Alexandra Ivy

514EgbkGzQLTitle: Pretend You’re Safe
Author: Alexandra Ivy
Date finished: 9/14/17
Genre: Romantic suspense
Publisher: Zebra
Publication Date: August 29, 2017
Pages in book: 352
Stand alone or series: Part of a 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:

HE SEES YOU
First came the floods. Then came the bodies. The victims—strangled, then buried along the shores of the Mississippi—have finally been unearthed, years after they disappeared. He remembers every satisfying kill . . . each woman’s terror and agony. But there’s only one he truly wanted. And fate has brought her within reach again . . .

HE KNOWS YOU
Jaci Patterson was sixteen when she found the first golden locket on her porch. Inside were a few strands of hair wrapped around a scrap of bloodstained ribbon. Though the “gifts” kept arriving, no one believed her hunch that a serial killer was at work. Now Jaci has returned home . . . and the nightmare is starting once more.

AND HE’LL NEVER LET YOU GO
Back then, Rylan Cooper was an arrogant deputy sheriff convinced that Jaci was just an attention—seeking teen. It was a fatal mistake. There’s a murderer in their midst, someone determined to settle old scores and keep playing a twisted game. And it won’t end until Jaci is his forever . . .

My rating:  3.25 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 book tells the story of Jaci Patterson and Rylan Cooper. When Jaci and Rylan were younger, Rylan worked in the sheriff’s office as a deputy. It was there that he ignored Jaci’s cries for help and created this whole problem. Jaci had been receiving lockets with bloody hair attached to them when she was still in high school and she was (obviously) worried about what it meant. Rylan was a little less worried as he was convinced that Jaci is just making all of this up to get his attention. Fast forward to years later, the lockets have started arriving again. And when women she know start disappearing, it becomes obvious that her stalker is losing control. Luckily Rylan is back in town and is now ready to protect her at all costs.

Overall I liked this book, it was an ok story. The story line was interesting and the story built up but for some reason I couldn’t feel much build up of suspense from the story. Jaci as a character too was kind of annoying, and Rylan too I guess. I did like that I had trouble figuring out who the bad guy was, and I liked the way that Rylan eventually figured it out I thought it was very creative/different. Overall this was a pretty good book.

The bottom line: I thought this book was fairly good. The suspense piece of the book was a little lacking but other than that I liked the story.

Link to author website

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2017 Book #68 – Seeing Red by Sandra Brown

41WS6IgGCGLTitle: Seeing Red
Author: Sandra Brown
Date finished: 8/14/17
Genre: Fiction, romantic suspense
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Publication Date: August 15, 2017
Pages in book: 432
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:

Kerra Bailey is a TV journalist hot on the trail of a story guaranteed to skyrocket her career to new heights. Twenty-five years ago, Major Franklin Trapper became a national icon when he was photographed leading a handful of survivors to safety after the bombing of a Dallas hotel. For years, he gave frequent speeches and interviews but then suddenly dropped out of the public eye, shunning all media. Now Kerra is willing to use any means necessary to get an exclusive with the Major–even if she has to secure an introduction from his estranged son, former ATF agent John Trapper.

Still seething over his break with both the ATF and his father, Trapper wants no association with the bombing or the Major. Yet Kerra’s hints that there’s more to the story rouse Trapper’s interest despite himself. And when the interview goes catastrophically awry–with unknown assailants targeting not only the Major, but also Kerra–Trapper realizes he needs her under wraps if he’s going to track down the gunmen . . . and finally discover who was responsible for the Dallas bombing.

Kerra is wary of a man so charming one moment and dangerous the next, and she knows Trapper is withholding evidence from his ATF investigation into the bombing. But having no one else to trust and enemies lurking closer than they know, Kerra and Trapper join forces to expose a sinuous network of lies and conspiracy–and uncover who would want a national hero dead.

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 book tells the story of Kerra Bailey, a local TV reporter in Dallas, Texas, and John Trapper, a surly private investigator who used to work for the ATF. John came up with what seemed like a conspiracy theory about the Pegasus Hotel bombing from years ago, and got fired because of it. But now that Kerra has interviewed John’s father (the hero of the Pegasus bombing) John’s theories don’t seem all that crazy now that Kerra and his father’s lives are threatened. Kerra and John team up to try and get to the bottom of it, but along the way John begins to develop feelings for her.
Overall I did really like this book. One of my favorite parts about it was that the first plot twist/surprise happened pretty early on in the book, which is why I can’t write too much about what happened without giving it away. The character development in this was good but not what I would call on par with some of Brown’s previous books. That being said, there were some great twists and turns in the plot of this novel, I definitely didn’t expect the ending to work out the way it did. Once we got to the big standoff scene, things happened kind of quickly and the ending (which was a little sad) wrapped up fast. There were some pieces of the plot that didn’t exactly fit for me, it seemed like it was a bit of a reach for the reasoning behind the twist to fit into the story. I still really liked the plot overall though and the book. I always love Sandra Brown’s books and while this book wasn’t my all-time favorite of hers (for the record that would be Deadline) it was still a great read!

The bottom line: I liked this book a lot, there were some great twists and turns in the story line, some of which I didn’t see coming. And the relationship between the two main characters had great tension and good development. There were some pieces of the story that didn’t fit quite right for me but overall I still really liked it. I would recommend it!

Link to author website

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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

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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

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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

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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

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