Review: Power Exchange (Power Exchange #1) by A.J. Rose

Review:  Power Exchange (Power Exchange #1) by A.J. RoseSeries: Power Exchange #1
on September 15th, 2012
Pages: 270 pages
Amazon • (Website, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads)
From the moment Detective Gavin DeGrassi steps into the world of BDSM to solve the brutal slaying of Dom George Kaiser, his course is not his own. Mesmerized by the context in which the victim lived and the images of the lifestyle seared into his soul, Gavin must find a way to navigate these unknown waters. With his personal life in upheaval due to marital trouble, and his professional life uncertain with the assignment of a new partner, Gavin needs all the help he can get understanding the case.

Enter Ben Haverson, a psychologist and a well known Dom. With Ben’s help as a consultant and attention to Gavin's own murky truths, Gavin delves deeper than he ever thought he would into the world of restraints and paddles. Forced to scrutinize his true nature and his innermost desires, Gavin has a choice: keep the fear of submitting at bay, or dive in and solve the case with the knowledge he gains. When another victim is discovered, Gavin’s choice is made for him, and he’s pulled headlong into the deepest, most emotional journey of his life.

Unfortunately for him and Ben, a killer has noticed, has taken stock, and has set his sights on the D/s pair. Can Gavin outwit him, or will his first exchange of power be his last?

I like it but there was something a little too rapid with the MC’s change in desire for my liking.

Gavin DeGrassi was investigating a murder of a Dom who frequented a club called Collard. During the course of his investigation, Gavin and his cop partner interviewed patrons, witness a BDSM scene and talked with a therapist about the BDSM lifestyle.

When Gavin DeGrassi and his wife hit a skid in their marriage, Gavin decides not only to try a male lover, but to try the BDSM lifestyle. Those are two huge things, and it was just such an about face for me. Gavin enters into a BDSM contract with the Therapist Ben, who has been consulting on the murder investigation, which strikes me as a conflict of interest. I mean, I am not sure the therapist had been ruled out as a potential suspect. Ben and Gavin begin training together and Gavin takes to the lifestyle like fish to water. But the murder is an insider and has been watching. The murders escalate and Gavin knows time is running out before either he or Ben catch the eeye of this sadist killer. What’s a cop to do?

I actually liked the new relationship and the ease that he was allowed to feel and be appreciated. It does seem to suit him better. That’s why I was torn on the rating. i also liked the writing. It wasn’t fluffy but it wasn’t too wordy either. It was just kind of smooth to me. Ben and Gavin were likable characters and their relationship really satisfied the both of them. I will read book 2.

About A.J. Rose

I talk to imaginary people, speak of events that didn’t happen. I tell lies. Also known as fiction, of the gay erotic variety.

Review: Rush by Nyrae Dawn

Review: Rush by Nyrae Dawnon May 6th 2014
Pages: 272 pages
Amazon
Brandon Chase has always defined himself by one thing: football. Tough and athletic, he is a great college player who enjoys the hard hits and the sweaty grind of the gridiron. But when Brandon is injured, only one person can help him get back on track-a forbidden love he's desperately tried to put behind him.

Alec Andrews has never quite forgiven Brandon for walking away when their friendship turned into something more. But he can't deny help to one of his closest friends. As the two spend the long, hot summer working together, their old attraction comes flooding back.

Now as Alec thinks about coming out to his conservative family and Brandon considers revealing he's a gay football player, the two men must be strong to fight for a love that could be the greatest rush of their lives.
three-stars

It was okay. Minimal angst for this Coming of the closet book.

Brandon Chase was a young high school football player with aspirations to play college football, and possibly the NFL. The problem though is that he has been nursing an attraction to his best friend Alec Andrews. Everyone around him, including Brandon, has made his life synonymous with football, so Brandon’s identity is wrapped up in being a football player.

Brandon was afraid that if people knew he was gay, the guys on his team wouldn’t trust him on the field and he would lose the one thing that was his life. So he broke up with Alec and went on to college. But a year and half later, they were reunited when Brandon had a near fatal car accident. During his recovery period, Brandon started questioning things in his life and who he was.
Alec wanted to be with Brandon, but he also didn’t want to be thing that kept Brandon from achieving his dream. So Alec had to decide if being a secret would be enough for him.

Both Brandon and Alec had to make tough choices and face their fears in order not to lose their connection to each other. Because they both understood the football world enough to know that their relationship would not be celebrated. Can Alec honestly make Brandon chose?

This one was a tame story, a bit cliche actually. I found Brandon’s constant declaration about football being his life to be annoying and kind of childish. It’s like he was trying to give himself a reason as to why he couldn’t hold Alec’s hand in public or make any decision in life.
He was afraid for most of the book, but I understood his fear.

Alec seemed to be passive agressive to me. He loved Brandon and didn’t want to interefere with football, but he also was angry they could be out, so he lashed out. I also didn’t like his family. It’s hard to really explain but this book didn’t hit an emotional nerve for me. I didn’t feel good or bad about their relationship and that’s sad that I couldn’t engage.

It was an okay read but I thought Dawn could have done this YA-ish m-m much better.

Special thanks to Forever (Grand Central Publishing) via Netgalley for e-ARC

Review: Ties that Bind (Men of Honor, #3) by S.E. Jakes

Review: Ties that Bind (Men of Honor, #3) by S.E. JakesSeries: Men of Honor #3
on November 29th, 2011
Pages: 79 pages
Amazon
Can two men let go of the past in order to find their future together?

When helo pilot Glen Rhodes flies Navy SEALs into the most dangerous places on earth, he has nerves of steel. Since his trusted Dom’s death three years ago, though, the thought of submitting makes him panic.
Determined to move on and long past ready to release the adrenaline rush from his job, Glen returns to home ground—and to the bar he hasn’t had the heart to enter for three long years. There, he meets a man who seems to fit naturally into the void.

Derek Mann has suffered his own losses, and he isn’t looking for permanent. Easy conquests don’t interest him, either. One look at Glen’s proud military bearing and sad eyes tells him that he has a challenge on his hands. And that winning Glen’s trust will unleash something wild and beautiful.

The plan is to tread lightly. But from the first touch of skin on skin, there’s no holding back…except when it comes to their deepest emotions. A Christmas Eve crisis pushes them both to their limits, leaving them no choice but to let go of the past...or let it pull them apart.
Warning: Contains rough language, rougher sex and warriors who fall hard for each other.
three-stars

Navy pilot Glen Rhodes has been trying to find his equilibrium after his dom died three years ago. They had been together for 5 years and no one has been able to Glen. After a particularly rough mission, Glen returned to his deceased Dom’s club, hoping to find something.

The minute he came in the door, he had a panic attack but a new-to-him Dom Derek Mann stepped in and helped him calm down. Derek found himself attacked to Glen and wanted to earn Glen’s trust and submission.

See Derek had been looking for a new sub as his longtime sub had passed away. Is it possible that these two could find companionship and fill the void left by the past loves?

This one wasn’t as good as Bound by Law but it still hit the spot. Glen was a little bossy and difficult for a sub, but he was also very damaged by his upbrining. Derek was patient, caring and just great. He really took care of Glen and thus earning Glen’s submission.

I am ready for TomCat now!

Review: Home Work (Life Lessons #3) by Kaje Harper

Review: Home Work (Life Lessons #3) by Kaje HarperSeries: Life Lessons #3
on October 5th 2012
Pages: 356 pages
Amazon • (Website, Facebook, Goodreads)
Mac and Tony thought the hard part was over. They’re together openly as a couple, sharing a home and building a life with their two children. It’s what they dreamed of. But daughter Anna struggles with the changes, Ben is haunted by old secrets, Mac’s job in Homicide still demands too much of his time, and Tony is caught in the middle. It’s going to take everything these men can give to create a viable balance between home and work. Especially when the outside world seems determined to throw obstacles in their way.
four-half-stars

★★★★½
Another slight cliff hanger? Kaje Harper, you are killing me. You know how much I love Mac!!!

Mac and Tony are now raising their kids, Anna & Ben together as one family unit. They are trying to make the transition as bachelors to fathers with young children. They were definitely struggling to create a routine. Mac’s job as a homicide detective still required a lot of odd hours and Tony was overwhelmed trying to fill in the gap by himself.

Mac had difficulty setting boundaries with work time and home time and Tony seemed to be getting resentful of having all home life duties dumped on him. How can Mac let Tony and the kids see they are his #1 priorities when he is never there?

My enjoyment of this book was elevated by the supporting cast: Oliver, Bree, Jamie and Gina. They are the ones who kept this relationship from crumbling under the weight of the all expectations. They just wrapped the foursome with their love and it grounded the story. Obviously Mac loves Tony, but this is the most expressive and open Mac has ever been and Tony needed that. Tony is great for Mac and I loved Mac finally putting Tony’s needs first. The only thing that I am waiting for is the final act of complete honesty and trust, when Mac tells Tony some of the past pains that he still hides from Tony. The trip to the bondage club definitely touched on that issue a bit. I hope Mac will let Tony in and let Tony help him heal both physically. and emotionally.

Oliver is shaping up to be such an awesome partner. That’s what I love about Kaje Harper, the realism of her writing. It has truly been a process for Oliver to accept that his partner Mac is gay, and what that means for them at work. Bree, Jamie and Mama Gina are just awesome, the kids really needed that female touch and they are getting it in spades. Those kids are definitely getting the love they need to feel secure in this new family unit.

The murder investigation really took a dark turn, and I was so disappointed that IA let Terrence off the hook. I understand why, but I am hoping that Terrence will face more repercussions in the future because he continues to allow his bigotry affect his work. I am looking forward to the resolution of that murder case in book 4.

About Kaje Harper

I live in Minnesota, where the two seasons are Snow-removal and Road-repair, the mosquito is the state bird, and where sometimes in winter it can be breathtakingly beautiful. Of course, the deepfreeze chill contributes to the breath-taking, but Minnesota’s a kindly, quiet place and it’s home to me now. I’ve been writing for far longer than I care to admit (*whispers – forty years*), mostly for my own entertainment, and currently am focused on M/M romance (with added mystery, fantasy, history, SciFi…) I also have a few Young Adult stories released under the pen name Kira Harp.

My first professionally published book, Life Lessons, came out from MLR Press in May 2011. My husband finally convinced me that after all that time writing, I really should submit something, somewhere. I was thrilled when it was accepted. I have a weakness for closeted cops with honest hearts, and teachers who speak their minds, and I had fun writing the four novels and three freebie short stories in the series. I’ve been just delighted by the reception Mac and Tony have received.

My first free book became the first story that I actually released – I put it up a month before Life Lessons just for the fun of getting it out there. Lies and Consequences began as a reaction to the November 2010 election. It looked like the repeal of DADT might be derailed by the political shift and I put the insanity of that law into the book. Then as I was finishing the first draft in mid-December the repeal passed. Which was great, but prompted a rewrite to a lighter and more action/romance book. This was a solo effort and I learned a lot from writing and releasing it and from the reviews. Check Smashwords for that one and many of my other freebies.

I now have a decent backlist in ebooks and print, both free and professionally published. A complete list with links can be found on my Books page. This writing thing is addictive. So read, comment, tell me what you like and what you don’t, and help me make the upcoming books even better. I have an author page on Goodreads where I do a lot of book reviews, and this blog is reposted there.

You can find me to chat on my author page on Goodreads most easily – I hang out on Goodreads a lot because I moderate the Goodreads YA LGBT Books group there. I also post free short YA stories on that group, more than 50 of them so far.

You can also email me : kajeharper ~at~ yahoo ~dot~ com or find me on Facebook –

Review: If It Drives (Market Garden, Book 7) by L.A. Witt & Aleksandr Voinov

Review: If It Drives (Market Garden, Book 7) by L.A. Witt & Aleksandr VoinovSeries: Market Garden #7
on March 31st, 2014
Pages: 222
Amazon • (Website, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads)
If it flies, drives, or fornicates, it's cheaper to rent it.

After driving James Harcourt, his wealthy banker boss, around for a year and a half, Cal isn’t surprised by much anymore. Not even James’s regular trips to Market Garden, London’s most elite gay brothel.

But when James leaves the Garden alone one night and turns to Cal instead, Cal’s floored. After crushing on his boss for ages, it’s his wet dream come true . . . until the awkward morning after. Cal still has a job to do, but he wants to offer more. Yet James doesn’t take him up on it; he keeps Cal at arm’s length and continues his chauffeured jaunts to Market Garden.

As Cal learns what James needs from the rentboys, he tries to fill that need himself. But there’s more to James’s penchant for rentboys than Cal realizes, and it may be one role that Cal can’t fill without overstepping his duty
four-stars

Initially I wanted to rate this book was around 3-3..5 stars because it felt kind of rough and unpolished. The two heroes were just bumbling their way through their interactions.
Upon further reflection, I realized that it was awkward because James and Callum had stumbles on their road to a relationship. The book really captured that feeling of roughing it through until they found their rhythm and became synchronized. That’s the difference between average writers and great writers, the great ones make you “feel” the mood and experience the emotions with the characters. So Bravo Witt & Voinov

James Harcourt was an executive in the financial sector and the last couple of years had been very stressful for him. He had work pressures as well as separation from his wife and child to increase his anxiety levels. In order to cope, he would have his driver Callum Bryant drive him to Market Garden to get a rent boy. James enjoyed being dominated, but at the same time, he had difficulty giving up the control. So he needed an experienced hand like Nick. If you remember in book 4, Nick decided to just teach seminars/class so he isn’t available as a rent boy any longer, so James no longer had that outlet. Callum has had a crush on his boss for the past 18 months that he worked for James, and so when James made a pass at him, Callum seized the opportunity. But now Callum has a dilemma, how will this relationship work with James being his boss, and what exactly do they expect from each other both now and in the future? Is this just sex or is it a relationship?

James and Callum’s relationship had some really awkward moments, and I blame James. Callum seemed to know what he wanted. He was gay and wanted something concrete with his boss James. James was more indecisive or maybe he wasn’t even sure what he wanted because he really gave mixed signals to Callum. I really liked Callum, and so I found James to be frustrating. If you love the writing in the series, expect the same. If you are wanting a lot of hot sex scenes, sorry for ya! This one was more plot driven and so it wasn’t like book 6, but I actually prefer these lengthier novels because it allows me to engage with characters more. It was nice to have cameos from old favorites like Nick & Spencer and Frank & Brandon. I look forward to catching up with James and Callum when they have spent more time together as an official couple. I am curious to see if James would be more expressive and communicative

**Thank you to Riptide Publishing via Netgalley for the e-arc**

About L.A. Witt

L.A. Witt is an abnormal M/M romance writer who has finally been released from the purgatorial corn maze of Omaha, Nebraska, and now spends her time on the southwestern coast of Spain. In between wondering how she didn’t lose her mind in Omaha, she explores the country with her husband, several clairvoyant hamsters, and an ever-growing herd of rabid plot bunnies.

She also has substantially more time on her hands these days, as she has recruited a small army of mercenaries to search South America for her nemesis, romance author Lauren Gallagher, but don’t tell Lauren. And definitely don’t tell Lori A. Witt or Ann Gallagher. Neither of those twits can keep their mouths shut…

Review: The Rebuilding Year by Kaje Harper

Review: The Rebuilding Year by Kaje Harperon March 6th, 2012
Pages: 323 pages
Amazon • (Website, Facebook, Goodreads)
Losing nearly everything leaves room for the one thing they can’t live without.

A few excruciating minutes pinned in a burning building cost Ryan Ward his job as a firefighter, the easy camaraderie of his coworkers, his girlfriend, and damn near cost him his left leg. Giving up, though, isn’t an option. Compared to the alternative, choosing a new profession, going back to school, and renting a room from the college groundskeeper are simple.

Until he realizes he’s falling in love with his housemate, and things take a turn for the complicated.

John Barrett knows about loss. After moving twice to stay in touch with his kids, he could only watch as his ex-wife whisked them away to California. Offering Ryan a room seems better than rattling around the empty house, but as casual friendship moves to something more, and a firestorm of emotions ignites, the big old house feels like tight quarters.

It’s nothing they can’t learn to navigate, though. But when dead bodies start turning up on campus—and one of the guys is a suspect—their first taste of real love could go up in smoke.
four-stars

This is one of the few double GFY books that I have read so far but I enjoyed this one almost as much as Faith & Fidelity, not quite though.

this book featured John Barrett, a divorcee, who had moved around a bit, in an effort to keep close to his ex-wife and kids. He finally settled in Wisconsin where he took work as the groundkeeper at a College.

He became friends with an older student, 1st med student Ryan Ward, after John found Ryan on the floor when Ryan’s leg had given out. See Ryan was formerly a firefighter, but an injury had almost cost him his leg, and left a bunch of scars physically and emotionally. He was rebuilding his life by going to Med School and hoping to reinvent himself.

Ryan and John built an easy friendship and eventually became roommates. Soon, their comfort level and routine led to an attraction, and during an emotional moment, they acted on that attraction and kissed.
The kiss freaked them out because they were both straight and even so, why mess up a great friendship with a complication like sex?

Ryan and John agreed to chalk up the kiss as a one-time response to an emotional period, and they would go back to just being best friends and roommates, but is it possible to ignore such an attraction? Is it physical or could it be more? Are they even strong enough to put with what it would mean to be 30-something year old bisexual/gay men? Ryan and John really had to dig deep to answer those questions for themselves.

I really enjoyed the fact that first there was a solid friendship and mutual respect. I also enjoyed the support they gave each other regarding school/work and personal life. I love how Kaje Harper writes her characters because they are flawed, yet they are characters you could empathize with. The scenarios are realistic, for example, I love how the characters admit to being clueless on what to do together. Being clueless and even uncomfortable with labels, gay or bisexual, lover or boyfriend, hold or don’t hold hands. It was uncharted territory and the author let us walk it with them. I did feel that John was a lot more accepting of this new reality when he was the older guy (37yr old). I thought he would be more afraid of reactions, but I guess he was so lonely and/or comfortable with himself that he didn’t care.

I also loved how Ryan took to John’s kids immediately, even serving as a voice of reason when John wasn’t thinking straight. It was a good blended family and the story worked for me.

About Kaje Harper

I live in Minnesota, where the two seasons are Snow-removal and Road-repair, the mosquito is the state bird, and where sometimes in winter it can be breathtakingly beautiful. Of course, the deepfreeze chill contributes to the breath-taking, but Minnesota’s a kindly, quiet place and it’s home to me now. I’ve been writing for far longer than I care to admit (*whispers – forty years*), mostly for my own entertainment, and currently am focused on M/M romance (with added mystery, fantasy, history, SciFi…) I also have a few Young Adult stories released under the pen name Kira Harp.

My first professionally published book, Life Lessons, came out from MLR Press in May 2011. My husband finally convinced me that after all that time writing, I really should submit something, somewhere. I was thrilled when it was accepted. I have a weakness for closeted cops with honest hearts, and teachers who speak their minds, and I had fun writing the four novels and three freebie short stories in the series. I’ve been just delighted by the reception Mac and Tony have received.

My first free book became the first story that I actually released – I put it up a month before Life Lessons just for the fun of getting it out there. Lies and Consequences began as a reaction to the November 2010 election. It looked like the repeal of DADT might be derailed by the political shift and I put the insanity of that law into the book. Then as I was finishing the first draft in mid-December the repeal passed. Which was great, but prompted a rewrite to a lighter and more action/romance book. This was a solo effort and I learned a lot from writing and releasing it and from the reviews. Check Smashwords for that one and many of my other freebies.

I now have a decent backlist in ebooks and print, both free and professionally published. A complete list with links can be found on my Books page. This writing thing is addictive. So read, comment, tell me what you like and what you don’t, and help me make the upcoming books even better. I have an author page on Goodreads where I do a lot of book reviews, and this blog is reposted there.

You can find me to chat on my author page on Goodreads most easily – I hang out on Goodreads a lot because I moderate the Goodreads YA LGBT Books group there. I also post free short YA stories on that group, more than 50 of them so far.

You can also email me : kajeharper ~at~ yahoo ~dot~ com or find me on Facebook –

Review: Special Delivery (Special Delivery, Book 1) by Heidi Cullinan

Review: Special Delivery (Special Delivery, Book 1) by Heidi CullinanSeries: Special Delivery #1
on February 14th, 2010
Pages: 379 pages
Amazon • (Website, Blog, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads)
When your deepest, darkest fantasy shows up, get on board.

Sam Keller knows he’ll never find the excitement he craves in Middleton, Iowa—not while he’s busting his ass in nursing school and paying rent by slaving away in a pharmacy stockroom. Then Sam meets Mitch Tedsoe, an independent, long-haul trucker who makes a delivery to a shop across the alley. Innocent flirting quickly leads to a fling, and when Mitch offers to take him on a road trip west, Sam jumps at the chance for adventure. Mitch is sexy, funny and friendly, but once they embark on their journey, something changes. One minute he’s the star of Sam’s every x-rated fantasy, the next he’s almost too much a perfect gentleman. And when they hit the Las Vegas city limit, Sam has a name to pin on Mitch’s malady: Randy.

For better or for worse, Sam grapples with the meaning of friendship, letting go, growing up—even the meaning of love—because no matter how far he travels, eventually all roads lead home.

Warning: This story contains trucker fantasies, threesomes and kinky consensual sex.
four-stars

Sam Keller was an orphan living with an aunt and uncle who clearly didn’t want him. He worked in their pharmacy and tried to save money to pay for nursing school until he could get out of their house. Also, he wanted out of Iowa since their small town didn’t handle his homosexuality well.
One day, a delivery man named Mitch Tedsoe came in to delivery some goods and Sam decided to be spontaneous and have sex with the sexy stranger. When his aunt found out, she gave him a verbal tongue lashing and Sam decided he couldn’t take his home life anymore and he asked Mitch to take him away, even for a brief time.
Thus began Sam’s journey to learning about himself and finding peace/acceptance for his sexual desires.

I liked it but the age thing was a bit much for me. Plus, I felt Mitch (33yrs old) was way more experienced in life (especially as a trucker) and that gave me pause with him just picking up Sam (20 yrs old). Also, I think I am not much into degradation kinks, where people want to be “treated like a whore” or called names. I always feel like there is some inner issue at play there. I do like that Mitch and Sam seemed to have genuine affection and Mitch helped Sam to have a nurtured environment to be sexually free.

I do like how Mitch was very mindful to Sam room to learn, grow and was willing to let him go to mature in spite of Mitch’s feelings. It was very sweet and it spoke volumes of Mitch’s growth. I will definitely be reading book 2.

About Heidi Cullinan

Heidi grew up in love with story. She fell asleep listening to Disney long-playing records and read her Little House On The Prairie books until they fell apart. She ran through the woods inventing stories of witches and fairies and enchanted trees and spent hours beneath the lilac bush imagining the lives of the settlers who had inhabited the homestead log cabin and two-story late 1800s home on her family farm. She created epic storylines for her Barbies until it wasn’t satisfying enough to do so any longer (age ten), and then she started writing them down. Her first novel, The Life and Times of Michelle Matthews, was published when she was twelve in the school anthology and took up nearly half of it.

Though Heidi continued to write novels through high school (and still has the Rubbermaid tub full in her bedroom), she stopped in college, deciding it was time to grow up and do something meaningful with her life. When the specifics of that didn’t pan out, Heidi ended up in grad school to become a teacher, and through one of the courses rediscovered her love of romance novels. She began to write again on the side, continued to do so while she taught seventh grade language arts and reading, and when she quit teaching to have her daughter, she took up writing with more seriousness, both as a stress relief and as a potential means of bringing in money.

Many million pages later, Heidi has learned a lot about writing, more than she ever wanted to know about publishing, and most importantly, finally figured out that writing IS the meaningful something she wants to do with her life. A passionate advocate for LGBT rights, Heidi volunteered for One Iowa during the fight for marriage equality and donates with her husband as a monthly partner to the Human Rights Campaign and Lambda Legal. She encourages you to support your own local and national LGBT rights groups, too

Heidi enjoys reading, watching movies and TV with her family, and listening all kinds of music. She has a husband, a daughter, and too many cats. Heidi is an active social networker, and of course has good old-fashioned email.

Review: Do or Die (Reluctant Heroes, Book 1) by Suzanne Brockmann

Review: Do or Die (Reluctant Heroes, Book 1) by Suzanne BrockmannSeries: Reluctant Heroes #1
on February 4th, 2014
Pages: 577
Amazon
Navy SEAL Ian Dunn went rogue in a big way when he turned his talents to a lawless life of jewel heists and con jobs. Or so the world has been led to believe. In reality, the former Special Ops warrior is still fighting for good, leading a small band of freelance covert operatives who take care of high-stakes business in highly unofficial ways. That makes Ian the hands-down choice when the U.S. government must breach a heavily guarded embassy and rescue a pair of children kidnapped by their own father, a sinister foreign national willing to turn his own kids into casualties. Shockingly, Ian passes on the mission... for reasons he will not–or cannot–reveal.

But saying no is not an option. Especially not to Phoebe Kruger, Ian’s bespectacled, beautiful, and unexpectedly brash new attorney. Determined to see the abducted children set free, she not only gets Ian on board but insists on riding shotgun on his Mission: Impossible-style operation, whether he likes it or not.

Though Phoebe has a valuable knack for getting out of tight spots, there’s no denying the intensely intimate feelings growing between Ian and Phoebe as the team gears up for combat. But these are feelings they both must fight to control as they face an array of cold-blooded adversaries, including a vindictive mob boss who’s got Ian at the top of his hit list and a wealthy psychopath who loves murder as much as money. As they dodge death squads and play lethal games of deception, Ian and Phoebe will do whatever it takes to save the innocent and vanquish the guilty.

Or die trying
four-stars

I think I would have gave this book a 5-star if I had listened to the audiobook…and if I had already read the Troubleshooter series before hand.

Ian Dunn, a former Navy Seal, is serving an 18-month sentence on a murder charge when he gets a deal–Help the government rescue the kidnapped kids of a nuclear physicist and he can get the rest of his sentence commuted, provided he can deliver the kids unharmed.
The deal is delivered via a fed attorney and Ian’s new attorney Phoebe Kruger, even though Ian never hired her.
Ian doesn’t trust the deal so he turns them down, but someone how his released is arranged and Ian is sprung from the slammer, endangering Ian’s family.

See Ian purposefully went to prison, to hide and to protect his younger brother Aaron. Now that he has been relesed, the people he was hiding from can come after them. Ian has to rely on his military training to get his family to safety, and figure out the leak in the Feds, and rescue the kidnapped kids. A big picture with a lot of subplots made for an action packed book.

This is my first Suzanne Brockmann book and I enjoyed it. The hero Ian was definitely an alpha male, but he was sexy and confident. He was also witty and very protective. I also like Phoebe as she wasn’t a wilting flower. She held her own and was a good heroine. She gave as good as she got when she was bantering with Ian.

If you like stories featuring the mob, government and espionage, this is it a good book for that all that

*Thank you to Random House via Netgalley for the e-book copy**

Review: Ball & Chain (Cut & Run, Book 8) by Abigail Roux

Review: Ball & Chain (Cut & Run, Book 8) by Abigail RouxSeries: Cut & Run #8
on March 2, 2014
Pages: 306 pages
Amazon
Home from their unexpected deployment, the former members of Marine Force Recon team Sidewinder rejoin their loved ones and try to pick up the pieces of the lives they were forced to leave behind. Ty Grady comes home to Zane Garrett, only to find that everything around him has changed—even the men he went to war with. He barely has time to adjust before his brother, Deuce, asks Ty to be his best man. But that isn’t all Deuce asks Ty to do, and Ty must call for backup to deal with the business issues of Deuce’s future father-in-law.

Nick O’Flaherty and Kelly Abbott join Ty and Zane at the wedding on an island in Scotland, thinking they’re there to assuage Deuce’s paranoia. But when bodies start dropping and boats start sinking, the four men get more involved with the festivities than they’d ever planned to.

With the clock ticking and the killer just as stuck on the isolated island as they are, Ty and Zane must navigate a veritable minefield of family, friends, and foes to stop the whole island from being destroyed
three-stars

This book DID NOT start off where Touch & Geaux stopped. Big Mistake!
Instead it picked up 6 months later with Zane and Kelly waiting together for the ship carrying the returning soldiers to off load their loved ones. There was a cute reunion and there was a brief “return to work” thing before we were quickly propelled to Deacon’s wedding drama. Deacon and Livi were getting married in Scotland, but Deacon was concerned about his soon-to-be bride’s safety as well as that of his 15 month old daughter Amelia. Deacon asked Ty to be both his best man and his backup–to watch his 6 as the military people would say. He also invited Zane and asked Ty to invite pair of eyes he trusted. Ty invited Nick and who brought Kelly as his date.

Livi’s father, Mr. Stanton, had been getting threats and Deuce just wanted to make sure his wedding went off without a hitch. As we learned from prior books in the series, where Ty and Zane are concerned, the word “Vacation” is synonymous with “Dangerous Hazard”. The next 85% of the book proceeds to be “find the killer before they strike again” kind of theme.

Interspersed through the book are very small intimate moments between Zane and Ty. But Nick and Kelly featured so heavy in this book that it could have easily been a Sidewinder book. However, the four of them worked to neutralize the threat. In the end, I found the whole thing to be overdone in terms of The Who & The Why of the book.

What I liked:
Ty seeing and appreciating the new Zane. I loved when he called Zane “Beautiful”. I loved this particular quote: ““I mean that all the experiences I’ve ever heard of in life . . . I want to have them with you.”
Seriously–so freaking sweet, right? More of that kind of magical and intimate moment was what I was expecting, but didn’t get in this book. There were few and far between.

I also loved Ty’s response to Nick & Kelly’s relationship.

What I didn’t like:
NO ENOUGH TY & ZANE–Not nearly enough of them.
No real discussion with Ty and Zane. First of all, Touch and Geaux ended with Ty making a public declaration to his co-workers, the military and everyone when he kissed Zane. Also, they were still reeling from all the discoveries of Ty’s deception, but it was never really brought up in this book. Instead, the author alluded to changes both characters went through during Ty’s deployment. No real details. Obviously Zane’s sobriety was one of the issues, but no real talk with Ty on it. Not that I need lot of sex scenes, but they probably had sex like 3 times in this book.

This discourse on the beginning of Nick & Ty’s relationship up to the current state of their fragmented relationship. There are things I am unclear about. Nick has never talked to his best friend/brother about his feelings, he just starts boiling over during a murder investigation. Then he says he may never forgive Ty. Correct me if I am wrong, but isn’t Ty supposed to follow orders of his military superiors regardless of his feelings on the order? These people are soldiers but they also want him to disobey and place their friendships about his sworn duty. Either forgive him or move on, but this passive aggressive stuff was not entertaining to me.

The Enigmatic Richard “Dick” Burns–I am sorry, but the author blew it on this one. I am completely baffled with this character in this story. There was a chance to do some things, but i feel like the author took the cowardly way out and left us hanging. No Bueno!

The ending mystery bad guy and the surprise visitor…*Rolling my eyes* Seriously. I want to say a curse word right now. More of that guy in book 9, just fan-freaking-tastic. Just Great. (SMH)

Please Ms. Roux, I am begging you for just 2 things:
1)Way more of Beaumont Tyler Grady and Zane Garrett and way less of these crime plot things. This mystery wasn’t enjoyable at all.
2) Please leave Nick & Kelly to their own series–the Sidewinder series. I don’t mind if they visit for a minute, but Cut & Run series is about Ty and Zane, their relationship should never be relegated to the background. Ty and Zane’s journey together is the heart beat of this series. You take that away and this series is D.O.A (dead on arrival).

Review: Life After Death (Infected, Book 3) by Andrea Speed

Review: Life After Death (Infected, Book 3) by Andrea SpeedSeries: Infected # 3
on May 16th, 2011
Pages: 350 pages
(Website, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads)
In a world where a werecat virus has changed society, Roan McKichan, a born infected and ex-cop, works as a private detective trying to solve crimes involving other infecteds.

But when your heart is gone, it’s easy to fall into a black hole and never crawl out. Roan has been lost and alone for more than a year, and his best friends think a new case might be just the motivation he needs. Roan forces himself back into the game and discovers a dead man who might not be all that dead, a street hustler that wants to hustle him, and a dominatrix who is well prepared to take Roan’s orders. As Roan claws his way out of the darkness by diving back into his work, he finds himself in a race against time in the adrenaline-pumping realization that nothing helps a person want to live like helping someone else survive.

This one was an emotional journey as it has been a year [ since the loss. It was so sad to see Ro in such a funk. But it was so encouraging to see how Paris had taken so many steps to try to make sure Roan would be okay. He had notes, people etc to try to uplift Roan.
Work and a new friendship (the later also precipitated by Paris) finally started to help Roan take affirmative steps to living again. Dylan isn’t Paris, but he is good for Roan and I really like that.
I am kind of glad Matt wasn’t the choice as Matt doesn’t quite “know himself” and isn’t emotionally stable to deal with Roan and his issues.

The mystery (missing person & crimes) in this novel was a tad confusing, and I didn’t quite enjoy that merry go-round. But I found it refreshing that Roan was back to investigating and getting back into his professional life. Plus, he needs the money to pay bills. It also gave Roan an opportunity to deal with Matt in the workplace. That was was wake up call for all involved.

I am ready for book 4.

Ezi

About Andrea Speed

Andrea Speed was born looking for trouble in some hot month without an R in it. While succeeding in finding Trouble, she has also been found by its twin brother, Clean Up, and is now on the run, wanted for the murder of a mop and a really cute, innocent bucket that was only one day away from retirement. (I was framed, I tell you – framed!)
In her spare time, she arms lemurs in preparation for the upcoming war against the Mole Men. Viva la revolution!