Release Day Review: A World Apart by Mel Gough

Source: NineStar Press

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Title: A World Apart by Mel Gough
Release Date: September 18, 2017
Pages: • Format: Kindle e-arc (196 pages)
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Published By: NineStar Press
Purchase Links: •NineStar Press Amazon US

Synopsis: Ben Griers is the darling of Corinth Georgia’s Police Department—intelligent, handsome, and hardworking. Thanks to his beautiful wife and clever daughter, Ben’s family is the envy of the town. Yet desperate unhappiness is hiding just below the surface.

When Donnie Saunders, a deadbeat redneck with a temper, is brought to the Corinth PD as a suspect in a hit-and-run, Ben finds himself surprisingly intrigued by the man. He quickly establishes Donnie’s innocence but can’t shake the feeling that Donnie is hiding something. When they unexpectedly encounter each other again at an AA meeting in Atlanta, sparks begin to fly.

With his marriage on the verge of collapse, Ben is grateful for the other man’s affection. But he is soon struggling to help an increasingly vulnerable Donnie, while at the same time having to deal with the upheaval in his own life. Ben eventually realizes that they cannot achieve happiness together unless they confront their darkest secrets.

two-half-stars

I would describe reading this book as getting into a vehicle where the author took me on a high-speed car chase where I was hoping it would end well but my heart was in my stomach a lot.

It started with a very dramatic courtroom scene. The entire book, I kept waiting for the courtroom scene to tie in, but it didn’t really impact the story as I thought it would. There was such potential but it wasn’t realized here as there was no real foundation laid for this romance nor real chemistry between the characters.

The main characters met when Police Officer Ben Griers saw his best friend and fellow officer Jason being overly aggressive with a suspect. Ben stepped in and insisted that Jason release the suspect Donnie Saunders since Jason had no evidence connecting Donnie to an alleged hit-and-run accident. Donnie was grateful and went on his way. It seemed that something passed between them although it felt like sympathy, a bit of pity and gratitude.

Later at an AA meeting, Ben ran into Donnie and there was a recognition of sorts. Two struggling people trying to find their way out of their predicaments. Ben was having problems in his marriage so the reader was supposed to understand why and how Donnie evoked feelings that seemed dead in Ben. Other than having substance abuse issues that they were working through, I don’t see anything these two had in common. The author didn’t really set a foundation of loneliness for Ben, though it was clear that Donnie had a very troubled past and no real support system. Ben quickly stepped into Donnie’s life and started helping him with his illness with no hesitation. Considering he has a daughter and a wife, it was unbelievable that he didn’t even give a second thought to how this would affect their lives. Ben’s wife seemed like a reasonable person. I am not entirely sure what was the real problems in their marriage and why it couldn’t be addressed via counseling and effort.

There was a very heavy subject with serious issues all around, but they weren’t worked in carefully. The subjects of bisexuality, addiction and severe health condition should have made for a great hurt-comfort read but unfortunately, it didn’t deliver. Ben’s wife, daughter and even best friend Jason were all relationships that I didn’t really comprehend because there was no real depth to the dialogue nor real expression of emotion amongst these characters. They all seemed to be good people at heart, but seomthing just wasn’t right so they were glossed over. The writing was so uneven that it felt like I was holding on for dear life through this rather shallow journey of the character’s lives.

  I had high hopes for the book based on the enticing blurb but I was disappointed.

Release Day Blitz: Resurrection (Redemption Harbor #1) by Katie Reus

Series:
(Website, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads)Source: InkSlinger PR

Today we have the release day blitz of Resurrection by Katie Reus! We’re so excited to share this fantastic new release with you—check out the festivities and grab your copy today!!

About Resurrection:

From USA Today bestselling author Katie Reus comes the ALL NEW Redemption Harbor series where sparks fly and so do bullets…

She faked her own death…

Skye Arévalo left the CIA and faked her death to protect Colt Stuart, the only man she ever loved. Months later, a brutal kidnapping draws her to quietly infiltrate a dangerous cartel. Just when she thinks she’s home free, things go horribly wrong and she escapes with bloodthirsty enemies on her heels…only to find herself face to face with a bewildered and angry Colt.

He’ll cross every line to save her…

When Colt, a former Marine, finds out the woman he loved betrayed him, he’s shocked and hurt, but it doesn’t stop him from breaking every law on the books to keep her alive. Unfortunately, it might not be enough to stop a powerful enemy who will do anything to see the world burn and Skye dead.

 

Get Your Copy Today!

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Exclusive Excerpt:

Colt banged his fist against the door, fear and the smallest bit of hope punching through him. “Answer the fucking door,” he snarled. “Open, or I kick it in.”

“Maybe you should take it down a notch.” Next to him, Brooks shoved an agitated hand through his hair, his Stetson held loosely at his side.

“And maybe you should be freaking out more.” One of their best friends had been holed up in his home for weeks, refusing to talk to anyone, to see anyone. Colt didn’t know exactly what his friend was going through, but he’d lost a lot of damn friends in the sandbox and the only woman he’d ever loved had died too. Something he couldn’t think about right now. He couldn’t focus on his own pain when he could help his friend, when he had a damn purpose.

Mercer had recently lost his wife, and the man wasn’t handling it. The guy had been in love with Mary Grace since he was fifteen. They’d been each other’s world. And two months ago she’d been killed in Mexico, a victim of cartel violence. Allegedly.

Colt hadn’t been in love with Skye since he was a kid, but eight months with her sure felt like a lifetime. Hell, when she died it felt like he’d lost part of himself. The only part that mattered. He had to force himself out of bed every day, to shove back the emptiness. So on one level, he understood how Mercer felt. He shoved that thought right back inside where it belonged and ignored it. He couldn’t fix his own problem, but he could help out Mercer.

Panic swelled through Colt as the seconds ticked by without any response from inside—until he heard cursing on the other side of the door. Good. If his friend was cursing, he was alive. A solid minute later the lock snicked loudly as it twisted open.

Colt grabbed the handle and shoved it open, pushing past his best friend in case he tried to slam the door closed in his face.

Mercer, wearing boxers and nothing else, had grown a full black beard and his dark eyes were glassy. “What the hell are you doing here this early?”

“First, it’s two o’clock in the afternoon. Second…” Colt hauled off and punched him right in the nose. He needed to wake Mercer the hell up. Violence was pretty much the only way to do that now.

“Ah, hell,” Brooks muttered as Mercer flew back and fell on his ass with a grunt.

He held a hand to his nose, looking more alert than he had in two months as he glared up at Colt and Brooks. “What the hell, man?” His voice was muffled as he tried to stop the bleeding.

“I believe this is called an intervention,” Colt said, stepping into the foyer, cringing at the stench. “God, it smells like old pizza and cow crap in here. Mary Grace would kick your ass if she saw you living like this.”

“Don’t say her name!” Mercer shoved to his feet, letting his hand drop. Blood dripped down his face as he snarled at Colt. His teeth were toothpaste commercial white against his dark brown skin. Right now he looked like a rabid wolf baring his teeth at them.

“I’ll say her name if I want.” Yeah, he knew he was being harsh, but this was what Mercer needed. He needed to feel something, to wake the hell up. And making Mercer angry was the only way Colt knew how. Because the guy sure wasn’t going to talk about his fucking feelings. He needed to get out of this rabbit hole he’d let himself fall into. “We all lost her. Every single one of us.”

Most days Colt couldn’t believe she was gone. They’d all grown up together, and in his case, he’d been friends with Mary Grace since they were five years old. She was like a sister to Colt. Hell, he was still holding on to the hope that she wasn’t actually gone. It was why he was about to get on a plane in two hours and see if the tip he’d received was right. But first he had to make sure one of his best friends didn’t do something stupid while he was gone.

“Mary Grace.”

“Ah, hell,” Brooks said again, clearly not going to intervene. Just muttering his standard curse.

“Fuck you,” Mercer snapped, taking a step toward Colt.

That was it. Get angry, he silently willed his childhood friend. Mercer needed anger to replace the grief. God, or at least mute it. Just for a week. That was all Colt needed. Because if Mary Grace was alive, he was bringing her home to his best friend. He just couldn’t give Mercer the hope she was alive. Because if he did and it turned out she wasn’t… It would destroy him. “Mary. Grace.”

Mercer rushed at him like a bull.

About Katie Reus:

Katie Reus is the New York Times, USA Today, and IndieReader bestselling author of the Red Stone Security series, the Moon Shifter series and the Deadly Ops series. She fell in love with romance at a young age thanks to books she pilfered from her mom’s stash. Years later she loves reading romance almost as much as she loves writing it.

However, she didn’t always know she wanted to be a writer. After changing majors many times, she finally graduated summa cum laude with a degree in psychology. Not long after that she discovered a new love. Writing. She now spends her days writing dark paranormal romance and sexy romantic suspense. Her book Avenger’s Heat recently won the Georgia RWA Maggie Award for Excellence in the fantasy/paranormal category.

Connect with Katie:

Facebook | Blog| Twitter | Goodreads | Pinterest | Website

Enter Katie’s Giveaway:

i

About Katie Reus

Katie Reus is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Red Stone Security series, the Darkness series and the Deadly Ops series. She fell in love with romance at a young age thanks to books she pilfered from her mom’s stash. Years later she loves reading romance almost as much as she loves writing it.

However, she didn’t always know she wanted to be a writer. After changing majors many times, she finally graduated summa cum laude with a degree in psychology. Not long after that she discovered a new love. Writing. She now spends her days writing dark paranormal romance and sexy romantic suspense.

Review: Sweet Ugly Lies (Green County, #3) by Nazarea Andrews

Series:
(Website, Blog, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads)

BLURB:

Gabriel Delvin is three things: a problem, a liar and irresistible. Elijah Beasley’s known that for years. He knew before they slept together, and he knew when he walked away from Gabe, unwilling to put up with more lies. The problem is he keeps going back.

Elijah Beasley is three things: a cop, a fucking problem, and Gabe’s. Gabriel Delvin’s known that for as long as he can remember. It’s why they fell into bed together, and why Gabriel stayed in Green County, when all sense said to get out.

But as the underbelly of crime in Green County comes boiling to the surface, Gabe is forced to chose between the man he’s always loved and the family he can’t help but be loyal to.

Love has never been the problem, for these two.

It just might not be enough, this time…

three-stars REVIEW
I wanted to like this one more than I actually did. I just couldn’t connect with the main characters.

I believe I would have benefited by reading this series in order because I felt like I was missing something. Gabe Delvin worked at a bakery and Officer Eli Beasley kept coming into Gabe’s store to buy baked goods for about ten years. Gabe and Eli had what appeared to be purely physical relationship because Gabe’s lies presented a road block to an emotional attachment. It took a while to figure out the lies and Gabe’s reasons for lying to Eli. But it was weird to me that a cop would continue in a ten-year relationship with someone he couldn’t trust. Also, Eli not figuring out Gabe’s motives for continually lying by omission or whatever made me think Eli was a pretty crappy officer.

It took a while for the plot to unfold and reveal what was driving each man.
By the time, we got the tea on their motives, I just wasn’t invested anymore. The author set up an opposite attracts romance but the execution and writing was just okay.

The last third of the book did show more depth to Gabe and made their flaws much more palatable but this story would have been more enjoyable if they had been developed more as well as if I was aware of their motives much earlier. The good news is that the book ends in an HEA.

GOODREADS LINK: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/32762243-sweet-ugly-lies

PREVIOUS BOOKS IN THE SERIES

DIRTY SEXY SECRET (book #1):

Kobo:  http://bit.ly/25xpf0X

 

DIRTY STOLEN FOREVER (book #2):

Amazon: http://amzn.to/28WAhSJ

About Nazarea Andrews

Nazarea Andrews (N to almost everyone) is an avid reader and tends to write the stories she wants to read. Which means she writes everything from zombies and dystopia to contemporary love stories. When not writing, she can most often be found driving her kids to practice and burning dinner while she reads, or binging watching TV shows on Netflix. N loves chocolate, wine, and coffee almost as much as she loves books, but not quite as much as she loves her kids. She lives in south Georgia with her husband, daughters, spoiled cat and overgrown dog. She is the author of World Without End series, Neverland Found, Edge of the Falls, and The University of Branton Series. Stop by her twitter (@NazareaAndrews) and tell her what fantastic book she should read next.

DEADLY SILENCE BLITZ Q&A – Rebecca Zanetti

Series:
Narrator: Karen White
(Website, Blog, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads)
Deadly Silence Book Cover Deadly Silence
Blood Brothers #1
Rebecca Zanetti
Romantic Suspense
Forever (Grand Central Publishing)
October 4, 2016
e-arc
400

 

DON'T LOOK BACK

Under siege. That's how Ryker Jones feels. The Lost Bastards Investigative Agency he opened up with his blood brothers has lost a client in a brutal way. The past he can't outrun is resurfacing, threatening to drag him down in the undertow. And the beautiful woman he's been trying to keep at arm's length is in danger...and he'll destroy anything and anyone to keep her safe.

Paralegal Zara Remington is in over her head. She's making risky moves at work by day and indulging in an affair with a darkly dangerous PI by night. There's a lot Ryker isn't telling her and the more she uncovers, the less she wants to know. But when all hell breaks loose, Ryker may be the only one to save her. If his past doesn't catch up to them first...

DEADLY SILENCE  Q&A ~ Rebecca Zanetti

1) What was the most challenging part of writing Deadly Silence?

Even though Deadly Silence is the first book in a spinoff series from the Sin Brother series, it needed to stand on its own for accounts as well as new readers. So the challenge was creating a whole new world while still incorporating the Sin Brother world and some of the characters without overwhelming a brand new reader with what came before. It took several drafts and tweaking, but I think we accomplished it in a way that will appeal to fans of the earlier series as well as new fans.

2) Can you tell us more about The Lost Bastards Investigative Agency? How as it started?

The three heroes in the Blood Brother series were thrown together in a horrible boy’s home as kids, and they were lost until they found each other. They each have a piece of their own past they want to track down, yet they’re fine with their new created family. They were lost, and now they aren’t, so they create the detective agency to find the lost for other people while still investigating their pasts.

3) What’s one thing that you enjoy most about writing?

There are so many good things about this job; it’s hard to pick just one. I like wearing yoga pants to work, I like creating worlds, and I like meeting with fans who are struck by the characters. Editorially, I just love the first chapter of a book when anything can happen and there are no limits.

4) Jaws or Jurassic Park?

Fun question! Well, I’d go with Jaws for the dialogue and overall story, and Jurassic Park (the new one) because of Chris Pratt without his shirt on.

5) What are your writing habits?

My habits include comfy socks, coffee or tea, and music playing all the time. Each book has its own playlist, and I’m fine sharing those, but usually people are confused. Many times the songs don’t have much to do with the book itself. I like the tone or rhythm or just the song and will listen as I write. I have found that if a book seems slow and I play a fast song, the pace instantly picks up as I write.

6) You are in a bookstore. Where do you head first?
I head right to the new releases and see what’s out and what I need to read right away. Then I stroll through all the shelves looking for something new to catch my eye. I love bookstores.

7) Is there a genre you haven’t written that you would like to try?

I imagine this question is like tossing a cat into a car wash. Authors love to write, and I think there’s no limit to that. I’d love to write a thriller, a legal thriller, a middle grade series, a sci phi book…

8) Did you have to do a lot of research?

I always do some research. For Deadly Silence, I looked into the Dark Web, current communication possibilities, and genetic manipulation. It’s all so fascinating, really!

9) How do you keep your writing different from all the others that write in this particular genre?

I’m not sure how to answer this except to say that everyone has a different voice. We’re automatically different from each other. I will say that I do take a moment and think…okay. If this usually happens, let’s go a different direction completely. That’s a lot of fun, actually.

10) Describe Deadly Silence in 5 words:

Dangerous, Sexy, Wounded, Funny, and Dark.

deadly-silence

About Rebecca Zanetti

Rebecca Zanetti wrote her first story when she was six – a romance between a princess and neighboring prince. The princess fell out of her castle and the prince rescued her. A happily ever after was had by all.

This theme of romance has been carried through Rebecca’s works until present time. While today’s heroine may have a medical degree, black belt in Karate and her own 401K, she’s still after that happy ending. And today’s prince may have fangs and wear a black hat, but hey, a modern princess likes a guy who bites.

Growing up amid the glorious backdrops and winter wonderlands of the Pacific Northwest has given Rebecca fantastic scenery and adventures to weave into her stories. She resides there with her husband, children and extended family who inspire her every day.

Release Day Review: Safe With You by Catherine Lievens

We received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect our opinion of the book or the content of our review.

safe-with-youSafe With You by Catherine Lievens
Release Date: August 12, 2016
Pages: 220 • Format: eARC
Published By: Dreamspinner Press
Purchase Links:
DreamspinnerAmazonARe

Leslie Reilly is a police officer in the small town of Santa Anna Springs. He has a job he loves, a supportive family, and good friends, but he’s lonely. He hasn’t had much luck with romance. And he’s not the only one. Since the death of his wife, Gavin Donovan has been alone—raising his young son Ben and trying to protect Ben from his homophobic grandfather, whose attempts to get custody of the boy are growing more and more desperate. When Leslie and Gavin meet, they know making a life together might not be easy, but they’re willing to do whatever it takes to be a family.

All Leslie wants is to protect Gavin and Ben, but it’s proving harder than he expected as Gavin’s father-in-law’s violence escalates. When Gavin is injured and Ben is kidnapped, Leslie must decide how far he’s willing to go to keep the ones he loves safe.

four-stars

I really enjoyed reading this one. What a cute story. It was nice, a little predictable but sweet nonetheless.

Officer Leslie Reilly’s life had grown monotonous. He works with this father, the Chief of Police, and he hangs out at home with his cat puddles. When a routine theft investigation led him to meeting Gavin Donovan, Leslie’s life bloomed.

I love stories involving little kids and extended family. They always add shading to protagonists because it allows the reader to see the main characters through the eyes of others. Both characters had complimentary temperaments. Leslie was a tad goofy, shy and naive.  Whereas Donovan was reserved, confident and a tad more cultured.  I liked how guileless Leslie was around Donovan. I found it endearing and amusing at the same time.

I liked Gavin and how his family was so protective of him and his five-year-old son Benjamin. I also enjoyed Leslie’s relationship with his dad. It was clear that the Chief of police had no qualms about his son’s sexuality. In fact, for a small town, it seemed that only Gavin’s ex-father in law Samuel was the only homophobe around.

I appreciate the author focusing more on growing relationship between Leslie and Donovan and not as much on the father in law’s obsession. It kept the story on the positive and hopeful. The author’s writing had a natural progression and flowed well to me. I just delight in reading this journey to love and would love to explore of this author’s work.

<i>*I received this book in exchange for an honest review.

About Catherine Lievens

Catherine lives in Italy, country of good food and hot men. She used to write fantasy as a child, but it was reading her first gay erotic romance novel that made her realize that that was what she really wanted to write.

After graduating from college in English language and translation, she divides her day between writing, reading, taking care of her son and reading some more.

See Bride Run by Charlotte Hughes

See Bride Run by Charlotte Hugheson December 2014
Pages: 221
AmazonB&NNarrator: Elizabeth Klett
Atlanta’s billionaire heiress Annie Hartford has been under her father’s thumb her entire life. At 29, he is now forcing her to marry a man she doesn’t love in front of 600 guests. With only moments to spare, she hijacks the family limo, which breaks down in small town Pinckney, Georgia. Annie, who has never wanted for anything, suddenly finds herself homeless, penniless, and with only the clothes on her back: a designer wedding gown and diamond tiara.

There she meets small town lawyer and restaurant owner Sam Ballard. Unlucky in love, the last thing Sam needs is a red-hot waitress who seems hell-bent on breaking every dish in his Dixieland Café. Still, he can’t very well fire her; she has already won the hearts of everyone in town.

After a lifetime of riches, can Annie find happiness in a garage apartment, second-hand clothes, and making her way around town on a borrowed bicycle? And how can Sam be certain that Annie won’t run home to daddy when her new life presents one obstacle after another?
three-half-stars

I received this audio by the author in exchange for an honest review.  First of all, I want to thank Ms. Hughes for reaching out and offering this book.  I really enjoyed Elizabeth Klett, the narrator.  This was a sweet romance without any angst.  Annie leaves her future husband stranded at the altar in Atlanta, GA.   Her father is a billionaire and has chosen Annie’s husband for her.  Annie’s father thinks that she is only good for hosting and preparing for large parties and wants a man to run his empire.  However, Annie has decided that she will no longer be ruled by her dad or any man.  She quickly leaves the church without her purse, any money, or clothes.

Annie drives until the Mercedes that she hijacked from her father dies and winds up in Pinckney, GA.  I had to laugh as Annie is wearing a dress that most women would die for but quickly realizes the predicament that she is in when the local sheriff demands that she gets out of the car. With miles of tulle, Annie squeezes out of the car to be met with gaping eyes from the small Ga town.

Annie’s first round with the sheriff/restaurant owner/lawyer does not go well. Sam Ballard wants no part of loving a woman since he also had a bad experience with his future bride.  Reluctant, Sam hires Annie as a waitress in his restaurant.  He can’t very well fire Annie, even though she breaks several dishes.  The town folk have come to love Annie and want to help her to become settled in her new life.

Annie had grown up with not wanting anything, but now she has to learn to survive on her own.  Wearing second hand clothes, moving into a garage apartment, and getting around on a bicycle are just a few of the new changes that Annie must face.  Sam has come to love Annie but is worried that she could easily run back to her daddy and beg for forgiveness.

I really enjoyed listening to this book.   There was a twist and a slight mystery towards the end.  I felt that the end of the book was rushed and could have included more detail on both Sam and Annie’s life.   The twist that occurred could have also been a tad bit longer and could have given the reader more detail on how Annie’s relationship changed with Lillian and with Sam.  I am from Atlanta, GA and could definitely see how a small town would embrace Annie as one of their own.

Worth the Risk (McKinney Brothers, Book 2) by Claudia Connor @TantorAudio

Worth the Risk (McKinney Brothers, Book 2) by Claudia Connor @TantorAudioSeries: McKinney Brothers # 2
on 2015-02-03
Pages: 306
AmazonNarrator: Johanna Parker
When a McKinney brother falls in love, powerful emotion and overwhelming desire are never far behind.  
Two hearts locked away . . . Hannah Walker spends her days coaching children through injury and trauma, one therapeutic horseback ride at a time. She knows all too well how violence can change a child and leave scars that never heal. It’s easy for her to relate to the kids; what isn’t easy is the thought of facing her own harrowing past.  

Millionaire playboy Stephen McKinney could use a little coaching himself. Five years ago he encountered his most horrible nightmare—and the nightmare won. No matter what he achieves, nothing can make up for that awful night . . . or so he believes.   Both desperate for a second chance . . . Stephen is used to getting what he wants. And he wants Hannah. So when she turns him down, he’s intrigued. What he doesn’t know is that her secrets will lead him to a place he never wanted to go again . . . to a side of himself he’s tried to forget . . . a side that would scare Hannah away from ever loving him. Now his only chance to win her trust is to bare his soul, risking everything he tried so hard to protect.
three-stars

This audiobook fell short of the high expectation that book 1 set up. The writing was good, the narrator Johanna Parker was excellent. I just never warmed to the hero Stephen McKinney and I never bought the chemistry with heroine Hannah Walker.

26 yr old Hannah had gone through trauma that left her scared to trust people. She spends her time healing and helping young kids rehab from physical trauma through horseback riding. A chance meeting at the grocery store led to an evening of drinks with the millionaire playboy Stephen. In Hannah, Stephen saw a warm body to lose himself and keep his nightmares at bay. In Stephen, Hannah saw an opportunity for a fresh start because this man who knew nothing about her past. Still, there was fear for both characters to let the other in. This is where the lack of communication led to miscommunications and drama. I tend to find them irritating. I understood them here as Stephen faced his own tragedy but it was no longer a viable excuse midway into the novel.

I loved Hannah and her will to overcome her tragedy. She was strong and so considerate of others. I loved both Hannah’s brothers and Stephen’s family. This book included cameos from Book 1 characters which was so nice to see the love was still passionate.

A little more character development on Stephen may have redeemed him for me. For most of the book, Stephen viewed Hannah as a challenge. She said no when others were so willing. Stephen wasn’t looking for a relationship. I was just lukewarm on him at the end. I didn’t feel intensity in feelings that I felt with Matt and Abby. I missed that love connection here until the very end. I really wanted to feel that angst but Stephen’s focus on the surface matters left me underwhelmed.

I enjoy stories revolving around big families and do like the author Claudia Connor’s story telling so I look forward to book 3 in this series.

Special Thanks to Tantor Audio for the audiobook received in exchange for an honest review.

Ghosts (The Power of Zero #2) by Jackie Keswick

Ghosts (The Power of Zero #2) by Jackie KeswickSeries: The Power of Zero #2
on 2016-02-10
Pages: 306
Amazon • (Website, Blog, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads)
Jack Horwood doesn’t do families. Or Christmas. From the time his mother sold him to her pimp to the moment he walked out on the man he loved, Christmas has always been about change and painful choices. This year seems no different. Helping Daniel and Nico recover from their imprisonment and hunting down those responsible puts Jack in a frame of mind he doesn’t want to inflict on anyone. Least of all Gareth and the tentative relationship they’ve started to rebuild.

But Gareth, for whom Christmas is all about new beginnings, won’t let Jack take the easy way out. He makes him face his ghosts instead. Even when said ghosts invade their bedroom.

When Daniel’s parents are found, Jack is determined to settle the matter without involving Daniel at all. But fate decrees otherwise, and it’s Gareth who helps him finally understand that the strongest bonds are those forged together. Once he gets that, Jack can step up and make a decision designed to lay his ghosts to rest—for good.
three-half-stars

It’s holiday time and 30 year old Jack Horwood is having a sort of post-traumatic stress disorder. Christmas time is full of bad memories for him, so this year, his partner Gareth Flynn tried to life Jack’s spirits by reminding him of the good things he has in his life now. Gareth has known Jack since Jack was 17 years old and Gareth used to be his Commanding Officer. So while they have known each other for a long time, but Gareth had hard time trying to decipher Jack’s moods. Adding to Jack’s own issues, was the unease that Nico and Daniel felt with their chief victimizer still on the loose, Jack had a full plate trying to keep his past ghosts at bay.

I enjoyed the story but I had difficulty with connecting with the romantic relationship because it felt like Jack and Gareth didn’t really communicate well other than work related issues. For people who had saved each other from life and death situations, their couple vibe felt superficial. They obviously had a physical intimacy, but their emotional intimacy felt like it was held in place by other things, like a thirst for justice and advocating for the abused. I did enjoy the unraveling of the mystery surrounding Daniel’s parents. It made this story feel like an episode of Law & Order SVU. The crime solving aspect of this book overtook the romance part. Gareth and Jack did love each other, I wish I felt their passion. There were glimpses of it here and there.

“Love is something enduring that lets you deal with your past, live in the present, and look towards a future.”

But I guess Jack’s pasts still ruled him and he hadn’t laid those fears to rest enough to fully let Gareth in. Gareth deserves an award for his patience and steadfast loyalty. Jack’s mom really damaged his trust by selling him to a pimp and the hell Jack endured would be hard for anyone to overcome.

The secondary characters in this story were likeable from Gareth’s mom to Daniel and Nico. I wish I read book 1 for a better understanding of the journey Jack and Gareth took to get Daniel and Nico. I was happy with the placement of these two young boys. The writing style was easy to follow and smooth. I didn’t feel like Jack and Gareth were developed as characters in this book, but I suspect it was done in book 1. At the end of the book, I finally felt that Jack was truly letting Gareth in. It was an HEA so I felt satisfied in the end. The writing was good so I blame myself for not starting at book 1.


*Special Thanks to Dreamspinner Press for the e-arc given in exchange for an honest review.

About Jackie Keswick

Welcome to my playpen. I’m Jackie Keswick, a writer of suspense, romantic suspense and historical fantasy fiction.

I grew up reading and writing historical fiction, before progressing to sci-fi and thrillers. They’re still some of my favourite ways to relax. More recently, I’ve started to read and write m/m romantic suspense. I’ve no real idea how that happened, but I’m loving it!

I’m also a

compulsive reader and writer with far too many unread books on her shelves and kindle and far too many unfinished stories in her WiP pile
England history and food nut
Tandem and TVR aficionado
Cat Lover
Enthusiastic manga novice
Since you’re already here, why not come and meet my Dream Team and all the other characters prowling around in my head? Jack Horwood and Gareth Flynn, Aidan Conrad and Alexandra Marston, Rafael Gallant, Skylar Payne, Daniel Sears and Nico Rivers, and the enigmatic Julian Nancarrow, CEO of Nancarrow Mining. All ready to step in when the law needs help. Because, you know,

When there’s trouble and the law needs help…
There’s the Dream Team.

Thanks for your company,
Jackie Keswick

Bound to Danger (Deadly Ops, Book 2) by Katie Reus

Bound to Danger (Deadly Ops, Book 2) by Katie ReusSeries: Deadly Ops #2
on 2014-08-05
Pages: 352
AmazonNarrator: Sophie Eastlake
(Website, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads)
At a benefit dinner, community activist Maria Cervantes overhears two men plotting a terrorist attack that could rock Miami to its core. But before she can alert authorities, she’s almost killed in a massive explosion—and wakes up in a hospital with no memory of what happened. As the sole survivor of the attack, she is now a person of interest to the NSA—and especially to Agent Cade O’Reilly. Because Maria is the one woman Cade has never been able to forget. Years ago, they were closer than either was willing to admit—until Cade disappeared when Maria needed him most. Now he’s sticking by her, whether she likes it or not. Because the memories locked inside her mind could hold vital clues to the next attack. Because terrorists want her dead—and because he never wants to let her go again.
three-stars

I enjoyed this book but I hope that every hero and heroine in this series won’t be second chance romances because I am already over the “lack of communication” or “misunderstanding” thing.

Similar to book 1, Agent Cade O’Riley was thrust back into Maria Cervantes life after she became the sole survivor of an explosion due to a terrorist attack. The actual plot was entertaining and was as much a focal point as the romance. I was just as invested in their reunion as I was in eliminating the bad guys.

Now I know this is going to sound weird, but I actually found the bad guys and their motivations just as fascinating in this story. While I never condone or enjoy acts of terrorism, the author wrote them in a way that they didn’t seem purely evil. One could empathize with their loss and their desire to cause pain to those they felt wounded them. While I completely hated their actions, I didn’t find myself hating the bad guys here.

I enjoyed Maria as a heroine because she wasn’t a pushover and Cade had to work to regain her trust.
This story was enhanced by the flashback via letters/emails that Maria and Cade shared in their younger years. So the author used the past to weave a love story that was passionate and sweet.  Maria came from a privileged life but she wasn’t defined by the money. She showed compassion and loyalty even when it seemed that Cade didn’t have her back.

If you enjoy stories where the plot doesn’t take a back seat to the romance, then this series is for you. I hope Levi and Allison’s journey takes a different path though.

About Katie Reus

Katie Reus is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Red Stone Security series, the Darkness series and the Deadly Ops series. She fell in love with romance at a young age thanks to books she pilfered from her mom’s stash. Years later she loves reading romance almost as much as she loves writing it.

However, she didn’t always know she wanted to be a writer. After changing majors many times, she finally graduated summa cum laude with a degree in psychology. Not long after that she discovered a new love. Writing. She now spends her days writing dark paranormal romance and sexy romantic suspense.

The Newcomer by Robyn Carr

The Newcomer by Robyn CarrSeries: Thunder Point #2
Pages: 368
AmazonB&NNarrator: Therese Plummer
Single dad and Thunder Point's deputy sheriff "Mac" McCain has worked hard to keep everyone safe and happy. Now he's found his own happiness with Gina James. The longtime friends have always shared the challenges and rewards of raising their adolescent daughters. With an unexpected romance growing between them, they're feeling like teenagers themselves-suddenly they can't get enough of one another.

And just when things are really taking off, their lives are suddenly thrown into chaos. When Mac's long-lost-and not missed-ex-wife shows up in town, drama takes on a whole new meaning. They're wondering if their new feelings for each other can withstand the pressure...but they are not going down without a fight.
four-half-stars

This series is quickly becoming my favorite.  Book 2 was even better than book 1, and I didn’t think that was possible.   I do suggest that book 1 is read first, because this book does tie up quite a bit of loose ends.  There are a couple of stories going on, which I really liked.  Supporting characters also had a role.

The primary story was Mac and Gina’s.  This couple had been best friends for years and finally has gotten together.  Mac’s ex-wife comes to town requesting to see their children.  Since she has not been around for 10 years, the kids and Mac really aren’t interested.  Another side story was Gina’s daughter Ashley who had a major meltdown over a boy.  This story was so real and a little scary.  Ashley also met her biological dad, Erick.  Ashley is one strong young lady.

Sara and Cooper, who were the main characters in book 1, continued with their story.  Pressure from Sara’s job created issues along with one of Cooper’s ex. girlfriends.  This issue created a life changing event for both Sara and Cooper.  Sara’s brother Landon and Mac’s daughter became much closer.

Robyn  Carr always ensures that her characters are well developed, and the storyline is always so real.  I can almost smell the surf and the sea sitting on the deck of Cooper’s little pub.   This is such a heartwarming book.  I can’t wait until I get to book 3.