Book Review: Poisonfeather by Matthew FitzSimmons

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RATING: 5 out of 5 Stars

Once again Matthew FitzSimmons has me engrossed as I follow his main character, the always surprising and ethically ambiguous Gibson Vaughn on another thrilling adventure in his new book, POISONFEATHER.

The judge who changed the young Gibson’s path in life, his friends and family and many others have all been scammed by Charles Merrick for their life savings. Merrick is about to be released from prison after only an eight year sentence and he has hinted that he still has money working for him. Suddenly, everyone wants a piece of Merrick and his money and they will be waiting for him to walk out of prison.

Gibson wants to get the money for the judge, an ex-con wants the money to start a new life and a small town bartender wants revenge. These three need to work with each other to stay ahead of a CIA handler, a Chinese spy, hardened criminal gangs and mercenaries all set in a small town in West Virginia. Believe it or not, the author does make all of these characters come together into a wild and thrilling story.

Gibson Vaughn always seems to find himself trying to do the right thing for the right reason, but things always end up being more complicated. Mr. FitzSimmons is truly a master at seamlessly weaving his main plot with many subplots that all tie together into a fast paced thrill ride for Gibson and the reader. The cast of characters are all interesting, written with depth and motivations that make them fit together like pieces of a puzzle.

There are small references in regards to the first Gibson Vaughn book, The Short Drop, but it does not change the main focus of this book, which can easily be read as a standalone. Reader Alert: The ending is a BIG cliffhanger! I normally hate cliffhanger endings, but Mr. FitzSimmons made it work for me and I will be anxiously awaiting to find out the fate of Gibson Vaughn.

Thank you very much to Thomas & Mercer and Net Galley for allowing me to read this eARC in exchange for an honest review.

Book Review: Beyond Duty by Stanalei Fletcher

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RATING: 4 out of 5 Stars

BEYOND DUTY (Northstar Security #3) by Stanalei Fletcher is an enjoyable romantic suspense and ties up the Northstar Security trilogy on a high note.

It is Riley O’Neal’s turn in the spotlight. He is a Northstar Security agent who is looking to right all wrongs and then disappear into the night. When a Senator’s wife is kidnapped and held for the ransom of a congressional vote, Riley is assigned to go undercover to the resort she was taken from. The difference this time is that he needs an undercover wife to fit in and he is used to working by himself. The woman assigned that role has deceived him on a previous mission and yet he could never forget her.

U.S. Army Lt. Mary “Chip” Anderson is determined to go on this mission because the kidnapped victim is a close friend. She is shocked when the person she deceived on a mission a year ago walks into the room to pretend to be her husband. Concealing her attraction is going to be difficult as the two have to maintain close quarters and the façade of husband and wife. The exchange for the Senator’s wife is compromised and Chip is taken, also. Riley must now save both women and stop the blackmail threat.

I really liked the suspense plot in this book. It was fast paced, plausible and kept you guessing. Chip is extremely strong, both mentally and physically and has learned to hide her true feelings well in a male dominated world. Riley always has to be the protector. He needs to learn to deal with a strong woman and realize that not everything is his fault when things go wrong.

Although there is a lot of sexual heat going on between these two, there is no sex and that is my personal problem with this book. The back and forth bickering got a little old. I feel in a romantic suspense the romance has to be just as strong and prevalent as the suspense. Good read in every other way though and a good trilogy all around.

Written for and posted first on The Romance Reviews.com.

Feature Blog: Time Travel Romance by Angela Quarles

I have always loved sitting down with a well written historical time travel romance. I immediately step into the heroine’s shoes.  As I follow her journey, I am also thinking of my responses to the same situations. Who hasn’t dreamed of going back in time and meeting Jane Austin’s Mr. Darcy, being saved from heartbreak by Jude Deveraux’s Nicholas Stafford, or going on a grand adventure with Diana Gabladon’s Jamie Frazier. The only problem has been that this subcategory in romance has had fewer and fewer options for me to read over the years.

I was so happy to be lucky enough to review a new to me author, Angela Quarles, who is writing wonderful historical time travel novels in a series called “Must Love Time Travel”.  I have currently read and reviewed her first three books and I am anxiously awaiting her fourth in the series. I have given all of these books a 5 star rating!

She writes present day strong female heroines who travel to different time periods in the past to find the heroes they did not know they needed or wanted. I love that each story is set in a different time period and the decision must be made in the end of each book if the couple will stay in the past or return to the present day.

must-love-breeches  must-love-chainmail  must-love-kilts

BOOK #1 – Must Love Breeches

Summary:

Isabelle Rochon has moved to London from Atlanta to work as an intern at the British Museum and is trying to get her life back on track after a failed relationship and the loss of her family. Dressed for a costume ball, she carries with her a silver calling card case from pre-Victorian times which sends her back to 1834. Her case is stolen and as she tries to retrieve it and navigate her new historical social situation she meets the “Vicious Viscount”, Lord Phineas Montagu.

Lord Montagu is pretending a changed personality to seek revenge for his sister and all the ton now call him ”Vicious Viscount”, but Isabelle sees through this persona and is drawn to him. Phineas can’t help but be intrigued by the “Original” from the Colonies. To further his plan, he wants Isabelle to be his pretend fiancé in exchange for his protection and help retrieving her card case. He knows Isabelle is keeping something from him, but he can’t stop his growing attraction and begins to want Isabelle forever. The attraction is strong in both, but Isabelle feels she must return to the present.

BOOK #2 – Must Love Chainmail

Summary:

Katy Tolson cannot be without her smart phone or day planner. She must have order and control in all thing in her life. In just a few weeks she will be getting married, but first she is pulled emotionally to Wales with her bridesmaids for a pre-wedding trip. A wish she didn’t mean to make on her friend Isabelle’s calling card case sends her back to medieval Wales into the middle of a rebellion.

Sir Robert Beucol is a knight set on serving his King and regaining his family’s honor and the lands his father’s treason lost. Half-Norman and half-Welsh, he always has to be better than full-blooded Normans. He is about to show his complete loyalty by fighting his mother’s people when a strange and mysterious wench appears suddenly in his life.

BOOK #3 – Must Love Kilts

Summary:

Traci Campbell, a computer game designer is on vacation with her sister, Fiona, in Scotland. She has never felt any love of her roots like her parents and sister. As the sisters try to reconnect, they get drunk on Glenfiddich and make a bet. Traci bets one hundred dollars that hot, Scottish men in kilts is a myth. And then she meets, Iain, a hot Scottish man in a kilt in the Highlands in the year 1689. She wakes the next morning with a severe hangover, back in the present, and her sister still in the past.

Iain MacCowan is treated as a joker and flirt by his uncle who leads his clan since the accidental death of his father and he does nothing to change that perception. When Traci returns to the past to find her sister, Iain feels something more than he ever has before for this stranger he vows to help, but his uncle distrusts this Campbell as the Jacobites are about to revolt. Iain has to help Traci, protect his clan and maybe reveal his true self to Traci and hope she wants to remain in the past with him after Fiona is found.

The author’s research into the historical aspects of her books is extremely well done. Her plots are original to each time period. The romances are both fun and serious as each hero and heroine must learn what true love is before their HEA. This series is a must read for me and I hope it will be for you, too!

 

Book Review: Another Chance by Kathy Clark

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RATING: 5 out of 5 Stars

Kathy Clark’s third book in her Austin Heroes trilogy, ANOTHER CHANCE, was not only an exciting and heartfelt addition to the series, but completely blew me away!

Another Chance has lovers reunited and not just the hero and heroine, a believable and chilling suspense scenario and everything all tied up with a satisfying HEA. This book can be read as a standalone because Ms. Clark deftly introduces just enough backstory so as to not completely confuse the reader.

Luke Archer, the youngest of the three Archer brothers, works in D.C. for Homeland Security. A desk jockey who pours through intel every day to keep our southern borders safe. He has been assigned to a case in the field since it is a threat that is happening right in his hometown. Terrorists are crossing the border into Texas with other illegal aliens as cover through the ranch of Luke’s ex-high school girlfriend, Bella and a deadly plot is in the works.

Bella Shaw has never gotten over the young love of her life who she believes dumped her, but has grown into an accomplished attorney who fights for all underdogs and has risen to be a Texas state senator. When Luke reappears after 14 years, all the old feelings return as they have to work together on Bella’s ranch to discover and eliminate the terrorist threat.

The suspense in this book was realistic and could have been ripped right from today’s news. The romance was written beautifully and at times was heartbreaking when you learn of the deceit that tore them apart. Grammy’s backstory of fame and love found and then lost also ripped into my heart. This author knows how to write about love, forgiveness and second chances.

Thank you very much to Random House Publishing Group-Loveswept and Net Galley for allowing me to read an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. It was excellent!

Book Review: Melting Shadows by Rhea Rhodan

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RATING: 5 out of 5 Stars

This romantic suspense with added fantasy is hard to put down with two storylines happening in present day and OtherWhere. A love story between a former SEAL and a brilliant, socially stunted hidden beauty. Never confusing, the writing was crisp, fast paced and engaging. Ms. Rhodan has a new fan and I’ll be coming back for more!

Dr. Prudence “Prue” Marsh is a product of genetic engineering and was raised by her mother to show no emotions or weaknesses. Her brilliant mind has her developing new capabilities for Navy subs as a contractor and this has put her in danger from Albanian terrorists who want her program. While away from her farm, it is raided and all her rescued animal friends are killed. She refuses to be hidden in a government facility, so she is sent to finish her project in Max Delaney’s home bunker.

Max Delaney is a computer forensic analyst and a former SEAL. His continued work for the government is dependent on keeping Prue safe and happy until she can finish her project. Since he hasn’t found a woman who can refuse his charm yet, he accepts the assignment, but Prue isn’t like anyone else. Max’s sister, Sam befriends Prue and Max’s rescued Rottweiler war dog, Brutus instantly attaches himself to her, but Max just can’t figure his guest out.

As Prue’s backstory is slowly revealed, you cannot help but be completely drawn in to her horrible upbringing and understand why she escapes into the fantasy world of OtherWhere. All of the characters are in these blocks of fantasy and are similar to their present day counterparts. The worldbuilding in these sections is as strong as the rest of the book. The romance is built at a believable pace with me cheering for Prue at every turn of the plot. I love romantic suspense and this book went above and beyond. I recommend this book highly!

Written for and posted first on The Romance Reviews.com.

Romance Documentary: Love Between The Covers

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RATING: 5 out of 5 Stars

I LOVED EVERY MINUTE OF THIS DOCUMENTARY!

Love Between The Covers is an entertaining peek into the billion dollar per year Romance industry and how it continues to grow. Eloisa James (Mary Bly), Beverly Jenkins, Celeste Bradley, Susan Donovan, Len Barot, Nora Roberts and many others take us on a journey inside their lives as romance authors and the industry. What made this documentary especially interesting for me was that it covered all genres and diversities under the romance umbrella.

I started reading romances, probably like most others, by reading the books my mother had around the house if I ran out of library books. You would hide your ‘bodice rippers’ behind other books or wait to read ‘those’ books until you got home from school or work back in the 70’s because you knew someone would always say, “Oh, you read those books.” Thank goodness those times are behind us and everyone I know now proudly will tell you who they are reading and what type of romance it is.

I read just about anything, but I always return to my romance roots. That HEA is my drug of choice when the rest of my life is spinning out of control, stress at work is too much, or I just want to escape. Romance authors offer you a dream where no matter how difficult the obstacle, you can overcome it and find your happiness in the end. This is the contract I have with all my favorite romance authors: if you give me a great HEA, then I will keep coming back for more.