Our Reviews

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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Pure Sin Series, Book # 2
Kyra Davis
ISBN # 1476756856
January 2015
Contemporary Romance

The story of DANGEROUS ALLIANCE is a continuation of book one in the Pure Sin series. Bell is still seeking revenge for her mother's death and she plays her part well, as she convinces Micah to help her. However, what he wants in return might be too high a price to pay. She has a strong alliance with Lander Gable, the man whose family she wants to destroy. He makes her heart race when he holds her in his arms and these feelings are playing havoc with her desire for revenge; together they just might make the people responsible for the crime pay. Meanwhile, Bell has placed herself in the perfect position to put her plan into action.

Bell is not sure Lander understands just how far she is willing to go to avenge her mother's death. Her sole purpose in life, is to destroy her enemies at any cost. The Gable family are investment bankers and they play with money no one ever sees. Although Lander seems to be falling for Bell, he seems to be holding secrets of his own. Bell is not sure she can completely trust him or his promises. The question is, is Lander willing to sacrifice love for ambition?

DANGEROUS ALLIANCE is an action packed rollercoaster ride into the world of the rich and famous. It is a world where you can get anything done if you have the money and where the innocent who are treated like criminals. What I really liked about this book is it ties up all loose ends. The interaction between all the characters is designed to bring out emotions and prove that money can't buy love. Hide message history

Reviewed by Gloria Gehres
Rated 4

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Fans of Contemporary Western Romance will love this one!

Montana Men Series Book One
Jennifer Ryan
ISBN# 978-0-06-233489-3
March 2015
Contemporary Romance

When Ella Wolf witnesses her twin sister being murdered by their uncle, she runs for her life, because she's next on his list. Discovering why her uncle killed Lela and wants her dead sends her to their family home, the Wolf Ranch, in Montana. Being rescued on the side of the wintry and snowy road by Gabe Bowden, she is grateful he saved her life, but he has plans of his own.

Gabe doesn't expect to find a woman on the side of the road, half frozen and delirious, let alone the beautiful woman he saw at the Wolf Ranch not too long ago. Mistakenly believing she is Lela, he gets her some help. Then he realizes she is Ella, Lela's twin sister. Has Ella killed her own sister? If not, why is she running and determined to find everything out about the ranch the family wants sold? Things don't make sense for him, but the more he's with Ella, the more he understands how much her life is in danger. Working with her, they set about to find out what Lela knew and what their uncle is willing to kill for.

Fans of contemporary western romance will no doubt find this one to their liking. Gabe is a retired rodeo man, doing his best to restart his life after his finance jilted him at the altar. He's instantly attracted to Ella, who even though was raised on the ranch, has been a city girl most of the time. Ella is a tough, strong woman, bent on getting justice for her sister. Their attraction and chemistry give this romance several heat filled pages! The mystery is more of a "why" than a "who", and the anticipation of the final showdown will keep the pages turning. A great start to a promising new series.

Reviewed by Jennifer Jones
Rating: 4

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

When Joss Met Matt by Ellie Cahill

Ellie Cahill
Ballantine eBook
ISBN# 978-0-553-39451-1
March 2015
Contemporary Romance

Seven years ago, Jocelyn Kiel and Matt Lehrer met at college. Their friendship turned into a "friends with benefits" arrangement when her boyfriend dumped her for another girl, everytime they both were available without a significant other, they would give each other a call when they wanted their needs met. However, as things usually go, someone is bound to feel more for the other and that is what makes Joss decide to end their arrangement - she had fallen for Matt and couldn't keep going the way they were. Yet, before she can tell him so, he tells her that he can't keep going the way they are either, and she feels her heart break apart. Saying goodbye to Matt will be the hardest thing she's done. Can they at least have a friendship or has their sex life ruined any chances of them being friends?

This story is told in dual time, present day and then seven years ago and all the times in between leading up to the final date where things fall apart. I enjoyed all the back story, with each other going through some good and bad relationships and the fall-outs of each. Matt is sweet, funny, and easy going, whereas Joss is learning how to stand up for herself and being her own woman. When she finally understands her heart and what she does and doesn't need from Matt, things go horribly wrong. Sometimes the lack of communication, for whatever reason, is worse than just being honest. The ending was well written, with enough suspense to keep you reading until the very end. This book has plenty of sex scenes, some detailed, others not, because even though it does involve their arrangement, it's ultimately about two people who should have known what they wanted in the beginning. A very good contemporary romance.

Reviewed by Jennifer Jones
Rating: 4

Book Four in the Smythe-Smith Series by Quinn

Smythe-Smith Quartet Book 4
Julia Quinn
ISBN# 978-0-06-207294-8
Feb 2015
Historical Romance

Following along with the others in this series, this book deals with one of the "floral" girls, Iris Smythe-Smith. Readers are well aware of the Smythe-Smith Quartet from Ms. Quinn's previous books in this series, as well as her Bridgerton Series. The Smythe-Smith Quartet boasts of young ladies who are of marriageable age, playing some sort of instrument in a spectacular concert (but rarely do any of them have any talent whatsoever), and are looking for a husband.

This is why Sir Richard Kenworthy has found himself at the latest concert: looking for a wife and quickly. He must get married as quickly as possible, even to the urgency of "forcing" the issue with a compromising position if need be. He would like to at least find one he likes, as well as be attracted to, but she must believe his very quick romance. Iris does not exactly fit the bill at first, but as he watches her during her performance, he realizes she is perfect for him. The issue now is if he can get her to accept his quick proposal, which is unlikely.

Iris knows something is amiss when Richard pursues her rather quickly, then proposes marriage when he barely knows her. She is forced into marrying him after he "passionately" kisses her in front of her aunt. She still doesn't know what his motivation is and even after their wedding is done and they are on their way to his home, she becomes even more confused. Then she meets his sisters and she realizes that he's lied to her about everything. Now stuck in a farce of a marriage, will she be able to forgive him, or has her chance of a real marriage been taken away from her?

I have to say that the more I read about Richard, the less I liked him. This is unusual for me because I'm normally sympathetic to the hero. Not so here. Iris has done nothing to deserve what Richard does to her, and even after he marries her, he still is unlikable. The first part of the book is good, but the second half gets annoying where Iris seemingly loses her spine, which is regrettable. Readers may or may not sympathize with the plot devise, but I did not. I felt Richard should have been upfront with Iris after the marriage took place, but continued on with his agenda that only alienated her and made him nonredeemable. The writing and characters are always well done by Ms. Quinn and that's the main reason I'm giving this book three stars. I'm a big fan of the Bridgerton series, and even the first few of this series. This book, not so much.

Reviewed by Jennifer Jones
Rating: 3

Monday, February 09, 2015

Wounded Hearts, Book # 2
Jacquie Biggar
(Self -Publisher)
February 2015
Contemporary Romance

Annie Campbell loved being part of a small community where everyone knows everyone else, it gives her a sense of security. Annie is dating the local sheriff, Jack Garrett and the two are not serious, just having a good time being together. Then an old flame, Jared Martin, walked back into her life. At one time Annie and Jared were best friends until the night they ended up in each other's arms. The next day Jared was gone and it's been years since Annie's seen him.

Jared Martin has finally returned to Tidal Falls, facing his past is bothering him more than he cares to admit. After all, eight years is a long time to be away from home. He has returned to aid a friend but in the process he runs into Annie Campbell. Seeing Annie again is making Jared realize all he gave up when he left. What really knocks him off his feet is Annie's son Chris and who he resembles. Now, along with helping an old friend he must get to the bottom of what Annie has been hiding.

THE REBEL'S REDEMPTION is a sweet, tender love story filled with action, suspense and secrets. It is also about finding that one true love. Jared and Annie started out as best friends and years later it seems nothing is over for them. They need to admit their feeling for each other and take care of the threat hanging over their heads. What I love about this story is the minimal sex scenes, giving more focus to the characters. The secondary story confused me at first, but I think it will tie in later to upcoming books. Jacquie Biggar is a new author for me and I look forward to reading the next book in this series. THE REBEL'S REDEMPTION is a must read. Hide message history

Reviewer Gloria Gehres
Rated 4

New J. D. Robb

J.D. Robb
ISBN: 978-0-399-17087-4
February 2015
Futuristic Suspense

Continuing where last September's FESTIVE IN DEATH left off, it is the week after Christmas and New Years Eve is fast approaching. Everyone is preparing to attend the Ball Drop Ceremony but Eve Dallas and billionaire husband Roarke have no such plans. Eve is rushing to finish up her cases so the two of them can take their usual winter vacation, when she receives a link to investigate a murder. The fact that it's a murder is no surprise but the location and the victim is, and so is the message left at the scene addressed to Eve.

Lt. Eve Dallas and her side-kick Delia Peabody have worked a long list of high profile cases and someone has followed those cases closely. That someone has become a killer that wishes to develop a special bond solely with Dallas, eliminating anyone that dares to disagree or bad mouth the lieutenant.

Dallas knows she has a very sick killer on her hands but she has no intention of handing over the case to anyone else. She stands firm on finding the psychopath even when Dr. Mira tells her the killer's behavior will change drastically when Eve spurns her. This change in behavior can easily cause the killer to turn her attention towards those Dallas loves so much, especially Roarke. During a very vulnerable moment, readers will get a glimpse of the love and devotion Eve has for her increasingly long list of friends and family. This thought alone makes the necessity to take down this particular killer very dangerous and meticulous.

OBSESSION IN DEATH is a very suspenseful story that brings into the limelight the relationships that Eve Dallas has formed over the years. Relationships that have become so important to her and played a major role in her growth. The killer is not known to Dallas nor the reader until the very end of the book which makes the process of elimination edge-of-the-seat exciting! There are memories with this story that will probably cause the reader to sit down again with some of the earlier books in this series. The In Death storyline was first published twenty years ago. With the release of OBSESSION IN DEATH, this reviewer has read a total of forty books and the entries just keep getting better.

Reviewed By Livia Holton
Rating: 4 1/2

Monday, February 02, 2015

Love At Stake series, Book #16
Kerrelyn Sparks
ISBN # 0062107771
January 2015
Paranormal Romance

For Russell Hankelburg, the end is almost at hand. He has spent the past two years tracking down Master Han in a quest for revenge. Han took away Russell's humanity and left him in a coma for thirty-nine years. In the process, Russell lost his family and his ranch. Working alone he intends to take Han down but as he prepares to make his move, someone ruins his best chance for the kill. It appears to be a woman that has stepped in and is performing an attack of her own. Russell sets out to rescue her from Han's super soldiers and learns that she is a tiger-shifter princess with a similar agenda to his own and an ability to wreck havoc on his heart.

Jia is on a mission and if anyone stands in her way, they must be removed. Nothing must stop her from killing Master Han because it was Han that killed her family. While she is a princess and a tiger-shifter, she has learned all she can about martial arts and knife throwing. Still, thirteen years of practice has not prepared her for the task ahead. When she meets Russell, she doesn't know what to make of the vampire that rescued her. She has a short amount of time to carry out her plan but her mind seems to be on her rescuer rather than the task at hand.

CROUCHING TIGER, FORBIDDEN VAMPIRE is the conclusion to the Love at Stake series. The characters in this book are exceptional! Readers have been waiting on Russell's story and to become reacquainted with characters from previous books. There are surprises with each turn of the page. Russell and Jia face personal challenges to find the love they deserve. Author Kerrelyn Sparks shows what the hero and heroine has sacrificed in the name of love. CROUCHING TIGER, FORBIDDEN VAMPIRE is the perfect read to start the year, it's what magic is all about. Hide message history

Reviewed by Gloria Gehres
Rated 4 1/2

Sunday, February 01, 2015

A NEW TRACERS NOVEL by Laura Griffin


Laura Griffin

A Tracers Novel – Book 8

Pocket Books

ISBN:  9781451689358

February 2015

Romantic Suspense

This latest book in a very popular series tells the story of Lieutenant Derek

Vaughn a Navy SEAL and Elizabeth Leblanc, an FBI agent based in San Antonio,

Texas.  The book begins with a mission to Afghanistan to rescue three hostages.  

Along the way, the SEAL team obtains valuable intel and takes a prisoner but

also loses one of their men.  The intelligence points to a terrorist threat

somewhere in the southern United States, likely Texas.  

When Elizabeth Leblanc, a relatively new but eager FBI agent is tapped to work

in the counter intelligence unit with Gordon Moore, one of her first tasks is to

interview Derek and his fellow SEAL, especially since the prisoner has escaped.  

Although Derek and Elizabeth haven’t seen or spoken to each other in over a

year, the intense chemistry they previously experienced comes roaring back.  It

intensifies as they begin working together to identify the terrorist

threat.  Elizabeth is reluctant around this assignment,having Derek involved is not part

of the FBI regulations.  

Like all of Griffin’s books, this one is a tremendously fast-paced and

well-written novel.  Readers are treated to a mix of high level suspense,

intense hunts for terrorists, and an excellent window into the mind of the Navy

SEAL.  Under it all is the passion of two very different characters, Derek and

Elizabeth.  As the book progresses we get a glimpse into the reasons behind

Elizabeth’s need for stability and her extreme reluctance to get involved with a

“frogman” who is gone more time than he is “in-country.”  

My only small criticism of this book involves the first pages.  I got a little

confused about Elizabeth’s character and found myself going back to the Tracers

Book 6, in which Derek and Elizabeth were first introduced.  I re-read that book

and found that revisiting background history very helpful.  But honestly, this

is only a tiny blip in this amazingly fast paced, exciting novel.  I love this

writing because it makes Navy SEALS so real and human.  It also details the

terrorist threats that are more and more a part of our lives.  Ms. Griffin has

done her homework on this one and readers will not be disappointed.  

Reviewed by Jeri Neal

Rating:  4

ZONE OF FIRE - A New novella by Lindsay McKenna


Lindsay McKenna

Blue Turtle Publishing

ISBN:  978-1-929-97700-0

February 2015

Romantic Suspense

This novella was written as part of the author’s ongoing Shadow Warriors series

published by Harlequin.  This “prequel” was written independently and tells more

of the story of Gabe Griffin and Bay Thorn, the main characters in NEVER

SURRENDER.  The book offers a bridge to the next book in the military romance

series: TAKING FIRE.

The story begins with Gabe and Bay just beginning their life with their twins,

Michael and Dawn.  Bay had been the victim of a brutal rape as a prisoner of war

and Gabe had been part of her rescue.  Being able to marry him and have his

children was a huge success for this woman who thought her life might be over

when she was captured.  Now she is back home with the man she loves, her mother

and sister, out of the military, and a new mother.

The first third of this novella is a narrative catching readers up to the new

life that Gabe and Bay have built.  Both are eager to have Gabe’s best friend,

Mike Tarik, his SEAL buddy, meet his namesake.  Both are worried about his

status in Afghanistan and when they get word that he is missing in action, Gabe

is deeply concerned that he is a prisoner of war.

This novella is perfect for those who want to read a bridge between the two

books noted above.  I think it is always challenging to covey deep emotions in a

short book.  Happily, this author manages to whet our appetite for more of this

ongoing series.  ZONE OF FIRE continues the theme of trauma and rape while

emphasizing the recovery of the individual and loved ones, in this case, Bay and


I’m a huge fan of this evocative writing, the feelings expressed by these

multi-faceted characters, and the ways they come alive on the pages.  I’m not

sure this book would have as much meaning to someone NOT involved with this

ongoing series but for those of us immersed in Shadow Warriors, it is delicious!

Reviewed by Jeri Neal

Rating:  4

Review of WHITE GARDENIA by Belinda Alexandra - An Epic Love Story that Spans the Years

Belinda Alexandra
Simon & Schuster Publishing
ISBN# 978-1-4767-9031-2
February 2015
Historical Fiction

This is an epic love story, not love as in the typical love between a hero and heroine, but rather the kind of love that binds us to the people in our lives throughout the darkest of days and the worst of times. Love is an emotion that is sometimes talked about frivolously and it sometimes can be diminished because of that. Our story begins in China right after World War 2, when a thirteen year old girl loses her father and her hometown is invaded by the Japanese. As a widow with a child, Alina Kozlova does what she think is best to protect them, even if it means giving in to the demands of a Japanese General who wants to rent one of her rooms. She needs the money and he does offer a certain amount of protection for them. This decision would affect them the rest of their lives.

Anya watches the General, his secretive movements, learning things from him and finds him to be kind and generous. Her townspeople aren't too happy with the arrangements, especially their family friends. When the Japanese are run out by the Russian Communists, they descend on Alina and Anya, and in a moment of motherly love, Alina sacrifices herself in place of her daughter, thereby tearing them apart. Alina must go to Russia, where she will undoubtedly live the rest of her life in hard labor, or be killed. Anya is hurried out of harms way to be sent to live in Shanghai where a family friend will take her in. This tragic event haunts Anya ever after.

In Shanghai, Sergei Nikolaievich, owns the prestigious Moscow-Shanghai club. Anya is sent to school over the next few years where she learns everything a good girl should know. At first, Amelia, Sergei's American wife, hovers over Anya, but she soon realizes that Amelia has only herself in mind. Anya doesn't trust Amelia, but she does trust Dmitri, a young man working in the club. Their friendship begins slowly, but as Anya blossoms into a young woman, Dmitri takes notice and their friendship turns to romance. As their romance grows, a tragedy prevents Anya from fully enjoying her new love. Circumstances and shattered illusions take hold of Anya, and it becomes clear that she must rely on everything she has to survive the next upheaval. Even as she struggles with betrayal, deception and upheaval, she must make a difficult choice as to where her life will take her: to America, the land of promise and hope; or Australia, the land of work indenture. Her decision will ultimately lead her to the answers she so desperately seeks. Throughout the years, friendships will be forged, love will be found and hopes are at the same time lost and restored. A beautiful story of the unwavering love and devotion between a mother and child that spans decades.

For those who love an epic adventure, WHITE GARDENIA covers the course of several decades as it follows Anya through her life. We see how a young girl, torn from her mother's arms and into an uncertain fate, must rely on herself, making wrong decisions, right decisions and trusting those around her to help her. She struggles valiantly most of the time, sometimes she is so distraught, she feels like giving up. Throughout it all, her link to her mother is never broken. I found the central characters very engaging, being a great sounding board for Anya and her circumstances. The key figures are well drawn out, each with their own personality, flaws and hidden motives. The bad people in this book are really bad. The good guys are not quite so easy to figure out, though. There is not much of an element of mystery, such as in other historical fiction I enjoy, but at the same time I couldn't put it down because I did want to find out what happens to Anya. Will she find what happened to her mother? Will she discover the true love she was meant to find? How often we make decisions without realizing the consequences and the choices we make can affect us the rest of our lives.

Thoroughly mesmerizing, from the nearly poetic prose of Ms. Alexander's writing, to the dramatic backdrops of China and beyond, WHITE GARDENIA is the kind of book that stays with you long after the end.

Reviewed by Jennifer Jones
Rating: 4 1/2

New from Jessica Lemmon!

Jessica Lemmon
Hachette (eBook)
February 2015
Contemporary Romance

Evan Downey has dealt with the loss of his wife for four years. Moving himself and his seven year old son, Lyon, to Evergreen Cove seems to be the best way to start over, away from the constant reminders of the life he lost. However, with the comforting presence of his late wife's best friend, Charlotte "Charlie" Harris, he soon discovers that her presence means more than just a friendly face for his son.

Charlie has mourned her best friend's death for years. Yet when Evan and his son arrive in town, she does her best to keep their lives as easy as possible. Old feelings begin to surface, ones that she put aside when years ago Evan chose Rae instead of her. There was never a question of jealousy, as she was truly happy for them both. Now, however, Evan seems to have noticed her, and their chemistry is off the charts. As an artist, Evan works on his projects by day and even shares some of his work with Charlie. Charlie can't seem to deal with the fact she's falling in love, let alone her best friend's husband. Will she be able to deal with the guilt issues and forge ahead with the man she's always loved, or will it drive him away?

What I loved about this book is the unrelenting and unwavering devotion of Evan. He was devoted to his wife four years after her death, he's devoted to his son, Lyon and to his work as an artist, but most of all, he becomes devoted to Charlie and doesn't give up. There's something so sexy about a man who knows what he wants and doesn't take it for granted either. The romance is well built up and very hot! Charlie is a good heroine even though I got frustrated with her at times. As for the secondary characters, they are wonderful. Lyon is a wonderfully written young boy, who even though he's lost his mother and barely remembers her, has a big heart. I also am very interested in his friend's story, Ash, a real jerk of a guy. I'm sure there's a story there!

Reviewed by Jennifer Jones
Rating: 4 1/2

A February Hello!

February in the Midwest is starting with a bang! Today is February 1, Super Bowl Sunday and we are in the midst of a big snowstorm with 10 to 14 inches of snow expected. That's the bad news. The good news is that it's perfect reading weather and this month TRRC has on hand the reviews of some exciting books.

Readers will continue to see January 2015 reviews posted this month along with the current month's reviews. So in between making runs to the supermarket in preparation for the snowstorms and shoveling snow, take a moment to peruse our selections and let us know what you think of the books we've reviewed. Hopefully the ground hog will have some good news for us all tomorrow and spring will be just around the corner.

Until next month,

Happy Reading!