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Review – Obscured – Cat Waters

obscuredObscured
Author: Cat Waters (AKA Tara Sue Me)
Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ½

Review Copy Provided by Author

Description:
There’s the truth you know….

At age 16, Athena Hamilton traded her body for survival when a powerful Vegas hotelier and pimp lured her into his world. Ten years of turning tricks has taught her to trust no one and feel nothing. Yet a chance meeting with a childhood crush sparks hope for something more.

The truth you believe…

There’s no way Isaiah Martin could want her. He’s a pastor. Too good. Too pure. But when she learns her days are numbered, she runs into the safety of his arms and trusts his promise of protection.

And the truth you never imagined…

The aftermath of a tragic accident and a bitter betrayal leaves her destitute and alone. The one man she shouldn’t trust offers her a chance to escape. But when good and evil collide, what do you do when the truth is Obscured?

Review
**May Contain Spoilers**

This was my first time reading Tara Sue Me (or as she was writing this book under the name Cat Waters), although I had heard about her previously on different discussion boards. But there was something about the description of Obscured that caught my eye – the idea of prostitute and a priest, …but color me damned when there was a huge twist that I totally wasn’t expecting (well, obviously of course, because you shouldn’t see those twists coming, but you guys know what i mean right?).

I think for me while reading Obscured that one of the biggest things to hit home was that what was happening to Athena was a modern day type of slavery. Every year, the Navy makes me go through trafficking in persons in training and every year, i moan and groan about doing it, but reading Obscured made me think more about that training and how valuable it actually is. I have to wonder in general, how often we (as people in general) have turned a blind eye to young women who were potentially in situations like Athena’s in the book – i don’t think we can know for sure, but its potentially an interesting and yet depressing thought.

There is something about the authors voice that feels authentic, i can’t say if it is for sure, but there was just something…maybe its hard to explain, I don’t know. I think my biggest issue with the story in general was the initial belief that Isaiah (the priest) was going to be Athena’s savior and yet ended up being her Judas. I know that Priests are people with real vices, but I just had a hard time overcoming that plot twist…I wanted/expected so much more from Isaiah.

There was a bit of a cliff-hanger at the end of the book, so that is something for reader’s to be aware of, but it was more of a series to be continued type cliff-hanger rather than mid-plot line. I’m pretty sure that I will be picking up the next book when its released. Overall, I gave Obscured 3.5 stars but would recommend it for people who like romance with a dabble of suspense/mystery and don’t mind a touch of betrayal.

 
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Posted by on October 26, 2015 in Book Review

 

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TBR Tuesday – 25 August 2015

TBR Tuesday
Behind Closed Doors
Author: Shannon McKenna

Date Purchased: 11 December 2009
Date Read: 3 July 2015
Time on Mt TBR: 2031 days

Review:
When I look back at the date this book was purchased, it was right before I left Kuwait in 2009 to head home from my year long deployment. So I think I may have purchased it to read on the plane, and then (if I remember rightly), we had really crappy internet and I was unable to download it to my computer to transfer to my kindle – so it got forgotten about until recently when I dug it out to read (mostly because it fit a book challenge, as well as hearing that the series was finally being released in audiobook format – it was an often requested one, so i’m honestly curious to see how it is in audio).

It’s also been a while since I’d read any really good romantic suspense type work, so that made it an enjoyable read. I’ll also admit that I’m a fan of book series with sibings/friends who work together (although at the same time, they can be too over-done if its a huge series all about siblings…but that is a gripe for another day). I will say that in a few places, it felt kind of dated (but when, what do you expect when the book was originally released 13 years ago). The storyline was well-developed and the enemy/evil character was believable. I liked how Raine didn’t have too many TSTL moments (although there were a few) and Seth, well, he was just all around kick-ass. I’ll admit that I’m intrigued enough that I want to continue the series (hopefully in the not too distance future)…Overall, I gave Behind Closed Doors 3.5/5 and looking forward to more books in the series.

 
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Posted by on August 25, 2015 in TBR Tuesday

 

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Audiobook Review – Virtue Falls – Christina Dodd

virtue fallsVirtue Falls
Author: Christina Dodd
Series: #1 in the Virtue Falls series
Rating: ☆ ☆

Narrator: Rebecca Solar
Run Time: 16hrs 22min

Review Audiobook Provided by Publisher

Description:
Twenty-three years ago, in the isolated coastal town of Virtue Falls, Washington, four year old Elizabeth Banner witnessed her mother’s brutal murder. Elizabeth’s father was convicted of killing Misty and sentenced to prison. Elizabeth was sent to live with relatives, and grew from a solitary child to a beautiful woman with a cool scientific mind and an instinctive distrust of love. Now Elizabeth is back in Virtue Falls, a geologist like her father, living cautiously, her life guided by logic and facts. But nothing can help her through the emotional chaos that follows the return of her ex-husband, Garik Jacobsen, an FBI agent on probation and tortured by the guilt of his past deeds. Nor can it help her deal with her father, now stricken with Alzheimer’s and haunted by Misty’s ghost. When a massive earthquake reveals long-concealed secrets, Elizabeth soon discovers her father is innocent. Is the killer still at large, stalking ever closer to the one witness to Misty’s murder? To Elizabeth herself? Elizabeth and Garik investigate, stirring old dark and deadly resentments that could provoke another bloody murder– Elizabeth’s own.

Review:
For as long as I have been reading romance and romantic suspense, I’m honestly surprised that I have never read a Christina Dodd book. Unfortunately, based on my experience with Virture Falls, I will be hesitant to pick up another one by her in the future. I actually listened to this book several months ago, but its taken me this long to try and get my thoughts in line to write my review, because my issues with the book, far outweigh the positives, which is unfortunately, because based on the book description, i was hoping for a solid romantic suspense read/listen.

This book is a case where the blurb doesn’t really match how the story plays outs. Based on it, I was expecting a romantic suspense mystery with a serial killer theme – unfortunately, that is not what I got. Instead a majority of the book focused on a natural disaster (earthquake) and the subsequent recovery of the town. The murder theme was a distance second to the disaster theme in the story and that was a disappointment to me. The prologue of the story was suitably dark based on the description, and i thought, ohhh good, setting up for a good story. Looking back now, I almost wish that I had put the audiobook aside and not finished it, rather than continuing to trudge through – but I did so, mostly because I didn’t have any other audiobooks lined up for my commute and (as bad as this sounds), it fit into several different reading challenges.

I spent probably about 95% of the book wanting to slap Elizabeth (the main female character upside the head) – she was supposed to be really smart (on the Academic front) – but when it came to common sense – it was like it was Gone with the Wind. She put herself into situations, all in the name of her studies, that a sane person wouldn’t. And yes, I know, in order to make it big in science there have to be risks, but these were just dumb – going places without letting someone know where you are heading after a major natural disaster type things. She just ugh!

And then there was Garik – while I admit that I liked him more that Elizabeth – but that doesn’t say much. I found him to be a fairly underdeveloped character. There was a lot of stuff going on with him in the background of the story (much of which was mentioned in his introduction) and then it was just like all of his issues disappeared the minute Elizabeth (his ex-wife) may have needed him (or at least so he thought) – he just went running to her. I will admit that he and their relationship made the story slightly more paletable (if the book was supposed to be more of a romance than a mystery).

With all my issues with the plot, if the narrator had been solid, it might have made the audio version more paletable – However, I had issues with her narration as well. While her female voice narrations were solid and easily distinguishable – her male narration was a struggle and it made me cringe in places. My other complaint was during the times when Elizabeth was in full-on academic mode (during some of the observation scenes) – instead of a serious academic, she sounded almost like a tabloid reporter with a new hot tip. It was just too much. However, this was my first experience listening to Ms Solar and I would like to try listening to her narrate a different book or genre.

Overall, I gave both the book and the narration 2 stars and while I’ll likely try the narrator again, I’m less sure about the author, unless I get a serious endorsement from a fellow reader who I follow/trust when it comes to recommendations.

 
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Posted by on February 3, 2015 in Audiobook Review

 

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Review – Hard to Forget – Incy Black

hard to forgetHard to Forget
Author: Incy Black
Series: #2 in the Hard To… series
Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ½

Review Copy Provided by Publisher

Description:
A warning ignored…a love denied

Four years ago, Commander Jack Ballantyne followed Special Agent Lowry Fisk into a death trap. Fortunately, both of them lived to tell the tale, but when he had Lowry drummed out of the British Intelligence Service for her own safety—and his own peace of mind—he knew she’d never forgive him.

Lowry Fisk knew, she just knew, that the Assassins, the secret black-ops unit of the Service she and Jack belonged to, had a mole. And as the Assassins Commander, Jack should have believed her, even though she had little evidence beyond a gut feeling. But when he hadn’t, she’d taken it upon herself to find the traitor—and ended up assaulted, shot, and left for dead. Jack had come to her rescue, but it had been too little, too late. Now all she wants to do is forget the attack, the Service, and the sexy, steely-eyed Commander with the power to make her feel weak.

But the mole is on the move, and he’s coming for Lowry to finish what he started. Jack has to get the stubborn, dangerously gorgeous woman to let him back into her life and allow him the Assassins to protect her—without allowing her to worm her way into his heart

Review:
I’ll admit that I’m a sucker for Secret Agent storylines – I mean, who doesn’t love James Bond and those types of characters? so when I came across the description of Incy Black’s series in an email from her publisher, I was intrigued. Since this was the 2nd in the series, I opted to go back and read the first one before picking up this one (although the author did say when I tweeted her, that this could be read as a stand-alone – and looking back, I agree). In fact, after I finished reading the first book (while not bad, it just had some things that didn’t work for me), I wasn’t sure if I wanted to pick up Hard to Forget, but I’m glad I did – because I enjoyed it more than the first.

There were times when I wanted to take both Jack and Lowry’s heads and clang them together to have some sense knocked into them, because man did they both do some silly stuff – both prior to the book’s main setting (told in flashbacks) and during the main portion of the book. But even with that, Lowry wasn’t the typical TSTL heroine that you see, who ends up getting herself into trouble and needs to be rescued – in fact, it was her willingness to do whatever was needed for the mission to be accomplished that actually made me like her.

My main issue with the book was Jack – he was, for lack of a better word, a jackass – and honestly, it took me about 3/4 of the book before I even really started to not hate him as a character, and even then, he was barely redeemed by the end. I just didn’t think that he did anything during the course of the book to really warrant Lowry forgiving him for how he had acted in the past.

Even with my issues with Jack, I gave Hard to Forget 3.5 stars, which was an improvement on the previous book. I’m interested to see where she takes the series, and more importantly, I want to know if Will (who has been a secondary character in both books so far) is going to get his own story – because he needs one.

 
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Posted by on November 30, 2014 in Book Review

 

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Review – Exposed – Laura Griffin

exposedExposed
Author: Laura Griffin
Series: #7 in the Tracers series

Review Copy Provided by Publisher via Edelweiss

Description:
With the click of her camera, Maddie Callahan inadvertently added herself to the hit list of a criminal mastermind the FBI’s been investigating for months. Agent Brian Beckmann is determined to protect the sexy photographer, but she may be his only lead.

As a forensic photographer, Maddie is used to seeing violence up close, but she’s never before been a target. When a freelance photo shoot goes awry, she realizes she may have seen, and perhaps photographed, the kidnapping of a key witness in a federal probe. And although her camera was stolen, Maddie has something that could be even more valuable to investigators. With the help of her colleagues at the Tracers crime lab, Maddie uncovers DNA evidence that provides a desperately needed break in the case.

Although Brian is reluctant to involve Maddie, she’s determined to help with the investigation and the two set out to track a vicious criminal known as The Doctor, whose far-reaching violence has led to multiple deaths. But as the task force gets closer to catching the deadly Doctor, Maddie is in more danger than ever…

Review:
Going into this, I wasn’t so sure what I was going to think because unlike the previous books in the series, I didn’t really know these characters, they hadn’t really been mentioned before. Or rather, I think Brian had a cameo in a previous book, but he wasn’t that well characterized and I had never met Maddie. Thankfully, I ended up enjoying the book and finishing the series up to date. In fact, I read not only the complete Tracer series, but the 2 kinda linked series books that came first in the space of about a month and a half (but its not like I have any obsessive traits, right?) – lol.

I liked the idea of having a non hard science (for lack of a better word) main character. Since the vast majority of the other main characters have been someway involved in a science like DNA analysis, or forensic anthropology (which apparently I have issues spelling…). Plus the whole crime scene photography thing has always been of interest to me – I love seeing that part of crime dramas on TV – how various angles and shots can help with solving the crime. (yes, I’m a geek, what more can I say).

I think my main gripe was that I was more interested in the crime than the romance between Maddie and Brian. It wasn’t that their relationship wasn’t good, it just wasn’t as interesting…lol. But it wasn’t like it was bad (yes, I know I’m wavering…). I think if I knew more about both of them, that connection might have been there a bit more and made it more enjoyable. But I’ll be interested to see where the series goes in the future and if they make another appearance. Overall, I gave Exposed, 3.5 stars, but rounded up to 4 stars.

 
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Posted by on June 20, 2013 in Book Review

 

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Review – Merciless – Lori Armstrong

mercilessMerciless
Author: Lori Armstrong
Series: #3 in the Mercy Gunderson series

Review Copy Provided by the Publisher via Edelweiss

Description:

Torn between her duties to the FBI and her need to keep her loved ones safe, former black-ops army sniper Mercy Gunderson must unleash the cold, dark, merciless killer inside her and become the predator . . . rather than the prey.

Newly minted agent Mercy Gunderson is back and ready for action— unfortunately, she’s stuck doing paperwork in an overheated government office building. But she gets more than she bargained for when she’s thrown into her first FBI murder case, working with the tribal police on the Eagle River Reservation, where the victim is the teenage niece of the recently elected tribal president. When another gruesome killing occurs during the early stages of the investigation, Mercy and fellow FBI agent Shay Turnbull are at odds about whether the crimes are connected.

Due to job confidentiality, Mercy can’t discuss her misgivings about the baffling cases with her boyfriend, Eagle River County sheriff Mason Dawson, and the couple’s home on the ranch descends into chaos when Dawson’s eleven-year-old son Lex is sent to live with them. While Mercy struggles to find a balance, hidden political agendas and old family vendettas turn ugly, masking motives and causing a rift among the tribal police, the tribal council, and the FBI. Soon, however, Mercy realizes that the deranged killer is still at large—and is playing a dangerous game with his sights set on Mercy as his next victim.

Review:
Its been nearly two years since there was an installment in Armstrong’s Mercy Gunderson series. I have been stalking her website since finishing up the previous book, hoping for some word – and it finally materialized. Although, I’ll have to admit, I wish that I had time to go back and read the previous book in the series, because I don’t remember anything about Mercy becoming an FBI agent, and yet, that is where the story opens upon her return to South Dakota following her training…but I digress

Merciless has the suspense that I have come to expect in Armstrong’s books, and was balanced just right with the romance. It was fun seeing Mercy and Dawson (because typing Mason just seems weird, since even she calls him Dawson) trying to figure out their lives and merge them together. It seemed real – it wasn’t perfect like stuff so often is portrayed – I felt like I was getting to know them on a higher level. The mystery was intriguing – I will have to admit that the who done it didn’t reveal itself to me until right before everything went down and looking back, I think that Armstrong did a good job of integrating clues without it being completely obvious. There was also a certain amount of angst, which I am personally, not a fan of and which is why ultimately, I ended up giving it 3.5 stars, but rounding up to 4.

 
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Posted by on March 27, 2013 in Book Review

 

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Review – Scorched – Laura Griffin

scorchedScorched
Author: Laura Griffin
Series: #6 in the Tracers series (although could be read partially as stand-alone)

Review Copy Provided by Publisher via Edelweiss

Description:
Kelsey Quinn set out to trace a murder victim. Now she may become one. The dead don’t speak, but Kelsey knows their secrets. As a forensic anthropologist at the Delphi Center crime lab, Kelsey makes it her mission to identify bodies using no more than shards of bone, and her find at a remote Philippines dig hints at a sinister story. When Kelsey’s search for answers puts her at the scene of her exfiancé’s murder, only one man can help her. The same man who broke her heart just months before, and who is also a prime suspect. Faced with an ultimatum— Kelsey or his job—Gage Brewer did the only thing a Navy SEAL could . . . but that doesn’t mean he stopped wanting Kelsey. Now Kelsey is running for her life and Gage is her last line of defense. As the threats escalate, Kelsey realizes this conspiracy goes deeper and higher than they could have guessed. With the clock ticking down on a madman’s plot, the slightest misstep will have unthinkable consequences. . . .

Review:
So I’m sitting here, trying to write my review of Scorched and explain how it fits into the series and struggling a bit. Not because I didn’t like it, but I didn’t love it as much as I have loved the last couple in the series. This addition to the Tracer’s series could pretty much function as a stand-alone, as long as you read Novella, Unstoppable (which is 2.5 in the series) – this is where you meet Kelsey and Gage in a short adventure. Scorched picks up about 2 years later (roughly) and things have changed for the both of them. I say that this would work well as a stand-alone because there are only minute mentions of the other characters who have appeared in the series, and only one of them plays more than a minor role (and even then, that character has been a backseat rider in the other books).

Anyways, back to the book – I liked the terrorism theme that was used in this one, since it was something that many of us in the U.S. have faced in the past – from 9/11 to the anthrax attacks to threats to the various Metro systems (New York etc). There is, for many people, a definite fear of something happening. The way that the story unfolded seemed mostly realistic and on-par with some of the attempts that have occurred in the past. What I like the most about the secondary characters is that they seem as real as the main ones – they are very well developed and you find yourself either rooting for, or hating them. One minor (very) gripe that I have is that al-Qaeda should be spelt al-Qaida – according to many unclassified documents – but that’s just me…and many people likely wouldn’t pick up on that, because the e is the common spelling in the media.

While I enjoyed it, I also can’t pin-point exactly why I didn’t enjoy it as much as the other books in the series (which I have read all in the past month). Maybe it was because Kelsey and Gage have that prior relationship, which is normally a storyline plot that drives me nuts – I like my heroes and heroines to be getting together originally in their book, so a novella, or a previous book where you know that they get together just drives me nuts. That being said, it wasn’t as bad as all that – I liked the pacing of the action and I think it survived much more on the suspense realm, than the romance realm, which was good. Overall, I gave it 3.5 stars.

 
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Posted by on March 25, 2013 in Book Review

 

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