Dangerous Beauty

Author: Melissa Koslin

Publisher: Revell

Release Date: September 6, 2022

Rating: 4 out of 5.

A story with a lot of depth and tackling hard issues that will put a twist on how we look at marriage and hopefully not take for granted what we have.

Lilliana Vela is determined not to be seen as a victim. She is able to escape the world of human traffickers with the help of Meric Toledan. Lilliana was taken from her Mexican village and brought to the United States. When Meric finds her trying to escape, he knows she can’t return to her village; there is a target on her head, and she will be snatched again. He does the only thing he can think of to do at that moment, he asks her to marry him so she can legally stay in the United States. He is a very wealthy man and has connections to try and fight those trying to get her back.

Melissa Koslin pulled me in quickly with her first book and I was eager to read this one ready for another non-stop adventure. While the premise of this is hard hitting and might be difficult for some readers to handle, it does make for a great romantic suspense read. I loved the way she wrote Lilliana, she has been through a lot but refuses to be a victim through it all. Meric got on my nerves at times but he overall he was a good character that was trying to do his best, even though he was a little over the top with his own guilt for things out of his control. The way they had to figure out how to go through the stages of a relationship in a reverse order made for an interesting story. The action moments made the story fly and kept me engaged with the characters. This is a great story for readers that enjoy suspense with romance sprinkled throughout.

I received a complimentary copy of this title from the publisher.  The views and opinions expressed within are my own.

No Matter the Cost

Author: Susan May Warren

Series: The Epic Story of RJ and York #3

Publisher: SDG Publishing

Release Date: August 23, 2022

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The final story in the RJ and York series wraps up leaving readers satisfied yet wanting more!

RJ is in disbelief that the worst thing she could imagine has actually happened, York can’t be gone; she refuses to believe it until she sees his body for herself. In order to find out what happened, she is going to have to dive deep into the past that York tried so hard to keep secret. There is more at stake than just finding the truth about York, she is also trying to stop a terrorist and save the lives of many before it is too late.

Of all three books in this series, this is my least favorite for one simple reason, RJ and York are separated for a lot of the book. The stories work so great because of the chemistry between the two of them. Having them separated is part of the story and drives the tension because readers are going to want these characters back together. It was a great story and wrap up to the series with some amazing characters. It is amazing to me that Susan May Warren has taken this series she started with the Marshall brothers and expanded it into so many different novels and characters. I would recommend reading this series in order to get the most out of it and really get to know the characters and connect with them. Fans of romantic suspense and the Marshall family novels will not want to miss this epic conclusion.

I received a complimentary copy of this title from the publisher.  The views and opinions expressed within are my own.

I Will Find You

Author: Susan May Warren

Series: The Epic Story of RJ and York #2

Publisher: SDG Publishing

Release Date: August 16, 2022

Rating: 5 out of 5.

The second book in the RJ and York saga continues with the same heart stopping action readers will not want to miss!

After being wounded and in the hospital, York wakes up to find out RJ has gone to Berlin to try and save a little girl. She was supposed to be back by now, but no one can get in touch with her. With the woman he loves in danger, York takes off to find her and bring her home before the terrorist they are trying to stop gets to her first.

This second book in the series was just as good as the first with all the action, drama, suspense, and romance fans of the series love. Susan May Warren is a powerhouse when it comes to writing romantic suspense and it shows in these books. She can spin out novels faster than most anyone I know and make them good, enjoyable stories that are quick to read and make you feel like you are all over the world with these characters. The Montana Marshalls is a fun series with great characters, and I was happy to see RJ and York get the attention they deserved in this series. The way York cares for RJ and can’t stand to see her in danger really pulls at the heart strings and made me feel for them. Fans of Susan May Warren’s writing and romantic suspense fans will not want to miss this one.

I received a complimentary copy of this title from the publisher.  The views and opinions expressed within are my own.

Kismet

Author: Amina Akhtar

Publisher: Thomas & Mercer

Release Date: August 1, 2022

    Rating: 4 out of 5.

    Kismet is dark, twisted and very different than most of what I have read this year making it a very enjoyable!

    Ronnie Khan has lived in New York her entire life; after her parents died her aunt raised her in a very rough way. When she meets Marley Dewhurst, a wellness guru, her life changes very quickly. Marley’s goal is to help Ronnie find her best self and together they move to the mountains of Arizona where they go on hikes, do yoga and all the healthy things to find their best self. Shortly after they arrive in town, murders occur and Ronnie’s world is turned upside down and not in the way she was hoping for.

    Kismet was a very different read from anything I have read this year. Weird, suspenseful, and filled with twists until the very end. I wasn’t really sure what to think of this book when I picked it up and with each new chapter I found myself even more confused with what I was reading. The premise was intriguing and the plot moved at a great pace. I was able to read this in two days. There were a good number of characters and each one brought a new element to the story that was needed, I especially liked the storyline involving Brit and Star, played out in just the right way. I would recommend this book to anyone that likes a suspense read with lots of twists and turns throughout.

    I received a complimentary copy of this title from the publisher.  The views and opinions expressed within are my own.

    Crossfire

    Author: Lynette Eason

    Series: Extreme Measures #2

    Publisher: Revell

    Release Date; August 2, 2022

    Rating: 5 out of 5.

    The second book in the Extreme Measures series is just as intense and action packed as the first! Lynette Eason is at her best with this series!

    Julianna Jameson works for the FBI as a negotiator and has never lost a hostage. When her younger sister, Dottie, shows up to live with her for her last year of high school it may prove to be the hardest job she’s had yet. Julianna crosses paths with Clay Fox who works as security at the school Dottie attends. Julianna saves Clay’s sister who is being held hostage with others inside a courtroom. Clay asks her to come speak, but ghosts from Julianna’s past come back to haunt them putting everyone she cares about at risk. Together they will have to do all they can to save their loved ones and stop those out to hurt them.

    Lynette Eason blew me away with the first in this series and Crossfire came out in the first chapter with all the action and suspense.  While Crossfire was fantastic it ranks just a notch below the first in the series for me. I really loved Julianna and the chemistry between her and Clay but more so the way she was with trying to help and protect her sister. The way the story unfolded with her having to do her best as a negotiator with the FBI while also trying to protect her sister really helped make it a real page-turner. The baggage that both Julianna and Clay had from their past really made it more relatable characters, not perfect or with nothing weighing them down to make them more realistic.

    The characters in these books go through a lot, but with all they go through, it helps them to show growth and real character development. There is a good element of faith throughout, but I never felt as if I was being preached at or annoyed by it, which does sometimes happen with Christian fiction books. Of all the romantic suspense authors I read, Lynette Eason is one of my very favorites for how realistic she makes the stories and is able to get me invested in the characters. I recommend this book to fans that love romantic suspense novels. While this is the second in a series, it could be read without having read the first and still enjoy.

    I received a complimentary copy of this title from the publisher.  The views and opinions expressed within are my own.

    Deception

    Author: Patricia Bradley

    Series: Natchez Trace Park Rangers #4

    Publisher: Revell

    Release Date: August 2, 2022

    Rating: 4 out of 5.

    The fourth book in the Natchez Trace series has Bradley at her very best with non-stop action and thrills from the first page!

    Madison Thorn has tried to put the night she had to kill an FBI agent out of her mind while working for the Investigative Services Branch and has moved to the fraud and cyber division. She is good at her job and able to see things in the numbers most can’t. She is sent to Natchez, Mississippi to investigate a white color crime that turns very violent quickly. She must work with Clayton Bradshaw, an enemy from when she was a child that is now a park ranger. It doesn’t take long for both of them to realize things in Natchez Trace are not what they seem, and Madison has a target on her back.

    Deception finishes up the Natchez Trace series and it is not to be missed. This novel is multi-layered deeper with the layers of family dynamics. When Madison returns home, she is hoping to help solve a white-colored crime and move on; what she doesn’t expect to find is a deep dark secret involving her family and others in town. The depth of this secret and the lengths so many are willing to go to in order to keep it hidden drives the story forward at an incredible pace. These characters and what they go through make for a nail-biting suspense novel. I loved the way the adoption scandal played into Madison and her family along with others in town. A lot of romantic suspense novels read the same and can be skimmed without missing a lot, but this is probably my favorite of all the Natchez Trace novels. I recommend this to readers that love romantic suspense novels.

    I received a complimentary copy of this title from the publisher.  The views and opinions expressed within are my own.

    Fields of Fire

    Author: Ryan Steck

    Publisher: Tyndale

    Release Date: August 2, 2022

    Rating: 5 out of 5.

    If you are a fan of military type thrillers, Fields of Fire will blow you away with the action, suspense and over the top drama in this fantastic debut by Ryan Steck!

    Marine Raider Matthew Redd is heading to be deployed on a top-secret mission when he stops to help a stranded motorist on the side of the road only to wake up hours later missing the mission that his team is all been killed on. Now he is having to take a deal to leave the Corps to avoid being arrested for treason. It is the only life he has known and loved and now he must return to his home town in Montana when he receives a message from his adoptive father saying he might be in trouble. When he gets home, he is too late, his dad is dead and he is left with more questions than answers. The more he digs into it all, the harder it is to know who to trust and what has really been going on while he was away serving his country.

    When I started reading Fields of Fire, I didn’t realize this was the first novel by Ryan Steck. For a debut novel, Steck did an outstanding job of creating characters and putting them in situations that kept me on the edge of my seat. Matthew Redd is a great main character with a lot of heart, hurt and determination to try and do what is right no matter what it costs him. For the longest time while reading this, I wasn’t sure where the story would end up, and by the time it all came together, I was able to connect the dots back to the beginning and it all fit together nicely. Each character had a purpose and was set in place at just the right time to move the story along at the right speed. As the story progressed, so did the tension; by about the halfway point I found myself unable to put the book down until I found out what was going to happen. This is set as the first in a series and I can’t wait to see what comes next for these characters. I recommend this book to anyone that loves a great suspense thriller with fun characters and the start of a new series.

    I received a complimentary copy of this title from the publisher.  The views and opinions expressed within are my own.

    Upgrade

    Author: Blake Crouch

    Publisher: Ballantine Books

    Length: 352 Pages

    Release Date: July 12, 2022

    Rating: 5 out of 5.

    Blake Crouch never disappoints with his mind-bending thrillers!

    Logan Ramsay works for the gene protection agency (GPA) to thwart the plans of scientists who intend to modify genes for personal gain.  Logan’s mother was the matriarch of gene research and modification before her life’s work to end world hunger turned into the “Great Starvation” causing a sizeable part of the world’s population to die off.  One night at a raid in Denver, he triggers an IED in a house’s basement that was packed with a gene modifier.  At first everything comes back clean, but before long, Logan starts to notice that his intelligence is enhancing as is his body structure.  Logan knows that if the GPA finds out that his genome has been modified, he will be isolated and studied until they are confident they can contain what he will become.  But Logan also learns that what happened to him is just the first step in someone’s attempt to upgrade the human race so that they don’t face extinction in the future. 

    If you pick up a Blake Crouch book, you know that you are going to be in for a wild ride that will likely result in sleepless nights while reading the book and after reading the book because you keep thinking about it for months.  Upgrade was no exception to his formula.  However, he changed tactics a bit and strayed from his usual focus on quantum entanglement to human gene modification.  He has also moved from being more current day to a time of a dystopian world after disasters. 

    If you’ve researched much into genetics, you will find quite a bit of the same acronyms show up in his book.  Even if you haven’t, Crouch does a great job of giving readers just enough information to follow the technical jargon without having to have a biomedical degree just to keep up.  He never gets into the weeds, but makes it feel like you are reading a medical thriller.  The suspense is always top notch and its easy to connect with the main protagonist from the beginning.  I always look forward to his books.

    There is quite a bit of foul language (understandable from the characters) but doesn’t take away from the storyline at all.  If you love suspense thrillers that will leave you thinking for weeks to months afterwards, Upgrade should be on your shelf!

    Bullet Train

    Author: Kotaro Isaka

    Series: Hitman #2

    Publisher: Harry N. Abrams

    Release Date: August 3, 2021

    Rating: 5 out of 5.

    In a read before you watch debate, this will be better than the movie!

    Aboard the Shinkansen from Tokyo to Morioka, multiple assassins are traveling with different, seemingly unrelated agendas.  Tangerine and Lemon have “rescued” a wealthy man’s son from a kidnapping and are making their way to deliver the boy and the ransom money that is housed in a suitcase.  Nanao, referred to as ladybug for his unlucky, yet successful adventures, is working with his partner Maria on an assignment to grab a specific suitcase off the train, which just happens to be the same suitcase that Tangerine and Lemon are guarding.  Kimura has boarded the train to avenge his young son’s accident by a teenager known as “the Prince.”  But the Prince is more calculated and sadistic than anyone knows who is out to determine the boundaries that he can push.  Could there be more assassins aboard that have even more agendas?  What will happen when they finally realize that things might not be quite as unrelated as they seem?

    I picked up a copy of this book when I saw that it was going to be a movie and I love to read it before I see it.  Needless to say, this is an action-packed thriller from start to finish.  There are so many twists and turns throughout the book that it made my head spin.  There were many aspects of this book that I enjoyed: the banter between Lemon and Tangerine, the frustrations of Nanao, and Kimura’s parents were just the icing on the cake.  It was easy to connect with certain characters and disdain for others, just as the reader intended.  The fight scenes on the train were done very well and was completely believable.

    There is quite a bit of strong language throughout the book, a lot of violence, and some disturbing thoughts and concepts by one of the characters, but still a great book.  I recommend that those who love to compare books to movies check this out.

    Code of Courage

    Author: Janice Cantore

    Publisher: Tyndale House

    Release Date: July 19, 2022

    Rating: 5 out of 5.

    Another fantastic police procedural from one of the best is completely satisfying and downright enjoyable!

    Detective Danni Grace has been on the job a long time and never expected to want to do anything else. After being injured during a riot, she takes a leave and almost never comes back to the job she loved. When the riots increase with a police officer involved shooting in her hometown, Danni returns to try and save the career of her fellow officers. She is going to have to work hard to overcome the doubts she has about staying on the force she lost her passion for. She also must put aside her past and work with her ex-husband, Gabriel Fox, an investigator for the city prosecutor’s office. Together they work to preserve justice and protect those they have made an oath to serve and protect.

    I always love getting a new Janice Cantore book. I know that no matter what the story is I’m going to enjoy it. Her knowledge being a 22-year veteran of the Long Beach police force shows in every book that she writes. Every character in her books is believable and engaging, which is so rare. Not only are her characters as officers written real and believable, but anyone else that shows up on the page pulls me in and makes me want to know more about their backstory and all that they are going through. Danni Grace was a great protagonist; she is strong, but also vulnerable and even though it takes a while, she is willing to accept the help she needs from Gabriel, which brings their relationship into an interesting dynamic. For being just under four hundred pages there is a lot of story here but it is told well and flows at a great pace. This is a great book for fans of Romantic suspense to pick up. If you have never read anything by Janice Cantore, I would recommend this one along with all of her books.

    I received a complimentary copy of this title from the publisher.  The views and opinions expressed within are my own.