Point of Danger

Author: Irene Hannon

Series: Triple Threat #1

Publisher: Revell

Release Date: October 6, 2020

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

A fantastic start to a new series by one of the best in romantic suspense. The beginning wasn’t a hit for me, but the rest of the story panned out beautifully making up for the rough start.

Eve Reilly isn’t worried when a few negative comments or message come her way. After hosting a controversial radio talk show for a while, she is used to getting the occasional hate mail. When a suspicious looking package ends up on her doorstep and she hears ticking, she knows things have gone too far. It’s time now for the police to be involved. Detective Brent Lange is called to the scene and can’t find any evidence linking someone to the incidents involving Eve. The threats don’t stop with the ticking package on her doorstep, things escalate quickly, and Brent must use all of his skills to find who is targeting Eve and how to stop them before anyone gets hurt. He quickly starts to feel something more for Eve, but his heart has been torn out before and he doesn’t want to go through anything like that again. Can he protect Eve while also protecting his heart?

Let me start by saying Irene Hannon is a fantastic Romantic Suspense writer. I love almost all of what she writes. While I’m not saying I didn’t love this story, I just have a few issues with how it started. Only seven pages in we have our main male protagonist, Brent, going to the scene of the ticking package left on Eve’s doorstep. The first thing he notices when he arrives is her every toned muscle, notable legs, gold-flecked irises, lush lashes and full lips. While all of this is beautiful description, I have a problem with it being the first thing he notices when called to a possible bomb threat. His mind as a detective should be focused on the scene around him, anyone that looks out of place, if the bomb squad has arrived and any number of things other than what was described here. This one page of description totally took me out of the story for about the next hundred pages. The ending played out great and I did greatly enjoy the story overall. I have read many romantic suspense stories over the years and come to realize how it works, not a problem with that, but don’t want to see this kind of description and romantic emotions from a character on page seven. Irene Hannon has been around long enough and written enough best sellers to get away with something like this, but I have come to expect better of her as a writer and hope to not see this again. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll be picking up the next she writes without a doubt and continue recommending her to readers without thinking twice. I do recommend this to readers that are into romantic suspense and want a good heart-pounding story to keep them up long past bedtime. I received a complimentary copy of this title from the publisher.  The views and opinions expressed within are my own.

The Haunting at Bonaventure Circus

Author: Jaime Jo Wright

Publisher: Bethany House

Release Date: September 1, 2020

Rating: 5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

In her newest release, Jaime Jo Wright will blow readers away with this thrilling, mysterious, and moving tale of brokenness, revenge, love and a yearning to belong. 

Split between 1928 and present day in the fictional town of Bluff River, Wisconsin. In 1928, readers meet Pippa Ripley, whose father is the owner of Bonaventure circus. Pippa was rejected from the circus as a baby and left on the doorstep of the owners who raised her as their own. Pippa receives mysterious packages and messages from someone called the Watchman, which lead her to look for clues to her birth. Pippa joins forces with a man trying to find answers to who murdered his sister and leads them both to evidence of a serial killer associated with the circus.  Fast forward to present day and the old circus is in jeopardy of being torn down. Chandler Faulk works for her uncle at his real estate firm and has been tasked with seeing if it is worth, preserving for history or tearing it down. She moves to the small town with her young son to dive into the history of the circus depot all while trying to balance living with her newly diagnosed autoimmune disease and being a single mother. As she researches, she finds clues to unsolved murders of the past and newer murders. The more she digs into the past, the darker things seem, and Chandler must determine if saving the depot is worth her safety.

Jaime Jo Wright has done it again! The Haunting at Bonaventure Circus is a stunning, thrilling tale that is hard to put down. Any time you pick up a book by Wright, you know you are going to be in for an adventure. It is hard to do a dual timeline and keep the reader engaged and not confused. The set up for this one does take a little bit longer but is worth it in the end. She developed such a great backstory for the characters that helped me connect with them on a deep level. Pippa and Chandler both have very different stories and each of them is unique but ties in by the end in such a beautiful way.  I loved the way Wright brought it all full circle. This book tackles a lot of tough issues, a character with a physical deformity and one with a chronic illness, not something that is written about enough these days considering how common it is becoming in our world. She does this in a way that doesn’t make the character seem weak, instead readers are able to see her as one of us and connect; if it were a character that had nothing wrong they would seem too perfect and be a turn off. I am thankful for the authors that tackle these difficult subjects in such a way that will leave readers thinking about it but not turned off either. If you have never picked up a Jaime Jo Wright book, I would say run, don’t walk, to your bookstore and grab a copy of this one today, you won’t regret it. Readers that enjoy stories full of mystery, adventure, a little romance and a whole lot of hope will not want to miss this one.

The Price of Valor

Author: Susan May Warren

Series: Global Search & Rescue #3

Publisher: Revell

Release Date: October 6, 2020

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

Susan May Warren brings all our favorites from the Global Search and Rescue series in one of the most action-packed stories she has written! Readers will stay up way past their bedtime finishing this one!

After thinking Signe, the love of his life, had died years earlier, Hamilton Jones is now trying to raise the daughter he never knew he had. He is contacted by the Navy that they have a little girl claiming to be his daughter with a message from his wife.  Hamilton will stop at nothing to bring his wife home and reunite their family.

Signe has spent the last decade getting information for the CIA about a Russian terrorist after being kidnapped by his rebels and she is forced to marry him in order to stay alive and keep her daughter safe. When her secret is discovered, Signe fakes her death and sends her daughter to live with Ham who quickly learns she is still alive and willing to risk it all to come after her. Her past is difficult, and the more Ham learns, the harder his decision becomes of protecting her or staying true to his vow of protecting his country.

With engaging characters, a fast-moving storyline, and little snippets of characters from other beloved Susan May Warren books, this is easily one of the best I have read this year. Not many authors could take characters from a completely different series and have them blend so easily into the story line as she does. Every time I pick up a book by Warren, I know I am in for a treat including romance, suspense and so much more.

Romantic suspense is a hard genre for me because I like my novels to be more on the suspense side and lighter on the romance for the story to move along. Warren is able to deliver the suspense even during the romance scenes. Signe quickly became one of my favorite characters from all the books that I have read by Warren. I loved how strong she was regardless of all she had been through she was determined to not let it bring her down. Her main goal stayed the same throughout the entire novel: keep those she cared about safe. A lot of romantic suspense novels have an easy formula to follow, girl and boy meet or find each other again after a long time, realize they still have feelings for each other, something happens to tear them apart, and then ultimately come back together. If you read a lot, that can either become very boring or be a quick easy read for you. For me, I like for it to be changed up and not be able to guess everything that is about to happen which is what happens with this book. At several moments it felt like the tension was letting down and the story was getting close to ending and then BAM, things took another turn and pulled me and my emotions even further into the story.  

Overall, this was probably one of my favorites I have read by Susan May Warren. Yes, it is predictable at times but only for a split second before it turns in another direction keeping you glued to your seat. I would recommend this to readers that love a great romantic suspense with twists and turns until the very ending. It is the third in this series with tie ins to the Montana Marshall series but if a reader hasn’t read the previous two, they can still enjoy the story.

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

The Last Agent

Author: Robert Dugoni

Series: Charles Jenkins #2

Publisher: Thomas & Mercer

Release Date: September 22, 2020

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

The follow up to The Eighth Sister has Charles Jenkins sent back into the heart of Russia in more death-defying action that will leave readers on the edge of their seat and thirsting for more from this fantastic addition by Robert Dugoni!

After being tried for treason from his own country and found not guilty, Charles Jenkins has put the spy life behind him. That is until he learns that the one person most responsible for his safe return home now needs his help. Paulina Ponomayova,, who he thought sacrificed her life to ensure he returned home, is in the notorious Lefortovo Prison. Once Jenkins finds proof it really is her and she is alive, he sets out to return to Russia and contact the man who used to be his enemy and may now be his only ally in helping him find a way into the prison and save Paulina. Viktor Federov, a former Russion officer who led the search for Jenkins, may now be the only man he can trust. Together the two work to stay one step ahead of the authorities and get Paulina safely away without risking the lives of anyone else, or their own.

Robert Dugoni is a master storyteller. I don’t know of anyone else that could write a thriller set mostly in Russia and keep me intrigued. Usually not my kind of thing, a setting like that just doesn’t keep me engaged. Dugoni makes it more about the characters and finding that relationship instead of the setting. I was so deeply taken in by the characters and the mission Jenkins was on I forgot to care about anything else. While this is not my favorite by Dugoni, I did enjoy this second addition to this series. Charles is a good character, he’s a good guy and his drive to do what is right should inspire all readers to follow that path even though it might not be the easiest. He had to sacrifice a lot to follow his heart even after all he went through after his last visit to Russia.

One of my favorite things about reading a Robert Dugoni novel is it is so easy to do; the writing is so good it flows without interruption and unnecessary plot points that do nothing to drive the story forward. I did have a few moments that the excitement wasn’t as thrilling as the rest of the story. The story wraps up nicely but is also left open at the end for another Charles Jenkins novel to come our way and I, for one, will be putting it on my pre-order list. I would recommend it to readers that enjoy a great spy thriller with lots of twists and fast action. Even though it is the second in the series it could be read as a stand alone without the reader feeling too lost.

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

Minutes to Die

Author: Susan Sleeman

Series: Homeland Heroes #2

Publisher: Bethany House

Release Date: August 4, 2020

Rating: 4.5 Stars

The second installment in the Homeland Heroes series gives readers another fast pace tale with relationships between characters both tense and emotional until the very end.

FBI Agent Kiley Dawson loses her Confidential Informant to a murder right as she is about to give her information on a terrorist attack being planned on U.S. soil.  The attack is supposedly going to be the deadliest attack since 9/11 and Kiley knows she has her work cut out for her. She teams with ICE Agent Evan Bowers in charge of figuring out how to take down the terrorist cell. Evan and Kiley have a difficult past, she blames him for the death of her former partner and doesn’t know how she can work with a man she doesn’t trust. Somehow, they have to work around their differences to protect the lives of millions and stop a terrorist from attacking America once more.

Minutes to Die is another action-packed romantic suspense thriller from Susan Sleeman. Sleeman does a fantastic job of crafting characters that readers will want to see succeed even as they are placed in the most precarious of situations. With so many aspects of the investigation, it could be easy to get lost in the technical jargon and lose sight of what the story is trying to tell us; luckily, the story is written in such a way that readers will follow along and feel as if they are part of the investigation with Kiley and Evan and the rest of the team. For me, I enjoyed fast pace of the story, but there was more romance than I would have liked.  Don’t get me wrong, I love a good romantic suspense but not when the romance comes on too strong, which is my only complaint. I would have preferred the romance down a notch. That can also be a double edge sword, when the romance is a bigger part of the story, it can lead to more tension between the characters. By the end of the story I was so invested in the relationships that when one character found themselves in harm’s way and the other was scared for their life, I found myself holding my breath as the pages turned to see if they would make it out okay. Both books in this series have been enjoyable and easy to read, which leads me to believe the third will be a welcome addition to the series. I recommend this to readers that enjoy romantic suspense with heart pounding action and great heart-warming story throughout.

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

Lost Hills

  • Author: Lee Golberg
  • Series: Eve Ronin #1
  • Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
  • Release Date: January 1, 2020
  • Rating: 4.5 Stars

A slow build to a solid story and a lead character that has so much more to offer than just one book, I can’t wait to see where Eve Ronin takes us next!

After a video surfaces of Deputy Eve Ronin taking down an abusive movie star, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s department promotes her to detective and uses her positive press to help overshadow the scandal the department has been trying to outrun. Eve is the youngest female homicide detective and no one in the department is about to let her forget it. When she and her partner get a call to check a house that a neighbor says has blood splatter and a single mom and her two kids are missing, Eve knows this is her chance to prove she is more than just a positive press moment for the department. She has worked hard and now is the time to prove she has what it takes to be a detective. By pushing beyond what anyone else wants to, she is able to see more than the others working the case and find clues that lead her to help them find the bodies, hopefully before it is too late.

Lost Hills had a slow start; the story was good but didn’t pull me in right away. I stuck with it and am so glad I did. I have fallen in love with Eve Ronin, she reminds me of Tracy Crosswhite from Robert Dugoni, one of my very favorite female protagonists in any series. I really got to know Eve and follow along as she worked to get past the hardships placed in her way by being female and the way she rose through the ranks. Nothing that was put in front of her was enough to hold her back, she used it as a stepping stone to show that she was just as capable as any of the men she worked with. Even when those highest above her were only willing to use her as a T.V spot, she refused to let that be her only use in the department. Eve is a clever character that readers will have no choice but to like and cheer for her to find success. The secondary characters, the other men in the department and her family, bring just the right amount of humor, tension and drama to keep readers engaged throughout. It wasn’t until about the last two-thirds of the book that I really feel in love with the story and characters; from that moment on I was hooked and couldn’t wait to see how it played out. As the first in a new series I can’t wait to see what happens next. I would recommend this to readers that enjoy a great police procedural with plenty of suspense and a fabulous ending but don’t mind a little bit of harsh language. I received a complimentary copy of this title from the publisher.  The views and opinions expressed within are my own.

Acceptable Risk

Acceptable RiskAuthor: Lynette Eason

Series: Danger Never Sleeps #2

Publisher: Revell

Release Date: August 4, 2020

Rating: 5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

Another fantastic installment in the Danger Never Sleeps series! Lynette Eason has delivered her best book yet! She continues to get better at giving readers the story they want and so much more. Acceptable Risk is at the top of my list for best of the year so far.

Sarah Denning joined the army to become a military journalist and uncover the truth where others run from it. While in the Middle East, she is attacked and taken prisoner. A group of special soldiers is sent in to rescue her, including former Army Ranger Gavin Black, who was asked by Sarah’s father, a General in the army, to rescue her. Once Sarah is back home in the States recovering from being taken hostage, she finds out her father helped have her discharged on a false psychiatric evaluation. She will stop at nothing to prove to him and anyone else that she is still fit for duty and ready to return to her unit. Before she can do that, she learns of her brother’s suicide and can’t believe he would do such a thing. Now, Sarah must use all her journalistic abilities to find out the truth of what happened to her brother. In order to do that she is going to need help, so she asks Gavin to assist in her investigation to determine the truth and uncover the biggest story of her career.

Lynette Eason seriously gets better with each new book. Every time I pick up one of her novels, I know I am going to be in for a thrill ride. I had such an easy time connecting with the characters in this story, the way she started with Sarah in danger but doing all she could to protect others captured my attention and kept me on the edge of my seat until the very last page. My biggest complaint is I didn’t have enough time to just sit and read this cover-to-cover.  I absolutely loved the way I was able to immediately connect with Sarah from page one. I felt for her and wanted to see her come through the whole ordeal alive and safe. The relationship she had with each male in her life was so different and portrayed so well. Her father’s treatment of her only spurs her on to prove she is capable of so much more than he realizes. Their relationship hit home for me and was so raw and believable. The way Eason wrote Sarah at the first half of the book was perfect for me. She is recovering from tragedy and having to rely on others around her but refuses to play the victim and puts every ounce of her soul into doing what she can to help those around her.

I feel like each time Lynette Eason releases a new book it is my new favorite, I didn’t know if she would be able to top Vow of Justice but Acceptable Risk might just beat it, if not I’ll have to call it a tie. I recommend this book to anyone that loves a fantastic romantic suspense, with characters they can cheer on and a story that will pull them in and keep them on the edge of their seat. It is the second in the series but could be read as a standalone if so desired.

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

Don’t Keep Silent

Dont keep silentAuthor: Elizabeth Goddard

Series: Uncommon Justice #3

Publisher: Revell

Release Date: June 30, 2020

Rating: 5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

Get ready for a chill to race down your spine as the suspense unfolds!  This is the best installment in the Uncommon Justice series!

Rae Burke has spent her life investigating stories trying to follow in her father’s footsteps as an investigative reporter. When she hears her sister-in-law is missing, she does whatever she can to track her down and get to the bottom of her story. In order to find her sister-in-law, she must ask for help from the one man who took a bullet for her. Liam McKade left the DEA after his cover was blown when he saved Rae when her story got her in with the wrong people. Liam has gone to his family ranch in Wyoming to figure out what his next step is going to be. Rae finds Liam and fills him in on what she needs. He reluctantly agrees to help her in this search for her sister-in-law. The more time they spend together, the more danger they find themselves in, and the harder it is for them to keep their feelings for each other hidden.

After being introduced to Liam McKade earlier in the series, I was intrigued and wanted to learn more about him and see his story unfold.  My desire was answered! Don’t Keep Silent gives readers a deep dive into his past and his heart for helping others. Even though he took a bullet for Rae and thinks he never wants to see her again, the moment he lays eyes on her he knows he will do whatever he can to help her. She infuriates him with every step of the investigation as she puts her life at risk time and time again in her search for the truth. The back and forth dialogue between the two of them makes the story flow so well. Rae hires him to protect her but makes that job almost impossible with each step they take as she puts herself in danger to try and find her sister-in-law and figure out how everything ties in together. For me, there could have been a little more suspense built up at a few key points; right when the tension was at its highest things seemed to fizzle out. The romance was very subtle throughout until the end where it went to warp speed. That’s the problem with some romantic suspense novels, a slow build and then the end goes light sped where it’s not believable. At least Rae and Liam had past history and it wasn’t just straight to love and marriage after they first met. While the ending was a little rushed, the whole story was enjoyable and a fun easy read. My only problem was I didn’t have enough time to sit and read it all at once. Fans of Gooddard’s novels and those that enjoy romantic suspense 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.

Nine Elms

Nine ElmsAuthor: Robert Bryndza

Series: Kate Marshall Thriller #1

Publisher: Thomas & Mercer

Release Date: December 1, 2019

Rating: 4.5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

An intense psychological thriller that is twisty, dark and chilling with characters you will love to love and hate from beginning to end.

Kate Marshall was just getting started in her career as a police detective when she caught the famous Nine Elms serial Killer. Her victory is short lived as she loses her job over circumstances of the case and trial. Fifteen years later, she is still haunted by the events of that case and how it stays with her day after day. Now a lecturer at a small university, a copycat killer shows up bringing her past back to haunt her. With the help of her research assistant, Tristan Harper, Kate digs deep into her past as an investigator to catch this new killer. Not only does Kate try and figure out who the copycat killer is, but she also must keep him from finishing the original killer’s plans: her as the final victim.

This book is exactly what it sets out to be: dark, twisty, deep, emotional and thrilling. It is most definitely a book for a mature audience as it contains a lot of harsh language and mature themes throughout. Kate Marshall is a protagonist readers will have an easy time cheering for and yearning to see her succeed. The trials she endures, not only professionally but also personally, are more than most would be able to handle, and yet she follows through on her promise to help others when it puts her own life at risk. She makes for such a strong protagonist and the story moves flawlessly between her point of view combined with that of the antagonist. I was gripped when we were in the point of view of both killers, both the original nine elms killer and the copycat; the way Bryndza portrayed the evil of these men kept me on the edge of my seat. This is the kind of psychological thriller that will keep readers guessing until the end if all will turn out as they hope. I recommend this book to readers that enjoy being on the edge of their seat but don’t mind the mature themes throughout, that was the only thing that took sometimes took me out of the story as the sexual language was a little more than I prefer.

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

The Crushing Depths

Crushing depthsAuthor: Dani Pettrey

Series: Costal Guardians #2

Publisher: Bethany House

Release Date: June 30, 2020

Rating: 5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

The second book in the Coastal Guardians series will have readers so deeply invested in the characters it will be difficult to come up for air!

After a death on an oil rig off the coast of North Carolina, the Coast Guard is called in to investigate. Rissi Dawson and Mason Rogers are sent out to determine if it was foul play or just an accident. There are rumors the oil rig is haunted and a group of environmental activists are trying to do whatever they can to shut the rig down. When their helicopter crashes on the way to the rig and they run into trouble with every turn they take, the evidence points to foul play in the death of the oil rig worker. They have to tread lightly to determine who the killer is without putting themselves in the crosshairs. Before they can finish their investigation, a tropical storm heads their way trapping them on the oil rig with a killer.

After reading the Alaskan Courage series, I didn’t know if Dani Pettrey would be able to top it. However, the first book in this series started out great and now the second continues to make this series one of the best. I loved the dynamic between Rissi and Mason; the history they shared was very powerful and one of the aspects that kept me glued to their story as it unfolded. A few moments throughout the book left me underwhelmed, I could tell what was about to happen and it just didn’t feel right with the story. But most of the novel had me on the edge of my seat waiting to see how things would turn out. While this book focuses on Rissi and Mason, readers get a little more insight into characters from the first in the series and see a set up for the next. I’m guessing the Book three will center around Brooke and Noah, or at least that’s what I’m hoping! I would recommend readers read the first book in the series before starting this one, but if picked up it could be read as a stand-alone novel. Readers that enjoy romantic suspense novels will not want to miss this one.

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