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.

A Dream within a Dream

Dream within a dreamAuthor: Mike Nappa & Melissa Kosci

Series: Coffey & Hill #3

Publisher: Revell

Release Date: June 2, 2020

Rating: 5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

The best of the Coffey and Hill series has arrived! Mike Nappa and Melissa Kosci deliver a stellar story, which readers will love to the very last page.

Trudi Coffey and Samuel Hill have an interesting relationship, they are divorced but continue to work together running their private investigator business. Even though they work together, they don’t interact on a daily basis and it’s not unusual for them to go for a while without seeing each other. When the FBI shows up asking about Samuel, Trudy realizes he hasn’t been around in a few weeks and she hasn’t heard from him either. Normally that wouldn’t mean much, but in this case, Trudy knows that Samuel has gotten into something he can’t handle on his own. Samuel has been making some powerful enemies and working to protect a man named Dream from the Boston mob. Dream has the location of stolen artwork from a famous art heist and the mob will stop at nothing to get the information from him. Trudi and Samuel will have to work together and call on a few allies to help keep Dream safe and stop those out to get them.

The Coffey and Hill series just keeps getting better and better. I have loved each one I’ve read, and this newest edition is no different. The focus is more on Trudi than Samuel and I loved seeing her as the lead. Dream was a very interesting character and I loved the different ways he interacted with each member of the team. This story flows so smoothly and kept me guessing. I loved the ending! Each of the characters have their own unique quirks that readers will enjoy and be able to relate to in one way or another. As the third in the series, it continues the story with little tie-ins to the previous giving readers a continuation but not making it difficult for anyone who hasn’t read the previous two. Mike Nappa has a way of creating characters that are unique yet relatable and easy to follow. Even the dynamic of Trudi with Samuel’s son is so interesting and well-done that readers will fall in love with that side of her even more. I don’t know if this is the last in the series, but I sure hope not! The ending was left open for more to come but also closed loose ends if it is the last in the series. I recommend this book to those that love a great mystery and characters they can’t help but fall in love with.

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

The Heart of Hero

Heart of a heroAuthor: Susan May Warren

Series: Global Search and Rescue #2

Publisher: Revell

Release Date: June 2, 2020

Rating: 5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

Susan May Warren delivers in a big way with the second in her Global Search and Rescue series. The Heart of a Hero is a fast, intense, adventurous read with all the feels.

After a crazy adventure on the snow-capped mountains of Alaska, Jake Silver is having trouble moving on from the feelings he has for Dr. Aria Sinclair. He and his team helped rescue her and her friends after their expedition went horrible wrong. Jake is trying to move on from Aria and his time as a Navy SEAL to start working as part of a rescue team. Aria heads down to Key West to speak at a medical conference when a hurricane hits, stranding her in Florida trying to help others. When Jake hears of the hurricane and Aria being in danger, he can’t help himself. He jumps on a plane and heads to once again rescue the woman he can’t get out of his head.

Susan May Warren has done it again! Just when I think she is at her peak for creating the most entertaining and adventurous story, she outdoes herself. The Heart of a Hero, the second edition to the Global Search and Rescue series, picks up where the first left off. This time readers get to dive deep into the lives of Jake and Aria. In the beginning, I was thinking this one wasn’t going to be as action packed as the first installment as it took a little longer for the action to start but once it did there was no stopping it. Even though it took a little bit to get going, the end had me glued to my seat, it was so well written with tension at all the right places.

Aria is a strong capable woman but does have a lot of issues to work through. She is a perfect character for readers to be able to relate to. Her drive to help others, even at the expense of her own happiness, is obvious. You can easily see that in her heart she wants to be with Jake but doesn’t feel she is worthy of anything good.

With most romantic suspense writers, there is a formula used and if you read a lot of romantic suspense it doesn’t take long to figure out that formula. Once you have figured that out the books become less enjoyable. Susan May Warren is one of the best Romantic Suspense authors I have read because just when I think she is starting to follow that formula she surprises me with the next story. She puts her characters in hard spots and makes them work to get out of them. It isn’t easy and usually very messy, but in the end, she uses their mess to portray a beautiful message to readers. If you have never read Susan May Warren and you love romantic suspense adventures, you are missing out. I would recommend reading the first in this series before diving into this one to get the back story of the characters and fully enjoy the story.

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

Dead End

Dead endAuthor: Nancy Mehl

Series: Kaely Quinn Profiler #3

Publisher: Bethany House

Release Date: March 31, 2020

Rating: 5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

Kaely Quinn is back in her most heart pounding case yet as Nancy Mehl delivers the third installment in the series!

Kaely Quinn thought she had left her past behind her. After changing her name to get away from her father, a famous serial killer, she joined the FBI to stop predators like him. But when a body is discovered in a field near the town she grew up in and then more bodies are unearthed dating back to the time he killed with his same MO, she is brought in to see if she can get information from her father on who he is working with. Kaely doesn’t know if she is ready to face her father and she hasn’t spoken to him since he was arrested and put in jail. The more Kaely pursues this new killer, the more she feels she is losing her own identity. With each new clue that turns up, Kaely feels more involved in the case and more afraid for her own life. Will she be able to solve the case before anyone else dies? Or is she the killer’s next victim?

If you have read any of this series, you know you are in for a real treat. There is action, suspense, drama, and a sprinkling of romance at just the right moments. I love the relationship Kaely has with Noah and the way her relationship with her father is portrayed. Both those relationships are so very different but so vital in shaping how she approaches life and what she is dealt. I have been waiting since the first book in the series to meet, Ed Oliphant, the notorious Raggedy Man serial killer. Nancy Mehl sure did deliver with these interactions. Even though they were few and we didn’t get to see much of Ed, it was just the right amount along with his interactions with Kaely made for such good story telling.

Throughout this book I felt I was really able to connect with Kaely as a character and understand her more. There was such a good character arc for everyone in this story; the way it played out in the final few chapters were executed so well. Readers will feel it is a very satisfying conclusion to the series, even if we might want more of the story was tied up nicely. It’s one of those fine lines an author must walk of continuing on with the characters or leaving the reader wanting just a little bit more. There easily could have been more but at what cost? Would we have loved the story or tired of the characters? Ending here is the perfect place to leave readers enjoying these characters and the adventures they went on. Even though this can be read as a standalone, I would recommend reading the series from start to finish to get a feel for the story and characters. Readers that enjoy a good mystery with characters full of flaws and looking for what matters most in life 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.

Fire Storm

Fire stormAuthor: Nancy Mehl

Series: Kaely Quinn Profiler #2

Publisher: Bethany House

Release Date: August 6, 2019

Rating: 5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

The second book in the Kaely Quinn Profiler series is one of the best I have read in a very long time! By far the best by Nancy Mehl!

Kaely Quinn has put her heart and soul into her work as an FBI profiler and left little time for anything else, including family. When her brother calls to tell her their mother has been diagnosed with cancer and he needs help taking care of her, she agrees to put aside their differences and try to come salvage the relationship with her mother. As she heads to Dark Water, Nebraska, Kaely thinks about the emotional distance between her and the rest of her family. She tried to put as much space as she could between everyone related to her after her dad was arrested as a serial killer and sent to prison. Since then, she has tried to show she is nothing like him, even changing her name to distance herself. Dark Water has been dealing with a string of fires that the fire chief claims is a misuse of space heaters during the cold winter, but Kaely feels otherwise as she studies the pattern of infernos. After her arrival and another fire, she is determined they have a serial arsonist in their town but unraveling who is behind it all might just prove to be too hot to handle for Kaely Quinn.

It has been some time since I have read the first book in this series, but I remember loving Kaely and wanted to see what she was up to in Fire Storm. This book is by far the best I have read by Nancy Mehl. The characters have more heart and are easy to relate to, which pulled me in and wouldn’t let go, even after the last page is turned. I loved the way she played the dynamic between Kaely and her family. Each member of the family has their own demons they are struggling with and they inevitably take it out on each other. The tension when Kaely is in the room with her mother or brother is so tight, I felt a little uncomfortable at times, which was fantastic. The writing really brought these feelings out in me and I applaud Mehl on her use of family dysfunction to move the story along.

There were lots of points throughout the story that readers will think they know who is behind the fires but then on the next page they will question their theories, which makes this read so much fun. Kaely’s dynamic with her partner Noah is another aspect of the story I think readers will really enjoy. The slow build and tension between the two of them played out beautifully. As good as Fire Storm is, I am anxious to see how the third book in the series, Dead End, holds up. I recommend this book to readers that enjoy a good romantic suspense book with enough suspense to keep them on the edge of their seat and up reading far past their bedtime

Standoff

standoffAuthor: Patricia Bradley

Series: Natchez Trace Park Rangers #1

Publisher: Revell

Release Date: May 5, 2020

Rating: 4.5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

Patricia Bradley knocks it out of the park with the first installment of her new series! Twist and turns, romance, action and suspense galore keep readers glued to the edge of their seat until the very last page.

Brooke Danvers is ready to join her father and become a Natchez Trace park ranger. On the night he is supposed to let her go for a ride along to start her training, he cancels on her and then his dead body is found. It is ruled a suicide, something Brooke refuses to believe and uses her first days on the job trying to prove her father would never kill himself. Luke Fereday is one of the only people in town to believe her and wants to help prove her case. Working with Luke isn’t going to be easy. She hasn’t seen him in years, and the last time she did, he broke her heart. Luke is working undercover trying to take down a large drug ring in town and keeping his secret is going to be harder than ever as he grows closer to Brooke. Trying to keep his distance without hurting her is going to be difficult as his feelings for her continue to grow.

Standoff was a perfect start to this new series. I loved Brooke and Luke as the main characters. The little mysteries throughout of who was behind the murders played out so great and kept me intrigued all the way through. Luke was a complicated character, but he had a lot of heart and I enjoyed seeing him open up and grow closer to Brooke. Starting her job with the death of her father hanging over her and then transitioning to her life being in danger with the investigation will keep readers flying through the pages to find out what is going to happen. The history that Brooke and Luke have helps move the story along as well as their relationship. There was plenty of suspense and the romance moved smoothly except for the end, which, to me, just felt too rushed. That is the only drawback I have with this story. That said, I enjoyed the story very much, but wish the ending would have played out a little smoother. I will be curious to see how the next in the series will play out using some of the minor characters in this book.

I recommend this book to readers that enjoy romantic suspense and characters they can relate to and feel a deep connection to. Since this is the start of a new series, it is the perfect time for readers new to Patricia Bradley to jump on board and find a great new author.

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

The Girl Beneath the Sea

girl beneathAuthor: Andrew Mayne

Series: Underwater Investigation Unit #1

Publisher: Thomas & Mercer

Release Date: May 1, 2020

Rating: 5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

With quick, witty characters and an ending that left me thirsting for more, I can’t wait to see what adventures await in the future for this group of characters!

Sloan McPherson has worked hard to overcome her family’s past as underwater treasure hunters and scammers. Even so, she hasn’t strayed far from the water and works for the police as a diver to recover evidence. While on a dive to find artifacts for her professor at the university where she is studying, she recovers a body dropped in the water while she is diving. When it is discovered she knows the dead woman and could unknowingly be connected to what happens, her colleagues are suspicious of her and keep an eye on her every move, along with the killer. While under watchful eyes, Sloan must turn to the only ally she can think of, the DEA agent who put her uncle in jail who she has loathed ever since. As they work together to uncover facts, it becomes clear that this goes deeper than either of them could have imagined. If they don’t discover the truth quickly, they might not make it to the surface before they run out of air.

Underwater Investigation Unit, also known as legal pirates, is such a great concept for this book. I loved Sloan and her desire to be more than what everyone saw her as because of her family’s past. She worked hard to show she is more than a scammer like her father and uncle, and even though she doesn’t want to see her father in that way, it’s what it is. But when she needs his help most, her father proves he loves her more than a treasure and wants to do right by her. The dynamic between Sloan and each of the other characters is crafted perfectly, her attitude switches between her father and her new partner, and again between her daughter and her ex. There is plenty of danger throughout and Sloan uses all she has learned to keep herself and those around her safe. I felt each moment she was being chased and with each terrifying heartbeat she has in danger, I felt it right there in the moment. I love when I can feel those moments while reading, it is rare and a beautiful thing while engaging in a story. One thing to note is that this story does have a fair bit of language that is not suitable for young readers and is intended for a mature audience. Readers that enjoy an engaging, dynamic, and entertaining story will not want to miss this one. I recommend The Girl Beneath the Sea to fans of thrillers and if you haven’t ever read anything by Andrew Mayne I recommend starting right here.

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