Fiction, romance, Romantic Suspense, Suspense & Thriller

Lethal Force (Brute Force, Book 3) by Lora Leigh


Lethal Nights (Brute Force, #3)Lethal Nights by Lora Leigh

BLURB:

1 bestselling author Lora Leigh turns up the heat in her latest novel of high-stakes passion and persuasion featuring the men of Brute Force. 

Ilya Dragonovich is no stranger to the dark side. As a safe-house owner for security agency Brute Force, Dragon knows that the battle line between good and evil runs through the heart of every man—and, sometimes, a beautiful woman…

Emma Jane Preston needs help. After her marriage crumbled, she believed she could get back to a normal, happy life. But now she needs the kind of protection that comes at a cost—one that only someone like Dragon can provide. But can Emma Jane trust this handsome, undercover operator to keep her safe when she is in danger of falling into the arms of the deeply seductive, fiery Dragon. . .and never letting go?

My Thoughts:

I enjoyed this story. Ilya Dragonovich and Emma Jane Preston had skirted around their attraction for different reasons. Ilya was a dangerous man and the heir to the Dragonovich family that wielded mafia power in Romania and Emma Jane was just getting out of a marriage.

When someone threatened EJ’s life, Ilya knew it was time to claim her as his own and under his protection. But the person after her was a mystery, and that was not going to fly with the Dragon heir.

I really liked Emma Jane’s independence, loyalty and inner strength. She clearly loved Ilya but she also had a clear sense of what’s right, and she also stood up for herself against her protective family. The mystery stalker wasn’t really much of a mystery although the motive was a surprise. I enjoyed their reliance on each other for comfort and love. I also see that Emma Jane was strong enough for a boss like Ilya.
The almost mythical characteristics of the dragon tattoo gave the story a supernatural feel that gave the stories Romanian family some mystique.

I had hoped for more information on EJ’s culpability with her accident as well as his mother’s motive. Maybe in the next books, we can get a resolution on those issues. But i should are looking for a book that has a mafia like presence without being overwhelming in the violence, then this romance book is for you!

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Audiobook, Book Club, Fiction, Monday Book Club, Reading Plan, Suspense & Thriller

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens


Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

BLURB: How long can you protect your heart?

For years, rumors of the “Marsh Girl” have haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet town on the North Carolina coast. So in late 1969, when handsome Chase Andrews is found dead, the locals immediately suspect Kya Clark, the so-called Marsh Girl. But Kya is not what they say. Sensitive and intelligent, she has survived for years alone in the marsh that she calls home, finding friends in the gulls and lessons in the sand. Then the time comes when she yearns to be touched and loved. When two young men from town become intrigued by her wild beauty, Kya opens herself to a new life – until the unthinkable happens.

Perfect for fans of Barbara Kingsolver and Karen Russell, Where the Crawdads Sing is at once an exquisite ode to the natural world, a heartbreaking coming-of-age story, and a surprising tale of possible murder. Owens reminds us that we are forever shaped by the children we once were, and that we are all subject to the beautiful and violent secrets that nature keeps.

I didn’t love this story like others did. I did love this story as a testament to survival and human resilience. Kya Clark grew up in an abusive home with an alcoholic father who beat the mom and later the siblings. Eventually the mom and remaining siblings all ran away leaving a 7-yr old Kya alone with an alcoholic father. She managed to survive even after he dad, dodging CPS sent social workers and managed to live on her own at the marsh. She became friends with Tate and later with Chase, the murder victim. Both relationships have profound effects both positive and negative on her development and her life. But it was her relationship with Chase that landed her on trial for his murder.

The writing of the character Kya was interesting. I felt sorry for her for most of the novel, but she wasn’t a victim or maybe she started out as a victim but adapted to her circumstances. While she was lonely, Kya was able to actually thrive in her circumstances. I do think the author’s story became too unbelievable both in Kya’s abilities but in the apathy of the small community. I mean, No one cared that a little 7-year-old girl was by herself? She came to get groceries or books by herself and no one asked her how they could help her or if there was an adult around. I didn’t buy it. 

Nevertheless, this story wasn’t a love story but there was love, true love here. I saw this book as Kya’s Journey without much guidance from a mother or father, but learning to navigate society by spying from the outskirts. Learning how to be a woman from watching others etc.
That’s what I enjoyed most about this book.
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Audiobook, Fiction, Review Books, Suspense & Thriller

My Sister, the Serial Killer by by Oyinkan Braithwaite


My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaithe
Pages: 240
Blurb: Satire meets slasher in this short, darkly funny hand grenade of a novel about a Nigerian woman whose younger sister has a very inconvenient habit of killing her boyfriends.

“Femi makes three, you know. Three and they label you a serial killer.”

Korede is bitter. How could she not be? Her sister, Ayoola, is many things: the favorite child, the beautiful one, possibly sociopathic. And now Ayoola’s third boyfriend in a row is dead. Korede’s practicality is the sisters’ saving grace. She knows the best solutions for cleaning blood, the trunk of her car is big enough for a body, and she keeps Ayoola from posting pictures of her dinner to Instagram when she should be mourning her “missing” boyfriend. Not that she gets any credit.
A kind, handsome doctor at the hospital where Korede works, is the bright spot in her life. She dreams of the day when he will realize they’re perfect for each other. But one day Ayoola shows up to the hospital uninvited and he takes notice. When he asks Korede for Ayoola’s phone number, she must reckon with what her sister has become and what she will do about it.
Sharp as nails and full of deadpan wit, Oyinkan Braithwaite has written a deliciously deadly debut that’s as fun as it is frightening. 


I went into this book expecting to laugh or at least get some chuckles. I mean, look at the title! But from the very first page, any notions of a humorous/satirical novel was quickly dispelled.

The book starts off with sister Korede cleaning up a room after her sister Ayoola stabbed the boyfriend for yelling at her. One stab to the heart, two more to ensure he didn’t get. While Korede, the nurse, was cleaning and talking to Ayoola, it was clear that this has happened before.

What resonated with me (as a Nigerian) was the expectation that you protect family above all. So Korede is protecting her sister even though she’s simultaneously aiding and abetting a murderer and disposing a body and tampering with a crime season.
I also smiled at the descriptions of the Lagos, from hailing a taxi, to the calling of the trunk of the car “boot”.

Oyinkan Braithwaite’s debut novel captures the way sisters are treated and pitted against each other unknowingly in the descriptions of their beauty and value.
Korede KNOWS her sister Ayoola is more beautiful and valued. Korede resents that her needs and desires take a back seat but she’s come to accept the role until it’s tested when Ayoola sets her sight on the doctor that Korede has been in love with. Korede struggles with protecting the doctor by letting him know to avoid her sister or loyalty to blood.

Honestly, this audiobook wasn’t the smoothest I’ve heard. The story should have had an epilogue or a better explanation at the ending. I struggled to understand Ayoola who never seemed to feel bad for killing her beaus. No remorse other than the feigned emotions when the family of her victims asked if she knew anything about their whereabouts.
What I liked was the way the author captured the culture and her descriptions gave me visual memories of Nigeria. That connection is what I related to and what I loved. Overall, the story was entertaining. But just be aware, it’s not funny. It’s a straight up suspenseful crime story.

Audiobook, Romantic Suspense, Suspense & Thriller

Deadly Intent (I-Team, #8) by Pamela Clare


Blurb: Secrets buried in the sand…

Former US Army Captain Mia Starr has built a new life for herself in Denver, far away from camel spiders and sand—and the terrible secrets of her first deployment to Iraq. She isn’t looking for a relationship, especially not with an intrusive photojournalist. Joaquin Ramirez might be sexy, but in her experience, photojournalists only want to make a buck off other people’s suffering. Still, the universe must have a sick sense of humor because it keeps throwing her together with Joaquin, making the desire she feels for him harder and harder to resist.

An undeniable attraction…

As a Pulitzer Prize-winning news photographer, Joaquin has everything a single straight guy could want—except the right woman. When he meets Mia while shooting a crime scene, he immediately sees beyond her cold exterior to the vulnerable woman beneath. Though the police consider her a suspect, he’s sure she’s innocent. Someone is killing soldiers—and trying to pin the blame on her. Unable to resist the pull between them, Joaquin stands by her only to find himself snared in the killer’s net as well.

A twisted soul hungry for revenge…

Mia can’t help it when the heat between her and Joaquin melts away her preconceptions. As their passion explodes, danger draws ever closer. When it becomes clear that Mia is the killer’s true target, she must trust Joaquin with a secret that could ruin her … or risk losing the love of a lifetime.


This story was a really good example of a well written romantic suspense. It has romance, adventure, mystery/suspense and an HEA. This is a really entertaining series and this book was no exception.

Joaquin Ramirez really impressed me in the last book with his thoughtfulness and bravery. So I was really excited that this hard working and considerate photographer/member of the I-Team would get his chance at love.

Mia Starr seemed to be quite prickly in the beginning but I warmed up to her. She had to wear her armor all the time after what’s she had been through as a member of the US armed forces.
The now retired officer was a target of an old vendetta and Joaquin decided that he would help protect his sister’s former CO.
I like how the author paced this story. Joaquin was clearly attracted to Mia from the beginning but he never pushed and was always considerate of her needs first. He let her dictate how they proceeded. He helped her feel comfortable and confident. I loved it.
I enjoyed the narration of Kaleo Griffth except his sexy woman voice, which makes me laugh because it sounds like a man trying to sound like a woman.

I love that the author has kept the same energy, storytelling and emotional appeal throughout this series. Each couple has their own thing, their own journey but lots of support and encouragement from the fellow ITeam members. I can’t say the villain wasn’t predictable but the story was still enjoyable. I am curious to see who will be featured in the next book.

Review Books, Romantic Suspense, Suspense & Thriller

Hidden (Deep Ops, #1) by Rebecca Zanetti


Title: Hidden by Rebecca Zanetti
Series: Deep Ops, Book 1
Narrated By:
Release Date: September 25, 2018
Format: Kindle edition (advance reading copy)
Genre: Suspense, Thriller, Romantic Suspense
BLURB: Hide. That’s all Pippa can do to escape the terror chasing her. But now that she’s off the grid in a safe house, she finds plenty of interesting things to watch through the window. Like her new neighbor, with his startling green eyes, killer smile, and sexy bad-boy tattoo . . .

Run. Malcolm West is fleeing the hell he unleashed in his last assignment as an undercover cop. A backwoods bungalow sounds like the perfect place to start over. Until he discovers he’s been set up . . .

Fight. Someone’s gone to a lot of trouble to bring them together. No matter how much he resents that, and his own driving needs, Malcolm will have to dig deep and let loose the banished killer inside himself, or Pippa’s fears could come true faster than the flip of a bolt in a lock . . .

A very good start to a new series. The first half gave me goosebumps as it was very suspenseful almost like the beginning of a scary movie. The second half of the novel was definitely more of a romantic suspense story. I definitely on board for this new series.

Pippa Smith was on the run and appeared to have severe anxiety issues while Detective Malcolm West was drowning in alcohol as a coping mechanism for his PTSD. When Malcolm was asked to take a new undercover assignment investigating a terrorist threat involves the cult Pippa used to belong to, Malcolm is forced to cozy up to the reclusive woman. But Pippa is suspicious of everyone especially law enforcement so Malcolm has his work cut out for him.
It became really clear that Pippa and Malcolm were yearning for a connection to someone or something. They both wanted to be free of their past and also sleep well at night. They both have been looking over the shoulder for so long that peace is a luxury they dare not wish for. How can he get her to share her past when he won’t come clean about his own secrets?

I enjoyed Malcolm and Pippa getting to a place where they had someone to trust and finding love. It was really fast for people with trust issues but I’ll chalk it up to them being starved for human contact. I enjoyed this story as it had just enough romance to keep me going but I was really curious about that serial killer.

This series is a departure from what Rebecca Zanetti’s normal narratives but it definitely had her signature style especially with the sex scenes. I think her last four books have all featured a spanking scene but I am not sure Pippa and Malcolm had achieved that level of comfort after just a week of knowing each other. Especially for a woman who is in counseling and possible on medication for her panic attacks. I would have liked more development and discussion about Pippa’s anxiety and Malcolm’s PTSD. However, the author laid down a foundation for an off the books Homeland Security Department task force ~ The Requisition Force. I think it’s going to be really good as each member gets their own story. Each task member has a compelling backstory and I am really looking forward to hearing it, especially the dog Roscoe.

*I voluntarily read this advanced reading copy gotten from Netgalley. All opinions are my own honest opinions.