Widow’s Island series

Close to the Bone (by Kendra Elliot)

 

FBI Special Agent Cate Wilde is back home on a remote Pacific Northwest island recovering from a gun shot wound when she skeletal remains are discovered and she is. Together with the island’s new doctor who also happens to be the island’s  coroner she investigates a murder that happened many years ago.

A Bone to Pick (by Melinda Leigh)

 

Sheriff’s Deputy Tessa Black gave up her career as a detective with the Seattle PD and returned to Widow’s Island to care for her ailing mother who has dementia.  She thinks her life will be one of turning a blind eye to the island’s marijuana supplier and investigating petty crime. But when one of the island’s artists is gruesomely murdered she finds herself once again investigating the violence she thought she had left behind in Seattle.


Kendra Elliot and Melinda Leigh are regular collaborators.  They must have published over a dozen books in the Rogue River series and its many sequels.  Now they have put those series’ to bed and have started this series set on an archipelago loosely based on the San Juan Islands in Washington.

As with Rogue River these books are short with a page count somewhere around 100 for each of them.  That is both a strength and a weakness.  They are quick and entertaining, you could polish them off on a lazy Sunday afternoon. But that is done at the expense of story and character development which will happen over time with each new offering.

The thing that makes these books just a little bit better than the competition is likeable characters and the two authors are plainly enjoying themselves.

Many thanks to Montlake Romance and Netgalley for providing me with review copies of these books. 

Mercy Kilpatrick series (by Kendra Elliot)

Romantic Suspense

I’m not entirely sure how to review this series. Honestly, I’m supposed to be reviewing Book #4 A Merciful Silence, but while I’m sure you could pick up book four without having read the first three I think the series is better if taken as a whole.

Mercy Kilpatrick grew up within a community of preppers.  These are the people who are preparing for TEOTWAWKI (the end of the world as we know it). They have a lot of guns, they know how to grow and can food, they are survivors.  Some of them are paranoid and honestly unhinged others are just self reliant folks who are good to have around in a pinch.

Then as a teenager she was forced to leave. Her family shunned her and she found herself having to make her own way in the world. Now after many years away she is an FBI Agent and has returned to the town she ran away from to investigate a murder.


This series is Romantic Suspense at its best. Honestly I often struggle with the genre, I find the level of violence troubling, but while this series does have that –– there is murder and violence –– the underlying story is strong and the characters make it worth the effort.

So highly recommended with the one caveat that there are occasional graphic depictions of violence. Even with that I’m rating the series 5 stars.

A review copy of A Merciful Silence (book 4) was given to me by the publisher. 

Appointed by Fate (by Skye McNeil)

Romantic Suspense

Cameron is a mob soldier who has been sent to Iowa to sort out some rival gangsters. When he wakes up in a park with a knife and a gun and a dead body beside him he finds himself charged with murder and dragged into the legal system.

Joci was Cameron’s first love and now she is his lawyer. As the case progresses she finds herself drawn to him but with two other suitors in the wings and mobsters circling her life is both complicated and dangerous.


Have you ever read a good book that just didn’t work for you?

Appointed by Fate is that book for me. I know it’s good. It’s gritty Romantic Suspense. It’s a well written Courtroom drama. Honestly, it’s a great book for the right reader. I’m not that reader and all cards on the table I’ll explain why.

The main character has an intimate relationship with all three men in this book. I really don’t mind women or men who have multiple sexual partners, I’ve read and enjoyed plenty of erotic fiction. The very first review on this blog is The Siren by Tiffany Reisz. But books about sex and books about romance are very different things and I don’t want that in a romance novel.

So it’s a great book that went places that make me uncomfortable.

Many thanks to Skye McNeil for providing me with this Review Copy.

Yellow, Orange, Red – What it means. 

In the Barren Ground (by Loreth Anne White)

Romantic Suspense 

After her lover committed suicide, Tana fell into a deep dark depression during which she found comfort in the beds of random strangers. Finding herself pregnant to a married superior and unwilling to get an abortion she accepts a transfer to Twin Rivers, a remote town in the Barrens close to the Arctic Circle. As the only police presence in a town that’s often cut off from the outside world she finds herself isolated and untrusted.

When two biologists are killed, everyone is convinced it’s a tragic animal attack, everyone except her. She immediately notices that things aren’t quite right and begins to investigate. And as she pulls at the threads and tries to unravel the mystery a serial killer has decided that Tana needs to be dealt with before she gets too close to the truth.


Writing good romantic suspense is not easy. Even the best writers of the genre often dip into clichés and caricatures. But thankfully, not so here. The story isn’t particularly original, but it’s written with a deft hand, the characters are interesting and the location pushes in on all sides with an almost palpable atmosphere making what could easily be average into something great.

It feels a lot like the best from Linda Howard and Karen Rose but dare I say it, this is a little better.

Screen Shot 2015-11-28 at 6.44.49 PMMany thanks to Montlake Romance and Netgalley for providing me with this ARC.

Orange, Red, Yellow. What it means: YOR-Guide

From Russia with Claws (by Jacey Conrad)

Romantica / Romantic Suspense

After studying in California Galina returns to her home in Seattle to help out with the family business. That business being crime. She is an alpha-werewolf and a part of the Russian mob. When her sister’s abusive husband is killed she enlists the help of Audrey Lupesco, the brutal boss of the Roma mob to investigate.

Adding to her woes, it quickly becomes apparent that her brother is completely unhinged and unless something is done he will take over the family business and usher in an era drenched in blood. Galina has some plans for the family but the Russian mob is conservative and patriarchal. As a woman not only does she have to fight for a seat at the table, she will need to challenge her brother in a fight to the death if she’s to have any hope of taking over.


 
What you really need to know about this book is Jacey Conrad is Molly Harper and there is a reason she’s writing under a nom de plume. While the book does have Molly Harper’s trademark wit, it’s much more violent and sexual than her usual offerings. I can’t be sure of this but I suspect some of the lower ratings this book is getting is a reflection of Molly Harper’s diehard fans getting offended by the content.

Honestly it’s pretty damned brilliant, but if you want cute and quirky you’ll probably want to look elsewhere.


Screen Shot 2015-08-31 at 6.20.31 pmOrange, Red, Yellow. What it means:  
red-orange-yellow-guide

Spotless (by Camilla Monk)

Romantic Suspense? 

Island is anything but special…at least that’s what she has always thought. Then March, a ruthless assassin shows up in the apartment she shares and her life will never be the same again. March is searching for a priceless diamond and he’s convinced she knows where it is. Even worse, he’ll do pretty much anything to finish the mission and she is well and truly expendable.

As they search for the diamond she learns things about her murky past she never could have imagined and with people even more brutal than March hunting her she finds herself reluctantly turning to him for help.


Assassins, 1995, (c) Warner Bros.

Assassins, 1995, (c) Warner Bros.

It’s not easy to define Spotless. Honestly, when I picked it up I was expecting a cute and quirky mystery. Fairly innocent and mostly harmless. That’s not this book. There is a bit of an edge to it that I found confronting at first. For a few chapters I really didn’t like the book at all (those who know me know why), but then it clicked –– I was thinking of it all wrong.

This book owes a lot to movies like Assassins, Heat, perhaps even The Bourne Identity. It really does feel like a great spy or heist movie…only on the page. When I made that adjustment, I found myself loving this book more with every page turn.

Screen Shot 2014-02-27 at 9.12.41 pmMany thanks to Montlake Romance and Netgalley for providing me with this ARC.

Yellow, Orange, Red. What it means:  red-orange-yellow-guide

Sabotaged (by Dani Pettrey)

Romantic Suspense / Christian

After her uncle, who is a competitor on the Iditarod Dog Sled Race, disappears Kirra goes looking for him with the help of Reef. They discover that Kirra’s cousin, Meg has been kidnapped to force her uncle’s cooperation in a terrorist act that will do untold damage to the environment and kill countless people.


 

 

 

 

 

Many years ago I was walking my dog in the park and a very pretty woman came up to me and said hello. Thinking to myself that all my christmases had come at once we struck up a conversation. Things were going so well until she asked me if I’d heard of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

This book feels like that. I requested it because the synopsis sounded interesting. A romantic suspense novel set with the backdrop of the Iditarod Dog Sled Race. That part of it actually kind of works but the book is way too preachy. Honestly, it really should be mentioned in the synopsis that this book is christian romantic suspense. If I knew that from the start I would feel a lot more positive towards the book.

Christians who want a christian book will enjoy this, but the constant preaching will alienate many non-christian readers.

Screen Shot 2014-02-15 at 8.51.33 pmMany thanks to Bethany House Publishers and Netgalley for providing me with this ARC

Yellow, Orange, Red –– what it means: http://wp.me/P2B7b5-9l