Lost and Found series #2,5
Former Navy SEAL K9 Handler Joe Flynn doesn’t understand why every stray in Denver seems to head his way. After losing his Military War Dog in Afghanistan, he doesn’t want anything to do with animals. But he doesn’t mind seeing Willow take care of his charges. Lusciously rounded, she’s the best thing he’s experienced all year.
Veterinarian Willow James loves seeing Flynn walk her way, though he brings her some truly sad cases of animal neglect. He tries to keep his emotions locked away, but she’s learned to read him over the past year. When one of the animals he brings in decides to adopt him, she starts to see the thaw she’s been waiting for.
She’s ready to take on the sexy former SEAL with all his ghosts, but is he ready to let them go for her?
This book was not about military action, suspense, or the admirable brotherhood of SEALs.
What you get instead is nothing short of amazing.
We get more insightful look into PTSD, what triggers them, what the person who has it goes through, and how they try to handle it, survive with it, live a life with it.
At the same time the focus is put on a military dogs, they role in the war and battle, and the relationship they have with their handlers.
And on the other hand, what service dogs can do, and how they help a person, not to mention rescue dogs. A lot of K9 information put into this story in very interesting and caring way.
There is also a beautiful, passionate, romantic story that develops between the SEAL and the vet. Their coming together, finding each other, is a tender and warm story, that made me melt with it sweetness.
Just all around adorable story, four *.
Lost and Found series #2
Zeke Foster has little to no experience with women over the past couple of years, after being injured in Afghanistan. Brutally scarred, he has no expectation that he’ll ever find a woman capable of accepting him the way he is. But he can’t help but be enamored of Ember, the waitress of a local watering hole.
Ember Norton’s life has turned into one devastating catastrophe after another. When the scarred soldier with the kind eyes brings some security to her life, she’s afraid to trust her luck. She’s been self-sufficient for a long time. But his wounded soul calls to her and she finds herself falling for him.
In spite of the secrets he continues to keep.
A sweet and tender story about churn marine wounded in war and single mom, who has father with severe PTSD, whom has battered her.
The connection between Zeke and Ember is electrifying and intense. All the self doubts Zeke feels because of the scars he has, has to be won, before the true connection can be established. The relationship is ardent, steamy. And the heat level in this story is high. Everything between Zeke and Ember happens fast, only in weeks time. We just started to see the developing trust and love between them. I hope more to come in the future books.
The contact Zeke has with Ember's son is adorable.
I also enjoyed visiting with the other members of the LNF team.
I would have liked to know more about Ember's fathers battle to heal from PTSD, but this is a series, and so far all the relations has continued to develop in the series.
This series and LNF team has me hooked... Four *
Black Knights Inc. series
Becky "Rebel" Reichert never actually goes looking for trouble. It just has a tendency to find her. Like the day Frank Knight showed up at her door, wanting to use her motorcycle shop as a cover for his elite special ops team. But Becky prides herself on being able to hang with the big boys-she can weld, drive, and shoot just as well as any of them.
Munitions, missiles, and mayhem are Frank's way of life. The last thing the ex-SEAL wants is for one brash blonde to come within fifty feet of anything that goes boom. Yet it's just his rotten luck when she ends up in a hostage situation at sea. Come hell or high water, he will get her back-whether she says she needs him or not.
In the moments of action, in the beginning and the end of the book, the suspense is gripping and intense. Especially in the end, I could feel the danger, see the evilness of the villain, be in the moment with the victim. Fantastic writing, very appealing.
Same was with the romance, when Frank and Becky finally, after years of holding back, acts on their attraction and feelings towards each other, it is hot, passionate - steamy and sweet.
But the push-pull from Frank, and in the end from Becky, gets tiresome. The reasons for that are implied, the age difference, Frank being Becky's boss, and the promise Frank made to his sister. But at the end, when the promise is revealed, it doesn't sound believable, something that a man like Frank wouldn't have cleared with his sister years before.
Becky comes off as a bit childish, constantly crying, and emotionally needy. The rants and shouting between her and her brother Billy are embarrassing, made me think 'no wonder Frank thinks he is too old for her'. She sounded more like six, not 26.
I was relieved that there was much less of the inner reflection from all the characters, compared to Hell on Wheels. Still the story was told, in my opinion, from too many points of view. The point, the intensity, gets scattered that way.
Over all, this story was a step up from Hell on Wheels. I enjoyed this one more, and the writing was better. So this series has promise of getting better. And withholding the sometimes childish and immature behavior, that I feel the characters are sold short with, they crow on you in a way that I want to keep reading the series. Because the parts that I liked in this story were really promising: 3,5*
John Palmer hasn’t felt like a real man since he was injured during combat in Iraq. Though not content with his new life, he is mostly adapting, just like the other vets at the Lost ‘N’ Found Investigative Service. When Shannon Murphy is hired on as the new office manager, life suddenly gets a lot more interesting. Before long, John finds himself wondering if he could ever be the kind of man Shannon needs.
Shannon Murphy wasn’t really looking for love when she hired on at LNF, but finds herself hopelessly attracted to the sex-on-wheels former Marine, John Palmer. The man is grumpy and nearly impossible to work with, but his brand of masculinity appeals to her on a basic level. Soon Shannon is wondering just what it would take for John to want her the way she wants him.
When an old enemy tries to settle a vendetta against Shannon, John insists on protecting her. He moves into her house, fanning the spark of attraction into a blaze. But the danger continues to escalate. Even with all the resources at their disposal, they’re thrust into a fight for their lives.
Well written and touching story. The author has such a talent with words, I could be in tears, and suddenly burst into laugh while reading it.
John's inner turmoil, to accept to be worthy of Shannon's love, to overcome the anger of the rejection of his mother, and the injuries he got in the war, is constant. Shannon is faced with demons from her own past, while trying to convince John, he is worthy of happiness, love, and normalcy. When they finally come together, it is breathtakingly beautiful and tender, very intense and passionate.
The tension from the threat from Shannon's past is build through the story. The suspense keeps a hold of the reader, while the culprits play with the minds of the characters, as well as the readers.
The brotherhood, loyalty, and respect for each other with the former servicemen is commendable.
There were few tiny editorial mistakes, but overall very satisfying read, memorable story, 4*.
The Embattled Road (Lost and Found 0.5) by by J.M. Madden
Beautifully written introduction to a series of wounded Marines trying to find the way back to life after months in the hospital and physical therapy.
The stories of the way they were injured are raw, rough, and crude. The heroism in the face of the life altering injuries touching.
The brotherhood, comradeship, loyalty, integrity, support for each other is marvelous, remarkable.. And I loved the ranting between them.
This prequel wakes your interest towards the series, makes you want to read more. It is free on Amazon, so it is easy to see if you like the author's style. I certainly enjoyed it: 4*.
Hell on Wheels: Black Knights Inc. Julia Ann Walker
Black Knights Inc.—Behind the facade of their tricked–out motorcycle shop is an elite special ops team assigned the jobs too hot for anyone else to handle.
Ex–Marine Nate "Ghost" Weller is an expert at keeping his cool—and his distance—which makes him one hell of a sniper. It's also how he keeps his feelings for Ali Morgan in check. Sweet, sexy Ali has always revved his engine, but she's his best friend's baby sister...and totally off limits. Ali's never seen anything sexier than Nate Weller straddling his custom Harley—or the flash of danger in his eyes when she tells him she's in trouble. First something happened to her brother, and now she's become the target of a nasty international organization. With Nate, her life is in the most capable hands possible—but her heart is another story altogether.
Black Knights Inc. is a new series for me, and Julie Ann Walker a new author for me. So I was exited for this treat I gave myself, as I bought the whole series at once, a night before I went on vacation, when I panicked with the thought I didn't have enough reading material on my Kindle. Like that was even possible.
The base of the story is promising - ex-military men, motorcycle shop, worrier women - things I like to read, with the new twist of the motorcycles.
And the suspense story of the book in itself is great. It is pretty straight forward action, mixed in some dirty politicians, ex-CIA, and gangsters. Flat out gun fights against the threat on their lives, while trying to fleet across the country on a motorcycle.
The romance is bitter-sweet. They play through the 'I want you but can't have you' song-and-dance, and with the flashbacks to the past, the reasons for the push-pull comes very clear to the reader.
This being the first book in the series, there is a lot of characters introduced along the way. And not just as secondary characters playing part of this story, the author also gets into their life, struggles, and thoughts.
Yes, there is LOTS of thoughts of different people in this story. Their inner reflections described in detail. In, my opinion, way too much detail. And in details that had nothing to do with the story at hand, and went on a loop of they own. For example, a senator is called 'dude' by an gangster, and there is three paragraphs of the senator's thoughts why he was not a 'dude', and why no one should call him that. The tale the author was telling was intense, but there was so much of these inner reflections of unnecessary points, I wanted to yell "focus, and get to the point".
I really thought the warrior characters deserved a bit better, tougher, sturdier, than they were delivered. When in their inner thoughts they think "Getting old didn't only suck, it suckety-suck-suck-sucked", or instead of curse words "h-e-doubly hockey sticks" and "nucking futs" - in life or death situations, you just loose some respect, admiration towards them. Not that I encourage cursing, but if you don't like to write the words, then just skip them all together. The characters seemed very young, immature, and didn't develop much from that frame of thought.
So I have mixed feelings about this first tale of the series. While there was some deep emotions of grief, sorrow, courage, and love, and deadly action that gave surprising results, there was also these irritation facts that were dipping the scales into other direction. So only 3* for this book. But I'm intrigued enough to get into the book two, In Rides Trouble, after all, I bought the whole series, and I want to give it another chance.
Taken by Love (Love in Bloom: The Bradens, Book 7) 5*
Daisy Honey fled Trusty, Colorado, after years of battling rumors sparked by her gorgeous looks and lust-inducing name. Now a physician on the brink of a promising career, she reluctantly returns home when her father is injured in a farming accident. Daisy expects the small-town girls who hurt her in the past to take cheap shots again--but she's completely unprepared for a run-in with tall, dark, and wickedly sexy Luke Braden, the only man who has ever stood up for her--and the man she's never forgotten..Luke Braden is handsome, wealthy, and the best damn gypsy horse breeder in the Midwest. After a restless youth, he's finally ready to settle down--only connecting with women is nothing like connecting with horses, and he's never met a woman worth the energy. After an arrest in a neighboring town, Luke's past comes back to haunt him, and he realizes that his inability to find love runs deeper than he ever imagined..A chance encounter sweeps Luke and Daisy into a world of passion. For the first time ever, Luke feels a connection, but Daisy's life in Trusty is anything but permanent, and Luke can't manage a future until he puts his past to rest.
What a fresh breath of romantic literature this story is! Melissa Foster has written a tale without the typical 'romance format', all of us, who read romantic novels are familiar with. The story also touches few social issues, we all should be concerned with.
Daisy and Luke are honest and straight forward with their feelings, attraction, reaction towards each other. There was no hiding, or fighting against it. I loved that they were actually dating in the beginning, That they wanted to get to know each other on a deeper level, not just to explore the physical appeal and interest they had. The passion runs high between them, the heat level is up, the love they feel for each other is deep, genuine, and palpable.
The story is set in a small town Trusty, Colorado. Melissa Foster paints an idyllic picture of the charming small town living, where gossip runs like a wild fire, where people step up, supporting and helping each other, when the need arises.
But not all is good and lovely in Trusty, Colorado. The story is a reminder how bulling can, and will, affect on people, for a long time coming.
Amongst the other issues Melissa Foster touches with Taken by Love, is domestic abuse, and how often we just look away, wishing someone else would step in and do something about it. In like manner, we see closely Luke's struggle with the abandonment issues, after his father had walked away on the family, before Luke was born.
But through all the issues, problems, and struggles the characters has to work through, the family stays strong and supportive, having each others back.
Taken by Love is not just a sweet, heart melting, and swoon worthy love story. It made me think, take a notice, and evaluate myself on many levels. I couldn't just inhale the story on one sitting, I had to stop and think about the deeper issues, that were brought up. Certainly worth the five stars I gave it, since this is a story that will stay with me.
Our words are so powerful, they have the opportunity to build or destroy.
Couple years ago, my college friend, Janie Crouch, mentioned on facebook, that she had written a book, but didn't dare to let anyone read it. You know, you have to face them after, and all that. I contacted Janie and said, sent it to me, I live a world away, and the chance you run into to me on a street is pretty much zero.
As soon as I read Janie's book, I knew my friend had the talent.
I wrote to her, and told her what I thought of the story. That very first book didn't sell to Harlequin, as she had hoped for. I kept telling her to keep going, try self publishing, if nothing else works.
Janie didn't give up (that's just not her style!) and wrote another one. She let me read that one, too. And I fell in love, with the story, characters, the wit, the flow, the suspense -- the tale. I knew it was a pearl, and, well, started a bit pestering and lot of praying... This story just had to sell and be shared.
And it did, and it is shared. Primal Instinct by Janie Crouch was published by Harlequin Intrigue on April 2014. More about it at below.
When Janie sent me the hard copy of the book, and I saw the dedication, I admit I did ugly-cry for awhile. She had dedicated the book to her mother, and to me. What an honor, recognition, and celebration of our friendship and her success!
Now Janie has sold a series of four books to Harlequin Intrigue, that will publish starting at the end of this year. You will hear more about them as time comes near publishing, but I can tell you now -- Janie has the talent, and the stories are tremendous.
A killer stalks the city streets, and one FBI agent is determined to bring him down in Janie Crouch's Primal Instinct.
On the crowded streets of San Francisco, a serial killer watches and waits. Known only as "Simon Says," he lures his next victim while the FBI grasps for answers. Desperate, they turn to Adrienne Jeffries. Adrienne has an uncanny talent for getting inside the city's most dangerous minds. But first she'll have to get past FBI agent Conner Perigo. Skeptical of Adrienne's abilities, Conner begrudgingly enlists her help…unprepared for the powerful attraction that could jeopardize their focus. With little time, and everything to lose, they must work to find Simon's next victim—before he does.
The heart raising and nail biting suspense of the story keeps you guessing, with unexpected twists and turns.
The spooky paranormal abilities of the heroine to sense and hear evil thoughts, while questioned and distrusted by the hero, shows spine-chilling accuracy in the cafe scene.
The romance and attraction in the story is convincing and sweet. The characters are engaging and enjoyable, their chemistry obvious and charming.
The author has a pleasant flow in the story, spiced up with witty, humorous, and entertaining dialog.
Still available on Amazon.
MARKED BY KAYLEA CROSS
Hostage Rescue Team Series
When danger lurks behind a familiar face…
Successful architect Rachel Granger loves her job and her life, but when a terrorist on the FBI’s most wanted list targets her, there’s only one man she can trust. She hasn’t seen Jake in years but her former college friend told her he’d always be there for her and she definitely needs him now. Even though her feelings for him go far deeper than friendship and just being around him risks her heart, she would do anything to keep those she loves safe from a madman bent on unleashing hell.
Only one man from her past can help
FBI Special Agent Jake Evers made the biggest mistake of his life when he let Rachel slip through his fingers over two years ago. It doesn’t matter that he hasn’t seen her since then—if she needs him, he’ll be there. When he learns that she’s the target of a domestic terror cell, he’ll do everything in his power to keep her safe. He’s never gotten over her and won’t risk losing her again now that she’s reappeared in his life. But the threat is more widespread than they realized and now it’s a race against time to keep her and scores of innocent civilians alive.
I'm I huge Kaylea Cross fan. After I finished all the three series; Titanium Security, Bagram Special Ops, and Suspense Series, I called her the Queen of Suspense on a tweet.
Kaylea Cross writes suspense that keeps me on the edge. The action in it self is sharp as a knife, I'm literally biting my nails, on the edge of my seat, the tale so vivid that I feel like I'm there myself. The psychological tension, the build up keeps me hooked to the story. In the stories we get the actual touch of the evilness, when part of the tale is told by the villain.
The characters, who are appealing and charismatic, are true alpha males and independent, professional, kick-ass women, but they are not perfect. They are humans, with flaws and weaknesses. But despite them, or because of them, they find a way to each others hearts. The love stories are beautiful and leave me in tears.
Marked happens on US soil, and was riveting, had me up half the night. There is a great balance between suspense and romance, twists and turns that keeps the interest up.
I liked that Rachel and Jake admitted their feelings, were willing to work on them, and try to find a way to a future together. The heat is up, a very passionate, but at the same time sweet and endearing, story.
The suspense was as edgy and tense as always.
And to get the story of Jake, whom was first introduced in the Titanium Security series, with a promise of more to come -- Now, that just makes me happy!
Actually Love (Crossroads series book #7) by Melanie Shawn
Real or fake. As VP of public relations for SPC, the beautiful and talented Jessie Sloan knew the difference. The order and control she had in her life was real. Love was fake and she didn’t have time for fake.
Win or lose. Sexy, sculpted boxing champ Zach Courtland has had his share of losses in life, but inside the ring, he knew nothing but wins. He was used to taking and landing punches, but little did he know that he was about to get the knock-out of his life.
After circumstances beyond their control, and nosy landlords, force these two strangers to live together they become fake boyfriend and girlfriend and real roommates. Will Jessie and Zach still know the difference between real and fake, winning and losing? Or will they surrender to the idea that this may be…Actually Love.
I just finished reading Actually Love by Melanie Shawn, book #7 in the Crossroad series.
Fun and hot!! Two words that come to mind first after reading this story.
But it was also so much more. True romance story of two people working it out. They are total opposite in every way, one of them don't even believe in love, the other have always wanted it. They have to have a fake relationship to get the rental home, but the instant lust, attraction, appeal, interest is there and they are honest about it - even with each other! They get to know each other, fall in love, and work it out. And it is hot, heat level is high, but the way it is written, it fits as a part of the story, and don't make it 'smut'.
The whole series is just wholesome. Real and regular people - okay, a rock star amongst them but anyway - who find love in different ways.
The big family supports each other, gets in a way sometimes, is humorous, and always loving. And Grandpa J is the smartest man ever!
Each book is fresh, original, and yes, hot as all get out!
I know there's at least one more book coming in this series, and I can't wait to read it!!
One the best suspense series I have read!!
Just what I look in a great romantic suspense book.
What I enjoy is, that every story has a fresh point of view, unique circumstances, particular moments, that makes the stories solitary and crisp.
The story took me in for a ride from the first page, and kept me hooked to the very last one, leaving me wanting more adventures.
The writing is smooth, the tale flowing well, the characters are likable, fun, original, and fresh.
The suspense in the stories is gripping, nail-biting, heart-raising excitement. The events are constantly twisting and turning, keeping the interest level high.
The 'family', the brotherhood, of the group is admirable, sweet, attractive. The group dynamics bring a bit lightness, humor, fun to the stories. And even though in the last story, the rest of the group is manipulated to be absent by the villain, the connection is still there.
The romance in the stories is strong, valuable, and heart-melting. The women are strong and capable, the men protective and tender alpha males. Together they make sweet, passionate harmony. The balance between suspense and romance is perfect, for my taste. And while the romance is passionate and hot, the heat level in love scenes is moderate, the is no over indulgence with sex scenes.
Just truly enjoyable reads! I wish there was more to come with this group, I truly relished the time with them over my vacation!
There's a story behind everything, and I want to share with you the story behind this picture.
As an avid reader, who enjoys writing reviews about books I read, I get exited when author takes the time to reach back and connect with me. I will tell you about the happy-dance I did, when I received the first response on a twitter from an author later (too bad I don't have a video).
I mostly follow author's on a twitter, but I also follow few on facebook. In May author Melissa Foster posted on facebook that many readers had asked for a family-tree for her Love In Bloom series, and said if some readers wanted to work on it, she would reward them with six autograph copies of Braden family books. Now, six autographed books by one of your favorite authors is a fab carrot! But my brain started to work on the idea, how on earth would one connect all the books, so that they would look good, fit on one page, and make sense!
I worked and played with the idea most of the night, and by morning, I got something done. I wrote to Melissa Forster's page, asking where could I sent it, not knowing at all, if it was anything like what she was looking for.
To hear from her within minutes, and starting a conversation about the family-tree with her, went beyond my wildest dreams. After several crafts, we were both happy with the results, and it went online.
As a thank you, Melissa Foster sent me these books, with a lovely thank you note, that had me in tears.
You can see the family-tree from the link, and read my reviews from so far published books on the Love In Bloom series (yes, I've read them all) from Goodreads link on the homepage.