Reviews, Romance, Suspense

Review: Protector – Michelle Horst

protectorProtector by Michelle Horst
Series: standalone
Genre: romantic suspense
add-to-goodreads-button

I’ve always thought of myself as a pretty happy-go-lucky kind of person. I wanted to save the world, or at least leave my stamp behind. In my own naïve way I thought I could bribe karma but life has a way of teaching us lessons.

I never knew how selfish I was until my life was ripped away from me.

Taken.

I’m forced to watch as they torture and kill my family … and I know I’m next.

I hear their screams.

I watch them die.

It’s the worst kind of torture

Then he comes. He made a promise to my brother. It’s the only thing keeping him bound to me. 

A promise to protect me.

I should set him free of the promise … but I don’t. He’s my shield against karma. He’s my protector.

Purchase it

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA

Review

Themes: protector
Heat: ★★★
Rating:
 ★★★

Karma, now there’s a peculiar thing. I never knew how selfish I was until my life was ripped away from me.

Michelle Horst has been on my radar for a while but this is the first of her books I’ve had the chance to read. Plot-wise, I very much enjoyed it and found myself intrigued from the very beginning, particularly because it was so very bloodthirsty in a way I wasn’t entirely expecting. I also very much liked the sexual tension between Riley and Griffin, which was highly believable (and highly satisfying when they finally – and yes, I mean finally – indulged).

Death. It’s not a path to a better place like I always thought it would be. Death confines you. It suffocates all the warmth and happiness from you. Death is the end. There’s just nothing after it.

I struggled with the feeling that some of this was pretty overwritten, with an attempt to include so many moments of deep, profound prose, which for me became a little irritating and slightly infantilising – really, I just wanted to read the story, have the occasional “this is how grief feels, this is what I need to do to get over it” moment, but it felt like it was on repeat a little.

I also felt that some of the angst, particularly the final plot twist, was extraordinarily forced, and totally out of character. It was a completely unnecessary addition, and was too easily forgiven to have emotionally impacted me like other parts of this story.

Madness is a place where your soul goes to die. Insanity becomes a safe haven for your devastated mind.

Overall, a largely fantastic plot marred by a little forced angst and overwriting. Still a highly enjoyable read, with emotional and heartwarming moments and a passionate, believable love.

Dystopian, Political, Reviews, Romance, Suspense

Review: Dissident – Cecilia London

dissidentDissident by Cecilia London
Series: Bellator Saga #1
Genre: romantic suspense
add-to-goodreads-button

“I will always be with you…”

Rising Democratic star Caroline Gerard hasn’t had an easy year. After losing her husband, she is raising two small children alone while trying to navigate the tricky and sometimes shallow halls on Capitol Hill. A string of nasty speeches has her scrambling to apologize to any number of candidates, including newly elected Republican Jack McIntyre. Falling in love again is the last thing on her mind.

Jack McIntyre might have a reputation as a playboy, but he has his sights set solely on his new colleague. Can he break through Caroline’s grief and capture her heart?

Told mostly in flashback and set against a chilling fascist backdrop, Dissident is a rollercoaster ride of political intrigue, passionate contemporary romance, and undying love.

For readers 18+. Ends in a cliffhanger. The first part in a six book saga.

Purchase it

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA

Review

Subgenres: political, dystopia
Themes: friends to lovers, widowed
Heat: ★★
Rating: ★★★★

This is a book series I was totally unaware of until this month’s Quirky Blind Date with a Book. And I’m unbelievably glad I was part of it, because this is a highly original premise, and a pleasure to read.

“We take our relationships, our spouses, our partners for granted until one day, poof, it’s all over. Maybe we’d all be a little better off if we lived each day as if it might be the last.”

I felt somewhat overwhelmed when I first delved in, because my knowledge of the American political system is not great; but once I got used to the jargon and past the infodump found in the first few pages, I really managed to get into this.

Told mainly in the romantic past but bracketed with moments of intrigue and suspense set in the present, this book was structurally very interesting – removing the importance of the outcome of the relationship simply from the prologue, instead we are encouraged to become deeply invested in the development of the relationship; despite its angst, it becomes in some respects much less superficial. We can sit back and enjoy the ride and the conversation.

“You make me want to be a better human being. And I hope you’re willing to give me the chance to be the man I know you need me to be.”

Pace-wise, this is a slow-burner. Highly character-driven, we learn an unbelievable amount about the complexities of the many characters (and there were a lot of them – London’s biggest strength is her complex character-building skill), with the vast majority of the plot unfolding through conversation, yet never venturing into boredom.

My main complaint? The sex scenes were of the ‘fade to black’ variety, despite the hints at kink and general dirtiness. This was a huge shame to me because I like living out the climax and culmination of the slower relationship development. There was a lot of scope for this delving into eroticism, and I was left disappointed.

“Don’t judge my reading preferences. My Kindle is full of highly enjoyable, unequivocally filthy smut.”

Deep, slow and original, this first instalment succeeds in building an intriguingly teasing plotline while allowing us to fully know and invest ourselves in the characters and relationships (despite a disappointing lack of eroticism).

Giveaway, Release Blitz, Reviews, Romance, Suspense

Out now! Review & Giveaway: Transfer – Aly Martinez

transferTransfer by Aly Martinez
Series: The Retrieval Duet #2
Genre: romantic suspense
Themes: law enforcement
add-to-goodreads-button

One story. Two couples.

I fell in love with a man who didn’t exist.

What started out as romance ended in hell.

His words turned to razor blades.

His kisses converted to fists.

His embrace became my cage.

His body transformed into a weapon, stealing parts of me until ultimately….

I broke.

I hated him.

My sole job in life became to protect our daughter.

I wasn’t sure I’d ever escape the prison he’d skillfully crafted from my fears.

Until the day our savior arrived.

This is the story of how I escaped the man who thought he owned me.

The transfer of my life and my family.

Purchase it

Amazon US | Amazon UK | iBooks | Nook | Kobo

Review

Heat: ★★★
Rating: ★★★★

Reviewer’s note: this is not a standalone. It takes off from the conclusion of Retrieval (see our review here).

“I don’t want to be your Luke. Not anymore. I’m Heath. I’ve always been Heath. But, regardless of what my name is, I’m not going anywhere.”

This is definitely one of my favourite series of 2016. I didn’t have a favourite instalment, but I have to say that this second part really solidified my emotional connection to all four characters. It was wonderful to see Clare’s transformation, from broken to strong, and how sweet and caring Heath was in his interactions with her and Tessa.

I loved how it was written from all four main characters’ points of view, whilst successfully maintaining the focus on Claire and Heath in this part.

Walt had proven that love wasn’t always hearts and flowers. It could be dark and dirty, defined by power and pain, and filled with anguish and agony.

Above all, the storyline was just fantastic, and I very much enjoyed the angst not being due to forced relationship problems, but instead due to the external threat of Walt, and the emotional impact of the plot twists (which I totally didnot see coming). The benefit of this is that I never once doubted the budding relationships, not the heroes, within these pages – meaning I want to marry both Roman andHeath now.

Something had happened inside me when his lips had met mine. A hunger I hadn’t felt in years had surged through me. Passion. Longing. Desire.

A fantastically suspenseful, beautifully romantic story, about rebuilding lives and forging strong relationships, with one of the sweetest epilogues I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading. Highly, highly recommended.

Giveaway

$50 Amazon gift card