Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Review: Seeing Red by Sandra Brown

Seeing Red by Sandra Brown
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Publication date: August 15th 2017
My rating: 5 Stars
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | TBD | Kobo | iBooks

 https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25644437-find-her

He had nothing left to lose...except his life.

Kerra Bailey is a television journalist hot on the trail of a story guaranteed to skyrocket her career to even greater heights: an interview with the legendary Major Trapper. Twenty-five years ago, the Major was photographed leading a handful of survivors out of the collapsing Pegasus hotel shortly after it was bombed. The iconic picture transformed him into a beloved national icon—until he suddenly dropped out of the public eye, shunning all members of the media. And now Kerra is willing to use any means necessary to get to the Major—even if she has to wrangle an introduction from his estranged son, former ATF agent John Trapper.
Still seething over his break with both the ATF and his father, John Trapper wants no association with the hotel bombing or his hero father. Yet Kerra’s sheer audacity and tantalizing hints that there’s more to the story rouses Trapper’s interest. And when the interview of a lifetime goes catastrophically awry, Kerra and Trapper join forces and risk their very lives to expose the truth.


My Thoughts:
Sandra Brown is one of my all-time favorite mystery/romantic suspense writers so I was thrilled to get my hands on a copy of Seeing Red!  She starts off with a bang with the first page, as usual, and I was hooked from beginning to finish!

Kerra Bailey contacts John Trapper when all her efforts to get in touch with his father fail.  His father, The Major, is a hero, launched into the public eye back in 1992 when he led survivors out of The Pegasus Hotel bombing, an event that claimed 197 lives.  For John Trapper this event signaled the end of his quiet, happy life when his father enthusiastically latched onto the celebrity his actions incurred.

As an adult, Trapper took up an investigation of the bombing when his examination of the facts led to serious doubts that the case was solved.  This obsession eventually cost him his job at the ATF, so when Kerra shows up at his door asking for assistance he has no desire to help her. 

Kerra has her own reasons for wanting an interview with The Major, more personal than professional.  She’s determined to get the interview with or without Trapper assistance, but she can’t deny the pull she has to Trapper.  In the middle of the storm that follows Kerra’s meeting with The Major, Trapper and Kerra try and manage the sexual tension between them, all the while trying to get to the bottom of things, staying alive in the process. 

Sandra Brown is famous for here addictive writing.  Her cliffhanger type chapters are a sure hook for someone like me. I just wanted to keep reading and find out how it all ended!  Of course, she throws in twists, and turns.  I suspected a few and was surprised by several. I love it when an author can keep me guessing!

The romance between Kerra and John was half of the attraction; deliciously antagonistic, and utterly sexy!  I love Sandra Brown’s heroes! Trapper has a flash temper, a rude mouth, rugged and rough around the edges.  Just the kind of antihero this reader loves!  Kerra was principled, smart and determined; the perfect partner for Trapper to get to the bottom of these sinister plots.

Seeing Red is Sandra Brown at her finest and I can hardly wait until she writes her next book!



Connect with Sandra Brown:

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads 

Sunday, 13 August 2017

The Readers Den Weekly Wrap Up #7

Hello everyone, it's been a while since Jasprit and I have done one of these, and we've both been absent from the blogosphere for a couple of weeks now.  I've been on vacation but I'm ready to catch up with everyone now! Jasprit has family visiting and is super busy, so it's just me this week.

WHAT I READ/REVIEWED 

(Click on title for Goodreads link)


I listened to When Dimple Met Rishi, and the audio was wonderful.  The story was super cute and both Dimple and Rishi were adorable. I have to say I liked Rishi just a little more, though.  The Hunting Grounds was a fun romantic suspense, a departure from what I've read by Katee Roberts in the past. I'll be posting a review this week.  Devil's Cut (my review) was the perfect ending to J.R. Ward's Bourbon Kings series. Different from what she usually writes and very addictive. The whole series is out now, so it'd be a great time to binge read.


BOOKS RECEIVED 


(Click on title for Goodreads link)


I requested The Good Daughter a long time ago, but just got my approval the day of its release. Kind of strange, but I love Karin Slaughter so I'm super excited.  Mary Balogh writes quality historical romances with complex characters so I snatched up Someone to Wed. I love the Iron Druid Chronicles by Kevin Hearne so even though A Plague of Giants seems a little more high fantasy than I typically read I have high hopes for it.  Katie Ruggle has become a fast favorite for me with her romantic suspense novels so I'm looking forward to On the Chase.



NEW TO MY TBR

(Click on Book for Goodreads link)


After reading Greg's wonderful review of One of Us is Lying I finally requested it (audiobook form) from my library and added it to my TBR. He compared the story to "The Breakfast Club with a murder". How can I possibly resist?  Laura Griffin writes great romantic suspense so I added her newest: Touch of Red.  Part Time Cowboy was recommended to me by a friend on Goodreads. I just got an audio copy from my library so we'll see how it goes.


WHAT I'M WATCHING:


I've been binge watching Longmire and just got started on Justified. Both are fun, and Longmire has Katee Sackoff from Battlestar Galactica! Loved her in BG in spite of the terrible way the series ended! Ugh.

EVENTS OF THE WEEK

 As I mentioned I've been on vacation up the coast in Monterey, California.  The weather was mostly overcast in the morning but cleared up by the afternoon. Gotta say I didn't mind it one bit though after leaving the 100+ temperatures in my neck of the woods! The cooler temps were very welcome.  Monterey is gorgeous! We went to Monterey Bay Aquarium, Point Lobos State Reserve, Point Pinos Lighthouse, and I did a 5 1/2 mile walk along the shoreline which was so beautiful! And I ate waaayyy too much!

China Beach, Point Lobos Reserve 
 
Walk along Pacific Grove, CA
 
Monterey Bay Aquarium
 


Must crack down on the calorie intake now that I'm home which is why I'm making this low cal/low carb dish for dinner: Turkey Zucchini Boats. I use Rao's Marinara for the sauce. It's more expensive (about $9.99 a jar) than most jar sauces you find at the grocery store, but it's the best, IMO. Plus, the carb count turns out lower when you use it as opposed to other jar sauces.

How was your week?

Friday, 4 August 2017

Blog Tour: Kissing Max Holden by Katy Upperman



Hi everyone, today I get to share my review of Kissing Max Holden by Katy Upperman as part of Xpresso Book Tours, before that though here's a bit about the book. 


Kissing Max Holden by Katy Upperman
Publisher: Swoon Reads 
Publication Date: August 1st 2017
My rating: 4 stars. 
Kissing Max Holden was a terrible idea... After his father has a life-altering stroke, Max Holden isn't himself. As his long-time friend, Jillian Eldridge only wants to help him, but she doesn't know how. When Max climbs through her window one night, Jill knows that she shouldn't let him kiss her. But she can't resist, and when they're caught in the act by her dad, Jill swears it'll never happen again. Because kissing Max Holden is a terrible idea. With a new baby sibling on the way, her parents fighting all the time, and her dream of culinary school up in the air, Jill starts spending more and more time with Max. And even though her father disapproves and Max still has a girlfriend, not kissing Max is easier said than done. Will Jill follow her heart and allow their friendship to blossom into something more, or will she listen to her head and stop kissing Max Holden once and for all?

Kissing Max Holden really took me by surprise, I went into the book expecting a light, cute, fluffy read, but I appreciated the depth and serious issues that Upperman dealt with. Jill and Max have been friends forever, although they’ve sort of drifted apart at school, they’d never imagined something more than their friendship until one night, they end up kissing. It comes completely out of the blue, as Max has a girlfriend and with everything being chaotic for Max at home, maybe it was just the comfort that he needed? But really what I loved most after was the turmoil of emotions that it left our characters in afterwards. Jill is constantly denying it that it’s just a onetime thing, but she really can’t get it out of her head or go back to the way things were between her and Max. It was obvious to me, that there was the potential for great things between Max and Jill if they ever decided to go down that route, but with so many obstacles in the way, was that even possible? 

Both Max and Jill had a rough time over the course of this book, Max’s dad had a stroke, he was the light of the family, but now that he was restricted to a wheelchair, things weren’t the same as they used to be. On top of that there’s the conflicted feelings between him and Jill, Max also has a girlfriend, so shouldn’t it be best that they stay away from each other. I know Max wasn’t in the best of situations, with him kissing Jill whilst having a girlfriend, I don’t condone cheating at all, but with the way things were going with Max and his girlfriend I just wanted him to finally sort things out and be with who he wanted to really be with instead of going behind other people’s back and hurting a lot of people in the process. There was Max’s girlfriend, Max’s sister (who was his girlfriend's best friend) and even Jill’s dad to consider who didn’t want Jill to be anywhere near Max, which I could understand especially with the reputation he had. But with all the stuff going on, I was glad that Max and Jill were able to find solace with each other. If you thought Max’s situation was bad, I really felt for Jill as the story progressed, it completely changed my assumptions about how I felt regarding certain characters. 

Kissing Max Holden really had a lot going for it, it had the boy next door forbidden romance vibe going on, one which I was fully rooting for, but the depth and number of issues that was tackled by Upperman was really done well too. I loved watching Jill and Max grow into wonderful characters over the course of the story and also the meaningful relationships that they developed along the way with people I didn’t expect. Also I was completely won over by Max by the end, he’d gone from this uptight guy who was hell bent on destroying his life, to someone who was sweet and wanted the very best for those he loved, I for one wouldn’t mind Max popping in through my bedroom window! ;) I’ve only read a handful of debuts this year, but Kissing Max Holden will definitely be one of the most memorable!



Katy Upperman is a graduate of Washington State University, a former elementary school teacher, and an insatiable reader. When not writing for young adults, Katy can be found whipping up batches of chocolate chip cookies, or exploring the country with her husband and daughter. Kissing Max Holden is her debut novel.



Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Review & Giveaway: Wildfire by Ilona Andrews

Wildfire (Hidden Legacy #3) by Ilona Andrews
Publisher: Avon
Publication date: July 25th 2017
My rating: 5 Stars
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | TBD | Kobo

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25644437-find-her

Just when Nevada Baylor has finally come to accept the depths of her magical powers, she also realizes she’s fallen in love. Connor “Mad” Rogan is in many ways her equal when it comes to magic, but she’s completely out of her elements when it comes to her feelings for him. To make matters more complicated, an old flame comes back into Rogan’s life…

Rogan knows there’s nothing between him and his ex-fiance, Rynda Sherwood. But as Nevada begins to learn more about her past, her power, and her potential future, he knows she will be faced with choices she never dreamed of and the promise of a life spent without him.

As Nevada and Rogan race to discover the whereabouts of Rynda’s kidnapped husband and are forced to confront Nevada’s grandmother, who may or may not have evil motives, these two people must decide if they can trust in each other or allow everything to go up in smoke.



My Thoughts:
Spoilers ahead if you haven’t read the first two books, and if you haven’t, what are you waiting for?! Go. Read. NOW! For a better introduction/breakdown of the Hidden Legacy world see my review of Burn For Me (click HERE).

I’ve been dying to get my hands on a copy of Wildfire, the possible conclusion to The Hidden Legacy series, ever since I finished White Hot. Let me tell you, it did not disappoint!  Ilona Andrews is one brilliant writing team, and they never fail to wow me! I always try to set aside a day to gobble up one of their books, because once I get started I don’t want to set it aside. Thankfully, I was able to tune-out the world and dig in this last Saturday. 

Nevada and her family are in danger now that her evil grandma knows of their existence.  Victoria Tremaine is a powerful Truthseeker, like Nevada, and widely feared. She’s determined to get control of her granddaughters, and fortify House Tremaine. Other than fleeing, and dropping off the grid the Baylors only have one option available. Stay, fight, and establish their own House so that evil grandma can’t touch them for at least three years.  Trouble is they must declare and demonstrate their powers which opens up a whole other box of problems including exposing them to dangers from other Houses. 

The Baylors are faced with this important decision while keeping Baylor Investigations running, and they’ve just landed a new dangerous case.  Rynda Charles, Rogan’s ex-fiancée, turns up distraught, requesting help, because her husband has gone missing, and she fears for his life.  Most believe he just run away for some alone time since the events of the previous book has jeopardized his company’s reputation and connections.

To be honest, I was worried about the ex-fiancée being in the picture.  Especially since Rynda’s described as stunning, and was a prime genetic match for Rogan.  However, I shouldn’t have worried, because there was never a time I thought that Nevada wasn’t first place in Rogan’s heart.  One of the things I absolutely love about Ilona Andrews is they don’t rely on relationship angst and drama (for the most part--I’m looking at you Magic Rises!) to provide interest, and conflict in their stories.  There’s plenty of mysteries, dilemmas, life and death situations to keep me entertained, and on the edge of my seat without relationship frustrations. 

Nevada and Rogan’s relationship is, as always, intense, passionate, all-consuming and oh-so-very HOT! They present as a strong, united couple; in awe of each other’s strengths, and accepting of the whole package, flaws and all. 

Wildfire was exciting, with a world that feels realistic enough that you think it just might be possible.  Nevada and Rogan were characters I’ve grown to love, but the secondary cast, from Nevada’s family, to Rogan’s team, is multi-layered and interesting, as well.  Loved the witty, fun banter between all the characters, providing comedic relief just when you think the story is getting serious and heavy.   

Even though Wildfire wraps up in a really good place, I seriously hope this isn’t the end of the The Hidden Legacy series! There is so much potential for future stories, not only with Nevada and Rogan, but with Nevada’s family.  I want to see them tackling whatever the future holds for them: cases, danger, love and fun!



 The Hidden Legacy series:
(Click on covers for Goodreads link)

Link to my reviews:

Burn for Me (Hidden Legacy, #1)  White Hot (Hidden Legacy, #2)


Connect with Ilona Andrews:






I was super excited to hear that Ilona Andrews was coming to a town relatively close to me, and I was able to meet them yesterday (Sunday) at The Ripped Bodice in Culver City, CA.

The place was packed, but I got there early and was able to get a few of my pressing questions answered! Ilona and Gordan were super nice, I only wish I had more time to talk to them. Will they continue The Hidden Legacy series? Maybe. They hope so. The publisher didn't want them to write an epilogue that completely wrapped up everything for Nevada and Rogan, so Ilona and Gordan think they want more books.  I hope so!!  At any rate, here are a few photos from the signing. 

Of course I had a copy of Wildfire signed by the authors to giveaway here on the blog.  Fill out the rafflecopter below for a chance to win. Giveaway is open to US Residents only. Good luck!




Thursday, 20 July 2017

Review: Trade Me by Courtney Milan

Trade Me by Courtney Milan 
Publisher: Audible
Publication Date: November 18th 2016
My rating: 4 stars


Tina Chen just wants a degree and a job, so her parents never have to worry about making rent again. She has no time for Blake Reynolds, the sexy billionaire who stands to inherit Cyclone Technology. But when he makes an off-hand comment about what it means to be poor, she loses her cool and tells him he couldn’t last a month living her life. To her shock, Blake offers her a trade: She’ll get his income, his house, his car. In exchange, he’ll work her hours and send money home to her family. No expectations; no future obligations. But before long, they’re trading not just lives, but secrets, kisses, and heated nights together. No expectations might break Tina’s heart...but Blake’s secrets could ruin her life.

I’m one of those readers who when told to read book, never reads it, a few of my friends had recommended Trade Me to me, saying it would be my sort of read, but of course I just added it to my never ending tbr pile. Until one day finally I decided to give the sample a go on audio, and seriously the couple of seconds I heard from Sean Crisden convinced me to buy a copy straight away. I’m the fussiest person ever when it comes to listening to audio books, but Crisden’s voice was perfect for me. Also on top of that Trade Me ended up taking me completely by surprise, I assumed it was your typical boy and girl make up your typical fake relationship and then end up really falling for one another, but I couldn’t have been more wrong, with Trade Me, Milan gives us a complex story centred around family, social status and on top of that, a nice sprinkling of a swoony romance. 

I like how Blake and Tina ended up with more than they could have imagined when they went into their trade deal, both characters came from opposite ends of the spectrum, with Blake living the wealthy, lavish lifestyle and Tina barely making ends meet and on top of that having to double check that things are okay with her family too. Again although the trade between them seemed straightforward enough, there was so much more that both had to take into consideration, that we didn’t know a lot about. I really liked Tina’s character, she was a down to earth girl, who always tried to put her family first no matter what, I admired her strength and determination and her sassiness (her conversations with Blake’s dad were some of my favourites). But Blake too was also an unexpected surprise, I have to admit that I was quick to make assumptions about him, based on my first introduction to his character, but I liked how over the course of the story, he was able to convince me otherwise. 

I liked how with Trade Me, Milan didn’t give us your easy-going typical sort of relationship, but what Tina and Blake had, did come across many complications and barriers, and despite it not being smooth sailing for either of them, I liked how Milan made them fight for what they wanted and showed them both going through tough ordeals in order to make it through. 

Sorry to all of my friends who had recommended this book to me ages ago, because honestly I loved the absolute heck out of it and I’m kicking myself for not giving it a go sooner. Trade Me was a book which completely took me by surprise with its depth and complexity of characters and loveable romance that Milan wrote for us. Trade Me was my first book by Courtney Milan, but it certainly won’t be my last.



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