Covert Game (Ghostwalkers #14)

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Despite the death of a traitor and key conspirator, the plot to use the GhostWalker experiments to undermine the security of the U.S. by foreign interests still exists. The GhostWalkers themselves must race against the clock to neutralize the danger.

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I really liked the couple in this book but overall I didn’t like the book itself. I just feel like nothing happened for most of it.

I have been frustrated with this series lately anyway, which didn’t help. There are four different Ghostwalker Teams but they interact very little. As a reader, I fell in love with the original team we were introduced to but there hasn’t been an update on them in YEARS. There seems to have been a trend in recent books to only write about a handful of Ghostwalkers, even within a team. There are members of Team 4 who were not included in this book, or who only showed up for a couple of chapters. I miss the camaraderie that was displayed in earlier books where more characters were included.

I did enjoy reading about Zara and Gino and I appreciate that their relationship is different from many of the others. It is hard for me to relate to warrior women heroines all the time, which Feehan has often written in this series, because that is not my personality at all. Zara is much closer to how I am.

This book was ok for me, but not one that I plan to read again. I am glad I waited to borrow it from the library, rather than purchase the more expensive hardcover price placed on the kindle version.

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Awakened by Sin (Crime Lord #4)

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Carmen Pyre had it all until her husband was murdered by a madman who threatened everyone she loved. Now that her husband has been avenged, it’s time to move on… she just doesn’t know how.

Two men who fill her husband’s former roles offer to help her move forward with her life. Should she choose the dangerous new crime lord who will feed her dark cravings or the man who will anchor her and give her the deepest desires of her heart?

WARNING: Dark themes, cliffhanger, books must be read in succession!

—                         —                         —

THIS BOOK IS AMAZING!

The first three books of the Crime Lord series were about Lyla and Gavin and this is the first book that is told from Carmen’s POV (her story will be continued in the next book). But hands down, Awakened by Sin is my favourite book in this series by far.

It is different from most romance novels in a couple of ways.

Firstly, the leading lady has two suitors who are vying for her attention, and she is attracted to both (although much more serious about the one). This is not a book with cheating in it, and the relationship(s) are not the focus of the story.

Carmen’s is pretty much the only POV character in the story and she is still grieving the loss of her husband, Vincent. Although it has been nearly three years since he was murdered, Carmen still suffers overwhelming grief and guilt over it and bounces from one obsession to the next, trying to keep her mind occupied. Despite these efforts, she still enters periods of depression and self-destructive behaviour on a regular basis, seeming to display manic-depressive behaviour.

As I mentioned before, the romantic relationship forming between Carmen and her man is not the focus of Awakened by Sin. Of course, it will develop in the next book(s) because it IS a romance, but expect a slower burn with few emotional entanglements at first.

Ms. Knight excels at making her reader feel compassion and empathy for her characters. Carmen is the most relatable so far; her emotions are so honest and human, that it is impossible not to connect to her feeling of loss, even though her life is so far removed from normality.

I read this book in a day and I CANNOT WAIT to get my hands on the next. I seriously pray the author will have it available by the end of summer at the latest!

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Shield (Greenstone Security #2)

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My name’s Rosie and I come from a dynasty of sorts… the Sons of Templar, maybe you’ve heard of them.

I just happen to be the daughter of one of the founding members and am the sister of the current president.

The fact I’m a woman means I don’t wear the patch, but it’ll never change the fact that I’m a Templar by blood.

We’re known as royalty in the outlaw world. Though, the dynasty is dancing on the right side of the law these days.

That doesn’t mean that the law and those who enforce it are friends.
It will remain the one constant in my tumultuous life. The one rule in our law-free existence.

Befriending the law and those that enforce it is a betrayal.

Which means me being one half of a doomed love is that much more comical when he’s a cop.

Or was.

Before I went and ruined it all.

Before he shattered that shield he wore to protect society in order to protect me.

He saved me and I damned him.

I damned myself too, but to be honest, I was damned long before that.

—                         —                         —

This book was NOT for me. I feel like it is a complete departure from the Rosie character that we have known for years. She is essentially a serial killer, even if she only goes after bad guys. She is more than a little crazy – seriously off the rails. I also hate that Luke seemingly gave up everything that he was working to become in order to be with Rosie. It seemed like he was sacrificing his character and morals and also like previous depictions of him are disingenuous.

The author’s writing style in this book is extremely wordy, which is a trend I have complained about in my other reviews of her recent books. I went back and re-read her first book Making the Cut to see if she always wrote like this or if I am becoming more sensitive to it, but I still enjoy her earlier works, so I definitely feel like her writing style has just evolved in a direction I don’t enjoy.

I may or may not be checking out future books from this author, but it won’t be in this series that is for sure. I think I will wait for her books to be available on Kindle Unlimited in the future.

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Dear Aaron (Mariana Zapata)

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Ruby Santos knew exactly what she was getting herself into when she signed up to write a soldier overseas.

The guidelines were simple: one letter or email a week for the length of his or her deployment. Care packages were optional.

Been there, done that. She thought she knew what to expect.

What she didn’t count on was falling in love with the guy.

—                         —                         —

So THIS is the book I was supposed to have read before From Lukov With Love. There were no real spoilers by reading them out of order but it still irks me to have done so. I like to read chronologically.

– sigh –

Dear Aaron is a very nontraditional book. The first half is written in the form of letters (technically emails and then IM chats) between the hero, stationed in Iraq, and the heroine, living in Texas.

I think this is such an interesting route for the author to take. She didn’t just use the pen-pal idea as a hook for five chapters to justify its use, before having the characters meet up. They literally corresponded by email for the first nine months that they “knew” each other.

I wonder if Ms. Zapata had a difficult time writing those messages? It certainly doesn’t seem like it, I sorta sunk right into their conversations and got lost in the story. The dialogue between the characters certainly seemed natural to me. At times it is frequently hilarious. ie; conversations about buttholes.

Momma Santos is hilarious and I hope we get to read about Tali falling in love, because I am not done with this family.

The hero Aaron is attractive, kind, and mild-mannered. He and Ruby both have a fantastic sense of humour and are more than a little geeky. Aaron reminds me a bit of Channing Tatum’s character in Dear John.

Except there is a happily ever after in this romance story.

I do wish that the book had covered more time after Aaron and Ruby come together as an official couple but I guess that it is the benefit to reading about Ruby’s sister Jasmine in the follow-up. Updates!

For me, Ruby was the easiest (thus far) of Zapata’s characters to relate to which might have helped me to fall into the rhythm of this book. It is one I would recommend in a heartbeat but the writing style will not appeal to all readers.

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Mine – Books by Nikita Slater

I recently read Mine to Keep and Because You’re Mine by Nikita Slater, a new to me author. These books are listed as being part of a series, but they definitely are s

Mine To Keep: Veronica has always been a good girl.

She’s always listened and done what men wanted. It was easier that way. Less pain, easier to get what she needed to survive. Then a boy rescued her. Now her protector, the boy who saved her, is giving her away. Handing her over to another man. To him. Robert of Senator Security.

She wants to run away from the man who keeps touching her, the man who brings back the pain and the memories. He follows her, protects and hunts her with possession in his eyes. He demands she belong to him and him alone. But Veronica doesn’t want to be an obedient girl anymore.

She wants to be the bad girl she was born to be… and set the woman free.

– and –

Because You’re Mine: Her knight in shining armour or her kidnapper?

Allie has loved Jay forever. But he sent her away when she was eighteen and forced her to live her own life, away from the street and the gangs. Away from him. It had hurt, but she’d done it. For ten years she’d built a career and a life separate from him. Now he’s back and he wants what belongs to him.

Furious that Allie was hurt while out of his protection, Jay decides it’s time to bring the woman he loves home where she belongs. Whether she wants to come or not. He whisks her off to his mountain fortress where she’ll be safe and sets about arranging a new life for her. A life with him. He’s done lurking in the shadows, watching but never touching. She was always his. The difference is, now she knows it.

Will Allie quietly accept her new life and let her old one go? Or will she fight the man she’s loved her entire life because she can’t risk losing herself again…

—                         —                         —

Both of these books are novella-length stories of about 120 pages. Mine To Keep is a prequel set seven years before the second book and was my favourite of the two.

Slater’s work features angry, overly protective anti-heroes with dark pasts … shady presents to be honest. They are an insta-love type of romance, which you really have to expect in a novella, and the stories are super easy to read. One sitting for sure.

I wish that the author would take the next step and write “real” books that are full length. She has a decent writing style and interesting stories to tell. She definitely hit the right “he-man anti-hero alpha” mix I devour.

Unfortunately, there is a distinct lack of character development, mostly due to the short word count, and her heroines tend to do an about face in personality overnight with little internal agonizing or signs of working through their issues/reticence. Any plot points that should be obstacles for the hero are wrapped up too easily as well.

At the end of the day these books are entertaining enough that I will keep an ear out for information on this author in the future, but not enough that I am going to hunt down and read her other novellas. However, Because You’re Mine hints at a possible third book with an interesting male anti-hero introduced, I will probably read it, especially if my wish comes true and it is full length!

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From Lukov With Love (Mariana Zapata)

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If someone were to ask Jasmine Santos to describe the last few years of her life with a single word, it would definitely be a four-letter one.

After seventeen years—and countless broken bones and broken promises—she knows her window to compete in figure skating is coming to a close.

But when the offer of a lifetime comes in from an arrogant idiot she’s spent the last decade dreaming about pushing in the way of a moving bus, Jasmine might have to reconsider everything.

Including Ivan Lukov.

—                         —                         —

It’s funny how the last book I read from this author seemed waaaayy too long, but this one was barely long enough! From Lukov With Love is a fantastic romance novel that I read in one sitting.

All 552 pages.

The author, Mariana Zapata, certainly timed the release of this book well to coincide with the Winter Olympics 2018. But it does not feel in any way like a rushed book that was pushed out as a get-rich quick effort. I honestly believe that the story would have evolved the same way and been just as good if there wasn’t a major international competition taking place in figure skating right now.

Hero/ines who start out quarrelling but are forced into closed proximity by circumstances seem to be Zapata’s bread and butter. This same has been true of each book of hers that I’ve read, yet the romances still develop differently. More than any other couple, Ivan and Jasmine start out detesting one another and are stubborn, mouthy jerks. Neither is remotely shy about sharing their thoughts with the other but they are forced into extremely close circumstances when they partner up professionally.

There is no such thing as personal space in pairs figure skating!

I love that the author paid tribute to the astonishing amount of work that professional athletes put into honing their bodies and their sport. Especially something like pairs skating, where two people have to become one, and make it look easy. This is an art form. Some readers might think that the amount of training Jasmine did every week was overkill but she was trying to do something that is inhuman. It only makes sense that the training would be as well.

From Lukov with Love is a sweet, mostly clean romance with a slow burn. It follows the couple over the course of three seasons and includes a strong cast of background characters that I hope we see more of. Ivan was more dominant and protective than I expected, which made my lady parts tingle.

Zapata is definitely my favourite sports romance author and I am going to be checking out Dear Aaron – which I technically should have read before this one I now realize – pronto.

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Deathless (Anne Malcom)

Deathless is the second book in the Vein Series Chronicles. It is a new vampire romance series with witches, hunters, demons and gods. You can read my review of book one, here.

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My life was never black and white.
Heck, it wasn’t even black, white and gray.
Lines were not drawn between good and evil, and if they were, I would have jumped those suckers for fun.
But now it was simpler. It wasn’t black and white. Or gray. It was only one thing.
Blood.
A crimson-tinted world. That was all I needed.
All I wanted.
Him.
Despite the war raging around us, or the secrets between us, there was nothing simpler than blood.
It didn’t matter that it would be fatal.
After all, it’s the things we’re not undead without that will kill us in the end.

—                         —                         —

This is my second attempt at reading this book. It is a fantastic idea but the prose just kills me. The author tends to be wordy at the best of times, IMHO, and her new heroine Isla is rather prone to going off on tangents. She talks and talks and talks.

At times, I actually lost focus on Isla’s original point and felt that it was taking away from the otherwise excellent story. The blurb I posted above is an excellent example of text from the book. I’m sure that there are tons of people who love this style, but it is not for me.

At times I had to force myself to finish reading the book, or at least skim the current section, because I did want to find out what happened. But I will admit that if the author wasn’t someone I usually like, I would have given up before the 50% mark.

In addition to the run-on sentences and overly wordy style, sometimes sentences just didn’t make sense. Ms. Malcom’s editor/betas did not do her any favours in this instance.

For example:

“Well, I need to think of something that your mind wouldn’t conjure me up doing that will make you sure of that fact” – Pg. 18

“No, it was the benevolent power of nature herself that gifted the first of our kind with gifts. Not the powers of gods but the powers of mortals unrealized. Or maybe forgotten powers the gods had left strewn about the leaves which had settled into the soil when they wandered the earth.” – Pg. 139

“He’ll not want to be hoping to run into me” – Pg. 277

The next book in this series is going to be one I wait and borrow from my local library, rather than purchasing. I still want to know where the series goes but if it is written the same way, I won’t be continuing.

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