Review: Some Kind of Hero by Suzanne Brockmann

SomeKindHero

NET GALLEY July 11, 2017                             ISBN13: 9780345543820

Published: Ballantine Books                      Series   Troubleshooters #17

Rating:  5*

Navy men are pretty cool, but in spite of being highly intelligent, strong, determined and even bit stubborn, I am beginning to think that good looks are also a key to becoming a top Navy Seal.  Peter Green is a very tough cookie – he has to be to in order to accept only the top of the crop for entrance into the Seal program.  However, after his ex-wife’s death and his somewhat estranged daughter, Maddie came to live with him, Peter was at his wit’s end!   He thought he was doing everything right but tough rules and standards he taught his recruits were not something that his daughter was ready to accept.  In fact – Maddie had just disappeared and Peter had no idea where to turn.

Romance writer and author Shayla Whitman could solve all sorts of problems with her writing and the assistance of her imaginary sidekick Harry.  Never did she ever expect to be drawn into the drama her new hottie neighbor was having since his daughter had come to live with him.  However, she is a mother and having the experience of raising two sons, she was more than willing to steer Peter in the right direction to begin looking for clues and obtaining information the could help him in his search.

*** Well now here is the gist of the story.   Rather than think this is just a simple runaway kid theme – well it is – but it’s not.  Being new in town, Maddie was befriended by a not so good ‘friend’.  So called ‘friend’ happened to be dealing drugs unbeknownst to Maddie then left town leaving Maddie holding the bag – only the bag was empty and the bad guys believed Maddie had absconded with their ‘stuff’ so Maddie, aged 15, is on the run with her boyfriend who happens to be 21 and Peter finding this out is ready to roast the boyfriend alive.

However, Shayla, his neighbor has been sticking to him and advising him about how teenaged daughters react to somewhat overbearing fathers (who have never been part of their daughters life until now).  The dialogs between Peter and Shayla (including comments from Harry which sometimes Shayla forgets that Harry is imaginary and answers) are downright hilarious.   And naturally what would this very hot Navy Seal want with an older woman like her – even if she still looked pretty damn hot with a very active libido that could match his.

Bottom Line:  SOME KIND OF HERO was a terrific read, suspensefull, hard to put down, amusing, and sensual.  Obviously it is definitely a recommended read!

Marilyn Rondeau

Review: Carnal Innocence by Nora Roberts

Carnal Innocence

Narrated by: Tom Stechschulte Length: 17 hrs and 55 mins

Unabridged Audiobook Release Date:04-06-12

Publisher: Recorded Books Rating: 5*

In CARNAL INNOCENCE author Nora Roberts has created a mesmerizing tale of madness, murder, and love in a small southern town of the bayou.  Put into play is Caroline Waverly, a beautiful world renowned concert violinist who is still fragile from both a public breakup and private breakdown after witnessing her lover with another.  Caroline, has left the concert circuit escaping to her late grandmother’s home in Innocence, Mississippi.   However instead of the peace and tranquility she expected, she found a town reeling from two vicious and heinous murders. And, if that weren’t enough Caroline discovers a third victim on her property.

Enter Caroline’s devastatingly handsome bad-boy neighbor – Tucker Longstreet.  Big, beautiful with a devilish grin and the sexiest southern drawl ever.  But for some reason, Tucker makes Caroline feel safe even though his reputation for breaking hearts has put him at the top of the suspect list, seeing as how he was connected to each of the murdered women.

***  Lordy, lordy, but I have listened to Tom Stechschulte before and I have to say that NO ONE does sexy Southern drawls like Mr. Stechschulte!  He is a master of making a written hero pop to life as one very SEXY heart throb – just by hearing that rich southern interpretation.   Wow!  And let me also say that the sensuality both actual and implied was steaming all the way through to the very end!

Now mix that with exquisite storytelling by Nora Roberts and you have a perfect combination that will force you to keep listening way into the middle of the night and then turning it back on as soon as you wake up!  Be it children, heroes or heroines, pets, even nasty villains  – Ms. Roberts writes the books that grab you and simply won’t let you go.    Loved every minute of this audiobook, the outstanding performance of Mr. Stechschulte and the entire cast of characters who made this ‘very hard to put down’  and immensely satisfying book!

Marilyn Rondeau

 

Review: Burntown by Jennifer McMahon

Burntown

Print Length: 304 pages Publisher: Doubleday (April 25, 2017)

Sold by: Random House LLC ASIN: B01LZOU9XD

Rating: 4-1/2*

In the small Vermont town of Ashford, one might think it like any other typical sleepy New England town, but there were were people who lived in the shadows amongst the abandoned mills and factories that referred to Ashford as “Burntown”.

Eva Sandeski, known as “Necco” on the street had been a part of this underworld for years from the day the ‘great flood’ had come leaving her and her mother Lily homeless.  Her father Miles had been a professor but more than that he was an inventor of fantastic machines, one of which was purported to have been built off of stolen plans that once belonged to Thomas Edison.  Somewhere in the back of Eva’s mind it was the machine that had gotten Miles murdered.

Necco had been so young and told of this story so many times by her mom that she believed it and when Lily had mysteriously died, and then Necco’s boyfriend murdered, she’s convinced her mother was telling the truth.   One thing Necco did remember was a tattoo on the hand of the man whom she knew was bad ahdn probably was the one who had killed her family – she called him ‘snake eyes’ .  Now Necco had to rely on the group of women her mother had come to who lived off the grid and were known as ‘fireeaters’ to help protect her and guide her to expose the killer.

***  I must say that this was a fully robust novel with lots of twists and turns and plenty of red herrings town into the mix.   And of course, it goes without saying that the characters were extremely colorful and totally unique.   However, as misfits they were they blended well into the story.   From Pru, the cafeteria lady leading a secret life, to Theo who is trying to recoup the money she lost that belongs to a dangerous drug trafficker.

The action initially started slow but as I got deeper into the story, things started to both make sense and even get a little weird, but also quite interesting!   Where I once thought Necco was flying off  the deep end bits and pieces started to come together where it all made sense.   There was a VERY bad man who had a pair of dice tattoo that she named  “Snake Eyes”,   but that was not the only bad guy that was out to silence Necco and what might have been left of her family.

Bottom line:   Hang in through the slow opening.  You will find BURNTOWN just might turn your initial thoughts into a high five for this book!!!

Marilyn Rondeau

Review: The Girl Who Was Taken by Charlie Donlea

GirlWhoWasTaken

Hardcover, 320 pages ISBN13: 9781496701008

Publication: April 25th 2017 Kensington Publishing Corporation

Rating:  5*

Set in the small town of Emerson Bay, Nicole Cutty and Megan McDonald were both high school seniors who disappeared launching a massive investigation and numerous search parties.   Regrettably, there were absolutely no clues left behind.  However, after a couple of weeks, Megan re-emerged after escaping from a bunker deep in the woods.

A year later Megan’s book with an account of her ordeal has been published and now Megan is not only a local hero but now a national celebrity.  Megan’s story is a striking example of survival but it’s missing one thing – Nicole is still missing.   Nicole’s older sister Livia, a fellow in forensic pathology, is expecting that one day, Nicole’s body will show up on her table.  Instead, another body shows up and clues lead Livia on a hunt where the young man appeared to be connected to her sister.

Megan knows more than she revealed in her book which was co-written with the help of her psychiatrist.  And while flashes of memory begin to emerge for Megan the chilling details of who and what  actually happened are beginning to show Megan the true terror of her captivity.

***   Wow, this one kept me on the edge of my seat and was very difficult to put down! Luckily I started THE GIRL WHO WAS TAKEN early in the morning and was finished before I went to bed that night!  Fabulous writing and lots of twists that kept me on my toes which gave me the surprise of discovering who the REAL villain was.

I loved the details Charlie Donlea took the time to describe allowing the reader to see just what the motivating factors were for the actions of the major players in the story.   Also enjoyed the research employed that described some of the tactics and tools used for pathologists to determine how, when and where death occurred.

Bottom line: THE GIRL WHO WAS TAKEN was a terrific read for those who enjoy a high suspense, fast pacing and lots of red herrings tossed in to keep one guessing.   Highly recommended.

Marilyn Rondeau

Review: Beloved Beast by Karyn Gerrard

beloved-beast

Series: Ravenswood Chronicles   Book 2 of 2      Paperback: 196 pages

Publisher: Lyrical Press (February 28, 2017)        ISBN-13: 978-1601836625 Rating: 5*

I really didn’t know what to expect when I picked up BELOVED BEAST by Karen Gerrard, based on the title, but having read this author before I figured it would be good.  I wasn’t wrong and luckily for me … good turned into GREAT!

In the early 1800’s a very debauched Viscount Ravenswood lost his life, only to be revived  some time later as a new man with a new name and yearning for love.  Only now the once handsome man was horribly scarred with a monster like visage.  He married a woman he fell deeply in love with and they lived a quiet life together blissfully happy for 37 years before he lost her.   Luke knew that you didn’t get second chances on meeting your soul-mate more than once in a lifetime.  One other fact was for some unknown reason, Luke was not aging and still looked like a young man while friends aged out and died.   Watching the people you cared for age and die was a penance he was finding difficult to bear.

Now as a spy Luke was being asked to assist a young woman, Gillian Brown, whose spying activities in pre-war Germany had been discovered making her a target.  Luke found himself caring for her more than he should and recognized that she was finding him equally fascinating.   But knowing his own reality could he put his heart on the line and love again?  But first, he had to get Gillian out of the country and safe from the clever assassin whose job it was to silence her forever.

Bottom line:  Extremely fast paced, interesting and original plotting.   I truly enjoyed every page of this lovely spy thriller…   Highly recommended.

Marilyn Rondeau

Review: Lady of Silver by Shona Husk

ladyofsilver

Publisher: Lyrical Press (February 21, 2017) ASIN: B01G0GBDTO

Sold by: Penguin Random House Publisher Services Rating:  4*

Detective Dale Morgan is really up against it.  He’s got a murdered young woman found on the city’s outskirts with her blood drained.  He honestly believes she was murdered by a fanatic in town that is the leader of cult of vampire wannabe’s.  Only the killer is extremely efficient and leaves absolutely no clues at all.  Now Dale has his reasons for not believing in psychics and the woo-woo types of folks who peddle and con the public but he also knows that he has to try to find some/ any leads he can by going to interrogate one of the psychics that has given the police assistance in the past.

To humans, Saba Venn is a psychic, but she’s Albah, a race long forgotten by humans but who live amongst them, her powers fueled by blood and silver.  She agrees to help Detective Morgan, if it means stopping the vampire cult she believes is behind the killing. But the attraction she feels with Dale is immediate, and as their relationship intensifies she begins to doubt she can keep the secret of who and what she is from him.

*** Very interesting take on another type of Vampire world of humans and other worldly beings.   Saba is very unique – quite beautiful and naturally Detective Morgan in spite of his skepticism of thinking psychics are merely con artists, he can’t deny the feelings Saba has brought forth.   He realizes his mistake soon after she proves to him she could glean facts from just a small sample of the victims blood.   Unfortunately, in realizing Saba was the real deal, Dale had broken a small protective barrier she had and now the killer knew who she was and would be able to find her.

This was an overall short and fast read that can be read in one sitting.  I find that when the writing is succinct with a lots of  action the pages fly by, especially when each chapter kind of leaves you at the edge of a cliff and you just MUST see what happens next.   The world building was interesting, and the story held enough interest to keep you reading it straight through!!!

Marilyn Rondeau

Review: Gunmetal Gray by Mark Greaney

gunmetal-gray

ASIN:   B01FEY5ETS

Series:  The Gray Man #6 Rating:  5*

After five years on his own running away from the CIA which had at one time had a Terminate order on him, Court Gentry is back on the inside of the CIA. Regrets – he’s got a few –   especially after his first mission brings out a pair of Chinese assassins who try to take him down in Hong Kong. Normally the Chinese prefer to stay eyes-only on foreign agents. So why are they on such high alert?

Right from the get-go, Court has the feeling that he doesn’t have the ‘whole story’ regarding the mission he’s been sent on.   When he discovers that his old friend and former handler, Donald Fitzroy is being held hostage by the Chinese, Court is forced to make a deal where by he can try to save Fitzroy’s life and still complete discover the whereabouts of his CIA target, a highly capable Chinese hacker called  Fan Jing.  The problem the CIA wants Fan working for him and the Chinese want Fan DEAD!However, there are more complications than one can shake a stick at because everyone one wants a piece of Fan including the Russians, the Vietnamese, the Thai drug cartel, and even Taiwan.

***  Mark Greaney has been a favorite author of mine since I first discovered him with his debut novel of the Gray Man and each successive book in this series has just gotten better and better.  With so many people all looking to find and capture Court’s quarry the action never stops or lets up.  It’s one dangerous adventure after another.  However, this is the first time I have actually seen Court become somewhat involved with another agent and it makes for questions as to maybe – Court has found a partner?

Enough said!  All I can say is Mark Greaney continues to deliver and I am just waiting for someone in Hollywood to pick up this book series and realize what a fabulous TV or Movie series this could be made into!  Move over Jason Bourne – there is definitely a new kid on the block!!!   VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!!!

Marilyn Rondeau

 

Review: Every Dark Corner by Karen Rose

everydarkcorner

Series: Cincinnati Series #3         ISBN -13: 9780755390052         624 pages

Expected publication: February 7th 2017        by Headline            RATING:   5*

Welcome back to the latest book (#3) in Karen Rose’s fabulous Cincinnati series.   Having started with the very first book in this series, I must admit that I am totally emotionally invested in seeing this entire series through to the end.   The act of human trafficking and sex slaves is abhorrent, but when it involves young children the act becomes even more despicable.  This set of stories follows the brave men and women who are determined to stop and shut down the monsters who perpetuate these foul acts against humanity.

FBI Special Agent Griffin “Decker” Davenport finally wakes from a medically induced coma.  His brain is a bit fuzzy but slowly he remembers the desperation he needs to remember moron order to find the missing children he knows are in danger. Just at the end of his last undercover investigation, Decker had thought it was all over.   Just before the case would have been closed, Decker discovered not everyone had been rescued, but he was severely shot and was unable to tell anyone that the case couldn’t be closed. .

Special Agent Kate Coppola had recently been assigned to Cincinnati and had a hand in saving Decker’s life and took it upon herself to sit by his hospital bed while listening to the tapes that Decker had recorded while undercover.   She has been trying to piece together the crime he was investigating and growing closer to the agent she was finding more and more attractive as time went by.   Thankfully it was Kate who realized that there were missing pieces and and Decker’s life was in danger and when someone tried to poison him in the hospital Kate was able to save him before it was too late.

Not only were Kate and Decker the main characters in book #3 but anyone following the series would be happy to see and enjoy the interaction of secondary characters that were introduced in the first two books of the series.   Actually I do believe EVERY DARK CORNER could stand alone but if you want my advice I would highly suggest reading them in order so that the reader enjoys seeing how the previous characters are making out as time marched on.

Bottom line:   EVERY DARK CORNER is a remarkable book that is packed with non-stop suspense and action.  Ms. Rose’s villain is a master of disguise and a genius at staying one step ahead of the authorities.  The chase is on with very little to go on and the suspense is amazing because of the cleverness of said villain.   Highly recommended!

Marilyn Rondeau

Review: Hanover House by Brenda Novak

hanover-house

Series:  The Evelyn Talbot Chronicles 0.5    Kindle Edition, 244 pages

Published September 1st 2015 by Brenda Novak, Inc. ASIN:   B013F9NVY4

Rating:  5*

In her teenaged years, Evelyn loved and trusted her boyfriend.  A boyfriend  who ended up killing her two best friends, then tortured her for 3 days, slit her throat and left her for dead.  After that Evelyn’s future had been determined.  Evelyn needed to know what made psychopaths do what they did?  How could they appear to be like any other human being and then turn into monsters with no conscience, and/or feel no remorse for the terror they delivered unto their victims?

Now 25 years later as an adult and renowned psychiatrist Evelyn has worked tirelessly to establish a center strictly for the study of solving the mysteries of the antisocial psychopath mind.   Naturally, it took years but finally a site had been selected to build this facility where she could gather some of the worst criminal minds together to be studied.  The place, a remote Alaskan town called Hilltop, Alaska and the facility would be called Hanover House.  As expected  – most all the inhabitants of Hilltop were not happy including State Trooper, Sergeant Amarok who was one of the few police officers who was in charge of keeping the people of Hilltop safe.

While Amarok could empathize with Evelyn’s childhood history and  even though attracted to her, he does not see having all these psychopaths settled nearby his town as a good thing.  While the facility is being built and Evelyn is still putting it all together, her ex-boyfriend who had never been caught from 25 years ago and was still obsessed with her was making plans to finish what he started.

*** Actually this was just the introduction to the Hanover House series and it gives all the background and insights as to just what is going on as well as re-introduces the sick mind of Evelyn’s nemesis and tormentor. It is definitely an edge-of-your-seat suspense and highly addictive tome to those who like myself are fascinated by the genius minds of some of the worst criminals humanity has to offer.    Bottom line:  This is a series you don’t want to miss!!

Marilyn Rondeau