Review: The Fifth Doctrine by Karen Robards (Series: The Guardian Book #3)

First of all, I am so sad that this is the final book in a trilogy – I really do not want to see this series end and I hope Ms. Robards changes her mind and keeps it going! However, if she doesn’t then I must tell you all that THIS, was and is, a really great set of books highlighting a terrific heroine – Bianca St. Ives.

No one but the great Houdini could have escaped from so many hair raising and intense situations as Bianca eluding all those who are after her, from the CIA, FBI, MI6, Russian mobsters, Arab sheiks and everyone else who has ever been duped by Bianca and her father, Richard St. Ives.

The question has always been is her daddy alive or dead? He has this little quirk that shows he has more lives than the proverbial ‘cat’. And oftentimes even Bianca is left in the dark!

It took one relentless man (who also has personal scores to settle with her) to finally get the jump on Bianca and her capture involves a shot at a clean slate. One-shot, one last job and Bianca could walk away free to the legitimate life she wants in Savannah.

The job – infiltrate North Korea as an elite female hacker who recently stole top secret intel from NORAD. Bianca knows just how dangerous this job can be and if caught, torture or endless imprisonment would be her fate – assuming she lived. Bianca has somehow survived this long and in some pretty incredible scenarios which no one could have possibly survived. But if she can accomplish this – and it’s a BIG IF she might finally get a somewhat ‘normal life’ with friends and a certain lover?

As always, the pace and action are super fast where you don’t want to miss even one paragraph; where you don’t want to put the book down because you NEED to see what happens next! Bianca is a wonderful protagonist who thinks on her feet, and with a bit of help from a couple of cohorts she has managed to come out on top!

You can read this as a stand alone, but it is an amazing series and I suggest you begin at the start with ULTIMATUM.

Marilyn Rondeau
marilynsbookreviews.com

Review: BLIND SPOT BY Brenda Novak

(The Evelyn Talbot Chronicles #4)

I have been following this series since the very beginning and it has been wonderful.   What an amazing concept with a fast pace, and fascinating characters ! Since the beginning I have been enthralled with Dr. Evelyn Talbot and the whole concept of Hanover House while still trying to capture Jasper Moore!   Her aim is to try and understand the mind of the worst serial killers and discover what makes them tick – Wow!   

In this fourth book of the series, Jasper Moore has finally been caught and Evelyn can examine the mind of the man who tortured her as a teenager and tormented her for so many years.  But utmost in her mind is getting married to Amarok, her Alaska State Trooper love interest, before she delivers their baby!   

Only, Evelyn now has more on her mind than getting married. A psychopath from the much more recent past comes out of nowhere and kidnaps her in broad daylight. Instead of planning her wedding, Evelyn finds herself doing everything she can to survive, save her baby and devise some way to escape while Amarok races the clock to find her – before it’s too late.

Absolutely wonderful pacing with the most unexpected help coming from an unexpected place!   I really can’t wait to find out if Ms. Novak has any more books planned for this series.  It’s really too good to stop here!!!

Marilyn Rondeau

Review: Discretion by Karina Halle

The Riviera is a most wondrous place – but for Sadie Reynolds, hosteling it by herself after discovering  her boyfriend had left after she uncovered his infidelities, she was anxious to return home.  One wrong turn put her life in jeopardy but never did she expect to be saved by the most handsome stranger who came to her rescue.  When she wakes up she is ensconced in a luxurious suite with views of the Mediterranean and her rescuer, France’s most eligible bachelor Olivier Dumont.  

Olivier, heir to the Dumont fashion fortune, is no stranger to scandal, but Sadie is unlike any woman he’s ever met. He’s promising Sadie something too: anything she wants.  Pulled into Olivier’s world Sadie is witness to wealth, glamour, and excess like she’s never imagined before.  She is also witness to the betrayals and wicked secrets of the entire Olivier family.

*** Ah, to wake up in Prince Charming’s bed and world – such a fairy tale come true and it began that way for Sadie, as Olivier seemed captivated by Sadie, but Sadie knew without a doubt that it couldn’t possibly last. However she was helplessly in love/lust with Olivier and come hell or high water, she wanted to stay by his side.

Sadie was a wonderful character fully fleshed out honest and caring, quite the opposite of all the high profile models and socialites Olivier had been sporting around, but with Sadie he recognized that she was a gem he wanted to keep to himself  which is where the title of the novel probably came from.  Not only that but he didn’t want his relatives/enemies to discover and ruin the first honest relationship he desired to keep – safe from the vultures who were out to destroy him.  

All in all, this was a great read and though I wasn’t thrilled with the ending I am hoping to see in the some really great karma and payback in subsequent volumes!

Marilyn Rondeau

Review: The Moscow Deception by Karen Robards

ublished June 12th 2018 by Hodder & Stoughton        ASIN B0723HDKHJ

Series: The Guardian #2                                              Rating:  5*

Bianca St. Ives makes her living as a high-end thief and a genius of disguise, conning criminals out of the money they stole – and all for the greater good. A femme fatale Robin Hood, she’s been taught everything she knows from her father. Since their last heist gone bad, Bianca has taken over running the family business, it’s not just Richard St. Ives on most-wanted lists, but Bianca, too.

After faking his own death, the word is out that Bianca’s father is, in fact, alive, and having just pulled off a major heist in Austria, he has a dangerous task for Bianca that will see her traveling to Russia to steal ancient jewels and artifacts. But now all eyes are on Bianca, and escaping international pursuit will be harder than ever. And especially her drop dead gorgeous pursuer.

I have to say – I am so LOVING this series!   There is nothing better than a kick-ass bad-ass heroine and Bianca St. Ives fills the role to perfection!  Kudo’s to Karen Robards for her art of making one truly feel the emotions of the characters she creates.  Along with Bianca, her enigmatic pursuer is surely a darn hottie and perfect for her but for some reason he can’t seem to hold on to her!   Add to that her extremely capable staff and ‘DOC’ her IT genius and it’s hard to stop her no matter how insane her escapades end up as the entire world – wants to kill her!  Ah, but that is the mystery isn’t it ?

Marilyn Rondeau

REVIEW: The Ultimatum by Karen Robards

Kindle Edition, 368 pages                               Published June 13th 2017 by MIRA

Series:   The Guardian #1                                 Rating:  5*

Thief. Manipulator. Con artist. Call it what you will—Bianca St. Ives is the best in the business. Additionally, I shall also add that the author and creator of ULTIMATUM is a master story teller and gave me hours of entertainment in the listening of this audiobook.   And more importantly, I discovered it is Book ONE of the GUARDIAN Series and I fully intend to read the next two installments in the very near future.  

Growing up, Bianca St. Ives knew she was different from all her friends. Instead of playing hopscotch or combing her dolls’ hair, she was sent to study martial arts with sensei masters and dismantle explosives with special-ops retirees. Her father, a man with many identities,  prepped her well to carry on the family business. Now a striking beauty with fierce skills, the prodigy has surpassed the master.

Working with her father, she makes a living swindling con men out of money they stole. She also does things on her own terms. But her latest gig went FUBAR—if you count two hundred million dollars and top secret government documents going missing and seeing her father blown up during the mission. The problem now is, the US government doesn’t believe he’s really dead. They’ll stop at nothing to capture Richard St. Ives, a high-value target and someone who has been on most-wanted lists all over the world for over two decades.  The people don’t really know that much about using Bianca as bait but know she could lead them to Richard St. Ives.   With only a fellow criminal for backup and her life on the line, it’s up to Bianca to uncover the terrifying truth of who Richard St. Ives is and discover truths of her own life to set it right, before it’s too late. 

This was an absolute rush of entertainment pleasure with an amazing pace and suspense that kept me listening avidly way past my bedtime.   Great imagery and descriptive language of visualizing all the many tools of the trade and setting the scenes of each exploit.   Can’t wait to follow up on this series!!!

Marilyn Rondeau

Review: Some Choose Darkness by Charlie Donlea

  • Print Length: 304 pages    Publisher: Kensington (May 28, 2019)
  • Publication Date: May 28, 2019    Sold by: Penguin Random House Publisher Services
  • ASIN: B07H1ZKXTP                  RATING: 5 *

This was a book that was given to me by an author I had never read before – I was given a description and found it interesting so I agreed to read and give an honest review. Thank you Charlie Donlea for allowing me a first glance into SOME CHOOSE DARKNESS.   After turning the final page the words that came to mind are Brilliant – Edge of the Seat Suspense – Intense – and Fascinating.

I wasn’t quite sure as to what Rory Moore, a forensic reconstructionist, was but discovered she was masterful at taking on cold-case homicides by piecing together crime scene details others failed to see.  Rory was very picky about what cases she would take on  because of the intensity of the work and reconstructing a victims life.  However, after cleaning out her deceased father’s law office a week after his burial, she receives a call that plunges her into a decades-old case come to life once more – one she couldn’t refuse to work on. 

In the summer of 1979, five Chicago women went missing no clues – no bodies.  The villain was nicknamed The Thief . Finally the police received a package from a mysterious woman named Angela Mitchell, whose unorthodox investigation skills appear to have led to his identity. But before they could question her, Angela disappeared. Forty years later, The Thief is about to be paroled for Angela’s murder—the only crime the DA could pin on him. But the cryptic file Rory finds in her father’s law office suggests there is more to the case, and Angela Mitchell, than what was fed to the public, details which had been buried for forty years!

Rory becomes helplessly entangled in the enigma of Angela Mitchell and what happened to her. Drawing connections between the past and present, Rory uncovers dark truths about the reclusive victim, her father, and the man called The Thief that send her down a twisting trail where things may not be as they appear. As this reader sped thru the pages, even she was surprised at the full, terrifying truth that emerged!

Mark this one down as a winner and pre-order!  Like me you won’t be able to put it down once you start it!

Marilyn Rondeau

Review: The Trouble With Vampires by Lynsay Sands

Publication Date – 4/30/19

Publication: April 30th 2019 by Avon                     ASIN: B07C67Q8D6

Series: Argeneau #29                      Rating:   4*

Petronella Stone a history professor, was not in the least annoyed when her sister called in a favor – would Pet come and stay at her home to watch Parker, her brilliant 6 year old nephew?  Actually, Pet would never give up time to spend with the adorable tyke and they had settled in admirably.

For the last three thousand years big and handsome Santo Notte has fought in armies across the world and battled his own, more personal enemies. Of all the places he might expect to encounter his life mate, a quiet corner of upstate New York didn’t seem likely. But spotting Pet while hunting down a suspected rogue immortal, he knows that she will be the greatest adventure of his eternal life.

Once Pet realizes what he is he expects her to be surprised, confused, even overwhelmed. What he doesn’t expect is that Pet has a secret history of her own.  Their attraction and passion is mutual, but Pet is having second thoughts as to whether she even likes the gruff one-word responses she gets while trying to make conversation.   Santo, just has never had to deal with a 20th century woman before and needs to learn real quick before he loses the one woman he’s waited for his entire life!

Bottom line – I love Lynsay Sands writing and the Argeneau series is the bomb!  Santo and Pet are a riot together, not to mention the interactions you get with Parker’s innocent observations!  Love the kid!  The fans of this series are going to love this latest entry.  And may I say, it’s never too late to read any of this series as most are stand-alone and always bring recurring characters back and forth!

Marilyn Rondeau 

Review: The Last Woman in the Forest by Diane Les Besquets

  • Publisher: Berkley (March 5, 2019)  ISBN-13: 978-0399587047
  • Rating:   4-1/2*

After so many years of trying to jumping from one job to the next Marian Engstrom finally discovered her true calling: working with rescue dogs to help protect endangered wildlife.  Somewhat of a loner she was content and happy with the dogs and her first assignment took her to Alberta, where her love for the dogs seemed to cross over to her mentor Tate.   Eventually the assignments seperated them and shortly thereafter Marian heard the devastating news of Tate’s death.  

Bad enough how horrendous the news which had splintered her soul, but some of the stories and information he had given her were coming back to her and the inconsistencies were beginning to show her a completely different person than the one man she had taken on as a lover.   There had been several unsolved murders that had occurred in the surrounding area and Marian was beginning to believe that possibly Tate had been responsible.

In an effort to clear Tate’s name, Marian reaches out to a retired forensic profiler who’s haunted by the open cases. But as Marian relives her relationship with Tate and circles ever closer to the truth, evil stalks her every move.…

***  This was both an interesting novel in the content of discovering how the people lived and studied to help endangered wildlife.  The lonely life alone and learning to survive in the wild was extremely interesting.  The investigation into Tate and discovering whether he was or wasn’t the murderer was filled with suspense right through to the end.   While the use of  Nick, her forensic investigator was another interesting character as he did all he could to help Marian keep herself on track and ultimately helped save her life.    Extremely good read and very much recommended.

Marilyn Rondeau 

Review: SAY YOU’RE SORRY by by Karen Rose

Kindle Edition, 608 pages

Publication: February 21st 2019 by Headline    ASIN: B07CG6QP5P

Series  Sacramento #1                                     Rating 5*

I have recently become a great fan of Ms. Robards and know without reading a review what to expect.  Fabulous intelligent writing, awesome character building, fast action, and truly bad-ass villains, whom you simply cannot wait for them be found out and dealt with!  Often times as in SAY YOUR SORRY, you may even feel some compassion for the villain based upon what factors led them to conduct such heinous crimes. 

FBI Special Agent Gideon Reynolds has tried to put his past behind him. He escaped the violence of a cult upbringing when he was just thirteen, and since then routine and discipline have been his way of making sense of the world. But when a friend calls to show him a piece of evidence from a young woman who fought off an attacker. With that Gideon’s  world was about to come to a screeching halt!

Daisy Dawson has had more than her fair share of pain – but she’s done being a victim and a prisoner. Brave and determined, Daisy is not going to let anyone take away her independence again. However her newly appointed intensely dark FBI investigator and bodyguard is certainly appealing to her passionate side.

Soon it appears clear that Daisy’s attack was just the beginning when bloodied bodies of young women are showing up all over California.  As Gideon and friends work to find the killer, it’s clear that Daisy is in more danger than they ever realized.

***  As an introduction to Ms. Robards newest series opener, you are introduced to a whole new plethora of family which I am sure will play central roles in this new series.  I love how Ms, Robards invites you into loving family scenario’s to a place to feel safe, when all around you the villains are spreading horror and hatred.   As the intro to her new series SACRAMENTO – I personally cannot wait for her to hurry up with the next books in this run.   Love and highly recommend!

Marilyn Rondeau