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

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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

Lake of the Dead by Susan Clayton-Goldner

Published January 16th 2019 by Tirgearr Publishing

ASIN:   B07L5Z6BMB         Series:   A Winston Radhauser Mystery #5

Rating: 5*

Every so often, if you’re lucky, you may discover an author that writes with such brilliance and emotion you may feel like you’ve won the lottery – the really big one! Well, let me say this, since my very first introduction to Ms. Susan Clayton-Gardner reading her award winning novel A BEND IN THE WILLOW I am one of her most devoted fans! In this LAKE OF THE DEAD novel – she continues to surpass all the kudos she has received from me.   

In this latest novel featuring detective Winston Radhauser he is brought into the case by a former victim who was featured in an earlier book.  Rishima was a young  woman who was worried that something bad had happened to her boyfriend who didn’t show up for his creative writing class when he had promised to be there.  Parker didn’t break promises.   Rishia had come to the one person she felt would the her seriously, Radhauser.  

Unfortunately, as Radhauser began the search he discovered that Parker, a promising new author whose work was nothing short of brilliant appeared to have drowned.   But as Radhauser continued to put things together the ‘accident’ didn’t make sense and with the help of a nearby neighbor, a colorful character named Homer “Sully” Sullivan, Parker’s drowning felt more like murder.  

Believe me there were many red herrings tossed out here and there as to motive, and numerous suspects, but the reason and the villain won’t be revealed until the very end!  Very highly recommended read by this rising star author!

Marilyn Rondeau

Review: The Lies we Told by Camilla Way

Lies we Told

Published October 9th 2018 by Berkley

Rating: 5*

Looking for a dark psychological read with twisted characters, then you should definitely pick this one up!   It was a bit difficult to wrap my head around the swapping around of families who seemed to have nothing to do with one another but wow, the connection was pretty amazing.

Clara has been in 7th heaven that she had seemed to catch the best looking guy at work – and they were even living together!  But then Luke, didn’t come home one night and seemed to disappear, most folks assumed he dumped her.   But Clara knew more than anyone else – Luke had a stalker! 

There were complications in Luke’s family – Luke’s older sister, Emily who had vanished twenty years earlier, suddenly contacts Clara but doesn’t want Clara to tell anyone of her existence, or she’ll disappear again.     Emily wants to help Clara find Luke, but won’t tell Clara why she disappeared 20 years earlier, leaving Clara to wonder what Emily’s end game seems to be.   

There are a lot of questions you’ll be thinking of when you read this.  The biggest one is what really happened 20 years ago and why is no one discussing what happened, including Luke’s brother Tom who seems very angry with everyone.

Marilyn Rondeau 

Review: Cut and Run by Mary Burton

Cut and Run

Kindle Edition, 1st edition, 321 pages    Published October 9th 2018 

Montlake Romance                Rating:  5*

Never fear if you are looking for a great “who done it” with unspeakable and brutal crimes by psychopaths – Mary Burton is sure to fulfill all those needs.  Not only that but you’ll have terrific characters who are fleshed out admirably and in some instances with their motivation built right into the dynamics of the story.  However, you probably will not figure out the bad guy until very close to the end.  

What sets this one apart is the mystery of the twin sisters who were separated at birth.  As a medical examiner Faith is  reunited only to realize that her identical twin sister might never live to know who she is.  Faith McIntyre knew she had been adopted but her sister, FBI Agent Macy Crow, the victim of a hit and run, might not live to be introduced.  Macy had stumbled into a discovery that put her into the cross hairs of someone who wasn’t ready for the world to know of their crimes.

Fabulous twist ending! 

Marilyn Rondeau