Monday, September 27, 2021

Monday Book Review: Cold as Ice, by Toni Anderson


About the Book:

When Darby O'Roarke wakes up in a strange house with a dead man - with no memory of what happened - she knows who she has to call: FBI Supervisory Special Agent Eban Winters...the man she fell for, and who rejected her, last summer.

A negotiator isn't supposed to get involved with kidnap victims, and Eban has been trying to avoid the temptation that is Darby O'Roarke ever since they met. One frantic phone call has him racing to Alaska to uncover the truth, but he faces stubborn opposition from the local police, and a growing media frenzy.

Getting Darby released from jail and keeping her safe is his first priority. When another woman is brutally slain, evidence emerges that suggests Darby is being framed, and that the culprit is a vicious serial killer who has eluded the FBI for more than a decade...and, now, the killer has Darby in their sights.



This is the fifth book in the Cold Justice - The Negotiators series, and another winner from author Toni Anderson. I've read and loved every one of her Cold Justice books from both this series and the prior series, and have to say they keep getting better, the action tighter, the plots twistier. Anderson is a master of romantic suspense.

Readers met Darby O'Rourke previously in another book from the series, Colder than Sin, where she was kidnapped and held hostage by a terrorist group on a tropical island. It was then she first met Eban Winters, the FBI hostage rescue team negotiator who comes to her rescue again in this book. 

This time, Darby's been framed for murder in her small University town in Alaska. The police think it's a slam dunk case, until Darby reaches out to her FBI friends for help. Eban hasn't been able to stop thinking about Darby since they first met, even though he knows he shouldn't get involved with a victim he's helped to rescue. Especially not one who went through the physical, mental and sexual traumas that she did. But he can't ignore her cry for help and rushes to Alaska to help the local cops find the real killer.

The story alternates POVs between Darby and Eban, with first person chapters from the killer scattered throughout. It's those chapters as much as the police investigation that give the reader clues as to the killer's identity - and yet I was still surprised at the end. Great attention to detail, with tons of red herrings thrown in, make this a really absorbing mystery to solve. Totally recommend this new release - and if you haven't read the previous books in this series or the original Cold Justice series, you are in for a huge treat! 

Cold as Ice is now available on AMAZON

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Monday Book Review: My Only One, by Charlotte O'Shay


About the Book:

My Only One, Book One of the Fortunato Family series, is a friends to lovers, romantic suspense that’s chock full of feels.

We grew up in side-by-side New York City tenements. Shane was my first friend, my first crush, and when he enlisted, my unforgettable heartbreak. When fate brings us back together after ten years, I’m in a world of danger. But I’m not a kid anymore and I know what I want. Shane and I have a second chance at forever and there’s no way I’ll lose him again.

Brilliant, beautiful, bound for success, Esme was the girl next door and a temptation I had to resist. I was too old for her, but I couldn’t forget her. When we meet again after ten long years, she’s caught in the crosshairs of a deadly drug kingpin. But I wear a badge now. Nothing will stop me from protecting the woman who claimed me—heart and soul—so long ago. I’ll keep Esme safe or die trying.

Time’s running out for Esme to pay her father’s debt to the cartel.
Charlotte O'Shay is a master storyteller, grabbing the reader on page one - hook, line and sinker. I've read her previous books and really enjoyed them all... but with MY ONLY ONE, O'Shay hits her stride as an author. I expect great things from this series, especially if this first book is any indication.
This story starts in fifth gear with the heroine running for her life, and the pace never slows, dragging you headlong through emotional highs and lows and everything in between. From the moment Esme and Shane reconnect, sparks are flying. Told in first person with alternating viewpoints, the reader gets all the feels right along with the main characters. The romance progresses quickly, but then again, this couple has been waiting ten years to act on all the suppressed feelings they had for each other as teens. Having Esme's life literally on the line means everything is in stark focus for them both, and they need to make every moment count.
I loved the secondary characters as well, from Shane Fortunato's large, warm family to the drug lord who oozes evil with every word and action. I also loved Esme's grit and spirit, and the fact that she never gives up. She's no fainting princess waiting to be rescued, she's determined to rescue herself, even if she has to run barefoot through the streets of Manhattan. Gotta love a heroine with spunk, which she keeps up throughout the story (and no, no spoilers here.)
Totally recommend adding this fast-paced page turner to your fall reading list. 5 bright stars for this story, and hope the author hurries up with the next installment of the Fortunato series.

Grab your copy on AMAZON and get reading!


Tuesday, September 7, 2021

Monday Book Review: Balance, by Peggy Jaeger


About the Book:

She’s a wealthy socialite who survived an abusive marriage.
He’s a hardworking guy raising his son and caring for his widowed father.
They come from different worlds, but it’s said…opposites attract.
Can they find the balance between their two lifestyles to make their love work?
Or will their differences tear them apart?

Life and love are a balancing act



Peggy Jaeger's emotional and descriptive writing make her an auto-buy author for me, and with Balance she has another winner. This story of opposites attracting is not a fast, breezy read as some of the subject matter is heavier than your average romance - our heroine Phillipa recently got out of a 15-year abusive marriage, and now volunteers at a battered women's shelter. Phil was also the rich, spoiled, and highly unlikeable secondary character in a previous book (Woke, a reimagined tale of Sleeping Beauty), so I wasn't sure I wanted to even like her, despite her tragic story.

And yet... Jaeger has a way of peeling back the layers to reveal the goodness in her characters. When Phil meets Decker on call in the ER, he seems just as prickly, pompous, and unlikeable as she is, despite his handsome good looks and surprisingly caring bedside manner. Yet... as more of his character is revealed, we find he's a hardworking single father, struggling to care for his son and aging father while making ends meet.Each has opposite problems to overcome, and yet the whole opposites attract thing seems to flow so naturally and un-forced. The problems the pair face also flow naturally from circumstances.

The story is told all in Phillipa's first person POV, and although I would have loved to know what exactly was running through Decker's mind, the one POV helped to keep the tension running throughout the story. Peggy Jaeger is a master of description and emotion, tugging you by the heartstrings through the story until you reach the satisfying happily ever after.

5 stars for this emotional roller coaster of a romance. Highly recommend.

Grab a copy on AMAZON