Book Review: Between the Sheets by Genie Davis & Linda Marr

Between the SheetsThe Summary: Jenna Brooks writes grants for her parents’ research by day and erotic romances under the name Jade Johnson. Her life is nothing like the hot stories she writes–until someone tries to run her over. Luckily she’s saved by Riley Stone. Riley is working as a consultant with the FBI investigating Jenna’s new neighbor. He gets himself invited back to her apartment to plant a wire so he can hear what the neighbor’s corrupt associates are planning. This was supposed to be the end of his association with Jenna, but when the wire reveals his target, Evan, has an inordinate interest in Jenna, Riley must continue seeing the sexy writer, keeping her safe while he figures out what she has to do with Evan and his boss’ plans. The more time they spend together, the more attached they become to one another. But once Riley’s real reasons for getting close to her are revealed, can Jenna trust that their relationship means more to Riley than just a cover and a means to solve a case?

The short review: Hold on to your seats and your underwear! Genie Davis & Linda Marr has created a funny, sexy caper that will keep you turning the pages to see what happens next!

The long version: A romantic suspense that can balance the romance and suspense in a way that keeps you turning the pages to see more of both isn’t as easy to come across as you would imagine. Some have too much downtime from the action and some don’t leave enough time for the romance to develop. This is not an easy style to write. Between the Sheets by Genie Davis & Linda Marr does a good job of balancing the action and the romance. Both the danger and the desire gets your blood racing in this suspenseful offering.

Jenna is the perfect type of heroine for this story and for Riley. She’s a smart woman with good instincts who makes smart decisions–most of the time. She knows when something isn’t quite what it seems to be, even if she can’t exactly put her finger on it. She doesn’t always listen to her gut, but her gut is usually right.

Riley tries to maintain some distance from Jenna and complete his job, but he’s completely captivated by both the warm woman he’s “dating” and her secret identity as an erotic writer. He’s so enamored with Jade Johnson’s books that he accidently quotes them to Jenna while on dates with her. He’s trying not to let his growing feelings for Jenna ruin his focus on the case.

While the suspense element of the story is strong and compelling, it’s really the characters of Jenna and Riley that drive the heart of Between the Sheets. I would recommend Between the Sheets to anyone looking for romantic suspense with a high octane romance and pulse pounding suspense with a practical heroine and an alpha hero with a sensitive streak (or maybe just a sensual/romantic one?).

Between the Sheets: * * * */5 stars

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Book Review: High Heeled Wonder by Avery Flynn

High Heeled WonderA disclaimer: I know next to nothing about fashion that couldn’t be found in The Devil Wears Prada (and, despite reading and loving the book, a LOT that’s in the book) or overhead on the Fashion Police show with Joan Rivers and the gang. I’m happy to report as one non-fashionista to any others that may be reading this, any knowledge or hardcore interest in fashion is not a requirement for this TV crime dramedy style whodunit by Avery Flynn. In High Heeled Wonder, Ms. Flynn does all the heavy world building behind the text, placing the reader in a fully formed world where fashion is king and backstabbing his queen.

Summary: Sylvie Bissette is the adopted daughter of two of the hottest designers in Harbor City, the owners of BC. Beyond her elevated position as the offspring of fashion royalty, Sylvie is also the anonymous blogger behind High Heeled Wonder, a fashion blog that lampoons some of the people her family associates with on a regular basis while touting the virtues of fashion for everyone. She’s used to getting nasty emails from angry readers over some of the articles she posts, but when the threats escalate, her fathers decide to call on Tony Falcon and Maltese Security for help.

At first, Sylvie is reluctant to accept Tony’s help. But after narrowly escaping being mowed down in broad daylight and realizing that the police aren’t going to take the threat to her life seriously, she agrees to hire Maltese Security on one condition: Tony must go undercover as her boyfriend so no one gets suspicious. Tony isn’t exactly thrilled with this arrangement; he’s already having trouble keeping his hands off the tempting Sylvie and doesn’t know if being in such close proximity under the guise of a relationship is the best idea. But for reasons of  his own, he’s determined to figure out who is behind the threat to Sylvie’s life. The question isn’t just whodunit, but whether the attraction between the stoic bodyguard and the curvy fashionista will be able to survive beyond the threat.

You guys! I LOVED High Heeled Wonder. Avery Flynn is adept at drawing the reader into the dog eat dog world of fashion she’s created in all of its self-serving glory. There are so many people who stand to gain from outing Sylvie as the creator of High Heeled Wonder and who would benefit from the site being taken down that it’s easy to lose sight of who it really is behind the threats. All of the characters that populate this book are fully formed, if not three dimensional. As in real life, some people don’t have redeeming qualities that we would get to see as people who don’t live in their heads, but even these characters are more than puppets to drive the plot along.

In the characters of Sylvie and Tony, Ms. Flynn has created a perfect storm of opposites attracting. Sylvie’s character is no shrinking violet. She knows how to infiltrate the fashion world and sniff out information on her stalker without giving anything away. Tony is an OCD-level planner with a singular focus on finding a killer, and isn’t afraid to use borderline illegal methods to get the job done. I loved their interactions together, and the attraction between them has the same magnetic affect on the reader.

I loved the twists and curves that Ms. Flynn through into the book. Every time you thought you knew something, some further complication was thrown into the mix. No one gets away scot free in this one; all of the characters that could have done it have some secrets and predilections that ensure you can’t love them, even if you can understand them.

The genre of romantic suspense walks a fine line. It’s hard to balance the characters and their romance with the need to keep pushing the plot forward. Usually, one or the other element falls short of the reader’s expectations. I think that High Heeled Wonder does a great job of balancing the two. I would recommend High Heeled Wonder to anyone looking for a fast paced read that will keep you guessing with a heroine you can’t help but root for and a hero torn between loyalty to a fallen friend and his feelings for an off-limits client. Also, a hero whose toes itch as an indication of danger (which was probably the funniest thing in the book to me).

* * * */ * * * * * (4 out of 5 stars for compelling characters, plot twists and combustible attraction)

XOXO,

Erica

Romance Review: Molly Gets Her Man by Julie Rowe

Molly Gets Her ManPublishing today from Entangled Ignite, Molly Gets Her Man by Julie Rowe was not what I was expecting from the Goodreads description. I’m going to be honest with you all (because that’s what they provide me the free books for), this book isn’t one where you get your brain all involved with the ins and outs of politics and probability. This is a book that carries you along on a rollercoaster ride of drama, emotion, a bit of hilarity and a potent sexual chemistry that singes the pages. But that’s getting ahead of myself.

Summary: Molly McLaren is a Vegas Hairdresser looking to turn her luck around. In fact, she’s interviewing for a position in her real line of work in less than a week. Then she overhears a plot to kill a US Congressman and contacts the police. Only she suspects someone in the police department is dirty, because the Russian mobster she overheard is after her. She calls her brother for help, and he sends his old army buddy, Grey Wilson.

Grey is a cop on administrative leave while he recuperates from an injury–and the task force he once worked on investigates his possible involvement in an operation that went bad. Suffering from an injured leg, more than a slight amount of PTSD and a need to clear his name, the last thing he wants to do is help his old army buddy’s sister. Once he meets the typical Vegas Molly–with her big bleach blonde hair and bigger boobs–she reminds him of the woman that caused most of his recent troubles. He is more than anxious to drop her off and resume his unauthorized investigation.

But when it becomes apparent that Molly has stumbled into something big–something possibly connected to the case that got him dismissed–Grey is forced to keep her at his side and under his protection. As they close in on a dangerous mobster who seems to elude police at every turn, they get closer to being consumed by the burning attraction that smolders between them. Can Molly save the day and get her man?

Using my four criteria for rating romance novels, here’s how Molly Gets Her Man scores:

  • Main characters I care about. I really liked Molly and Grey. Molly wasn’t the ditz she appeared to be at first glance, and her ability to wield words as a weapon was admirable. She was spunky and feisty and determined, all of those buzz words for the heroines of today. Grey was just the right amount of large, gorgeous and damaged male with a past to do any romance proud, and his consideration of Molly was a nice foil to his rather ruthless side. That being said, I didn’t LOVE them. I don’t need to be able to visit them in the background of another book. They didn’t linger with me for days as some do. They were equally matched and worth a read, but not in the canon of romantic couples for me.
  • A believable impediment to them being together. Given the slightly dramatic nature of the story, the impediments to Molly and Grey’s relationship are surprisingly believable. Past experiences with lovers that didn’t end so well and living in different states are very believable impediments to their being together. Not to mention that Molly is Grey’s best friend’s baby sister.
  • Unique ways of throwing the main characters together. This book certainly had a unique premise for getting these characters in the same place, and for keeping them there. When Grey would have dropped Molly off and moved on…well, suffice it to say, things didn’t go according to plan. At. All.
  • A sweet reveal of their true feelings for one another. I knew a few pages in that Grey Wilson wasn’t going to be the guy that delved deep and came up with a verbal bouquet of flowery prose; that just isn’t his style. And Molly would overthink the whole thing and talk herself out of any relationship that they could have. While I didn’t get sweet, I got true to the couple, and I can be satisfied with that.
  • Make me feel as if I haven’t missed out on the best part of the journey. I can say I was pretty satisfied with where they chose to end the story. Most of the loose ends were tied up and I felt confident that Molly and Grey wouldn’t make a big mess of their relationship. That’s really all I ask for.

I would recommend Molly Gets Her Man to anyone who is looking for a well-written romantic suspense that offers an escape from reality, a large helping of sexual tension and chemistry, and two damaged people who manage to find love and untangle a large criminal network’s plot to kill a congressman at the same time. The heat level on this one is high, so be prepared sexy smexy times that happen on the page with this one.

XOXO,

Erica

Ignite is Entangled Press’ romantic suspense/mystery/thriller imprint. I received a galley copy of Molly Gets Her Man, but I was not compensated for this review.