Saturday, 19 August 2017

Review: The Hunting Grounds by Katee Robert

The Hunting Grounds (Hidden Sins #2) by Katee Robert
Publisher: Montlake Romance
Publication date: July 25th 2017
My rating: 3.5 Stars
Amazon | Barnes & Noble
For two FBI agents with a past, love becomes a matter of life and death in the new Hidden Sins novel from New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Katee Robert.

Maggie Gaines used to be an FBI agent—top of her class and one of the bright, up-and-coming stars—until she spectacularly fell apart during her first high-profile case. That was eight years ago. Now she’s a ranger at Glacier National Park, and she’s found some measure of peace. But when the body of a murdered woman is discovered, she must finally put the past behind her and work with the one man she thought she’d never see again.

For months, Vic Sutherland has been hunting a killer who’s been targeting unsuspecting hikers in national parks—and now the predator has come to Glacier. Vic knows the case will bring him face-to-face with his former partner, yet nothing can prepare him for seeing Maggie again after all these years, or for the memories of passion it stirs in both of them.

As the investigation brings them closer together—and closer to the killer—Maggie and Vic fear they have only each other to trust. But even that might not be enough to make it out of Glacier alive.

My Thoughts:
I’ve enjoyed hiking, backpacking, and camping over the years, but I must confess on some of those trips I’ve gotten more than a little spooked at night imaging how easy it would be for a madman/killer to sneak up and take us out.  Eeeek!  The Hunting Grounds seemed to be just the kind of story I’ve envisioned happening at one time or another, so I knew I had to pick it up.  Crazy, right? Well, I’m the kind of girl who loves to tell scary stories by the campfire and freak everyone the heck out. I usually manage to scare myself senseless in the process, so the trip back to my tent to sleep is super fun.  So there you have it, I’m a little deranged!

Maggie used to be an FBI agent until a particularly gruesome case caused her to quit eight years ago.  These days she’s a park ranger at Glacier National Park where the most dangerous situation she faces involves bears or unprepared hikers. That all changes when she discovers a body of a woman, and must call in the FBI.  Work with her old partner, Vic, all the old feelings of attraction between them are brought up to the surface again as the work the case. It’s a race against time to find this killer before someone else is murdered.

It seems I read a lot of second chance romances.  I guess I just love the thought a couple getting another shot together after screwing up the first time. This wasn’t exactly a second chance romance, more unrequited lust/love situation.  Circumstances at the time prevented it from being anything else, but nothing holds Vic and Maggie back now.  It was a pleasure watching these two take a chance while trying to stay alive.  Life and death situations make it easy to sort out what’s important in life, so there’s no angsty back and forth.

There is a secondary story centering on a group of backpackers. Old high school friends who reunite to hike one of their favorite trails in Glacier.  But this isn’t one big happy reunion.  There’s trouble brewing between them; flash backs to the past gradually reveal what led to their current situation.  It quickly becomes apparent that their group is in danger.

I had fun with The Hunting Grounds even though I suspected the killer’s identity early on, I still didn’t know for sure, and had doubts on my theory up until the end.  It was an all-around solid romantic suspense/mystery that kept me on the edge of my seat wondering if our characters were all going to make it!   


 Connect with Katee Robert:

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Review: Seeing Red by Sandra Brown

Seeing Red by Sandra Brown
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Publication date: August 15th 2017
My rating: 5 Stars
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | TBD | Kobo | iBooks

He had nothing left to lose...except his life.

Kerra Bailey is a television journalist hot on the trail of a story guaranteed to skyrocket her career to even greater heights: an interview with the legendary Major Trapper. Twenty-five years ago, the Major was photographed leading a handful of survivors out of the collapsing Pegasus hotel shortly after it was bombed. The iconic picture transformed him into a beloved national icon—until he suddenly dropped out of the public eye, shunning all members of the media. And now Kerra is willing to use any means necessary to get to the Major—even if she has to wrangle an introduction from his estranged son, former ATF agent John Trapper.
Still seething over his break with both the ATF and his father, John Trapper wants no association with the hotel bombing or his hero father. Yet Kerra’s sheer audacity and tantalizing hints that there’s more to the story rouses Trapper’s interest. And when the interview of a lifetime goes catastrophically awry, Kerra and Trapper join forces and risk their very lives to expose the truth.

My Thoughts:
Sandra Brown is one of my all-time favorite mystery/romantic suspense writers so I was thrilled to get my hands on a copy of Seeing Red!  She starts off with a bang with the first page, as usual, and I was hooked from beginning to finish!

Kerra Bailey contacts John Trapper when all her efforts to get in touch with his father fail.  His father, The Major, is a hero, launched into the public eye back in 1992 when he led survivors out of The Pegasus Hotel bombing, an event that claimed 197 lives.  For John Trapper this event signaled the end of his quiet, happy life when his father enthusiastically latched onto the celebrity his actions incurred.

As an adult, Trapper took up an investigation of the bombing when his examination of the facts led to serious doubts that the case was solved.  This obsession eventually cost him his job at the ATF, so when Kerra shows up at his door asking for assistance he has no desire to help her. 

Kerra has her own reasons for wanting an interview with The Major, more personal than professional.  She’s determined to get the interview with or without Trapper assistance, but she can’t deny the pull she has to Trapper.  In the middle of the storm that follows Kerra’s meeting with The Major, Trapper and Kerra try and manage the sexual tension between them, all the while trying to get to the bottom of things, staying alive in the process. 

Sandra Brown is famous for here addictive writing.  Her cliffhanger type chapters are a sure hook for someone like me. I just wanted to keep reading and find out how it all ended!  Of course, she throws in twists, and turns.  I suspected a few and was surprised by several. I love it when an author can keep me guessing!

The romance between Kerra and John was half of the attraction; deliciously antagonistic, and utterly sexy!  I love Sandra Brown’s heroes! Trapper has a flash temper, a rude mouth, rugged and rough around the edges.  Just the kind of antihero this reader loves!  Kerra was principled, smart and determined; the perfect partner for Trapper to get to the bottom of these sinister plots.

Seeing Red is Sandra Brown at her finest and I can hardly wait until she writes her next book!

Connect with Sandra Brown:

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads 

Sunday, 13 August 2017

The Readers Den Weekly Wrap Up #7

Hello everyone, it's been a while since Jasprit and I have done one of these, and we've both been absent from the blogosphere for a couple of weeks now.  I've been on vacation but I'm ready to catch up with everyone now! Jasprit has family visiting and is super busy, so it's just me this week.


(Click on title for Goodreads link)

I listened to When Dimple Met Rishi, and the audio was wonderful.  The story was super cute and both Dimple and Rishi were adorable. I have to say I liked Rishi just a little more, though.  The Hunting Grounds was a fun romantic suspense, a departure from what I've read by Katee Roberts in the past. I'll be posting a review this week.  Devil's Cut (my review) was the perfect ending to J.R. Ward's Bourbon Kings series. Different from what she usually writes and very addictive. The whole series is out now, so it'd be a great time to binge read.


(Click on title for Goodreads link)

I requested The Good Daughter a long time ago, but just got my approval the day of its release. Kind of strange, but I love Karin Slaughter so I'm super excited.  Mary Balogh writes quality historical romances with complex characters so I snatched up Someone to Wed. I love the Iron Druid Chronicles by Kevin Hearne so even though A Plague of Giants seems a little more high fantasy than I typically read I have high hopes for it.  Katie Ruggle has become a fast favorite for me with her romantic suspense novels so I'm looking forward to On the Chase.


(Click on Book for Goodreads link)

After reading Greg's wonderful review of One of Us is Lying I finally requested it (audiobook form) from my library and added it to my TBR. He compared the story to "The Breakfast Club with a murder". How can I possibly resist?  Laura Griffin writes great romantic suspense so I added her newest: Touch of Red.  Part Time Cowboy was recommended to me by a friend on Goodreads. I just got an audio copy from my library so we'll see how it goes.


I've been binge watching Longmire and just got started on Justified. Both are fun, and Longmire has Katee Sackoff from Battlestar Galactica! Loved her in BG in spite of the terrible way the series ended! Ugh.


 As I mentioned I've been on vacation up the coast in Monterey, California.  The weather was mostly overcast in the morning but cleared up by the afternoon. Gotta say I didn't mind it one bit though after leaving the 100+ temperatures in my neck of the woods! The cooler temps were very welcome.  Monterey is gorgeous! We went to Monterey Bay Aquarium, Point Lobos State Reserve, Point Pinos Lighthouse, and I did a 5 1/2 mile walk along the shoreline which was so beautiful! And I ate waaayyy too much!

China Beach, Point Lobos Reserve 
Walk along Pacific Grove, CA
Monterey Bay Aquarium

Must crack down on the calorie intake now that I'm home which is why I'm making this low cal/low carb dish for dinner: Turkey Zucchini Boats. I use Rao's Marinara for the sauce. It's more expensive (about $9.99 a jar) than most jar sauces you find at the grocery store, but it's the best, IMO. Plus, the carb count turns out lower when you use it as opposed to other jar sauces.

How was your week?

Friday, 4 August 2017

Blog Tour: Kissing Max Holden by Katy Upperman

Hi everyone, today I get to share my review of Kissing Max Holden by Katy Upperman as part of Xpresso Book Tours, before that though here's a bit about the book. 

Kissing Max Holden by Katy Upperman
Publisher: Swoon Reads 
Publication Date: August 1st 2017
My rating: 4 stars. 
Kissing Max Holden was a terrible idea... After his father has a life-altering stroke, Max Holden isn't himself. As his long-time friend, Jillian Eldridge only wants to help him, but she doesn't know how. When Max climbs through her window one night, Jill knows that she shouldn't let him kiss her. But she can't resist, and when they're caught in the act by her dad, Jill swears it'll never happen again. Because kissing Max Holden is a terrible idea. With a new baby sibling on the way, her parents fighting all the time, and her dream of culinary school up in the air, Jill starts spending more and more time with Max. And even though her father disapproves and Max still has a girlfriend, not kissing Max is easier said than done. Will Jill follow her heart and allow their friendship to blossom into something more, or will she listen to her head and stop kissing Max Holden once and for all?

Kissing Max Holden really took me by surprise, I went into the book expecting a light, cute, fluffy read, but I appreciated the depth and serious issues that Upperman dealt with. Jill and Max have been friends forever, although they’ve sort of drifted apart at school, they’d never imagined something more than their friendship until one night, they end up kissing. It comes completely out of the blue, as Max has a girlfriend and with everything being chaotic for Max at home, maybe it was just the comfort that he needed? But really what I loved most after was the turmoil of emotions that it left our characters in afterwards. Jill is constantly denying it that it’s just a onetime thing, but she really can’t get it out of her head or go back to the way things were between her and Max. It was obvious to me, that there was the potential for great things between Max and Jill if they ever decided to go down that route, but with so many obstacles in the way, was that even possible? 

Both Max and Jill had a rough time over the course of this book, Max’s dad had a stroke, he was the light of the family, but now that he was restricted to a wheelchair, things weren’t the same as they used to be. On top of that there’s the conflicted feelings between him and Jill, Max also has a girlfriend, so shouldn’t it be best that they stay away from each other. I know Max wasn’t in the best of situations, with him kissing Jill whilst having a girlfriend, I don’t condone cheating at all, but with the way things were going with Max and his girlfriend I just wanted him to finally sort things out and be with who he wanted to really be with instead of going behind other people’s back and hurting a lot of people in the process. There was Max’s girlfriend, Max’s sister (who was his girlfriend's best friend) and even Jill’s dad to consider who didn’t want Jill to be anywhere near Max, which I could understand especially with the reputation he had. But with all the stuff going on, I was glad that Max and Jill were able to find solace with each other. If you thought Max’s situation was bad, I really felt for Jill as the story progressed, it completely changed my assumptions about how I felt regarding certain characters. 

Kissing Max Holden really had a lot going for it, it had the boy next door forbidden romance vibe going on, one which I was fully rooting for, but the depth and number of issues that was tackled by Upperman was really done well too. I loved watching Jill and Max grow into wonderful characters over the course of the story and also the meaningful relationships that they developed along the way with people I didn’t expect. Also I was completely won over by Max by the end, he’d gone from this uptight guy who was hell bent on destroying his life, to someone who was sweet and wanted the very best for those he loved, I for one wouldn’t mind Max popping in through my bedroom window! ;) I’ve only read a handful of debuts this year, but Kissing Max Holden will definitely be one of the most memorable!

Katy Upperman is a graduate of Washington State University, a former elementary school teacher, and an insatiable reader. When not writing for young adults, Katy can be found whipping up batches of chocolate chip cookies, or exploring the country with her husband and daughter. Kissing Max Holden is her debut novel.

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