Book Review: His Deception by Patricia Rosemoor

Maybe it’s because I watched The Bodyguard at an impressionable age, but I love this trope. I just don’t get enough of these types of stories, so I was excited to read this one. I especially liked the twist of her not knowing he’s guarding her body.

His Deception

I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

One-Sentence Synopsis
A man is hired to bodyguard a millionaire’s daughter without her knowing about it, which makes things even more complicated when he falls for her. For a full synopsis, see this book’s Goodreads page.

I Guess He Meant Well
Katelyn grew up in a weird situation, her mother having left her father when she was young, but her father doing what he could to make her a part of his other family, despite the poor treatment she received from his wife and her half siblings. As an adult, she still loves her father, but she wants to make it on her own and has made it a point to distance herself from his name. By opening a cafe in a small town in Wisconsin, she thinks she’s found her dream.

When a school shooting happens and her father receives threatening emails as the manufacturer of the assault weapon used, he begs Katelyn to get a bodyguard. She doesn’t think she’s in danger, believing that only a few people know she’s his daughter, so she refuses. But her father is a control freak, so he hires one anyway. Enter Thorne Hudson.


More Than a Job
Thorne pretends to be just another traveler passing through the area and Katelyn feels drawn to him instantly. He’s attractive and mysterious and he offers to bartend for her when her normal guy disappears. Thorne starts to have feelings for Katelyn, and his feelings war with his duty and his sense of guilt. But he also realizes she needs to protecting, and eventually it becomes less about doing the job her father hired him for and more about him knowing he would die for her if need be.

A Little Too Stubborn
Katelyn knows something’s up, but though she doesn’t trust her father, she never believes that Thorne is anything other than who he seems to be. Which makes it that more exciting when she does find out. At one point though, she starts to understand that she probably is in danger, yet it takes her awhile to come around and actually be thankful for Thorne’s protection.


Love and Mystery
I liked the mystery and the danger of this story and thought it blended well with the romance. I don’t want to spoil anything, but I dig a story where the culprit could be any of a group of suspects. There’s also some other issues going on, like Katelyn’s trust issues and the return of her ex after several months. Thorne also has issues that stem from his childhood.

The Romance Factor
If The Bodyguard made me enjoy this type of love story, I think it was probably Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves that made me love the hero who would die for the woman he loves. When Katelyn gets emo over the fact that she didn’t know he was guarding her, he still holds on to hope that she’ll come around and his feelings only get stronger. 4/5

The Steam Factor
To be completely honest, I though things were going to be a lot hotter than they were. The sexy times started out really promising, but they usually didn’t last long. It felt like there was a lack of foreplay before Thorne slid into home base (if you know what I’m saying). I’m thinking it was less of a series of quickies and more of a lack of detail, which is cool. I mean, they both seemed to enjoy it, even if we didn’t see everything. 3/5

Final Thoughts
Despite the lack of foreplay, I really liked this book. I thought the emotion between Thorne and Katelyn was solid and I liked the tension of waiting to see who was targeting Katelyn. This seems to be a standalone novel, which makes me a little sad because I liked the setting and thought some of the other characters were interesting. I would definitely read more by this author.

Book Review: Resist by Missy Johnson

Confession: sometimes I request a book because NetGalley says I’ll like it. Usually I do, but sometimes I get one that doesn’t quite hit the spot.


I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

One-Sentence Synopsis
An aspiring journalist takes a job as a paid sexual companion to a mysterious man believed to have murdered his girlfriend. For a full synopsis, see this book’s Goodreads page.

An Estimated 45 Shades of Grey
Charlotte answers the ad of a well known billionaire who’s looking for another woman to add to his collection. Basically, he’ll pay her a lot of money to service him when and how he wants. When I say to his collection, I mean he really has a collection of women who he pays for the same reasons, and he “keeps” them because they each satisfy some part of his sexual needs. Sounds a little creepy, right? But apparently it’s on the up and up because everyone seems to know it’s a thing.

Everyone Has an Agenda
Charlotte doesn’t want the job because she’s looking to service a rich man. She’s hoping she can get close enough to Jaxon to get an exclusive story about him. His family was murdered when he was young and his last public girlfriend disappeared (I’m not entirely sure if the collection of women happened before or after the ex was gone). Charlotte plans on using Jaxon to further her career, and that’s all well and good…until she starts feeling guilty about it.

Leslie Knope - Winning


Jaxon, on the other hand, doesn’t seem to have any guilt at first about using Charlotte to get revenge on the man he blames for the death of his family, a man who also happens to be his business partner. In fact, Jaxon doesn’t seem to have guilt about anything, even using Charlotte to ruin the young daughter of said business partner just to show him what he’s capable of. He reminded me a lot of Christian Grey, but possibly more socially sadistic.

Promises, Promises
This was a short read, and I think I might have enjoyed it more had it been a full length, fleshed out novel. The buildup and development weren’t there for me. If anything, the book teased me, giving me glimpses of things I wanted to read and yet never fully letting me see everything.

The Romance Factor
I had a really hard time buying into the romance of this story, and I believe it’s because we don’t read everything that happens in the time span that Charlotte’s with Jaxon. There’s a point where she tells her friend that she’s seeing a different side of him, and then later she talks about how she’s falling in love with him, but I didn’t get any of that. I didn’t feel any of the romance or feelings between the two, and it never really went much further than a weird sexual/business relationship until the end, when suddenly Charlotte was the only one Jaxon wanted. 2/5


The Steam Factor
I’ll give credit to the fact that most of the sex scenes were pretty hot and powerful. There just wasn’t enough of them. Normally I wouldn’t care, but this story seemed edgy at the beginning. A man who pays several different women to handle this several different sexual desires? Awesome…but we never find out what those sexual desires are. It’s hinted that he’s a deviant of sorts, but darn it…I wanted to know what kind of deviance he was into.  3/5

Final Thoughts
I really hate it when I don’t enjoy a book as much as I wanted, especially when the potential for something new and exciting was within reach. The writing was good and the danger factor was there. There was also a twist that added to the flavor. Though not for me, I think this book is perfect for readers who like an erotic and dangerous edge to their romance without having it go into all out sexual craziness.

Book Review: After the Hurt by Shana Gray

Sometimes I read in shades or colors. That might sound weird, but it’s like reading a book that you think feels dark or one that feels sunny and bright. This one had a really weird shade. It felt dark, but very little of the content was actually dark. There was definitely a lot of emotion in it, both in the story and in my reactions to it. Overall, it felt a bit edgy.


I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

One-Sentence Synopsis
A bar owner resists being seduced by his business partner and ex-girlfriend who left several months previously. For a full synopsis, see this book’s Goodreads page.

That Kind of Girl
Part of the reason I was unsure about this book from the start was that I hated Pepper in the first few chapters. She comes back after having left her home and her boyfriend to spend six months in Bali and seems to think she can pick up where she left off. She felt selfish and manipulative, and I really hated her. Later, I felt conflicted when I found out her reason for leaving (full disclosure: there were tears), but she still didn’t strike me as someone I wanted to read about.


Unforgiving Hero
Tank, on the other hand, kept me interested in the story. He’s hurt and angry at Pepper for leaving, rightly so, and so he keeps his distance despite the attraction he still has for her. Because I didn’t like Pepper, I was glad he made her sweat things for awhile.

Luckily, by the time Tank came around, so did I. Though I can’t put her as one of my top favorite characters of all time, Pepper grew on me as the story developed. I even empathized when she was hurt by something Tank said or did.

Something’s Gonna Happen
Right from the beginning, we’re introduced to one of the crazier (not a good crazy either) characters I’ve ever read. Olivia is a girl Tank dated a few times who is very obviously a few fries short of a Happy Meal and doesn’t seem to get that she’s not Tank’s girlfriend despite him telling her to her face and in no uncertain terms that they’re not together.  I loved that introducing her gave the story a feel of suspense. Between crazy Olivia and Pepper’s intuition that someone starts watching her, I was always waiting for something to happen.


Fun Side Characters
I also liked Tank’s sister. Meg is interesting and sweet and uses a cane due to an accident, the details of which are not in this book but will hopefully be revealed later in the series. I liked that she supported her brother, but she didn’t mince words with Pepper about the fact that she’d left Tank heartbroken when she left. I’m not a fan of guilt trips, but Meg delivered one with some class.

The Romance Factor
I have a hard time connecting with second chance love stories, so there was a lot of this book that didn’t resonate with me as far as romance went. But there were definitely some strong moments. I think fans of the second chance trope will love this story. It felt real and heartbreaking, yet hopeful. 3/5

The Steam Factor
Though there’s sexual tension, Tank and Pepper don’t hook up until much later in the story. But the sexy times are there, they just come in the form of vivid memories about past sexy times.  4/5

Final Thoughts
For all the little things that I either didn’t like or don’t fall under my first choice of tropes, by the time I got to the end of this book, I realized that I actually liked it quite a bit. The writing is good, the characters are interesting, and the subtle suspense made for a fun ride.

Book Review: Last Hit by Jessica Clare and Jen Frederick

At my job, we have a type of project that is easy enough that I can listen to podcasts or audiobooks while I work on it. This time around, I chose to listen to this audiobook. It kept me riveted and engaged, but when things got hot in the book, I felt a little nervous listening to it in the office. Talk about some heat.


One-Sentence Synopsis
A sheltered young woman leaves her home to live on her own and becomes involved with a mysterious Ukrainian who has ties with a dangerous Russian mafia group. For a full synopsis, see this book’s Goodreads page.

Immersive Entertainment
Though my first audiobook was fun but not magical, and I have to say…I loved this one. I loved that the readers used a Russian accent when reading from Nikolai’s point of view. I also enjoyed the fact that there were two people reading, one for each character’s point of view.

Living Under a Rock
Daisy is really naive. Really, really naive. But it works in this book because she’s been extremely sheltered and so is weirdly awkward. Her father has kept her under his thumb for years, having turned paranoid and agoraphobic after the murder of his wife. But Daisy wants more, and so after some sneaky planning, she manages to run away to live in an apartment with a roommate. Because I could understand why she had no social skills, her awkwardness and the fact that she was clueless about many things weren’t as annoying as they might have been otherwise.


Keeping Tabs
Nikolai starts out a little creepy, but he’s so endearing that I didn’t actually care that he was peeping on Daisy. He’s an assassin and part of a Russian bratva, but he’s also damaged from his youth. So when he actually has feelings for Daisy, it’s classically trope-ish and really romantic. He wants to protect her, she wants her independence, and this brings some great conflict.

Of course Nikolai doesn’t tell her he’s a killer for hire, and his secrets start to get a little out of hand. But he tries to maintain normalcy by taking her out on dates and buying her nice things…things she doesn’t want him to buy because they cost so much, of course. But he does it anyway. He’s also there to rescue her in a few situations, so props for some damsel in distress situations that make sense considering Daisy’s lack of world experience.

Sex & Violence
This is a darker romance, dealing with mafia and murder and heroines in danger. I loved this blend and thought it was well balanced. There was suspense in the fact that I knew at some point Nikolai’s profession would get Daisy into trouble. It was just a matter of it actually happening. Then when it did, I got all worked up waiting for Nikolai to figure it out and go save her. There are some dark themes. While Daisy isn’t raped, another character is, and there is quite a bit of violence.

The Romance Factor
I got the same heart feels from this one that I get from a really great book I’ve read visually. Nikolai’s desire to protect Daisy is amazingly sweet, and Daisy’s worry that everything she says or does is wrong is kind of adorable. I know, it sounds like  it could get really annoying, but it’s not. 5/5


The Steam Factor
While the sex doesn’t overpower the plot, the sexy times are definitely tantalizing. Daisy’s a virgin at the beginning, but it doesn’t seem to take long for her to jump on the dirty talk/dirty times train. 5/5

Final Thoughts
This was a great story with narrators that I really enjoyed. When it comes to audiobooks, the voices reading the story play a huge part in the experience. I’m going to listen to this whole series, including the book I’d already read (which I loved, so it won’t be a chore to enjoy it again). This one is written by 2 authors I like, and I feel that when they collaborate, romantic magic is made.

The Reluctant Duchess by Sharon Cullen

NetGalley is generally my go-to place for new contemporary romances, so my interest was definitely piqued when this historical popped up on the Loveswept publisher’s page. I’m one of those people who can’t resist a pretty cover, so I requested it and dove right in.


I received a free ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

One-Sentence Synopsis
A young woman seeks out her murdered cousin’s former fiance when she starts receiving letters alluding to her cousin’s death and threatening her as well. For a full synopsis, see this book’s Goodreads page.

The Good Stuff
The mystery and romance in this book are so well blended that it made for a well-paced, smooth read with a lot of emotion. The Duke of Rossmoyne (or Ross, as he’s called by most people), has never forgiven himself for not preventing his fiance’s death, so when Sara shows up to show him the threatening letters, he’s reluctant to get involved, not because he doesn’t want to solve the mystery of her murder, but because he knows he can’t let Sara get hurt as well.


The two tentatively start a friendship and realize they are completely comfortable in each other’s presence. This is especially important for Sara, who has social anxiety and hates going into public. For that reason, she’s long since decided she’s not going to marry, and since she believes it improper to believe anything could come from a relationship with Ross, since he was engaged to her cousin, she sees nothing wrong with visiting him late at night.

That social anxiety angle was awesome, and Sara’s emotions regarding having to be in large crowds of people hit home. She was relatable, and therefore, likable. I’m fan of heroines who are flawed with something some readers can empathize with.

The Romance Factor
The way that the characters overcame their issues and figured out that they loved each other had some conflict, which made it that much sweeter. Ross and Sara were slow and sensual with each other, and it gave the story that overall feeling of foreplay. 4/5.

The Steam Factor
Speaking of foreplay, this book had a lot of it. In fact, there was a lot of kissing until there was any lovemaking, and then the lovemaking didn’t even involve intercourse, yet was still highly titillating. I enjoyed the step back this book took with regards to sex, and that Ross refused to bed Sara as long as they weren’t married. Though of course, that didn’t stop him from getting to third base. 4/5


Final Thoughts
I’m not sure why I was surprised to have liked this book as much as I did, but I’m happy I requested it. It’s a slow romance that isn’t overshadowed by the suspense of the mystery. I enjoyed the characters and would definitely read more books by this author.

Escaping Reality by Lisa Renee Jones


I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

One sentence Synopsis
A young woman with a mysterious past finds herself having to run and hide again, but this time she runs right into the path of a billionaire who wants to keep her…and keep her safe. For a full synopsis, see this book’s Goodreads page.

The Good Stuff
I thought that Liam’s backstory was interesting. He was a prodigy who apprenticed for a well known architect, which was a good way to explain why he was rich at such a young age. A tad unbelievable? Maybe. I don’t know if that can happen with architects, but I appreciate there being a fairly creative reason for his wealth.

There were parts about the mystery that ended up being intriguing, like Amy’s past and Liam’s role in whatever was going on.

Things That Made Me Go Hmmm
The first part of the book was slow. Halfway through the book, the only things I’d established (repeatedly), was that she hated running and she needed to never see Liam again, of course for his own safety.


Also, Liam used the term “baby.” A lot. I can glaze over the word if it’s used sparingly, but it bugs me when it’s standard. I realize this is a personal thing, but I generally hate that term.

Romance Factor
There was very little romance. Liam started out as concerned, but by the end was scarily possessive. Amy, though attracted to him, was too busy being afraid of whatever she was afraid of. Also, Amy seemed to be having a small dose of lust over her neighbor, and that detracted from any romance as well. 2/5


Steam Factor
At 50% of the book, there had been one sex scene, and it wasn’t anything memorable. Luckily, the sexy times in the second half of the book perked things up. 4/5

Final Thoughts
I’m kind of torn because I wasn’t completely sold on the story, but the end had me curious as to what was going on. Cliffhangers are so frustrating! We’ll see if I still have the urge to know what’s going on later when I’m in the right head space to try to get through more of this story.

Wicked Intentions by Elizabeth Hoyt

I wrote about the most recent book published in Elizabeth Hoyt’s Maiden Lane Series several weeks ago. I liked it so much, I decided I needed to explore this world more, so I went back and started with the first in the series.

One-Sentence Synopsis
An infamous lord asks a young woman to be his guide around the area where his mistress was murdered. For a full synopsis, see this book’s Goodreads page.

The Good Stuff
Can we talk about Lazarus’ hair? A youngish lord with silver hair was kind of amazing. I was also intrigued by the rumors of his “sexual proclivities.” And his weird physical/psychological issues with pain when he gets touched. Basically, I found Lazarus to be one of the most interesting heroes ever.

hair flip

I also had fun picking out the characters for future stories in this series. And the names were fairly ridiculous but also awesome. The Makepeace siblings are named Temperance, Silence, Winter and Asa. Love it.

Things That Made Me Go Hmmm
I was a little disappointed at the tameness of the aforementioned proclivities. To be fair, the story was set in a different time, but I was hoping for something a little more risque.

The Romance Factor
Temperance and Lazarus were a great pairing. I liked their chemistry and I enjoyed that she continued to push at his pain until she could touch him without him hurting. And I appreciated that she had to work for it, that she didn’t have the magic touch that told him they were destined to be together. 4/5

The Steam Factor
Even though Lazarus wasn’t as debauched as people thought, he was still pretty sexy, as were the scenes with him and Temperance getting their groove on. Definitely blush inducing. 5/5


Final Thoughts
Full disclosure: the blurb on this book didn’t seem like something I’d like, but I loved this story and now have to read the full series…even though I’m not entirely sure how I feel about some of the future characters.

To Beguile a Beast by Elizabeth Hoyt

I’m just going to keep riding this Beauty and the Beast train as long as I can. Since discovering Elizabeth Hoyt, I’ve been kind of hooked. Her historical romances are sweet, intriguing, and highly steamy, and her characters are interesting and don’t always fit the normal trope mode.


One-Sentence Synopsis
A duke’s mistress escapes with her two children, ending up at the home of a reclusive, scarred man to serve as his housekeeper. For a full synopsis, see this book’s Goodreads page.

The Good Stuff
I’m going to preface this by saying that the premise of a mistress with children didn’t actually hit my trope buttons. But, you know…it’s B&tB, so I went for it. I’m so glad I did. Alistair is a great “beast” with his scarring and his gruffness, though he comes around when it comes to the children, who are kind of annoying, but also kind of charming.

Though she acknowledges the scarring, I loved that what draws Helen to Alistair isn’t only the initial intrigue but the fact that he genuinely wants her (and turns her on, obviously). After having been kept by a man who saw her as nothing more than a possession, she’s definitely getting a taste of the other side of things.

To be fair, she wasn’t as kept as Capable and crew.

Like most of Hoyt’s work, there is a good deal of suspense and a dash of danger. Having not been a romantic suspense fan in the past, I can honestly say I love the way she weaves the two genres together. This isn’t one of her most dangerous novels, but I liked the clever resolution.

The Romance Factor
Talk about the feels…these 2 are so angsty with their standard trope dynamic: she thinks she’s not good enough for him, he thinks she can never look past his scars (when in reality they’re both hot for each other). There are alot of sweet moments, though, so I have to give this one a 5/5.

The Steam Factor
I don’t know why, but I usually just expect that historical romances are going to be tamer than contemporaries. However, Hoyt pretty much blows that assumption out of the water. Her books are extremely sexy, bordering on erotic. Also, I tend to think that the word “penis” does not make for a good sex scene. She proves me wrong on that point too. 5/5

Well then

Final Thoughts
Another great B&tB retelling and another great novel from Elizabeth Hoyt. I don’t know why I haven’t read her before, but now that I’ve “discovered” her, I have to add her to the must-read list.

Tribute by Nora Roberts

This is another book that was talked about on Dear Bitches, Smart Authors, and I was hooked by the idea of a nerdy beta male graphic novel artist as the hero. I finished it in basically two sittings. Also, while I’m a major ebook reader, I do enjoy kicking it with a real book once in awhile. This marks the first standalone book I’ve ever read by Nora Roberts


One-Sentence Synopsis
A former child actress renovates an old house as a tribute to her Hollywood star grandmother and starts a relationship with the graphic novel writer across the street, but things turn sinister when someone starts harassing her, presumably over long held family secrets. For a full synopsis, visit this book’s Goodreads page.

The Good Stuff
One of the best things about this novel, for me, was the geek factor. Ford, the hero, is a bit geeky and he owns it. Also, there are little nerdy tidbits throughout the book, including references to Battlestar Galactica, Star Trek (his dog’s name is Spock), and a few superheroes. There’s one scene where Ford and Cilla are playing video games and they’re playing Marvel Ultimate Alliance and I completely geeked out over it (that is one of my top games).

The other thing I really liked was the development of Cilla. She starts out as a pretty tough alpha female with some major DIY skills, but as the reader gets to know her, her vulnerability and fears start to show and it really develops her as a character. My feelings on Ford were mixed, but in the end, he turned out to be a good and supportive guy for Cilla.

Things That Made Me Go Hmmm
Though I ended up liking him, I actually found Ford to be a little creepy in the first part of the book. I wanted him to be shy nerdy, but he was actually very straightforward, and some of the things he said to Cilla made him seem a little creepy to me. By the end of the book, though, I thought maybe he was supposed to be slightly Asperger’s (which may have been discussed in the podcast, but I’m not sure…bad short term memory), which would account for his logical and straightforward nature.
The main thing about the plot that I found weird was that Cilla is being blatantly threatened, and yet she doesn’t put any cameras up, nor does she seem to have second thoughts about doing things on her own. I get that she was supposed to be a strong, independent woman (when she wasn’t sad and vulnerable, of course), but damn…I’d like to think that I’m independent, and you can bet if someone was leaving mutilated dolls around my house I wouldn’t be staying there alone. It felt like the danger she was in was glossed over until something happened, and I wanted her to take the situation more seriously.

Also, except for the antagonists, every single side character in this story was super nice and understanding. I believe this was meant to highlight the fact that Cilla had found a place she could call home with people she could trust and who would support her, but there were a few moments that went a little Stepford Wives. At one point, I thought that there was no way that those people could be real, though I may have been feeling a little cynical for various reasons.
Finn Hug
The Romance Factor
Though Ford was sweet and Cilla was superwoman (even with her refusal to play it safe and keep a friend around), I never got the heart feels with these two. They had a quiet chemistry with only a dash of angst. In general, I want the stuff that makes me ache for the characters, and I never got that here. However, I’m still giving this a 3/5 on the Romance Factor scale because Roberts did a good job of developing their interaction and working towards their happily ever after.

The Steam Factor
I won’t say the story was overly steamy. There were only a few sex scenes, none of which were super detailed. However, the first time Cilla and Ford are together is written very sensually and packed just as strong a punch as a scene written in full detail. Sometimes that sensuality is perfect for its story, and this was a good example. I don’t think graphic sex scenes fit these characters, and so I’m giving this a 3/5 on the Steam Factor, but a 5/5 on the “Way to Write to Your Characters” scale. Which I just made up. Because I can.
Just a Tribute
Final Thoughts
I’m not sure if I’m sold on Roberts’ standalone books because while I enjoyed the story, I found it long and detailed and definitely more of a mystery than a romance. I prefer the trilogies because I like the different characters, and I like getting bite sized glimpses into everyone’s life, not just meal sized viewing sessions of a few characters. Sadly, I think I’m biased because this is Nora and I’ve loved her trilogies and I might not have the same opinion of another author’s long works. But, should the right storyline catch my eye, I definitely won’t say no to trying another one.

Goodreads Review: Eeny Meeny by M.J. Arlidge

I finished this book during my recent trip up north to the Minnesota Yarn Shop Hop for some hardcore yarn shopping and friend time. You know it’s a good weekend when you get to chill with cool people, buy a ton of yarn, and finish a good book. This one reminds me of my mom, but only because it reminds me of Val McDermid’s crime novels, and my mom got me hooked on those. I think she’ll really enjoy this one. My mom, I mean. Not Val McDermid. Though maybe Val will enjoy it too. The book comes out on June 2, 2015, so put in a request at your local library. 

Eeny Meeny (Helen Grace,#1)Eeny Meeny by M.J. Arlidge

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Mystery/crime drama isn’t my first choice of genre, but the premise of Eeny Meeny intrigued me, so I requested it and am so glad I got approved.

It starts with a young couple, then a pair of work associates, then a mother and daughter – people are disappearing in twos. Days later, one of them emerges, starved and sick. During their captivity, the victims are given a gun and a choice: shoot the other and be set free or die a slow, painful death from starvation. It falls to Helen Grace and her team to solve the mystery and apprehend the criminal. Pretty straightforward, right?

There were a lot of things that made this book enjoyable for me. I tend to give simplified plot synopses anyway, but in this case I’m doing so because I don’t want to give too much away. However, the writing and plot were solid. The author details the captivity of the victims in horrific detail (some of that detail made me uncomfortable, which raises its “awesome” factor) but not so much that the story drags. It keeps its pace with the main plot and the side plots of which there are a few, all of which intertwine through the main story with ease.

The characters were great. Helen Grace is a strong female character, but she’s also strongly damaged and comes with some painful quirks. The side characters, while taking a backseat to Grace and those involved in the crimes, are given their own personalities and lives that emerge throughout the book. By the end, I had a sense that I knew them, was involved with them, and even shattered with the ones who get dealt the trauma. My investment in this group was worth it…the payoff at the end of the book is good and sets things up for more in this series.

The writing was strong and the story well-paced. There were only two things I took issue with. The first was in the formatting more than the writing. There were no breaks when the scene shifted, so it was sometimes hard to easily discern when the setting and characters had changed. However, I think that was more an ARC format problem than a problem with the author’s presentation.

The second thing was the weirdly added romantic/sexual aspect to the story. It seemed to come out of nowhere, and I had to go back to make sure I hadn’t missed a chapter or two leading up to when it starts. As someone who loves a good romance and tends to prefer romantic interludes in all the books I read, I actually didn’t feel like this one was needed. It seemed a little forced and out of place, though not jarring enough to throw the whole story off.

If you like crime novels, definitely give this one a try. It reminded me of Val McDermid’s novels, and that’s a good comparison. Helen Grace could be the new favorite read of gritty/graphic crime lovers.

View all my reviews