Tag Archives: books: romantic suspense

2016 Love Is … Book Awards

What better way to celebrate my birthday and kick off the flood of end-of-year posts then picking out my favourite books of 2016:

2016 Crime – Procedural
Winner & Runner-Up

2016 Crime – Thriller
Winner & Runner-Up

2016 Non-Fiction
Winner & Runner-Up

2016 Non-Fiction – Biography
Winner & Runner-Up

2016 Romance – Cop
Winner & Runner-Up

2016 Romance – Enemies To Lovers
Winner & Runner-Up

2016 Romance – Fake Relationship
Winner & Runner-Up

2016 Romance – Festive
Winner & Runner-Up

2016 Romance – Firefighter
Winner & Runner-Up

2016 Romance – Friends To Lovers
Winner & Runner-Up

2016 Romance – Friend Of Sibling
Winner & Runner-Up

2016 Romance – Novella
Winner & Runner-Up

2016 Romance – Reconciliation
Winner & Runner-Up

2016 Romance – Sport
Winner & Runner-Up

2016 Romance – Suspense
Winner & Runner-Up

In order to qualify all books have to have been published in 2016

Sting by Sandra Brown

StingARC received from: Netgalley

Rating: 4*

Trope: Romantic Suspense

Chemistry: Simmering

One-Sentence Summary: Stockholm Syndrome on speed and more twists and turns than Spaghetti Junction

Review: It was this time last year that I first discovered Sandra Brown when I got approved for the ARC of Friction. Since then there has been no going back. She is undoubtedly one of the best romantic suspense authors.

Sting didn’t quite equal the heady heights of Friction but even when Brown is not at the peak of her game, the result is still far superior than most author’s best efforts.

This book, like all her best work, has engaging main characters, interesting secondary characters and enough twists to keep the reader on her toes. I guess my main complaint is that *SPOILER*even when Jordie thought Shaw was a hitman who had just murdered someone in cold blood in front of her, she was still wildly attracted to him. Whilst I was waiting for the other shoe to drop and for Shaw to reveal his true identity, it didn’t even occur to Jordie that he was an undercover cop so I found it a bit weird that sexual thoughts would even occur to her when she was sure he was going to kill her.  It was a little like a severe case of Stockholm Syndrome.

Still, that is all I have to complain about and I loved the way the rest of the story played out.

Here’s to hoping we don’t have to wait for another year before we get a new Sandra Brown novel!

11 by @kyliebrant

11Rating: 5*

Trope: Suspense

Chemistry: Simmering

One-Sentence Summary: A security expert swears to protect a former kidnap victim when her past catches up with her

Review: THIS BOOK!!!!!

I have been dying to read a truly good romantic suspense novel for quite some time and I finally found it.

This book ticks all the boxes because as well as some delicious heat between the Hero and Heroine there is an actual plot with an evil bad guy. A character from another one of Brant’s books, ‘The Mindhunters’ series makes an appearance but if, like me, you haven’t read that series then do not worry because you are not expected to know anything about them and it doesn’t hinder the story in any way.

For those of you expecting a romantic suspense, heavy on the Kylie Brant - Juderomance then you might be disappointed. Because of Mia’s past and what she went through when she was kidnapped, the romance is very slow burn (but don’t worry, they do finally act on it!) and the focus is more on the suspense part but you barely have time to miss the minimal sexytimes – Why are plots involving sick and depraved bad guys always the most interesting? I don’t know, but the plot of this one could have come straight from an episode of Criminal Minds.

I won’t say anymore because I don’t want to spoil the plot but needless to say if you are a fan of either romantic suspense or simply just into gripping crime thrillers then you need to read this book pronto!

The Obsession by Nora Roberts

The ObsessionARC received from: Netgalley

Rating: 4*

Trope: Nora Roberts

Chemistry: Simmering

One-Sentence Summary: A typical Nora Roberts standalone

Review: If you’ve read a few of Nora Roberts standalone novels that the plot of this one will seem eerily familiar: a young lady with a tragic past moves to an isolated small town to make a fresh start where she meets the perfect, stubborn, guy who won’t give up on her even when her dark past inevitably comes back to haunt her.

So, yes, this book plot is nothing new. However, since this tried and tested formula works so well for Nora Roberts and it’s something she does splendidly, you have to admit that there’s no point fixin’ somethin’ which ain’t broke.

You can’t help but fall in love with the well written characters and the setting (and the obligatory dog of course!). Where this story does fall down a bit is that it feels overly long and I figured out who the bad guy was ridiculously early on.

The best bit of the book for me was the first part where you see Naomi as a child. It really drew me into the plot and had me hooked. Everything that followed was pretty formulaic but Roberts does have a wonderful flair for storytelling so I’ll be back to see what she brings to the table next year.

Hold Your Breath (Search and Rescue #1) by @KatieRuggle

Hold Your Breath (Search and Rescue, #1)ARC received from: Netgalley

Rating: 4*

Trope: Suspense

Chemistry: Low Boil

One-Sentence Summary: A search and rescue newcomer gets targeted by a stalker

Review: Admittedly, the novella which introduced the series didn’t really win me over but this first full length novel completely made me a fan.

This book focuses heavily on the whodunnit element and the romance slowburns away in the background which is a really nice change of pace. I’ve read loads of ‘insta-love’ romances recently and it was great to see Callum and Lou’s relationship build slowly.

The fact that they are both rescue divers makes for an interesting setup and I wish we had seen more of Callum and Lou out rescuing and less time in Lou’s tame other job as a barista. The scene in the ice at the climax of the book was really something though and had been racing through the pages like I was actually there.

As to one of the whodunnit elements then beware this book ends on a cliffhanger and I guess several of the characters we have already met in passing are going to be key to solving that mystery. I’ll definitely be coming back to find out.

2015 Love Is … 5* Books

Congrats to all my 2015 5 Star authors …..:

5Star Reads


2015 Love Is … Book Awards

2015 Crime
Winner & Runner-Up


2015 Non-Fiction
Winner & Runner-Up


2015 Romance – Animals
Winner & Runner-Up


2015 Romance – Cop
Winner & Runner-Up


2015 Romance – Cowboy
Winner & Runner-Up


2015 Romance – Enemies To Lovers
Winner & Runner-Up


2015 Romance – Fake Relationship
Winner & Runner-Up

Fake Relationship

2015 Romance – Festive
Winner & Runner-Up


2015 Romance – Firefighter
Winner & Runner-Up


2015 Romance – Friends To Lovers
Winner & Runner-Up


2015 Romance – Novella
Winner & Runner-Up


2015 Romance – Reconciliation
Winner & Runner-Up

Past Love

2015 Romance – Sport
Winner & Runner-Up


2015 Romance – Suspense
Winner & Runner-Up


2015 Romance – Entangled Publisher
Winner & Runner-Up


2015 Romance – Harlequin Publisher
Winner & Runner-Up


2015 Favourite Romance Series
Winner & Runner-Up

Lauren LayneSarah Morgan

In order to qualify all books have to have been published in 2015

Deadline by @SandraBrown_NYT

DeadlineRating: 5*

Cover: Yay

Trope: Romantic Suspense

Chemistry Rating: Off the charts Scorchio

One-Sentence Summary: A journalist suffering from PTSD follows a lead which takes him into the lives of the beautiful Amelia and her two kids

Review: I have spent the last few days devouring Sandra Brown books and I think I have found my favourite one so far. Given the nature of the books, the focus is heavily on the “suspense” rather than “romance” but Brown has a wonderful way of writing the UST between the two main characters which propels the romance forwards, even if you have to wait awhile for anything to happen.

It’s not unusual for young kids to be part of the story (in fact in every Sandra Brown - DawsonSandra Brown book I’ve read so far, one of the main characters seems to have at least one child) but Hunter and Grant really grew on me in this book.

I loved Amelia. I loved how she was a mother but also as a woman who fought for what she wanted, fought for Dawson. Oh Dawson, imperfect, scruffy, haunted Dawson. What a guy.

This book kept me hooked from start to finish. Whilst I guessed some of the twists, others I didn’t see coming. Fantastic from start to finish.

Friction by @SandraBrown_NYT

FrictionARC received from: Netgalley

Rating: 5*

Cover: Yay

Trope: Shit hot romantic suspense

Chemistry Rating: Off the charts Scorchio

One-Sentence Summary: The lives of a Texas Ranger and a Judge intersect when a gunman bursts into a courtroom

Review: Okay guys here we are in July and I’m calling it: BEST ROMANTIC SUSPENSE NOVEL OF 2015!

How can anything beat this? This just had everything you could possibly want from a book of this genre and was a complete and utter page turner.

Sandra Brown and a multitude of her books have been on my ‘To-Read’ shelf for awhile now but it’s always been a case of “I will try out this popular-author-with-a-lot-of-books once I finish reading all of the Nora Roberts books that I have on my To-Read list” but then I landed ‘Friction’ as an ARC and was ecstatic that it was a standalone (as most of Brown’s books are) and dipped straight in.

Sandra Brown - CrawfordHolly

I could not put it down. I mean wow. How does she get me to care so much about the characters?! Crawford/Holly <3 <3 <3 – I just could not get enough!  And little Georgia.  And Joe and Grace who you wanted to despise but could kind of see where they were coming from.  And the romance fits in nicely with the suspense i.e. it’s not like in some books where the characters are in imminent danger and then they’re like “never mind about that, let’s just get our clothes off”.  Here it happens in realistic intervals in downtime and whilst Crawford and Holly go from ‘just met’ to ‘love’ really quickly in terms of timeframes, it doesn’t really seem that quick because so much happens and they go through so much together.

Definitely recommending anyone who like some romance with their crime (or some crime with their romance ..)!

The Buried by @ShelleyCoriell

The Buried (The Apostles, #2)Received an ARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

I absolutely loved the first book in this series but I’ll be honest, I spent most of the first couple of chapters wondering why on earth an author would start the book with one of the main characters finding out he had a son he never knew about whose mother is not the other main character (and the one he is obviously destined to get his HEA with, courtesy of the reconciliation trope).

Well, it turns out that Alex (the son in the above equation) is actually quite a likeable, and key, character once you get past his juvenile delinquency.  I especially loved his relationship with Grace when he tries to make her laugh to get her mind off of the murders, and Hatch finding out about his son is a huge reason his outlook on life changes and he is able to give it another go with Grace.

And Alex isn’t the only unknown, long hidden relative in the book.  <spoiler> I have to say that the I was pretty shocked at the identity of the perp and even more horrified about what she had endured.  And poor Grace, how would anyone get over finding out that about their father!)  </spoiler>

Whilst the relationship between the Hatch/Grace is central to the book, most of the book is concentrated on the case rather than the romance.  I liked the way we got introduced to a secondary case as worked by Detective Tucker and how that tied into the main case and the role he played at the climax.

Overall, this is a very strong follow-up to a cracking first book.

Book: 4*

Cover: 5*