Just Talking Books

I enjoy talking/sharing about the books I read.

Review: Cold Evidence (Evidence #6) by Rachel Grant

Cold Evidence (Evidence Series Book 6) - Rachel Grant

Action from the “get go”, smart heroine, yummy hero, hot sex scenes, and a killer on the loose. What more could you ask for in the new romantic suspense, Cold Evidence, by Rachel Grant?

Undine Gray is a Nautical archaeologist working for the Underwater Archaeology Branch (UAB) at the Naval History and Heritage Command (NHHC) in Washington D.C. Her father is the renowned Marine biologist, Stefan Gray. He has his own research institute and Undine grew up there. She was an expert at a very young age on Marine Biology but due to her lifestyle, she was very lonely. That all changed when Luke Sevick arrived. Luke was living his dream being on scholarship at The Institute. Due to some unfortunate miscues, Luke is forced to leave The Institute and Undine behind.

Fast forward 12 years later. Undine is working on a deep dive to investigate a submarine that went missing during the Cuban Missile Crisis. A number of things go wrong and Undine becomes the only survivor or her crew. She has to make an emergency ascent without time to decompress. Luke, former SEAL and now a Marine biologist and assigned to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Commissioned Officer Corps, is in the area and observes the disaster but also sees a diver in trouble. Pulling Undine from the water and staying with her in the hyperbolic chamber, he realizes he still holds a grudge but can’t help the attraction he feels.

That’s a very brief overview of the story with the exception of several attempts to prevent Undine diving on the wreck of the USS Wrasse.  
 
What I liked: Cold Evidence is the 6th book in Ms Grant’s Evidence series. I love romantic suspense especially when it’s done correctly. Well, correctly would be based on the reader’s expectations and when it comes to romantic suspense, I have high expectations.

I have a pretty standard routine. I usually am in bed by 10:30 at the latest but two nights in a row I stayed up reading Cold Evidence. I couldn’t find a good spot to stop. The action does not end until the very last page. Then there’s the attraction and angst between Undine and Luke. Not only the attraction but the tension in the exchanges between them. That’s another good point, the conversations between Undine and Luke are extremely well written. The by play, while full of tension and innuendos, flows easily and in some cases had me chuckling at the quick repartee between them.

And the sex…..yeah, hot. Let me just say, Undine and Luke appreciate each other’s attributes and while not wanting to get emotionally involved, aren’t afraid to indulge themselves in their desires.

I also enjoyed catching up with the previous heroines in the Evidence series. Each female lead is connected in some way to the core group. The heroines are smart, snarky in some cases, funny, and very confident in themselves.

The suspense in Cold Evidence is what kept me up at night. Ms Grant is not afraid to give answers early in the book but from that point on, you can’t figure out where the mystery and suspense is going. Believe me, while I did figure out the most obvious clues, she kept surprising me with each little reveal. There are very few authors who can fool me completely but Ms Grant is one of them. And that’s why I keep waiting for each release to gobble it up.

What I didn’t like: It might be my age or it just could be the demand by other readers today, but I do enjoy my romantic suspense with a bit less sex. Yes, I said that. I thrive on the suspense and tension part more than the sex scenes but that is just my preference.

For full disclosure….I was recently picked to be on Ms Grant’s early review team. I was provided an eARC to read and review with an honest opinion, which I just gave you. I wouldn’t have volunteered for the team if I didn’t enjoy her books and in addition, have no problem voicing my likes and dislikes.

One last thing about Ms Grant’s writing. Her research shows through each book like a beacon. I’ve learned more about archeology and marine archeology than I could say. While the basis for Cold Evidence is fiction, you can see the time spent in research to make the book as factual as possible in all other aspects.

(As usual, while Cold Evidence could be read as a standalone, why not start at the beginning with Concrete Evidence?)

Highly Recommend!!!!!

Source: http://www.justtalkingbooks.com/blog/early-review-cold-evidence-evidence-6-by-rachel-grant-releases-222016

Review: Archangel's Enigma (Guild Hunter #8) by Nalini Singh

Archangel's Enigma (Guild Hunter) - Nalini Singh

Outstanding addition to the Guild Hunter Series!!

What I liked: I really want to gush but I'll try to hold it down a bit. Archangel's Enigma is nothing less than I expected from Ms Singh. I started reading it on release day evening and of course couldn't find a spot to stop but I didn't want to rush things and read important details while I was half asleep. I finished the next evening after extending my bedtime by over an hour. (Yes, I have a routine but Ms Singh is one of the few authors who will make me break it).

After being so impressed by the previous book, Archangel's Shadows, I was a little worried about how Naasir was going to fare in his own book. I was hoping for more of his background and Ms Singh delivered up to a point. I guess I just find it very hard, even with my imagination to actually picture him. I'm still not sure exactly what Naasir is so I will stick to what Elena calls him, a tiger-like creature. 

Naasir's character is so very honest, fun-loving, and in some ways childlike. His back story explains mostly why his actions and reactions are what they are. He's seen his "family" find their mates and in Archangel's Enigma, Naasir is on a quest to find his but his Archangel, Raphael, needs him to find an Ancient before the evil Archangel (Zhou) Lijuan) can kill the Ancient while he sleeps.

Enter Andromeda, a scholar who might have the clues needed to save the Ancient. Andi (as Naasir calls her), is in danger and keeping secrets from just about everyone. She is fascinated by Naasir, who wouldn't be, and he's making her feel things her vow of chastity can barely overcome. To Naasir, Andi smells like mate and he's impatient to claim her but he believes vows are sacred even if Andi is willing to break hers. "Stupid Grimoire book"

Archangel's Enigma is Naasir and Andi's story but so much more. Just about every character makes an appearance to help further the plot line of the story and believe me, it's a doozy! So much information about each character is explained and the story just keeps moving forward.

What I didn't like: I have no idea what to write here. I enjoyed each and every character, each morsel Ms Singh reveals and the chemistry between not only Naasir and Andi but the central group surrounding and including Raphael and Elena.

This series has gripped and held me from the very beginning. It's one of the first recommendations I make to friends and others wanting something spectacular and unusual to read. I re-read some books in this series so many times that I had to re-buy them for my e-reader.

Highly Recommended!!!!!<span "font-size:="" 10.0pt;line-height:115%;font-family:"times="" roman","serif""="">

Source: http://www.justtalkingbooks.com/blog/review-archangels-enigma-guild-hunter-8-by-nalini-singh

Review: America's Trust by Murray McDonald

America's Trust - Murray McDonald

Surprising believable plot!

What I liked: If you've read any of my reviews, you know I'm a sucker for a good suspense/thriller. I had previously read two of Mr McDonald's novels. One was a DNF and the other I couldn't put down. (I might have to go back and retry the DNF). 

I won't say Mr McDonald's plots are subtle as you can just about see what's happening but it's all the twists and turns he takes to get to the ending that made America's Trust a good read for me.

He develops his stories a bit on the slow side but still makes them interesting with just enough holes to keep you reading. His characters are a little complex and likable or despicable depending on their role in the story. Mr McDonald also has one of my favorite characteristics in America's Trust, it's plausible and he doesn't hit you over the head with the clues. 

I usually prefer my books to be character driven and the characters in this novel are good, strong characters but the plot drives the story in America's Trust. Based on the topic of the plot, that's what made the novel a good, solid read.

What I didn't like: A couple of times during the story, the author took an easy way out but it didn't detract from the story, in my opinion. There were a few editing errors that jumped out at me and I'm not sure if that's because of his nationality. If I had to guess, I would say he's British as some of his words have the British spelling.

I got America's Trust as a free Kindle deal. It is currently priced at $2.99 and is a good deal for thriller readers.

Recommended!!!!

Source: http://www.justtalkingbooks.com/blog/write-review-americas-trust-by-murray-mcdonald

Review: On The Black: (A CIA Mystery Suspense Thriller) by Theo Cage

On the Black - Theo Cage

On the Black kept my attention and I wanted to keep turning the pages!

What I liked: While waiting for release of some of my favorite series, I've been having a hard time lately finding books that capture and hold my attention. So, I went to my TBR pile and started looking for something to entertain me.  On the Black more than met my expectations.

I'm a sucker for a well written thriller that keeps me wanting more and more. I felt the research, characters and pacing of On the Black were well above average. I became invested in the characters more than the plot. Rice, a former covert agent for the CIA, has been hiding out in the mountains for 10 years but he's finally back on his former boss' radar. Rice knows where all the bodies are buried and his boss and former President want to make sure they stay buried.

There is almost a story within a story in the book. Abby watched her family assassinated by the mob while in witness protection and was taken by the head of the "family" to be his play thing. The Family's reach is long and they've been hunting her for a while. The FBI is also looking for her as a witness in the slaying of her family. Abby has learned how to blend in and get lost. A robbery at the diner where Abby works changes everything and puts her and Rice together on a trek across country. The CIA is looking for Rice, the FBI and a mob family is looking for Abby and now a huge drug running gang on motorcycles is looking for both of them.

The characters made this story and kept me reading even when there were some outrageous James Bond type moments. Mr Cage's research and pacing in writing On the Black is undeniable. The secondary characters were just as important to the story as Rice and Abby without overwhelming the reader.

What I didn't like: Here's the thing, I finished reading On the Black a week ago. I didn't have time to write the review until now. I remember the characters very well; I remember Abby's situation like it was yesterday. I even remember all the secondary characters. What I can't remember for the life of me is what Rice knows that make his former bosses want to kill him. Weird, huh? 

The ending was a little to manipulated for my taste but I do remember it. It just seemed too quick based on everything else that had happened.

Recommended!!!

Source: http://www.justtalkingbooks.com/blog/review-on-the-black-a-cia-mystery-suspense-thriller-by-theo-cage

Review: The Order: Book 1 by A.C. Donaubauer

The Order: Book 1 - A.C. Donaubauer

I pick The Order as the sleeper of my reading year!!

What I liked: Oh my, I really and sincerely enjoyed The Order. Ms Donaurbauer took me on a fantastic journey and I can't wait to see what happens next.

I'm not going to rehash what's covered in the synopsis. Just imagine knowing you are completely different from everyone in the world you've come into contact. Every person in the Kingdom has some shade of blond hair and yet, you and your father have dark brown. You know and learned you've magic in your body but are forced by your father (who also has magic) to hide it. You and your father are healers but can't openly use magic to heal or to hurt. You think it's unfair you can't use the magic to protect yourself but your father explains using "bad" magic has a price. The one and only time you use magic, dire circumstances occur.

This is what our main character, Eryn, is facing. In addition, she knows from her father that they come from a different Kingdom where magic is more accepted but used for self-gain and protection. Through a set of tragic acts, Eryn ends up alone as a teenager. She stays in her village to continue her father's healing practice. Then through an accident her village turns her into the King. And there the real part of the story begins!

Ms Donaurbauer is a fantastic storyteller. When I first saw The Order on NetGalley I was a bit torn but ended up being enthralled, through the whole book. Everything in the book fell into place. You had the back story on the two main characters, Eryn and Enric, the jump to present day and the struggles Eryn faces. She's a very strong character and more than once confuses and confounds her captors. And yet, they are more than intrigued by her lack of training in using her powers to protect the Kingdom, after all, that's all Magicians are good for, right?

All the Magicians in the Kingdom work for the King to protect him and the Kingdom. Of course politics enter into the power struggle between the Magicians and the King's current advisers. Through all that, Eryn is being taught more about her powers in fighting and protection. She totally thinks it's a waste as all she wants to do is treat and heal individuals who need her more than the Kingdom needs another Magician warrior.

Not only does Ms Donaurbauer have a special hand in world building, her characters (all of them) are been surely and completely developed. I know it's hard in a first book but The Order is a bit longer than what I currently read. Each character is meticulously developing. I found myself laughing with them, worrying as they worry and connecting with each one of them; good and bad.

What I didn't like: This is the first book in the series and was just released in August, I don't like not knowing when the next book is coming out!!!

Overall, I could go on and on about The Order but instead will recommend it to epic/urban fantasy lovers!

Highly Recommended!!!!

Source: http://www.justtalkingbooks.com/blog/review-the-order-book-1-by-ac-donaubauer

Review: Traitor by Murray McDonald

Traitor - Murray McDonald

Traitor hooked me!!

What I liked: If I told you before I was 10% into this book, I knew what was going on and yet I still kept reading, you might wonder why. Well, the truth is, I KNEW some of the plot very early and I was intrigued enough to see how Mr McDonald was going to make a whole book as of the story line. He more than surprised me; he kept me reading until I was finished.

The characters were pretty well defined and didn't need to grow so much as to react to what was going on around them and how they would handle each clue or try to catch the traitor. Mr McDonald was also talented and smart enough to show how even after all this time since 911, the intelligence departments still are not working together or sharing all the info they have with each other. (That's a bit scary but with politics and governments, totally believable).

Frankie (Aisha Franks) thought she knew her lover, Nick Geller. Boy, was she ever surprised when he tries to kill the President of the United States especially with her on duty as part of the President's Secret Service detail. And there it starts and expands to America under attack on two different fronts.

Part of Traitor is told from the traitor's point of view which worked the plot very well. Nick has been trained by the best and he's sharing that training with the radical Muslim community to bring America to its knees. The mystery is, can Frankie put together enough clues about the man she thought she knew to help capture and/or kill him before his plan is put into motion.

While Frankie and Nick are two of the main characters, I especially enjoyed how the President was portrayed and the mystery surrounding Harry Carson. He seems to have a lot of intelligence and assets at his finger tips and yet, has no "official" government title.

What I didn't like: Some parts of Traitor seemed to me to just be "fluff" to fill the pages but it was interesting fluff. A few of Mr McDonald's metaphors or word usage felt too glib. It was a bit over the top in a few places but put it all together and it worked to keep me reading.

An enjoyable read with a plot I wish the real world could use.

Recommended!!!!

Source: http://www.justtalkingbooks.com/blog/review-traitor-by-murray-mcdonald

Early Review: The Scam (Fox and O'Hare #4) by Janet Evanovich, and Lee Goldberg (Releases 9/15/2015)

The Scam - Janet Evanovich, Lee Goldberg

Book by book, this series just keeps getting better and better. My favorite type of series!

What I liked: When I first started the Fox and O'Hare series, I was afraid it would be too much over the top for the type of series it was projected to be. I love Ms Evanovich as a writer of the Stephanie Plum series and I was worried this series might have the same style. It does and it doesn't.

The style of Ms Evanovich and Mr Goldberg (who I had never read before this series), is a good blend of humor, mystery and suspense. And of course, there are the characters....who slowly but surely are growing on me. This quote from my ARC explains most clearly what this series is about. "Together they were tasked with going after major-league criminals who couldn't be caught through legal means. So Nick remained a major-league criminal himself, secretly working for the FBI, and Kate remained a top FBI field agent, secretly working with an international fugitive." By no means are Kate and Nick the only major characters. Their surrounding cast and their "talents" just add an extra dollop of fun and skill.

What is fascinating is Kate and Nick are rubbing off on each other. Nick seems to be more responsible even though his devil may care attitude is still there. Kate, however, is finding the blurring of lines much more fun than in the first couple of books. While I did enjoy Nick, Kate is the star to me. Watching her change and grow is part of the draw of this series. Her relationship with her Dad is indescribable. And yes, I'm still a bit enamored by her Dad, Jake. Maybe it's his military background that I find so attractive or the way Kate and he totally understand each other. He's my new book crush! And that's not all of the unlikely characters who surround Kate and Nick and make their cases just a tad more interesting and exciting.

The Scam had me holding my breath a few times as I was sure Kate and or Nick were going to make a mistake or get caught by the bad guys. Well, yeah, I can't tell you that part. What I can tell you is Kate is totally kick-butt and Nick is a natural born liar and both come into play in The Scam they are involved in this time. The time and pacing of this book is just excellent. I literally only put it down to eat, drink and go to the bathroom and when my eyes wouldn't stay open any longer!

What I didn't like: I ripped through The Scam in record time and then read it a second time just for fun. So, yeah, I have nothing to write in this space EXCEPT, the ending. It was good and bad and that's all I can say. (This is not something I had a problem with as I received an ARC from NetGalley for a fair and honest review but....if you have a book allowance, The Scam might break it. It's Kindle edition is over $11 and the hardcover is over $20. It depends on your book budget on what you decide to do, buy or borrow).

The tension between Kate and Nick steps up a bit or should I say overheats. I can't wait for the next offering in this series from Ms Evanovich and Mr Goldberg. That's the problem with getting an ARC from NetGalley; you have to wait just a bit longer for the next book!

Highly Recommended but please, please read the books in order! (Here's the link for the reading order).

Source: http://www.justtalkingbooks.com/blog/early-review-the-scam-fox-and-ohare-4-by-janet-evanovich-and-lee-goldberg-releases-9152015

Review: Magic Shifts (Kate Daniels #8) by Ilona Andrews

Magic Shifts  - Ilona Andrews

Utterly entertaining and unforgettable!!

What I liked: I find there are two ways to read/listen to an Ilona Andrews book. One way is to take a breath, dig in and don't come up for air. It's a good way and don't get me wrong, I've done that in the past with this series. Now, I've become a hoarder with these books. I know I'm going to have to wait awhile to get another addition to the series, so I try to make the book last as long as possible. One way I did this with Magic Shifts is, I listened to part of the book and read other parts. See, I read too fast. I wanted to relish Magic Shifts and the only way I knew to slow me down was to listen to part of it.

At the end of the previous book, Magic Breaks, I think every fan was a bit stymied. The whole series up to that point dealt with what was going to happen with Kate and her Dad, Roland. There was sort of a resolution but we didn't know what it meant and oh my gosh, Curran's decision at the end was jaw dropping. (I'm trying desperately not to spoil anything for readers who haven’t caught up with the series). Essentially the ending in Magic Breaks gave fans a new and different storyline. Yep, you got it. I mean the Andrews' are tricky enough and they've upped the ante in Magic Shifts. I was extremely worried I would be disappointed in their new storyline but they don't give you a chance!

The action in Magic Shifts starts right away so you're not left floundering. What I found the most interesting in the beginning were the pack rules Kate and Curran had to obey. I wanted everyone to play nice but the way the rules are set up, they can't. There are agendas that need to be followed and the pack's future to worry about. At first I was a bit flabbergasted with some of the manipulations by the pack but it had to happen the way it did or Magic Shifts would have just been a ho-hum book.

Another thing I liked was Curran's new attitude. He needed a challenge and boy did he ever get one. He's a schemer and needs problems to overcome so he doesn't get bored. So, we see a new side of Curran. Not only Curran but in several of the characters. I was always a champion of Mahon but this book made me look at him in a different light. As a matter of fact, the characters all had to make so many adjustments; I enjoyed learning more about each and every one of them. 

What I didn't like: I missed seeing a bit more of Derek but many other characters needed to have their time in the limelight and I understand why some of my favorites, while there, weren't in starring roles.

I don't blindly give Ilona Andrews' books my highest recommendation. I actually sit and think about many different things before I write a review. I TRY to find things I don't like to help the next reader make a decision about this series. When I have to hunt to find a "dislike", it tells me how much I loved the book. 

As I said earlier, I was apprehensive about starting Magic Shifts and certainly didn't want it to end, but the Andrews have never disappointed me and now I can only wait to see what they come up with next. To me, each book in The Kate Daniels Series just adds another layer of goodness. The progression of ALL the characters blows me away. The research and imagination in each book astounds me. The storylines change and grow, the intensity of the plots knots my stomach and the characters have found a place in my heart. Yeah, I'm living vicariously through the Andrews' books. It's almost sad that I'm so invested in this series. I give credit where credit is due and the talent of this writing duo is one of the best in the business!

If I assigned stars to my reviews, there wouldn't be enough to tell you how much I savor each and every book!! To fully experience the wonder of this series, you need to start at the very beginning and I highly recommend you buy at least one of the books on audio!

Highest Recommendation!!!!!

Source: http://www.justtalkingbooks.com/blog/review-magic-shifts-kate-daniels-8-by-ilona-andrews

Review: Siren's Call (Rainshadow #4) by Jayne Castle

Siren's Call (Rainshadow series) - Jayne Castle

The BEST opening paragraph in a book I've read all year!!  Love the Harmony series and this spin-off (kinda) just keeps getting better and better!

What I liked: Ms Castle's (AKA Jayne Ann Krentz) writing is like coming home to a great cup of coffee. I know exactly what to expect and she never lets me down with the Harmony world. Siren's Call is not exactly a spin-off but a series within a series maybe. It still takes place in the Harmony world but all the action happens on Rainshadow Island.

If you think the Harmony series is "different" then wait until you meet the characters populating Rainshadow Island. I get the impression that Rainshadow was a research center of sorts for the aliens. It certainly has it's fair share of weird creatures and places. The Preserve (on Rainshadow Island) is not a place for people to take a relaxing walk. The island and the Preserve are not only mysterious but can be deadly.

Ms Castle just keeps upping the ante with her characters and mysteries surrounding the Harmony world. Ella is a Siren, a fact she and her family are keeping secret but a chance meeting with Rafe Coppersmith opens up all kinds of possibilities for her and for him.

The romance is quick but appealing. Their respective "talents" are off the charts and together they are even stronger. Within minutes of their second meeting and projected business deal, Ella and Rafe find themselves the target of a kidnapping. Is it their partnership or their talents the kidnappers are interested in?

What I didn't like: How many ways can you say NOTHING. I loved this book because no matter what mood I'm in, when I read a Jayne Castle book, I end up with a smile on my face!!

Lastly, all I can say is....dust bunnies!!! I would love to have one someday!

Highly Recommended BUT you need to start with the Harmony series and work your way forward. You'll be in for a real treat and have a smile on your face!

Source: http://www.justtalkingbooks.com/blog/review-sirens-call-rainshadow-4-by-jayne-castle

Review: Touched (The Marnie Baranuik Files #1) by A.J. Aalto

Touched (The Marnie Baranuik Files Book 1) - Alvar Aalto

I'm still scratching my head about Touched. 

What I liked: I enjoyed Ms Aalto's different perspective on vampires (Revenant) and their lives. A human who bonds with and guards the vampire. Definitely different. Some of the characters were better written than others. I'm still on the fence with the lead, Marnie. The story is all told through her point of view and it was okay but not excellent.

I found Marnie to be somewhat childish, inept and a little too full of herself. Half of her "situations" in Touched are her own fault due to her poor decisions. She doesn't listen to anyone else who has more experience in crimes and With vampires. Most of the time she seemed too whiny and needy for me to connect with.

That said, I did want more background. The blurb indicates she's something very special and yet, I didn't see it. She has a PhD?? really??? Maybe book smart in this case isn't everyday life smart. Some of the banter between the characters was chuckle worthy but for the life of me, I really couldn't connect.

I did find my curiosity spiked when Marnie's brother made his appearance. I WANT to know his story.

What I didn't like: As I mentioned, I didn't connect with the characters very well. It took me 6 days to get through Touched when I can normally read two or three books in the same time period. 

I found myself even skimming at a few points.  Ms Aalto seemed to want to throw everything, including the kitchen sink, into this story. You've heard the phrase, too many secrets, well....Touched had too many plots/subplots, love interests and even some very light bondage that appeared out of nowhere. Huh?

So, you probably think I really hated Touched but it intrigued me enough that I want to see where the author takes the story in the next book, Death Rejoices. I'm either a glutton for punishment or will find the author stepped up her game.

No recommendation at this time.

Source: http://www.justtalkingbooks.com/blog/review-touched-the-marnie-baranuik-files-1-by-aj-aalto

Review: Star Cruise: Marooned (A Sectors SF Romance) by Veronica Scott

Star Cruise: Marooned: (A Sectors SF Romance) - Veronica  Scott

My associate reviewer, Marta, reads so many Space Opera books that she finally got me curious.

What I liked: Marooned is a very short read and that's just what I needed to dip my toe in the water of this genre. Ms Scott is a seasoned author and I expected no less than completely written book. By that I mean, she set the stage, had interesting developing characters and basically the plot was believable and drew me in. In addition, the world building while in progress was developed enough to make sense and keep my interest. 

The female lead, Meg, is more than capable and no nonsense when working but her character is written as a very strong female lead. I don't mean to imply she's overbearing. She has a job, she's experienced and as part of her job, she deals with her company's clients. So, yeah, while you might think she's a glorified flight attendant, she much more because she sees the big picture, especially when she and several other people are left behind on a hostile planet.

The love interest, Red Thomsill, while a pilot is not as senior on this trip as Meg and skillfully stays in the background until his expertise is needed. The good thing, he has no problem bowing to her decisions as she's more experienced. BUT, in their current situation, he knows when to take charge without becoming Rambo. I liked his character mainly because he was extremely up front with Meg from the very beginning but found it funny when he kept trying to attract her romantic interests, he invariably messed it up while trying to be smooth and smart. 

What I didn't like: Without giving away spoilers, one of the characters just about drove me crazy but I believe that was the point Ms Scott was making. The character was likable enough but kept making unthinking blunders that endangered in some ways the other characters. You'll see what I mean when you read it.

A very enjoyable, quick, interesting read. Marooned more than held my attention and I wanted more when the book ended. So, if you're wondering about a Sci-Fi romance, you might want to start with Marooned!

Recommended!!!!

Source: http://www.justtalkingbooks.com/blog/review-star-cruise-marooned-a-sectors-sf-romance-by-veronica-scott

Review: The Bloodbound (Bloodbound #1) by Erin Lindsey

The Bloodbound - Erin Lindsey

The Bloodbound was a different kind of read for me. It's fantasy with a bit of romance but the characters are the draw.

What I liked: The Bloodbound feels like a historical fantasy and maybe it is but is struck me as much more. There are a few magics involved but with this first book, the magic is being able to forge a blood bond with a particular weapon. The weapon is more an extension of the individual using it. There are not that many blood binders left in the Kingdom of Alden.

The main characters are Lady Alix from the Black Banner house, who is a scout under the King's forces, LIam, a fellow scout for whom Lady Alix has feelings but he's bastard born and cannot hope to become involved with her; and finally the King of Alden, Erik White. Lady Alix has saved his life and feels drawn to him.

I found The Bloodbound to be very well written. The pacing was good and it seemed as if the action never stopped. The characters are on their way to being very well developed and I sincerely enjoyed the setting. I used to love historical romance mainly because of the settings but over the years got away from them. This is by no mean a historical romance as the women in this setting are as smart, cunning and lethal as the men. The good thing, the women are treated as pretty much equals.

The heroine, Lady Alix Black is involved in just about everything happening in the story. She's smart, knows her way around the politics of court and she's lethal. The only fault I could find with her was her waffling on which male she sincerely cared for. There is a reason for that but....spoiler.

What I didn't like: There was nothing not to like but the reader will need to hang in there with the world building. There are a lot of different Banner Families to keep track of and the politics to learn. 

As I said The Bloodbound would not normally have caught my attention but I found the second book in the series, The Bloodforged, on NetGalley and wanted to read the first in the series before trying it. Now I can't wait to get started!!

Recommended!!!!

Source: http://www.justtalkingbooks.com/blog/review-the-bloodbound-bloodbound-1-by-erin-lindsey

Review: The Society (Society #1) by Lilith Saintcrow

The Society  - Lilith Saintcrow

I'm pretty sure I read The Society when it was first released but that means I wouldn't have it as an e-book and probably passed it on for a friend to read when I reduced my book collection. I'm very glad I got the chance to re-read The Society.

What I liked: Ms Saintcrow can and does come up with some pretty intriquing storylines. She just happeded to hit all my buttons with The Society. Psychics!!! I love stories about psychics; I've read just about every book I could find featuring psychics.

Ms Saintcrow has also switched up the good and bad guys. You would think or at least like to think that our government is the "good" guys and some random group is the "bad" guys. Not in this story. The government agency (Sigma) is doing everything it can to gather anyone with special psychic abilities and using them as weapons. They are hooked on a drug and brainwashed and used for whatever purpose the government deems.

The Society is a smaller group bent on stopping the government. They identify and rescue as many psychics as they can. The heroine, Rowan, is rescued just before Sigma gets its hands on her but they've badly miscalculated Rowan's power and need for revenge. Teaching and protecting Rowan is "Del" (Delgado) and he has no intention of letting Sigma get a hold on a woman who is fast becoming necessary to him and his life.

This isn't instant love but more of a growing attraction. It seemed Del connected more with Rowan than she did with him. She needed him to teach her and encourage her to use what she always thought of as freaky skills. 

What I didn't like: I felt like I wanted more background on how the two groups ended up at war with each other or what kind of missions the psychics were sent on for the government. Does the Society have a mandate other than fighting Sigma and rescuing other psychics?? I also wanted some description of where the story was taking place. In the desert, in a city, what? I had no reference and the movement of the groups didn't include any particular place.

Over all I was very pleased with The Society and the story telling of Ms Saintcrow. I even felt the cliffhanger was necessary. I sincerely hope the next in the series, Hunter, Healer will answer all my questions.

Source: http://www.justtalkingbooks.com/blog/review-the-society-society-1-by-lilith-saintcrow-re-release

Review: The Murderer's Daughter by Jonathan Kellerman

The Murderer's Daughter: A Novel - Jonathan Kellerman

I received my copy of The Murderer's Daughter from NetGalley for a fair and honest review. 

What I liked: This is my first read of a Jonathan Kellerman novel. I've heard of him of course but never had the time to start his Alex Delaware series. Since The Murderer's Daughter is touted has a standalone novel, I thought I'd take a chance and check out Mr. Kellerman's writing.

I'm not going to rehash the synopsis but the short explanation is Grace Blades is present as a young child at the murder-suicide of her mother and father, if you could call them that. She's moved around in the foster care system until finally ending up at a place she's comfortable. That comfort all goes to heck with the arrival of 3 children from a cult. They aren't supposed to stay long and they don't....as a matter of fact Grace feels sure at least one of the three spoils her refuge but she finally ends up in a wonderful place that appreciates her intelligence and she prospers.

Got that? Okay. Mr. Kellerman's writing is fine and it was pretty easy to follow the story. I did find the flashbacks of Grace's life more interesting than the present day Grace. I didn't find her either a good or bad heroine, she just was a unique individual driven to solve a murder mystery many years old. 

I enjoyed the read but wasn't blown away by it. It kept my attention and I was able to read it very quickly. I enjoyed the psychologist side of Grace's character. She had been through so much herself; she was able to connect almost instantly with her patients. Mr. Kellerman did get a bit verbose in several areas of description and I don't know that we needed all the information provided or if he was just trying to stretch the page count.

What I didn't like: The Murderer's Daughter is billed as a thriller and yet, I didn't find it thriller-like. I found it to be more of a mystery with a small cast of characters. There were a few times where the over abundance of what I felt was unnecessary information just bogged down the story. 

This was an okay read for me. Not one that is going to stick with me for awhile but interesting while I was reading it. It's also one of those cases where based on the price of the e-book, I would either borrow the book from a friend or read the library edition. It's not one, unless you collect Mr. Kellerman's works, I would recommend buying.

Overall a good, solid book.

Source: http://www.justtalkingbooks.com/blog/early-review-the-murderers-daughter-by-jonathan-kellerman-releases-18-aug-2015

Review: Sense of Deception (Psychic Eye Mystery #13) by Victoria Laurie

Sense of Deception - Victoria Laurie

Ms Laurie never fails to capture and hold my attention and all with a handful of unforgettable characters!

What I liked: I adore the characters in the Psychic Eye Mystery series. We're up to book 13 in the series and there is always something new and exciting to read about. The characters have grown a bit in each installment and I can't imagine getting tired of them any time soon.

Of course Abby is THE central character but she wouldn't work so well as the lead without her now husband Dutch, her BFF, Candice, and the others with which she interacts.  When I first started reading this series, Abby was interesting but could seem a bit shallow at times. I feel like I've watched her evolve and grow up a lot!  Abby and Dutch no longer frustrate me as a couple any longer. They are totally committed to each other and the interactions between them can be sweet, funny or loving. A great couple together. Candice added so much to the series. Abby has a foil for her impulsiveness. Candice is very deliberate and methodical in all their cases while Abby tends to fly by the seat of her pants and is extremely quick to jump to conclusions, which usually ends up with them in a bit of hot water.

Sense of Deception really makes you think about the death penalty. (I'm not revealing my thoughts on this matter). The way Ms Laurie writes this story doesn't throw fuel on the fire in a political way. She just writes the story and provides information on Texas' laws such as the death penalty, gun laws, etc. It was handled very well without the author slanting the story one way or another.

What I didn't like: There is nothing not to like in Sense of Deception or any books in this series. They are usually quick reads, lots of laughs, a case or two and very interesting characters!

Highly Recommended!!!!! 

Source: http://www.justtalkingbooks.com/blog/review-sense-of-deception-psychic-eye-mystery-13-by-victoria-laurie

Review: Final Protocol by J.C. Daniels

Final Protocol - J.C. Daniels

Final Protocol is an extremely short read and I hope the beginning to a new series by Ms Daniels (aka Shiloh Walker) so I'm not following my usual format.

Since this is such a short story, it's hard to get a lot of details but we do get a feeling for the main character, Silence. She's an assassin and isn't quite sure how it all happened. She has vague memories of being a completely different person but can't exactly remember everything. She does know she "belongs" to a beautiful monster in lieu of a debt. Yep, she was traded to her owner over someone else's debt.

Her owner wants someone dead so badly he makes a deal. Silence does the kill and she's free forever. The question is, can Silence trust the deal or should she just try to run??

A Sci-Fi mystery with a touch of romance. Final Protocol is a good opening short story and the ending is somewhat resolved but it's open to continue if Ms Daniels and her publisher decide to go forward.


Recommended!!!

Source: http://www.justtalkingbooks.com/blog/review-final-protocol-by-jc-daniels