January Review Round-up
It's time for my January romance review round-up! These are the five romances I read in January. I will probably finish another yet this month, but since all of these have released or are releasing this week, I wanted to get the reviews up, so you can find your next read! Without realizing it, I hit Harlequin romances pretty hard this month. Four were Netgalley ARCs and one was from a favorite series I'm reading. It was good to get out of my head with these books considering what I'm writing myself, so I'm glad I was able to find something to keep me distracted from constantly thinking about my own WIP. Read on for the reviews and buy links!
Will a stand-up sheriff toss the rule book in order to deliver justice?
Between hunting human traffickers and solving her father’s murder, Sheriff Cassie Reed’s hands are full. So, despite her attraction to Tyler Bishop, finding his runaway missing niece isn’t a priority. Besides, the charming PI’s penchant for bending rules exasperates the by-the-book cop. But when a leak in her department brings Cassie under suspicion, joining forces with the tantalizing rebel is her only option.
I've been a fan of Leslie Marshman's for several years, so when I heard she had a Harlequin Intrigue coming out I immediately reached out to get an early copy. I'm so glad I did! Resolute Justice was a well-written, character-driven Intrigue about the small town of Resolute dealing with a big problem-human trafficking.
Sheriff Cassie Reed is driven by missing girls, a ghost, and grit. She's proving herself as sheriff after her father, the other Sheriff Reed, was killed in the line of duty. Cassie has two goals: find the ring of human traffickers in her county and find the man who murdered her father. Her brothers were on her team and she trusted them all, but there was a leak inside the Boone County Sheriff's Department and she suspected when she found the leak, she'd find the answer to her other two goals. What she didn't need was a PI with a chip on his shoulder to join in the fun.
Tyler Bishop, or just Bishop as he preferred to be called, had come to Resolute to find his niece. At eighteen, she had the right to leave, but Bishop knew there was more to the story. The first chapter would be told by her boyfriend who lived in Resolute. Hope dimmed for Bishop when he learned his niece wasn't there, but that same flame of hope flared to life with every encounter he had with the sexy sheriff running the town. Bishop was a man with issues who had seen too much and dealt with the anger those experiences caused by healthy eating, healthy living, and not getting too close to anyone.
When the Texas Rangers come calling, Cassie realizes that things are worse than she knew. When they asked for her gun and badge, she reacts the only way she can. She joins forces with the man she is falling in love with to find his niece and her father's killer.
Cassie was a very straight arrow. She insisted that following the rules was the only right way to solve a case. Thank God Bishop showed up to teach her otherwise. Sometimes, breaking rules are the only way to get things done, which Bishop learned the hard way. Their relationship was built on being the good guys, and it grew as they taught each other that sometimes you step out of line for the ones you love. Resolute Justice was a pure delight from the first page to the last. The characters had deep, passionate reasons for living life the way they did, and they took the time to understand what those reasons were, offering respect even if they didn't always agree. If you love a small-town sheriff romance with high stakes and heart-pounding action all the way to the end, then you don't want to miss Resolute Justice. As a huge Leslie Marshman and Intrigue fan, I can only hope we will see more from the deputies of Boone County in the future!
Is she making the right decision…for her career and her heart?
Following a near-death experience, Selena Hudson is finally going after the career she wants. And since casting directors won’t see her as anything but a rom-com queen, Selena signs on to produce and star in her own movie—an edgy psychological thriller. But just as the cast and crew arrive on location in Wild River, Alaska, the leading man drops out of the production.
Reporter Gus Orosco is not hiding out in Wild River—he’s waiting for the dust to settle after his on-camera “overreaction” triggered by watching his ex-fiancee get engaged to a superstar hockey player. Gus doesn’t want to be anywhere near the film crew shooting at his family’s campgrounds, but Selena makes him an offer he can’t refuse: she’ll snag Gus an interview with Sports Beat if he’ll be her leading man. All Gus has to do is learn his lines, hit his marks and somehow ignore the sparks flying between them…even though they’re hot enough to melt the Alaskan snow
I love the Wild River Novels by Jennifer Snow and Alaska Dreams did not let me down. I was so busy over Christmas that I decided to read this book slowly so I didn't binge it all in one day and then have to wait a year for book 7! I'm glad I savored Gus and Selena's story rather than gobble it up because it had the perfect redemption arc.
Selena was back in Wild River to film a little Indie film. She was the star and her co-star was supposed to be her boyfriend Matt. Until Matt pulled a fast one and refused to honor his contract. Now in Alaska without a boyfriend or a co-star, Selena has less than a day to find someone to play her male lead.
Gus Orosco had lost everything. Not to sound like a country song but he'd lost his girl, his job, and his apartment. When his grandfather fired him from the sports desk after an emotional outburst on-air, Gus had no choice but to lay low somewhere and lick his wounds until someone was ready to revive his broadcasting career.
Then along comes Selena, and a camera crew, to disturb his peace, quiet, and brooding at Orosco Campgrounds. Their 'meet cute' was more than cute, it was wildly inappropriate, on Gus's part, but in his defense, he didn't know anyone was going to be at the campground when he opened the door...naked.
Desperate and willing to do anything to make sure the movie gets filmed, Selena casts Gus in the role of her male lead and the movie commences. It isn't long before their onscreen chemistry overflows into their personal life and things get complicated.
I loved all the new characters in Alaska Dreams, and I was thrilled to get a glimpse into the lives of the characters who came before them. Jennifer Snow is a master at telling a story that will have you laughing one minute, engaged in a sexy bedroom scene the next, and mad as heck the next. You never know what's going to happen in Wild River, Alaska and that's the best part about this series. The sweet novella at the end with Jade and Griffin was an extra-special bonus for the Christmas season. If you haven't read the previous five books in this series, that's okay, you can read Alaska Dreams and not be confused. Ms. Snow does a wonderful job of introducing you to the previous characters and not hinging the new book on the previous ones. If you're looking for a great steamy romance with heart, grab Alaska Dreams and the entire Wild River series today.
Can he get justice--without getting them both killed?
After attempting to expose corruption in the highest ranks of the military and being unceremoniously discharged, former navy SEAL Nate Averly becomes an assassin’s next target. When Nate flees to his brother’s Montana ranch, North Star agent and tech expert Elsie Rogers must protect him and uncover the threat before more lives are lost. But they’re up against a cunning adversary—and a cover-up that’s bigger and deadlier than they ever imagined…
Everyone knows if Nicole Helm puts out an Intrigue, I'm going to read it! It was no different for Cowboy in the Crosshairs, and while it wasn't my favorite book in the series, it was still well-written with all the signature twists and turns of a Nicole Helm Intrigue. If you're reading this series, you'll love to get to know Elsie better and find out why Nate isn't paranoid but in fact, carrying secrets that people don't want him to share. I can't wait to see how Nate and Elsie's relationship grows in the next book!
Could the mystery that’s haunted him for years
Be the break her latest case needs?
Former soldier Grayson Prescott started his cold case firm to bring murderers to justice. Specifically the one who destroyed his life. When his obsession intersects with Detective Willow McCray’s serial killer investigation, they join forces. But Willow falls hard for the haunted investigator—even as danger mounts. Stopping the River Road rapist will save the victims…but will it save their future together?
Murder on Prescott Mountain was the first of a new series and I can't wait to read the next one. While the book starts out slow, stick with it, because once it hits, you'll be turning pages long into the night to discover exactly who the River Road Rapist is.
Grayson is a man broken by life. His wife was murdered and his daughter was missing, and he'd gotten no answers for over seven years. Enter Willow, a police detective in Gatlinburg who doesn't like the whitewash he's getting from her colleagues. One thing leads to another and soon Willow is working for Grayson setting up a cold case team funded by his family's money. He will do anything to learn what happened to his family.
The twists and turns of this intrigue are many and often, but reading it is like you're walking with Willow and Grayson as they hunt the River Road Rapist and tie it to cold cases across the counties. The tension between them is palpable, but the romance is basically nonexistent until the end (For those looking for more romance than mystery, you won't get that in this Intrigue). With a cast of characters that can keep this series going for some time, I can't wait to see where Ms. Diaz takes us next.
Nothing matters more to her when a child's life is at stake.
Special agent Thea Lamb returns to her hometown to search for a child whose disappearance echoes a twenty-eight-year-old cold case—her twin sister's abduction. Working with her former partner, Jake Stillwell, Thea must overcome the pain, doubt and guilt that have tormented her for years and denied her a meaningful relationship. For both Thea and Jake, the job always came first…until now.
Little Girl Gone was a riveting Intrigue by Amanda Stevens. However, if you're looking for romance, you aren't going to find it quickly in this first book. You know right away that Thea and Jake have a past, but as far as the current timeline, they're nothing more than colleagues. The book progresses to 92% before any romance hits the pages. It made sense once I figured out this was going to be a 'to be continued' type series but fair warning if you're looking for more than just an FBI procedural in this book.
All of that said, wow! I love a good police procedural and this one was a solid 5 star read that was done extremely well considering the limited word count. Jake and Thea had parallel stories as they investigated the kidnapping, which was interesting because they were both coming at it from different angles.
Thea has been in this position before. Her twin sister, Maya, was kidnapped from their bedroom when she was a child, and now, another little girl was taken from the same window. Her mother, Reggie, is once again accused of having something to do with the kidnapping, but Thea is sure that's not the case. Not because she's close to her mother, she's not, but simply because she's following the clues of the case.
Jake is an FBI agent worth his salt. His goal is to find missing children and bring them home, and he gives it his all every time. Even when that means he has to crawl into crevices inside caves looking for the evidence to break the case wide open. Even when his own life is on the line trying to save Kylie, the little girl gone.
I was never more pleased than to get to the end of this book and discover that Thea has discovered her roots again, and the knowledge that she made a mistake letting Jake go before. She's not going to make that mistake again, both with her family and with Jake. I can't wait for book 2 in this series so I can find out what did happen to Maya and if Jake and Thea are able to make a go of it. If you love a police procedural that is well-paced, snappy, and full of twists and turns, you can't go wrong with Little Girl Gone.
Katie Mettner wears the title of 'the only person to lose her leg after falling down the bunny hill' and loves decorating her prosthetic leg to fit the season.
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