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Monday, June 26, 2017

Race Against Time by Sharon Sala

Setting: Las Vegas
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Publisher: MIRA
Release Date: June 27, 2017

Sharon Sala's Race Against Time does have suspenseful moments, but I think the focus is far more on relationships and the will to survive. I have read many of Sala's books over the years, and this one, while good, didn't grab me as much as her other novels.

Quinn O'Meara's had a rough upbringing in foster care. The only saving grace was a boy named Nick. As an adult, Quinn keeps to herself. She never expects to come across a toddler at the scene of a fiery wreck, nor does she expect to have someone shooting at her as she grabs the baby and races off into the night.

At the police station, Nick Saldano is shocked when a woman comes in with a young child tucked safely into her jacket. Even more surprisingly, that woman is "Queenie," the one person he truly cared about during his years in foster care.

Quinn's unknowingly put herself in the middle of a human trafficking case. The toddler's father wants his child back and will go to any extremes to get that child and take out any witnesses in the process. It's up to Nick to keep Quinn safe.

There's another story within Race Against Time. As a teen, Star is kidnapped and sold to the very ruthless Anton Baba, leader of a major human trafficking ring. Star keeps herself alive by having Anton's child. A good portion of the story also focuses on Star's life and mission to get her son back and stay safe doing so.

The pacing in Sala's romantic suspense novel is handled well. Shifts between Star and Quinn help break up some tension, but not so much that you lose interest. While I did question many of the moves one character in particular makes, I still enjoyed spending time engrossed in the story.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Black Tie Optional (Wild Wedding Series) by Ann Marie Walker

Setting: Chicago
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Swerve
Release Date: May 30, 2017

Part of the Wild Wedding Series, Black Tie Optional is a steamy romance involving a playboy millionaire and a woman desperate to get him to help fund her charity. The pair doesn't get along at all.

Olivia Ramsey needs money to help save the bats. She'd do anything to secure a donation from Coleman Grant III. One night in Vegas leads to a very impromptu one night stand that turns into an unusual proposal. Cole needs to marry someone if he's going to keep control of the family business. If Olivia agrees to marry him and remain his wife for three months, he'll happily give her the money she needs.

Marrying your enemy is hard. Falling for the enemy is harder.

I admit that I didn't like Cole's character at first. He was a womanizer with no redeeming qualities. It was funny that by the end of the book I adored him. He turned into a character I didn't want to leave behind when the story ended. I also liked Olivia and loved one restaurant scene where she tells a certain character off. That section of the story had me laughing.

Black Tie Optional ended up being one of the better romances I've recently read. It had me laughing, sighing, and definitely ended up improving my mood.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Take It to the Grave by Zoe Carter

Genre: Mystery/Psychological Thriller
Publisher: HQN
Release Date: June 1, 2017

I have such mixed feelings about Zoe Carter's book. The setting was fine. Pace and writing were solid. I hated the characters though. While I felt compelled to keep going, the more I read the novella, the more I hated them.

Sarah married into an uber-wealthy Hamptons family. Since having a child, she's not trim enough for her husband or his parents. Her in-laws are also not happy that they've never met her family. With her son's christening coming up, they insist that she invite her family.

That sets the stage for Sarah's discontentment with the family she's married into. It's clear she's hiding something, but who knows what. It all culminates with a cryptic email that reveals someone knows what she's hiding and that person is ready to share it with the world.

Take it to the Grave drove me nuts. I found myself bored with Sarah's sister's chapters. I couldn't make sense of the opening. I really, really couldn't understand why she stayed in that marriage. Her in-laws were bad enough, but her husband was creepy. It kept me from finding the book as enjoyable as I thought it would be.

This is a serial novella, so everything is open-ended. I suppose with future novellas, some things may start making sense. At this point, however, I have too many questions to enjoy what I'd read. That in itself is compelling me to keep reading.