Book Reviews, Contemporary Fiction, Indian Literature, Romantic Suspense

The Right Kind of Wrong – Shilpa Suraj

[Image source: Goodreads]
“She had a toilet brush in one hand which she still held in a slightly raised battle ready stance. What did she think she was going to do with that? Scrub a killer clean?”

Theme: Revenge, Survival, Hope, Love
Warnings: N/A
HEA: Yes
Spoilers ahead: No

Synopsis

He’s dangerous, damaged and doomed but he’s hers…
With no name, no medical history, multiple gunshot wounds and enough security to rival the Prime Minister’s, Dr Aria Dubey’s new patient is something more than she asked for. And everything she might just need.
Intelligence Officer Karan Bhatnagar has only vengeance on his mind. Nothing will stop him from seeking justice for his murdered parents.
Not even almost losing his own life. And certainly not the doctor who healed but couldn’t save him. The woman he can’t afford to fall for. And the killer’s next target.
There’s only one thing left to do…find the killer and end him before he ends them. Will Karan and Aria risk everything for a love that is all kinds of wrong? And yet, is the right kind of wrong.

Review

I’m going to start by saying that I love a good Indian romantic suspense and I really wish with time we will get to see more Indian authors penning those beautiful stories.

The Right Kind of Wrong is my first book by Shilpa Suraj and lord, did she set a high standard. Funny, quirky, full of hilarious sarcastic remarks, this book is bound to keep you entertained right to the very last page.

Aria and Karan’s story is one of revenge, betrayal, and hope, and it makes you wonder how Suraj managed to fit all of it in a mere 165 pages (but she did!). The only two less than perfect things about the book are the fact that it was too short (or can we get a sequel please? Another romantic suspense? Pretty please?), and it could use a bit more punctuation. But those are really minor things compared to the gripping story Suraj crafted in The Right Kind of Wrong.

Highly recommend!

Book Reviews, Janie Crouch, Military Romance, Romantic Suspense

Storm (Linear Tactical Book 10) – Janie Crouch

[Image source: Goodreads]
“Oh God, sweetheart, what you endured is so much more than enough. Don’t take on shame and responsibility that doesn’t belong to you. I know you haven’t talked to your counselor about this because she would tell you the same thing.”

Theme: Hope, Survival, Abuse, PTSD
Warnings: Domestic Violence, Rape, PTSD
HEA: Yes
Spoilers ahead: No

Synopsis

Breathe in. Breathe out. Survive.

Marilyn Ellis is finally putting her life back together. The domestic abuse she suffered may be labeled textbook by therapists, but it’s the parts she’s never told anyone that haunt her.

She refuses to get trapped in that hell ever again.

Former Special Forces soldier turned rancher Noah Dempsey is more than capable of training the delicate single mom in moves and tactics that will help her feel safe. But his own tortured past makes him decidedly less qualified for anything more.

No matter how much her big eyes—and even bigger heart—draw him in.

However, when unexpected danger arrives in their small town, Noah knows this is a woman worth fighting for. Worth fighting beside. And he’s going to be the one to do it.

She needs a hero.
He’ll have to remember how to be one.

Review

This is the 10th book in the Linear Tactical series. Unlike the other books, it doesn’t take place in Oak Creek, WY, but in Colorado, and crosses over with the Bree and Tanner Thriller series.

This is Marilyn and Noah’s story. If you’ve read the Bree and Tanner books, then you’ve met them both before. Marilyn is one of the residents at the New Journeys, and Noah is a former Special Forces soldier.

Both Marilyn and Noah have their demons to fight, which makes this book a heartbreaking read. Marilyn’s are the abuse she experienced at the hands of her ex-husband, while Noah’s stem from his years of service and the loss he endured as a result. Marilyn and Noah are a perfect fit, being there to work through their challenges together. Marilyn brings out the best in Noah, gives him hope that his life isn’t all about darkness and pain. Likewise, he is there for Marilyn, supporting her as the battles her PTSD and comes to terms with some very difficult realizations.

I’ve read plenty of books that deal with sexual abuse but what makes Storm special is the focus on consent. In fact, one of my favorite quotes from the book is just about that (see at the bottom of this post – TW: Rape).

To conclude, Storm is an emotional rollercoaster with a HEA at the end (because if anyone deserves one, it’s Marilyn and Noah), that had left me bawling my eyes out and my cat confused as to what made me so emotional (really, crying people confuse him). At least this time he let me pet him and didn’t think scratching the bejaysus out of me would make me feel better! 🙂

Quote (TW: Rape):

“If you didn’t say yes and mean it, that was rape. If you did it to avoid physical harm, that was rape. It doesn’t matter how many times or with whom, if you didn’t want to be with them, then you were raped.”

Book Reviews, Janie Crouch, Military Romance, Romantic Suspense, Uncategorized

Scout (Linear Tactical book 11) – Janie Crouch

[Image source: Goodreads]
“You should never be ashamed. Your scars are a badge of honor. Scars mean you know how to survive.”

Theme: Forgiveness
Warnings: Potential PTSD (fire)
HEA: Yes
Spoilers ahead: No

Synopsis

Linear Tactical’s Wyatt Highfield is running for his life with intel that will break up a human trafficking ring.

The last thing he wants is to bring danger to Nadine Macfarlane’s door. The gentle beauty has been through enough, and has the scars—physical and emotional—to prove it.

But she’s his only option.

Trying to heal from wounds caused by trusting the wrong person, Nadine has spent the past two years hiding from nearly everyone. The only exception has been her online relationship with Wyatt. So when they meet face-to-face by sheer chance, she thinks it’s a sign from the universe that it’s time to start living.

Not that it’s time to start dying.

As Wyatt’s secret comes out, Nadine realizes she has to face the past in order to save the future.

Review

Scout follows the story of Wyatt and Nadine, whom we first meet in Survival Instinct (Instinct series – a must read!). I was delighted to see that they got their own story, as I remember from Survival Instinct that there was some chemistry between the two. I was even more delighted to see that it was published as part of the Linear Tactical series!

The book itself was one of the best in the series, and if there is anything to complain about, it’s that it was way too short (personally, I could use a whole series focused on Wyatt and Nadine). Their chemistry, the simmering romance between them, Wyatt’s understanding of Nadine’s wounds – physical and emotional – as well as the bad guys seemingly one step ahead of them, made for a fast paced, sizzling read. Oh, and the LT guys’ banter at Wyatt’s expense was the funniest thing I’ve ever read. I’d recommend the book for that scene alone!

Scout also gives us a more elaborate introduction to Mosaic, a criminal organization that appears to play a major role in Crouch’s upcoming books, and which was previously mentioned in Redwood. We also get more information about Zodiac Tactical (the upcoming new series).

Lastly, the extended epilogue. I’ve read the previous books, so Phoenix’, and Baby’s parts were familiar to me but dear Lord, was I not prepared to read Ghost’s epilogue (not that this is the end of Dorian and Ray’s story – we get a better insight into them in the final book of the series, Blaze). It was everything – heartbreaking, amazing, a miracle.

Overall, I have a feeling Scout will stay with me for a very long time. It has definitely set a high bar for any books that I read in the future.

Next on my TBR:

Blaze – Janie Crouch
Trusting Skylar – Susan Stoker

Book Reviews, Military Romance, Romantic Suspense, Susan Stoker

Shielding Devyn (Delta Team Two book 6) – Susan Stoker

[Image source: Goodreads]
“Life is short, and we could spend it worrying about every decision we’ve made in the past and our actions, but that’s not going to do a damn thing to change them. We have to keep moving forward.”

Theme: Family
Warnings: Addiction – Gambling
HEA: Yes
Spoilers ahead: Indirect

Synopsis

When Devyn Groves needed a place to get away, she left her Midwestern state and headed for Texas, to the town where her Delta Force brother is stationed. It was supposed to be a brief stop, a safe and temporary refuge on the way to wherever she decided to settle next. Fast-forward over a year later, and she’s made amazing friends, is working part time as a vet tech, and is no closer to leaving. But there’s always the possibility…which is why she keeps Lucky, her brother’s teammate, at arm’s length. Even though it’s the last thing she wants to do.

Troy “Lucky” Schmidt fell for Devyn the moment he met her. She’s beautiful, smart, funny, and stronger than she thinks, especially after beating a serious childhood illness. Unfortunately, she’s also skittish around him, and seemingly not interested in a relationship of any kind. But Lucky isn’t one to give up easily. With a little help from her brother, he slowly breaches Devyn’s defenses…in a way even the headstrong vet tech can’t resist.

But when the very reason she fled her hometown shows up unexpectedly, Lucky suspects Devyn’s ready to bolt once again. Neither believe she’s in any kind of danger…until she is. Now Lucky, and the rest of his Delta team, have to band together to save one of their own.

Review

Family dynamics can be complicated. On the one hand you’d do anything for your own flesh and blood. But what if, in the process of doing that, you expose yourself to danger? Where do you draw the line? If it becomes too much, is the pain of cutting ties with your closest ones worth it? And how does one ask for help when they really need it? This is what Devyn Groves is about to find out in Shielding Devyn.

Devyn and Lucky’s relationship is something that’s been hinted at in the previous Delta Force Team Two books. I was really looking forward to getting to know their story, which did not disappoint.

I loved Devyn and Lucky’s devotion to animals, and reading how they came to be parents to Angel and Whiskers had me smiling wide because the story was just so relatable.

I also loved how Stoker did not beat around the bush (no pun intended) describing Devyn’s ordeal. It was refreshing to read about a heroine who did not come out the other side in perfect make up, perfect clothes, and as if she’d just stepped out of a shower. Seriously, being held captive is not sunshine and roses. It’s dirty, it’s gross, but most of all, surviving it makes one a hell of a strong warrior. And this is exactly what Shielding Devyn portrayed.

Overall, this was a read full of insightful statements (for example, the quote above). It made me aware of how important it is to help others, but to also know that you can help them so much. That unless they want to be helped, there is not much you can do. And that sometimes, one has to hit the absolute rock bottom to realize that they need that help.

Next on my TBR:

Blaze – Janie Crouch
Trusting Skylar – Susan Stoker

Book Reviews, Military Romance, Romantic Suspense, Susan Stoker

Defending Raven (Mountain Mercenaries book 7) – Susan Stoker

[Image source: Goodreads]
““Ten years,” he said softly. “Ten years, twenty-two days, four hours, and thirty-six minutes. That’s how long you’ve been missing. And I’ve been searching for you for every single second of that time. I’ve prayed to hear your voice again . . . and the reality is so much better than my dreams.””

Theme: Human Trafficking
Warnings: Rape
HEA: Yes
Spoilers ahead: Yes

Synopsis

A missing woman leads the alpha heroes on their boldest mission yet in New York Times bestselling author Susan Stoker’s searing Mountain Mercenaries novel.

It’s been ten years since Rex’s wife, Raven, disappeared from a Vegas casino. Never losing hope, he even formed the Mountain Mercenaries to help find her—and other missing wives, sisters, and children. Now Rex and his fearless team are following a lead to Lima, Peru, where the rescue operation is greater than they imagined.

A day at a time. That’s been Raven’s motto for a decade. Once held captive by an elusive sex trafficker, she has an indomitable will to survive. But Raven’s not ready to leave Peru. She can’t. Not yet. Because her liberation from the barrios comes with devastating consequences. One wrong move and all hope will be lost to an unimaginable hell.

For the Mountain Mercenaries, the stakes have been raised. The threats are escalating. But Rex hasn’t searched this long, risked so much, and come this far to lose Raven all over again.

Review

Defending Raven has elicited so many emotions, I am not sure where to begin. First, I don’t know what it is about books that wrap up a series – they always make me feel nostalgic. Those last few pages, knowing that the stories of all the characters I’ve grown to love have been told, make me feel like it’s the last day of college and I’m walking through the empty corridors, knowing a chapter of my life has come to a close. In the case of Defending Raven, the ending couldn’t be more fitting.

Second, never have I spent three days reading the epilogue before – and not because there was a lot to wrap up. Rather, I felt that I wasn’t ready to part with the characters. While Rex and Raven reunited rather early in the plot, it feels like all that time wasn’t nearly enough considering the ten years that Raven was missing prior to the events of the book. But then again, I don’t think any amount of time would make up for the heartbreak and the trauma that both characters endured.

This brings me to the book’s main topics – human trafficking and rape. In fact, the entire Mountain Mercenaries series focuses on the subject in one way or another, and for this reason I put a warning on this review. While the book itself isn’t very explicit, I think some scenes may upset some readers.

Reading Raven’s story broke my heart – not only had she been subjected to major physical and mental torture, she had to cope with it mostly alone for such a long time. Yet throughout it all, her grit and love kept her going, if not for herself, then for her son, whom she had as a result of her captivity. That is not to say she didn’t suffer – of course she did, and it’s evident in her initial reactions to being close to Rex. But Rex didn’t search for his wife for ten years only to give up on her because of what she went through. He was patient, understanding, and loving, more than aware of what human trafficking can do to a person. He gave Raven space when she needed it, while at the same time being there for her, determined to help her find her way to some semblance of normality. All of that, even as he dealt with his own emotional turmoil. Needless to say, this book made me cry. And I rarely cry over books (okay, that one’s a lie).

Throughout the book there’s plenty of action that includes rescuing a child from a barrio in Lima, a high-speed chase, and even a John McClane-style airplane escape from the bad guys (if one of the pilot’s “Yipee-ki-yay, motherfuckers” is any indication). Combined with the characters’ internal struggles, and the HEA, Defending Raven is bound to keep you on your toes till the very last page.

Next on my TBR:

Shielding Devyn – Susan Stoker
Scout – Janie Crouch