‘A romantic suspense with a dual setting’. Rosie’s #Bookreview of Third Man On The Left by Roni Hall.

Third Man on the LeftThird Man on the Left by Roni Hall

3 stars

Dani is a nurse, but the recent death of a child has left her feeling guilty and unable to continue in her current job. She changes careers and takes a job working for a non-profit organisation; part of her work will take her to Tanzania. When the trip is delayed Dani has the time to build a romance with Noah, a fellow worker.

In Tanzania she uses her nursing skills but the situation is dangerous, especially when armed men come to the clinic. Dani finds herself responsible for getting her injured co-worker and some village children to safety. Once back in New York although she is reunited with Noah, though some of the drama from the past few weeks continues to cause problems.

I liked the idea of this story, particularly the setting in Tanzania. However, I thought that there were missed opportunities to really show the reader what was happening; in some places the action jumped ahead and left me wanting further explanations. In other areas, the dialogue dragged out with too much every day chit chat; this doesn’t work in fiction, where dialogue needs to be short, snappy, and there for a reason. I’m afraid that I also wasn’t convinced about the romantic elements; there was little build-up or emotion; I didn’t ‘feel it’. It all happened so fast and felt a little cliched, especially the love triangle.

So although there were parts that I enjoyed from this story, I do feel that it would benefit from a re-work, particularly to bring out a more three-dimensional nature to the characters, while I would also like to see some development of the dialogue style to help carry the plot forward.

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Desc 1

Tragic stories are common in the ER but nurse Dani takes the blame for a toddler patient’s death personally, confirming her abusive father’s belief that she is inept. To prove her competency and free herself from overwhelming guilt, she volunteers for a humanitarian mission trip to Tanzania where she can focus on doing good.

Prior to leaving, she meets the love of her life, Noah, who says he will wait for her. However, her mission partner/physician, Carter, is a surfer poster boy who has a thing for Dani. Noah’s gut tells him something about the picture perfect doctor is off but the expedition goes on.

Weeks into her trip the mission is savagely attacked by rebels and Dani is a microsecond too late to prevent her coworker from a devastating injury but saves him from certain death…for now. More rebels are on their way and Dani escapes into the jungle with four lives who are now solely dependent on her for their very survival. The ultimate test of her competency has begun.

Was the strike on the mission random, or was she an unsuspecting dupe in a smuggling deal gone bad?

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT #RomanticSuspence The SEAL’s Temptation by @JacqBiggar

Today’s team review is from Robbie. She blogs here https://robbiesinspiration.wordpress.com/

Rosie's #Bookreview Team #RBRT

Robbie has been reading The SEAL’s Tempation by Jacquie Biggar

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I have read and enjoyed other books by Jacquie Biggar but this is the first book I’ve read in this series. I did not find it difficult to become engaged in this story despite not having read the previous books. Sufficient detail was skilfully woven into this story to provide the background I needed to enjoy this book.

DEA agent, Maggie Holt, is trying to recover from the trauma of being held captive and suffering on-going abuse in the hands of a Mexican drug cartel. Maggie had gone underground in an attempt to crack the case without the blessing of her boss when she was captured. She is now struggling to recover from anxiety and post traumatic stress disorder combined with guilt at her own perceived failure and the danger she’d unintentionally placed her colleagues in when they had to rescue her. She is on paid leave and is recuperating with the rest of her team at the ranch of Frank Stein, one of her rescuers. Frank is retired but had joined the mission to help rescue Maggie.

It is not peaceful in the area where the ranch is located. Shot up signs and dead livestock point to the existence of a gang of troublemakers.

This book is more of a thriller, in my view, than a romance although it has a few strong romantic threads which make the characters more real and interesting. There is lots of action intertwined with Maggie and Frank’s growing attraction and interest in each other and Adam’s, Maggie’s partner’s, interest in their good looking boss, Amanda.

I liked Frank Stein very much, he was a determined and strong personality with a heart of gold. Maggie is also a strong woman and is able to control her PTSD symptoms and help her team when the need arises.

This book will appeal to readers who like an interesting plot, engaging characters, and emotion which is real and convincing.

Desc 1

DEA agent Maggie Holt has been through hell and back.

After eighteen months undercover in a Mexican cartel, Maggie is broken. The kickass agent she once was, is gone, leaving her riddled with guilt and nightmares. Forced to take paid leave, Maggie accepts the offer of a vacation on the ranch of the man who’d rescued her from an almost certain death.

Frank Stein knows the signs of PTSD, he’d suffered the symptoms himself as Chief Petty Officer of SEAL Team Five. Honorably retired from duty, Frank has found peace at the family ranch and hopes it will do the same for Magdalena. Ever since he’d first met her when she was interrogating his buddy, Jared, Frank has been fascinated by the raven-haired beauty and wants the chance to see where their relationship could go.

Adam O’Connor is Maggie’s partner. He knows her. He loved her once and could again, if she’d let him in. But he’s also angry she took the chances she did by going undercover against orders. And now, things are different. She’s different.

When a right-wing group infiltrates the area, will Maggie, Adam, and Frank be able to set aside their differences to stop them before someone dies? And who will Maggie choose, the handsome cowboy, or her charismatic DEA partner?

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Rosie’s #BookReview Of #RomanticSuspense AN UNLIKELY GRAVE by @reily_garrett

An Unlikely GraveAn Unlikely Grave by Reily Garrett

4 stars

An Unlikely Grave is book four in the Moonlight and Murder romantic suspense series.

Josh Loughlin has plans to create a refuge for fellow military veterans. This was once a shared dream with Mike, his fellow friend and soldier, but after a roadside bombing, Josh has returned home alone.

Local rumours that the Ferndel place is haunted didn’t deter Josh from buying the plot; however, within days of his purchase, a murder victim is found. With military evidence at the site, Josh becomes the first suspect and his situation becomes worse when another body turns up.

Detective Brooke Bengert grew up in the area and knew Josh from school; he once saved her from bullies. Now she is determined to defend him, with the help of her police dog and friends within the force.

Although this is a gruesome murder mystery, it is well-balanced with some light romance. There are several canine characters which are a delight, and the friendship between them and their owners works well. Josh’s sister Darby, who we met in book three, connects him with her friends who provide much needed back-up; they show him just how loyal friendship can be.

Overall, another good story in this series. They can be read as stand-alone tales, but I believe readers would get much more from reading the books in order.

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Book description

It takes a predator to catch one.

Detective Brooke Bengert’s recent promotion includes a sharp learning curve with the discovery of a bizarre murder scene, a skeleton bound to a mountain treetop in her remote small town in Pennsylvania. Fate forces her to match wits with a clever serial killer, a chameleon who has selected his next victim. Brooke.

Josh Loughlin returns home after his overseas tour, having bought property with single-minded purpose, to build a refuge where veterans can rejoin polite society. Within days, a body is found a stone’s throw from his backyard. All evidence points to Josh.

Resisting their growing attraction, Josh and Brooke pool their resources with local detectives and their K9 partners to prove that determination and strength of will bind a family together.

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Rosie’s Review-A-Book Challenge #RRABC #RomanticSuspense A Critical Tangent by @reily_garrett

Today’s challenge reviewer is Alex Craigie

Alex has been reading A Critical Tangent by Reily Garrett

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Keiki Tallerman, a student in her final year, has a talent for designing drones. In the opening scene she is flying one of her latest prototypes from her student room and communicating through its microphone and camera with her friend Shelly in a field by a wooded area. As Keiki puts the drone through its paces she witnesses Shelly’s brutal murder and becomes a target for the killer.  Past experiences have instilled a distrust in the police which undermines the growing attraction between her and Nolan, the detective whose protective instincts towards her are sometimes at odds with the evidence stacking up against her.

There are so many characters in the beginning that I did find it hard at first to keep track of them. As this is the first in the series, it shouldn’t be a problem in successive books for readers already familiar with them.  The first scene packs quite a punch and sets the tone for the rest of the novel and kept me turning the pages to find out what happened next.

The personalities are well drawn and the spark between Nolan and Keiki fairly zings off the page. The author uses the device of letting different characters narrate the chapters so that you see the situation from a variety of viewpoints and perspectives. Keiki is feisty but vulnerable, Nolan is strong and caring, and the killer is sadistic and terrifying.

The dialogue and interactions between the characters keep the plot moving on but occasionally the language used would pull me out of the scene. “Rare was the occasion she incurred awkward emotions around men” is one example where the vocabulary seemed clunky and unconvincing. This may simply be down to differences between the American and British market and, having said that, these were rare blips in an otherwise fast-paced and genuinely thrilling narrative.

I particularly like the insight I was given into drone technology and police procedure and I’m sure this is the beginning of a gripping series. A third of the way in, I’d have given this book a 3* rating but once the characters kicked in and I became caught up in the plot I rounded it up to a 4.

Book description

She doesn’t trust cops…
He’s an iron-willed detective who doesn’t know whether to cuff her or kiss her.

Keiki Tallerman is a strong-willed tech prodigy whose life is shattered when her drone captures video of her best friend’s bizarre murder.

Experience has taught her good reason to not trust any police officers, especially when the hard-boiled detectives come knocking on her door. Their suspicions narrow when the second of her trio of friends disappears without a trace from their small urban community.

Conflicting evidence at a disturbing crime scene leaves gossamer threads weaving a complicated web of lies and deceit. Every clue Detective Garnett finds steers the investigation to a deep, dark network entangling the young coed in a labyrinth of cunning subterfuge.

Unable to piece the evidence together, Garnett is torn between following the letter of the law and protecting the amateur sleuth determined to clear her name. Add a large dose of mutual attraction and sparks fly.

Can he earn Keiki’s trust in time to save her life, or will the psychotic killer destroy the woman who is crushing his emotional defenses?

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Rosie’s #Bookreview Of #RomanticSuspense SEEDS OF MURDER (Moonlight &Murder #3) by @reily_garrett

Seeds of MurderSeeds of Murder by Reily Garrett

4 stars

Seeds Of Murder is book three in the Moonlight And Murder series of romantic suspense stories.

When out hiking, biologist Darby and her mentor Basil are attacked by an artificially seeded cloud which directs skin-burning acid rain on them. Someone has weaponised her mentor’s experiment and used it against him.

clouds and rain

Urged to run for her life, Darby seeks out Private Detective Nick Tucker, a former friend of Basil’s, for help. Together they uncover a plot of evil and greed while Darby becomes a target whom Nick vows to protect.

The concept of seed clouding gives this plot a modern feel, without the science going over the head of the reader. The author uses characters from previous books, both civilian and professional which I enjoyed meeting again. The chemistry between them all works well and they welcome Darby into their friendship group with ease. There are a couple of lovely dogs who hold important roles, which should delight canine fans. The tension is interspersed with lighter moments of teasing and camaraderie, many of which heighten the romantic element in the story. Overall a good addition to this series.

two dogs who are best friends

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Book description

Witness Darby Loughlin shifts from hunted to hunter in this spine-chilling thriller of murder, greed, and romance.

On a secluded mountaintop, Darby Loughlin witnesses her mentor’s death during an afternoon hike. It’s murder. She knows it but has no proof. The killer isn’t present, nor does he leave traceable evidence.
Teaming up with former police officer turned private investigator Nick Tucker is a distraction and unwelcome necessity. Unfortunately, she lacks the skills and tools needed to trace the camouflaged assassin.
Straddling the law has never been a problem since her moral compass points true north. This time, however, she must work with authorities to gain insight into a world to which she doesn’t belong.
As the snarl of lies and deceptions unfold, Darby and her K9 partner struggle to stay ahead of the killer who’s selected her as his next victim.

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Rosie’s #Bookreview of #RomanticSuspense Shattered Reflections (McAllister Justice series) by @reily_garrett

Shattered ReflectionsShattered Reflections by Reily Garrett

4 stars

Shattered Reflections is Book Five of the McAllister Justice series of romantic suspense stories.

Young private investigator Katt is hired to find thugs who attacked a man called Denny. However, her gut tells her that he’s hiding vital information, so she seeks the help of her good friend and cop Matt McAllister.

Matt is the oldest brother of a family who all have links to law enforcement. He’s worked with Katt before, and his brothers pass work her way. But ultimately he has an urge to keep her out of trouble as the pair skate around their true feelings for each other.

When Denny’s girlfriend is found dead, Katt’s case turns dangerous and the McAllister family step up to help solve the mystery. But Katt’s independent streak tests their ability to keep her safe.

In a fast-paced tale of industrial espionage, the mix of romance and suspense works well, making this is another good book in the series.

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Book description

Strong-willed and stubborn, Kathryn Nugle enters a man’s profession, untested, inexperienced, and determined to solve a decade-old puzzle.

Intuition flagged her client’s deception but didn’t solve the mystery of his jacket’s crimson stain, yet blood doesn’t lie. When the victim leaves damning evidence behind, fate throws Kathryn into a cascade of events that will challenge her survival skills.
Mathew McAllister is the eldest of six siblings, all current or former detectives. Practical jokes and pranks are part and parcel of his daily life. The newest addition to the family fold is a wisecracking hacker who mangles his strained equanimity and tests his patience in Morse code, security breaches, and invasion of his cherished privacy.
When a vicious murder paints a target on one of their own, the McAllisters close ranks to ferret out the twisted intentions of a serial killer. For fans of Sandra Brown and Lee Child, Shattered Reflections is an exciting thriller with a romantic twist.

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My #BookReview of #RomanticSuspense Scorpio’s Sting by Trish Jackson @TrishaJAuthor

Scorpio's Sting (Zodiac Series)Scorpio’s Sting by Trish Jackson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Three Point Five Stars.

Scorpio’s Sting is a romantic suspense set in San Diego. The story revolves around the fight to stop the trafficking of drugs and humans across the US border from Mexico.

Drew McBain has invented a virtual minefield system to detect drug cartel movements at the border, and repel those who try to enter the US illegally. However, the head of a dangerous cartel sets out to stop the Government from implementing Drew’s system.

Special agent Cornelia ‘Neelie’ Nelson has past links of her own with La Serpiente Coral cartel. But she suspects that she may now be in danger when a strange car follows her home each day.

When the cartel go after Drew’s family, his business and his home, he seeks revenge. A friend tells him about a gang of vigilantes called Escorpio, and reminds him of the scorpion tattoo a stranger once inspired him to have. Drew decides to stop Iglesias one last time.

This is a topical subject and the author has made a good attempt to show the control the cartels have and how hard it is for law enforcement to act. Mixed with the intense subject matter is a hot passion filled romance between Neelie and Drew.

I enjoyed the drug cartel storyline, with the dangers and the passions it flared amongst the victims and others who were in the pay of the drug lord. However, I wasn’t so sure about Drew’s character jumping from a technical inventor to a crime fighter. At times there were too many sloppy words and actions from both Neelie and Drew, regarding safety and security which took the edge off the building of suspense. Both were in roles where they should know that loose talk costs lives, and, as Drew’s friend Dan says: “Everyone has a price.”

Overall an interesting subject matter, I found the romance and the suspense both vying for lead and think the book may have worked better, for me, if the romance had been more a subtle sizzling possibility.

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Book Description

ICE Agent Neelie Nelson and Drew McBain have a habit of meeting in strange circumstances.
Targeted by la Serpeinte de Coral Cartel and the most powerful and ruthless drug kingpin in Mexico, Drew reels from heartbreak after catastrophic heartbreak. The desire for revenge festers while he fights to rebuild his life and protect what is his.
Neelie has never been able to forgive her deceased husband for his unmitigated betrayal, and for his lack of forethought that has put her and everyone she cares for in mortal danger.
Anger, fear, and a mutual passion for revenge fan the flames of their smoldering desire and then a desperate situation forces them to act against the cartel. But how can they match its power?

About the author

Trish Jackson

Trish Jackson, animal lover and chocolate addict, writes contemporary Romantic Suspense, Romantic Mysteries and Romantic Comedy.
In-your-face, spicy, zany, sassy, suspenseful, terrifying, chilling and definitely in bad taste. Trish identifies her works as ‘Fiction with a Conscience’ because she highlights and educates the reader about multiple social problems through her fiction.

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That Darkest Place by @MarciaMeara Romantic #Suspense book #3 Riverbend series set in #Florida

That Darkest Place: Riverbend Book 3That Darkest Place: Riverbend Book 3 by Marcia Meara
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

That Darkest Place is book #3 of The Riverbend romantic suspense series set in Florida. It is the story of Forrest and Jackson Painter, and continues from where we left off in book #2, Finding Hunter.

Jackson is the eldest brother of three, and the book opens with a hospital scene. Left with severe memory loss and an amputated leg, it will take a long time for Jackson to recover.

Forrest is the brother who keeps the family together, and runs the family hardware store. He’s supportive to Hunter, from Book #2, in the past—now he needs Hunter’s support as they pull Jackson through his rehabilitation.

As the book title suggests, this novel deals with its characters’ psychologically darkest moments. I thought the author did a great job describing Jackson—his roller-coaster of recovery followed by deep periods of depression. We see the picture from his point of view and from Forrest’s, who becomes his prime carer once he comes home. Both go through periods of guilt, doubt and discomfort, but with the help of family and counsellors they make progress.

The sinister element built the tension well and I didn’t guess the person behind the threats. This series also has an element of romance in each book and the author writes the intimate scenes with grace and care, using enough description for the reader to use their imagination without it being explicit, so will suit readers who prefer their romance with lower heat levels.

I enjoy this author’s writing style and shall look forward to her next book.

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Book Description

“There are dark places in every heart, in every head. Some you turn away from. Some you light a candle within. But there is one place so black, it consumes all light. It will pull you in and swallow you whole. You don’t leave your brother stranded in that darkest place.”
~Hunter Painter~

The new year is a chance for new beginnings—usually hopeful, positive ones. But when Jackson Painter plows his car into a tree shortly after midnight on January 1, his new beginnings are tragic. His brothers, Forrest and Hunter, take up a grim bedside vigil at the hospital, waiting for Jackson to regain consciousness and anxious over how he’ll take the news that he’s lost a leg and his fiancée is dead. After all, the accident was all his fault.

As the shocking truth emerges, one thing becomes obvious—Jackson will need unconditional love and support from both of his brothers if he is to survive.

Just as he begins the long road to recovery, danger, in the form of a sinister, unsigned note, plunges him back into bleak despair. Scrawled in blood red letters, the accusation—and the threat—is clear. “MURDERER!”

Will the long, harrowing ordeal that lies ahead draw the Painter brothers closer together, or drive them apart forever?

Suspenseful and often heartbreaking, this small-town tale is a testimonial to the redemptive power of love and paints a story filled with humor, romance, and fierce family loyalty.

About the author

Marcia Meara

Marcia Meara is a native Floridian, living in the Orlando area with her husband of 30 years, two silly little dachshunds and four big, lazy cats. She’s fond of reading, gardening, hiking, canoeing, painting, and writing, not necessarily in that order.

At age 69, Marcia wrote “Wake-Robin Ridge,” her first novel, and “Summer Magic: Poems of Life and Love.” Nine months later, she published her second novel, “Swamp Ghosts,” set alongside the wild and scenic rivers of central Florida. Since then, she’s published, “A Boy Named Rabbit: Wake-Robin Ridge Book 2”, “Finding Hunter: Riverbend Book 2,” and is hard at work on “Harbinger: Wake-Robin Ridge Book 3.”

Marcia also has work published in five poetry anthologies published by Silver Birch Press: Silver, Green, Summer, Noir Erasure Poetry, and the May Poetry Anthology.

Her philosophy? It’s never too late to follow your dream. Just take that first step, and never look back.

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