Review of New Release: I Dream of Danger (Ghost Ops #2)

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Release Date: July 2, 2013

Purchase on Amazon: I Dream of Danger: A Ghost Ops Novel

I Dream of Danger (Ghost Ops #2) by Lisa Marie Rice

Book Description

They are the Ghost Ops: a covert squad of super-elite soldiers. After their team was betrayed and massacred, the three surviving members went underground and built Haven, a community of misfits and geniuses. Now they’re at a crossroads, facing a new threat capable of destroying everything they hold dear.

When Nick Ross disappears from Elle Thomason’s life, she is certain she’ll never see the man she loves again—except in her dreams. Ten years later, as a respected researcher breaking new ground in psychic phenomena, she sends a desperate call for Nick’s help. One by one, her colleagues have started disappearing . . . and Elle knows she’s next. An elite soldier, Nick never meant to hurt Elle, duty kept him away—and then she vanished. Now troubled by unusually vivid, disturbing dreams of Elle in danger, Nick will rescue the only woman he’s ever wanted and bring her back with him to Haven.

Though powerful men are after Elle and her special abilities, Nick will die before leaving her side again. 

Book Review

I read Heart of Danger, the debut of the Ghost Ops series earlier this year and enjoyed the creative story angle Rice presents by delving into a not so distant future world of elite military warriors who are considered domestic terrorists by the U.S. government and are now fugitives. Although I Dream of Danger does provide exposition about the plot conflicts, it is best to start the series with the first book. I felt the background information provided in this second book was more to help readers remember important details about the plot rather than to introduce new readers to this series.

I expected the plot to focus on the Ghost Ops’ means of survival as they are being hunted and their quest to clear their name.

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While this aspect is part of the story, it becomes secondary to a more complex plot revolving around a sinister scientist’s obsession with creating a superhuman warrior. The paranormal aspects included add a level of intrigue to the story, and they provide the impetus for human scientific experimentation to continue and for the Ghost Ops team’s involvement to stop the unethical practices of a wealthy pharmaceutical company.

The novel begins ten years before the current action of the central plot. Ella Thomason is the protagonist who has a connection with one of the future Ghost Op team members, Nick Ross. She grew up with Nick until his sudden disappearance five years ago.  When he unexpectedly shows up at the funeral of Ella’s father, she is both shocked and excited about his return:

“The Nick standing next to her looked just as he had in her dreams-hard, tough, fully a man. Dark eyes that gave nothing away, close-cropped dark hair, broad shoulders, lean muscles. A formidable man in every way, even though the last time she’d seen him he’d been just on the verge of manhood.”

During his absence, Ella has often had vivid dreams about Nick observing his life, and through her dreams, she can piece together information about what Nick’s life might be like.  She has never been as close to anyone as she was to Nick, and his abrupt departure left her feeling more alone than ever. Her loneliness was only compounded when she had to sacrifice her life, her dreams, and her education to stay home and take care of her ailing father, whose dementia steadily worsened.

Rice uses multiple POVs to tell the story this story which was effective in providing more depth to their characters and adding more substance to the story. Getting Ella’s and Nick’s POVs deepened my understanding of the intense feelings they have for each other, even through their separation.  Later in the story, Rice also adds the POV of the antagonist, Dr. Charles Lee, the scientist with a deranged agenda for creating a super warrior with special powers.  His motivation for power and respect is the driving force behind his actions.

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During these early scenes it is evident that Ella’s feelings for Nick are stronger than just friendship:

“Nick had been in her heart always, since he had first come into their lives. She’d only been seven, but she loved him the moment she laid eyes on him. She’d been a girl then, but she was a woman now-and everything womanly in her was concentrated on him, his handsome face, those broad shoulders, the outsized hands.” 

Nick’s POV reveals his inner conflict over his restraint and desire for Ella. His attraction for her began before he left her, knowing she was too young for him at the time.

“But now? She wasn’t a young girl, she was a woman and blindingly beautiful. She was no longer the pretty girl of privilege, she was a beautiful woman who had suffered. Overly thin, unsmiling, stunning.

Absolutely irresistible.” 

Nick and Ella finally give into their yearnings for one another as passion consumes them. Ella is elated that Nick is back in her life.  When Nick leaves Ella again without telling her where he is going, she is devastated:  “Nick…was gone. It struck her like a blow to the heart, squeezing all the air out of her chest.”  His abandonment once again almost breaks her. By providing this glimpse of how their relationship has developed, Rice reinforces the agony both Ella and Nick experience once they are no longer together.
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However, I was relieved to see Ella take charge of her life by leaving her childhood home that has become a dark, depressing, stifling place that would only continue to stagnate her.  Courageously, she takes her meager belongings and with limited resources sets out to forget Nick and begin living her life. Kudos to Ella for being proactive instead of playing the victim!

The author makes a smooth transition to describe Ella’s life ten years later. The vivid, life-like dreams Ella has had her entire life have led her to study neurobiology so that she can begin to identify, understand, and control her perception that she is having out-of-body experiences when she dreams. Her work leads her to become part of a research group focused on the study of those with psychic abilities.  Unknowingly, she has become a part of Dr. Lee’s experimentation on human subjects in his efforts to create super soldiers with enhanced abilities and powers.

When members of the research group go missing, Ella is forced to flee. Her desperate situation leads her to psychically call out for Nick, who is now a member of the fugitive Ghost Ops team. Nick hears her call in his dream and begins a frantic search to find Ella. From this point on, the Ghost Ops get involved in the drama.  Here we get to see a very different side of unflinching, stoic Nick whose biggest weakness is Ella. I could feel the meltdown he was beginning to experience in the painstaking search for the woman he loves.  Rice does an excellent job of describing Nick’s tumultuous emotions and his growing impatience to rescue Ella. I even begin to get anxious, silently saying, “Hurry, hurry, hurry before it’s too late!”  Needless to say, the suspense was intense.

Ella is an admirable character because of her diligence in overcoming the obstacles she has faced. She never complained or whined about the sacrifices she made to care for her father.  She started over with nothing and eventually earned a Ph.D. Intuitively, she knows she has a gift that others do not, and I like that she becomes passionate about her research to find answers.  Yet, when she becomes suspicious about the real agenda behind Lee’s research, I’m disappointed when she passively continues with research she knows is unethical.

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The story builds into another crisis when Ella eventually works with the Ghost Ops team to resolve another major conflict of the story: the need to rescue her fellow research subjects who have been kidnapped by Dr. Lee and whose lives are in immediate danger.

Furthermore, Ella has her own inner conflicts that she must deal with before she can move forward now that Nick has reappeared in her life.  How will she deal with the pain from Nick’s abandonment and can she overcome her fears that he won’t leave her again?

Rice also weaves in an unexpected element to the story that creates another suspenseful plot thread which changed my expectations of what to expect next In his impatience to develop a super warrior, Dr. Lee has begun injecting himself with the experimental drug, and the consequences of his actions shocked and frightened me. This complication is just developing and will certainly carry over into the plot of the third book in the series. I am looking forward to discovering how this new problem will add to the plot.

Rice does a good job of describing and explaining the advanced technology used to forward the plot in this fictitious world, and she shows how the technology can improve our lives, but that it also has the potential to destroy our future.

I had three major issues with the plot. First of all, I appreciated that Rice included background information throughout the story to aid in the reader’s understanding, but at times this information was redundant and detracted from the pacing of the story.
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A second aspect was that I felt the rescue mission to capture Ella’s colleagues was rushed and lacked the full attention it deserved. I wish Rice would have lengthened the story so that the drama could have been heightened.

A final component that I didn’t like was in how closely this storyline replicated the one in Heart of Danger. A Ghost Op falls in love with a scientist with paranormal abilities, and she uses those powers to help in the mission. I also found the crisis and its outcome mimics the one in the first book. I hope that this doesn’t mean Rice will use a formulaic plot as she continues the series.

Overall, this is a series that I will continue to follow. The characterization and creative storyline with some surprising events kept my interest, and I look forward to the third book which features Jon, the third predominant team member and his search for a woman in danger.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

Disclaimer:  All quotes used in this review have been taken from the book’s pre-published version and may be changed or omitted from the final, published copy.

Rating (I would rate this 3.5 Suns so I am rounding up)

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About the Author

Author

Lisa Marie Rice is eternally 30 years old and will never age. She is tall and willowy and beautiful. Men drop at her feet like ripe pears. She has won every major book prize in the world. She is a black belt with advanced degrees in archaeology, nuclear physics, and Tibetan literature. She is a concert pianist. Did I mention her Nobel Prize? Of course, Lisa Marie Rice is a virtual woman and exists only at the keyboard when writing erotic romance. She disappears when the monitor winks off. (From Amazon)

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Start this Series

Heart of Danger (Ghost Ops #1)

Heart of Danger Cover

Purchase on Amazon:Heart of Danger: A Ghost Ops Novel

“Edgy, sexy, endlessly exciting…. Give me a dangerous, seductive Lice Marie Rice hero any day …or night.”
New York Times bestselling author Shannon McKenna

 

Spotlight, Review, and Giveaway for Kissing Fire by A.M. Hargrove

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Kissing Fire (An Edge Novel # 3) by A.M. Hargrove

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Genre: Contemporary Romance

Date Published: April 15, 2013

Purchase on Amazon:  Kissing Fire (ebook) / Kissing Fire (book)

Each book in An Edge Novel series can be read as a stand alone

Book Description 

Preston Mitchell, undercover DEA agent, has led a life of danger and obscurity. Knowing his job would never allow a normal relationship, he’s never opened himself up to any woman…that is until the lovely Avery Middleton stumbles into his life.

To the outsider, Avery has it all…wealth, family, connections and a great job. But on the inside, she’s miserable. Her social life is in the dumpster, the kooky gal next door has some zany plans for her and her selfish mother drives Avery to the point of insanity. Her only salvation is to get out of Charleston and start a new life. So that’s precisely what she does. She moves to Seattle and steps right into the path of hot and sexy, Preston.

Unfortunately for both of them, Avery ends up being in the wrong place at the wrong time and is now running for her life. But she’s not alone. She has a gorgeous DEA agent protecting her and suddenly finds herself irresistibly captivated by him. There’s only one problem. Preston carries more than his share of mental baggage, courtesy of his job. His covert missions have put him in places and situations he can barely stand to think about. Avery rocks Preston’s world because she is nothing like anyone he’s ever met and something extraordinary begins to happen between them. But can their love survive in this world, where danger, intrigue and deception lurk on every corner?

*****

Book Review

Kissing Fire is a contemporary romance that blends a comedic and serious tone to tell  this story.  Based on the book’s description, I expected more of a dangerous, action-oriented story involving romance, so I was happily surprised to find this book includes funny, light-heart moments to provide relief from some of the painful, and, at times, heart-wrenching aspects of the storyline.

The initial setting for the story is Charleston, South Carolina, where Avery Middleton realizes her social and romantic life has become stagnant.  Longing for a change, she accepts a job in Seattle and moves with the intention of starting over. Although Avery comes from a privileged family, she wants to be independent from her family’s wealth and be successful on her own.  Avery is an easily likeable character because of her feisty nature, humorous thoughts, and the unexpected situations she often finds herself in, leading to, sometimes, embarrassing and belling jiggling laughter.

Upon arrival to Seattle, Avery visits her brother who has also moved away from home to start a life with his new wife. Caroline.  There, she coincidentally meets Preston Mitchell, Caroline’s brother, who is staying with the couple. Preston is a DEA agent who has recently returned to the country after completing his latest undercover mission.

When Avery and Preston meet, they instantly fall into lust for each other. By providing both Avery’s and Preston’s point-of-view, I was able to really connect with and care about them because I’m given insight into their private thoughts that clearly reveal their insecurities and vulnerabilities.

Working undercover has put Preston into more than his share of unimaginable horrors. Because of his past, Preston sees himself as “Dirty. Disgusting. And certainly not fit for proper society.” He believes that he will never find a good woman capable of loving him because of the physical and psychological scars that have skewed his perspective.

Preston initially hides his profession from Avery to protect his identity, but, when a Mexican Drug Cartel finds his location, he is forced to go on the run, dragging Avery along with him, since she now become a target as well. Although Avery is strongly attracted to the sexy DEA Agent, her low self-esteem and body image issues make her think Preston would never be interested in her. An awkward situation provides the impetus for them to reveal their insecurities and paves the way for romance.

I fell in love with Preston over the course of the story. His willingness to sacrifice his personal happiness for his country is more than admirable, given what he’s endured.  I also loved how he is direct and honest with Avery, so that she knows what she’s getting into before they pursue the relationship.  As he reveals the gritty, raw details of his past, Avery always responds  to him in a way that soothes Preston’s mind and body.  They are so good for each other on an emotional level because they consistently boost one another’s self-esteem. I also appreciated that Preston wants more than just a sexual relationship with Avery. He wants her heart before they become intimate. Their time alone together allows their attraction to grow into love. The passion between them is hot, steamy, and intense!
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Everything is wonderful until Preston confesses a secret he’s been keeping from Avery, and everything falls apart. Avery is angry, hurt by Preston’s actions, and she doesn’t feel she can trust him anymore.  Once Preston explains the motivation behind his actions, I know I could forgive him. However, Avery thinks he’s destroyed her life.  I have to admit, I think Avery overreacts by giving up on their relationship so quickly after they have worked so hard to establish a strong foundation.

Nevertheless, Avery leaves Preston. She leaves Seattle to start over yet again. Although the hurt and pain over their breakup lingers, a visit from her friend Melissa, a female sumo wrestler, with her outrageous antics provides a nice diversion to Avery’s somber mood.

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A central question from this point in the story is whether Preston and Avery can truly let go of their love for each other. In the midst of all this angst, Preston and Avery again find their lives endangered, and the action and suspense that follow, as these conflicts are resolved, also contribute to making this book a worthwhile read.

Rating

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*****

Excerpt from Kissing Fire

Boy oh boy, was Preston hot. Make that boiling. Scorching. Molten lava kind of hot. Messy dark brown, slightly wavy hair that was not long but not short either. And, oh what a mouth he had. His mouth made me want to jump on board and ride that train for life. His lips were the perfect kind of full and every so often, he’d run his tongue across them and I’d automatically squirm. His face was pure angular perfection…high cheekbones with those slight hollows beneath them, that were the perfect shape to accommodate my lips. But those eyes…my oh my. They were golden brown, like coffee with lots of cream. I could only imagine what they looked like right when he was…

Cheezits Ava, get your head out of the bedroom!

“Wouldn’t you agree Ava?” my brother was asking me.

I shook my head and swallowed. “I’m sorry, what did you say?”

“We were talking about the weather here in the summer and I was saying how much more pleasant it is than in Charleston?”

“Oh, yes it is.” Was my voice breathy sounding, or was it my imagination?

Preston was wearing jeans that rode low on his hips. They were tight and he had a superior set of buns. What would I pay to see those babies?

“Ava? What do you think?” someone asked.

“Buns!” I blurted out.

“Excuse me?” Caroline, my sister-in-law, asked.

Holy Toledo, did I just say buns out loud? What the hell Ava!!!

“Fun! Anything sounds fun!” I quickly said.

“Ava, you look a little flushed. Are you sure you’re feeling okay?”

“Hot! I mean no, I’m fine.” I looked across the room and my face totally flamed. Everyone was staring at me. I had unbuttoned my blouse and was fanning myself. I’d noticed that Preston had a gloriously hot tattoo of a sideways cross on his arm. I think I needed to go home.

“So Avery, where are you staying?” Caroline asked.

“Oh, I’m at the Four Sexy. Seasons! I mean the Four Seasons.”

Oh dear God, I need to get my act together here.

*****

About the Author

A.M. Hargrove

One day, on her way home from work as a sales manager, A. M. Hargrove, realized her life was on fast forward and if she didn’t do something soon, it would quickly be too late to write that work of fiction she had been dreaming of her whole life.  So, she rolled down the passenger window of her fabulous (not) company car and tossed out her leather briefcase.  Luckily, the pedestrian in the direct line of fire was a dodgeball pro and had über quick reflexes enabling him to avoid getting bashed in the head.  Feeling a tad guilty about the near miss, A. M. made a speedy turn down a deserted side street before tossing her crummy, outdated piece-of-you-know-what lap top out the window.   She breathed a liberating sigh of relief, picked up her cell phone and hit #4 on her speed dial.

 Boss:  Hello

 A.M.:  Boss, is that you?

 Boss:  Why yes, A. M., who else would be answering my phone?

 A.M.:  Er… right.  Well, I’m calling to let you know you can pick up my luxury Ford Focus at Starbucks near the interstate.

 Boss:  Why ever would I want to do that?

 A.M.:  Because I quit!

 A.M. hit the end button and speed dialed her husband.

 A.M.:  Hi hubs, can you pick me up at Starbucks?

 Hubs:  Sure… Having some car trouble?

 A.M.:  Not at all.  I don’t have a car to have trouble with because I just quit my job.

 Hubs:  WHAT?!

 A.M.:  It’s time for a new career and I am going to be a very famous novelist.

 So began A. M. Hargrove’s career as a young adult paranormal romance author of self-published ebooks.  Her series, The Guardians of Vesturon, centers around a family of six siblings and is a mix of humor, mystery, suspense and of course, love.  Survival and Resurrection are her first and second full length novels in the series and Beginnings is the prequel novella.  Her third installment, Determinant, will be released on June 30, 2012.  (It didn’t happen exactly like that, but you get the idea!)

Author Links

Official Website | Twitter | Facebook | Blog

Goodreads Author Page | Goodreads Fan Club

*****

Giveaway

 Click on the rafflecopter link below to enter the A.M. Hargrove Kissing Fire Tour Giveaway!

Prizes: 

Ebooks of Kissing Fire, Shattered Edge and Edge of Disaster
 
$50 Amazon Gift Card

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*****

To post a comment, click on the green “Leave a Comment” link located at the bottom of this post after the tags.

Review of Runes by Ednah Walters

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Purchase on Amazon: Runes (Paranormal Romance, YA,) (ebook) /Runes (book)

Runes (Book 1) by Ednah Walters

Book Description

Seventeen-year-old Raine Cooper has enough on her plate dealing with her father*s disappearance, her mother’s erratic behavior and the possibility of her boyfriend relocating. The last thing she needs is Torin St. James a mysterious new neighbor with a wicked smile and uncanny way of reading her.

 Raine is drawn to Torin’s dark sexiness against her better judgment, until he saves her life with weird marks and she realizes he is different. But by healing her, Torin changes something inside Raine. Now she can’t stop thinking about him. Half the time, she’s not sure whether to fall into his arms or run.

Scared, she sets out to find out what Torin is. But the closer she gets to the truth the more she uncovers something sinister about Torin. What Torin is goes back to an ancient mythology and Raine is somehow part of it. Not only are she and her friends in danger, she must choose a side, but the wrong choice will cost Raine her life.

*****

Watch the Book Trailer for Runes

*****

Book Review

Runes is  the first book in a fantastic new young adult (YA) series that features an amazing cast of characters,  lots of mystery and suspense involving supernatural beings, and the beginnings of a fragile, but sizzling romance.

Lorraine Cooper or Raine as she’s called by her friends is the heroine of the story. She’s a teenager on the cusp of turning seventeen, and the plot of the story is revealed through only Raine’s point of view. By limiting the point of view, Walters allows readers to connect with Raine and really get to know how strong and honorable she tries to be as she gradually discovers that she and her fellow swim team members are the target of a group of supernatural beings who are here on a mission.  It is engaging to follow along as Raine slowly starts to piece together the mystery behind runes magic.

Raine seems like a typical teenager who enjoys hanging out with her two best friends, Cora and Eirik. However, early in the story, readers learn that Raine is putting up a courageous front as she deals with the uncertainty of her father’s fate.  Three months ago, her father disappeared when his plane crashed over the Pacific Ocean, and Raine and her mother have no idea whether he survived, since his body was never recovered.  Her mother refuses to give up hope, but Raine is not as certain. She chooses to keep her concerns and worries to herself, refusing to burden her friends and family.

Little does Raine know that her life is about to dramatically change when her new next door neighbor Torin St. James knocks on her door, looking for Eirik.

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Raine is in awe when she first sees him:

“I took a step back, my pulse leaping. In one sweeping glance, I took in the stranger’s shaggy black hair, piercing Pacific blue eyes under arched eyebrows, black leather jacket, and hip-hugging jeans. Either fate had conjured the poster boy of all my fantasies and deposited him on my doorstep or I was dreaming.”

Although Raine is immediately attracted to Torin, she refuses to admit it to herself. One main reason is that she has already set her sights on Eirik, her friend from childhood and she’s just waiting for him to take the initiative to elevate their friendship status to a committed dating relationship.

Furthermore, Raine finds Torin to be arrogant, annoying, and rude to the point that she tries to avoid him. The conversations between the two are witty, engaging, and show how much Torin enjoys bringing out Raine’s snarky attitude. It is easy to see there is a mutual attraction but both do their best to ignore the electricity that seems to spark when they’re together.

Raine’s intuition tells her something is unusual about Torin and the three new exchange students, Andris, Maliina, and Ingrid, she meets when the swim team members gather for a game of Ultimate Frisbee at the park.

Andris is a charismatic character who reminds me of Spike from Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

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He’s tactless, but honest and direct, even though he doesn’t seem to care who gets hurt.
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This becomes evident when he openly flirts with Raine, making his significant other, Maliina jealous. She retaliates by assaulting Raine during the game.

A major turning point in the story occurs when Torin steps in and magically heals Raine. She knows her injuries are severe, but, after Torin holds her for a minute, she miraculously is able to stand up and walk away.  photo wow2_zps42bd324b.gif

She confronts Torin to find out who or what he is and how he saved her.

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Torin denies her claims until she reveals that she has seen tattooed markings on Andris. In his shock, he confirms some of her suspicions:

.“…They’re not tattoos. They’re runes, and Mortals aren’t supposed to see them.”6754170-vertical-rows-of-unusual-unique-runes-or-ancient-symbols-from-dead-language-computer-generated-compl

Raine soon realizes that she is surrounded by some type of supernatural beings who seem to have a vested interest  in what happens to the  members of her school’s swim team.

The action continues with a series of disastrous events that involve Raine and the rest of the swim team, motivating her to discover the origins of Torin and his counterparts, the significance of the magical runes, and the supernaturals’ sinister purpose for targeting this particular group of athletes. Fortunately for Raine, Torin is always there to protect her. Because Torin cares so much to Raine, he does admit that he is an immortal but rules prevent him from revealing anything more about what he is and his job.

tumblr_mn1hqcloX61r61ijvo1_500ImmortalEventually, Raine learns that Torin has been breaking rules for her, and there are serious consequences for those who interfere with one’s destiny or fate.

Even though Raine is seeing Eirik, and Torin isn’t supposed to get involved with mortals, they can’t fight their desire for each other:

“You feel it, don’t you? “ he said. “This thing between us.” 

“Thing didn’t begin to describe how I felt about him. He was an obsession, a craving. I had Eirik whom I’d loved since we were children and that wasn’t about to change. But Torin affected me in ways I couldn’t begin to describe. I was miserable without him, yet when with him my emotions were all over the place. He made me mad one minute and euphoric the next.”

One kiss is all it takes for them to realize they have found true love.

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Unfortunately, they aren’t getting that happily ever because each is willing to make sacrifices to ensure the safety and happiness of the other. As more secrets are revealed, the rising action of the story leads to an intense, but unresolved, climatic ending.
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Walters weaves together an intriguing story of mystery involving magic, mythology, and romance that consumed me until the last page.  The shocking cliffhanger has me anxiously awaiting the second book in the series, entitled Immortals.

 I received a copy of this book from Firetrail Publishing via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Rating

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*****

About Ednah Walters

EDNAH WALTERS grew up reading Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys and dreaming of one day writing her own stories. She is a stay-at-home mother of five humans and two American short-hair cats (one of which has ADHD) and a husband. When she is not writing, she*s at the gym doing Zumba or doing things with her family, reading, traveling or online chatting with fans.

Ednah is the author of The Guardian Legacy series, a YA fantasy series about children of the fallen angels, who fight demons and protect mankind. AWAKENED, the prequel was released by Pill Hill Press in September 2010 with rave reviews. BETRAYED, book one in the series was released by her new publisher Spencer Hill Press in June 2012 and HUNTED, the third installment, will be released April 2013. She’s working on the next book in the series, FORGOTTEN.

Ednah also writes New Adult paranormal romance. RUNES is the first book in her new series. She is presently working on book 2, IMMORTALS.

Under the pseudonym E. B. Walters, Ednah writes contemporary romance. SLOW BURN, the first contemporary romance with suspense, was released in April 2011. It is the first book in the Fitzgerald family series. Since then she has published four more books in this series. She’s presently working on book six. You can visit her online at www.ednahwalters.com or www.ebwalters.com.

Contact Ednah:

Website:  http://www.ednahwalters.com/index.html

Goodreads:  http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4188120.Ednah_Walters

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/EdnahWalters

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/ednahwalters

*****

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Music to Complement the book

ELO  “Strange Magic”

*****

Related Links

Click here to learn more :  Norse Mythology

To post a comment or start a discussion, click the small green  “Leave a comment” link located at the end of this post after the listed book tags.

 

Sneak Peek and Review of Midnight Secrets by Ella Grace

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Pre-Order on Amazon: Midnight Secrets: The Wildefire Series (Wildfire) (eBook)

 Midnight Secrets: The Wildefire Series (book)

Release Date: April 30: 2013

Midnight Secrets (Wildefire #1)  by Ella Grace

Book Description

For fans of Maya Banks, Allison Brennan, and Lori Foster, a thrilling new romantic suspense novel from Ella Grace

AT THE STROKE OF MIDNIGHT, THE HEAT BEGINS

 On a hot southern night, with a storm on the horizon, a family is shattered. Three beautiful daughters—Savannah, Samantha, and Sabrina Wilde—go on with their lives, each significantly changed, as they bear the memory of the murder-suicide that killed their parents. For years, they have stayed away from Midnight, Alabama. Until Midnight calls them home.

 Savannah is the first one back, when a grueling case in Nashville leads the young prosecutor to seek shelter in the quiet of the once grand Wilde mansion. But when she finds letters casting doubt on her family’s dark, shameful past, she realizes that peace in Midnight is a shallow façade and sinister secrets lurk beneath the surface. Zach Tanner, once the town’s bad boy, is now the new police chief and still has a wild hold over her. Zach can feel it, too, but he hurt Savannah once. As teenagers, they broke every rule together. Now it’s his job to keep her safe, even though he isn’t sure who her enemies are—or which ones might be his own.

Book Review

Midnight Secrets is the first book in Ella Grace’s new Wildefire Series. This debut novel  is  well-developed, combining mystery, suspense,  and romance that covers a time span of eighteen years. Through flashbacks and ample exposition, the author immerses readers into the fictitious lives of the prominent Wilde family and prepares them  for the rest of the series.

The setting for this series is Midnight, Alabama, a small, overall, peaceful southern town, until Beckett Wilde apparently kills his wife Maggie, and then commits suicide. Left behind and forever emotionally scarred are ten-year-old triplets: Savannah, Samantha, and Sabrina who are raised by their grandfather, Daniel Wilde.

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The suspense-filled prologue takes readers back eighteen years ago to the night of the alleged murder-suicide, describing the event as it actually occurred and establishing the mystery behind the couple’s deaths that serves as one of the main conflicts explored throughout the remainder of the book.

Midnight Secrets is Savannah’s story and starts with a flashback to the Wilde sisters’ teenage years, where Savannah is depicted as quiet and reserved. Unlike her sisters, Savannah doesn’t have much experience with boys until Zach Tanner enters her life by rescuing her from a dangerous situation. Their immediate attraction to each other leads to a sweet, tender romance between this unlikely couple. Zach’s lower socio-economic background and his reputation as a town troublemaker make him feel unworthy of being with someone like Savannah. However, she is wise enough to look beyond the gossip and see the goodness in Zach.

When Zach leaves for a stint in the U.S. Army, Savannah is crushed when he leaves without saying goodbye or staying in contact with her. The flashback ends with Savannah questioning why Zach would behave in this unexpected manner.  Although, the beginning of the book starts off slowly with this back story, it is needed to transition to the present where Savannah and Zach will meet again, thus establishing a second major conflict in the book.

Savannah, now an assistant district attorney in Nashville, is forced to take time off from her job, and she reluctantly returns home to Midnight to settle the Wilde estate, since her grandfather has died. She dreads going home because of the sadness from her childhood that still haunts her and because she knows she will inevitably run into Zach Turner, Midnight’s new police chief.

Their initial meeting is awkward and tense. However, alternating between Savannah’s and Zach’s point-of-views, the author makes it evident that both characters still care deeply about each other and deep down wish there could be a second chance. Zach seeks redemption for abandoning Savannah, but her wounds are deep. Both have kept surprising secrets from the other that must be revealed before their relationship can truly move forward.

Circumstances are presented that lead Savannah and Zach to work together, first to solve a series of break-ins and vandalism around town and then to uncover the truth behind the death of Savannah’s parents. As they spend more time together, the sexual tension between them leads to the rekindling of a more mature, sexier, and steamier romance.

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The pace of the story  picks up after Savannah begins investigating how her parents really died. Samantha and Sabrina are brought back into the story, along with some of Zach’s former Army buddies as they all work together to unravel the mystery. Unexpected twists and turns keep readers engrossed in the story and guessing about the outcome. Although the resolution of the parents’ deaths is somewhat predictable, the author did keep me on my toes by trying to figure out who was involved. I was disappointed, however, by the underlying motivation for killing, which I thought to be petty and shallow.

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Overall, this was a satisfying read because of the  in-depth plot and well-rounded characters that bring the story to life. I am looking forward to the next book in the series, Midnight Lies, which is Samantha’s story.

I received an ARC copy of this book from Random House Publishing- Ballantine Books via NetGalley for an honest review.

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About the Author

Ella Grace

Biography

Ella Grace is a writer of steamy southern suspense, wife, mother of five fur-kids and one reclusive turtle. She loves to write, read, cook the occasional meal, go to the movies and travel when she can. She’s thrilled to be writing a series based in her home state of Alabama.

Ella Grace is the pen name for NYT Bestselling Author Christy Reece.

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