Book Review

Book Review : Crash Into Me by Jill Sorenson.

Though he’s gone into virtual seclusion, Ben Fortune is still the world’s most famous surfer, known as much for his good looks as for his skill. He’s also a suspect in a series of brutal murders that may have begun with his late wife. Now FBI Special Agent Sonora “Sonny” Vasquez has been sent undercover to the elite beach community of La Jolla to make friends with Fortune. With her fierce beauty and take-no-prisoners attitude, she’s more than equipped for the job, and soon she and Ben have collided in an affair that is both intense and irresistible. But for the first time in Sonny’s career, her emotions are threatening to get the better of her. Could this passionate, wounded man, who is genuinely anguished over his troubled daughter, really be a killer? And could falling in love blind Sonny to the greatest danger of all?

When I first read the synopsis for this I must admit my thoughts jumped straight to Point Break. It was the whole undercover in the world of surfers thing, plus I’d only recently watched the film for the first time. Once I’d moved my attention back to the book I liked the sound of Sonny so I eagerly started reading.

The reader is introduced to Sonny in the first chapter, seeing her in the surroundings of the FBI training centre. Straight away it becomes clear that she’s quite a prickly character, very focussed on her job and maintaining her professional reputation. The chapter also sets up the mystery plot that earns the book its place within the suspense subset of the Rouge Romance list – there’s a serial killer within the surf community and Sonny must go undercover to investigate. To make things more interesting, it’s a return to Sonny’s roots, she grew up on the wrong side of the tracks in the same town that these murders have been taking place.

We initially get to see Ben through Sonny’s eyes, through her observations of him as she starts her undercover work. She has him in her sights as a possible suspect, his wife was killed in similar circumstances, though from everything she can see he seems like an unlikely target. She instead uses his daughter to get to him, and then once she has her way in gets to know him in every way.

I liked the plot, though I spent a fair amount of time worrying about what was going to happen when Ben inevitably found out about Sonny’s deception and lies. I liked that their relationship was a little more complicated than sparks fly, they fall in love, the end – they both came with stories and baggage, and were realistic characters.

In addition to Sonny and Ben the other characters were well created and interesting. Carly, Ben’s daughter, is a troubled teen who seems to be constantly challenging her dad. This sort of character could easily become cliched but Sorenson manages to avoid this pitfall.

From the mystery side of the plot I thought I’d got it worked out but discovered I’d got it completely wrong, and the reveal was a surprise to me. I know some people like to be able to work out whodunnit early on but I’m always happy when I don’t manage to work it out. There were however bits of the plot that I was less keen on, some aspects felt a little bit too convenient and at times unnecessary. These were fairly minor quibbles though.

I really enjoyed this book, I liked the surf setting – it was something a bit different. I’d definitely read more by Jill Sorenson in the future.

Wild Heat is published in eBook by Rouge Romance in the UK priced £4.80. Whilst I was provided with a review copy of the book all of the opinions expressed are my own.

Book Review

Book Review : Wild Heat by Bella Andre.

Maya Jackson doesn’t sleep with strangers. Until the night grief sent her to the nearest bar and into the arms of the most explosive lover she’s ever had. Six months later, the dedicated arson investigator is coming face to face with him again. Gorgeous, sexy Logan Cain. Her biggest mistake. Now her number-one suspect in a string of deadly wildfires. As leader of an elite fire-fighting crew in Tahoe, Logan won’t back down from a blaze – or a woman. Maya Jackson may have seduced him with her tears and her passion, but it’ll be a cold day in hell before Logan lets down his guard again. Until Maya’s life is threatened and with his natural-born hero instincts kicking in, Logan vows to protect the woman sworn to bring him down. And as desire reignites, nothing – not the killer fire or the killer hot on their trail – can douse the flames…

Now whilst I am aware of the fact that firemen are not irresistible to all women I’m definitely a sucker for a man in uniform, I remember being hugely disappointed that when I got trapped in a lift the firemen who came to rescue us were all retained firefighters close to retirement age! The blurb for this book therefore hooked me straight away and I knew it was one that I would more than likely enjoy.

The first chapter introduces Maya, she’s had to deal with the belongings of her brother, a firefighter who was killed in the line of duty. She’s hurt, confused and angry over his death and the somewhat questionable circumstances that surround it. It is this emotional turmoil that leads her to make the uncharacteristic move of getting drunk and having a hot one night stand. The second chapter properly introduces Logan, the man from the one night stand. We get to know that he is a specialised firefighter, part of a hot shot crew who deal with dreadful wildland fires. We also get shown just how dangerous this work is, the chapter is action packed and incredibly tense.

After the opening two chapters set the scene and introduce the main characters, the plot spins into a mystery – someone is deliberately setting the fires that the hot shots are fighting, and Maya is the investigator sent to find out who it is. I found the mystery aspect of the book pretty well done, there are plenty of characters introduced that could be the arsonist, whilst I had suspected a few of them I only very briefly considered the actual culprit.

In a romance novel the relationship between the two lead characters has to be a focal point, and has to work for the reader. I found that the relationship between Maya and Logan was pretty sizzling. After that first night together when they were reunited they both intended to resist the other, but of course that didn’t happen. I liked that Maya was a strong and determined woman, I am not a fan of female characters who simply swoon into the obvious hero’s arms. Logan also worked well for me, he’s definitely an attractive character. I liked reading about his role within the hotshot crew and getting to understand the relationships between him and his fellow crew members.

Whilst I really enjoyed this book it was far from perfect. There were a couple of scenes that left me scratching my head, but I could forgive it these as it was such an enjoyable read. This is the first in a series of books about this particular hot shot crew, I’m definitely going to be reading the others.

Wild Heat is published in eBook by Rouge Romance in the UK priced £4.80. Whilst I was provided with a review copy of the book all of the opinions expressed are my own.

Book News

Introducing… Rouge Romance.

For the rest of this week I’m going to be featuring a new digital list from Ebury, Rouge Romance.

The Rouge list is split into six sub-genres – Regency, Historical, Suspense, Contemporary, Paranormal and Occasions and includes many award-winning, New York Times best-selling authors. All the novels are full length and feature covers specially designed for the UK market. They released eight titles released when they launched on 29 September, and plan to publish four books each month with additional extra ones at times like Christmas and Valentine’s Day. The list is eBooks only at the moment, but there are plans to release print versions of the most popular titles in the future.

They have a website which has details of all of the books they have published so far, and information about the authors behind the books. At the moment there is a PDF sampler available to download that gives you a peek at 8 of the titles currently available. In addition to the website they can be found on Twitter @RougeRomance and Facebook here.

I’ve read Bella Andre’s Wild Heat and Jill Sorenson’s Crash Into Me, both from the Suspense sub-genre. I’ll be reviewing Wild Heat tomorrow and Crash Into Me on Friday so make sure you come back to find out what I thought of them!