The Lucy Kincaid Series

I absolutely love these novels and cannot stress enough how great I think they are. Each book manages to drag my emotions through the wringer and the last couple in particular have had me sobbing.

Allison Brennan is an author that is new to me, who I discovered about 6 weeks ago. I devoured the books so quickly I felt it would be better to review this series as a whole rather than individual books.

The Lucy Kincaid series consists of the following books :

  • Love is Murder (0.5)
  • Love me to Death
  • Kiss me, Kill me
  • If I should die
  • Silenced
  • Stalked
  • Reckless (novella)
  • Stolen
  • Cold Snap
  • Dead Heat
  • Best Laid Plans
  • No Good Deed
  • The Lost Girls

NB: I have read all of them except Love is Murder and Stolen.

Lucy Kincaid is an aspiring FBI agent who survived a horrific attack as  a teenager but is determined not to let it ruin her life. She comes from a family who fights injustices both on the right and sometimes wrong side of the law.

This series starts while Lucy is in the application process for the FBI and moves through to her working as an FBI agent- and there are more books to come – yay!! It also focuses on her developing relationship with Sean Rogan and the trouble they manage to get into together.

I absolutely love these novels and cannot stress enough how great I think they are. Each book manages to drag my emotions through the wringer and the last couple in particular have had me sobbing.

While Lucy does have emotional scars, she is a very strong character who is constantly fighting against the protectiveness of her family. They think her earlier experiences mean she is unable to deal with the challenges of everyday life. Sean is a security expert and super hot 😍 but comes with his own baggage, but together they are a formidable force.  Sean does not always work within the law and Lucy does not like working outside it, so while he usually ends up involved in her investigations, the results are not always positive.

The mysteries in each book are complex and intriguing and I love the way both Lucy and Sean’s families are often involved with solving/ interfering in the various cases. As the series progresses we see more of their involvement, in particular Kane Rogan and Jack Kincaid who both work as mercenaries, but often end up helping the FBI. We also see Lucy working with partners other than Sean and as she is having to adapt to their various styles, this does not always go well!

While each book has a stand alone story, I recommend reading them in order to truly appreciate the character nuances and development. Having said that, I have not read Stolen and do not feel I missed anything. If you can’t read them in order, I recommend that you definitely read ‘Best Laid Plans’ before ‘No Good Deed’ as they do follow on.  There isn’t a cliffhanger in ‘Best Laid Plans’ but these two are by far the best in the series.

The latest book I have read is The Lost Girls, and again this is brilliant. I was completely immersed and was even thinking about the book when I wasn’t able to read it! It is very emotional and has some very dark moments. There is a lot going on and tension builds between Lucy and Sean as they both deal with the emotional fallout from their respective cases.

I absolutely cannot wait for the next in the series which I have pre-ordered – the only disadvantage is that these books are not available on kindle in the U.K. 😒 And the new book comes from America so having to get it 3 weeks later than release.

This series is, in my opinion, as good as if not better than the In Death series by J.D. Robb – if you know me, you know that is high praise! Hopefully these will be available on Kindle in the U.K. soon so that a new set of readers can discover this amazing set of books.

If you wanted to read the series before this, where Lucy is attacked (set 6 years before these novels occur) you need to read the Evil trilogy, but this is not essential to appreciate the Lucy Kincaid books.

  • Speak No Evil
  • See no Evil
  • Fear no Evil ( this is the one with Lucy involved)

I discovered this author by accident but am so glad I did!

Rating: ★★★★★ 

Book Information
  • Author: Allison Brennan
  • Series: Lucy Kincaid
  • Genre: romantic suspense

 

 

 

 

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In Death Series, Books 21-30

Origin In Death: 21 Well I have lived and breathed Lieutenant Eve Dallas and Roarke for the last four weeks and I still can’t get enough of them!

The next ten books do not disappoint and all the characters continue to develop emotionally, not just Eve and Roarke. The stories continue to be interesting and different, and each time I pick up the next one I’m excited to see where it will take me.

I haven’t mentioned this before but there is often a humorous element in them; I particularly enjoy Eve’s comments on animals and how they will rise up and take over the world. It might sound a little stupid, but Eve has a way of saying it that makes me laugh and she clearly does not like animals and wide open spaces!

Eve’s relationships with everyone continue to develop and I love seeing her interactions with a certain infant that arrives in her best friend’s life – both terror and something else she cant quite identify!

Looking back, it is difficult to reconcile the Eve and Roarke we see now with the ones we first met in Naked in Death, their development really has been amazing but realistic at the same time.

Not really much more I can say except that as mystery series go, this is definitely my favourite and everyone should read them!

Books 21 to 30 are as follows:

  • Origin in Death
  • Memory in Death
  • Born in Death
  • Innocent in Death
  • Creation in Death
  • Strangers in Death
  • Salvation in Death
  • Promises in Death
  • Kindred in Death
  • Fantasy in Death

Note from Grete – I have to apologise for BookThing being so quiet lately but this is pretty much the reason why!  I have never read a series that grips you so completely that as soon as you finish one, you reach for the next.  They really are that good. Watch out though, you will get hooked on them and your purse may never forgive you – until the next one is released that is 😉  As a long running series progresses you expect some weakening of storylines or some repetition but I can quite honestly say they just get better and better!

Book Information
  • Author: J.D. Robb
  • Series: In Death (21-30)

Rating: ★★★★★ 

In Death Series, Books 11-20

Judgement In Death So I finally managed to drag my head out of this series to write a bit more about it!

It really does get better and better, and I am so caught up in it I have been unable to read anything else. One of the main reasons I am enjoying it so much is the relationship threads that run and develop throughout the series. Eve and Roarke in particular continue to develop emotionally and their relationship is very believable.

Despite being 20+ books in, the “whodunnit” aspect of the books continue to be different each time and it still surprises me when the killer is revealed.

The author writes such believable characters, both main and supporting, and I am emotionally invested in all of them.  The stories drag you in and when Roarke and Eve have their fights – some major ones at times – I feel as sick as Eve does!

In this set of books we have Eve investigating other cops, hunting for a well known assassin, a deadly computer virus and having to face up to her past head on, to name but a few.

Roarke also has a bombshell about his past dropped on him in Portrait in Death. I did not see that coming and there were more than a few tears from me as both he and Eve worked through it.

Divided in Death produced some shocking revelations about Eve’s past and again they have to resolve the issues they bring together, but not without some heartache along the way. Very emotionally intense.

Overall, even though I am reading these books straight after each other, I do not get the feeling that it is a recycled plot-line as sometimes happens with other authors. Yes there is a murder, yes Eve will solve it eventually, but I continue to be impressed with how J.D. Robb varies it up.

This continues to be a five star series for me and I must confess to being nearly at book 30 now, I just cannot get my head out of it – the housework has gone to pot, and work is an irritating distraction into my reading time!

Books 11 to 20 are as follows :

  • Judgement in Death
  • Betrayal in Death
  • Seduction in Death
  • Reunion in Death
  • Purity in Death
  • Portrait in Death
  • Imitation in Death
  • Divided in Death
  • Visions in Death
  • Survivor in Death

Note from Grete : Help! I can’t put these books down, they are so engaging and easy to read, I just can’t help reaching for the next one!!

Rating: ★★★★★ 

Book Information
  • Author: J.D. Robb
  • Series: In Death (11-20)

Did You Miss Me?

Did You Miss Me? (The Baltimore Series Book 3) Just when I think Karen Rose has done the best book possible, she proves me wrong with the next one.  Did you Miss Me was a suspenseful masterpiece with an old horrific and tragic crime at the heart of it.

It did feel a bit like this was a get together of characters of previous books, and I couldn’t always place which book or family they were from so it did detract a little bit from the focal characters.  Normally I would mark that down but in all honesty it has made me want to go back and re-read the ones I have and catch up on any I’ve missed.  It was good to see those characters again though, and it widens the ‘world’ for me.

The crimes really hit me on a visceral level, and at times they were very hard to read.  I thought the way they were written was excellent, no excessive drama or padding it out.  It didn’t need it.

I loved Joseph and am so glad he managed to figure things out, to see the real Daphne who in turn I also loved.  She is such a strong woman, it was hard to like her in the previous book.  Here you see her at her most vulnerable and you realise what lies behind the facade.  Just wow.

The masterpiece came when I realised I had followed Karen Rose perfectly down the path she wanted, not even guessing who the real person behind it was.  Genius and a huge OMG! moment.

Creepy, horrific, loving, scary, hot (oh yes there was more heat in this book!), a whole gamut of emotions and I felt wrung out by the end!

The pace was spot on, I didn’t have time to react or ponder as things came left right and centre and the plot was quite simply masterful.  I think it must be hard to write a book like this, to ‘be’ in a psychopath’s head and be able to get out of it again (I don’t know how any crime writer does it). Much kudos and simply brilliant.

Karen Rose is without a doubt one of the best writers of romantic suspense I have found so far, and long may she continue proving me wrong!

Rating: ★★★★★ 

Book Information
  • Author: Karen Rose
  • Buy on Kindle (UK)Buy from Amazon (UK)

Without a Trace

Without a Trace Trace O’Hurley is burnt out and wants nothing more than being left alone with a bottle of whiskey and his own company. Gillian Fitzpatrick has come looking for Trace in desperation, knowing he is the only one who can help her.

This is a great book by Nora Roberts, it is the fourth in the O’Hurley series and while I had not read any previously, I did not feel it affected the story at all. Trace is disillusioned and grumpy, but something about him is so very lovable – not a masculine name though! Gillian is smart, sassy and seemingly not afraid of anything. The story revolves around a super secret scientific project which could change the shape of war and Gillian is one of the scientists, along with her kidnapped brother, who developed it.

Trace has his hands full trying to find her brother and niece, stopping the terrorists from getting to Gillian and trying to persuade her she should get as far away from him as possible. Of course the latter was never going to happen. There is plenty of action and suspense, along with the romance I have come to expect from the author. All of it combined to make an excellent story, although some aspects of the plot are a bit far fetched.

Trace also has issues with his family which are explained in the prologue and I suspect is referred to in other books of the series, so we also had these issues being explored which added another dimension to the plot.

Overall this is a fast paced romantic thriller which I did not want to put down and managed to read in one sitting.

Book Information
  • Author: Nora Roberts
  • Series: O'Hurley (4)
  • Buy from Amazon (UK)

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

High Noon

High Noon Carrying on my Nora Roberts kick, I decided to try one of her Romantic Suspense books and High Noon was the first one I came across in my ‘to be read’ mountain.

I was completely engaged in the story, literally by the end of the first chapter – a dramatic opening which introduces us to the two main characters of Hostage Negotiator Lieutenant Phoebe MacNamara and Bar owner Duncan Swift.  I loved them both right away; Phoebe is a strong and confident woman but carries a lot of weight on her shoulders and Duncan is a sweetheart but strong, and not without scars of his own.  Their interactions were both funny and poignant, each bringing something to each other that was lacking and the dance around their feelings was really well timed.  In some books it can feel as if characters fight against feelings just for the sake of it or give in too easily just to spice the story up.  Not so in High Noon, it felt right on the money.

There are also several great characters that are amongst the family and friends of both characters and they added a greater depth and emotion to the book.  I cared about what happened to them just as much as Phoebe and Duncan, even though they might not have been in the spotlight as much.  I can only credit that to great writing.

The plot started quite sweet as they get to know each other with just odd things happening that you aren’t quite sure if they mean anything sinister or not.  The tension soon ramps up and probably for the second half of the book I was on the edge of my seat.  A couple of things that happened had me shouting in shock, much to the amusement of my husband 😉  But oh my, they were shocking but also so well written it was completely believable.  The story unfolded at a pace that just kept me glued to the pages and a couple of times it got so tense I wanted to skip ahead just to check, but I’m glad I stopped myself as it would have spoiled things.

This may be the first Romantic Suspense book by Nora Roberts I have read but it will certainly not be the last (I’m about to hunt through the mountain to find another!).

It was an amazing read with a gripping plot, wonderful characters and I can’t recommend it highly enough!

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Book Information
  • Author: Nora Roberts
  • Buy on Kindle (UK)Buy from Amazon (UK)

 

Prey

Prey Angie Powell takes what she suspects will be her last two clients on a hunting trip into the mountains, her business is in ruins, her home is about to be sold and she sets the blame firmly on the head of her business rival, Dare Callahan.

The hunting trip goes terribly wrong and soon two killers are on the loose on the mountain – only one of the human variety. With Angie running for her life the last person she wants to have to depend upon is Dare, but they will have to work together if they want to make it off the mountain alive and in one piece.

Linda Howard is not an author I have come across before but I have to say I really enjoyed this book. It had a suspense element and of course the all important (for me anyway) romance.

The story was slow to start with but that was all necessary for scene setting. Once the proper story got under way I found it hard to put down.

From the beginning we know who the bad guy (and beast!) running around the mountain are so we do not have a whodunnit going on, more of a cat and mouse. That element did actually disappear for a large part of the book as we got to explore the developing relationship between Dare and Angie. In fact it was easy to forget this was actually suspense and not just a romance!

The author does not shy away from gruesome descriptions and her imagery is very powerful, I really could imagine being there on the mountain and you get the impression of very unforgiving weather and terrain. The language is definitely not hearts and flowers and there is quite a bit of swearing,  I feel it was appropriate for the situation and person though. I would have liked to have had more background on Dare, he clearly has history but it was nothing more than alluded to. I liked Dare and it was nice to see the guy knowing his feelings and the woman being the hesitant one.

I would say this is a romance with a suspense element rather than a suspense with a romance element which was perfect for me. The suspense aspect was good and there was the added uncertainty over the second killer stalking the mountain and what it would do next. I enjoyed the insights into its mind and how black and white its thoughts were, but I guess some people might find it weird being inside the head of a bear. Never fear it is only for short periods within the book and not too often.

So in summary there is romance, sex and suspense, although the sex came quite late and was minimal unfortunately! If you are looking for pure suspense do not buy this but if you love romantic suspense (heavy on the relationship side) then buy it, read it and enjoy it.

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Book Information
  • Author: Linda Howard
  • Buy on Kindle (UK)Buy from Amazon (UK)

Before I go to Sleep

I wouldn’t have naturally picked up this book as it doesn’t really sit comfortably in any of my regular genres, but after hearing S. J. Watson talk about it at his joint signing with Tess Gerritsen, I was intrigued.

Having just finished it, words honestly fail me.  A lot of clichéd phrases go through my mind and while most of them fit, I don’t think they could do this book justice.  It was quite simply phenomenal.

From the start you are drawn in to the world of a woman who wakes up every day and has no idea where she is, or the identity of the man she is sleeping next to.  She’s shocked by the older woman she sees in the mirror each morning.  A daily process of seeing pictures and notes left for her by her husband, to piece together just enough so she can get through the day.  She can retain memory for just that day but once she sleeps, it’s all gone again.

We follow Christine as she discovers that she has been keeping a journal, that a man who calls himself Dr. Nash has been working with her to try and regain some memory and that he rings her every day to remind her where she hides it.

We experience the story through Christine’s journal, and as she reads through it, she finds out things she can’t remember having written, but has the proof in front of her.  It leads to questions and then confusing and often contradictory answers about how she ended up this way, and why she is working with Dr. Nash to try and regain some semblance of life.

The story is moving and tragic and powerful.  Perhaps sometimes there are things we would rather forget but to imagine not remembering anything at all is beyond distressing.

Finally, towards the end of the book, just as you think you know what is happening, as Christine thinks she knows what is happening, it all changes.  The twist is monumental and incredible but utterly believable.

The entire book was gripping and thought provoking and I couldn’t put it down.

As a book, it’s brilliant.  As a debut novel for S. J. Watson, it’s just amazing.

Read it…  Just read it.

Rating: ★★★★★ 

Book Information
  • Author: S. J. Watson
  • Buy from Amazon (UK)

Mortal Remains

Being called to a bizarre drowning in Quebec is nothing new to Temperance Brennan.  Identifying the body as John Lowery, a man who had died in Vietnam and had been buried 40 years ago in North Carolina was more out of the ordinary.  Who was buried in Lowery’s grave if the body they had recovered was the real Lowery?  With only questions, Tempe sets out to find answers that lead her to an exhumation, then to Hawaii for reanalysis.  When another set of remains is discovered, this time accompanied by Lowery’s dog tags,  Temperance grits her teeth and digs in deep to get to the bottom of the puzzle.  Three bodies which can’t ALL be John Lowery, so who is the real one, who are the others and how were they involved in this?  Detective Andrew Ryan, ex-lover and friend joins her in Hawaii to help unravel the mystery, one that might just have Tempe at a loss for the first time.

It’s always a pleasure starting a new book about Temperence Brennan.  The only downside is, once you start, you can’t put it down until you’ve finished.  Mortal Remains is the latest installment in the series and it’s very good.  I always admire the character’s tenacity, intelligence and compassion along with her professionalism and need to find answers, especially for those who can no longer answer for themselves.

The pace of the story was spot on, tense and emotional and my only complaint would be the number of acronyms it contained but I do have to say they were always well explained, especially for people like me, who aren’t American or familiar with the agencies involved.

I can only imagine how much of Kathy Reich’s own history as a forensic anthropologist finds its way into her books but it must be considerable as the procedures and methods are explained in clear, rich detail.

It was good to see some familiar ‘faces’ from previous books and of course, how could the book be complete without Andrew Ryan.  His attempts at trying to reconnect with Tempe did make me laugh and I do feel a bit sorry for him but he did bring it on himself.  He really is going to have to try harder, our dear Tempe isn’t a pushover!

Having Tempe’s daughter along for the Hawaii trip was good even though she was grieving, she is a character I like a lot and enjoyed seeing more of her.  Adding Andrew’s daughter to the mix did get a little irritating at times but I guess was necessary for how some of the story played out.  I did want to smack her at times though!

A great read, full of the things we have come to know and love from Kathy Reichs.

Rating: ★★★½☆ 

Book Information
  • Author: Kathy Reichs
  • Buy from Amazon (UK)

The Price

District Attorney Will Sullivan once had the dream and potential to become the next Governor of Massachusets.  Now his dreams are for his terminally ill daughter to live.  His wife Joanna, refuses to deal with that reality, clinging to any hope she can and Will is afraid of losing them both.  When miracles seem to happen to patients around them, Will is approached by an odd counsellor who says he can help but something about him seems off.  With his political career about to collapse around him, his only concern being his wife and his daughter, Joanna begs him to continue campaigning.  When his daughter makes a full recovery, Will is certain all is not right and his wife begins disappearing at night.  Miracles might indeed happen, but there is a price.

What price would you pay to save the life of someone you loved?

I found this book much spookier than The Harrowing, even though its supernatural elements were less evident.  I can only put it down to clever writing, a well laid out setting and a good tale.  I always knew where I was in relation to the story and everyone you meet, even briefly,  felt well rounded.  Sokoloff’s easy to read style of writing was again very much present and the smooth flow meant I had to keep the pages turning.  I really had to restrain myself from jumping ahead and see what the answers were and again, was glad I didn’t.  The main characters were excellent and I found I empathised with Will the most, as Joanna was emotionally closed off for a lot of the book.  There were a few scenes that made the hair on the back of my neck prickle and I really found it hard to put it down, needing to find out what was happening next and what the ultimate resolution would be.

A very intriguing and engaging second book from Alexandra Sokoloff.

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Book Information
  • Author: Alexandra Sokoloff
  • Buy from Amazon (UK)