Sunday, October 30, 2011

If You Hear Her by Shiloh Walker

The scream Lena Riddle hears in the woods behind her house is enough to curdle her blood—she has no doubt that a woman is in real danger. Unfortunately, with no physical evidence, the local law officers in small-town Ash, Kentucky, dismiss her claim. But Lena knows what she heard—and it leaves her filled with fear and frustration.

Ezra King is on leave from the state police, but he can’t escape the guilty memories that haunt his dreams. When he sees Lena, he is immediately drawn to her. He aches to touch her—to be touched by her—but is he too burdened by his tragic past to get close?

When Ezra hears her story of an unknown woman’s screams, his instincts tell him that Lena’s life is also at risk—and his desire to protect her is as fierce as his need to possess her.

It's no secret that I think Shiloh Walker writes some of the very best emotionally heartrending suspense and contemporaries out there. If You Hear Her is no different. Lena is blind, but it only means she cannot see visually. She leads a full, rich life among friends and her job as a chef. She's a smart, sassy, woman and takes no guff from anyone. When she hears a woman scream in the woods outside her house, she immediately goes to the police, only to be pooh-poohed. This kicks off a series of murders and events in the town of Ash that change everyone's lives forever.

What I liked:
Seriously. Lena is a fantastic heroine. And if you know me, that's saying something. She's kind, smart, self-sufficient, sassy, has a great group of friends, and like so many blind people, can see deep into those she cares about, especially Ezra.

Ezra. He's been hurt, both physically and emotionally. Betrayed in the worst way by his lover and partner. He carries that around like a blanket wrapped around him. I love that he never treats Lena as less than she is, and how he commits himself to being her friend and her protector without smothering her.

The suspense. Fantastic. Gripping. And it plays a huge part in the lives of the entire town, but especially the main characters and the secondary characters. It takes on a character of its own.

The villain. We get his POV. I love it when this happens in suspense books. It makes the character that much more real.

The secondary characters. Hope, Remy, Law especially. I'm dying to find out how things play out for these people. Thankfully, the next two books will give me their stories.

Gripping suspense, yet with the complete emotional throwdown you expect from Shiloh Walker. Don't miss it.

If You Hear Her was released on Tuesday, so it's available everywhere.

Seriously, I know I'm not doing this justice, but hey – it's been about 6 months since I wrote a review, FCOL. Cut me some slack.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Laid Bare by Lauren Dane

For what it's worth, I have almost DAILY thoughts of what I'd like to share here, LOL. Just not the gumption. You know how it is of course. Today, I'll give Lauren Dane the credit for getting me off my ass and on Blogger.

Dane has been on my TBR list for years. And I did read one of her Federation titles (Relentless) a year or two ago. Loved it and looked forward to her backlist. However, along about then my monthly reading fell to somewhere between little and none.

But then...the cover for Never Enough was released. There are no words...really. It is stunning. And compelling enough to get me to her website and from there to turning the first page of Laid Bare.

What an extraordinary, beautiful read. Absorbing in a way that reminded me of the joy inherent in losing oneself in a great book. All of the five-star reviewer words apply: utterly captivating, refreshing in its departure from the standard, characters come to life, with an emotional depth that is breath-taking, eroticism that is both subtle and astonishing, and so on. I wasn't surprised; I knew this about Dane. I was simply bowled over by the pleasure of reading this book. I'd almost forgotten--or maybe lost--that feeling. That deep contentment born of an emotional investment in both character and story. Or, maybe, I'd just replaced it with an occasional glass of exceptional Chardonnay. Now that Dane has reminded me, I'm reaching for more books, seeking the way they make me feel in the same way you might crave a drug. Or wine.

I've since ordered the next two in the Brown siblings series. Book 3 arrived yesterday and I'm hoping book 2 gets here today--because THIS is how I wish to spend my weekend. Then I'll purchase Never Enough and hope that I can look away from the cover long enough to read the pages in between.

Thank you Ms. Dane. Just, thank you.
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