Review Time – Hard to Protect by Incy Black

hard-to-protect

Hard to Protect is the third book in the ‘Hard to’ series by Incy Black and I, for one, have not been able to wait to get my hands on this book.

Will Berwick, leader of the Assassins at The Cube, a plausibly deniable secret team hidden deep within British Intelligence is given the unenviable task of breaking down Angel Treherne, a psychotherapist who The Service believe hold the key to finding her brother, Rhys, a brilliant scientist who has developed a potentially explosive drug that could transform how soldiers fight.

Angel is also tasked with breaking down Will, of getting inside his head to make sure he’s fit for active duty after he was almost fatally shot. Problem is, Will’s for the ‘Sorry, sweetheart, only way you’ll get inside my head is when I’m no longer breathing’.

But that’s not the only problem.

Angel, icy-cold, bitter, desperately trying to keep a hundred balls in the air all under a cool exterior – and that exterior is beginning to crack.

My Review

Hard to Protect is fast-paced, abundant with twists and turns and sexual tension between Will and Angel.

Angel is not a warm character – at first. She’s holding a bunch of secrets which she has, over many years, figured the best way to keep is to come across as hard, icy, bitchy even. But I loved her from the beginning because Ms Black drops in these little nuggets which, if you’re paying attention, give you a brief glimpse behind the veneer Angel is living under. She’s sassy, brilliant, beautiful, and as her secrets unfold, your heart bleeds for her. What a woman!

Will, my goodness, what can I say about Will….in Ms Black’s previous novels, Will comes across as a bit-part player, and certainly in Jack Ballantyne’s book, Hard to Forget, he seems something of a gofer. How wrong can you be!

Will oozes sexuality from the very first line in the book. He is complex, deep, has more chips on his shoulder than my local chip shop serves in a week, and he is horrible to Angel at times – but – he is hot, hot, hot. And, in the same way Ms Black slowly reveals Angel’s character, the same can be said of Will. Everything he does is for a reason, and this is why you forgive the actions he takes and the way he goes about his business.

When you put together two people, very different, both wanting—no needing—things from each other that neither one is willing to give, then you have conflict in abundance, which makes you keep turning those pages faster and faster.

Ms Black is one of the most unique voices out there. Even if her name had not been on this book, I would have instantly recognised Hard to Protect as one of her novels. Her style – deep third Point-of-View – is some of the best I have seen. She puts you right in the characters heads; you share every thought, every action as it is happening which is incredibly difficult to achieve and yet she makes it look easy.

If you like fast paced thrillers with believable sexual tension between alpha males and strong, capable women, then Incy Black’s novels will not disappoint.

Hard to Protect is out on 20th March 2017.

Ms. Black’s other novels, Hard to Forget and Hard to Hold, are available right now.

Thank you to the publisher, via NetGalley, for an opportunity to read Hard to Protect. I absolutely loved it!

 

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Warped by Marissa Farrar

warped

Before I start my review, I’d just like to say “Wow” to that cover. How gorgeous is that, and how very Vee!

Warped is the second novel in the Mercenary Series. If you’d like to read my review of the first in the series, Skewed, you can do so  here.

Note – the following review contains spoilers of the first novel – Skewed – but no spoilers of Warped. If you have not yet read Skewed, you may not want to read this review.

 

The novel begins right where we left it at the end of Skewed. Vee and her sister are now being protected by Tony Mancini, a rival of her father, after Vee’s sister, Nickie, decided to take matters into her own hands and reveal their Witness Protection identities. Tony has vowed to keep them safe until Vee can testify against her father; problem is, what happens then?

X, who was shot by Tony at the end of Skewed, turns up in hospital, lucky to be alive, but with everything intact – except his memory. He might not remember who he is, but he knows one thing; he’s not your run-of-the-mill individual.

When a man called Harvey turns up at the hospital claiming to know who X is and offers him a place to stay while X recovers, X is understandably suspicious, but realises he has little choice as he grapples with the dark space where his memories should be.

I loved being back with Vee and X again. Vee is the same tough, independent character she was in the first and X is just as mysterious and sexy, although we do get to see more of the man beneath the stone heart in this one, which I loved.

Sadly (for Vee), Nickie is still the same selfish, irritating and downright frustrating girl she was in the first novel. I wanted to hit her in that one, but in this one, she takes my intense dislike of her to a new level. Vee is a better girl than me; if Nickie were my sister, I’d have cut her from my life long ago.

Marissa’s writing is as wonderful as ever, with prose that almost sings along the page. She has a fabulous way with words; her descriptive text is enough to draw you a detailed picture, but not so much that you find yourself skipping paragraphs, and her dialogue is punchy and informative.

If I had one criticism about the book, it would be the character of Harvey. His offer to help X, and potentially put his own life in danger just didn’t seem to have enough motivation for me. This wasn’t someone offering to do your shopping or pick your kid up from school. This was volunteering to get involved with someone who could get you killed. Perhaps if X had something over Harvey, that Harvey owed him a debt of gratitude in some way, then it wouldn’t have jarred as much as it did.

However, that is a minor gripe in a book that I otherwise thoroughly enjoyed.

Link to purchase Skewed can be found  here

Link to purchase Warped can be found  here

Link to preorder Flawed (the third book in the Mercenary series) can be found  here

 

Review of The Second First Time by Elisa Lorello

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The Second First Time follows Sage and Jonathan, authors who have the same publisher, but live on opposite sides of the country. In addition, they’ve only met face to face once, at a party, and yet they have become such good friends over social media and FaceTime, they’re considering taking a road trip together.

However, when Jonathan’s marriage breaks up, he ends up breaking Sage’s heart at the same time by pulling out of their trip at the last minute. Sage breaks off all contact with Jonathan, but when, a year later, she receives some terrible news, Jonathan is the one she turns to. They haven’t spoken in all that time, and yet the old familiarity is instantly there, and when Jonathan suggests taking that trip again, Sage finally agrees.

What follows is a journey of friendship, discovery and love. The Second First Time is a sweet novel, a feel-good ride through life and love and mistakes that I could definitely resonate with.

Throughout the novel, I felt like Sage was talking to me. I could imagine us sitting in a coffee shop and listening to her telling me the story of that trip she takes with Jonathan. I really liked that about this novel. It felt personal.

There are some beautifully crafted phrases, and as I was reading it, I highlighted a couple (no spoilers)

If a heart could smile – I mean physically morph its shape into that of the happy face – then mine just did. A soft one, without parting lips, or showing teeth. One of satisfaction, a faintly smoldering ember in an otherwise snuffed-out flame.’

‘Some guys get Ferrari’s when they hit mid-life. I got answers.’

(That last one is a particular favourite)

However, at times, Sage sounded very much younger than her mid-forties (which is what she is in this book). In fact, until that was revealed, I’d assumed someone in her mid-twenties, still trying to discover who she was. And this made me rather annoyed at times. I wanted to yell ‘for goodness sake woman, man up tell him what you think/how you feel’.

Jonathan, on the other hand, was very much the grown up in this friendship. If he was hurt, he told her (and why), if he was happy, he let it show. I felt that Elisa pandered to stereotypes that make guys say ‘I just don’t understand women’. No matter if someone has hurt you, in your mid-forties, you’re much more likely to call them out on it. But Elisa sends Jonathan so many mixed signals, I’m surprised he stuck around.

But these are minor irritations in a lovely, very easy read. And if that’s what you’re into, you won’t be disappointed.

Out for preorder on Amazon UK and Amazon US now. Release date 15th November 2016