Review: Come Home to Me (Whiskey Creek, Book 6) by Brenda Novak

come home to meReviewed by Lynn Reynolds

Aaron Amos and Presley Christensen are in a bookstore. They are reconnecting after she left the area for a couple of years. This is a will they or won’t they kind of story as well as one about second chances.

Presley is starting a new business as well as providing for her son. Riley Stinson is going to do a little work for her and Aaron doesn’t seem to be happy about that – this will make you sit up with interest. Brenda has created quite the conflict so you have no choice but to pick sides and see who “wins” and hope the “loser” shows up in another book.

I don’t read the blurb ahead of time because I don’t want to go in with any expectations – I was one of those bad readers that would read the ending first. If I didn’t like the ending, I wouldn’t buy the book. So in order to get the best experience possible, I go in with no expectations. And my review is more honest.

I find that with this book I have to think a lot more – I question, “What would I do?” Also, what would a woman go through to get something she desperately wants? Sometimes an author can put into perspective what we only hear about but never experience. The reader gets to see how awkward things can feel when you see an old flame. As well as see the effect secrets can have on a relationship.

This is one book that will be hard to put down. You will find that you will not know the outcome almost until the very end. So you will want to get comfortable. I found it a book that was hard to take to appointments – once started; I didn’t want to stop reading. It’s not like you can tell the doctor “I’ll be with you as soon as I finish this chapter!”

It’s interesting to watch and read how this author develops her story. It makes you wonder what the process was. Where did the idea come from? There’s just something about her writing style that I love – everything just seems so believable. She is one of those authors that I love to read anything that comes out. You won’t be disappointed if you add this book, or even the series, to your library.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Buy: Come Home to Me (Whiskey Creek)

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Review: Take Me Home for Christmas (Whiskey Creek, Book 5) by Brenda Novak

Take Me Home for ChristmasReviewed by Lynn Reynolds

Sophie DeBussi seems to have a sorry existence with no means of escape. Ted Dixon knows Sophie personally from high school and what he describes is someone that very well may have been someone you went to school with. Their lives reconnect during a time in Sophie’s life when she can really use a friend.

Our author reminds us that tragedy can strike at any time of year – even the holidays. It’s also a time when Sophie finds out who her real friends are. It’s a tough read because you just can’t imagine the pain that Brenda has created. But that’s what makes a great author – we come to care for the characters as if they’re part of the family or a really close friend.

This was my first book in the series so I’m behind in knowing who all the couples are. Sophie’s story can be read as a stand-alone but if you want to know all the couples better, you’ll want to go back and read books one through four. It also had me wanting to know more about the people of Whiskey Creek.

This is not a book that I could read without stopping every once in a while (but that’s not a bad thing). I guess my glasses are slightly rose-colored – it’s just you can’t believe people will act that way. But sad to say, that’s not the case. Brenda had me making comparisons to the family of Bernie Madoff – were they her inspiration for this story? It certainly gives you another perspective.

What I loved about this story is that it didn’t start at Christmas time. So, technically you could read it at any time of year. But the “moral of the story” definitely has the holiday spirit involved. It has a great lesson to it and it shows that miracles do happen – amidst tragedy love can blossom. The ending will also have you smiling. It has me looking forward to March when book six, titled Come Home To Me, will be coming out. This also gives me time to catch up on the series in the meantime. So, if you’re getting your holiday reads together and you want something that’s slightly different from most make sure to pick up a copy of Brenda’s book.

Rating: ★★★★½

Buy: Take Me Home for Christmas (Whiskey Creek)

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Review: White Heat by Brenda Novak

by Susan S., guest reviewer

Case Number ISBN-13# 978- 0-7783-2795-0

Organization Name: Department 6

Specializations: Undercover assignments

Female Agent: Rachel Jessop, heroine.

New Identity: Mrs. Rachel Mott

Male Agent: Nate Ferrentino, hero.

New Identity: Mr. Nate Mott

Assignment: 1. Discover any illegal activity within commune. 2. Find missing girl, Courtney Sinclair. 3. Infiltrate religious cult named Church of the Covenant.

Cult Leader: Ethan Wycliff a.k.a the Holy One.

Then: Six months ago, Rachel dipped her pen in company ink; once. And ever since, her boss Nate has kept the company ink under lock and key. She’s humiliated enough, but Rachel’s got a job to do and innocents to save. This mission will have her working closely with Nate. She’ll have to like it or lump it. Looks like, she’ll be lumping it.

Now: They’ll have to endure a ten hour car drive from L.A. to Paradise, Arizona…with no A/C. She can ignore him, sleep with him…again, or throttle him. What’s a girl to do with an ex-Navy SEAL, who’s over 6’ tall, has green eyes, and 210 lbs. of delicious muscle? I mean, what would you do?

Possible Outcomes: This assignment has the potential for disaster written all over it.

Plan B: There is no plan B, lives are at stake!

Underlying Theme: Betrayal. This novel draws to mind a Latin phrase from a Shakespearean tragedy. When Julius Caesar utters, “Et tu, Brute?” A key player will commit…the ultimate betrayal.

Content warning: m/f and some m/m elements. Not for the faint-of-heart! Contains a ritualistic rape scene I found disturbing. Mind you, Novak only implies what happens. Had she actually detailed the occurrence, I’d feel even more perturbed.

Further commentary: I’d’ve used only one Charles Manson reference.

Well written: Has nail biting suspense! Bravo on the dialogue challenges between hero/heroine and Abby, a young deaf girl. Novak expertly conveys the desperation Nate and Rachel feel when trying to decipher Abby’s signing; which hold vital clues regarding the life within the commune. You’ll fear for Rachel’s safety, and feel how the suspense crescendoed- once Rachel is initiated as a Covenanter.

White Heat is the first installment from Brenda Novak’s Department 6 Trilogy.

Recommendations: Pick up a copy if you generally read romantic suspense, or suspense/thrillers. You won’t be disappointed, if you grab novels hoping to find one with a happily-ever-after. White Heat has one.

Rating: 4 Badges

MIRA, 2010, Contemporary Romantic Suspense, eBook pages 442.
Case Number ISBN-13# 978-0-7783-2795-0.

Next Assignment: If your jonesing for another suspense fix, Body Heat, Novak’s second Department 6 book is coming soon. Should release within the next month.

Buy: White Heat

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It’s Time to Turn up the Heat…

by Brenda Novak, guest blogger and author of Heat Trilogy

…with my hot new trilogy of books out this summer–WHITE HEAT, BODY HEAT and KILLER HEAT. Each book stands alone but they all revolve around a private security company called Department 6 and the retired special forces, private investigators and police officers who make their living working as “hired guns.” These men and women face some diverse and unusual circumstances—and some very frightening challenges. So get ready to head to the beach, sit back and enjoy the ride.

In WHITE HEAT, Nate Ferrentino and Rachel Jessop, two members of Department 6, are hired to infiltrate a dangerous cult that has recently settled in the former ghost town of Paradise, Arizona. Members of this cult worship at the feet—and in the bed–of its charismatic leader, Ethan Wycliff. But with one woman claiming to have been stoned, and another missing, Wycliff might be more of a devil than the prophet he claims to be….

In BODY HEAT, Police Chief Sophia St. Claire finds herself out of her investigative league when someone starts shooting people at pointblank range and leaving them to rot in the desert sun just outside her small town. Help arrives in the form of California’s Department 6 Roderick Guerrero. But as the half-breed bastard of a wealthy local rancher, he has a history he can’t get past–a history that includes Sophia St. Claire.

In KILLER HEAT, the remains of seven women have been discovered in Skull Valley, Arizona. It’s up to Jonah Young, from Department 6, to assist the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Department in solving these murders. But he doesn’t anticipate the complications that arise when he’s forced to work with an old flame. Then everything grows more complicated—and far too personal. They quickly zero in on the most likely suspect, but betting on the wrong man might be the last thing they ever do….

As you can see, all three books are set in Arizona. While growing up, I lived in Chandler for eight years, back when it was still a farming community and not the sprawling metropolis it has since become. I miss those days, especially the long days of summer, which is probably why I’ve chosen to set each of these titles in a small town during the hot months. If you’ve never experienced an Arizona summer, or one of their infamous monsoons, you’re really missing something….

Also, Arizona has more than its share of ghost towns. Paradise, the setting of the first book, is one of them. I took a little (or a lot) of artistic liberty when I settled my fictional cult in Paradise, but it’s a unique place that really exists. With such a perfect name, I couldn’t resist.

YOU’RE INVITED…

…to the party of the summer. Join me on Twitter, Wednesday, August 4 at 8 – 10 p.m. eastern time (party hashtag #bnparty). Register at my web site (www.brendanovak.com) to receive your snail mail party pack that includes a coupon for WHITE HEAT and your raffle tickets for the big event. I’m going to be giving away THREE iPads and lots of other great prizes, so don’t miss out!

WHITE HEAT LIP GLOSS

Three Custom Color Specialists has created a lip gloss just for me—and the name of the shade? WHITE HEAT! Lip gloss is the one beauty essential I can’t live without, so you can imagine how pleased I am to have found a company that can customize shades. A sheer and sexy hot pink lip gloss with silver-white and opalescent shimmer, WHITE HEAT is perfect for revving up your favorite lip shade with sparkle and shine. Available in Three Custom Color Specialists’ swing-out lip gloss pot. Apply with your finger or favorite lip brush. ($21.50) You can purchase it at www.threecustom.com

Giveaway: I have today an autographed copy of WHITE HEAT and some WHITE HEAT lip gloss in a cute little Brenda Novak tote. Open to US or Canadian residents only. Enter by leaving a comment for Brenda. One entry per relevant comment. Multiple entries allowed. Thanks and good luck! Ends: July 27th, 2010. SO BE QUICK!