Edge of Truth by Brynn Kelly

Rotting in an African dungeon is the last place journalist Tess Newell expected to find herself. Held hostage by the terrorist group she’s investigating, Tess’s salvation—and temptation—arrives in the form of another prisoner. A French Foreign Legionnaire with a sinful smile and too many secrets to be anything but dangerous. Yet she knows he’s her only hope of surviving.

The Legion is the only family Flynn has. His sanctuary and his purgatory, after years spent in hell. When a mission goes south and Flynn is captured, it’s not the enemy that worries him, but the brazen, alluring reporter whose prying questions threaten to bring down his world—and the walls he’s built around his heart.

Yet after a daring escape, Flynn must risk it all and go on the run with Tess to retrieve the evidence she needs. The chemistry between them threatens to detonate but, with the enemy fast closing in, time is running out to unravel the truth from the lies in this deadly conspiracy…

Edge of Truth by Brynn Kelly

It took me a while to read this book, not because it was bad or boring, but because I liked it so much and was enjoying the characters and all the research so much, I wanted to make the most of it.

Edge of Truth is *everything* I’ve been asking for in romantic suspense for years, all there in one book. I think some of the mixed reaction to it has been because it IS about the suspense, and the setting is everything; no random “terrorist-riddled non-American country” cliché here. The research is fantastic, the author’s obvious local knowledge of Africa makes all the difference, and it’s not all about some hot-guy-romance.

However, the romance IS very strong. Hero and heroine are thrown together right from the outset, and are together more or less without a break for the entire book. Both are captured by a terror group, and both have good reasons for their involvement in the unfolding drama.

Television journalist Tess has been digging into US political connections to the terror group and the war they are trying to provoke. She has world-changing information to get out to the public, but she is trapped, imprisoned.

French Foreign Legion soldier Flynn is hiding some major secrets of his own, but he can’t bring himself to walk away from Tess when he helps her escape her captors.

I’ve been saying I wanted real-world issues in my books, and I always, always appreciate an author who knows her setting inside out. This book created a sense of place more than almost anything I’ve ever read, and that is one of the reasons I’m going to remember it long after more generic suspense books.

Everything about Edge of Truth comes across as relevant to right now, to the corruption and double-sided dealings of many powerful people in world (and especially US) politics.

However, this would all be nothing without the great characters. The Kiwi author manages to create a totally realistic Australian hero and an American heroine. Their relationship is built on desperate situations and a lot of clever conversation. The dialogue is natural and believable.

The story unfolds over only a few days, and yet I bought into the relationship. Perhaps there was a time or two where the focus on the growing attraction between the two might have seemed slightly out of place, but as the book unfolded I realised I was fine with it.

Africa isn’t the most popular setting for Western stories, romances or otherwise, but I strongly encourage readers to bury their fears of the foreign and give this one a go.

I just knew from the first time I read the blurb that this was going to be a book I’d love, and I was correct.

 

Review copy provided by NetGalley.

On My Radar

Even though this book has a January 2018 release date, advance reader copies are already floating around, and the film rights have been sold.

Involving the CIA and Russian sleeper cells in the United States – something that really does still happen – this is *exactly* the type of book I want to read. (Blurb below.)

Need to Know by Karen Cleveland

In pursuit of a Russian sleeper cell on American soil, a CIA analyst uncovers a dangerous secret that will test her loyalty to the agency—and to her family.

What do you do when everything you trust might be a lie?

Vivian Miller is a dedicated CIA counterintelligence analyst assigned to uncover the leaders of Russian sleeper cells in the United States. On track for a much-needed promotion, she’s developed a system for identifying Russian agents, seemingly normal people living in plain sight.

After accessing the computer of a potential Russian operative, Vivian stumbles on a secret dossier of deep-cover agents within America’s borders. A few clicks later, everything that matters to her—her job, her husband, even her four children—are threatened.

Vivian has vowed to defend her country against all enemies, foreign and domestic. But now she’s facing impossible choices. Torn between loyalty and betrayal, allegiance and treason, love and suspicion, who can she trust?

I am so behind!

I deleted the post I was going to have today, because the site I was going to reference pissed me off with their nasty comments about blondes!

So, instead, I will tentatively recommend two books I’m less than halfway through reading:

Now, the title of this one is so clunky it makes me want to cry, and the people on the cover have the world’s worst hair, but ignore all of that! Also, it seems to be (there’s no date) set in the 1830s, which has the dorkiest fashion of any era in history (OF COURSE, it’s not represented on the cover), and I love that!

Catching Up

I’ve fallen A LONG way behind with my review books, and because of that, haven’t had as many reviews in recent months (those bloody trips to Europe! 🙂 🙂 ). I have around thirty books I didn’t manage to review before their release dates, but sometimes you just want to read something you bought for yourself.

So, here are the books I’m reading at the moment. They’re all out now.

The Cornish Escape by Lily Graham

Any Day Now (Sullivan's Crossing #2) by Robyn Carr

The Girl from the Tyne by Melody Sachs

Wounded at the Lake The Wounded SEAL Trilogy by Mitzi Pool Bridges

The Week: 24th – 30th April

Gorgeous Friday afternoon in Canberra.

Autumn colours this week.

Autumn Flowers Garden Canberra Australia After the Rain Sonya Heaney 26th April 2017 Nature

After the rain. Wednesday afternoon. We have autumn flowers everywhere all of a sudden.

Autumn FINALLY hit us this week. So annoying that Tuesday – Anzac Day – was not a nice day, when we’d been having summer weather until now. We apparently had 38 000 people at the dawn service at the Australian War Memorial here in Canberra, thousands more than other cities with populations six or more times ours. Not a bad effort!

Christopher Heaney Australian Army Vietnam War 1968 1969 IMG_0078My father in Nui Dat (Vietnam) in the 1960s.

We went to lunch with my war veteran father, who’d been planning to march this year (he never does), but then changed his mind. The place we chose was almost completely booked out for a reunion of military intelligence people – so many men and women with their medals! My father impressed them, however. One actually commented he was a “real” veteran because of all the combat he’d seen.

On Saturday evening I went to buy some wine – and got asked for ID again (or “carded”, as I believe Americans say). Now, I’m closer to forty than thirty, and the legal drinking age here is eighteen. I first worked in a bar in the year 2000. Exactly what point in time are people going to stop asking me if I’m older than schoolchildren?! People keep saying: take it as a compliment. But… Especially when it’s a teenager at the cash register! I think: I am literally old enough to be your mother!

The bombed car on the back of a truck after the attack.

This week an American citizen was killed in a Russian car bomb in Ukraine. (RT News – the Kremlin’s English-language propaganda channel – was on the scene within three minutes of the bombing, because that’s NOT suspicious in any way!!). Whereas Donald Trump was all over Twitter about the American killed in the Westminster terror attack, calling him a hero and all of that, there was deafening silence from the US government over what was essentially a political assassination in Ukraine.

I guess the president only values some Americans…

My review of Blindsided (Men of Steele #3) by Gwen Hernandez

Anzac Day – Recommended Reads

Lisa Kleypas Interview

Vintage War Romance

Free read over at Harlequin

The Handmaid’s Tale Premieres

A note on something that happened last week.

Blindsided (Men of Steele #3) by Gwen Hernandez

Blindsided (Men of Steele #3) by Gwen Hernandez

SHE’S RUNNING FOR HER LIFE
Framed for espionage, reformed hacker Valerie Sanchez has no choice but to run. Worse, when the proof of her innocence is destroyed, things turn deadly. Can she trust the sexy terrorist hunter who mysteriously turns up to protect her, or is he the real threat?

HE’S HOT ON HER TRAIL
Former Marine sniper Scott Kramer’s job was supposed to be easy. Follow the hot computer geek who stole plans for classified weapons until she meets her buyer, then let law enforcement take over. But when Valerie becomes an assassin’s target, Scott’s gut says she’s innocent. Now, he must risk his life—and his heart—to keep her safe.

Blindsided (Men of Steele #3) by Gwen Hernandez

I owe Gwen Hernandez an apology. I had a review copy of Blindsided sitting on my desktop from before I went away in February, and then forgot to review it!

Behind this generic Torso-Man cover is a VERY intelligent, detailed and complex romantic suspense book. Hernandez has done her research and put together a plot that involves hacking, espionage, and a whole lot of distrust.

This is not your generic romance.

You would never know this was part of a series; it’s a complete story in its own right, and because hero and heroine are on the run for most of the book the focus hardly shifts to secondary characters.

I go on about books with “more” quite often; this is one of them. I don’t know how it works, but some authors pack so much more plot, characterisation, more everything into the same word count as authors who use a lot of exposition as padding. I appreciate books like this one so much more.

I have no idea how the author knows so much about computer hacking, but the knowledge made the scenes involving it much more realistic. I really believed this was a heroine who was at the top of her game.

This is one of those romantic suspense books that is proper suspense, with each scene moving the action forwards, and things not being wrapped up until the very end (so no waffling scenes at the end to up the word count).

One thing I didn’t love was the way the hero kept referring to the heroine’s tits, and her rack, and all of that. It’s probably pretty accurate for a guy’s mind, but it made me think a little less of him. However, this did change as the book went on and his feelings towards her grew, which was a nice touch.

On the other hand, I loved that he was just average-sized. Not every hero has to be a hulking great giant. Another thing I loved about him was that his “I don’t do relationships” attitude that drives me totally insane in most books had an actual background and valid reason here, and he didn’t fight it too much when he realised things were changing.

I really enjoyed this solid suspense story that had a lot more depth than most in the genre. It’s nice to be reminded what’s so great about romantic suspense.

 

Review copy provided by the author.

Anzac Day – Recommended Reads

Vietnam War Memorial Canberra Australia Sonya Heaney 30th May 2015

Me on Anzac Parade, the huge, memorial-lined road that leads up to the museum.

Today is Anzac Day, Australia and new Zealand’s biggest day for our war veterans. The national ceremony at the Australian War Memorial here in Canberra is televised, and before that there’s a dawn service (which I have never been to, despite coming from a family of veterans, but I always hear the neighbours getting up at about 4am!).

hall-of-remembrance-australian-war-memorial-canberra-australia-anzac-day-25th-april-2015-sonya-heaney-oksana-heaney

We usually drop by the War Memorial a little later in the day and spend some time at the Vietnam War section.

I was trying to think of romance and suspense reads that involve Australian military or veterans, and came up with a few authors.

Hélène Young writes suspense books with some romance, and featuring Australian military characters.

Shattered-Sky-Front-Cover1-190x300

Barbara Hannay’s The Secret Years is set half in the Second World War and half in the present, and I really enjoyed it. The woman in the WW2 part is posted to the consulate in Canberra.

The Secret Years by Barbara Hannay

Sarah Mayberry has a really good book about a female veteran.

More Than One Night by Sarah Mayberry

Joan Kilby’s Protecting her Son involves an Australian Special Forces veteran, and has a scene at the end set at the War Memorial above!

Protecting Her Son

Fiona Greene’s Home For Christmas – well, the cover and title tell you what you need to know!

Home For Christmas by Fiona Greene

Karly Lane writes contemporary romance and women’s fiction, with some themes involving veterans.

tallowood-bound-by-karly-lane

And, for Kiwi veteran heroes, there is Karina Bliss’ New Zealand Special Forces series, beginning with Here Comes the Groom.

here-comes-the-groom-by-karina-bliss