#Sponsored by FaithWords (Publisher) | #SaturdaysAreBookish Book Review | “Fatal Mistake” (Book One: White Knights series) by Susan Sleeman

Posted Saturday, 20 October, 2018 by jorielov , , , , 0 Comments

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In keeping with the change of name for my Romance & Women’s Fiction Twitter chat [@SatBookChat previously known as @ChocLitSaturday] – I am announcing a change of features here on Jorie Loves A Story. Since January, 2014 I carved out a niche of focus which I named #ChocLitSaturdays as I have felt the best time to read romantic and dramatic stories are the weekends. This spun into a Twitter chat featuring the authors of ChocLit whilst I supplied weekly topics which would appeal to readers, writers and book bloggers alike. We grew into our own Saturday tribe of chatters – then, somewhere round the time of my father’s stroke in late [2016] and the forthcoming year of [2017] I started to feel less inspired to host the chat.

I had new plans to re-invent the chat in its new incantation as @SatBookChat but I also wanted to re-invent the complimentary showcases on my blog which would reflect the diversity of stories, authors and publishers I would be featuring on the chat itself. As at the root and heart of #ChocLitSaturday the chat were the stories I was reading which complimented the conversations.

After a difficult year for [personal health & wellness] this 2018, I am beginning anew this Autumn – selecting the stories to resume where I left off featuring the Romance & Women’s Fiction authors I am discovering to read whilst highlighting a story by the author I am chatting with during #SatBookChat. Every Saturday will feature a different author who writes either Romance or Women’s Fiction – for the remaining weeks of October and most of November, I will be featuring special guest authors during #SatBookChat whose stories I have either read, are reading or hope to read in the future if their newer releases. The reviews on Saturdays might inspire the topics in the forthcoming chats or they might be directly connected to the current guest author.

Our holiday break for the month of December will find us resuming #SatBookChat the week after New Year’s, 2019 where new guests and new stories will lay down the foundation of inspiring the topics, the conversations and the bookish recommendations towards promoting Romance & Women’s Fiction.

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Acquired Book By: I am a reviewer for Hachette Books and their imprints, starting with FaithWords which is their INSPY (Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction) imprint of releases focusing on uplifting and spiritual stories which are a delight to read whilst engaging your mind in life affirming and heart-centered stories. I found Hachette via Edelweiss at the conclusion of [2015] and have been wicked happy I can review for their imprints FaithWords & Center Street.

This book review was sponsored by Hachette Books who provided me with a complimentary copy of the book “Fatal Mistake” direct from their imprint FaithWords (an imprint of Hachette Book Group Inc.) in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

NOTE: All my posts and/or reviews since May 2018 I am featuring on behalf of Hachette Books now states this is ‘sponsored’ by the publisher. Kindly refer to my Review Policy where I disclosed the reasons why this new language of disclosure is being added to [jorielovesastory.com].

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When it comes to Romantic Suspense, I find myself pulled in by the writers who truly know how to knit out a story rooted fully into the Suspenseful arc but hug us close to the romantic overtures which might have to wait til there is a resolution.

This was especially true in July as I read stories by Laura Scott and Lenora Worth – two authors I championed as writers part of the #LoveINSPIRED Suspense imprint of Harlequin. Elizabeth Goddard is a favourite of my Mum’s I still intend to read before the close of the year and with this particular novel by Susan Sleeman I am starting to find out how much I am enjoying her approach to Suspense and Thrillers; even though I have a few of her Love Inspired Suspense novels which are also waiting my eager eyes to be read!

Rom Suspense for me works best when we are fully encased in the thrilling realities of the characters – of what went wrong and what led them to needing support of the law to help them overcome the situation(s) which have placed their lives in danger. I prefer to read the stories which are writ rather clean and despite having a heavy psychological suspenseful edge to them are not the kind of stories which would lead into having nightmares afterwards! I want to read the stories which at some point have an upturnt in how the resolution resolves in such a way as to make you feel uplifted rather than soul crushed!

I was hoping for the same kind of experience as I move through the White Knights series – the only thing which surprised me is when I visited Ms Sleeman’s website, the way it was eluding too about this particular series is that this is strictly a duology – rather than a full-on series?! I’m unsure how the whole series can evolve and resolve through two installments as more than the first half of Fatal Mistake felt like such a well-conceived world to be inclusive of ‘more stories’ than just the two – however, sometimes I know series are either cancelled or are strictly set as duologies. This one just felt ‘larger than’ the space it appears to occupy and I am curious if it really is a two book series or if there could be more installments lateron for the White Knights?

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Notation about the Cover Design: I personally love the cover art for the trade paperback edition vs the audiobook edition of this novel. As for me, I felt the characters were better captured on the paperback than on the audiobook. I am sure others might differ in their opinions but I felt the audiobook showed Cal Riggins quite a bit too rough and ready – whereas he really is a highly trained agent, there is also a softness to him – where he’s not all brawn! I felt the balance was better on the paperback for showing his likeness and how I found him to be within the print edition.

#Sponsored by FaithWords (Publisher) | #SaturdaysAreBookish Book Review | “Fatal Mistake” (Book One: White Knights series) by Susan SleemanFatal Mistake
by Susan Sleeman
Source: Direct from Publisher

An FBI agent must protect the woman who can identify a terrorist bomber in bestselling author Susan Sleeman's riveting romantic suspense novel.

Each day could be her last...but not if he can help it.

Tara Parrish is the only person ever to survive an attack by the Lone Wolf bomber. Scared and emotionally scarred by her near death, she goes into hiding with only one plan--to stay alive for another day. She knows he's coming after her, and if he finds her, he will finish what he started.

Agent Cal Riggins has had only one goal for the past six months--to save lives by ending the Lone Wolf's bombing spree. To succeed, he needs the help of Tara Parrish, the one person who can lead them to the bomber. Cal puts his all into finding Tara, but once he locates her, he realizes if he can find her, the Lone Wolf can, too. He must protect Tara at all costs, and they'll both need to resist the mutual attraction growing between them to focus on hunting down the bomber, because one wrong move could be fatal.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to Riffle

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781455596461

Genres: Contemporary (Modern) Fiction (post 1945), Romance Fiction, Romantic Suspense


Published by FaithWords

on 9th May, 2017

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 400

Published by: FaithWords (@FaithWords)

Available Formats: Trade Paperback, Audiobook and Ebook

Converse via: #RomSusp, #SusanSleeman, #Contemporary #Romance

About Susan Sleeman

Susan Sleeman

SUSAN SLEEMAN is a bestselling and award-winning author of inspirational and clean read romantic suspense books. In addition to writing, Susan also hosts the popular website TheSuspenseZone.com. Susan currently lives in Oregon, but has had the pleasure of living in nine states. Her husband is a retired church music director and they have two beautiful daughters, a very special son-in-law and an adorable grandson.

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ahead of reading this novel in full:

Ahead of reading Fatal Mistake, I decided to kick-start my readings off this October during #FraterfestRAT which was a readathon specifically to encourage you to read thrillers, suspense or paranormal stories – for me, I took the option to read Mysteries, Suspense or Thrillers – thus, began my readings of my first Susan Sleeman novel! I do have quite a few of her #LoveINSPIRED Suspense novels I want to begin reading but I opted to start with Fatal Mistake as I knew this was a novel I was having difficulty in starting,…

Mostly as the heart of the story felt much more intense before I began reading it than I was expecting,… though after I started reading the first few chapters, her style of narrative reminded me of the reasons why I love reading INSPY Thrillers by Dee Henderson – as they have a similar style. You might have to brace yourself for where the stories go as they both write realistically captivating Thrillers of Suspense but somewhere along the way as your reading their stories you know you can trust them – your heart might be on the edge of your skin throughout the tale(s) but you have an author you can trust to get you from the beginning to the end! This is why I was thankful I chose to read the first 92 pages of Fatal Mistake during the readathon! It gave me a *nudge*! and a purpose of intention to start reading a story which I was hesitating to read!

Therefore, I read ninety-two pages plus I finished the chapter I was in the middle of shortly after the readathon itself – bringing me to the first 100 pages read. I was on pins awaiting to find out the conclusion but part of me also was thankful to be taking this a bit slow as it is high octane!

my review of Fatal mistake:

As soon as you arrive on scene inside the mind of Tara’s running thoughts about how her supposedly childhood friend was now a person of interest considering what she had uncovered on her Aunt’s property where he rented a place to live – was one of the most scene stealing opening bridges I’ve read this year! You’re simply not prepared for her to make an emergency call to the authorities and have one of the agents (Cal) try to talk her through what she needs to do in order to stay alive! When it comes to thrilling Suspense, Ms Sleeman surely secured her style as a new favourite of mine when she had Agent Riggins arriving slightly late on the scene placing Tara’s life further at risk!

The hardest part about reading this story is if you take a break from reading it you’re going to wish you hadn’t as so much happens during the bits between where you place your reading marker! For Tara the hardest part is reconciling the man she felt she had known had turnt into someone unrecognisable – who was capable of doing things she could not understand and for reasons she was not even sure she wanted to know about in the future. You immediately feel placed inside Tara’s shoes – of the urgency of her needing a knight to come rescue her and the impossible reality that sometimes you have to be your own hero of your own story.

From the moment Tara is first rescued by Cal, you start to suspect how he can keep her safe and alive – as this is a harrowing adventure she’s only just begun to live. Cal for his part is a man who takes his job super seriously – for him, he has a narrowing of focus, where everything is put on the line to catch the person he’s invested in finding and bringing to justice. Nothing exists outside that endgame moment for Cal – he expects everyone in his life to understand this, including the witnesses he brings forward to aide his investigation. This is how Tara enters his life – as he believes her to be keeping something back from disclosure – something which could aide him in his pursuit and finally put an end to a case which was causing him more undue stress with each passing hour he was unable to catch the person responsible.

You can feel for Cal – for how well-trained he is and for how his instincts are set to rapid-fire in case he’s found in the middle of an emergency he couldn’t predict would erupt in front of him. Yet, behind all of this is a sensitive man who has real and raw feelings about his job; including his responsibilities and how he sometimes cannot protect the people he is sent to rescue. He has honest emotional triggers and seeing how he has to put aside his thoughts and his feelings to do his job humbles Cal in my eyes as Sleeman shows all angles of his personality – from the strength of being a dedicated agent to the humanistic side where his fragility shines.

Tara is incredibly tough and resilient – you can sense this even before it starts to play out in front of you! We move so quickly through the time-line of the story – as from the moment Tara first discovers what is in the shed on her Aunt’s property to when we find her in Oregon at a fire lookout station – it doesn’t feel rushed, but months have gone by! The pacing of this Thriller is what I loved most as everything takes place in its own timing but at the same time, everything has to accelerate to accommodate what is fuelling the dangers. It is here we find what Tara is built of – how her innate desire to remain self-sufficient and attune to what lurks in hiding just out of sight is what is keeping her alive.

As Tara allows herself to consider teaming up with Cal might be in her best interests it comes on the heels of an explosion and a warning that her safety is not quite as secure in her own hands as she would have believed prior to this latest incident. Experiencing what she’s going through as you read forward into the story – you start to wonder how Cal can possibly protect Tara, to predict a pattern of behaviour which would offer to safeguard Tara whilst drawing him closer to the person he’s pursuing? Even Tara is starting to put the pieces together – of sorting out what has drawn her into this frenzy and how fearful she is of what her role might have been which led to this kind of an outcome.

The INSPY threads of this narrative are quiet and subtle – as their in the background of the action and the dialogue. Where both characters (Tara and Cal) start to question and reconsider where they stand in their faith lives as they move towards a resolution they can both live with after the tides turn in the case their both caught inside til the end. It is here where we see echoes of honest reactions to their individual walks of faith – of where their faith is teetering on becoming permanently fractured and how both of them wish for a moment where they could feel something towards a renewal of their spirit. What is interesting about this particular aspect of the story-line is that we’re not seeing the story unfold from two people who have a strong foundation of faith but rather from two souls who’ve felt the turbulences of their lives have chipped away at their resolve and at the foundation of their faith. It isn’t that they’ve stopped believing – it is that their in the midst of a situation which doesn’t broker well to understand – there are things which are happening in both their lives (as one is a civilian and one is serving on the side of the law) which are not easily able to be ‘let go’ and allow their faith to carry them through. These are situations and circumstances which seek to try them and to test how far they can handle things on their own before they realise how much they still rely on their faith moreso than they ever realised. The way in which Ms Sleeman has built this part of the novel is quite clever because both of them are on equal footing when it comes to their spiritual lives – from that perspective alone you can see how they could enjoy a budding romance because their both struggling to heal, to let go of the things they can’t change and to find a way forward with an outlook built on hope rather than despair.

Tara starts to understand Cal better when their in close quarters – especially at the safe house where the whole tactical team is gathered and where she can interact with Cal in quieter moments away from the team. It is there we start to see what lies beneath their courage and outward shell of protection – as both Cal and Tara have incredible self-preservation instincts but when it comes time to share a bit of their heart – to see past the image they want to project in public, they each have the tendency to retreat like turtles back into their shells. They emotionally want to avoid confrontation but they both are emotionally anguished past the point of return – which for me was so eloquently developed into the background of the story it felt dearly organic and fitting as you follow the plot through its dramatic arc into where we step into their footsteps as they both try to sort out their feelings (for one another) and try to determine how they can survive this moment of their lives.

I honestly think I stopped breathing somewhere in the middle of this novel – I was so started by the twists and turns Ms Sleeman wrote into this story, it was quite difficult to get through! I would consider this novel on the upper tier of where a Thriller can take you emotionally and psychologically! So much so, it is hard to even think as your turning pages of the novel – hoping you have the courage to read what is left on those pages even if a part of you is worried over how the story will end! I know this was the case for me! I was dearly worried for Tara, Cal and June – June is Tara’s Aunt who became her surrogate mother when she lost her own parents. I can’t even begin to express how terrifying this story is to read – especially if you love stories about families and the close connections they share with each other. This story simply pulls your heart apart and the best thing you can do is get to the ending,.. as that is where Sleeman will surprise you!

When I read about Ms Sleeman’s friendship with Elizabeth Goddard in the Acknowledgements section I was not surprised – as Goddard is one of my Mum’s favourite INSPY Suspense novelists – there were moments as I was reading this story where I felt perhaps some of the essence of this novel reminded me of reflections Mum had made about Goddard’s stories. I haven’t had the chance to read them yet myself but I think there is a kinship of familiarity with certain INSPY novelists – of where their stories can be appreciated separately and together. One thing I know they share is for providing their readers with an edgy story which will take them through such a jarring reading experience that it will test a reader’s will to finish the story!

I appreciated the close-knit family Sleeman constructed for the White Knights – the team members were more than just colleagues they were family by every since of the word. You truly gain insight into how teams like the Knights pull together, soundboard off each other for clues they aren’t suspecting to unearth and how they work together in such a way by honouring each member of the team as they move forward with their investigations. They know each other so well as to respect each others’ feelings and reactions – something which becomes quite pivotal in this story.

If your looking for a roller coaster of emotional drama knitted inside a tautly envisioned Romantic Suspense, look no further than reading a novel by Susan Sleeman! She pushes you outside your comfort zones, stitches sequences of suspenseful twists you never see coming into her novels and provides you with a heroine and hero who are struggling to find their balance in a world which seeks to keep them weighed down by remorse, grief and the guilt which stems from living through traumatic events.

on the romantic suspense styling of susan sleeman:

I should have known from my readings of #LoveINSPIRED Suspense this past July if I were to start reading a Sleeman novel, I was in for a ride! Although this is not published under that particular imprint what I mean to say is there is a sisterhood of Suspense styling I noticed through my readings – where once you start to find a few favourites, you start to find others who write in a similar style – where you feel the inertia of the suspense surrounding your mind as you read but where you get to :breathe: and realise there is a bit more to the story being developed – there is romantic connection as well – even if that part of the story sometimes has to be postponed!

What I immediately loved about Ms Sleeman’s style is how clean she writes a Thriller – I regularly read both mainstream and INSPY literature – across genres – but I also have a ready preference for ‘less is more’ or to be frank, ‘none’ is even better when it comes to strong language choices! As this was an INSPY Thriller I knew going into reading it would be clean but it is how Ms Sleeman chose to highlight the height of emotions, the onslaught of fear and the percolating anxieties of her characters which I found to be most enjoyable! Everything felt terrifyingly real and honest – a feat I give her credit for as writing in taut tension and emotional angst is one of the hardest things to convey in a story like this one. She takes you straight into the psychological angle of her characters – of seeing how they can deal with the situations at hand and if anything can break them as the story progresses forward. Blessedly this could have become far more intense and graphic on the level of mainstream Thrillers but Sleeman pulls back the lens and re-aligns you back into the psychological and emotional journey of her characters rather than the horror of what is happening to them.

What makes it a wicked good Thriller is how you simply do not know if you can trust if this will have a positive outcome – between the near-misses and the heart-pounding action sequences, Ms Sleeman shows how easily it is for this to turn a corner your not expecting even if the foundation of a potential chemistry and romantic overtures between her characters exists – the dramatic anxiety of having a person in jeopardy and living on the run precludes those intentions from being realised.

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I look forward to reading your thoughts & commentary!
Especially if you read the book or were thinking you might be inclined to read it.
I appreciate hearing different points of view especially amongst
readers who gravitate towards the same stories to read.
Bookish conversations are always welcome!
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Be sure to read the #SatBookChat feeds to see where the convo took us during @SatBookChat. We meet-up at 11a NYC | 4p UK on Saturdays if you want to join our conversations. Everyone is welcome to attend – readers, reviewers, book bloggers, and writers alike – sharing our love for Romance & Women’s Fiction stories.

Our next featured guest will be *Clare Chase!* on behalf of her latest release “Murder on the Marshes” of which I’ll be reviewing this Saturday ahead of the chat! Be sure to read my convo with her about the series and what inspires her dramatic crime novelling!

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Reading this story is also part of the following:

#20BooksOfAutumn banner made by Jorie in Canva.

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#FraterFestRAT banner created by Jorie via Canva. Photo Credit: Unsplash Public Domain Photographer Marko Blažević

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#SpooktasticReads banner created by Imyril (@imyril) Photo Credit: Unsplash Photographer Mark Tegethoff. (Creative Commons Zero) Used with permission.

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{SOURCES: Book covers for “Fatal Mistake” and “Kill Shot”, book synopsis, author biography and author photograph of Susan Sleeman were all provided by the publisher Hachette Book Group Inc. and are used with permission. Select quotations from the book “Fatal Mistake” were selected by Jorie and are used with the permission of the publisher. Post dividers badge by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. Tweets were embedded due to codes provided by Twitter.#SpooktasticReads banner created by Imyril (@imyril) Photo Credit: Unsplash Photographer Mark Tegethoff. (Creative Commons Zero) Used with permission. Blog graphics created by Jorie via Canva: #SaturdaysAreBookish banner, #FraterfestRAT banner using: Photo Credit: Unsplash Public Domain Photographer Marko Blažević and the Comment Box Banner.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2018.

Comments via Twitter:

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • #20BooksOfAutumn 2018
  • #FraterfestRAT 2018
  • #SpooktasticReads 2018

About jorielov

I am self-educated through local libraries and alternative education opportunities. I am a writer by trade and I cured a ten-year writer’s block by the discovery of Nanowrimo in November 2008. The event changed my life by re-establishing my muse and solidifying my path. Five years later whilst exploring the bookish blogosphere I decided to become a book blogger. I am a champion of wordsmiths who evoke a visceral experience in narrative. I write comprehensive book showcases electing to get into the heart of my reading observations. I dance through genres seeking literary enlightenment and enchantment. Starting in Autumn 2013 I became a blog book tour hostess featuring books and authors. I joined The Classics Club in January 2014 to seek out appreciators of the timeless works of literature whose breadth of scope and voice resonate with us all.

"I write my heart out and own my writing after it has spilt out of the pen." - self quote (Jorie of Jorie Loves A Story)

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Posted Saturday, 20 October, 2018 by jorielov in #JorieLovesIndies, 21st Century, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Contemporary Romance, Content Note, Debut Author, Debut Novel, Fly in the Ointment, Indie Author, Life Shift, Modern Day, Near-Death Experience, Romance Fiction, Second Chance Love, Vulgarity in Literature




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