Genre: Romantic Suspense

#CrimeFicFridays | featuring the Harlequin Romantic Suspense novel “Guarding His Midnight Witness” (Honour Bond series, Book 4) by Anna J. Stewart

Posted Friday, 8 April, 2022 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

Reading the stories of Anna J. Stewart banner created by Jorie in Canva.

This Spring, I have the pleasure of joy to be reading a select sequencing of stories writ by the lovely Ms Anna J. Stewart – of whom, I first became introduced to whilst reading the #BlackwellBrothers series via Harlequin Heartwarming! Whilst continuing to get to know her further through her guest appearances on @SatBookChat (the Saturday chat I’ve hosted since 2014 celebrating Romance, Women’s Fiction & Feminist Lit). You’ll find me reading selections from her Romantic Suspense stories for Harlequin as well as her wicked lovely series ‘Butterfly Harbour’ which is a celebration of family, community and new beginnings!

Full disclaimer: Spring usually arrives so fast & furious our Winter barely has time to make a proper arrival and departure – thereby, despite the fact, we’re being blessed this year with an extended Winter, my reviews for Ms Stewart will be peppered throughout the coming months – thereby arriving on Jorie Loves A Story throughout ‘Spring’ even as Winter starts to disappear.

Hence why I’m calling this special featured showcase of reviews:

Celebrating Spring whilst reading the stories of Anna J. Stewart!

I started this concentration in 2021 with the following reviews:
Undercover Heat and Colton on the Run

whilst I began this new concentration by sharing my review of:
Gone in the Night & Recipe for Redemption

Acquired Book By: Whilst speaking with Ms Stewart about being a guest on @SatBookChat in the New Year of 2021 (in late 2020) – I realised there was a whole collection of stories by her I haven’t yet had the pleasure of reading! The first series which charmed my heart was Butterfly Harbour – which we happily discussed during #SatBookChat in January, 2021 and the series I am concurrently reading this Spring, 2022. At the time, she mentioned to me she also writes for Harlequin’s Romantic Suspense and I was quite curious about those stories as I regularly read their Love Inspired Suspense novels. The key difference between the two is Love Inspired is their faith-based imprint and the Romantic Suspense stories are Contemporary and mainstream. I tend to be a hybrid reader of both mainstream and faith-based markets which is why I agreed to reading her Romantic Suspense releases.

I returnt to reading her stories within the Romantic Suspense imprint of Harlequin with “Gone in the Night”, as I previously shared my reviews on behalf of “Undercover Heat” and “Colton on the Run”. It is part of the Honor Bound series of stories – which begins with three women interconnected through a shared tragic past (ie. Eden, Simone and Allie) whilst it will expand and pivot to feature the McTavish’s after their story is told. As of Spring 2022 – there are five novels released in this series, though the series will expand into eight installments. (which I learnt during #SatBookChat in February, 2022)

I received a complimentary copy of “Guarding His Midnight Witness” direct from the author Anna J. Stewart in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein. Per the badge at the end of this review, I am also a member of the author’s Review Team.

NOTE: All the Press Materials for this series (Honour Bound) were provided by the author, Ms Stewart for use on my blog. Whether she gifted me the books herself or whether I purchased them – as I asked if I could use them as I blog about this wonderfully lovely series.

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a few notations about the series from “Gone in the night”:

Stewart writes fast paced Romantic Suspense – to where you nearly feel as if the momentum is going to swallow you whole as your reading one of her novels. In this particular installment of the Honour Bound series, Stewart shifts forward and backwards to re-anchour the reader into the drama of the series itself. You didn’t have to finish reading the first two novels in the series to gain traction in the third which was a blessing for me as I couldn’t quite reconcile reading the first two novels in this series but I was gripped by the third as if this were the first novel. Stewart gives a lot of layered re-hashing of the events which has plagued the three main characters of the series thus far afield as the Honour Bound series is a thread of stories connecting Eden, Simone and Allie.

As this is the third installment, the point-of-perspective is given to Allie whilst opening the door for Guarding His Midnight Witness when it comes to Jack McTavish. Through conversations during #SatBookChat, I learnt Stewart let her characters dictate the direction of the series which is why we are going to pivot from the girls’ to the McTavish’s in the next installments. I’m not sure where we will go from there as this is going to be an eight book series but the journey is one I am thankful to be taking after a bit of a hard go at the start of it.

Similar to the other Romantic Suspense novels I’ve read by Stewart, this one packs quite the emotional punch for her readers. A lot of this is rooted in psychological suspense undertones combined with emotional anguish and heartache; whilst inclusive of trauma and memory from the past which re-inflicts pain in the present. It is a layered story and one which is slow brewing – as Stewart sets the stage well in the beginning for the kidnapping case to serve as a catalyst for the story itself and let’s us re-hover of the past Allie, Simone and Eden have been surviving all along.

-quoted from my review of Gone in the Night

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As I came into this series a bit haphazardly, it might help other readers who are considering reading this series but are unsure where to begin it. As I disclosed on my review for Gone in the Night, it took me a bit to find traction within the series, as the first two novels just didn’t grip me as much as Allie’s story and it was through her story, I was pleasantly surprised to see the whole series open up for me as a reader as Stewart has brilliant continuity and interweaving threads of connection from one installment to the next; something she is known for throughout all her series (as I’ve read quite a few of her series from two imprints of Harlequin). She catches you up on the back-histories of these characters whilst giving you feeders of folly to consider for future. I love how she started to insert the pivoting sequencing into Gone in the Night by focusing on Jack McTavish and of course, how his story-line became a bit of a cliffhanger leading into Guarding His Midnight Witness.

It wasn’t a traditional cliffhanger, as the door was open for his character to return but there was a quasi-curiosity about how he would return and in what capacity (to avoid spoilers) due to the circumstances of the final chapters of the third installment. I was definitely curious how and where we would re-enter Jack’s life now in the fourth novel whilst seeing how within this fourth installment, how we would continue to pivot forward away from the girls (ie. Allie, Eden and Simone) even though I knew they would all be somewhat inclusive of the series even as it moves forward due to the found family aspect of the Honour Bound series overall.

Allie roots you into the series because of how emotionally connective she is to the crux of the story which evolves through the first three novels. She is the axis point in so many ways and because of that, I felt a closer connection to both her as a character and to the series overall. Her cover art is also a bit telling as she’s the only book so far which only features the female lead rather than showcasing both the heroine and the hero of the story. I’d say more but that might be considered a spoiler as well – so let’s just leave it here as a curiosity of noting the differences in covers.

And, this is of course how I came to appreciate the Honour Bound series. It isn’t necessarily because of the case files their investigating because this series does continue to push me past my own comfort zones and boundaries when it comes to Crime Fiction and Cosy Crime drama but at the heart of the series is a wonderful group of individuals who found each other and who have bonded to each other to create their own family. Their not just bound by fate or mutual respect/appreciation but they all have a sense of duty and honour within them as well.

Only the series by Harlequin Heartwarming and Romantic Suspense have I found I can dip in and out of series – not always, as sometimes the sequencing is required to understand the flow of a series – as I wouldn’t say I could move in/out of all the series I’m reading and find the same continuity or traction as I had within Honour Bound but there are more chances I could do this within these two imprints than I could with series published elsewhere. Therefore, if you’ve not yet discovered this series, be sure to know you can pick up the threads of it and move forward with the rest of us who were also late-comers to the Honour Bound series! I do advise starting with Allie’s story in Gone in the Night as it is a pivotal story within the series in regards to anchouring you to the beginning and to the next chapters of where the series now pivots forward.

NOTE: I personally spelt honor as *honour* however, if you follow the feeds on Twitter or other socially engaged platforms be sure to use the American spelling #HonorBound to find other readers who are sharing their bookish reactions to the series. I am only spelling it differently as I review it on my blog but note the official title all the same. For me, honor is honour but that’s just a personal quirk.

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The Honour Bound series:

More than a Lawman by Anna J. StewartReunited with the P.I. by Anna J. StewartGone in the Night by Anna J. Stewart

Guarding His Midnight Witness by Anna J. StewartPrison Break Hostage by Anna J. Stewart

More than a Lawman (book one)

Reunited with the PI (book two)

Gone in the Night (book three) | (see also Review)

Guarding His Midnight Witness (book four)

Prison Break Hostage (book five)

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View the list and keep tabs on this series via Fantastic Fiction!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Published by: Harlequin Romantic Suspense (@HarlequinBooks) | imprint of Harlequin

Converse via: #ContemporaryRomance, #RomanticSuspense and #HonorBound

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Posted Friday, 8 April, 2022 by jorielov in 21st Century, Book Review (non-blog tour), Contemporary Romance, Crime Fiction, Modern Day, Post-911 (11th September 2001), Romance Fiction, Romantic Suspense, Suspense

#CrimeFicFridays | featuring the Harlequin Romantic Suspense novel “Gone in the Night” (Honour Bound series, Book 3) by Anna J. Stewart

Posted Friday, 11 March, 2022 by jorielov , , , , 0 Comments

Reading the stories of Anna J. Stewart banner created by Jorie in Canva.

This Spring, I have the pleasure of joy to be reading a select sequencing of stories writ by the lovely Ms Anna J. Stewart – of whom, I first became introduced to whilst reading the #BlackwellBrothers series via Harlequin Heartwarming! Whilst continuing to get to know her further through her guest appearances on @SatBookChat (the Saturday chat I’ve hosted since 2014 celebrating Romance, Women’s Fiction & Feminist Lit). You’ll find me reading selections from her Romantic Suspense stories for Harlequin as well as her wicked lovely series ‘Butterfly Harbour’ which is a celebration of family, community and new beginnings!

Full disclaimer: Spring usually arrives so fast & furious our Winter barely has time to make a proper arrival and departure – thereby, despite the fact, we’re being blessed this year with an extended Winter, my reviews for Ms Stewart will be peppered throughout the coming months – thereby arriving on Jorie Loves A Story throughout ‘Spring’ even as Winter starts to disappear.

Hence why I’m calling this special featured showcase of reviews:

Celebrating Spring whilst reading the stories of Anna J. Stewart!

I started this concentration in 2021 with the following reviews:
Undercover Heat and Colton on the Run

Acquired Book By: Whilst speaking with Ms Stewart about being a guest on @SatBookChat in the New Year of 2021 (in late 2020) – I realised there was a whole collection of stories by her I haven’t yet had the pleasure of reading! The first series which charmed my heart was Butterfly Harbour – which we happily discussed during #SatBookChat in January, 2021 and the series I am concurrently reading this Spring, 2022. At the time, she mentioned to me she also writes for Harlequin’s Romantic Suspense and I was quite curious about those stories as I regularly read their Love Inspired Suspense novels. The key difference between the two is Love Inspired is their faith-based imprint and the Romantic Suspense stories are Contemporary and mainstream. I tend to be a hybrid reader of both mainstream and faith-based markets which is why I agreed to reading her Romantic Suspense releases.

This review marks my return to reading her stories within the Romantic Suspense imprint of Harlequin, as I previously shared my reviews on behalf of “Undercover Heat” and “Colton on the Run”. It is part of the Honor Bound series of stories – which begins with three women interconnected through a shared tragic past (ie. Eden, Simone and Allie) whilst it will expand and pivot to feature the McTavish’s after their story is told. As of Spring 2022 – there are five novels released in this series, though the series will expand into eight installments. (which I learnt during #SatBookChat in February, 2022)

I borrowed a copy of “Gone in the Night” from my local library through their interlibrary loan services (in 2021) whilst I bought a personal copy of the novel (February, 2022) and was not obliged to write a review on its behalf. I chose to write a review for my own edification as well as to continue to share my readerly life on Jorie Loves A Story. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

NOTE: All the Press Materials for this series (Honour Bound) were provided by the author, Ms Stewart for use on my blog. Whether she gifted me the books herself or whether I purchased them – as I asked if I could use them as I blog about this wonderfully lovely series.

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a notation about reading this series “Honour bound”:

I borrowed More Than A Lawman and Reunited with the PI via interlibrary loan in early 2021 – wherein I read most of the first novel and only part of the second, however, I understood the gist of the series based on what I had been reading. Sadly, with everything that was going on at the time I read them, I misplaced the notes I had on those readings. It was my first introduction to reading Romantic Suspense novels by Ms Stewart and I would have continued to read this series then, however, Gone in the Night was a bit delayed reaching me through inter-library loan. Thereby, I had to forestall continuing to read the series until I could find a personal copy of Gone in the Night. Which I admit, took until recently – as I happily received my copy of the novel the week of February, 26th, 2022.

I do remember More Than A Lawman and Reunited with the PI pushed me a bit as far as the plots were considered as I felt a bit out of my comfort zones in regards to where I like to read Romantic Suspense. I didn’t feel fully attached and comfortable within this series until I started reading Gone in the Night which is why that particular novel is what is kicking off my showcases for the Honour Bond series overall. Stewart did a great job at continuity within this series – as the three women: Eden, Simone and Allie are a united front with a shared history which haunts each of them in different ways whilst leading into a climax of terror. I felt more aligned with Allie’s story moreso than Eden’s and Simone’s which doesn’t happen very often for me in a series – yet, for whichever reason I just felt more in sync with the series with Allie’s story and felt that was the best place for me to start my reviews. I had shifted from this series to reading about the Colton’s, which is why the first Romantic Suspense review I shared for Ms Stewart was Undercover Heat.

I wanted to begin my showcases for the Honour Bound series by back-reading the stories leading into Guarding His Midnight Witness and this year’s release Prison Break Hostage. As a way of setting down a foundation for myself as a reader whilst offering the chance to introduce this series to my readers and visitors alike who might be equally as interested in this Contemporary Romantic Suspense series. I also have a feeling the series may pivot once it shifts past Eden, Simone and Allie’s storylines and I was curious to watch the series evolve forward past the initial three novels as it will focus on the McTavish’s. As the detective in Gone in the Night is featured in Guarding His Midnight Witness.

NOTE: I personally spelt honor as *honour* however, if you follow the feeds on Twitter or other socially engaged platforms be sure to use the American spelling #HonorBound to find other readers who are sharing their bookish reactions to the series. I am only spelling it differently as I review it on my blog but note the official title all the same. For me, honor is honour but that’s just a personal quirk.

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The Honour Bound series:

More than a Lawman by Anna J. StewartReunited with the P.I. by Anna J. StewartGone in the Night by Anna J. Stewart

Guarding His Midnight Witness by Anna J. StewartPrison Break Hostage by Anna J. Stewart

More than a Lawman (book one)

Haunted by the death of her childhood friend, journalist Eden St. Claire has dedicated her life to catching serial killers—and she’s always done so alone. But when the lethal murderer Eden is tracking puts her in danger’s crosshairs, she agrees to accept protection from longtime friend Detective Cole Delaney.

Cole has secretly carried a torch for Eden for years. She might not want to let anybody in, but the thought of losing her is unbearable. Passions flare as the threats intensify. Can Cole convince Eden to break her own rule to never fall in love…before the killer snuffs out their happily-ever-after?

Reunited with the PI (book two)

Exactly why should P.I. Vince Sutton take his ex-wife’s case? Because she, assistant district attorney Simone Armstrong, put his brother in jail? Because the ambitious spitfire still drives him crazy? No, he’ll take it because “The Avenging Angel” makes him a deal he can’t refuse. Sparks fly when Vince works all-too-closely with Simone to locate her missing key witness…but in the process, they are drawn into a cold case. As much as he tries, Vince can’t deny that he’s never gotten over beautiful Simone, but can he admit his feelings to her—and himself? And can he save her from the danger that’s heading their way?

Gone in the Night (book three)

Guarding His Midnight Witness (book four)

Prison Break Hostage (book five)

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View the list and keep tabs on this series via Fantastic Fiction!

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Published by: Harlequin Romantic Suspense (@HarlequinBooks) | imprint of Harlequin

Converse via: #ContemporaryRomance, #RomanticSuspense and #HonorBound

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Posted Friday, 11 March, 2022 by jorielov in 21st Century, Book Review (non-blog tour), Contemporary Romance, Crime Fiction, Modern Day, Post-911 (11th September 2001), Romance Fiction, Romantic Suspense, Suspense

#CrimeFicFridays | featuring Harlequin Romantic Suspense novel “Colton on the Run” (The Coltons of Roaring Springs series, Book 9) by Anna J. Stewart

Posted Friday, 23 April, 2021 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

Reading the stories of Anna J. Stewart banner created by Jorie in Canva.

This Spring, I have the pleasure of joy to be reading a select sequencing of stories writ by the lovely Ms Anna J. Stewart – of whom, I first became introduced to whilst reading the #BlackwellBrothers series via Harlequin Heartwarming! Whilst continuing to get to know her further through her guest appearances on @SatBookChat (the Saturday chat I’ve hosted since 2014 celebrating Romance, Women’s Fiction & Feminist Lit). You’ll find me reading selections from her Romantic Suspense stories for Harlequin as well as her wicked lovely series ‘Butterfly Harbour’ which is a celebration of family, community and new beginnings!

Hence why I’m calling this special featured showcase of reviews:

Celebrating Spring whilst reading the stories of Anna J. Stewart!

Acquired Book By: Whilst speaking with Ms Stewart about being a guest on @SatBookChat in the New Year of 2021 – as this conversation we shared was in late 2020 – I realised there was a whole series of stories by her I haven’t yet had the pleasure of reading! The first series which charmed my heart was Butterfly Harbour – which we happily discussed during #SatBookChat in January, 2021. She mentioned to me she also writes for Harlequin’s Romantic Suspense line and I was quite curious about those stories as I regularly read their Love Inspired Suspense novels. The key difference between the two is that Love Inspired is their faith-based imprint and the Romantic Suspense stories are Contemporary and mainstream. I tend to be a hybrid reader of both mainstream and faith-based markets which is why I agreed to reading 3x of her Romantic Suspense releases.

This is one of two reviews which features the Coltons – a very large series of novels spilt over different mini-series and settings throughout the Romantic Suspense line of novels by Harlequin Books. The two stories I am reading are rooted inside the Colton 911: Chicago series and The Coltons of Roaring Springs – both of which were discussed today (27 March, 2021) during #SatBookChat to celebrate the March 2021 release for “Undercover Heat” which is the third novel in the Colton 911: Chicago series.

I received a complimentary copy of “Colton on the Run” direct from the author Anna J. Stewart in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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a notation about reading Harlequin Romantic suspense novels:

My first Contemporary Romantic Suspense novel by Ms Stewart also marked my first time reading their non-Love Inspired imprint of Suspense novels. I began with the series Honour Bound which ‘Gone in the Night’ and ‘Guarding His Midnight Witness’ are attached too. I held off reading the latter to await my interlibrary loan for ‘Gone in the Night’ which blessedly has finally arrived! (eek!) Thereby, I’ll be featuring those novels next – however, whilst I had that particular series on hold I decided to pick up ‘Undercover Heat’ and today’s featured novel ‘Colton on the Run’!!

Undercover Heat by Anna J. StewartColton on the Run by Anna J. StewartGone in the Night by Anna J. StewartGuarding His Midnight Witness by Anna J. Stewart

Let me share with you a few reasons why ‘Undercover Heat’ became such a wicked #unputdownable read for me and why I believe ANY reader who loves both police procedural novels and second chance romances will fall in LOVE with Tatum and Cruz:

Guilt and remorse can wreck a guy – which is why I felt sympathetic to Cruz’s internal struggles in being Tatum as she was giving him a reason to question everything in his life. From the choices he was making about his personal life to the choices he was making about how he was able to function after the losses he’s sustained; the one thing he never seemed to give himself was the freedom to live. He was constantly awash with memory and trauma to where it was hard for Cruz to separate the past and the present. Something Stewart did a smashing job at showing as she built his character inside and out. She painted in the rougher bits of his personality with a rock solid passion for law and justice whilst tempering it with family and the compassions of a bloke who cares about his community. In essence, Cruz was a complicated character with a past which was trying to overtake his future.

Tatum on the other hand was raised to rise through her adversities and to seek a way to stabalise her present without forsaking the future. You could see the differences in their personalities almost immediately as for Tatum, her love of cooking and feeding people outweighed the hurt of her own losses. She wanted to move forward as a mark of honour rather than to avoid what she loved most in life. For her, moving forward meant a way of giving peace to her heart and a way of finding a way to continue to celebrate the persons she had lost. Whereas I felt Cruz wanted to punish himself for things he needed to forgive himself for rather than carry on the load of anguish he was supporting on his shoulders.

This novel is definitely for anyone who gets caught inside the movement of a service at any restaurant they dine as Stewart has created such a lively environment for us to explore! From how the staff interacts with each other to how they put the food out the kitchen; all those details you ache to know about whenever your eating out is included. Whilst it also gives you the strong impression that all kitchens big or small should operate on the efficiency and expedited scale as True! (big smiles) However, its not without its hidden dangers and bouts of suspenseful shock which make you itch to turn the pages! Especially when Stewart conceived of the idea for the refrigerator scene – she definitely knew how to stop your pulse for a few beats!

There is something wickedly brilliant about how a character can be surprised by her mother and Aunt! I loved how Stewart placed Tatum in a situation which tested both her patience and her sense of humour – especially considering how humourous Cruz felt the situation was for them both. Her Mum and Aunt ware good-natured and truly care about Tatum but to say they have tact and respect for her privacy is asking a bit too much from them! Laughs. I felt it was all in good folly but the reaction of Tatum put it all in a different kind of perspective because I think she likes to keep this part of her life separate from the eyes of her family; at least until she’s ready herself to share the details and that in of itself is what I felt ribbed her the most from the intrusion.

The scene where Tatum is fondly remembering her father whilst surprising Cruz with an unexpected foodie experience was one of my top favourite scenes. There was such a stirring of heart and emotions in this scene – where you could see Tatum in a different ray of light than the one she presents to her colleagues and for Cruz, I felt it was humbling for him to realise why she had brought him to that place on that particular night. Tatum was definitely her father’s daughter – she wanted to nurse the emotional wounds she couldn’t fix any other way with a meal which would warm the soul and then soothe the heart. There is something to be said for that kind of nurturing instinct and I loved how the scene played out.

From this moment in the story until the very last page, I was completely glued to the pages!! I loved how Stewart kept this centred on Tatum and Cruz; how she pulled us emotionally through the hurdles of an undercover investigation and how even at the end – I wasn’t sure I was prepared to see how this would conclude! Tatum and Cruz were both put through the ringer for different reasons – each of them, putting their personal and professional lives on the edge of what they felt they could handle in order to secure the truth. And, even then, I am not sure either of them were ready for what was revealled! It was one highly suspenseful romantic story which leaves you aching for more by Stewart! I’m not sure if this storyline can become revisited in a future installment of this particular series, but I’d love to know what ‘came next’ for Tatum and Cruz after this part of their story concluded.

The scenes with January (Tatum’s sister) were well timed as well. Tatum had a very close relationship with her family as much as Cruz did himself with his and it was great to have those extra moments hugging close to their families during quieter moments in the story itself. Most of this novel is set at such a high octane pace of delivery, you barely get to rest on the joys as their arriving into the scenes because something ’round the corner’ is going to be affecting the well-being of the characters you feel so close to as if they were already in your life!

The dizzying effect of unravelling the plot right alongside Stewart was brilliant on the part of how tightly she wound the suspenseful mystery behind the restaurant and of whom she put into position to have the great effect on the reader once the truth let out! I was beyond captivated by the plot and the persons she ferreted out at the end. It is definitely the kind of police procedural you hope to find and one that you love afterwards for having read. The ending of course was a complete nail-biter and I loved reading it because it was such a fitting conclusion to the story!! Definitely an #unputdownable read!!

-quoted from my review of Undercover Heat

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The next reviews you’ll see from me will be for “Gone in the Night” and “Guarding His Midnight Witness” before I move into reading the Butterfly Harbour series by Ms Stewart! I decided to push forward those readings in order to read the Romantic Suspense ones back to back especially after my ILL request came in so quickly! Those will be peppering through my featured reviews during #WyrdAndWonder wherein you’ll find 31 days of Fantasy being happily showcased, discussed and championed on Jorie Loves A Story! Plus, of course, a few other genres as well – as I had some scheduled blog tours as well running in the foreground of the event, too!

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#CrimeFicFridays | featuring Harlequin Romantic Suspense novel “Colton on the Run” (The Coltons of Roaring Springs series, Book 9) by Anna J. StewartColton on the Run
Subtitle: The Coltons of Roaring Springs
by Ms Anna J. Stewart
Source: Direct from Author

Where is Skye Colton?

One woman’s disappearance rocks Roaring Springs

When he finds a half-dead woman stranded in his barn, rancher Leo Slattery feels his blood run cold. Though she can’t remember who she is, she insists someone is trying to kill her. With his strong protective streak, Leo brings her into the fold and helps her heal. As they begin to solve the mystery of Jane Doe’s identity, a would-be killer works to eliminate her—forever.

Genres: African-American Literature, Contemporary (Modern) Fiction (post 1945), Crime Fiction, Contemporary Romance, Romantic Suspense, Ranches & Cowboys



Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

Heat Factor for Romance
four-half-flames

ISBN: 9781488041433

Also by this author: Undercover Heat, Gone in the Night, Recipe for Redemption, Guarding His Midnight Witness

Published by Harlequin Romantic Suspense

on 3rd September, 2019

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 288

NOTE: As your reading this story, you can tell the characters would have preferred this not to be a slow burning romance – as they knew how they felt about each other quite early-on, however, it didn’t fit within the constructs of the story given the circumstances. This romance has even more ‘heat’ inside it than ‘Undercover Heat’ and definitely has more heat in it than most of the romances I regularly read by Harlequin because this series and imprint is different than the others I read – especially for content inclusions. Thereby if you’re new to this imprint just know this is writ more like a traditional Contemporary or Historical Romance.

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The Coltons of Roaring Springs series:

Colton Cowboy Standoff by Marie Ferrarella (book one)

Colton Under Fire by Cindy Dees (book two)

Colton’s Convenient Bride by Jennifer Morey (book three)

Colton’s Secret Bodyguard by Jane Godman (book four)

A Colton Target by Beverly Long (book five)

Colton’s Covert Baby by Lara Lacombe (book six) 

Colton’s Mistaken Identity by Geri Krotow (book seven) 

The Colton Sheriff by Addison Fox (book eight)

Colton on the Run by Anna J. Stewart (book nine)

? *there are more titles in this series!* ?

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.comView the full sequence of the series via Fantastic Fiction!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Published by: Harlequin Romantic Suspense (@HarlequinBooks) | imprint of Harlequin

Converse via: #ContemporaryRomance, #RomanticSuspense

as well as the series tag: #ColtonsOfRoaringSprings

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Posted Friday, 23 April, 2021 by jorielov in 21st Century, Book Review (non-blog tour), Contemporary Romance, Crime Fiction, Modern Day, Post-911 (11th September 2001), Romance Fiction, Romantic Suspense, Suspense

#CrimeFicFridays | featuring Harlequin Romantic Suspense novel “Undercover Heat” (Colton 911: Chicago series, Book Three) by Anna J. Stewart

Posted Friday, 16 April, 2021 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

Reading the stories of Anna J. Stewart banner created by Jorie in Canva.

This Spring, I have the pleasure of joy to be reading a select sequencing of stories writ by the lovely Ms Anna J. Stewart – of whom, I first became introduced to whilst reading the #BlackwellBrothers series via Harlequin Heartwarming! Whilst continuing to get to know her further through her guest appearances on @SatBookChat (the Saturday chat I’ve hosted since 2014 celebrating Romance, Women’s Fiction & Feminist Lit). You’ll find me reading selections from her Romantic Suspense stories for Harlequin as well as her wicked lovely series ‘Butterfly Harbour’ which is a celebration of family, community and new beginnings!

Hence why I’m calling this special featured showcase of reviews:

Celebrating Spring whilst reading the stories of Anna J. Stewart!

Acquired Book By: Whilst speaking with Ms Stewart about being a guest on @SatBookChat in the New Year of 2021 – as this conversation we shared was in late 2020 – I realised there was a whole series of stories by her I haven’t yet had the pleasure of reading! The first series which charmed my heart was Butterfly Harbour – which we happily discussed during #SatBookChat in January, 2021. She mentioned to me she also writes for Harlequin’s Romantic Suspense line and I was quite curious about those stories as I regularly read their Love Inspired Suspense novels. The key difference between the two is that Love Inspired is their faith-based imprint and the Romantic Suspense stories are Contemporary and mainstream. I tend to be a hybrid reader of both mainstream and faith-based markets which is why I agreed to reading 3x of her Romantic Suspense releases.

This is one of two reviews which features the Coltons – a very large series of novels spilt over different mini-series and settings throughout the Romantic Suspense line of novels by Harlequin Books. The two stories I am reading are rooted inside the Colton 911: Chicago series and The Coltons of Roaring Springs – both of which were discussed today (27 March, 2021) during #SatBookChat to celebrate the March 2021 release for “Undercover Heat” which is the third novel in the Colton 911: Chicago series.

I received a complimentary copy of “Undercover Heat” direct from the author Anna J. Stewart in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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a notation about reading Harlequin Romantic suspense novels:

My first foray into reading the Romantic Suspense line of stories by Harlequin was through their Love Inspired Suspense imprint! However, as those are faith-based stories rooted in the cosier side of suspenseful storylines – I hadn’t had the chance to cross-over into reading their mainstream Contemporary Romantic Suspense novels until Ms Stewart brought these lovelies to my attention!

Reunited with the P.I. by Anna J. StewartGone in the Night by Anna J. StewartGuarding His Midnight Witness by Anna J. Stewart

I started by requesting her Honour Bound series (see the full list via Fantastic Fiction!) via interlibrary loan wherein I was able to read the first novel More than a Lawman and most of the second Reunited with the P.I. – both of which are deftly told and eclipse the pulse of what you expect out of a Romantic Contemporary Suspense novel! I was on pins reading those passages and in many instances could not turn the pages quick enough to know how things resolved! Quite a chilling read all the way round – whilst happily I noted that even if I hadn’t had the chance to read all the stories in the series, Stewart gave you the impression you already knew the details! 

She’s written two Colton novels for the Romantic Suspense imprint at Harlequin and happily she was able to send me both novels for review consideration! And, these are the stories I read after the Honour Bound series! I had to withhold my review for the latest Honour Bound series release “Guarding His Midnight Witness” as I hadn’t had the chance to finish reading it as I was still hoping my library could have fetched a copy of Gone in the Night. Thereby I shifted gears and read about the Coltons and will be revisiting the Honour Bound series next whilst reading Butterfly Harbour!

Colton on the Run by Anna J. StewartUndercover Heat by Anna J. Stewart

The first novel she wrote for this imprint was “Colton on the Run” which is part of the Colton’s of Roaring Springs series whilst “Undercover Heat” is part of the Colton 911: Chicago series! Both of these lovelies are actually two of many mini-series which are inclusive of the Colton ‘series’ if you will as it is quite an expansive set of stories featuring the same family of characters and/or different relatives and relations therein from what I’ve gathered reading about the larger scope of the ‘series’ online.

I decided to read and review “Undercover Heat” first – as I admit, it was an easier story for me to soak inside as it involves cooking whilst set at a highly popular restaurant with a lot of drama percolating in the background with a potential underworld plot! The other novel “Colton on the Run” is dearly intense the moment you pick it up and doesn’t let you breathe until you know the conclusion of it – which is why I focused on this one first! I loved the respite it gave me from my new work life as much as it was a sweet transition back into reading as I’ve been struggling to read Historical Fiction lately and finding Contemporary stories are a bit easier for me to digest!

Thus I’m reading copious amounts of Harlequin stories of late – from these Rom Suspense novels to the Harlequin Heartwarming series and authors I have been championing a passion for since 2016!! I find these authors are giving me the kind of story I can sink my teeth into whilst allowing me to take a hiatus from my new schedule of working as well. It is always hard to shift gears in life and I’ve found that fatigue of my new job and the angst of Spring’s allergy season thrust upon me two months earlier this year than normal has caused an issue in my readerly life!! Thereby I am wicked happy Ms Stewart sent me her stories as I’ll be reading, reviewing and featuring them throughout the last months of Spring (ie. April-May!).

The key difference between the Romantic Suspense imprint and the Love Inspired Suspense imprint is that you know going into a LI:S story being faith-based their going to keep the romance and the crime bits on the cosy comfortable side of the ledger. Similar in tone and strength as you would expect out of a Hallmark Movies & Mysteries series. Whilst with the Contemporary mainstream Romantic Suspense line you have to brace yourself because you get more of what you’d expect out of a regular hard-boiled crime drama and is more akin to say “NCIS” or “Crossing Jordan”. (which of course were two of my favourites when I regularly watched them!)

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#CrimeFicFridays | featuring Harlequin Romantic Suspense novel “Undercover Heat” (Colton 911: Chicago series, Book Three) by Anna J. StewartUndercover Heat
Subtitle: Colton 911: Chicago
by Ms Anna J. Stewart
Source: Direct from Author

When her life is upended, a detective goes undercover to save it…

After tragedy strikes, chef Tatum Colton buries herself in her job. Detective Cruz Medina soon rocks her world once again, claiming criminals are using her restaurant as a front for nefarious activities. Cruz needs Tatum’s help to go undercover as her sous-chef, putting them both in the line of fire. But when things get hot in and out of the kitchen, can Cruz protect Tatum and their growing bond?

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



Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

Heat Factor for Romance
three-half-flames

ISBN: 978-1335628855

Also by this author: Colton on the Run, Gone in the Night, Recipe for Redemption, Guarding His Midnight Witness

Setting: Chicago


Published by Harlequin Romantic Suspense

on 9th March, 2021

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 288

NOTE: I felt this was a wonderfully written romance – in fact, it was one of those slow burning romances you instantly want to see happen for both lead characters because of how emotionally attached you’ve become to them during the course of the story. However, it is also a very ‘heated’ romance in regards to how the romance is explored and definitely has more heat in it than most of the romances I regularly read by Harlequin because this series and imprint is different than the others I read – especially for content inclusions. Thereby if you’re new to this imprint just know this is writ more like a traditional Contemporary or Historical Romance. I nearly gave it 4 flames but we spent so much time with the characters outside of their own pursuit of a relationship, I felt 3.5 was more aptly accurate!!

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The Colton 911:  Chicago series:

The Secret Network by Marie Ferrarella (book one)

Unlikely Alibi by Lisa Childs (book two)

Undercover Heat by Anna J. Stewart (book three)

Soldier’s Return by Karen Whiddon (book four) *April 2021

Hidden Target by Colleen Thompson (book five) *May 2021

Guardian in the Storm by Carla Cassidy (book six) *June 2021

Secret Defender by Marie Ferrarella (book seven) *July 2021

Temptation Undercover by Jennifer Morey (book eight) *August 2021

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.comView the full sequence of the series via Fantastic Fiction!

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Published by: Harlequin Romantic Suspense (@HarlequinBooks) | imprint of Harlequin

Converse via: #ContemporaryRomance, #RomanticSuspense

as well as the series tag: #Colton911Chicago

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Posted Friday, 16 April, 2021 by jorielov in 21st Century, Book Review (non-blog tour), Chefs and Sous Chefs, Contemporary Romance, Cookery, Crime Fiction, Modern Day, Post-911 (11th September 2001), Romance Fiction, Romantic Suspense, Suspense