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Of a single dad and hot-stuff federal agents

Hi, guys! How are you all doing? 

Can you believe that it's almost the end of November? I feel swamped with a thousand things at once because the semester is ending and deadlines, deadlines, deadlines... 

Boring stuff aside, I'm in the middle of bingeing Kaylea Cross' Hostage Rescue Team series. I love a good romantic suspense series, and I reviewed the first two books in this post. I also finished a contemporary romance featuring a recently widowed father of two and his late wife's best friend. Sounds cliche and a bit tacky too? at first but the author did a great job building their relationship and navigating issues like grief and guilt. 

Now, onwards!

WITHIN REACH by Sarah Mayberry [★★★★]

Oh god, this book. I slept at 3 am last night because of this book, I have so many feelings. Within Reach is about Michael trying to find his way and raise his two kids after his wife's passing with the help of his late wife's best friend, Angie. The story is set almost a year after Billie died. 

I just love how Sarah built up the romance between Michael and Angie. Actually, come to think of it, there isn't much romancing in the usual sense. Michael and Angie both still grieved for Billie, but at the same time they became aware of each other in that way as they worked together to give Michael's kids a normal routine. Sarah did a really great job in portraying Michael's love for Angie as something different and not as a replacement for his dead wife. 

I also love how Michael and Angie were honest with each other and actually talked. There are a lot of angst in this, mainly because the two of them felt guilty about their growing feelings for each other. But we can see throughout the story and to the end that they both worked out that loving each other doesn't mean that they are disrespecting Billie's memory. The only thing I'm disappointed about is the lack of epilogue. Imagine me crying at the end and suddenly yelling out in outrage because the reconciliation chapter stopped there. Where is my epilogue, Sarah???

MARKED [★★★1/2] & TARGETED [★★★★] by Kaylea Cross

I had my eye on Kaylea Cross' Hostage Rescue Team series ever since I finished Pamela Clare's Dead by Midnight. The HRT team made a cameo in that book, and I love their team dynamics. I've been on the lookout for a good romantic suspense series akin to Clare's I-Team series, and after two books I can say that I finally found one.

I've had MARKED on my Kindle forever, I think? but I couldn't get into it mainly because I wasn't too keen about the antagonists being radical Islamists. I picked it up again last night because I was in the mood for romantic suspense and once I got past the initial discomfort, I couldn't put it down. Cross' writing really reminds me of Pamela Clare's. While I love both Jake and Rachel as individual characters and as a couple, I was more interested with whatever's going on in the background between Celida and Tuck. MARKED is definitely a great start to the series. 

Tuck and Celida intrigued me so much in the first book that I immediately started this one after finishing it. I adore the glimpse we got of them when they were partners. They definitely had a lot of chemistry and it was obvious that they both cared for each other, but they both ignored the mutual attraction between them for the sake of being professionals (much respect). However, after Celida was nearly killed in MARKED, Tuck realized life was too short to live without her. I love how they were honest with each other about their feelings (I really have a thing for clear communication in romance, LOL). 

Plot-wise, I found it more interesting here than in the first book. The suspense element is also better in TARGETED than MARKED. I also love how Cross threw little tidbits about the other members of the team with every book; I have book 3 (Clay Bauer!!!) and book 4 (handsome boss-man Matt DeLuca!!!) on standby now hahahahahaha RIP my bank account.

What have you been reading this week? 

Let me know in the comments!

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