Reviews & Giveaway: Deadly Dance by Dee Davis & Run From Fear by Jami Alden

Wednesday, March 21

Title:  Deadly Dance*
Author: Dee Davis
Series:  A-TAC #5
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Publisher: Forever Romance
Format:  paperback & e-book
Date/Year:  March 27, 2012
Reviewed by: DD

*This book was provided to the reviewer by the publisher in exchange for honest review

Summary from the publisher:

As the intelligence officer for A-Tac, a black-ops CIA unit masquerading as Ivy League faculty, Hannah Marshall is used to working behind the scenes. But when a brutal murder hits too close to home, Hannah finds herself in the middle of the action, falling in love while racing to outwit a sadistic mastermind.


After the death of her A-Tac partner, Hannah doubts everything she thought she knew about love and loyalty. When handsome Harrison Blake joins the team, she's reluctant to trust him - or to act on her intense attraction to him. Then Hannah receives a podcast of a gruesome murder, and the only person who can help her find the killer is Harrison.

Harrison has spent years trying to hunt down the cunning monster who killed his sister. Now investigating with Hannah, he faces a shocking possibility - his sister's murderer has resurfaced. As the danger escalates, Hannah and Harrison grow closer, the desire simmering between them ignites. And when Hannah disappears, Harrison has only one chance to save the woman he loves.

My Musings:

This is another installment of an A-tac novel. The idea, which is a little far fetched, is interesting but you KNOW highly unlikely. It IS fiction after all. That doesn’t make it any less fun.

Hannah and Harrison are both part of A-tac, which is a group of CIA operatives working under the guise of a bunch of Ivy League professors. They are REAL professors, but they all live in the same cul-de-sac, they have war rooms under science buildings, and they have enough time to have lives, teach co-eds, AND be super awesome special ops gurus. Amazing.

Harrison’s little sister was abducted and murdered years ago, and suddenly some “copycat” killings begin to occur on their very campus, leading the A-tac members to wonder exactly how they may be tied to Harrison or possibly another member of the team. The result is loss of friends and colleagues until they isolate who the token madman really is.

Hannah and Harrison are a very sweet couple, and I believe they deserve each other. I love stories where I feel the characters are well matched.  Instead of trying to force two personalities together that won’t work, these two are willing to bend their ideas of being alone without too much drama because they want to be together.  They both are carrying loads of baggage which is typical, but what is atypical is that they both have the heart to look past the horrors they have lived and hold on to each other.

Hannah is someone you would want to be your friend. Damaged, but not beyond repair. She is awesome, and you feel it's NATURAL, not manufactured.  She doesn't try too hard. She is Professor one hour and Super Ninja Special Ops Girl the next. She doesn't whine, she doesn’t dwell, she lives and does. She, like most romantic suspense heroines have been to hell and back and survived. In this case I wanted her to let go of her past and wanted her to have a happy ending. I felt an emotional connection and was upset when she was upset. Her relationship with her TA, Tina, is special and very sweet and in my opinion central to the story. You get to see that Hannah not only embraces the man in her life, but the women whom she has valued friendships with as well. The kind of person she is shines. She has her moments: some human jealousy and thoughts she wants to bat away.  I thought Hannah was an excellent character and I was rooting for her the whole time.

Harrison is a loving and kind man. He is damaged also, not so much by romantic love, but he lost his sister some years ago, and is still burdened with guilt. His emotions towards Hannah are not only surprising but confusing to him, and although he has a little struggle with them, it's sweet to see him take the fall. He is also protective, but at times I thought he should have even been more so. He tries to draw the line between taking over and letting Hannah do what she does best. He finds it difficult to let go, but he knows she is smart and can take care of herself. I think he struggles more with that than he does with his feelings for her.

I have read a couple other books in this series. I have enjoyed them, but they are not on my “best of” list.  The novels have a slight tendency to dip into lengthy procedural talk. While that does add legitimacy and relevance to the story, it can get long winded and boring. I also felt that the bad guys and how they were all connected went around in circles, and sometimes I had difficulty comprehending. That being said, Dee Davis is an excellent writer in her linguistics and the words that she uses and how she puts them together. However, she doesn't get soooo advanced in her wording that you have to look up every third word to figure out what it means. She conveys intelligence without putting on a vocabulary show.  For that,  I commend her.

The love scenes were nice, but they didn’t incite any lust on my part, which makes me wonder if I didn’t really view Harrison and Hannah as friends instead of lovers.  I felt a true connection between them and unbreakable love for one another, but looking back on it I don’t know if it was really of the “have to have each other now because I’m hot for you” variety.  They were a little yawn-worthy to me (I AM pretty jaded though) and I didn’t feel they carried the excitement of two people who have wanted each other badly and become lovers for the first time. I also wanted them to be a little more adventurous. I know there are some underlying reasons that Davis did this, but it didn’t spark for me.

I think the trap that some romantic suspense authors get into is that interest can be lost in a series if a significant amount of time goes by. The book has to be able to stand on it’s own and draw readers that are new to the series. I know that is is a Catch 22: Authors want to wait to perfect the story and feel good about how it turned out, but I’m sure there is unbelievable pressure to get out the next in the series so it doesn’t lose the momentum. While this is surely a solid romantic suspense, in my opinion, I felt this one was missing just a little bit of umph.


Overall: 3.50 Stars (Solid novel, but I feel it was missing something)
Sensuality Rating: 3.75 (Love scenes were there, but I didn’t feel the lust)
For a complete understanding and definition of the ratings at Seductive Musings, click here

Other Reviews:


Title: Run From Fear*
Author: Jami Alden
Series:  #3 in a trilogy
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Publisher:  Forever Romance
Format: Paperback & E-book
Date/Year:  February 28, 2012
Reviewed by:  DD

*This book was provided to the reviewer by the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Summary from the publisher:

With each step she takes, he tracks her every move, waiting for the perfect time. The perfect revenge. Until then, he'll watch her . . .


More than anything, Talia Vega wanted to leave behind her harrowing past. Moving eight hundred miles away, she succeeded . . . until the one man who knows her darkest secrets wanders into the restaurant where she works. Now the agonizing memories come crashing back-along with an undeniable desire for Jack Brooks, the ex-Green Beret who rescued her from a sadistic monster two years ago.

Jack Brooks knows that showing up unannounced is a purely selfish move. Talia doesn't need his protection anymore, but he can't get the raven-haired beauty out of his mind. And when a twisted madman is hell-bent on resurrecting her torturous past, Jack vows to do anything to keep her safe-even risk his own life to save the only woman he's ever loved.

My Musings:

I know this sounds like a broken record. I have read almost 1000 books, so I USUALLY DO start with “I have read this author before.” And I HAVE read several Jami Alden books before, and have been quite impressed with them in the past. Even one from this series, or what appears to be from this series judging by the cover, Beg For Mercy, I would consider an excellent read.

Basically, Talia Vega has a little bit of a checkered past, and got involved and fell in love with a huge tattooed rich man named David Maxwell that she thought would love her and help her create a good life for her and her sister Rosie. When Talia gets tangled up in the criminal web and was almost destroyed physically and mentally by Maxwell and his cronies, she moves, starting a new life at a restaurant/bar and building her body and mind to take anything that comes her way. The one that rescued her from her horror was Jack Brooks. She was attracted to him a long time ago, but he turned her down, and her pride has been burned from not only that, but the fact that he has seen her at her worst.

I'm all for a kick ass female. But to me, Talia's character is just trying tooooo hard to be kick ass. She boxes every day, exercises profusely, and it just didn't ring true to me, although the reason she does such is explained. It reminded me a little of the movie “Enough” with Jennifer Lopez. While being so vigilant with her safety and the safety of her sister Rosie,  she just has way too many TSTL moments for my taste, both with her personal safety and that of her sister Rosie as well. There were times I was wondering what the hell was wrong with the both of them and wanted to scream at the book.  Kind of like the "don't go in there!!!" that you feel in a horror movie.  I also didn't understand any of the reasoning for Rosie's boyfriend to be in the book. He was worthless to me as a character.  I am also very irritated at Talia's treatment of Jack at times. All he has done from the beginning is help her and work behind the scenes to get her back on her feet without involving himself in her life. She is not grateful for this, in fact she resents him for "controlling" her life, which I really don't understand.  She punishes him for caring and withholds her trust, and it made me so mad!! And while we are talking about peripheral characters, I also have to say that If I were Talia, I would have told her "friend" and bar owner Susie to take a freaking flying leap!! I didn't like her from minute one and although she does redeem herself somewhat, I still don't like her character.  That seems to be a theme with me for the females in this book.

Jack Brooks is a brave and considerate soul. He has a tendency to want to help "broken birds" as it is eloquently stated, and to me the reader definitely is predestined to have a very soft spot for him. Not only that, but the instant I found out the "wrongs" he has supposedly committed against Talia, he was instantly forgiven in my book (no pun intended there).  Jack, of course, is the quintessential character in a rom suspense; he's huge, muscled, and beautiful. What's not to like!  He has been enchanted with Talia since he saved her life, and his need to protect her has not wavered even though he hasn't seen her. His feelings and guilt over past happenings run very deep.  I felt like he was a well-rounded character, and I really liked him and wanted the best for him.

Run from Fear, I regret to say, pales in comparison with her other novels that I've experienced. I felt this romantic suspense was a little formulaic, and surprisingly, the writing felt a little amateurish to me. I know this isn't the standard MO for Jami Alden, so it makes me wonder if she just didn't LIKE her character of Talia that much. She created her, she is in her mind and connected to the series, and so she felt compelled to tell her story. But i don't think she LIKES her!! Because I don't think the reader does much either.  I really enjoyed the way she took our minds on a little wild goose chase as far as who we suspected in the novel.  I found myself suspecting strange and unlikely characters for the events that were taking place. Great for the reader since there IS a mystery going on, but of course my suspicions were not rewarded. Alas I didn't know who the bad guy was from the beginning. (Darn it!!)

I really enjoyed the love scenes in this story. The sexual tension was very high, and I enjoyed waiting and wondering when Talia and Jack were going to give in to their feelings. I thought the scenes were lovely and sensual, although there were several sexual clichés and cheesy references that I wish wouldn't have been there.

This in no way is on my "awesome romantic suspense" list. I wish it were. I feel like it had mountains of potential and just fell flat for me. I love the fact that it was over 400 pages and I really respect Jami Alden's ability to weave together a story.  She really set us up with Talia's tale in the beginning so we could know what happened to her up to this point and really try and understand her inner thoughts. It should have worked. I just didn't like her. While I felt we were set up to have sympathy for her, I really only had sympathy for Jack. 


Overall Rating: 4 Stars (This one just didn't make the “I Love It” List for me like a few of her other novels. I didn’t like Talia and I felt the formula was blaring, but I loved Jack, so in turn I upped the rating)

Sensuality rating: 4.0 (The sexual tension was great and there were a lot of awesome elements. The love scenes were emotional and sensual)

For a complete understanding and definition of the ratings at Seductive Musings, click here

Other Reviews:

To celebrate the release of two of Forever Romance's newest romantic suspense novels, Deadly Dance by Dee Davis and Run From Fear by Jami Alden, they would like to giveaway a print copy of each of these books to three lucky Musings followers.  Here's how you can enter to win....

Ways to earn entries:
  • Mandatory: Leave a comment about one or both of the reviews, what you liked about them, if they swayed you or not to give one of the books a read... basically it needs to be more specific than "great review!"(good for 1 entry)
  • Mandatory: You MUST be a Google Friend Connect (GFC) follower in order to be eligible to win (unfortunately an email subscriber, or subscription in Google reader, and a follower are not the same thing so make sure you are signed up as a follower if you'd like to win this book)
  • If you have a blog, or even if you don't, you can earn extra entries by telling your friends. If they successfully enter to win and mention that you sent them you can each earn extra entries. You can blog about it with a link to this post, post it on Facebook, Twitter, email...or even word of mouth (good for 5 entries for the referrer and the commenter for each friend) . Please note that to earn the points they must mention your GFC name so that I can match you.
  • Purchase any item from the Seductive Musings Amazon store by using this link, or the Amazon widget contained within this post and email a copy of your purchase receipt to me no later than the deadline to enter (email available in sidebar). Sorry purchases made prior to this date do not apply, and link contained in this post must be used. No faxes or snail mail copies are allowed. No purchases are necessary to win. (good for 25 entries, or 50 entries if a purchase is made from the featured author's available titles)
How to enter:
  • You can choose to enter as many different ways that you want, but please place all of your entries in ONE comment 
Rules and disclaimers:
  • This contest is open to US & Canada addresses only.  No PO Boxes.
  • You must be at least 18 years or older, or of legal age in your country
  • The contest will end on Saturday March 24th at 11:59 pm EST and winner will be posted after they have been selected
  • Winner(s) will be selected using
  • The winner(s) will have THREE days from the date they are posted to provide a mailing address. If you do not contact me within three days a replacement winner will be selected. NO EXCEPTIONS
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  • Winners will be subject to one copy per household, which means that if you win the same title in two or more contests, that you will only receive one copy of the title in the mail
  • Seductive Musings is not responsible for prizes that are not honored, distributed in a timely manner, lost, stolen, or damaged during transit 
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Good Luck!

*Seductive Musings is an Amazon affiliate and receives a very small referral fee for purchases made via the links on the blog and through the Seductive Musings Amazon Store. Read the full disclosure here.


LWolf March 21, 2012 at 1:58 AM  

Great reviews. I’ve read past books in the A-Tac series and while I’ve enjoyed them they didn’t make my favorites list. Deadly Dance sounds pretty good though.

I’ve seen Jami Alden’s books, but I’ve never tried them. I’ll admit, even though Run From Fear sounds pretty good, the fact that Talia seems to try too hard to be a kick ass heroine puts me off a little. I don’t have a problem with kick ass heroines as long as it’s genuine and not forced.


Ivy March 21, 2012 at 8:46 AM  

I've read Jamie Alden. Didn't she have the men from Gemini series? Can't go check due to the recent bookcases purge. Dee Davis I've seen & have 1 or 2 but haven't read them yet.
Liked the reviews. Honesty is the best in a review. DD sounds good enough to @ least give a try.

erin March 21, 2012 at 11:26 AM  

Thanks for the great reviews! I've been reading such great reviews for these books, I'm eager to read them. I haven't been reading a lot of military or suspenseful romance lately, so I'm happy to see some new titles ;)

Kathleen O March 21, 2012 at 12:06 PM  

Dee Davis has been on my list of new authors to try for sometime.. I must get her books soon.. as to Jami Alden, I think she can go on this list too..

Great reviews..
Ia am GCF...

Dee Davis March 21, 2012 at 12:26 PM  

Just wanted to stop by and thank you for your thoughtful reviews. And to wish entrants good luck!!!

Na March 21, 2012 at 7:31 PM  

I'm really looking forward to Deadly Dance. It would be my first book by Dee Davis. I'm not sure what the A-tac team is but it sounds like the team face some pretty unbelieavable situations. I don't mind this so much in romantic suspense. The couple sounds like people I can root for since they seem deserving of one another. Thanks for the reviews Carrie.


chey March 21, 2012 at 9:58 PM  

I've read and enjoyed some of the books in Dee's A-Tac series. Looking forward to reading this one too!
gfc follower.

elaing8 March 21, 2012 at 10:33 PM  

I have a few of Dee's books in this series. This one sounds just as good. haven't had a chance to read any of Jami's books yet.But this one does sound intriguing.I'll have to check out the others in the series first.

GFC follower-elaing8



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