The Ultimatum (The Guardian, #1)
Thief. Manipulator. Con artist. Call it what you will—Bianca St. Ives is the best in the business. Growing up, Bianca St. Ives knew she was different from all her friends. Instead of playing hopscotch or combing her dolls' hair, she studied martial arts with sensei masters and dismantled explosives with special-ops retirees. Her father prepped her well to carry on the family business. Now a striking beauty with fierce skills, the prodigy has surpassed the master.She's known as the Guardian. Running a multinational firm with her father, she makes a living swindling con men out of money they stole—and she's damn good at it. She does things on her own terms. But her latest gig had a little hiccup—if you count two hundred million dollars and top secret government documents going missing as little. Her father also died on the mission. The thing is, the US government doesn't believe he's really dead. They'll stop at nothing to capture Richard St. Ives, a high-value target and someone who has been on most-wanted lists all over the world for over two decades, and they mean to use Bianca as bait. With only a fellow criminal for backup and her life on the line, it's up to Bianca to uncover the terrifying truth behind what really happened...and set it right, before it's too late.

The Ultimatum (The Guardian, #1) Details

TitleThe Ultimatum (The Guardian, #1)
Author
FormatKindle Edition
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseJun 13th, 2017
PublisherMIRA
Number of pages368 pages
Rating
GenreFiction, Romance, Romantic Suspense, Thriller, Suspense

The Ultimatum (The Guardian, #1) Review

  • Alex is The Romance Fox
    June 16, 2017
    Karen Robards's latest book, The Ultimatum, which looks like the 1st book in The Guardian Series was one of the most excruciating books I have read by this author.I had such high hopes after reading Chapter 1......the story started with a bang.......it certainly got my attention.........I couldn't wait to turn to the next chapter!!!And what happened after turning the 1st page of Chapter 2?? Nothing!!! What follows are loooong and repetitive scenes after scenes. Nothing made any sense...not the c Karen Robards's latest book, The Ultimatum, which looks like the 1st book in The Guardian Series was one of the most excruciating books I have read by this author.I had such high hopes after reading Chapter 1......the story started with a bang.......it certainly got my attention.........I couldn't wait to turn to the next chapter!!!And what happened after turning the 1st page of Chapter 2?? Nothing!!! What follows are loooong and repetitive scenes after scenes. Nothing made any sense...not the characters...not the story...... By page 200.......the plot just "plodded" along!!! I was still not sure where the story was going........I am not sure what the plot was suppose to be.........okay, the mc, heroine, Bianca St Ives, is pretty awesome..in the beginning...but how many times did I have to be told what she has hidden in her garter!!!! Is this a romantic suspense...well, romance...was there any...maybe I missed it...suspense.......think I missed that too!!!! Thriller...okay, lots of bad guys, killers and kidnappers, etc etc........oh man.........even the cliff-hanger at the very end of the book didn't make me want to continue the story, which I presume is book #2........So, final thoughts about this story!!!!!Let the face tell you what they are.... Oh yes, why the 1,5 stars???? Because the only character I liked was Bianca St Ives!!!!
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  • D.B. Reynolds
    June 15, 2017
    5 enthusiastic stars! This is Karen Robards at her finest, with action, intrigue, and romance combined into one kick-ass story that grabs you from the beginning and doesn't let go until the final paragraph. Warning to some readers: This is the first book in a series, and although there is a satisfying ending, it's also meant to lead into more books. If I'd had the next book, I'd have started reading it the moment I finished this one. It's just that good.
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  • Lynn
    June 15, 2017
    The Ultimatum is the first book in The Guardian series which promises to be a good one. Bianca is a thief who works with her father to pull off very elaborate cons and steal valuable items. Near the beginning of the book, Bianca's father is killed in the middle of a job, so Bianca opens a security business in Savannah, Georgia and tries to live a somewhat normal life. It isn't long though, before her past comes back to haunt her. Bianca has left open several avenues of communication in the faint The Ultimatum is the first book in The Guardian series which promises to be a good one. Bianca is a thief who works with her father to pull off very elaborate cons and steal valuable items. Near the beginning of the book, Bianca's father is killed in the middle of a job, so Bianca opens a security business in Savannah, Georgia and tries to live a somewhat normal life. It isn't long though, before her past comes back to haunt her. Bianca has left open several avenues of communication in the faint hope that her father is still alive. One of them has been breached by someone offering him a job. Bianca pulls the job in hopes of finding her father, but in the process, finds out more about herself and her father than she had planned. She also has several encounters with an attractive but mysterious stranger that keeps popping up in her business and making it tough for her to forget about him.By the end of the book, I enjoyed the story very much and am looking forward to the next installment of the series. My only complaint was that so much time was spent at the beginning of the book detailing the job in which Bianca's father died, that very little time was left for what turned out to be the meat of the story. As a result, a lot of the details and character development were left unexplored. I'm hoping for more in the next book in the series. Overall, a very good beginning to what could be a very intriguing series.
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  • Cheri
    June 23, 2017
    I was wondering if I would make it through this new book by KR. It was really slow for me at the beginning. The story is told mostly from the h's point of view. There is not much dialogue between characters. As I got to the halfway mark I started enjoying it. This was book #1 in her new series, so the ending leaves you hanging. I look forward to reading the next one.
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  • Coleen
    May 25, 2017
    Bianca St Ives is more of a hero to me than all of the other heroes that I have followed over the years. She is the main character in this book [and apparently there will be a book series] who is so amazing that I find myself going back to re-read what she did! WOW. How did she get out of that one? Like several other books I have read recently, this one involves the main character being a criminal of sorts, engaging in something of a scam, stealing but not really stealing because the scam is to Bianca St Ives is more of a hero to me than all of the other heroes that I have followed over the years. She is the main character in this book [and apparently there will be a book series] who is so amazing that I find myself going back to re-read what she did! WOW. How did she get out of that one? Like several other books I have read recently, this one involves the main character being a criminal of sorts, engaging in something of a scam, stealing but not really stealing because the scam is to recover what had already been stolen. Pay attention or you can't follow what might go up in smoke. [Ultimatum] is an interesting story, a fast read and the best thing I have now realized is that there will be more books to come. And I am going to find what other books Karen Robards has already written so I can read them all. I won this book in a Goodreads giveaway.
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  • Theresa
    May 29, 2017
    In compliance with FTC guidelines -- I received this book from Goodreads Giveaways in exchange for an honest review. The content of this review is not influenced by that fact. The feelings expressed are solely mine.More accurate rating is 3.5 stars. I enjoyed this book and it kept my interest. I read it quickly and was involved and wanted to know the outcome of the story. Most importantly, I am quite happy to report that the female lead character did not make me angry or seethe with disgust. Tha In compliance with FTC guidelines -- I received this book from Goodreads Giveaways in exchange for an honest review. The content of this review is not influenced by that fact. The feelings expressed are solely mine.More accurate rating is 3.5 stars. I enjoyed this book and it kept my interest. I read it quickly and was involved and wanted to know the outcome of the story. Most importantly, I am quite happy to report that the female lead character did not make me angry or seethe with disgust. That doesn't sound like an endorsement? Well, it truly is. Check out a few of my other reviews to see for yourself!Ordinarily I finish books of this genre monumentally disliking the way the females are written. I cannot stand when an author thinks a character must be arrogant and snide to be tough. On the contrary, one can be strong without being unapproachable or a bitch. I think Karen Robards has created a fantastic female lead in this series. She shows true emotion, and vulnerability without being weak or whiny. But more importantly she was likable and I was in her corner throughout the book. If that was where the review ended I'd give this an easy 4 or 4.5 stars. Unfortunately, something else sent the hairs on the back of my neck to attention on numerous occasions. I have to call a spade a spade here. Ultimately, it was the actual writing style. The best I can explain is that in several places it seemed the author was trying too hard to be contemporary or hip. It was annoying and nerve grating that she did not use correct sentence structure or grammar. I know some of you, especially those who know me best, might think I'm being very hypocritical since I too do some of these same things in my reviews and correspondence. All I can say to that is --I am not a published author and my communication is solely conversational. If I were writing a novel I would most definitely employ better writing skills or at least my proofreader should! (Ha)There's no better way than to just give examples of what I'm talking about. So here we go:(I am typing these directly out of the book without changes!) Any thoughts of Mickey-not that she had any-were just a waste of brainpower. (The book was filled with "sentences" like this! One or two and I probably would not have noticed, but there had to be at least one or two on each page.) The only way she was escaping was to immediately dart through three crowded rooms and take a flying leap into the bay- (Why just a dash when a period would be correct since it's a complete thought?) Bianca sat in the passenger seat of a white panel van with Doc behind the wheel in a parking garage in beautiful downtown San Jose, carefully surveying the top (16th) story of the building across the street through her binoculars. (Why not just incorporate the fact she was watching the 16th floor into the sentence with a comma or better yet break this long sentence up and add another line stating it was the 16th floor? I really do not understand why she chose this method. Again this was not the only instance. It was prevalent throughout the writing.)Even though I really disliked English class, I can see that proper use of sentence structure in the written word was drilled into my head. Am I better for it? I suppose that remains to be seen. Will other authors begin incorporating more of this style into their books? I suppose only time will tell.
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  • Michele
    June 17, 2017
    See full review at HarlequinJunkie.comWhat a thrilling story! The Ultimatum was all non-stop action as one woman’s past began to unravel and everything she thought she knew came into question. ‘Mentor, teacher, taskmaster. Ruthless disciplinarian. Despot. Her constant in an uncertain world. Con man. Thief. Dad.’Karen Robards is at the top of her game with this new series. The only way I can describe the level of subterfuge and action in this novel is to compare it to a female James Bond meets th See full review at HarlequinJunkie.comWhat a thrilling story! The Ultimatum was all non-stop action as one woman’s past began to unravel and everything she thought she knew came into question. ‘Mentor, teacher, taskmaster. Ruthless disciplinarian. Despot. Her constant in an uncertain world. Con man. Thief. Dad.’Karen Robards is at the top of her game with this new series. The only way I can describe the level of subterfuge and action in this novel is to compare it to a female James Bond meets the Italian Job with a little Mission Impossible thrown in (for heist/action flick fans). Our heroine Bianca had all the cool gizmos, gadgets, and tools of the trade you’d expect, all while switching identities with the greatest of ease. We were kind of dropped right into the action at the start of this story so it took me a short while to acclimate myself to what was going on, but once I got my bearings things fell into place and it was a crazy fun adventure. Read More
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  • Jo
    June 8, 2017
    Well, The Ultimatum is my first ever Karen Robards book and it won't be the last. Wow! This book was amazing. It left me breathless, from the gripping and very scary prologue, right through to the last word, I just couldn't put it down. Ms Robards really is a wonderful storyteller. This is a fast paced thriller that pulls no punches, is action packed, but is also heavily character driven, and this surprised me. It's an entertaining and compulsive read. I couldn't put this book down, it really do Well, The Ultimatum is my first ever Karen Robards book and it won't be the last. Wow! This book was amazing. It left me breathless, from the gripping and very scary prologue, right through to the last word, I just couldn't put it down. Ms Robards really is a wonderful storyteller. This is a fast paced thriller that pulls no punches, is action packed, but is also heavily character driven, and this surprised me. It's an entertaining and compulsive read. I couldn't put this book down, it really does have it all: action, suspense, crime, romance and a female protagonist who is utterly spellbinding, Bianca St. Ives. The beginning of the novel describes Bianca's situation, as she finds herself in the middle of an aborted mission that has gone horribly wrong. Wow, as I read these first few chapters that described her predicament, I saw the movie playing in my mind. The descriptions of what was going on around her, as well as her inner monologue were so captivating. I actually felt that I was Bianca, as my heart raced and the panic began to set in... and the book continued at this relentless pace. The book is obviously plot driven and focusses heavily upon action and suspense. However, this book is also heavily character driven. I often find when reading this genre that character is less important than that of action, but this book redresses the balance, as character is incredibly important. Bianca is obviously the main focus and I really got to know her and her thought processes throughout the novel. I needed to understand her I feel to fully appreciate the novel. Without such a strong female lead, and a likeable one who has a soft and vulnerable core than you otherwise might expect, this book would not be as much of an emotional read, and it is highly emotional. The Ultimatum is a crime thriller that is packed full of plot and exciting, memorable characters and I loved it. I loved Bianca and what she stood for. It was an incredibly fun, enjoyable and emotional read... and oh my, that ending! I can't wait to read book two in the series. With thanks to the publisher and Bookbridgr for an advanced hardback copy for review purposes.
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  • Debbie Krenzer
    June 9, 2017
    This was definitely an action packed book and it starts out with a bang and a bust. The bust being the two million dollars that Bianca with her dad and their team was set up and in position to steal. However, that was kind of hard for them to do as the vault was empty when they got there. Having been found out, the chase is on and Bianca's father was killed in the getaway, or was he? No one really seems to know. No one has heard from him in years, including his daughter.Bianca then decides to go This was definitely an action packed book and it starts out with a bang and a bust. The bust being the two million dollars that Bianca with her dad and their team was set up and in position to steal. However, that was kind of hard for them to do as the vault was empty when they got there. Having been found out, the chase is on and Bianca's father was killed in the getaway, or was he? No one really seems to know. No one has heard from him in years, including his daughter.Bianca then decides to go legal and opens up a security firm. She handles legit security for several companies. She is still also on the look out for signs that her father is still alive. Unfortunately, there are others who want him punished that are also looking for him.This was one of those books wherein the action just kept coming. It was definitely an entertaining and enjoyable read. Thanks to Harlequin and Net Galley for providing me with a free e-galley in exchange for an honest, unbiased review.
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  • Annette
    June 14, 2017
    Now here's the thing. You need to prepare yourself before you start one of Karen's books. Some meditation; some deep breathing. All for good reason. By the time I turned to the second page of this book I was holding my breath. I didn't know these people; I didn't understand what was happening and my pulse was already pounding. I forced myself to breathe. At one point I forced myself to put the book down to grab a quick snack. Oh, all right. I grabbed a snack and munched on it while I was reading Now here's the thing. You need to prepare yourself before you start one of Karen's books. Some meditation; some deep breathing. All for good reason. By the time I turned to the second page of this book I was holding my breath. I didn't know these people; I didn't understand what was happening and my pulse was already pounding. I forced myself to breathe. At one point I forced myself to put the book down to grab a quick snack. Oh, all right. I grabbed a snack and munched on it while I was reading. At one point my phone rang and it startled me so I threw the book in the air. They'd found me!! No. Not me. The gal was safe from this particular phone message.One of my missions in life is to read every one of her books. So I got this one the day it was released.And, in case you're wondering, I liked this book. And I've gone back to taking slow, deep breaths. My cardiologist will be pleased.
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  • AvidReader
    June 15, 2017
    Karen Robards is one of the best authors in the Romance and action genre. She has always been one of my "buy without reading overview" authors. I have never given her books anything less than 5 stars...until now. Let me explain...there is no question that she is held at a higher standard than most simply because she is "that good"! She's never let her fans down. Never!In this case, the story is good and is obviously a first book in a series that will continue with these characters. I'm disappoin Karen Robards is one of the best authors in the Romance and action genre. She has always been one of my "buy without reading overview" authors. I have never given her books anything less than 5 stars...until now. Let me explain...there is no question that she is held at a higher standard than most simply because she is "that good"! She's never let her fans down. Never!In this case, the story is good and is obviously a first book in a series that will continue with these characters. I'm disappointed however because I'm a "read it in one" type of fan. I don't like series that are not stand alone books. I don't like waiting a year to find out what happens...especially a Karen Robards book. I will always buy her books "no matter what" but I'm just disappointed this story and format is different than her previous books.
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  • Bonnie
    June 12, 2017
    I just finished "The Ultimatum" & I'm ready to start on the next book!!! So terrific, hard to put down, no problem following the characters, just such a fantastic book will be hard to get into another read right away!! Bianca is known as The Guardian, her legitimate business is Guardian Consulting based in Savannah, GA. She & her father have another international illegal business that entails swindling con men out of the money they stole! Many Thanks to Harper Collins & Goodreads fo I just finished "The Ultimatum" & I'm ready to start on the next book!!! So terrific, hard to put down, no problem following the characters, just such a fantastic book will be hard to get into another read right away!! Bianca is known as The Guardian, her legitimate business is Guardian Consulting based in Savannah, GA. She & her father have another international illegal business that entails swindling con men out of the money they stole! Many Thanks to Harper Collins & Goodreads for the unbelievable opportunity to read & review this ARC!
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  • Trina
    June 16, 2017
    3.5**
  • Kris Rafferty
    June 26, 2017
    Excellent. Not a romance though. But EXCELLENT.
  • Cardyn Brooks
    June 22, 2017
    The Ultimatum is a fun romp for fans of shows like Leverage, White Collar, and Suits with a dash of a twist on an underlying theme in the movie The Boys from Brazil.
  • Harlequin Books
    June 1, 2017
    received 4 stars @ RT Book Reviews
  • Book Him Danno
    June 12, 2017
    The Ultimatum is a fun con artist\thief style of book similar theme would be the oceans 11 type of movie. The characters are a little over the top but human enough to be enjoyable. The Ultimatum is well paced story that will keep reader engaged even with the cliffhanger readers will be satisfied with the ending.The female character is likable and readers will connect with her from start to finish. Karen Robards is able to create a fast pace story that seems to have the perfect blend of backstory The Ultimatum is a fun con artist\thief style of book similar theme would be the oceans 11 type of movie. The characters are a little over the top but human enough to be enjoyable. The Ultimatum is well paced story that will keep reader engaged even with the cliffhanger readers will be satisfied with the ending.The female character is likable and readers will connect with her from start to finish. Karen Robards is able to create a fast pace story that seems to have the perfect blend of backstory, character building to keep readers connect to the story and excited for the next in the series.My one complainant would be the grammar errors I found that were simple error I assume will be corrected in the final proof. A few more comma used in the right place would help with the pacing of the story.Thank you to Netgalley for the advance Copy
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  • Kathy
    May 30, 2017
    I want to be Bianca! I love this girl! I won this book through the Goodreads giveaway, and could not put it Down ! From the first page to the last, I was invested, and riveted.Bianca was trained from a small child in how to disguise herself, fight, break into anything, charm people and to get out quickly. But she really doesn't understand why, as the story unfolds she finds some answers, but not all. You start to become her champion.I love how Karen Robards makes you want to continue to turn the I want to be Bianca! I love this girl! I won this book through the Goodreads giveaway, and could not put it Down ! From the first page to the last, I was invested, and riveted.Bianca was trained from a small child in how to disguise herself, fight, break into anything, charm people and to get out quickly. But she really doesn't understand why, as the story unfolds she finds some answers, but not all. You start to become her champion.I love how Karen Robards makes you want to continue to turn the pages. The characters where developed little by little until you start to love them, even though their profession is one we really don't condone. But you start to cheer for them, and hope they get out of each scrape intact.Then throw in a littie romantic spark, and the cloak of mystery, good guys and bad, and you end up with an awesome story that you hope like hell, she continues in future books.I'm afraid to go into too much detail, because I don't want to spoil the book, but this is one book you sure don't want to miss! I can't wait for the next Guardian book to come out!
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  • Melissa Lloyd
    May 23, 2017
    I have very High Expectations when it comes to a Karen Robards books, I think she is a fantastic Author and I classify her as an Author where If I see her name on the book cover I don't bother to read the back, I just automatically get the book. "The Ultimatum" did not disappoint, action and intrigue right away, keeps the book moving at a brisk pace. The character and setting descriptions were exacting and detailed, but not so much that it brought you out of the book, the action sequences were d I have very High Expectations when it comes to a Karen Robards books, I think she is a fantastic Author and I classify her as an Author where If I see her name on the book cover I don't bother to read the back, I just automatically get the book. "The Ultimatum" did not disappoint, action and intrigue right away, keeps the book moving at a brisk pace. The character and setting descriptions were exacting and detailed, but not so much that it brought you out of the book, the action sequences were described with enough ferocity and timing that you could visualize it easily. Bianca St. Ives is a great character, confident, strong, and capable, she doesn't let anyone get the best of her, love that!!! My only complaint about the book was it wasn't long enough, I know this is book one of the series, but the ending left me hanging with the need to find out what happens. I'm hoping that in the next book Bianca will further meet up with "Mickey" and we get more in the way of romance. I love the intrigue, but I'm a romance reader at heart. I'm also eager to find out more about what happens to Evie and the rest of the Guardian Consulting crew. Basically "The Ultimatium" left me wanting more!! Can't wait to read the next one.
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  • Shannon Dyer
    May 12, 2017
    Different from other books by this author. Quite good though. Full review to come at AAR.
  • Andrea
    May 30, 2017
    I thought the first 100 pages or so contained excruciating detail that did nothing to further the story line and I almost gave up reading it. However, I stuck with it and the plot did start to move along. The book is a suspense novel that focuses on a strong female lead. It is a bit predictable at times, but I did still enjoy it. Not really my type of reading material but it was an interesting story. I won this book through a Goodreads Giveaway.
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  • Marlene Brown
    May 12, 2017
    I am a fan of Karen Robards and always buy her books as soon as they are leased. I was so happy to receive this request approved on NetGalley. Overall I enjoyed this book. I found the story a little a long to unfold. Although think we know Bianca, Beth well, I still dont think we know anything about Mason and that bothered me a bit. The initial plot, stealing from the thief, was attention grabbing but the end...well I dont want to add spoilers but the end was a little too out there......Also whe I am a fan of Karen Robards and always buy her books as soon as they are leased. I was so happy to receive this request approved on NetGalley. Overall I enjoyed this book. I found the story a little a long to unfold. Although think we know Bianca, Beth well, I still dont think we know anything about Mason and that bothered me a bit. The initial plot, stealing from the thief, was attention grabbing but the end...well I dont want to add spoilers but the end was a little too out there......Also when Mason is thrown off the boat...aren't there sharks in those waters?
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  • No Apology Book Reviews
    June 14, 2017
    The end is worth the beginningPublicly, Bianca St. Ives runs a successful security firm with her father. Privately, she’s part of her father’s team of thieves, stealing back money or other goods from the thieves that had stolen them first. The operation involving two hundred million dollars in a secret safe beneath the palace of an Arabic prince is merely par for the course—until Bianca discovers the money gone. They’d been played, and she has to figure out who had taken the money and set them u The end is worth the beginningPublicly, Bianca St. Ives runs a successful security firm with her father. Privately, she’s part of her father’s team of thieves, stealing back money or other goods from the thieves that had stolen them first. The operation involving two hundred million dollars in a secret safe beneath the palace of an Arabic prince is merely par for the course—until Bianca discovers the money gone. They’d been played, and she has to figure out who had taken the money and set them up to take the fall.I’ll try not to spoil anything major, but read with caution.The first half is a trudge. Exciting things happen, but not quickly. Every thought that crosses Bianca’s mind and every slightest move she makes was accompanied by paragraphs and paragraphs of exposition, slowly but thoroughly giving us the where’s, why’s, and how’s of the plot to the present moment. Chapters two through eight all take place within about half an hour in the book’s time. Seven chapters to describe thirty minutes.The middle was not necessarily slower but much less exciting as we find out how the team had fared after the botched job and get a glimpse of Bianca’s day-to-day life, including meeting the people close to her. This is only book one of a series, so there were a LOT of loose ends left dangling off a cliff in Austria. One of those ends is the point and purpose of introducing us to her friends Evie and Hay and telling us all about their drama. Maybe they’ll be important later in the series, but they served no purpose whatsoever in this installment.The pace does pick up in the second half when Bianca plans another heist. Every minute thought and action is still described, but we’re already up to speed on the history and know as much as Bianca does, so there’s none of that exposition bogging down the action. The second half is so fascinating and entertaining that I want to read it again already.At first, I really didn’t like Bianca. She was perfect in every way—beautiful, smart, talented, athletic, rich—and she had the skills to get herself out of trouble. Everything seemed to work out fine for her, and for a while I thought she was a major Mary Sue. But then things started going wrong for her, and she wasn’t always able to get herself out of trouble—and we find out she was intentionally perfect. And you know what they say about appearances…she had looks, she had brains, she had money and opportunity…but in her own words, she was always on the outside looking in. I realized she had everything, and yet she had nothing, and that was when I fell in love with her as a character.I won’t talk about any of the other characters because I don’t want to give anything away. I highly recommend going into this story knowing as few spoilers as possible. I had no idea—for some reason, I was under the impression that this was going to be paranormal somehow; that’s a big no—and, though I’m a fan of spoilers, I really feel I was more invested in the story because I had no idea what to expect.I noted a couple other things that bothered me, insignificant really. And, now that I think about it, all from the first chapter. I guess it was a good effort at creating the loopholed circumstances that allowed the present-day plot to happen as it did. If one thing in that chapter had been different, the whole book would have been.One, I can’t buy that the girl and her mom heard the Shadow’s footsteps outside on the gravel, who knows at what distance. Had to be several yards at least. I live on gravel, and when I’m in the house I can usually hear a car drive up, but only if there is silence in the house (such as when I’m reading). I’ve never heard footsteps on my gravel drive from inside any house, however silent. And the mother was reading aloud, so while they might have heard the car they were expecting, they wouldn’t have heard footsteps. Unless the window was open and facing the drive, and I know it wasn’t, because the mom had the house shut up tight, and it was said the bedroom was in the back of the house.Also, I can’t buy that the girl survived a bomb blast because she was inside a metal cabinet. (All I can think of is the fourth Indiana Jones movie, when Harrison Ford survived a nuclear blast by getting in a refrigerator.) Possible or not, it’s a stretch. I figure if the blast was strong enough that it hurled the cabinet out of the house and off into the woods, it was strong enough to kill her one way or the other. Lastly, what was up with the moniker “the Shadow”? It was used in the first chapter and never again. I think it was just how the girl thought of the attacker, what she called him in her mind, or perhaps that was what her mother or father had called the threat when explaining why they moved so much. If that’s the case, it wasn’t explained very well, and if that’s not the case, and there’s a reason for it, it must be something we’ll learn about later.If you find the first half slow, hold out for everything that goes down in the Allied Industries offices. That’s my favorite part of the whole book, and I have several favorite parts.Overall, I’ve been waiting anxiously to see what Robards would put out next, and by the end of this book I found myself solidly on board and cannot wait for the second installment, The Moscow Deception, due out in 2018.noapologybookreviews.com
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  • Gina Salamon
    June 25, 2017
    Another winner by Karen Robards!Okay, so I just finished the book last night and am still pretty emotional, so bare with me through a little bit of a rant. I'm also going to do my best not to give anything away.Here's the rant: I have to admit I closed the book with mixed emotions. Now, don't get me wrong, I enjoyed it immensely. Certainly, I was sad to reach the end - I wanted it to go on and on and on. Which means I should be thrilled this was only Book One, right? But noooo. I'm disappointed, Another winner by Karen Robards!Okay, so I just finished the book last night and am still pretty emotional, so bare with me through a little bit of a rant. I'm also going to do my best not to give anything away.Here's the rant: I have to admit I closed the book with mixed emotions. Now, don't get me wrong, I enjoyed it immensely. Certainly, I was sad to reach the end - I wanted it to go on and on and on. Which means I should be thrilled this was only Book One, right? But noooo. I'm disappointed, sad and yes, a little angry. Now I have to wait until who knows how long for Book Two! The first words out of my mouth when I reach the end were "Damn it!" And then I repeated myself several times more.As I was reading, (mostly during the first one-third of the book, because honestly, after that I couldn't think about anything other than what was happening) I kept thinking: Boy, this is really different for Karen. And as a writer, I kept imaging all the research she must have had to do. Major, I have no doubt!I adored Bianca, and oh, how I feel for her. There was no character that fell short, well, maybe Mr. St. Ives, but that's a whole other rant and not because Karen didn't write him well, but because she DID. I want more of Bianca's home team, which I strongly suspect we'll get, and more, more, more of Rogan, damn it! Actually, I need to make an addendum to something I just said above. I may have said those two words I mentioned out loud at the conclusion of the book, but only one word reverberated in my head.Mickeeeeeeeeeeee!
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  • Lori
    June 25, 2017
    I am going to make a lot of Robards fans mad, but it is what it is, and what it is , is a terrible book! Chapter 1 really grabbed me and I was thrilled to get into the rest of the book, Chapter 2 was so boring and long I am thinking what happened after the first chapter?! This book is so far fetched , so unbelievable, so not in Robards wheelhouse, why oh why did she think she could go some place that only the pros can write about without being so unreal and boring? I really had to struggle throu I am going to make a lot of Robards fans mad, but it is what it is, and what it is , is a terrible book! Chapter 1 really grabbed me and I was thrilled to get into the rest of the book, Chapter 2 was so boring and long I am thinking what happened after the first chapter?! This book is so far fetched , so unbelievable, so not in Robards wheelhouse, why oh why did she think she could go some place that only the pros can write about without being so unreal and boring? I really had to struggle through this and most of the time it was such bad writing that I skimmed the pages, when I was reaching the end I thought ok now she's back to writing like the first chapter, but NO, it too was so far fetched that I am really disappointed in Robards. I will not be reading anymore in this new series she has started, it was like watching a really bad movie. Robards needs to stop this series right here. Only my opinion but if you are reading this , I hope you don't bother reading the book.
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  • Linda
    June 22, 2017
    I have always enjoyed all of Karen Robards books but this particular story moved very slowly. It had great adventure and suspense but ended a little short. Bianca St. Ives thought she knew exactly who she was and what her father had trained her to be but during a con that she and her father were involved in, things went really bad. Instead of stealing Two Million Dollars, she discovered the money was already gone and that it was a trap to capture her father but instead her father died in a fiery I have always enjoyed all of Karen Robards books but this particular story moved very slowly. It had great adventure and suspense but ended a little short. Bianca St. Ives thought she knew exactly who she was and what her father had trained her to be but during a con that she and her father were involved in, things went really bad. Instead of stealing Two Million Dollars, she discovered the money was already gone and that it was a trap to capture her father but instead her father died in a fiery blast right before her eyes. She returned to Savanna to her company known as the Guardian and tried to resume her legitimate life but someone would not let her alone. Meeting Mickey was the best thing that had happened to her but all they did was try to escape from each other. This is an interesting story. I spent $18.88 on this book and if it is a prequel to the next Guardian series, I think we all are due a discount on the next book.
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  • Debra Jeakins
    June 13, 2017
    THE ULTIMATUM(THE GUARDIAN, #1) BY KAREN ROBARDS. Bianca St. Ives is not who she thinks she is. She thinks she's a thief a con artist and a master of disguise but boy is she wrong. Things for Bianca are not what they seem to be and her father, she is learning is not who she thinks he is! Sound confusing? Not if you read THE ULTIMATUM, the first in the Guardian series by KAREN ROBARDS. Robards is very well know for her thrillers & twist and turns of a story but this time she has even topped h THE ULTIMATUM(THE GUARDIAN, #1) BY KAREN ROBARDS. Bianca St. Ives is not who she thinks she is. She thinks she's a thief a con artist and a master of disguise but boy is she wrong. Things for Bianca are not what they seem to be and her father, she is learning is not who she thinks he is! Sound confusing? Not if you read THE ULTIMATUM, the first in the Guardian series by KAREN ROBARDS. Robards is very well know for her thrillers & twist and turns of a story but this time she has even topped herself! Once you start reading this book you don't want to put it down until its done. Just when you think you have a handle on the plot and Bianca, Robards has tossed another monkey wrench into the mix and you start questioning the ending again. Not once during the entire book did I feel I had a handle on the ending which to me is the perfect thriller! I cant wait to read book two and see where this series goes.I recieved this book free from goodreads in exchange for an honest review.
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  • C
    June 9, 2017
    Really 4.5 stars, do to a slow section in the first third of the book and typo/formatting issues that will hopefully be fixed in the final version. I've decided that the slow section is background for additional books that will be in the series.This book was a great vacation read. The plot was good. The use of a strong female that I could like was refreshing. I couldn't put the book down in the last hundred pages, which I flew through. The ending is great and I look forward to the next installme Really 4.5 stars, do to a slow section in the first third of the book and typo/formatting issues that will hopefully be fixed in the final version. I've decided that the slow section is background for additional books that will be in the series.This book was a great vacation read. The plot was good. The use of a strong female that I could like was refreshing. I couldn't put the book down in the last hundred pages, which I flew through. The ending is great and I look forward to the next installment.I have recommended that my husband read this book. We'll see if he can accept a strong female character. He doesn't normally like them even though he's married to one. I won't be surprised if this story is a future action movie.Disclosure: I received this advanced copy as a Goodreads Giveaway and it in no way influenced my review.
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  • Kris - My Novelesque Life
    June 14, 2017
    RATING: 3 STARS(I received an ARC from the NETGALLEY)(Review Not on Blog)I am missing Karen Robards's Dr. Charlotte Stone series! I was excited to see that Robards had a new book out and that it was also book one in a new series. As I sat down to read this the first chapter had me gripped. It was so suspenseful in what was to come...long descriptive scenes are what came. You could forward 50 pages and the same scene is still in play. The cliffhanger ending didn't even keep me craving for more. A RATING: 3 STARS​​(I received an ARC from the NETGALLEY)(Review Not on Blog)I am missing Karen Robards's Dr. Charlotte Stone series! I was excited to see that Robards had a new book out and that it was also book one in a new series. As I sat down to read this the first chapter had me gripped. It was so suspenseful in what was to come...long descriptive scenes are what came. You could forward 50 pages and the same scene is still in play. The cliffhanger ending didn't even keep me craving for more. And, if there is no suspense it's hard to keep interested. I enjoy Robards's book but not enough to forge through these issues. I also think that because this was more of "agency" (former special-ops) book rather than FBI or detectives this further dampened my mood towards this book.
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  • Tricia
    June 19, 2017
    The Ultimatum grabbed my attention from the start. This is a fast read with a lot of action, detail and good characterization. Bianca St. Ives lived a unique childhood, learning the family business deceiving and swindling con men. Her last mission left her father dead but his enemies aren't so sure and so ensures the chase to find the truth not only about her father but herself.I really like The Ultimatum for the suspense and the fast paced good storyline. Bianca is a fun character to like, she' The Ultimatum grabbed my attention from the start. This is a fast read with a lot of action, detail and good characterization. Bianca St. Ives lived a unique childhood, learning the family business deceiving and swindling con men. Her last mission left her father dead but his enemies aren't so sure and so ensures the chase to find the truth not only about her father but herself.I really like The Ultimatum for the suspense and the fast paced good storyline. Bianca is a fun character to like, she's smart, savvy and full of surprises. Karen Robards does a good job of detailing/clarifying things that one might question making this story of stratagem plausible and thrilling. The whole premise of the book intrigued me, the ending leaves me believing that there is more and I am certainly looking forward to continuing the series to see how the rest of Bianca's adventures continue.
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