Publisher: Signet Publish Date: Out now How I got this book: ARC from the publisher via Netgalley
A cabal of operatives wit...moreReview originally posted here:
Publisher: Signet Publish Date: Out now How I got this book: ARC from the publisher via Netgalley
A cabal of operatives with dangerous pasts team up to work black ops missions. Their weapon: deception. Can they help one of their own before he goes too far?
When Gunner agreed to help out Section 8, he didn’t realize he’d be pulled back in to the shadowy world he’d thought he’d escaped forever. The son of double agents, Gunner was initiated at a young age into the cold world of espionage when his father forced him to work for international smuggler Drew Landon. And when Gunner’s past with Landon threatens the other mercenaries, and most importantly, Avery, he makes an impossible choice…and disappears.
Avery’s not willing to give up on Gunner. The attraction between them has been there from the start and she rallies Section 8 to help him. She knows there’s only one way to keep Gunner safe: fake his death and take him off the grid. But when she finally locates him, Gunner is a changed man, harder, more desperate, and on the edge of self-destruction. And only Avery can find a way to free him from Landon—and from the demons of his past—before it’s too late. This blurb came from the author’s website.
I was really looking forward to Unbreakable, the second of Tyler’s Section 8 series after reviewing Surrender earlier this year. Unfortunately, this one really didn’t work for me. I had issues with timeline and characterization inconsistencies. This review will contain spoilers from the first book and from this installment so if you wish to avoid them you should stop reading now.
Unbreakable takes place shortly after the dramatic events of Surrender have ended. Peace, vengeance, and love were achieved and the next generation of Section 8 was in its infancy. Avery decided to give her potential teammates a month away to decide if they wanted to return to a life of danger and intrigue. In the meantime she wanted to try to work on getting Gunner to act on their obvious attraction except he didn’t cooperate with her plan. Gunner vanished, left paperwork detailing the sale of his tattoo shop and associated property to some stranger along with a 30-day vacate notice.
Instead of Avery telling the others who joined together in the first book, she kept her mouth shut. Then right before the 30 days was up, she received a flower delivery including an unpleasant surprise. She decided to call and inform one person. During the same 30 days, Grace and Dare, hero/heroine of the first book had a discussion about how something wasn’t quite right, that they needed to contact Avery and find out what was going on yet nothing about the call was ever referenced again. This was one of the inconsistencies that really bothered me, especially given the tight attention to detail that I found in the first book.
As the story continued, time started jumping forward by multiple months. This was clearly signified in the text so that part wasn’t an issue. What bothered me about the time jumps went back to the first 30 days when everyone was supposed to reconvene. The deadline was referenced often in the early pages of the book but nothing was ever said about missing the deadline or what the other potential team members were doing during that time. Those omissions really bothered me since they violated how the group operated and was formed during Surrender which in turn altered some of the previously established characterization.
The core group formed because treachery and death brought them together. They succeeded in the first book through trust and open communication. Watching the leader of the reborn Section 8 deliberately keep information about one of their teammates from all the others seemed to be a violation of that trust. I was willing to give her the 30 days as grace but after that deadline, things continued to happen and I never had the impression that information was shared I felt strongly that Avery’s entire character had changed. I also felt that the acceptance of the others about this lack of information meant they had changed. There was one minor blow-up but given the depths of betrayal they dealt with before I thought there should have been a stronger reaction. Especially given what happened to Avery before the rest of the team was informed.
Unfortunately I was unable to enjoy Unbreakable because of the timeline and character inconsistencies. I kept thinking that scenes were missing which would have filled in the pieces and left me understanding their behavior instead of being extremely puzzled and unable to believe these were the same characters. I did receive an advanced reader copy and I understand those can contain errors so it is possible the final version was smoothed out.
4.5 stars. Why did I wait so long to try this series?!?!?!? So very good. Both the h/h are strong characters that have found each other while dealing...more4.5 stars. Why did I wait so long to try this series?!?!?!? So very good. Both the h/h are strong characters that have found each other while dealing with some really rough stuff. Great way to start off my reading in 2013 :D.(less)
I have enjoyed reading this series. I can see so many hints at things this author has used in later books. I find that I still enjoy them here. The vi...moreI have enjoyed reading this series. I can see so many hints at things this author has used in later books. I find that I still enjoy them here. The villain was a bit too obvious for me but it was still an enjoyable read.(less)
I could see the seeds in this of her later novel DEEP WATERS. I like the past history this one contained between the hero/heroine but I think I liked...moreI could see the seeds in this of her later novel DEEP WATERS. I like the past history this one contained between the hero/heroine but I think I liked DEEP WATERS better overall. This was a digital re-read.(less)
Publisher: Carina Press Publish Date: Out now How we got this book: NetGalley
During a hostile situation at the American embassy in Angola, Special Forces officer Cole Scalini is ordered to take out a suicide bomber and rescue a hostage. Simple enough for a sniper with his training, until he realizes that the woman in danger is neither a random nor a typical victim. She’s pregnant.
Callie Nascimento is carrying her sister’s baby as a surrogate when she discovers her sister was killed under suspicious circumstances. Now Callie’s become a target. Her only hope for survival is a rebel of another kind, a handsome loner of a military man who’s risking his life to save her.
As Cole strives to keep Callie safe, fighting the terrain and terrorist attacks, his respect for her grows. She’s strong, capable and sexy as hell. But before he can explore if their attraction is something deeper, he has to get her safely back on U.S. soil. Because the enemy is much closer to home than they realize. *Blurb from Goodreads*
MinnChica: I am a huge sucker for romantic suspense, especially ones done with sexy military heroes. Unfortunately, while I liked the overall premise of the book and thought that Beckett had a very strong plot, Callie drove me nuts. To the point that I couldn’t enjoy the story. Add in the few pregnancy issues that had me rolling my eyes every few pages, and I had a really hard time enjoying what could have been a really strong romantic suspense.
E: I was really looking forward to reading this. The back cover blurb hinted at several things I thought I would enjoy. Pregnant heroine on the run from the bad guys. Hero was the elite military type. They were both in a foreign country needed to make their way to safety. I thought they would be boiled down to their pure essence and along the way fall in love with each other. Instead what I got was something that I had to fight extremely hard to finish and not chuck the ereader. I had such a negative reaction to the heroine that I actually wanted the hero to turn her over to the bad guys and find himself another girl. I was more invested in the interactions between the hero’s buddy and a poor model who had to deal with mistaken identity then in the primary characters.
MinnChica: There were times that I was totally with you on wanting Cole to just hand Callie over and wipe his hands of her. Between the bleeding heart for the bad guy and her constant “he can’t be THAT bad” mentality, she had quite a few TSTL moments. But for me, the parts that constantly frayed my nerves were all the pregnancy references. I never had any problem reading about pregnant heroines before, as long as it was believable. But maybe since I’m currently pregnant, little things tend to stick out to me. Like the fact that Callie’s sister named the boy before she died, when Callie was only 4-5 weeks pregnant. Ummmm… Not possible. Or how Callie was always able to feel the baby move at 16 weeks whenever she placed her hand on her tummy. Ummmm… highly unlikely to not only feel movement through your hand, but also that the child would move – AT YOUR WILL. Every time the pregnancy and baby was brought up, I just wanted to roll my eyes and wished over and over again that the heroine wasn’t knocked up. I think the story would have been strong without it.
E: MinnChica it wasn’t just you being pregnant. I have never been pregnant but listening to my sister and watching my mom through three pregnancies I found myself highly skeptical. It was like the pregnancy was there to make me, the reader, feel that the bad guy(s) was the most awful thing around. Instead I was extremely annoyed by the “convenience” of it coming into play. I was willing to give Callie the benefit of the doubt with her first TSTL moment but once Cole told her that the bad guys were asking for her BY NAME she should have realized that now is the time to survive not change clothes, steal hand sanitizer, find a bathroom, take a bath, go into the woods when told not to, sneak away to CALL her brother-in-law using her credit card number. In other words each time I thought she couldn’t get stupider she did and it was wilful stupidity not just ignorance. She made the decision each time to do something the hero had told her NOT to do. I will say that I think the plot twists Beckett included were unexpected but the characterization ruined this read for me.
MinnChica: I agree, Callie really did ruin the book for me, especially since I thought that Beckett really had a strong overall plot. I liked the suspense in the book, I thought all the twists and turns and the overall story line (minus the pregnancy) was an incredible idea and had the foundation to be a really strong romantic suspense. The bad guys were truly awful and evil to the core, the man behind the curtain came as a bit of a surprise toward the end, especially since Beckett did such a good job of leading the reader on a wild goose chase of who-did-it. If it came down to just the plot, I would give Beckett high marks. But like E said, Callie and the pregnancy just pulled what could have been a really strong book down into a hard-to-read struggle.
E: I am not a huge character driven reader because I really need a good plot but I like my characters to keep me interested in what they are going through while I read. In this case I was not able to do that even though Beckett was able to keep me guessing about the identity of the ultimate string puller. That was a benefit but it was extremely difficult to appreciate that benefit when I had to fight through thee characters to get to the plot. I agree the bad guys were pretty darn bad. I was impressed by their justification for their actions. It wasn’t that they didn’t have a conscious but that they decided that the ends justified their means, regardless of those means. If you happened to get in the way then that was your own fault and you would pay for getting in the way. Unfortunately based on my strong dislike of the heroine I am not inclined to pick up anymore of Beckett’s writing.
I give In His Sights a D-
MinnChica: All in all I really struggled with how to rate this book. On one hand, the plot was really strong and the suspense aspect was so well done and executed so well. On the other hand, Callie was so difficult to read and enjoy as a character. The pregnancy drive me bonkers every single time it was brought up, and while I liked Cole, he wasn’t anything remarkable in the romantic suspense hero category. I really wanted to like this book and thought that it had some incredible potential, but it just wasn’t for me. I give In His Sights a D+(less)
Eve alternately annoyed and amused me. I was pretty upset that she refused to tell anyone in her family about her close calls that almost resulted in...moreEve alternately annoyed and amused me. I was pretty upset that she refused to tell anyone in her family about her close calls that almost resulted in her death. Yet she also made me laugh when she continually foiled Marc. I thought Tiffany's recovery was a bit too quick but I loved how she was able to relax and just be treated like an ordinary person.(less)
Ok so I only read Ms Walker's story and for once I guessed who the bad guy was! This was a good short installment in her FBI Psychics series. Although...moreOk so I only read Ms Walker's story and for once I guessed who the bad guy was! This was a good short installment in her FBI Psychics series. Although this can be read as a standalone I recommend reading the novels first so you have a better idea of that particular organization and what they do.(less)
Publisher: Carina Press Publish Date: Out Now How I got this book: ARC from the publisher via Netgalley
Taken prisoner by a ruthless group of anarchists deep in the Cambodian jungle, anthropologist Jocelyn Hewitt is isolated in a dark prison cell. Without chance of rescue. Or hope. Until the man in the next cell reaches out to let her know she’s not as alone as she thinks.
CIA agent Oliver Shaw has been held prisoner for over two years. Forced to witness the brutal torture and slow murder of his entire team, his spirit is not just broken, it’s crushed. He no longer believes in hope. Until he hears Jocelyn through the wall, and suddenly feels like a glimpse of light is trying to reach in…
Jocelyn’s heart aches for the tortured man whose presence and voice give her the courage to risk their escape. But first she’ll have to remind Oliver who he once was, what he once loved, and bring him back to life. Only then will they have a chance for freedom—and the kind of love neither ever thought possible. This blurb came from the author’s website here.
As you saw earlier in our Debut Author Feature, today we are focusing on Ms Justlin and her recent release Edge of Light. Don’t forget to enter the giveaway there! I am not a huge romantic suspense reader like one of my fellow pushers, MinnChica, but this had a premise that I usually enjoy. So after reading the blurb I decided to go ahead and request this to review. Edge of Light had some parts I really enjoyed, like the suspense, but it had some other parts that fell a little flat for me and stretched beyond the suspension of my disbelief.
I really felt for poor Oliver Shaw. The anarchists were extremely smart and diabolical in their systemic destruction of his spirit. Initially when Oliver first appeared he had been extremely beaten down but still had some resistance left. Then I had my doubts as to how heroic a character he would become because that seemed to be his last gasp. However, as I kept reading and learned just like Jocelyn some of what had been done to him and with no hope of rescue, I could understand why he wasn’t resisting anymore. I could also understand why he tried to avoid feeling anything or even talking to Jocelyn. Watching his journey back towards a semblance of the man he used to be was interesting. It certainly didn’t happen overnight which added to his character and the overall tension. When Oliver did step up and start his journey to heroism that also didn’t just happen. He required a lot of inspiration and motivation from Jocelyn’s faith in him to not backslide.
Jocelyn on the other hand struck me as a rather inconsistent character. On one hand she was strong enough to finagle a way onto this particular mission knowing that it could have some serious personal impact. Then she was captured and completely fell apart. She seemed to expect Oliver to do what she couldn’t despite or maybe because of his years of captivity. Jocelyn did regain her sense of gumption once they escaped which was good to see.
The anarchists were seriously evil. It wasn’t just their actions towards Oliver and his dead teammates or even how they treated Jocelyn but the combination of that and their treatment of the rural Cambodians. The leader was a serious whack job and had done a relatively good job of both brainwashing and scaring his two associates into doing what he wanted. In some ways they struck me as being over the top; evil without any redeeming features. I am glad they didn’t escape to start over again.
Despite the intensity and tension in Edge of Light in some places it went beyond my willing suspension of disbelief. I didn’t buy their Happily Ever After. I could accept a Happy For Now based on celebrating life, their escape, and the closure they were able to obtain but I didn’t see enough for HEA. I also had an issue with Oliver and Jocelyn able to walk on the beach and make mad passionate love three days after their rescue with some pretty nasty wounds without a single grimace, limp or accommodation for their injuries.
All in all I found that Ms Justlin gave me a mostly satisfying read. I give Edge of Light a B-/C+(less)
*Starts breathing again* holy intense batman! I think I know who the villain is now...but I am still not sure. I am going to read some Betty Neels to...more*Starts breathing again* holy intense batman! I think I know who the villain is now...but I am still not sure. I am going to read some Betty Neels to lower my blood pressure. Really should have started this while it was still light outside. There is the serial killer some sub villains, small minded gossips and a whole cast of other characters, literally.(less)
Well now that I can breath again! I am NEVER living in a small southernish town, populated by a lot of members of one particular family. Ms Walker cer...moreWell now that I can breath again! I am NEVER living in a small southernish town, populated by a lot of members of one particular family. Ms Walker certainly kept me on the edge of my seat with this trilogy. The bad guy was someone I suspected but I has pushed him far down on my list.(less)
Walker certainly has a gift for suspense and tying together multiple story lines. I enjoy how she was able to interweave past and present in this one....moreWalker certainly has a gift for suspense and tying together multiple story lines. I enjoy how she was able to interweave past and present in this one. And like always I am never able to figure out who the bad guys is until the big reveal.
Potential triggers are - domestic abuse and attempted rape.(less)
Holy cow!!!! I totally understand why people who read these as they came out were thinking not nice things about the author. Talk about leaving the vi...moreHoly cow!!!! I totally understand why people who read these as they came out were thinking not nice things about the author. Talk about leaving the villain unknown, folks in a crisis, town in an uproar! I am not going to start the next book until the sun comes up again because Ms Walker has deftly targeted the fear that the villain a really evil psycho person is someone you know... BTW the kid really needs to learn how to be responsible for his misdoings... (less)
This was the start of my Cindy Gerard glom. Overall I preferred the BOI series but that might have just been the order in which I read them.
Interest...more This was the start of my Cindy Gerard glom. Overall I preferred the BOI series but that might have just been the order in which I read them.
Interesting to see just how focused people can be when they are passionate about something. I found the contradiction between Jillian's parents in this book and how they were mentioned in succeeding books to be quite a change for the better. (less)
Guess I didn't want the series to end because it took me months to actually read this one. It was a fitting conclusion and I really LOVED the ending s...moreGuess I didn't want the series to end because it took me months to actually read this one. It was a fitting conclusion and I really LOVED the ending scene.(less)
Review was posted at www.thebookpushers.com on 17 Jan 11. Publisher: Pocket Books Publish Date: Out now How I got this book: From the publisher
The Larkin...moreReview was posted at www.thebookpushers.com on 17 Jan 11. Publisher: Pocket Books Publish Date: Out now How I got this book: From the publisher
The Larkin sisters are used to hearing whispers behind their backs. Being raised by hippie parents in the small resort town of Barringer’s Pass, Colorado, they were always considered oddballs, and for a while, they did everything they could to earn the name. But now, older and wiser, they’re discovering that it’s not so great to be the wild child, and are struggling to earn a new place for themselves in town.
When Maggie Larkin resists the come-ons of a sleazy actor in town to shoot a film, she pisses off more than a pretty boy and his manager. Turns out that Rafe DeLuca isn’t just a movie star…he’s possibly a killer, and Maggie’s landed herself in more trouble than she could imagine. Enter Cal Drummond, cop extraordinaire, who’s been trailing DeLuca himself for weeks, convinced that his recently murdered sister is one of Rafe’s victims. He’s determined not to let another woman be victimized by the dangerous Rafe, and if that means sticking like glue to Maggie, so be it.
Maggie and Cal seem like perfect opposites, but as we all know…opposites attract! This blurb came from Goodreads.
When we were offered this book to review I read the blurb and it seemed pretty interesting so I accepted the request. I happen to have a soft spot for characters who are trying to redeem themselves or to distance themselves from their less then stellar behavior in the past. I also liked the thought of a murder mystery and a grieving bound to be overprotective cop. Unfortunately after finishing Silver Sparks I still haven’t decided if I liked the book or not.
I enjoyed seeing the bonds between Maggie and her two sisters along with the relationship between Cal and surviving much younger sister. Each was determined to protect the others and willing to do anything to get revenge on Rafe. But some aspects of the family ties didn’t ring consistent. Maggie mentions that her reputation was an attempt to live up to what people were saying because of her hippie parents, yet she never demonstrated any sense of resentment or strain with her parents when she visited them later in the book. I found that odd because on other occasions she was hurt and humiliated by that same reputation. One of Maggie’s two sisters, Sophie, was raised completely separately so she never painted with the same reputation yet when her professional and personal world fell apart due to the influence of Rafe and his family’s money Sophie didn’t have any reaction except anger and a determination to help expose Rafe for what he was.
As characters Maggie and Cal remained pretty consistent. I could certainly see the personality trait that made Maggie decide to live up to her reputation. I liked seeing how she didn’t just completely flip a switch and become a completely different person when she decided to live respectably. Cal was certainly fixated on Rafe and determined to bring his sister’s killer to justice but based on his behavior I kept thinking that his sister was killed years ago instead of within a month or so. Unfortunately I never connected with either Maggie or Cal so I was never sucked into what they were experiencing. I actually found Cal’s sister more interesting.
Ms Ambrose employed some interesting twists in the murder mystery portion of Silver Sparks but I thought some of the things that happened were a bit too coincidental and tied the threads up too nicely in the later portion of the book. Due to my background reading murder mysteries I personally enjoy getting clues along the way and then having the “aha” moment when the puzzle fits into place.