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review 2016-01-01 06:30
Thoughts: What the Dead Know
What the Dead Know - Kylie Brant

A Brief Personal Aside:  


My first post of 2016; a review for the last book I finished reading in 2015!  Happy New Year to everyone!  Happy Reading to all!  Happy Blogging to All!


Now onto the review!




What the Dead Know -- Kylie Brant

Book 8 of Mindhunters



What the Dead Know is extremely fast-paced and continuously forward moving, as has always been the case with Kylie Brant's Mindhunters books. This one was better written and better edited than the previous, Secrets of the Dead; and it also involved a more focused premise, story telling and progression.

The only fault I found with it, however, is the romance--the chemistry seems to be missing.

The Story:
Keira Saxon is lured into the game of a serial killer when she discovers that her father hadn't been killed in a wilderness attack by a bear--her father's liver is left in a cooler at her cabin door and Keira is led on a chase through the snowy woods, only to be attacked by the perpetrator.

Knowing that she is too close to this case, but not wanting to be left out of the loop Danny Saxon's now homicide investigation, Keira calls upon the aid of Adam Raiker's forensic investigation organization.

Enter Finn Carstens, an Mindhunter working for Adam Raiker who used to be a medical examiner. Along with Keira, the two discover that Keira's father wasn't the only murder victim and that their mysterious serial killer is playing a deadly game with human lives. And Keira is his ultimate targeted hunt.

My Thoughts:
Finn and Keira make for a great investigating team together, and this book brings back to mind one of my more favored Mindhunters installments, the very first Waking Nightmare and the investigating partnership between Ryne and Abby. Of course, Keira and Finn are less antagonistic to each other, readily creating that partnership bond and trust; unfortunately, at the same time, they also display a lot less romantic chemistry than I had been expecting for a romance.

There's an underlying OTP-ness to their slowly developing relationship, but I fail to FEEL how the two start to fall for each other. Even the sexual tension seems a bit lackluster--in comparison, the previous pair of Mindhunters in Secrets of the Dead, Eve and Declan, had a haphazard story and almost too tacky romantic conclusion, but they had chemistry.

Anyway... back to this book.

I thoroughly enjoyed the crime thriller aspect of it, even if I felt that the romance was not as developed. And, really, that's all I have left to say about it.

Once again, another great Kylie Brant romantic suspense to pass the time and enjoy--a very enjoyable, entertaining crime thriller to pass a cold night in December. I could just feel the chills radiating off of the snowy Michigan setting.

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review 2015-12-23 13:07
Thoughts: Head Over Heels
Head Over Heels - Jill Shalvis

Head Over Heels -- Jill Shalvis

Book 3 of Lucky Harbor



Head Over Heels is definitely my favorite of the first three Lucky Harbor books. I had been looking forward to this book for a few reasons, one of them a bit shallow, but what are ya gonna do?

First of all, I was the most interested in reading about Chloe since she was first introduced in Simply Irresistible. She just seemed so much more complex than the other two sisters, but probably moreso because she’s the less standard type of Romance novel heroine I have typically seen reading a lot of contemporary romances. Second, we will have seen much more interaction and have a bit more backstory on Chloe and Sawyer by the time their love story rolls around (unlike Maddie and Jax’s instalust to instalove story). And as much as second chance romances are more believable in the relationship developing arena (for Tara and Ford’s love story), I sometimes also like to see a developing romance in progress without pre-storyline emotional ties being an issue.

Finally, Sawyer is Lucky Harbor’s town Sheriff--and I like men in uniform with hero-style jobs. Yes, this is my shallow reason for being more interested in this book.

Romance-wise, the romance between Chloe and Sawyer is extremely sweet and cute, very wonderfully developed over the course of the book. With a case of opposites attracting, a straight-laced sheriff and a free-spirited “wild child”, the two seemed to be meant for each other. But in regard to what actually occurs in Head Over Heels these two have earned their Happily Ever After™.

The Story:
Chloe is the free-spirited “wild child” with a penchant for wanderlust and, according to the Lucky Harbor Facebook newsreel, a knack for getting into trouble. Of course, we get to see over the course of the book that Chloe’s trouble-making life in Lucky Harbor borders more on a Robin Hood-like vigilantism than actually just getting in trouble for the sake of getting into trouble. But for the past six months that she has been living in Lucky Harbor with her newly found half-sisters, Chloe has finally found a place she feels like she’d love to call “Home.” And to be able to call someplace home, she’s slowly started to show her sisters that she, too, would be able to settle and whittle down her wanderlust ways.

But Chloe is far from wanting to change her free-spirited personality.

Meanwhile she has drawn the attention of town Sheriff, Sawyer Thompson, who is somehow determined to save her when she’s in distress, or keep her out of trouble as much as possible. In turn, Sawyer’s altruistic nature and hero complex has also drawn Chloe’s attention as well.

In other Lucky Harbor news, there’s a new Cute Guy in town who is now the center of our Lucky Harbor gossip crew’s attention; two of our three half-sisters are currently engaged with one sister’s wedding pending; and some intrigue may be afoot in the more secluded wooded areas around Lucky Harbor.

My Thoughts:
To be totally honest, once again it is my love for the characters of Lucky Harbor that keeps me so hooked on these books, and the fun, crazy humor in the narration. Chloe and Sawyer’s love story isn’t all that unique even with a much more non-standard heroine as Chloe. And to be totally honest, without the wonderful bantering between these two, they’re courtship (if you could call it that) might have been kind of bland since they spend more time than not either having “Moments” together or trying to seduce each other.

And then you get some mundane, side tangent stuff such as a look at the everyday happenings of Lucky Harbor town sheriff and what he has to deal with on a regular basis; which is great, but almost too mundane to be of significance. Granted, it shows you more insight into Sawyer’s personality and his day-to-day life, but it’s not really all that exciting even if some of the events are newsworthy.

On the other hand, Chloe’s self-development was actually quite interesting to follow as she goes from traveling all over the place and being without roots, to finding a place she could see herself settling down into, if only her sisters and the people of Lucky Harbor would give her a chance. And the heart of the matter is, you also get to see the thought process in Chloe’s mind, wrought out from years of growing up following her equally wanderlust-y mother and having no real place to truly call “Home”. I also think it’s great that, even in her process of finding a group of people to belong to, she doesn’t completely banish her free-spirited attitude towards life.

Again, Chloe is the much more complex of the three sisters, which is probably why I loved her book so much more than the first two, even if I had a blast reading all three of them.

The romance developing between Chloe and Sawyer, though not all that unique, stands out in their interactions with each other. After professing their attraction and their interests to each other, they actually spend more time trying to be in each other’s presence as much as they can manage. And they spend a lot of their developing friends-with-benefits relationship building a rapport, learning about each other, and in general, trying to take care of each other in their own little ways.

Sawyer may be a commanding caveman at moments, but with Chloe, I love how he’s so sweet and thoughtful, especially during those times when she needs someone to lean on the most. And during sex, I’m absolutely thrilled that an asthma attack doesn’t completely scare him off and instead, he goes and learns how to best give Chloe pleasure without putting her in the hospital since Chloe has admitted that she cannot have sex without straining her asthma and ending up in the ER. If that doesn’t scream “sweet” for the Lucky Harbor sheriff, I don’t know what does.

The sexy times in this book were probably much steamier and hotter for that fact, even if they were already kind of hot and steamy by their own merit.

The romance between Chloe and Sawyer is so much fun to follow, and as I love Head Over Heels more than the first two books, I also love this couple more than the first two as well. As I already stated, despite the implied “Meant for each other” vibe that the whole polar opposites attracting plot device gives off, I’m satisfied to say that the love the between these two was actually developed and outlined really well. They got their Happily Ever After™ because they earned it--not that other couples don’t deserve theirs as well, but we actually get to see the relationship slowly develop from mutual attraction and lust, to friendship, and then finally a much more caring and deeper love for one another.

Final Side Thoughts:
I have every intention of continuing into the rest of the Lucky Harbor series. The writing is witty and fun with a great dose of humor infused. If the character interactions are going to continue in the same vein as what I’ve come to love in the first three books so far, then I know I’ll enjoy the rest of the books. Certainly, it will be hard to replicate the awkward, yet tightly-knit, sweet and loving continued development between the three half-sisters, but I’m holding out that we’ll still get to see a bit of them here and there throughout the rest of the series.

And skipping forward to peruse the summary blurbs of the rest of the Lucky Harbor works, I’m pleasantly surprised to see a return to Chloe and Sawyer in a side novella--although it does happen to be listed as Lucky Harbor #12.5. Nine more novels and another short story and another novella to go before we come back to my favorite Lucky Harbor couple...

I am absolutely anal enough to read everything just to make sure I get to that last novella at the proper chronological moment, even if I don’t know if I’ll enjoy all of it.





This book is a pre-chosen participant in the following Reading Challenge(s):



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text 2015-12-20 08:50
2015 Reading Challenges Wrap-Up

Original 2015 Reading Challenge Post



As the post title states, this is really just a general wrap-up for all the reading challenges I participated in this year.  There's a sense of accomplishment in completing so many challenges, but at the same time, I know that I had chosen several of these challenges because they WOULD be easy to complete (Romantic Suspense Challenge, Men in Uniform Challenge, and so on).


My biggest accomplishment, honestly, would be the 2015 Reading Assignment Challenge hosted by Michelle at Because Reading and Berls at Fantasy is More Fun.  To create a large list of assigned reading, stick to it, and officially complete every book I set out to complete for the year... it feels good.



What I'm Currently Reading

These are the books that I am still reading and hope to have finished by the end of the year.  I've also listed which reading challenge they will qualify for if I DO manage to finish reading them before 2016.  Otherwise, another year is another year.


 Head Over Heels by Jill Shalvis

  • General Reading Challenge @ GR and BL
  • Outdo Yourself Challenge
  • 2015 Reading Assignment -- extra credit book #2
  • Men in Uniform Challenge -- Police


 The Chimes by Charles Dickens (narrated by Richard Armitage)

  • General Reading Challenge @ GR and BL
  • Outdo Yourself Challenge


 Risky Christmas (two story anthology)

-- Hidden Secrets by Jill Sorenson

-- Kidnapped at Christmas by Jennifer Morley

  • General Reading Challenge @ GR and BL



What I Hope to Read Before the Year is Over

There are still eleven days left of the year and so I'm in hopes that I will be able to 1) finish reading the above listed books, and 2) add a couple more books to my 'Read' pile for 2015.  So the following are books I DO plan to start reading before the year is over and hope to have completed, as well as the challenges they will be part of.


 Shadow Dance by Julie Garwood

  • General Reading Challenge @ GR and BL
  • Outdo Yourself Challenge
  • Mount TBR Challenge
  • Romantic Suspense Challenge
  • Men in Uniform Challenge -- FBI agent
  • Neverending Series Challenge -- final book to complete!!!


 Spinning Starlight by R.C. Lewis

  • General Reading Challenge @ GR and BL
  • Outdo Yourself Challenge
  • 2015 Release -- not an actual challenge, but I'm keeping track


 The Immortal Heights by Sherry Thomas

  • General Reading Challenge @ GR and BL
  • Outdo Yourself Challenge
  • 2015 Release -- not an actual challenge, but I'm keeping track


 A Family For Christmas by Mona Ingram

  • General Reading Challenge @ GR and BL
  • Outdo Yourself Challenge



The Stats

  • General Reading Challenges -- COMPLETED 11/13/2015

Goodreads Reading Challenge -- GR list/shelf

BookLikes Reading Challenge -- BL list/shelf

My Goal:  150 books

Progress:  170/150 books read


This is a typical reading challenge I participate in every year and aside from cheating my first year participating in 2012 (by dropping my goal at mid-year when I realized I probably wouldn't make it), I've actually been pretty good at keeping up.  I think I increased my goal by a small amount last year and ended up surpassing that number, which gave me the confidence to set a more stable number of books to read as my yearly goal.


Of course, this particular reading challenge includes everything from short stories, anthologies, novellas, and even manga volumes.  Last year I had read several manga volumes, each listed as one individual book on my list.  This year, my count actually has more full-length novels included.  Last year I managed my time a little differently.  This year I struggled through a lot of pre-chosen books for reading challenges that made my time management a little more difficult.


I will be participating in this same general numbers goal challenge next year and my goal will remain the same.



  • Outdo Yourself Challenge

-- CHALLENGE COMPLETED -- 12/17/2015

2015 Outdo Yourself Reading Challenge

Hosted by Book Vixen

My Goal:  Getting My Heart Rate Up: read 1 - 5 more books

(I read 154 books for this challenge in 2014 / My goal will be 155 - 159 books in 2015.)

My Progress:  155/155

See Also: 2015 Outdo Yourself Challenge shelf for list of books


This is probably one of the harder challenges I picked up two years in a row, although last year, it was no difficult feat to surpass the number of books I had read in 2013.  But since I pretty much stretched my limits in 2014, this year ended up being a real challenge to try and outdo my final reading count from last year.


The reading count for this challenge is a little more restrictive as we can only include books that are at least 100 pages or more in length.  So, no manga volumes, no short stories, no picture books.  So this particular reading challenge number is a bit more accurate describing the number of books I've read (or audio books I've listened to).


I barely made it to complete my goal this year.


I will not be participating in this reading challenge next year, if only because I'm pretty sure I've found my yearly book average and will probably remain fairly steady for a while to come.  Maybe in a year or two I will try my hand at this challenge again.  Knowing myself, however, I'll probably still keep track of books for this challenge and maybe join the challenge at a later date.


The Book Vixen will no longer be hosting this Reading Challenge, but Corinne Rodrigues will be taking over:  2016 Outdo Yourself Challenge.



  • Romantic Suspense Challenge

  -- CHALLENGE COMPLETED -- 4/9/2015

2015 Romantic Suspense Reading Challenge

Hosted by Book Vixen

My Goal:  SWAT: read 21+ romantic suspense novels

My Progress: 77/21

See Also: 2015 Romantic Suspense Challenge shelf for list of books



  • Men in Uniform Challenge

  -- CHALLENGE COMPLETED -- 3/17/2015

2015 Men in Uniform Reading Challenge

Hosted by Book Vixen

My Goal:  Chief: read 16+ men in uniform novels

My Progress: 71/16

  -- 16 books read -- COMPLETED -- 3/17/2015

See: 2015 Men in Uniform Challenge shelf for book list

See: 2015 Men in Uniform Challenge post for detailed list


The above two challenges were the easiest two challenges I've ever chosen.  Knowing full well that I can binge-read several Romantic Suspense novels (a good percentage of which involve Men in Uniform), I was certain I couldn't fail these two challenges even if I tried.  On top of that, the goal levels were also pie.  And as anyone can see, both challenges were completed in full at the highest goal level before June even rolled around.


I will not be participating in either of these challenges next year, if only because they really just present an extra set of statistics I need to record... despite the fact that I will probably continue to record these statistics for future use.  Maybe.


The 2016 Romantic Suspense Challenge will be hosted by Shooting Stars Reviews.



  • 2015 TBR Pile Challenge


Hosted by Roof Beam Reader

My 2015 TBR Pile Challenge Summary Post

My Progress: 10/12

See Also: BookLikes shelf / Goodreads shelf


This is the third year I participated in the TBR Pile Challenge hosted by Roof Beam Reader.  This is the third year I have failed, even if not miserably.  You would think that if I could finish a 48 book Reading Assignment Challenge (see below), then I'd have no trouble at all finishing a 12 book reading challenge wherein I can read any of these books at any time during the year.


The problem is, I keep choosing books to place on this list that I can't find the motivation to read.  This is my "I would love to read these books one of these days" challenge, with books that I include that are books that I keep telling myself to read and books that are sort of outside my comfort genres.


It probably helped that I did some challenge crossover books between this challenge and the Reading Assignment Challenge, but by the time the last stretch of the year rolled around, I was so obsessed with the Reading Assignment Challenge that I sort of blew off this challenge.


I will probably not be participating in this challenge next year for obvious reasons.



  • 2015 Reading Assignment Challenge

Hosted by Because Reading & Fantasy Is More Fun

My 2015 Reading Assignment Challenge Summary Post

My Goal:  Reading Level 5:  48 books (4 books/month), 4 Extra Credits, 1 Pass

My Progress: 48/48 (4 Extra Credits used / No Passes used)

-- Goal Reached on 12/13/2015

Extended Goal:  Added on 2 Extra Credit books

Extended Goal Progress:  1/2 Extra Credit books read

See Also: BookLikes shelf / Goodreads shelf


This was my favorite reading challenge this year.  I can't really say why, but I had a lot of fun with making my list, formatting my update posts, and in general, reading books I would have otherwise avoided reading (**coughcough**Allegiant**coughcough**).  But I don't deny the huge sense of accomplishment bestowed upon myself for setting out a large list of books to read, with a restricted number of books to read monthly, and completing this grand mission.


I've picked up new-to-me authors because I chose to list books I probably wouldn't have picked up dependent on my reading mood.  New-to-me authors include: Molly Harper, Tess Gerritsen, Christine Feehan, Roxanne St. Claire, Meg Cabot, Robin Benway, Meagan Spooner, and a few others.  Unfortunately, I can't really say that I've actually liked all of them, and really only a small percentage of the new-to-me authors picked up due to this challenge actually made my "interested in reading more from this author" list.


Fortunately, I also picked up a second or third book of an author I had previously only read one book from and had never been sure whether or not to continue reading said author's works.  These authors include: Jill Shalvis, Julie Garwood, and Marie Lu.  Jill Shalvis' Lucky Harbor pilot novel turned out fun and I'm not opposed to continuing that series.  Julie Garwood's Heartbreaker was an average start to a long series, but I'm now kind of hooked to said series.  And Marie Lu's Legend trilogy was excellent and I look forward to continuing on with other books she has written.


I will definitely be participating in this challenge next year and have already formulated my list and other thoughts.  I have even given thought to including series that I need to finish, that I actually DO want to finish as well as some new authors or new series I've been circling around for ages without making time for.  Some of these authors will include Jeannie Lin, Amanda Quick, Nora Roberts, Lisa Gardner, and others who've always sat on my radar only, or who have drawn my attention recently.



  • Mount TBR Reading Challenge


Hosted by My Reader's Block

My Goal:  Mt. Ararat:  Read 48 books from your TBR pile/s

My Progress:  31/48

See: 2015 Mount TBR Challenge shelf for book list


I have a huge bookshelf.  I keep adding to that bookshelf.  Both digital and physical.  Unfortunately, I also have a huge reading list that also keeps growing, a bad spending habit, and this uncanny ability to always check out four weeks worth of reading from the library at least once a month.


When I first set out to participate in this challenge--to read books I acquired on my shelves before the reading challenge year--I had even made a list and had done some rough guesstimation calculations and came up with a realistic number of 48 out of all 200+ books on my shelves.  I figured that of all the books I owned, 48 was a reasonable number to whittle my shelves down by.


And I have failed spectacularly.


HOWEVER, I will not be deterred.  I'm going to try again.  2016 is another year and I will always have more books on my shelf to add onto my challenges... or something like that.



  • The Series That Never Ends Challenge

Hosted by Delighted Reader

My 2015 The Series That Never Ends Challenge Summary Post

My Goal(s):

First Goal:  Surviving the Book Tsunami - 5-9 books / COMPLETED

- 5 books completed -- 3/8/2015

- 9 books completed -- 6/1/2015

Next Goal: Removing the Thorn From My Side - 10-15 books / COMPLETED

- 10 books completed -- 6/9/2015

- 15 books completed -- 7/31/2015

Next Goal: Goddess of Reading the Never Ending Series - 15+ books / COMPLETED

- 16 books completed -- 8/16/2015

My Progress: 18/15 books

Listed Series Goals Completed:  2/3

See: 2015 Series Never Ends Challenge shelf for book list



I chose to participate in the Neverending Series Challenge because I had recently started into a few long-running Romantic Suspense series that were still getting new installments as the years go by:  Tracers by Laura Griffin was a new one I started in 2015.  Buchanan-Renard by Julie Garwood was a series in which I had started the year before with the first book--curiosity and continually loving the next book more and more got me interested in continuing the series.  Bishop/SCU by Kay Hooper was another series I'd been following for some time, but just never made time to continue even though I wanted to read the entire series.


In the ensuing months of 2015, I went on to reading other long (5+ books) or ongoing series such as KGI by Maya Banks, Steele Street by Tara Janzen, Bullet Catchers by Roxanne St. Claire, and so on.  I wasn't sure how dedicated I was to reading these other series so I didn't include them in this challenge, but they would have totally qualified.  And also, I'm already up to book #9 of KGI and I recently finished book #6 of Steele Street.


I'm a little conflicted as to whether or not to participate in this challenge in 2016.  For one, this is not an easy challenge unless it's crossing over with other challenges.  I've still got one book left to go in the Buchanan-Renard series to complete my challenge.  On the other hand, I had only planned on reading 5 of the Tracers books as part of my challenge goal, but ended up finishing all 8 of the already published installments, then continuing to read the newest, recently published installment #9, thus catching me up with the entire series at present..


In 2016, some of the books for my Reading Assignment Challenge are part of some really long series, both ongoing and completed, with at least 5 books in the total series book count.


So this might actually be a good challenge to continue to participate in.  I just haven't quite made up my decisions yet.



In Summary

I will be publishing an official Reading Challenge post for my 2016 Reading Challenges, but here is the gist of everything:


I have decided to cut back on the number of challenges I will be participating in next year.  Keeping track of all of my books read and for what challenges and any other statistic has become something of a tedious, obsessive activity for me this year and I realize that I might have gone a bit overboard.  If I showed everyone my bookish spreadsheets, it could get a little scary.


So aside from the general number goal challenge via GR and BL, I will only be participating in 3 other challenges (decided as of this moment):


2016 Reading Assignment Challenge

2016 Mount TBR Challenge

2016 Bookish Resolutions

(I will update links as I create each starter post.)


I will probably still end up keeping track of the number of series I've read and completed and started as well as all other statistics I normally keep track of on my personal spreadsheets, but that's probably about it for me.


I DO, however, want to participate in more Read-a-thons, so those are still in the 2016 bookish plans.  I'm particularly interested in the Bout of Books week-long read-a-thons, though I haven't decided which one to participate in yet.


Otherwise, this year, I feel like I've managed pretty well.



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review 2015-12-10 02:13
Thoughts: Out of Her league
Out Of Her League - Kaylea Cross

Out of Her League -- Kaylea Cross

Book 1 of Suspense series



Out of Her League is a standard, formulaic romance with a little bit of action, a fairly solid story direction and plot, but a lot more meandering and use of tropes and cliches than I typically prefer in my Romantic Suspense readings.

Christa is the typical girl-next-door Mary Sue type who is probably the most pessimistic and cynical heroine I've encountered in a while. She really IS the whole Mary Sue package from being beautiful without realizing it, from putting herself down when comparing herself with others on a regular basis, from feeling like she doesn't deserve the man of her dreams because she believes she's plain and not fascinating enough to hold a man's attention... But she's also kind-hearted, self-less, physically fit, a fighter, and idealistic... I could go on.

She even stupidly walks herself into danger a few times despite knowing better, which I suppose that gives the book a chance to play out a damsel-in-distress scenario at least twice.

Rayne is also the typical alpha male, all broody and laced with testosterone and a hint of good ol' boy in his heart--I DO appreciate that he's such a good, respectful man. But that's really it for him. However, I DID like the details of his hostage rescue scenes even if things got a little intense.

The two of them would make perfect angel babies together, to be honest, and it almost rankles.

But they are good people. And the rest of the characters are good people. And there are good interactions and good relationships and good everything.

It was just that they were all SO boring and so typical that I started drifting and wondering when we'd get to the action.

On top of the random tangential side anecdotes that just kind of pop out of nowhere, and you've got a fairly monotonous story telling that takes a very, very long time to get from Point A to Point B, when the book could have probably been a hundred pages shorter in length.

For a standard Romantic Suspense story involving a crazy, creepy stalker slash serial rapist and killer, and a bodyguard device, I had a lot of trouble getting into this book. We keep detouring away from the main conflict and touching on it every other scene.

And the romance took a very long detour as well, dragged out to the point that it made me start screaming for someone to get laid soon. It's not like I NEED sex in my fiction to be happy about it the romance, but these two spent so much time tip-toeing around their own sexual frustrations that I was surprised no one ended up imploding from all the tension.

But being that it is the first Kaylea Cross book I've read and being that I DID find a way to like the characters despite no one really standing out... I'm quite interested in reading the next book to see where it goes. It might just be the Romantic Suspense bias in me, but considering there wasn't anything that outright pissed me off in this book, I'd love to give the next book a chance to woo me before I write it off. After all, I've come across enough rocky 1st books to realize that you have to give the series a chance to take off if there's even a small flame of interest still gathering.

Because in the end, this book wasn't terrible and I DID like the people and the premise. It's just unfortunate that there was a high percentage of schmaltz, a whole check list of romantic devices strewn about, and a lot of deliberate symbolic scenes, actions, and dialogues that all felt fairly unnatural.

And also, there's a soft spot in my heart for Rayne being the utmost perfect, considerate lover a woman could ever have--and also, an endearing grin may have graced my lips during his little Spiderman stunt, climbing the rose vines one-handed to sneak into his girlfriend's guest bedroom during his and Christa's visit to his mother's home. It was kind of cute since they ARE both consenting adults, but trying to respect his mother's ideals of being traditional and proper and whatnot.


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review 2015-11-29 23:49
Thoughts: Shadow Fall
Shadow Fall (Tracers) - Laura Griffin

Shadow Fall -- Laura Griffin

Book 9 of Tracers series



I jumped right into reading Shadow Fall before I even bothered with the book's official summary blurb--I suppose this goes to show how much I've come to enjoy reading Laura Griffin's romantic suspense books and how much I've come to anticipate a Tracers installment.

Shadow Fall is immensely enjoyable despite the standard Romantic Suspense formula, because it is written with an intensity that keeps you interested and turning the pages without fail. I definitely enjoyed it a lot, although I am slightly less enamored with the way that the romance played out. But otherwise, the rest of the book focusing on the serial killer and criminal mystery was quite entertaining.

The Story:
A woman is killed in a gruesome manner and FBI Special Agent Tara Rushing is tasked to insert herself into the local law enforcement to investigate this murder because the victim is a former political candidate. Liam Wolfe, former marine and current owner of an elite security consultant service is one of the main suspects by local law enforcement--in recent history, Liam had taken the murder victim as a client.

As the investigation progresses, however, Tara finds that there might have been more than the one murder tied to the same killer MO--a serial killer may be operating out of these backwoods of East Texas. And as new evidence is uncovered and examined by the Delphi Center, Texas' best forensic organization, leads show a striking connection between the killings and Liam Wolfe or maybe the men who work for him.

Brief Thoughts:
Some aspects of Laura Griffin books tend to recycle themselves sometimes, but in my opinion, if I enjoy them and they work, then I don't really let it bother me. But it doesn't escape my notice. Nonetheless, as I'd stated already, this most recent installment of the Tracers series is highly enjoyable and quite a page-turning experience.

While the romance played out a bit more frustratingly, and there was less of a connect to the characters, the rest of the book progressed smoothly concerning the murders and crime thriller. I would have liked a bit more interaction between Liam and Tara before the "I love you"s were tossed around, even if they waited until the end of the book (Standard Romantic Suspense Procedure™) to throw them out there.

As far as the love story goes, I can usually get behind insta-lust (because that's human nature), but the insta-love came on the heels of that instant attraction way too quickly for me to be comfortable behind. Especially when Liam's idea of caring for someone or falling in love with someone means telling her to stop doing her job or run away from her responsibilities--his controlling behavior irked me just as much as it did Tara, which makes me glad that Tara doesn't just take his demands and runs with them.

In this aspect, I like Tara a lot; I'm glad she doesn't just let a man she's lusting after bulldoze his way into her life and start telling her what to do. Tara is a trained FBI agent (even if there are moments when she doesn't act like it), and also part of a SWAT team. Realistically, I'm glad she has a lot of flaws as well, playing on the "rookie investigator" angle of it all, but also being bad-ass enough to tell the man to "shove it" when he starts thinking he can tell her what to do just because he's developed some caveman protective instincts--as sweet as that may seem. Then again, at least Liam recognizes the futility of trying to be the controlling alpha leader around Tara and accepts it.

And so, in Shadow Fall the criminal aspects of the book overshadow the love story quite a bit, but still managed to remain balanced enough that I enjoyed it. We had all the typical investigating processes, though--collecting and examining evidence, profiling, interviewing witnesses... it all goes by in a blur and if it weren't for the analytical mind of Tara's, I might have zoned out. It takes a great character to put things into perspective rather than simply going through the standard operating motions.

The identity of the killer DID come out of left field, even if it didn't really feel like it at the time. And there were a lot of unresolved issues surrounding certain side characters and certain situation twists with the local law enforcement, although I guess this is fairly realistic that not everything has a proper conclusion, even if I don't care for loose ends.

The pissing wars between law enforcement organizations--local law and FBI--seemed irrelevant in the long term of events though, so I'm not sure how to take all of that.


Hot sex ensues, no damsel in distress situations, lots more of badassery by Agent Rushing, Happily Ever After™...

On a side note:
I'm definitely looking forward to the next installment which has a plot surrounding cyber crimes--I'm hyped already 'cause that is one of my more favorite plot devices in a crime thriller as of recent. If anyone's got some good recommendations for books with cyber crime aspects in it, please let me know. Apparently I'm not very good at finding them.

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