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review 2018-07-17 01:43
The War Outside - Monica Hesse

I received an ARC of this book for free from TheNovl in exchange for an honest review. Since I received an ARC, my quotes from the book are tentative. 

 

Last month I read a different YA novel about German American internment and was beyond disappointed by it. When I saw that TheNovl was offering a chance to read and review this book I jumped at the opportunity. Thankfully, The War Outside was a million times better than that other book I read.

 

This book was so heart wrenching and emotional. There was one incident towards the end that gave me chills and goosebumps. 

 

I loved the dual perspectives and how well the author put you into each girl’s shoes. I also enjoyed the author’s writing style. It flowed easily and sucked you into the story. 

 

I’m glad that the book showed both Japanese American and German American internment. I particularly liked that it discussed how being called the enemy was different for each group. At one point Haruko tells Margot, “I’m so sorry…that your father had to wake up and realize that you had become the enemy overnight. But a least you didn’t have to wake up and realize that other Americans had thought of you as an enemy all along” (148). She then explains, “the reason this imprisonment is hard to Margot’s father is because they didn’t know yet that this country was unfair…The West Coast Japanese had already given the government their shortwave radios, and they had already agreed to their curfew, eight PM to six AM, but it wasn’t enough, it was never enough. It was so easy for the government make those rules. You can’t hate someone all of a sudden. It takes practice. It takes a long time” (148). This is an idea that Margot revisits later in the book when imagining what it would be like to go back home to Iowa. She ponders, “Haruko was right the first time we talked. It was not like with the Japanese. where entire communities went away. With us it was like a scalpel: a German here, a German there, while the rest of the town went about their business” (207). These quotes showcase the idea of how we are not  free in America until we’re all free. Everyone’s freedom is in jeopardy if one group loses theirs. 

 

The ending was…WOW. It was one of the best endings I’ve read in a while. It left you thinking about all that happened between the girls and the motives behind their actions.  

 

I liked that the author included a note at the end about the history behind the story. It is evident that she did a lot of research and tried to make it as accurate as possible.  

 

Overall, this was an amazing and powerful novel whose ending will leave you questioning it all. 

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review 2018-07-09 02:45
Review: Off the Grid by Monica McCarty
Off the Grid - Monica McCarty

Reviewed for Wit and Sin

 

When a top secret mission goes wrong in Russia and more than half of SEAL Team Nine is killed, the survivors are ordered to scatter and go dark. Only not everyone is willing to let them stay off the grid. Reporter Brittany Blake can smell a government cover up a mile away and since this one involves her missing – possibly dead – brother, she’s not about to let it rest until she discovers the truth.

John Donovan hates being stuck in Finland, doing nothing, while he waits for orders from his lieutenant commander. And while he would like to pretend otherwise, John also can’t move past the death of his best friend and teammate, Brandon Blake. When he’s ordered to shut Brittany up – for her safety as well as the rest of his surviving teammates – it throws him for a loop. Years ago, Brandon made it clear Brittany was off-limits. But with the adrenaline rush of danger and the pull neither John nor Brittany can deny, it’s clear that some promises are meant to be broken…

I really struggled with rating Off the Grid. On the one hand, Monica McCarty’s writing is engaging, drawing me into the book and keeping the story moving at a quick clip. The action is cinematic and the overarching series question of who betrayed SEAL Team Nine and why was interesting. That being said, I struggled with the characters which kept me from liking this book as much as I wanted to.

Brittany Blake gave me flashbacks to Lois Lane (always a good thing). She’s a reporter with a sharp mind and dogged determination to get her story. She has been wronged more than once by a government cover up and her brother is one of the missing SEALs, so I did understand why she was so determined to find out what happened to the group of men she dubbed “The Lost Platoon.” That being said, Brittany’s strengths were also her weaknesses. She can get tunnel vision, which is frustrating when she doesn’t seem to fully understand – or more importantly care – that she’s putting other lives in danger besides her own. One of those lives belongs to John Donovan, the man who broke her heart five years ago. John is known for his laid-back ways, but he’s mostly intense and frustrated in this book. He definitely has reason to be, but at times it felt like his personality had melted away and we were left with a generic military hero, which was a pity. John and Brittany do have chemistry, but their romance paled in comparison to the sexual tension between two supporting characters. Added to that, Brittany and John suffer from the same problem that a lot of characters in this book do: a lack of honest communication. It’s a common enough plot device, but it’s one that I find a bit frustrating, so people who aren’t bothered by this may like their romance more than I did.

Off the Grid isn’t just John and Brittany’s story. Former SEAL Colt and his ex-wife, CIA analyst Kate are working to discover who betrayed Colt’s former team. Colt and Kate are the reason I am so invested in this series. Their chemistry is off-the-charts explosive and the pure drama keeps me coming back for more. The pain, anger, distrust, and lust practically jump off the page and I cannot wait to see if/how Ms. McCarty makes things work for these two. She definitely has her work cut out for her, because even though I got a fair sense of Colt’s history and why he acts the way he does, he definitely is cruel to Kate; so much so that I’m honestly not sure if I should be rooting for him to win her back. Whether or not he does, he and Kate livened up the book and their storyline ensures that I’ll be back for Out of Time, the next Lost Platoon book.


FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Source: witandsin.blogspot.com/2018/07/review-off-grid-by-monica-mccarty.html
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text 2018-07-01 19:24
Going Dark By Monica McCarty $1.99
Going Dark (The Lost Platoon) - Monica McCarty

After walking into a trap on a covert op in Russia, the men from top secret SEAL Team Nine are presumed dead. Not knowing whom they can trust, and with war hanging in the balance, the survivors must go dark and scatter around the globe.
 
Marine ecologist Annie Henderson joins her new boyfriend on a trip to the Western Isles of Scotland to protest a hazardous offshore drilling venture. When she realizes that she may be swept up in something far more dangerous than she’d intended, there is only one man she can turn to...
 
She and the mysterious but sexy dive boat captain haven’t exactly gotten off to the best start, but something about his quiet confidence makes her think that he’s the kind of man she can depend on. Because he’s gruff and guarded, she can tell Dan Warren has secrets. But she could never imagine how high the stakes are for him to keep his cover, even as he risks everything to protect her...

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review 2018-06-13 01:20
Dark Harvest by Chris Patchell
Dark Harvest (A Holt Foundation Story) (Volume 2) - Chris Patchell,Mark Cooper,Monica Haynes

Note: Dark Harvest is Book 2 in the series and works best if read after Book 1 simply because you get so much character development that carries over from one book to the next.

I really liked that Brooke, who suffered a brutal kidnapping in Book 1, isn’t all sunshine and roses. She is still walking the hard, dark path to recovery. Marissa, her mom, struggles with how best to help her but she’s doing her best. Brooke’s younger sister, Kelley, puts in a few appearances but we see far less of her than in Book 1 and I missed her. Seth continues to be my favorite character. He’s doing his best to navigate these choppy waters with Marissa and her family, along with his work and memories of his dead wife.

Marissa was hard to root for in this book. She’s really self-centered and I think the author intended for us to see that. However, I don’t see Marissa becoming aware of her flaw and then taking action to better herself. She’s really wrapped up on Seth. He wants to give them all a bit of space to allow Brooke the time to heal and Marissa the time and energy to help Brooke. However, Marissa takes this as rejection. Ugh! Why, Marissa? Why? I wanted to give her a little reality check. I can see why she has a long history of failed relationships.

I also have to mention Marissa in one more thing. This is a MINOR SPOILER. Marissa has failed to take her birth control pill religiously and guess what happens? Yep. This really pissed me off about Marissa. She’s a career woman in her 30s who has basically raised her daughters on her own after becoming unexpectedly pregnant at 16. She’s been down this road before and apparently didn’t learn her lesson. The pill doesn’t work 100% of the time but when you negligently forget to take the pill daily, you’re borrowing trouble.

OK, so let’s talk about the mystery because that’s what really kept me in this book. Someone has been targeting pregnant women but no bodies have turned up. Pretty early on we get to know something about the kidnappers so the majority of the book is a cat and mouse game between the cops and the Holt Foundation and the bad guys. The motivations of the kidnappers were layered and deeper than I initially expected. I really liked that about this mystery. Tori, oh Tori! I wanted things to come out better for you even as I knew you had to pay for what you did. Xander Wilcox, I wonder if you were always so arrogant? Definitely interesting ‘bad guys’.

Seth struggles on several levels in this book. Henry, the computer genius at the Holt Foundation, doesn’t mind breaking laws to get data (phone records, arrest records, utility info, etc.). Seth has retained his cop sense of right and wrong and is mightily uncomfortable about Henry’s activities. However Nathan Holt isn’t interested in pushing Henry to follow the letter of the law. After all, the Holt Foundation is about finding victims before it’s too late. Seth is also struggling to both respect the needs of Marissa’s family as a whole and be supportive to Marissa as his girlfriend. Then he realizes that he hasn’t fully dealt with the death of his wife Holly. He’s a complicated guy and I really enjoyed watching him overcome one hurdle after another.

The ending had a few surprises. Henry! Oh, my! I also like that Seth has wrapped up some of the lose threads of his life. I would have liked further character growth for Marissa because she is a twit in this book. 4/5 stars.

The Narration: Lisa Stathoplos and Corey Gagne did a really good job with this book. I really like Gagne as Seth and Stathoplos has a perfect voice for Marissa. She also does a great job with the voices for Kelley and Brooke making all 3 ladies distinct but still sound related. I especially liked the aggravated, arrogant voice for Xander. 5/5 stars.

I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Chris Patchell. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.

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review 2018-03-06 00:00
Tempting Jane (The Rochester Sisterhood Book 1)
Tempting Jane (The Rochester Sisterhood ... Tempting Jane (The Rochester Sisterhood Book 1) - Monica Burns Tempting Jane is a good read if you like the office romance trope. Well written and light, it was a fun read that didn't require much thought. This is a book you just read to enjoy! It is a bit predictable, but again, that just meant I didn't have to worry about what might happen. Sometimes, there is comfort in this type of read for sure! Both characters (Jane and Lincoln) are likable and entertaining!

PS: The heroine's name is Jane Rochester! I loved it!
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