Hold Me Close is a quick read, easily finished in a couple of hours. It's fast-paced and overall, a fun story, but it does require quite the suspension of belief. I'm not talking about the menage part of this story - I knew that going in and while I'm pretty sure it doesn't happen quite so often, I can enjoy the story. My problem was with how fast this romance took off. I'm not a huge fan of instalove, but usually expect it in a book of this length. This one, however, was even faster than the norm for our cowboys, Matt and Ethan. Instant attraction, I could've been fine with, but one look and knowing she's the one is a bit much. Rachel's complete acceptance of this once it's revealed to her was another irksome detail for me. She did at least know a little something about them at that point, more than I can say for the heroes of this tale. It is a fun story and light on the drama, the characters are likable, the story flow is good, and the sex is over-the-top hot. Oh, and two sexy cowboys! If instant, and I do mean instant, love with lots of steamy goodness is something you enjoy, then this one is for you.
I spent a lot of time being annoyed with Michael in this novel -- more time being annoyed with Miles, however. Well, that's not true -- events keep Miles off of the board for most of the book, so let me say that I spent more time annoyed with him while he active. I get that communication is hard for them, and I guess it was good to see that Miles was human, too -- even his ability to understand Michael's needs and desires has limits.
But I'm getting ahead of myself.
So Michael's got her head on right after The Catch and goes to join Miles in Japan. He's there in a strange corporate security consulting gig that he really won't clue her in on. They spend a few months together, him working days and her trying not to get bored and learning Japanese. The latter of those two works a whole lot better than the former. She needs something to do -- and not in the "I've gotta kill someone or take drugs" kind of way she did back in The Vessel. She just needs something to occupy her time while he's putting in 15 hour days. Which isn't dong their relationship any good. Before she can have it out with him, he gets arrested for murdering someone at the tech company he's working for. If she had tried to talk, if he'd explained himself a little better -- if they had communicated at all . . . so much of this novel wouldn't have happened. Too many books/movies/TV shows rely on this poor interpersonal communication to force plots forward, it really gets on my nerves.
First, we get a little lesson in Japanese jurisprudence, which by itself was enough to convince me that I don't want to end up arrested in Japan (not that I really want to be arrested anywhere). Then Michael goes to work to clear his name, no one else is going to. The hoops she has to jump through make her previous adventures seem easy -- sure, she was in more peril in most of the previous books, but it seemed easier for her to get around and get the information she wanted. Cultural and corporate protocols are tougher to beat by bribery, sensuality and violence than other things, I guess. Throw in some underworld figures and you've got yourself a thriller worthy of Monroe. I really enjoyed this story once Miles got arrested and things got moving -- Stevens is getting better at plot intricacies.
There's a great corporate espionage plot throughout with an operative that could probably sustain her own novel if Stevens ever got around to it. I'm not sure I can say more than that without messing something up. But as despicable as I find (some of) her methods, they made for good reading.
About the time that I'd given up on Michael doing more than outwitting her opponents, she got sucked into a very violent confrontation. I didn't spend a second thinking that she was in trouble, but man, she had to work hard to eliminate these guys. There's that scene in The Vessel where Stevens cuts away from the action, and we don't get to see Michael kill her captives, we just know she's about to do something and then Miles comes along later and finds the aftermath. This fight scene was probably pretty similar to that -- but there's no cut. We get the whole thing.
I should take a moment to talk about Hilary Huber, but I can't say anything about her narration than I've said before. Now that I'm caught up with these, I'm going to have to track down some other books that she's narrated.
I never expected a happily ever after scenario between Michael and Miles -- but I expected something better than this (not that this is in any way, shape or form the end of their relationship), and that took some of the shine off this book for me. Otherwise, this was very entertaining, gripping, and so on -- a Michael Monroe thriller that tops its predecessors, and deepens our understanding of Michael. Not much more to ask.
Riding Wood by Abigail Graham and Vanessa Waltz is a quick read, a great choice for those with limited time for reading. Ms Graham and Ms Waltz have created a book that is well-written. The characters are lovable and fun to read. Lucas and Alexa's story is loaded with drama, bits of humor and lots of sizzle. I enjoyed reading Riding Wood and would read more from these authors. This is a complete book, not a cliff-hanger.
I voluntarily read a BookFunnel copy of this book.
'Three Weeks with a Princess' by Vanessa Kelly is book Two in the "The Improper Princesses" series. I have read the previous book and feel this can be a standalone book. This is the story of Lia Kincaid and Jack Easton the Marquess of Lendale. Lia is the illegitimate daughter of the Duke of York and her mother was a famous actress but was never acknowledged by the Duke. Lia was raised by her Grandmother, who was the mistress of the older Marquess of Lendale. Jack was the nephew of the former Marquess of Lendale and since his pasting has become the new Marquess of Lendale. Jack and Lia knew each other growing up and were great friends. Jack knew Lia and her Grandmother were staying at the Dowager house cottage because his Uncle was in love with Lia Grandmother. Jack is now dealing with what his Uncle has left the manor and the estate in....which isn't good. The previous Marquess didn't leave anything thing to Lia or her grandmother. So Lia knows with the estate in such a mess that Jack wouldn't really be able to support her or her grandmother....and she doesn't think it would be fair anyway. What she must do is find a 'protector' but can Jack be that for her? Would Jack Let her go to find another one?
I so loved this book! Jack and Lia were the best main characters have read in a while. I liked their back and forth battering. How they cared for each other....just everything about them!
"My honest review is for a special copy I voluntarily read."