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review 2017-08-25 02:32
Brief Thoughts: Behind the Scenes
Behind the Scenes - Natalie J. Damschroder

Behind the Scenes
by Natalie J. Damschroder



Kennedy Smyth's firm provides security for companies and charities in seriously dangerous countries.  She doesn't usually take on "frivolous" jobs, but when an old friend asks her to protect his son's movie shoot, she finds it hard to refuse.  Also hard to resist is the film's charismatic star, Rogan St. James.  The handsome actor piques her interest, while the strange actions of the terrorist threatening the set raise her suspicions.

Even though he's a successful actor, Rogan wants more--a real woman to love, the type he doesn't think exists...until he meets Kennedy.  She intrigues him with her confidence and passion for her work, and frustrates him with her refusal to let him get close.

But Kennedy finds herself in a vulnerable position when she discovers that the terrorist isn't actually out to derail the film.  She's the real target--and if he finds out how much Rogan means to her, he could be next...

I wasn't sure what I was expecting when I went into this book, but the truth is, I'm not even sure if the book met my expectations anyway.  Behind the Scenes is enjoyable and well written, and the characters are all quite unique in their own ways.  I liked Kennedy's independent spunk, and her ability to take care of herself.  I also loved that she wasn't created to be flawless, but was also able to recognize her own weaknesses so she could work on them.  She wasn't cynical about her own worth either, and knew exactly what she was capable of without being overly arrogant.  In comparison, Rogan was also Perfect Boyfriend material, being quite... well, perfect in many ways.

These people are all good people, but to be honest, it also makes them a little flat and boring, especially when the story does a lot of small time skips here and there.

Nonetheless, the semi-investigation and the security set-up that took place in the book was outlined really well.

This is, at best, a mediocre, yet quite enjoyable read.

If I had to complain about something, I think it would have to be the romance.  Kennedy and Rogan seem to fall in love and start talking serious relationship much faster than I liked.  On top of that, people start mentioning how the two of them seem to have something going on.  And yet, as the reader, I'm not entirely sure when and where their unofficial courtship began.  One moment, they were discussing the terror attacks.  One moment, they monologue about their intense attraction.

But then the very next moment, they're talking deep feelings and "meant to be" and stuff like that.

When their relationship starts up for real, though, it was pretty sweet.

The identity of their mysterious terrorist is rather predictable, but probably only because subtle hints were thrown out here and there.  Maybe.

Anyway, enjoyable as it is, this isn't a book I'd reread, but since I DID find it entertaining, I'm not complaining.



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text 2017-05-26 00:03
RT Booklover's Convention 2017 - Day Three
Secret Agent Under Fire (Silver Valley P.D.) - Geri Krotow
Love, Special Delivery (A Harmony Valley Novel) - Melinda Curtis
Midnight Unbound - Lara Adrian
The Bull Rider's Homecoming (Blue Thorn Ranch) - Allie Pleiter
Behind the Scenes (Apart from the Crowd) - Jen Turano
Lighting the Flames: A Hanukkah Story - Sarah Wendell
The Bollywood Bride - Sonali Dev
Breathless - Beverly Jenkins
An Extraordinary Union - Alyssa Cole

Day One

Day Two


Thursday morning (May 4th - and yes, there were a lot of Star War t-shirts worn by attendees) dawned and I again skipped the work outs in favor of tea and banana bread. Then I headed to the Make A Date with Harlequin author signing breakfast. I got books signed by Geri Krotow (a fellow military veteran and fellow military spouse!) and Melinda Curtis. I sipped on my peach mango smoothie and mingled. A mellow way to start day three.


With my registration, I was given one ticket for a trip through the goody room (just free books) to select any two books in the room. I picked up Midnight Unbound (Midnight Breed #14.6) by Lara Adrian and The Bull Rider's Homecoming by Allie Pleiter. I've read both of these authors before, so I was pretty pumped to get their newest releases. I heard people complaining the books in the goody room were not as good as in previous years and I wondered why there was diet and cook books in that room, but figured they were remainders the publishers wanted to get rid of.


Then I went to another author signing event called Books! Chocolate! Authors! sponsored by Christian/inspirational romance publishers Revell and Bethany. This was just an embarrassment of riches for me. I got books signed by Elizabeth Camden (To the Farthest Shores), Tamera Alexander (A Note Yet Unsung), and Jen Turano (Behind the Scenes). Turano was nice enough to take a picture with me. I also ate some of the most delicious chocolate covered strawberries and brownies. However, one observation I had about this signing/publishing event was how (and I hope I am putting this as delicately as possible) WHITE HOMOGENEOUS the author/audience was. There are a lot of talented POC/LGBT+ writing inspirational romance, but none could be found here. This is not a slam against the authors present, but this was also a promo for the publishing companies and that kind of one-note branding was noticeable.


It became even more noticeable when I went to my next author panel, Expanding Our Idea of Inspirationals (I swear I did not mean to make each day a particular theme, it just happened that way, LOL). The panel was moderated by Sarah Wendell (founder and head Bitch at Smart Bitches, Trashy Books), who wrote a contemporary romance with Jewish characters (I read the book for Romance Bingo and Pop Sugar challenge). The panel included Tamsen Parker (author of Craving Flight, a BDSM with Orthodox Jewish characters), Vanessa North (author of Blueberry Boys, a contemporary rural m/m romance featuring a devoted Christian MC), LA Witt and all her aliases (writes romances with a variety of religious characters who are also on the LGBT+ spectrum), and Piper Huguley (writes AA historical romance). Ms. Huguley talked about how ostracized POC writers are in Christian romance circles and conventions; she made note to tell us about a FB group called Black Christian Reads dedicated to promoting POC writers and readers of inspirationals. Very enlightening panel.


After that panel I went to the Romance, Bollywood Style reader event, hosted by authors Sonali Dev, Amalie Howard, Shaila Patel, MK Schiller, Sienna Snow, and cover model Vikkas Bhardwaj. This was a lot of fun! They played trailers from Bollywood movies and the audience had to guess what trope(s) were being used in that film. The swag bag at the end was GORGEOUS and included a lot of goodies; my bag included a print copy of The Bollywood Bride by Sonali Dev. She stayed afterward to sign my copy and take a pic with me. She is as sweet and funny in person as she is in interviews. Vikkas Bhardwaj was also very funny and very easy on the eyes....very, very easy.


As I was leaving the reader event, I saw a line forming for the pop-up signings. This one was for Beverly Jenkins, so my butt hurried to get in line (funny enough, behind RedHeaded Girl from SBTB). I got a signed copy of Breathless (Old West #2) and a quick word with an amazing author just because I was in the right place at the right time. Score!


Took another break from people and then headed to the Kensington Peaches & Cream author signing. These organizers were smart and handed out maps so you knew where your favorite author was sitting and could immediately get in that line. They also gave each attendee a pashmina scarf. I got a signed book by Lynn Cahoon (The Tourist Trap Mystery series is a favorite of mine) and  Alyssa Cole's An Extraordinary Union. Again, way too many people in such a small room - you could not even turn around the room was so full of people and it was so hot in there. I bailed after meeting Ms. Cole; I learned not to care if I seemed rude for leaving an event so early if RT staff doesn't provide adequate facilities for hosting events.


 After the last signing I got dinner and settled into my room for the night. I also learned that is okay, good even, to skip events you are not 100% excited about - because standing in lines and crowded rooms is the price to pay for attending the event. I felt today's events were great and worthwhile and didn't feel the need to fill the entire day.

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review 2017-05-04 05:11
Very Short Review: Scenes of Peril (novella)
Passion and Peril: Scenes of PassionScenes of Peril - Suzanne Brockmann,Jill Sorenson

Scenes of Peril
by Jill Sorenson

Aftershock #2.5 (novella)

**Also part of the Passion and Peril anthology



The snowstorm forecast says it's a big one, but wildlife photographer Paige Dawson is prepared.  Until a terrible car accident brings a sexy stranger to her remote mountain cabin and the bad weather strands them together . . . for days.  The heat between them is like nothing she's ever known — incendiary, undeniable. And just as she begins to hope for something real with Colin Reid, after the snow melts, he remembers what caused his accident . . . and it may be too late for them both.

I only read the novella, Scenes of Peril by Jill Sorenson from this anthology, which also includes a novella by Suzanne Brockmann.  I may or may not return and read Scenes of Passion at some point, once I figure out whether the novella is part of a series or not.


I was looking forward to Scenes of Peril, both because I like Jill Sorenson's work, and also because I love the "Snowed In" plot device.  They're always so much fun depending on the circumstances--for added romantic tension, for a murder mystery, etc....

Scenes of Peril was a fast-paced and exciting book, and I've always appreciated Sorenson's attention to detail to the grittier, more down-to-earth aspects of her books.  And while Scenes of Peril was enjoyable in its own right, I felt like a lot of the book felt a little forced.  Overlooking the insta-love situation, since this is a romance novella, first and foremost, I also found the activities between Colin and Paige during their, what seemed like one single day of entrapment by snow in her cabin kind of awkward.  The whole photo shoot as a means to display sexual objectifying of a human being was an interesting thought... but it actually felt kind of tacky in its execution.

And the conflict felt like it involved a lot more angst than it really merited.  The reason for their argument at the end felt a bit overdone.  And I don't know how I feel about the ending suspenseful twist.

Nonetheless, for anyone looking for a quick, easy, and entertaining novella to pass a couple hours, Scenes of Peril isn't a bad choice.  I will admit that I was hoping for more of a "Snowed In" experience than just a day of bad weather...


Source: anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2017/04/very-short-review-scenes-of-peril.html
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text 2017-04-01 00:54
New April Releases That Are On My TBR
Behind the Scenes (Apart from the Crowd) - Jen Turano
Boss - Tracy Brown
I See You - Clare Mackintosh
Gone Without a Trace - Mary Torjussen
Manderley Forever: A Biography of Daphne du Maurier - Tatiana de Rosnay,Sam Taylor
Under a Sardinian Sky - Sara Alexander
The Most Beautiful Woman in Florence: A Story of Botticelli - Alyssa Palombo
Seized by Seduction - Brenda Jackson
Her Secret Life - Tiffany L. Warren
Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI - David Grann

There are so many new releases in April. It's a big release month. I'm super excited for all of these. I have quite a few mystery books on the tbr and I don't read many mysteries. I'm trying to get out of my comfort zone. I even have a nonfiction. Usually these slow me down, but the early reviews of Killers of the Flower Moon lead me to think otherwise.


Can't wait to get to three reads by trusted 4-5 star rated Authors; Behind the Scenes by Jen Turano, Boss by Tracy Brown and Seized By Seduction by Beverly Jenkins. Tatiana De Rosnay has written a biography about Daphne Du Maurier. I know so many who absolutely adore Rebecca. I haven't read it, but am eager. However, once I learned that it may be plagiarized and that some feel none of her other books ever lived up to Rebecca I felt some kind of way about it.


What are your most anticipated April Releases? Do tell. Happy Reading!

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review 2017-01-14 00:00
Behind the Scenes
Behind the Scenes - Judi Dench I absolutely love Dame Judi Dench, so this was an enjoyable read.
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