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review 2017-06-29 18:08
Wired by Julie Garwood
Wired - Julie Garwood

***Full Review***

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

Allison is close to finally graduating and after carrying the weight of taking care of her aunt, uncle, and cousin, she is ready to move cross country and start her life anew. Her life seems on track until the FBI comes knocking on her door wanting to know just how good of a hacker she really is.
Special Agent Liam has been so dedicated to his job, he wouldn't even know how to have a normal relationship but when he sets eyes on Allison, he wants some changes. Her brains and beauty pack a punch while her sweetness has his protective side flaring to life.
Cousins, jealous colleagues, and traitors try to derail these two but Allison and Liam make quite the team.
 
The thirteenth installment in the Buchanan-Renard series, Wired, immerses us back into the world of FBI agents and life and death action. There were a couple appearances by past couples but newcomers to the series could start here and be ok.
 
The beginning starts the reader right off into the action but with a timeline that fast forwarded awkwardly, it all felt a bit jumbled. We get some information dumps to thrust us into the story and with some repeats, the editing felt a bit off. As the story went on, it started to smooth out as our leads and characters took over.
 
Being with him even topped writing code, and how freaky was that?
 
Allison is a likeable heroine but with every reminder about how gorgeous she is, models high fashion on the side, and how amazingly brilliant she is at hacking along with her overly sweet "I must do everything for everybody" attitude, she became a bit eye-rolling. Her awkwardness is cute and empathetic to a point, about the millionth time I heard about her amazing legs and how she doesn’t need make-up point. Her inability for most of the story to stand-up to her over-the-top villainous aunt and uncle was also a bit much; it started to feel like unnecessary conflict that was dragged out.
 
Letting out a low whistle, he shook his head.
"She's gonna be trouble."

 
Liam for all his protective man in charge attitude still came off somewhat wooden. I never felt like his personality was too delved into, he was always on the go without the reader having time to really get to know him, let alone Allison. After I finished the book I can't even say for sure if they had an extended conversation. They did have moments of chemistry but their interactions were such hit and runs, nothing ever felt flushed out. The beat in their relationship just felt off.
 
Allison and Liam were two very analytical characters and that could be why they were harder to connect with as their thought patterns were pretty decisive but it also had them coming off a bit stiff. The over abundance of villains and obstacles thrown in their way was too much and clogged up the story. Allison had to battle her aunt and uncle, a jealous fellow student, and the FBI, all too much for only 300pgs.
 
Even though I felt the heroine was too sweet, the hero was a bit cardboard cut-out, and one too many bad guys running around, Garwood's writing still has a readability that can't be denied. The story was interesting with action and intensity but our hero and heroine didn't get a chance to rise a bit above the antics and emotionally shine.

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review 2017-01-06 01:05
Law and Disorder by Heather Graham
Law and Disorder (The Finnegan Connection) - Heather Graham

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

Kody Cameron is only at home helping at her family’s historical estate in Florida for a couple weeks before she returns to New York to continue working at a Pub and as a live actress. When masked men come in waving guns and demanding she tell them where a decades old treasure is hidden she thinks it's a joke, until the guns fire very real bullets.
Nick is undercover trying to capture a career criminal but he recognizes Kody right away as the woman in New York that he briefly saw but can't stop thinking about. With a little boy hidden away and new hostages to worry about, he can't put an immediate end to the criminal gang he's infiltrated plans.
Kody and Nick will have to fight criminals, the everglades, and their attraction if they want to stay alive.
 
First in the Finnegan Connection series, Law and Disorder starts us off with Kody and Nick. Kody works at Finnegan's pub and Nick is friends with Craig who dates Kieran Finnegan. The beginning thrusts many characters at you, a lot of side characters that only get their names mentioned and some that linger on; it was extremely overwhelming and gave the story a chaotic feel. While I very rarely mention editing mistakes in arc copies, from about 20-40%, our heroine's name frequently changed from Kody to Dakota and this made it even harder for me to keep everyone straight.
 
The plot has Nick working undercover trying to catch a career criminal. The gang wears masks and goes by old gangster names like Dillinger, Barrow, and Capone. I think there were 5 or 6 in the gang but the leader Dillinger and Barrow (Nick) are the only two really focused on while the rest weren't given enough life and more so clogged the story. Dillinger kidnaps a mayor's kid and hides him without telling his gang while they think they are just taking hostages at a historical site to look for a hidden treasure. Here is where the story is both interesting and overly convoluted. The author gives great history about this area in Florida and its mob background but kind of info dumps it before you have a chance to get to know the characters and become involved with the story. Dillinger's motivation and idea to have Kody find a hidden treasure that no one has found for decades and not even proven to exist was side-eye unbelievable and the shaky suspense foundation lead to disheveled and flaky actions by the characters.
 
Kody came off a bit foolish with her mouthing off and fighting a man with a gun; she was borderline TSTL. Nick's character came off more believable with trying to keep the situation under control and still work to capture the bad guys. With the author working in the mobster historical details, hostage situation, and treasure hunting, there was not a lot of room for romance. I never felt or saw why or how our couple fell in love; their connection was pretty non-existent for me.
 
This felt like a very rushed story where characters and fun historical snippets were thrown at me and story structure and character development were forgotten.

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review 2016-07-25 02:19
The Right Kind of Trouble by Shiloh Walker
The Right Kind of Trouble - Shiloh Walker

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





For almost 20yrs Gideon has been holding on to his love for Moira but when the last year only brings more heartache, he decides that it is finally time to leave the town of McKay's Treasure.
Moira has played the martyr and punished herself by refusing to accept Gideon's love but when it looks like he might finally be done, it snaps something inside her.
The misfortune that has been hitting the McKays lately only seems to be increasing, in frequency and violence. Someone wants to punish the McKays and Gideon won't and can't leave until he knows Moira and her siblings are safe. Not only is Moira's life in danger but her heart is too and she needs to show Gideon that she's done punishing them both.
 
The Right Kind of Trouble is book three in the McKays series and you'll definitely want to have read the first two before starting this one. Each book in the series focuses on a McKay sibling and their love interest, #1 Headed for Trouble - Neve Mckay and Ian; #2 The Trouble With Temptation - Brannon McKay and Hannah; and this one staring the oldest McKay Moira and her childhood sweetheart Gideon but they all also contain a murder mystery thread; the whole series is more of a family saga. Secondary characters get povs and all the books work together to give a great encompassing view and story of the town and its people. After glimpsing Moira and Gideon in book one, I was dying for their story.
 
After reading books one and two, I thought I would be ready for all the angst and after waiting for the cord to snap between these two, it finally did. The author gives us a heart wrenching beginning in chapter one and the emotion doesn't let up from there. The word soulmates is often bandied about in terms of hearts and puppies, but Walker gives it to us in all its soul crushing glory; soulmates where life, pain, love, and human frailty get the best of it. There are minimal flashbacks to Moira and Gideon as teenagers falling in love. We're made to understand it through all the emotions that surge between the two; which the author writes wonderfully. Moira's wall against Gideon toes and slips over a few times the line of angst for angst sake but it makes for amazing tension. I felt Gideon's frustration with his inability to just leave and his, from every pore of his body, love for Moira. I felt Moira's outer iciness shielding her inner deep longing for Gideon. I felt their tension, desire, and pain; I just feltand was absorbed into it all.
 
Walker's writing always feels so real to me and I think it's because she doesn't hide or shy away from the messiness of life. Moira was married for a time, Gideon tries to date someone else, but they're still emotionally tied to one another. I know I said this about this series before but it really does read as a tv series, with all the threads and characters tying in and out in regards to the main couples and murder mystery. I don't want to spill any spoilers but the mystery suspense plot was well done in its breadth and depth over three books. It was a little elaborated with situations and people being placed a little too perfectly and a little overdone with the reasoning behind it all but it was also engaging. Out of all three books, I also thought this one had the best suspense; I was on the edge of my seat. The author gives you enough clues that it's possible to have a good guess to who the villain is by book two and I had guessed correctly. Knowing who the villain was though, only enhanced the suspense for me as I was nervously excited to see if they would get caught and when the characters would finally figure it out.
 
An executive or producer needs to get a hold of this series and turn it into a tv miniseries, stat. Taken all together, this trilogy was amazing for its emotion and tension. I wanted to yell out loud at the characters to not ignore or put off hints that could have helped them and happy sigh when the couples finally got together. Moira will anger you every time she pushes Gideon away, even when you know she's dying inside for him and Gideon will have your heart that breaks for him lusting (the guy waited 18yrs for her!). Walker is one of the best at writing angst and dark emotion, Moira and Gideon's love story was beautifully emotionally gory.
 
She held out her hand. For the longest time, he didn't move. Then he did---toward her.

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review 2016-05-25 21:28
Barely Breathing by Pamela Clare
Barely Breathing: A Colorado High Country Novel - Pamela Clare

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

Lexi couldn't wait to leave her hometown in the dust after graduation but that also meant leaving her high school sweetheart Austin behind. Their breakup crushed them both and twelve years later, the feelings are still there. When Lexi's work life goes up in flames and her dad having a breakdown after his wife leaves him has her returning to Scarlet Springs, she's unprepared to see Austin again. Austin knew Lexi was returning but he still wasn’t prepared to see her again. As circumstances throw them together, they realize that feelings of love never truly go away.
 
The first in a new series, Barely Breathing, introduces us to a Search and Rescue group in Scarlet Springs, Colorado. The first thirty percent of the story was a barrage of introductions to one hot heroic character after the next; it was slightly overwhelming with trying to keep track of everyone. I also understand that romance books are a fantasy but, I don't know, could someone be near sighted, have some split ends, or something? Having a group of around twelve characters whose hotness and goodness only gets topped by the next one, gets to be somewhat eye roll inducing when they keep coming one after the other. The setting up of all the characters also gave the beginning a crammed feeling as it fell to first book in a series syndrome.
 
Our main couple seemed to have had a solid relationship when they were in highschool, we don't get any flashbacks, only a recounting of how their breakup conversation went, and therefore their emotions and falling in love was missed. The relationship we do get to see was seeing each other for the first time in twelve years and thinking "Hey, they're even hotter than before!", "I wish we hadn't broken up", and "Sex with you is better than with anyone else." There just didn't seem to be a lot of emotion between the two, we're just told that they had it in highschool and the residual effects are still being felt today.
 
Lexi was a good character, she just felt kind of dry to me (I felt that way about the story as a whole). She had emotional trauma from losing her mother at a young age, an emotionally absent father, and distant stepmother but other than a few conflicting moments with her drunk father and snappy conversations with her stepmother, the depth of these issues was never delved into. Lexi also has a sister but their relationship was very much to the sidelines. Austin had the bullet points for being a great hero but he came off being a bit stiff. It was alluded to that he was angry at Lexi for the way things ended and even though it has been twelve years and his anger would have lessened, it felt like he just even keeled his way into being in love with Lexi again. There was no gradual build up either, they think each other is hot, remember how good the sex was in highschool, have sex, and then "Hey, I still love you."
 
Clare's writing is always good and she does make you want to keep reading but this story had a lot of rinse and repeat. There was both a rescue mission or training exercise, the group would head out to have a few beers at the local bar, and then Lexi and Austin would go back to his place to have sex; this pattern was repeated numerous times and made the story extremely monotonous. As I mentioned, with the introduction of several characters with heroine/hero potential, this series looks to be shaping up to be a longer one. I'll definitely be giving the next one try, a guest appearance from a Chief Deputy U.S. Marshall Zach McBride and the remembered amazing way Clare wrote his book assures that, but I'll also be hoping for more depth, emotion, and showing not telling.

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review 2016-05-07 17:00
Grouchy heroine and walled off hero
Every Little Kiss - Kendra Leigh Castle

Heroine was a bit of a pill with her grouchiness and push away personality. Our hero started off more of the beta variety until he gets going with the heroine and then talks back to her. It had me all,

 

Overall a likable contemporary (the heroine was too much for me at times) and looks like there are plenty of side characters for future romances if you want to invest in a long series.

 

 

 

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