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review 2017-07-18 13:35
HOT Valor (Hostile Operations Team - Book 11) (Volume 11) - Lynn Raye Harris

HOT Valor is the book the fans of the Hostile Operations Team books have been waiting for. Colonel John Mendez finally got his book and it was absolute perfection. I loved every single minute of reading HOT Valor. I will be very vague in my review as I don't want to give away any important details to the story, so I'm just going with my feelings with this book.

First of all Mendez/Viper remains my absolute favorite character in this series. I love that even when he is set up to take the fall, he will do everything within his powers to protect both is country and the men and women in his command. Seriously reading HOT Valor only made me fall more in love with Mendez. I found myself experiencing so many emotions along with the characters. Seriously time with Mendez and Kat about ripped my heart out at times. As the back cover copy says Kat is really Valentina, and she had to fake her death to protect Mendez, it killed me when they would talk about the past and she couldn't tell him everything. 

I was pleasantly surprised to actually enjoy the amount of time Ian Black was featured in HOT Valor. I've always thought there was more to him than we knew, and really loved seeing him in a bit of a different light. I really do want him to get his story at some point in the future now. I will say I expected to be more surprised by the reveal of Phoenix than I was, but honestly it made perfect sense for this person to be Phoenix all along.

HOT Valor has all the action and adventure I've come to expect from the Hostile Operations Team series as well as a rip your heart out romance with a crying happy tears resolution. I've loved so many books in this series, but have to say HOT Valor is my absolute favorite. I highly recommend HOT Valor as well as the entire series.


Rating: 5 Stars (A+)
Review copy provided by publisher

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review 2017-07-18 01:20
The Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
The Naturals - Jennifer Lynn Barnes

(Whoops, the character I kept calling "Derek" is actually named Dean. I think I fixed all the instances.)

 

The Naturals is YA Criminal Minds with some of the usual “secret school for special teens” mixed in. I read an ARC copy I picked up at a conference several years ago (yes, I'm terrible about reading ARCs, which is why I rarely request them).

When Cassie was 12, she entered her mother’s dressing room only to discover a bloody crime scene, but no body. Her mother's body and murderer (because how could she still be alive after losing that much blood?) were never found. Cassie is now 17 and living with her father’s family. She doesn’t feel like she fits in, but she also doesn’t want to be the focus of her family’s often overbearing love and concern.

Ever since she was little, Cassie has had a knack for noticing little details about people and figuring things out about them using those details. She used to use her ability to help her mother, who worked as a psychic. Since her mother’s death, she hasn’t used her skills for much beyond privately guessing things about customers at the diner where she works, so she’s both intrigued and suspicious when a handsome boy gives her an FBI agent’s business card.

The agent presents her with an offer she can’t resist: she can become part of his “Naturals” program, a team of teens with natural skills that take most adults years of training to learn. Because the program members are all minors, they only get to deal with cold cases, but Cassie still jumps at the chance to do something good and useful with her abilities. However, she and the other program members can’t resist getting more and more involved in a difficult, and possibly personal, active case.

Although this book made for smooth and easy reading, I felt like I’d already seen/read a lot of it before. The school-like setting and characters reminded me of books like L.J. Smith’s Dark Visions series and Kelley Armstrong’s The Summoning. As for the serial killer/criminal profiling aspects, I’ve already mentioned Criminal Minds, and one particular revelation probably won’t come as a surprise to fans of Barry Lyga’s Jasper Dent books. Dean’s self-loathing and efforts to push Cassie away reminded me strongly of Stephenie Meyer’s Edward Cullen.

It wasn’t bad; it just didn’t feel terribly original. It didn’t really help that a lot of this book was geared towards setting the stage: introducing the characters, the lingo, and a little of the criminal profiling thought process. The really interesting stuff, the active case, didn’t come up until fairly late in the story.

Still, the Naturals and their abilities interested me. Lia was a natural liar and lie detector. Sloane was a walking collection of statistics who couldn’t help looking for patterns. Michael could read people’s emotions via tiny details in their body language and facial expressions. Dean, like Cassie, was a natural profiler. Sadly, because of the book’s first-person POV, only Dean and Cassie’s abilities received much detailed attention, and Lia and Sloane nearly faded into the background once the love triangle between Cassie, Dean, and Michael was introduced. This was especially awkward considering that Michael had an on-again, off-again relationship with Lia.

I’ll probably read the next book in the series at some point, but I sincerely hope that the love triangle either disappears or fades into the background a lot. It felt like the boys were snapping over Cassie like dogs over a bone. I got the impression that she was leaning more towards Dean, so the kissing scene with Michael near the end really bugged me - it was stupid and seemed entirely intended to add just enough fuel to the love triangle to make the collection of characters in the final showdown more possible. Here's hoping that future books also give Lia and Sloane more of a chance to shine. Sloane seemed sweet, in an awkward sort of way, and I really wanted Lia to be more than the snarky girl potentially standing between Cassie and Michael.

 

(Original review posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)

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text 2017-07-17 16:46
Reading progress update: I've read 308 out of 308 pages.
The Naturals - Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Finished! Which means I can roll again. One problem: my computer is acting up and this time around it might not be a false alarm. I'll try to write a Booklikesopoly post today, but if I have to do it on my phone or tablet it'll be bare bones.

 

This book was ok. Cassie did some stupid things at the end, but I forgave her because she didn't exactly have a lot of options, considering the info (or lack thereof) that she had at the time. I'm interested enough to continue the series, but I sincerely hope that the next book has less of the tense love triangle.

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text 2017-07-11 12:40
Reading progress update: I've read 90 out of 308 pages.
The Naturals - Jennifer Lynn Barnes

I'm not sure how I feel about this one yet, but it's proving to be a quick read. The comparisons I've seen to Criminal Minds are appropriate, and there's the usual "school for special teens" aspect. All these teens are so guarded they might as well be wearing jackets studded with broken glass. "Watch me sparkle, but no touching."

 

I'm sure there's a love interest, because there almost always is, but I'm not 100% sure who it is. I would have figured it was Michael, the guy who can read emotions and who smirks too much (I really hate it when authors use the word "smirk" with characters who are clearly supposed to be intriguing and sexy), but Cassie just noted that Dean, the profiler, is good-looking.

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text 2017-07-01 08:39
Hail No by Lani Lynn Vale
Hail No (Hail Raisers Book 1) - Lani Lynn Vale
 
 
Title: Hail No
Series: Hail Raisers #1
Author: Lani Lynn Vale
Genre: MC Romance Cover Model: Jake Wilson Photographer: FuriousFotog
Release: September 27, 2017
 
 
 
Evander Lennox doesn’t do anything he doesn’t want to do. At least, that is, until he’s sent to prison. The four years he’s incarcerated, he’s had no choice but to do the things that he’s asked to do, when he’s asked to do them. And now, if he doesn’t, it will mean a one-way ticket straight back to hell. Once he’s free, it takes him twenty-four hours to get his old job back, his dog at home where he belongs, and an understanding that people aren’t as forgiving as he once thought them to be. He’s just about given up hope of ever integrating back into society when a woman slams into his heart, literally and figuratively. *** Kennedy Swallow just wants to belong somewhere. When she was younger, her parents divorced, and chose to separate her from her twin. Fast forward fifteen years, and she’s finally getting to meet the family she’s always wanted to be a part of. To make that happen, she uproots her life and moves to the tiny town of Hostel, Texas—giving her almost everything she’s ever wanted. Just when she thinks she’s making progress in winning her family over, she finds out that her twin is ill, and the only reason her family tolerates her is due to the convenience of having a free caretaker whenever they might be in need of one. After a few eye-opening experiences, she quickly realizes that she’s being used. Vowing to herself that she’ll make the best of the situation, she begins to steel her heart. What she doesn’t prepare for is a man named Evander who sees that barrier as a challenge. *** It takes Evander all of ten seconds while watching the woman on the floor, bleeding from her jaw, to realize that maybe life isn’t as bad as it could be. This woman with her thrill for life, a crazy obsession with chickens, and a desire to be wanted, changes everything he thinks he knows. But it doesn’t take long for him to realize that just by being around her, the people of the town have judged her guilty by association. Her business suffers, and soon after, she realizes what it will mean to have him by her side—the loss of everything she’s worked so hard for. Kennedy knows that Evander is worth it. Evander, however, decides that he’s not letting another person get hurt because he was stupid enough to care.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
I’m a married mother of three. My kids are all under 5, so I can assure you that they are a handful. I’ve been with my paramedic husband now for ten years, and we’ve produced three offspring that are nothing like us. I live in the greatest state in the world, Texas.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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