Breaking Point by Lindsay Mckenna

Breaking Point

by Lindsay Mckenna

Shadow Warriors book 5

Genre: Military romance

Published: 29th April 2014 by Harlequin HQN

352 Pages

A free copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review

In the line of fire…

OPERATION SHADOW WARRIORS

An ongoing U.S. military experiment to test the integration of trained female military operatives in live combat scenarios…

The Alpha Platoon. A unit of Navy SEALs stationed in the unforgiving dryness of Afghanistan…who just learned that their newest team member is a woman. But Bay Thorn has a spine of steel—and the chops to prove it. Without a team to back her up, however, she’s dead in the water. And her only ally is Gabe Griffin, a lone SEAL who is lethal, dangerous and unbearably attractive….

Between the open hostility from her team and the harsh Al Qaeda territory, Gabe is a lifeline for Bay. But mutual respect quickly grows into mutual attraction. And with each day and every assignment, the longing only deepens.

They mustn’t speak of it. Mustn’t act on it. Because in this line of work, falling in love can get you killed.

I have a lot to say about this book so this might get a little long. Also in order to get my point across there may also be a few spoilers too so consider yourself warned.

I firmly believe that woman in the military should be able to fight on the front line. I believe passionately that they would as good as men in a war situation. (I am in the process of joining the military so I know a little about it). For that reason I wanted to read this book, the blurb made it sound like Bay Thorn (The main character) would be on the front line in Afghanistan fighting not only against the bad guys but against a sexist system that believes woman are not capable of handling combat situations. I wanted to see her struggles, I wanted to see her be strong. Apparently I wanted too much.

In the end I didn’t get what I wanted. If I am honest I felt this was a bit of a mess and it was impossible to take seriously.

Firstly the writing was not up to par for a modern day romance. I felt the military talk was great but when it came to the romance it got cheesy and beyond old fashioned. The way the two main characters spoke about their feelings to one another was enough to make me laugh out loud. They couldn’t just sit down like a normal couple instead that had to explain how they made each other feel all the time. It was horrible and it sounded like it belonged in a 1980s mills and boons book.

Secondly the main character was irritating. Bay Thorn is perfection personified she can do no wrong and everyone loves her. In fact I think everyone was put on Earth just to gush about how glorious she is. I loved the way she just strolled into the Navy SEALs and was better than everyone else at everything. She can even out shoot a trained sniper in a shooting competition because her daddy taught her how to hunt. It isn’t always plain sailing, some of the men have some reservations about her being there which to be honest is understandable. But everything turns out ok because Bay gives them cookies, thank god for baked goods. I am surprised she didn’t hand them out in gun fights to tame the enemy. Bay is a fighter, a healer, a natural nurturer. She is hot and down to earth and loyal and everyone thinks the sun shines out of her behind. It was just too much for me I needed her to be tough, to be a dirty fighter and prove to everyone that she had as much right to be there as anyone else. I wanted the journey to be harder than what it was because that is realistic. Instead I got fluff.

The romance suffered because of Bay’s Mary Sue-ness. How Gabe was able to form a sentence in her presence is beyond me. He is so besotted with her I am surprised he could function around her. His only purpose in the whole book was to remind all the readers how fantastic she is. He didn’t do much else to be honest and because of that I couldn’t connect to him at all.

It isn’t all bad news the action scenes were great and I wish there had been more of them. Lindsay McKenna is really good at creating pulse pounding action scenes. There was a helicopter crash that was just fantastic and proved that beneath the cheesy dialogue and Mary Sue characters McKenna is capable of producing some high class writing. The problem is there wasn’t enough moments like these to really make an impact for me.

Although it has nothing to do with the review for this book I have to talk briefly about its follow up. I have heard that the next book in the series is going to feature the same characters again and that Bay will be taken hostage, raped, tortured and then lose her memory. I think this is the worse idea ever not because it’s hard but because I don’t think it is needed. These books would have been great if they had been about the struggle woman face on the front line in the military, isn’t that enough? I get fed up of author’s resorting to rape and violence when they want their female characters to go through a hard time or for a romance to be tested. There was an opportunity to do a lot more with a story like this and I am sad that rape is the way the author has chosen to go.

Breaking Point had some good and bad moments but overall it wasn’t for me.

 2 stars

 

Claiming His Mate by Savannah Stuart

 

Saving His Mate

By Savannah Stuart

Cresent Moon book 4

Genre: Novella, Paranormal Romance, Shifter, Vampire

Published May 5th 2014

144 Pages

From the moment vampire bounty-hunter Rex Serano meets sexy shifter Margery, he’s smitten. When the alpha of the Kincaid pack asks him to join with them, he’s stunned by the offer, but the real draw is the beautiful, caring female who seems to want nothing to do with him.

Margery is the driving maternal force for her pack and she has one rule: she doesn’t date vampires. Years ago she was nearly killed by rogue vamps and she has no interest in getting involved with one now. No matter how sexy a certain, persistent bounty hunter might be.

When one of Rex’s hunts gets messy, Margery gets caught in the crossfire and he’ll do whatever it takes to protect her. They might be different species but the mating call is undeniable and too strong to ignore. Now they must find a way to reach common ground and trust their instincts if they’re going to fight for a future together.

 

Generally speaking I like novella’s, they are nice, short reads that are great if you have just finished something a little heavy. Despite liking novellas I will be the first to admit there are often problems with them. Sometimes they feel rushed or something may seem missing, writing a novella of decent quality is hard work because you have such little room to play with.

For the most part Savannah Stuart gets it right with Saving his Mate. The story is well constructed and well written and I felt there was a good beginning, middle and end. Plot is something that can get lost in a romantic novella but Stuart managed to get a nice balance of the two.

Something had to give and unfortunately that ended up being the characters. They were a little bland and lacked any real personality. Stuart has expertly managed to squeeze everything into 144 pages but that meant there was no room to really explore what made Rex and Margery tick. Despite that this is a still an enjoyable novella that Paranormal romance fans will probably enjoy. It is enough to make sure I check out the other books in the series and other, hopefully longer, books from this author.

3 Stars

 

Find out more:

Goodreads, Author’s Website

Nailed by Christine d’Ado

Nailed

by Christine d’Ado

Warning: This show contains scenes of sexual tension.

Hosting a new TV show is a fantasy-turned-reality for diva decorator Sophia Holbrook. But concentrating on color swatches is hard when all she can think of is her studly cohost, contractor Fynn Babineau. These two may clash over blueprints and budgets on-screen, but with the lust palpable between them, rumor has it they have been putting more than just their heads together behind the scenes…. What secrets will the cameras expose? Tune in tonight to find out.

This review is really difficult for me to write because I am finding it really hard to think of anything substantial to say about Nailed. I actually really enjoyed this book I found it sweet, sexy and humorous. I liked the story, writing and characters but beyond that there is not much for me to say about it.

I think the reason for that is because Christine D’abo has managed to tick all the boxes in order to make this an enjoyable novella. Nothing upset or annoyed me, I found it engaging and entertaining. But at the same time I didn’t fall so head over heels in love with it that I feel the need to shout about it to anyone who will listen.

There are some great characters and a nice romance to be found here. Sophia is smart and sassy with an entertaining inner voice that often made me laugh. Fynn is a real sweetheart that doesn’t have a bad bone in his body. The chemistry between them was awesome but the romance was an easy one. There was no drama, no will they won’t they. It was plain sailing for the both of them. The conflict came from other aspects of the story instead of the romance which made a nice change.

Nailed is a short, sweet and steamy romance that I really enjoyed.

3 stars

Find out more:

Goodreads, Amazon

WOW: East of Ecstcy by Laura Kaye

“Waiting On” Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming book releases that we’re eagerly anticipating. 
 
This weeks choice is:
East of Ecstasy by Laura Kaye
Annalise Fallston made peace with postponing her big-city dreams to care for her ill father, but lately she’s been filled with a restlessness not even her beloved painting dispels. Worse, the colors don’t speak to her as they always have, and all her efforts produce dark, foreboding images of a dangerous man and a terrifying future.

Devlin Eston, black-souled son of the evil Anemoi Eurus, is the only one who can thwart his father’s plan to overthrow the Supreme God of Wind and Storms. But first, Dev must master the unstable powers he’s been given. Distrusted and shunned by his own divine family, he never expected to find kindness and passion in the arms of a mortal.

But Devlin’s love puts Annalise in the path of a catastrophic storm, and in the final Armageddon showdown between the Anemoi and Eurus, sacrifices will be made, hearts broken, and lives changed forever…or lost.

What are you waiting for?

Confessions of a Chalet Girl by Lorraine Wilson

 

Confessions of a Chalet Girl

by lorraine Wilson

Ski Season book 1

Set in the exclusive Swiss ski resort of Verbier, the winter playground of the rich and famous, Confessions of a Chalet Girl is a fun and flirty contemporary romance novella from the fabulous Lorraine Wilson.

The slopes seriously start to heat up when chalet girl Holly is propositioned by her sexy new boss!

Published June 27th 2013 by Harper Impulse

Confessions of a Chalet Girl started out fun but quickly lost its way for me. I liked the concept, it was a nice idea but I was not completely convinced that the author knew what she wanted this to be. At times it was light hearted and funny, then it was angst and dramatic. It seemed a little all over the place.

The characters had the same problem especially Holly. One minute she was so shy she could barely talk right in front of Scott and the next she was acting all seductive. The first time the two have sex I found her to be completely out of character. She also over reacted a lot and was generally a little bit over the top.

Another thing was that nearly every other woman in the book was made out to be mean, over pruned air heads with vindictive personalities and loose morals. This made Holly seem like a virtuous angel but to be honest I am not sure she was all that much better.

I can’t say all that much about Scott because I didn’t really get to know him all that well. He seemed alright but I would have liked to know a little more about him. He kept going on about his past and family but I wanted more characters.

The romance was alright. Like the book it started off well but dissolved into insta-love. I wanted a little more chemistry and character between them but it wasn’t to be.

Confessions of a Chalet Girl was a short and fairly entertaining read but in the end it wasn’t for me.

2 stars

Find out more:

Goodreads, Amazon UK

Aiding the Enemy by Julie Rowe

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Aiding the Enemy

By Julie Rowe

War Girls book 3

German-occupied Brussels, Belgium
December 1915

Rose Culver is in grave danger. For months the Red Cross head nurse has been aiding Allied soldiers caught behind enemy lines, helping them flee into neutral Netherlands. It’s only a matter of time until she’s caught. Which makes it the wrong time to fall in love with a handsome German military doctor as devoted to the sanctity of human life as she is.

The Great War has caused Dr. Herman Geoff to question everything he once believed. He knows Rose has been hiding British soldiers in her hospital—he’s even treated some of them, refusing to go against his own Hippocratic oath. As a doctor, he admires Rose’s skill and conviction. As a man, he can no longer deny his attraction to her. But when Rose is arrested for treason, Herman must choose between love for her and duty to his country…

Published October 7th 2013 by Carina Press

I like war romances. The thought of two people finding love in a time of fear and danger really appeals to me so I was quite looking forward to reading this novella. Aiding the Enemy had an interesting premise and it was interesting enough but I couldn’t help feeling that there was wasted potential here.

This book is a short, fluffy romance that lacked some depth but for the most part it was fine and as a novella it ticked all the boxes. My problem with this book was that it could have been so much more. I would have really loved this as a full length historical romance novel, I think it is really what the story deserved. The fact that it is a story about a German Doctor and an English nurse who fall in love is enough to justify a longer length. On top of that there were so many other elements that really needed a little more space. It all felt a little condensed and rushed. A lot is pushed aside to get the romance in and a lot of the romance is underdeveloped to get the plot in. The romance also felt a little forced (again due to the length) and I failed to feel the chemistry between the characters.

The writing was of a good standard. Rowe has done a nice job with the descriptions and atmosphere of the story. She made the war time hospital sound horrific and some bits are definitely not for the faint hearted. The characters were alright. I liked both Rose and Herman but I didn’t love them. I found their voices to similar and I struggled to notice any cultural differences between them.

Aiding the Enemy is an entertaining enough novella that kept me interested but it had the potential to be a lot more.

3 stars

Find out more

Goodreads, Amazon UK, Author’s Website, Author’s Twitter

The Darkest Day by Britt Bury

The Darkest Day

by Britt Bury

Book one in the Immortal Heat series

Genre: Romance, Paranormal, Highland, dystopian, erotica, demons

Expected publication: July 3rd 2012 by Grand Central Publishing

I was provided with a copy of this book by the publisher for review

Izel Campbell was raised to believe she is an immortal Fionn with the magical skills of persuasion. But when she travels to Scotland to visit her ancestral home, Izel discovers that she is actually the world’s last living human. Forced to run for her life, Izel crosses paths with Kelvin Kerr, the Campbells’ greatest foe—and the most magnificent warrior she has ever seen.  A thousand-year-old battle chief of the Kerr clan, Kelvin lives only to avenge his father, who died at the hands of the bloody Campbells. Honor demands he kill the Campbell heir, but when he learns that the lovely Izel is both Campbell and human, Kelvin is torn between duty and desire . . .

Oh yes, Britt Bury, yes!

This is exactly what I have been looking for.  I have massive love for PNR (Paranormal romance) but nothing has really captured me since the early Black Dagger Brotherhood books.  Well finally something has.  I just loved this book.  It had everything; action, drama, humour and romance.  It was just great.

Ok, so what made this book so great? I will start with the idea.  I think Britt Bury is incredibly smart because she has taken the top three (or there about) romance sub-genres and somehow mixed them together.  This is a Highland novel, it is set in Scotland.  Our hero, Kelvin, is a Scottish clan warrior…but he is also something else.  Kelvin is a paranormal being, closely related to shape shifters (although his species doesn’t actually shift).  This novel might look and feel like a Highland novel but it is set in the modern world.  So it is a highland, PNR, urban fantasy novel…but wait, there’s more (stick with me here.) This modern world has no humans (almost) they all died out.  The world is full of paranormal beings but things are still somewhat derelict.  So to conclude The Darkest Day is a highland, PNR, Urban Fantasy, Dystopian novel.  Sounds a bit too much doesn’t it? Except for the fact that it works perfectly.  Bury has written this book so well that the joining of so many genres doesn’t distract from but enhances the reading experience.  This book is written in a way that is also utterly entrancing.  I struggled to put this book down.  It was engaging from beginning to end.  The prologue set the tone immediately and that atmosphere and intensity stayed with the book the whole way through.

Let’s move on to the characters.  Essentially there are only two characters in this book.  There are others who pop their heads in (I think/hope this was more for the next books in the series) but there are only two people who really matter in this book, Kelvin and Izel.

Izel is a great female lead.  She is funny, smart, sassy and just all round awesome.  I didn’t once find her irritating or weak.  She was not kick-ass or unemotional but she was no doormat either.  Kelvin (honestly if you could see what this guy looked like in my head you would faint) is just devastating.  If I met him I wouldn’t stand a chance.  He is strong, hard and tough.  He has responsibilities and obligations.  He at times probably comes across as a little scary.  He is rash, stubborn and infuriating.  But behind all the brutishness he is loving, gentle and fairly emotional.  When he loves he does it with all of his heart and he would do anything to protect that person.  Like Izel he was not once annoying.

The romance between Izel and Kelvin was just amazing.  I loved the growth of their relationship, from enemies, to annoyances, to lust then finally to love.  Sure, there are some bumps along the way but it was not done just for the sake of drama.  Most of the humour in this book came from the banter between them.  In the beginning the sparred verbally back and worth which gave the book a light-hearted feel but slowly that turned to something darker.  The tension and chemistry between them poured off of every page, it was fidget inducing brilliant.  It oozed from the characters and created bucket loads of sexual tension.

The Darkest Day proves that there is still some imagination in the romance genre.  It is by far the best PNR I have read in a while and I strongly recommend it.  I cannot wait for the next book in the series.

My rating 4 out of 5 stars

check out the links: Goodreads, Author’s website

Let me know what you think in the comments!