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

 

The Wrangler by Lindsay McKenna

The Wrangler

by  

Lindsay McKenna

Genre: Romance, Adult, Western, Thriller

Expected publication: June 19th 2012 by HQN Books

 *The publisher provided  me with this book for review, via Netgalley*

Can a city boy make good in the Wild West? After Wall Street collapses, investment banker Griff McPherson trades in his suits and ties for Stetsons and cowboy boots. He returns to the Wyoming ranch he co-owns with his brother, but it’s not exactly a happy homecoming. So to prove to everyone, including himself, that he belongs back in Jackson Hole, he takes a post as a wrangler on another ranch.  Air force lieutenant Val Hunter has just returned to the Bar H ranch to help her ailing grandmother run the property. While it is full of unhappy memories, Val is determined to do right by her home. Her new hire is easy on the eyes and a tough wrangler to boot, yet her instincts make it hard for her to trust him. When a nefarious neighbour endangers her land, Val is forced to accept Griff’s help-but will she finally be able to open her heart?

I really, really wanted to like The Wrangler.  I liked the premise and I like cowboys.  Western ranch romances tend to get under my skin, there is just something about them I love.  So you can imagine how excited I was to be given a copy of this book to read and review. I was over the moon.  But I am afraid the excitement was for nothing and I ended up coming away disappointed.

I felt like the story started too quickly, you were instantly thrown very matter of factly into Val’s bleak history.  I know you have to get to these points in books I just wasn’t expecting it right on at the beginning.  It would have helped if the information was delivered in an interesting and engaging way, but it wasn’t. Instead I got a bland and very structured conversation that felt unnatural, something that happens a lot in this book.  The way the conversation is put together says a lot about the writing to be found here. Technically it is fine, it is understandable it flows…but there is just nothing to it.  Everything felt a little sparse, a little empty.  There is a lot of unnecessary talking, a lot of long-winded conversations that were not needed.  The characters tell us how they are feeling by the way they act and by their thoughts, we do not need them to then talk about their feelings with one another.  All of this leads (partly) to there being a lot of repetition.  The characters seem to say the same things a lot, not only that but there it a lot of repetition of phrases as well.

I felt like there was a good story here.  If everything was scaled back a bit and focused more on the romance between Griff and Val then this review would be totally different.  Instead, there are a lot of subplots involving drugs, FBI agents and feuding brothers that were not totally needed.  The brothers were a nice touch, and ties into another book in the series which is fine.  But the other sub plots were not interesting enough and were not tied up at the end. The romance takes a back seat to a lot of this and only really kicks off around the 80% mark.  It was as though the writer couldn’t make up her mind what kind of book she wanted to write and so tried to do both.  This lead to everything feeling half-done which, in turn, made a boring book.  I hate it when I see unused potential and this had it in spades, I just wish more was made of it.

The best thing about this book is the characters.  For the most part they are strong in their roles.  Gus is a great-grandmother she is a complete cheese ball.  Honestly, the things this old lady says! But she gets away with it because she is sweet and has the most amazingly strong backbone. Another good character was Curt.  He was awful and filled the villain role perfectly.  He really was a snivelling weasel and there was nothing likable about him at all.

Unfortunately, the weakest character was the main one.  Val is really quite bizarre.  I liked that she started off standoffish and untrusting but then grew to love and live again, her journey was great but it was the way she thought about things that bothered me.  Firstly she acts as though Griff being attractive is a real inconvenience and problem. Sure a good-looking guy can be a distraction but a burden?  Never! Also Val feels like she cannot trust Gus or any other man because her dad used to beat her, I get it, I have no problem with that.  Apart from the fact that she used to be engaged and in love with a guy who was lovely to her and never hurt her.  She was happy with him and trusted him…so why does she find it nearly impossible with other men especially one that treats her as well as Griff does.

The main selling point of this book is Griff.  He is not just attractive he is also charming, kind and sweet.  Sure, he is strong and big and manly but he also has a shyness about him that is endearing and a softness that is refreshing.  He is not pushy; or broody instead he is head and heart smart.  He is just a genuinely good guy.

At the end of the day the biggest problem with The Wrangler is that I feel like I have read it a million times before, there are hundreds of books out there just like this one and unfortunately for The Wrangler some of them are better.  The romance in this is lacking, getting to it is like pulling teeth and in the end I lost my patience.  I like a slow burner but I also like a story to move forward, at times this felt so slow it almost stopped. 

This book had a lot of potential but unfortunately I found it lacking.

My rating: 2 out of 5 stars.

Agree or disagree? Let me know in the comments.

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