This is the first I have heard of this writer and I was delighted to find that she has an original, contemporary voice and knows her craft well. The dialog was fresh, flowed well, and fit the characters exactly. This is a romance that is not written with the same, tired phrases found in every romance book (well, maybe a couple of times...).
This is a story heavy on character development rather than plot, which was predictable. Any disappointment with the predictable plot was easily overridden by the skill of the writer. The main male love interest's personality was written a bit heavy-handedly, but somehow worked.
The narrator really 'got' the main character and used a natural approach to differentiating between characters. A couple of times, I wished she had distinguished more clearly between the main character's internal and external dialog, but overall, good job.
Two good friends spend a night in bed and as a result lose their friendship. The couple cross paths months later when the special agent James investigates a bio-terrorist attack and Kelly is questioned.
The majority of the romance (and book) involves tragic pasts that result in mistrust and misunderstandings that keep the couple apart- nothing original. The investigation leads to some action but more would have been better. There are no big plot twists or surprises.
Overall, lacks depth - 2 1/2 stars so save your credit.
The publisher calls License to Thrill a romantic adventure, but there is very little action. This is a typical bad-guys-after-innocent-girl story, whom the good guy works to protect. It's shallow, with little intrigue but is okay because it is a book that doesn't take itself too seriously - typical Stephanie Bond.
The publisher also refers to the main male character as a "super-cool, super-sexy Agent 007!" but this doesn't come through without reading 'in between the lines' quite a bit. The female protagonist is the one aspect that is not typical - she isn't amazingly beautiful, thin, or rich. She even wears glasses. The two make the most unlikely couple, but somehow they fit.
Overall, don't have high expectations if you spend a credit on this one.
The mystery of this story involves an old crime - the murder/suicide of the parents of 3 sisters, Savannah, Samantha, and Sabrina. The girls, who were raised by their grandfather, leave their small Alabama town when they become adults. After their grandfather eventually dies, one sister returns to sell the old family home and discovers letters that raise questions she must pursue.
The romance of this story begins when the sister runs into her first love, a local bad boy, who left for the military and is now the new police chief. There is more to their history together than either of them is aware, which is slowly revealed throughout the book.
Neither the mystery nor the romance thread are particularly unique or interesting, but the two woven together kept me interested. The majority of character development takes place in the first section of the book with a short trip to the sister and her bad boy's past high school lives - it's the best written section. Overall, the author is of average talent and I have certainly listened to worse. The reader did a slightly better than average job - more of a 3 and a half star than a 4 star.
The publisher's summary is misleading since it does not mention that this is a shape shifter story. I am not into shape shifter/vampire/superhero genres - I can't get past the unrealistic elements - no doubt it is my lack of imagination.
Attempting to put the supernatural elements aside, the story couldn't pull a higher rating. The dialog, character development, premise, etc. are pedestrian. The reader didn't help much, either - or perhaps was a bad fit for this story.
Overall, skip it.
A nurse heads to tsunami damaged Jamaica to care for injured islanders. Those who know her call her the 'ice queen.' She meets and hooks up with a helicopter pilot who lives on the island and whom she believes is only a pilot when he is actually a co-owner of a large corporate airplane charter business. (The disaster environment is interesting, but I don't know if it's accurate.) The couple gets trapped as the result of a large aftershock, which is when the real drama starts.
The author has consistent grammatical errors and her premise is sometimes awkward. For example, the protagonist is supposed to be the 'ice queen,' but she doesn't include any cold behavior - unless her ability to focus during stressful times is 'cold,' or her immature relationships are 'cold.' The type of person she is supposed to be doesn't fit the actual character, who is friendly, competent, and confident; and a young woman who is happy playing the field. We know even less about her male love interest. In fact, the author doesn't fully develop any of the characters. The plot is average and predictable.
Even so, the performer does a very good job, which actually improved my listening experience. Somehow, this circumstance leaves me in a better mood than a reader who ruins an intriguing and brilliantly written story... go figure.
Overall, go ahead and get this if you have credits lying about and have no audio books you are dying to hear.
A security forces lieutenant with the air force is in Afghanistan where she meets an attractive pararescue jumper. The author uses the excuse of her tragic childhood for the reason she is strong, determined, and competent. (Why can't a heroine be strong just because it is in her nature to be so?) The best aspects of this story are not around the romance, but rather, concerning the tragedy of war. Some satisfying action. Warning - there is a significant portion of the plot involving torture, which might be tough for some to hear. The love story is also satisfying, but not unique.
I am not certain whether the writing is a bit choppy or if it seemed as though it was because the performance is poor. Inconsistent accents, stiff reading, and monotones were distracting - very inexperienced reader.
Overall, not a waste, but reader is disappointing.
This is the type of story I usually avoid, but I enjoyed it - maybe I am in a subdued mood. A 36 year old publication executive on temporary assignment in Texas finds herself at a crossroad, figuratively and literally. Laura stumbles onto an old fashioned setting in the Lone Star Cafe, which sits at a crossroad used to detour around a bridge closure on the highway, at time when she questions her life's direction.
The story revolves around Laura's inner struggles as she faces personal challenges that her obsession with work cannot keep buried. She falls in love, very quickly, with a local man who has a very different background from her own. There is no bad guy chasing her or hot love scenes, but neither is there over dramatization, silly dialog, or meaningless bedroom scenes. This is a simple, straightforward story of nice people doing their best in life.
The writing is sound, which saves the tame plot. The performance is excellent.
This second book about FBI agent Nick Bracco picks up from the ending moment of the first book. It continues with the story of Bracco working with an elite group of anti-terrorist agents to find and neutralize Kurdish terrorists who are bent on revenge. As with the first story, the protagonists have an amazing amount of good luck surviving dangerous situations and grave injuries.
I liked the characters and wanted them to prevail, but the miraculous and quick recoveries are so unrealistic that I at times wanted something to go terribly wrong for the sake of realism; but, I reminded myself that a book based the premise of a government agency engaging Mafia connections to bring terrorists to justice is not intended to be realistic.
I did not enjoy this as much as the first book, most likely because it was essentially the true ending to the first book rather than a story on its own. Having said that, I was entertained from beginning to end.
The Bracco stories are light in comparison to, say, le Carré, but sometimes light is all I want.
I fell in love with this story in the first 30 minutes, stayed up late listening, and grabbed every free minute until I finished it.
The book mentions the movie "As Good As It Gets," which is the quickest way to provide an idea of its premise; however, I enjoyed it so much more than 'As Good.' A scientific professor, Don Tillman, doesn't recognize Asperger's syndrome in himself, even though he can see it in others. He just knows that he doesn't fit in. The book's main characters are all flawed, but likable, in this humorous, touching story of a man who bravely challenges himself to find happiness. His journey to self-awareness took me on a fun, poignant journey of my own.
I didn't notice the narrator until he attempted an American accent (the story takes place in Australia), but it did not bother me - somehow it only added to the charm of the story.
I will be listening to this one again - and looking for more Simsion titles.
Three stars is a generous rating - 2 1/2 is more accurate.
Catch Me is a formulaic girl-needs-rescuing-from-super-hunk-with-tortured-past story that is not particularly well or poorly written. The daughter of a dead mob boss goes on the run from her mob uncle with an ex-soldier, ex-FBI hunk. The two, of course, 'cannot' have a relationship but nonetheless fall into bed and fall into love within a day or two of meeting.
It has one twist at the end, but is otherwise entirely predictable. I wasn't invested in the characters so it didn't have much punch. The characters had pasts, but no depth. No interests or personality quirks - or personalities for that matter. I couldn't come to care about these two flat characters, in a predicable story, based on an overly used premise.
Overall, it's better than nothing, but keep looking if you have time.
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