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Susan

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Excellent start to a new series

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 10-07-20

I love books by this author as there is no need to read the books in order, or to follow the series, to be able to enjoy them. Although there are common threads and characters running through the books, it is not necessary to know them, or understand them to enjoy each successive book.

That said, I did struggle with the female lead in this book. She acted without thinking and because of this made a very unconvincing FBI agent. It quickly made me lose respect for her, as she never seemed to develop or learn from her mistakes. This unfortunately made the romance unconvincing, especially when their relationship became sexual at a highly inappropriate time during a tense hostage negotiation. It was also irritating that, as a supposedly fit and competent FBI agent, on two different occasions while chasing/being chased by the bad guy, she 'tripped over', thereby putting herself in danger and having to be saved by her new boyfriend.

Ok, but not the best from this author

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 02-07-20

I was a big fan of the first book in this series, but I was a little disappointed at this one. Difficult to pinpoint exactly what I don't like but I did not warm to the characters as much as the previous book and the whole plot regarding software theft was all a bit messy. I usually love the books by this author, but this one just seems to drag, and contained all the cliche romance novel characters: Manwhore; girl from poor background who struggled to succeed; loving grannie who gets sick; friend who becomes villian; sex in public place while claiming relationship must be kept a secret.... etc etc. I only deducted one star, because, let's face it, Rosalind James on a bad day is still pretty good, but I won't be listening to this book again. I prefer it when Ms James stays in New Zealand - those books are brilliant!

Sad to see this series end.

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 24-06-20

This book is only for those who have read and loved the rest of the series. It involves many characters from past books and is really part 2 of Book 6, which was the prologue for this book.

The romance between Claire (Scarlett) and Billy has been a theme running in the background of all previous books and it was lovely to see a happy conclusion to their relationship. That said, I did think the plot was a bit weak. Claire had been in a long, fairly unhappy marriage, due to a feeling of debt to her husband. However that debt was actually owed to Billy and it was his decision to keep this a secret that trapped her in a unhappy marriage for ten years. An important part of their relationship, in the time span between the two books, added to the confusion and left me with more questions that answers as to why they did not manage a frank and honest discussion when they met up on regular occasions before her marriage.

However I did enjoy the conclusion to the series and although I can only recommend it to those familar with previous books in the series, it was nice to catch up with the couples from previous books.

Penny Reid at her best

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 02-06-20

This book is really only suitable for a reader familar with the previous books in this series. And I have to admit it takes a very special writer to be able to write a book such as this, which is essentially a prologue, and yet have enough fans willing to read a book that can only be understood in context with the rest of the series.

I do believe that Penny Reid's books are best enjoyed on Audible and in this case the narration is perfect and adds so much to the understanding of the characters. Like many readers in this series I have been curious about the early years of the Winston Brothers and it was much more brutal than I expected.

This prologue is really heartbreaking, with the last few chapters being particularly difficult to listen to. However it is also completely addictive and I look forward to the next, and final, book in this wonderful series.

Good romance in unusual setting

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 19-05-20

I am not a fan of reality shows so I delayed listening to this book. At first the amount of characters was a little difficult to remember but the narration was fabulous and soon they each developed their individuality in my mind which made the story easy to follow.

I am deducting one star because I though the villain in this story was a little overdone. He started out believable but his character went downhill so fast it seemed a bit contrived. The author also skipped over the unpleasant "voting off" process which managed to be surprisingly cordial, considering the prize on offer.

I would like to give special mention to the most sensual shaving scene I have ever read. Kudos to the author for not trying to hide some of the more intimate realities of living in 1885!

Good mystery with a touch of romance

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 05-05-20

I think this is the perfect blend of mystery, with a touch of romance that does not overwhelm the plotline. Morgan was a widow with three kids, hesitant to consider a new romance while navigating day to day life with re-entering the workforce for the first time since her husband's death. Lance was a detective recovering from a gunshot injury, working temporarily as a Private Investigator while trying to get back into active duty on the police force. He was openly dubious about the wisdom of even considering a relationship with a single mother of three, and at a crossroads in his career which left him feeling uncertain about where his future was heading.

Added into this mix was the murder of a young girl with a complicated past, and the experience of her boyfriend who was pleading innocence when the police, the public and the media were all convinced of his guilt.

This murder mystery had just enough red herrings to keep it interesting, and also a few hints and teasers for future books, but not enough to leave me feeling cheated at the end. I did guess the correct murderer quite early on, but not with any certainty, and I appreciated characters that investigated with some intelligence, not making any baseless assumptions or missing subtle clues along the way.

This book has dual narration from the point of view of several characters, including the victim, the murderer and the accused. Narration was excellent, and I look forward to listening to more in this series.

One for the Rock Chick Fans

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 05-05-20

Really difficult review to write, because this is a great book. I read this series several years ago and loved most of them. But maybe I have moved on, or maybe just gotten older. I found Roxie was just a bit scatty, and could not understand the insta-love between her and Hank. Nor could I understand why she somehow thought the best way to get rid of her long term boyfriend was to dump him and then take him back, repeatedly. I know women get caught in toxic relationships, but Roxie was intelligent, financial independent, with no kids, so I found it hard to comprehend how long she tolerated her drug dealing boyfriend for so long, and why leaving him was a process that had taken years.

Excellent book, but rushed ending

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 20-11-19

This is an excellent romance/thriller with a storyline that moves along quickly and never loses pace. Mac is an ambitious FBI agent who has no intention of jeopardising his rapid and successful career development by having any hint of a relationship with Tess, whose late father had been a notorious right wing extremist. Tess has managed to hide her identity and reinvent herself after most of her family were either killed or imprisoned after an FBI shoot-out when she was a child. Unfortunately it seems that someone is trying to bring her father’s political agenda back to life with a series of murders, which means Tess unwillingly finds herself the centre of FBI attention yet again.

Apart from a few stupid moments (why do so many romance books feature a couple having sex with the curtains open?), this was a solid book, with lots of red herrings and surprises along the way. I did like the way that falling in love did not miraculously take away all their problems and that Mac was particularly aware of the damage a relationship would do to his career. I know some reviewers didn’t like this, but no one would easily throw away a lifetime career without a qualm, nor would an experienced FBI agent let his personal feelings for a suspect make him ignore clues indicating she could be involved in a terrorism plot.

Unfortunately it seems the writer ran out of steam in the last part of the book and the last chapters were rushed, with both the mystery and the relationship being hastily and neatly tied up by a series of implausible events, to enable them to get their “happy ever after”. A pity, because apart from that, this is an excellent book, and well worth a credit.

Disappointing book from great writer

Overall
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 12-11-19

I love most books by this writer but this was disappointing to me. Mainly because there was a big mismatch between actions and words: Kiera was described as an anti-social gaming nerd who kept herself apart from the world, but she really was kind, caring, empathetic and likeable, with real friends who loved her. Zach was described as a “hero” who devoted his work and personal life to caring for others. But he was actually pretty blind to the feelings or opinions of those around him, and tried to bully them into doing what he wanted them to do. A big warning flag was the fact that his late sister was a successful, working musician, but she felt the need to hide this from her brother, who had decided that teaching was a “suitable” career choice for her. Say what? Are we back in the dark ages here? I could not help thinking that in most books a controlling character like Zach would be the bad guy. At one stage I even skipped a few chapters, as I could not feel the chemistry between this couple. The end of the book was Zach throwing his toys out of the pram with the unwelcome discovery that the world actually revolved without his help. Instead of him having to grovel to Keira to get her back, she ends up pandering to his childish reaction when he hides away in his bedroom for a week to play computer games which leads to some weird epiphany which I no longer cared enough about to finish the last chapter. I can highly recommend this writer, but give this book a miss.

Not the best in this series

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 07-11-19

It was difficult to rate this book. Colbie (successful writer) and Spencer (successful inventor) are both concealing their identities, as they are both tired of being known for what they have achieved, rather than who they are. This storyline gets an easy 5* for the first 20 chapters, before it all gets a bit strange.

When Colbie announces she wants to tell Spence the full truth about her life, he first assumes she is some sort of reporter, but after finding she is not, for some weird reason panics and runs out on her, joins a card game with friends and gets drunk. Even told from Spence’s POV his actions were weird and made him seem like an immature idiot. It would definitely ring all sorts of warning bells, particularly as Spence was already announced that based on one failed relationship, he was somehow unable to have any successful long term relationship. Colbie however, quickly forgives all this strange behaviour, as she also forgives him for arranging a super awkward “girls night out” as though she was some social misfit who needs help to make friends.

The nerdy/antisocial Spence of previous books has morphed into a clone of previous alpha males in this series, and an opportunity was missed to feature a character that really was nerdy and antisocial. Unfortunately this all meant the second half of this book was a disappointment, particularly the very fast and very neat conclusion to Colbie’s problems back home. I have to finish by asking if I am the only one who finds it really sleazy when other people discuss a couple having sex, or even being aware of it? It’s ok for the reader to be in the bedroom, but I do think everyone else should be kept out!