Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Review - Death Echo by Elizabeth Lowell

Death Echo CIA agent turned private security consultant, Emma Cross is on a fast paced, seven day mission to track down a stolen yacht Blackbird which may or may not be carrying a deadly cargo destined to destroy a major American city. When things get hot, she has no choice but recruit Blackbird's transit captain, MacKenzie Durand, a former special ops killer into taking the yacht to its ultimate destination. Caught in an inter-agency crossfire, with the Russian mafiya as well as former KGB agents all interested in this particular yacht, Emma and Mac soon find themselves in a battle for their lives.

Death Echo (423p, Avon, Isbn-0061664421) a fast paced, tension-filled adventure that keeps the readers hooked from start to finish. The focus is more on the action and mystery rather than romance and sex (sort of in the tradition of Catherine Coulter's suspense novels) contrary to some other Lowell books I've read and that's a welcome surprise. The romance that eventually crops up between the main characters starts off as a mutual attraction and over the course of the novel gradually develops into something more. It feels very natural and is in sync with the rest of the story, and not just added on to satisfy prurient interests. Both Mac and Emma are strong people with similar backgrounds which makes it believable that they manage to work well together when suddenly thrown into perilous situations, despite having never set eyes on one another before this mission.

Overall, this book is not keeper-shelf material, but it does make for some interesting reading.

These were the things I liked about this book. To explain what I didn't like I have to venture into Spoiler territory, so please don't read any more if you'd rather not know the details.

Spoilers ahead!! Click the "Read more >>" button to reveal some secrets

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Review - Any Man of Mine by Rachel Gibson

Any Man of MineAny Man of Mine
Avon, 373p, Isbn-0061579114

Synopsis - Autumn Haven [not a candle but a person!], as the single working mom, deals with the usual challenges that come with the territory as well as a reformed sexy ex who's unexpectedly charmed his way into her home, bed and maybe even her heart. If only she could forget their turbulent past. Can she?

Irresponsible, reckless and selfish hockey player Sam LeClaire knows more about partying and models than playing with his own son. When he comes across Autumn at a wedding years after their last disastrous meeting, Sam realizes he's still very much attracted to his ex whereas Autumn has nothing but contempt for the man who left her pregnant after a quickie Vegas wedding and an even faster divorce. How it all gets resolved makes for an enjoyable read.

In a nutshell, this story follows the usual formula of guy meets gal, instant attraction, hot sex, separation and then reconciliation which leads to the inevitable happy ending. Thus far, there are no surprises, good or bad. The pace is good, with the story flashing back and forth to explain the characters' past and present. The sexual tension between Sam and Autumn is sizzling hot and surprisingly enough, feels a natural part of their story instead of something thrown in to pander to the "sex scene before such and such page number" which I find is often the rule. Another interesting facet is Sam's gradual growth into an involved father and the reason behind it, as well as the overall developing relationship between the child and his parents. Light humor and characters from previous Gibson novels put in brief appearances. Autumn is a character I liked right from the start for her honesty (no 'forgive and forget' in her vocabulary!) and for her willingness to put her child's needs ahead of her intense dislike of her playboy ex and let him be a part of his child's and leading from there, her life as well.

Where this novel differs is in the treatment of the male character. To explain this, I will have to reveal some spoilers, so keep that in mind while reading further. If you'd rather not know, then just know that this is a nice and interesting book!

Spoilers ahead!! Click the "Read more >>" button to reveal some secrets