The Chemist by Stephenie Meyer

Book Review

 


The ChemistBook Genre: Thriller, Suspense, Romance, Mystery, audiobook

Book Series: N/A

Released: 7/11/17 by Back Bay Books

Pages: 528 Price: $28.00 Hardcover

Links:  Goodreads, Author’s Site

Source: I borrowed this audiobook from my library

 

 

Book Synopsis:

She used to work for the U.S. government, but very few people ever knew that. An expert in her field, she was one of the darkest secrets of an agency so clandestine it doesn’t even have a name. And when they decided she was a liability, they came for her without warning. 

Now she rarely stays in the same place or uses the same name for long. They’ve killed the only other person she trusted, but something she knows still poses a threat. They want her dead, and soon. 

When her former handler offers her a way out, she realizes it’s her only chance to erase the giant target on her back. But it means taking one last job for her ex-employers. To her horror, the information she acquires only makes her situation more dangerous. 

Resolving to meet the threat head-on, she prepares for the toughest fight of her life but finds herself falling for a man who can only complicate her likelihood of survival. As she sees her choices being rapidly whittled down, she must apply her unique talents in ways she never dreamed of. 

In this tautly plotted novel, Meyer creates a fierce and fascinating new heroine with a very specialized skill set. And she shows once again why she’s one of the world’s bestselling authors. 

My Review:

After having to return this book to the library and wait for another shot at it I finally was able to finish listening to it this week.  I was a big fan of Meyer’s Twilight an The Host and waited for ages for her to publish another book.  By the time she got around to releasing this title I had moved on from the author and lost interest in her work.  I have changed as a reader and had planned on skipping this book.  Then I needed something to listen to so I decided to give the audiobook a chance.  I’m glad I did but once this story was done I think this might be the last time I pick up one of her works.

I didn’t hate the story but felt it started out stronger than it finished.  While quite a bit darker than Twilight it does share many of the same traits. The first thing that started to bother me about the story is the truly bad example of a relationship between the lead characters.  At the time I didn’t have a problem with Bella and Edward’s disturbing relationship tendencies that many people criticised it for, after all, vampires don’t exist, I was able to suspend reality and accept an unhealthy relationship.  This did not work for me in The Chemist.  When you remove the paranormal element I expect something different and a person falling for their torturer just isn’t acceptable to me.  Then there was the pacing, the beginning and end of the book were action packed but the middle had a whole lot of nothing with all the dry bits about the dogs and helping Daniel adjust to this new life.  It just fell flat and a little too much like YA romance that felt like it could have been taken out of Twilight.

What didn’t feel like her most well-known series felt too much like her second series (that ended with one book…) The Host.  I kept thinking while the characters traveled that it felt like scenes pulled right from that other book.  I wanted something new but, not trying to be harsh, that Ms. Meyers has a certain type of story she likes to tell and while the characters might change and the conflict might come from a different source these are essentially the same story rehashed to fit another genre.  First, it was a girl falling for a dangerous sparkly paranormal boy, followed by a tough boy falling for a less dangerous alien girl science fiction, and now a good boy falling for a deadly spy in a suspense thriller.  I enjoyed all of these books but want something new now and I just don’t think Ms. Meyer will deliver.

That’s okay.  This is what works for her, more power to her especially if people continue to want to read her stories.  I, however, am not one of them.  So this is where I will say thanks for everything and move on.  It was great while it lasted.  I would be curious to reread Twilight someday and see what I thought of the story now.  Or perhaps not…  Why ruin the fond memories I have of a book that opened up a whole world of reading to me.

My Rating: 3 Stars

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Something About You by Julie James

Book Review

 


Something About You (FBI/US Attorney, #1)Book Genre:
Romance, Suspense, Thriller, Audio

Book Series: FBI/US Attorney #1

Released: 3/10/2010 by Berkley Sensation

Pages:  307 Price: $29.99 Audio

Links:  Goodreads, Author’s Site

Source: I borrowed this audio book from my library.

 

 

Book Synopsis:

Fate has thrown two sworn enemies…

Of all the hotel rooms rented by all the adulterous politicians in Chicago, female Assistant U.S. Attorney Cameron Lynde had to choose the one next to 1308, where some hot-and-heavy lovemaking ends with a death. And of all the FBI agents in Illinois, it had to be Special Agent Jack Pallas who gets assigned to this high-profile homicide. The same Jack Pallas who still blames Cameron for a botched crackdown three years ago—and for nearly ruining his career.

Into each other’s arms…

Work with Cameron Lynde? Are they kidding? Maybe, Jack thinks, this is some kind of welcome-back prank after his stint away from Chicago. But it’s no joke; the pair is going to have to put their rocky past behind them and focus on the case at hand. That is, if they can cut back on the razor-sharp jibes—and smother the flame of their sizzling-hot sexual tension.

My Review:

In my quest to seek out more audio books to make my chore time more productive I stumbled across this title and saw it had some good reviews and decided to give it a shot. I’m glad I did as this was a fun listen.  The story started out rather scandalously and had me blushing on the lawn mower but quickly moved into a crazy situation that had me laughing over the banter between Jack and Cameron.  I also enjoyed the setting as I have spent many a long weekend in Chicago it was easy to visualize this story which only added to my enjoyment.  I have already added the rest of the series to my to-read list as I plan to explore more work by this author.

This story was the perfect blend of tension, humor and chemistry between the two love interests.   The author did an excellent job of weaving a background between these two to keep them at odds with each other for a good portion of the book yet making us want to root for their coming together.  The addition of fun friends and nosy police force assigned to guard Cameron and give Jack a hard time helped to keep this book from being too dark.  Like I said this had good balance because there were moments that kept me on the edge of my seat as the drama and danger unfolded.  Then there was that chemistry between Jack and Cameron.  Cameron was no push-over but Jack was definitely all alpha male.  I thought I would only enjoy a good alpha in paranormal romance but this author made it work for this contemporary read too.  He was simply all kinds of yummy.

The pacing was good and the romance while hot was held off until the end of the book for the most part.  If you are looking for a romance where they don’t spend all their time vertical or up against a wall this one is a good pick for you.  Personally I think it was nice to be teased for most of the book as these two drove each other crazy.

The audio was well done I enjoyed the person who narrated the piece.  She was easy to understand and I felt her voice matched the personality of the main character nicely.  Bottom line this was a fun listen and a good plot with a great ending.  I recommend it and look forward to the next book in the series.

My Rating: 4 Stars

Under the Surface by Anne Calhoun

Book Review


Under the SurfaceBook Genre:
Romance, Contemporary, Urban, Suspense.

Book Series: Book One in Alpha Ops (Spin-Off ?) Series

Released: May 31,2016 by St. Martin’s Press

Pages: 350  Price:$7.99

Links:  Goodreads, Author’s Site

Source: I received a copy of this book from the publisher through Net Galley for an honest review.

 

 

Book Synopsis:

Welcome to Eye Candy, the East Side’s hottest nightclub where the bartenders are hot, the cocktails are fancy, and danger lurks just under the surface…

Eve Webber, the gorgeous and savvy owner of Eye Candy, knows better than anyone that growing up on the wrong side of the tracks comes with certain complications. Determined to run a clean business and fix up the East Side, Eve’s plans get temporarily stalled when a potential new hire walks into her bar. The sexual chemistry crackling between them is a potent distraction…even if she refuses to mix business with the promise of pleasure.

Detective Matt Dorchester lives by strict rules that have kept him alive in impossible situations. When his latest undercover assignment has him playing a bartender, his desire for the passionate owner has him breaking every single one. Eve is in danger and her life depends on his secrecy. But once their attraction reaches a climactic conclusion, Matt must make a desperate choice: Tell her the truth about who he really is―or risk a once-in-a-lifetime love to save her life?

My Review:

As a connoisseur of books, dozens of them cross my path on a weekly basis, some of them even stumble into my life through an intriguing email to my gmail account.  This little gem caught my eye one day in May and I needed to learn more, so I downloaded a copy just to get a sample and proceeded to forget my current (yet unfinished…) read and devour this in a couple of days.  As most of you know that while I do love my romance I usually stick to the paranormal branch of the genre and only venture into the suspense/contemporary territory with authors I already have an established history with.  I was in the mood for something different though and being the first in a new series (I think) I decided to give this book a shot, and I am so glad I did!

There was  a bit of confusion when I started checking into this title.  Goodreads lists this as book four in the series, but the publisher and author’s site has it as a new series.  Even if this is a continuation of an already established series I was totally alright reading it on its own as I do not think there is any continuation from the previous books, or very little.  In other words don’t feel like you have to go back and read everything else before you start this read.  You will be fine, I was and you might even find yourself wanting to check into the other books by this author too.  I know I do!

Now for my thoughts on the story.  I liked it, quite a bit actually.  This book had it all and was a nice change of pace from my normal paranormal romance reads.  There was danger, a strong female lead, a yummy brooding alpha love interest, plenty of action and enough steam to fog your e-reader.  The story moved at a good pace for me, had a nice balance of wit, drama and sex to keep me turning the page and the chemistry between the love interests was definitely there and believable. I liked the aggressiveness of Eve and how she was the one pressuring Matt into a physical relationship.  She was strong and authentic and I liked her sense of character, in wanting to make her city a better place.  She wasn’t a wonder woman though and had realistic reactions to the danger that entered her life.  She kept it together though, was able to adapt and think quick on her feet.

Matt on the other hand had me wanting to do a facepalm on several occasions as I desperately needed him to get his head out of his ass and fight for the woman he wanted.  I guess one of the two characters needed to have flaws to overcome… I did like him though, like Eve he wasn’t perfect but still a man with integrity and honor even if he did let it get in the way of his happiness most of the time.  The supporting cast was fairly well-rounded too.  I would have liked to know more about several of them, the bad guy for example. Eve’s brother was another fun one I wish had more page time too.

This was a fun story that had me on the edge of my seat needing to know more and biting my nails as I watched the drama unfold for these characters.  The climax of the story was worthy of any action movie I’ve seen recently and the resolution of the relationship afterwards was authentic and sweet.  I really appreciated how the author left these two, those of you that don’t like the insta-love should have no problem with this one.  There may have been insta-sex, but the romance was in a believable spot when I finished up this book.  I plan on looking into not only the next book in this series but other titles by this author.  I’m also sold on suspense romance and will be working more of them into my reading mix!  I hope you give this one a shot and enjoy it as much as I did.

My Rating: 4 Stars

Blood Lust by Alexandra Ivy

Book Review

Blood LustBook Genre: Romance, Suspense, Supernatural, Action, Urban Fantasy

Book Series: The Sentinels #3

Released: 5/31/16 by Zebra

Pages: 352 Price:$7.99 Paperback

Links:  Goodreads, Author’s Site

Source: I received a copy of this book from the publisher through Net Galley for an honest review.

 

Book Synopsis:

Blessed and cursed by their hidden abilities, the Sentinels have no choice but to live, and love, on the edge of humanity…

The Sentinel assassin, Bas, is facing the greatest challenge of his outcast existence. His young daughter, Molly, has been kidnapped. But her disappearance has brought the return of her mother, Myst, whom Bas has never forgotten–or forgiven.

Haunted by a vision that she’s destined to create a weapon that will destroy thousands, Myst was never impulsive–until she met the irresistibly handsome Bas. But with the Brotherhood, the enemy of the high-bloods hunting for her, Myst had to stay on the run, to keep her child, and the world, safe. Now, with the most important thing in both their lives at stake, she and Bas must embark on a treacherous journey to save Molly, to confront the truth of Myst’s fate–and to face their fierce desire for one another.

My Review:

Did I make it?  It is still release day,  I’m not too late? Life has seriously got to stop getting in the way of my reading….  I started this book last week thinking I would have plenty of time to get it read before today and then life happen, or rather my husband had four days off work.  Anyway, I told him that today I HAD to get this book read, not only was it release day, I really wanted to find out what happen.  So I shut myself into a room, put in ear plugs and binge read 200 pages of this book, and it was so worth it!

I swear this series keeps getting better!  I was so hoping that Bas’s story would be up next and it was, so yay!  Now if Ms. Ivy could deliver us Wolfe’s tale I would be one happy reader.  Finger’s crossed (although I think she is already setting that up).  I almost feel like I am betraying my vampire devotion when I continue to claim that I like this series better than her paranormal one based on vamps.  There is just something about these High-Bloods that clicks for me.  Maybe there are fewer Supernatural species then there were Paranormal ones in the other series.  I just can’t put my finger on it exactly, but there is something about this series that makes me love it more.  One characteristic I do appreciate staying true though is Ms. Ivy’s choice of settings.  I love that most of her books take place in the Mid-West.  It makes sense, being the author is from the central part of the country, but also living here I love reading stories set in locations I am familiar with.  Of course, she does manage to sweep us away to exotic locals as part of this story also takes place in France, but the heart of this world is based here.

This book is a continuation from number two in the series and while it could be read on its own I do feel reading them in order will lead to a richer reading experience.  At least read book number two before this one as there is some continuation of story arch between the two.  Bas was featured as a “Bad Guy” in book two and in this story we get to see the other side of him and learn about his brief history with the mother of his child, Myst. There is some serious chemistry between these two and I spent the entire book rooting for these two to figure things out. Of course, we get to learn what has kept them apart and more about the High-Blood society as well.  By this time though we have a pretty good understanding of how things work and we were able to delve more into the history of the two characters and the setting up of the (hopefully) next pair of heroes Wolfe and Lana.

Much of the plot of this story centered around Molly, their daughter, as it should have, but I really appreciated how Molly was sent to be protected at Valhalla for safe keeping for much of the story.  I’m not much of a kid person, so while I did like Molly I didn’t want to read pages upon pages of interaction with her.  Although as someone who lost her mother at a young age my heart did go out to Molly for simply wanting her mother to be a part of her life.  I would have given anything to have been able to mentally stay in touch with mine like this character could.

This addition to the Sentinel series was great, totally worked for me and left me wanting the next book.  Bas and Myst were a great match, the story moved at a good pace and had a nice blend of action, humor, drama and just a touch of steam.

My Rating:5 Stars!

ARC Kill Without Mercy by Alexandra Ivy

Kill without Mercy

Book #1 of the ARES Security series: Published 12/29/15: 352 Pages

I received a copy of this book from the publisher through Net Galley for an honest review.

Author’s Site

 

Book Synopsis:

From the hellhole of a Taliban prison to sweet freedom, five brave military heroes have made it home—and they’re ready to take on the civilian missions no one else can. Individually they’re intimidating. Together they’re invincible. They’re the men of ARES Security.

Rafe Vargas is only in Newton, Iowa, to clear out his late grandfather’s small house. As the covert ops specialist for ARES Security, he’s eager to get back to his new life in Texas. But when he crosses paths with Annie White, a haunted beauty with skeletons in her closet, he can’t just walk away—not when she’s clearly in danger…

There’s a mysterious serial killer on the loose with a link to Annie’s dark past. And the closer he gets, the deeper Rafe’s instinct to protect kicks in. But even with his considerable skill, Annie’s courage, and his ARES buddies behind him, the slaying won’t stop. Now it’s only a matter of time before Annie’s next—unless they can unravel a history of deadly lies that won’t be buried.

My Review:

This is a new series for this established author whose finished paranormal series I’ve enjoyed and supernatural series I absolutely adore.  So when I come across Ms. Ivy’s name on a book I don’t pass it by – unless it is a historical romance I just can’t get into those…  I had remembered hearing about this book and when it popped up for review I put a request in then promptly forgot what it was about.  When I started the book I was pleasantly surprised to see the action took place in Newton Iowa!  Newton, I’ve been there!  The story instantly became more interesting and spent much of the book trying to place locations from my limited time there.  Oh Ms. Ivy,  one of my favorite aspects of your stories are that many of them take place in the Midwest and locations I’ve been to.  My dream is that someday you will set a story in the Quad Cities.  Please, please, please I would so LOVE that! Okay shameless pleading done now.

This story was billed to me as a romantic suspense, a branch of the romance genre that I’ve not ventured onto before.  I usually just stick to the paranormal side of the tree and hang out with my vamps and shifters.  Being familiar with the author and curious about the sub-genre I wanted to give this book a try.  It wasn’t bad, not sure I’m going to continue the series good, but I was invested in the story and wanted to see what happen next.  It was the mystery and setting that saved the story for me.  Some of the romance aspects like instant connection didn’t work for me with the story being based in reality.  Most humans just don’t fall that fast, and if they do it usually doesn’t work out.  When you are dealing with vamps and weres it is easier for me to suspend disbelief.  The mystery as well done, some aspects I saw coming, but many I did not.  The twists kept things interesting and it was easier to overlook some of the convenient access to all the gadgets and goodies these men had. Still nothing was too outlandish that it ruined the story for me.

The romance was alright, again it is probably easier to accept an alpha male when he has fangs, but I liked Rafe.  I liked Annie too and hope their H.E.A lasts.  It would be interesting to check in and see how things are with them in future books.  The other men of ARES security were a fun mix that is pretty typical to these series romances.  I expect we will get to know them each better in future books as Ms. Ivy works to pair each on of them up.   I would have liked to know more about all of their pasts, but I think much was held back to keep them mysterious and to be revealed later.  I would have to say the setting of the story was probably my favorite aspect of the read.  I loved that it was set someplace I’d been and in all actuality it could be any small town in Iowa really.  It was nice to have someplace where the politics and local “characters” felt so close to home.

I did like the story, but I’m still not certain I would continue as most likely the next one will not be set in Iowa.  We will see though, never say never.  I do enjoy Ms. Ivy’s writing and might pick up the next book if it sound interesting. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good dark mystery with a bit of romance.  The action was pretty steady and the plot had some twists that you might not catch until they unfold.

 

My Rating:3 Stars

The Grownup by Gillian Flynn

The Grownup

 

Stand Alone short story: Published 11/3/15: 62 Pages

I received a copy of this book from the publisher through the Blogging for Books program for an honest review

More Info  &  Author Bio

Book Synopsis:

A canny young woman is struggling to survive by perpetrating various levels of mostly harmless fraud. On a rainy April morning, she is reading auras at Spiritual Palms when Susan Burke walks in. A keen observer of human behavior, our unnamed narrator immediately diagnoses beautiful, rich Susan as an unhappy woman eager to give her lovely life a drama injection; however, when the “psychic” visits the eerie Victorian home that has been the source of Susan’s terror and grief, she realizes she may not have to pretend to believe in ghosts anymore. Miles, Susan’s teenage stepson, doesn’t help matters with his disturbing manner and grisly imagination. The three are soon locked in a chilling battle to discover where the evil truly lurks and what, if anything, can be done to escape it.

“The Grownup,” which originally appeared as “What Do You Do?” in George R. R. Martin’s Rogues anthology, proves once again that Gillian Flynn is one of the world’s most original and skilled voices in fiction.

My Review:

I must confess this is my very first read by this author.  Shocking I know with the popularity of Gone Girl.  I can not tell you how many people have told me I MUST read that book…  Okay maybe I just didn’t count, but I would say it is at least half a dozen including one of my friends that knows my reading taste pretty well.  I knew Flynn is a dark suspenseful author and I have to be in the right mood for a book where I know I might not like the characters and there is little possibility for a happy ending.  I read to escape and her books just never seemed the right fit for me regardless of how often it is recommended to me.

That’s why when I saw this book up for review I decided that a short story would be an excellent way to try out this wildly popular author.  I have to say it wasn’t bad, I think I might give Gone Girl or one of the other titles a try now.  I liked the darker lead character, she wasn’t a saint by any means, but still likable.  The humor was very dry, not laugh out loud funny (for me), but more of a make you smirk while reading.  The story grabbed you with a great opening line and sucked you right in with just enough back ground information without bogging things down.  This short story has tons of twists and turns in its mere 62 pages.  Some I saw coming, some I didn’t.  Readers that need closure at the end of a story might be frustrated with this one, but I kind of liked how the author left it with the reader getting to draw their own conclusions as to what happens next.

Over all it is a quick fun read that can fit in your purse or coat pocket to take and read when waiting for an appointment somewhere.  It isn’t gory or really that scary, but it quite clever and I think fans of Flynn will really like it.  If you are like me and haven’t read this author before this is a great way to give her a try to see if she is a good match for you.  The retail price for the print version is a bit much in my opinion for such a short story, but it probably won’t stop fans from picking this one up to have in their collection.  Personally would go with the e-version that is much more reasonably priced…

My Rating: 3 Stars