Going Dark by Monica McCarty  September 5, 2017

going dark  Monica McCarty makes her contemporary romance debut with Going Dark, the first book of The Lost Platoon series. The story’s hero, Dean, is living under an assumed identity thanks to a failed SEAL mission that forced its few survivors to scatter the globe and hide. Dean settled in a small Scottish village and went to work on a charter boat, allowing him to be near the water and keep his head down.

Unfortunately, drilling along the coast has caused a bunch of environmental activists to descend upon the quaint village and it isn’t long before Dean finds himself getting way more attention than he’d hoped.

Annie, a classic do-gooder with a healthy dose of naivete thrown in for good measure, is sure she can save the world from evil oil conglomerates, or at least the innocent, unsuspecting marine life along the vulnerable coasts hosting the drilling. Thinking she’s found likeminded people to aid in her cause, Annie agrees to go along with their plan to board an oil tanker and take her protests to the next level but chartering a boat with an overly grumpy captain is the easiest part.

Once on board, Annie’s eyes are opened to the dangerous plan her ‘friends’ have been cooking up behind her back and she directs Dean to the explosives stowed away to prove it. Being pulled into an eco-terrorism plot really makes Dean’s low profile existence more complicated and it doesn’t get any better when he can’t bring himself to leave Annie aboard and instead they escape together, gliding across the ocean in the terrorist’s inflatable boat.

When a faint radio transmission warns of a couple fleeing the scene of a crime by watercraft after having murdered two passengers of a chartered boat, Dean and Annie realize that shit just got real and reporting the terrorists to the local authorities is no longer an option. It is their word against the only other survivor of their brief cruise, the most sinister of Annie’s former ‘friends.’

This book was just ok for me. I wasn’t drawn into the eco-terrorism plot which made it hard to care, really. As the authors first contemporary or military romance, the book was actually quite decent. I don’t read historical romance so I can’t say for sure how captivating her books from that genre tend to be, but I imagine she is a talented writer.

There’s no doubt this will be just book one of a series. At the end (SPOILER ALERT) Dean is still on the run from his military past and we are kind of left in the dark regarding the events that led up to him being in hiding.

Overall, the book was solid, it was just expected. I suspect that Annie will get on some nerves for folks, but Dean is a pretty good Hero. These two are very different and building a romance between them is stretching it a little bit.

A Mother Like Mine by Kate Hewitt  August 8, 2017

mother like mine I DNF’d this book… The End. Just kidding, but no really, I didn’t like this book at all. It is the story of a widowed single mother who returned to her hometown (somewhere along England’s coast) after her husband’s death. She moved in with the grandmother who raised her and is helping with the family Café.

Unexpectedly, her Mother shows up back in town after being unreliable and absentee for most of her daughter’s life. The grandmother does her best to build a bridge between mother and daughter, but then she up and dies.

I’m going to be very brief. This story is depressing and the characters aren’t likable enough to stick it out. There is so much resentment and animosity from the daughter and so much ‘what the hell did I do?’ from the Mother that I couldn’t finish this book.

Granted, this is book 3 of a series I’ve never read so perhaps building an attachment to the setting in previous books would make this one more tolerable. I don’t blame the book or the author. This wouldn’t be a typical read for me and I didn’t have any business requesting the ARC. Lesson learned!

Chasing Red by Isabelle Ronin  September 5, 2017

chasing red This book was extremely popular on Wattpad, we’re talking millions of views/reads here. So, of course, it would be published. Chasing Red is a New Adult Romance between a girl going through the most devastating circumstances a young person can imagine and the uber rich campus playboy.

The meet a bar one night where Veronica is drowning her sorrows and where Caleb prowls for women. Veronica shoots down his advances, but she’s so drunk that he ‘rescues’ her by taking her back to his place. When he finds out she has nowhere to live, he convinces her to live with him.

This is book one of a series and it DOES end on a cliffhanger, so consider yourselves warned. There is so much angst and drama in this book that it is hard to not be affected by the characters emotions. I certainly was and I still thought the book was terrible.

My first problem is structural. This book was originally released chapter by chapter and it reads like it. Each chapter feels like it is trying to subtly remind the reader what happened on the previous page.

The circumstances in this book are also very unrealistic and contrived, which is my second problem with it. It’s very hard to believe that a college student would have no one to turn to other than a pervy stranger, even IF all of the worst things you could imagine happened to that student all at one time. Oh! And they meet in a bar where Veronica is ignoring her life by abusing large amounts of alcohol. And she goes home with him that night and never leaves. I mean… you get the picture.

Lastly, this book is a terrible example of young love or relationships. The author slaps Veronica with insurmountable circumstances, throws her at a boy like a damsel in distress and then makes Caleb utterly obsessed with the girl. Like, ‘I can’t live without you’ obsessed. I like my New Adult Romances to be plagued by only one ridiculous young-love stereotype, thanks.

The best part of this book: The cover.

Shattered by Allison Brennan  August 22, 2017

shattered Shattered by Allison Brennan is the fourth book in the author’s Maxine Revere series of books. Allison Brennan is well established as a law enforcement procedural thriller writer. In Shattered, Max teams up with another of Brennan’s beloved protagonists, Lucy Kincaid. Together, they attempt to solve the cold case murders of three pre-adolescent boys which may or may not be linked to a current trial in which Max’s ex-boyfriend’s wife is the accused. One cold case victim, Justin, is Lucy Kincaid’s nephew.

Consistent with my other Allison Brennan experiences, this book revolved around an interesting concept and was convincingly written with law enforcement realism in mind. The protagonists are complex, flawed, and relatable.

Standing in my way of a truly enjoyable experience is the execution of joining two protagonists from different series. This book became very much about Lucy Kincaid even though it is in Max’s series and should have been her show. If this book was an addition to the Lucy Kincaid series, or if the levels of involvement were shifted from Lucy to Max, it could have been a really exciting addition to either series.

I imagine that loyal Allison Brennan readers will love this book and treasure these two characters in the same pages. That said, readers are also going to find a lot of backstory in this book. Not only is the series protagonist’s backstory reviewed, as one may expect, but the addition of Lucy Kincaid’s backstory made the book difficult to get into. There was so much review and catch up in the first half that those already up to date may feel bogged down while readers new to either protagonist may feel overwhelmed.