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Robyn Amos

REVIEW:  Hero at Large by Robyn Amos

REVIEW: Hero at Large by Robyn Amos

Hero-at-Large

THE AGENT: Tall, dark and devastatingly handsome Keshon Gray
THE MISSION: To smoke out a deadly traitor–or die trying

THE OBSTACLE: The sweet temptation of the only woman he’d ever loved!

Keshon Gray had never regretted anything he’d had to do in the line of duty–until now. For entering the dangerous world of gang warfare led to a tempestuous reunion with Rennie Williams. Although he had to keep his identity secret, he just couldn’t stay away from the virtuous beauty who reawakened his heart. But would their love survive a shocking turn of events that promised to change their lives…forever?

Dear Ms. Amos,

I’ve been meaning to read another of your books since finishing “Cosmic Rendezvous.””Cosmic Rendezvous.” “Hero at Large” sounded interesting and though romantic suspense isn’t my favorite, occasionally I will try one. It was a bit light on suspense – with more time devoted to reunited lovers story – but I can’t say that this is why it didn’t work so well for me. No, the main reason is I got bored and into skim mode.

Rennie and Gray had tough start in life. No punches got pulled here and I appreciate that. Gray was pulled into the LA gang life by Rennie’s brother Jacob and Jacob’s desire to join one as a substitute for their broken family life. With their mother dead and father working all the time, Jacob wanted another family and sought it in a gang to become brothers to him. But it cost J his life, something which scarred both Rennie and Gray. Both eventually used this as a way out but the paths they took were different. Rennie escaped through higher education while Gray was recruited into a government agency which has sent him around the world on various assignments. Fate intervenes and the two meet up again. So far, so good. The reunion isn’t meet-again-cute. Instead it’s fraught with fear on Gray’s part that he’ll get Rennie involved in the arms deal he’s brokering to catch a rogue agent gone bad while Rennie is horrified to learn that Gray apparently didn’t totally escape their dark past and has done time in jail.

Still the attraction is mutual and they begin to spend time together which serves as a way for a former gang leader who’s recently gotten out of jail to begin to move in on the sweet deal and money that he thinks Gray has going for him. Rennie is Gray’s weakness and TK will exploit that in order to get the former gang members Gray recruited to follow him instead. Rennie knows all about allowing oneself to be swayed by wanting a man in one’s life because of the women’s counseling sessions she runs. A trained psychologist, Rennie works helping battered and abused women and she’s heard all the excuses. When it comes to her own relationship, she discovers she can be just as blind and willing to look for justification to remain with a man she loves despite what her sense of right and wrong tells her.

I actually don’t have a problem with any of that. We all make mistakes, we all think we know what we’re doing, we all want love and to see the best in someone we love. It’s all good. There are also some bad things that happen here – one of Rennie’s clients loves where she shouldn’t and ends up paying a terrible price for it. Rennie and Gray have to decide how far they’ll go for this relationship and what they’re willing to give up. Trust and love are risked and tough choices are faced but I found my eyes glazing at times.

And that is the main fail of this story for me. Rennie and Gray both spend time thinking and reminiscing. Then thinking more. And more. And then a lot more. This is supposed to be a suspense story as well as a romantic one but there is so much mental think, think, think that literally pages go by as Rennie and Gray think things to death. It got to where my eyes where skittering down the page seeking some action, some dialog, anything. Enough with the time spent in Rennie and Gray’s thoughts. Please, blow something up already. Then when something does finally happen, it often takes place off screen or it happens, it’s over and we zip right past it without really getting into the characters’ emotions. I realize that some of this might be due to the fact that this is part of a series and since the suspense arc couldn’t be completed in this book there was space to fill but it still dragged.

This might be the thinking person’s perfect romantic suspense book but it’s too static for me. I think I should go back and try another of your books which focuses just on romance and see if that will hit my sweet spot again. C-

~Jayne

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REVIEW: Cosmic Rendezvous by Robyn Amos

REVIEW: Cosmic Rendezvous by Robyn Amos

Dear Ms. Amos,

book review The blurb of this book got me to buy it. Books with unusual professions for the characters always make me sit up and take notice. Of course then it has to actually be fun to read and well written for me to finish it. Luckily for me, this book is both.

For Shelly London, relocating to Houston for a top-secret space project could rock her world. Until the ambitious aerospace engineer collides with Lincoln Ripley. A hotshot astronaut, Lincoln is sexy, arrogant and a knowitall, but he launches Shelly’s hormones right into orbit.

Getting lost in space with the gorgeous wannabe astronaut could be the best thing that ever happened to Lincoln’s flight path. Just as soon as he finds out who’s trying to sabotage their spacecraft. Then Shelly better watch out, because now Lincoln has a double mission: to catch the culprit, then take off with Shelly for a rendezvous with love!

Thank you for conflict that is real and not manufactured for the plot. Well, I guess all conflict in a book is manufactured but this arises from the background you’ve given the characters instead of zapping me from nowhere. Even their initial sparring brings out the best in each other as seen in Linc’s training sessions with Draco.

Also, thanks for making the effort to get all the Houston astronaut stuff checked and validated. Is that the right word? Screw it, I’m using it anyway. It adds depth to the book yet I don’t think the details were too overwhelming to the story you were trying to tell.

Linc is secure with his manhood with no need to score points off Shelly plus he can – eventually – take a joke. As one who doesn’t care much for asshat heroes, this is sweet. I mean the guy is centered enough to be honest about his fear during the shuttle landing that earned him so much national attention.

Once Shelly begins to take a hard look at Linc the astronaut instead of “Mr. Right Stuff,” she quickly sees – and admits to herself – that his reputation is earned through his hard work and not by coasting along on his looks or charm. She doesn’t hang onto her preconceived notions about him long past when she, an intelligent woman, should know better.

Linc shows he truly has the Right Stuff during his reaction to the first Draco sabotage. Calm, cool under pressure, seeing to his crew first. He shows Shelly exactly why he’s an astronaut and gives her a role model to shoot for.

Whenever one character initially thinks of the other as plain, I like to see that, when the love hits, it’s the real person they fall in love with. Sure you can take off the glasses, fix the hair, add some make-up but I love to hear that he or she falls for the person as they basically are – as Linc does with Shelly. He’s respected her brains from the start but after his thought that she’s more like a peahen as compared to his standard model girlfriends, it was great to hear him say that he loves her looks even when she’s having a bad hair day.

I just saw an article on AOL about worst hair places and Houston was on top as number 1! Poor Shelly and her “wet-poodle look” hair adventures. I can’t say I’ve ever seen stylists get into knock down, drag out fights over hair care supplies. Or had one go into labor on me.

Instead of veering into standard romance hero/heroine scenes in which the heroine is made to take pratfalls in order to build up tension between them, Shelly takes her barbecue stained shirt in stride and turns the tables on Linc by chatting with his current date while he sits by and watches her with wonder. Wow, what a delightful change.

Linc presses Shelly for a relationship and even comes up with a way around her insistence on them not dating since they’re on the same project yet he listens to her concerns about being taken seriously and not being seen as someone to sleep her way into the program. And, reluctantly, when she decides they need to ease up, he agrees instead of continuing to force the issue.

Linc and Shelly’s separation didn’t just feel like a standard “it’s time for a misunderstanding” plot thingie. It fits with Shelly’s past – when she was afraid of giving up her career – and her driving desire to be an astronaut. After all, this is what she’s worked for, tirelessly, her whole life.

Unlike some romance “heroes,” Linc doesn’t get all pissy after Shelly calls off their relationship for what, for her, are valid reasons – which shows he’s a stand up guy who really does love her and want the best for her – as does his willingness to put his career on the line for her. By this point, I know how much that means to him, how hard he’s also worked to get where he is so his actions make that much more of an impact on me and the others.

Shelly has the balls to make it in the space program. She doesn’t back down when confronted by the Secretary of Defense nor does she look to others to fight her battles for her. She’s smart, dedicated, hardworking and the kind of person I’d be proud to have representing me in space.

Cheers that Shelly’s brother-in-law is an HVAC guy. Gotta love that as I can’t live without AC. Shelly’s sister seems like a level headed woman. She loves Shelly enough to be honest with her about Shelly’s reasoning for initially not getting along with Linc.

Though I’d be pissed if my mother tried something like this on me, I can understand Shelly’s mother wanting to protect her daughter – yeah, it’s irrational but as Shelly found out, people will go to extremes to protect the ones they love.

I think the blurb is just slightly misleading in that it gives the impression that Linc morphs into a covert ops agent, out to nab the villain. Thank you God that he doesn’t. The ultimate villain was not over the top though I’d begun to suspect who it might be. There are enough viable suspects that it wasn’t obvious to me nor should it have been to Linc or Shelly. And the reasons behind his reasons hold together under closer inspection.

I can tell you that if anyone ever took me up in an Air Force Talon, I’d be puking my lunch, my last three meals plus the next one I hadn’t even eaten yet. I envy Shelly and Linc the chance to see the stars as Shelly describes them but I’ll stay right here in terra firma and satisfy myself reading about these two. B

~Jayne

This book can be purchased in mass market from an independent bookstore or ebook format from the Sony Store and other etailers.