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REVIEW: High Octane by Lisa Renee Jones & In the Line...

High Octane by Lisa Renee Jones.   Both the characters in this book were likeable but I felt like a) they fell in love too fast and b) the heroine’s personal struggle lacked any believability and c) there were too many conflicts for the space.

high octane lisa renee jonesConflict 1: Sabrina Cameron was a political reporter with a dedicated following but when her Senator father decides to make a run for President, Sabrina leaves her post and moves Austin, changing her name and taking a job at a paper doing fluff pieces.   Her boss, Frank, however, wants Sabrina to investigate a story involving the mayor and the death of a recently returned soldier.

Conflict 2: Sabrina is a control freak to the point that she won’t let anyone else drive her car.   (I don’t know that is really such a control freak thing but whatever). Her friend encourages her to skydive which will allow her to give up some control.

Conflict 3:   Ryan “Cowboy” Walker has left the Army because he felt betrayed by the higher ups.

Conflict 4: Ryan’s only home has been the Army.   He’s looking to put down roots.

Conflict 5:   Ryan can’t commit to buying a home, even though he’s purportedly looking to put down roots.

Conflict 6:   Ryan is attracted to Sabrina but she’s obviously only hiding out here for short time.

Conflict 7:   Sabrina is receiving threatening mail packages.

Conflict 8:   Sabrina feels pressure by her parents to be the “good” daughter.

Conflict 9: Sabrina is tired of always being on the look out for press who might record a misstep.

Strangely, for all of Sabrina’s desire to be anonymous, everyone in the story knew of her real name and her background.   Despite being a savvy political reporter with an avid following, Ryan is the one who lays down the law to a person who wants to benefit from Sabrina’s political savvy.

I think if the story had focused on just a couple of things like Sabrina’s desire for control and Ryan’s ability to make her feel safe even when she ceded control to him, particularly in the bedroom, it would have worked so much better.   However, all the different conflicts that were going on were never fully developed.   C-

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In the Line of Fire by Jennifer LaBrecque. This story opens at the scene of a wedding.   The bride to be (aka our heroine) looks out the window and sees her high school crush and decides she can’t go through with the wedding. Instead of putting on her big girl panties and facing the music, she crawls out the window.   Maybe it was cute when Julia Roberts did it in Runaway Bride, but I felt like the heroine was being very selfish and cavalier.

Quite frankly, he would’ve never imagined her leaving a groom, several hundred guests, and, most importantly, her mother. “Let me remind you, you did just climb out of a bathroom window to get out of marrying him.”

“Hel-lo. That’s because he’s boring and I don’t love him. Everyone kept telling me what a great couple we made and what a great catch he was and I bought into it.”

And poor Blanton, the jilted groom, is eviscerated as the book continues by the heroine’s mother and hero’s mother who both talk about how spending time with Blanton is like “watching paint dry” and how listening to him puts them to sleep.   This guy was stood up at the altar and his crime is that some women think he is boring?   The attempt to justify the heroine’s wrongdoing by maligning the character of the person she stood up came off as distasteful and unlikeable.   Later, Blanton is depicted as crass, spiteful and insensitive, but even that portrayal was cartoonish and obviously a poor attempt, again, to justify Andi’s actions without her having to a) feel remorse or b) grow from it. (In fact when Blanton said he was going on the honeymoon with Andi’s maid of honor, I was thinking “good for you Blanton”).

Even if the hero was a decent guy (and he was), he certainly didn’t deserve Andi who was a petulant spoiled ass.   I am not sure whether my dislike for Andi tainted my view of the entire story, but I felt it was all superficial.   We are treated to scenes of Andi and Colton, the hero, eating breakfast and engaging in fun chitchat with the waitress, Andi and Colton shopping, Andi and Colton kissing in the car.   I think I was supposed to be charmed by the southern cuteness of the story but the setting required better characters for me to be amused by caricatures as characters.     The plot arc had nothing to do with Andi abandoning her obligations without compunction but rather Colton overcoming his belief he couldn’t fall in love with his best friend’s sister and Andi convincing him it was the right thing to do.   D

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Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She self publishes NA and contemporaries (and publishes with Berkley and Montlake) and spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com


  1. Jane Lovering
    Mar 05, 2011 @ 14:59:57

    I think it’s my least, I hope it is, but the circular ‘flash’ on the cover of the Jennifer LaBrecque looks to me to read ‘Uniformly Ho!’

    From Jane’s review, that would seem to be about right.

  2. Lisa
    Mar 05, 2011 @ 15:55:18

    Hi Jane– thanks for reviewing High Octane. I hate you didn’t love it, but I very much appreciate the read and the exposure here.

    Oh and as former corporate world control freak — the car thing was an issue — but you should have seen me on a plane lol! It took years of flying 4 times a week to stop freaking out on a plane. I was embarrassingly bad.


  3. Jinni
    Mar 06, 2011 @ 10:20:21

    Thanks for the reviews. I’ve really stopped reading Blaze in the last year or two. I feel the stories are getting shallower while trying to focus on ‘hotness.’ But both. good stories and good sex scenes are getting lost.

  4. Joy
    Mar 06, 2011 @ 11:36:49

    “Uniformly Hot!” is the Blaze miniseries meant to feature men and women of the armed services. Just a footnote. Apparently the hero is an Army officer.

  5. Lisa
    Mar 06, 2011 @ 12:47:41

    Jinni — about a year ago there was an editorial shift to making sure Blaze has more romance. But in the pub industry the shift takes time as book are so in advance. I think in the next few months you’ll see some good romance at the forefront.

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