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C+ Reviews

REVIEW:  Paradox Lost by Libby Drew

REVIEW: Paradox Lost by Libby Drew

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Time-travel tour guide Reegan McNamara’s job—taking eager tourists to whenever they want to go—is usually a breeze. A trip back to 2020 to watch a world-changing speech seems no different, until a woman runs away from his tour group before the jump home. Now her tycoon husband is demanding her safe return—or Reegan will lose more than just his job.

P.I. Saul Kildare’s business is running on borrowed time. Due to a messy break with the police, he can’t get a referral to save his life. When an enigmatic stranger bangs on his door one night and promises a windfall for a missing-person case, it seems too good to be true. But the two men have an immediate connection, and Saul can’t pass up the chance to spend more time with Reegan, even if he’s clearly hiding something.

Saul knows he shouldn’t trust Reegan, and Reegan knows he can’t get involved with Saul. But as their attraction evolves into feelings neither can deny, will they have the strength to take a leap of faith—together?

Dear Libby Drew,

I always enjoy well-done time travel books and from the blurb it seemed that time travel in this one is used as more than just a means for the two main characters to meet each other. I have also liked your books in the past, so I was eager enough to ask for this one. I enjoyed how time travel was portrayed in your story – I liked that there was an attempt to give it “scientific” explanation and not just make it possible just because you wanted it to happen.

I also thought that the idea of letting people time travel to the important events in the past with the experienced guides hit upon one of my favorite fictional wish fulfillments. Yes, I do want that to happen in real life – there are so many things in history I would have liked to have observed as they happened. And I liked how one of the axioms which were needed in order for time travel in this book to work properly led the action/adventure to take place. Reegan is a decent man; of course he wants to find the woman who got away from his group, and not just because he may lose his job if he would not.

The action/adventure storyline was extremely well done. Reegan takes a chance upon involving the PI from the past because he has no choice, but this ends up being the best choice he ever made. The race against time to find the woman was exciting. I cannot say it was fun, because the reasons why she left were not fun, but the story was full of tension and I could not wait to see how it would be resolved. I always like when a serious story is injected with at least some humor and I liked the way that humor was included here – part of it was Reegan’s inevitable confusion and professional curiosity about how things in the past were done differently than in his time. Reegan is a historian by trade and I could appreciate how he felt.

I liked both Reegan and Saul a lot. They both had traumatic things happen to them, but as much as they could they tried to keep going, and overall they were sympathetic and likeable, if somewhat flawed characters. But I thought the instant attraction between them was way too fast for my taste. I do not mind if the heroes fall in lust fast in my romances, I am actually even more forgiving if the book has an action/adventure storyline and this kind of storyline is front and center. I do understand that the story may not have time to concentrate on the relationship and move it slowly and believably. I often really like the books which do not *only* concentrate on romance, but I still like some balance and what occurred in this book between the guys was too fast for me. I mean, two days to me just was not enough time to realize that they cannot live without each other. So basically to be happy with the relationship in this book you have to be able to buy lust from the first sight and love a day later. And I also thought that I could do with less sex scenes in this one.

As I wrote above, I found action/adventure storyline to be enjoyable and I really liked the woman they were helping. I cannot say a lot more about what exactly was happening because I do not want to reveal spoilers, but if romance was not an issue (maybe if they already were an established couple?) I would have graded this book higher. I also have to note that although I liked the angle the writer took with the time travel in this story, I thought that some of the rules she established were bent a little bit at the end and I am not sure it worked. I mean, I understood why that was needed, but I am still a little torn about how I feel about that.
Grade C+.

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REVIEW:  Into the Storm (Signal Bend #3) by Susan Fanetti

REVIEW: Into the Storm (Signal Bend #3) by Susan Fanetti

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Dear Ms. Fanetti:

I read and really enjoyed the first in the Signal Bend series, Move the Sun. The second entry, Behold the Stars, which Jane reviewed, I could barely finish, it was so violent. So I bought this book with some trepidation, but with the hope that your voice, which worked so well for me in Move the Sun, would work again for me. I was pleased to find that for the most part, this was the case.

Signal Bend, IN is in recovery from a war. The Night Horde MC, which runs the town, took on a drug kingpin in the last book and won, but not without horrifying collateral damage to the town and even more, to the townsfolk. Showdown Ryan suffered some of the worst losses. His oldest daughter, Daisy, was killed and his wife packed up their two younger girls and took off. Showdown takes all of the blame for the losses. He knows that as the #2 in the Night Horde, his family was a target and they paid the ultimate price for it. He is empty, he is barely putting one foot in front of the other and more than once has considered ending it all. He can’t bear to go back to the home where his family was attacked, and has been existing at the Night Horde’s keep.

Shannon Bannerman has been hired to run the Keller Bed and Breakfast, a new venture owned by the President of the Night Horde’s wife (and protagonist in books 1 & 2), Lilli. Shannon came to Signal Bend from the big city, which makes her a curiosity for the people of Signal Bend. She is extremely over qualified for the job, but also wants it desperately. It seems clear to the reader from the start that she is running from something. Shannon is very attracted to Showdown, but knows his story. She knows that it’s incredibly unlikely that he’d ever have any interest in here. Despite that, when the opportunity presents itself, Shannon lets Showdown know she’s attracted.

“What is your problem?”

At Shannon’s sharp question he turned to see her standing there, holding her arms across her body against the chill. The stance made her cleavage even more distracting.

“What?” He tossed his butt to the ground.

She took a couple of steps closer. He could reach out and touch her if he wanted, run his finger down the cleft between her breasts. He clenched his fists.

“You have to know I’m interested. You act like you have some kind of claim or responsibility or I don’t know what. But then you ignore me – or you don’t, and you say what you said in there. What the hell is your problem?”

“No problem. Just not interested.”

Her brow creased at that, and her eyes narrowed. Then she surprised the shit out of him by taking the last step between them and grabbing his face in her hands. She leaned in and kissed him, her lips silky on his, her mouth open. She tasted of tequila. He felt her tongue tracing his lower lip. He hadn’t had a woman’s mouth – her tongue!- on his mouth in…Christ, five years? Since Holly would even let him kiss her like this? His cock turned to cast iron, heavy and hard, and it was all he could do not to grab her. But he didn’t. He didn’t grab her, or kiss her back. He sat there feeling shocked and tormented.

When she pulled away, she searched his eyes for a moment. Then, with a sad little twitch of her lip, she nodded. “Okay. Sorry.” She turned and went back into the clubhouse. – Kindle location 1222

Of course, he’s interested. And soon after, he makes a move. Showdown and Shannon’s love story develops at a very slow pace. He thinks he’s emotionally dead, but she offers herself to him, and the more he knows of her, the more not just his libido, but his emotional self awakens. He begins to see that he has things to live for.

There are things that I really enjoyed about this story. I thought that Showdown’s emotional growth, from angry, emotionally unavailable man to one who is able to love was credible. Given that I’d gotten to know him in the previous two books and certainly, read the horror of the last book, I was glad to see him find some happiness. Shannon was a bit harder for me to get a bead on. She has a secret, and is technically running, although you never made me invest in what she was running from. I think because you delayed too long in delivering the backstory on her. Her conflict seemed manufactured because it arrived so late in the story and you’d built little to no foundation for it. So I wasn’t invested at all in that aspect of the story’s resolution.

That being said, I read the book in one sitting, and enjoyed getting to see the characters in a situation that was much less horrifying than book 2. As in the previous books, the sex scenes are plentiful and hot. And in the end, I was glad for having spent time reading the book. My hope in reviewing this book is that those who were put off by the extremity of the last book will give your work another chance. Because I felt like this story had potential and delivered on a good portion of it. I’d definitely read more from you. Final grade: B-/C+

Kind regards,

Kati

 

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