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REVIEW:  Midnight Vengeance by Lisa Marie Rice

REVIEW: Midnight Vengeance by Lisa Marie Rice

Midnight Vengeance (Midnight #4) by Lisa Marie Rice

Dear Ms. Rice:

Midnight Vengeance is the fourth book in a series that was first published in 2004. I’ve always enjoyed the Midnight series and have re-read the first one (as well as recommending it to others). The best thing about Midnight Vengeance is that it picks up right where the last Midnight book left off and it is written in the same spirit and tone as the other Midnight series. That said, it brings nothing new to the table. While the beginning was strong, it wrapped up rather quickly leaving me feeling a tad shorted.

Lauren is on the run from her wealthy family. She’s inherited a fortune from her stepfather’s illegal organization. Her step brother wants to claim the fortune and so arranges to have her killed. (Ignoring, of course, laws of inheritance to some degree. If she has a will, the money would go to those in her will. A stepbrother might not even inherit if she died without a will.) She lives a low key life although has allowed her art to be displayed by one of her friends. During an art showing, Lauren feels that she is exposed and that the danger she left behind has just caught up with her.

Morton “Jacko” Jackman has been poleaxed from the moment he saw her, barely able to form to coherent sentences in her presence. The conceit of the LMR book is that the hero is so taken with the heroine that he devolves into a single cell organism capable of only one action–being close to the heroine. As a former Navy SEAL and current security services professional, he’s uniquely suited to protect Lauren.

Beyond the setup, there isn’t any emotional activity in the book and I’m not certain why they fall in love other than they do. There were many scenes devoted to the person who was pursuing Lauren and perhaps a few of those could have been focused on seeing why Lauren and Jacko belonged together as a couple beyond their physical imperative.

The story easily pulls off the sweetness of the big bad security guy falling for the talented, beautiful and fragile heroine. Jacko’s internal monologues were humorous and Lauren’s worry about her safety was understandable. There was very little dialogue, however, which maybe contributed to the lack of connection I felt between the two and the love scenes seemed truncated and less intense.

One weird element is that he has his motorcycle stashed in the back of his SUV for nearly the entirety of the book. I found that odd and I kept getting hung up on it. Like could a big hog really fit in the back of an SUV? Felicity, a geeky Star Wars quoting nerd girl, was a scene stealer and I look forward to her book.

I’m glad I read Jacko but for newcomers to LMR, I’d recommend Midnight Man to start with. C+

Best regards,

Jane

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REVIEW:  You Own Me by Shiloh Walker

REVIEW: You Own Me by Shiloh Walker

You Own Me Shiloh Walker

Dear Ms. Walker:

Thank you for sending this book to me for review. I’m a big fan of the friends to lovers trope and was excited to dig in. The premise of this story is that Decker Calhoun went to prison for actions related to Elizabeth Waters. The why isn’t revealed until late in the story.  He’s yearned for Lizzie for a long time but has never acted on it; instead being a good guy friend. The big tattooed felon has it bad for Lizzie and its utterly sweet to watch him sweat over her dating another guy and how to best approach her.

Individually each character worked for me. It was the setup I struggled with. Decker has gone to prison for something which is only alluded to in the beginning. We know it has to do with Lizzie and we know he doesn’t regret it even though he gave up a college scholarship, a potential budding professional sports career, and spent time in prison. It’s all good.  He’s fine, for the most part, being a felon. He has a small circle of friends including the guy who gave him a post prison job as well as Selah and Lizzie.

Lizzie has her small circle of friends and an asshole boyfriend.  Said boyfriend tells Lizzie he’d like an open relationship where he gets to screw around. Rather than dump him, Lizzie is sent into an emotional tailspin. Selah convinces her to sign up for the same fetish dating site as her boyfriend and try the open relationship her boyfriend suggests. Selah’s motivations are to get Decker and Lizzie together.

It was so obvious to everyone that Decker and Lizzie were in love with each other that it didn’t make sense that Lizzie would continue to date anyone but Decker; that she’d hang on to her dumb boyfriend; that she’d sign up for a fetish dating profile. The two character’s actions of refusing to talk to each other once came off as unnatural.  Decker holding off because he thought Lizzie was happy was completely believable. Decker not pursuing Lizzie once she told him what her boyfriend wanted? Not believable.

Lizzie’s insecurity based on her boyfriend’s request? Believable. Lizzie not pursuing Decker when he practically laid at her feet? Not believable.

When the reveal of Decker’s big actions came about, it was a bit anticlimactic and I had a hard time buying into it. If he truly had no regrets because he loved Lizzie and had always loved her, that made some sense, but it didn’t seem like his love developed until he was in prison.

It was a short novella–under 100 pages. Decker and Lizzie were sweet characters. I loved that they ended up together. It’s the romance, the courtship part of the story, that I struggled with. C

Best regards,

Jane

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