Blog Tour & Author Guest Post for Quest of Honor

Today, I’m featuring David Tindell and his recent release, Quest for Honor. Based on the book’s description, it looks to be an engaging read, filled with action and suspense. Tindell has also written a guest post for us that explains his admiration for President Theodore Roosevelt, called “The Strenuous President.” Take a moment to check out the book and his informative blog post.

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Quest for Honor by David Tindell

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Publication Date: May 26, 2014

Genre: Military, Suspense

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“I love the name of honor, more than I fear death.” Julius Caesar

Jim Hayes lives a quiet life in Wisconsin, training in martial arts and studying the warrior ethos. Unable to prevent the murder of his wife six years earlier, Jim is determined that the next time he is called upon to act, things will be different, and he can restore the sense of honor he believes he has lost.

His estranged brother Mark, an Army colonel commanding a firebase in the mountains of Afghanistan, sees his career winding down and wonders what lies in store when he comes home. After years of dedicated service to his country, he fears nothing else will measure up when he removes the uniform for the last time.

In lawless Somalia, al Qaeda chieftain Yusuf Shalita, tired of endless jihad, has decided to defect, in one last attempt at redemption. But Shalita has only met one American he has ever trusted, so he tells the CIA he will surrender himself to Jim Hayes, his old friend from their college days in Wisconsin. That demand will bring the Hayes brothers back together in a way they never imagined, as they fight to prevent a new and devastating terror attack on the very heart of America.

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Sunday Series Spotlight: SEAL Team Six Outcasts

Today, I’m spotlighting a Military Suspense/Thriller series co-authored by two former Navy SEALs, Howard E. Wasdin and Stephen Templin.  I haven’t had the chance to read the series, but it’s now on my reading list. In fact, all four of their books listed below look like excellent reads.

About the Series

A group of outcasts who take on those who threaten U.S. security but without the support of the government. (from Goodreads)

Genres: Military Suspense, Thriller

SEAL Team Six Outcasts ( #1)

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Published May 29, 2012

Publisher: Gallery Books/ 352 pgs

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They are the Outcasts. Because people don’t want to know what they do. 

Alex Brandenburg: SEAL Chief Petty Officer and Outcasts Team Leader. Disobeyed direct orders by refusing to let a deadly terrorist live to kill another day. Francisco “Pancho” Rodriguez and John Landry: SEAL Petty Officers First Class. Took the pursuit of justice into their own hands with explosive results. Catherine “Cat” Fares. Navy Petty Officer. Holds an unbeatable record for pissing off the top brass with her strongly stated opinions on the combat readiness of women. 

The team’s mission: Take out the seven terror merchants vying to take Bin Laden’s place. The team’s status: Expendable. 

When America’s controversial Phoenix Program was buried during the Vietnam War, a new program rose from its ashes. A top-secret Special Operations unit, with a core mission to combat terror wherever they find it, Bitter Ash grew ever more necessary in a new world of Islamic fanaticism. Now, Bitter Ash is forming a special team, a SEAL Team Six with a difference. It is Tier One, on par with SEAL Team Six and Delta, but it will report directly to Bitter Ash, and its fight will take place under the cover of dark. 

With Bin Laden dead, the petty leaders within al Qaeda struggle to assume his role at the top. The president of the United States doesn’t want any of them left to dominate . . . and that means he has only one choice. But doing what’s needed without political repercussions will take a small team flying under the radar. A team capable of finessing the U.N.’s distinctions on national sovereignty and acts of war. A team like the Outcasts. 

With no official support from their government and no one to rely on but themselves, the Outcasts must track down each target. Hot on the tail of the third, Brandenburg and the team start to realize that they are closing in on a larger plot, one that puts the security of the United States in dangerous jeopardy. The terrorists are threatening American territory once again, and the Outcasts will have to do what SEALs do best. Whatever it takes to keep their country safe.

Buy from Amazon: Outcasts: A SEAL Team Six Novel

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ARC Review of Honor Unraveled (Red Team #3)

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Release Date: July 29, 2013

Honor Unraveled (Red Team #3) by Elaine Levine

Book Description 

Love Isn’t a Battle…

Kit Bolanger, ex-spec ops soldier, has followed the trail of an international drug lord back to his childhood town, the one place he swore never return to. He and his team of terrorist hunters are the only thing standing between the town’s residents and the evil threatening them. It doesn’t help to know that she’s here—the woman who betrayed his trust and shredded his heart.

…It’s a War and He’s Offering No Quarter

Deciding to put roots down, Ivy Banks has brought her daughter home to the sleepy ranching community of Wolf Creek Bend, Wyoming—the one place where she was certain she’d never run into her high school flame. But he’s back, fighting a global enemy and home-grown terrorists in a hidden war that puts their lives and their hearts in jeopardy. He was bad news in high school, and he’s even worse news now.

Surrendering to him is not an option…but it’s the only thing he’ll accept.

Book Review

Honor Unraveled is the third book in Elaine Levine’s Red Team series, an exciting special-ops romantic suspense. I started this series last year when I downloaded the first book, The Edge of Courage (Red Team #1,) as an Amazon freebie. Needless, to say, I was hooked.

Levine knows how write romantic suspense novels that have just the right blend of  swoon-worthy romance and dangerous suspenseful scenes to maintain my interest and pique my curiosity about what’s to come.

Levine has the ability to create compelling heroes who are fierce protectors of their loved ones and who are willing to sacrifice their lives to save others.

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The heroes in this series are far from perfect; their insecurities and past traumas force them to deal with inner demons that thus far have kept them from finding personal happiness. The female protagonists they fall for challenge, support, and deeply love them.

This series focuses on a group of former members of the elite Red Team, a covert military team  within the U.S. Army. Now, working in the private sector, they have joined forces with the FBI and Homeland Security to track down an active terrorist group in the U.S. run by an Afghan drug lord. These terrorists have strong ties to a regional white supremacist group called the White Kingdom Brotherhood who distribute their drugs brought into the U.S.

After reading Honor Unraveled, I can see that Levine has created a complex, well-planned plot that increasingly becomes more intricate as it unfolds with each romantic story. This is a series that must be read in sequence and the storylines of characters featured in previous books continue to develop.

The main romance in this story occurs between Kit and his high school girlfriend, Ivy. The Prologue provides a solid foundation for establishing the current tension between Kit and Ivy. Their romance ended when Ivy’s parents forced their separation. Yet, they are forever bound by their daughter, Casey.  Hurts from the past continue to keep them apart until Ivy and Casey become targets for Kit’s enemies. Kit forces them to stay at the team’s newly forged compound to keep them safe.  Ivy wants nothing more to do with Kit and is determined to move on with her life, yet Kit is determined to win her back, or at least do everything possible to determine if their relationship is salvageable.

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So far, Ivy is the one heroine in this series that I didn’t really connect with or particularly like.

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Her indifference to Kit and her reluctance to let him play a more integral role in their lives did not seem fully justified. Yes, I understand that she felt abandoned by Kit when they were teenagers, but he didn’t leave her by choice. Her parents played the biggest role in keeping them apart.

Ivy blames Kit for not finding her sooner, but she never bothered to look for him either. When he does learn that Ivy has returned to Wolf Creek and they have a daughter, he does everything he can to make sure they are financially supported. He is always watching out for their well-being even though Ivy hasn’t always been aware of it.  Kit now looks back and thinks he was a coward for keeping his distance from them, but I never saw any indication that Ivy tried to encourage him to be more active in Casey’s life. Casey has spent the past twelve years of her life thinking her father didn’t want her, and I don’t think Ivy ever did anything to make her think otherwise.

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As a result, I didn’t really root for them to reunite as strongly as I have with the other couples featured. I like the angle Levine takes with story, showing that love can endure, no matter the obstacles or passage of time.  I just didn’t feel that “wow” with them as a couple. There are some brief flashbacks about their time together in high school, but I think if I had been given more vivid memories showing how they fell in love, I may have better understood why Ivy is the only woman Kit can ever love.

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Levine’s beautiful metaphors and imagery to describe Kit’s feelings for Ivy do make me believe his love and concern for her is genuine and not generated by a sense of obligation.

Kit is a wonderful hero and his love for his daughter is touching. My favorite scene is when he tries to comfort Casey as she experiences an important first—the transition to womanhood. An awkward, potentially embarrassing situation only forges a closer, stronger bond between father and daughter.

Kit grew up with a single mother who neglected him and he has always had to deal with feelings of being unwanted and unloved. That’s what he wants so desperately from Ivy and Casey.

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I could understand his pain, and Ivy’s coldness toward him through much of the book only magnified his insecurities. I just didn’t feel her yearning and love for Kit.

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On a positive note, however, she does redeem herself, in my eyes, when she makes a sincere apology to Kit for all that she has put him through over the years.  Furthermore, in the latter part of the book, I did start to see more depth in her love for Kit and her desire for them to be a family, no matter that being with him will keep them from living, normal, safe lives.

As with the previous two books, Levine continues to write intense, sensual love scenes in the midst of ongoing action and suspense. In this book, I am also glad to see the development of other characters, such as Owen and Max, who will play more prominent roles as the story continues.  Levine also creates new story threads that thicken the plot and create more mysteries to be solved. An unexpected but intriguing twist is the introduction of a seemingly peaceful separatist group called the Friendship Community who have become part of this sinister network of antagonists.

She also adds the one and only female Red Team member, Selena, to the mission, who is as fierce a warrior as the men.

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Her run-ins with Owen have already created tension and make me wonder about the future of their relationship.

One disappointment I had with this story is that I had hoped the surprising cliffhanger ending from the second book revolving around Ty and his father would get resolved. I expected Ty to continue his active investigation to learn more about his father, but I didn’t see any development of this subplot. However, I anticipate that it will get resolved at some point as its importance to the overall plot is exposed.

Overall, I enjoyed how the book ended. It left me satisfied until the next book is released, which I hope won’t be too long. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that it will feature Kellen and Fiona’s story.

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I received an advanced copy of this book from the author to provide honest feedback as a beta reader. Note: the characters and/or the plot may change by the time the book is officially published.

Rating

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About the Author (from Goodreads)

ABOUT ELAINE’S WORK:

I make stuff up. And I have fun doing it.

Genre fiction gives me the perfect medium to build worlds where readers can join me for fun adventures. Pick up one of my Men of Defiance historical western romances and slip your fingers around the Colt .44 of a legendary gunslinger, be a scout on a wagon train, or ride shotgun on a stagecoach. Pick up one of my Red Team romantic suspenses and join the battle against international druglords and home-grown terrorists with a hot team of counter-terror specialists.

Romance fiction lets you be, for a few sweet hours, something you’re not. Which is cool, because every time you look at life through someone else’s eyes, you learn more about yourself.

So read often–become who you were meant to be.

ABOUT ELAINE:

I was born a poor, white child into a modestly affluent family, third daughter to a father who wanted only sons. I cooked and cleaned and mended my evil stepmother’s and stepsister’s ball gowns until my very own Prince Charming stole me away. We had two beautiful children, a boy and girl, who left our granola-eating, tree-hugging family to be warriors and, well, Republicans. Our son heard the siren call of the woman he loves and presented Prince Charming and me with two beautiful grandchildren, a girl and a boy. Our daughter continues on the warrior’s path and yearns for a lifemate more alpha than she but has an adorable to dog to occupy her attention in the meantime. And if you believe this fairytale, you’ll certainly love my books, so give them a try!

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The first book in the series, The Edge of Courage,  is currently $.99 (ebook)

Review of New Release: I Dream of Danger (Ghost Ops #2)

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Release Date: July 2, 2013

Purchase on Amazon: I Dream of Danger: A Ghost Ops Novel

I Dream of Danger (Ghost Ops #2) by Lisa Marie Rice

Book Description

They are the Ghost Ops: a covert squad of super-elite soldiers. After their team was betrayed and massacred, the three surviving members went underground and built Haven, a community of misfits and geniuses. Now they’re at a crossroads, facing a new threat capable of destroying everything they hold dear.

When Nick Ross disappears from Elle Thomason’s life, she is certain she’ll never see the man she loves again—except in her dreams. Ten years later, as a respected researcher breaking new ground in psychic phenomena, she sends a desperate call for Nick’s help. One by one, her colleagues have started disappearing . . . and Elle knows she’s next. An elite soldier, Nick never meant to hurt Elle, duty kept him away—and then she vanished. Now troubled by unusually vivid, disturbing dreams of Elle in danger, Nick will rescue the only woman he’s ever wanted and bring her back with him to Haven.

Though powerful men are after Elle and her special abilities, Nick will die before leaving her side again. 

Book Review

I read Heart of Danger, the debut of the Ghost Ops series earlier this year and enjoyed the creative story angle Rice presents by delving into a not so distant future world of elite military warriors who are considered domestic terrorists by the U.S. government and are now fugitives. Although I Dream of Danger does provide exposition about the plot conflicts, it is best to start the series with the first book. I felt the background information provided in this second book was more to help readers remember important details about the plot rather than to introduce new readers to this series.

I expected the plot to focus on the Ghost Ops’ means of survival as they are being hunted and their quest to clear their name.

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While this aspect is part of the story, it becomes secondary to a more complex plot revolving around a sinister scientist’s obsession with creating a superhuman warrior. The paranormal aspects included add a level of intrigue to the story, and they provide the impetus for human scientific experimentation to continue and for the Ghost Ops team’s involvement to stop the unethical practices of a wealthy pharmaceutical company.

The novel begins ten years before the current action of the central plot. Ella Thomason is the protagonist who has a connection with one of the future Ghost Op team members, Nick Ross. She grew up with Nick until his sudden disappearance five years ago.  When he unexpectedly shows up at the funeral of Ella’s father, she is both shocked and excited about his return:

“The Nick standing next to her looked just as he had in her dreams-hard, tough, fully a man. Dark eyes that gave nothing away, close-cropped dark hair, broad shoulders, lean muscles. A formidable man in every way, even though the last time she’d seen him he’d been just on the verge of manhood.”

During his absence, Ella has often had vivid dreams about Nick observing his life, and through her dreams, she can piece together information about what Nick’s life might be like.  She has never been as close to anyone as she was to Nick, and his abrupt departure left her feeling more alone than ever. Her loneliness was only compounded when she had to sacrifice her life, her dreams, and her education to stay home and take care of her ailing father, whose dementia steadily worsened.

Rice uses multiple POVs to tell the story this story which was effective in providing more depth to their characters and adding more substance to the story. Getting Ella’s and Nick’s POVs deepened my understanding of the intense feelings they have for each other, even through their separation.  Later in the story, Rice also adds the POV of the antagonist, Dr. Charles Lee, the scientist with a deranged agenda for creating a super warrior with special powers.  His motivation for power and respect is the driving force behind his actions.

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During these early scenes it is evident that Ella’s feelings for Nick are stronger than just friendship:

“Nick had been in her heart always, since he had first come into their lives. She’d only been seven, but she loved him the moment she laid eyes on him. She’d been a girl then, but she was a woman now-and everything womanly in her was concentrated on him, his handsome face, those broad shoulders, the outsized hands.” 

Nick’s POV reveals his inner conflict over his restraint and desire for Ella. His attraction for her began before he left her, knowing she was too young for him at the time.

“But now? She wasn’t a young girl, she was a woman and blindingly beautiful. She was no longer the pretty girl of privilege, she was a beautiful woman who had suffered. Overly thin, unsmiling, stunning.

Absolutely irresistible.” 

Nick and Ella finally give into their yearnings for one another as passion consumes them. Ella is elated that Nick is back in her life.  When Nick leaves Ella again without telling her where he is going, she is devastated:  “Nick…was gone. It struck her like a blow to the heart, squeezing all the air out of her chest.”  His abandonment once again almost breaks her. By providing this glimpse of how their relationship has developed, Rice reinforces the agony both Ella and Nick experience once they are no longer together.
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However, I was relieved to see Ella take charge of her life by leaving her childhood home that has become a dark, depressing, stifling place that would only continue to stagnate her.  Courageously, she takes her meager belongings and with limited resources sets out to forget Nick and begin living her life. Kudos to Ella for being proactive instead of playing the victim!

The author makes a smooth transition to describe Ella’s life ten years later. The vivid, life-like dreams Ella has had her entire life have led her to study neurobiology so that she can begin to identify, understand, and control her perception that she is having out-of-body experiences when she dreams. Her work leads her to become part of a research group focused on the study of those with psychic abilities.  Unknowingly, she has become a part of Dr. Lee’s experimentation on human subjects in his efforts to create super soldiers with enhanced abilities and powers.

When members of the research group go missing, Ella is forced to flee. Her desperate situation leads her to psychically call out for Nick, who is now a member of the fugitive Ghost Ops team. Nick hears her call in his dream and begins a frantic search to find Ella. From this point on, the Ghost Ops get involved in the drama.  Here we get to see a very different side of unflinching, stoic Nick whose biggest weakness is Ella. I could feel the meltdown he was beginning to experience in the painstaking search for the woman he loves.  Rice does an excellent job of describing Nick’s tumultuous emotions and his growing impatience to rescue Ella. I even begin to get anxious, silently saying, “Hurry, hurry, hurry before it’s too late!”  Needless to say, the suspense was intense.

Ella is an admirable character because of her diligence in overcoming the obstacles she has faced. She never complained or whined about the sacrifices she made to care for her father.  She started over with nothing and eventually earned a Ph.D. Intuitively, she knows she has a gift that others do not, and I like that she becomes passionate about her research to find answers.  Yet, when she becomes suspicious about the real agenda behind Lee’s research, I’m disappointed when she passively continues with research she knows is unethical.

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The story builds into another crisis when Ella eventually works with the Ghost Ops team to resolve another major conflict of the story: the need to rescue her fellow research subjects who have been kidnapped by Dr. Lee and whose lives are in immediate danger.

Furthermore, Ella has her own inner conflicts that she must deal with before she can move forward now that Nick has reappeared in her life.  How will she deal with the pain from Nick’s abandonment and can she overcome her fears that he won’t leave her again?

Rice also weaves in an unexpected element to the story that creates another suspenseful plot thread which changed my expectations of what to expect next In his impatience to develop a super warrior, Dr. Lee has begun injecting himself with the experimental drug, and the consequences of his actions shocked and frightened me. This complication is just developing and will certainly carry over into the plot of the third book in the series. I am looking forward to discovering how this new problem will add to the plot.

Rice does a good job of describing and explaining the advanced technology used to forward the plot in this fictitious world, and she shows how the technology can improve our lives, but that it also has the potential to destroy our future.

I had three major issues with the plot. First of all, I appreciated that Rice included background information throughout the story to aid in the reader’s understanding, but at times this information was redundant and detracted from the pacing of the story.
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A second aspect was that I felt the rescue mission to capture Ella’s colleagues was rushed and lacked the full attention it deserved. I wish Rice would have lengthened the story so that the drama could have been heightened.

A final component that I didn’t like was in how closely this storyline replicated the one in Heart of Danger. A Ghost Op falls in love with a scientist with paranormal abilities, and she uses those powers to help in the mission. I also found the crisis and its outcome mimics the one in the first book. I hope that this doesn’t mean Rice will use a formulaic plot as she continues the series.

Overall, this is a series that I will continue to follow. The characterization and creative storyline with some surprising events kept my interest, and I look forward to the third book which features Jon, the third predominant team member and his search for a woman in danger.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

Disclaimer:  All quotes used in this review have been taken from the book’s pre-published version and may be changed or omitted from the final, published copy.

Rating (I would rate this 3.5 Suns so I am rounding up)

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About the Author

Author

Lisa Marie Rice is eternally 30 years old and will never age. She is tall and willowy and beautiful. Men drop at her feet like ripe pears. She has won every major book prize in the world. She is a black belt with advanced degrees in archaeology, nuclear physics, and Tibetan literature. She is a concert pianist. Did I mention her Nobel Prize? Of course, Lisa Marie Rice is a virtual woman and exists only at the keyboard when writing erotic romance. She disappears when the monitor winks off. (From Amazon)

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Heart of Danger (Ghost Ops #1)

Heart of Danger Cover

Purchase on Amazon:Heart of Danger: A Ghost Ops Novel

“Edgy, sexy, endlessly exciting…. Give me a dangerous, seductive Lice Marie Rice hero any day …or night.”
New York Times bestselling author Shannon McKenna

 

Review of SEAL of Honor (HORNET # 1) by Tonya Burrows

Seal of Honor

Purchase on Amazon: SEAL of Honor (Hornet)

SEAL of Honor (HORNET # 1) by Tonya Burrows

Book Description

It’s a good thing Gabe Bristow lives and breathes the Navy SEAL credo, “the only easy day was yesterday,” because today, his life is unrecognizable. When his prestigious career comes to a crashing halt, he’s left with a bum leg and few prospects for employment that don’t include a desk.

That is, until he’s offered the chance to command a private hostage rescue team and free a wealthy American businessman from Colombian paramilitary rebels. It seems like a good deal—until he meets his new team: a drunk Cajun linguist, a boy-genius CIA threat analyst, an FBI negotiator with mob ties, a cowboy medic, and an EOD expert as volatile as the bombs he defuses. Oh, and who could forget the sexy, frustratingly impulsive Audrey Van Amee? She’s determined to help rescue her brother—or drive Gabe crazy. Whichever comes first.

As the death toll rises, Gabe’s team of delinquents must figure out how to work together long enough to save the day. Or, at least, not get themselves killed.Because Gabe’s finally found something worth living for, and God help him if he can’t bring her brother back alive.

*****

Book Review

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I jumped at the chance to review Seal of Honor because of its plot and the fact that I’m always drawn to characters who are involved in dangerous, military-style covert operations.  Add romance to the story, and it’s a must read for me.  Tonya Burrows’ debut novel shows a promising start to this new series.

Lieutenant Commander Gabe Bristow and his close friend Travis Quinn are newly retired Navy SEALS due to a car accident that left them with permanent injuries, ending their careers.

Travis wants Gabe to work with him in the private sector doing security work, but Gabe is reluctant to pursue this career avenue until Travis introduces him to Tucker Quentin, who is funding a private hostage rescue team that he wants Gabe to lead. Compared to the desk job, Gabe’s father, the Admiral has lined up for him with the Pentagon, this seems like a more appealing option, and thus the HORNETs are born.

Quentin needs a team assembled immediately for their first mission: to rescue American entrepreneur, Bryson Van Amee, who has been kidnapped by a notorious terrorist group while conducting business in South America. The terrorists demand a ransom in exchange for Van Amee’s release. While the FBI is officially in charge of the case, Van Amee’s insurance company has hired the HORNETs to go in undercover and rescue Van Amee.

Travis has already organized a haphazard team of men who have never met, but who have experience in this type of work: ex-CIA, former FBI negotiator, Delta Force medic, a linguist, and an explosives expert. The team members officially meet on the flight to Columbia, and it becomes abundantly clear that this group is going to have problems trying to work together. Although everyone brings a vital skill to the group, Gabe realizes their lack of discipline, along with their diverse personalities and attitudes will be a barrier to the success of this mission.

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As leader of the group, Gabe tries organize the group by integrating some of the tactics he learned to be part of a successful SEAL team. However, throughout the story, their clashing personalities, plus the emotional baggage each is carrying around lead to disagreements and minor conflicts that further complicate the plot.

Burrows has created a group of heroes who are flawed but realistic.  For example, Gabe, the team leader and protagonist of this story struggles with a mangled foot and has to use a cane to get around. His physical impairment can become an obstacle for him when he is put in a dangerous situation, and he hasn’t quite accepted that he will never again be a SEAL.

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Throughout the story, Burrows gives readers a glimpse into each man’s past, fears, and haunting demons to establish a foundation for the continuing series.

During their search for Van Amee’s location, they find Bryson’s sister, Audrey Van Amee also in the area conducting her own search for her brother. When she meets the team, she’s not quite sure what to think: “Such an odd assortment of men. She wasn’t sure whether to cheer, laugh, or cry that they were apparently her brother’s only hope since the FBI wasn’t doing jack to save him.”  However, once Audrey learns Gabe, their leader, was a SEAL, she begins to gain confidence that they can succeed in their rescue mission.

Audrey is strong-willed and determined to be involved in finding her brother. Although Gabe doesn’t want her involved in the mission, he reluctantly concedes when the rest of the team supports her involvement since she is fluent in Spanish and can translate information.  Deep down, he knows he’s also very attracted to her and worries she will be a distraction for him:

“God knew she drew him like the proverbial doomed moth to a flame. Which ticked him off in a big way. Never before had a woman fascinated him to distraction like this. He liked to keep his love life-if he could even call it that…as orderly and precise as everything else he did. But she had the potential to destroy his meticulous life like a wrecking ball through concrete.” 

Gabe partners with her to help get information from someone who works for Van Amee, and, while on the way back to their base of operations, they are kidnapped by guerilla soldiers and taken hostage into the jungle. From this point, the story’s pacing picks up and is full of non-stop action and suspense.   Now that their leader is missing, the team is forced to put aside their differences and form a cohesive group to find Gabe and Audrey so they can continue with the mission.

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I enjoyed watching these alpha characters get to know each other and begin to bond.

In the midst of all this danger, Gabe and Audrey are unable to resist the strong attraction between them. I was surprised they could let their guard down in this ongoing crisis to become intimate with one another. The entire time, Audrey worried and cried over her brother, yet, when alone with Gabe, she seems to easily put her worries aside and flirtatiously teases him into giving in to her seduction. I can’t say this was unrealistic because the direness of their situation may have pushed them to make the most of every moment they could, but the timing of these romantic scenes just seemed incongruent with the precariousness of their situation.

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Overall, though, I enjoyed Gabe and Audrey’s growing relationship. Audrey is brave and assertive, facing confrontation head on, instead of shying away. Gabe’s calm, commanding presence is complementary to her sometimes impulsive behavior. Gabe is a man with honor and integrity. He wants to do what is right, and he feels that it is unprofessional to get involved with Audrey. When she admits she loves him, he thinks it’s only temporary because of the situation. With time, she’ll realize that her love for him was only an illusion.  Gabe doesn’t have much hope for their relationship after the mission:

“Her eyes, still spilling tears, never left his, and he saw her heart there, his for the taking if he wanted. He did. Christ, did he ever want it, want her. So much that he ached with a sweet need to make her his forever. But he couldn’t do it. It was impossible. He couldn’t be the kind of man a woman like her wanted for the long haul.”

His feelings for Audrey are a constant emotional battle that he fights throughout the story.

I enjoyed reading this story and found the mystery and suspense behind the rescue thrilling. Just when I thought the story had reached its resolution, an unexpected twist emerges creating one final, climatic conflict. Burrows ties all loose story ends together in a satisfying outcome.

I received a copy of this book from Entangled Publishing, courtesy of publicist  J.J. Bonds to provide an honest review.

Rating

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*****

About the Author

Tonya Burrows

(From Goodreads)

Writing has always been my one true love. I wrote my first novel-length story in 8th grade and haven’t put down my pen since. I received a B.A. in creative writing from SUNY Oswego and I’m now working on a MFA in popular fiction at Seton Hill University.

When I’m not writing, I spend my time reading, painting (badly), exploring new places, and enjoying time with my family. Give me a good horror movie over a chick flick any day. (And, let’s be honest, I’ll take a bad horror movie too!) I’m a geek at heart and pledge my avid TV fandom to Supernatural and Doctor Who. I’m also a big fan of The Voice. What can I say? Guilty pleasure.​​

I share my life with two dogs and a ginormous cat. I’m from a small town in Western New York, but I suffer from a bad case of wanderlust and usually end up moving someplace new every few years. Luckily, my animals are all excellent travel buddies.

Author Links

Official Website | Twitter | Goodreads Profile | Facebook

*****

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Other Works by Tonya Burrows

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Purchase on Amazon: Wilde Nights in Paradise (A Wilde Security Novel) (Entangled Brazen)

Review of New Release Sniper Elite: One-Way Trip

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Purchase on Amazon: Sniper Elite: One-Way Trip: A Novel 

Sniper Elite: One-Way Trip by Scott McEwen with Thomas Koloniar

Book Description

IN DIRECT DEFIANCE of the president’s orders, Navy Master Chief Gil Shannon, one of America’s most lethal SEAL snipers, launches a bold mission comprised of SEAL Team Six and Delta Force fighters to free a captured female helicopter pilot being held by Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan.

The president is afraid a botched rescue could jeopardize US foreign policy as well as end his presidency. But once the special ops community learns that one of their own—the first female helicopter pilot of the Army’s elite 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (SOAR)—is being held and brutally mistreated, there is no executive order strong enough to stop them from attempting to rescue her.

This fast-paced, action-packed thriller with incredibly realistic and blistering battles introduces a new American hero, Gil Shannon, whose iron will and expertise with the .308 Remington Modular sniper rifle will spell the difference between freedom and an ignoble death for America’s female POW.

*****

Book Review

Sniper Elite is one of the best military suspense novels I have read in a long time.  I really appreciated the author clarifying that the fictional storyline actually details some of the special operation missions that have actually occurred.  The book is riveting, full of intense action scenes that provide us with insight into the danger and brutality that are an evident part of war.

The protagonist is Navy Master Chief Gil Shannon and readers first encounter him taking a break at his ranch in Montana with his supportive wife, Marie.  We begin to get a glimpse of Gil’s character and his passion serving as a Navy SEAL when he tells his wife: “It’s what I do, baby. I can’t explain it, but I feel like the only other thing I was ever meant to do was love you.”

Meanwhile, the story shifts to the capture of Warrant Officer Sandra Brux, the first female pilot, to serve in the elite Night Stalkers, who provide support during black op missions. While observing a military training exercise in Afghanistan, their group is attacked by terrorists. Sandra is the only survivor and is taken prisoner to a secret location, where a ransom is demanded for her release.  In order to rush the government to make a decision whether to pay the ransom, Sandra is brutally tortured. Video footage is sent as evidence.

The current President has little knowledge of military operations and relies upon his staff to help him understand his options. Of course each option has political ramifications, especially since the President is close to re-election.  Although ransoms are not usually paid for servicemen captured, Sandra’s gender and distinguished status provide cause for consideration. The President worries about the public backlash that could ensue if word is leaked of her abduction and the President’s failure to take appropriate action for her rescue.

While the President and his advisors are in the decision-making process, Gil and other members of  Special Forces, especially the Night Stalkers are adamant that they will rescue Sandra, since she is one their own. Gil and an Afghani translator working for the U.S. put together a secret team combining SEAL and DELTA operatives.

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Without authorized military support, Gil knows that he and the others who have agreed to take this risk may not return from this mission. Gil’s call to wife before he leaves letting her know that he may not return is heart-wrenching to say the least.

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When this perilous mission gets underway, it is a heart pounding, action-packed, edge of your seat depiction of the rescue that is so graphically detailed and realistic I found I could really envision these dramatic scenes.  The Epilogue did not leave me at ease, and I hope the authors will continue the story in a future book.

This was an excellent read that gave me a greater understanding of the dangerous situations our armed forces encounter while loyally serving their country.  Their dedication and willingness to give their lives for our safety defines them as true heroes that deserve our admiration and respect.

I received a copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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Rating

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About the Author (From Amazon)

author Scott McEwen

Scott McEwen (1961- )is a trial attorney in San Diego, California. He grew up in the mountains of Eastern Oregon where he became an Eagle Scout; hiking, fishing, and hunting at every opportunity presented. He obtained his undergraduate degree in Oregon and thereafter studied and worked extensively in London, England. Scott works with and provides support for several military charitable organizations, including the Seal Team Foundation.

Scott’s interest in military history, intense patriotism, and experience with long-range hunting rifles, compelled him to accurately record the battlefield experiences of Chris Kyle, the most lethal sniper in United States military history.

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New Release and Review of Headed for Trouble by Suzanne Brockmann

Book Cover

Purchase on Amazon: Headed for Trouble (Troubleshooters) (eBook)

Headed for Trouble (Troubleshooters) (Book)

Release Date: April 30, 2013

Headed for Trouble (Troubleshooters # 16.5) by Suzanne Brockmann

Book Description

New York Times bestselling author Suzanne Brockmann, whom USA Today calls “the reigning queen of military suspense,” breaks out a rapid-fire collection of pulse-pounding, heart-tugging stories and novellas featuring the intrepid men and women of Troubleshooters Inc., fiction’s hottest ultimate counterterrorism squad.
 
• Tough-as-nails Troubleshooters operative Sam Starrett learns the agony of loving someone in danger—and the hell of waiting on the home front—as his wife, Alyssa, hurtles into a foreign hotspot that’s about to boil over.
 
• Navy SEAL Frank O’Leary’s ill-fated holiday reunion with his older brother takes a turn for the better—when a chance encounter on a rainy New Orleans street gives Frank a reason to be thankful after all.
 
• In a maze of tunnels deep beneath a military base in Germany, Jules Cassidy, Alyssa Locke, and their comrades in arms match wits with terrorists on a mission with explosive consequences.
 
Plus more never-before-released adventures featuring Jenk, Izzy, Gillman, Lopez, Kenny, Savannah, and other members of SEAL Team 16—along with Suzanne Brockmann’s exclusive interviews with her beloved characters.
 
Looking for the best kind of trouble? You’ve found it!

Watch the Book Trailer

*****

Book Review

If you are a fan of Suzanne Brockmann’s Troubleshooter series, you will enjoy reading the variety of short works ranging from character sketches, descriptive scenes of characters in action, to lengthier short stories. Even if you haven’t read the series, you can appreciate the book and get an introduction to the author’s writing style and her amazing ability for character development. Reading this anthology may be all the motivation needed to start this series.

There are currently sixteen books that comprise the Troubleshooter’s series. Brockmann provides a timeline and brief description of each book to either introduce you or remind you of the ongoing plot sequence and numerous characters involved. At the start of each story, readers are given a time frame to help understand how these short pieces fit into the overall story line.

A sampling of my favorites from this collection:

“When Frank Met Rosie” –Readers get greater insight into Frank O’Leary’s character and background, learning more about his thoughts and feelings beyond his military role. His encounter with Rosie is a great reminder that we have to embrace the opportunity for love when it knocks on our door, no matter how inconvenient the timing may be.

“Waiting”-A heart-wrenching look at what families of those serving out of country emotionally endure on a regular basis, never knowing if their loved ones are safe. While taking care of his daughter at home while his wife Alyssa is away on a mission, Sam learns that her group has come under fire and the wait begins to find out whether she has been injured or worse. Brockmann shows the fear, worry, and absolute helplessness that Same feels for the woman he loves. It’s hard to be calm and patient under these almost unbearable circumstances.

“Interview with Tom and Kelly” –I loved these protagonists from the first book, Unsung Hero, in the series, and it was nice to learn more about how their relationship has progressed since the resolution of their story.

“Trapped”-Wow! This story will give readers a good idea of how Brockmann builds suspense in her writing.  The plot sequence of starting in the middle of the story and then using a flashback before moving forward toward the end kept me uncertain of what to expect and minimized the predictability of the work.

“Shane’s Last Stand”-a poignant novella showing Shane Laughlin’s willingness to do what’s right no matter what the personal cost. He is truly an admirable character.

In addition, Suzanne peppers the anthology with details about her thought process in character development and themes.

It is  a great anthology that allowed me to read short bits at a time and really savor my experience with these characters.

I received an ARC copy of this book from Random House Publishing- Ballantine Books via NetGalley for an honest review.

Rating

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About Suzanne Brockmann

Suzanne

Suzanne Brockmann is the author of nearly 50 romance and romantic suspense novels, including her wildly popular 15-books-and-counting Troubleshooters series. She also wrote the popular Tall, Dark & Dangerous series for Silhouette Intimate Moments.

In her free time she likes to sing and do volunteer work. She is a proud member of PFLAG (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) as well as many other equality groups. (from Goodreads)

Author Links

Suzanne Brockmann Website

Goodreads  Profile

Twitter

Facebook

*****

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Music to Complement the Book

A Special, heartfelt thank you to troops from all U.S. Military Branches and their families for the daily sacrifices they make for our protection!

Toby Keith: “American Soldier”

SHeDAISY : ” Come Home Soon” – Official Video

Start the Troubleshooter Series Now!

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Purchase on Amazon:The Unsung Hero (Troubleshooter) (ebook) or The Unsung Hero (Troubleshooters, Book 1) (book)

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Review of The Pride

PrideBookCoverSnagitThe Pride by Patricia Morse

Purchase from Amazon: The Pride

Book Description

Six brave Americans heard their calling after the attacks of September 11, 2001. Evie, Lexie, and the Four Fellas courageously volunteered to become super-human hybrid warriors, to aid the United States against her war on terror. Little did they know, sometimes the terror comes from within.  The Pride will take you on a cross country journey full of action, suspense, and even a little romance, as Evie, Lexie, and their brood take on an enemy that none of them could have seen coming.

Review

Let me start this review by stating that I chose not to finish this book; therefore, my review is premature and should not necessarily deter others from giving this book a chance.

I downloaded this book, excited about the premise. Following the September 11th terrorist attacks, the military takes a select group of soldiers from various branches of the military and each undergoes a transformation that combines lion and human DNA to create “super soldiers”  known as The Pride. Two of the central characters, Lexie and Evie, are females, and the point of view switches between them (as far as I read).  In many of the military suspense novels I have read, the protogonists are male, so I was looking forward to the story told from a female perspective.

For me, a good story will grab the reader’s attention and pull them into the fictitious world created. The book begins with Lexie describing how she feels upon waking from her transformation and providing background information to set up the plot. I found the exposition behind the story’s permise to be lacking.  Why choose to use lion DNA?  How did scientists and doctors know this would work?  What are the benefits, the risks for everyone involved?  I just learn that it happened. Lexie says, “I stared at myself in the mirror, hardly recognizing the face staring back at me. My hair was luminescent and golden, my skin flawless and glowing, and my eyes the color of emeralds. I guess the combination of lion and human DNA makes for a nice package.”

I use that quote to lead me into the second issue I have with book, the portrayal of Lexie.  She is self-absorbed about her physical appearance and constantly stares at herself in the mirror. As a woman, I understand the desire to feel attractive, and there is nothing wrong with being feminine. However, the way she thinks just doesn’t mesh with the idea of a warrior.  For example, on the group’s first mission, they are doing reconnaissance, and Lexie complains about her situation: “I hated reconnaissance missions with a passion. I’m more the maini, pedi, shoe shopping type of a gal.”  Several paragraphs later, she goes on to say, “Anything was better than laying in pine needles and mud. I’d never get the dirt out of my hair.  I didn’t know why we were here, and I didn’t care….Besides recon isn’t my role in the pride. I seduce the prey and the others flock in for the kill.”  Okaaayy, I’m left wondering how in the world did she make it as a marine with that mindset?

Lexie does make a good point, though…she and I both are unclear about the purpose of the mission and why they are there. The pride members  don’t seem to have a concrete plan for completing this mission. Again, I may be premature in saying this because I didn’t read far enough, but as a reader I wanted more information and details by this point.

My final issue with the story that stopped my reading progression is that the author told me what was going on rather than showing me. In an online article called “Showing Versus Telling,” Pamela Rice Hahn explains the difference between the two:  “Showing in a story merely means that you’re allowing the reader to participate in the events rather than just rattling off what happened. When the reader participates, it creates involvement-he or she can see the events unfolding, and then is left wondering what is going to happen next.”  Hahn then provides a great example of narrative that tells and is then revised to show. I’ll include the link for the article at the end.

I am not one to give up on books very easily, and I try to read the entire book before forming an opinion. However, as I get older, I value my time more, and there are so many other books out there waiting to be experienced.

Other readers’ expectations may differ from mine, and they may find the book enjoyable and satisfying. The plot certainly provides a creative angle on fighting the war on terrorism, so try it to see if it appeals to you.

Link to article

Showing Versus Telling

Rating

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