series

Shadows In Death (In Death #51)

Shadows In Death (In Death #51)

By: J.D. Robb

Blurb:

Lt. Eve Dallas is about to walk into the shadows of her husband’s dangerous past.

As it often did since he’d married a cop, murder interrupted more pleasant activities. Then again, Roarke supposed, the woman lying in a pool of her own blood a few steps inside the arch in Washington Square Park had a heftier complaint.

When a night out at the theatre is interrupted by the murder of a young woman in Washington Square Park, it seems like an ordinary case for Detective Eve Dallas and her team. But when Roarke spots a shadow from his past in the crowd, Eve realises that this case is far from business as usual.

Eve has two complex cases on her hands – the shocking murder of this wealthy young mother and tracking down the shadow before he can strike again, this time much closer to home. Eve is well used to being the hunter, but how will she cope when the tables are turned? As Eve and the team follow leads to Roarke’s hometown in Ireland, the race is on to stop the shadow making his next move . . .

Review:

I’m just going to go ahead and say SPOILERS right off the bat. I’ve got some thoughts on this book, and I don’t want to avoid anything.

Shadows In Death is the fifty-first In Death book. Probably the longest series I read, and it is pretty amazing how consistent it is. However, there are a few stinkers, and for me, this is one of them.

Eve is called to a dead body, and of course, Roarke is with her because, at this point, he’s a police officer. While there, Roarke sees someone from his past. A man that is a professional killer and who happens to hate Roarke with the power of a thousand suns.

The murder that starts the book is not the main story. It’s wrapped up within the first hundred pages. As in Eve is in interrogation and getting a full confession at page one hundred. So nothing much there, though I did find it one of the more enjoyable parts of the story. The book’s main plot is finding Cobbe, the man who wants to kill Roarke and everyone he loves.

Things truck along, and it’s all going good. Lots of excitement, lots of conversation, and stuff with Eve and Roarke, and then we get to the end. Depending upon future books, it’s possible we can point to this moment as the moment the series jumped the shark. At one point, almost all of Eve’s detectives are in a plane flying after the bad guy. In the air, they’re able to hack something and get a lock on Cobbe’s plane. He is, of course, headed to Ireland to kill Roarke’s family. The cops are in a faster plane, so they beat him there and set up a trap.

Just a note, Cobbe is supposed to have over four hundred murders linked to him, and it’s believed to be significantly more. He has alluded capture for over twenty years. Then he loses every brain cell he has when he decides to go after Roarke. He’s supposed to have come unhinged, but you’d think the number of dead bodies would increase dramatically, but they don’t. He just makes a series of really stupid decisions that go against twenty years of history. Once again, the book explains that he just hates Roarke soooo much and that his ego is sooooo big that this is all logical.

Anyway, the cops are all in position, Cobbe has no idea they followed him, walks into the trap, lands a punch on Eve, and is cuffed. Case closed roll credits.

Only no.

All these cops, including New York Police Commander Whitney, are standing around with Roarke’s family when Cobbe starts cursing out Roarke. Nothing new. We all knew he hated him. There have been childhood stories about the hatred and everything. There’s clearly bad blood here, but he’s captured. He’s going to prison. The evidence against him is insurmountable. Every police organization on the globe wants him. After two decades of evading capture, he’s caught in less than a week by New York cops. That should surely be enough.

Nope.

They end up un-cuffing Cobbe, and he and Roarke fight in the middle of a ring of cops. You see, Cobbe had been going after one of their own, so it was only natural that they would want to see a climactic fight. Roarke, a man with regular lessons with world-acclaimed fighters, toys with Cobbe, letting him land a couple of punches, cause the pain feels good. Then easily takes him down. They cuff him, interrogate him in a root cellar, then it’s over.

I have never been a fan of cop shows where the cops abuse their power, and that dislike grows every year. When there’s been a storyline that builds over several stories, and there’s a fight before the criminal is cuffed, I’m all on board, but it just angers me when something like this happens. They had him. He had never been talked about in previous books. Yet, because he reminded Roarke of his horrible past and because they all knew he was coming after Eve and Roarke, it was okay for them to step outside the law for a bit and smack him around. No. Just not.

As far as stinkers go, this was a big one. Robb has built fifty books of goodwill, so I’m not bailing on the series or anything, but I am concerned about the future.

2/5

Side Note: There should be a trigger warning at the beginning of this book for animal cruelty.

Wolf Under Fire (STAT: Special Threat Assessment Team #1)

Wolf Under Fire (STAT: Special Threat Assessment Team #1)

By: Paige Tyler

Blurb:

For the cases no one else can solve, they send in the Special Threat Assessment Team

Supernatural creatures are no longer keeping their existence secret from humans, causing panic around the globe. To investigate, monitor, and ― when necessary ― take down dangerous supernatural offenders, an international task force was established: The Special Threat Assessment Team.

STAT agent Jestina Ridley is in London with her team investigating a suspicious kidnapping. Over her radio, Jes hears her teammates being savagely attacked. She runs to help, but she’s too late. The only survivor, Jes calls for backup and gets former Navy SEAL and alpha werewolf Jake Huang and his new pack. Convinced that the creature who butchered her teammates was a werewolf, Jes doesn’t trust them. But if they’re going to uncover the facts and make it back home alive, she’ll need Jake’s help. And with everything on the line, Jes will have to accept Jake for who he is, or lose the partner she never expected to find.

Review:

Wolf Under Fire was a romantic action story. Since a woman wrote it, the romance was actually good. There were soulmates, instant attraction, and everyone was drawn to their significant others scents.

Jake was ex-military and an ex-cop. He’d just signed up to lead a team at the FBI that specialized in the supernatural. I got the distinct feeling I was missing out on parts of his history, so I believe he was talked about in another book, but it didn’t impact the story.

Jes was a seasoned agent for STAT and not the biggest fan of werewolves. When she meets Jake, there’s an instant attraction, but their first meeting isn’t the best. Things quickly escalate, though.

Most of this book was action. There were car chases, explosions, and lots of fighting. As I said, it was an action romance. This isn’t my usual genre, but I enjoyed it. I do wish there was more information about the supernatural, but Jake and Jes both seemed to be very ignorant about the world. I was also able to guess a couple of the twists pretty quickly. All in all, it was enjoyable, and I see myself reading more from Tyler.

3.5/5

The Boyfriend Project (The Boyfriend Project #1)

The Boyfriend Project

The Boyfriend Project (The Boyfriend Project #1)

By: Farrah Rochon

Blurb:

Samiah Brooks never thought she would be “that” girl. But a live tweet of a horrific date just revealed the painful truth: she’s been catfished by a three-timing jerk of a boyfriend. Suddenly Samiah-along with his two other “girlfriends,” London and Taylor-have gone viral online. Now the three new besties are making a pact to spend the next six months investing in themselves. No men, no dating, and no worrying about their relationship status . . .

For once Samiah is putting herself first, and that includes finally developing the app she’s always dreamed of creating. Which is the exact moment she meets the deliciously sexy, honey-eyed Daniel Collins at work. What are the chances? When it comes to love, there’s no such thing as a coincidence. But is Daniel really boyfriend material or is he maybe just a little too good to be true?

Review:

This is the second book I’ve read that involved going viral on Twitter, and I’m finding the whole idea interesting. It’s not anything I’ve ever thought about, but once I did, I could see why it would not be a good thing. Why it would cause someone a lot of stress. I’ve never wanted to become Twitter famous, and The Boyfriend Project didn’t have people going crazy, but the invasion of privacy seems awful.

Anyway, Samiah (really love her name) is a super-smart programmer. She’s worked her butt off to succeed in her career and let other things fall to the wayside. After being conned by someone clearly beneath her, she ends up making two new friends. The three women bond and push each other to resist trying to conform to society’s expectations. Their friendship was great. Even though it wasn’t the main focus of the book, it was still something I loved.

Daniel is a man that loves his country and is doing what he can to make it a better place. While I can appreciate that, it’s not the positive it used to be. However, I tried to set that aside. Daniel was the perfect modern man. He made his interest known without being pushy. Consent was important to him, and that went to everything, not just sex. Meaning he wasn’t going around touching people’s arms or offering hugs unless he asked permission first. That may seem like too much, but considering the book was set in a tech company, I thought it was an excellent addition. It certainly set him apart from other people in the industry, even though the company in the book was more progressive than most.

I thought that Rochon did a good job mentioning the issues faced by women, especially women of color, in tech. It’s an industry I’m familiar with, even though I hadn’t worked directly in it for some years. I appreciated that the issues weren’t glossed over or ignored.

Due to the nature of Daniel’s job, his and Samiah’s relationship seems doomed, but I liked how things were worked out. There weren’t big egos that had to be worked with, so that helped. They were both confident in their abilities while still struggling with other issues. The Boyfriend Project was a fun read that I really enjoyed.

4/5

The Wedding Date (The Wedding Date #1)

The Wedding Date

The Wedding Date (The Wedding Date #1)

By: Jasmine Guillory

Blurb:

Agreeing to go to a wedding with a guy she gets stuck with in an elevator is something Alexa Monroe wouldn’t normally do. But there’s something about Drew Nichols that’s too hard to resist.

On the eve of his ex’s wedding festivities, Drew is minus a plus one. Until a power outage strands him with the perfect candidate for a fake girlfriend…

After Alexa and Drew have more fun than they ever thought possible, Drew has to fly back to Los Angeles and his job as a pediatric surgeon, and Alexa heads home to Berkeley, where she’s the mayor’s chief of staff. Too bad they can’t stop thinking about the other…

They’re just two high-powered professionals on a collision course toward the long distance dating disaster of the century–or closing the gap between what they think they need and what they truly want…

Review:

Alexa doesn’t like to describe herself as a prude, and after reading this story, I wouldn’t either. A better term is risk-averse. She tends to overthink things. This seems to work pretty well for her at work, but not so much in romance. She also has body image issues that I related to hard.

Drew is a commitment-phobe. He had a relationship that got serious before he was ready and now ends every relationship after just a couple of months. He’s a pretty boy doctor that doesn’t have an issue finding bedmates that are fine with that setup. Then he needs to find a date for the wedding of the woman he felt was his fallback when he was ready to settle down.

It would have been sooooo easy to hate Drew. He’s a lot of things that I don’t like rolled up into one character, but the way he treated Alexa overcame all of that. I liked reading from his point of view because I got to see that he only thought about the positives of Alexa’s body. All of the fear she had over it never even occurred to him. I also enjoyed that because she viewed this as a fling, she didn’t let those fears overcome her, and by the time she felt like it was more they didn’t matter.

The conflict worked out perfectly, and I had no issue believing it. I also enjoyed how things worked out with Alexa’s sister (which is great because I ended up getting the 5th book in the series from the library before all the others). The side characters seemed interesting enough, but they were not the main focus and only had small parts to play. The one I’m interested in the most is Carlos, so I hope he has his own book.

Finding love with the person you’ve been trapped in an elevator with is a pretty enjoyable trope and not overly done. The Wedding Date was a great start to a series and set my expectations high.

4/5

Binti (Binti #1)

Binti

Binti (Binti #1)

By: Nnedi Okorafor

Blurb:

Her name is Binti, and she is the first of the Himba people ever to be offered a place at Oomza University, the finest institution of higher learning in the galaxy. But to accept the offer will mean giving up her place in her family to travel between the stars among strangers who do not share her ways or respect her customs.

Knowledge comes at a cost, one that Binti is willing to pay, but her journey will not be easy. The world she seeks to enter has long warred with the Meduse, an alien race that has become the stuff of nightmares. Oomza University has wronged the Meduse, and Binti’s stellar travel will bring her within their deadly reach.

If Binti hopes to survive the legacy of a war not of her making, she will need both the gifts of her people and the wisdom enshrined within the University, itself — but first she has to make it there, alive.

Review:

It’s been a while since I’ve read a sci-fi book. I’m pleased with my choice. Binti was a short story, but it was positive sci-fi. The world wasn’t perfect, but there was still hope. What’s even better, it ended on a positive note. I needed that right now.

Binti was the best in her village. She was smart and curious and brave. She ended up leaving to attend the most prestigious university in her universe. Things didn’t go as planned, but she was able to handle everything that was thrown at her.

The world that was created was interesting. I loved all the details that were included. I hope that in the next book, we see more of Binti’s family. The history of her village was fascinating.

This is the first book in a trilogy. None of the books seem to be very long, but if they continue in this vein, I’ll be very happy.

4/5