Friday, March 30, 2018

Book Review: Rescuing Rayne by Susan Stoker

Rescuing Rayne Cover If you enjoy military-hero romances, this is an excellent one

Rescuing Rayne (Delta Force Heroes #1) by Susan Stoker

Reading Level: Adult Romance
Release Date: February 9, 2016
Pages: 418 pages
Source: Purchase
Reviewed By: Kate McMurry

An unexpected flight cancellation leads to a life-changing, romantic adventure in London that flight attendant, Rayne Jackson, never imagined possible. After less than 24 hours spent with a handsome, enigmatic stranger, whom she is sure must be a spy or a soldier, finds Rayne falling in love. Unfortunately, the wonderful man whose tender attentiveness has captured her mind and heart has warned her, up front, that all he can offer her is that one, unforgettable day.

Keane "Ghost" Bryson is a Delta Force officer who has spent years keeping secret his identity, his job, and especially the nature of his top-secret assignments, from everyone but his team and military higher-ups. Out of long-entrenched habit, he shows Rayne one of his false identity documents, but his heart leads him to offer her his true military nickname, Ghost, and the strength of his emotional attachment to her is the most deeply authentic thing he has ever experienced. The problem is, he believes his mission of endless danger in the military would not be fair of him to offer to a wife or family, and he is determined to stay single until he retires. But destiny takes a hand in this troubled romance when, months later, fate brings the two lovers together again when Rayne finds herself the captive of violent revolutionaries, along with dozens of other hapless tourists, and all seems lost until the Delta Force Team arrives.

This is a well-written story. Ghost is a very likable, strong hero, and Rayne is an equally appealing heroine. The sex scenes are not gratuitous and are very tender. There is lots of powerful, often terrifying action-adventure. I particularly enjoyed the subcharacters. Ghost's relationships with his Delta Force team members are very compelling. I liked all these brave men, and each of them either already has or will have his own book in this series. We got a taste of the relationship between Rayne's very sympathetic best friend Mary and Delta Force team member, Truck, in this book. I am looking forward to reading their story when it is released in the near future.

If you enjoy military-hero romances, this is an excellent one. Recommended.

I rate this book as follows:

Heroine: 4

Hero: 4

Subcharacters: 5

Romance Plot: 4

Action-Adventure Plot: 4

Writing: 4

Overall: 4

Friday, March 16, 2018

Book Review: Burn Bright by Patricia Briggs

Burn Bright Cover Review of audiobook

Burn Bright (Alpha and Omega series)

Reading Level: Adult Romance
Release Date: March 6, 2018
Publisher: Penguin Audio
Length: 9 hours and 47 minutes
Source: Purchase
Reviewed By: Kate McMurry

I experienced this book as an audiobook. I own a complete collection of every one of Patricia Briggs' books and I am a huge fan. I am particularly fond of Charles and Anna and the Alpha and Omega offshoot series of the Mercy Thompson Series.

The plots of all of the books in this series are essentially a combination of murder-mystery and action-adventure, which is very much an expected feature of the urban fantasy genre.

As always for the author's stories in this magical world, each book builds upon the other, with events in the Mercy series spilling over into the Alpha and Omega series, and vice versa. In that regard, it was particularly fascinating to me learning even more about Bran's love for Mercy, which builds upon the new information in that regard we learned in the most recent book in the Mercy series.

I adore the relationship between Charles and Anna, which is the centerpiece of this book and every book in this series. It is always co-equal and cooperative, with each always there for the other, rescuing each other from physical danger and supporting each other emotionally. I particularly love the way that Charles's wolf spirit within him, Brother Wolf, can communicate mentally via ESP with Anna. Charles and Anna enjoy a romantic and eternal kind of soulmate relationship.

Because this series began and has continued throughout with the two of them in partnership, as co-protagonists, versus one of them being the protagonist and the other a subcharacter as in the Mercy series, Briggs has not found it as necessary as in the Mercy series to orphan either of them from the other as Mercy is often orphaned from her husband, Alpha werewolf Adam, forcing her out on her own, having to save herself from horrendously deadly villains. I find that a fascinating uniqueness within the urban fantasy genre with its first-person point-of-view storytelling of a lone protagonist, up against a hostile world. Though, granted, a commonality in the plotting across both series is that each presents a support network for the protagonist of fascinating, compelling, and sympathetic magical characters. The difference is that Mercy accumulates her support network over time, across the whole Mercy series, and a support network is already in place for Anna and Charles that is systematically added to with each successive book.

My one disappointment with this particular book was that a subcharacter I had grown very fond of across the five books of this series is revealed as a villain. I found that quite personally painful to experience. But, since this sort of thing is not uncommon in any action-adventure plot, I am not downgrading my rating of this book because of it.

The mystery and action at the core of this book are well done and very compelling. I also enjoyed the introduction of some new and fascinating characters to this series whom I am very sure will appear in future books and add to the emotional intensity as well as fast-paced storytelling we have come to expect and greatly enjoy in this wonderful urban-fantasy series.

Finally, the narration of this entire series has been done by Holter Graham, who is phenomenal. He is capable of doing male and female voices ranging from falsetto to deep bass. He can excellently portray old people, middle-aged people, young adults and children, all with equal believability. It is pure pleasure listening to him.