Breaking Point : My Fave Couple

Cover of "Breaking Point (Troubleshooters...

Cover via Amazon

As commander of the nation’s most elite FBI counterterrorism unit, agent Max Bhagat leads by hard-driving example: pushing himself to the limit and beyond, taking no excuses, and putting absolutely nothing ahead of his work. That includes his deep feelings for Gina Vitagliano, the woman who won his admiration and his heart with her courage under fire. But when the shocking news reaches him that Gina has been killed in a terrorist bombing, nothing can keep Max from making a full investigation–and retribution–his top priority.

At the scene of the attack, however, Max gets an even bigger shock. Gina is still very much alive–but facing a fate even worse than death. Along with Molly Anderson, a fellow overseas relief worker, Gina has fallen into the hands of a killer who is bent on using both women to bait a deadly trap. His quarry? Grady Morant, a.k.a “Jones,” a notorious ex-Special Forces operative turned smuggler who made some very deadly enemies in the jungles of Southeast Asia . . . and has been running ever since. But with Molly’s life on the line, Jones is willing to forfeit his own to save the woman he loves.

My Review :

Breaking Point is the ninth book of Suzanne Brockmann’s Troubleshooters series. I wouldn’t said this is a stand alone book, because you won’t get the emotional investment if you didn’t read the series in order. However, you still could keep up with the story and understand the storyline – Brockmann did a very good job explaining the sum of the relationship between the hero, Max Bhagat, and the heroine, Gina Vitagliano, to the reader.

Max and Gina are my fave couple. Since I read Over The Edge (Troubleshooters #3), I was hooked with their story. I really curious how Brockmann gonna put the two together. We get some snippet about two of them in the next book (via conversation) and in Gone Too Far (Troubleshooters #6) they exploded (geez finally), though the couple was still far away from their HEA.

At last in Breaking Point their long struggling suffering story find it’s way. This book gives amazing resolve to the long suffering romance between Gina and Max. With their numerous issues – Gina baggages as rape victim, Max pent-up feeling, his guilt and anger toward Gina’s tragedy, and their 20 years age difference – they very much deserved an amazing HEA.  We could see the depth of Max feeling toward Gina here, how much he cared for her (OMG, the morgue scene was pretty much sums up his feeling). Unfortunately the secondary character takes too much space, I wanted more of Gina and Max (I waited 6 books only for them!!!!).

Though this book is one of my fave, but I wouldn’t give this book a solid 5 stars. Basically the book have 5 main character. Gina and Max as the H/h, Molly and Jones as the so called secondary couple, and Jules.  The book give each one of them a very big portion, and like I said I wanted more of the H/h. Max and Gina scene as couple wasn’t enough too satisfied me after I waited for song long to read their story.  The suspense wasn’t believable (maybe because I’m Indonesia citizen and the book used my country as the background story –  in my opinion the action and military scene was over the top).  When you waited for the couple thru 6 books (equally years), you will expecting a mind blowing story.  Yes, the story was wonderful. But this book wasn’t mind blowing.

I read this book 4 times, no doubt this is my most frequently book I’ve ever read.

“Any other woman in the world, I could walk away from. But not you”

“Life had indeed happened to Max, and her name was Gina.”

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The Billionaire Next Door : Easy Read With Brain

Take-no-prisoners deal-maker Sean O’Banyon ate Wall Street financiers for lunch. So why     was he losing sleep over a fresh-scrubbed nurse in old jeans and a too-big T-shirt? Maybe it    was those warm green eyes. Or the way she blushed when he got personal. There was no denying the serious chemistry between them. But sooner or later Lizzie would learn his deep, dark secrets: First, he had trust issues. And second–he’d rather not go into the whole “family” thing.

He didn’t “do” relationships…but amazingly, Lizzie made him want one anyway

 

 

 

My Review :

When I knew that J.R. Ward had published novels under pseudonym Jessica Bird, I was curious of how she execute it.  Will  Jessica Bird  execute her books in different style?

This is an easy and quick to read but still had a depth story and emotion. Just as I expected from JR Ward, though I quite wary to started it because I was so attached with her BDB series.

Liked other hero in her books,  Sean was tortured soul. Came from abusive family he became a man who couldn’t trust anyone except her brothers. The heroine, Lizzie, was a strong, kind, and compassionate woman. Their relationship faced lot of major bumps, mostly due to Sean emotional hang-ups and lack of trust.

I liked this book, made me emotionally involved. Their story believable, though I wished more in the groveling scene. After huge misunderstanding and cruel accusation, I think the heroine too easily forgive the hero. She was just too nice. Another interesting part was this book mentioned Butch O’Neal from BDB series (though very briefly).

Jessica Bird’s book was lighter than Ward’s.  The storyline much simpler and more straightforward.  But overall this book was a wonderful one. An easy read but definitely not a brainless one.  4 ++ stars!!

“I’ll do anything to have you in my life. I’m that desperate. I’m that needy for you.”

Lover Awakened : My Fave Hero

    A former blood slave, the vampire Zsadist still bears the scars from a past filled with suffering and humiliation. Renowned for his unquenchable fury and sinister deeds, he is a savage feared by humans and vampires alike. Anger is his only companion, and terror is his only passion—until he rescues a beautiful aristocrat from the evil Lessening Society.

    Bella is instantly entranced by the seething power Zsadist possesses. But even as their desire for one another begins to overtake them both, Zsadist’s thirst for vengeance against Bella’s tormentors drives him to the brink of madness. Now, Bella must help her lover overcome the wounds of his tortured past, and find a future with her.


My Review :

5++++++++++++++++++++++++ stars
This is the third book of BDB (Black Dagger Brotherhood) series by J.R.Ward/Jessica Bird. Why I put this one before I posted the previous two (Dark Lover and Lover Eternal)? Other books was also had great story, but the Hero of this book, Zsadist, was my fave hero among the brotherhood hero. That’s why.

I loved how Ward projected Zsadist. She made reader get emotionally involve with his character. I felt his bitterness and anger, even simultaneously I knew there’s fear in him. With all the darkness in his soul, existence of love become more intense, raging, and enormous. Thankfully, Ward also created wonderful heroine. Bella matched him. Refine his edge. Soothe his.

The book was amazingly good. The story engaging from the start until the end.

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My Anguish Hero

Dark Lover, first time I saw you
I may cringe with your coldness
But even as ruthless as you are, still fascinated

Lover Eternal, next rendezvous with you
I startled in those split second you slipped your mask
Cruel and viscous yet there’s tenderness hidden, stupefied I was

Lover Awakened, when your story has been told
I loath over the torment and torture
Misty-eyed I cried until the last, captivated I become

And I dedicate my gratitude, dear Bella
For being the light when darkness come

——————————————————————————————————

“I was dead until you found me, though I breathed. I was sightless, though I could see. And then you came…and I was awakened.”

The Perfect Rake : My First Trial of Anne Gracie

    Fleeing violent tyranny, Prudence Merridew escapes with her beautiful younger sisters to London. One of them must marry—and fast. To act as her sisters’ chaperone, Prudence invents a secret engagement to a reclusive duke…But when the duke arrives unexpectedly in London, she needs his help to avert disaster.

    Aristocratic Gideon, Lord Carradice, a handsome rakish and with a strong frivolous streak, casually hijacks Prudence’s game, awarding himself a stolen kiss or three along the way. Used to managing sisters and elderly men, Prudence is completely out of her depth with a charming, devious and utterly irresistible rake. And her plot goes terribly—if deliciously—awry.

My Review :
The Perfect Rake is the first installment of Merridew Sisters series by Anne Gracie. It’s great book with humorous element. The book have strong characterization, both the H/h and also the secondary. There is strong issue here about abusive behavior and actually it’s in the border line of the dark side, but the author didn’t explore it quite heavily, therefore the story still very enjoyable.

The heroine, Prudence, is an older sister of 5 (all of them woman), orphaned when she was 11 years old and since then the siblings become ward of they grandfather, who were very cruel man. The hero, Gideon, is a rake among tons and have easy going personality in the outside but inside he is a very caring and protective person. When a rake fall, he falls hard. And Gideon fall deeply in love with Pru. He called Prudence by the nickname, Imp, a shortened of ImPrudence, because he thinks the name Prudence didn’t match the personality of the owner. Pru very attracted with Gideon but she was promised to another man when she was only 16. And also there is big secret who held Pru to her-so-called-fiancee.

Hilarious factor of this book is existing by the bantering between Pru and Gideon. And the most interesting thing is the plain jane heroine. Yes, Pru is not a drop dead gorgeous lady, but describe as an ordinary woman – not pretty seems very harsh. Even though everyone agree, but in Gideon eyes Pru isn’t plain at all. She is beautiful – that is what Gideon always say.

Unfortunately, I’m not attached and engage with the story and the character like I hope to. Like I said before, there is abusive issue here. When I feel that’s it should have a very emotional one – the beating scene was cruel and quite sadist IMO – the author attempt to lighten the issue. Somehow as a reader I became emotionally detached by the scene, and as a result I’m not involve with the story, that’s why I only give this book 3++ stars.

“I am not a rake anymore. There is only one woman in the world for me: my Prudence.”

My Fave Author : Linda Howard

    Linda S. Howington born on August 3, 1950 in Alabama, United States. She is an American best-selling romance/suspense author under her pseudonym Linda Howard. Her first work was published by Silhouette in 1982. She is a charter member of Romance Writers of America, joining in 1981 shortly after it was formed. Her husband is a professional bass tournament fisherman, and she travels with him to some very unglamorous locations where she works on her laptop. Linda and her husband live in a big house on a farm in Alabama, where they raise cattle and have two dogs. Biography from Wikipedia

I’m big fan of Ms.Howard. Though I wouldn’t said that I loved all her books, some earlier works wasn’t as great as her newer works, but I almost read it all (I haven’t read 3 of her paranormal genre books). I didn’t remember exactly my first encounter with her’s but it was quite a long time ago, maybe since I was in high school. Some Howard books has been translated into my mother language, Indonesia, so she was quite popular here, and I already liked her works back then. Few months ago I’ve finished my Linda Howard Monthly Challenge. I read all her romance book – exclude the paranormal one – and I officially became her fan. I read her books randomly – it was hard to read her books based on publication order because some title was hard to find.

I started with her series, and then her single novels. From her series, MacKenzie Family and Blair Mallory are my favorite. Most people like her MacKenzie series – all of it have amazing story and wonderful character. An overachieving family members, loving parents, caring siblings, adorable grandchildren, and do not forget an alpha-male character (well, all Howard hero is an alpha). Blair Mallory series (To Die For and Drop Dead Gorgeous) had different narration, the books was told by first person POV, her heroine herself, and it was very funny and personable. However the story and suspense element not as great as her other books.

From her single novels, I found myself deeply adore Sam and Jaine from Mr. Perfect. I think it was by far the most popular (with 4.05 avg rating and 6,398 reader with 25 editions – Goodreads). With solid suspense and mystery also humorous romance of the H/h relationship, the book was amazing. Other books I liked the most is Cry No More . Like the title, I was crying read that one. It’s an intense, gut-wrenching, heartbreaking, emotional roller coaster ride that stays with you long after you’ve finished reading it (I planned to put it in review – next post I hope). Another book that come under my fave shelves of Ms.Howard are Death Angel and Open Season. Death Angel pretty special to me because it was odd and bizarre (not in the ugly way) but definitely exceptional. Why odd? Unwritten law of romance is “good” H/h, but here you found the bad guy and the bad girl as hero and heroine. Ms. Howard write this one against romance norm and venture to the grey areas. While Open Season, though it had familiar premise and there was so much potential for stereotyping in this story, but Ms. Howard handled the story with charm and skill, making it delightful and gratifying to read. Open Season totally hilarious, made me grinning like a fool while reading it.

Linda Howard is an amazing writer. Her romantic suspense is different to many other authors’ work. It is slow-building, setting up characters and locations before the suspense plot arrives on the scene. She could engage reader emotionally and personally. Her books blend another sub-genres in the mix, weaved all of it together expertly. Nevertheless, there’s always up and down. Like I said, her earlier books isn’t as wonderful as I expected. Her three first books, All That Glitters (1982), An Independent Wife (1982), and Against the Rules (1983) almost turn into my DNF list. Her newer books (Burn – 2009, Ice – 2010, Veil of Night – 2010, Prey – 2011) also not as strong as she used to. From what I read in some forum, they said Ms.Howard was struggling with her health, that’s why her story quality lessened and she haven’t published any new book. I really hope Ms. Howard would be back with her fabulous writing skill and bring us an amazing book. Finger cross!!

Playing For Keeps : Keep Me Smiling

Done with being the world’s biggest pushover, Haley decides that things are going to change starting with the aggravating neighbor who has too much charm and not enough restraint. What she didn’t expect was to sucked into his world, but Haley has a game plan and she won’t let herself forget just what the bad boy next door is capable of. The last thing Jason expected was for his little shy neighbor to go Rambo on him over some ruined flowers. After he decides to take her under his wing he can’t help but that notice that she fits very nicely in his life. Now the only left is to convince her that this is anything but a game

My Review :
“Don’t judge the book by it’s cover”

Oh boy, how right that line is. First time I see the cover my comment was “wow, what kind a book have a really boring cover”, totally and completely uninterested. Not even put an effort to read the book summary. But after I read some reviews, I must admit : my oh my how very wrong I was……

I really loved this book A LOT. Funny story, amazing H/h characters, witty dialogue, overall it’s beautifully written.

“As he was gasping for air he realized something. He was in deep shit. Haley was his life now. His woman. His heart. He was so screwed.” ― R.L. Mathewson, Playing for Keeps

The Best of SEP : Match Me If You Can

Annabelle is tired of being the lone failure in a family of overachievers. Now, all she has to do to become the Windy City’s hottest matchmaker is to land the city’s hottest bachelor as her client. How hard can that be?

With his money green eyes and calculated charm, Heath Champion is the best sports agent in the country, so why does he need a matchmaker? True, Annabelle has a certain quirky appeal. But Heath is searching for the ultimate symbol of his success — the perfect wife. And to make an extraordinary match, he needs someone like … thin, rich, utterly fabulous Portia Powers, the owner of Power Matches, who’ll do whatever it takes to find Mrs. Right for the city’s very own Jerry Maguire.

Soon everyone in Chicago has a stake in the outcome. When Annabelle promises she’ll do anything to keep her star client happy … does she mean anything? If Annabelle isn’t careful, she just might find herself going heart-to-heart with the toughest negotiator in town — a man who’s beginning to ask himself: Exactly how perfect does perfect have to be?


My Review :

This book was amazing, wonderful, so good, fun, overall : WOW. I’ve put this book in my bookshelves for quite some times, but never got the right kick to read it, though I heard that this book was great. And now, I honestly can vouch that this book is one of the best SEP novels I had ever read. The character was perfect, even those Heath’s lack of understanding was perfect. One point of SEP novels I like most is the groveling scene. She always made sure the hero really really groveling to win the heroines back, and I loved it!!! Heath do serious effort to grovel. I like it when the Annabelle throw away his love declaration. And those two question Anna asked Heath about was just right. Not also mention this book made me laugh real hard

“You’re beautiful, every part of you. I love your hair, the way it looks, the way it feels. I love touching it, smelling it. I love the way you wrinkle your nose when you laugh. It makes me laugh, too, every time. And I love watching you eat. Sometimes you can’t shovel it in fast enough, but when you get interested in a conversation, you forget there’s anything in front of you. God knows, I love making love with you. I can’t even talk about that without wanting you. I love your pathetic attachment to those seniors. I love how hard you work.”