Monday, July 28, 2014

Very Happy to say - Recent Reads

I was beyond thrilled when I heard Carolyn Crane won a RITA on Saturday night, probably not as excited as Carolyn, but thrilled nonetheless.  You see, she is a trailblazer.  She self-published her winning novel, Off the Edge.  This so goes with my last post.  She by-passed the big publishers thus making her books very accessible and reasonably priced for ereader readers.  Because of that I’ve read the first two books in The Associate series and got the third one within minutes once I heard it was out.

I really hope with this win for Carolyn Crane other authors follow suit.  While I want good authors to make top dollar, I hope they do make good money by self-publishing and I am VERY HAPPY to do my part to spread the word on what excellent books these ones are.  I read them a while ago and posted my review on Good Read – when I was locked out here.  So here we go!
Against the Dark (The Associates, #1)Against the Dark by Carolyn Crane

Genre: Romantic Suspense

Steam Level: Oh yeah

My Thoughts: I wish they had half stars here 'cause then I would give this one 4 1/2 stars. I save the five stars for books that will stay with me for years or ones that I have to reread right away - again and again.

But this one is very, very, very good. It's unusual and I love unusual. First off, our hero, Cole, is a self-declared nerd. He wears glasses and is heavily into logistics though I'm not quite sure what that is but he solves puzzles with vey few pieces. Though he thinks of himself as a nerd, he has definite un-nerd like tendencies. He is a member of a very shadowy organization called the Association which tracks down the bad guys. In this story he is undercover as a guard to areal sadistic monster. He need to get some documents that are locked up in a safe.

This is where Angel, our heroine comes in. She is a former member of a group of girl jewel thieves. She is the expert on cracking safes. Through a series of events, Cole tracks her down and blackmails her into helping him.

I LOVED both Cole and Angel. They are both fascinating well developed and well written characters. The sparks between them leap off the page. They are clearly perfect for each other. And the book is a perfect blend of romance and suspence. I inhaled the book and lucky, lucky me, I have the next one in the series uploaded and ready to read. This one gets a very well deserved thumbs up.lp

Grade: 4.5 out of 5

Off the Edge (The Associates, #2)Off the Edge by Carolyn Crane

Genre: Romantic Suspense 

Steam Level: Another oh, yeah

My Thoughts: I am so glad I came across these books. I love all genres of romance books, can't decide which is my fave, but I do so love romantic suspense when written well and Carolyn Crane writes vey well indeed.

This is the second book in the series and I sure hope she has more up her sleeve. Peter MacMillan is a member of a shadowy organization called the Associates. They go deep undercover to route out the bad guys. Macmillan as he prefers to be called is a wonderful mix of nerdy alphaness. He is a linguistic genius who wears glasses but also can withstand torture. (I don't know exactly what they did to him, something to do with brass knuckles and doing terrible things to his feet. I read that part with my eyes closed). He is looking for the villain who is selling a top secret weapon in Bangkok and he will be able to tell who this mysterious arms dealer is just by listening to him speak.

Laney Lancaster is working as a lounge singer in the hotel where the auction for the weapon is being held. She is in hiding from her vicious ex husband who she helped send to prison. Even from prison he has people looking for her and she is terrified she will be discovered and dragged back into a life of abuse. She writes her own songs and has the ability, through music to paint vivid pictures with her lyrics.

Macmillan hears her singing, and being the linguistic expert he is, is drawn into her music where he very reluctantly begins to feel again, something he hasn't done since his family were all killed in a bombing years before.

Their worlds intertwine and they have language as well as attraction as a strong pull between them as they begin to work together.

I loved the deliciousness of Macmillan. While much of his explanations into the world of language went over my head; he could go deep into the explanation of a single sentence, it was fascinating reading it. He was a vey well written and well rounded character.

Laney I found a wee bit more problematic. I really liked her, but I found her a bit too trusting of the wrong people for too long. It was obvious that there was something off about them but she refused to see it. Though considering her situation I did understand her need to trust someone, even if she did trust a bit wrongly. She was terrified of being found. As I said it was just a wee issue in an otherwise wonderfully written Romantic Suspense novel. While it seems many like this one better than the first one, Against the Dark, I think I like the first one just a tiny bit more. They are both great reads though and I anticipate more in this series, fingers crossed.

Bottom line, I highly recommend Off the Edge.

Grade: 4.5 out of %


Lori said...

I love that her books are so smart. She assumes her readers are intelligent and can keep up with her characters.

Kristie (J) said...

Oh yes, I really appreciate that too. They aren't simply written books that can be fluffed off. Sometimes the cotton candy books are good in one is in the mood, but I much prefer the books with good for you protein

azteclady said...

I am very happy that someone as talented as Ms Crane won--and it bears witness to the fact that self published books can be of as good quality, if not better, than those coming out of publishing houses, not just in content but in other, more tangible ways (formatting, minimum typos, etc.)