Book Connections

Series and Authors I Treasure

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As readers we all most likely get hooked into series we love. I have quite a number of them and another day I’ll post some more. Most of them other readers have hooked me into. I’ve just read a post and I’ve ordered #1 in a cozy mystery series from the library. It’s not my wheelhouse of reading but… I just might get hooked.

Outlander Series.

book cover Back in 1994 it all began for me. I was teaching and I can’t remember how I chose this book, but I did. On the staff another teacher was hooked too and we often talked about that Scottish Highlander Jamie. It’s time travel at its very best.

I have read everyone in the series since. Some of them are very long but I’ve loved them, sometimes skipping a few gory parts. There are eight books so far and number nine is in the wings “Go Tell the Bees I am Gone.” This series is outstanding in audiobook form and I have reread some of the books this way as well.

I once went to the city and listened to Diana Gabaldon speak after one of her books came out and she was visiting our country. She was very interesting as a speaker.

The Troubleshooters

book cover The Troubleshooters is fast paced romantic suspense. The characters carry on from book to book, with one character mostly to the forefront.  There are about seventeen main books in this series – I have them all. I want to do a reread at some point.  Navy seals – what’s not to like!

I learned about this series from readers on the Susan Elizabeth Phillips readers’ board before it disbanded and went to Facebook. There were always great recommendations there and I really expanded out into USA authors through  that.

Suzanne Brockmann has moved on to film making I think and no more books in recent years.

Virgin River

book cover Once I was stymied what to read. Nothing satisfied me. I’d read a little online about Virgin River and I thought well I’ll take a chance. This was pre-Kindle days. So I bought a second hand copy I think on the Thriftbooks website. The rest is history. I was hooked and ever after that I bought every one that came out. Mostly via Amazon I think

It’s set in a small town in North West America, and each book explores the lives of new characters while maintaining some of the previous ones. It’s romance with sometimes a little suspense thrown in. Another series I’d happily reread. And I am enjoying the Netflix series of it.

I loved it and since then pretty much have read everything Robyn Carr since.

Shenandoah Album Series

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There are five books in this series and I loved them all. They are what I guess are Women’s Fiction. They explore various issues and have very memorable characters. This series started me on my love of quilting.

 

I have reread most of them via audiobook which is really excellent via this format as well.

I had discovered Emilie Richards as an author myself by picking up one of her books at a book fair. Not one of this series but it started me on the road of looking out for her books. Now I wouldn’t miss anything she writes.

Pys/Changeling series

book cover The Pay/Changeling series I was slow to take up. I read others comments on the SEP board and was semi tempted. I thought it would be too hot for me. I saw a copy of one of the books in a staff members bag and I asked her about the series. She lent me some of the first ones.

I was hooked. I loved these shape shifters and the mysteries and evil they had to contend with. Nalini Singh has built this world so well. I didn’t think I’d like shape shifter books but this series is just so much fun, plus heart warming and heart reaching.

I am still reading all the new ones now as they come out. I want to do a reread!

 

 

So what would be one of your favourite series?

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Review

Some Kind of Hero. Suzanne Brockmann

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Published: Ballantine
Date: July 11th 2017
Format: e-ARC
Pages: 448
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Rating:
4 stars                Add to Goodreads

Navy men don’t come tougher than Lieutenant Peter Greene. Every day he whips hotshot SEAL wannabes into elite fighters. So why can’t he handle one fifteen-year-old girl? His ex’s death left him a single dad overnight, and very unprepared. Though he can’t relate to an angsty teen, he can at least keep Maddie safe—until the day she disappears. Though Pete’s lacking in fatherly intuition, his instinct for detecting danger is razor sharp. Maddie’s in trouble. Now he needs the Troubleshooters team at his back, along with an unconventional ally.

Romance writer Shayla Whitman never expected to be drawn into a real-world thriller—or to meet a hero who makes her pulse pound. Action on the page is one thing. Actually living it is another story. Shay’s not as bold as her heroines, but she’s a mother. She sees the panic in her new neighbor’s usually fearless blue eyes—and knows there’s no greater terror for a parent than having a child at risk. It’s an ordeal Shay won’t let Pete face alone. She’s no highly trained operative, but she’s smart, resourceful, and knows what makes teenagers tick.

My thoughts banner
Some Kind of Hero is #17 in The Troubleshooter series. This is a an action/romantic suspense novel that really only loosely relates to the series. It has Izzy Zanella and Peter Green (Grunge) and a few of the others, but it just involves them a little.
This is essentially the story of Maddie, daughter of Peter, she has inadvertently got herself mixed up with, someone who leaves her holding a can of worms and a price on her head. Escaping with a rather dubious guy called Dingo she runs from the guy who is threatening her and wanting $10 000 that she doesn’t have, or… her life. She has only recently come to live with her rather unknown Dad and is just fifteen. Dingo is twenty and so far hasn’t really been an outstanding human being. However it could be said he is the hero when it all washes out.
In desperately trying to trace his runaway daughter, Peter makes the quick acquaintance with his next door neighbor – Shayla. There is an immediate attraction between them which gets hot and heavy as the search progresses.  Shayla is a romantic suspense writer, with a hero of her own from her books who has a disconcerting way of talking in her head, giving her advice, mostly very useful. And a device at times I found a little annoying.
It takes awhile for them to track down Maddie – well most of the book! So at times things moved a little more slowly than I am used to in a Brockmann Troubleshooter’s book.  However when it did happen it was worth the wait.  I loved the surprise of one moment when the “calvary” arrived. Made me jump and chuckle.
I enjoyed the book but was looking for a little more in terms of Navy SEALS. Also it just didn’t have the tightness and tension I have come to expect from Suzanne Brockmann’s writing. I see it is also noted as #2 in The Reluctant Heroes series and it probably fits in there more. However no doubt most reader fans of The Troubleshooters series will, like me want to read this.
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Review

Do or Die. Suzanne Brockmann

Book Cover Do or Die

Do or Die
Suzanne Brockmann
Published: Random House – Ballantine
Date: 4th February 2014
Format:e-ARC
Pages: 576
Genre: Romantic suspense
Source:Publisher via NetGalley 

Navy SEAL Ian Dunn went rogue in a big way when he turned his talents to a lawless life of jewel heists and con jobs. Or so the world has been led to believe. In reality, the former Special Ops warrior is still fighting for good, leading a small band of freelance covert operatives who take care of high-stakes business in highly unofficial ways. That makes Ian the hands-down choice when the U.S. government must breach a heavily guarded embassy and rescue a pair of children kidnapped by their own father, a sinister foreign national willing to turn his kids into casualties. Shockingly, Ian passes on the mission for reasons he will not—or cannot—reveal.

But saying no is not an option. Especially not for Phoebe Kruger, Ian’s beautiful and unexpectedly brash new attorney. Determined to see the abducted children set free, she not only gets Ian on board but insists on riding shotgun on his Mission: Impossible style operation, whether he likes it or not.

Though Phoebe has a valuable knack for getting out of tight spots, there’s no denying the intensely intimate feelings growing between Ian and Phoebe as the team gears up for combat. But these are feelings they both must fight to control as they face an array of cold-blooded adversaries, including a vindictive mob boss who’s got Ian at the top of his hit list and a wealthy psychopath who loves murder as much as money. As they dodge death squads and play lethal games of deception, Ian and Phoebe will do whatever it takes to save the innocent and vanquish the guilty—or die trying.

Firstly I am a big fan of Suzanne Brockmann’s books, and this book did nothing to change that! Fast paced action, engaging characters, surprises, chuckles and nail biting were all part of my reading this book.

I liked the way this book opened – with Ian in jail. Although we did see Ian in operation first, in the prologue,  he is not in jail for that little outing!  For awhile I was unsure whose side people were working for.  However that’s part of the fun in this book, the characters too at times are unsure. It doesn’t take long for the reader to sort it out though.  Phoebe, a lawyer Ian meets in jail when she comes to help spring him, is a great character.  While a very good lawyer, and one who can think on her feet, she is not always the one to have with you ‘in the field’.  More than one character becomes annoyed with her because of her unthinking moves!  Watch her step up when its needed, she is gutsy and excellent at improvising.

Ian has been used to taking care of certain people, he will go to great lengths to protect them.  Does this make them grateful? Each person has slightly different reactions, but by the end of this book Ian has changed how he operates, he has been forced to re- evaluate, and treat others differently. However he loses none of his extensive leadership abilities.

There is a small cast of other characters who take part in the operation that Ian and Phoebe are involved in.  We meet  a few characters that are familiar from the Troubleshooter series, although it doesn’t matter if you haven’t read these books.  I’ll let the book introduce them, keep your wits about you, I got tripped up, I should have been ready for it but wasn’t.  So it was with a chuckle of delight when I was finally was enlightened as the reader.  I’d fallen into a little unnoticed trap.

The bad men in this book are bad!  Expect  some shootouts, wild car chases, people tied up, bombs and so on!  If you are like me, you kind of know its all going to turn out okay, but how okay is what I wanted to know!

Suzanne Brockmann often employs flashbacks in her writing, and she does in this book.  They are brief and work really well.  They give the reader background knowledge just as you need it.  She also writes a few times like a script.  This makes the action stand out and helps to build momentum and tension.

I hope Suzanne has started the next one in this series, because I want it now!

5 stars
Reluctant Heroes
Do or Die.  #1
                                                             
Review

Headed For Trouble

Headed For Trouble
Suzanne Brockmann
Kindle Edition
Published April 2013
370 pages

Summary from Goodreads.
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.


My thoughts.
I both enjoyed this book and was also a little disappointed. 

 I loved meeting the characters from all the Troubleshooter books: Sam, Alyssa, Max, Gina, Jules, Robin, and many of the others.  There were a couple of very good short stories.  I especially enjoyed the story where Sam and Robin are left in a country of doubtful reputation and they are dealing with a stomach bug that is circulating among Gina, the children and eventually Sam.  Sam has not got a stomach for others barfing.  I enjoyed finding out that little detail as I too am a sympathetic dry reacher when it comes to others throwing up!

I actually liked the fun bits where the author interviews or talks to the characters.  I have read elsewhere that others did not like these parts, however I love the characters so much that Suz talking to them was entertaining and enjoyable.

There is an interview with Suzanne Brockmann and I liked reading her thoughts about the Troubleshooter books, and what she has endeavoured to do in her writing.  I found interesting her take on the way we make judgements and put labels on both people and books.  I often wonder what genre this or that book is, and in truth often it does not fit neatly into any one genre.

She says about her writing:

My goal with my books is always to grow tolerance and acceptance.  To encourage people to look beyond the things that they expect to see, to try to see individuals instead of stereotypes.


I do believe she achieves that in her Troubleshooter books, some of the characters certainly change their views of others as the series develops.  I think as a reader too, I am invited to challenge some of my own preconceived notions about groups of people and to see the person beyond.

I was disappointed with the book because I had been hoping for longer stories, or…. one long book.  I enjoy her writing and would prefer to get stuck into a full length novel from this writer, than bits and pieces.

I’d recommend this book to anyone who has enjoyed the Troubleshooter series, to others I would recommend the actual series.