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Heart Strike by M.L. Buchman

Posted in Contemporary Romance/ Military/Paramilitary/ Reviews/ Romantic Suspense 5th August 2016
Heart Strike by M.L. BuchmanHeart Strike by M.L. Buchman
Series: Delta Force #2
Published by Sourcebooks Casablanca on August 2nd 2016
Pages: 384
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three-stars

Richie Goldman is the team geek of Delta Force, a warrior and a technical wizard-but nothing is more mysterious to him than women. When a feisty new recruit joins the team just in time for a dangerous mission in the Colombian jungle, he'll have to make it out alive if he ever wants to figure her out.
Melissa Moore is going to be the best woman in Delta Force. Ready to do battle, her biggest challenge is avoiding Richie's sweet and sexy distractions. She was prepared for combat, but falling in love is an entirely different battlefield…

The hesitation I have from reading any book of M.L. Buchman stems from several deep-seated reservations I can’t exactly get over: the sheer amount of minutiae with which Buchman tends to overwhelm a reader (even though that has definitely garnered praise because he knows his stuff) and the odd quirks of his super-human characters who never quite do what you expect them to do and say (again, not a bad thing) thereby giving them a particularly affected air which is difficult to relate to at times. Even if the action is unrelenting and the pacing superb, Buchman’s writing sometimes feel as though I’m reading a Marvel movie on paper, as his personal avengers accomplish feats, make posturing their second nature and talk a particular brand of trash so far removed from the reality I live in.

Then again, I do feel torn. The romantic entanglements and conflicts are given a different sheen every time Buchman writes them and while it’s tempting to simply say that the masculine voice lends something else to the genre, I really do appreciate there aren’t too many TSTL moments or predictable breaks that induce eye-rolling. If anything, his leads come in with guns blazing – sometimes literally -, fall hard and pretty much go down that road the moment their connection is established.

‘Heart Strike’ doesn’t stray too far from what I think is typical of Buchman as I’ve outlined above. I can’t really resist geeks – even if the geek speak and the movie references got a little too much here – and that’s pretty much the only reason I’ve delved into this story that just doesn’t stop from the word ‘go’. Richie and Melissa are a fairly well-matched pair and likeable too, and the story puts the spotlight on the newest woman recruit and the tension she creates in an already well-oiled team. I never knew what Buchman has in store for this pairing: from their traipse through the South American jungle, to their numerous plane flights and back down to the exchanges on the ground and finally, to an explosive (again, literally) climax.

But there’s something I can’t put my finger on, something that simply doesn’t make the book unforgettable enough to warrant a thorough dissection of every scene and every gesture, or even a re-read. I did end up skimming when the technicalities got too overwhelming and the action too crazy, after all.

And when it all ended, floating in the sea of cocaine-filled debris, that declaration of love after a week or so within meeting each other? I got up, as the cinema lights turned back on, and went on my merry way.

three-stars

Way of the Warrior Anthology

Posted in Contemporary Romance/ Military/Paramilitary/ Reviews/ Romantic Suspense 6th January 2016
Way of the Warrior AnthologyWay of the Warrior by Suzanne Brockmann, Julie Ann Walker, Catherine Mann, Tina Wainscott, Anne Elizabeth, M.L. Buchman, Kate SeRine, Lea Griffith
Published by Sourcebooks Casablanca on May 5th 2015
Pages: 473
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three-stars

EIGHT PASSIONATE LOVE STORIES ABOUT AMAZING MILITARY HEROES BY BESTSELLING AUTHORS:Suzanne Brockmann, Julie Ann Walker, Catherine Mann, Tina Wainscott, Anne Elizabeth, M.L. Buchman, Kate SeRine, Lea Griffith

To honor and empower those who've served, all author and publisher proceeds go to the Wounded Warrior Project.

The Wounded Warrior Project was founded in 2002 and provides a wide range of programs and services to veterans and service members who have survived physical or mental injury during their brave service to our nation.

Stories of varying quality make it difficult to rate this anthology higher than 3 stars. The only standouts for me were:
1. Lea Griffith’s very excellent (but so very short) War Games of the coming Endgame Ops series, and even then, I felt as though I was thrust into a movie over which I could salivate over, only to be forcibly removed from the cinema a third through it.
2. Tina Wainscott’s very poignant Beauty and the Marine where a scarred hero takes on another scarred model.

three-stars

Bring on the Dusk by M.L. Buchman

Posted in Action/Adventure/ Contemporary Romance/ Military/Paramilitary/ Reviews/ Romantic Suspense 6th March 2015
Bring on the Dusk by M.L. BuchmanBring on the Dusk (The Night Stalkers, #10) by M.L. Buchman
Series: The Night Stalkers #10
Published by Sourcebooks Casablanca on March 3rd 2015
Pages: 416
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three-stars

Name: Claudia Jean CaspersonRank: Captain, SOAR - 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne) Motto: Night Stalkers Don't Quit
Name: Michael Gibson Rank: Colonel, Delta Force – Special Forces Operational Detachment – Delta ("The Unit")Motto: Without Equal
Mission: To go together where no one else can, and to get out alive with no one the wiser
Five nations surround the Caspian Sea, five nations desperate for the vast resources there, and willing to go to war. It will take all of Claudia and Michael's ingenuity to avert disaster. As they discover how right they are for each other, it will take even more to breach the walls they've so carefully built around their hearts...
The sixth book in M.L. Buchman's military romantic suspense series featuring the exceptionally kickass heroes and heroines of the Special Ops Aviation Regiment (SOAR).
The Night Stalkers Series:The Night is Mine (Book 1)I Own the Dawn (Book 2) Wait Until Dark (Book 3) Take Over at Midnight (Book 4)Light Up the Night (Book 5)Bring on the Dusk (Book 6)
Praise for Take Over at Midnight: "Quite simply a great read. Once again Buchman takes the military romance to a new standard of excellence." -Booklist "Dangerous top-secret missions and sizzling love scenes." -Publishers Weekly"M.L. Buchman's writing is so realistic that one almost forgets it's fiction." -Long and Short Reviews

Reviewing M.L. Buchman’s books is like stumbling over many stepping stones because I never quite know where to begin with the bundle of contradictions that each book presents. The military detail and action are never lacking but sometimes even those get too much for me, to the point where I think character growth could have been sacrificed for that.

‘Bring on the Dusk’ is no different: Buchman’s heroes and heroines are larger than life, almost removed from reality, but the further they are from Emily Beale and Mark Anderson are they allowed to finally be themselves and not get overshadowed by the near-untouchable couple of his first book. Yet the tender way he writes about his characters shine through, his striking prose reaching mythical proportions as he guides them through instances in which they get closer and fall in love. Consequently, I’m always left scratching my head at them; empathising halfway but not fully there, digging in but never reaching the bottom of them.

three-stars

Light Up the Night by M.L. Buchman

Posted in Contemporary Romance/ Military/Paramilitary/ Reviews/ Romantic Suspense 15th September 2014
Light Up the Night by M.L. BuchmanLight Up the Night by M.L. Buchman
Series: The Night Stalkers #8
Published by Sourcebooks Casablanca on September 2nd 2014
Pages: 337
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three-stars

Name: Trisha O'Malley
Rank: Second Lieutenant and AH-6M "Little Bird" Pilot
Mission : Take down Somali pirates, and deny her past

Name: William Bruce
Rank: Navy SEAL Lieutenant
Mission : Rescue hostages, and protect his past-against all comers

They both have something to hide

When hotshot SOAR helicopter pilot Trisha O'Malley rescues Navy SEAL Bill Bruce from his undercover mission in Somalia, it ignites his fury. Everything about Trisha triggers his mistrust: her elusive past, her wild energy, and her proclivity for flying past safety's edge. Even as the heat between them turns into passion's fire, Bill and Trisha must team up to confront their pasts and survive Somalia's pirate lords.

For a while now, I couldn’t really get into M.L. Buchman’s other books despite the very tight writing and the superb technical bits and the military know-hows that many romantic suspense novels lack for the primary reason of his other characters never really being able to live up to the untouchable Mark Henderson and Emily Beale. Henderson and Beale remain his hallowed, golden couple and even after they’ve long ridden into their civilian sunset, they continue to cast a long shadow over other his other books (and couples) and I can’t ever shake the nagging feeling that these 2 – as much as I kinda liked them in the first book – can do no wrong, which then made me start to resent them. The other couples needed to stand on their own feet and on their own character merits, which I thought they never could do, not when Beale and Henderson were often looking over their shoulders.

There’s also something a little off-kilter with the style of writing and the chips on the shoulders of his female characters that always make me think twice about diving into a Buchman book, but William Bruce and Trisha O’Malley’s story was one that I wanted to read simply because there wasn’t an active presence of Henderson and Beale in there.

And yes, they’re personable, likeable enough for me to want to see how Buchman continues with his Night Stalkers series.

three-stars
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