Tag: cheese-alert

Captain Rourke by Helena Newbury

Captain Rourke by Helena NewburyCaptain Rourke by Helena Newbury
Published by Foster & Black on 1st September 2017
Pages: 440
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three-stars

Captain Rourke. A brooding Scottish treasure hunter who carries a sword, lives on his boat and bears the scars of a shark attack on his muscled torso. He’s the only man who can help me. A mystery disease is attacking my family and the only cure lies on a pirate ship that sank three hundred years ago. Rourke’s a loner, determined to push everyone away...but when he looks at me, he melts my clothes right off my body.

I’m a small-town girl from Nebraska. But to save my family I’ll have to take to the sea with Rourke and enter a whole new world of smugglers, sunken gold and deadly storms. In the close confines of his boat, there’s no way I can ignore that smoldering gaze, or the way my legs go weak whenever he takes hold of me. He claims he’s no hero yet he protects me like no other. ..can I save him from the pain that’s tearing him apart? I’m from the prairies; he’s from the sea. But I need to learn his world, fast, because others want what’s on that sunken ship...and they’ll kill both of us to get it.

‘Captain Rourke’ captured my imagination in a way that few contemporary romances these days do: it felt mortifyingly like an old bodice-ripper pirate romance (the sword’s included as well) only with updated technology, a mysterious and science-defying genetic illness, treasure hunts, grizzled (and clichéd) bad guys rushing after gold and multiple instances of heaving bosoms, tight nipples, bare chests and fluttering groins.

Yet Helene Newbury pulls this off with that panache typically associated with such pirate acts anyway and it’s sort of…fascinating to go through the book with a rather naive heroine who romanticises 17th century pirate affairs, a seemingly impossible (and hard to believe) quest and a jaded, crippled captain who keeps reminding himself to push away from the woman he wants.

Apart from Newbury’s trademark use of the protagonists’ exaggerated lust and extreme sexual reactions to each other, ‘Captain Rourke’ is quite the audacious (sometimes cheesy and incredible) take on the treasure-hunting tale. Repetitive phrases however, do make the story longer than I thought necessary: Rourke’s insistence that he’s just waiting to die at sea and that Hannah deserves someone better than him; both seem to have overly long meditative monologues about how their bodies stir when they are near each other, just to begin with.

The sheer amount of action makes this an easy story to go through. I did cringe many times, reminded as I was from time to time of the historical romances that I used to read quite a long, long time ago where clichés knew no bounds. But this works solely on actively suspending any sense of disbelief, so leave every last shred of reality at the door before you start.

three-stars

Unidentified by Anna Hackett

Unidentified by Anna HackettUnidentified by Anna Hackett
Series: Treasure Hunter Security #7
Published by Amazon Digital Services, Amazon Publishing, Anna Hackett on June 10th 2018
Pages: 120
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three-stars

The Emerald Tear: ambitious archeologist Oliver Ward leads a dig in the wild jungles of Ecuador and collides with feisty, independent treasure hunter Persephone.

Oliver Ward loves getting his boots dirty on fascinating digs, and investigating strange ruins in Ecuador is no exception. When bandits threaten his team, a small, tough treasure hunter bursts into his world to save the day. He finds himself captivated by the bright, vibrant woman and sucked into a wild and dangerous treasure hunt for a lost Incan emerald.

Daughter of a con artist, Persephone Blake trusts no one and has a plan—find and sell artifacts until she can retire on a white-sand beach. But her plans are derailed when a handsome, smart, and stubborn archeologist pushes his way onto her hunt. She finds herself irresistibly tempted by Oliver, and as they trek deeper into the jungle, danger follows. And Persephone isn’t sure what is in more danger—her body or her heart.

The Emerald Butterfly: former Navy SEAL Diego Torres finds himself helping the one woman who drives him crazy—the DEA agent who boarded his ship and handcuffed him.

Injured and tortured on a mission, Diego Torres was ready to leave the SEALs and loves being captain of his salvage ship, the Storm Nymph. As he begins his vacation, he planned for solitude, late mornings, and drinking beers while watching the Florida sunsets, what he didn’t plan for was the gorgeous DEA agent who boarded his ship several months before. And he really didn’t plan for an underwater expedition in search of a shipwreck and a priceless Incan emerald.

Sloan McBride’s grandfather dreamed of finding the Emerald Butterfly his entire life. Now he’s dying and she vows to find it for him…even if she has to work with the hard-bodied ex-SEAL she got off to a very wrong start with. But as Sloan and Diego work side by side, dogged by dangerous black-market thieves Silk Road, they uncover a scorching hot passion. They will do anything to protect each other, including calling in their friends from Treasure Hunter Security, and they’ll risk everything to beat Silk Road to the emerald.

‘Unidentified’ is Anna Hackett’s double romance within a novella, so make that 2 very short vignettes tucked neatly into a normal ‘Hackett-sized’ book. I’ll admit that I have my doubts about the short length of each story, wondering how Hackett would juggle not only the action-packed adventure with the eroticism written in for both couples.

But these 2 stories feel very much like side helpings in some ways, like a comet’s short burst of magical brilliance that’s ephemeral: full of treasure-hunting Indiana-Jones style goodness but thin on the romance (though copious on the sex). Oliver and Persephone Ward’s story made me do the side-eye look; knowing that they are the parents of the protagonists of the first 3 books in the series made me a little squeamish—akin to watching or reading about your parents having sex in the 70s porny style—about this couple and their romantic connection. I took to Diego/Sloan’s story somewhat better given their short but hostile(ish) history, yet finished the entire book with some scepticism about the ‘same-ish’ feel that this series has, seeing as it was a repeat about finding a treasure (the goal), beating the bad guys, and then riding happily into the sunset together.

In short, the fun times are there in ‘Unidentified’, especially if you’re looking for a short, short read with some thrills and can sort of brush off the instant-lust and love romance that’s formed in the heat of the moment.

three-stars

A Matter of Justice by Christy Reece

A Matter of Justice by Christy ReeceA Matter Of Justice by Christy Reece
Series: Grey Justice, #4
Published by Christy Reece on 17th April 2018
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four-stars

Their past is complicated, their future is deadly.

She came from nothing and was no one until an evil man formed her into the perfect weapon, a beautiful creature of destruction. Capturing her prey held few challenges, until her target and her heart collided, and then the world came down around her. Irelyn Raine has worked hard to bury her past, but escape isn’t always possible, especially when the one man she trusts above all others throws her back into the hell she swore she’d never revisit. Now Irelyn has no choice but to face down her demons.

Grey Justice lives by a standard few would approve or understand. Gaining justice for victims can be a messy business, and the outcome isn’t always pretty. One woman knows all his secrets—the one woman who could break him. Irelyn Raine is his weakness and his strength, his shame and his redemption.

Someone else knows all their secrets, all their sins, and he’ll use everything within his power to destroy what they’ve built together.

Surviving alone isn’t possible, but can they find their way back to each other in time? Or will one of them be left behind? This time, forever?

No one escapes justice.

‘A Matter of Justice’ closes Christy Reece’s ‘Grey Justice’ series and is a gratifying read given that it finally uncovers the odd relationship between Irelyn and Grey, who have only always been each other’s. In this aspect ‘A Matter of Justice’ is unusual for a romance, seeing as Irelyn/Grey is never a pairing in question even as the book starts after a time of personal conflict and separation. For this reason, there’s little emotional angst when Irelyn and Grey simply talk to get their problems sorted then move forward as a pair, the driving force of the plot coming instead from an external source in Irelyn’s past that they can’t quite outrun.

So much of Grey/Irelyn’s relationship has been shrouded in vague terms, with bits of their history floating in and out of Reece’s previous books that it can be difficult to put together this weird relationship that ranges the entire spectrum from love to hate. In any case, reconstructing their relationship from my perspective was an exercise in frustration, even when I was one-thirds through the book. With all the hints that Reece has been dropping about them having spent so much time together, having hurt each other so brutally, I needed the details. Their story is finally told in the later parts of the book but I still found too many gaps in Grey/Irelyn’s history—the intricacies of how they got to where the are now—that I wanted to know, which I felt Reece glossed over or didn’t address.

In fact, the main failing of the story is that there were many things that Reece expected us to take at face value, which I found I couldn’t. Battling implausibility has always been the largest obstacle in romantic suspense anyway, as it takes this part of the brain to switch off each time I watch an action/thriller film, and as always, some more so than others. Maybe a flashback or 2 in the beginning would have helped, otherwise, their history felt more like recounting/telling rather than the immersive experience that I was hoping for.

That said, it’s a pretty good end to the series, even it probably doesn’t work too well as a standalone—Reece gives a lock-and-loaded type situation, with a journey that hops all over the globe (exotic locations seem par for the course) and one that finally puts Grey Justice in action. That Grey/Justice’s HEA is done before the climax is yet another unusual thing for this story, but Reece can do the unexpected while providing the fairytale-ish ending…which is always a pleasant surprise.

four-stars