Friday, June 21, 2013

CBR5 #10 The Geneva Decision by Seeley James

Until a few weeks ago, she was an international soccer star. But now she's taken the helm of her billionaire father's private security company, and she's playing against a whole new set of opponents: the kind who shoot to kill. On her first day on the job, Pia's client is assassinated in front of her. There's no time for training, so Pia must trust her instincts and athletic skills to unravel the complicated maze of money laundering and piracy that will take her from Swiss mansions to the jungles of Cameroon. Her battle-hardened employees suspect she's just a spoiled rich girl with a mean corner kick. But Pia's got some unexpected moves of her own. Will they be enough to bring her team through its mission?
I don't remember exactly how this book made it into my e-book queue, but it was an unexpected find. Something about the Pia character reminded me of the Vanessa Michael Munroe character from Taylor Stevens' series. Perhaps it is the mysterious past, or the need to demonstrate her defense skills.  I felt that the soccer angle didn't really add anything to the plot overall.

This book has a good old-fashioned mystery at the core with modern day twists. If you are looking for a good read with mystery, intrigue and a touch of romance this book is for you.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

CBR5 #9 The Perfume Collector by Kathleen Tessaro

An inheritance from a mysterious stranger . . .
An abandoned perfume shop on the Left Bank of Paris . . .
And three exquisite perfumes that hold a memory . . . and a secret
Read an ARC from Harper Collins

I'm a sucker for books set in Paris and a good mystery.  This book goes back and forth between 1955 and the 1920s weaving mystery, good times, scandals and romance with both Grace, the jaded housewife, and Eva, the mysterious muse.

While initially I was not impressed with the Grace character, she does manage to grow as a person by the end of the book. Plus she has a sweet romance with the French lawyer helping with the estate left to her. Eva has her own issues and is constantly trying to reinvent herself and run away from her past. The reader will be happy to see how the two characters intertwine and "connect" even though they never meet in person.

Tessaro's writing draws the reader in and captures the essence of both time periods and places (New York and Paris). I'm curious to see if previous books by Tessaro are able to capture the same whimsical nature that The Perfume Collector has.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

CBR5 #8 The Doll by Taylor Stevens

Haunted by a life of violence and as proficient with languages as she is with knives, Vanessa Michael Munroe, chameleon and hunter, has built her life on a reputation for getting things done—dangerous and often not-quite-legal things. Born to missionary parents in lawless Africa, taken under the tutelage of gunrunners, and tortured by one of the jungle’s most brutal men, Munroe was forced to do whatever it took to stay alive.  The ability to survive, fight, adapt, and blend has since taken her across the globe on behalf of corporations, heads of state, and the few private clients who can afford her unique brand of expertise, and these abilities have made her enemies.  On a busy Dallas street, Munroe is kidnapped by an unseen opponent and thrust into an underground world where women and girls are merchandise and a shadowy figure known as The Doll Maker controls her every move. While trusted friends race to unravel where she is and why she was taken, everything pivots on one simple choice: Munroe must use her unique set of skills to deliver a high-profile young woman into the same nightmare that she once endured, or condemn to torture and certain death the one person she loves above all else. Driven by the violence that has made her what she is, cut off from help, and with attempts to escape predicted and prevented, Munroe will hunt for openings, for solutions, and a way to strike back at a man who holds all the cards. Because only one thing is certain: she cannot save everyone. 
read as a e-ARC via NetGalley

This book is the third in Taylor Stevens' Munroe character series.  I've been a huge fan of Stevens since I heard about her first book, The Informationist, back in 2011.  Her second book, The Innocent, continued to impress me and this third book did not let me down as well.

The character Vanessa Michael Munroe has been described as a female Michael Borne and Stevens continues to demonstrate that likeness in each of her books.  In the first book, the reader is intrigued by Munroe's past.  In the second book, the reader learns more about the decisions she had to make in order to survive let alone help others.  In this third book, the reader continues to see how past decisions have hurt and helped Munroe in her life. This third book also allows the reader to see how the few people Munroe allowed into her life are impacted when she is in danger.

Stevens continues to put the reader directly in the action as well as within the characters' minds. At the same time she exposes a real-world problem and situation in a creative way.  If you are looking for a good set of books for your beach reads this summer, I recommend picking up these 3 books from Taylor Stevens.

Check out this recent article where Stevens shared instances of real-life women who disguised themselves as men similar to the Munroe character.