Monday, October 28, 2013
Weather the Storm by Monette Michaels
Vanko fights to save the life of the woman who holds the key to revealing a traitor. From the streets of New York to the Bahamas, Vanko, the ultimate alpha male, struggles against all odds as assassins converge from all sides. Without support and distracted by feelings long buried, Vanko must Weather the Storm in Book 3 of Security Specialists International to find a love he never expected.
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This book blew me away in several ways. First and foremost, it managed to make me love a book that's in a genre I'm not normally as crazy about and involving a storyline of the sort I usually find annoying and occasionally distasteful. I'll admit there were parts of the plot I wasn't that crazy about, and as usually happens with books like this I did get tired of the characters being in constant danger after awhile, but even through that I couldn't help but admire the way in which they were handled, and the characters were so wonderful and vivid that they completely made up for anything I might not have liked as much about the book.
Elana has got to be one of the best female protagonists I've read about in a very long time. Probably even the best one in a long while. She's tough, brave, intelligent, skilled - the list of her positive attributes could go on and on. But she's in no way a Mary Sue, for she does have a side to her personality that is still very broken by the things she's endured in her past. Those things are what made her the tough-as-nails woman she is today, but are also still a considerable weakness that rears its head to bite her at inconvenient times. She's fully aware of her weaknesses though, and that's part of what makes her such a wonderful character. So many tough female leads are shown as adopting an air of bravado and charging in even when they know they're not the best one for the job because they think they have something to prove. Not Elana. She can and does hold her own and then some, but only when she's left with no other alternative. She's more than happy to let others protect her when it's possible, but when it's not she holds it together and protects herself as long as she's physically able to (and sometimes even beyond that). I really can't say enough good about her and I wish more strong female leads were written the way Elana is.
Vanko is almost everything you could want in a sensitive alpha male hero. Cunning and ruthless but also highly protective and determined to shield Elana from any threat, including his own desire for her. What makes him particularly appealing in my opinion is there's nothing at all mopey or "I'm no good for you" about him or in his attitude of why he's protecting her from himself as well as from their enemies. He lets her know up front that she's going to be his just as soon as the danger has passed and she's in better physical condition. Perhaps he is a tad bit overzealous about not endangering her health any more than necessary by getting overly frisky, even when she tells him flat out that she wants him, because I'm sure if he'd really put his mind to it he'd have figured out a way to make it work without hurting her, but you can't help but admire him for not giving in to his (and her) lust. It makes for some wonderful sexual tension that gets relieved just enough to keep it from getting tedious, but not enough to turn the heat down on it until the proper time has come.
I haven't read the previous books in this series, but I didn't find that to be a deterrent to understanding and liking this one. Most likely I would have had a better feel and understanding for some of the side characters and for the situation that starts the ball rolling in this book since it's fairly clear they are people and stories that have been featured in the past, but enough was explained to keep the reader from feeling too lost if they hadn't read the previous books. There are a few points I might have liked a bit more explanation about, but they were detail items that I'm sure were explained in previous books, and not having those few answers didn't hinder my enjoyment of the story at hand. So, to anyone who might be hesitant to pick this one up because they haven't read the previous books, don't worry about it too much, for you'll be fine.
Readers of any romance genre will find something to like here. While I'd primarily classify it as contemporary romantic suspense there are a few paranormal elements sprinkled in that keep things interesting for PNR lovers like me. The hero is hot and very alpha though not in a chest thumping way, the heroine is a kick ass independent woman who knows and respects her limits, and the situation they find themselves in will frequently keep you on the edge of your seat to see how they're going to get through it. This is a book I'd highly recommend to anyone that likes romance of any sort.
Note: I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.