Sunday, May 29, 2016

ARC Review: Deception Island by Brynn Kelly

Pub. Date:May 31, 2016
Length:336 pages

Sadly this book didn't work out for me. But I may just be hitting a reading slump, so take my review with a grain of salt. I will lay out what worked and what didn't... and the things that didn't work for me might be what you like.  Goodness knows I am not the end-all be-all of reviewers, and there are many that loved this book on Goodreads.  I will commend Brynn Kelly on this debut novel at least, for I know it was no easy feat. While the execution didn't work for me, she has put together a great premise and I love the hero's background in the French Foreign Legion. I am also curious about the hero's friend and teammate from the FFL (Flynn I think his name was), and if he gets his own book, I will give Ms. Kelly another shot. 

The heroine in this book is a down-on-her luck con artist who has spent the bulk of her 20s in prison for robbing banks. Holly Ryan let love blind her to the faults of her boyfriend, Jasper, who set her up to take the fall while he reaped the rewards of their criminal enterprise. Shortly after Holly is released from her imprisonment with nothing to her name, she is plucked from parole by a presidential candidate and hired to play a body double for his daughter who has announced she will sail around the world alone. All seems to be going well for Holly until several months into her sailing trip she is kidnapped by masked men who believe she is the senator's daughter, Laura. 

Our hero, Rafe Angelito, was quite the nice specimen. Dark, tortured, broody and kickass... some of my favorite things in a hero. Orphaned after an attack on his village, Rafe is forced to become part of a gang known as the Lost Boys. Forced to do horrendous things from only nine years old have understandingly had a lingering effect on Rafe, despite his being rescued and rehabilitated by a humanitarian organization in his teenage years. Now a widowed single parent, and believing he cannot feel emotion, Rafe has left his son with his mother-in-law and takes off on long and dangerous missions with the French Foreign Legion. As I stated above, I liked this aspect and it was unique to me as I don't think I have encountered another hero in the Foreign Legion.  When Rafe's son is kidnapped by the Lost Boys, his only option to see his son safely returned is to kidnap a senator's daughter from the high seas and hold her until the ransom is paid.

The suspense parts of this book did work for me, particularly the earlier action sequences when Laura/Holly was kidnapped and again when they encounter pirates on their island. As long as things were fast-paced and moving the story along at a good clip, I was content.  What didn't work for me was everything between the action sequences. I didn't feel connected to either character or buy into their romance. Those in-between times made the story drag for me and it felt like there was nothing happening. I thought the latter part of the book would pick up when they got off the island, but I was disappointed and often found myself impatient and yelling at the characters to "stop jawing already and get on with it!" I can't say with certainty if the problem was with the story itself, or my mood at the time I was reading... but I just felt grumpy and annoyed by the end and I started skimming a lot. My status updates as I was going showed my frustration throughout.


03/25marked as:to-read
05/27marked as:currently-reading
4.0%"Why is she sorry that 2 of her kidnappers were eaten by sharks. I would be dancing around."
29.0%"I need the action to pick up in this book. I hope they aren't sitting around this empty island for the bulk of the story."
54.0%"The parts in between the action sequences seem to really drag."
60.0%"Hate when the heroine is w/o common sense. Bad people are coming for us so we are hiding in the woods. Oh, but wait, I need some chapstick. I will just go back to the cabin by myself while the kickass heroine is asleep. SMH."
65.0%"Crossing open ocean on a windsurfer in a cyclone? I cannot suspend my belief that far."
89.0%"Blah blah blah. These people talk too much."
05/28marked as:read
05/28marked as:review-pending

I received an advanced copy of this book from Harlequin/HQN via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.