Skip to main content

Review of "Breath of Malice" by Karen Fenech

This was one of those books that I was really looking forward to reading from the moment I requested it on Netgalley and was super bummed that I had to wait because I received it more than a month before its publication date (June 14th).  Finally, I felt comfortable reading and preparing to review it last week, so almost immediately after finishing Beta Test on Monday afternoon, I greedily downloaded the file onto my iPad.  Unfortunately it was one of those cases of the anticipation being better than the actual product.

FBI Agent Paige Carson has spent the last year running from her past, transferring from one field office to another each time it caught up with her.  She knew it wasn't any way to live, but she needed to keep her teenaged sister safe and was willing to do anything to keep her out of harm's way.  Shortly after moving to South Carolina, she encounters a serial killer from her past and she must decide whether to stay and fight or cut and run.

Special Agent in Charge, Sam McKade, knew something was off about his newest hire, but being shorthanded, he chose to overlook that and see what kind of agent she would be.  Almost immediately, he felt pulled to Paige and wanted her to trust him with whatever was wrong.  But is he ready to deal with her unique set of baggage?

I don't know if the standard for romantic suspense has changed or if I'm just expecting too much from it all of a sudden, but this is the second book in a matter of days that has seriously disappointed me.  Breath of Malice's biggest problem is that it takes far too long for the plot to show up and when it does, the action moved at such a snail's pace that I was in danger of falling asleep.  I've only experienced that sensation twice before -- once in 6th grade when my class was reading Endlessness by Isaac Asimov, which for some reason was just a series of numbers from beginning to end (my teacher realized her mistake pretty quickly and stopped us before we were all sleeping) and again the summer before 8th grade when we were assigned A Separate Peace.  Somehow I managed to stay awake through that one, but from all accounts, I was one of the only ones in my class not to fall asleep.  At least with Breath of Malice, I wasn't forced to continue reading like I was back in school.

The pacing, unfortunately, was not the only problem I had with this book and had that been the case, I probably would have been able to finish it.  I also had issues with the likability of the main character.  I really did not like Paige.  She is the type of person who never wants help from anyone else and lets her pride and insecurities stop her from going to Sam when it was obvious that she couldn't deal with things on her own.  Yes, she had reasons not to trust the bureau, despite the fact that she still worked for it, but I felt as if she was hindering the investigation and putting her fellow agents in danger by not opening up about her serial killer stalker.  I would hope that a federal agent would know better, but Paige doesn't.  Even when she was certain that Thames, the aforementioned serial killer/stalker, was in South Carolina, she hesitated at talking to Sam.  It wasn't until he backed her into a corner that she told him the truth.

Sam wasn't as bad as Paige, but I have doubts about his feelings regarding his ex-wife.  I kept thinking that he wasn't completely over her, especially when he found out about her relationship with a new man.  At one point, he thought about how the new guy wasn't as good looking as he is -- and my first thought was that he was a bit shallow.  Maybe the new guy was good to his ex-wife and their son.  Maybe his ex-wife saw something else in this guy that she didn't have when she was married to Sam.

As for the romance, it kind of came out of nowhere.  Obviously, I knew there was going to be one as this is a romance novel, however, there was very little build up before the two of them started sleeping together.  Exactly half way through the book, almost as if Ms. Fenech was reminded that she was supposed to be writing a romance, Sam and Paige have sex -- boring sex, by the way -- and Sam is instantly in love with her and possessive of her.  This nearly killed me.  They'd only even kissed once before and the fact that the sex came right after she shared her painful past with him made me think that he was taking advantage of her.  She was vulnerable as hell and all he could think of was how long it would take to bury himself in her.

Finally, this isn't specifically a problem with the book and more about my total geekiness, but the character names just pulled me out of the book.  Each time I read their names together, it made me think about the old television show, Charmed, in which Paige meets her biological father, a man named Sam, and so the familial connection kept squicking me out.  I'm probably the only one that had this problem, but it bugged me so very much.

DNF

Breath of Malice is currently available for Pre-Order and will be released on June 14th.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Throwback Review: The Dream Trilogy by Nora Roberts

There are some books that stick with you no matter how long it has been since you first read them.  For me, the Dream Trilogy has always been in the back of my head.  I probably read them a good 15 years ago and the last time was a good 10 years back.  As a matter of fact, that trilogy was part of the first round of books I purchased when I got my first kindle for my 24th birthday (I never actually read it after buying the digital version; I guess I just needed to know that I could read them if I wanted.


The first book of the trilogy, Daring to Dream, was released in 1996 when I was just 10 years old and more concerned with passing math (I did, but not without many a night of struggling to remember what the E in PEMDAS meant) than I was with the goings on of fictional characters inside the pages of a book.  In fact, if I read at all during that time period it was to get a free pan pizza through Pizza Hut and the Book It! program.  I've mentioned this a few times before, but I act…

Blog Tour: Excerpt and Review of "Lord of Chance" by Erica Ridley

Title: Lord of Chance Author: Erica Ridley ISBN: 1943794049 Publisher: Webmotion Series: Rogues to Riches #1 Price: $7.99 (paperback) $3.99 (e-book) $9.97 (Audible Audio)
Rating: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ 





I was recently given the opportunity to take part in a Blog Tour for the newest Erica Ridley novel, Lord of Chance, and as I've liked her books in the past, I decided to do it.  The publisher quickly provided me with  a whole folder full of goodies, so without further ado:
The Excerpt
'Charlotte harrumphed to hide her amusement. “How are you at pressing wrinkles from gowns?” “Let me assure you,” Mr. Fairfax informed her with utter seriousness, “that I have never worn a wrinkled gown in all my life.” “Very gentlemanly.” She tried not to smile. “Let’s see your skill as maid-of-all-work, then. My gowns are in the wardrobe, as is my traveling iron. See what you can do.” “At your service.” He bowed, then turned and marched to the wardrobe like a soldier off to war. Now that he couldn’t see her, she let her…

Review of "Pretty Face" by Lucy Parker

Pretty Face is pretty fucking awesome.  There, I said it.  I first picked it up based on all the squeeing about Ms. Parker's first book, Act Like It, which I am sad to say, I still have not read, despite said squeeing.  I don't usually read books by authors I know are British and I'm sure this comes from all those stuffy classics I had to read in high school.  Granted, many of those classics were written by American authors (I still have nightmares about reading Moby Dick--Mr Sullivan, if you are out there and have stumbled on my blog, I'm sorry, but Melville was an awful writer, who used the English language as a torture device), but still, there seems to be some type of block in my brain that stops me from wanting to read something by a British author.  I'm glad I made an exception for Ms. Parker.

Luc Savage is in the middle of a crisis: he can't find anyone to play Elizabeth I in the new play that he is producing.  While he's used to dealing with actors…

Review of "The Thing About Love" by Julie James

Title: The Thing About Love
Author: Julie James
ISBN: 0425273776
Publisher: Berkley
Series: FBI/US Attorney Book #7
Price: $10.99 (paperback) $8.99 (e-book) $15.74 (Audible Audio)
Rating: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ 1/2

From The Publisher
Two undercover FBI agents can hide who they are from everyone but each other in the latest novel from the New York Times bestselling author of Suddenly One Summer.
After spending six years in Los Angeles—and the last six months wondering how her marriage fell apart—FBI Special Agent Jessica Harlow is looking for a fresh start. When she finds out that the Chicago field office has an opening for an undercover agent, returning to her hometown seems like the perfect answer. But her new partner, John Shepherd, is someone she never expected to see again. Six years ago, the cocky Army Ranger was her top competition at the FBI Academy, and the one man who got under her skin like no other. 
Just one assignment away from joining the FBI's elite Hostage Rescue Team, John isn't g…

Blog Tour and Review of " A Lady's Code of Misconduct" by Meredith Duran

I'm going to be honest.  When I first got the email about being a part of this blog tour, I was ecstatic.  I've only read one Meredith Duran before this (Sweetest Regret, a novella part of a 2015 Christmas Anthology), but that one was so good that I had a bit of a fangirl moment as I responded.  I wish that what I got was as good as the anticipation of the thing itself.

From the Publisher:

A DEAL WITH THE DEVIL…
Trapped in the countryside, facing an unwanted marriage and the theft of her fortune, Jane Mason is done behaving nicely. To win her freedom, she’ll strike a deal with the most dangerous man she knows—a rising star in politics, whose dark good looks mask an even darker heart.
…NEVER GOES TO PLAN.
The bitter past has taught Crispin Burke to trust no one. He’ll gladly help a lovely young heiress, provided she pays a price. Yet when a single mistake shatters his life, it is Jane who holds the key to his salvation. And in a world that no longer makes sense, Crispin slowly rea…