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That's What I'm Talking About

I generally review romance, paranormal and urban fantasy. I tend to pick review books that I want to read, so generally my reviews will be positive. I always give my honest opinion: good, bad, and indifferent. 


Note: on my blog I use a letter grading system. I've listed the ratings below. For sites with stars, I have listed the equivalent rating. If I didn't finish the book, I will not rate it with stars.


A+  Personal Favorite (5 stars)
A    Loved It (4.5 or 5 stars)
A-   Enjoyed A Lot (4 or 4.5 stars)
B+  Liked It A Lot (4 stars)
B    Liked It -- Recommend (4 stars)
B-   Liked It -- But I had a few small issues (3 or 3.5 stars)
C+  Liked It -- But I had issues (3 or 3.5 stars)
C    Finished It -- Liked some, didn't like some (3 stars)
C-   Finished It -- Liked a little, didn't like a lot (2 or 2.5 stars)
D    Not A Big Fan (2 stars)
E    Don’t Waste Your Time (1 star)
TW: Reading this book was like watching a Train Wreck
DNF: Did Not Finish


updated July 9, 2015

Currently reading

Operation: Endgame (Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences Book 6) (English Edition)
Philippa Ballantine, Jeanne H. Ballantine, William Morris
Just You and Me (A Contemporary Romance Collection)
Fiona Miers, Caitlyn Lynch, Liz Durano, Deelylah Mullin, Cate Farren, Jacquie Biggar, Vicki Batman, Kate Richards, Brenna Zinn, Dalton Diaz, Tierney O'Malley, Desiree Holt, Nicole Morgan, Ashlyn Chase
Bitter Bite: Elemental Assassin, Book 14
Audible Studios, Jennifer Estep, Lauren Fortgang
Progress: 27 %
Surrender - Stephanie Tyler My Rating: 3.5 stars: Liked it - recommend (B+)
Review originally posted at That's What I'm Talking About

Twenty years ago, there was a secret CIA black ops team called Section 8. When one of their own was killed in action, the team was dissolved. Yet they kept in touch, kept doing the dangerous missions. Somewhere, somehow one of those missions put them on the wrong side of a dangerous man, and now all of the remaining members of Section 8 and their families are being hunted and eliminated.

Dare is son of the original Section 8 leader, Darius. He has lived his life on the edge, trying to stay alive. He knew his life was over when he was set up, tortured and left for dead in the jungle until a Ranger saved him.

Avery is Dare’s half sister... Also daughter of Darius, although she never met him or Dare. She is wanted for murdering two men who appear to be related to Section 8. Because of this, Dare is called in to protect his sister and save them from the continue threat to anyone that knows about Section 8.

After the first couple of chapters in Surrender, you may feel the need to take a breath and slow down your heart. That is how fast things move in the this novel. Within the next few chapters we meet the rest of the key players: Jem, a super crazy CIA black ops master; his brother Key, who busted Jem out of the mental institute and is the Ranger who rescued Dare from the jungle; Gunner, a secretive tattoo artist that seems to be someone who can make things happen; and Grace, the daughter of the original Section 8 handler.

Although there is a lot of information to take in, the first part of the story flows well and the tension remains high. I enjoyed meeting all of the players and learning how they were interconnected. It was also fun to speculate who would do what next. Right from the start, I liked every one of the characters.

There are many shifting POVs in Surrender, but the HEA hero and heroine are Dare and Grace. The pair start on opposite sides but both quickly realize they are better off working together. They both have suffered a lot of horrors in their past, yet neither are so broken that they cannot move on and recognize the good in the other. I enjoyed that Grace and Dare came together sooner than later and put everything on the table, including past hurt. For the most part they were emotionally honest and upfront which made their relationship comfortable and sexy.

Although I did enjoy the many POVs, including that from the antagonist midway through the book, the shifting views sometimes created the feeling of choppiness within the flow of the story. Ultimately, I think this impacted my ability to emotionally connect with some of the characters. Additionally, I felt like I missed critical interactions sometimes - either that or they were missing from the story all together. It seemed like suddenly when I was reading I started missing connections and getting lost. Things would happen and I'd question how I arrived at that point - like I missed a preceding scene or two. I wasn’t sure if I missed scenes, and it was hard for me to go back and determine because of the shifting POVs.

The entire book was intense and I enjoyed the action and direction of the story. Ms. Tyler's use of shifting POV can be tough sometimes, but it makes for an exciting and interesting ride - always in the mind of someone new. It helps paint a broader, more in-depth picture. 

With that said, I seemed to get lost and my interest waned during the second half of the story. The first two-thirds had me captivated - learning all of the players and how they are all connected. It was a lot of information, but told to the reader in an exciting and enjoyable way.

I did enjoy Grace and Dare - It would have been nice to spend some more time focusing on the pair. They both survived horrible ordeals in their past yet, are fairly well-adjusted and stable (within the boundaries of this world). You just have to accept that they are emotionally and mentally able to be in a healthy relationship in spite of their pasts. I like that they are mostly upfront and don't spend a lot of time hiding behind false pretenses.

The team on whole is full of great characters. Although they like to categorize themselves into stereotypical roles, they really don't fit any molds. And as "crazy" as they all claim to be, they fit well together. 

Surrender is certainly the set up novel for more adventures to come. Ms. Tyler packed a lot of information into the book and created a backstory for the characters so they can move forward. Knowing how much I love Ms. Tyler's Shadow Ops series, I am certain that Section 8 is heading for some exciting adventures that I look forward to reading.