2018 Book #19 – The Woman Left Behind by Linda Howard

51FHd3Am-3LTitle: The Woman Left Behind
Author: Linda Howard
Date finished: 2/26/18
Genre: Fiction, romantic suspense
Publisher: William Morrow
Publication Date: March 6, 2018
Pages in book: 368
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: Edelweiss NOTE: I received this book for free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

Jina Modell works in Communications for a paramilitary organization, and she really likes it. She likes the money, she likes the coolness factor—and it was very cool, even for Washington, DC. She liked being able to kick terrorist butts without ever leaving the climate-controlled comfort of the control room.

But when Jina displays a really high aptitude for spatial awareness and action, she’s reassigned to work as an on-site drone operator in the field with one of the GO-teams, an elite paramilitary unit. The only problem is she isn’t particularly athletic, to put it mildly, and in order to be fit for the field, she has to learn how to run and swim for miles, jump out of a plane, shoot a gun…or else be out of a job.

Team leader Levi, call sign Ace, doesn’t have much confidence in Jina–who he dubbed Babe as soon as he heard her raspy, sexy voice–making it through the rigors of training. The last thing he needs is some tech geek holding them back from completing a dangerous, covert operation. In the following months, however, no one is more surprised than he when Babe, who hates to sweat, begins to thrive in her new environment, displaying a grit and courage that wins her the admiration of her hardened, battle-worn teammates. What’s even more surprising is that the usually very disciplined GO-team leader can’t stop thinking about kissing her smart, stubborn mouth…or the building chemistry and tension between them.

Meanwhile, a powerful Congresswoman is working behind the scenes to destroy the GO-teams, and a trap is set to ambush Levi’s squad in Syria. While the rest of the operatives set off on their mission, Jina remains at the base to control the surveillance drone, when the base is suddenly attacked with explosives. Thought dead by her comrades, Jina escapes to the desert where, brutally tested beyond measure, she has to figure out how to stay undetected by the enemy and make it to her crew in time before they’re exfiltrated out of the country.

But Levi never leaves a soldier behind, especially the brave woman he’s fallen for. He’s bringing back the woman they left behind, dead or alive.

My rating:  4.75 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review.

Finding love in the battle zone

First off I have to say that Linda Howard is one of my absolute favorite authors. She has always been able to draw me into her stories and I don’t think there is a single one of her books that I didn’t enjoy (I’ve read them all). I have been really looking forward to reading this new release and I have to say I was not disappointed. This book stars an amazingly strong and capable female lead, Jina, who ends up being kind of coerced into joining some crazy paramilitary team where her endurance is pushed to the limit (multiple times). Jina was such an amazing character and I just loved her strength and how capable and stubborn she was. And Levi (while a tad over-alpha like for me) was a perfect compliment to Jina’s character. Howard did a great job of drawing the reader into the story and she created such chemistry between Jina and Levi – it just about leaped off the page. There were what I found to be a couple dry sections to the book, but for the most part I couldn’t put the book down. I loved the team and the camaraderie between Jina and the other characters, and I loved reading about Jina’s training and the trials she was able to withstand. The back plot (with the congresswoman) was a little light but I loved Jina’s story too much to worry about that. Overall this was a great book and I would most definitely recommend.

Link to author website

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page


2017 Book #45 – The Mediterranean Caper by Clive Cussler

51RzRwlEwRL._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_Title: The Mediterranean Caper
Author: Clive Cussler
Date finished: 5/14/17
Genre: Fiction, military
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons
Publication Date: July 16, 2013 (40th Anniversary reprint)
Pages in book: 220
Stand alone or series: #1 in the Dirk Pitt Adventure series
Where I got the book from: Terryville Public Library

Blurb from the cover:

On a quiet Greek island, a U.S. air force base has come under attack—by a World War I fighter plane . . . a famous yellow Albatros supposedly lost at sea in 1918.
Now it is up to Dirk Pitt, Al Giordino, and the rest of the NUMA team to root out the elusive truth behind the incident—and find out how it’s connected to mysterious acts of sabotage against a scientific expedition, an international smuggling ring, and a dark-haired beauty with some dangerous secrets.  The search for answers will lead Pitt from a lavish island villa, to a moving freighter eerily empty of crew, to a massive underwater cavern housing the heart of a criminal operation that is larger and more elaborate than he ever could have imagined . . . a lucrative operation that its mastermind would kill to protect.
With its fearless and dashing hero, high-stakes action, and non-stop excitement, The Mediterranean Caper is classic Dirk Pitt . . . and classic Cussler.

My rating:  1.5 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I read this book for the Terryville Library’s Fiction Lover’s Book Discussion group discussion for this month (May). This was a military adventure type novel, supposedly in the same vein as an Indiana Jones type novel. Dirk Pitt is called out to a Greek island with his friend Giordino to help with a problem that’s come up. Along the way, through a series of events that could only be arranged by fate, Pitt gets involved in a larger issue: major drug deals and a dastardly villain who is the very definition of evil.
Overall this was not my favorite book. The hero was so cocky and arrogant, I hated it. And it didn’t make any sense how he kept figuring out the scheme/story behind every twist and turn, I couldn’t understand how Pitt seemed to be this all-knowing character. I mean yes he was smart but it was ridiculous how much he knew about each facet of other people’s plans just by guessing. And I think part of the reason I didn’t love this book was because it was written so long ago there were certain things that just were cringe-worthy. In the first 40 pages of the book, Pitt meets a beautiful but sad woman on the beach, backhands her, and then has sex with her all within like a page and it was just so ridiculously unrealistic. So overall not my favorite but I can where it would appeal to certain readers.

The bottom line: This book was not my favorite, it just didn’t capture my interest. The hero’s character didn’t appeal to me personally but I am sure this book would appeal to some.

Link to author website

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

2015 Book #87 – I Shall Be Near To You by Erin Lindsay McCabe


Title: I Shall Be Near To You
Author: Erin Lindsay McCabe
Date finished: 8/16/15
Genre: Historical fiction
Publisher: Crown
Publication Date: January 28, 2014
Pages in book: 297
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: Terryville Public Library

Blurb from the cover:

An extraordinary novel about a strong-willed woman who disguises herself as a man in order to fight beside her husband, inspired by the letters of a remarkable female soldier who fought in the Civil War.
Rosetta doesn’t want her new husband Jeremiah to enlist, but he joins up, hoping to make enough money that they’ll be able to afford their own farm someday. Though she’s always worked by her father’s side as the son he never had, now that Rosetta is a wife she’s told her place is inside with the other women. But Rosetta decides her true place is with Jeremiah, no matter what that means, and to be with him she cuts off her hair, hems an old pair of his pants, and signs up as a Union soldier.
With the army desperate for recruits, Rosetta has no trouble volunteering, although she faces an incredulous husband. She drills with the men, proves she can be as good a soldier as anyone, and deals with the tension as her husband comes to grips with having a fighting wife. Rosetta’s strong will clashes with Jeremiah’s while their marriage is tested by broken conventions, constant danger, and war, and she fears discovery of her secret even as they fight for their future, and for their lives. Inspired by more than 250 documented accounts of the women who fought in the Civil War while disguised as men, I Shall Be Near To You is the intimate story, in Rosetta’s powerful and gorgeous voice, of the drama of marriage, one woman’s amazing exploits, and the tender love story that can unfold when two partners face life’s challenges side by side.

My rating: 4.25 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I read this book for the Terryville Library’s Fiction Lover’s Book Discussion group discussion for this month (August). This book was actually already on my TBR list before I joined the book discussion group at the library, so I was really excited when I saw this one on their to read list. This book is about a young woman named Rosetta who marries Jeremiah Wakefield, a boy she has loved for years, before he goes off to join the Civil War. Two weeks later though, he leaves to enlist. Rosetta can’t face the idea of life without Jeremiah, living on his parents’ farm and being forced to stay inside every day doing woman’s work. And so she dresses up as a man and goes to join the army so that she can fight alongside her husband.
What follows is her story of living inside the Regiment. When she first arrived, Jeremiah was livid that she followed him and masqueraded herself as a man to join the Army. Rosetta never folded in with what was expected of her though, and that was one of the reasons Jeremiah fell in love with her in the first place. And as mad as he is, in a way he is also glad she is there and that they can be together. He doesn’t want her to be in harm’s way but she is just about as stubborn as a mule so without getting her in trouble by tattling, there isn’t much Jeremiah can do to get her sent home.
Overall I really just enjoyed this book a lot. There is such strength in Rosetta and I admire her so much for facing something that I’m not sure I would ever be able to face. Obviously being in a war is not something for the weak, and the descriptions of the battle fields and the wounded and dying that Rosetta describe would be hard for anyone to come to terms with. And also with war comes loss; loss of loved ones and loss of innocence. I loved Rosetta’s character and it warmed my heart to see how much mutual love there was between Rosetta and Jeremiah. This book was heart-wrenching and wonderful.

The bottom line: I just loved this book. It was sad, yes, but it was also a great book about what strength we as women are capable of. I would highly recommend reading this one.

Link to author website
Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page