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Posted August 2, 2013
I found the new-to-me writing style of Carolyn Crane to be quite entertaining when I picked up her book Against the Dark. Against the Dark is a romantic suspense that intrigued me from the beginning with three female best friends posing as hookers to pull off a diamond heist. Really? When was the last time you read about three women kicking butt to rip off a creepy psycho powerful guy? That scene alone sparked my interest. To complicate their plan, there is a mysterious undercover agent that is watching one of these lovely ladies. Does he know what they are up to? The adventure begins.
The main characters of Angel and Cole were very interesting. They were complicated but not really. With so many covers they each had at different times you never quite knew when they were being honest with one another. It keeps the reader on their toes, too, even though there are multiple points of views in the story so you know more than the characters. The story moves along at a good pace and you get to see more layers to Angel and Cole come out. The romance between Angel and Cole is different than I anticipated it would be. I was a little shocked at how quickly after they started working together they became intimate. It was a hot scene and well written, but just surprised me and threw me off a little. The other scenes were much better in my opinion.
The ending to Against the Dark was perfect. Everything was tied up nicely and we got a glimpse of Angel and Cole's future life. If you are looking for a hot romantic suspense story that is engaging from the beginning, easy to read and hard to put down, I recommend you give Against the Dark a try. I look forward to the next one in the series!
Posted June 5, 2013
~Reviewed by SUZANNE & posted at Under the Covers Book Blog
Ms Crane seems to excel at with all her books is put a twist on the traditional expectations you will have with a certain type of book and she continues to do this in Against the Dark. ~ Under the Covers
Angel Ramirez has left her life of crime behind, she is no longer a safe cracker, and instead works in interior design. But her friends from her old life need her help; they need diamonds that are locked in to a safe only she can crack, otherwise their beloved aunt will be killed. But, the mission becomes more complicated than Angel expected when she catches the eyes of one of her marks security officers, especially as he is much more than he seems.
I always get excited when there is a new Carolyn Crane book out, she has managed to completely win me over with her Disillusionist trilogy and continues to do so with the books she has released afterwards. So, although this is a romantic suspense book a genre I don’t usually like, I thought I would give it a crack…I wasn’t disappointed!
Ms Crane seems to excel at with all her books is put a twist on the traditional expectations you will have with a certain type of book and she continues to do this in Against the Dark. For example, the hero may be an undercover agent with mad combat skills and delicious abs but what he actually specializes in is Math’s and more specifically logistics, he was a big ol’ nerd, glasses included. And this mixture of the expected and unexpected made the book more exciting.
What was also exciting was the relationship with Angel and Cole, the sexual tension between them was there from the start and just got more intense as the book progressed; culminating in a delicious bathroom sex scene which may require you take a cold shower after having read it! What I also liked about their relationship was that although they may have discovered their love for one another it didn’t mean every other issue they have about themselves has disappeared; love wasn’t the magical elixir that made life perfectly happy.
This was a good read, exciting and sexy and I can’t wait to read the next in the series.
*ARC provided by author
Posted April 30, 2013
*may contain minor spoilers*
Carolyn Crane’s <i>Against the Dark</i>
is a fun read and a good start for what likely will be a great series. I am always drawn to Carolyn’s books, particularly because she usually come up with really original plot concepts, plus, she tends to create really amazing characters - especially her heros who aren’t that typical, tired alpha-male type. With Cole, our <i>Against the Dark</i>
hero, she continues to deliver by creating a sexy “nerdy” guy, one who has some of those alpha qualities - he’s strong and a skilled fighter - but tends to use his brain over brawn (or at least the two in combination) whenever possible. He’s commanding, but knows when to make the orders and when to take them. He’s also “tortured” with a tragic past...he’s this hybrid hero that combines the best of all those typical hero types, but doesn’t come across being (literally) unbelievably complex. He charmed me from the beginning and left me wanting more by the end.
I was less impressed with the heroine, Angel. She’s not bad, but there isn’t anything amazing about her either. It’s almost hard for me to put into words what it was that was wrong about her, but whatever it was, it made the book a bit less enjoyable because she didn’t help to draw me in. Not a big deal, just a little thing that made the book lean more towards average...in all of Carolyn’s other books I’ve LOVED the female leads. They’re funny, real and completely relatable. Unfortunately Angel missed the mark.
I did love how their relationship progressed, though I wish there had been a little more follow through when all “the secrets” each of them had were revealed. It felt like the jump from mixed feelings to love came a little too easily and quickly. The sex scenes were hot. I love “romance” because I love the relationship building but rarely do I find that I really love reading the sex scenes. They’re often the literary equivalent to most porn - unnatural and unfeeling with way too much emphasis on the ins and outs (sorry I can't help myself LOL) and way too little emphasis on the emotional aspect of the act. I don’t want every sex scene to be lovey-dovey (actually, lovey-dovey is usually just as bad as no emotion at all), but whatever the characters are feeling in the moment, I want to believe it, I want to be able to relate to it, otherwise all I want to do is skip over it. Carolyn does this very well in all her books, this one included. She conveys passion so well that her books have been known to give me butterflies. I love that Cole and Angel are playful, that their “dirty talk” doesn’t make me want to vomit and that Cole is dominant without being a rapist (seriously, the number of rapist or would-be-rapists in the romance genre is appalling...).
Another thing that I couldn’t help but notice is that some of the themes from other books were “recycled” in this one. How Cole sees the world reminds me of how the high-caps from the Disillusionists series would see the world in their special way, even though their way was “supernatural” and Cole’s was just a result of the way his normal (though intelligent) mind works. Also the themes in the relationship between Angel and Cole seemed remarkably similar to Fawna and Simon from the Disillusionists...This wasn’t terrible since I loved the Disillusionists, but it does irk me a bit when the whole time I was reading <i> Against the Dark </i>
I was noticing these similarities instead of being completely drawn into the book.
Overall it was an enjoyable read and I look forward to reading the next in the series. It looks like the next hero has the potential to be just as amazing as Cole!!
Posted April 24, 2013
Cole is the dreamiest, most intelligent hero since, well ever! I do agree that the bad guy is just too greasy and one dimensional. He would have been better with at least one redeeming charactersistic. The connection and heart between Angel and her two female partners-in-crime is really well-written. Now imagining Macmillan in a cage fight to the death in a steamy South American locale? Yeah, count me in for the next one! :)Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 23, 2013
I Also Recommend:
This was a really fun, enjoyable read. I'm not generally a fan of romantic suspense, but I do like the author's Disillusionist trilogy and this wasn't a very typical romantic suspense anyway.
As with most romances, my favorite part of the book is the characters. I loved that Angel was a safecracker, and I really enjoyed the scenes that had her utilizing those skills. I also liked that she was willing to do whatever she needed to do in order to keep her loved ones safe. I absolutely loved the camaraderie between Angel, White Jenny, and Macy. And Cole was absolutely yummy (I do so love an intelligent man). Angel and Cole had lots of chemistry, and the book was incredibly steamy.
I wasn't super fond of the bad guy, Bergola, because he felt like a little bit of a caricature. It was pretty easy for me to over look this, though.
Definitely looking forward to reading Macmillan's book next!
Note - I received a free ARC from a contest the author ran in exchange for an honest review.
Posted April 20, 2013
4 stars - A Romantic Suspense with Brains, Brawn, and Skillful Hands!
”Everything was different. His…heart was open wide—dangerously wide, vulnerable to everything. It was okay. His open heart was a good wound.
Pulled out of ‘retirement’ by her old team of thieves, Angel Ramirez’s skills are needed to crack the safe of sadistic organized criminal, Walter Borgola. The men holding a beloved aunt captive demand Borgola’s prized diamonds as ransom. To be caught stealing would be a fate worse than death. The team is entirely unaware there is another person with his own objective. Cole Hawkins – sexy, blilliant, dangerous, undercover - adds tension to the game plan. He will do anything and use anyone to accomplish his mission.
Known for her unconventional characterizations and unique world-building, it was with cautious hope that I read Against the Dark. How would Carolyn Crane’s creativity shine in a generally formulaic sub-genre? There aren’t any Disillusionists or any hint of fantasy within this novel, yet the main characters reflect Ms. Crane’s distinctive touch.
Ms. Crane's main characters tend to have unique traits or something a little odd about them. Angel and Cole have an offbeat quality. They also manage to maintain their edge as safecracker and undercover agent. The abundance of tangled emotions attached to their ‘gifts’ give them layers. The touch of contradiction in Angel’s character establishes her credibility as a reformed thief caught up in the game.
While the characters are well-drawn, the romance requires some faith as Angel and Cole have one of those instant connections common in romantic suspense. This issue is addressed as the story progresses. Their intellectual compatibility, cltandestine skills, and explosive sexual chemistry reinforce their bond. Cole is quite an abstract thinker and a very impressive lover! The sexy times will certainly satisfy the steam-loving fans!
The characters take us along for the twisty ride as Ms. Crane builds upon her new espionage world, which I hope to learn more of since it is still a little hazy. Overall, snappy dialogue, clever characterizations, proof condoms can be sexy, and scorching love scenes all set within a depraved crime lord’s party atmosphere beget a thrilling beginning to a new series.
My Verdict: Recommended Read!
Favorite Quote - Simple and Affecting [WARNING: Somewhat spoilerish!]
"He'd told himself earlier that he'd try to save her if he could. That was no longer true, he realized.
He'd try to save her even if he couldn't."
Advanced copy courtesy of Carolyn Crane through an ARC drawing in exchange for an honest review.
Posted June 23, 2013
No text was provided for this review.