Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Lara Adrian, Tina Folsom - Cut and Run

Darkly gifted and dangerously skilled, they were once the nation's most powerful asset. Betrayed by
unknown enemies, unable to trust anyone--not even one another--the Phoenix hold the key to unmasking a conspiracy steeped in blood and fire. To survive, they'll have to solve . . . The Phoenix Code.
CUT by Lara Adrian
Community college professor Ethan Jones is living a lie. A precognitive agent known as Zephyr, Ethan is accustomed to subterfuge and deception, but when the Phoenix program is betrayed, he’s forced to cut all ties to the life he's made and everyone in it—including smart, beautiful Tori Connors, the one woman who tempted the cold agent to let down his impenetrable facade.
A chance encounter years later and thousands of miles away thrusts the lovers together again, and this time Tori refuses to let Ethan deceive her. Although he is a dangerous enigma, Tori still desires him, and soon their inconvenient reunion becomes a temptation too strong to resist. With assassins closing in, Ethan and Tori embark on a desperate race for their lives—one that will put their tentative trust to the ultimate test.
RUN by Tina Folsom
Motorcycle mechanic Scott Thompson isn't the laid-back loner he makes everyone believe. Three years ago, he was known as Ace, one of an elite group of agents in a top secret CIA program. However, the preternatural ability that made him invaluable to the government could now be his downfall, when his skill alerts him to a disaster bound to kill dozens of innocents unless he intervenes.
Journalist Phoebe Chadwick needs to persuade her editor to spare her from department cuts that threaten her job. When a mysterious stranger prevents an accident that would have killed her and many others, Phoebe goes after the story. But bad boy Scott is a reluctant hero unwilling to answer her questions, despite the sizzling chemistry that ignites between them. As his enemies hunt him down, Scott must decide if he can trust Phoebe—and how far he’s willing to go to keep her safe at his side. 

Comment: This book was chosen for one of my book clubs. I've read books by Lara Adrian before and the concept of the books was interesting enough so I decided to give it a try.

Cut and Run are two stories where we meet characters that have a mission and a goal but whose identity we only learn one book a time.
This is the first book in a series by Lara Adrian and Tina Folsom featuring a secret CIA department with operatives belonging to a special unit where all members have psychic abilities, like foreseeing what will happen at a given moment, etc.
However, the operatives were living under secret identities and their team was compromised and their leader killed. Now they need to find each other again so they can hunt the responsible for the death of the man they respected and who wants them dead.

The books contain two stories, one by each author. Each story presents a different main character and the person they fall in love with. Apparently the stories follow one another in terms of chronology and characters from one book will show up in the following one. I was curious enough about both of them, especially Lara Adrian's, an author I'm familiar with but from a different genre. I was very curious to see a more contemporary setting and concept from her.

Both stories have interesting elements, I confess, but at the same time there were some flaws I could find and couldn't put aside while reading. The first, common to both is the length vs development. I just found the stories too rushed. I know, each story is more novella size than a full length book so the authors had to move things alone quickly, even more so when we know the main characters are in a run from an enemy but... it seems unlikely certain situations could happen that way, romances in particular.
But I'll mention each story alone.

Cut is the first story where we introduced the main idea and the first couple. Sadly, this was a lovers reunited plot and I dislike those in general. I was not convinced otherwise with this story, though. I understand this is a quick way for readers to accept the couple's relationship but their connection was never something I loved reading about, which made the story not totally successful for me. 
The development was interesting enough but the sort of emotional and family baggage the secret agents have isn't something to be easily dealt within a novella sized story, I think. Ethan seemed interesting and he was everything eh needed to be a good hero but I never connected with him. Tori was slightly better but again, I didn't care much for her. In the end, it was ok to see them together and looking for ways to help Ethan and prevent chaos but I was surprised by how this was written and I wouldn't say it was Adrian's work. I can't say if this is good or bad.

Run is the second story, following the action from the first one and it was my first book by author Tina Folsom. I suppose most novellas belonging to a series sort of feel the same, so this was easy to go through but there wasn't any detail in it that made me eager to keep reading. Maybe this is not the author's best sample...
I liked this story more, simply for the plot alone but of course the romance wasn't very convincing because it happened too fast. If only author would take a chance on the possibilities, the sexual tension even without love declarations, things could look more realistic.
Scott was an interesting character, I liked him better than Ethan and I was curious about him and his life. I think the author convinced me to be interested. Phoebe I also liked more than Tori, I wish we could see more of her and, as a couple, they were more vibrant and captivating to me. But most of my issues with them were the same with the others, not enough time to develop them and their relationship as well as it could.

Overall, both stories had interesting scenes but I think authors (whether they want or publishers or whomever decides that does) take too long with sex instead of really developing the stories or adding more emotional depth to the characters. I like it they are intimate and bond that way but that doesn't make the plot move along and occupies precious pages where we could see better character development.

I honestly don't feel curious enough to keep reading. Thinking about both stories, they have good points but I spent more time wishing this or that was different.
It was still interesting, though, to be able to know another author and have a new light on a known one.
Grade: 6/10

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