January 25, 2010

Back Cover:
Together, they’re an explosion waiting to happen

He's an elite Navy SEAL living a risky double life. She's the gorgeous reporter hot on his trail.

Nick Devane’s life is one big, classified secret. Until Kaylee Smith busts his covert world wide open, threatening to blow his cover. Digging around where she doesn’t belong could get them both killed…especially when the beautiful journalist uncovers top-secret information that could set off a global disaster if it falls into the wrong hands. Nick can’t let that happen, even if he has to battle deadly mercenaries and an irresistible attraction that is all consuming…

Kaylee didn’t expect her search for her missing ex-husband to lead to this sexy and dangerous SEAL. Now she’s teamed up with Nick on a mission that takes them into deepest Africa--and into the middle of a massive government cover-up. With rogue agents hot on their trail, Kaylee’s going to unearth all Nick’s secrets. Before they both vanish without a trace. Before the passion burning between them sets off an explosion no one may survive…

Kaylee Smith is an investigative reporter and the widow of an Army Ranger who saved Nick Devane's life 6 years earlier, Aaron. When Kaylee gets a mysterious phone call from someone claiming to be Aaron she seeks out the last person who saw him alive: Nick. She wants Nick to help her find out what happened to Aaron and why she is being targeted. Nick is very reluctant to help Kaylee, especially when he discovers she's a journalist. Nick has deep and dark secrets to hide and a reporter is the last person he wants sniffing around him, no matter how strong the attraction between them might be. But when two agents try to kill Kaylee, his protectiveness overcomes the need to keep his secrets hidden and he accompanies Kaylee to Africa, to the last place where Aaron was seen alive. Kaylee and Nick get involved in a situation that is far more complicated and dangerous than they could ever imagine and they encounter both unexpected enemies and surprising allies.

Nick and Kaylee have more in common than they think. They both enjoy hotwiring cars and taking them for joyrides, they both have a wild streak and distrust authority and therefore both have had their brushes with the law.

Nick is a navy SEAL and a wild child. He is curt, aloof and has a disdain for clothing, to which I absolutely had no objections; the more naked Nick, the better. Solitude is another thing he can't handle well and he tries to avoid it by living fast and loose. Stephanie Tyler told me Nick was a PITA to write; well he certainly wasn't to read. Admittedly, he is stubborn, headstrong, rebellious and obstinate but underneath the cool, nothing-touches-me attitude there's a really sweet man. He’s protective of whom he cares for and tender and caring when he thinks no one is noticing.

Kaylee is strong and bold. She has guts and a defiant streak. She's impulsive and was 18 when she married Aaron to escape a life of neglect and hardship. But early in Kaylee's POV there are hints that her marriage to Aaron wasn't a happy one but it was better than the life she had before so she stuck with it.

TOO HOT TO HOLD is the follow-up to HARD TO HOLD and what a follow-up it is. I was smitten with Nick from the moment he set foot in HARD TO HOLD and was dying to read his book. When it finally arrived I dived straight in and only came up for air when really necessary. This book had a totally different vibe compared to the first book of the trilogy. Nick is very different from Jake and Kaylee is very different from Isabelle. To be completely honest, I connected more with Isabelle than with Kaylee, which is one of the reasons I loved HARD TO HOLD more than TOO HOT TO HOLD. But where the connection with Kaylee was lacking, the one with Nick definitely made up for it.

Same as with HARD TO HOLD in this second book of the trilogy there are multiple POVs and storylines. It comprises no less than 9 POVs; with Nick and Kaylee's being the two most important and prominent ones and the ones with the highest count. But there are more and very intriguing storylines; two of them are 2 secondary romances. One is continued from HARD TO HOLD and rounded off in this book. The other is the start of the romance between Nick's brother Chris and Jamie, an FBI agent who plays an important role in the storyline surrounding Aaron. This storyline around Aaron is enticing, and intriguing from the start. You want to know what the deal is there. Is he really dead or just missing? What did he do 6 years ago to leave Nick so shaken up? What did he do to Kaylee during their marriage? These where a few of the questions that immediately popped into my head while I was reading and they all get an answer.

While some readers may find the multiple POVs and storylines distracting or bothersome, I didn’t, I really loved them. The multiple POVs and storylines in these books gave them a richer feel, they are not book-filler storylines and they are excellently executed. Seemingly unimportant or unnecessary side plots or POVs all come together at some point because they are all connected in a way and every POV plays a connecting or clarifying role towards the major plot and the romance in some manner, not only within one installment but some also covering the whole trilogy, starting in book one going into book two and connected to side plots in book three. Without them the books would be as emotionally powerful to me as they are now.

Stephanie Tyler has the talent to connect and weave the plots and POVs together like few authors are able to. And she leaves no question unanswered and no loose ends. With every turn of the page a new surprising development came at me, throwing me for a loop or confirming some of my lingering speculations and I wanted to whisper: "and the plot thickens...” Some of my hunches were correct but there were others where I was totally wrong. For example I was way wrong with my hunch about Aaron and Clutch, while reading one of the secondary POVs, but what it ultimately turned out to be was so much better than my hunch.

As you will notice I don't tell much about the plots in this book. That's because anything more elaborate than I've already told would spoil the fun of discovering and disentangling the plotlines and the connections between them. Suffice to say that nothing is what it seems, unexpected and unlikely alliances needed to uncover what is going on and betrayal comes from where you least suspect. Because of the connecting plotlines and some of them cover more than 1 installment I do advise people to read this trilogy in order. If not it could be confusing and I you do read in order the enjoyment of Stephanie Tyler's writing and talent will be so much greater. She is making this trilogy a tight-knit whole and still each book has its own romance and primary plot preventing them from being carbon copies of each other.

One thing I missed in the first part of the book was Chris and Jake. Because of the prominent presence of Nick and Chris in Jake's story I was expecting the same in Nick's story but they did not make an appearance until over 100 pages into the book. I loved the brotherly banter and the vibe it gave to HARD TO HOLD and missed this for a great part in TOO HOT TO HOLD. Fortunately not long after I was missing the banter and the brothers, Chris and Jake did make an appearance and the brotherly interaction I missed appeared again, making me a very happy reader.

Though less emotional than HARD TO HOLD, Nick's story did create lumps in my throat several times. It was just a little bit less intense than with Isabelle and Jake and I think this is because what Isabelle went through was so traumatic it gave HARD TO HOLD that more urgent and intense vibe. TOO HOT TO HOLD is scorching hot from the start. The sexual tension between Nick and Kaylee is just as instantaneous as it was between Jake and Isabelle but Nick and Kaylee are in a situation where they can act upon it immediately and do they ever!

This is not to say TOO HOT TO HOLD was less captivating, by no means! I was fooled a bit by the slower pace in the first part of the book but in the last part, when all the little pieces came together and everything fell into place in a fast-paced and action-packed conclusion, I was as enthralled by TOO HOT TO HOLD as I was with HARD TO HOLD. At the end there was closure and a HEA for Kaylee and Nick but for Jamie and Chris things are just getting started and I'm more than ready to see what will happen with them in HOLD ON TIGHT.

With TOO HOT TO HOLD Stephanie Tyler has kept herself in the upper regions of my romantic suspense/military romance favorites. If you like action and intrigue, if you love to tackle a story from multiple angles and if you like your heroes stubborn, hot and wild, then you shouldn't miss TOO HOT TO HOLD because it brings you all this and more.


If she’d been writing an article about him, she could already picture the opening paragraph:
Every bit the warrior. Tall, broad shoulders, an aristocratic face –handsome…and it is as though Nick Devane should be modeling menswear instead of running around the world with weaponry.

He noted the black leather pants and the vintage AC/DC T-shirt the second he’d laid eyes on her, and yes, Kaylee Smith might just be the most dangerous thing he’d run across on a non-mission basis. Part angel, part hellcat, and shit, it was not cool when he realized that one night wouldn’t be enough time with her, not even close.

This has nothing to do with Aaron,” he told her before he brought his mouth down on hers, swept her into his arms –and the surge of desire was enough to make her knees buckle.
The man tasted like sin, something she shouldn’t need or crave or want. Something she couldn’t resist.

Little bit of Jamie and Chris:
So the CO had gotten rid of her by sending in the distraction. And Chris was distracting, so much so that she wanted to freeze time and just stare at the way one of his eyes was a deep cerulean blue and the other an intense green –eyes that made him look slightly unbalanced but somehow handsome in a crazy, rock star kind of fashion.

Rating: 8.8 out of 10


Marissa said...

Wow Pearl what a review! I really need to start with this trilogy, you make it sound so good and yummy!!!

Leontine said...

You've sold me on this trilogy Pearl, really you have, and I don't mind multiple POV's. After I've read/reviewed all the ARC's and RR I'm so going to read up on these three brothers :)

Pearl said...

And let me tell you all....THTH is the least of the three!!!! HOLD ON TIGHT blew me away this morning!! Working on the review right now...as it has to be posted tomorrow!

Smokinhotbooks said...

I really like different POV's I think Gena Showalter does this really well. I'm usually not a fan of military romances. Wait I take that back, I do like man love military romances tee-hee.

Nice review!

Janna said...

Your review convinced me to hang in there and read the complete series. I've almost finished HTH (I'm still struggling with it, because I don't like Isabelle that much and I found the multiple storylines/POV's in the beginning distracting) and I already have purchased THTH a few weeks back. Since you think that Ms. Tyler leaves no question unanswered and no loose ends throughout the three books I believe that it will turn out allright (for me) :)
Great review!

Mandi said...

Great review Pearl..I really, really need to read this series

Pearl said...

@Janna > Hey, if you don't connect with a book, you don't connect. Certainly when you don't like an important character. No book is worth struggling over, that's my new motto this year ;)
But seriously, if you can't connect with Isabelle, you might like Kaylee better as she is a totally different person and didn't go through the trauma and stuff Isabelle went through, so I hope you will have a lesser struggle with THTH. All I can say is HTH and THTH are totally worth struggling through (not that I struggled) to get to HOLD ON TIGHT....To-tal-ly!

SusiSunshine said...

Sounds sooo good. Another 3 books I need to get!
Great review!

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Pearl has read 10 books toward her goal of 50 books.

On My TBR Shelf

  • Unforgivable - Laura Griffin
  • Snapped - Laura Griffin
  • Darkness at Dawn - Elizabeth Jennings
  • Sizzle and Burn - Alexis Grant
  • No Mercy - Lori Armstrong
  • Animal Magnetism - Jill Shalvis
  • Crazy for Love - Victoria Dahl
  • Kink - Saskia Walker/Sasha White
  • So Sensitive - Anne Rainey
  • Dark Taste of Rapture - Gena Showalter
  • The Darkest Secret - Gena Showalter
  • Vampire in Atlantis - Alyssa Day
  • Vampire Dragon - Annette Blair
  • Captive Spirit - Anna Windsor
  • Chosen by Blood - Virna DePaul
  • Rebel - Zoe Archer
  • Stranger - Zoe Archer
  • A Taste of Desire - Beverley Kendall
  • Mistress by Midnight - Maggie Robinson
  • To Desire a Devil - Elizabeth Hoyt
  • To Tame a Dangerous Lord - Nicole Jordan

Digital TBR Next

  • Driven - Jayne Rylon (reread)
  • Shifting Gears - Jayne Rylon
  • Beg Me - Shiloh Walker
  • Tempt Me - Shiloh Walker
  • Jazz Baby - Lorelie Brown
  • Playboy Prankster - Pamela Britton
  • Just Like That - Erin Nicholas
  • Sweet Inspiration - Penny Watson
  • Breathe - Donna Alward
  • My Gigolo - Molly Burkhart
  • Scent of Persuason - Nikki Duncan

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