Friday, August 1, 2008

Renegade by Natalie J. Damschroder

TITLE: Renegade
AUTHOR: Natalie J. Damschroder
PUBLISHER: Amber Quill (Heat)
LENGTH: Novella (roughly 31k)
GENRE: Contemporary suspense erotic romance
COST: $6.00

Giving her best friend refuge is nothing new for Trex. Including the stranger who’s his new partner is. When Jake and Dan show up in the middle of the night seeking sanctuary, Trex doesn’t hesitate to take them in. She’s loved Jake her entire life. There’s nothing she won’t do for him, including offer solace from the nightmares that plague him with his work. What she doesn’t expect is the force of her desire for Dan, and what starts out as a need to help the two men clear their names quickly devolves into an emotional quagmire she’s not sure they’ll survive…

Sometimes, I’m in the mood for simple action-oriented fare. A fast read, something to escape with. Buying Renegade seemed to satisfy that need with a romantic triangle on the side, since it had two men on the run and the women who protects them. Toss in the fact that the men have psychic abilities that help them save abducted children, and I’m a goner. I confess, it’s part of my soft underbelly.

Ultimately, the story ends up satisfying what I needed. The prose is tight and action-oriented, pushing the story along at a comfortable speed. The three leads are likable, and if they fit a little too comfortably into stereotypes, I’m surprisingly okay with it. They don’t do anything despicable or too annoying, and actually, Dan is quite appealing in his broken alpha ways. Jake and his motivations are more of an enigma, but that is likely because the entire story is told from Trex’s POV, and frankly, she wears rose-colored glasses in his case. She has been pining for this man since she was three. She’s not exactly a reliable witness to his character.

The story breaks down a little for me near the climax as Trex pulls a dumb stunt that fully deserves the repercussions that follow, but there is one thing I do have to say for this story. I literally had no idea which one she was going to end up with until the second to last chapter. I kept seeing cases for her to end up with either guy, and I could never make up my mind about which one would get the HEA. It was nice to be left guessing that long, especially since the suspense angle of the story kind of fell apart in the last third, too. I was able to get caught up in the emotions when some easy fixes and telling not showing sullied the action for me a little bit.

All in all, it’s an escapist read with some hot moments, tight action, and an alpha male who got to me. Pretty much what I was looking for.

Readability8/10 – Swift, tight prose that throws you through the story
Hero7/10 – Broken and appealing, without losing his alpha edge
Heroine6/10 – I liked her a lot more until she pulled a stunt at the climax that had me shouting at my computer.
Entertainment value7/10 – Frankly, it kept me guessing about which guy she would end up with, in a generally entertaining way, and any time I can do that is good.
World building6/10 – The psychic aspects aren’t developed very clearly, nor is the heroine’s professional career, except when it proves advantageous for jumpstarting the plot when it stalls out.


Natalie Damschroder said...

I'm sorry I'm so slow commenting, I was at a conference until yesterday and just got this in my Google alert. :)

First...can I hire you to write my blurbs? That's a really great one, and it's NOT my strength. :)

Second, you had me bouncing with glee with your reaction to the keep-'em-guessing romance. You didn't say if you were happy with which one she wound up with, though. That's a danger with having two potential heroes--it (hopefully) makes the romance more exciting, but you risk losing the reader if the heroine chooses the "wrong" guy. :)

Thanks for reading my story and liking it, and posting your review!

Book Utopia Mom said...

Oh, yes, I was very happy with the one she ended up with. I probably could have been swayed if it had gone the other way, but honestly, the one who got the girl is the one who deserved her. :)

Natalie Damschroder said...

Excellent. :)

FWIW, I am working on some full-length books with that ambiguous hero element. They are usually also paranormal romantic adventure, and have an agent to help me avoid those stupidity and telling issues. :) Please feel free to subscribe to my newsletter (Yahoogroup link via my website) if you want to be notified when they do. Rest assured I post the newsletter VERY infrequently. (And don't worry, I won't check, so it's okay if you don't want to. :) )