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Climbing Stories

I love politics & I am a bit of a history buff. I have a weakness for romance & that includes erotic smut! I'm a serious reviewer, but I can read almost anything. A new genre or a deft writer can make a story sing.

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Marie Hall
Bound by Vengeance (SKALS, #2)
Adriana Noir
Club Justice (Trinity Falls, #1) - Mara McBain 3.5 stars

4 stars for basic plot
This biker drama pits you right into marriage of Zeke and Ginny Brawer. The plot surrounds two types of conflicts: Zeke facing an enemy and other potential threats; Zeke and Ginny surviving deep issues that threaten to weaken their love and family.

Off the bat, the reader is introduced to Zeke's personal enemy, an Internal Affairs officer named Kramer, who has a jealous "hard on" for Zeke. Zeke is a cop by day and a biker by nature. He is set up to be excellent at being both. He's a decorated vet and a strong detective who gets his man by almost any means necessary; plus, he is the president of the biker club that he helped found. Zeke is larger than life, so Kramer is just chomping at the bit to knock him down a peg.

McBain does a good job putting the reader in Kramer's head and escalating his menace from that of cool calculation to desperate and maniacal obsession. However, this focus on the antagonist takes away from Zeke's badass image and obscures what the author's purpose is thematically. So, questions are left. Does one ever truly chase away his or her demons? Is revenge ever enough? Can love overcome anything?

So, back to the core of the book: Zeke and Ginny's love, their marriage. Not only does Zeke's personal enemy endanger his friends and loved ones, but skeletons come out of the closet, and this is a closet that wasn't locked tight to begin with, but revelations abound anyway. Here, the reader is given the measurement of Ginny's love for Zeke as the author focuses more on just how much a woman can take. Ginny seems to be affected much more than Zeke, and this again detracts from Zeke's character. The reader never really gets how Zeke is coping. I mean, the guy is being hit at both ends, for goodness sake! This fiddles with the author's purpose in character. Is Zeke the hero or not? Is he important or not? Why am I, the reader, not "feeling" Zeke?

Speaking of heroes, Ginny and her adopted son-of-sorts, Mox, manage to steal the show. Their characters shine through this intermingled plot in bold relief. Due to attention paid to their point of views, the reader is taken through many heartfelt emotions of the love, strife and past experiences that mold them. They manage, and surprisingly, along with Kramer, to grab attention in a way that Zeke never does (in my opinion). Ironically, this doesn't stop you from loving Zeke through their eyes.

2 stars for transition in PoV, editing and written format
And now to the reason why I cannot give this story 4 stars. I started a new bookshelf called 1-800-call-editor because of this book and others that I've recently read that are typo-ridden and point-of-view disasters--point of view shifts that happen at will, between paragraphs. Also, background is given in a roundabout way depending on these multiple PoVs; therefore, it is not fully satisfying.

In addition to needing an editor, a revision could improve the layout of the suspense. It was almost too predictable, and supposedly logical badass characters shouldn't have been so clueless. The sense that this is a biker club was forgotten, at times, and the fact that Zeke is a freakin' detective who should have been good at detecting was a thought that kept running through my head! Just sayin'.

So with all that said, I'll just end with that fact that I still really liked to premise of the book. I really loved the characters. Also, after having read the next in the series, Club Ties, [though I still feel the same about the writing format and the need of an editor]I much appreciated the author's push on the themes of family and unconditional love.

3.75 stars for somewhat steamy scenes...
3 stars for steam(that's for you, B.!)