Friday, September 22, 2017

[Jen's Review]: "Nailed"

Nailed by Amie Stuart
Publisher: Dancehall Diaries Ltd.; 3 edition (March 24, 2015)
Series: Marked for Love, 1
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Dual 1st POV

"Lay Low and Live" is what's kept Bonnie James alive for three years. As resident fix-it girl for a tiny apartment complex in an even tinier Texas town, she makes enough money to pay the bills, but being on the run is lonely. Then Bonnie's latest one-night stand turns out to be the bounty hunter sent to track her down, and more importantly, find the sister she thought was dead.

Wynn Collier is in big trouble: He's got to find what Bonnie's hiding and deliver it to his latest client—On Time Or Else. Manhandling Bonnie violates his personal code, but Wynn is more than happy to use sexier, more entertaining, forms of persuasion to get what he wants.

Living outside the law comes at a high price for the both of them…but so does settling down.

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Jen's Review:

Picking that next book to read is such a bizarre process, more alchemy than science. The “TBR Romance” collection on my Kindle is LARGE, and I’m surprised at the weird things that will kick a book up to the pole position. In this case, I picked up Nailed by Amie Stuart for the dumbest of reasons: I’m a cat person. I’ve read a bunch of books with dogs lately, and I’m pretty sure my cats are keeping the feline equivalent of The Naughty List . . . and they know. I see them eyeing me, so it seemed prudent to get back in their good graces by reading a book with a cat in it.

Enter Nailed by Amie Stuart. The book has a cat named Clyde, a woman on the run, and a hit man hero. Perfect. Our hero Wynn is a constant disappointment to his family of thugs and hit men. Wynn (his mother calls him Wynnie. Dying.) participates in the family business in that he’ll track people down and strong arm information out of them, but he refuses to kill anyone. Wynn’s older brother and father are disappointed and upset in Wynn’s poor life choices. It’s a great premise, one Amie Stuart carries off with humor and panache.

The heroine is Julie Burt, who’s been on the run for three years, hoping to elude the killers who murdered her sister. Julie has created a new life and identity for herself in a nowhere Texas town called Cielo. She’s the handyman for a rundown apartment complex and after three years of running, she’s finally settled in enough and starts to feel safe. She picks up Wynn for a one night stand: he doesn’t realize she’s the woman he’s been looking for, and she only wants a quick release from a drifter who won’t stick around. But once Wynn realizes Julie is his quarry, he needs to decide how to get her to trust him so he can get the information he needs.

I really loved Wynn, Julie, and the whole cast of characters in Cielo. Amie Stuart has a gift for dialogue, and the snappy banter between Wynn and Julie is the best part of the book. I giggled a few times, and I’d be remiss if I didn’t report in that Clyde is a very well-developed cat character. Julie’s miffed that Clyde prefers Wynn, thinking

“I just couldn’t bring myself to trust someone Clyde liked. After all, Clyde hated me, which just went to show what a poor judge of character he was!” 

I enjoyed this self-deprecating and slightly sarcastic tone from both Julie and Wynn. To me, this book was a great mix of heart and humor.

This book wasn’t perfect. There were a few typos, which didn’t bother me all that much-- I’ve found typos in every review I’ve published here, and I swear I’ve triple checked them all. Self-publishing is hard and I don’t worry about a few misplaced commas, so I’m reporting only because I know it’s a deal breaker for some folks. The book’s plot is complicated and didn’t always feel entirely coherent, and there were definitely loose ends I wanted tied up. The characters are the star of this show; Wynn and Julie are charming and I had fun following their adventures. I wouldn’t have predicted I’d use the word fun for a book about a hitman trying to chase down an innocent woman. I enjoyed the dichotomy of the serious danger plot with a light comic tone. I’ll almost always give a good rating to a book that surprises me. Nailed was delightful---which, come to think of it, is what I should have expected from a book with a cat.


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Jen bought this book.

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Thanks for the review, Jen! You had me at snappy dialogue, to be honest. Plus that does sound like a good set up for a story!

Have you read Amie Stuart?


Until Next Time,

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