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Ellen

A Read in Progress

I love any and all books that just let me escape, but predominantly fiction & feel-good romances. I'm also on GoodReads (for now) at: LN B

Axel (Corps Security, #1) - Harper Sloan

Eeek, I'm really surprised by the high ratings this gets from some of my favorite bloggers whose reviews I almost always agree with (and who introduced this to me in the first place). I hate being the odd one out! But this was really just OK to me and seemed a pretty poor derivative of some of the other good stuff out there (Kristen Ashley's alpha-hero stories and the I-Team Series, to name the first that come to mind).

[SPOILER FREE]

It had a solid start and a premise that I adore: second-chance romance. So I was ready, excited and settled-in for a strong 4-star read. But pretty early on it started to get incredibly long-winded and repetitive. In general the whole things just seems to suffer from a serious pacing issue. We're primed early on for that big "we meet again" moment, as there's obviously always going to be one of those in a second-chance romance. But by a full 35% in our two leads haven't had a single scene together or shared any words. Not even in flash-back form. We just get a stuck-record rehash every two pages of how indelibly broken our heroine is, with a detailed play-by-play of every miserable hour. It's boring, all in "telling" form (*show* me how perfect they were together, don't just write "I loved him more than anything and losing him left me broken"), and nothing propels the story forward in an interesting way. Then, when the action does *finally* get going -- here is Axel and his team of badasses doing his thing! -- we suddenly get: "Two months later, ..." WTH? *NOW* you choose to speed this along?? It seems important to know: did they stare longingly at each other across rooms during that time? Ignore each other completely?

The pacing issue doesn't end there, sadly. There's a lot of buildup for the big (again, inevitable) clear-up that needs to happen between our two leads. Obviously, there would be much to say by both parties to cover all the years apart. But when we finally get our heroine to share her side, she does so with someone OTHER than the hero. Why?? This is incredibly frustrating, because as a reader we already know all this, this is repetitive. The ONLY point of repeating it would be if being privy to the reaction of the other character is important to the reader. But this is an inconsequential, secondary character she's talking to, so who cares how he takes it: what would our hero do?!

My final beef has to do with the dialogue. Some of the alpha male dialogue is seriously underwhelming: the dirty talk feels forced and completely over the top, migrating into bad 70s porn territory here and there; our badass hero on several occasions whines about being so confused by what's going on; and while there are some sweet, poignant scenes toward the end and showing a real human side to an alpha male can be incredibly sexy, by the fifth time our hero breaks down into a blubbering mess... perhaps not so attractive anymore.

Overall a pretty big let-down for me, and I'm going to force myself to skip the rest of the series, despite the rave reviews they will no doubt receive from my trusty bloggers/recommenders. I personally can't recommend this, with all the other good stuff out there.