Sunday, May 22, 2016

Review: Extreme Exposure

Extreme Exposure

by Pamela Clare
Book 1 of I-Team series

~ Goodreads ~

Rating:  4.0 Stars

It's been years since her child's father dumped her, and since then Kara McMillan has kept men at bay - although every day she aches more for a lover's touch. But to get that, the hard-boiled journalist must become vulnerable - a feeling she vowed never to have again.

With his dangerous good looks, charm, and power, Senator Reece Sheridan could have just about any woman he sets his piercing eyes on. But he's intrigued by only one. This Kara, this gutsy investigative reporter, has a sensuality that arouses him to no end. If she's a firebrand in print, he guesses, she must be just as fiery in bed...

But this is no fling. A sudden political scandal - and attempts on Kara's life - could very well drive them apart. Or maybe, just maybe, adversity could draw them into a bond even more intense than their steamy sexual embraces.

I stumbled into this book not really expecting much but a cute romance with some story line tossed around it and I got so much more. I'm typically the type who would blow off books that are based off of romance/erotica as nothing but "trashy romance novels" that have no significance other than making two hot and sexy strangers fall in love. I mean, don't get me wrong, I'm a sucker for romance and will pick up a romance (rom-com, drama with romance, etc...) just for the fluff factors. But I usually don't take them seriously. I enjoy them for their guilty pleasure values and if written well, I enjoy them even more. If written with lovable characters and a good sense of wit, they rank pretty high on my list of loves. But I still don't really take them seriously, only really caring that they fulfill my fluff desires for the time being.

Yeah, I know; I'm kind of a judgmental bitch about things like this. Romances are in abundance out on the market and you can only rehash the same cliched tellings so many times before they become trite. And with a lot of books based around romance, more times than not you just get the romance with a sprinkling of story so that the book has SOMETHING to get into when it's not really even necessary. I'm fine with those too, if they're written well with enough wit and charm; otherwise, it's just another love story with different character names and setting and could become pretty bland pretty quickly and I find myself flipping through pages without really reading lines. It happens.

This book, however, lives up to its multiple high ratings and reviews and so I'm glad I didn't just blow it off as just some random romance piece with forced story -- that kind of a description doesn't even give Extreme Exposure any justice. I don't need to admit my biases, but it's out on the table and so I will also admit my wrongly placed biases. This book was pretty awesome and the lives and characters created around it were... well, pretty damn awesome.

I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of Extreme Exposure and found it to be written well and very detailed concerning the plot that it surrounded. Investigative reporting was never so intriguing to me before (I learned a lot about the whole process), and to be totally honest, the idea of politics kind of turns me off, but I didn't feel bored by the goings-on of the scenes revolving around Senator Reece Sheridan. They were pretty interesting... well, as interesting as I'll ever find political activities.

I liked that we don't spend too much time with a "setting information dump" to set up the series or the general story; we get right into the action and fill in the holes along the way. For a book series revolving around investigative reporters, you almost expect the usual boring text book explanations of what you'd expect to see... so I'm more than happy that the author doesn't feel the need to treat readers as a group who is less than capable of picking up the jargon and explanations as they are revealed.

The crime mystery was pretty intense, though I must say that by a certain point, I kind of figured out the mastermind and some of the secret key players behind the crime. There wasn't much surprise about the conclusion, and the suspense leading up to it might have been a bit flat for my liking; nonetheless, it was still a genuinely great set-up from the moment that Kara began her investigation with the anonymous tip, up to the wrap-up of investigation.

Characters do a lot for a story, in my opinion, and so I place a lot of stake on the main female character whenever I read books that narrate heavily from the female main character's point of view. While I also place a lot of stake on every character created, it's normally the female lead who either makes or breaks my love for a book. So seeing and following Kara in her kickass glory... I loved it. I mean, she wasn't a hundred percent perfect, but that's usually what I appreciate about a lot of main characters -- that despite their kickass potential, they still have flaws and breaks in their armor, and they know where their limits are rather than trying to out-stubborn themselves into remaining the strongest for their own benefit. Kara is a strong, loving, justice-seeking single mother who tries to take on the world all by herself, but who understands that she can't always take on the world without a little help every now and then. She's got a good head on her shoulders.

I loved the characters (even Tom the editor despite his ass-holery); the newsroom staff and journalist brought so much life to the story. They could have their own stories and didn't seem to just float around in the background like stage props; you've got to admire any author who can bring in significance of supporting and cameo characters even if the current story isn't about that person. Reece was like perfection on a silver platter which both made me love him and loathe him; I get tired of perfect men in most story lines, though at least he wasn't an arrogant jerk who knew he was desirable and hot. Reece Sheridan is a good man and, whoa was he open about his intentions and desires. I guess it beats being perfection on a silver platter with a side dish of macho arrogance; at least he was down-to-earth and knew when to let Kara do her own thing without smothering her with caveman ideals.

On that note, I truly am looking forward to reading the rest of the series about the rest of the I-Team members. This book sets up a good relation for the readers to jump into the next girl's story, because of what I've already read of Tessa Novak, I already love her. So I'm moving right into Hard Evidence as soon as I get some needed sleep after this long all-night reading.

This review was originally posted at Goodreads in April 2013.

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