Saturday, March 31, 2018

Series Thoughts: Tremaine Traditions

Tremaine Traditions
by Kylie Brant
Book #1:  Alias Smith and Jones | Goodreads | Rating:  3.5 Stars
Book #2:  Entrapment | Goodreads | Rating:  4.0 Stars
Book #3:  Truth or Lies | Goodreads | Rating:  2.5 Stars
Book #4:  Dangerous Deception | Goodreads | Rating:  2.5 Stars

Average Series Rating:  3.125 Stars ~~>> 3.2 Stars

I would say that the Tremaine Traditions is a great romantic suspense series to read during a nice rainy weekend if you don't have anything else to do.  Encompassing hints of what I found to love in Kylie Brant's later series, Mindhunters, this series also unfortunately sprinkles a lot of dated romance cliches in and around each story line.

I love that most of the heroines in this series are strong, feisty, independent women with some level of sense.  This is something I always wish we could see more of in the romance category in general.  Unfortunately, the strong heroines in this series also tended to get overpowered by the neanderthal-like, pushy men, and the way the romances played out.

The suspense aspect of these books were exciting enough, but unfortunately not a whole lot to write home about.  Possibly this is a case where you could see hints of the mysteries and the suspense being a great, potentially center-stage part of the books, but ended up as a background to the first and foremost romantic coupling.

He called himself Jones and was more pirate than charter boat captain.  His protective streak was suffocating.  His kisses devastating.  And the bullet scar on his back, the gun tucked in his pants, told Ann that there was plenty the sexy stranger wasn't telling her.  Perhaps even more than she wasn't telling him.

Because she wasn't Ann Smith, island-hopping rich girl.  She was Analiese Tremaine, and she was there to find and rescue her missing brother.  But how long could she hold on to her carefully constructed identity when her search had already landed her in deep trouble with no one but Jones to help her out alive?

I guess one of the things I'm grateful for is the fact that I haven't known Kylie Brant to suffer extremely damsel-like heroines.  Sure, Ana had her moments, but she was still quite resourceful and had her wits about her--if only Jones would quit smothering her with an over-protectiveness that sort of comes out of nowhere.

I would have liked to explore more of Ana's proclaimed skills and talents as a decryption and encoding specialist who works at her brother's company, Tremaine Technologies... or something like that.  Her expertise is hinted at, but never really utilized in the book.  She manages to get herself around just fine without too much interference from Jones, but then the story takes a turn into survival story mode, and Ana becomes just another damsel-esque heroine... sort of.

As for the romance, I'm not entirely sure I really care for it much.  Jones had some sort of stick up his ass that needed to chill.  Though at least the lusting was kept to a minimum and the "I love you" exclamations weren't premature.

The caveman/over protective big brothers thing gets a bit old though.

Sam Tremaine could charm the thorns off roses, and Juliette Morris both wanted and hated him.  The CIA agent had learned her secret identity--and had used it to gain her help to catch an international criminal.  Even worse, she was falling for this man of honor who had every reason to despise her.

He'd thought her a liar and a heartbreaker.  But in Juliette, Sam discovered a woman whose loyalty and warmth shook him to the core.  Hiding his growing feelings would take every covert skill he possessed, but Juliette's future depended on her never learning she'd stolen his heart....

Erm...  I found that I enjoyed Entrapment a bit more than I did the first book in this series.  A lot of that has to do with Juliette and her resourcefulness, her talent, and her skill at doing what she does.  But the ultimate truth is... well, there wasn't a whole lot else about this book I can even recall after finishing the read weeks later.

The romance could have been executed a little bit better, I suppose.  I had a hard time NOT getting frustrated with Sam and his judgmental preconceptions about Juliette.  It was getting annoying that Sam would admit, over and over again, that his actions in getting his job done were no different than Juliette's.  And yet, he allows himself to hide behind a government agency to justify what he does, while condemning Juliette just because her reasons are personal ones.  As if Sam didn't have his own personal vendetta against the big baddie in this book (a name of a villain I cannot recall, and do not care to look up).

Otherwise, I really DID enjoy this book, as it was much more intriguing and exciting than the first.  And Juliette was pretty awesome.

Dr. Shae O'Reilly followed the rules--but Cade Tremaine caused her to break them.  With a criminal father and a brother in jail, she knew the last man she should ever get involved with was a cop.  Especially one who didn't know her past. But when an injured--and then escaped--drug dealer decided Shae was his angel of mercy, she found herself getting very close to the charming detective.

Cade couldn't help but be intrigued by the sassy, independent and sexy-as-hell doctor.  She held the key to finding a cop killer--but would he risk her life to catch his man?  Or would this be the time he caught--and kept--the woman?

This was probably not my favorite Tremaine Traditions installation, but probably only because I had an issue with Cade Tremaine.  The man has no respect for boundaries; the fact that our heroine, a very intelligent woman, would still allow him to disrespect her boundaries, no matter how many times she has asked him to either a) leave her alone, or b) get out of her house, made it a little hard for me to swallow.

Nonetheless, at least she didn't really just melt at the smoldering, handsome alpha male's every gaze.  That would have been even more disappointing.  Meanwhile, the main mystery was a tad bit predictable, and at the same time, not quite so exciting as I would have liked.

I also wished a lot more things could have been resolved between Shae and her family.  The inclusion of James Tremaine, eldest Tremaine brother, felt a little forced as well--it was pretty much a shoe-in for "we've got another book coming."

Your parents' deaths weren't accidents...

Billionaire securities expert James Tremaine couldn't believe the anonymous note.  Private investigator Tori Corbett was his only hope of uncovering the truth, but keeping his hands off his beautiful employee was as difficult as solving the case.

And yours won't be, either.

For Tori, working day and night with the sexy tycoon was like playing with fire.  She wouldn't--couldn't--become emotionally involved with a man hell-bent on vengeance.  Especially now that there was evidence linking her own father to the crime....

It's unfortunate that the last two Tremaine Traditions had to show-case main male characters who are both not only pushy, but annoyingly unable to respect the boundaries of other people.  It also sucks that the women in both books were strong and independent in all aspects until it came to facing off with their male character counterpart.  It gets old watching the female characters in these books turn to putty just because the main male character is good looking and gives sexy, smoldering looks.

Nonetheless, I really loved Tori and her continued attempts, and resolve not to let the barbaric James Tremaine sway her principles... even though it was pretty futile watching the whole thing.

The twenty year old mystery was an interesting one, but in the end seemed a bit predictable, though I DID like following Tori's investigations.  The ending was abrupt and unsatisfying, even if conclusive.

All-in-all, this book is enjoyable, but that's about all I can say about it.

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