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Thursday, September 29, 2016

Review: At Any Cost by Mandy Baxter

Not a bad time with this one.

Format: .mobi (A copy of this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley for the purpose of an honest review. )
Publisher: Zebra
Release Date: May 31, 2016

She can't remember when she wasn't afraid. She can't go to the police. And "Olivia Gallagher" is only a day away from fleeing her Idaho wilderness life before biker gang leader Joel Meecum finally catches up with her. So keeping her rugged new neighbor at arm's length is the only safe play. Until Livy can't resist one last hungry chance to feel alive…

For U.S. Marshal Nick Brady, taking his vacation next door to Meecum's ex-girlfriend seemed the smartest way to find him. But suddenly, nothing is making sense. How could this feisty, straight-talking brunette ever get mixed up with Meecum's brutal crew? And why is he breaking his oath and getting so close that all he wants is to keep her safe? Now as the clock ticks, Nick and Livy's only chance at escape may be the one they can't survive…

Olivia Gallagher isn’t who she says she is. On the run from her ex-boyfriend, a notorious biker gang leader, Livy jumps at shadows and is two seconds from bolting from yet another town when she meets her new neighbor.

US Marshall Nick Brady is supposed to be using his mandatory vacation to learn how to work as a member of a team, not investigating the ex-girlfriend of a notorious gang leader but the minute he meets Livy he can’t help but want to protect her and get to know her. She has no idea who he really is though and that ends up being a big problem when trouble comes looking for them both.

Okay so a quick review. I really liked Livy and her will to survive. It didn’t mean she wasn’t terrified because she was and she had every reason to be but she didn’t roll over and die, she kept running, kept looking over her shoulder but she wasn’t willing to give up and let her dangerous ex get close enough to bring her back into the fold, or worse, kill her. She didn’t have much to work with but she made what little she had work for her. It would have been easy to question her decision to keep running, but with her ex’s reach extending into law enforcement, it wasn’t a smart idea to go to them for help. She’s in a pretty scary, almost complete lose/lose situation. I liked how realistic her fear was too. She didn’t just push it aside from one moment to the next; it stayed with her until the last few pages where it turned into optimistic caution. Believe me; I would have had a nervous breakdown had I been in her shoes. Oh and the girl LOVES winter, just like me so yeah, I really liked Livy.

I had a bit of trouble warming up to Nick though. He was too cocky for his own good. While he almost always brought in the bad guy, he did it while bending the rules, going over co-workers’ heads, took over cases not assigned to him, and was generally NOT a team player. He actually thought he was better than most of his co-workers and that made it hard to see the good things about him. Nick generally wanted to make things safer for innocent people and had zero patience for BS but his impatience was leading him down a destructive path and he really took “stubborn” to a whole new level.

Nick and Livy as a couple didn’t lack in the physical attraction department. In fact their scenes were pretty hot and very intimate but I felt that the rest of the story kind of suffered or took a back seat in favor of the sex. I felt that the suspense and character development weren’t fully developed because more attention and detail was spent on the sex scenes between Nick and Livy. I didn’t care for such an abrupt ending to either. There was no epilogue, in fact it felt a bit like a cliff hanger. Something like:
“I’m sorry.”

“I’m sorry too.”

“No you have nothing to be sorry for.”

“I love you.”

“I love you too.”

Then I blinked and it was the end of the book. What happened to Livy and Nick AFTER all was said and done and the bad guy was taken care of? It felt kind of incomplete to be honest but the story was still enjoyable.

Final Verdict: Even with the parts I felt needed more time and attention, At Any Cost was still a fun read and in my opinion, better than the previous book in the series.

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