Exposed (Tracers, #7)

Wow. Have I been MIA or what!? I’ve continuously been reading, but haven’t been taking the time to write up my thoughts on a bunch of books. So my goal tonight is to schedule a bunch of posts…here’s hoping I follow through.

This post focuses on the novel, “Exposed,” by Laura Griffin. It is book 7 in the Tracers series. Exposed centers on Maddie Callahan, a forensic photographer from the Delphi Center, and Brian Beckman of the FBI.

You see, Maddie doesn’t only take photographs of crime scenes. She also has a side hustle doing photography for weddings. After one of her drawn out engagement photo shoots Maddie is attacked. When she was going over the crime with the police afterwards she assumed it was just another random mugging. However, Brian quickly figured out the attackers were after the camera, not Maddie or her belongings that were tossed away nearby.

Brian thinks the crime sounds familiar to a string of crime he’s been tracking for the past decade. As multiple attempts are made to steal the camera from Maddie, Brian gets closer to her, and gets to know her. He falls hard for her, but Maddie continuously rejects him because of her past history of a broken marriage because of a lost child. But as usual in this series, the characters can only say no for so long before they finally break down to their inner desires. Brian helps Maddie come to terms with the losses that she has experienced, while also solving the crime.

Overall this was an interesting read, and I enjoyed reading about the background stories of the two characters. I felt like they weren’t your average lead characters that you typically read about.

Scorched (Tracers, #6)

Scorched is the 6th book in Laura Griffin’s Tracers Series that is a crime series that usually brings together someone from the police/FBI/Navy, etc. and a person working forensics to solve a case.

This book had the readers looking at Dr. Kelsey Quinn, a forensic anthropologist, and Gage Brewer, a Navy SEAL. If you’ve read any of my other posts, you’ll remember we already covered these two in the novella, Unstoppable.

Scorched picks up with Kelsey and Gage having broken up because of the long distance and danger involved in Gage’s career. Kelsey is at a dig in the Philippines and finds the body of someone who clearly was disguising himself through plastic surgery. This knowledge gets her ex-fiance, FBI Agent, Blake Reid killed and sends Kelsey on the run. Gage is interviewed by the FBI as a suspect in the murder of Agent Reid and finds out the Kelsey is missing. Gage, being a SEAL, uses his skills to find Kelsey and the two work together with the FBI to clear Gage’s name and figure out who is behind Blake’s murder.

I really enjoyed this book, and I think a lot of that has to do with the fact that I liked that Kelsey and Gage are both stubborn and you see a realness to their relationship. You get to see how hard the long distance and danger is on them and how they learn to talk to each other through their problems instead of keeping their feelings to themselves. Many of the other books in this series seem to have less problems in the relationship than this one did.

Twisted (Tracers, #5)

Hi readers–I’ve been a bit MIA lately…things have been a bit crazy lately–good crazy though. I spent a week in Arlington, VA for the Computers in Libraries conference which was a lot of fun, and I learned a ton too! But, this isn’t the time for excuses on my not posting–it’s time for my review on Twisted, the 5th installment in Laura Griffin’s Tracers Series.

Twisted centers in on detective Allison Doyle. Detective Doyle is the rookie that was reassigned to the homicide unit after her help in the university shooting case over the summer. Now, she’s the only one that doesn’t believe that a young woman’s murder was as simple as it appears to the rest of her department. As she tries to make her case with her department, experienced FBI profiler, Mark Wolfe arrives on the case, and he’s on Doyle’s side. Wolfe has been chasing a killer for the last 10 years of his career, and he believes the killer has struck again. As he mentors Allison through the case, he also falls for her.

Most of the book shows the two characters falling for each other in secret, hiding their feelings from each other for several reasons. As the case gets ever more dangerous, it becomes harder for the two to hide their feelings for each other, eventually leading to them coming to terms with their feelings.

Although I enjoyed the novel, I didn’t like it as much as I have liked others in this series. I find this entertaining because as I report my ratings on Goodreads, I see that others rated Twisted higher than others in this series. I guess that really proves that every book has its reader!

Do you think every book has its reader? And, as always–Happy reading!

PS–Although I haven’t been writing, that doesn’t mean I’ve slowed down on my reading. I’ve got several posts to catch up on!

Snapped (Tracers #4)

I am loving the speed at which I am able to get through the books in the Tracers series. I have been rotating through fiction and nonfiction books and it takes me much longer to read a nonfiction book, especially when I’m only half interested in the nonfiction book.

This installment of the series dives into the lives of Sophie Barrett, secretary at the Delphi Center, and Jonah Macon, a homicide detective for the SMPD. The book begins with what appears to be a random school shooting at the local university. As the plot unwinds the reader comes to learn just how meticulously planned out this attack was. Sophie, of course, had been walking through campus at the time of the shooting and was witness to much of the attack, making her SMPD’s key witness. She was the one to point out that the shooter had an accomplice, that the shooter’s car was planted in a certain spot, she even was the one making the 911 call and notifying the take down team of where the shooting was coming from! Sophie was at the center of it all.

Sophie makes the “mistake” of going on the news with her accomplice theory when the police don’t believe her. This sets up the scene for the rest of the book hiding from the mysterious Sharpe. There are a handfull of attempts to kill Sophie and each one draws Sophie and Jonah closer together.

It was another enjoyable book from Laura Griffin, and I’ve put in a hold at my local library for the next book in the series. Although I enjoyed it, there were a few parts that bother me a bit. I realize this book was written several years ago, but it makes me a bit uncomfortable to be using even fake school shootings as the background plot for a romance novel. I mean, I get it, the trauma brings the two main characters together, but I’m not really a fan of using a school shooting for subplot substance. For the most part I liked how Griffin portrayed Sophie. She is an independent woman who takes care of herself. That being said, most of her character development in this book seemed like a waste. Maybe that’s because the timeline of the book is so short, but I think it does the character a unjustice. She’s working really hard to get a promotion at the Delphi Center, and midway through the book we hear a rumor that she’s on the shortlist for the promotion, but we don’t find out any further what happens there. The reader gets a sense that Sophie and her parents and siblings are quite different in how they live life. At one point it seems we will finally meet a part of that famiy and get some closure there, but no, that meeting is brought to an end before it even ever really begins. Maybe we will continue to see Sophie throughout the series and some of these questions will be answered, but if this turns out like the pattern the rest of the books follow, we likely won’t see her character built upon much.

Happy Reading 🙂

Unforgivable (Tracers 3)

The third installment of the Tracers series was a fun read. The previous novels vaguely introduced us to Unforgivable’s main character, Mia Voss, the DNA tracer at the Delphi Center. I was excited to get to the story where Mia is the main character since she had made brief appearances in a few of the previous books.

One thing I love about this series is how Griffin portrays her female characters. They demonstrate that it is ok to be intelligent, nerdy, and tough. Each character has their vulnerabilities, but triumphs over whatever initially holds them back. Mia Voss is as smart as they come being at the top of her field in DNA.

Mia is the target of a carjacking during which an innocent man is killed. She is deeply hurt by this and doesn’t want much outside help as she doesn’t want anyone else to get hurt. Detective Ric Santos has other plans though, as he and Mia bonded before this incident he wants to protect her from the perpetrator.

I enjoyed this book for the depth of the story. Just when you think it can’t possibly get worse–it does. It was multi-level between the police involved, the detectives, and finally the FBI being drawn in. It wasn’t one of the more simple cases, that’s for sure.

Happy Reading!

Unstoppable (Tracers 2.5)

I am thoroughly enjoying the Tracers series from Laura Griffin! Each installment has been interesting and captured my attention in different ways as it focuses on different characters each time.

Unstoppable is a short novella focusing on forensic anthropologist Kelsey Quinn who works with bones and decomposing bodies at the Delphi Center. She is also a teacher of a graduate class and the book focuses on her time at a dig. Since there have been a scurry of crimes in the area her Navy SEAL father sends Navy SEAL Gage Brewer to play bodyguard for the remainder of the dig. Chaos ensues and Kelsey and Gage have to come together to solve the crime going on in the area.

I went into this novella being skeptical about it because I couldn’t understand why Griffin would publish it as a novella, instead of a full-length book. These main characters come back for book #6 of the series so after finishing Unstoppable it makes a bit more sense with the timeline of the series. By the time I got close to the end of the novella I didn’t want the book to end! I’m trying to quickly read the in-between books to get back to Kelsey and Gage’s story-line.

Happy Reading!

Hygge–Hygge–Hygge!!!

This past year brought an increase to the trend of hygge (pronounced HOO-GA). I had heard of the trend, but didn’t really know much about what it was about. So when the book “The Little Book of Hygge: Danish Secrets to Happy Living,” by Meik Wiking came across my desk at work, I immediately checked it out.

There are many definitions of hygge around the world. Americans might think of it as coziness, or hominess. It is mainly about comfort, well-being, and togetherness. Hygge is a night playing board games and drinking with friends, it’s a weekend trip spent hiking or camping, it’s a hearty stew with mulled wine in the winter.

Of course hygge sounds amazing! But the point I really got from this book is that the Danish take hygge way above and beyond what other cultures do, and Wiking hypothesizes that this may be the reason Denmark is consistently ranked one of the happiest countries to live in. I enjoyed this book so much that I was curled up under a blanket (can we say hygge anyone?!) reading it and finished it in one day! It was a great reminder to slow down, get comfy, and enjoy the little things.

As much as I really enjoyed learning about hygge, and the emphasis that Danes place on it, I wish this book spent more time trying to connect the hygge to how it makes people happy, or how to balance hygge with our busy lifestyles. Wiking very briefly mentions that even Danes have responsibilities to deal with that aren’t hygge, but doesn’t spend much time on how to balance the two. Is a game night with a few friends once a month enough? How much hygge is too much? Obviously, Wiking is writing from the Danish point of view, but he writes about several other countries enough that it would have been interesting to see what other countries do for hygge.

All in all, this book taught me about something I didn’t know about before, from a culture that I didn’t really know much about. Hygge is definitely something I would like to explore more in the future. I also plan to read more about the Happiness Research Institute that Meik Wiking runs in Copenhagen. I’m very interested in learning more about how people research happiness when so many different things make different people happy.