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on June 25, 2013
Alright. Let me start by saying that I actually really liked this book. I did.

I love Steele's character and I like Maren and from the first time I read them interact with each other in the first KGI book, I hoped they would get together. So I was very excited when I saw that they were the hero and heroine of this book.

But, I expected more from it along the lines along the lines of plot and characterization, ESPECIALLY characterization.

The book is basically about a dangerous man's obsession with Maren and how that affects her life and Steele's. It was an okay plot, with some nice little twists and surprises, and I actually enjoyed it, in terms of action. But the relationship between Maren and Steele, while not really forced, moved way too quickly for me. Much too quickly. It was like they have sex. Half of action plot ensues. BAM. They love each other. Not what I expected. I wanted to see why they grew to love each other, not little snippets of why, and not so much gushiness from both of them about love that I was almost annoyed by it. Where was the build up to love? I wanted to write "show me, don't tell me."

In previous books Steele has been described as cold, ice-hearted, aloof, etc. This may have been true for the first 25% of this book, but we're not really told why and that's not the case for the majority of this book. We're exposed to his past, which accounts for lingering sadness, but the past doesn't seem to account for his aloofness and control. We're never told why Steele became the "cold" man that he was.

And he was only cold for the first quarter of the book. After he and Maren spend the night together, he becomes a COMPLETELY different person. As the aloof man I've come to know through these books, I expected a lot more reluctance and hesitance on Steele's part. He completely switched from "iceman" to loving man. It was so jarring because I feel as though it wasn't eased into, it's just like a switch went off and he was changed. I just wish we'd seen more buildup between Maren and Steele to ease into this different man. By the end of the book, I felt like he was a completely different person. I almost couldn't connect his two sides as being the same man.

One of the things that I liked about this book is that Maren actually has a family. She really does have an honest-to-God, LOVING family. This was so refreshing for me because in this series, the heroines usually have no one until they meet the Kellys. They're unloved and unwanted. That wasn't the case with Maren. She has people who care! (Who aren't a part of the Kelly/KGI clan)

I also liked that Steele and Maren were willing to compromise so that they could both be happy with their life choices. They were both willing to make sacrifices in terms of their careers, and did adjust themselves when needed. It wasn't one-sided. And in Maren's case, I loved that she was levelheaded and honest about her needs and wants. She knew what took priority and was willing to make necessary moves.

This was a big plus for me because I've always hated that Grace went from being on the run, never having a chance to really live, to being virtually kept prisoner in Rio's home. It sounds so stifling and although I know she loves him, it's hard for me to understand her complacency with having no freedom to do what she wants. It's like he tells her where and when she can somewhere, the same with Elizabeth.

All in all, I do recommend the book because while the sappiness might be difficult to grasp coming from Steele, it is still rather cute. Also, seeing a refreshing heroine background was a major plus for me. For once, the heroine wasn't brutalized and rendered so helpless she couldn't stand on her own two feet. Yes, Maren leaned on Steele when she needed to, but she was still very much her own person and had her own personality that wasn't inextricably linked to Steele. She was likeable because I could actually see her as a real person. Unlike the other KGI women, with the exception of PJ, I find Maren to be so real because her choices and decisions actually seem like plausible decisions that women would make. Many times in this series, I've found the heroines severely lacking because they just roll over and accept what their heroes tell them and never question them. I find it hard to accept some of their choices because I can't see women really doing some of the things they do to be with their heroes. (No one can convince me that an average woman would want to live on a compound with the rest of her husband's family as her neighbors.)

For this reason alone, Forged in Steele has probably become my favorite KGI yet.

Happy reading. :)
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on July 6, 2013
I really loved the other KGI books and was pretty excited for this one, but about 25% in, I was just so friggin' bored. This read like KGI fanfic. The dialogue was over-the-top cheesy and everyone just talked SO MUCH. Even during the sex scenes, they had an odd amount of conversation. I didn't need back story on every other character, either. Steele and Rusty had NO prior encounters and all of the sudden they're having a heart-to-heart during a scene where Rachel has her twins? Why was that scene even IN THERE? It played no part in the overall story. I returned the book. I'm disappointed and hoping that Donovan's story is better. It's such a shame. The characters in this series are so likable, but with the holes in P.J.'s story and the boredom of Steele's, I think maybe this one's done for me.
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on June 25, 2013
****some spoilers here*****

I was really looking forward to Steel's story but I feel a bit let down. Maya Banks writing style is never the issue for me I just sometimes don't like her story lines. I felt a real lack of excitement or conflict between Steele and Maren. He is supposed to be the biggest badass ever and has barely grunted at her for years, and then all of a sudden, within a few pages, it's all good. "I want to have sex with you". OK. End of story. Throw in the requisite bad guy, kidnapping.....all done. I thought there was going to be a horrendous backstory about him and some other woman that made him the "iceman", or some conflict about the pregnancy and him not thinking it was his... whatever. Nothing. I realize there are a lot of readers that don't like contrived misunderstandings, or conflicts between the couples, but I need something to make the HEA sweeter. I need it to be hard to get to. Not a doubt in my mind I will be in the minority. My 3 stars also won't prevent me from buying the next KGI book because I have loved the majority of them.
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VINE VOICEon June 26, 2013
I have to start this review by saying I love this series and I enjoyed reading this book, but it did not go down at all the way I thought it would. For you romance lovers, which I am one, this is all the way shmoopy couple time. Because of what we've seen from Steele's character in the past, what I found surprising is that it was all shmoopy couple time plus some filler. There was no anticipated melting and chipping away at Steele's infamous ice cold reserve. Instead a huge switch was flipped and Steele is about the sweetest man from the entire KGI series.

When an extraction and rescue goes slightly awry, Steele and his team stop in Costa Rica for medical treatment from one Maren Scolfield. Maren is like family for KGI and has helped to save KGI lives recovering from many a mission. She's always been attracted to Steele, but he's always been aloof and cold with Maren, until they find themselves involved in a single night of passion. Steele can't stop thinking about Maren, and it gets much worse when she is kidnapped by a cruel and vicious man. Steel will do everything in his power to find her, but the emotions he never knew he had might just get in the way.

Overall, I found this book to be part romantic suspense and part laying the foundation for the future including new characters and setting up Donavan in the spotlight for the next book. None of it is a bad thing, but it moved more slowly than expected. Towards the beginning I kept asking myself, when does the conflict start? Towards the middle I thought, well that was easy. And of course Ms. Banks leaves a lot for the finale, but it got weighed down a little by, dare I say, an over-declaration of love? It actually became too much for me and eye rolling ensued. I'll never stop reading this series so long as it's written and it looks like there's a lot more to write including a possible spinoff with one of the hot new yummy characters, but overall, this turned out to be a little more bland than the rest.
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on July 8, 2013
I have enjoyed this series very much, but I could barely finish this book. The character and plot development are poor, and the dialog and ruminations are sappy, unbelievable, and never-ending. Particularly since there was no relationship development at all. One night of sex, and BOOM, two independent, aloof people are gushing. Almost no action, until the end of the book, which is a total departure from the rest of this series. Steele's character makes no sense, when compared to the earlier depiction of him in other books. I expected to learn some deep dark secrets about what "forged" Steele, but all you see is a backstory that, while sad, does not rise to the level one would expect for this character. Maren's character is more believable, and a rather refreshing departure from Banks' other heroines, but, again, not developed enough. Compare this to the development and strength of Shea's character in her story with Nathan, and you can't believe the same person wrote it. And it lacks the bite-your-nails tension that Banks has excelled at in the past. SPOILER ALERT: The other part that drove me nuts was that this story revolves around pregnancy, and Banks seems to be becoming obsessed with that story line. I have three kids, and I love my family, but I don't read romance/action novels to spend the entire book hearing people gush about pregnancy and babies; particularly not when they haven't even developed a relationship between themselves.

While I can heartily recommend most of this series, do yourself and favor, and skip this one.
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on July 1, 2013
Not bad....not great either. I felt the "love" between H and h was rushed and very cheesy. Was so fake I literally rolled my eyes several times. Disappointed after reading other books by author. It could have been much better.
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on June 25, 2013
I was really looking forward to this story because I've always really liked Steele. However, it was missing a lot. First of all, Steele is the complete opposite compared to all the previous books. Although Maren remarks on it a couple of times, the explanation -- he's just so in love with her immediately and has always wanted her -- doesn't really ring true. That can be fine but his basic personality should stay the same because he doesn't even seem like the same character. The rest of the characters comment on how shocking his behavior with her is but it's just missing something. I wish she had kept him quiet and stoic. There just seemed to be a lot missing from their relationship -- they were immediately in love and boom, he's spouting all kinds of things. Neither of them ever held anything back, which let out a lot of suspense or even tension with the relationship, leading the main conflict with the bad guy the only tension. That conflict was really lacking although I was glad that Banks toned down the violence with this one; it was just way too much in the last novel. At the same time, the central conflict left a lot to be desired. It didn't make sense that the resident bad guy suddenly kidnapped her for no reason. Once she was out halfway through the story, he conveniently went crazy and became obsessed with her, although as a reader we saw none of that -- just word from Hancock. It made no sense. Obviously this man is not sane but the story really didn't add up. Granted, most of the time the conflicts in these books don't but because this one seemed really half-assed.

I really liked the series to start off but I'm kind of losing my interest. I really liked Nathan's story and was really looking forward to PJ and Cole but it was really violent, really fast and then those two characters spent the majority of their time apart and the book was lacking. This book was also lacking a lot and not what I expected, especially with Steele.

I would read it if you've read the rest in the series but it's certainly not the best or close to it. I was also disappointed with her latest historical romance, too. Maybe she's spending too much time doing too many different series and should focus on just one.
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on July 6, 2013
I have to say I really, really, love the KGI series, however I was disappointed with this book. The romance was extremely quick and unbelievable and no anticipation or excitement was built. This book had so much potential especially given the character of Steele, but in my opinion it was a big disappointment compared to the previous KGI books.
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on June 25, 2013
Loved the storyline, it felt natural except maybe a little rushed. It was fairly predictable what was going to happen. Its good to see a different side of Steele and have his back story. Maren can handle Steele, and is an interesting and strong character on her own.

I liked the little delves into Hancock and the new crew opening up other potential story lines. Overall, it stays in line with the series with action scenes kept me on my seat. Although, I am pretty excited Donovan is the one up in the next book, he's definitely my favorite character.
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on July 22, 2013
I have a lot of issues with this story. First, the dialogue between the couple. Real people do not talk to each other like that and the internal dialogue was infernal and exhausting. Oh and Steele now has verbal diarrhea, unlike his previous appearances in this series. The other dialogue is corny as hell.
How Steele came on to Maren at first was laughable. What blew my mind was that she went along with it. I hated this book.
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