on December 9, 2010
The Kelly Group International (KGI) is a family based business which takes care of situations such as hostage recovery missions, kidnap cases and the likes and also hire out their services to the numerous government agencies in the US for covert missions requiring highly skilled operatives in delicate situations. 36 year old Sam Kelly, the eldest of the 6 boys in the Kelly bunch acts as the leader and shares responsibility of running this covert group with his brothers Garrett (even saying his name makes me go just a tad bit weak in the knees ^_^), Donovan (Van) and Ethan who is yet to officially join the group. Each having specialized military background, Sam had served in the army before forming the KGI group with his brothers.
Sophie Lundgren on the other hand comes from a family right out of your worst nightmares. Alex Mouton, her father is at the top of the most wanted lists in the US running his empire in everything illegal ranging from running prostitution rings to arms dealing. Sophie had witnessed the horrors of her father's rigid control over his emotions and his ruthlessness at the tender age of 10 years, a man who always puts his business first and never tolerates any sign of weakness from those are close to him.
When a KGI mission takes Sam and his brothers to parts of Mexico on a mission to take down Alex Mouton, it is at a seedy bar in Mexico that Sam first encounters the blond, delicate and beautiful Sophie, making all his primal instincts come out to play right at the very first sight of her. Their affair though short, runs hot until his mission takes him away leaving Sophie behind, Sophie who calmly plans and executes a plot to murder her own father.
Five months on, a pregnant Sophie is at the very end of her wits trying to elude those hellbent on killing her to exact revenge for the murder of her father. Sophie holds the key to her father's vast empire and its the only thing that's keeping her alive and prevents her from being shot pointblank. Exhausted, with no place to run to except to the arms of the father of her child and the man who rocked her world for a brief period of time, it is a barely alive Sophie that Sam comes across, the woman who has haunted his dreams ever since he had walked out on her to complete KGI's mission.
With more questions than answers running through Sam, trust is the hardest commodity to come by when Sam finds out just how truly deceived he had been by Sophie, the woman who now carried his child, who still manages to touch something deep inside of his heart, something no other woman had ever being able to do. Scared as Sophie is, the last thing she wants to do is to put the Kelly family in harms way, which is exactly what happens as things spiral out of control until at the very end when Sam has to decide whether he would be able to trade the life of the woman he loves more than anything for the life of his own mother, a decision no man should ever have to make.
1- Boy, where do I start? This book packs everything and I don't mean that lightly, EVERYTHING that I look for when I pick up a novel of the romantic suspense genre. Action packed, highly sensual and emotional with enough character development that keeps the pages turning, I resented the time I had to spend away from the story after I started reading. Yes, Maya Banks has done a splendid job with this one and I can't literally wait for Garrett's (*sigh* there goes the knee shaky thing again!) story to come out in March 2011.
2- Sam Kelly. Oh boy! He is one yummy alpha hero, in fact I don't know how Ms. Banks does it with the Kelly men, but the entire bunch just makes me salivate, sigh, drool and palpitate as the story unfolds. Even with the 1st chapter itself, Sam managed to knock my socks off, with his smoldering sensuality, the simmering need deep within him to claim the woman who is obviously meant for him which touched me in a deep, deep way. And as the story continues, I got to see so many sides of Sam, the responsible tough oldest sibling role he has to play, the gentle, kindhearted soul that comes out to play when he is around those who are weaker than him and the way he lays claim on his woman sealed the deal for me with this hero.
3- Sophie! She is one hell of a heroine. Vulnerable, beautiful and fiercely protective as a mother lioness with her cubs when it comes to her baby and Sam, she totally won me over because she is exactly what Sam needs in his life to make it complete. I loved her because she doesn't take crap from anyone, not Sam, not Garrett and not even her formidably frightening father and still managed to touch something deep inside of my heart with her need to belong, to be loved and cossetted by someone who would love her unconditionally.
4- The family dynamics in the story. What pulled me in even from the very 1st book in the series is how well the whole Kelly family as well as other side roles within the series have been created, whetting the reader's appetite for more from them. Apart from the obvious Kelly brothers whose stories every reader of this series must covet, I would love to read Rusty, Sean as well as P.J. and Steele's story. It is a testament to how well the character development has been handled within the story that I as a reader have this deep, insatiable need to learn more about them, whom we just get to meet in a scene or two in the whole story. Kudos to Ms. Banks for a job well done!
5- As much as I coveted the emotional, sensual and action-packed moments in the story, I loved the humor-laced parts of the story, though they were few and far in-between. The scene that stands out the most is where Sam has to find underthings for Sophie, and it is to his mom he has to turn to, and the conversation between Garrett, Sam and Donovan just had me laughing out loud - making my husband a firm believer of the fact that I am stark raving mad! ^_^
6- And before I forget, I very much heart the man-titty cover!
My Dislikes: Absolutely none! Just wish there was more of this stuff to read, is all!! ^_^
1- Fans of Maya Banks.
2- Fans of the KGI series.
3- Fans of romantic suspense that love action packed stories filled with enough emotion and sensuality to knock your breath out! If you love them like I do, this one's for you!
Final Grade: A+
Reviewed by: Maldivian Book Reviewer ([...]
Pregnant daughter of powerful sociopathic businessman has been on the run from her vengeful uncle for 5 months since she gunned-down her father & stole the only key to his valuable secret vault. She seeks the protection of former special-Ops Hero, who she had an affair with 5 months ago when he & his brothers were trying to find evidence against her father & she was pretending to be only a mere waitress to get info about H's group per her father's demands. When Hero learns about her real identity, he & his brothers are wary of trusting her yet protect her. The issue of trust gets pushed further when Hero's mother is kidnapped by her uncle who wants heroine in exchange for his mom.
I wasn't wowed by this Banks book. I was excited at times & irritated or even somewhat bored at other times. Action-suspense was exciting but predictable. Good emotional-involvement. Sexual chemistry & love scenes were scorching. What I had the most trouble with was heroine's characterization. It was inconsistent. She was portrayed as sweet & innocent & then hard & crass. Same thing goes with heroine switching from being strong & gritty to helpless & frail. It's not that heroine was flawed b/c I like them flawed. It's how the behavior differences were written. It seemed to occur suddenly & not have a good-enough explanation of why she's now behaving that way. The personality switches were jarring & not smooth.
The romance was only ok. I wasn't particularly convinced that Hero loved heroine until towards the end. If she wasn't in trouble, pregnant with his child, & sought him out with his family around to keep him in check, I think that he would've found her replacement soon enough.
on December 9, 2010
After, The Darkest Hour I was so looking foward to No Place to Run and Maya Banks did not let me down. Her Story of Sam and Sophie was fantastic. Sophie makes a great addition to the Kelly family with her bravery and self determination. She is a great match for Sam. And they are hot together!! As usual Sam with his brothers are some of the best scenes. Maya Banks does the best job at making the family as important to the story as the connection between Sam and Sophie is to the romance. I love all the little details of Family that continue to make me want more books in this series. After this I can't wait for Garrett he just makes me crazy in a good way (March is so far away). I also wanted to point out how much I love the way Rusty's character is coming along. The Scene with her and Sam tore my heart out. She is such a great character (even if I hope she reveals that Rusty is just a nickname.pls)I can't wait to see her develop and become more open in every book and then have a book of her own. My only complaint about the book is small. I would have like to see a bigger role for Rachel and Ethan and some scene with Joe and Nathan they were really missed.
Great read. Had to read in one shot unable to walk away!! Fantastic!!
on December 14, 2010
In Mexico working undercover to thwart an arms shipment, Sam Kelly finds himself drawn to waitress Sophie Lundgren. Each encounter with her leaves both of them wanting more, but only Sophie knows the truth. Their love can never be because of Sophie's father. The father that put her up to seducing Sam. The same father that wants to know exactly what Sam and his group of private warriors are doing. Sophie, however, has a plan of her own and it doesn't include answering to her father any longer - so she disappears.
Sam hasn't forgotten the erotic interlude he spent with Sophie five months ago. She was his match in everything that matters. Passionate and innocent all rolled into one neat package, that was Sophie. Sam has accepted the fact that she has vanished without a trace from his life, but he refuses to forget her. And then the unthinkable happens, she is found half dead in his lake and pregnant. Wary but ecstatic to have her back in his life, Sam knows that keeping his woman and child safe is of utmost importance.
Then Sophie's secrets threaten their very existence and it will take all the cunning, passion, and trust of both Sam and Sophie to contain the evil that is her past.
If you liked Sam in The Longest Hour, be prepared to adore him in No Place to Run. There is just something about Sam Kelly that appeals to the ultra feminine side of me as a reader. He is sexy, that is a given. But it is also more than just his looks. His persona as a warrior and caregiver is just what Sophie needs to keep herself and their child safe. Both have secrets that must be unlocked before they can move forward and while they are rediscovering each other - and it is a rediscovery - their lives are threatened. Both come out better for it. Their love is stronger, their commitment greater, and their satisfaction all the more sweet.
I Joyfully recommend the story of Sam and Sophie. No Place to Run, Maya Banks' second installment of her Kelly International Group series is divine! The suspense is intense, the passion is heady, Sam and his brothers are drool-worthy, and the love he and Sophie share is real. Definitely read Maya Banks' newest romantic suspense, No Place to Run, your heart will be glad you did!
Reviewed for Joyfully Reviewed
on October 19, 2013
I liked this story. I really liked Sophie and liked seeing her get something good in her life. I was interested to see Sam get his book after meeting him in the first book of the series. TBH, the romance storyline was nearly non-existent through most of the book and Sam didn't treat Sophie very well at times but I'm glad they got their HEA.
Sophie is the daughter of an arms dealer. He's treated her horribly all her life and she hates him with a passion but she can't get free of him and does what she has to until she can escape. When Sam shows up looking to get info on her father, Sophie is sent to investigate Sam and ends up falling for him and they have a brief affair. When Sam leaves to take down an arms shipment of her father's (telling her he wont be back) Sophie thinks she'll never see Sam again, so she takes the opportunity to shoot her father and escape.
Sam is 1 of 3 brothers that run KGI (Kelly Group International), a private company that performs Ops like hostage/kidnap victim recovery & intelligence gathering among other things. He's the oldest of the brothers and focuses on taking care of his family and business. He certainly never planned to get involved with a woman but when he starts seeing Sophie while on an Op he has trouble forgetting her.
5 months after Sam and Sophie were involved, Sophie makes her way to Sam's house, hoping for help. She's 5 months pregnant with Sam's baby and her Uncle's men are hot on her trail, trying to kill her and her baby. She's almost there when she's attacked and almost killed. When Sam finds her floating in the lake out back of his house he's confused and suspicious of why she's there. Garret and Van (2 of his brothers) are there as well and help him treat her injuries and such. Sam is tough with Sophie but isn't really mean. Garret (who I really liked in the last book) acts like a complete jerk about her and the situation and made me feel like maybe I didn't like him so much after all. Sophie isn't sure who to trust. She wants to trust Sam but it's not like they had a real relationship without lies on both sides so she's not sure how much she can trust Sam with. Sam assumes that Sophie should automatically trust him with everything, no questions asked, and gets pissy when she seems unsure about him and their situation. Sam doesn't really give her any reasons to trust him but he does promise to protect Sophie and their baby.
Sophie is forced in to a difficult situation as she needs help but Sam and his brothers are brusque at best. Sam isn't mean but he's certainly not tender and sweet to her. It's kind of understandable, since he doesn't know what to believe (with all the lies between them from before) so he protects he and is kind to her overall...just not very caring or sweet (or anything that would let her think she means anything to him). After some time and handling some problems, it's decided that Sam and Sophie should go to a safe house. Sam finds out that the CIA wants to talk to Sophie about her father and, unbeknownst to Sophie, sets it up so their CIA contact can come question Sophie at the safe house. On the trip to the safe house, Sam and Sophie end getting some time alone. With their time alone, Sam lets his attraction to Sophie take control and he decides she's his and he takes her to take over and he takes Sophie to bed, making her think there might be something between them after all. Sam doesn't talk to Sophie about his change of heart though and also doesn't tell her about the upcoming questioning by the CIA. TBH, I as really hating Sam at this point because he knew she'd see the CIA as a betrayal but he didn't bother to warn her and messed with her feelings by sleeping with her before betraying her. Sure enough, when the CIA becomes involved, Sophie feels betrayed and tries to escape Sam, feeling he can't be trusted either, but she doesn't succeed.
Sophie's Uncle ends up kidnapping a member of the Kelly family and Sophie steps up to help them with retrieval. In the middle of the deal, a surprise comes up that has Sam (wrongly) distrusting Sophie (again!!!) and she ends up putting herself in dangers way to try to save things. Sophie is put in major danger and has to save herself. In the end, Sam realizes that he was wrong to distrust Sophie once again and finally tells her what she means to him. The book ends with them getting a HEA.
I liked the story but I was a little disappointed with it. The action/suspense story was good but the romance side was sadly lacking. It wasn't until the last 1/4 of the book that the romance actually showed up and even then it wasn't solid until right before the end of the story. Overall this was an enjoyable story but don't expect the romance to be sweet in this book. I'm glad Sophie got her HEA, I felt she deserved it after all she went through. I will be reading the next book in the series...lets just hope Garret does better than Sam.
* note - I listened to the audio version of this book. The narrator did a good job.
on June 21, 2014
I would give it 4.5 stars but as you know we can't do that. So since I didn't feel No Place to Run was as good as bk 1 The Darkest Hour. I couldn't give it 5 stars. The reason being Sophia is 5 months pregnant in the story with Sam Kelly's child. She doesn't miscarry and I a very glad about that. BUT poor Sophia is being hunted by her uncle Thomas Mouton a cartel Lord. Sophia is shot, hit in the face, thrown down in a boat and strangled then she jumps overboard in a icy lake. This is Not! believable I don't see how she didn't miscarry and lose her baby with such brutal treatment of her body and this brutal treatment happens a couple more times in the story. I am not a Dr. but I know trauma after trauma plus unbearable stress, hungry and enduring cold water will cause a miscarry. I am glad she didn't miscarry but all this bad treatment makes the story unbelievable for me. Their is lots of action and we get to visit all the Kelly family. Their is more action then romance in this story. Even thought Sophia is pregnant I would have like to see more romance and kindness from Sam. Maybe a little more Kelly family interaction with Sophia and Sam. He does finally come around but at the end of the story. Non the Less its still a pretty good story and totally different then bk 1. I am all set to start bk 3 Hidden Away. I think I am stuck on the KGI series and look forward to all the other books in the series.
on December 27, 2014
Banks definitely captures your heart with this one! The action packed storyline keeps you riveted to the pages while the emotional interactions between the characters make the story oh-so-real. This is a well written, well plotted novel. Banks’ consistency & attention to detail really make this one stand out. It was intensely exhilarating and kept me hooked. I wouldn’t put it down for a second and easily devoured it in a single sitting while the rest of the world faded away.
Banks has developed some amazing characters for this novel. I loved the fact that I didn’t like everyone. Banks makes it easy for you to get to know and understand all of her characters, but not necessarily to like them. I did really enjoy getting to know the main characters here. The contrast between them and their backgrounds made them all the more intriguing.
As a whole, this was a very captivating & enjoyable novel. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to others, nor can I wait to read more from this amazing series.
on September 17, 2014
[More of my reviews are available on my blog, Geeky Reading, to which there's a link on my profile.]
This was one of Banks’ weaker books for me. It was just kind of slow, not as intense, and I didn’t really care as much for the characters.
I did care a little about the serious plot line, and it was interesting. I was a little interested in Sam and Sophie and Sophie’s background, and thus her plot. I did like Sam’s brothers, and am a little interested in reading some of the other books in this series.
The emotions just weren’t as strong or intense for me. The romance wasn’t that good, I didn’t feel as much for the characters as I would have liked. Sophie’s repeated statement of “my baby” got annoying.
Overall this was a pretty average Banks book for me, sadly. I do intend to pick up another in the series, though, as well as more of her books in general. This was just a weaker one.
on December 8, 2010
I liked this book quite a lot, though it had an uphill climb for me, what with the orange cover, the reason the two get back together, and the fact I've read so much good romantic suspense lately I expected this to be the one to break my winning streak. At thirty-six, Sam is the oldest of the six Kelly brothers, and the one to start up the private security/mercenary/soldier agency they run. He fell in love with Sophie while on a mission, and it isn't until she turns up in the lake outside his home five months later - pregnant, shot and nearly strangled and drowned - that he learns she's far more connected to the bad guys than he could possibly have known.
I like books where the leads aren't sure whether or not they can trust each other because I like me some angst in my reading! The first book was a little too `Oh, poor sweet pea heroine we all love and missed so much, and isn't she all things sweet and wonderful, and we all adore her and think she's the best woman in the world'. I preferred the atmosphere of this one. The men are more realistic, the heroine - gasp! - sometimes says a bad word or two. Not everyone automatically trusts everyone, and there're more sides to the story than anyone wants to admit at first.
So, let us get the bad out of the way first (and yes, some of these complaints might be stupid, but they bugged me):
* I saw the Big Twist coming from a mile off.
* It drives me insane how the term `puke' is frequently used to describe a character's high state of emotion. Scared, angry, upset, worried - everyone `wants to puke', thinks they `might vomit', or `needs to throw up'. Towards the end, Sophie `wants to puke', then two paragraphs later Sam `wants to puke', and then on the next page Sophie `feels like she might throw up'. NOT nice visuals to keep giving us of our sexy leading lady and man.
* On the topic of repetition, Sophie `burst into hysterical laughter' so many times in this book I decided a trip to the loony bin was in order!
* Banks loves having her female characters bathe, and Sophie's the bathing queen to outshine them all. She'd have a bath, then Sam would drive her somewhere, and then she'd have a shower, then they'd have sex, then she'd have another shower, then have sex, then sleep, then have a bath before Sam drove her somewhere else...to have a shower.
* Practically every page had at least one reference to the squirming, somersaulting baby in Sophie's belly. By the end of the book, I honestly couldn't picture the poor woman without an image of a writhing mass of baby coming to mind. We got that she was pregnant; we didn't need to be reminded every four seconds.
I don't like books where pregnancy is a big thing, but I must say that - grumbles aside - this one, I didn't mind.
* On the topic of pregnancy...I would have liked to have had more time getting to know Sophie, the woman, instead of Pregnant Sophie, the lush, soft vessel to carry the hero's all-important baby. Despite what certain authors seem to think (I'm looking at you, Robyn Carr!), the average man doesn't love expecting mothers to the point he has a ticker-tape parade and does the Snoopy dance every time there's a pregnant woman within a ten mile radius.
* Maya Banks writes a lot of erotica, but I don't like seeing her `erotica speak' carried over to another subgenre. Keep your crude words for the female body in the books they belong in s'il vous plaît!
What was better than the last book:
* The action and romance were tied together far better in this one. In the last book we'd be out in the jungle with a bunch of soldiers one minute, and watching a couple of old fogies eat breakfast the next. There was no real sense of impending danger in book one, whereas here the characters' actions were driven by the people who were pursuing them. Banks appeared to be far more comfortable writing romantic suspense this time round.
* Thank Heavens we actually got a description of the heroine in this one - all we got in the last book was something about the colour of the woman's eyes...halfway through the book! I felt far more connected to Sophie from the outset because I knew the basics - hair colour, eye colour, approximate age, approximate size.
Compare that to Rachel from book one. Her mysterious hair colour - brown - was finally revealed to us on page 189 of this book! I wanted to know what she looked like in her book, not in Sophie's!
What I liked:
* Sometimes this author's female characters are doormats. Rachel in 'The Darkest Hour' was shaky at first, but pulled through in the end, and in 'No Place to Run' I really liked how Sophie stood on her own two feet from start to finish. She's not a she-man, but she's strong in important ways.
* Ignoring all my complaints about word choice and repetition, Banks has a writing style that really appeals to me. Some people write prose that's immediately engaging; Maya Banks is one of those writers. I raced through this book.
* This isn't my favourite romantic suspense series, but it's a great ride. I like most things about it, and will be rereading 'No Place to Run'. The way the series is going, it seems each edition will be better than the one before it (loved the excerpt for Garrett's book at the end of this one!). While the books are unbelievably overcrowded with secondary characters, I look forward to reading their stories.
So, basically this was a good, solid romantic suspense with likeable characters and a better mix of action and romance than the preceding book. I liked Sam and Sophie very much, and it seems like a long wait for the next instalment of the Kelly brothers.
on January 31, 2012
I just found Maya Banks as an author and have enjoyed all of her books. This book had me from the first page and I couldn't put it down. There is action, emotion, more action, steamy romance and more action. I rated it 4 stars because I could have done without the F-bomb every other word. Maybe that doesn't bother some, but I've read other books from this genre and enjoyed them just as much with out as many F-Bombs. That being said, I liked the characters and the growing relationships between them. I liked that there was a story and not just steamy sex scenes. I look forward to reading about the rest of the characters.