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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A story that focuses on all the senses
Most of us rely on our sight to make our way through life. We think of the world in terms of shape, color, texture, and when asked to describe a scene, we focus on what it looks like before considering how it affects our other senses. In a book, we usually find dazzling descriptions of scenery, clothing, and people, and while the other senses are not completely neglected,...
Published on November 1, 2009 by B. D. Whitney

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Story was just ok. Cool blind guy can hear heartbeats. Emotionally wounded female FBI agent does some stupid things.
SOUNDS TO DIE BY by Nikki Duncan.

STORY BRIEF:
Kieralyn is a rookie FBI agent who thinks her fellow agents don't respect her and don't trust her judgment. Her close friend Lana is a journalist who was kidnapped to be sold into sexual slavery. Lana managed to record a conversation on her cell phone and send it to Kieralyn shortly before she was abducted...
Published on April 28, 2011 by Jane


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A story that focuses on all the senses, November 1, 2009
Most of us rely on our sight to make our way through life. We think of the world in terms of shape, color, texture, and when asked to describe a scene, we focus on what it looks like before considering how it affects our other senses. In a book, we usually find dazzling descriptions of scenery, clothing, and people, and while the other senses are not completely neglected, they seem to fall far behind the visual impact of a scene.

Given this truth (or at least truth as I see it), I was surprised and delighted with angle that Nikki Duncan's novella Sounds to Die By takes. This is a very auditory-oriented story. One of the main characters is a blind man with an extremely acute sense of hearing, and the portions of the story that are told from his point of view focus on scent and sound, taste and touch. These scenes are so rich that you don't even miss the lack of visual descriptions.

Along with this unique viewpoint, Sounds to Die By is a fast-paced and suspenseful story that combines danger, romance, and just a touch of intrigue. In the alphabet soup that is the Department of Homeland Security, this story has agents from the FBI interacting with the NSA and the CIA as well. While I'm not knowledgeable in the least bit about how these agencies actually operate, aside from what I've read in books or watched in the movies, Ms. Duncan makes her characters, their actions, and their respective agencies feel quite realistic.

Kieralyn and Ian are both intriguing characters, and they fit together perfectly. Both are concerned that justice be served, but while self preservation and solving the case are most important to Kieralyn, Ian is more concerned about his father and how he might be involved in the case in question.

The connection that Ian feels with Kieralyn through the beating of her heart is very visceral and immediately strikes a sensual note that carries throughout Sounds to Die By. The romantic tension between the two positively vibrates, and it continues even after they succumb to their physical attraction to each other. The love scenes between these two are mind-bendingly sensual. Because Ian cannot see, the scenes from his point of view are very tactile and focus on other senses: scent, taste, and touch. It's enough to raise any reader's temperature a few degrees and send you dashing for the ice water. Ian and Kieralyn find that the physical part of intimacy is the easy part, though; the emotional barriers that Kieralyn throws up are almost impenetrable and continue to be a source of conflict between them.

Ms. Duncan develops the suspense masterfully in this story, keeping her readers wondering until the very end what Mick Cabrera's role is in the kidnappings. This adds another dimension of tension to the action, as both Kieralyn and Ian each have an emotional investment in the case that they are not willing to let go.

In all, I found the mixture of action, suspense, and romance offered by Sound to Die By along with its more sound-based "viewpoint" to be very appealing, and I enjoyed it thoroughly from beginning to end. This appears to be Ms. Duncan's first published work. I certainly hope that she has more in store for us, because I will definitely be looking forward to reading her next
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars May I Have Some More Please?, October 18, 2009
By 
Heather "Heather Long" (Wylie, Tx, United States) - See all my reviews
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Not every novel I am dying to read lives up to the teases I get hyped up by. Fortunately, Sounds to Die By not only lives up to my internal hype, it exceeds it.

"Every place has a distinct soundtrack." Ian tells Kieralyn during their first encounter. "Those soundtracks are stored in my brain."

Sounds to Die By has a pulsing, rhythmic beat that mixes Boston sensibility with Miami sound machine to create a passionate movement that sustains throughout the novel. From Ian and Kieralyn's first encounter to the last, this is an emotiontrack that I won't forget anytime soon. Nikki Duncan mixes romance and suspense brilliantly.

I only have one question for the author: "May I have some more, please?"
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Worth reading!, May 4, 2010
A woman disappears. FBI Agent Kieralyn Beckett is desperate to find her kidnapped friend. The only clue she has to follow is a distorted recording of a conversation of the suspected kidnappers.

To help her breakdown the conversation on the tape, Kieralyn reaches out to Ian Cabrera of the NSA. Ian has extraordinary sensitive hearing. He can help Kieralyn decipher the words on the recording.

He can help with much more if only Kieralyn would accept it. But, she's an independent woman that hates to accept help from anyone. She doesn't want to change that fact just because she feels attracted and drawn to extremely enigmatic and mysterious Ian. Besides, just how much can a blind man really help anyway?

I highly recommend SOUNDS TO DIE BY by Nikki Duncan. The character of Ian Cabrera is so different and unique. He completely surprised me by his strength and independence with complete disregard to his handicap. On the contrary, his lack of vision is spun by the author into a strength for Ian. His blindness adds a completely new and original perspective that I absolutely loved!

This review is courtesy of Romance Junkies.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Beginning of An Exciting Series, August 27, 2010
This review is from: Sounds to Die By (Sensory Ops) (Paperback)
This debut has all of the makings of an alluring series. It was fast-paced and sexy as you want it to be. The heroine, Kieralyn, is a rookie FBI agent trying to prove herself among a team of men. Kieralyn is likable, but flawed, hampered by some emotional hurt in her life as a child; however, the event that caused the emotional damage never was explained fully. The hero, Ian, is to die for. He was blinded as a child when he saved his sister from their burning home and scarred, but self-sufficient, confident and sometimes, even arrogant. His hearing is off the charts and his talents and work with the NSA, mind-boggling amazing! For all his self-sufficiency, however, he learns that he is really a lonely man and has emotional scars too. He and Kieralyn forge their way and eventually help to heal each other. The lovemaking scenes between Ian and Kierelyn were extremely hot and utterly delicious. Ms. Duncan can improve her next book by cranking up the suspense, but keep the erotic interludes just as hot and sexy!!!!

Ms. Duncan should be commended for this excellent debut. I heartily recommend this book. The second of the series comes out in April 2011.
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5.0 out of 5 stars new series off to a great start, February 8, 2014
By 
Gina L. DeWitt (Lansing, Michigan United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Sounds to Die By (Sensory Ops) (Paperback)
I think this is a great start to a new series. I enjoyed the suspense and the romance and all the amazing things that Ian could do even tho he couldn't see. Kieralyn is tough and Ian is perfect for her!!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Smexy Mystery!!, November 23, 2013
It has been a little while since I read this series but as I recall it was a yummy smexy read. Loads of steam to really warm a gal up!! Quick reading with all sorts of hot and heavy action!!

Really great story that keeps you on your toes from beginning to end! Engaging and dynamic characters I was eager to hear more from. Really can't wait for more of this series!
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4.0 out of 5 stars This is a great romantic suspense with some pretty steamy scenes in it., August 18, 2013
By 
Kristin (Mojave Desert) - See all my reviews
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When Kieralyn brings in a recording to Ian with Ian's father's codename spoken in it, he knows that he's getting close to figure out what happened to his father when he disappeared. He tries to do some recon on his own but is followed by Kieralyn and then end up teaming together to help find not only his father but her friend and the other women who were kidnapped.

Ian's character was one that you don't see all too much. He was blinded as a kid when his house caught on fire. He has since learned to rely on his hearing to help him navigate the world. He's made a living with NSA by listening to recordings. He has the uncanny ability to pick up the littlest noises, like a heart beats or accelerated breathing. He doesn't dwell on the life that fate has dealt him but he's aware that not many people can get past his scars to the person he truly is beneath them.

Keiralyn was a little different though. She definitely has a chip on her shoulder. There was a lot of talk of no one giving her enough credit because she's a female. Her team doesn't respect her. Ian doesn't trust her enough to tell her what he knows about the people behind the recording that she brought in. It isn't until the end of the story that she realizes that her view on everyone's perception of her was wrong the whole time.

I definitely liked how Ian's character was portrayed. Most people would look at him as a victim because of his disability but he has an advantage that most people don't. He's learned to hone his hearing skills and in doing so is able to pick up so much more information than a person with sight can.

This is a great romantic suspense with some pretty steamy scenes in it. Nikki did a great job balancing the suspense and romance. Even though it was predictable, in the end I still really enjoyed the story and look forward to reading the next book in the series.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Super enjoyable read, August 22, 2012
Really enjoyed this book, but my only complaint is that it was too short! Ian Cabrera is hot, hot, hot - and superhuman but not. Both main characters were incredibly believable with specific vulnerabilities that went beyond the typical insecurities you see in a romance novel. Recommend, and hope to see more in this sensory ops series.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Recommended Read, February 2, 2012
FBI Agent Kieralyn Beckett just wants to feel like she is a true member of her team. The other members, it seems, only want to treat her like a kid sister, not a fully functioning, completely capable agent. When she receives a recording that connects several kidnapping cases, once again, her theories are rebuffed. The aloof agent is bound and determined to prove her theory correct, but there's only one problem. The NSA "listener" doesn't want to get involved.

After a terrible accident blinded Ian Cabrera as a child, he learned to hone his other senses, most notably his hearing. Now, as an employee with the NSA, he analyzes vocal data; that is, while he's not searching for his father, a missing CIA agent. When the feisty FBI agent brings a mysterious tape to his office, he grudgingly gives it a listen. When his father's old code name, "El Dogo", is mentioned on the tape, he secretly rejoices in the first clue that his father is still alive.

He agrees to work with Kieralyn on this case, but doesn't reveal his father's potential involvement, until he's able to discern if it's truly his father and just what that involvement is. Kieralyn at first doesn't believe the blind NSA employee has anything to offer her in the field but he soon shows just how capable he is. And what starts off as mere curiosity for the intriguing FBI agent turns into something much more personal as each casual touch sets them both on fire for each other.

Nikki Duncan has hit one out of the park with her first release, Sounds To Die By. With a complex, fast-paced plot and a romance with just the right amount of heat, this story is a sure winner. Readers will thoroughly enjoy Ian and Kieralyn, characters full of intensity, passion, and believable flaws. If any fault is to be found with the story, one might perhaps be disappointed in its brevity. At less than 150 pages, this reader was surely disappointed that the story was over too soon. However, as this story is the beginning of the hopefully single-author Sensory Ops series, it will be exciting to read what Ms. Duncan has in store for readers next.

Courtesy of Fallen Angel Reviews.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Story was just ok. Cool blind guy can hear heartbeats. Emotionally wounded female FBI agent does some stupid things., April 28, 2011
By 
Jane (Chicago, IL, United States) - See all my reviews
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SOUNDS TO DIE BY by Nikki Duncan.

STORY BRIEF:
Kieralyn is a rookie FBI agent who thinks her fellow agents don't respect her and don't trust her judgment. Her close friend Lana is a journalist who was kidnapped to be sold into sexual slavery. Lana managed to record a conversation on her cell phone and send it to Kieralyn shortly before she was abducted. Kieralyn doesn't tell her fellow agents about it because she expects they will remove her from the case, and they may not even work on the case. Kieralyn goes to Ian for help to listen to the tape.

Ian works for national security and has impressively sophisticated listening equipment. He is also blind. He can hear things others can't - like persons' heartbeats. His father worked for the CIA and left his family some years ago. We don't know if the father is good or bad. But the father's name "El Dogo" is mentioned on Kieralyn's tape. Ian has been searching for his father, so now he and Kieralyn investigate together.

Ian is attracted to Kieralyn from the start. He is very sensual with his touching and kissing of her. Kieralyn does not want a permanent relationship with anyone, but she enjoys sex with Ian.

REVIEWER'S OPINION:
Kieralyn is a character I've seen many times before. She was raised in the foster system. She was fed out of charity not out of love. She doesn't get close to people in work or personally. She has issues regarding relationships. That was ok, just nothing new. Ian was a neat guy. I loved his hearing and other skills. I loved the way he was turned on by her and how he talked and touched her. His blindness gave the story something different. He developed a neat listening gadget which was creative. His seeing eye dog was getting old and losing his hearing, so Ian provided ears and the dog provided eyes. Ian's part was good, but the rest of the story was just ok. Kieralyn did some stupid things. She was acting as a rogue agent, not following rules, and not working with backup. As a result she was in danger more than once. In one scene she was outnumbered by thugs. She should have screamed so Ian could help her. But she was stupid and kept silent, intending to fight a losing battle alone.

I wanted more development around the bad guys and the victims. I never saw what was being done to the kidnapped women, their feelings, and how they were kidnapped. I wanted to know more about the bad guys - their feelings, motives, actions, etc.

I enjoyed the anticipation toward sex while Ian was touching and talking to Kieralyn - in such a sexy way. But the actual sex scenes were lukewarm. They didn't leave me as hot and breathless as some other authors have.

DATA:
Ebook story length: about 3 ¼ hours. Kindle count story length: 3681 (603 KB). Number of sex scenes: 2. Setting: current day Miami, Florida. Copyright: 2009. Genre: romantic suspense, blindness.
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Sounds to Die By (Sensory Ops)
Sounds to Die By (Sensory Ops) by Nikki Duncan (Paperback - August 3, 2010)
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