1.5-2 Hearts--This is closer to 1.5 Hearts but because the cover isn't horrible, I'll round up.
My face while reading this book...just add a bucketful of eye rolls and groans.
Essentially, this was supposed to be a romance between a Hawaiian demolitions expert (Kamaka) and a Native American jewelry artist (Zachariah). Both men have their own demons but they found love in a hopeless place.
Kamaka is a demolitions expert that didn't really showcase his job other than talking about working with a bucket load of people, so I'm going to assume it's touched upon in the previous books. The rest of the series is mostly het BTW. Kamaka was formerly overweight without the self esteem issues. He had a lover who was claimed to be deviant for liking pain with his sex (SM). He is loved by everyone the moment they meet him and he is so hot because he looks just like the Scorpion King.
And EVERYONE thinks this when they meet him including children who weren't even born when the movie came out. All 7-8 year old boys in 2015 love the Scorpion King, right?
And Zach, the Native American artist with a troubled past who struggles with his sexuality can't deny the pull of the Scorpion King Kamaka. The story has a large cast of characters, weak sex and weird suspense plot thrown in to add more length but no substance. Here's Zach's description of the mighty Kamaka:
"What a contradiction he is. Intelligent, well-read, so curious. Soul of a poet, strength of the Terminator. Sometimes well-spoken Oxford English, other times Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure. A gentle man who explodes things. A pacifist who trains warriors. A Renaissance man. A lover of men."
The writing style is not for me - the numerous characters, the telling, the name dropping.
This book had a number of issues, I'll try to keep it brief.
The main issue? This book is 251 pages. It is 201 pages too long.
The secondary characters get equal face time as the "main characters", it really read like a continuation on Lorelei, Abigail, Keko, Lucian, Adam, the sheriff, the annoying non-kid (I'll get to my contention with a child acting like an adult soon) Jeremiah...everyone else is talking about what cook, eat, sleep, wore...does the reader really need to know those things? The romance was insta-love when you remove the secondary characters taking over the book. The main character suffered from being overshadowed by everyone that anything they did read unbelievable.
Another issue: being out of date - if this book was maybe publish twenty years ago, it might make sense. It was corny. But it might work better in the 1990's than today...maybe. It might need to be pushed even further back in time.
Child sized adult: Jeremiah was 7 going on 70 years old. He spoke like an adult for the most of the book:
"I know what skedaddle means now. It means hurry up, but it's more polite than sayin' move your ass."
How charming. :( No one corrected him or anything. I also don't get how he was so advanced he knew how to get out of complex security system and to befuddle a slew of ex-soldiers and FBI agents...yet he spoke like a baby in the next and didn't have enough sense to stay away from strangers.
The name dropping - if I wanted to read a book about a guy who is like the Scorpion King or James Dean or all the other celebrities the author used to describe a person, I'd read fan fiction. Wait was this Scorpion King fan fiction?
The focus on Kamaka - he's so mighty that Zach (who had the better background to explore) got swept under the rug. And this will be a spoiler, so look away now because it needs to be reviewed. How can his rape be swept under the rug like that? Kamaka tells him to get over it because he had it rough too since his ex-lover dumped him in public. Public breakup is worse that gang rape PTSD? I wish Zach was written differently. He had potential to be a good character. It was handled wrong, he was written flat.
The suspense - the sloppiest plot twist. The "villain" is Kamaka's ex. We meet him in the first scene where he tries to get back in Kamaka's good graces because he's not heavy anymore. Kamaka tells him no and then cut to 80% or so where he pops up ready to kill Kamaka and everyone he holds dear. Um...why? Even Kamaka thinks:
"In years past, Kamaka had never considered Randy really dangerous, more like keeping a at terrier leashed to prevent him from getting into trouble with larger vermin that he could handle."
The guy wasn't violent and now he's ready to shoot a kid and Kamaka? The logic in Randy as a character was missing. It's apparent he was thrown in to move the Secondary Character Recap aka "Aloha Man" along.
And my last gripe about Kamaka - just because he's Hawaiian, it doesn't mean he has to be a walking and talking cliche. He wore Hawaiian t-shirts, spoke in a weird surfer dude-philosophic way. It was frustrating to say the least.
Though I did not like this book, I think fans of Brita Addams and Vicktor Alexander would enjoy it. This author's style is in the same vein.
I won't be reading anymore of this series or from this author.
A copy provided for an honest review.