Monday, October 14, 2013

EM Reviews - Taken by surprise by Jessica Francess

About the Book
New Adult Paranormal Romance
Date Published: 9/5/2013
Five strangers scattered across America have three things in common with each other.

One: They each have special abilities that shouldn’t be possible.

Two: They’ve all just had people try to kill them.

Three: They’ve all just been kidnapped and taken away from their home, families and friends.

Their lives will never be the same as they’re taken to a government facility and told that their abilities mean that they must train to become soldiers and fight. But are they being told the truth? Or is something more sinister going on? They must learn to trust each other and decide if they should stay on this path or run away from it. Either way there is no going back.

“How can you know that?”

“I just do. You will, too, if you dream of the future. You’ll see us on a beach, drinking something with a little umbrella in it.”

“I doubt that.”

“Prove me wrong and dream of our actual future then.”

I sigh. “I can’t control it like that.”

“Then we’ll just have to go with my vision.”

I roll my eyes at him. He moves to sit up properly and I feel the quilt move with him.

“Hey, didn’t I win a bet that meant I controlled this quilt for a whole night?”

“Yes, and you graciously allowed me to have some last night, thank you for that.”

“Actually, I was unconscious for most of the night, so I don’t think that should count.”

“You should have read the fine print. Last night was the only night included in the bet.”

I lean forward, resting on my knees and look at his jaw in the light. There is a bruise forming and it looks quite dark and sore.

“Does it hurt?” I reach out to touch the spot, but stop myself before I can reach it. I’ve never hit a person before and I hate that Charlie wears a bruise from the impact.

“It’s fine.” He shrugs like it’s no big deal.

“I really didn’t mean to hurt you yesterday, it was a complete fluke.”

“I know. Next time I won’t make it so easy for you to get me.” He smiles at me.

“I caught you off guard which is the reason I was able to hit you,” I reason.

“I made you think that. In reality, I saw your punch coming and felt bad for you.” He winks at me and I know he’s trying to stir me up.

“Who knows, maybe I’ll be able to give you a matching bruise on the other side of your chin tomorrow.” I smile back at him cockily.

“You mean, if I allow you the chance to get near enough to me to do it.” He smirks at me.

“Tough talk for someone who has now lost to two women so far. Maybe Martha can beat you next time?”

Instead of replying to that like I expect, he reaches out with both hands and grabs my shoulders. Moments later, I’m flat on my back and he is looming over me.

“Think you can beat me now?”

“Depends.” I can’t stop smiling and I know I should probably feel awkward, having our bodies so close, however after everything that has happened between us, I feel safe around him.

“Depends on what?” He, too, smiles and my heart rate increases just seeing it.

“On whether you’re ticklish.”

Since his hands are still on my shoulders, his sides are completely open to attack, so I reach out and take my advantage. I don’t expect the reaction I get.
About the Author

Jessica Frances

Born and raised in South Australia, Jessica spends her days working in a bakery, afternoons catching up on lost sleep, and nights reading and writing. Writing has always been a passion of hers, however it wasn’t until Zoe appeared into her head and wouldn’t leave that she finally was able to put a story down and finish it. After writing three books, she is wondering if she should start charging Zoe and her friends rent.

My Review
It's very rare when a book can make me cry. Jessica Frances manages to do just that in the first couple of chapters of Taken By Surprise. Her ability to draw a character and make you feel a situation is astounding. But don't think this is some heart wrenching melodrama. Taken By Surprise is a heart pumping action-adventure, science-fiction, thrill ride. Not to mention a little romance.
At first glance, a first person, multi-point-of-view book didn't appeal to me, and when we changed POV the first time, I was sad to leave the protagonist. However, I was soon drawn into the next character's world, and when it changed again, I got kind of mad! Each new switch had me longing for the previous characters world because I fell in love with all of them. I must say…Well done Ms. Frances!
The plot is fantastic. I love me some time travel and trying to wrap my mind around it. I enjoyed delving into this particular theory and the outcomes. I won't spoil it. Add into that super powers, an origin story, secret rogue government agencies, and "make you want to punch the author" cliff hanger ending, and you have one exciting first installment of a series.
I have two nitpicks. First, about halfway through the book I started noticing the American characters saying things like, "straight away" and "proper". I looked up the author and verified that she was from Australia. (Love Australians! Go Cats!) From then on the language difference was a hilarious distraction. Especially when the Texan did it. I'm Texas born…we don't talk like that. But that is minor.
My biggest beef is my disappointment in the protagonist. I don't mind when the main female character starts out frail, afraid, and needing saving. But by the end of the story, I need to see her come into her own. I understand this is a series and she has plenty of time to become the heroine, but the ending fell flat for me when she remained the victim and never had one moment of self discovery or act of valor. 
Even with that, I immediately looked up the author to see when the next book will be out. I can't wait to see what happens next!
While there is no bow-chicka-wow-wow in this book, there are some steamy (well done) scenes that are probably best left for older teens and up to read. (If the protagonist had become strong by the end, I might have even let my 12 year old read it. I’m always looking for a book with female heroes for her). There is very little cursing, but lots of violence and blood, but not gore.
All in all a fantastic read that will keep me watching this author.


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