Friday, June 19, 2015


That whole 'release day reviews' thing? Didn't happen last week. And then for this week's releases, I was going to put up a release week reviews post, which may still happen... But then this review happened... and it was much, much longer than I typically write for the RDR posts. Because of that (and because most of my RDR reviews are fairly short) I thought it deserved it's own post. So here you be, book one in Julie Rowe's new BIOLOGICAL RESPONSE TEAM series!

Deadly Strain by Julie Rowe

Publisher: Carina Press (6/15/2015)
Series: Biological Response Team, book 1
Genre: Military Romance
Source: NetGalley
Purchase links || amazon | bnadd to goodreads

Rating: ★1/2

Major Grace Samuels, a trauma surgeon deployed to Afghanistan, spends her life helping her fellow soldiers overcome disease and combat injuries. But her own wounds are harder to heal. Wracked with guilt over the death of a fellow soldier, she finds comfort in her only friend and appointed bodyguard, weapons sergeant Jacob "Sharp" Foster.

Sharp feels more for Grace than a soldier should, more than he wants to admit. When the team discovers a new, quick-to-kill strain of anthrax, he tries to focus on the mission to find its source. He knows he can help Grace defeat her demons, but first they must defeat the deadly outbreak.

Sharp is Grace's most loyal ally, but in close quarters, he starts to feel like more. She can't watch someone else she cares about die—but she might not have a choice. The closer they get to finding the source of the strain, the closer it gets to finding them.

{ review } .
thoroughly enjoyed this book. There were times I couldn't put it down, and others that I had to put it down simply to digest what was going on. It is more military than romance -- heads up. However, the underlying romance does drive the story and characters (there are just fewer heated scenes than in a military romance such as those TITAN books).

Grace is a trauma surgeon who is currently teamed up with a Green Beret Special Forces team. While, yes, a doctor, the team has dubbed her 'Doc' -- and in any research on the matter, you will find that when a medic or any other person in a medical position is called Doc, it is a term used in respect and acceptance. And Grace is certainly accepted in her team -- so much so that they're a bunch of overprotective older brothers toward her. I loved how accepted she was, how they treated her, and more than that, how they teased Sharp about her (but Sharp told them under no circumstances could they tease her about him and her).

While this story was Grace and Sharp's, I just want to slide in really quick that my favorite team member is Smoke. Love the guy. Not much of a talker, responds to his name with "Fire" (unless it's a bad situation, so he says) -- but becomes quite the chatty Cathy with Grace. I want to know more about this quiet man...

But any who. Grace and Sharp. These two, right from the beginning, have an amazing chemistry. They will be the first to tell you that they're best friends -- no, they didn't know one another prior to this past year's teaming up, but they get along fabulously and have one another's back. What I loved the most was their flirting banter. Most of their conversations had that playful, flirting tone to them and it simply was just the way Grace and Sharp talked to one another.

"So you figured that was a good time to cop a feel?" 
"I'm a guy. It's always a good time for that."
..."Asshole," she yelled.
"What? I can't hear you over the hail of bullets trying to kills us."
"You're lucky there are worse assholes for me to shoot at."
"Promises, promises, Doc."
"Just don't get shot. If anyone gets to shoot you today, it should be me."
"Yes, ma'am."

That said, I found it comical when Grace points out a certain flirting instance (simply because I felt they flirted all of the time):

"I'm fine."
"I know that, but it isn't relevant to this conversation."
Wait, what did he say? "Are you trying to flirt with me?"
"I don't know. Is it working?" He gave her a once-over that was so not appropriate.

Like I said -- with all of their flirting banter, I particularly loved it when Grace pointed it out.

Sharp has a great sense of humor. 

"I did it when you were having your hysterics." (in re: to previous copping a feel)

He's definitely that guy in the group that will keep your spirits up when need be, but has a strong sense of leadership and will lead you out of tight spots. He can go from light-hearted to serious on a dime. One of my favorite serious moments, though, would have to be the moment he realized her loved Grace.

Oh fuck, he loved her. --Sharp

Kind of the shock factor. He knew he wanted her around, he knew that he was willing to ignore fraternization rules and whatnot, but equally, he knew that Grace saw the military world in black and white, and would never put her career in jeopordy.

Grace is a third generation military surgeon. By way of family alone, she had a lot to live up to, but by her own expectations... let's just say she puts a lot on her shoulders. She has a big heart and when she loses team members, you can't help but feel the sorrow she's feeling. On a past mission gone terribly wrong, she earned a Bronze Star, and she would do anything to give it back. That bad mission is what makes the mission in this story such a cluster...

Our antagonist is Colonel Marshall and without going to much into it? The man can be an ass. He's mean, he's ruthless, and he goes about things in the wrong fashion. Not once did I like the man. OK, well, maybe once I did.

So. All of that up there and I still didn't give it a full 5-star review? There were a few places (two or three, maybe) where the suspense or emotion didn't quite get to the level I wanted or expected it to get to. Some times, the emotion fell flat (granted, other times the emotion was full-force). While writing all of "that up there", it was easy to forget those few places that bothered me... because outside of them, the story, the emotion, and the characters were all so fun to read. This is a series I will definitely be coming back to.

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