Hello, and welcome back! We're back to hot and sticky here, so I'm staying cool by staying indoors. I've just about finished reading the August releases, and am very much looking forward to digging into some of the September books that are stacked here, too. Actually, if I'm being totally honest, I've already read one of them because I just couldn't wait.

This time out, I have Countdown (Shomi), a new futuristic romance by Michelle Maddox, aka Michelle Rowen. Kira Jordan has no idea what happened to her, but now she's stuck in a private reality tv show with a convicted murderer/rapist where the only way to win is to stay alive through the different, and ever more difficult levels of the game. Rogan Ellis knows he didn't commit the crimes he was convicted of, but there's something he is guilty of; Kira just can't figure out what. Still, Kira and Rogan both find something in this horrid game to keep them going: each other. Kira has to trust that Rogan with the pretty eyes is telling her the truth about his stint in prison, and they both have to play the game without paying the ultimate price. This one is in first person, so if you're anything like me, that's a strike against it right there. The story is very fast-paced, racing from the beginning of the game and moving on quickly from one level to the next. Still, there is time for romance to develop between Kira and Rogan, amid all their deadly challenges. I just don't love it. I hoped I could ignore the first person viewpoint, and I tried. But there are a few things that occur later in the story that I didn't find all that plausible, but without giving away story points, I can't really tell you what they are. I do have to say, in my offline life, I work in a bookstore, which many of you know already. In relation to that, I hear from my regular romance readers (and there are an awful lot of them) that the covers on this line do not appeal to them, and this is pretty universal, no matter the age of the reader. Of the Shomi books I've read, I really quite enjoy Eve Kenin, aka Eve Silver, and if it weren't for my love of that author, we wouldn't have sold any of her books in our store, as we tend not to sell any of the other books in the line. What I did with my customers was tell them to ignore the cover and just read Driven and Hidden, because what was inside was so much better than the outside. I don't know that I can tell them that about this particular book, I'm afraid. And the many readers who shop by cover art aren't going to take the leap. This one gets only three of Cupid's five arrows. I didn't find it a keeper.

Until next time, happy reading!

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