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My Need to Read

I love to explore genre fiction, and while I usually go for books with a romantic thread running through it, I just love great character and world building. And since I can hardly stand to let go of my favorite characters, I like series.

Riding the Storm - Sydney Croft The book's been described as "romantica meets the X-Men" and I think the description is quite apt.The plot has a lot going on, so I won't bother trying to lump it up. But the story starts with former Navy SEAL Remy Begnaud, fresh from leaving the Service, coming back home to the Louisiana bayou in response to his father's sudden plea to do such. Remy has a secret, inexplicable and uncontrollable connection to the weather, which makes him the focus of two very interested and eager parties: the Agency for Covert Rare Operatives (ACRO) and its nemesis Itor Corporation. Let the recruitment race begin!In this book there are two "full" story lines featuring one couple each (with plot development and an arc), and two "partial" story lines featuring a single character each (that give brief glimpses into the character's mind and provide insight that would've otherwise been impossible with a single narrative). Note, however, that these weren't completely separate short stories. The "stage" keeps moving between each scene (think soap-opera editing ^_^).At first I wondered why the plot threads were so disparate, seemingly unrelated save for the tenuous connection of most of the characters being involved with ACRO in some way. But as the story progresses, particularly later on in the book, it's made clearer how and why they all fit together. In retrospect (because again, whilst reading I was scratching my head), many interesting insights were uncovered through this method. I also liked how the "multiple simultaneous stages" demonstrated how these various individual parts of the "team" came together to form a cohesive(-ish ^_^) unit. In short: though the story is definitely PnR (and has some the expected elements of one, such as a couples' story arc and pairing), it's the ACRO organization that's the ultimate center here.Though most of the stories take place in relatively confined spaces, one was able to get some juicy glimpses of the lush LA bayou. One particular scene at a backyard celebration was so wonderfully written, I could almost hear the zydeco music and feel the lazy humidity. Delish!There were some super-mega-flaming hot scenes (including one smokin' m-m interlude), which fit fairly well into the story and didn't really seem to be there for the sake of just being there. And though there were many such interludes, they didn't feel too repetitive or tiring to me (though I can definitely see how it might be so for others). I'd like to think that this reflects most on the authors' skills and experience with crafting good romance.And speaking of the authors…given the fact that there were two authors involved here, the book was actually quite cohesive. Stephanie Tyler and Larrisa Ione make for a good team.The stage has been well set up in this book, and I'm looking forward to following the "crew" into the next installment.