Keeping Grace Alive by Annie Lee

Available: Now Amazon/ B&N

Type: Romance

Publisher: Tobias Books

My Copy: Sent For Review

Rudy Talbot, head of one of America’s largest organized crime rings, hires his main hit man, Jessie Conners, to kill his step-daughter Grace. Jessie Conners is a seasoned hitman who has never missed a hit before. That is, until he met “Gracie” five years ago and fell in love with her. Gracie is a rebellious socialite in her mid-twenties. Refusing to marry the current Senator’s son, Phillip Proctor, Gracie stands in the way of Rudy Talbot and his political dreams. Rudy knows both Jessie and Phillip have feelings for Gracie. Attempting to play the two men off of each other, Rudy’s plan backfires when Jessie stages an abduction to whisk Gracie to safety. But Conner’s had no idea that falling in love with Gracie would lead to the seemingly impossible task of keeping Gracie alive as her own medical conditions and step-father threaten her every move. Hiding her in his Pocono Mountain cabin, it soon becomes apparent that the only person who can keep Gracie alive is herself. And the only thing that guarantees her safety, going back and facing her past, will most likely get her killed. Jessie Conners goes against everything he knows in a struggle to save the love of his life. Suspense, mystery, and romance await readers of Keeping Grace Alive

I should start out this review by saying I really enjoyed the plot of this book. It was original and something I hadn’t ever read before. I liked the timeline of events and thought that it was well thought out. I should say though, there were so many issues in this book that I felt the need to make my own timeline of sorts. So there may be some spoilers ahead. Read at your own risk.

1. Upon meeting Jessie (the hardened street thug turned assassin to make ends meet) we are told how good he is at his job. How many kills he’s had. Basically talking him up…a lot. Then he turns around and parks his get away van in an open garage. If that’s not enough he leaves it unlocked, full of guns and his and his guys cell phones. What? No self respecting assassin is going to do that, no matter how relaxed he feels. Totally made me doubt Jessie’s credibility.

2. After Jessie kidnaps Gracie (for her own good because her stepfather has his own evil plan for her) he takes her to a cabin that he claims he has hardly ever been to after it was built. No one knows its there, its secure….and yet his two dogs are there? So if no one knows it’s there except him and his guys then who feeds the dogs? Later on in the book when they have to leave the cabin it’s stated that the dogs “will be taken good care of”. By who? No one but him and the guys know it’s there remember?

3. There was a lot of changing perspectives in this book. Often the characters would simply know what the other characters were feeling. A lot of telling and not showing. In one instance before Gracie even knows Jessie’s name she thinks “Jessie’s arm…….” Shouldn’t that be “the man’s arm…” or something of the like? She didn’t know him. How in the world can she be thinking his name?

4. Jessie tells Gracie to go ahead and order some clothes from the internet since she was brought to the cabin from Florida and they are now in the mountains of Pennsylvania. He gives her his credit card…with his name on it….tells her to have them sent. There are so many things wrong with this. First, everyone knows his real name. Second wouldn’t the use of a credit card be a giant red flag to those looking for him. Since the villain, Rudy, has cops working for him I would just naturally assume they were watching his card usage. Talk about leading them right to you.

5. There is no build up of a relationship. Jessie has been in love with Gracie for 5 years while he was working as a hitman for her stepfather. Gracie has no idea who he was. When Rudy puts out a hit on his own stepdaughter Jessie kidnaps her and whisks her away to safety. Professes his love and she just takes it all in stride. Has unprotected sex with him for WEEKS. Ends up pregnant and spends the last half of the book like that. Way to fast for me. Absolutely no buildup of anything.

6. The other hitmen. *sigh* While I totally got their family unit mentality and for the most part got their individual roles, one in particular stuck out. Bubba. He is set up as one of the toughest. A big, black, scary mountain of a man. And yet he CRIES ALL THE TIME. I don’t want my assassins to cry. I want them tough and mean. They can be sensitive, they can even warm up and banter with the other guys and even the female of the story. They should never, ever cry..especially multiple times.

7. During the eventual climax of the book Jessie and has band of hitman end up pulling in half the staff of Rudy’s mansion and the B&B owner of the place they were staying. No one would trust that many people. Especially not in such a highly sensitive situation as going back to kill two people and get Gracie’s little brother Timmy.

There were just way to many things in this book that had me shaking my head. I did like the characters regardless of how I felt about certain traits. Gracie was tenacious and I liked her ability to think on her feet though never being trained on how to do so. She really loved her little brother and although it took a while to get back to him, she never wavered on wanting to do so. Jessie was a nice guy…not how I like my assassins but overlooking that aspect I did like him. He was loyal and I appreciated that. I did not like the three month separation from Gracie while she was pregnant. That seemed a bit over the top…he could have come back at any time. He had people on the ground watching Rudy and his cohort Phillip. No reason why he had to stay away that long…no matter how many times he said it was for Gracie’s benefit. I also was not keen on the idea of using Gracie at nearly 7 months pregnant in their plot to bring down Rudy and Phillip. A bunch of skilled assassins couldn’t figure out a better plan then sending in an extremely pregnant Gracie?

Keeping Grace Alive was a book that at its roots was good. Original story line, lots of characters and a couple of nasty bad guys. It missed its mark however in the details. The little things that tie all the big things together. I thought it needed more refinement and polishing.

I give Keeping Grace Alive by Annie Lee 2.75 stars

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