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Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Book Review: Captain’s Orders by Kara Keen

"Those eyes bluer than the sky – I don’t know about being on drugs, but surely this kissing is a drug, a narcotic keeping the rest of the world away, out of our minds.”

So I recently got the chance to review Captain’s Orders by Kara Keen as part of the book’s blog tour! Exciting, right? But before I go on, just a warning that this review contains *MILD SPOILERS*

Image credit: HEA Book Tours
Tania Shevchenko, an American nurse originally from Ukraine, loves her sister more than anything. So when Oksana becomes ensnared in a deadly web of international kidnapping and sex trade, naturally Tania will do everything she can to save her. Oksana’s trail leads Tania to the cruise ship Sunset, captained by handsome twin brothers Jack and Cole Carleton. Unfortunately, Tania’s attraction to Cole might be more of a hindrance than an advantage, especially when Cole vows to capture her heart. But is Tania only using Cole to rescue her sister?

Firstly, I should say that I jumped into this book blind. I didn’t really know what it would be about, but I agreed to participate in the blog tour and review it anyway because not knowing what a book’s about is part of the fun of starting a new read. Plus, as I’m sure my regular readers know by now, I’m willing to read anything and I always finish a book I start.

Having said that, there was a hell of a lot more sex in this book than I was anticipating. I mean, sure it’s a romance novel, but it did seem a bit like every single character just wanted to have sex literally all the time. And not just regular sex either, there were some rather unorthodox ideas floating around at times… (I’ll leave you to discover those for yourself!) So really the plot ended up being side-lined at times because of all that, and I was definitely left wanting more plot and less sex scenes for most of the book.

That was a shame really, because there’s so much that could have happened with this set-up. There’s so much scope in this story, with such a varied cast of characters stuck together in one place. I love that all these people from completely different walks of life are suddenly thrown together, and I genuinely think this could make a great screenplay (that I’d love to write!) Because of this, I wasn’t too keen on the whole ‘chase across the country’ idea towards the end. I would have much preferred the whole story to be confined to the setting of the cruise ship, because the end started to get too hyper-real and prevented me from fully believing in the story.

Image credit: HEA Book Tours
The sad thing is that the underlying theme of the book is a real issue. Every day desperate girls are kidnapped and tricked into the sex trade – somewhere in the world this is happening right now. It’s a serious issue that needs to be addressed properly, not just used and exaggerated in fiction. And because some of these situations in the book get too over-the-top, I’m not sure if the author does this problem justice.

However, I really liked the characters. They’re all so detailed and interesting that I wanted to learn more about every single one of them. It was nice that they were all so different yet similar at the same time, especially Cole and Tania. The only thing I would say about the characters is that I felt their relationships all happened far too fast to be truly lifelike and believable. I know this is fiction, but it has to keep at least some degree of reality or I can’t fully buy into the story. I also got confused with some of the characters at the start of the book, especially the Russian and the German passengers. Too many people were introduced too quickly so it took me a while to be able to differentiate between them all. Plus I’m still not sure why almost every passenger on the ship seemed to be a criminal!

If I had to be really picky, I would question why Tania didn’t seem to be more worried about her sister. The whole reason she was on the ship was to rescue Oksana, but as soon as she met Cole she seemed to almost completely forget about her. I also think that some of the plot points were purely there for exposition. For example – the scene where Tania and Cole are on the beach and the elderly woman collapses is clearly only there to show Cole that Tania is a nurse and can keep her head in a crisis, because it’s completely irrelevant to the plot.

However, there were a few nice touches towards the end. Without giving too much away, I was glad that a certain character returned and was able to help bring the bad guys down. Similarly, I liked the part at the end of the cruise where Khalid’s wives were able to experience freedom for a change.
For its genre, Captain’s Orders is great. But I’m sorry to say that it wasn’t quite right for me - there were just too many plot holes and not enough actual plot! Still, if you’re a fan of sexy contemporary romance, this one’s definitely for you.

Rating: 3 stars.

Captain’s Orders by Kara Keen is available to buy now.

Have you read Captain's Orders? Let me know in the comments below!

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