Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Release Day Review ~ Seven-Card Stud by Ava Drake

Release Day Review ~ Seven-Card Stud by Ava Drake

Title: Seven-Card Stud
Author: Ava Drake
Release Date: November 15, 2016
Category: Contemporary, Mystery/Suspense, Dreamspun Desires
Pages: 242

Temptation, peril, and dirty poker.
Love is a high-stakes game.

When Collin Callahan, British secret agent, goes up against math genius turned surfer bum Oliver Elliot, the battle is epic—and so is the attraction. They’re pitted against each other in an exclusive, ultra-secret—and ultra-illegal—poker match in Gibraltar, but when players start dying and they could be next, they find a common goal: catch the killer before it’s too late.

Evenly matched at poker and romance, they each wrestle personal demons that threaten to consume them as the stakes climb. It’s an all-or-nothing gamble with both life and love on the line as they fight to be the last seven-card studs standing.

*Copy provided to Bayou Book Junkie by Dreamspinner Press for my reading pleasure in hopes of an unbiased opinion, a review was not a requirement.*
While I enjoyed Seven-Card Stud, I have to admit it didn't really do it for me. There wasn't anything wrong with the writing or anything like that. The truth is I just found myself getting easily distracted while reading it and it made it hard to connect with the story and characters.
When we are first introduced to Collin, he came off as uptight and inflexible. He seemed to get irritated by everything Oliver said or did in the beginning. I wasn't sure what his qualifications for his job actually were. We know he was usually not in the field but I figured he would have more of a Secret Agent feel to him, but one minute he did and the next he was just a normal guy. It didn't work for me.
As for the plot, I couldn't completely suspend disbelief. It really was not very realistic and I feel like it was too much. I was not at all invested in it.
The one saving grace to me was that Collin and Oliver had great chemistry when they finally got together. I believed them as a couple and they had some really hot scenes together. I definitely think the author did a great job writing them as a couple.
The ending left this book open for a sequel so I'm not sure if we'll be seeing more of Collin and Oliver or not. However if we do, I hope that the plot is a bit more realistic. I wouldn't mind trying the next book if it can hold my attention better.
3.5 Stars!

*Copy provided to Bayou Book Junkie by the author for my reading pleasure in hopes of an unbiased opinion, a review was not a requirement. *
This is Book 2 in the Wild Cards series.  It is possible to read this one without reading the first, that’s what I did, but really, I feel like it would have given some insight into this book so just go ahead and read them both!  

Collin is a British secret agent who usually works behind the computer but this time he’s sent into the field to play in a high-stakes poker tournament with a secret prize for the winner.  The players of the game are pitted against each other, and no one knows who is hosting this tournament.  On his first day, Collin meets Oliver, a surfer who is more than meets the eyes.  Oliver is one of the best poker players in the world but has been banned from playing.  He’s incredibly smart and graduated high school and college at a young age.  He comes from a very wealthy family but has no interest in being part of the business and walked away from them to become a beach bum.  He’s surprised to get an invitation to this exclusive tournament, and to find that his $1 million-dollar entry fee was paid for him.  Soon the strongest players in the tournament end up being killed and Collin must figure out what’s going on before it’s too late for him or Oliver. 

Collin and Oliver work together to solve the puzzle of the tournament and get more than they bargained when they spend time together.  They're both attracted to each other and decide to secretly act on that attraction.  There are a few sexy scenes between Oliver and Collin that scorch the pages, but they actually are developing a relationship and not just spending all their alone time together naked.  Though neither of them would admit that is what's happening!
I don’t think this was the typical whodunit type of story, there were a lot of elements to solving the crimes happening during this tournament and after.  And, there is no HEA, the book ends with a cliffhanger that means you’re going to have to read it to see if Oliver and Collin can manage to overcome the obstacles in their way.  If you don’t like cliffhangers (aka: me!), make sure you read that sentence above again, so you can prepare yourself for the ending and not just be taken by surprise like I was.  There is a lot more story to go as this private security group continue their undercover operation.  So, take the time and read Book 1 and 2, that way you're prepared when the next book releases. 
Rating:  3.5 stars

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