Model Exposure (NeRdyWYRM’s Review)


review master
Title: Model Exposure (Haven Investigations, #4)
Author: Lissa Kasey
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: October 2, 2017
Genre(s): Contemporary Romance
Page Count: 275 pages
Reviewed by: NeRdyWYRM
Heat Level: 4.5 flames out of 5
Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Blurb:

After being rescued by Ollie, Kade continues to suffer the aftermath of his ordeal, both physically and psychologically. Not knowing how else to clear his head, he pours his energy into Ollie—the love of his life—and Haven Investigations, but neither Ollie nor Kade can continue to ignore what they learned from their last case: Ollie’s brother, Nathan, might have betrayed Kade.

As they dig into Ollie’s past, secrets are revealed. Was Nathan’s death a suicide? Were Ollie’s parents much more than they seemed? Is someone out to kill Ollie, or is it Kade’s past coming back to haunt them again?

Amidst questions and uncertainties, one thing is clear: after everything they have been through together, Kade and Ollie have never been more in love and they want to get married. But first, they’ll have to deal with the continued threat of Kade’s past, the emotional wounds Kade fears are drowning him, and the possibility that everything Ollie believed about his family was a lie. A beautiful happily ever after awaits them—as long as they can survive long enough to make it to the altar.


Exposing Great Themes

This title is not a standalone and really shouldn’t be read as one. As such, I’m having a hard time separating this book from the rest; they build on each other. That said, there were some fantastic themes in this series and in this book. You’ve got a gender-fluid character, an MC who’s former military, murder and mayhem, a genuine mystery, PTSD, disability, anxiety/depression, anorexia, and basically a spectrum of whattheactualfuck stuff that all gels nicely together without being too much. Let’s face it, with so much going on, it could have easily pegged out on the bad side of the bullshit-o-meter. Thankfully, that didn’t happen here.

bullshitometer

I can’t say too much without being spoilery, so I’ll just say this. I loved Kade. Loved, loved, loved. He was almost unbelievable at first, a guy who had been through so much remaining so cheerful, open and optimistic smacked of disingenuousness … but! We eventually learn that all is not sunshine and roses as it appears. Instead, Kade has done a remarkable job of dealing with most things, others he’s stuffed down or run from, and still more he’s forgotten about entirely. Ironically enough, the trauma he went through was the cause of some of the lack of memories he had about the trauma he went through. Weird I know, but it worked!

It probably didn’t help that Ollie’s voice in the first couple of books was just so loud. The things he was unwittingly caught up in stretched credibility a bit, but we don’t find out about a lot of it until this book anyway, so no harm no foul. I loved the Alice in Wonderland thread throughout. Although that was largely Kade’s influence, it truly felt like Ollie was down the rabbit hole half the time. I got it. Add Ollie’s high volume to Kade’s easygoing personality and it could have been easy for one to drown the other out, but no. They’re both heard pretty equally, although the focus doesn’t shift (almost) entirely to Kade until later on in the series. In between, there’s quite enough external drama going on as it is and Ollie himself is a bit of a mess all around, even though it’s mostly justified.

hot mess

The character and relationship development in this series are stellar. It’s not exactly insta-love although a long-term connection was there already even if there had never been an opportunity to nurture it. Ollie and Kade do not have an easy go of it and events really conspire against them, but they do the work, a lot of work, both separately and together. In this way, the author was able to lend quite a bit of realism to the relationship and cut into some of the implausibility inherent in an action-packed plot that crosses several books.

I caught myself being reminded occasionally of Mary Calmes’ A Matter of Time series in that I had to stop and wonder sometimes how it was possible for two people to constantly be immersed in such life-altering crises. Ollie and Kade were, in a way, shades of Jory and Sam. There was just so much going on all the time. I think you get the idea. This was a relatively fast-paced read that had me praying on several occasions that the MCs would catch a freaking break already. Truthfully, all four books were like that.

break please enough bullshit

Supporting characters were also well-fleshed out and likable, and I was satisfied with resolutions to crises and with the various intertwined themes and plotlines overall. I learned a great deal more about gender-fluidity which is something I’ve missed out on before in titles with similar characters. I feel like I’ve finally got a grasp on a concept I’ve never had enough experience with to understand. In that respect, Ollie was awesome. Oh! And his jacket at the end? I freaking want one so bad. So. Bad.

we're all mad here

All in all, I enjoyed the series. The last book, this book, wrapped things up nicely and Ollie and Kade do end up getting their hard-won HEA. And hell, if they hadn’t, I might have done something drastic, or criminal, or drastically criminal. It would have been bad, let’s just leave it at that. So! Crisis averted! On to the next one. Read the series. I luuuuurved it.

This review cross-posted at Goodreads.
Other reviews by NeRdyWYRM can be read here.

Images (when present) may be subject to copyright.

Haven Investigations Series


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Advanced Review Copy

Galley copy of Model Exposure (Haven Investigations, #4) provided by Dreamspinner Press in exchange of an honest review.

Author

I am a life-long reader and an avid learner. I remember reading books without pictures when I was about four, and raided every title on my parents’ full and intimidating book shelves—well, the ones they would let me read, anyway—from then on. Characters written by authors like Isaac Asimov, Carl Sagan, Robert Jordan, David Eddings, Terry Brooks, Anne Rice, Stephen King, Raymond E. Feist, Mercedes Lackey, Margaret Weis & Tracy Hickman, and Anne McCaffrey were my childhood playmates.

Back then, I went nowhere unless I had a book in my hand. While the rest of my generation was shifting from cassettes to CDs and from Atari to Nintendo, Sega, and Playstation, I spent my allowance on Myth & Magic pewter figurines and on books at the Stars and Stripes bookstore. These days I don’t have a book in my hand anymore, at least not the printed variety. Instead, it’s any device with a Kindle app.

I stubbornly held on to the printed page until a military move weighed my book collection in at over a ton. Oops. Sorry-not-sorry, but I did have to exercise some pragmatism in that area, unfortunately. Now I only buy hardbacks from my favorite authors, the classics, or long-running series. Otherwise, I’ve surrendered to the times and our weight allowance and have gone all digital.

I stay strictly on the fiction side of the fence because non-fiction is generally too dry to hold my interest. I was always a scholar, and so have read enough textbook-like titles and required reading for school and college to last me a lifetime, thank you very much. So, non-fiction? No, thanks. However, barring non-fiction and biographies (ewww people), there’s not much out there I won’t read.

I have loved romance novels since I was prepubescent. Something about historicals and anything with horses, i.e., Native American inspired romances just did it for me. My grandmother was appalled that my parents let me read that ‘smut’ as she called it. I’d already justified my position on being allowed to read those controversial titles with a logical argument that there were a lot of historical facts in those books that couldn’t be learned in the classroom alone. And to this day, I maintain that stance. I have learned more from books, specifically romance and fantasy novels, than I ever did in a classroom.

~~wink-wink~~

My dad always said I was too smart for my own good. Looking back, he was probably right! I could logically talk my way into and out of just about anything. It’s served me well, but caused me no end of problems, too. That said, despite my love for the romance genre in general and the m/m romance genre in particular, there is little chance that a decent book of any kind will fail to catch my interest, and there’s nothing at all I’m unwilling to learn. So bring it on. I hope you enjoy my reviews.

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