Title & Author: Operation: Endeavor by Christi Snow
Series: When the Mission Ends (#2)
Release Date: January 4, 2013
Pages: 340 pages
Book Blurb (from Goodreads):
Colton Robertson left his career in the Air Force to come home and help his family heal. Unfortunately, his reception was not quite what he’d hoped for and he ended up as roommate to hippy dippy yoga instructor Penelope Pruitt.
Penelope has spent her life under the restrictive thumb of her parents and she doesn’t want to do the same with the straight-laced, serious Colton. But when it becomes apparent that Penelope’s life is in danger, Colton won’t settle for anyone else protecting Penelope besides him.
Opposites attract and that’s definitely the case with Colton and Penelope. On the surface, they don’t have anything in common, but as the sparks fly and the danger ramps up, their passion is inevitable.
Operation: Endeavor is the second book in Christi Snow’s When the Mission Ends series about the Robertson siblings and the men and women who love ‘em. After giving the first book in this series, Operation: Endgame, a very enthusiastic 4-smooch rating, I couldn’t wait to read the second installment.
This book centred around Colton (Cassie and Chris’ older brother), a retired Air Force captain, and Penelope Pruitt, a local bookstore owner and erotica author. A sexy alpha male falling in love with a fellow bibliophile?! I’m already rubbing my hands together in glee and chanting “oh please, oh please, oh pleeeeeease let this be good!”
And it was.
I have to say that I really liked Penelope. All her life she’s been described by others as a flighty party girl, but I think the author did a great job of creating a character that was less flighty party girl and more free-spirited yet savvy businesswoman determined to live life on her own terms.
Colton, on the other hand, is your typical alpha male – strong, smart, a little pushy and a lot gruff. All of that is enough to push my humina humina buttons, but it was Colton’s utter dedication to his family that made me melt into a giant puddle of “awwwww” at his feet. It’s at the very core of his being and informs everything he says and does in the novel (and just in case you were wondering, it’s sexy as fuck). The flashbacks of Colton at the funeral just about broke my heart, and his willingness to quit a job he loved in order to support his family through a difficult time was beyond endearing. *big, dreamy sigh* I need a Colton of my very own!
And let’s talk about the chemistry between these two for a second, okay? It was off the freakin’ charts! Snow gave it an exciting new twist and totally delivered on the heat factor hinted at by the many mentions of BDSM/erotic literature early in the book. And that scene – you’ll know the one I’m talking about after you read the book – was hot enough to melt the bed sheets. Good Lord, was it ever! Still, as explosive as the love scenes are, the book had enough true romance to make my heart flutter as well.
One of my favourite things about Snow’s writing is her ability to make the snappy inner voices of her characters come across feeling incredibly natural. For example:
When Penelope said yes to riding Colton’s motorcycle, she hadn’t taken into account how arousing it would be to have him in between her thighs with her arms wrapped around his muscular torso. This. Was. Torture. But oh, what an incredible way to die.
As women, we all think (or say!) these pithy, off-hand kind of comments in our daily lives, but to write them in a way that comes across as funny and effortless rather than overworked, is difficult. And while it may seem to some readers like a small thing, I find that it’s exactly these small details that breathes life into the characters and has a big effect on my overall enjoyment of a book. So, kudos to Snow for pulling this off.
Unfortunately, I can’t help but think that an otherwise great book was let down a little by its climax. Thirty pages to go, and what had been building nicely to a dramatic – yet believable – conclusion took a sharp left turn into the ridiculous with the introduction of “fluffy yellow ducks”. (Please note that since WordPress won’t let me use spoiler tags, I’m using the term “fluffy yellow ducks” as a stand-in for a significant plot twist.) Up until that point, I’d been totally buying in to the villains’ nefarious actions. They made sense given the context. But messing around with “fluffy yellow ducks” seemed way above their pay grade and I just couldn’t suspend my disbelief as a reader that far.
Don’t get me wrong, the climax itself wasn’t bad. Far from it, in fact. It was both interesting and well-written, but the “fluffy yellow ducks” twist felt unnecessary (at best) and as if it belonged as the ending to an entirely different book (at worst).
Further, just as in Operation: Endgame, the climax of the novel had practically everyone outside of the main character’s inner circle utterly betraying her. I thought the fact that there was more than one villain was a really refreshing twist, but the sheer number and diversity of those involved was a lot to take in. Between that and the multiple abusive ex-boyfriends (Really?! The poor woman had to suffer through more than one Grade A asshole ex?!), I was left wondering seriously about the soundness of Penelope’s judgement.
I think that a lot of readers will just roll with the ending and really enjoy its over-the-top nature (it’s super FUN, after all!). Personally, however, I prefer the less is more approach. I feel that a few small edits could have gone a long way to to making this ending truly stellar. But that’s just my opinion. *shrugs*
Overall, I thought that Operation: Endeavor had an original premise (I love the concept behind the When the Mission Ends series!), well-crafted protagonists, tonnes of sweet romance, rich descriptions, and an almost perfectly plotted story arc. It was entertaining and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to anyone who loves romantic suspense as much as I do.
Now on to Operation: Endurance! It’s time for Chris and Julie’s HEA, dammit!