Thursday, January 9, 2014

Review - Private North by Tess Oliver

Private North Book Cover


New Adult Contemporary Romance An internship cataloguing ancient pottery.  A war-hardened soldier who’s impossible to resist. A priceless Egyptian artifact. And a devious scheme that is fraught with danger. Antiquities major, Auggie Stonefield, is about to experience a winter break she will never forget.

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Dalton North POV:

This isn't in the book, Tess has written it just for the blog tour for us.
The throbbing in my head took my mind off the relentless pain in my leg. It had become my sort of twisted way of dealing with the constant agony. Get drunk enough for a skull-pounding hangover and it dulled everything else. I made a stupid-ass attempt to mask the uneven sounds of my footsteps, but the wooden hallway floor made it pretty damn laughable. I wasn’t even completely sure why it mattered, except that I knew the girl was standing just around the corner in the kitchen. I’d heard her silky laugh twice before I’d even left my bedroom. She stood in the kitchen helping with breakfast. Long auburn hair cascaded down the back of her sweater and I could see only the side of her face as she smiled sweetly at my dad. I’d been in a desert that was so hot just taking a breath hurt, a place where you learned not to trust even your own shadow, a place that could only be described as hell, and the only way to survive the nightmare of it all was to believe that somewhere else in another place, another time, another dimension angels existed. And now I’d come home and found one standing over the waffle iron in the kitchen. She looked up as I entered the room and that was all it took. I could not look away. Her thin fingers trembled almost imperceptibly as she tucked her hair behind her ear. I dragged a chair out from the table and sat down hard and watched her. She grew more and more flustered by my scrutiny but I couldn’t stop myself. She was a piece of heaven that had floated in through the darkness and I wanted to watch her. And, even though she nearly bit through her plump, highly kissable bottom lip with agitation . . . it seemed . . . that deep down she wanted me to watch her.

Book Excerpt:

I pulled the cover up to my chin like I’d done as a young girl when I was certain the closet monsters were coming out to get me, but I couldn’t relax enough to sleep. The house was quiet and dark again. I climbed back into my slippers. I peeked out into the hallway and everything was still. I tiptoed to the kitchen hoping a glass of milk would make me sleepy. I scuttled around the corner, and a gasp stuck in my throat. The refrigerator door was open, and the light pouring out illuminated his broad bare back, showing every line of hard muscle . . . and every small scar. There were many. His pajama pants hung low on his narrow hips, and I stood as quiet as a mouse for a guilty second and stared at his incredible physique. He still had not heard me, and I wondered if he was still lost in the agony of his bad dream. I tiptoed without a sound, but as I neared he seemed to sense me. He continued to stare into the refrigerator as if he expected something to jump out into his hands. “I’m sorry if I woke you.” “Please don’t apologize.” His shoulders tensed as I moved closer to him. Even in front of an open refrigerator, heat rolled off of him in searing waves. He shut the door but didn’t turn around. He leaned his forehead against the freezer door. I stepped closer. My hand trembled slightly as I reached up and touched him. The muscles of his back tightened and then relaxed. I trailed my fingers over the tiny scars that were splattered across his shoulders. The tiny ridges were hard, and I could feel the pain of each one in my fingertips. I stood on my toes and lowered my mouth to his skin. He sucked in a sharp breath as I pressed my lips to the scars. I kissed him over and over again wanting to absorb the pain that still clung to him physically and mentally. And he let me kiss him. His broad shoulders lifted and fell with each shallow breath as I ran my lips across his marred skin.

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Private North Teaser 1

Private NorthPrivate North by Tess Oliver
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Private North is the perfect book to curl up with and settle in for a quiet night of reading. It’s fast paced and will keep you on the edge of your seat from page to page. I finished it in one sitting, unwilling to put it down or take a break. Ms. Oliver does a fantastic job of pulling you into the story and holding your attention throughout.

August (Auggie) Stonefield is not your typical spoiled rich girl. Despite having everything she could possibly need at her finger tips she’s very down to earth and enjoys the simple things in life. All she wants is to spend a “normal” Christmas with her mother, baking and just doing your average mother/daughter activities like most families do. However at the last minute her mother cancels their plans and opts to go on a European vacation instead. Not wanting to spend her break home alone Auggie accepts the Internship offered to her by Professor North, cataloguing ancient artifacts for the University. While it wasn’t entirely believable that Auggie would just agree to stay at her professor’s house as if it wasn’t a big deal or awkward in the least, I went along with it anyway curious to see where the story would go.

Auggie’s stay at the professors McMansion is pretty uneventful until she’s woken up by a very sexy and very familiar stranger in her bed. Enter Private Dalton North! Their chemistry is intense right off the bat, and despite her efforts to steer clear of this mystery of a man, Auggie finds herself falling for him anyway. Besides being in constant pain from his war injury, Dalton is also carrying around a tremendous amount of guilt. Letting his emotions get the best of him he self-medicates the only way he knows how, with alcohol. Aside from the Auggie/Dalton story line there is so much more going on that neither of them is aware of! Private North is more than just a romance novel, it has equal parts mystery and suspense with some pretty good twists & turns. Although I already (correctly) guessed what would happen it was still an enjoyable ride to go on while all the secrets were unveiled.

Dalton North is one of those book boyfriends who will stay on your mind for a long while. He’s not your traditional ‘perfect from head to toe’ alpha male, but he’s still all kinds of yummy just in a slightly different package. His war injury and inner turmoil make him seem more “real” and relatable. I really loved his character because he could easily represent your “average joe”. Auggie was also a breath of fresh air. Even though she comes from money, it doesn’t define who she is as a person. She has a backbone and is unwilling to let her parents dictate her life. She’s set on following her dreams no matter what the outcome is.

If you’re looking for a quick read with an awesome story line and intriguing characters then Private North is for you. I will say that I felt the ending was a tad bit rushed but it doesn’t detract from the overall appeal of the story. So have no fear, all loose ends will be tied up and you will NOT suffer through an awful cliffhanger. I would definitely recommend this book and look forward to reading more books from Ms. Oliver!

Author Bio:

Tess Oliver

Tess Oliver is the New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author of Freefall (Custom Culture, #1). She is also a full time teacher and lives in California with her husband, two kids, and a pack of pampered pets. She loves horses, chocolate, and Jane Austen books. She has a BS in Nutrition Science and a MA in Curriculum and Instruction.

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