Monday, March 9, 2020

ARC Review: Nothing Special VII: EX Meridian by A. E. Via

From The Blurb:
Police Lieutenants, God and Day are under intense pressure from the chief to take back control of Atlanta’s streets. The last thing their task force needs is a pair of trained killers in town with a personal score to settle. 
Take a man and strip him of his ability to feel compassion, empathy, remorse, or any of the emotions that make him human, but leave the ones that ignite rage and aggression and you have the perfect killing machine—now imagine two of them. 
Code names Ex and Meridian are synonymous for ‘guaranteed death’ to international terrorists. Two broken men from the same crooked streets, recruited into an unsanctioned government program that few know about. Trained to operate most efficiently—lethally—together. 
When Ex returns from an op in Bolivia to learn his little brother has been accidentally killed in a feud between drug gangs, he’s stateside before he can consider the rules he’ll be breaking, and of course Meridian is right beside him. There’s mayhem on the streets of Atlanta and the police are losing control. If Godfrey and his elite team of detectives can’t get the job done then they’d be happy to lighten their caseloads for them. And Ex nor Meridian care about doing it quietly. 
“I know who you are.” The man grunted when Ex turned to leave. “You’re the fucking devil.” Meridian walked past, glaring one final time. “Say that loud enough… maybe God will save you.” 
But after their first run-in with the big lieutenant and his protective husband, Day, Ex and Meridian start to reevaluate their own relationship. Wondering if they could be even deadlier if they let loose the feelings for each other that they’ve been forced to suppress for years. 
Meridian’s dark eyes stayed locked on his, “A man who can fight beside the one he loves doesn’t make him weaker, Ex—it makes him more dangerous.” 
No multiple pairings. No cliffhangers. Ends with a HEA. 
Note: This title focuses on two new characters in the series. And while it can standalone, there are appearences from prior main characters. 
Note: This is a partners-to-lovers, out-for-you, action romance.  
Note: There are depictions of violence in this novel.

Karen's rating:

I've enjoyed this series so far and as is often the case I've enjoyed some stories more than others. 

So far my absolute favorites have been 'Nothing Special V' and 'Nothing Special VI: His Hart's Command' (especially this one) I really loved both of these stories but then I admit I'm a bit of a geek/nerd fan, I love stories where it takes both brains and brawn to resolve a situation where everyone has a chance to show their worth and I admit I just really, really like Tech and Free, they're two of my favorite characters in the series.

I think what happened here for me was a bit of a disconnect. With most of the other characters we got a chance to meet one or both of them before getting their story. With the exception of God and Day of course since they started it all. While I don't feel that meeting characters before they become the MCs of a story is a requirement for's nice but not necessary and what happened here was that both Ex and Meridian came so far out of nowhere that they were a bit of a 'what the hell?' moment for me and I can deal with this most of the time... surprises can be fun. This time around I just found my imagination have to stretch to far to make it work.

Unfortunately in this case I also just couldn't connect with the characters or their relationship.  These men were suppose to be deadly and lethal and quite honestly I just wasn't feeling it. At times for me they almost came off as careless and immature. Considering that they were supposedly recruited and trained to be part of a super secret dark ops government program their characters just didn't quite hit the mark for me and I fully recognize that this is very much a subjective opinion and may have worked well for others so not right or wrong just personal opinion here.

Ironically even though I didn't really connect on any level with the characters and their relationship what saved the relationship aspect enough to give it some believability as far as I was concerned was the fact that there is a history of an eight year old working relationship here and not a typical working relationship here. Ex and Meridian have literally lived in each other's back pockets for much of this time and they have saved each other's lives, on more than one occasion, creating a situation where having intense feelings for each other was made an easily believable thing.

The best thing about this story was the fact that essentially the God, Day and their entire team were a part of this story. It was like old home week and everyone was in attendance and of course like all good alpha males everyone had thoughts to share.

'EX Meridian' wasn't exactly a huge success for me, neither was it a total fail and according to the blurb these are two new characters in the series so while they may not be favorites for me...yet, who knows what the future will bring to this pairing and how I'll feel once we get to know them better.

Also I'm sort of curious about their driver Slade and at the same time I honestly couldn't decide if I want to know more about him of if he was just a superfluous sidebar that we could all do short for me the jury's still out on some of this story.

I know the blurb on a number of the books in this series says they can be read as standalones and essentially they probably could but truthfully I think that reading the series from the start makes for a more enjoyable reading experience and gives an even better sense of understanding between the couples and the over all team dynamics.

While this one didn't garner the love from me that some of the previous stories have overall the series is still a keeper on my reading list and I have to admit I'm more than a little anxious to get the next book in the's Fox and Bull's turn to be in the spotlight and I'm sure I'm not alone when I say "I can't wait!"


An ARC of "EX Meridian" was graciously provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

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Reading gives us someplace to go, when we have to stay where we are.  (Mason Cooley)

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