ARC Review: Under the Surface by Anne Calhoun

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
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ARC Review: Under the Surface by Anne Calhoun
Under the Surface
Book Info

Released: May 31st 2016
Series: Alpha Ops #4
Pages: 350

“UNDER THE SURFACE isn’t my favorite book from Anne Calhoun and I’m not sure if I want to go back and read the other novellas in the series quite yet but I’ll try the next full length and see how I fare with that one.”
~ Under the Covers

UNDER THE SURFACE is book four in the Alpha Ops series by Anne Calhoun. It is the first full length novel in the series. I haven’t read the first three novellas in the series yet but I don’t think it’s necessary to have read them to really enjoy this one.

This book takes place at Eye Candy, a nightclub that is known for its hardcore cocktails and bartenders. It is owned by Eve Webber, a woman who is as strong as some of the drinks she makes. Everything has been going fine so far with her business before a new sexy stranger walks in, looking to be interviewed for the bartender job she put out. At first glance, Eve doesn’t think Matt is a good fit for the job. That is until he starts pouring drinks for her. Once he has proven his abilities to keep the bar running smoothly, she takes him on, knowing that his presence will create some tension at the club. The sexual kind.

Matt is a quiet guy that keeps to himself. He probably only said a total of 25 words in the first 20% of the book it feels like. But I think that also has to do with the fact that he isn’t who he says he is. Matt Dorchester is also a detective and the only reason why he at Eye Candy in the first place is because he’s latest case involves Eve. I really loved the premise of this story. However, I will say that the actual story didn’t pan as well as I had hoped.

For me, there were two main issues that stopped me from fully falling in love with the book and the first was that I just couldn’t connect with the characters. Eve seems like a really cool chick and I liked what she stood for but there was nothing about her that really made me like her as a character. She’s hardworking and honest but beyond that, I don’t think we got enough depth from her character. The same goes for Matt. I can understand Matt a little more because he is undercover and he’s supposed to be a little more reserved to preserve his identity but even then, the things he did say when he did say something didn’t really resonate as much as I think the author hoped. So in the end, this just made me feel a little disappointed because I just couldn’t find anything relatable about the characters.

The second issue I had with this book is that the balance seemed way off. I feel like the suspense really overshadowed the romance. This is especially true with Matt’s character because obviously he is the detective but I just didn’t feel the passion come across from his character. He always says he wants to take it slow and it really undermined the romance to the point where I even wondered if he even was interested in Eve at all or if he was holding on just for the case.

So UNDER THE SURFACE isn’t my favorite book from Anne Calhoun and I’m not sure if I want to go back and read the other novellas in the series quite yet but I’ll try the next full length and see how I fare with that one.




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About Anne Calhoun

After doing time at Fortune 500 companies on both coasts, I found myself living in the suburbs of a small Midwestern city. The glamour of various cube farm jobs had worn off, so I gave up making a decent living to take Joseph Campbell’s advice and follow my bliss: writing romance.


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  1. Nothing ruins a book faster for me than not being able to connect with the characters…thanks for sharing your thoughts Annie

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