Fever Paperback – Mar 1 2012
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Top Customer Reviews
This is the first book I have read from this author, and will continue to read her books..well worth the read
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Teague Creek (yes, that is his name!) is a wrongfully convicted felon in a high-security prison. His only wants are to escape, reunite with his young daughter, and live a long life away from those who want him behind bars, hurt or worse. His plans involve kidnapping a technician from a local hospital, who happens to be the girlfriend of the man who is guardian over his daughter. Of course, when he kidnaps Dr. Alyssa Foster - the wrong woman - things go from bad to worse. Top that off with a fellow inmate who is pure evil joining the escape plans, and you have a mix for an action-packed, suspenseful journey towards freedom. Nothing goes right for Teague, and he is being hunted by government officials that would rather see him dead than free again.
Right from the start I was engrossed in this story. The details and events unfolded before me in the perfect manner. The reader is given little nuggets that are just enough to keep you going and find out more. The tone is harsh, the mood is dark, but our heroine, Alyssa, seems to find a way to make it lighter and easier. In addition, Ms. Swan demonstrates excellent descriptive abilities, smoothly integrating rich detail about the scenery and plot into the story.
Overall I liked Alyssa and Teague. They fit together well and complimented one another... when he was rash, she made him stop and think, when she was hurt, he healed her. They have one of those back-and-forth, give-and-take relationships. And boy did they have steam! Thanks to a mysterious fire Teague was involved with several years back, he has the ability to increase his body temperature to way above normal. He uses his "power" to help heal, jump-start cars, and melt metal. And I can only imagine how hot he is in bed (and other places!)
I did feel that Alyssa was a bit too forgiving of Teague at times. She was held hostage and harassed. Teague may not have meant to physically hurt her, but he did cause emotional abuse. It is a bit unbelievable in the context of the real world... that she would take his "abuse" and keep coming back. I liked how Alyssa's brother, Mitch, described the situation... Saying about Teague, he may have been an upstanding citizen going into jail, but jail changes everyone. It's true, Teague is a harder man. Luckily Alyssa continues to chip away at Teague's exterior, exposing the tarnished gem inside. And since it's a romance, I forgive the rough start and enjoy them as a couple.
The ending of the story did wrap up a little too neatly and easily for my tastes, but it is a satisfying conclusion. The author left many open doors, and I am interested to see where this goes. There are some people very interested in the group of firefighters that were exposed to chemicals which altered their body chemistry (like Teague). I want to know what will happen to the other men in Teague's band of brothers, and what is the ultimate goal of these dark nefarious players.
I also want to comment about the use of racial slurs in this story. There had been much discussion on GoodReads about the use of racial slurs in this book. There is a character who is pure evil and YES, he uses just about ever cliched slur available. If this is something you know will bother you, then this book is not for you. It's okay not to be okay with the content in this book. It is also okay to still enjoy this book, even though it has some nasty parts. Neither opinion is wrong. This character is not a big part of the overall book and does make an exit a quarter of the way into the book. For me, the character's use of the slurs fit his persona, and I was able to read past the content and focus on other aspects of the story, but it isn't for everyone.
Fever has the perfect amount of world-building for a first book in a new series. The story was easy to follow, unfolded at a great pace, and had just the right amount of frustration without overkill. It was an enjoyable, quick read, and I want to know what will happen next.
Quick & Dirty: Suspense and romance with a little touch of the paranormal for flavoring.
Opening Sentence: The clank-clank-clank of shackles echoes off the hospital's linoleum floors, rippling across Doctor Alyssa Foster's shoulders.
I try to give new authors props when warranted. Most debut books have problems like flow and character under-development. And when you think about it, that makes sense. These types of issues get resolved with time and experience. That being said, I thought that Fever was pretty good coming right out of the chute. Kudos goes out to you, Joan Swan!
Fever follows the story of escape convict and convicted murderer, Teague Creek, and his hostage Dr. Alyssa Foster. Teague uses Alyssa as his bargaining chip to trade for the life of his 5-year-old daughter, Kat. Along the way, Teague and Alyssa start to work together (both in bed and out) to clear Teague's good name and discover who the people were that sent him to prison for the crime he was wrongfully accused and convicted of. Okay, put like that, this book doesn't stand out among all the other suspense/romance novels available today. But wait, dear readers, there are a few key twists in this seemingly bland story.
When we first meet Teague Creek, he is portrayed as a convicted murdering racist. That is the image he perpetuates for prison survival. The real Teague is a former firefighter and devoted father; basically a good guy. He also is in way over his head when he kidnaps the wrong woman during his escape from prison. Alyssa starts out as a distressed woman that is in the wrong place at the wrong time. A convict thinks that she is the girlfriend of the man that has custody of his daughter. It doesn't take long for her annoying, stubborn side to emerge. She pesters Teague about every little thing, including the reasons for him being put away. After she decides to help, she pesters him until he allows her to help clear his good name. The initial character portrayals are completely opposite of their true nature. I think that is my favorite part of this book; characters with more depth than the false natures that are initially presented.
There is also the series of unlikely and unlucky events that follow the two around. Who knew that prison breaks never go the way you plan them? Not only does Teague nab the wrong girl, but she happens to have influential family members that will stop at nothing to take him down if she gets hurt. Alyssa is no walk in the park either. Why couldn't he find a woman that will do as she's told when threatened with bodily harm? This byplay gives the book its much needed comedy relief.
So, where is the paranormal part come into play? Teague happens to be able to raise his core body temperature so high that it burns. He also has a small talent in healing. His thermokinesis is the result of accidental exposure to radioactive gas during a fire rescue gone wrong. The government's illegal experimentations that are behind it are a subplot. Though this sounds pretty darn cool, it is almost like a side note to the overall fugitive manhunt that takes center stage. The plot would have worked with or without the fire abilities additive.
Overall, Fever left me feeling happy with the ending. The guy gets the girl and a chance at a future he didn't think was possible and the two find love amidst the unlikeliest of circumstances. The story is complete in its self; if you want to enjoy a book that doesn't have to continue on to find a satisfactory conclusion, this may be the right book for you. It's a fine debut and I look forward to reading more from Ms. Swan.
The Phoenix Rising Series:
FTC Advisory: Kensington provided me with a copy of Fever. No goody bags, sponsorships, "material connections," or bribes were exchanged for my review. The only payment received came in the form of hugs and kisses from my little boys.
Alyssa may be strong willed and intelligent but she baits people holding weapons - not smart. Alyssa is working at the hospital when a prisoner is brought in with a fever. She's initially attracted to him until she notices his Aryan Brotherhood tattoos and then there is the little matter of him kidnapping and assaulting her. It definitely put her obsession with getting a promotion into perspective. She tries a number of times to escape but Teague always catches her. When he finally walks away from her, she follows him and decides to champion his cause.
I'm afraid I wasn't a big fan of Teague and the way he treated Alyssa. I get that he felt pressured and that ordering her around fed his desire to control his environment but constantly demeaning her was unnecessary. He knew that he had a tendency to burn up (thermokinesis) when he got stressed and yet he refused to remove the chain that was burning Alyssa's throat. Sure he healed her up afterwards but that doesn't excuse the initial assault. Part of me wondered whether he healed her because he genuinely cared or whether he did it because he didn't want to deliver damaged goods. Kidnapping recalcitrant females and killing people in front of them is kind of par for the course with romantic suspense novels so I can't fault him there.
Although Taz is not the protagonist, his attitude and language sets the tone for the novel. Swan clearly went for the shock factor with him as practically every word that came out of his mouth was racist or misogynistic. I was very uncomfortable reading the hate he spewed and it got to the point that I braced myself whenever I saw his name mentioned. I was also quite frustrated because he wasn't necessary to the plot and there are a myriad of ways to depict a character as cruel and/or racist without using such a heavy handed approach. I'm assuming Taz was included to make the story appear gritty and Teague look good but it is setting the bar fairly low as 99% of the population would look like model citizens when compared with him.
There were some sections that I enjoyed but oddly enough they featured Mitch (Alyssa's brother) rather than Teague or Alyssa whose romance felt Stockholm Syndrome-ish as the heroine couldn't bear to leave the guy who had kidnapped and abused her. I was left with a series of questions. Apart from his good looks, what did Alyssa see in Teague? Is Teague viewing Alyssa as a "goddamned, exotic Barbie-doll, wet dream beauty" supposed to be sexy? I saw it as him lacking emotional depth. How did Teague get the magic ink in prison and how come no one noticed him reapplying it? Why did Luke change his attitude towards Teague in a matter of moments? What was the deal with the fire? Why was Teague framed? What was a box of personal information relating to Teague that just happened to give clarity into his relationship with his dead wife and his supposed crime doing at the cabin he and Alyssa crashed at? Is the deal with fish antibiotics really true?
Joan hits a home run with me her first out of the gate! Suspense thriller with a paranormal aspect unlike anything available out there today. If you want a story, and I mean a full on well plotted beginning to end story then Fever is for you. I love how the drive of the story is pulled along by the hero's conflict and resolution as opposed to the hero always being the rescurer of the heroine!