ARC Review: Best Laid Plans (Mercenaries #1) by Stylo Fantôme

Hey everyone!!

So, I was supposed to post this review as part of the Relese Week Event for Best Laid Plans, but I had a small accident and I burned a finger and I had some complications. After I actually went to the doctor and he instructed me right, it’s healing great! And since Brazil is a crazy weather country and we’re in Winter still, although it is HOT and then COLD (for brazilian standards anyways) I seem to have gotten a cold. I know. #FML.

Aaaaaanyways, I hope you enjoy my review and some of the teasers I made for Best Laid Plans as well as some other fun things about the book!

 

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THE PLAN:

* Smuggle diamonds from Liberia to Morocco
* Make the trip in three days
* Don’t get caught
* Don’t kill each other
* Don’t have sex with each other
* Don’t fall for each other
* Stick to the plan

This is the story of what happens when an unlikely bond is formed between enemies, causing tensions to rise, and igniting a chemistry that threatens to burn them both. Together, they’ll learn that sometimes even the best laid plans can fail.

If this NOVEL were a MOVIE, it would have an R rating from the MPAA. Contains: Violence, Grisly Images, Strong Language, Nudity, and Graphic Sexual Content

 

MY RATING: 4 Don’t-get-caught stars

 

4 stars4 stars4 stars4 stars

 

 

MY REVIEW:

 

                                    ****ARC received in exchange of an honest review****

 

I don’t think I need to stress how much I enjoy Stylo Fantôme’s writing, do I? I mean, finding her through Degradation was one of the best things that happened to me last year, book-wise.

 

It seems like I’m repeating myself over and over, but Stylo has a place as one of my favoeite authors for her consistency! She can write! And I’m convinced she can write anything! She has a versatility that is so fresh in the industry nowadays. We get tired of seeing the same old books over and over, even though we love some of them. But with Stylo, it’s guaranteed you’ll get something new with every new release!! And not just new, but well-made!

 

I have NO doubt in my mind that anything Stylo puts  herself to write will be well done and well researched. Her books are always different, she goes from one genre “niche” to another with each of her books. Her execution surpasses so many of the other books I’ve read and have been reading lately… A flaw in Ms. Fantôme’s books is much BETTER, than a lot of supposedly “flawless” books out there. Books by “accomplished” writers, even.

 

Now, about the book. My first impression of Best Laid Plans was, much like everyone else’s, that it needs to be turned into a movie, like YESTERDAY!!!! I’d totally become a redhead (my dream!) to play Lily in the big screens!!! LOL

 

The pace of the story, the characters’ banter, the setting, it all makes for such a great, action-packed book!!!

 

And the cover??? This is my favorite cover of Stylo’s books so far! I LOVE it! It already looks like a movie poster!

 

Best Laid Plans tells us the story of Marcelle “Marc” De Saint and Liliana “Lily” Brewster. Caught in the middle of something above what they thought they were doing in Liberia, they are thown together and have to learn to trust each other. Their chemistry is intense and their banter, as I already mentioned, is so fun to read!

 

They are that couple in a great action movie. That couple that keeps bickering at each other. That couple that are discussing and fighting in a minute and taking each other’s clothes in the other (that might have happened a time or two, who knows? 😉 )!

 

Both of them have their personal reasons to do what they are doing in Liberia and after more than a month being flirty with each other, they decide to take a step towards their flirtation. But so much happen that they just don’t trust each other. In a short period of time they get to know each other much more than in the weeks they’ve met. Only now the stakes are so much higher. It’s not only a matter of trusting each other, it’s not only a matter of survival. It’s a matter of taking a chance, even though all is against them. Not only a chance in their connection, but also a chance in themselves.

 

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Marc has this harden exterior, but we can see he is getting tired of the life he has been leading his whole life. And Lily thinks she is ready for something that will make the life she knew better again. I liked that these two complement each other. Lily is the balm Marc has needed, even though, he didn’t know he needed it himself. And Marc is the courage Lily needs. Not courage to do what she thinks is the best, but actually courage to let go. To let go of her pain over something terrible that happened to her.

 

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Oh…and did I mention Marc is quite the dirty alpha male? Seriously, the guy is all BAM, THANK YOU MA’M! And who doesn’t like those jerky types (I guess lots of people, I’m just glad I’m not one of them. LOVE me a jerk hero!)! The man is a MACHINE and only Lily to keep up with all of that! 😉

 

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And in the midst of all that, we are also introduced by a side character that I LOVED. Kingsley Law, Marc’s long time collegue and someone sent to kill him. Law is that funny, sometimes goofy, guy who is often the voice of reason. I loved all his interactions and every scene he appears. I wish he had appeared a bit earlier in the story, though. Because I feel like he was there for a short period of time. But I feel we’ll have much more of him in the second book, so it has a reason for it being that way.

 

Did I say a second book? Yes! This book ends in a somewhat cliffhanger. But in this case, it’s not your average cliffy. This book actually NEEDS the ending it had. Plus, Stylo has this awesome “Mission Statement” of not making her readers wait too muchn (the second part is done already!)!! I don’t mind waiting for that kind of cliffy, because I know the next book will be good.

 

I really LOVED how Stylo takes us to each adventure like we are part of the story. And since this story was so fresh to me, it felt particularly good to be introduced to a whole new world (cue Alladdin’s song LOL).

 

I haven’t read a book like this before and I have to say I really liked how it played on my mind. It’s VERY different from my favorite work of Stylo, the Kane trilogy, but I like that. It shows that Stylo can write beyond that and I love how I can always count on her books to take me away from wherever I am.

 

This book took me to  such a  great adventure I could probably tell people I went to Africa after reading it. The descriptions are detailed and it’s not complicated, no unnecessary flourish to it. I LOVE the descriptions. They are very good. Like Stylo herself went to every one of the places she describes.

 

blp teaser

 

One thing though that I missed in this book is a bit more emotion, or better, connection. I know this is not a hearts and flowers type of book, you now, a romantic one (although Marc has his romantic times, in his own way LOL), but I missed the level of emotion that makes me REALLY connect with a book and its characters. It almost felt that everything happened too fast, even though the pace of the book is perfect for the story. It’s not a rushed story, it’s nothing like that.

 

I just missed feeling the story more. Unfortunately I didn’t connect with Marc and Lily as much as I wished I did. It took me a while to get my suspicion of both of them out of the way (I really liked Law, and I suspected him a lot too – I’m a suspicious person – and I may have connected a little bit more with him, but I still need more about him, from the hints Stylo gives us, so I hope to see more in the next book), but then as I mention, I might have been missing what is yet to come, but I do wish, I was a bit more into them.

 

But again, I will have to revise this when I read the second part, because I believe I’m missing what is yet to come, so I know all is well.

 

Even with that small drawback, Best Laid Plans is the sort of story I highly recommend, because it’s not only entertaining, it’s GOOD. It’s fast-paced in a good way, it’s entertaining and it takes us readers not only to our own “reading subspace”, but also to every place the characters go and that is what I call a success when reading a book!

 

Rating different kind of stories is different for every person. But to me some of my 4 stars are  better than most people’s 5 stars, so I don’t see this as something bad. It’s my impression of how something I missed in a book plays out after finishing it and that makes me even more curious about the second book.

 

I can’t think of many authors that can do what Stylo does. She has consistency in her writing. Her stories so far have been all so different from one another and yet, all of them show us how talented she is. Some authors spend YEARS, if they ever accomplish that, to get away from an specific genre they start to write and Stylo shows us, AGAIN, how she can write different styles of stories and make them oh so real. It seems like it’s very hard for some authors to let go (or when to let go) of some of their stories and styles, specially if it’s about a series. But that is not a problem with Stylo. She naturally manages to go to one style to another and that, my friends, is a characteristic of a STAR author. Because selling something new in every book is NOT an easy thing! And each of her books show how much work she puts into them. In her research, in her covers, in her teasers, in her work. So, bravo again!

 

I can’t wait for the second book in this series and for all her next work, because if it has Stylo Fantôme written in it, I will want to read it!!!

 

 

EXCERPT

She came back around to his front and watched him as he loaded up the rest of his gear. Thigh holsters, shoulder holster, ankle holster; pretty much anywhere he could hang a gun, there was a holster. When he glanced at her, she had her eyebrows raised in surprise.

“What?” he looked himself over, looking to see if he’d missed anything.

“That’s a lot of gear,” she commented.

“Can never be too careful. I don’t feel like dying tonight.”

“Why are you getting ready here, anyway? Don’t you have a home?” she pointed out. He snorted.

“Sweetheart, the job starts here and ends here. I don’t want anyone following me back to my place – not even these fuckers. I don’t let anyone see where I sleep,” Marc stressed. She pouted her lips.

“Pity.”

“Why?”

She stepped up close to him, standing on her tiptoes so her mouth was near his ear.

“Because I’d love

to see where you sleep.”

 

Q&A WITH STYLO  AND OUT OF PLANS TEASER:

1. This is very different from your previous work – what was your inspiration behind BLP and what kind of research went into writing this book?

 

I love love LOVE action movies. I wanted something kind of gritty and raw, but I didn’t want it to be something that’s been done, I didn’t want drugs or hitmen. So I went with diamond heist and mercenaries. I wanted Marc to sort of have that John McClane “Die Hard” feel, very “IDGAF and I’ll say whatever I want, no matter how un-PC”, and I wanted Lily to be beyond badass, almost an anti-hero in her own right.

SO MUCH research went into the book, I had no idea what I was getting into – I just started writing, and then I got to the scene where Marc was in the shower, towards the beginning, and after I wrote it I sort of had a “wait a minute …” moment and realized there was a distinct possibility they wouldn’t have running water. So I started researching Liberia. My mind was blown. So many things in the story changed after that point. I constantly had Google open in one window and Google Maps opened in another window. Virtually every place they go in the book is a real place. For example: when a hotel is described, it is based on a real hotel I found on Trip Advisor and then cross referenced on Google Earth. EVERYTHING was like that. Half of my brain lived in Africa for two months.

 

2. A list of 5 reasons why fans/new readers should pick up this book

1. It’s different and it pushes boundaries, which I think everyone could do with a bit of, now and then

2. They might learn something they never knew about a different country, and learning is good

3. It’s a departure from my other works, but still has the erotica base that is my preferred genre (a.k.a. lots of steaminess haha)

4. It literally takes you on a journey

5. The summer is almost over – can’t end it without one last blockbuster big action flick!

 

3. What are you working on next? Can you give us a teaser/hint to book 2 in this series?

Book two is already written, it just needs to go through rewrites and edits and then it’s beta time! Next, I’m caught between two stories that I really want to work on – one dark, kind of going back to my Kane Trilogy roots. Weird love and crazy sex and uncomfortable emotions. The other is more romantic. Still angsty, more of the love-hate, will-they-won’t-they vibe. I don’t want to give anything away – it’ll be in a popular subgenre, but with a distinct twist, as I like to try to do with all my stories. Which will come next, I’m not sure, depends on which will speak to me the most. I hope to have something publish ready by March 2016.

Out of Plans teaser:

 

“You once said you would help me. Well, I need help,” Lily said.

“Of course, love. At your service,” Kingsley bowed his head.

“I want to learn everything. I want to be just as good as you. Just as good as him,” she added.

“Making you better than him will be easy, darling, but better than me? That’s impossible,” he teased. She rolled her eyes.

“And no flirting. Flirting is what got me into trouble in Africa. No flirting. No relationship. No sex,” she stressed. “Deal?”

“What deal? Sounds like you’re offering nothing in return,” he laughed, shaking her hand.

“Exactly. Sounds like a hell of a deal to me.”

“Dear god, you’ve already picked up on De Sant’s awful sense of humor. We have so much un-training to do,” Kingsley sighed.

“Whatever it takes. You train me, and I’ll help you in any way you want, with anything,” she offered.

“Mmmm, any way I want, huh,” his voice dropped low while his eyes wandered over her body.

“Look here, Law, I meant what I said – you touch me inappropriately even once, and I’ll break your hand in ways it can’t be fixed,” she warned him. He smiled and leaned close again.

“Ooohhh, I love it when you talk rough,” he hissed, sliding his bottom lip between his teeth.

“You won’t love it so much when I back it up with action. Now let’s get out of here.”

 

buy the book

On Amazon Exclusively – also available in Kindle Unlimited program for free.

 

AMAZON US | AMAZON UK | AMAZON CA AMAZON AUS

 

author

 

stylo button

 

Crazy woman living in an undisclosed location in Alaska (where the need for a creative mind is a necessity!), I have been writing since …, forever? Yeah, that sounds about right. I have been told that I remind people of Lucille Ball – I also see shades of Jennifer Saunders, and Denis Leary. So basically, I laugh a lot, I’m clumsy a lot, and I say the F-word A LOT.

I like dogs more than I like most people, and I don’t trust anyone who doesn’t drink. No, I do not live in an igloo, and no, the sun does not set for six months out of the year, there’s your Alaska lesson for the day. I have mermaid hair – both a curse and a blessing – and most of the time I talk so fast, even I can’t understand me.

Yeah. I think that about sums me up.

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XOXO

 

 

Carol

 

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2 Comments

Filed under ARC, Book Reviews

2 responses to “ARC Review: Best Laid Plans (Mercenaries #1) by Stylo Fantôme

  1. Pingback: Book Review and Character Interview: Out of Plans (Mercenaires#2) by Stylo Fantôme | Beauty and the Beastly Books Blog

  2. Pingback: Book Review and Character Interview: Out of Plans (Mercenaries#2) by Stylo Fantôme | Beauty and the Beastly Books Blog

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