Monday, April 4, 2011

Review: Breaking the Rules

Breaking the Rules
Suzanne Brockmann
Contemporary Romance
Troubleshooters/Book 16
Ballantine/March 22, 2011

From the inside cover ~

Izzy Zanella wasn't looking for another reason to butt heads with his Navy SEAL teammate and nemesis, Danny Gillman. But then he met Danny’s beautiful younger sister, Eden. When she needed it most, he offered her a place to stay, a shoulder to cry on—and more. And when she got pregnant with another man’s child, he offered her marriage. But Eden’s devastating miscarriage shattered their life together—and made the intense bad blood between Izzy and Danny even worse.

Now Eden's back, on a mission to rescue her teen brother, Ben, from their abusive stepfather. Even if she and Izzy can prove that their broken marriage is still in one piece, winning legal custody of Ben is a long shot. But they’re not alone: Danny and his girlfriend Jenn offer to help, and he and Izzy agree to bury the past and fight for Ben’s future.

As they plan their strategy, Izzy and Eden grapple with the raw passion that still crackles between them—while Danny and Jenn confront new depths in their own rocky relationship. But events take a terrifying turn after Ben befriends a girl fleeing a child prostitution ring. When the young runaway seeks refuge with Eden and Izzy, her pursuers kidnap Ben—and a deadly standoff begins. Now, they must all pull together like never before and strike back, swift and hard, to protect their unconventional little family and everything they hold most precious.

Izzy ~ Izzy ~ Izzy. Many fans of the popular Troubleshooters series have been waiting for Zanella's book and now it's finally here. But it turns out that Izzy isn't the only hero of Breaking the Rules. Danny "Fishboy" Gillman also features prominently along with his girlfriend Jennilyn May whom he met in the previous novel, Hot Pursuit. Izzy's heroine is the ever young and nubile Eden Gillman, making this a Gillman family reunion when you add in little brother Ben Gillman.

Izzy helped me get through this book. It was so heaped in introspective character musings. I'm all for talking and thinking about your feeling but when I read romantic suspense I expect some action and suspense in with those feelings. There was very little action until the last quarter of the book. What there was, was a lot of Danny acting immature. Jenn trying to get Danny to act more mature. Ben giving lectures on gay rights and sounding like a Junior Jules. Izzy trying to help Eden but keeping his distance while having sex with her, because it's only sex. And Eden taking after big bro Dan and acting immature. Nope, my hopes for a more mature Eden when it came to her relationship with Izzy were for naught. She had her moments but ultimately, I didn't feel like she had grown much since we last saw her in Dark of Night, which in Troubleshooter land, was nearly two years ago.

Izzy and Eden still believe that neither cares for the other except for the physical attraction still between them. Izzy would like for them to have a second chance but Eden wants none of that. What will it take for Eden to realize what a great guy she has in Izzy? Near death, that's what. Seriously, she wants his help but on her terms which is not how you treat someone who has been there for you and done some major helping out for you in the past. As in marrying you so you could have medical care during your pregnancy. Yet, Eden does make some attempts at maturity but she then ventures back into immature, high school drama land when Izzy doesn't do what she wants, she runs off, knowing there are gunman out there, possibly looking for her.

Dan and Jennilyn, what a cute couple. Except for Dan acting like an ass and Jenni coaching him on how not to blow his fuse when speaking and acting rational would go a lot farther. Aside from his good looks and the great chemistry, I'm still not sure what Jenni saw in Dan. She loves him desperately but why? I don't feel like it was ever fully answered. As a couple they too have their moments. They can be down right romantic and you do get that while Dan's initial intentions towards Jenni started out as an extended one-night stand, he has come to truly love her. I do get why he loves her. She puts up with his crap! LOL

The fifth wheel in this family affair is Ben Gillman. Diabetic, goth dressing teen who is also out of the closet. Why does Ben sound so much like Jules? He's 15 yet the way he talks, the words, phrases and lecturing remind me of Jules so much. I understand that Ben has had a less than idyllic childhood and has for the most part, raised himself with some help from Eden, but he's still a teenager.

Anyone who has read Brockmann before is familiar with her stand on gay rights. She makes it clear that she is pro-gay rights through her novels and her personal views. I have no problem with it, in fact, I've come to expect there to be mention of it. In Breaking the Rules I felt it was over the top. We not only got the gay rights agenda but child sex slave rings, religious zealots, abusive parents and alcoholics. I read for enjoyment, not to be lectured to and with far too many issues to focus on, it began to wear on me, leaving me less than pleased with this aspect of the book.

It sounds like I didn't care for the book at all. I had a number of issues with it but there is still that feeling of familiarity. Of knowing these characters and caring about them that keeps bringing me back, no matter how annoying I may find them at times. I do think Izzy was the constant in the story, showing that wicked sense of humor that not everyone gets or appreciates. He is that hero that doesn't like to acknowledge his heroic deeds but continues to do them while making his smartass comments. While I would have preferred more action, I did like the final, big action rescue scenes with the whole gang getting into the fight.

I think Breaking the Rules might have worked better for me had there either been less of Danny or Eden or maybe the actually Troubleshooters from Tommy's TS Inc making some time on the pages. Unfortunately, except for a brief appearance from Lindsey Fontaine Jenkins and some of the guys from Team 16, that didn't happen and the action was at a minimum up until nearly the end.

Rating: C+

The next book in the series is the short story, When Tony Met Adam, and will be released as an e-book in June. As for the next full-length Troubleshooters novel, no word on that. Per Ms. Brockmann's February newsletter, she is working on the first book in a new series set 20 years into the future. She says the main hero of these books is a former SEAL.

A complete list of books in this series can be found here.


  1. I hate to say it, but I have never read and enjoyed a Suzanne Brockmann novel. This one seems to be more of the same... great, honest review.

  2. I'm sad that you're confirming everything I've already heard about this one. I so want to love Izzy's book, but it just doesn't seem like it will be in the cards. Glad I'm waiting for the library copy, not purchasing the hardcover.

  3. Danielle ~ I think Brockmann's one of those that you either get sucked into or you don't. Not much in between.

    Lori ~ I was really hoping I'd like it too but knew going in, not crazy about Eden. I waited for library copy too. I won't pay hc price for this series.

  4. Hmmmm, it feels to me Ms Brockmann is starting to bleed this series dry ^_^; But then, I've never been a fan of the series... I just think though, when fans stop buying the series, it's telling ^_^;

    Anyway, my two cents for the review is that I hate it when authors get preachy ^_^; I have no problem with authors injecting their views or making us aware of what's going on... but there's a limit. Like you say, I read for enjoyment, not being lectured. Also, child sex slave rings, religious zealots, abusive parents and alcoholics --> all bad no?

  5. Yes! I HATED the pairing of Eden & Izzy in the previous book. I was so hoping she'd find a better, more deserving, ADULT heroine for him, but alas, she doesn't care what I think. Doesn't she know it's all about me?