Todd’s Review of Targets of Revenge (Jordan Sandor #2) by Jeffrey S. Stephens

9781451688726_p0_v1_s260x420After reading the first two books in Jeffrey S. Stephens’ Jordan Sandor series, Targets of Opportunity and its prequel Targets of Deception, I knew I was in for a great third addition to the series.  Some foreshadowing in Targets of Opportunity lead the reader to believe that there is a large showdown looming between Jordan and the man responsible for his plight.  I’ve always been interested in spy/thriller books in general, and I knew going in to this book that I’d enjoy it, but little did I know that I would be reading the best book in the series!

Targets of Revenge begins with Jordan crashing a glider into the jungle along the coast of Venezuela, hot on the trail of a man known as Rafel Cabello, who goes by the moniker Adina.  He was the mastermind of the deadly terrorist attacks from the previous two books, notably the downing of a jet in the Gulf of Mexico and the death of one of Jordan’s best friends, Kurt Zimmermann.  Now that Jordan finally was able to place a name behind all of the attacks that have caused him such pain over the last year, he finally sets out to kill him.  After landing the glider, Jordan discovers a small lab in the jungle that houses not only Adina’s hideaway, but a hastily constructed lab that contains a cocaine refinery operation as well as something much deadlier: anthrax.  Although this finding puts his original plan to exterminate Adina on hold, Jordan is able to escape with crucial information that hopefully will uncover Adina’s purpose for the manufacture of such a deadly toxin.  The trail then leads him to Sharm-el-Sheik, Egypt, where he meets with a Russian drug lord who is involved in the operation.  After surviving a harrowing SCUBA related assassination attempt, Jordan then heads to Russia, and finally, New York City, where he discovers Adina’s deadly plan.  Now out of time and options, Jordan must stop Adina at all costs before it is too late.

As I’ve stated earlier in my reviews of Stephens’ works, I enjoy how much he plays up both sides of the spy/thriller coin when crafting his stories.  He gets into the geo-political aspects of the story, explaining the diplomatic relationships between the US and various other nations without getting too complex.  On the other hand, there is more than enough action to go around, balancing out the diplomatic aspects of the story.  In Targets of Revenge, it seems that Stephens has tipped the scales more towards the action side of things, as the pace escalated quickly from the beginning and didn’t let up until the end.  To be honest, I had a blast reading all the action and it was a great respite from everything I’ve been doing for work and school recently.  It was like taking a reading vacation, and Stephens did a great job at pulling me in at the beginning and keeping up the pressure.  Sandor is a great character, and he’s got a good combination of diplomacy and a good old-fashioned bravado that mixes well and makes him incredibly likable.  I’m happy to say that I have no regrets in giving all three of these books 5 stars each, they definitely deserved them.

5 out of 5 Stars

Targets of Revenge by Jeffrey S. Stephens
Gallery Books (2013)
Hardcover 441 pages
ISBN: 9781451688726

Special thanks to Gallery Books for my review copy!

The February Roundup!

February proved to be a month for catching up.  When January ended I was two books behind the pace I needed to meet my goal of 120 books for the year.  As of the end of February, I’m completely back on pace! Woo-hoo!! (I read 12 books in February, bringing my total to 19 for the year.)  Two things directly contributed to my ability to get back on pace:  1.) An INTENSE blizzard that wound up dumping 40″ of snow onto my town, making it the hardest hit in the tri-state area. 2.) The weeks I spent sick with a sinus infection and possible case of bronchitis.  Together, these two things equated out to a ton of time spent in the house and reading.

20130210_133339The blizzard was one of the most insane things I’ve ever witnessed.  Todd’s car (a VW Passat) was completely covered in snow, so much so that we couldn’t even see it! It was super difficult to dig out.  Regular plow trucks were no match for the record-breaking amount of snow we had and kept blowing transmissions due to the weight and amount of snow they had to push.  Commercial construction trucks and the National Guard had to come in and help plow streets enough for emergency vehicles to pass through.  Plows couldn’t get to the apartment building that Todd and I live in for almost three days.  Thankfully we didn’t lose power and had enough heat, books, and snacks to keep us occupied.  It’s been almost three weeks since the storm hit and we still have MOUNDS of snow everywhere. We’ll be lucky if it’s melted by April.

On the book front, February was a month filled with releases I was eagerly awaiting.  I was able to read the final book in Lauren DeStefano’s Chemical Garden trilogy, Sever, as well as Sarah MacLean’s newest addition to her Scoundrel’s series, One Good Earl Deserves a Lover.  Add to these Marie Force’s newest Gansett Island book, Waiting For Love, Rachel Van Dyken’s The Wolf’s Pursuit,  Nancy Kelley’s Loving Miss Darcyand Maya Banks’ Rush, and you can tell I did a lot of “new” reading.

Speaking of “new” reading… if you remember, last month I did a joint review of Beth Revis’ final book in the Across the Universe trilogy, Shades of Earth, with Sam.  Well, I found out that Beth was coming to Connecticut (WAHOO) with something called the “Breathless Reads” tour.  Penguin (her publisher) organized the tour for her and several other YA authors to come out to indie bookstores all across the US and speak about their books.  Luckily the bookstore that they came to in CT was R.J. Julia (my favorite)!  Todd and I jumped at the chance to attend and man are we happy we did.  Not only were we able to see Beth (and get our books signed), but we were able to listen to four other YA authors (Fiona Paul, Morgan Rhodes, Elizabeth Richards, and Jessica Spotswood) and get introduced to some new books we’re excited to tell you about.  Todd wrote more about the event here, as it was the first one he’d attended where he knew one of the authors.

Looking forward to March, I have lots of books to read (I’m asking myself why I’m even writing that sentence as it’s the story of my life each month.)  I’m hoping to get caught up on reviews over the next two weeks.  I have some GREAT reads to tell you about that you’ll hopefully find as interesting as I did!  Todd’s reading Targets of Revenge by Jeffrey S. Stephens, Adam’s reading Game of the Gods by E.J. Dabel, Sam’s reading Three Graves Full by Jamie Mason, and Christine’s reading A Natural History of Dragons: A Memoir by Lady Trent by Marie Brennan.  So, lots of new and unique stuff coming at you from across the genre spectrum.

Until next time….happy reading!

The January Roundup!

Guys, my life was so boring this past January.  I have no idea why I was only able to finish seven books.  The only big thing that really happened to me was transferring jobs.  I moved from my company’s accounting department to their sales and operations department.  It’s a happy transfer for me, as I’ve been with my current company for five years.  I’m looking forward to all the new challenges my new position will hold!  On top of training for my new position I’ve been training the person taking over my finance responsibilities.  All this coupled with putting away Christmas decorations, our bowling league starting, and just organizing life for the new year has left me fairly tired at night.

IMG_20130126_151407I will share with you quickly that Todd and I went to NYC last month to meet up with our college roommates Kate and Marc, as well as staff blogger Adam.  We did a trip to the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) to see Van Gogh’s Starry Night and Munch’s pastel version of The Scream.  It was absolutely extraordinary to finally be able to see Starry Night in person.  It’s been my favorite painting for as long as I can remember, yet it’s taken me this long to see it (crazy, I know).

As for my reading pace, I’m two books behind where I should be for the year.  I’m confident I’ll be able to pick up the pace in February.  My top reads of January are a tie between Outlander by Diana Gabaldon and Shades of Earth by Beth Revis.

Looking ahead, I’m working on reviews of The Lady of the Rivers by Philippa Gregory, Dragonfly in Amber (the second book in the Outlander series) by Diana Gabaldon, and some joint reviews with my buddy Kelly from Reading With Analysis.  Todd’s working on Targets of Revenge by Jeffrey S. Stephens and Breaking Barriers by Peter Altschul.  Jess has a review of Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn posting next week and Sam’s working on a review of The Bracelet by Roberta Gately.  We’re keeping busy and reading lots of books to share with you.

Let us know how your January shaped up!