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Book CoverSandy M’s review of Brighter Than the Sun (KGI, Book 11) by Maya Banks
Contemporary Romance published by Berkley 7 Mar 17

I am so heartbroken after reading this book. I’ve loved the Kelly boys since the debut of the series, and now I think it’s time I let them go. I’ve let a couple of other series by Maya Banks go in the past year too. My hope that the old Maya I have so enjoyed over the years will make a comeback has finally been squashed.

Joe is the last Kelly bachelor left standing and he has no intention of ever marrying, despite the fact he’s a tad jealous of what his brothers have recently found when it comes to love.

Stella aka Zoe is on the run from a crime boss father and an ex who was using her to get to her father. Being BFFs with Rusty Kelly has been a lifesaver, since Rusty created a whole new background for Zoe to go off the grid and regroup. Zoe goes home with Rusty to the Kelly compound, where she’s assured she’ll be safer than anywhere else on the planet.

At a family BBQ Joe is the only who notices that something isn’t quite right when it comes to Zoe. These men are supposed to be trained to notice such things, but they’re all oblivious. Joe also decides in the blink of an eye that Zoe is the one for him. For a confirmed bachelor, he moves really fast toward what he doesn’t want. So he woos her by taking her picnicking and stone throwing and the like. Boom! He’s in love.

Zoe takes a bit longer to fall, but not by much. Rusty takes the time to calm Zoe’s fears, all the while making her own plans to steer clear of the man she wants. Then Zoe goes into a dither and lets Rusty have it about her confidence and all that goes with it, just as Rusty did to Zoe. It takes Zoe much too long to decide to use her confidence on all levels in this story, especially after her spouting off at Rusty. She needs to heed her own words.

Then there’s the total mystery around the bad guys. If Rusty’s brothers can’t figure out what she’s done to help Zoe, how in the world did Zoe’s ex find her to take her captive? No explanation whatsoever. The only action in this romantic suspense story is when Zoe is finally rescued – probably the best scenes in the book more than three-quarters of the way through – and when she’s out of harm’s way, there’s not one word about what happens to said bad guys or even Zoe’s father and how she’ll stay off his radar in the future.

All the females in this book duck their heads and blush. All the males are grim faced and ready to pound on anyone who steps out of line when it comes to women. That’s not a bad thing, but it gets a bit boring when every character has the same reactions over and over again. The fact that Ma Kelly cooks like a dream and wants all her chicks at the table gets nearly as much time page time as Joe and Zoe. I miss the easy-going banter between the brothers that we had in the early books in the series. Everything in their world is now constantly serious with very little fun or lightheartedness. For this family, missions are serious and home life is fun. At least it used to be.

I’ve been told the next two books are about other team members, who didn’t do a thing for me in this story. I’m going out on a limb to assume Rusty’s and Sean’s book will wrap up the series. I may read that one. I still have a small interest in where they may go. That’s about all I have left for this series that so many years ago intrigued me and mesmerized me with their action-packed suspense and heroes who are larger than life as well as believable. That series no longer exists.

sandym-iconGrade: C-


The Kelly Group International (KGI): A super-elite, top secret, family-run business.

Qualifications: High intelligence, rock-hard body, military background.

Mission: Hostage/kidnap victim recovery. Intelligence gathering. Handling jobs the U.S. government can’t…

As the last unattached member of the Kelly clan, Joe is more than ready to risk life and limb on any mission he’s assigned to, but when it comes to love, he’ll keep his distance. He’s content to watch his brothers become thoroughly domesticated.

Zoe’s had nothing but heartbreak in her life, and she’s determined to start over with a completely new identity, thanks to her college friend, Rusty Kelly. But it’s the gorgeous smile and tender words of Joe Kelly that begin to weaken her resolve to never risk her heart again. And Joe will have to put everything on the line to save Zoe, when secrets of her past resurface—and threaten to tear them apart…

Read an excerpt.

Other books in this series:

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