Wednesday, October 17, 2012

TBR Review: On Thin Ice (Ice #6) by Anne Stuart

On Thin Ice by Anne Stuart
Elizabeth Pennington has come to the war-torn South American country of Callivera to volunteer at a tiny mission. Kidnapped by the local rebels who are more interested in ransom than politics, she ends up at their camp in the Andes where she meets Finn MacGowan, member of the infamous Committee, a covert organization dedicated to destroying terrorism. MacGowan has been held hostage for almost three years, and he's chosen the night she arrives as the night he plans to escape. When he does, she follows him, heading down the steep mountainous terrain with another hostage, the teenage son of a Hollywood millionaire. Rebels, soldiers, traitors and near-drowning follows them on their journey. As they travel from the mountain fortress to a transatlantic freighter, an old cafe in Spain ending in a shootout at a farmhouse in France, MacGowan reluctantly falls in love, and Beth learns that the cynical, dangerous soldier-of-fortune might be worth saving after all.

I first read Black Ice (Ice #1) for the TBR Challenge this month, but having had some pretty mixed feelings about that book decided to read and review another book by Anne Stuart that I had waiting in my Kindle, the last book of the same series, On Thin Ice (Ice #6). It was a great move on my part. On Thin Ice has all the elements that I really enjoyed about Black Ice, the thriller non-stop action with a male character who has all the skills to survive in a dangerous environment, and a plot full of violent danger and twists and turns, where the differences between the villains and good guys are not always clear to the reader. However what's different in On Thin Ice is the romance and the fact that the male and female protagonists turn out to be likable, and our female character doesn't immediately fall for the "hero," although of course she does fall for him.

Both Finn MacGowan and Elizabeth Pennington have been kidnapped by the Guiding Light in the fictionalized South American country of Callivera. Elizabeth arrives on the camp, where MacGowan has been held for three years, and that same night they escape along with sixteen year-old Dylan and another captive. Once they're on the run the action doesn't really stop until the end of the story as they are pursued by the members of the Guiding Light through the mountains, and later on by CIA agents. MacGowan is running towards revenge against anti-terrorist organization members of the Committee whom he believes let him rot as a captive for three years, and Elizabeth rightfully believes she can only survive by sticking with him.

Throughout the dangerous escape, Finn and Beth develop and maintain a dialog that is both entertaining and sexy. Finn wants Beth, at first because he spent three whole years without a woman (this becomes an ongoing joke between them), and slowly because he truly falls in love with her, but Finn's failed Irish charm and the way he goes about turning Beth around to his way of thinking is the best part of their romance. I love Finn's character and the fact that he is ruthless but caring and tender with Beth, and that he uses his ruthlessness to fight his own needs in order to protect Beth from himself.

On the other hand, Beth hates sex and doesn't understand why she's attracted to cynical Finn, a man who kills for a living, and convinces herself that her conflicting emotions surfaced as a result of Finn saving her life more than once. Beth is rather stubborn and frustratingly straight at times, but I like that she gives as good as she gets from Finn, and that she doesn't roll over for him or is intimidated just because she is dependent on him for survival.

Characters from other Ice novels make appearances as secondary characters. Peter Madsen plays a big role, while others play small roles. This is the last of the Ice novels, so it serves as sort of an epilogue novel with babies and happy ever afters for some of the Committee agents, but they don't take page time away from the main couple. The climactic scene is actually anticlimactic and not as good as the action that takes place up to that point in the novel, and the romance between Finn and Beth ends with a really good line that is "very much Finn," but it is a rather abrupt ending for my taste.

These two novels, Black Ice and On Thin Ice, are my first reads by Anne Stuart. Black Ice is super exciting when it comes to the thrilling action, but for me the "romance" is questionable and did not work. However, I'm glad that I read it first and picked up On Thin Ice which turned out to be a well balanced thrilling romance suspense with likable central characters. I will probably give some of the other Ice novels a try to see if they work for me.

Theme: PNR/Romantic Suspense
Category: Romance Suspense/Thriller
Series: Ice Series
Release Date: September 15, 2011
Grade: B

Visit Anne Stuart here.

Black Ice, #1
Cold as Ice, #2
Ice Blue, #3
Ice Storm, #4
Fire and Ice, #5
On Thin Ice, #6


  1. The book sounds really exciting, which is good since suspense. I like the idea of the hero having 'gone without' for 3 years, it's usually the woman who has been celibate for any extended period of time, so that's cool.

    :D Great review, Hils. :D

    1. This is an exciting thriller/mystery, Alex. I really enjoyed the whole 'THREE YEARS' meme... lol! The hero used it as an excuse for everything, but the heroine called him on it every time. It worked in this novel. :)

  2. I'm glad you enjoyed it, Hils! Wow, I didn't realize there was so many books in that series and I don't remember seeing this cover around on blogland.

    Ms Stuart writes old school romance, so that means some of heroes are jerks LOL. But I feel that a lot of time, she takes it too far... and I don't know, jerk heroes don't work as well nowadays.

    And wait, you mean you haven't read the books in between? See the thing with series nowadays is I feel you have to choose. Read the ones with plots and characters you would enjoy, rather than try to plow through the series, knowing that some books, you won't like.

    1. Nath no, I haven't read the rest of the series, as a matter of fact these are the first books I've read by Anne Stuart. But I've been meaning to try this series for a long time because the suspense looks good to me, and I chose the first and last books of the series to see how it had evolved.

      I enjoyed On Thin Ice, but Black Ice did not work for me. Why? Because the hero was more than a jerk, he was a grade A, A-hole! He was great as a stone cold killer, but as a romantic hero? No. The way he treated the heroine was terrible, and I did not buy the fact that she fell for him. (I don't understand WHY she fell for him). I think if he had saved her life and they had gone their own way at the end, maybe I would have liked Black Ice a bit more.

      But, On Think Ice was different. The hero was a killer, but he had warmth and didn't force himself on the heroine, nor was he abusive. The heroine held out on him, and he fell in love with her first. So... yeah, it worked for me. The thriller/suspense part was good too -- non-stop action. :D

      Now that I have a feel for the types of heroes that Stuart creates and the story line, I'll have to check out the rest of the series and see which books might work for me.

    2. hopefully, more will work out for you Hils :) She's an interesting author, that's for sure :)

  3. Another series that's been sitting on my tbr pile for a while now. It's nice that you don't need to read all the previous books to enjoy the sixth one. Maybe I'll just skip right to On Thin Ice. :)

    1. Leslie, I read the first one to get the base for the series and then read the last one. But frankly? That last book can be read as a stand alone. If you become curious about other characters, then you can pick up their books.

  4. I have always wanted to read this series! <--I say this way too much.. ;)

    I even have a few of them on the good ole tbr shelf thanks to Mariana. The romance in this one sounds really interesting. I want to read it now, too!

    1. Christine, see... I've been wanting to try this series for a looong time too! I'm glad I did. That first book wasn't a winner with me as far as the romance goes... but I loved the mystery/thriller aspect of it. And this one? I really enjoyed it. I have to check out at least one more to see how I really feel about the series though...


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