Reviews: Thief of Always

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What Reviewers Say:

Reviewed by RLynne for Just About Write

Thief of Always is the second novel in the Elite Operatives series. The protagonist, Mishael Taylor, had a cameo role in the first novel, Lethal Affairs.

Thief of Always takes the reader to Venice and to Holland. Dutch countess Kristine Marie Louis van der Jagt has just inherited her father's rundown mansion, his pile of debts and the Blue Star Diamond. Mishael's assignment is to steal the diamond and return it to its owners, the Afghan government. In doing so, she must contend with Neo-Nazis, Afghan terrorists, and the beautiful troubled countess.

Baldwin and Alexiou are skilled at fleshing out their characters and in describing the settings. Whether their protagonist is dodging bullets in Venice, Holland, or Afghanistan, their descriptions are accurate and take the reader into the action. Fast paced, with dazzling scenes that stir the heart of armchair travelers, Thief of Always grabs the reader on the first page and never lets go. Cameo appearances from Lethal Affairs' Domino only add to the fun. Thief of Always is a rich, wonderful read that leaves the reader anxiously awaiting the next book in the series.

What Readers Say:

By Long Beach Les Fic "Lisasg13" (The City of Angels) 2009-04-16

Excellent second offering from the dynamic duo of Kim Baldwin and Xenia Alexiou. Exceptional plotting and character development in this thrilling, not-your-average lesbian book. You won't be disappointed in this novel - as a matter of fact, you will be left wondering when you'll be able to get your hands on the third in this series.

By Jamie (USA) 2009-04-15

What a story and what awesome characters. The authors yet again, created a story that pulled me in from the first page and never let go.
The writers have done an excellent job in both books, with creating a world (EOO) that is both three dimensional and realistic. Although the characters in Thief of Always are vastly different to the ones in Lethal Affairs they are just as interesting, sexy and heart-warming and Allegro (EOO op) is a hoot and a half. The description of Europe is mouthwatering and that of Afghanistan scarily realistic.
Domino's cameo was a big bonus and the romantic ending unforgettable. With an exceptionally well constructed, intelligent and fast paced plot, this book is a definite winner.
I was sorry to have this book end but am counting the days to Missing Lynx. Awesome job Baldwin and Alexiou.

By Nicki (The Netherlands) 2009-03-11

“Thief of Always" was as entertaining as and even richer than my much enjoyed read of "Lethal Affairs". I was looking forward to exploring more of the `ways and means' of the Elite Operatives and curious to learn more about present and previous operatives... and was not disappointed! The plot is clear (though not simple), exciting and interesting. The surprisingly varied groups interested in the Diamond give the story depth and spice.
So far, Allegro is my favourite EOO character. She is gloriously cocky, irreverent and beautifully caring and loyal. I loved reading about her and getting to know her. The wonderful thing about being the reader is that you read the story from different points of view and so eventually get to know the character better than anyone in the story.
My favourite things: the exotic and familiar locations; a glimpse into the conflicted lives of operatives and the options the do and don't have; action scenes that induce speed-reading; strong women with weaknesses; windows into the past which describe motivations in the present; linking current world affairs and sentiments; throwing in some ugliness; and a glimpse into the future.
The setting of so much of "Thief of Always" in The Netherlands was awesome - it's been exciting to picture Allegro and Kris on streets, bridges and in places that I see daily. That gave the story a personal edge I felt more invested in it than I would in an unfamiliar setting. My long ago vacation in Venice even gave me scents and sounds to enhance the scenes set there. The rest of the settings are vivid and, I imagine, that locals may have the same feeling about them as I had about Amsterdam.
While I'm not such a fan of "high, perfectly formed" anything, I guess it is part of the genre and, after all, beautiful isn't a bad thing. But, I'm left wondering what these stories would be like if the authors didn't have to write within the constraints of the genre. While I'm thrilled to have a satisfying ending it would exciting to dive into the darkness and see a little more of what it's like. I wonder how far the story could be taken and how dark it could become.
My favourite line in the book is: "For a difficult woman," Kris said, "You're very easy to love". It's something I've uttered... and so she is. While Kris is not quite as fixed in my memory as Allegro, she's a well described and fleshed out character with her own issues and history. Their banter is very enjoyable and I can understand their mutual attraction.
So, I'd certainly recommend the series and definitely "Thief of Always". Kim and Xenia have delivered on the promise of the first book - with interest. I`m looking forward to "Missing Lynx", and the next one... and the one after that!

By Jamie (USA) 2009-02-15

This book is the second in the Elite Operatives Series. The first book was "Lethal Affairs" which I loved, but "Thief of Always" blew the first book out of the water. I don't know if there are enough words to explain how amazing I thought this book was!
With "Thief of Always," I didn't have to use my imagination. The authors are able to make the reader feel like they are sitting on the bench right in front of the action. It was like I was watching the story unfold with the charaters words being fed straight to my ears. It was even better than watching a movie. I loved the characters and loved even more that they brought Domino into the story towards the end. (Domino is from "Lethal Affairs.") I like when stories connect like that. It makes the story feel so much bigger than just the one book.
Anyway, I couldn't put the book down! I ended up reading it straight through. It was worth it. Great book! Can't wait for the next one!

By Washington, J "booklover" (Washington DC) 2009-02-14

I don't know why I waited so long to order Lethal Affairs but I did NOT make the same mistake with this one. I stayed up until late to finish it and here's what I think.
The good: I loved Lethal Affairs and hoped that the second book would at least live up to its predecessor. Thief of Always not only lives up to those expectations but surpasses them.
With a brilliant story, great characters (villains included), clever plot and exciting romance this book delivers a punch that leaves you gasping in its wake.
This books' Operative, Allegro is very different to Domino (Lethal Affairs) in every way and I don't know which one is sexier. It was awesome to walk along the streets of Europe (just to name a few continents) together with these women and witness the clandestine events surrounding them at every twist and turn. Throw in the added stress of a constant count down ticking away throughout and voila, no nails left to bite.
A big bonus is Dominos' guest appearance and the flashbacks of how she and Allegro developed as friends.
I am at a loss for words to describe the end of this book so I'll just leave it at simply unforgettable.
The writing is once again solid, the scenes vivid and I found the verbal exchange between the characters genuine and realistic. I highly recommend this book to everyone.
The bad: What worries me is what will happen after the third book. I can't find any mention of there being more than three and I think I read somewhere that it was going to be a trilogy. Is Missing Lynx really the end? YIKES! I don't hope so because I WANT MORE!

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