Sunday, October 27, 2013

Review: Locked and Loaded ( The IMA #3 ) by Nenia Campbell

Locked and Loaded by Nenia Campbell

Keep your friends close and your enemies closer...

Christina Parker agreed to go to work for the BN because she thought it would keep her and her loved ones safe. But the BN's training facility is more like a prison than a school, and rumors about her illicit relationship with an IMA assassin make assimilation difficult - if not impossible.

At the same time, Michael Boutilier has his hands full trying to deal with his psychotic boss's latest sick and sordid plan to broaden his sphere of influence...through social media.

In this age of six degrees of separation, their problems might be more connected than they think...




I had such an awesome weekend reading all 3 IMA books back to back. Locked and Loaded is the final book for now. Initially, I thought this is the last book, which brings me to start reading it in the first place. I hate the feeling of having to wait for what feels like a lifetime to sate my next craving. But well, is too late now. I will just have to endure a few miserable months for the next release. Meanwhile, maybe I should check out Nenia's Horrorscape.

The IMA series had came a long way since Cloak and Dagger. The first book introduces us to Michael, an anti-hero that did all the unspeakable things as an assassin and felt no remorse. He is wild, volatile, intense, manipulative, sarcastic, had a dry sense of humor, hate himself and will do anything to achieve his goal. The only thing he take pride in is his absence of a sadistic steak. But now, all he wants is to keep his girl safe and leave all this life-threatening trouble behind him. 

"I hate you."
"Hate myself sometimes."
"Good. You're a son of a bitch."
"Probably. Never met the woman."

I'm still all giddy from the ending of Armed and Dangerous, after all the unrequited love and longing for the one he can't seem to have, Michael finally got what he wanted from Christina. I'm so damn freaking happy for him. We are treated to a much welcome honeymoon phase between the two for a few blissful days. Their back and forth banter is always hilarious and I'm actually not surprise that even their sex scene is funny. 

"How rough are we talking about?"
"Hair pulling, maybe. Biting. A little scratching. Faster pace. Nothing that would break your skin."

Everything should be all lovely and dandy, but sometimes Michael's insecurities and paranoia (which came with the job), make him think too much and self-sabotaging his relationship. What's up with all the assuming and jumping to conclusion. Wish I could slap some sense into him. Anyway, he is totally adorable when he is acting all weird and awkward. 

I was the mess. She was Little Miss Perfect, aspiring saint.

Christina came up with this bizarre plan of enrolling herself into the BN (IMA biggest rival) to acquire their protection. I'm not too convince about her worthiness in this spy-craft biz because she had yet to prove herself in the field. So my favorite duo got separated yet again (Nenia should really stop keeping them apart too often), Christina is going into the BN for some 'training', while Michael was summon back to the IMA.

Christina started to work for the enemy today and I had a date with a psychopath. 

The said psychopath aka Adrian Callaghan aka 'Energizer Bunny of Bullshit' (according to Michael) was planning some kind of world domination. Insert evil laughter. I swear this man make me shuddered sometimes. 

Michael keeps being jerk on a tight leash by Adrian and all this back and forth is driving up him insane. He needs a plan, a handful of accomplices and a great truckload of luck to be able to break free from this evil monster. 

Meanwhile, Christina find herself in this secret training facilities where everyone had a secret agenda, including herself. The place where she thought will keep her safe turn out to be another place that might be the source of danger. It seems like sleeping with the assassin with a bad reputation is overall bad for her well-being.

Sometimes when I was with him I felt like a modern-day Scheherazade hoping that love would be able to ward off death.

Since Michael and Christina are apart, we have their dual POV back and forth to keep track of what is happening at their respective location. Although I wish they could did things together, but when they are going solo, is still entertaining to read. But I find myself reading at a really quick speed just to see them back together. 

There isn't a any big resolution by the end of the book, but I'm happy for Michael and Christina for being where they are now. I can see Michael making some big plans and send some shit up the fan in the next book. 

"Kiss me", he said, cracking a smile. "Make you feel better."
"No it won't."
"Make me feel better, then."

Rating 5/5