Rival's Break

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 10 Sep 2019

Member Reviews

Rival’s Break, by Carla Neggers, is the ninth entry in the mystery series, featuring the husband and wife team of Colin Donovan and Emma Sharpe.  It was my first introduction to this series, and it is a challenging task to catch up to the wide cast of family and friends that were introduced and developed over the eight preceding novels.  Neggers does as well as any author might to introduce new readers to an interesting array of characters; however, I occasionally found myself wondering or actually going back to identify who was who and how they fit in.

While I guessed the antagonist about two-thirds into the book, I am intrigued enough with the characters and the settings in Ireland, England, and the US to want to read the entire series.  The characters are nuanced and complex.  The settings are beautifully described.  I look forward to getting to know both slowly enough to enjoy the unfolding.

Thanks to NetGalley and Harlequin Publishing for the opportunity to read the electronic ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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I'm new to the Sharpe & Donovan series and this author and jumped in with both feet when offered the chance to read an arc of book #9 in the series. What a terrific opportunity to spend some time on the Maine coast in the fall! 

I enjoyed the characters, the setting--both in Maine and Ireland--and found the mystery intriguing. The story, however, is not easily read as a standalone mystery. There's a lot going on here, not only with the plot but with the characters, several of whom are FBI or MI5 agents, and share a great deal of personal history that the first-time reader needs to catch up on. It might be best to visit the author's website, CarlaNeggers.com for more information on the series, as she suggests in her author's note.

I received an arc from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review and I thank them for the opportunity.
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Carla Neggers gives us another chapter in the exciting story of one of the best husband/wife investigative teams in print.  This one starts as a vacation to enjoy a family wedding and quickly moves into a multi pronged investigation of epic proportions!  It's great to see the familiar characters and follow their lives as they make the world a little safer.
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I wanted to like this book, but for me there’s just too much mushrooms and special forces (FBI, MI5), to the point it gets annoying at some points. But I see this is part of a series, and maybe it would make more sense if I read other books as well, to better learn about the characters in this story.
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Rival's Break is another great addition to the Sharpe & Donovan series by Carla Neggers. I've enjoyed this series from the first book and Rival's Break was just as interesting as the rest. 

I love the different characters that make up the Donovan family and it was fun to visit them for a while to catch up. Emma Sharpe and her grandfather have long been favorites of mine and I was happy to see that even though a long time character passed away, it wasn't Emma's grandfather.

This story is fast-paced, taking off almost immediately, and kept me trying to fit all the pieces together. Sometimes I get it right, but not often.

If you're a fan of this series, you should dive right in and enjoy this book. If you are new to the series, I'd suggest reading the books in order because there really is a lot of back story you need to know.

Thanks to Netgalley, the publishers and author for an ARC at my request. All thoughts are my own.
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I am a big fan of this series and have really enjoyed the other books. However, I did not find myself enjoying this story like the others. I love the characters, but to me the story did not have the mystery or suspense I’m accustomed to and the reveal was not as thrilling. I do look forward to what comes next as I am invested and will continue to read. I encourage those to give this a chance but do recommend you read the series because all the characters and stories can become confusing if you just start with this book.
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I loved this book from start to finish!! This was my first book by Carla Neggers as well as my first title in her Sharp & Donovan series. I loved the characters, the settings and how the mystery was finally solved. I didn't find it difficult to understand this story without having first read other books in the series which was nice. I would definitely read more books in this wonderfully entertaining series!!
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Emma lives in a small house on the coast of Maine with her husband. Emma has a office with the FBI.Emma work s with art crimes.Which seems kinda boring to me Her brother in law Andy and his marine biologist fiance Julianne are getting married in rock point,Maine. I prefer harlequin romance books
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Rival's Break is part of a series about a husband/wife team of investigators. I have not read any of the author's other books. I will definitely go back and read the previous books in the series. I was somewhat confused at first, trying to keep the recurring characters straight. All in all this was an enjoyable mystery and I will be reading more of them! Thanks to the publisher and Net Galley for the ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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Rival's Break  is #9 in the Sharpe/Donavon  series and I hadn't read the previous books. Of course I prefer to read a series from the beginning but sometimes a later book just invites! There are quite a few characters to take in straight away. However Carla Neggers deftly gives enough information about each of them so that I can enjoy the story.

The setting is delightful - I have a weakness for books set in Maine and we also visit Ireland and its beautiful west coast. The characters themselves are a mixture of Maine and Irish and they mingle very well!

The book has a fun cast, art thief detectives, FBI, MI5 and MI6, an art thief (reformed)  and a priest to name a few of the varied roles. Many of them are either related to each other or married into a family. And half the time they seem to be trying to figure out what the other knows and is up to!

We start out with a stolen painting, a mysterious food poisoning on a yacht and links to some of the characters, makes for a mystery that soon has my brain whirling and wondering and desperately endeavouring to stay away from the back pages to peek! (I refrain - barely!) I did have one person in mind and it turned out I was on the right track, although I didn't know the motivation.

I liked this story mostly for the characters, so varied and loveable. The mystery was interesting. I would have liked a little more action as the book tended to rely on a lot of dialogue rather than fast action. However I think it reads like a cozy mystery.

Would I read more in this series after my first foray into it? Yes I would because I'd want to find out more about the characters and what they have done and will do next.
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Rival's Break is part of the Donovan and Sharp series and is better read as part of the series. A familiar cast of characters wander the pages of the book as accidental poisoning, a missing painting, and undercover spies drive a mystery that twists and turns to leave you guessing. Suspenseful and unexpected, the suspense builds for a satisfying mystery that will leave you coming back for more and a little leery of mushrooms. My voluntary, unbiased review is based upon a review copy from Netgalley.
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After reading Rival's Break, I think it's safe to say this is not exactly a standalone story. The mystery, such as it is, could probably stand on its own, but the number of characters who pop in and out and have little to absolutely nothing to do with the case is way over the top. And it's not just that those characters are mentioned. Oh no, we get what I felt was a ridiculous number of points of view. I could have safely skipped a number of chapters and not missed a single thing to do with the case, and I felt like I needed to sift through to find the 'gripping novel of international intrigue and suspense' that is promised in the blurb. In the end, I didn't find any of that and was quite underwhelmed with this one. I don't know if this is Carla Neggers' style or if the many points of view used here is something new, so I remain undecided on whether I'll try another book. I'm sure that fans of the series will enjoy this one more than I did, but it clearly wasn't a good fit for me.
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Heavily character-driven mystery series in which many of the characters have multiple names or multiple relatives with similar names in similar fields.  While this may have developed organically over the course of the series, as a backstory in this book read as a stand-alone, it is all a bit eye-crossing.  Everyone is somehow Irish but really American from Maine, or not, they are British MI6 but work regularly with undercover FBI. Those details aside, the mystery is almost a cozy, again, just not quite. I realize there are devoted fans for this series but I should have started reading earlier in it.  I received my copy from the publisher through NetGalley.
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Emma Sharpe is recovering from a shattering loss while her husband, Colin Donovan, is deep into his latest undercover mission. So they’re grateful to enjoy a peaceful autumn weekend together on the southern Maine coast to celebrate Colin’s brother Andy’s wedding. But the peace is short-lived when Kevin Donovan, a marine patrol officer, receives a call to check on suspected food poisoning at a party aboard a yacht. Colin decides to tag along. He is surprised to recognize one of the victims as an undercover British intelligence officer, and it quickly becomes evident they’re dealing with something very sinister. At the same time a valuable painting by Irish artist Aoife O’Byrne—a friend of Emma and Colin’s—is missing from the yacht, and the connections make the investigation international and extremely personal. Emma and Colin discover they are up against a deadly foe who plans to strike again. With the help of HIT, their small, elite Boston-based FBI team, they must foil an attack that will have devastating effects. It’s a case that will alter their lives beyond anything they’ve ever imagined.
This was the first time I got a chance to really read a book by this author and I’ve wanted to for a long time, always seeing her name on the shelves every time I’m at a bookstore (yes, they do still exist). This book didn’t disappoint. I do wish I had started at the beginning though as I was a little confused trying to figure out everyone in the beginning. It didn’t deter from the great writing as I delved into the story. I can’t wait to read more from this author. I highly recommend.
**I voluntarily read and reviewed this book
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I should know better than to start reading book # 9 of a series.  This book was a bit confusing for me to get into with so many characters thrown at you right at the beginning. I think that the writing is excellent but it really bothers me when I don't start a series from the beginning.
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I expected more of a thriller/suspense - and to me, this book was not that, which was fine! Instead, we are drawn into the Donovan and Sharpe families along with their friends. The book takes place in Maine and Ireland - and I liked both settings a lot - they fit the mood of the book, which was ... contemplative? This isn't a book where a bloody body-count stacks up - instead, it focuses on friend and family relationships - and there is also a good mystery.

In the midst of a wedding, the Donovans are called to investigate a potential poisoning on a yacht. It just looks like a case of food poisoning, but Colin recognizes one of the stricken passengers as a fellow agent. There are lots of secrets, some dealing with loss, and I read much later than I'd planned to see the resolution. 

This is the first book I read in the series - I could tell there is a lot of backstory I missed - that didn't detract from the story, but it did make me want to go back and read previous books. Thank you to netgalley for the ARC.
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When I read the first book in this series I thought it was nice.  But as each books comes along I am loving the stories and the characters.  I have gotten to know them.  Colin has been on another assignment and Emma at home.  He is thinking that undercover work has lost its appeal.  After his brother's wedding, Colin and his other brother go to a yacht where some of the people on board are sick from food poisoning.  Colin finds an old friend on board who is very sick.  He is also MI5.  Trying to unravel why anyone would give everyone mushrooms that just make them sick and not kill them.  Is this a diversion?  What is really going on?
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Emma and Colin and their friends and family are  as familiar to me now as my own friends and family as I picked up the newest entry in this series with its new fare of murder and intrigue. 
At the heart of the story is food poisoning on a private yacht with stolen art work added to the mix. There is a CIA agent posing as an art expert who is one of the guests who is extremely ill from the food poisoning. The cook is in possession of an expensive piece of art which was purchased for her by her father who was killed under mysterious circumstances shortly after his purchase. One of the eminent art thieves who now works for MI6 and his handler has been in close proximity with the gentleman and is now visiting the village where the yacht is docked. 
The plot continues to thicken as the various law enforcement and characters like Colin and Emma who are law enforcement but not assigned to this case explore and peel back the layers in the onion before finding the truth. This story did not hold my interest in the same way as some of the earlier ones have done especially since the chemistry between Colin and Emma is also lacking.
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I've been a fan of Carla Neggers for so many years. I haven't been following the Sharpe & Donovan series. Picking up Rival's Break and trying to jump in now was a mistake. I didn't feel a strong connection to the characters and struggled with the "who's who" aspect.



Emma Sharpe hasn't seen her husband Colin Donovan in a while as he's been off doing his thing. Both are FBI agents with busy lives and caseloads. Colin's brother is getting married, so they're at their home in Maine to reconnect and for the wedding.



Things go awry when passengers aboard a private yacht are poisoned. Georgina, the chef, is devastated that she may be responsible for poisoning so many people including her father. Colin opts to help the marine patrol officer look into the poisonings. 



When it's found a painting by a friend of both Colin and Emma's disappeared from the yacht, the investigation takes a personal turn. Lives are at stake and Colin and Emma must act fast.



I admit that I was lost for a lot of the book. There's the personal aspect of their lives as well as the mystery. There were so many characters and, being new to the series, I had very little background to go on to help me out. 



Carla Neggers has a way of bringing a location to life. I felt that Maine ocean breeze and smelled the salt in the air. I wished I was there.



If you're new to the Sharpe & Donovan series, don't read this one without catching up first. I wish I had.
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As with all of her books this is a solid mystery. 
It has fast paced ploy and good characters.
Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for letting me review this book
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