Review: Wired by Julie Garwood

WiredWired by Julie Garwood
Series: Buchanan-Renard #13
Published by: Berkley Trade on July 4, 2017
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Suspense
Pages: 336
Source: NetGalley
Book Details
Rating: ★★

Allison Trent has always had a special talent for computers. When she’s not cleaning up after her troublemaker younger brother, Jason, she spends her days writing code and navigating the intricacies of the Internet. In fact, she’s working on a new program that will revolutionize the tech industry, and when she attends a prominent seminar, word begins to spread.

FBI agent Liam Scott discovers how brilliant Allison is and wants her to help hunt down a cyber criminal he’s been after for two years. He invites her to tour the bureau’s state-of-the-art cybercenter in Boston. Once she arrives, he thinks he can convince her to join the team.

But Allison doesn’t want to work for the government—until Liam makes an offer she can’t refuse: work for the FBI for one year, and they will expunge Jason’s illustrious criminal record.

Allison tries to deny her growing attraction to Liam, but just before her year in the FBI is over, she discovers someone has stolen the computer program she developed. Now she needs Liam’s help in tracking down the thief. And as they begin to close in on the culprit, they also begin to give in to each other...

Despite being part of a series, Wired can be read as a standalone.

Man, this book was a huge letdown for me. I had high hopes since I’m a coder and I thought a coding/FBI/romance/thriller book just sounded AMAZING. But it wasn’t what I hoped it would be. 🙁

It sounded like it was written someone who didn’t know code

I don’t expect all authors to be experts in what they write about, but a certain amount of research would be nice. To be blunt, I felt like the author just threw around the same words over and over again and hoped that would be good enough for a book about a “coder”. They all sounded like this though:

“she and Jordan had plenty of time to sit and talk about languages and codes, and writing programs, and bugs, and hackers.”

We never got any details into what they were actually talking about. Just, “Oh then we talked about codes and bugs and hackers.” Those same phrases were all that were repeated over and over again.

Two things:

  1. Something about that word and “codes” (plural) felt really unnatural. I’ve just never heard coders talk like that.
  2. This was literally the extent of the coding and technical stuff in the book. Even when the character was doing actual coding there still weren’t any other technical descriptions or explanations of how things got done. It was just, “I threw on my headphones, hunched over my laptop, and chased the puzzle.” The author could have at least thrown in ever-so-slightly more advanced technical words like “SQL injection” or “traceroute”. It didn’t feel like it was beta read by anyone technical at all.

And here’s another quote:

“there are some people who have sold various bugs and viruses for a lot of money.”

You can’t “sell a bug”. You can sell knowledge of a bug (or exploit), but you wouldn’t sell the bug itself. It doesn’t really make sense.

I saw zero chemistry in the romance

The romance was a huge part of the book. In fact, given the lack of depth in the coding part, the romance was arguably the whole point of the story. So it was a huge bummer that I didn’t connect with it AT ALL.

I just couldn’t see any chemistry there. From my perspective, there was nothing drawing the characters together. Honestly I started skimming through the romancey bits.

Plus, it turned into major insta-love. View Spoiler »

The plot seemed unfocused

There were four major plot points:

  1. Finding a leak in the FBI.
  2. Dealing with a testy person in the FBI who’s upset about Allison finding said leak.
  3. Someone stealing Allison’s computer program.
  4. Allison dealing with her horrible family issues.

I don’t know if there were four big plot points to keep us guessing or what, but to me it just felt unfocused more than anything. My brain didn’t know which event to focus on or which was supposed to be the main part of the story (and View Spoiler » ).

Parts of the plot were actually quite fun to read, despite the lack of actual technical stuff. I do think there was some potential there, but it could have been much stronger and more interesting if they just picked ONE (two tops) event and really focused in on it.

The format was kind of jarring

The book has two main points of view:

  1. Allison’s
  2. Liam’s

But there aren’t neatly organized chapters where it switches between the two. Nope. Instead, it just switches randomly from paragraph to paragraph. I hate this format in general; I prefer neatly organized chapters that swap back and forth. But it was made even worse in this case because the voices between the two characters weren’t distinct at all. The book often switched points of view and I didn’t even realize, then I’d get confused and have to backtrack a little to find out when it switched.

Also, the book sticks to those two points of view for 90% of the story, then randomly switches to a different character’s point of view for like one useless page. That REALLY confused me. I had to reread the first paragraph of that chapter like three times before my brain realized what had happened and who’s point of view I was reading from. Then it did this again with a different character a few chapters later. I thought these two chapters were unnecessary and just made the book weirdly inconsistent.

After all that, two stars probably feels like a generous rating… and maybe it is. But to be honest, until the last 10% of the book I did kind of enjoy reading Wired. I was unsatisfied with it—sure—but I was actually fully intending to give it three stars until the ending. Allison became View Spoiler » Then there was that whole ridiculous thing with View Spoiler »

So much potential in the plot, but turns out it wasn’t for me… *sigh*

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  1. Nice, well-structured review. Reading the blurb about the book made it sound tempting, despite the fact I don’t like romance. Your review saved me from making a big mistake.

  2. I think this book sounds and looks very good. I would love to have a chance to read it and give my review. I would also love to have a signed copy of the book. My collections 😉 Love the cover and how it looks. Just amazing. Good work from what i see and hear.

  3. The irony is that Julie Garwood has been around for a long, long time writing romance stories, and she’s been a master. I have many of her books. If you get a chance, check out some of her earlier novels. Sounds like adding the coding thing didn’t work well at all, and you give very valid points of why it didn’t do well with you.

    1. Yeah I have seen a few other reviews where people said they LOVED her earlier work but were disappointed with this one. So maybe I will give some of the others a try. 🙂

  4. Hey Ashley!

    I am about 85 pages into this one so far, and I am not feeling it either. Honestly, I put it down with the intention of picking it back up but now I don’t even know if I want to do that.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    1. Sorry you’re feeling the same way Michelle. 🙁 It’s a bummer because I think the idea is really interesting. There’s a lot of potential there for sure.

    1. This was my first book by her, but my understanding from reading other peoples’ reviews is that her earlier books are great and this one was kind of an unexpected flop. 🙁

  5. Oh, man. That blurb ticked boxes for me that I didn’t even know I had so I’m so disappointed to read how underwhelming it was. Why, gods of romance, why??

  6. I will rate this book 2 stars. I had serious issues with this book and sad to say I could not get through them. When I explored the book summary I became fired up to read it as the hacker idea sounded appealing. Frankly, the book failed to hold my attention and so I really was bored to death. I think the book had a great deal of text fillers. Excessive textual content should be removed. Not to mention, the ending is extremely abrupt.

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  7. Of course, you are entitled to your opinion, but I completely disagree. This book was shared with me by a friend who loved it. I enjoyed it very much and connected with it. If you are a coding expert maybe you focused on details that I didn’t, but I thought this book was well done and beyond the normal “romance” genre. It had more action and cerebral characters.

  8. Julie Garwood used to write spectacular stories. She switched to mysteries, lost her mojo, and her stories don’t make sense anymore. In one of her books, she got the details of another story wrong. I wondered if she had alzeimers, and
    someone else was writing her books. I love her, respect her talent, and hope she is ok.

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