Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Review: They Call Me Alexandra Gastone by T.A. Maclagan

When your life is a lie, how do you know what’s real?

Alexandra Gastone has a simple plan: graduate high school, get into Princeton, work for the CIA, and serve her great nation.

She was told the plan back when her name was Milena Rokva, back before the real Alexandra and her family were killed in a car crash.

Milena was trained to be a sleeper agent by Perun, a clandestine organization from her true homeland of Olissa. There, Milena learned everything she needed to infiltrate the life of CIA analyst Albert Gastone, Alexandra’s grandfather, and the ranks of America’s top intelligence agency.

For seven years, “Alexandra” has been on standby and life’s been good. Grandpa Albert loves her, and her strategically chosen boyfriend, Grant, is amazing.

But things are about to change. Perun no longer needs her at the CIA in five years’ time. They need her active now.

Between her cover as a high school girl—juggling a homecoming dance, history reports, and an increasingly suspicious boyfriend—and her mission in this high-stakes spy game, the boundaries of her two lives are beginning to blur.

Will she stay true to the country she barely remembers, or has her loyalty shattered along with her identity?

Alexandra is a high school cheerleader, a great student, a doting girlfriend and a loving granddaughter. Only she isn't Alexandra. And she isn't any of those other things either. She is a spy ... a sleeper agent and she's just biding her time until she is activated by her home country. The time is coming soon and Alexandra is determined to avenge the death of a loved one and serve her country. 

Spy books are some of my favorites to read. Years ago, I decided I was done with reading only James Patterson and Nicholas Sparks and I decided to pick up something TOTALLY out of my reading comfort zone. I saw a book by this new author named Vince Flynn. It was a spy book and I was totally hooked. I devoured all of the Vince Flynn books that I could find. Unfortunately, this amazing author passed away in 2013 and I've not picked up a spy book since. Until this one. I figured that it was time to give this sub-genre another try (even though it feels a bit like I'm cheating on Vince Flynn).

I won't lie, I expected to not like this book. I know, I know ... why pick it up then, right? I just had such high expectations that I figured that I was wasting my time but you know what? I was wrong. Don't tell my husband I said that because I've convinced him that I'm NEVER wrong. But in this case, I was. I really enjoyed this book. I enjoyed it a lot. And it was so close to being a 5-star book for me that it's crazy. 

I found the characters ... interesting. I didn't really know what to make of Alexandra at first. I loved the way that the author really delved into Alexandra's history and let you know why she was the way that she was. The character development was just as amazing for everyone else in the book as well. I was left with no questions about why the were the way that they were or what their motivations were. Everything was pretty clear.

The storyline itself was very intricate and the author was able to weave this amazing story out of quite a few different strands of the story and you end up with this amazingly interesting plot that keeps you guessing right up until the very last page. There were quite a few surprises that I wasn't expecting that really kept me on my toes. I'm very excited for the next installment in this series and I'll be one of the first in line to get my hands on it. I think I've found a new author to follow and I've found that there isn't just one spy writer for me.

* I received this novel in exchange for an honest review *

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