Review: Spent Identity by Marlene M. Bell

Posted July 11, 2020 by Sophia Rose in Reviews / 16 Comments

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I received this book for free from Book Tour Provided in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Spent Identity by Marlene M. Bell
Spent Identity

One StarOne StarOne StarHalf a Star

Series: Annalisse Series #2
Genres: Mystery Romance, Romantic Suspense
Published by Ewephonic
Released on December 11, 2019
Pages: 378
Format: eARC
Source: Book Tour Provided
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The Delight

I had a cover love moment- pretty flowers yet ominous feeling- that led me to reading the blurb which led me to deciding I had to read this one.  New to me author and series just added to the excitement.


Spent Identity is the second in the Annalisse series of romantic suspenses.  I did all right reading it out of order, but that said, I think I would have gotten more out of it reading in order so that’s what I recommend.

The book opens with a short prologue of a man finding a body.  Ironically, he was reading a murder mystery and is a huge fan of the genre.

Next, Annalisse has left NYC to visit her Aunt Kate and the family farm where she hopes to spend some time with Kate who never fails to give her good counsel and make her feel better.  It has been months since Annalisse was with Alec and she suspects her relationship is over as he dives back into his jet setting world and his workaholic habits.
But, instead of a relaxing and stress-free visit with Aunt Kate, she learns that Kate’s son is selling the farm out from under her and there is a dead body in the barn.  Kate knows something about it, but before they get much further, Kate disappears.  Alec swoops back in to help and naturally, his presence complicates just as much as helps Kate since it was her disappearing relationship with Alec that sent her running to the farm.

Spent Identity took me utterly by surprise.  I was not expecting all the adrenaline moments, the rapid pace, or the feeling that I was constantly discovering more and more mysteries and character complexities.  It was the ominous roses on the cover.  Ha!  I blame them for being blown about like that.  I had a good time with that part and, to some extent, the characters.  There were a few development issues that made it hard to know certain characters and their motives better.

Though well-developed, it was a struggle for me to appreciate both Annalisse and Alec.  She got on my nerves a few times with the way she cuts loose with her mouth not giving a thought to others and I got startled a few times with choices and actions since I understood her to be an antiquities expert.  Alec really needed to get over the unneeded jealousy of another man especially when he prioritized his life differently for the last few months.  There were other quibbling little things, but, at the same time, the flaws made them real, too.

Honestly, I had no idea who was behind things in the end or even what all was significant and not.  I did like seeing Alec back in the picture- not that I read the first book so I could only understand to a certain extent- because I liked seeing them working together.  At first, I didn’t think they worked as a couple, but I let myself be persuaded.  Mostly, I enjoyed the wild ride of a mystery this was.

So, that was a great surprise and I invite other mystery romance lovers to give it a shot.  Don’t follow my lead, though.  Instead, get the series from the beginning.

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I was born and raised near Sacramento, CA. I have read since I was four years old and developed tastes that run the gamut of literature. I went away to college and have a degree in education, a certificate in family history research, and a certificate in social work. I worked for a non-profit agency with low income families for 20 years which included being responsible for the children’s library and promoting/teaching adult literacy. I have lived in Southeast Michigan for the last 18 years and I am currently a book addicted homemaker with a cat and husband who keep me grounded. Recently, I made it a challenge to review each book that I have read as a favor to author friends who said reviews are important. I have done reviews for Good Reads, Amazon, eBay, and Smashwords, but mostly at Goodreads and Amazon.

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Mary Kirkland
1 year ago

It’s hard when the couple doesn’t seem like they mesh together as a couple at first. But I’m glad you ended up liking this one in the end.

Sophia Rose
1 year ago
Reply to  Mary Kirkland

I really wasn’t seeing it at first. They had attraction, but the rest didn’t seem to be there. But, then they started working it out as they solved the murders and family problems. I’m curious about what comes in the next book.

Anne - Books of My Heart

New to me also and in a genre I enjoy.

Sophia Rose
1 year ago

I enjoyed coming across this one. It was exciting and surprising. 🙂

1 year ago

That cover with those flowers really has that ominous vibe indeed. I am glad to hear you enjoyed this one for the most part. Sounds like it is a series that is best read in order though.

Sophia Rose
1 year ago
Reply to  Lola

Definitely. The pretty roses with some dying and the darker tones. 🙂

I definitely think it would have been even better if I’d read book one and this one leads strongly into a third book.

1 year ago

Yeah, maybe starting at the beginning would’ve been better. Maybe a reader would have a better picture of the characters and their intentions then? I like my characters to be well developed and for their actions to make sense. Great review, Sophia Rose!

Sophia Rose
1 year ago
Reply to  Rachel

Yeah, some you can jump in on and others feel a bit off when you do. I think because there is a romance as much as a mystery that in order is the thing.

Lover of Romance
1 year ago

Great review. Its good to know this series needs to be read in order. Authors handle series so differently so thanks for the heads up. I love those adrenline rush’s in book. I need more of that.

Sophia Rose
1 year ago

Exactly. Sometimes you can get away with jumping right in and other times, not so much. The fast-paced and exciting was definitely a wonderful surprise.

Kimberly @ Caffeinated Reviewer

I like when I cannot figure out the mystery. I too like the cover.

Sophia Rose
1 year ago

Same here! Mysteries are the best when I’m completely surprised in the end.
Yes, that cover is perfect for this one.

Carole Rae
1 year ago

I feel like I would need to do book 1 first

Sophia Rose
1 year ago
Reply to  Carole Rae

I would second that feeling. This is definitely a series that I felt a bit off kilter not having read book one first.

1 year ago

I’m looking forward to dipping into this series next month 🙂

Sophia Rose
1 year ago
Reply to  vvb

I can’t wait to see what you think, Velvet. 🙂