Cover Image: Changing the Rules

Changing the Rules

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Member Reviews

4.5 stars 
What an exceptional story!  
It was my first book by the author but I'm just so happy that 've discovered her writing because I was so invested in this story that I had to read it in one sitting. 
You might know by now that I'm a big fan of second chance romance and this story ticks all the boxes in my cards for a great and must read one. From the beginning to the end, I was captivated by the strong heroine and her tactics to get away from any difficult moments that can endanger her life , the smouldering was a hit with each dialogue and I had moments when I laughed out so much that I had tears in my eyes from their banter. The suspense kept me on the edge as well and I really wanted to know how everything will evolve and unfold in the end. I wasn't disappointed at all in any aspect. Loved it!
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I started this book thinking it was the first book in a series, but it is a spinoff from her previous series. I haven’t read the previous series so I didn’t know Claire’s background. The author writes this book as if the reader has read the First Wives series. So I was a little behind and felt like I was missing something. 
Overall I really liked the storyline and the characters in this book. This plot is something that can happen in real life and has in some areas. 
Thanks Netgalley for the arc in exchange for my honest review.
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I ended up DNF this title - I have loved Bybee's other series but this one just didn't work for me at all. I think the idea of full grown adults pretending to be teenagers just weirded me out too much.
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Changing the Rules is the first title in the Richter series and it sets everything off with intensity. I expected that, after all, we are returning in some ways to a world we (long-time readers of this author) have been before. If you’ve read the First Wives series, particularly the fifth title, Say It Again then you’ll know that Claire has a connection and abilities that are far from normal for a teenager, as she was in Say It Again as a secondary character. Claire is all grown up now – but she hasn’t lost those abilities which come in extremely handy in her position with MacBain Security and Solutions… again, there are connections. If you are a reader who truly needs to know the backstory then I’d suggest reading at least Say It Again – but you don’t really have to for anything that needs to be known is given to us in narrative or dialogue. The First Wives series is gripping, engaging, and completely enjoyable so I would not hesitate to recommend it – the choice is yours as to how much you need to know before starting the Richter series.

I was easily and quickly drawn into Claire and Cooper’s story in Changing the Rules. It’s a story that isn’t overly long on romance (but then this couple has known each other previously), but what is there is certainly sizzling with chemistry, possibilities, as well as past and present emotions. It is strong in detective work, in action-packed scenes, and emotions ranging from terror to rage.

As Claire and Cooper reunite for this particular mission his feelings toward Claire haven’t changed one bit in the six years apart… and now those years don’t separate them as much as they once did. This mission is a chance for two people to reconnect, to test their feelings for each other under intense circumstances. The trust that should grow naturally has to be given in some ways immediately for the enemy is vile, their prey innocent, and the stakes couldn’t get much higher.

Without giving away what I feel are vital details of Changing the Rules, this story is gripping, will keep you flipping pages, and engaged throughout. The secondary characters bring this story to life and I’m hoping to discover their stories as the series moves forward. I enjoyed this world, loved the characters, loathed the villains, and was swept up in this mission. If you love to feel that way about Romantic Suspense then the Richter series and Changing the Rules is a perfect match for you.

*I received an e-ARC of this novel from the publisher via NetGalley. That does not change what I think of this story. It is my choice to leave a review giving my personal opinion about this book.*
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Changing the Rules is one of those books that is likely to have you turning the pages when you know darn well you have other things you're supposed to be doing, like sleeping ;) Claire and Cooper are great characters, and once their undercover mission gets started the story will absolutely sweep you away.

Apparently if you were a fan of the 21 Jump Street television series, then this book will likely be your jam--one of the secondary characters even mentions it at one point. Since I barely know more about the series than Claire does (I've at least heard of it) I can't say how much it is or isn't like it for certain, but from my coworker's description (once she got past the "I don't know if we can still be friends" part of her lecture) it sounds pretty similar.

At least Claire wasn't nearly as bored with her job at the end of the book as she was at the beginning--plus now she has Cooper, so bonus ;)

To be honest, I felt a little lost for the first few chapters of this book--it's been several years since I've read anything from Catherine Bybee, and though this is the first book in her new series, Claire, whose POV is dominant in the beginning of the book, references back to a lot of people and incidents that apparently happened in another series (mainly Say It Again though her boss Neil has apparently appeared in three different series) without much explanation, and I kept thinking, wait, should I know who these people are? Once the main plot of this book really got underway it drew me in, but Claire's old school (Richter, where this series gets its name) and the things that happened there come up a lot throughout this entire book, so reading that one at least before this wouldn't be a bad idea.

I really did enjoy this book--the characters are great, and the suspense kept me on the edge of my seat (and up too late), for sure!--but I did feel left out of the backstory loop quite a bit. So if you have the time and means, I definitely suggest reading Say It Again before this one, if you haven't already. If you don't, just keep reading through the barrage of other characters and past references Claire hits you with, the story's about to suck you in really soon ;)

Rating: 4 stars / B+

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.
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Catherine Bybee was one of the first women's fiction/contemporary romance authors I read when I rediscovered my love of romance many many moons ago. So when I saw she had a new series, I thought I'd see what this version of her writing was all about. 



In Changing the Rules, the characters are working undercover to break up a human trafficking ring that seems to be originating in a high school. Interesting, right? Yeah, the premise is interesting and the intricacies involved must have taken a huge white board to keep it all straight. And that may have been part of my problem with parts of this novel--I sometimes felt like I had a lot of information coming at me and I couldn't always keep it straight. I also got the distinct impression that these characters, who were new to me, were probably not so new to fans of Bybee and so I always found myself wondering what I was missing--what piece of the puzzle did I not know that would make all of their connections all click? The romance part also was unusual for me--it's rare when one party in a party of two is so completely clueless about the feelings of the other, but that was definitely a thing for our main characters. It grew on me, but at first it was a little ....strange. 



All of this to say that Changing the Rules was probably a great read for her fans but it just didn't always work for me.
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Cooper and Claire work for the same security agency, but Cooper left the States six years ago to work for the European branch when he couldn’t get over his attraction to her.  With Claire just eighteen at the time, and Cooper six (?) years older, his attraction didn’t seem appropriate. Now he’s back and they’re both assigned to go undercover and investigate the disappearances of high school girls in a suspected trafficking ring.  Claire poses as a high school senior and Cooper as a coach. 

Soon Cooper realizes the attraction he felt for Claire has only intensified, but this time there’s nothing holding him back. Could Claire feel the same about him?

Changing the Rules was easy to get into and entertaining all the way through. At first Claire’s reaction to finding out why Cooper left originally was so juvenile I had to roll my eyes, but she got called out on her ridiculousness quickly and thankfully snapped out of it. I appreciated that the drama came more from the mystery of the case and the dangerous situation Claire and Cooper are in than from their romance. Being undercover does limit the time they can spend together, but that just amped up the sexual tension between them, and I enjoyed every minute!

Richter is a spinoff from Catherine Bybee’s First Wives series, mainly the last book, Say It Again. Sasha and AJ together and both working for MacBain Security System as well, and it was a treat “seeing” them together. Sasha’s still a fun badass character! I look forward to the next book, A Thin Disguise, which features Olivia, a character I don’t remember from the previous series, but her role in this story has me intrigued.
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*Thank you to NetGalley, Catherine Bybee and Montlake for the ARC provided in exchange for an honest opinion*

.Having not read any of Catherine Bybee's books before, it surprised me at how easy to read "Changing The Rules" is. Unfortunately, again having not read any of her books, it was somewhat difficult to follow along as most characters in the book have a backstory which is explained in a previous book. 

Claire Kelly, along with her best friend from the RIchter School (explained in another book) are working MacBain Security and Solutions as Private Investigators. They are put on a case in a California high school 
 that Neil McBain's daughter attends. Their assignment deals with a human trafficking ring in which several girls have disappeared over a few years. They are tasked with identifying potential victims, identifying the traffickers and their partners, Cooper Lockman, who has been working out of the London office of MacBain Security and Solutions, has returned, having always had a thing for Claire. In the beginning, she is not ready to take that step with him, but as the book progresses, so does their relationship.

"Changing The Rules" grabbed me right from the beginning. It is an easy read, though quite lengthy. I have received the second book in the series and am eager to read that as well. I would highly recommend reading some of her previous books as it would help with following along with the story.
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I have read a few books by Catherine Bybee and have really enjoyed them so I jumped at the chance to read this book Changing the Rules.

Claire Kelly is an employee of MacBain Security and has many covert skills. She can handle any job thrown her way but she is worried about the one involving Cooper Lockman.

Cooper and Claire worked together until the feelings he had for her had him going to Europe for six years. He is back but he is set on ignoring the sparks between them.

 The job has them going undercover in a California high school to find out who the person behind a prostitution ring targeting young girls. It is dangerous and the closer they get to finding out who is behind them the closer they get to each other. Will they survive the danger? Will they get their happily ever after? I received a free copy of this book for Netgalley and this is my voluntary honest review.

I really enjoyed this book. I loved Claire's character and couldn't wait to find out what happened. Once I started reading I couldn't put the book down. It had romance, suspense and mystery all rolled into one book. I highly reccomend this book and this author.
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This is the first in a new series but the backstory for many characters can be found in other books/series. There is enough information to fill in most of the holes other than what Cooper was doing in Europe before coming back to the US, other than staying away from Claire.

This book hits on a sensitive topic, human trafficking and selling young women (primarily) as sex slaves to others. I appreciated the light that was shed on this topic and what happens to these young people when they don't think they have anywhere else to turn especially if their home life isn't supportive.

Claire is 24 in this book but apparently looks younger for her age, enough so to go undercover and pose as a high school senior. There is a reference to the 80s show, 21 Jump Street, and that is what I thought of as I read this book. Claire is one tough young woman and we get some of her backstory about her life at a boarding school in Germany, her fluency in 6 languages, her speed on the track, and her attraction to Cooper.

Cooper and Claire have a past that is rekindled in this book. Enough time has passed since they were last on the same continent that she has matured past her 18 years and has had time to grow and experience life. I enjoyed watching their relationship unfold, although there are times where it almost got them in trouble and might have revealed their true identities. There is a little bit of steam later in the book but it isn't over the top and adds just the right amount of romance to the story.

This team has been called into two high schools in the area at the request of the police but only the captain is aware of their infiltration into the school. He believes he might have some dirty cops involved and needs them flushed out. There are several possibilities and I wasn't quite sure who to suspect of being involved in the trafficking. I started to suspect one character and was glad to be proven wrong. The tension mounts as the book progresses and clues are uncovered about the perpetrators. The team, outside of Claire and Cooper, helps round out the story and add dimension to the plot.

I enjoyed this book and give it 4 paws up.
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This is my first book by Catherine Bybee and I was really impressed by how immersive, even addictive her writing is. I kept reading until the small hours and couldn't put the book down until the mystery was solved and everyone was safe (the final part was absolutely nailbiting in the best action movie tradition!)

In case you get the same strange feeling of being given the backstory on the go, while Changing Rules is the first book in Catherine Bybee's Richter series, Claire's mentor Sasha, Claire's boss Neil (the owner of MacBain Security and Solutions) and his family- they appeared in Catherine's previous books. It didn't spoil my enjoyment of Changing Rules.
 Claire and Jax, her best friend from their school days at Richter school, are sent to a high school on a un undercover assignment. The case deals with a human trafficking ring which recruits vulnerable girls. Claire and Jax have a triple task- identify potential victims, identify the traffickers and their accomplices and flush out the rogue police agent, whose identity remains unknown until the very end.
They are not alone. Claire is paired with Cooper Lockman, who has recently come back from the London office of MacBain Security and Solutions. Claire and Cooper have known each other since she was eighteen and was rescued from the shady happenings at Richter.
While there is undeniable chemistry between Claire and Cooper and  their relationship develops  gradually during the case, Catherine Bybee manages to strike a great balance between the focus on the investigation and the romance elements. 
The protagonists are both strong, decisive, independent and caring in equal parts-no wonder sparks fly when these two friends decide to take their relationship to the new level. I'm just going to say it again-nothing beats good old friends-to-lovers trope!
I really enjoyed Changing Rules and would love to read the continuation of the series. Whether you are a fan of Catherine Bybee, like a story with a strong female lead or are just curious about the romantic suspense genre, I can definitely recommend this one.
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Fast-paced and fun, I enjoyed this well-written book very much, from the exploration of sex trafficking in American schools to the "back to high school" plot to the sexual tension between Claire and Connor. Recommended to readers, and looking forward to the next book in the series.
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Changing the Rules is absolutely fantastic! I loved it!!!!
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I may have never picked this book up to read if I hadn’t been asked to review it. I didn’t know anything about the author, Catherine Bybee, before this book and it isn’t one everyone is buzzing about...yet! I guarantee I will be seeking out Bybee’s backlist and trying to start a buzz about this book!
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It has so much, there is an undercover agency mystery/thriller thing going on, a romance, female bonds and friendship, and so much more. They all balance so well and blend together to tell a great story of Claire Kelly and her teammates at McBain Security and Solutions. When they are hired to try and flesh out a human trafficking operation at local high schools, Claire has the opportunity to put her extensive training to use and go undercover as a troubled high school senior. The good news is she gets to work with her first crush, Cooper, who has come back to work on this case. The bad news is that she gets to work with Cooper, who went to Europe six years ago to avoid his feelings for Claire. As they get closer to their targets and closer to each other, the risks get higher and higher.
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I read this book so quickly, having suspicions but never knowing who all was involved in this criminal ring or if/when Cooper, Clair and her best friend Jax might be exposed.
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My words do not do justice to this review- the book is excellent.
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I have heard and read some great things about Ms. Bybee but for some reason did not get an opportunity to read one of her books until now.  I definitely need to go back to her backlist and find me some books since this story has the fast paced suspense and romance that I enjoy. 
Claire and Cooper work for the same company.  In fact Cooper has just returned from a longish stint in Europe where he went to give Claire a chance to grow up and gain confidence. Now they are both assigned to go undercover in a school in search of clues to bringing down a sex trafficking ring which is targeting high school seniors. 
The story moves at a quick pace with a lot of gritty facts about how kids are targeted and reeled in. It's a bit scary since the story seems pretty realistic particularly if you have high school students. Kids just disappear and seemingly run away. The suspense is edgy and while we uncover a lot of players in the chain as the story moves along the actual villain will come as a pretty big surprise. 
All in all I would rate this first book by this author a winner and as stated already will be looking for her backlist.
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Very solid start to a new series by Catherine Bybee. This book deals with child human trafficking. I have read several novels along this plot line and this is definitely the tamest. It touches on the issue but does not go into graphic detail through the whole story. Well-developed characters that you can relate to. They come across as "real" and you find yourself rooting for them.

I read this in just a few hours. I look forward to reading more in this series in the future. Definitely recommend for fans of this genre. 

Thank you #netgalley and #montlake for the eARC.
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This is the first book of a new series.  It is a spinoff series and I encourage you to read the other series as well.  This is a good romantic suspense story.  It’s not a heavy story even though it tackles some heavy subjects.  The suspense elements will definitely keep you on your toes.  The romance part is a slow burn and well worth the wait. I love this book and can't wait for the rest in the series.
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Changing the Rules by Catherine Bybee
Richter #1

Entertaining romance with a bit of suspense, human traffickers to find, youth to save, bad guys to unearth, friends and teammates to work with, and a healthy dose of chemistry with the opportunity for more. I had a feeling these characters had met in a previous book or series and that part of their backstories would have provided this book with more depth but it also was able to stand on its own. 

What I liked: 
* McBain Security and Solutions: business that the team works for, offices in the USA and Europe, couples seem to have met their significant other(s) on assignments in that previous book/series I mentioned above. 
* Claire Kelly: works for Neil McBain in the security business, highly trained operative, attended The Richter School, met and worked with Cooper several years ago…before he left for Europe, good friend, capable, multilingual, interesting. 
* Cooper Lockman: works for Neil McBain in the security business, highly trained operative, ex-military, liked Claire more than he felt he should have due to age gap six years before, team player, capable.
* Watching the relationship between Claire and Cooper develop
* The secondary characters and friends that worked together 
* The purpose of the team’s mission in this book – always like to see human traffickers and other bad guys removed from the equation.
* Not knowing for sure who all the evil guys were and how they would be located
* Meeting a new-to-me author
* That it seemed it would be a great story for NA/YA readers

What I didn’t like: 
* The bad guys I was meant not to like
* Knowing that human trafficking is all too real 
* Having the feeling there was more to the characters I would have benefited from knowing if I had read a previous book. 
* More a dislike than hate was that it felt slow paced for the first half and the action didn’t really start till later in the book.

Did I enjoy this book? Yes
Would I read more by this author? I think so

Thank you to NetGalley and Montlake for the ARC – This is my honest review. 

3-4 Stars
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Catherine Bybee is one of my favorite authors, i love the way she write.
Love how the story is created, not centered only on the romance but also in the investigation.
good main characters and good story , I will continue reading books from Catherine Bybee
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Changing the Rules is the first book in the Richter series. Catherine Bybee is not an author whose work I am familiar with. However, the synopsis hinted at an exciting read and with that in mind I jumped at the chance to read this book. The story delivered as expected.

While reading, I recognised that this was a spin-off of another series. Information I wish I had before jumping into this book. This in no way prevented me from enjoying Changing The Rules. However, if I had the chance to read the previous series, I would have had more information regarding the background of the main characters.

Claire and Cooper, the stars of the show, both work for McBain Security Solutions. Cooper left six years ago to work with the London team. His reason for leaving had to do with his intense feelings towards Claire, but now he is back hoping to win her heart. However, before he can accomplish that, they need to infiltrate a high school to uncover the mastermind behind a teenage prostitution ring.

The story captured my attention from start to finish. Throw in some dirty cops, shady teachers and misbehaving students and you get an intense story which will keep you on your toes.

I had an interesting time watching Claire re-inventing her high school experience. From what I gathered, her true experience was not so great. Cooper made a great coach. I loved how well the team worked together to bring down the culprits. The interactions and the banter between helped to lighten some of the moments in the story.

The romance, although not the focus of the story, could have benefited from a little more development. Cooper’s feelings were made clear from the get go, while Claire’s proved difficult to determine. One moment she sees him as a friend, then the next she is head over heels.

I alternated between the e-book and the audiobook.  Lori Prince and Joe Arden narrated. While I didn’t mind the male narrator’s voice, the female narrator irked me. Her accents and her attempts to sound like a teenager were off-putting, which pulled me out of the story several times. The e-book saved me from giving up on the story, which made it the better choice.

Overall, a good story and one I would recommend to fans of romantic suspense.
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Claire works as a private investigator for a sought after security firm. The owners pretty much have taken her under their wing and have treated her like a daughter. She has been assigned to jobs all over the world and can speak 5 different languages - not bad considering she is now only 23 years old.

When a new undercover job comes in to infiltrate a high school where girls have been going missing in strange circumstances, Claire is the obvious choice to play the role of a high school senior. What she wasn’t expecting was to be working with Cooper. He has been out of the country for five years but is now back to be her partner on this job, taking up the role of a substitute teacher and track coach.

Claire has not seen him for so long and he has definitely gotten hotter with age. She never understood why he left so suddenly but it is great to have him on her side as they try to figure out what is going on and who is responsible. The truth is, Cooper left because he wanted Claire.  She was too young for him back then but now that she is old enough and mature enough to make her own decisions, he is hoping that maybe she feels the same way.

Claire manages to slip into the role of the new student, with a touch of rebel to get her noticed by the people who would be called the ‘popular kids.’ She wants invites to parties and to get to know who is who among the seniors. It doesn’t take long before she achieves just that, making new friends along the way.  Her attraction to Cooper is becoming more evident and he decides to make it clear how he feels about her. 

However, they have not lost sight of what they are here for. They can’t let what’s building between them distract them from the job. There is danger lurking around every corner as they work against time to figure out who is the mastermind behind this heinous ring. I love how exciting this story was, the deeper we got into this crime ring, the faster I was trying to read.  

This is the first story in a brand new series from Catherine Bybee and it was really different from the other novels I have read from her. Changing the Rules is a fast paced, exciting and suspense filled story that had me guessing right until the very end!
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