(Aug) I rarely read In Death books back to back. As this is one of my favorite series, I like to spread them out and only read one or two a year; I li(Aug) I rarely read In Death books back to back. As this is one of my favorite series, I like to spread them out and only read one or two a year; I like knowing I have a few to go, that when I have a break between bookclub books and other romances, I can indulge my need to catch up w/Eve, Roarke and the gang. This month I decided to splurge and read two back to back - except somehow I missed #36 and jumped from 35-37! And while I liked this one well enough, I realize one of the reasons I don't read these back to back is there is a similarity in them that I think for me lessens the reading experience when you read them too close together. The first few in the series must be read in order; by the time you are into the 20s it's not as imperative. And honestly, thinking about the first several in the series and the occasional one here and there afterwards, some of them are just missing that special something that makes them such wonderful reads.
In TID, we know the murderer pretty much from page one. A spoiled brat who is a good-for-nothing, Jerry is back living at home after losing his job and having his girlfriend kick him out. He does not want to hear what his mother has to say, considers her a nag - and in a moment of extreme annoyance, he grabs a knife and kills his mother. He takes to killing like a duck to water and thus starts his killing spree. He likes it, he thinks he's good at it (and unfortunately he is) and he has plans to try all sorts of new and inventive ways to get back at everyone who ever pissed him off in life - teachers, coaches, bosses, girls, boys - you name it, his hit list goes on and on. He's not a complete idiot, and he's also incredibly lucky, being always one step ahead of Eve, who catches the parents' murder and wants to get this solved ASAP, especially since Roarke's family is coming for the holidays. With help from Peabody, McNab, and of course Roarke, Eve is hot on Jerry's trail, trying desperately to catch him before he can kill again.
There was something missing here - I don't know that I can necessarily put my finger on it, but this was almost a bit too much murder mystery w/o the off duty down time I enjoy so much in other books (there was some - like the soccer game, which made me smile - but it was almost an afterthought and came too close to the end - I would have liked a bit more in the middle - I like when Eve gets some girl time - it's been a while since we've had that). But there was a lovely scene where Eve gets the acknowledgment of her work, one that made me a little misty. And there was a bit of friction between Roarke and Eve, which is a good thing - no couple can manage all the time w/o a bit of fighting. Of course, in the end the bad guy ends up in custody and Eve is able to put aside her job to enjoy Roarke's visiting family - I love them (especially Sean!) and hope to see them featured again soon, as they definitely add to Eve's growth of character. One of the best things JDR does is bring back characters or storylines from previous editions. Here, a girl whose life Eve helped make better features in and ending that once again, got me just a bit misty. One last thing - I rarely find myself annoyed at Eve - even when she gets lost in the job, forgets to put herself and her needs (and Roarke's) first, I get her. But I thought she was out of line in a scene towards to end(view spoiler)[when they save Asshole Joe, who has been abducted and tortured by his friend Jerry. Joe is still tied to a chair, broken and bleeding, Eve says "someone call the medics...for that poor bastard"...Eve walked over to Joe, shook her head and said "you're a real mess but you'll live." All Joe can say is "he hurt me, he hurt me." And Eve's response is "Yes he did. I'm sorry about that. Maybe next time you start to smirk at a cop you'll remember." That is not the way to speak to someone who was tortured and almost killed. It was snarky and bitchy and not appropriate for a cop or a person who "stands for those who can't stand for themselves." (hide spoiler)].
I love the In Death books - I truly do, and would truly love to reread the first dozen or two, look back at some great mysteries and even better character interactions - one day, maybe - but I do think I need a break for now. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
(Aug) Spending time with Eve and Roarke always puts my in my happy place! This was a good edition to the series, although many of my favorite characte(Aug) Spending time with Eve and Roarke always puts my in my happy place! This was a good edition to the series, although many of my favorite characters were missing or mostly just sidelined - we didn't even have that much Peabody or McNabb, and just a quick glimpse of Mavis and Bella (so cute!). This was not a book that moved the series along all that much, but the bit that it did worked well for Eve.
Still having issues after what went down in Dallas (by the time there are 35 books in a series, it's pretty clear you can't just jump in!), Eve is faced with a bar full of dead people - people who apparently were drugged somehow and went ballistic on one another, violently killing each other in a matter of moments. She senses they are racing against the clock, afraid the perpetrator of the horror in the bar may strike again before they can catch him. As usual, Roarke is able to put aside his running of the universe to step in and help Eve and Co. with the technical details of trying to catch a killer. The story was interesting (I am always amazed that JDR can come up with so many new scenarios) and I was definitely on the edge of my seat a few times - I mean, I knew Eve would figure it out and catch the bad guy in the end, but it's the getting there that keeps me flipping the pages.
There were a few nice scenes. When Eve finally tells Peabody what happened in Dallas and Peabody's reaction - well, it just makes me love Delia that much more. There was also a nice interaction between Eve and Summerset (what does he do all day? Does he ever date? Does he have friends? Wish we could know more about him) - it was nice to see them get along and get a glimpse of their feelings for one another, feelings that are usually hidden behind sarcasm that works well for both of them. I felt it was a bit of a cheat that Summerset basically handed Eve the key to where to look to solve the mystery - if he hadn't worked for her, would she have ever gone down that path?
What I enjoyed the most, besides Eve and Roarke's time together, was how much Mira featured in this book. Eve is having nightmares about her mother and her guilt about what went down in Dallas. A secure woman by day, her insecurities show up in her very vivid dreams. Seeing Mira help Eve figure out how to (unnecessarily) forgive herself, and how she helped Eve even in her dreams, made me smile.
I loved the interrogation scene, only because often these books end somewhat abruptly. I didn't actually think the last 50 pages or so was really necessary - it didn't add much to the mystery and kind of came out of nowhere. But still - Eve and Co. saved the day and lived to fight another day. And I'll be there right beside them, rooting for the good guys and enjoying whatever adventure they bring my way!...more
(Aug) This was fine, nothing special. Lexi left an unhappy home in Colorado to go to college and explore the world. Her decision to leave devastated h(Aug) This was fine, nothing special. Lexi left an unhappy home in Colorado to go to college and explore the world. Her decision to leave devastated her high school boyfriend Austin. Hearts were broken, never really healed, but time moved on. Now, 12 years later, Lexi has come home. She left Chicago after suing her company for sexual harassment. Home for her is her distant and difficult father's family inn, which he ran w/his second wife Kendra. Kendra and Dad are on the verge of a divorce - she's unhappy with the way he treats her, and he's just a drunken jerk. Lexi does not want to be home, but feels the need to come home and help her father manage the inn and make up with his wife. On her first day home she runs into Austin, and while she at first seems unaffected, Austin's heart twinges just being near Lexi. Within a couple of days, they end up in bed together and decide friends w/benefits will work just fine until Lexi is ready to go back to Chicago.
There was something flat about this book. While Lexi and Austin were perfectly pleasant characters, there was nothing special about them or their relationship. I felt we needed to know more about Lexi's time away from Colorado (and what Austin has been up to in the past 12 years as well), and more details about her toxic work environment. There were the usual quirky small town characters peppered throughout the book, and of course Austin, who worked Search and Rescue, was surrounded by beautiful men (and a couple of women too). The book was basically a whole lotta information about how to climb and too much technical jargon for my taste, interspersed with a whole lotta sex. Dad and Kendra were incredibly unpleasant characters, both sisters were not much better, and overall it was just climb/sex/climb/sex until of course Lexi's life is in danger and Austin saves her and ILY happens and, well, you know how it ends. This did not read like a usual PC book. Her historicals are master works of gripping plot and amazing characters and things just flow. Ditto for most of her RS books. Here, however, the writing was almost juvenile in how simple it was - I felt like this was the first book she wrote, that she shoved in a desk drawer and pulled out just to have something published. . The plot was barely there, and while it was an easy, quick read, there was no real substance. It is, however, Pamela Clare and everyone is allowed a less-than among many, many great books. It's not bad, just...kind of blah. The sequel-bait in the last couple of chapters did intrigue me, and I look forward to watching Vic and Eric find their way to a happy ending. ...more
(Jul) Lucien is a talented architect in German-controlled Paris during WWII. He's got a wife, a mistress, and is desperately looking for work. He is a(Jul) Lucien is a talented architect in German-controlled Paris during WWII. He's got a wife, a mistress, and is desperately looking for work. He is asked to a job interview and discovers, much to his horror, that while the job will pay a very large amount, it is a job to create a hiding place for a Jew. Lucien never really thought about Jews, including the Jew who is gunned down in front of him while he is on his way to the interview. He was raised by a Jew hating father, but again, never really cared one way or the other what was going on with them - being asked to wear an identifying star, for example - what's the big deal? Manet, who is paying him for his work, also dangles in front of him a job building a new work plant, a plant that is commissioned by the Germans to build engines for their war planes. Lucien is torn, but the lure of the money, plus the challenge of building a secret hiding place, is too much for him to resist, and thus a partnership is born.
The underlying fear Lucien feels, the terror that at any moment the Gestapo could pick him up, is definitely picked up by the reader. As the chapters progress, we meet more characters - a hateful (and sadistic) German Colonel, innocent children, Lucien's mistress, etc. As more work comes to Lucien, he starts realizing what he's done and what the fallout could really mean. There were a couple of storylines that just disappear - such as the pregnant woman - and others that are just heart-wrenching. There is violence in this book - the torture scenes are pretty brutal - and there were a few times I was sure Lucien or one of the hidden Jews was about to be found out. The end was wrapped up almost a bit too neatly, even for me, but still, I really liked this book. It captivated me and I didn't want to put it down. While I agree with some reviewers here who say the writing was not great (it wasn't bad, it was just a bit flat and simplistic), I still felt the story was enough to outweigh that one issue. After the last several books we've read for bookclub I have not liked at all, I really enjoyed reading something that I truly liked. ...more
(Jul) Caveat...I read an "uncorrected proof" - won in a GR contest (thanks to GR and William Morrow Publishers - so there may have been some edits to(Jul) Caveat...I read an "uncorrected proof" - won in a GR contest (thanks to GR and William Morrow Publishers - so there may have been some edits to what I read before it was finally published.
Home from a mission, all Morgan wants to do is fish and relax. The fishing part is easy; the relaxing is harder since once he is home from his day on the water he is ambushed and almost killed by bullets. Not knowing who is after Morgan, his boss Axel arranges for him to convalesce at the somewhat remote WV home of his former step sister, Isabeau (Bo). He and Bo hate each other and have not been in touch in years, but Axel does not care - he sends Morgan there along with a letter explaining things and offering Bo much needed cash to let Morgan hide and recuperate. Against her better judgement, Bo lets Morgan stay.
The bulk of the book is not suspenseful at all - thus my not listing this as a Romantic Suspense but rather a Contemporary Romance (that has a few suspenseful elements at the beginning and end only). Morgan slowly regains his strength and starts getting to know the people in the small town where Bo is a part time Police Chief (in this state, the police chief is more of a paper-pusher figure head vs. someone who carries a gun and catches bad guys). After some bad business decisions, Bo is in need of cash (I didn't quite get the long winded explanation of what exactly happened to Bo that she lost her business and got stuck owning the house she lives in) and she's while she's happy to have the extra money from Axel, she does not trust what she senses she is not being told by Morgan. Of course, they develop a strong interest in one another, one that after a near-tragedy, lands them in bed. Towards the end the mystery of Who Shot Morgan comes up again (honestly I'd kinda forgotten about it) and that part of the book is reintroduced and wrapped up so quickly it read as almost an afterthought.
This was not the LH of old (Mr. Perfect; Mackenzie's Mountain; After the Night, Open Season, Kill and Tell, Shades of Twilight...) but was better than some of her more recent offerings. If she'd left out the mystery altogether and made this a straight romance or made more of the mystery and left out some of the courtship/small town stuff, it would have read better. The one thing I didn't mention is Tricks. Now, I love dogs, I truly do. A Dog's Purpose is a 5* book for me, as is Watchers. But OMG I started hating Tricks by the middle of the book. She was so smart. So able. So funny. So incredible. No other dog in the world could possibly be as wonderful as Tricks. Everyone loved her. She understood words, could tell time, knew how to preen to get all the attention she deserved. She was not just the star of the book, she was almost the entire book. Bo and Morgan are supporting characters to the wonder that is Tricks. Someone here said they did a search and "Tricks" appears over 500 (!) times in the book. I get it, she's all that and a bag of chips. Except, she really wasn't.
Overall not a bad book, but really kind of a forgettable book - nothing about Bo or Morgan or the storyline stands out enough to make it memorable. In fact, I was reading this, put it down in my car, left town for 2 days, and completely forgot about it for 2 weeks. When I remembered, I could not remember if I'd actually finished it. Found it and realized I was only about half way through.
(Jul) I liked What a Boy Wants - it was fun, sweet, and I enjoyed being inside the mind of Sebastian, aka The Love Doctor. I read that several years a(Jul) I liked What a Boy Wants - it was fun, sweet, and I enjoyed being inside the mind of Sebastian, aka The Love Doctor. I read that several years ago, and don't really remember much about the supporting cast, but this is Jaden's story - Sebastian's bff, and Pris, the girl he likes. Parts of this read as if they were still in junior high school, while other parts were decidedly more grown up than I'd expect for 18 year olds. Most 18 year olds I know don't go off with their girlfriend for a cross country road trip - that seems a bit grown up for middle class suburban kids who are off to college. Not sure how Jaden had the money to pay for all of this, as they spent a lot on gas, food, junk food, and seeing the sights in the various cities.
Jaden has a crappy home life. His dad hates him and is emotionally cruel to him. His mother is a dishrag who allows her husband to cut down her son over and over. He discovers his father is not his father at all, yet all he can hear in his head is his father's cut downs about him. He feels like he is not good enough for his friends, but rather than talk to them, even his bff, he keeps it all inside, which angers Priscilla, who has a crush on him. This is a short book but it is incredibly repetitive - it's just always "why aren't I good enough? why can't Pris like me? why should anyone like me, I'm so awful, i wish my mother loved me, i can't talk to anyone..." It's miserable and depressing and then out of nowhere there is a magical happy ending (because kids w/no jobs - or minimal jobs - can always afford apartments in NYC w/no help). Overall, a waste of time and definitely not a book I'd recommend. ...more
(Jul) Eh, this was only ok. Jenny is a do-gooder lawyer from a notorious gangster family. She gets word that her baby brother - the only family member(Jul) Eh, this was only ok. Jenny is a do-gooder lawyer from a notorious gangster family. She gets word that her baby brother - the only family member she still has faith in - is in trouble, relating to a ship full of women and children that were brought to the country by sex traffickers. Believing he's innocent, she goes to the ship to try and help him. She finds him and hides him and allows him to escape, grabbing and hiding his cell phone from the authorities. She is found by Matthew Ryder, a man who works for the shadowy Committee. There is antagonism between them from the first meeting, along w/, shockingly for Jenny, a healthy dose of sexual interest.
Several weeks later, Jenny shows up at Ryder's door, w/Solidad in tow, a young girl she helped escape from the ship. She demands the Committee help Solidad with a new name, green card, and finding her a job. Ryder agrees just to get Jenny off his back, but as she is leaving the house, bullets fly. Jenny refuses to believe they were meant for her. Ryder insists she and Solidad stay until he figures out what is going on. He also suspects Jenny is hiding something and is determined to figure out what. The rest of the book focuses on the unwanted attraction between the two, Ryder's determination to find out what Jenny is hiding, and the search for the bad guys - a search that takes Jenny and Ryder out of the country and into more danger. One complaint - how did Jenny think she'd recognize the all-important cell phone that was the focus of their search? If it hadn't still been in it's distinctive case, wouldn't it have looked like all other phones? And really - do criminal masterminds keep all their important information on a phone? Something that can easily be lost, stolen, crash? That didn't make much sense to me.
There was nothing inherently wrong with this story. It was just a little flat, not up to the usual AS magic. Ryder was more Alpha than Gamma, even though there is a scene where he has to hurt Jenny (not as traumatic as when it happened in Ice Blue). Jenny kind of annoyed me - I get it, she was an optimist until the end, when she learned that trusting her instincts was a huge mistake. When she could not, even for one moment, in the face of all evidence, give up on those she believed in, she came across as stupid rather than optimistic. The end was wrapped up nicely, and I definitely will continue reading this series - hopefully Remy and Jack will both get their own stories - but while the first book was exciting, this one was more of an easy ride. Good, but not great. ...more
(Jul) 3.5* Look, I get insta-luv. I don't even mind insta-luv. But I just didn't buy it here. Emme and Jacob (Deck to his friends - and bizarrely, to(Jul) 3.5* Look, I get insta-luv. I don't even mind insta-luv. But I just didn't buy it here. Emme and Jacob (Deck to his friends - and bizarrely, to his father - I mean, it's his dad's last name too - I find it weird that his dad would call him Deck) knew each other way back when. Deck dated Emme's bff, but when she broke up with Deck, he lost Emme too. Until the day she bumps into him in town and they reconnect. The first thing that bothered me is that he didn't recognize her, because she lost some weight and did her hair differently. I know, 9 years is a long time - but they were super close (too close, IMO - I'm not the jealous type, but if my boyfriend was hanging out w/my best friend all the time - and they talked all the time - and they spent time w/o me - I'd be a bit put off by the whole thing!), and heck, when I went to my 20 year HS reunion, people I'd not been more than "Hi, how are ya?" in the hallways, who I'd not seen in 20 years, I recognized. And maybe it's because I carry too much weight myself, but I always find it somewhat offensive when a girl physically changes (not that she was huge, but she lost maybe 20-30 lbs - I have friends I see all the time who have lost that much weight and I barely notice) and then all of a sudden the guy is in lust. But that's my problem, I guess. Anyway, they reconnect, and make dinner plans, even though she has a boyfriend. 10 minutes after their meeting, Deck, who is a "super spy" as Emme calls him (he's a sleuthy PI, I think), gets asked to work on a case w/the police - a case where Emme is potentially a suspect, as is her boyfriend. Deck knows she has to be innocent, and goes about proving it so he can get with her. He does not handle it all that well, but while at first Emme (rightly) freaks out, she forgives him and they end up dating and soon after end up in bed.
A pause here to comment on the magical powers of the hero's mighty wang. Now, Emme is not a virgin but she might as well be as she's had only a couple of lovers, and neither has brought her to the Big-O during sex. She's embarrassed about this and sure it must be a fault within her and only after Deck beds her and brings her to the heights more than once does she tell him this was her first non-self-provided for O. Fine. Except that studies show that something like 70% of women don't O during intercourse. Or at least they don't w/o a bit of outside manual stimulation. Often it is foreplay that does it for her and intercourse that does it for him. Yet here (and in sooooo many other romances) it's the fault of all the other men who were selfish or bad lovers or whatever - if they tried hard enough, they would have made it happen. Which is just stupid. And not true.
Anywayyyyyy...so Emme, who really has never had any friends (she was shy in school, dressed poorly, etc.), is sort of taken into the folds of the women of Gnaw Bone (ugh, that name) and Carnal. These are women (and their men) who we've met in earlier books. I like most of them, although to be honest they are all a blur and somewhat interchangeable to me. Her first meet up w/these women she was grilled by Krystal (who I really don't remember) and I have no idea what she is trying to say to Emme other than beware of the badass macho alpha male you are currently hooking up with - don't give him too much power over you. Ok, whatever.
Emme and Deck continue to date and there are relatively few issues between them. But Deck, because he is a badass macho alpha male has hidden powers - including his ability to see inside Emme and know she's hiding stuff from herself. See. Emme was kidnapped (physically unharmed) at age 12 for about 3 days. And as an adult she found the kidnapper (who was jailed but is now out, a harmless old guy) and has befriended him and sees him occasionally. Weird, but I found their relationship kind of sweet. Deck does not know she sees him, but is suspicious just the same. A bunch of slowly-move-the-relationship-forward stuff happens and then Deck's parents come to visit - and Emme forgets, showing up late (and only after Deck called to say Where Are You??). This becomes a big deal. I didn't get why it was a big deal (later I did - she was protecting herself, slowly pulling away from Deck) but honestly, who hasn't forgotten stuff. She got there, she was polite, and his dad was a dick. That whole part of the book was weird to me.
But then the big issue hits the fan - and made my blood boil. Emme tells Deck she does not want to have children, "not even one." His reply "that is a game changer, Emme" was raw and honest and perfect. He says they will figure it out. But when someone does not want children, says they have never wanted children, there is nothing to figure out. The person who wants them either needs to cut his/her losses and move on, or decide if he/she can live w/o kids. It is never ok to pressure someone into having children - it's not like a puppy or moving - things that can be reversed or come to an end - a child is a life long commitment. Yes, it's fair to discuss it "why don't you want kids? have you always felt this way?" but in the end, if someone says no, it's no. Except in romanceland. Right after this bomb goes off, Deck leaves town for business. And Emme goes to talk to her new girlfriends. She tells them she never wanted them and does not have that urge. The right thing would have been for them to support her, encourage her to discuss w/Deck her feelings and leave the decision of where to go from there up to him. Yet when Emme says "...it's always been him for me" Krystal says "it that's so, girl, then maybe you should rethink this kid thing." Emme replies "that's not me." Lauren says "For him can you make it you?" This is probably two of the worst, most horrible pieces of advice I've ever read. You love your man so you should have a baby you don't want to keep him, keep him happy????!!! Emme says "I don't want that to be my life. I never thought about it. Thinking about it, bottom line, it's just not me." They continue to try and convince Emme that Deck will be a great father and family man, how her house will "come alive, filled with babies" and she should reconsider, how if she does not want to carry a baby she should consider adoption or surrogacy, like that would make things better, how there are only so many good men out there to meet and keep. All this just made me so mad - it was such bad advice!
It turns out when Deck was away on business he met up w/his ex (and Emme's ex bff) Elsbeth. Emme is in town to see Harvey (the kidnapper) and she sees Deck and Elsbeth hugging on the street. Does she go up to them to say WTF? No, she turns tail and runs back home, where she packs up her stuff to leave Deck. He finds her the next day and she confronts him about Elsbeth. And his excuse is that Elsbeth heard they were together, contacted him to talk, said she missed Emme and wanted to contact her, and he decided that was not good so he met w/her instead to hear what she had to say. He said Elsbeth wanted to talk, and he figured Emme tends to shut down (which is true) and he knew she was dealing with other things (like not wanting to have his babies), so he didn't want her distracted by anything so he figured he'd deal with it first. Emme gets mad, which I agree with - he should have given her the chance to decide if she wanted to talk to Elsbeth, should not have kept the meeting a secret (secrets tend to destroy relationships). He claims he knows Emme better than she knows herself, he sees how she disconnects from things and he just wanted to protect both her and himself from her using anything she could find to pull away from him. How he does not have his PhD in psychoanalysis is beyond me. I even agreed w/Emme about the windows (she needed new windows in the house she's redoing, she could not afford it, Deck wanted her to have them so he conspired w/her dad to have her dad give her a bonus that was exactly the amount the new windows would cost). He needed to let her be a grown woman, to make her own decisions, not to try and always solve her problems and protect her from life. I know, I know - he was being sweet and caring and in the end it worked out (of course it did) but while I don't consider myself a raging feminist, there was just something about how he was treating a 34 year old woman that did not sit well with me.
The breakthrough Emme needs comes when Deck finds out she's been seeing Harvey. It was a painful, well done scene. Deck and Emme find their way to a well deserved HEA (with an absolutely charming last couple of chapters). However, there was one other scene that read almost like a comedy because it was so ridiculous. She's talking about her new girlfriends, and she says "they told me about Nina getting kidnapped and nearly shot...about Lauren getting kidnapped, stabbed and running for her life...about Lexie being kidnapped and nearly shot...about Faye getting kidnapped and buried alive." I mean seriously? Next to Cabot Cove, this has got to be the most dangerous place in the USA for young women to live.
I know I'm griped my way through this review - but I really did like this book. It was not really a RS as much as a contemporary romance w/a tiny bit of suspense mixed in that really did nothing to add to the story. I definitely liked it more than Jagged, and I really liked Emme, she was smart, she was charming, she did not get on my nerves. ...more
(Jul) For anyone who has read the Maiden Lane series, you know that Val is a blackmailing, vain, selfish, horrible guy whose only one redeeming qualit(Jul) For anyone who has read the Maiden Lane series, you know that Val is a blackmailing, vain, selfish, horrible guy whose only one redeeming quality is he loves his sister. It’s always interesting to see an author take someone she spent books making us hate and turning him into - well, if not exactly a hero, at least a somewhat redeemed guy we learn to love. I always enjoyed scenes w/Val - he was so full of himself, so totally in love with his own person, that I looked forward to reading his story.
At the beginning, we see Val come across his housekeeper Mrs. Crumb, rummaging through his bedroom. After that first run in, where Bridget learns that instead of being on the Continent the last few months, where he was banished, he was instead hiding in his own home. He’s “come home” now, determined to use his blackmailing ways to make sure the King acknowledges him (who knew all it would take would be a Kingly nod in a public park?!) and he can stay, once again a part of Society.
Bridget, meanwhile, has some interesting lineage which goes all the way back to the beginning of the series. She is one of my favorite heroines not only of this series but of the last many books I’ve read. She had a nice enough but overall unfair childhood, but with some help has become the best housekeeper in London at the tender age of 26. She’s been accepted into a Ladies group and is helping a couple of them by finding things Val has that he can use to blackmail them. Val knows Bridget (who he calls his lovely Seraphine) is up to something, he just does not know what.
I enjoyed the many interactions between Bridget and Val. Val had a super shitty childhood and that has made him the flawed man he is today (but I found him quite funny as well!). He also, to me, comes across almost a bit on the Spectrum - he truly does not seem to understand how the world works, why things he says and does are not ok (or does that make him a sociopath?). He seems to believe that what he does he is entitled ot do, yet the time he spends w/Bridget helps him learn the rights and wrongs of life. There is plenty of smexy times between the two - funny enough, as much as Val is naked at first, when it comes to bedding Bridget, he’s always in too much of a rush to get his clothes off.
I was somewhat surprised that he did not get any sort of comeuppance from his past behaviors - from all the blackmail to kidnapping (several times, including once in this book - that came and went w/no fallout whatsoever, which was just weird) - the past two books there was a character who was being blackmailed over his homosexuality (I don’t remember that storyline ever ending). I did love his interaction w/Lord Caire’s daughter. And I was glad to see Bridget’s past catch up with her, to positive results.
This is a definite read for anyone who reads this series; I also think it can stand well enough alone, but definitely reads better w/more experience with the series. Charming Mickey he’s not, but I really did enjoy the book and the wicked Val and Bridget.
Last thing...(view spoiler)[By now readers of this series know the boy Alf is really a girl. However, while we've known this for a while, I thought she was about 12, if not younger - maybe even 9 or 10. I almost fell over when I discovered she is the heroine of the next book (I figured it'd be Hippolyta), because that must mean she is at least 18, and the idea of an 18 year old girl pretending to be a young or even teenage boy just does not compute for me. Plus, she's way too young for her Hero, but I will reserve judgment until I actaully read the book and see how EH explains it all. (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
(Jun) This review is going to be purposefully vague, as I don't want to give away anything. I'm not sure where I came across this book, but it was on(Jun) This review is going to be purposefully vague, as I don't want to give away anything. I'm not sure where I came across this book, but it was on my Nook and it looked like a quick, easy read, so as I was between books I wanted to read, I figured I'd give it a shot. I was right, it was quick and easy. It was also quite different from what I thought it would be, based on the first chapter. In chapter one we meet Lars, a simple man, a chef, and a father. We learn of his background growing up in Minnesota, his falling in love with Cynthia, and becoming a father to Eva. This chapter was quite charming, especially the menu Lars creates to feed his newborn daughter! However, when Eva is 6 months old, double tragedy strikes. The next section is about 11 year old Eva, who is having bullying trouble in school. She's a quiet, quirky kid who has inherited her father's love of food and passion for cooking. Section 3 veers away from Eva and is told from the point of view of her cousin Braque (?!), who finds herself in trouble during her freshman year of college. Eva does make an appearance towards the end of this section, and I figured this was maybe how the rest of the book would be - Eva and various people in her life. Sure enough, the next section we see Eva in high school, with her first boy friend, but like the previous section, it is told more from the boyfriend's point of view, yet Eva is still an important part of what we read. However, from here on out, Eva is more of a peripheral character, barely appearing as we read about various characters who are, at best, distantly related to people in Eva's life. One section, which focused on a grown up Eva's boyfriend's brother, really took me out of the story, as nothing that happened here (brother is a loser, w/a druggie dying mother, and a boring story about deer hunting) really had anything to do with anything, or anything to do with Eva. The last chapter ties things together w/a very loose bow.
I definitely enjoyed the first half of the book more than the second, as I wanted Eva to star in what I thought of as her story. I was not thrilled w/how it ended, exactly, but I am definitely a reader who prefers closure in my reading. One of the best parts of this book is the various recipes scattered throughout. I may have to try a few! Overall, an ok read. ...more
(Jun) This was a charming, quirky, kind of weird story. 7 year old (almost 8) Elsa is the smart, quirky, weird kid who just does not fit in. She's bul(Jun) This was a charming, quirky, kind of weird story. 7 year old (almost 8) Elsa is the smart, quirky, weird kid who just does not fit in. She's bullied at school, and no one listens to her except her quirky, weird grandmother, who is Elsa's best friend. Elsa's parents are divorced - her father has a new family and is a quiet, timid man who does not understand his daughter; her mother is also remarried and pregnant and quite a workaholic, leaving Elsa plenty of time to get into mischief with her grandma, who is dying of cancer. At first I found myself angry with this book, as I felt her mother should have done more to take care of her daughter who was physically and emotionally harassed at school - I hate books w/bad parents. I also found it quite odd that Elsa seemed to be gone from home so often, unbeknownst to her mother. Maybe in Sweden parents are a lot more lax, but I honestly don't know when there was a time when I didn't know where my 7 year old kids were, what they were doing, who they were with. I also know the world is full of precocious children who are wise beyond their years and read at a much higher level than one would expect. However, Elsa ability to read the entire Harry Potter series and access Wikipedia for all her questions struck me as a bit hard to believe. I felt that if Elsa had been 9 I wouldn't have had such a hard time believing all that she did.
Anyway, so Elsa's beloved grandmother is dying, and she leaves for Elsa a letter to deliver to someone. Thus starts Elsa's grand adventure. She meets a scary neighbor who it turns out is not so scary, a scary dog who she grows to love with all her heart, and she learns a lot about her grandmother's life before she was Grandma - the effect she had on people around her, many of whom Else knows as they live in the apartment building with them. There was an almost mystical quality in parts of the book, especially as Grandma had weaved for Elsa magical stories about other lands and many of these stories were told throughout the book. I skimmed most of those as I didn't feel they added much to the pacing of the overall story. I was not expecting to like this as my friend read it and could barely finish it. However, I closed the book with a final feeling of satisfaction, both in how the book ended and how I felt about it.
This was a somewhat polarizing book for our bookclub - many liked it quite a bit and others really could not stand it - they didn't like Grandma, nor did they care for many of the characters. CC - 3.25...more
(Jun) Once again, I finished a book waiting, desperately waiting for the plot to reveal itself, for the story to begin. Once again, I finished a book(Jun) Once again, I finished a book waiting, desperately waiting for the plot to reveal itself, for the story to begin. Once again, I finished a book and wondered why it was written - what was the purpose? I liked JL's The Namesake. Her Interpreter of Maladies was a collection of short stories -some worked, some did not. Here we are back to a single story, spanning 3 generations. It starts w/two brothers in India, and shows them growing up, both very bright students who go to college. While there, the younger brother gets involved in the unrest and turmoil happening in his country (this is explained in great detail, making parts of the book read like a history text). The older brother goes off to American to study and work. The rest of the book jumps between what happens to the brother in the USA, the wife of the India brother, a child, the boy's mother, etc. But it was just words on a page. This happened - then this happened - then this happened. The book felt choppy, as it took me sometimes a few pages to figure out whose story I was reading at the beginning of each chapter. There was no natural transition, and weirdly (and I'm sure there was reason behind it) there was no spoken dialogue - at least, no quotation marks. It made for a disconnected reading experience. I know not all books have to be happy, and not all created characters have to be liked - but why were all the women in this book made to be so selfish and unlikable. I often find that women writers don't write women well, and I don't know why that is. I read this for my bookclub and have no idea what we'll discuss, because over a 40+ year timespan, nothing really ever happens. ...more
(June) I think I read this in about 20 min, or less - it was less than 30 pages, I believe! Girl dragon is an indentured worked for bitchy boss. Girls(June) I think I read this in about 20 min, or less - it was less than 30 pages, I believe! Girl dragon is an indentured worked for bitchy boss. Girls gets turned over to Vampire. He demands one night with her. They have sex, she realizes he's her mate, they declare their love and that is that. Not sure why this was even written - but it was fine, a little piece of sexy fluff. ...more
(May) Just a brief comment about the book - thought I would love it. Paris, books, a bit of romance - what could be bad? Well, turns out that is not t(May) Just a brief comment about the book - thought I would love it. Paris, books, a bit of romance - what could be bad? Well, turns out that is not the magical recipe for success - I found this book incredibly boring. It was, as so many books have been for me lately, a whole lot of nothing. I found it draggy and pointless and yes, there were hints of charm, touches of sweetness here and there, but overall nothing special, nothing I would bother to recommend. I'm sure I missed some symbolism throughout, but I don't care - it was just boring!
(Apr) This was just ok. The premise - a girl from a rich Chicago family is kidnapped, her mother worries about her, as does the detective desperate to(Apr) This was just ok. The premise - a girl from a rich Chicago family is kidnapped, her mother worries about her, as does the detective desperate to find her. The chapters are told as Before and After - before she is found, and after she comes home. I liked the detective's chapters the best, found them the most interesting. The chapters belonging to Colin, the kidnapper, were draggy for the first half of the book - a lot of repetitive boring scenes of he and Mia in the desolate cabin in the remote woods. The story comes together better in the second half, and the ending has a twist that I definitely did not see coming. However, I found the ending a bit too rushed and would have liked that part stretched out a bit more. ...more
(Apr) 1.5* Let me begin by apologizing to those who love this series – and there are tons of you out there. I know what it’s like to truly love a seri(Apr) 1.5* Let me begin by apologizing to those who love this series – and there are tons of you out there. I know what it’s like to truly love a series and be confused by anyone who doesn’t. That said – I really, really did not like this book. I felt it took forever to get through, and the whole time I kept waiting for the story to begin. It never did.
There is no plot in this book. It is what I call a “slice of life” book – and I hate slice of life books! If I had to describe it, I’d say “2 girls grow up poor in Italy surrounded by family and friends and a bunch of inconsequential and non-related things happen that have little to no bearing on anything.” There were way too many characters who did nothing, and the narrator of the story, a teenage girl, is thoroughly unlikeable. She’s supposed to be best friends w/Lena, who everyone likes (why – no idea), but she’s petty, jealous, kind of a bitch to her mother and the boys who like her. She’s smart but doubts herself as she constantly compares herself to Lena and always comes up short. The book felt more dated than late 50s-early 60s. I just didn’t care about any of the characters – didn’t care if they were happy or if they were interesting (IMO, none were – they were all interchangeable and bland).
The ending – I was reading along, and then it just ends. I read a lot of cliff-hanger books, but this just ended so abruptly. I’m sure I was supposed to find great meaning in the ending, but I just kept thinking it needed another few pages, something, anything! I also didn’t like how the beginning starts off with the narrator an older woman – she gets a phone call from Lena’s son, Lena is missing…and then we jump into their childhood and never get back to where it began.
The rest of my Bookclub enjoyed this more than I did and plan to continue the series. I read the blurbs for the other three books and it does not sound like happiness is in anyone’s future – I’ll definitely pass. ...more
(Jun) The first half of this book was a bit of a repetitive drag, but the second half was much more readable. Twins taking each other's place is alway(Jun) The first half of this book was a bit of a repetitive drag, but the second half was much more readable. Twins taking each other's place is always a tricky plot to follow. Here Edward pretends to be his brother Albert, because on a trip together Albert dies, and begs Edward to take his place so his pregnant wife, who has already miscarried several times, does not freak out and lose the baby due to grief and stress. Edward agrees, even though he and Julia have never gotten along. His two bffs notice the difference at "Edward's" funeral, but when he explains, they agree to keep his secret. It's hard for Edward to pretend indifference towards Julia since he's harbored a deep, secret love for her, so secret he never even admitted it to himself. Julia does not really see any difference in her husband, but her months alone while he traveled made her feel bolder, more willing to express her love for her husband. They get frisky, but don't do the deed...all the while Edward and Julia grow closer, even as he tells himself he has to be honest with her. He postpones his confession, first until after the baby is born, then after Xmas, etc. - until they are about to make love and she discovers the truth. She freaks, he leaves, she finds him, she admits she has feelings for him, they don't know how to make it work (because up until about 100 years ago it was illegal for a woman to marry her deceased husband's brother (or a man to marry his deceased wife's sister)). They find the way to make it work and all is fine and they live what we presume to be a happy life together. The most intriguing character of the three Hellions, Viscount Locksley, is up next, and his plot sounds again like something only LH could pull off. ...more