REVIEW OF AUDIO & EBOOK; JULY 11, 2014 Narrator: Charlie David
The Story: I prefer the first book but UFC has a charm all of its own and I did love...moreREVIEW OF AUDIO & EBOOK; JULY 11, 2014 Narrator: Charlie David
The Story: I prefer the first book but UFC has a charm all of its own and I did love the interaction between Miguel and Ethan. What I would have liked, too, is a back story for Miguel. I mean, this ancient vampire has a Latino name so I'd like to know more. There is only a brief explanation by Miguel as to how he got turned but I wanted more about his life after that. As it is, Miguel just pops up out of nowhere. Which is fine at the start, but this is one book where I would have liked an extended flashback, anything to let me know how he came to be such a powerful dude and so feared by the other vampires. He had a sort of fuck-&-suck buddy in Ted and that could have become a Prologue or the flashback but Ted merely hangs around and we don't know about the fuck-&-suck arrangement until towards the end.
Picking up the theme in the previous book, here we have another instance of supposedly impossible pairings: a vampire and a shifter. Vampires are, after all, allergic to shifter blood so no way could a vampire have a shifter as his mate and his chosen (the one he feeds from).
I enjoyed the verbal sparring between the two whenever the topic came to bloodsuckers vs shifters and while I haven't read many vampire/shifter stories, I'm glad I chose these two books. I'll be looking for others now:)
The Narration: it's Charlie David. Love him:) I don't know exactly where Ethan's speech pattern comes from or whether Charlie David nailed it but I do recall having heard people from Tennessee speaking this way and some relatives of friends who are from Louisiana speaking like that (my friends from New Orleans do not speak like that) and I'm guessing it could be a form of Southern Inland (highland) dialect. I'd love for someone to enlighten me. I know I loved the way David performed it.
Miguel's accent I couldn't quite place but it's not 100% Latino or North American. Maybe 40% Latino, 10% North American and 50% medieval Transylvanian? I adored it:D
A sweet, romantic, erotic story and I'd love to have one more - how about a menage among a shifter, vampire and human? With Charlie David narrating, of course!(less)
I second Susan. Go read her review since she says just about everything I feel about this book, this series.
While I preferred Whiskey and Wry's suspen...moreI second Susan. Go read her review since she says just about everything I feel about this book, this series.
While I preferred Whiskey and Wry's suspense/murder thread, Tequila Mockingbird gives me what I love - lots of Morgan family time. It also gave (a little mention only, though) INTESTINES! I suppose there'll be spilt intestines in the 4th book, too? Yuck. The resolution of the suspense thread was weak but it didn't diminish my enjoyment of the story. The Morgan clan have got me in their grip and I'm not letting go.
I hope Donal will be in all the other sequels and I love this family so much I hope it really is a very, very big family - with lots of gay relatives in every kind of defense agency - CIA, FBI, NCIS (oh, please yes...), I don't care as long as the Morgan clan meets at some point.
REVIEW OF AUDIOBOOK & KINDLE; JULY 4, 2014 Narrator: Lesa Lockford
This was rather awful. The writing here had an amateurish tone to it and I found...moreREVIEW OF AUDIOBOOK & KINDLE; JULY 4, 2014 Narrator: Lesa Lockford
This was rather awful. The writing here had an amateurish tone to it and I found it hard to believe Linda Howard wrote it. I knew it was one of her earlier books but when it was so bad, I checked the publication and saw it was 1985 and not the 90s as I'd thought.
I picked this because I enjoyed McNaught's Double Standards very much and Cutting Edge is supposed to have a similar theme. I wanted to compare the two.
I checked what other LHs I've read that were written in the 80s and saw that the handful I read were all rated one or two stars. It's not the plot because I know to expect. It was the writing, and the way the heroine was portrayed in such glowing terms that she ought to be wearing a Ms Congeniality crown and sash. I'll definitely stay away from LHs written in the 80s from now on but what a difference in quality between this and McNaught's (which was published a year earlier in 1984).
Btw, this was a DNF because I couldn't stomach much more than the few chapters I struggled through.
REVIEW OF AUDIO & EBOOK; JULY 3, 2014: 3.8 stars Narrator: Joyce Bean
I had put off reading this for years as I hadn't liked Robards' books that wer...moreREVIEW OF AUDIO & EBOOK; JULY 3, 2014: 3.8 stars Narrator: Joyce Bean
I had put off reading this for years as I hadn't liked Robards' books that were written in the last ten years, apart from a few. I was, therefore, pleasantly surprised that this didn't end up a DNF, especially when the reviews haven't exactly been glowing.
The Story: The book starts off with a burst of action/suspense when Maddie escapes an attempted murder. It sagged somewhat after this despite my enjoying every scene that involved Sam McKade, the FBI special agent, who tasks himself with protecting Maddie from a killer out to get her.
We know Maddie is hiding something but what this is isn't revealed until late in the story. I felt that if more time was given to this aspect and less on Maddie's fledgling company and that annoying pooch, this would have been a solid 4 stars, if not 4.5.
The book only really takes off late in the second half and is what saved it from being a DNF because once we get past Maddie's escape from her would-be killer, all the time is spent on Maddie getting annoyed about having to be under protection. And while I understand her rationale about having to run her company, which has just won a ten-million p.a. contract, it still made for aggravating reading. How I'd love to find a romantic suspense where the heroine gladly co-operates with the cops or the FBI!
Despite these niggles, I found myself interested enough to listen through to the end and was happy for Maddie to find her HEA with McCabe. The action/suspense maintained a good pace 3/4 into the book right up to the end. I felt the Epilogue could have given me more of the H/h after the events instead of that dog! Somewhere in the story, when Maddie lets down her guard and is being open with McCabe, we see her express her longing for a family; for siblings, for a grandmother. These are what McCabe has and he is close enough to them to make it back home for all the major holidays. I could feel Maddie's longing, and later, when I read about what happened to her in her childhood and teens, I was hoping McCabe would take her home to meet his family. I wanted their HEA to tell me McCabe's family became Maddie's. I wanted to be there when he introduces her to them because they sounded interesting even though all McCabe said about them was "My dad's a former cop who retired last year, my mom's a home-maker who secretly rules the roost, and I have two brothers—one a cop, one a lawyer—and a baby sister, who is currently in grad school...". I was immediately thinking homey family meals, lots of loud conversation and laughter, ribbing and the mom fussing over them.
Instead, all I got in the epilogue was a tidbit about the pooch.
The Narrator: I couldn't believe it when Joyce Bean spelt out the word 'UNSUB'! This book was written in 2004 and I'd think everyone, reader or narrator, would already know what an 'UNSUB' is, and know that it's a word, not initials of a phrase. Once was bad enough but there are several mentions of the word and each time I swear I winced when Bean spelt out each letter.(less)
UNRATED DNF REVIEW OF AUDIO & EBOOK; JUNE 30, 2014 Narrator: David Stifel
This started off well for me but after a few chapters, I found Gareth wasa...moreUNRATED DNF REVIEW OF AUDIO & EBOOK; JUNE 30, 2014 Narrator: David Stifel
This started off well for me but after a few chapters, I found Gareth wasan't the type of hero I was looking for. In fact, this series isn't the type of historical romance I was searching the last two days for! I'm rating this 3 stars for what I listened to because those chapters were well-written and engaging. It's just not the type of story and H/h I'm looking for.
The narrator was good. Not as good as Nicholas Boulton, but good enough to make me wish I liked historical romances. On the bright side, the 4th and final book, The Wicked One, sounds good so I'll give that a try. (less)
**spoiler alert** I finished the book, but with a lot of skimming in the second half. I did enjoy the first quarter even though I thought it was a lit...more**spoiler alert** I finished the book, but with a lot of skimming in the second half. I did enjoy the first quarter even though I thought it was a little messy, as if the author hadn't made up her mind where she wanted to go with her characters.
The plot is straightforward and follows the blurb to a T. In fact, the blurb is better written:(
This could have been a very good MM erotic suspense, but failed for me because:
1) 3/4 of the book has Ryan spending intimate time with Petrov, the guy the FBI wants Ryan to spy on. Ryan has more sex with Petrov than with Deke and though there's a lot of hard cocks to look at, Deke only has full-on sex with Ryan once - towards the end of the book. And Petrov never fucks Ryan. The sex scenes are all about bjs and hjs. There are some good erotic scenes, though.
2)The author has Ryan fall for Petrov even while he's already attracted to Deke. I liked this because I thought there'd be some complexity to the relationship and plot: rentboy, FBI boyfriend and Russian villain triangle? I'd love to see how that plays out. Unfortunately, after taking me through 80+% of the book with Ryan in sex scenes with Petrov, telling me Ryan has feelings for Petrov, have Petrov say 'I love you' to Ryan...Petrov simply gets arrested and that's it. No more Petrov. W.T.F. Why? Why paint Petrov as a bad guy with a soft heart for Ryan, to tease with the hint of complex flavors to the man and his relationship with the MC then just drop him cold?
3) Ryan's reason for taking on the task of bringing his best friend's killer to justice could have been made more compelling. As it is, Rocco is merely a mention in the book and I couldn't feel or even understand Ryan's need for avenging his best friend and fellow rentboy's murder. Ryan wants very much to get out of the business. He wants to go to college. One of his ex-customers, Gregory, for reasons we will never know, decides to be the Good Samaritan and takes Ryan (and a girl, Gina) out of the sex industry, giving Ryan a job in his organic grocery store and offering to meet Ryan’s college fees dollar-to-dollar. ‘Saint’ Gregory even declines Ryan’s overtures for sex because Gregory's generosity comes with conditions - Ryan is not to go back to his old life. Which brings me to Gregory –
4) Like Petrov, Gregory’s character is developed up to a point, a certain image is formed in my mind, he is interesting enough to make me suspicious of his motives (and yes, there is more to “Saint” Greg)…then poof! He ends up like Petrov. Just removed from the story.
5) Ryan is, himself, full of contradictory behavior. A lot is mentioned about Ryan’s dread of having to go back to the sex clubs, which the FBI undercover job requires. Yet, when he’s at the Dungeon 69 he voluntarily hops up on the bar counter and starts an erotic dance, guaranteed to get every dick in the place standing to attention. Ryan knows if he starts dabbling in his old life, Gregory will cut off his support but Ryan still does, of course. Not just for Rocco’s sake, but for Deke, or Cowboy Agent, as Ryan has nicknamed him….because he’s fallen for the Fed. Why? How? They’d just met and Deke was playing the jerk with Ryan because Deke is so pussy-whipped by Serah it’s not funny. His superior, Serah, is right old bitch under the guise of wanting to redeem Deke yet she’s the only character who makes sense to me.
These are the parts I found fault with but the sad thing is that I did find the book interesting enough to finish and am exasperated that the author left me with half-woven patterns in this tapestry. Each character was fascinating enough and the author thought so enough to create interesting threads. So why just drop each thread cold? Even after this right old mess of a story which ends abruptly in an HFN, I am left thinking what a waste. The BDSM is run-o-mill. Nothing you won’t find in any other BDSM-themed book but I think (I may be wrong since I’m not a fan) BDSM themes are not about the toys and paraphilia but about the relational dynamics. This is what I mean when I say this was lacking in follow through.
What did I like? An attempt to write an erotic suspense:D I want more of these but with proper follow-through of the characters and finish. I liked the grittiness and that no punches were pulled where the description of the dead body was concerned - it fit with the type of story this was even if I felt it was a little too gory for my taste. I liked when Deke and Ryan finally had sex. Just one sex scene but it was good and one good one is way better than ten boring ones.
Perhaps a sequel is being planned and the MCs will have found themselves then. I need Deke to get his career on track and I want to see Ryan and Deke make a life together.
Conclusion: I love undercover themes and this one had everything I could want - eroticism and suspense. I am interested enough in the story and the characters to want to read a sequel. (less)
REVIEW OF AUDIO & E-BOOK; JUNE 20, 2014 Narrator: Tristan James
This was just plain boring. If it weren't for Tristan James narrating, I wouldn't ha...moreREVIEW OF AUDIO & E-BOOK; JUNE 20, 2014 Narrator: Tristan James
This was just plain boring. If it weren't for Tristan James narrating, I wouldn't have gotten as far as I did - about 65%. It may have livened up a little after I quit but, honestly, I don't care.(less)
I enjoyed this. At first, it felt like a straightforward gay romance but further in, I realized there were layers. I was surprised and not unpleasantl...moreI enjoyed this. At first, it felt like a straightforward gay romance but further in, I realized there were layers. I was surprised and not unpleasantly so.
Despite agreeing with most of the points raised in other reviews about why this book didn't work for them, they weren't major ones for me. I think it's because I was already enjoying what I thought was a simple straightforward MM romance - fake boyfriend ends up being the real deal is one of my fav tropes - and when it started to veer off and become more complex than first met the eye, I didn't mind at all.
What made me unable to give this 5 stars is because I felt the author could, should, have given me more and not wrap things up so cavalierly. Why? Because while Alec is a WYSIWYG kinda guy, Dylan has a garage-ful of baggage he needs to deal with. Even though I ended up dispensing with labels for Dylan (and this story - GFY, OFY, bisexual, bicurious, biconfused...), he did have real and deeply-rooted issues which, having been brought into the story, deserve more time and respect. At nearly 70K words, some readers may have found it long but I'm used to, and prefer, books that are at least 90K and this was one book I wanted to be longer, if it meant dealing with Dylan's issues and giving the couple an HEA or HFN I could believe in.
As it is, I felt that Dylan and Alec simply picked up again where they left off just so that they could continue having mind-blowing sex. That, in itself, meant neither wanted to deal with Dylan's commitment phobia in any meaningful and lasting way; it meant that relationship problems can magically go away as long as you have good or great sex. We know it doesn't. We know the great sex is the first thing that goes out the window when those repressed issues start rearing their ugly heads.
I can still give this 4 stars because for what I did get, I enjoyed reading. To me, the inconsistencies mentioned could be explained - Dylan so so busy but suddenly have all the time in the world is because it was nothing more than his avoidance mechanism. Eventually, this comes down more and more as he starts to fall for Alec. Noah, my favorite, acted like a typical friend who cared very much for Dylan and Alec. I found his ambivalence towards their relationship very understandable and typical.
I thought there was so much here in this book that I wished were explored more fully and begs for a sequel - if Ms Jaymes had not left Alec and Dylan with that neatly bow-tied HFN because I take that literally - for now: it won't last to the next sex scene in my estimation.
Rating conclusion: 4 stars for the book but 2 stars for the unrealistic, non-credible HFN.
REVIEW OF EBOOK; JUNE 14, 2014: 2 and a half stars
I started on the Lucy Kincaid series yesterday and, to be honest, wasn't expecting much because I'd...moreREVIEW OF EBOOK; JUNE 14, 2014: 2 and a half stars
I started on the Lucy Kincaid series yesterday and, to be honest, wasn't expecting much because I'd read her Predator trilogy and didn't like them. Since I don't usually bother with series novellas, this rather so-so start to the series didn't put me off. I found this novella very confusing as far as where it fitted in the series. It's mainly the fault of the FBI interview that is included at the end of the novella. It threw me off completely since I'm coming to the series 100% new and clueless as to who's who and the events surrounding the characters.
For other newbies to the series, this might help:
Correct timeline (as I understand it): Love is Murder takes place a year before Book 1. As the blurb says - Twenty-four year-old Lucy is taking a vacation with her brother, Patrick. She's just broken off with her boyfriend, Cody, and will be submitting her application that summer to join the FBI. That process, in itself, will take up to a year. Meanwhile, Lucy is an intern at a DC medical examiner as well as volunteering at a victim’s rights group.
There is some mention in the novella of Lucy having suffered horribly from an abduction when she was 18, which resulted in Patrick being left in a coma following his injury after the rescue attempt of his kid sister. This abduction, if I'm not wrong, is covered in Fear No Evil, Book 3 of the No Evil series.
There is a rather ho-hum murder mystery woven in here and I'm left wondering what was the point of this novella. I'm going to assume it's to show Lucy's introduction to her first crime-solving experience as she figures out who the killer of Vanessa is and wraps it all up nice and neat.
....FBI Special Agent Lucy Kincaid here we come!
I could have done without this prequel and the FBI interview as it didn't add anything to the series but only served to confuse me. The interview takes place after Book 1, Love Me to Death because during the interview, Lucy tells her interviewers, "Sean and I haven’t been seeing each other for long. I filled out the initial application a year ago.". At the start of Book 1, Sean and Lucy haven't started dating yet. They only know each other casually because Sean works with Lucy's brother in their private security company, Rogan-Caruso-Kincaid. It is only at one-third through Love Me to Death that Sean kisses Lucy and when he takes her out on their first date.
This FBI interview would have been better if included in Book #1 rather than Book #0.5.(less)
REVIEW OF AUDIO & KINDLE; JUNE 16, 2014 Narrator: Ann Marie Lee
The Story: convoluted for most of the book, until the last few chapters. Lots of dif...moreREVIEW OF AUDIO & KINDLE; JUNE 16, 2014 Narrator: Ann Marie Lee
The Story: convoluted for most of the book, until the last few chapters. Lots of different characters ala Karen Rose, aimed at confusing the reader while giving the impression that it's a serious police procedural - which I suppose it is. Just that it didn't make for interesting reading.
I've found there are, generally-speaking, two main types of books involving police procedurals - 1) the ones where the perp is more or less known early on and the story focuses on how the good guys catch the bad guy; or, 2) as in the case of this book, the author leads you through a maze of characters, past events and present cases, then out of seemingly nowhere, the perp pops up and he's someone whose name was not mentioned until he's identified in the last lap of the story.
I don't mind either one because, for me, it is the telling of the story that I'm interested in rather than solving the mystery. As such, if I'm led into a maze with no interesting stops to refresh my interest, I start to wilt, as I am right now in this heatwave. It is the reason why I read Romantic Suspense - I need the romance thread as a time-out from the technical data and investigative procedures, unless I'm being taken out on the field. Otherwise, I get grumpy and claustrophobic stuck at the desk job going through the mounds of info and analyzing it.
Unfortunately, in this book, the romance between Sean and Lucy is so bland, it hardly registers with me. I felt nothing when they both start to date because they're already friends so there's no 'thrill of the chase'. They move from friends to lovers without causing me the slightest bit of apprehension or anticipation. Kinda DOA as far as the romance is concerned. Since I'm already finding the first half rather tedious, I ended up being very disappointed that I couldn't even look to a delicious or fun romance to make up for the fatigue that was settling in.
The Prologue sets the book up well enough - this guy, Morton, is killed during a meet that, obviously, went wrong for him. The majority of the book is then spent on trying to find out who killed Morton and why. All they know is that Morton was the right-hand man for Adam Scott, a vicious killer who ran both a legal and illegal pornography business, specializing in online sex videos. Scott was killed during a confrontation with the Feds six years ago but it seems that with Scott dead, Morton, newly-released from prison, is planning to re-create the enterprise he ran with Scott. Naturally, the Feds want to find out more about what Morgan was up to and why he's dead.
While the Feds attempt to fill in the gaps here (presumably for their case report to close properly and look good), Lucy Kincaid's presence in the story is justified by her having a stalker. We know, from the internal monologues of the stalker's mind, that he's connected to the murders of other girls but how this is connected to the online sex video ring, is unclear until the perps' identity is revealed.
As I mentioned earlier, this isn't some momentous Big Reveal and not worth trying to figure out. Some murder mysteries are intriguing and keep me interested, wanting to solve it or guess who the killer is. Not so this book. This is a long mish-mash of historical and technical data, endless characters, a weak romantic element that would have been better if left out so I wouldn't have bothered to pick up this book and suspense purists wouldn't be bitching about it being there.
The last couple of chapters are about the only place where the action takes place. Before this, the book just simmers gently, never quite reaching boiling point.
I'm sad to say this book has made me change my mind about following the series. If the romance thread had been interesting - as I find Karen Roses's police procedurals are, except for one or two, I would not be dropping this series after one book. As it is, I'll be happier sticking to KR and dealing with just one author's penchant for drowning me in secondary characters and police procedures simply because her heroes are far sexier, more intriguing and Rose doesn't use "penis" in sex scenes. 'Penis' may be the acceptable word back in the previous century but it sounds awkward and puritanical these days if it's in a sex scene. It sounded absolutely odd when narrated in an audiobook by a high-pitched, breathy narrator, as it is in this case.
I wouldn't recommend Love Me to Death as an introduction to Brennan's books since the backdrop to the plot revolves around the abduction of young teeenage girls for sex and snuff movies, of which Lucy Kincaid was a victim, and survivor. Better that the book which covers Lucy's back story be read first - Fear No Evil, the final book in the No Evil trilogy. Without reading that book, you will be left feeling as if you're walking right into the middle of an ongoing story in Love Me to Death.
The Narrator: Ann Marie Lee has far too young a voice for a serious FBI thriller like Brennan's books. She made Lucy sound like a breathless teen at times and as for her male voices...
A different narrator, Kate Udall, is used from the 4th book onwards and she has a lower, more mature register. I might be tempted to try one for lack of anything else.(less)
REVIEW OF AUDIO & EBOOK; JUNE 11, 2014 Narrator: Jan Maxwell.
The Story: Not worthy of SB's name. I find it very hard to believe it was written by t...moreREVIEW OF AUDIO & EBOOK; JUNE 11, 2014 Narrator: Jan Maxwell.
The Story: Not worthy of SB's name. I find it very hard to believe it was written by the same person who wrote Envy (first published 199) a year before this book (first published 2000).
This was so bad much of the time, as I listened to it, I was wondering why SB would, could, come up with an idea that's so hackneyed (twins!), and do it so poorly. Reading my brief review below, I'm now wondering why I said I liked it, albeit not as much as SB's other books. My suspicion is that, having come up with a winner like Envy the year before, SB tried too, too hard to match Envy's success and, as a result, overdid things. Worse, her instruments of choice - twins switching places and evil cult leader - are so trite and poorly-executed that I was pissed off at Ms Brown (and her editor) throughout the book for allowing this piece of rubbish.
I don't mind twins-romances but because they are SO predictable, IMO they should only be used for straight-up romances and never for murder mysteries. Heck, mysteries, period. In every instance of stories involving twins, they always switch places so where's the mystery?
Well, SB thought she could provide a little twist here. Unfortunately, it wasn't much of a twist because the way SB contrived it made it unrealistic. If you have read this then go ahead and read my spoiler but if you haven't read this book and plan to, please note my spoiler is a major one and reveals how SB executed her 'switch' plot. DON'T READ it if you don't want to be spoilered!
(view spoiler)[Melina has to escort celebrity astronaut, Christopher Hart, to a function where he’s receiving an award. Melina thinks her twin, Gillian, needs a diversion in her life at the moment and hits on the idea of Gillian trading places with her. Even Gillian finds the idea idiotic – “You haven’t given me one good reason why you won’t go.” And that’s absolutely true – SB doesn’t give us a plausible reason. If Gillian had wanted the chance to meet Hart (seen his pic and thinks he’s hot; hopes to get in his pants, etc), it would have been believable but Gillian was dead set against it.
The story moves on and we are led to believe (operative word “led”) that Gillian stuck to her decision not to go in Melina’s place. Well, that is NOT what happens, which is The Big Reveal at the end of the story: Melina did call Gillian up again after the reader is led to believe nothing became of her hare-brained idea and Gillian did end up going in Melina’s place.
Gillian and Hart end up having wild, monkey sex then she leaves his hotel room, ostensibly for home. BU-UTT…when she arrives home, she finds Melina sleeping in her bed! So Gillian decides to go to Melina’s house to sleep instead. W.T.F.? Why? Why was Melina even sleeping in Gillian’s house? Because Melina can’t be bothered to drive back to her own house, Gillian lets her sleep in her (Gillian’s) bed and Gillian drives to Melina’s house to sleep instead. Next morning, the cops are waking Gillian up at Melina’s house to tell her that her sister has been murdered. Of course, neither the cops nor the reader is told Melina was sleeping over at Gillian’s so we are led to believe the dead woman was Gillian. BU-UTT...Gillian is alive and kicking, and maintains her charade until the showdown with the evil cult leader at the end.
Weak links like that irk me because I do expect the author, especially an experienced one like SB, to come up with more plausible explanations. I don’t mind done-to-death themes like twins, or amnesia, but if you’re going to pick an old, predictable plot device, please be clever and respect attention to detail. If there was a good, believable reason for Melina to have slept in Gillian’s house, I could buy it but there wasn’t. Nobody switches homes just because she’s going to a function in someone else’s place. It wasn’t as if Gillian’s plan was to bring Hart back home to seduce him so “home” had to be part of the charade. This wasn’t some undercover op, please.
But let’s say, the reader was given a plausible reason for Melina sleeping in Gillian’s house that night, there was still no acceptable, believable reason for Gillian to leave and drive to Melina’s. The twins, being identical, shared a closeness that bordered on telepathic, according to Gillian. That being the case, it would have been natural for the two women to share the bed, wouldn’t it? And if Gillian only had a single bed, rather than the expected queen-size bed, there's always the couch. Absolutely stretches the limits of rationality to have Gillian drive to Melina's house to sleep.
This one, single weak link ruined the entire plot for me because, IMO, it was critical to the plot. Making the reader believe it was Melina who died, not Gillian, was the main objective. Otherwise, why bother to lead the reader on? If that was the objective, then it failed miserably because it doesn’t take a genius to know Gillian didn’t die. It took Hart, the hero (not that he did anything much in the story) ¾ of the book before he suspected what was really happening but 9 out of 10 readers would have guessed before they even started. That’s how predictable “twins” plot devices are. (hide spoiler)]
That's my rant for the day.
As for Hart, he doesn't qualify as an MC, much less, the hero. The man that caught my attention was FBI special agent, Hank Tobias. Hart was just some celebrity Gillian happened to have sex with and we have Hart tagging along the rest of the book because he had such great sex with Melina (who was really Gillian) he feels this attachment to her and must find out who killed her. Oh, and also because he's having these inexplicable bouts of desire for her twin sister, Melina (who is now really Gillian).
“Jeez, this gets confusing,” Lawson remarked.
Not really. It appears so only because the reader was horribly and disrespectfully manipulated here.
That said, SB is still my favorite author of all time. I've reread all my favorites because when she's good, she's excellent. When she's just average, she's still better than, say, Nora Roberts or Linda Howard. For me, that is. The Switch is merely an aberration and I love SB's work enough to dismiss it and Play Dirty. I've had so many hits with SB that no other RS author can match her record, though, I have to add that her older books are much more riveting all round, than her later ones. I shall block The Switch from my mind.
I can't wait for her next, Mean Streak, out this August.
The Narrator: I didn't mind her this time round but I did have to psych myself into accepting a female voice that's not in the class of the late Anna Fields. I believe it also helped that I had Angela Dawe's high-pitched, teenager-whine in Tiffany Snow's Kathleen Turner to prep me. In any case, it was very difficult to distinguish between the male and female characters so Maxwell is one more female narrator that makes me opt for males because my ears find the latter do their female characters far better than the females do their males.
REVIEW OF AUDIOBOOK MAY 2013: 2 STARS Narrator: Jax Maxwell
I liked the print version which I read years ago though not as much as other SBs. Still, I expected it would do well in audio. It didn't. The narrator was Not Good. Her voice is thin and a little whiny and after a few chapters I couldn't stand it anymore.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
REVIEW OF AUDIO & EBOOK; JUNE 5, 2014: DNF Narrator: Stephen Lang Edition: Audible Audio
This was a reread, and first-time on audio. It was a dnf rat...moreREVIEW OF AUDIO & EBOOK; JUNE 5, 2014: DNF Narrator: Stephen Lang Edition: Audible Audio
This was a reread, and first-time on audio. It was a dnf rather early on because there were all these other characters being dumped on me at the start - each one becoming a heart donor. Again, background filler for the plot but having come from struggling with SB's 2013's Deadline, I wasn't in the mood to put up with the same thing in a 1994 book.
I read this in paperback when it came out and found it average. I'll stick to the 3-star rating for Goodreads seeing as I can't remember any of the details. What I did reread, before abandoning it yesterday, is worth only 1-2 stars today.(less)
REVIEW OF AUDIOBOOK; JUNE 3, 2014 Narrator: Dennis Redfield.
One of the best SB's I've read. Nothing she's written in recent years can match this 1999 m...moreREVIEW OF AUDIOBOOK; JUNE 3, 2014 Narrator: Dennis Redfield.
One of the best SB's I've read. Nothing she's written in recent years can match this 1999 murder mystery.
The MCs are flawed, vulnerable and fighting for survival - Hammond Cross, for his career, Dr Alex Ladd, for the same and her life. My thoughts about Hammond ran along the lines of 'not another think-with-my-dick hero', "it's black and white, dickhead!" and "you just met her, how can you be so besotted!" so in a way, Hammond Cross, currently the Special Assistant Solicitor of Charleston's DA's office, is not your traditional or formulaic romance hero. He knows he's being stupid but can't fight it; he knows it's a career-ender yet he chooses that route. He's human, but he's also intrinsically good. Therein lies Hammond's dilemma and his battle against his feelings for Alex and doing what's right.
Alex, our heroine, is the successful psychologist who battled her own way out of an abused childhood. Her encounter with Hammond at the fair where they dance gazing into each other's eyes, is reminiscent of Cinderella running away at the stroke of midnight, leaving Prince Charming to wonder who this stranger is that has captivated him. Only in this case, Prince Charming manages to make Cinderella change her mind mid-flight and end up in his cabin having sex all night long. In this case, too, Prince Charming turns out to be a knight in tarnished armor who, instead of riding to Cinderella's rescue, has to build an airtight case against her that will get her the death penalty, if he does his job.
While Hammond Cross' character is more clear-cut and WYSIWYG, Alex, by contrast, has secrets. Big, bad secrets that come back to bite her in the worst way so that even the chance encounter between her and Hammond at the fair is not what it seems.
The secondary characters, in particular, Davee (the victim's widow), Smilow (the lead detective), Steffi (Hammond's lover and colleague) are all well fleshed out as is Alex's half-brother, Bobby Trimble. Davee and Smilow have a history and it left me sad because I liked Davee more than any other character, even the heroine. I particularly detested Steffi even though she's very smart, highly perceptive and a great investigator. I don't know why she's a lawyer; she'd have done better as Smilow's partner than the assistant DA that she is. I detest her because I hate that the hero, flawed as he may be, would be having a sexual relationship with such an unlikeable piece of work. I still hate it even though Hammond breaks it off with her immediately upon his return from his cabin. Throughout much of the book, I couldn't help wishing Steffi would get offed next.
This 1999 book stands up very well despite it being almost 15 years since it was written. I did not find it dated at all, unlike one reviewer here, and also recommend that if you haven't read this book, not to read the review here that contains a spoiler because the reviewer reveals who the murderer is. Most times, reviewers use the spoiler tags to comment on a significant event or detail BUT NOT the identity of a perp. In the case of The Alibi, I rec that you not spoil the story but sit back, enjoy the mystery and investigation, and how Hammond chooses the course that lets him be true to himself, even if it means losing his shot at the top post.
Hammond's and Alex's romance is poignant at times and I was emotionally-invested in it despite the story being more of police procedura/suspense. I felt Alex's wistfulness as she expressed her wish to Hammond and his response.
Alex: “I was thinking what it would be like to dress up and go out on a date with you. To dinner. A movie. Out in public and for all the world to see.” Hammond: “Maybe. Someday.”
Plain, simple words. No literary brilliance here but served its purpose.
That also sums up my feelings about The Alibi.
Oh yes, the Narrator. Dennis Redfield did a very good job in terms of pacing and expressiveness. I could have done with more differentiation between male and female, though, so in that respect he doesn't make the list of fav male narrators. I don't like his voice either so I wish this book, in particular, I would have loved to have narrated by Slezak or Gigante, even Wopat whose only book I have is The Crush.(less)
REVIEW OF AUDIO & EBOOK; JUNE 1, 2014: 4 1/2 STARS Narrator: Stephen Lang
I gave up on the audio halfway through (Lang always makes me drift off and...moreREVIEW OF AUDIO & EBOOK; JUNE 1, 2014: 4 1/2 STARS Narrator: Stephen Lang
I gave up on the audio halfway through (Lang always makes me drift off and start thinking about other things like what to eat for dinner...) and I read the rest of the book, after I backtracked a few chapters.
I'd tried to listen to the audio several times but I have psychological block where this narrator is concerned. I've also tried to read this book, once when I bought the paperback back in 2005 but never went past one chapter, and a couple more times uploading it on my e-reader but never starting.
I'm glad I persisted, even ditching the audio in favor of the ebook, because I ended up enjoying CF very much. The romance fans will, most likely, find it lacking in the romance department whilst the suspense fans will find it has too much. Then there's those who will object to the fact that Ben and Lilli have sex after knowing each other only two days, totally dismissing the fact that they'd met months ago and were already attracted to each other.
The secondary characters aren't just wallpaper. They have significant roles, which is what made this read like a classic small-town romantic mystery. I loved that I was not made to go into the serial killer's mind or his kills ala Karen Rose, Debra Webb, Cynthia Eden, et al. It's so passe now and I was so happy to have this romantic mystery minus the blood and gore. How I long for more of these old-style romantic suspense that aren't inundated with datelines every few paragraphs!
But, I won't give it 5 stars because I had to reread some pages, having to flip back and forth between one chapter and the next because SB intersperses the cabin scenes with the town scenes. Most times, this did not present a problem but it did when I'm in the middle of Lilli's ruminations over her attraction to Ben, recollecting the time they first met and how she'd already fallen for the man she'd gotten to know, even if superficially; Lilli reflects back about the one kiss Ben gave her the night before and since there was no mention of any kiss then, I had to go back to see what I missed. It's not there. We only know there was a kiss because Lilli reflects on it 2 chapters down the line. I did not like the discontinuity here and strongly feel Lilli's reflections ought to have been brought forward to the immediate chapter after the kiss. Better still, have it all there on-page. It's annoying to read about stuff that are not mentioned until chapters later. It makes me think I missed it and how did I, etc. That's my only gripe, though.
It has a sweet epilogue - something like that would have absolutely satisfied me in Lethal! No need for 'I love you's or marriage proposals but a solid HEA nonetheless.
There is only one sex scene, in case you prefer more. I prefer less to more so no complaints here from me. (less)
REVIEW (SORTA) OF AUDIO & EBOOK; JUNE 4, 2014 Narrator: Aletha George.
I know it's guys talking and somewhere, somehow, the F word will pop out but...moreREVIEW (SORTA) OF AUDIO & EBOOK; JUNE 4, 2014 Narrator: Aletha George.
I know it's guys talking and somewhere, somehow, the F word will pop out but this book, it looks like it's Ms Byrd's favorite word. I love that word, too, but it doesn't mean I want 265 of them (and its variations) in a single book.
Yes, it's a man talking and a man thinking, but with 8 'fucks' & 'fuckin' in a brief prologue, I can't handle coarseness as well:
"...until he’d buried his face between her legs and learned if her pussy was even half as delicious as she looked." affected me more than Lkay ❇✾The one-click buy button addict❇✾'s """God, Reese I love you. Now ask me again if I want to fuck you in the ass." "Do you?" She whispered. "Say the words, Reese. You know how much I love it when you talk dirty." "All right," she murmured, "Sheriff Hudson, sir, would you like to fuck me in the ass this morning?"
The above did Lkay in but was rather mild and "regular" for me though it could be because I read a lot of MM so ass-fucking talk is normal! Lkay's review summed up my own thoughts on the book very nicely, though, but I can't be as kind and generous as she is and would give this book half star if I could. It was just plain horrible for me. Reading it would have been bad enough. Listening to it was torture. I gave up on the audio and skimmed through the ebook to see if there was any real suspense in those supposed RomanticErotic Suspense but gave up completely halfway through when there's nothing but sex and F words.
Surely there's someone out there who can write erotic suspense; a gritty, serious (as in Karen Rose serious) murder/police procedural but with explicit sex? I'm so desperate for one that I'm tempted to take one of my fav Karen Rose books and insert graphic, explicit, down-and-dirty sex scenes in it!
...for my private reading pleasure only, of course.(less)
I'd been put off reading this since I stumbled on it back in April 2012 when it was still a WIP because of comments th...moreREVIEW MAY 31, 2014: 4 1/2 stars
I'd been put off reading this since I stumbled on it back in April 2012 when it was still a WIP because of comments that it was "too long" and "takes a lo-onng time for anything to happen'.
I agree with the first one - like almost all free online fiction written by non-professionals, CP could have been cut down by a few thousand words. At over 250,000 words, two or three thousand removed won't make much of a dent. I'd use those for an epilogue instead, because I have very few complaints about this very-engaging bodyguard story. I'd go so far as to say it's the best MM bodyguard romance I've read:)
I have no problems, whatsoever, with the length of time it took Ryder to agree to have sex (the penetrative kind) with Luca because the story flowed at a great pace with the action-suspense thread filling in the parts where Luca and Ryder come to an impasse re. the sex-with-your-bodyguard dilemma. Earlier in the story, I was distracted by the info-gap regarding why Luca needed so much security around him. While this question is answered later, I wish the author had addressed this early in the story.
I also wanted an epilogue because after a quarter million words, the story ended rather abruptly, as if Ms Kingsbridge just got tired and wanted it over and done with. It ends with nothing different between Luca and Ryder than what I'd already been given from the halfway point - both, once again, in their post-sex haze. The only difference is that Ryder is finally willing to call Luca his 'boyfriend'. That's not enough for me. I know they are in love with each other and I strongly feel both need to say those words. I don't always need these 3LW in my romances, but I know that when an author makes me read 200,000 words of a Romance that's filled with angst and thriller-type action, I'm not being unreasonable to feel I need that emotional/psychological resolution between the two leads to be expressed in more than just explicit sex. I wasn't happy with this in Tinnean's original Mann of My Dreams, which was a whopping 338,000+ words and I was still made to go to those pesky Sidebars, Complications; Tale #9 (no longer available online) to get my 3 Little Words, and even then it was an indirect declaration:(
Another reason for the epilogue is Mrs D'Amato. She's a key figure in this whole drama and I wanted to see the MCs resolve a big issue (IMO) - is she accepting of her son's bodyguard being more than just a fuck buddy (for lack of a better term and not giving away spoilers)? The dynamics between mother and son were addressed satisfactorily for me; but not between Mrs D'Amato and Ryder, her employee.
These two - cutting out 2-3 thousand words and giving me an epilogue to address the points I mentioned, are the only "negative" comments I have. Other than that, I enjoyed CP very much. It had no grammatical errors that I noticed, only one incorrect use of a word but which I can't even recall what, exactly, and hey, it kept me reading even though I skimmed some of the sex scenes and much of the Ryder/Andy scenes. This is a story I'd be happy to pay for, compared to much of what's being churned out today.(less)