Let me just say this - if this guy existed in real life, the woman he ended up with would have no friends.
She would be liAnother freebie from Amazon.
Let me just say this - if this guy existed in real life, the woman he ended up with would have no friends.
She would be like the woman all of us know who is constantly having to explain or apologize for what a complete DICK her husband is. Sure, sure, he loves her to the point of distraction (obsession?) but he's a complete asswipe to everyone around her. So possessive/controlling/desperate. Of course, all of the tortured desperate love that he feels for her can't make a girl feel anything but cherished, right? When your man can't hold you tight enough, have you close enough, fuck you hard enough?
It was a little too much for me. I couldn't help but imagine their relationship a few years into their HEA, thinking that if he doesn't get all that emotion sorted out he'll start using her as a punching bag. I was also not a big fan of the author's writing style in this novella - lots of very short sentences. That are very dramatic. And used to make a point. But can also get very tiresome.
Fans of OTT tough guy Heroes will enjoy this steamy little bit tremendously. I'm going to use the 3-book rule for this author and try some of her other stuff.
It's been awhile since I've picked anything up by la Nora, and it was clear by a couple of pages in that I was reading the work of a polished, establiIt's been awhile since I've picked anything up by la Nora, and it was clear by a couple of pages in that I was reading the work of a polished, established author. (Yet ANOTHER reason I have got to stop picking up those Kindle freebies on Amazon!)
She is sticking to a formula that works for her - the laid back, laconic wit of the handsome small-town cop (of course, he used to be a big-city cop until something brought him back home), the danger trailing the heroine to his backyard, instant attraction between the two with the heroine fighting it every step of the way...She's pulled it off for, what is it, 200 books now? Even if you don't like Nora Roberts, you have to admit she's built a pretty good widget.
Anyway, the fresh take on the trope she's pulled out of her hat this time is that the heroine is, shall we say, different. I struggled to put my finger on it for the first 1/3 of the book, and BAZINGA! It hit me. NR has created a female version of Sheldon Cooper.
That gave my enjoyment of the book a COMPLETELY different perspective, and one that Ms. Roberts would probably not appreciate.
All in all, a great lawn chair read - nothing particularly new or memorable (other than the Hero and his way with words), but better than a lot of what is currently out there. Especially for free on Amazon.
If there was such a place as The Rosemary Rogers School of Plot Development their award for Book of the Year would look like this:
and this book wouldIf there was such a place as The Rosemary Rogers School of Plot Development their award for Book of the Year would look like this:
and this book would win, hands down.
This little tome would not only win that award, but it has set a number of personal records for me: • The longest time to read the shortest book: 6 days to read 253 pages. • The best/worst jaw-droppingly fucking awesomely ridiculous crockpot of what-the-fuckery I've ever picked up. • And, last but definitely not least, quite possibly the STUPIDEST romance novel I have ever read.
It's a pretty straightforward category romantic/suspense on the face of it: Friend dies mysteriously at the factory where she worked, intrepid heroine, gunning for a promotion to investigative reporter at work, goes "undercover" to discover who was responsible for her death. Along the way she falls for the reclusive, millionaire factory owner.
Except that Stuart threw in all kinds of fucked up stuff. Like this:
The factory where the friend worked? It's a PUPPET factory. Thinly disguised Muppets. My "this is going to be stupid" alarm started going off as soon as I read this part.
The Hero? A reclusive, millionaire PUPPETEER. I dunno about you guys, but it seems to me that creative-genius-puppeteer-types aren't usually the strong, silent, dangerous-hero types. But, what do I know?
None of these dudes look especially dangerous to me. (Nor do they look especially heterosexual, but that's a whole other book.)
The heroine is an independently wealthy Bryn Mawr graduate who looks and dresses like Grace Kelly. Except that she can fix small appliances, pick locks and maintain her 1957 gull-wing Mercedes. She's the only person in the book who knows how to splice a VCR tape or fix a light switch, AND, she can talk about air conditioners ("oh, a Roberts 450? I can fix it. I've worked on a 150, this can't be much different.") the way most guys talk about cars. Um, okay. I've never been to Bryn Mawr, but I don't expect there are any shop classes on the curriculum. Oh! And in a spectacularly convenient revelation at the end of the book we find out that she also used to be a gymnast! Oh! Here's another one - she speaks THREE LANGUAGES! (Okay, that might have actually been courtesy of Bryn Mawr.)
The story started out innocuously enough, until AS threw in some of those suspenseful cutaways to the bad guy muttering about whores and sinners and saving the Hero and punishing the heroine, all while wearing a green puppet suit, and malevolent puppet posters and the Hero telling the heroine all the sexy things he wants to do to her by having his puppet talk to her. (I gotta say she ALMOST pulled that one off, but in the end it was just squicky.)
Loose ends (can anyone tell me what the deal was with the creepy secretary, Bessie?), red herrings, Keystone Kops, no face time between the H/h, split personalities, Nazis (yes, you heard right, Nazis), murderers wearing puppet suits, characters undergoing implausible personality changes to help with the HEA, and, my favourite, how the heroine just so happens to have also been a gymnast, which she has to have been in order to escape from Nazi-ish/puppet-suit-wearing/split personality villain. Can you say deus ex machina?? And if someone like ME notices it, it's gotta be clumsily done!
I made a throwaway remark on one of my updates about catching schizophrenia from a book, but really, that's what this felt like - I thought I was going to get whiplash from all the pov changes and the what-the-fuck stuff made me feel like I was reading two books at the same time. Maybe that's what AS did -- took the book she'd written (the standard rom/susp) and mashed it with the suggestions from the publisher (make it trendier! make it fresher! make it different!). Or maybe she just took a whole binful of story ideas and threw them at the wall to see what would stick. Sometimes it works, and the results are beautiful:
but, most of the time it doesn't, and the results look like this:
I just don't even know how to rate this book -- it was that gloriously terrible. I saw glimmers of Anne Stuart's writing in here, but I still can't figure out what the fuck she was thinking when she threw this together. I think everyone should read this, just because it is so ridiculous.
And a big thanks to my friend Karla, who dared me to read this one. I heart you, Karla (Mossy Love Grotto)!!!!!
eta: December 2/11: I've been waiting for GR to add a 0 star "this was un-fucking-believably horrible" rating but I suspect it is not forthcoming. So I'll give it a 1, 'cause that's as low as GR allows me to go....more
You gotta hand it to Anne Stuart. She has found a formula for each of the two types of books she writes - historical roWarning: Tammy drops the f-bomb
You gotta hand it to Anne Stuart. She has found a formula for each of the two types of books she writes - historical romances and contemporary romantic-suspense, and follows each of them. To. The. Letter.
Moonrise is the latter formula. It's like there's a master checklist AS follows each time she writes one. If I had to guess, I'd say it goes something like this:
1. Heroine: naive, virginal, malleable, mostly two-dimensional, sometimes humourless, virtually always having kept a secret torch for Hero for years. In this book the heroine was a little more likable than I usually find AS' to be - she was coming in to her own and finally realizing how manipulated she had been by her dead father.
2. Hero: tough, lone wolf, stone-cold killer/spy/black ops/you-name-it, chiseled, ageless, timeless, questioning his humanity and usually convinced he is unredeemable. He has known the heroine forever, constantly weighing whether to kill her or fuck her, and has probably done or tried the second at some point years ago;
3. The story: some tragedy - parent/brother/best friend/spouse dies and heroine is left to figure out what happened, or talk to the Hero, who is usually the last one to have seen the deceased, or is completely clueless to some big secret she is holding until the bad guys descend.
4. Many attempts on lives follow, including Hero again wrestling with his huge existential dilemma - kill her or fuck her? Fuck her, then kill her? Poor guy. Endlessly gazing at the back of her neck, behind her ear - break her neck or shoot her? Bodies pile up everywhere.
5. "We're going to die so what the fuck" sex happens, usually followed by some tears and heroine's epiphany that she's in love with Hero. Hero has a similar eureka moment, although his is more confusion about why his cock and his trigger finger seem to be connected. Kill her, fuck her, fuck her, kill her.
6. More intrigue, terror and passion (thanks to the synopsis for this) now, followed by the inevitable double betrayal - big, big secret kept by the Hero from the heroine, and both of them sandbagged by the identity of the actual bad guy. Hero has usually determined a solution to his existential argument by this point - he won't have to do either because the heroine will leave him after his big lie. She never does, of course, he makes her feel SAFE. Hero chooses the "fuck her" option and after the best sex of his life ends solves his dilemma for good.
7. Bad guy dispatched after a narrow escape by Hero and heroine, who then head off into the sunset as the screen fades to black.
Formula aside, after a bit of a slow start Moonrise was pretty good. Nothing new or earthshaking in it, but it was fast-paced and full of action, with a bad guy that wasn't really obvious until the big reveal. It was like reading an action movie - it kept my butt planted squarely in my chair from about page 50 until I was finished. :D
**spoiler alert** Hmm. What to say about this one that won't alienate every Anne Stuart fan out there (and don't get me wrong, I am a HUGE fan). **dee**spoiler alert** Hmm. What to say about this one that won't alienate every Anne Stuart fan out there (and don't get me wrong, I am a HUGE fan). **deep breath** Here goes.
Anne Stuart is an excellent writer. She can create an atmosphere, tone, whatever you want to call it like few romance authors out there. I don't know what it is about her, but she is very talented in that respect. Her books are instantly recognizable to me for the style of her writing alone. Dark doesn't begin to fully describe the world she creates in her novels, but it's all I can come up with.
She can create a Hero out of a thug, a reptilian criminal, a spy, a hitman, a drug dealer. Pick a rat-bastard type and she can make him so attractive, so compelling, so sexual, and so tortured that as a female you can't help falling for him. She pushes all of our girlie buttons every single time. YOU will be the one to change him, to soften him, to make him see that he IS redeemable, that he does deserve all of you. I say all of you because when you fall for one of these rat-bastards, it is with every fibre of your being. You lose yourself in feelings you have for him. You would do anything for him, throw yourself in front of a train for him, break the law, lie, cheat and/or steal for him.
Not that there is anything wrong with that. (In the context of romantic fiction, of course. IRL it isn't the slightest bit healthy, lol).
My problem with this book (and, I'm finding, with Anne Stuart's contemporary romantic suspense novels) is that as bad as the Heroes are, the heroines seem to be cardboard, borderline TSTL victim-types. And when an 'anti-hero' (my word for AS' men) has no one to play off of other than a cardboard cliche, his words/actions become cardboard as well. The story becomes all surface, shallow and trite, with no depth to the characters. They have nowhere to go other than the cliche they are written into.
That's how I feel about this book.
Jamie, the heroine seems to be uptight, repressed, a bit of a wimp with a domineering mother. She has a back story that makes her out to be damaged, but we're only given the story in pieces - which made her behaviour towards Dillon goofy enough that I immediately thought she was an idiot. Kind of like the girls in the Harlequin romances. "No one shall touch me!" That type of behaviour, all the while agonizing over how hot Dillon still is. She seems to be OTT embarrassed about getting together with him as a teenager. Now, call me easy, but if I had the opportunity to jump the bones of my first love 13 years later - with him obviously wanting me big time, and looking as gorgeous as ever - am I going to fuck it up by saying things like "I don't want you to touch me; I hate you"? *facepalm*
Ugh. Anyhow, we find out as the story progresses that after she goes to 3rd base with Dillon back when she was 16, he blows her off for a girl with big boobs at the party, and she hooks up with the captain of the insert-sport-here team, who we all know has gotta be a pig and a date-rapist. Check that off the trauma list -- virgin heroine sullied forever by rich kid with sense of entitlement. Next check on the list -- Dillon pounds ever-loving crap out of rich kid, goes to jail for 18mths, consumed by secret love for Jamie. He had blown her off because he had principles - didn't think he was good enough for her, or some such baloney. This cues another layer to the backstory involving the cousin and endless machinations that involved Dillon, Nate (the cousin) and Jamie.
We get the sense that Nate was not a very nice person, and that Dillon knows a lot of stuff that he isn't telling. And that Jamie is not especially perceptive about her parents and her cousin. Later in the book we find out that Jamie has been in love with Dillon since she was a teenager, and that Dillon has carried a torch for her since then as well. Unfortunately, it's a whole lot of telling us rather than showing us, which is part of what I mean when I say the story is shallow.
Of course, Jamie has spent years in therapy trying to overcome the rape. (I'm going to stop for a moment and apologize to anyone who has ever had anything like this happen to them. I don't meant to trivialize it with my snarkiness. What I don't like is when it is used in romance novels as a reason for ridiculous behaviour by a TSTL heroine.) What she doesn't seem to have dealt with are her feelings for Dillon (I mean really - you can't help who you love, isn't acceptance one of the steps toward moving on?), her parents - who loved her cousin more than they loved her, or her cousin - whose death in Dillon's garage is the lynchpin for the entire story. And she hasn't dealt with the whole sex thing either -- one minute she's saying no, not on your life, I don't want this, and the next she is whispering in his ear "I wanted you to come in my mouth".
The story here was ok, if not particularly inspired: Jamie travels to Wisconsin to see Dillon - he was the last to see her cousin before his horrible death and she wants answers. He was her cousin's best friend growing up, she's had the hots for him since she was 15. Once she gets there, some things happen that prevent her from leaving (only a secret to her, though - we are shown everything that is going on so there really is no suspense here at all) and she and Dillon get it on in any number of places - including the infamous Cadillac convertible of their youth.
To get back again to the problem I have with AS' heroines -- when Jamie travels to Wisconsin it's in a beat-up Volvo, in a snowstorm with no working wipers. She puts the car into the ditch, she later loses her purse (not really her fault as Dillon stole it), she loses her shoes, she is upset at seeing Dillon, she can't eat, she can't sleep, she falls through an attic floor, she steps on a rat and screams blue murder, she takes off to the villian's lair alone, in a snowstorm. She keeps asking Dillon if he was the one who pushed her through the attic floor, who wrote 'whore' on her chest with a knife, who started all of the vehicles in the garage to poison her with carbon dioxide, who slashed her tires. All of which makes me grit my teeth.
Where are the strong-willed, determined, WITTY, smart, self-sufficient heroines that populate AS' historical romance novels? This one screams, cries, needs someone to tell her to put on her big girl panties and deal. And it's these characters that I don't care for. I think the heroine is what wrecked the book for me. What does it leave the hero with other than to be a douchebag to her? He can't banter with her, she's got no wit. He can't tease her, she has no sense of ha-ha where he is concerned. He can't be tender with her, she says she hates him. The only thing he can do is fuck her. Forcefully, not particularly tenderly. At least in the beginning.
And while on that subject -- Anne Stuart does those parts mighty nicely. In fact, those are the best parts of the book. And right now, the only reason I'd re-read this one. ;)
Oooh, I remember LOVING this book! Read it over and over, then out came the movie -- with Ben Gazzara and Audrey Hepburn???? WTF?!?! Terrible, terriblOooh, I remember LOVING this book! Read it over and over, then out came the movie -- with Ben Gazzara and Audrey Hepburn???? WTF?!?! Terrible, terrible casting - those people were middle-aged! Ruined the book for me....more
Thank God I got this from the library and didn't actually pay for it. Quite a disappointment for me. The premise was good, but I have no idea what hapThank God I got this from the library and didn't actually pay for it. Quite a disappointment for me. The premise was good, but I have no idea what happened to the author when she went to write it. It's a muddled up mess. It's like a Tami Hoag novel for people who don't like character development, violence or sex.
The heroine is TSTL in a BIG way - I can accept stupid people, but they have to still be believable in their stupidity. This one was not. The hero had huge potential but the author doesn't give us anything to work with. Barely any background or description. No real lead-in to the "need" he has to be with the TSTL heroine. We're just supposed to accept that it is so. Sorry, I don't like being told what to do.
There is no whodunnit - she tells us in the first chapter. The rest of the book seems to be about how everyone knows except the heroine and I can't believe she can't figure it out. The hero won't tell his story to clear things up but the author doesn't tell us why.
Ugh. I should stop -- reviews are supposed to be positive, right? To be fair, others have loved this book so maybe it's just me. ...more
Ooohh, I liked this one. Most of GR plus my favourite "auntie Madge" (the one whose copy of Shanna I stole back in 1978) can't be wrong. First futurisOoohh, I liked this one. Most of GR plus my favourite "auntie Madge" (the one whose copy of Shanna I stole back in 1978) can't be wrong. First futuristic book I've read where the future didn't really seem like the future. Does that make sense?
Anyway, I like Eve - she's tough and just the right amount of baggage for an h, and Roarke....well. What can I say except MORE, MORE, MORE. Liked them both together and will definitely read the next in the series....more