It took me a lot of thought and some discussion with a friend before I got to the point of understanding as to why people gave this book 5 stars. I th...moreIt took me a lot of thought and some discussion with a friend before I got to the point of understanding as to why people gave this book 5 stars. I think I sort of get it now. The entire last section of In the Woods rolled through as a slightly unexpected mind twist, unsettling the foundation of the story, and leaving the reader in a bit of a haze. There is definitely some talent in writing shown through the manipulation of reader emotion.
That said, it's not that I need books to be happy or even neatly tied up in a little bow. A couple of my favorite books of all time have melancholy or unresolved endings.
And, it's not that I need every character to make good choices 100% of the time, or even be the sharpest tool in the shed. I realize that we're all human and we all make mistakes.
However...Rob. That man went to the edge of my "WTF are you doing???" zone one too many times. I felt like the content material was being dumbed down in parts, even for a connect-the-dots mystery. Yes, we need clues to help us understand why certain characters could be suspects - but I don't think a main character needs to be offered up on the altar as a means to accomplish this.
The writing was not bad, if a bit lag-worthy in parts. I have never been a fan of descriptions which take pages to accomplish, whether it's scenery, atmosphere, or character assessment (unless it's the rare author who makes you want to get lost in the descriptions, right along with the characters). That's just not my thing. I am well aware of the fact that it is a thing for other people. We all have our different reading preferences. Superfluous descriptions are rarely something I care about. I tend to care more about the story itself and the character interactions.
The characters were probably the strongest selling point of In the Woods, or at least Cassie was. I understood Cassie's offbeat charm. I understood why Rob liked Cassie. I even understood Cassie's frustration with a myriad of circumstances.
It's too bad that I was down on Rob so much because it hurt some of my feelings about the story itself. I didn't like feeling as if Rob was dumber than the average bear. Again, I get why authors write mysteries by dropping crumbs of information to help the reader along. People want to be interactive. People want to feel like they're smart enough to solve the mystery. However, the entire balance becomes skewed when I see something major, long before the main character does. You're a detective, man. Didn't you train for this shit?
I'm curious enough about Cassie to want to know what happens to her in the next book, so I'll continue on at some point. But this might not end up being a "love" series for me the way it is for so many others. That sucks. :((less)
Sometimes, lowering your expectations is a good thing. You might end up getting more than you thought you would.
He knew their bad start was getting
...moreSometimes, lowering your expectations is a good thing. You might end up getting more than you thought you would.
He knew their bad start was getting even worse, and he loved it.
A few people warned me that The Chocolate Kiss didn't have the same magic as its predecessor, The Chocolate Thief, and this is true.
But that doesn't mean this book isn't magical in its own right. It's just a different kind of magic. Where book 1 was sparkles, rainbows, and unicorns, book 2 was more like a rabbit being pulled out of a hat. I don't even say that as a bad thing. It's just a different type of magic, one less grandiose and in-your-face.
The setting itself counts as part of this magic. Picture a chocolate shop/tea house filled with hats and witches and references to sorcery. I'd want to hang out there.
Anyone remember the movie You've Got Mail? If not, I'll refresh your memory. The lead female had this adorable, magical little book shop. The lead male moved into town with a big box book store. Their rivalry ended up sparking something more. This is sort of the premise for Chocolate Kiss. Magalie has the charming little shop. Philippe has the notoriety of being one of Paris' most famous pastry chefs. So of course, when Philippe moves in on Magalie's block, there's going to be some tension and rivalry.
"Magalie. Do you want me to be a beast?"
Rivalry (as a rule) can make for some entertaining fights and encounters. This book doesn't disappoint.
I love reading "neighbor from hell" stories. It's much more fun to watch enemies become friends than it is to see people who instantly like each other.
I may not be tripping all over myself the way I was with reviewing the previous book but I still thought this was cute, sweet and had the perfect amount of rivalry tension to make the story delectable.