My new favorite couple... Whyborne and Griffin! Who knew that Victorian America (Boston-area) could be so full of terror and sex?
At first blush, WhyboMy new favorite couple... Whyborne and Griffin! Who knew that Victorian America (Boston-area) could be so full of terror and sex?
At first blush, Whyborne might seem stereotypical - the geek, the gay man hiding in the closet in an era when it could literally mean losing everything, the boy hated by his father and brother but loved by his mother - I find him charming. The touch of "magic", his specialty of languages, and his unique brand of stubbornness and rebellion make him quite likeable and quite relatable. And for all of Griffin's good looks and charm, we discover how his tormented past drove him to start anew but can he? Or will it follow him?
Yes, there is possibly some more modern-day sensibilities here, especially towards feminism and gay love, than perhaps would be present in that actual day. But it's the way that these 3 characters - Whyborne, Griffin, and Christine (Dr. Putnam)- stay true to themselves while trying to play society's game that keeps us so fascinated. Well, that and a well-told horror story full of gore and ghoul and goth.
Wow - a lot packed into this little book. Since I hadn't read Whyborne & Griffin yet, I had to go off and read them after finishing this story. THWow - a lot packed into this little book. Since I hadn't read Whyborne & Griffin yet, I had to go off and read them after finishing this story. THEN I came back and read it again - what a difference!
Love the collaboration between K.J. Charles and Jordan Hawk. And I probably love Whyborne & Griffin just a little bit more than Caldwell & Feximal - mostly because C&F have very few published stories out there, and what's out there has few pages....more
It's not marked as the 4th Dr. Genevieve Lenard book, but it is. And it's as amazing as always.
Now part of the French President's task force, somehowIt's not marked as the 4th Dr. Genevieve Lenard book, but it is. And it's as amazing as always.
Now part of the French President's task force, somehow Dr. G and her team have to find out who inside the President's circle is part of a government conspiracy that's connected to a $500 million art theft in 1990 at a Boston museum. Who is sending the text messages - friend or foe? Are they warnings or clues like Kubanov sent to get Dr. G to play his game?
I love Colin. So much! And I love watching Genevieve as she's realizing how much Colin loves her and how much she loves him. We had a start at the end of the 3rd book, but in this book, we get to see it in action.
Kubanov is back... with a vengeance. Dr. Genevieve Lenard is pushed to her limits by Kubanov, who's been studying her and seems to constantly be 1 steKubanov is back... with a vengeance. Dr. Genevieve Lenard is pushed to her limits by Kubanov, who's been studying her and seems to constantly be 1 step ahead, taunting and teasing her with his riddles. Showing her how he can ruin her friends and team.
But Kubanov seems to be off his game. Something's not right. All that Dr. G knows about him, and Kubanov's behavior is anything but predictable. The previous patterns don't hold true anymore.
You can feel Genevieve's tension rising throughout the book - her sense of responsibility. She's still finding her way through her relationships, especially with Colin. You can see her slowly falling apart, and you grieve and worry for her.
I appreciate the idea: Get several popular erotic authors to provide a short story, all tied together using Scheherazade as the theme... the 1001 storI appreciate the idea: Get several popular erotic authors to provide a short story, all tied together using Scheherazade as the theme... the 1001 stories that she told to save her head.
And there is appeal and a certain charm and whimsy to this story of Dallas billionaire Jason Denning and the girl from the other side of town, Gia Angelotti. Gia's got a big Italian family and upbringing who only seem to let Italians AND Catholics join the family.
But Jason met Gia at the club, when she was going by "Greta". And Dom Jason fell for Greta... so much so, that he swept her away to Vegas for the kind of impromptu, expensive wedding that only a billionaire could pull off. But that very night, Gia received the worst call of her life - her only brother, also a cop, was shot and killed in the line of duty by a very bad guy. The kind of guy that buys policemen, including her brother's partner. Gia does what she thinks is best: she doesn't tell her family about Jason, and she leaves Jason to care for her sister-in-law and her young niece and nephew.
Jason can't get Gia off his mind. He's dying, because he doesn't understand why she's shut him out. So he finds a way to contact her and makes her a deal: stay with him 24/7 for the next 3 weeks leading up to their 1st wedding anniversary. If she does, she can walk and he'll give her $250K. Bail now and get a divorce, and Jason gives her $0.
What interested me about this book was Gia's reasoning... and how it was a reversal. We think we know this big bad Dom and what he's going to do. And we think he's the one who needs to learn to bend. But in reality, it's Gia.
LOVED this book! Sure, there are parts that are a bit over-the-top, and both Ryan and Ashley need a good spanking a time or two - and not just4+ stars
LOVED this book! Sure, there are parts that are a bit over-the-top, and both Ryan and Ashley need a good spanking a time or two - and not just the BDSM kind! But it's just... such a lovely, cozy book. If you're into Lexi Blake's Masters and Mercenaries series, this is one novella you don't want to miss!
Plus, lovely hints about what's coming up in future books. One is out just after Valentine's day, too! *squee*...more
This is the book that started it for me... the reason I started the Nature of Desire series. And it's a doozy!
Ms. Hill doesn't write your3.5-4 stars
This is the book that started it for me... the reason I started the Nature of Desire series. And it's a doozy!
Ms. Hill doesn't write your usual erotic BDSM tales, and I've come to realize (after book 4) that this is why I'm so drawn to this series. The erotica and the BDSM (almost BDSM-lite, since nothing major or disturbing to the average vanilla person - like me - comes in to "play") are simply part of the story because they're part of the characters.
This story is set at Sanctum, which we learned briefly about in book 1 Holding The Cards. It comes up in Lauren's thoughts because of a Dom, Travis, that she's acquainted with there. Mackenzie "Mac" Nighthorse is a homicide detective trying to solve the murders of 2 men in what seems to be a setting designed to humiliate the men. They're found naked and bound with accoutrements of BDSM gear.
Mac is an alpha male, but he's also a sub, and Mac recognizes the BDSM element. He also recognizes that these men were subs - men who, in their daily lives, were successful, smart, and loving. Men who kept their sexual preferences, especially their submissive side, to themselves. Mac suspects that a woman Dom is behind the murders, and he can tie the 2 men to Sanctum. So Mac goes out on a limb with his supervisor, Sergeant Darla Rowe, and tells her about his private life, and how he's certain these 2 men are the victims of a psycho female Dom. Sgt Rowe approves Mac's solution - going undercover at Sanctum to draw out the Dom. She insists on being his back-up, however, setting routine times for Mac to check-in with her.
On his first night as a guest at Sanctum, Mac discovers Mistress Violet - a pixie-like little Dom on her first night solo as a Domme. Violet is instantly drawn to Mac and his paradoxical personality - all alpha male and yet a sexual submissive. Mac isn't at Sanctum to hook up for real; he's just there to scope out the Dommes and hopefully discover the serial killer. So he passes on Violet's offer for the evening.
But when Violet chooses Jonathan instead, Mac changes his mind; Mac has Jonathan's number from his own time at True Blue, a less exclusive BDSM club. And Mac knows that Jonathan has a habit of playing with his Domme's minds. YES, this is THE Jonathan from Lauren's story! And so, Violet and Mac end up "playing" for the night. She might be tiny, but Violet has great instincts. And she discovers that Mac is submissive, but that he's never really given his full submission to any Dom. It's obvious that he knows how to use his charm and looks to keep the Dommes he plays with to really get his full submission. Mac doesn't like it that Violet discovers his truth so quickly; and he vows not to see her again. Except that Violet laid down the challenge to him of being there the next night, waiting for her, in a particular submissive position.
Mac rationalizes away his attraction to Violet, deciding that he needs someone who's connected and knows a lot of people at Sanctum - which Violet does. So, Mac shows up the next night... which starts a relationship in and out of Sanctum that scares both Mac and Violet.
Mac also learns Violet's secret - something that surprises him but comes in useful later. Because Mac lets Violet in on his real mission, and she sets out to help him uncover the culprit.
I liked that the author dealt with the vanilla world's view of D/s, and especially with men as submissives. Dealing with these murders, Mac had to deal with hearing and overhearing a lot of ignorant, prejudiced, and hurtful comments and assumptions about how and why anyone, especially a man as submissive, would ever be involved in such sexual behavior.
However, the mystery does take somewhat of a back seat to the romance developing between Violet and Mac. It's sweet and hot and surprising to me, because I've never read stories about men being submissive to a female Dom. We get a whole new view of the D/s and BDSM world through Violet's and Mac's eyes, including a weekend house party.
When the mystery does take center stage, it's full force. I admit that I was pleasantly surprised that I hadn't guessed who the actual killer was, and how cleverly the author wove in other characters and motivations into the mystery and its resolution. And it's not an easy resolution, despite the mostly realistic HEA ending. I tell you that not as a spoiler, but so that you won't stop or panic when you're nearly at the end! Just take a breath and keep reading! You won't be sorry....more
READ THIS REVIEW ONLY IF YOU'RE ALREADY READ BOOKS 1 & 2!!!
The heart-stopping conclusion to The Artist's Trilogy! Since I'd waited to read4 stars
READ THIS REVIEW ONLY IF YOU'RE ALREADY READ BOOKS 1 & 2!!!
The heart-stopping conclusion to The Artist's Trilogy! Since I'd waited to read Shooting Scars, the 2nd book in the trilogy, I was able to pick up this 3rd book immediately after turning the last page of Shooting Scars. YAY!
Bold Tricks wasn't quite as scary to me, since I already knew that Ellie'd made her choice between Javier and Camden. Problem is, Javier is still involved and very necessary to the operation. Or Ellie might never see Gus or her mother again.
So this book is really about resolving Ellie and Camden - their individual stories and their shared story. Each has to put his or her past to rest before they can truly move on. And to move on, they have to get out of the horrendous situation they start the book in - tracking Travis, who has both Gus and Ellie's mom, and who knows they're coming after him.
Question is, has Javier revealed all of his hand yet? Or are more mind games to come? Yes, I know - don't answer that. It's obvious. Javier has to be one of the most COMPLICATED, LAYERED characters I've ever read. Yes, he's sexy and as bad-a$$ as they come; but is he all he's told Ellie he is? After seeing him in book 2 and learning more from his sister, Violet, I'd say no. Javier definitely misrepresented his status and clout within the Mexican drug cartels. So it only stands to reason that in this book, he's out to take it all and then some.
Can Camden forgive Ellie for using Javier sexually to make the pain go away in book 2? Is there any hope or future for Camden and Ellie or is this entire thing a suicide mission? How will Camden ever get his life and his son back? Can he?
All of these questions and many more are answered in this book. And as usual, Ms. Halle does it all with tongue-in-cheek wit and clever plot twists, throwing Javier's mind-numbing mind games into the mix.
OK, so there was some eye-rolling on my part about the sex scenes, which seemed... dirtier than necessary? Dunno. It was almost like Camden and Ellie were starting over again and stuck in that love-sex-haze where your brain can't process much beyond "I want that" when looking at or thinking about your lover.
Some might think the Epilogue is an easy out. But I don't think so. It's the right ending. And Ms. Halle said that she knew the ending before she even finished the trilogy - it came to her. For me, getting to the end was one hot, confusing, action-packed ride. But it was all worth it!...more
Really fell in love with these characters... wishing that I'd find a Sean like Grace did - LOL!
Love the tongue-in-cheek bit playing on the3.5-4 stars
Really fell in love with these characters... wishing that I'd find a Sean like Grace did - LOL!
Love the tongue-in-cheek bit playing on the FSOG and the like literature being in the spotlight right now. Our female MC is Grace, a reader, and a gal who likes her erotic romances, including those that feature some BDSM. While she knows some things, Grace finds out that reading a book isn't at all like the real thing; there's quite the difference between fiction and reality. And yes, I'm laughing while I type this, since Grace is part of a BOOK.
My point is that while BDSM is part of the steam of this book, it's not the full focus. The focus is more on the romance and the suspense/mystery.
And it's enough to make me want to keep reading this series! (That, and Ms. Blake is a writing partner with Shayla Black.)...more
This book is AMAZING! A definite sleeper, so watch for4+ stars Recommended for: Mystery lovers (especially word-smiths), Film noir detective/PI lovers
This book is AMAZING! A definite sleeper, so watch for it! It starts slowly, but the word-craft is so captivating, so descriptive, that you seamlessly become part of this book. Be aware that this book's vocabulary isn't dumbed-down to the 8th grade level. But how can you resist word-craft like this?
But the lies she told were woven into the fabric of her being, her life; so that to live with her and love her was to become slowly enmeshed by them, to wrestle her for the truth, to struggle to maintain a foothold on reality.
She had heard oblivion howling in the silence that preceded his awful screams of anguish, and then she had cried, inconsolobly, not for Bruno, but for the terrifying grief of her brother.
Sure, without the hype of knowing that Robert Galbraith is a pseudonym for J.K. Rowling, I probably wouldn't have read this book. She tried to find out what happens when she doesn't play on her name, but rather her craft, and the answer is, without the buzz, no one knows how great this book really is. Could be a marketing problem by her publisher, because this book really DESERVES the hype - not of its author, but of its amazingly told story and one of my new favorite detectives, Cormoran Strike.
Strike isn't the devastatingly handsome, sexy detective who charms his way into the solution. No, Strike is the Everyman - the guy who's had to overcome a lot in life: being one of the illegitimate children of a famous 70s rock star (with a groupie, hippy-chick mother); being an MP in the military; having the lower-half of one leg blown off in Afghanistan; having a rich, spoiled, crazy girlfriend; and trying to start again and make a success of his PI business, without his former contacts and clout. Strike is big, tall, hairy, and more physically intimidating than most PIs; he could pass for a Bouncer or a Bruiser. But underneath it all, Cormoran Strike is a DECENT guy, a GREAT detective/PI, and a man longing for acceptance and love - just like most of us.
Robin is a secretary working temp jobs through a firm until she lands a permanent, respectable job. She's just engaged when the story starts, and she finds herself a bit dismayed and overwhelmed when her next temp job is with Coromoran Strike. Especially since, after nearly killing her by ramming into her on the stairs, it's obvious that Cormoran doesn't have the funds to hire or keep a secretary. Yet Robin's life-long aspiration has been to be a detective. So she tries to make a go of it, showing a professional side that doesn't intimidate or smother Strike. And she proves to be useful. Except... can Strike really afford to keep her? Or will he, because he senses his attraction to her and he knows that she's engaged... and that her fiancee isn't jumping for joy at the prospect of Robin working more permanently for Strike?
The gist of this story is the apparent suicide of a famous super-model, Lula. But Lula's brother doesn't buy the suicide; he insists that she was murdered. Because Strike was a childhood friend of his brother, Charlie, John Bristow asks Strike to find the truth and offers carte blanc to do it. Strike doesn't think he'll find anything new, but he can't afford to turn down the money. Not after moving out of his girlfriend's apartment into his office - the very office that might be shut down without funds.
But as Strike investigates Lula's death, it becomes apparent that no one is telling the whole truth. And so Strike, with Robin's help, starts to peel back the layers and layers of lies and secrets that surround Lula's death.
My ONLY complaint about this book is that it could be about 100 pages shorter, except that Ms. Rowling is so enamored of her lovely prose (and it is lovely), that she draws it out longer than necessary. She elegantly lays down some subtle red herrings, pointing to several possible suspects and motives. She doesn't just tell - she mostly SHOWS us, through Strike's eyes, the whos and the whats. And at times, Ms. Rowling cleverly holds back on just exactly what it is that Strike sees, knows, or discovers - she lets us know that something is afoot, but she doesn't spell it out until just the right time in the story.
It's definitely an adult, British mystery. But it's a more elegant version of the original film noir detectives and hard-boiled PIs of old. And it's a great set-up for a series....more
3-3.5 stars RECOMMENDED FOR: Contemporary Romance Lovers who enjoy some Steam and seeing the "Shy" Girl Get the Hunky Guy
This third book in the Fitzger3-3.5 stars RECOMMENDED FOR: Contemporary Romance Lovers who enjoy some Steam and seeing the "Shy" Girl Get the Hunky Guy
This third book in the Fitzgerald Family series is about Baron Fitzgerald and Kara Michaels. He's the hunky, famous, eligible, brooding gallery owner, whose twin, Chase, is a famous chef. She's the shy, retiring art restorer who loves her job... and her boss. Kara's the oldest in her family, and she's put everyone ahead of herself. She's decided it's time to stand up and have her own life, not dream it away. She & Baron have been friends for 5 years - fairly close friends. She was the one to console him after his fiancee dumped him. She's the steady, likeable friend; but not the gal that guys go for. Or so she thinks.
So Kara decides to start her own art framing and restoration business. But Baron's finally realized that he's attracted to Kara, and he wants to keep her in his life. Baron starts to pour on the charm... and make her an offer she can't refuse: 2 weeks with him cataloging a major art collection. AND having an affair with him for those 2 weeks. He figures that once she realizes how he feels about her, she'll want to stay. But his offer has Kara both suspicious and running. She's afraid that love-em-and-leave-em Baron will shatter her heart... and then just walk away.
In the mix is Kara's dramatic and spoiled little sister, who demands Kara's attention right before she's to go on the 2 weeks with Baron. (Yes, she's decided to go for the fling.) And then there's Valerie, the ex-fiancee. You didn't really think she was out of the picture, did you? =========== This book is good, but it's weaker than the previous 2 books. I applaud the author for not always having her hero and heroine mixed up in a major mystery. I enjoyed being in both Baron's and Kara's heads, as they try to navigate changing their friendship into something more.
But Kara comes across as needy and whiny. She's too much of a martyr. And yes, she learns in this book. But her lack of trust in Baron puts up a lot of walls that keep them apart for too long. It feels as if the book could be much shorter and tighter if Kara would only trust and believe that he really does love her.
Baron, on the other hand, vacillates too much. He's too much in his head. It's taken him 5 years to come to his senses, so what does he expect? That Kara will just believe him immediately and throw herself at him?
Like the family stuff, though. The picnic is priceless, and Kara finds her backbone as she stands up to the rude members of Fitzgerald family. Go Kara!
The drama, though... it's too predictable and too schmaltzy. Sorry. It wasn't for me. I wanted to beat both their heads in.
Hoping that the next book in the series is back on par with the first 2 books....more
3.5 stars RECOMMENDED FOR: Fans of Steamy Contemporary Romance who like a side of Mystery and a dash of Danger
Enjoyed this book, especially since I got3.5 stars RECOMMENDED FOR: Fans of Steamy Contemporary Romance who like a side of Mystery and a dash of Danger
Enjoyed this book, especially since I got it as a freebie! But I found a new series - the Fitzgerald family!
Ashley is the Fitzgerald in this book. Her parents were famous musicians who traveled the country; but they were killed 10 years ago, on Ashley's 15th birthday. Her parents were signing papers to buy Carlyle House to settle down near the large Fitzgerald family and to open the home as a commune - a place where kids could receive lessons in music, dance, voice, and art from in-house artists. But that dream went up in flames, literally; and Ashley's parents died in the fire. She was there, but she was rescued by Ron Noble, Sr. Ashley is the one who told Ron that her parents were trapped inside. Ron Noble went back into the house to save them, but part of it collapsed, trapping and killing Mr. Noble. Ashley still feels guilty about Mr. Noble's death, because she was the one who sent him back in.
Ron Noble, Jr. has grown up hearing the rumors that his father is the one who set the fire. But at the time, he was 20 years old and trying to take care of his mother, Nina, a renowned actress. And to shield her from the rumors and innuendo about his father. Ron received a note on his car, though, with a list of 3 names and the question "What really happened that night?" All of the names on the list worked at the fire station where his father volunteered. And all 3 quit right after the fire. The 2nd letter Ron got pointed to Ashley; he concludes that someone wanted him to reopen the case.
Ron believes that Ashley remembers more about the fire than she's let on. So he pursues her to get to the truth. But Ashley doesn't want to remember; her nightmares have her trapped in a burning room... she doesn't want to relive that night. Of course, along the way, Ron and Ashley find their own slow burn happening. And Ron convinces Ashley to undergo hypnosis to try to uncover the truth.
OF COURSE Ashley and Ron fall in love. As they pursue the truth, everything around them starts crumbling. They find their attraction and the circumstances shoving them into one anothers' arms... and that's where the steam comes from.
But nothing is quite as simple as it seems. Suddenly, everyone who was at Carlyle House that night is either missing or dead. And anyone who comes too near Ashley gets hurt. Can they get to the truth of that night without being killed? Or without sacrificing the other? ================ I like this book because it mixes the elements of contemporary romance and a mystery/thriller so well. There are plenty of suspects and motives; there are plenty of red herrings along the way. Who's behind the notes? Is that person attempting to blackmail someone or get justice?
Ashley comes across, at times, as weak and frail. But she's not. She's still dealing with the tragedy that took her parents and the guilt of feeling responsible for sending a man to his death to try to save them. She believes that she might know more about that night and what really happened, but it's only in bits and pieces. As much as Ashley wants the truth, she's frightened. But her nightmares and Ron continually poke her, until enough bits and pieces come back to start making sense.
Despite growing up with her aunt and cousins, Ashley is also afraid of love. It's like part of her just stopped that night - stopped trusting and stopped trying to really love only to have those she loves taken away.
Ron's not damaged, but he's got his own insecurities. He's been in the shadow of his grandmother and uncle and at the whim of his dramatic mother. And he's lived with the possibility that his father was guilty of setting the fire and killing Ashley's parents. Ron comes across as determined and hard; but in reality, he wants to be unconditionally loved and trusted. And he wants the truth, however bad it might be.
Their love story is a slow, sensuous burn, while each learns to trust and be vulnerable. The love scenes feel organic to the story - this isn't just a few hot sex scenes with a quick plot thrown in. You feel their love build. And you care.
3.5+ stars RECOMMENDED FOR: Romance lovers who like "clean" romances with some paranormal and a dash of Christianity.
This book surprised me. It's not o3.5+ stars RECOMMENDED FOR: Romance lovers who like "clean" romances with some paranormal and a dash of Christianity.
This book surprised me. It's not often that I'm surprised. But the author obviously is of the Christian faith, and she decided to write a somewhat paranormal romance about another race of humanoids, the Cauld Ane, which roughly translated into "cold one". The Cauld Ane are from Iceland; actual origin undetermined. But they live longer than humans, have one true mate (although they can marry others, if they choose), and have some paranormal gifts, such as being able talk telepathically to their mates and calm their mates' emotions.
Samantha (Sam) is a medical researcher who specializes in blood. Kade is the head of a Cauld Ane clan and the head of his family, not to mention a doctor. His sister, Fiona, is having some strange symptoms that seem to be blood-related, and Kade is hoping that Sam can figure out what's happening.
Except the complication is that when Kade and Sam lay eyes on one another, Kade knows that Sam is his mate - the one he's been waiting for a few hundred years to find. In some ways, Kade and his family and clan are too good to be true. But IMO, the author is laying out an allegory for the Christ-Bride relationship. And, as with most romances, you have to suspend some disbelief and go with it.
Despite his too-good-to-be-true parts, Kade really does try to ease Sam into his "world" - what he is, what it means, and how to assure her that the love she feels for him and he for her is real and true. It's an interesting ride.
My main complaint is about the "plot" against Kade, and by extension, Sam. It's too thin. And not fully explained. I'd have liked a bit more meat to that particular aspect of the story. Same with Cole's and Dalton's involvement. It's passed over too quickly in favor of the romance.
Don't get me wrong - I enjoyed this free book. So much so, that I quickly purchased and devoured the second book in the series. No word on a third, but I do have hopes. And in those hopes are my hopes that the author will build in a bit more "meat" to the mystery/thriller parts of the stories....more
Note to self: Put in reviews and ratings for the previous books in this series!
This book is the story of Alex and Eve - what really happened to driveNote to self: Put in reviews and ratings for the previous books in this series!
This book is the story of Alex and Eve - what really happened to drive them apart, but keep them bonded through a contract. We know that they were married... that Alex was in the FBI... that while Alex was SAIC of a big case, the mad man/perp (Evans) captured, raped, and tortured Eve. In the aftermath, the marriage dissolved; but Alex was still Eve's Dom at Sanctum - with very specific rules about what was and wasn't allowed. The rules bound Alex tighter than Eve. Both were obviously miserable... both haven't moved on. Alex still claims to be in love with Eve. So what will it take?
It takes the events in this story... an investigative reporter named Kristen contacts Alex with news about Evans. He's sponsoring small BDSM clubs (or what Evans thinks is BDSM) in Florida. The clubs, of course, are covers for money laundering and possible drug smuggling. The backers probably include terrorists on watch lists. Except there's very little proof, and less proof that ties it all back to Evans. Kristen has managed to dig up just enough information to whet Alex's revenge appetite again. Alex still blames himself for not paying attention to Eve's profile on Evans; he thinks that because he baited Evans, Evans went after Eve instead of Alex, as Alex expected Evans to do. Alex blames the break up of his marriage on Evans, and he wants vengeance for Eve's sake.
Kristen is very mysterious and very particular about whom she trusts. She makes Alex agree to allow her to vet any and all team members he uses on this op. She's after the big story, and she doesn't want anything standing in her way. But the girl has mad skills - breaking & entering... guns... the way she moves so silently... and her ability to get information from copy machine memory cards and just about anywhere on the 'net rivals Adam's skills. Who is this woman? Can she be trusted?
The set up is that Kristen is tending bar at one of Evans' clubs. A wanna-be mobster, Chazz, is running it; he's got the muscle behind him, but he's not too smart. Kristen's convinced him that she's off limits, because she's a lesbian who just lost her long time partner. Alex is coming in to as the Master Dom in Charge, to train all the would-be Doms and get the club going. He's planned to bring in Amanda/Mandy from Sanctum as his sub, because she's a cop. But Mandy's got too big a mouth and doesn't share well, especially with other women; besides, Eve doesn't want Alex being anyone else's Dom but hers. So she arranges a switch. Sean is going in as the chef for the kitchens. And Adam is in the shadows, as their computer guy.
Alex busts a gut when Eve shows up. But what to do? Can they work together as a smooth Dom/sub in this op without tearing one another apart? Can they break the other's heart any more? Can Alex set aside his obsession with getting Evans to see what's important? Can Eve realize her own strengths and stand up for what she wants? ======================
There was a lot of twists to this book. No one is quite who they seem to be. Is Kristen more than a reporter? Could she be working for Evans? Who is it that she wants to "do good" for? What's Jesse Murdoch's story? Did the terrorists turn him on his last military op? What role does Alex's old FBI partner play in any of this? And what is Evans after this time?
While I enjoyed the book, and I was glad to get Eve's and Alex's story, some of it just didn't seem to ring true. I didn't go back and re-read the 3 books leading up to this one, so perhaps I'm just not remembering the little that we knew from before correctly. But the way that Eve and Alex have been treating one another, I was surprised that they could have such a break-through in such a short time. Surely, during their BDSM sessions at Sanctum, something would have come through by now?
But I guess the point is that they both shut the other out. Alex couldn't focus on Eve or truly being her Dom and taking control, because he felt so guilty - as if it was all his fault that Eve was taken and tortured. Eve can't seem to speak out for herself - she passively-aggressively enforced the strange contracts between them, essentially topping Alex through them. She wouldn't allow herself to feel or speak about the events, despite her psychological training. I guess it's the old "Physician, heal thyself" syndrome.
But I was engrossed in the book quickly. And while it did seem like the issues were quickly discovered and resolved in the relationship, in the op they're on, it's anything but quick. The layers of who's really whom and who's on which side and what's really going on take awhile to get through.
And the CLIFFHANGER! I knew, of course, that the person wasn't all that he/she seemed and had my suspicions. But to leave us there, knowing that we've got a full year or so before the next book. ARGH! ...more
"The dead are notoriously unreliable when it comes to standards of behavior," I said. "Particularly murder victims. They have no sense of d
"The dead are notoriously unreliable when it comes to standards of behavior," I said. "Particularly murder victims. They have no sense of decorum at all."
Just love Lady Emily's sense of humor, especially as she interacts with her mother!
Ms. Alexander did something "new" in the Lady Emily series... she interspersed a 3rd person POV in with Lady Emily's 1st person POV. I'm not sure if I liked it or not - if it was successful or not. It was interesting to get points-of-view from the servants, which we'd never really see or get from Lady Emily's perspective.
If I have an issue with this book, it's that the whodunnit was too obvious, just not necessarily the motive. There are plenty of red herrings that lead us down many a merry path, but I couldn't help but be assured that my initial suspicion was on-track. And to say more than I already have would force me to use a spoiler tag, and I don't want to do that.
What I did like was that we're back in England again - no more gallivanting. While exotic locales do provide spice, they seemed to rob us of Colin in any meaningful way. And I very much like it when Colin is THERE and very involved with the case and Lady Emily.
I'm not sure about the title though. Usually, it's self-evident by the end of the book, but unless I missed something, the title didn't make itself clear to me.
Plenty of humor, suspicion, and jealousy along with viewing Lady Emily's blissfully domestic situation. Perhaps too perfect, but enjoyable. ...more
Don't know WHY GR doesn't have the right book cover and info about this book... it's recently released, but still....
ANYWAY, we have a change of paceDon't know WHY GR doesn't have the right book cover and info about this book... it's recently released, but still....
ANYWAY, we have a change of pace in this book. Mac gets pulled into homicide and politics and potential voter fraud via electronic voting machines in this fast-paced thriller filled with suspense and intrigue.
The Setting: 2012 - about 1 week before the presidential election. No, it's not Obama vs. Romney - of course not! It's the Republican vice presidential candidate (Republicans are currently in office in this one) versus the Democratic candidate, current governor of Minnesota.
We're introduced to Dara Wire, an early 30s former-FBI agent who's trailing the Republican presidential candidate's campaign manager around the country for the Democratic candidate's campaign manager. See, Connolly, the Republican presidential campaign manager, is known to be oily and do anything to get around the rules. His idol is Joe Kennedy Sr,, for heaven's sakes!
The event that sets everything off takes place in Kentucky, at a cabin in the woods, where some big meeting is going down between Connolly and several mysterious men. Dara is there, but she's clueless about what's going on. She gets some pictures, but there are 2 other guys that she doesn't know in the position that she really wants. So Dara goes to find another position to take pictures and watch, when all hell breaks loose. A limo pulls up, and Dara only gets a shot of the security men and a leg coming out of the limo. But that's when someone spots the other 2 men taking pictures, and shots are fired. Dara can't take the chance on being followed, so she gets out of there - fast.
Fast forward 12 hours or so, and Mac is pulled into a homicide investigation at a rundown motel in downtown St. Paul. No ID or luggage or anything in the room. They're only lucky to discover a boarding pass that slipped behind the bed. The pass says that this is Jason Stroudt, who turns out to be a DC/political blogger... and one of the 2 guys that Dara spotted at the meeting the night before. Of course, Mac doesn't know that - yet.
As Mac follows the leads, he meets Dara, because The Judge hired her. So Mac gets pulled into the political side, while trying to keep the focus on the murder. In the process, Dara ends up shooting the hired killer after the other guy at the Kentucky cabin, who's at the home of the Judge's 2nd in command. Montgomery, Jason Stroudt's partner in biz, is trying to show/tell something important when the meeting is interrupted by the killer. Dara was on the trail, and manages to save one of the people in the house, but the 2nd in command (Dem campaign) and Montgomery are killed. When Mac arrives, the body of the hired killer is gone - plenty of blood, though.
Mac arranges to meet Dara, The Judge, and Sally at the McRyan Pub. But once again, whoever's behind all of this is in step, and a drive-by shooting ensues, wounding Dick Lich. Dara and Mac team up with the Judge's resources to track down the killer or killers.
Which leads us and them on a merry chase around the country, ending up in D.C. with meetings with the FBI Director and the Attorney General. Seems all of this is about electronic voting machines with memory cards that change every 1 in 5 votes for the Democratic presidential candidate to a vote for the current Republican vice president.
But can Mac and Dara prove who's behind it? And can they catch the really Big Fish, the Bishop, who's funding the entire thing and sending out his private mercenary team out to do the dirty work? They've already got 7+ murders and bodies to deal with, can Dara and Mac figure it out and prove it in time? ================ LIKE * A lot to like about this book - it's fast-paced, so there's no dragging. Lots of twists and turns, and good progressive disclosure of the real plot and who's behind it. But, as usual, there are almost too many players involved. That's real life, but it's sometimes hard to remember who's who, like that Duffy is the FBI agent in MN. Many of the "usual" cops and people are relegated to the background on this one, as Mac & Dara jet around the country.
* LOVE Dara Wire. I know Sally & Mac are together, currently. But I'd like to at least see Dara and Mac as partners at work, if not in life. Maybe because I got to actually KNOW Dara through this last book, she just feels like a better fit for Mac (IMO) than Sally. But I don't really know Sally... other than the glimpses I've caught of her so far. She was featured as a secondary player in the 1st book (The St. Paul Conspiracy), but after that she was relegated to the background. With Sally off to DC and a political career... well, I just don't see that working out for Mac.
* Good insight into politics. Makes me realize that it's as important to look at the campaign manager as the candidate - often that person becomes Chief of Staff or takes on an important cabinet or inner government position. And while the poor vice president in this story was shafted, it's still important to know who's running your campaign. If you're not in alignment with that person and totally on top of what he/she is doing in running your campaign, how can you expect to run a government? (OK, so that's probably really hard for the candidate, since at the national level, the party likely chooses for you. And the candidate is running around, doing what he/she needs to do, trusting that the campaign manager has the best interests of the party and the candidate and platform in mind.)
CONCERNS * With Sally likely leaving to pursue a political career in DC, will Mac go, too? Does that mean we'll lose touch with all these great characters we've come to know and love in Minnesota? I don't want to lose Dick Lick, Flannagan, Rock, Riles, Hisle, or any of the other folks we've met along the way. But I don't see how Sally and Mac can do a long-distance relationship for too long without breaking up. Maybe that's the point. I wouldn't fight it - Sally's OK, but somehow, she's not my cup of tea.
But a break up would be tough... because Sally is Mac's 1st relationship since his divorce (and vice versa). They're supposed to be deeply involved and in love. Breaking up would really be hard to do for these two.
* If Mac goes to DC, will he become a Fed? I can see the FBI (among others) wanting to hire Mac, especially after this last book. Mac would become a little fish in a big pond, which might be really good for him, personally and professionally. He wouldn't know everyone or be connected to everyone; sure he's got some heavy, useful connections, but maybe a bid dose of reality would hit Mac. (See my NITS/Beefs, below.)
Except I don't see Mac doing well in an environment where he'd have his hands tied. And he would, if he joined the feds.
* Mac's profit from his investment in the Grand Brew coffee shops makes him independently wealthy. But he's not the kind of guy to sit still. And his series means nothing if he's not investigating SOMETHING. So how does all this $ come into play? Will Mac create his own private investigations company? That doesn't feel right, either...
Will the $ come in-between Mac and Sally? Will his ex come back and try to hone in on that money? True, Mac effectively shut her down in the prequel, but that doesn't mean she won't try. Frankly, I'd like to see her come back and try something or be involved in the next murder.
NITS/Beefs * Usually, when a governor runs for office, he/she resigns. The campaign focus is so hot and heavy, it's tough to actually govern. Now, I realize there are exceptions to that rule, but still... It seems unlikely that Governor Thomson wouldn't have stepped down. But what do I know?
* Getting "the Bishop" is cool and provides a great ending. But really? Everything tied up so nice and neat at the end of the book? Not reality. I'd like to see the Big Bad Guy get away, like he would in real life - or remain unscathed and untouchable. That's more like real life. And Mac needs a good dose of that real life. He's too charmed... too charming... too good. Yes, I know he's dogged and determined and logical and all of that. He's a GREAT cop - not denigrating his skills. But he wouldn't win every single one every single time. It's about time that he doesn't.
* As with Mac, his dad, Simon, is just TOO GOOD. Everyone who's anyone in law enforcement knows the McRyans.... great for the books, but really? Sure, someone at the federal level would look up the info. But does EVERYONE connected have to personally know Mac or his dad? And there's NO HINT of anything at all in the background at any time? Look - my dad was in law enforcement and he had a distinguished career, even in his small fish pond. But *everyone* has regrets - some bad guy that got away, some case that didn't go as planned, some action that wasn't technically illegal but came back to cause trouble later - something! Mac and his dad are simply TOO GOOD... it's time for a dose or reality in more ways than one.
* Personal stuff - Mac and Sally seem to LIVE their jobs. We know very little about their private lives, except for the gratuitous sex scenes between them in this book. Yeah, in the last book, we went from PG-13 for violence to R/Mature to include language and sex. But it doesn't necessarily feel organic; it feels as if the author's attempting to insert "grit" or kowtow to the demand for sex, language, and more violence. OK, the language is more "real" in the environment where guys are nicknamed "Dick Lick" and "Pecker".
But we have YET to see Mac & Sally really interact with anyone outside business or their business associates. Now, I get that in this book, since the time frame is compressed to 7 days. And because Sally's been busy with the campaign. But what about her family? How do they feel about Mac and this relationship? Does she have brothers & sisters? Are her parents living? What about Sally's ex?
Mac has a mother and 3 sisters. Other than a brief mention of one of the sisters in the last book, nothing. Only cousins and uncles in the force or at the McRyan Pub. Why? Shouldn't we know more about this family dynamic? Shouldn't Mac have told his family about his profit? What about the friends that Mac invested with - we don't know them at all. Don't they count? Mac's been business partners with them for years.
It just seems that BY NOW, we'd have some insight into Mac's life (and Sally's, if she's going to remain important to Mac) other than the business side. Mac doesn't seem all that well-rounded simply by the written page. And yet Mac does seem to be a well-rounded guy. So tell us MORE about his off-duty life!!!
============ All that said, I really like this series, and I really like Mac. I have a soft spot for Minnesota, since I spent from 3rd grade to 12th grade growing up in rural Minnesota, 1 hr north of the Twin Cities.
I like this series, and I really look forward to the next book... hope that this author will get the press he deserves, and I, for one, will go off to Amazon.com and write reviews on the McRyan series book there, too.
WHEN'S THE NEXT BOOK? (Yeah, I know, this one just came out...)...more
With the new release of Lover At Last and being in the middle of both Suzanne Brockman's Troubleshooter series and Elizabeth Hunter's Elementa3+ stars
With the new release of Lover At Last and being in the middle of both Suzanne Brockman's Troubleshooter series and Elizabeth Hunter's Elemental Mysteries series, I did a lot of start-and-stop reading this book.
It's a decent book, with plenty of steamy scenes and chemistry between the 2 principals, Steve and Liz. Problem is, all the action takes place within 1 week's time. And the two are in love somewhere in the middle of all of that. Now, I get falling in love hard and fast when you're no longer in your 20s; I'm not saying it can't happen, but it was really fast, especially for 2 people who've been guarding their hearts for so long.
Besides which, there's kind of the problem of Steve being a PI (private investigator). He pretty much puts all his time and resources (supposedly) into Liz's case, trying to locate her missing, vapid, vain cousin Valerie. But see, there are much easier ways of getting the full name of the guy, Rob, that Valerie supposedly went away with. It doesn't take Liz having to join the fantasy phone-sex company that Valerie worked for AND manage to score a trip as a fantasy girl at a real party with Steve (supposedly a phone sex customer willing to ante up $1K for the night) within that one week's time. Again... all too much too fast. It never happens this way anywhere except Hollywood and in books. Why? Because it's too thin to prevent the stretch of credulity from finally breaking through the reader's/viewer's suspension of disbelief. WHY can't Steve or Liz manage to get hold of Valerie's employee file inside The Ultimate Fantasy company and just find out what phone number Rob has been calling in on? THEN they can track him.
And, as it turns out, the mystery isn't much of a mystery. Valerie is just what she appeared to be, and there's no real reason for Liz to have worried herself into spending a fortune trying to track Valerie down. But at least Liz learns a lot about herself and is able to rid herself of unnecessary guilt over their childhood.
But no... and I suppose that would take away the fun and sexiness of this book. Because Steve and Liz are fun and sexy together. Their love for caramel might not be unique or new, but it's sure HOT!!! ...more
This 3rd book in the series is what got me to read the other two. Let me explain: This book was offered as a free ebook; but it's book #3, an3.5 stars
This 3rd book in the series is what got me to read the other two. Let me explain: This book was offered as a free ebook; but it's book #3, and I hate coming into the middle of a story and established characters, so, of course, I bought the 1st two books (clever marketing, eh?) and already read them. If I hadn't liked the characters and mysteries, I'd have cut-and-run.
BUT I've grown quite fond of our Heroine, Jordan, and her apartment crew. This little adventure was set up in the previous book, when Michael's radio station job sets him up in the perfect position to hire his friends for this Cooking Competition Cruise. Since Jordan has the infamous Kitchen Kupboard byline and has established herself as a "gourmet", she's to be one of the judges. Yikes! Jordan is far from a gourmet girl, as she's already proven in book 1 with a hilarious and somewhat disastrous encounter with pate and in this book while judging an appetizer made from sweetbreads (which she has no idea are cow glands).
One of the chefs vying for the chance to win a coveted spot to represent a commercial food product dies during the appetizer quick fire challenge. Turns out, his basket included spices that had ground peanuts - and he was highly allergic. None of the other chefs' spices include the ground peanuts.
While awaiting the official autopsy results, the head of security for the Carnation Queen boat goes missing... and then another body turns up - on stage. What's going on?
Who's behind all of this? Is it one of the 2 gal cooks who've schemed together to use their wiles to win? The chef who's wife just delivered a newborn son that's probably not his child? The high-powered gorgeous entertainment lady lawyer with the rough early life? The celebrity chef whom everyone loves and no one would suspect? The rich, smug, spoiled, chases any skirt married slug of a 3rd judge who owns a sweets company that he built on the stolen recipe of a girl he trashed in high school? Micheal's boss, the owner of the radio station, who grew up with the smug sweets company rich judge and hates his guts? Or someone else?
LOVE that Alex shows up in the middle of this Caribbean cruise. Alex and Jordan together are sigh-worthy! But it's Jordan who saves the day, as always!...more
Not sure where this cover came from, 'cuz it doesn't match my cover!
Regardless, this is really 5-interwoven love stories in 4 "books" all w3-3.5 stars
Not sure where this cover came from, 'cuz it doesn't match my cover!
Regardless, this is really 5-interwoven love stories in 4 "books" all wrapped up into one. If you think you know who'll end up in each pairing, you're wrong. The book will keep you guessing... OR simply throw you a curve ball, telling you that after a quick introduction of one of the two, that they're married. Yep, just like that.
But it's fun and heart-warming. There's tragedy, sorrow, pain, and heart break; but there's also love, joy, healing, and redemption. It's sexy and funny and sad all at the same time.
This book has a little bit of everything, including faith-spirituality and some paranormal elements. But it's fun and a decent read....more
I'm still absorbing this book. It certainly surprised me! Not sure if Special Agent Pendergast's stories are over or not - hoping4 stars - I think....
I'm still absorbing this book. It certainly surprised me! Not sure if Special Agent Pendergast's stories are over or not - hoping not! This book certainly left a lot of possible openings for new books or spinoffs on main characters....more
This book redeemed itself towards the end. I was considering giving up completely on the series, but I kept reading.
The problem, for me, is3.5-4 stars
This book redeemed itself towards the end. I was considering giving up completely on the series, but I kept reading.
The problem, for me, is that Sara seems to be high drama. She reads something into everything, which irritates the heck out of me. I can't help but think some of Chris' secrecy is due to his not wanting to ignite another fire-storm of emotion and drama from Sara. I can see why he thinks she can't handle him.
Sara wants to be this independent woman, in control of her life and her decisions. She grew up in a house where her father was extremely controlling. He treated her mother and her like pets, she says, keeping them in caged luxury at home, while he traveled extensively and visited his many mistresses. Sara and her mother were constantly watched and guarded; their every move was second-guessed. Because her father wanted a boy, he "adopted" his protegee, Michael, who became Sara's fiancee because her father and Michael wanted it. It was a neat solution: Sara marries Michael. She inherits her father's fortune, while Michael inherits his CEO mantle. Except that Sara would remain trapped - Michael would have it all and control it all. Her father's and Michael's attitudes towards women are misogynistic, to say the least; their idea of sex is a pseudo-BDSM thing, except no safe words allowed. They take what they want when they want it; to hell with the woman's pleasure, wants, desires, or safety.
So... Chris and we, the readers, understand better why Sara left that world. And why she insists on being her own person. OK. It makes sense. Except that, again, Sara sees control and protection as threats; anything that could possibly hinder her making her own decisions (however unwise), she throws a fit at. It gets tiring. Especially when Sara's BIG LIE is revealed. Sorry to say, I found the reveal neither big nor a lie - not really. She withheld some ugly truth. But it just doesn't seem like something worrying about how Chris will take. The author tries to frame it so that we, the readers, will understand. But it just didn't work for me within that framework. Bravo to Chris for dealing with it quickly and sanely. If only Sara would TRUST Chris.
TRUST is definitely still an issue between these two. And it doesn't end with this book. They're constantly working through revealing their troubled pasts. Each is still dealing with his and her own individual demons... but these two need to learn to TRUST one another and lean on one another. Case in point being when Sara withheld her BIG LIE from Chris, only to discover that he could and did deal with it.
One of Chris' passions is a children's hospital in LA. Dylan, a 13 yr old with leukemia, is one of Chris' current close friends. But when things take a turn for the worse for Dylan, Chris reverts back to his usual method of dealing with it - extreme pain. This is his big, deep, dark secret - the thing he thinks will make Sara run. Mark intervenes when he's notified that Chris is at the Club and pushing the limits; he asks Sara to come with him, but Mark makes it clear that while he thinks Sara can help pull Chris out of this funk, Sara has to be willing to accept what she sees and deal with it. To her credit, Sara tries; but she freaks out both herself and Chris. (Side note: I've never come upon a man I love being beaten bloody at his own command. But I don't think that I would react the same way that Sara did. But who knows? When you know someone is hurting and allowing themselves to be hurt to release the emotions.... and this isn't your world.... Mark seems to think that Chris has gone too far. He should know. But from the description, I didn't see anything that flagged me. Then again, I'm not an expert in this world.)
The episode means that Chris and Sara break up AGAIN. In the midst of Blake Walker and his employee from Walker Security (a cross-over from another series by Ms. Jones and a nice touch) investigating both Rebecca's disappearance and Ellie's falling off the map. Because there's concern that whoever "helped" Rebecca disappear might be after her belongings and/or Sara and what she knows. So Sara's been under surveillance by Walker Security and Jacob (security at Chris' penthouse/building).
Chris affirms that MARK IS THE MASTER. And Sara's figured out who it is that Mark shares Rebecca with. In fact, during the break up with Chris, Mark & his friend put the moves on Sara. But she manages to disentangle herself from them in time to run into Chris and deal with his jumping to conclusions.
Regardless, Sara is convinced that Mark wouldn't hurt Rebecca. He confesses that he scared her off, but that he asked her to return; except that he never saw her again. Mark gives Sara another journal, but this one contains Rebecca's receipts and work notes. In it, Sara discovers that Rebecca was tracking down possible art fraud involving Mary at the gallery and possibly Ricco.
But in the twist at the end, everyone discovers exactly who is responsible for Rebecca's disappearance and what happened to her. It's a tense, suspense-filled thriller - not entirely unexpected, but the violence of the events comes out of nowhere.
So the question is... where do Chris and Sara go from here? What part does Mark play? Why another book - the aftermath? Not complaining about a 3rd book, just curious. I expect it will be about Chris and Sara either sealing their relationship and becoming a true couple or breaking completely apart. And there IS the question of Ella and what happened to her....more
Here's the thing about this book: As much as I love Detective Chief Inspector Lloyd Fellows and Lady Louisa Scranton and their love story, t3ish stars
Here's the thing about this book: As much as I love Detective Chief Inspector Lloyd Fellows and Lady Louisa Scranton and their love story, this book... didn't quite do it justice in the actual romance department. There simply wasn't the "steam" factor as there have been in the other Mackenzie books. And I missed it. I anticipated it.
For those of you who don't know, recently promoted DCI Lloyd Fellows is an illegitimate Mackenzie. He shares a father (the old duke) with Hart, Cam, Mac, and Ian, but he's a by-blow of the duke's indiscretions with a tavern maid. He's had quite the chip on his shoulder about it, too. That is, until the Mackenzie family (mainly the women) decided to try to make it right, and the men realized Lloyd is really good at what he does and is a good man to have on your side.
Lady Louisa is Isabella's sister, Isabella being the wife of Mac Mackenzie. We've seen Louisa corner and kiss Lloyd at 2 family occasions. But that's been all... until now.
There's plenty of SWOON-factor between them and plenty of chemistry, no doubt. But I'd expected to be treated to a bit more show-and-tell and not just fade-to-black when it was getting good. Did someone ask Jennifer Ashley to tame the Untamed Mackenzie in terms of sex?
Regardless, it's a solid whodunnit in which Lady Louisa Scranton is the chief suspect. We see the toll it takes on her, especially in society. But the simmering heat between Louisa and Lloyd definitely comes to a boil: problem is, Lloyd can't do a thing about it, because he's the DCI assigned to the case, and his boss has already warned him that any impropriety means Lloyd'll be kicked off the case. And Lloyd knows that means someone who wants a quick arrest and doesn't care about Lousia's innocence or justice will have her imprisoned in Newgate in a blink.
My issues with the book have to do with the lack of steamy sex (which is trademark in this series) and the "cheat" factor of the mystery. Ms. Ashley withholds vital information from the readers that makes it impossible for us to determine just who the culprit really is until just before the reveal. The only clues we have are: 1. Who was present at the tea party, and 2. The book that Lloyd's detective discovered in the victim's room.
And there isn't much of the Mackenzie family, as a whole, although I was happy for the glimpses and the updates. Guess this book is intended solely to whet our appetite for Daniel's book, out later this year....more
2 - maybe 2.5 stars Recommendation: If you want to read this book DO NOT BUY IT. Get it from your library or a friend. It's simply not worth the money.2 - maybe 2.5 stars Recommendation: If you want to read this book DO NOT BUY IT. Get it from your library or a friend. It's simply not worth the money.
Hmmm... In books 16 & 17, Stephanie walked the wild side, with uninhibited language and sex; lots of rude, crude, crass, and over-the-top, even for Stephanie Plum. In book 18, it took forever to get the story of what really happened in Hawaii - especially between Ranger and Morelli. And the story left us hanging - me with the idea that Steph was going to end up pregnant and unsure who was the father. I swore that if that happened, I was DONE with this series forever.
So, in a huge way, this book was a deciding factor for me as to whether or not I continued with the series. I *loved* the early Plum days and most of the in-between books. I was hoping that Evanovich would scale back and bring the laugh-out-loud funny, the swoon-worthy sighs, and the ditzy Plum that we've come to know and love.
Evanovich scaled Stephanie Plum back, all right. Into an almost dry, boring, non-entity. Suddenly, Steph is trying to be a one-woman gal to Morelli, despite lots of Ranger temptation. Oh yeah, I guess the not-so-subtle hint in Ranger's note left with the bottle of champagne is supposed to keep us hanging once again. 'Cuz with Morelli injured and on pain pills (not much of a spoiler, since Morelli seems to get injured a lot these days), we're led to believe that Ranger's going to try to change Steph's mind and give in to him. Gee. What a nice guy, huh?
I don't remember laughing once while reading this book. I definitely didn't laugh-out-loud. I think I did several eye-rolls.
You see, this story is just... boring. There's the weird subplot with a skip and a stolen Hawaiian tiki named, originally enough, Tiki. There's a missing skip who went missing from the hospital after an emergency appendectomy, which is supposed to be the main mystery. And then there's Ranger, who "needs" Stephanie to pretend to be his date at a dinner that turns into her becoming the Maid of Honor for someone she barely knows; Ranger and his groom-to-be pal are receiving coded threats from someone who has to be a member of their former secret military group. So of course, only Stephanie can assist Ranger. *eye roll*
The solution to the main mystery is so easy and so obvious that it was hard to keep reading. I mean, c'mon, how clueless can these people be? Even Morelli, who ends up involved in the case, is clueless. Morelli is so much wallpaper, fading into the background. He's become the "safe" choice for Steph - settled into his aunt's house with Bob, his dog. Making lots of noises about not liking how dangerous Steph's job is, which is SO original for him. Not like he's not made these same noises since book 1? And taking Steph for granted. He's not pummeling Ranger for using Steph; yes, they've come to some understanding about keeping her safe. But Morelli, just sitting back and allowing Ranger to sidle up close to Steph? Making lots of comments about perhaps loving her and proposing to her... talk about sex & heat between them, but no real sex scenes - just later mentions of gorilla sex. WHAT HAPPENED? How did Morelli become so... boring? Staid? Almost unsexy?
The funniest stuff in the book has to do with Tiki, who supposedly talks and influences people for the worst. And trust me, it's not all that funny. OK, maybe THE funniest is when Morelli's car gets blown up. Still... not that funny.
Ranger's pal? The one who's after him? Lots of incidents, but only a very brief, weird, and very quickly over scene with a tiny bit of torture and lots of just plain insane. Over. Just like that. Huh? And another HUGE eye roll for Ranger and his Rangeman crew. With all the sophisticated toys they have, they can't find this guy? And Ranger's supposed to be some super-bounty hunter? Really?
Even Lulu, who can usually be counted on for the funniest lines and actions in the books, is boring. A lot of Cluck-in-the-Bucket and donuts get eaten. And that's different because....??? Hardly a mention of her wardrobe. OK, the funniest Lulu lines are when she's advising a skip busted on soliciting on how to be a better 'ho. Still not all that funny.
What can I say? I almost wish the book would have been controversial... made me angry... made me laugh... made me CARE! The story was dull. Dry. So-so.
I read in an online article that there are supposed to be 3 more Plum books - this one being the 1st in a 4-book contract. Can I put up with 3 more stories like this? NO WAY, especially not at these prices.
I refuse to purchase the next book. I might read it, ever hopeful, but I won't purchase it.
IMO, Evanovich was done with this series at book 15 or so, maybe earlier. Why it continues is beyond me. Lizzy & Diesel are much more interesting, at least for now. And Evanovich has started at least 2 more new series, 1 book in the late 1800s and one involving an FBI agent - each series co-written with someone else.
So give us ONE LAST BOOK and let the Steph, Ranger, and Morelli fade into the background. ENOUGH ALREADY!...more