Beth's Reviews > The Chocolate Lover

The Chocolate Lover by M.E. Rabb
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Feb 16, 12

bookshelves: 2012-reads, february-2012, disappointment, loved-the-premise
Read from February 15 to 16, 2012

I thought I would love this book. Mainly because I'm a huge mystery whore and I love characters with secrets. Ehhh, no.

And this one had so much potential - which mainly just fizzled out. I loved that the characters had a strong sisterly bond and a strong Jewish identity, because I love new culture. I actually really liked Colin and Sam, which was strange, because usually I hate the standard cliché of a girl falling for her best friend without her knowledge, but there was some real sense of the closeness and friendship between Sam and Colin in the few scenes they had together, so that worked for me. I felt that Rabb was better at handling the subplots which had a little more fizz and edge to them, like the developing romance between Sophie and Josh, who may or may not be Sophie's second cousin, because it got some pretty good lines like, "Since Sophie had never even been on a real date before, having her first one with her cousin might be a good way to ease her into it." I really liked it because they had cute chemistry and nice scenes together, but I didn't know where Rabb was going with it - the unpredictability, fun farcical tone and curiosity of that subplot, though, kind of showed up how dull and standard the rest were.

Unfortunately, the other strands of the plot didn't really have anything twisty or intriguing about them, which was fatal to the mystery subplot of the book. This probably just comes from starting at the second book in the series (it was all I could pick up at the cheap store!), but I didn't really care enough with the subplot about the private investigator that Sam and Sophie's evil stepmother had hired to track them down, since I had no idea what they were running away from. (It was recapped in the book, but not really fleshed out enough to give me the "holy crap what if they get caught?!" feeling, so that one lacked any tension. I don't need bloodshed in my mysteries to care about things like this - in fact, I found it refreshing that this was a relatively light mystery - but it had absolutely none of the things I like about mysteries. Twists, red herrings, most of all: surprises. It ends up that exactly what we thought is going on is going on, and I don't mean that in a "look at me I'm so clever I guessed it" way; there is literally no other plot twists or red herrings and it just turns out that the idea Sam had about what had happened had, actually, happened. Even in the big denouement, which featured Sam and Colin breaking into a gallery, didn't have the giggly tension that it should have because I didn't for one second believed that Rabb would take any risks.

Gus, the grumpy private detective with a heart of gold, was mostly a cliché, as was Leo Shattenberg, the ancient professor and cool old guy who tracked them down to find his lost love for him. I don't mind that because these familiar roles gave me a nice feel for the old-fashioned noiry/detective feel that Rabb had going on. It's a pity that the rest of the book fell so flat and failed to maintain anything that I like about the detective genre. Still, I'll probably check out the rest of the books in the series, because this one was fast and fun enough, it was just near the end (when I realised that Rabb planned to pull literally no surprises, or even an attempt at a surprise) that it fell flat for me.
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Reading Progress

02/15/2012 page 16
8.0% "Despite the fact that she's (il)legally changed her name to Fiona to escape her psycho stepmother, she "tells everyone her name is Sophie" - uhm, why not just stick to Fiona? Sure it would take some getting used to, but what if your psycho family show up after you??? Am I the only one who sees the flaw with this grand plan?"
02/16/2012 page 111
58.0% "I wondered if they made a Hallmark card for this occasion: "I'd like you if we weren't related!""
02/16/2012 page 112
58.0% ""Since she'd never even been on a real date before, maybe having her first one with her cousin would be a good way to ease into the whole thing.""

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