Publisher: Berkley

September 29, 2016

Review | Apprentice in Death by J.D. Robb

Review | Apprentice in Death by J.D. RobbApprentice in Death by J.D. Robb
Series: In Death, #43
Publisher: Berkley, September 2016
Pages: 375
Format: Hardcover
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The shots came quickly, silently, and with deadly accuracy. Within seconds, three people were dead at Central Park’s ice skating rink. The victims: a talented young skater, a doctor, and a teacher. As random as random can be.
Eve Dallas has seen a lot of killers during her time with the NYPSD, but never one like this. After reviewing security videos, it becomes clear that the victims were killed by a sniper firing a tactical laser rifle, who could have been miles away when the trigger was pulled. And though the locations where the shooter could have set up seem endless, the list of people with that particular skill set is finite: police, military, professional killer.
Eve’s husband, Roarke, has unlimited resources—and genius—at his disposal. And when his computer program leads Eve to the location of the sniper, she learns a shocking fact: There were two—one older, one younger. Someone is being trained by an expert in the science of killing, and they have an agenda. Central Park was just a warm-up. And as another sniper attack shakes the city to its core, Eve realizes that though we’re all shaped by the people around us, there are those who are just born evil...

Master and apprentice in death. It’s a new take for Lieutenant Eve Dallas, Homicide. She faced down lovers, loners, psychopaths and worse. But when a long distance serial killer (think sniper) starts killing in New York City, Eve has a feeling she may be out of her depth.

I couldn’t get into this book at first. After waiting (im)patiently for the latest book in the In Death series, I expected a grand opening scene. The initial murder scene at the ice skating rink didn’t catch me at first. The connection, the viciousness that I’d come to expect from Robb’s villains didn’t stand out. Instead, it was cold, impersonal, and almost clinical.

As Apprentice in Death began to play out, the implications began to sink in. I realized that these villains, the master and apprentice, were unlike anything Eve has faced before. I was hooked into the massive manhunt for the serial killers for one reason: the psychological profiles.

The depth and variation in both the master and apprentice’s mindsets, motives, and rationale were intense, emotional, and entirely engaging. In other words, I loved it. The dueling narration of Eve’s hunt and the snipers’ thought processes fascinated me, pulling me deeper into the story than I ever imagined.

Most of Robb’s installments are what I would consider thrilling, but the gritty nature of this manhunt made it downright heart-stopping. Although it took a while for it to get started, Apprentice in Death lives up to Robb’s standards.

As thrilling as the new characters were, it was the returning cast that made me fall in love with this book. The dynamics between Peabody and Eve in Interview always add a thrill, and Roarke…well, Roarke is an entity unto himself. Their perfectly imperfect marriage is one of my favorite relationships in literature today.

I don’t know why I doubt it; Robb’s In Death series has won me over time and time again. Apprentice in Death was no different.

4 Stars

Posted September 29, 2016 by Ellen in reviews / 0 Comments
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September 15, 2016

Review | Red Storm Rising by Tom Clancy

Review | Red Storm Rising by Tom ClancyRed Storm Rising by Tom Clancy
Publisher: Berkley, August 1987
Pages: 725
Format: Paperback
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Tom Clancy, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Jack Ryan novels--including his latest blockbusters Command Authority and Threat Vector--delivers an electrifying tale of international conflict.
Using the latest advancements in military technology, the world's superpowers battle it out on land, sea, and air for the ultimate global control.
A chillingly authentic vision of modern war, Red Storm Rising is as powerful as it is ambitious.
It's a story you will never forget.
Hard hitting. Suspenseful.
And frighteningly real.

Clancy pitches superpower versus superpower in air, sea and land in this alternate history telling of the war between NATO and Russia. As the story progresses, the lives of many hang in the balance. Through it all, the question remains: Will they survive the storm?

What would happen if the Cold War had broken out into World War III? That’s the question Clancy asks in Red Storm Rising. In his fictional ending of the Cold War, Clancy breaks out the big guns…literally. After Russia attacks the strategic island nation of Iceland, NATO pulls out all the stops to prevent, then contain the war. The dramatic descriptions of battle on ship, submarine, tank and plane kept me hooked. The ability to keep the reader engaged while switching between nations and narratives was key to Red Storm Rising.

Now, I have to say that there are stereotypes in this book. Lots of them. Pretty much everywhere. My theory is Clancy used these stereotypes to keep the focus on the action, not the characters (a strong departure from the books I’m used to). Normally, I’d hate this. In Red Storm Rising, it worked. Simply, the action was the enough to (more than) sustain the story – adding in deep character development would have been overkill.

There was some minor character development, especially for the pack of NATO soldiers stranded in Iceland. Their part of the story was the hardest to read. I kept myself at the edge of my seat constantly, hoping everything would turn out all right.

If you’re a military buff, Cold War fanatic, or can’t get enough of Clancy’s work, Red Storm Rising is definitely for you. I’d even recommend it to suspense/thriller fans, even if military history isn’t your thing. This is a world that can grab you in and never let go.

4 Stars

Posted September 15, 2016 by Ellen in reviews / 0 Comments
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September 8, 2016

Review | Bay of Sighs by Nora Roberts

Review | Bay of Sighs by Nora RobertsBay of Sighs by Nora Roberts
Series: The Guardians Trilogy, #2
Publisher: Berkley, June 2016
Pages: 319
Format: Paperback
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The new Guardians Trilogy novel from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Stars of Fortune. 
To celebrate the rise of their new queen, three goddesses of the moon created three stars, one of fire, one of ice, one of water. But then they fell from the sky, putting the fate of all worlds in danger. And now three women and three men join forces to pick up the pieces…   Mermaid Annika is from the sea, and it is there she must return after her quest to find the stars. New to this world, her purity and beauty are nothing less than breathtaking, along with her graceful athleticism, as her five new friends discovered when they retrieved the fire star.   Now, through space and time, traveler Sawyer King has brought the guardians to the island of Capri, where the water star is hidden. And as he watches Annika in her element, he finds himself drawn to her joyful spirit. But Sawyer knows that if he allows her into his heart, no compass could ever guide him back to solid ground...   And in the darkness, their enemy broods. She lost one star to the guardians, but there is still time for blood to be spilled—the mermaid’s in the water and the traveler’s on the land. For she has forged a dangerous new weapon. Something deadly and unpredictable. Something human.

In the second installment of her Guardians Trilogy, Roberts returns to her defenders of the stars, the Guardians. Six people from different walks of life and corners of the earth converge to save the world in the ultimate battle of good against evil.

If you asked me to describe Annika, I could only come up with one word: helpful. Or, more that she wants to be helpful. Her intrinsic instinct to reach out and help any and every one she can should be endearing, and for a while, it was. Yet, when it became her standby action, it got a little annoying. Coupled with her endless optimism, it made it hard to get to know her, a mermaid who, in a deal with the sea witch, gave up her tail temporarily for legs.

There’s a huge story there, right? I would think the struggle to adapt would at least show through every once in a while, but instead, there’s the always helpful Annika, putting out flowers and setting the table. Instead of endearing her to me, it created this vast abyss that neither of us could cover.

I got along a little better with Sawyer, the man with the ability to bend time. Him, I understood – his motives, background, all of it were the more traditional character development, and made him a little more believable.

While Bay of Sighs had a little more oomph to it than Stars of Fortune, I still found myself wanting more character development, for everybody. All six of them. You got that right – there’s six main characters. And since each had such large, trademark personalities, it was hard to develop any of them. It was frustrating; like I was taking the journey, and they were there just to provide commentary.

That all said, the drama and action was much better in this installment. The villains were appropriately evil and (strangely) had more development than the heroes, but there you go. It was the battle scenes that saved Bay of Sighs from a lower rating.

3 Stars

Posted September 8, 2016 by Ellen in reviews / 0 Comments
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August 8, 2016

Review | The Virgin’s Guide to Misbehaving by Jessica Clare

Review | The Virgin’s Guide to Misbehaving by Jessica ClareThe Virgin's Guide to Misbehaving by Jessica Clare
Series: Bluebonnet, #4
Publisher: Berkley, June 2014
Pages: 304
Format: Paperback
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Playing innocent is easy.
After being the quiet, shy girl her whole life, Elise Markham is ready for a mental makeover. She’s done keeping to herself and staying out of trouble—it’s time to break out of her shell and maybe meet someone intriguing in the process. So, on a photography trip to Bluebonnet, she has a whole lot more on her mind than snapping photos, especially when Rome walks into the picture.
Playing dirty is fun.
The newest instructor at Wilderness Survival Expeditions has a colorful past, to say the least. Having come from a family of notorious con artists that destroyed his credit and reputation, all before his eighteenth birthday, Rome just wants a decent job and a quiet life in a town where no one knows his name. He’s exactly the kind of bad boy that an innocent girl like Elise should stay far away from.
But Elise is tired of doing what’s right. She’s ready to throw caution to the wind—and let Rome show her just how exciting being bad can be…

Elise Markham didn’t think the sexy, tattooed Rome noticed her. Why would he? She couldn’t utter a word in his presence without feeling like a fool. Instead, she’s determined to love him from afar…but what she doesn’t know is that the sexy Rome has his eye on her.

A self-made man, Rome has seen the dark and dirty of the world, but pulled himself out of it. He can’t keep his eyes off Elise, but how can he be with her when he can’t shake the shadows?

The Virgin’s Guide to Misbehaving was a hit/miss for me.

The hits:
  • I loved their chemistry. It was so deep and real. Set against their own personal issues, it was astonishing the pages didn’t catch fire.
  • The romance was sweet. I loved Rome’s reference to her as “my girl.” The light possessiveness was lovely in small doses.
  • The continuation of Bluebonnet was great. It was nice to see other characters play small cameos, but not overtake the novel.
The misses:
  • I started to really tire of Rome’s self-deprecating remarks. It soon felt like he couldn’t pay her a compliment without degrading himself, either mentally or out loud. It was hard to cheer for him when he didn’t even cheer for himself.
  • Throughout The Virgin’s Guide, Elise is painfully shy. She has to get drunk on beer to even talk to Rome in the beginning. By the end, she’s the image of confidence. The journey wasn’t there to support this transition and left me feeling like Elise had dual personality disorder instead of character growth.

In the end, The Virgin’s Guide gets a great rating on the steamy scenes, but the lack of character development brought down what would have otherwise been a stellar story. With a little extra oomph for the characters, this would have easily been a five star book.

3 Stars

Posted August 8, 2016 by Ellen in reviews / 0 Comments
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May 2, 2016

Review | The Obsession by Nora Roberts

Review | The Obsession by Nora RobertsThe Obsession by Nora Roberts
Publisher: Berkley, April 2016
Pages: 453
Format: Hardcover
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The riveting new novel from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Liar.
Naomi Bowes lost her innocence the night she followed her father into the woods. In freeing the girl trapped in the root cellar, Naomi revealed the horrible extent of her father’s crimes and made him infamous.
Now a successful photographer living under the name Naomi Carson, she has found a place that calls to her, thousands of miles away from everything she’s ever known. Naomi wants to embrace the solitude, but the residents of Sunrise Cove keep forcing her to open up—especially the determined Xander Keaton.
Naomi can feel her defenses failing, and knows that the connection her new life offers is something she’s always secretly craved. But as she’s learned time and again, her past is never more than a nightmare away.

Naomi Carson has been running from her past for so long that it feels like second nature. She’s actually rather proud of her self-imposed hermit status, thank you very much, but…when she spots the rambling old house overlooking the small town of Sunrise Cove, something in it calls to her. Something that tells her she’s finally home.

To put it simply, I became obsessed with Roberts’ The Obsession. Naomi’s dark childhood as the daughter of infamous serial killer Thomas Bowes created a need to find a secure home, and even though her uncles do their best to provide one for her and her brother, Mason, Naomi’s history creates a character that I fell in love with.

The opening chapters of the novel are chilling and definitely the highlight. The dark, gloomy atmosphere as Naomi follows her father out into the forest that fateful night, the struggle as she and Mason try to rebuild their lives, the heartbreak as their mother fails to. It was emotionally wrenching, draining, and absolutely fabulous.

Yet the story in the present was hit and miss. I loved Xander from the start, although I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from him (he isn’t Roberts’ typical character), but Naomi was iffy. As their relationship grew deeper, the more often Naomi just fell flat. She was occasionally propped up by Xander’s character and, with all of the crazy situations the plot threw at her, it was hard to get a good read on her character.

Even with the character flaw, the actual obsession of the novel’s namesake was so chilling. The disappearances combined with the creepy narrative of the killer left me with chills and the mad urge to make sure all of the doors and windows were locked.

The changing narrative, from Naomi to Xander to the killer, kept The Obsession moving at a rapid pace and kept me hooked. I loved how Roberts built the atmosphere and narrative from the past and carried it into the present day. It connected the past and present, hinting at a hope of happily ever after at the future.

Despite Naomi’s occasional flatness, The Obsession is simply a must read. It’s a return to Roberts’ older works, the fantastic romantic suspense I’ve come to know and love.

5 Stars

Posted May 2, 2016 by Ellen in reviews / 0 Comments
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March 31, 2016

Review | Brotherhood in Death by J.D. Robb

Review | Brotherhood in Death by J.D. RobbBrotherhood in Death by J.D. Robb
Series: In Death, #42
Publisher: Berkley, February 2016
Pages: 388
Format: Hardcover
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Sometimes brotherhood can be another word for conspiracy...
Dennis Mira just had two unpleasant surprises. First he learned that his cousin Edward was secretly meeting with a real estate agent about their late grandfather’s magnificent West Village brownstone, despite the promise they both made to keep it in the family. Then, when he went to the house to confront Edward about it, he got a blunt object to the back of the head.

Luckily Dennis is married to Charlotte Mira, the NYPSD’s top profiler and a good friend of Lieutenant Eve Dallas. When the two arrive on the scene, he explains that the last thing he saw was Edward in a chair, bruised and bloody. When he came to, his cousin was gone. With the mess cleaned up and the security disks removed, there’s nothing left behind but a few traces for forensics to analyze.

As a former lawyer, judge, and senator, Edward Mira mingled with the elite and crossed paths with criminals, making enemies on a regular basis. Like so many politicians, he also made some very close friends behind closed—and locked—doors. But a badge and a billionaire husband can get you into places others can’t go, and Eve intends to shine some light on the dirty deals and dark motives behind the disappearance of a powerful man, the family discord over a multimillion-dollar piece of real estate . . . and a new case that no one saw coming.

Eve Dallas has a soft spot for Dennis Mira, husband of her close confidant and college, Dr. Charlotte Mira. When he stumbles across his cousin, Senator Edward Mira, bruised and bloodied in the study of their grandfather’s family home and is attacked himself, Eve takes the case personally. A longtime senator, politician, and unanimously unlikable guy, Edward had many skeletons in his closet, but he turns up dead, Eve starts digging. Soon, she has unraveled a secret brotherhood, long hidden crimes by men who believed they were untouchable, and a killer that wants to revenge.

Brotherhood may not be in the first book where a case meshes with Eve’s personal life, but it’s one of the more poignant. Dennis Mira is a sweet, gentle soul; slow to anger, quick to forgiveness, it’s hard for him to understand his cousin’s need to ignore their grandfather’s dying wish to keep the old brownstone house in the family. Eve, protective of him by nature, takes this case to heart, especially after she hears the details of his attack. She’s dealt with the frightening, the scary, the unusual throughout the series, but it’s the attack close to home, to someone she loves, that revs her into high gear.

Many of the In Death novels have discussed relevant topics in today’s society, but Brotherhood took rape and its repercussions head on. Robb’s depiction of the plight of the victim, the struggles they overcome, was heartbreaking.

Robb’s latest installment brings up another question: wait for justice to be served, or take it into your own hands? A cop by nature, Eve’s narrative emphasizes waiting for the process, for letting her do her job. There’s a passion in her voice, but a piece of her connects with the criminals while she must stand for the dead.

Eve makes some progressions of her own in Brotherhood. The case brings up some memories from her own past, but when one event occurs, it makes her realize how tightly she is holding on to it. While her character’s evolution doesn’t play a huge role in the book, it’s a astounding moment, for both her and the reader.

I read the In Death series for many reasons, but usually because I love Eve’s quick replies, snappy comebacks, and native sarcasm. This one caught me for the crime and discussion of real topics in society. It felt a little more real, a little more in the darker side of Eve’s New York.

4 Stars

Posted March 31, 2016 by Ellen in reviews / 0 Comments
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January 8, 2016

Review | Stars of Fortune by Nora Roberts

Review | Stars of Fortune by Nora RobertsStars of Fortune by Nora Roberts
Series: The Guardians Trilogy #1
Publisher: Berkley, November 2015
Pages: 304
Format: Paperback
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BOOK ONE OF THE GUARDIANS TRILOGY
To celebrate the rise of their new queen, three goddesses of the moon created three stars, one of fire, one of ice, one of water. But then they fell from the sky, putting the fate of all worlds in danger. And now three women and three men join forces to pick up the pieces…
Sasha Riggs is a reclusive artist, haunted by dreams and nightmares that she turns into extraordinary paintings. Her visions lead her to the Greek island of Corfu, where five others have been lured to seek the fire star. Sasha recognizes them, because she has drawn them: a magician, an archaeologist, a wanderer, a fighter, a loner. All on a quest. All with secrets.
Sasha is the one who holds them together—the seer. And in the magician, Bran Killian, she sees a man of immense power and compassion. As Sasha struggles with her rare ability, Bran is there to support her, challenge her, and believe in her.
But Sasha and Bran are just two of the six. And they all must all work together as a team to find the fire star in a cradle of land beneath the sea. Over their every attempt at trust, unity, and love, a dark threat looms. And it seeks to corrupt everything that stands in its way of possessing the stars…

I feel like every time I don’t LOVE one of Roberts’ works, I need to justify it. I’ve been such a huge fan of hers for years, but her last few paranormal/fantasy releases just leave me feeling unsatisfied.

 
Stars of Fortune started out well enough: Sasha Riggs is happy as a somewhat reclusive painter, working and living in her little home in the Blue Ridge mountains, but she can’t shake this images of other people. They haunt her, especially a dark-haired man with a small lightning scar through one eyebrow (aside: instantly made me think of Harry Potter). She finally gives in to the urge to find them, packs up, and heads to Greece. 
 
What that brief explanation doesn’t tell is Sasha is incredibly insecure. Strangers make her vaguely nervous in general (she has to convince herself to go downstairs to the bar to at the hotel in Greece), and heaven help us if anyone looks her in the eye. As an introduction to the character, it was a bit endearing, but as the story progressed and she remained this slightly malleable, insecure character, my patience waned. 

My biggest complaint with Stars of Fortune is how Roberts introduced her six characters. All six arrive in the book and honestly, it’s too jumbled. None of them can expand and grow as characters because the next one needs airtime to tell his story. They all have distinct characteristics but remained, distressingly, as one dimensional characters. 

Due to the massive amount of people floating around in this book, Sasha and Bran’s relationship couldn’t develop into what it could be; instead the romance is flat and almost forgotten. That was possibly the biggest disappointment of all. 
2 Stars

Posted January 8, 2016 by Ellen in reviews / 0 Comments
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October 29, 2015

Review | Devoted in Death by J.D. Robb

Review | Devoted in Death by J.D. RobbDevoted in Death by J.D. Robb
Series: In Death, #41
Publisher: Berkley, September 2015
Pages: 374
Format: Hardcover
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Eve Dallas tracks a couple whose passion is fueled by cold brutality in the newest crime thriller from the #1 New York Times–bestselling author of Obsession in Death and Festive in Death.
When Lieutenant Eve Dallas examines a body in a downtown Manhattan alleyway, the victim’s injuries are so extensive that she almost misses the clue. Carved into the skin is the shape of a heart—and initials inside reading E and D . . .
Ella-Loo and her boyfriend, Darryl, had been separated while Darryl was a guest of the state of Oklahoma, and now that his sentence has been served they don’t ever intend to part again. Ella-Loo’s got dreams. And Darryl believes there are better ways to achieve your dreams than working for them. So they hit the road, and when their car breaks down in Arkansas, they make plans to take someone else’s. Then things get messy and they wind up killing someone—an experience that stokes a fierce, wild desire in Ella-Loo. A desire for Darryl. And a desire to kill again.
As they cross state lines on their way to New York to find the life they think they deserve, they will leave a trail of evil behind them. But now they’ve landed in the jurisdiction of Lieutenant Dallas and her team at the New York Police and Security Department. And with her husband, Roarke, at her side, she has every intention of hunting them down and giving them what they truly deserve . . .

Romantic love is always portrayed in books and fairy tales as such a beautiful thing. We’re taught for a young age to find our soul mate and live happily every after. Devoted in Death is the story of two such soul mates that find joy in murder. 

Such an unnerving thought. Romance is meant to be one of the highlights of our lives: reading this couple’s path of destruction through futuristic New York is one of the more gruesome books I’ve read in the In Death series. 

Luckily, Robb sticks to her general narrative style – brief, somewhat hard-to-read descriptions of the crimes, interspersed with a quick, banter-style dialogue and the right hints of humor to pull the book from the depths of the two killers.   

I loved the pace: from the introduction, the backstory, and all the way through to present, there was this desperate urge to know what would happen, how it would happen, when it would happen. The story of Darryl and Ella-Loo takes over the narration, so the series’ side plots don’t move forward much, but I’m okay with that. The story was THAT GOOD.

5 Stars

Posted October 29, 2015 by Ellen in reviews / 0 Comments
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August 9, 2015

Review | Otherwise Engaged by Amanda Quick

Review | Otherwise Engaged by Amanda QuickOtherwise Engaged by Amanda Quick
Publisher: Berkley, April 2014
Pages: 352
Format: Paperback
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Miss Amity Doncaster, world traveler, is accustomed to adventure and risk. Benedict Stanbridge, a man of science and a spy for the Crown, has faced danger in the darker corners of foreign lands. But they are about to face a threat that is shockingly close to home . . .
One does not expect to be kidnapped on a London street in broad daylight. But Amity Doncaster barely escapes with her life after she is trapped in a carriage with a blade-wielding man in a black silk mask who whispers the most vile taunts and threats into her ear. Her quick thinking, and her secret weapon, save her . . . for now.
But the monster known in the press as the Bridegroom, who has left a trail of female victims in his wake, has survived the wounds she inflicts and will soon be on his feet again. He is unwholesomely obsessed by her scandalous connection to Benedict Stanbridge—gossip about their hours alone in a ship’s stateroom seems to have crossed the Atlantic faster than any sailing vessel could. Benedict refuses to let this resourceful, daring woman suffer for her romantic link to him—as tenuous as it may be.
For a man and woman so skilled at disappearing, so at home in the exotic reaches of the globe, escape is always an option. But each intends to end the Bridegroom’s reign of terror in London, and will join forces to do so. And as they prepare to confront an unbalanced criminal in the heart of the city they love, they must also face feelings that neither of them can run away from. . .

 

I have a test when I pick new books/authors out at the library. I read the first sentence, and if that’s good, the first paragraph. If I read the entire first page, it goes in my checkout bag. When I found Amanda Quick’s Otherwise Engaged on the shelf at the library, it passed the first-page test but lost its way after.

There’s a disjointed, rushed air about the first few chapters that made me feel like I was missing pages. Amity travels through three different locations in the first few short chapters (an island, a ship, then London), meets and falls in love/lust with a mysteriously injured man, and tries to hold her head up to polite society after the gossips find out he has never contacted her again. That’s the first chapters.

While that might initially appear action-packed, Quick doesn’t give Amity or Benedict time to develop either their characters or relationship: insta-love strikes again. Both are smitten with each other (we find out later they spent a lot of time together aboard the ship), and when Benedict reappears in London, the feeling is still there. There wasn’t enough time in the early pages of Otherwise Engaged to develop an attachment to either character, and their relationship fell flat on the pages.

I wanted to read about the Bridegroom, the terror of London. That plot line took far too long to begin – I had forgotten that he was even involved in the story.

The plot was complicated (and should be, by logical thinking, engaging), but didn’t execute. I didn’t care about Amity and Benedict at all. Their rushed romance and the overwhelming number of cliches turned me off. The Bridegroom had potential, but there wasn’t enough in the beginning/middle of the story to keep me engaged in Otherwise Engaged. I found myself reading to finish the book instead of reading to enjoy.

2 Stars

Posted August 9, 2015 by Ellen in reviews / 0 Comments
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August 1, 2015

Review | Fast Track by Julie Garwood

Review | Fast Track by Julie GarwoodFast Track by Julie Garwood
Series: Buchanan-Renard, #12
Publisher: Berkley, July 2014
Format: Hardcover
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A corrupt congressman, a mother’s secrets, and a sizzling romance ignite passion and suspense in the new novel from #1 New York Times bestselling author Julie Garwood.
Cordelia Kane has always been a daddy’s girl—her father raised her alone after her mother died in a car crash when Cordelia was just two years old. So when he has a serious heart attack, Cordelia is devastated, and the emotion is only intensified by the confusion she feels when he reveals the shocking truth about her mother.
Cordelia can’t suppress her curiosity about the woman who gave birth to her, and when she discovers the answers to her questions lie in Sydney, Australia, she travels there to get them.
Hotel magnate Aiden Madison is Cordelia’s best friend’s older brother. He’s oblivious to the fact that she’s had a crush on him for years. When he gets railroaded into taking her along to Sydney on his company jet, he unknowingly puts her life at risk. He’s recently angered a powerful congressman by refusing to purchase overvalued land. Congressman Chambers is not a man to let such an offense slide, and he has the resources to get even and to get what he wants.
In Australia sparks are flying between Cordelia and Aiden, but multiple attempts on Aiden’s life are made while Cordelia is with him, and he realizes he must put a stop to the madness before he loses the thing he values most.

Julie Garwood’s books were some of the first romances I read in high school, and her historical stuff is still some of my favorite vacation/go-to reads. I’ve read most of her Buchanan-Renard-McKenna series (although it looks like I forgot to log them in GoodReads), and while some are good, the later books feel like the same story told over and over again.

The story opens with Cordie, a chemistry teacher at a school for troubled youth, at her dying father’s bedside. Garwood reveals her and her father’s bond through flashbacks, developing both characters well in the first chapters. I found a connection to Cordie quickly, and sadly, she was the only redeeming quality to Fast Track.

It was Aiden I didn’t get along with.

I felt like I knew nothing about the character: he was never developed beyond the domineering businessman. In the last scene (the last scene) did he finally win a piece of my heart. His overprotective nature towards Cordie reminded me too much of Christian Grey, and while there were some funny moments, there was never anything insightful. 

The plot, to be honest, was a bit boring. Cordie’s story was interesting, but I feel Fast Track either needed to boost Aiden’s plot or erase it altogether. I forgot about Congressman Chambers half the time. 

I’ve read both Sophie and Regan’s stories in the past, but their personalities slipped into the generic girly-girl friends in Fast Track. Jack and Alec, their respective husbands, were the same – there was none of that passion, drive, or personality that kept me coming back to their stories.

Fast Track and I just didn’t get along. I’m going to hang on until her next historical romance comes out. That’ll be the perfect redemption.

3 Stars

Posted August 1, 2015 by Ellen in reviews / 0 Comments
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