Tag: suspense

August 22, 2016

Review | The Crown’s Game by Evelyn Skye

Review | The Crown’s Game by Evelyn SkyeThe Crown's Game by Evelyn Skye
Series: The Crown's Game, #1
, May 2016
Pages: 399
Format: Hardcover
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Vika Andreyeva can summon the snow and turn ash into gold. Nikolai Karimov can see through walls and conjure bridges out of thin air. They are enchanters—the only two in Russia—and with the Ottoman Empire and the Kazakhs threatening, the tsar needs a powerful enchanter by his side.
And so he initiates the Crown’s Game, an ancient duel of magical skill—the greatest test an enchanter will ever know. The victor becomes the Imperial Enchanter and the tsar’s most respected adviser. The defeated is sentenced to death.
Raised on tiny Ovchinin Island her whole life, Vika is eager for the chance to show off her talent in the grand capital of Saint Petersburg. But can she kill another enchanter—even when his magic calls to her like nothing else ever has?
For Nikolai, an orphan, the Crown’s Game is the chance of a lifetime. But his deadly opponent is a force to be reckoned with—beautiful, whip-smart, imaginative—and he can’t stop thinking about her.
And when Pasha, Nikolai’s best friend and heir to the throne, also starts to fall for the mysterious enchantress, Nikolai must defeat the girl they both love…or be killed himself.
As long-buried secrets emerge, threatening the future of the empire, it becomes dangerously clear—the Crown’s Game is not one to lose.

I’ve had my eye out for this book since last November. I fell in love with the cover, the blurb, and after seeing pages of positive GoodReads reviews, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it. When it finally arrived at the library last week, I was thrilled.

But as I turned the pages, my thrill turned sour, and at page 54, I marked The Crown’s Game dnf. Why? Well, there were a few reasons:

1. The slow beginning

And when I say the slow beginning, I mean the slooooowwwww beginning. I loved the depth of description when it came to the scenery and magic – Skye’s writing prowess really shows here. But when it came to her two main characters, Nikolai and Vika, Skye fell flat. They had no depth, no vibrancy to them that made me care about them. Granted, I put the book down after only 50 pages, but there should already be a character hook here.

2. This felt a little familiar…

Let’s get this out right now: I am in no way accusing Skye of plagiarism. It was more that The Crown’s Game felt like The Hunger Games set in 1800s Russia with magic instead of arrows.

3. I really hate violence against animals.

It’s one of my major pet peeves in books. Honestly, it may be the one thing that will make me put down a book and never pick it up again. Around page 50, when I was wallowing back and forth on putting this book in my return bag, Nikolai returns home from his first sighting of Vika to find his room filled with wild animals, including a tiger and vipers. His mentor, Galina, tells him he needs to kill them to get used to the sight of blood.


What? Seriously? Useless killing so he can get used to blood? No.

I liked the premise of The Crown’s Game. I loved the idea of it: a magical test of feats, set in Romanov Russia. I wasn’t too big of a fan of the idea of a love triangle, but I was willing to look past it. But after a slow start, lack of character development, and the out-of-the-blue animal violence? I’m done.

Posted August 22, 2016 by Ellen in reviews / 0 Comments
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April 18, 2016

Review | After the Woods by Kim Savage

Review | After the Woods by Kim SavageAfter the Woods by Kim Savage
, February 2016
Pages: 305
Format: Hardcover
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Would you risk your life to save your best friend?

Julia did. When a paroled predator attacked Liv in the woods, Julia fought back and got caught. Liv ran, leaving Julia in the woods for a terrifying 48 hours that she remembers only in flashbacks. One year later, Liv seems bent on self-destruction, starving herself, doing drugs, and hooking up with a violent new boyfriend. A dead girl turns up in those same woods, and Julia’s memories resurface alongside clues unearthed by an ambitious reporter that link the girl to Julia’s abductor. As the devastating truth becomes clear, Julia realizes that after the woods was just the beginning.

Julia doesn’t know how to live her life after the woods.

She doesn’t want the attention, the weird looks, the flashbacks, or the nightmares. She doesn’t want to be afraid of trees or go to the therapist who wants her to act out what happened with dolls.

When her best friend was attacked as they ran through the forest late one afternoon, Julia acted instinctively, throwing herself in harm’s way so Liv could escape. Now, nearing a year later, the demons are back to haunt her. Yet something is off…but Julia can’t quite put her finger on what. Curious by nature, she takes it into her own hands to unravel the mystery.

As a girl who loves to run, this book scared the daylights out of me. The fear of being attacked while I’m out for a run is something that keeps me on my toes (great article on how to stay safe running alone here), but as I read, I realized After the Woods isn’t a story about what happened in the woods. It’s a story about growing up, growing out of friendships, and realizing others’ demons.

Some people respond to traumatic events by crawling inside themselves and refusing to talk about it. Julia deals with her abduction in a variation of this, but instead of closing herself off from it, she becomes borderline obsessed with getting to the bottom of her abductor’s motives. When Ana, another girl out jogging in the woods, turns up dead, Julia’s first instinct is to investigate.

I loved Julia’s narrative: she’s rightfully wary, slightly defensive, and sarcastic by nature, portraying the events and people around her with an arm’s length and a careful view. The few people she does decide to let close to her, including the local TV news anchor and Kellan, the cute boy whose dad was the head detective on her case, are the few she shares with, but she keeps her biggest suspicion close to her chest.

The writing was clever: Julia’s slow upacking of her memories of the woods brought flashbacks and conversations with Liv to help complete the picture. The anniversary of her attack forces Julia to revisit her memories and look at those around her in an entirely new way. It’s at this moment that she realizes the woods has changed her.

While the writing was beautiful and the plot done well, I felt like I was missing things, especially how View Spoiler ». I’m sure this connection was made, but even after going back in the pages to find the answer, I was still at a loss. This is the only drawback to Savage’s otherwise fantastic debut.

4 Stars

Posted April 18, 2016 by Ellen in reviews / 1 Comment
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April 8, 2016

Review | I is for Innocent by Sue Grafton

Review | I is for Innocent by Sue GraftonI Is for Innocent by Sue Grafton
Series: Kinsey Millhone, #10
Publisher: Pan Publishing, August 2012
Pages: 404
Format: Paperback
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When Morley Shine, a fellow PI, dies from a heart attack, Kinsey Millhone takes over the seemingly simple task of gathering evidence for Lonnie Kingman, a local attorney immersed in a civil suit.
Stakes are high. David Birney, acquitted of his wealthy wife's murder five years ago, got his hands on her fortune. Now Kingman wants to divest Birney of the money in favor of the wife's child by an earlier marriage. But the statute of limitations has about run out, and there is little progress.
Kinsey's easy investigation turns into a nightmare. Shine's files are in disarray and the key informant lacks credibility. And she senses danger...a killer waiting to see what Kinsey uncovers. Somebody got away with murder once...will it be Kinsey's turn this time?
From the Compact Disc edition.

Kinsey’s life is a bit of an upheaval. After losing her job with California Fidelity in H is for Homicide, she’s looking for a lucky break. One comes after a fellow private investigator dies suddenly of a heart attack and she’s asked to take over his case. The case, gathering evidence to support a murder charge (already once overturned), suddenly becomes a full-fledged investigation, one that brings into question who is truly innocent.

 Grafton’s novels are great reads on many levels, but what keeps me coming back is the moral hidden in each of the stories. In I is for Innocent, Kinsey faces the challenge of untangling who is telling the truth and what really happened that fateful night (normal day for her), but also ends up as a judge of sorts, a role she didn’t expect. She finds herself discerning just how innocent everyone is, because short of herself View Spoiler », everyone is complicit in some way.


Grafton’s gentle (and occasionally not-so-gentle) reminder that everyone has skeletons in their closet of some kind created a different atmosphere for Innocent – Kinsey’s main focus turns to finding out just what on earth happened that night.

Aside from the morals, Grafton has once again penned a superior mystery. When David Barney is acquitted of the cold-blooded murder of his wife, Isabelle, Kenneth, Isabelle’s former husband, doesn’t buy it. The conflicting emotions, hidden motives and long-buried secrets are slowly revealed as Kinsey starts poking around in the old case files.

The biggest hook came in the conflicting responses and actions of Isabelle’s husbands, both widower and ex. Both gave me the vague creeps from their differing reactions to Isabelle’s death, but the unusual situation and the varying nature of their personalities kept me captivated.

4 Stars

Posted April 8, 2016 by Ellen in reviews / 0 Comments
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February 27, 2016

Review | The Mystery of Hollow Places by Rebecca Podos

Review | The Mystery of Hollow Places by Rebecca PodosThe Mystery of Hollow Places by Rebecca Podos
Publisher: Balzer & Bray, January 2016
Pages: 304
Format: Hardcover
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All Imogene Scott knows of her mother is the bedtime story her father told her as a child. It’s the story of how her parents met: he, a forensic pathologist, she, a mysterious woman who came to identify a body. A woman who left Imogene and her father when Imogene was a baby, a woman who was always possessed by a powerful loneliness, a woman who many referred to as “troubled waters.”

Now Imogene is seventeen, and her father, a famous author of medical mysteries, has struck out in the middle of the night and hasn’t come back. Neither Imogene’s stepmother nor the police know where he could’ve gone, but Imogene is convinced he’s looking for her mother. And she decides it’s up to her to put to use the skills she’s gleaned from a lifetime of reading her father’s books to track down a woman she’s only known in stories in order to find him and, perhaps, the answer to the question she’s carried with her for her entire life.

Rebecca Podos’s debut is a powerful, affecting story of the pieces of ourselves that remain mysteries even to us, and the desperate search through empty spaces for something to hold on to.

Imogene Scott’s world revolves around her dad. Sure, she’s got friends, interests, and a crush like any other seventeen-year-old, but the connection she shares with her dad, well, it’s different. Since her mom left when Imogene was a child, her dad has been her rock. So when he goes missing one day, she’s determined to find him.

Podos’ debut, The Mystery of Hollow Places, follows Imogene on her hunt to find her father, a medical mystery writer, after he disappears one day. At first, I thought this would be a murder mystery, whodunit style. Instead Podos delves into a psychological mystery/treasure hunt that looks back into Imogene’s past.

I adored the psychological aspect of it; Imogene’s detective skills are pretty good, and her constant literary references to everything from Rebecca to Sherlock Holmes made me laugh. The mystery of why her mom left, where she is now, and why her father disappeared keeps this element moving along at a pretty good pace.

When it came to Imogene herself, I had mixed feelings. Her literary references and habit of carrying a favorite paperback around with her everywhere was charming, but the way she treated other people irritated me. She uses Jessa, the girl she doesn’t name as her best friend until a good third into the book, constantly, but makes snarky remarks behind her back about her looks. She does treat Jessa better as the story progresses, but it’s not until the end that she’s actually grateful for what’s a pretty fantastic friend.

This same disregard stretches to her stepmother, Lindy. Lindy was portrayed as stunning (like Jessa), always put together (like Jessa), and Imogene made subtle snarky remarks in her narrative (like she does with Jessa). Again, Imogene progresses, and the last scene with Lindy made me cry, but it wasn’t enough to redeem her behavior. The amount of insecurity I felt coming from Imogene wasn’t endearing. It frustrated me and made it hard to cheer for her.

However, Mystery brings up a few sensitive topics: grief, depression, and the struggle of raising a child as a single parent. Imogene’s dad fights through many of these issues along with Imogene, and gives a voice to depression. I loved Podos’ emphasis on a support system – it’s hard to make it through life without one.

There were parts of Mystery that I loved and parts that just didn’t sit well with me. It’s not the psychological thriller I was expecting, but the discussion of the tough subjects makes it well worth a read.

3 Stars

Posted February 27, 2016 by Ellen in reviews / 1 Comment
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January 21, 2016

Review | Wonderment in Death by J.D. Robb

Review | Wonderment in Death by J.D. Robb"Wonderment in Death" by J.D. Robb
Series: In Death,
Publisher: Jove, September 2015
Pages: 432
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Some of your favorite New York Times bestselling authors present five all-new stories told through the looking glass—including a new Eve Dallas novella!
You’re late for a very important date... Enter a wonderland of mesmerizing tales. It’s a place that’s neither here nor there, where things are never quite as they seem. Inspired by Lewis Carroll’s whimsical masterpiece, ranging from the impossible to the mad to the curiouser, these stories will have you absolutely off your head. 
Don’t be afraid to follow them…


Wonderment in Death by J. D. Robb, Alice and the Earl in Wonderland by Mary Blayney, Love by Elaine Fox, A True Heart by Mary Kay McComas, Fallen by R. C. Ryan

Alice in Wonderland is one of my favorite fairy tales. The mischievous characters, the setting where truly anything can happen, and the determination of the heroine wins me over every time. When I saw that Robb had come out with a novella with strong Alice themes, you bet I was in.

Although it appears to be a typical murder suicide (if any such thing can be truly typical), there’s something odd about this one. Why was the sister wearing a camera on her lapel as she murdered her brother and flung herself off the balcony? Eve starts digging and finds that this doesn’t fit either sibling’s personality. She tugs that thread, unraveling the entire story in a fascinating tale. 
The theme of “don’t judge a book by it’s cover” stood out strongly in Wonderment in Death. Eve could have taken one look, saw what she was supposed to see, and wrapped it as a murder/suicide. That isn’t who she is; even though Louise and other characters ask her to look further, Eve would have delved into their story until she was sure, was satisfied. I loved that extra development in her character – this case reinforces her standard to look beyond the surface. 
What really stood out for me were the overwhelming themes of Alice. From the villain’s cronies to the method of murder itself, Robb didn’t leave any stone unturned. The fairy tales shenanigans merged with the harsh reality of Eve’s world created a stark, fascinating contrast. 
4 Stars

Posted January 21, 2016 by Ellen in reviews / 0 Comments
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July 2, 2015

Review | Heroes Are My Weakness by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

Title: Heroes Are My Weakness
Author: Susan Elizabeth Phillips {website}
Publication Date: August 2014
Publisher: Harper Collins
Source & Format: Library; hardcover
Links: GoodReads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

He’s a reclusive writer whose imagination creates chilling horror novels. She’s a down-on-her-luck actress reduced to staging kids’ puppet shows.

Annie Hewitt has arrived on Peregrine Island in the middle of a snowstorm and at the end of her resources. She’s broke, dispirited, but not quite ready to give up. Her red suitcases hold the puppets she uses to make her living, the romantic novels she loves, and a little bit of courage–all she has left.

Annie couldn’t be more ill prepared for what she finds when she reaches Moonraker Cottage or for the man who dwells in Harp House, the mysterious mansion that hovers above the cottage from a windblown cliff. When she was a teenager, he betrayed her in a way she can never forget or forgive. Now they’re trapped together on a frozen island along with a lonely widow, a mute little girl, and townspeople who don’t know how to mind their own business. Is he the villain she remembers or has he changed? Her head says no. Her heart says yes. It’s going to be a long, hot winter.

SEP has always been one of my favorite romance authors. From Lady Be Good, SEP’s books are my go-to comfort reads. I expected a strong romance, a little silliness in the plot, and an overall fun read from Heroes Are My Weakness and, skipping the slow start to the novel, I got exactly that.

What I didn’t expect were the powerful gothic elements in Heroes Are My Weakness. Most of the SEP books I have read tend to be a little lighter, even with dealing with dark issues. I didn’t expect the Heathcliff or Edgar Allan Poe references, or the powerful scenery of the large looming mansion atop the hill.

The story didn’t take off right away, unfortunately. The first third was oddly slow, even the first few pages. I considered dropping this book back into my library return bag, but SEP’s books have been so good to me in the past years, I hung on. Thank goodness I did. 

Theo is, initially, a creepy character. I actually had to check the back of the book to make sure that yes, he is indeed the romantic hero. As the story progressed, I loved his character despite myself. The wry humor, brief sarcasm, and hidden secrets was a combo I couldn’t resist. On the other hand, Annie is an open book: there’s very little that’s surprising about her, but considering the vast emotions of Theo, the story would have been overwhelmed otherwise.

The emotional baggage held by both Annie and Theo creates some amazing tension. Theo’s dark history touched Annie in the past, but the true story behind it isn’t quite what she expected. Both characters’ struggle with their intertwined past bumps the romance up a few notches. To be honest, I didn’t expect to love the romance so much. Theo and Annie weren’t just fighting against outside forces: they were fighting against themselves and their attraction to each other. The plot held up beautifully to such complex emotions, and definitely delivered in the end.

Posted July 2, 2015 by Ellen in Uncategorized / 0 Comments
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June 27, 2015

The Canon Classics | Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier

Title: Rebecca
Author: Daphne du Maurier
Publication Date: January 1938
Publisher: Gollancz
Source & Format: Library; hardcover

Links: GoodReads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

After a whirlwind romance & a honeymoon in Italy, the innocent young heroine & the dashing Maxim de Winter return to his country estate, Manderley. But the unsettling memory of Rebecca, the first Mrs de Winter, still lingers within. The timid bride must overcome her husband’s oppressive silences & the sullen hostility of the sinister housekeeper, Mrs Danvers, to confront the emotional horror of the past. 

Beginning with some of the most famous opening lines in literature, Rebecca is a dark, ghostly tale full of crime, intrigue, and a gorgeous house called Manderley. I fell in love with du Maurier’s famous work when I saw the movie years ago, and have yearned to read it ever since. 

Normally the gothic atmosphere and mystery are my favorite parts of a story, but I fell in love with one particular element: the unnamed narrator. Think about it for a moment: how many books have you read where the narrator is never named? Short of “my wife” and “Mrs. de Winter,” the narrator never reveals her name. Initially, I thought I was reading too fast and possibly missed it, but as she reveals more and more of her story, I realize du Maurier has utilized one of my favorite literary elements: the unreliable narrator.

The narrator, at first, sounds reliable, a woman merely remembering a dark period in her life and seeing its effects in the present. When the narration turns to the past, reliving her life at Manderley, I started to question her. Her refusal to name herself and her strange obsession with age (I couldn’t not find the actual number of her age, odd considering how often she brings it up) made me look at her recollections more closely. She focuses on certain conversations, scenery, moments, but utterly skims over the rest with a wave of the hand. She quickly paints herself as uncertain, awkward, and without confidence, a young girl completely out of her depth. Her obsession with Rebecca, a name she mentions so often that it might as well be her own, only speaks to her deep insecurity and tendency towards the dramatic

From the first sentence, foreshadowing and a certain feeling of uneasiness slips in the narration. The sun might shine down on the narrator, but everything is fringed in shadows. I felt like she constantly saw the world through a vignette photograph. I couldn’t help but question her story when she depicted the other characters’ uncertainty or hostility. However, despite the unreliable narrator, Rebecca is shadowed. The plot’s foreboding became addictive, making me feel like I had to read more to figure out what on earth would happen. 

In my opinion, Mrs. Danvers and Nurse Ratchet must be related. The amount of hostility felt by the narrator from the housekeeper is overwhelming, but is only found in her actions and tone of voice. She is the ghost haunting the hallways, and one of the three most powerful characters in the entire novel.

If you haven’t yet read Rebecca, it’s time. You must. I was astonished by the power of the narration, the intense imagery, and the slow pull of the mystery. The suspense kept me up reading and I know this is a book I will return to again and again.

Posted June 27, 2015 by Ellen in the canon classics, Uncategorized / 0 Comments
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June 5, 2015

Review | The Liar by Nora Roberts

Title: The Liar
Author: Nora Roberts
Publication Date: April 2015
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons
Source & Format: Library; hardcover
Links: GoodReads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Shelby Foxworth lost her husband. Then she lost her illusions …
The man who took her from Tennessee to an exclusive Philadelphia suburb left her in crippling debt. He was an adulterer and a liar, and when Shelby tracks down his safe-deposit box, she finds multiple IDs. The man she loved wasn’t just dead. He never really existed.

Shelby takes her three-year-old daughter and heads south to seek comfort in her hometown, where she meets someone new: Griff Lott, a successful contractor. But her husband had secrets she has yet to discover. Even in this small town, surrounded by loved ones, danger is closer than she knows—and threatens Griff, as well. And an attempted murder is only the beginning… 

This is more what I’m talking about. After what feels like many misses, Roberts knocked my socks off with The Liar. I could not put this down; the story had me hooked from the first page.

The narration starts right in the middle of the mess Shelby’s found herself in. Finding herself suddenly a widow in the midst of millions of debt, Shelby has to pull it together. As soon as she solves one problem, another pops up. It turns out her deceased husband, the slimy Richard, has many more secrets than Shelby originally realized. 

Characters were entertaining, vibrant and alive. I believed Griff was knocked off his feet the first time he met Shelby, the strength and love in Shelby’s family, the many emotions running under the surface of Rendezvous Ridge: Roberts made me believe it all.

I loved how the slow revelation of the plot created and sustained suspense throughout The Liar. Shelby’s history, her dead husband’s own secrets, and the drama of the small town drew me in and took me from the big reading chair in our living room to the mountains of Tennessee. The romance between Griff and Shelby only heightened the tension, and, let’s be honest: that romance was just lovely. 

Roberts is back on her game. The Liar is a perfect example of why I fell in love with her work in the first place. It’s a fantastically engaging read, one that romance, mystery, chick lit, and fiction lovers alike will adore. 

Posted June 5, 2015 by Ellen in Uncategorized / 0 Comments
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May 21, 2015

Review | Living on the Edge by Shannon K. Butcher

Title: Living on the Edge 
Author: Shannon K. Butcher {website}
Publication Date: March 2011
Publisher: Signet Eclipse
Series: Edge {Book 1}
Source & Format: Borrowed; paperback
Links: GoodReads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

With her thrilling Sentinel Wars series, Shannon K. Butcher pushed readers to the very edge of their imaginations. Now, with the first in her new action romance series she takes them to the very edge of their seats, following the loves and lethal lives of a group of hardened mercenaries who live on the edge-and beyond…

More and more, I’m falling love with the action-packed romantic suspense, although Living on the Edge falls more on the side of romance then suspense. The ball-busting Sloane risking everything to save her friend from the wilds of Colombia and the retired soldier Lucas, tasked with returning her home, make a fantastic couple, keeping the sparks flying in Living on the Edge

The action scenes kept the plot moving forward at a rapid pace. There was little downtime – I never felt my mind wandering from the story. The typical action scenes of gunfights in the jungle, mixed with the sexual tension between Sloane and Lucas kept the pace quick. The only time the pace really fell was when the narration transitioned to Sloane’s friends back in the U.S. They weren’t boring, but I didn’t feel like I had enough background information to become truly engaged with them. 

I didn’t really care for the father storyline. It’s so integral to Sloane’s character makeup, but felt forced at times. His motivations were a bit predictable, but not overly so. Strangely, for having such an impact on Sloane’s life and character, he was one of the flattest characters. The rest of the plot was incredible. Sloane’s motivation to save her friend and Lucas’ determination to keep Sloane safe all felt heartfelt and true. 

The romance was nearly a case of the dreaded insta-love, but Butcher takes the time to explain both characters’ motivations. This attention to detail keeps the romance in the realm of possibility…well, as much as a manhunt in the wild jungle of Colombia can be. 

Living on the Edge was a good, fun story, but didn’t make as much of an impact on me as I’d hoped. However, I am intrigued enough to try the rest of the series – the action scenes and the romance were fantastic enough for me to come back for more. 

Posted May 21, 2015 by Ellen in Uncategorized / 0 Comments
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May 7, 2015

Review | High Noon by Nora Roberts

Title: High Noon
Author: Nora Roberts
Publication Date: July 2007
Publisher: Putnam
Source & Format: Library; hardcover
Links: GoodReads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Police Lieutenant Phoebe MacNamara found her calling at an early age when an unstable man broke into her family’s home, trapping and terrorizing them for hours. Now she’s Savannah’s top hostage negotiator, defusing powder keg situations with a talent for knowing when to give in-and when to jump in and take action. It’s satisfying work-and sometimes those skills come in handy at home dealing with her agoraphobic mother, still traumatized by the break-in after all these years, and her precocious seven-year-old, Carly. 

It’s exactly that heady combination of steely courage and sensitivity that first attracts Duncan Swift to Phoebe. After observing her coax one of his employees down from a roof ledge, he is committed to keeping this intriguing, take-charge woman in his life. She’s used to working solo, but Phoebe’s discovering that no amount of negotiation can keep Duncan at arm’s length. 

And when she’s grabbed by a man who throws a hood over her head and brutally assaults her-in her own precinct house-Phoebe can’t help but be deeply shaken. Then threatening messages show up on her doorstep, and she’s not just alarmed but frustrated. How do you go face-to-face with an opponent who refuses to look you in the eye? 

Now, with Duncan backing her up every step of the way, she must establish contact with the faceless tormentor who is determined to make her a hostage to fear . . . before she becomes the final showdown.

I’m a huge fan of Roberts’ work: romance, mystery, sometimes a little paranormal, all tied up in one package? Right up my alley. High Noon had some elements I loved, but others that just didn’t fit. 

Let’s start off with the good: I loved the tension of the hostage scenes and the buildup of the mystery. The novel begins off with a bang, immediately putting Phoebe in an uncomfortable position with the stress of her interactions with the ignorant, sexist officer Arnie Meeks and the story only crescendos from there. Each action scene was incredible and so much fun to read.

Despite the strong action and mystery scenes, the pace was a bit off in High Noon. The story starts off with a bang, finishes with an explosion, but doesn’t carry that same spark throughout the novel. There are sparks, sure, but that level of engagement didn’t stay strong. 

Another positive: Phoebe and Duncan’s romance is an excellent example of a strong, steady romantic relationship. Despite the chaos Phoebe finds herself in, Duncan remains a constant presence, a dependable shoulder, and occasionally, a bit of a hunk. However, he never felt truly like a full character to me, as Phoebe did. Phoebe had a strong background, motivations, fears. Even though Duncan had these, they didn’t become a part of his character.

In the end, High Noon has some scenes I would love to revisit, but this isn’t a must-read or a staple on my reread shelf. There were a few scenes that really brought the story to life, but otherwise, this romantic suspense didn’t grab me the way I hoped. 

Posted May 7, 2015 by Ellen in Uncategorized / 0 Comments
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