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review 2017-09-22 12:24
Ramblings from Bad to Meh: Dear Maggie
Dear Maggie - Brenda Novak

Dear Maggie
by Brenda Novak

 

 

Maggie Russell, a police reporter in Sacramento, works the night shift, and she's finally stumbled on the big crime story that will truly establish her career—if it doesn't end her life.  A serial killer who moves from one city to the next.

As if things aren't complicated enough, Nick Sorenson, the paper's new photographer, seems to be taking an unusual interest in this case.  And in her.  Maggie doesn't realize that she's falling in love with a man who's not what he seems to be.  A man whose deceptions may save her life.



I feel like our MC, Maggie, should just take out an advertisement and broadcast everything about her life into public: where she lives, where she works, all of her trade secrets, what she and her son look like, and how best to infiltrate her home--a home she doesn't even bother taking precautions to secure or guard while there's a serial killer running around killing women.

And her reason for not locking her doors or windows at night while she's sleeping, is simply because the house is too hot, there's no central air.  But she says that there's an air conditioner in her bedroom.  She really could lock all the doors and windows at night, then lock herself and her son in her bedroom and sleep with the air conditioner on.  Maybe.

Of course, since she gives no reason as to why she's also being so open about her entire life with "John," her new online potential boyfriend, I suppose her behavior is par for TSTL anyway.  They'd only met all of twice, maybe; he takes her on a cyber date, refuses to send her a picture of himself... so SHE sends him a picture of herself with her son... y'know, just to hint that she'd like to see a picture of him.  She spends a lot of time telling him anything and everything about herself, even some of the confidential stuff she works with as a reporter.

And at that point, she STILL has no idea who this guy really is.

Honestly, if "John" weren't our male MC, playing undercover to try to "get to know" Maggie, and get friendly with her to make it easier to protect her, I foresee Maggie stumbling into some psychotic serial murderer who probably uses the internet to lure unsuspecting lamb to be chopped.  For a single mother who's apparently heard and seen a lot of stuff in her job as a crime reporter, she really doesn't seem to have a grasp about how dangerous strangers can be.

I'm not sure why she figured that she knew and understood "John" so well.  I'm not even sure why she was so quick to trust him.  I suspect this was just part of the plot device to get our hero and heroine into a situation where there would end up being super-angst by the end of the book, because lies and deceit are being tossed around.  I also figure that we might be playing into a bit of the "You've Got Mail" thing (a movie of which I loved, BTW, when it first came out in 1998).

Keeping in mind that this book was written in 2001, when internet was still kind of a newly developing commodity, I suppose I shouldn't give her so much crap about not realizing the dangers of cyber scams and cyber predators.  Maybe.  In present day, people still fall for these things, no matter how many warnings are put out there.  But she is a crime reporter--I figured that, having seen and heard so much about the dangers of the world, she'd have more of a sense of basic security than to trust a strange man she'd never met online before so readily.

Even before the age of computers, you wouldn't just trust a random stranger enough to tell him your whole life's story after just one conversation... right?

Back to the book itself...

I had considered pulling my DNF trigger as each chapter progressed.  Maggie didn't get any less frustrating, and Nick is kind of boring anyway.  There are literally no other characters of any significance in this book.  Maybe Rambo--but he's a dog, and most of the time, animal companions tend to make a difference--except that he wasn't all that present in the book.

But, as it turns out, I was curious enough about the identity of the serial killer than I would have liked.  And also, I don't think I've ever DNF'd a crap book written by Brenda Novak--and there have been some pretty bad ones--if only because there's a certain, attention-grabbing train-wreck quality to her story progressions.  The action keeps moving forward, and you can't seem to find a stopping point because the action keeps moving forward, and the next thing you know, you've read half the book and then some... so you may as well finish the rest of it.  It's only another hundred and fifty pages after all--how long could that take?

Also, at some point in the book, Maggie starts gaining some sense; I think this was after the serial killer starts contacting her by leaving her voice mail messages on her work phone, and implying that he knows what she went shopping for one night, as well as what color panties she owns.  Then she freaks out and starts thinking about the safety of her son, her friends, and herself.  Then she starts locking her doors and windows, agrees to have a police team stationed outside her home to keep her safe, agrees to leave her son at a safer location most of the day while she's at work, agrees to let our main hero move in with her for the sake of not being alone.

It doesn't matter that she barely knows said main hero; she knows only that he's in town for a short while, he's a new photojournalist who is working for her newspaper temporarily... he's been hitting on her and watching her at work...

He's really an undercover FBI agent trying to investigate the serial murders while keeping an eye on Maggie since the last victim was also an investigative reporter who'd had contact with the serial killer.

Of course, Maggie doesn't know this.  Because she doesn't know anything about the men she meets in this book before she lets them live in her home, or learn about her entire life's story.

Anyway...

The crime aspect of the book wasn't entirely engaging, truth be told; and the ending chapters were standard "damsel in distress" scenario.  The romance was lukewarm, and a bit off-putting considering how much lying and secrecy went into the entire relationship since the beginning.

Maggie is your standard, innocent and almost virginal heroine, who's only ever had one sexual relationship with an ex-husband, and is super conservative with her own behavior, even though she readily breaks out of her prudishness for the hero.  Obviously she's had sex, since she has a son, but she certainly acts like it's a new thing to her.

Nick is the standard broody alpha with commitment issues... who lusts after the heroine, but finds that he's ready to settle down and get married and be in love for the long haul after he meets said heroine.  Because of that special "I've never felt this way before" factor.

I can't say I'm a hundred percent fond of Brenda Novak books, but for some reason, I end up finishing them easily, and keep coming back for more.  At the very least, they're not entirely terrible, even if this one DID get really frustrating.


***

 

Halloween Bingo 2017


Other Possible Squares:

  • Murder Most Foul:  For obvious reasons.
  • Amateur Sleuth:  Female MC is a reporter, although the entire investigation is kind of laughable.
  • Romantic Suspense:  There is romance, there is suspense, there is murder and mayhem...
  • Terrifying Women:  Romantic suspense with a murder, written by a woman.

 

 

Source: anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2017/09/ramblings-from-bad-to-meh-dear-maggie.html
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text 2017-09-19 03:01
A Ranting Update: Dear Maggie
Dear Maggie - Brenda Novak


Progress:  52 of 355 pages (17%)


I'm finding our titular character, Maggie, both contradictory and stupid.  She's also kind of judgmental and a slut-shamer, making some comment about how it's okay to treat one of her co-workers with contempt just because "she's slept with every guy in the office.  Even the publisher."

Because she's kind of lonely and looking for a new father for her son, she's considering signing up for a dating service.  When prompted, she refuses to join her closest friend/co-worker at a bar or club to meet men, because she believes you only meet dangerous killers and stalkers in those places.  She even makes noise about not being able to fit in at a nightclub anyway because she doesn't have any tattoos or body piercings.

She also poo-poos the idea of online dating, because they could attract weirdos or cyber nuts.  But she's still so stuck on the dating service idea--an idea she got through an ad she received in the mail, mind you--and thinks this is the best way to meet men with similar goals, ambitions, highly educated, blah, blah, blah...

It takes her friend showing her a live example of how easy it is to lie on these dating service questionnaires, when Maggie decides to stretch the truth of her own survey question responses, for Maggie to realize that her dating service idea isn't any better than the other ones.  After all, if she can give a few false responses, so could a bunch of other people.  So much for meeting someone highly educated or similarly ambitious or NOT A CREEPY STALKER.

So the two of them agree to meet at a singles chat room that evening to see what it's like.

And then Maggie proceeds to tell everyone in the world about her entire life story, with real names and real incidents and everything.  A few pages later, she once again lays out her entire life story to some complete stranger who was in the chat room, who decided to direct e-mail her so that he could become friendlier with her.

Granted, the complete stranger is our hero, Nick Sorenson who is apparently undercover FBI come to keep security surveillance on Maggie...

But who in their right mind gives their entire story, plus real names, real occupation, the works, to a complete stranger you just met in a chat room?!

Brenda Novak is a Romantic Suspense author I've kept on my radar for some time because I've read some of her books, which had readily hooked me in.  Some were pretty bad, some were mediocre... but Maggie... this girl is some kind of special.

And I'm already getting tired of her "Oh, I'm not even remotely good looking" off-handed comments, in which her friend Darla has to keep inputting, "Honey, you're gorgeous.  You just need to believe it." assurances.

 

 

Halloween Bingo 2017

 

Source: anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2017/09/a-ranting-update-dear-maggie.html
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text 2017-08-21 01:56
No One but You by Brenda Novak 99 cents!
No One but You: A Novel (Silver Springs) - Brenda Novak

Struggling to make ends meet after a messy divorce, Sadie Harris is at the end of her tether. Her waitressing gig isn't enough to pay the bills let alone secure primary custody of her son, Jayden, a battle she refuses to lose. Desperate, she accepts a position assisting Dawson Reed—the same Dawson Reed who recently stood trial for the murder of his adoptive parents. Joining him at his isolated farm seems risky, but Sadie is out of options. 

Dawson has given small town Silver Springs plenty of reasons to be wary, but he's innocent of the charges against him. He wants to leave his painful past behind and fix up the family farm so he can finally bring his dependent sister home where she belongs. 

As Sadie and Dawson's professional relationship grows into something undeniably personal, Sadie realizes there's more to Dawson than the bad boy everyone else sees—he has a good heart, one that might even be worth fighting for

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review 2017-07-23 22:12
Until You Loved Me: A Novel (Silver Spri... Until You Loved Me: A Novel (Silver Springs) - Brenda Novak

Let's start with....I COULD NOT PUT THIS BOOK DOWN!  I loved it that much!

Ellie Fisher is a scientist who spends most of her time at her job where she is trying to find a cure for diabetes.  After Ellie catches her fiance and fellow co-worker, Don, with his best friend, Leo, in their bed, Ellie's life is shattered.  Ellie's best friend, Amy convinces her to come out to the trendy bar Envy in Miami to forget about her problems.  Ellie, who never goes out to clubs, is debating leaving when a guy buys her a drink.  When the guy tries to buy her another one and she rejects it, he decides to come out of his hidden place and talk to her...she has really intrigued him.

Hudson King, starting QB for the LA Devils, isn't used to women NOT throwing themselves at him and he wants to know this woman better.  Hard to believe but she really doesn't know him!  The two of them decide to leave the bar and walk along with water.  Hudson is really enjoying his time with Ellie and quickly they end up at his hotel.  Of course this wonderful night ends up in an unplanned pregnancy.  Too bad Ellie only knows Hudson's first name.

While at a Super Bowl party with co-workers, Ellie sees Hudson's face on the TV and that's where the fun begins.  Ellie realizes she needs to contact Hudson to let him know about the pregnancy but she doesn't get quite the reception she was expecting.  Since Hudson was an orphan he has been very careful not to have any unplanned pregnancies but quickly realizes that he wants to be in this child's life and he will do whatever he can to convince Ellie of that.

Ellie soon finds herself relocating to Silver Springs, California and moving in with Hudson.  Of course sparks are flying but Hudson cannot give Ellie the one thing she wants....commitment.  Over the course of her pregnancy these two begin to grow closer.  It was so fun watching these two go from a one-night stand to their happy ending.  The mystery behind Hudson's abandonment is revealed and it was a doozy!  Never saw that one coming!

Overall this story was awesome!  Ellie is such a sweet, smart female and I could really relate to her.  Hudson had so many walls up because of his past is was fun watching Ellie slowly knock them down.  This story kept me so entertained I just couldn't put it down.  Great job Brenda Novak!

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review 2017-05-30 14:04
No One but You: A Novel (Silver Springs) - Brenda Novak

Sadie Harris is struggling to make it on her own after she served her husband Sly divorce papers but she has had enough of the way he treats their 5 year old son, Jayden. Unfortunately, Sly is a cop in their small town of Silver Springs and he has blocked every attempt she has made at trying to better herself. With no other choice, Sadie decides to answer a newspaper ad placed by Dawson Reed. Dawson needs someone to help take care of his mentally challenged sister, Angela. Dawson also was just recently released from jail. He was charged with the brutal murder of his adoptive parents, but was ultimately found not guilty. Of course, most people in town still think he really is guilty.

Sadie quickly realizes that Dawson is not at all what she expected him to be. He is actually very nice, sweet and caring. Dawson needs Sadie's help so he can bring his sister home from facility she has been in for the past year and Sadie is grateful for the job. Of course, Sly tries to stop her from working there. Sly always likes to have total control over Sadie and he is having a hard time dealing with the fact that she wants a divorce. Dawson quickly comes to Sadie's defense which irritates Sly even more.

Between the town treating Dawson poorly and Sly trying to make life miserable for Sadie, they bond quickly as "the outsiders" of the town. Dawson and Sadie quickly form a great relationship. They both are attracted to each other, but neither one of them will act on it. Just when their lives are starting to move forward, disaster happens and Dawson and Sadie rely on each other more for emotional support. I loved how these two got together over similar problems and ended up helping each other and ultimately finding love in the process. I really enjoyed the suspenseful part of this story....it really kept me reading to see what was going to happen next. I also really enjoyed the part of the story about who really killed Dawson's adoptive parents....it was a great tie-in! Overall another really great story in the Silver Springs series by Brenda Novak.

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