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review 2017-11-01 17:48
I've got a fever, a fever for more Velvet! :/
Fever - Elizabeth Lowell

Unfortunately it had taken Rye two weeks to convince Edward McCall II that his son would not, repeat not, marry some useless Houston belle just to get his hands on the Angus bull.

 

Oh '80s books, never change.

 

"Little girl, you've got a lot to learn," he muttered under his breath. "And you've come to just the man who can teach you."

 

Umm, maybe do.

 

This one obviously had some dated problems and the hero clung to his "woman only want me for my money" bitterness for far too long. Lisa's actions didn't warrant it and it made that drama feel forced.

 

Even with those issues though, I really enjoyed this one. It scoots along pretty quickly and the dry sense of humor was delightful. I also want to claim Lisa as my buddy if there is ever an apocalypse, girl can get it done. Her background makes her sweet innocence believable and not icky and we do get glimpses of her backbone; I want a novella of these two from down the road where Lisa puts Rye even more in his place.

 

Rye needed to grovel just a bit more but the emotion he shows at the end (he cries!) gave an unexpected heartwarming ending. This takes place on a cattle ranch and I enjoyed the western touches and the feeling of being transported to a different place. You'll have to gird your loins for the term "Velvet Fever" to be used incessantly but hey, who couldn't use another euphemism for sex in their back pocket.

 

Bottom line, this was a little bit of a gem and if you ever see it at a garage sale or used book store, scoop it up.

 

"I've been missing you all my life and didn't even know it."

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review 2017-07-11 15:20
Thoughts: Night Diver
Night Diver - Elizabeth Lowell

Night Diver
by Elizabeth Lowell

 

 

After a family tragedy, Kate Donnelly left the Caribbean behind forever.  But a series of bad management decisions has left her family's diving and treasure-hunting business drowning in red ink.  Now her brother pleads with her to come back to the island of St. Vincent and offer her financial expertise.

Holden Cameron was addicted to the adrenaline rush of active duty—including narrowly surviving an underwater explosives accident.  The last thing the former British military diver wants is to babysit a family of thieves on a tropical island—even if they are the world-famous Diving Donnellys.

When equipment, treasure, and even divers begin to disappear, Kate and Holden form an uneasy alliance to uncover the truth.  But the deeper they plummet into the mystery, the closer they come to one another.  Soon they are sharing their deepest fears and darkest secrets—and a combustible chemistry too hot to ignore.



I'm not sure what I found less agreeable: the characters and their frustrating actions and personalities; or the dragging story line that took fifty percent of the book to finally pick up a little bit.

On the one hand, the book does boast a rather interesting premise, and Elizabeth Lowell's serviceable writing with some of the humor I'm used to from previous books.  On the other hand, the characters spent more time pissing me off, the plot dragged on, and Kate's doormat personality didn't do much to help.  And neither were the men in this book much to write home about either.

Holden is the standard, broody male, who starts off his character as a jackass, but then does a one-eighty about 20% into the book and turns into a different person.  Kate's grandfather and brother start off as jerks, continue to be jerks, and I kind of wrote them off pretty quickly after that.

It got on my nerves that the men would get into this male posturing, drag Kate into it, have their own problems, and then somehow Kate would feel obligated to both, be the peacekeeper, and apologize for whatever it is she feels she needs to apologize for, even though she wasn't even part of the problem in the first place.

Her relationship with her brother and her grandfather was exactly like she'd described about a childhood incident:  About how her brother used to pull her pigtails all the time, and not lightly.  She would ignore it until he pulled too hard and hurt her, then she'd turn around and get angry at him, demanding consolation.  But somehow, he managed to manipulate the situation wherein he turned into the wronged party, and she would apologize... just because.

Scenes like the above happen more than once, even as Kate and Larry are now adults.  He manipulates and then pisses her off, then when she calls him out on it, he turns the situation around, acts like the wounded party, and Kate feels the need to apologize and comfort his crybaby ass instead.

It got frustrating.

Kate had a rather tragic memory of the family's diving days, having been the only one on board the diving ship, at the age of eighteen, when her parents died.  According to back story, her parents went night diving, something happened to her mother's diving gear, and trying to save her mother her father had sped towards the surface without proper decompression with his ascent.  In the end, her mother ended up lost to the sea while her father surfaced into the diving ship with the bends, convulsing into death right in Kate's arms.

At the time, she was the only one on board since her grandfather and her brother were ashore.  She watched her mother disappear into the sea, watched her father die in her arms, tried to find her mother without success, then had to navigate the ship back to land, with no one there for support.

She ended up running away from the family business until her brother manages to manipulate her into returning years later, with no regard to her feelings.  He tells her that she need only show up and try to fix the financials, that she wouldn't have to get in the water--then when she arrives, he leaves her a note to pick up the British consultant and bring him out to the diving ship.  He tells her that she wouldn't have to set foot on the diving ship, that she can just do her part from the little house on shore--but when she reaches the diving ship with the consultant, her brother all but drags her on board.

The only thing that she stands strong about was that she refused to put on a diving suit and get in the water.

Instead of acknowledging the ordeal Kate had gone through during her parents' tragic deaths, both her grandfather and brother would throw into her face: "Did it never occur to you that I lost someone I love that night as well?" whenever she refused to take part in diving, or got tense by being on the ship that held tragic memories for her.

And while I'm not one to belittle or diminish one's grief over another's... well, I'd say that Kate's haunting memories of watching her father die and her mother lost at sea without being able to do a thing to help them deserves more sympathy than, "I'm grieving too, but I'm still in the game, so you need to get yourself together."

Anyway...

This conflict, as well as the "Who's stealing from the treasure hunt?" conflict, and the "This dive expedition is cursed" conflict, and how everything just keeps going wrong... all of these conflicts just kept circling each other for most of the book, with no forward progress.  In fact, when Kate and Holden finally hunker down and do some investigating after most of the divers quit, and one disappears under mysterious circumstances, I was wondering why none of that investigation had been done in the first place.

Instead, Kate and Holden spend most of the book lusting after each other, going from insta-lust to insta-love at breakneck speed, spend some time playing house, spend more time arguing with Kate's brother and grandfather... and then finally decide to do some solid investigating mere hours before a Category One is about to hit.  This entire time, I was wondering if, in the middle of an impending tropical storm was the best time to decide to finally look at the dive logs, and search the crew's quarters... while in the middle of the sea in the diving ship.


Night Diver was not an enjoyable book, and the only reason it gets stars at all is because the last half got exciting (finally), and Elizabeth Lowell's writing is easy to read.  I just couldn't stand the characters, the dragging plot...  And then the romance itself was unspectacular.  In fact, somehow, without actually being a dated romance, it still felt like a dated romance.  I'm not even sure how that's possible.


***

 

Booklikes-opoly

Fourth of July Optional BL Challenge:
The author of this book was born pre-1955.

Page Count:  388
Cash Award:  +$6.00

Updated Bank Balance:  $165.00

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Source: anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2017/07/thoughts-night-diver.html
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review 2016-12-03 14:00
Thoughts: Whirlpool
Whirlpool - Elizabeth Lowell

Whirlpool
by Elizabeth Lowell


My TBR List -- November Winner!
See Other My TBR List Reviews @ Because Reading

 

 

As a child, Laurel Swann barely knew her father.  Always an enigma, intriguing and inscrutable, he was an elusive shadow flitting in and out of her life.   Even now, years later, he remains a stranger to her.  Still, when a mysterious parcel arrives containing a priceless Fabergé egg, Laurel is certain it came from him.  But she doesn't realize that her father's gift has brought death and terror into her world...

Against her will, Laurel is being dragged down into a swirling vortex of betrayal and violence.   And there's nowhere to turn for help--except to Cruz Rowan, an ex-FBI agent and her father's sworn enemy.  A strong, secretive, and dangerous man, Cruz has his own agenda and is spinning his own webs.

And he is her last and only hope...



First of all, I read this book as part of the My TBR List monthly voting meme (see links above).  But I couldn't finish it in time for so many reasons--one of those reasons being that I just couldn't really get into the book.

Elizabeth Lowell is an author I have read before--there were a few of her books I enjoyed.  Her Romantic Suspenses are exciting and constantly forward-moving, which helps to keep the reader in the game even if said reader has no idea exactly what's going on.  Because Elizabeth Lowell DOES also have the tendency to scatter the focus of her books.  Sometimes there are so many story tangents and characters that you have a hard time figuring out what the story is actually about.

When it comes to Whirlpool, I was actually quite satisfied with the story progression, story outline, and the story concept, in general.  The execution wasn't terrible.  I knew where the book was taking me, and I knew what the main conflict was.  In contrast, it was actually the characters that made the book unbearable for me.  Because when you insert two alpha-jackass heroes and one doormat heroine... it really makes for some rage reading.

I have so many issues with our main couple, and the heroine's father.

Laurel really is a bonafide Category Romance heroine.  To be honest, I didn't have as big a problem with her as I had with how she handles the situation between her father and her lover.  Both men are nothing but jackasses to her.  But she lets them use her, and then lets them turn around and continue shoving her around.  They keep talking (and monologue-ing) about how much they care about her and how they have her best interests at heart; but they act like they don't care one way or another if she gets hurt in the process.

Despite what Cruz kept saying about Laurel--that she's the innocent who got dragged into the mess her father created; that her father is just using her; that he never really wanted to hurt her--he still went and did those exact same things.  And it doesn't help that Laurel doesn't even blame him or get angry or upset.  She just allows him do whatever he wants.  Then she wants to go and blame herself if two testosterone-fueled men end up killing each other.

And it's the same way with her father, too.  Although, to be honest, I dislike her father much more than any other character in this book.  Because with as much experience in the dark, twisted world of government politics, and private mercenary dangers as Jamie Swann has, I refuse to believe that he DIDN'T know the kind of danger he was putting his daughter into the moment he sent the stolen Fabergé to her address.  From that moment forward, he already put a target on her back, and it matters not a whit that he figured he'd just disappear and Laurel could go on with her life.

I'm not entirely sure whether to blame the character himself, or poor planning on the author's part.  Because Laurel's father--who keeps claiming over and over again that if Laurel just stays out of the entire business then she'll be safe--keeps making other stupid decisions and saying other stupid things that lead killers and assassins right to Laurel's door.  I have a hard time believing that someone as highly trained and experienced as him wouldn't have figured that out.

I'm just a common layperson reading a book, and I figured it out.

If he had intended to keep his daughter safe, he should have never contacted her in the first place or done anything to draw her attention to the bad guys... (a relative term considering the fact that I'm not even sure that old man Swann was a good guy himself).

And then the things he says to Laurel when he finds out that she's working with Cruz... highly crass and inappropriate.  He does not get to say things like that to his own daughter, especially since he spends a lot of time trying to convince her that he's got her best interests at heart... when obvious actions seem to say otherwise.  Also, I figure he kind of forfeited his right to be judgmental about his own daughter when he wasn't exactly a pillar of fucking morality himself.  And when he's the one who brought all this trouble down into her life in the first place.

Jackass AND stupid.

But anyway...

Romance-wise, the feelings and love development was way too insta and way too abrupt.  I have a hard time accepting stories wherein a strange man breaks into the heroine's home, but the heroine still manages to immediately feel the stirrings of attraction, and immediately decides that she trusts him not to do bad things to her.  The continued antagonistic development of Laurel and Cruz's relationship was also hard to accept because of everything going on between them.  And especially when Cruz continually broods over the fact that Laurel is protective over her father.

I mean, what did Cruz expect?  That Laurel, who has always loved her father despite how he's treated her her entire life, would suddenly turn around and go, "Oh.  Okay.  I'll help you track down my father, capture and arrest him, or possibly get him killed!"


Anyway, basically this book was just chock full of romantic clichés and frustrating people.

At least the suspense part of the story wasn't too bad, even if the random forays into our villain's heads was a little disturbing.


***

2016 Reading Challenges:
Goodreads Reading Challenge
BookLikes Reading Challenge
Reading Assignment Challenge
Bookish Resolutions Challenge
Mount TBR Challenge

 

 

Source: anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2016/12/thoughts-whirlpool.html
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text 2016-11-12 22:37
My TBR List -- November Winner!
My TBR List is a monthly meme hosted by Michelle @ Because Reading.
The basic gist of this activity is to have others help decide on which book out of three I'm selecting from my TBR pile I should read for the month via votes.  The posts will be published on the first two Saturdays (voting and winning book announcement, respectively), and the winning book review will be posted on the last Saturday of the month.
Click on the above links for more information.
 

 

So according to the masses, the book I will be reading for My TBRL this month is:

 


I have two winners this month, with both Whirlpool and All Fall Down garnering a tie at 5 votes each.
 
 

Recap

 

Last week, the books I had everyone vote on were:


The voting was actually an extremely close one as the week went by.  Whirlpool had a very strong start, being ahead of the other two books for a short duration of time before the votes started coming in rapid-fire soon after.  And surprisingly, All Fall Down had been the book to start the race with the fewest amount of votes on the first day.  Then all of a sudden, it shot past My Lady, My Lord and ended up right up there next to Whirlpool.

I would say that they left My Lady, My Lord in the dust, but truth be told, it only lost by one vote.  One more vote in that direction and I'd end up with a triple-tie!  then I'd have to invoke special powers of the BFF vote (essentially that would involve begging my best friend to pick one of three books).

As it is, with a simple tie, I will be using my special admin powers (pfft, admin powers) to make a decision between the two winners.  But pretty much, my decision will be that I will read both books, since I need two Reading Assignment books to read this month anyway, but that Whirlpool will be the book I post as the My TBR review on the last Saturday this month.  My decision is based on the fact that Whirlpool had been at the front of the vote since the start of this.

But I WILL also mention All Fall Down as one of the two winners as well.

Again, thank you to everyone for voting!

 

 

Coming up next for the My TBR List:

 

  • 11/26:  Review of the winning book, Whirlpool by Elizabeth Lowell
  • 12/3:  Next Month's My TBR List Voting


***

See Also: My TBR List -- November 2016 Voting

 

 

Source: anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2016/11/my-tbr-list-november-winner.html
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text 2016-11-05 06:30
My TBR List -- November 2016 Voting
 

 

 
My TBR List is a monthly meme hosted by Michelle @ Because Reading.
The basic gist of this activity is to have others help decide on which book out of three I'm selecting from my TBR pile I should read for the month via votes.  The posts will be published on the first two Saturdays (voting and winning book announcement, respectively), and the winning book review will be posted on the last Saturday of the month.
Click on the above links for more information.

 



And the TBR List Voting is back at Ani's Book Abyss!  For the past two months, I'd been happily buried books with a delightful seasonal bookish activity, Halloween Bingo 2016, so knowing my own ability to juggle too many things at the same time, I chose to skip this monthly meme for that time.  But now I'm rejoining the fun of this.

I had a lot of different themes I wanted to pick for the next few My TBRL months, but what really stood out to me was the fact that the end of the year is drawing near... and I'm running out of options for my Reading Assignment Challenge.  And since I actually DID flounder about what books I wanted to read for November's Reading Assignment, I figured that My TBRL was the best way to decide for me what to read.

The November Reading Assignment edition of My TBR List includes three of the remaining eight Reading Assignment books on my 2016 list.  Since I'm really supposed to read four books each month, I might just end up reading also, the book with the second highest number of votes; I already picked two other books (though those choices are always subject to change as well).

 

 

The Books

 

 

My Lady, My Lord by Katharine Ashe
-- Book 1 of Twist series

The Bluestocking
Lady Corinna Mowbray has three passions: excellent books, intelligent conversation, and disdaining the libertine Earl of Chance.

The Rake
Lord Ian Chance has three pleasures: beautiful women, fast horses, and tormenting high-and-mighty Corinna Mowbray.

Neighbors for years, they've been at each other's throats since they can remember. But when a twist of fate forces them to trade lives, how long will it be before they discover they cannot live without each other?

 

 
-- Book 1 of Hostage Negotian Team

 

Hostage negotiator Claire Michaels never thought she'd be involved in an international crisis.  Can she overcome her scars of the past to stop a new al-Qaeda threat?

Navy SEAL Rafe Kelly is on leave to recover from a knee injury he suffered during his tour in Afghanistan and he doesn't expect to be fighting terrorists on his home turf.  When he's taken hostage, he knows he has to fight or die.

 

 

Whirlpool by Elizabeth Lowell

As a child, Laurel Swann barely knew her father.  Always an enigma, intriguing and inscrutable, he was an elusive shadow flitting in and out of her life.   Even now, years later, he remains a stranger to her.  Still, when a mysterious parcel arrives containing a priceless Fabergé egg, Laurel is certain it came from him.  But she doesn't realize that her father's gift has brought death and terror into her world...

Against her will, Laurel is being dragged down into a swirling vortex of betrayal and violence.   And there's nowhere to turn for help--except to Cruz Rowan, an ex-FBI agent and her father's sworn enemy.  A strong, secretive, and dangerous man, Cruz has his own agenda and is spinning his own webs.

And he is her last and only hope...

 

 

Let's Vote!

 

**For BookLikes members reading this in the BookLikes dashboard view:  Click here to generate the voting box on another page if you would like to vote.  I don't know why the voting box doesn't show, though it appears in blog view just fine.

**For everyone else voting via BookLikes blog view or at the Book Abyss's Blogspot home:  You may ignore the above tangent.  The voting box shows just fine.

Again, thank you for stopping by and voting!

 

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Previous My TBR List months at Ani's Book Abyss can be found at the Bookish Memes page.

 

Source: anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2016/11/my-tbr-list-november-2016-voting.html
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