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review 2018-09-14 14:40
The Women and Dogs Were Awesome, The Romantic Partner Sucked
The Search - Nora Roberts

I initially thought that "The Search" was going to be a very good romantic suspense novel, but I ended up disliking the male hero so much that it ruined any enjoyment I previously had and then soured me on the book. Roberts did a lot of research it seems into Search and Rescue and dog behavior which was good. Heck, I will even throw out some kudos about the serial killer plot being woven into the story believably. However, I cannot with a male hero who calls the heroine a "cocktease", "bitch" or accuses her of "bitching" and doing his He-Man Alpha BS. The ending was even ruined by her trembling and he had to be the one coming in to save her. Bah to this book.

 

"The Search" is about Fiona Bristow who lives on an island near Seattle. She has three dogs and trains others and also participates in Search and Rescue on the island. She is also a survivor or a serial killer who eventually murdered her fiancee in retribution for her getting away from him. Though the serial killer is now locked up, someone out there seems hell-bent on being a copy-cat and is kidnapping and murdering young woman again. Fiona is dealing with this along with an unexpected romance with Simon Doyle who is a wood/artisan. 

 

Fiona was wonderful I thought. If the book had been about her, her dogs, and her stepmother and best friend I would have loved it. She obviously has regrets and still thinks about how she lost her fiancee. With the recent missing women she feels guilty and angry. She's self sufficient and smart and the scenes with her and her dogs, or others were highlights. I do wish that we had more backstory about her murdered fiancee though. Maybe an earlier scene with them together or a prologue would have worked. I never did feel like he was a flesh and blood character. 

 

Simon sucked. His puppy Jaws was cute, but he sucked. Him going around and telling Fiona how things would be, him getting angry at her and telling her she wasn't going to handle him like her dogs was disparaging and nasty. I didn't even understand why she stayed with him since he was an asshole to her too many times to count. Heck even how he proposed would have caused me to run to the hills. 

I think the worst part for me was his negative reaction when she dared to clean his house. I would have told him enjoy the filth, I'm out. Roberts too many times has these alpha he-men in her romantic suspense novels and they always rub me the wrong way. What is wrong with having the man and woman in the story as equals without her having to be some helpless thing that needs to be saved. 

 

 “You’ve got a bug up your ass today,” he said before she could speak.

“Excuse me?”

“A definite bitch on. Well, enjoy.”

He whistled for his dog, which naturally brought the whole pack."

 

I would have planted my foot up his ass. Seriously. He used the word "bitch" to much when talking to her. Cause a woman who is upset and not her usual bright self has a "bitch on". I kept wishing the serial killer copy cat would murder Simon.

 

“For me there is. And now I have soup and . . .” She peeled back the foil. “Mmmm, rosemary bread. This is exceptional. I have a stepmother who’d take the time to make it for me, a neighbor who’d bring it by even though he’d rather not, and my dogs. I’m not allowed to brood. So we’ll have dinner and conversation. But I’m not going to sleep with you after.”

“Cocktease.”

She nearly choked on the wine. “You did not just say that.”

 

Ha ha. Yeah, no. He's an asshole. I would have kicked him out at this point. 

 

“I’m not fucking done. You don’t run this show. I don’t know how you worked it before with your cop, but this is now. You’re dealing with me now. You’d better think about that, and if you can’t deal with it, you let me know. We’ll leave it that we just fuck when we’re both in the mood, and move on.”

 

At this point I was just glad I had nothing breakable near me. Romantic suspense does not equal asshole hero. 

 

“If you’re going to bitch, I’m going to sit down and drink my beer.”

“If I’m going to—You left here this morning pissed off and bossy. Interrupting me every five seconds. Telling me to shut up.”

“I’m about to repeat that.”

“What gives you the right to tell me what to do, what to think, what to say?”

“Not a thing.”

He tipped the beer in her direction. “And right back at you, Fiona.”

“I’m not telling you what to do. I’m giving you a choice, and I’m telling you I won’t tolerate this kind of behavior.”

His gaze fired to hers, molten gold sheathed in ice. “I’m not one of your dogs. You won’t train me.”

 

She should have kicked him out of her damn house at this point.

 

The secondary characters were more interesting. We had two FBI agents checking in with Fiona, one who was there the last time around. Frankly it would have made more sense for her to get involved with that character than Simon. 

 

I was curious about how Fiona's mother was still alive and sounded like a caring woman, but we got no dialogue between them. At least I can't remember any. She's really close to her stepmother which was nice to see. 

 

The serial killer parts were disturbing and I skimmed as much as possible. Towards the end of the book it just felt endless. 

 

I would argue the flow wasn't that great at the end of the book. All of a sudden we just go on a hunt for a serial killer and the book needed a better lift in my eyes. Everything just kind of ends. 

 

The setting of the book takes place on Orcas Island, San Juan Islands which sounded pretty fantastic. I was just in the northwest and fell in love with Seattle and Portland. It was nice to have a better idea of the landscape and homes that would be there while reading this book.


The ending was a big raspberry. Honestly I think a stronger ending could have raised this up a star for me if we had Fiona standing tall without Simon there to show what a big strong man he is with his fists. 

Definitely will say the dogs were a delight and highlight, though I can see why some people complained there was a lot of dog talk in this book and not enough romance. For me, there was not enough romance cause the hero was terrible. 

 

 

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text 2018-09-13 21:31
Reading progress update: I've read 62%.
The Search - Nora Roberts

Ugh. So I love all of the women in this book (Fiona, Syl, Mai) and loathe Simon. Sorry. At first I was charmed, but I don't like how he talks to Fiona.


Instances included are:

 

Calling her a cocktease (don't think cause it's a joke, it's funny).

 

Telling her not to bitch at him. 

 

Telling her to shut up when they are fighting, walk all over her, and then come back and tell her she won't train him like her dogs.


If this had just been a suspense novel I would love it more, but the romance part is lacking. He's an asshole and I hate him.

 

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text 2018-09-13 13:43
Reading progress update: I've read 30%.
The Search - Nora Roberts

Cannot lie, I am digging this one better than the last standalone that I read. Fiona and Simon separately are really good and the addition of her dogs and his puppy have some hilarious scenes. We do have Fiona a victim of a previous serial killer and it appears that someone that is his copycat is out to do some more damage. So far that has cropped out, but not been the whole story.

 

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text 2018-09-12 21:34
Reading progress update: I've read 5%.
The Search - Nora Roberts

So far so good. Fiona seems cool. And there are dogs in this story. For once not Dean Koontz dogs so can't complain.

 

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2018-09-08 02:09
Supernatural Square
The Darkest Thread (The Flint K-9 Search... The Darkest Thread (The Flint K-9 Search and Rescue Mysteries Book 1) - Jen Blood

This book starts out very strong.  Jamie Flint, her dog Phantom, her son Bear, and his dog Casper, all come across as fully realized.  The opening sequence of mother, son, and dogs doing a training tracking run in Maine was wonderfully written.  The use of mother and son having varying degrees of the sight and the ability to see ghosts isn’t overdone.  It’s just right.

 

                But then once Jamie, Bear, dogs, and their employee/friend/Bear’s romantic interest Ren (accompanied by her dog) go to Vermont to help the FBI with a search for two missing girls, the book, slowly goes downhill. 

 

                At first, it isn’t quite that obvious.  There are several positive aspects, even though despite being a first in a series, there is quite a bit of history that seems to have been dealt with another series.  Unlike several other books with strong female leads, Darkest Thread has Jamie surrounded by strong women – an FBI agent as well as the head of the Vermont K-9 rescue both work with Jamie, and even the potential romantic rival, a news reporter who while pushy and antagonist comes across as strong willed.

 

                It is promising enough for a reader to overlook the fact that it is the Maine team that just happens to make a major discovery, even after the Vermont team has been working.  There is an attempt to explain this that a reader can somewhat buy – the father, Dean, of the missing girls has reason to distrust the FBI.  Dean’s brother, an FBI agent, went to jail for killing two of the men’s sisters.  The FBI agents working the missing girls’ case are all connected to this disgraced agent, who maybe innocent.  Furthermore, Dean is a bit of a doomsday/off the gird guy who distrusts the FBI and blames the government for everything.  Talking these plot points into an account, even with the unlikeness of the FBI team all having a connection with the murderer, a reader can allow herself to buy the no one checked the property because Dean wouldn’t let them attempt to justify why Jamie and crew find the body of one daughter and not the Vermont team.

 

                But that’s when the book goes pear shaped. 

 

                In a slightly confusing sequence Dean goes bonkers, shoots Bear, takes him hostage to ensure that Jamie finds his other missing girl, Ren refuses to leave Bear, so Dean tells everyone that he will kill one teen in x number of hours.

 

                The FBI lets this happen, pretty much.

 

                And then the plot point that totally shatters any left-over suspension of disbelief.  Jamie tells someone that she called Ren’s father to tell him about his daughter being taken and he’s upset but is going to stay back in Maine.

 

                I’m sorry, but what the fucking hell?

 

                Before Ren is taken hostage, Blood tells the reader at least three times that Ren’s mother and siblings were violently murdered in Nigeria, and Ren herself was separated from her father for over a year.  It’s why Ren and her father went to the United States.  So why is dad like, whatevers?

 

                And even without that backstory, what parent would stay away?

 

                And then Jamie finds some tunnels and gets caught in a cave in.  All the dogs howl, but no one is smart enough to connect the howling with the earthquake that caused the cave in.  Her knee gets hurt, but don’t worry despite it being two times its normal size, she is still able to keep up with everyone else.

 

                What’s worse, the two of the other strong women become weak.  It’s like the female FBI agent has a brain transplant or something (mostly because she is supposed to be a red herring), and the news reporter gets killed because she didn’t listen to the big, strong man.

 

                No men die though.

 

                Blood also seems to be trying to use the ghosts to up the horror, and in some ways, they are the most interesting part of the story. 

 

                The downhill slide is a shame because if it had been workshopped or edited more, it would have been a far better book.  There are plausible reasons why Ren’s father might not show up – he’s in the field, he’s on a plane, he’s out of country – instead of the half ass on that we are given.  The ending could have been smoothed out and tightened.  The ghosts could have been allowed more room, the mood could have been better.  As it is now, it goes from a book that had promise at the beginning to a book that kills any desire to read anything else by the author.  Two stars because of the strong beginning.

               

               

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