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review 2017-06-22 16:15
Dangerous Waters & Dark Waters by Toni Anderson
Dangerous Waters - Toni Anderson
Dark Waters - Toni Anderson

DANGEROUS WATERS

Two divers find a shipwreck off the coast of Vancouver Island, British Columbia. A wreck containing a dead diver with a knife buried into his chest. Enter Sergeant Holly Rudd who has lots to prove; that she didn’t get the job because of her daddy, but because of her merits, that she’s put her affair with her married (although she didn’t know it at the time) superior behind her, that she can close her first murder case, and that she can keep it professional when it comes to her attraction to one of the divers who found the body…


Let me tell you, she proved none of it. For a supposed “professional” she was rather incompetent when it came to everything from investigating, to interrogating, to listening to her guts, and to keeping her hands off the supposed suspect. And for someone who claimed to have gotten the job through merit, she was rather quick to doubt herself.

So, this was supposed to be a romantic suspense novel. So let’s start with the romance. It wasn’t there. One snap of the fingers and the two of them were immediately attracted to each other, another snap of the fingers and they were bumping uglies (no emotion behind it, mind you), and yet another snap of the fingers and they were in love.
Why? How? Why?
There was all tell and absolutely no show.
I didn’t understand what they saw in each other—she was an incompetent idiot with a teenage crush, he was an off-putting asshole with a chip on his shoulder and no compunction about lying to the woman he supposedly loved.

As for the suspense. There was none. Or if there was, it was buried so deep, I couldn’t find it. No chills, no intensity. Nothing.
There were two “mystery” sub-plots, really, but both connected by the same villain. The first, about the murder in 1982 and the fact the heroine bore an uncanny resemblance to the murder victim was so predictable it was transparent. I was just waiting for everybody to finally get their heads out of their asses and see the truth.
So the only “surprise” was the reveal of the villain and the motive. The latter was rather far-fetched, or I simply didn’t care by that point, and the villain...Yeah, I didn’t care by that point.

It started off great with the chill-filled prologue, but after a few chapters, the whole thing slowed down. The plot was vapid, the writing amateurish, the romance and suspense non-existent. In the second half of it, I skimmed scenes, hoping for a glimmer of something to keep it interesting, to kick the pace into a higher gear, and by the end of it, I was ecstatic it was finally over.

 

 

DARK WATERS

DNF @ 13%

A nicely intense prologue once more followed by plodding, slow, and boring "story".

I couldn't care less about the heroine, the hero was stuck in my mind as the asshole brother of the asshole hero in the previous book...
Instead of carrying on the intensity of the prologue, the difference in pace (and intrigue) in the first chapter was jarring, and having learned from the first book in this duology that improvement either in pace, characterization or intensity is unlikely, I went on to read the last chapter...And didn't get the urge to go back and read the whole thing.

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review 2017-06-17 07:23
A Simple Case of Seduction by Adele Clee
A Simple Case of Seduction - Adele Clee

Three years ago, Daniel Thorpe offered marriage to his friend's widow, only to be summarily rejected. His heart broken, he still kept an eye on her throughout the years, keeping her safe. But it looks like he hasn't done a good enough job, since a ghost from the past is haunting her, never to be seen and never taking anything. It looks like the ghost is looking for something, but Daphne has no idea what or why. Looks like this might be a job for her guardian angel.


In my review of the previous book in this quasi-series, I mentioned how Mr Daniel Thorpe and Mrs Daphne Chambers had more chemistry and more spark in their one little scene together than the two leads of the book in the entire story. Well, that chemistry was utterly absent in their own book.
I have no idea what drew him to her and vice versa, I didn't feel any sparks nor attraction...They appeared merely props, characters written for the sake of the story, pushed together because they happened to be main characters. Period.

She was a tad too naive for a woman of her age, especially a woman in her profession, her gullibility, her bubbly-ness, and her idiotic blindness to her own ineptitude (she's survived so far mostly because he was there to get her out of trouble, which she learned toward the end) got annoying really fast, and I actually wanted something bad to happen to her to make her see reason.
But she had her guardian angel to get hurt instead of her, the gruff, abrupt thundercloud by the name of Daniel Thorpe. The chip on his shoulder was rather disproportionate to what actually happened to him, and he definitely held the grudge for too long (or maybe we weren't given all the facts), and no matter how attractive, protective, and charming (when he wanted to be) both the author and the heroine made him appear, I wasn't convinced.
I was utterly indifferent about both of them, not caring one way or the other about what did, might, and would happen to them.

The suspense also left me quite cold. It was uninspiring, dull, slow-paced, and, let's face it, quite forced with the whole treason sub-plot. It just didn't click, feeling disconnected from the rest of the story, making it seem like I was writing two different books (neither of them particularly good).

A real disappointment given the great introduction to these two characters in the previous book and all the possibilities of suspense elements given their specific line of work.

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review 2017-02-25 08:19
Into the Storm by Suzanne Brockmann
Into the Storm - Suzanne Brockmann

The first time the SEALs and the Troubleshooters tried this exercise, Lindsey played the part of the hostage, and succeeded in evading everybody...But Mark "Jenk" Jenkins, whose bed she ended in that night, only to leave it quickly, when Jenk's "ideal wife" called.

Now, Tracy Shapiro, the TS rather incompetent, air-headed receptionist, who is not longer in contention for Jenk's heart, must do the hostage honors, only to disappear as well as Lindsay did. Only Tracy has no training and no skills to survive the upcoming snowstorm...And she just might be the mutilated body they fished out of a frozen pond.


This one started well. Very well, with me immediately taking to both protagonists, Lindsey and Mark. They were funny, they were snarky, there were cute, but he was also the biggest idiot known to man for pining after a woman who barely knew he existed. And then, to add insult to injury, just when he realized he was being an idiot for pining after an imaginary woman, Lindsey turns into an idiot of an emotional-cripple variety.
I could've bought the romance if the idiotic parts of their characters didn't come out to play, but once they did, I just couldn't put my rose-colored glasses on any more, and in the end they felt to me more like friends-with-benefits than two people in love.

A question arose, is it really so much to ask for a "romance" story in this series without conflict? I know it creates tension, angst, and "suspense", but wouldn't it be fun and a breath of fresh air to put two characters together who then go: okay, we like each other, the sex is good, let's see how this goes. No pressure, no issues, no baggage, no idiotism. I'm not asking for too much, am I?

Instead, we usually get interesting characters with solid, sizzling chemistry destroyed because of whatever-the-hell issue or emotional baggage they happen to have hidden somewhere in their subconscious and/or past.
And this doesn't happen only to the main protagonists. This particular book was filled with such dare-I-call-them tropes.
At some point in the story everybody (and their uncle) acted like teenagers. Jenk/Lindsey, Izzy/Tracy, Sophia/everybody-who-happened-to-be-in-her-vicinity. Is it only me, or is the supposed love-story between Sophia and Decker dragging on too long? It has now turned into a love-triangle that has, in the end, gone and turned itself into a square. And I thought Alyssa/Sam saga was long, but at least those two had chemistry, while Sophia and Decker only have constipation, it seems.

The saving grace of this story could've been the serial killer angle, but thanks to all the teenage romantic drama going on, it was pushed into the sidelines, and the conclusion was too swift and rather easy. The villain reminded me a lot of a Karen Rose baddie, but unlike a KR villain who always has second billing, this one was a very secondary character, his motive remained a mystery, the "investigation" was lacking, and even the rescue sequence was loaded with teenage angst, and multiple scene jumps between different characters and their dramas, ruining the effect and the suspense.

So, instead of using its potential, this story, as most in this series remained safely in the middle ground, never even attempting to reach higher.

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review 2017-02-07 12:17
Secret Star by Nora Roberts
Secret Star - Nora Roberts

Grace Fontaine is dead, tumbled face-first on her coffee table, and Seth Buchanan is determined to find out who did it and why. He suspects the why has a lot to do with the three blue diamonds, the Stars of Mithra, someone is determined to acquire at all cost, it's the "someone" that's elusive...The Grace Fontaine suddenly appears in her house, alive and well, pointing a gun at him, and Seth knows, he just knows, he's in trouble...


I'm sorry to say, this was the weakest of the bunch. Not bad, far from it, in fact, just not as good as the first two stories in the trilogy. Mostly because of the two leads, neither of whom I particularly liked. She was a mystery, playing different parts, wearing different masks depending on the occasion, but I didn't like the mask she wore when she met Buchanan for the second time, and it festered, I think. On the other hand, he was too aloof, too "uptight", and too closed-off for me. There was just something off-putting about his character...And hers for that matter.
Thanks to all this, it was tough buying the romance, despite the fact it was better done that in the previous two books. Better in the sense that the two of them didn't just take it at face value, they tried to put the breaks on, think it through, instead of just accepting it and everything else be damned.
But this aspect of the romance, as much as I liked the pragmatism of it, the suspicion and the doubt, was also the worst of it, because it created unnecessary conflict, and made me dislike both of them even more. I'm fickle, what can I say.

Also, the mystery and suspense that we've been teased with since the start of this trilogy, was too easily resolved, and the slight paranormal angle, instead of smoothing things over, offering a "plausible" explanation, came across as an easy fix, as if wanting to sweep things under the rug and be done with it. Too quick and much too easy.

The rest was top-notch as always, but unfortunately the trilogy didn't end on a bang as it started. Pity.

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review 2017-01-31 13:50
Hidden Riches by Nora Roberts
Hidden Riches - Nora Roberts

Isadora "Dora" Conroy has had a good couple of days. She's gotten lucky at an auction in Virginia, bringing home quite a loot, and she has a new tenant across the hall, the surly, brooding, mouthwateringly handsome Jedidiah "Jed" Skimmerhorn. Her dear father would certainly say Fate is smiling upon her. Especially since her new neighbor is a cop that's recently turned in his badge and there's been a strange string of occurrences from B&E into her shop to one of her clients ending up in a hospital thanks to a robber...Certainly that has nothing to do with her latest auction haul. Right?



A good little story with a nice role reversal compared to the more recent NR reads where it's usually the heroine that's the surly, jaded type and the hero a happy-go-lucky chap. In this one it was the hero that was jaded, and the heroine the happy one determined to bring him out of his shell. The humor, the snark, and the one-liners were the usual fare (and one of my favorite thing when I pick up a NR book).

While I found the role-reversal refreshing, and the characters wonderful as always, I couldn't help but think Jed was a tad too surly and snarly, and the "act" dragged on for too long, resulting in a typical Romancelandia near-death twist that finally got him to pull him out of his funk. This trope is tired, and I dislike it on principle, and I was surprised and disappointed to find it in a NR story, but I guess it was written in the early days. ;)

The pacing was also problematic, with story dragging in places, never really picking up enough speed in others. I don't know whether the length had something to do with it, or the aforementioned "hero problem"...Or maybe it was the fact the villain and his motives were all out in the open from the start never offering much of a surprise, intrigue, mystery, and/or suspense.

Still, an enjoyable, and entertaining read.

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