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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 2017-06-20 16:01
River's End by Nora Roberts
River's End - Nora Roberts

When she was four, Olivia McBride found her father leaning over her mother’s mutilated body, covered in her blood, and ran in fear. She’s been running ever since, burying the memories, locking them away as she was taught by her overprotective grandmother.
Now, twenty years later, it seems running, hiding and burying of memories will come to an end. Her father has reached out of prison, contacting the only man Olivia has ever loved, the second man, after the one who sired her, to break her heart.

Noah Brady is a true-crime author, but writing the book about this particular murder isn’t just a job. It’s a calling. As son of the lead detective on the case, the murder, and the image of a distraught four-year-old girl, have stayed with him, and he knows he not only has to tell the story from all points of view, he needs to.

But neither Noah nor Olivia are prepared for the can of worms digging into the past might open.

“When you run away it comes after you, Liv. And it always catches up.”


If this book teaches any kind of lesson, it’s this. That there’s no point in running or hiding, the past (or anything for that matter) will eventually catch up to you. And the more you bottle it all up, the worse it will be. In this case, the combination of buried memories due to trauma, and the bubble she lived in afterward thanks to her grandmother, the bottling up turned the heroine into a bitch.
There’s no beating around the bush, here, she was a bitch. She got better, eventually, but the scenes I most remember her in are those in which she lashed out at Noah about and for everything. And he, the hero that he was, took it, took everything, and then came back for seconds.

It was this dynamic that ruined the “romantic” aspect of the book, because I didn’t feel the romance. Attraction, yes, passion, maybe, but it was all rather cold, without much emotion (except anger), dispassionate, and detached.

What I loved about the story were the descriptions of nature, the forest, meadows, flowers, fauna, bringing with them a strange feeling of peace and contentment, a welcome respite from the aforementioned tumultuous “relationship”.

I also loved the suspense, with the scenes delving into the past, flashbacks, and, most of all, the ominous feel as the climax approached. I knew almost immediately things were not as they seemed with the murder (a gut feeling, like with Frank), and soon after suspected how things truly were. And I wasn’t wrong. Although the truth was revealed almost at the end, and I knew what was what by then, I wasn’t disappointed with the finale.
Yes, it was predictable, but still written well enough to keep the suspense going, and yes, tug at a heartstring or two, when the bitter-sweetness of it all hit.

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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 2017-06-10 09:22
Wicked Little Secrets by Susanna Ives
Wicked Little Secrets - Susanna Ives

***copy provided by publisher through NetGalley***

Vivienne Taylor is doing everything she can to help her destitute father, even if it means burying her true characters as deep as she can to ensnare an appropriately wealthy husband. But once she's accomplished that, Fate seems to conspire against her, since her childhood crush, and irredeemable rake, Lord Dashiell is back in town and she can't seem to help herself from gravitating toward him, no matter what the Bible teaches her, and certainly despite his every effort to keep her away. And to top it all off, someone seems to be blackmailing her aunt, and Vivienne knows there's no one else to turn to but Dashiell himself.


This certainly started off great. I laughed my heart out at the end of chapter one, and was really looking forward to the rest of the story. If chapter one was a hoot, the rest must follow suit, right?

Wrong.

This story, that started off so great, failed miserably to deliver on the promise of the first chapter. I hated both the main protagonists, him for being such an annoyingly dysfunctional, emotionally stilted, rather wimpy asshole, and her for being so obnoxiously naive that she ended up sounding like an idiot. I felt they both needed someone to lead them through life by the hand. Add to it the pretentiously pious aunt (who turned out not to be as virtuous as she wanted to appear), the jerk of a fiancé that was even more false in his piousness than the aunt, a slower than slow pacing, a plot rife with fillers (idiotic musing, idiotic conversation, idiotic decisions, idiotic actions etc.), so-called humor that made the whole story appear like a parody, and a jumbled suspense side-plot that made little-to-no sense in the end, and you have this story...A complete waste of time.

The only redeeming thing this story possessed were the hero's grandfather and the dog.

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review 2017-06-09 09:25
Gabriel's Angel & Unfinished Business by Nora Roberts
Gabriel's Angel - Nora Roberts
Unfinished Business (Silhouette Intimate Moments #433) - Nora Roberts

GABRIEL'S ANGEL

She almost crashes into him on a snowy road, he offers her temporary shelter in his cabin, discovers she’s pregnant, and on the run. To protect her, he decides to marry her, delivers the baby, and slays her dragons.


Sheesh. Far from Nora Roberts’s best work. Slow and as annoying as the heroine, with a bland hero, an unbelievable (in this day, but maybe it worked when it was written) premise and even more unbelievable romance and insta-love.

 

 

UNFINISHED BUSINESS

She left town when she was sixteen, traveled the world with her father, became a famous pianist...Now, a few months after her father's death, she's back in her hometown, living with the mother who supposedly hadn't wanted anything to do with her in the past years, and falling all over again for the man who abandoned her.


It was a nice story, with lovely secondary cast, lovely secondary romance, a lovely small-town setting, and a very lovely leading man.
Pity the heroine ruined everything. Rather self-centered, with a penchant of sticking her head in the sand, blaming pretty much everybody but the person who was responsible for her leaving, for her mother "abandonment", her crush supposedly dumping her.

I didn't understand her, I didn't get her reasoning, and I couldn't have cared less about what happened to her. Pity she was the heroine.

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