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review 2017-06-26 19:49
Review: Wired by Julie Garwood
Wired - Julie Garwood

http://witandsin.blogspot.com/2017/06/review-wired-by-julie-garwood.html

 

Wired is a slightly difficult book for me to review. Julie Garwood has written some of my absolute favorite romances and I always look forward to her newest releases. Because I’ve been a fan of hers for more than half my life, it’s disappointing to say that – while Wired isn’t bad and I don’t regret reading it – the story fell flat more often than not.

Let’s start with the good: Allison. Wired is really her story and while some might take issue with how perfect she is (an off-the-charts genius hacker who is also a stunningly gorgeous model with no flaws other than she’s too giving to people who don’t deserve it), this honestly didn’t bother me because I loved her focus, intelligence, and the fact that she’s so confident when it comes to her abilities. She’s a woman determined to make a name for herself in what’s still a largely male-dominated field, so I was willing to suspend disbelief at some of the over-the-top aspects because of this. My favorite thing about Wired is actually her friendship with Jordan (the heroine of Shadow Dance); I loved that the two heroines connected and became friends through their shared intellectual interests.

A heroine as smart as Allison needs a hero who isn’t intimidated by her and appreciates her for who she is, and Liam fits the bill. Liam was a scene-stealer for me in the last Buchanan-Renard book, Fast Track. In that book he practically oozed charisma and hinted at an interesting past that made me incredibly eager to get my hands on his book. Yet in his own story, the intriguing man I’d been so excited to read about was gone, replaced by a rather generic hero without much of a personality. I actually went back and re-read parts of Fast Track to make sure I hadn’t been thinking of the wrong character because I was so surprised. The Liam of Wired is intelligent, handsome, constantly on the move, yet always in the right place at the right time, but that’s about as far as his character goes. There simply wasn’t much to him and I was incredibly disappointed we didn’t get to delve into his character at all. Perhaps in part because of this, the romance between Liam and Allison was a bit of a letdown. There was no chemistry, only a little spark (and that was when they hit the sheets), and there was no natural development in their relationship. It felt like boxes were being checked off in order to fulfill the most basic romance requirements.

The suspense part of this romantic suspense involved not one, but three plots converging around Allison. Between an abusive aunt and uncle harassing her for money, a disgraced FBI agent out to get her, and a former roommate stealing her program, Allison has a lot on her plate. There’s potential in each of these storylines, but over the course of the story they become an increasingly jumbled mess.

Even though I had a number of issues with Wired, I do want to stress that it’s not a bad book. I always enjoy Ms. Garwood’s writing and even though the story didn’t work for me on the whole, it’s still a fun read. Liam and Allison are likeable characters and the scenes where they interacted with past Buchanan-Renard heroes and heroines added a dash of liveliness to the tale. So while I think there were a lot of missed opportunities in Wired, I still believe it would make a pleasant beach read this summer.


FTC Disclosure: I received the e-book edition of this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Source: witandsin.blogspot.com/2017/06/review-wired-by-julie-garwood.html
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review 2017-06-26 15:26
Angels Fall by Nora Roberts
Angels Fall - Nora Roberts

The only survivor of a brutal crime, Reece Gilmore has been on the road for a long time now. Plagued by phobias, obsessive compulsive disorder, and her many mental issues, she hasn’t stopped anywhere for long. But her car has decided to break down in the little Wyoming town, Angel Fist, and almost broke, Reece has no other option than to stop, and seek employment.
Soon, the little town starts feeling like home, she likes her job as cook in the local diner, and although she’s the stranger in town, hence object of curiosity, the jitters about hitting the road again haven’t hit.

Until she witnesses a murder during a hike one day, but no one believes her since there’s no proof, no other witnesses, and absolutely no sign of struggle. And it seems the violence of what she’s witnessed has put her recovery into regression, and she starts experiencing lost time again, moving things, doing things she cannot remember doing. She would probably skip town again if it wasn’t for another outsider, the man who held her together the day she witnessed the murder, the only man who believes her she did see what she claims she saw, Brody. And it’s also Brody the one who suspects there might be another explanation to her supposed lost-time episodes to the one of her going slowly crazy.

Someone is obviously trying to discredit her testimony, and drive her out of town...But what measures might they take if she doesn’t run?



Nice. Very nice. Intense, gripping, suspenseful, and skirting the edges of thriller with all the psychological warfare deployed by the villain toward the heroine. Very nice, indeed.

I loved Reece, not just liked, loved her. She was a mess with all her issues, her insecurities, her obsessive compulsive disorder, her phobias, but I didn’t find her annoying. I sympathized and empathized, but I didn’t pity her. As Brody said, she might’ve been a victim once, but she was a survivor all the way. She’d self-admitted herself into a mental institution, for crying out loud. She’d known she needed help, and she sought it. If that isn’t admirable, I don’t know what is. She also knew she had many screws loose, yet she coped, she tried to move on, she tried to live. And thanks to Brody (yes, unfortunately, the guy had to help somewhat) when push came to shove, she didn’t go down without a fight.

Now, as for Brody, I somehow didn’t get a really clear picture about him. The image, even the character of him still eludes me. He was there, I guess, a supportive entity, one of the few in town who truly believed Reese, a guardian angel of some sort, a brusque jackass which was just what she needed to get out of her funk, yet he remains obscure. A tall, dark, and handsome generic hero, who happened to get involved with Reece.

It’s weird, because it’s usually the other way around. It’s NR heroes I can clearly picture, while the heroines remain rather generic (and somewhat annoying).
I guess this is a “special” book, since the abovementioned fact isn’t the only thing that’s inverted. In this book it’s the heroine who embraces her feelings more easily, it’s Reece who expresses them first, and it’s the hero who’s scared, annoyed, and reluctant to move forward, to change the way things are, while it’s usually the other way around, with the heroines playing the “male part”.

The jewel of this story is the suspense, which is also a slight deviation from norm. Usually I enjoy the perfect combination of both, the romance and the suspense, but in this case, the romance (or whatever that was) took the backseat to the suspense. And yes, it was suspense. Not much action, not much danger, gripping nevertheless.
It was suspenseful, lurking, creeping slowly forward, keeping the reader at the edge of the seat, wondering whether it was truly all in Reece’s head or if there was something more sinister afoot. Very, very well done.
In the end, when Reece and Brody went out on their own, and the knots started unraveling, and the plot started thickening, I had two possible suspects—I had no idea about the villain’s identity until the end, so the big reveal came off as a surprise and not so much a surprise in the end.
I also felt the ending a tad too easy for the town-folk, with no vindication for Reece. I wouldn’t have minded a little groveling, but then, those that counted, believed her no matter what.

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review 2017-06-24 16:44
Carolina Moon by Nora Roberts
Carolina Moon - Nora Roberts

On that fateful night so long ago, when eight-year-old Hope Lavelle died, Victoria "Tory" Bodeen should've been with her. But her father had beaten her because of her particular gift, Tory stayed at home, and someone raped and killed her best friend.
No one knew who did it, the town suspected a drifter, and the killer remained unpunished, as life went on...

Yet Tory hasn't been able to forget her friend or what's been done to her. They were blood sisters, connected by an unbreakable bond, and she feels it's time to finally put the past, and Hope to rest, by finding her killer. And the best place to start is back in her home town...


I watched the movie based on this book, and I must say it didn't to it justice. At all. Not in story, not in characterization, not in suspense.

This book is proof of what Nora Roberts does best. Expertly crafted story with wonderful characters. You have your prickly heroine, a deceptively laid-back hero, and a great supporting cast with the, as far as NR stories set in the South, requisite bitchy matriarch, and the "crazy" relative, usually and aunt.
But the cast itself isn't enough, one has to connect them all together, some in friendship, some in blood, some in reluctant alliances, passing acquaintances, and of course, romance.

This book has two of those, the main one between the prickly heroine and the deceptively laid-back hero, and the second between the hero's seemingly flighty sister, determined to defy mama at all cost, and the hero's best friend and the heroine's cousin, the town veterinarian who's been pining after his love-interest for years before she finally saw reason.
Strangely, I must confess I was more invested in the secondary romance than the main one, mostly because of the heroine's issues and prickliness (justified, I might add) not really doing the main romance any favors. I liked the hero well enough, and the heroine as well, I just didn't like them that much together. It felt a little forced, fatalistic, even.

There was one relationship Tory was in that I liked. And that was the slow-building friendship between her and her childhood best friend's twin sister, Faith. It was lovely seeing these two independent, closed-off women, both with their own inner scars and issues, circling each other, slowly forming the strong bonds of friendship, until becoming a unit toward the end.
The story came full circle in that particular moment.

Speaking of full-circle, I'm glad the villain got what they deserved in the one spot where it all became, but the finale felt a bit rushed. It felt rather anticlimactic compared to the buildup with its suspense and lurking danger.

Still, a very solid story, with a nice plot, good characters, a smidgen of "paranormal", and some wonderfully suspenseful moments.

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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 2017-06-21 01:29
Windward by Kirby Crow - My Thoughts
Windward (Mirror Series Book 2) - Kirby Crow

This is a serious book!  Not for the faint-hearted, let me tell you.  And I loved it.  :)

We're back with Matty and Grant who still have so many things to iron out between them.  It's not an easy row to hoe by any means, love notwithstanding.  Are they to be allowed to do this by themselves?

Oh hell no.

If it's not interference and at times outright disapproval from Grant's family, it's the FBI come knocking with a request for Matty to help them out with the tracking down and capture of his ex-lover, the chilling assassin, Jaeger Koning.  And what's with Jaeger?  Well, nothing other than that he wants his one-time submissive, Matty, back where he belongs.  With Jaeger.

There's action.  There's banter.  There's humour.  There's emotion.  There's heart-stopping danger and there's moments that one is tempted to weep.   Seriously!

But the main strength in this book, I think, comes from the way the author brings us into the minds of the three main characters - Grant, Matty and Jaeger - sharing their thoughts and how their minds and their.. well... their selves are guided and formed by the power exchanges of D/s relationships.  I'm explaining it badly - who's surprised? - but I find the whole idea of power exchange to be sexy and heady and fascinating.

Loved it and I hope we may revisit the Mirror Universe at some point.  :)

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