Government drone by day and book lover and geek girl by night!
I dithered about the rating and thought about giving this book four stars. However, the romance between Tory and Cade didn't sit right with me (at least the initial stages of it--I can't take it in romance novels when the dude bullies the heroine into being with him) probably cause of the insta-lust on his side of things. The mystery aspect of the book was interesting, though how Roberts tried to work in Tory's ability to "see" things didn't really work for the most part of the book for me. Probably because I have read of too many cases about faux psychics for me to be really fall into the story the way that I should have. I do wish that Tory's character had been a bit better developed. I don't know how or why she got interested in selling high end jewelry and other items. Also Roberts skips over her New York years and she info-dumps on Cade about what happened to her there. I do think her burgeoning and then friendship with Faith was a highlight though.
"Carolina Moon" is a good book if you want to use it for several Halloween squares. I think this would fit "Terror in a Small Town", "Terrifying Women", "Romantic Suspense" and even "Southern Gothic."
"Carolina Moon" follows Tory Bodeen. Tory ran away from her abusive father and emotionally absent mother as soon as she was able to. After something mysterious happens to her in New York that has her running from there, Tory returns to her hometown of Progress, South Carolina after a few years of building up her savings and working.
Returning to Progress is an issue for Tory though. When she was 8 years old, her best friend, Hope Lavelle was found raped and murdered. Many people in town believe that Tory left Hope to her fate in order to get away from the man that ultimately killed her. Very few know that Tory has an ability to see visions of people and knew when Hope was being killed. Now that Tory is back in Progress, the murderer is intent on making sure that Tory will not be able to name them. On top of that, Tory starts a relationship with Hope's older brother, Cade.
As I said above, Tory as a character doesn't have a lot of there there until the middle and end of the book. We hear about how her father abused her. How her mother stood by and did nothing. We also know that she has a caring grandmother, aunt, uncle, and cousin. Besides Tory interacting with her grandmother and uncle though, it seems as if she is pretty adrift. When you read about what happened to her as a young girl and then when she went to New York though I sympathized. I just wish that she had more of a backbone when dealing with Cade.
Speaking of Cade, I felt uneasy with the romance in this one. Maybe because the character bullies Tory into going out with him and then gets angry if she doesn't tell her what she is thinking and feeling all the time. Him going around calling her his woman made me roll my eyes too. I saw shades of Roarke in this character so maybe that's why he read as familiar to me while I was reading. And just like Tory, his character doesn't become more interesting until about the halfway point. You find out just how cold his family (specifically his mother was) was and is and how he had to go about proving himself constantly. His showdown with his mother was really good and I am surprised Roberts didn't try to have them fall into each other's arms and love each other. It was more realistic with how she wrote it. The romance scenes between him and Tory read similar to Eve and Roarke a few times.
Faith and Wade are the second couple in this book and a few times I thought it would have worked better if they were our main couple. Faith doesn't put up with a lot from people, but she loves her brother. It was interesting to see how her life was affected by her twin sister's death and knowing her mother wished it had been her that died. Cade and Faith had some hot romance scenes, but not too many which would have gotten boring.
There are secondary characters in this one, we have the local sheriff, the town mayor, Tory's uncle and aunt, her grandmother, Cade's mother, etc. Roberts does a good job drawing them out little by little, I just wish that we had gotten a better ending with this one. An epilogue would have worked nicely.
The writing was typical Roberts. This was written back in 2000 though and at times the book appears dated. Roberts talks about two characters with one being a Republican and Democrat and it's quaint to see them as having fiery debates, but who are really good friends. Oh the days before Obama came along and divided the country (said sarcastically I just got into that the other day with someone who says Obama was a worse divider than Trump since we didn't have these problems in this country until he was elected). I did laugh at another line about something being as likely as being a liberal Republican.
I also think that showing that the family housekeeper Lilah was essentially the real mother of Faith and Cade didn't sit well with me. Way too mammyish for me. She also has a little dialogue with Faith at one point about the murder girl allowing the man that rapes and murders her and it definitely sounded a bit victim blaming to me.
“Letting a man into your house doesn’t mean you want him to rape you.”
“Didn’t say so.” Lilah colored her lips, rubbed them together.
“Just saying a woman’s got to be careful. You open a door for a man, you better be ready to boot his ass right back out again.”
Or how about men don't come to a woman's house and rape them.
The flow was uneven at first, but improves towards the end. Once the murderer starts killing and raping again the book turns fully into more a suspense book though.
As I already said, the ending wasn't what I think we should have ended with. It was quite abrupt and I felt like I was missing a few pages.
Darkest London: any mystery, suspense, horror or supernatural book set in London.
I pretty much plan on bouncing back and forth between this and Carolina Moon. Trying to figure out a square for it. How about Murder Most Foul or Baker Street Irregulars??
I am trying very hard to not be disappointed this is not a continuation of the Dublin Murder Squad. And yes I looked up the synopsis so I know I went in knowing that it wasn't. So far just feeling okay towards Toby. I rarely do audiobooks so will get into more on the narration side of things when I get a bit further in.
Strong beginning. We have Tory Bodeen who returns to her hometown (Progress, South Carolina) meaning to have a store that sells artisan crafts. Tory has dealt with a religious mother and an abusive father. She still manages to to want more though due to the influence of her grandmother. We find out quickly though that Tory has visions and has an ability to read/figure out where objects are. Her father called her an evil thing and tried to beat them out of her. Her young friend Hope is found murdered when they were young and Tori still dreams of her. Now that she has returned to Progress a lot of people seem to want her to move on rather quickly.
The first Miss Marple mystery that showcases a different Miss Marple than the one I am used to. This one seems nosy and at times to have ill meanings/feelings. However, in the end we get to see our first glimpse of Nemesis in action with her wanting the person or persons responsible for the murder of Colonel Protheroe brought to justice.
The narrator in "Murder at the Vicarage" is the vicar of St. Mary's Mead, Leonard Clement. Leonard ends up admiring Miss Marple by the end of this book, but initially he thought that she and many other in his flock were gossiping and mean spirited. It doesn't help that he married someone who sounds decades younger than him who seems to have little interest in his work or with the village.
St. Mary's Mead villagers are concerned after one of the most despised men that livest there, Colonel Lucius Protheroe is murdered. When the Colonel is found dead in the Vicar's study, everyone quickly starts to suspect the other. Things get even more confusing when two separate people confess to the murder.
When Leonard starts his own investigations he keeps running into one of the residents, Miss Jane Marple. Slowly but surely we work through the village and wonder which one of them killed the Colonel. Pretty much everyone is a suspect at one point and some even wonder if the vicar could have done it.
What I loved about this book was that the only one who figured out what was going on was Miss Marple. A lot of people had ideas and there are a lot of red herrings to throw things off, but the final solution was quite clever. I also loved that we get introduced to characters we are going to see again in future Miss Marple books such as the vicar and his wife. And we will hear about them in some of the later books. I also got a kick out my book showing the layout of the vicar's study and home so you star working through how someone was able to enter and exit without being seen.
You should probably read "Thirteen Problems" before this one if you want to read about Miss Marple since some of the events take place prior to the events in this one.
I have to say that I am glad that I stuck with this series. When I read these first two books I was not impressed. My re-read has not changed my impression at all. The world building in book #2 needs improved. We had a lot of new characters and we get information dumps galore. Curran, still acted like an ass and we still have Kate version #1 that seems to just blunder around.
"Magic Burns" has Kate working for the Pack again to retrieve some stolen maps. Along the way she also gets involved in an investigation about how a coven of witches goes missing. She ends up meeting on of the leaders daughter's (Julie) and ends up doing what she can to keep the girl safe from harm. Include in a mysterious man that is able to disappear at will and two gods that seem to be at the center of this, and we have Kate doing what she can to keep Atlanta from being destroyed by demons.
We still know that Kate is keeping some big bad secret about herself, and it's still not been revealed (2 books in btw). She mentions that she has stopped drinking, which it never made any sense to me why book #1 Kate had a drinking problem. Why would she even be that sloppy to put herself in harm's way if a fight breaks out? If this isn't enough, Kate sticks her nose in when her ex-whatever and Curran's ex-girlfriend want to marry. Kate does some sad story about her life and man oh man the self-pity made me roll my eyes. It doesn't even match up to what we know about Kate's early life. Also how was this Kate ever going to beat the big mysterious bad that she only alludes to in this book based on how she is acting?
The only things I really liked was Kate's back and forth with Bran, Derek, and the Oracle. There is that smartass Kate we all know and love. I do have to say her sudden friendship with Andrea doesn't really work since this is the first book we even meet Andrea. It was still nice to meet the Bouda Clan though and we get our first looks at Aunt B and Raphael.
I really don't like the whole way that Curran's Pack leadership was set up. He sounds like a tyrant and an asshole in the first couple of books. He isn't that way in the later books and actually listens to the other alphas and those around him. I think there is even a scene when Doolittle of all people bows to him. Slight spoiler: The same Doolittle who went HAM on Raphael's ass when he thanked him and it could have cost Andrea her life and doesn't put up with Curran or Kate's BS when they are hurt.
Also I think in this case we have two or maybe three instances of Curran threatening to kill Curran and then telling her that she will beg to sleep with him (it was gross and awful and I wanted it to stop). He even tells her that she will thank him afterwards. Gag.
Derek is vaguely okay in this one. Still fighting besides Kate and seems to have a mind of his own. Julie was a fool. One wonders why Kate pinged on her so hard. Julie in later books comes into her own. This one though, I went eh about.
The worldbuilding is a bit of a mess in this one. We hear about beastskins for the first time and then we also get into the goddess Morrigan and her myths along with the Maiden, Mother, and Crone archtypes in this book too. We also still have vampires and shapeshifters running around. And this is the first time the name Roland is used and we know that the Order is worried about him.
The ending leaves things with Curran trying to trap Kate into dating him. I don't know. I just rolled my eyes and finished this thing.
So far the only good thing about this is that this book introduces Julie. Geez books #1 and #2 make my head hurt.
I know I know. I usually give Mansell some grief, however, this one really works on all levels and I loved that Mansell didn't just give everyone a happy ending. She was quite realistic about some follow-ups with certain characters. I will say though, that this whole dude who didn't realize he wasn't the father of the child that was born plot reminded me a bit of one of her other books though.
"Thinking of You" has Ginny Holland dealing with her empty nest after her daughter goes off to university. Ginny had her daughter Jem are very close. Ginny doesn't see how she is going to get through her days without her daughter coming home to her. After visiting Jem and meeting her new flatmates, Ginny realizes she is going to need something to do so that she doesn't ruin Jem's independence. Ginny takes on a new job waitressing and also rents a room out at her place.
Due to the room renting and new job, Ginny meets new people, Finn (her boss), Evie (runs the restaurant portion of the antiques store he runs), Laurel (her new lodger), and Perry (Laurel's brother). Up until now most of Ginny's life has revolved around Jem, her best friend Carla and her ex-husband Gavin.
Mansell manages to juggle several story-lines throughout the book.
Ginny tries to start dating again and thinks that Perry would be the perfect guy. Though he has lying tosser written all over him, I did shake my head at how Perry was able to get women to do what he wanted. Ginny also finds her thoughts shifting to Finn and I liked how these two interacted together after their terrible meet-cute where Finn accuses her of being a shoplifter (I cracked up).
Ginny's ex-husband Gavin sounds like a total pain, but I laughed at all of his get your life together pep talks to Laurel (Ginny's lodger). Laurel was a hot mess though I laughed at her and her constant bringing up of her ex.
I also really like that Mansell included Jem's third person POV. We do get to see how badly she is with things while she is away from home (falling for someone totally unsuitable) and how she starts to act towards her friends like Davy and Lucy.
The writing was really good and at times very funny. I laughed out loud a few times with the banter between Gavin and Laurel as well as between Ginny and anyone else.
“But you were the one who came to see it! You said it was just what you were looking for!” Her voice rising—and not in an I-fancy-you way—Ginny said, “You said it was perfect!”
He blinked, nonplussed. “It is perfect. For Laurel.”
Frantically, Ginny ran back through everything he’d told her. “No, hang on, you said your flat was too small…”
"For ninety minutes now she had been listening to the Story of Kevin. Ninety minutes was the length of an entire film. She could have watched Anna Karenina and been less depressed."
I thought the ending was quite sweet, but was happy to see some foreshadowing that some relationships which were said to be fine, came to an end or almost an end by the epilogue. And I was very happy we didn't see Jem or Lucy thinking of their friend Davy beyond being friends. Most romances would have had one of the girls fall for him or something.
As someone who enjoyed "Eleanor & Park" as well as "Landline" I was disappointed with this one. The female lead (Beth) who we only get to know through emails comes across quite well. I just didn't care for the male lead (Lincoln) at all. I initially thought well this is an interesting premise, but things moved to the creepy for me way too quick and I just ended up disliking Lincoln. Anyone that gets completely wrapped up in another human being as a teen can be excused, but the way he didn't want to let go of his last relationship, and then just stumbled around taking courses for years, and truly not seeing how dysfunctional his mother and his relationship was didn't help at all. With his insta-love of Beth it just made me uncomfortable.
"Attachments" has a pretty interesting premise. A IT guy at the local paper is responsible for reading red flagged emails and to let the sender and recipient not to do it again. However, Lincoln finds himself looking forward to the emails that Beth Fremont and Jennifer Scribner-Snyder send back and forth to each other during the day. It made me smile a bit since I have a best friend at work and that is all we do. Though know with Business Skype it's just IMs. Lincoln finds himself growing more and more obsessed by the emails that Beth sends and wishing that he had the guts to introduce himself and ask her out. Only problem is that Beth is in a relationship and has no idea he even exists.
Rowell changed things up a bit that we do focus more on the male romantic partner in this one. We get to read emails from Beth to Jennifer, but we don't really get any insights into her like we do Lincoln. We get to follow Lincoln as he tries to pull himself out of a depression while also starting to interact with his coworkers and older friends more. His older sister is telling him he needs to move out of their mother's house, and his totally befuddery about why he needs to do that didn't endear the character to me at all. His mother is a mess and we can read between the lines that she underminded his last relationship.
I think the biggest problem I had was that I wish that Lincoln was doing things for him and not for Beth. He changes his hair up, starts working out, etc. in order to be better for her. Heck, I don't even know if he gets how he acted about his last girlfriend was okay at first to extremely not normal. He obsesses about her until Beth, and then once he starts reading Beth's emails he starts thinking about her. His D&D friends are very adorable and I liked seeing him stretch himself to go out and meet other people.
Beth at times though I wanted to shake too. She is obsessed about getting married to her long term boyfriend and slightly jerky about her younger sister getting married before her. Though that changes through the emails when you see that Beth is doing what a lot of women do, hope that if you ignore the elephant in the room, your romantic partner will eventually propose. The character is funny though and very supportive of Jennifer. And Jennifer has her own problems that I won't get into in this book too. I would say that if the book had just been them and their emails I would have loved it a lot more.
The setting of this book is 1999/2000 in Nebraska. We have some Y2K talk which was hilarious in hindsight since nothing ever came of that whole the world is going to end when the computer clocks set back.
If Rowell had changed the ending with Lincoln growing without the whole Beth is the perfect woman for him then this would have been five stars.
I think for the most part the mystery aspect of the book was good. For once you couldn't figure out who done it until the very end. It also made sense why Roarke was involved with this one. However, the nonsense with the Oscars and Eve somehow being able to beat down a former military guy who kept himself in shape by saying her training with the master is what helped her made me irritated and also laugh. Oh wait, I have to laugh again cause Roarke with one punch was able to knock him out cold.
"Leverage in Death" is book #47 in the "In Death" series by JD Robb. It's been a few weeks since the events in the last book. And now apparently it has to be February/March since the Icove Case that Nadine adapted into a screenplay is now up for Oscars. "Leverage" starts off with a man, Paul Rogan, who walks into a conference room and blows himself and others up. At first it seems that Rogan had to be a disgruntled employee, however, Eve and the rest of her squad quickly find out that someone forced Rogan to do it, under duress. When Eve starts pulling back the layers on this case, another one pops up with a fear that even more people out there are going to be harmed in order for the perpetrators to make a killing by those who are harmed/killed.
Okay, here comes praise time. I really did like how leverage in the Stock Market, playing the margins, etc. came into play here. It made sense for Roarke to be the consultant on this one since Eve knows nothing about the Stock Market or how leverage comes into play. I also loved though that Baxter knew about the Stock Market enough that he was able to provide some interesting points too.
The perpetrators on this one were not easily picked out while reading. There are a lot of suspects in this one and a lot of characters. We get enough information about everyone involved that you are going to have some type of feeling towards these people. Also thank you for once not having vulnerable women raped. It felt like every book in this series lately has had that aspect of that included, and I didn't miss it one bit.
I also loved the what if aspect of this case. What if you were told your family was going to die if you didn't do something horrific in turn. Could you, would you do it? I loved that Eve and Roarke had that conversation.
We get to immerse ourselves more into the world of the e-geeks and I loved that Feeny calls all of his people boys. I cracked up at Callender giving him grief over that.
And it was nice to see Baxter and Trueheart more in this one too. Baxter even gets to be alongside Eve when she goes into the box to interrogate the suspects.
And for once the fight didn't work my nerves on this one. FYI, I was totally on Roarke's side on that one.
Now here comes what annoyed me/took me out of the book.
So even though we have some people hell-bent on blowing people up, we can't forget for a second that Peabody and McNabb deserve to go to the Oscars for reasons and then we have a whole stupid subplot about them still being allowed to go though the perpetrators were not caught. At least we didn't have Peabody acting like an ass like she did during "Kindred in Death" when she kept talking about how an active murderer who was raping people needed to be dealt with and arrested prior to Charles and Louise's wedding otherwise true love would die.
Speaking of Charles and Louise, they are barely in these books anymore. We have a throwaway line how one of the crime scenes is near their place.
The whole thing with the Oscars was maddening enough, but now Robb is setting it up that we are now going to be hearing about the next movie in the series soon since Nadine wrote a great manuscript and I maybe rolled my eyes a million times. And then somehow Mavis was up for an Oscars for Best Song and this is the first time it was mentioned. I really wish that Robb had never included that whole movie into her books and now it seems like we are being told there's at least two more coming out.
I also can't get over how Eve can beat a male suspect who outweighs her and is taller than her in hand to hand. I would rather forget that Roarke bought her sessions with the master and all that.
Mira continues to just be there to be Eve's Greek chorus. If she's not actually going to be doing profiles that disagree with Eve and or Eve being wrong once in a while, I have no idea why she is even used.
This book is not worth reading. If you are considering it, just know that after reading 640 pages, you still don't find out who murdered Robin Cleve Dufresnes. You are stuck jumping around to a myriad of characters with no real ending in sight. When you do get to the end you are going to want to throw this book across the room and ask was that it? There is no character development. The flow is non-existent. We jump back and forth among different times in this book and between characters so it's really hard to even recall who is who and who did what to who after a while.
"The Little Friend" is supposed to be about the aftermath of the Cleve family trying to put themselves back together after Robin Cleve Dufresnes is found murdered in the front yard. The book starts off on his last day and we get to see why so many in the family loved Robin. When he is found murdered, there is an initial investigation that turned up no suspects. The death left Robin's mother, Charlotte, devastated and the woman for all intents has turned into a living ghost. Robin's father, Dixon, who didn't really care about his family at all prior to Robin's death, disappears to another state entirely and only returns home for the holidays. It really is Charlotte's mother and her aunts that take over raising her two daughters, Alison and Harriet. After the prologue we get into the here and now and find out that Alison is 16 and Harriet is 12.
If you have to call someone the main character of the book, it would be Robin's younger sister Harriet. Harriet decides that she is going to solve the mystery of who killed her brother. When her family's maid, Ida Rhew talks about how Robin was always fighting with a local boy named Daniel Ratliff. Ida and others have looked down their noses at the Ratliff family and there are hints that he was jealous of Robin. Harriet through no evidence at all decides that Daniel murdered her brother so she is going to kill him. No this makes zero sense and since Harriet barely seems to like anyone in this book, it's odd she decided she is going to avenge her brother who has been dead for 12 years.
Harriet is annoying. Tartt shows her nastiness throughout this book. And then something changes and we are supposed to feel for her when the family's maid quits. Eventually this turns into a coming of age story for Harriet, but then we go back to the ridiculous subplot with her trying to kill Daniel. Tartt does foreshadow that Harriet's life gets worse after this summer and she can pinpoint the exact time when things started to go badly for her. Her side kick in arms to this mess is a boy named Hely. Hely sucks and is focused on either making Harriet take notice of him and or annoying her throughout this book. Hely agrees to help Harriet with the killing of Daniel because he has zero sense too.
Besides following Harriet and her misadventures, we also follow Harriet's grandmother, Edie, and the aunts, Libby, Adelaide, and Tat. The book jumps around between them and also Daniel and his family too. If this has just been a book focused on a southern family in the 1970s it maybe would have worked, instead we have the murder mystery plot with a hundred other things going on.
The book setting is the 1970s in Alexandria, Mississippi. There is some instances where I thought I was reading "The Help" when we get into the dynamics of white children and their black maids. Harriet doesn't seem to pay any attention to her family's maid, until through a series of misunderstandings, Harriet causes Ida Rhew to get dismissed. Her great aunts don't really get why she's upset, except for one, and Harriet refuses to say goodbye to Ida Rhew and we find out regrets it for the rest of her life.
The ending was just a mess. Things happen. There are red herrings. And then the book clunks to a close.
Trigger warning: descriptions of sexual assault
I found "The Kiss Quotient" not quite perfect. Mostly it's because I started to get annoyed by the two main characters (Stella and Michael) who were both too afraid to tell each other their feelings though it was plain as day to everyone else. I also hard cringed at the fact that Stella didn't get that was sexually assaulted by the so-called men that came before Michael. She has Asperger's, it doesn't mean that she wouldn't understand that. It really rubbed me the wrong way. The chemistry between Michael and Stella was great. I loved the development of their characters and secondary characters in the book. The romance/sex scenes were red hot. I think it's been a while that I actually read a contemporary romance book that didn't fade to black so to speak when the two leads finally have sex. The author usually skips to the morning after.
"The Kiss Quotient" has Stella Lane deciding to hire an escort that will teach her all about kissing and sex. After a very nasty comment by her coworker about needing to learn to like sex, Stella decides that is what she will do. She hires Michael Phan and she ends up talking him into giving her lessons about kissing and sex. Initially Michael says no since he has a only see a client one time rule. However, something about Stella gets to him, and before long they are having lessons and then agreeing to fake date so Stella can learn how to be a real girlfriend.
This book is marketed as a gender bending "Pretty Woman" and I can see why. We hear about how hot Michael is (he's Vietnamese and Swedish). His looks though are a source of pain. Many women who have known him, have only wanted to have sex with him and didn't care about his dreams at all. With Stella, he has someone who is much wealthier than him who likes to be around him. Stella on her part cannot understand why Michael likes her, but she likes everything about him from his looks, his smell, and the way he kisses her.
I also really like that Michael told Stella point blank that no one has the right to force her to have sex if she doesn't want it or to kiss her against her will (which happened in this book, ugh). I also have to say though that it annoyed me that Stella didn't get that. Her parents were fairly absent in this book and I wonder why neither of them had that conversation with her. Since she has Asperger's and apparently takes things quite literal at times, you are telling me they didn't think they needed to have that conversation?
The secondary characters, which focuses mostly on Michael's family were great. I loved Michael's plethora of sisters and his cousin. His grandmother and mother were awesome too.
The writing worked for me. I think that Hoang did a good job with taking the narrative back and forth from Stella to Michael throughout the book. The flow was good too. I do think the ending could have been tightened up a bit.
The ending was sweet though I wish we had gotten at least one more scene with Stella and her parents with some sort of understanding between the three of them. Stella's mother definitely got that Michael was something more than what she had experienced before. Her father not so much.