Tag: romance (page 1 of 4)

The Next Always (Inn BoonsBoro Trilogy #1) by Nora Roberts

The Next Always (Inn BoonsBoro Trilogy #1) by Nora RobertsThe Next Always by Nora Roberts
Published by Berkley on November 1, 2011
Genres: Romance
Pages: 353
Source: Borrowed: ebook
Goodreads
dnf

The historic hotel in Boonsboro has endured war and peace, changing hands, even rumored hauntings. Now it’s getting a major facelift from the Montgomery brothers and their eccentric mother. Beckett is the architect of the family, and his social life consists mostly of talking shop over pizza and beer. But there’s another project he’s got his eye on: the girl he’s been waiting to kiss since he was fifteen.

After losing her husband and returning to her hometown, Clare Brewster soon settles into her life as the mother of three young sons while running the town’s bookstore. Busy, with little time for romance, Clare is drawn across the street by Beckett’s transformation of the old inn, wanting to take a closer look . . . at the building and the man behind it.

With the grand opening inching closer, Beckett’s happy to give Clare a private tour - one room at a time. It’s no first date, but these stolen moments are the beginning of something new - and open the door to the extraordinary adventure of what comes next . . .

I would feel bad about this if I wasn’t prepared for this exact outcome. I was initially going to read this trilogy along with a friend who bought all three books. She’s also the friend who always prods me to keep reading the In Death series that Roberts writes under JD Robb as well. I was worried this book would not work for me (it didn’t) but since I do love reading HGTV Magazine and other magazines dealing with decorating I didn’t think it would be too bad. I was wrong.

I had to stop reading at the 20 percent point when I realized that the majority of this book was just a plug for real life businesses that Roberts own. She owns an inn at Boonsboro and it also sounds like the pizza place and bookstore are also owned by her as well. Which just makes the book a weird brochure to stay at this inn and go to this town to eat at this place and also buy books there. I honestly think this could have worked if Roberts had included pictures of the inn and the pizza shop and bookstore in this book. Or did something like have a character designing a website and talking about setting it up for the inn and then readers could click on it and it would take you to the site. I did like the first page which showed a diagram of the town and the locations of the other places (pizza shop and book store) so I think something like that could have made the book more fun. I guess I am just used to looking at graphic novels and comics on my Kindle Fire now that I am in love with anything that has illustrations these days.

The hero and heroine in this one (Beckett Montgomery and Clare Brewster) were dull as dishwasher. I don’t even know why Beckett was attracted to Clare since there didn’t seem to be anything about her that stood out to me. Roberts depicts Clare as a widow with three young boys and honestly the first thing that stood out for me is that she made her a younger version of the character in Black Rose (In the Garden #2) Rosalind Harper. Rosalind was also a widow with three sons. I also saw mixes of Zoe McCourt from Key of Valor (Key Trilogy #3) as well. I maybe rolled my eyes at Clare being widowed after her husband was killed by a sniper in Iraq. I honestly had to stop reading some of Macomber’s books for a while since every heroine was a widow and her husband died while working for special forces in Afghanistan. My friend who got further than I did let me know that some random dude appears and starts to stalk Clare so I guess that was what Roberts threw in between the long descriptions of rooms, decorations, and how people smelled.

Most of the men in these books fit one of three archetypes (nerdy guy who is deep down a very sexual being though you wouldn’t know it, the guy who is uptight who also may be afraid to commit/is ready to commit, and the bad boy). Sometimes the male characters are all three at once, but not usually. I guess that Beckett (the name alone people) is going to fit archetype #1. I honestly thought he was interested in the owner of the pizza shop first since he had more to say to her and noticed her changing the color of her hair. But when Clare was introduced, I had to go back and double-check she wasn’t the pizza shop owner.

There really wasn’t enough that I read for me to comment on other characters. Beckett is one of three boys so his other brothers Owen and Ryder. Based on the names alone, who do you think is what archetype? Owen seemed humorless to me and Ryder was a smartass. That’s all I got.

The writing was just one big love letter to the inn. Once the ghost entered the picture I was out. Once again, I saw shades of In the Garden and felt too annoyed to go on after that piece. The flow was hampered too since we would just randomly have one character talking about furniture or decorations and my eyes would glaze over.

I have to say though, that starting this book and DNFing it made me think about the In the Garden trilogy which honestly was the last trilogy I really enjoyed. I think I am going to go and re-read that soon.

dnf

Memory in Death (In Death #22) by JD Robb

Memory in Death (In Death #22) by JD RobbMemory in Death by JD Robb
Published by Penguin USA on June 27th 2006
Genres: Romance
Pages: 375
Source: Purchased: print book
Goodreads
five-stars

Eve Dallas is one tough cop. It should take more than a seemingly ordinary middle-aged lady to make her fall apart. But when that lady is Trudy Lombard, all bets are off. Just seeing Trudy at the station plunges Eve back to the days when she was a vulnerable, traumatized young girl—and trapped in foster care with the twisted woman who now sits smiling in front of her.

Trudy claims she came all the way to New York just to see how Eve is doing. But Eve’s fiercely protective husband, Roarke, suspects otherwise—and a blackmail attempt by Trudy proves his suspicion correct. Eve and Roarke just want the woman out of their lives. But someone else wants her dead. And when her murder comes to pass, Eve and Roarke will follow a circuitous and dangerous path to find out who turned the victimizer into a victim.

Happy sigh. This is one of my favorite re-reads. I tend to read it around the Christmas season. But seriously. I needed a happy (as it can be) In Death book. It gets to be a bit of a grind to just read about rape and murder in every other book.

Memory in Death (In Death #22) is a really good Eve Dallas and Roarke book. We get to spend about equal time with Roarke in this one. And I just sadly realized it’s been a while since we got a significant third person POV of Roarke in an In Death book. Hmmm. I am going to have to go back through my re-reads and see when that dropped off. As I was saying, we get a lot of Eve a lot of Roarke and for once we actually get to delve into Eve’s past. I really wish we got more information about her.

Robb has gone fairly deep on Roarke’s side of the family, but as long time readers know, we solve the mystery of Eve’s mother and father in “New York to Dalls (In Death #33) and you would think that Eve just popped up at age 8 and then transformed into a cop. “Memory in Death” does such a good job of giving us more layers into Eve’s life. I really do wish that Robb would revisit that well more in the recent books.

“Memory in Death” has Eve confronting her former foster mother (Trudy Lombard) who has come back to blackmail Eve once she finds out that Eve is now married to the richest man on the planet (look Roarke’s a billionaire apparently several times over so I am just going with he is the richest at this point). Eve gets a nasty shock since recalling Trudy and the things she did to Eve as a kid (locking in her room and forcing her to take cold baths) throws her for a loop. When Trudy is found dead (hit with a sap) then the case turns toward Eve and Roarke. This was a really cool case to sink your teeth in. I didn’t care about the victim, but it was still pretty awesome how Eve figured out who the doer was and why. And I of course wonder now what happened with the characters from that case. Too bad I don’t think Robb has thrown out any comments.

We get to see Eve hit for a loop several times during this investigation. Due to the events in “Origin in Death (or as I call it now, the dreaded Icove case) Eve is on the outs with Dr. Mira. She is feeling even more unsettled when a woman she hasn’t seen since she was a child popping up insisting that she’s Eve’s mother. Eve has an uncharacteristic scared response and then when she lets Roarke know about it…oh boy.

We get to see the dark side of Roarke that we don’t really get to see much in the series anymore. I had to crack up when Trudy went and tried to shake down Roarke. Dude. Dude. Hotness.

We get a couple fight (my least favorite thing) between Eve and Roarke and honestly I was on Roarke’s side on that one. Eve says some pretty terrible things to Roarke because she realizes that Trudy is only popping up due to her being married to him. She throws Roarke’s mother’s murder in his face and the fact that even though that was terrible he has a whole family in Ireland now (gah, I hated re-reading that. I cringed the whole time going oh no). Thankfully Eve and Roarke work through it.

What I thought was interesting this time through though is that Eve and Dr. Mira are on the outs because of Eve’s last case. They both feel their way around each other, but I loved it when Eve and Dr. Mira worked through it. And this is the beginning of Eve starting to realize that Dr. Mira in her own way is Eve’s mother and will mess someone up that will hurt one of her kids.

We get the usual characters of Peabody, McNabb and Feeney. Due to Eve’s close ties in the case I thought it was hilarious that Peabody had to interview Roarke. We also get some other characters besides Eve’s foster mother, her biological son Bobby who I just felt pity for throughout and Bobby’s wife.

The writing was in terms humorous, clever, and a few times sad (when realizing how terrible Eve’s foster mom was). Considering the subject matter, this ended up being the most light hearted In Death book I think I have read. Since this takes place over Christmas, you had Eve dealing with decorators, decorators who also got into fights, and hilariously putting antlers on Galahad. I also really loved that we got to see Roarke and Eve exchange gifts with one another. It was nice to just seem them having a really great couple moment. I do tend to skip over the later books romance scenes since they don’t move me much anymore. But the earlier books do make me smile.

The ending was pretty cool and I loved how Eve identified the murder. I seriously recall the first time I read this, not having a clue who done it which to me is what makes a great mystery book.

five-stars

Survivor in Death (In Death #20) by JD Robb

Survivor in Death (In Death #20) by JD RobbSurvivor in Death by JD Robb
Published by Berkley on August 30th 2005
Genres: Romance
Pages: 360
Source: Purchased: print book
Goodreads
five-stars

The only thing that kept young Nixie Swisher from suffering the same fate as her parents, brother, housekeeper, and young sleepover companion was the impulsive nine-year-old's desire for an illicit orange fizzy at 2 a.m. Taking the bereft girl under her wing, Eve is determined to make sure the killers don't get the chance to finish their lethal job. From the first, however, the investigation is baffling. The Swishers were a nice family, living on the Upper West Side in a house with an excellent security system. Ordinary almost to a fault, they seemed unlikely victims for this carefully planned and executed crime. Valuables at the scene were left untouched, there was no sign of vandalism -- just the corpses of five people murdered in their sleep.

Honestly there is not a lot to say here except that this is one of my favorite “In Death” books. There are a couple of scenes that I found too outrageous to be believed (the ending with Nixie), anyone allowing Dallas to take a kid to live with her and Roarke instead of having her in foster care, etc. But I found that there were some wonderful callbacks to earlier cases that Eve had worked.

“Survivor in Death” opens up on a loving and happy family being murdered in their beds. Nixie Swisher, who is 9, ends up being the lone survivor. Due to Dallas and company not knowing why the Swisher’s were attacked and if someone out there may be looking to finish the job with Nixie, Nixie is then moved in temporarily with Eve and Roarke.

We actually in this book get to see how would Eve be with a child of her own (honest, probably to a fault, still loving, but not outwardly so) and we get to see how much Roarke desires to one day have children (yep plural) with Dallas. And I can honestly see how easily a child could fit seamlessly in both of their lives. Heck, if you don’t think Roarke would not be a stay at home dad and or taking the kids to work with him, you have not read an “In Death” book before. I can also see Summerset happily babysitting whenever they needed him to.

We do get several moving scenes in this one (seriously have a box of tissues nearby) and I did cry a few times while reading. This book brings up a lot of memories for Roarke and Summerset (we all know that Summerset’s daughter was kidnapped, raped and murdered) and Summerset especially becomes more developed in this one. The scene when he is rocking Nixie to sleep and telling her about a garden…sigh. I can’t even type it since I am welling up. I do have to say that I wanted to snap at Dallas a few times though. She acted like a jerk to Summerset and I was annoyed by it.

We get appearances by Mavis and of course Peabody, McNab, etc. What I thought was cool though is that we get reappearances by Richard DeBlass, Elizabeth Barrister (both in Naked in Death, #1-the case that brought Eve and Roarke together), and their adopted son Kevin (Vengeance in Death, #6)

The writing is top notch in this one I think. Robb definitely manages to hit your heart strings. The flow worked too, up until the end I thought. As I said above, I thought the ending was a bit too much to be believed.

five-stars

Visions in Death (In Death #19) by JD Robb

Visions in Death (In Death #19) by JD RobbVisions in Death by JD Robb
Published by Berkley on January 25th 2005
Genres: Romance
Pages: 354
Source: Purchased: print book
Goodreads
five-stars

On one of the city's hottest nights, New York Police Lieutenant Eve Dallas is sent to Central Park-and into a hellish new investigation. The victim is found on the rocks, just above the still, dark water of the lake. Around her neck is a single red ribbon. Her hands are posed, as if in prayer. But it is the eyes-removed with such precision, as if done with the careful hands of a surgeon-that have Dallas most alarmed.

As more bodies turn up, each with the same defining scars, Eve is frantic for answers. Against her instincts, she accepts help from a psychic who offers one vision after another-each with shockingly accurate details of the murders. And when partner and friend Peabody is badly injured after escaping an attack, the stakes are raised. Are the eyes a symbol? A twisted religious ritual? A souvenir? With help from her husband, Roarke, Dallas must uncover the killer's motivation before another vision becomes another nightmare...

After reading the latest In Death books, I went back to my bookshelf this weekend and re-read some of my favorites. It was nice to see what drew me to this series and what I hope to see again one day.

“Visions in Death” follows Eve and company as they try to track down a serial killer. I really do love this one because we get to see the friendship of Eve and Peabody come full circle. We have fan favorites like Louise and Charles show up too (I love Charles). We have Feeney, Summerset, and Mavis. Heck, we even have Nadine. For once the huge cast of characters does very well together, though there were a couple of minor things that happened that took me out of the story. And what I really love is that Robb threw in a twist in the ending too. You think you know what went down til Eve reveals all. I will give Robb crap for that though since I wish we had seen clues of this in the book. I am not a fan when a mystery writer hides the clues so to speak to give a surprise ending to the audience.

Eve in “Visions in Death” is doing her best to track down a serial killer. The man leaves women dead, taking their eyes with him (shudder). As more and more women start to pile up, Eve is actually reluctantly inclined to involve a psychic in the hunt for the serial killer. What I do love about the “In Death” books which I wish that Robb would go back to more, is that men and women who are psychic or have the ability to read people are prevalent in this world. No one is mocking it and not saying it’s not real. And in one of the earlier books, Robb mentions that Dr. Mira has a daughter who is psychic.

What I really do love about this book is that we see a transformed Eve in this one. She opens up to Peabody and lets her know about her past. Because of what the revelations about Eve’s past could do to her current position on the NYPD, not a lot of people know about what happened to Eve as a child and also what she ended up doing (if you have read this series before now, you know that she murdered her father when he was about to beat and rape her again). Having her tell Peabody about that felt right. And Peabody’s reaction to the news confirms what she had started to suspect regarding Eve and her empathy for Eve breaks you a bit when you read it in print.

Roarke is Roarke in this one. He is juggling his billion dollar a day businesses while helping Eve in her hunt for this killer. When someone close to them gets injured, Roarke is all in to bring the person down. We also get to see Roarke in the end with Eve and they actually have a serious talk about what they want done if they die (it’s grim, but believe me when you read that scene you get it).

As I said above, we also get welcomed appearances by many in the “In Death” family. They are introduced organically and do not wreck the flow of the story at all. I really do wish at times we could go back to the earlier books when we didn’t have so many people to keep track of. Ah well.

The writing is top notch Robb. This is one of the earlier books and the payoff of 18 books and novellas at this point is really worth it. I did think the writing got a bit too much at one point when Eve is interviewing someone (no spoilers) and the person went from being out of it and high as anything due to meds being pumped in to being able to give a report to Eve in five seconds. Apparently in the future, meds work really fast.

The flow as I said earlier works.

The setting of the crimes takes place in Central Park. I have never been there, but Robb manages to capture the location and the many people/women in this story brilliant. I have said before, Robb does a good job with tertiary characters in this book I found. She manages to make them feel real to you in just a few short paragraphs. I have always wondered what happened to people after Eve no longer is investigating. In some of the books they do pop up again which is nice.

As I said, this book has a twist thrown in that when I first read it years ago I remember had my mouth hanging open. I was surprised as anything. Of course now re-reading this, I already knew that the twist was coming. But I have to say, that even though Eve lays everything out to you. I wish that we as readers had gotten more clues our way that this was an option.

five-stars

Echoes in Death (In Death #44) by JD Robb

Echoes in Death (In Death #44) by JD RobbEchoes in Death by JD Robb
Published by St. Martin's Press on February 7, 2017
Genres: Romance
Pages: 384
Source: Borrowed: ebook
Goodreads
one-star

As NY Lt. Eve Dallas and her billionaire husband Roarke are driving home, a young woman—dazed, naked, and bloody—suddenly stumbles out in front of their car. Roarke slams on the brakes and Eve springs into action.

Daphne Strazza is rushed to the ER, but it’s too late for her husband Dr. Anthony Strazza. A brilliant orthopedic surgeon, he now lies dead amid the wreckage of his obsessively organized town house, his three safes opened and emptied. Daphne would be a valuable witness, but in her terror and shock the only description of the perp she can offer is repeatedly calling him “the devil”...

While it emerges that Dr. Strazza was cold, controlling, and widely disliked, this is one case where the evidence doesn’t point to the spouse. So Eve and her team must get started on the legwork, interviewing everyone from dinner-party guests to professional colleagues to caterers, in a desperate race to answer some crucial questions:

What does the devil look like? And where will he show up next?

Well I don’t know what to really say except that I found this whole book except for a couple places to be extremely disappointing. I really do think that it would be better if this series either ends soon or does a jump forward in time or we follow another person to take up the “In Death” mantle like Nikki Swisher from the “Survivor in Death” book which was# 24.

That gets me on another topic can you believe it’s been a year since the timeline from that book to this book which is #44 in the “In Death series”. I sometimes just want to grab my hair and despair because besides the continuity issues long time readers have noted, it’s unreal to have Eve investigating this many serial murders and rapists in a year.

I don’t know what else can be done at this point to make the series at least for me more gripping. I still read these (I try to always borrow from the library now these are no longer auto buys for me) and I know that you’re probably all wondering why do I still read these books and my answer is because I have such affection and love of the first couple of books (I was really happy with the series until around Thankless in Death) and I keep hoping for a return to what made these books an always buy for me.

One of my really good friends loves to read the series still and she’s another reason that I still keep reading cause she loves having somebody to discuss it with. However, even she’s now starting to see problems with things based on the last few books and she really disliked this book as well.

“Echoes in Death” deals with a serial rapist one of many that appears to live in New York City. Eve and Roarke are back from a couple days away to one of the private islands that Roarke owns and she’s feeling rejuvenated after the last couple of cases that occurred over Christmas and New Years (see other reviews). As they’re driving home a naked woman who is bloody and beaten wanders into their path and just like that Eve now has another case to investigate.

I really wish that this book had just stayed away from Eve and the need to check up on her every 5 seconds looking at you Dr. Mira and Rourke. At this point I don’t know why anybody let’s Eve out of the house since she only seems to drink a lot of coffee, get headaches, feel stressed and forgets to eat or is too sick to eat unless Roarke is there to force food on her. At this point I loathe reading any cases dealing with rape because it’s a paint by numbers for Robb at this point. The only time that I saw the older version of Eve I would have to say is when she’s interviewing. Robb can still when she wants to develop characters we are never going to see again but I found myself more interested in the victims in this one than any of our main and recurring characters.

Roarke barely has anything to do in this one, not that I mind because it still irks me to this day that he’s even involved with many of these cases. I don’t really get the whole he’s an expert consultant thing. I’m still wondering why no defendant has ever in trial accused her husband of planting evidence due to his money and wealth. That would be if an interesting “In Death” book if Roarke’s ties end up compromising a case. That be an interesting dynamic to bring to the relationship. But we don’t get that here. We have Roarke helping run lists, pick out Eve’s clothes, feed her, and they have I recall three romantic scenes. Other than that, not much here.

Peabody irked the life out of me in this book. I found the whole trajectory of her character in the last couple of books to become seriously ridiculous and more unprofessional by the day. Due to Eve being really dressed up for a night out with Rourke where they decide to go to the victim’s home instead of Eve calling it in and going home to change, she instead has Peabody bring her a change of clothes. Peabody then keep talking forever about sexy and hot Eve looks dressed up and loses it over her shoes. Don’t even get me started on her talking about trying to protect Eve’s shoes with maybe stealing a shoe bag from the victim’s home. And by the way Peabody’s talking about this while a dead body is sitting right next to them and has the nerve to say well it’s not like he’s going to care. And at this point she realizes that the victim’s wife, the same one who Eve and Roarke almost ran into earlier is beaten and raped in the hospital. I’m starting to think Peabody is a sociopath or just clueless, I’ll go with either one of those guesses. And then it even hurts me more when they go to interview people later on and Peabody sits down and gets her face made up. I just I don’t even know why Eve puts up with her at this point because I don’t see Peabody bring anything to their partnership. She goes between acting like an even more useless Watson, to just being a comic foil at times and she’s not even funny. She’s merely there to heap praise upon Eve and soak up the fact that Eve gets special treatment every place that they go because she’s Roarke’s wife. Old Eve would have slapped the taste out of Peabody’s mouth for even going around being happy about them having VIP access. This Eve ignores it.

I’m also very disappointed with the fact that unless Dr. Mira is taking front and center in the story she’s pretty much become useless. She is now Eve’s Greek chorus merely telling Eve things that she already figured out for herself. At this point I don’t even know why she goes and talks to Dr. Mira except for Dr Mira to sit there and cluck and coo over Eve and wonder how the case is affecting her emotions.

Everybody else puts in a minor cameo appearance (McNabb, Feeney, True heart, and Baxter) we either hear about them (such as Mavis and Nadine) or they’re not mentioned at all (Louise and Charles). And some other readers even pointed out the fact that Robb made a huge boo boo in this one and she does and I won’t spoil it too much for you but when you read about the serial killer and how he was able to pick his victims there’s no way that Louise and Charles would not have been on this great list that Eva’s talking about. Eve once again is frantic and scared that something could happen to Dr. Mira or Mavis and I rolled my eyes.

The writing in this one was very repetitive. I think that you can just take pieces or prior books and you’re going to get the same interaction and dialogue among Eve and other characters that we’re used to. You know you’re going to get Eve saying something that’s a cliché or phrase wrong and somebody’s going to correct her. You know that Galahad’s going to come and probably pass out or rub up against her as she falls asleep bonelessly into bed. You know that she’s going to say something like got it in one to someone or someone will say it to her. You know Eve is going to talk about baseball and give some amazing stat to Roarke. You know that Eve and Roarke will have a fight (they almost had a fight in this one thank God we were spared having to read about it). You know Roarke is going to talk about the button that he got off of Eve’s jacket. You know that Peabody is going to go on and on about how heavy and fat she is. One new thing and I hope to God we don’t read about it anymore is that Eve and Roarke’s bedroom has been redecorated as well as Eve’s office. So I hope you have fun reading about that because I was seriously annoyed. You know that somehow Eve going to compare herself to a really hot woman and talk about how Roarke made a bad choice. At this point it’s like you know what’s going to happen so it’s just better to borrow these books from the library if you really feel the need to continue just to see if anything interesting happens.

The flow was really bad on this one and I do think it’s because honestly I even clued in to the fact that there seem to be two cases happening here at once. With the initial statement from the victim and the crime there are a lot of holes there. And I have to also say I totally clued to who the killer was because you literally only meet one person this whole book that could actually fit who did this and it doesn’t even make sense because the guy seems to be pretty well-known and or has a recognizable face and when you find out about his attempts to harass the women that he’s potentially going to rape later I don’t understand how nobody recognized him. Don’t even get me started on this whole back story dealing with why this guy became a serial rapist and murderer there were too many flags for me and I just found myself getting more and more annoyed. To see how he is in public and in all of a sudden he’s in an interrogation room and turns into a woman hating man and women are just whores just totally threw me for a loop. I think at this point Rob just wanted to end the book and get to the next scene where she I think thought she was going for a little twist, but once again like I said I saw that one coming and I called crap on it because I don’t think Eve has the authority to do what she did it all.

The setting in this one of course is in New York City but it’s in New York City during a blizzard. Robb has a really good opportunity to showcase how technology fits into this new world and they even have you talking about having hologram interviews and then of course that gets thrown out the window with Eve deciding to go into work and driving an all-terrain vehicle. I felt really disappointed with that and other dropped threads in this book, like with Eve not talking to one of the victim’s first wife, with Eve not talking to the victim’s parents, with Eve not even checking in to make sure that after she asked Roarke to look into the Mira’s at home security to see if and what he would recommend that they have upgraded to fix. Also can I say that I got really bored with the fact that we were just reading for pages and pages about how Roarke, Peabody, and Eve just going through list of potential victims and how apparently this was so draining to have to do this and move them to potential victims. I still don’t understand what they were doing and I was at a loss. It feels like it’s just filler at this point.

And of course “Echoes in Death” is pretty much linking Eve’s rape by her father as a child and her subsequent killing of him to these cases was a huge reach. This case is not at all what happened to Eve and I just hate as I said earlier anything that deals with rape it ends up being traumatic for Eve and she thinks about everything that happened to her. That’s not to say that you shouldn’t think about it or not have any emotions about it or still need to talk about it but either she needs to get into one-on-one therapy with Dr. Mira and not investigate anymore.

one-star

Apprentice in Death (In Death #43) by JD Robb

Apprentice in Death (In Death #43) by JD RobbApprentice in Death by JD Robb
Published by Berkley on September 6th 2016
Genres: Romance
Pages: 375
Source: Purchased: ebook
Goodreads
two-stars

Nature versus nurture...

The shots came quickly, silently, and with deadly accuracy. Within seconds, three people were dead at Central Park’s ice skating rink. The victims: a talented young skater, a doctor, and a teacher. As random as random can be.

Eve Dallas has seen a lot of killers during her time with the NYPSD, but never one like this. After reviewing security videos, it becomes clear that the victims were killed by a sniper firing a tactical laser rifle, who could have been miles away when the trigger was pulled. And though the locations where the shooter could have set up seem endless, the list of people with that particular skill set is finite: police, military, professional killer.

Eve’s husband, Roarke, has unlimited resources—and genius—at his disposal. And when his computer program leads Eve to the location of the sniper, she learns a shocking fact: There were two—one older, one younger. Someone is being trained by an expert in the science of killing, and they have an agenda. Central Park was just a warm-up. And as another sniper attack shakes the city to its core, Eve realizes that though we’re all shaped by the people around us, there are those who are just born evil...

Well this is probably going to go down as one of my least favorite “In Death” books.

I think the main reason is because after reading a lot of Jeffery Deaver and Michael Connelly the past two months, reading a JD Robb mystery/crime/romance novels is just not going to ring my bell. Usually I’m all for watching Eve, Rourke and their friends tracking down the bad guys. however, this book tells you who the perpetrators are at about the 24% point and then a major part of the book is just trying to catch the bad guys. I just lost all interest. And we all know that none of the main characters are ever going to bite the bullet so I wasn’t running around freaked out that somebody close to Eve was going to die like Eve did towards the tail end of this book.

I was honestly bored by Eve in this book. There was once again a nonsense fight per usual between her and Roarke in involving Summerset that was just really dumb. I felt like yelling at all parties concerned that maybe their petty little crap can wait till later considering the fact that they were standing around after at least 20 people had been killed. Also Eve hating the new bone doctor needs to stop, I’m over it, she’s acting proprietary over someone that she has no business acting that way towards.

And Roarke irked the crap out of me. There were two separate scenes where Eve was injured in a minor way and he didn’t give a s*** and wanted everybody to drop everything and attend to her and it was just…Lord I wanted to slap him that’s all I got.

I am going to say that Eve, Roarke, Peabody, McNabb, Dr. Mira, Baxter, Trueheart, and others were just the same characters that they’ve been playing throughout these many in death books. So there’s really no surprises there. I honestly just felt kind of bored by the sameness. I really do need to just see something different soon before I just lose all interest in this series. I don’t want to see a death happened just to have a death happened. But maybe Peabody goes off and works elsewhere. Maybe Peabody and McNabb get married and have a baby. Maybe Mavis moves away.

Something has to give soon because unlike with other mystery crime novels, these books are getting super stale like The Women’s Murder Club and Stephanie Plum series. Deaver and Connelly keep me engaged even when I’m yelling at the main characters. Also Deaver and Connelly are not afraid to let their main characters mess up and just be wrong. It’s boring having Eve always be right and or having a psychic dream or something that leads her to an answer.

I think the writing wasn’t as great in this one just because the book didn’t know what it was trying to do I think. We have Eve investigating these two snipers throughout this book, but then there are scenes with Rourke telling Eve about how a bed he wants int heir bedroom has a mysterious take behind it and tells Eve about it. Rourke also stop s the show to show Eve potential designs of her new office. I literally could not give two craps what Eve’s office and/or her bedroom looks like. And it also felt a little heartless that they were thinking about that with the whole city afraid because there was mass shootings happening. And all it did was remind me of how annoyed that the last book even had this whole Eve office redesign be a fight between Eve and Roarke.

Also speaking of the writing, JD Robb needs to figure out what is going on with the continuity in this series. At this point it’s maybe been a year and there’s been about 20 plus books in that timeframe. That means that there must have been a murder that Eve was investigating about every other week in the past year which makes absolutely no sense. At this point everybody should be fleeing from New York because you’re going to die since that seems to be were all the serial killers go. And maybe that would not have bothered me so much except the last three books based on the timeline have maybe happened just a couple days apart. At this point Eve should be burned out, exhausted, tired, and/or somebody else should be driving her caseload. I’m still unsure how she always keeps catching all these high-profile cases and none of them seem to get shuttled off to other lieutenants in the department.

I think the flow was not thay great in this one due to them going back and forth between scenes of mass shootings, to Eve investigating, then Eve consulting with Dr. Mira (who really didn’t add anything at all to this book) to romantic scenes with Rourke, to Eve and Roarke talking about the redesign of their bedroom and other rooms, then to Bella’s first birthday party, and then back into interviewing the suspects it just felt bizarre.

I thought that the ending was kind of blah and even though I already have a hold on “Echoes in Death” I’m kind of not looking forward to it. Here’s hoping that one is much better than “Apprentice in Death.”

two-stars

Trade Me (Cyclone #1) by Courtney Milan

Trade Me (Cyclone #1) by Courtney MilanTrade Me by Courtney Milan
Published by Self published on January 19, 2015
Genres: New Adult
Pages: 337
Source: Purchased: ebook
Goodreads
two-stars

Tina Chen just wants a degree and a job, so her parents never have to worry about making rent again. She has no time for Blake Reynolds, the sexy billionaire who stands to inherit Cyclone Systems. But when he makes an offhand comment about what it means to be poor, she loses her cool and tells him he couldn’t last a month living her life.

To her shock, Blake offers her a trade: She’ll get his income, his house, his car. In exchange, he’ll work her hours and send money home to her family. No expectations; no future obligations.

But before long, they’re trading not just lives, but secrets, kisses, and heated nights together. No expectations might break Tina’s heart...but Blake’s secrets could ruin her life.

I read this for Romance Book Bingo: Interracial couple square. 

I feel really bad about this, but Courtney Milan’s foray into New Adult Contemporary is not my jam. I almost DNFed this book a couple of times while reading. The two protagonists were not compelling or believable as a couple. The main plot about two 20 year old college students trading lives for a couple of weeks was all over the place. I think the amount of sub-plots also hindered the overall story too.

Tina Chen is focused on finishing college so she can go off and be a doctor. A daughter of two Chinese immigrants, she is used to have to struggle to pay bills. After getting into it with Blake Reynolds about how hard her life is and he has no idea what it means to be poor, he offers to trade her life for his. Unlike with Trading Spaces though, two powerful and racist white men are not behind this whole thing.

Image result for trading places gif

Blake is having a hard time with the fact that his father, Adam Reynolds, wants him to take over their billionaire dollar company Cyclone when he graduates from college. Just think of Cyclone like a younger and hipper Apple. Seriously though, the company and the ins and outs of it were the most boring parts of this whole story.

All you really need to know though is that Blake finds Tina hot. And for no reason at all he tells Tina she has to pretend to be his girlfriend for his father in order for them to make this swap. It is dumb. I just think Milan wanted a scene with Adam Reynolds and Tina not backing down in front of him.

I can usually say what POV I like in a book, but I had issues with both Tina and Blake’s first person POV throughout this book. If Tina was “speaking” then Blake seems naive and somehow sexy all the time. Tina is shy and hesitant about saying one word. When Blake is “speaking” he sees Tina as this self assured and sexy woman and is constantly thinking about having sex with her. I really wish that this book had focused on Tina’s best friend Maria, since her backstory (she’s a transgender woman) who actually wants to be an actuary when she graduates. Maria has dealt with being thrown out of her home by her parents, and being rejected by fellow girls for not really being a girl. I liked Maria’s personality and how she calls Tina out on things.

Other characters I was not too bothered with. Tina’s mother was overbearing. Her father just seemed to be some wise man who barely spoke. Tina’s younger sister seemed quirky. Blake’s dad Adam was aggravating. The reveal about what was going on with him maybe made me laugh out loud though. I don’t think Milan meant that to be a reaction. I just found this whole book so over the top I just couldn’t keep up with it. And honestly didn’t want to after a while. I definitely don’t see myself continuing this series past this book either.

I disliked some of the writing a lot. It felt juvenile and also way too old for some of the conversations that Tina and Blake have with each other. The flow was off from beginning to end. Switching between Tina and Blake could have worked I think if their respective chapters ended organically. Instead sometimes it felt like they were mid-thought and it switched to one or the other. I maybe also laughed hysterically when they finally gave in to their impulses and started having sex. I swear when I am done with these romance reads I am just reading about mystery novels for a month straight.

The ending sets things up to continue following this couple. There were a couple of crisis’s that ultimately don’t matter. I honestly had a hard time with how the book ends since I don’t think it’s realistic at all for these people to just put out there all the things that were going on with the company and somehow the stock increases.

 

two-stars

The Wyndham Legacy (Legacy #1) by Catherine Coulter

The Wyndham Legacy (Legacy #1) by Catherine CoulterThe Wyndham Legacy by Catherine Coulter
Published by Jove on September 1st 1994
Genres: Romance
Pages: 392
Source: Purchased: print book
Goodreads
one-star

Marcus Wyndham never asked to become the Earl of Chase. The Duchess never asked to be illegitimate. And neither of these two asked that their fates become so entwined.

Marcus is passionate, quick to rage, just as quick to laughter. He's tough, opinionated, domineering, known as the devil's own son. The Duchess is serene and aloof -- she has silence down to a fine art. She is always in control, her smiles as rare as bawdy jests in the pulpit. She is self-reliant once she realizes that a very special talent can make her so, a talent no one suspects.

Surrounding this unlikely pair are three servants cast in the Shakespearean mold: Spears, Badger, and Maggie -- all cocky, smart, good plotters and better friends, who don't know the meaning of subservient.

Trigger warning: Rape. 

I read this for Romance Book Bingo: Wedding Bells square. If I have to read this horrible book I am going to make it count towards something.

Lord. Some of my favorite romance reads do not age well at all. Can we just say right now, that forceful marital relations (rape) between the hero and heroine is just appalling and gross to read about. I get it, those were the times, but I don’t want to read about it if I can help it. Marcus sucked and I wanted the Duchess to run off and leave his butt somewhere. Plus they were first cousins and no, just a thousand times no. My gross out sentiment was running high while I was reading this. And the Duchess also drugs and forces the hero to marry her and man I don’t think I am on anyone’s side in this.

The Wyndham Legacy follows Marcus (hero) and the Duchess (heroine). We find out that the Duchess is the illegitimate daughter of the Earl of Chase. He instructs his daughter she is to marry the new Earl of Chase, her cousin Marcus and Marcus doesn’t inherit if he doesn’t marry the Duchess. We have the American side of the family coming over thinking they will get some money (oh joy, terrible Americans) and this whole book was a who who of who do you hope gets it first.

I don’t even get this book. Marcus who does rightfully have a bone to pick with the Duchess drugging him and marrying him against his will is just terrible. He rapes his new wife twice and verbally abuses her almost until the end of the book. One time when he threatens her she defends herself and knocks him unconscious. I recall in later books they are all in love, but did I just block this mess out when I was a teenager? I hope I wasn’t swooning over this mess. Man, I probably did. I am just going to hang my head in shame right now.

shame

The Duchess is called that since she is aloof and cold. Well shoot, you get why quick and in a hurry why she acts this way. It’s a defense mechanism from Marcus and others who would hurt her. Him goading her in order to get her to break was way too “The Taming of the Shrew” for me. You get repeated references to the Duchess being a bastard which someone means she is less than any other human being in the room at any one time. I wish she had told Marcus to pound sand.

There are “love” scenes, I skipped over them so I can’t tell you much about them.

Secondary characters are so paper thin and evil you have to wonder why in the world Marcus and the Duchess even let them anywhere near them. The only saving grace were the servants in this one. They needed to just kill everyone and take over the estate.

The plot is really just about the fact that Marcus and the Duchess could lose their sizable inheritance if they don’t stay married. The whole book is just people trying to off them. The flow is bad, we just go from one awful scene to another when eventually Marcus is all sorry about all those times I raped you.

The ending was just a quick wrap up of things, and also of Marcus and the Duchess being in love.

 

one-star

Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen

Saint Anything by Sarah DessenSaint Anything by Sarah Dessen
Published by Viking Juvenile on May 5th 2015
Genres: Romance, YA
Pages: 432
Source: Borrowed: ebook
Goodreads
three-half-stars

Peyton, Sydney's charismatic older brother, has always been the star of the family, receiving the lion's share of their parents' attention and—lately—concern. When Peyton's increasingly reckless behavior culminates in an accident, a drunk driving conviction, and a jail sentence, Sydney is cast adrift, searching for her place in the family and the world. When everyone else is so worried about Peyton, is she the only one concerned about the victim of the accident?

Enter the Chathams, a warm, chaotic family who run a pizza parlor, play bluegrass on weekends, and pitch in to care for their mother, who has multiple sclerosis. Here Sydney experiences unquestioning acceptance. And here she meets Mac, gentle, watchful, and protective, who makes Sydney feel seen, really seen, for the first time.

I really enjoyed “Saint Anything” by Sarah Dessen, but not as much as I did “Lock and Key.” The biggest issue I really had with this book was the fact that Sydney’s mother and father were 100 percent ridiculous. And them not realizing the danger of Ames. I also hated the final scene between Ames and Sydney with Sydney rushing off. It didn’t feel real at all.

This book tackles a really big issue right away. Sydney is dealing with years of fallout from her older brother Peyton. Petyon though charismatic, is a huge mess. We find out that he is sent away time and time again due to breaking and entering, drinking, and drugs. Throughout it all Sydney’s parents have been supportive. Until the night Peyton goes out, gets drunk and high and hits someone with his car. This leads to Peyton being sent to jail for several months and Sydney and her family trying to pick up the pieces.

Sydney has always done the right thing. However, she is floundering with transferring schools and going to Jackson High School. Due to her parents having money issues because of her brother’s constant arrests and fines, Sydney suggests transferring for the good of the family. Seriously though, Sydney is a touch too martyrish for me at times.

Image result for no one likes a martyr gif

After transferring to Jackson, Sydney goes to a pizza place after school and meets the Chatham family. Pretty soon she finds that she has friends for lives in Layla and Mac (brother and sister) and there friends Eric and Irv. Though Sydney has old friends from her school (Jenn and someone I am forgetting) they were pretty much non-entities throughout the book. Besides one scene where Sydney goes and deal with their mess, I was not feeling old school friends that much.

I honestly didn’t feel the romance between Sydney and Mac. I thought they really worked out well as friends. I would have loved it if Dessen had them be best friends just like Sydney is with Layla.

I have to say, that for me, my favorite character was the secondary character in this one, Layla. We eventually see how Sydney re-meets Layla and comes to become part of her inner group at Jackson High School. Layla and her chaotic family were so bigger than life, it may have been better to flip this and make her the main character. I mean Layla in five seconds gets what is going on with Ames and Sydney’s parents are totally oblivious.

The parents in this one were infuriating. I don’t know why, but I kept thinking of Brock Turner’s parents, and their total 100 percent backing of their son and blaming everyone else for what he did. So to read a book where Sydney’s dad was checked out, and her mom was so insistent about being there every step of the way for her son without acknowledging what he did. At least Dessen redeems the character of Peyton by having him having a dang clue about what he did and why it was so awful. I can’t even give the parents kudos for finally clicking onto what a creep Ames was, guess what, don’t move people into your house when you don’t really know them. I know Ames was a fictional character, but my stranger danger alert was going off in every scene he was in.

The dialogue felt off at times. We have a lot of Sydney “inner dialogue”. I really wanted and needed her to speak up more. Her anger at her parents when she gets grounded (she invites people over after they say no and gets caught having a sip of vodka) was hilarious to me. Um no dear, you don’t get to be outraged when you are drinking underage and have people in a house you don’t pay the mortgage on.

Image result for no one likes a martyr gif

I was ready to shake Sydney, and this is where the martyrdom needed to die.

The book’s flow was off while I was reading this. I think it’s because it wanted to cram too much in it, and honestly there was a lot in it. Between Peyton’s jail time, Sydney’s transfer, we also have the Chathams dealing with the matriarch of the family dealing with MS, Layla’s dating woes, and oh yeah Ames and his totally not subtle I am going to try to do something evil self.

The setting in this one was once again Lakeview. The town didn’t feel set up as well as it did in “Lock and Key.” I don’t know why that is, but maybe the flow had something to do with it.

The ending was a bit too much everything is awesome for me. We do have Sydney taking a step to go and have closure on something that has been worrying her this whole book. But man oh man, I found the whole thing inappropriate. Send a letter first, and then see about it. Showing up on someone’s door didn’t feel right to me at all.

three-half-stars

Shopaholic Takes Manhattan by Sophie Kinsella

Shopaholic Takes Manhattan by Sophie KinsellaShopaholic Takes Manhattan by Sophie Kinsella
Published by Dell on December 27, 2004
Genres: Romance, Chick Lit
Pages: 387
Source: Purchased: print book
Goodreads
three-stars

With her shopping excesses (somewhat) in check and her career as a TV financial guru thriving, Becky's biggest problem seems to be tearing her entrepreneur boyfriend, Luke, away from work for a romantic country weekend. And worse, figuring out how to pack light. But packing takes on a whole new meaning when Luke announces he's moving to New York for business--and he asks Becky to go with him! Before you can say "Prada sample sale," Becky has landed in the Big Apple, home of Park Avenue penthouses and luxury boutiques.

Surely it's only a matter of time until she becomes an American TV celebrity, and she and Luke are the toast of Gotham society. Nothing can stand in their way, especially with Becky's bills miles away in London. But then an unexpected disaster threatens her career prospects, her relationship with Luke, and her available credit line! Shopaholic Takes Manhattan--but will she have to return it?

I am glad that I re-read this book, but feel disappointed overall with how the earlier books in the Shopaholic series no longer stand up. I think it’s because I have already read these books and the latest, that I just feel nothing but flat out annoyance towards Rebecca (Becky) and her hare-brained schemes to not pay her bills, to cover up when she’s in over her head, and somehow through sheer luck to get out of trouble. And then somehow is in the right in the end when she is 100 percent in the wrong.

I read the first book several years ago and remember being charmed by it. In this second book, we now have Becky and Luke dating. Becky has convinced Luke to go off and take a mini-break to the country. While there she realizes that Luke has plans to expand his company to America, specifically New York. Becky after the events in the last book has paid off all of her debts and thinks she finally has her shopping bug under control.

Image result for adventures of a shopaholic gifs

Spoilers, she does not.

Pretty much Becky acts as if she has paid her bills off, that apparently if she uses her credit card that means her balance stays zero. Considering that Becky is a financial expert (seriously this was always funny to me) on a morning television show, you would think she be a bit smarter. I think readers are supposed to find Becky endearing. I just found her to be hopelessly immature.

Becky’s relationship with her parents is to keep them in the dark (though you of course realize they are not that dumb) and she wants Luke to make a public declaration of his love for her. Honestly, I never got to be much of Luke fan until the later books. He feels like a non-person in these earlier books. We are given bare bone facts about him and you can feel yourself sympathizing with him. But then we are supposed to ignore his need to prove himself in America cause Becky gets her feelings hurt when they go to New York.

There are secondary characters long time readers know about like Tarquin and Suze. They also don’t age very well in this second book in my opinion.

The writing was okay, but the flow was pretty bad. I think it is because you are just waiting for the characters to move along to New York. Of course once we move from London to New York I was bored senseless. You don’t get a real sense of the city, crowds, movement, the uniqueness of New York. That’s cause all Becky is focused on is shopping and hiding it from Luke.

Image result for adventures of a shopaholic gifs

The ending at first I thought redeemed itself. But when we go to two months later and things are just kind of hand-waved away and Luke telling Becky how right she is (after once again having her finances get to threat level midnight levels) I just yawned myself through it.

I read this for Romance Book Bingo 2017 square: Second Chances

<spoiler>This fits that square because the main couple breaks up and then gets back together at the end of the book..</spoiler>

three-stars
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