jendoyle2000

Reviews
More
Public Secrets

by

I've been reading a lot of Nora Roberts lately and one thing I've noticed is that I like the full-length novels much better than the ones that are part of, say, trilogy collections (or maybe it's just the ones that were written for Harlequin or whichever series she started off writing for). There's much more character development, much more time for characters to actually do more than an immediate falling in love thing. Not that I mind that entirely, but perhaps I shouldn't read four 12-chapter books in a row in which the two characters see each other for the first time and are instantly smitten. I actually started off a bit uncomfortable with this as there was a clear interest between an older teenager and a 12-yr-old. (At least I think that was her age at the time. It's been about a month since I've read the book and I've read a lot of NR books since! I seem to remember that it was my daughter's age, though, which made it that much more unsettling.) However, I've since come to recognize one of the patterns NR uses, which is to have characters meet early on, but then skip ahead a few years at a time. In this case, it made the romance that much more believable; even though it was a little frustrating that (SPOILER ALERT) it took so long for the two leads to get together, I liked that Michael basically carried a torch for Emma his whole life, even if it did start when she was a little too young. In terms of the rest of the book, I have to admit that I skipped through a bunch of it as I simply can't deal with the particular event that created the whole suspense aspect of the book. And after spending the whole book thinking that there was a greater evil lurking in the background, the actual culprit was a bit of a letdown -- thus the 3.5. But I enjoyed all the rest of it enough to keep picking it up even when I didn't have any time to do so.
The Silent Girl: A Rizzoli & Isles Novel

by

The problem with a book that's written this well is that it really gets to you. When it's written in the city you live in and about 12-yr-old girls disappearing when you have a 12-yr-old daughter, well, that doesn't help matters. To be honest, if I'd known that that was a part of it I might not have picked this up; it's just too close to home. And yet it was so well written that I'm not sorry I did. (Well, until tonight when I start having nightmares, but that's another story.)I remember reading one of Tess Gerritsen's earliest novels, back before Rizzoli & Isles, and being impressed. When the Rizzoli & Isles show came on I didn't put the two together, not having realized that Gerritsen had moved on beyond the medical thrillers. I sought out one of her R&I books and was reminded at how good of a writer she was -- but the suspense was so much that I didn't go back right away. For some reason this week I've been on a keep-me-on-the-edge thriller kick, however, so I specifically picked up _The Silent Girl_.One of the first things about the R&I series is that there are some distinct differences between the books and the show, particularly in the roster of Rizzoli's colleagues. In the books, Rizzoli also is married and has a child. With that said, the characterizations of both Rizzoli and Isles are so well portrayed on the TNT show that it was hard not to picture those actresses as I read. As other reviewers have said, the focus here is more on Rizzoli, although I didn't see that as a problem. Their relationship was a major thread of the book, at least enough so for me to be satisfied. The Chinatown/martial arts piece was the more prevailing part and excellently handled. Which makes sense, of course, since Gerritsen herself is Chinese. (Although, funnily enough, the Rizzoli voice is so strong that I forgot this and was instead picturing her as Italian, but that's neither here nor there.) I also really enjoyed the strong female characters in this book, particularly Iris Fang. And the way that it all came together in the end. Saying too much more would give it away and I don't want to do that so I'll stop it here, but I highly recommend that you give this book a try.
Black Hills: A Novel

by

As I think I've mentioned recently, I've been reading a lot of Nora Roberts lately and have definitely found that I like the full-length, standalone novels better than the straight and shorter romances. This falls in the latter category and is definitely one that made me come to that conclusion. Like some other Roberts novels, this one starts out with the two main characters (Lil and Cooper) as kids, 9 and 11 to be specific. She builds their story gradually and believably, and she does so while expertly laying a foundation of strong family connections on both parts. When we finally get to present-day, Lil and Cooper have of course become estranged, but are now back in each other's lives. In what I've read of her, Roberts seems to have certain patterns, and this falls under the one where they'd been deeply connected, the ties broke, then they reconnect and the male lead (Cooper, in this case) is adamant that they'll be partnering up again whereas the female lead (Lil) is resistant. Other reviewers have indicated that they found Cooper to be too assertive and not very appealing; I didn't find that to be the case at all. I liked him, and I thought that, though adamant, he was entirely respectful of where she was coming from. I enjoyed the way they came back together (also part of the pattern) and I thought it was true to the characters and the story. My only real issue with this book came towards the end. At a certain point, the whole suspense story arc stopped working for me. I just didn't buy it in the way I've bought into other Roberts story lines; it didn't feel quite as cohesive. (Thus the 3.5 rather than 4 stars.) Several of the chapters just made me think, "Huh??" But once I decided to just suspend my disbelief and go with the writing, I was a lot happier. The only other complaint I had was that, after brilliantly building the suspense for a couple hundred pages, the final scene(s) between Lil, Cooper, and Lil's stalker were a bit of a let-down. I would have liked a little bit more of a one-on-one(-on-one?) chase to fully play out the tease. All in all, however, this is one that I'll probably come back to when I'm in the mood for a good, solid, romance with a cowboy thrown in.
Betrayal of Trust: A J. P. Beaumont Novel

by

I'm a big J.A. Jance fan, but I have to say this one fell a little flat for me. I haven't read a J.P. Beaumont book in awhile and have to admit I picked this up because I was craving Joanna Brady but the library didn't have any I hadn't read yet so, yes, I may not have had the best attitude going into it. Mystery-wise it was fine; sad in a bunch of ways, but not bad. And, well, maybe that was the problem -- the subject [snuff film, cyberbullying], the kids... It was a little bit too close to home for this mom. The big positive was the (very) side story of J.P. Beaumont's Texas family. I really loved that part and might seek out the next in the series just so that I can see how that plays out.
Cross Country: (Alex Cross 14)

by

Thin, thin, thin. I gave it two stars because I did, actually, finish it, but I'm not entirely sure why. It seemed more like a passion project about the atrocities in various African nations rather than an actual plot-driven book. And although the descriptions of what is going on in other parts of the world was sobering, it was hard to care enough about the characters to be affected in the way that I should have.
Disturbance: An Irene Kelly Novel

by

I've had this book sitting on the TBR pile for awhile and have constantly been bypassing because I knew that once I picked it up, I wouldn't be able to stop. And that's exactly what happened. The one frustration I had was that there was a lot of telling rather than showing in some parts as it was necessary to show a time lapse of several months. It was done well, but it was something that I definitely noticed and found a bit frustrating. When the action did happen, however, it was so compelling that I could feel my heart racing. Not so good for the blood pressure! Jan Burke is an excellent writer and if you're in the mood for something that's going to get under your skin, this is it.
Perfect Is Overrated

by

It is odd to write "humor" and then "postpartum depression" one right after another (in the tags), but this book pulled it off. It's hard to pin down in some ways -- on the surface it's a mystery, but the mystery was entirely besides the point. This was really about a woman who is trying to fight her way back into a world she recognizes. There are people who care about her, people who are trying to help her back up, and she knows it, but she just can't get there. And then these things begin happening and they give her something else to think about for the first time since the birth of her daughter. About the mystery plot: In some ways, this was one of the more realistic amateur mysteries I think I've read. The heroine actually had a background that made her 'detecting' make sense in a way, say, the owner of a crochet shop doesn't at all. And she kind of stumbled into things but wasn't the lynchpin in a way that I think is actually the way that might play out. So I liked that, too. The ending kind of came out of nowhere for me, and although it made sense when I thought about it, it was definitely a kind of ... "Huh?" But, honestly, I didn't care. By that point, I couldn't have cared less who the killer was; I just wanted to find out what happened with her ex, with her life. Along those lines, however, the author entirely delivered. I loved this character and I loved the people around her. I loved how she loved her daughter so very much -- and how much humor there was about how debilitating that was. It was an illuminating look into the world of postpartum depression, but Karen Bergreen presented it in such a way that it wasn't threatening or, oddly, even depressing in any way. I think anyone who knows someone struggling with this issue -- yes, even though their child might be four or five years old -- should read this for a little bit of insight into the darkness even amidst the joy of loving a child. I'll certainly be looking out for other books from this author. I'm excited to see what she does next.
A Few Good Murders

by

This book wasn't bad for quick, light read -- really quick, actually. I think I read it in a few hours. I enjoyed the movie-making part, and the mystery itself was enough to keep me entertained and interested. I also liked the main character and the sense of humor. The only sour note for me was [SPOILER ALERT]****the side story with the reporter. First of all, he seemed like a legitimate reporter so I didn't buy the little twist at the end. More importantly, though, the fact that he went from someone the main character trusted enough to take a trip to New Mexico with to someone that she suddenly saw as a complete bad guy -- because he made a pass at her and reacted badly when she turned him down -- just didn't play right to me, especially considering that she seemed completely complicit in the entire evening up to the pass. Did that entitle him to her company for the rest of the evening? No, of course not. But is the next logical step that he's a blackmailer who deserves to be murdered? I don't think so at all. With that exception, however, I did enjoy the book and look forward to reading others in the series.
Not a Girl Detective

by

As a Nancy Drew fan myself, it was fun to pick up this book about an amateur detective whose whole life seemed centered around the girl detective. At first it seemed as though it would just be a gimmick that got a little tired, but I have to say, I was surprised at how well everything held together. Also, unlike other books with amateur detectives in them, I absolutely believed every step of the way. Cece, the main character, did not know everything about detecting; in fact, she did some pretty dumb things. The good part about that was that she knew they were dumb -- she was just a loss for anything better to do. Which, incidentally, I found a lot more buyable than amateurs who seem to be experts despite the fact that they have no background whatsoever. The fact that she was hilarious certainly didn't hurt. I definitely enjoyed this and will be looking forward to other books in the series.
Chesapeake Blue

by

As with almost every other Nora Roberts book, I couldn't put this down. Stayed up til 2 a.m. reading it one night; got up early the next morning to finish it. And, as with all the other Nora Roberts books, I love, love, *love* the emphasis on family. (I, of course, am excited about the idea that all those other Quinn Brother relationships fill up volumes of their own.) I think the one thing that I didn't like was Seth's initial way of handling with his problem (to leave vague in a non-spoilerly kind of way); it seemed like a leap that needed to be taken purely for a tension-filled scene that, honestly, didn't need to be there. With that one exception, however, I was really happy with this book. (P.S. I loved the Buffy shout-out!)
scribd