Tag: 2.5 Reviews

Guilty by Karen Robards

Posted April 22, 2008 by Casee in Reviews | 7 Comments

Book description:

One cold November night when Kat White was fifteen years old, she and some friends held up a convenience store. In the heat of the moment, one of the others shot and killed an off-duty cop moonlighting as a security guard. Kat and her pals fled the scene in a panic, and no one was caught.

Sixteen years later, Kat – now Kate – has built a new life for herself. Now a single mom with an eight-year-old son, she works as a prosecutor in the Philadelphia DA’s office. But her dark past rears its head when she walks into court one day and discovers that she is to prosecute Mario Castellanos, one of her friends from that terrible night.

Kate is in a bind: even though Mario was the one who probably did commit the crime, he’s counting on Kate to make sure he’s not convicted. If she convinces the judge of his guilt, he’ll claim that she was the one who killed the off-duty cop. Before real despair sets in, Mario is found dead – in her apartment, and with her pistol. When homicide detective Tom Braga shows up to investigate the murder, Kate is far from relieved; the two have clashed since she started working for the prosecutor’s office. But when another man who knows the secret of Kate’s past gets involved in the investigation, she learns that her life – and her son’s – are in danger. Frantic, she realizes that she has nowhere to turn. Except, maybe, to Tom…

Meh. That just about sums my feelings up. If I could get away with a one word review, I’d leave it at that.

Kate seemed like a promising heroine. In my opinion, Karen Robards’ heroines lean toward being TSTL. Most of the time they cross that fine line that they walk. Obviously I’m a glutton for punishment b/c I keep reading. So as I was reading the first chapter, I was thinking to myself “finally”. Finally a heroine that I don’t want to bash over the head with something hard. Yeah, I spoke to myself too soon.

Kate finds herself in a situation reserved for nightmares and fiction novels. As a Prosecutor for the District Attorney, Kate is in court trying a case when all hell breaks loose. It seems that a few inmates have decided that it’s the perfect time to break out of jail. With bullets flying, Kate takes cover underneath the prosecutor’s table and prays to God that she will make it out alive. Her chances of that drastically lower when she’s taken at gunpoint by one of the inmates. It’s when she comes face to face with someone from her past that Kate realizes that her nightmare just became worse.

Mario Castellanos knows that Kate was there the night that an off-duty cop was shot and killed at convenience store they were trying to rob. Though sixteen years had passed, Kate hasn’t forgotten the night that changed her life. Having turned her life around, she’s ill prepared for Mario’s threats. Something she is sure of is that she’s not going to let Mario destroy everything she’s worked so hard for.

Tom Braga was in the courtroom when Kate was taken hostage. He was also there when she came out bloody and brutalized. Knowing the escape attempt had to have been an inside job, Tom is suspicious when he realizes Kate is lying about what happened. Feeling attraction to someone that could have had a part in the shooting of his brother is almost more than Tom can handle. He can’t stay away, though. It doesn’t take Tom long to figure out that Kate is terrified of something or someone. There’s not much he can do though, b/c Kate is not talking.

I thought this book had a great premise. It had a great hero. Actually, the hero is probably what made me keep reading. He was a pretty impressive hero. I liked that he didn’t let Kate give him any crap. What I didn’t like was Kate. I didn’t like her TSTL decisions. I didn’t like her TSTL attitude. I didn’t like that she thought she could take on a member of a well known gang, no matter that she knew him. I also didn’t like that every time Kate did anything, one or more of these things happened:

Her heart leaped.
Her heart raced.
Her heart clenched.
Her heart lurched.
Her heart pounded.
Her head swam.
Her head spun.
Her head stopped.

Yes, I wrote them down as I read them. I only did that in the last 50 pages of the book. Seriously. I’m surprised Kate didn’t drop dead of a heart attack. Her poor heart was seriously overworked.

This is yet another author that I’d love to see go back to historicals.

2.5 out of 5.

This book is available from Penguin Group. You can buy it here.

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Review: Cover of Night by Linda Howard

Posted April 21, 2008 by Holly in Reviews | 13 Comments

Review: Cover of Night by Linda HowardReviewer: Holly
Cover of Night by Linda Howard
Published by Random House Publishing Group
Publication Date: June 27th 2006
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Suspense
Pages: 352
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
two-half-stars

For breathless action, gripping suspense, and intense romance, bestselling author Linda Howard never misses a beat–and her thrilling new novel will have your heart racing.

In the charming rural town of Trail Stop, Idaho, accessible to the outside world by only a single road, young widow Cate Nightingale lives peacefully with her four-year-old twin boys, running a bed-and-breakfast. Though the overnight guests are few and far between–occasional hunters and lake fishermen–Cate always manages to make ends meet with the help of the local jack-of-all-trades, Calvin Harris, who can handle everything from carpentry to plumbing. But Calvin is not what he seems, and Cate’s luck is about to run out.

One morning, the B&B’s only guest inexplicably vanishes, leaving behind his personal effects. A few days later Cate is shocked when armed men storm the house, demanding the mystery man’s belongings. Fearing for her children’s lives, Cate agrees to cooperate–until Calvin saves the day, forcing the intruders to scatter into the surrounding woods.

The nightmare, however, is just beginning. Cate, Calvin, and their entire community find themselves cut off and alone with no means to call for help as the threat gathers intensity and first blood is drawn.
With their fellow residents trapped and the entire town held hostage, Cate and Calvin have no choice but to take the fight to their enemies under the cover of night. While reticent Cal becomes a fearless protector, Cate makes the most daring move of her life . . . into the very heart of danger.

From the Hardcover edition.

How many of you have read Danielle Steel? I used to read her all the time when I was younger, but after awhile the repetitiveness of her writing started to wear on me and I gave up on her. I’m not talking about the constant reuse of key phrases, either, but the way she feels she has to explain the same point again and again and again.

That’s exactly what Linda Howard did in this novel. Contrary to popular belief, I am not an idiot. If you explain something to me once, I get it. I don’t need you to repeat the same point over and over. Truly.

Three years ago, Cate’s husband died of a Staph infection, leaving her a widow with very young twin boys. In an effort to provide financially for them and to escape all of the memories of Seattle, she moves to Trail Stop, Idaho, a very small community nestled in the mountains of Idaho and miles from everything. The town is surrounded on three sides by mountains and has only one road for access.

Life is pretty peaceful for her and her twins. She’s made some friends, though she’s mostly kept people at arms length. The local handyman, Calvin Harris, is at her house almost every day, because it’s an old Victorian and seems to need constant repairs. Otherwise, though, besides one women she considers a close friend, she doesn’t really socialize in town.

Our story begins when she has this guest come and stay who sneaks out the window during the day and leaves all his stuff behind. At first she’s irritated that he ditched out like that, then she’s worried about him, thinking he may have had an accident or something, then she goes back to being irritated when he’s still gone two days later.

In the meantime, we find out that the guest who skipped out the window is actually a CPA who stole some very incriminating evidence from some mobster and is attempting to extort an extreme amount of money from him. Well, as you can imagine, our mobster guy isn’t very happy about that, so he hires this shady PI/Contract Killer guy to go after him. They eventually track him to the B&B in Trail Stop…and this is where the story goes south. Wayyyy South.

The thing about this book is…it wasn’t that interesting BEFORE the contract killer shows up. But AFTER that? It was so over-the-top-unbelievable I was almost in stitches. Seriously.

Here’s the skinny. Contract Killer and his little minion decide to rent a room in Cate’s BB. They overhear Cate and her friend talking about how she’s suspicious of them, so rather than being all stealthy and searching for the things CPA boy left behind, they rush at her with guns and demand his stuff. She’s getting ready to comply when Cal the Handyman shows up to get the mail. She sends him on his way, but on the off chance that something isn’t right he circles back around and…saves the day.

Now, the thing is, up until this point, Cal can’t string two words together in Cate’s presence. He’s painfully shy around her and even turns BEAT ASS RED when he’s near her. I think LH was trying to make us see that he had different sides by throwing a few other scenes with him in it, but it didn’t work. Not for me anyway.

But back to my bitching review. So Cal figures out that Cate’s in trouble, circles around, knocks one of the Contract Killers on the head and takes the other one by surprise and disarms him. In the name of keeping things calm, he hands over CPA Boy’s suitcase and sends them on their way. Yeah, dumb but whatever.

Conveniently, Cate’s mom is visiting from Seattle, and wants the twins for a few weeks, so the next morning Cate sends them on their way, because she’s paranoid and wants them safe. Ok, that makes sense. But it was just too neat and tidy that her mom was there when this went down.

The twins hit the road and the Contract Killers check out the suitcase. Well, well, what do you know. Seems there isn’t any shaving stuff or personal toiletries in the bag, so they figure she’s holding out on them. So what do they do? Well, they decide to take the entire town hostage, of course.

stares

Yes, I said take the entire town hostage. Because Cate may or may not have a shaving kit that may or may not include the thing that Mobster Dude’s CPA stole from him. Is that not the most ridiculous thing you’ve ever heard?

From there on it was just dumb. The POV’s jumped around entirely too much, but we didn’t get hardly anything from the hero. We come to understand that he’s been in love with Cate since she moved there, and that he was formerly a Marine, so he’s well able to handle the situation, but that’s pretty much it. I really liked what I saw of him, and I liked Cate for the most part, too. Although she could have buckled in the face of such craziness, she rose to the occasion and did what needed to be done. But overall? The character development sucked, IMO. There just wasn’t enough focus on the two main protagonists to make them real characters to me. The twins were sort of cute, but since they only lasted like the first 20 pages or so I can’t really say they grabbed me.

Basically, the storyline was WAY over the top, we didn’t get to see enough from the hero’s POV and she jumped around WAY too much. During one chapter there were seven different POV’s, none of them the hero.

Overall, I wasn’t impressed. At all. It’s not the worst Linda Howard I’ve ever read (All That Glitters and The Independent Wife hold that title) but it was close.

2.5 out of 5

This book is available from Ballantine. You can buy it here or here in e-format.

two-half-stars

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Review: What Mattered Most by Linda Winfree

Posted February 14, 2008 by Holly in Reviews | 7 Comments

Review: What Mattered Most by Linda WinfreeReviewer: Holly
What Mattered Most by Linda Winfree
Series: Hearts of the South #.5
Also in this series: Truth and Consequences, His Ordinary Life, Uncovered, Fall Into Me, Memories of Us, Hearts Awakened, Facing It, Hold On To Me, Gone From Me (Hearts of the South, #10)
Published by Samhain Publishing
Publication Date: February 27th 2007
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Contemporary, Fantasy
Pages: 290
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
two-half-stars

A man in the worst place he can be—between two women—and forced to choose which one lives or dies.
Houston homicide detective, John O'Reilly, is torn between two women. One is the woman he's loved without hope for years. The other carries his unborn child. Now, a man bent on revenge wants O'Reilly to choose, and any choice he makes could cost him everything.
Gutsy sheriff’s deputy, Lanie Falconetti, is determined not to repeat her mother’s mistakes in love. Her no-strings attached affair with John O’Reilly leads to an unexpected, but joyfully welcomed pregnancy. However, the shadow from John’s past threatens not only her chance at happiness, but her life and that of her unborn baby as well.
Warning:
This title contains explicit sex and violence.

 

This is a prequel of sorts to the Hearts of the South series by Linda Winfree. I reviewed the first book in the series here.

John O’Reilly is in love with his partner, Beth. He has been for several years, but unfortunately for him she doesn’t return his feelings. Once upon a time, Beth and John had been lovers, but only because Beth had just gotten out of an abusive marriage and John was there to keep her safe. Once she realized what she was doing, she stopped sleeping with him, explaining that while she’d always care for him, they weren’t meant to be together.

So John moves on…with Lanie Falconetti. They’re instantly attracted to each other and within a week of meeting her, John moves in. But still, he pines for his partner. Then, Lanie turns up pregnant. Although there have been no words between them, Lanie knows they love each other. Or so she thinks…until Beth’s ex-husband shows up and shoots John and takes Beth hostage.

When John wakes up in the hospital, the first thing he does is ask for Beth. Lanie tells him she loves him, and he wants Beth. That’s when she realizes she’s been living in Fantasy Land. John doesn’t love her, he loves his partner. But then things go from bad to worse, because Lanie is kidnapped by Beth’s ex, too. And she’s horribly injured. The ex demands that John choose: Lanie – and their unborn child – or Beth.

He’s saved from having to make a decision, but the battle has just begun. Though the ex has been arrested and Beth has taken off for parts unknown, John has his work cut out for him. Because he’s realized Lanie is the woman he loves…..only she’s given up on him completely.

The Good: John’s relationship with his son, when he’s born. I loved that although he didn’t want the baby before it was born, he immediately fell in love with him after he was born, and changed his entire life to be with him, even going so far as to take a desk job so he wouldn’t be putting himself at risk. And watching him care for his son alone (Lanie was in the hospital after the attack) touched me. I’m such a sucker for babies and their daddies.

Really, I just liked him, period. Although I was hurt for Lanie at first, once he realized what an ass he’d been, he did everything possible to show Lanie he really cared and that he’d really changed, I started to forgive him. My heart started to hurt for him towards the end, because of the guilt he carried for Lanie getting hurt, and because he so wanted what they’d had back. Lanie wasn’t good enough for him, IMO.

Which brings me to…

The Bad: Lanie. She drove me up the effing wall. At first, I understood her reasons for being hard on John. I understand that she felt betrayed, and was worried that John had been screwing his partner behind her back. But the longer she sulked, the more she annoyed me. She kept asking “Where’s Beth?” “Oh, don’t you want to be with Beth?” “So, why didn’t you go with Beth?” “Don’t you mean you love Beth?” Good lord. It got the point where I wanted to bang my head against the wall. Instead of moving forward – with or without John- she acted like a jealous teenager, throwing temper tantrums and saying mean and spiteful things. She needed to grow the hell up..and IMO, she never did.

She also had some lingering side effects from her injuries. She had a major concussion and as a result her short term memory and her ability to do math suffered. At first I felt sorry for her, because I can’t imagine not being able to remember a phone number that I’ve known all my life, or not being able to add 2+2. But once again, it went on for too long. I would think she’d do something..anything..to adapt. Instead, she whined about it, and punished John, as if it were his fault. (Although, I suppose it kind of was, since he didn’t tell her about Beth’s ex and got involved with her..or at least, that’s how he saw it…but still, it was over the top) As I said, she really needed to grow up.

And don’t get me started on the way she acted with/towards her son…Ugh. Although, she did improve in that aspect, so I forgave her that, if not the other stuff.

One last thing that was bad: They called their son “Sonny Buck”. That wasn’t his name, but that was the nickname they gave him. Totally a personal thing, but yeah..wasn’t feeling it. I thought it was cute the first time John called him that, but then it just got real old, real fast.

The Ugly: The ex-husband plot. Well, that’s not entirely true. The plot in and of itself wasn’t so bad. The issue is that the author didn’t follow through with it. The first 3 or so chapters are dedicated to what was going on with the ex. Beth getting kidnapped, John getting shot, Lanie taken hostage, John being told to choose, Lanie’s partner being found dead outside her house, the calvary rushing in to save everyone. The ex was arrested and that was it. Not another word was said about him, the situation, the partner, nothing. It was like those first few chapters were nothing more than a bad dream that never really happened. There was no regret that her partner was dead, or mention of a funeral. There was also nothing else mentioned about the ex. He was arrested..but then what? We never heard what happened after that.

Honestly, if I wouldn’t have already had the other books in the series, I probably would have stopped after this one. I’m glad I didn’t, but I think y’all might want to stay away from this one. OTOH, Lori loved it, so maybe it’s just me?

2.5 out of 5

As I said, this is a prequel of sorts to the rest of the series. I don’t think you have to read it to understand anything that happens with the rest.

The series:

What Mattered Most (prequel)
Truth and Consequences
His Ordinary Life
Hold On To Me
Anything But Mine

This book is available from Samhain Publishing. You can buy it here or here in e-format.

two-half-stars

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