Review: Nora Roberts – Divine Evil

SYNOPSIS: A decade ago, sculptor Clare Kimball fled Emmitsboro, Maryland, to take the art world by storm. Now she’s celebrated as the artist of her generation. But no amount of success can eclipse the nightmares that haunt her—or the memories of her father’s suicide. Just as her star is shining brighter than ever, Clare leaves it all behind to face her demons.

Emmitsboro sheriff Cameron Rafferty loved Clare from afar all through high school. Now that she’s back, they form a bond that grows stronger each day—fueled by an attraction that’s been simmering for years. But Clare’s past soon rises up with a vengeance, rocking the town with a sinister murder that is clearly linked to her return. As an investigation gets under way, Clare and Cameron will learn that evil can linger anywhere—even in those you love and trust the most. But it’s a discovery that may come too late to save them.… – via Goodreads

Ugh this book. I honestly don’t know what I expected, if we are being honest, but it wasn’t this. There was this whole Satanic aspect to it that had the potential to be so damn interesting, but instead comes across as Hollywood hysteria. So the Satanic section fell totally flat, but this is a romance, so there might have been something to salvage it, right?


This whole aspect of the book peeved me, too. So there wasn’t much to save this book. Clare and Cam fall into each other’s arms and beds within like… ten minutes of meeting each other. Within a week he is talking about her moving in and marrying her. He is super controlling, she is such a bitch to him all the time, constantly mad (read: stereotypes galore). I mean love and marriage and all that after sex a few times within days of meeting each other. Damn. The romance is unrealistic (which is to be expected), but I resent this thing of the woman not wanting a white knight but needing one, and some man needing a woman and stepping in to take over her life because she, har har, needs saving.

Moving on from the meh romance, I also didn’t like any of the characters. They are all messy caricatures of stereotypes, so they really have nothing working for them. I was a bit perturbed by the decent people (Jean Pierre and Blair, etc.) being overly invested in young high school girls/majorettes. I totally wanted to get a romance from this with an investigation into the occult, but my hopes and dreams were crushed man. It isn’t that it is a terrible book, per se, it is just such a generic, bland book and it is excessively long. It had no right to be that lengthy, and the drag in this is what changed the story from being a decent, fluffy read to being a schlep.

Anyway, Divine Evil is not the worst mystery/murder romance you could read, but it certainly leaves a lot to be desired (haha, yes, I am on a roll). Shallow, flat characters litter a tedious book that cannot decide if it wants to be useless erotica or a hardcore murder mystery, yet totally lacking the conviction to be either.

The Originals: Season 1 (2013 – 2014)

the originals season one cover


What I liked:

  • So. Much. Klaus. I am a huge Klaus fan, and I was from the moment we met him in The Vampire Diaries. He’s just bad to the bone, really, and so unapologetic about it. He is what he is, and he doesn’t care who you are.
  • Elijah. Again, I have always like this Original. He is so honourable, has amazing suits, always looks good, speaks beautifully and has such a dignified air about him that you cannot help but respect him. On the flip side, do not get on his bad side. Like holy wow, the man is brutal as heck.
  • Being able to manage the stories of witches, werewolves, and vampires. New Orleans, man, was the best setting for this, because there are a ton of each of the supernatural beings, and it doesn’t seem out of place in New Orleans.
  • Glimpses of the Mikaelson past. Seriously, having been around for centuries means that there is history to tell.
  • Elijah and Hayley and all their back and forth. Yes. This couple? I think they are great. I just want Elijah to be happy, and he is so into Hayley, and being the man of honour that he is? Man, it’ll just be fantastic.originals season 1 elijah and hayleyoriginals season 1 hayley and elijah
  • The warring between Marcel and Klaus. Really, to see where Marcel came from, the relationship between him and Klaus, and how things have gotten? Oh my.
  • Father Kieran. I actually really like this character – I was a bit worried when there was the requisite priestly character for this type of thing, but it worked quite well.
  • The story arc of the wolves. I like that they are actually quite important here, not just a side plot to the vampires. The Originals has managed to successfully involve all these factions, and really well, too.
  • The relationships between characters is great. Elijah and Klaus, Klaus and Marcel, Marcel and Davina, Davina and Josh, Cami and Klaus… there are just so many and they all work exceptionally well.

What I didn’t like:

  • In The Vampire Diaries, in season two, Elijah was against Klaus because he was convinced that Klaus had killed off their whole family, and then Klaus brokered a deal to give the Mikaelson family to Elijah/reunite them, if he helped him. It was then revealed that the family had merely been daggered and lying in coffins. It was big news to Elijah. However, in The Originals, there are daggerings happening left, right, and centre, and it is well known knowledge that Klaus daggers the siblings that peeve him to teach them a lesson. I was not a fan of the inconsistency.
  • Davina actually irritates the hell out of me at the moment. She is so… she’s such a bloody child, and whiny. Get your things together sweetie, such is life!
  • Rebekah still irritates me. Not as bad as before, what with getting to spend more time with her, but enough to peeve me still. I guess we will have to wait and see how all this goes.
  • Francesca. Oh. My. Gosh. You can just tell she is trouble from the off, and what an ugly chick to boot, too. What an ego she has, too! Wow!

originals season 1 klaus

Okay, so I ended up watching this because I finished all The Vampire Diaries and was all sad cause I was so hooked. Naturally, I turned to The Originals because you all know I love my Klausie. And Eljah. A lot. So I was, of course, willing to watch a show where they were the central leads. Of course I was. I wasn’t going to look down my nose at an opportunity to see as much Klaus as possible, as well as Elijah and his gorgeous suits, phenomenal poise, and stunning vocabulary. Seeking this out was well enough, as The Originals happens to be a really good spin off series, which is rare.

The plots are well developed, the characters have depth (even if it takes time to reveal them), the show ties in nicely to The Vampire Diaries, but only briefly and quickly, so you can easily watch this without the former, and the pacing is cool. The first few episodes fumble a little, as is to be expected, but as soon as the ball is rolling, we are on a fantastic mission here. It was interesting to see how Klaus’s opinion of Hayley and her pregnancy changed as the season continued, and it showed an extremely hidden side of him. Elijah, too, stepped up and showed another side to him, which I love. The man has impeccable taste and is a man of honour, integrity, and his word mean everything. He is super polished. However, under all that, he is a brute of note.

Klaus taking on Marcel for the city was interesting, too, because they both want such different things out of the whole deal. The story arc of the witches, their oppression, and then eventual completing of the Harvest was great, and resurrecting the fallen. I thought it was crushing to see how Rebekah had brought their father, Mikael, to New Orleans all those years ago to run Klaus out of town so she and Marcel could be together, because it is a really sad thing that Klaus is painted terrible and treacherous (he is), but nobody examines what happens before all these things.

originals season 1 elijah witches

Another thing I love? The chaste relationship between Elijah and Hayley. I am quite taken with it, and the tension between them is driving me wild. Let’s not forget the Camille side of things – I actually don’t particularly enjoy her character, I find her flat and needy. Also, the jumping between Marcel and Klaus is silly, and I don’t feel that her and Klaus click at all. I just wish it would work out. I particularly enjoy all the politics going on here, and the history of the Mikaelson family is compelling. New Orleans is the perfect setting for all the power plays and all the magical factions coming together. It is really good.

And that final episode? The dramatics! The intensity! The blood, rage, and anger? Eeeeeeep! As if I didn’t dislike papa Mikael enough, seeing more of his history, what he did to his kids, and especially Klaus? Never, ever going to like him now. UGH. I am a really big fan of seeing the Mikaelson history, as well as delving into their exceptionally messy family ties. For reals. Also, Mikael returning in the end? This could get absolutely fascinating.

The Originals is a really solid series with great characters and interesting stories. It is quite well written and really well acted. No time is wasted getting into the story, and I like that. The Mikaelson family is fascinating, and watching the broken dynamics of it is engrossing, and to see how all the relationships between characters tie in together is great. Truly well worth the watch!

originals season 1 klaus and rebekah

Review: The Confession – Jo Spain

I received this book in exchange for an honest review. 

SYNOPSIS: Late one night a man walks into the luxurious home of disgraced banker Harry McNamara and his wife Julie. The man launches an unspeakably brutal attack on Harry as a horror-struck Julie watches, frozen by fear.

Just an hour later the attacker, JP Carney, has handed himself in to the police. He confesses to beating Harry to death, but JP claims that the assault was not premeditated and that he didn’t know the identity of his victim. With a man as notorious as Harry McNamara, the detectives cannot help wondering, was this really a random act of violence or is it linked to one of Harry’s many sins: corruption, greed, betrayal? – via Goodreads

So the write up for this looked interesting when I skimmed it. I requested it, read some other books, then picked it on my reading list without remembering what it was about exactly, and man oh man, that was just so worth it. I was so hooked on this book and just wanted to know what was going on every step of the way. I wanted answers!

Spain sets up the story really well. We get this brutal crime, and from there we get three people reconstructing the story for us, from their own perspective. We read about JP from when he was a child and how his upbringing was, and it is quite something to read. Then there is Julie telling us about her marriage to her husband, the man so brutally and senselessly attacked by JP, and finally there is Alice, relentlessly pursuing the truth, desperately clawing at the crime to see how it all fits.

So the story is told in those three fragmented parts, each contributing to the story every step of the way. It is easy to pick up where you left off, as well as to see which character’s section you are reading, which is dead helpful. I appreciated how you never really get a sense of who has done what, and who is innocent, and who is wrong. Each character has their own reasons, their own flaws, their own idiosyncrasies, and the book blends them and blurs them all so well that you are on the fence the whole time, commiserating with a character one moment and condemning them the next.

Something that did irritate me endlessly, however, was the constant referencing of Julie’s tits. Not breasts, not ample chest, but tits, and this point was hammered in, as though this character was definitely purely by her tits. I don’t know, it got old and annoying really quickly, and just felt out of place in this the whole time.

The Confession is written well and flows, you just breeze through it, and just want to know what is going on because the pacing, too, is spot on. Not too much information too quickly, not too little too slowly, so you get just the right amount of satisfaction to keep you going back for more and more. I could highly recommend this read, and have no regrets for checking it out. I had an absolute blast with it, and found it super entertaining.

Review: Die Again – Tess Gerritsen


Rizzoli & Isles #11

SYNOPSIS: Boston Detective Jane Rizzoli is on the case of a big game hunter found dead in his apartment, alone with the body of a beautiful white snow leopard he had recently been commissioned to procure and stuff for a high-profile museum in the area.

Medical examiner Maura Isles connects the case to a number of seemingly unrelated deaths where the victims have all been found hanging upside down, the hallmark of a leopard’s kill.

Rizzoli follows the puzzling trail of clues all the way to Botswana, where she uncovers the unsolved mystery of a deadly camping safari six years prior. When she realizes the two cases are connected, Rizzoli must track down the sole survivor of the tragic trip to discover who – or what – is behind these gruesome deaths. – via Goodreads

GRADE 7Well, I read this the other day when our Beloved ESKOM decided we could do without electricity. Again. For twenty hours. Really. Anyway, I decided to get a move on with this, and it was quite a good pick. I have enjoyed the Rizzoli and Isles series – obviously some more than others. This was well written and the pacing flew along, and I was quite interested, especially seeing as how chunks of the novel took place in various places in Africa, and there were a few South African characters. Now, I would like to give Gerritsen credit for totally nailing the South African “hey”. Americans “like” a lot when they talk, it’s true, and the equivalent here is “hey”. The two separate stories were good, and quite entertaining throughout. I must admit though that Johnny’s character never creeped me out, and hence I never bought into the concept of him hunting down a group of tourists. It just didn’t fit. Plus let us not forget about the ongoing Angela/Frank Rizzoli drama that is going on, and how Angela seems perfectly willing to roll over and be totally submissive to her husband. It actually annoys the heck out of me, so I was none too pleased when this popped up. Again. Other than that, it was a whirlwind whodunnit thriller, though it isn’t rocket science to follow what is going on and guess at who is responsible. Something that did thrill me endlessly was Gabriel Dean featuring more in this book – I absolutely adore this character and always want to read as much about him as possible. I got some of my wish granted here, as he helped Rizzoli out and was a little involved. Could do with more, but I will take what I can get! I found it to be a fast and enjoyable read, and I would recommend it to anyone that enjoys the series. I found that while this one is good and can be read on it’s own, a reader might be best benefited if they have read the first two novels in this series. I don’t have much else to say on this, to be honest, so I will stop here.

Review: The Singing Bone – Beth Hahn

the singing bone cover

I received this book in exchange for an honest review.

SYNOPSIS: A convicted killer’s imminent parole forces a woman to confront the nightmarish past she’s spent twenty years escaping.

1979: Seventeen-year-old Alice Pearson can’t wait to graduate from high school and escape the small town in upstate New York where she grew up. In the meantime, she and her three closest friends spend their time listening to Led Zeppelin, avoiding their dysfunctional families, and getting high in the nearby woods. Then they meet the enigmatic Jack Wyck, who lives in the rambling old farmhouse across the reservoir. Enticed by his quasi-mystical philosophy and the promise of a constant party, Alice and her friends join Mr. Wyck’s small group of devoted followers. But once in his thrall, their heady, freewheeling idyll takes an increasingly sinister turn, and Alice finds herself crossing psychological and moral boundaries that erode her hold on reality. When Mr. Wyck’s grand scheme goes wrong, culminating in a night of horrific murders, Alice’s already crumbling world falls into chaos, and she barely makes her way back to normal life.

Twenty years later, Alice has created a quiet life for herself as a professor of folklore, but an acclaimed filmmaker threatens to expose her secret past when he begins making a documentary about Jack Wyck’s crimes and the cult-like following that he continues to attract even from his prison cell. Jack Wyck has never forgiven Alice for testifying against him, and as he plots to overturn his conviction and regain his freedom, she is forced to confront the long suppressed memories of what happened to her in the farmhouse—and her complicity in the evil around her. – via Goodreads

GRADE 6Damn, that sucks! There is another cover that I wanted to use for this and it was so much more awesome than the one I did use. Meh, oh well. Anyway, back to the book. Obviously I picked this one up because I liked the title, and I am fascinated by cults. I thought that this might be an interesting read, but it was just alright – it had so much more potential than it ever actually realised. I am glad that I read it, though it was not nearly as good as I was hoping it would be. For one, it read and felt like it was heavily influenced by Charles Manson and his big, happy family. Even the events that happen. Taking that out, Jack Wyck’s character is constant throughout the novel, but you never actually learn about him, for one, and for two, he is never properly fleshed out, so you don’t really get why these kids flocked to him – only that you know cult leaders are charismatic, prey on the weak, and make them feel like they belong. We know that. However, that was never explored in too much detail concerning Wyck. The story itself is nothing new, and it was rather predictable at the best of times, which was rather disappointing. The division of the chapters was something that I enjoyed, flicking between the events of the past and what it happening in the present, which works quite nicely, but that also drags out the big, mysterious event from the past, and it stretches on so long that is rather grating eventually. I found the characters to be flat and one dimensional, literally just there to carry the story and no more. Because they were so bland, I did not relate to any of them, and I was not really overly concerned with the fates of any of them, so the book did not carry as much weight for me as it could have. I liked Stuart Malloy’s character, he was far better put together than any of the others (which was strange), as he actually had something to say, and he witnessed so much. As for Alice, she is our main protagonist and she annoyed me from the beginning, and I didn’t much like her then, never mind when she went around the bend. I really enjoyed the folklore aspect of the story, and think that it should have been used more. As for the conclusion of the book? I was not impressed. Not after all the reading, the threats, etc. I expected more (yes, my common complaint for the novel). Anyway, not a bad read, it was likable enough, it just never lived up to all the possibilities it could have, and brought absolutely nothing new to the table.

Review: The Passenger – Lisa Lutz

the passenger lisa lutz cover

I received this book in exchange for an honest review.

SYNOPSIS: In case you were wondering, I didn’t do it. I didn’t have anything to do with Frank’s death. I don’t have an alibi, so you’ll have to take my word for it…

Forty-eight hours after leaving her husband’s body at the base of the stairs, Tanya Dubois cashes in her credit cards, dyes her hair brown, demands a new name from a shadowy voice over the phone, and flees town. It’s not the first time.

She meets Blue, a female bartender who recognizes the hunted look in a fugitive’s eyes and offers her a place to stay. With dwindling choices, Tanya-now-Amelia accepts. An uneasy―and dangerous―alliance is born.

It’s almost impossible to live off the grid today, but Amelia-now-Debra and Blue have the courage, the ingenuity, and the desperation, to try. Hopscotching from city to city, Debra especially is chased by a very dark secret…can she outrun her past? – via Goodreads

GRADE 6Well, this looked like it would be an interesting read, a decent thriller. It was a decent read, but it was flawed. I had a few qualms with it. My biggest one was that the entire book felt slightly incomplete, like there were a bunch of events, and they were all loosely tied together, but it felt somehow as though Lutz was supposed to have gone back and fleshed things out a little better and never did. The story was interesting, and I really wanted to know what was in Tanya/Amelia/Debra’s history, because it must have been something major for her to go on the run and live a life of pain and suffering, and be hunted for something that has happened a decade before. Sadly, the payoff at the end is quite a let down. This major event was alluded to for so long that it actually got a little annoying, so when we finally got to it, all the air went out of me. Like a “really, that’s it?” kind of moment. Which is a pity, because there was so much potential. There were so many opportunities to explore the psychological recesses of our lead character’s mind, but they never really got looked into very closely, which meant the most important character of the book lacked depth, meaning I could not identify with her at all and I found her to be a tad melodramatic, too. No, that didn’t help matters. Blue was a really interesting character that I wished had been explored a bit more, she was just a dash cuckoo, and to uncover more of her secrets would have been fascinating. Maybe not overly believable and her placing was slightly too convenient, but I liked her a lot. Then there is the relationship between our main character and Domenic, which I enjoyed quite a  bit. It was insane, it was strange, but it worked for the whirlwind of a story that we got. The pacing was alright, albeit a little bit confusing initially, it starts to make sense and the book flows from there. I would definitely say that The Passenger is a quick read, engaging although not brilliant, with some interesting characters and events that certainly held more potential than they were eventually granted. A lot of these events I feel were set up and rushed through, and they were given such a big hype up beforehand (looking specifically at the family home that the lead character had stayed at) and nothing came from it ultimately. I enjoyed the book without loving it, wishing for some more thrills, and I was not so enamoured with the way that a lot of the book felt like rinse and repeat, reading the same thing, just slightly different – new name, new hair, new town. Repeat. Repeat. I was hoping for a faster, darker thriller, and this story trundled along, some interesting times, others not so much. What I can say is that if you are looking for a fast, decent read between books, this would be it. I liked the author’s work and would probably try out some of her other stuff should I come across it.

Review: Glory In Death – J.D. Robb

glory in death jd robb

In Death #2

SYNOPSIS: It is 2058, New York City. In a world where technology can reveal the darkest of secrets, there’s only one place to hide a crime of passion-in the heart.

Even in the mid-twenty-first century, during a time when genetic testing usually weeds out any violent hereditary traits before they can take over, murder still happens. The first victim is found lying on a sidewalk in the rain. The second is murdered in her own apartment building. Police Lieutenant Eve Dallas has no problem finding connections between the two crimes. Both victims were beautiful and highly successful women. Their glamorous lives and loves were the talk of the city. And their intimate relations with men of great power and wealth provide Eve with a long list of suspects — including her own lover, Roarke. – via Goodreads

GRADE 4.5Alright, I was sincerely hoping for an improvement over the last book, and this one surely wasn’t it. Some things were worked on and bettered, but overall I cannot really say that I loved it. Eve is still a character I cannot really stand, and while Roarke has toned down in this one, I am still not a huge fan, though I certainly like him more than Eve. The murders again started as something interesting, but petered out relatively soon. What I did appreciate in this book that Naked In Death completely missed was that is presents a clear indication of the time/age you are in, so it was not this hot, confusing mess as the last one, and Robb tackles a little more on the whole futuristic aspect. I found it too easy how Roarke was banished when there were other things the story needed to deal with (imagine the murders!) that did not just include useless sex the whole time. Really, I am getting so over that in books lately. It’s almost like everything I have read focuses strongly on sex. Not. Interested. Robb did spend a little more time this book giving us more insight into other characters aside from Eve, and I truly did appreciate that. There are many instances in the book that show Robb is recycling work, expressions, etc. and that gets rather annoying. Also, there is this level of childishness in here that annoys me endlessly – like Eve constantly wanting to deck Summerset, and their silly feud with one another (that I really wish would be explained). Then there is the entire dynamic between Roarke and Eve – they just seem to be banging each other constantly, but then you need to remember that they don’t know why they want each other. Their relationship is also growing far too quickly with little rhyme or reason, yet we are expected to accept this and be happy. I don’t know, it isn’t realistic. Robb also constantly references things (Summerset being with Roarke no matter how he treats Eve, Eve’s past, etc.) that never get explained, and are dredged up from time to time to remind us, forcefully, that there is a much deeper and more intense story. Stop alluding to it and start giving it to us, dammit! So, overall, if you want a book that doesn’t require much thinking or much structured romance, this could be your book. But if page fillers and inconsistencies are not your thing, I would highly recommend probably just skipping this one!

Review: The Child Garden – Catriona McPherson

Child Garden cover

I received this book in exchange for an honest review.

SYNOPSIS: Eden was its name. “An alternative school for happy children.” But it closed in disgrace after a student’s suicide. Now it’s a care home, its grounds neglected and overgrown. Gloria Harkness is its only neighbor, staying close to her son who lives there in the home, lighting up her life and breaking her heart each day.

When a childhood friend turns up at her door, Gloria doesn’t hesitate before asking him in. He claims a girl from Eden is stalking him and has goaded him into meeting her at the site of the suicide. Only then, the dead begin to speak—it was murder, they say.

Gloria is in over her head before she can help it. Her loneliness, her loyalty, and her all-consuming love for her son lead her into the heart of a dark secret that threatens everything she lives for. – via Goodreads

GRADE 6.5I will be very honest and say that I picked this book for the cool cover and the title of the novel. This doesn’t always bode well though. However, I actually enjoyed this. The book is incredibly English, which didn’t get to me at all because, in South Africa, the English we are taught covers American and UK English, so we don’t usually struggle reading most authors or watching most movies. There were some things that really grated on me while reading this, like the fact that each and every single damn character just about had to have a nickname, it was quite annoying. Just give me their names and move on. Quite simple. Gloria was a lead character that was alright. I didn’t love her, didn’t hate her, but she did undeniably keep the story trundling along. While there are some places in the book where there is some slack, overall I was engaged while reading this and impressed for the most part. Here was a murder mystery that had none of this ridiculous sex filled nonsense. This was a story that was diligently pieced together. The Child Garden started slowly and doesn’t exactly captivate from the opening page, and it took me forever to figure out that the “I” I was reading about was, in actual fact, a woman. This is an incredibly fast read, which is nice because it shows that McPherson can write in a flowing style, it wasn’t stilted and uneven and unsure. However, not all the actions of the characters made much sense, and while the major mystery itself wasn’t immediately obvious, there were plenty other things in the book that were predictable, but this is not necessarily said in a negative way.

Review: Body Double – Tess Gerritsen

body double cover2q

SYNOPSIS: Dr. Maura Isles makes her living dealing with death. As a pathologist in a major metropolitan city, she has seen more than her share of corpses every day–many of them victims of violent murder. But never before has her blood run cold, and never has the grim expression “dead ringer” rung so terrifyingly true. Because never before has the lifeless body on the medical examiner’s table been her own.

Yet there can be no denying the mind-reeling evidence before her shocked eyes and those of her colleagues, including Detective Jane Rizzoli: the woman found shot to death outside Maura’s home is the mirror image of Maura, down to the most intimate physical nuances. Even more chilling is the discovery that they share the same birth date and blood type. For the stunned Maura, an only child, there can be just one explanation. And when a DNA test confirms that Maura’s mysterious doppelgänger is in fact her twin sister, an already bizarre murder investigation becomes a disturbing and dangerous excursion into a past full of dark secrets.

Searching for answers, Maura is drawn to a seaside town in Maine where other horrifying surprises await. But perhaps more frightening, an unknown murderer is at large on a cross-country killing spree. To stop the massacre and uncover the twisted truth about her own roots, Maura must probe her first living subject: the mother that she never knew . . . an icy and cunning woman who could be responsible for giving Maura life–and who just may have a plan to take it away. – via Goodreads

GRADE 4This series was going so well, until we got to this book, that is. Ugh, it was so annoying and extremely melodramatic, typically something I was going to love, right? It drove me absolutely crazy the way Maura suddenly lost her identity upon discovering that she had a twin sister and questioned everything. I understand it is a shock to the system and all, but I was so over reading the back and forth between who she thought she was and how her sister was. It got old, fast. Meh. Naturally it would affect you, but hell man, it was so dramatic and ridiculous and I could feel my nerve jumping around my eye just reading the parts. It made her an incredibly weak, insecure character. She actually grated on me, something she has the potential to do from time to time, but never to this level. I also found it to be overly drawn out and exaggerated: the hunt for her sister’s whereabouts etc, knowing who she is through who her sister was… no thank you. Far too melodramatic and long winded, and took it right out of me to read. Okay, I will stop complaining about that now, because I can go on for ages. The sad thing is that there actually was a relatively decent story in here, though it only kicks in just over halfway through the book, and we finally move away from Maura’s constant agonizing and get more involved in the actual case, which has some decent points to it. Ballard’s character would have been fine, though he did feel forced, and there were quite a few loose ends when all was said and done in the book. Some things were just way too far-fetched and there were some wild coincidences all over the show here, I just couldn’t buy in to much of it, which counted against the novel for me. I missed Gabriel in this book, as I had been hoping for more interactions between him and Jane since they got married, and I also expected to have some more of Jane’s family feature seeing as she is pregnant, but no cigar my friend. I would have hoped that this would give some more character development to Jane and Maura, but it wasn’t really the case, either, and it was so much longer than it needed to be. It was a real empty and pointless experience to me, which is a pity because this is actually a decent series and I like Gerritsen’s work. But this was really not a good read, and not something I want to be repeating again anytime soon.

Review: River’s End – Nora Roberts

river's end

SYNOPSIS: Olivia’s parents were among Hollywood’s golden couples…until the night a monster came and took her mother away forever. A monster with the face of her father…

Sheltered from the truth, an older Olivia only dimly recalls her night of terror—but her recurring nightmares make her realize she must piece together the real story. Assisted by Noah Brady, the son of the police detective who found her cowering in her closet so many years before, she may have her chance. Noah wants to reconstruct the night that has become an infamous part of Hollywood history. He also wants to help Olivia and heal the longing in her lonely heart. But once the door to her past is opened, there’s no telling what’s waiting on the other side. For somewhere, not too far away, the monster walks again… – via Goodreads

GRADE 7So this was a recommendation from my bestie, Natasha, and it is one of her favourite novels from Nora Roberts. You can check out her review here. Anyway, the story started (again) as something I like more that sappy romance – we had a brutal murder, a child witnessing it, a cop that rescues said little girl and a family that is shattered and desperate to protect Olivia, the kid, and move on from the horrible tragedy. It is evident pretty much right after the murder that the cop’s son, Noah, would end up with Olivia, which was pretty freaky seeing as she was only four at the time. It was made even more awkward when she sees the Brady family again at twelve and has a crush on Noah, which would be fine, but you can see where Roberts is going to take the story between them from the beginning, which makes all the really young encounters between Noah and Olivia a little nasty for me. They were kids man. An interesting concept, having Noah be a true crime writer and having the MacBride murder stuck in his craw for years, and no surprise that he would want to write about it. I actually even appreciated how they kept the brutal murder present even after all the time had lapsed. Anyway, everything was moving along just fine, the first two thirds of the book I enjoyed, even with the incessant mentioning of sex and thinking about it. However, the final third fell into shambles. There were pages upon pages of sex, and I think of this stupid and pointless outing into the forest as the forest fuck fest session, as it served no further purpose than to push through inordinate amounts of sex. Not only that, when they were not unrealistically banging each other all over the show, they were having the same damn argument they have been having the entire book. It was old when it started already, dammit! I think the thing that really brought this book down for me (besides all the ridiculously misplaced and totally unromantic and uncalled for sex that they were constantly having) was that final third. It was rushed, sex-filled, with no character development. Natasha said that the villain surprised her, and she is usually pretty fast with these. However, I called the villain really early. I think it is because I read more crime thrillers than I do romance novels, so I might be more in tune with that. The story didn’t bring anything new to the table, we have seen it done before. Also, it isn’t like Roberts went out of her way to hide the villain or anything. Granted, she tried a few times to mislead you, but they came off as such half-hearted attempts that you just knew she was trying to throw you off track. I also didn’t really like Olivia as a leading character at all, which probably didn’t help the book in places. I didn’t actually care what happened to her, she just frustrated the hell out of me. However, aside from the final third, this is definitely one of her better ones, and I can see why Natasha is such a fan of this one. If you don’t mind pages filled with unrealistic sex for a portion of the book, then this is a book I would recommend you read – if you like romance with a little more story to it than a simple Mills and Boon read.