Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Six Years by Harlan Coben

Synopsis: Six years have passed since Jake Fisher watched Natalie, the love of his life, marry another man. Six years of hiding a broken heart by throwing himself into his career as a college professor. Six years of keeping his promise to leave Natalie alone, and six years of tortured dreams of her life with her new husband, Todd.

But six years haven’t come close to extinguishing his feelings, and when Jake comes across Todd’s obituary, he can’t keep himself away from the funeral. There he gets the glimpse of Todd’s wife he’s hoping for…but she is not Natalie. Whoever the mourning widow is, she’s been married to Todd for almost two decades, and with that fact everything Jake thought he knew about the best time of his life—a time he has never gotten over—is turned completely inside out.

As Jake searches for the truth, his picture-perfect memories of Natalie begin to unravel. Mutual friends of the couple either can’t be found, or don’t remember Jake. No one has seen Natalie in years. Jake’s search for the woman who broke his heart, who lied to him, soon puts his very life at risk as it dawns on him that the man he has become may be based on a carefully constructed fiction.

My Thoughts: When you pick up a Coben you know you're going to get a thrilling nail biting experience. Six Years didn't disappoint although as I was reading this book I was thinking it felt familiar to me. I think that thought occurred to me only because Coben often highlights the everyday average Joe who is slightly above average in looks and has a tendency for sarcasm. This Joe Schmo usually finds himself in way over his head as he is bound and determine to find the answers he is searching for. Oh, and he usually ends up being played the fool when he finds the answers aren't what he thought they'd be.

Despite the slight repetitive feeling I got while reading Six Years I thoroughly enjoyed it. Jake was an interesting character and I enjoyed his academic background. I did, however, have a bit of trouble believing he was so in love with this woman 6 years later (after only spending 3 months with her) he would go to obvious great lengths to find her/save her/be with her ignoring potential harm to himself.

With that said I would recommend this book to anyone who likes a well paced thriller. It should delight Coben fans and newbies alike.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Three Sisters by Susan Mallery

Synopsis: After Andi Gordon is jilted at the altar, she makes the most impetuous decision of her life – buying one of the famed Three Sisters Queen Anne houses on Blackberry Island. Now the proud-ish owner of the ugly duckling of the trio, she plans to open her own pediatric office on the first floor, just as soon as her hunky contractor completes the work. Andi's new future may be coming together, but the truth is she's just as badly in need of a major renovation as her house.  When Deanna Phillips confronts her husband about a suspected affair, she opens up a Pandora's Box of unhappiness. And he claims that she is the problem. The terrible thing is, he's right. In her quest to be the perfect woman, she's lost herself, and she's in danger of losing her entire family if things don't change.  Next door, artist Boston King thought she and her college sweetheart would be married forever. Their passion for one other has always seemed indestructible. But after tragedy tears them apart, she's not so sure. Now it's time for them to move forward, with or without one another.  Thrown together by fate and geography, and bound by the strongest of friendships, these three women will discover what they're really made of: laughter, tears, love and all.

My Thoughts: I've been a fan of Susan for years now after reading several of her Buchanan family books. I've continued to read her old Silhouette Special Editions and her wonderful Fool's Gold books over the years because her romances are like Mac n' Cheese to me. I know when I open one I'm going to meet a friend. I'm going to laugh a little. I'm going to cry a little. And I'm going to close the book at the end feeling warm and fuzzy and probably smiling like a loon.

With Three Sisters I got all of that and more.

What shined most for me had to be the 3 women. Andi, Deanna and Boston are as real to me as my best friend. Hands down these women are some of the best characters Susan has ever created. She has an uncanny ability to write that one character who is a total witch no one (including yourself) can stand through a good portion of the book and turn them around in a way we readers cheer them on by the end. Oh yes, she certainly did that here. Totally made me want to drive my happy butt to Blackberry Island and give Deanna a hug!

I'm really looking forward to reading more in the Blackberry Island series and I hope Susan continues on with them for a long time.


Friday, March 8, 2013

Highlander Most Wanted by Maya Banks

Synopsis: Genevieve McInnes is locked behind the fortified walls of McHugh Keep, captive of a cruel laird who takes great pleasure in ruining her for any man. Yet when Bowen Montgomery storms the gates on a mission of clan warfare, Genevieve finds that her spirit is bent but not broken. Still, her path toward freedom remains uncertain. Unable to bear the shame of returning to a family that believes her dead, nor bring herself to abandon others at the keep to an imposing new laird, Genevieve opts for the peaceful life of an abbess. But Bowen’s rugged sensuality stirs something deep inside her longing to be awakened by his patient, gentle caress—something warm, wicked, and tempting.   Bowen seizes his enemy’s keep, unprepared for the brooding and reclusive woman who captures his heart. He’s enchanted by her fierce determination, her unusual beauty, and quiet, unfailing strength. But wooing her will take more than a seasoned seducer’s skill. For loving Genevieve, he discovers, means giving her back the freedom that was stolen from her—even if it means losing her forever.

My Thoughts: This book pulled me through an amazing range of emotions when it came to the heroine. I have long since claimed to be a lover of the tortured hero but never really thought much about the opposite.  Let me tell you, a tortured heroine is just as compelling.

I love great characters and it is a tribute to Banks' writing that I found myself completely absorbed in the life of Genevieve. This is one character that will stay with me for a very long time.

However, the actions of the hero did not ring true to me when looking at them from a historical setting angle. If this had been real, Genevieve would have found herself in a convent spending the rest of her days devoted to a higher power. Also, her involvement with a situation that was highlighted in a previous book was a big deal yet seemed to have been forgivable by all, despite it being an unforgivable act. (I'm being quite vague and I do apologize but if you haven't read the other book in the series I do not want to spoil it for you.)

In addition to the hero's actions even some of Genevieve's seemed improbably. Case in point would be her ability to set aside the fact that she had been heinously abused both physically and sexually (for an entire year) after only a few weeks of being around Bowen with very little issues. This is, of course, a romance and the 'real' issues that would have cropped up repeatedly have been glossed over.

Despite these issues this was a wonderful book and I'm so glad I had the opportunity to read it. I will definitely read more of Maya's highlanders.

The Wanderer by Robyn Carr

Synopsis: Nestled on the Oregon coast is a small town of rocky beaches and rugged charm. Locals love the land's unspoiled beauty. Developers see it as a potential gold mine. When newcomer Hank Cooper learns he's been left an old friend's entire beachfront property, he finds himself with a community's destiny in his hands.
Cooper has never been a man to settle in one place, and Thunder Point was supposed to be just another quick stop. But Cooper finds himself getting involved with the town. And with Sarah Dupre, a woman as complicated as she is beautiful.
With the whole town watching for his next move, Cooper has to choose between his old life and a place full of new possibilities. A place that just might be home.

My Thoughts: Reading one of Robyn's books is like having coffee with an old friend.  I have loved reading her Virgin River series (I still have several books to go as she writes them faster than I can read them LOL) and was looking forward to reading a new series from her. The Wanderer offers that picturesque small town setting and down home folks that fans couldn't get enough of with Virgin River. In this aspect, this book is quite charming and fits right into what I call a "comfort read".

The characters are very 3 dimensional and at the conclusion I felt as if I knew them all.

However, the H/h's romance is not featured as much as I would expect from a romance. They don't even meet until the middle of the book. They also share the romance spotlight with another couple and yet a third 'secret' romance as well.

The conflict of new kid vs. bully pulls a secondary storyline along nicely until the last 1/4 of the book and the mystery of what actually happened to Coop's friend Ben is not played out well with the conclusion almost being an afterthought.

Despite these things I think fans of Robyn's books will find this introduction to Thunder Point nice and will want to continue the series.