Sunday, December 7, 2014

Fast Track by Julie Garwood

Title: Fast Track
Author: Julie Garwood
Series: Buchanan-Renard #12
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Publisher: Dutton (July 7, 2014)
Source: NetGalley eArc
Rating: ☕☕
Cordelia Kane has always been a daddy’s girl—her father raised her alone after her mother died in a car crash when Cordelia was just two years old. So when he has a serious heart attack, Cordelia is devastated, and the emotion is only intensified by the confusion she feels when he reveals the shocking truth about her mother.

Cordelia can’t suppress her curiosity about the woman who gave birth to her, and when she discovers the answers to her questions lie in Sydney, Australia, she travels there to get them.

Hotel magnate Aiden Madison is Cordelia’s best friend’s older brother. He’s oblivious to the fact that she’s had a crush on him for years. When he gets railroaded into taking her along to Sydney on his company jet, he unknowingly puts her life at risk. He’s recently angered a powerful congressman by refusing to purchase overvalued land. Congressman Chambers is not a man to let such an offense slide, and he has the resources to get even and to get what he wants.

In Australia sparks are flying between Cordelia and Aiden, but multiple attempts on Aiden’s life are made while Cordelia is with him, and he realizes he must put a stop to the madness before he loses the thing he values most.

My Thoughts: Having been a long time fan of Julie Garwood makes having to admit that her newer books (the ones written in the last 10 years or so) are just one disappointment after another. Although 3 stars isn't a horrible rating I know Garwood can do so much better. I think I'm just getting tired of her new heroines. They are seriously just too perfect. Most of them usually don't exercise yet are perfectly proportioned and thin. They are extremely beautiful yet don't feel that they are (this one drives me nuts). Most are extremely intelligent.

With this particular book even though the idea of Cordie was annoying (perfect women are tiresome to read about) I didn't completely hate her. I actually liked her. The roots that Garwood put down for her made her more humble to me and shortly into the book I actually felt an emotional connection to her. I did have one issue with her though, instead of admitting she wanted Aiden and going after him she chose to run away from her feelings and him. I think as far as characters go, the larger fault, for me, is actually in Aiden. Hot, intelligent, lawyer, millionaire hotelier...what isn't good about him? Well, I just didn't buy into his feelings for Cordie. Sure Garwood added hints on how his feelings were building but I really miss her old historic romance heroes. The ones that are so Alpha they practically beat their chests and grunt when they talk but their love for their woman can bring them to their knees. I miss that "If I lost you, I'd be nothing." moments in her books. This book didn't have any of those moments for me. As much as I really wanted to like Aiden he was either treating Cordie  like a princess by lavishing her with expensive clothing or being her domineering jailer (for her protection dontcha know) with nothing in between. There are names for men who do this. None of them are good and a therapist would recommend to steer clear of these men.

Here's where I got super annoyed....For a big part of the book Cordie was locked in a proverbial ivory tower. The men in her life took care of her and took care of  her trouble for her. Even though she struggled with the captivity the book felt as if Garwood was advertising that women cannot take care of their own trouble and have to rely on big strong men to protect them. This wasn't the only hint of sexism I picked up on. In several instances there were quite a few men wanting to talk to Aiden about business. No women. Most of the women mentioned were ones that wanted to have sex with Aiden. What? Women cannot be shrewd business people? Not in this book I guess.

So, while Cordie was being protected there was little suspense to be had. I wasn't too terribly worried that something would happen to her despite the direction Garwood took the storyline. The bad guy was a bit obvious and it made no sense as to why that person would sit on the information waiting for the shoe to drop for decades. It seems that particular person would have done something years earlier to eliminate the potential threat because of the way Garwood made their character.

One last thing that I struggled with.....Although Garwood's writing was, as usual, pleasant to read it didn't feel like a Garwood. There were so many sentences that began "she said" or "she went" or "she stopped". She. She. She. When it wasn't "she" it was "he". What happened to Garwood's polished prose? At this point I'm not sure if I just never noticed but now I am or she really has changed the way she writes. I'm not sure if I'm inclined to go back and read all of her Buchanan/Renard books again to double check either.

In a Nutshell: An Ok book that would have been better with a more impacting suspense plot, a better leading man and less 50's sexist ideals. But hey, it was a quick read and there are a couple interesting secondary characters that are worth mentioning (Walker and Liam).


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