review: Wrong Place, Wrong Time by Tilia Klebenov Jacobs

wrongplace {Source: GoodReads.com}

This book was *not* what I expected.

It was an entertaining read in many ways, but the summary is somewhat misleading.

Tsara Adelman visits her Uncle at his vast estate for the first time in many years to attend a party he’s holding. While there, she’s kidnapped by Mike Westbrook – a local man who believes that Tsara’s uncle is holding his child captive.

Mike intends to trade Tsara for his son, but the two rogue cops Uncle Castle sends after them have other plans. Deep in the wilderness, Tsara and Mike must fight for their lives while negotiating their own complex relationship.

Now, here’s what I thought would happen. Tsara and Mike would fall in love / have sex, there would be drama from that unintended consequence of two attractive people thrown together in heightened emotional circumstances. I also believed that a huge focus of the tension would come from the children hidden in Uncle Castle’s wine cellar, and the repercussions from whatever nefarious things he was up to with them.

Instead, the book went in the opposite direction, and I was baffled by some of the narrative choices.

1) Tsara being happily married, for one. There wasn’t any urgency or complexity there – it just *was*. Realistic, perhaps. Entertaining to read about? Not so much.

2) Mike was another wasted opportunity for me. He could have been so much more. I just didn’t believe in his reasons for doing anything he did. Not to mention, it was obvious from the get go that he wasn’t going to hurt Tsara – so any danger or sexual tension dissipated under the weight of that kind of apathy. I just couldn’t bring myself to care if he got his child back, or what happened to him.

3) The reasons Uncle Castle was keeping the kids captive. NOT exciting.

4) The book was much too long with some needless description and it became to meander toward the end. I think it could be trimmed down with careful editing.

The good?

1) Tsara was a likable character, with spunk and guts. She also had a dry sense of humour and was a stickler for grammar, which I appreciated.

2) The writing is solid, with few mistakes – if any – and once I became aware this book wouldn’t quite live up to the summary, I enjoyed the story. Especially the trial. That was an interesting choice. I’m not sure I completely believed any of it, but still, it’s nice to see an author take risks with a tale.

3) Tsara’s decision in the end, which I won’t go into here. It made me respect her as a person all that much more.

Generally speaking, this was a promising debut, however I think it needs a new summary (I thought the book would be a breathless journey through the wilderness – it isn’t) and editing to trim down some of the excess descriptions. I would be interested in reading more from this author. I think she has potential to write good mysteries – but I would recommend – as a reader – that more personal conflict is always juicy, appreciated and ups the ante – especially in a story like this one.

review: Murder in Paradise by Francine Pascal {Sweet Valley High Super Thriller #6}

412141 {Source: GoodReads.com}

This is an awesomely cracked-out volume in SVH history.

Elizabeth, Jessica, Mrs. Wakefield, Enid, Lila and Mrs. Fowler all head to a spa for a “retreat”. While there, they notice that absolutely everyone on staff is stunningly beautiful. All but the actual owner of the spa, a Dr. Mueller, who is thoroughly creepy, looks vaguely like a frog, calls Jess and Liz her “beauties” and fawns over Alice Wakefield like a lesbian who hasn’t gotten any in about a dozen years.

Dr. Mueller ends up taking Enid beneath her wing, because boo hoo End isn’t as pretty as her friends and her Mom couldn’t make the trip because GASP she had to WORK (the nerve!) and Elizabeth is about as sympathetic about this as you’d imagine.

“Oh Enid, shut up, you’re adequate enough and you have a cute body… I guess. Sorry though, no time to chat, I have to go cheat on Todd with this guy I just met!” Liz trills, flipping her perfectly silky blond hair over one tanned, sculpted shoulder.

Yes, the twins are as insufferable as ever and Lila isn’t much better, interrupting what seems like a gorgeously relaxing mud bath to chase after some asshole she thinks is a celebrity… or something. It’s a sub-plot not worthy of Lila’s usual devilish glee over other people’s misfortune. She should be cackling about Enid’s ugliness, not passing up the chance to be wrapped in hot towels with her lover, I mean best friend, Jessica. (I can’t be the only person who thought Lila and Jessica were secret power lesbians, can I?)

Eventually, the truth is revealed! Tatiana Mueller is bat-shit crazy and she wants to steal Alice’s face so she can be beautiful at last! MUAH HA HA HA HA…

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Seriously satisfying romp, with enough of Liz being a total dick to please any Wakefield hater.

review: Bought With His Name by Penny Jordan

boughtwithhisname {Source: GoodReads.com}

What a horrid romance… and I mean, in the best possible way. This is plain crack.

The heroine is a dumb bunny, and although in the beginning shows a bit of likable spark, by the end she’s a dizzy idiot, unable to even walk upright without falling over or feeling queasy(sort of like Bella from Twilight!). Every one of her issues could be cleared up by just explaining a misunderstanding, but she refuses to tell anyone the truth about anything.

The “hero” is a total asshole. And should be arrested. Not only does he threaten to rape the heroine numerous times, but he goes so far as to say he’s going to treat her like a prostitute (maybe someone should look into unsolved murders of prostitutes around where he lives… just a tip) and that if she continues to look at him the wrong way, he’s going to make their wedding night as horrific as possible. Real charmer. Of course the heroine falls in love with him for absolutely no reason and in the end, it turns out he loved her all along! That’s why he’s so tortured and manly and anguished!

Right.

review: The Judas Kiss by Sally Wentworth

judaskiss{source: GoodReads.com}

This is an AWESOME book.

Totally crazy, but totally awesome, all at the same time.

Lyn and Beric are lovahs, and both work for Air International – she has a flight attendant, he as a Pilot. She’s innocent and doe-eyed, and he’s a suave charmer. Of course he’s into her virginal image, and they are happy as anything. Unfortunately, Lyn is searched at an airport in the US and found to have cocaine in her bag. Through her own stupidity, she believes Beric has framed her (it’s totally obvious what happened, and neither of them are very smart throughout this) and when she gets sent to prison, she decides she hates him and must have her revenge.

Cue a bat-sh*t crazy plan! Woo! She has plastic surgery to turn herself into a Gwyneth Paltrow lookalike, and gets a job in Singapore, insinuating herself into Beric’s life. The reviewer who says she uses ‘The Rules’ to enslave him is soo right. She plays completely hard-to-get and he falls for it, bigtime.

I won’t spoil how she wrecks his life, but her revenge is certainly complete. I think what is most troubling about this book is the way that after she basically rips out his heart and puts it in a blender, she goes about her life with no issues at all.

How they end up together is a mystery, but it’s pretty cool that Wentworth managed to make us believe they could put the past behind them. Smooth, evocative writing and a great plot. They don’t write Harlequins like this anymore!