Potholes And Minefields

6679174 by
My Rating: 4/5 Stars

Like Caitlin, my emotions are all out of whack. If I’m not careful, I may even resort to sucking my thumb, screaming at random times and intervals, rolling around on the grass, flopping on my bed, or sticking my feet up in the air and playing dead. It’s really hard to say what I might do, and if I tried to pin it down, my response would be filled with conjecture, and I prefer to deal in facts.

The fact is I hated this novel. Hated it with a passion, because it discussed abuse, and I prefer to look at the world through rose-colored glasses and deal in unicorns and rainbows and Popsicle sticks and ice cream sandwiches. But this is one world that is filled with a vast emptiness that extends for miles and miles.

When I go to sleep, I dream of Junior Mints and Butterfingers and Milk Duds. I certainly do not wake up screaming in the night, or cover myself in cold sweats and silently stare out of open windows with my mouth offered up in the open position. I certainly don’t have a negative view of the world.

So, yeah, it was hard for me to understand someone that might. Not just hard, it was nearly impossible, as I struggled with it throughout the course of this novel. DREAMLAND was a virtual world for me, and it was filled with potholes and minefields and .44 Magnums pointed in my direction. The gun didn’t go off thankfully, but it was darn close, and it was pretty damn big.

Rogerson pinpointed everything I hate about this world. No, hate is probably too strong a word. But extreme dislike might not be far off the mark. He might even qualify as a beautiful bastard, I don’t know. And, frankly, Caitlin put up with way too much of his shit, and she needed to develop a few more thoughts for herself. Not maybe, this is a definitive requirement.

Otherwise, this was a beautifully written novel with fully developed characters and passionate prose and a flowing storyline that kept me on my toes. Had I liked either of the main characters, I might have even rated this novel higher.

Torrid Pace

18888694 by
My Rating: 4/5 Stars

The torrid pace produced eyestrain and finger cramps, as I flipped pages on my Kindle as fast as I could. I literally raced ahead as if I were a RUNNER, which I am on most days. And I might have forgotten who I was for about four hours or so. Or possibly longer. There’s no real way to tell. But my Kindle was juiced up and ready to go, and the story was filled with enough keyholes that I needed a better master than the one currently in my possession. I slipped and slid, and I might have even broken my neck were I not sitting down, as the story took off faster than a Viper on the open road.

Sam Dryden showed more heart from the word go than I expected from a former Delta Forces member, and he sure as shit didn’t mind hopping back in the game after an extended cooling off period. But maybe he’d never left the battlefield, or maybe all he needed was an excuse to strap a submachine gun to his chest and place himself in the line of fire. Or it might have just been the right cause at the right time. There’s always the chance a Jedi mind trick was shoved in his direction, but that’s all hearsay.

Rachel showed plenty of poise and heart and even a bit of warm liquid goo. She was the alpha without a true omega, and she might have needed saving. Or then again, she might not. But I liked her from the beginning, even if I didn’t always understand her motivation. Like the story itself, she kept me on my toes, as I danced around the landmines that seemed to await me every fifty feet or so.

While the ending may have fit the story perfectly, that doesn’t mean I have to like it. But it worked, just like all the rest of it. Now if I can bring my adrenaline rush back down to a more normal speed, I might save myself and my heart from further complications.

I received this book for free through NetGalley.

Heart Palpitations

17382967 by
My Rating: 4/5 Stars

The start of this novel might have caused me several heart palpitations, with characters that seemed to move backwards instead of forwards, and an unlikeable cast of misfits and miscreants. Had I developed a bit more sense, I might have shoved the entire story aside and moved on with my life. But curiosity kept me flipping pages like I was flipping shirts into a suitcase ready to take the next bus out of town. Instead of ending up at the train station, I stopped about halfway there, and turned my butt back around.

The beauty of HEARTBEAT took a bit longer to arrive than I otherwise would have liked, but I did find it, and there was a leprechaun at the end of the rainbow, guarding the pot of gold with a heart monitor and electric shock treatments. He might have had a grin on his face, or it might have been a smirk, but either way it was present and accounted for, along with his scrubs, and his slightly cynical outlook on life.

Emma might have taken the fast-track to her seventeen years, with the pedal to the floor and her arm sticking out the window, while Dan, the diligent stepdad, offered up a smile and a nod in her direction. The direction of her life was headed on the downward slope, sinking faster than a person in the middle of cardiac arrest without a single doctor in sight. Caleb might have been the bad boy who had an extra dose of wicked in his lifestyle dysfunction with a hard heart and an ability to sink cars.

But this is one story that made me want to cheer, even if I had to accomplish said task from a sitting position. And my fortunes do feel just a bit brighter after having finished this novel. This was one quick read that left me blinking ever so slightly in surprise as the events unfolded right before my eyes.

I received this book for free through NetGalley.

Stella Got Her Groove Back

7488669 by
My Rating: 3/5 Stars

I must say Stella got her groove back in a resounding way with a slip of the tongue here, or a quick play on words there, or a face-to-face when the situation warranted itself. She doesn’t back down from anyone, including sheriffs or ne’er do wells, and she sometimes finds herself in precarious situations, but that’s all part of her endearing charm. She’s full of life, spunk, and possibly salt and pepper with a side of cinnamon. And she has the scars to prove her torrid marks on society, and a slew of bad men standing ready to watch her fall.

Stella Hardesty may not look like much upon first glance, but she has a revenge streak something fierce, and she sees her cases all the way to the end, with a mean side of revenge, even if it means she might dangle from the occasional precipice. I’d say that’s more than part of her appeal, and she has an additional side of charm.

With a cast of characters ready to excel on the big stage, including the blonde miscreant with possibly an extra hint of cellulite, the sidekick that doesn’t mind dipping her nipple in the nerd gene pool, and the sheriff who has acquired a few skeletons in his own closet, most of which may have been put there of his own volition, there’s a bit of fun for everyone.

The mystery, though, managed to leave me in dire financial straits, as I wanted a little more bang for my hard-earned buck. This was all about the characters instead of a hard-boiled plot for the ages and times. Not that I minded all that much, but the ending felt a bit forced upon me like a leering side of smashed peas shoved down my gullet, when I would have much preferred a side of sweet candied yams staring up at me with pleading eyes. And not that I mind guessing the ending before it has arrived, but it appeared ready for center stage rather than just a sidelong glance in my side mirror. In that regard, it reminded me of a Lamborghini tooling around in the middle of Arkansas or Mississippi.

This was a solid effort by a solid voice in the hard-boiled mystery genre, but I’d set my expectations a bit higher.