Wednesday, May 17, 2006
May TBR Challenge - Blackout... and a couple other Crazy books
I really like Annie Solomon's books. Absolutely loved Blind Curve. So, what did I think of Blackout? Not sure. Here's the blurb, courtesy of Annie Solomon's web site:
A month ago, she was a book dealer surrounded by family and friends. Now, suddenly, she can't remember the last four weeks of her life and everyone close to her has disappeared. Worst of all, she's the prime suspect in a murder she has no memory of committing, and she's being hunted from every direction.
Undercover agent Jake Wise has his suspect in sight and is ready to take her out—but something is keeping him from pulling the trigger. Is he tempted to protect Margo because she's innocent—or because he's falling for her? And if he's falling, what happens when he hits bottom? Nothing adds up and danger is closing in. But Jake is about to take the chance of a lifetime to save Margo—and if she's the assassin they say she is, it may be the last chance he ever takes.
So, what didn't work for me? The heroine, Margo. She wasn't deep enough for me. Perhaps that was intentional. After all, she was suffering from amnesia, and given who she is (which we later find out), it's not surprising that she would be in such total control. She was obviously one tough woman, but she wasn't sure why. As the reader, we figure this out long before she does. This, I knew was intentional, and I was ok with that. But if Margo was so seemingly unfeeling, why wasn't she puzzled by her lack of emotions? About 2/3 of the way through the book, Margo figured it out, and began displaying much more depth of emotion. At this point she became a much more believable and sympathetic character to me. I began to enjoy the book more. This is also where the action became more intense, and the story began to all come together, so maybe that had something to do with it as well.
What worked for me? The hero, Jake. Strong, reliable, there for Margo, but there because he wants the truth. He wants to avenge his mentor's death. And because he believes that Margo holds the key. Unwittingly, he finds himself attracted to her, even when he believes she might have pulled the proverbial trigger. I felt like he was a much more well rounded character than Margo. Yes, she did have amnesia, but I believe that it is possible to show real depth of emotion and flesh out a character with amnesia. In fact, it's a grand opportunity. I've seen a number of authors do this with a bit more success.
These two strong people come together in a flurry of fast paced action and subterfuge. Add in a high level cover up, and a bit of corruption into the mix. I did feel like the story lost its way just a little there in the middle, but Solomon wrapped it up fairly well in the last few chapters. The last scenes where Margo and Jake find themselves in danger, after the rest of the story has wrapped up felt unneccessary to me, though. I thought the book could have ended a chapter earlier.
Overall, I enjoyed the book, just not quite as much as I expected to, and not as much as I've enjoyed previous Solomon books.
Crazy Hot... by Tara Janzen
I've read all kinds of reviews of this series - leave your sense of reality at the door. Not realistic enough. Blah blah blah. I disagree. I absolutely adored this book. What a sense of fun and adventure. I loved that there was a history between Regan and Quinn. Actually, between Regan and all the Steele Street guys. It really set the stage for the entire series. I loved all the car references. I loved the action. This was just a fun, escapist adventuresome novel. But Janzen did throw in some deep stuff as well. The entire Kid storyline is quite sobering. I could have done without the Nikki/sex angel thing, actiually, but I was totally willing to overlook that and take the book for what it is.
Kat and "Superman". This one was a tad more convoluted than the first one. Less "terrorist"y, and more "revenge"y. But still thoroughly enjoyable. Once again, I loved all the car stuff; the way Hawkins cringes while Kat messily eats in his beloved car is hilarious. Once again, you need to be willing to accept the book at face value, but if you can do that, you will be thoroughly entertained. I look at it like this: For many years, I was a critical care repiratory therapist. Yet, I still watch ER, most nights without screaming "Where's the damn RT?!?!" "They don't do it that way, you idiot!" Face value, people. It's all about the entertainment. Once again, there is a heartbreaking storyline related to Kid, and it does serve to temper the hilarity and wild campiness of much of the rest of the book.
I can't wait to read the rest of this series. Now I just need to find the time!