Monday, September 29, 2008

Wicked Deeds On A Winter’s Night by Kresley Cole

Title: Wicked Deeds On A Winter’s Night
Author: Kresley Cole

Type: Paranormal (Book 3, Immortals After Dark)
Published: 2007


Bowen MacRieve of the Lykae clan was nearly destroyed when he lost the one woman meant for him. The ruthless warrior grew even colder, never taking another to his bed -- until a smoldering encounter with his enemy, Mariketa the Awaited, reawakens his darkest desires. When sinister forces unite against her, the Highlander finds himself using all his strength and skill to keep her alive.

Temporarily stripped of her powers, Mari is forced to take refuge with her sworn adversary. It's rumored that no one can tempt Bowen's hardened heart, but soon passion burns between them. Though a future together is impossible, she fears he has no intention of letting her go.

If they defeat the evil that surrounds them, can Mari deny Bowen when he demands her body and soul -- or will she risk everything for her fierce protector?

Why: Really enjoyed the first two books in this series, a series recommended throughout blogland ages ago.

Thoughts: Overall, clever. Introduced earlier in the series, Bowen is an interesting character. His backstory and, more importantly, his fate, caught my heartstrings and deftly cued up my desire to read his story. That it took me months to get to it is not a reflection on Cole. Say it with me…I’m busy.

All torqued up to learn of his fate, it took me a little while to settle into the story. Cole conforms to no mold here. Instead, she forces patience. Bowen is not at all sure that Mari is his intended mate. For good reason. Lykae have only one mate in the world and Bowen believes his was found and lost 180 years before. Coming into Wicked Deeds, series readers know of Bowen’s mate, her grisly death and his consuming guilt and sorrow. So when he resists the idea of another mate, we understand. But like Bowen, we’re also unable to resist Mari. Amidst a lot of spark, Cole deftly pulls readers forward until we, like Bowen, begin to look for any reason for it to be true.

Mari’s resistance is substantial as well. Left at a young age by both parents, she trusts no one to stay. Especially one who questions her place in his future. Add to that the fact that she has not yet transitioned into an immortal or come close to mastering her given talents and you have a young, vulnerable woman still longing for the comforts of her teenage-like existence back home in the coven. She’s not wrong in thinking a romance with the much older, chauvinist Bowen is off the mark.

For context, Cole picks up where she left off in book two—near the end of The Hie, an international contest the author likens to The Amazing Race. To thwart Mari, Bowen traps her and an assortment of other contestants in the bowels of a mountain inhabited by the long-tortured souls of some nasty critters. To his credit, Bowen believed her capable of escape. When she does not return, the Lykae is ordered to retrieve her or face war. He goes, compelled mostly by the fact that he needs her to reverse the curse she placed on him just as he sealed the mountain. The curse prevents self-healing or limb regeneration and Bowen is in desperate need of both. He is also drawn however, by lingering feelings sparked between them in the mountain and genuine guilt for putting her in mortal danger.

Avoiding predictability, Cole buffers Mari with a cast of others bent on protecting her from Bowen. She also allows Mari physical power over Bowen, effectively countering his natural domination and possessiveness. Cole tilts that balance further by making Bowen honestly squeamish in the face of Mari’s magic. Throughout, there is emotional depth to accompany the laugh-out-loud entertainment.

So, thus far, two very appealing characters, bonafied obstacles to their union, highly believable challenges to the hero’s strength and charm and a ‘scary’ factor climbing up and off the scales. There is also a delightful, wry sense of humor in every character and an authentic Scottish brogue from your hero. Utterly captivating. And charming. Bowen may not be able to charm Mari into complete compliance, but he had no trouble charming the pants off of me. I was so enamored I hesitated to pick up another book after finishing this one. I wanted a few more days to let Bowen’s brogue ring in my ears.

The drama that ends it is fabulous. Exciting and surprising. And finally, the window through which we see the HEA. Granted, the reader does not doubt it will happen, but Cole certainly leaves us puzzled as to how it can happen right up to the end. Every word, worth it.

Overall: I enjoyed myself. Very much. Doesn’t get much better than that.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Into The Fire by Suzanne Brockmann

Title: Into The Fire
Author: Suzanne Brockmann

Type: Romantic Suspense/Military
Published: 2008

Blurb (long one): Vinh Murphy–ex-Marine and onetime operative for the elite security firm Troubleshooters Incorporated–has been MIA ever since his wife, Angelina, was caught in a crossfire and killed during what should have been a routine bodyguard assignment. Overcome with grief, Murphy blames the neo-Nazi group known as the Freedom Network for her death. Now, years later, Freedom Network leader Tim Ebersole has been murdered–and the FBI suspects Murphy may have pulled the trigger. To prevent further bloodshed, Murphy’s friends at Troubleshooters scramble to find him and convince him to surrender peacefully.

Murphy himself can’t be sure what he did or didn’t do during the years he spent mourning and lost in an alcohol-induced fog. He does know he occasionally sought solace from Hannah Whitfield, a former police officer and the very friend who’d introduced him to his beloved late wife.

But Hannah, still grappling with the deafness that resulted from an injury sustained while on duty, was fighting her own battles. For years Hannah had feelings for Murphy, and one painful night their suffering brought them together in a way neither expected–and both regretted.

Murphy is ready to rejoin the living. As always, he finds himself knocking on Hannah’s door, and as always, his longtime friend welcomes him back into her home. Yet even as Murphy slowly rebuilds his splintered life, he continues to fight his growing feelings for Hannah. Then he learns of Ebersole’s murder and comes to believe that the Freedom Network has targeted him–and Hannah–to avenge their leader’s death to violence. Now Murphy must face the terrifying prospect of losing another woman he loves.

As the Troubleshooters desperately search for him, Murphy races toward a deadly confrontation with the Freedom Network and ultimate choice: surrender his life in hopes that Hannah will be spared, or risk everything to salvage whatever future they may have together.

Why: Suzanne Brockmann is an auto-read for me. Has been ever since I stumbled into one of her series midstream.

Thoughts on the busy: Loved every minute of it. Lori is right though, this one is less cohesive than Brockmann’s earlier books. Not that it is random or lacks context, just that its storylines do not all tie together. This was more serial, than episode. And I loved that, in the same way I love spending time with J.D. Robb’s In Death characters. It’s like hooking up with a group of folks I really dig. Catching up with them.

Izzy: Yup, this guy deserves his own heading, LOL. I’m with Lori on this too. I just love him. There is real depth there amidst all the adolescent humor and acting out. A character I want to protect, even while he is making me laugh out loud. Often. Tears, I laugh so hard. As for his girl, I don’t know. Again, with Lori on this, Eden did not appear to have the moral fiber or genuine vulnerability we find in Izzy. Or in her brother for that matter. We’ll see.

Decker: Another who deserves his own heading. I do remember him as the tortured hero of Nash and Tessa’s book. And watching his undoing in this one was heartbreaking. Beautifully done—devastating even in some moments—and expertly punctuated with a scene near the end where he leans down and kisses Nash on the forehead, placing his hand over his eyes to close them. What a turn of events—so heart-stopping I had to get up, after going to bed for the night, and read through to the end. Couldn’t wait one more day to learn the outcome. Also testament to Brockmann’s ability to give us a cast of characters we’re more than happy to grow with, relapse and grow some more with. Again, allowing us to spend time with these folks as opposed to pulling readers forward via newly introduced characters. Know what I mean?

Hannah & Vinh: Their story unfolded perfectly IMO. Of all that is happening in this book, their thread seemed the most disconnected. But that worked. They both live and have lived in a world of their own, on the outside, deliberately removed from friends and family. Both feel like throwbacks, completely out of touch with the real world, and Brockmann’s decision to keep them isolated for the better part of the book made sense. Together, they have much to work out and they do, in an emotional and believable way.

Dave & Sophia: Going with Lori again. Dave really came into his own in Into The Fire. He commanded attention here, with the same traits and demeanor we’ve seen all along. But this time, he was just more…powerful. Don’t know how best to put it into words. Sophia gets it. Decker gets it. I was captivated.

Overall: There is a comment or sliver of a review sticking in my head right now. Can’t recall who (sorry), but they pointed out a single mention of Dylan and Skeeter in Janzen’s latest Steele Street book and highlighted the fact that it added nothing to the present story. While I haven’t read that one yet, I understand the criticism. Thankfully, I find none of that in Brockmann’s series installments. Building on my comments a few paragraphs back, Brockmann’s characters evolve and she lets her readers in on the changes and new challenges. The end result? We know them better, we know them well. Jules. Perfect example. His role in this book, while pivotal, was minimal. And without back story or character background, Brockmann slides him in here without bump or pause. I recognized his wit, his tone and his intent easily. And was happy to see him.

Not to be a total gush, I’ll admit to one thing I disliked. The shrink. Her role felt a bit tangent or she was too guru for me or something. While key to some of Decker’s unraveling, her cookie-cutter shadowy background and missing POV gave her little substance. I thought her a great tool to give context to all the emotional upheaval of the Troubleshooters team, but Brockmann’s execution seemed off.

Have to say overall though, Brockmann is one auto-buy author that has not disappointed. But Lori? I miss the SEAL action too. LOL

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Smoke Screen by Sandra Brown

Title: Smoke Screen
Author: Sandra Brown

Type: Suspense
Published: 2008

Blurb: When newswoman Britt Shelley wakes up in bed with the handsome and hard-partying Jay Burgess, a rising star detective in the Charleston PD, she remembers nothing of how she got there...or of how Jay wound up dead.

Five years earlier, Jay was a hero of a disastrous fire at Charleston's police headquarters, which would have been even deadlier if not for the bravery of Jay and three other city officials who led others to safety. Firefighter Raley Gannon, Jay's lifelong friend, had been assigned to investigate the fire, but the investigation ended in a scandal that shattered Raley's world, and forced him to surrender the woman he loved and the work to which he'd dedicated his life. For five years his resentment has festered, but he was helpless to set things right. That changes when he learns of Jay's shocking death.

As suspicion against Britt Shelley mounts, Raley realizes that the newswoman might be his only chance to get personal vindication -- and justice for the seven victims of the police station fire. But there are powerful men who don't want to address unanswered questions about the fire, and will go to any lengths to protect their reputations. As Raley and Britt discover more about what happened that fateful day, they realize that they're not only chasing after the truth but running for their lives. Smoke Screen is Sandra Brown's most intense novel yet.

Why: Sandra Brown is an auto-read for me. My first Brown title, Slow Heat In Heaven, remains one of only a handful of books on my keeper shelf. I can still remember its characters and many of the pivotal scenes.

Thoughts: Far from the heat of that first title, Brown’s last two releases have been more cold-thriller than hot romance. It is the whodunit and ever-present threat to the lives of its protagonists that propel Smoke Screen. That they turn to each other sexually, and later, emotionally, is secondary.

I’m not sure if this worked for me. Nor can I say whether Brown achieved her desired effect. Reading it, my mood was subdued, my spirits definitely dampened. In turn, that seemed to slow the pace, make the book seem endless. Now, was that because Brown deftly pulled me into the same hopeless circumstances as her characters? I can’t really say. Given the relatively short sections and numerous, numerous pivotal moments, this book should have read faster. It should have felt more edge-of-your-seat. But it didn’t. Instead, reader and character alike make it to the end through pure, and very grim, determination. When you consider that the hero isolated himself for five years before seeking justice and the heroine faces a real possibility of life in prison—where life just stops, that dragging pace may be calculated; that may be what Brown intends. I don’t know.

Brown’s characters lead the action. Teamed up to solve multiple murders and expose a cover-up, they trip and trigger events in quick succession. But because each lead ends at the proverbial brick wall, they and the story feel…stuck. It all seems hopeless and circular. Discouraged and not unaware of the danger they face, Britt and Raley find release in some hard and fast sex. It is not a simple, attraction-based itch they scratch however. He in fact loathes her, or wants to, because she played a significant part in ruining his life five years ago. At the same time, her life has become surreal and despite being in a terribly vulnerable position, she doesn’t spend too much time regretting her role in his public downfall. She’s too busy fighting for her life and her own reputation. That, and she seems the type of person to acknowledge a mistake, apologize, and move on. So these two are not a natural fit from the start. Brown does however, bring them together emotionally in a believable, moving way. It just doesn’t sink in until the end. Throughout the book, there is no romance the reader can ride.

So, there is page-turning action—even though you turn each page dreading another dead-end. And there is strong characterization and relationship building—despite animosity and stress. Looking back, it all worked to create a tightly woven, realistic suspense novel. As for the barely-there romance, I have to say Brown was clever—expert even—in portraying a man and woman drawn to one another. It was a bit gritty, but interesting and ultimately moving. Reminded me of her rank or status among my ‘known’ authors—no way would Brown resort to formulaic tumbles between a hero and heroine on the run from danger. JUST to add romance to her suspense.

Hmmm, maybe one of those reads that feels better days after you finish.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Into the Fire by Suzanne Brockmann

Into the FireAs with Force of Nature, lots here I liked, and bits and pieces I didn't like so much. I found the first half of the book jumped around even more than a Brockmann novel, and it was too much for me. It was really difficult to follow the stories, or to get involved and care about them with any great depth of feeling. By about halfway through, I'd figured it all out, and wrapped my mind around it all. I decided which storylines I cared about (there were more here than usual, it seemed, or maybe it just seemed that way to me).

Yikes! Usually I start out with what I liked - so let's get back to that!
What I liked: I really liked the Decker/Dave/Sophia storyline. I loved watching Dave come into his own, from the time we first met him in I forget which book it was so long ago to now. The scene with Tracy talking about seeing his butt under the desk and realizing it was him? Priceless. But more than that, he's matured over the course of these many books, and it was nice to see his growth (yes, he still panted after Sophia like a little puppy, but what do you expect?).

I also liked seeing another side of Decker. Interesting the way Brockmann brought it out. And the way he denied its roots in reality. But still, it was Decker in all his sad, unhappy, uncomfortable humanity, and it was a sight to behold. That Deck is one deep dude. His pain and anguish leapt off the pages and straight into my heart.

As the books go on, I find myself wondering what it is that these two find so fascinating about Sophia. I think I'll need to go back and reread... whichever book it was where she made her debut.

What else did I like? I liked Izzy - a lot. Loved reliving all the songs in his head. The Night Chicago Died was one of my favorite songs back in the day. Yes, I'm not afraid to admit it, LOL. I had the Paper Lace album. I loved the reference to it. Anyway, I digress....

Izzy... I liked that he was totally taken with Eden, and believed her unquestioningly about what happened to her. I also liked that he wanted to take the high road, but just couldn't help himself with her. Another seemingly goofy Brckmann SEAL - seems shallow on the outside, but deeper and caring - he gets it, on the inside.

The main couple - Hannah and Vinh - felt almost like secondary characters to me throughout much of the book. I think that Dave and Decker took over any scene they were in, and so they made the lasting impression on me. I liked Hannah and Murphy, but nothing spectacular set off for me with them.

What didn't I like?
The Gillman siblings. Man, Danny was just a dick. No other way to put it. I hated him in every scene he was in. Brockmann is going to have to work really hard to get me back for him as a hero. And Eden was a slut. As much as I liked Izzy, I wanted someone better for him. The age difference didn't bother me as much as the morals difference, no matter her reason, excuse, whatever behind it. I'm wondering where that will go - it was left as a bit of a cliffhanger in terms of their relationship.

The Tess/Nash butting heads thing was getting old. I was so happy to see it resolved. And wow - Suz resolved it with a bang! I'm vascillating - does this go in the What I liked, or What I didn't like section?

The quick multiple scenarios for the first half of the book were too much, IMO. It certainly would be very difficult to pick up any new readership with this book, if you ask me. Although when I mentioned it to Bob, he said those short 'vignetty' chapters read very much like the thrillers he reads - the Flynns, the Baldaccis, etc. Ok, then. I stand corrected. Maybe it's just not what romance readers are used to.

Lastly, I'm left still missing the WW2 vignettes. Yes, I harp on them to anyone who will listen, and I know they haven't been in a book since Max and Gina's book, but I thought those were the bomb. And I'm missing the SEAL action. I know I said the same thing in my review of Force of Nature, and it's still true.

All in all, though, I liked Into the Fire. Read it in a day (I took a long lunch yesterday, and stayed up really late LOL!). Brockmann fans everywhere will be thrilled.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Hearts Awakened by Linda Winfree

Hearts AwakenedBlurb via A lifetime ago Mark Cook's pregnant wife vanished, taking everything and leaving an empty, aching hole in his life. Since then, as penance for his failure as a husband and father, he’s refused to allow himself to live. Refused to lay his sleeping heart on the line for any woman.Enter Tori Calvert, his best friend's baby sister. Suddenly, against his will—and against his better judgment—that same damaged heart seems determined to reawaken. And Mark's not sure he can withstand the pain.

When she was a teenager, a vicious attack ripped away Tori's very essence as a woman. Finally she feels ready to focus her existence on something other than her job as a rape crisis counselor. And to step outside the shelter of her loving, protective family. She trusts Mark more than any man, yet fear holds her back. Fear that even the healing light of love may not be enough to banish the shadows of the past.

First off... yet another amazingly beautiful cover. This entire series is just gorgeous.

What did I like?
All of the books in the Hearts of the South series have been true emotional heartstoppers. But only this one and His Ordinary Life have struck me as completely relationship-focused. Both characters have played central parts in the series to date; each with their own role to fulfill. Mark "Cookie" Cook was the consummate playboy, easygoing, noncommital. But every now and again, Winfree would give a glimpse behind his persona and let us know that there was something more brewing there. Tori Calvert, Tick's younger sister, played the victim, inasmuch as she was raped as a teenager and then had the misfortune to be SPOILER a cop-turned-serial killer's girlfriend *END SPOILER.

Winfree did a wonderful job of growing each of these characters, both separately and together. We learn the reason behind Cookie's refusal to be involved in a relationship, and we see Tori grow into a woman who is willing to risk both a physical and an emotional relationship.

We get to revisit old friends Tick and Cait and feel the joy and sorrows in their lives as well. But Winfree wisely keeps the focus solely on the main couple. Winfree's writing has gotten better with each book in the series. Written with emotion aplenty, but no excess verbal diarrhea, we revisit Mark's past and not just see, but feel how he was as a young man. I also appreciated his remarks about needing recuperation time since he's 'almost 40.' Thank you, Ms. Winfree! Sheesh! You'd think every guy could just do it again and again well into their 50s, the way some books are written these days. But it was handled with joy and laughter and acceptance here.

I also liked that when Mark and Tori finally got around to making love, as a violent rape victim, she had a tough time with it. She couldn't do it with him on top. She couldn't climax during intercourse. But it wasn't a huge sticking point, majorly dwelled upon. Their relationship had come so far - they talked it out, and handled it together.

I like that Winfree's heroes aren't afraid to cry. Not in a Brockmann dramatic way (which is also great), but in their own quiet way, that requires just that extra bit of support from their women.

What didn't I like?
Hmmmm.... not a whole hell of a lot. Tick butting in and not accepting his best friend in Tori's life did get to be a tad old after a while. Granted, he knew Mark's background, and why he was such a man-whore, but still... at some point he needed to let go. Tick had his own issues to deal with in this book, however, and made his opinion known only rarely. But he really was just trying to protect his sister, given her history. So it was forgivable for the most part. I'm reaching. I really did like everything about this book.

You can buy Hearts Awakened (Book 6 - well, book 7 if you count What Mattered Most, the 'prequel'), and the entire Hearts of the South series here.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Whine and reviews

I soooo want to get back on track. Not only do I want to re-establish I Just Finished Reading as an active review blog, I want that pleasure that comes from chatting up an engaging book. And therein lies the crux of my problem these last few months…I’m reading less AND feeling disengaged. For example, in a minute, I’ll pick up my handy pocket calendar listing my July and August reads and, when I attempt to resurrect my thoughts on each title, I will have to Google some JUST to remind myself of their storylines. Pathetic. And the problem is me, not the books. Too damn distracted to really lose myself in a book, any book. No idea how to get the romance back in my reading life (if you have any ideas, please let me know, LOL), but I vow to try.

Before I can move forward though, I have to clear the decks. So here goes:

Thank God for short, ebooks. They bump a girl’s reads to a respectable number. Unfortunately, they are the least engaging of any type or genre of book I read. Every Last Fantasy by Shiloh Walker started me off. I thought it well written, sexy (to the submissive lurking beneath my skin) and clever. Like many erotic romance titles however, it suffered a precarious balance between sex for story advancement and sex for sex sake. It was also too short for my tastes. Walker executed the story just fine for its short format; it’s just that I prefer more time with my characters.

Walker’s Her Best Friend’s Lover was better on length and balance. Good overall, but less clever in that it is an age-old, often-done story—best friends to lovers—with fairly stereotypical characters. I’m a stickler for books that are well written and both of these books are definitely that. I read every word, beginning to end in both. But to be honest, I am finding that even the most well written stories won’t appeal to me if they are “remakes”. I don’t watch movies more than once and I rarely, rarely read the same book twice. So, in another of those I’m-a-big-girl-now moments (like the one that came with my first DNF), I credit Ms. Walker with writing a good story but acknowledge that it just wasn’t for me. And not to appear contradictory, I will be reading more from her though, starting with Through The Veil. Widespread blogger buzz usually means a good read for me.

From Trixie Stilletto, I had The Blackout and Destiny’s Escort. The first was essentially one scene, albeit tightly written and believable. I read it. The second was about an older woman set up to tangle with a younger man, a friend of her grown son. I put that one right down, but only because the story’s premise turned me off. Googling Ms. Stilletto, I see she remains firmly entrenched in short-format, erotic romance—largely from Amber Quill Press. Again, just not for me.

I also read Playing The Game from Megan Hart. This one was tightly written with solid characterization. It engaged. And embarrassing as it is, I will admit to having mislabeled this one, believing it to be a Stilletto title. So when I sat down to comment, I went on and on about this gem amidst Stilletto’s ebooks, not realizing until I Googled Stilletto that this one was not hers. Learning that it belonged to Megan Hart put order back into my world. Duh. I have GOT to get my TBR, backlist and new release lists current and top of mind. Not only did I fail to recognize this as a Hart title, I now see that I missed her last release, Reason Enough. Argh.

Death Angel by Linda Howard. Ok, more embarrassment. Have to Google it. Be right back.

OMG, I loved this one! Her dark, commanding, can-he-or-can’t-he-be-redeemed hero harkened back to the days when I first discovered Howard. Much like Anne Stuart, I thought Howard pushed the edge of the envelope in those days. And returned to it here, especially with that first encounter between hero and heroine. Wow. Palpable tension throughout this one. The only drawback was that bit about going to some version of heaven and meeting her son, getting a second chance and the gift of future sight, etc. Dampened the Wow factor for me a little. Gorgeous cover.

Let’s see, what else don’t I remember? LOL

I do remember Breathless by Laura Lee Guhrke. Recommended by Wendy, this one was fabulous. All about its characters, with engaging dialogue, wonderfully dry wit and heartfelt emotional conflict. Making a mental note to research Guhrke’s backlist more thoroughly.

Also remember Grimspace from Ann Aguirre. First person narrative is my absolute favorite thing right now. I wish I could find more like this one. Now THAT would cure me of my inability to engage or connect with a book. Grimspace was the wild, non-stop ride my reading girlfriends promised. Worthy of its own review—maybe I’ll do that when I read Wanderlust, second in this series. Soon.

Do not remember the exact storylines from Janelle Denison’s Wilde books, but see that I read three of them and DNF’d a fourth. Sometimes that happens. Some thread or tone in a less-than-stellar book one soothes or amuses me and I pick up subsequent titles looking to prolong the feeling. Then, as soon as I tire of the repetitiveness—in prose and premise—I drop the series like a hot rock. Moving on.

Liked Not Another Bad Date by Rachel Gibson. Fun and light, with a sexy and charming southern hero. I’m unusually susceptible to well-built men oozing charm in every twang. It also helps that Gibson’s characters do not spend an inordinate amount of time over-thinking their dilemmas. In Denison’s books and in Susan Anderson’s Cutting Loose (which I just finished skimming), the characters spend pages and pages berating themselves over feelings of lust, love, etc. Tiresome. Gibson keeps it all moving along nicely, through characters that are in motion. Like her stuff a lot and will continue to snag a backlist title here and there and keep up on new releases.

Unlawful Contact from Pamela Clare was also good. Exactly what I expect and enjoy from Clare’s romantic suspense titles.

And Sam’s Creed from Sarah McCarty filled my need for a McCarty erotic western. I truly loved Sam—another southern man all laid back and casual, with a gentleness that belies the steel underneath.

Also picked up a trio of re-issues from JoAnn Ross. The first two, Out Of The Mist and Out Of Control were good. Haven’t read the third yet. Ross has been a pretty good bet for me. But again, I have to admit to too much repetitive internal thought from her characters. Not enough to slow the story, but enough to stick in my mind.

In fact, in all of my July and August reads, I can point to some level of this, and frankly, it’s annoying and distracting. So maybe it’s not all me. Maybe I’m just tiring of characters that think about themselves, their own motivations too much. Do you do this? Self analyze? I don’t. Am I off in thinking that this kind of repetitive self-reflection is a weak tool employed by authors to show motivation? Or at least an overused one? Tell me.
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