the player, by kresley cole

The-Player-Smaller1ingredients:
Drama and suspense.

servings:
If you’re a fan of Cole’s Game Maker series, this is the final installment.

rating:

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the-edible-bookmark-rating.png

 

 

 

preparation:
I was sucked into this series with the first book, The Professional. That book was released in 3 parts and I was on pins and needles waiting for each installment. The Master came along and my expectations were very high, but weren’t quite met. And now we have The Player

This book follows a family of con artists. And not being familiar with the con industry, I was considerably lost with all of the jargon that was being used. What’s worse, I didn’t really care what the words meant. The only problem, you needed to know the lingo in order to follow what was happening–especially at the end.

Victoria Valentine is a grifter and Dmitri Sevastyan is a self-made billionaire and computer genius. Victoria’s family is made up of grifters and they owe a lot of money to someone who has given them little time to pay up. When Dmitri appears on the scene, he seems ripe for the picking. Seducing a ‘mark’ like Dmitri is normally left to Karin, Victoria’s sister. However, after all but dismissing Karin at a party, Dmitri becomes obsessed and focused solely on Victoria, good news, right?

The majority of the story is spent with Victoria agonizing over taking Dmitri for a ride and the reader wondering what mysterious secret Dmitri himself is hiding. The problem is, there isn’t enough character development for Victoria or her family for you to really like her or to become attached. And Dmitri, while like-able, is more creepy than anything else due to his immediate obsession with a woman he just met.

By the end of the book there’s a big revelation by both the hero and the heroine. Which has to culminate with a long explanation because jargon aside, it’s just so confusing as to what is going on with the 2 of them. The Professional was such a strong start to this series that of course there were high hopes for the other books. While The Master was tolerable, The Player is just an utter disappointment.

difficulty level:
Medium. Being a fan of Cole’s and the series it was incredibly upsetting that the final installment in the series was such a let down. Coupled with the hero and heroine both being annoying, it made for a challenging read at times.

 

the bourbon kings, by j.r. ward

the bourbon kingsWow! I read this book in 2 days. I picked it up and couldn’t put it down. This is a new contemporary series by J. R. Ward that I heard is going to become a t.v. series–congrats to The Warden!

Ward describes The Bourbon Kings as a cross between Downton Abbey and Dynasty and that about nails it. Then again, she wrote the book, so she should know.

Lane Baldwine is from old money; old Kentucky bourbon money. Lizzie is the lead horticulturist for the family’s sprawling estate–Easterly. Two years ago, lies tore them apart and Lane fled to New York, not to return–until a family emergency brings him home. Now he’s back, just when Lizzie was almost over him.

There are more lies and secrets anew now that Lane has returned to Easterly. His older brother Edward, has distanced himself from the family after an awful life-altering tragedy. Gin, the only Baldwine daughter, is such a misguided self-preservationist that she sells her soul to the highest bidder. And then there’s William, the patriarch of the family, who is as cruel and ruthless as J.R. Ewing and shows no remorse for any of his actions.

Ward is a master of weaving multiple storylines together and she does so seamlessly in this tale. There’s intrigue and drama up to the very last page. The plot is well-written, though we do see a lot of cliché’s throughout its telling. And while there is some predictability, there is enough originality to keep the reader interested–not to mention all of the loose ends that are yet to be tied up.

Personally, I can’t wait for this story to come to the small screen. In the meantime, the next chapter in this hit series, The Angels’ Share, comes out on July 26.

rating:

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closer than you think, by karen rose

closer than you thinkUGH!!! That’s pretty much how I feel about this book. Closer Than You Think is the first Karen Rose book I have ever read and I have to say, it will probably be the last. Which is disappointing on so many levels because she has a series set in Baltimore, which is where I currently reside.

This book was not poorly written. The characters were likable. The plot was interesting. This sincerely could have been a 4-bookmark book, except… My single biggest gripe–it was entirely too long. It was 624 pages on my Nook and could’ve been a great read if it were literally half that length. Can you say editor, please? Let’s dive in…

Deacon is an incredibly cool FBI agent and liaison with the local police, and has a unique look all his own. He’s recently moved back to Cincinnati from Baltimore to help his doctor sister, Dani, raise their younger brother, Greg, who is a deaf teenager having a hard time living with their aunt and uncle. Deacon’s Cincinnati police officer cousin Adam, helped Deacon get his job/transfer, though something is going on with Adam–he’s very angry and resentful of Deacon–but we never find out what exactly the issue is.

Faith, a psychiatrist, is on the run from a sex offender she used to counsel and helped put in jail. He’s attacked her multiple times and she’s just moved from Miami back to Cincinnati where she grew up. She’s also just inherited a house that has clearly upset someone in her family, though her twin uncles claim neither have an interest in the estate. Throw in Faith’s mother’s suspicious death; her mistrust of police because of her past, including her police officer ex-husband, and you almost forget that the main plot is supposed to be about a serial killer who’s on the loose. Only you can’t forget, because essentially, everyone in the book is a suspect so then you’re just confused.

There were so many sub-plots and suspects that I was exhausted reading this book before I was even halfway through. (I also attempted to explain it to a friend of mine over breakfast this past weekend and she stopped me after I was 2 minutes in because it as so convoluted.) It was one thing after another on top of another. This is a new series for Rose and the 2nd installment is due out next year. Needless to say, I will not be reading it.

rating:

the edible bookmark rating

mean streak, by sandra brown

MeanStreak

I’ve read one other book by Sandra Brown, years ago. And while I can’t remember which book, I do remember liking it and thinking, I should read something else by her. Well, years later, Mean Streak is it.

This book was briefly on the NY Times Best Seller list and I was in desperate need of a read, so it seemed like a good option. Then, I picked it up. I had serious reservations from the start–I thought it was going to be Gone Girl-esque. Yes, I am the only person on the planet who did not like Gone Girl. I can appreciate that it was cleverly written, but at the end of the day, I need to like a character or two. In Gone Girl, I liked NONE of the characters and at page 12 of Mean Streak, I feared it was going to be the same situation. Thankfully, I persevered because I wound up truly enjoying this book.

Dr. Emory Charbonneau and her husband Jeff have a troubled marriage. They’ve just had a serious argument and to top it off, she’s heading out-of-town for the weekend to train for a marathon. After an accident on her run leads to a mysterious man and 4 days that turn into far more than the weekend she bargained for, danger and mystery become a natural part of Emory’s life.

Mean Streak was a quick and enjoyable read. While the title of the book is incredibly misleading, the twists, turns, story-line, and writing make up for it. There were passages I had to read multiple times because, “I didn’t see that coming!”

In addition, to the mystery and suspense, there’s a bit of a love story weaved in. I can honestly say that even though there were several layers to the plot, it wasn’t too much or overwhelming. Brown did a very nice job of intermingling characters and plot-lines so they made for a cohesive and well-rounded story. I think I may have to pick up another Sandra Brown book.

heart rating:

small heart rating

small heart rating

die again, by tess gerritsen

die again coverDie Again is the latest book in the Rizzoli & Isles series by Tess Gerritsen. While I’ve never watched the tv show (which I know has been a success) I am a huge fan of the book series. This latest installment does not disappoint.

The book begins 6 years ago on safari in Botswana. It alternates between Africa and Boston–where Rizzoli & Isles are investigating the murder of a taxidermist. Often times, the flashback technique can be annoying, not so in this case. Gerritsen does a great job of giving you enough of the present day while at the same time making you hunger for more of the Africa back-story.

The twists and turns this book takes keeps you engaged and intrigued until the very end. Jane’s personal drama, which always has a twinge of humor, was ever-present with her family. And we got to see a little more of her FBI husband Gabriel. To top it off, the descriptions of Africa and the beautiful natural landscape had me doing some Google searches thinking…hmmm…maybe.

I read a lot of books–I’m targeting 70 in this year’s GoodReads Book Challenge–and I don’t always remember every detail of books that are series, even the ones I love. Gerritsen make reference to the case where Maura testified against and helped put a police officer in prison, her affair with priest Daniel Brophy (that I remember), and Maura’s mother comes back into the fold. These were all great story lines, it would just be nice if we could get a few more details as a refresher about stories that played out several books ago.

If you are a fan of the Rizzoli & Isles series, this book is a must read. It’s classic Gerritsen with the characters–although Maura is somewhat annoyingly broody, but Jane balances her out. And the story is different and interesting. Truth-be-told, I did learn more about taxidermy than I need to.

to read or not to read recommendation:
to read

tara’s tips: One of the blogs I follow and encourage others to also, is Baked Bree. Bree Hester has started a weekly newsletter devoted to the things she discovers and falls for. One was a book challenge by another blogger, the Modern Mrs. Darcy. I am signing on for it. For all the avid readers out there, I recommend it!