[445]: Mean Streak by Sandra Brown

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GOODREADS SUMMARY
Grand Central Publishing | Hardcover, 409 pages
Publication Date: August 19th, 2014
Adult Fiction | Suspense | Romance
Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars


Runner, Dr. Emory Charbonneau found herself in a cabin after sustaining a head injury for which she does not know of the cause. But when an attractive but dangerous stranger continues to evade her questions; and her plea to be returned to civilization proved to be a futile exercise, she begins to wonder exactly what kind of trouble she’s in. Little by little however, the stranger shows sparks of kindness that didn’t compute with her paranoia. After a run in with a couple of men who abide by the laws of their own, she’d learned that the stranger is not the only thing to be frightened of in the mountains.

Mean Streak is a story that starts off with a mystery surrounding Emory’s head injury. Did she really stumble and hit her head on a rock? Or did someone knock her out? But as you delve deeper into the story, you’ll learn it’s not as easy as finding out what really happened to her. Your patience will be tested. You will be frustrated. You will know that the identity of the stranger is the crux of this story. And that everything that happened in the background was spearheaded by one tragic massacre straight out of a headline. It was engrossing, heartbreaking, and a rush all at the same time.

This is Sandra Brown’s modus operandi, and why I’ve been a fan of her romantic suspense books since I’ve discovered her when she was writing strictly romance for Love Swept.

The mysteries are layered; full of intricate threads that readers would need to unravel at their own pace. For me, I was frantic. I was eager to find out what Emory’s injury has to do with the hero’s need for revenge (if any). I was salivating to find out if her injury really was an accident. Or was she a target? And when it was finally revealed, I was stunned stupid. Because Sandra created an obvious suspect that when the revelation came, I had to pick up my jaw from the floor. It’s been a while since something like that happened.

Yes, there is romance here. What could be more frustrating than a guy who refused to tell you anything about himself? Much less, his name? I have learned that you can write a one-dimensional character and still be able to enjoy the novel when it’s done well. In this case, our hero has a one-track mind. But you’ll never know anything else about him until the very end. It was brilliant, and ingenious!

I am so happy to rediscover my love for all things Sandra Brown. I found 8 unread books in the basement, so don’t be surprised if I end up posting some more reviews of her books.

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Throwback Thursday [6]: Envy by Sandra Brown

IMG_7544 GOODREADS SUMMARY Double Day | Hardcover, 480 pages Publication Date: July 31st, 2001 Adult Fiction | Romance | Suspense Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars


It was a draft of a Prologue; nearly forgotten in a slush pile of Matherly Press. If they were a bigger publishing house, it would probably have ended up in little pieces of confetti. But Maris Matherly-Reed believes in a long-standing tradition of giving all prospective writers a chance. She believes that a writer, regardless of skills, deserves to be given the light of day. So she was going to ignore that the writer did not send in his or her query according to the guidelines. She was going to ignore that the writer didn’t even leave their contact information.

Had it not been for Maris’ innate ability to home in on an outstanding read, Parker’s novel would perhaps, have remained unwritten. Had it not been for Maris’ gift, a spool of revenge – fourteen years in the making – would have probably remained unraveled. When she found the wheelchair-bound writer, she was sure she’d never met a more egocentric, ill-mannered person. But the more time they spend working on finishing his novel, the more she gets pulled in on his web.

Another engrossing read by Ms. Brown. It didn’t take long for me to finish this one off. As usual, the entanglements of the mysteries in this book is out of this world. Something that was both easy to solve and at the same time, intricately woven. I especially loved the book within a book aspect. Basically, Parker wrote a story about his sordid past and submitted it to Maris’ publishing house with the intention of luring her into his web of revenge. Unfortunate for her, since she hadn’t a clue that she will spark off the flames that has long been smouldering inside of Parker.

It was, in all honesty, transparent. But I enjoyed it immensely, just the same. I couldn’t put it down. It was another one of those intricate knots that I had a great time untangling.

This book was written in 2001. Some of Sandra’s characterizations here will either be frowned upon, or jovially rejoiced – depending on which character you’re talking about. For instance, you have an ambitious critic who uses her body to get ahead in an otherwise, male dominant industry. It’s a classic case of objectification. Then, there’s Maris. She’s whip-smart. But when it comes to her husband, she’s easily placated. Sometimes, easily bested. I also found some of her male characters here to be sexists with their slighted remarks and condescending mannerisms. ¬†Bookish people will appreciate the insight to how the publishing industry works. From critiquing, marketing, and how small-time houses get swallowed by the big publishing companies, Sandra Brown shows the backdoor of how the machinery works. Really interesting stuff.

I really enjoyed this book, and really glad to find some more unread Sandra Brown in the basement of my house. I didn’t buy this new but I know I’ve had it for a while.

Note:

Throwback Thursday was a feature on my blog that I’ve started back in 2012. It’s a periodical post where I review books from the not-so-distant past.

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Dark Waters by Toni Anderson

Dark Waters by Toni Anderson
Montlake Romance | E-ARC via Net Galley
Adult Fiction, Crime Suspense, Romance
Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

Anna Silver and her father has had a strained relationship for quite some time. So when she gets a frantic call from him telling her to get out of town and go to Brent Carver’s isolated hideaway, she was a little suspicious and angry that he’s gotten himself in the same trouble that landed him a stint in prison the first time. When the police rules his death suicide, Anna was sure that her father had stolen money again and killed himself rather than get caught.

Brent Carver has lived a life of a virtual hermit ever since he was released from prison for killing his father. A recluse artist who makes a good living through his painting, he’s isolated himself from people. But when the daughter of his best friend landed on his door step, he had little choice but to help the life line he held on to when he was in prison with her father. He’s never believed a wrong thing about Davis Silver. He’d always thought he was one of the most honourable man he’s ever known. He’s also made a promise to him to take care of his daughter if anything happens. But Anna Silver was not the teenager he’s known from all her letters. She’s now a fully grown woman on the run from some people who wants her dead. Battling attraction for self-preservation, he thought it’d be easier to face a psychotic killer than address the boiling tension between him and Anna. Dead bodies add up as they try to beat the suicidal killers to an envelope containing evidence that could exposed the criminal activities of a company disguised as an upstanding charitable organization.

As a newbie Toni Anderson reader, the unexpected enjoyment of Dark Waters was like eating sushi for the first time. I tasted freshness that I’ve never tasted before, textures unlike anything I’ve ever savoured on my tongue. It was somewhat familiar but excitingly new. The same could be said for Toni’s novel. I was a little wary of trying it but once I’ve gotten a taste for it, I find myself unable to stop reading.

This is not the first time I’ve read Romantic suspense. After all, I’ve been a huge fan of Sandra Brown – which to me, is the creme of the crop in this genre. She masterfully combines romance and crime suspense in her novels, therefore amping up the thrills that readers can appreciate. Much like what Toni Anderson was able to do here. The charm of this novel was the perfectly paced plot and characters that somehow was evolving right in front of the readers’ eyes. And though sometimes, I felt like I’m missing a prequel of some sort, Anderson was generous (but not overly) with backstories.

Readers don’t get bogged down with the story set up either. She throws you right into it without any preamble. This, in my opinion, was why the novel was a fast read even though it’s a 320 some-odd-pager. It only took me a day and a half to polish off this book and it’s all credit to Toni’s uncanny ability to tell the story with as little distraction as possible.

Toni Anderson combined a good mix of romance and suspense to create a delightful, thrilling read. I’m looking forward to reading Finn and Holly’s story – which is sort of the prelude to Brent and Anna’s story.

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