Sunday, March 27, 2016

Thoughts: To The Edge

To the Edge

by Cindy Gerard
Book 1 of The Bodyguard series

~ Goodreads ~

Rating:  2.5 Stars

**Side note on 3/27/2016:  Next to Pamela Clare, Cindy Gerard has become one of my favorite Romantic Suspense novelists since I first discovered my obsession with the genre.  To The Edge was the first book of hers I read, and despite it not being the best written or best outlined book in the world, I still ended up continuing onto the rest of the series and have now pretty much read all of her popular Romantic Suspense books.

If there are others out there, I would love to discover them.

The following review was written during the time when I was still quite haphazard about my reviews... not that I do any better today.  There might have been some slight tweaking involved, but for the most part, I didn't change anything about this review.

Enjoy!  And Thanks for stopping by.

The Review:
This book was just as enjoyable as the Romantic Suspense books I've been indulging in lately. I'm in a phase that'll probably play out for some time.

Again with the typical formulaic story lines that leave me wondering whether or not Romantic Suspenses are capable of NOT creating a damsel-in-distress situation by the end of the book where our heroine is in mortal peril requiring her knight to come save her skin. Not that I'm complaining too much about it -- familiar formulas are reasons why I pick up certain types of books after all. A Romantic Suspense hits a lot of the right buttons for me with an exciting crime thriller of a story, plus a nice touch of romance, and typically a happily ever after (which is always a plus in my book).

But still, sometimes you hope for something a little different.

Anyway, picking through some of the notes I've written down as a bullet list, despite my seemingly low rating, I still found entertainment in To the Edge. There was the suspense and the thrill and a progressive story line as well as the concluding culprit (which I'm still trying to decide whether it was a good surprise twist, or if the ending came out of left-field since I really hadn't seen it coming and felt confused when it happened). I'm not really a proponent of the random "getting to know our villain" scenes scattered throughout the story, but I'm coming to accept that this must be a norm for Romantic Suspenses... maybe. I'm more interested if we never knew who the killer is (or in this case where the death threats are coming from) until the very end and then get a nice little surprise anxiety for it.

I don't know if it's to my liking that this culprit's identity was simply hidden behind a different name, but presented to us as someone we don't know (or might know).

The characters were kind of bland, but they tend to grow on you after a good percentage of the book. Jillian, though strong and assertive, is one part TSTL and one part admirable to an extent. Enjoyable character as she was, there were some things I wish she hadn't been so stubborn about concerning her safety. And there were also some things that came off as her being a bit of a pushover (despite the relentless descriptors of how strong and independent and stubborn she is).

I'm all for seeing strong women being able to take care of themselves, but I'm more for smart women knowing when to stop trying to do everything by themselves.  If your life is in danger and there is someone who can stand and protect you, then, by all means, take advantage of that.  Just because you need a bodyguard doesn't make you any weaker than the next person.  Otherwise, I liked Jillian just fine.

As for Nolan, I make no point to hide this, but he came off as an asshole from the start. I understand extreme measures to prove a point--but breaking and entering, watching a woman shower, and then scaring the shit out of her is still crossing too many lines for me to be happy about. And then the man-handling and the pushiness... my goodness, you'd think that he was the boss rather than the hired help the way he kept ordering Jillian around.

I'm wondering if the only thing keeping Jillian from calling the police during her meet-and-greet with Nolan was the fact that Daddy had hired him as a bodyguard... and probably because Nolan's good-looking.

Though I have to admit that after he levels out and stops being so much of an asshole than he started off as, Nolan grew on me. To his credit, I love seeing him with his family and I love seeing his family and so it helps even things out a little bit. In which case, even if I wasn't too keen on this particular book, I am interested in reading about the rest of the Garretts for the rest of the series.

As far as writing and story telling goes, there were a lot of words being dictated about a lot of simple thoughts. There were so many descriptors and monologues that tried very hard to drive home the points that:
  1. A)  Nolan and Jillian are sexually attracted to one another;
  2. B)  These two are going to butt heads with each other because they don't like the circumstances of their meeting;
  3. C)  They both have decided that there is more to each other than meets the eye and THAT is what is drawing them to each other (and yes, they can read each other like open books just by looking into each others' eyes and reading their mannerisms... and shit like that); 
  4.           AND
  5. D)  The sexual tension is so freakin' thick that I could cut it with a blade of grass ten miles away.

If there is one thing that I need to complain about, it would probably be the feeling of unbalance pertaining to the story, the mystery, the characters and the romance. Because while I understand that Romantic Suspense books are simply that (a suspense with a romantic angle back-dropping it), I also think that the story hinged too much on the couple and their unyielding sexual attraction to each other (which isn't all there is to the attractions, there's also heart, y'know!).

Otherwise, I DO like Jillian and Nolan together as a couple (when they stop brooding in their separate corners long enough to talk to each other civilly) better than I like them as individuals.

This review was originally posted at Ani's Book Abyss / BookLikes in May 2014.

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