Thursday, May 12, 2016

Thoughts: Forever Blue

Forever Blue

by Suzanne Brockmann
Book 2 of Tall, Dark & Dangerous

~ Goodreads ~

Rating:  3.5 Stars

Blue McCoy was once the hero of Lucy Tait's teenaged dreams--quiet, dark and dangerous.  After high school he left Hatboro Creek, South Carolina, to join the military.  Years later, now a Navy SEAL, Blue was a man who embodied all of Lucy's fantasies.

Now Blue is back in town, and Lucy is not the person he remembered.  She's a no-nonsense police officer--and a woman Blue can't take his eyes off.  But then Blue is accused of murder.  And Lucy is assigned his case.  Now their brief affair has become part of an extensive investigation, where what's at stake is critical--Blue's future... and maybe Lucy's heart.

Is her hero still the man she remembered?

This is a pleasant surprise.

I suppose there’s something to be said about second chances--just because one book by an author didn't work out doesn’t mean that no books from the same author will ever work out. Even if the two books happen to be in the same series, or even the same two-book volume, with the same theme, and a specific set of characters.

Except that Forever Blue only had one roll-over character from Prince Joe, and the rest were just in the background..

Forever Blue, despite some small quibbles and eye-roll-worthy moments, was immensely more enjoyable than Prince Joe had been. No one is more surprised than I am about how much more I enjoyed reading the second book in Suzanne Brockmann’s Tall, Dark & Dangerous series. I was simply expecting a mediocre read, something to get by on, if not a bad one, so that I could finish my Reading Assignment Challenge properly.

I was expecting a lot of romance to overshadow the suspense parts--I was not wrong. I was expecting a so-so conflict to fulfill the suspense and crime thriller quota--I was not wrong. I was expecting another unbalanced story--I was not wrong.

I was expecting another frustrating, trope-filled romance where I'd end up throwing the book across the room again when I started getting irritated with the couple. This is where I was off-base, although there HAD BEEN one little instance where I DID get that itch to toss the book--but it came and went and I got over it.

I hadn’t expected to genuinely, really, really like it Forever Blue spite of everything I should have disliked it for. And maybe that's why the enjoyment is so much higher.

To be honest, though, I’d probably lay at least half of the star rating on the heroine of the book, Lucy Tait. She is definitely my kind of heroine and she might be the biggest reason I really liked this book. Well, that and the clichéd romantic tropes were a bit toned down--I’m not sure if I even saw many of them.

Lucy’s a straight arrow who doesn’t beat around the bushes. She says what she wants to say and does what she wants to do, and doesn’t hide behind a coy exterior. She’s a little Miss Perfect with a side of cynicism, which would normally make me wary of her. But at the same time, she’s very confident of herself on other levels, being smart and resourceful enough to be a rookie cop with lots of potential if she chose to continue that line of career.

Her no-nonsense attitude is probably what makes me love her so much, anyway.

On the other hand, Blue McCoy was a great guy. But he didn’t really do much for me, to be honest. And he was a bit frustrating at times, but whaddya gonna do? He’s the standard alpha, broody male with commitment issues. There are no surprises there.

But Lucy? Lucy is just GOLD!

The story in Forever Blue, much like Prince Joe, was still a bit unbalanced. The romance was still heavy-handed and got sappy and a bit illogical at times. I feel like we spent a lot more time lazing around and developing a love story than we did investigating a murder--sometimes we didn’t ask the right questions, and sometimes we spent more time than not on less significant details.

But I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that I actually, very much loved the way the romance was developed. With Lucy and Blue having a vague childhood history, even if it only consisted of three short conversations during high school, I found the development from that point kind of sweet. Reuniting after so many years and having each of their images of the other dashed only to be rebuilt in a new light, from friendship to lovers was very well thought out.

I especially loved the late night conversations Blue and Lucy had with each other on their front porch, sharing details about their lives as friends and getting to know each other. If this book could have been a little bit longer, we’d be able to fulfill both the crime thriller aspect AND the lovely slow burn of a developing relationship.

But as it is, we’ll have to go without a more well-thought-out crime thriller in favor of a well-developed romance, I suppose.

Some Final Thoughts:
The ending was very abrupt and I would have liked something a bit more wrapped-up. I would have also liked to see more of Blue’s Alpha Squad in action, but I’m fine with their absence. The main culprit of the murder was quite predictable once the story got going, and at the same time, the details were quite vague.

The ending didn’t quite wrap up as well as I’d have liked. There were a lot of loose ends that needed explaining and that I’m still asking questions about. There were certain suspects who acted very strange throughout, but that we didn’t get an explanation for in the end as to why they were so adamant about keeping the investigation stone-walled.

And then one of the culprit’s identities came directly out of left-field and we don’t even really get a background on why these guys did what they did.

Again, there were a LOT of loose ends left over. If I didn’t like Lucy so much, I might have brought the rating down a half star or something (I thought about it). But my logic makes no kind of sense to anyone, sometimes not even me.

Forever Blue is a romance and love story, first and foremost, with the crime thriller and suspense being a sweet background distraction. I would have liked for the story to be a bit more balanced, but since I’ve kind of developed a girl crush on Lucy, I think I’ll make myself content with what I can get.


2016 Reading Challenges:
Goodreads Reading Challenge
BookLikes Reading Challenge
Reading Assignment Challenge
Bookish Resolutions Challenge -- Bout of Books 16
Mount TBR Challenge

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