Sunday, August 28, 2022

Series Thoughts: D.C. Detectives

D.C. Detectives

by Nora Roberts
Book 1: Sacred Sins | Goodreads | Rating: 3.0 Stars
Book 2: Brazen Virtue | Goodreads | Rating: 2.0 Stars

Average Series Rating:  2.5 Stars

I read these two books back in 2019, wrote up a brief draft of a review, and then it sat here in my unpublished blog dashboard for two years.  I don't know why I never went back to publish this, but it was probably just one of those things that drifts away from you in light of all the chaos that started ensuing during that time.

So here it is...

I enjoyed Sacred Sins in a rather, rainy-day-read kind of way.  Brazen Virtue, on the other had, actually made me a bit uncomfortable, and I'm not sure if it was because of the subject matter or the identity of the killer.  Truth be told, both books actually had instances that had made me uncomfortable, as well as bringing up conflicts that I was a bit surprised to find in a pair of books written in 1987 and 1988, both involving a child.

Don't get me wrong--if I were honest, these books both showcased Nora Roberts' penchant for the gritty and the realistic, as well as a darkness in human nature that can't be ignored.

It was really my own personal preference that I couldn't get past, and so these two books, while written well, didn't quite work for me.

Meanwhile, the romances in both books really showed their age.  In both instances, I couldn't quite make myself like either of the romances.

In the lazy days of summer, a merciless heat wave is the biggest story in Washington, D.C.  But the weather is knocked off the front pages when a young woman is found strangled to death.  A note left behind reads: Her sins are forgiven her.

Two more victims soon follow, and suddenly every headline is devoted to the killer the press has dubbed "the Priest."  When the police ask top-notch psychiatrist Dr. Tess Court to help with their investigation, she comes up with a disturbing portrait of a twisted soul.

Detective Ben Paris doesn't give a damn about the killer's psyche.  What he can't easily dismiss is Tess.  Tall, dark, and good-looking, Ben has a legendary reputation with women, but the coolly elegant Tess doesn't react to him like other women he's known and he finds the challenge enticing.

Tess and Ben in Sacred Sins had clever dialogue and some of their interactions were done well.  But I could never get past Ben's rude, neanderthal-ish, asshole attitude towards Tess throughout the book, simply based on her profession.  It didn't matter that he was attracted to her or that he was friendly enough outside of work, but his continued hostility towards the psychiatric field, as well as towards Tess whenever she slipped into shrink-mode was deplorable.  He never even tried to get along with Tess, the psychiatrist, even while he wanted to get into her pants.

I'm not entirely certain that I, personally, could have been able to stand being in a relationship with someone who not only couldn't take my profession seriously, but who was constantly making insulting, snide, and degrading remarks about what I did for a living.  It's disrespectful and unfair.  But I guess what really bugged me was how easily Tess let Ben get away with being a jackass for 90% of the book.

Nonetheless, the rest of the book was dark, gritty, and entertaining enough to keep me hooked.

Halloween Bingo 2019

After a demanding book tour, superstar mystery novelist Grace McCabe decides to visit her sister, Kathleen, who’s embroiled in a custody battle after a bitter divorce.  Arriving in D.C., Grace is shocked to find Kathleen living in a run-down neighborhood and, hoping to afford a hotshot lawyer, supplementing her meager teacher’s salary by moonlighting as a phone sex operator.

According to Kathleen, Fantasy, Inc., guarantees its employees ironclad anonymity.  But Grace has her doubts—which are confirmed one horrifying cherry-blossom-scented night when one of Fantasy, Inc.’s operators is murdered.  As Grace is drawn to help solve the crime, her life turns into a scene from one of her own books.  Yet as one of her biggest fans, investigator Ed Jackson, warns her: This isn’t fiction.  Real people die—and Grace could be next.  For she’s hoping to trap a killer more twisted than anything she could imagine.  And not even Ed may be able to protect her from a rendezvous with lust and death.

On the other hand, the romance in Brazen Virtue was just plain boring with no chemistry.  The insta-love was so obvious between Grace and Ed that I didn't even really bother to care.  I liked Ed in the first book as the nice guy, understanding and respectful of Tess enough not to treat her like the enemy.  His easy banter with Ben was welcome.

But his behavior around Grace bordered on caveman, treating her like she was a fragile child at every turn, whether it was something as little as making coffee in the morning, or something as big as details of her sister's murder.  He wouldn't let her do anything for herself or by herself, and insisted on taking care of everything for her as if she weren't capable of doing things by herself.

While this might seem sweet and caring to a lot of people, there's a fine line between the sweetness of wanting to take care of someone you love, and treating said person like an ignorant, incompetent, fragile doll whom you don't trust to survive without your existence.

Anyway, as I'd stated earlier, the entire investigation, and premise of Brazen Virtue sort of made me uncomfortable, which made it hard to really enjoy it.  Add onto it Grace's bad decisions that were leading into TSTL as well as obstruction of justice territory and I just started having more issues.

Halloween Bingo 2019

Saturday, August 27, 2022

Ani's Halloween Bingo Tracking

I have spent the most of my day working on a manual tracking format for Halloween Bingo 2022.  But after I was done, I realized that everything turned out a bit messy, so it's entirely possible I'll end up just going back to my excel spreadsheet trackers.

I had a lot of stickers to work with and am always looking for a reason to use them, so the day wasn't a complete waste.

As far as books go, I haven't really given my squares a whole lot of thought.  I may or may not sit down at some point and do some planning, though there are a few books I'm kind of looking at reading, based off of my first glance of my card.

In no particular order, here are just a few of my thoughts based on what I have in my Kindle:

A is for Arsenic: the Poisons of Agatha Christie by Kathryn Harkup -- This is a non-fiction book I've had in my Kindle for a long time, and I figured that now would be a good time to read it.  I'm considering reading it for Arsenic and Old Lace.

An Unexpected Peril by Deanna Raybourn -- I'm ready to start back into one of my favorite series once more, and this book will fit into at least two or three squares I have, including Amateur Sleuth, Genre: Mystery, or maybe Darkest London.

I've also got a bunch of books by Mary Stewart that I want to read, though I'm not sure which squares I can get them to fit.  And I've also got my trusty large collection of Edgar Allan Poe short stories that I'm sure I can get to fit some squares.

I'm already considering using a wild card on Home Is Where the Hurt Is--the description doesn't quite appeal to me, and also I want to swap it out for Romantic Suspense.  Somehow, I feel like my Halloween Bingo doesn't feel quite right without Romantic Suspense since it's my go to genre.  Hehe  =)

Anyway, these are my thoughts so far.  I kind of want to plan some books so I know what options I have, but I also don't want to feel like I've locked myself down, so my strategy (or lack thereof, really), is to just read books and see where I can get them to fit into my Bingo card.

I have no delusion that I'll get a Bingo or a Blackout this year.  I'm really just in this to help motivate myself to read and blog again, so it's a plus no matter what.