Monday, January 21, 2019

Breaking up with a series

As previously stated, I’m a genre junkie. There are a number of series – romance, fantasy and mystery that I follow quite religiously. The genre appeal differs by reader but for me I love the familiarity with the characters and the world they inhabit. Opening the pages of another book in a series continues a story in which I have been previously engaged and reading about the characters is like coming home to visit old friends. It’s comforting.

Having said that, there are times when it is time to part ways with a series and move on. Again, that point is different for every reader. I’m usually done when the author makes narrative choices that make me deeply unhappy or the characters are stagnant and tell the same story over and over again with no growth or development. I recognize writing a novel is an author’s creative expression and they have the right to do as they wish with their story. But, when they take the story places that don’t make for the satisfying read I am craving, I say good bye, wish them well, and go off in search of other reading adventures. A few series that I have loved and lost are Outlander by Gabaldon, Stephanie Plum by Evanovich and Anita Blake by Hamilton. I respect these authors and their talent. I fondly remember the earlier novels in the series but I’ve not been able to continue for a variety of reasons.

As genre readers, I think we all get to choose when we are done with a series and move on to greener literary pastures.

Today I’m sharing a few reviews of series I am still enjoying. While they may not be a sparkling and engaging as the first book or two, I still find them a grand escape.

Leverage in Death by J. D. Robb

As 47th in a long running series, there is a certain familiarity to an Eve Dallas novel. We know Eve will be professional, work until she exhausted and care passionately about the victims she stands for. Her husband Roarke will be on the sidelines buying the known universe and using his high tech toys and expertise in helping solve the current crime. Along the way there will be a familiar cast of characters to add humor, camaraderie and reflection. I freely admit to loving the first 12 books in the Even Dallas series – they are dark, gritty and surprisingly passionate. The stories, while maybe not the best written, are interesting and engaging. And unpeeling the characters of Eve and Roarke is half the fun. After the first dozen, they are a mixed bag. Some are too violent, some are predictable or unimaginative. Yet others are interesting, intense and compelling. I continue to read them because 
J. D. Robb (a pseudonym of Nora Roberts) has made characters in whom I have become deeply invested over the years. Whatever the story brings, I want to check in with Eve and Roarke.

Leverage in Death is one of the better installments in the series. When an executive walks into a merger meeting strapped with explosives and blows up himself and half the staff in attendance, he causes chaos. And while death and destruction make headlines, Dallas quickly discovers he was protecting his family. With the help of Roarke, ; mso-bidi-font-family: Calibri; mso-bidi-theme-font: minor-latin;">Eve must untangle the reason for an inexplicable act of terror, look at suspects inside and outside both corporations, and determine whether the root of this crime lies in simple sabotage, or something far more complex and twisted.

Overall, this was an engaging read. The story was interesting if a bit predictable and I enjoyed the unraveling of the mystery. I recommend this one but encourage new readers to go back to the beginning of Eve and Roarke’s journey and decide how far they want to travel with the couple.

Archangel’s Prophecy by Nalini Singh

Elena Devereaux is unique among angel kind. She is a mortal made immortal. And with her glorious wings and natural Hunter abilities, she is a fit consort for an Archangel. But now, her wings are beginning to fail and she is becoming more mortal and more fragile. As other calamities ripple throughout the world, a furious battle is being fought for her very survival.

Archangel’s Prophecy is the 11th installment in Nalini Singh’s Guild Hunter series. Although the book tells a complete story on its own, readers will enjoy this one much better and avoid spoilers if they have read the previous books in the series.

Elena and Raphael are compelling characters and while all the stories in their world are fun to read, the novels where they are front and center are the best. While Elena struggles to understand what is happening with her newly immortal and increasingly fragile body, strange occurrences are happening worldwide. These incidences seem to suggest Cascade events are dangerously on the rise. Most of the novel almost feels like a mystery or police procedural as various characters try to discover what is going on all over the world. But by far the most compelling element is Elena’s mysterious sickness.

Archangel’s Prophecy was a highly entertaining to read and the cliffhanger ending similar to the first novel, Angel’s Blood, will surely frustrate fans and leave them clambering to know how these beloved characters have evolved. A fun paranormal romance and highly recommended for fans of the series.
4 stars.
I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

Someone to Trust by Mary Balogh

It’s all just nice. Colin Handrich, Baron Hodges is nice. He’s the brother of Wren, recently married Countess of Riverdale. Elizabeth, Lady Overfield is nice. She is the widowed sister of the Earl of Riverdale. Both of these nice people meet at a family Christmas gathering at the Earl’s seat, Brambledean Court. Colin is ready to take up the reins of the family estate he inherited at the age of 18. Elizabeth is ready to remarry and perhaps move on from her disastrous marriage. Colin and Elizabeth are friendly and attracted to one another but can see that a relationship between them would be impossible given the difference in their ages. They strike up a friendship and agree to dance one dance at every ball they are both attending during the upcoming season. It’s all very nice.

Once in London, Colin prepares to find a bride on the marriage mart and Elizabeth enters an engagement with a nice man who offered for her several years earlier. And then social disaster happens and Elizabeth is faced with ruin and Colin wants to rescue her. Additional peril faces the couple and with the help of their family, they overcome. It’s all very nice.

Honestly, I really enjoy Mary Balogh’s works. She has wonderful characters and charming stories. I enjoy the Wescott family series. Someone to Trust is a fine and pleasant story. However, I felt that the characters lacked great passion and were harder to connect with than others in the series. Also, the peril seemed a bit contrived and lacking in, well, peril.

Fans of the series will want to read this installment. 3 stars.

I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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