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Private-investigator

REVIEW:  Rock Chick Revolution by Kristen Ashley

REVIEW: Rock Chick Revolution by Kristen Ashley

Dear Ms. Ashley:

When I think of your books, the Rock Chick series is the one that I think most clearly demonstrates your authorial voice. It’s loopy, good hearted and funny. I re-read this series often because I get a kick out of the adventures of this group of close female friends and their hot alpha guys. So of course, I was all over Rock Chick Revolution, the culmination of the series and Allyson Nightengale’s story.

RCRIf Indy is the glue that holds the Rock Chicks together, Ally is the spine. She’s tough, no nonsense, adventurous and would do literally anything for her friends. She’s always been a bit of a free spirit, bartending, working at Indy’s book store, and lately, getting herself entangled in scrapes because of her generous but nosy nature. This nosy nature most recently had her involved in saving Faye Goodknight’s life in Breathe. Her involvement in various adventures has had her brushing up against Ren Zano, a “Hot Italian American”, and possible goodfella. His family, the Zano’s, are part of a crime syndicate, and while Ren has been mostly involved in the family’s legit businesses, he’s not above getting his hands dirty. He and Ally have been “fuck buddies” for more than a year now, but Ally’s involvement in Faye’s near death has made Ren realize it’s time to get serious. Ally wants no part of it. She’s perfectly happy with her hot booty call and really sees no reason to allow Ren any further into her life. Of course, what she doesn’t realize is that Ren is already there. They spend every night together, he’s always there to provide back-up when she’s in a scrape, and she depends on him in a lot of aspects of her life. But him informing her that they are taking it to the next level does not sit well with Ally, and she fights him tooth and nail. That is, until her apartment is bombed due to her involvement with two low level pot sellers who dropped her name (and thus, her brother Lee’s, who is a total badass) as protection.

Ally ends up moving in with Ren and in short order, they are agreeing to “come out of the closet” as a couple and are declaring their love for each other. In the mean time, Ally has decided to fully go into the Private Investigator business, which makes none of the men in her life happy, brothers and father included. She takes a job from Smithie, who owns the local strip joint where the Rock Chicks hang out, and Ally starts stripping (not fully naked, of course) to help him discover what is going on with his girls, who are scared of something. Also, the first in a series of books, Rock Chick, has been published by a mysterious person who seems to know all the details of each of the Rock Chick’s romances. But who is it who is writing these books?

Well, I’ll tell you. It’s Jane, the quiet bookish girl who works at Fortnums. She’s been on the sideline of each of the romances in the series, apparently documenting them so she can publish them. Under the pseudonym…Kristen Ashley.

And HERE’s where my disappointment starts. I hate, loathe, despise when authors insert themselves into their books. In this case, you *literally* inserted yourself. By then end, Jane/Kristen Ashley is a New York Times best selling author, I’m assuming based on the success of the series. It was wrenching in the worst possible way. And in my opinion, wholly unnecessary. I get that you love this series and even that it might be the closest to your heart. But inserting yourself into the book was, in my mind, the worst possible choice. It literally taints my perception of the entire series.

On top of that, Ally and Ren’s romance is barely incidental to the story. Given that a year of their romance seems to happen off screen, we never really get to see them fall in love, which was really disappointing. Plus, Ren was such an interesting character in the series, and we barely get to spend any time with him because Ally seems to be constantly off gallivanting elsewhere.

The book is also in desperate need of editing. Perhaps it’s because this is the first self-pub I’ve read of yours since your Grand Central Publishing books (edited by a professional editor) came out, but the rambling descriptions, the meandering asides about clothes, background story randomly inserted into the action, and even the flashbacks all felt like stream of consciousness, rather than cohesive parts of the story. It seemed like every writing tick you had was on full display throughout the reading of this book. It took me more than five days to slog through it. I nearly DNF’d it about three times. It’s easily my least favorite in what I’ve always considered to be a guilty pleasure series. I so wish I could give Rock Chick Revolution even a marginal recommendation, but the truth is, unless you’re an avid fan of the series, you’re most likely going to be disappointed. I know I was. Final grade: D-.

Kind regards,
Kati

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REVIEW:  Yours for the Night by Samantha Hunter

REVIEW: Yours for the Night by Samantha Hunter

Dear Samantha Hunter:

Garrett Berringer is a widower of 6 years. After his wife’s death, Garrett focused on building his security business with his brother Jonas – Berringer Bodyguards.

Yours for the Night Samantha HunterTiffany Walker is a private investigator who spends her time trying to get photographs of cheating husbands when her original dream was to capture nature shots that would be featured in dozens of national magazines. She hasn’t told anyone about her new venture because she’s had so many failed ones in the past. She works in her parents’ jewelry store during the day.

The guy carries around his wife’s obit in his wallet. Not sure that indicates that he is over her. Every other thought seems to be a memory of her. Maybe it is likely that at a wedding, thoughts turn naturally to the widow’s previous ceremony even after he’s spent the weekend tumbling one of the bridesmaids. But I had my doubts whether he would ever feel as strongly about a second wife, no matter how verbal his declarations.

But we proceed apace to the wedding party sex and then the post coital conflict. These were two decent, if bland characters engaged in a bland romance that borrows its energy from a subplot involving a ring of jewelry thieves.

Garrett is all up in Tiffany’s business, trying to find out her secrets and then worrying about her safety.

I felt for Tiffany but she also came off in over her head, either because she lacked actual experience or she lacked confidence. This is how I felt about Tiffany investigating the jewelry theft “She hoped she could use some female charm on him the way female TV detectives did all the time.”

Indeed. We are essentially watching Tiffany gain experience but her ineptitude at times has me cringing. She really shouldn’t be investigating jewel heist when she can barely catch a cheating husband with his pants down. Maybe if she was running around doing something less dangerous, I’d be more sanguine about her complete lack of PI ability. Or maybe if it had been played for laughs instead of seriousness.  C

Best regards

Jane

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