May 22, 2014

Review: Beauty by Frederick Dillen

Product Description:
As a corporate “undertaker” for a mergers and acquisitions firm in New York, Carol MacLean travels from factory to factory, firing blue-collar workers who remind her of her father and the kids she grew up with. She hates her job. But Carol has been biding her time: her boss has promised that one day, after she has paid her dues, Carol will get to run a company instead of having to bury it.

On what is supposed to be her last assignment, Carol travels up the coast of Massachusetts to a desperate fishing town where the late lobster and day boats cluster around the inner harbor, the blue steeples of the Portuguese church stand tall on the horizon, and the last remaining fish processing plant is in its death throes. That’s when she learns that she’s about to be fired.

To save the town and herself, Carol becomes determined to rescue the factory she’s under orders to shut down. With the help of the townspeople and a roughly charming local fisherman, and by the force of her own resolve, Carol throws herself into transforming the company—but is soon faced with increasingly difficult decisions. Must she choose between the job she has always wanted and everything else?

Beauty explores the ways in which one woman will risk everything—her savings, her reputation, and even a chance at love—in pursuit of her dream.

My Thoughts:

I really wanted to love Beauty. The premise that Carol goes from firing people and shutting down factories to pulling a small town together to run her own sounds like it would be an inspiring story but unfortunately Beauty was too confusing and unbelievable. 

While the writing was very descriptive sometimes it just became too much. It was almost as if Dillen was trying too hard and sentences made no sense until I read them several times. The storytelling also got very choppy at times. There were jumps from one scene to another that just didn't flow well and it confused me for a few lines. 

Then you have the story itself. It's way too over the top. (MINOR SPOILERS IN WHITE FONT - HIGHLIGHT TEXT TO READ) Within days Carol scrapes together hundreds of thousands of dollars from this small fishing community, that seems like they're barely scraping by themselves. Then she makes an obscene amount of money selling illegal fish, has an unlikely love story and the book finishes with an the over-the-top, too convenient ending. It was all too much for me and I finished the book unsatisfied.

My Recommendation: 

I personally wouldn't recommend this unless you're already a Dillen fan.

May 17, 2014

Review: The Chase by Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg

Product Description:
Internationally renowned thief and con artist Nicolas Fox is famous for running elaborate and daring scams. His greatest con of all: convincing the FBI to team him up with the only person who has ever caught him, and the only woman to ever capture his attention, Special Agent Kate O’Hare. Together they’ll go undercover to swindle and catch the world’s most wanted—and untouchable—criminals.

Their newest target is Carter Grove, a former White House chief of staff and the ruthless leader of a private security agency. Grove has stolen a rare Chinese artifact from the Smithsonian, a crime that will torpedo U.S. relations with China if it ever becomes public. Nick and Kate must work under the radar—and against the clock—to devise a plan to steal the piece back. Confronting Grove’s elite assassins, Nick and Kate rely on the skills of their ragtag crew, including a flamboyant actor, a Geek Squad techie, and a band of AARP-card-carrying mercenaries led by none other than Kate’s dad. 

A daring heist and a deadly chase lead Nick and Kate from Washington, D.C., to Shanghai, from the highlands of Scotland to the underbelly of Montreal. But it’ll take more than death threats, trained henchmen, sleepless nights, and the fate of a dynasty’s priceless heirloom to outsmart Fox and O’Hare.

My Thoughts:
When I selected this book to review I had no idea that it was the second book in the Fox and O'Hare series. That being said the book was great as a stand alone but I would definitely love to go back and read book one, The Heist. 

I'm a huge fan of Evanovich's Stephanie Plum books but never cared for any of her romance books so I was excited that she ventured into the mystery/suspense genre with a little romantic tension thrown in. Kate is the bad ass that I always hoped Stephanie would progress into but never did. 

The Chase was a quick and entertaining read. The characters were lovable and fun especially Kate's dad and his cronies. It isn't a serious mystery or true suspense but it's a lighter version that works well.

My Recommendation:
I recommend this for all Evanovich fans and anyone who wants a fast, fluffy, easy read.