Tag Archives: reviews

The Best of Friends by Susan Mallery

In high school, studious Jayne Scott and wild child Rebecca Worden became unlikely best friends — a tie that endured even after Rebecca fled her family to live overseas.  After Jayne’s mother passed away, she became part unpaid assistant, part surrogate daughter to the wealthy Wordens.  But now, ten years later, Rebecca is coming home to L.A. to cause havoc for Elizabeth, the mother who all but rejected her.  And Jayne finds herself pulled deeper into the Wordens’ complicated family dynamics — especially when Rebecca’s brother, David, returns as well.

David is the man Jayne always wanted and knew she could never have.  But when he gravitates toward her in spite of Elizabeth’s protests, her vow to escape the family’s shadow is put to the ultimate test.  And as lies are shattered and true feelings exposed, Jayne must decide where loyalty ends, and love begins….  

 Favorite Quote:

 1)Elizabeth forced herself to breathe slowly. “Blaine, I swear, you look for ways to annoy me.”

 He retreated to the butler’s pantry, then reappeared with two drinks.  He handed her one.  “I don’t plan.  Sometimes the opportunity presents itself, and I succumb to the temptation.”

 “Resist,” she snapped.

 2)Back to the real world, where girls like her didn’t get the handsome prince, and the glass slipper never really fit.

Jayne Scott, poor little orphan girl who was brought into an incredibly wealthy family is, ten years later, still paying thanks by being an “assistant” to the grand dame of the family, Elizabeth.  Sure, Elizabeth and her husband took Jayne in when her mother died and paid for her college, but Elizabeth treats her like a parlor slave in the antebellum south.  The daughter, Rebecca, bane of her mother’s existence and Jayne’s best friend, is nearly as bad as her mother, whom she claims to despise (hint:  they’re exactly alike).  And yet, Jayne feels some kind of obligation to the two of them, and continually lays down for them to walk all over her.

I liked Jayne.  She was a smart girl, independent, kind, but she had a very overinflated sense of duty and had been told (or treated) too many times like she was insignificant and unworthy.  At the snap of Elizabeth’s fingers, she comes running to do her bidding.  Enter David, the “young prince” of the family returning home, the man who Jayne has been in love with for over a decade.  Elizabeth insists that Jayne help David to find the perfect house for his future wife and family and other inane tasks such as assisting Elizabeth in throwing parties designed to catch said wife. But not just any wife, someone “appropriate,” wealthy, successful, someone in his league.  Which of course, leaves out poor Jayne. 

The story takes place in Los Angeles, which is entirely suitable for the selfish, self-centered characters that inhabit it.  I’ve read stories like this before, about people who are abused in one way or another and just keep taking it.  They usually make me mad and I have to stop reading them.  But Jayne was a very strong character.  Yes, she keeps going back for more abuse, but it’s not because she feels like she deserves it, but because she expects better from them and they keep letting her down. 

But then Jayne finally finds a way to break away from them, the hits just keep coming.   I don’t know how many times the phrase “it’s not about you!” is written, but it probably should have been the name of the book.  The love story about David and Jayne was lovely.  Overall, I enjoyed the book.  I did have a small issue with all the different points of view (almost as many as the number of characters), but it wasn’t so bad.  I’ve read a few Susan Mallery books and they’re not generally this depressing (are there really people like this who only think of themselves to such a degree that they think they’re helping you when they tell you you’re not good enough?  I hope that’s not the case), but I cannot wait for the more light-hearted Fool’s Gold series that comes out next month.

 Pecans: 4/5

Dixie

Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick

hushRomance was not part of Nora Grey’s plan.  She’s never been particularly attracted to the boys at her school, not matter how hard her best friend Vee, pushed them at her.  Not until Patch comes along.  With his easy smile and eyes that seem to see inside her, Patch draws Nora to him against her better judgment.

But after a series of terrifying encounters, Nora’s not sure whom to trust.  Patch seems to be everywhere she is and seems to know more about her than her closest friends.  She can’t decide whether she should fall into his arms or run and hide.  And when she tried to seek some answers, she finds herself near a truth that is way more unsettling than anything Patch makes her feel.

For she is right in the middle of an ancient battle between the immortal and those who have fallen-and, when it comes to choosing sides, the wrong choice will cost Nora her life.

Favorite Quote:

“Honey,” she told me, “he looks slippery as soap.” 

“Good description,” I mumbled.

She fluffed her short corkscrew gray hair.  “A girl could lather up in soap like that.”

Hush, Hush is a YA novel by Becca Fitzpatrick (who is slowly climbing up my favorite author list) set in Maine.  It starts with Nora in her biology class about to start sex-ed.  After some seats reassignments she finds herself sitting next to Patch, a new student who doesn’t speak much.  Let the show begin!  Immediately he goes from never having spoken to her before to flirting nonstop and throwing loaded statements left and right.  Oh how I love instant chemistry!

After yet another mysterious (my opinion: CREEPY) guy transfers to her school , strange things start happening to Nora where she thinks she is being followed and possibly attacked but cannot remember what really happened or if she is making it up.  I honestly thought it was going to be a love triangle which I do not like [unless there is going to be a clear winner 🙂 ] but I was pleasantly surprised. During the course of the book Nora’s “incidents” become more frequent and she continues to rely on Patch to get out of situations.  She soon discovers that Patch is a fallen angel looking to become a human and she is somehow involved.

My only complaint with the book is her bff Vee.  What girl is this stupid?  Let me just shove my best friend onto the guy with the possible murder wrap (because the newspapers got it wrong!!). Let’s not let her talk to the guy who gives her rides when she is stranded, has no murder charges pending, just because she has a feeling??  What a load of crock!

I have a habit of walking thru the local department store and taking pictures of the covers of books I think might be interesting and going home to investigate.  So is the case of Hush, Hush. I do have to admit those illustrators really know how to get me.   The book definitely lived up to the cover.  It had enough action to keep me turning the page and just enough romance that I can’t wait to start the next book.

4/5

Smokin’ Seventeen by Janet Evanovich

Where there’s smoke there’s fire, and no one knows this better than New Jersey bounty hunter Stephanie Plum.

Dead bodies are showing up in shallow graves on the empty construction lot of Vincent Plum Bail Bonds. No one is sure who the killer is, or why the victims have been offed, but what is clear is that Stephanie’s name is on the killer’s list.

Short on time to find evidence proving the killer’s identity, Stephanie faces further complications when her family and friends decide that it’s time for her to choose between her longtime off-again-on-again boyfriend, Trenton cop Joe Morelli, and the bad boy in her life, security expert Ranger. Stephanie’s mom is encouraging Stephanie to dump them both and choose a former high school football star who’s just returned to town. Stephanie’s sidekick, Lula, is encouraging Stephanie to have a red-hot boudoir “bake-off.” And Grandma Bella, Morelli’s old-world grandmother, is encouraging Stephanie to move to a new state when she puts “the eye” on Stephanie.

With a cold-blooded killer after her, a handful of hot men, and a capture list that includes a dancing bear and a senior citizen vampire, Stephanie’s life looks like it’s about to go up in smoke.

Favorite Quote:  

“Well, I guess I should be on the hunt with you,” Lula said. “You probably don’t even got your gun. What if you gotta shoot someone?  What then?”

“We don’t shoot people,” I told her.

 “The hell.”

Let’s just put this out there right now.  Stephanie is never going to choose.  I’ve accepted it.  In fact, I love that she doesn’t choose between Morelli and Ranger.  It’s a tough choice.  Morelli loves her, may want to marry her, but hates her job (which she’ll never give up), and cannot really get past the idea that she’s not domesticated.  Ranger loves her, accepts her job for what it is, but doesn’t want to marry or domesticate her.  She has the best of both worlds, why would she want to actually choose?  They’re both so hot you could get a sunburn standing next to them.

Seventeen starts out with Stephanie at the bakery getting donuts when Joe’s grandma Bella puts a curse on her and it all snowballs downhill for her.  Now she’s got “the eye” and a humongous pimple on her forehead.  Then she shows up at the empty lot where Plum’s Bail Bonds used to be to find Morelli and a bunch of other police-type folks crowded around a body that had been hastily buried there.

Stephanie’s adventures this time around are funnier than they have been in a while.  Lula gets gummed by a geriatric vampire who forgot to put in his teeth and thinks she is becoming a vampire.  Stephanie’s mother now wants to set her up with Mr. Popularity from high school who just returned to town.  And then Grandma Bella puts the “vardo” curse on Stephanie, which makes Stephanie less…um…inhibited.

This is where I admit I am a Ranger girl.  Don’t get me wrong, I love Morelli and would be a Morelli girl if he were the only one after Stephanie, but I generally spend the entire book waiting for Ranger to show up.  This book makes me happy.  It’s probably my second favorite book in the series, the other being Twelve Sharp, which is basically all about Ranger.

The book ended on a bit of a cliffhanger and I’m anxious to see how it plays out, although, I’m pretty sure I can figure out the direction she’ll go in…

Pecans:  4.5/5

Dixie