As the first book in the series, I expected there to be a slow build, and I certainly got that. But once the stories started moving, they really got going.
This family reminds me of Dynasty or Dallas, the old nighttime soaps of the 80's. It's awesome. Dysfunctional family, crazy people, drama, and money. It's seriously like reading a modern day Dynasty.
This first book focuses on the relationship between Lane and Lizzie, but their 'love story' isn't the entire focus of the book. You get introduced to nearly all the non-adult kids of the dynasty, their parents and mock parents, and the 'help' around the big compound. Complicated relationships abound, stemmed from an abusive father and a mother with dependency issues.
It was ok. I didn't start at the beginning of the series, which may have helped with the character developement. I wasn't totally feeling Bubbles. Took longer for me to read that usual. Good story, though .. once I finally got thru it. :)
This is Phoebe's story and it is a good one. It's my favorite of the series - I found it impossible to put down (read it in one REALLY late night.)
Phoebe's dress making masquerade is under fire - her cover is blown by her employer, who promptly blackmails Phoebe to travel to the country estate of the newly returned Lord, to prepare whole wardrobes for his younger sisters debuts. Of course, she and this Lord hit it off, but will it all work out in the end (well - it's a romance, so you know it will .. but the journey on how they got there was great.)
I found this a little slow after the first 2 in the series. Abby gets possessed .. and thus is put under protective custody. Unfortunately, that limited the author for plot development. I did like seeing Rule and Abby's romance play out, but it isn't my favorite of the series.
The movement of the plots picks up again in Book 4, though.
This was my first Keri Arthur book. The first chapter or two was difficult with the character's self-dialogue with her memory loss, but pretty much after page 22 I was hooked. I couldn't put it down. I can't recommend it enough!
I've started to become very dissapointed in MJD's books. It seems she is more interested in churning out as many as possible, rather than placing the focus on decent stories and developed characters.
DDG doesn't allow enough time for the reader to become invested in the characters. Chapters are brief, only a few pages long, and the plot is choppy. Sigh. I hope she can get her writing back on track, and stop coasting on her first hit to suck in her readers.
4.5 stars - this is my second book of the Dead-End-Job-Mysteries series (I'm reading out of order, apparently .. but luckily it isn't detracting from the story!) I love Helen, the heroine. She's plucky and resourceful, and Elaine Viets has a great writing voice that is fun to read.
What a great book! I've read the other reviews, and I know there are lots of opinions over the ending, the 5-pack series, that there was 'no plot', and 'no romance'.
Firstly, this is not a romance series, in the vein that other KMM novels have been. It is also a 5-part series, not a stand alone book, as other KMM novels have been. So, if you can put all that aside, and read the series for what it *is* instead of what it *isn't*, then you may fall in it as I have.
I finished the book a few days ago and I've been stewing about it since. For those who complained about the lack of plot, the plot is more subtle here .. but what does occur is still very important in pushing the plot forward to it's eventual conclusion. KMM has remarked that there is a lot of foreshadowing in this book. If you look at what did occur with this statement in mind, you may see the bigger picture of where she is going.
Some questions were answered (who is the Lord Master, what is in the book), some hints were given (V'lane's actions/reactions toward Barrons; V'lane's stories and side comments to Mac), and others were clearly made larger (what the heck/who the heck is Barrons; if you need the book, how/who will get it!)
In the end, what occurs (and I'm not talking about the mentioned 'gang rape' scene, but instead the events encompassing it) is integral to the series. Obviously this needed to occur in order for the series to move forward to it's final 2 books (and how painfully hard will it be to wait for those final 2 books!)
Book 3 has given me more food for thought than the 2 intro books - the first books (which I loved) introduced Mac to this world. Book 3 really takes it, develops it, and gives us hints as to where everything is headed. I thought it was fanstastic, and I agree with the reviewer that said it is the best of the series so far.
That about sums it up. The fans looking for a resolution for the Steph-Morelli-Ranger triangle will be disappointed ... there was very little love-line interaction (a few conversations, a few smacks of the lips, but very little detail regarding the mindset of Ms. Plum.)
The BIG mystery: the who-done-robbed the bank and hid the money 10 years ago, and now wants it mystery??? It was OK. Nothing exciting.
The skips: uh ... what skips? There were very few of the usually laugh-inducing skip take-downs.
The laughs: I chuckled a few times, but there was no laugh-until-I-cry episodes.
The monkey: .. all I have to say is WHY? There was no reason to have a monkey as a gimmick for a plot point. There were a few comments about finding monkey poop, etc, but the monkey could have been left out of the story completely, and the book would have been better for it. It screamed gimmick to me.
The side characters:
Lula - gotta love that woman. She's a big hoot.
Grandma - I didn't buy the big gamer g-ma, either. Although Grandma is 'hip', buying her as a hardcore gamer is an enormous stretch.
Mooner - I loved seeing Mooner back :)
So overall, if you are a fan, you may be glad you read it. It's Stephanie Plum, who is still entertaining .. but don't expect to find your new favorite of the series. I didn't hate it, but I didn't love it .. but I'm still glad that I read it. 3 stars.
The story and premise are interesting .. but the plot is very slow to develop, and could have used some editing to eliminate about 100 pages and move the plot faster. I'm about halfway into the book, and it seems like nothing much has happened yet, even though I'm halfway done. Yeah ... there's a murder, but it's in the background. Most of the stuff is Margrit running around learning about gargoyles and the Old Ones so far. Thdre may be a satisfying conclusion at the end of the story, but I don't think I am going to get there.