Saturday, March 24, 2007

Review: The Fortune Hunter series by Christina Dodd

I'm trying to remember how many Christina Dodd's books have I read prior to these two books... The answer, only one and it was Just the way you are and I remember not really liking it. Seriously, I wasn't going to buy Trouble in High Heels... really. Only, I really liked the cover of Tongue in Chic and the black burb and since it's supposed to be a series, well I broke down. Sigh. Big mistake... it wasn't that the books were really bad or the throw-against-the-wall type... just that they were bleh... both of them ^^;

Trouble in High Heels by Christina Dodd: 2.5/5
published by Signet Novel in September 2006

Brandi Micheals has just moved to Chicago to join a big law-firm as well as joining her fiancé who's doing his residency. However, when her fiancé calls her from Vegas announcing his wedding to his other girlfriend and asking the ring back, Brandi pawns her engagement ring to pamper herself and buy a killer red dress to attend a charity/exposition evening hosted by her mentor. Her intention is to find the perfect man and have a one night-stand... Her choice: Italian Count Roberto Bartolini. Unfortunately, it's only after a week-end of bliss that she realizes that Roberto Bartolini is the client of the case she's been assigned to as well as a suspected international jewel thief. Meanwhile, Roberto is here to get revenge...

Genre: romantic suspense, contemporary
Series: Fortune Hunter series, Book #1

Review: Seriously, at the middle of the book, I didn't care about Brandi or the story anymore and that's why the book got such a bad great. It's not only the characterization, but also the writing that didn't agree with me.

The Characters - Brandi is a lawyer and had an unhappy childhood. Her mother was her father's first trophy wife and he yearned for a son. Unfortunately, Brandi wasn't a son and in addition, did ballet and gymnastic - skills that her father didn't find really useful. In fact, he thought Brandi was simply stupid and ditched both Brandi and her mother for trophy wife no. 2. However, Brandi's mother was a bit clueless - didn't know how to take care of herself or Brandi, didn't even know how to write a check... not that they had much money, cos there was no prenuptial contract. Basically, Brandi's father was a bastard and Brandi was left to pick up the pieces... Then she grows up into a beautiful and a bit imposing woman - as she's quite tall and curvacious. Personally, I've read about worst childhood. Yes, I agree, it was bad and sad, but not very endearing in Brandi Micheals. Personally, I don't know what I was supposed to feel about her. Personally, I think it was a problem in characterization... I don't think that Ms Dodd knew what her character was supposed to be like either and that's the result you get, a confuse reader. As for Roberto, well a bit of the typical supposedly sexy and irresistable man with too much pride... but those are starting to be typical and I think I need a bit more.

The Story & Writing - I thought the story was confusing and it lost me ^^; Seriously, nothing much stands out of this book to me except two scenes. One is the scene where Brandi sees her ex-fiancé with his wife for the first time at a charity event which she attends with Roberto. Of course, the was-couple starts to have an argument and to my shock: the weasel, cheating ex-fiancé gets the LAST WORDS!!! Do someone else think this was wrong? Especially since he calls her a whore. Brandi is supposedly very bright and she lets him gets away calling her a whore? Euh, no, that really doesn't sit well with me... unless she agreed with what he said and that's even worse to me. I think that's the scene where I stopped paying too much attention to the storyline... The second scene is where Roberto throws away his pride and dresses up as a dragon to beg for forgiveness. It was a cute scene, but again - how did Roberto know about the dragon? anyway, many inconsistencies and in addition, Ms Dodd's writing style doesn't suit me well. I think it isn't as smooth as it should be and it lacks a little bit of depth.

The Cover - I think the cover is actually nice and fitting.

Am I keeping this book? Hasn't decided yet. Probably yes, but I don't think I'd mind parting with it.

Tongue in Chic by Christina Dodd: 3.25/5
published by Signet Novel in February 2007

Devlin Fitzwilliam comes from one of the most prestigious family in South Carolina. Unfortunately, he's a bastard and that means he and his mother have been snobbed and many are against Devlin new business - renovating the Waldemar mansion into a hotel. Devlin bought the mansion from Bradley Benjamin III, one of the most arrogant man and one that has looked down on Devlin since his childhood, which for Devlin is a sweet revenge.

Natalie Meadow Szarvas is Benjamin's granddaughter, although the man does not know. Natalie's mother is ill with cancer and Meadow needs money to pay medical bill. Her only option is to find the lost Rembranlt that her grandmother Isabelle - Bradley III's wife whom he divorced because he thought she cheated on him with her artist mentor and therefore, he kicked her and their daughter (although at this point, he doubted she really was his flesh and blood) out of his life, has hidden. However, Meadow is caught inside Waldemar and after hitting her head in an attempt of sneaking away, she fakes amnesia. Not a bad idea until Devlin claims that Meadow is his wife. So really, what is going on?

Genre: contemporary, romantic suspense
Series: Fortune Hunter, Book #2

Review: This book was better than Trouble in High Heels, but still not an impressive one. There are two types of plot that I usually like: a) the happy-go-lucky woman and stuffy man falling in love. It's always a pleasure to see the stuffy man getting less stuffy and thawing a bit. b) I like jewel thief plot :) Tongue in Chic combines both plots into one; however, neither was done that well.

The Characters - Natalie Meadow Szarvas is an artist and so are her parents. So she has this nonchalent aura surrounding her and she takes everything easily and happily. She's pretty, nice and amiable and I liked her much better than Brandi. Devlin is the perfect stuffy, business-oriented man. They are both attracted to one another; however, I didn't feel the chemistry between them, which was quite unfortunate. However, I liked the characters well enough.

The Story & Writing - well, same complaints for the writing. Still lacking the smoothness and depth, but I won't go there again. I thought the story work better, but it wasn't perfect. First, the amnesia aspect - it would have been quite entertaining if there weren't so many flaws. I mean, Meadow is not a great actress and she couldn't fake having amnesia ^^; Secondly, Devlin didn't thaw very much throughout the book... and that's why I think that they didn't have much chemistry. Highlight for spoiler: the pregnancy at the end seemed a bit superflus for the plot. I didn't think it was quite necessary and it just created more troubles to the couple. The "suspense" aspect wasn't very interesting ^^; It did tie things up, but perhaps that was the only purpose.

The Cover - Liked this one better with the blue and all :D

Am I keeping this book? I guess so for now.

Anything else? First, the reason why these two are together as a serie is because both main male characters, i.e. Roberto and Devlin are half-brothers. Their father is Nathan Manly, a fraud man who has sired many illegitimate sons is presently on the run somewhere in South America. His only legitimate son is Carrick and he does make an appearance in both books. I wonder if he will get his own books as there are no news about this series for the future. In addition, why on Earth is this series call Fortune Hunter? The name makes me think of gold-diggers which Brandi and Meadow are not. They do find some very valuable object, but it's not as if they were looking for it. On Ms Dodd's website, there is no further info about this series, so I don't know if she's going to continue writing it... Instead, she has an announcement for a new paranormal series... that I want to remind myself not to buy... unless I really see good reviews.


  1. A friend told me to stay away from these books--she'd read Trouble in High Heels and said the heroine was pretty awful. Sorry they were disappointing!

  2. Yikes, both of these in my TBR! Guess they can languish awhile, huh?

  3. Jennie - You're lucky to have such a good friend! I didn't have much friends with the same reading tastes as me so that's why I'm so glad to have found the romance blogland :) but yeah, stay away from them.

    Rosie - Yep, I think they can :)

  4. I used to read Christina Dodd - used to being the key phrase. I tried her first contemp and really did not like it. In fact, I haven't like her books for a long time now. But - she did have some good Medievals, Once a Knight and A Knight to Remember. I also quite liked A Well Pleasured Lady and A Well Favored Gentleman. But other than those 4 - meh.

  5. I was very close to picking up this book but I'm not that big a fan of her more recent historicals so I held off. I'm glad I did. I think I'll skip these.

  6. You should have read my review before you bought the books, lol.

    I was also disappointed. Sigh.

  7. Hi Kristie :D - Yeah, well now, I "used to" read her books too :) The thing is her plots sound good and intriguing, but the delivery isn't, which is sad. Like her new paranormal series... sounds good, but no thanks.

    Renee - I'm glad I could save you some money :) spend it on better books :)

    Chantal - when did you review them? Perhaps I wasn't reading your blog yet ^^; Yeah... they were disappointing books :(

  8. You can find my author list here

    I only posted about TIHH though.
    You know, I adore Christina Dodd, I really do. But she should stick to historicals.