Anyway, so guess what I'm going to review today? Two books...
Into the Fire by Suzanne Brockmann and Heaven, Texas by Susan Elizabeth Phillips.
LOL, I can feel some of the disbelief the bloggers who know me well feel :P LOL... Okay, so here's the deal... Most of the time, I agree with blogland and enjoy the same authors that everyone loves... Robyn Carr, Jennifer Crusie, Nora Roberts and etc. However, there are a few authors that are really hugely popular with long-standing series whose books I just don't enjoy... Among them, Suzanne Brockmann and Susan Elizabeth Phillips. I tried and tried, but just don't seem to enjoy them as much as my fellow bloggers.
So why try again? Well two of my favorite bloggers have recently reviewed Into the Fire - Ames and Jill. So when I saw it at the library, I picked it up... As for Heaven, Texas... Again, Jill has reviewed it not too long ago and she got quite a lot of comments from bloggers who all seem to enjoy it immensely, so I picked it up at the library as well. See, my library is not totally hopeless... ^_^;
So here is what I thought of both books...
Into the Fire by Suzanne Brockmann
published by Random House in July 2008 (HC)
Vinh Murphy–ex-Marine and onetime operative for the elite security firm Troubleshooters Incorporated–has been MIA ever since his wife, Angelina, was caught in a crossfire and killed during what should have been a routine bodyguard assignment. Overcome with grief, Murphy blames the neo-Nazi group known as the Freedom Network for her death. Now, years later, Freedom Network leader Tim Ebersole has been murdered–and the FBI suspects Murphy may have pulled the trigger. To prevent further bloodshed, Murphy’s friends at Troubleshooters scramble to find him and convince him to surrender peacefully.
Murphy himself can’t be sure what he did or didn’t do during the years he spent mourning and lost in an alcohol-induced fog. He does know he occasionally sought solace from Hannah Whitfield, a former police officer and the very friend who’d introduced him to his beloved late wife.
But Hannah, still grappling with the deafness that resulted from an injury sustained while on duty, was fighting her own battles. For years Hannah had feelings for Murphy, and one painful night their suffering brought them together in a way neither expected–and both regretted.
Murphy is ready to rejoin the living. As always, he finds himself knocking on Hannah’s door, and as always, his longtime friend welcomes him back into her home. Yet even as Murphy slowly rebuilds his splintered life, he continues to fight his growing feelings for Hannah.
Then he learns of Ebersole’s murder and comes to believe that the Freedom Network has targeted him–and Hannah–to avenge their leader’s death to violence. Now Murphy must face the terrifying prospect of losing another woman he loves.
As the Troubleshooters desperately search for him, Murphy races toward a deadly confrontation with the Freedom Network and ultimate choice: surrender his life in hopes that Hannah will be spared, or risk everything to salvage whatever future they may have together.
Genre: romantic suspense, army/Navy
Series: Troubleshooters, book #13
I won't go too much into the story, because 1) it's really a complex story and 2) the back blurb probably does a better job than I would.
My Opinion: So what did I think of Into the Fire? Quite frankly, I had difficulty following everything that happened. I have read a few books in the series, here and there, the last one being Into the Storm, and I was a bit confused. Lots of the early characters are mentioned but don't appear and then, there's this whole new cast... It feels like I was reading Troubleshooters - the New Generation, LOL :)
Again, Ms Brockmann continues to have many plot lines at the same time... however, it didn't annoy me as much as the other books. I was most interested in Murphy and Hannah's romance and to some degree, Izzy. Didn't care much about the Troubleshooters/ex-CIA agents business.
I liked Murphy and Hannah. What happened to them was quite tragic - Murphy losing his wife and Hannah's car accident which affected her life greatly. The fact that both were in love with each other years ago, but never moved toward each other, letting life lead them in other directions... that was quite sad. I'm glad they had a second chance. Although I liked both characters, I felt like we didn't have enough background on either, especially Hannah. Where were her parents? Why was she raised by her uncle? In addition, I felt like their relationship was quite rushed due to the other plot lines. It was also stupid from Murphy not to admit his feelings for Hannah... after all they went through. What if he never had the chances to talk to her afterwards? What if she died before he could tell her that he loved her and that he lied previously? He would have felt guilty the rest of his life and regret it so much. Finally, I thought that Ms Brockmann didn't handle the pacing quite well. As I said, Murphy and Hannah's relationship felt rushed... I felt they didn't spend enough time together really talking... there weren't many sweet moments either. I think that would help.
As for Izzy... he was a great character and I have to agree with Ames and Jill... He deserves better than 18 y.o. Eden. I mean, perhaps if Eden was more mature then their relationship and interaction would have work better.... However, that's not the case. Eden's life is screwed up... and Izzy is left picking up the pieces and trying to put them together. It felt more like he was baby-sitting Eden than "having a relationship" with her.
All in all, the book was okay. I didn't dislike it as much as the previous books I've read, but I didn't fall in love with the series. I'm not going to grade this book though, because I think it would be unfair. Me coming in the middle of the series where it's obvious that I should have read some other books beforehand to enjoy it more.
Heaven, Texas by Susan Elizabeth Phillips
published by Avon in April 1995
Come heck or high water, Gracie Snow is determined to drag the legendary ex-jock Bobby Tom Denton back home to Heaven, Texas, to begin shooting his first motion picture. Despite his dazzling good looks and killer charm, Bobby Tom has reservations about being a movie star -- and no plans to cooperate with a prim and bossy Ohio wallflower whom he can't get off his mind or out of his life. Instead, the hell-raising playboy decides to make her over from plain Jane to Texas wildcat.Genre: contemporary romance
But nothing's more dangerous than a wildcat with an angel's heart in a town too small for a bad boy to hide. And all hell breaks loose when two unforgettable people discover love, laughter, passion -- and a match that can only be made in Heaven.
Series: Chicago Stars, Book #2
Again, I'm going to skip the story summary. I don't feel like I could do a good job.
My Opinion: Okay, I'm going to admit, I did skip a bit of this book. I skip the part where Grace went to Bobby Tom's house during a party and was mistaken for a strip-teaser... then, I did skip bits here and there, but I don't think it affected my understanding of the book... and the reason I skip parts? Bobby Tom.
For the life of me, I just couldn't stand Bobby Tom. I thought he was immature, arrogant and condescending. Yes, he did have some layers to him, but not enough for me to like him. Gosh, I know he was a jock, but seriously!! I couldn't find anything in him to like. The last scene where he screams at Grace after she's refused his proposal... that was just ugly and hurtful. I don't get why Grace didn't make him grovel more... (well, okay, he did break out of jail, but I still think she forgave him way too easily).
The rest of the book didn't have much of an impact on me. I felt meh reading this. I didn't relate to Grace, didn't find the subplot about Bobby Tom's mother and the bad guy in town very interesting either.
Overall, didn't really like this book and again, I won't be rushing to read the rest of the series :(
My Grade: Better than a DNF, but meh... didn't like it much... so, hmmm, D. Of course, that's just me and there's tons of people out there who loved this book :)