Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Review: Deep Waters, The Golden Chance and Grand Passion

Sigh, I've been trying to get this review done for a week already ^_^; Hope tonight, I'll be able to finish it!! No time to really blog when at work... blog-hop, yes... but not post :(

A very, very long time ago, I used to read romance in French... That was before I start going to school in downtown Montreal... When I read in French, I used to borrow books at the library. Sigh, seems like another life... which I guess it was. So one day, I stumbled over this book, read and enjoyed it :) Good! Then, I returned the book... without really paying attention to the author or title ^_^; Not so good... I tried to look for the book again, with no luck. For some reasons, I thought it was the author was Elizabeth Adler... but I was wrong. I even asked the librarians if they knew the book, the answer was no... buggers ^_^;

However, thanks to blogland and Kris, I finally figured out the title and author of the book! Deep Waters by Jayne Ann Krentz!

Deep Waters by Jayne Ann Krentz
published by Simon & Schuster in January 1997

Charity Truitt and Elias Winter, two of the Pacific Northwest's most powerful corporate figures, are both facing crises of career and the heart. Fate has brought them together in Washington's tiny Whispering Waters Cove, each eager to downsize and simplify. They're both determined to avoid mergers of any kind - but when they meet, the attraction is nothing short of blue-chip. And they definitively have at least one thing in common.

A martial arts master, Elias is a novice at relationships; a formidable former CEO, Charity is starting in the mail room when it comes to love. But when the town is rocked by two shocking murders, Charity and Elias realize that they must join forces to catch a killer. Because behind the town's sleepy facade run currents fed by treacherous secrets and deep waters.
Genre: contemporary romance
Series: none

The Story: Just to recap the story a bit better than the synopsis, LOL. Charity took over the CEO position of the company after the death of her mother and stepfather, holding things together till her step (or half) siblings could take over. At a time when she was negotiating a merger with Loftus - not just a corporate merger, but marriage as well, she realized that she couldn't do it and that at the young age of 29, she's burned out. As a result, Charity decided to move to a little town in the outskirt of Seattle, Whispering Waters Cove and open a bookstore.

Since the age of 16, Elias Winter had had only one goal in life: avenge his father's life. He's worked hard, building his own empire and studying his enemy... However, at the moment he was going to make his move, Elias' mentor died... and Elias started questioning his life. Elias's mentor left him his curiosity shop as well as some properties in Whispering Waters Cove and Elias figures that would be the perfect place to think and figure things out.

Charity and Elias are attracted to each other from the start... and begin a relationship. However, they are kept busy by the events happening in quiet Whispering Waters Cove, which include a cult awaiting for aliens to land as well as two murders...

My Opinion: I really enjoyed Deep Waters, probably more than the first read :) Of course, my memory is a bit fuzzy and I believe that no matter how good the translation is, reading in the original language is always better. In addition, I think that I'm more mature and understand some things better LOL :)

What stood out for me in Deep Waters are the main characters, Charity and Elias, as well as their new lifestyles. I really enjoyed both Charity and Elias characters. They are strong, smart and stubborn :) What I liked and admired most of them however is the fact that they chose to slow down and enjoy life. I liked that it was their decision to switch from the fast-track to the slower one and not circumstances (bankruptcy, divorce, injury, etc.). Yes, Charity did burn out; however, she didn't move to Whispering Waters Cove to hide and lick her wounds while they healed. She moved because she wanted to. I like the fact that they wanted to succeed even in their quieter life and got involved in the community :) It was also a very interesting community :) I also liked that Charity and Elias found where they belonged. I liked the chemistry between Charity and Elias. I think that they fit well together, complement each other very well :) I also enjoyed how their relationship develop - slowly :)

I thought that this book was very well-written and well-balanced between the romance and intrigue. I enjoyed the fact that the H/H were unrelated to the murder and intrigue (i.e. it wasn't revenge or they weren't enemy or best friend with the deceased). Sometimes, it's nice when everything is well connected... sometimes, it's nice when it isn't. The intrigue was quite interesting and unusual :) It was not very complicated, but very well-written :)

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. If I have one complaint, then it would be the fact that nobody believed that Elias wanted to settle down and relax. Many thought he had a hidden agenda and I thought that was annoying. Sure, I might be naive, but sometimes, what you see is the reality...

Oh, I almost forgot, Elias' philosophy. It focus on water and some might find it boring or confusing. Because of his philosophy, Elias was considered weird by many. I thought it made a lot of sense. They are a lot of metaphors about life using water to describe it. I actually thought it was quite clever :)

My Grade: B+. Definitively enjoyed Deep Waters and I was glad to finally figure out which book it was :) As a result, I've been on a Jayne Ann Krentz's kick :)

The Golden Chance by Jayne Ann Krentz
published by Simon & Schuster in December 1997

When she gains control of his family fortune, it's love at first fight.

Stunning, stubborn, and independent, Philadelphia Fox lost her best friend because of the fabulously rich and powerful Lightfoot family of Washington state. Now she's got her friend's controlling shares in Lightfoot Industries - an inheritance that brings Nick, the family's prodigal and supremely attractive son, knocking at her door.

An unexpected and irrepressible spark between them blazes into extraordinary passion, and Phila - historically unlucky in love - finds the deepest satisfaction she has ever known. But behind Nick's gray eyes lurks a disturbing enigma? and Phila must make the choice of her life. Trusting Nick may come with quite a price - but giving in to his strong, sensual seduction is a golden chance that may never come again.
Genre: contemporary romance
Series: none

The Story: I don't think the story is as dramatic as the synopsis intended it to be, but it was a good one :) Basically, the Castletons and Lightfoots own a company that produces technology for the military. Only family members hold shares of this company... till Philadelphia inherits the shares of her best friend's, Crissie - who was the daughter no one knew about until she showed up a year ago and created havoc in the Castletons and Lightfoots' lives.

Let just say that the Castletons are determined to regain what is theirs by right and so after unsuccessful attempts, the matriarch turns to Nick Lightfoot... Nick used to be the CEO of the company till he walked away three years ago because of professional and familial problems... However, he has his owns plans for Phila's shares... Meanwhile, Phila - a burn-out social worker - is undecided what to do... but one thing is sure, she's not giving back the shares till she figures out whether or not the Lightfoots and Castletons have moral responsibilities concerning Crissie's death. As a result, Nick invites her to spend time with the family...

My Opinion: Okay, so maybe that wasn't such a good summary, but LOL :) It gives you a better idea I think. Anyway, I picked up this book because Li recommended it when I asked for JAK recs. All I have to say is Thanks Li because I enjoyed this book a lot :)

The best thing about this book I think is Phila. She's a crusader, someone with a lot of conviction and confidence and determined to follow her own path. She won't be bought or bullied... She's strong, smart and seek to make a better world. Personally, I think we need more of those kind of people. I really enjoyed her characters and her wits ;) I think she opened Nick's eyes to a different world :) Yeah, I'm a sucker for these kind of plots LOL.

As for Nick, I'd say he's pretty much a typical JAK heroes. Businessman, smart, confident, ruthless and manipulative when needed, wary of relationship, cool... till they meet the heroines :) The difference between Nick and other JAK heroes I've read so far is that Nick knew how strong family bonds and connections were. He's still an enjoyable hero, just didn't stand out much from the ones JAK writes.

What else did I like about this book? Pretty much everything. I liked the struggle of powers and everyone trying to predict what Phila would do and what would happen to the shares and what they could do to get whoever voted for those share on their side. It was a small mind game and I think it was interesting. There was also the whole relationship fiasco between Nick, his father and Hillary - Nick's ex-wife and his father's current wife. I like the fact that Nick and his father got re-acquainted. The incident that happened on Phila last case as a social worker worked... It was easy to figure out; however, it fit well with Phila and explained lots of thing.

The only complaint I have is that Nick kept saying: "I'm working on this problem." I think he said that line 4 or 5 times in the book... that's a bit redundant... and sometimes, I don't think he could change anything... I know, I'm being picky here. LOL :)

My Grade: Another B+. I really enjoyed it and am now looking for my own copy :)

Grand Passion by Jayne Anne Krentz
published by Simon & Schuster in October 1997

What happens when Mr. Right is all wrong?

Cleopatra Robbins has imagined the moment when she'll meet the man of her dreams. But when Max Fortune strides into the Robbins' Nest Inn, a devastating sensation sweeps through her. She knows it's him. And he's all wrong!

Head of the giant Curzon Hotel chain, a cynical man with a passion for rare works of art, Max is looking for five priceless paintings left to him by his mentor, Jason Curzon. With one long look at Cleo Robbins, Max knows he's gazing on a masterpiece and for the first time in his life, the solitary and powerful executive is overcome with the strangest desire for that wonderful institution called home. But despite their mutual attraction, Max suspects Cleo of hiding something - and by the time he realizes her secrets have nothing to do with the lost treasures, it may be too late to save her from the danger rising out of her past.
Genre: contemporary romance
Series: none

The Story: Max became an orphan at the age of 6 and had lived his childhood in a number of foster home. At a young age, he started collecting things - because things couldn't leave you. It started with books and developed into a passion for arts. After a stint in the army, Max became the right-handed man of Jason Curzon, the CEO of Curzon Hotel Chain.

In his deathbed, Jason told Max that his inheritance were 5 paintings that he left with a woman named Cleo Robbins. Max is determined to collect his inheritance, but Cleo is not who and what he expected. At a crossroad in his life, Max gets engulfed in Cleo's life and surrogate family and has finally found what he's been looking for so many years... However, someone from Cleo's dark past is about to threaten Max and Cleo's future and happiness.

My Opinion: Hmmm, either Ms Krentz was very prolific in 1997 or I have the wrong year LOL... but who cares? Another good and enjoyable book by Ms Krentz...

Again, the plot is mainly about the heroine showing the hero how to care and the hero finding where he belongs. It's a bit of a variation of the "cheerful/happy-go-lucky heroine that thaw the cool and stuffy hero" plot that I like so much and one that's quickly becoming a favorite of mine :) Cleo is not as cheerful as Phila... she's more like Charity with a dark and sad past. One that she's been able to overcome... by starting Robbins' Nest Inn. In the inn, she surrounded herself with a bunch of eccentric/eclectic characters and together, they form a family. I really enjoyed the scene where Cleo realized that Max was a friend of Jason and immediately asked him to go unplug the toilet in room 210 LOL :) Basically, I enjoyed Cleo and the family and no wonder they made Max feel something ;)

Max was also a very interesting character. His need to belong somewhere was very poignant. There's just something about a grown man of 35 y.o. still looking for something so vital, something that many takes for granted... something that even money and power cannot replace. I also laughed at how Max was able to take whatever they dished at him (small little tasks that seemed so foreign to him).

One of my favorite parts of the book was Sammy, a 5 y.o. boy with his plastic yellow duck, Lucky Ducky :) LOL. It was great to read Max and Sammy interactions together and see Max thaw a bit. The book that Cleo wrote was a nice addition to the whole book. It allowed Ms Krentz to bring Max and Cleo together better and there was continuation/ a parallel between their relationship and Cleo's fantasy... it was really well-handled.

I admit, I could have done without Cleo being threatened by her past... However, it wasn't such a big portion of the book, so it was okay ;) It focused much more on relationship and that was great. I could have also done without the Curzons coming after Max, taking him for granted and demanding him to come back. Glad that it was never in Max intention. I did have one issue though... and that's how Max proposed to Cleo. Actually, it's not even the proposal or the fact that they were getting married that annoyed me. What annoyed me is the fact that even when Cleo accepted his proposal and figured out that she loved him... she didn't think Max loved her or was able to. She thought that Max only knew how to collect or possess, but it didn't matter if she loved him enough. This is one thing that they never discussed and resolved and I think they should have. Perhaps if the book had been 50 pages longer and they had time to talk it out, it would have been better.

My Grade: B. I still enjoyed it, but I thought it wasn't as good as The Golden Chance or Deep Waters, specifically because of that last issue I mentionned.