This week's post was getting ridiculously long, so I decided to split it into two posts. Here's the second half:
56. Gregg Luke, Deadly Undertaking (Whitney, Suspense) Rebekah Smith
enjoys her job at the Medical Examiner's office, even though other
people might not get why she likes it so much (her boyfriend's coworker
calls her CK for "crypt keeper"). However, when her office starts
receiving several bodies of centenarians who have been partially
embalmed before their bodies were discovered, she enlists the help of
her law enforcement boyfriend, Josh Logan, to help her solve the
mystery. Unfortunately for Rebekah, she's up against a killer with a
cause, and her interest in these cadavers just might prove deadly.
book was reasonably well written (there were a few typos), and the plot
moved quickly. However, the book was not quite the mystery I
envisioned; the reader discovers the murderer fairly quickly (several
chapters are told from his point of view), so the book is more a
suspense/thriller than a mystery. Genre quibbles aside, I didn't connect
terribly well to the characters--Josh and Rebekah alternated between
witty banter and serious, medical terminology, and although they both
had serious struggles in their past, they never quite felt real to me. I
find it interesting that a lot of reviewers (on Goodreads) mention that
this book is "creepy." Now, I'm the kind of person who had to have her
husband pre-screen Buffy the Vampire Slayer, because I do not do creepy
or tense well--but I didn't have a problem with the book. Maybe that's
because I wasn't super emotionally invested in the characters? I also
found the clinical/medical descriptions the most interesting part of the
57. Rachel Ann Nunes, Line
of Fire (Whitney, Suspense) 3.5 stars. This is one of a series of books
about Autumn Rain (so named by her hippie adoptive parents), who has an
unusual gift: she can sense "imprints," or strong emotional residue
left by owners of physical objects. This gift proves useful in helping
her solve crimes, the right object can lead her to the perpetrator.
Autumn is also a nicely flawed character: she's recently met her twin
sister (separated at birth) and is coming to terms with her past. In
this story, Autumn's sister Tawnia asks Autumn to investigate their
biological father, a man who's believed to be involved in the
disappearance of a 14-year-old girl. While some aspects of the plot
(particularly at the end, when things seem to work out suspiciously well
for the main characters) were a little far-fetched, I thought the
writing was solid and I enjoyed the character interaction. I also liked
that the mystery wasn't completely predictable. The story reminded me,
in good ways, of Charlaine Harris's Haper Connelly series (only not
nearly as gruesome and without the sex).
58. Traci Hunter Abramson, Code Word.
(Whitney, Suspense). This is book #6 in Abramson's Saint Squad series,
about a Navy SEAL team that is predominantly Mormon. In this particular
novel, Jay Wellman has just been granted two weeks leave after a
nearly-fatal mission as part of the operation to kill Osama Bin Laden.
Jay anticipates a relaxing two weeks spent with his father; he doesn't
expect Carina, the older sister of one of his father's swimming
students--and the daughter of a Chicago mobster. Although Carina and her
sisters have put the family behind her, the family hasn't forgotten
about them. When the new head of the family sends men to find Carina
(and something that Carina has), she reluctantly turns to Jay for help.
The story flowed well and I liked that Carina was a strong woman who
didn't have to be saved. However, I have to admit that there were some
parts (mostly when the characters were discussing their plans) where I
got a little bored. The romance and Jay's growing interest in the Mormon
church seemed a little too pat and predictable for me. I would have
liked to feel a little more surprised (or suspenseful) about how the
story turned out. Also, coming into the series late, there were lots of
side characters that I had a hard time keeping track of (I did have the
sense, though, that all these characters had their own story and their
appearance would mean something to fans of the series).
59. Jude Morgan, Indiscretion. This is my second Jude Morgan book, and while I didn't enjoy it as much as I enjoyed the first (An Accomplished Woman), I still enjoyed it a great deal. Since this is primarily a comedy of manners, it's a little hard to describe the plot, which centers primarily around the interactions between individuals. After Caroline Fortune's father runs through what little remains of their fortune, Caroline takes a job as a companion for a truly horrible, manipulative old woman, Mrs. Catling. This plunges her into Ms. Catling's social millieu, where Caroline meets Mr. and Miss Downey, along with the dashing Richard Leabrook--none of whom are quite what they seem at first inspection. After being summarily dismissed from Mrs. Catling's, Caroline takes refuge with an aunt and uncle and meets the delightful Milner family. Things seem to be going well until Caroline encounters ghosts from her past in the form of Mr. Leabrook and the Downey's. I really enjoy the author's distinct characterizations, the witty and sly observations, and the general Regency atmosphere of these books.
60. Jessica Day George, Princess of the Silver Wood. This is the final book in a trilogy retelling of the Twelve Dancing Princesses. In this book, Petunia, the youngest of the twelve princesses, is on her way to visit a Duchess when her carriage is attacked by the Wolves of the Westfalin Woods (a fun nod to red riding hood). Petunia is inadvertently kidnapped by their leader, Oliver, who is not quite what he seems. At the same time, Petunia's nightmares about the King Under Stone (who forced her and her sisters to dance before his death) have returned. When Oliver is tasked with seeing Petunia safely returned to the Duchess, he discovers that Petunia's dreams are in fact quite real, and Petunia, Oliver, and the remaining princesses and their spouses will have to face the sons of the King Under Stone one last time. While it was difficult to keep track of all the characters, I thought George did a pretty good job keeping them distinct and I thought the story was generally charming, if not particularly profound.