Thursday, April 19, 2012

Review: Liquid Lies by Hanna Martine

Liquid Lies
Liquid Lies by Hanna Martine

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I don't know how Berkley executive editor Cindy Hwang does it. Does she have a crack team of interns/junior editors who lurk on the internet or rifle through unguarded piles of queries? Does Cindy sit at the head of a long table, hands folded, as nervous agents pitch her their clients' books in wavering voices? Does she have a hidden room containing a sentient supercomputer? Did she get a letter from an owl when she was ten? Did she fall into nuclear waste while clutching an e-reader loaded with romances? Whatever the origin of her superhuman ability, Cindy's name in the acknowledgements of a book is practically a guarantee that I'm gonna like it, and Liquid Lies is no exception.

The book isn't scheduled for release until July 3rd, just in time for that long holiday weekend. This is a debut, though, so I don't think Berkley will be too mad if I tell you a little about it. Basically, in a nutshell, this is the story about a heroine who's trying to make her daddy happy, unwittingly aiding in bad things happening, and the hero who forcibly kidnaps her, delivering her to the people who want to stop those bad things.

Liquid Lies does suffer a bit from first book-its where a lot of time is devoted to educating the reader about the world we have found ourselves in. For this reason, the book really picks up at Chapter 22. By the end, I was salivating for the sequel.

I'm going to refrain from telling you anything about the paranormal aspect because the book's blurb only tells you half the story. I was all, 'la la la, I know what she is-wait, what? Ooooooo.' I will say that while I can think of other books that would fit into this subgenre, it's not one of the more common ones. Also, while I'm not a tattoo person, per say, I kinda want the hero's tattoo for myself. I think it's such a great idea.

Oh! There's one more unique thing about Liquid Lies. As it says right on the cover, it's the "first in a new series," BUT it could have easily ended here. There's no cliffhanger, no real loose ends, nothing. There's an excerpt for the second book (which is why I needs it) and it looks like rather than confining her characters to a few square miles, Martine is going big. It wouldn't surprise me if we don't see the hero & heroine of Liquid Lies in the next book at all. I'm a fan of how Thea Harrison sets up her Elder Races series and I'm keeping my fingers crossed that Martine has a similar format in mind.

Also, that is a perfect cover.

Review: True Colors by Joyce Lamb

True Colors
True Colors by Joyce Lamb

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I was not particularly fond of True Vision when I read it last year. As a result, I sorta rolled my eyes when I saw books 2 and 3 on the RITA nominee list. However, what kind of ex-Romance Expert would I be if I read whatever I could from the nominee list? So while my expectations and enthusiasm were low, I actually thought this was a decent romantic suspense.

Firstly, True Colors is very dependent on True Vision. There is very little relationship development between Alex and John because most of the 'beginning' stuff happens in True Visions. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but it underscores the importance of starting a series at the beginning.

Secondly, like True Visions, the book moves very quickly. I read the entire book in a little over an hour. The plot was tied and the action flowed swiftly. There was a secondary arc with a runaway teen that was interesting, but it had little to do with the overall plot.

Thirdly, I liked how Lamb handled the Big Bad. Via Alex's empathic gift, she humanizes the Big Bad and gives him a horrible back-story. The reader is forced to wonder if the Big Bad's childhood had been different, maybe they wouldn't have grown up to be a serial killer.

Fourthly, most of the stuff I didn't like about True Vision wasn't present in this book. However, my suspicion about Alex being wishy-washy proved valid and I didn't particularly like the way the book ended. While I liked John in True Vision, I felt like he wasn't a strong presence in True Colors. His existence in the book revolved completely around Alex and I wanted him to feel more like his own man.

Lastly, I think I gave this three stars because it didn't wow me and I'm not a huge fan of romantic suspense to begin with. A bigger fan would probably think this is four stars.

Warning! There is graphically discussed child sexual abuse and scenes of child physical abuse. In addition, there is implied animal abuse/torture. Since the reader spends some time in the Big Bad's head, there are also some creepy scenes about sexual sadism and violence towards women.