Where's Your Book Today?

That's what people always say to me at work, if I don't have a book or my PDA or my eBookwise Reader with me at lunch. I love to read and I guess it's obvious. So many books, so little time...and so much dust in my apartment.

Monday, May 29, 2006

"And Able" by Lucy Monroe

I thought "And Able" was supposed to be the last book in a trilogy of books about three Army-Rangers-turned-mercenaries. Why did I think it was a trilogy? Well, the books are named "Ready", "Willing", "And Able." Duh! Turns out, the author's writing another book for the series about a secondary character from "And Able", which I learned on her blog to my frustration...because up until then, I still wasn't sure if he was a "good guy" or a "bad guy." So it kind of killed the suspense, you know?

Anyway, I didn't think this book was a strong as the second one in the series, I'm afraid, and I gave it a 3.5 rating. Like the first one, there were sections I loved and lost myself in, but I kept being pulled out of the story, which takes from my ability to enjoy it.

Our hero, Hamilton Brett Adams (aka "Hotwire"), has gone into the private security business with the hero from book one, "Wolf". However, he's been unexpectedly drawn to our heroine, Claire Sharp, who was the roommate of the heroine in book two, Josie. Claire is possibly in danger, because she's still living in the house that had been targeted by the bad guys in book two, so "Hotwire" wants to make sure she's going to be safe.

Problem is, "Hotwire's" troubled by all these feelings he has for Claire, because...well, because he promised to love someone else, and he keeps his promises. Doesn't matter that she's not around anymore. Our hero is a charming, well-mannered Southern boy, and he keeps his promises! Doesn't matter, though - he likes Claire, and he'd want to keep any friend safe, right?

Claire, on the other hand, doesn't trust his attentions. She's had to rely on herself for a long, long time and doesn't want to even begin to get used to his taking care of her. She's only months away from graduating from college and beginning her New, Stable Life, and she just wants to believe that "Hotwire" is just being paranoid.

Naturally, "Hotwire" is not being paranoid, and Claire soon finds her life in danger - although, not from the danger they first expected. And as they try to find the killer, they draw closer to one another.

So why such a "blah" grade? (3.5's not bad...it's just not great either). There was a conversation between these three tough alpha-guys about love that had me rolling on the floor laughing. No way most guys talk like that, let alone these characters! I'm sure that's not the reaction the author was looking for to that scene, though.

Then there's the little twist that our hero, "Hotwire", is an artist. While this serves to illuminate a sweet point in the story, it might help to mention that the hero from "Ready" was also an artist. The author couldn't come up with a unique way to "prove" that this hero has a tender side? For heaven's sake, "Hotwire" was probably the most easy of the heroes to like. He really is a charmer, and his regular references to his mother and how she raised him ("Mama would skin me alive if I came to the table without a shirt on") gave you a real clue to the heart of this man.

It's pretty much a staple in romance that there's some problem the couple has to overcome before they can have their happy ending. This had one of those "he-can't-love, she's-not-worthy" devices. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. Sometimes you start thinking "Sheesh! Get on with it already!" That's how I felt with this book. It just got old.

And I'm going to try to be careful how I say this to avoid a big spoiler...but at just the moment that the crew figures out who the bad guy is, he just pops up, and in a way that again strains belief. When all is said and done, the whole wrap-up of that storyline was just anticlimactic.

Because there are book's by Lucy Monroe that I've loved, I found this book disappointing. From an unknown author, I might have been kinder. Who knows? Will I read more by her? Yep. But I'll probably read them at the library, and only purchase the ones that "wow" me.

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