Tuesday, March 6, 2012
A Two for One Book Review: Final Call & Friends and Foes
I read two amazing books this week that I have to tell you about. (And yes, I only purged one box yesterday because the book just kept calling to me, "come find out how I end," so I gave in and read.)
Final Call by Rachel Nunes is the third in her Autumn Rain series. It's sort of paranormal in the fact that Autumn can read "imprints" that people leave on objects and she is a consultant for the police department because of it (mostly helping to find missing people.) That was the part that originally drew me into the series, but I quickly became attached to the characters.
Autumn was raised in a "hippie-like" environment with her adoptive parents who raised herbs and ran an herb shop. They believed that if someone stole from them, then that person probably needed it more, and offered whatever they had. They ate organic food and Autumn doesn't wear shoes. At all. (Well, in this book she does have foot coverings because it's winter.) Then we have Jake, Autumn's best friend who is her rock, her best friend, and who has been there for her through a lot of loss and discovery. And let's not forget Detective Shannon Martin who was so skeptical of Autumn's "imprint" reading and was fairly adversarial toward her until the last book, Shades of Gray. In Shades of Gray, we knew there was something between them that they both knew was there and I was anxiously awaiting Final Call. Let's just say it did NOT disappoint. The ending left me breathless and wanting more. And guess what? Apparently there's going to be another book. All I can say is, it better come out FAST! I want to know what happens.
Of course the characters aren't the only feature of the series. The mysteries put forward are first rate and when I settled on a villain in Final Call, I was still questioning my choice until the last few pages. It's set in the theater district and has some pretty awesome twists and turns as Autumn tries to solve the disappearance of her friend's sister and comes across an eight year old case that could be murder. A little dark and twisty in places, (literally!) and very enjoyable in a creepy mysterious mystery fashion.
(And just an aside, I love that Autumn isn't any wilting violet waiting to be rescued. She's taken martial arts classes and learned to defend herself. I loved that about her!)
All of that made me want to go back and read the first two in the series---like re-visiting old friends. It was just that good.
Then there was Friends and Foes by Sarah Eden. Completely opposite of Final Call in the fact that Friends and Foes is a regency. Set in England, we have our hero (whom we met in a previous book) Phillip Jonquil, and we find out that he is really a secret spy trying to catch a traitor to the Crown, all the while pretending to be a fop and entertaining houseguests at his home.
Sorrel Kendrick is a woman who has been disfigured in a horrible accident and has a limp that makes her life miserable. She hates feeling dependent and as such, she puts out a fairly defensive position to everyone she meets and most especially to Phillip Jonquil.
They become sworn enemies while she is staying at Phillip's home and both are intent to win the war between them, but there comes a time when they start to wonder if they've crossed that fine line between hate and love. Before they can figure that out, however, Sorrel overhears a conversation from the very traitor that Phillip is tracking and it puts her in danger. From there on out we are racing toward the conclusion, flipping pages as fast as we can to see one or both of them will survive.
The banter in this book was superb and made me laugh out loud several times. Phillip and Sorrel are characters that have depth sometimes hard to find in this genre. They both are fighting demons within their families and both feel a lot of responsibility for the predicament of themselves and those around them. I definitely saw the growth in them as the story progressed which made the reading even more gratifying. Sarah Eden is one of my favorite authors and I can honestly say her knack for touching on the emotions combined with the intrigue and time period make her books extraordinary.
I can heartily recommend both of these books and I know they will go on my keeper shelf so I can read my favorite parts over and over again.
Here is the back copy:
Sometimes what you can't see means everything. Autumn Rain is accustomed to using her ability to read imprints to solve seemingly unsolvable cases. Yet when she goes searching for the sister of a friend, she is embroiled in the make-believe world of live theater, where it's difficult to tell reality from playacting and where everyone appears to have something to hide. Autumn must team up again with Detective Shannon Martin to learn the truth about an eight-year-old mystery that involves a new murder and more missing actors. Working so closely with the compelling detective further complicates their uncertain relationship and tests her loyalty to her once-boyfriend Jake Ryan. When her sister, Tawnia, becomes involved in the case, Autumn finds herself in a deadly struggle to save them both from facing their own final call.
Friends and Foes
After five years of tracking and capturing spies on English soil, Philip Jonquil, Earl of Lampton, is in pursuit of his last quarry. But at a traveler's inn, he encounters an unexpected and far more maddening foe: Sorrel Kendrick, a young lady who is strikingly pretty, shockingly outspoken, and entirely unimpressed with him. Indeed, Sorrel cannot believe the nerve of this gentleman, who rudely accuses her of theft and insults her feminine dignity. Doubly annoyed when they both end up at a party hosted by mutual friends, Philip and Sorrel privately declare war on one another. But Philip's tactics, which range from flirting to indifference, soon backfire as he finds himself reluctantly enjoying Sorrel's company; and, much to her dismay, Sorrel finds Philip's odd manner to be increasingly endearing. In the midst of this waning war and growing attraction, Philip catches wind of the French spy he's been tracking, and Sorrel inadvertently stumbles upon a crucial piece of the puzzle, making her indispensable to the mission. But can two proud hearts negotiate a ceasefire when cooperation matters most?