Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Moonrise by Anne Stuart

He had a gun. He had a secret. He had her heart.

Annie Sutherland is fast finding out her life was built on lies. Haunted by her father’s death, Annie seeks out his protégé in the CIA, James McKinley, and is thrust into a secret shadow world that sends shivers of terror through her. For she finds James is no longer the conservative bureaucrat she remembers, but a mysterious, tortured fugitive – very armed and very dangerous.

Annie and James are thrown together on a wild run that draws them closer to each other, yet Annie is still not sure who James really is – a tender, passionate lover or a ruthless assassin? Who can she possibly trust with violence exploding all around her … and love perhaps the greatest snare of all…?

For the first time, the 4th member of my reading group, Lisa, consented to her views being made public here. (I’ve been probing her mind long before this, only, she balked at taking the final step to cross over to the dark side have her thoughts publicized.) Please join me in welcoming Lisa.


Jace: I stopped reading at page 127 (end of chapter 6).

Lisa: I should've followed your lead, Jace.

Jace: My main problem with this story was the unappealing characters - Annie was irritating and James was just all right - his supposedly dangerous persona didn't come through. I didn't care whether they lived or died, to be frank, and they nearly bored me out of my skull.

Lisa: You hit the nail on the ol' head there with boring, that's for sure.

Mel: I thought both James and Annie were TSTL. The whole plot just didn't work for me and like you, I couldn't care if they lived or died.

Lisa: A huge disappointment - this is what I felt once I finished this novel. I kept hoping it would get better but it was painfully slow with two terribly irritating characters. After about 50 pages in, with the story going nowhere fast, I felt like I was trudging my way up an endless hill through the thick mud. It was a laborious read, to say the least.

I'm starting to wonder if Anne Stuart's earlier heroes are all robotic, unfeeling weirdoes who hurt the heroine repeatedly (physically and emotionally) without any remorse whatsoever and the idiot heroine stands by and takes it all.

The other thing that bothered me about the hero here was the excessive drinking. You'd think they'd be hospitalized for alcohol poisoning for the amount that they send back!

Mel: That made me laugh! He was drunk most of the book, wasn't he? How did he stay so on top of things? Yikes, talk about a functioning alcoholic. You can tell this is an older novel. He even smoked a couple of times and that's so unusual to see anymore.

Lisa: Ok, that's what I'd like to know! The guy sent back a bottle of tequila like every day! Way too unbelievable that he could be such a great assassin. I didn't notice that actually, but it's definitely weird in this day and age to read about - funny how society changes about things like that.

Annie is wacked. She's not here or there and pretty much lets people dictate her life to her. Why she loves James is hard to fathom because up to the end he couldn't have cared less about what she does. I was hoping for some big redemption scene to make up for how he treated her but there was nothing. Even the sex scenes were blah and totally devoid of anything resembling love or like even!

Jace: James alternated between wanting to help Annie and killing her. He was supposed to be a stone-cold and efficient killer, for goodness' sake - this kind of wishy-washiness just irritated the heck out of me. I wished he had just killed her and be done with it.

Mel: Annie got on my nerves so much I was wishing James would kill her. I think that would have made the book better. I don't see how this is supposed to be one of Stuart's best. Her "Ice" series is so much better IMO.

Lisa: James is an ass. He didn't know if he was coming or going. His character was totally unlikeable for me.

Jace: That stupid Annie wanted James to help her find out why her father was killed and by whom - and when he finally agreed, she ran away and wanted to forget the whole thing. That did it ... I refused to waste another minute on this book.

Mel: J, did you flip to the back to see who killed her father? Why James wasted most of the book not telling her who killed the old man is beyond me. That actually pissed me off. I was like what the hell, all of this crap and in the end … who the killer turned out to be!

Lisa: Ok, I am sooooo glad I'm not the only one! Why didn't he freakin' tell her from the beginning - he couldn't cared either way (he said at the start) so why the secrecy? In a way, he felt like an uber Bastien Toussaint from Black Ice. Thank god Stuart has improved her heroes’ personality.

Mel: I was like WTF and yet Annie ignores this and still loves him to bits. Blech.

Lisa: TSTL - poster child. Didn't it gross you out when he takes her for the first time and she's not even "ready" - he forces himself on her pretty much by holding down her arms. That was icky for me.

Mel: I have one thing to say about their first time together and that's ouch! Yeah, that's my kind of romance hero (insert sarcasm).

Lisa: It's a very moribund, cold story where people talk about dying like they were going to sleep. The romance, I felt, was non-existent and by the end, the characters were just TSTL and apathetic for me. Why did Annie's dad toy with her? Did he want her to end up with James at the end?

Mel: That's one thing that I could not figure out; the whole “why” of it. Her dad reminded me of the daddy dearest from Nightfall. Completely without parental love or caring. He treated Annie like a possession and manipulated her whole existence.

This is one of those stories that I wish I could get back the time I spent reading it.

Lisa: Ya, that was a bit of let down. I kept going through the book hoping for a moment of "redeemability" - that of course never happened.

Mel: My rating is 2.5

Lisa: My rating is 2.5 and I'm being generous!

Jace: My rating is 2 out of 5. It's problematic - did not finish. Sensuality rating: Warm.


Janicu said...

I just wanted to pop in and say how much I like the group discussions in your blog! There was a blog at which sort of did a similar thing but they stopped posting and I miss it! Also - I'm a Linnea Sinclair fan and I'm pleased to see so many posts about her books. I'm going to enter the Shades of Dark contest soon.
I'm here at -

Jill D. said...

Hi Ladies!

Oh dear, this one definitely did not appeal you! I have read quite a few of Anne Stuart's books and they all seem to have a common theme and that is the hero. He usually is abusive to the heroine, at least emotionally, not physically. I find that most often the hero is cruel to the heroine until he succomes to his love for her. You might continue to be disappointed in her stories. That is just my take on it. I personally like her style and enjoy her books. There are definitely more mild books than Moonrise. This is one of her more extreme books.

Jace said...

Janicu, welcome! :) Thanks for your kind comments.

I'm very glad that you like the group discussions. My friends and I've had a lot of fun during these discussions and a lot of interesting viewpoints floated around especially when the discussions became heated. LOL Oh yes ... we didn't always see eye to eye. *grin* There'll be more interesting discussions coming up, especially now that Lisa has joined us. :)

How nice - another Linnea fan! *huge grin* Yes, you must enter the contest! I hope you'll win something.

I dropped by your site briefly just now - great place! I'll go again when I have more time. :)

Jace said...

Jill. LOL

From the way we sounded, you wouldn't ever think that we're actually Stuart fans, would you? LOL We are, except Kat. We glommed Stuart's books like crazy a while back - Lisa has every Stuart book there is, no kidding - while Mel, Kat and I each has a decent stash.

So far, my absolute fave is Shadow Lover, followed by Black Ice.

I just couldn't get into Nightfall and this one. It's the characterization of the lead characters - they're just not consistent nor likeable. I don't have any issue with Stuart's bad boy heroes (in fact I love them), provided the characterization is consistent and believable.

We'll be going through our Stuart stash slowly but surely, and hopefully the older books will not be too disappointing. (I still have the rest of the "Ice" series to read.) *wink*

Jill D. said...

Shadow Lover is definitely one of my favorites too. Okay, I am glad you like the bad boy hero because he is definitely a staple in a Stuart romance. I was worried for a minute there, LOL! A unique book is Cinderman. Have you read that one? It might be hard to find because it is out of print. She has quite a backlist but most of them are out of print. I am secretly envious of Lisa's book collection!

kat said...

great review with Lisa and Mel!
I'm glad I refused to read it with you.


Lisa said...

Hi jill d!

I'm actually missing only SEEN AND NOT HEARD from Stuart's backlist--haven't been able to find it for a decent price :( I have the "Anne Stuart Shelf" as well as a few other authors but she's the biggest--she's been writing for forever so that would probably explain why (lol!)

Now I loved her ICE series which was what got me hooked on her--this was thanks to Melanie our resident "sampler of everything" followed closely by Katrin ;) My favourite was COLD AS ICE and then ICE STORM as a close second. I liked the hero Peter, die hard gamma that he was, but he was still redeemable at the end--plus the sex usually sizzles off the page in her ICE books (lol!) In MOONRISE and NIGHTFALL I didn't find any of that. A not nice hero and not nice sex :p The heroes there didn't care deep down for their heroines unlike the ICE books. They were just lousy sobs in my opinion....

I was so diappointed with MOONRISE because I had heard so much about it and that it was supposed to be her best. I love the bad boy alpha/gamma hero but there are some that just don't do it for me it would seem. Well hopefully the others are better :)

Melanie said...

Kat - Be glad you skipped this one, you would've hated it LOL!

Jill - Like Jace and Lisa, I just couldn't get into Nightfall and Moonrise. There didn't seem to be any redeeming qualities with either hero or herione in those books.

I adore her "Ice" series and am hoping there will be more of them. Sometimes Jace, Kat, Lisa and I even disagree on a Stuart book.
Kat and I liked To Love A Dark Lord, Jace and Lisa did not. That made for some fun conversations!

Jace said...

Jill D. said: A unique book is Cinderman. Have you read that one? It might be hard to find because it is out of print.

Jill, no, I don't have this book. However, I know *someone* who does. LOL

Seriously though, I'm thinking I don't enjoy Stuart's older books as much as the newer ones ... :(

Jace said...

Kat said: I'm glad I refused to read it with you.


Oh, K ... you sure know how to crack me up. LOL

Like M said, you'd have hated it - no, you'd have tossed it right out the window straight into the trash can. LOL

Jill D. said...

Hi Lisa,

Well I personally loved Nightfall. It was the first Anne Stuart book I read and it started a serious glom. I have read Black Ice, which I really enjoyed. The sequal to that I didn't like as much and for some reason I just haven't finished the series.

I will admit that Moonrise was one of my least favorite books by Stuart. I just couldn't get into the characters, so I agree with you there :)

Melanie, I think Stuart is really talented, but she does have some doozies. It is fun to discuss what you enjoyed and didn't with your friends and does make for interesting conversation.

Keep up the good reviews ladies!