Friday, February 20, 2009

REVIEW: "Seeing Red"

Title: Seeing Red
Auhor: Susan Crandall
Rating: 3.5 stars
Summary (from B& Ellis Greene remembers very little about the night of her cousin Laura's murder, but she does recall the face of the murderer. Ellis was the key witness to the crime, and her testimony helped put Hollis Alexander in jail for a long time. With Hollis behind bars, Ellis should feel safe, but the memory of that awful night still haunts her. Determined to free herself from the fear of being attacked like her cousin, Ellis has become an expert in self defense. However, when Ellis hears that Hollis has been paroled, she feels like a helpless teenager again--and she isn't the only one who notices that he's free.
Laura's boyfriend Nate was one of the prime suspects for her murder. After the court case, many still believed that Nate was guilty and he left town to reinvent himself. Now, fifteen years later, he has returned to protect Ellis from suffering the same fate as her cousin. As soon as Ellis and Nate see one another, sparks fly. But Ellis hasn't let herself fall for a man in a long time, and she isn't sure whether she can trust Nate. As Laura's murderer zeroes in on Ellis as his next target, she must fight to stay alive while she finally discovers her true feelings about Nate.

The point of a review is (usually) to enlighten fellow readers about how wonderful a book is. It's also meant to bring free advertising, sorta speak, to the publisher/author of that book. That being said, it is really hard for me when I have to sit down and write a review about a book that, well, didn't quiet make it to my 'favorite' pile. Unfortunately, this is one of those very reviews. Seeing Red was one of the four books I received from a publisher a few weeks ago. Although romantic suspense novels are not my usual reading of choice, I figured I'd give it a try-- Hey, I'm willing to try anything once, plus the cover was interesting, and the story sounded promising. When I started it, I had hoped that it would be quick and fast-paced, like a good mystery/suspense novel. However, the story started out slow, a bit too much for my taste, and I don't think that it ever really reached the pace that I was hoping for. Like I said before, I hate writing a negative review, but at the same time, I have to be honest, since it's not a summary, it's my opinions that make up the review. Keep in mind, when I do write a negative review, I try to make it known that while I may not have enjoyed that particular book, that doesn't necessarily mean that EVERYONE else has to put it on their 'Never Read' list. It could be that I just wasn't in the mood for that specific genre of book, and I was a bit harsh on my rating. In theory, it should be easier to pinpoint what went wrong in a book that would cause the reviewer to give it a bad rating, right? Wrong. Or, at least that's what it's like for me. I find it easier to point out all the positive, good things about a book. Sometimes it's more difficult to explain why a book failed to hold my attention. Again, this is one of those times. Seeing Red wasn't a horrible book (believe me, I've read much, much worse!), but it also didn't meet my expectations either. It was an 'okay' book, nothing really stood out about it that screamed 'Amazing!', but it wasn't so boring or terrible that I couldn't finish it or threatened to torture it just so I would never have to look at it again. I simply felt like there was no real passion between the characters. I kept thinking, "It'll get better, I just have to give it time", but even after I finished the book, there wasn't one character that I wanted to revisit. I don't know about you, but after I've finished a really good book, the story, the characters, stay with me for days, months, years even, and I want to know more. This time, I couldn't even begin to tell you what went on between half the characters or what happened for most of the book. When I closed the book, it's almost like everything I'd just spent three days reading...left. Again, it's not that the writing or story was horrible, but it just doesn't stick with you after you are done. But maybe it's just me... Maybe if I've known that, though it's called a 'romantic suspense', Seeing Red is really more of a straight forward mystery kind of book, I could have enjoyed the story line a bit more, without the conflicting expectations. The romance was so sparse, I could have put it on a 3 by 5 card, and what was there was very G-Rated. Not that there's anything wrong with that, I've read some tame romances that were just as wonderful as some of the more erotic ones, but it was more than just the lack of sex scenes in this one that disappointed me. I'm still not sure how Nathan and Ellis got together-- I didn't really see the connection, nor did I believe in it. And aren't both of those suppose to be main points in a romance? Once again, I can't say that this was the complete fault of the author-- I've heard more than a few rave reviews about this book. It might very well just be me. Sometimes, even the most well written books in history have still failed to win over the love of all the readers of the world... On the positive side, the story did pick up considerably towards the last half of the book. Not quiet enough to wow me, but more than enough to make me realize that the book wasn't a total waste of time. It had it's fair share of action and excitment at times, and while following the perverted plans of Hollis, I felt a shiver fear and disgust (not a bad thing, at least when you are reading a mystery). I wasn't bored out of my mind, but I wasn't captivated either. Again, maybe if the author had played up one genre more than the other, or worked a bit more on tying the two together seemlessly, my review could be different? If it had been a total mystery, with no romance thrown in, would my opinion change? Or if she'd worked on the main characters developments and the way their love blossomed in the story instead of focusing so much of the time on the crimes? Maybe. 3.5/5 STARS! I can't repeat it enough times: Seeing Red wasn't a complete flunk, and if you thought about reading this book, or you've read her previous books and enjoyed them, then give this one a try. Maybe check it out from the library first, but even if you buy it, it's not a waste of money. It's simply, in my view, a mediocre romance novel. Maybe her other books are much better, and maybe I'd enjoy them, I don't know. One day, I might try another book of Crandall's, and my opinion could change. But until then, I've still got to put this one aside. It's going on my shelves (as some would call it, a 'keeper'), because it's not bad enough to warrant being thrown out. But if/when I wish to trade some of my books at the used bookstore, I hate to say it, but Seeing Red may just be on the top of my (small) pile to go.

Until Next Time, ~TBQ~


Anonymous said...

It doesn't sound all too bad. But like I always say, everyone has different likes and dislikes. I think you did a great review.

The_Book_Queen said...

You're right-- it's not too bad. Like I said, I've read much worse, but it wasn't a 'wow' for me. And I agree-- I understand and respect that we all have our own likes and dislikes. While I probably wouldn't recommend this book first thin, I also wouldn't tell potential readers not to read it, if that makes sense.

Well, thanks, Barbara! It's nice to know that someone enjoyed reading my review. :) Very quick to comment too! LOL. I swear, I just posted it not 20 minutes ago. I do wish that I could have worded my review a bit more elequently, but I was in a bit of a rush today.... Next time!

Enjoy, and have a great day

Anonymous said...

Hey, I'm quick what can I say :) Great and honest review though.

I don't know what's going on! All the blogs I was following were erased I have to start over and find them all again!!!!! Ugh...