Friday, October 28, 2011

Book Review: Merciless by Diana Palmer

Book Review: Merciless (Long, Tall Texans Series)
By: Diana Palmer
Publisher: HQN
Contemporary Romance
2 Heart Review

Tall dark and eligible? That’s all that matters to the women of Jacobsville when it comes to handsome and aloof FBI agent Jon Blackhawk. But if it were up to him, he would never settle down. Luckily, Jon has the best gatekeeper: his efficient and reliable assistant, Joceline Perry. Without her help, he’d be at the mercy of husband hunters — but the more he comes to rely on her, the more he notices how invaluable she really is....

While Joceline can’t deny that her boss is attractive, as a single mother with responsibilities she’s determined to be professional. But when Jon is accosted by a criminal seeking revenge, she comes to his aid — fueling the spark that is growing between them. As the attempts on Jon’s life increase, Joceline stands by his side. But when the smoke clears, will the man who avoided love realize that all he ever needed was right there all along?

*Note* - This was one of my hardest reviews to write because I had to wonder if my reaction to the book was really about the writing or about a difference of beliefs. After going over and over it I believe that it really was the writing.

If you're a regular reader of Cheeky Reads you might remember that I read my very first book of hers a little while back and it wasn't exactly to my reading taste. But, so many of you are fans that I decided to give it another try with her newest book Merciless. I hate to say it, but I'm still not a huge fan.

What I did like about the book was that Mrs. Palmer creates a very nicely connected family and does well with threading their stories together. Sorry to say that's about all I found that I liked about the story.

Mostly what I didn't like are things that are mainly personal preference and I'll try to touch on them here without giving away any spoilers. First, I read romances that that touch on religion and enjoy many of them. Debbie Macomber is a favorite and she does an excellent job of including religious sentiments in her stories and characters without it feeling forced or overwhelming.

I didn't feel that way with this book. It felt like religious beliefs were thrown around as an excuse for bad behavior, prejudice and plain out rudeness. I won't go into details for spoilers sake, but in the real world I've lived in some small religious towns and in none of them would they act the way some of these characters did toward a woman who had a child out of wedlock. They might not like it, but the actions in this book were so over the top it stunned me. Was this book set in the 1950's?

My main issue with this book were that I felt most of the characters were one dimensional. Especially the hero's mother. She so flat as a character in this book and I felt like her dialogue could have been that of a 6 year old kid for all the maturity and depth it had. She and her lack of a real motive for her hateful actions really annoyed me.

In fact, this book would have been more of a 3 Heart Review if the mother could have been thrown out. She really was totally unnecessary to the plot and what little she contributed could have been figured out some other way. This character tainted the entire book for me both in her actions and the utter lack of her being a fleshed out character.

All in all, I felt like the characters were teenagers in their maturity level and I questioned the decisions of the hero and heroine at every single turn in the story. This just wasn't a story for me.

Which leads me to the conclusion that Diana Palmer is just not an author that will work for me. I know she has legions of fans so obviously she works for others! If you are a fan of hers, I think you will like this book because it has much of the same feel of the previous book of hers that I read.

I don't see myself picking up another Diana Palmer book to read and review because at this point I know it won't work for me and I'm not here to review books just to bash them. I might have one of our other reviewers read her work and see if it's only me who can't seem to connect with the stories.

What about you? Have you read this book and if so, what did you think? Do you love Mrs. Palmer's books and think I'm a stupid head for not getting the appeal? Or are you like me and had trouble with it? I really want to know!

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