BEA'S BOOK NOOK "I can't imagine a man really enjoying a book and reading it only once." C. S. Lewis “If one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again, there is no use in reading it at all.” ― Oscar Wilde

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Bea Reviews The Pretender by HelenKay Dimon

Series: Games People Play #3
Publisher: Avon
Source: the publisher in exchange for an honest review
Release Date: December 26th, 2017 
Buying Links: Amazon* | Avon Romance | Book Depository* | Google | iBooks* | Barnes & Noble
* affiliate links; the blog receives a small commission from purchases made through these links.

Blurb from goodreads:

“Sexy, emotional, funny . . . Dimon gives it all to her readers.” New York Times Bestselling Author Jill Shalvis

They say it takes a thief to catch a thief, and Harrison Tate is proof. Once a professional burglar, he now makes a lawful living tracking down stolen art. No one needs to know about his secret sideline, “liberating” artifacts acquired through underhanded methods. At least until one of those jobs sees him walking in on a murder.

Gabrielle Wright has long been estranged from her wealthy family, but she didn’t kill her sister. Trouble is, the only person who can prove it is the sexy, elusive criminal who shouldn’t have been at the island estate on that terrible night. She’s not expecting honor among thieves—or for their mutual attraction to spark into an intense inferno of desire.

Under the guise of evaluating her family’s art, Harris comes back to the estate hoping to clear Gabby’s name. But returning to the scene of the crime has never been riskier, with their hearts and lives on the line.

My Thoughts:

I was a little hesitant when I started this book as the last one didn't wow me. I shouldn't have worried. The first chapter sucked me right in and I was hooked. It was a fantastic read, right up until the last 10 percent. The ending was unsatisfactory and brought the book down from 4 stars to 3.5 stars. But the first 90 percent was so good. I can hardly wait for the next book in the series and this one hasn't even officially released yet, lol. 

So, in the first chapter we meet Harrison Tate, art thief. He's been prepping to steal a painting from a woman on an island but stumbles across her dying body after she's been attacked. He flees, accidentally implicating Gabby, the dead woman's sister, in the process. A year later, he inserts himself into her life, hoping to prove her innocence while keeping himself out of jail.

Harrison and Gabby both fascinating people. Harrison has familial issues and really only trusts or cares about a small, and close, circle of friends, men he's known for years, men who help him now with proving Gabby's innocence. Harrison is an adrenaline junkie, an art connoisseur, a successful thief, and a man of deep loyalty.

Gabby is the oldest daughter of a wealthy family who had been at odds with her parents for years before their death, was somewhat close to her baby sister, and is passionately hated by her uncle. She was also a full-time victim, in my opinion. Yes, as a teen she made mistakes, but she paid a high price for those mistakes, and accepted the judgement and harsh treatment from her relatives not only what she did but for things they believed she did. She took all of the blame and criticism and punishment and felt she deserved it. She said it was hard to live with that hanging over head yet also sought out that treatment. It was hard to understand at times why she so willingly accepted the guilt and blame. It's very late in the story before she finally begins to realize that her family, especially her sister, kept secrets too, and that she was far too accepting of the shitty way they treated her.

Neither Gabby nor Harrison easily trust people and they danced around the issue, even as they gave into their sexual attraction to each other. On the one hand, they shared secrets with each other, had sex with each other and yet they kept major secrets from each other and worked at cross-purposes at times. Harrison kept a huge secret from Gabby, one that wasn't revealed to her until 91% in. 

But guilt moved through him nonstop these days. The closer he got to gabby, the nore he cared for her and the heavier his secret became.

He kept finding excuses to put off telling her. At first, he'd been determined never to tell her...Then he met her, got to know her and vowed to tell her the truth after they got a lead. After they slept together e shifted his priorities again and decided he'd disclose after they narrowed down the list of suspects.Now he wanted to put it off until they caught the killer, a task that felt impossible most days.  

The story ended at 98% so that didn't leave much time for his revelation, and the emotional damage it caused, to be dealt with. Honestly, Gabby was much too quick to deal with the fallout and to forgive him. He needed to grovel and he doesn't. Oh, Gabby makes him promise to grovel, but we never see it, and they get their happy ending without it. Up until the last 7, 8% of the story, "The Pretender" was an emotional family drama, an intriguing mystery, and a steamy yet sweet romance. But the resolution was too fast and emotionally unsatisfying. 

"The Pretender" was captivating and engaging with characters that I was rooting for. While the ending was disappointing, the story was satisfying, full of emotional nuance blended with action and mystery.

My review of The Negotiator, book #2.5

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