Book Review: Fire and Ice, To Die For

Another round of backlogged book review, this time on two romantic suspense novels. One by Anne Stuart, whose ice series I’ve been following, and the other by Linda Howard, who is not new to me, but has yet to capture my interest – maybe it’s the choices of her books I’ve made which influenced me. Well, anyway, here are the reviews:

Book Review: Fire and Ice, To Die ForTitle: Fire and Ice

Author: Anne Stuart

Genre: Romantic Suspense

Publisher: Mira

Year Published : May 1, 2008

Stand alone or series: Series, the fifth book in the Ice series centred around this enigmatic crime fighting (sort of) underground organisation known as The Committee

Why I read it:
I’ve been following this series since I read the first book, Black Ice, so naturally, I’ve been waiting for this last book.

On the Back cover:

In the wake of a failed love affair, brainy beauty Jilly Lovitz takes off for Tokyo. She’s expecting to cry on her sister Summer’s shoulder, then spend a couple months blowing off steam in Japan. Instead, she’s snatched away on the back of a motorcycle, narrowly avoiding a grisly execution attempt meant for her sister and brother-in-law.

Her rescuer is Reno, the Committee’s most unpredictable agent. They’d met once before and the attraction was odd – tattooed Yakuza punk meets leggy California egghead – but electric. Now Reno and Jilly are pawns in a deadly tangle of assassination attempts, kidnappings and prisoner swaps that could put their steamy partnership on ice.

In my books …
I’m actually glad that this book was not so much about The Committee as the last book, Ice Storm left me disillusioned about the efficient and uber-cool image that it has thus far been portrayed in earlier books.

Followers of the series already had a brief glimpse of the budding romance between Reno and Jilly in Book 3, Ice Blue, which was nipped from blooming, only because Reno’s cousin, Taka, and Summer made him promised to stay away from the impressionable young Jilly. Now, that teenage crush is about to be fulfilled, although in ways that neither protagonists could envisage. Reno is too conflicted about his feelings for Jilly at first, while Jilly, for all her intelligence and brilliance, is clueless about how to deal with the subtle emotions and undercurrents of Reno’s deep feelings for her.

The non stop action, confrontations and brushes with the seedy underworld of Japan played up the thrill factor of the book. The romance play was a little raw in parts but sweet in others. But there wasn’t a single moment when I was bored. Impatient maybe … but never bored. Overall, this is a much more entertaining and believable story than Isobel’s. I love the refreshing setting of Japan as the scene of all the suspense and thrill.

Let me see, I loved Black Ice, Ice Blue, liked Cold As Ice and although I was NOT thrilled by Isobel’s uncharacteristic behaviour in Ice Storm, I was too much of a fangirl and ended up liking it too. So, how could I not like Fire and Ice too?

IMB Rating: 3.5, more than liked it

Title: To Die For

Author: Linda Howard

Genre: Romantic Suspense

Publisher: Ballantine Books

Year Published : 2004

Stand alone or series: this is the first book of the Blair Mallory series

Why I read it:
I wasn’t enamoured of the Linda Howard books I’ve picked up so far, so I thought of giving her books another shot.
On the Back cover:

Blair Mallory lives the good life. She’s pretty, confident, and the owner of a thriving upscale fitness center. But in the shadow of success, a troubled member of the club develops a strange fixation on her, imitating her style and dress. Matters take a darker turn when the look-alike is shot dead- and Blair witnesses the horror.

As the media speculate on the tawdry details of the homicide and push Blair into the harsh spotlight, she locks horns with police lieutenant Wyatt Bloodsworth- he wants to lead the an investigation without interference, while she is determined to probe the dead woman’s life on her own. But when someone begins to menace Blair with mounting threats, Wyatt takes notice: Was the murder indeed a lethal case of mistaken identity- and was Blair indeed a victim?

In my books …
There’s more romance than suspense in this book, for sure. Plot is predictable, although there was plenty of sassy humour and sizzle in it. It isn’t exactly the type of book I’ll die to read, but it was alright for killing time.

And by the length of this very short recap, you can tell this book didn’t capture my imagination, nor sustained my interest beyond reading it once. Fortunately, I didn’t fork out the US$6.99, as it was a book on loan. I think it would have grown mouldy on my shelf.

Unless you’re a big fan of Ms Howard, you wouldn’t miss much if you skip this book.

IMB Rating: 2.5, neither liked nor disliked it


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