Title: Sweet Revenge
Author: Andrea Penrose
Publisher: Signet (April 5, 2011)
Format: Paperback; Pgs 336
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Series: Lady Arianna Hadley Mystery #1
Is it really insider trading if you've been an outsider your entire life?
Five men. Five walks of life. Every day they come together at the white shoe law firm Olmstead & Taft. But they're not lawyers. They're "Printers": blue-collar guys consigned to the dark basement of the firm charged with copying, collating and delivering the mountains of paperwork that document millions of dollars of sensitive legal secrets.
Until the five are approached by an ambitious young attorney who teaches them what they have: insider information. Together they make a plan: take the classified documents that pass through their hands every day and use them to get rich. They create a joint account to deposit the spoils. An account with a safeguard-each one only knows one section of the access code.
Which means that for all five conspirators, there's no way out. But as too much money piles up to go unnoticed, the Printers will discover there's one thing even worse than being an outsider: being in too deep.
When I first began this book, I was concerned. The first one-third of the book did not draw me in. Whereas Delirium ended with my heart somewhere in my throat, Pandemonium just laid there, almost as if Lauren Oliver did not know what direction to go in or what story she wanted to tell.
By the middle of the book, the story settles down a bit and you are right there with Lena and Julian as they fight for their futures. But the last 100 or so pages, you heart is right back there in your throat as you turn the pages and wonder along with Lena what the future could possibly hold. Then bam, you are at an ending that I did not see coming, but fully wondered if it was possible.
In book two, Lauren Oliver sends you in a slightly different direction; Lena is now emotionally alone in the Wilds and with the help of a ragtag group, moves along to her new future still mourning her past life with Alex. Told in a then and now style, the reader sees where Lena is in her present day and shows slowly and methodically how she got there. How Julian, the son of the DFA leader, can be both her nemesis and her salvation. How Lena must open her eyes and realize that not all people are as they appear, that she is being told only little bits and pieces of the whole story and that quite possibly what she thought was the truth might just be part of an even bigger lie.
An author can make or break a trilogy with the second book. They may know where they want to end, but getting from part A to Part C is a challenge. By the climax of this book, I think that Ms. Oliver served her characters well. The resistance is growing, characters are coming in and out of Lena’s life that influence her in innumerable ways, but most importantly, Lena is discovering that if she tries, there might be a life for her after Alex -- that was, until she heard the voice from behind the door.
That had to be the longest road trip of my life. I know that some people can tolerate a great deal when a particular book in a series hits the wrong nerve, but having to put up with Annie, the 23ish year old daughter of main character Bethanne, was almost enough for me to wall bang this book and walk away from this series. If her constant whining and immaturity had been toned down a bit, I would have accepted what she had to say, but she was just too much.
In addition to Annie, other little things kept bothering me while reading this book. Why would a woman, Bethanne, whose husband left her for another woman six years prior, even consider getting back with him? What woman in her right mind, who has gone on to create a good stable career from scratch, ever considers this emotional U-turn? In addition, a little research needed to have been done on road trips - driving from Flagstaff, AZ to Albuquerque, NM takes five hours and not “a little over two”. This is where the bogging down in my reading occurred. Every time a travel distance or location come up I would have to stop and picture a map and wonder why they did what they did. Possibly, I was concentrating on the wrong parts of the story, but to be honest, I needed a break from Annie.
Ok, enough venting.
Bethanne Hamlin has agreed to take her ex-mother-in-law Ruth to her 50th high school reunion. Ruth was prepared to take the trip alone, but Bethanne was not too sure that a 70-something woman should drive from Seattle to Florida on her own. Annie, the annoying daughter, invites herself along so the three women jump into the car for a life changing drive across the United States. Being a “romance”, each woman has to come to terms with the men in their lives, Bethanne’s ex-husband Grant wants a second chance, Annie’s boyfriend realizes he has made a mistake and wants Annie to be home waiting for his return and Ruth, my favorite character in the book, agonizes over meeting up with a boy from high school.
I have enjoyed some books from this series, a few have hit the right chord with engaging characters, but other should just be skipped. Overall, I do not think that this particular story moved the Blossom Street series forward. Very little was mentioned of the original group or even Blossom Street in general.
When Amelia Thistle moves to Finch, her new neighbors welcome her with open arms--and inquiring minds. Lori Shepherd quickly discovers that Amelia isn't the ordinary woman she appears to be. Instead, Amelia is a world-famous artist with a rabid pack of fans intent on stalking her.
To keep the peace in Finch, Lori helps Amelia to conceal her true identity and sets to work solving the riddle that brought Amelia to the village in the first place. A fragment of a family diary hints that Amelia might be a direct descendant of Mistress Meg, the Mad Witch of Finch. The diary's clues take Lori on a whirlwind treasure hunt through Finch's darkest and most secret nooks and crannies, all the while dodging nosy neighbors and Amelia's obsessed fans. With Aunt Dimity's otherworldly guidance, Lori pieces together the remarkable true story of Mistress Meg and uncovers a tragic chapter in Finch's past.