Saturday, November 19, 2011

Series review: The Caldwell Sisters, by Lucienne Rivers

Title: Hold Me (book 1), Thrill Me (book 2), Entice Me (book 3)
Author: Lucianne Rivers
Release date: August/September/October 2011, each
Publisher: Entangled Publishing
Source: e-book from publisher for review

Description: Meet the Caldwell Sisters.
Reeling from their mother's untimely death, Jane, Allison and Margo Caldwell each go searching for answers... and for their missing father. Treachery, traps and temptation abound in this thrilling contemporary romance trilogy.

My Thoughts: As each of these books is a short novella (around 80-90 pages each), and I don't have overly much to say, I thought I would review the series as a whole in one post. Please let me know if you like this style of review.

At the beginning of Hold Me, Lucianne Rivers gives us the reason for the series: the three sisters are meeting their attorney to hear the reading of their mother's will, and it's revealed that the father they thought was dead is alive somewhere. The recently deceased Candace has left a quarter of the estate to him, and a quarter to each daughter, with their family home going to whoever finds their father first. The sisters hire a private investigator who finds two men who could possibly be Zach Caldwell, and Hold Me follows Jane as she sets off for Guatemala to track down one of them.

The first thing that struck me as we got in to the story was how ridiculously naive Jane is about travelling. I like to travel, I usually travel alone, and as a young solo traveler I think I can relate to some of Jane's feelings and experiences on her trip. But I have to be honest and say that when I was travelling after high school, 18 years old, I had more travel-smarts than Jane does. By a long way. Firstly, she gets off a plane and makes her way to the bus station where she has no idea when the next bus is, or how often they go. She seems to have assumed that she won't have to wait, because she's not expecting to be in town for the night. I could forgive the bus timetable part if it was a last minute trip, but this is two weeks after the reading of the will. Plenty of time for her to plan how to get to her destination. Surely she could have worked out that she would need a room for the night. Enter 'Harrison', who does sound very tasty, and luckily for Jane really is a decent guy coming to her rescue, because she needed a break. The attraction between them is clear almost straight away, but he holds back, worried he's taking advantage of her, and for other reasons. When they both finally do decide to investigate what's between them, I thought it was very sweet. It's been a while for both of them since previous lovers, and they are both very concerned about each other all the time. I liked the way that part of the story turned out. However, Jane's naiveté is shown again and again in the story, and it really annoyed me. She's supposed to be a news reader, she's the one in the family who lives in the city - she should be a lot more sensible than she is, and I couldn't believe some of the situations she walked in to.

In Thrill Me, it's Margo's turn, and she goes to the Virgin Islands, where she quickly meets Adrian. His cousin, laid up in hospital, gets him to take over delivery duties to some of the local islands, and luckily, this is the boat Margo has been recommended to take to see if her father is living on one of those islands.
I think this is my favourite of the three stories. Margo is a police detective, used to being 'one of the guys' at work, and described later by her sister as 'a serial dater'. Adrian makes his living from the tourists with his own boat, and is seriously hot to boot, but has been with his newly-ex girlfriend since they met in college. Things start well on the boat, with their flirting moving quickly to other things, but then it turns out that Adrian's cousin hasn't just been making grocery deliveries with his boat, and Margo and Adrian are in very hot water, very quickly. I liked the speed of this one, and the characters themselves.

Finally, in Entice Me, Allison goes to Afghanistan with private investigator and retired navy SEAL Robert Rivera. Robert knows how dangerous the area they're going to is, and won't let Allison go by herself. Of course, being in a room together for propriety's sake, they end up with more than just the business partnership. I had a few issues with the realism of this story, but I do like how the romance comes out.

I don't really like stories where characters are madly in love after knowing each other for just a couple of days, but I guess it's one of the things that often comes with a novella. Ignoring that, the Caldwell Sisters trilogy is a sweet romantic series that was a nice light read. The action was enough to keep me reading and the pacing is good.

I'll give this series 7 stars.


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