Book Review: Wordless by Mel Sterling
Although I typically read and review paranormal and fantasy romance a lot more than contemporary romance/romantic suspense, when Mel asked me if I wanted an ARC of Wordless, I immediately said yes. I’ve read some of her other stuff (in my primary genre) and loved it. PLUS, we’re practically neighbors and I have an obligation to help support my local economy by insisting that every single one of you buy this book right meow.
Disaster reporter and internet celebrity Jack Tucker is disillusioned after a stint embedded in Iraq. The IED that destroyed his team’s Humvee brought him tragedy and regret, robbing him of the joy he took in his job–or anything else. He spends his days in a small Camden bookshop, struggling with writer’s block, until the elderly proprietor dies, leaving him adrift.
Lexie Worth abandoned a promising career to keep her uncle’s beloved bookstore alive. But the store’s tabby cat hates her, local poets invade twice a month for scurrilous readings, and she knows she shouldn’t get involved with sexy, troubled strangers like Jack. When the FBI comes knocking, with suspicions of fraud and racketeering, Lexie realizes someone’s after more than a first edition or two.
Someone’s been using the bookstore to hide their crimes. Someone dangerous–maybe even deadly. Jack wants to protect Lexie–if he can believe her. And if she doesn’t find out exactly who he is…
Wordless, book one of the Pink Sofa Secrets series.
I love this cover. It is so perfect. Judge this book by the cover. You will not be sorry.
The mystery – fraud and racketeering – was really well crafted. I’ll admit that I can almost never figure out who did it in any mystery, and that drives me crazy. (I own almost every Agatha Christie ever written, courtesy of my father, and I’ve read all of them so many times. I can never remember who did it. Ever. EVER. Not even on the tenth re-reading.)
ANYWAY – the mystery. Although one of the bad guys jumped out at me right away, the way it played out in the end was not how I’d imagined it happening, but it was deeply satisfying. Plus, who doesn’t love intrigue and crime set in the midst of books? (My dream job would be to own a bookstore but not have to rely on it for income, because that sounds stressful. We would be open whenever I felt like it, and there would be coffee in the morning and wine in the evening and I could sit in a little alcove and write and occasionally make out with hotties in the rare book room. But in a non-book-damaging way.)
In addition to a finely crafted mystery, the romance was well-paced (although I always used to feel a bit skeptical when people in books got so serious so fast, it oddly seems more realistic to me now). Jack and Lexie are both damaged in different ways and it really felt like the damage informed their decision making more than becoming an excuse for bad decisions. It’s a fine line to walk, and I thought Mel walked it adeptly.
My favorite character – sorry Jack & Lexie – was Melville the cat. Melville was the best cranky cat ever. (My dream bookstore will also require one grumpy cat who is perfectly toilet trained.)
…he’d had plenty of dinner, but Melville considered any time spent in the kitchen without feeding the cat wasted time.
I feel you, cat.
Usually when I do a quote in a romance novel, it’s something about love or commitment or whatever, but honestly, this (other then the cat quote above) is the passage that spoke to me the most.
All those folks who shopped the section and complained that the high fantasy shouldn’t be mixed in with the space opera – well they’d just have to tolerate elves on the spaceships a while longer.
I mean, right? Elves on spaceships!
I’m not going to lie – I cannot get this image out of my head now.
This book was really good. Good romance. Good suspense. Great cat. Space elves! (Not really. I don’t want you to be disappointed about that.) Plus, it’s set in a bookstore which is kind of where I want to live when I grow up. All this and some steamy, steamy sex. How on earth could you say no to that?