Today, my review buddy is Jill from the Romance Rookie blog. In the past, Jill and I have noticed that we often have different opinions on books, so we thought it’d be really interesting to do a buddy review. Our choice: Thigh High by Christina Dodd.
Oh, just before you start reading this review... it's more of a discussion, so warning, there are spoilers! There's lots of reviews that have been posted in blogland recently, so if you don't want to be spoiled, you might want to read those instead (Dear Author, All About Romance)...
Thigh High by Christina Dodd
published by Signet in March 2008
Nessa Dahl always had the good sense to steer clear of trouble. Then Jeremiah MacNaught showed up in New Orleans, determined to get to the bottom of a string of bank robberies by two women wearing Mardi Gras masks. Little does Nessa realize that the handsome investigator is convinced she's involved with the crimes-or that he's willing to do anything to get the truth. Even if it means taking the beautiful woman he's convinced is a liar and a thief straight to bed...
Genre: contemporary romance
Series: The Fortune Hunter, book #3
The Story: Nessa Dahl has been working at the bank for seven years and is hoping to be promoted to a manager position. She’s worked hard, slaving and enduring That Woman, to overcome a mistake that could have cost her her career in the early years. In addition, Nessa needs the money so she can take care of her aunts, renovate the Dahl House – a historical building, and get rid of the boarders.
Every year during the Mardi Gras period, a bank gets robbed by the Beaded Bandits. The amount is never huge, therefore the case isn’t a top priority with the FBI. However, bank director Jeremiah MacNaught – Mac – is determined to find the culprit and put a stop to the repeated offence. After the private investigator he’s hired all but fell to Nessa’s charms, Mac decides to take the investigation into his own hands and goes to New Orleans and he’s determined to prove Nessa’s culpability.
Nath: So what did you think Jill? Christina Dodd is usually more miss than hit for me. I didn't enjoy the 2 previous Fortune Hunter books all that much, I thought the back blurbs were quite misleading... I was expecting cat burglary plotlines, but they weren’t. I wasn't going to buy this one, but I thought the cover was quite nice… so I’m happy that I liked and enjoyed this one :)
Jill: Well, I didn't enjoy this one as much as I did Tongue in Chic.
Nath: LOL, you liked Tongue in Chic more? Well, it's true the storyline in Tongue in Chic was more compact and better developed. However, character-wise, I think I like Thigh High better… the main reason was Jeremiah MacNaught... cos he was such a jerk LOL :) Is it me or the Manly brothers are all kind of jerk-y?
Jill: Oh yeah, Tongue in Chic was great because the H/h fought like cats and dogs and were constantly trying to 'one-up' the other. Ah, but I digress... I haven't read the first one, but yes I think the Manly brothers have the 'jerk' gene!
Nath: LOL, definitively. Sometimes, that's what readers need; a different kind of hero... and I think that's what Mac was. He's not handsome per say, he's not charming or gentle. He's ruthless, overbearing, and arrogant, and will do whatever it takes to get what he wants and that includes the heroine. He's not refreshing or original, I mean I've read books where the hero was a jerk, but it was welcomed. I liked his awkward camaraderie with Gabriel.
Jill: I liked Mac too. What I liked was how he was described as a thug in a business suit. That cracked me up. I like my heroes rough around the edges. I can't stand for them to be prettier than the heroine. So the fact that he had this big body and lots of scars was a plus for me. I liked that he was a take charge kind of guy. In a lot of ways he reminded me of Linda Howard's heroes. What I didn't like was how quick he was to assume Nessa was involved with the theft. I wish he would have had a little more faith in her and his own judgement.
Nath: Well, isn’t that why he came to New Orleans? Because he assumed that Nessa was guilty of the thefts, or at least involved? I'm happy though that his need to "possess" Nessa was so great that he wouldn't have cared if she was really involved.
On the other hand, I thought Nessa was just okay. I find that she was a bit blind to her surroundings - her job and great-aunts. There must have been clues and she was just not facing them. In the end, she came off a bit meh, because she was surrounded by better characters.
Jill: I was disappointed in the length of time Nessa and Mac spent together. I think their relationship was overshadowed by all the other characters, the boarders, the bank employees, the cops, etc. etc. One of Christina Dodd's strong talents is her ability to write witty banter between the lead characters. I think she dropped the ball in this case with Thigh High mainly because Nessa and Mac didn't spend quite as much (written) time together as I would have liked.
Nath: You're absolutely right though. Mac and Nessa's relationship wasn't developed enough. Again, everything went on too fast. How they got together and fell in love. You're also right about the secondary characters - Too many of them. She should have eliminated a couple... I think she needed them to portray how nice and vulnerable Nessa is.
Jill: Yes definitely, I think the long list of characters was done to show the reader just how many friends and how well loved Nessa was. I did like the kooky Aunts and I even liked eeevil Stephanie. Glad she stuck her foot in her mouth (or should I say emails) when she doesn't realize who Mac is really. That was fun seeing her squirm.
Nath: I thought that the great-aunts were hilarious and provided the necessary comedy relief. As for the whole Beaded Bandits, I thought it was a bit ridiculous, but since it was based in New Orleans, it was acceptable.
Jill: Me, there were quite a few things that I just had to try and overlook in this book. Should I go into detail?
*SPOILERS start here*
Well the fact that Georgia, the NOPD cop, lets Mac go into the bank through the back in order to save Nessa. Now why would a cop let a civilian, (even though he is a big pushy bastard and the woman he loves is in peril) enter a hostage situation and Mac had a gun, WTF!!! That was one thing. The other was how the whole robbery situation was handled with the Aunts. I think that the crime should have been addressed properly. They had committed a federal crime and it was perceived as a joke. I didn't think that was right. Their crime should have been taken a little more seriously.
Nath: LOL, I completely forgot about Mac going in a hostage situation… and seriously, see the results of letting a civilian go in? He gets shot!! LOL. Also, I agree with you about how the robberies were handled in the end. The aunts did commit a federal offence. It should have been dealt properly. However, I think that they were only accused for the most recent one, which they didn't commit and there was not enough proofs for the previous one. That's why they weren't tried and so on. That's how I understood it.
Jill: LOL, I forgot about him getting shot. See... dumb!
That is a good point about the Aunts though. I didn't really think about it like that. They were only prosecuted for the last robbery and it wasn't them, so they got off scott free.
Nath: To me, what’s more interesting is that although the aunts are not prosecuted, some people around them know. I wonder what the bank clerk in the beginning feels... cos she was like: now, I'm afraid and scared... and she was also humiliated by the whole incident. So would she forgive the aunts?
Jill: Oh, there's another thing, the very end of the book when Gabriel mentions that he is also a brother. WTF!! That was it, absolutely no mention of anything else - just one tiny little sentence. What a way to leave the reader hanging.
Nath: Well she did drop a clue here and there. It was stated in the book that Mac thought Gabriel was a lot like him – personality-wise.
What I don’t like is that there’s no information for the future of this series on the author’s website. No idea whose book is next and when it’s coming out.
Jill: I noticed with her up coming releases that she does not give much information far in advance. Just a few weeks ago, she announced the dates for her two paranormal books to be released in the summer. I imagine that Gabriel's story is next. We will have to keep checking back for news. I wonder if she has a newsletter I can sign up for.
Nath: Well she does have a “members” only section on her website. Maybe that’s where people are supposed to get their information?
This was a B read for me as it was good enough to hold my attention and entertain me.
Jill: I guess I would give it a B- if I was to give it a rating. Overall it was a fast, entertaining read, but it fell flat in certain areas.