Monday, January 26, 2015

The Second Lie by Anna Richland

Title: The Second Lie
Author: Anna Richland
My Rating: B

Genre: Paranormal Romance 
Series: Immortal Vikings #2
Main Characters: Christina and Stig
Release Date: January 2015
Publisher: Carina Press
Links to Purchase:
Sexual Intensity: spicy

Story Overview:
A woman desperate to achieve her dreams.

To reassure wealthy clients, Christina Alvarez Mancini invented a jet-setting British owner for her Napa Valley wine collection service. Success has brought her close to buying her own winery, when irregularities at a London wine auction threaten her business.

A man in love with a good plan.

Stig, an immortal Viking thief, knows he’s found the perfect role. The California woman who created his character won’t discover what he’s up to in England until after he’s pocketed the money he needs. Then Christina walks into the auction preview, ready to ruin his plans, and he knows his boredom has ended.

Secrets that turn deadly.

By the end of the night, these two rivals must cooperate to escape kidnappers, British authorities, media and a pair of mysterious watchers. That’s when a game Stig’s played for a thousand years puts Christina’s life at risk.

Can two people whose identities are based on lies trust each other enough to survive?

My Review:
I'll admit...I floundered a bit with this book and I hate that because I've adored the other two Anna Richland books that I've read. And in an effort of full disclosure, I need to also state that I received an Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) of this book which had a formatting problem. I'm sure this is NOT a problem in the final e-book, but the issue was... there was no way to see the scene breaks within the chapters to switch to another POV or timeframe in the story. And this is a book that jumps around a lot...both in POV and time-frame points of reference. As the reader, it made it virtually impossible to follow along this complex story line. That was NO FAULT of the author's and since this was an ARC, my rating doesn't reflect that issue...but I do think it may have had an influence over my overall enjoyment of the story.

This is a very complex story line. Both the hero and the heroine are telling and living lies. The hero is flat-out a thief and con-artist. The heroine is trying to make the best of a bad situation. But then she gets caught up in Stig's lies too and things go from bad to worse. 

The premise of this series is brilliant. It goes back to the story of Beowulf and Grendel. The vikings who were there during that epic battle are now immortal after touching the tainted blood that was spilled. But unlike most paranormal stories with a group of men who fought together and ended up in a bizarre circumstance like this, this author took a different tack...her immortals do not work together. After 1500 years, they only call on one another unless absolutely needed...and several of them are simply not nice guys.

But Stig has also lived 1500 years and that's a lot of history. Within this story there are flashbacks to the time of Beowulf, the Titanic sinking, and WWII and that does complicate the story a bit especially when teemed with the fact that the author uses multiple POV's throughout the story...not just the hero and heroine.

At the heart of the story though is Christina. She also has a complex life. She runs a wine acquisitions firm working for a CEO that she made up. She made him up because a young female in the wine business simply just does not have the respect to make it. She comes to London to stop an auction full of fake wines and is surprised to find her "boss" on the premises schmoozing the customers.

I loved everything about this aspect of the story line. I thought the wine auction was interesting. What Stig was trying to pull off was brilliant, but Christina is too smart for him. I loved the story when it was the two of them together. Their conflict felt genuine and loved how they definitely matched wits over and over again. I could have truly loved this book if that was all there had been to it...the wine conspiracy story line. 

But when the story involved the other vikings and the two village men, it went off the rails for me. Like I said, I'm not sure all that is the author's fault, but there did seem to be a bit too much going on in this book and the multiple "other" POV's...just no. I only care about what the hero and heroine are thinking. That's definitely a personal preference, but every time we went into someone else's head, it took me completely out of the story.

I received a complimentary copy of this book in return for an honest review.


Anna Richland said...

Thanks for the review - I'm glad that Stig and Christina worked for you. They were a lot of fun to write, and the wine fraud thing seems to be all over the news right now since there was a $300,000 wine theft at the French Laundry restaurant in Napa.

I'm really sorry about the formatting problems - I'm curious, was it a Netgalley ARC or from somewhere else? I think a good number of ARCs were requested from Netgalley and I'll be very sad if everyone had a problem that maybe confused them or made them put the book down.

I'd be happy to replace any poorly formatted copy -- yours or anyone else's -- with one of my ARCs that reads smoothly, at least on our home devices. I'm sure Carina would do the same for any reviewers with a wonky copy. Well, I shouldn't speak for them, but I find them very helpful.

And thanks again for the review here and across the internet - I always appreciate your thoughtful descriptions and I think your words totally guide people into knowing if this story is for them.

Christi Snow said...

Anna, Thanks for coming and visiting the blog. Yes, my copy was a NetGalley copy. I'm used to formatting issues with them (it's VERY common) but it definitely made your book more difficult. I'm sorry for that.

I hadn't heard about the French Laundry restaurant incident. I need to go look that up. I did love that whole aspect to the story.