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201 of 204 people found the following review helpful
on April 20, 2010
Haven't we all wished we were so wealthy we needed to pretend to be a "working stiff" just to get away from our own success? For me Victorine's character, Steven Ashton, is the embodiment of a modern Prince Charming for the poor misunderstood Emily, a single mom with a twisted history. From the start, and right up to the last chapter, this book kept me guessing as to just who held the smoking gun. Which is always a nice change from the other easy to foretell story lines.

I found, overall, the pace was good and captivated my interest. Though, perhaps not a polished printed publication, this book certainly delivers a high return of suspense, entertainment, and yes, even romance, on a less-than-a-hamburger investment. One of the book's biggest assets is the ease with which the author paints the players. The reader quickly gets to know and becomes emotionally invested in the characters. One of the book's biggest set-backs is the fact that the story could lend itself to several more chapters and this reader felt the end was a little rushed.

All-in-all an enjoyable read and worth every penny.
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133 of 140 people found the following review helpful
on July 20, 2010
I chose this novel after seeing a great number of Ms. Lieske's posts on Kindleboards. The summary sounded interesting, so I figured, "Oh, why not? It's only [...]" For the price, it was certainly a bargain, and hundreds of sales and positive reviews don't lie, right? Right.

I'll start off with the good. The storyline was interesting, keeping the reader in a constant "whodunnit" frame of mind. Every suspect had a reasonable motive, and all of it tied together rather nicely in the end.

Now, for the less appealing part of review-writing. In general, I'm able to appreciate shorter sentences. Few people can imitate Charles Dickens today and get away with it in that respect. With that being said, the language was occasionally choppy, which would have been really distracting were I not so drawn into the plot. There were also a couple of instances were a bit more variety would have been nice, such as scenes where "said" or "asked" was used first in one line, then again in the next...but this is nitpicking.

I was very interested in the heroine and what became of her. Overall, however, a lot of the emotions felt forced. The groundwork was there, but a few more chapters scattered throughout the novel would have developed the relationships and connections and character backgrounds a bit more. For instance, the interaction between Steven and Emily wasn't sufficient for me to believe in their feelings for each other. Motives were also being thrown in left and right without giving a reader the time really to absorb it all and weave it into his own mental construct of the complicated web of intrigue. In short, the fast-pacing of the story came at the cost of credibility. There were minor editing errors, but they weren't egregious enough to give me pause. I think I'll dub them "reasonable."

Overall, I did enjoy this story. I did. I just wish that there had been more of it to flesh things out.

Stimulated Outlet Book Reviews
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186 of 222 people found the following review helpful
on March 11, 2011
I can't believe anyone thought this book deserved 4 or 5 stars, but then I can't believe anyone thought this deserved to be published. It's total rubbish.

I'm giving it one star because even I believe the product description and synopsis sounded interesting, but that was the only part of the book that was actually interesting. I spent 2/3 of the book rolling my eyes at the ridiculousness of the characters and waiting for some enlightening at the end telling me that it was written by a fourteen year old.

Let's start out with the fact that this was not a romance: contemporary, suspenseful or otherwise. There was no romance in it at all. By page 50 they hold hands and at page 56 she kisses him on the cheek and he's so overwhelmed that he falls in love with her. In which world would that ever happen. But then again, in which world would a billionaire drop of his longtime girlfriend at her place on Valentine's Day and then be going home alone.

Steven is supposed to be a jaded billionaire trying to get away from his own notoriety and where everyone tries to use him because of his wealth. He goes into "hiding" and happens upon an attractive woman (Emily) in a seedy hotel in one state. A few days later, the same woman is all of a sudden a waitress at a cafe he started frequenting in a completely different state. How do alarm bells not start going off? And even if they didnt go off then, why didn't they go off when she starts hinting that she needs 'someone' to give her some money. Seriously?

She splits with his money and he realizes he's been duped. But he's a billionaire and it's only $5000, but he's so hurt because he loves her so much that he has to find her to let her know that he knows she duped him. Roll eyes here. Richard, Emily's partner in crime, then breaks into Stevens email account. This guy is a multibillionaire and his computer isn't even password protected? Locked? Something? Roll eyes here. Steven's PI finds Emily and on the same morning Steven goes to confront her, Richard shows up and they end up running for their lives, and big shot billionaire doesn't have the wherewithall to hire a bodyguard at that point? He waits until Richard tracks her down again.

If those situations aren't ridiculous enough, then we have the main characters. Apparently, the only decent people in the entire book are Steven, Emily, Rose, and Frank. How is that possible? Everyone else is either a killer or a blackmailer or paying a blackmailer. Steven is a wimp and Emily is just plain idiotic. Is there ever a time when she isn't discussing murder in front of her 4 year old son? Is there ever a time she isn't handing over her son for someone else to look after even when murderers are on the loose? Murderous Richard hasn't been caught, has just located her again and tried to break into the house, and she leaves her son there AT THE SAME HOUSE to go to a funeral. Any reason the son can't go with her? Any reason she couldn't send flowers and see Rose later?

She believes Vincent is a killer, but Vincent doesn't know of her suspicions. She races back from the funeral to get her son from Vincent, but instead of just leaving with her son so Vincent can be none the wiser, she blurts out (without any prompting) that she knows he was the one who killed her husband. If she really believes that, and she thought her son was in danger, why not just wait until they are safely out of the house and then notify the police. Why put your child in danger when the supposed murderer doesn't think you know anything. Would any sane person do anything that dumb?

How could any adult write such drivel.

And I dont know who the editor is, but in the last big scene, one of the characters apparently just vanishes. One minute he's there talking to Emily, Emily realizes that her son is missing, she goes to check, and the man is never heard about again. This man who apparently loves her so much, but doesn't think it strange when she never comes back. Queue another eye roll here.

I am still waiting for someone to tell me that this book was written by a teenager, because I refuse to believe that an adult could have created characters so one dimensional and who can also apparently also vanish into thin air. For readers out there with any modicum of intelligence, save your time and your 99 cents on another book. This one is akin to mental torture.
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29 of 32 people found the following review helpful
on November 21, 2011
Utterly compelled to write this summary up....the book is pretty awful. You will spend your time thinking "really? REALLY?!?!?" I read the book because it was free, but it was just too jammed pack with too many unbelievable events and concidences piled up continuously. too many "wow, let me throw this in, oooh, I gotta add this,". The story was just too filled with contrived "fluff", the characters flat and 1 dimensional. The only reason you finish the book was so you can say "oh, hell, whew, it's done".
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24 of 28 people found the following review helpful
on May 15, 2010
Not What She Seems is a story that will grab the reader's attention from the beginning until its conclusion. Emily is a character who is running from her past. Steven is someone who is trying to escape his present. Together they must find a way to solve a murder mystery and overcome the dangers which threaten them, so that they can build a future. Their story is a well written romantic thriller that has enough twists and turns to keep the reader's interest until the very end. The author provides enough clues along the way to allow the reader to come close to solving the mystery without ruining the sense of suspense she has created. I wish that the characters had been a little more developed. They never seemed to be completely three dimensional. However, the strength of this book is in the plot, and that is enough to make Not What She Seems a story worth reading.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on April 15, 2012
I've made it about half-way through this book, and I just can't continue. The hero, Steven, is like a little girl. His thoughts and actions are more characteristic of a female protagonist than an assertive, self-made billionaire. He notices little things, gets nervous about what people think, blushes and flushes constantly...he's basically your normal female protagonist. I have no issue with normal female protagonists in general, but when this is supposed to be a strong, adult male to whom at the very least I should understand the actual female protagonist's attraction to...the only thing attractive about this guy is his money, and he can keep it if he's going to keep up the estrogen act. I sympathize with the author -- it's difficult to write from the perspective of any guy, and especially a sensitive one, but at this point I'm waiting for him to start his period. No more Steven for me.
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on November 19, 2011
There are very few books I can't finish but this is one of them. The plot is so forced, it is unbelievable. The characters feel like cardboard cutouts. Really, a billionaire who is escaping his life because all the women he meets just want his money meets a waitress, becomes completely smitten after seeing her three times, and then agrees to lend her money on their first date because he actually believes she couldn't recognize this very famous person him since he is using an assumed name (even though others already have). Then she disappears (surprise) and he is concerned. Even at $.99 this one is not worth it.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on November 8, 2010
Plot/Storyline: 3 3/4 Stars

The plot for this romantic suspense novel was pretty straightforward. There were a couple of twists, but only one was a surprise. Unfortunately, I found that "surprise" to be a rather doubtful revelation, mostly because I found the character involved to be too convenient throughout the book.

The storyline was pretty fast moving, making for an entertaining read. One thing I was impressed with was the lack of "googly eyes" during the romantic scenes. In other words, the characters didn't spend all their time looking at each other's various body parts and drooling. This was what a romantic suspense novel should be, in my opinion. The suspense should come first.

The storyline had two rather unbelievable parts that really stood out for me. One: If a person is running from the law, even going so far as to get a fake Social Security Card, then why the heck would they be using their real name? The second one was an event toward the end where one character pretty much disappeared from the scene. It was later explained where that character was, but the event that led to their exit just didn't make sense. I couldn't imagine the character leaving at that time.

Overall, it was a pretty enjoyable read. There were some really good scenes that kept me glued to my Kindle.

Character Development: 4 1/2 Stars

I really can't delve into too much detail when discussing the characters due to spoilers. Emily was, for the most part, a pretty well developed character. I found her to be a rather weak woman, and none too bright, but that fit into her circumstances, so it worked. Steven, the love interest billionaire, was probably one of my favorite characters. Even though his financial status irritated me with the whole "Pretty Woman" scenario going on, he was still an engaging character.

My biggest problem with all of the main characters was that they all seemed to act like they had known each other longer than they did. Rose, the owner of a cafe and long time resident of a small town, calls people she has only known for a few weeks when tragedy strikes. I'm not saying she wouldn't have called, just that you would think she would have had plenty of friends and family, including her two grown sons, to keep her company and give support. And, with all of Steven's billions, he never thought to secretly hire Rose's family some help on their farm?

Writing Style: 3 1/2 Stars

There were some sentence structure issues where the writing could have been tightened up. Here is an example: "Steven waved at Connor and gave him a wink, and then he headed down the street to his truck." This should have been, "Steven waved at Connor, gave him a wink, then headed down the street to his truck."

The dialogue was very well done with good voice. The descriptions were also good.

*This Review is from a Review Copy provided by the author.
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18 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on November 18, 2011
I would love to say that I truly enjoyed this bargain book but I found the characters stereotypical and the plot mundane.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on June 10, 2011
This novel was very "cheesy". The plot was not very suspenseful and the storyline was weak. I am really surprised that so many readers have given this novel high scores!!??
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