3 out of 4 stars
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It's been a little over a week since I wrote my review for The Teddy Bear Chronicles Vol. I, and my teddy bears STILL haven't picked up a pen or pencil or even crayon to write about me - not even Winnie the Pooh! Fair Bear, Love Bear, and Sleepy Time Bear, along with newbies Tiny Bear and Rocco Bear, however, still have plenty to say about their humans, Kelly Donovan, Richard Forrest, Tori Donovan, Chloe Stogdon, and the Alesso family, respectively. In Donnalyn Vojta's The Teddy Bear Chronicles Vol. II: Chloe's Crusade!, the stuffed animals again put their spins on things concerning the goings-on in their people's lives.
In this volume, Chloe is the main protagonist, and she's on a quest to bring down the head of a drug cartel. With help from her friends, can she find the head honcho and stop him or her? Can she also find true love with one of the two men vying for her attention? And what about Kelly and Tori - can they repair their relationships with their mother? Finally, who is sending these ladies flowers? WHAT "Secret Admirer?"
I wasn't quite as enamored with the plot for this tome as I was with book one, but once I really got into it, I enjoyed it mightily. Tiny Bear was a great addition to the series. Since he was attached to a key chain, he had quite a bit to say about Chloe and her companions. He really cracked me up every time Chloe was in a compromising situation with one of her men; he'd do just like a child, retching and saying, "Eeeeeeew!" At the same time, I really liked learning about British English, as well, as Tiny greatly enjoyed showing off his language skills. Rocco Bear was also a great new stuffy, though his speech did get on my nerves. He was Sicilian, so every few words had an "-a" attached, as in the sentence, "Ana bought me for Alesso on Sweetest Day one-a year when they were vacationing in the Italian Riviera, but I don't resemble a love or romantic bear by any-a means." I got that the speech was meant to properly convey his ethnicity, but it just ended up wearing on my nerves, to the point that I started ignoring it when I read. Even so, I still enjoyed his innocent observations. He actually thought that the "candy" that Santi was moving was sugary stuff! At one point, Mr. Alesso mentioned not looking a gift horse in the mouth, about which Rocco wondered, "Now, I know about Santa Claus, but who is this present-toting stallion whose tongue and throat are-a off limits for human viewing?" He was so much fun that I felt bad for him when he figured out that the couple weren't such good people.
The story itself was well paced, and the people were quite realistic. Chloe's Crusade! had a lot of twists and turns, and I never knew who in the FBI I could trust. There's a saying that "too many cooks in the kitchen spoil the broth," and I was really afraid of that happening in this tale. With all of the agents and officers milling about, it was easy for things to go awry. Additionally, none of the humans had full backgrounds in this edition, either, but it wasn't a problem. I knew enough to grasp their motivations, desires, and fears. I especially sympathized with Assistant Director Samar, who had a lot of plates to keep in the air and ultimately found them crashing to the ground. I was also still in awe at how distinct Ms. Vojta was able to make each bear’s personality and would-be mannerisms.
As in the first volume, this book wasn't told completely chronologically. Because each chapter was narrated by a different bear - sometimes even two or three - the story moved about the timeline out of necessity. I had no problems keeping up, but I wanted to note this for readers who dislike such moving about.
Sadly, The Teddy Bear Chronicles Vol. II wasn't edited any better than its predecessor. There were a lot of punctuation missteps, as well as issues with homonyms - still too many instances of "passed" when it should be "past" and "heal" instead of the correct "heel" - and misspellings. Missing, extra, and misplaced quotation marks were an issue as well. The author's tendency to switch between past and present tense was still irritating too. Two pet peeves were that the bears' thoughts were not italicized and that some of the characters were referred to by their first names while others were mentioned by their last names. One other thing that I wanted to mention was Kelly's nickname for her husband, Sidney. She called him "Sids" - to go along with him calling her "Kells" - but having lost a baby to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, I kept reading "SIDS," and I fear that it may trigger other grieving parents.
Also, for those who like to know ahead of time: while the ends are all tied in this story, there's a shocking revelation at the end of the book. I know that volume III is due in the fall, but I don't yet know it's plot, so I'm just guessing that the next book will deal with what happens at the end of this story.
I have tears in my eyes, and my heart is heavy again at having to give this wonderful tome 3 out of 4 stars due to the typographical issues. Even so, I highly recommend this book to readers who enjoy books written from the viewpoints of inanimate objects, as well as proponents for the fight against drug cartels. I also have to caution would-be readers that this tome is NOT FOR CHILDREN! In addition to the drugs, there's a love triangle, some violence, and a bit of foul language.
- Tiny Bear, The Teddy Bear Chronicles Vol. IIYou humans don't know how good you have it.
The Teddy Bear Chronicles
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