After a ridiculously long reading slump, I picked this up on a whim from my local Barnes & Nobles. To be honest, prior to this the only paranormal...moreAfter a ridiculously long reading slump, I picked this up on a whim from my local Barnes & Nobles. To be honest, prior to this the only paranormal I'd ever read was the Twilight series, which I surprisingly enjoyed loved. Though this isn't exactly like Twilight, I enjoyed it nonetheless.
Born At Midnight is the first book in the Shadow Falls trilogy and tells the story of 16-year-old Kylie and how she's shipped away to a camp for "troubled teens" after being caught in the wrong place at the wrong time. There she discovers the camp is actually for teens who are supernatural, not delinquent, though she she's convinced she still doesn't fit in there, either.
As if trying to convince everyone she doesn't have supernatural powers wasn't enough, she also has to juggle a creepy ghost who keeps popping up, a narcissistic best friend, her parent's divorce, AND two hot guys who both have supernatural powers and are both into her (oh, the agony!).
Kylie starts off stubborn and judgmental -- albeit in a relatable, I-was-a-teen-once kind of way -- but she does mature and progress as the story unfolds. Her refusal to accept the fact that she was supernatural was at times frustrating and borderline annoying, but she came through in the end -- go girl!
What I found most interesting was the side characters (Kylie's roommates were wittier than I was at that age!) as well as the explanation of supernaturals. I like the mix of traditional paranormal history with a twist, like when the author explains the origin of vampires or how shapeshifters turn.
Overall, it was a good book that was interesting enough to hold my attention and make me curious to read book two while at the same time still being a quick, lighthearted read.(less)
Jackie Ashenden's debut release packs a helluva punch!
Even though it took Anna some time to fall for Finn, I fell for him almost immediately. Yes, he...moreJackie Ashenden's debut release packs a helluva punch!
Even though it took Anna some time to fall for Finn, I fell for him almost immediately. Yes, he's good looking -- okay, he's hot! -- but he's also extremely patient and thoughtful. What woman wouldn't want a man who pushed her to be a better person? It's clear how much he cares for Anna and their relationship made my heart swell -- even though they had their explosive moments (boy did they!).
There were times when Anna frustrated the hell out of me and I just wanted to give her a good shake because she was so clueless about how lucky she was to have a guy like Finn. However, it was these same quirks that made her character flawed and three-dimensional. As someone who'd went through a traumatic experience, her willingness and strength to try to take back her life was admirable and I respected her for that.
It's been a while since a book made me cry, but parts of the story were so emotional that I couldn't help it -- the on-air scene, for example. Even with the waterworks turned on I kept on reading while sniffling. In fact, I didn't stop reading and in a matter of hours I had finished the entire book!
This is a strong start to Ms. Ashenden's author career. I can't wait to see what she comes out with next!(less)
After months of hearing about the notorious Kowalski men, I figured it was high time I found out what all the hoopla was about. Enter Exclusively Your...moreAfter months of hearing about the notorious Kowalski men, I figured it was high time I found out what all the hoopla was about. Enter Exclusively Yours, book one of the Kowalski Family series. Wow. I finished this book in a matter of HOURS!
To be honest, I was expecting a typical light contemporary romance -- which I have no problem with; in fact, it's one of my favorite genres -- but what I got instead was so much more than "fluff." Exclusively Yours is wrought with complicated family relationships, as well as two people whose love for each other is both long-lasting and complex.
I was taken by Joe Kowalski from the very beginning. Not only is he an incorrigible flirt, but he's also up front and honest -- with both his family and Keri. Also, despite not having any kids of his own, he comes across as a man who truly loves his family.
Keri is also likable, but I have to say that I rolled by eyes at her a few times. I admire the fact that she takes her career seriously, but there are a few instances where she's way too prissy (i.e. cliché bitching over a broken nail and harping about needing a facial). I get that she's spent the last 20 years in LA, but her high-maintenance attitude doesn't really fit with her character, who seems fairly down-to-earth. On the other hand, it's refreshing to see a woman portrayed as career-driven instead of one so quick to drop everything in her life for the hero. I actually appreciated the fact that she follows through with her assignment after their time together. Let the hero do the chasing!
The rest of Kowalski family plays an important role as well, especially Terry, Joe's twin and Kerry's ex-best friend. Her marriage troubles add another layer to the story, which made me sympathize for her... at times. However, I'd have to say that about, oh, 85% of the time she is a major bitch. Yeah, I said it. I get that she's going through a tough time, but more often than not she's just a spiteful shrew. Ugh! I know that Ms. Stacey did an excellent job with this story if she could make me love this book despite an unlikeable character. Though it's Terry's issues that play a role in setting the story apart from other stock contemporary romances.
Overall, I have to to say that Exclusively Yours is a great introduction to the Kowalski family. At the moment there are five more books in the series, which means I have five more opportunities to delve deeper into the Kowalski family tree!(less)
Sara Adams has spent the last six months desperately trying to find her infant daughter who was kidnapped from her crib. Despite coming up cold on eac...moreSara Adams has spent the last six months desperately trying to find her infant daughter who was kidnapped from her crib. Despite coming up cold on each lead, Sara refuses to give up and is determined to move heaven and earth to locate Kaycee. As her husband has recently passed away, Sara is all alone in her search, until she meets private investigator Morgan Daniels.
The moment Morgan lays eyes on the dainty, yet strong-willed widow, he knows he's in trouble. He's supposed to be investigating the death of his friend, and with Sara at the top of his suspect list he can't tell if she's innocent or if she's a great liar. Morgan takes on her missing child case to get answers, but he only ends up with more questions. What is Sara hiding? And was her husband's death really an accident? Only time will tell, but with baby Kaycee still missing, the clock is ticking...
Grave Secrets is a compelling suspense from debut author Linda Trout. With an opening scene that takes place in a cemetery, the story will grab readers from the very beginning. Sara is a resolute widow and mother, but unfortunately her character feels a bit flat until halfway through the story when things start to pick up. Luckily, Morgan's alpha male personality compliments Sara's gentler nature and the pair's growing relationship is nicely paced. Overall, Trout has penned a thrilling first novel filled with gripping dialogue and tension that's sure to have readers on the edge of their seat.
After Creed Riley buys a ranch from a sweet old lady, he planned to familiarize himself with the place while enjoying some peace and quiet. Instead, w...moreAfter Creed Riley buys a ranch from a sweet old lady, he planned to familiarize himself with the place while enjoying some peace and quiet. Instead, what he gets is the old woman’s granddaughter, Sage Presley, a spitfire who’s none too pleased about the recent change of ownership. When the two get stuck in a snowstorm for two weeks, sparks and insults fly as the two catch a case of serious cabin fever. However, when combined with a stray cat and dog and a few sprigs of mistletoe, Creed and Sage soon have the makings of their own Christmas miracle…
‘Tis the season for hunky cowboys and Brown has delivered one right to us! Creed Riley is as handsome as he is hardworking, and he certainly knows how to haul hay. The vivid canyon descriptions work in perfect harmony with the snowy Christmas setting, painting an idyllic portrayal of life on a ranch. While Creed is an old-school cowboy through and through, Sage certainly knows how to shake things up with her smart mouth and take-no-prisoners attitude. With its authentic Texan characters and winter backdrop, Mistletoe Cowboy is a treat to be savored.
The last person Michelle Carter ever expected to see again was Jake “the Snake” Sommers. When he slithered out of town four years ago, she forced hers...moreThe last person Michelle Carter ever expected to see again was Jake “the Snake” Sommers. When he slithered out of town four years ago, she forced herself to move on, but now that he’s back Michelle’s world is once again turned upside down. Jake knows he screwed up in the past and is determined to show Michelle that he’s a changed man. When he’s assigned the task of protecting her from hit men, he sees it as a golden opportunity to prove to her that, whether she likes it or not, he’s here to stay.
With its seductive scenes and edge-of-your-seat action, the third installment in the Black Knights Inc. series takes readers on yet another wild and exciting ride through the gritty streets of Chicago. Jake is a surfer dude turned sexy SEAL whose character leaps off the page. Readers will appreciate his patience and determination when it comes to winning Michelle back. It won’t be easy, though, as Michelle is tough as nails. This duo’s spark is hot enough to start a wildfire, so be sure to have some water handy!
Rebecca Reichert is tired of being seen as nothing more than a cover for the Black Knights special-ops team. She wants in on the action, and she wants...moreRebecca Reichert is tired of being seen as nothing more than a cover for the Black Knights special-ops team. She wants in on the action, and she wants it now. Unfortunately, that means convincing her boss, former SEAL Frank “Boss” Knight. Frank has seen more than his fair share of murder and mayhem and refuses to let Becky anywhere near the face of danger. His plan is shot to hell, however, when Becky is kidnapped and taken hostage by pirates. Will Frank and his Black Knights rescue her in time and once again save the day?
Julie Ann Walker has knocked it out of the park once again, with this follow up to Hell on Wheels. Becky is a sassy, brazen heroine who knows how to hold her own, while Frank is the ultimate alpha male, right down to his rugged scar. Their back-and-forth banter is filled to the brim with sexual tension. The multiple character POVs add depth to the story, while the suspense of catching the villain will have readers biting their nails until the very end.
Leah Hollister leads a hum-drum, strictly vanilla life. Kindergarten teacher, small-town native, practically a virgin. Looking to spice things up, Lea...moreLeah Hollister leads a hum-drum, strictly vanilla life. Kindergarten teacher, small-town native, practically a virgin. Looking to spice things up, Leah travels to LA to indulge her inner bad girl by spending the weekend at a BDSM party. What better place to let loose than a thousand miles from home? Imagine her surprise when the first person she meets at the party is Sawyer Compton, a childhood friend from her hometown. Leah is beyond mortified, but determined to go through with her weekend experiment anyway. Little does she know, Sawyer has plans of his own--one of which includes staking claim on Leah...
When Mari Carr and Jayne Rylon get together, the product is hot with a capital "H"! This was my first foray into the Compass Brothers series, and after reading Western Ties, I am now officially hooked (with a capital "H", of course). The story is a kinky twist to the friends-to-lovers trope, with extra helpings of kink. Leah may be inexperienced, but she knows what she wants and isn't afraid to go after it, which I highly admired. As for Sawyer, he most definitely knows how to take charge in the bedroom (as well as other places. *wink*). After all, he is part of the infamous Compton brothers clan.
In addition to the relationship between Leah and Sawyer, family plays a huge role in the story. The relationship between Saywer and his brothers are both admirable and multi-faceted, and this time around the Comptons' face a huge struggle--one that will have you surrounded by wads of tear-stained, balled-up tissues.
Savannah's Ghost Tale is an interesting short read and perfect for a quiet rainy afternoon. Between Cameron's "I see dead people" secret and Vannah's...moreSavannah's Ghost Tale is an interesting short read and perfect for a quiet rainy afternoon. Between Cameron's "I see dead people" secret and Vannah's paranormal interests, they are a weird, albeit perfect match.
Vannah's ghost-hunting profession is one that I've never come across before, and is definitely a refreshing change of pace from the stereotypical feminine occupations I usually see in romances. Her character is complex, as she struggles to keep a happy face while masking her pain and heartbreak. Her story touched me and I found myself hoping she found the happiness she deserved.
Initially, Cameron comes off as your typical nice-guy hero. While technically there's nothing wrong with that, it could have easily made him forgettable. However, later in the story -- when things get *ahem* interesting -- his actions, while still compassionate, make him anything but forgettable. Hooray for character progression!
Also, a side-character note: you can tell Vannah's sister cares about her a lot, not because she sets her up on a "1NS," but because she agrees to tag along with her on a haunted tour... As someone who vows never to step foot inside a haunted house, I consider this the ultimate show of sisterly love!
In the end this story was not at all what I expected, which I appreciated. I thought I was in for a lighthearted, quick read, but what I got instead was a story about emotional healing and lot more than a quickie one night stand.
While mourning the devastating loss of her brother, Ali Morgan can’t help but feel that she’s being watched. After barely escaping an attempted kidnap...moreWhile mourning the devastating loss of her brother, Ali Morgan can’t help but feel that she’s being watched. After barely escaping an attempted kidnapping, she heads to the one person she knows she can trust to help her — Nate Weller, her brother’s childhood friend and a certified bad boy. Nate has always had a soft spot for Ali and he vows to find out who’s after her. Feelings grow between the couple but there’s a problem: Nate is keeping a dark secret that he’s sure will shatter any chance he may have with Ali.
Debut author Walker is ready to join the ranks of great romantic suspense writers with this Black Knights, Inc. series starter. Nate is the most tortured of heroes, holding on to a heart-wrenching secret, while Ali balances between innocence and bravery. When combined, the duo’s chemistry sizzles. The dialogue is as snappy as it is convincing and the cast of characters ranges from rugged to geeky, each with their own charming quirks. Who needs a white knight when the Black Knights have you covered?
Wow, this book took me on one heck of a ride! Mockingjay was without a doubt my favorite book in the Hunger Games series. It was the perfect fusion of...moreWow, this book took me on one heck of a ride! Mockingjay was without a doubt my favorite book in the Hunger Games series. It was the perfect fusion of action and emotion, a culmination of what happens when poorly treated citizens reach their breaking point.
In the final book, Katniss agrees to become the "Mockingjay," the spokesperson for District rebels who plan on overthrowing President Snow and the Captiol. This time around, we get an even more thorough glimpse at character personalities and motives, as everyone plays a key role -- from Gale and Finnick, to Prim and Peeta. All thirteen -- yes, I said thirteen -- districts come together to fight as one in order to win the war.
Though Katniss reluctantly agrees to serve as the Mockingjay, she is still last to realize just how much of an effect she has on people, something I found a bit hard to swallow, given her self-absorbed behavior. At first I was frustrated by her arrogance and flagrant disregard of authority and couldn't get over how incredibly self-absorbed she acted at times. But then I realized that that's a fairly accurate depiction of what most 16 year olds are like -- regardless of if you're middle of war -- and cut her some slack because, while flawed, her reactions are realistic. The best kind of heroine is an imperfect one -- and Katniss was most definitely imperfect.
The twists were even better than those in the previous books and did an excellent job at keeping me on the edge of my seat, chomping at the bit to find out what will happen next. Initially I found the descriptions of the Captiol and the war scenes too hard and jumbled to follow, but that's probably because I was so enraptured in the story that I was reading faster than my brain could visualize the setting and paint a picture of what was going on.
Mockingjay is a lot deeper than I expected (especially from a YA). The raw, gritty portrayal of war is brazen and doesn't shy away from what I'm sure is an accurate depiction. I can honestly say that I choked up more than once over the inevitable deaths that are a consequence of war. In the end, this book moved me, got under my skin, and had me reflecting on both dystopian life and the effects of war.
After feeling less than amazed by the first book, I was reluctant to continue with the series, but decided to continue on and give Catching Fire a cha...moreAfter feeling less than amazed by the first book, I was reluctant to continue with the series, but decided to continue on and give Catching Fire a chance anyway. In book two of the Hunger Games trilogy, Katniss and Peeta have returned home after winning the Hunger Games and being the first duo to ever survive. As a Hunger Game winner, Katniss is moved into a new home in Victors' Village and given enough food and money to last a lifetime. However, her nightmares aren't over just yet. Because of her defiance -- causing the Capitol to choose both her and Peeta as winners -- she must now face the repercussions. Katniss expects death or torture, but what she gets is far worse: being sent to the Games again! This time around, fighting to survive is even more difficult, as Katniss has to go against past winners (young and old alike), and there's no way she and Peeta will be able to both survive together again. Things are changing, though, and the spark of revolution is slowly kindling, on the verge of a full-blown firestorm. Will she be able to beat death -- and the Capitol -- a second time?
Catching Fire hooked me a lot more than The Hunger Games. Perhaps it's because the initial explanations are out of the way or because we get to see more character development in Katniss, Peeta and the other characters -- regardless of the reason, I found myself enjoying this book a lot more than the first. The twist of having to return to the Games, while predictable to others, totally threw me for a loop (in a good way) and I was curious as to how it would be portrayed without seeming like a repeat of the first Games. Katniss' character is tragically complex, and I admired her inner struggle between doing what she thought was right and doing what she had to to survive. Peeta, of course, is still a do-good boy-next-door, whose steadfast loyalty and love for Katniss is at times down right heartbreaking.
Overall, I was glad I decided to continue with the series and give book two a chance. I was not at all disappointed, and the cliffhanger ending was definitely one that made me rush to get book 3 immediately. (less)