Exclusively Yours in the first book in Shannon Stacey’s Kowalski series. A series about the kind of family yoPosted at Yummy Men & Kick Ass Chicks
Exclusively Yours in the first book in Shannon Stacey’s Kowalski series. A series about the kind of family you would totally want to hang out with. They are kind and loving but also don’t mind having fun at each other’s expense. In this book, they all go camping together for two weeks. All together. At the same camp ground. Mom, dad, sister, sister-in-law, three brothers and four kids. For two weeks. Wow.
One of the brothers is Joe. He’s a famous writer of horror novels and leads somewhat of a secluded life. You see, there was a very public ‘incident’ and now he just doesn’t feel like going out and being scrutinized by the public. So he stays in his little town and writes his awesome books.
Keri is Joe’s high school girlfriend. They were pretty hot and heavy back then and Joe always assumed they would end up together in a HEA sort of way. But Keri left him after high school to pursue the career she really wanted. She now works for a People sort of magazine as a reporter. Joe is on the magazine’s ‘most want an interview with’ list so when Keri’s crazy b*tch of a boss discovers that Keri and Joe used to date, she tells Keri to either get an interview or get lost. So Keri, who is totally in love with her job, goes back to her hometown to search out Joe.
There are so many ways that this plot could have gone. The most likely one would have been Keri hiding the true reason for her wanting to meet up with Joe and it all blowing up in her face but it didn’t go like that at all. I loved that Shannon made Keri up front and honest with Joe. It made their relationship able to bloom without secrets and sneakiness. In order to get her interview with him, Joe ‘convinces’ Keri to go on the two week camping trip with his family. Great idea Joe! Alone in the evenings, interaction with family and old friends…just a great set-up for a romance story.
I enjoyed Keri and Joe immensely. They had incredible chemistry! Their moments together as well as their moments with the others were really well written. In fact, this whole book is really well written. I also liked how, even though the book is about Keri and Joe and their newly-budding romance, you see what is going on with the rest of the family. No, none of it is especially good, but it’s interesting to see how these issues were resolved – to see how important communication is in any relationship.
The only character I didn’t like much is Terry, Joe’s twin sister. I liked her storyline, but she bugged me. She’s the type of person that has to make everyone around her miserable when she is unhappy. And she’s a snot. I just don’t like characters like her, in books or in real life. I found what she was going through was well written and quite relatable (as in I think it’s a situation many married couples find themselves in) but I just didn’t like her. Or how she treated Keri. Did she ruin the book for me? Not even close. But I could have done without her scenes.
I loved Loved LOVED the last scene in this book. Just darling. The cabin and the confusion and the confessions and of course Joe and Keri…all of it perfect.
Overall, I really liked Exclusively Yours. I love Shannon’s writing voice. Her lead characters are always wonderful and her books full of heart. They make you *sigh* and the make you smile. And, as I’ve said before, isn’t that what we all want from a contemporary romance read?...more
This was a very cute premise. I loved how the author made Santa and his family. The world is really neat. But I just couldn't get past the over-sweetThis was a very cute premise. I loved how the author made Santa and his family. The world is really neat. But I just couldn't get past the over-sweet dialogue and feeling. A little too much for me. But I WILL read the next book because I liked the brothers and I am very curious to see what happens to them. 2.5 stars. Review to follow....more
A little while back, after finishing the first book in this 8th Wing series, I asked Zoe Archer about the nexPosted at Yummy Men & Kick Ass Chicks
A little while back, after finishing the first book in this 8th Wing series, I asked Zoe Archer about the next book in the series. She told me that it was going to be called Chain Reaction and that the hero was going to be a sexy geek. Oh my word…I like those. I love my heroes to be clever and smart good with their hands as well as ‘good with their hands’. *wiggles eyebrows* Add that to the fact that I really enjoyed the first book, Collision Course, and for sure I was going to be reading book two.
I liked Chain Reaction exactly the same amount as I liked book one. (That would explain why I rated it exactly the same). We meet Captain Celene Jur in the first book. The mission that the two main characters were assigned was to save Jur. This time around, Celene wants revenge on the person who is ultimately responsible for her capture, but she can’t go alone. Because of the complexity of the weapon and what she needs to do while on this mission, she is teamed up with a member of NerdWorks. No, that is not what that division is actually called, but that is what they are called behind their backs. Needless to say, Celene is not impressed with this decision. She feels she needs someone who can kick ass like her. But really she has little choice. So Nils Calder it is.
Once again, Zoe has written a great lead heroine. Strong and independent, Celene is a superstar with 8 th Wing, but she holds a sadness she won’t let anyone else see. It’s a weakness after all and fighter pilots can’t show weakness. I really liked seeing how her walls slowly come down for Nils.
Nils was awesome! If I were Celene, I may have been a little intimidated (or freaked out) by his ‘confessions’ but coming from Nils, they didn’t go into creepy territory. I actually swooned a little. And he’s brilliant yet can still kick butt. And yummy. And thoughtful. And just… swell. *dreamy sigh*
I really liked Nils and I found he was a great match for Celene. I didn’t find the heat to be a strong in this instalment, but it was still there. Celene and Nils are different from the H/h from book one and it shows in their physical interactions. That’s not saying the chemistry wasn’t there – it was. There is one steamy scene where ‘boots’ were discussed and I found that to be one my favorite scenes in the book. Not only did it make you smile, but it also reminded you of the truth of the situation this couple is in. It was very well done.
Zoe’s voice lends itself very well to the sci-fi genre. She writes in such vivid detail, her scenes just jump off the page. She makes this crazy ‘other planet’ stuff seem real.
If you are into UF and PNR and contemporary romance and are looking for something a little different but not too daunting, I would give this series a try. I don’t usually pick up sci-fi books but I really enjoyed the time I spent with Collision Course and Chain Reaction. They are quick reads yet have wonderful characters and interesting imagery. You don’t feel like you are missing out on any details even with the lower word count.
Chain Reaction just reminded me why I enjoyed the first book so much. I will definitely be picking it up again someday when I need a rocket-ship fix.
Chasing Her Tail is the sixth and final book in Keri Ford’s Uninhibited in Apple Trail, Arkansas series. I read the first book and really liked it and now I’ve read the last book. Someday, I’ll get to the others – because I really want to. I like how Keri writes and I smile while I’m reading her books.
I really enjoyed the first book, Through the Wall. It was cute and spunky and made me giggle often. While I did like this latest installment, I didn’t feel as strongly for it as I did the first. The reason: I didn’t quite click with the two main characters. Jessie lost her parents and raised her young cousin who also lost her parents. She has always been in charge: In charge of her life, of her surroundings, of her decisions. But a traumatizing event left her emotionally damaged and completely dependent on someone else for a while. Once she got past that event, she decided that she was never going to rely on anyone else ever again. She convinced herself that she didn’t need help because she was strong enough to take care of everything.
Henry is the opposite. He’s been taken care of so well by his grand-father during pretty much his whole life that he just wants to take care of someone else that way. When he meets Jessie and starts ‘taking care’ of her the way he feels he should, it goes against her plans of not accepting help from anyone. There are many arguments and many make-up sessions in this book, let me tell you.
I didn’t click with Jessie as much as I wished I had because I never really understood why she was so reluctant to accept help. Yes, she went through a terrible ordeal, but I didn’t see how it would make her so fanatical about accepting help. She sleeps in a house that is literally falling apart, with no heat. Her roof is patched with pieces of an old above-ground swimming pool and glue! Unfortunately, I wanted to smack her a little. I also wanted to smack Henry a little. I understand what he was trying to do with Jessie but I didn’t agree with how he was going about it. He just came in and started ordering her around. Yes, he was telling her things she should have known and things she should have been doing, but you don’t go in and talk to any woman like that. Ever. She is going to kick you in the goods. Guaranteed. Of course they eventually learn to listen and compromise and all that jazz, but it’s such a hard road getting there.
I did really like Henry’s grandpa. He’s really only in one scene but I found him to be just adorable. I can see how Jessie eventually fell for Henry – there’s just something about a man who loves his grandpa. I also liked the little glimpses of the characters from the other books. It made me excited to read their stories. And fans of this series will appreciate the epilogue. It puts a nice pretty bow on this series. I believe if you’ve read all six books, you’ll love it.
Overall, I found Chasing Her Tail to be an entertaining read. I may not have fallen for the main characters but they did have their good moments. I did enjoy this book and I look forward to reading the rest of the series....more
Supernaturally Kissed is the first book in Stacey Kennedy’s Frostbite series. This is a re-vamped version of a book she wrote earlier this year but since this is the version you can get now, I am only going to talk about this one. In fact, I am going to review this book as though I never read the ‘other’ version. “What other version?” Yes, that’s right…
Quick set-up: Tess has been seeing spirits since she was in a near fatal car accident when she was seventeen years old. She usually likes to ignore them because they only ask for help and she can’t be bothered. Besides, they usually don’t have much memory so trying to get any information out of them is just annoying. Then one day Kipp the ghost shows up and turns her life upside-down. Not only does he remember everything about his life but he is sexy as hell and he makes it impossible for Tess to ignore him. (THAT is a very *blush* and *giggle* worthy scene by the way)
Tess and Kipp are awesome characters. Their chemistry is amazing and their interactions on the page are lovely. Even though some may say that Tess is a little cold for ignoring the deceased who need her help, you can’t really blame her. She just wants to live a ‘normal’ life. But Kipp helps her realize that maybe there is more to her life and to her ability than what she thought.
Kipp is just…*swoon*. He is such a sweetheart and sexy and smart and just all the good things you want in a hero. And I love him with Tess. She needs someone like him, but they can’t be together…and that is just so sad!
Now, you’re probably thinking to yourself that this is an Elora’s Cave title and that usually means smokin’ sexy scenes. But then you’re thinking about how Kipp is a ghost and how Tess well, isn’t….and how I keep saying that they can’t be together… How can this book be hot? Well let me tell you that Stacy finds a way. There is one scene that was SO scorching; the shock of it left me speechless. And there is another scene that practically melts off the page. And it all works. Ghost and woman coming together yet not in a creepy skeezy way…really well done. And HOT! <— you know, in case I didn’t get that across before…
This book has some really fun moments but much of the book takes on a serious tone. We are, after all, dealing with two unsolved murders and an attraction that could never go anywhere. But it’s not a heavy book at all. Tess is just quirky enough to keep things a little on the light side. She helps balance the story well, preventing it from being too dire of a read.
The odd time something was said that made me scratch my head in a ‘but didn’t they already say or do that?” sort of way but not to any great extent. And I feel like we need a little more polishing on Tess’ BFF Caley. She’s just a whirlwind in this book – she comes out of nowhere and breezes through here and there. Polish her up and she’d be an even more fun character. The other supporting characters in this book are wonderful and each adds quite a bit to the story. If not in their actions or interactions with the main characters, then with the tone they seem to add to a scene.
There are plenty of questions in this story that help add slight butterflies to your stomach. Why does Kipp act unlike any ghost ever? Is Tess the only one who has the ability to see and speak with spirits? Who killed Kipp? There is also another mystery that they are trying to solve in this book so there are the questions pertaining to that. The questions never feel too much though. They are just enough to keep you on your toes.
Overall, I was very happy with this book. Tess and Kipp are memorable and lovable characters and the plot is just neat. It’s urban fantasy romance but not exactly like anything of the genre you’ve read before. I am very much looking forward to the second book, tentatively titled Demonically Challenged. As for Supernaturally Kissed, even though it’s a short book, there is nothing lacking in it. The main characters are fully-formed and the story is complete. It’s a really fun read that I recommend.
I was reading a different Historical Romance book and found it to be a little too heavy for what I was in the mood for. After putting it aside, I was talking to many people on twitter about my HR experience to date and I got lots of advice (seriously, for recommendations, twitter people are great!). I was told about Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake by Sarah MacLean. I had actually heard of that book and of that series, and seeing that it was also on the Goodreads list I was using as a reference, I was sold.
It turned out to be just my cup of tea. (See what I did there? It’s a Regency romance and I used to word ‘tea’ in my review. I am so clever sometimes. *pats self on back*) This is the book that helped me realize that I prefer light and fluffy HR books over deeper darker ones. Do not mistake me here. I am not saying that this book has shallow characters with no depth and that the story is petty. It is not like that at all. What I am saying is that this book made me giggle over and over and over. And the plot wasn’t a ‘life or death’ tale. It was a sweet romantic book with witty characters and an interesting story.
Nine Rules to Break when Romancing a Rake starts off with a seventeen year old Calpurina Hartwell (Callie) running away from a ball where she is coming out to the ton. Her mother has dressed her in a hideous dress and Callie does not feel beautiful. Plus she has not danced and feels humiliated. She runs to the gardens and meets the Marquess of Ralston (Gabriel). He is a little older and a known womanizer, I mean rake. Same diff. He manages to make Callie feel like a goddess. The opening scene in the garden was very sweet and even though you know that the Marquess is a little full of it, he still pretty much won me right from then.
The book continues over ten years later. Callie is ‘on the shelf’ as they say – meaning she is unwed and is not expected to change her circumstances anytime soon. And she still remembers the Marquess of Ralston that evening and how he made her feel. After Callie’s younger sister gets engaged, she starts to think about what is missing in her life and what adventures she would like to live – thanks to her brother’s suggestions. While not his intention, Benedict has planted a seed in Callie’s mind – and once Callie is determined to do something, she does it. She compiles a list of things she would like to experience. This list happens to be filled with things only men are allowed to do. But the first thing on this list is not something only men do but it is something you need a man to do with. Callie wants to be kissed. And so enters, once again, the Marquess of Ralston.
Callie is such a spit-fire! You would assume that with her reputation of being a goodie goodie that she was just a plain society lady content with her place in the mess of things. And she sort of was in the very beginning. But soon that Callie disappears and is replaced with a really spunky character. She is so smart and inadvertently funny. And fun. Let’s not forget fun.
Gabriel is great. He isn’t actually a cheating scum bag who does anything with breasts. He has mistresses and treats them very well. He just doesn’t believe in love (because of what it did to his father) nor does he want to get married ever (because of what it did to his mother). There was quite a depth to his character without making him come across as pretentious or closed off. Even with his mess of a past, he’s still full of humor and warmth. He doesn’t take himself too seriously, but he knows his duties. He really takes good care of Callie. I liked how Sarah made it that he just happened to be there when Callie was trying to cross things off her list. Sometimes how things happened was a little predictable, but they were still so much fun to read.
Callie and Gabriel together…wonderful. They are on the page together quite a bit but not in every scene and I found myself missing them together when they were apart. I think Sarah really got it right with these two.
I loved Gabriel’s family. Nicolas is great (he’s the hero for book #2) and his sister Juliana (the heroine for book #3) is a total firecracker! Callie’s sister and brother were fun to read too.
Callie’s mother was annoying – but that was the point of her. She is written as your typical mother who has a younger daughter marrying well and two older siblings who aren’t married yet…and who may never marry. That’s a big deal to a mother in the early 1800’s because, of course, the children are a reflection of the family. But I could have done with a slightly toned down version of her. Another little point that I didn’t find necessary was the bet. I won’t go into detail but I just found it was one thing too many in this story and I didn’t think it was essential to advance the plot. Also, the odd time I wondered why Callie wasn’t just saying “hey, back off bub!” Yes, it was Gabriel and he is a yummy man, but again, just the odd time here and there, I wondered why Callie didn’t smack him away. Other than that, the book was great.
There were two scenes in particular that really brought a smile to my face – and a giggle or five. The gambling scene in the men’s club was just super cute…and really hot. And the scene where Gabriel visits Benedict – just classic. How casual the two men are in that scene…funny.
Overall, I found this book to be a nice blend of cute and sweet and sexy and fun. I was told by an anonymous source (*cough* Marcela *cough*) that the third book is even better than this one. I will definitely be checking that one out sooner rather than later.
My many thanks to all who suggested I try this book. Great choice....more
A little while back, I decided to do a Historical Romance Week here on the blog. Of course, that would mean that I had to read a couple of Historical Romance books to review during my event. So began my search. Goodness I love Goodreads. I just thought I would say that. Not only does it let you stalk check out what your friends read and like, it had great lists too! I came across many lists that were “Historical Romance” based. There were tons! There were lists about best heroes, most loved couples and of course best overall historical romance book. This first book that I chose not only had good ratings from friends I trust but also appeared on each and every historical romance list I checked out. Often, it was at number 2 after Pride & Prejudice! And that is how I came to choose Devil in Winter by Lisa Kleypas as one of my reads for this week – and I think it was an excellent choice!
Devil in Winter is about Evangeline Jenner. She needs to escape her family. Her father, who runs a gentlemen’s club, is wealthy and is on his death bed. When she was young her father sent her to live with her deceased mother’s family because a gentlemen’s club wasn’t the best place to raise a child. Well, her mother’s family members are greedy buggars and want her money. They arranged for her to marry her cousin and beat her repeatedly if she doesn’t do what is expected of her. The only plan she can think of that would guarantee her family leave her alone is if she were to marry. Like yesterday.
Enter Viscount St. Vincent (Sebastian), the notorious rake (that word makes me giggle *g*). In the previous book of the series, Sebastian actually kidnapped one of Evangeline’s best friends because she is wealthy and he needs to marry into money. His father is terrible with money and it’s causing Sebastian to not be able to live as well as he is used to. Since that plan didn’t work out because the best friend had a fiancé who came and not only saved her but also beat Sebastian senseless, Sebastian is back to square one.
Enter Evangeline. She visits Sebastian and suggests they get married NOW. The perfect solution since it would settle both of their issues. And he agrees. So they rush off to Scotland where you can get married on the spot.
This book was so much fun! I absolutely loved Sebastian. He’s a playboy and he’s used to getting what he wants from women. But Evie is only planning on sleeping with him once to make the marriage official and that’s it. He figures no big deal because who wants to bed their wife anyways? His dialogue was great. And pretty much from the beginning, you can tell that there is more to this man. He has a wonderfully sweet side that not many see. And watching him fall for Evie is just lovely. I smiled almost every time he appeared on the page. And the only time I wasn’t smiling was when I was holding my breath.
Evie was also great. She is usually shy, she even stutters, but for some reason she is not so shy with Sebastian. She is very sensible and has a great head on her shoulders. She is not kidding herself about her new husband – she knows what kind of man he is. It’s not a big deal to her though. After all, who wants to bed their husband anyways? She grows quite a bit as a character in this book. She never changes to the point where she is unrecognizable, but it’s just enough to make you root for her, want the best for her and really really like her.
And Cam. Cam is a gypsy boy who works in her father’s club. Him, I liked. Quite a lot. In fact, he is the hero in the first book in Lisa’s The Hathaways series. I may just have to read that one so I can read more about Cam.
I was expecting Evie’s annoying and money grubbing family to be the main villain in this book. I assumed that they would be there, in every chapter, trying to get her to get her money. But that wasn’t the case. I was happy I was wrong because that would have been a little predictable for me. The main villain is a man who works in her father’s club. He’s just a nasty piece of work who speaks with a ‘commoners’ accent. (crap) I have to say that I wasn’t a fan of his being the bad guy because it seemed to come out of nowhere and get worst pretty fast. At the end, it ends up making sense. But the ride there is a little “what is this guy’s deal?” and not necessarily in a good way. That really is my only beef with this book.
There are quite a few giggle-out-loud scenes in this book. The wedding scene for example is so funny! When the couple hear about the tradition behind the bride carrying flowers…I’m telling you laugh out loud funny. Unfortunately, that scene took place in Scotland and therefore the character had accents. And we know how I do with Scottish accents. *sigh* But I managed okay. Enough to find that scene one of the cutest in the book.
Overall, I was really happy with this book. Even if it’s book three in the series, it can absolutely be read as a standalone title. In fact, after meeting the heroine of the second book, I’m not sure I would enjoy reading en entire book about her. Her man I liked though, but not as much as Evie and Sebastian. They were a wonderful couple. And this book is now what I will compare all my Historical Romance reads to. A really cute read.
You know how sometimes you read the blurb for a book and you think it’s going to be good but after you read it you wonder if the person who wrote said blurb even read the book? Then there is the flip-side. You read the blurb, think it’s going to be good but it ends up, while being a little different from what you expected from reading said blurb, even better than you expected? The Kraken’s Mirror by Maureen O. Betita is such a book. I had a feeling I would like it, but I honestly didn’t think I would enjoy it as much as I did. There is a charm to this book that drew me in and brought me along on a fun story filled with adventure, magic and of course, romance.
I think what surprised me the most about this book was the age of the main two characters. (I realize it’s hinted at in the blurb, but it still took me by surprise.) Emily is 53 and Alan is 65. I’ve never read a romantic story about a middle aged couple before. And holy jumpin’ do these two get some smokin’ scenes! But let’s rewind a bit.
Emily is recently widowed, her husband of over 30 years killed less than a year ago in a freak car accident. She and her husband used to visit Pirate Festivals and other such events. Emily feels like she should go to a Pirate event to honor her late husband. While there, she purchases a ticket that lets her pick something out of a bag. She chooses what she thinks is a frame at first since there is a photo of a dashing pirate in it, but the next time she looks at it, she notices it’s simply a mirror. But the mirror’s frame looks like a kraken. The next thing she knows, she falls asleep and is somehow transported to Tortuga in the Caribbean and she is no longer at the pirate festival but living a pirate life for real.
I don’t usually do time travel books. I find the predictable “Oh my! Where am I? Won’t anyone believe that I am from the future? That woman who thinks she’s from the future is crazy and must be a witch! I am so lost and lonely blah blah blah” to be very tiresome. And annoying. Really annoying. But there was none of that in this book. Tortuga is a place filled with time portals that people come across accidentally so the natives are used to being surrounded by slightly overwhelmed people. In fact, most of the people who are on the Ship Emily ends up on were not originally from that time. I really enjoyed that aspect of the story. The time travel thing is mentioned in passing, and once in a while Emily is convinced she is going nuts, but overall it’s just what it is. No big deal.
Emily meets Alan after she has been temporarily blinded by waltzing vampires. (A very different take on your typical vamp) He knows there is a reason he is meeting her but he doesn’t quite know yet that she is to play an important part in his curse being broken. I liked Alan. He’s a pirate but he’s been one for a long time and he’s ready to step aside and just be Alan. The problem with that is no one wants him around! You would think that a curse that brings him luck would be a great thing, but it takes the luck from those around him and gives it to Alan. That could be the reason no one wants him around. *g* Destined for a lonely existence he drifts from place to place as he has for the past 40 or so years. I like how he is with Emily. He’s used to being the Captain but he tries very hard with her. And succeeds. It’s quite sweet.
Throughout the book, Emily shows us that some of the insecurities we feel in our younger days still hold true as we get older. I thought that was interesting. Just because we get older, doesn’t mean we magically feel amazing about our bodies or our pasts and I found it was good that was mentioned. I also found Emily’s cussing to be hilarious. Alan may be the pirate, but Emily’s language, especially during more ‘heated’ moments, was really funny.
The Kraken’s Mirror was a delightful story with characters that are really charming. Maureen’s voice is well suited for this kind of tale and she paced the book well. It’s a lovely story of a man who finds love after years of not being able to have it and a woman who finds a love and passion she never thought was possible at her age. For me, the age of the characters didn’t often come into play. The odd time, I inadvertently found myself picturing a couple closer to my age but soon realized that that didn’t fit the story or the characters. Their maturity is part of what makes this book unique and solid. No teenage drama here. Just a strong devoted couple set in a fun adventure story.
I liked this one but not as much as the first. I'm not sure how I feel about Bastien. I liked him then I didn't, then I liked him again then I didn't.I liked this one but not as much as the first. I'm not sure how I feel about Bastien. I liked him then I didn't, then I liked him again then I didn't. lol I'm wondering how much Seth will be able to take before he breaks. He's got a strong personality that one. I really like him. And I am liking Georgina more and more...even if I questions some of what she does. At least her intentions are good. I will read the rest of the series but I think I'll wait until I can read the last 4 books back to back. Hopefully that will help me avoid massive heart break. lol...more
If I write a review for this book, it would have to be filled with spoilers. There is no other way to explain why I rated this book the way I did. ItIf I write a review for this book, it would have to be filled with spoilers. There is no other way to explain why I rated this book the way I did. It was my first experience with a Harlequin Presents book. My husband picked it out after I asked him to look at the display and choose. There was no 'dance' and things just came out of nowhere. Too much of it just didn't mesh well with me. 2.5 stars...more
What do you get when you take a recently single strict high school principal and add in a hot rock star who is tired of living the ‘rock star life’? Well you get Gunshy by Seleste deLaney, a sweet and sexy love connection story.
Now I bet you’re thinking “But Julie! An academic and a rock star don’t make an obvious HEA match!” Well I would say that you are absolutely right. Which is why they got a little help. From Cupid.
Yes, that Cupid.
You see, Cupid (a.k.a. Eros) is like a frat boy living it up in Zeus’ land until one day, the big boss calls him to a meeting. He is sick and tired of watching love and romance reach critically low levels here on Earth so he banishes Eros to live here until Zeus is satisfied that he takes his job as the bringer of love to the people of the world seriously.
I bet now you’re thinking “What a neat concept for a story, Julie!” and I would have to totally agree with you.
Kira is the principal. At the very beginning of the book, she gets dumped by her boyfriend. How he dumps her will make you want to push him down, and not in the good way. What a slime ball! As she is storming away, she meets Cupid. Of course she doesn’t know it’s him, but he will lead her on a path straight to Jesse.
Jesse is the super star rock star Kira bumps into. Literally. He has already met Cupid, only a few days earlier. Jesse is so yummy (even though I had to roll my eyes at one of his first lines. I mean, why do boys think lines like that are so funny?!) I thought it clever that Seleste made it that Kira didn’t know who Jesse was. It made their meeting even steamier. And their chemistry is wonderful.
I love how, even though her stories tend to be short tales or novellas, Seleste writes fully developed characters. And even though Gunshy was only 59 pages long, I felt a connection to Kira and Jesse and I really did want them to find their HEA. I was surprised at how long it took for Kira to figure out what she wanted and I also found that when she finally did realized it, the story felt a little rushed. But overall Gunshy was a fantastic read. Perfect for when you are looking for a book you can read in one sitting that will leave you all warm and fuzzy in the end.
If you like the idea of this book as much as I did, you’ll be happy to know that Gunshy is only the beginning of a new multi-author series. Each book in the Cupid’s Conquests series will focus on how Eros brings one (or more) couples together. If you consider that he has to do that enough times to satisfy Zeus, there is a lot of writing potential there! Seleste will be writing more (and all this was her idea and you can read how it all came to be here) and others will be joining her. Neat right?!...more
I have had Salt and Silver by Anna Katherine in my book closet for about two years now. The reason I purchased it is I was looking for a little break in reading series and looked online for a suggestion for a standalone Paranormal Romance book. Let me tell ya, there aren’t many. But I did find this one. I bought it, then apparently got distracted by something else and let it fall deeper and deeper into my closet. Well, I finally pulled it out and I’m actually glad I did.
Salt & Silver is the story of Allie and Ryan. Okay, so there are Doors to Hell, demons escaping and Hunters tracking them down to kill them, but primarily it’s the story of Allie and Ryan. Allie and her friends actually are responsible for opening one of the doors in the basement of the diner Allie now runs. They were drunk. And stupid. Oh yeah, and there may be too many Doors popping up and some going missing and all this leading to the possible end of the world. Come to think of it, maybe this book isn’t only about Allie and Ryan. Their chemistry is strong though and it is definitely something I focused on, but there may have been a few other things going on too. Maybe.
Even with all that dire stuff going on, this book reads a little on the light side. Allie has a great sense of humor. It’s very snarky and sarcastic – and I love humor like that. I think the reason why I found this to read a little lighter is because no matter how bad the situation got, none of the characters took it too seriously. They all knew they had a job to do, and even though they didn’t always know how to go about it, they understood that things needed doing and that was that. Even Allie, who is not a Hunter like Ryan, understood this. She feels responsible for opening a door (as she should) and is taking it upon herself to help as much as she can.
Allie used to be one of those spoiled rich girls who didn’t care for anyone but herself and spent whatever she wanted on whatever she wanted whenever she wanted until her mother ran off with the help and her money. Now Allie works in a diner. When she and her two friends opened the Door in said diner, Ryan appeared to guard it. I have to say that I liked Ryan and his mysteriousness but I wish there was more page time with just Allie and Ryan. There are memories and descriptions of times when they were mostly alone, but not a whole lot of actual time during the story. I understand that there was a lot going on and that there wasn’t much time for that, but still. And Allie’s friends really got on my nerves. I kinda understand why they were in this story, but I almost wish there was another way of bringing everything together without including them. They were annoying and I didn’t enjoy them at all.
One thing I did really enjoy in this book the author’s imagination. Anna must enter Hell and of course she takes the reader with her. Hell is not a simple place: it is made up of many dimensions, each one more different from the last. These dimensions and the avatars that look out for the team members…just wow. Every time Allie and crew entered a new Door, something completely new jumped out at them. Hell was also where some of the more tender and emotional moments of the book took place. As I said they weren’t too many, but the ones that occurred took place in Hell.
Did reading this book change my life? No. Did it entertain me while I was reading it? Absolutely. Even though I found the writing could have been a little smoother at times, I found this book to be an enjoyable read. I did like Allie, I did like Ryan and I liked them together. Part of me wishes the author continued their story in another installment. But alas, she did not. So I guess I’ll just have to be happy with this one tale. After all, that is why I chose it to begin with.
Good writing, good story idea. Nash got on my nerves. So did Maya. Wished Mick was 'more'. Hard to put into words. Hopefully will be able to by the tiGood writing, good story idea. Nash got on my nerves. So did Maya. Wished Mick was 'more'. Hard to put into words. Hopefully will be able to by the time I post my review LOL. ...more
*Le sigh* Well, she did it. Keri Arthur managed to make me doubt one of the characters I enjoyed the most in the first book in this series. I told people how much I liked this character and how I was glad that Keri hadn’t chosen to kill him off after book one because I was hoping to see more of him. He’s sexy and pretty and a good match for Risa. Not necessarily a love match, but their chemistry was amazing and reading them together was hot!
But I may be getting ahead of myself here. Let’s start at the beginning.
Darkness Rising is the second book in Keri Arthur’s Dark Angels series. Book one, Darkness Unbound, was spectacular. I loved every moment of it and could not wait to get my hands on this second book. Thank goodness the release dates were close together so I didn’t have to wait long. And now that I’ve read the second book, here’s what I have to say about it:
I liked Risa in book one and I still like her very much. I love how she handles things. How even though she’s half-shifter and half aedh, she’s no superhero. It really helps make her relatable and likable.
I think Risa’s friends and family are wonderful and I enjoy reading about her interaction with them and their interaction with each other. Those scenes are very well written. They make you feel like you’re right there in the room with them.
I found there was a little bit of repetition in the descriptions of who was who in the beginning of the book. I know it’s important for the author to refresh our memories of who Lucian is, who Riley is and so forth and what happened in the previous book, but I think telling us once would have been enough.
Speaking of Lucian, I can’t believe Keri managed to plant doubts in my mind about his intentions with Risa! I thought he was so yummy in the first book. The perfect character to complement Risa! Now…I am actually thinking that he may be the ultimate bad guy! *GASP!* Now, is Keri writing him that way to surprise us with who the real villain is or is he really the ultimate evil in this series? She sure has some major writing chops to pull that off. (And those of you who read this book, please let me know what you think of this!)
Azriel! Oh. My. Swoon. Book one, he was okay for me. Actually, I didn’t feel much towards him. Probably because I was drooling too focused on Lucian. But in Darkness Rising he is SO yummy! He is a Reaper warrior of sorts (you’ll have to read the book to really understand what he is because I don’t know how to start explaining it lol). The longer he stays in human form, the more human emotions and mannerisms he adopts. He’s actually funny and flirty now! Even though Risa doesn’t quite see it, he is! He really is!
The way the book plays out was very similar to how book one played out. Many of the things that occurred there happened here. But there is a big unexpected fight near the end with an ‘OMG Oh Crap!” moment that made up for it all. Not that reading this installment was terrible or anything like that. It was still a good book with good a solid story and great characters. I just found it a little ‘been there done that’. We’ll see what happens in the next book, Darkness Devours, which is slated to hit shelves on June 5th 2012.
Once again, we get the main story arc which will be the base of this series and a side story that gets resolved by the end of this book. I find the way the story dances from one story to the other very good. The pace and the story flow very well.
Overall, I enjoyed Darkness Rising. Risa is wonderful and I look forward to many more books/moments with her. The book starts off on a bit of an emotional note that is quickly replaced with fun action and go go go. And let’s not forget Azriel…Yum....more
Silver Shark is a short story by Ilona Andrews and is the second story in their Kinsmen series. Now, I am about to tell you guys something that may shock and surprise you. I really like Ilona Andrews’ writing voice and style. This writing couple is responsible for one of my two mostest favorite book series in the whole world. Okay, okay. I know this isn’t really a crazy revelation to those of you who visit here often, but I just thought it was due repeating. And because I love these two writers’ style so much, I am open to reading everything they write (even though I have yet to read everything they have written so far *hides*). They could write a story about a merman who wields guns to save the world and I would read it. They could write a YA story about a lost moose who is secretly a handsome lumberjack, looking for love in the middle of the forests of the Canadian North when he stumbles upon a gentle rabbit/cyborg who is being chased by evil maggots before he realizes that he too is a cyborg living in an alternate reality where he is actually a prince who has been sold into the sex trade, um…okay, maybe I wouldn’t read that. But you get my drift.
“Get to the point Julie.” Okay.
I don’t list sci-fi books on my list of favorite genres. But I have read some and am usually in awe of the author’s imagination. To create such worlds in one’s mind and to translate that onto paper for all to enjoy, it just blows me away. And seeing how I am already in awe of Ilona’s imagination, I figured that a sci-fi story written by them would be great…and I was not wrong.
Because I am familiar with these authors, I went into this book not having read anything about it. And that is the reason I was caught off guard (in a good way) in the very first chapter and also what lead me to not wanting to put the book down! Let me try to explain this without massacring it… Claire is a Captain on her planet and she is at war. She is a lethal soldier, only she won’t attack you with weapons – she’ll kill you using her mind. She is what is referred to as a Psycher. She, and others like her, plug into a biological computer network and do what they must do while plugged in. Suddenly, the war ends and she is on the losing team. Because Psychers are so powerful, they are all ordered to be killed. Claire manages so mask her true identity and gets deported to a planet that is essentially the opposite of the one she grew up on. Where her birth place was gray and sterile, her new home is bright and colorful. There, she meets Venturo and fun ensues. He is yummy. The end.
Based on the beginning of the story and the fact that Claire is hiding her identity and her ability, I assumed that the end of this story would be very predictable. You know, it would entail Claire being ‘found out’ and that resulting in the mandatory begging for her life and that is when the hot man would spare her because he loves her so darned much because he is a lost soul and all that jazz. (Do I read too many romance books? Maybe.) That is not what happens and I was very happy with the way the story flows and the way it ends.
I loved Claire and I loved Venturo. Even though this was quite a short story, they are fully developed characters. You don’t feel like you are missing any info about them. You just want them to be happy and to succeed. The world was nicely complex too. Details galore so it was easy to envision it in your head. Really though, do we expect anything less from Ilona Andrews?
Overall, I really enjoyed this story. It was quick and interesting. But most importantly, it held characters that were wonderful to read and a story that gripped me from the beginning....more
I was really happy with how this wrapped up the series. You will be happy to know that Gumby's role is significant and that the story isn't predictablI was really happy with how this wrapped up the series. You will be happy to know that Gumby's role is significant and that the story isn't predictable. I had a big smile on my face when I read 'the end' Review to follow....more
I am torn about how I feel about this book. The story was okay. The narration was AMAZING! The main character drove me bonkers! Drama drama drama... II am torn about how I feel about this book. The story was okay. The narration was AMAZING! The main character drove me bonkers! Drama drama drama... I did enjoy the back and forth from present and past. That was cool. Nate - I'm not sure if I want to hug him or smack him. And even though she had a pretty small role, I quite liked the daughter. Yeah... It's gonna take me a few days to write up this review I think. LOL Review to follow....more
What. A. Ride. Before I get going, let me tell you about Maria V. Snyder’s adult books. They are not paranormal romance. Nor are they urban fantasy. They are straight up fantasy…with a bit of romance thrown in. Subtle romance. PG-13 romance if you will. The worlds are exquisite and the characters are outstanding. At least for me. I look forward to each book she comes out with because they are so different than what I usually read and because I know I will be meeting characters that will stay with me for a while after I’m done with the book.
Touch of Power is the first book in Maria’s newest series. It’s essentially the story of Avry, a Healer. There are eleven types of magic that can be gifted to the people in this world and Healing magic is one of them. But right now, there is only one Healer left – and that’s Avry. You see, there was a plague that hit a couple years past and it killed many people. Ugly painful deaths too. Healers were eventually blamed for the plague, even though Avry knows this isn’t true. Because of their supposed part in the plague, all healers have been executed. Avry has been in hiding…until now.
Since the mass disease hit, the Fifteen Realms have been a bit of a mess. Many of the leaders died leaving power hungry people who want to rule over all the realms. Ryne is one of the leaders who is believed to hold enough influence to stop these crazy people from taking over. Unfortunately Ryne has the plague but has been sort of magically frozen so that the disease doesn’t kill him before someone who can heal him is found. Kerrick has taken on the task of finding a Healer. He has been feverishly seeking for two years and finally finds Avry but only one little hurdle stands in his way: By the time he finds Avry, she’s in a dungeon awaiting execution. See? Just a little problem.
Avry is a fantastic heroine. She is strong and is a survivor. She does what she needs to do to survive without being heartless. In fact, her caring character was one of the things that really drew me to her. That and her little snarky mouth! She is a very clever girl with a wit to match.
Kerrick. What to say about Kerrick? Maria’s heroes tend to be mysterious, intelligent, powerful and sexy. But not in your face sexy. I mean they don’t tend to be described as having bulging muscles or bulging other parts. You are drawn to her heroes because they are a whole package and Kerrick definitely fits in this category. He was wonderful. How he fought his attraction to Avry, how he leads his men, his loyalty to his friends and to his cause…all of it. He was a great read.
Tohon was one creepy dude. He’s the kind of villain who is that special kind of crazy. You know the type – he thinks he’s doing what is best for the world and he honestly thinks this because he has rationalized it in his head. His twisted-up little head. I am very curious to see where his character goes and where his actions and decisions will take the story since he is one of the characters that seems to be driving this series.
The sidekicks were amazing in this series, just as they are in Maria’s other Fantasy books. They are as memorable as the main characters. And yes, there is a sad scene that involves one of them and I may have cried a little. And to make a reader tear up over a supporting character you’ve only just begun to get to know…that takes writing chops.
The action in this book is almost subtle in its nature. It’s not in your face run run run – it’s almost psychological. But don’t think that means you are not in for a ride. After all, I started this review with “What. A. Ride.” The whole time you are wondering what will happen? Will they get caught? Will the flowers eat them? Oh damn, the flowers did eat them… There was one point where I found myself thinking “okay, if she gets captured one more time it’s going to bother me…” but she didn’t so I didn’t get bothered. Once the characters path became clear to them, especially Avry, the story became even more of a ride and it stayed that way until the very end.
The world is just plain neat in Touch of Power. The magic and how it’s used yet not in your face, the plants, the wildlife…all of it really clever. After reading so many stories set in dirty and almost futuristic cities, it’s nice to just escape into a place where it’s all about what your imagination can conjure up with the words the authors feeds me. A fantastical journey that is as plain or as complicated as your mind lets it be. In my case, I saw lush forests with beautiful yet deadly vegetation. I loved the use of magic. Again, like the action, almost subtle in its uses.
If you are a fan of Maria’s works, you have to read this book. Heck, if you are a fan of pure fantasy tales, even though I have not read any other fantasy books by another author, I feel confident to say that you will enjoy this book. The world is marvelous and the main characters are so charming. You can’t help but cross your fingers and wish them well. Well, except for Tohon. Him, he’s just creepy....more
This is such a good series! Sierra writes novellas really well too. They are full stories in mini packages. You don't feel like you are missing any deThis is such a good series! Sierra writes novellas really well too. They are full stories in mini packages. You don't feel like you are missing any details. But I don't recommend you reading this novella if you have not read at least the first two full-sized books in the series. You'd be missing tons of details and getting a bunch of spoilers. Review to follow....more
Whatnots & Doodads is a little story by Stacey Kennedy and it is super cute. Bryanna is an Earth Witch, but her magic is broken. When she calls upon her element to try to conjure something, what she actually gets is nothing like what she wanted. Not even close. She gets what she calls whatnots and doodads. When she runs away from her coven, she ends up in Strange Hollow. This is a little village that welcomes everyone who is “damaged” without passing judgement. This is where Bryanna meets Zeke, the good demon.
I loved the idea of Strange Hollow. We often read of places filled with super strong and powerful beings, but rarely is there anything about misfit magicians. Be it magical beings or magic users, if you do not quite fit into the mould your community want you to fit in, you can find a safe haven in Strange Hollow. It’s like the island of misfit toys but for the supernatural!
Bryanna was just fine for me at first, but then she grew on me. She’s a cutie. When Zeke had her standing in the middle of the field and having her use her magic, I giggled out loud. What she conjures really is a bunch of doodads – but fun and unexpected ones!
Zeke was great. He’s going against his nature because he can’t stand what he is meant to do. He decides that he wants to save a soul as opposed to steal one. He wants to help Bryanna realize that she is not a useless witch and that she can be an important part of Strange Hollow. There is definite chemistry between them and their ‘special scenes’ together are hot! Did I mention that Zeke is sexy. Yeah…he is. I liked him and Bryanna together. They were sweet.
This is a romance story but there wasn’t a clear ‘Oh my god I love you so much’ at the end – and I LOVED that about this book! This story happens in one day so if that was what was said by the end, it would have lost me. I mean c’mon! But even though there isn’t a defined ‘I love you’, the way it ends is wonderful.
All in all, I enjoyed reading Whatnots & Doodads. I liked the concept and the characters were fun to read. I like this author – her work is solid – and I am anxious to see what she comes out with next.
Bad Boys Do is the second book in Victoria Dahl’s Donovan Brother’s Brewery and this one I really enjoyed! I didn’t hate the first book or anything, but I found this one to be just delightful.
This time around we follow Jamie on his journey to finding true love and a well deserved HEA. Jamie is considered the screw up of the family. Basically, after his parents’ death, he just acted up. Mind you he was a teenager so he was entitled, but that is not how his older brother saw it. Also, when he and his sister were old enough to take over in the running of the family brewery, Jamie decided that he didn’t really want a big part in it. Well, that’s changed. He’s older now (late 20s) and he wants to grow up and take on more responsibility. But Eric, the eldest Donovan sibling, just can’t take Jamie seriously and dismisses almost every idea he suggests.
Poor Jamie. Come on over here so Julie can give you a big long hug and a little inappropriate squeeze.
Then we have Olivia. I loved her! She reminded me so much of me, it was almost creepy. Okay, I’m not a university teacher and I’m not recently divorced from a d*ckwad ex-husband. But what we do have in common is our ability to get so stuck in a routine that becomes so comfortable that we just don’t want to do anything new. And things that she and I may find fun aren’t your typical ‘fun’ things. Jamie meets her in the Donovan Brewery bar and is instantly drawn to her. After a few meetings (and one awkward dinner party that Jamie really handles like a pro) Jamie and Olivia strike a deal: he is to help her be more fun and she is to help him present his plans for the Brewery to Eric and their sister Tessa.
On the surface, it looks like Jamie and Olivia are opposites, but I didn’t think so. They have their basic values in common and that is enough to give them a good start. Plus, they complement each other perfectly! I love how Jamie took Olivia a little bit out of her comfort zone but never forcing her to do anything that would make her scream and run. I love how Olivia let Jamie do the work for the Brewery and she only polished off his plans. They made a great team, knowing what each other needed. Can you tell that I really really liked them together!
I liked that there was no mystery sub-plot this time around. There were a few bumps in the road, but overall this story was about Jamie and Olivia, how they dealt with their personal issues and how they meet and fall in love. Sometimes that’s all you need in a contemporary romance to make it good. Great characters and a solid boy-meets-girl, boy-falls-for-girl story. *sigh*
Even though I didn’t love Tessa in Good Girls Don’t, I didn’t mind her in this book because she’s not the focus. She seems to have mellowed out a bit…except for in one scene. But that was just one scene and I was too busy focusing on Jamie and what he was feeling and too busy not really liking Eric that I didn’t let Tessa overly bug me. Now Eric still rubs me the wrong way and because of that, I don’t see myself picking up his book – even though I’ve heard his is the hottest book. But after reading Tessa’s book, I had a strong feeling that I would enjoy Jamie’s book and I was right. I’m glad I read it. It left me smiling and all giddy inside. Jamie and Olivia make a wonderful match and their story bends really well to Victoria’s voice. Overall a great contemporary romance read.
Sins of the Angels is the first book by Linda Poitevin and it’s just…whoa.
I sat on this book for a couple of days before writing my review because I needed to give it time to process. It’s a book about angels, but not really religious. It does however share some pretty interesting views of how Heaven and Hell operate. I found that aspect of the book to be very fascinating. Questions that someone may ask themselves, such as “Why does God let terrible things happen” are addressed and answered. I don’t think you need to be religious at all to appreciate this book. It’s not a preachy book and I don’t want to come across as saying that it is. I just found it awfully brave of Linda to ‘go there’ and to write such an interesting take on a deity that millions upon millions worship.
This book revolves around Alex, a detective in the middle of trying to solve a case involving a serial killer in Toronto. (Woot Go Canada!) This case is tough and the murders are gruesome. Really terrible. While reading, you want, no need the killer to be caught because what he is doing is just that awful, but you know that chances are slim since the killer is a crazed fallen angel trying to find a way back into Heaven. Angels are not seen in the world Linda created. They don’t walk among people, so that the killer is an angel is not open knowledge. The killings are becoming more and more frequent so the police feel the need for extra people on the case. Alex currently has no partner but has one assigned to her during this case. Enter Trent/Aramael. He is Alex’s new partner. That’s pretty convenient seeing as how he is bound to protect her while trying to capture Caim – the crazy creepy bad guy/angel.
Aramael is a Power – a fallen angel hunter. He is given the task to capture the fallen angel and bring him in to be taken care of the way evil fallen angels are taken care of. Working so closely with Aramael, Alex sees him as he truly is in glimpses and starts to think she’s losing it. You see, Alex has some baggage when it comes to angels. Her mother wasn’t completely lucid and claims she had angels surrounding her. Eventually, total madness overtook Alex’s mother, so seeing what could be angels only makes Alex wonder if she is deemed to follow the same path as her mother. She is essentially afraid of angels or anything of that sort because it makes her question her own sanity.
I liked Alex as a character. Very strong and no-nonsense, she gets the job done no matter what. She had one little personality thing that rubbed me wrong after a while (and I’ll talk about that in a bit) but other than that, she was great. And Aramael was pretty cool too. What a presence he is! All power, yet there is a vulnerability mixed in there…which really should not be since he’s an angel and feelings aren’t part of their game thanks to the laws of Heaven.
Even though there is a she and there is a he and there may be a little kissing, this is not a romance book. It is very much an urban fantasy tale. But there is a strong chemistry between Alex and Aramael. I can’t say that I felt much of a romantic spark between the two of them, but the connection was very strong and as I said, the chemistry and the urge to protect was very good. It may have been a tinge out of character for these two to be attracted to each other in this book, but I’m sure it will make more sense to them in the next books. I’m anxious to see where Linda takes these two.
The only thing that got to me about Alex was how she was constantly saying that she didn’t want to see Trent/Aramael for what he truly was. Over and over. By the 50% mark, I just wanted to shake her a bit. Or Aramael. I could shake him too and tell him to explain things to Alex a.s.a.p. Not for her benefit but for mine! But shortly after reaching that point, a phone call came in and bam! The story takes off and just keeps going until your jaw hits the floor and you are left confused and wondering if you read the ending right. Then the epilogue happens.
The epilogue…whoa. It makes me happy that there is another book coming out next year that will (hopefully) answer some questions. And boy are you ever left with questions! I can’t say that I was cursing at the end, so it’s not that intense of an “I need answers and I need them now”, but you definitely feel the urge to perhaps invite yourself over to the authors house for tea and excuse yourself to “use the bathroom” all the while you rummage through her office looking for the next book. Okay, so maybe I would like the answers now…
The prologue is excellent too. I felt that who was in that scene was evil, but I found it written in such a way that he could have been good. But then you find out that nope, he is bad bad bad. I mean, he is a super creepy and really really evil! Made my skin crawl every time he appeared on the page. Linda did a great job writing him.
I found the pacing to be great in the beginning, a slightly bit slower near the middle, but the last 60% to be fantastic. I really am looking forward to reading the next installment, Sins of the Son, which is due to hit shelved March 27th 2012.
Linda has a beautiful writing voice. Really, the writing is top notch – almost lyrical. Her imagery is excellent, making everything jump off the page while you’re reading it. And her story is very original. Sins of the Angels is a wonderful debut and a gripping start to what is likely to be a strong series. Fans of Urban Fantasy really should check it out....more
Cute story. I must admit that I didn't quite connect with the first part of the book because I've never seen an male exotic dance show in real life. ICute story. I must admit that I didn't quite connect with the first part of the book because I've never seen an male exotic dance show in real life. I've only ever seen it on really bad TV and unfortunately that is what I was thinking about when the author was describing Brandon's dancing. (stupid brain and giggle attack) I did like Brandon a lot and I liked Leanne too. I just found that some of the other characters were so predictable. You have the beauty-queen mother who is not understanding of her daughter's academic career, the crazy jealous and spiteful cousin and the 'say-nothing even though thing are really unjust' dad. Even Brandon comes from no-good parents and a hard childhood. While nothing was original, the two main characters were likable enough to make me want to continue reading. It was a quick story (a little too quick at times though - I would have liked a little more development in some areas) but it had a sweet ending. ...more
Taken by the Others is the second book in Jess Haines’ H&W Investigations series. No I did not read book one. I know, I know, so not like me! Well, there was a slight mix up and I got book two. But you know what? It turned out okay.
The book opens with Shiarra, our heroine, having to talk someone down who just happens to have a gun pointed to her head. Yeah. I have to tell you, with an opening like that, you know you are in for a fast paced read.
I liked Shiarra even though I found that her fear of vampires and being bitten was a little bit much at times. Then again, that is her phobia and therefore she is allowed to be scared senseless I suppose. I found myself giggling at what she was saying and thinking through the book, and I always love when a character can make me giggle. She and the other characters in this book certainly kept me well entertained. I enjoyed seeing some of the White Hats (Other being hunters) learn that their perception of the Others was not quite accurate. I enjoyed reading Devon (he would make a great novella hero). And I really enjoyed Royce.
Alec Royce is a vampire. An old and powerful one. She is suave and charming, in his own way, and he (we think) has eyes for Shiarra. You can tell that he isn’t used to being told no or to being told to hold off, but he does his best for Shia. But man can you ever tell that it’s taking every ounce of restraint he owns! Shia wants nothing to do with Royce, not only because he is what she is most afraid of, but also because she has a pretty serious boyfriend in Chaz.
I didn’t get much of a feel for Chaz (and leader of one of the Werewolf packs in town). He isn’t in the book much and what we see of him well…let’s just say there isn’t much talking. And no I don’t mean because they are too busy doing the nasty – I mean because he’s a wolf and can’t talk.
The story itself was pretty good. A vampire wants an eye for an eye after what happened in book one and he seems to feel that Shiarra is that eye. So he tries to kidnap her. Sometimes he succeeds and sometimes he does not. But it does make for quite the ride.
Even though the end felt a tad rushed to me (bam your fighting, bam you’re gone, bam your lover is hurt, bam you run off), I enjoyed the pace of the rest of the book and the overall feel of it too. Interesting characters set in an interesting world. I really like the idea that vampires are restricted by law and that you have to have a legally bound contract before being turned or bled. Pretty neat.
I did not feel lost or confused at all while reading this book – seeing that I did not read book one. That said there were a few details that I was very curious about their origins. The belt for example. And how Shiarra met Royce. And how long has Shiarra been in a relationship with Chaz. And why is Shiarra so darned afraid of vampires?! These are all things I would assume are explained in the first book. And although I didn’t feel lost of confused, I did find myself wanting to learn more.
Am I planning on reading the next book? Eventually for sure, yes. I am very curious to see where things go with Shiarra and Chaz. And let’s not forget Royce. No, let’s not forget Royce.
The Shadow Reader by Sandy Williams is another example of how I let book pimpers (a.k.a. book bloggers) and pre-release buzz suck me in. I had seen this book listed on quite a few “books to look out for” lists so of course, that got my curiosity going. I read the blurb and that also got my curiosity going. So I requested it and crossed my fingers. By the time I received it, I had forgotten what is was about but I was still excited to read it. I may not have remembered the blurb but I remembered the book pimpage. So I cracked it open and I must say…wow.
The Shadow Reader is set in the Fae world. Fae are invisible to most humans except for those who possess the Sight. Then there are Shadow Readers. These are humans who possess the Sight and who can read the shadows left behind when a fae fissures away. They can basically track fae. And depending on how good they are, they can be somewhat accurate or extremely accurate. The better you are, the more in demand you are. Well, Mackenzie is exceptional.
She ‘works’ for the Court. They are the good guys. She lives in the human realm, but is compensated by the fae for her services. The first chapter of the book immediately sucks you in as you follow Makenzie running for her life from the Rebel fae – the bad guys. They catch her, kidnap her and want to keep her for their own use.
The story is told from Mackenzie’s point-of-view. She has been working for the fae for the past 10 years and she has gone through some pretty difficult events because of it.
Mackenzie has been in love with Kyol from the moment she met him. So…about 10 years now. But the king forbids human/fae relationships so he is torn. She knows he at least cares for her, but he’s fighting it. Then she gets kidnapped by Aren. Aren ladies…yum. Kyol is not too shabby, but there is just something about Aren. But Kyol has some really nice moments near the end of the book. But Aren is just…rawr. As you may have figured out, there is a bit of a love triangle thing going on in the book but not really at the same time. It’s not an annoying one that makes you want to shake the girl and tell her to make up her damn mind before you smack her silly. I like how Sandy handled the whole thing. And while there is a ‘decision’ in the end, you wonder if it is the final one. The chemistry is wonderful all around.
As for Mackenzie, I really liked her. Even though she sees the fae and knows she is good at what she does, she is just a normal human girl at heart. She dreams of being able to just live a normal fae-free life. She wants to get her University degree, get a (normal) job, meet a man, get married… All the things most regular gals hope to achieve in life. Yet she is in the middle of such extraordinary circumstances. I love how she handles each situation she’s thrown into. She’s not some superhero or mega-woman. She’s Mackenzie. I really liked how Sandy wrote her.
The story itself was quite the ride. You are always thinking while reading this book. As Mackenzie learns about the Rebels, you find yourself wondering if they are telling the truth or if the Court is. And there are some pretty spectacular fight scenes, most without guns since fae can’t use modern technology. Also let’s not forget the escape attempts. And there are heart-breaking moments too. Sad moments and surprising moments. As I said, this book is a ride. But it’s not written in a way where you feel like you need to stop to catch your breath. The pacing is good – not too much, not too slow.
You really get involved in fae politics while reading this book (since that is pretty much the base of this story) and the ending of the book really leaves you curious as to what will happen next. I liked how everything turned out. I am also glad that there is another book in the works because I want to see if Mackenzie sticks with her ‘choice’ and how the fae Realm ultimately copes with the outcome of the Rebels vs. the Court. Book two is still untitled and not yet finished. But at least it’s in the works. Thank goodness for that.
It’s amazing how some debut authors just seem to know what they are doing right out of the gate – and Sandy Williams is definitely one of those authors. Sandy explained the world without making it too daunting. She introduced a huge cast of characters without making them feel forced on us and she packed the book with action and an interesting ‘not really’ love triangle that keeps you on your toes and sometimes at the edge of your seat. I was really impressed with the way this book was written. The writer has a beautiful voice and I am anxious to see where she takes us next....more
Good Girls Don’t is the first book in Victoria Dahl’s new contemporary romance trilogy, the Donovan Brothers Brewery. After reading the blurb, I was looking forward to giving this book a go because it sounded light and fun. Also, I’ve read Victoria’s Tumble Creek series and really enjoyed her writing voice.
The Donovan Brothers Brewery is a family run business whose owners consist of three siblings, Eric, Jamie and Tessa. The siblings took over operations after their parents died. When a break-in occurs at the brewery, the police are called in (of course) and that is when we meet Detective Luke Asher. This book is about how Tessa and Luke meet and find their HEA.
While reading, I did find the story to be light and fun, but I didn’t fall in love with the main heroine. Tessa is so worried about losing her family to fighting or bad business that she lies to them. And to everybody. All the time. That sort of got on my nerves. I understand why she felt compelled to do it, but it was a bit much after a while. She was cute and all, but that aspect of her just overshadowed it. I wanted to like her, I really did, but I just couldn’t connect with her. I did enjoy her humor and her sass though. Some of her lines did make me giggle.
Luke on the other hand was pretty cool. He’s your typical hot and yummy detective with a sensitive side. But he too has an issue with telling the truth. It’s not that he lies like Tessa – he just doesn’t tell the whole truth or just ignores things so he won’t have to face the truth or admit to it. The whole book, you wonder about the details behind his divorce. The whole book! And when the reasons are uncovered, it’s really not that big a deal. But of course, because he won’t expand on things when people ask him about them, people assume the worst about him and his character. But he’s a detective. And he’s hot. So I’ll forgive his misgivings. *g*
I liked Simone, Luke’s partner, but again here is a character that is hiding things. Even the brothers are hiding a few things! I mean really?! Why won’t anyone just tell it like it is?! Don’t they not know how much lighter they will feel?
I wasn’t a huge fan of Eric’s until the very end of the book. But even though he managed to salvage my feelings for him, I don’t know if I will read his book. I will read Jamie’s book though, Bad Boys Do (due out September 27th 2011). His character was a little cliché (he’s the bad-boy screw-up sibling) but I think watching him fall in love will be entertaining to read. Besides, no doubt the other two siblings will be in here, and since Tessa won’t be the dominant characters, maybe I’ll bond with her more.
This wasn’t a bad book. I just wasn’t able to really click with the most important character. I liked the idea of the story, the family run brewery. I enjoy contemporary romance books that follow families. I find they tend to be the tales with the most heart. It was a quick read (even though it was 384 pages) and there were many giggle worthy moments....more