Because this one would entail tons of editing to post it here, I just copied and pasted it exactly from my blog. :)
From Goodreads - In AngeBecause this one would entail tons of editing to post it here, I just copied and pasted it exactly from my blog. :)
From Goodreads - In Angels’ Pawn a vampire hunter faces off against two rival factions and the angel manipulating them both, and a vampire whose help is not entirely selfless…
Janvier, a vampire, and Ashwini, a Hunter, are amazing together. Their chemistry is explosive. The second she arrives at his door and he answers all suave and smooth, you know this is a couple that will have you fanning yourself. But alas, in this story, it wasn’t meant to be. No, that is really misleading. What I mean is that this particular story is not a love story per say. It’s not a HEA or even a HFN. There isn’t even sex! *gasp* But the heat is amazing between these two and you want them to get together. I really think Nalini should write their story. In fact, she’s thinking about it. The story is quite good too. An interesting mystery that Janvier and Ashwini solve together. Quite an enjoyable read.
Giggle worthy quote
‘She stepped out of reach. ‘Go put on a shirt and get your mind out of bed.’
‘Impossible with you around.’
‘Pretend I’m holding a rifle. In fact, pretend I have you in the crosshairs.’
Janvier sighed, rubbing at his jaw shadowed by morning stubble. ‘I love it when you talk dirty.’”
From Goodreads - In Angels’ Judgment a hunter must track one of her own gone bad, while surviving the deadly tests placed in her way by the archangels themselves. Unexpected backup comes from a stranger who might just be the most lethal threat of all…
In Angel’s Kiss, we meet the main heroine of the series, Elena, and her BFF Sara. Elena is a Guild Hunter, hence the name of the series, and Sara is her boss. Angel’s Judgement is the story of how Sara met Deacon and how they achieve their HEA.
I forgot how sassy Sara and Elena are. We barely see that side of Elena anymore in the main series. Nalini writes great chemistry and she got it down pat once again with Sara and Deacon. He is just Yum! The mystery is, once again, well done and interesting to read. The only thing that I found a little odd was how Deacon leaves and sort of comes out of nowhere near the end and decides to stick around. It just came a little more abruptly than I would have thought natural. But other than that little tidbit, the story was solid.
Giggle worthy quote
“’They told me you had brown skin, brown eyes, black hair.’
That sounded about right. ‘Who’s ‘they’?’
‘I’ll tell you after we talk to the vampire.’
‘Carrot and stick?’ She narrowed her eyes. ‘I’m not a rabbit.’”
From Goodreads - In Angel’s Wolf a vampire becomes fascinated with the seductive angel who rules Louisiana. But all is not what it appears to be in her court.
Emotions run high in this book. Actually, it is quite a sad book. Nimra is an angel who has her own court. Her life is being threatened and Raphael suggests that Noel, one of his vampires, would be best suited to try to figure out exactly who is behind it. Noel has recently been through a terrible ordeal and feels that this new assignment is the Archangel’s way of getting him out of his territory. He is hurt by his recent torment and Nimra is hurt by the idea that someone who is close to her is trying to harm her. Lots of hurt in this one, I tell you. And hurt is not the only emotion that runs high – add to the story an aging man, a spoiled ‘young’ vampire, very loyal staff members, unrequited love and cats that will actually make you weep and you’ve got pretty much the full spectrum of emotions going on in here.
I did feel that Nimra and Noel made a nice couple but I found it strange how they came together. It was both quick and slow. Yes, I am aware that that sounds odd, but it’s true. But overall, a very well written story and one you should read when you are in the mood for a little sadness. I cried at the cat. Really, I did.
Giggle worthy quote
“He made a mental note of the names, then asked, ‘What will you do today?’
Obviously still annoyed at him for daring to disagree with her, she shot him a look that was pure regal arrogance. ‘Again, it’s nothing you need to know.’
He was ‘only’ two hundred and twenty-one years old, but he’d spent that time in the ranks of an archangel’s men, the past hundred years in the guard just below the Seven. He had his own arrogance. ‘It might not be,’ he said, stepping close enough that she had to tip back her head to meet his gaze, something he knew she would not appreciate, ‘but I was being polite and civilized, trying to make conversation.’
Nimra’s eyes narrowed a fraction. ‘I think you have never been polite or civilized. Stop making the effort – it’s ridiculous.’”
From Goodreads - In Angels’ Dance an angel trapped in the mountain stronghold of the Refuge finds herself under siege by a warrior angel from a martial court.
Jessamy is an angel who is very old…and also damaged. She is earth-bound due to a deformity in her wing. She has devoted her life to being the children’s teacher and the keeper of records. The angel Galen is a weapons master who is transferring into Raphael’s territory and is immediately taken by Jessamy. I love how alpha men sometimes just see someone and think ‘mine’ and that is exactly what happens here. I found it adorable how Galen was not afraid to show and tell everyone that he is meant for Jessamy.
Jessamy is attacked and Galen takes on the role of bodyguard. Again, super alpha but suitable for his character. The story is lovely…then suddenly it’s odd. Galen gives Jessamy space and I really don’t understand why. There is even the hint of another man involved! I didn’t understand why that happened. Okay, if they were apart of a day or two that may have worked with the story, but they were apart for months – for no necessary reason. That made me scratch my head, wondering if I missed something. I understand Galen’s motives but I don’t see how it truly fit with this character. But it all works out so it’s all good in the end.
There is quite a bit from Raphael, Dmitri and Illium. Man I love Illium and I hope hope hope that his book is soon. But next up is Jason and he is in this short story too…and what is said about him makes me even more excited for his book to come out September 4th 2012.
I was taken aback by the couple’s break but all in all this was another beautiful story of love and happy ever after. Worth reading.
Giggle worthy quote
“Illium knocked on the door of the home where he’d led them, eyes of deep gold narrowing when his gaze fell on Galen. ‘It might be better for your health not to look like the cat that got into the cream when you see Jessamy next.’
Galen bared his teeth. ‘A man has a right to declare his courtship.’ And make it clear that anyone who got in the way would be eviscerated.
The blue-winged angel shook his head. ‘Barbarian, there’s declaring and then there is beating the point home with a club.’”
Fans of the Guild Hunter series will love this anthology. It reminds you how well written and complex Nalini’s Guild world is and makes you crave another full book. Overall a great addition to the series.
Rock Addiction is the first book in a new contemporary romance rock star series by Nalini Singh. First off, I have to say that this series was introduced as a new adult series but there is no way that is NA. The heroine is 24. The hero is 29. There is sex in this book. Lots of it. It’s good and hot and well written, but there is a lot. I once read that romance books have about 3 sex scenes in them and erotica books have at least 5. Well this book has 5…and then some. So really, to me, this is an adult erotica title.
Molly is the heroine and Fox the hero. Molly is a librarian and it attending her publicist-sister’s party where she sees Fox. He is the lead singer for the biggest rock band on the planet…and she finds him yummy. But she feels there is no way he would ever be interested in her. Little does she know, Fox noticed Molly the moment she arrived at the party and has vowed to make her his…and not just as a one night thing. So he follows Molly into the elevator when she leaves and tells her he’s going back to her place with her. And she says yes.
He’s a total stranger and she says yes. They didn’t even talk to each other before that moment in the elevator! Ok, not the worst thing to happen in a book. The kicker for me was that Molly, wait for it, is a virgin. And she agrees to sleep with Fox as a one night stand (her idea, not his) because he’s hot. She waited 24 years to lose her virginity and she’s going to do it, no second guesses, with this guy. Yes, Fox is yummy and great, but still. This particular event happened not very far into the book…and it’s what told me how this book would go.
For me, there were many things about this book that didn’t quite work. The biggest thing, unfortunately, was the chemistry. Molly and Fox were hot between the sheets but I didn’t quite feel them otherwise. I believe it’s because all of the moments you usually need to completely feel connected to a character or a couple, those candid sweet moments you witness or the dialogue that gets you knowing a character’s personality beyond their demons, was missing. Obviously these things happened because Fox and Molly fell hard and fast for each other but as readers, we didn’t witness any of it. Almost all of their time together on the page, they were spending it fooling around. We got to watch loads of that, but I personally need more than that to click with characters – especially in a contemporary romance setting.
Molly, I didn’t really get. Her father is a disgraced politician. She was hurt by the fiasco and media circus that was her life when her father’s transgressions came to light (she was quite young when it all went down) and is not wanting to be thrown into the media’s spotlight once again, even though this time it would be for a favorable reason. She mentions this…a lot. On top of her father being a piece of work, her mother was a severe alcoholic. Because of this, Molly is afraid of becoming an addict herself. This makes sense. Worrying about being addicted to alcohol like your mother, makes sense. Worried about being addicted to everything and anything, odd. To me anyways. Because of this, Molly and I didn’t connect. She was sweet and all, but no spark between her and I.
Fox was yummy but, as I mentioned before, I didn’t get much from him other than his demons. I am almost hoping that we see more of Molly and Fox later in the series because I feel we missed out in this book. I would really like to see them in another light, because the bones were there. You could tell they cared for each other but you didn’t see why really. And that is something we might get to see from them as secondary characters.
You might be surprised to read the words “I am hoping to see” coming from my…keyboard. Yes, even after giving this book a low rating, I feel I want to continue with the series. Maybe not right away, but someday. Nalini introduced the other members of the band as well as Molly’s best friend Charlotte and one of Fox’s friend Kit and left us with just information to leave me wanting more. In fact, I was more interested in Charlotte and T-Rex’s story than Molly and Fox’s – yet another example of how this particular book didn’t work for me. Their story is going to be told in the third book released in this series.
Next up is Rock Courtship, a novella about David and Thea, Molly’s sister. We see glimpses of their story in this installment and it should be fun to see the whole thing play out in their own book. One thing worries me a bit though. We learn in this book that Thea and David have to deal with a difficult ‘thing’. Even though we don’t find out exactly what that ‘thing’ is, I worry it’s going to go the stereotypical route. I really hope that is not the case and that the author surprises me.
Overall, Rock Addiction was not quite what I hoped it would be. I found it too sappy, a bit too long, filled with too many clichés and lacking in some important component for me to enjoy a contemporary romance story. Hopefully the rest of the books in the series will not lack like this one and I can just file this as a first book in a new series that hadn’t just found it’s groove yet.
Julie: Then Came You is the fifth book in Jill Shalvis’ Animal Magnetism series. I am a late comer to this series, having started with the last book, Rumor Has It. Anne loved that book so much I knew I just had to read it. And after reading it I can see why it enchanted her the way it did. I may not have adored it as much as she did but it did draw me in enough to want to continue with the series and to one day go back and read from it the beginning. In this latest installment, we are back at the animal hospital to witness two doctors as they meet “again” and fall in love.
Anne: As Grif would say, “Jill, you never disappoint.” Well, it would be Kate, not Jill, but you get the idea. I get excited every time I know a new Jill Shalvis book is coming out. When I actually get it, I wriggle with joy and I want to read it right away. This series set in a small town, with animals, is wonderful. There is a new vet, Wyatt and a new vet intern, Emily, along with all the other folks I know and love.
I like Wyatt. He lives with his sisters and I find them fascinating. He is caring and giving and strong. I do find it annoying that he won’t express an opinion because he doesn’t want to influence the other person, since he wasn’t given choices when he was young.
Julie: I absolutely loved Wyatt’s relationship with his sisters. Some of my favorite scenes in the book involve him and his sisters even though I did find them eerily similar to Tara and Chloe in Jill’s Lucky Harbor series. But those two women are fantastic characters so to see their ‘twins-of-sort’ in this series was no bother. There is such love and admiration there and it’s all hidden under biting words and snarky remarks. Their scenes together were a lot of fun to read.
I agree with you about Wyatt. As much as I loved Wyatt, and I did really like him, I was also a bit frustrated at times with his incapability of telling people exactly how he feels and what he thinks. Yes, I understand the ‘why’. I know it’s because of his childhood and how his parents carted him around to wherever they felt like going, but c’mon. You’re an adult now. I just thought that by now he would understand how choices are really made and how they really work.
Anne: The private scenes with Emily and Wyatt together are just ridiculous enough; they are funny. They do work well together and treat each other well. I also adore the backdrop of their families.
I understand Emily. Sometimes a person needs to have a somewhat rigid plan to get through hard things in their life. She does what normal, good people do. They do the best they can, make the best of what they have. I do this myself, focus on the tasks and stuff down the emotions. It’s easier to live in your head than your emotions. And sometimes when you feel so strongly after holding it all back for so long, it overflows. Emily can’t stop herself and how she feels about Wyatt. It’s not in her plan. But she IS with him.
Julie: I am also someone who has trouble when “the plan” isn’t followed so I did understand Emily. Sometimes we just need the other person to say specific words to make our feelings real. And when we don’t hear what we need, we don’t have the fuel to change ‘the plan’. I liked Emily a lot. She was so cute! And I too really enjoyed their scenes together.
As much as I really enjoyed Emily and Wyatt, what I did not appreciate was Evan. I didn’t find him necessary to the advancement of the story and often wondered what he was even doing there.
Anne: That whole part of the plot was not needed, other than to give the story something other than a sexy romance, with two people working out their various personal issues with their family and friends in the mix. I guess overall it was maybe a little too real life, in that respect, since there was not huge drama, other than the internal issues both Wyatt and Emily faced. I don’t mean to minimize anyone’s issues but they weren’t life-threatening. They were more like preconceived notions formed as children which they had both outgrown as adults, once the ideas were examined.
Julie: You are exactly right. The whole Evan plot felt like it was thrown in there just to add drama that someone felt the story was missing. But that person wasn’t me and I really felt it did nothing for the story except take time away from Emily and Wyatt. I don’t know why sometimes people think there has to be a ‘big bad’ in every book. Sometimes just the issues inside a hero or heroine’s head are enough of an obstacle for the couple to overcome.
That being said, I don’t feel like every single scene in a book needs to advance the story to be effective. Jill wrote quite a few scenes in this book that did not add to the plot or bring the story forward. What they did do is add a layer to the character the scene featured. I loved this! I felt these scenes could have been seen as ‘slower’ moments in the story but for me, they added so much! They helped make Emily and Wyatt so much more real for me.
Anne: I completely agree. Not every scene needs to advance the plot. It is great to add depth to the characters. OK, I have to say this. There were just a few sentences of Grif and just that made me shiver with pleasure. I’m not sure I will ever get over Grif. A glimpse of him was my favorite part of the book! Ridiculous but I’m that attached to him.
Julie: It’s great that you are still so attached to Grif! It means that Jill did a great job with the hero from the last book. She really does write great heroes and heroines.
Anne: This book was a great addition to the series. It added some new characters to this wonderful little town. It sets up things for possible future couples with people about whom I definitely want to know more. I’m thinking of you, AJ. And any book by Jill has the sweet sexyness and humor which are so satisfying.
Julie: I’m with you. Then Came You was a really sweet book. It has a similar vibe to Forever and a Day, my all time favorite Jill Shalvis book, so I was all over that. Jill really does have a knack when it comes to writing this genre. All of her characters feel like people you could easily meet at the grocery store or at work and her stories feel like tellings of events anyone could go through. Her books are relatable with a side of fun and fantasy and Then Came You fits that description perfectly.
A box full of demons is sent to earth and lands in the hands of Lucy’s best friend Serah. Lucy feels its pull and manages to open it.What a fun book!
A box full of demons is sent to earth and lands in the hands of Lucy’s best friend Serah. Lucy feels its pull and manages to open it. A sexy guy shows up at her hair salon, and that along with the box, leads to her finding out she’s part demon. A succubus no less! Then much fun ensues. And I mean much. Lucy doesn’t know how to dull down her seductive powers at first which makes for one of the funniest scenes! But once she gets that under control, a whole lot happens. It’s hard to get into everything, so I’m not even going to try. But all of it is woven within a sharp humor which brings us back to my first thought of this review – what a fun book.
I can’t say that I was particularly attached to the characters on a super deep level, but I liked them. They offered some giggles and were amusing characters to read. Rafe was yummy. And I found chemistry between Lucy and Rafe to be good. And Lucy’s BFF Serah…I just know there is more to her and I found myself to be very curious about her. I was really intrigued by Domenic and his little side story involving Jacoba. I really hope they get their own book!
There was quite a build up to the ending, and I was happy with how it all turned out. The only thing about it was we know that Lucy’s friends are fighting their own battles but we don’t see much of their brawls. Yes, the bad guy that Lucy and Rafe deal with is the most important one, but I still would have liked to know what went down with the others.
I did wonder whether or not I would enjoy this book for the first forty or so pages (where I found it a tiny bit slow) but soon after, I was caught in. Demons Prefer Blondes was a nice read. I enjoyed the story and the humor. It kept me entertained enough that I am planning on reading the next books in the series. Book two, Demons Like it Hot, is due out December 1st 2011. And it’s Serah’s book. Yay! So all my questions about her are going to be answered. Should be, what else? Fun....more
From Goodreads “House-sitting for her parents seemed like a good idea, until the microwave blew up and the lights went oHoliday Spark by Shannon Stacey
From Goodreads “House-sitting for her parents seemed like a good idea, until the microwave blew up and the lights went out. Now Chloe Burke thinks upgrading the electrical system of her childhood home while they are away would make the perfect Christmas gift. Fortunately, there’s an electrician in town who can get the job done by the holidays. Scott Quinn has wanted to get his hands on the Burkes’ wiring for almost as long as he’s wanted to get his hands on their daughter. Chloe didn’t notice Scott back in high school, but she’s noticing him now, and soon they’re indulging in a little festive fun: no strings, no expectations. After all, Chloe plans to get out of this goldfish bowl of a town and back to her real life in Boston by New Year’s. But Chloe and Scott discover they enjoy each other’s company just as much out of bed. Could their holiday fling turn out to be the real thing?”
Now this is the kind of Christmas story I like! Light, fun and sexy with adorable characters. Chloe and Scott are two people who went to the same high school but who ran in very different social circles. When they meet up again years after graduating, Chloe doesn’t remember him, but he remembers her…*sigh* There is no denying the sparks between them though. I liked the chemistry between these two. It was hot without being over the top. There were three scenes in this story that particularly stood out for me. I really liked how Scott deals with his loser friend when he talks about Chloe. I love how, when Chloe finally remembers Scott, it’s not the obvious things she remembers. And I love how it all comes together in the end. The sweetness of the moment. Really, this was a wonderful light-hearted story that made me smile.
All She Wants For Christmas by Jaci Burton
From Goodreads Country singer Riley Jensen would never have returned to her small Missouri hometown if her publicist hadn’t come up with the scheme to tape a Christmas special there. So she never would have known that the man who broke her heart at eighteen—causing her to flee to Nashville—was now a widower with a seven-year-old daughter. Riley has ten years of angst-filled hit songs and Grammy awards to prove she doesn’t need Ethan Kent. But suddenly, she can’t help thinking of all she gave up by running away… Ethan Kent knew Riley had the talent and the drive to make it as a singer. He also knew she wasn’t going anywhere if she stayed in their nowhere town for him. Then one night and one huge mistake sent her running on the road to fame. Which doesn’t mean he ever stopped loving her… But with so much separating them, can Riley and Ethan find their way back together one magical country Christmas?
A story of loss love, All She Wants for Christmas was a tender and touching tale. And there was a little girl dressed all in pink! How would this story not be cute? Ethan and Riley were madly in love when they were younger, but a misunderstanding caused Riley to leave town and run off to follow her dreams in Nashville. Now, years later as a famous country singer, she returns to her home town to film a documentary. Once she runs into Ethan again, all the pain and confusion comes back. Really tough, it never really left. And Ethan is still struggling with his feelings for Riley and is still carrying a very heavy load of guilt on his shoulders. You can really feel the pain in this couple’s past. Jaci really wrote the characters well. You can really feel the pain that these two have endured. Unfortunately, I just didn’t really click with either of them. The daughter was cute. Really sweet actually. The story reads well, flows well. It’s just that since I didn’t mesh with the players in this story, my overall experience with this one was a little flat. Good story, good premise, sweet and heartfelt…just not my favorite.
Unwrapped by Megan Hart
From Goodreads Newlyweds Leah and Brandon Long are finally taking a honeymoon. But just a few days into their Christmas-in-Vail vacation, Leah takes a tumble on the slopes, severely spraining her ankle. Being stuck indoors isn’t so bad though: the luxurious chalet boasts a hot tub and cozy fireplace. Besides, sitting with her feet up while Brandon serves her in every way a man can serve a woman is exactly how both of them like to spend their time. Leah would be in heaven, if only Brandon didn’t insist on playing with the dynamic of their relationship. With kinky sex and deep conversation the only things on the agenda, Leah can’t avoid the discussion of how things might change. Will she be ready to take their marriage to the next level in the New Year?
I learned something about my reading self while reading this story. Unwrapped starts the ‘naughty’ part of this anthology with a bang! Steaming right from line one! No build up or anything. Just “here I am nice and sweaty” bang! I wouldn’t have thought that would be an unfavourable thing, but I was wondering if I’d downloaded this correctly. I felt like I was missing a couple of pages. I was thinking “I’m very glad you two are having some really really hot sex right now, but who are you?” It didn’t take long for me to get over that….I got a little distracted *wink* and eventually received all the info I craved. Then the story was pretty good. Leah and Brandon make a hot couple. When they started talking about sexual fantasies, I got a little concerned, but I didn’t need to be. The baby talk sort of felt like it came out of the blue…then it went to the side…then it came back. That part threw me for a little loop. But overall, the couple was hot and the lovin’ was steamy. Especially the opening scene (once you realize that that is how it is supposed to start…silly Julie).
Believe by Lauren Dane
From Goodreads Their First Christmas, Bound Together… All Jude wants for Christmas is Rori, all to himself. It’s their first holiday season as a couple, and staying home, seeing friends and family, means they’ll be surrounded by the memory of Rori’s late husband. It’s time for Jude and Rori to create their own traditions. Time for them to fully explore their most intimate desires to dominate and submit. Rori is thrilled when Jude whisks her away to a luxury resort in the mountains. Spending Christmas away, just the two of them, is the perfect time to show him she’s ready to give herself to him completely…
Believe is the continuing story of a couple you first meet in Lauren Dane’s Second Chance. I haven’t read it, but from what I gather from this book is that it was a strong love story full of tragedy and rebuilding. Jude is Rori’s second chance. They are good together…a strong match. As you are reading this you can’t help but feel how much these two love each other and feel fortunate to be in each other’s lives. But after a while I was feeling it a little too much. I love a gushy love story as much as the next gal, but I have a limit. I guess the best way to explain it would be like this: You remember back in High School when your best friend had her first boyfriend and how they would make out in front of you all the time? At their locker, at your locker…it didn’t matter. You just kept thinking to yourself “how on earth is she still breathing?” You were very happy for her but after a while, you just wanted to tell your friend to go suck face someplace else. That’s how I was feeling while reading this. I liked Jude and Rori quite a bit. And the depth of their feelings was touching. But I just didn’t feel the need to be reminded of it every second. I may have felt a little differently if I had read Second Chance though…maybe.
One aspect of this story I really did like a lot was the D/s parts and how Jude saw Rori as not only his sub but also a very strong woman who was honoring him with her submission. I thought how Lauren worded this was fantastic.
“He took his responsibility…his role as the top in their relationship seriously. And not in an ALL CAPS I’M YOUR MASTER way, but because she chose to submit and he should always be worthy of it. Which meant putting her needs first and being aware of what she was thinking and feeling on a whole new level.”
The smexin’ was hot. The relationship was strong. I felt how much they loved each other. I just didn’t need to be reminded of it so often…but that’s just me.
Naughty and Nice was a cute Christmas anthology. I did enjoy reading it and I might re-read the first story next Christmas to put me in a Christmas-y mood, but I don’t see myself perusing the rest of the book. Overall, I give this book 3.5 stars....more
Crave the Darkness is the third book in Amanda Bonilla’s Shaede Assassin series and if you haven’t checked this series out yet, I have to ask what you’re waiting for? Incredibly inventive with just the right amount of darkness and fantastic characters is what waits for you when you crack open one of these books. Have I peaked your interest yet? Good. Now let me tell you about this latest installment.
*Just a heads up, I can’t really see a way to chat about this book without giving away a specific detail that happened at the end of the last book. I usually try to skirt issues to avoid spoilers but yeah…have no idea how to do that here. So here is your warning that a spoiler follows soon.*
Darian is heartbroken. At the end of the last book, Tyler left her to give her space and to help her really figure out what she wants from him. She needed to figure things out so I agree with what he did. Did I like it? Hellz no. But I understood it. Darian is not taking it well. Crave the Darkness opens three months after Blood Before Sunrise and she is still not good. And I mean, not good. She has pretty much abandoned her life and is wallowing in a huge ol’ heap of self pity. That is until Raif has had enough and sends a certain king to force her to snap out of it.
I can’t say I’m a big fan of Xander. He’s full of himself and seems to want Darian just because she doesn’t want him. But in this installment, he was good. In his sort of odd way he helped Darian. He was his usual pompous self but Amanda wrote him in a way that leaves you wondering if it really is just the chase with him or has her really developed true feelings for her. Add to that er…”developments” that happen in this book between Xander and Darian and it leaves you very curious to see where it all leads.
Earlier, I mentioned Raif. He is Xander’s brother and one of my favorite characters in this series. Over the last couple of books, he’s become like a brother to Darian. He truly cares for her (like a sister) and she is very protective of him. She is willing to do anything for him, as was apparent in the last book. I just love watching their relationship develop.
Asher is a new character and boy is he a sneaky s.o.b. And I am SO curious about him! There is a story there, let me tell you. I hope one day we get to dive deeper into it. While reading him, you know there is something up with him but you can’t quite put your finger on whether or not that something is good or bad. But really, you are leaning towards bad so you worry for Darian and for the others. But he works for the ‘royal court’ so he can’t be all bad, right? Or… Yeah, that is what goes through your mind while you’re reading. Amanda did a great job with him.
Let’s chat Ty. You want to hate him but you can’t. But boy do you ever want to! Ty’s novella (Lost to the Shade which released in February of this year) showed us his POV concerning his break from Darian. We also sort of meet the chick that is suddenly in Ty’s life at the end of his novella. (Basically, I recommend you read his novella before reading this book. You don’t have to but I feel it adds a lot to the story – layers you would otherwise miss.) Ty is supposed to be heart-broken like Darian yet he shows up with a new woman on his arm… What the hell is that all about?! You find out little bits and pieces here and there but you don’t ever get the full story. But Ty’s new chick is in trouble and he enlists Darian to help her. Um…what?! Is he out of his frikking mind?! That is what you go through while reading this book. Questions about Ty and his loyalties. Seeing him being torn up over Darian yet…not. Seriously, Amanda did a job and a half writing the whole Ty portion of the story. It’s definitely a ride with him.
The whole story is a ride really. Kade is the villain and whoa…what a villain he is. He’s such a jerk! Darian is put on guard duty in this installment, guarding a pregnant Shaede – which is a rarity. She does not want to do this job but at least it’s something to do other than wallow in self-pity. Each book in this series has focused on a different part of Amanda’s world and this time around we see angels with a heavy focus on the actual Shaedes. I liked this a lot. I liked that the adventure was closer to home so to speak. We got to see Darian in action, working for the King, and we got to see her interact with other Shaedes that were not Raif and Xander.
As for Darian, it’s odd to see her this way, so broken, in this book but even though she’s tough in the last books, you always know there is a strong vulnerability that she hides. We get to see it in this book and it was nice. It made her softer somehow without losing the essence that is her. She is really broken and sad but just as it’s about to be too much, Amanda pulls it back and has Darian ‘get with it’ and do her job. There is so much to Darian; I loved seeing new aspects to her character.
Overall, Crave the Darkness was an absolutely awesome book. I honestly have never read anything like this series and every book leaves me wanting more. These are brilliant books filled with brilliant characters written by a really talented author. I can’t wait to reconnect with this series again....more
A Cursed Embrace is the second book in Cecy Robson’s Weird Girls series. The sisters are back and awesome and the men are back and yummy. Throw in some extra-amazing-really-unexpected twists, dashes of humor and an equally interesting and gruesome story and you have a very entertaining (and sometimes shocking) installment.
The book starts off shortly after book one, finding the sisters in love and happy. Well, all but Celia, our main heroine. Her ‘interest’ has pretty much disappeared leaving her confused as to what exactly is going on. But things aren’t mostly roses for long. Suddenly, demons appear (demons!) and really dead humans (*shudder*) are found. Top that off with some very naughty werewolves (and not the good kind of naughty) and you have the basis for the main plot of this second book. The story sucks you in right from the get-go and holy crap, the last bit of unrelenting with a mix of heart breaking emotion and heart stopping action. Finally, when you think you’ve survived the book, it just dumps you hard at the end, leaving you already craving book three. I absolutely could not put this book down.
I find the sisters have settled more into their personalities in this installment. Shayna is not as bothersome with her ‘dudes’. Emme is still the most ‘innocent’ but she’s showing a stronger side which I really liked. And in the opposite corner, we see Taran’s more sensitive/insecure side which was also a nice treat. And finally we have Celia. She is still a very strong and likable character but I wish she weren’t so ‘woe is me’ at times. You can make a reader feel for a character without having to constantly remind us that she is not travelling an easy road. That being said, her insecurities are completely understandable and I truly did feel her heart while reading so I am not rating this book down thanks to her attitude. It’s more of a tiny annoyance for me as opposed to a real bother.
Now the boys. We see a bit more of Liam’s personality this time around and I LOVE him! He just tells it like it is and it’s freaking hilarious. We finally get an explanation behind Gemini’s odd behavior towards Taran (his assumptions made me laugh out loud!) and Koda is still just adorable. And yes, we still want to both hump and hurt Aric simultaneously. By the end of the book Cecy manages to makes us both hate him and pity him – and let me tell you, that is quite the feat. And let’s not forget Misha. I didn’t know how much of a role he would play in this book and turns out it’s a decent amount. Things are left at a place where you feel Misha will be even more important in the next book and I am very curious to see how Cecy makes things work out for him and everyone else.
I mentioned that this book is one awesome ride but there is one part in particular that was truly outstanding, and that would be the very beginning of chapter 32. Ho-ly Shit! (Yes, it does not deserve a ‘holy crap’, it deserves an all out ‘holy shit’! I was just about to ball my eyes out at the first two paragraphs then suddenly I found myself wanting to throw the book across the room. I was beyond shocked at what happened. That twist was bloody brilliant and Cecy wrote it to perfection.
There are a few moments in this book where you are reminded of just how close the sisters are. Those were some of the funniest and most visual scenes. Cecy has a fabulous sense of humor and it’s in scenes like these where it truly shines. Very visual funny scenes that remind us how close of a unit the sister are.
Overall, if you can’t already tell, I absolutely loved this book. Cecy has such an enjoyable writing style and her voice is very well suited for this genre. A spot on mix of strong characters, action, romance, humor and spunk, A Cursed Embrace is a fine example of how urban fantasy should read. Fans of urban fantasy absolutely do not want to pass this one up....more
Sealed with a Curse is the first book in debut author Cecy Robson’s Weird Girls series and let me tell you, it’s fantastic. As soon as you start this book, you are drawn into the action. Cecy writes as though you know what is going on so there isn’t any of that ‘so this is the world and this is what happened before the book started and this is what you should expect so pay attention so you don’t miss anything’ crap detail. I like this idea and I think you will too.
Let’s talk story. The main story revolves around the vampires in the area and how they are in the midst of a widespread bloodlust epidemic. I know, this is not really new but how it was done was very interesting. And let me tell you, the vampires once they infected…gr-oss! I also like how the werewolves were the protectors of humanity. They were basically the police for the supernatural, and ladies…the werewolves…yum!
The werewolves weren’t just yum, they were fantastic! There are four sisters in this book and four werewolves – oh lookie, one for each of them! I found Cecy matched everyone up really well. But she didn’t make it too easy for all of the girls as there is one coupling who isn’t quite a couple yet and you just keep wondering ‘why the hell not?’ as you read. I am really looking forward to seeing what is up with that in the next book.
The werewolf who stood out the most to me was Aric. Holy hell on a cracker this man was exceptional. Sexy, smart, sexy, alpha without being too much so, sexy… *drool* He is the perfect match for Celia – their chemistry is just incredible. Speaking of Celia, I think it’s time to chat about the girls, a.k.a. the weird sisters.
Emme is the youngest. She is crazy shy and the way she talks sometimes made me wonder at her age. Her shyness is what gives her a unique voice and makes it easy to tell she’s speaking when it’s her turn for dialogue in the book but it also makes her sound very young. She’s in her early twenties and sometimes I found she almost sounded like she was a teenager. But she is a sweet character and she does have quite the backbone when the sisters let her use it. I have a feeling that Emme will grow quite a lot during this series and it will be wonderful to witness her coming into her own.
Shayla is the fun sister and she says ‘dude’ a lot. In the prequel novella (you can read my review here), Shayla used that word a lot and it made me nervous to read her in this full length book. You see, it’s not really used much where I live so when ‘dude’ this and ‘dude’ that comes onto the page, I sort of cringed. But it seems I worried for nothing. It does suit her in the novel and it’s not used to the point where I wanted to find a surfboard and smack her with it. Shayla is a very loyal character and she was a lot of fun to read. I loved her with her werewolf Koda too. They were too cute together.
Taran is a bit on the wild side being all sexy and a little hot tempered. She made me giggle with her potty mouth and her attitude. Her power is impressive too! Her werewolf Gemini has an impressive ability too. I can’t wait for you guys to read about it.
Finally we have Celia. This series is being told from her perspective and I think Cecy made a perfect choice to use her as the voice for these books. She is a wonderful read. Her beast tends to scare people away so she doesn’t have any friends let alone romantic entanglements. Also, being the eldest, she has taken it upon herself to be the head of the family and that’s an added responsibility she doesn’t take lightly. Cecy does a fantastic job writing Celia. You can really feel her loneliness and her desire to find someone to share everything with…other than her sisters. She is loyal, very intelligent, strong… I just really liked her. A lot.
Each sister possesses powers thanks to a curse gone wrong and each girl’s is different. Something that struck me as cool was that none possessed overly usual abilities. I know that we are just scratching the surface of what these girls can do. What we know so far is that they are very powerful and strong. It’s going be a lot of fun to see more of what the sisters can do in future installments.
There was one little ‘issue’ that came up that turned out being nothing but while it was talked about, I was thinking ‘oh no…really?! why?’ But since it went away quickly enough, it wasn’t enough to kill my enthusiasm for the book. I’m glad Cecy wrote that as she did or I would have been pretty bummed. But I’m still totally psyched about this series and can’t wait to try A Cursed Embrace when it hits shelved in July 2013.
Overall, Sealed with a Curse was impressive. The pace was fantastic, the story exciting and the chemistry between all of the characters was just great. I loved everyone in this book – even the creepy people. Everyone was compelling and added a lot to the story and to the world Cecy created. I strongly recommend this book....more
When I first told my husband about what Yours to Keep was about, he looked at me with an “are you sh*tting me?” expression, shook his head and walked away. Mind you, that is often his reaction when I tell him about one of my books – that and walking away mumbling “Why did I not just stay in the basement?…” I must admit that I did feel a little like he did this time around. The idea that a woman would go up to a total stranger and ask him to be her fake fiancé and live with her for a month while her grandmother visited from Florida…a little farfetched for my liking. But the romance and the characters totally made it worth reading. It’s a really is a cute and sweet story.
I first heard of Shannon Stacey when I read the Naughty & Nice anthology last year. Hers was by far my favorite story in that book. I loved her style and her writing voice. On top of that, her characters and story were adorable. I really wanted to read more by her but never got around to it…until now.
Yours to Keep is the third book in Shannon’s Kowolski Family series and this book just made me smile all kinds of smiles. There were “Awww” smiles. There were “He is so dreamy” smiles. There were “oh for goodness’ sakes” smiles and there were “oh my goodness, who knew he had that in him?” smiles…and most of these smiles occurred while reading scenes that included Sean. Other than agreeing to a total stranger’s idea of being a fake fiancé for a while, I found Sean to react quite normally to the situations that were thrown at him. He has recently left the Army and really doesn’t know what he wants to do next. He knows he does not want to settle down so soon after finding his ‘freedom’ though. I found his struggle to figure out what to do was very well done.
Emma was good. I didn’t not like her, I just found she was a little odd at first. Well, who wouldn’t think that after reading her grand scheme? Even Sean called her “batshit crazy”. But I soon warmed up to her and realized that she is simply a smart and capable woman who is only trying to do what is best for her grandmother. And she too handled what the Kowalski family threw at her very well.
There were quite a few scenes in this book that had me laughing out loud (such as the Newlywed Game scene) and there were quite a few moments that had me grining with little hearts in my eyes (such as when Sean left sticky-notes on the bathroom mirror for Emma to find). And there was a whole sub-plot involving Emma’s grandmother that I was not expecting in a novella but that made my heart pitter-patter. It was a very sweet surprise.
Even though I found the idea behind the story a little “uh-huh?..” I never once thought about not continuing the book. I actually quite enjoy story arcs that follow two people who are thrown into an awkward situation. It’s always fun to watch them handle that all while they fall in love. Those are some of my favorite romance plots. I will definitely be going back to read the first two books in this series and will be looking out for future releases. Yours to Keep is a quick read filled with adorable characters and a sweet love story. A wonderful weekend read....more
Julie: Once in a Lifetime is the ninth book in Jill Shalvis’ hugely popular Lucky Harbor contemporary romance series. The series is pretty much divided into three sets of three. This latest trio focuses on three “best” girlfriends and how they each fall in love with one of three guy best friends. I place the word best in ” ” for the girls because the gals in this trio didn’t really start being close until later in the seventh book, if that.
This latest book is about Aubrey and Ben. Ben is a mysterious character that comes back to town in the last book and Aubrey…well, she’s the bitch. When you meet her in It Had to be You, she is cranky and has an overall bad attitude but you could tell, there was something about her attitude that didn’t quite click. It’s almost like when someone’s smile doesn’t quite reach their eyes. Aubrey is being bitchy but is that really who she is or is it just a façade that she has built up over the years?…
I can’t say I was a fan of Aubrey after reading books seven and eight but I knew that if someone could make me like a rather unlikable character, it was Jill Shalvis. And I was right. Aubrey ended up being endearing and awkward and completely charming. And by the end of Once in a Lifetime, I actually considered her one of my favorite heroines in this series to date.
Anne: I always felt Aubrey was hiding. And with everything life threw at her, she just sucked it up and did the best she could. That’s why she’s my hero. She isn’t any better or worse than anyone else. She’s made mistakes like everyone does. Her mistakes have just been highlighted, all the time, in the worst possible ways. She doesn’t just curl up and die; she works to find ways to make things better. I can totally relate to her, especially on the holding in true feelings. She is also much harder on herself than she is on others.
Julie: She totally is. She has trouble understanding why people enjoy her company. She really is stronger than she gives herself credit for. And Ben was such a good match for Aubrey because he could see through her bullsh*t. He was also very good at helping her see she is not really the horrible person she thinks she is.
Ben has a sad story but not as much of a sob story as I was expecting – which was good. I find too many heroes now a days have a story that is almost over the top. Jill does a great job with her heroes. They have just enough baggage to give them room to grow or mature. Ben’s back in Lucky Harbor to face his past and to start a future. He is honestly curious about Aubrey and you can tell immediately that he cares for her even though she’s not the easiest person to like. And day-um is he sexy! He’s sexy in that understated strong and smouldery way.
Anne: I fell in love with Ben in the last book because he was so funny. I adore funny. Oddly, it took longer for me to warm up to him in this book. I mean, really, I don’t want a relationship. I don’t really want you unless someone else does or someone hurts you. *Eyeroll* I came around as he did. He got me with his interest and support for Aubrey, also his stepping up in the community plus his heart-melting way with Pink and Kendra. He went out of his way to help them. I enjoy the well rounded parts of the story, where there is more than just a romance here.
Julie: Ben’s scenes with Pink and Kendra were so sweet! I love how Jill writes. Like you say, it’s a whole story and not just a romance.
As for Ben, you make a good point. I guess I knew he’d come around so I was not as bothered by his reluctance. But his being more cautious did suit his character. It showed his loss affected him deeply and if it hadn’t, then he’d be an asshat in my book and I would not be drooling over him as I am now. *wipes drool* But if he’d been in denial longer than he was, I would have not enjoyed the book as much.
However you feel about Ben, you can’t deny he is sexy and that his chemistry with Aubrey is really well written. The two of them just being in the same room together, doing nothing but talking, smolders up the pages!
Anne: oh yes, Ben may not want a relationship but he certainly wants Aubrey. And more than that, he treats her better than many relationships would, spending his time with her, supporting and encouraging her, as well as making her feel beautiful. That’s sexy! His messy hair may be having an effect on me as well.
Julie: Oh that messy hair… Speaking of messy hair, let’s chat about the animals in this series. Jill often chooses to add dogs to her stories – I’m not even a dog person but I love how she writes them into her stories – but this time around, we have a cat. A cranky cat that has sort of adopted Aubrey and the bookstore she is fixing up as his home. This cat had such a personality! All of the animals have great personalities in this series. They manage to really add to the story without overwhelming it.
Anne: Well, I’m more a dog person, since I’m deathly allergic to cats. It is funny how the cat chooses Ben over Aubrey, but as in everything, Aubrey keeps trying. But my favorite is still Kevin! – as long as he lives with Jack. My favorite giggle worthy quote includes him. Something about this quote just cracks me up every time.
Jack rose and snapped his fingers at Kevin.
Kevin squeezed his eyes tight and pretended to be asleep.
Ben found a laugh after all. “Leave him.”
“He ate chili at the firehouse tonight.”
“Take him.” Ben said.
I have to mention Aubrey working so hard in an “My Name is Earl” way to try to improve her karma. It’s not easy to say you made mistakes and try to improve things with people who mostly don’t like you. It’s even harder when it is someone you like, who HAS been good to you.
Julie: Just another reason why I loved Aubrey so much in this book!
Let’s talk a bit about Lucille. She has been in each and every book in this series. She is the ‘nose in everybody’s business little old lady’ of Lucky Harbor. I liked her a lot in the first books but then I found she was becoming a bit too much of a ‘nosy-betty’. In this book, I liked her role. She went back to being the hilarious old lady with tons of very insightful things to say.
Anne: Lucille was wonderful in this book. She really made a difference in putting things right. I also loved the support Ali and Leah gave to Aubrey, as well as the support for Ben from Jack and Luke. That is one of the best things about stories set in small towns. One gets to know the people and their friends. The “town” continues to play a role in every story.
Julie: You are right about the support. Aubrey had not always been the friendliest to Ali and Leah but to see them understand and want to help Aubrey in making things right was very nice.
And the town of Lucky Harbor really does play a role in these books. It’s a place I would definitely want to visit.
All in all, I really liked Once in a Lifetime. Aubrey blew me away, Ben was yummy and there were plenty of scenes that either warmed the heart or made you giggle out loud. I am thinking especially the scenes with Ben and the kids at the center and Aubrey with, well, herself. Jill always does a wonderful job bringing her characters to life and making them feel as though they could be your next door neighbor. I was really pleased with this latest installment.
Anne: I more than really liked this book; I loved it! It is one of my favorites in the series. Are we going to agree on the rating?
In my opinion, the blurb for the book is very deceptive. Yes, there are murders. But Merit is never even a target. Not even close. In fact, I don’t understand the point of these murders and what they had to do with much else. I didn’t find they advanced the series at all nor did they add much to this book.
But I’m getting ahead of myself…
Blood Games is the tenth book in Chloe Neill’s Chicagoland Vampires series.
Ok. With that out of the way, let’s get back to the murders. Don’t get me wrong – they did add a certain entertainment value to the book. They just were not the main focus of the book and they didn’t really have a whole lot to do with Merit which is why I am surprised that the blurb focuses mostly on that plotline.
The main story was *warning, spoiler for the last book* Ethan’s bid to lead the GP council and how that’s all playing out. There was a bit of a thing with Darius that was a bit odd and again, seeming a bit out of nowhere, but it all ultimately lead to there being challenges for Ethan in this book.
I loved the challenges. They were very interesting and had me on the edge of my seat reading. Really well done.
Merit is still a wonderful and strong character. Her loyalty and intelligence along with her humor make her one of my favorite characters ever. I can’t say there was much growth on her part in this book but that was not a focus here. Hard to believe that this entire series has taken place over less than a year! The things Merit has done and seen in just one year…insane. I love how her relationship with Mallory is working itself out and I love seeing her with Jonah. I never liked him as a romantic option for her but their friendship and banter are perfect and really fun to read.
Ethan is still yummy even though I am still trying to figure him out. And still trying to figure out one of the main characters after ten books isn’t my idea of great. I really do love Ethan but often don’t like him very much. Which brings me to my biggest beef with this book and this series…
The ‘been there, done that’. Many plotlines are often repeated in this series and a pretty frustrating one, one that we’ve seen quite a few times already in this series, comes out in this book. The ‘Ethan is hiding something and won’t share with Merit essentially shutting her out and hurting her in the process’ plotline. *sigh* I don’t know why the books are written this way, with so many ideas repeating themselves. Hopefully we’ll see only new ideas in the next book, Dark Debt, when it releases March 3rd 2015.
The way Blood Games ends is NOT what I expected. I am VERY curious to see how that plays into the next few books.
I know it’s hard to tell by my review but I really am enjoying this series. Now. I, like a few of you, didn’t find the love for a few books but it’s back and I look forward to new installments. I like how familiar the characters and the world are now. I like how easy it is to fall into a new book and I like how it feels like visiting old friends. I just wish a few things were done differently. But overall, a very entertaining series.
Blood Games was a good book and the ending leads the series and its readers into a new and interesting direction....more
Bitten is the first book in Kelly Armstrong’s hugely popular Women of the Underworld series. I am going to keep this review on the shorter side since I feel I’m the only one in the world who had not read this series up to now ;)
Let’s start by chatting about Elena. She possessed all of the qualities I like in a UF heroine. Strong, smart, vulnerable and full of growth potential. I like how she is fighting the losing battle of leading a ‘normal’ life. I liked her coming to terms with things and look forward to seeing what is next for her. What she goes through emotionally is very well written. You truly feel like you are inside her head, living what she is living and feeling what she is feeling.
Clay. Let me be honest with you. I have heard about this gentlemen for ages. “Clay is yummy.” “Clay is drool-worthy. ” “I want to lick Clay.” These are just some of the things I was told about Clay. But when I first started reading, I did not feel this way about him. I actually found him a bit annoying because he acts like a spoilt child! But as you keep reading, you learn the ‘why’ behind what he does and says and things start to make more sense.
There was not a build-up to Clay and Elena’s relationship because there was already a past there. I did miss that though – I like witnessing the ‘dance’. But they have insane chemistry and I can see how they can end up as being one of my favorite UF couples.
Jeremy was a very strong character and I liked the other members of the North American werewolf pack. And Phillip leaves me wondering if this is the last we’ll see of him or if there is more there to know. It can really go either way so I guess I’ll keep reading to find out.
What all of the characters have in common is how they were written. I am noticing that Kelley has a knack at bringing her characters to life. And I’m not just talking about flat people on a page that you follow as they eat, sleep, have sex and so on. Kelley’s characters jump off the page and grip you as though they were in the room with you. A very important talent when writing UF and Kelley definitely possesses it.
The story is very interesting. Tons of action and twists and turns. I like the world and how Kelley wrote her werewolves. And the lore is interesting.
I was warned that this book was filled with information. Not completely surprising seeing that it’s the first in an urban fantasy series. But yes, I did notice that there is quite a bit of info dump in this one. However I did enjoy how the dumping occurred. It was not only done at the beginning of the book. It sprinkled in the first half – I would say – and done by some characters explaining things out loud, by Elena flashbacking and by just witnessing Elena’s observations of what and who is around her. So even though the info drop is big, how it was presented made it bearable.
After reading Bitten, I am very drawn by Elena and Clay and want more of them. I know that this series changes its focus in later books but right now I can’t fathom wanting to read about people other than Clay and Elena. I will mostly likely change my mind as I get more into these books but right now, that is where my head is at. As of now, I am liking the characters and the premise. I want more. And isn’t that the ultimate sign of a good first book in a series.
This is a funny book. Reading the back of the book or the synopsis on Goodreads, I really should have realized that “A Quick Bite” by Lynsay Sands wasThis is a funny book. Reading the back of the book or the synopsis on Goodreads, I really should have realized that “A Quick Bite” by Lynsay Sands was going to read on the light side. But when I started giggling and finally laughing out loud, I realized that I was reading this book without the slightest inkling as to what I was getting into. I bought this book ages ago and just let it sit there, so I had completely forgotten what to expect. Turns out it’s light, sweet, quirky, sexy and fun. It almost reads more like chick-lit book…until the smokin’ scenes start up with the thrusting and the biting… Then there is no mistaking that you are reading a paranormal romance title!
Lissianna is a charming character. She’s smart and sweet and caring. She’s also a vampire who faints at the sight of blood. In Lynsay’s world, vampires are unknown to the general public and feed from bagged blood — unless you are a special case, as is Lissi. Her mother, Marguerite, desperately wants to help find a cure to Lissi’s fear of blood. She reads about a psychologist who specializes in phobias…and brings him home for Lissianna as her birthday present!
Dr. Greg Hewitt is about to leave for his first vacation in over 8 years. That is until he finds himself willingly getting inside the trunk of a lovely woman’s car and letting her tie him to a bed. Greg is kicking himself for getting into his situation. His internal dialogue while he’s trying to figure out what to do is amusing. He’s an intellectual and very smart…but he’s still a man. *wink wink* He and Lissi are really cute together.
I really enjoyed every character in this book. The cousins are fantastic! I especially loved Thomas. From his pretending to be a bubble head to his wearing skin tight Spider Man pajamas, he provided many of the laugh out loud moments. There is a villain, but he’s more of a nuisance…like a fly, so the overall conflict in the story is pretty low. And even though the story is somewhat predictable, it’s still a joy to read because the characters are adorable.
I was told by those who have read them that the rest of the books in the Argeneau series are written on the light side, and if that is indeed the case, I think I’ve found my go-to books after I’ve read a few heavy and very emotional books in a row and I need to ‘lighten up’. Smart, witty and fun. “A Quick Bite” is a good start to a long running series. And long running is right! Lynsay recently released book number 13 of the Argeneau series and book number 14 is due out in stores this November....more
Red Blooded is the fourth book in Amanda Carlson’s Jessica McClain series. If one of your favorite parts of this series is that you are dumped right in the middle of the action the moment you crack open the book and it doesn’t let you down until the very end then you will not be disappointed in this one. There is no settling into these books, let me tell you. And there is nothing wrong with that.
I can’t say that I noticed much growth in Jessica this time around but we do see her powers grow and change. That is one of my favorite parts of reading this character – where Amanda is leading her is fun to guess and discover. All of the characters that we have come to like make appearances in this book. Roarke, of course, and Jessica’s brother are focuses. The book is about how Jessica is preparing to go into the Underworld to rescue her brother so it’s no surprise that he plays a big role in this book. What did surprise me was how much of the story took place with just Jessica on the page.
Ray, not usually one of my favorite characters, was actually decent in this installment. Selene (yes, she makes an appearance again) took his place as the character that drove me nuts this time. She committed some pretty insane crimes in the last book and she is being punished for them…but she’s acting like the victim and that was the part that made me shake my head. SHE is the one who sold her soul and now she’s complaining that she doesn’t belong there and blah blah blah. Puh-lease and cry me a river. But there is a new character that made up for my frustration towards Selene. She keeps you guessing and I feel you will all like her.
I really liked Amanda’s take on the Underworld. The creatures are creepy and the different areas are well thought out and very cool…in a yuck sort of way. We are talking about Hell after all. I also liked how the Prince of Darkness is well groomed and pristine and demands his demons be that way as well. Another little twist that made Amanda’s Hell stand out to me.
With barely a moment to breathe, Red Blooded keeps you entertained by keeping you on the edge of your seat from the very beginning to the very end. My only wish is that maybe the action chill out a little bit for the next installment so we can focus more on Roarke and Jessica’s relationship. They have great chemistry and you can tell they care for each other but there really hasn’t been much page time with just the two of them in any of the books of this series and I feel it would be nice to get more of that. If the ending to this book is any indication (yes, this book ends with a moment that leaves you demanding the next book now), Pure Blooded should be another fun and high octane read when it releases in 2015....more
This is another example of blogland peer pressure. I saw “Dead, Undead, and Somewhere in Between” by JA Saare floating around the blogs when it firstThis is another example of blogland peer pressure. I saw “Dead, Undead, and Somewhere in Between” by JA Saare floating around the blogs when it first released and was intrigued. But I didn’t pick it up because I could only get it here as an eBook and I didn’t have my Reader yet. Now, it’s making the rounds again (mostly thanks to Jess), and I have my Kobo now…so I got it. I loved every minute of this book…until I got to the very end. Okay, I shall tell you why.
I am really enjoying Urban Fantasy (UF) books this year. The heroines are amazing. They are complex characters with real flaws but that won’t lie down and play dead when life throws them a blow. The worlds are extraordinary and imaginative. The whole experience is fantastic…except for one thing. UF doesn’t guarantee a HEA. That’s a Happy Ever After. In Romance, it’s a given. You may not be floating in a bubble when you are finished reading an installment of a continuing series, but there will be love and there will be a guy and a girl stating their undying love for one another and they will be riding off into the sunset damn it! But, in UF, there is no such rule. You can have a guy and a girl, but the guy might end up with amnesia and ride off on the horse without the girl. Or the girl might end up in a time traveling tunnel with the guy screaming her name begging her to struggle harder to get out of there…and then we read The. End. And WTF?! CLIFFHANGER! *insert every colorful curse word you know here* Damn you Urban Fantasy books for making our hearts beat faster than normal and making us perspire disgusting amounts sweat.
So, as you can tell, I have issues with unresolved plots. But the fact that someone can write something that affects me so is a sign of a good author. I really did like this book. I thought the story was wonderful. The characters were fantastic (I’ll touch on them in a sec). I was reading and reading and reading and then the end hit. I didn’t scream. It wasn’t that bad of an ending. But I did quietly say “son of a b*itch” and then *mumble grumbled* a little. Was the ending worth reading the book though? ABSOLUTELY.
I have a new contender for my Favorite Character list. Rhiannon. She is extraordinary. She says what’s on her mind and doesn’t give a rats behind about it. Rhiannon is a necromancer. Someone who can see spirits (yes, as in ‘I see dead people’). She doesn’t really know much about her ability, just that it exists. She is asked (told) by Disco, a vampire, to help them try to figure out why vampires have been disappearing lately. Most necromancers can’t see the twice dead, but Disco thinks Rhiannon can.
Ah…Disco. The more you see him in the book, the more you want to see of him. He is responsible for his own ‘house’ and therefore is very dominant and strong. Yet he is not overly in your face alpha. I really liked that about him. It’s not a usual trait we see in a central male character in UF books. And I can see why people swoon when they say the name Disco. I am swooning right now. Watch me go… *swoon*
I really enjoyed JA Saare’s style. Her story telling is wonderful. It flows well and captures you from the very first line. She gets bonus points for not killing off Disco as she originally intended too. (Can you believe that she really wanted to do that? Like, OMG!)
“Dead, Undead, or Something in Between” is a great UF story. Interesting concept, great heroine and compelling supporting characters that really bring it all together. And even though this story didn’t end up with the characters rolling around in a field of wild daisies (like I would have preferred), I have to look on the bright side. Slight cliff-hanger = book two is on its way!
Kindling the Moon by Jenn Bennett was my second most favorite read of 2011. Seriously people, it is amazing. It is a debut book by a new author and it’s written so well you can’t believe you are reading a first book. (And if you haven’t read it yet, then I haven’t been loud enough about how incredible the book is!). Seeing how much I loved LOVED book one, you can only imagine how high my hopes were for book two. Remember, book one was my number two favorite read last year so ideally book two would, if not surpass it, at least meet book one’s awesomness. No pressure there. Well guys let me tell you, Summoning the Night is tremendous phenomenal fantastic! I read it in one day and followers of my blog will know that that is unheard of for me and urban fantasy books. Yes, I did basically ignore my family, my kids, my everything just to read this book. And when I finished, I was equal parts giddy and shaking. And yes, I hugged it too. It left me even more in awe of this author and I now feel as though it is my job, the reason I started book blogging, to tell everyone to read this book and to read this series.
Am I being a bit dramatic here? Oh yes, probably. But it’s only because I want you to read this book! If just taking my word for it doesn’t work, then let me tell you a bit about what to expect in this installment.
Actually, I won’t do that because the Goodreads blurb is quite thorough. So I’ll just talk about what I liked about the book.
Arcadia (Cady) is our main heroine and the story is told from her perspective. She is an incredibly well written character. Her life has been pretty crappy up until recently but you never really hear her complain. Does her past haunt her? Absolutely. But she doesn’t dwell on it and goes with the flow. She is also awfully quick and incredibly smart. She is a very compassionate and loyal character too and I find those are very important traits in an urban fantasy lead. Her snark is pretty awesome too. She is a witch and the witches in the world that Jenn has built are very different from any witches I’ve read before. I love how witchcraft is described – how visual it is. One of my favorite things about Cady in this installment is how she grows as a character. You see quite a difference from the first book to now and she grows even more in this book. She is more sure of herself and more comfortable in her skin. I wanted to make a sign that said “Go Cady, Go” and put it out on my front lawn, but the neighbors then might think I was a little odd…so I decided to silently chant that mantra over and over while reading.
Lon is part demon but just as with the witches, the demons are very different in this series. They have halos and some have knacks that are pretty cool. I’m not talking Jesus halos here so don’t go ‘huh?’ – it’s like a colored glow around their head that most can’t see. It’s neat. Lon is in his early forties, self assured and just absolutely yummy. I totally used to picture him looking like Johnny Depp but now that I’ve seen the image that Jenn painted and posted on her site, I see him as Jenn sees him. And even though the idea of Johnny Depp’s image being gone from my mind may not seem like a good thing, it really is because I think this ‘new’ Lon is even yummier. I love that he’s mature and, you know, a grown up. He is perfect with Cady. He loves her and she him and they are a perfect match and really need to live happily-ever-after *glares at Jenn*. I love how real he is too. He is a father and is not written with infinite patience like the dads in old tv sitcoms – he’s a great dad but he’s realistic. As with Cady, he’s loving and kind but not over the top. In case I’m not making myself clear here, he’s a fantastic character.
Teenagers in books can often be annoying. Yes, I said it. Cocky or full of snot, they just aren’t pleasant to read. Jupe (Lon’s son) is 13, almost 14, and yes he is cocky but he is also something many teens in literature aren’t: he is endearing. It is impossible not to love this character. Jenn writes him so well, he doesn’t take away from the story, he adds to it. In fact, in this installment, he pretty much steals the show. He is growing quite attached to Cady and I love to see this tender side to Jupe. And he makes Cady’s tender side come out too which is charming to watch. He is so innocent yet wise. I can’t wait to watch his character grow.
Hajo is an intriguing character that we meet in this book and I would not mind seeing again. Really, I wouldn’t want his ‘gift’…ever…but I can see big things in this series for him. And now that I’ve said that just watch Jenn cackle at her computer and make that this is the only time we will ever see him.
And Dare is an a** hole, pardon my French. That is all.
As with the first book, there is a bit of creepy in Summoning the Night. There is an almost film-noir feel to these books and Jenn brings that feeling into her mystery plot-lines. And since she is a very visual writer, the creepy level is cranked in this series. It fits the characters perfectly. The mystery itself this time around was great. In book one, we didn’t see the twists and turns coming. Well, Jenn does the exact same thing in this installment. The twists, the turns… And when you’re finally sure you know who is behind it all and what will happen next, you realize that you are wrong. And I mean really wrong. Basically you get a ride from beginning to end and when you reach the end you are delighted with the turn out. Creeped out by it all, but delighted.
Jenn Bennett proved that she can write with Kindling the Moon and with Summoning the Night, she proved that she has staying power. This newest installment is an Amazing follow up.
Now, even if after all that, I still haven’t convinced you to give this book and this series a try, just don’t pay any attention to what I am doing here…
*takes old pocket watch out of pocket* *starts slowly swinging it in front of your eyes* Now look at the screen. You want to read Jenn Bennett’s Arcadia Bell series. You need to read Jenn Bennett’s Arcadia Bell series…
If I remember correctly, the first words out of my mouth after finishing this book was “Wow. Wow Wow Wow. Wowwowowwowwow. Wow”. And yes, it deserves every last of those ‘wows’.
Grave Secret is the fifth book in Sierra Dean’s Secret McQueen series. It starts off exactly where book four ended and for those who have read that last book, there will be joy over that because where Sierra leaves us…well let’s just say that there would be hell to pay if she did not continue from that very scene. All I will say about it is that it’s a scene between Secret and Holden and this is the scene that made me move a bit more onto Team Holden. I have been firmly planted in Team Desmond since the beginning but damn it all, Sierra is slowly shifting me and now I have no idea where I stand. I’m stuck in the middle of two!
Let’s chat Teams for a little second before I continue. There are three possible Teams in this series. (Don’t let that turn you off – Sierra does an absolutely fabulous job writing this love-square. Really, she does. I can’t usually stand more-than-one-love anything but Sierra sucked me right in.) You can either be on Team Holden, Team Desmond or Team Lucas. I like the direction the relationships are taking in this book. It all seems to be realistic even though there are multiple men. I don’t know of many authors who could pull of the many-men-relationship like Sierra does.
Back to the story now. After that fantastic opening scene, the action starts and, true to Sierra Dean form, doesn’t let up. In each book we focus on either the werewolves or the vampires in Secret’s world (which is nice because Sierra is half-werewolf and half-vampire – the only one in existence). But this time around Sierra switches it up a bit and we follow Secret as she travels to the world of the fae.
Sierra writes neat fae. I would not want to cross them ever but neither are they nasty gross. They are just very cunning and boy oh boy do you have to be careful around them. Smart little buggars, they can easily mess with you. And do they ever mess with Secret!
But I’ll get back to that in a minute.
Lucas, being the ever charming and democratic man that he always is (not!), tells Secret that she is to find his missing sister and that she has to do it now. Yeah…just when you think Lucas can’t be more of an asshat than he already is, he surprises us and yes, you guessed it, becomes even more of an asshat! Apparently, that is possible!
Another quick note about the men. Holden fans will be very happy because there is tons of Holden in this one.
Desmond fans will be very happy because there is tons of Desmond in this one.
Lucas fans…well I really don’t know why anyone would be a Lucas fan at this stage of the series because really, asshat.
Brigit. I had forgotten how much I like her character. She is so freaking cute! And I know she is not a man but I feel I must throw that in.
And Sig… I hear there isn’t much longer before we get a book in the series that explains him and I can’t wait. He is just amazing! His strength and power can be overwhelming for Secret but there is something almost fatherly about him at the same time. The way he is with her is lovely. I can’t freaking wait to know what his deal is!
Secret. We need to talk about Secret. She is beginning to know her inner wolf and I thought it was neat how the wolf was present this time around. It just added a new dynamic to Secret. I am really happy with how Secret grows in each book. This time around there is a lot of change – mostly because of all the crap she has to face which includes a huge freaking twist (that I will get to in one moment). She is more grounded in this book. She is also starting to think a bit more before acting and considering other people a bit more. She is also starting to realize that she is not alone in all this and that she can, in fact, ask for help and not appear weak. I just love her growth and where she is going. Sierra truly does an amazing job with her. There is a reason she is on my favorite characters list. She is just that awesome.
I think it’s time to finally talk about that twist. The one that I NEVER SAW COMING! Now these books are always filled with twists that make your jaw drop but I’m telling you people, the one found in Grave Secret takes the cake. I mean OH. MY. GOD! I never thought Sierra would go there. I mean he said…then she said…then he…then she… OMGOMGOMGOMGOMG!!! Once you read it, you will be cursing out loud, I guarantee it. And to avoid spilling too much, that is all I am going to say about that.
What is it about these books that make me want to abandon my life so I can read them uninterrupted? Each and every book in this series brings out such a passionate response from me. Mostly, they make me curse and make me want to tweet Sierra incessantly asking her question after question that usually starts with ‘why why why?’ But they also make me marvel and the talent of this author. Sierra is brilliant in her storylines, her action scenes and her characters. This is a series that grips me completely and Grave Secret is no exception. It’s a marvelous installment that not only left me with my jaw on the floor but also left me wanting more. I am already counting down the days until Secret Unleashed comes out in October. And I know once you finish Grave Secret, you will be counting down too....more
This book has been sitting in my book closet for well over a year. Yes, I’m a little embarrassed to admit that. I’m a little embarrassed that I’ve hadThis book has been sitting in my book closet for well over a year. Yes, I’m a little embarrassed to admit that. I’m a little embarrassed that I’ve had this great story set in a fascinating world told by a capable writer stored right next to where I sleep and never made a move to bring it out. I don’t even remember buying it. Was it online or in-store? No idea. But I know it was pre-blog hopping because not many of my bloggy friends have read this. I must have read really good things about it. I must have checked on the Romantic Times Magazine website and seen that it received 4 1/2 stars. Those are usually the reasons I would have bought a new book back in the day. But last week, I opened my book closet and this book shouted at me. It said ‘What the hell, you!” (because really, you can’t expect a book to know your name) “I’ve been in here for a hell of a long time and you suck. Pick me up, read me, show me some love!” And that’s exactly what I did.
“Magic to the Bone” by Devon Monk is book one in her Allie Beckstrom series. About 30 years ago, it was discovered that magic was real and that people could actually channel it and use it. Of course, not all magic is used for good or used as it should. Enter Allie, a Hound. A Hound’s job is to use magic to discover the origin of a spell. Every magic user has their own signature. Hounds unravel a spell to find the signature in order to find out who is responsible for a spell. The downside to magic is that it costs something to use. It causes pain to the magic user. Not right away, but soon after use. Allie prefers trying to steer the pain and have it turn to a multi-day migraine headache, but sometimes when she uses too much magic, she loses some of her memory. She carries around a little note book with all the information she would need and any events she would want to know about documented in it. Memory loss is not something Allie too happy about, but she loves her job too much and she is just too good at it to let it go.
Allie is called in to Hound a hit on a little boy. This leads her to meet with her estranged father which leads to all sorts of happenings. I really enjoy how you really don’t know what is going on or which direction the story is headed. You have an inkling as to who might be involved, but not the why or not even if you are right until the last 50 pages or so. Then you’re just like, whoa.
The story is told from Allie’s point of view, but there are parts of the story that are told from Cody’s point of view. You’re not sure who Cody is. Is he a boy or a man, sick or well? All you know is that he is being held captive and used for his magical ability to forge magic signatures. A really interesting twist to the story telling that I enjoyed.
Let’s talk characters. Allie is a strong woman who wants to isolate herself from her successful father’s dealings. She is magically very powerful. She is kick ass but she is also vulnerable and human. I am very happy I like her since this is the Allie Beckstrom series. It would kind of suck if I didn’t like the main heroine! ;) Zayvion is a mystery. You never fully find out who he is, what he is, why he is there or how he is truly involved. He is very secretive. He is also very protective of Allie and saves her life on numerous occasions. There is this mysterious air about him that makes you want to follow him anywhere to learn more about him. I am also happy to see that he is a recurring character in this series, because I really want to know the who, what, why and how! Allie’s best friend, Nola is a wonderful woman. Almost more of a motherly figure. She is a calming source for Allie, and boy does Allie need it. I wanted to give you big hugs all the time, she’s that sweet.
Overall, I was very surprised by how much I enjoyed this book. I find that always sounds bad when you word it that w — it sounds as though you read a book with very low expectations but it turned out to be kick ass. I just really don’t know why I waited so long to read this. I won’t give any detail but I just love the way it ended. It really closes off this particular installment yet leaves the perfect opening for the next book. And Zayvion?! I can’t wait to find out more about that guy! This is a nice Urban Fantasy story told in a distinctive and interesting setting and I am for sure going to be continuing with this series.
This book is another example of how other book bloggers easily get me to buy books that I would not necessarily have known about. Many of my trusted ‘go-to’ bloggers just loved this book. I read their reviews and followed their tweets about it. And after all that, there was no question I just had to read it to. So I bought it…and here we are.
First Grave to the Right is Darynda Jones’ debut in the world of Urban Fantasy, and it’s a strong one. The story basically consists of three mysteries told in one story. We have the “What and Who is Reyes?” mystery, we have the “Why are there three dead lawyers?” mystery and we have “We know Charley is the grim reaper but what exactly does that mean?” mystery. You would think that with so many unanswered bits mashed into one book things would get kind of confusing along the way. But Darynda does a wonderful job keeping everything straight and clear. If I could only say one thing about this book, it would be that it is incredibly well-woven!
Before reading this book, I knew that the main heroine, Charley, was the grim reaper but I really didn’t know much other than that. I was glad to see that she is not some creepy chick walking around in a flowing black robe and carrying a sharp weapon. That is reserved for another character…and that is all I’m going to say about that. Charley is a PI and a police ‘consultant’ who has an incredible success record because she has the advantage of being able to communicate with the ghosts of the victims. Essentially, her job is to help souls find peace so they can move on. I liked how the grim reaper aspect of this story played out, and I liked that there seems to be more to learn about it.
Charley was a character that, when read surface only, can come across as flighty and snarky. Well, okay, she is those things, but there is much more there. She is a woman who has this odd ‘job’ and who is alone in doing it. She has trouble finding people who she can trust to stick around once they truly find out about her. I found that she was a lost and pretty lonely soul. And how does she cope? With her sharp wit and sarcastic humor. Some of Charley’s lines were wonderfully funny and made me giggle out loud. Overall, I found Charley to be nicely layered. We’ve only just begun finding out about her. Thank goodness there are more books planned.
Reyes was quite the presence in this book. Sometimes scary, sometimes really sexy, we don’t find out real details about him until the very end. And even then…well, let’s just say it again. Thank goodness there are more books planned.
I enjoyed all of the characters in this book. From the friends to the police officers to the family members, I found them all to be well written and well placed in the story. Did I like all of them? No. Some I wanted to smack. But that just shows that Darynda knows what she’s doing.
First Grave on the Right was a strong first book by a talented author in a very promising series. Book two, Second Grave on the Left, is hitting shelved August 16th 2011. Book three, Third Grave Straight Ahead, is due out February 2nd 2012....more
When Ilona Andrews first announced that they would be writing a whole full length novel for Andrea, I thought: “That should be interesting. After all, Andrea is a great character.” Okay, that didn’t come across quite as I hoped… What I mean is that I didn’t particularly feel strongly either way…but now I am SO glad Gunmetal Magic was written because the book was amazing and I do believe that Andrea has the potential to rival Kate on the kick ass meter.
Andrea has always been a rock for Kate and a bit of a mystery for us. Loyal and strong, she is the perfect best friend for Kate. But little did we know that Andrea hides an extremely painful past. She was mistreated by those who were supposed to be her equals which led her to hide her true nature. For years she lived her life as a human, hiding her shifter side. A few books back in the Kate Daniels series, we discovered Andrea’s secret. In that book, her life as she knew it started falling apart. She was lost for a little while and it was disheartening to see. She’s usually the one who has it all together and here she is with no sense of purpose or real belonging! She was let go from the Order because shifters aren’t allowed to be Knights and started to work for/with Kate at her new investigation firm. Andrea is amazing at what she does but still we feel she is missing something. Gunmetal Magic is where she finds that piece of herself and it’s the story of how she comes to terms with whom and what she is.
I liked Andrea before this book and now that I’ve read all about her and witnessed her journey and observed her self-discovery, I love her. Ilona wrote an amazing character in her. She never sat around and moped…much. And even when she did, it wasn’t all about how terrible her life was and how much it sucked, it was more along the line of ‘okay, this is not the best of situations but I can make it better and let’s figure out how to do so’.
In previous books, Andrea and Raphael were starting a relationship but that didn’t work out. But neither is completely ready to let go of the other and they both want the other to know they are not forgotten. So you know what that means, right? Yes ladies and gentlemen, that means we get to see some shifter mating rituals at work. These make me laugh! The stuff these guys do to show their perspective mates how smart and cunning they are (read sneaky and conniving) is awesome. I’ll give you one little hint: purple shag carpeting. Just you wait.
Raphael was wonderful to read in this book. In the past, he’s not often taken seriously because he is a male bouda shifter and they tend to be spoiled and pampered. He is also the Alpha’s son. But you really see great depth to him this time around. I love him with Andrea and I find they are a great match.
Another character I really enjoyed was Asciano. He’s a teenager who works as an ‘intern’ at Cutting Edge. His enthusiasm is great and his attitude is hilarious. Andrea and Kate handle him very well and he responds well to them. He adds an interesting humorous element to the book – the teenage boy sort – and it works really well. And Kate and Andrea really are good role models for this boy. I am anxious to see his character grow in future books.
Roman, the volhv we met in a previous book, has quite a large role in this book and I loved him in it. His character is actually quite awesome. He can pull anything off! He’s witty and smart, amazing with his magic, can be scary yet can pull off sexy too! I would love to read more with him in the future.
Kate, Curran, Jim, Doolittle and others do make an appearance in this book but not a whole lot. This is clearly Andrea’s book. Kate is in it a little more than the others and she has some great lines. Every time I read her, I love her more. And Kate being in this book just reminds us how awesome Kate and Andrea are together. They complement each other perfectly!
We always discover new sort of mythology or folklore in the Kate books and this time around we learn a bit about Egyptian lore. I am always amazed at how much Ilona seems to know about everything! I’m assuming she does quite a bit of research but what if she doesn’t? What if she and Gordon are just naturally brilliant!? *Focus Julie, focus.* I love how Ilona takes tales from long ago and makes them fit into her stories. And I love how it’s not typically the myths and lore we see often – they use unique and very interesting versions. It’s always a treat to open up a Kate book because you never quite know what you’ll end up reading about. That is a totally cool aspect to this series.
Overall I was extremely pleased with Gunmetal Magic. After reading it, it was obvious that Andrea’s story needed to be told…and boy was it told well. Ilona Andrews writes UF perfectly. With extraordinary and unforgettable characters, lush worlds, fascinating storylines and the perfect blend of humor and emotion, they have mastered the genre. Gunmetal Magic just continues to prove this to us. It is simply stellar....more
Embrace of the Damned it the first book in Anya Bast’s newest series, The Brotherhood of the Damned. After reading this book, I decided to give it 3 stars. But even if I gave it a decent rating, there were things about the book I really liked and there were things about the book I really didn’t enjoy. Therefore, I think I’m going to write my ‘pro and con’ style of review because it will be the easiest way to write this.
The story/series is about almost thousand year old Vikings who performed unspeakable acts of violence when they were young and are now cursed to serve the god Loki, fighting the Blight and trying to prevent a war amongst the gods that would destroy humanity. Each Brother is cursed with something else too as an extra punishment for their acts committed. Broder can’t have sex for 1000 years. Then he can but only for a bit then Loki will make him not be able to anymore again.
What I liked about the book:
I like the idea of the Brotherhood and how each member has their own ‘special’ curse. We don’t know anyone’s but Broder’s so it will be interesting to learn more about each member of the gang in future books. Assuming there will be more.
I really liked the bad guys. Well, I should say I loved how different they were. The Agent of Blight are essentially vampires but aren’t called that. They are demons. They have fangs and suck blood but they are also very cold. They are so cold that you get frostbite where they touch you. Even their saliva freezes. And when they are killed, instead of turning to dust, they turn to ice crystals! I just found these twists to be pretty neat.
I liked the idea of Jessa’s character, how she’s discovering she has new powers that she can’t explain and that she’s looking for answers. And I liked that she didn’t just accept everything she learned right away. I also sort of liked how she didn’t just jump into bed with Broder as soon as they met. I didn’t like how she teased him but we’ll get to that in the next part of the review.
Even though this was a first book in a new paranormal series, there was no info dump. You learned all you needed to but it was spread out nicely throughout the book. So when you read about the Brotherhood’s background or about Loki and Hel’s feud, your eyes don’t cross.
The way the story was written was good. What we learn early on is that the Blight want Jessa dead but we’re not sure why exactly. The mystery of what and who Jessa truly is quite well done.
What I didn’t like about the book:
I didn’t understand why Broder’s ‘other’s curse was what it was. I mean, why celibacy? He didn’t rape thousands of women or anything so why was that Loki’s curse for him?
As you probably guessed, because this is a paranormal romance book after all, at the beginning of the book Broder reaches 1000 years working for Loki. That means he can do the nasty and he’s itching for it. When he meets Jessa, he knows that she is the one who was sent by Loki to um…help him out. He feels an intense connection to her and needs to have her Now. As you can well imagine seeing he’s been celibate for 1000 years. Jessa feels a connection too but she’s also got a lot to deal with. So what does she do? She gets turned on by Broder, lets him get too far then…stops him. Again and again and again. Actually, I lost count as to how many times she did this. Yes, I get it, you don’t know him much and that ‘so not you’ blah blah blah, but don’t be a cock tease! How many orgasms do you let a man give you before you realize that maybe you’re being a little bit of a hypocrite here? It’s frustrating for poor Broder and annoying for the reader. I just found that if she wasn’t wanting, she shouldn’t have let anything start. No matter how hot she found the guy.
Broder was constantly after Jessa. And I mean the *wink wink nudge nudge* “after”. Yes buddy, we know you’ve been without a woman for a loooong time, but that don’t mean you can just grope her in the middle of a conversation. And that’s what was happening. They are talking then suddenly bam! Jess would talk about witches then Broder would answer about witches then the next sentence – and not because they were finished talking about witches – would be Broder saying something like “you are mine and I will have you” then he’d start licking or touching or whatever…then after it goes “too far for Jessa’s comfort”, she would snap to her senses and say “I’m sorry, so sorry but…” So basically, the whole sex thing with these two was just done…oddly.
What didn’t help either is that I just didn’t really click with the characters in this book. They were fine and all but overall they didn’t grab me. The strange part is that I can’t really put my finger on why not. Perhaps there wasn’t enough depth to them? Perhaps all the groping was getting in the way? I was very curious about what would happen to them and that kept me reading, but I never really truly cared about them.
So there you have it. All in all, it wasn’t a terrible book. There were lots of neat parts and twists, but nothing that really wowed me. I didn’t find any information about the future of this series, meaning I’m not sure how many more books are planned, but I’m not sure if I’ll continue on with it. Maybe I’ll wait to see what you guys think of the next book before deciding....more
*le sigh* Every once in a while, you come across a book via friends, the blogosphere or Goodreads that just about everyone seems to be glowing about. You see all of these rave reviews and you feel you must immediately go out and read this book. Then, when you finally finish the book, the one that is supposedly one of the best books you were ever going to read in your whole entire life, you think to yourself “Um…I don’t get it”. Unfortunately, this was one of those books for me. When I closed the book (after having made myself finish it) I really wondered if I had missed something.
Taking Shots is the first book in Toni Aleo’s Assassins series. The Assassins are a NHL hockey team out of Nashville and Shea Adler is their captain. (This made me giggle because the Nashville Predators – the real NHL hockey team in Nashville – their captain’s name is Shea Weber and I wondered if the author loosely based her character on him). I enjoyed reading Shea (the character). I found him to be sexy and really sweet. He was so patient with Elli and I found myself swooning a little bit over him, even while asking myself if there really is such a guy out there. If there really was a man who would be that tolerant in dealing with one woman’s massive amount of issues. In this book he was really the only character I enjoyed…until the end happened. *sigh* I’ll get to that in a bit.
Just a heads up, from this point on this review is not complimentary :(
Elli is the heroine in this story and, as I mentioned above, is plagued with too many issues to count. Her mother and sister are horrible, she has no self-esteem, she’s sick…and those are just the main ones. She has a thyroid problem so her weight tends to fluctuate. In the book she goes from a size 10 to a size 8 to a size 12 and back to whatever. Her family calls her fat. She calls herself fat. Um, what?! Yes, I know that many of us deal with self-worth issues when it comes to our weight and when it comes to our family but I found it was too much in this book. It’s almost like things were done supersize in this story. Everything was a disaster. Everything was a problem. Especially with Elli. And it took most of the book for Elli to explain everything to Shea. Why she was taking medication. What her family is like. Why she is hiding SO MUCH from him. If Shea was patient enough to put up with Elli this whole time, he would have been more than okay with knowing ‘all’ of her – full disclosure. I have trouble with heroines who know that the hero will be pissed when he finds out she has been hiding things from him yet won’t get things out in the open herself saving him the embarrassment of feeling like the last to know. It’s cliché and frustrating. Especially when the hero has only proven himself worthy of her trust over and over.
I didn’t get Elli’s friend Harper either. She was rough and crass, obsessed with sex and not falling in love but then she falls in love. She was an okay friend to Elli but she seems to be mostly about Harper. And there was already SO MUCH going on in this book I didn’t see the need for such a full side story. It wasn’t necessary and it didn’t move the story forward at all. It just added more drama to an already overly dramatic story.
I talk about the issues and the ‘so much’ of them. When the book was finally winding down and things seem to be working out for the couple, where they seem to be at a place where all things were taken care of and forgiven and understood, something happens with Elli’s sister and Shea that really frustrated me. Again. I knew where the story was going as soon as one word was said and I really hoped that I was wrong…but I wasn’t. The author threw in yet another complication and one that was not only overdone but also not AT ALL necessary. That comes up often for me with this book: so many twists and plots additions were not necessary. If the story was a little more streamlined we would have been able to click with the characters better. I understand the ideas the author had and why she had them but the delivery was lacking for me.
Here is the ‘until’ about Shea. He and Elli have a fight. In fact, it made me bring the book’s rating down. The way he acts after the fight was not warranted. Yes, he was heartbroken, but really?! He’s a grown man who claims to adore someone in his life for the very first time! How he dealt with things after the fight was not in character. I thoroughly dislike it when an author changes a characters personality so completely when tragedy strikes them. Even Elli acted crazy but at least she stayed in character. Shea had invested so much in his relationship with Elli and he is such a strong person and a fighter, there is no way he should have reacted the way he did.
I had other issues too with this book, such as the dialogue, but I don’t think I need to get into that really after all that I’ve said already.
I know this review is a lot bit more negative than my usual but honestly, I just found myself asking ‘why?’ much too often in this book. Why did the author decide to write the characters the way she did? Why did she throw so much drama into the mix when just two issues are more than enough in contemporary romance? Even a contemporary romance book with extra emotion should still leave a smile on your face. This for me just had me grunting with frustration. I really wished I loved this book like many others did but I just couldn’t. I even tried the second book thinking it may be better for me but alas, I dnf that one. It was taking on the same feel as the first book with too much unnecessary drama. Plus, it had one of my least favorite storylines: mommy had a baby and daddy doesn’t know. And in this case, the child was already eight years old.
Now just because I have told you all about the issues I had with this book, it doesn’t mean you won’t like it. Let’s face it – Taking Shots has an average 4.07 stars with 5,377 raters on Goodreads so there is something sweet about it for most people out there. Unfortunately it just really wasn’t for me....more
A Cursed Bloodline is the fourth book in Cecy Robson’s Weird Girls series. This is an urban fantasy series that is wild and intense – both in the very best of ways.
This book starts up pretty much where the last book left off. BIG sh*t happened in that installment and Celia is left to deal with it, pretty much on her own. There is an Elder who is being a real stickler about how she and Aric should never be together thanks to his being a pure-blood werewolf and that she is not. The blurb mentions that this Elder is taking his hatred for Celia a little overboard and I totally agree with that. But for me, it was a bit frustrating. It really felt like too much for me. I understand the point and how it did work for the plot but I don’t feel it needed to be done quite as harshly as it was.
But otherwise, this was a good installment and a wonderful continuation to the series. I still enjoy all of the characters that have been ‘regulars’ since the first book. Misha, oh how I’m curious to see how his trip at the end of the book ends up! And Bren! Holy cow, I want him with Emma!
Celia…I’m amazed she hasn’t gone mad yet with all the things she has to deal with in these books. I wonder if Cecy ever sits down and thinks to herself “how can I screw Celia over today?” and writes that. Whatever Cecy does, Celia not only deals with what is thrown at her but does it while thinking of her family and friends and keeping her integrity in check. She really is an amazing character.
The sisters were cool as were the werewolf boys. They were not as much the focus this time around so, where their scenes were good, I didn’t feel there were as many. It made sense for the story though as the focus really was mostly on Celia this time.
Aric. I like Aric but I feel he could have handled certain situations differently in these books so right now, I’m not loving him. But it looks like he’s starting down the right path and I’m curious to see how he is in the next book. I may find my love for him once again by the end of that one…we’ll see.
The ‘ultimate battle’ that takes place near the end of the book is quite exciting but it does hold much sadness. My heart broke a few times and if you are a reader of this series, your heart will break a bit too. Or a lot. Probably a lot.
You really do need to read these books in order to fully enjoy them. Celia’s transformation from book to book is one of my favorite things about this series and you will only witness that fully if you start from the beginning. I only hope that she will catch a bit of a break in the next book, A Curse Unbroken, when it releases on March 10th 2015. I’ve read the blurb for that one and at least it sounds like she’ll be happy for most of the book and for me, that’s good enough for now....more
“Rhiannon’s Law #22. You can’t lie to yourself, so don’t bother trying.”
*happy sigh* And with that first line, Rhiannon is back and I am so happy she is. Not only because JA Saare left us hanging with one hell of a cliffhanger at the end of Dead, Undead and Somewhere in Between, but because Rhiannon is awesome.
The Renfield Syndrome starts off exactly where the last book ends off. For months I have been wondering what (and this is the part where I must warn you that there is going to be a spoiler for the first book right about now) happens to Rhiannon after she gets dumped off 101 years in the future by that awful demon. The awful, conniving, trickster, arse-wipe of a demon. Well, I have to tell you that since reaching the end of book one, I have been speculating about what could happen to Rhiannon, Goose, Paine, Disco and the others. Let me tell you that what actually happens isn’t anywhere near what I thought might happen. The reality didn’t even cross my mind! Maybe I was too narrow-minded in my thinking, but wow! JA really pulled something spectacular out of her hat. Even if at times I wanted to say “Why? Why?” I trusted that she would take the book to a good place and I was right. This is still very much an Urban Fantasy book, so there aren’t any fluffy little cupid babies running around on fluffy white clouds, but I felt satisfied with how everything turned out.
I still really enjoy Rhiannon. Spunky and full of fire, she makes me wish I was more like her. I would love to have her clever retorts! There weren’t quite as many in this book as the last one, but with everything she goes through, she doesn’t really have the chance to be her snarky self. Does that mean that she is quiet and subdued? If you think that is even a possibility, you have not read book one and you really need to. I not only like her for her wit, but I like how real she is. She is not afraid to show her fear or confusion or vulnerability. Even though she is surrounded by vampires and demons and other such creatures, she is still easy to connect with. She is a fantastic read.
The other character that is unforgettable from the first book is Disco. Oh Disco. So, so delicious that Disco is… But as yummy he is, you really get a taste of his power and a reminder that he is in fact a vampire in this book. I was even almost angry with him for a half a second. But how can you stay mad at him? I am very curious to see what happens with him in the next book. After reading this one, Disco’s character can go anywhere really.
Paine was a surprise for me. A good one. And Goose? I really like him and he is so good for Rhiannon. The villain was just a piece of work and I’m sure we’ll see her again in the next book. There were plenty of new characters but Carter seems to be the one that stands out the most. At first he seemed alright, then I may have wanted smack him a little from time to time. Oh, who am I kidding? I wanted to flat out backhand him!
The story takes you to so many places, it’s amazing. And the pace is so quick. It’s very hard to put this book down once you start it. It just flies by and by the end, you want The Ripple Effect (the third book in the series) to come out Now as opposed to next year!
As I read this book, I kept saying one thing over and over and that is: “Ho-ly shit!” The Renfield Syndrome is how a second Urban Fantasy book in a series should read. It grips you from beginning until the very end while giving you high action moments, happy moments, OMFG moments and tender moments. Fans of UF should not miss this series. With characters you will not forget and a storyline that will enthrall you, you will be hooked like the rest of us are....more
(Just a heads up before I begin my review: I am not going to write actual spoilers in this review (as in I will not tell you about how things turn out) but I will be talking about many events that occurred in the book.)
Summer Days is the seventh book in Susan Mallery’s Fool’s Gold series. I have not read the previous books and I didn’t feel as though I was missing any vital information. I deem this book a stand-alone. I have heard countless wonderful things about this author – her contemporaries are favorites among many bloggers. So when I saw Summer Days up for review, I jumped at the chance to read it. And even though I enjoyed the author’s voice (which was a tad repetitive but otherwise quite lovely), I didn’t enjoy the “gaps” in the characters feelings when it came to many of the events in this story.
Let me explain.
First off, let’s meet the major characters: Heidi is the main heroine. Glen is her grand-father. May is a lovely yet an odd sort of woman and Rafe is May’s eldest son, the book’s main hero and a super rich and successful business developer. The book begins with Rafe heading back to the town he grew up in, Fool’s Gold, in order to help his mother deal with a little issue. Of course this issue isn’t little, but the way most people react to it you would think it was a tiny little insignificant thing. You see, Heidi owns a ranch. She has never really known what it was like being settled in one spot (thanks to her carnie upbringing) and finally buys a ranch where she raises eight goats. She sells goat milk soap and cheese. She lives there with her grand-father, the man who raised her since the age of three after her parents passed away. This ranch is her first real home. She is super happy. You with me so far? Okay. Glen’s friend was diagnosed with cancer and needed treatment to live. At his age, he couldn’t get insurance so he was basically dead. Glen couldn’t let that happen so he “pretend” sold Heidi’s ranch to May for $250,000. After handing over the money, May shows up to claim the property only to see that she’s been swindled by Glen. Heidi is a little ticked but can’t seem to be too upset because Glen is her grand-father and he took her in when she was just a toddler and blah blah blah.
Yeah, and he’s also the man who just sold YOUR home to someone and doesn’t see anything wrong with what he did!!!
May is all “Oh, that’s okay. I’m sure we can work something out” and Heidi is all “Oh that Glen. He’s always doing things like this. He has such a big heart though” and Glen is all “Ooo May is some woman. I like her.*wink wink*” All the while, Rafe is having a stroke and can’t believe he’s even walked into this situation!
I think Rafe is the only one here with any sense. While I appreciate that no one wanted to make a big deal out of this and want to settle this out of court (well, everyone but Rafe), I didn’t understand the characters reaction. At all.
And that’s not all I didn’t understand.
The lot of them are told by a judge that until she has time to review this properly, they must all work together and see if a solution can be reached. (By the way, I would love for a real judge or lawyer to read this book and to tell me if any of what the judge says or does makes any sense, from having everyone involved ‘work things out for now’ to her holding Heidi responsible for her grand-father’s actions. I honestly wonder if that would happen for realz.) So after hearing the judges temporary decision, May decides to move into the ranch house (with Rafe of course who at this point just wants to go home to San Francisco to resume his successful busy glamorous life) and decides to go all out and renovate the ranch. The fence, the barn…name it, May is fixing it. Oh, and she buys an elephant. An elephant! And no one tells her “you’re a little crazy May”. She really is a sweet character but I just didn’t understand why it was okay for her to blow so much money on stuff and more stuff all the time without having to really explain herself! She’s lived a crap life and she deserves happiness for sure. But c’mon! An elephant!
And the final thing that really really bothered me was Heidi’s little plan. Everyone has plans for the ranch. Heidi finds out Rafe’s ideas for the land and realizes that she needs to stall his plans so in order to have a little more time to convince the judge that she can pay May back. (Why she is stuck paying back is beyond me too. It was Glen’s mistake yet Heidi is suffering from it. And not once does she go ape-sh*t on his a**!) Heidi’s plan is well…stupid. It didn’t really advance the story at all. All it did really was show the reader that Heidi’s friends are crazy for suggesting the idea in the first place and that Heidi, when desperate, will listen to anything.
That is all the detail I am going to give you. There is more to this story of course. There is a matchmaker and a traveling carnival and family feuds and reconciliations and lots of past heartache and many lessons about love. All stuff you expect to see in a romance books. Well, except maybe the carnies. You wouldn’t really expect that but they did make sense in the larger scope of the story I suppose.
I liked Rafe’s character. Don’t get me wrong here: Rafe is a jerk. But his character grows so much in this book, it’s great to watch. His story line actually made the most sense. May is cute but a little much. Glen…I just wanted to shake him and ask him why he shows no real remorse for what he did. Oh, he says sorry and all that but he never really seems to mean it. That REALLY bothered me. Remorse is one of the most important things you can teach a person. Children need to understand that there are consequences for their actions and that if you hurt someone by doing something, YOU must be held accountable. Glen apparently missed that lesson while growing up. And Heidi… I quite liked her but that one plan of hers really soiled my opinion of her. But other than that, I liked her. She’s spunky.
I enjoyed the romance in Summer Days. It’s a slow and naturally built romance. No one jumps anyone at the first sign of a penis. It was sweet and, in a crazy sort of way, Rafe and Heidi made a very good match.
I will most likely try another one of Susan’s books sometime soon. I did like her writing and her romance. I just didn’t like how the characters almost seemed numb over things that most normal people would be infuriated by. The next book in the series, Summer Nights, is Shane (Rafe’s brother) and Annabelle’s (the local librarian and Heidi’s friend) story. I really liked Shane in Summer Days and I am very curious about him. I may give his book a try. (I’m assuming there will be no elephants in his story.)
As for Summer Days, I feel most people will find it adorable. There is a secondary romance that it actually sort of cute…in an odd twisted sort of way. The characters are endearing even if they are frustrating. What I am saying is that just because I didn’t love the book doesn’t mean you won’t. If you are a fan of Ms Mallery’s books, give it a try. Then email me and tell me if I’m the only one who was driven bonkers by the characters reactions to things and by Glen’s lack of remorse.
If you are a fan of erotic romance books filled with quirky characters and a quick fun plot, then you are going to enjoy Last Minion Standing. And just a heads up, Eve Langlais does not skim the erotica border here. This is a full-out, hot and steamy title!
Sally is a half-demon who hunts those who have escaped Hell. She has a natural knack for it and loves what she does. She is a funny gal who speaks her mind and goes after things full-on. She feels she needs a side-kick, or as she prefers to call it a minion, to assist her in her duties. When she mentions the idea to her BFF, her friend quickly takes off with the idea and posts it on Hellbook (Hell’s Facebook). Before she knows it, Sally finds herself in the middle of filming a new reality TV show for Hell’s television network where the ‘people’ get to decide who will be her minion.
Drake is a shifter who happens to look extremely yummy without a shirt on. One night, as Sally is going about her business, Drake jumps in and catches the guy Sally is hunting – right in front of her! Sally is well, let’s say she’s a little upset that Drake got her guy. But she can’t stop thinking about him. As for Drake, the feelings are mutual. He can’t deny the heat between he and Sally. In fact, he realises that Sally is destined to be his mate. And when he finds out about her minion search, he really does not like the idea of any other many working that closely to Sally. So he does what he must: He enters the contest to become Sally’s side-kick.
I found the overall feel for this book to be amusing. The teases and takes on Earth’s quirks (such as Hellbook) were well done. They kept me giggling throughout the whole book. The characters are as silly as they are yummy, which again kept the book light and fun. Sally and Drake’s stubborn nature makes them interesting to watch. And it’s just as interesting watching their walls slowly crumble and to see them realize that what they have is pretty cool (or hot, as this case may be). The loving is plentiful and really really steamy. I mean Eve can write some smokin’ scenes!
I didn’t find there to be much depth to these characters, but honestly I wasn’t expecting it. This is a short yummy read that focuses on the heat between the hero and heroine, and does that very well. Overall, I enjoyed this book and its plays on things. A light and fun book that’s perfect for when you are looking for a quick, extra *blush* worthy read.
Jarod is an English professor who looks forward to Tuesday and Thursday afternoons because, from his class’ window, that’s when he sees an incrediblyJarod is an English professor who looks forward to Tuesday and Thursday afternoons because, from his class’ window, that’s when he sees an incredibly sexy woman walk through campus carrying a laundry basket heading to the Laundromat. He’s determined to talk to her. So he goes after her and kinda spooks her. The first words she says to him are:”What are you looking at?” Love it! The woman’s name is Nora. She works in the labs at the University and she’s a little on the caution side. The second thing she says to Jarod is: “Get lost, asshole!” while aiming a can of pepper spray at him! His response is: “This is me, backing the f*ck off.” Love it! lol What a story that would be to tell your grand-kids…when they are old enough to handle that kind of language, of course. ;)
“Talk Dirty to Me”, co-written by Ginny Glass and Inez Kelley, impressed me. It is the second book in the ‘Dirty Laundry’ series, but it can be read as a stand alone book. I found it to be a very well written erotica book. The flow is nice, there is no overly crass vocabulary or harsh language and the sex scenes didn’t feel forced. But since this is an erotic title, you can bet the sex was steamy.
The phone sex scenes were especially juicy! *fans herself* Nora’s short struggle with whether or not she should ‘go there’ with the mysterious James helped make the story more believable for me. And when the poop hit the fan, I love how Nora handles it. She doesn’t just shrug it off like it was no big deal. She deals her revenge…the only way one can in an erotic book. And it’s awesome.
Jarod is the perfect date. He’s sexy and smart and a gentleman. Jarod as James is super yummy! And he’s determined to break Nora out of her frigid little shell. Oh, and he’s very good at it. (lucky Nora ;)
Although I would have loved to read more about Jarod and Nora, the book ended very well. You could say it ended with quite the climax. *g* This is a short book, but you got all of the information you needed to feel satisfied. *g* (Okay, okay, I’m done with the puns.) “Talk Dirty to Me” is an easy, steamy read that will make women smile because it reminds us that we always hold the power, even when the naughty men think they do....more
Operation: Endurance is the third and final book in Christi Snow’s After the Mission Ends trilogy. I have enjoyed this series, especially this book.
This is Chris and Julie’s story. Both have been through more crap than anyone should in their lifetime and both more than deserve a happy ending. We know from the end of book one what hell Chris has been through but Julie is more of a mystery. We know she keeps mostly to herself, she’s a physiotherapist and she likes things organized. Other than that, we don’t know much. As expected, you learn all you need to know in this book but you learn even more in the prequel novella, Before the Mission Begins (which I strongly recommend you read before Operation: Endurance. Not mandatory, but recommended). We learn that Julie suffers from OCD and is also dealing with traumatic events that happened when she was quite young. But she’s not your typical damaged heroine because she has a strong and loving relationship with her parents and her sister. I liked that. Not every main character needs to come from a broken home in order to have a compelling story. Oh, and let’s not forget that Julie’s boyfriend was shot by a crazy man recently. For all that Julie has gone through she is handling things very well. She is stronger than she gives herself credit for. She could easily whine and think that her life sucks but she’s not like that. And Chris could easily be that way too but he’s not either.
Think of a tortured soul and double it. Now you have Chris. That poor man deserves all of the hugs you are going to want to give him. And again, he’s not a whiny annoying little man. He and Julie both understand that they can’t go through their issues alone and need help. I was SO happy Christi wrote her main characters this way and feel like more authors should. Yes, this is fiction, but you can’t always write characters who are so super-power strong that they either miraculously heal themselves or heal each other. That is not realistic, especially after what Chris and Julie have gone through, and it’s great to see that Christi realized this. It helped make her characters so much more real.
Chris and Julie absolutely deserve each other. Not only because they both know hardship but also because they complement one another perfectly. As you can imagine, this is a pretty heavy book. But don’t worry about it being too heavy. Christi writes a wonderful balance between emotional and sweet. It’s not an easy book to read but it’s definitely worth it. Chris and Julie have incredible chemistry – it’s hot and sexy – but it’s also sweet and romantic.
There is a wedding scene in this book. Christi mentioned that she cried while writing it and I can see why. It’s a lovely scene and the vows were very touching. I didn’t cry, but I definitely smiled and found myself thinking “aww” while reading.
Even though there was more than enough angst and drama to write an entire book with just Chris and Julie’s issues (alone and with each other), there was a sub plot involving a serial rapist in this book. The mystery was well written and the bad guy came as a surprise. This is not a nice man and what he does in this book is not pleasant. At all. Yet you totally feel for the guy by the end of the book. Christi did a great job there. It would have been so much easier for her to write a nasty piece of work you just wanted to hate but she didn’t. She’s a brave one that Christi. Honestly, I would have been completely happy with the story without the serial rapist portion but then it would not have been a very good romantic suspense story, would it? So even though I found it was not a need, I found it was well written.
Overall, I really enjoyed Operation: Endurance. I believe it’s Christi’s best book to date. I found Chris and Julie’s relationship progressed naturally and was written extremely well. This could not have been an easy book to write yet Christi does a great job of it. Through books one and two you know something happened between Julie and Chris yet you never really find out what. Now you do and adding that teaser in the first books really helped make this book all the more special to read. This is a wonderful couple and a great book. If you are looking for a book that will tug on your heart strings, start with Operation: Endgame then move towards this book. I’m sure you will love this couple as much as I do.
Skin Heat the third book in Ava Gray’s ‘Skin’ series. I have read the previous books and really, really enjoyed them. Creative story building, strong and interesting heroines and heroes that make you glad you’re a woman. I remembered that about this series. I also remembered how I found Ava to be one hell of a story teller. What I had forgotten about this series is how, once you reach the ‘pinnacle’ of the story, it’s impossible to sleep! Either because you want to keep reading or because you are so worked up about what you just read! And boy did that happen to me while reading this book.
It’s all good though. What I really liked about this book was the way the story was set up. It’s all headed somewhere and you’re thinking to yourself the whole time that you know exactly where it’s going. And you are right, mostly. But when you reach that part of the story where you thought it was headed, it doesn’t quite happen how you thought it would. And it doesn’t linger like it could have. And that again, is a good thing because if it had lingered, it would have become ‘done before’ and not as thrilling. But Ava wrote the climax of the story wonderfully and made it all come together with an interesting twist.
Now that I’ve said all that, let me tell you a little about what you are reading about in Skin Heat. In the second book, we find out that people are being taken and experimented on. Zeke Noble was one of these people. Skin Heat is about what happened to Zeke after he escapes and makes his way back home. With his parents gone, he alone is responsible for the family farm. When he finally gets back to it, it’s in pretty rough shape. The power is no longer on, the house is in need of some repair and the crops and animals are gone. Zeke needs a job to help his achieve all he needs at his farm. He goes into town and applies where ever he sees a Help Wanted sign. One of these businesses is a veterinary clinic run by Neva Harper.
Zeke does not only have to rebuild his farm, he also has to deal with the aftermath of that was done to him while in captivity. He doesn’t really understand much of it, but he’s getting hints of things here and there that are making him question his sanity. He can see and hear better than any human should, he can run faster too. Also, he can no longer really feel the cold. He’s worried – who wouldn’t be? And when he starts to feel something towards Neva, he’s unsure what to do. He feels she deserves better than the freak he has become…whatever that is. Do you ever feel for this man. I never felt the need to hug him or anything. He was strong through this whole thing. But you feel his anguish. Sometimes I wanted to tell him “You know what buddy, she wants you. You. Stop trying to be a hero!” But mostly I just wanted him to be at peace with things and relish what he has and what he’s been given.
Neva I quite enjoyed. She comes from a wealthy family but is determined to make it on her own. She’s very smart and quick and has a big heart. Again, all things that can be very ‘done before’, but Ava’s style makes Neva familiar without being overdone. I really liked how it was explained how similar Zeke and Neva were and how it makes them perfect for one another. They were a cute match. Not overtly obvious, but good once they came together.
And the villain…Wow. Creepy with a capital C. Hell, creepy with a capital C R E E P Y! A serial killer looking to perfect his method before his ultimate kill. Whoa. And when it was revealed who it was…boy I did not see that coming. Even though I felt that the ‘why’ of the serial killer villain was somewhat out of place for the series, I found the ‘how’ was very well done. And it’s a testament to Ava’s writing that once the villain comes to his brick wall, you actually feel sorry for him, and happy that he’s finally going to feel peace. How messed up is that?! lol
The lovin’ in this book was h-o-t. Ava Gray can write some steamin’ smex! Most of the time, I wasn’t sure whether to crinkle my nose or fan myself…but that’s only because, even after reading so much smut, there’s still a bit of a prude inside this girl. But Ava went a couple places I didn’t know authors dare go in PNR books. Not long drawn out scenes of it, just tidbits here and there that made me squirm…in the very best of ways.
The last 20% of Skin Heat made me my heart pump faster while I sat at the edge of my seat. The first 80% made me remember how much I love how Ava Gray writes. Top notch characters and gripping, emotional stories. I only wish we learned why Zeke was taken in the first place. And I would like to know what they were hoping to accomplish with him. I don’t know if we’ll ever get those answers though since these books are linked but not connected, but overall I quite enjoyed Skin Heat and I’m looking forward to Skin Dive coming to stores in July 5th 2011....more
“Freeze! Nobody move! This is a robbery!” I’ll tell you one thing. Jennifer Estep is very good at writing opening lines that grab you from the get go.“Freeze! Nobody move! This is a robbery!” I’ll tell you one thing. Jennifer Estep is very good at writing opening lines that grab you from the get go. And Gin’s nonchalant attitude towards the people coming into her restaurant and shouting said lines is the reason you keep reading. I like Gin. She’s a strong and likable character. Even though she is supposedly retired as an assassin, she can’t help but get involved in ‘certain situations’ in order to help and protect innocent friends. And a character like that leaves many doors open for future story lines — and thank goodness for that.
“Web of Lies” is the second book in the Elemental Assassin series. It is filled with fun characters. Other than Gin, I really really enjoy Finn. He is very funny and the brotherly chemistry between he and Gin is very well written. I also think Sophia is quite comical with her one sound replies to anything asked. She made me giggle while reading this book and the first one too. Donovan Caine was not in this book as much as I thought he would be. That’s probably a good thing because when he did appear on the page, I wanted to take the stick out of his ass myself and beat him with it! Okay, so you’re torn between being a good cop and being with the woman who makes you hot… get over it already! Thank goodness for Owen Grayson. Now there’s a guy with potential! He has a yummy factor to him that makes you hope to see a lot of him in the next book. *fingers crossed*
The only thing that I don’t quite like about these books is that they are quite descriptive and the same descriptions tend to be recurring throughout the book. (I am not one to enjoy a lot of explanation. If I’m told a certain detail once, I’ll remember it and I don’t feel the need to be reminded of it over and over in one book. But that’s my impasse.) It’s a very small thing really considering how good the stories are and how I really want to know what’s coming next.
And I do want to know. As with the first book in the series, this installment ended with just the right mix of closure and cliff-hanger. You are happy with how this book’s evil do-er meets his demise, yet you are left wondering how Gin will defeat the next one. To find out the answer to that question, we only have to wait until September 28th. That’s when “Venom”, the third part in the ‘Elemental Assassin’ series, is coming to a bookstore near you.
(One quick last tidbit. Gin loves to cook. You watch her put together quite a few recipes throughout the books. If you visit Jennifer Estep’s web site and scroll down an bit, you will find Gin’s recipes. I thought that was a cute little aside.)...more