Great to finally know how Gideon and Savannah met. Cute story. I also liked knowing where Lara's ideas came from. A great read for fans of the series....moreGreat to finally know how Gideon and Savannah met. Cute story. I also liked knowing where Lara's ideas came from. A great read for fans of the series. Full review to follow.(less)
The Cursed is the first book in Alyssa Day’s shiny new League of the Black Swan series. I have purchased many of Alyssa’s Warriors of Poseidon books, have a special place for them in my book closet, yet I have not taken the time to actually read one yet. *sigh* It is the curse of having so many books to read, those you hear wonderful things about from your friends, but not enough time to read them all. So when I heard that Alyssa was starting a new series, I knew it was the perfect opportunity to finally read one of her books. I was very impressed. Her writing voice is lovely – paints wonderful pictures and the pace is very good – and her characters and world are very well done.
The world Alyssa created here is just different enough to feel foreign but not so different that it requires tons of backstory and description – which suited me just fine. Even though this was a book one, I never had that ‘lost’ feeling you often get in a first book for a new series. You see, it’s like different dimensions all folded upon themselves in one place thus creating Bordertown. You have fae and demons and magicians all in one place. It’s a crazy place but it’s also pretty cool.
Luke is a wizard and the city’s badest badass. He is currently a private investigator and was formerly a member of the League of the Black Swan. I like that this ‘league’ was never fully explained. You have an idea of what they do but not so much that you are not left curious. It makes a great draw for the next book. But I digress. I was talking about Luke. Things you need to know about him: he’s powerful, he’s smart and he’s sexy! He is drawn to Rio and once he learns she is in trouble he will do what he can to help her. But she’s a kickass (and smartass) chick and doesn’t do too well with being told what to do by one hard headed sexy PI – no matter how yummy he is.
Rio and her story were really well written. She is intelligent, strong, sassy and knows how to take care of herself. She also knows when to ask for help – something I really like to see in fantasy heroines. On top of that, she has powers yet is not like any other person in Bordertown. For most of the book we don’t really know what she is. Then suddenly, many different people are interested in her. She has no idea why and neither do we. Some of these people even seem to know more about Rio than Rio herself – which is frustrating as hell to her , as you can imagine. Confusing? Yes it is. But it makes for a great story. Overall, the mystery surrounding Rio is very well done.
The book mostly revolves around Luke and Rio, the mystery that is Rio and their budding romance. There is another plot line too but it’s not as important and I feel it’s used mostly to show us what Rio and Luke are made of and to set things up for future books.
The absolute best part of The Cursed was the banter and dialogue between Rio, Luke and the other characters. I laughed a lot and giggled even more. Very witty and smart conversations that really show us not only what the characters are about but how well they relate to each other.
Another one of my favorite parts of the book were the side characters – especially Alice. OMG she made me laugh so much! Alyssa mentioned that the books of the League of the Black Swan will be about Rio and Luke but that novellas from the series will be about the side characters. I really hope we not only get to see more of Alice in this series but that she ends up getting her own book someday soon. She is awesome and I can’t wait for you guys .
Reading The Cursed not only made me look forward to reading more from this series but it also made me want look forward to finally picking up Alyssa’s Warriors of Poseidon books, taking them out of their ‘special place’ in my book closet and placing them in a more prominent spot so they are harder to overlook. The Cursed was filled with great chemistry, strong characters, entertaining humor and some fun action scenes. I definitely recommend this book and I am looking forward to book two in the series, due to release later this year. (less)
Busted is the third book in the Pearl Harbor Wedding series. This is Sydney Somers contribution. The reason I word it like that is because there are four books in this series with each book penned by a different author. I have not read the other books in the series (yet) and just jumped in with this installment without any issues. Probably because of the way this series is written, which I’ll get to in a bit.
Pearl Harbor Wedding, as you can tell by the title of the series, is about a wedding and some of the different people who attended this wedding. Busted is Jackson’s (the best man) and Hayley’s (Pearl Harbor detective and Jackson’s date) story. Jackson was an NHL hockey player but a car accident and subsequent injury has ended his career a lot sooner than he anticipated. Now he’s most likely going to be coaching because that’s what he should be doing, right? That is one of the many questions Jackson has to answer in this book. In Busted, Jackson has to find himself now that what he has always wanted to do is over. He is convinced he knows what he should do but he’s never really sat down to figure out what he wants to do. He’s actually never even thought about doing that. I found Sydney wrote Jackson’s internal conflict quite well. He wasn’t all mopey and whiny, just lost like a puppy. And I like how his relationship with Hayley is written. Jackson starts off all flirty and coming across as just out for fun but suddenly realizes that he’s in deeper than that. I love plotlines where the guy is almost surprised that he’s falling for the girl. I think it’s so cute. And with everything Hayley does to Jackson all in the name of the law, you know it’s love when he’s still chasing her after that.
Hayley actually surprised me. She is a cop and takes her job very seriously but she also has a lot of other stuff going on right now, like her grand-father dying of cancer and a burglar on the loose and coaching the local teens and… She is an ‘up’ sort of person but I was happy to see that Sydney made sure to show us her ‘down’ side too. This made her more real for me. There are some pretty sad scenes in this book and Hayley is excellent in them. I also found her to be a good match for Jackson. They had great chemistry and their scenes together were a lot of fun.
There are many side characters that are mentioned and seen in this book but they don’t feel like too much. Why is because most of the characters mentioned will either be H/h of their own books in the series or they will be seen again and again in the other books of the series. Josh, Devon, Gavin, Allie, Josh’s sister…all have or will have their own .
I did find that the end was sort or rushed. It was cute, fun and put a smile on my face, but it still felt rushed to me. And I didn’t understand the point of Hayley’s mother being the way she was or the reason for Hayley’s ex being in the picture. Eric (the ex) sort of comes around, pisses Hayley off, acts like a douche then goes away…only to come back later. I didn’t get the point of him in the story. He didn’t really advance the plot, he was just there and a jerk. And Hayley’s mother plays an important role in the very end of the book but otherwise she just comes across as being cold. Again, don’t quite understand why she’s like that.
The idea behind this series is nothing like I’ve heard of before. All four books focus on the one wedding but each is written from a different couple’s point of view. You get scenes that repeat themselves from book to book but each time they are told from a different perspective. Reading this book then looking into the other books in the series has only made me want to read the other three books to see how everyone’s story turns out. I really find this to be an interesting twist for a series.
Readers of my blog should know by now that, when I read a contemporary romance book, my goal is to have a smile on my face when I reach the end and Busted definitely did that. It was well done, cute and fun to boot. In my opinion, a good weekend read.
Generation V is the first book in ML Brennan’s American Vampire series and it’s a book that any and all urban fantasy fans have to read. It is stellar.
I know you are seeing the word ‘vampire’ in the title of the series and are probably rolling your eyes a bit. Afterall, hasn’t everything vampire related been done before? Let me tell you that I have never read any vampires like the ones in this book before. And where vampire babies come from? Think about the oddest thing imaginable and you’d still be wrong. ML’s imagination is amazing and how she is able to translate it onto the page is brilliant.
The American Vampire series follows Fort (short of Fortitude) who is a vampire in waiting. In ML’s world, humans born to vampires transition when they are adults. Fort is completely happy being human and has no interest in becoming a full vampire. Looking at his family, vampires are unfeeling and mean and Fort does not want to become like them. There is also a whole story behind why he doesn’t want to become a vampire but I won’t get into it here. I will leave it for when you read this book – and you will read it.
I adored Fort. Absolutely adored him. He is awkward and insecure and totally lovable. I am actually very curious to see how he becomes once he fully transitions because something tells me he’s not going to become like his mother Madeleine or like his siblings Prudence or Chivalry. That’s what he fears. Vampires in this book aren’t immortal but they are long living. They are stronger and faster than humans and their empathy towards humans is pretty much non-existent. He is attempting to slow down his transition for as long as possible and how he tries is kind of cute. He is totally a hero you want to root for. And you also want to hug him and tell him everything is going to be okay.
Madeleine is mostly creepy, for a mom. She is heartless yet not. You want to hate her but can’t. She is wonderfully written. And Prudence… *shudder* She is either a huge mystery or really that cold. I guess we’ll find out in future books. Chivalry I really liked. You think he’s going to be cold like his mother and sister but there is so much more to him than initially meets the eye. And his wife Bhumika seems weak on the surface but she is one of the strongest characters in this book. Such a sad and well told story there. Each and every character in this book has such a rich story. Each and every character is remarkable but there are two that are just a bit more so and that’s Fort and Suzume.
Suzume is freaking brilliant. She’s a kitsune so she shifts into a fox. She is smart and a bit selfish and clever and hilarious. And being a kitsune, she is essentially a trickster. Her and Fort’s dynamic is amazing. I can’t call it sexual chemistry as there is no full on romance in this book but their time together on the page is incredible. Their scenes are some of the most memorable of the book. I can’t wait for you guys to meet her.
The main bad guy in Generation V is Luca. Luca is a vampire trying to father vampire babies and he is one sick f*ck. I’m sorry, but there really is no other way of wording it. He is just sick and you hate him pretty much immediately. Then you loath him. Then you wish he was dead. Finally you think if he were dead that you would want him to come back to life just so you can kill him again. And you feel all of this yet he’s not even in the book much. It’s what he’s doing and how careless he is over the consequences that makes him such a formidable villain. Then there is Phillip. You think you’ve read disgusting characters before? This guy is just gross. He is Luca’s child so I suppose it’s not surprising that he’s just to nasty but really, ew.
Generation V is about Fort and his life but it’s also about young girls going missing and Fort trying to save them…with very little odds of success. The story is gruesome and it really isn’t pretty, so don’t expect fluff. It is true urban fantasy at its finest.
The book ends on a slight cliffhanger. Fort’s father was a cop and Matt was his partner. Matt is involved in the “oh, what will happen next?” that occurs near the very end of the book. The very end of the book is perfect. I re-read it three times. And just thinking about it as I write this, I want to go and read it again. ML ended the book just as it should end. No other way would have worked better.
As you can tell, I adored Generation V. The story is amazing, the pacing is perfect and the characters are superb. I picked this book up on a whim and boy am I glad I did. It is easily one of my favorite reads of the year and will definitely be making my Favorite Reads of 2013 list. If you enjoy urban fantasy, I urge you to read this book. You will not regret it.
Written in Red is the first book in Anne Bishop’s The Others series. This is a book I’ve seen floating around the blogosphere sprouting rave reviews since it released earlier this year. Many of my friends suggested I read it but one look at my reading schedule showed me that was not going to happen anytime soon. Then my blogger BFF and one of my new auto-buy authors both suggested I read it within days of each other and I knew: I knew I just had to shuffle things around and make myself read it as soon as humanly possible. And that’s what I did.
And let me tell you…wow.
It is very hard to explain this book and this story to you as the world that Anne created is very detailed and without understanding it you won’t fully understand a quick recap so I won’t even bother trying. But it’s good for you to know that there are all sorts of paranormal creatures in this book and they live alongside humans. Also know that the paranormals in this world are NOT fluffy fun creatures. They are vicious and they see humans as food. But humans serve their purpose producing things that the Others (the paranormals) need and use so they won’t kill them…yet.
The tension between humans and the Others is incredibly well written. You feel how nervous these people are when they are in the presence of a vampire or a shifter. And the shifters in this book…there are all sorts! I especially loved the crows. They cracked me up.
There is tension between Meg, the main heroine, and the Others too but for a whole other reason. Meg is on the run. From what and why we don’t know at first but it is very interesting, let me tell you. I adored her character. She is perfectly written. A lost soul who has no idea what truly happens in the real world, I was so proud of her when she accomplished new things on her own. She is very smart and clever yet almost childlike. But strong. Very strong. I just loved her.
Another character I loved was Simon. He continuously gave me chills both of the sexy and of the spooky variety. He is what he is and getting inside his head was frightening. There is quite a lot of depth there even though at first he may seem like a big bully. Don’t get me wrong, he is a big bully, but that’s only because he is Other and he is Alpha and you can’t get much more bully than that. I just loved watching him with Meg. How he slowly lets her in as she lets him in. There is no romance in the book but the relationship between Meg and Simon, the chemistry and the connection, is enough. It’s beautiful…in an odd sort of way.
And Sam! He is a wolf pup and is absolutely adorable. There is much to his story but I’ll leave it there for you. Want to know more…read the book. ;)
I actually loved (or at least liked) every character save one. Asia. Just thinking about her makes me So MAD! I don’t recall hating a character more in my life. I have read some pretty nasty villains yet I have not reacted this strongly towards one of them before. Every time she appeared on the page I wanted to throw the book across the room. I actually contemplated skipping her scene but then realized how much I would be missing if I did that. The moment you meet her you know she is a selfish slime ball of a bitch. You know she is not good news for the Courtyard where the book takes place. But that still doesn’t explain my reaction to her. I mean…I was p-i-s-s-e-d! The more I thought about it the more I realize that my loathing her is actually a huge hat off to the author. Asia, from the very beginning, is out to screw over Meg and Simon. I believe the characters of Meg and Simon are so well written that I became very attached to them from the start and I was taking it as a personal insult that this crazy character was going to attempt to do them harm. I wanted to protect them and myself from reading what was going to happen. Sound wonky but it’s true. I hate Asia Crane with a passion unlike any I have felt before and it’s because I loved Simon and Meg with a passion I don’t often feel this quickly. THAT is how amazing the characters are in this book.
The friendships, the connections are truly something to behold. I love watching the Others come together around Meg. How they take her under their wing and end up seeing her as one of them. It’s superb to read. And the pace is not quick nor does it drag. You are on the sidelines watching a truly amazing story unfold and the pace matches that.
Written in Red is a very impressive book. I know those of you who have read it are thinking “Yeah Julie, we know that. That’s why we read it, you know, MONTHS ago”. Sush you. If you are a fan of true, gritty urban fantasy stories and are, like me, strong characters readers, you absolutely must check out this book. It is raw and powerful and will leave you both covered in chills and smiling with satisfaction. And like me, it will leave you thinking that Anne Bishop is a genius.(less)
It is always nice to read a new story featuring one of my favorite male protagonists, Atticus. Atticus is at the heart of Kevin Hearne’s Iron Druid Chronicles series and he always manages to put a smile on my face. He’s just so clever! Grimoire of the Lamb is a quick novella that takes place four years before the first full book (it’s listed at #0.4). So that means no Granuaile. There really aren’t many of the characters we have grown to love in the full series; just Atticus and Oberon. And is there anything wrong with that, really?
The story in Grimoire of the Lamb is pretty simple. Atticus has a book. Egyptian magic man, Nkosi Elkhashab, wants the book. Atticus won’t give him the book so dude steals the book. Atticus isn’t too happy about that so he goes to Egypt to chase dude and get the book back. And probably kill the dude in the process because dude is a real nasty piece of work.
Don’t fret though. Even though there isn’t too much to the story it still packs quite the punch. There’s almost a suspenseful undertone to it, as you watch Atticus attempt to find the dude then enter his home undetected. And let’s not forget when Atticus and Oberon are trying to get away from all those cats! There is a brief scene with an Egyptian goddess that will sort of creep you out. Just imagine how quiet cats are and now imagine thousands of quiet cats, some will little bells on their collars, chasing you. That scene was well written and it eeked me out lol.
Speaking of eeked out, there are a few scenes that actually had my sporting my “oh, EW!” face. And when you think things are done for Atticus and he can pack up and go home…well let’s just say they aren’t and he can’t. And the last twist took me by surprise. I always enjoy Kevin’s spin on the many deities of the world and his take on the Egyptian gods/goddesses was no exception. Very interesting stuff.
You could read this novella without having read the books but of course you won’t get quite as much out of it as if you’ve read the novels beforehand. But if you are looking for something to read in this series to see if you would click with the author’s voice, Grimoire of the Lamb may be a good place to start. Overall, this may not have been my favorite novella in the series but it was still a solid read. Any story with Atticus is worth reading in my opinion and this one will keep me going until June 25th when Hunted hits shelves.(less)
Werewolves be Damned is the first book in Stacey Kennedy’s Magic & Mayhem series. This book is a great initiation to the series and does a good job introducing us to the characters and their quirks. There isn’t one person in this book that I didn’t like and the chemistry between them, friendly or ‘more-than-friendly’ was really well done.
The book starts off with a bang. You are right in the middle of the action as Nexi is trying to escape with her life as werewolves destroy her family. Two saviors come to her rescue and Nexi finds out there is much more to her life than she thinks. In fact, she is the only half-guardian/half-witch in existence. Nexi is filled with fire and it’s that spunk that helps her deal with all the crap she’s faced with after her parents’ murder. I enjoyed watching her accept who and what she is and I am looking forward to reading about the next part of her discovery-journey in the next book.
Haven is a witch and Nexi’s best friend. She is adorable and her power is awesome. Finn is her boyfriend and a Guardian. We don’t see too much of him but I liked what I saw. He is a good balance to both Haven and Kyden. There are many other characters in this story but I never felt confused. Each plays a very distinct role in the book and I enjoyed them all. Drake, Zia, Talon, Valor, Briggs…all cool.
Kyden (love the name) is Nexi’s love interest. He is mucho sexy-o but I did sometimes find him a little all over the place. One second he’s sweet and tender and the other he is very protective. He is described as a ‘caveman’ but I honestly never felt he was that severe of an alpha. I like him a lot with Nexi and find them to be extremely well matched even though his character is a little discombobulated at times. And that brings me to the issue I had with this book.
I found the book was rushed. Things were happening without much explanation and people were introduced, again, without much explanation. Haven is a great example of this. He just appears on the page and we are told that she and Nexi are soul-sisters and that Nexi has a deep sisterly love for Haven. That’s how we are introduced to her. It would have done more for the characters and their development if we witnessed Nexi meeting Haven for the first time and watching as Nexi realized what being bonded to another person means. I felt as though there were many moments where more back-story would have helped me feel even closer to the characters and what they were going through. I would have loved to see Nexi being brought into her new ‘home’ and not just catch up with her one month later where she apparently is doing just fine. As much as I enjoyed all of the characters, I felt as though I was on the sidelines looking in as opposed to a real part of their lives.
The story, other than Nexi getting used to her ‘new life’, is quite neat. Supernaturals are starting to kill humans for no reason other than they can. That is a big no-no as you can well imagine. Each faction of supernaturals has a role to play when it comes to crime solving. The vampires cleans the scene so humans can stay oblivious to ‘other things that live among them’, werewolves track, a witch can re-create a series of events and guardians toll out the punishment. I really found this was cool. Of course it all leads to one big bad and one big bad why and that part lost me a bit. I didn’t quite understand why the ultimate villain was after what he was after. I mean, couldn’t just anyone do? Why did it have to be her specifically? Again that goes back to feeling as though pieces of the story were missing here and there. I’m assuming that that won’t be a factor in the next book because everything has been set in place in this book. I’m thinking things will read a bit smoother in book two.
Even with the feeling of ‘wanting more’, I enjoyed Werewolves be Damned. The bones for this story were excellent; all it needed was a bit more meat. I am definitely going to be reading the other books in the series as I am curious to see what’s up next for Nexi and friends.
Against the Dark is the first book in Carolyn Crane’s new The Associates series. This is a new direction for her as this is a romantic suspense series. But fans of Carolyn’s work do not have to fret because this book proves that not only can she write an amazing urban fantasy tale but she can also write a gripping and exciting suspense story.
Exciting is a great word to describe this book. The book starts off with Angel and her two friends posing as prostitutes waiting for the perfect time to steal something valuable from the extra slimy host, Borgola. (I’ll talk a bit more about him in a bit) Cole is there too. He is working security for Borgola (undercover but he is the only one who knows of that fact) and can’t seem to keep his eyes off of Angel. Is it love at first sight or is it the fact that he notices that she is carrying a concealed weapon?
Angel is a master safecracker. She actually left thieving five years earlier but feels obligated to do this one job. Aunt Aggie, a second mother to Angel, has been kidnapped and those who took her demand diamonds from the safe of one Borgola. The safe in his home is not easy to crack with only a few in the world who are capable. Luckily, Angel is one of them. I liked that Angel wasn’t this crazy thief lady. I believe I connected to her better because she really wants to lead a ‘straight a narrow’ life. And she has. She has made something of herself, not only in her job as an interior designer but also by working making amends with her family. She now realizes that her past actions truly hurt sometimes innocent people and wants nothing to do with hurting innocents anymore. Carolyn did a great job building Angel as a character. You totally understand her and her motivations – she is strong, even though she doesn’t completely believe she is, and she is smart. And for those of you who read my reviews regularly, you know by now that those are two ‘must-have’ qualities for me in a heroine.
Let’s talk Cole. Holy crap on a cracker, Cole. When I heard that the heroes in these books would be nerd-type secret agents (Cole even wears glasses) I was very excited. I love heroes like that. Mostly I love their awkward streak and the way they fumble a bit through life. It makes them extra-lovable to me and in turn, makes them sexy in my eyes. That is how all of the nerds I have read are but Carolyn managed to‘re-write’ the nerd persona for me with this character. Cole is extra smart with a passion for logistics, always having to solve equations whether it be a person or a situation, but he is also sexy as hell. And I’m not talking sexy in a ‘I’m so cute and sweet and fumbly it makes me sexy’ sense. This guy is hot Hot HOT with a quick mind and a dirty mouth. Again, Carolyn did an excellent job showing us why Cole is the way he is, what makes him tick. I felt totally connected with both Angel and Cole and really liked them together. They suited each other very well.
I mentioned that this book is exciting. The beginning, as the story and the character are set up, is at a more ‘normal’ pace but as soon as Angel and her friends go for the diamonds, bam! It’s go go go from there. I find that many romantic suspense books are very predictable – and to me that’s okay. As long as the story is well done and the characters are strong I’m good with a slightly predictable book. But this one wasn’t as predictable. My first idea of what would happen next didn’t always happen which was a nice surprise. And the ending is great. It worked perfectly with this story.
This book is not a light and fluffy read. Carolyn manages to write a fun yet slightly gritty story here. And all of that ‘grit’ is thanks to Borgola. Here is where I talk about him and how I would love to see this scumbag die a slow and horrible horrible death. Actually, horrible horrible isn’t horrible enough for him. He is one nasty piece of work and I instantly despised him. He is Sleaze with a capital S. And to generate such a strong reaction from me means Carolyn wrote him very well. You are meant to hate him and boy did I ever.
Carolyn also wrote Angel’s and Cole’s friends well. I can’t say I necessarily liked Angel’s friends but I don’t feel they were meant to produce feelings one way or another. I did rather enjoy all of Cole’s co-Associates, and that is a good thing seeing most of them will be getting a book of their own soon enough. Macmillan, who was always the center of attention when he was in a scene, is getting his shot next. Lethal Liaisons should be out this summer. Without a doubt, I will be reading it.
Overall I was very impressed with Against the Dark. Cole and Angel were excellent characters and the story was an absolute page turner. This book shows us just how versatile Carolyn Crane is as an author and how easily she sucks us into her stories. If you are looking for a high octave story that will keep you on your toes, this is the book for you.
Cute read. I quite enjoyed the side story about the grand-father. And the chemistry between the main couple was wonderful. This was about a 'retired'...moreCute read. I quite enjoyed the side story about the grand-father. And the chemistry between the main couple was wonderful. This was about a 'retired' hockey player so you didn't get to see any locker room or game scenes but that's okay. It was a nice change of pace for a 'hockey book'. 3.5 stars(less)
*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.(less)
Rising Darkness is the first book in a new series by Thea Harrison. Thea’s Elder Races series is inventive, sexy and interesting. I picked up Rising Darkness because I really enjoy Thea’s other books and hoped I would enjoy this series too. I knew going into this book that is was very different from anything Thea has written before. I did not go into it expecting Elder Races version 2.0 and I think that’s important to say. But even knowing that it would be very different, for me Rising Darkness turned out to be an example of ‘just because you love one set of stories from an author doesn’t mean you will enjoy them all’.
What I enjoyed about the book:
Rising Darkness starts with seven people basically about to commit suicide in order to be reborn in a human body at a different time. They are chasing an ultimate evil. And that ultimate evil is one sociopathic crazy arsed villain. Thea wrote The Deceiver very well. I believe nightmares will ensue thanks to him.
The concept was interesting. I have never read anything like it. You can tell that Thea put a lot of thought into the details while building this world and this story.
There are some really sweet moments in this book. Michael is falling in love for the first time in his current incarnation and it’s done well. This is not your typical romance book. It is dark and serious. But the tender words add a bit of beauty to an otherwise gloomy world.
What I enjoyed and didn’t enjoy at the same time:
Mary is the main heroine of the series. She is feeling lost and confused lately. She’s been having dreams/nightmares since she was a child but they are getting more and more frequent and severe in nature. She is hearing voices and thinks she is going mad. When the soul is reborn it takes a while for previous memories to come back and unless someone is there who understands and who can guide you, it can make you go crazy. I found Thea wrote Mary with her struggles and fears quite well. This is the first time her soul has been reborn in 900 years and she’s been born and reborn and fighting for 6,000 years! But even though I found her well done, I wasn’t able to connect with her as I would have liked to.
Same goes for Michael. I found his well written yet I didn’t click fully with him either.
The romance in Rising Darkness is slow. Really slow. In fact, the hero and heroine don’t even meet until past page 100. In a way, since this is the first book in a two part story, the hero and heroine’s romance shouldn’t be hot and heavy from page one but it was still a bit too long to wait for them to meet for my taste. But when the romance is introduced (as I mentioned above) there are some really tender moments.
The detail in the book was amazing. Thea’s world and setting is incredibly documented. Thea’s voice is beautiful and her writing is very visual. But I found myself confused more than once, lost in the sheer amount of detail. It is expected to have lots of detail and description in a first book of a new series – it’s necessary to build the world and the setting for the reader – but in this book it also caused the story to drag.
What didn’t work for me:
Really, it all comes down to the pacing of the book and my ability to connect with it. Some books suck you in right away while others don’t. This one didn’t do it for me. It was just too slow.
Overall, Rising Darkness was an interesting book that I just didn’t click with. What I would suggest to you, if you are a fan of Thea’s Elder Races books and are wondering if this new series is for you, is to get online and read reviews written by reviewers you trust. See what they liked and didn’t like about the book and go from there. Because you might like a book that is slow building and full of detail and description where it’s not everyone’s thing and I wouldn’t want you to miss out on a book just because some are saying it wasn’t their favorite.(less)
Hot Blooded is the second installment in Amanda Carlson’s Jessica McClain series. If you are in the mood for a book that reads at a leisurely pace and where the action is nothing more than someone taking an unhurried stroll along the beach on their way to Starbucks, this is not the book for you. Holy cow once this book starts it just doesn’t stop!
In the last book Jessica’s mate Rourke was kidnapped by a Selene, a crazy goddess. I am being kind with ‘crazy’ by the way as she has fallen off her rocker ages ago. Hot Blooded is the story of Jessica’s journey as she goes to rescue her man. There are hints at other things happening, such as other Packs threatening the area and side characters being built up for bigger and brighter things, but the main plot is Jessica’s journey to kick Selene’s ass.
Jessica is the first and only ever female werewolf. There is a tiny little something about her that makes me want to shake her sometimes but what that is exactly I can’t say. Other than that, I love her. She is strong and smart but she is also a bit of a lost puppy (hee hee pun). Being the only one of her kind, she has no one who has been in her shoes and who can help her. That means that some of her decision are kooky and some are fantastic. It’s a trial and error and I think that makes her more relatable and human. She has an ‘every woman’ feel to her that I enjoy.
I like how we not only get to know Jessica by simply reading her but also getting to know her via her wolf. I love how Amanda writes her wolves – how they are almost separate from the person. Let me tell you, Jessica’s wolf is a strong headed beast and watching Jessica ‘tame’ her is fantastic. It shows us a level of control we would not otherwise see from Jessica. Also, Jessica’s powers are completely crazy. They are still coming to the surface it’s fun when a new ‘trick’ comes out. I am very curious to see how far Amanda takes those powers in the next book.
While we’re talking characters, let’s chat about the others who impressed me in this book.
Danny and Tyler. What is not to like here? Tyler is Jessica’s brother and Danny is his best friend. I love these two guys, how they are with each other and how they are with Jessica. They bring a great dynamic to the series and add a really fun element to this book.
Neomie is a vampire on ‘loan’ from the vampire queen and what a surprise she turned out to be. She’s freakin’ amazing! And the little side plot that involves her is very interesting. I am looking forward to see where Amanda takes her in the next book.
Rourke. I still like and think he is one yummy piece of meat, but I really wish there was more Rourke/Jessica time in this installment. I don’t mean “bow chica wow wow” time (although that wouldn’t hurt *wink*) I am talking about quality ‘couple getting to know each other and in turn we are getting to know them too’ time. I see great potential in this coupling but we are yet to see these two together on the page for any significant amount of time. I really hope they are together for most of the next book because I am starting to need more proof that they truly belong together.
There are two things that sort of rubbed me the wrong way a bit in this book. The first is Ray. Why. Is. He. There?! I am assuming that there is some big reason that Amanda is building towards but right now, and in the first book, I didn’t see it. In fact, he’s just annoying to me. He’s doesn’t even come across as a decent guy! I don’t understand why Jessica is so attached to him. I get that some of her actions when it comes to him shows us that she is a very giving and forgiving person but there are so many other ways that could have been shared. In fact, there were many other examples of this in the book. What I am trying to say is that if Ray’s ‘reason for being’ doesn’t become clear in the next book I will be quite frustrated.
My other irk is probably going to make you scratch your head as I already mentioned it as one of the things I enjoyed about this book but here it is: the go go go. The go go go itself is cool; it’s just that it is caused by constant obstacles. Almost 150 pages of obstacles. Jessica is headed to save Rourke with Ray, Neomie, Eamon (Neomie’s brother), Tyler and Danny and she encounters obstacle after obstacle after obstacle. Bat things to a giant demon thing to zombie goats…the list goes on and on. And as exciting as that is, after a while it’s a bit much. I found myself just wanting Jessica to reach her ultimate destination so we can get on with the story.
Now to a really great thing: the way the book ends. I’m talking the last fifty pages or so. From when Jessica finally confronts Selene to when they get back home. The twist that waits for Jessica and crew when they get back…Holy Cow! I never saw that coming! It really makes you wish the next book, Cold Blooded, was releasing before October 8th 2013.
This is a terrific series with the potential to be a great series. The characters are memorable and well written. The books are quick and fun. If you like shapeshifter urban fantasy books you should give this series a try. As for Hot Blooded, it is a ride and a half. And if you are like me and find yourself thinking ‘get there and kick her ass already’, just remember that the wait is well worth it. The last bit of this book will excite you and surprise you. And it will leave you wanting more.(less)
Maya Banks’ Sweet series was the first erotic series that I ever read. I have re-read the first three books in that series a few times – especially the second book. So when I heard that Maya was working on a shiny new erotic contemporary romance series I was very excited. No one can beat her alpha men. But unfortunately, I found Gage to be a little too…alpha.
Rush is the first book in her new series. The Breathless series follows three friends who own a multi-million-bazillion dollar company. And of course these three guys are also full of kinks in the bedroom. And sometimes out of the bedroom. *wink* Rush follows Gage, an absolute Dom. By absolute, I mean he is completely responsible for the woman he is with. He suggests what she wears, where they eat, when she can do pretty much everything and of course, when and where they have sex. She is to be open to sex and available whenever the urge strikes. And for Gage, that is often. *wink wink*
Gage was burned in the past. His ex-wife really did a number on him and as a result he now asks any woman who is thinking of getting involved with him and his ‘lifestyle’ to sign a very detailed contract letting them know exactly what they are getting into. I can’t say I know what I would do if faced with a contract like Gage’s. It is very detailed and very intimidating. But it protects Gage and the woman who decides to play with him for the next little while. In this case, it protects Mia. Mia is not only the woman Gage has fantasized about for quite a while, she is also the much younger sister of Jace, one of Gage’s best friends/partner.
Mia has had a crush on Gage for years – he was her teenage crush – but never thought she would be able to live out her fantasies. Yes she was a little shocked when she found out what Gage was into but not surprised enough to turn away. I liked Mia as a sub,mostly. She wasn’t a total pushover yet she didn’t fight Gage all the time just to ‘receive punishment’. That drives me bonkers in an erotic BDSM book – when the heroine is purposely bad so she can get her spanking. I think it spoils it. There were times when I thought Mia was a bit too naïve for Gage and that she was not questioning things enough but overall, I found her okay. Not my favorite heroine ever written by this author but okay.
Gage. Oh Gage. There was just something about him that didn’t fully click with me. I usually enjoy an extra-alpha man – in books anyway – but I need to feel like the Dom truly feels for him Sub. I need to completely understand that there is an emotional connection there or else it’s just sex with an aggressive twist. And in that case, it feels more like the man taking from the woman without fully thinking about her needs. Yes, Subs get a certain amount of satisfaction knowing that their Dom is happy and satisfied but a good Dom will not let their Sub go without making sure she is really enjoying things. He learns his Sub inside and out. I did not get that from Gage. There was lots of internal dialogue on his part telling himself that he is a selfish person and all of that was only because he was afraid to admit that he was actually falling in love with Mia but that doesn’t excuse his behavior. You don’t treat another person the way Gage sometimes treated Mia just to prove a point to yourself. I would have thought Gage – a successful mature man – would know better than that.
Speaking of proving points to himself, there was one scene in particular that really rubbed me the wrong way in Rush. I am sure that you have heard about this scene by now and yes, it is as uncomfortable as people say it is. I understand the why behind the scene – Gage needed to know that he was in fact falling for Mia, no doubts in his mind, but really?! When you are a Dom and you see that kind of fear and uneasiness on your Sub’s face, you don’t go through with your selfish little plan! You don’t suddenly treat the other person like an object. So where I understood the point of the scene and I understood why the scene had to be as unnerving as it was, I didn’t like it. At all. Having Mia kiss someone else would have done the same thing and would have not made Gage to be a huge jerk. I also didn’t like how Mia reacted after everything happened. I would have hit Gage with the giant vase in the corner of the room and told him in some very colorful language that would have made my mother blush exactly where he could go. But I will give it to Mia that when some fallout came about from this scene (fallout I found unnecessary to the story) at least she didn’t freak too much and went for help. That impressed me so she got a few points for that from me.
The main story was about Gage and Mia. There were a few things going on here and there but really, the story was the couple and their ‘coming together’. We did meet Jace and Ash though and they are the reason I am actually considering continuing with the series. Jace’s book is next and I am curious to see how his story plays out. He’s the older brother who took care of the little sister after their parents passed away. (Can we say “awww”?) He has a big heart and isn’t as boorish as Gage so his story will most likely be more enjoyable. But I’m not sure if I will read Fever right away or wait to read a few reviews before deciding to read it for sure. I’ll think on it I suppose.
Overall, I didn’t love this book. The characters just didn’t click with me. I needed to feel that Gage honestly cared for Mia (even if it wasn’t love right away, I needed to feel that he at least gave a damn about her) but I didn’t feel that. In my opinion, if you are looking for a story with a strong Dom and a charming heroine/sub, read Maya’s Sweet books. The first two are excellent D/s stories. And I’ll keep you posted on whether or not I’ll be reading Jace’s book which releases April 2nd 2013.
Tempest is the third book in Kelly Meding’s Meta Wars series. You know when someone talks about books that start one way then go waaaayyy off from that to finally end up somewhere you never saw coming. Yeah…this book is just like that. In fact, this series is just like that. Kelly does a wonderful job throwing us for a loop then throwing us through another loop then torpedoing us through a bigger loop only to have us land smack on our faces. In the mud. And where you end up will make you chug a bottle of vodka and wiping your brow – and all in the very best of ways.
This series is an odd sort of paranormal romance series with each book seeing a main hero find his HEA, yet it has a very strong urban fantasy feel thanks to the gritty storylines and flow from book to book. I tend to describe it more as UF rather than as PNR but just keep in mind that each book does have a HEA of sorts for the main couple.
Tempest follows Ethan “Tempest” Swift. Ethan’s super power is controlling the wind. He can make cyclones, gusts, breezes…he can even make the wind do his bidding so he can fly.
Oh right. Yes, the characters in these books are super heroes. They each have powers. Most of the main characters grew up knowing they had powers and that they were to be used to help people. Then, when they were all young teenagers, their powers went away. Poof. Just like that. Suddenly, at the beginning of the first book in the series, their powers retuned as mysteriously as they left. Now there are new teenage heroes who never knew they had powers until recently and must learn to harness and use them properly. We meet a few newbies in this book but really the focus is still on Ethan, his love interest and the rest of the ‘Ranger’ crew. In this book they are trying to appease the mass population’s fears and worries. They are trying to reinforce the fact that even though they have super powers they are there to help and not hurt. Unfortunately too many people are afraid and some are starting to fight back. They want the Metas (those with powers) to die horrible deaths.
That is one part of the story in Tempest but, as I mentioned, we also follow Ethan. I was amazed at how much we didn’t know about him. We meet him in the first book. He’s a quiet character, seemingly an introvert with a quick mind. He’s serious and wants to do the best he can to help as many people as he can. He is also not one for the spotlight. All of these things we knew before going into this book but the why behind the way he is, his childhood, just his story is so much deeper than I anticipated. I loved Ethan when I started this book and I adored him when I finished it. He is my favorite character to date from this series. He is an incredible character and has faced some pretty impressive things in his young lifetime. He’s gay and he has yet to come out to his friends, his mother was killed by Banes (bad guy Metas) when he was a boy and he has never met his father. I will give one hint here…Ethan does meet his father in this book and how he controls his emotions, how he takes that entire situation and turns it into something good, is just amazing. He can handle things that most people never could and I truly admire that about him.
I was actually surprised at who Ethan’s HEA was. I will not tell you who it is because I want you to be as pleasantly surprised as I was, but I will tell you that it is someone we have already met. This man is actually a really good match for Ethan as he has also had to deal with some pretty heavy sh*t in his young life. Not exactly the same stuff but the emotions, the impact, are very similar. I found Kelly wrote their relationship very well. We are talking about two men here so there shouldn’t be any fluffy frilly girly type drama. And there wasn’t. The flow and pace of the relationship matched the pair and their personalities perfectly.
One other part of the story in Tempest deals with ex-Banes and how Teresa wants to try to get the deserving Metas pardons. Banes were imprisoned on Manhattan Island before (and after) powers disappeared and Teresa (heroine from book one and leader of the Rangers of now) believes everybody deserves a fresh start. Ethan is sent to Manhattan to try to find some of the Banes who are unaccounted for to see if they too deserve pardons. This will be the first time Ethan is back there since he lost his powers at the height of a terrible Meta war. I was thrilled that we finally learned the details of that night, of the war and of what happened to many of our hero and heroines parents. Through Ethan’s flashbacks we see it all. Such gripping scenes, they will tug on your heart.
One day, when this series is over and I look back on it, I will think mostly of the “OMFG you have GOT to be kidding me” twists and turns that Kelly writes into these books. With every installment my jaw has hit the floor at least three times. There is a DNA twist that will definitely play a role in the next book and it will leave you going O-o in this book. I’ve said it once and I say it again Kelly’s head has to be one spectacularly scary place because some of her ideas and visuals border on absolutely vile. But man do they make a great story.
Speaking of great story, book four should be an interesting read. Titled Chimera, this will be Renee’s story. Renee is one of those characters that rubs you the wrong way. Essentially, she’s a bitch and a little unlikeable. But you just know there is a reason behind why she is the way she is. It will be interesting to see how Kelly makes her pleasant enough for us to want her to have a HEA. But I know Kelly can do it and it will be gory and shocking and awesome all at the same time. It will be a crazy ride and I can’t wait to pick it up when it releases November 11th 2013.
This is such a badass series. I say it over and over when I talk of these books but I feel I can’t say it enough: this series is like nothing else out there. It’s gritty, raw, moving with a side of kick ass. Its strong storylines and even stronger characters keep you coming back for more. As for Tempest, it is my favorite installment to date. If you are a fan of darker urban fantasy, I would definitely give these books a try. (less)
A Fine Romance is the second book in Christi Barth’s Aisle Bound series. This is essentially a series that follows a group of friends who are somehow involved with a wedding planning business. I love weddings and I love planning stuff so reading a series about wedding planners is fun for me.
This time around we follow Mira and Sam. Sam is the baker extraordinaire that supplies many of the wedding cakes for Aisle Bound (that’s the name of the wedding planning business featured in these books) and Mira is the woman who has been asked by Ivy to run her dream.
And that takes a bit of back-story explanation…
In book one, we follow Ivy. Ivy is co-owner of Aisle Bound. She is the planner. We learn that she has a dream of owning a romance shop. No, not a sex shop. A romance shop. A store where people can order all the fixings for a romantic picnic or the perfect date, for example. But she knows that she could never work at Aisle Bound AND run her dream shop. So once she has the money and the perfect spot for her shop, she contacts her roommate from school, Mira, and asks her to move to Chicago in order to manage A Fine Romance (that’s the name of the store).
The book begins with Mira arriving in Chicago. And boy what a welcome! Yeah…you can’t tell but I’m being sarcastic there. She was forgotten at the airport by none other than Sam! And why did he forget? Because his mother needed him.
I think this is a good time to chat about Sam. Oh Sam… I have mixed feelings about him. One moment I thought he was super sexy and extra yummy. The next I wanted to smack him. Hard. You see, Sam’s father passed away a couple of years ago. His father’s last request was that he take care of his mother. Mom has had a really hard time dealing with her loss but he is better now…yet Sam doesn’t quite see that.
I didn’t love how Sam didn’t share his true feelings with his mother but I think what bothered me most was how his mother hid her feelings from him. She knew he was putting his life on hold to “help” her yet she was too worried to tell him she’s okay now because of how he would react. Made me sort of wonder who was the child and who was the parent. That whole bit left me feeling frustrated and it tarnished my opinion of the book a bit.
Let’s chat about Mira. Mira is a strong woman but her constant ‘I am going to ruin everything’ got a bit old after a while. Sure, the last three stores she managed didn’t work out. But not once was it her fault. I mean, one store folded because it literally folded under the pressure of the waters from a hurricane! She is a smart woman so I was surprised she couldn’t focus on that. And her parents?! Arses. And she was all happy with the way things went with them at her store? Really?! Odd… They reminded her of her failures. What failures? She was never a failure! You can’t predict market scams and she had nothing to do with that store’s issues either! Aug…it all just frustrated me.
At least Sam and Mira’s chemistry was superb. It was the highlight of the book for me. They rock it on the page.
There were a few teases about Gib and Daphne. They are going to be the hero and heroine in the next book, Friends to Lovers. I have thoroughly enjoyed these two characters in the first two books and I am dying to see how Gib and Daphne hook up in because I can’t see how they are going to come together. (Ha! A Pun!) I can’t wait to see how Christi makes that work.
Yes, I did have some issues with this book but I can’t say I didn’t enjoy it. Quite a few moments left a smile on my face and the end is just as romantic as the other books I’ve read by Christi. Christi writes wonderful proposal / makeup / declaration of love scenes and the one at the end of this book is no exception. And although this wasn’t my favorite book of the series, it wasn’t at all hardship to read. It’s sweet series.
Once in a while, I pick up a first book in a new series and, once finished, want to run around the streets of my town and shout “This book was just awesome! Everybody should read this!!” This happens to me once, maybe twice a year. Well guess what? It happened after I finished Dweller on the Threshold by Rinda Elliott. And not only did I want to run through my town telling everyone about it, I wanted to run down the highway and go to the nearest city! This is an excellent urban fantasy debut and I am very excited to tell you guys all about it.
Dweller on the Threshold introduces us to Beri, a…well it’s sort of complicated what she is. She can see spirits and ghosts and can astro project, her spirit leaving her body. Also she is also stronger than most human men. She has never met anyone like herself before and she has no idea why she is the way she is. Most of her life, she has been trying to get answers but has yet to find any. Because of her circumstances Beri has not had the easiest life, having been cast out of many foster homes after having been found wandering the swamp when she was just a toddler. Her past and her abilities scare most people, and who can blame them?
She is such a layered character and she contains all of the qualities I adore in an urban fantasy protagonist. She is flawed and vulnerable, snarky and intelligent. She wants to find her place in the world and understand her role in it. I really really liked Beri. A lot. I can’t wait for you all to meet her.
In Rinda’s world, every person has one spirit guide. Except for Beri. She has two. One is her official spirit guide and one is a spirit who is mostly just tagging along. Phro took some getting used to but she does have some good lines and you can tell that she really does have Beri’s best interest at heart. Frank is like a father figure for Beri. Beri has the advantage of actually seeing her guides (not a normal talent) so she can interact with them.
The story itself, lots goes on. People are having their souls stolen, including Beri’s foster sister, and she has taken it upon herself t figure out what is going on. She battles some pretty spooky sh*t while trying to save the world. No way is Beri a superhero – she is just a girl who wants to help her sister who is her only family. I have never read a villain like the one in this book. I am just glad that the demons in this book don’t exist in real life. *shudder*
The story really took off for me when Beri meets Nicolos. It’s not that adding Nicolos into the mix made the story more exciting but it does add a nice element to it. Why? Because Nicolos is Yum-my! Ladies, prepare to swoon! He is a very tortured soul with a big heart and gentle soul, even though he can totally kick demon ass. His story will bring tears to your eyes. Okay, maybe not, but it is a very tragic and touching story and it definitely makes you feel strongly for this man. You want him to be happy. You feel as though he deserves to be happy. And what he does in the end, what he does to protect and save Beri…whoa. His and Beri’s chemistry is incredible. The tension between these two is also amazing. I thoroughly enjoyed reading Nicolos and I can’t wait to read more of him in the next book.
There are quite a few comical scenes in this book and pretty much all of the funny scenes come courtesy of Blythe and/or Dooby and people’s reactions to them. I smiled and giggled. Which was wonderful since the story itself is on the heavy side. Rinda mixed in just enough light to keep it from getting too dark. Blythe is a witch who has powers that go a little wonky now and then. And the way she is described, the big round eyes and lost puppy dog look that make you want to give into anything she wants, had me thinking of Puss in Boots in the Shrek movies. To me, that persona fit Blythe as she appears to be weak and confused but she packs quite the fire (pun intended). She is spunky and a solid addition to the series as is Dooby. We meet him near the end of the book and I’m curious to see how much of a role he will play in future installments. (And yes, I snorted a bit at the name Dooby. Rinda was very smart in picking that name for him. Dooby is a character that takes himself very seriously and it’s hard for the reader to take him super seriously with a name like that. It really works in this story. Well done with that one Rinda.)
I’m just going to throw in a quite word about one more character. Castor. He is introduced near the end of the book (even later than Dooby) and I for one cannot wait to read more about him. What a twist he throws into the story!
There are so many revelations and unanswered questions in this book. Things pop up here and there and you want to know what it means, what it all leads to. And in the end, we find out just enough to feel okay about it but there is still much to learn. The way the book ends makes you want the next book, Blood of an Ancient, now instead of having to wait until October 2013. No, the ending does not make you want to track down the author and rob her of her manuscript, but it does make you itch for the book.
I will tell you one thing: if you read the first bit of the book and find yourself a little confused, you won’t be alone. I felt that way too. I wasn’t lost, just confused. There are a lot of hints in the first few pages about what Beri is, who her companions are, how the prologue comes into play and what is actually going on and it’s all sort of thrown at you. It is not an info dump, it is an ‘hmm I wonder what is going on here?’ dump. It does create a feeling of ‘Oh, I must keep reading to find out what is going on here’ and everything that comes up as a question in those early pages does come to light by the end of the book though. Just keep at it (it really isn’t that long until things get really exciting). At first, to be honest with you all, I was thinking of rating this book 4.5 stars because of that confusion but the story is so strong and the characters are so amazing, I just couldn’t give it less than 5 stars.
While reading Dweller on the Threshold, I often thought “what an interesting book!” The world, the characters and the idea all very fascinating. And quite different too. Rinda’s writing is so visual, it paints beautiful pictures. It is very easy to envision exactly what is going on and it really helps bring the story to life. Rinda’s voice is lovely.
Dweller on the Threshold is an urban fantasy book you can’t miss. I cannot wait for you guys to read it.(less)
REALLY liked this one. Sierra knows her baseball and even though I am not really a fan of the sport I loved reading about it in this book. Sierra does...moreREALLY liked this one. Sierra knows her baseball and even though I am not really a fan of the sport I loved reading about it in this book. Sierra does an awesome job sucking you into the game. Emmy and Tucker are wonderful and really work well together. I am so glad this is a series because I can't wait to read more :) Full review to follow closer to release date.(less)
Firelight is the first book in Kristen Calligan’s Darkest London series. I have to say that when this book first came out, I didn’t even think to read it because it is technically a historical romance book. Then the buzz started. Let’s talk about the buzz. I swear everyone I know read this book and loved it. Even those who don’t typically read historicals, like me, were telling me that I just had to read Firelight. By the time I heard that for the 134th time, I decided that not all of these people recommending this book had to be crazy so I caved and bought it. Then it sat in my book closet for a while until recently, when I finally unearthed it and read it. And I’m glad I did.
This is a book set in the 1800’s but it doesn’t read like your typical historical book. The focus is on the paranormal as well as the romance and not really the setting. I adored the characters in Firelight! They were definitely the highlight. Especially Miranda and Archer.
But before we get to them, let’s talk story real quick.
Archer is a feared man. He wears a mask, his face never having been seen in public. He is known to be ruthless and his temper is well known. He meets Miranda and instantly knows she must be his. But she is young yet and he feels he is not worthy of her. But like that’s going to stop him. Miranda’s father has lost his fortune and now Miranda is forced to steal for him so they can afford to eat. She hates what her life has become. When Archer approaches her father with the offer to marry her, she begins to fight it but then realizes that she will be free of daddy, so she accepts. (Not like she really had the choice, really) Miranda goes through life without the fear that most maidens live with because she holds a secret: she can wield fire. She can make it come to her when she wants and burn whatever threat comes near her.
So we have Archer. He wears a mask. You wonder “why does he wear the mask?” Is he really as horrible as they make him out to be? Then we have Miranda. You wonder “why does she have this power?” How is she going to cope with the situation her father put her in by having her marry Archer who is by all accounts a horrible horrible man?
The story was so well written. Many different tales and storylines intricately woven and done beautifully. There is a lot going on but not once do you feel lost. There are murders and Archer is suspect number one. But you know it’s not him…so who is it? And why is the killer impersonating Archer? And what is this coin that is left at each murder scene? And… So many good questions come up and each are answered well. I did suspect who was responsible for it all about 60% in but the why was a mystery until pretty much the end. I was really impressed with Kristen’s voice and the story she managed to tell.
Now back to Archer and Miranda. Just from what you know of him, you assume that he is going to be a bastard who is really just misunderstood. You know, like most alphas out there. But he’s not like that. He is an alpha character of sorts but not in your usual sense. He truly cares for Miranda, you can tell that immediately. You can feel it and their chemistry is amazing. He is only being bullish with her because he wants to protect her. He knows that if she knows everything, she will run into a dangerous situation to set things right, getting herself hurt in the meantime. His secret is quite different from what I would have imagined it to be – absolutely never saw that coming.
I don’t read many books in the historical genre but when I do, I love it when the heroine isn’t a sit-back-and-work-on-my-needlework kind of gal. I love it when they are not only considered smart and spunky for their time but also for this time. Miranda is one such character. She hides a powerful ability which makes her even more spunky than most but she is also very witty. I loved her scenes with Archer. How she is so protective of him is quite sweet. There really isn’t anything bad to say about this character – Miranda was a joy to read.
And she loves Archer with her whole self. She can’t explain it at first but there is just something there that not only draws her but also turns her into a very protective lioness.
The paranormal aspect of this book is like nothing I’ve read before. It’s demons done with a twist and fire power to boot. It’s just cool…and slightly creepy. Those who have read this book know exactly what I am talking about and those who will be reading it soon, I expect emails telling me how different / cool the twist in Firelight is. ;)
Strong characters with interesting back stories and amazing chemistry – that was the highlight for me in Firelight. Add in great pacing and a smart suspenseful story and you have even more reasons to read it. If you are looking for something different, give this one a try.(less)
Before the Mission Begins is a prequel to Christi Snow’s Before the Mission Ends series. I am so glad she wrote this short story. In her second book, Operation: Endeavor, Christ hints that there was something between Chris and Julie. That something happened once upon a time. What I thought when I saw those hints? “OMG what happened?! I want to know! I want their book right NOW!!!” Imagine my glee when I learned that Chris and Julie’s story was actually going to start in a novella that is due out before their book! Yup. I was Crazy Excited. And do I feel better and less anxious now that I have read their ‘beginnings’ and know how their tale begins? Nope. Now I want their book even more. But you know what? It’s okay. The extra need this novella added is worth it because Chris and Julie’s ‘pre-story’ is wonderful.
Even though this is a prequel to the series I believe you will get the most out of it if you read it after the second book. You do get a solid story if you just jump in here but you will be missing the sympathy factor. What I mean by that is going into this novella after having read the first two books you already know what Julie and Chris have gone through – and it’s not easy. You already feel for these two. So going into the novella knowing what’s lies ahead for these two adds a level of emotion you would otherwise not feel.
In Before the Mission Begins we find out that Julie has had some pretty traumatic experiences when it comes to sex. She needs someone she can trust to show her that sex can be a wonderful and loving experience. I know you are probably rolling your eyes right about now but hear me out. She does approach Chris to ‘help’ her but how she does it and why he says yes is very sweet. You instantly feel the connection between these two. You know that they are meant to be and that their feelings for each other are way stronger than even they could imagine. Their connection is so well written, you can’t help but *sigh* and want to cry all at once. A good cry.
The emotion that Christi manages to convey through her characters is amazing. You can’t help but get sucked in by these two. That is why now I can’t wait even more for their book. They totally deserve each other and they deserve a HEA more than any other couple in this series. I can’t wait to reconnect with them and to see how Christi pulls everything together. But I have to wait because the book three, Operation: Endurance, is not due out for another couple of months yet.
Maybe I’ll re-read this novella to make the wait less painful…
OMG this was an amazing book! Ilona and Gordon really are masters at weaving characters into a story. Just incredible. Review closer to release date....moreOMG this was an amazing book! Ilona and Gordon really are masters at weaving characters into a story. Just incredible. Review closer to release date. 5plus stars.(less)
Island Pleasures by KT Grant is a quick and steamy read. But it also has something that some quick steamy reads seem to be missing lately: it has heart.
Island Pleasure is part of the 1Night Stand series. These are short stories written by different authors. All of the stories circle around Madame Evangeline and her matchmaking service, 1Night Stand. Madame Evangeline’s success rate is amazing! So much so that it draws the attention of Carly, a reporter for Chit-Chat Weekly (one of those ‘not-to-serious-news’ magazines). Carly is convinced that if she can prove that 1Night Stand is really a crock, that she will be taken more seriously at her job and be able to cover more important stories.
So off to the Caribbean she goes where she plans to make it known to the world that perfect matches and happily ever afters do not exist. She isn’t going as herself though – she is pretending to be her twin sister Cassidy. Yeah…never quite understood why she did that. Then again, she ever planned on running into ‘the one that got away’.
I liked how KT wrote Carly. You assume she is going to be a manipulative heartless person because of what she does, but she really isn’t that at all. She is shaken when she meets Quinn after all this time and is torn over whether or not to come clean with him. Of course, he can already tell that Carly is not really Cassidy but where’s the fun in letting her know he’s on to her…
Can you ever tell that Quinn is into Carly. And can you ever tell that he is just torn over seeing her again. He has always thought of her as his, even now after not having seen her since college. She did have a good reason for leaving but he doesn’t know what that is. We watch him go from hurt to wanting to anger to missing and more. KT did a great job conveying exactly how he felt without going overboard. Let’s just say you never wanted to smack him because he was being a blubbering idiot.
Quinn has a co-worker at the resort named Woody and he is a hoot. Sexy too, which helps seeing that he is the man who ends up with Quinn and Carly. Yup. You read right. That is a very steamy scene but, as with the rest of this book, it wasn’t just a detached ‘wham-bam’. Nor was it heavy emotionally. It was just right.
KT has always had a knack for writing. Her characters are always believable and her steamy scenes are always oh so steamy. But in this book her writing was… I don’t even know what word to use! It was all so fluid. The pace, the characters, all of it. I can tell that she has grown as an author and that she is comfortable with her writing voice. It was a real treat to see.
I have only read a few books from the 1Night Stand series but I love how they are all so different one from the other. Whatever you are in the mood for – as long as you are in the mood for a steamy book – you will find it. If you are in the mood for a ménage without heavy kink or insane drama, you’ll want to check out Island Pleasures. A quick and fun read. Great to warm you up in the middle of winter ;) (less)
*dreamy sigh* What a wonderful book. This is the first book I that I have read by Juliana Stone and for sure it won’t be my last. She has a lovely writing voice and it suited this story perfectly.
The Summer He Came Home is the first book in Juliana’s Bad Boys of Crystal Lake series. Now, these aren’t ‘bad boys’ in your usual “motorcycle-gang-guys” sense. They aren’t even “crazy Dom guys who only care about what they want” bad boys. They are a close group of friends who grew up together and managed to get into a bit of trouble when they were young. And you know how it is in a small town – at least in a small town in a romance book: boys can never outrun the memories of the high-jinx they pulled when they were young.
The first chapter is heavy. Lots of mood setting and tone setting. It takes place at a post funeral reception after a close friend dies. I was worried for a second that this whole book would prove heavy but it didn’t. This first chapter sets up the ‘why’ behind the entire series so the ‘heavy’ was necessary. So expect to be sad but know that it is all worth it.
The Summer He Came Home is about how Cain returns to him hometown after being away for years. When he was young, he was a bit of a trouble maker but a solid friend. Now he’s an up-coming guitar superstar with a snotty ex-wife and some serious insecurities. He meets Maggie his first day back – and one meeting is all it took for Cain to know there was no going back.
Maggie is running. She is running from (and for) her life and landed in Crystal Lake with her son. She is doing what she needs to in order to get by and to give her son what he needs: a home filled with love and security. She is nervous and scared but extremely brave and strong.
Plain and simple, I adored these characters. From the moment you meet them, you can’t help but like them. They are flawed and damaged but not too much. Cain is such a sweetheart and Maggie is such a fighter. And her son is so well written!
I thought about this book for a few days after I finished reading it. Not because it left a bad taste in my mouth or anything like that. It was because the characters just dug their way into me and didn’t want to let go. I caught myself smiling and realized it was because I was thinking of a particular scene with Cain and Michael (Maggie’s son). Then I found myself swooning and realize I had been thinking about a scene with Cain and Maggie. I was even finding myself thinking about the side characters and wondering how their lives were going to be when they get their own books. There is the young widow and I can’t figure out who she’ll end up with! All that to say that this book is so well written it stayed with me afterward. And when you read as many books as I do that is saying something because usually, the brain just jumps to the next book in the planner.
The relationship between Cain and Maggie was perfectly written. Cain has been burned in the past and Maggie is still living with what happened to her in her last relationship. A relationship where both the hero and heroine were all hot and bothered for each other immediately and suck face the instant they meet wouldn’t have worked with these two. It would have felt forced. But Cain and Maggie’s dance was so lovely and watching them get comfortable with each other, watching Maggie learn to trust Cain, was so sweet…and so natural.
The story in The Summer He Came Home is mostly about Cain and Maggie and how they learn that love isn’t all bad but it’s also about friends coping with the loss of someone special, and friends just trying to deal with life in general. To move on. It’s the beginning of the journey these characters are going to be taking throughout this series and I can’t wait to keep going alongside them. The second book, The Christmas He Loved Her, is releasing October 1st 2013 and I already have it marked in my planner.
The Summer He Came Home is an incredible book because it has heart. Juliana did a great job with this one. The characters are instantly likable and the story will warm your heart. I strongly recommend this book to all fans of contemporary romance.(less)
Here Comes Trouble is the second (but first full length) book in Ruthie Knox’s Camelot series. This series follows three siblings in the small town of Camelot. Hence the name.
This installment focuses on Caleb, the middle sibling and the only boy. He recently left the military and is now back in Camelot running a security firm. He is hired by a national security firm to oversee the safety of two citizens of the town. One is the sister of a crazy famous pop star, Ellen, and one is her neighbor and the pop star’s ex-girlfriend, Carly.
It took me a while to connect with Ellen. Well, actually I don’t think I ever really did. There is something about her that didn’t take. She was married to an alcoholic and she pretty much let him lead her whole life. Now she is divorced and raising their son and finally feels as though she is the master of her own life. She is in no hurry to give that up and feels like anyone who comes into her life to make changes is her enemy and is trying to take away her new-ish found freedom.
Okay, I get that. But the only reason I really got that was because I have read it before in other books. I didn’t find it was well explained in this book nor did I feel it really went well with Ellen and her situation. I mean, she knows her brother Jamie is a crazy famous celebrity. She has paparazzi on her front lawn all the time trying to get a photo of her neighbor. Things are complicated between Jamie and Carly and that means news to entertainment/trash magazines. So when Jamie hires someone to come to Ellen’s house to make sure things are safe for her and her son, you would think that she would be at least a little bit open to the idea. The book opens with Ellen getting into an altercation with a slimy photographer on her property. And she has a two year old son! Why would putting up a security system, heck even a few lights around her house, be such a bad thing? I never truly understood Ellen’s apprehension. It just didn’t make sense to me. She is a mother and a devoted one at that. I would think that her child’s safety would be front and foremost over her need for complete and borderline anal control of everything.
But other than that, I liked Ellen. She is not a pushover. She fought hard for what she has and you feel proud for what she does and what she has accomplished. I really wish I was able to connect with her and not question her motives for most of the book. Because I really think Ellen and I could be friends.
Caleb is the poor guy who has to take the brunt of Ellen’s freak outs. I loved Caleb. He is strong and proud but not so much that he is a big fat jerk. Instead of putting his foot down and saying “Well you know what Ellen? Tough sh*t! You’re getting a light on your porch!” he thinks about ways to get through to her. He negotiates with her until they are both at least somewhat happy with things. I liked that about him. You don’t see heroes like him all that often in books.
The only thing that sort of confused me about Caleb was why he was so hard on himself most of the time. It just didn’t make sense and didn’t suit his character much. Finally it is explained but only at the very end and by then, I sort of gave up on understanding him and was sort of going with the flow. It all makes sense finally but still, it would have been nice to be able to figure him out a little bit sooner in the book.
The pace of the story was strong and the side characters were equally strong. I especially liked the side story of Carly and Jamie. It almost took the spotlight away from the main couple for me. They are both strong-headed and Jamie is a little lost seeing he is used to everyone doing everything for him but that just added to the sweetness of the story. I went ‘awww’ quite a few times while reading their scenes. I also giggled a lot.
There may have been a few things that I didn’t love about the book but don’t go thinking that I didn’t enjoy it. I did. It was just lacking a bit here and there so I couldn’t absolutely love it. I will definitely be reading the next book in the series though. Flirting with Disaster is Katie’s book. We meet her and her HEA in Along Came Trouble and her story is a good one. That means her book should be a good one. I already have June 10th 2013, the book’s release date, penciled in on my calendar.