Operation: Endeavor is the second book in Christi Snow’s When the Operation Ends trilogy. I’m happy to say that this book was just as strong as the first book in the series. The characters continue to shine and the story-telling continues to keep you on your toes, which is a very good thing for a romantic suspense book.
In this installment, we follow Colton (Cole) now that he has left the military in order to help his family heal. Cole, Cassie and Chris has all been through quite a lot lately and Cole felt it was best he be there for everyone. He feels as though it’s his job seeing that he pretty much raised Cassie and Chris since he was ten years old. His parents passed then and he took on the responsibility of becoming the parent. But now that they are all adults, he has some trouble remembering that he is not their parent but their brother. Yeah…Cole has some control issues. Just a few *snort*. His siblings are ‘used’ to him, sort of, but he even gets on their nerves sometimes! So imagine being a love interest! Especially one who values her independence as much as Penelope does! Yes ladies and gentlemen, you are not in for an easy ride if you are that chick.
Penelope grew up in a very strict household. Her parents tried to mold her to fit into their idea of what a respectable young lady should be. But that isn’t her. And since she decided to do what was best for her and not for her parents, there is some, shall we say, tension between her and her mother. She is at a good place in her life so the last thing she needs is some guy (one of her best friend’s brother for that matter) to go all caveman on her and start demanding she stay here and do this and that. Okay, there may be some reason for his concern seeing she has been getting some pretty threatening calls and notes and she was pushed down the stairs at her shop, but still! She needs to be free. Free as a bird!
Okay, I may be going off on little tangents here and there. Let’s see if I can streamline things a bit. Let’s start with Cole.
I like me an alpha cave man type. There is just something so sexy about a man who is willing to act like a complete jerk in his quest to prove that you belong to him. But there is a limit and thank goodness I did not find Cole ever really came close to it. Yes, he was a bit of a jerky guy at some points in the story but how he acted made complete sense seeing the situation Penelope was in. Ultimately he has a big heart and it was nice to see his warm side coming through, especially when around his lady love. He truly cares about those around him.
And he is hot! In the bedroom he’s smokin’! He and Penelope both. Holy jumpin’! Wait ‘til you read it!
*takes a big sip of ice water*
Penelope leads a double life. She is a bookstore owner and she’s an erotica writer. I found this to be a fun fact about her. Also, she pretends to be a little on the ditzy side when really she is super sharp and very smart. I really enjoyed her character. There is so much more to her than meets the eye! She, like Cole, has a big heart and is willing to do anything for those around her. She is also very stubborn which is where she and Cole clash. Well, that is where they are eerily similar which causes them to clash. But it’s so much fun to see them clash! Penelope’s chemistry with Cole is very strong too.
When you get close to the climax of the story, a certain event takes place. This event is very similar to an event that takes place in the first book of the series. It all makes sense with the story and it does make you *gasp* a bit but I’m anxious to see if things will be a bit different in the last book or if Julie (the heroine of the next book and not me. Believe me, I asked. This Julie is petite and rather busty and I’m…not. Also, she does not twist balloons so she is definitely not me ;) ) will see a similar fate. All I’m saying is that it would be nice for Julie to be put in more of a different situation than the first two heroines in the series.
My favorite part about series like this one is that we continue to see characters from previous books in each installment so we’re not left wondering ‘what happened to so and so?’ I found it was nice to see how Chris is doing after his long ordeal that ended in the first book. Well, nice isn’t really the best word seeing that he is not doing all that well, but who would really… I actually really enjoyed seeing his transformation in this book. It makes me even more curious about the next book because he’s the main hero. And Julie…what is with Chris and Julie?! There is past there. What is it?! One more thing I look forward to discovering while reading Operation: Endurance, due out in April 2013.
Overall, I found Operation: Endeavor to be a good read. Strong characters and an interesting story made it easy to breeze through. I am really enjoying Christi’s voice and I look forward to reading more of her work in the future.(less)
Shades of Gray is the sixth book in Maya Banks’ KGI series. This is a good romantic suspense series in my opinion, even though the books are a little inconsistent for me. What I mean is that one book I loved and the next book I find okay and the next book is great. I’m glad to say that this time around, I enjoyed the book quite a bit, even though I found it a bit heavier and sadder than the rest.
Shades of Gray follows PJ and Cole, two members of KGI. (They are on Steele’s team). We have ‘known’ PJ and Cole since the very first book and I think that is why this book hit me harder than the others so far. You see, PJ suffers something really horrific in this book. So horrific, I had trouble reading the scene. To see our PJ, who is the very definition of ‘kick ass chick’, a sniper in a highly trained military style team, have to go through what she did…it really was heart breaking. That being said, if one of your favorite parts of PJ and Cole together in previous installments was their banter and witty comebacks (like me) you won’t see much of it in this book. But it only makes sense that you don’t seeing the emotional level of the story is pretty steep.
As much as I found it painful to read what PJ has to survive, I liked how Maya wrote her in this book. What do you think a warrior would do when facing a huge challenge? That’s right – hunt it down and beat the shit out of it. And that’s exactly what PJ does. She’s lost, feels alone and doesn’t want to drag KGI down with her on her quest for revenge. So she does the only thing she thinks she can do. I must say, as much as I don’t support cold-blooded slaughter for revenge, I was actually sort of glad as the bodies fell in this book. Does that make me a secretly sadistic person? *shrugs* Or maybe I’m just a little more “girl power” then I realized. Anyhoo…her form of revenge and the steps she goes through as a method of dealing really suits her character. It was great to see PJ go from strong to scared to damaged to slowly healing. And Cole was right there being all amazing along the way.
Cole has always been one of my favorite men in this series. His sense of humor is awesome – especially with PJ. As I’ve already mentioned, you don’t see much of his snark in this book but what you see warms the heart. He really does care for PJ – something that is apparent even before he realizes it. He goes all alpha and macho and let me tell you, it’s adorable. It’s never too much. Just like the schmaltz.
That was an issue for me in the last book. It was just too cheesy and that cheese didn’t fit the male lead. That did not happen this time around. The level of emotion fit perfectly with the characters – all of them. In fact, PJ even comments on the ‘love fest’ that is the Kelly compound lately. That made me giggle.
This book basically focuses on PJ and how she and Cole deal with what happened but it also follows KGI as they track down the participants in the child smuggling ring. Don’t worry, you don’t witness that horror. I think that would be too much to handle in one book so I was happy with what Maya decided not to make it the focus of this book. But there are mission scenes and I always love tagging along with KGI on missions. They are such bad-asses and everything they do is so cool!
I was happy to spend a little more time with Steele’s team. I love how Maya writes her characters in this series– main or side they are really well done. Even if they drive you crazy, they are still multi-dimensional and easy to relate to. I enjoyed how the men all wanted to kick some butt to help PJ. They all truly care for each other and are loyal beyond belief. The whole crew is great. And there are two new members that we see from afar…and one of them is a woman! I am very curious about these two new recruits and am anxious to read more about them in future installments.
Speaking of future installments, Steele’s up next. His book, Forged in Steele, is due out June 25th 2013 and his heroine is Maren , the doctor we’ve met a few times previously. She is awesome and Steele is one big ol’ mystery, as most of the men in this series are. Should be a strong installment.
Overall, Shades of Gray was a solid read. Very heavy and quite sad but well written. I do enjoy this series as I find Maya does a great job with the charaters’ dynamic. She is a master at writing complex yet relatable characters and family and friend units that make you wish you were a part of them. Okay, maybe I wouldn’t want to be on a mission with these people and I would wet myself most of the time because the stuff they do is just awe inspiring but I would totally hang out with them on their back porch once they head home. I especially would love to spend time with a ‘healed’ PJ and Cole. They really are good together.
Very cute. Well written characters and strong story. Loved how they were in eachother's lives when they were young. Also really enjoyed Michael and Ma...moreVery cute. Well written characters and strong story. Loved how they were in eachother's lives when they were young. Also really enjoyed Michael and Maggie. Will definitely be buying their book. Glad I picked this one up.(less)
Wallbanger is the newest contemporary romance book from Alice Clayton. This in an author who mixes humor and wit with extremely well developed characters and charming stories. And Wallbanger is no exception.
This is the story of Caroline, an interior designer and Simon, a photographer. Caroline moves into her bosses no-longer-needed apartment not knowing that the neighbor has…well let’s just say that he has a very busy “extra-curricular” schedule. Their bedrooms are back to back so Caroline is well aware of what goes on in Simon’s room late at night while she is trying to sleep. Not helping is the fact that she has been unable to have an orgasm in ages. She feels that this is being rubbed in her face as she ‘witnesses’ woman after woman achieving what she hasn’t been able to. And not for the lack of trying.
I’m going to cut in here for one second to say that at first, I didn’t feel the ‘lack of O’ was really necessary to the plot. Was is funny? At times. But not really needed. At the end, it does add an unexpected twist and a surprising tender moment (or two…or three) so I understood it there but in the rest of the story, I didn’t feel it was needed.
Now back to Caroline. I really liked her. She was so well written, but what else would I expect from an Alice Clayton heroine? She was a well-rounded character. She was smart and sassy. I adored her scenes with Simon…but I’ll get to that in a sex. Er…I mean sec. ;)
Simon Simon Simon. Holy hell was he Yummy. (Notice the capital ‘Y’) At first, you assume that he is pretty much a man-whore. He’s with a different woman almost every night after all. But then you find out it’s only three women (“only” *snort*) and they are all aware of each other and all have a mutual understanding that Simon simply doesn’t want to be in a relationship and prefers to just be in the company of women. There just happens to be three of them. And he cares for each of them. That is the part that makes all of this okay: he cares for them and you can tell he truly does. Love? Nope. But there is a deep friendship there and that made me like him even more. Also, he is very clever and I loved his sense of humor.
The text messages were amazing. There are some scenes where it’s just Simon and Caroline texting each other then texting their friends and so on. So well done. Each one of those scenes made me smile and giggle. Another part of the story that made me giggle was Caroline’s cat. He was good for many giggles too.
The very last paragraph was not written from Caroline’s point of view. Heck, it wasn’t even written from Simon’s. It was written from another character’s pov and I found it felt a bit odd. I know I’m a minority here and that most find the final chapter to be hilarious and clever but for me…I would have liked to hear from Caroline what this other character says.
As much as I loved Caroline and Simon, my absolute part of this book was Caroline and Simon together. Yes, I really am making perfect sense here…just hear me out. Often, I find lately at least, that many contemporary stories focus on the story and the conflict. Not enough of them focus on the ‘dance’. You know what I mean: the meet-cute, the initial interactions, falling in love, watching as the couple realize they are in love… *sigh* Wallbanger is all about the dance. There really isn’t a huge conflict in this story so all we have to focus on is Simon and Caroline and how they go from pissed-off neighbors to uneasy friends to good friends to lovers. I was really happy to see so much of them together because really, they are just amazing.
Overall, I really liked Wallbanger. Alice did not disappoint with this book; her humor and charm still evident without overpowering the story. Her characters were the highlight by far and I am glad to have ‘met’ them. Fans of the genre should really check this one out. You will not be disappointed.(less)
Cady and Lon along with Jupe and Kar Yee are back in Leashing the Tempest, a short tease of a story by Jenn Bennett. I say tease because I never find I’m with these amazing characters long enough when I’m reading them…and this time especially since this book is only about 65 pages long.
Leashing the Tempest is book number 2.5 in Jenn’s Arcadia Bell series. Lon, thinking about buying a boat, takes the gang out on a luxury boat ride for the day. He also wants Jupe to use the opportunity to practice his newly developing knack on a volunteering Kar Yee.
As you can imagine, Lon’s simple and enjoyable plan doesn’t quite go right and things go…awry. A questionable Captain, Jupe and two storms are all to blame for the not-as-much-fun-as-they-planned day.
As with the other books in this series, Jupe will make you giggle, Lon will make you swoon and Cady will draw you into her story and make you want to tag along for the entire ride. And what a ride it is!
This little story is action action action. Jenn actually tries to trick you into thinking this is going to be a nice little story about a leisurely little boat ride with her characters’ witty banter and relaxed conversation but then bam! Storms hit, lightning strikes and knacks go crazy. Oh, and let’s not forget the spells the creepy/crazy Captain has all over his boat. Why would he need those? We wonder for a while but don’t worry, we eventually find out. Boy…do we ever.
In this story Jenn continues to wow us with her imagination. This time she introduces us to her rendition of a mermaid. Holy frack it’s weird-arsed. Seriously Jenn, I wonder about you sometimes… ;)
Leashing the Tempest is a fabulous short read. I’m sure you could read this as a standalone if you are curious about the series – you would definitely get some enjoyment out of it – but there are many details that might leave you wondering why they exist. I would definitely recommend reading this series in order. It’s a hell of an urban fantasy series so you wouldn’t regret picking it up.(less)
Fourth Grave Beneath My Feet is the fourth book in Darynda Jones’ Charley Davidson series and let me tell you, I absolutely adored this book. There wasn’t a single thing I didn’t like about it. Then again, this book is right up my alley: awesome, strong, snarky yet vulnerable and real heroine, interesting storylines, insanely hot and mysterious hero, amazing cast of supporting characters, tons of twists and turns that all make sense in the end, perfect pacing and funny, witty and smart dialogue. So you see, what’s not to like?
Charley went through hell in the last book. I mean figuratively, but I can see how you may wonder if I meant literally seeing she is the Grim Reaper. In Fourth Grave, we see how she’s dealing with things. Honestly, she is not dealing well but with each little step, I found myself incredibly proud of her. I always love how, even though her personal life is a bit of a mess, she becomes totally loyal to her clients (she’s a PI) and does everything she can to get to the bottom of things for them. I would totally want to hire her if I needed a PI. She has such heart! Charley learns quite a bit about herself in this book, but we are yet to really see many new powers. We see one that is…impressive…but I am still crazy curious about what else she can do and what she ‘really’ is. Everyone keeps mentioning it but we’re yet to see it. I like that we see a little bit in each book though. If it all came out in one swoop, what would we have to look forward to? ;)
Now let’s talk Reyes. Say it again…Reyes. OMG Reyes! I’ve never read a character quite like him before. He’s so brooding and mysterious and smoldering and sexy and smart and dark and…name it, he probably is it! In every book, Darynda manages to make us love him, adore him, hate him and wonder about him. In every book! Although I must day that the ‘hate him’ part was very minimal this time around but the ‘wonder’ part was as strong as ever. Charley received new warnings about him and you are always left wondering how true these warnings are. I mean, Reyes is the son of Satan and anyone associated with him would be considered big fat liars. But even liars sometimes tell the truth. So what is and what isn’t fact? It could be that it was all true but Reyes changed. But will he stay ‘changed’ if that’s the case? Will he end up doing right by Charley like we all hope and want or will he flip on her. Is he even capable of that? You see…wonder! There was much more of him in this book and for that I was happy. He really does bring an interesting dynamic to this series. And his and Charley’s chemistry and romantic tension are just insane! I pant on her behalf when they are on the page together.
Cookie has got to be one of my favorite supporting characters ever. She is Charley’s best friend, neighbor and also works for her. She and Charley just click on so many levels, it’s amazing to watch. And she is so good for her to boot! Cookie completely understands that being Charley’s friend means accepting all the quirks that comes with it – and she’s totally cool with that. She really is a gem in this series.
As with each book in this series, the main story is a mystery that Charley is hired to help solve. This time around Charley is hired by Harper, a woman who has been terrorized since she was five years old but no one seems to believe her. They all think it’s a cry for attention. That mystery and the twist at the end of it…holy jumpin’! Charley doesn’t seem to be getting anywhere with it then bam! And then BAM! I really didn’t see any of that coming. Darynda’s mysteries are always interesting and leave you guessing until the very end. They are a highlight of the series too. (Can you tell I REALLY loves these books? ;) )
After reading the third book in the series and giving it 5plus stars, I didn’t think it was possible for Darynda to write its equal. Well, I shouldn’t have doubted her because she truly outdid herself once again with Fourth Grave Beneath My Feet. This continues to be one of my absolute favorite series because, well…it’s just genius. If you have yet to try it out, I would suggest reading the excerpt on Darynda’s website so see if you click with the humor. And if you do, run to the bookstore to stock up on all the books. You will not be disappointed.
Rogue Rider is the fourth book in Larissa Ione’s Lords of Deliverance series. In the first book, Reseph’s seal breaks and he becomes the über-crazy-evil Pestilence, first horseman of the apocalypse. I am not exaggerating here when I say he was really evil. The stuff that Pestilence was getting his kicks off of over the past three books was bordering uncomfortable…but boy was he fun to read!
At the end of the last book, Pestilence was destroyed and Reseph sent to Sheoul. But that was not where he was meant to stay and somehow he ended up back on earth but with no memory of whom or what he is. Yes, we actually know how he ends up back on earth but I want to try to remain elusive as not to ruin it for you guys. ;)
I found it was cute how Reseph remembered only little parts of himself a little bit at a time. We finally got to see the Reseph who was worth fighting for. The Reseph his siblings have been talking about since book one. He’s a great mix of happy-go-lucky and heart. I also really liked how seriously he took things once his memory came back. How he shows such remorse spoke of his strong character. I think that’s what makes him so gosh darn likable even after everything he’s done in the other books! He was beyond a bastard yet Larissa was able to make us care for him. She made it easy to see that Reseph and Pestilence were not truly the same person. Really, Larissa did a great job writing him. I believe he is my favorite hero of the series. And that is saying something since all of the heroes are pretty special.
I found Jillian was the perfect match for Reseph. She has been through a horrific ordeal and that is what helps her understand him. She is kind, spunky, smart and sweet. In a romance book, sometimes I am frustrated by how little ‘alone page time’ the main couples get but in this book they get a lot. And I loved all of it. (And no, I am not talking sexy times here but there was quite a bit of that too *grin*)
Something else that we got quite a bit of in this book was action. A nice healthy dose. The story was very interesting and well written and the action added to the excitement of it all. You see, Reseph may be back but apparently he could be swayed to evil again. That can’t happen, of course, so battles ensue and so on.
Not only is there action and couple alone-time but one of the Big questions was answered. That’s right, we find out who the horsemen’s father is. And boy, it’s a doozy! Loved that twist. I suppose this being the last book in the series there is no surprise that Big questions were answered but still, I was happy to see it.
As a last book in the series, this one was written beautifully. It finishes off the horsemen’s story well and doesn’t leave you craving more, which is a quality I admire in a final book. What it does do is set up Reaver’s story. Does it ever! I found myself jumping up and down in my chair as Reaver makes his final appearance in this book. Reaver, as usual, is fantastic in this book. We are starting to catch glimpses into his past and those sneaks just make me that much more excited for his story. That is not all that makes me crave his book – I’m also dying to see more of him with Harvester.
Yes, you read right. Harvester. I can’t say I ever hated her but boy did she ever belong on my ‘characters I wouldn’t mind if they fell into a deep abyss…then got stomped on by giant gorillas’ list. But in Rogue Rider, Larissa does something incredible: she made me feel sorry for Harvester and she made me want her to have a happy ending. She made me think that Harvester deserved a happy ending! Not only that, but she made me want Harvester to have a happy ending…with Reaver! And now, knowing what I know, I think they will make a perfect couple. I can’t wait to see how Larissa pulls it all together. I think it’s impossible for Larissa to write a sucky book so I know Reaver’s tale will be made of pure awesome.
All in all, I really enjoyed Rogue Rider. The world continues to wow me, the characters are strong and the story gripping. Larissa’s voice is just awesome. Her mix of humor and heart is just perfect and suits the world she created well. This book and this series is everything you would ever want from a paranormal romance read. If you are a fan of the genre, it’s definitely worth reading.(less)
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.(less)
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.(less)
I loved this installment. Oh Jace... *super swoon* What a damaged sexy soul. And Aggie is just perfect for him. Olivia also did a great job with Eric....moreI loved this installment. Oh Jace... *super swoon* What a damaged sexy soul. And Aggie is just perfect for him. Olivia also did a great job with Eric. He was my least favorite band member but now I get him and I'm anxious for his book. Full review to follow :)(less)
Planning for Love is the first book in Christi Barth’s Aisle Bound trilogy. This series focuses on two ladies who co-own and run a wedding planning business in Chicago and their friend who manages a romance shop. This time around we follow the wedding planner Ivy as she meets Bennett. Ben is both the love of her life and the Bain of her existence.
Ivy and Ben are the perfect match…except when it comes to one thing: their ideas on love. Ivy grew up surrounded by happily married people. She can’t wait to meet her one and only so she can finally know the joy her parents have felt all the years that they’ve been married. Ben has been raised in the completely opposite environment and thinks that love doesn’t really exist and is convinced he will never ever marry. He likes fun. Ivy likes commitment. Ben scoffs at the very thing Ivy looks up to, so you can imagine that this clash of opinion adds a fair bit of tension in their ‘relationship’.
I did like Ivy and Bennett. I found them to be endearing characters…but when they started arguing about their views on love they drove me bonkers. Sometimes Ivy seemed a bit too eager for love and how she planned on manipulating Ben didn’t sit well with me. And Ben, when he went off on how love didn’t exist and how falling in love is stupid and so on, it just made me wonder if he ever really learned to truly think for himself. Yes, we are all shaped by our past and by what we know growing up but as adults, we usually analyze what it was we saw as children and decide whether or not it is relevant to our real-lives today. But these two seemed to have missed that step and take what they saw growing up as absolute truth. Of course, their characters come to terms with each other but I didn’t feel either really learned much or grew much. Bennett did mature a bit through the story (the things he ends up doing for Ivy without even realizing they were the sorts of things boyfriends did for and with girlfriends were adorable) but I would have liked to have seen a bit more growth on Ivy’s part.
The overall story was cute and I loved the premise. (I love weddings and once or twice have considered becoming a wedding planner so this series is right up my alley) The pace was good and the meet-cute was fun. I like Christi’s writing voice and I find it is very well suited to the contemporary romance genre. She writes delightful stories that feature cute moments that make you smile.
I am sure that this will come as a total surprise to you, especially after hearing how anti-romance and love and such that Ben is, but he is has a bit of a douche moment and basically becomes a huge arsed jerk in a matter of a scene. But boy does he make up for it. (I don’t think this is necessarily a spoiler seeing that this is a contemporary romance book but in case you are extra sensitive to them, beware) This book contains one of the best make-up/grovelling/marriage proposal scenes that I have ever read. Is it cheesy and a little bit schmaltzy? Absolutely. But it’s so sweet and lovely too. Really, it’s amazing and the perfect way to end this couple’s journey to finding each other.
The circle of friends that is introduced in Planning for Love was amazing. I can’t wait to read more about them in their own books. The next book will be titled A Fine Romance and is due to release in March 2013. It’s going to be Mira and Sam’s book. Book three, Friends to Lovers, will be Daphne and Gib’s book and is hitting eBook shelves later in 2013. The books will also eventually be released in print.
Overall I did enjoy Planning for Love even though the main characters weren’t the best characters in the book. I am definitely planning on reading the other two books in the series when they release. There is such a warm camaraderie amongst the friends and I am looking forward to visiting them again.
Other than the details being quite overwhelming, I really really enjoyed this book. The characters were really well written and the story kept you gue...moreOther than the details being quite overwhelming, I really really enjoyed this book. The characters were really well written and the story kept you guessing and on the edge of your seat. Review to follow.(less)
The Weird Girls – A Novella is an introduction to Cecy Robson’s new upcoming Weird Girls series. As prequels go, this one really did a good job introducing us to the main characters and to the gist of the series.
The series revolves around Celia and her three sisters, all of whom have some special abilities. They were victims of a curse-gone-wrong when they were younger and now are dealing with the consequences. Each girl has her own ability that is completely different from anyone else’s. For example, one sister is a shifter or sorts and another is telekinetic of sorts. I say ‘of sorts’ because each sister has more than one ability and they are all a bit different than your ‘norm’ would be.
It took me a few times of hearing the sister’s name for me to remember who was who and what each did but once I got it, it was almost obvious. Cecy does a good job giving each girl a different way of speaking and different mannerisms. We have Celia, Shayna, Taran and Emma. I can’t say I completely understand their powers yet but really, I can’t expect to seeing that this is just a glimpse into the world that will be expanded on in the full book. But I can tell you that after reading this I was ready to read a whole book about each of the sisters. But that is not how this series will roll as the books will all be told from Celia’s pov. Not a bad thing as I really enjoyed her. Strong yet vulnerable, an important combination for me to be able to relate to and to enjoy an urban fantasy protagonist.
The story started right away. I’m talking about action in the first few pages. I almost felt as though it was too abrupt for me since this is a new world with new characters – I almost needed a bit of a lead in. That being said, once I adjusted to what was happening (it only took a few pages) I followed along for the ride…and what a ride it was! Holy jumpin’ this book is non-stop! (The witches! What the hell is up with the witches?! What is their problem?!) Once you’re in, this story sucks you in deeper and deeper until you are spat out at the end. But it’s not all heavy. It’s not fluff either but there is some humor thrown in here and there to break up the heavy. Because let me tell you, this book has some pretty gory scenes which shows that even though she has a fun and snarky sense of humor, Cecy isn’t afraid to go dark when it fits the story.
When I finished this novella, I wanted to know more about the world. I wanted to know more about the girls and I wanted to know more about their abilities. I just wanted more. The Weird Girls – A Novella did exactly what a prequel is meant to do. It tweaked my interest and made me look forward to December 31st – the day Sealed with a Curse, the first full-length book in the series, is due out. Cecy has a beautiful writing voice and I’m anxious to see where she takes us next.(less)
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.(less)
This was a very interesting book. The world is great and the characters are quite likable. The writing is very visual! Some slight pacing issues for m...moreThis was a very interesting book. The world is great and the characters are quite likable. The writing is very visual! Some slight pacing issues for me but that's not uncommon in a first book of a new series. Curious to see where the author is going to go with this series. Review to follow.(less)
Aug! Unfortunately this book just frustrated me so this is going to be a very short review.
Close Enough to Touch is the latest by author Victoria Dahl. It’s about Grace, a makeup artist who has been cast out of Hollywood and Cole, a Rancher. The title comes from the fact that Grace and Cole are new neighbors in the apartment building owned by Grace’s aunt – they live across the hall from each other. Well, there is more to the title but that is the main reason I picked up for the title. I thought I would like Grace’s character because I am a trained makeup artist too – I thought “hey, kindred spirits!” Well, turns out no. I didn’t connect with her at all. There was so much there too to make her a likable heroine though! She grew up on the streets, she survived, she blossomed and became a strong woman by the end of the book…but I still couldn’t bring myself to feel her.
Same happened with Cole. He is damaged and angsty but I just didn’t follow him on his journey to self-discovery and all that jazz. I read it but found myself still feeling like an outsider unlike most books when I feel like I’m in the book, following along and occasionally rubbing up against a firm buttocks and yummy abs. I really wanted to like Cole but *shrugs*.
As much as I didn’t click with the characters separately, together they were just strange to me. Cole likes bad girls…but Grace may look like one with her purple hair and all but she isn’t really one. Cole’s attraction (border obsession in the beginning) to Grace didn’t fit for me.
I did enjoy Grace’s boss and her friend who works at the bar and the scene near the end where Grace gives them makeovers was quite cute. But before that and after that scene there was lots of secrets and trouble that bothered me. This book also wore a more serious tone than the author’s past books. Not that this is necessarily an issue but if you are a fan and are looking forward to the same witty stuff you are used to, you won’t really find it here.*sigh* I really did want to like this book…
When I pick up a book by this author I usually know that there will be at least something about the story that I will enjoy. The hero or the heroine or even just the twists and turns in the plot… Unfortunately that was not the case with this one. Nothing really clicked with me and I shook my head more often than I would normally like while reading a contemporary romance. I understand that this is fiction after all but much of this book just didn’t make sense to me. (less)
With Tricked already on shelves since April of this year and with Trapped not due to release until the end of November, I was feeling a little Atticus-sick. You know, it’s like home-sick but for a character. Two Ravens and One Crow was the perfect fix for me. A quick story featuring my favorite Iron Druid characters, it hit the spot.
Just a heads up, if you are not up to date with the series, you may be a bit confused (and spoiled) by this review ;)
Two Ravens and One Crow by Kevin Hearne takes place six years after Tricked ends. In this novella we see Atticus having to deal with the ramifications of what went on in book three and we also see him dealing with his attraction to Granuaile.
Everyone who wanted Atticus dead for his part in killing Thor thinks he actually is dead. Or do they? Turns out some of the gods know Atticus is alive and well and training his apprentice Granuaile. When The Morrigan arrives one day telling him to leave his sword behind and to follow her, Atticus is weary but goes along. Because if there is one thing you don’t say to The Morrigan it’s ‘no’.
The Morrigan takes Atticus to see and Odin, two people who were on the ‘I believe Atticus is dead’ list. But apparently, they were in on his little secret. Odin isn’t too pleased with Atticus because, you see, he’s Thor’s father. Yup…you see where things are going now. Atticus made his bed and now he has to sleep in it.
As for his attraction to Granuaile, Atticus has moved on from simply thinking about baseball when he finds himself being drawn to her to enlisting Oberon’s (his dog) help. Oberon lets Atticus know when his jaw is hanging open. I laughed so hard at that scene. I love Granuaile and I absolutely adore Oberon. They are not in this novella a whole lot but what there is of them is fantastic.
As much as I loved the scenes with Oberon and Granuaile, I believe my favorite part of this story was The Morrigan. She brings Atticus to have the tattoo on the back on his hand repaired and opens up a bit when she is working. I really enjoyed seeing this different side to her. She was almost softer and I actually felt some sympathy towards her. She is one of my favorite characters in this series and in this story, she really shines. Kevin did an amazing job writing her here.
All in all, I really enjoyed this novella. It reminded me why I love the series so much. Fans of the series, I highly recommend reading Two Ravens and One Crow.(less)
This is book four in the series. I have not read the others and didn't feel lost so feel free to jump right into this one if you so desire. I picked t...moreThis is book four in the series. I have not read the others and didn't feel lost so feel free to jump right into this one if you so desire. I picked this one up because is sounded fun - heck even the title had the word 'fun' in it - and it was, for the most part. I thought the references to Pretty Woman and how Doug was Julia Robert's character and how Morgan was Richard Gere's were cute. I also thought Doug's t-shirts were hilarious! I laughed out loud at all of them. I did like Doug's character a lot but Morgan was a little strange for me. She was smart and nice but her obsession with money - even though reasonable for the way she was raised - was a bit much at times. Actually, Doug's obsession with her obsession didn't feel quite right either. Morgan and Doug had amazing chemistry and the love scenes were hot. It took me a while to enjoy Doug's massive circle of friends (all heroes and heroines from the previous books). They are loud and 'in your business' but once you spend a little more time with them, you notice that they are a good bunch of guys who mean well. The men just seem a little immature while acting with good intentions. The end was both sweet and frustrating but all in all, it was a cute read. I loved Kevin - the only single guy of the bunch left - so I may check out his book. He was the least obnoxious of the bunch and I felt I wanted him to be with someone who could make him happy.(less)