Julie: Once in a Lifetime is the ninth book in Jill Shalvis’ hugely popular Lucky Harbor contemporary romance series. The series is pretty much divided into three sets of three. This latest trio focuses on three “best” girlfriends and how they each fall in love with one of three guy best friends. I place the word best in ” ” for the girls because the gals in this trio didn’t really start being close until later in the seventh book, if that.
This latest book is about Aubrey and Ben. Ben is a mysterious character that comes back to town in the last book and Aubrey…well, she’s the bitch. When you meet her in It Had to be You, she is cranky and has an overall bad attitude but you could tell, there was something about her attitude that didn’t quite click. It’s almost like when someone’s smile doesn’t quite reach their eyes. Aubrey is being bitchy but is that really who she is or is it just a façade that she has built up over the years?…
I can’t say I was a fan of Aubrey after reading books seven and eight but I knew that if someone could make me like a rather unlikable character, it was Jill Shalvis. And I was right. Aubrey ended up being endearing and awkward and completely charming. And by the end of Once in a Lifetime, I actually considered her one of my favorite heroines in this series to date.
Anne: I always felt Aubrey was hiding. And with everything life threw at her, she just sucked it up and did the best she could. That’s why she’s my hero. She isn’t any better or worse than anyone else. She’s made mistakes like everyone does. Her mistakes have just been highlighted, all the time, in the worst possible ways. She doesn’t just curl up and die; she works to find ways to make things better. I can totally relate to her, especially on the holding in true feelings. She is also much harder on herself than she is on others.
Julie: She totally is. She has trouble understanding why people enjoy her company. She really is stronger than she gives herself credit for. And Ben was such a good match for Aubrey because he could see through her bullsh*t. He was also very good at helping her see she is not really the horrible person she thinks she is.
Ben has a sad story but not as much of a sob story as I was expecting – which was good. I find too many heroes now a days have a story that is almost over the top. Jill does a great job with her heroes. They have just enough baggage to give them room to grow or mature. Ben’s back in Lucky Harbor to face his past and to start a future. He is honestly curious about Aubrey and you can tell immediately that he cares for her even though she’s not the easiest person to like. And day-um is he sexy! He’s sexy in that understated strong and smouldery way.
Anne: I fell in love with Ben in the last book because he was so funny. I adore funny. Oddly, it took longer for me to warm up to him in this book. I mean, really, I don’t want a relationship. I don’t really want you unless someone else does or someone hurts you. *Eyeroll* I came around as he did. He got me with his interest and support for Aubrey, also his stepping up in the community plus his heart-melting way with Pink and Kendra. He went out of his way to help them. I enjoy the well rounded parts of the story, where there is more than just a romance here.
Julie: Ben’s scenes with Pink and Kendra were so sweet! I love how Jill writes. Like you say, it’s a whole story and not just a romance.
As for Ben, you make a good point. I guess I knew he’d come around so I was not as bothered by his reluctance. But his being more cautious did suit his character. It showed his loss affected him deeply and if it hadn’t, then he’d be an asshat in my book and I would not be drooling over him as I am now. *wipes drool* But if he’d been in denial longer than he was, I would have not enjoyed the book as much.
However you feel about Ben, you can’t deny he is sexy and that his chemistry with Aubrey is really well written. The two of them just being in the same room together, doing nothing but talking, smolders up the pages!
Anne: oh yes, Ben may not want a relationship but he certainly wants Aubrey. And more than that, he treats her better than many relationships would, spending his time with her, supporting and encouraging her, as well as making her feel beautiful. That’s sexy! His messy hair may be having an effect on me as well.
Julie: Oh that messy hair… Speaking of messy hair, let’s chat about the animals in this series. Jill often chooses to add dogs to her stories – I’m not even a dog person but I love how she writes them into her stories – but this time around, we have a cat. A cranky cat that has sort of adopted Aubrey and the bookstore she is fixing up as his home. This cat had such a personality! All of the animals have great personalities in this series. They manage to really add to the story without overwhelming it.
Anne: Well, I’m more a dog person, since I’m deathly allergic to cats. It is funny how the cat chooses Ben over Aubrey, but as in everything, Aubrey keeps trying. But my favorite is still Kevin! – as long as he lives with Jack. My favorite giggle worthy quote includes him. Something about this quote just cracks me up every time.
Jack rose and snapped his fingers at Kevin.
Kevin squeezed his eyes tight and pretended to be asleep.
Ben found a laugh after all. “Leave him.”
“He ate chili at the firehouse tonight.”
“Take him.” Ben said.
I have to mention Aubrey working so hard in an “My Name is Earl” way to try to improve her karma. It’s not easy to say you made mistakes and try to improve things with people who mostly don’t like you. It’s even harder when it is someone you like, who HAS been good to you.
Julie: Just another reason why I loved Aubrey so much in this book!
Let’s talk a bit about Lucille. She has been in each and every book in this series. She is the ‘nose in everybody’s business little old lady’ of Lucky Harbor. I liked her a lot in the first books but then I found she was becoming a bit too much of a ‘nosy-betty’. In this book, I liked her role. She went back to being the hilarious old lady with tons of very insightful things to say.
Anne: Lucille was wonderful in this book. She really made a difference in putting things right. I also loved the support Ali and Leah gave to Aubrey, as well as the support for Ben from Jack and Luke. That is one of the best things about stories set in small towns. One gets to know the people and their friends. The “town” continues to play a role in every story.
Julie: You are right about the support. Aubrey had not always been the friendliest to Ali and Leah but to see them understand and want to help Aubrey in making things right was very nice.
And the town of Lucky Harbor really does play a role in these books. It’s a place I would definitely want to visit.
All in all, I really liked Once in a Lifetime. Aubrey blew me away, Ben was yummy and there were plenty of scenes that either warmed the heart or made you giggle out loud. I am thinking especially the scenes with Ben and the kids at the center and Aubrey with, well, herself. Jill always does a wonderful job bringing her characters to life and making them feel as though they could be your next door neighbor. I was really pleased with this latest installment.
Anne: I more than really liked this book; I loved it! It is one of my favorites in the series. Are we going to agree on the rating?
The Sharpest Blade is the third and final book in Sandy William’s The Shadow Reader series. (Once upon a time, Goodreads listed this as the McKenzie Lewis series (and I did doo). Don’t get confused – it’s the same series. I find the title The Shadow Reader series suits this better :))
I hope this doesn’t come across wrong because I don’t mean it to but in case, just remember that this is a compliment to the series and to this book. I opened this book and was pulled in immediately. Then before I knew it, it was finished. It’s not that this book reads quickly or easily as lots of stuff happens but it’s the sort of book that is smooth and that is written in such a way that the story doesn’t need prompting. What I mean is that is instead of experiencing ups and downs and lulls and peaks as with other books, this book (and the second book) just sort of happens. That is not to say that there aren’t exciting events in the books – there is tons of action and sweet romantic moments too – but it’s almost as though the story just tells itself. I’m sure Sandy did not feel that way while writing this book but it reads that way and that is very good.
Okay, now that I’ve confused you all a bit, let’s talk story.
Lena is the only fae who, by blood, deserves the throne. But she has yet to be named queen and is still being challenged for it by those called ‘false bloods’. This latest ‘threat’ to Lena is causing all sorts of trouble. Add to that a serum that makes humans able to see the fae and you’ve got one hell of a story. Those are the main storylines in this book but there is a very strong romantic sub-plot as well.
McKenzie is the main heroine in this series. She is human but has a special ability to not only see the fae but she can also read their shadows. (When they fissure, travel through the realms, she can see where they go. Very handy to those trying to find criminals and other shady characters in the Realm.) She is spunky but a little lost at the beginning of the series. In the last book, McKenzie ended up bonded to a boy. I won’t tell you which boy but let’s just say it added tons of confusion to McKenzie’s already befuddled heart. I liked how Sandy wrote the emotions traveling through the bond and how it also saved McKenzie’s butt more than once but I didn’t love how often this bond or the emotions traveling through it were mentioned. It was a bit much for me at times. But honestly, that is the only beef I had with this book – and it’s just a little one.
Speaking of boys, let’s talk Kyol and Aren. OMG could Sandy have written two more delicious men?! Yes, while reading this series I have wanted to smack both of them and in the same breath, I have wanted to smack a kiss on them. Sandy managed to write two characters that are well matched for our lead heroine and also managed to make it very difficult to come up with a decision on who is best made for her! Now before you roll your eyes because you are now seeing that this series involves a love triangle of sorts, let me explain a bit further.
From the very first book, McKenzie has been in love with Kyol. In fact, she’s been in love with him for ten year. Yes, ten. If you are not a fan of love triangles, don’t dismiss this series. Yes, there are multiple interests in these books but this is a love triangle done differently and it is done extremely well. I always liked how Sandy approached this in all the books. Since about the middle of the first book, McKenzie has known who she wanted and even though she has moments of doubt, she pretty much stays true to her heart through the entire series. Now whether or not she ends up with her heart’s desire is something you will have to read the book to find out. (As if I would tell you that ;))
By the end of The Sharpest Blade, McKenzie has not only finally earned that sword she carries on the book’s covers but she is now completely comfortable with herself and her life among the fae. I loved watching her transformation from the very first book. Kyol and Aren have also matured during this series and all for the better. Each metamorphosis matches the character which is important to me when reading urban fantasy. This genre is often about the main character and her closest allies becoming the people they were born to become and Sandy writes that theme beautifully in The Shadow Reader books and especially in this latest intallment.
The world in these books is nothing like I’ve read before. The details in the lands and also in the politics are incredible. If you like books that go into details of such a matter, definitely give this series a try.
I feel it would have been easy for Sandy to try to write more than three books in the series and even though I’m going to miss it, I’m glad she didn’t. This series is tight and feels complete. Sometimes authors try to add more books and it just ends up diluting the storylines and the characters. Here we have strong characters and a strong and exciting story that is wonderfully entertaining. I will definitely be keeping an eye out for other works by this author. Sandy has a wonderful voice and a vivid imagination – a great combination for an author.
As for The Sharpest Blade, it really does finish off the series beautifully and I’m sure I will be re-reading these books in the future.
Searching for Someday is the first book in Jennifer Probst’s Searching For series. This is a series that revolves around a group of best friends, three of whom co-own a matchmaking business. This time around we follow Kate, the one with the hoodoo magic.
Let me explain.
This is not a paranormal romance book but, like in Jennifer’s previous Marriage to a Billionaire series, there is a small paranormal element. Kate has the ability to touch two people and know whether or not they are soulmates, but other than that, there is no hocus pocus going on. I liked Kate. She is a virgin…and I’m still not sure why it was important for her to be a 28 year old virgin… but she is so there you go. She is strong and I enjoyed reading her. I also really liked reading her struggle over Slade and wondering whether or not to trust her instinct or trust her head. This ‘should I should I not’ made sense in this case because she is privy to information about Slade that other women would not have. She knows what he is looking for and knows that she is not it. But what to do when she zaps him and knows they are supposed to be together?! So she’s torn. I get why she would be and I was happy it was her going through all this and not me. And now that I’ve lost you all a little bit, let’s talk about Slade so you will stop being confused. ;)
Slade is your typical overbearing alpha male…or is he? *da da duuuuummmm* His sister has a history of depression and he is very protective of her. Basically he wants her sheltered and with him forever but she won’t have it. She decides to go to Kate’s matchmaking business to find her special someone and Slade thinks it’s all fake so he signs up to prove that it’s not real. So he meets with Kate and tells her everything he wants in a potential mate. Oh, and he’s a divorce lawyer which adds a whole other level of ‘I don’t believe in true love’. Slade seems like a bit of a bully and comes across as not overly likable at first but you know there is more to him. And you are right when later on you find out just what a good guy he really is. He made me giggle and watching his struggle with Kate being right for him was just as interesting as watching Kate’s struggle.
There is one scene in particular that I found very cute. It’s the hot yoga scene. I won’t say more about it but if you read it you will undoubtedly agree with me. You will smile and giggle and laugh through that scene and it will show you a lot about Slade and what sort of person he really is.
I enjoyed reading Kate’s friends. I am glad they are each getting a book as each seems to have an interesting story to tell. Kennedy is up next in Searching for Perfect. That one is releasing in April 2014. Her hero is a genius in need of social/women skills and a makeover. Sounds cute.
Fans of Jennifer’s Billionaire will enjoy seeing characters from those books in this one. They are in one scene, which was cute. Kate’s friend is the heroine from the first Billionaire book’s sister. (At least I think that is how it works out…)
I find Jennifer’s voice continues to improve and that her style is taking shape. She is a writer with tons of potential. And as for Searching for Someday, I found it to be a charming read that made me smile. Kate and Slade make a great couple and I look forward to reading the next book in the series.(less)
I normally enjoy checking out what books show up on Goodreads’ annual reader awards lists. I found that often the readers of Goodreads have similar tastes to me so I also like to vote. That sort of changed last year when Fifty Shades Freed won for best romance book. I have not even read the book but I know that almost everyone that I know that read it did NOT agree with its victory. This year when I saw the nominations were up, I went to the site to check things out. When I got to the romance category, the category I would normally read the most, I only recognized one book. Yup. ONE! What the hell happened?! Am I seriously out of the loop or am I just not as in tuned to the readers of Goodreads as I once was?!
I found I had an available spot in my review schedule (how that happened, I’m not sure) so I thought maybe it would be a good idea to read one of the many books on Goodreads Best Romance list. I read the blurbs and I read what my friends had to say about each book and I decided on this one: Tangled by Emma Chase.
Honestly, there is nothing new about this book. The story has been done. The characters have been done. The quirks have been done and the ‘obstacle to the couple’s love’ has been done. “Okay then Julie,” I hear you all say, “why did you not rate this book lower then?” Well my friends, it’s because of this: The book is written in the first person from the hero’s point of view…and his voice was exceptional. A POV written like that, I had never seen done before.
The hero is Drew. When you first meet him, he strikes you as a bit of a douche. He’s very sure of himself and beds a different woman pretty much every night. But none of them have the delusion that more will come of things as Drew has no interest in an actual relationship. As I said, been done. But even though he’s nothing new so to speak, he is still a very likeable character. Watching him fall in love and watching it not only knock him sideways but also scare the poop out of him is a lot of fun.
When Emma writes Drew, she has him ask his audience questions. Things like “See that guy over there? That’s me.” It really draws you in, making you feel like you actually are a part of the story. She also has a no-nonsense tone to him that makes him really funny. I loved his honesty and his wit. Did I want to smack him sometimes? Of course! It’s part of his charm. But I loved witnessing his transformation and how he came to truly care for Kate.
Kate is a very good character and she is a perfect match for Drew. She is smart and ambitious and doesn’t fall for his expert charm. She sees through him and that is what Drew needs.
If you enjoy contemporary romance books I can’t see how you would not enjoy this one. Well, I suppose there would be one exception to that: if you don’t like Drew’s voice. What I would suggest is checking out Drew’s blog site. There he answers reader-sent topics and you get a really good idea of his voice. (You can also peek at the ‘giggle worthy quotes’ at the end of my review.) If you giggle at what Drew is saying and you like his ‘no bullshit’, ‘say it like it is with a smile’ tone, give the book a try. You will laugh a lot and really enjoy your time reading it.
Overall, I was surprised by how much I enjoyed Tangled. I am not sure if I will read the next book as it will be told from Kate’s POV after she feels the need to separate herself from Drew for a bit. You see, I am not a fan of authors adding new tension to a contemporary romance couple who has already overcome obstacles to be together. Once they are together, I like them to stay together. I know that is not reality but I don’t want reality in my contemporary romance books. I want the fairy tale. But that is just me and my taste. Then again, if my friends read it and tell me it’s cute, I may just cave and do as they did. But I will for sure check out the third book, Tamed. That one will be told from Drew’s friend’s POV, Matthew. It should be lots of fun.(less)
Archangel’s Legion is the sixth book in Nalini Singh’s Guild Hunter series. If you have been reading this series and love it but sometimes think to yourself “Hmm…these books are still amazing but there is something missing that I just can’t put my finger on…” you will absolutely love this latest installment. It feels and reads like the very first book. It’s pacing is perfect, the characters have grown so much they are even more captivating and the story draws you in completely.
Elena has really come into her own and I for one am super happy about that. In the first book, she was a perfect example of a kick ass chick, but after gaining wings and being thrown into the immortal world, she started losing her confidence. I understand why she would and it did make sense for her character to feel inadequate especially after experiencing what she did but I missed the Elena I adored in the first book. She is feeling more at ease with herself and her place by Raphael’s side. She is still vulnerable and dealing with nightmares from her past but she is getting past them and that is what makes me happy. She is such a thorough character. Nalini has written her so well, you truly feel as though you know her. And in this book, she really shines.
Raphael. OMG he is so freaking sexy! I love how Elena has affected him. He is still himself yet not. I don’t dare use the word ‘softer’ for him but I really can’t think of a better one to use. He is dealing with his mother’s waking and his powers growing. I am very curious to see what exactly his new talents will be. We learn about some in this book but I’m sure we are just scraping the surface where he and his powers are concerned. Really cool.
Speaking of powers, it was very interesting to learn what the other Archangels are gaining as far as strengths caused by the Cascade are concerned. We don’t see all of the Archangels in this installment but we definitely hear of all of them. Of course, as we expect and hope, we also hear of Raphael’s Seven.
I really love his Seven. Seven members of his entourage who he trusts without question and who would die to protect him and what is important to him. Who wouldn’t want that?! What Nalini has done recently is sometimes bring the series away from simply focusing on Raphael and Elena and giving some members of the Seven their own book with their own HEA. So far, we have watched both Dmitri and Jason fall in love and learned what made them tick. While reading Archangel’s Legion, I thought I was convinced who the next book would focus on. Aodhan is very intriguing and we see quite a bit on him in this book. But then, Naasir was brought up so I thought maybe the next book would be his? Then, of course, we see a lot of Illium. I would LOVE for the next book to be his. I just love his character! But I feel Nalini will make us wait a bit longer before giving us his story as I know he is many peoples’ favorite. So all that to say that I am not sure who the next book will feature buy my best guess would be either Aodhan or Naasir.
There have been quite a few little plot points that have been thrown out there but have not really gone anywhere over the past five books in this series. Well, this is the book where many of them get brought back to light. There were some I’d completely forgotten about but they’re really good! I no way mean everything has been tied up in a nice bow, but things are rolling and I hope they are mentioned again in the next book because I am very curious to see how they turn out. Especially the story involving Vivek.
There are few ‘main’ storylines in this book. War is imminent so we witness preparations for that. We also actually see some fighting and let me tell you, those are some very exciting scenes! But along with the war, we find out that there is a disease that is affecting vampires (who are NOT supposed to be able to get sick) and Elena, the Tower and her Guild Hunter friends are trying to find out the what, where, who and how behind this nasty sickness. Very interesting stuff.
Speaking of interesting, there is one part during the fight scene near the end that totally made sit up straighter in my chair. There are a slew of new characters that just popped up and I am dying to know more about them!
Hmm…that just made me realize that maybe all of these things can’t be taken care of in a book about one of the Seven. Maybe the next book will be yet another Elena and Raphael book. Dang. And here I thought there was a good chance I knew who the next book would be about. Oh well…
The only thing that sort of rubbed me the wrong way was Lijuan. I am sort of getting tired of her. She is a creepy nasty annoying evil character and Nalini writes her very well but all her craziness is starting to feel old for me. I want her gone but that won’t ever happen because she is pretty much invincible but still, that is my wish. But my feelings come from her being written so well so really, my slight bug about this book is really a compliment to the author ;)
All in all, I was very happy with Archangel’s Legion. I loved the overall story and the character growth. Nalini’s voice is stunning and it really suits the extraordinary world she has created. Elena and Raphael are so perfect together, each bringing to the table qualities that the other needs. They are a great example of how a paranormal romance couple should be written and how they should evolve. I strongly recommend this series to fans of Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance alike.
Friends to Lovers is the third book in Christi Barth’s Aisle Bound series. This is a sweet series that revolves around friends who own or work with a wedding planning business. It is a series that reads easily and will definitely put a smile on your face.
I found this third installment to be my favorite. I liked Gib from the very first book but for some reason I didn’t see him as a romance book hero. That probably has to do with the fact that I pictured him much older and uglier than he is actually described in the story. He’s a ladies’ man, the sort who enjoys loving them then leaving them, but the women never lose the smile on their faces. After reading the last book, I told the author how I envision Gib and how I will maybe have trouble clicking with him in this, is own book. Then she referred me to the Pinterest board she made for this book. (You can peek at it here) After looking at that, I thought “so THAT’S how Gib really looks! Yum!” Suddenly, it all clicked. While reading Friends to Lovers, I pictured him correctly and everything worked out for me and my slow brain. And now that I’ve finished reading, Gib is now my favorite hero from this series so far. I love his snark and his wit and I also love how sexy he is!
Daphne was a solid character too. I found her realistic and friendly. Easy to read, I can see how she would be fun to hang around with. I love how easy she and Gib get along and how they truly were best friends for years before she admitted her true feelings. Christi wrote their relationship very well. They were great friends and make a great romantic couple.
What I wasn’t a huge fan of were the ‘conflicts’. Each Daphne and Gib have one and I felt both were a little forced – as though they were put in there just to say there was an obstacle to overcome for each of them. Daphne’s I suppose I could understand (I just didn’t love how it was done) but Gib’s was odd. Came out of nowhere and was left not quite resolved by the end. I love him doing what he is doing in this series and I am wondering if what Christi has him doing next will suit him as well. Thank goodness there is a book four in the works so we can see how Gib turns out and how this newly romantic couple holds up. (A Matchless Romance is due to release February 17th 2014).
I felt the ending came a bit quick but other than that, I found Friends to Lovers to be an enjoyable read. It made me smile and it warmed my heart. Basically, it did what I always hope a contemporary romance book will do.
Love a Little Sideways is the seventh book in Shannon Stacey’s Kowalski Family series. This is a very cute contemporary romance series and yes, you could just pick up any book and read it alone but you definitely get much more out of the books if you read them as a series. (I started on book three, enjoyed it so much and went back to books one and two and now I read them as soon as they are released :) )
This time around we learn Liz’s story, the sole sister in this particular Kowalski group. She’s been away from home, living in New Mexico, for years now with a deadbeat boyfriend but now, she’s finally broken up with him and is moving back to be closer to her family.
I was always torn over Liz in previous books. Granted, we never saw her much but she was on the phone and she did show up for her brother’s wedding so we got to know a bit about her. I liked how she stood by her boyfriend even though he was a loser but then I wondered what sort of weak character she had for staying with someone who took advantage of her for so long. She was very short and not always very nice to her family but again who would be when your family is always questioning your decisions? So basically what I am saying is I was 50% like and 50% not and most of that pretty much comes from not knowing her very well. It turns out she is quite a strong character. A little lost and feeling she should be doing more with her life, but strong and caring. I should have seen that from the start but the no-good boyfriend clouded my judgement as much as he clouded hers.
Liz and Drew hooked up at the wedding in a ‘we’re both lonely so why not, it’s not like we’ll ever really see each other again’ thing. Drew’s marriage ended a short while ago because he was hurt by his wife’s lying to him for years about wanting children. Drew feels he needs kids to be happy but his wife didn’t. But she hid this from him for years because she didn’t want to lose him. Now Drew is divorced and looking for someone he can share his life with, and that includes having babies with. Liz is just finding herself after years of doing whatever was necessary to survive while her ex-boyfriend did his art thing and is not sure if kids is something she wants any time soon so…yeah, conflict right there. The thing is their chemistry is so amazing! They really do sizzle on the page and you feel their struggle. Add to that the fact that Drew and Liz’s older brother’s best friend and that whole ‘guy code’ thing…lots of internal conflict.
I did find that the ‘baby mention’ was a lot in this book and it bordered on too much but I also know there is reason for that so I let it slide. Mostly. I liked how Liz not knowing what she should do with her life was dealt with. How sometimes happiness is the goal and not owning something or doing something specific to show your worth. Very cool.
I had a ‘warm my heart’ moment when all of the Kowalski’s went on a family reunion camping trip together. In the very first book, we witness half of the Kowalski’s camping and RVing and turning everything ‘of doom’. Really cute and funny! By doing a camping reunion in this book, it made readers able to revisit all of the characters from past books, checking in on them to see what they have been up to and how they are doing. It also closes this chapter on the Kowalski series. No, I don’t mean that Shannon is ending the series but it does look like she is bringing it into a new direction. There are no more Kowalskis to write about so from now on, she will be following close family friends we have met along the way. Next up is Taken With You in March 2014. That one will feature Hailey, the town librarian. She is spunky and cute so I can’t wait to read all about her.
The ending was very sweet but I found it came awfully quick. There was a nice lead up then bam, bam, bam done. Confused me a bit. But I still managed to smile when it was all said and done.
Overall, Love a Little Sideways was a good read and a perfect continuation to this series. I always look forward to the next Kowalski book because I know when I pick one up I will be left with a smile on my face and that warm, nice and tingly feeling in my heart.(less)
Drawn Together is the fifth full length book in Lauren Dane’s Brown Siblings series. I did not know that she was working on this book until I saw people chat about it one twitter. Then I got all, well, a twitter because I hoped Lauren would someday write Raven’s HEA and to find out she did made me quite happy.
Raven is the character you loved to hate in the previous books. She definitely has a hard exterior and is a bitch to everyone. And even though you know there is more there (after all, Brody did fall in love with her once upon a time), it’s sometimes hard to see. But she has been mellowing out bit by bit in the last few books and her growth in this one not only works well (as in doesn’t come out of nowhere) but also suits her character and the story.
I loved who Lauren wrote for Raven HEA. The type of man that Jonah is is just perfect for her. Older, sure of himself, knows what he wants and what he likes. And even the Dom/sub twist fit even though at first glance I didn’t think it would.
You don’t have to worry about Jonah being a Dom because although he is one in the bedroom, it does not define him which is why I liked him. He is in his forties, divorced with a teenage daughter. He is a lawyer and comes from a well-to-do family. When you first read this you don’t feel it would work with Raven. Afterall, she is prickly and needs to be in control of everything. How dare someone tell her what do to in or out of the bedroom? Well, it really works. She needs to let go of some of that control. She needs someone who won’t take her at face value and who will work at getting her to be her true self without being too much of an arse or without being too much of a pushover. I found Lauren wrote the perfect balance for Jonah. He is exactly what Raven needs and they are excellent together.
Raven has been growing on me bit by bit and I enjoyed her in this book. Her story is sad but not so much that it was no fun to read. Lauren writes emotion in her characters well. Honestly, sometimes it can be a bit much (like with Erin) but with Raven, yes I am going to use the word ‘balance’ again, Lauren wrote the right balance. Emotional but not too mushy. It let Raven shine in her way and everything that happened and how she reacted was true to her character. I was pleased with that.
There are a few things that did rub me the wrong way though. Lauren took a bit of a break from the Brown Siblings to write a new series called Delicious. I knew that there was going to be a bit of a crossover from the Brown series to the Delicious series because some of the characters were introduced in Brown #4. I have not read any of the Delicious books. I want to but I just haven’t fit them into my schedule yet. I did not think that would be a problem when I picked up Drawn Together because it is Brown book and not a Delicious books yet I often found myself wondering ‘who are all of these people?’ and ‘since when are all of these guys such bestest closest friends?’ The characters from Delicious are in many scenes of Drawn Together. I felt I was missing big chunks of story. And yes, obviously I was, but I feel I shouldn’t have felt that way as this is not the same series! I was disappointed in that. I didn’t like diving back into the Brown world and almost feeling as though it was filled with intruders. Odd as that may sound, that is how I felt.
I also didn’t get the point of Jonah’s youngest brother’s wife and that whole tiny little subplot. It did nothing for the story. She was a crazy lady who was after the ‘new’ women to the family. The only thing I can think of is either this is something that started in a Delicious book (the hero from book one is Jonah’s brother so maybe..) or Lauren is getting ready to write a series about the brothers and wanted the youngest single so he could have his own book. Other than that, there was absolutely no point in Mal and his crazy bitch of a wife in my opinion.
There were tons of character updates from the other Brown Sibling books which was nice. We know where all of the other heroes and heroines are and what they are up to and I like knowing stuff like that. The pacing good but sometimes I felt it could be better as I found there was some repetition here and there which slowed things down for me a bit.
All in all, even though this was not my favorite installment of the series (that would be book two, Coming Undone) I am glad I read Drawn Together. Now the series feels finished and it ended well. I like the person Raven ultimately ended up being and I love Jonah for her. I think fans of the series will want to read this.(less)
Nightlife is the first installment in newbie author Matthew Quinn Martin’s Nightlife series. This is a vampire book but at the same time, it’s so much more. So many layers and so many aspects to the story make this a well crafted and intricate read.
I have to admit though that I sometimes found it a bit too intricate. Each chapter is told from a different person’s point of view which is good as it helps you relate all the more to the characters. But the chapters were very short and instead of creating mystery, as I believe writing such short chapters was suppose to do, it sometimes cut the story making it feel a bit choppy and caused confusion. I felt a little lost at first, trying to keep track of so many characters as they bounced in from of me for just a few pages. But eventually I knew everyone so at least that confusion was taken care of.
This is a complex book and the story is far from simple, but at the very heart of it are the vampires who are suddenly hunting as they have never hunted before and many people have gone missing. The vampires Matthew created are nothing like I ever read before. They are scary and creepy! I like how they throw out an illusion and how that always changes. I like how the ‘myths’ were explained away in the book too. It shows Matthew put a lot of thought behind his vampires. Even how they are hunted, killed, feed or breed is different. And creepy. Did I mention these things are cre-epy? Around that main vampire idea you have the hunter, the girl who lost friends who suddenly knows more than she should ever know, the little girl (I’m not too sure what the point of her plot was but it was disturbing in a good way nonetheless), the ‘prophet’, the police, the secret agency and on and on. As I said, a complex story but every part of it fits well.
The two most main characters were Jack and Beth. Jack is your tortured hero who now hunts the beings who ruined his life. You think he’s pretty straight forward but no way, he’s not. Very curious to see what Matthew does with Jack next. At first, Beth didn’t do much for me but the more and more mixed up into everything she got, the stronger she got. I think she has the potential to become a great character. I wonder though if there is supposed to eventually be a love connection between Beth and Jack. As of now, I don’t feel any romantic chemistry between the two of them, but I don’t feel that was the point of their relationship in this book. I wonder though, if that is the ultimate goal, if I will feel that connection between them because, as of now, I don’t see it.
This book is definitely a part one of a soon to be continued story. I don’t mean that there is a crazy cliffhanger at the end but nothing is really resolved for anyone in this book. So basically, this is your typical urban fantasy read that sucks you in then spits you back out scratching your head and wanting to know just a little bit more than you know as of now. You are left curious for the next book and that’s always a good thing.
Nightlife definitely borders horror more than my usual reads. Let me tell you, you don’t want to get attached to anyone in this book because the odds are good they will meet an unfortunate demise. *shudder* But all in all, this was an enjoyable read. Well, enjoyable in a ‘creepy and I will probably have nightmares now’ sort of way. It is a strong debut and I feel that horror fans and fans of the really creepy will enjoy it immensely.
The Marriage Merger is the fourth and final book in Jennifer Probst’s Marriage to a Billionaire series. I read the first three books in this series. In fact, I picked up the first book a while back because it was everywhere. Everywhere! It definitely was not the best book ever but I enjoyed it enough to immediately purchase books two and three. I found them light and easy to read. With each book though, the whole idea of the series started to irk me a bit – but not enough to deter me from enjoying what I was reading. Well, time has passed since I read those first books and I have to say that reading this latest installment sort of frustrated me. It’s not that it is any different from the other books but now that I have stepped away from the series I really noticed how Mama and her meddling makes me want to smack her lol.
On the surface, Mama is a sweet and wonderful lady. Now a senior, she is a hard working woman who has not only raised a large family but she also helped build a bakery empire. Now her children are all grown and she can’t help but stick her nose in their love lives. I understand a mother wanting what is best for her children but this was a bit more ridiculous than I apparently have the ability to accept. And you know what the worst part is? Her meddling didn’t even fully compute with me in the second and third books even though it’s a pretty important element in those books and it leads to how the main couples find their HEA! It only just hit me when it was mentioned in this book. How did it not drive me bonkers in those books but in this book I felt like throwing the book against the wall while crying out “Oh, c’mon!!!” *spoiler alert* Mama pretty much forces her children to marry. Yup. She goes up to people and says “marry my child” and they say “okay”. In this latest installment, she tells/guilt-trips Sawyer to marry Julietta and he gives in. She then tells/guilt-trips Julietta into marrying Sawyer and she gives in. What?! What century is this?! Up until that moment, the book wasn’t so bad. It had its sweet moments and I was leaning towards a 3 star rating. Then Mama did her thing and that was it. I understand that Mama making her children marry (which always ends up being for the best of course) is one of the common threads between the books of this series but it was just too much for me to handle.
Now that I am done with that, let’s talk story and characters.
The story was alright. Sawyer is the guy you hire to fix your ailing hotel and now he wants to open his own chain of luxury hotels. He wants big and he wants to hire the best vendors and suppliers and he wants them exclusively for his hotels. He contacts Julietta about her family bakery being exclusive. She agrees to his terms and that is that.
Sawyer is very attracted to Juliette and vice versa. Their chemistry was very strong and well written but other than that they were almost ‘typical’ contemporary romance hero and heroine. He was bounced from foster home to foster home until he found one that kept him but beat him. He felt he needed to take it to keep evil foster-dad from beating the little ones. A very sad story and reading how Sawyer has been affected by his childhood was heart breaking but again, been there. Julietta is a workaholic who has not reached orgasm in ages and the men in her life have made her feel as though there is something wrong with her. So she stays away from men. Again, been there. The characters were solidly written. The dialogue was a bit flat at times and I have to admit, made me roll my eyes sometimes. I feel bad saying that because it sounds mean but it’s the truth. Sawyer and Julietta have some steamy scenes, yet once again, some of the dialogue and occurrences were a bit too much. And I just couldn’t stomach the talk of Julietta’s ‘dripping channel’ when Sawyer was touching, well you know…down there. That was not painting a romantic visual for me… :(
I think what happened with me and this book is that I am not new to the genre and this, to me, feels tired. I know this author and this series is hugely popular among many of my ‘new-to-the-genre’ friends and to many of you but for me, it just fell flat. I expect a lot from my contemporary romance books and this one just fell short.
Chasing Kings is a new contemporary romance book by Sierra Dean. First thing I want to say is not to be fooled by the blurb: this is not a BDSM book. Yes, the couple meet in a BDSM hotel room – and their meeting is so cute and funny! – but that’s pretty much where it all ends. After that moment, the two are just being extra adorable, really sexy and tons of fun.
This book is about Ethan, a porn star (yes, you read right – and he’s proud to be one) and Samantha, a bookstore employee. Essentially, two people who could not be more different, yet they really bring out the best in each other and make the other break out of their comfort zone at the same time. I really enjoyed reading their ‘journey’ and I really felt like they made a wonderful couple.
When you first meet Ethan, you think he’s your typical hot and cocky bastard. He walks into the room like he owns it and is extremely sure of himself. And why shouldn’t he be? He IS one of the most popular porn stars in the in world. But soon you see that he is also very sweet and smart and so much more. I love what he does to bring Samantha out of her shell even though he’s stressed out of his tree thanks to some pretty intense personal issues. Those are definitely moments where you want to jump into the book and give him a big hug. And maybe hump him a little bit. What?! I said a little bit! ;) He is extremely charming and oh so yummy. I just loved him.
I really liked Samantha (Sam) too. I can’t say there is huge jump to her personality throughout the book but really, there didn’t need to be. She is smart and kind and just someone you want to hang out with. And to see her go the extra mile to help out a man she barely knows is a perfect example of how sweet a character she is. She is somewhat awkward but not overly so and that makes her endearing instead of gauche. She is just so cute!
The story was good. Ethan is in Vegas for an awards ceremony and Sam is in Vegas on a vacation – a vacation that her travel agent booked the wrong dates for. So instead of being in Vegas when she wanted to be, she’s in Vegas now. When she meets Ethan, he changes her plans and the book progresses into pretty much a story of how these two hang out and fall in love. But Ethan has a secret and it’s about to affect Sam… *dad a duuuummmm* So yes, the story is quite entertaining and there is lots of ‘hero and heroine together alone’ time which you should all know by now I strongly appreciate in my contemporary romance reads. But I have to say my most favorite part of this book were the characters.
Sierra has such a knack at writing great memorable characters. Whether she’s writing a vampire-werewolf hybrid, a baseball player or a porn star, she always makes their quirks delightful, their personalities relatable and their banter perfect. I can honestly say that there is yet to be a Sierra Dean book that I have not thoroughly enjoyed. Chasing Kings will charm you from the first page and will leave you smiling at the very end. Definitely worth reading.
Requiem for the Dead is the fifth book in Kelly Meding’s Dreg City series. You cannot just jump in with this book. You really have to read this series in order because there is just so much going on! And even though Kelly does a good job recapping things, you will still feel lost if this is your first experience with the Dreg world. Besides, this series is phenomenal, filled with stories and events that will leave you speechless and exhilarated. Why wouldn’t you want to read starting at book one, Three Days to Dead?
Okay, now that I have gotten that out of the way, let’s talk about Requiem for the Dead. First, let’s do the ‘how I felt immediately after finishing this book’ quickie review. I felt something like this: “OMG there is so much more to come! So many more things I need to know! Please please PLEASE Kelly write faster so I can read the next book!!!”
Now I will go into more detail.
This is a series that tends to take you one way then another then back again all while raising your heart rate to probably dangerous rates and this latest installment is no exception. There are a few storylines developing in this book. Some are plots that were started in previous books and other are new to this one. In Requiem, the story takes one direction and then another until finally it sticks to one story and goes with that. That left me curious as heck to know where things were going in the beginning and at the end it left me curious as heck to know what plot was going to be the focus of the next book. I was pleased with the plotline that Kelly decided to follow through this time around though.
Wyatt and Evy’s relationship is in a very comfortable place and I love seeing them together. They are a wonderful match and it’s great to finally see them in a place where they can actually be a couple, even though they are still battling evil beings and trying to stay alive and/or in one piece. Wyatt is transitioning well after his transformation in the last book and I look forward to seeing how that will affect things in books to come. I also really enjoyed watching Wyatt becoming a father figure to some werewolf pups we met in the last book. The role suits him.
You also see a lot of interaction with Evy and Wyatt and their co-workers (for lack of a better word). The secondary characters are as interesting as the primary ones in this series so I was happy to see where everyone was at. New and interesting relationships are forming and I quite liked that.
One of my favorite parts of this series is how Kelly lets her imagination run wild when it comes to her paranormal beings. They are creepy and nasty and unlike anything you’ve read before. It’s great to read creatures you’ve read a thousand times before but in a completely different way. I find that shows how much the author is willing to stretch and it makes for fabulous reading.
Kelly’s books always take you on one hell of a ride. Just when you think things can’t get anymore ‘omgomgomg’, they do. And just when you think you can put down your emotional guard, she whaps you with something that at you didn’t expect. This happened quite a few times in this book and especially near the end of the book. Seriously, I made the mistake of thinking Kelly was done messing with us because there were just a few pages left to go but nope, wrong wrong wrong. A word of warning, do not let your guard down in this book at all because otherwise you will be left a blubbering mess. In the very best of ways.
Overall Requiem for the Dead was a wonderful continuation to the series. And it leaves things open for more wonderful continuations to the series. As always, I can’t wait to see where Kelly takes us next. I will just be sure to take my own advice and prepare for the worst and hope for the best. In other words, be ready for one hell of an urban fantasy read.
Chimera is the fourth book in Kelly Meding super cool Meta Wars series. This is a series that follows the adventures of a group of people who have super powers. Yes super powers. Like the X-Men.
Let me tell you, by the end of this book, I was exhausted.
Each book is told from a different person’s point of view and this time, it is Renee’s turn to share her story. Renee’s power is she is able to flex and stretch her body to amazing lengths. Well, she used to be able to do this. Thanks to an accident that left her burned on most of her body, she can’t stretch quite like she used to. Another feature that is strictly Renee is she’s blue. Literally the color blue. She has been that way since she was eight years old. So right now, Renee is dealing with her ‘since childhood’ issues as well as new issues such as the loss of most of her powers, the loss of a very close friend and, of course, her (and her friends’) life being threatened pretty much every day.
Renee’s childhood surprised me! What a mess that was. As Kelly said, she definitely wins the award for worst parents ever. Knowing more and more about her, her attitude and her brashness makes sense. And the more you know about her, the more you feel she deserves a happily ever after. I have always felt there was something vulnerable and special about Renee and it turns out I was right.
Every installment of this series is also a paranormal romance of sorts. There is a story of how two people come together but it’s not your usual romance tale. I was very surprised by whom Renee’s ‘mate’ ended up being but soon after finding out, it made sense. Renee needs someone who is older and who can see through her façade. Renee needed to be with someone who will help calm her worries and ease her vulnerabilities. Younger men aren’t always equipped to do that but his man is. He really works for her.
In the last book, Kelly introduced us to a few Banes – people with powers who fought on the side of evil in the war. We continue to meet and get to know some in this intallment. I like that she is doing this. It really makes readers re-think what they felt in the first couple of books when it comes to these supposed evil people. I especially like the Bane we see quite a bit of in this book…and to find out who I am talking about you will just have to read the book. ;)
Other than introducing us to Banes we met previously and watching Renee deal with her crazy life, we also meet a group of Metas. And the mystery of who the ultimate bad guy is is still addressed in this installment.
We get a lot of updates about heroes and heroines from past books. Let me warn you, not all of the updates are good. Kelly really doesn’t spare anyone in this series. Which brings me to the jaw dropping/shocking moments.
This would not be a Meta Wars book without a few insane jaw dropping revelations. There were plenty to chose from. Most, as usual, caught me off guard and made me freeze, shake my head and re-read the passage to make sure I read correctly the first time. And as usual, there was one in particular that left me more disbelieving than others. That is part of the fun of this series. These poor characters go through SO much! And just when you think nothing else could happen, bam! something else happens! Someone new comes out of the woodwork or someone dies or… No one is safe in these books. But what fun would it be if people were safe?! It would make one dull book and that is one thing this series and this book is not and that’s boring.
Overall, I really enjoyed Chimera. It is one crazy ride that really does keep you wanting more. Kelly is such an amazing storyteller. Her world continues to impress me and her characters continue to charm me. This is dark urban fantasy with an extra fantastical twist and fans of the genre really should check these books out.(less)
Twilight Hunter is the first full-length book in Kait Ballenger’s new Execution Underground series. I love the name of this series. Execution Underground is a group of humans (or are they ??? da da duuuuum…) who fight evil beings. Their name suits them perfectly.
This is a paranormal romance series which means each book will focus on one of the members of the Execution Underground and how they meet their mates. This time around we read about Jace, the werewolf hunter in the gang. His destined mate? Frankie. “What’s wrong with that” you may ask? Frankie is the local Packmaster. In other words, she is the local werewolf alpha. Yeah…now you get it.
I didn’t mind Jace although I didn’t click with him as well as I wanted to. He has a tragic backstory and deserves his happily ever after but still, I didn’t want to hump him. I wanted to hug him though. He holds such hatred for werewolves and it takes a while to find out why. Before that he just hates and wants to kill Frankie and pretty much everything furry. I have a feeling that is why I didn’t click with him. Such hatred without real explanation at first and it sort of just stuck with me. But he is a good guy who is a little confused about his place in the world, which is why it is good he meets Frankie. She is a good match for him and she helps him feel at home.
Frankie took a while to grow on me. I didn’t feel her as an alpha at first but when I reached one particular scene I thought: ‘oh, there is the alpha!’ and I felt better about her.
The two characters I really liked were David and Shane. David will be the hero for the next book, Immortal Hunter, which is due to hit shelves January 28th 2014. He is the demon hunter/exorsist in the Execution Underground. Then there is Shane. Oh how I love Shane. He is the über geek and doesn’t really go out in the field. He is research. And he even has a doctorate and is a professor! As of now, he is to be the hero in book three and that makes me happy as I want to know more about him. And I bet he gets all uncomfortable when he meets his mate and that will make me swoon even harder. That or he holds a really crazy secret. Either way, I want to know!
We don’t see much of Ash or Trent or even Damon but I’m sure we will learn more about them the closer to their own books we get. Kait did a good job setting up book two with David and Allsùn (his heroine) so I’m sure she will do the same for the members of the gang we didn’t get much of a look at. (But fyi, if you want to know more about Damon, the hero for book six, you can pick up the anthology Kait shares with Gena Showalter, After Dark. We get a really good glance at Damon in that one!)
The villain is nasty. Evil to the bone, you hate him immediately. Which means he is well written. Kait has a nice writing voice and the pacing for the book was also good. There is an interesting twist when it comes to Jace which was well done. Also, the book ended well.
There isn’t much that is new or unique in the world Kait created but what is there is solid. I believe this will be more of a character driven series and that is not a bad thing for a paranormal romance series. I also feel that Twilight Hunter gives us a taste for what we can expect from the books to come. It was a solid read and I am curious to see where the Execution Underground’s adventures will take them, and me.(less)
Quick fix is the second book in Linda Grimes’ In a Fix series. This is such a fun and unique series – I am really enjoying it so far. The humor is excellent (I find myself giggling constantly while reading) and the premise is really cool.
The series revolves around Ciel, an aura adaptor. She, and others like her, is able to nab a bit of someone’s aura and become them. That’s right, human chameleons! Some use their ability to help others while others work with the government and others just use it to make some money is more creative ways. Either way, they are a great group of people to read. I especially like Ciel. Oh Ciel… What she manages to get herself into is not only insane but also wildly entertaining.
Ciel is funny. She doesn’t mean to be, but she is funny. She wants so much to be in league with Mark and others who work undercover but she just isn’t graceful or subtle enough to manage it. She tries though and that’s where the funny comes in. I also like her because she has such a big heart.
In the first installment, Mark (Ciel’s friend, original crush and one who works undercover for the government agencies) was in the middle of a case involving Viking extremists and yeah…it was fun to read but a little farfetched. It didn’t dampen my enjoyment of the book but I know it did for some. This time around the mystery and the cases are more realistic…well as realistic as a world with aura adaptors can be, and it added a level of depth to this book that was missing in the first. People are dying, people are going missing, people are getting shot and a little girl is changed into a monkey and no one knows how to fix it because aura adaptors aren’t supposed to be able to transform into animals. Serious stuff that! The story is well woven with all of the pieces to every mystery well placed and the story is well paced.
Billy is in love with Ciel and he wants her to love him back. His mother and her mother were sorority sisters so they have known each other their entire lives. Ciel is still not 100% convinced that she and Billy belong together but it sure is fun while she tries to figure it out. I love Billy. He tries, and usually succeeds, to come across as nonchalant but there is more to him and he is so good for Ciel! I hope she sees it too someday soon.
We meet the rest of Billy and Ciel’s family in this book. There are tons of brothers and sisters there! I really enjoyed Ciel’s family. Ciel is a professional problem solver (for lack of a better term), brother one is a sensitive musician just looking for love, brother two is a lawyer and brother three is a brilliant scientist and the only one who cannot adapt his aura. Linda has created such great dynamic within this family! And I liked seeing how being a non-adaptor in an adaptor family was played out. How it affected some affected more than others. Very interesting. The mix of personalities and abilities really adds to the story. I really hope we see a lot of Ciel’s siblings in future books. Billy’s family is also mix of interesting characters. It always helps you connect more to a character once you meet their family and I definitely get a better feel for the main players in this series after this book.
I really can’t think of what else to say about Quick Fix without giving too much away. It is an absolutely fun read and the characters are just great. If you are looking for an urban fantasy read that is a little bit on the lighter side yet still has substance, I urge you to read this one. I read it with a huge smile on my face and I’m sure you will too.(less)
Girl Least Likely To Marry by Amy Andrews was haunting me, I swear. I looked at my reading schedule and noticed an error: I had an opening for today that I wasn’t supposed to have! I had forgotten to fill this space in my planner and I sort of panicked. You don’t understand. I am a planner to the anal degree and here I was, less than a week away and I had a blank space in my blog planner! Unacceptable. As I was thinking and thinking about what I could fill the spot with, this book started ‘following me around’. I would load NetGalley and there it was. I would load the storefront on my Kobo and it was recommending it to me. I think I even saw it on Facebook! Okay, maybe not, but I swear it was everywhere. I took it as a sign and requested it. And when I was instantly approved for it I took it as another sign and read it right away. It was a short book and a contemporary romance so I knew I could read it quickly.
I have not read many Harlequin Romance books but the few that I have read like a slightly extended novella…and this one was no different. You get basic character development, enough to draw you into the character but not quite enough to feel as though you are their lifelong bestest friend. There were glimpses into their pasts and you get an idea of their future but it’s not spelled out for you like in a longer more detailed book. I enjoyed Tuck quite a bit even if he made me scratch my head sometimes (he’s a retired football star and I enjoyed how he handled his celebrity) and I enjoyed the idea of Cassie. What I mean by that is I enjoy reading a character that is characterized at a geek but Cassie was dangerously close to being too much of one for my taste.
Cassie is so focused on her goal of achieving her PhD and someday receiving a Nobel Prize that she is completely clueless about emotions or anything of the sort around her. When she meets Tuck, her libido goes into overdrive. This is shocking to her seeing it’s never really even been in drive before. Her friends suggest she go for it to appease her need but, as you can imagine – and you will once you meet Tuck, it only makes things worst. Everything must come from a logical place for Cassie (which makes sense seeing her character) but I found sometimes it was too much and it made her hard to relate to. And boy did I feel for Tuck. I honestly don’t know how he fell for her so quickly. I get some of the reasons but I think that most men would not stick it out. Near the end of the book, there is quick mention of the times Cassie and Tuck talked during meals and the Sundays they spent together with the papers and that is what comes to mind for both of them when they realize they are in love. These are things that we don’t get to see and since we don’t see them, we don’t witness the whole story of them falling for each other. What we see is sex. Lots and lots of sex. If we were witnesses to more moments like casual conversations and just hanging out their falling for each other would probably make more sense.
One thing that I found sort of odd was the mention on pheromones and how often Cassie’s nostrils flared. Okay, a couple of times is not too odd but I swear it was mentioned so many times I lost count. I can see how she would notice things like that because that was proof for her that she was aroused and attracted sexually to Tuck (she is, after all, looking at it through a logical mind) but c’mon… It was just weird after a while.
This book is part of a series and it’s following a new trend: a series where each installment is written by a different author. Sometimes that works but I find that it’s hard to get attached to the other characters in the book, those who will eventually get their own stories, because the authors don’t know them that well. They know the one they write and that’s about it. So I didn’t find myself interested in picking up the first book or the next books because I didn’t feel anything really for the other women in the story. I’m sure the others are good books but I am not inclined to automatically put them on my wish list after reading this book.
The story read well and the pacing was good. Girl Least Likely to Marry was, overall, a cute story about discovering ones feelings after having ignored them for most of your life but perhaps not told at its full potential.(less)
Iron Night by ML Brennan is the second installment in my newest favorite series. Generation V was released last year and it quickly became one of my favorite reads of the year. Fort and Suzume are such well crafted characters and the world the author produced is absolutely unique. It’s a book that stayed with me long after I was finished reading it and I was very anxious for the second book to release. You could say I had very high hopes for book two and I am happy to say that the book met each and every one of my expectations.
And then some.
Fort is a vampire but he has not finished transitioning into a full vampire yet. That means he’s a little bit vampire and a little bit human. When we meet him in book one he is fighting what he is becoming, vulnerable and scared. When we see him in this second book, he is a bit more comfortable with his role in his family and his ‘race’, but he’s still learning. In fact, his brother is showing him the ropes. That opening scene is SO FUNNY! Lines such as “This is why we don’t name or pet the goats.” made me laugh so hard. I love the humor in these books. It’s smart and witty humor – my favorite kind.
But back to Fort.
He is more confident but he still has that awkwardness and vulnerability that makes him so likable and so endearing. But I loved his growth and I love his moral making. He’s not cold like a vampire usually should be – he truly cares about the wellbeing of others, friends and strangers alike, and that is yet another thing I love about him.
Can you tell that I absolutely adore this character? He is definitely going on my favorite character list.
Another character that I absolutely love is Suzume. She is a kitsune, a fox shifter. She is unapologetic and sassy and suits Fort to a tee. The thing is they don’t seem to know this yet. But their chemistry is amazing, their dialogue is awesome and their scenes together are some of my favorite. She was sent to guard Fort in the first book and this time around she becomes his partner when they are trying to solve a mystery that Fort thinks he’s inadvertently involved in.
Which brings us to the story in this book.
Fort’s roommate, the first good one he’s had in ages, turns up murdered and Fort is wondering if it has anything to do with him and what he was responsible for in the first book. Turns out, the fae are involved and what is going on is EXTRA messed up! Amazing that ML’s imagination could even go there! The mystery part of the story really kept me on my toes. Let’s be honest though, there is no way anyone could figure out what was going on or who the ultimate bad guy was in this before you actually read it and your jaw hits the floor. And you wrinkle your nose. Because really…ew.
We meet a new character in this book that I really took to. Her name is Lilah and she hurt my head. What I mean by that is she is just a perfect match for Fort! I know I said that Suzume was, and I still think she is good for him, but Lilah really is just like him except she’s fae and he’s vampire. I wanted to only feel Suzume was compatible but here Lilah is, all sweet and cute and perfect and strong… I wanted to dislike her because she is ruining my perfect romantic image in my head for this series and yet I also found myself sort of rooting for her to hook up with Fort. How messed up is that?! ML did a fantastic job writing Lilah and, even though I want Suzume and Fort to wake up and hook up someday, I would still like to see Lilah in future books. She really was a sweet character.
I love where the book left off and where it is leading the series. Love the direction it seems to be going in. Of course, this means I can’t wait for the next book, Tainted Blood, which will be released later in 2014.
There are many fantastic scenes in this book but the one I keep going back to is the very last one. In that scene, our little Fort grows balls! And I loved it. I must have re-read that scene alone at least a dozen times. So awesome.
Generation V introduced us to a family of vampires unlike any you’ve ever met and introduced us to its youngest member. It also warmed your heart while keeping you on the edge of your seat. Iron Night expands on the characters in the series and the chemistry between them. It also expands on the world ML has created, showing us even more creatures that lurk within it. Iron Night did a wonderful job continuing Fort’s tale.
If you are looking for an exceptional urban fantasy read, you must check out Generation V and Iron Night. These are some of the best urban fantasy books I’ve read…ever. The style, the pace, the voice, the characters, the world, the story…all outstanding. A MUST for your bookshelves.
Off the Edge is the second book in Carolyn Crane’s The Associates romantic suspense series. This is a series that features super smart-geeky-extra sexy heroes. Love that! Geeky can be smexy and Carolyn Crane does a great job showing us that.
This time the story focuses on Peter Macmillan (*squee*) and Laney. Laney is hiding from an evil/crazy ex. She is staying with friends at a hotel in Bangkok where she is performing as well. She is a lounge singer but not like any lounge singer you’ve met before. Her songs are…different, a little weird yet almost haunting. Macmillan is at the hotel on a job with the Association. He is trying to foil the sale of one of the deadliest weapons ever. He is their language expert and is in need of information. He is instantly drawn to Laney and there is something about Macmillan that draws her too.
Macmillan is awesome. Just damaged enough to make him interesting and really sexy. There is just something about him that is hard to resist. And his job is so…cool! How Carolyn describes his work was easily my favorite part of this book. It impressed the hell out of me. Carolyn did tons of research and shares her newfound knowledge of linguistic professionals with her readers. Her description of Macmillan and his work is incredibly detailed and fascinating. To know that some people can analyze words to that extent and that they can track down killers and other evil-doers just from certain tones of voice or the intonation of certain sounds in words is astounding.
Who would have thought language could be so fascinating…or sexy?!
Laney was okay for me. I liked the pictures she painted with the words in her songs and I totally get how she is a great match for Macmillan. I also liked how she thought of him and took care of him. I did sometimes feel she was a bit naive and wished she was a bit stronger but I understand where her innocence came from.
Carolyn built some pretty impressive suspense into this story. When you think things are clear or things are going one way, they switch. Lots of fun to read. And the ultimate bad guy actually surprised me! For some reason I did not think he would come into play, yet he did! Well done Carolyn.
Other members of the Association played some somewhat important roles in this book and it only made me want more from them! Dax, Zelda, Thorne, Rio…I want them each to have a book and I want their books now! But alas, I will have to wait for most, but not for Thorne as it is his turn next. No release date yet but I am hoping it will at least be this year. *sends subliminal messages to Carolyn “edit faster Carolyn…edit faster…”*
Overall, I was impressed with Off the Edge. No, the heroine wasn’t my favorite ever but the other characters, the suspense and the intricate knowledge of language more than made up for that. I am truly enjoying this series.(less)
Uncharted is a follow up novella to the hugely popular book, On the Island by Tracey Garvis-Graves. I adored that book. Absolutely adored it.
One of the best parts of On the Island was the tone. It was not a light read in the least but it still managed to put a warm feeling in your heart while you were reading it. And the ending…wow. It is the very definition of a feel-good book. Uncharted captures the essence that is On the Island perfectly.
When Anna and TJ were stranded on the island they discovered a cabin and a human skeleton. There was a name in the cabin: Owen Sparks. Uncharted tells the story of Owen and his time on the island and explains some of the questions that came up in the full length book.
Owen went to the uninhabited island voluntarily. After working like mad to make a fortune, he pretty much burned out by the time he was 23. He wanted to get away from everyone and everything and thought leaving humanity behind and embarking on an adventure to a deserted island was the perfect plan. He hired a pilot to take him to the island and once a month he would return for Owen so he could go to the mainland to restock on supplies, get a shower, etc. He was on the island for 15 months and during that time decided to teach himself how to build a house. Near the end of his stay, he meets Calia and her brother James and invites them to join him when he returns to his temporary home. Owen loves the company and finds himself falling for Calia. Unfortunately, tragedy strikes the trio and changes everything.
Tracey writes amazing characters. Her story is simple but you can’t help but get completely lost in it and it’s because of how she writes her characters. Think about it – this book follows one man alone on an island…and I couldn’t put it down. The emotion created by the story is just wonderful. I completely felt Owen and where he came from and how lost he felt. I reveled in his accomplishment and was happy for him when he started to realize he found a match. I loved him and I loved Calia too.
This is not a novella you can read on its own. Why? Well, it’s because at the beginning of the book, Owen is at Anna and TJ’s door waiting to talk to them. If you have not read On the Island, you won’t enjoy this novella as much. Owen’s parts of the story will be interesting to you but the Anna and TJ parts will lose its sparkle. But if you have read the full book then you will love to see how these two are doing. There are chapters that are told from TJ and Anna’s perspectives and learning how they are reacting to Owen’s story is really incredible. How Owen was there by choice and they were not. How the environment affected Owen and how it affected Anna and TJ. So many things, so many comparisons – to see it from not only Owen but the others’ point of view is fascinating.
The only other thing there is to say is that Tracey did it again with this book. The characters are lovely, the story is lovely and the feel-good-perfect ending is lovely. Uncharted is a MUST for On the Island fans.
Charming is the first book in Elliott James’ new Pax Arcana series. I have read a few reviews for this book and I have seen quite a few ratings and unfortunately, they have not always been complimentary. After reading this book, I can see how some did not enjoy reading this as much as they wished they did. But let me tell you something, I am not one of those people. I really enjoyed this book.
Let me tell you why.
I loved John Charming. I loved his voice, his wit and his snark. He is a Knight (someone who hunts paranormal beings) but he’s also half-werewolf. He does not shift but that does not matter to his kin. He is part enemy and therefore must be destroyed. So John has been on the run for most of his life and until now, didn’t mind too too much. The issue now is that he has met a group of people, and one in particular, that is making him want to settle where he is but he knows that it not possible. So he is brooding and a little pissered. But he sucks it up because deep down, he’s still a Knight and knows he needs to help rid the world of evil paranormals. So even against his better judgement, he sticks around for a while and helps his new friends find and defeat a crazy vampire queen and her nest.
I just really loved how complex John was. Elliott wrote him so well that you can completely relate to him. He has such a strong and rich history and most of that comes from the stories John shares either as external or internal dialogue.
The idea of the Pax Arcana is also very interesting. It’s a spell of sorts that makes ordinary humans think and feel different things when facing the paranormal. That way, they stay hidden and we either forget or just think we are suffering from temporary insanity. I loved how Elliott used real-life situations that we have all encountered and made them seem like the work of the Pax Arcana. So clever on his part!
There were a few scenes that sort of came out of nowhere (there is one scene with a ghost in particular) and then the story went right back which was a bit odd. These ‘out of nowhere scenes’ did share some important information but they still just felt stuck in to make sure we got said info. I also found this was the way Sig was written, which brings me to pretty much the only real issue I had with this book. Sig.
I did not have an issue with Sig per say. I had an issue with how she was developed over the course of the book. Sig is a mystery at first, which is fine. John is intrigued by her. Basically, he finds her hot. Eventually, he finds her smart and loyal and clever and and and… The problem for me was that we don’t see that from her. It’s like we missed the part where all those qualities are demonstrated to us. We learn more later and it then clicks a bit, but by then John is smitten and you’re left wondering how he could have fallen so quickly when we just are just now finding out all of this great stuff about her! They do have good chemistry and I’m sure things will feel more natural and feel as though they make more sense in the next book but for this book, that feeling of missing chunks of important character development was prominent when it came to Sig and it made me wish I knew exactly what John saw in her. It was odd how John was so well written and Sig was lacking a bit.
Other than that, I found the story to be really solid, the premise quite different, the pacing good and the supporting characters enjoyable. And the villain was strong too. I was taken by surprise near the end when, in the middle of all of the action, the villain seems to change. But then doesn’t. Then does again. Basically the bad guy that you thought was the bad guy ends up not being the bad guy but then re-becomes the bad guy then gets replaced by an even bigger bad guy but does he really?!… I found Elliott did a great job with this and I am glad the villain met the end it did. *shudders*
I want to bring up one more important-to-me thing that I have read people have issues with. There is a lot of description and explaining in this story. Lots. Now if you follow my blog, you know that when it comes to description, I tend to be a skipper. I have trouble caring whether a door is blue or black or where the fruit that the hero is about to eat originates from. But in Charming, I wanted to know. I found myself reading each and every word because I just found it all so fascinating! The book is told in the first person from John’s perspective and his voice captured me so completely, I wanted to learn all about what he was saying. It also made the world Elliott built that much more captivating. As I was reading, I kept thinking back to Kevin Hearne and the way he writes his Atticus character in the Iron Druid Chronicles series. If you read those books then you know exactly what I mean by tons of backstory and explanations because that is exactly how Kevin writes them. But all of that ‘extra’ is really worth reading. If you are someone who is not into knowing everything about everything going on and showing up and being done on the page, then I can see how you would have an issue with Charming. But I really hope you don’t because it really does add layers to the story Elliott and John are telling.
All in all, I had trouble putting this book down. I just loved Charming. And the Sig issue and the ‘out of nowhere scenes’ issue I had weren’t enough to completely hinder my reading. It was more of a ‘hmm…I wish that didn’t happen’ than an ‘Aug!’. I thought of this book long after I finished reading it and I find myself wondering how the next book will go because really, with the info we got at the end of this book, it could go anywhere. Elliott created an extremely strong male lead in John, one who I can’t wait to read again.(less)
Something odd happened to me with this book. While reading, I could not put it down! I can’t say it’s because it was the best book ever but I was curious to know how everything would turn out – even though I already knew because most of it was quite predictable. But still, I found myself feeling sad when I had to put the book down to go make supper or wake the kids. That in itself isn’t the odd thing. This is: I was all excited about this book but as soon as I finished it and started thinking about it, I suddenly found myself a little bummed out by it. I knew while reading it that it was not perfect but that fact hit me harder during my ‘after-reading-glow’. Now I find myself frustrated by some of what happened in the story. And now that I said all that, let me explain what was good and what was not so good about this book.
What I liked about the book –
Love Overdue by Pamela Morsi is about DJ, the new librarian in a small and tiny town, and Scott, the town’s pharmacist. DJ is very excited to start a new life even though she is more of a big city gal than a small and tiny town girl. I liked DJ’s enthusiasm. She was cute and I didn’t mind her character at all. I didn’t mind Scott either. He was nice and yummy. Both were well written.
The book was well paced and hard to put down (as I mentioned above).
James. I loved James’ character. He is severely autistic, an older gentleman, who works at the library. I found him to be well written and for some reason he always put a smile on my face.
Amos. Another character I quite enjoyed reading. A big heart in that one and I hope he finds a HEA with the woman he is interested in because they would make a great couple.
Scott and DJ have great chemistry. And I’m not just talking ‘in the sac’ chemistry but in their dialogue and their banter too.
The town itself is wonderful. I do love small town based contemporary romance books and this town was one of the good ones.
It’s set in a library! Do I really need to explain this one further?
What I didn’t love about this book –
There is a suicide subplot that I absolutely didn’t understand the point of. When I started reading the book, the author started hinting that Scott’s mom was contemplating suicide. I was really hoping I was reading things wrong because I didn’t like that as a direction for her storyline. But alas, I ended up being right. I understand that some people who lose their long time spouse have trouble moving forward but I didn’t feel enough despair from her to think her idea of suicide was, for lack of a better term, acceptable. It didn’t suit her. She planned it all in private and Scott never even found out about it! So this storyline was just her planning and chatting about it to a dog. It added a heaviness to the story that was absolutely not necessary and I feel it did not progress the plot at all either. I just didn’t get it. Why bum people out for no reason other than to add some heaviness to the story.
DJ and Scott met years ago and had a hot one night stand. DJ sometimes refers to this night of wild passion as “a mistake”. I never understood why she would do that. It showed both Scott and DJ what could be had. They were both consenting adults and no one got hurt/pregnant/sick or any such thing by it. So why was it really such a big mistake when it was not to go anywhere anyways? They were young! I found that a little disjointed. Also, Scott didn’t realize that DJ was the woman he slept with (and has been pining over) all those years ago. When he finally finds out, his reaction is not described. It all happens off the page! I would have loved to see his reaction because I bet it was good.
You can tell that the author tried to add elements of surprise to her story but things were really quite predictable. It was still entertaining because even though I knew what was going to happen I still was not positive how the characters were going to react once the surprises were revealed. So that is not a total point against this book but a small one.
So all of this to say that overall, this was not a horrible book. It captivated me while I read it. I just found that there were a few things that were added that didn’t advance the story and when I got to those scenes, I just wanted the book to go back to Scott and DJ. I don’t like feeling that while I read; I want to enjoy the whole of the book. But the setting was good and the characters were solid. Not a bad read, just not my favorite.
Vengeance Borne is the first book in Amanda Bonilla’s shiny new series, Sentry of Evil. This series revolves around Jax, a Hunter (one who kicks evil’s ass). You also have Finn, Micah and Trish who are Bearers (one who helps the Hunter do her job). And of course on top of that you have the creepy crazy evil beings that Amanda managed to conjure within her imagination.
Before I chat characters and story, let me explain Hunters and Bearers a bit better. Hunters are pretty straight forward. They are essentially demon and other evil doer hunters and killers. Bearers are a bit more complicated. They are a Hunter’s support. Bearers are empaths and can remove excess aggressive emotion from a Hunter. They can heal their Hunters too. And, they feel what went down at a scene and help the Hunter know what she is dealing with. The idea of a Bearer is very interesting.
Jax (Jacquelyn) is a solid character. It is mentioned a few times in the book that there is more to her than even she knows and you feel that as you are reading her.
Finn and Trish. The jury’s still out on how I feel about Finn. I suppose he’s not a bad guy since he’s Jax’s ex and she’s a pretty cool chick. He’s just in a bad place in this book. He and Jax just broke up and he still loves her. He wants her to understand that they are supposed to be together. So you see, he’s heartbroken! So he’s allowed to be a bit of an arse. Let’s just not focus on the whole ‘murders happening in town and there is a chance he’s responsible’ thing. Yeah…just don’t focus on that. As for Trish, she is like the wise old lady in tale. I liked her a lot and hope to see more of her and her wisdom in future installments (book two will be released sometime in 2014).
Micah. He is such a mess when we first meet him. Amanda did such a wonderful job writing him since not once do you feel like smacking him – which is saying something. What I mean by that is it would be very easy to write such a messed up character and have him not be relatable. But Amanda manages to find a nice balance with Micah. You feel sad for him and intrigued by him and you want him to figure things out and be happy. You may also sort of want to see him end up with Jax *grin*. Right now, that is the direction that I am leaning but that may be because I didn’t get the full ‘Finn experience’. I just know there is more to both Finn and Micah and I am looking forward to finding out what that is.
The story is very well written. Someone is murdering people in town. Well, murdering is not the right word for it – these people are being ripped apart. Literally. Amanda keeps us guessing for a long time in this book. She plants hints here and there and you wonder if they are to help us solve things or confuse us. She really did a good job writing the ‘who-done-it’ part of this book.
Amanda has a real talent for world building. We see it in her Shaede Assassin series and we see it in Vengeance Borne too. It’s a world that is quite different from ours but not so much so that we can’t relate to it or place ourselves in it. Also, her characters are quite strong and the story is gripping. Vengeance Borne is definitely worth reading.
I want to write this without any spoilers. From this book, that will be no problem. From the last books, I’m not sure I can. In fact, I can’t. Otherwise this review would be so vague it would make no sense whatsoever. I’ll keep it under control though but just be warned. If you have not read the previous book, you will learn little things in this review. Also if you have not read the last books, what are you waiting for? This is a fantastic and exciting series!
Cursed by Destiny is the third book in Cecy Robson’s Weird Girls series. So far, I have been very impressed with this series and after finishing this book, I am still very impressed. The characters are so charismatic you can’t help but want to follow them, the pace is relentless in the very best of ways and the story makes your eyes bug out of your head while you scratch your head wondering in equal parts how Cecy ever came up with such a thing and ‘ZOMG is this really happening?’
The series is told from Celia’s point of view. She is a shifter (tigress) and also has some other powers that are way cool. In the last book, Celia suffered devastating heart break. Can you ever feel her pain and torment in this book! It is really written well. And sometimes it seems like it’s a lot but we have to remember that Celia’s mate is lost so her heart is more than just broken. All of this heartache and all of the scenes where you want her to get over it are important to her growth. She needs to know that yes, she needs him but she is also strong and awesome in her own right. She is also really growing as a warrior in this book and that was a real treat to see.
Aric, a werewolf, is also going through some serious heartache but you can’t feel as badly for him as you do Celia. That’s just because he’s a dude, I’m convinced of this lol. So yes, there are scenes where I want to smack him but I completely understand his dilemma. Don’t mean I like it, but I understand it and I accept it. Mostly.
Celia’s sisters, as always, were done justice by Cecy. I especially liked Emme in this book. She is growing out of her quiet self and becoming a stronger character and I really like that. She also has some pretty emotional scenes yet she picks herself up and is able to move on well-ish while showing everyone she is in control of her destiny. As I said, I really liked her in this book.
Micha, a vampire, felt more natural this time around. He’s always been interesting but I am starting to see how he may actually have genuine feelings for Celia. I like how he is trying to have Celia develop and discover her powers…even if that is not quite her idea of a good time. And Tye…interesting that one. I want to know more. Chang and Ying-Ying were also interesting and fun characters and I hope we see more of them in future installments.
One more little group of characters I want to mention…the catholic school girl vampires. They were amazing in this book! So funny!
The story is…fast and furious. Many death attempts occur and explosions and demon beings trying to destroy the world and… You know, the usual for a Weird Girls book. You will never be bored reading one of these, that is for sure!
The ending. Oh the ending. We who read this series are used to Cecy sharing some pretty significant information with her readers in the very last sentences of her books and leaving us thinking “What?! The book ends here?! But I want to know!” Well…that ain’t nothing like the bomb she drops at the end of this book. And it comes out of nowhere…and just leaves you there! When you read it you are thinking “What the hell?! She can’t DARE leave us like this?! I NEED to know what happens next!!!” Unfortunately, we don’t know when we’ll learn what happens next as there is no release date yet for the next book. So we’ll just have to wait here. Patiently. Yeah…I don’t do patient well…
Cecy released a novella titled A Cursed Moon last month. I don’t think it’s necessary to read it before cracking this latest installment open but I would strongly recommend it. There are some happenings that occur in that booklet that you witness the results of in this book and if you, like me, read the book before the novella, you will read something…then feel you have to read it again because you obviously missed something. Things are sort of explained quickly but you still feel as though you missed some major happenings.
All in all, Cursed by Destiny was a wonderful continuation to the series and just an all around exciting and entertaining read.(less)
Bitter Spirits is the first book in Jenn Bennett’s new Roaring Twenties paranormal romance series. As the name suggests, this series is set in the 1920’s. Now most of you know by now that I don’t read many historical romance books as I have trouble clicking with them. Makes no sense but there it is. But apparently I have no trouble clicking with the 20’s because holy cow, this book was awesome.
Bitter Spirits tells the tale of Aida, a spirit medium and Winter, the perfect sort of alpha hero.
Let’s start with Aida.
I really found her character to be endearing. She is strong, smart and sassy and won’t take lip from anyone. I loved her spunk. I thought it was fun that she is described as full of freckles. You don’t see that often in romance books, but this little detail made Aida even more accessible to me. She’s just awesome.
Now let’s talk about Winter. OMG did I ever love him! He is alpha to the bone but he is my new favorite sort of macho man. He is bossy but not an absolute arse. I love how he is around Aida. And I love how lost he gets when he realizes it’s love. There is just something about an alpha man in love – it’s just too cute and ‘awww’ worthy. I love how he woos Aida. I love how he treats his sister and his employees. I love everything about him and think he is one of the yummiest men I have ever read.
I love how Jenn wrote their romance. Its progression is so natural. These are two people who are incredibly attracted to each other but are trying to fight it. Okay, scratch that. Winter is not trying to fight it but he is not thinking love and commitment either. Aida just wants to be left alone…or does she??? And let’s talk about the sexy times. I read erotica – not often, but I do – and I found the lovin’ in this book to be even hotter than some of what I’ve read from that genre. Oh my goodness, they are so hot! I am not saying that Jenn wrote super x-rated porn-worthy scenes. The truth is, when you look at those scenes at face value, they don’t seem all that steamy but there is something about the way they are written. The chemistry between the characters. And also the time period adds to it. It’s the 1920′s so flings aren’t considered proper. So add in a bit of that ‘naughtiness’ to Aida and Winter’s love scenes and you have fireworks!
The world Jenn writes is fantastic. Then again, it’s not a real surprise since Jenn’s world in her Arcadia Bell series is one of the most unique and interesting out there. Jenn brought prohibition into her story and it really adds an extra level of excitement. It also help completely submerge you into the era she has written in. This is a paranormal romance but not in your usual ‘vampire and weres’ sense. It focuses on the supernatural and magic. Totally cool. I liked witnessing Aida calling on spirits. It never felt hokey or silly.
The story is great fun. Winter hires Aida to rid a ghost who is following him. The kicker being he shouldn’t be able to see ghosts to begin with! And the ghosts that follow him are mean and unlike ghosts Aida usually sees. So it all becomes a mystery. And quite suspenseful. Why are the ghosts the way they are? Why can Winter spot them? What do they want with him? And I did not see who the ultimate bad guy was until it was revealed. Great story, great mystery, great adventure.
There are plenty of secondary characters in this book and they are all well done. To note would be Winter’s sister, Astrid. She is just a teenager but I like her already. We also meet and see quite a bit of Bo, Winter’s assistant. He is awesome and I am liking the idea of him having his own book someday. But next up in the series is Lowe, Winter’s brother. He is only mentioned in the book. What do we know? HE’s an archeologist. That’s pretty much it. So I can’t wait to meet him and whoever his lady ends up being. His book is called Grim Shadows and it’s due to release June 3rd 2014.
Overall, I really really enjoyed Bitter Spirits. It’s a new and fresh spin on paranormal romance, filled with wonderful characters and an exciting story. Jenn proves once again that her writing talent knows no bounds. This is definitely a book worth checking out.(less)