Making Face is a beautiful coming of age story about love, loss, sacrifice, acceptance, and forgiveness. Faint hints of Beauty and the Beast tell the...moreMaking Face is a beautiful coming of age story about love, loss, sacrifice, acceptance, and forgiveness. Faint hints of Beauty and the Beast tell the story of a plain looking girl with a heart of gold who has loved the town's golden boy for most of her life. When he returns from war, scarred and disillusioned, her love and friendship helps to break him out of the dark shell he is confined to.
A heartfelt romantic story that follows a town through it's ups and downs; revolving around the lives of three special people. A strong religious undertone doesn't detract but rather adds to the emotional appeal of the story. (less)
Blurb: The Edge lies between worlds, on the border between the Broken, where people shop at Wal-Mart and m...moreJOINT REVIEW: Reviewed by Tori, May and Mandi
Blurb: The Edge lies between worlds, on the border between the Broken, where people shop at Wal-Mart and magic is a fairy tale—and the Weird, where blueblood aristocrats rule, changelings roam, and the strength of your magic can change your destiny…
Charlotte de Ney is as noble as they come, a blueblood straight out of the Weird. But even though she possesses rare magical healing abilities, her life has brought her nothing but pain. After her marriage crumbles, she flees to the Edge to build a new home for herself. Until Richard Mar is brought to her for treatment, and Charlotte’s life is turned upside down once again.
Richard is a swordsman without peer, future head of his large and rambunctious Edger clan—and he’s on a clandestine quest to wipe out slavers trafficking humans in the Weird. So when his presence leads his very dangerous enemies to Charlotte, she vows to help Richard destroy them. The slavers’ operation, however, goes deeper than Richard knows, and even working together, Charlotte and Richard may not survive…
Tori: I’m all about Charlotte. Man, she freaking ROCKED!! I also loved seeing a more of George and Jack. They have always been a huge draw for me to this series. The slaver plot was original and facilitated the romance well. What was up with the ending though? Andrews said this was it. They said they would revisit for the kids but it this was the end. The ending left a bit too much open for my liking. Will they revisit Sophie also?
May: I want to first say, I thought this book was a great way to wrap-up the threads that they had going while leaving things wide open to come back and visit Jack, George, and Sophie/Lark in the future in their own unique way. I really truly hope that they will come back to that when inspired.
For me, this book felt less romance and more Urban Fantasy which I really dug. It was like being in the middle of such an intense situation and world – and there happened to be a budding romance to be found as well. The entire book I’d say was intense, and I felt like they really went for it with this one – nothing held back.
Mandi: My initial thoughts on the books are: #1 – The team of Ilona Andrews are amazing storytellers. While this didn’t have the same romantic impact as previous books in this series, it didn’t bother me. Their storytelling ability is so engrossing, I could not get enough of these characters. #2 – The ‘kids’ (they are growing up so fast *sniffle) Jack and George steal every single book. And I’m totally okay with that. I expect them to. They are absolutely amazing characters. #3 – Ilona Andrews doesn’t write safe. Meaning – they don’t hold back. People die violent deaths. Crap happens. I love it. It’s so realistic for the world their characters live in.
Tori: Steel’s Edge reminded me of the first book in the series and was definitely more Urban Fantasy than PNR . We were immediately embroiled into the lives of two extremely charismatic protagonists with a perfect blending of action and background. The slaver storyline helped to wrap up all the loose ends and bridge the gap between the Edge with the Weird-joining everyone together. I literally could not put it down.
Charlotte was amazing. I loved everything about her. Strong, loyal, intelligent, and in absolute control of her life. I liked that she wasn’t made a victim to be pitied or to be saved by Richard. Her magic and the spin they put on it was fantastic and played out without a hitch. Richard was the perfect match for her. He also has had grief, pain, and betrayal in his life so he could understand where she was coming from and understood her emotional and mental state. He accepted her for what she was and expected nothing from her except for her to be herself. . I also enjoyed that she called him out when he was being a moron. lolol
Mandi: I really enjoyed these two characters. Together they were ok (I wasn’t super convinced of their love, but like I said, this book definitely had a UF feel, so I can kind of forgive an unconvincing romance). Charlotte was a great character. Fighting the darkness within her, but at the same time, using it to get revenge. Richard too – a fighter. Never gives up. Lonely, but finding companionship in Charlotte. If Ilona Andrews ever decides to write a book for them, I will weep with joy. I’m not kidding.
May: I really enjoyed this couple both individually and together. I liked how they saw the potential for a really great match in one another, and approached the relationship at a time and pace I found fitting with the story as well. While burned, I felt like they were not without a small spark of hope. They’ve each been so busy with their work that all hope for a romance in future was not extinguished, while hardened on the outside both are still such tender people that want true love and happiness – I really got invested in their story.
While we don’t have to talk specifics (don’t wanna spoil things) – can we just talk about the plot twists in this book? For me, they start from the very beginning and carry on all the way through the end and I loved it! Oh, the twists were sometimes painful or ugly, and one made me cry a bit, but I really was impressed with how this story was crafted. It really brought together this world of the Weird and the Edge (as you mentioned before, Tori), and I was completely on the edge of my seat- they made it pretty clear that nothing was safe and anything could happen!
Tori: I have always admired the fact that the Ilona and Gordon don’t shy away from the brutal but also don’t use it for mere shock value. I loved the new characters we met ( J and Miko). I wish we had seen them from the beginning. They were such viable characters, I would have loved to watched them throughout the entire series. I found it very interesting how close the villains and the heroes were in here. It reminded me of the saying-A Gentleman’s War-when enemies would fight each other during the day but sit and sup together in the evening. I was amazed at some of the paths the plot lines went down.(some tears were shed). They managed to pull together an arc that had 18 different substories going on, resolve them, and make it all make sense. I’m sad this series is ending here, I really think it finally clicked in this installment. The action, suspense, romance…it all balanced perfectly. I give this a B+
May: I couldn’t agree more Tori! This was definitely an A read for me.
Mandi: They did a great job with the plot twists in this one. It’s gritty and non-stop action. With the various things going on in this book, it could have all gotten tangled and confusing but instead we get a lush, rich world with action and characters that are developed so well. I give it a B+. Highly recommend this entire series.(less)
Free spirited Cath Talarico has made plenty of mistakes, some she has forgiven herself for and others that sit in silence, simmering, waiting for the...moreFree spirited Cath Talarico has made plenty of mistakes, some she has forgiven herself for and others that sit in silence, simmering, waiting for the catalysis that will set them free. She comes to London, England to make a fresh start. Nev Chamberlain has had it with his stuffy, overbearing family. He wants a life beyond banking and settling down with a suitable wife. When these two shining lonely stars meet, the cosmos explode. But can two obviously different people find a life together? With a lot of love and a little luck, Cath and Nev are about to find out.
Ruthie Knox's About Last Night is what romance is all about. Love, laughter, emotional turmoil, heartbreak, and forgiveness. And smexytimes. Don't forget the smexytimes. I adored Cath and Nev. Both struggling with the burden their families placed on them. Cath doesn't want to be the impulsive girl she was growing up but Nev brings out the wild child in her. Nev wants, no need, Cath's wildness. Her boundless spirit gives him courage to be who he wants and not who his parents want him to be.
I love the journey Ms. Knox takes them on. Nev falls head over heels for Cath and vice versa, but Cath's past and emotional issues has her doing everything possible to push him away. I loved the fact that Nev didn't downplay her problems or choices. He understood that, even though he thought everything could be worked out, Cath had to realize that for herself. The journey is hard, pitfalls litter the way, yet Ms. Knox allows for hope and courage. The ending is a masterpiece in it's revealing.
Favorite Quote: “…that insane need to consume the other person. He didn’t know what it meant, but he held on to the feeling and put it back in the emb...moreFavorite Quote: “…that insane need to consume the other person. He didn’t know what it meant, but he held on to the feeling and put it back in the embrace.“
Police officer Samuel Briggs came to the small town of Stratton, PA in order to escape his painful past. All he wants is to fix up his house, work his shifts, and find some peace and quiet. He can’t handle another relationship, but finds himself tempted by the short order cook at the Dixie Cup diner.
Rey King lives to work. Cook, handyman, salesmen…Rey does it all. Relationships have no place in his busy schedule. Sam’s strength calls to him though and after a no strings attached night of sex, a cautious friendship forms. But Rey and Sam both have scars from the past that could destroy the fragile foundation they have formed unless they can be honest with one another. And themselves.
A.M. Arthur’s debut, Cost Of Repairs, is a emotionally heart tugging male/male romance about pain, loss, and forgiveness. Smoothly written with a viable plot and interesting sub plots that intertwine and pull together to give us a poignant realistic story. Engaging characters and descriptions add to the overall “small town” appeal that the story’s foundation is built upon.
Our protagonists, Sam and Rey, are tortured individuals. Both have suffered a devastating loss that has crippled them emotionally and chained them in their pasts. Officer Sam Briggs left New Mexico after his boyfriend was the victim of a fatal hate crime. When he finds himself unable to go forward, he leaves his family and friends and moves to Stratton, PA with only his possessions and a devastated heart. Rey (Reign) King is a short order cook who is continuously paying for crime he didn’t commit. He finds himself teetering on the brink of ruin each and every day; buried on obligations he feels committed to carrying.
The author does a wonderful job of introducing Sam and Rey in the present, then revealing their individual pasts slowly to coincide with events happening now. Their layers are peeled back, allowing us to understand where they came from and where they are at now. Sam’s an instinctive protector. He feels the need to help Rey in the beginning and offers him friendship and an ear. As their relationship progresses, he realizes that Rey has become more than just a friend; he has become very important to him. The relationship is taken slowly with plenty of emotional and physical tension. These two men are not easy and it stands to reason that their romance would not be either. They are both scared of loss and are reluctant to allow someone into a position that could hurt them again.
The sexual side of the relationship is sweet and emotionally sticky. In it we are offered even more insight into Sam and Rey. I really liked that their relationship isn’t made a sticky point with the town or the residents. While neither is shouting their sexual nature from the rooftops, they also aren’t hiding it.
The main conflict and subsequent conflicts are used to facilitate Sam and Rey’s relationship. Each problem mirrors a past issue that Sam and Rey are dealing with. The solutions are used to help heal the past. With these problems comes the introductions of the secondary characters who play equally important roles. The staff of the Dixie Cup who love both Rey and Sam to Sam’s buddies on the police force. I loved the easy familiarity of the diner and the support Sam and Rey receive when problems present themselves.
The ending is the dramatic final straw that breaks Sam and Rey and forces them to confront their deepest fears. I admit I didn’t see this particular situation coming but it’s played out with delicious hyper tense awareness that has you wide eyed with shock.
I thoroughly enjoyed A.M. Arthur’s debut romance and look forward to reading more.
Favorite Quote: “We are all just chess pieces to you, aren’t we? Little dolls you can move around and play with however you like. “
Dark Frost, the third book in Jennifer Estep’s action packed Mythos Academy series, starts off with a BANG as Gwen and her fellow Mythos Academy students find themselves at the mercy of Reapers when they all meet up at a museum for a school report. With weapons flashing and blood spilling, Gwen shows off her improved swordplay while her BFF Daphne finally comes into her powers. When Gwen finds a map that one of the reapers drop, she realizes that the Reapers are looking for the last artifact they need to wake Loki, and they believe it is on school grounds. Gwen knows her mother hide the artifact and died protecting that secret so she feels it’s up to her to find it before the Reapers do.
I adore this series. Ms Estep’s voice is resplendent through here as she balances the normal everyday life of teenagers with fascinating, evolving mythological world building. Steady pacing firmly engages you into the storyline while witty, snarky dialogue keeps you entertained. This is a wicked fun series. We aren’t overwhelmed with intricate plots or long drawn out angst. Multiple subplots intertwine throughout but never confuse or isolate you from the main storyline. Heavily character driven, I found myself able to sink right back into Gwen’s world without a single misstep.
Dark Frost is the game changing book of the series. Friendship, betrayal, and forgiveness are the three key components this story is built upon. We see a huge emotional, mental, and metaphysical growth in Gwen that heightens the anticipation of where this series is headed. Gwen learns and deals with so much in here that it’s almost impossible to touch upon without spoiling. Lets just say that fans will NOT be disappointed.
The secondary characters continue to expand and develop; defining themselves into top spots with our protagonist. Daphne is the perfect bff for Gwen. Snarky yet supportive. Her love for her geek is sweet and I like the direction Ms. Estep has taken Daphne. Gwen continues to solidify her place at Mythos with new friends and deepening her relationships with others. Ms. Estep captures her characters perfectly in here. It is a realistic blend of child/adult. They speak and react as any real teenager might and it only adds to the overall enjoyment. Everything and everyone has their place and Ms. Estep knows exactly when and where to put them. Gwen’s romance with her Spartan bad boy continues to remain bittersweet though fans will be happy with some decisions that are finally made. They both continue to flirt and fight with one another throughout the story, which only adds to the enjoyment. While you experience the some heart wrenching moments with them, we really wouldn’t want it any other way.
The main conflict is a shocking mix of machiavellian proportions. Action packed with a heavy mixture of suspense and tension as we follow Gwen to the very end. I am thrilled with the direction Ms. Estep has decided to take the storyline and quite pleased with the ending. Ms. Estep leaves a lot open for us to think about as we wait impatiently for the fourth installment of this series-Crimson Frost-which is set to release in January 2013. Dark Frost is a fantastic follow up to Kiss Of Frost and a must have for all YA fans who enjoy a rich blending of fun and serious wrapped around a healthy dose of fantasy. I do not recommend starting here if you are unfamiliar with the series. Though the main conflict is resolved at the end of each book, the long reaching arc is a continuation that requires starting at the beginning.
Favorite Scene: “Oh my god!” “What?” “You’re naked.” “I’m not naked.” “I’m blind.” “You’re not blind. I’m wearing pants.” “Oh.”
At the end of Second Grave On The Left, Charley Davidson, grim reaper extraordinaire, did the unthinkable and bound the sexy supermodel son of Satan to his physical body when he was about to off himself and exist only in his metaphysical form. That left super sexy man a not so very happy camper. So unhappy that super sexy man refuses to see or talk to Charley. Now Charley is now drinking copious amounts of stolen coffee (cause that’s the best tasting) to avoid sleep because Reyes comes to her in her dreams and does some remarkably blush worthy things to her body. His visits leave her exhausted and hurt. Charley senses the anger Reyes feels and she knows that he doesn’t want to be there with her, doing the things they do. When Charley is given a new missing persons case she figures this is the best way to get Reyes out of her head but when he breaks out of prison with a crazy story that the man he supposedly killed isn’t dead and he wants Charley to find him she realizes that coffee isn’t going to cut it anymore. All the while she is dealing with her guilt ridden father, a nun who “eavesdrops” on the voices in her head, hot scruffy bikers, and a knife welding ghost who likes to pose as a hood ornament.
If you read no other books this year, you must stop and pick up Darynda Jones’s Third Grave Dead Ahead. A hilarious, wickedly sexy, action packed, mystery that will have you howling with laughter as you follow Charley and her overqualified, underpaid receptionist/ and bff Cookie into the exciting world of private investigation, coffee thievery, and boundary challenged ghosts. A strong character driven series, this urban fantasy takes you on a crazy laugh filled adventure with strong emotional story lines, multiple subplots, charismatic characters, and witty dialogue. Our heroine, Charley Davidson, is the Grim Reaper. She has spent her entire life solving mysteries; first for her father and uncle and then for herself. It’s only recently that she began to accept her duties and help the dead cross over. She is still unsure exactly what her place is in the universe but according to Reyes she is a portal to heaven that if breached will in able Hell to reign on earth. Not to put pressure on her or anything.
Charley’s character grows in here. There is an edge to her that is more apparent; horned by the events in book two. She’s standing up more for herself and not allowing her family ties to strangle her as much. Still wonderfully sassy and snarky, she balances business and pleasure with some of the most brilliant one liners out there. Noone is safe from her mouth. I love how she doesn’t take herself to seriously. Armed with lattes and her jeep Misery, she jumps head first into the world and takes it by storm. Things happen pretty fast in here and there is a lot going on that changes the direction in which Charley has been going. I really can’t say much without spoiling but lets just say that the war between heaven and hell is closer then you think and Charley doesn’t have much time left to figure out her powers.
Plenty of secondary characters help round out the book, adding depth and deception. Each one so well defined you can easily imagine them with their own story. We see old and new in here, expanding on the storyline and provide clues towards the rest of the series. They are all as every bit as crazy as Charley. Donovan, the biker gang leader who now owns the land and asylum where Rocket lives, is an interesting new character and I look forward to seeing more of him in Charley’s future. They have something in common, unknown to either of them, that promises much fun and hijinks. Charley and her sister Grace don’t have a lot of bonding time in here but they are steady becoming closer since revelations helped overcome some serious issues that kept them at odds.
“Before I tell you anything, I have to know three things.” “Okay.” “One, are you sitting down.” “Yes.” “Two, are you mentally stable.” “More then you’ll ever be.” “Well, that was uncalled for. And three, how so you spell schizophrenia?” “What does that have to do with anything?” “Nothing. I just wanted to see if you’d tell me.”
The best relationship in here is between Charley and her receptionist slash business partner slash bff, Cookie. The dialogue between them had me crying from laughing so hard.
”We need to talk.” “Does this have anything to do with the mustache I drew on you while you were sleeping the other night?” “No. This has to do with drugs.” “You’re on drugs?!?” “No. You are.” “I’m on drugs?!?”
They are two peas in a pod and the love between them is readily felt. Cookie is the only one who Charley truly believes loves her for who she is. Cookie doesn’t want anything from Charley and always has her back. They have a wonderful friendship that translates well in the storyline. I love seeing Cookie and watching her help Charley. She is such a spaz yet so adorable you can’t help but laugh and cheer her on. She is a great sidekick for Charley.
Of course, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the super sexy, mucho yummy, supermodel son of Satan; Reyes. Reyes has been a part of Charley’s life since she was born. Referred to as “dark and scary”, he paid a horrible price for trying to circumvent fate and arrange for he and Charley to live happily ever after. The sexual tension and chemistry between them literally burns up the pages, enhanced by the sense of danger and death that surrounds Reyes. As the son of Satan he is the ultimate temptation. He is also a demon and he warns Charley repeatedly that he will kill her to prevent world domination by his father. Your never really sure where he stands. Part him wants the fairytale ending and yet part of him sees her as the enemy. It’s hard to get a good fix because we don’t get his POV. He will love up on her one minute then threaten her the next. He’s a hand full.
There are three story lines in here that twist and turn around each other, coming together and resolving themselves towards the end. None of them are related to one another yet they all blend together fantastically. The ending is a high speed chase of action, suspense, and a quite a bit of intrigue as everything comes to a head and Charley is left once again holding the bag and trying to survive. All in all, Ms. Jones’s Third Grave Dead Ahead is a home run for 2012 and takes this series to a whole new level. I can’t wait for book four. I do not recommend reading this out of order as these books are not standalones.
Favorite Quote: “Your right, Sheriff, Noah’s got loose lips. It goes with his shifty eyes. “
Tinch Turner’s wife died after a long battle with cancer. Unable to handle her leaving him, he unconsciously begins a campaign to kill himself with alcohol and fighting. He meets the new ER doctor, Addison Spencer, when one particular bar fight leaves him lands him in the hospital. A beautiful woman who leaves Tinch cold with her brittle prickly personality. Addison has secrets of her own though. After spending her whole life trapped under her fathers thumb, she has come to hide in Harmony and try to discover who Addison Spencer really is. As Tinch and Addison circle around each other, each veterans to the pain human beings can inflict upon one another, they find themselves having to trust each other when a young child enters their lives and brings danger with him.
Regan Truman’s uncle is dying and that that leaves Regan feeling lost and abandoned. When Noah comes back to town with intentions of picking up where they left off, Regan realizes that she will forever love him but doesn’t really like who he has become. She begins to lean more upon the town and the people who have silently stood by her through thick and then, leaving Noah to face his own demons and wonder if his running cost him the only woman he ever loved.
Taylor Wright and his major have made a life together but Taylor wants the whole package and his major is dragging her feet. When the major is called away for one last mission, Taylor finds himself at a loss for this mission that may cost her life. As Taylor tries to contain his worries, Amber, his cook, brings a miracle into his life and soon Taylor finds the courage to seize his dreams with both hands.
In the 4th book of Jodi Thomas’s wonderful small town oriented series, Just Down The Road, we once again are submerged into the intricate relationships and the bonds that ties them together that make up the town of Harmony, Texas. Romance, friendship, and change all intertwine and revolve around one another as old and new friends try to live their lives in the best way they know how. Four main story lines unfold in here, each a study in the strength of the human heart and its capacity to love, learn, and forgive. While Regan still plays a dominate role in this heavy character driven series, other characters have wormed their way in to top spots and I find myself deeply vested in each and every one of them.
A heavy dose of mystery, suspense, and danger features more predominately in this installment then the previous ones, creating an addictive read that fills you with some strong emotions as you watch those you have come to love fight through the pitfalls of life. I love how human Ms. Thomas’s characters are. Not perfect or even pleasant at times, each one is a vibrant personality that takes command and dominates the scenes they are in. Each relationship is carefully cultivated and allowed to grow and bloom naturally. As with any garden, you may not see anything the first year, or maybe it will bloom hard and heavy only to die in the first frost. Either way, Ms. Thomas shows remarkable insight when she cultivates her garden and the results are a joy for all who are lucky enough to visit it.
Though I was disappointed that Ronnie’s and Marty’s story is still on hold, I enjoyed seeing she is still growing and breaking the bonds that her mother shackled her with. Bigg and his brother Bran are branching out and becoming more then the town ever envisioned for them. Bits and pieces of all the town residents make their way into the story, which rounds it out beautifully and leaves me satisfied yet still wanting book 5 now. Martha Q, one of my favorite characters in the book, is still around, butting into everyone’s business, and coming up with some pretty good advice every now and then.
“Next time you meet a girl, look into her eyes. Don’t walk away without knowing the color of her eyes, and don’t look down once you start talking to her. Second, if your lucky enough to have another female come on to you, you’ve got to spend at least five hours talking to her and listening to her before you touch her. That means no hand holding, or kissing. Five solid hours of talking and if she says one thing that bugs you, walk away. No, run. If she does anything that bothers you, run. I’ve got enough experience that it’s those little things people overlook the first hundred times will drive you crazy when you marry someone.”
I love this series and recommend it to everyone who wants a small town contemporary series with realistic characters whose romances, friendships, and lives will have you waiting anxiously for each new visit. Even though this could be read as a stand alone, I recommend reading the first in the series, Welcome To Harmony. This is a continuation and is written as such.
Favorite Quote: “Do you think the powers that be would mind if I asked them to make sure the next apocalypse takes place later in the day? Maybe around teatime?.“
A brief recap of book one. May spoil if you haven’t read.
Brush Of Darkness, the first book in the Abby Sinclair series, completely captivated me with its mad cap Alice In Wonderland storyline and indelible characters. Deliciously dark and wickedly funny, we are introduced to Abby Sinclair, a mortal bound into service of the fae. Known as a Touchstone, her gift allows her to keep the fae she is contracted with in the mortal realm. When her employer goes missing, Abby risks her life to save her boss and friends and meets the delectable Brystion. Circumstances force Abby to make some difficult choices and results in a unbridgeable rift between her and Bryston.
A Sliver of Shadow picks up a few weeks after Brush Of Darkness ended. Abby’s employer, Moira, is at the Faery Court to give testimony against a fellow fae’s acts of treason. This leaves Abby in charge of the shop and Benjamin. Oh, how I love Benjamin. A woman arrives at the shop, claiming she is Abby’s new boss, and tries to be spell her with disastrous consequences. The Queen of the Fae, spiraling deeper into her insanity, feels the spell attempted against Abby, takes it as an act of war, and closes the door between the Fae and mortal realm. And refuses to reopen it. With the Fae, trapped in the mortal realm, and beginning to fade, Abby appeals to Brystion to help.
“So what do I do?” “I don’t know, but I owe nothing to the Faery Court regardless of their assumptions. And this mess is of their own making.” “Then it’s become my mess too.” I straightened up. “And if your not willing to help us, I have to go. I’ve got things to do. A world to save. You know-the usual.” “I am sorry Abby, but regardless of the situation, I will not get involved this time.” “You do what you think best Ion. So will I.”
Abby, Talivar, Melinda, and Phin travel to the crossroads to try and reverse the spell. This path eventually leads them to the Faery Court. As Abby fights her way towards the answers she needs to re open the door; she learns more about her family, her friends, the dreaming, and the destiny fate has in store for her. A fate that will demand the ultimate sacrifice from her.
Oh Abby, Abby, Abby. I have honestly never met a character who deserves so much and gets so little in return. If there was a character that I would totally kick arse for, it would be her. A strong, intelligent, independent woman who uses her impressive powers of snark for good and loves bacon and Tom Jones. I mean, how could you NOT love her? She invokes a protective feeling in me. Her loyalty and honor are above reproach. She lives, loves, and fights from the heart and when dealing with the Fae, that’s just asking for trouble. We are given a deeper understanding to her emotional state; from her hurt at Brystion’s leaving to the fears that inhabit her dreaming heart.
The world Ms. Pang has created is an intricate blending of reality and dreams that is built completely on deception, betrayal, and jealousy. Convoluted and ever expanding, Ms Pang continues to divulge deeper into Abby’s past, future and and present. A strong character driven fantasy, every action is suspect, each word a double edge sword, and everyone a study in Machiavellian practices. Witty and snarky dialogue will keep you in stitches though it is more serious this time around.
On sudden impulse, I reached out to stroke the perfect point of his ear. “You do realize that’s the elvish equivalent of cupping my balls, right?” I jerked my hand away. I hadn’t meant to be that forward. “Apparently my knowledge of basic elven anatomy is lacking. Sorry.” “Something we will have to remedy, no doubt.”
Ms. Pang’s wonderful voice resonates through here, breathing life into the story. She elevates a common theme of a human, with no super normal powers, fighting for a supernatural world. A brilliant mixture of unpredictability that keeps you riding the edge with each new development. The story reads fast and easy even as you fall head first down the rabbit hole. The plot and multiple sub plots build slowly through out, each adding intrigue and suspense as the tension spirals tighter and tighter only to explode in a climatic ending that leaves you speechless with shock.
To me, sacrifice is the underlying theme of this storyline. Friendship, love, honor, life. It asks the question over and over in many different ways; what would you do for the ones you love? We are gifted with an intimate view of what true sacrifice is in here and it leaves you both elated and saddened as one by one, each character answers that question.
The secondary characters are explosive with their richly developed personalities. New and old are here; from bodyguard angels, to WoW playing demons; each one plays an important part in the overall development of the story. Closely guarded secrets and agendas are beginning to unravel, leaving Abby to wonder who she can really trust. The smexy, brooding Brystion continues to tempt and taunt Abby while Talivar shows Abby a completely different side of himself and she begins to see a kindred soul in him. The sexual tension that runs between Abby, Talivar, and Brystion is delicious as the love triangle begins to make itself known.
Brystion snorted. “He’s only using you. The Fae are good at that, I’ve noticed.” “I was there the morning you let her go, “ Taliver retorted. “Why shouldn’t I retrieve what you so casually threw away?”
Phin delights us as he struts, flounces, and generally annoys everyone with his running commentary of his sexual exploits. We see a more serious side to him though when a few secrets he’s been keeping are revealed. Melanie has to be my favorite character as she is a true friend to Abby and tries to so hard to protect and help her navigate this dangerous world.
The Wild Music had been released. The daemons eyed her warily. Nobu grasped her arm, silencing the music. “You cannot break this Contract.” “You have no idea what I can do.”
The ending had me laughing, crying, and shaking my fist at Ms. Pang. She tosses us off into the abyss, leaving us to free fall until the release of book three. I will admit that the ending confused me. I re read it three times, discussed it with another blogger, then broke down and contacted Allison. It’s not I didn’t understand what happened but more that I didn’t understand why. Also, I’m having a little trouble with the love triangle aspect even with its wonderful sexual tension. I’m not a fan of love triangles in Urban Fantasy; especially when they look strong enough to become a long standing part of the arc. I am hoping I’m wrong because I would like the arc to continue to focus on Abby and her journeys in the OtherWorld and not fight against a continuing love triangle.
Regardless though, I cannot recommend this series enough to readers who are looking for an imaginative urban fantasy series that hits all the high notes and then some. Ms. Pang has delivered a worthy sequel to Brush Of Darkness and I for one cannot wait to see what she has in store for us in book three, a tentative release date is October 2012 with title to be announced. I don not recommend starting the series here. The arc is evolving and continues on with no re caps from the previous installment.
Favorite Quote: “So basically you’re just attracted to me because I’m boring?”
Taylor Jones is having trouble dealing with the fact that he is irrevoca...moreFavorite Quote: “So basically you’re just attracted to me because I’m boring?”
Taylor Jones is having trouble dealing with the fact that he is irrevocably in love with a fellow agent, Desiree Lincoln. He and Dez share one beautiful night of passion that had Dez hoping for a future with Taylor, but issues from his past make that impossible. When a mission results in her almost dying, Taylor hurts her more by pushing her away, citing that work and personal relationships don’t mix. Dez has had enough and quits the force to strike out on her own. A psychic that speaks to the dead, Dez works freelance to support herself. When Dez is called by a ghost to investigate his death and save a girl from a similar fate, she is shocked when Taylor arrives to help. Taylor doesn’t know why Dez is in his hometown, but the memories of the past scare him; especially if the ghosts from Taylor’s past start to talk to Dez.
The Departed is the second in Shiloh Walker’s intensely sensual and intriguing dark paranormal series, The Missing. The Departed, picks up a couple of years after the first book, also titled The Missing, ends. Though part of a series, it can be read as a stand alone. The Departed is a shockingly seductive psychological thriller that hooked me from page one. Shiloh Walker has a wonderful writing style that draws you in to her characters emotional pathways and lets you feel with them what they are experiencing. Romance and taut suspense go hand in hand as we follow a gritty and dark well plotted storyline down a twisting path of deception, betrayal, and madness.
Our hero, Taylor Jones, came across as a very cold and uncaring man in The Missing. The job always comes first. Everything else is fodder. He was so unlikable in The Missing, I was looking forward to seeing how Ms. Walker would redeem him in my eyes here. And redeem him she does. The bulk of the story revolves around Taylor and the reasons he originally started this special task force. His sister disappeared over 25 years ago and since then, Taylor has done everything he could to ensure every child, missing or dead, is found and given closure. A hard and emotionally closed man, Taylor has thick walls built around himself. He draws a strict line between himself and his employees; ensuring none of them ever met the real Taylor. Ms. Walker does a fabulous job of slowly bringing his walls down, one brick at a time, and introducing us to the real Taylor Jones. An intense, conflicted, and emotionally haunted man.
Dez Lincoln is the exact opposite of Taylor. Though her life was nothing more then a series of poverty and foster homes, Dez is an open friendly person who embraces life with joy. A snarky blend of humor and laughter that Dez embraces gives the book a respite from the overall somber feel of it. She loves Taylor but refuses to play his hot/cold emotional game. When she realizes that Taylor is even more closed off after their one night together, she decides that it’s better to leave the job then watch him leave her day by day. Though leaving him broke her heart, it doesn’t shatter or cripple her.
When Taylor sees Dez again after a year, the emotional ties that bind them are still there, as strong and frightening as ever. Taylor realizes that letting Dez walk away was the worst mistake of his life. She completes him and he’ll do anything he can to keep her from leaving again. But Dez doesn’t make it easy for him.
“Are you even listening to me?” “No.” Dez smiled. “I can’t say that I am. And you know what’s really wonderful about it? You can’t do much more then snarl and growl about it. After all, your not my boss, right?”
The romance between them is hot yet bittersweet. The chemistry between them smolders heavy in the background as they struggle to get past the hurt and pain they left each other with. It’s a major part of the storyline and complements the main arc. Their physical scenes are tasteful and satisfying. It was very easy to get caught up in the emotional currents of these two star crossed lovers as try to find their second chance.
The secondary characters are bold, viable additions to the story as they add layers to the suspense and mystery. Each one is a piece in the puzzle; they make up a solid foundation for our storyline to build upon. As with any good thriller, there are multi sub plots running through the main storyline and each one is a key to the final outcome. Ms. Walker does a fabulous job of maintaining these separate entities without overburdening us with unnecessary information or complicated scenarios. When it all comes together in the end, we are treated to an astounding finale that ties it all together, solid and tight, with no questions left unanswered. Though I figured out rather early who the villains were, the journey into their minds and reasoning was exciting as we are given an exclusive tour of the evil that exists in man. Be forewarned, there is some subject matter in here that may leave you feeling a little raw.
The Departed is a worthy sequel to The Missing and a must read for those readers who love their paranormal romances to be wrapped in dark emotional suspense and intrigue. I do hope Ms. Walker continues with this series.
The Rift Walker (Vampire Empire #2) by Clay Griffith & Susan Griffith Urban Fantasy Paperback September 6, 2011 Prometheus Bo...moreOriginally posted at
The Rift Walker (Vampire Empire #2) by Clay Griffith & Susan Griffith Urban Fantasy Paperback September 6, 2011 Prometheus Books
Favorite Quote: “Fine, I was brooding. It’s not like you don’t.”
“Mine’s inherent in my romantic nature. Cloaks and castles.”
“That’s it. You are forbidden to look at anymore cheap books about yourself.”
Note:There are some mild spoilers from book one in here.
At the end of book one, The Greyfriar, Adele is back with her family in Equatoria, recovering from her experiences with Prince Cesare and being held captive at his vampire holding in London. Adele also learned the identity of the elusive Greyfriar and found herself rethinking many of her own personal prejudices. The Greyfriar has retreated to his own estate and they both are doing their best to forget each other. With an unavoidable war brewing between the vampires and the humans; they know there can never be anything between them.
At the beginning of The Rift Walker, Adele is trying her best to delay her wedding to the obnoxious American, Senator Miles Clark, who wants her crown and her country for himself. She has fallen for the mysterious Greyfriar despite learning who he really is and finds herself unable to forget about him. When Adele learns of a plan by her father and the Senator to use humans as fodder in their war against the vampires, Adele attempts to call off the wedding only to learn it is being held in two weeks regardless of her feelings. While Adele is trying to come to terms with her upcoming nuptials, Greyfriar learns her life is in danger and races to her rescue, effectively spiriting her away from her own wedding. As these two avoid her army and her “husband” they set in motion a chain of events that are staggering in the chaos they release.
The Rift Walker is an splendid continuation to the spellbinding magic of The Greyfriar. Filled with mind boggling political intrigue, betrayal, deception, magic and a healthy dose of romance-you will be once again swept away by this burgeoning epic saga. While The Greyfrair was a brilliant set up for this gothic, horrific, end of the world adventure in which vampires and humans work their way towards a war to end all wars; The Rift Walker expands this world while focusing on deeper development and commitment of the characters; especially our heroine Adele. Adele is a young woman who has matured in the past 3 months. Set to become the next Empress of Equatoia, she has grown into her expected role while settling comfortably into her own skin of expectations and values. If we we not sure before, we are sure now that Adele will be no one’s pawn again. Greyfriar is a solid commanding presence in the book though he takes a backseat to Adele in here. This is Adele’s story 100 percent. I love that while everyone in Adele’s life only sees parts of her (in relation to how they can benefit from her) Greyfriar sees the whole her; good and bad, and loves her regardless . Even knowing that there cannot be a happy ending for them. While the romance plays a heavier role in here then in book one, it continues to co exists comfortably with the main storyline rather then attempting to overshadow it.
The secondary characters are just as important and strongly defined as our protagonists. Rather then simply extending the storyline, they expand and lift it. Senator Clark, along with Flay, General Anhalt, and Mamoru all excel in their scenes and gift us with additional explanations and clues to the roles they are playing and will play in the third and final installment of this series. Additional characters are introduced that leave you shuddering at some introductions and laughing at others. Adele uses her intelligence and political savvy to garner herself additional allies to help her in her quest for her throne and to use as a shield against her husband’s and father’s political agendas.
“Let the senator come to me when we reach Bunia.”
Greyfriar started. “Are you sure?”
“I’m not afraid of him.”
“No, I shouldn’t think you would be,” Msiri laughed in complicity and clapped his hands together. He murmured to himself, “This will be an auspicious reunion. There may have to be cake.”
Multiple storylines and subplots run parallel and intertwine with some staggering revelations. Greyfriar is finding it harder and harder to maintain his anonymity while his brother Cesare has found humans who support his vampire agenda. Adele is learning who can and who can not be trusted as the net surrounding them all tightens. Everyone has their own agenda and I look forward to seeing how it all plays out in the end. Not that it is all doom and gloom though. There are quite a few humorous scenes and dialogue in here that engages the reader.
“You ate my food!” Jaga glared at Gareth. “And you try to kill me in front of my son! What sort of monster are you?”
Mr and Ms. Griffith have achieved a perfect balance of dark and light in this series. Enough angst and suspense to keep you glued to the pages while cleverly interjected humorous scenes keeps you from despairing that the outcomes will be anything but wanted.
As we race towards the end, we are once again given a clean viable ending to the main conflict with just enough left to chance to transition us seamlessly into the next book; title to be announced. Once again, Clay and Susan Griffith has managed to astound and captivate me with this series and I am both elated and saddened for the third and last book. The Vampire Empire series remains at the top of my must read list in Urban Fantasy.
Favorite Quote: “…this gypsy girl happens to have a grandma who can curse you so bad that your dick will fall off, so watch your step…”
First off let me say I LOVE Jennifer Estep’s adult Elemental series. So when I heard she was writing a YA series I begged, pleaded, schemed, and had some “not so proud moments” in order to secure an ARC Of A Touch Of Frost. Having just finished this book I can honestly say that I can live with what I did to get it.
Gwen Frost is a gypsy; like her mother and grandmother before her. Her gift is touch. Meaning that she can get pictures, emotions, and background from objects and people she touches. When her mother is killed in a drunk driving accident, her grandmother feels it’s time for her to understand her gifts and enrolls her into the Mythos Academy; a school for mythical children. Here she will learn to be a warrior. But Mythos Academy isn’t what Gwen expected. An uber prep school for the children of the rich and famous gods and goddesses, Gwen doesn’t feel she fits in next to rich princess Valkyries, gorgeous Spartans, and stuck up Amazons. As Gwen tries to maneuver her way through school without drawing attention to herself, she and another student are attacked in the library. The other student, Jasmine Ashton, is killed and a sacred artifact is stolen. An artifact that can help Loki escape his prison and bring about the second Chaos war.
Gwen wants to know why Jasmine was killed and proceeds to investigate her death. She gets help from two unexpected allies. Daphne Cruz, a Valkyrie and one of Jasmine’s best friends, and Logan Quinn, a very hawt Spartan who seems very interested in Gwen. Mysterious accidents, dark magic, and talking swords are only the beginning as Gwen slowly finds out that nothing is as it seems at Mythos Academy and if she isn’t careful, she may not last the year.
Fantastic world building draws in in from the first page and holds you captive till till the last. I love the idea of a school where snooty stronger then life mythological kids go yet they have deal with regular everyday problems. Prom, underage drinking, and dating all centering around a Greek and Roman mythological base. Ms. Estep has a wonderful “voice” of realism that that draws you in and has you believing that all this could really happen. A largely character driven novel, I found A Touch Of Frost to contain smooth writing, fast pacing, and engaging witty dialogue.
I fell in love with the characters in here. Personable, engaging, and witty with a realistic baseline; you find yourself instantly able to relate to them. Gwen is a wonderful protagonist. Having just lost her mom and stuck in a school where she feels inferior, you’d expect some pity or angst in her voice yet she deals with her problems in a quiet way-with class and snark. I like that Gwen isn’t empowered with the skill of a warrior or the strength of the gods. She admits she sucks at sword play and can barely lift her book bag. She’s a human with a gift and Ms. Estep keeps her that way.
Logan Quinn is the bad boy of the story. Gorgeous, dangerous, and flirty, he zeros in on Gwen but she proves she can more then hold her own with him. He has been added to my book boyfriend list. There are hints in the book that led you to believe that Logan may have a dark past and no matter what happens, he and Gwen will tangle in the future. Perfectly snobby classmates and cryptic professors round out the story beautifully.
The main conflict is an interesting who dun it that brings mythology into the modern world. It kept me well in the dark till almost the very end but even guessing what happened didn’t stop the story from being intriguing. The ending is rich in tension as it reveals our villain and their reasoning behind the murder and theft. We are also clued into Gwen’s main reason for being sent to Mythos which guaranteed (one way or another-cue the daunting music) this reviewer will be reading the next in the series, Kiss Of Frost, which releases December 2011.
Delightfully dark and funny, Jenny Lawson aka The Bloggess, takes us on a journey through her life and shows us the the best revenge of all is being a...moreDelightfully dark and funny, Jenny Lawson aka The Bloggess, takes us on a journey through her life and shows us the the best revenge of all is being able to laugh at yourself and having friends who will help you bury the bodies.
Everyone who is anyone, well, anyone who appreciates insane, questionable, depraved humor, knows who Jenny Lawson is. She is the voice behind The Bloggess, a blog that crosses all lines, pokes all chickens, and usually leaves me laughing so hard I have found it’s in my best interest to get dressed on AFTER I have read her latest post. Otherwise, I’ll just have to change my clothes and re make my face. And as a 41 year old, remaking my face to look like I didn’t make up my face takes a lot of time. Time better spent on Pinterest or Twitter.
Let’s Pretend This Never Happened is the mostly true memoir of Jenny Lawson’s life and it kept me laughing, crying, and choking to the end as we read of her less then stellar upbringing in rural Texas with what has to be some of the most questionable parents I have ever encountered. We watch her meet her long suffering husband Victor, who I just know deserves everything Jenny dishes out and more, and her dealings with infertility, depression, and a very strange addiction to costumed taxidermy. What makes this book such a hit is that while Jenny could whine and moan about her unusual life, playing the, “whoa is me card”, she instead uses humor to deflect and explain why she is the way she is. There are no apologies in here; except to Victor (her husband) on post it notes. Because love is apologizing on a million post it notes. She is who she is and takes great pains to let us know that she accepts what life has given her and that we should do the same. She addresses her mental illness and the resulting situations with a grace and dignity that goes to show that this is not a stigma that needs to be brushed aside and hid when the neighbors come over.
It’s amazing how many similarities to Jenny’s life and mine that I found in here. While I didn’t grow up in Texas or with a taxidermy loving father…I did grow up poor, was a social outcast in school, and suffered from a social phobia. I will be doing my first ever slumber blogging party in August and can only hope murdering cougars won’t be stalking me. The experimental drug phase, the going commando at inappropriate times, the husband who always asks, “Are you insane???” It’s like we are one and the same. I don’t care what you all think…we are now bffs in my mind and we have lots of fun together.
There are so many hilarious stories in here, I don’t know where to start. We have the famous metal chicken story which teaches the moral to never tell a woman she can’t buy something because then it becomes a dare. There is her father‘s mysterious surprise that involves a dead squirrel hand puppet. Or maybe it’s Rambo the soap fetish raccoon. Either way, I can guarantee that Let’s Pretend It Never Happened will gain a place of honor on your bookshelf and next to your bed. I can’t say what her message was intended to be, but what I walked away with was that life hands you lemons all the time. You can either make lemonade or you can load your lemon shooting launcher and have yourself a little fun.
The long awaited explanation of what happened between Hart and Eleanor was well worth the wait. I adore the Mackenzie family and this installment only...moreThe long awaited explanation of what happened between Hart and Eleanor was well worth the wait. I adore the Mackenzie family and this installment only cemented that fact. Besides Hart's story, we are also an intimate look at the rest of the MacKenzie's and get lovely updates into their lives. A wonderful conclusion all in all.
Favorite Quote: “From the moment I was born, I learned I had two choices: to fight or to die.”
Andrea made a choice to remain with the Order instead of riding with Kate to the Pack when the shifters call for help. In doing this, she sealed her fate with the boudas and with her lover, Raphael. Months later, Andrea is standing on the corner of depression and heartbreak. Having been forced into early retirement by the Order for being a shapeshifter and no longer with Raphael, Andrea is feeling lost and broken. Now working with Kate at her investigative firm, Cutting Edge, Andrea gets a chance to right some wrongs when a rash of shifter murders falls across her desk. The problem? She has to work with Raphael.
Raphael has had it easy all his life. His mother is the alpha of the boudas and he has been treated like a favored prince all his life. When Andrea didn’t do what he thought she should do, his pride was hurt more then anything and after verbally eviscerating her, he left her. With the murder of his crew, Raphael knows he will have to work closely with Andrea. Can he forgive her? Will he forgive her? And most of all…will she forgive him?
Anyone who knows me knows I am a huge fan of the writing team Ilona Andrews. From the moment I snatched Magic Bites out of that little old lady’s hand, I was hooked by this world they have built. This is an urban fantasy series that maintains the perfect balance between action, adventure, and romance. Sly, witty humor permeates the series, which keeps it from becoming too dark. Heavily character driven, you find yourself becoming intimately connected with these people. Their joy, sorrow, successes, and failures transcend paper and bleeds into your consciousness.
I have waited a long time for Andrea’s story. Kate’s BFF, Andrea’s life has been a study in lies and deceptions. Born beastkin, she was horrifically abused by her former pack until she and her mother ran away. From that day on Andrea did everything humanly possible to never be made a victim again. She joined the Order, hid her shapeshifter status, and excelled at weaponry. Magic Bleeds was the point of no return for Andrea. One choice causes her to lose her autonomy, and in losing that, she lost it all. She disappeared for a few months, abandoning Raphael and Kate. Now she’s back, and while Kate has forgiven her, Raphael has not. Andrea knows she will have to do some bowing and scraping, but when Raphael decides to come to her office for a meeting, bringing with him his new honey bunny, all bets are off. Andrea makes the decision to stop trying to be what she’s not and embrace what she is.
I examined myself sitting there. I’d held back for so long. I’d been good for so long. I’d always did as expected. I followed the rules and regulations. Look where it got me. Being good hurt.
Andrea is HILARIOUS in here. She excels with her take no crap from no one attitude that we have grown to love but in here she takes it to a whole new level. Andrea the knight was scary. Andrea the beastkin is terrifying. While Andrea is investigating the murders, she is also trying to deal with Raphael and keep Aunt B from dragging her into the fold. The dialogue between Andrea and Raphael will keep you rolling as the sarcasm and insults fly between them.
"It not enough you bring your floozy in to my office, now you’re harassing my intern?" "Intern, huh. Just what is he learning under you? "Are you alright? First you replace me with a bimbo, now you’re feeling threatened by a fifteen year old boy? Did something happen to give you an inferiority complex?" "That boy has a long resume of sleeping with adult women and you looked a bit desperate last time I saw you." I pictured myself reaching through the phone and slapping him off his chair. "Thank you for your concern, but have no fear. I prefer men, not boys. That’s why I’m not with you anymore."
What makes this story so delightful is the way family is interwoven into it. Andrea has never had a “real” family. She thought the Order was her family but she soon learns that she was just an expendable weapon for them to use. Her prejudice concerning the pack dates back to her childhood. Yet, throughout the book, Andrea is given many examples of how the pack considers her family.
The main conflict and romance are both solid well balanced storylines that blend together perfectly; intertwining and elevating each other. Andrews introduces Egyptian mythology which makes for an interesting villain and plotline. We see many favorite characters in here. Ascanio maintains a solid presence in here as Andrea’s partner in crime. He is altogether adorable in his desperate petitions for more freedom. Kate and Curran make a few key appearances while Roman, the volhv we met in Magic Slays, also enters the fray when Andrea enlists his help. Roman is deliciously funny and I hope he gets his own story. Of course, no story in this series is complete without Doolittle. His medmage ways are a constant source of delight to me.
The conclusion is filled with nerve racking action and heart stopping decisions as Andrea fights to save herself and everyone she loves from a power hungry God. Ilona Andrews once again produces a gold medal winner with Gunmetal Magic. As I stated in the beginning, I am a huge fan of this series and will continue to recommend them to anyone who will listen to me. Though this story has a fully resolved main conflict, I do not recommend reading out of order. You need to start with the first in the series-Magic Bites- or you lose out on the overall arc advancement and character development that makes this series so unique. I want to add that the Christmas freebie novella, Magic Gifts, is also included.
Note: This book was originally self published in 2011. It is now being re released through Forever Publishing and will be available in print on 12/17/2013.
Favorite Quote: “I was made to protect you and you were made in a way that it would always be worth the effort.”
Love is just around the corner . . .
Law Man has to be my second favorite book in Kristen Ashley’s Dream Man series; Motorcycle Man being my favorite. Law Man is Detective Mitch Lawson’s story. We first met Mitch in book one-Mystery Man. He too was mesmerized by Gwen’s luscious blond hair and apparently magical hoo-haa. Seriously folks, every man that met her wanted to ride that train. Gwen of course chooses to stay with her hot commando guy, Hawk Delgado, because nothing says I love you like a year long non communicative weekly booty call. Mitch is DE-NIED a train ticket for that ride and rides off in to the sunset, sad and alone.
*sob* Poor Mitch.
Mitch soon hops back into the luuurrrvvveee saddle when he spies his luscious but shy neighbor, Mara Hanover, in need of some help. Mitch fixes her “plumbing” and uses his other manly skills to maneuver his way into her home and bed. A place he’s wanted to be since first seeing her a few years ago. But Mara has some serious baggage. Baggage that Mitch may not be willing to help her carry. Mara survived an abusive childhood only to emerge with an extremely low and warped self esteem. She views herself, a view reinforced by her mother every day she was growing up, that she is trash and not worthy of being loved.
“I’d once had a long-term relationship with a Five Point Five that got nowhere near living together. This was because I was a Two Point Five, he was a Five Point Five and he wanted a Nine Point Five. Therefore, we were both destined for a broken heart. He gave me mine. He later found a Six Point Five that wanted a Nine Point Five. She got herself a breast enhancement and nose job which made her a firm Seven (if you didn’t count the fact that she thought she was a Ten point Five and acted like it which really knocked her down to a Six) who broke his heart.”
When her cousin Bill, a drug dealing addict, puts his children into a dangerous situation, Mara jumps in head first to save the kids with no thoughts for her own safety. Mitch uses his connections to help her gain temporary custody and soon Mitch, Mara, and the kids are playing house. As the fallout from Bill’s troubles land on Mara’s doorstep, we learn just how willing Mitch is to carry all the baggage Mara has.
“I’ll go gentle, baby,” he whispered against my lips. “I promise. You’ll always be safe with me.” Oh. My. “Mitch,” I breathed. His soulful eyes held mine captive as he repeated firmly, “Always.”
I enjoyed Mitch and Mara’s story. They are a great couple; well matched in all ways. Both are intelligent, good looking, loyal, and hard working. Though Mitch is as alpha as his fellow Dream Men, he’s more adaptable. More modern. Not to say he won’t drop hell on anyone who threatens those he loves, but he’s not unreasonable. He never tries to control Mara. Unlike Hawk and Brock, he doesn’t bulldoze his woman into submission. He listens to her and accepts that she is his equal in and out of bed. I don’t honestly think Hawk or Brock see their better halves as their equals.
Mara is delightful. Sweet and kind, she is velvet wrapped around steel. She’ll say she’s scared but takes on the world single handedly. Not one for TSTL moments, she knows when to give and when to stand toe to toe with someone. She does have issues that cause Mitch to become heavy handed verbally at times, but you sense his words are used more to shock her from her frequent journeys down memory lane then to hurt her.
The chemistry between them is SCORCHING HAWT with some very nice detailed love scenes *wink* but the evolution of the romance is what makes the story so real. Mitch knows Mara is the one for him and makes no bones about it. I love how Ashley incorporates starting a new romantic relationship under the noses of two young children. It’s not just Mitch and Mara falling in love…it’s Mitch, Mara, Billy, and Billie all falling in love. Mitch wants it all with Mara and the kids and he shows it in many different ways. The kids and Mara have had difficult lives but Mitch uses everything he has to convince them they are loved and worthy of that love.
“… I didn’t fall in love with you all as a whole. I fell in love with each of you because of who you are. I don’t care about you because you come with Mara. I care about you because you’re a good kid. You’re smart. You’re loyal. And you love and look out for your sister and Mara. I know grown men who do not have a character as fine as yours. Those are the reasons I love you. There are different reasons I love Billie. And there are different reasons I love Mara. Today, what we had together was good. But the feelings I feel for you aren’t feelings I have to have in order to have Mara. They’re feelings you earned. Now, you with me?”
Fun outrageous secondary characters bring even more life and drama to the story. Mara’s trailer trash mom and aunt bring us dramatic hi-jinks while Mara’s friends (at home and at work) show us and Mara that she isn’t the 2 point five she has always considered herself. The kids carry strong roles in the story though I admit, reading that the little girl only screams and screeches annoyed me for some reason. Cameos are made by new and former characters-Tack, Hawk, Brock, and of course Elvira because her nose into everything-offering us more laughs, major eye rolling, and helps to tie the series altogether.
Law Man engages the reader even with the predictable over the top behavior and situations. If there is one aspect I love about Ms. Ashley’s writing is the drama and details she adds to her stories. Nothing is alluded to and then dropped. Nothing escapes with only minor detailing. No one is forgotten. It’s very easy to get invested in her characters lives and share in their triumphs and disappointments in their everyday activities. The ending comes at us fast and furious with a climactic action packed finale that resolves the main conflict, ties up the various sub plots, and ushers us into book four-Motorcycle Man.
I don't often give A's. The reason being that growing up I was told that there is ALWAYS room for improvement. However, some things are done in such a...moreI don't often give A's. The reason being that growing up I was told that there is ALWAYS room for improvement. However, some things are done in such a way that they do get an A from me because I can't see what else could have been added to MAKE better. Heart of Obsidian is one of those books.
HoO is an incredible story that takes us on a fantastic journey of love, hate, discovery, revenge, and redemption. Once I started, I was hard pressed to stop. In here we finally learn of the one man we readers have been pining for. Singh shows us every aspect of his make up and the story leaves you crying for what has happened to this phenomenal hero and the woman he never stopped loving. I loved the new aspects of the storyline that opened up and I am jonsing to see where Singh takes us as we make our way towards the end. (less)