I always struggle with Sharon Sala/Dinah McCall. Some of her books I've enjoyed others I've not even finished, -all have a high cheese factor. This on...moreI always struggle with Sharon Sala/Dinah McCall. Some of her books I've enjoyed others I've not even finished, -all have a high cheese factor. This one had a great premise, a follow through that I wasn't expecting (and not in a good way) with main characters becoming secondary and an over the top maniacal bad guy. Some of the dialogue in this was also laughably old fashioned and or just plain ridiculous with love scenes the same. The following being almost unreadable.
"When they began the dance of love, time stopped. All sense of themselves as individuals became lost in the act of making love. The room stood in darkness but was tempered in warmth." *Gag*
She also had her heroine spout sexist comments like "I feel really terrible for being such a burden to everyone. I haven't lifted a finger to cook or clean since I entered the house."
The heroine has just survived a plane crash, spent days lost in the snowy wilderness being chased by the bad guy, had surgery to remove part of the plane from her back and, it’s not even her house! But hey, come on, she didn't cook or clean!
And then with about 50 pages to go, just when I thought I was going to make it to the end she killed the dog. Note to authors Don't Kill The Dog! They must know it infuriates and alienates readers, I threw the damn book. Outside. So anyways this was a DNF and I'm done with McCall/Sala.
Opening Line: “The first time I saw her again, I felt as if I’d been hit.”
I absolutely loved this book, another winner from JoJo Moyes who bases this...moreOpening Line: “The first time I saw her again, I felt as if I’d been hit.”
I absolutely loved this book, another winner from JoJo Moyes who bases this moving story on real events (and her own grandmother) Taking the reader back to 1946 in the aftermath of the Second World War as thousands of young war brides are transported from Australia to England to meet up with their GI husbands who they’d married during the conflict. For many woman it was a time of huge uncertainty, leaving their families and everything they’d ever known behind and preying they didn’t receive the dreaded “Not wanted, don’t come telegram” once aboard.
Ship Of Brides follows four of these woman (out of the 650 on board) all from very different backgrounds and covers their experience from a boarding house in Sydney throughout their 6 week journey at sea aboard an aircraft carrier (which also still carries over a thousand naval officers so rules of honor, duty and separation must be enforced.
The story begins in India in 2002 (which initially threw me a bit) as an elderly grandmother on vacation stumbles across the broken hull of a once great British warship, now in the process of being dismantled for scrap on an oily, debris littered beach. She has come upon a ship graveyard and can just make out the name on one of the rusted hulls “Victoria” and at once is overwhelmed by memories…
I was surprised by how involved I got in this story but Moyes not only takes the reader back to 1946 but manages to keep a huge element of suspense going throughout the journey (Frances, a former nurse is kept frustratingly mysterious until the very last pages – and I kinda loved her.) We also enter the POV of the injured and grieving Captain, a Marine who has received a Dear John letter, a woman widowed before she reaches her destination, another who discovers her husband is already married and follow stowaway dogs, boiler room brawls, disastrous fires, miscarriages, lovely leg contests, ashore days in India and Gibraltar, excitement, fear, heartache and joy.
Because this has been based on an actual sailing taken by the HMS Victorious, Moyes was able to include extracts from journals, newspaper clippings, and diary entries from the actual men and women aboard which added an element of real emotion to the voyage.
The writing is fantastic and by the end I felt like I really knew these women and wondered how their lives had turned out, in fact I didn’t want to let them go.
Opening Line: “The rangy she-wolf, still thin from the passing winter, paused at the edge of the tree line above the valley.”
Oh I liked this one. It w...moreOpening Line: “The rangy she-wolf, still thin from the passing winter, paused at the edge of the tree line above the valley.”
Oh I liked this one. It was just such an all-round great read. With an original and captivating storyline and hero unlike anyone I’ve read before, I can see now why Sharon Sala is so popular. The writing is top notch, the romance wonderfully done (sweet with an undercurrent of sexual tension yet without any annoying melodrama) and the story filled with unique and well-drawn out secondary characters -you’ll feel like you know the residents of the small mountain town. We get two bad guys here, one of which you spend the entire book trying to figure out the identity of. THE HEALER is also especially great if you’re an animal lover because our hero talks to them in a very Doolittley way except sexier.
That’s right, Jonah Grey Wolf, what a fantastic selfless character. Not only can he talk to animals but he has the ability to heal with his touch. He also has great hair, can give our heroine an orgasm just by looking at her and is just an all-round nice guy. I don’t usually go for the beta heroes but I couldn’t help myself here.
Now while this story is filled with the supernatural it manages to stay out of the paranormal romance territory and remains strictly a contemporary. Actually one of the things I appreciated most about Jonah Grey Wolf’s character is that his abilities and formative years are never explained, he’s just able to do what he does, he’s just a healer.
At the age of two a female wolf carries Jonah Grey Wolf into a remote Alaskan village and leaves him there. It is all that is known about the mysterious boy who is quickly adopted by the town doctor. As the years go by it becomes obvious that Jonah is different; with a mystical connection to animals and the power to heal the sick and wounded.
When a visiting hunter gets attacked by a grizzly Jonah of course heals the tourist but he may have shown his secret to the wrong man because now Jonah has tuned into the hunted. Bad guy #1 (Major Bourdain) wants to harness Jonah’s talents in a quest for immortality and will stop at nothing to claim his prize. With his village in danger and a million dollar bounty on his head Jonah leaves Alaska and becomes a drifter, roaming town to town, never staying long or getting too close to anyone.
His travels eventually take him to West Virginia where he comes to the aid of a Lucia Maria Andahar and her giant dog Hobo who is caught in a trap. Jonah heals the dog and accepts Luce’s hospitality of a meal and roof for the night. The pair strikes an immediate connection and despite himself Jonah stays.
Luce has ulterior motives for inviting the stranger to her secluded cabin; ever since she began receiving threatening notes she hasn’t felt safe there. But Jonah can’t stay and he definitely can’t fall in love that would only make Lucia a target for his enemies. Wolves mate for life however and maybe it’s time Jonah started fighting back. 369jb5(less)
Much like Christmas the BDB only comes around once a year and it's still my favorite book release of the year, even if I am starting to feel a little...moreMuch like Christmas the BDB only comes around once a year and it's still my favorite book release of the year, even if I am starting to feel a little too old to believe in "Santa" F-bombing it out in his leather pants.
Opening Line: Grave. And not as in serious. As in headstone and freshly disturbed earth, as in body down under, as in ashes to ashes, dust to dust.”
I’...moreOpening Line: Grave. And not as in serious. As in headstone and freshly disturbed earth, as in body down under, as in ashes to ashes, dust to dust.”
I’m one of those obsessive JR Ward fans that knows the release date of her latest book about a year in advance and plans accordingly, rearranging my work schedule and blocking off several uninterrupted days to read it. If I’m honest though her Fallen Angels have never quite made it to the same level as her BDB boys however I did feel (at least with the last book (Envy) Ward had turned a corner with the series, as it was a fantastic read and really got me excited about what was to come. Unfortunately with this installment it just feels like we`ve gone back to square one because in the end I came away feeling underwhelmed and disappointed.
Don't get me wrong, it’s still ‘new’ Ward so it’s still all kinds of awesome but Rapture took me over a week to finish with sections where my mind wandered or I just felt like I’d read it all before. There wasn’t really anything new here with characters, traits and events that felt rehashed and a little too familiar along with a slow moving storyline and not a whole lot going on in the romance department. I also don`t feel like this book moved things forward; in fact I would go as far as to say that Rapture stalled, essentially taking the series nowhere.
Okay now that that’s out of the way. Rapture is book 4 in the Fallen Angels series following our angel Jim Heron as he battles the devil in the ultimate endgame of good vs evil. Jim has been chosen (by like GOD himself) to rescue the souls of seven people from one of seven deadly sins. If he fails so does all of humanity, so the stakes are pretty high. Currently he stands at a win of 2 to 1 with events in the last book hitting him hard as Devina (the devil) took out one of his team *sigh* Well and then there`s that little issue of him having sex with her, and oh that whole Sissy trapped in hell situation. Anyways.
As usual going in Jim (and the reader) don’t know whose soul is going to need saving. I have to say I was a little surprised to learn that previous bad boy Matthias was being resurrected here as the latest hero. Can’t say I liked him much before, but I wasn`t supposed to. Of course through clever writing Ward manages to transform him into, if not swoon-worthy at least redeemable enough that I felt for his plight.
We join Matthias as he wakes up naked on top of a grave (Jim’s) He has no memories of how he got there, in fact he has no memories at all which might actually be a good thing considering the type of life he lead before his little trip to hell. As the leader of XOps (a covert group of assassins) he was a bit of a monster and his body still has the scars to prove it.
So Matthias stumbles around the graveyard, getting used to his dysfunctional legs before wandering onto the road and getting hit by a car. Say hello to Mels Carmichael; reporter for the Caldwell Courier Journal, user of Beth’s coffee mug and romantic lead. Mels is your standard Ward heroine; little bit Jane, a dash of Griers, entirely forgettable but perfect for Matthias. And while their romance was fine it was nothing special, they did however seem to spend an exorbitant amount of time in hotels and restaurants or eating in general.
All the Wardisms are here, yup Ward's unique brand of slang and riddelesque product placement is in full bloom, which sometimes makes me laugh but also gets to be a bit much particularly in this series. “He’d come to the land of Lysol, piss-green tiles, and scales that were used to weigh brains and livers” -Um, couldn`t you just say morgue?
I’m surprisingly becoming a big fan of Devina, what with her ongoing therapy sessions, OCD, hoarding issues and school girl crush on Jim her POV`s are always a blast to read.
I also just have to mention Adrian; the sacrifice he makes here is so well... moving, it had me way more invested then the whole crossroads climax that we had supposedly been waiting all book for. That was kind of meh, what did he do that for? Whereas Adrian, he broke me. Cheers peeps. ~3.5~ 329jb35(less)
SIDECAR was one of those books that I couldn`t stop reading yet wanted to put away and slowly savour because I just d...moreOpening Line: “The Kid was cold.”
SIDECAR was one of those books that I couldn`t stop reading yet wanted to put away and slowly savour because I just didn`t want it to end. I absolutely loved Casey and Joe and I`m fast approaching phonebook status with author Amy Lane, you know if she wrote a phone book I`d read it cover to cover, probably cry at the end then write a gushy fangirl review all about it. Everything she writes just grabs me by the guts, sometimes destroys me, always makes me sigh and smile and generally leaves me a hot tear streaked mess. Sidecar was no exception.
This is amazing and rare story; encompassing twenty-five years of love and well, life. And because of the length of time we get to spend with our characters this also becomes more than just a story, this is a lifetime, this is every little heartache and hope and triumph. This is epic. Thanks for the ride Amy!
Ponytailed, Harley riding, bear of a man Joe Daniels is on his way home from his job as a pediatric nurse when he comes across a visibly distraught teenager on the side of the road. Joe has picked up his share of runaways over the years in this remote area, feeding them and giving them a safe place for a few days until they head out into the world again. He’s assuming this 16 year old will be the same but Casey is about to change everything.
At first Casey is wary of accepting the big hippie bikers offer, knowing some of the shit he`s had to do over the past few months just to get a meal. But he`s also reached the end of his endurance; he’s exhausted, dirty, hungry, lice riddled and reeling from the recent abuse of a trucker. He can either go back to the bridge he almost jumped off or he can go with Joe.
Casey’s story is not a revelation, on the run because his parents couldn’t accept him being gay; now all he needs is a break, just a place to make a start for himself. He`s found it with Joe and so much more. Joe doesn`t want anything from him (definitely not sex even though Casey offers) he just wants Casey to have a chance to grow up without judgement and become a good man. So Casey doesn`t leave, with Joe as his legal guardian he goes back to school, gets a job, helps remodel the house, they get a dog, he dates a few boys and life goes by.
At 27 Joe is pretty settled in his life, he works at the hospital, he likes his seclusion, he loves having Casey around and he dates a few girls and a few boys. Their relationship works, for several years it works but Casey is growing up and he`s never hidden the fact that he wants Joe. So far Joe’s been able to play it off, telling him he`s just a kid and doesn’t know what he wants and that’s where the conflict comes in because suddenly Casey isn`t a kid, suddenly, overnight (well 6 years) Casey is a man and Joe can no longer deny what s been growing between them. How it hurts now to see him with his silly boyfriends.
Gawd the moment Joe realizes that he`s in love with Casey, that he wants him is so perfect and so beautiful and so well written it makes you want to cry. I`ll be honest though I had my doubts as to whether Lane could pull off this transformation taking them from a pseudo father son relationship to lovers but I needn’t have worried and YES, Finally, the payoff for their first time together is so worth the long wait.
”I want you. I want to hold you. I’m suddenly, terrifyingly, overwhelmingly possessed with the idea of what your mouth would taste like under mine, and I don’t know how to say it or even think it.”
And still their story goes on. Joe wants a child, same sex adoption wasn`t really a thing in the nineties so that’s a problem, Joe also wants Casey to travel, to see the world and experience everything before he settles down. Casey just wants Joe and time marches on, in the blink of an eye 25 years has passed and that is life. Cheers.
I want to mention that Amy has also included a song title for each chapter, relevant to when it takes place and what our characters are going through. And because this starts in 1986 –the year I graduated (!) I had an absolute blast with this playlist, bringing back lots of memories for me, when I had super big hair and Corey Hart was the bomb. 319jb5+
Opening Line: “Devin Carter had five days off thanks to a torn knee ligament, and he needed to get away from everyone and everything he knew, so he th...moreOpening Line: “Devin Carter had five days off thanks to a torn knee ligament, and he needed to get away from everyone and everything he knew, so he threw some clothes and a couple books in a bag, loaded the dog in the car, and drove down the gulf coast of Florida to Naples, where he picked up the Tamiami Trail.”
Wow, I totally got into this one, a real surprise as the story didn’t at all go where I was expecting it to and the love scenes were for the most part fade-to-black (which might explain some of the lower ratings?) Sure we get the usual hand jobs, blow jobs and make out sessions but except for a delicious “edging” scene (yup, learn something new every day in my M/M romances) our hero “makes love” and leaves the rest to our imaginations. Kinda refreshing.
Blue Paradise also gives us a creepy stalker plotline –which I didn’t see coming, and our hero is a professional baseball player. Yum! And wasn’t it fun going behind the scenes with him; locker rooms, agents, groupies etc. Giving me flashes of For Love Of The Game (without Kevin Costner) as he tries to break Barry Bonds homerun record on a failing knee. I should also mention the awesome Florida setting here; so well written that I could actually feel the humidly, smell the salt air and see the swaying palms. Total escapism and I loved it. This was a big hit for me and I’ll definitely be seeking out more from Theo Fenraven.
Professional baseball player Devin Carter is nursing a bad knee, benched by the team doctor he’s hoping a week’s rest in the Florida Keys will be just what his mind and body need to help him break the home run record when he returns for the remainder of the season. With no true direction in mind Devin just grabs his dog and hits the road, eventually checking into a non-descript hotel bungalow on the beach. It’s there at the Blue Paradise that Devin meets Jim, the grandson of the owner and the man he doesn’t know he’s been looking for.
Their affair is short lived but meaningful and when Devin returns to Sarasota they decide to keep it going over the phone. There isn’t any angst or unnecessary drama between Devin and Jim; it’s all very mature (that aspect has been saved up for Jorge.) Devin is still in the closet when it comes to the media and his teammates but otherwise quite secure in his sexuality so even though he’s never fooled around with a teammate before when the opportunity presents itself - and with Jim’s open minded blessing, he forges into unknown and potentially messy territory with the team’s new outfielder. And that’s when things get really interesting.
For a novella I managed to I got way caught up in the stalker aspect of this story and the utter helplessness Devin feels as his life crumbles around him. He can’t even go to his coach or the police without coming out, however as the violence escalates he also runs out of options. The bad guy here is nothing new or special but he still managed to make me hate him while upping the suspense level. My only real complaint here would be Dev and Jim’s initial meeting which just felt a little too easy and convenient but hey what do I know about gay hook ups?
Lastly I have to give a shout out to Rusty the dog who manages to get quite a bit of realistic page time. So much so that when the stalker starts threatening him I actually said to myself (and the author) you better not hurt the dog or I’m gunna stop reading and when I start talking to my books I know it’s good. Cheers 314jb4.5
Opening Line: “Ty Baden’s fingers and palms were sticky with rattlesnake blood.”
So I’ll give it up for Elaine Levine, she sure knows how to write an a...moreOpening Line: “Ty Baden’s fingers and palms were sticky with rattlesnake blood.”
So I’ll give it up for Elaine Levine, she sure knows how to write an amazing tortured hero. Once again I was left in bits by the heartbreaking back story of our romantic lead. I don’t know what my deal is, but the more damaged the hero the harder I tend to fall. So yeah, I fell pretty hard here. With this 2nd book from The Red Team series we get Ty Baden’s long awaited story, and because Levine left him (and us) hanging at the end of the last book (with Ty presumed dead at the bottom of a cavernous snake filled pit) I was more than a little excited. She doesn’t disappoint either; filling the action packed story with suspense, heartache, smoking hot love scenes, a bit of a BDB vibe (yeah that’s right) and several hunky, wise-cracking, ex-counter terror operatives. It’s a great ride.
I should mention how much I adored the first book The Edge of Courage and I say this because I’m not sure how well this would work as a standalone as events here pick up directly after. Besides you really wouldn’t want to miss Rocco and Mandy’s story. Rocco *sigh top 5 tortured hero*
So, Ty is stuck in a rattlesnake infested pit. Now why do I hear Indiana Jones’ voice as I write that ”snakes, why’d it have to be snakes?” Anyways, our boy Ty is an ex-operative so saving himself is all in a day’s work. He then makes his way to a nearby house where he meets up with one of the hotties from the bar in town he met in the last book. Of course sparks fly and when it turns out that she’s in danger from the bad guys of the WKB Ty makes Eden his personal mission.
Our heroine is the perfect match for Ty; no nonsense, tough and supportive which is exactly what Ty needs after what he’s been through. Eden also just happens to train service dogs so after a second attempt is made on her life Ty moves her and “Tank” in with the boys at his childhood house (of horrors) now serving as Red Team headquarters. Tank proves more than capable of searching out munitions and explosives and against her better judgement Eden becomes a member of Red Team.
Ty hadn’t been home in years for a reason, but with his father recently deceased and the team needing a new headquarters in the area while they take down the WKB he’s soon stuck right back where his nightmares began. Throughout the course of this story Ty’s past is slowly revealed and I have to say I was actually left a little stunned at the horrific abuse he suffered at the hands of his own father amongst others.
I won’t go too much into the plot but there are a couple of things I did want to mention I really enjoyed the camaraderie and just plain hilarity of the Team as a group, there is one scene in particular where Eden goes shopping with fellow team member Val. Val is trying to make Ty realize his feelings for Eden so he takes her to Victoria’s Secret and leaves a line open on the phone. As Eden tries on naughty knickers Ty listens in, cursing and realizing he’s jealous. The love scenes are angst filled and super-hot; watching Ty confront his ghosts and give himself to Eden was at times breathtaking. He really is just the perfect hero, tender when it counts, in desperate need of emotional rescue yet still all down, dirty and alpha when need be.
With so many delicious Red Team members left to have their stories told, this is a series I see myself continuing with to the end. Cheers.
Thanks Elaine **A copy was generously provided by the author in exchange for a fair and honest review. (less)
Opening Line: "Moments stolen...never to be regained."
What a great ending to an absolutely fabulous trilogy. I actually hunted down these books used b...moreOpening Line: "Moments stolen...never to be regained."
What a great ending to an absolutely fabulous trilogy. I actually hunted down these books used because of the rave reviews and am I ever glad I did. This series will definitely be getting a reread. Lorraine Heath can tell a story, flawlessly capturing the emotions of her characters and never giving them an easy route to love. I always enjoy how our couples fall in love slowly, almost like it’s a surprise to them while they struggle through numerous hardships. And her heroes… jeez. Big, tough, damaged cowboys, willing to do anything for their women and usually causing this reader to tear up once or twice in the process.
Here we get youngest Leigh Brother Austin’s story which is made all the sweeter because we’ve watched him grow up throughout the previous books. When we left him last (5 years ago) he had just gone to prison for a murder he didn’t commit, all in the name of protecting his sweetheart.
Upon his release from prison Austin is devastated to learn that Becky hasn’t waited for him, in fact she’s married his best friend. I really appreciated how lost he was during this time; life had moved on during his incarceration, children had been born and grown, he didn’t know anyone including himself and no longer felt like he had a place in the world. I was also moved by the loss of Austin’s music as he gives up his violin because he can no longer hear the songs in his head. Heartbreaking.
Setting off for the capital to find the real killer and clear his name Austin gets delayed when his horse goes lame. Finding his way to a rundown farm he comes across a shy, innocent (and often barefoot) young woman with a sweet smile who is living in seclusion and has secrets and nightmares of her own. Of course romance blooms and these two damaged souls seek comfort in each other. Never one to shirk his responsibilities Austin marries Loree when he learns she is with child (whoopsie) returning to the Leigh homestead to build a future together and presumably purchase a lot of sugar.
Austin and Loree are a fantastic couple who are virtual strangers when they marry and watching them grow and and ultimately love each other is just beautiful. Much like in book 1 (Texas Destiny) it’s also a story of two wounded souls finding and healing each other however here we also have big a secret hanging over their ultimate HEA. I didn’t figure out this mystery until I was right on top of it and was surprised and pleased with the outcome.
In the background of Loree and Austin’s romance we also spend considerable time with the other brothers and their wives and while it was fun catching up with Dallas and Huston I did get a bit tired of all the children and babies being born and felt that the book kind of stalled out for a while with all the family stuff going on in the middle (over Christmas) The series concludes with a fantastic epilogue taking us 10 years into the future which I loved -it wasn’t the future I’d expected but it was so satisfying.
As others have mentioned Rawley Cooper really shines in this story and I can only hope Heath has given him a story of his own as he definitely deserves a HEA. 5 star series 332jb4 (less)
Just noticed that this series is switching to a hardcover release!
Which pisses me off. I'm not sure I'm invested enough in Ward's angels to shell out...moreJust noticed that this series is switching to a hardcover release!
Which pisses me off. I'm not sure I'm invested enough in Ward's angels to shell out the $$ for hardcover especially when I'll just end up replacing it in PB so my series is all matchy, matchy. (Yeah I know) Damn I hate when publishers do this.
So far this series isn't up to BDB standards, and what I mean by that is that I've yet to reread any of the books whereas my BDB's are trashed, I've reread them several, several times so it doesn't hurt so much having 2 copies.
Opening Line: “This is the one thing that stays the same: my husband got hurt. Everything else changes.”
Stephen King is quoted (on the cover) of this...moreOpening Line: “This is the one thing that stays the same: my husband got hurt. Everything else changes.”
Stephen King is quoted (on the cover) of this book as saying “The best memoir I have ever read.” Well I wouldn’t go that far but this was pretty good; honest, moving, funny heartbreaking and literary –the author is a writing teacher, so yeah. Oh and then there are the three dogs and her observations on them, (which are brilliant) and the main reason I decided to read this.
Abigail Thomas lives with her husband Richard in a cosy house with pretty furniture. She has children and grandchildren, and her telephone rings often. She likes to knit and is useless at gardening. Richard takes care of that. Richard also takes the dog for its evening walk. One night the dog comes home and Richard doesn’t. The doorman phones from the lobby, your dog is in the elevator, you better come and get him. Where is my husband? Richard has been hit by a car, his skull shattered; his brain severely damaged, their dreams of old age on the front porch with the comfort of each other taken from them in an instant.
Abigail’s memoir is about the following 5 years after the accident as she slowly puts her life back together, collects a couple more dogs and learns to deal with the twists and turns it has thrown at her. Richard is now in a nursing facility, he won’t be getting any better, he lives in the eternal present with no future, no past no 5 minutes ago, subject to rages, terrors and hallucinations this is the only constant in Abigail’s life as she moves forward.
“Richard and I don’t have the normal ups and downs of marriage. I don’t get impatient. He doesn’t have to figure out what to do with his retirement. I don’t watch him go through holidays with the sorrow of missing his absent children. Last week we were walking down the hall to his room, it was November, we had spent the afternoon together. “If I wasn’t with you and we weren’t getting food, the dark would envelope my soul.” he said cheerfully. He never knows I’m leaving until I go.”
This memoir is both sad and laugh-out-loud funny which is an incredible combination to achieve. I also found myself constantly highlighting meaningful quotes or reading parts out loud to whomever would listen which often included my dogs :) Cheers
This was an inspiring follow up to (From Baghdad, With Love: A Marine, the War, and a Dog Named Lava), tracing Jay Kopelman and his transplanted dog Lava’s transition back to civilian life in the US. Unlike the first book this is more about the man than the dog. We witness Kopelman struggle here with problems that many returning veterans face including anger management and control issues. In Kopelman’s case it’s through his dog (and under a pretext of research for this book) that he’s finally able to admit to having PTSD.
I enjoyed the first book so much and often wondered what became of Jay and his rescue dog upon their return to America so I was thrilled to be allowed a glimpse back into their lives here. FBTA is a short read and I enjoyed it despite the fact that at times it felt more like an extended epilogue than an actual novel.
There wasn’t really a whole lot of substance here, interspaced with letters from assorted military, each telling their own stories of dogs that influenced them and how they tried (usually without success) to get them back to America, copies of the code of conduct, step by step instructions on how to don a field protective mask along with several other pages of military rules and regulations and 50 pages of appendages at the end. He also does a fair amount of well, for lack of a better word ranting but I guess he’s earned that right. Actually we get very little insight into Jay’s personal life at all (which again as the author is his right) but I would have appreciated a little more than just randomly reading that he’s married and then suddenly has a year old son.
Lava does continue to influence Jay throughout, being the one responsible for leading him to the woman he marries and ultimately forcing Kopelman to address his own PTSD through his behavioral problems. I would say this is any interesting and touching read, nowhere near as engaging as the first book but probably an important and relatable piece of work for returning veterans.
In regards to Lava’s own PTSD, and don’t get me wrong I’m not saying that he doesn’t have genuine issues but Kopelman states “that to keep Lava balanced he has to keep him on a schedule, avoid surprises (like the cable guy dropping by) and make sure Lava is eating well, sleeping and exercising because if he doesn’t everybody pays” Well I’m sorry but this is the standard for all dogs. My golden retriever has had a pretty perfect life but he still goes crazy if his life isn’t on a routine, and if he misses a walk, look the hell out. He also doesn’t appreciate strange, unannounced cable guys on the property. This is just normal dog behaviour, but whatever I’m glad seeing through Lava’s eyes enabled Kopelman to focus on himself. Cheers 348jb35(less)
This is book #3 from the SEAL Team 12 series but I’m pretty sure you could read it as a standalone without any problems. This one centres on team snip...moreThis is book #3 from the SEAL Team 12 series but I’m pretty sure you could read it as a standalone without any problems. This one centres on team sniper Chase “Westy” McCaffery and on the run military spouse Sara Garrett.
Our hero is on leave for the majority of the story here, so the military aspect which I usually enjoy takes a bit of back seat. Chase is on his way to a family ranch in Oklahoma that he’s just inherited when Sara (a woman he’s aided in the past) asks for his help (a ride) in escaping her controlling husband.
At first Chase refuses, not wanting to get mixed up with a JAG lawyer and his wife’s domestic issues but because he suffered abuse as a child he also spots the signs of terror in her and the next day Sara and her young son are in his car and on their way to Texas.
We get a bit of a road trip story then, Sara gets a makeover, her son bonds with Chase and they decide to go and hide out at his ranch for a few days while she gets her bearings again, free from the clutches of her abusive husband. -Who is of course now bashing down doors in his frantic search for her. And then the skinheads show up.
So, I struggled through this story, it’s not that it’s terrible but I’ve come to the conclusion that Marliss Melton is just not for me. I find her writing really frustrating and I spend a lot of time rolling my eyes at crazy situations and old fashioned dialogue.
I think the reason I get so frustrated is because parts of her books are super good, her story ideas are intriguing, the set ups for the romance, the tortured heroes but her follow through drives me crazy. This book was gripping initially but as soon as we arrived at the ranch it got bogged down by silly sub plots involving Neo-Nazis, abductions and plans to bomb a golf course on Columbus Day. The murder of Jesse the dog had me seriously debating finishing. Even the bad guy husband who started out with promise lost all credibility by the end and just became a stereotype.
I also have issues with the dubious and old fashioned language she throws in “Well I’ll be a monkey’s uncle.” “Heavens, who was in charge of this abduction?" (I’ve only ever heard my grandmother use expressions like these. And again “Heavens must you fire your gun at 7 in the morning, I thought the skin heads were back.” Really!?
Time To Run also included one of the weirdest sex scenes I’ve ever read wherein Chase and Sara finally give in to temptation, are half way through makin love and then stop to have a full on conversation. He threatens to “rip her husband’s head off” she tells him she thinks she loves him, he contemplates leaving, then because “he’s in his mother’s bed “ has a flashbacky type childhood memory and starts crying uncontrollably… Not sexy!
Opening Line: “The last thing Nina Askew needed was Fred.”
Newly divorced Nina Askew has just turned forty and found her freedom. Of course freedom fro...moreOpening Line: “The last thing Nina Askew needed was Fred.”
Newly divorced Nina Askew has just turned forty and found her freedom. Of course freedom from her stuffy husband and suburban home comes at a cost and Nina now finds herself a tad on the lonely side. Rambling around her apartment, watching old movies and drinking Amaretto milkshakes with her BFF just aren’t cutting it anymore. She needs something else. What she needs is a puppy; a perky, rambunctious, adorable puppy. What Nina gets is Fred. (Personally I’ve always believed that your dog finds you) And in return Fred finds Alex for her, the decade younger, hunky E.R doctor from downstairs.
Fred. This really is his book, he absolutely steals the show here and I found that instead of falling for the hero (which is usually the case) I fell for Fred. Those opening chapters where Nina adopts his depressed, smelly, vertically challenged, morose self from the pound while trying to get herself a cheerful puppy are just brilliant.
“Nina turned to the attendant, and said, “I’ll take him.” The attendant raised an eyebrow, “That’s your idea of perky?” Nina gestured to the puppies, “They’ll all be adopted right?” “Probably” Nina took one last glance at the tumbling, chubby puppies. Prozac with four legs and a tail. Then she looked at the other dog, depressed alone. Too old to be cute anymore if he ever had been. “I have a lot in common with this dog” she told the attendant.
Yup, dejected, moaning, bra stealing, Oreo eating, smelly, overweight, great lump of a dog. What’s not to love?
Anyone But You was my first Jennifer Crusie read and it was a pleasure. With a sweet, uncomplicated (older woman/younger man) romance and relaxed writing style; I can see why Crusie is so popular. This just put a smile on my face which honestly I needed because it’s been a rough month.
My only issues would be that their friendship seemed to develop really fast. They met and bam, they were instantly familiar, spending all their time together, watching movies, jogging and hanging out, there was no getting to know period. I also felt that the ending was a bit rushed (word count?) but these are just minor gripes
The secondary characters are engaging and addictive and I can’t help but hope they got their own stories (have to check into that -written in 96.)I was also pleasantly surprised by the steaminess of the love scenes. Yeah, nice! And how great is it to read about a 40 year old woman grabbing the younger hot guy. Sure she had some body issues (saggy, things not where they used to be) but this just made it all the more realistic. Cheers 357jb3.5(less)
Opening Line: " Behind the wheel of the Ford Expedition, Amy Redwing drove as if she were immortal and therefore safe at any speed."
I read THE DARKEST...moreOpening Line: " Behind the wheel of the Ford Expedition, Amy Redwing drove as if she were immortal and therefore safe at any speed."
I read THE DARKEST EVENING OF THE YEAR for a book club challenge although admittedly it had been sitting on my TBR shelf for a couple of years. I was happy to finally find a reason to stop passing it over (in favour of vampire romance and testosterone filled Navy Seals) and get into a good horror novel. Unfortunately I now wished I’d left it sitting on the shelf because this was not in any way an enjoyable read and ultimately a real struggle to finish.
To start with I didn’t enjoy Koontz’s style of writing, he seemed to take f-o-r-e-v-e-r and a whole lot of adjectives to get across what he was trying to say and I found myself skimming almost immediately just to get on with the story;
"The pleasantly warm morning was freshened by a breeze as light as a caress, and the feathery fronds of queen palms cast shadows that resembled the plumed tails of the Golden’s." Um, yeah.
For something in the horror genre I also found this to be very un-scary, the plot revolving more around reincarnation and weird feelings then anything truly horrifying. Thankfully the chapters were short containing several alternating POV’s, mostly involving hit men who all appeared to all be trying to kill each other. The main antagonist, Moongirl was a nasty piece of work and our hero Amy Redwing had an interesting past that slowly got revealed however I never really got a feel for her either. So I kept plugging along thinking this has to improve, Koontz is hugely popular, what am I missing? Well upon completion I came away rather underwhelmed and realized I wasn’t missing anything.
The only good thing in this story would have to be the Golden Retrievers which Koontz knows well and obviously loves. His dog descriptions and mannerisms of the breed were spot on. However I couldn’t in good conscience even recommend this book to dog lovers, because the story was so convoluted and just plain painful to read. Koontz also tended to get a little preachy when it came to describing abused dogs, euthanasia and puppy mills. I’m a dog owner and lover (That’s originally why I bought the book, for the dog on the cover) And I understood the message he was trying to get across but I didn’t need these facts thrown in my face every couple of chapters. I get it, puppy mills bad, adopt from the pound, move on.
I also didn't appreciate the storyline involving a 10 year old girl with Down syndrome who’s abused, called "Piggy" and threatened with being lit on fire. That was WAY out of my comfort zone. Although maybe meant to be the horror aspect I kept waiting for? In the end I just wanted this to be over.(less)