Due to my overabundance of excitement at the premise of this book, I didn't notice that Bittersweet Darkness is actually the third book in a series. M...moreDue to my overabundance of excitement at the premise of this book, I didn't notice that Bittersweet Darkness is actually the third book in a series. My fault entirely. So, yes I did scramble for purchase a bit as I found my place in Faith's story. Still, this is a solid read even as a standalone! Nina Croft's writing has the ability to pull you straight down into the story. I might have been missing some details about the pasts of these characters, but in reality I didn't feel the sting too much. In fact, I've found a new world to love. You can bet that this bookworm is headed back to read the first two of these, as soon as possible.
Now on the to the actual review, shall we? Faith's character was absolutely wonderful. I have a place in my heart for characters like her. Characters who are loyal and kind, but also have no problem kicking ass when the situation calls for it. To Faith, the world lies in absolutes. There are good guys, and there are bad guys. There is darkness, and there is light. Most of all, monsters don't exist. Or do they? I watched as Faith's ideals were put into question, and I was so impressed. She's strong. She's fierce. Best of all? Faith isn't swayed by the bad boy type. That alone makes her a winner in my book.
Speaking of the bad boy type, Ash definitely fits that description. It still makes me giggle to call a demon "sexy", but there's no other word to describe it. In his human form, Ash is unstoppable. He's intelligent, sarcastic, and yet just enough of a gentleman to make him delicious. Pardon my gushing, but he is definitely worth swooning over. The banter between Ash and Faith is filled with sass and sparks! I'd have loved Faith no matter what, but Ash definitely complimented her perfectly.
Let's be honest, I'm a fan of PR. I eat Urban Fantasy up like it's candy. So it's really no surprise that I loved the premise of Bittersweet Darkness, what with it's action and intrigue. However that only scratches the surface of my enjoyment. Nina Croft's writing is easy to read, and fun to get lost in. This book is only a little over 250 pages, but I would have happily read for hundreds more. I loved the characters, I loved the world, and I honestly can't wait for more.(less)
The Supreme Macaroni Company called to me, both because it was by Adriana Trigiani and because of the Italian heritage I knew would run deep in it. I'...moreThe Supreme Macaroni Company called to me, both because it was by Adriana Trigiani and because of the Italian heritage I knew would run deep in it. I'm always fascinated by glimpses into the lives of others. I also love Trigiani's ability to bring a whole family, an entire clan of loving, swearing, supportive people, to life. I was ready to get lost in another of her books.
Keep in mind I had no idea this was the third book in a series. Apparently Valentine's story has been going on for two books previous to this, and therefore I was coming in at the end. On the bright side, it didn't even register that I'd missed anything at first. Valentine and Gianluca were easy to fall in step with. I was a little daunted by their age difference initially, but their family dynamic really drew me in.
What kept me from falling in love with The Supreme Macaroni Company was that everything moved so quickly. Time flew as Valentine moved from being engaged, to being a married woman and beyond. I adored how much passion she had for her work. I wanted to see more of her creations. More of her personality. It all felt swallowed up by her relationship with Gianluca. Maybe if I had read the first two books I'd feel differently. Perhaps what I was missing happened in books past. All I know is that I ended the book feeling a bit cheated.
It's true that it's harder to judge The Supreme Macaroni Company, simply because I didn't know this was the last book in a series. Still, I can't deny that I enjoyed the ride. The relationship between Valentine and Gianluca was bittersweet, and I did love the family as well. If nothing else I know I'll be going to back to read the two books before this. (less)
Let me be honest, I'm completely on the fence about this one. Everything Between Us turned out to be so much more than I thought it would be. It was m...moreLet me be honest, I'm completely on the fence about this one. Everything Between Us turned out to be so much more than I thought it would be. It was more emotionally charged than I expected, and I loved it. There were just a few things that I couldn't let go of.
Let's start with what I liked. The characters absolutely make this list. Even if you originally dislike Daniel (and I'll be honest, I did) it's hard not to grow to love him over time. Mila Ferrera builds a character that is so deep, so broken, that I couldn't help but forgive him. Even Stella, despite her crippling phobia, is well rounded and fleshed out. No matter what else happened, I clung to these two characters. They made it all worthwhile.
That's not to say that the writing isn't well done. It most definitely is. The story that weaves these two together is just as three-dimensional as the characters themselves. They fight, love, and make bad decisions. I felt like this had all the romance I wanted, without being over the top. Even the steamy scenes were expertly written to enhance, not to overshadow. I ate it up.
The first thing I couldn't get over, and trust me I tried, was the way the book started. It took me so long to like Daniel because of the way the book opens. No matter how sweet things went from there, it was still always hiding in the back of my mind. The second issue I had wasn't as big. I just felt that the ending was a bit long. I loved the tension between Stella and Daniel. I loved how hard they worked to be together, but I also felt it was a little drawn out. I wanted to yell, "Cut them a break!". Maybe I was a little too invested?
The fact remains that, despite any qualms I may have had, this book is very well done. I see a lot of readers falling in love with Everything Between Us. I know that I did. Take a chance why don't you? It might just be your new favorite book.(less)
Holy... I am so blown away by this book I'm not even sure where to start. I've been a massive fan of Sandra Brannan's mysteries since I first met Liv...moreHoly... I am so blown away by this book I'm not even sure where to start. I've been a massive fan of Sandra Brannan's mysteries since I first met Liv Bergen in book one. I've watched Liv grow, met her family, and fallen totally in love with her fabulous personality. To say I had high hopes for Noah's Rainy Day doesn't even begin to cover how I felt as I opened to the first page. Honestly though? I shouldn't have worried. There was so much to love here that it's going to be one hell of a task for me to explain how I feel.
First off I was so happy to see that Liv, one of my top five favorite female characters of all time, was just as vividly written and feisty as ever! What's awesome about this particular installment is that Liv is finally an FBI agent. Oh sure, all sorts of insanity happens around her constantly. Now, however, she can actually do something about it legally. I loved Special Agent Liv Bergen. Loved watching her get her feet wet, learn the FBI ropes, and solve the mystery. Liv hasn't changed at all, but now her skills come to the forefront and it's perfection!
Then there was Noah. Please pardon me while I gush, but Noah Hogarty is an absolutely wonderful protagonist. Living with severe cerebral palsy hasn't gotten Noah down. He's sweet, intelligent beyond his years, and so wonderfully positive. Everything about him screams life, and it's no wonder that Liv loves spending time with him. I was so impressed with the way that Sandra Brannan wrote this young character. Despite what life has handed him he is brave, strong and damn impressive. I loved Noah Hogarty, with all of my heart.
Oh and the plot! I could gush, and gush, but the point remains that there is nothing about this book that is slow. Each page brings a new clue to light, a new piece of the puzzle into the picture, and it was all I could do to keep up with the mystery. No spoilers here friends. You absolutely must experience it. Let's just say that I'll admit I was teary eyed near the end. There are just some books that have you so wrapped up in them that you cry when things finally end. Sandra Brannan remains one of my all time favorite writers, and I'm happy to recommend this whole series to you! Trust me when I say you won't be sorry you met Liv Bergen and her beautiful family. (less)
The Darwin Elevator caught me up in its premise initially. Anything compared to Josh Whedon and John Scalzi makes me take notice. I expected some acti...moreThe Darwin Elevator caught me up in its premise initially. Anything compared to Josh Whedon and John Scalzi makes me take notice. I expected some action, space travel, and hopefully some characters I'd fall in love with. I'm a fan of Science Fiction. I hoped I'd be a fan of Jason M. Hough's work as well.
The book starts out by introducing the reader to the current state of Earth. Ravaged to the point of near-annihilation, the last hope for humanity lies in one city. Darwin, Australia has become home to all that is left of the human race. I was a little lost at first, I'll admit it. The book takes off really quickly. Once I caught up though, I was immersed in this world. One thing I'll say for Hough's writing, the world building is phenomenal.
I can't say the same for the plot, however. Things started out shaky for me when I learned the caste system in Skyler's world. The "immunes", those who can actually leave the planet, are for some reason at the bottom of the barrel. I was trying to figure out how the" non-immunes" managed to be the top dogs in this society. After that things became increasingly confusing. While the world that these characters populate is gorgeously desolate, the society doesn't really fit in it.
Then there are the characters. I will be honest and say that there were some that I loved. Sadly, they happened to be the ones that were barely focused on, and one even died. The main characters, like Skylar, were all very shallow. It was hard for me to believe that Skylar, a man who has no self-esteem, was captain. It took me a long time to get behind any of these characters and once I finally did the book was near its end. I hoped for more.
All in all The Darwin Elevator was a decent read. I would have liked more depth, but what was given to me was interesting enough to keep me reading to the end. I'm thinking that if the book had been a bit shorter, it would have been an easier read. Still, if you like Science Fiction, this might be a book that you want to try out.(less)
I'm rather in love with Craven Place. Although it took the story a little bit to pull me in, it wasn't long before I was caught up in Richard Wright's...moreI'm rather in love with Craven Place. Although it took the story a little bit to pull me in, it wasn't long before I was caught up in Richard Wright's web. This book isn't as straightforward as you might think it would be. The twists come out of nowhere and that, more than anything, is what kept me reading on. I remember Richard Wright telling me that he believed this to be a very "British" sort of book, and I'm inclined to agree.
The setting, a crumbling cottage in a desolate clearing, really sets the atmosphere. I felt the evil brewing within the walls of the house from page one. What's interesting is that I wasn't certain what timeline Wright's story takes place in. Tanith and Nicholas have a very old world feel to them, while the other characters feel like they fit more in current times. It makes for a story that feels broad, and allows you to sink into it. You might not believe the ghost story, but you'll still want to know what happens next.
More than anything what I want to share is how this isn't your normal ghost story. Part horror, part thriller and part mystery, it's almost in a genre all it's own. I don't want to spoil anything, trust me. Part of the joy of Craven Place is letting it unfold and lead you where it may. I have a feeling some readers might not like the change in pace throughout, but I for one thought it made for an intriguing read. To me, ghost stories don't always have logical endings. This is no exception.
If you're a lover of cozy mysteries, or ghostly tales, it's likely you'll enjoy Craven Place. As I said, it takes a bit for things to pick up. Once they do, it's hard not to keep reading on. I was a fan of Richard Wright's first novel, which was completely different than this. I'm a fan of this one too. Any author that can take their writing across genres and still shine is a winner in my book. More please. (less)
I don't think I was quite expecting what I found between the pages of The Ghost Bride. Perhaps it's because I glazed over the synopsis, rather than re...moreI don't think I was quite expecting what I found between the pages of The Ghost Bride. Perhaps it's because I glazed over the synopsis, rather than reading it carefully, but I wasn't ready for the more fantasy driven part of this book. I was expecting a story about a girl who was fated to be sold off as a ghost bride. A story rich with history. I was given both of these things, but also so much I didn't see coming. Li Lan's story is based around her Chinese culture, but with a paranormal twist stemming from mythology.
I'm not entirely sure when this book is meant to take place, but Li Lan reads as a more modern woman than I was anticipating. She's opinionated and intelligent. Her views on women and society are at odds with the others around her. I was charmed by her fresh, no-nonsense take on the world around her. What really threw me for a loop though is how young she really seems. I've seen this book labeled as adult fiction, but Li Lan's personality really feels like it has more of a young adult feel. Especially once the paranormal aspect comes into play.
However the biggest issue I had with The Ghost Bride was the writing style. Lots of telling, instead of showing. For example, describing an article of clothing. Rather than have the reader infer what it is through the writing, Li Lan will just directly explain what it is for, how it's worn and how she knows. If the protagonist I'm following is of the culture the book is based in, I somewhat assume they know about traditional clothing. I felt like I was being lead of a guided tour, instead of swept up in a mysterious story. That's not to say that the story itself isn't ultimately interesting. The folklore, mystery, and unexpected twists definitely created a need to keep reading. If you can see past the writing style, the story underneath is actually very well done.
My very jumbled feelings are why I ultimately decided on a three star rating for this book. There were aspects of The Ghost Bride that I really enjoyed, and others that took away from the journey. If you are a reader who often reads historical fiction, this might be something you enjoy. Especially since it has the added bonus of a bit of mythology to keep things fresh. (less)
Mystery Girl was what my grandmother likes to call an "odd duck". I don't know what I was expecting it to be when I accepted it for review, but I can...moreMystery Girl was what my grandmother likes to call an "odd duck". I don't know what I was expecting it to be when I accepted it for review, but I can tell you it wasn't what I was presented with. Not to say that's a bad thing. Quite the opposite actually! This was a read that grew on me and, as it it did, took me to a whole new place.
Sam Kornberg is just your typical, unemployed, recently divorced and failed novelist. Is typical the right word? We meet a man who is at rock bottom. I have to say that his character spoke volumes to me. Sam can feel campy at times, but he's really a very deep person. His views on the male psyche, on creating art, and actually pretty much everything, have massive depth and breadth. Sam might look like a failure on the outside, but inside he's raw creativity. I'm not even sure if that makes sense, but that's how I felt.
Then he meets Solar Lonsky, the oddest character I've ever had the opportunity to meet, and everything spirals out of control. There's really no way I can express to you how this book reads. It's part noir, part satire, and entirely a look into the deepest parts of ourselves. Lonsky's quest takes Sam to some dark places. There is real mystery here. Real violence and real blood. Even some slightly awkward sex, if I'm being honest. It's like this book is all over the place but, magically, it all wraps back up into itself and creates a wonderful package.
The one fault I found, and it's very possible it's just me, was that the language Gordon uses is very over the top. I'm not generally a reader of mystery or noir, so I don't know if this is normal. It's just that the massive use of similes really grated on me after a while. I'll begrudgingly admit that it does set the tone. That's probably the reason for their use. I'm just being honest about my personal reading of this book.
It's not as though it kept me from enjoying the book overall and, quite honestly, I powered through Mystery Girl rather quickly! I wasn't expecting what I found between these pages, but I loved every minute of it. I'm glad I took a chance on David Gordon's book. I can't wait to seek out what he writes next.(less)
Romance novels are quickly becoming my new escape from reality. There's just something about a feel good, happy ending, story that makes you all mushy...moreRomance novels are quickly becoming my new escape from reality. There's just something about a feel good, happy ending, story that makes you all mushy inside! So when I saw the synopsis for Sara Daniels' Love Him or Leave Him, I knew I'd be reading it. With my glass of wine, and my chocolate cake, I sank into the couch and into Connor and Becca's lives.
I'm going to admit straight out that Becca wasn't my favorite person at first. I thought she was rather closed off and, if I'm being honest, slightly bitter. However the more I read, the more she opened up. I soon realized that she had every right to feel that way! Imagine being a young girl with big dreams. Now imagine those dreams are put on hold while you have to care for your younger brother. The fact that Becca was strong enough to take on so much responsibility really made her an amazing woman in my eyes.
Which is why when Connor sauntered into the scene I was a little skeptical at first. Was he good enough for her? Well, let's just say that a few pages later I was totally ready to steal him away. Connor O'Malley is everything you'd want in a man. Despite the skeletons in his closet, he's the sweetest and most giving character I've ever met! Absolutely swoon-worthy, and 100% adorable, he's too hard not to love. I could even forgive him the rather obnoxious reason why he and Becca split in the first place, and that's saying a lot.
Oh, and then the story! I could gush for ages, but suffice it to say that the small town setting is perfection. I know the word "sweet" is probably used a ton for reviews like this, but it's the simple truth. I mean, come on, it even has a cocoa competition in it! Sweet doesn't even quite cover how delectable this book really is. So it should be obvious that you need a copy of Love Him or Leave Him as soon as humanly possible. Wine and cake are optional, but highly recommended. (less)
Let me tell you, I was sincerely impressed with Snow Day. There is a hook at the beginning that draws you in and then, before you know it, you're flip...moreLet me tell you, I was sincerely impressed with Snow Day. There is a hook at the beginning that draws you in and then, before you know it, you're flipping the last page with shaking fingers. To say that Dan Maurer's book is a thriller is a bit of an understatement. I'd equate it more to one of those horror movies that you just can't look away from. Sure the overall story is a thriller, but at its heart this connects to the reader on a visceral level.
What really struck me was how such a simple concept was turned into such a shiver inducing story. Billy Stone lives in the idyllic world of the 70's. His family believes that the small, suburban neighborhood they live in will protect him from anything that might mean him harm. As long as he stays on his block, life is good. Or is it? Dan Maurer explores the darkness that always lurks beneath the surface of any "perfect" place and he does it with expertise.
The one thing that left a little wanting for me was how quickly the book moved. I know this is a novella, and a very well written one at that. However I can happily admit that I wouldn't have a single problem following Billy's story through a full fledged novel. I love getting to know the characters I'm rooting for, and in this case I barely skimmed their surfaces. Still, I can't deny I loved every minute of it.
If you're a fan of stories that will make your pulse pound and your fingers fly across the pages, Snow Day is a novella you definitely need to add to your TBR. Part thriller, part horror novel, I devoured every minute of it. I know that you will too.(less)
I am on a quest to discover as many new Romance authors as I can! So when I saw Wanted: Wife, with it's adorable cover and quirky blurb, I knew that t...moreI am on a quest to discover as many new Romance authors as I can! So when I saw Wanted: Wife, with it's adorable cover and quirky blurb, I knew that this was something I'd be reading. I'm glad I did, because I was instantly swept up in such a sweet and sexy story! This is a fresh, totally enjoyable read.
We meet Julie Knott as her love life is quickly falling apart around her. Her fiance has gone back to the arms of the woman he left, her bank account is frozen, and worse yet it seems that the entire image she's built is disintegrating. All Julie wants to do is escape with some modicum of self-respect left. I loved Julie's character. She's so honest, quirky and downright funny at times. Watching her navigate the twists and turns that life threw at her was both hilarious and (of course) rather steamy at times!
Which brings me to Andy Devine. Can I please just swoon here and now? Matching his last name perfectly, Andy is definitely the perfect male lead. The moment Julie lays eyes on him she can't look away and I couldn't stop reading. He is kind, giving, and has that sparkle in his eye that screams sexy. Add in his habit of speaking French in the throes of passion, and you have a man who swept me off my feet.
The real twist I won't spoil for you, but it was such a surprise and delight to see where Wanted: Wife ended up! I so wanted these two characters to find their happily ever after, and I was so impressed at how much there was beneath the surface of this book. This isn't just romance, it's so much more and I loved it! I can't believe this is a debut novel. You can believe, however, that I'll be back for more from Gwen Jones.(less)
I'm not going to deny that I'm still slightly baffled by The Longings of Wayward Girls. In all honesty, I wasn't expecting the story I ended up readin...moreI'm not going to deny that I'm still slightly baffled by The Longings of Wayward Girls. In all honesty, I wasn't expecting the story I ended up reading. Alternating between Sadie's childhood, and her adulthood 20 years later, the synopsis made me believe that I was going to be living the mystery of a missing girl. What I was presented with was the story of a lost woman, her neglectful (and terrible) mother, and the past that ties them together.
Sadie was a really tough character to like. Even now I'm not sure if I was even supposed to like her in the first place. From a young age her character is one who constantly needs the attention and admiration of others. Not happy to fade into the background, Sadie spends her childhood as the alpha of her group friends. With no regard to the feelings of others, and no remorse for her actions, Sadie ends up the same person as an adult.
My favorite part of this book was definitely the writing itself. It flowed onto the pages in beautiful, detailed sentences. Karen Brown shines in her ability to draw the reader into her world. Sadie lives in a quiet suburb, where everyone knows one another and everything is always the same. I could feel the quiet breeze, see the fields of flowers, and hear the rustling leaves. Despite anything else, the writing is really what kept me reading.
The mystery itself, and in fact the reason I chose to read this book initially, was very understated compared to everything else. I was a little disappointed by that fact. This story revolves around Sadie's relationship with her mother, with her friends, and ultimately we watch her as she struggles to deal with being unhappy in her mundane life. I was eventually given a solution to the girl's disappearance, but it just didn't feel like enough.
I know that this book will have an audience that will love it. As I said before, the writing is definitely beautiful. If I had known what it was going to focus on ahead of time, and not been expecting something else, I might have been more engaged. Not my favorite read, but give it a try if you're a fan of slow-moving, beautifully written stories.(less)
Untold Damage Mark Mallen is a man on his way back up. Once an undercover cop, his life hit a downward spiral after he became addicted to heroin. I ap...moreUntold Damage Mark Mallen is a man on his way back up. Once an undercover cop, his life hit a downward spiral after he became addicted to heroin. I appreciated how realistic Mallen's character was. There is a truth to the way that he functions as a recovering junkie. In fact, it is the struggle that he goes through, both mentally and physically, that makes him so easy to connect with. You don't have to have experience with withdrawals to know what Mark is going through. He shows you.
In the same respect, the underground world of drugs and violence isn't sugar coated. Living in the "Loin" is portrayed as a daily battle. Robert K. Lewis shows the reader how dark things can get in the parts of town other people avoid. However it isn't all darkness. For every person who holds him back, there is one who builds Mallen back up. I rather liked that he had a few guardian angels here and there.
My biggest issue with this read was really just that the majority of it is dialogue. As a less frequent reader of crime thrillers like this, I'm not sure if this is the norm. However I would have liked to see more action, more suspense, and maybe a little bit more of the dark world Mallen had fallen into. I feel like I would have been more immersed.
The ending did surprise me, and I'll admit that upon finishing I was rather intrigued at what is coming next. It seems this is being written as a series! If that's the case, I'd be willing to follow Robert K. Lewis further in. If you are a fan of books that mesh crime thrillers and mysteries, Untold Damage is definitely a book to check out.(less)
Angelopolis Similar to Angelolgy, there was a lot that I liked about Angelopolis despite any qualms I may have had. In fact, I'm here to say that I ac...moreAngelopolis Similar to Angelolgy, there was a lot that I liked about Angelopolis despite any qualms I may have had. In fact, I'm here to say that I actually enjoyed this book much better than the first. Perhaps it's because of the ample amounts of action, or maybe because of the discoveries that are slowly unearthed, but Danielle Trussoni managed to capture my imagination, and I eagerly paged through this book.
Evangeline doesn't play as big of a role in Angelopolis, instead giving way to more information about Verlaine and his posse of angelologists. As Nephilim become more of a threat, Verlaine must work even harder to keep humanity safe. It was so fun to follow him on the hunts, and be introduced to new characters. I'm a huge fan of the tough female characters that make an appearance here. Being an angelologist definitely isn't an easy job. Add in a mystery involving the Romanov family, and you have quite a story.
My one gripe, and this is the same one I had before, is that there is a large amount of descriptive writing that slowly bogs down the action. There are pages upon pages of historical information and angelic races. Although interesting in its own right, it does manage to pull the reader out of the overall mystery that surrounds the angels themselves. I'll admit that I skimmed more than a few pages, and yet I still managed to follow the story just fine. Still, this was done much better than the first novel so kudos on that!
As I said though, despite anything else I did actually enjoy the story in its entirety. The ending is a huge cliffhanger and so I know that there will be more to come. I'm in for the long haul now. Bring on more angels, more holy wars, and more action. I'll be here waiting for it.(less)