Book 2 of an exciting, young adult, urban fantasy series based on Irish folklore
This book begins immediately after the events of the first book in thi...moreBook 2 of an exciting, young adult, urban fantasy series based on Irish folklore
This book begins immediately after the events of the first book in this series. Sixteen-year-old Teagan "Tea" Wylltson's mother is dead, and her father, who was rescued in the previous book from the goblins in Mag Mell, is a kind, nurturing parent to Tea and her little brother. Tea and Finn have declared their love and are now a couple. They support each other in keeping their family members, and the world, safe from the goblins.
Tea and Finn don't have a typical, obsessive, teen-novel relationship. In spite of all her magical adventures and her love for Finn, Tea is determined to continue on with her plans to be a veterinarian.
All of the characters in this book are fascinating and excellently portrayed, particularly Finn's grandmother and Tea's little brother. The world-building is very well done, and readers who love stories of fae/faeries should find this an enjoyable read. (Though the creatures for which this trilogy are named are called "goblins," in every way imaginable they are recognizable as fae.)
This book has plenty of action and adventure, strong, loyal relationships, and lots of intriguing magical creatures. It is suitable reading for younger teens, but there is plenty here to keep older teens--and adults too--pleasantly entertained.
Review of Kindle edition of 1996 Bantam Loveswept #787, Book 1 Sunrise Key Romantic Comedy Trilogy
I read this book in the Kindle edition. Its editing...moreReview of Kindle edition of 1996 Bantam Loveswept #787, Book 1 Sunrise Key Romantic Comedy Trilogy
I read this book in the Kindle edition. Its editing and formatting are excellent, making it easy on the eyes.
Over a decade ago, Leila Hunt abandoned her home on a small island called Sunrise Key, near the Western Panhandle of Florida in the Gulf of Mexico, for the bright lights of the big city. There are only a little over 600 residents on Sunrise Key, and everyone always knows everyone else's business. Leila much prefers the bustle and anonymity of New York City where she has a thriving, private practice as an accountant. Leila is thirty, and her biological clock is ticking. She's almost decided to commit herself to marriage to her workaholic boyfriend, even though she doesn't love him and hasn't slept with him. She's not convinced anyone better is ever going to show up--until she returns home during the winter holidays to stay at her brother Simon's home at Sunrise Key, and is kissed at midnight by an unknown "ninja" at a New Year's Eve costume party.
It's the most all-consuming, unforgettable kiss of Leila's life but, like the fairy-tale princess Cinderella, Leila's mysterious ninja flees immediately after their kiss, and in spite of promising to return soon, he doesn't come back. Leila is obsessed with figuring out who the ninja was and tracking him down, never suspecting that he's actually Marshall Devlin, Simon's best friend, a gorgeous, thirty-six-year-old, British expatriate who is the island's resident doctor and sometime veterinarian. Dev has been her verbal sparring partner the entire 18 years she's known him, and Leila has absolutely no idea that her explosive ninja kiss resulted from Dev's 12 years of frustrated attraction to Leila, whom until his unplanned kiss, he'd always assumed regarded him in the light of merely Simon's irritating friend.
I'm a big fan of Brockmann and I'd previously thought I'd read all her early contemporary romances, but somehow I missed this one. It is the first book in a romantic comedy trilogy. It really astounded me that Brockmann, who is known for her romantic suspense, would even consider writing comedy, let alone that she'd be so talented at it. The sexual chemistry is great, and the repartee between these attractive protagonists is witty and entertaining.
I have one small complaint. Though I do like Dev, he's often almost too perfect to be real. Brockmann portrays him as an old-fashioned, 19th Century country doctor, kind-hearted, generous, and utterly sacrificial. It's a bit over the top in credibility, for me anyway. I have a hard time imagining any doctor in the USA in this day and age willing to accept payment in pork and vegetables--they won't pay his bills for all the many things in modern life that require money. However, this is such a fun comedy, and the residents of Sunrise Key are so adorably grateful to Dev for all he's given them, I happily suspended my cynicism and enjoyed the ride.
This is Book 2 in a romantic comedy trilogy Suzanne Brockmann wrote in 1996 for Bantam Loveswept. The other two books are: Boo...moreReview of Kindle edition
This is Book 2 in a romantic comedy trilogy Suzanne Brockmann wrote in 1996 for Bantam Loveswept. The other two books are: Book 1, Kiss and Tell, and Book 3, Otherwise Engaged. The Kindle edition is mostly cleanly edited, with occasional paragraph-break problems.
The hero of this book is Simon Hunt, thirty-six-year-old brother of Leila Hunt, the heroine of Book 1, and his romantic interest is thirty-year-old Frankie Paresky, Leila's best friend.
Like Simon, Frankie has lived all her life on Sunrise Key, a small island near the Western Panhandle of Florida in the Gulf of Mexico. Frankie has no desire to live anywhere else, though she's often had trouble making ends meet. Recently she became licensed as a private detective, and she alternates pursuing that career while also driving the only cab on the island. Simon has made a habit of teasing her since she was a child, and the Sherlock Holmes jokes at her expense have been far too many since he discovered her PI aspirations. But then one day a rich client shows up on the island and offers Frankie a chance to trace down a missing heir to an estate on the island for a huge salary and a potential $10,000 bonus. Simon immediately volunteers himself as Frankie's Watson, partly because as an antiques dealer he is dying to get his hands on the expensive antiques in the mansion on the estate in question. But mainly because he is dying to see Frankie in action.
Similar to Book 1 in this series, the hero has known and teased the heroine for years, and both have secretly been attracted to each other for over a decade. Simon hasn't approached Frankie because she's not the type of woman he can just have a quick affair with and forget--he gets restless after three weeks, tops, with any given woman, and therefore he's always stuck to tourists. Frankie has avoided Simon because she doesn't want to get her heart broken. Due to the case, for the first time in their lives Frankie and Simon are spending a great deal of time together, often in very close quarters. It soon becomes impossible for them to deny the passion they feel for each other, and their romantic journey is both humorous and breathtakingly passionate--and often heartrendingly poignant and tender as well.
This is a great continuation of a fun trilogy and well worth the read for Brockmann fans. For fans of romantic comedy in particular, it is a wonderful treat from one of the best romance writers in the business. (less)
I read the Kindle version of this book, and it is well formatted and edited, making it easy to read.
Molly Ca...moreReissue of Bantam Loveswept #824 from 1997
I read the Kindle version of this book, and it is well formatted and edited, making it easy to read.
Molly Cassidy is a 30-year-old widow with a bright, sensitive, 10-year-old son who has been diagnosed with progressive, irreversible hearing loss. She has inherited a dilapidated mansion on a small island called Sunrise Key, near the Western Panhandle of Florida in the Gulf of Mexico. There are only a little over 600 residents on Sunrise Key, and one of the most eccentric of the bunch is a gorgeous, 35-year-old, divorced billionaire named Preston Seaholm. Molly hopes to turn the mansion into a Bed and Breakfast, but Preston keeps making her higher and higher offers to buy it. Molly constantly refuses his offers, but it is much harder to ignore Pres himself. He's sincerely interested in Molly's son, up to and including learning sign language in order to be able to talk to him more effectively, and Pres makes no secret of his intense attraction to Molly herself--an attraction that she fully reciprocates.
When Pres becomes a tabloid sensation after a notorious, erotic magazine names him Bachelor of the Year, Molly can't resist Pres's request that she help him fend off the paparrazzi by posing as his fiancee. Unfortunately for Pres, not only does this not solve Pres's initial problem, but the situation spins even further out of control.
This heart-warming and funny book provides a terrific conclusion to a wonderful, romantic-comedy trilogy. Molly and her son are very sympathetic characters, and Pres is both sexy and irresistibly kind and thoughtful. He's my favorite hero of this series.
Prior to discovering this trilogy, I hadn't realized Brockmann had written any comedies. She is best known for her SEAL, dramatic romances. Not everyone can write romantic comedy well. Brockmann does such a great job, I'm truly sorry she hasn't done any besides this trilogy, so far as I know.
I highly recommend this book for a fun, extremely entertaining read. (less)
In the prologue to this story, set fifteen years earlier, three drunken non-residents of the island of...moreAn exciting paranormal, science-fiction romance
In the prologue to this story, set fifteen years earlier, three drunken non-residents of the island of Rainshadow threaten young Charlotte Enright near the mysterious Preserve. She is rescued by her long-time crush, orphaned teenager Slade Attridge, but their relationship never goes beyond that because he leaves the island the next day for the Federal Bureau of Psi Investigation academy.
At the start of the story, Charlotte has returned to the island to operate the shop, Looking Glass Antiques, which she inherited from her recently deceased Aunt Beatrix. Slade has also just returned to the island to take over the position of police chief. Their paths cross once again in the wake of violence when a man is murdered in Charlotte's shop.
I'm a big fan of Jayne Ann Krentz in general, but her futuristics written as Jayne Castle are my favorites. As in all her novels, there is primary suspense plot, with the heroine and hero working together to solve a mystery. In the case of this story, it is a murder mystery. As usual, Krentz has created a strong heroine who is more than a match for the forceful romantic hero. As manly as he is, he has an adorable little pet, a dust bunny named Rex. Every one of the Harmony books contains dust bunnies, and it is one of my favorite recurring themes for this series.
The fascinating world of Harmony was colonized hundreds of years ago by people from earth. The planet was empty of living, intelligent beings, but it soon became apparent it had been inhabited eons ago by a long-dead race of aliens. There is no written record of their culture, but the structures and artifacts they have left behind are filled with enormous power.
In each successive novel in this series, Krentz takes us to a new section of the planet. All the other Harmony novels I've read were centered within a city, but this book is set in a sparsely populated, essentially rural, village type locale. The core identity of the island of Rainshadow is the Preserve, a fenced-off area full of alien energy so dangerous, anyone daring to enter it either goes mad or dies.
Over the years, the island of Rainshadow has attracted many eccentric residents who, though friendly and close-knit, have made a point of not inquiring too closely into each other's often murky pasts. This community forms an important, and highly entertaining, portion of this novel.
This book is part of Krentz's Arcane Society series. In addition to the futuristic Harmony books, she has written novels in the series set in the past, using her historical romance pseudonym Amanda Quick. She has also written contemporary novels in the series under her real name Jayne Ann Krentz.
I purchased this book in a Kindle edition. It is well formatted and edited, making it easy to read.
Stunning debut novel, a “new adult” social drama and touching romance
Nineteen-year-old Travis Stephenson is on leave after serving his first of four y...moreStunning debut novel, a “new adult” social drama and touching romance
Nineteen-year-old Travis Stephenson is on leave after serving his first of four years as an active-duty U.S. Marine. He has just finished a grueling tour in Afghanistan where an IED blew up his best friend Charlie right in front of Travis. As a result, Travis is suffering from PTSD in the form of anxiety, depression and intense, debilitating flashbacks and nightmares. Staying with his family is anything but reassuring. His promiscuous ex-girlfriend is dating his brother, his father is cold and critical, and his mother is filing for divorce because Travis’s father is cheating on her. Worst of all, Travis is afraid to admit to anyone that he thinks he’s losing his mind. Then he runs into Harper Gray, a girl whose reputation he ruined in middle school by never bothering to correct vicious rumors about her that he carelessly started. In spite of a rocky start to their relationship in the form of her punching him in the face in retribution for his past misdeeds, Harper proves to be a warm, sensitive person, and she rapidly becomes more important to Travis than anyone else in his life.
This book is so brilliantly written, I was stunned at its emotional impact. Travis is an incredibly sympathetic character, and his plight is movingly written without ever being maudlin or melodramatic. His story is intensely honest and real, and the author does a remarkable job conveying what Travis’s life is like as a Marine, both in Afghanistan, and on returning home on leave.
Every character in this book is distinctly and realistically drawn, and Travis’s individual relationships with his mother, brother, father, slutty ex-girlfriend, Marine buddies, the deceased Charlie (told through flashbacks and visions), and most of all, his romance with Harper, are all tightly and convincingly written.
The writing itself is outstanding. It serves the story well, without overly drawing attention to itself.
Because of the maturity of the subject matter, this book is most suitable for teens over the age of 17 and adults.
I read the Kindle edition of this book, and it is quite well edited and formatted.
I rate this book as follows:
Hero: 5 stars Subcharacters: 5 stars Writing: 5 stars Social Drama Plot: 5 stars Family Drama Plot: 5 stars Romance Plot: 5 stars Overall: 5 stars (less)
Lex, the 16-year-old protagonist of this story, is very much an anti-hero. She has committed acts of phys...moreDarkly comic urban fantasy for ages 17 and up
Lex, the 16-year-old protagonist of this story, is very much an anti-hero. She has committed acts of physical assault that would have landed her in prison in contemporary United States, where public school administrators employ draconian "zero tolerance" policies for violence as a means to prevent potential massacres by vengeful teens. In the fantasy world of this book, however, no such consequences occur. Instead, her worried parents merely ship her off to her Uncle Mort, who lives near a small, rural town, and Lex doesn't even have to be escorted there. While in Mort's care, Lex discovers that there is a supernatural reason for her rage and violence--she is destined to become a Grim Reaper.
Anyone who is a fan of the paranormal, dark-comedy, Showtime TV show, Dead Like Me, may either enjoy or resent this book depending on their attitude toward a blatant homage to the show. DLM was clearly aimed at adults, and though this book has been marketed as a "teen" novel, it, too, is very close to being R-rated. This book is not, in my own opinion, quite as funny as DLM, but it is definitely not meant to be taken as drama. A clear example of that is the toning down of the real consequences of the type of violence Lex committed before being shipped away from her family. That downplay acts to take a great deal of harshness out of the dramatic equation of the story. As for the humor itself, it tends to come from two main sources. The first is a sardonic under-reaction to horrific events which encourages the audience to laugh rather than grimace or quake. The second is the use of word play. Examples of the latter include the title itself, "Croak," which is a slang word for dying, and the Grim Reapers' living in a town called Grim, with streets like Slain Lane.
The humorous slant is a fortunate one given that this is marketed as a book for teens. If it were written as straight drama, the story would be instantly ratcheted up to the level of some of the darkest of the dark of gritty, adult-themed YA novels on sale today. The reaping of souls is labeled, "killing people," and the Reapers see themselves as "killers," which gives them the flavor of assassins rather than the usual connotation of Reapers as detached instruments of a pre-ordained fate. The killing they engage in is onstage in all its grisly detail. The language is often coarse. The heroine has sex with her 18-year-old boyfriend. The Reaper trainees are asked to steal on behalf of the town of Grim. There is use of substances that cause inebriation (though of a "magical" nature rather than the usual booze or drugs found in many teen novels).
None of these things are problems for an audience of teens over the age of 17 and adults, and I am not going to grade down the book for marketing decisions that big publishers are routinely making to ride in the wake of the massive interest in YA generated by Harry Potter, Twilight, and Hunger Games. The current age range for the label of "young adult" is as low as 11 and as high as 21. Publishers are offering no parental guidance whatsoever, so reviewers are left with that task.
I rate this book, as an adult-content novel, as follows:
Fifteen-year old Amanda Peterson has assumed for years that her 30-something Aunt Christie is a fun but flaky professional st...moreFun, chick-lit, spy novel
Fifteen-year old Amanda Peterson has assumed for years that her 30-something Aunt Christie is a fun but flaky professional student. Turns out it was just a cover. Christie is a covert agent for the Global Agency for Shared Intelligence--GASI. Not only that, she has been secretly supplying Amanda with advanced training in foreign languages and high-tech, 007-type gadgets via GASI-funded, innocuous-sounding front groups. Christie and her partner, Nic, a gorgeous hunk Christie's age with whom Christie is constantly verbally sparring, want Amanda to help them either prove or disprove the guilt of a 17-year-old hacker. GASI likes to delicately handle preliminary investigations of hackers who are minors in order to avoid unnecessarily, and unjustly, invoking the harsh procedures required by the draconian anti-terrorism laws.
After initial difficulties convincing Amanda she isn't nuts, Christie successfully recruits and prepares her niece to go undercover as a spy, including constantly wearing a tiny video-recording device which picks up anything Amanda is looking at. Amanda is excited about her huge adventure, especially the part where she gets to pretend she's 16 at a ritzy private high school called Princeton Academy, with many more amenities than her own public school back home. But things start getting sticky when she meets her target. Will is good-looking, popular, head of the soccer team, and an excellent student. Everyone who knows him adores him, and Amanda soon finds herself falling under his spell as well.
This book is funny in a number of ways: the whole wacky spy setup is great, and Amanda's struggles to orient herself in the wild world of espionage is endlessly entertaining. I loved the comic bickering between Christie and Nic that covered up potent sexual chemistry. Best of all are the knots Amanda twists herself into as she develops inappropriate romantic feelings for her quarry. It is impossible for her to resist sweet, handsome Will when he is clearly attracted to her as well.
There is a very satisfying, positive resolution to this book with no loose ends, but there is plenty of potential for more stories set in the comic GASI spy world. I personally hope the author chooses to write them, because I would love to read more of Amanda's adventures with her eccentric aunt.
This is a "clean read," appropriate for readers as young as 11 or 12, but it is a clever enough story that all ages will enjoy it. Fans of the Gallagher Girls series by Ally Carter will be particularly delighted with this book.
Disclosure: I received a review copy of this book through NetGalley.
Kat Marshall is a 35-year-old virgin who has spent the past 12 years raising the younger half-sisters that her callous, flig...moreFascinating change of pace
Kat Marshall is a 35-year-old virgin who has spent the past 12 years raising the younger half-sisters that her callous, flighty mother has abandoned. Currently the bank is on the verge of foreclosing on Kat's bed-and-breakfast, which has been the only means of supporting her and her sisters all these years. In addition, Kat's 23-year-old sister is pregnant by a man she won't name and has come to live with Kat because she has nowhere else to go. Then suddenly, in the middle of a blizzard, three men show up on Kat's doorstep seeking shelter at her bed-and-breakfast, one of them with a sprained ankle from a hiking accident.
Thirty-year-old Mikhail Kusnirovich is the only son of a deceased Russian oil oligarch. Mikhail's workaholic approach to business has massively extended the fortune he inherited into the billionaire range. He is a gorgeous alpha male who can (and has) had any woman he wanted since puberty--until Kat. The moment he sets eyes on the flame-haired beauty, he's determined to make her his lover, but Kat has no intention of being another notch on the Russian tycoon's bedpost.
Mikhail has never been told, "No," by a woman in his life, but rather than being discouraged, he is more determined than ever to have Kat. The problem is how best to accomplish his sensual goal. He has never paid a woman for sex in his life. It is abhorrent to him. But when he has Kat's background checked and discovers her terrible financial situation, he decides, with much misgiving at this violation of his principles, to make her a financial offer she can't refuse. He buys up the mortgage on her property and tells her if she will spend a month with him on his yacht as his hostess, he will sign over her property to her, free and clear. He salves his pride, and Kat's, by assuring her that nothing sexual will happen between them unless it's her idea. But he's confident that with her conveniently pinned to his side, day and night, her seduction is inevitable.
There is no other Harlequin Presents author that I read but Lynne Graham. The requirements for this line are so narrow, it takes real brilliance to write essentially the same story again and again, year after year, and virtually every book, make the old, new once more. Lynne Graham has that gift. It also takes major talent to write romance-novel sex scenes that are not a boring list of body parts swelling and heaving. I almost always skim them these days, because I've read so many across decades as a big romance fan, rarely does it feel like anything to me but, "Ho hum." Not so with Lynne Graham. She does what not enough romance authors manage to achieve--bring so much intensity to the interactions between her protagonists both outside and inside the bedroom that the sex scenes are filled with drama and emotional fire. Sex is never for its own sake, it serves to reveal new facets of the protagonists' personalities as it both brings the lovers together and pushes them apart, at the same time.
I was also delighted to see in this story a Harlequin Presents with a cougar plot, which I have never encountered in this particular short-contemporary line. In a bit of comic relief in the midst of a very dramatic story, when Kat learns Mikhail is five years younger than her, she recoils from being a cougar having a fling with a "boy toy." Mikhail's extreme offense at the term in reference to him is hilarious.
Because the heroine is not in her early 20's and utterly naive, she is a worthy opponent for the hero, meeting him toe to toe in every scene, unlike so many beggar-maid plots in Harlequin Presents where there are enormous emotional as well as financial disparities between the hero and heroine.
I am also happy to report that there is no unplanned pregnancy resulting in a secret baby in this story, in spite of the requisite, "I forgot the condom" scene. The hero does not blackmail the heroine for sex in any way, and though the inevitable Cinderella makeover occurs, there is a comic twist on it that is quite original.
In short, fans of Lynne Graham will be delighted with this book.