If you’re looking for a good laugh, you’ve come to the right place. J.B. Lynn has given us the next Stephanie Plum in the form of Maggie Lee.
What’s a girl supposed to do when an accident leaves her sister and brother-in-law dead, her tiny niece Katie in a coma, and the insurance isn’t enough to cover the expenses? As a claims representative for Insuring the Future, Maggie doesn’t make the kind of money needed ensure her niece has the very best care, so she has to figure out how to cover the costs before the hospital turns Katie over to another facility. She also has to take care of Katie’s very small anole lizard named Godzilla….God for short. Oh, yeah, he talks. At least, he talks to Maggie.
After being rudely accosted in the hospital hallway by a sleazy jerk, Maggie decides to give him a piece of her mind and follows him into a patient’s room only to discover that he’s smothering the patient. She does the only thing she can think of—hits him with a plastic chair—thereby preventing a murder. She later learns the man was Alfonso Cifelli, son-in-law to mob boss Anthony/Tony Delveccio. (Delveccio is a twin. Their not-too-bright mother named them Tony and Anthony and Maggie has no idea which one she’s dealing with.) The person she saved turned out to be Anthony/Tony’s grandson…Alfonso’s son.
Anthony/Tony makes her an offer: Kill Alfonso and he’ll pay her one hundred thousand dollars—enough money to keep Katie right where she is. But since Maggie has no skills and only a week to do the job, Anthony/Tony arranges a meeting with someone who will train her. That someone turns out to be police detective/hitman Patrick Mulligan.
The path of the story is never straight, never what you expect, but always darkly funny. Maggie’s three weird aunts, incarcerated father, and mother in the loony bin make it seem she’s the only sane person around. But after talking to God (the lizard), she begins to doubt her own sanity.
The secondary characters are as bold and quirky as Maggie Lee. You’ll fall in love with her co-worker, Armani Vasques, who gives a whole new meaning to the term ‘smart ass’ and Paul Kowalski, who may or may not be a dirty cop. Fifty-something Aunt Leslie, who’s usually higher than a kite, is twin to Aunt Loretta, the sex kitten.
This dark comedy is great entertainment, and I hope Lynn plans to make this into a series, because I can’t wait to read more.(less)
I have a confession to make. I’m really on the fence about this book and I hate that. On one hand, it had all the right ingredients for a topnotch historical romance, but on the other, it missed the mark.
The characters were sometimes mere shadows of themselves, while the protagonist, Emily, often seemed bi-polar. I looked for more depth in the former romantic relationship as well as in Emily’s sisters, but it kept slipping away, never quite taking shape. Francis was a man tormented, yet it never seemed quite real.
The story is set in England in 1811, still a somewhat prudish time; however, at one point the author has Emily and Francis waltzing close together, which we all know simply wasn’t done. Not only that, but while she’s attending a ball, Emily’s white knuckles are mentioned…when it’s generally accepted that women didn’t appear in public at that time with bare hands. Another point that bothered me was the author’s reference to Francis turning off the light as opposed to extinguishing the lamp or candle. In my mind, I kept seeing this man in breeches flipping a light switch. Needless to say, it totally pulled me out of the story.
Emily would have been better served by eliminating half the inner dialogue and sharpening the prose. The reader is smart enough to complete some actions on their own without detailing everything. For instance, if, during a conversation about someone named Dave, I were to say, “He is the noblest man I know,” you could correctly assume I meant Dave. Such was not the case in this book. References were detailed to the point they became annoying and I wanted to shout, “Yes, I get it!” And unless the color of a ribbon has some bearing on the story, I don’t give a flip about it the first time much less the other dozen or so that it’s mentioned.
Anyone who’s read my previous reviews knows that I love books of all kinds, and I can usually find something redeeming in nearly everything I read. I’m sorry to say this was the proverbial straw for me. I truly believe Ms. Barnes has great potential as evidenced by the imaginative premise of the story, but unfortunately, she’s not there yet. Even more disturbing is the fact that the editor let the story ramble and thereby risked alienating future readers. (less)
If you haven’t read the first three books in the Eternal Guardian series I honestly don’t know what you are wai...moreOriginally posted at PaperbackDolls.com
If you haven’t read the first three books in the Eternal Guardian series I honestly don’t know what you are waiting for. Some of you may remember my series review from last fall and took my word for it on this compelling story, but if you haven’t put this series on your TBR or keep putting it off I implore you to pick up the books today! Ms. Naughton makes it very easy to get lost in the pages of her books regardless of the genre she may be tackling.
Enraptured was everything I was hoping it would be. Our featured hero Orpheus is not an easy Argonaut to love. He was introduced earlier in the series as a bit of a schemer, someone who you could not trust completely and was obviously out for his greater good. Or maybe that is what he wanted us to believe. In his addition to this fantastic series, Orpheus finds himself making choices even he did not know he was capable of making. A true change within his heart? Or his own demons keeping him from seeing his true self? I like to think it was the latter, but that may be simply because he made me fall in love within him!
Enraptured’s Skyla is a strong female character who can take care of herself and those she deems responsible for, and to be honest, Skyla grew on me slowly. I wasn’t sure if I was ever going to fully like her but she sucked me in and now I am a fan. She lived for over 2000 years stuck within a prison of guilt and regret. I think sometimes it is hard to find the character under all that angst and twisted emotion. But Skyla’s journey was just as intriguing as O’s. Her growth and ultimately the choices she makes qualifies her as a hero and someone I hope plays a big roll in future installments of the series.
And of course this is only the beginning for Orpheus’s brother Gryphon. His time in the Underworld was full of true atrocities upon his soul and you can’t help but to ache for him and his older brother. A new character introduced, Maelea, the bastard daughter of Zeus and Persephone, pulled me in from the start. She is a dark lonely creature who is drawn to and is sensitive to supernatural powers but wants nothing to do with the ongoing power struggles between the gods. I cannot wait to see what her roll will be in the future. Each character is a fully realized individual which I find refreshing, there aren’t any useless filler rolls here. I love to be able to get several points of view within a world that is as complex as the one Naughton has created. Sure I love lots of books with a single POV, but when it comes to an episodic series like this one, I find it really fills the pages and keeps me wanting more from all the characters and helps me dive in nice and deep.
All in all, Enraptured completely satisfied me and I cannot wait for the next Eternal Guardians book, Enslaved. Elisabeth Naughton’s understanding of Greek mythology, the human condition, and super hot love scenes comes together to create a book any reader won’t be able to put down. You will find yourself negotiating one more chapter before you turn the light off, burning dinner because you are trying to multitask, or (I highly do NOT recommend this) trying to make that yellow light because it will get you to your favorite chair and Orpheus just a wee bit quicker!(less)
I’m pretty sure my squees of excitement could be heard blocks away at the invite sitting prettily there in my i...moreOriginally posted at PaperbackDolls.com
I’m pretty sure my squees of excitement could be heard blocks away at the invite sitting prettily there in my inbox. I actually had no idea that there was a story in the works from Jocelynn Drake, but I’m so glad to have been selected to read an early copy, because quite frankly, I’ve been missing this series something fierce since it’s ending in Burn the Night last year.
For those of you who don’t know, Bound to Me is a short novella of only 100 pages set a couple centuries before Mira’s adventures in the Dark Days series. Available only in ebook from HarperCollins, fans will get one more look back into the past of the Fire Starter.
Finally, we get to see just what it was about one of my favorite sub-characters. I always wondered just what it was that kept Mira looking so fondly towards Valerio, besides his smoking good looks. Caught up in a love affair, Mira travels with Valerio to track down her own kind, among others, and deliver death as the enforcer for the Coven. Though, this arrangement is not without its entertainment as the pair of them travel throughout Europe leaving death in their wake.
In this short, Valerio and Mira go to the home of her maker Sadira, Madrid, to track down a Warlock murdering vampires, but while they’re there, Mira uncovers the real truth behind the Covens request.
Appealing to both new comers to the Dark Days series and longtime readers alike, Bound to Me, is a perfect addition to the rich world Jocelynn Drake has created. While I was both completely heart broken and thrilled that Ms. Drake ended the series when she did, I must admit that visiting Mira again has been nothing less than fabulous.
ETA: Bound to Me will becoming to paperback May 1, 2012: Amazon(less)
I was lucky enough to meet Mingmei Yip at the 2010 Romantic Times Convention in Columbus, Ohio. She was on a panel for multicultural creative writing along with L.A. Banks and Barry Eisler. From her very first description of her book, Peach Blossom Pavilion, I was hooked. Throughout the panel I learned many things about Mingmei Yip as a writer and a person. I learned that she is quite the Renaissance woman, having written adult and children’s books as well as being a skill Qin player and artist.
I immediately purchased copies of her novels Peach Blossom Pavilion and Petals from the Sky and a grand love affair with her work began. Last summer I was overjoyed to pick up a copy of her book Song of the Silk Road and this year I was over the moon that she actually asked ME to review her latest novel, Skeleton Women. As a longtime fan you can imagine how exciting it was to be personally contacted by one of my favorite authors and to receive an advance copy of the book that I was eagerly awaiting. The works of Mingmei Yip have always captivated me and before I even read the first page I was certain that Skeleton Women would surely enthrall me from start to finish.
In 1930s China, the underworld of mafia was at its peak. Femme fatales (also known as skeleton women) were the secret weapons of gangs, so named because their charms and beauty often brought death upon their victims who became nothing more than skeletons.
Beautiful lounge singer Camilla wasn’t always a rich and respected woman. Her humble beginnings were that of an orphan who was later adopted by Brother Wang (head of the Red Demons gang) for the sole purpose of luring Master Lung (head of the Flying Dragons gang) to his death.
When she is forced to become Master Lung’s mistress she meets two other skeleton women, Rainbow (the head of a gossip column) and Shadow (a magician who rivals Camilla for Master Lung’s affections.) Both of these skeleton women cause Camilla to be on high alert, for her safety and status are soon at risk. But the biggest threat to her mission is Jinying, Master Lung’s son who has returned from Harvard to not only fall for Camilla but to capture her affections in return. The only way that Camilla can escape is to plot the demise of Master Lung, but at what cost is she willing to sacrifice for true love?
As always, Mingmei Yip did not disappoint. Skeleton Women is a dynamic novel jam-packed with action, suspense, romance, lust, scheming, and twists and turns. This was an incredibly well written novel that not only captures the setting of China but it also manages to pull you into the 1930s and make you feel like you are an outsider looking in on the gangs of Shanghai.
The characters are not only complex but also have the ability to evoke an array of emotions in the reader. Some of the characters of lovable, some loathsome, and some are in between. The plot for this book is original and mesmerizes the reader from page one to the very last sentence. Mingmei Yip proves once again why she is a master of creative writing, suspense, and romance.(less)
Minerva Highwood is a geologist at a time when it’s a forbidden occupation for women. That isn’t all that’s forbidden to her…Lord Payne also falls into that category. In her mother’s estimation, he’s reserved for her much nicer, much prettier sister, Diana.
Bespectacled, intelligent, and socially inept Minerva discovers a fossil belonging to an heretofore undiscovered species of giant reptile. Determined to leave her mark on the world, she secretly enlists the aid of Lord Colin Payne to escort her to the Royal Geological Society symposium in Edinburgh, Scotland.
Lord Payne is attracted to Minerva, but he’s stuck in this Godforsaken castle until his birthday….or until he marries. Then he can claim and manage his own life. Until that time, he’s at the mercy of his cousin, Lord Rycliff. He’s also at the mercy of his personal demons.
After witnessing the brutal deaths of his parents at the age of eight, he’s haunted by nightmares and the memories of abuse by his fellow classmates.
As a child, Minerva was considered stupid until someone realized she needed glasses. To compensate for years of feeling stupid, she threw herself into books of all kinds completely shutting out the rest of the world.
How can two such emotionally crippled people possibly work together long enough to get to Scotland? It’s not easy, but bit by bit, mile by mile, they discover unknown strengths in the other that help offset their own weaknesses. They also discover a weakness for each other.
Tessa Dare is one of my favorite authors. Her characters come alive on the page, displaying all the foibles that make them live and breathe. I caught myself rooting for the unlikely couple to make it to Edinburgh, help each other, and find the love they both deserved. At turns, funny and sad, this is a tale that will have you cheering Minerva and Colin on and hissing the naysayers.(less)
I’m always a little nervous when I read a new author. And when I say new, I mean to me, because let’s face it, there are simply too many great writers out there for even a book addict like me to have even scratched the surface. I sat down with Rules of Negotiation on a day when the house was clean, the kids were in school, and my wonderful husband was off hunting down lawn and pool supplies. I would have hours of uninterrupted reading time. And it’s a good thing, because I don’t think I would have noticed if dinner was burning.
RON was full of everything I love, a good dose of angst, a great love story, and a writer who knows how to deliver a story. I’ve recently hit a road bump with several writers and their continuity issues within one book. I’ve also run across finding a real disconnect with characters in several books. In more than a few I wanted to throttle the leads and tell them to find some new friends and family to hang with! In Rules of Negotiation we have characters that were likable, I want them to be together, I root for them! Brit is hot and adorable and sexy and smart. And hot. Hey did Imention hot? Tori got to me and not in a bad way. I was so happy to like a female lead this much again! I also enjoyed Betsy, Tori’s assistant. She was funny and straight forward but not in an annoying I-know-better-than-you way.
It’s that time of year to put our summer reading lists together and I highly recommend to all our readers to add Scott’s love story to their TBR! I ended up reading it twice and I have a good feeling I will again this summer. I’ll have to put a * next to the title though …..iced tea and a fan at the ready for some scenes because hot and steamy will be coming from the pages not just Mother Nature. (less)
Alma Katsu has released a brilliant eShort story The Devil’s Scribe that gives you a little more insight into Lanore (Lanny) the heroine from The Taker. We are immediately taken back to the year 1846 when it is shocking for a young woman to be alone in a bar at night, yet Lanny sits having a drink. Why does she not care what others think about her and why has Lanny returned to Boston after 20 years? Lanny tells us “I’d been fleeing my past, trying to outrun the terrible thing I’d done all those years ago. I was learning, however, that one never really escapes from one’s sins; they will demand your attention if you try to ignore them.” We are swept along wondering what this young woman could have done that is so terrible.
It is a delightful turn of events that Katsu has decided to use Poe as the one to push along Lanny’s story. With his keen sense he recognizes a story that he must tell in Lanny. Poe introduces himself to Lanny as the Devil’s Scribe, stating that “he preferred to write tells of intense darkness”. With this admission we are taken along the journey as Lanny returns to the source of her fear. Perhaps it is because he is a stranger Lanny doesn’t feel threatened and opens up a little about this terrible transgression she has committed that keeps her up at night.
Brilliant and enchanting, in this story Katsu has given you just enough information to leave you longing for more. If you haven’t read The Taker yet, this story will draw you in and leave you with questions that can all be answered in The Taker. It is also an excellent way to acquaint you with Katsu’s writing style and get a small taste of what to expect in her books. How exciting that it is being released in Trade Paperback on March 27th! If you have already read The Taker this short story gives you just enough new information about Lanny and will have you anxiously awaiting The Reckoning. I highly recommend this enchanting eShort story.(less)
Wait For Me would be consider Romantic Suspense and anyone who hasn’t figured it out by now, unless the suspens...moreOriginally posted at PaperbackDolls.com
Wait For Me would be consider Romantic Suspense and anyone who hasn’t figured it out by now, unless the suspense involves a Brother or an Argonaut I tend to pass. I really have to be a fan of a writer to step outside my comfort zone to take a chance on a genre I am not interested in. I was so happy to have taken a chance on this book. I actually stopped reading only long enough to tell Elisabeth how much I absolutely loved this book. I totally gushed, it was a little embarrassing but I couldn’t seem to control myself.
Everyone knows by now I don’t like to spill the beans and throw spoilers out so I will keep this short, sweet, and hopefully not to fan girly……
Kate Alexander is introduced to us while getting an CT scan and trying not to lose her mind in the machine. She is recovering for a car accident eighteen months prior that has stolen her memory and left her body ravaged so badly she died for 90 seconds. In the next few pages she learns via a news bulletin her husband has perished in a plane crash……
At this point I am sucked in to the story. I am holding the Ipad so close I’m squinting and so tightly my fingers are aching. My heart is pounding in my chest and when one of the kids ask me a question, I’m pretty sure I hissed at her. Not my finest moment, I know. From that moment on I cannot put the book down. I love twisty. I am and will forever be a angst addict. This book fed so many of my reading needs, I read it twice in three days. Each character made me love them. The secondary characters were just as good at capturing my attention as Kate and her counterpart Ryan. And speaking of Ryan…. Oh sweet Lord, the man is delicious, aggravating, sexy, and I-want-to-eat-him-with-a-spoon-while-telling-him-to-snap-out-of-it-! (ie. Cher in Moonstruck).
I honestly cannot say enough about this book. Just go out and buy it, download it, or run to the nearest library! Trust me you will not be disappointed. Actually after talking about it with all of you I find myself pulling up my Nook app and opening Wait For Me right now. I honestly don’t think three times in Kate and Ryan’s world will be enough, but it’ll take the edge off for now. To sum it up, Wait For Me more than met my expectations, it was downright delightfully angsty with a great big dose of scorching hot scenes between two characters who could not have been more made for each other. The unraveling mystery is compelling all on it’s own but the chemistry between Kate and Ryan will keep you truly captivated.(less)
I ran across this book when I first was diagnosed with infertility last summer yet decided it wasn’t the time t...moreOriginally posted at PaperbackDolls.com
I ran across this book when I first was diagnosed with infertility last summer yet decided it wasn’t the time to read it. I am glad I waited because after 10 more months Waiting for Daisy has had a profound impact on how I view my quest for a baby. Peggy Orenstein opens her memoir Waiting for Daisy with riveting words that struck me deep inside as they anyone who is currently or has dealt with infertility. ‘I’d taken my temperature every morning. I have been obsessive. I’d peed on ovulation predictors five days a month. I’d craned my neck like a yogini to see my nether regions while sluicing my finger around to check for the monthly fluid that would guide sperm to egg. I have been impatient. I’d chugged bottles of cough syrup, whose active ingredient supposedly improves the flow…..I’d transported cups of sperm in my bra. I’d turned lovemaking soulless …..Pardon me, forgive me, allow me to atone.” Anyone who is dealing with infertility will recognize these statements, they hit really close to home and I must also add: “I have become addicted to pregnancy tests, any changes in my morning temperature and analyzing my BBT chart on Fertility Friend.”
I read a few comments online about Orenstein’s memoir and I was struck by how many people that have gotten pregnant easily were so quick to say negative things about Orenstein. What makes this book so special is that she is honest, brutally so. Anyone who is dealing with infertility will relate to her struggles. One of the things that struck me strongly in this book is how we get caught up and do things we said we would never do. We put our own health at risk for the chance to have a baby. We become obsessed with everything surrounding getting pregnant. I look back and though I don’t think I’m completely obsessed, I can relate to Orenstein more than I would like to admit. You set limits for yourself such as “I will only take Clomid for four months”. (My own statement) Then you find yourself sitting here seven months later because you keep saying just one more month.
I find Orenstein’s experiences moving and helpful. It is hard to look at this roller coaster you are on objectively when it is you that is riding it. Reading someone else’s experience made me step back and look at my own life. A few things that struck me is how we become addicted to hope much the same way a gambler is addicted to gambling. “What if this is the only way I will have a child?” is something you ask yourself so often. As I read the book, I was struck by how the doctors play on this mixture of fear and hope to make more money. At least my Doctor told me up front that our chances of success are less than five percent. At least I get to go into this with my eyes wide open.
I highly recommend this book to anyone who is caught up in the midst of this infertility roller coaster. You will find Orenstein’s honesty moving and touching. You know the pain she is going through; you are either right there at this moment or have been in the past. She has been brave to show us a part of herself that is not pretty and I think you have to have been here to understand how easy it is to become that person. I thank you Peggy, for your bravery and writing such a touching story. I am walking away from it with resolve to set firmer limits on what I am willing to do and a realization that I need to live. I have a wonderful loving husband and I need to cherish my time with him and enjoy this wonderful life that I do have instead of spending every second obsessing over what I don’t have.
Easier said than done but I am stepping out into the brave unknown ready to try and no matter the outcome, it’s going to be ok.(less)
I was first introduced to this novel during my attendance of the advanced writers’ workshop at the 2010 Romantic Times Convention in Columbus, Ohio. One of our instructors (author Mia Marlowe) continually referenced this book when explaining the key points in romance writing.
It took me two years to get around to reading Delicious by Sherry Thomas, but I have finally been able to pick it up and I have much to share about this novel.
Verity Durant is an infamous chef in both London and Paris. But her mouthwatering cuisine is not the only aspect of her life that has made her famous. Madame Durant is also well-known for her scandalous love affairs. After the passing of Bertie Somerset (master of Fairleigh Park and Verity’s former lover) she awaits the arrival of the new master, Bertie’s brother Stuart.
To Stuart, food is merely a means of survival and can in no way be enjoyed with great relish. Haunted by the night of passion he witnessed ten years ago, Stuart is unable to find zeal in anything other than his political campaign. That is, until he tastes the food prepared by Madame Durant. He soon lusts after her meals and the cook. But this lady of mystery has a secret that she wishes to remain hidden, a secret that could be the undoing of them both.
Delicious is a fun and tantalizing read. However, many aspects of this novel are downright unrealistic and just plain silly. The food and the love scenes are depicted in the most alluring way imaginable, making the reader hungry for chocolate custard and the loving of a hunky man.
If readers are able to overlook how unrealistic some of the events within this story are and the way that everything wraps up a little too neatly, this is a terrific read that will keep them on the edge of their seats from start to finish. Not to mention the incredible humor that is presented throughout the novel. There were actually moments (particularly the bath tub scene) where I actually found myself laughing heartily out loud.
Sherry Thomas nails the historic details in this novel as well as the setting, food facts, and love scenes that are so salacious that it will make your toes curl! Overall, Delicious is a unique, enthralling, convivial read that is sure to be a big hit with lovers of all romance genres.(less)
FAIR GAME is the third book in Patricia Briggs’ Alpha and Omega series. This series includes characters and th...moreOriginally posted at PaperbackDolls.com.
FAIR GAME is the third book in Patricia Briggs’ Alpha and Omega series. This series includes characters and themes from Briggs’ popular Mercy Thompson series.
In FAIR GAME, the werewolf population in the USA is coming to terms with the fall out from having publicly revealed their existence to the human race. Bran Cornick, The Marrrok, head of all werewolves in the USA, and his enforcer Charles, his son, have been overwhelmed managing their werewolf brethren under the increased scrutiny of the media. The stress has weighed heavily on Charles and Anna, his wife, begins to fear for his emotional and mental well being.
Anna is a rare form of werewolf, an Omega wolf, able to calm those around her and intuit emotional disturbances in those around her, as well. Concerned for her husband, Anna approaches The Marrok and begs for his release from his enforcer duties but faced with an outbreak of werewolf attacks in Boston there is no chance of Charles being relieved of duties. Instead, Bran assigns Anna to go to Boston with Charles to assist the FBI in investigating the grisly string of attacks. Before long, they will uncover a larger plot that will bring the balance between the fae world and the human world into a collision course.
I enjoy Briggs’ work – it’s clean, well plotted and low on hystrionics. She uses a light touch even with difficult scenes and generally is known for not being too sexy. Briggs’ work is full of fae references and folklore, FAIR GAME is no exception and that is perhaps my concern with this novel. In her past novels, Briggs’ shines when creating tension among her characters usually because the characters are so at odds. In FAIR GAME, the differences between Charles and Anna are almost two dimensional and cartoonish. Charles is stoic to the point of catatonic while Anna is so emotionally wound up she could win an Emmy for best actress in a soap opera.
Briggs over indulges in writing the angst between Anna and Charles. Charles’ tortured psyche is literally under attack by the ghosts from his past and unfortunately – I never really bought into this. His reluctance to find any way to communicate his plight with Anna for fear that she would also be haunted didn’t work well for me because I couldn’t embrace that there really was a threat.
Briggs has written a truly disturbing series of crimes perpetrated by a group of villains displaying a complete lack of moral fiber. The crimes were distasteful and could make it difficult for some readers to make it through the book or the ending.
I found the judicial trial at the end of the book and its outcome hard to fathom. And I readily volunteer that I am clueless as to how Briggs will choose develop the fae schism in her next books.
The final scenes in the book have a direct effect on the Marcy Thompson series so be forewarned.(less)
OMG it’s been awhile since I did a review, let’s see if I still know how. ;) Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter is brought to us from the mind of Seth Grahame-Smith. You may recognize the name from his best-selling novel Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. You may also recognize the title of Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter from a poster if you’ve been to the movies lately, or the trailers that have started to show. The novel was released back on March 2, 2010. Personally I was shocked I thought it had just been release, I’m a little behind can you tell ;). The movie however comes out June 22, 2012, I recommend reading the book first. Flyboy and I didn’t “read” the book we listened to it on our trip home (to Texas) and back. In fact every time we got in the car together we listened to it. (I had to listen to music when we were apart so I wouldn’t lose our spot since we were listening to my iPod, Flyboy on the other hand could listen to his book, The Wheel of Time I think he was on book 6 or 7, he’s relistening to the series since the final chapter/book is supposed to be released this year.) With this being said the major complaint we had may not be an issue when reading the book itself.
Our issue with the book, while listening to it, was the chapters. As the book went along we got use to the layout but at the beginning it was confusing. Abe Lincoln Vamp Hunter is set up like a paper or nonfiction where you have sections and different chapters within each section. The sections seem to follow Abe’s life his “real” life at is and the chapters are a combination of history and a creative imagination. Within the secretions there could be three different narrators: Abe, himself, the “author” who was hired to write the novel and Henry the vampire who commissioned the piece to be written. It works when you get the hang of it. If you’ve read his Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, this might be similar, but don’t hold me to that. I haven’t read that one. I can tell you Seth did his homework on Lincoln and he didn’t change much if any “real” life events. He just added a twist that we could/would never suspect.
What do I mean he doesn’t change Lincoln’s life when he made him a vampire hunter? All the events in Abraham Lincoln’s life are mentioned and unchanged. For instance his mother still dies when he is a young boy, though the way she gets sick is not what the doctors said she died from, thought this is explained in the book. He meets Edgar Allen Poe in New Orleans and they become friends. His dislike of his father, him becoming a politician and a lawyer are all in the book. The death of his son and Lincoln’s distaste of slavery are also see within the story. What Seth does change is little things like I said above the cause of Abe’s mothers’ death and other family members. What his father had to do with their deaths. How a vampire saved Abe’s from being drown by another vamp and how the two became friends/allies in the fight against vampires. This Vampire after saving his life teaches Abe how to kill vampires. Seth also changed the reason why slavery was so important in the south. He creates a story from these events that work alongside Abe’s real life.
The cool thing about Seth and how he wrote this story is that from the start we know this is supposed to be a work of fiction, and not just because of the title. Seth has the vamp enter act with a writer in 2010, a writer who hasn’t been published. He’d set aside his writing life not out of want but because life happened. One night the vamp asked this man to write a book for him, based off letters and journals he had, but he wanted it to be a work of fiction with bits of history thrown in. The vamp hands over Lincoln’s letters and journals as research material. The author uses these to create his book – his work of fiction. With a tale of fiction wrapped in tidbits of truth Seth and “his author” create an entertaining story of Lincoln and his life. The story takes us from childhood to Presidency and everything in between. I’d suggest taking Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter for a whirl; I think you’ll be glad you did. Even the movie due out this summer is sure to be a crazy ride. Though the movie, like most based off books, will miss a few storylines I’m sure. Flyboy and I, while listening, had to check IMDB to see who was playing the characters. We were excited by some and sad hat some characters from the book won’t be in the movie. Either way you go I sure you’ll enjoy this novel.
I can remember when I was a little girl and first read the story of Cinderella – I think most of us can. How t...moreOriginally posted at PaperbackDolls.com.
I can remember when I was a little girl and first read the story of Cinderella – I think most of us can. How the horribly treated cinder maid defeated her evil stepmother by marrying the handsome prince – *sigh* how romantic. Eloisa James has now taken this timeless classic and made it her very own with the debut in her new fairy tales series.
It all started with rats… well not exactly rats, but something similarly close. One small Maltese that turned Katherine Daltry’s world upside down and around. Though, we’ll get back to the rats… er dogs. Since Kate’s father died seven years ago, she’s been treated by her stepmother as nothing more than the help, instead of a lady of the Yarrow house that is her birth right. Marianna Daltry hasn’t exactly turned Kate into a maid, but she has moved her to the attic and fired most of the staff, making Kate pick up the slack. She also has no interest in the upkeep of what’s left of the tenants and instead uses Kate’s fathers money to buy unnecessary frivolous items. Kate can leave Yarrow house at anytime, but she fears what would become of the tenants and what’s left of the staff. So she stays and endures.
Victoria Daltry has had a slight mishap with feeding her dog, Ceasar, which couldn’t have come at a worse time. Marianna has concocted the perfect scheme (in her eyes), she needs Kate to pose as Victoria so she can marry Algernon Bennet who needs the approval of his uncle, The Prince of Marburg. It just won’t do for everyone to see Victoria in such a condition (with a reputation to uphold) and first impression is not only wanted, but needed. Now, because of the rat, Marianna forces Kate to take her sister Victoria’s place in meeting the Prince.
Prince Gabriel Augustus-Frederick William von Aschenberg of Warl-Marburg-Baalsfeld is in love with archeology and wants nothing more than to be sifting through the ruins of Carthedge. He doesn’t want to be at Pemeroy castle. He doesn’t want to be responsible for the family and staff his crazed brother, The Grand Duke, threw out of Marburg on the grounds of religious impurity. He also doesn’t want to meet Algie’s new bride or his own betrothed for that matter. He wants to be free to do as he wills, to dig in the dirt and uncover history. However, as much he doesn’t want to do all these things, honor bounds him to his responsibilities.
When Gabriel first meets Kate as Victoria, he thinks nothing much of his nephew’s new betrothed. He most certainly doesn’t see where the ton thinks of her as the seasons beauty. Kate has a similar negative reaction to the Prince. Though, while she thinks him an attractive man, it’s the air of arrogance that turn her off. Gabriel wants two things in a woman – biddable and bedable. He see’s neither in Kate, but there’s something about her that he can’t stay away from. With him knowing her as only Victoria and his future bride only a few days away from arriving, Gabriel tries his hardest to stay away from Kate, but fails miserably. Duty and honor are the only two things holding him back from the alluring Kate and Gabriel is finding it hard to live up to his position.
Kate is exactly how I always wanted my Cinderella to be – a fighter. She fights for what she believes in, what’s right and wrong. She fight’s her stepmother as much as she can in her position. She isn’t book smart, but she has made effort to be and she’s not lacking in common sense. Her sister Victoria isn’t the awful stepsister, but actually very sweet and caring. She’s never taken part in torturing Kate like Marianna does and that’s why Kate relents on going along with the crazy plan. Even the Prince is different from our perfect first. He’s arrogant, a little rude and brooding. It’s not until Kate really gets to know him that she finally understands his personality. Although his arrogance never really goes away, it becomes more playful and sexy.
A Kiss at Midnight is actually my first Eloisa James novel. The other girls at Paperback Dolls completely love her, so when we got the chance to review one of her novels, I jumped at the offer. The story is one we’ve all heard before, but the twists that Ms. James puts in are a welcomed change. Most of the novel takes place at Pemeroy, but I didn’t feel the least bit claustrophobic. Pemeroy is a very large castle, and Ms. James makes use of the grounds. My favorite character has got to be Henry, Kate’s “Godmother” This woman says exactly what’s on her mind. She’s a little vulgar for the times and completely self assured. It’s plain to see that she wants nothing but good things to come Kate’s way. She does everything in her power to make her comfortable and happy.
I took A Kiss at Midnight for exactly what it was, a fairy tale romance. I wanna say how important it is that I make it clear that this is a fairy tale and not a historical romance. Ms. James expresses this herself in the authors notes at the end. But anyone who reads this beautiful story will have no doubt about it. A Kiss at Midnight was romantic, sexy and funny and I myself am already more than ready for the next in this series, which I hear will be about Beauty and the Beast.(less)
I was first introduced to Laura Childs’ Tea Shop Mysteries when I was writing tea reviews for my college’s newspaper a few years ago. Stumbling upon this series by happenstance, I was a stranger to the world of cozy mysteries. But after reading Death by Darjeeling, the first novel in the series, I was hooked.
Over the past three years I have been following the lives of Theodosia Browning and her trusty sidekicks Drayton and Hayley. And who can forget Earl Grey, Theodosia’s trusty four-legged friend dubbed with a pedigree of “Dalabrador.”
I’ve enjoyed the mysteries and mayhem that this band of friends has endured over the years, felt the heartache of Theodosia’s break ups, and laughed at the wisecracks they’ve made throughout each novel. The world of the Indigo Tea Shop has become a haven of comfort and relaxation for me and many other readers who have become devoted to the series.
Agony of the Leaves, the thirteenth installment in the Tea Shop Mysteries by Laura Childs, finds the staff of the Indigo Tea Shop at the Neptune Aquarium in Charleston, where they’ve been hired to cater an opening-day fundraiser. As Theodosia takes in the sights of the beautiful fish and coral, she discovers a new addition to the tank, a dead body. To make matters worse, the deceased happens to be her most recent ex-boyfriend, Parker Scully.
Everyone at the aquarium is convinced that it was simply an accidental drowning, even Detective Tidwell, Theodosia’s ally from the police department, is convinced that Parker slipped and fell into the tank before becoming entangled in a net and drowning. However, Theodosia knows better. Someone wanted Parker out of the way, but who and why? It’s up to Theodosia and her friends to discover who is behind such a sinister murder and why on earth would anyone want to kill Parker.
As a fan of this series, I have never found a single installment that has disappointed me. Yes, some of the novels are better than others, but all deliver excitement and entertainment. Agony of the Leaves is a tad bit different from its predecessors. It is this reviewer’s humble opinion that Agony of the Leaves is by far the best novel in The Tea Shop Mysteries.
Throughout the previous novels Theodosia is faced with solving the murders of people she barely knew or people that were vaguely mentioned as side characters in preceding novels. But for the first time she is faced with the murder of someone she not only knows but someone she also once loved. This simple fact takes both Theodosia and the reader through one heck of an emotional roller-coaster.
The characters are endearing, the plot original, and the setting ideal. This book includes cameos from characters that readers have come to know and love throughout the series (such as Timothy Neville, Delaine Dish, Aunt Libby, Earl Grey, and Miss Dimple) and gives the reader an in-depth look into the world of Charleston, South Carolina.
Agony of the Leaves is an intriguing read that grabs the reader at the very beginning and holds on tightly until the very last page. This book has it all: excitement, sorrow, humor, romance, and of course mystery. This novel is near impossible to put down once you start reading it and takes the reader through an emotional rollercoaster vicariously through the eyes of Theodosia Browning. Once I finished this book I was ready to read the next in the series. Unfortunately, we readers will have to wait until March of 2013 for the next addition to this magnificent series.(less)
I am having trouble writing this review. I don’t want to gush like a fan girl but it seems that is all I can c...moreOriginally posted at PaperbackDolls.com.
I am having trouble writing this review. I don’t want to gush like a fan girl but it seems that is all I can come up with right now so before delving into Somebody To Love I’ll share a little of my reading history with you.
I discovered Kristan Higgins approximately two years ago when I decided I would try to read as much contemporary romance I could get my hands on. I was ordering some Rachel Gibson and Susan Elizabeth Phillips and a Kristan Higgins book was in the “people who bought this book also bought…”. I only had about $20 left on the gift card I was using and I was saving it for an upcoming planned prowl of the Bargain Books section at B&N so I opted out of the website and looked forward to a Monday morning off from work and the kids in school. You know Mommy time, book lover/addict style.
I woke up the next day with two sick kids. After bedding them down and loading them up with meds I found myself bored and bookless. My latest order wasn’t due to arrive for days. I couldn’t leave my sick kids alone while I made a mad dash to Barnes and Nobles for something, right? Right? No, no of course not! I had one option left. I had recently downloaded the new Nook app onto my iTouch. I know what you are thinking, tiny screen, but I don’t care how tiny the screen if I can read a book I’m in!
I sat down with the Mac and started searching for a book. I decided if I was going to finally break down and use a new technology to read then I should christen it with a new author and I downloaded my first Kristan Higgins book, Fools Rush In. Over the next two weeks I downloaded every book available from her. I was addicted to her worlds and characters. I loved them so much I re-read each book a minimum of three times. I was never one to revisit a stand alone title but I found I loved to laugh and cry along with Higgin’s characters and her writing style was so easy to sink into that when I read a different author I didn’t like or found the style to be bothersome I would cleanse my reader’s palette with Catch of The Day or Just One of Guys.
Last year Ms. Higgins released Until There Was You and some of you may remember it made my top ten for 2011. I absolutely adored that book. I finished it so quickly I rationalized an immediate re-read in case I missed something. The truth was I was totally in love with Liam Murphy and I wasn’t quite ready to put him on the shelf. Once I was done, for the second time, I started to feel nervous about Kristan’s next book. I mean how could it live up to Posey and Liam’s story? Will she hit a plateau? Will I find myself wishing for a sequel to UTWY instead of new characters? How can any guy live up to Liam?!? I tried not to think of these question when my book came in the mail and I immediately sat down with Somebody To Love……
A good sign I’m going to like a book? The author has me giggling halfway through page one and laughing out loud by page two. We enter the world of Parker Welles just before it’s about to fall out from underneath her. Of course this isn’t the first time we meet Parker Welles. Parker was a supporting character in The Next Best Thing which just so happens to be my favorite Higgins title. Parker is an accidental writer who has hit a crossroads in her career and her struggle to find her muse is something I can appreciate. She shares custody of her five year old son with her ex Ethan who just so happens to be married Parker’s best friend Lucy. When Parker is forced to move and her only option is to flip a remote property in Maine Lucy encourages her BFF to have a summer fling. Lucy believes Parker has been nooky-less since breaking up with Ethan. Can you say awkward?
Our male lead is James Cahill. I kept seeing Ryan Gosling in Crazy, Stupid Love (after he fell for Emma Stone’s Hanna) *sigh*……. Yeah James is dreamy. James has some issues in the family department and we see him face them along with his growing feelings for Parker. James relationship with Parker’s dad is more than business. It’s more father/son on some levels and Parker resents the closeness because she doesn’t have that with dear old pops. James feels indebted to Mr. Welles but right from the start you can see how much he likes Parker even when she calls him Thing One. I really like James aka Jamie aka super hottie.
The book flows well and we get to dig deep with our leads while getting a nice second visit to Gideon’s Cove, Maine (the setting for Catch of The Day). Kristan is able to hit her stride fairly quickly with S2L, we get a happy balance of humor, angst, and romance. As a reader I never set the book down because I wanted to take a break. It only left my hot little hands because I had no other choice. I recently read a book I wanted to dump in the pool because I couldn’t get close to the characters and everything was distant and cold. Entering the S2L world you are wrapped up in Parker’s life and buckled in for a bumpy yet entertaining ride. Higgins makes it easy to see the world she has created for Parker and James to fall in love in.
The secondary characters help fill up the pages and tell a story worth reading. I have noticed in books where authors revisit characters after a long time away they are a shadow of what they once were. In S2L we get familiar characters we love in Hi-Def. One character in particular I wish would get her own book is animal rescue owner Beth. The dynamics between the new and old meld onto the page as if they were planned from the beginning and maybe even written at the same time. Somebody To Love was a refreshing love story that contemporary romance lovers are going to love. And as for me? There are very few authors that can have me wrapped around their fingers in less than three pages, Ms. Higgins is at the top of that list. (less)
I loved how Sarah Jio wove love, mystery, past and present in her last novel The Violets of March and she has accomplished this perfect combination yet again with her latest novel The Bungalow. I couldn’t wait to get my hands on her latest novel and Plume was nice enough to provide Paperback Dolls with an ARC. Jio’s latest novel begins in the present as Anne’s daughter is trying to solve a mystery about a beautiful sculpture at her college and Anne receives a note from Bora-Bora requesting her help in solving a long forgotten murder on the island. With this note Anne is swept back up in the past of her youth and memories of the love she has never forgotten.
Jio takes us on a journey from the young Anne Calloway who is smart and living in a time when women did not have the choices they do today. For a young girl of her time and her privilege she was expected to marry, stay home and raise children. In a brief moment she decides to head off to Bora-Bora in the Army Nurse Corps. One of my favorite quotes centers around this inevitability in Anne’s life when she is told “You be yourself,” she said. “And never ignore what your heart is telling you, even when it hurts, even when it seems like following it will be very difficult or untidy.” I wish I had followed this advice a few times in my own life.
The story takes shape as Anne discovers the true nature of others, the reality of her childhood friendship and the beauty of love. I could imagine lounging on the beach in the warm breeze and the beauty of young love. I have to admit that I loved The Violets of March more but I think it’s because I could identify with the character and what was going on her life than I could with Anne. I also thought the mystery aspect was less exciting in The Bungalow than it was in Violets however, the romance and complicated relationships involved among friends was just as endearing in this book.
Overall, I finished the book quickly and loved the fact that it centered on nurses in WWII. The descriptions of the Bora-Bora made you feel as if you were there walking on the beach with your feet in the water, sand between your toes and the breeze in your hair. I was engrossed in the changes in Anne as she meets Westry and discovers what passionate love is and with her despair as her friendship with Kitty begins to falter after so many years. Jio once again has written a touching story of the complex relationships in our lives and how they affect us. I would definitely recommend this if you are looking for an engaging quick read.(less)
I am a fan of Lisa Klaypas. When people hear this statement they automatically assume I mean her historical romances. I haven’t read them. What hooked my on Lisa’s writing were the Travis family.
A trilogy set in Texas, it is chalk full of of alpha males and strong female roles. Lisa Kleypas has a way of pulling you into a story from the first sentence and when you inhale her words a need to start from the beginning one more time. I was really hoping after waiting for months I would get the same quality read with Christmas Eve at Friday Harbor. Ms. Kleypas did not disappoint.
Christmas Eve at Friday Harbor is an introduction to the long awaited contemporary romance series from Lisa. Set on the island of San Juan in Washington state the book opens the door to the town of Friday Harbor and the Nolan Family. Now before I go throwing spoilers all around let me tell you what I thought…. Oh wait that’s right I don’t spoil. :)
I genuinely enjoyed this book. I had some pretty high expectations for Friday Harbor and Ms. Kleypas delivered. I was a little surprised when I downloaded it to find it was more a novella length then novel but each page is packed with good solid writing.
True emotion flows through this book. I laughed and I admit I choked up once… or thrice. Lisa Kleypas captured a snapshot of a couple falling in love amidst the pain of loves lost and prior commitments. The only thing this book was lacking was about 100 pages of more really well scripted scenes.
As much as I loved this book it left me hungry for a more in depth look into the romance of Mark and Maggie. If I was giving this book a start rating it would be 4 out of 5 for the story telling. I think to sum up this book I would say it was poignant, funny, along with a little push and pull angst along with some great well written dialogue. I think that is one thing about a Kleypas book we can all rely on.(less)
I’m hooked on Gena Showalter’s Lords of The Underworld series. The series describes the adventures of the immortal Lords of the Underworld, a group of warriors created by Zeus. Overcome by jealousy when Pandora is chosen to guard the box that imprisons all the worlds demons, the Lords kill Pandora and inadvertently set free all the demons upon the Earth. As punishment each Lord is sentenced to carry a demon within their body for all eternity. Now the Lords dedicate themselves to finding the mystical tools that will release them from their sentence.
The Darkest Surrender is the story of Strider, Keeper of Defeat. As Keeper of Defeat, Strider experiences debilitating pain whenever he is defeated. His demon seeks a challenge in even the most mundane of tasks. Incredibly handsome and overwhelmingly obnoxious, Strider will go to any length to keep from losing, especially when it comes to love.
Kaia Skyhawk is a beautiful harpy hopelessly in love with Strider. A mistake during the Harpy Games at the age of 14, has left Kaia ostracized by the harpy community and haunted by the ensuing tragedy. Countless decades have passed since that day and Kaia has sought to redeem herself in the eyes of her family but most especially her mother. When the Harpy Games are announced and Kaia receives a special invitation she is certain she can win and regain her status. But as the details of the event unfold, Kaia and Strider find themselves pitted against each other in the battle for the prize. Will Strider risk losing his heart to Kaia even if it means losing the only chance the Lords have to win their freedom?
The Lords of the Underworld series is a PNR set in modern day Budapest. The characters although hundreds or thousands of years old live in castles filled with video games, hip-hop music and state of the art surveillance equipment. Like a Black Ops outfit on steroids, the story is told in contemporary slang full of swagger and posturing – a never ending frat party. Showalter’s dialogue is fun! But behind all the bravado is a story of two people who are afraid of getting hurt and disappointed by love. It is painful to read the missteps and misunderstandings as Kaia and Strider awkwardly navigate the game of love. Showalter makes you believe that even immortals with centuries under their belts can still be made to feel insecure and sensitive when it comes to barring their hearts.
The Harpy Games add an exciting background to the love story. The challenges are bloody and gruesome and the villains are dastardly.
Showalter is the best friend who knows where all your skeletons are hidden and wants to help you find some more to put into the closet with them. This series is a fun over the top read that is full of action and and super smexy scenes. Give yourself a present – bring The Darkest Surrender home tonight along with a bottle of margaritas and get ready for some fun!(less)
Last year, Amanda Bonilla captivated me with the first in her Shaede Assassin series, her debut release Shaedes of Gray featuring cold hearted, damaged, and lonely Darian making my top 5 favorites for 2011. Now she’s back with her second, Blood Before Sunrise, and I have to say that I absolutely love this series!
I’m completely fascinated by the world Ms. Bonilla has created. Set in Seattle, Fae, Shaedes (creatures of shadows), Lyhtans (creatures of light) Djinns and Oracles all try to coexist with the human populous – and other unknown beasties – in a convoluted and elaborate world in which no one seems to know how to share knowledge, tell the truth or say things outside of riddles.
Darian is a Shaede, able to switch between blending in with the night and her corporeal form. An assassin by trade and mistreated for most of her life, I can understand her standoffish detachment, but it’s her haughtiness that throws me and has me screaming at her from page to page. Darian isn’t a TSTL character by any means, but her arrogance leads her and, more often than not, drags her farther and farther down the wrong path.
It’s this arrogance that propels her in Blood Before Sunrise. After a passing word from the desperate Delilah to save her own skin, Darian becomes obsessed with finding her friend and mentors missing daughter, Brakae. Like many times before, Darian’s assumptions and inability to trust her new found friendships lands her in situations that are far more than she can handle and costs her more than she can bear.
Not a single word or scene is wasted, and the payoff at the end is well worth the journey in this fast-paced mystery-driven plot. With fascinating characters and awesome world building, Blood Before Sunrise is exactly what urban fantasy was meant to be. I can’t wait to see what happens next for Darian when Crave the Darkness hits shelves next year.(less)
The Daisy Dalrymple mysteries came to my attention around a year ago and I kept wanting to read them – I love mysteries set in the 1920s. But I could never find the first few books in the series and I didn’t know if they could be read out of order.
I finally got my hands on The Winter Garden Mystery – the second book in the series – and I really enjoyed every single minute. Before I get to the plot I’ll just mention that it is a shame that I didn’t try harder to find the first book in the series, Death at Wentwater Court (out of print on most sites but available via the Book Depository) because Dunn doesn’t give you much background information about Daisy, Alec or any of the other characters who might be series “regulars” in The Winter Garden Mystery. I did sometimes feel like I was missing something in the story, especially in scenes involving Daisy and Detective Alec Fletcher.
Our story begins with the Honorable Daisy Dalrymple heading out to visit Occles Hall to do a piece for Town and Country magazine. Like many in her social stratum, she is suffering from a lack of funds and so has taken on a job as a writer. Yet when she arrives at Occles Hall it is revealed that while she’s been invited by her old school friend Bobby (short for Barbara), the Lady of the Manor is less than pleased to see her.
Valeria rules her house and her family with an iron fist – her husband lets her to make all the decisions, her son and daughter are stuck under her thumb, the village believes her word is law and even the local authorities prefer to stay on her good side. So when she decides she dislikes Daisy on sight (ladies of quality shouldn’t be working you know!) Daisy’s visit seems to be about to be cut short. And then she accidentally discovers (with the help of the assistant gardener) a body in the winter garden…
Now Lady Valeria really wants her to leave, but when the local police pin the murder – of former parlor maid and loose woman Grace Moss – on the assistant gardener and close the case before they even look into any other possible suspect, Daisy is determined to stay and find the real killer, even if that means annoying Lady Valeria.
With that purpose in mind she calls Scotland Yard’s Inspector Fletcher, who she befriended in Death at Wentwater Court. Alec knows what Daisy is like and decides to take over the case.
What follows is a fun and yes, ‘cosy’ read: Daisy is a wonderful lead who doesn’t have those annoying ‘I’ll just stick my nose in no matter who I endanger’ moments. She helps with the case in a believable way and brings out the best (and the very worst in some cases) in the supporting characters.
The other storyline – Daisy’s friendship with Alec Fletcher is just pure reading-goodness and I was seriously peeved off with myself over my stupidity in not working harder to find Death at Wentwater Court – a mistake I have now rectified. I luvs you Book Depository.
If Winter Garden Mystery is what this series is like, it is definitely going on my favorites shelf.(less)
My dad says that since the end of the Cold War, two things will never be the same again: James Bond movies and espionage/suspense books. This has often been the truth – I mean lets face it, it’s hard to find a good villain in this day and age and without the east/west division Berlin has just become a rather boring place for drop-boxes.
Which is why I was very excited and intrigued when I received the opportunity to review The Silent Oligarch by Christopher Morgan Jones.
Jones introduces us to the world of post-Cold War Russia – where if you managed to move quickly enough after the fall of the Iron Curtain, you are now sitting pretty as a billionaire thanks to Russia’s natural resources. In our case – Oil.
We are also introduced to three main characters:
Konstantin Malin has reached the top position within the Ministry of Natural Resources – a simple government bureaucrat, no? Well, obviously not. In fact, thanks to his frontman Richard Lock he has been laundering oil money for years – investing and making money abroad and then bringing it right back into Russia.
Richard Lock, the money launderer who is the face for Malin’s many business interests, but he now feels that he is out of his depth – the ventures have just become too big. What started out as a great way to launder funds has now become a billion dollar industry he can’t seem to control.
Thanks to some shady dealings with another shady businessmen – the secrets these two men have been trying to hide might just be about to explode across the front pages of the international media.
Which is how we get to Benjamin Webster – in the days just before the end of the Cold War he was a young journalist trying to make a name for himself. An incident involving a young Russian colleague who was asking one too many questions led him to leave Russia behind. Now a corporate intelligence investigator, he is asked to expose Malin and Lock – and finds out there may be a connection between the events that led to his friend’s murder.
The Silent Oligarch is very much a character-centric book and together with the understated writing style it makes the reader feel as if we’re sitting in the room, on the sidelines watching as the story unfolds – it reminded me a lot of the John Le Care style of writing. Slowly building up the suspense and the drama to a masterful finish.
What I found to be extremely intriguing about The Silent Oligarch is that I was left constantly wondering who the ‘hero’ or protagonist of this book was. The POV changes every chapter or so between Webster and Lock so you get the sense that each of them, in a way, takes on that role. No black and white heroes and villains here – and it was in the grey areas that this book excels.
The POV changes also served to show the reader the similarities and contrasts between these two complex characters. In one chapter we see Webster with his family, the interactions with his wife and children. In the next chapter we see Lock realizing how much of his daughter’s life he has missed and what his relationship with his wife is like.
For both Webster and Lock the outcome of the Malin case will serve as a turning point and for each one there are moments when they wish they could just turn their back on it all and disappear.
Then there is the Silent Oligarch himself – Malin. Through Lock’s eyes we see a man of secrets and power, a man Lock looks up to, despises and fears all at the same time. As the book moves forward we learn more about his motives and how Lock came to become the man he is today.
I should add that there is another character that has a very important role in this book – Russia herself. I don’t know why I feel this way, but to me at least it appeared as if Russia wasn’t just a place where much of the plot took place, rather, Jones’ Russia was an actual presence throughout the book – a living breathing thing.
The Silent Oligarch is Jones’ début novel and I hope that it won’t be his last. Jones has a unique style and has written a brilliant tale of suspense – for the post-Cold War reader.(less)
When the author asked Paperback Dolls if we would review SEA Change by Karen White I immediately jumped on the opportunity based on the synopsis I couldn’t wait to read it and wow am I glad I did. It was by far one of the best books I have read in a while.
SEA CHANGE is a story of what it means to be a family. It’s a heartwarming story of how our families past affects our future and how misunderstood events in the past flavor the way we view ourselves today. White captivates with a story of love, betrayal and family secrets that keeps you on the edge of your seat until the last page. We are immediately engrossed as the story of Ava in the present is mingled with the story of Pamela from the early 1800’s. Both stories are equally intriguing filled with the nuances of family and what it means to love as they follow a path finally converging into one. White builds the story from the perspective of a few a few different characters and I love how we get to see events from the perspective of Ava, her mother and grandmother as well as Pamela’s story from the past. Each voice weaves together seamlessly tugging at your heart.
I absolutely could not put this book down. It is a testament that love can last forever and the ties that bind a family. You will cherish every moment as Ava discovers herself and what true love means. I highly recommend this for your summer reading list; in fact I recommend you grab this book as soon as it comes out June 5th. You’ll be delighted that you did.(less)
This is the sort of book I keep in reserve for when I’m burned out and need a break. I know there will be romance and an HEA, and somewhere in there will be the doubt and conflict needed to keep it interesting.
When I downloaded The Cowboy Takes a Bride, I’d just finished back-to-back-to back PNRs. Needless to say, my vampire meter was warped and needed rest. I figured a contemporary romance was just the thing. I settled in and read it in one evening, and it did the trick….total mental palate cleanser.
While I enjoyed Mariah and Joe, he aggravated me by ignoring the fact that his late wife’s sister, Ila, had the hots for him. Most men seem to have built-in radar for that sort of thing, and I got annoyed more than once when he treated her like one of the guys—oblivious of her attraction to him. He also tended to put his late wife Becca on a pedestal when she was far from perfect.
Mariah’s father had deserted her and her mom for the cutting horse scene when she was very young, and because of this, she has a hard time believing Joe could really be a family man.
Both Mariah and Joe seemed to indulge in an unusual amount of angsty internal dialogue, but they’d both accumulated more than their fair share of emotional scars, so I guess they were entitled. At times, I feared they would completely talk themselves out of falling in love, but in the end true love won out.
Overall, it was a pleasant diversion, and gave me a chance to recharge my mental batteries. After all, a girl can’t live on dark, wicked supernatural beings alone.(less)
I loved the sound of this book. Zombies, post-apocalyptic wasteland, and vagabond survivors…yep, pretty much right up my alley. Or, so I thought.
I have read other works by Amanda Hocking and found her writing to be very entertaining, but HOLLOWLAND just didn’t manage to hold my attention. The writing style is very straight forward and not overly poetic which is perfectly fine considering the genre, but when compared to similar books on the shelf it seems to lack luster and polish.
Even the characters fell flat for my tastes. The heroine, Remy, is on a mission to find her little brother after being separated in an attack on the compound where they were sheltered. Along with another girl that escaped the attack, she sets off on her mission and along the way picks up some unlikely travelling companions in a rescued a lion, a formerly famous rock-star and a pre-med student. The unique blend of characters should have been refreshing and fun but instead were dull and annoying.
I am a huge fan of character driven storylines and need to feel a connection with the characters (as I did in hocking’s SWITCHED) in order to care about their journey. Unfortunately, I didn’t find that in HOLLOWLAND. :((less)
P.O. Box Love was an interesting read. Even after two day I’m not sure how I feel about it. I’m not sure what I expected after reading the blurb we got from the author. It sounded interesting, and the story was. I just never fell in love with it. It needed more emotion.
P.O. Box Love is written as love letters and a story. Meaning part of the time you’re reading love letters between two characters and the other time you’re reading the story from the main female’s POV. The main characters are Emma and Federico. Emma’s a fifty something bookshop from living in Milan and Federico is a fifty something successful architect, working in New York City. Emma is divorced and has been for many years. She has a son, Mattie, whose graduating high school and about to attend University. Federico on the other hand is married and has been for twenty some odd years. He and his wife have a daughter, Sarah, who’s also a teenager.
Emma and Federico, in their youth, had been boyfriend/girlfriend and something happens to break them up. Now after all this time, Federico finds Emma in her bookshop, Dreams & Desires. Dreams & Desires is a bookshop designed and furnished for romantics. All Emma sells are romance novels, it doesn’t matter the size or shape. This is the part that confuses me, Emma is such a romantic, yet I didn’t get much feeling from her. She can remember just about every book she’s ever read, yet she forgets her personal history. She does this on purpose, which doesn’t make sense to me. I would’ve thought she’d care about her memories, since romantics usually do. (At least romantic writers that is, their memories give inspiration.)
When Emma and Federico decide to start corresponding with each other they do so by writing letters. These, hand written, letters are the only line of communication they have, because Emma has decided technology is a bad thing. She doesn’t own a cell phone and she dislikes the internet and computers. Needless to say she doesn’t touch either. So the story starts with former high school sweethearts becoming “pin-pals.” It’s truly a twist on You’ve Got Mail, without the technology. Emma and Federico us a P.O. Box to send, receive and store their letters so no one will find out. Their affair including the correspondence spans over six years during which Federico opens up to Emma about his life and emotions. Things he can’t share with his family. Emma begins to look at life a little different too as she adds architecture to her life. What I mean by this is that she starts looking at the beauty of buildings, whereas she’d never done that before. She seems to like hearing about Federico’s work on the Morgan and she tells him about different bookshops around New York City. They also talk about their lives but not too much. Federico stops in the stores she tells him about and he starts to enjoy the peace the stores and parks give him as he writes to her.
This affair isn’t just the letters that these two former sweethearts share. They actually do become lovers ad meet once a year on an island. The island fits their “prefect” affair since it doesn’t get any service for phones or internet. In these short encounters we get the most “emotion,” still I expected more. Don’t expect the details of their sex life, it’s not there, what we get is how they fit into each other’s life. That they enjoy each other’s company and the outside world means nothing. We the reader know this relationship is doomed even Emma knows it. She tells us so. Yet when Federico talks about his wife and his actions Emma basically says she’s okay with the status quo. She seems to like being a mistress. This is something else I don’t understand, because I don’t know why she’d want to be the other woman.
As the relationship heads to a close the book seems to skip or loss something. You find more spelling errors and sentences that don’t completely make sense. This also goes along with Emma somewhat losing herself. Plus we have the end of Federico’s letters which doesn’t seem like the right spot, especially when Emma references it within her letters. She states it’s been two weeks when it’s been two months almost to the day. Still she doesn’t make any call to see if everything is okay. There’s also a point when Federico asked to see her about a month or so before his last letter and we see nothing of that encounter. We don’t know if it happened or not, Emma doesn’t even respond to the invite if she could make it or not. Both of these events confused me. But I’d say the ending is what really through me and how we got there we don’t know. There needed to be more so that this ending made sense and could flow. As it stands you have an ending and something like an afterthought. The first would have been fine, the reader could’ve thought of their own “true ending”. What we get falls flat, and doesn’t seem to fit what had been going on.(less)
Thomas “Veck” DelVecchio, Jr. has a chip on his shoulder. The newest detective on the Caldwell police force is also the son of a notorious serial killer. Eager to distance himself from his father’s gruesome reputation and firmly establish his own sense of worth, Veck has lived a solitary life of self loathing. His smoldering good looks have never left him at a loss for company but his insecurities have made it impossible for him to connect with anyone.
When Veck is found covered in blood at the scene of a vicious attack on a serial killer Veck is immediately pegged as the number one suspect. Officer Sophia Reilly, a by the book red headed bombshell, is assigned by Internal Affairs to investigate the attack and become Veck’s partner. Right from the start these two find themselves fighting their attraction to each other. Can they find the real culprit and exonerate Veck? Who is the mysterious Jim Heron who continues to show up with information about the attack and the serial killings? Will Veck and Reilly finally allow their passions to take over?
What a ride! Ward’s writing style is direct and aggressive. Her characters are in your face, challenging you to deny their brash intensity. ENVY is the third book in Ward’s Fallen Angels series which follows Jim Heron in his fight to save souls on the verge of being eternally damned. Heron is pitted against the demon lord, Devina, an Angelina Jolie look alike who will break all the rules to make sure she wins this contest. Compared to the previous two books in the series, ENVY is simpler and easier to follow. Both Heron and Devina have gotten the hang of the contest and it is great fun to read the psychological battles between the two.
The mystery surrounding Veck and his role as the chosen soul is fairly clear and doesn’t leave the reader in the dark. The animal attraction between Veck and Reilly comes to life in some super smexy love scenes that may leave you hot and bothered so don’t say I didn’t tell you! Ward throws in a few doozies but there are two sub plots I could easily have done without (can’t tell you because they are spoilers). And you can always count on Ward to give you the anti-heroine heroine (her specialty) – Reilly doesn’t wear make-up and is utterly unaware how attractive she is. A paragon of tighty whitey efficiency - literally – she is brainy but she can’t understand what super hunky Veck even sees in her. While Veck is so steeped in guilt and repentance for the sins of his father, Reilly’s straight arrow good girl rocks his socks off and leaves him totally inept and hopelessly flummoxed.
Take this PNR to bed with you and don’t be surprised if you find yourself racing through the book to read the smexy parts!(less)
Blood Law is the debut in author Karin Tabke’s sultry new trilogy, Blood Moon Rising , mixing old and new Lycan...moreOriginally posted at PaperbackDolls.com
Blood Law is the debut in author Karin Tabke’s sultry new trilogy, Blood Moon Rising , mixing old and new Lycan mythology to create a fresh take on an old favorite. For those of you who don’t know, Ms. Tabke is the alter ego of Karin Harlow who I just so happen to absolutely adore! Karin makes some of the best Alpha heroes out there and she doesn’t disappoint as she brings us not one, but two.
Now there is a ton of back story to this series that you’ll only find out if you read Blood Law, but I’m nice enough to throw you a bone (ha,ha) and give you the down and dirty. For hundreds of years, wolves have been hunted down by Slayers at the decree of King Edward I, but about eight hundred years ago during the first Blood Moon Rising, a huge battle was fought between the Slayers and the two great wolf packs – the Mondragon of Europe and the Vulkasin of the New World. Though the wolves fought bravely they were on the verge of extinction so, Singarti, the great spirit guide of the Intuit people, called to the gods for intervention who in turn; turned the wolves into Lycan so as they might blend in with the humans.
Skip ahead to fourteen years ago. Rafael and Lucien, twin alpha males of the Mondragon/Vulkasin pack, are in a blood feud. There is one law that governs the Lycans, Blood Law, where first and foremost, a Lycan must not lie with a Slayer, to do so is punishable by death. And second, if another Lycan shall take another’s person or thing, eye for an eye can be invoked. In an extreme twist of fate, Rafael returned home to find his brother, Lucien, about to mark a Slayer as his one true mate and rather than see his brother dead, Rafe slew her by his own righteous hand. However, Lucien doesn’t see his brother’s actions as kind, nor does the governing council, and Blood Law now hangs over both packs until Rafe finds a mate so Lucien can finally take his vengeance.
Fast forward to present day where Blood Law truly begins. By now, the blood feud has taken a powerful toll on the world’s leading alpha pack, pinning them against one another. One side, the Mondragon, for Lucien. The other side, the Vulkasin, with Rafeal. One single human girl stands between them both as destiny unfolds. Falon Corbet always knew she was different, but it wasn’t until Rafael saves her from Slayers and marks her as his own does she truly find out just how truly different she really is.
Trust me when I say Karin Tabke knows her alpha males. They’re dominant, arrogant, erotic and sexy as hell. It makes my breath quicken just thinking about them. Alpha Lycan, Rafe, has been avoiding connections with the female body at all cost, because he’s never wanted to be responsible for the loss of an innocent life. When he meets Falon , he sees her as nothing but a mere human. In an effort to finally be done with the blood feud, he marks her for Lucien to do with as he wills. However, the more he gets to know her, the deeper she crawls into his head. Something about Falon makes his blood quicken and his beast call to her.
When we first meet Falon, she’s desperate, hungry, and savage. Homeless and an outcast orphan for most of her life, she’s only had to rely on herself and her own fundamental moral code. When Rafe takes her, she’s confused and yet drawn to him. There were numerous times when I wanted to scream at her, so furious with her for her hair brain actions and ideas that brought her further into trouble or just plain didn’t make any since at all. She actually tip toed the line for a TSTL heroine, but I’m happy to say how well she recovers and has only the most epic come back I have ever seen!
Ms. Tabke delivers in Blood Law an intense, erotic paranormal romance with compelling multilayered storytelling. Her mythical narrative with full rich history draws in the reader, but it’s her characters that keep them glued to the pages. Although, the cliffhanger at the end wrenched a tortured sigh from my lips, I’m eagerly awaiting to read the entire trilogy to see where she will take us next.(less)
I have a confession to make. This is my very first pirate romance novel. When I first came across Shana Galen’s The Rogue Pirate’s Bride I instantly thought of those Harlequin ‘bodice ripper’ romance novels that came out in the early 90’s with Fabio Lanzoni on the cover. And not even exactly what they are, but more along the lines of what I thought they would be like considering I haven’t read one of those either. However, it’s always a pleasure to be proven so completely wrong.
Matter of fact, I wish there were more heroines like Raeven Russell in our Regency romances. Raeven is the daughter of a British Admiral and has been living with her father on his ship since she was four years old. I suppose that living on a ship doesn’t just help her possess all the things we hope for in our heroines, but gave her the practice to own them in a society that expects the quit and demure. Never the less, Raeven is a spitfire. She’s spunky, cocky, out spoken, resourceful and smart. When she wants something, she goes out and grabs it.
She had the object raised! Damn him if she wasn't going to strike again!
But he had his hand wrapped around her wrist now, and he twisted it violently. She cried out, and he muttered, "Drop it."
The black sea was fading now, and he was able to focus on her face. It was set in a stubborn expression, those green eyes flashing like the ocean during a tempest. He tightened his grip and saw her jaw clench, but she didn't drop the candlestick she held.
Merde. The thing was brass and had to weight two pounds. She really did want to kill him. Anger shot through him as his head throbbed again, and he wrenched her arm. The little hellion held on, so he pushed her up against the door, slamming it closed in the process.
Her eyes were watering with pain now, but she still held the candlestick. "Drop it."
"No!" The word was barely a breath.
He shook his head. "Mon Dieu! Are you always this stubborn?"
"Some might call it persistence," she grit out.
This is why Captain Cutlass –also known as a privateer, rogue, and Sebastian Harcourt, marquis de Valére– is in so much trouble. Raeven is hunting him down and she doesn’t plan to stop until she kills him for his murderous pirating ways, regardless if she dies in the process. She believes he has killed her young fiancé for no other reason than the glory, but we come to find this isn't how Cutlass operates. He's far too honorable for that. An honorable pirate? Raeven can't believe it, it's not possible.
However, Sebastian has his own problems. He’s searching the seas high and low for his enemy, Jourdain, for the murder of his mentor. At first, like Bastian, I found Raeven to be a kin to a gnat that just won’t stop buzzing around. But she grows on you when you learn what she’s really all about. Bastian eventually keeps her, half by sheer circumstance and half because I believe he can’t bare to let her go. He finds her entertaining, unbelievably alluring and something of an enigma. Definitely not the kind of woman he was use to seeing. The rogue himself is smooth, charming with a broody mixture of the dark and mysterious. Did I mention that he was unbelievably good looking and French? I think I’m in love.
One of my favorite scenes for Raeven:
Something zipped past him and struck the man with enough force to cause him to drop his pistol and clutch his abdomen. Bastien had a moment to look behind him and saw his cabin girl, his beautiful cabin girl, standing there with arm out stretched. He'd known she'd be accurate with that dagger.
and one right before my favorite scene for Bastien (you'll have to read to find out how it ends):
"I-I’m not going to take off my clothes.”
Since she didn’t appear likely to take it, he set her wine on the desk. “No? Then why are you here? And don’t tell me it’s simply to retrieve your sword.”
She clamped her mouth closed.
“You could have had another sword made.”
She cocked her head to the side. “Why do you think I’m here then?”
He shrugged, drank some wine. “Me.” He looked pointedly at the large berth.
She laughed. “Oh, really? You have a rather high opinion of yourself.”
He sat down behind the desk, lifted his glass to examine the red wine in the candlelight. “You went to a lot of trouble to see me again. Perhaps my arrogance isn’t entirely misplaced.”
Over all, The Rogue Pirate’s Bride is a swashbuckling good time. There’s tension, lies, deceit, action, adventure, passion, witty dialogue, lust, love and romance – all the ingredients to keep you up until the wee hours of the night. The characters are scrumptiously refreshing, and one is sorry to see them go off to their well-deserved happily ever after. Shana Galen writes a fun, vivid story in this third installment of The Sons of the Revolution series that will keep you turning those pages. I have not read either of the two previous books in the series about Bastien's brothers: The Making of a Duchess and The Making of a Gentleman, but I had no trouble following the storyline and events. I for one am ready for the next. Right now.(less)
West has delivered a romantic thriller that strives to combine romantic love scenes with a grisly murder mystery. The story is interesting and engaging as we watch Wes struggle with his lack of police skills, his deep seated nostalgia for the town, and a torrid romance that has him physically and emotionally overwhelmed. As the story unfolds and more victims fall prey to the murderer, we feel Wes’s blinders begin to fall off as he attempts to comprehend the extent of the crime encompassing this small bucolic town. This story pays homage to novels like THE STEPFORD WIVESwith a town overrun with couples so happily in love for so many years; you start to wonder if there is something in the water.
My concerns with the novel center on a few basic issues. The novel is uneven in pace and often repetitive in language. The first 17 chapters could easily be consolidated into a much tighter package providing stronger world building for the novel. The protagonist, Wes is not the most intelligent of characters and seems to be the last one to realize what and who are behind these crimes. Several sub arcs are distracting and seem to lead nowhere including the news that Leah gave a daughter up for adoption 12 years earlier.
The story would benefit greatly from a strong foil to Wes’s good guy caught in the middle of something too big for him to handle. A town newspaper journalist or reporter would have been a great foil – asking questions, pointing out inconsistencies, and revealing town gossip that leads to breakthroughs in the case.
The murder scenes are bloody and the buildup of suspense is steady. The romantic relationship between Wes & Leah is not very developed so it didn’t grab me too strongly.
But the ending – the ending had me scratching my head for a few days; even inspiring a dinner conversation along the lines of – what would you do in their position?
ADDICTED TO LOVE is a romantic thriller perfectly suited to the reader who enjoys an easy going mystery that is not explicitly sexy.(less)