I think if I'd read this book as a standalone I might have liked it more, but for a book that's part of the series it's part of, it came across ratherI think if I'd read this book as a standalone I might have liked it more, but for a book that's part of the series it's part of, it came across rather lackluster.
Series Note: Fifth book in Banks's "Sweet" series, which most of the books tend to be about BDSM relationships (though this one isn't). This book could be read as a stand alone, I think.
Summary: When Connor Malone is asked to provide security for a out of control pop star, he is not happy. How he is going to manage to spend 2 weeks babysitting a spoiled diva, he doesn't have a clue. But as he gets to know Lyric Jones a bit, he realizes she's not the person he thought she was. For all her bravado, he comes to understand that underneath it all, she's an insecure, scared woman with a lot of ghosts in her past.
But for Lyric, having anyone get to close to the real her is terrifying. She's spent her life running from her past. The more Connor digs beneath her walls, the harder it is to keep him away. And the more she begins to realize that she's let her life get totally out of control. She'll have to face a lot of her issues if she has any hope of keeping Connor.
Review: Maya Banks's "Sweet" series has given us readers a glimpse into some non-traditional BDSM relationships that haven't always been comfortable to read about. So when you start another book in the series, you go into it expecting a certain type of book.
Which makes it odd that this book goes completely the other way. This book is extremely tame compared to all the other books in this series. There's not BDSM, no kink, nothing at all like that. There's not even an anal sex scene, which is a shocker.
Honestly, this book came across too tame. If I'd just read it as a standalone, only slightly erotic romance, I wouldn't have been bothered by it. But when read in the context of a series that breaks down boundaries of what's comfortable to read, kink wise, it's a let down. Everything is so blah.
And even aside from the fact that it doesn't meet expectations, I thought it was weird how tame it was. Part of the context of the story is that Lyric is an out of control pop star, with two "bodyguards" she regularly sleeps with at the same time, who is known to have group sex, etc. Then suddenly the book starts, she hooks up with Connor and everything goes vanilla. It was a bit bizarre and it came off weird and ill-fitting. For me, between this and the difference from the other books, it through off the whole vibe of the book.
The characters are pretty interesting, though. I liked both Lyric and Connor. And I liked the growth of Lyric's character as the story progresses and Lyric begins to understand what she's done with her life and that she wants to make changes. It was an interesting story aspect that worked.
It's also great to get to read about the other characters. They're an enjoyable bunch. And the scenes with all the girls getting together, doing goofy stuff are funny. And the little bit of suspense is okay. It's underdeveloped and could have been a much more interesting part of the story.
But really, for me, the dominant aspect of the book was just how off-kilter it felt because of how tame it was. It just wasn't really what I wanted for a book in this series.
WARNING, this book contains: moderately explicit sex, explicit language ...more
I didn't find this book nearly as good as I had hoped it would be.
Series Note: Fifth book in McCarty's "Hell's Eight" erotic historical western seriesI didn't find this book nearly as good as I had hoped it would be.
Series Note: Fifth book in McCarty's "Hell's Eight" erotic historical western series about a group of 8 orphaned boys who band together and grow up to be feared Texas Rangers. You may be able to read this one as a standalone but there's backstory involved and this book continues something that happened at the end of the last book.
Summary: Shadow Ochoa has been on the run and an outlaw for over a year after murdering a man in front of a crooked military leader. For fear of putting his family, blood and not, in danger, he sets off on his own, trying to stay ahead of a man who wants him dead. But a series of events has him ready to be hung at a hangman's noose when a feisty half-Asian/half-American woman decides to claim him as her husband-to-be.
It's not that Fei Yen really wanted to marry Shadow, but she had problems of her own and needed Shadow's help and protection in order to solve them. Shadow agrees to help her out but when it's done, he will once again set off on his own. Fei and his Hell's Eight brother's have other ideas, though, and when the dust settles, both will try to convince him to return.
Review: A lot of people seemed to enjoy this book, but I have to admit that I found it to be a bit flat. On a couple levels it just didn't particularly suck me in. I was disappointed. I had been expecting so much more from this story.
Shadow has always been such an enigmatic character in this story. I was looking forward to reading about him meeting his match. But...I don't know...something about the way the story was told just made me feel like Shadow wasn't the character I'd expected him to be. I can't really explain why. It's just the way I felt as I was reading. All I can say is that I was expecting one thing, but got something else that didn't match up with my image.
It's not that I disliked Shadow in this book, just that something was off about his character for me. I mostly liked the heroine, though. She's feisty and different than all the other heroine's in this series. She's half-Chinese/half-American, so you're getting just a whole different vibe. And it was interesting to get a picture of what life was like for someone of Chinese decent during those times.
The romance between the two...well, this is where I had some problems with the book. This series has been solidly in the erotic (historical western) romance genre. It's been rough, raw, brazen and edgy with heroes who are bold, sexual and more than a little rough around the edges. It's been part of the appeal of the series, at least for me.
This book, though, seemed to lose that edge. Other than the blatant language during the couple sex scenes, it wasn't a hot, raw, in-your-face story. Everything came off a bit dulled around edges. I missed the rawness. And because it was missing, it made Shadow seem a bit flat compared to the heroes in the other stories. I just much preferred the way the other books were.
Why the difference? I can't honestly say since I'm not the author. But I'd go with 1 of 2 options. The first being that this was just the way she wanted to tell the story. The second being a switch in publisher imprint. The first 4 books in this series were put out by Harlequin Spice, which is HQ's erotic imprint, but this book was put out by it's HQN imprint, which is more standard romance fare. It's easy to wonder if because of the switch, the author was asked to tone down the erotic content. If so, then I wished there hadn't been a publishing switch because I liked the way the books were before than the way this one was told. But who knows. I guess we'll see when the next book comes out whether it's a continuing trend or whether this was just the way the author wanted to tell this book.
Lastly, as for the storyline of the book. Eh...it kinda wondered here and there, never really focusing on a particular story point. I didn't entirely mind it. It was still a mostly interesting story. But at the same time, I thought the book could have been much more focused on a specific thing than going here, then there, then over there, then back to here, etc. But it wasn't a huge deal.
Overall, it was an okay book for me. Nowhere near as good as the last book, which I really enjoyed. This one was just kinda flat. I hope the next one will be better.
WARNING, this book contains: some explicit sex & language...more
I have to admit, I was disappointed in this book, and this series overall. I've read so many Sharon Sala books that I've loved, but this series fell sI have to admit, I was disappointed in this book, and this series overall. I've read so many Sharon Sala books that I've loved, but this series fell short of delivering what I expect from her.
Series Note: Third and last book in Sala's “The Searchers” trilogy about 3 sisters who find out they aren't really sisters and come from terrible backgrounds so they travel to find answers to who they are. It's not particularly necessary to read the books in order.
Summary: Holly Slade is the last of her 3 sisters to leave home to find out answers to who she really is after learning from her father's will that she's not really Holly Slade, but instead Harriet Mackey, who was taken in by Andrew Slade after her mother feared her father was a terrible serial killer named The Hunter. She's hesitant to search from answers, fearing what she would find. And she's also hesitant to leave her home, and the man she secretly love, Bud Tate.
But she eventually does leave, traveling to St. Louis, Missouri to find out if her past is as terrible as she suspects. Holly's search for answers leads her to some grim truths, but they become a little easier to handle when Bud joins her in St Louis and the two finally admit their feelings for each other. Unfortunately, after years of not killing, The Hunter is on the hunt again, and Holly's life and her future happiness with Bud are in serious jeopardy.
Review: Sharon Sala's books almost always tend to engage me. They're so well written, emotionally satisfying, and just overall great books to read. But this book (and the series) didn't make the cut for me. When I finished each one, I didn't really feel satisfied.
The romance in this book felt flat. Holly and Bud have secretly loved each other for years. Bud is about 14 years older than Holly and was waiting for her to be old enough, and Holly never thought Bud would have those feelings for her. Lots of potential for some angsty romance, but after a bit of fumbling around for the first chunk of pages, these two admit their feelings and then there is absolutely no romantic conflict between them for the rest of the book. That's not really what I'm looking for in a romance book. Generally the whole point of a romance book is the sometimes long-winding road the H/H take to get to the HEA, with all its twist and turns and broken hearts. But not in this book. Before you're even halfway through the book the two are settled into an HEA relationship. It took some of the oomph out of the story and definitely caused a lack of romantic tension. That didn't work for me.
Then there's the suspense plot...I didn't mind it. It had a lot of potential to be a really great suspense plot, and there were some good scenes and nice tension at times. But it was also a bit oversimplified. I guess maybe because I'm a huge romantic suspense fan I'm a bit overcritical and prefer an in-depth suspense plot. This was a simple plot with everything moving along quickly with few problem and twists and turns. I didn't mind reading it, liked it to a point, but it didn't entirely hook me.
One of the most disappointing aspects of this series, for me, was a underplayed connection between the sisters. They are supposed to be super close, best friends along with being sisters. Yet as you read these three stories, it feels like they are simply sisters. They go off on their journeys and hardly keep in touch, only calling each other when something bad happens to one of them. It just came off really weird and made the connection between the three books rather weak. I wanted a deeper development when it came to the relationship between these three characters.
I also felt the wrap-up, on the series whole, was a bit weak. Not that it left any plot lines unanswered. You do find out the whole story for each sister, but you're left wondering somewhat about where things will go from there with them. I mentioned in my review for book 1 that you don't get any answers as to where Maria and Bodie plan to settle, what they'll do with their lives. That's still not explicitly answered. And it seems like the other two sisters will remain in their home area. But where are they all going to live? What are they going to do? I wanted something more solid to let me know what these characters plans were.
I wouldn't say this was a bad series or that any of the books were particularly bad...I think some readers would love them. But there were just some things missing for me that took away from each book and the series as a whole....more
Not my favorite of the Fool's Gold books. I liked it and some parts were great, but on the whole it was not at good as other books in the series.
SerieNot my favorite of the Fool's Gold books. I liked it and some parts were great, but on the whole it was not at good as other books in the series.
Series Note: Sixth book in the Fool's Gold series about a small, quaint California town and the people who live there. I think you could probably read this one on its own, but there is a definite benefit to reading the books in order.
Summary: Nevada Hendrix is the last of her triplet sisters not attached to a man and preparing to marry. She is, however, looking forward to a new job that will challenge and engage her. Until she finds out her boss will be Tucker Janack, the man she was hopelessly in love and who broke her heart years ago. Nevada takes the job anyway, determined to forget about the past.
This time around, though, Tucker is finally seeing her as the woman she as and neither are able to forget what happened all those years ago. They manage to hold the passion at bay for a short while but eventually give in. Nevada begins to wonder if they could have a future, but Tucker is still lost in his belief that love is evil. Then a woman from Tucker's past shows up to make things even more complicated. Tucker will have to reevaluate his stance on love or risk losing Nevada forever.
Review: Parts of this book I really enjoyed and other parts came off a bit flat. I wanted to love it, but there was just something holding me back from thoroughly digging into the story.
Oddly enough, it was the romance that didn't entirely hit the right note. I want to say the chemistry between Nevada and Tucker wasn't entirely there, but I'm not sure that's exactly it. Or maybe it's that their romance seemed somewhat undeveloped...but I don't think that's quite it either. So maybe it's that their romance came off a bit unoriginal and trite...guy gets drunk, sleeps with girl then goes back to his girlfriend, they don't see each other for years then as soon as they do they can't stay away from each other but the guy still has love/commitment issues and breaks the girl's heart all over again. It's a very basic storyline that's been done more than a few times. I wanted something a little different, more special.
There were other parts of the book that I enjoyed, though. The whole thing with Cat...especially Cat trying to win Nevada over, and the thing about the giant vagina...was hilarious. I was literally laughing out loud at various points of the book because of Cat's antics. It was freakin' hilarious
And I liked that the triple's mom got her happily ever after. That was sweet. The scene where Nevada walks in on her mom and Max was another one that had me cracking up. And of course, you get some scenes with Nevada's sisters to keep you up to date on past characters. Plus, author Susan Mallery brings 3 other female characters into focus, I assume, for her next Fool's Gold trilogy. I think Charlie's story should be interesting. She's definitely not your typical female character.
There were a couple other things that disappointed me, though. One was that Jo (the female owner of the local female-centered pub) had a side romance in this book. I was really intrigued by her character and had been looking forward to reading her book. So to read this book, where she gets a handful of scenes, falls in love, gets her heart broke, then gets her HEA, was disappointing. I wanted more for her character. She also had a past that would have been a really good building point for her book. So yeah, I wish Mallery would have given her her own book.
I was also disappointed that Mallery neglected to give updates on some things from the other two books in this Fool's Gold trilogy. Was Finn's (hero book 1) brother still involved with Amelia? What about the little girl from from book 2 who was being treated by Simon (hero book 2) for her serious burns? I wanted to know how she was doing! A short paragraph could have been fit in so easily but wasn't. That disappointed me.
So...this book runs the gamut...it had parts I loved, parts that were average, and parts I was disappointed in. I kinda expected more from Mallery for this book. The others I've read just seemed more engaging on the whole. But I didn't dislike this book, just wanted more from it. I'll still be looking forward to reading the next Fool's Gold trilogy....more
This book was pretty much what I expected from Brant's Mindhunters series. No surprises, really...good or bad.
Series Note: Sixth and last (?) book in BThis book was pretty much what I expected from Brant's Mindhunters series. No surprises, really...good or bad.
Series Note: Sixth and last (?) book in Brant's "Mindhunters" series about an independent forensics lap run by ex FBI agent Adam Raiker. I would strongly recommend reading the previous books in this series, or at least the 2 books before this one as there is an overall story arc for the 2nd trilogy in the series.
Summary: For the past year, someone has wanted Adam Raiker, head of Raiker forensics, dead. And they've nearly succeeded. But Adam is still alive and kicking. When a good friend and supreme court judge is murdered in what appears to be a serial killing, Adam manages to get named as a special consultant to help with the investigation. This teams him up with old flame and FBI special agent, Jaid Marlowe.
As the investigation continues, it becomes apparent that the tie between all the murders may be Adam himself. All points seem to lead back to him. As he tries to unravel the connections, he's beginning to realize that pushing Jaid away 8 years ago may not have been the right thing to do because he still can't resist her. But before the two can solve their personal problems, they must find out who wants Adam to suffer before it's too late.
Review: This has been such a weird series for me. I've wanted badly to really like it, but mostly I've found it to be just average. Mostly from a romance standpoint. Having read the 5 previous books in this series, I had a pretty good idea of what this book would give me, and I was pretty much dead on.
From a suspense standpoint, the book is pretty good. It lacks some of the dire intensity and darkness that some of the great romantic suspense authors have. I didn't feel that immediacy that would make me want to keep reading and reading to figure out what was going on. It's more of a procedural type story. Very focused on the mundanes of interviewing people, reading profiles, tracking down people of interest and researching. Which can get rather tedious. Not quite enough action.
But that part of the book is well done, logical and readable. It just lacks in intensity. It was an interesting plot, though. Adam Raiker has been a rather intriguing character since the beginning of the series and when the 2nd trilogy started, you get hooked into a trilogy-wide story arc about someone out to get Adam. So it's great to finally see where all that headed. Though I must admit, the suspect I pegged way back in book 4 of the series was the right guess.
I was a little disappointed in part of the plot resolution. I wanted more out of the confrontation between Adam and the antagonist. It was kinda anti-climatic. I wanted more verbal sparring, more raging from the bad guy. Something about the resolution just fell flat.
Where this books (and actually the series) really came up lacking for me was in the issue of series cohesion and the romance angle. One of the things I love about series is the connectivity of it all. The multi-book characters, getting to read about the over a time-frame, that sense of attachment to them. And being able to focus on a group - either as a investigation firm, a bunch of friends, whatever. But with this series, the base connection was just missing. Raiker Forensics (aka the Mindhunters) which this series is based on, felt more like the sidenote. It was just an identifying characteristic and not a well-developed focus. The main characters just happened to be Raiker's agents but I never felt that link. It was all very separated.
Then there's the romance issue. This book wasn't as bad as some of the others, but I still felt it was lacking. Jaid and Adam have a history and still obviously have chemistry. But as the book moves along, you never feel they resolve their issues. They just sort of fall back into a relationship but I never felt like they'd resolved their past. It was disappointing. And I wanting and ending that felt more HEA. Poor Adam has been through so much, I wanted a fluffy scene at the end with him and Jaid being together and happy, not some short little scene where Adam asks Jaid to forgive him for dumping him before and wanting another chance. It felt very unsatisfying.
It wasn't a bad book over all though. I think some readers not quite a picky as me might enjoy it more. If I hadn't wanted to know so much the resolution of Adam's story I probably wouldn't have read it. If there are more books in the series, I'm not sure I will read them. Brant's form of romantic suspense in this series just doesn't really do it for me. ...more