Thursday, February 16, 2017

The Vampire's Mail Order Bride by Kristen Painter


Title: The Vampire's Mail Order Bride
Author: Kristen Painter
Series: #1 in the Nocturne Falls series
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Sugar Skull Books  (June 1,2015)
Source: Purchased/ Kindle Freebie
Rating: ☕☕1/2

Synopsis: Welcome to Nocturne Falls, the town where Halloween is celebrated 365 days a year. The tourists think it's all a show: the vampires, the werewolves, the witches, the occasional gargoyle flying through the sky. But the supernaturals populating the town know better.

Living in Nocturne Falls means being yourself. Fangs, fur, and all.

After seeing her maybe-mobster boss murder a guy, Delaney James assumes a new identity and pretends to be a mail order bride. She finds her groom-to-be living in a town that celebrates Halloween every day. Weird. But not as weird as what she doesn’t know. Her groom-to-be is a 400-year-old vampire.

Hugh Ellingham has only agreed to the arranged set up to make his overbearing grandmother happy. In thirty days, whatever bridezilla shows up at his door will be escorted right back out. His past means love is no longer an option. Not if the woman’s going to have a future. Except he never counted on Delaney and falling in love for real.

Too bad both of them are keeping some mighty big secrets...

My Thoughts: What started out as a really cute book in the beginning turned a sharp corner to average right around the middle and went down from there.

The Good: The town of Nocturne Falls is so cool. It's totally like Halloweentown in the movie of the same name starring the late great Debbie Reynolds. Where all the "monsters" are real and the tourists think they are just part of the theme. Delaney started out nicely also where the more nervous she gets the more she quotes some fun random fact about sweets and chocolate. The Ellingham brothers are intriguing too and I'm actually looking forward to finding out more about them.

The Bad: So what started out really fun took an Instalove turn and a TSTL woman chaser. After a day Delaney admits she's starting to have feelings for Hugh and a day later they are both so much in love Delaney tells Hugh that she is more than willing to have him turn her into a vampire despite that fact that it might kill her. The plot falls flat as the thread relating to why Delaney was in Nocturne Falls to begin with was all wrapped up 2/3rds of the way into the book leaving over 30% of the book left to witness the pathetic back and forth wishy-washy ramblings of Hugh loving Delaney but not wanting to risk the life of another woman when trying to turn her.

In a Nutshell: I don't think this book was a waste of my time but it sure could have been better. I have high hopes for the remaining books in the series though. It's like Halloweentown folks!
Photobucket

Friday, February 3, 2017

Curious Minds by Janet Evanovich and Phoef Sutton



Title: Curious Minds
Author: Janet Evanovich and Phoef Sutton
Series: #1 in the Knight and Moon series
Genre: Mystery
Publisher: Bantam Dell  (August 16, 2016)
Source: NetGalley
Rating: ☕☕1/2

Synopsis: Emerson Knight is introverted, eccentric, and has little to no sense of social etiquette. Good thing he’s also brilliant, rich, and (some people might say) handsome, or he’d probably be homeless. Riley Moon has just graduated from Harvard Business and Harvard Law. Her aggressive Texas spitfire attitude has helped her land her dream job as a junior analyst with mega-bank Blane-Grunwald. At least Riley Moon thought it was her dream job, until she is given her first assignment: babysitting Emerson Knight.

What starts off as an inquiry about missing bank funds in the Knight account leads to inquiries about a missing man, missing gold, and a life-and-death race across the country. Through the streets of Washington, D.C., and down into the underground vault of the Federal Reserve in New York City, an evil plan is exposed. A plan so sinister that only a megalomaniac could think it up, and only the unlikely duo of the irrepressibly charming Emerson Knight and the tenacious Riley Moon can stop it.

My Thoughts: I was looking forward to a funny new series by Janet Evanovich and ended up a bit disappointed.

The Good: I did enjoy Emerson Knight in this book. I liked that he was very socially awkward and reminded me of Sheldon Cooper from The Big Bang Theory. I even enjoyed his sense of humor even though it was questionable on if he was actually trying to be funny. The Knight menagerie was also fun and the zebra incident was reminiscent of the giraffe in a later Stephanie Plum book.

The Bad: While I listed Emerson's humor as a good thing the rest of the humor in the book fell a little flat. It seemed as if everyone had the same sarcastic sense of humor including Riley's big boss who insisted on calling her Moonbeam. The plot was problematic as well. The characters embark on an adventure where they either over explain what is going on and what they intend to do or we are left completely in the dark as Emerson has an elaborate plan figured out in his head and doesn't share it us or with his partner, Riley. The whodunit is easily solved early on as there were no other viable candidates or red herrings thrown in.

In a Nutshell: While I have enjoyed Evanovich's books in the past I was not enamored with this book at all. I might not continue on with the next book in this series based on this experience.
Photobucket

Thursday, December 29, 2016

On Her Father's Grave by Kendra Elliot


Title: On Her Father's Grave
Author: Kendra Elliot
Series: #1 in the Rogue River series
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Publisher: Montlake Romance (October 7, 2014)
Source: NetGalley
Rating: ☕☕☕☕

Synopsis: In a small town like Solitude, Oregon, keeping a secret can be murder.

Stevie Taylor had left her sleepy Oregon hometown for a more exciting life. But after her police chief father passes away, the LAPD cop returns to Solitude and signs on as a patrol officer, hoping to heal from her loss…and from the horrific things she’s seen in the city.

In Solitude, everyone knows everyone else’s business—and, to Stevie’s dismay, local gossip soon ties her to the new police chief and a man from her past. Tragedy then shakes up the small town when a teenager dies after taking a strange new drug. Now, the seasoned LA cop must hunt down the dealer while investigating the most important case of her life, one that could divide her tranquil town.

The first of four thrilling Rogue River novellas, On Her Father’s Grave launches a new romantic suspense series from Kendra Elliot and Melinda Leigh.

My Thoughts: A Strong start to a good Rom/Susp series.

The Good: While this is technically a novella it felt a bit like a serial as the underlying premise of the series is left dangling. Presumably, to finish out in the coming books. I list this as a good thing because with page length being limited, some novellas try to insert so much information that it ends up hurting either the plot or the character development. Sometimes both. Neither suffer here. We get a good sense of the main characters and a nice balance of info on the secondary characters as well. The plot, also, was satisfyingly tied up. At least part of the plot was. There are a few mysterious aspects introduced but the main one (what killed the teen) was put to bed even though there are still some questions on who is pulling those strings. The romance aspect was minimal yet nicely done. At this point there is only budding romance which was smartly done considering the length of the piece.

The Bad: At this point I might speculate that switching authors may be a bit of a hinderance in the continuity of the story and writing style. Elliot wrote the first and third of the series and Melinda Leigh wrote the second and fourth. I could also speculate that Leigh's input on the series may introduce yet another H and h, another romance, and another main plot without putting Stevie's father's story to bed, all would be bad in my eyes as Elliot did an outstanding job of setting this up already. I'd hate for all my unanswered questions to get left unanswered. But speculations aside there really wasn't many things that I would consider to be bad about this story. Unless one would find the name Stevie for a heroine to be annoying then one might have something to complain about. Other than that, I got nothing bad to say.

In a Nutshell: Overall I'd say this was a darn good novella. I'm very much looking forward to reading more in this series and would recommend this one for someone who wants a short read between other longer books. Be warned though, you may find you need to continue to book 2 right away.
Photobucket

#COYER Black Out: Winter Storm! Challenge



This time COYER is going to be a 12 week Blackout, where you have to dedicate yourself to reading the books YOU ALREADY  have acquired for less than $1.00.
That’s right,  you have between now and the start of COYER, December 17th, to acquire the books you’ll be reading during COYER. And they must be books you got for less than $1.00. The only exception is audio books, which you must have purchased for less than $5. They must either be eBooks or audio books.
We understand that we’re all constantly acquiring new books,  though.  So we’ve provided you a little relief (believe it or not this was all Michelle!), in the form of a generator.  Every book powers the generator up a little more.  After reading 10 books over 100 pages your generator is fully powered.  Books under 100 pages only provide half the energy… So it would take 20 books under 100 pages to power your generator.
Once your generator is powered up,  you may read ANY one book you want.  Doesn’t matter how much it cost, where you got it,  what format it is.  But your generator only has enough power for ONE book,  so use it immediately and wisely.  You can’t save it to use later,  it’s now or never!
COYER Blackout will run from December 17, 2016 – March 3, 2017. We will leave the linky open 1 extra day for you to get reviews in,  but those reviews need to be posted by the end of the day March 3rd. We will announce winners of (3) $10 gift cards to Amazon or Barnes and Noble on March 4th.

FAQ:

  • Can I read ARCS / Review / Netgalley / Edelweiss books? Yes! 
  • What if I request before COYER begins but publisher doesn’t approve until after COYER starts? They count as acquired before COYER, since you did your part before. 
  • Is there a page requirement? No. As long as you review it, it counts.  But just make sure you’re using your generator correctly for those under 100 page books.  
  • Can I read library books? Kindle lending library? Borrow books? Sorry,  no.  Not this time.  Check back in the summer 🙂 
  • What about Kindle unlimited books? Do they count?  If the book would cost someone without Kindle unlimited more than $1.00, then no.  If it would be less than $1.00 then yes. 

To find out more go to the #COYER sign up post HERE 

Photobucket

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Rock Point by Carla Neggers


Title: Rock Point
Author: Carla Neggers
Series: #.5 in the Sharpe & Donovan series
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Publisher: Harlequin MIRA (July 1, 2013)
Source: Purchased/Kindle Freebie
Rating: ☕☕

Synopsis: New York Times bestselling author Carla Neggers enthralls readers with her suspenseful Sharpe & Donovan series. Read the untold story of one of her most beloved characters in this special prequel novella.

Seven years after suffering an unspeakable loss, Finian Bracken is recently out of seminary and leaving Ireland to serve a small parish in the quaint but struggling fishing village of Rock Point, Maine.

My Thoughts: This short prequel was a nice introduction to Carla Neggers' writing style but for me that was all I really took away from this story.

The Good and The Bad: While I found Neggers' writing style easily engaging I found reading this story first rather than in published order a detriment instead of an asset. This story was published in between books 3 and 4 of this series. Getting the additional information on what drives a specific character and seeing some of their beginnings is normally a cool thing but because Finian is new to me I wasn't fully invested in him as a character so the emotional impact of his back story was a bit lost on me. That factor aside I found what should have been a suspenseful story ended up a bit of a dud. As a romantic suspense it fails in the romance aspect as there was absolutely no romance in the story and the suspense is rather vague, only hinting at some tension with the resolution and climax happening off page.

In a Nutshell: While my experience is less than stellar I wouldn't say this story was a complete dud. I would definitely recommend reading this in published order and not list order. It will help connect readers to the character and give it some much needed reference.
Photobucket

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Memory Zero by Keri Arthur


Title: Memory Zero
Author: Keri Arthur
Series: #1 in the Spook Squad series
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Originally released by ImaJinn Books (June 15, 2004) re-released by Dell (August 26, 2014)
Source: NetGalley
Rating: ☕☕☕☕

Synopsis: MORTAL RECALL

For Sam Ryan, life began at age fourteen. She has no memory of her parents or her childhood. In a decade of service with the State Police, Sam has exhausted the resources of the force searching for clues to her identity. But all mention of her family seems to have been deliberately wiped off the record. Everything changes the night Sam’s missing partner resurfaces as a vampire . . . and forces her to kill him in self-defense. Now Sam is charged with murder. Suspended from the force, and with no one left to trust, Sam accepts some unexpected help from Gabriel Stern, a shapeshifter who conceals startling secrets.

While investigating the circumstances surrounding her partner’s strange behavior, Sam discovers that Garbriel’s been involved with a dangerous organization that’s planning a war on the human race. More immediate, someone is guarding the truth about Sam’s past—someone who’d rather see her dead than risk her knowing too much. To stay alive, Sam must unravel the threads of her past—and find out not only who she is but what she is.

My Thoughts: Being a fan of Keri Arthur's Riley Jensen series I knew I was in for a treat with this one!

The Good and The Bad of it all: A lot of my good points could also be construed as bad so I'm lumping everything together. This book is non-stop action. It takes off from the beginning with Sam meeting her missing partner after a surprise call from him one night and it never lets up until the last few pages. This, for me, was great. It kept me turning the pages. I hated having to put the book down to go to work. I needed to see what would happen to Sam! Too much action can be a bad thing as well. There seems to be a trade-off with the action and developing the characters. Sure things went breakneck fast but perhaps at the expense of getting to know Sam and Gabriel better. I think the mystery of Sam worked out well though. Sam doesn't know who or what she is anymore than we, the readers do. She will become a full fleshed out character in due time. Gabriel is still quite a mystery but I like me some mysterious men!

There is no romance within this book. I like that this book left out sex and romance to focus on the world building and action. Although there isn't a specific timeline listed within this book it had a futuristic feel to it with the types of technology being used. This was cool but left me a little confused as the weaponry was high-tech, as was the communication/wrist units and crime scene locks, yet the cars and other aspects were closer to our current time frame. I think having a futuristic world feel could have been more consistent. Either go full on futuristic (like the JD Robb In Death series) or keep things in the now.

In a Nutshell: Overall, this was a good book, bordering on great. I'm intrigued with Sam and knowing she isn't exactly who she thought she was and is becoming more is motivation to read more in the trilogy.
Photobucket

It Happened One Autumn by Lisa Kleypas


Title: It Happened One Autumn
Author: Lisa Kleypas
Series: #2 in the Wallflower series
Genre: Historical Romance
Publisher: Harper Collins  (October 13, 2009)
Source: Purchased
Rating: ☕☕☕☕☕

Synopsis: Four young ladies enter London society with one necessary goal: they must use their feminine wit and wiles to find a husband. So they band together, and a daring husband-hunting scheme is born.

It happened at the ball...

Where beautiful but bold Lillian Bowman quickly learned that her independent American ways weren't entirely "the thing." And the most disapproving of all was insufferable, snobbish, and impossible Marcus, Lord Westcliff, London's most eligible aristocrat.

It happened in the garden...

When Marcus shockingly—and dangerously—swept her into his arms. Lillian was overcome with a consuming passion for a man she didn't even like. Time stood still; it was as if no one else existed... thank goodness they weren't caught very nearly in the act!

It happened one autumn...

Marcus was a man in charge of his own emotions, a bedrock of stability. But with Lillian, every touch was exquisite torture, every kiss an enticement for more. Yet how could he consider taking a woman so blatantly unsuitable... as his bride?

My Thoughts: Everything I could ask for in a Historical Romance and more!

The Good: Being so character driven of course I have to list Lillian and Marcus as being the "Good" in this book. Their banter is delightful. Lisa Kleypas certainly knows how to do entertaining dialogue. I love that both Lillian and Marcus profess their complete dislike of each other throughout the book yet find their amazing chemistry at odds with their brains. There is a scene at towards the beginning where 3 of the Wallflowers go to the wishing well to wish Marcus a wife. Well, in 2 of their cases they wished for a wife/love of his life but in Lillian's case, after decided that he is infuriating, wishes a woman for him that'll bring him to his knees. I love her. I love him. I love them.

The ended was pretty amazeballs and after our hero rescued our heroine from the dastardly villain one can't help but wonder how Kleypas could possibly turn that villain into a hero. Not the first time she's done that but it amazes me each and every time. I guess I'll have to read the next book to find out how she does it.

The Bad: I got nothing. Nada. Zilch. I loved this book and everything about it.

In a Nutshell: Another wonderful book by Lisa Kleypas. Another great installment of the Wallflower series. Another book to put on my Keeper shelf. I'll keep this book and read it again some day when I'm in a funk and can't find my way out. It's that good.
Photobucket

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Deadly Obsession by Maggie Shayne


Title: Deadly Obsession
Author: Maggie Shayne
Series: #4 in the Brown/deLuca series
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Publisher: Harlequin/Mira  (December 1, 2014)
Source: NetGalley
Rating: ☕☕☕☕☕

Synopsis: A cold-blooded killer with a burning obsession…

Rachel de Luca has a bad feeling about the new woman in Detective Mason Brown's life, the nurse taking care of him after he's injured in the line of duty. She'd like to think it's just jealousy, but intuition tells her it's something more, maybe something dangerous.

Mason knows Rachel's wary of commitment, and asking her to stay when he's in this condition would be the worst thing for their relationship. Then they receive chilling news that drives everything else from their minds.

Mason's psychotic sister-in-law has escaped from custody, putting her sons — the nephews he's raising — in the crosshairs. When his house is burned to the ground, he and Rachel are relieved that there are no bodies in the smoldering rubble, but now his nephews are missing and the clock is ticking.

As Mason and Rachel try to find the boys, she senses a new and unexpected danger stalking them. Soon, everyone close to Mason is in deadly peril — Rachel more than anyone….

My Thoughts: An excellent conclusion to a fantastic series.

The Good: Forgive me if this review is nothing but a bunch of gushing about how great this book was for me. After 4 books I am honestly going to miss Rachel and Mason, not to mention Jeremy, Josh and Myrtle. These characters are forever embedded in my brain and I can only hope that Maggie Shayne will write another book in the Brown/deLuca series in the future. The plot was full of twisty-turny things that made my stomach leap to my throat. The character development was so spot on it was real (no insta-love crap!!!! wooohooo!) from the relationship between Mason and Rachel to the growing family the mismatched cast of characters became. It was fun. It was serious. It was, dare I say it again? Real.
The relationship between Rachel and Mason grew to an obvious cohabiting end point and even though they were so into each other I liked that this book didn't feel the need to have them jump into bed every other chapter. It would have been unnecessary at that point especially for someone, like myself, who sucked down the first 3 books in record time. I also really liked the way Shayne was able to bring Marie into the story in such a believable way. She's a complex secondary character that I really like and really feel sorry for. Poor Marie!

The Bad: There really isn't much in the name of Bad things I can complain about. It would have been nice to see Amy more but other than that my only real complaint is this is the LAST Brown/deLuca book. Sad Panda Face!

In a Nutshell: I've read some of Shayne's Paranormal romances and found them just OK. her Romantic Suspense books are miles beyond those. Read the Brown/deLuca books. Seriously. Read them now!
Photobucket

Grave Intentions by Lori Sjoberg


Title: Grave Intentions
Author: Lori Sjoberg
Series: #1 in the Grave series
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Kensington  (January 3, 2013)
Source: NetGalley
Rating: ☕☕☕

Synopsis: He’s handsome, reliable, and punctual—the perfect gentleman when you want him to be. But this dream man is Death’s best agent—and now he’s got more than his soul to lose…

One act of mercy before dying was all it took to turn soldier David Anderson into a reaper—an immortal who guides souls-of-untimely-death into the afterlife. But the closer he gets to atoning for his mortal sin and finally escaping merciless Fate, the more he feels his own humanity slipping away for good. Until he encounters Sarah Griffith. This skeptical scientist can’t be influenced by his powers—even though she has an unsuspected talent for sensing the dead. And her honesty and irreverent sense of humor reignite his reason for living—and a passion he can’t afford to feel. Now Fate has summoned David to make a devastating last harvest. And he’ll break every hellishly-strict netherworld rule to save Sarah...and gamble on a choice even an immortal can’t win.

My Thoughts: I loved the idea of this book and was really excited to get to read it. Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley I was able to but the story just didn't move me.

The Good: In a genre chock full of vampires and werewolves finding a book without either yet still smack dab in the middle of all things supernatural is so very hard to accomplish. This book fulfills the need for the woowoo which is pretty awesome. The interactions between the characters were great and watching David teach Adam how to be a reaper was interesting. I thought the chemistry between David and Sarah was good and their ultimate I Love Yous fell right into place. Also Lori's writing is easy to read. I got lost in her words which made for a more enjoyable reading pace for me.

The Bad: Unfortunately even with an interesting premise this book just didn't move me. At times I found myself bored with what was going on. There were also some holes left unanswered for me which sucked the fun outta the book a bit. Even though the training of Adam was interesting to watch it made it feel more like Adam's book rather than David's. Also David's boss, Raphael, was a douche with no real reason or background to support it.  The whole point of Raphael's input in the book was lost on me too other than to create the possibilities of having two villains. I couldn't figure out the hierarchy of reaping and if Raphael was a boss who did he report to? The Fates were mentioned also which confused me even more as to where this book fell in terms of religion or mythology. It never really committed to either one as the commandments were heavily influenced when it came to those being chosen for reaping yet Fate was an actual pissy being throwing temper tantrums when she didn't get her way (we never actually met her by the way).

In a Nutshell: An average book with a cool idea supporting it. I'm going to read the next one in hopes they get better with more published books under the author's belt.
Photobucket

Sunday, May 22, 2016

A Lot Like Love by Julie James


Title: A Lot Like Love
Author: Julie James
Series: #2 in the FBI/US Attorney series
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Berkley  (March 1, 2011)
Source: Purchased
Rating: ☕☕☕☕

Synopsis: The FBI wants her cooperation. As the daughter of a billionaire and the owner of the city's top wine store, Jordan Rhodes is invited to the most exclusive parties in Chicago. But there's only one party the FBI wants to crash: the charity fundraiser of a famous restaurateur, who also happens to launder money for the mob. In exchange for her brother's release from prison, Jordan is going to be there—with a date supplied by the Bureau.

Agent McCall just wants her. As the top undercover agent in Chicago, Nick McCall has one rule: never get personal. This "date" with Jordan Rhodes is merely an assignment— one they're both determined to pull off even if they can't be together for five minutes before the sarcasm and sparks begin to fly. But when Nick's investigation is compromised, he and Jordan have no choice but to pretend they're a couple, and what starts out as a simple assignment begins to feel a lot like something more.

My Thoughts: A solid romance filled with fun and sarcastic banter and hint of suspense.

The Good: The interactions between the characters made this book fun to read. Jordan and Nick (Mr Tall-Dark-and-Smoldering) work well together as a couple. The banter between them was well done and humorous and whoooweeeee did their chemistry sizzle! The secondary characters were just as fun to read about even if there was limited interaction and not a whole lot of character development for them. Jack and Cameron make appearances in this book although they had very limited page time which was a bit unfortunate since I really like them as a couple too(their book, Something About You, was the first in the series by the way.) Jordan's brother Kyle, the cyber-terrorist ("It was only Twitter!!!!) is really intriguing and as a newly released ex-con, not exactly boyfriend material so it will be interesting to see what Ms. James does with him.

The Bad: These are the things that I found to be slight negatives about this book. They are rather minor but when adding them all up together it is the reason I didn't give this book a higher rating than a 4. The plot was a bit simplistic in it's execution and not quite original, way too much wine talk (I'm not a fan of wine...someone who enjoys wine might feel otherwise), I wish there had been more suspense, and I'd have preferred if the FBI really worked the investigation rather than make the case more of a situation so the characters could be in closer proximity.

In a Nutshell: Despite some minor negatives the building of the relationship between Jordan and Nick really shines and the climactic ending pushed this book into a winner of a read. I'm looking forward to the next book in the series a lot.
Photobucket

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Saving Grace by Norah Wilson


Title: Saving Grace
Author: Norah Wilson
Series: #2 in the Serve and Protect series
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Publisher: Norah Wilson(August 17, 2010)
Source: Library ebook
Rating: ☕☕☕

Synopsis: After wrecking her car and waking in hospital with amnesia, fledgling reporter Grace Morgan has no idea why she’d been in the process of leaving the husband she loves so dearly. Her husband, Police Detective Ray (Razor) Morgan tells her she was leaving him for another man, but that just can’t be so. Can it? She’s determined to remember, even if it kills her. And it just might. When bullets start to fly, Ray is forced to take the wife he believes faithless on the lam until they can figure out who is trying to kill them.

My Thoughts: This book started out really good and lost momentum and my attention in the last 1/3.

The Good: I love a good amnesia themed book. I don't know why. They all tend to be pretty similar to tell the truth. I just like the way we readers discover who the character is and what makes them tick along with said character. Or, in Grace's case, find out why she was really leaving her husband who she loves with her whole heart (according to Grace, herself). This book really fit the bill when it comes to that amnesia theme. She can't remember her accident or the few days before it happened so we discover her motives as she remembers them.

Also, the addition of some unaccounted for money in Grace's possession, a sniper shooting at Ray, the couple running from the cops and the bad guys, someone sabotaging Ray's vehicle, and Ray's animosity,  while trying to take care of Grace despite her leaving him for another man made this book pretty darned good....until it wasn't.

The Bad: Grace's character seemed to be all over the place. She's described one way and acts completely different making her feel bipolar rather than a woman growing into a character of strength. The book keeps telling the reader that both couples were so in love and their relationship was pretty darned good but finding out that it wasn't all rainbows and lollipops made me feel lied to rather than in awe of their relationship development. And the sexual aspect of the book felt off also. One sex scene even made the characters wince and when they finally came together in reconciled sexual bliss the timing couldn't have been more off. When one purposely creates mayhem for very bad people perhaps having all night monkey sex isn't the best idea nor, come to think about it, is running out for donuts the next morning a great move either. But Gracie wanted a honey cruller! Whatever!

With the plot, frankly, I was a little confused as to how the heck Ray was able to put Grace's puzzle together when she left him for the second time, or as I like to say, when Grace became TSTL. Why yes, a fledgling reporter/trophy wife can totally take out a mob boss/human trafficker/all-around bad guy because she found her husband's gun and believes in herself. Once again....WHATEVER! Oh and the surprise reveal about Grace's condition....not a surprise. Which could lead to another rant if I'm not careful. Nope not gonna say it...yes I will! What woman in her right mind would willingly try to get killed knowing it would be a death sentence for her unborn child? There, I totally spoiled the big reveal for you. Speaking of reveals....what in the world was the author thinking adding a secret backstory for Ray in the last couple of pages? Completely unnecessary at that point in the book and only proved how much this couple shouldn't be together since their relationship was built on lies and disappointment anyway. Oh and Ray's police nickname....Razor? Not super cool if Dodgeball is your favorite movie. Instead of seeing Ray as an ass kicking super cop I kept seeing him as part of Team Douche along with Blazer, Laser and Me'Shell.

In a Nutshell: While the last 1/3 of the book fell apart for me not everyone will see it that way and I would never try to sway someone away from Saving Grace because of my personal peeves. The first part of the book was actually pretty good and I'll continue reading the rest of the series because of it.
Photobucket

Archangel's Blade by Nalini Singh



Title: Archangel's Blade
Author: Nalini Singh
Series: #4 in the Guild Hunter series
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Berkley Sensation  (May 8, 2011)
Source: Library ebook
Rating: ☕☕☕☕1/2

Synopsis:The severed head marked by a distinctive tattoo on its cheek should have been a Guild case, but dark instincts honed over hundreds of years of life compel the vampire Dmitri to take control. There is something twisted about this death, something that whispers of centuries long past...but Dmitri's need to discover the truth is nothing to the vicious strength of his response to the hunter assigned to decipher the tattoo.

Savaged in a brutal attack that almost killed her, Honor is nowhere near ready to come face to face with the seductive vampire who is an archangel's right hand, and who wears his cruelty as boldly as his lethal sensuality...the same vampire who has been her secret obsession since the day she was old enough to understand the inexplicable, violent emotions he aroused in her.

As desire turns into a dangerous compulsion that might destroy them both, it becomes clear the past will not stay buried. Something is hunting...and it will not stop until it brings a blood-soaked nightmare to life once more...

My Thoughts: I was a tad disappointed that the 4th book in this series would not continue with Elena and Raphael's story but that disappointment was short lived. Dmitri's story was pretty amazing.

The Good: I never really warmed up to Dmitri in the first 3 Guild Hunter books. He was cocky and came across as cruel and just a bully especially when he went toe to toe with Elena. Yet in this book Singh does an amazing job at keeping Dmitri true to who he was but rounding him out by creating such a tragic back story the reader can't help but fall in love with him. Honor is the perfect person to balance out Dmitri. With her backbone of steel and her refusal to wither away after experiencing an event that would make Superman himself check out of life, she turned into one of my very favorite female characters of all time. Together they make a near perfect couple. I loved every minute of them and their sizzling chemistry.

During the course of the book we experience 2 different plot lines inner-twinning. The mystery of the one who killed the young vampire and the mystery of the one who attacked Honor months earlier had equal time throughout the book where one didn't feel overshadowed by the other. Once again I have to sing Singh's praises on her ability as a writer. Not just anyone could accomplish two full story lines in one book while giving just as much attention to the building of a believable relationship between two broken people.

The Bad: The only thing I found to really be a negative in the book was the number of characters introduced. There are a whole slew of baddies we got to see while Honor and Dmitri investigated and I got a bit lost a couple times trying to figure out if I was supposed to already know who they were talking about. Plus there are characters mentioned who didn't make appearances at all to muddy it all up a bit in my mind. Other than that I got nothing but praise to say about this book!

In a Nutshell: This is a book I'll totally recommend to my friends. Oh, I'm sorry, you haven't read the first book (Archangel's Blood) yet? Why not!?!? Put this series on you're "I need to read this series STAT" list. Do it. Do it NOW!
Photobucket

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Wake to Darkness by Maggie Shayne


Title: Wake to Darkness
Author: Maggie Shayne

Series: #2 in the Brown/de Luca series
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Publisher: Harlequin Mira  (November 23, 2013)

Source: NetGalley
Rating: ☕☕


Synopsis: Stranded with a murderer...

Rachel de Luca's uncanny sense of perception is the key to her success as a self-help celebrity. Even before she regained her sight, she had a gift for seeing people's most carefully hidden secrets. But the secret she shares with Detective Mason Brown is one she has promised to keep. As for Mason, he sees Rachel more clearly than she'd like to admit...

After a single night of adrenaline-fueled passion, they have agreed to keep their distance—until a string of murders brings them together again. Mason thinks that he can protect everyone he loves, including Rachel, by taking them to a winter hideaway, but danger follows them up the mountain.

As guests disappear from the snowbound resort, the race to find the murderer intensifies. Rachel knows she's a target. Will acknowledging her feelings for Mason destroy her...or save them both and stop a killer?

My Thoughts: Another great addition to the Brown/de Luca series.

The Good: Once again poor newly sighted Rachel is the target for a serial killer. Although this could have come across as repetitive as we just went through a fairly similar plot in the first book, Shayne did a good job of making this story feel different and fresh. The romance between Mason and Rachel progressed nicely and at the end of the story I was happy with their thoughts on themselves as a couple. Now I'm anxious to see what happens next with all the characters not only just Rachel and Mason but with Jeremy and Joshua too. Oh and how much do I adore Myrtle? By the way, for those not familiar with Maggie Shayne's Amazon Bio, her picture is Myrt. Sure that pup's name might be different in real life and she may not be blind like Myrtle but the pic is adorable all the same. Here's the link in case your wanting to check it out Myrt.

In addition to the character development the plot was interesting and full of suspense. I never realized I liked the whole "stranded with a serial killer during a storm of epic proportions" thing because I didn't care for it in other books but I did enjoy it here. It added an additional layer of suspense that the first book didn't have. Just another way Shayne made this book feel fresh and separate from the first book in the series.

The Bad: OK Rachel, WTH? How'd you go from a smart, give it to you straight, no nonsense, intelligent woman to one TSTL (too stupid to live)? She not only exhibited this once but twice! Two times she took Myrtle out for a potty break and two times she ended up near or in the dark woods surrounding the cabin with no "oops I ran into the killer" contingency plan. This was after she received an obvious threat that she was next on the killer's list. Rachel, you're killing me! Thank goodness Mason had her back and she didn't run into the killer during her obvious lapse in good judgment. If she had I totally would have lowered my rating because I cannot abide my heroines to be TSTL. True story. Oh and Amy was missing from this book. She was given a couple weeks off it seems and after her terrifying encounter in Dream of Danger (a kindle freebie only to be read after Sleep With the Lights On). I would have liked to see her and how she was fairing a month after her ordeal.

In a Nutshell: Overall, I totally enjoyed this book even more than the first. Despite Rachel's stupid moments, despite the lack of Amy, and despite a potentially similar plot issue this was a really good book. I'm very much looking forward to book 3 in this series!
Photobucket

Friday, April 29, 2016

Dream of Danger by Maggie Shayne


Title: Dream of Danger
Author: Maggie Shayne
Series: #1.5 in the Brown/de Luca series
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Publisher: Harlequin Mira (September 1, 2013)
Source: Purchased/Kindle Freebie
Rating: ☕☕

Synopsis: She didn't want to need him.

Murder brought self-help guru Rachel de Luca and Detective Mason Brown together. Their shared secrets drove them apart. But now they're together again in this riveting novella that begins where New York Times bestselling author Maggie Shayne's Sleep with the Lights On ended.

She may have been blind for twenty years, but Rachel's always had an uncanny gift for seeing through people—and she distrusts her assistant's new boyfriend at first sight. Amy isn't interested in Rachel's misgivings, though. She's too eager to celebrate Thanksgiving by introducing her family to the new man in her life.

Then Amy doesn't show up for the holiday….

Desperate to find her missing friend, Rachel has no choice but to turn to Mason. Their investigation into Amy's disappearance takes them ever deeper into danger—and reignites the attraction that they've both sworn to resist. Now it's a race against time as these reluctant partners fight to stave off passion and save a life.

My Thoughts: Marketed as a free novella, this is, at best, a short story with very little closure but still a nice glimpse into the progression of the Brown/de Luca romance.

The Good: The suspense was actually pretty good. I was honestly scared for Amy and was afraid she was certainly going to meet her end. Perhaps it was because I'm a fan of The Walking Dead where they tend to kill off their regular cast with, well, regularity but I was really thinking they'd find Amy all butchered by some whackadoo serial killing team. Shayne did a great job with the nail biting aspect of this story. Also, I liked seeing Mason and Rachel back and see their potential relationship grow closer to an actual relationship.

The Bad: The overall shortness of the story left some dangly bits that I felt should have had some closure. At 67 pages, this was almost half the length I'd expect from an actual novella. Maybe more words could have had this feeling more complete than it ultimately was. As a fan of the characters, I was already fully invested in them after reading Sleep With the Lights On but someone who hasn't read that book and only read this one may find the character development virtually non-existent and the plot wrapped up too quickly.

In a Nutshell: An OK addition to the Brown/de Luca series but only for those who have already read the first book. So, read the first book then pick this freebie up for an extra glimpse into Rachel and Mason's relationship.
Photobucket

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Sleep With the Lights On by Maggie Shayne


Title: Sleep With the Lights On
Author: Maggie Shayne

Series: #1 in the Brown/de Luca series
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Publisher: Harlequin Mira (October 1, 2013)

Source: NetGalley
Rating: ☕☕
☕1/2

Synopsis: Through the Eyes of a Killer...
Rachel de Luca has found incredible success writing self-help books. But her own blindness and the fact that her troubled brother has gone missing have convinced her that positive thinking is nothing but bull.

Her cynicism wavers when a cornea transplant restores her sight. The new eyes seem to give her new life, until they prove too good to be true and she starts seeing terrifying visions of brutal murders - crimes she soon learns are all too real.

Detective Mason Brown's own brother recently died, leaving behind a horrific secret. In atonement, Mason donated his brother's organs, though he's kept the fact quiet. Now he wants to help Rachel find her brother, but when he discovers the shocking connection between her visions and his own brother, he suddenly has to do everything in his power to save her from a predator who is somehow still hunting from beyond the grave.


My Thoughts: Despite some rather unlikely elements within the book (unlikely even for a paranormal-ish book) this was a solid and entertaining thriller.

What I liked: The Characters. Sure that is pretty broad but I really did enjoy them all. I liked Rachel's snarkiness and the fact that she was a self help guru made it all even better. I appreciated Det. Brown's moral and ethical dilemma between his job and protecting his family. It made him real and very human. And let's not forget Myrtle. Rachel's rescue dog. Poor, blind, ugly Myrt. I loved her. She added a bit of lightheartedness to the book that really balanced it out.

I also enjoyed the creepy serial killer being tied to organ transplants. The way Shayne used this idea, which in itself is not a new concept, was a nice twist and added a touch of paranormal to the story. The added changing POVs was used well to keep the creepiness going. There is nothing like reading the inner thoughts of a murderer. Love it!

What I Didn't Like: The romance. It was very underdeveloped and as this was a romantic suspense novel I was expecting the romance to be in balance with the suspense. As a matter of fact the relationship between Rachel and Mason in it's entirety was a little off to me. I was able to just go with it because there are several more books in the series and a novella for their relationship to grow and I'm looking forward to their journey. However, Mason was pivotal in several parts of Rachel's new life. Her new sighted life and her new life without her brother, Tommy to be exact. The ease that Rachel accepted these things felt, well, off. I'm not sure I would have been able to start a relationship with a man who did the things Mason did. Mason is not a bad guy but you know the saying "The road to Hell is paved with good intentions."

Quickly, just a couple more things that didn't work for me....The changing POVs. Granted, I used them as a plus which they were but in my eARC the changing POVs weren't clearly marked so it made me extremely confused when they abruptly changed. It took me a good paragraph to figure out whose thoughts I was reading throughout the book. Also the idea of the transplants, although good, seemed a little fictional. Well, duh, Christina. This is fiction after all! But seriously, a patient getting to see their donor's family was played out as being fairly easy in this book. Not so much in real life.

In a Nutshell: Even though there were some rather off putting things they really didn't diminish my enjoyment of this book. I've been in a horrible reading slump for 4 months and not only was I able to finish this book, I did it in a matter of a few days. Lately my reading has been so bad I've started dozens of book this year and have only finished 3. Yikes!
Photobucket

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

RIP Joyce Lavene


So sad that the world lost another author today. Joyce Lavene, co-author of the fabulous Renaissance Cozy mystery series, passed earlier today. When an author passes it tends to hit me harder than, let's say, an actor's passing. Not to say that both are not tragic because they are, however, my thoughts always dwell on all the untold stories that will never get a chance to be told. I find this devastating. My heart goes out to Jim, her partner in writing and in life. However I may feel about the loss it pales in comparison to what he is going through.

In honor of Joyce the only thing I can think to do is to share her work with someone. Through her stories she lives on.


I want to give an ebook of Joyce's work to at least one of the people who read my blog. I don't consider this a giveaway in the sense that I don't want it to feel like a contest. This is more of a memorial. I would love for the person(s) who ends up getting the ebook to pay it forward by offering the same thing on their book blog, facebook, twitter, etc. Depending on the number of people interested in reading a book penned by Joyce and Jim Lavene will determine how many copies I give away.

You can find a list of all books written by the Lavene team on their website Here

In the comment section I'd love to hear if you've read anything by Joyce and Jim and your thoughts on it. I'll also need your email address so I can contact the one(s) I'm gifting a book to. I really do want this idea of passing it forward to catch on but I know that not everyone will be able to do this. For those who cannot, it will not prevent you from being gifted as I'll be using Random.org to pick my winner(s) from all who comment. I'll give everyone 2 weeks (November 4th) to post a comment at which time I'll plug everyone's name into Random.org's randomizer. I'll contact those receiving gifts by email.



Photobucket