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: ☕☕☕☕


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.

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.

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!

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.

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.

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.

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!

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!

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.

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: ☕☕

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!

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 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's randomizer. I'll contact those receiving gifts by email.


Wednesday, September 16, 2015

How to Flirt With a Naked Werewolf by Molly Harper

Title: How to Flirt With a Naked Werewolf
Author: Molly Harper

Series: #1 in the Naked Werewolf series
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Pocket Books (February 22, 2011)

Source: Scribd ebook
Rating: ☕☕

Synopsis: Northern Exposure

Even in Grundy, Alaska, it's unusual to find a naked guy with a bear trap clamped to his ankle on your porch. But when said guy turns into a wolf, recent southern transplant Mo Wenstein has no difficulty identifying the problem. Her surly neighbor Cooper Graham—who has been openly critical of Mo's ability to adapt to life in Alaska—has trouble of his own. Werewolf trouble.

For Cooper, an Alpha in self-imposed exile from his dysfunctional pack, it's love at first sniff when it comes to Mo. But Cooper has an even more pressing concern on his mind. Several people around Grundy have been the victims of wolf attacks, and since Cooper has no memory of what he gets up to while in werewolf form, he's worried that he might be the violent canine in question.

If a wolf cries wolf, it makes sense to listen, yet Mo is convinced that Cooper is not the culprit. Except if he's not responsible, then who is? And when a werewolf falls head over haunches in love with you, what are you supposed to do anyway? The rules of dating just got a whole lot more complicated. . .

My Thoughts: A fun book that took me way longer to read than it really should have.

The Good, The Bad, and the Other stuff: Molly Harper writes such great quirky heroines. Her humor is spot on with what I enjoy and this book was full of chuckles and it is was a perfect fit for my need for fluff. The cast of characters were well balanced. Mo, who I expected to be more of a Dharma character from her upbringing (but wasn't), was delightful and as this book is told from her point of view (in the first person narrative) it helped that she wasn't a ditz. I really wish I'd had the foresight to read one of my GoodReads friends' review prior to reading this book because she had Joe Manganiello pictured as Cooper. I can tell you that my experience with this book would have been even better with a side of Joe!

The mystery aspect of this book was also an added bonus and I liked that despite the fact that Mo truly knew that Cooper couldn't have been the culprit I thought his concern about himself and lack of memories when in wolf form added more depth to his character and the plot.

Anyway, my one and only issue that still stands out since reading this book (which I finished months ago and am just now getting to my review), is the insta-love feel to the book. Mo and Cooper fall in lust immediately (no issues with that to tell the truth....lust is usually an immediate response to meeting someone...especially a hot naked man on your doorstep). But I didn't like that they succumbed to an I Love You stage a bit prematurely for my taste.

In a Nutshell: If it weren't for some insta-love and a slight feeling of being overly long this book might have been a contender for favorite of the year. As it stands, it definitely was a fun ride and I'm looking forward to my next visit to Grundy, Alaska. Oh and don't let the terrible cartoony cover keep you away...I did and I wish I hadn't.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Being Amber by Sylvia Ryan

Title: Being Amber
Author: Sylvia Ryan

Series: #1 in the New Atlanta series
Genre: Romance/Erotica
Publisher: Lyrical Press (March 27, 2013)

Source: Purchased/Kindle Freebie
Rating: ☕☕1/2

Synopsis: Jaci Harmon was born a Sapphire, but after she’s summoned to receive her final designation, the testing reveals she carries a gene slated for eradication. Within a day, she’s sterilized and dumped in the Amber Zone, where the damaged are corralled away from the rest of New Atlanta. Scared and alone, Jaci would rather die than face her future as an Amber.

Born in the Amber Zone, Xander Dimos is a product of a lifetime spent under the oppression of the Repopulation Laws. Decades of suffering have taught the Ambers to make the zone a place where touch, sex, and unconditional acceptance ease the pain of their fate. Jaci has a lot to learn about her new home, and it’s Xander's responsibility to guide her through the differences and the dangers safely.

With the simmering undercurrents of sexual chemistry growing between them, and in the midst of discovering the Gov’s true motives, Jaci and Xander must overcome his secret and accept their love as undeniable...even if the time allotted to share it is short.

My Thoughts: The Dystopian theme of this book really spoke to me. The world building was interesting and kept my interest throughout the book.

The Good Stuff: In the near future, when an influenza pandemic breaks out killing over 90% of the world's population our governments decided it was imperative they repopulate with only "perfect" specimens. Why is this good? Well, it's not but the world building surrounding this fact was actually really good. The government tests all humans as they become of age and determine if their genetic makeup is good enough to breed. If so they are designated an upper class. However, if they find a defective genetic marker the citizen is sterilized and designated Amber. This idea is truly terrifying. In addition to the Gov looking for potential unwanted genes, if you're IQ is low, you also get the boot to Amber. I have to really hand it to the author, she sucked me in to her world and I enjoyed learning about it. I also liked how she incorporated touching and comforting into the Amber world.

The Bad Stuff: Being an erotic romance there is quite a bit of sex. Now, erotica is not a favorite genre of mine and I don't read much of it but I didn't hate the sexual aspect of this book. However, the first sex scene happens rather quickly after we learn about Jaci's testing and subsequential fall to Amber so it feels completely out of place and it felt like I ran head long into a brick wall. Just a note, Jaci is not involved in the scene. In addition, the scene was a ménages à trois m/f/m and the author makes it a point to say that both men were for the female's pleasure as being gay and having gay sex were against the law. However, this apparently doesn't include sex between two women as this happens later in the book. This inconsistency really bugged me. Jaci's character was also not a great aspect of this book as she pulls several TSTL moments in a world she really knew nothing about.

The Stuff That Could Have Been Better: The mystery surrounding who was killing the fallows (those who were sterilized by the government) could have been fantastic. Unfortunately it took a back seat to an unbelievable romance that happened over an extremely short time. When the murderer was unveiled it was interesting but felt sudden and the reasons behind the murders are never fully explained. In addition, the fact that the Amber Zone is full of genetically unacceptable people and those with lowered IQs it made it seem really weird that the apartment building Jaci was assigned to was full of open door orgies. Where's all the creepy mutants? Wish this would have been explained better.

In a Nutshell: Despite the less than satisfying stuff I really did like the world Sylvia Ryan created and will probably read more in this series.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Desire Unchained by Larissa Ione

Title: Desire Unchained
Author: Larissa Ione

Series: #2 in the Demonica series
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Forever  (March 1, 2009)

Source: Purchased
Rating: ☕☕

Synopsis: Pleasure is their ultimate weapon . . . 

Runa Wagner never meant to fall in love with the sexy stranger who seemed to know her every deepest desire. But she couldn't resist the unbelievable passion that burned between them, a passion that died when she discovered his betrayal and found herself forever changed. Now, determined to make Shade pay for the transformation that haunts her, Runa searches for him, only to be taken prisoner by his darkest enemy. 

A Seminus Demon with a love-curse that threatens him with eternal torment, Shade hoped he'd seen the last of Runa and her irresistible charm. But when he wakes up in a dank dungeon chained next to an enraged and mysteriously powerful Runa, he realizes that her effect on him is more dangerous than ever. As their captor casts a spell that bonds them as lifemates, Shade and Runa must fight for their lives and their hearts-or succumb to a madman's evil plans.

My Thoughts: Wow! I loved this book. After finding the first one good but not great I didn't have high expectations for this one but since so many of my bookie friends love this series I was looking forward to reading it. So glad I did!

The Good Stuff: Sometimes a book and it's characters speak to you. This book did that for me. I liked Shade and worried over him as if he were real. I appreciated Runa and the strong woman she was. I'm not sure if I'd have liked her as much if I "met" her prior to her becoming a warg because she sounded a bit like milquetoast but I'm so glad I got to know the person she became. Not only did Ione do an amazing job at fleshing out her MCs, her supporting characters were great too. I'm really looking forward to reading their books as well. As far as the plot goes, I was so engrossed in it I read far later into the night to make sure my H/h were going to be OK.  Oh and Larissa does an amazing job of continuing her world building. I love the setting of the demon hospital!

The Bad Stuff: While I didn't mind any of these things I think others might so I feel I should include them as more of a warning to other readers. Runa runs hot and cold and then hot again in regards to Shade. She hates him. She loves him. She wants to rip his clothes off of him. You get the picture. Shade has a "torture chamber" in his bedroom. That's right folks. Shade is way into BDSM. Not a deal breaker for many but some might have issues with the punishing of women who "need" it even if they leave his lair completely satisfied. Some people might find this bordering on abusive. Speaking of Shade, since he has no plans to ever fall in love he has a history of lovin' and leavin' and cheating isn't beneath him. 

In a Nutshell: Despite some obvious issues with the characters I still loved this book. I will definitely move on to book 3 in the series. Thanks to all my bookie friends who "forced" me to read this series.

Before Midnight: A Romantic Retelling of Cinderella by Jennifer Blackstream

Title: Before Midnight: A Romantic Retelling of Cinderella
Author: Jennifer Blackstream

Series: #1 in the Blood Prince series
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Skeleton Key Publishing (November 30, 2013)

Source: Purchased/Kindle Freebie
Rating: ☕☕

Synopsis: Loupe always dreamed of getting married. She yearned for a caring husband who would take her away from her servant-like existence at home with her stepmother and two stepsisters, a man who would love her forever. Those dreams ended the day she was bitten by a werewolf. Now she’s a mindless beast on the night of the full moon—a condition that forever prevents her from sharing a marriage bed. Not even the attentions of a handsome and endearingly strong prince can convince her that the life she wants is still possible.

Etienne is a prince in need of a werewolf. A werewolf himself from birth, Etienne and his family have protected their kingdom with tooth and claw—literally—for thousands of years. Unfortunately, the spell of a well-meaning witch is slowly turning him human. Only the bite of a cursed werewolf, one who was not born with the beast inside, can save him from becoming human. He has no time for anything that will not lead him to a cure for the curse. Not even the beautiful maiden whose gentle nature soothes his soul can take his mind from his goal.

Love cares little for the best laid plans or the impossible. A grand ball. The stroke of twelve. A magic “slipper.” All kinds of things can happen when you don’t leave the ball…Before Midnight.

My Thoughts: While not a one of kind story I appreciated the paranormal aspect it brought to the table immensely
The Good and Bad of it All: For the most part this book was an OK read. Because it was so short it didn't have as developed characters as I would have liked and the plot was fairly thin with very few twists. I thought Loupe's character was the least likable and contradictory to her very nature. She's nothing more than an abused child yet Etienne seems to see more strength in her than I did. In the end she did get a backbone but it's because of her undying love for Etienne that she did a 180 and not some inner enlightenment that would have made her a strong female presence in the book. Oh and I think her name was silly. She was a bitten werewolf yet had the name from convenient.

The book sounds bad but it truly wasn't. Despite some repetitiveness in the writing, Blackstream entertained me with her retelling. The prologue was really good and even though it set up the series and had little to nothing to do with this particular book it has intrigued me too continue with the series.

In a Nutshell: Will I continue on with the series? You betcha. There are still 4 princes to read about. A vampire, a demon, an angel, and a god to be exact!

Deliver Me From Temptation by Tes Hilaire

Title: Deliver Me From Temptation
Author: Tes Hilaire

Series: #2 in the Paladin Warrior series
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca (December 4, 2012)

Source: Purchased
Rating: ☕☕

Synopsis: Logan Screwed Up... Big Time

When things go bump in the night, Logan bumps back. Vampires, demons, succubi-you name it, he's fought it. His job as Paladin angel warrior is to protect humans. Not fall for one.

She Never Believed in Divine Intervention... Until Now

Detective Jessica Waters protects humans too-with her Glock and a good set of handcuffs. She doesn't believe in fate. But if anyone looks like a gift from the gods, it's Logan. And he clearly knows more about her case than he's letting on...

My Thoughts: While I liked this book better than the first one I find a month after reading it that the book just didn't stay with me.

The Good Stuff: For the most part the cast of characters are really interesting ones. I liked Logan from the first book and liked him even more in the second. However, Valin really stole the show for me. Is he good or is he bad? I don't know but I want more of him. I enjoyed the mystery aspect of Jess investigating the murder that Roland (from the first book) was accused of.

The Bad Stuff: For a cop, Jessica is truly TSTL. I couldn't get over her lack of common sense. She's a detective for Pete's sake! She continually made poor decisions that put her into harms way and when she was almost killed she never reported it. I really can't stand when a character doesn't follow certain specifics that the author had already established. Like, calling for backup which would be standard procedure for a cop. She bugged the crap outta me.

In a Nutshell: As I mentioned before, I read this book about a month ago. Some of the book stuck with me (my obsession with Valin and my anti-girl crush with Jess). However, I have already forgotten the ending. I honestly don't remember if Jess and Logan got their HEA. I'm gonna assume they did as this is a PNR and all but what does that say about a book when the reader lost the entire ending? Despite that issue I'm still going to continue with the series. Valin's story is next up for me. Wooohoooo!