Thursday, November 9, 2017

Hanover House by Brenda Novak

Title: Hanover House
Author: Brenda Novak
Series: #.5 in the Evelyn Talbot Chronicles
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Publisher: Brenda Novak, Inc. (September 1, 2015)
Source: NetGalley
Rating: ☕☕☕☕

Synopsis: Welcome to Hanover House….

Psychiatrist Evelyn Talbot has dedicated her life to solving the mysteries of the antisocial mind. Why do psychopaths act as they do? How do they come to be? Why don’t they feel any remorse for the suffering they cause? And are there better ways of spotting and stopping them?

After having been kidnapped, tortured and left for dead when she was just a teenager—by her high school boyfriend—she’s determined to understand how someone she trusted so much could turn on her. So she’s established a revolutionary new medical health center in the remote town of Hilltop, Alaska, where she studies the worst of the worst.

But not everyone in Hilltop is excited to have Hanover House and its many serial killers in the area. Alaskan State Trooper, Sergeant Amarok, is one of them. And yet he can’t help feeling bad about what Evelyn has been through. He’s even attracted to her. Which is partly why he worries.

He knows what could happen if only one little thing goes wrong...

My Thoughts: What a great introduction to Evelyn Talbot and her passion for Hanover House!

The Good: This is more of a novella rather than a full length book but it felt full and complete. I really liked this glimpse into Evelyn Talbot's life leading up to the finishing touches on Hanover House which will be a psychiatric facility for sociopaths in a small Alaskan town. The town folks are not too keen on the idea of this facility coming to their town but couldn't stop the development. Evelyn is a complex character molded by her past as a victim/survivor of a killer who was never caught. She now studies psychopaths and her "baby" Hanover House will help her goals of finding reason behind why killers do what they do. There is a small amount of romance within the story which should develop more during the course of the series. I liked that the romance is taking time (especially based on her past). The suspense was great as well and I can't wait to find out what happens next.  

The Bad: Even though the length of the story felt as if it were enough I couldn't help but want more. This is just my own opinion though and others may not feel the same. I also thought Amarok's character could have been fleshed out more but this should resolve itself in upcoming books.

In a Nutshell: An excellent beginning to the series and I'll definitely move on to the next book!

Saturday, September 23, 2017

EARLY REVIEW: Christmas at Two Love Lane with Kieran Kramer

Title: Christmas at Two Love Lane
Author: Kieran Kramer
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: St. Martin's Press (October 3, 2017)
Source: NetGalley
Rating: ☕☕1/2

Synopsis: The best gift of all is the one you share with someone else. . .

From the moment he strode through the iron gate and into the offices of Two Love Lane on a crisp December day, it was obvious that Deacon Banks was something different. He wasn’t a Charleston native, not with that adorable Yankee accent. And unlike the usual client at the elegant matchmaking agency, he had no interest in finding a woman to marry—just a few no-strings dates while he was in town.

Macy Frost takes her professional services very seriously—how could she not, when she’s rumored to be a direct descendant of Cupid? Tech entrepreneur Deacon says he’s just trying to make his social-climbing aunt happy by being seen out and about with a few prominent beauties, but Macy insists she can make her client fall in love…for real. And Deacon can’t help but think she might be right. As charming as the palmetto trees and magnificent harbor may be, it’s the beautiful, breath-of-fresh-air Macy who’s become Deacon’s favorite part of the scenery. But can the hopelessly romantic Southern belle stop trying to fix him up and just let Cupid do his work on her own heart?

My Thoughts: I went into this book with so much excitement. It's a Holiday book! It's by Kieran Kramer! Unfortunately, it just wasn't for me.

The Good, The Bad, and Everything Else: The setting of Charleston is charming but the pace and the setting of the story makes this feel like a small town story. With Charleston being well over 100k people this felt a bit off for me even though I did like it. I love small town romances. I also liked some of the secondary cast of characters. Fran, Deacon's Aunt, was an interesting woman who stole the scenes she was in, and she was in quite a lot of them and George, her HouseBoy/Manservant, was a hoot . Unfortunately, I never really warmed up to Macy, or even her partners, Greer, Ella, and Miss Thing, or really many of the characters. There was very little background on them and very little divulged during the course of the book. What I got from Macy was she was perfect. She giggled. She was a professional (although the last thing wasn't demonstrated but repeated by Macy herself.) Her only imperfection is that she can't seem to let herself fall in love. She's a matchmaker who doesn't believe she can find her true love.

Anyway, I had a hard time getting into this book. It could have been the pacing, which seemed really slow. Or it could be everything was just so sweet. There wasn't any actual conflict. I don't consider Macy's wishy washy woe is me I can't fall in love ways conflict. I missed this aspect and felt the book suffered a bit without it. In addition, there were a couple sex scenes but they all began on page and finished off page. Very little details were included and I actually prefer a little more sizzle in my books.

In a Nutshell: Even though I really adore Kieran Kramer's historical romances I wasn't blown away by this Contemporary Romance and barely even liked it. Even though this book wasn't for me those who like just plain sweet CRs with a low heat levels might enjoy this.

Friday, July 21, 2017

EARLY REVIEW: Before the Dawn by Cynthia Eden

Title: Before the Dawn
Author: Cynthia Eden
Series: #2 in the Killer Instinct series
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Publisher: HQN Books (July 25, 2017)
Source: NetGalley
Rating: ☕☕☕☕

Synopsis: Ex-SEAL Tucker Frost knows that the world is full of evil. He saw it in the face of his own brother, Jason Frost, a cold, methodical, sadistic killer. A killer Tucker put down with his own hands in order to save Jason's final victim—Dawn Alexander, the only girl who got away from the infamous "Iceman."

It's Tucker's up close and personal experience with evil that's made him perfect for Samantha Dark's experimental profiling division in the FBI. Samantha wants agents who have personal ties with killers, who have unique insights into the minds of monsters. And when women start turning up murdered with the same MO used by the Iceman, Tucker is sent back to Louisiana to investigate.

The last person he expects to see is his ex-lover, Dawn. Ten full years have passed since the night that Tucker faced down his brother…and since he last saw Dawn. But the dark need still burns just as hot between Tucker and Dawn. As they grapple with a desire that never died, they must also face the shared shadow from their pasts. Both Tucker and Dawn have the same question—has Jason Frost come back from the dead to hunt again? And this time, will he succeed in killing the victim who got away?

My Thoughts: Cynthia Eden can write romantic suspense with the best of them. I loved reading this book and want to dive right into more by her.

The Good: The opening sequence was written so well. It captured my attention exactly as it was meant to do and made me want to keep reading. The momentum continued throughout the book as well. Nothing sucks the life out of a Rom/Susp that can't keep up with it's own prologue. The characters are well thought out and I liked that we continued to learn and understand them throughout the book. The secondary characters are intriguing, especially Macey and Bowen who are part of the special task force Tucker is on. I also enjoyed the investigation aspect of the book. From the precinct, to the morgue, to the hospital, we were with the team every step of the way. The mystery suspense aspect in the story was well balanced with the romance as well. There weren't a lot of annoying misunderstandings between Tucker and Dawn and the characters didn't constantly push each other away (even though at one point it felt like it was almost going that way.)

The Bad: I went into this book with no knowledge of the series, the book order, or even what this book was about. With that in mind I need to say that even though this book was easily read without any other background of the characters or the special FBI unit Tucker is part of I am now very aware of who the perpetrator was in the first book, After the Dark. I'm not sure if this was common knowledge, meaning if the identity was known from almost the beginning of that book, but I'm a bit disappointed in knowing the killer's name and his ties to the other characters. So with that said, I'd recommend reading this series in order. I would prefer to read books as I pick them up and since you really shouldn't in this case I find it a negative. I also thought the killer's identity was a bit of a stretch and his reasoning a bit sketchy but nothing that would prevent me from recommending this book to lovers of these subgenre.

In a Nutshell: A very good book to what appears to be a good series. I'm looking forward to reading the others and if I didn't already have several books lined up I would even consider reading them all back to back. I never binge read so that says something about this book.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Just the Thing by Marie Harte

Title: Just the Thing
Author: Marie Harte
Series: #2 in the Donnigans series
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Sourcebooks - Casablanca (July 4, 2017)
Source: NetGalley
Rating: ☕☕☕☕

Gavin Donnigan left the Marine Corps a shell of a man, hounded by guilt for deaths he couldn't prevent. But teaching a self-defense class at the local gym brings some stability to his life―along with a gorgeous leggy woman who won't give him the time of day.
Zoe York lost her twin sister to a freak car accident a few months ago. She's been struggling to bury her grief, but it isn't until she signs up for a self-defense class with its distractingly hot instructor that she begins to come out of her shell again. With the memory of her sister telling her to live a little, Zoe decides a fling with buns-of-steel Gavin Donnigan might be just the thing.
Soon they're sparring both in and out of the gym. And for the first time in a long time, each is looking forward to tomorrow.

My Thoughts: So, I have a confession to make. I requested this book from the publisher based purely on the cover. I'm happy to say that it totally worked out for me because I've now found a new to me author I can happily binge read.

The Good: Both the main characters in this book are broken. Gavin, by his PTSD and survivor's guilt after 3 of his good friends are killed in action over seas while he was in the medical unit healing from a previous mission. Zoe is also suffering a tragedy and dealing with her own demons. Despite them being broken I loved that this book really looked at their healing process. It was portrayed in such a healthy way. We've all experienced loss, I liked that this book didn't gloss over the grieving process and portray the new relationship between Gavin and Zoe as a "cure" for their grief. Their relationship was not a case of instalove but rather a build up over time. We were never blindsided by the I love yous because we saw them grow together as a couple. I really loved this.
The Donnigans are quite the family. Their prank wars were epic and I loved every minute of their interactions. The extended family (Harte wrote about in her McCauley Brothers series) was intriguing as was the tattooed woman, Del, who married into the family during the course of this book. Lets not even start on her family, who appears to be in her Body Shop Bad Boys series. I really love when series books connect like this.
I also would like to mention that during the course of the book I might have teared up a couple of times. Or it was allergies. But seriously, Gavin just broke my heart watching him go through his healing process.

The Bad: I really had a hard time with Gavin's "I'm a Studly Man" mentality. Overall I think he was portrayed this way to contrast between the public Gavin and the mentally anguished Gavin, but for me, he came across a bit too egocentric at times. In addition there were a couple instances where I had to pause and remind myself this man was supposed to be in his early 30's. Some of the things he said came across as a frat boy, barely adult male.
Last thing, at times the book felt a bit too long. I'm wondering if some additional editing could have happened to reduce the page numbers. This might have worked but it could have also happened at the expense of the carefully woven romance. Oh and if you are not someone who appreciates super steamy sex-capades you might want to stay away from these books. The sex is scorching and plentiful. I totally didn't mind this but put it in the "bad" just because I know this is something someone else will be wary of.

In a Nutshell: Despite my issues with Gavin and his Ego I loved this book. I'm looking forward to Hope Donnigan's story and in the future Theo's as well. I'm going to read the McCauley series as well as the Body Shop Bad Boy series. I'm really excited to read more of Marie Harte's contemporary romances.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Unsub by Meg Gardiner

Title: Unsub
Author: Meg Gardiner
Series: #1 in the Unsub series
Genre: Mystery/Thriller
Publisher: Dutton (June 27, 2017)
Source: NetGalley
Rating: ☕☕☕

Synopsis: Caitlin Hendrix has been a Narcotics detective for six months when the killer at the heart of all her childhood nightmares reemerges: the Prophet. An UNSUB—what the FBI calls an unknown subject—the Prophet terrorized the Bay Area in the 1990s and nearly destroyed her father, the lead investigator on the case.
The Prophet’s cryptic messages and mind games drove Detective Mack Hendrix to the brink of madness, and Mack’s failure to solve the series of ritualized murders—eleven seemingly unconnected victims left with the ancient sign for Mercury etched into their flesh—was the final nail in the coffin for a once promising career.
Twenty years later, two bodies are found bearing the haunting signature of the Prophet. Caitlin Hendrix has never escaped the shadow of her father’s failure to protect their city. But now the ruthless madman is killing again and has set his sights on her, threatening to undermine the fragile barrier she rigidly maintains for her own protection, between relentless pursuit and dangerous obsession.
Determined to decipher his twisted messages and stop the carnage, Caitlin ignores her father’s warnings as she draws closer to the killer with each new gruesome murder. Is it a copycat, or can this really be the same Prophet who haunted her childhood? Will Caitlin avoid repeating her father’s mistakes and redeem her family name, or will chasing the Prophet drag her and everyone she loves into the depths of the abyss?

My Thoughts: This book started out slowly for me but became a whirlwind of a thriller that I enjoyed ultimately, towards the end.

The Good: Once the investigation really took off so did the book. As Caitlin started to put clues together I really started getting interested in the outcome. I enjoyed the revelation the department had when finally figuring out what the Prophet was all about but this was also a weakness within the plot, in my opinion.

The Bad: Ultimately, this book relies on it's readers to suspend their disbelief quite a bit. From a rookie homicide detective solving the case when seasoned veterans couldn't do so in 20 years to a serial killer who was able to de-escalate and just stop killing for all those years as well. Also, as a reader who favors characters over plot, I found myself unable to really connect with Caitlin even once the killer attacked close to home.

In a Nutshell: A decent start to a new series and I'm hopeful the issues are just first book in series troubles and the followups will knock it out of the park. Will I read more by this author? Yes. Will I read more in this series? Yes, again. Would I recommend this book to fans of the genre. I would.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Branded As Trouble by Delores Fossen

Title: Branded As Trouble
Author: Delores Fossen
Series: #3 in the Wrangler's Creek series
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: HQN Books (June 27, 2017)
Source: NetGalley
Rating: ☕☕☕☕

Synopsis: Every town needs a bad boy, and Wrangler's Creek's has been gone far too long...
Getting his high school girlfriend pregnant was just one square in Roman Granger's checkered past, but it changed him forever. When his son's mother skipped town after the birth, Roman decided to do the same, baby Tate in tow, hoping for a fresh start.
Now Roman fears his teenage son is following in his wayward footsteps, so he returns home to Wrangler's Creek, aiming to set him straight. It's there he encounters Tate's aunt, Mila Banchini, the good-girl opposite of Roman who's had a crush on him since childhood. The old spark between them undeniably never died, though Roman worries it'll only lead to heartache. But if falling for Mila is such a bad idea, why does everything about holding her feel so right?

My Thoughts: My first book by Delores Fossen and certainly not my last.

The Good: The personal conflicts cropping up throughout this small town has a little bit of a Soap Opera feel to it but I loved every minute of it. I very much enjoyed most of the characters and their quirks. I felt the family connections between the Grangers and their extended family, including Mila, was probably one of the best things about this book. Although not completely parallel, the town reminds me a bit like Brenda Novak's Whiskey Creek or Susan Mallery's Fool Gold settings.

The Bad: One of my least favorite romance tropes is an older virgin. At 31, Mila and her virginity, seems completely weird. Barring a vow of celibacy while waiting for marriage or Jesus I'm not sure a woman remains a virgin to 30+ without having something seriously wrong with her. In Mila's case, she was just too picky she said. She had her heart set on Roman. Therefore she refused to do the deed until Roman came around and did the deed with her. Even for a romance novel this seems pretty far fetched. One last thing that bugged me a bit. Both Mila's and Roman's mothers seemed equally quirky. Mila's mom is an ex free loving flower child who thinks she's psychic and is rumored to put the stink-eye on people that cross her. Roman's mom is a widow of many years who raised 4 children and is more of a society icon in the town because the Grangers pretty much own the town. These women are polar opposites yet seem to have the same wacky impulses. It was a bit weird but not necessarily a deal breaker when it comes to the enjoy-ability of this book.

In a Nutshell: I really enjoyed this book and will seek out the rest of the series. If you like those small town feel contemporary romances please pick this one up.

Take It To the Grave (Part 1 of 6) by Zoe Carter

Title: Take It To the Grave (Part 1 of 6)
Author: Zoë Carter
Series: #1 in the Take It To the Grave series (Part 1 of 6)
Genre: Mystery/Thriller
Publisher: Harlequin Special Releases (June 1, 2017)
Source: NetGalley
Rating: ☕☕

Synopsis: Sarah Taylor-Cox has the perfect life—a gorgeous husband, a picture—perfect house in the Hamptons and a beautiful baby, Elliot. Now, the invites are being sent out for Elliot's christening, and the Taylor—Coxes are determined the party will be the event of the year.

There's just one chink in Sarah's carefully constructed calm demeanour—her sister, Maisey, will be coming. The sisters used to be close, but now their lives couldn't be more different. Surely though, they will slip back into their old ways, and the party will go off without a hitch…

Then, Sarah's difficult relationship with Maisey is pushed to the back of her mind when she receives a note, one which makes her whole body shake with dread: I know your secret. I'm going to tell.

Part 1 of 6: a riveting new installment in this darkly compelling psychological thriller

My Thoughts: I thought this would be a short, thrilling piece of work, and an introduction to a new to me author, Zoë Carter. Well, two outta 3 ain't bad.

The Good: It was short. Yep, that's about it folks. I'd like to say the writing style appealed to me but it didn't. I'd like to say the intrigue of the storyline captured me but it didn't. I'd like to say the characters spoke to me but....well, actually they did. They said we are all horrible creatures drawn to be completely unlikable to our readers. Not necessarily a good thing when it comes to someone as character driven as myself. However, the plot wasn't without some interest on my part. I thought the opening prologue was interesting, even though nothing in the next 50 pages mentioned it again. I thought the ending was interesting as well, except it came a little to late for me to care what happens next in the story.

The Bad: The book was narrated by both Sarah and Maisey, alternatively. I don't normally mind this but when you're looking at the grand scheme of the book I had in hand, it didn't really work. I had 1/6th of this story. The constant back and forth perspectives made it impossible to really get "into" the story and to feel the tension it was supposed to create. In addition, the characters didn't have the time to grow and feel three dimensional to the reader because we were limited in page space. If the goal was always to release this book as a serial, having the first part as Sarah's voice and the second part, Maisey's, alternating that way, might have worked more in it's favor. Now here is one of my biggest contentions about this book....perhaps, through no fault of the author herself, the first part was offered for free on Amazon, at first. Now it costs $1.99. Each part costs $1.99, with the exception of part 2 right now is on sale for $.99. So, if you managed to get the first part for free and the second part for a buck to get the complete story you, dear reader, will shell out almost $9.00 for a book by an author who now has 2 books under her belt. I'm not trying to undermined all the work Ms. Carter put into her craft but when I can spend only a couple more dollars to get a brand new release by an author who is tried and true with dozens of NT Times #1 best sellers, why would I? I wouldn't.

In a Nutshell: I'm sorry Ms. Carter but I refuse to read any more of this book. Perhaps if it were to be offered as one complete book at a decent price I might reconsider. However, I do see your other book on Amazon is reasonably priced and is a full novel. I will check it out because I don't feel as if I've given you and your writing a reasonable chance.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Phantom Evil by Heather Graham

Title: Phantom Evil
Author: Heather Graham
Series: #1 in the Krewe of Hunters series
Genre: Romantic Suspense (with paranormal undertones)
Publisher: Mira (March 27, 2011)
Source: Library eBook
Rating: ☕☕☕

Synopsis: A secret government unit, a group of renegade paranormal investigators... and a murder no one else can crack.
Though haunted by the recent deaths of two teammates, Jackson Crow knows that the living commit the most heinous crimes.
A police officer utilizing her paranormal intuition, Angela Hawkins already has her hands full of mystery and bloodshed.
But one assignment calls to them too strongly to resist. In a historic mansion in New Orleans French Quarter, a senator's wife falls to her death. Most think she jumped; some say she was pushed. And yet others believe she was beckoned by the ghostly spirits inhabiting the house — once the site of a serial killer's grisly work.
In this seemingly unsolvable case, only one thing is certain: whether supernatural or all too human, crimes of passion will cast Jackson and Angela into danger of losing their lives... and their immortal souls.

My Thoughts: Another Heather Graham book that had great potential but got mucked up while bringing the romance into the book to become an average read.

The Good: The backdrop of NOLA and the setting of a historical mansion, a new murder interwoven with that of a century old serial killer's terrifying reign on the area all coupled with paranormal elements had me glued to my kindle. The introduction of all the Krewe team and their quirks/abilities was interesting and will keep me coming back to the Krewe Hunters series.

The Bad: Angela and Jackson's romance. Just bad. It was so forced. It felt unnatural. At one point, Angela and Jackson had just met, yet were drawn together, of course, and she kissed him on the check in a "friendly" way to show her appreciation. Now, take into mind Jackson is essentially Angela's boss. They've known each other for a few short hours and she kissed him. Granted, it was on the check but still. I've known my boss for over 11 years and even though I really like him and respect him and his opinion  I would Never. Kiss. Him. Also the ending felt a bit rushed and I was left feeling there should have been more.

In a Nutshell: A decent start to a new series even though the concept isn't a new one and definitely one that Graham has done repeatedly. I'll continue with the series because I overall enjoyed reading this book.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Runaway Vampire by Lynsay Sands

Title: Runaway Vampire
Author: Lynsay Sands
Series: #23 in the Argeneau series
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Avon  (February 23, 2016)
Source: Purchased
Rating: ☕☕☕

Synopsis: Dante Notte has heard it said that love hurts. He just wasn't expecting it to run him over in an RV. Still, a punctured lung and broken ribs are nothing compared to the full-body shock he feels whenever he's near the vehicle's driver, Mary Winslow. He needs to keep her safe from their pursuers while he rescues his brother. Most challenging of all, he needs to claim this smart, stubborn woman as his life mate.

The naked, injured, insanely gorgeous younger man who clambered into her RV insists they belong together. If Mary wasn't feeling their incredible connection in every inch of her being, she wouldn't believe it. But now that the men who took Dante's twin are after her too, trusting her gut means risking her life for an immortal who's the very definition of a perfect stranger.

My Thoughts: A nice quick read that had some underlying issues I had a hard time moving on from.

The Good: I liked the back story of Dante and Tomasso's capture and Dante's escape. It added a bit of intrigue to the book that had me wanting more. This storyarch looks to be something that will take place in multiple books and I'm looking forward to reading more about it. I liked Dante's character as well but found the relationship between the H/h problematic.

The Bad: Mary. She is a recent widow who claims to have loved her husband so very much but the more we learn about their relationship the more I was convinced it was terrible. Mary was less of a woman in my eyes for putting up with her husband and to stay in a marriage and making all involved miserable as well, UGH! She also had hangups about her 60-ish self and the hot stud that was Dante. Everytime she would mention it (which was all the time) I was pulled out of the story and thought, well maybe she is right. Which is NOT who I really am but when you get beat over the head with it over and over and over again you start to think it as well. Because Mary had so many issues I had a hard time with their romance. I also hated there was no real ending to this book. The interesting backstory of Dante and Tomasso was left dangling and Dante and Mary's HEA felt lackluster.

In a Nutshell: Like I said, it was a quick read. It kept my interest but nothing I'd encourage someone else to read unless they are already fans of the series but I will continue to read The Argeneau series anyway.

The Girl With All the Gifts by M. R. Carey


Title: The Girl With All the Gifts
Author: MR Carey
Series: #1 in the Girl With All the Gifts series
Genre: Horror
Publisher: Orbit (January 14, 2014)
Source: NetGalley
Rating: ☕☕1/2

Synopsis: Melanie is a very special girl. Dr. Caldwell calls her "our little genius."

Every morning, Melanie waits in her cell to be collected for class. When they come for her, Sergeant Parks keeps his gun pointing at her while two of his people strap her into the wheelchair. She thinks they don't like her. She jokes that she won't bite, but they don't laugh.

Melanie loves school. She loves learning about spelling and sums and the world outside the classroom and the children's cells. She tells her favorite teacher all the things she'll do when she grows up. Melanie doesn't know why this makes Miss Justineau look sad.

The Girl with All the Gifts is a sensational thriller, perfect for fans of Stephen King, Justin Cronin, and Neil Gaiman.

My Thoughts: I have a love/hate relationship with this book. There were parts I loved. There were parts I hated. There were parts I wished would just get over with quickly because I was bored during them. I read this with a friend who said "Hey, let's start a book club" then failed to finish the book and drove 1500 miles to get away from it. Technically it could have been his summer job in Yellowstone that drove him from our area but the coincidences are too great to ignore.

The Good: I absolutely love zombie books. Even when the book doesn't come out and say "I'm a zombie book" I'm pretty much hooked and going to enjoy it on a basic level. There is something about an apocalyptic event turning people to mindless flesh eating monsters that can be terrifying and totally awesome at the same time. So props to Carey for writing a book that I was super excited for and for making the first half of the book amaze-balls! I was in love with the carefully laid out plot and the idea that the children were not exactly children but weren't zombies either. What an freaking fantastical beginning!

What else did I like? Melanie. I adored Melanie. I liked seeing things from her perspective and her ability to understand she wasn't like Miss J or the doctor. I thought her character was amazing and her growth during the book was well thought out. Melanie was the book, in my opinion.

The Bad: The entire middle of the book bored me to tears. I couldn't care less what caused the apocalypse. I hated all the science-y mumbo-jumbo and honestly, I thought Dr. Caldwell's entire part within the book was boring and annoying. She made the book almost unbearable to me. How were we to believe she was working on a cure yet she didn't know any more about the thing causing the apocalypse than we did and kept ooooing and ahhhhing over the weird zombie plants. Not to mention she was TSTL (to stupid to live) and almost got the surviving handful from the base killed multiple times.

In a Nutshell: My experience was this book....I'm loving this book. Love it. Love it. Love it. I'm going to totally tell everyone to read this book! What's going on...what happened to this book?.....zzzzzzzzzz.....wha...what?....Did I miss something? nope...zzzzzzzz.......oh good she's finally gone....Well that's an interesting twist....That's the end? WTF? I don't know how I feel about this. If only my Book Club Buddy, KJ, would have finished this book so I can discuss it with him!!!!!!!

Friday, June 16, 2017

#COYER Summer 2017 Reading Challenge

The COYER summer reading challenge is here! Sign up HERE.

The rules are pretty simple. There are no rules. Read whatever you want as long as the book was obtained legally. I love the idea that I can participate in 2 different ways. The first is to just read anything I want. The second is to make a list of 30 books to use during the summer. Of course, as a list maker, I opted for the second option. Full details are on the COYER sign up page.

Now for my list!!!
  1. Unsub by Meg Gardiner
  2. Call to Engage by Tawny Webber
  3. Branded as Trouble by Delores Fossen
  4. Serenity Harbor by RaeAnne Thayne
  5. Down Home Cowboy by Maisey Yates
  6. Scandalous Ever After by Theresa Romain
  7. Royal Enchantment by Sharon Ashwood
  8. Her Guardian Shifter by Karen Whiddon
  9. The Wicked Heir by Elizabeth Michels
  10. Wicked Kiss by Rebecca Zanetti
  11. To Kill a Hummingbird by J. R. Ripley
  12. Secrets of the Tulip Sisters by Susan Mallery
  13. Fuel For Fire bu Julie Ann Walker
  14. Just the Thing by Marie Harte
  15. 30 Second Death by Laura Bradford
  16. Dark Horse by B.J. Daniels
  17. Indigo Lake by Jodi Thomas
  18. Dead Storage by Mary Feliz
  19. Killer Party by Lynn Cahoon
  20. Lucky Charmed by Sharla Lovelace
  21. Worth the Wait by Lori Foster
  22. Before the Dawn by Cynthia Eden
  23. Until You Loved Me by Brenda Novak
  24. Dark Rites by Heather Graham
  25. SEAL Wolf Undercover by Terry Spear
  26. Desert Wolf by Linda Thomas-Sundstrom
  27. Dead Ringer by J. B. Daniels
  28. Rough Rider by J.B. Daniels
  29. Saving Mr. Perfect by Tamara Morgan
  30. Never Dare a Dragon by Ashlyn Chase

The cool thing about the list option is after reading 5 books you can add another 5. All my books are review books for NetGalley so I'm hoping this round of COYER will help me pump some of them out. Check out the COYER website and if you don't want to join this round there will be another later this year.


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!

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.

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.

#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.


  • 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 


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.

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.