Monday, December 24, 2012

All For You by Dana Marie Bell

Synopsis: Someone—or something—is stalking Abby Marcheson. Luckily, she has her brother's hunky friend Seth to keep her safe. Abby falls easily into her protected life, with Seth constantly by her side, and when he asks her out on a date, she's eager to accept.

But Seth is much more than he seems. A Nephilim, a son of Angels with wings of his own, Seth is bound to spend his life hunting the Shemyaza, evil descendants of Angels. He's kept his wings hidden from Abby in order not to frighten her, but as her stalker becomes bolder, Seth begins to suspect that a Shem has Abby in its sights…

As their flirtation escalates into full-blown passion, Seth is torn. Should he reveal his true nature to the beautiful, trusting Abby? Will she accept him, wings and all, or will Abby flee her guardian angel and fall prey to the sinister force that wishes her harm?

My Thoughts: I really wanted to like this book but I had a hard time doing so. It had a really interesting premise with Nephilims but....
1)it could have used a glossary as there were many different types of Nephilims and Shemyazas (their arch-nemesis) most of which we were told via dialogue between the main characters but many had no part in this particular book so it felt like she was info dumping instead of world building.
2)The hero got mad at the heroine because she did something that labeled her TSTL and actually said "Even you aren't that stupid." at which point I would have giving him a big F.U. and left his winged butt where he stood, but not her. Nope she was just smiling like an idiot because she realized he didn't frighten her (which after a violent past as a battered woman it was understandable why a man shouting at her in anger would have made her curl up in a ball but the man said she was stupid! Come on!)
3)The heroine then proved repeatedly that she truly was that stupid and continued to do TSTL things.
4)The hero eventually proved that he was also TSTL.
5)The mystery was explained in a way that I felt completely let down.
6)The heroine has something like 20 best friends (slight exaggeration) all of whom were mentioned at least once during the course of the book even though some were not actually in the book at all.
7)Abby is being stalked and she's terrified it's her ex who is supposed to be in prison for life yet she doesn't try to contact the prison to make sure he is still there. No one does.
8)This book uses a version of the 'mated' theme to explain why couples are together yet it appears that a mate is not a once in a lifetime thing and a Nephilim can indeed have more than one during the course of their lifespan. This seems a bit confusing and it's just not explained enough.
9)The Nephilims have something unique about each one of them but they are essentially human. They don't appear to be super hard to kill. They are not bullet proof and their lifespans are the same as humans. I really prefer my supernatural boyfriends to be a little like Superman. Sigh, yet another disappointment.
10)I had a hard time grasping how old the characters were as their dialogue seemed quite juvenile. I thought the bunch of them were teenagers for a moment (especially when the heroine thought to herself "She hoped they understood how tired she was, because soon she'd be seeing little ponies prancing on the ceiling, farting rainbows everywhere." Really?)

Anyway, it really did have potential and the suspense on who was stalking Abby and why was compelling. I found myself wanting to get back to the book to find out what would happen but I ended up just disappointed. On a side note I think Dana Marie Bell generally writes erotica and it was evident in the wording during the sex scenes. Although I am not a fan of erotica I didn't hate the sex scenes in this book. I liked that the plot was not overshadowed by the sex and the sex scenes did not feel out of place when they occurred.

Overall, I will give this author another try and read the second Nephilim book when it comes out sometime in the future.

(I received this book from NetGalley for my honest review.)

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Double Danger by Dee Davis

Synopsis: Ignoring his instincts once cost Simon a vital op-and the life of his best friend, Ryan. Now as escalating, violent attacks hit A-Tac, another person he loves is in danger. Homeland Security agent Jillian Montgomery's investigation has suddenly brought her back into Simon's life, and unless they can learn to trust each other, their dangerous mission will fail.
After her husband Ryan's death, Jillian dedicates herself to saving others. She can't afford to be tempted by Simon, even though his every touch reignites the desire they once shared. But in the last desperate minutes before disaster strikes, their second chance at love might be the most lethal trap of all . . .

My Thoughts: Although this book was actually a thrilling rom/susp it had some issues. One of my major issue was that at one point the H/h both got hit up side the head with the stupid stick and became TSTL. After almost being gunned down once and barely escaping from being blown up not once, not twice or even three times but a whopping 4 times they go and investigate a warehouse that looks abandoned. They discuss if they should call for back up but they both decide that it probably really is abandoned and go it alone. Really? As if an ex Navy SEAL wouldn't have the common sense to alert his team that both him and the heroine felt things were a bit off about the building (after being almost blown to bits 4 times....that point needed to be stated again LOL). Oh and not to mention they were thinking ahead to each bring a gun just in case but left their extra bullets in the SUV. Really?

My other big issue with the book was that there appears to be a major spoiler regarding the identity of a bad guy from a previous book. I think this is unacceptable. I do like to read books in order but occasionally don't. This is the 6th book in Davis's A-Tac series and although I do own the first one this sixth installment is my introduction to Ms. Davis's work. A book in a series should be able to be read out of order. It should be the reader's prerogative on which book they read first, last and in between.

There were a couple other things that just prevented me from giving this book higher marks. Some are just personal peeves (terrorism is not one of my favorite plot devices) and some are more substantial (like that the secondary characters are very undeveloped but that could be because this is the 6th book and those secondary characters have already had their stories told...I just haven't read them).

On a positive note the chemistry between the H/h is sizzling and the sex scenes were good. The action is paced so that I was never 'bored' with story. And the ending leads into the beginning of the next book which seems to be about Avery, one of the only secondary characters I was interested in.

So, overall a good romantic suspense but not the best. Definitely a worthwhile read though and one I'd recommend (but only if you've read the other books first because spoilers really chap my butt).


Sunday, December 16, 2012

Let Love Find You by Johanna Lindsey

Synopsis: London society has its very own Cupid. Renowned horse breeder and occasional matchmaker Devin Baldwin pairs eligible young ladies with suitable gentlemen based on his theory of animal magnetism. Unafraid of ruffling the ton’s feathers, this darkly handsome Cupid doles out tips for bettering one’s chances of meeting a mate that are as pointed as the love legend’s sharpest arrows!

Lovely Amanda Locke, the daughter of a duke, is everything a nobleman could desire, yet she enters her third Season still searching for a match. Gossipmongers’ tongues are wagging, and her mystified family is considering drastic measures to find her a husband. But the insufferable advice of this Cupid fellow is the last thing Amanda wants.

When an earl passionate about horses becomes the target of her husband hunt, Amanda knows it’s time to overcome her fear of riding. With her sister-in-law Ophelia hastening the romance along by arranging riding lessons, Amanda is soon taking instruction from infuriating Devin Baldwin. Astonishingly, in her daily encounters with Devin—who treats her as an ordinary young woman, not a prize to be won at the marriage mart—Amanda experiences passion for the first time. Now, her search for a match takes her in an unexpected direction as she finds herself falling in love with Cupid himself.

My Thoughts: I'm seriously wondering if Johanna Lindsey actually was the author of this book or if it is the work of a ghostwriter. The heroine was annoying and self centered and the hero was bland. They had no chemistry together. Some of the writing seemed really clunky to the point I had to re-read a paragraph to understand what was said.The writing was horribly repetitious. There were 2 sub-par sex scenes towards the end of the book that added virtually nothing to the book. If that wasn't bad enough the book had similarities to one of my favorite JL books Man of My Dreams which is quite upsetting. Man of My Dreams has a horse breeder named Devlin.Let Love Find You has a horse breeder named Devin. Really Johanna, really?

Amanda talked in exclamation points and thought in exclamation points. It was completely ridiculous. At one point I realized I was cringing when I saw yet another exclamation point and at another point I realized I was actually counting them. In 15 pages there were over 30 exclamation points. When you start counting punctuation marks while reading a book, you know there are problems.

In addition to the unbelievable amount of exclamation points Amanda's favorite word was a'tall which she used alllll the time. As in “It’s different here, not a’tall like at home in the country, where I’ve got so much to occupy me.” . I've not read a book set in this time period (which I imagine is regency or there abouts) that had as many slang words. A few of the characters used the word aint. And they weren't even commoners. Speaking of words that I'm not used to reading in historical romances I also found it odd that almost everyone had a nickname. Amanda was Mandy. Rebecca was Becky. Ophelia was either Pheli or Phelia. I know it wasn't unheard of but it felt jarring and untrue to the period.

The plot was horrible too. Through more than half the book it appeared that Amanda's search for a husband was the entire plot. After half the book suddenly a new plot device was introduced which was completely underwhelming and not fully realized.

I've read most everything Johanna Lindsey has written and found I loved some but disliked others. This book went beyond dislike. I truly hated it.

Here are a few quotes that I feel show why I dislike the characters and this book so paranthesis I've made a few comments about the quotes....

Amanda sighed. "I have so many, too many really, choices of men to pick from. It's just becoming a bit difficult to sort them all out."
(said the self centered egotistical twit)

Amanda hurried away, not sure what about that old dame annoyed her. But really, Amanda already knew Farrell, considered him somewhat a friend, but for a matchmaker to recommend to her a second son with no prospects? The woman had to be going batty in her advanced years.
(thought the self centered egotistical twit who planned to marry for love but apparently only if that love was not with a second son)

Devin knew that daring Amanda to tackle riding lessons had been a long shot. A man would accept the challenge, a woman would find numerous excuses to decline it.
(thought the man who appears to be more of a male chauvinist pig than a hero)

"As for Robert," Amanda added with a grin,"if I'm not at least a little cold to him because of his near scandal, he won't be repentant enough to make sure it never happens again."
"Sound reasoning, I suppose," Preston allowed.
"Perfect reasoning," Julie agreed...

(because a disproving frown from a proper young lady can change the behavior of a womanizing man....)

Saturday, December 8, 2012

An Outlaw's Christmas by Linda Lael Miller

Synopsis: With his wild heart, Sawyer McKettrick isn't ready to settle down on the Triple M family ranch in Arizona. So he heads to Blue River, Texas, to seek a job as marshal. But in a blinding snowstorm he's injured -- and collapses into the arms of a prim and proper lady in calico.  — The shirtless, bandaged stranger recuperating in teacher Piper St. James's room behind the schoolhouse says he's a McKettrick, but he looks like an outlaw. As they wait out the storm, the handsome loner has Piper remembering long-ago dreams of marriage and motherhood. But for how long is Sawyer willing to call Blue River home?

As the gray skies clear, Piper's one holiday wish just might bring two lonely hearts together forever.

My Thoughts: This is part of Linda Lael Miller's historical romance McKettrick series and frankly I was completely underwhelmed by it. The characters were not fleshed out enough and there was little conclusion to the added conflict. The characters fell in love with each other in a matter of 2 days (never mind that the hero was unconscious a lot of that time) and they were marveling at the admirable character traits of the other that left me wondering if they were having riveting conversations that we readers weren't allowed to witness. I have read several other McKettrick books and liked them well enough to continue reading them but this one was so not up to snuff.

However there were some positives. It was a quick holiday read and parts were simply sweet. I enjoyed some of the additional characters including a woman who works in a brothel. Her daughter is one of Piper's students and I thought their part of the storyline was very good.

Overall not a book that I would recommend to newbies of Miller's work but if you have read her books before and are a fan you will probably enjoy this one too. On a side note this book is not labeled a McKettrick but a stand-alone. Sawyer's brother Clay's book was book #15 in the McKettrick series and this one follows it. Sawyer is definitely a McKettrick so I'm not sure why this is not listed as such on Miller's website.