Sunday, June 30, 2013

Notorious Nineteen by Janet Evanovich

Synopsis:After a slow summer of chasing low-level skips for her cousin Vinnie’s bail bonds agency, Stephanie Plum finally lands an assignment that could put her checkbook back in the black. Geoffrey Cubbin, facing trial for embezzling millions from Trenton’s premier assisted-living facility, has mysteriously vanished from the hospital after an emergency appendectomy. Now it’s on Stephanie to track down the con man. Unfortunately, Cubbin has disappeared without a trace, a witness, or his money-hungry wife. Rumors are stirring that he must have had help with the daring escape...or that maybe he never made it out of his room alive. Since the hospital staff’s lips seem to be tighter than the security, and it’s hard for Stephanie to blend in to assisted living, Stephanie’s Grandma Mazur goes in undercover. But when a second felon goes missing from the same hospital, Stephanie is forced into working side by side with Trenton’s hottest cop, Joe Morelli, in order to crack the case.

The real problem is, no Cubbin also means no way to pay the rent. Desperate for money -- or maybe just desperate -- Stephanie accepts a secondary job guarding her secretive and mouthwatering mentor Ranger from a deadly Special Forces adversary. While Stephanie is notorious for finding trouble, she may have found a little more than she bargained for this time around. Then again -- a little food poisoning, some threatening notes, and a bridesmaid’s dress with an excess of taffeta never killed anyone... or did they? If Stephanie Plum wants to bring in a paycheck, she’ll have to remember: No guts, no glory. . . .

My Thoughts: Well, at least it was a quick read. I know when I pick up a Stephanie Plum book what I'm in for. I'm going to get a healthy dose of explosions, a lot of food talk, Lula in Lycra, Grandma Mazur being, well, Grandma Mazur,  a hot dose of Morelli and hopefully some smokin' sexy Ranger sightings. I got all of that. I also got a couple chuckles from past character Randy Briggs and a little giggle from a potentially cursed Hawaiian Tiki.

But....that is all. Nothing new. Stephanie is still a hot mess and continues to play along with the best, yet, the most annoying love triangle ever. Ranger or Morelli? Mr Sexy or Mr Hawt? A man who'll melt your panties off or a man who'll feed you beer and pizza? I know it's a hard decision but come on!!! Make one already! This has been going on for too long. It's time to end it Janet! For reals.

In addition to the triangulation of Stephanie's love I really think she should be a bit more, um, competent at her job by...well, 12 books ago. Granted she has made progress but if you had been poisoned and your apartment almost blown up by a crazy man wouldn't you be a bit more cautious when entering said apartment? The apartment that every Tom, Dick and Psycho-killer can break into with ease? Not our Stephanie.

Now, I know this sounds super negative but it wasn't an awful book. It was exactly what I expected. Nothing more. Nothing less. Do not read this book expecting a great mystery and do not read this book expecting something different than the last 18 Plums. Read this book for a quick escape from your reality. Read this book because you've read all the other books in the series and your OCD will not let you stop. Or just read this book because of Ranger (because he's worth it...truly.)

Friday, June 21, 2013

Feature and Follow Friday

Well, it's Friday again and that means it's Feature and Follow Friday...YEA! This is my second week participating and I've already found so many great blogs to read and follow that my list at Bloglovin' is staggering but wonderful.

If you're not familiar with this weekly meme it's all about getting our book blogs out there and finding like minded book bloggers. It is hosted by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read and one thing that sets this apart from some of the other blog hops is that they feature a new blogger every week on each of their own blogs. So we get to see 2 freakin' awesome blogs that we might have otherwise missed. This week the featured bloggers are Tsuki's Books and Rotten Apple Reads. Hope you take the time to check out their blogs!

Now for the second thing that makes this hop a bit different from the masses. Every week we have a Feature. This week is....

Q: Activity: Favorite Literary Quote...

Here are mine. Keep in mind that I am a romance reader!

“I no longer believed in the idea of soul mates, or love at first sight. But I was beginning to believe that a very few times in your life, if you were lucky, you might meet someone who was exactly right for you. Not because he was perfect, or because you were, but because your combined flaws were arranged in a way that allowed two separate beings to hinge together.”
― Lisa Kleypas (Blue-Eyed Devil)

He kissed the palm of her hand. "It means, you stupid woman, that I am learning too. Now you listen to me. I never stop thinking about you. You're with me everywhere I go but I miss you when we're apart. I've already shown that I will kill for you. I would also die for you. You make me laugh. You make me happy. You're my miracle and my home...I will always come for you, always want you, and always need you. We clear?"She had begun to glow. "Sounds a lot love love to me.”
― Thea Harrison (Dragon Bound)

“I'll follow you to the next life if I have to,” he whispered harshly in her ear. “You'll never be free of me. I'll chase you through heaven and hell and beyond.”
 ― Lisa Kleypas (Where Dreams Begin)
“Listen, you. Don't threaten me. I could make your life a nightmare." He put his hand in front of her face and unfolded three fingers as he said, "I'm F-B-I."
She smiled. It wasn't the reaction he expected. "You want to talk nightmares?" she said. She put her hand up to his face and unfolded her three fingers. "I'm I-R-S.”
― Julie Garwood (Sweet Talk)
Thanks for stopping by. With the potential demise of GFC I'd love it if you would follow me using bloglovin'. You can find the clicky link in my right sidebar.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Spartan Frost by Jennifer Estep

Synopsis: I'm Logan Quinn, the deadliest Spartan warrior at Mythos Academy. At least I was--until the day I almost killed Gwen Frost.

Professor Metis and Nickamedes say that I'm fine, that Loki and the Reapers don't have a hold on me anymore, but I can't risk it. I can't risk hurting Gwen again. So I'm leaving Mythos and going somewhere far, far away.
I know Gwen wonders what's happening to me, whether I'm safe. I can't tell her, but this is my story. . .

My Thoughts: Despite the cover saying this is a Mythos Academy Novel it is actually a novella and with a reported 46 pages (according to the Amazon description). It is really more of a short story, as I expect a novella to be twice this length. In addition, the cover also depicts Gwen but this is Logan's story, picking up 2 weeks after the end of Crimson Frost, the 4th full length novel in the Mythos Academy series and Gwen is not in this story at all.

I've enjoyed all of the books so far but this novella really just didn't do it for me. It did not add much to the continuing story line of the Reapers of Chaos trying to bring Loki back to power nor did it show any additional depth to the characters that we didn't already know.

Logan's perspective is interesting but nothing new as we know from reading Crimson Frost that Logan was having a hard time dealing with his role during the end of the last book. In all actuality, Logan, despite him being a strong Spartan warrior, was more of an irritating child and by the end of this story I was so tired of his internal 'woe is me' thoughts I wanted to tell him to shut up and stop whining. I know that sounds a bit harsh as he is still only a teenager but he's been training as a warrior his entire life and his roll models tend towards the stoic side being almost cold and impersonal. I'd expect some of it to rub off on him but no such luck.

I was hopeful in reading this novella that I'd get a little glimpse into the lives of Logan and Gwen and the other kids in a 'behind the scenes' type of way. Perhaps a fun field trip the kids went on that wasn't included in any of the other books but something that would be inconsequential to the grand scheme of things within the series. I say this because the way this story was written it recaps the ending of Crimson Frost (albeit from a different perspective) which makes this novella a story someone would not want to read out of order or risk spoiling a very good book within the series. In addition it really isn't much of a stand-alone story as there was little to no character development or world building as all of that was done in previous books.

Who should read this book: I'd like to stress that those reading this story should only read it after reading the first 4 full length novels. 

I am thankful to Kensington (via NetGalley) for the opportunity to read and review this story.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Feature & Follow #153

As you may or may not know I'm really trying to do a lot more for my poor neglected book blog. This includes trying to put out more reviews (which would help if I actually was reading more books but that is besides the point), reading and commenting on more blogs that I follow and participating in more memes.

Now, awhile back I may have gone a little meme crazy and may have participated in waaaaaay too many. (I admit nothing!) What's different this time is that I'm only going to do a couple a week now instead of one every day. Trust me, there are memes out that for every day of the week but I just can't bring myself to go that route (again)(maybe)(still admitting nothing!) What I want to do is get my blog back to my original vision. A book blog featuring my reviews with a few fun things thrown in instead of the other way around.

With that said, this particular meme is one that I believe in and love. Feature & Follow is a wonderful way to get our book blogs out there and find like minded readers' blogs too. This is now the 153rd F&F but my first. It is hosted by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read and is a little different than the typical Follow/Hop type memes because once a week they feature one special blogger on each of their blogs. Love that idea!

They also have a weekly question to post and answer. This week's question is...

Q: Activity: Spine Poetry. Create a line of poetry with your book spines (take a picture). Not feeling creative? Tell us about your favorite poem.

 A: Yikes! Here's where I have to admit that creativity is not my strong point. I am the least creative person in my little world as a matter of fact. I'm more comfortable crunching some numbers than crocheting or scrapbooking or whatever else you creative people do. Numbers make sense to me. Stringing colorful beads into a necklace does not.

So, I have to share then, my favorite poem. Emily Dickinson's This Is My Letter To The World Although there is an obvious religious statement within the poem I always connected to it anyway, having felt that I was judged harshly by others no matter what message I was trying to convey. Judged and dismissed.

Since I'm talking Emily Dickinson I'd be remiss to not include my second favorite poem Because I Could Not Stop For Death. A bit morbid but I love it anyway.

Now, if for some reason I do come down with a high fever coupled with delirium and/or possessed by a crafty creative demon where I manage to create a line of poetry worthy of posting I'll do so. I wouldn't hold your breath though. I can't have that on my conscience. Not that you'd die or anything from holding your breath...unless you do it while handcuffed and chained and wearing a straight jacket while submerged in an underwater lock box. But why would you do that? For reals...we're readers people. We read about that crap...we don't do it.


Sunday, June 9, 2013

Just One Kiss by Susan Mallery

Synopsis: He won't hesitate to put his life on the line...but will he ever risk his heart?  Falling for Justice Garrett was a high point in Patience McGraw's otherwise awkward adolescence. Even after he disappeared, Patience never forgot the boy who captured her heart. Now, he's back in Fool's Gold, California, and her passion for him is as strong as ever. But how can she trust that he won't abandon her again-and her daughter, too?  When bodyguard Justice Garrett was a young man, witness protection brought him to this idyllic town and he never forgot its warmth, or the sweet beauty of his childhood friend. He's returned to open a defense academy, and the Patience he once knew is all grown up. He can't resist her smile, or her curves. But Justice's past doesn't make him husband, or father, material.  Patience and Justice think they'll succumb to just one kiss... Then one more... Okay, just one night together. But they might learn that falling in love is beyond anyone's control.

My Thoughts: I am really torn about my feelings about this book. I enjoyed it but there were a quite a few things that really grated on my nerves. In this 11th full length Fool's Gold novel I have to wonder if they've run their course and the entire town should retire. On the other hand I truly love revisiting the quaint town. See, told ya', I'm torn.

This particular venture into Fool's Gold just didn't work for me. The town took on a Stepford feel to it where the children are just precocious, the teens are all heading to college with the highest honors, Mayor Marsha seems to pop in at a moments notice, as if she's hiding behind bushes and billboards waiting to pounce and new business ventures never fail.

Even Patience herself was irritating. Perfectly named, Patience was almost too kind and caring. When she did show some 'negative' feelings ie:jealousy, it seemed so out of character it tipped the scale toward shrew making her look petty and ugly.

There were several plot threads woven throughout the story and all were wrapped up quickly in bright shiny convenient bows. Speaking of convenient, at one point Patience is telling Justice that she wants nothing more than to open up a coffee shop. She even has the name and logo picked out but she is lacking the funds to start such a venture. Next thing we know a Great Aunt Becky has died, leaving her a whopping sum. She was able to pay her mom's mortgage and open up her business. Never mind that Patience didn't even know who the woman was.There were a couple other 'too convenient' happenings too.

I also had a problem with the ending. There were no hard feelings and all was forgiven by an 'I'm sorry' where there should have been massive groveling and some sort of wow factor to go along with the apology. At least the man should have brought flowers!

All of that really prevented me from fully enjoying this book but it wasn't a total loss...

The chemistry between Justice and Patience is sizzling and pretty awesome. I also appreciated that both characters were smart and prepared with condoms. In this day and age not having them mentioned is almost irresponsible.

There are quite a few characters that are super intriguing too. Angel, Ford and Felicia for starters. These are the people helping Justice start up his business. Also, Noelle is interesting as is Gideon. Looking forward to more of them.

Despite the many eye rolls I did during the reading of this book I still am a huge Mallery fan. Even with the issues I had with this particular book it still felt good getting back to Fool's Gold (even with the many shades of Stepford). These books are my comfort food and I'll continue reading them. I just wish I'd enjoyed this one more.

I'd recommend this book to other Fool's Gold fans but keep in mind that you'll have to suspend your disbelief a lot. I would also recommend that readers new to Susan's work or just new to Fool's Gold might want to start with another one, perhaps starting at the beginning with Chasing Perfect.


Sunday, June 2, 2013

Cool Kids Book Case Giveaway!

As you all know I occasionally will post about an awesome giveaway that I've heard about. Most of the time it's about book giveaways but today I heard of a bookshelf designed for children's books. 
It is by Tidy Books and holds 85 children's books cover side visible. It's a slim design so it doesn't take up much floor space and will bolt to the wall for safety.

When I saw this I just knew I needed one for my niece. She is 3 and loves her books. What better way to get one than win it? Newly Crunchy Mom of 3 is hosting the giveaway where one lucky winner will get this awesome book case. The winner even gets to choose their color (blue, pink, white or natural). This is near a $180 prize! Hop on over to Brandy's blog and enter now! Runs through June 15th.