Sunday, May 22, 2016

A Lot Like Love by Julie James

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Saving Grace by Norah Wilson

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Archangel's Blade by Nalini Singh

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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