Tuesday, August 30, 2011

with no remorse.

His quiet vacation in the Peruvian Andes turns deadly when a Black Ops, Inc. operative rescues a stunning stranger from a mysterious train robbery and discovers she’s the target of a vengeful manhunt.


For Luke Colter, down time is an illusion. He should know better than to ever leave his gun behind. Especially since he risks his life to save world-famous supermodel Valentina.

Val thought traveling incognito through the mountains would be the perfect cure for her bruised heart . . . until someone tries to kill her. Without knowing who is after her—and why—does she dare trust her irresistible protector?

Luke’s elite military training offers little defense against his feelings for Val. When his BOI team links her ruthless enemy to the cutthroat global weapons trade—and to a man from her troubled past—he’ll do anything to save her. So when Val offers herself as bait, will he make the right call . . . or surrender to the hold she has on his heart?

I love Luke. And part of me wants to leave the review at that one sentence. I'm not quite sure what it was, but I definitely developed some for real feelings for Luke while reading this book. Doc is pretty fantastic and that's it.

If you read the series, you'll remember what happened to Luke in the last book. He's still dealing with his feelings and such from that experience in this one. He's just about to start working for Black Ops, Inc. (BOI) again when he ends up helping Valentina escape and evade mercenaries. Most of the story is their escape and Luke trying to get her to BOI HQ, with a few glimpses of the bad guy who's in charge of the people after her. The problem is that her predicament didn't really seem like it fit into a bigger picture. Maybe it wasn't supposed to? Aside from that, I liked it. Cindy Gerard did a good job of focusing on the couple while they were on a run in a way that didn't make you think "Uh, shouldn't they be focusing on staying alive?!" That's a hard balance and often takes a vet, such as Gerard, to accomplish it.

As an aside, I thought it was adorable that Luke had a crush on Valentina that dated back to his teen years.

Monday, August 29, 2011


A reckless adventure in a deadly paradise.

Thrill seekers Zakary and Gideon Stark travel the globe in search of extreme adventure, but a trip to Venezuela to jump off the world’s highest falls catapults them into a perilous game of life or death—where they don’t know the rules.

A one-night stand that will change his life forever.

Kidnapped with a woman Zak knows nothing about, the brothers are held prisoner deep in the jungle. A risky, deathdefying escape separates them and nearly claims Zak’s life . . . until his recovery reveals a baffling new sixth sense.

An unexpected diversion with lethal consequences.

Now, to find his missing brother, Zak and the mysterious Acadia Gray will have to out-smart, out-gun, and out-maneuver not just the brutal kidnappers but also a new player who joins the adrenaline game: a ruthless opponent who wants the Stark brothers dead—at any cost.

Like a said, good book luck! I've actually had this one sitting in my TBR for a couple months. In my mind, I didn't want to read it. Now having done so, I see that I was thinking crazy thoughts and wasted time!

Cherry Adair did quite a good job with this one, even with Zak's weird sixth sense. Which, since I'm starting with that, was totally and completely unnecessary. I was left wondering if she added it just so that the book could be considered paranormal in some way? I have no idea, and honestly, that special ability of his was take it or leave it for me. Otherwise, fine holiday fun.

As is the case with so many of our favorite heroes, Zak is wounded with a hard heart due to a previous woman. Now, he lives his life footloose, fancy free, and with a possible death wish. That is, until he finds himself in a position where he has to play hero to save his life, his brother's life, and new lover Acadia's as well. Instead of giving Zak a woman who was born with steel in her spine, Adair gives him Acadia - a woman who had never had any adventure up to this point. She's recently won the lottery, wants to do something different, and coerced by her friends, ends up in Venezuela. Despite her lack of experience, she becomes an asset invaluable to their efforts to get out of the country alive. What happens at the end was a surprise to me and I cherish those moments since so much seems predictable these days.

Apparently, this is a trilogy. I have no idea who the next two books will be about and I'm going to exercise serious restraint and not look it up.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

the help.

Guess who's on a string of good books? ME! Though they are super late, much like the July entries, the August reviews were good books!! YAAAY! First up, The Help, a book everyone and their mama has probably read by now. I purchased it as a gift for a friend for her birthday in January. When I started seeing previews for the movie, I asked if I could borrow it and made quick work of it, despite the fact that the hardcover version looks like it's 2930 pages.

The Help isn't my normal fare, as you can tell by the reviews here, but I do so enjoy reading books that are made into movies. I really liked this book, down to the author's acknowledgement at the end about her feelings writing in the voice of black women. I thought it was a strong debut novel from Kathryn Stockett.

The story is told from three POVs (two black maids and one white young lady), but is mostly based around Aibileen. It covers how black Americans were treated in the 1960s while we went through the Civil Rights Movement, how the maids in particular were treated, what they did... It touches on a lot of subjects in it's 2930 pages. The book made me angry at several parts, but with a topic like that, it's going to evoke that response if it's done anywhere close to right. I liked it, at least in part because you don't always get a book like that, or maybe it would be more accurate to say that I don't often read books like that.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

night after night.


The son of a con-artist, Sean O'Brien learned the hard way that living by your own rules comes with a price. After a brief time behind bars, Sean is now ready to live an honest life, and pay for his past mistakes. But even his gorgeous face and seductive charms can't make up for his prison record . . .until a member of The Reliance Group sees Sean's potential for good and gives him a job at the Onyx Casino.


Zoe Russo has met all types of men on the Vegas strip. But when Sean pays a visit to her casino boutique, she knows she's in luck. They share an immediate, irresistible attraction, and for the first time in her life she's found a man she thinks she can trust. But when Zoe stumbles onto the truth about Sean and his reasons for persuing her, she can't help but question his feelings for her. Is he for real, or has she been a fool for love? Until now, nothing has prepared her for the thrill, and risk, of gambling on love.

Yet another standard romantic suspense. From Into the Night, I was expecting a bit of improvement and, unfortunately, that wasn't what I got. It makes me a little sad, since I really liked the glimpse of Sean's character in the series debut. Denison doesn't do anything new here. I found that I was reading it to be reading it and didn't really care about the characters. Then, there's the addition of Zoe's best friend, a superstar pop singer named Jessica, and her high school sweetheart. I have no idea how they warranted a plot of their own. It came out of nowhere with no connection at all to the storyline. On the positive end, I liked Zoe’s character and the fact that this book essentially stands on its own, so there’s no rehashing of Into the Night. Another thing I liked was the difference in the love scenes. For ITN, I noted that they were frequent and detailed. Here, not so frequent and it's absolutely believable that it plays out this way. As a whole, I thought Night After Night lacked feeling, which is my favorite element, and I found that I didn't care about the story.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

you dropped a blonde on me.

She was the perfect party-planning, haute-to-the max trophy wife. Now Maxine Cambridge is broke, unemployable and living with her mother and teenage son in a retirement village, with her self-esteem kicked to the curb.

Until her geeky former classmate Campbell Barker returns, all grown-up- and off-the-scale smokin' hot. Campbell refuses to believe Max isn't that smart, funny girl he's crushed on since high school. The more Max tries to show him he's wrong, the more she rediscovers her long-retired mojo. Now, she's ready to throw down some payback on her ex-life and fight for what she deserves.

What a nice surprise this book was. This was the first of Dakota Cassidy's books I've ever read, since I don't particularly care for paranormal and that's what her previous novels are. With Border's going out of business, I picked this one up, hoping against hope that it would be worth the money. And it was. (Although, not my money. The book was a gift.)

Max is a great heroine for this book. She's flawed, super messed up when it comes to relationships. She jumps to conclusions, a few times publicly, and it's embarrassing in its hilarity. The hero of the book, Campbell, is pretty fantastic. He's there for her every step of the way, taking up for her when she can't take care of herself. I loved the fun of this book. I've been waiting for a good, fun, easy book to come along and here we are!

After reading it, I found out that it's the start of Cassidy's Ex-Trophy Wives series, with book two released this month. I have every intention of reading Burning Down the Spouse, but, despite how much I enjoyed the first book, I'm a bit wary about this being a series instead of a stand alone.

Monday, July 25, 2011

savor the moment.

Wedding baker Laurel McBane is surrounded by romance working at Vows wedding planning company with her best friends Parker, Emma, and Mac. But she's too low-key to appreciate all the luxuries that their clients seem to long for. What she does appreciate is a strong, intelligent man, a man just like Parker's older brother Delaney, on whom she's had a mega-crush since childhood.

But some infatuations last longer than others, and Laurel is convinced that the Ivy League lawyer is still out of her reach. Plus, Del is too protective of Laurel to ever cross the line with her-or so she thinks. When Laurel's quicksilver moods get the better of her-leading to an angry, hot, all-together mind-blowing kiss with Del-she'll have to quiet the doubts in her mind to turn a moment of passion into forever.

Book three in the Bride Quartet follows the same pleasant pattern as the previous two books, but without the same results. I love a good conflict in a romance novel. I mean, I love, love, love it. Savor the Moment didn't have that. The relationship is, for the most part, easy. Laurel and Del manage to move from friendship to romantic relationship seamlessly, with only Laurel's class level hangups to deter them. That's not to say that this installment wasn't worth it. It is still worth read, even if it was for the Parker/Malcomb interactions alone.

What I'm hoping Happy Ever After has that Savor the Moment lacked is the gut-wrenching, heartbreaking feeling you get from reading the awesomely intense scenes.

Friday, June 17, 2011

alien in the family.

Super-Being Exterminator Kitty Katt and the Alpha Centaurian she loves, Jeff Martini, should be finalizing their wedding plans. But that was before she discovers Jeff is in line to become Emperor back on his home world. Kitty knows she is everything a royal family wouldn't approve of, and is bracing herself for the worst. As it turns out, the royal family is just the beginning. Especially when extraterrestrial Amazonian terrorists are determined to start and end Kitty and Jeff's nuptial festivities with a bang.
Kitty, Jeff, Christopher, and crew are back again. Jeff and Kitty are planning their wedding at a snail's pace and while doing so discover that Jeff is a descendent of the royal family of Alpha Centauri. And they want him to come back and rule.

The entire book is full of the usual Kitty shenanigans and that's not a bad thing at all. though I didn't like this one as much as the first of the series, it was still pretty good. As with the previous two, it's not so much the story that sells this series, but the characters. They're amazing. Gini Koch uses this one to reveal more about the AC home planet. Quite interesting. There's the big battle scene, emissaries from other planets, the whole shebang. The sweetness of Jeff and Kitty's relationship. Loves it.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

the gift.

Extremely successful executive, Lou Suffern is always overstretched, immune to the holiday spirit that delights everyone around him. The classic workaholic who never has a moment to spare, he is always multitasking while shortchanging his devoted wife and their adorable children. And ever since he started competing for a big promotion, he has barely seen his family at all.

One frigid morning in an uncharacteristic burst of generosity, he buys a cup of coffee for Gabe, a homeless man huddled outside his office building. Inspired by his own unexpected act of kindness, Lou decides to prolong his charitable streak and contrives to get Gabe a job in his company's mailroom. But when Gabe begins to meddle in Lou's life, the helping hand appears to be a serious mistake. Gabe seems to know more about Lou than Lou does about himself, and, perhaps more disturbingly, Gabe always seems to be in two places at once.

With Lou's personal and professional fates at important crossroads and Christmas looming, Gabe resorts to some unorthodox methods to show his stubborn patron what truly matters and how precious the gift of time is. But can he help him fix what's broken before it's too late?
Cecelia Ahern is one of my favorite authors. That might seem odd when you consider she has less than 10 books published, but it's true. I have read five of her seven books and only one was less than stellar (There's No Place Like Here). The first one I read was PS I Love You and it remains one of my favorite books. What I love about her books is the mix of fantasy and reality. How she makes me think "What if this really was happening?" If you've never read her books, pick one at random and go!

Now, on to this book in particular. As expected, Ahern has crafted an unbelievable story with The Gift. Lou is not a great guy. He does a lot of hurtful things to his family that he doesn't even realize until this time in his life. He's probably like a lot of men, a lot of people that way. But in this book, Lou is given the chance to redeem himself. Every action, every chapter, every page is laced with the idea of second chances, of life/work balance, of spending your time here on Earth wisely without pushing and being overbearing. The story is, in true Ahern fashion, thought provoking and heartbreaking. It makes you think and, more importantly, it makes you feel. Yes, it's another holiday story out of the holiday season, but it is fantastic. I suggest you read this one or any of her other books pronto.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

desires of a perfect lady.

A Secret list of the Desires of Lady Olivia Rathbourne
1) Disregard convention
2) Follow my heart
3) Bed the Earl of Wyldewood

A decade ago, Olivia had expected to marry the Earl of Wyldewood, only to have happiness stolen from her before his ring could be placed upon her finger. Now, he stands before her, as proud and arrogant and handsome as ever, vowing to rescue her. Well, he’s got some nerve turning up after all these years. Where was he when she needed him?

As for the Earl, scandal has never touched him nor has impropriety ever besmirched his name. But his penchant for doing the expected does have his family calling him, well, dull. Isn’t it time to flaunt society’s conventions and do what he’s always wanted? And first on his list: Olivia in his bed—with or without a wedding.
Another historical, yippee! This time will be better, I promise. I truly am sorry about that last one. All I can do is apologize!

This is not my first Victoria Alexander, and it won't be my last. It doesn't surpass my favorite Alexander (A Visit from Sir Nicholas), but it's still good. I picked it up in a UBS a couple days ago and used it to jump back into reading. (I am so very behind my reading goal on GoodReads it's embarrassing, really.)

What the blurb doesn't tell you is that Olivia has to turn to Sterling to help fulfill the requirements of her late husband's will. The best parts between the two of them happen on their adventure. Alexander turns Sterling into this fantastic man on the trip and I absolutely loved him. And Olivia wasn't too bad either. In Desires..., I liked the whole cast of characters - from Sterling's mother and the brief glimpses of his brothers (I've got to get my hands on their stories) to Josiah, the solicitor who joined Olivia and Sterling on their trip.

With this one under my belt, I shall now tackle my ever-growing TBR pile. Look for a bit more variety in the upcoming reviews, my friends.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

a season of seduction.

A Season of Seduction by Jennifer Haymore

Although the widowed Lady Rebecca has sworn off marriage, men are another matter. London's cold winter nights have her dreaming of warmer pursuits-like finding a lover to satisfy her hungry heart. Someone handsome, discreet, and most importantly as uninterested in marriage as she is. Someone like Jack Fulton.

A known adventurer and playboy, Jack seems like the perfect choice. There's just one problem: Jack isn't interested in an affair. He needs the beautiful, mysterious Lady Rebecca to be his wife. And he doesn't have much time to persuade her. A secret from Jack's past is about to surface, and by Christmas Day he'll be either married to Rebecca or dead.


Apparently, this was not posted, because the review was written. And now, I don't remember the story! Don't you hate when that happens? You know what that means, right? I'm going to be quite quick about this. Not only do I not remember the specifics, but I'm not entirely sure where the book is right now. Eek.

Hm. What I do remember is that I enjoyed reading this. I have the hardest time finding good historical romance these days and decided to give this author a try. Oddly enough, the other new historical author I read is also named Jennifer (Ashley). Here, Rebecca is attempting an affair, while Jack is planning to marry her. He ensures that her family finds them in a compromising position and spends the next few weeks courting her and trying to convince her to marry him. Obviously, she finds out the true meaning behind the courtship and flees. I do remember really liking the characters and the feeling in the book. I've also felt like historicals have more depth of feeling than some of the other romance subgenres.

Though it was released as a holiday title, don't let that scare you off (I read it in April, I think). Or you can wait til the holidays come back around again. I do so love holiday themed romances.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

lauren conrad style.

You've seen Lauren Conrad on TV and red carpets, looking fabulous whether she's going casual for a day with friends or dressed for a night out. Now Lauren reveals how you can adapt her classic, understated style for yourself.

In her first-ever style guide, Lauren offers tips on how to create your own unique look, shares her favorite sources of inspiration, and identifies the absolute must-haves for any fashionista's wardrobe. Along the way, she examines her fashion evolution, from California-casual teen to camera-ready style icon and clothing designer.

From beauty advice and hair secrets to how to shop vintage or find the perfect T-shirt, Lauren Conrad Style unlocks the mysteries of being effortlessly chic. With Lauren's guidance, you'll look and feel stylish every day.


As someone who has never been a fan of Laguna Beach or The Hills (I've seen maybe 3 episodes total), I've still been able to appreciate Lauren Conrad's sense of style. I think she almost always looks fantastic from head to toe. Gorgeous hair, great makeup, and amazingly fantabulous clothes. Conrad's style book takes you through the basic pieces you should have in your wardrobe, how to mix and match prints, and how to select the perfect style of jeans. Additionally, she suggests shopping methods, including how to choose and alter vintage pieces. Not only about fashion, Conrad also has chapters on make-up and hair. Filled with photos to help the budding fashionista, Lauren Conrad Style is an absolute must read for any fan of her looks or someone starting out on their own style journey.

Purchase at Amazon. (I bought one for me and gifted a copy to a friend.)

Saturday, May 7, 2011

a lot like love.

Jordan Rhodes is invited to all of Chicago's best parties, but there's only one the FBI wants to crash. To get her brother out of jail, she agrees to take Agent McCall as her date. But when the mission gets botched, requiring their "relationship" to continue, it starts to feel less like an investigation-and a lot like something else.

I feel like this hardly ever happens anymore. A new author (to me) with a book that I really, truly enjoyed from beginning to end. SCORE!

My first Julie James story can only be described as a delightful, humorous surprise. At a time when most authors are writing romantic suspense that surrounds around a deep dark plot, James pens a novel about two people falling in love who just so happen to be involved in a federal case. Having the majority of the book’s focus on the contemporary romance instead of the case was a refreshing change. I loved the playful language she used for her characters. There were quite a few times where I found myself laughing at loud at the risque wine talk. Jordan and Nick were great characters that I know I would like if they really existed. This one was a joy to read and I cannot believe Julie James managed to slip under my radar. If they previous novels are anything like this, then I am in for a treat.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

hidden away.

Most people would take an all-expense=paid trip to the beach in a heartbeat. Garrett Kelly only accepts to keep tabs on Sarah Daniels, who's in hiding after witnessing a murder committed by her half brother-a personal enemy of KGI. But Garrett hadn't planned on falling for Sarah. When he glimpses her dark past, he feels an urgent desire to keep her safe-even as she disappears, running for her life.

This is the third book in Maya Banks' series about the Kelly brothers. Each book shows improvement in Banks' writing and storytelling in the world of romantic suspense. Do I think this one was better than No Place to Run? Eh, no. But, maybe just behind it.

I love Garrett and Sarah wasn't a bad match for him. Again, Garrett's mission and the danger to the heroine are ever present here, as the suspense is attached to their relationship. All the Kelly brothers are present and accounted for, as well as some of the other KGI employees. I believe Ms. Banks has even hinted at the first non-Kelly story to come, between Cole and P.J. Apparently, I was wrong. I just read that the author has said they won't be each other's love interest, which begs the question, WHY did you do that?! I should've written this before I found that tidbit of information. (Aside: I don't like when authors mislead me about future pairings. Luckily, I found out about this early enough that I hadn't really given it time to take root in my mind.) I'm guessing, then, that she'll put P.J. with Rio.

Anyway. Rusty is here, yet again, given more time than in No Place to Run, but less than The Darkest Hour. She has a traumatic event in Hidden Away and I was sympathetic to her. But, I still don't like the character. And I still want her to disappear.

If you haven't already gotten into this series, I'd suggest you do so. :c)

Friday, April 22, 2011

eagerly anticipating - april 2011.

How surprised are you that I've been able to keep up with my three review minimum for each month? I know it's only four months into the year, but HOT DANG! I'm doing it! I'm pretty proud of myself for keeping up with this so please hold while I toot my own horn.... [toot!][toot!]

That's not what this post is about. I would like to be able to include a non-review post here every now and again. What better way to do it than to let you know what books I'm waiting for? A quick note: Just because a book is on this list doesn't mean I'm going to rush out and buy it on release day. That never happens. (I can count on one head how many books I've pre-ordered. And one of those was that last Wimpy Kid book for my nephew - the price was unbeatable. )

Right. So, enough of the chatter. Here goes What Cee's Waiting For. Enjoy.
  1. Ghost Story (Dresden Files, #13) by Jim Butcher - July 2011
  2. The Many Sins of Lord Cameron (Highland Pleasures #3) by Jennifer Ashley - August 2011
  3. In the Air Tonight (Shadow Forces #3) by Stephanie Tyler - July 2011
  4. Rainshadow Road (Friday Harbor #2) by Lisa Kleypas - January 2012
  5. Sweet Justice (Last Chance Rescue #7) by Christy Reece - August 2011
  6. Sweet Revenge (Last Chance Rescue #8) by Christy Reece - September 2011
  7. Face of Danger (Guardian Angelinos #3) by Roxanne St. Claire - April 2011
  8. Just Like Heaven (The Smythe-Smiths) by Julia Quinn - May 2011
  9. It Looked Different on the Model by Laurie Notaro - May 2011
  10. Savor the Danger (Men Who Walk the Edge of Honor #3) by Lori Foster - June 2011
  11. With No Remorse (Black Ops, Inc #?) by Cindy Gerard - July 2011
  12. Good Girls Don't (Donovans #1) by Victoria Dahl - August 2011
  13. Bad Boys Do (Donovans #2) by Victoria Dahl - October 2011
  14. Real Men Will (Donovans #3) by Victoria Dahl - November 2011
  15. Heat Rises (Nikki Heat #3) by Richard Castle - September 2011
Because I never keep up with release dates, this took a bit of effort on my part. Glad I did! I forgot the Dahl trilogy comes out this fall. And, yes, I know I read a lot of series. What can I say? It's convenient.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

into the crossfire.

Former Navy SEAL Sam Reston keeps to himself. His world is dangerous, uncertain, violent...and there is no room in it for the helpless and weak. Then the most beautiful woman in the world moves in next door to him . . . .

Nicole Pearce's life is complicated enough—with an ailing father and a new business to worry about—and the last thing she needs is to get involved with a secretive, hard-bodied, hardheaded neighbor. Yet Sam leaves her breathless—her body tingling with erotic desire—and it takes every ounce of her fabled control to resist offering herself to him, no strings attached. What she doesn't know is that Sam Reston is on an undercover assignment . . . and she's about to step into the crossfire.

Never has Sam ached for a woman so badly, and he's never fallen in love before. Now that Nicole is in grave danger, he will become her shield, and guard the tempting body he longs to touch and taste. Because a terrorist plot hatched half a world away is heading to their doorstep—and it can only be derailed by one man and one woman.


The short version: I didn't like it. I don't read erotica because I don't like it. So, if you're a fan of it, maybe you won't have the same issues that I had. If you're wondering why I read this, it was based on a recommendation from a good friend who did enjoy it.

Ok, the positives. I thought Nicole was a great character. The reasons behind her actions were clear, her love for her father came through the pages easily. I also really liked the villain here. It was the most believable part of the book. I thought it was sneaky, but could've been better executed.

Now for the rest. I can’t say any of the same character type things for Sam. He didn’t come across as genuine to me. I found it unbelievable that these two people fell in love over the course of the book. I thought the sex scenes were unfeeling. That wouldn't be a problem except you're trying to get me to believe that they are somehow falling in love. I couldn't get with that. On the other end of things, it took a long time for the author to actually introduce the danger to Nicole.

The writing itself also left a bit to be desired. Something was off about it and I found myself being more distracted by that than into the story itself. At least I can tell my friend that I read it and it's not my cup of tea.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


I was alone, and I was lost. I didn’t know where I was; I didn’t know who I was. It doesn’t get more lost than that. Knowing what I knew and not knowing anything else at all, why would I want to be in the darkness where monsters hide?

Because killers hide there, too…

Half-human Cal Leandros has always walked a bloody line between keeping his mortal soul free and clear (sort of) and unleashing the horror of his otherworldly heritage. The one thing that’s always saved him is the memory of his brother, Niko, his friends, and those he loves.

Until now.

Cal wakes up on a beach littered with the recently slaughtered remains of a variety of hideous creatures that were obviously looking for trouble. The fact that he was the one doing the slaughtering doesn’t bother him. The fact that he feels like a natural-born killer doesn’t either. What bothers him is that Cal doesn’t remember Cal anymore…

And he’s not sure he cares.


I'm happy to report that Blackout is a vast improvement from Roadkill, though still missing something from the first four. What I loved here is that Thurman gets to step out of her box as far as characters go. With Cal's memory loss, he becomes a completely different person. New Cal, if you will. New Cal thinks about things and possesses a far more sympathetic nature than regular Cal. As he is without his memory for the majority of the book, Thurman basically has the opportunity to create a new person. Some of the essential Cal things are still there - his love of guns, laziness and sloppiness, constant boredom stemming from Niko's lectures - but his view on monsters and killing them are different. The book is more about New Cal than any fighting or case. It was very much a character story, if that makes sense. I found it to be pleasant, which isn't a word I'd use for any of the other installments. It seemed to pause the progression into darkness that the previous books include.

For me, the biggest thing I realized was that I'm in love with Niko. I've always liked his character, but with the things he does in this book, I feel head over heels. He is amazing and just about makes up from the fact that George hasn't shown up in forever. By forever, I mean the last 3 books. (Seriously, will she EVER come back? I miss her dearly.)

Note: Thanks to a comment on GoodReads, I found out the author has stated that she will not bring Georgina back, as she doesn't fit into Cal's life. With that information and the direction it implies, I doubt I'll continue reading this series for much longer.

Monday, April 4, 2011

a light at winter's end.

In her latest contemporary romance novel, Julia London treats us to the story of Holly, the younger sibling to her seemingly perfect older sister, and Wyatt, a man trying to recover from losing his wife. Everything changes for Holly when her sister enters rehab, leaving her with her infant nephew.

I thought the strength of this story was the characters and their atypical circumstances. When Holly is forced to care for her nephew, it isn't an immediately happy situation. London shows how the character felt inconvenienced and how she changes throughout the story to create a new life that works for her and Mason. The same goes for Wyatt. In a previous installment (which I now want to read), Wyatt's wife leaves him for her first husband who has come back from the dead. Understandably, he is still smarting from the failed marriage, but determined to remain active in his daughter's life.

Additionally, Light addresses the dynamics of sibling relationships, addiction, and blended families very well. Each issue is seamlessly woven into the story and given the appropriate attention and resolution. I really loved that the ending, in regards to Holly and Mason, didn't end perfectly, but realistically. But, I would have liked just a little something more between Wyatt and Holly at the conclusion.

I am happy to say that I enjoyed this book, since it's been some time since I could say that about one of London's books, especially about one of her contemporaries.

Friday, April 1, 2011

no place to run.

Sam Kelly was her first love.

The last person Sam Kelly expected to pull wounded from the lake was Sophie Lundgren. Once they shared a brief, intense affair while Sam was undercover and then she vanished. She's spent the last months on the run, knowing that any mistake would cost her life and that of her unborn child—Sam's child. Now she's resurfaced with a warning for Sam: this time, he's the one in danger.

Now he's her last chance.

Sam has too many questions to let her slip away again—like why she disappeared in the first place. This time he vows not to be seduced. But one look in her eyes, and the passion burns again, and Sam knows he’ll do anything to keep her and his child safe. However, Sophie’s dark past is more dangerous than he imagines, and the only way for either to survive it is to outrun it.

The things that I thought went wrong in The Darkest Hour were corrected here, as I suspected they would be. In the second novel of the KGI series, Maya Banks does a great job of balancing the two sides of the story. Readers are never left wondering about the progression of the case, as it is never far from any of the characters' minds. The romance between Sam and Sophie is set at an almost perfect pace. There weren't random scenes with the Kelly parents and, thankfully, Rusty appears only briefly in this one. (I still don't like her.) No Place to Run is quite an improvement over The Darkest Hour. I expect that Banks' KGI books will continue to get better.

A pretty short review, I know. But, that's exactly how I felt about it. (And I read it awhile ago, but forgot to post the review here. Oops!) Go read the book!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

breaking point.

Denver journalist Natalie Benoit and Deputy U.S. Marshal Zach McBride find themselves captives of a bloodthirsty Mexican drug cartel. Working together, they escape through the desert toward the border, the attraction between them flaring hotter than the Sonoran sun. They fight to stay ahead of the danger that hunts them as forces more powerful than they can imagine conspire to destroy them both...

I'm happy to see we're still on a good path! My luck has finally changed, as far as books are concerned. And I hope mentioning that doesn't jinx me.

Breaking Point wasn't the best book I've ever read, but it was better than the last (book I remember reading) in Pamela Clare's Denver I-Team series. I found Natalie to be a pretty fantastic heroine. She and Zach meet each other while they're being held prisoner in Mexico. From there, they have quite an interesting escape story. The first half of the book is focused on them getting back home and then it shifts to figuring out why Natalie was taken. Clare makes the story real with actual injuries and leaks, instead of the good guys knowing every single thing that was happening.

She's got me back into the series. Next time I see another of her books, I won't make that :o/ face. You know the one.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

living on the edge.

After a devastating injury, Lucas Ramsay knows he's finished as a soldier.But when the general who saved his life asks him for a favor, he says yes. All Lucas has to do is keep the general's daughter from getting on a plane to Colombia -- which is easier said than done...

Independent to the core, Sloane Gideon is a member of the Edge-a group of mercenaries for hire. But she's not on the clock for this mission. Her best friend is being held by a vicious drug lord, and Sloane must rescue her -- no matter how many handsome ex-soldiers her father sends to dissuade her.

With little choice, Lucas tracks Sloane to Colombia - where she reluctantly allows him to aid her in her search. But as they grow closer to the target, they grow closer to each other. And before the battle is over, both will have to decide just what they are willing to fight for.


Perhaps the tide is turning. This one wasn't too bad. I've read a few of Butcher's books before (and I love her husband's Dresden Files series) and while the first couple were good, they did slip for me. My sister and I disagree about the debut of this new series, however. I thought it was decent, she found it underwhelming.

Lucas and Sloane seem to be well matched. From the first time she gets the best of him, I liked them both. I honestly don't know what else to say except that it's your run of the mill romantic suspense with a twist that will continue throughout the series. There are a lot of characters introduced, which proved a bit confusing for me at first, and hints about a serious project of some sort that happened in the past. If I could change anything, it would be to make that part a bit clearer. I read the book and still don't get the Edge or whatever this past experiment is.

I hope that the series will improve. But, at the very least, she's written a debut good enough to keep me interested.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

burning up.

As much as I love contemporary romance, I never find myself reading Susan Andersen. I’ve only read one of her other books (Coming Undone), but I thought it was decent enough. I had some store credit at a used book store and found this one there. There’s no risk in it, since I didn’t really pay for it. And honestly, I’m glad it didn’t cost me much.

The premise sounded promising enough. Small town girl made good returns to said small town to help her cousin and snub her nose at the people she left behind. Gabe is a firefighter insisting on dating nice girls only. They try to ignore their attraction to each other, but it doesn’t work.

The major issue here is that there is a lack of feeling and emotions. The sexual chemistry between Macy and Gabe is obvious. I got that easily. But I cannot imagine at what point these characters actually fell in love with each other.

Sunday, February 20, 2011


Attorney Sinead O'Brien's new client is Adam Perry, the star of the New York Blades. It's a good thing she doesn't date clients, especially jocks. Charged with assault on another player, the private, no-nonsense Adam knows this is his last shot at Stanley Cup glory. Sinead quickly discovers that there's a wounded man under that helmet, and she's falling for him-hard. Can they play on their feelings without penalties?

I knew going into this one that I wouldn't like it. But I wanted to be surprised. I really wanted Martin to give me something worth reading.

She didn't.

Icebreaker played out the way the last few NY Blades books have - poorly. I didn't care about the characters and didn't especially like them, either. The last Blades story I liked was Chasing Stanley. That added to the first two makes a total of 3/9 that I've enjoyed in this series. Those are terrible odds. She doesn't use the sport to really enhance the story at all. It's just... there. Susan Elizabeth Philips (Chicago Stars, football) and Lori Foster (SBC, MMA) have done well with sports series. Head there if you're interested.

Martin doesn't do anything different or fantastic here. There's no great sex, no great emotions, no jokes. The friendship between Anthony Dante and the hero Adam Perry is odd and comes out of nowhere. I felt like the author just wanted a reason to have Anthony in the story. Or needed a friend for Adam to talk to and plugged him in. I don't know why I continue to read her books after being burned so many times. This will be the last though. I refuse to be bamboozled again!

Seriously... recommendations, anyone?

Thursday, February 10, 2011

into the night.

A former Marine and Las Vegas vice copy, Nathan Fox has seen it all and then some. Heading up security for the Onyx Casino is tame compared to his past, but it's not his only job. Working for The Reliance Group is his real passion project. His current case: a missing woman. His mission: to find her. But soon Nathan must deal with a stubborn, and stunning, journalist who's nosed her way into the investigation . . . and into Nathan's fantasies.

To reporter Nicole Hutton, exposing a ruthless, twisted criminal who abuses vulnerable teens isn't just a job. In fact, this story has become very personal, especially now that she's gotten tangled up with sexy Nathan Fox. But before she can break the story, and help rescue a missing girl, she and Nathan must brave the labyrinth of Vegas's dark underbelly . . . where the heat simmering between them is about to burst into flames.

It's been awhile since I've read a Janelle Denison book. This one wasn't too bad. Nathan and Nicole are instantly attracted to each other after meeting at a speed dating event. Both believe the instance will be one night only, until Nathan's case brings them back together again.

As with most Denison stories, the sex scenes are frequent and well detailed. Not as risque as her Wilde series, though. For me, that's a bonus. The kidnapping case that the characters are working on plays out well throughout with Nathan and Nicole going undercover to extract a teenage runaway. Denison does a great job pacing the story, but it ends without any true excitement. The pages after the initial ending seem to have been added for an extra thrill. The characters each have backgrounds that relate to the case and they're brought up accordingly. Nicole's issues were repeated a few times too many, but eh, I'll let it slide. I could have used a bit more emotion between Nicole and Nathan, but I'm not going to be too picky after all the duds I've been reading lately.

As I haven't kept up with Denison, I'm not sure if this is the first in the TRG books or if it's already started. I wouldn't mind continuing with the series, especially to read about bartender Sean O'Brien. If you think you have similar tastes, go ahead and give it a read.

Monday, February 7, 2011

i'm really not grumpy.

In addition to the reviews already posted, a few more not so nice reviews are coming up. I'm not a grumpy person and I love to read. Love it. I have just been unlucky enough to have read a bunch of unfortunate stories. Furthermore, the ones that I have liked were for the review site. And, as I've mentioned before, that means I can't review them here.

I received three books today that are unrelated to the site. I'm sure they'll make their way here. I already have the next few reviews planned out, so these won't make an appearance until March, at least.

But I'm trying! Please believe that. :c)

Wednesday, February 2, 2011


It's time to lock, load, and hit the road...

Once, while half-human Cal Leandros and his brother Niko were working on a case, an ancient gypsy queen gave them a good old-fashioned backstabbing. Now, just as their P.I. business hits a slow patch, the old crone shows up with a job.

She wants them to find a stolen coffin that contains a blight that makes the Black Death seem like a fond memory. But the thief has already left town, so the Leandros brothers are going on the road. And if they're very, very lucky, there might even be a return trip...
This review contains spoilers.

I can not say, in good conscience, that this was a good book. It was without a doubt the worst of the series so far. As I regard Deathwish (the book immediately preceeding this one) as the best of the series, I felt completely let down and disappointed.

Very quickly, I will run down the problems I had with Roadkill. First, it was a long, drawn out story with no boom at the end. Cal, Niko, Robin, Delilah, Rafferty, and Catcher (Rafferty's cousin) are hunting down Suyolak, the Plague of the World. When they finally get to him with all of 1 page left (I'm exaggerating, but really it might've been 20-30), the battle is short and, at the risk of being redundant, boring. Not your typical Cal + Nik type of showdown.

Another problem I had is directly related to the first. This installment seemed to serve no purpose other than informing us of the progression of relationships. We learn about Cal + Delilah, Robin + Ishiah, and Rafferty + Catcher. And Cal's flirtation with his Auphe side. Otherwise, the book seemed pointless.

Next up - Delilah. I've been passive, indifferent even about this particular character. I should have hated her, because of her part in the continued absence of Georgina (where is Georgina?!), but I decided to let it go. Well, no more. I don't like her and I wish one of the characters would put her out of my misery already. Seriously.

The ending was just... there. My expectations for Roadkill were high, I can admit that. Very, very high. Partly because I loved Deathwish so much and partly because readers seemed really into this book (or so I gleaned from Twitter). Apparently, Thurman's goal was to make people cry. Me? I rolled my eyes at the end. I have waited almost a year to read this book. Because I feared character death or some tragic situation (neither occurred) , I waited until I got my hands on Blackout before reading Roadkill. Well, guess what? I need not have spent that time waiting. There was absolutely no need for me to do so.

[insert sigh here] Since I have a TBR pile a mile high, I'm sliding Blackout down a few spots. The only thing that might have made me rush to read the next book is the fact that Cal frighteningly becomes more Auphe in this book. I mean, he's turning into a true killer. But even that is just not enough. As I write this, I am starting a book I am almost certain I won't like. [insert second sigh here] If you have a book suggestion for me, please share. I've been reading nothing but duds here! Save me!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

here to stay.

Mandy Pajeck had a tough childhood. Now 28, she feels responsible for the accident that took her younger brother's sight. But his complete reliance on her care is making them both miserable. When she meets handsome Zach Harrigan and his mini guide horse, she thinks she's found the ticket to her brother's happiness-and maybe her own.

Get ready, because this is not going to be pleasant... much like the book. This has got to be one of the most boring books I've read in quite some time. Absolutely, positively boring. Just a yawnfest.

The first problem was that it reads like a general fiction novel instead of a romance. There was so much focus and attention paid to Mandy and her brother and Zach and his training that the relationship suffered for it. Mandy's brother is a complete and utter brat who magically changes his ways and still annoyed me.

It's pretty sad that Catherine Anderson's books have gotten this bad. I truly enjoyed most of the books in the Coulter stories with the exception of Tucker's story. And surprise, surprise, Tucker's wife's family is the focus of the new series. I am so glad that not only did I NOT pay for this, but it was not required for me to review this for a website. Because the only good thing I can say about it was that I liked Zach. That's it!

I can't imagine anyone liking this book, really. I'm not the only one who feels like this. I read the reviews on Good Reads and the few of us who got early copies of this novel feel the same. Anderson's writing is lacking and the book is dull.

Friday, January 14, 2011

the loner.

He's every woman's fantasy. She's every bodyguard's nightmare...

Lucas "Huck" Finn is thrilled to join elite Ranger Security--until he learns his new assignment is to babysit heiress Sapphira Stravos a doggy-toting debutante who's driving everyone crazy. Still he can't help but feel there's more to Sapphira than meets the eye. And what's meeting the eye is damn hard to resist....

Thanks to a few stupid threatening letters Sapphira Stravos is having her style cramped big-time! How is she going to look after the charities she secretly supports? Although she'd managed to ditch her former jailers this guy isn't budging. Still having a guy as hot as Huck around has its perks. After all if he has to guard her body he might as well get to enjoy it too....

I warned you that another Blaze was on its way. What can I say? They're a guilty pleasure. This one was pretty good. It's the second of the Ranger Security books that I've read. I liked this one better than The Specialist. I felt like you could see the two characters falling in love more here than with the other story. It was also less serious than the other one, definitely funnier. And I do so adore a funny romance. All in all, it's an easy way to spend a couple hours.

And the cover is delicious. ;c)

Saturday, January 8, 2011

touched by an alien.

Marketing manager Katherine "Kitty" Katt steps into the middle of what appears to be a domestic dispute turned ugly. And it only gets uglier when the man turns into a winged monster, straight out of a grade-Z horror movie, and goes on a killing spree. Though Kitty should probably run away, she springs into action to take the monster down. In the middle of the chaos a handsome hunk named Jeff Martini appears, sent by the "agency" to perform crowd control. He's Kitty's kind of guy, no matter what planet he's from. And from now on, for Kitty, things are going to be sexy, dangerous, wild, and out of this world.

I'm very picky about what kind of urban fantasy I read. There's a lot of paranormal and whatnot out there that I know I won't like (most paranormal romances - Lara Adrian, Christine Feehan, JR Ward, etc) so I take my time choosing ones that I think I will enjoy (Dresden Files, Cal Leandros). So I was wary of this series when my sister first suggested it to me. She got this one shortly after it came out and I refused to read it. However, the second book came out this month and after she read it, she mentioned it to me again. As I had just finished reading and reviewing a stack of books, I figured I'd go for it since I didn't have anything pressing to read. I am so glad that I did.

Touched by an Alien is ridiculous. And I mean that in the most fantastic way possible. Gini Koch has created a sexy, brainy alien race that has come to Earth to help save us from parasitic monsters. Sounds outrageous, right? It is. Amazingly so. There are corny alien jokes, purposely cheesy come on lines, and a lot of evil monster butt kicking. One of my favorite things about the alien race is that while both the men and the women are supremely gorgeous, the women are usually smarter and are the scientists of their kind. As such, they are attracted more to smart humans than to the sexy men from their planet and don't really find those men all that gorgeous. Love it! I also love how Kitty comes in out of nowhere with ideas and suggestions previously unthought of and how she seems to be constantly giving them a "why haven't you ever thought of this?" side eye.

It's hard for me to explain everything about the book without giving it away. I should mention if you're a pure romance fan, there's a relationship between Jeff and Kitty that gets a great amount of attention but is not really the focus. However, my sister is a hardcore romance fan and she admits that it's more of my kind of book than hers, but she enjoys it anyway.

Monday, January 3, 2011

hero at large.

Most readers know Janet Evanvoich from the Stephanie Plum series, not from her romances. In the late 80s and early 90s, she wrote romances under a different name and, thanks to the popularity of her current books, they have been re-issued. Here at Large is one of those titles. Chris Nelson is a former competitive ice skater who now teaches while raising her young daughter. When her car breaks down on the side of the road, a ruggedly handsome man comes to her aid and she ends up breaking his arm. Over the course of the story with another broken bone tossed in, the two fall in love. Everything is great until Chris finds out that Ken's been hiding something from her.

This is actually my second attempt at reading an Evanovich romance and it will be my last. There is so much I didn't like about this story. It is written only from Chris' POV which bothers me when reading romances. The addition of Aunt Edna is clearly meant for humor, but fell far short of that. Instead, the character seemed fake and forced into it. Chris and Ken are in love with each other about 50 or so pages in and pretty much coast along until she finds out his Big Secret. There was practially no character development in this book, especially with Ken. It was just bland, boring, and a waste of my time. I could've been reading a good book!

However, I can see people liking it. Evanovich has a strong fan base who appear to not notice what seems to me to be a complete lack of improvement in her writing and storytelling abilities. Those two reasons are why I stopped reading the Plum series at book nine. If you liked her other romances, I'm sure this is just more of the same and you'll probably enjoy it. Same goes if you don't like her other ones. Don't bother with this one, it doesn't get better.