Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Re-Read Challange, Review - Shadow Touch

Title: Shadow Touch
Author: Marjorie M. Liu
Publishing Date: February 2006
Genre: Paranormal
Rating: A
Sensuality: Warm

Shadow Touch is my favorite book in Majorie M. Liu's Dirk and Steele Series. It is the second book of the series and I fell in love with Artur and Elena. Elena Baxter is kidnapped one night while she is volunteering in the children's cancer ward. See, Elena has the special ability to heal people's bodies. Apparently, someone knows her secret and they decide to kidnap her and run experiments on her. Meanwhile, Artur Loginov works for a detective agency, Dirk and Steele. This agency employs people who have special abilities. Artur can sense a person's memories by touching an object they have touched. He too, is kidnapped from his home and brought to the same facility that Elena is at. There they forge an unbreakable bond and work together to escape their captors.

I love everything about this book and it works for me on so many levels. First of all Elena and Artur are wonderful characters. Artur is so damaged from his tragic childhood. He had to do things to survive that no child should ever have to face. Artur really believes that he is not a good man because of his past and the things he has done. Because of his gift that he uses to find missing people and solve murders, he is constantly seeing the worst in people. It's as if he has lost his faith in humanity. His own and others. Then he meets Elena and everything changes for him in the matter of a few moments.

The way Liu writes Artur and Elena's story it is so poignant and touching. Often times I find stories that take place over a couple of days rushed and the romance lacking a certain believability. This is not the case at all with Shadow Touch. It is like two old souls coming together. Liu is able to pen and incredibly touching love story between these two people. Huge bonus to her for being able to do this without the characters mentally lusting for each other.

All the characters are well drawn, but Liu is able to leave somethings a mystery. For example, there is a fascinating, ambiguous character Rictor. Elena and Artur sense that he is not human, but just what is he? Readers will be wondering right along with the characters, yet Liu leaves some questions unanswered in regards to Rictor. Not to worry, I know for a fact that Rictor appears in other books later in the series.

I read this book for Nath's Re-Read Challenge. I originally gave it a B+ rating, but having read it a second time I think it is worthy of an A grade. Really, this incredible book just hooked me and it stands the test of time! To view a list of participants for this month and their reviews click here.

This book can be purchased in print or kindle format from Amazon.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Review - The Trials of the Honorable F. Darcy

Title: The Trials of the Honorable F. Darcy
Author: Sara Angelini
Publishing Date: October 2009
Genre: Contemporary
Rating: C+
Sensuality: Hot

The Trials of the Honorable F. Darcy is a modernized version of Jane Austin's Pride and Prejudice. Elizabeth Bennett is a lawyer and she represents her clients often times before Judge Fitzwilliam Darcy. Lizzie's first impression of Judge Darcy is not a good one. She thinks he is a stuffy bastard and wants nothing to do with him. Darcy on the other hand is intrigued by Ms. Bennett and is quite shocked by her dismissal of him. Fate has other plans for these two as they keep running into each other because Elizabeth's sister, Jane and Darcy's best friend Charles are dating.

The same cast of characters evident in the classic story of Pride and Prejudice have been reinvented to reflect the more modern 21st century. At first, I found the more modern version of Darcy and Elizabeth to be quite shocking. Darcy throws around f-bombs left and right and he is having sex with Caroline Bingley. In the beginning, he is definitely not the man of the hour and Lizzie has every right to be turned off by him. Lizzie is quite honest with Darcy and does not sugar coat her feelings toward him. The reader has to wonder how they will fall in love. It does not look good.

Darcy and Lizzie wind up at a conference in England and spend time getting to know each other better. Darcy becomes more laid back and Lizzie lets go of her hostility. The nice thing about this story is it really is all about these two characters falling in love. There are no bullets flying, no side plots other than Jane and Bingley, and the focus is completely on Lizzie and Darcy working through their relationship.

Spin off books from Pride and Prejudice can be hit or miss for me. This one falls somewhere in the middle. The beginning was a little slow. The pacing seemed a little off and the characters were prickly, but once the story got going the problems seemed to work themselves out. As I said before, it was nice to read a book that focused on the characters falling in love. Readers don't necessarily have to have read Pride and Prejudice to read this book. It stands alone completely.

Here is what others had to say:

The Book Girl
A Bibliophile's Bookshelf
Leslie's Psyche

This book can be purchased in print format from Amazon.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Review - At Graves End

Title: At Graves End
Author: Jeaniene Frost
Publishing Date: January 2009
Genre: Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Romance
Rating: B+
Sensuality: Hot

Cat Crawfield is back in Jeaniene Frost's third book in the Night Huntress series. Cat is half vampire/half human and is a secret government agent fighting against vampires. She leads a team of elite men, ghouls and one vampire, her husband Bones. Cat's cover has been blown. Vampires from around the world are aware of her existence and have nicknamed her the Red Reaper as she has red hair and efficiently eliminates vampires with her silver stakes. Her life is in danger when two vampire clans end up at war with one another and Cat is caught in the crossfire.

Once again Jeaniene Frost delivers a fun, yet tense romp into the world of the undead. Her writing flows smoothly and she has a wicked sense of humor. Cat and Bones are now in an established relationship. Their relationship is solid, but the world around them seems to be coming unglued. Tate is still in love with Cat and making it clear to the whole world. I really like the direction that Frost has taken with his character. Readers will be very sympathetic to his unrequited love and be rooting for him to find some peace with it.

I think one of the highlights for me was the change in Cat's mother. At the beginning of the series Cat's mom firmly believed that all vampires were evil creatures and all should be killed. Now that she has met Bones and other undead individuals, her eyes have been opened. Just because they are vampire doesn't necessarily make them evil. There is a really funny exchange between Cat and her mom after Cat and Bones drop by on her mom unexpectedly. I wanted to add it to my review, but felt like I might spoil it for some readers. Just suffice it to say that I laughed my ass off over that scene.

I am firmly engrossed in this series. I love the characters, the world building and the stories themselves. I highly recommend Jeaniene Frost for readers who enjoy paranormal romance or urban fantasy. Don't delay, get started on these books pronto!

Here is what others had to say:

Flames Rising
Books and Things
The Good, The Bad, The Unread
Darque Reviews
Babbling About Books and More
The Book Girl
Brooke Reviews
Good and Bad Books & Every Book in Between

This book can be purchased in print and kindle format from Amazon.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Review - Tasting Fear

Title: Tasting Fear
Author: Shannon McKenna
Publishing Date: July 2009
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Rating: D
Sensuality: Hot

Three sisters each find love while trying to discover who murdered their foster mother in this collection of novellas. In Outside the Limit, Nancy meets carpenter Liam Knightly on the stoop of her Mother's house. Before she died she had hired Liam to do some remodeling. In Ask For More, Nell answers an employment ad requesting a poet to help with a video game. She discovers that her new employer Duncan is none other than the gorgeous man who she waits on at the diner where she works. Then in Ready or Not, Vivi goes to live on the property of Jack Kendrick, a former military operative and good friend of Duncan's. Vivi needs protection from the killer who has yet to be apprehended.

The biggest issue I had with Tasting Fear was that is was the same story told three times, only the names were changed. The women all had the same personality, just interchange a different focus on art. One was a poet, one a sculptor and the other a musician. The men were all grunting, cave dwellers with super-sized penises, that once they found out their woman was in danger wanted to control every aspect of their lives in order to protect them. It really was the same story told over and over again.

Because these stories were short, no real character development was able to be done. The characters very quickly fell in love and it seemed staged and unrealistic. This time McKenna's writing lacked emotion and failed to hook me. The story would have had much more appeal had it only been one couple as the focal point. Then that couple would have had the proper time to develop their relationship in a reasonable and believable time period. I am sorry to say that I can not recommend this book. Fans of Mckenna, I suggest reading an old favorite to pass the time until she publishes a full length novel.

Here is what others had to say:

The Good, The Bad, The Unread
Book Binge
Romance Book Scene
Leontine's Book Realm

And if you are a glutton for punishment, this book can be purchased in print or kindle format at Amazon.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Upcoming October Releases!

I am looking forward to some good books this month. Not too many, but more than I wanted last month. Who am I kidding? It's a lot of books! I am noticing a pattern too. Out of the 10 books I listed 6 of them are paranormal/UF. I hope I don't get burned out on this genre. It just seems like they keep coming out with more and more of these types of books.

Hathaway Series Book #3

Fallen Angels Series Book #1

Dark Days Series Book #3
Urban Fantasy

The Edge Series Book #1

future-set fantasy trilogy Book #2

Women of the Otherworld Series Book #10
Urban Fantasy




The Guardian Series Book #8

Which books are you looking forward to this month?

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Review - Never Love a Lawman

Title: Never Love a Lawman
Author: Jo Goodman
Publishing Date: September 2009
Genre: Western
Rating: B
Sensuality: Warm

Rachel Bailey escapes to the small mining town of Reidsville, Colorado to carve out a new life for herself. She mainly keeps to herself designing and sewing clothes for the town inhabitants. Through the plans of a generous, yet manipulative man she becomes the proud owner of a stretch of railroad and a silver mine. The catch is that she must marry the town Sheriff in order to inherit the property. Rachael is between a rock and a hard place because the town is dependent upon the mine and the railroad, yet even though she is attracted to Wyatt she does not want to give up her independence.

Rachel Baily has some skeletons in her closet. When readers are first introduced to her they are not sure of her backstory. Wyatt the sheriff assumes she was the mistress of a wealthy, older man and Rachel does nothing to disabuse him of this notion. Of course, the reader will quickly pick up that Wyatt is wrong in his assumptions. The way Goodman slowly reveals information about Wyatt and Rachel is very nicely done and keeps the reader guessing about these two characters. Goodman's strength is in her well developed characters, even the secondary ones, and excellent dialogue.

Both Wyatt and Rachel are appealing characters. Rachel is slightly prickly, but not overtly so and she is well balanced. I found Wyatt more appealing with his honesty and keen insight into human behavior. Wyatt and Rachel have very good chemistry together and they work through their differences well.

Never Love a Lawman, while a good book was not my favorite by Goodman. I think this may have been due to the lackluster plot. I didn't really understand why Rachel had to marry Wyatt. The reasoning behind is seemed pretty flimsy to me. I just didn't feel like the story gripped me like other books by Goodman have in the past. That's not to say this was a bad book, just not her best (in my humble opinion)!

Here is what others had to say:

Monkey Bear Reviews
Impressions of a Reader
Book Pushers Anonymous
Dear Author

This book can be purchased in print or kindle format from Amazon.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Check me out!!

Happy Birthday to ME!

Today, I am spending the day with my family at Disney World! I get in for free because is't my birthday. I live about 40 minutes away, so how could I pass up that opportunity? I am 32 but don't feel a day over 22!! That's the secret, right?!

I have a guest post up over at Access Romance Reader's Gab. Feel free to visit. Let me know how you feel about book summaries. Do you buy a book based on the cover summary? Let's discuss it!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Series Sunday - Night Huntress by Jeaniene Frost

Jeaniene Frost has written an incredible vampire series. Yes, I know. So many of you are tired of vampires. It's been done. It's becoming monotonous. Well, I felt the same way until I read Halfway to the Grave. I had been hearing good things on the blogosphere about this series and endeavoured to move it up in my TBR (Too Be Read) pile. I did and I can honestly say, I was not disappointed!

This series is narrated by Cat Crawfield. She is half vampire - half human and an anomaly in her world; the only one of her existence. This series is narrated by her point of view. At first, Cat starts out killing vampires because she believes them all to be evil and twisted, unnatural creatures. Then she meets Bones. Bones is a master vampire who is intrigued by Cat's heritage and trains her to fight better. He himself is a bounty hunter for his own kind. He forcibly makes Cat take his side.

Cat learns that not all vampires are evil. And vampires are not the only creatures that go bump in the night. As the series gains momentum and becomes more elaborate, so does the world building and plot. The biggest draw for readers will be Cat and Bones' personalities. Both are sarcastic, endearing and funny. There are many quotable passages and Jeaniene Frost's writing leaps from the pages. This series has just begun and I for one can't wait to see where she is going with it. Bring it on, Ms. Frost! I am here for the long haul!

I highly recommend this series be read in order as each book build off the previous one.

Series Reading Order:
1. Halfway to the Grave
2. One Foot in the Grave
3. At Graves End
4. Destined for an Early Grave
(a). Unbound (anthology)
5. TBA
6. TBA
7. TBA

There will also be spin off books that will be stand alones that take place in the Night Huntress world, except the books will star a different protagonist. These new protagonists will be characters that readers of the series will already be familiar with.

1. First Drop of Crimson (Spade) Release Date: Feb 2010
2. Night Huntress World (Mencheres) Release Date: Sept 2010

Friday, September 18, 2009

Review - Hunting Ground

Title: Hunting Ground
Author: Patricia Briggs
Publishing Date: August 2009
Genre: Paranormal
Rating: A-
Sensuality: Warm

Anna and Charles' story continues with the second book in Patricia Briggs Alpha and Omega series. Hunting Ground picks up soon after where the first book Cry Wolf left off. Anna and Charles are living together among the Aspen Creek Pack. Charles is the son of Bran, the Marrok of the North American werewolves and also Bran's second in command or enforcer. Charles has the dirty job of carrying out Bran's orders, which often means executions of disorderly werewolves. Bran has decided to come out to the public about the existence of werewolves. A meeting will be held in Seattle that the European werewolves will attend. Charles will go in his father's place.

Patricia Briggs is a master storyteller. Even in an industry flooded with paranormal/shapeshifter romances, she is able to keep her series fresh and interesting. Charles and Anna are strong characters whose many layers are peeled slowly like an onion. Where Cry Wolf focuses more on Anna, Hunting Ground focuses more on Charles. Charles often keeps to himself staying to the perimeter of social interaction. He does this as a way to keep a distance between himself and the other pack members, because one day he may have to take their life in following Bran's orders. What the pack members don't realize is that Charles is a warm, sensitive and loving man, but they only see his cold, enforcer side.

The world Briggs has created mostly mirrors our own. Just thrown in crazy, supernatural creatures like wolves, witches and the Fae and now you are in another reality. The beauty to Brigg's writing is that even though these creatures may be supernatural, they have human characteristics. They hate. They love. They lust. They fear. This gives the series a more realistic feel to it.

I am loving this series. Patricia Briggs is an awesome writer! Her writing is flawless and her characters are realistic and memorable. A reader can't help but fall in love with this world she has created. Bravo Ms. Briggs!

Here is what others had to say:

Breezing Through
Darque Reviews
Tracy's Place
Smexy Books
Erotic Horizon
The Book Smugglers

This book can be purchased in print or kindle format from Amazon.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Review - Prime Time

Title: Prime Time
Author: Hank Phillippi Ryan
Publishing Date: July 2009
Genre: Mystery
Rating: B
Sensuality: Kisses

Prime Time is the first book in a new mystery series by Hank Phillippi Ryan. Charlotte McNally is an Emmy winning investigative reporter for a leading Boston television station. At age 46 she feels she is loosing her edge. This is a big source of stress for her as she has devoted her whole life to being a journalist. She isn't married and she has no children. When she thinks about it, she doesn't have many close friends either.

Sweeps is coming up and she needs a humdinger of a story to present to the station or she fears she will be fired. With the help of her producer Franklin Parrish, she begins investigating the death of a man that was labeled a suicide, who worked for a pharmaceuticals company . This same pharmaceutical company is being investigated for fraud. She wonders if there is a connection.

At first when I started reading Prime Time and I realized that the heroine was 46 years old I felt my red flag go up. I don't typically read books with the heroine older than myself (32) and I wasn't sure if I would be able to relate to her. Turns out I didn't need to worry because Charlotte or Charlie as her friends call her, is a sympathetic character. Sure she is older, but older isn't necessarily bad in this case. I would think of it like a fine wine, after a few years the wine's flavors become bolder and more fragrant. Charlie grows on you. She is a good mixture of sarcasm and vulnerability topped off with a generous helping of whit and intelligence.

It is very obvious that Ms. Ryan is an expert in the field of television reporting. Her descriptions of newsroom antics and politics are very vivid and ring true. Also, the mystery was very creative and was executed with precision. I found myself engrossed as Charlie uncovered clues leading her one step closer to unraveling it all. As far as the romance is concerned there was a little, but probably not enough to satisfy fans of romance. I think as long as you are a fan of romantic suspense or mystery and readers keep in mind that the romance is not the focus, then they will enjoy this book. I will definitely be reading the next book Face Time in the future.

Here is what others had to say:

Long and Short Reviews
My Thoughts...your thoughts?
Romance B(u)y the Book
Single Titles

This book can be purchased in print or kindle format from Amazon.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Review - On a Wicked Dawn, TBR Challenge

Title: On a Wicked Dawn
Author: Stephanie Laurens
Publication Date: 2002
Genre: Historical
Rating: C+
Sensuality: Hot/Burning

Amelia Cynster's twin sister has recently married and now she knows it is time to put her plans into motion. She has always loved Lucien Ashford, a good friend of the family's. She has known him since she was a little girl. While Lucian is fond of Amelia, she knows that he does not share the same feelings for her. However, she does believe that under the right circumstances it would be possible for Lucian to grow to love her too. She knows that Lucian is lacking the funds that he will need for his sisters' coming out. She proposes a marriage of convenience that with her large dowry will be sufficient to solve all of Lucian's money problems. He agrees to the marriage, although he just recently managed to solve his own money problems for himself and decides that marrying Amelia fits him just right.

Right away Lucian and Amelia both are hiding something from the other and that is they both are in love with the other without the other actually knowing it. So they both set out to seduce the other in the hopes of making the other fall in love as well. Sounds convoluted? Well it is. Although, I enjoyed this plot device because the story really focused on the romance between the characters. Another bonus was that this book was very sensual in nature, so sensual in fact that I had a hard time rating it. I was tempted to give it a burning rating because of the numerous sex scenes, but the language was far from graphic, more like subtle and poetic. I did feel that the story at 420 pages, could have been scaled down by about 100. After a while, I felt things were too drawn out and became repetitive.

Aside from the main conflict of misinformation between Lucian and Amelia, there was also a mystery involving a thief. The mystery was slightly cliched in that the big reveal ended with Amelia in danger and Lucian rescuing her. I really can't take points off for that because I enjoy it when the hero comes to the heroine's rescue, though Amelia put herself in danger after having a TSTL (Too Stupid Too Live) moment. For the most part this was an enjoyable read even if it was drawn out a tad too much for my liking.

On a Wicked Dawn was part of Keishon's TBR Challenge. You can find a list of everybody who is participating here. This month's theme was new to you author or an author you haven't read in a long time. I was scheduled to read a book by Lorraine Heath, but I opted for Stephanie Laurens and her famous Cynster series. Devil's Bride, which is the first book of the Cynster series is a favorite of mine.

Here is what others had to say:

Thrifty Reader
Smart Bitches, Trashy Books

This book can be purchased in print or kindle format from Amazon.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Awesome Discovery!!

I was reading a joint review that Ames did at Breezing Through on the second book in The Vampire Diaries. I have been hearing a lot about this series because the CW has made it into a teen drama that just premiered last week. My husband even mentioned it to me because there was a write up in his favorite magazine, Entertainment Weekly about it. He asked me if I was going to read this series because he knows I have been into the other wildly popular vampire series, True Blood that is based on the Sookie Stackhouse books by Charlaine Harris. But I told him no because this series is YA (young adult) and I generally don't read YA books.

The funny thing is when reading Ames's review something struck me as very familiar about this series. The characters' names and the love triangle between two brothers seemed especially familiar. There was a vampire series that I had read and loved when I was in high school but couldn't remember the name of the books or the author. I had taken a hiatus from reading for about 8 years when I was in college and had met my husband. It wasn't until after my first child was three that I started reading again. The first books I read were old favorites from high school - those that I could remember that is. These vampire books were one's I couldn't remember, but wished I had.

So being the investigative reporter that I am, I went and looked up The Vampire Diaries author's backlist and sure enough these books were first published in 1991 when I was a freshman in high school. This is absolutely amazing to have come across this information because I LOVED, LOVED those books. I just couldn't remember who wrote them. I think this might even be better than finding a twenty dollar bill in your coat pocket from last winter!

Ljane Smith also wrote a series called The Secret Circle. Instead of being about vampires this teen series is about witches and it is also very good. I remember that series too - which is pretty amazing if you realize that was over 15 years ago! You can visit Smith's webpage here to find out more about her books.

I may just have to go back and re-read these books! What a fun surprise!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Review - Werewolf Sanctuary

Title: Werewolf Sanctuary
Author: Eva Gordon
Publishing Date: May 2009
Genre: Paranormal
Rating: B-
Sensuality: Hot

Werewolf Sanctuary is the first book in a new series by Eva Gordon titled, The Wolf Maiden Chronicles. Dr. Madeline Styles, a veterinarian is an expert in wolf diseases. She has just returned from Ethiopia where she was doing research to find that her fiance has left her for his secretary. Wyatt Weylin is the alpha werewolf of the Montana pack. For some unknown reason the cubs of his pack get sick and revert back to their wolf selves never to return to their human forms. He seeks an expert on wolf diseases to find a cure for this mysterious illness. When Wyatt and Madeline meet at a conference the sparks fly almost immediately. Soon he discovers the reason for this is that Maddie is a wolf maiden, one of the few human women who can mate with alpha werewolves.

I happen to love a good werewolf story, so when I heard about Werewolf Sanctuary it sounded right up my ally. For the most part this was a good solid read. The beginning of the book started out strong with Maddie and Wyatt meeting. The sparks of attraction between the two characters fly. Wyatt even has an opportunity to rescue Maddie from a gang of thugs. Here we see just how much control Wyatt has over his wolf instincts. Yum! Wyatt is an irresistible hero. Maddie is no slouch herself. She takes the revelation that there are werewolves in this world very well. No simpering maiden is she. She accepts Wyatt's romantic advances right away.

Where the story takes an unexpected turn is in the pacing of the book. Like I stated above, the beginning is very good, but about a third into the book things start to slow down. Then just after about the halfway point in the book there is a huge showdown and what I would call the climax of the story occurs. Only the book isn't over like you would expect. There are still several more chapters to go. I think if the suspense portion of the book had been spaced out closer to the end it would have made a bigger impact. Also, there is a lot going on in this book, yet it is relatively short. I would have liked to see more interaction between Maddie and Wyatt developing their relationship. The development gets cut short because of the pack problems Wyatt and Maddie have to deal with.

I feel that this new series has promise. I could tell that Ms. Gordon has done her research on wolves and has integrated that knowledge into her story. I recommend Werewolf Sanctuary to fans of werewolf romances.

This book can be purchased in print or kindle format from Amazon.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Review - My Wicked Marquess

Title: My Wicked Marquess
Author: Gaelen Foley
Publishing Date: July 2009
Genre: Historical
Rating: B-
Sensuality: Hot

My Wicked Marquess is the first book in a new series by Gaelen Foley, The Inferno Club. The Inferno Club refers to a group of men who outwardly give the appearance of lazy men who only care about debauchery, but in reality they are working to shut down a group of men who are out for world dominance. For thousands of years these men have lived to protect the rest of the population who are otherwise unaware that a threat even exists. Max, the Marquess of Rotherstone has completed his mission and is now free to resume his life and live it as he sees fit. He needs an heir so he must marry. He enlists the help of his solicitor who makes a list of five of the most eligible women. Of these women Daphne Starling is one who catches his eye.

Daphne's mother died when she was a young girl and her father has indulged her most of her life. You would think she would be spoiled, but luckily for the reader she is not. She is actually a very thoughtful individual and one of her projects is raising funds for an orphanage for the more unfortunate children in London. Max is drawn to her good heart even though she seems to have a bit of scandal attached to her name. Another had asked for her hand and marriage and she refused him. He took the rejection badly and called her a jilt. Max dismissed it and ironically enough the jilted man turned out to be none other than his childhood Nemesis.

My Wicked Marquess was an okay read. At times I found it to be overly sentimental and sappy. Some may even go as far as to call the prose "purple". I think that the characters were well developed and enjoyable. I also found the plot in dealing with the Inferno Club quite interesting. I just found the romance to be on the flowery, poetic side which isn't quite to my liking. Don't get me wrong, Max and Daphne did have issues and they actually work through them. I will be giving the next book in this series a chance, as I do believe the series has promise.

Here is what others had to say:

Heidenkind's Hideaway
The Good, The Bad, The Unread
Book Reviews by Evil Cliffie
Rip My Bodice

This book can be purchased in print or kindle format from Amazon.

Status Update: Lack of Posting

I am sure a few of you have been wondering about the lack of posts up on my blog this week. I had been having problems with my Internet provider for some time now. It has actually gotten so bad that my husband got froggy and decided to do something about it. So he shopped around and decided on Bright House, which is a cable company that also provides phone and Internet service. They have a really good package combining all three, so that is who we went with. Unfortunately, the conversion process has not gone very smoothly. They were scheduled to come out on Tuesday to install everything but because of poor communication the service man was not able to complete his task because the prep work hadn't been completed.

Needless to say my husband was PISSED!!! If this was indicative of how great our new service was going to be, then he didn't want any part of it. So he called and chewed them out, letting this company know that there poor service was not acceptable. So they promised to fix the situation and gave us a DVR upgrade and one month of free service. So my husband was appeased and they are now scheduled to come out today.

Last night I get home and neither our Internet or our phones are working, but we did have TV. So my husband calls our phone company wanting to know why we don't have any phone service. Basically, it boils down to the mishap from earlier in the week when our service was supposed to have been switched but wasn't.

Anyway, the reason I am telling you all this is that as soon as we get our new Internet provider, hopefully (keep you fingers crossed) I shouldn't have any more problems with the Internet going out and I will be able to post at my leisure, whenever the hell I want! I actually have been reading and reviewing so I have plenty to post. Keep checking back!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Review - Hot Pursuit

Title: Hot Pursuit
Author: Suzanne Brockmann
Publishing Date: August 2009
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Rating: B
Sensuality: Hot

Hot Pursuit is the 15th book in Suzanne Brockmann's Troubleshooter series. Anyone who is familiar with my blog knows how much I love this series. Brockmann has gone back to two of fans' favorite characters, Alyssa and Sam. Their story continues as they are now happily married with an infant son. Alyssa and Sam both work for a private firm Troubleshooters Inc. which was founded by Sam's former SEAL Chief Tom Paoletti. Alyssa takes an assignment to provide protection to a young congress woman who has received threatening notes recently. Things take a sinister turn when a heart is found in the bottom of her secretary's desk.

Suzanne Brockmann is known for her multiple story arcs and Hot Pursuit is no exception. This time Danny Gillman, or Gilligan as his SEAL brothers refer to him meets Jennilyn who is an aid to the congresswoman, Maria. He pursues her for a two week fling while he is in New York with no strings attached. Jennilyn is used to men ignoring her while they trip over their tongues after they lay eyes on Maria. So when Danny approaches Jennilyn she isn't exactly sure how to handle him.

Hot Pursuit is typical Brockmann with great dialogue and interesting characters, yet it definitely wasn't my favorite by her. Part if this was due to the fact that I didn't really like Danny. I hated the way he approached Jennilyn. It wasn't romantic, it was logical and cold and quite frankly, a big turn off. But their story will continue in Brockmann's next book and with faith I am sure she can turn Danny into real "Hero" material. He just didn't have it in this book. He was too selfish by far, and has some growing to do.

Alyssa and the killer portion of the book went well. Sometimes the killer narrated the story, but they were brief and spaced far apart. One complaint I had was the way the cover summary mislead my expectations of the book. This is the part that I am scratching my head over:

But then, while investigating a suspect, Alyssa is ambushed and suddenly finds herself imprisoned by The Dentist. Cut off from everyone she loves and relies on, Alyssa must call upon all of her strength and skill to survive this final confrontation with the sadistic monster, meanwhile trusting that her Troubleshooter teammates, led by her beloved Sam, will reach her before it’s too late.

For me these two sentences ramped up the suspense because every time Alyssa was by herself, I kept waiting her to get abducted. She does, but let's just say it was misleading.

Brockmann wrote an Author's Note at the end of the book. In it she states that she will have one more Troubleshooters book where Izzy and Gillman will get their happy endings. But she may not write anymore after that. I will be sad if that is the case. I want Lopez to find someone!

Here is what others had to say:

Book Junkie
Thrifty Reader
Romance Novel TV
Book Binge
imagic Reflections
Leslie's Psyche
Arch's Bookland

This book can be purchased in print and kindle format from Amazon.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Review - Talk Me Down

Title: Talk Me Down
Author: Victoria Dahl
Publishing Date: January 2009
Genre: Contemporary
Rating: B-
Sensuality: Hot

Molly Jennings finds herself back in her home town of Tumble Creek, Colorado after her Aunt leaves her an old farm house. Since Molly is a writer of erotic romance - which she keeps secret from everyone - she can live anywhere. She discovers after running into Ben Lawson in the grocery store, that maybe she just never got over the crush she had on him. Wouldn't it be fun to shore up with him for the winter? She sets about to rekindle an old flame, but Ben wants more than Molly is willing to give. He wants to know all about her and that means what she does for a living. The catch is Molly can't seem to trust anyone. Will she be able to trust Ben?

Talk Me Down is a witty, sexy contemporary with a delicious hero, Ben. He is smart, sexy and caring, but a rule follower and has a somewhat serious demeanor. Molly on the other hand, is all about fun and games. She seems to get the best of him with her flirtatious and outrageous manner. Sometimes I found this to be entertaining, but at a certain level I also found it irritating. I didn't like the fact that Molly wouldn't trust Ben with her secrets. She was constantly lying to him and it frustrated me. She holds out with these lies for three-quarters of the book. This was much too long in my opinion.

In addition to Molly and Ben's conflict with their relationship, there is also a stalker who has made Molly their target. There are a couple of suspects who seem rather obvious and there wasn't much suspense to the mystery. Although, it did take a little twist I didn't see coming. Yet, Talk Me Down is still primarily a contemporary romance and not romantic suspense. I felt that the author did a good job of making Ben and Molly work through their issues without using the stalker as a way to motivate them.

In summary, Talk Me Down was a better than average read, with a few minor problems. I enjoyed Ben's personality better than Molly's but found them to be complementary to each other. I look forward to reading more of Victoria Dahl's work.

Here is what others had to say:

Monkey Bear Reviews
Reading, Etc.
Breezing Through
Tracy's Place
A Hoyden's Look at Literature
CupK8's Kitchen
The Book Girl
Nonsensical Ravings of an Aspiring Writer
Book Binge
The Good, The Bad, The Unread

This book can be purchased in print or kindle format from Amazon.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Review - Maiden and the Monster

Title: Maiden and the Monster
Author: Michelle M. Pillow
Publishing Date: 2005
Genre: Medieval (Erotic)
Rating: B+
Sensuality: Hot

Lady Eden unconscious after being severely beaten and smelling of pig manure is left to die just outside the Duke of Lakeshire's castle. He mistakenly believes the bundle of fowl smelling furs is just that, but his servant discovers that the pile is actually a woman who is barely alive. Vladamir against his will at the insistence of his servant and friend Ulric, places the woman in Ulric's care to recover. However, after Eden is cleaned up and the swelling in her face lessons he realizes how attractive Eden is and wonders where she came from and how she came to be found in her condition on his doorstep, so to speak.

I was pleasantly surprised by Maiden and the Monster. It is published by Ellora's Cave, which is known for their erotic romance, but also the stories are generally shorter. Maiden in the Monster is 355 pages and wasn't quite as erotic as other Ellora's Cave books I have read in the past, but this is actually one of the reasons the story worked as well as it did for me. I thought the history of the time period was well researched and the characters true to the time period. I was expecting one thing and got something else and it was a pleasant surprise.

Vladamir is a bit of a beast. He was jilted by his first wife of whom he adored and loved. She in turn was a selfish, horrid woman who scarred Vladamir deeply. He has built up walls to keep people out and he puts on a mask of indifference and cruelty when in reality his is a very sensitive, affectionate man. Eden discovers that his bark is worse than his bite and believes that he is a good man. His actions have spoken louder than words in the way he cares for her. She has been around other men who have treated her cruelly and Vladamir is not one of them.

My one little complaint about the book is that there is a very passionate love scene towards the latter half of the book in a very beautiful outdoor setting. This scene took me by surprise and this time, not in a good way. The scene went in a direction that seemed out of character for Vladamir and Eden. It seemed as if it was to be more sexually explicit for the reader as a way to titillate, instead of being the true motivations of the characters. Of course, this is just my opinion and I could be reading to much into how a publisher might influence the outcome of a book and that one scene did not overly influence my experience when reading this book. I just felt like mentioning it. Anyone who wants more details feel free to email or comment.

This book can be purchased in print from Amazon.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

August Book Summary

I am feeling better about my reading this month. Last month I didn't meet my reading goals and had been in a reading slump. This month I feel like my reading mo-jo is picking up. I seem to be getting back into the swing of things. Sometimes you just need a breather. You know? Anyway, I read a total of 13 books this month and 7 of them were published this year. I am trying to read about half of the books with a publication date of this year. I didn't read my TBR Challenge book this month but I did manage my Re-Read Challenge book. So all, in all, I am feeling pretty good.

1. Undercover, Dane (Futuristic/Erotic) Rating: C+
2. SEALed with a Promise, Daughtridge (Contemporary) Rating: A-
3. Hard Eight, Evanovich (Mystery) Rating: B+
4. To the Nines, Evanovich (Mystery) Rating: A
5. Tempted All Night, Carlyle (Historical) Rating: B
6. Burning Alive, Butcher (Paranormal) Rating: C-
7. Maiden and the Monster, Pillow (Medieval) Rating: B+
8. Visions of Sugar Plums, Evanovich (Mystery) Rating: B
9. Dreamfever, Moning (Urban Fantasy) Rating: A
10. Talk Me Down, Dahl (Contemporary) Rating: B-
11. Hot Pursuit, Brockmann (Romantic Suspense) Rating: B
12. Bet Me, Crusie (Contemporary) Rating: A
13. My Wicked Marquess, Foley (Historical) Rating: B-

How about you? How did you do this month? Did you meet all your reading goals?