Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Review - Not Another Bad Date

Title: Not Another Bad Date
Author: Rachel Gibson
Publishing Date: 2008
Genre: Contemporary
Rating: B+
Sensuality: Hot
Book Disclosure: I downloaded an audio book from my library.

Not Another Bad Date is the final installment in Rachel Gibson's Writer Friends Quartet. Adele Harris is a successful Science Fiction author who suffers from the worst case of dating bad luck. The last man she was serious about when psycho on her and since then every date ends in disaster. Adele's sister needs her help, so off to her home town of Texas she goes to help her out. While in town, Adele runs into her college sweetheart, the man she was never able to get over. Zach Zemaitis pro-football player, turned high school coach, ambles back into her life.

Not Another Bad Date was a really enjoyable book. As a matter of fact, I think this one is my favorites by Rachel Gibson, thus far. (I have only read three or four of her books, for what it's worth). Anyway, this book had a lot going for it, sweet poignant flashbacks of Adele and Zach's young budding relationship, zany evil ex-wife, pre-pubescent teenage girls, fantastic funny dialogue and great sexual tension. Can you tell this book has a lot going for it???

Not Another Bad Date is both funny and poignant. The characters Adele and Zach are fun to read about. I thought they were both smart and stupid about each other. But that is what made this book an entertaining read for me. It kept me laughing and wanting to cry or shout all at the same time. At some points it feels a little silly, but then there are other points where the author really touches on a real emotion. I think this is a fun, easy read for someone who enjoys contemporary romance.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Review - Shady Lady

Title: Shady Lady
Author: Ann Aguirre
Publishing Date: April 2011
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Rating: B+
Sensuality: Warm
Book Disclosure: I purchased a new book.

Shady Lady is the 3rd book in Ann Aguirre's Corine Soloman series. Corine Soloman narrates this book in the first person. Corine is a handler, which means that she can sense an object's history when she touches it. Corine in the past couple of books has become an enemy of a very powerful cartel near the Mexican border. She finds herself teaming up unexpectedly with Kel Ferguson. Without his help, she likely wouldn't live long with the Montoya cartel after her.

Wow. Shady Lady really surprised me. This book was quite a bit different from the first two books in the series. Corine is still the same... well maybe she has grown from the first book. Actually, now that I think about it, she has definitely grown as a character. I was just surprised at the direction the series is taken. I didn't really envision this. However, just because I didn't envision it, doesn't mean I didn't enjoy it, quite the contrary. I found this installment to be quite enjoyable and thrilling. Oh and can I say, I just adore her little dog, Butch?!

I really like the world building that Aguirre has created in this series. It is still very much our world with a supernatural touch that feels eerily believable. For romance fans, Corine is in self discovery mode and has yet to understand her appeal to the male gender or who she wants permanently in her life, as far as love goes. I felt that this book was very transitional as far as romantic entanglements for Corine. I have my own personal bias about who Corine will end up with romantically, but at this point it looks like nothing is set in stone. I am enjoying this series. I am along for the ride and am definitely interested to see where things go.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Review - Unveiled

Title: Unveiled
Author: Courtney Milan
Publishing Date: February 2011
Genre: Historical
Rating: B
Sensuality: Warm
Book Disclosure: I purchased a new book.

Unveiled is the first book in a new series by Courtney Milan. Ash Turner made a vow to make the Duke of Parford regret the day he refused to help Ash in his darkest hour. Several years later that vow has come to fruition. He found a way to obtain the title for himself and make sure his brothers will never want for anything again. In Ash's quest for revenge, he didn't think about how his revelations would hurt the Duke's family, most especially his daughter Lady Margaret. When Ash comes to claim the manor, Margaret hides her identity behind a position as her father’s nurse. Margaret's loyalties are tested when she finds herself falling in love with Ash.

Unveiled is my first Courtney Milan book, brought to my attention by my lovely friend Delilah Marvelle. After reading the book I can see why Ms. Milan is fast becoming a Diva of Romance. Let’s first start with the characters. Ash Turner is a strong capable man, a man's man who is a little rough around the edges, but who hides his vulnerabilities deep inside. Margaret is an incredibly strong-willed woman uncertain of who she is and how she fits into the world. I loved that both characters were well balanced with strength and vulnerability and that they grow throughout the story.

Unveiled has a lot of depth to the story and a lot of angst. The situation for Ash and Margaret to fall in love is fraught with landmines all around it. I thought the book started out a little slow. The characters and plot were slowly being built up. However, it is well worth the wait. The writing is very picturesque and beautiful. There is plenty of angst, but I would like to classify it as a more modern angst. It is not like old school romances. Where the characters’ situation is what creates the angst, but the characters themselves act with forethought and a maturity that 80s romances lacked. I liked it. Ms. Milan is definitely on my radar.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Exciting June Releases!

This month I was purusing my RT Book Reviews magazine and was surprised at the lack of books I was looking forward to. Not much was snagging my interest. There are a few books that have caught my eye and one book that leaped out at me.

These are the books that have caught my eye:

I am very excited about this one!!!
Urban Fantasy
Book 5 - Kate Daniels Series
May 31, 2011

I need to catch up with this series
Book 6 - The Final Prophecy
June 7, 2011

Suprisingly, this only got a 3 star review in RT Mag.
Book 1 - Smyth-Smith Quartet
May 31, 2011

Can I just say "Yum" on that cover???
Not part of a series
June 14, 2011

Also, I know that Kiss of Snow, Nalini Singh's book is out this month too.  I stopped reading this series a while back after the third book.  Now, I must admit that I am tempted to read this after seeing that it got a 4 star gold rating in the RT Mag.  I want to know what readers are saying about it.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Review - From Dead to Worse

Title: From Dead to Worse
Author: Charlaine Harris
Publishing Date: 2008
Genre: Urban Fantasy/Mystery
Rating: C
Sensuality: Subtle
Book Disclosure: I listend to an audio book that I downloaded from my library.

From Dead to Worse is book 8 in Charlaine Harris's Southern Vampire Mystery series. Sookie Stackhouse, a waitress for a Louisiana bar, finds herself in the middle of a werewolf war. There is actually quite a few plots going on in this installment of the series and somehow Sookie ends up in the middle. Sookie's boyfriend Quinn has gone missing and Sookie isn't sure what to do about it. Jason insists on involving Sookie in his life with the shifters. Sookie doesn't want anything to do with any of it, but she is involved anyway.

From Dead to Worse felt like a very transitional book in the series. There were a lot of little subplots without there being a major one. This book felt like the author had to tie up some loose ends before she could move on in a new direction. I am interested in seeing where the author is going to go with the series. However, Ms. Stackhouse needs to pull her head out her butt!

I have to say, I was not overly thrilled with this book. Sookie was getting on my nerves with her incessant whining. I have noticed before in other books, but this one really takes the cake. The hair that broke the camel's back for me was how she treated Quinn. It really pissed me off. Don't worry; I am not going to give away spoilers or anything like that. I am just going to leave it at that. I did NOT like how Sookie reacted or handled that situation. Of course, I am going to continue with the series, but this is my least favorite of the bunch thus far.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Review - Corralled

Title: Corralled
Author: Lorelie James
Publishing Date: 2010
Genre: Contemporary Erotic
Rating: B+
Sensuality: Burning
Book Disclosure: I received a free, signed copy from the RT 2011 Book Convention.

Lainie Capshaw works as a sports therapist for two different rodeo circuits. She has had a physical relationship with two men, Kyle who is bull rider and Hank who is a bull fighter. Lainie's problem is that she can't seem to choose between either man and neither has asked her to be exclusive. But then on accident both men end up at the same bar as Lainie, on the same night and the gig is up. However, since Lainie won't choose and they don't want to lose her both men agree to share her.

I have to say Corralled really surprised me, and in a good way. I found it to be one of the most realistic takes on how people would really behave in threesome situation. It actually tackled the issues of jealousy between the men over Lainie's attention and affection. The ending surprised me. It wasn't what I expected to happen. I am not really sure I had any expectations, but it surprised me and I liked it! There is a lot of sex in this book, but to me I felt the emotional connection between the characters was displayed in addition to the physical component to the relationships. This book really worked for me. I am definitely going to be reading more of this authors work.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Review - Defiant

Title: Defiant
Author: Kris Kennedy
Publishing Date: April 2011
Genre: Medieval
Rating: B
Sensuality: Warm
Book Disclosure: I received a free copy from the author.

Jamie Lost is on a mission to retrieve a Priest who is a very valuable figure amongst the powerful men in Medieval Europe. Jamie’s task is to find the priest before the enemies of his King do. When he finds the priest he is distracted by a woman, Eva who also appears to want the priest. When the priest is taken by the enemy, both Eva and Jamie unite their forces to get the king back.

Defiant is a very well written medieval romance novel. You can tell the author really did her research to bring this period of history to life in her novel. As I was reading the book, the forests and people of the past were very easy to envision. There is a lot of political intrigue in the book. I don't really like politics in my historical romance books. Mostly, I find it difficult to follow along, and really I would just rather get to the good stuff. You know... the romance! And if I had to have a complaint about this book, it would be that.

However, I really did enjoy this story. I liked the characters Eva and Jamie. Both characters are very intelligent, stubborn and honorable. There is a lot of sexual tension between Jamie and Eva which made the book so enjoyable. Also, the author keeps us guessing at Eva's identity. We know she is an important character, but we don't know exactly how until the end of the book. What was so interesting was that most of the book you are directed to wonder about Eva's identity when really you don't know Jamie's either. Then it is all sprung on you at the end of the story. It made for a nice surprise. Defiant is another enjoyable read by Kris Kennedy.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Review - Hunger Games

Title: Hunger Games
Author: Suzanne Collins
Publishing Date: 2008
Genre: Young Adult
Rating: A
Sensuality: Kisses
Book Disclosure: I recieved a free copy from a good friend of mine.

Hunger Games is the first book in a trilogy by Suzanne Collins. The book takes place in the future in North America after it has been ravaged by war. What we know as America has been transformed into Panem. In this new world most people are just struggling to survive under this new harsh leadership. Each year two children between the ages of 12 and 18 are selected from each district to participate in a reality based TV show named the Hunger Games. In the Hunger Games the participants have to kill each other and the remaining sole survivor is named the winner. This year Katniss Everdeen volunteers to take the place of her little sister in the Games.

Oh. My. God! This book was incredible. I couldn't put the book down. I was riveted to the pages, on the edge of my seat waiting to see what would happen next. This was the book I chose for my book club and the other members I have talked to agree that they couldn't put the book down. As I write this, one other member has already read all three books in this trilogy. She had to know what happened next and I can hardly blame her.

First off, this story is extremely fast paced with a ton of great characters. The book is told in first person by Katniss, a sixteen year old mature beyond her years. A fighter to the core, Katniss will do what it takes to survive without losing her compassion for others. She is a compelling, wonderful heroine that everyone will love.

The Games themselves are very interesting and imaginative. The mood throughout the story is sad and imprisoned but with an underlining layer of hope. I just loved the story. There is a subtle thread of romance throughout the book. I love that Katniss is never sure of her feelings and as readers we get to experience all her thoughts and emotions. The end of Hunger Games leaves with some closure, but it definitely sets the readers up for the next book in the series, which I can't wait to read. This book comes highly recommended!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Review - A Lot Like Love

Title: A Lot Like Love
Author: Julie James
Publishing Date: March 2011
Genre: Contemporary
Rating: A
Sensuality: Hot
Book Disclosure: I purchased a new copy.

Jordan Rhodes, the daughter of a billionaire and the owner of a Chicago wine store has been asked by the FBI to participate in taking down one of Chicago's notorious businessman. The FBI uses Jordan to infiltrate an exclusive charity event where they will have access to a crime syndicate’s office. Only things don't go as smoothly as planned and Jordan and FBI agent Nick McCall spend more time together than they bargained.

Woo hoo!! Julie James does it again!! A Lot Like Love is another brilliant contemporary romance by Ms. Julie James. Jordan and Nick explode onto the pages with their clashing personalities and witty banter. This couple exudes sexual tension. Nick is a hard-nosed cop who exudes testosterone from every pore. Jordan bumps elbows with the socialite crowd of Chicago and knows her way around fine wine. These two are as opposite as they can get and yet the attraction is magnetic.

This is Ms. James first novel where the heroine is not a lawyer. Instead Jordan is an entrepreneur owning her own successful wine store. James rocked her new heroine. I loved all the little snippets about wine and the fun that comes along with owning your own business. There is great dialogue and a slight mystery to the book. I thought this was a really fun read!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Review - Notorious Pleasures

Title: Notorious Pleasures
Author: Elizabeth Hoyt
Publishing Date: February 2011
Genre: Historical
Rating: B+
Sensuality: Hot
Book Disclosure: I purchased a new copy.

Notorious Pleasures is the second book in Elizabeth Hoyt's Maiden Lane series. Lady Hero , right before her betrothal to the duke of Wakefield is to be announced, finds her finace's brother having relations with a married woman. Hero finds everything about the Duke's brother off putting. So why then does she find herself attracted to the blasted man? Even when Hero is off helping the orphanage she is a major patroness of; she finds Griffin meddling in her affairs.

I actually wasn't going to read this book. I was just going to skip on over to Silence's story when it came out. But I was talking to Ms. Hoyt at RT and she was telling me that Silence's story continues in Notorious Pleasures and of course since I like Silence so much I caved in and read this one. I know. I act like it was such a hardship :)

I think if most readers can get past the first chapter where the heroine finds the hero with another woman, then they are in for good read. I really enjoy Ms. Hoyt's writing style. She does a fantastic job of balancing action, dialogue and internal insight to the characters with pizzazz and flair. Notorious Pleasures is no exception. There is a lot of really wonderful dialogue between Hero and Griffin. There is a lot of heat and sexual tension between these two.

There is mystery that has continued on from the first book Wicked Intentions that will continue along through the other books in the series. I think it would be best to read this series in order, although, each book does stand alone. I can't wait for Silence's book. Really, I was a little disappointed that there wasn't more of Silence in this book, but there was just enough of a teaser to get me really hungry for the next book.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Under the Northern Lights

Title: Under the Northern Lights
Author: Vivian Arend
Publishing Date: 2010
Genre: Paranormal
Rating: C+
Sensuality: Hot
Book Disclosure: I purchased a new copy.

Under the Northern Lights is actually two books in one. Both the first two stories in Vivian Arend's Granite Lake Wolves series are included in this book. The first book is Wolf Signs which the story of Robyn Maxwell, a deaf woman who meets Keil, a local wolf shifter who is next in line for Alpha of his pack at a secluded cabin in the woods. Robyn is a wolf and Keil's mate, but she doesn't know it. She was adopted and hasn't learned her past heritage.

The second story Wolf Fight features Robyn's brother Tad who is a wolf but can't shift. Tad was never able to forget the girl from high school who moved away. Missy reenters Tads life and the sparks pick up right where they left off all those years ago. Tad forms a bond with Missy to protect her from her past.

Under the Northern Lights was a quick and easy read. The characters were likable. I thought Robyn was interesting in that she was deaf but still a strong, determined woman. If she set her mind to do something, nothing was going to stop her. The book was on the short side for my taste. I felt the pack dynamics were lacking and I would have liked to see more depth to the world building and characters. I did like that a lot of the book was action driven. It made for a quick read.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

April Book Summary

Hi Everyone! I know I have been absent lately in bloglandia. I hate to make excuses, but blogging just hasn't been a priority of late in my life. I am in the mood to read, rather than blog in the remaining spare time I have, which really isn't a lot. I have to admit that I am feeling guilty for the lack of reviews and posts.

On the positive side, I was able to read a total of twelve books this month and many of them are from my favorite authors. It was a great month of reading for me, while an exceptionally poor month for reviewing. I am really, really behind in my reviews. At this point, I have not given up hope of being able to catch up. My goal is to just break down and write all the reviews until I am caught up. Will I be able to do it? You'll have to tune in to my blog to find out, LOL!!

Books read this month:
1. Weekend Warriors, Michaels (Fiction) Rating: D
2. A Rake's Guide to Pleasure, Dahl (Historical) Rating: B
3. Pack Challenge, Laurenston (Paranormal) Rating: D
4. Burning Darkness, Rush (Paranormal) Rating: A-
5. Under the Northern Lights, Arend (Paranormal) Rating: C+
6. Notorious Pleasures, Hoyt (Historical) Rating: B+
7. A Lot Like Love, James (Contemporary) Rating: A-
8. Hunger Games, Collins (Young Adult) Rating: B+
9. Defiant, Kennedy (Medieval) Rating: B
10. Corralled, James (Contemporary) Rating: B+
11. From Dead to Worse, Harris (Urban Fantasy) Rating: C+
12. Shady Lady , Aguirre (Urban Fantasy) Rating: B+

Monday, May 2, 2011

Review - Burning Darkness

Title: Burning Darkness
Author: Jaime Rush
Publishing Date: February 2011
Genre: Paranormal
Rating: A-
Sensuality: Hot
Book Disclosure: I received a signed free copy at RT 2011.

Burning Darkness is the 4th full length book in Jaime Rush's Offspring Series. This is Eric Aruda and Fonda Raine's story. Readers first meet Eric in the first book Touching Darkness. Eric Aruda is part of a group of men and women whose parents were part of a government experiment. These people all inherited special powers from their parents. Eric can set people on fire and remote view another person. He meets up with Fonda Raine when she sets up a clandestine meeting with the intent to kill him. She is successful in her intent and instead her and Eric team up when they are attacked by others. Even though Fonda wants to hate Eric, his fierce protectiveness of her eventually leads more than either of them expected.

I have been intrigued by Eric from the first book in the series. Eric is one of those morally ambiguous characters who you aren't quite sure if he is good or bad. He definitely intrigued me and I couldn't wait to see what his character would do next in the series. I have to say that I was NOT disappointed with this book. Burning Darkness lived up to my expectation and so far is the best of the series.

For me this book was all about the hero. I just was totally hung up on Eric. I liked that he is big and bad and ferociously loyal and protective. Sigh. What's not to love? Also, I felt that Burning Darkness focused on the romance much more so than the other books in the series. I love that when Fonda has some hang ups in bed, Eric helps her work through it. For as pushy as Eric can be it is a good thing with Fonda at certain times. Fonda kept Eric guessing half the time too, which made thing interesting.

I think this series is getting better and better. I can't wait to see whose book is next. I am definitely looking forward to the next book in the series.