Monday, February 28, 2011

Review - Second Chance Pass



Title: Second Chance Pass
Author: Robyn Carr
Publishing Date: 2009
Genre: Contemporary
Rating: C+
Sensuality: Warm
Book Disclosure: I received a free copy from the RT Book Convention.

Second Chance Pass is the fifth book in Robyn Carr's Virgin River series. Readers were introduced to Vanessa and Paul in the third book in the series. Paul was Vanessa's husband's best friend. He secretly has loved Vanessa through the years but has suffered in silence not wanting to ruin the friendships he has with both her and Matt. Things change with Vanessa's husband, Matt and Paul's best friend is killed in combat. Time has passed and Paul isn't sure if Vanessa is ready to move on and maybe accept him in a new role other than friendship. Little does Paul know that Vanessa is more than ready.

All right, I have to admit that this book irked me. As far as Paul and Vanessa's relationship went I thought things were just a mess. Initially, Paul and Vanessa had a pretty big obstacle to overcome if they were going have a lasting relationship based on love. But not only do they have the death of their husband/best friend hanging over them, Paul has an unexpected complication in his life back in Grants Pass. It really irked me that these characters had to deal with this situation, like they didn't have enough to deal with already.

The other major complication I had with the book was that there had to be at least five other storylines competing with Paul and Vanessa's. There were characters from past books getting significant page time. There were also new characters setting up future books getting significant page time. The actual relationship between Paul and Vanessa couldn't have been more than a few chapters and the above previous issue was basically washed away in the rain. Really, I think this has been my least favorite book in the series. Now having said all that, Robyn Carr's writing is still as fabulous as ever. Her characters are as wonderful as ever. It is probably a testament as to why I am so annoyed. I guess this book just seemed more transitional than anything and I felt that Vanessa and Paul didn't get the book they deserved.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Review - Lean Mean Thirteen



Title: Lean Mean Thirteen
Author: Janet Evanovich
Publishing Date: 2007
Genre: Mystery
Rating: B+
Sensuality: Subtle
Book Disclosure: I listened to this book on audio from a copy I obtained from my library. I also have a strips copy in by TBR pile.

Lean Mean Thirteen is the thirteenth book in Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum series. Stephanie Plum is a Bounty Hunter. This time she and the gang are involved with a missing person case. It just so happens, that Stephanie's ex-husband Dickie Orr has gone missing and it looks like foul play is involved. The Jersey police suspect Stephanie might have something to do with it since she was the last person seen with him and she beat him up and threatened his life. Both Ranger and Joe are helping to protect Stephanie as the real bad guys start targeting her.

Mostly this review is going to focus on the fact that I listened to this book, rather than read it. I have to say that I absolutely adored the narrator (at this moment her name has slipped my mind). I just loved her interpretation of Lula and Grandma Mazur, favorite characters of mine in the series. When she would talk as Lula it sounded just like I pictured she would sound. The attitude and comedic timing of the lines was awesome. Of course, let's not forget the star of the show Stephanie. I also liked the way she did Stephanie's voice too. It was really fun to listen to.

I felt like Janet Evanovich got back into the groove with Lean Mean Thirteen. The last two books felt more serious and less comedic than her earlier books and I thought with this one she went back to her old writing style. I thoroughly enjoyed it and I think I will be looking forward to listening to the rest of this series as audio books instead of reading them. If you are looking for a book to listen to on audio, look no further. This one was fun!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Review - The Doctor's Wife



Title: The Doctor's Wife
Author: Elizabeth Brundage
Publishing Date: 2004
Genre: Suspense
Rating: B
Sensuality: Warm
Book Disclosure: I borrowed a copy from the library. This was a the February book choice for my book club.

In The Doctor's Wife the lives of four people intertwine which leads to a cataclysmic conclusion. Michael is an OB/GYN who has a very good practice, but when asked to help out a former friend with an abortion clinic, he chooses to help. He becomes a target of a Christian group that has been harassing the clinic. Annie, his lonely and neglected wife finds refuge in the arms of a once famous artist, Simon. Simon's wife Lydia suspects the affair.

First off, The Doctor's Wife is not exactly a romance, although the relationships between two couples is the focus of the book. I found myself very intrigued by the story. The words and phrases the author uses paints quite a picture, sets quite a setting. The mood of the overall story comes across as very gloomy and tragic. I like that the author starts at the ending first and then works back to the beginning. It is a technique that really catches the readers' interest.

For me, I found the story very well written. I thought that the author had a certain way with words and phrases which really drew me into the story. The characters were very well portrayed, enough so that even though there is clearly a bad guy there are also shades of grey with all of the characters. All the characters made mistakes but I felt they all were also redeemable. In my book group not all of us agreed on the likability of the characters. Some of us felt that certain actions were not redeemable. We all seemed to agree that the ending left certain questions unanswered and wondered if the author wrote another book or if another book was forth coming. As far as I know, none has been written.

The book is not one that I would have chosen to read if not for the book club. However, once I started the story I was completely immersed in the characters. I am enjoying the book club. It is good to get exposure to books I might not normally read.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

March Releases!!



There are a few books I have been patiently waiting for for almost a year, LOL!! Then a few others I just happened to hear about found their way on my radar too. Here they are:


Must Haves

Night Huntress Series - Book 5
Paranormal
February 22, 2011

 

Stand Alone
Contemporary
March 1, 2011


 
Mercy Thompson series - Book 6
Urban Fantasy
March 1, 2011


Series Catch Up

Daughters of the Glen - Book 7
Time Travel
February 22, 2011



Virgin River Series - Book 13
Contemporary
February 22, 2011



Positive Buzz Waiting List

Stand Alone
Contemporary
March 1, 2011

 

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Review - The Trouble with Paradise



Title: The Trouble with Paradise
Author: Jill Shalvis
Publishing Date: 2007
Genre: Contemporary
Rating: B-
Sensuality: Hot
Book Disclosure: I purchased a used copy at a book store.

Dorie Anderson's life is just not turning out as great as she had hoped. She is at a dead in job in the retail world, when really what she wants is to be a fashion designer. Then consider her love life, or lack of in any case. All in the blink of an eye Dorie is on her way to Fiji on a cruise with not one but two hunky men who have caught her eye. Things turn sour when the yacht ends up in a terrible storm leaving them shipwrecked. At least she has sexy doctor, Christian to tend to her needs.

The Trouble with Paradise is not a terribly deep story. If you are looking for something simple and cute to pass the time then this is the book for you. Dorie is a sweet heroine who has a tendency to stumble her way into things. She is a very klutzy heroine, but she has luck on her side. She may not know it, none-the-less.

I liked the premise of the story. Girl looking for adventure and romance finds more than she can handle when her vacation boat ends up shipwrecked. I thought that more time would be spent on the island. It doesn't actually happen until two/thirds through the book. There is a little bit of complication because one of the crew members ends up missing and the characters don't know if it was foul play or not. That mystery was a bit distracting from the romance between Dorie and Christian. Also, I never understood why Christian kept pushing Dorie away when he was obviously drawn to her. Overall this was an easy read and was a nice way to pass the time.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

An update and Random Thoughts…



Hello everyone. I thought I would take a moment to brief you on where I am at in my life with reading and so forth. Reading has been going strong even though I have been busy with “real life”. I am going to be on the road a lot in the upcoming weeks because of my job. It is that time of year when things get super busy and I have to do a lot of driving. To make the most of those long drives I am listening to audio books. I just finished Lean Mean Thirteen by Janet Evanovich. It was my first time listening to a Stephanie Plum book and I loved it!! More to come…

I have also reserved a number of audio books at my library. I want your opinion on these books if you have ever read them in print or listened to them. Please let me know if you think these are good or not. I am totally clueless!!

A Breath of Snow and Ashes by Diana Gabaldon (I stopped reading this series because the books were so long, but DAMN I love Jamie Frasier!)

First Lady by Susan Elizabeth Phillips (It’s SEP. Need I say anything more? Plus the characters from this book put in an appearance in her recent release Call Me Irresistible.)

Match Me if You Can by Susan Elizabeth Phillips (The next book in the Chicago series that I need to read.)

Postmortem by Patricia Cornwell (I do enjoy a good suspense every now and again. Super Librarian has recommended her and this is the first in her Scarpetta series.)

Undead and Uneasy by MaryJanice Davidson ( The next book I need to read in the Betsy series)

Weekend Warriors by Fern Michaels (The first in a series recommended to me by the ladies in my book club)

Speaking of my book club, I want to tell you about how this has been going. So far it has been a lot fun. I have discovered that a couple of the women enjoy romance in addition to regular fiction. I found out one of the ladies is a huge fan of Kresley Cole’s Immortals after Dark series and another is a huge fan of Charlaine Harris’ Sookie Stackhouse series. It will be my turn to choose a book in two months. I have no clue what book I will choose, but I want to pick a romance, but which one? I will need some help with this. Be thinking of some suggestions for me. I might do a poll to get some opinions.

One other thing, I was in Walmart tonight and I could resist picking up at book :).  At least I only bought one.  Look at this collection.  What a great line up of authors. 


Thursday, February 17, 2011

Review - When Beauty Tamed the Beast



Title: When Beauty Tamed the Beast
Author: Eloisa James
Publishing Date: February 2011
Genre: Historical
Rating: A
Sensuality: Hot
Book Disclosure: I purchased a new copy for my Nook eReader from Barnes and Noble.

When Beauty Tamed the Beast is the second book in Eloisa James Fairy Tale series. *You do not need to have read the first book in the series to read this one.* When Miss Linnet Thryne finds herself utterly and truly ruined, her father and aunt concoct a plan to wed her to Piers Yelverton, Earl of Marchant. Linnet doesn't seem to have much choice in the matter and meekly goes along with her family’s wishes. The only problem is that Piers is one of those very grumpy, cantankerous men and only a truly astonishing woman will be the one to capture his heart. Imagine his surprise to find Linnet on his doorstep with her shining beauty. But that is not the only thing that captures his attention.

Wow. Can I just say, wow!! This book completely blew me away. I loved everything about it. This is my third Eloisa James novel and so far I have loved everything she has written. This may just be my favorite so far. I absolutely adored everything about Linnet and Piers. At first I was a little worried that Linnet wouldn't have what it takes to capture Pier's heart. He is such a beastly man with a horrid temper. His intellect is outstanding and I was worried that Linnet would be to mild mannered for him and that he would walk all over her.

It turns out I was wrong and just needed to let the story unfold at its own pace. The dialogue between Linnet and Piers is fantastic. Ms. James is a master at dry humor and snide witty comments had me in stitches. Then the reader also gets the added bonus of a secondary love story between Pier's parents. I loved that they get a second chance at love. In addition the ending of this story is so completely moving and beautiful. I was up late at night because I could not put the book down. I love the unexpected twist to universal tale of Beauty and the Beast. I highly recommend this one!!! If you have not tried Eloisa James yet, what are you waiting for? This is the perfect place to start!!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Review - Raine



Title: Raine
Author: Elizabeth Amber
Publishing Date: 2008
Genre: Historical/Erotic
Rating: C-
Sensuality: Burning
Book Disclosure: I received a free copy at the 2010 RT Book Lovers Convention.

Raine is the second book in Elizabeth Amber's The Lords of the Satyr series. Three brothers have been tasked with finding the Fairy King's daughters and marrying them to keep them safe from harm. Raine the second brother is already scarred from an unsuccessful first marriage that failed because of his ravenous sexual appetite. Needless to say he is definitely reluctant when it comes to finding the King's daughter. He finds her in Venice, Italy. Jordan has been raised as a man. She is the most unusual person because she actually has both male and female genitalia. When Raine sets eyes on her Jordan can't believe that a man can look at her as a woman when most of her life she has only been known as a man, especially when deep down inside intrinsically she knows she is a woman regardless of her mysterious sexuality.

I must admit when I first heard about this book I was intrigued. I mean who wouldn't be a little bit curious about a female character that has both a vagina and a penis! I went into this book knowing that it would be outrageous. Knowing that, this book did have its moments when it came to ridiculousness, but I didn't feel that Jordan's sexuality was one of them. What I had a problem with were the so called "bad guys". I just hate it when the bad guys get a lot of page space in a book. That is exactly what happened in Raine and I couldn't stand to read the demented ravings of the enemy. In this case there wasn't just one but two.

I did like Jordan's character and her internal struggle with whether or not she was a man or a woman. There were facets to her personality that suggested she enjoyed playing both parts. I was disappointed though with the conclusion to the story. Jordan and Raine have a major confrontation at the end of the book and I don't feel like things were resolved between them satisfactorily. I felt that Raine owed Jordan a huge apology because of that fight and it never came. The final sex scene seemed overly gratuitous when I would have liked to see them work through some of their earlier conflicts. I will give Ms. Amber kudos for her imagination though!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Review - Ecstasy



Title: Ecstasy
Author: Jacquelyn Frank
Publishing Date: 2009
Genre: Paranormal
Rating: C+
Sensuality: Hot
Book Disclosure: I received a free copy at the 2009 Romantic Times Book Convention.

Ecstasy is the first book in a new spin-off series by Jacquelyn Frank. Ashla Townsend finds herself in a post apocalyptic world after she wakes up from a fatal car crash. She is the only living person until she finds two huge warrior men fighting one another in a department store. Trace, a shadowdweller is surprised that the beautiful human woman can see and hear him. In the shadow world no human should be able to. Strangely enough, Trace and Ashla form a unique connection even though they both may be in danger with a traitor among his people.

Ecstacy is my first Jacquelyn Frank novel. I found the book to be inconsistent at times. The first part of the book was fairly interesting and had my complete attention. As I continued reading, the pace would slow, pick up, slow down etc. It seemed that a lot of the book would be internal monologues from either Trace or Eden and that is when the pace would slow down for me. I liked it when the action was taking place. When that was going on I really liked the book. When Trace or Eden were overly thinking things and rambling on in their heads is when I would lose interest.

I liked the world that Jacquelyn Frank created. It was unique and interesting. I just wish she would have focused on it more than she did. I think that if there would have been less internal dialogue and more action, I would have enjoyed this book more than I did. I liked the characters, both Eden and Trace. I feel that I want to give Ms. Frank another try. I may go back and try one of her Nightwalker novels.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Review - Deeply, Desperately



Title: Deeply, Desperately
Author: Heather Webber
Publishing Date: 2010
Genre: Mystery
Rating: B+
Sensuality: Warm
Book Disclosure: I purchased this book used at a book store.

Deeply, Desperately is the second Lucy Valentine novel by Heather Webber. Lucy Valentine is the daughter of Oscar Valentine, who started up a renowned matchmaking business. The Valentines have been blessed with being able to see a person's aurora and can tell when two auroras are a match, hence the success of the business. Unfortunately for Lucy, she lost her ability to see auroras and it was replaced with the ability to find missing objects. Lucy opened up her own business to help find missing people. She also sidelines by helping the police department with missing person cases. Sean Donahue, a private investigator helps Lucy from time to time and is also her boyfriend.

In Deeply, Desperately, Lucy and Sean's relationship is moving to the next level, but Lucy is afraid because even though the Valentine's are responsible for many successful relationships, their own love lives are abysmal failures. Lucy is afraid of following the same pattern and has been very cautious with Sean. In addition to her love life, Lucy is trying to help an 80 year old POW find his lost lady love of 50 some years ago and is also helping the police find a missing woman.

I really enjoyed Deeply, Desperately. It is a cute book and Lucy is a great character. She is down to earth, loving and sensible. I enjoyed this second book even better than the first. It was just a fun story. The pacing is great. There is a lot going on in the book and the mysteries are balanced by Lucy's personal life. Lucy has got a great head on her shoulders and it is fun to follow along with her on her cases. It is also a treat to see her struggle over her feelings for Sean. I also really enjoy Lucy's interactions with her friends and family. They are a big point of focus in the book and it makes Lucy all the more easily to relate to. I am looking forward to more of this series.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Review - Early Dawn



Title: Early Dawn
Author: Catherine Anderson
Publishing Date: January 2010
Genre: Western
Rating: B
Sensuality: Warm
Book Disclosure: I borrowed a copy from my friend.

Early Dawn is book 10 in Catherine Anderson's Kendrick/Coulter/Harrigan series. This is my first in the series. I have only read Annie's Song by Anderson and I loved it. My friend had this book in her TBR pile and loaned it to me. It caught my eye because of the back cover. On it said that Eden Paxton was kidnapped and Matthew Coulter whose own wife was murdered at the hands of this terrible gang and he couldn't resist saving Eden. I was immediately hooked. I can't resist a kidnapping/rescue story.

I have to say that I thought that Early Dawn was a very solid story. Eden and Matthew are fully developed characters whose connection and love story develops very believably throughout the book. The things that Eden goes through are not for the faint of heart. Matthew's past is just as challenging. Both characters have a lot to overcome if they are going to get over their past and begin to love again.

There are times when I thought that the story dragged a bit. In the beginning it takes a while before Matthew and Eden meet. Eventually, though the fact that so much time is spent on Eden and Matthew developing their relationship and the fact that it moves slowly is a benefit to the story. It helps the believability factor considering all that they have been through.

There is a bit of sequel references. I don't feel that it detracted from Eden and Matthew's story. If anything it made me want to go back read about the other characters. I enjoyed this Western and feel that fans of Westerns will want to give this one a try.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Review - Call Me Irrisistable



Title: Call Me Irresistible
Author: Susan Elizabeth Phillips
Publishing Date: January 2011
Genre: Contemporary
Rating: B+
Sensuality: Hot
Book Disclosure: I purchased an eBook from Barnes and Noble for my Nook eReader.

Call Me Irresistible is the story of Teddy Beaudine who is all grown up. Readers were first introduced to Ted as the ugly, awkward child of Francesca and Dallie from the book Fancy Pants. But now Ted is all grown up and is about to marry Lucy Jorik, a woman with whom everyone believes is perfect for Ted, including Ted. Although much to everyone's surprise, Lucy leaves Ted at the Alter and everyone needs someone to blame. That someone just happens to be Lucy's best friend and maid of honor, Meg Koranda. Meg finds herself stranded in the small Texas Town of Wynette with no friends and no money and everyone including the mayor himself, Mr. Ted Beaudine is out for blood.

Once again Ms. Phillips has out done herself with another fantastic novel. Ted and Meg are great characters. I instantly loved Meg. She has this way of seeing straight to the truth of things at least for other people, but when it comes to herself she has always felt like she never measured up. In Call Me Irresistible she learns exactly what she is capable of, just how strong and smart she is and realizes she has plenty of self worth. She is the perfect counterpoint for Ted whose success comes so easy to him. His whole life he has been nothing but the golden boy. For once in his life, Meg is his first glimpse at having to work for something.

The drama of the town, Meg's presence and the difficulties she goes through in order to learn her lesson are all extremely griping and entertaining. I could hardly put the book down. I couldn't wait to see what outrageous thing would happen next. There is great dialogue, wonderful characters and an exciting conclusion. I loved it and would recommend it to fans of SEP or contemporary romance.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Review - A Gentleman's Wager



Title: A Gentleman's Wager
Author: Madelynne Ellis
Publishing Date: 2003
Genre: Historical/Erotic
Rating: B+
Sensuality: Burning
Book Disclosure: I received a used copy from Paperbackswap.com.

Bella Rushdale and her brother are invited to stay with their neighbor for a summer party in the English countryside. Bella is excited at the prospect of being around Lucerne Marlinscar and wishes to catch his attentions. Bella is surprised when she realizes that she is not the only one who has eyes for Lucerne. Another gentleman Vaughan, Marquis Pennerley also has his sights set on Lucerne. Bella and Vaughan compete for Lucerne's favors, which eventually lead to emotional entanglements from every party.

A Gentleman's Wager was a pleasant surprise for me. I tend to be hard when grading erotic romances and usually feel that character development or plot is usually neglected in light of focusing on the sexual activities of the characters. I felt that A Gentleman's Wager was able to balance lots of sex yet it seemed integral to the characters personalities and the relationships between them. And I will also say that this is the first time I have ever thought that a ménage a trios is written in a believable, honest light.

For me, the characters are what really make this book interesting and most especially Vaughan, Marquis Pennerley. Vaughan is such a bad boy. He loves causing mischief anywhere he goes. He is such a troublemaker!! He will say and do things to create complete and utter chaos. It is why Lucerne, who is completely steadfast, is drawn to him. Actually, Vaughan is able to draw most people and is similar to a train wreck where you just can't turn away. I also enjoyed the development where the relationships between Lucerne and Vaughan and Lucerne and Bella eventually morph to encompass feelings between Vaughan and Bella from hostility to affection.

If I had to complain about one thing in this book it would be Bella's lack of supervision, or actually any unmarried woman. It felt that the women in that time period would have been chaperoned a little better than they were. The author does touch on this a little bit at least in terms of Bella, but it felt out of place in the time period the book was written. I am glad to know that there is another book that continues to explore the relationship between Bella, Vaughan and Lucerne. I will definitely be reading it.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

January Book Summary



This month was an awesome start to the year. I managed to read 12 books!! I know this isn't all that much for some people, but the last time I managed to squeeze in 12 books in a month was back in May! As far as quality of reading, the books were all over the place. I read some A reads such as Lady Be Good and Shadowfever and some D reads such as Sinful.

1. Sinful, Featherstone (Historical/Erotic) Rating: D
2. Hot and Bothered, Castell (Romantic Suspense) Rating: C+
3. Lady Be Good, Phillips (Contemporary) Rating: A-
4. Mr. Cavendish I Presume, Quinn (Historical) Rating: B-
5. Seduced by the Night, Popp (Paranormal) Rating: C+
6. Prarie Moon, Osbourne (Western) Rating: C+
7. Time and Again, Sommers (Time Travel) Rating: B
8. Shadowfever, Moning (Urban Fantasy) Rating: A-
9. A Gentleman's Wager, Ellis (Historical/Erotic) Rating: B+
10. Call Me Irrisistible, Phillips (Contemporary) Rating: B+
11. Early Dawn, Anderson (Western) Rating: B
12. Deeply, Desperately, Webber (Paranormal) Rating: B

I did fall a little behind in my reviewing, but I am hoping to catch up soon. If I had to give up something, I would rather it be the reviews than reading, LOL!


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