Sunday, October 30, 2016

Review - The Devil You Know

Title: The Devil You Know
Author: Jo Goodman
Publishing Date: 2016
Genre: Contemporary
Rating: B
Sensuality: Warm
Book Disclosure: I purchased this as an ebook.

The Devil You Know is the second book in Jo Goodman's McKenna Brothers series.  Goodman is an auto buy for me and I will read pretty much anything she writes.  She has been sticking to westerns for the last few years now, but I really love her regency set books too.  I feel like not to many westerns are published these days.

This story features the older brother Israel McKenna, who is a bit of a trouble maker.  The story begins with Israel unconscious, badly beaten and left for dead.  He is found by a young girl, Annalea Pancake.  She goes back to her ranch to get help and they bring Israel back where they nurse him to good health.  Israel doesn't remember much about the attack.  He knows that he isn't exactly an upstanding citizen and he seems to be running from his past.  He decides to stay on at the Pancake ranch and make a change for the better.  He finds himself falling for Willa Pancake, Annalea's older sister and manager of the ranch. 

The Devil You Know is another solid story by Jo Goodman.  I found Israel to be more of a Beta hero.  He tends to stand back and let Willa run the show.  He only takes a stand when it really matters to him.  He is protective of Willa, and he knows he might be a danger to her.  For that reason, he tries to distance himself from her, but he can't make himself stay back for too long.  The book keeps you turning the pages to find out more about Israel's past as he slowly begins to remember.  Willa has a secret too, that I did not see coming.  I must be losing my touch!  And to top it off there are a couple of secondary characters such as Annalea and Happy that suck you into the story, as well.  This is another good addition by Jo Goodman.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Out of My Reading Slump... Maybe

Yay!!! Thanks to Tiffany Snow's Power Play, I am finally out of my reading slump. It was not looking good for a while there.  I have been struggling the last couple of months to even be interested enough in the books I'm reading to pick them up.  On average, I can usually finish a book in 3 to 4 days depending on how busy I am and my interest level in the book. 

My slump started about maybe the end of August.  I was reading Untamed by Sara Humphreys.  This is a paranormal romance, the first in a shape shifter series.  I hate to say this, but I was bored to tears with this book.  I made it about halfway through before giving up on the book after a week of trying to read it.  Meanwhile, I was listening to Unmasking Kelsey, by Kay Hooper on a road trip. 

The next book I read was Rogue with a Brogue by Suzanne Enoch.  I also found this book boring and I have read Enoch before and enjoyed her.  It took me about a week to get through this one too.  Was it me?  Why are all these books falling flat? 

I decided that I had to go to one of my tried and true authors to pull me out of this slump, so I went for the latest Kelley Armstrong, Betrayals.  Yes!  The latest installment of Armstrong's Cainesville novel was great.  I read it in a few days.  More of Olivia, Gabriel and Ricky and finally Gabriel is realizing his feelings for Olivia!!!

But then I had to read Dirty Blonde by Lisa Scottoline. Ugh!!! This book was terrible. It had major plot problems. Only one person in book club liked it.  And just like that bam. My book slump was back. 

I made a mistake of trying a new author.  I read Hold Your Breath by Katie Ruggle.  It wasn't bad, but it wasn't great either.  It took me about a week to get through it.  I liked the lead characters but the mystery part was ridiculous.

Then I tried Power Play by Tiffany Snow. Whoot whoot!!  I loved this book.  I just powered through it in a day and a half.  Bam!  There is a love triangle between the heroine Sage and her executive boss and a detective.  I know so many people hate the love triangle plot, but I am such a sucker for them.  Sage cracked me up with all her antics and sass.  I was highly entertained.  My only heartbreak is that the book ended on a cliffhanger, so I will be forced to rush out and get the second book!  Oh those brilliant marketers!!

I really don't know if my slump is over, but I sure do hope so!!  What do you do in a reading slump and any recommendations for books to keep me out of it?

Monday, October 3, 2016

Review: Unmasking Kelsey

Title: Unmasking Kelsey
Author: Kay Hooper
Publishing Date: 1988, rereleased 2012
Genre: Contemporary
Rating: D
Sensuality: Warm
Book Disclosure: I was making a long car trip and I needed an audio book for the trip.  This was about the only thing that was available for immediate check out.

I really only listened to this because I was desperate.  I have read Kay Hooper before and I have liked her books, but I had a feeling that this would seem very out dated to me since it was originally published in 1988 and then rereleased in 2012.  Here is the new cover, but the one I have posted below is the original cover.  They send quite different messages don't they?!?!  You can imagine how someone would feel if they picked up the new book cover, only to find its not quite a suspense, but a category romance.

On to the review... Unmasking Kelsey is the 6th book in Hagen series.  This series is about a team of operatives for some special unit that solves crimes that other government agencies can't touch.  The mastermind behind the special unit is Hagen and he is a bit of an unintentional matchmaker.  All his operatives have ended up in love and then leave his team.  One of remaining few is Kelsey.  He is sent to the town of Pinnacle to investigate a manufacturing company called Metatron.  Something shady seems to be going on and his investigation leads him to the stunningly, beautiful Elizabeth.  Elizabeth has been raising her sisters on her own since her parents death and seems to be in over her head.  Kelsey can't resist coming to her rescue.

Mainly, its just that the book is really outdated and is an extremely old school romance cliché.  The beautiful, helpless woman needs rescuing by the emotionally, distant operative.  Of course, once he sets eyes on her, he can't help but be taken in by her beauty and everything he has ever known changes in the blink of an eye.  The book was just very silly to me.  The plot had lots of holes and was overly ridiculous.  At the end, the heroine puts herself in danger on purpose, which sets me on edge.  Also, the narrator of this book did a southern accent because the book takes place in South Carolina, and let me tell you, not good.  For some characters it was like nails on a chalkboard when she did their voices.  Steer clear people, steer clear!!

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Movie Review: Mrs. Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children

Howdy all! I am deciding to switch things up here a bit.  Since, I haven't been reading much these days (I am in a bit of a slump - which does not bode well for my book club book that I need to get read this week) I thought I would do a movie review.  I just got back from taking my children to see the movie Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children.  This movie is directed by the legendary Tim Burton, who is known for movies such as Edward Scissorhands and The Corpse Bride

The movie stars Asa Butterfield as Jake, who grew up on fantastical stories about odd children told by his grandfather, played by Terence Stamp.  After Jake's grandfather is attacked in the woods outside his home and suffers a heart attack, Jake decides to travel to an island off the coast of the British Isles, where his grandfather's tales originate at Miss Peregrine's home.  Once Jake finds the home a series of events are set in motion to bring about a great adventure that will change Jake's life forever.

First, let me disclose that I am a big fan of Tim Burton.  I really enjoy his odd, quirky sense of style.  I have always enjoyed his costumes and make up and the weird characters.  Miss Peregrine's definitely delivered in all those areas.  As the movie began, the pacing seemed a little slow.  Burton had to set up the storyline and I wished we could have gotten to the Home much quicker than we did.  But I understand that the story had to unfold for the audience. 

Once Jake discovers the home and meets the children, things started to pick up a little more.  I will say that there was definitely a creepiness to the movie that I worried might bother my son.  He is 9 and a little sensitive to monsters and scary things.  I would keep looking over at him to make sure he was doing okay.  He was fine though, and I will say that by the time we get to the big climax of the movie, which is basically a battle of the children vs the bad guys, he was totally getting into it. 

One of the best parts of the movie, was the big epic battle.  Samuel Jackson, plays the bad guy and he was pretty funny.  Burton found a way to interject quite a bit of humor towards the end of the movie and children and adults alike will enjoy the big climactic scene.   I and my children were definitely entertained for a couple of hours.  If you like Tim Burton movies, this will not disappoint.  It's a little slow in the beginning, but the end makes up for it.  I give this a solid B.