Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Review: Willing by Lucy Monroe

Title: Willing
Series: Mercenary/Goddard Project
Author: Lucy Monroe
Read copy: Mass Market Paperback
Published: August 1, 2008
Publisher: Brava
ISBN: 0758208766
ISBN-13: 9780758208767

Meet three sexy men who individually are READY, WILLING, and ABLE to go the distance - and together, are unstoppable...

Jose McCall left her dad's mercenary school for a normal job in computers. But now that someone has torched the school and her dad is MIA, Josie's going to use every bit of her training to hunt down the culprits who took him. Josie knows a lot about explosives, hand-to-hand combat, and tracking. What she doesn't know about is sex. She has no idea what to do with the volcanic attraction she feels for her dad's new partner, Daniel Black Eagle. And that fees more dangerous than any bomb...

Daniel knows exactly what he'd like to do about that attraction. He can't get within five feet of Josie without wanting to touch, taste, and protect her. But right now he's got his hands full figuring out who set that bomb and took Josie's dad. Daniel's sure of one thing, though - he's not letting Josie McCall out of his sight for a single second...


My rating:

Unfortunately my fear at the end of the first book in this trilogy, Ready, wasn't unfounded. As promising as this one started, it quickly turned out into a rather mediocre romance with a very, very, very subtle suspenseful undertone.
I'm a sucker for romantic suspense where the thrill of danger intertwines with the romance and the two compliment each other and not one overshadowing the other. Unfortunately in this series the romance greatly overshadows the suspense, which, if the romance were gripping and "involving" wouldn't be such bad news, but I just can't seem to relate not to the characters not to the budding relationship between them.

At least the heroine in this book was consistent with how she was portrayed at the very beginning and not changing at the blink of an eye into a complete stranger (to the reader and to the hero).
The hero was an almost carbon copy from the guy in the first book, only with a lot more emotional baggage...And sorry, the the fifth member of Il Divo on the cover sure didn't channel a monosyllable-loving, brooding mercenary.

How many books can you write with a brooding, commitment-phobic ex-mercenary and an emotionally immature, highly insecure, boring inner-monologue and self-doubt prone heroine?
The answer appears to be three.

But since I'm a stubborn chick, I'll read the third, too...And hope for the best.


Thursday, March 26, 2009

Review: Ready by Lucy Monroe

Title: Ready
Series: Mercenary/Goddard Project
Author: Lucy Monroe
Read copy: Mass Market Paperback
Published: July 1, 2008
Publisher: Brava
ISBN: 075820874X
ISBN-13: 9780758208743

Meet three sexy men who individually are READY, WILLING, and ABLE to go the distance—and together, are unstoppable...

Writer Lisa Barton is used to coming up with wild scenarios for her characters, but the one that's playing out for her right now is no fiction. Someone is stalking her, someone who knows where she lives and what she does—who's even threatened her family. To protect them, she packs up and leaves Texas for the anonymity of Seattle—where it all starts all over again...

Joshua Watt's mission is simple: Bring Lise home for Thanksgiving or he'll never hear the end of it from his sister. He's spent months trying to forget the taste of her lips, but the minute he sees the fear in Lise's eyes, the former Army Ranger takes control. His mission: Protect Lise and try to keep his personal feelings out of it. Because if there's one thing he's learned, it's that ex and work don't mix. So far...


My rating:

Thank God it's over!...That's what I though as I turned the last page of this novel.

Reading it was a truly tiring experience. It drained me, that's what it took so long. Usually I "consume" such suspense novels in an evening, this one took a lot longer.
I couldn't keep from comparing her to Shannon McKenna's Behind Closed Doors. The romance plot completely overtook the original suspense premise, until all that was left from that possible saving grace was sporadic and all too brief glimpses of the villain. And the last nail in the suspense coffin was the reason behind the whole stalking bonanza. It completely ruined the bang the slow build-up promised and I just couldn't believe it. Sorry.
If at least the romance were any good...Or the sex scenes. Alas, no. Huge been-there-read-that syndrome. It wasn't gripping, it wasn't angsty, if wasn't involving. A complete dud.

The next huge boulder on the road were the characters, actually one character - the heroine. I've never read pf a more contradictory female character in my life. Has she ever heard of consistency? At the beginning she was supposed to be this shy, prim, not-getting-involved-because-she-would-lose-herself type of gal, then all of a sudden she does a 180 and turns into an aggressive, demanding, she-wolf nympho...Without any apparent reason.
And the clingy bitch she turned into at the end. Oh, boy. Psycho much?

Lucky for me the author had the presence of mind to create the hero and his two merc buddies. They were the whole reason I kept reading after the few initial chapters.

I guess I will have to read the other two stories (the author has dropped a few hints toward the end of this novel that caught my attention), just to see if they're duds as well. I sure hope not, because I don't want to waste more of my reading time.


Sunday, March 22, 2009

Review: 3 Brides For 3 Bad Boys (anthology) by Lucy Monroe

Title: 3 Brides For 3 Bad Boys
Series: Mercenary/Goddard Project
Author: Lucy Monroe
Read copy: Mass Market Paperback
Published: February 1, 2008
Publisher: Kensington
ISBN: 0758208634
ISBN-13: 9780758208637

Rand
After tragedy struck six years ago, Rand buried what was left of his heart. But Phoebe Garrison refuses to give up on him. When nothing else gets the brooding hunk to open up, she blackmails him, offering him the coveted deed to property his company needs—if he agrees to spend a week in her bed.

Colton
Waking up in Vegas next to a naked showgirl named Fayre after a red-hot night of passion puts a smile on Colton Denning's face—until he discovers that Fayre is his new wife. What can stable, workaholic Colton possibly say to this unpredictable force of nature, a woman who expects him to love, honor, and cherish the vows he took, drunk, in a Vegas chapel?

Carter
As marriage proposals go, Carter's offer to Daisy Jackson lacks romance: Marry me and I'll give you a half million dollars. Four years ago, Carter let Daisy go for her own sake. Now, he needs a wife to fulfill the requirements of his father's lucrative will, and this could be his chance to make amends with Daisy.


My rating:

If these three fellas are bad boys I'm the Queen of Sheba. Truly, the three half-brothers, offspring of one Hoyt Sloane, are lambs compared to some real bad boys of Romancelandia out there.
And their stories are living proof. Rather meek and quite uneventful, often boring, and not very entertaining. They certainly didn't pull me in.

This was a rather meh one-author anthology with average heroes and even more average heroines, seriously lacking in chemistry and even more in plot.

Disappointing.


Thursday, March 19, 2009

Review: Playing Easy to Get (anthology) by Sherrilyn Kenyon, Kresley Cole, Jaid Black

Title: Playing Easy to Get
Series: B.A.D. Agency, Immortals After Dark, Vikings Underground
Author: Sherrilyn Kenyon, Kresley Cole, Jaid Black
Read copy: Paperback
Published: February 7, 2006
Publisher: Gallery Books
ISBN: 1416510877
ISBN-13: 9781416510871

New York Times bestselling author Sherrilyn Kenyon and rising stars Jaid Black and Kresley Cole unlock the pleasures and perils of embracing the boldest and most powerful of lovers—100% alpha males—in three sensually erotic tales. Discover the physical rapture of his muscular arms.... Become a prisoner of passion, swept away by an encounter with his primal side.... And get lost in the all-consuming thrill of white-hot pursuit by a relentless stranger who may be your most dangerous foe, the best lover you've ever had—or both.

Let your fantasies run wild with these unforgettable novellas where bigger is most definitely better—and playing easy-to-get is the only way to go!


My rating:

I expected a little more from this anthology since the blurbs promised a bang that the stories just didn't deliver.
Sherrilyn Kenyon's contribution was typical SK. A goody-two-shoes heroine with no life whatsoever that needs just the right guy to unleash the temptress that's lurking just beneath her holier-than-thou facade. A tall, dark, and dangerous hero with a shady past and a murderous "family" bossman on his tight ass, that just happens to have a penchant for the Dairy Maid thing the heroine has going on.
The premise was promising, but the acting-out-a-book scenario and the slowness of the pace ruined it for me. Luckily Joe Public, BAD leader, made a small appearance in the end, bringing a much needed ray of sunshine in this rather boring story.

I'm growing rather tired of Jaid Black's Viking stories. There's nothing interesting about a bunch of Vikings buried underground because of a crazy prophecy. They might appear interesting for a while, though the softness-of-heart could be toned down a bit - getting old and boring, but whenever I start enjoying the story, bam, there goes the mention of them living underground because of a crazy prophecy, and my interest withers and dies a slow and agonizing death.
This one was no exception...And it was too short to even make it believable (despite the living underground because of a crazy prophecy).

I'm not sure about Kresley Cole's novella. One moment I liked it, than something the hero or heroine (or both) did got me disliking it with a passion. I just couldn't relate to neither of them, not fully. They were quite perfect fiction characters, both with major flaws, both with huge chips on their shoulders, so reading about them and their journey should've been quite a ride, yet I just couldn't go past the fact she was a psychotic nutcase and him a jealousy-prone, possessive jerk. But that's just me.
The sneak peek for Ms. Cole's next novel, the first full installment in the Immortals After Dark series was quite promising, so I'm truly hoping for the best.



Saturday, March 14, 2009

Review: Coyote's Mate by Lora Leigh

Title: Coyote's Mate
Series: Breeds
Author: Lora Leigh
Read copy: Mass Market Paperback
Published: February 3, 2009
Publisher: Berkley
ISBN: 0425226336
ISBN-13: 9780425226339

For six years Anya Korbin worked with Del-Rey Delgado—the genetically altered rebel known as the Coyote Ghost—to free a group of coyote women kept in her father's lab. As Anya matured into a woman, she and Del-Rey grew close…, but then he broke his promise and killed her father. Now she must deal with her animalistic desire for the one who betrayed her.

My rating:

This book was one heck of a ride. There's always conflict in Leigh's books, especially Breeds, they just scream conflict, but there's never been so much of it as in this one. The two protagonists never seemed to be on the same page and they pretty much dragged everybody else along with them. Drama, drama, drama.

I loved Del-Rey for the first part of the book, while I just wanted to slap Anya silly. He's put it nicely, she was acting like a child and she knew it, she even confirmed it. But did she try to change. No way, Jose. Let's just torture the poor Coyote, because there's nothing interesting to do around Base today. Argh. Frustrating.
When they finally patched things up - for about three pages, just long enough to have steamy sex - he's the one to turn all arrogant, moronic, idiotic Alpha on her. So for the second part of the book I loved Anya and just wanted to kick the shit out of the cretin Coyote. Okay, so he had a justification - a stupid one, even a child could see it - but he thought he was right. Because men usually do.
And it took, as usual, a life-or-death situation to make him see reason. Why must men be so thick?

Sorry, I needed to get that off my chest.

Yes, this was a really, really great read. Lora Leigh just keeps getting better and better.
The characters were well-developped, yet still growing before the reader's eyes, still evolving, changing. Despite everything (see above), I loved the relationship between Anya and Del-Rey. They weren't likable at times, they were far from perfect, but they were perfect for each other. I could almost see them sitting somewhere in those caves they called home, going "You complete me"...Ooh, sugar rush. ;)
The plot was gripping, the action scenes nicely intertwined with the romance and angst, mixing to (an almost) perfection. The supporting cast was great, as usual, with the welcome reappearance of previous couples (it was nice seeing more of Wolfe and Hope, since their original story was so short), and a few of the new ones' matchmaking attempts to make the two dolts "see the light" provided a nice respite in the drama section of the story.
And the race to the finish...Whew. Intense stuff.

A definitely recommended read not only for the Breed fans, but fans of paranormals in general. The past events weren't mentioned many times, so it should be quite easy to follow even if you're not that familiar with the Breed history and universe. Great book...I think I'm gonna read it again today, to freshen up my memory. *big grin*



Saturday, March 7, 2009

Review: Primal Heat (anthology) by Lora Leigh, Sherri L. King, Lorie O'Clare, Jaci Burton

Title: Primal Heat
Series: Breeds, Moon Lust, Lunewulf, Devlin Dynasty
Author: Lora Leigh, Sherri L. King, Lorie O'Clare, Jaci Burton
Read copy: Paperback
Published: May 15, 2004
Publisher: Ellora's Cave
ISBN: 1843607409
ISBN-13: 9781843607403

Moonlust By Sherri L King
During Brianna's trip to the Ural Mountains of Russia, a life-threatening accident places her at the mercy of a strange, reclusive man. A man whose secrets and unquenchable hunger will change her life forever...

Pack Law By Lorie O'Clare
Pack law states every female shall have three mates. It's a necessary action in order to keep the lunewulf breed alive. Sophie Rousseau has just learned who her three mates will be. And one of them is the sexy Nik Alexander who has invaded her dreams since high school. Though Sophie's nervous about fulfilling pack law, she can't wait to mate with Nik. Nik has lusted after Sophie, wanted her for his mate and mother of his children. He gets his way, but by pack law, Sophie cannot be his alone. Nik will share her with two other werewolves. But only on his terms.

Running Mate By Jaci Burton
Senator Jason Devlin is a man with a secret. A big one that could ruin his political career and his family. He guards his secret closely, allowing no outsiders to penetrate his intimate circle. Kelsey Harper is a reporter itching for an interview with the elusive senator. When a case of mistaken identity lands her in his bed, she gets much more than an interview.

Wolfe's Hope By Lora Leigh
Hope believed Wolfe was dead, but he was only waiting for the right time to claim her. He is a man whose DNA was altered, infused with the genetic code of the wolf. His unique genetic makeup has created a male unlike any other and will make itself known in the most surprising ways. Now Hope must convince her mate she hasn't betrayed him, and they must defeat the plans of a scientist gone mad.


My rating:

Ugh.

Judging by Lora Leigh's contribution (for her Breed series) I would never have thought this anthology could be bad, but I stood corrected yesterday when I read the other three stories and remained stock still in my comfy chair, staring at the pages with a disgusted/confused frown on my face.

Let's start at the beginning.

Sherri L. King's Moon Lust was amateurish in tone, style, and use of the language. The end result: the story was so boring and "frigid" I couldn't wait for it to end.

Lorie O'Clare's Pack Law was the absolute worst in the bunch, and I dare say the absolute worst novella I've read so far. The premise had so much potential, yet the author turned all those little conflict-makers into a crazed sex fest, obliterating a solid "fact" of werewolf culture...Or is it just the male wolves that mate for life - with ONE partner - leaving the promiscuity to the females?
Also the language, though probably used "in context", came off so degrading to women, I merely skimmed through the rest of the story.

Jaci Burton's contribution, Running Mate was a nice reprieve from the first two novellas. It was cute in its own funky kind of way, and I wished it was longer. I would've loved to explore it a little further, maybe polishing the rather abrupt ending.
The scene in the clearing was a bit too much, though, if you ask me. It brought a huge kink in the stride of an otherwise good story.

Once again, it is Judging by Lora Leigh's Wolfe's Hope that shines the most. I loved it. Yes, it was short, too short in fact, and seriously lacking in story, but still I loved it. This hot, hot, hot novella provided a great distraction, and though I'm not really partial to the EC excuses for stories, the amount of sex and almost invisible story didn't bother me. It was more an itch scratching, not providing any real insight into the leading couple, except they had the hots for each other, but I wasn't that interested in them.


The anthology as a whole is, unfortunately, an (almost) complete waste of paper and reading time. Though it's fifty-fifty in good and awful, the four stories are far from gems you absolutely have to read.

I wouldn't recommend this book, not even to the "Breed followers", since the Breed novella doesn't provide any real insight and any new developments on that front. It's a mere interlude, one that we all can do quite well without.

So, definitely not a recommended read.



Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Review: Hot Spell (anthology) by Lora Leigh, Emma Holly, Shiloh Walker, Meljean Brook

Title: Hot Spell
Series: Breeds, The Guardians, Tale of the Demon World
Author: Lora Leigh, Emma Holly, Shiloh Walker, Meljean Brook
Read copy: Mass Market Paperback
Published: November 7, 2006
Publisher: Berkley
ISBN: 0425212882
ISBN-13: 9780425212882

Venture into a world beyond the ordinary, where the dark passions and voracious appetites of vampires, werewolves, demons, and a few undaunted mortals combine to unleash a potent spell.

My rating:

The best part of this four-novella anthology was Lora Leigh's Breed novella. Certainly not one of the best stories in the series, and entirely too short, I barely started enjoying the story when it was already over.

Shiloh Walker's was one of those hidden gems and the first story by the author I've read. I'm sure it won't be the last.
The twist of "combining" two utterly different creatures of the lore was a nice move, yet I felt that sort of conflict could've been explored a little further. Unfortunately, with novellas the author has a limited amount of space to cram everything in.

I've never been a fan of Emma Holly's and I certainly shall not become one. Her contribution to this collection was once more a rather boring rendition of been-there-read-that. I just cannot relate to her characters or her stories.

It is Meljean Brook's story that earned the title "Skimmed Through Instead Of Read" for this anthology. I just couldn't "get with the program". Neither the plot nor the characters were able to pull me in, leaving me to just fly through it to continue with the next story.