Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Review: Déjà Vu by Lisa Childs

Title: Déjà Vu
Author: Lisa Childs

Read copy: Mass Market Paperback
Published: August 11, 2011
Publisher: Mills & Boon
ISBN: 0263880206
ISBN-13: 9780263880205

Alaina knows she's lived before. And that a sinister secret lies behind her death. The gifted hands of a handsome lover. A gleaming knife and blood-curdling screams for help. That was all Alaina remembered from her past life and the reason she investigated serial murders for the FBI...including her own. Reclusive writer Trent was her prime suspect. An empath barricaded in a fortress-like home, Trent included details in his books that mirrored the murders...and that no one could possibly know. But one look at Trent and Alaina recalled their passionate embraces. Then the murders began anew...

My rating:

The person who wrote the blurb should've written the entire book.

Review: Alaskan Wolf by Linda O. Johnston

Title: Alaskan Wolf
Author: Linda O. Johnston

Read copy: Mass Market Paperback
Published: September 16, 2011
Publisher: Mills & Boon
ISBN: 0263883280
ISBN-13: 9780263883282

The shimmering winter landscape hides the darkest passions

When Mariah travels to the remote Alaskan glacier region, she's seduced by the stark beauty of the landskape—and the powerful appeal of her rugged new guide, Patrick Worley.

For Patrick, the beautiful nature writer is an unwelcome distraction. His job at the Great Glacier Ranch is only a cover for his classified work with Alpha Force. He is on a mission to uncover the truth behind a series of deadly explosions, and her presence hinders his ability to shape-shift and to hunt—as only a werewolf can. Even if he, too, feels an animal lust hot enough to melt the Alaskan ice, he knows their desire cannot be satisfied. But can it truly be denied?

My rating:

The person who wrote the blurb should've written the entire book.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Review: Dark Predator by Christine Feehan

Title: Dark Predator
Series: Carpathians (Dark Series)
Author: Christine Feehan
Read copy: Paperback
Published: September 29, 2012
Publisher: Piatkus Books
ISBN: 0749954795
ISBN-13: 9780749954796

As brutal as the undead he hunted, Zacarias De La Cruz was a master executioner. Over the long, dark centuries, he plunged into so many battles they blurred into an endless lifetime of evil that hardened the soul of this merciless and ruthless dark predator.

Now his stark and savage journey is over. After a thousand years in a grey world, he has accomplished everything he set out to do. His brothers are safeguarded. Each has found a woman who completes them. And they are at peace. For his brothers, Zacarias had walked to the edge of madness, but with centuries as a killing machine now left behind, Zacarias wonders, for the first time in his life, who he really is.

The answer awaits him back home in Peru, in the betrayal of a woman who is readying her trap, in the vengeance of an old enemy, in the inevitable consequences of a bloody family legacy, and in the deliverance of a lifemate he never could have imagined.

My rating:

In hindsight this ‘new’ installment in the Dark/Carpathian series by Christine Feehan reminds me of the bodice-rippers of the eighties and the beginning of the nineties. You know, the he-heates-her-but-loves-her-yet-he-hates-her-for-making-him-fell-while-she-loves-him-no-matter-what-he-says-or-does-to-her.

And like those bodice-rippers, it was ‘fun’ at the beginning, but quickly went old and annoying. Because the guy was a bastard. There’s no way around it. He was a bastard. Yes, he had cause to be a bastard, we were told the story of the ‘anomaly’ he suffered, the same his father had suffered that made him go all snarly on his own kids...But still, he was a mean killing machine and a super SOB when he wanted to be. And he pretty much wanted to be one constantly. Those glimpses of the good, cuddly, marshmallow-y Zacarias weren’t enough to redeem him. Men!

While reading this book, I had repetitive urges to throw it against the wall. And all because of the hero, that for me, doesn’t really deserve the name. And I repeatedly said that if he was real, he was mine, he was standing in front of me, I’d hit him with a shovel. A lot. Maybe someone should invent the video game of Whack-Zacarias. Involving Zacarias and a shovel. I’d play. I’d probably set a record.

And because the ‘hero’ was such a caveman (which is mostly endearing and awwww-sounds-inspiring in CH books—in this one not at all), idiot, cretin, bastard and SOB, the heroine’s behavior (mostly her actions and reactions to him, her feelings toward him, her obstinate forgiveness) made me dislike even her. Though not so much as the ‘hero’. How can someone be so utterly blind, trusting, stupid beyond measure to actually forgive such a guy. Sorry, but the excuse ‘she loved him’ simply doesn’t cut it. Even the last forgiving act she did in the book—what the hell was that?! He’s been ‘savage’ in turning her, she mentally rejected him throughout the process, yet, because he’s injured (poor baby) all is forgotten and forgiven. At least whack him with a shovel a couple of times! Women!

Again, in hindsight, this would probably work a lot better as a novella, if you ask me. Less Zacarias’ SOB behavior, less back and forth between fear and attraction on Marguarita’s part, more concise story (because there wasn’t much plot there), and the final battle with much more weight (as it was it was more of a get-it-over-with-so-the-book-will-end deal for me).

I like Christine Feehan’s writing, Dark/Carpathian series especially, but this one just wasn’t my cup of tea, I guess. Too much...I don’t know, just too much. Also, I’m starting to chafe whenever a word in the Carpathian language appears in the text. At the beginning of the series, when there were none, it was better for me, now the ‘language’ just chops up my reading. But that’s probably just me.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Review: Whiskey Beach by Nora Roberts

Title: Whiskey Beach
Author: Nora Roberts

Read copy: Paperback
Published: April 16, 2013
Publisher: Putnam Adult
ISBN: 039916460X
ISBN-13: 9780399164606

For more than three hundred years, Bluff House has sat above Whiskey Beach, guarding its shore - and its secrets.

To summer tourists, it's the crown jewel of the town's stunning scenery. To the residents of Whiskey Beach, it's landmark and legend. To Eli Landon, it's home...

A Boston lawyer, Eli has weathered an intense year of public scrutiny and police investigation after being accused of murdering his soon-to-be ex-wife. And though there was never enough evidence to have him arrested, his reputation is in tatters as well as his soul. He need sanctuary. He needs Bluff House.

While Eli's beloved grandmother is in Boston, recuperating from a nasty fall, Abra Walsh has card for Bluff House, among her other jobs as yoga instructor, jewelry maker, and massage therapist. She is a woman with an open heart and a wide embrace, and no one is safe from her special, some would say over-bearing, brand of nurturing - including Eli.

He begins to count on Abra for far more than her cooking, cleaning, and massage skills, and starts to feel less like a victim - and more like the kind of man who can finally solve the murder of his wife and clear his name. But Bluff House's many mysteries are a siren song to someone intent on destroying Eli and reaping the rewards. He and Abra will become entangled in a centuries-old net of rumors and half-truths that could pull them under the thunderous waters of Whiskey Beach...

My rating:

Second winner in a row, I'm really on a roll here. ;)

I can always count on Nora Roberts (in all her incarnations) to deliver a solid, gripping read that will keep me entertained, guessing, sighing, cursing (sometimes), and flipping the pages yearning to know what happens next.

And this new installment in her writing opus sure didn't disappoint. Actually it surprised me. Surprised, because she chose a different path to her story. In the way of the hero being the center point of the plot, in the way of the hero being the main character, in the way of the hero being in danger, in the way of the hero being the most damaged, the most brooding, the most hurt of the pair. That spot of the 'main' character the plot revolves around is usually (in mostly all romance novels, be it straight romance or romantic suspense) reserved for the heroine.

Not this time and I'm really glad for it. This 'new' offered a nice respite from the template, if I dare call it that way, and it offered a nice respite from being constantly stuck in a female's mind—this story is (mostly) told from a man's point of view through a third-person narrative, so we get to see what the not knowing, being in danger, having the world turned upside down, having the rug pulled from under the feet...feels like from a male perspective. I'm not sure I make much sense with this, but hey, I felt (read) the difference.

Also, Ms. Roberts also freshened up her story by not having her usual 'I'm tough, I don't need anyone, I don't lean on anyone, leave me alone' type of heroine. Those were starting to get a little old and tiring, so Abra was truly a breath of fresh air. She was bubbly, optimistic to the point of being slightly annoying, new-age-y, pushy, adorable, slightly know-it-all type of person that one cannot help but love from the get go. And I did love her. I'm not saying I wouldn't slap her (tenderly) if she was a real person and I knew her, because she did have a tendency to be annoying at times with her optimism and her positive energy and positive thinking and her mothering, but still she was endearing and adorable and a complete opposite of Ms. Roberts' other heroines.

And I'm more than thankful she didn't turn her hero into one of those heroines. Yes, he was broody, yes, he wanted to be left alone at the beginning, but being accused of murder, being dogged by an asshole detective, being the center of gossip and media attention for a year, probably does that to a person. He didn't keep being a broody-leave-me-alone kind of guy, he let the heroine push, mother, and annoy him, he let her in, and he let her help him heal her.

God, I loved the story, as you've probably realized already. ;)

Enough with the romance aspect of the story, which was sweet, sexy, adorable and fun to read, let's get to the suspense part of the story. Which was also great, let me tell you. I had no idea who did it, though I had a pretty good idea who the other one, the intruder was, but I had no idea who killed Eli's wife. And I still have no idea how he figured it out, and that bugs me a little, but I'll get over it, because I'm glad I didn't spot the murderer from the get go. I always suspected the lover, but I was wrong, and I'm very happy about it. I also felt the other sub-plot, the intruder, the obsession, etc. remained a little loose around the edges, I needed some real closure on that, but hey, it helped solve the real question, the first murder, so let's not nitpick.

All in all, a great NR story, gripping, intense, sexy, suspenseful, romantic, 'tight'...I could've done without the large print though, but that's on me. I learned my lesson, read the description thoroughly before purchasing a book online. ;)