Friday, December 19, 2014

Review: The Lost Testament by James Becker

Title: The Lost Testament
Series: Chris Bronson
Author: James Becker
Read copy: Mass Market Paperback
Published: November 7, 2013
Publisher: Pocket Books
ISBN: 0857500910
ISBN-13: 9780857500915

For thousands of years we guarded it. But now it has been found. This could be the end - for us; for our organisation; for the world. You must destroy it, and those who have taken it.

An ancient object is discovered in a Cairo souk. Hours later, the market trader who sold it is tortured to death. As the bodies begin to pile up, a request for help is sent to British Museum historian Angela Lewis.

Angela travels to Spain with her ex-husband, undercover police officer Chris Bronson. There they discover the key to the greatest secret in the history of Christianity.

Their only problem is deciphering it before they are brutally murdered like those before them...

My rating:

It took me three days to get to page 135. And not because I'm a slow reader. Everything else seemed to be slow, though.

The blurb (and the beginning) promised something akin to a Dan Brown novel (I know, I'm mentioning the guy a lot lately), but unfortunately it didn't deliver. At least not until the point I stopped reading. A book like this is supposed to suck you in and spit you out at the very end, not offer you tea and hope you'll stick around.
I don't like tea that much.

When, on the fourth day, I opened the book again, I just sighed when reading the first paragraph, closed it, and placed it in my to-give-away box. But I'll just probably give it away to the library. I know they won't resent me.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Review: Hidden Order by Brad Thor

Title: Hidden Order
Series: Scot Harvath
Author: Brad Thor
Read copy: Mass Market Paperback
Published: May 20, 2014
Publisher: Pocket Books
ISBN: 1476717109
ISBN-13: 9781476717104

The most secretive organization in America operates without any accountability to the American people. Hiding in the shadows, pretending to be part of the United States government, its power is beyond measure. Control of this organization has just been lost and the future of the nation thrust into peril.

When the five candidates being considered to head this mysterious agency suddenly go missing—and soon turn up as murder victims—covert counterterrorism operative Scot Harvath is summoned to Washington and set loose on the most dangerous chase ever to play out on American soil. With the United States on the verge of collapse, Harvath must untangle a web of conspiracies going back to the 1700s and head off the greatest threat America has ever seen.

My rating:

Well, this most certainly would've gotten a higher rating if I haven't read Forsyth's The Kill List first. After reading that one, the pacing in Mr. Thor's novel was a lot slower, some information and although I appreciated the suspense plot (though somewhat similar at the beginning to The Kill List's rescue operation in Somalia), everything else seemed rather redundant. Also, the information the hero (and the reader) needed in order for the plot to progress—the historical background—was presented in a rather academic and boring fashion. I love history, but I just wasn't interested all that much.

And the second beef I have with this story was the fact it reminded me too much of Brown's Angels and Demons. There were multiple missing important people, a race against time, the main plot taking place in just one city...

When while you're reading everything else is running through your head but the story, the protagonists, or guesses as to who might the villain be, that's not a very good sign.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Review: The Earl's Defiant Wallflower by Erica Ridley

Title:The Earl's Defiant Wallflower
Series: The Dukes of War
Author: Erica Ridley
Read copy: eBook (Kindle)
Published: December 1, 2014
Publisher: Intrepid Reads

Oliver York returns from war to find his father dead, his finances in arrears, and himself the new Earl of Carlisle. If he doesn't marry an heiress—and fast!—he and his tenants are going to be pitching tents down by the Thames. He definitely shouldn't be trading kisses with a penniless matter how captivating she is!

Miss Grace Halton is in England just long enough to satisfy the terms of her dowry. But a marriage of convenience isn’t as easy as she’d hoped. Back in America, her ailing mother needs medicine only Grace’s dowry can afford. Which means the dashing earl she can't get out of her mind is the one man she can't let into her heart.

My rating:

***ARC provided by publisher through NetGalley***

I could not have chosen a better book to venture back into the realm of historical romance. It had it all—good, tight plot, flowing narration, humor, drama, romance, a little angst, a wonderful hero that wasn't an ass, a great heroine that wasn't an idiot, the baddie in the form of the heroine's grandparents (the hero should be made a saint for his patience with the grandmother), a clandestine pregnancy, a vegetable of a friend that decided to wake up from his near catatonic state at the most inopportune moment...

I loved it and I can't wait to read more. I already have the "prequel" on my Kindle, and am impatiently waiting for Xavier and Jane's story.

Ms Ridley offered (me) a breath of fresh air on the genre with the story and H/h that veered just enough off the template to keep things fresh, yet not so far to make it all appear foreign. Loved it.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Review: The Kill List by Frederick Forsyth

Title: The Kill List
Author: Frederick Forsyth

Read copy: Mass Market Paperback
Published: August 5, 2014
Publisher: Signet
ISBN: 0451467639
ISBN-13: 9780451467638

In northern Virginia, a secret agency named TOSA (Technical Operations Support Activity) has one mission: to track, find, and kill those so dangerous to the United States that they are on a short, very close-held document known as the Kill List.

Now a new name has been added: a terrorist of frightening effectiveness called the Preacher, who radicalizes young Muslims living abroad to carry out assassinations. Unfortunately for him, one of his targets is a retired Marine general, whose son is TOSA’s top tracker of men.

The Preacher has made it personal—and now the hunt is on….

My rating:

This is a prime example of how a thriller should be written. The reader has to be hooked from the first paragraph and keep turning and turning the pages to see what would happen next, how it would end.

I was hooked from the first paragraph, and I would've kept turning the pages, but I had to take a break somewhere in the middle for work related reasons. What a bummer work is, don't you think?

Mr. Forsyth takes the reader on a globetrotting experience from the US to Afganistan and Pakistan, then back to the UK and over the mediterranean into Oman, Yemen, Kuwait, and Somalia. Also, everybody who is anybody in the espionage, terrorism, and anti-terrorism made an appearance - CIA, TOSA, ISI, SIS, Mossad, al-Qaeda, Somali pirates...And the hero was a Marine, born on November 10 (which also happens to be my birth date).

This was a fast-paced, page-turning, edge-of-your-seat action (toward the end) thriller with a mysterious hero (I loved it, how the author kept calling him Tracker throughout the book) in search of a radical terrorist whose "webinars" kept turning moderate Muslims into full-blown Jihadists...And when the Preacher "made it personal", I knew the fun (if I can even use that word) has just started.
The ending was predictable (no beating around the bush, there was just one way it was going to end), but I loved the unpredictability of how we got to the ending.

What I loved most of all was the narrative style. It was a very journalistic type of narration. Short sentenced, loads of information, a very "objective" author's voice, an omniscient point of view...Yet the story never dragged, it never got boring, no matter who we were seeing in a particular scene or where we were, the pages kept on turning, the story kept on flowing.

This was an amazing piece of fiction that merits its spot on my favorites shelf.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Review: The Titanic Enigma by Tom West

Title: The Titanic Enigma
Author: Tom West

Read copy: Mass Market Paperback
Published: June 20, 2013
Publisher: Pan
ISBN: 1447210336
ISBN-13: 9781447210337

When the Titanic sank, it took a secret with it...

In the vast expanse of the Atlantic, 375 miles off the coast of Newfoundland, a ship’s crew film an extraordinary event: the ocean, covered with millions of floating fish, bubbles as though boiling. Then an enormous whale roars through the water and crashes down, dead, onto the surface. Some 13,000ft beneath—at these precise coordinates—lies the wreck of the Titanic.

Within twenty-four hours, the footage has become a global phenomenon. Commander Jerry Derham, charged with investigating the incident, rushes to see marine archaeologists Kate Wetherall and Lou Bates. The one-time couple specialize in deep-sea-diving and the scientific study of shipwrecks. Jerry needs to get the pair down to the ocean floor—fast.

None of them are prepared for what they find there. Someone on the Titanic had been keeping a secret: one that cost lives. A secret that has remained trapped beneath the ocean for a hundred years. And now there are those who would kill again to get hold of what one man died for in 1912...

My rating:

I bought this book at an airport (in Malta, I think), solely due to the blurb and the word Titanic in the title.
And yesterday, after reading I-don't-know-how-many-romances in a row, I decided to give this one a go, because a change of "scenery" was needed. And you can't go wrong with choosing a suspense/thriller if you're a little tired of romance in your reading.

When I think thriller, I think suspense, edge-of-your-seat action, nail-biting narration, a page-turner. This one was far from any of it, unfortunately. (Or maybe it's just me.)

The narration was slow, the story dragged, when there were passages describing the look of the wreck under the sea, I couldn't help but compare them to purple prose, the characters were bland, the story in 1912 boring...I just didn't feel "the connection", I didn't care what happened next as long as the book ended.

The premise was good, the blurb was fantastic (it's what enticed me to buy the book), yet the delivery failed completely.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Review: Walking on Her Grave by Melinda Leigh

Title: Walking on Her Grave
Series: Rogue River
Author: Melinda Leigh
Read copy: eBook (Kindle)
Published: November 18, 2014
Publisher: Montlake Romance

The sleepy town of Solitude, Oregon, has turned into ground zero for a turf war between the manufacturers and distributors of a lethal new drug. When a teenage witness disappears, social worker Carly Taylor must find him before he’s silenced permanently.

Rogue County investigator Seth Harding wants to keep Carly, his estranged wife, out of harm’s way, but she refuses to let his concern keep her from doing her job. When one of her young charges vanishes, Carly gets pulled even deeper into the deadly case, and Seth knows he must help her…even if it leads them right into the criminals’ crosshairs.

My rating:

***ARC provided by publisher through NetGalley***

No surprises there. At least not for me. The heroine still got on my nerves, the hero was still bland...And the big surprising twist in the end wasn't neither big nor surprising.

That's it? That's why you had to drag the story through four installments? You could've just written one novella and be done with it. But no, we had to have family drama, uneventful narrative passages, murder scenes gone stale after the first good novella in the series...

After that first story I was really excited where the plot would go until the end of the series. But it had quickly taken a turn to Predictable Road and went down the Blah Cliff. Oh, well.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Review: Her Grave Secrets by Kendra Elliot

Title: Her Grave Secrets
Series: Rogue River
Author: Kendra Elliot
Read copy: eBook (Kindle)
Published: November 4, 2014
Publisher: Montlake Romance

There are no secrets in a small town—until someone has one worth dying for.

Local cop Stevie Taylor and police chief Zane Duncan have startling new proof that a deadly street drug is expanding its poisonous grip on their small town: a skull found on the banks of the Rogue River has two bullet holes in the back. Still caught up in the excitement of their new relationship, Stevie and Zane are determined to track down the drug’s source before more lives in Solitude, Oregon, are lost.

Then one death strikes especially close to home, leading to heartache and confusion for Stevie. As the drug distributers strike hard and the body count in Solitude grows higher, she and Zane must hunt down the deadly killer—but are they the predators, or the prey?

My rating:

***ARC provided by publisher through NetGalley***

Okay, my fascination with this 4-novella series has obviously ended. As with the second one, the pace was too slow, the heroine has suffered a small character transplant from the first story, and there was just nothing in this one making me go wow.

The twist that should've been unexpected (what exactly happened to Stevie's father) wasn't unexpected at all. I've been waiting for the reveal since novella number one. And now I'm waiting to see if the last twist in this series (the mastermind behind the drug problem in Solitude) is the one I'm suspecting - the matriarch.

Please, let me be wrong. Surprise me, please.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Seductive Supernaturals: 12 Tales of Shapeshifters, Vampires & Sexy Spirits

Title: Seductive Supernaturals: 12 Tales of Shapeshifters, Vampires & Sexy Spirits
Author: Erin Quinn, Caridad Pineiro, Erin Kellison, Lisa Kessler, Chris Marie Green, Mary Leo
Read copy: eBook
Published: October 20, 2014
Publisher: Full Moon Books, LLC
ISBN: 0692292381
ISBN-13: 9780692292389


Gracie Beck vowed that she would never to return to Diablo Springs, but the haunted town lures her back—along with the man who betrayed her years ago. Reilly broke her heart with his lies. Now, he wants a second chance to win her, but can they survive the ghosts of Diablo Springs?

VAMPIRE REBORN by Caridad Pineiro

Would you be reborn for love? Ryder Latimer, sexy Southern vampire, will have to make one of the most difficult choices in his undead life: Become human again or protect his new wife and child.

SHADOW FALL by Erin Kellison

Just discovering her magic, ballerina Annabella Ames didn’t mean to summon a dark wolf from Twilight, nor the tempting fallen angel Custo Santovari, who has no place in Heaven. The cunning wolf stalks them relentlessly, and danger seduces as they fight for redemption and love.

NIGHT ANGEL by Lisa Kessler

When Colin Flynn returns home to Ireland, the immortal Night Walker's flesh has healed, but the scars hide a broken spirit. Juliana Duffy plays piano in spite of her deafness, challenging him to redefine himself and find the strength to battle an ancient enemy.


Two monster hunters fighting a star-crossed attraction and one bloodthirsty phantom leaving a trail of death...Can love survive till the sun rises?


They say Hotel Colorado is haunted, but when Dillon Spencer appears in his hotel room to find Hilly Thompson, his assistant, soaking in the tub, he begins to question whether or not he’s alive, dead, or caught in another dimension.

MORE THAN FIENDS by Maureen Child

At 32, Cassidy Burke discovers she’s a legendary Demon Duster. But she’s got bigger problems than some pesky demons. Like, Logan Miller—first love, baby daddy to her genius daughter is back. Then there’s Devlin Cole, a walking orgasm with too many secrets. Cassidy’s life is out of control and about to get way too interesting.


When Dr. Evelyn Vale is paired with Immortal Bounty’s sexy commander to go undercover and infiltrate a supernatural body-trafficking ring, she’s eager to get to work. Until she learns the catch...To crack this case, he’ll need to possess her body.

FOREVER ROSE by Janet Wellington

Tarot cards predict a dangerous journey for Taylor Rose, but she doesn’t expect to travel back to 1888 San Diego. What the cards didn’t predict was falling for a man bent on revenge, a helpful ghost, and spooky séances. Is she there to prevent a murder or to find love?


Corporal Cole Wagner lost his humanity in war—literally. Turned into a vampire by the military’s Vector Force, he’s the ultimate weapon, but when he returns home to set the past right, will the enemy stop at nothing to get him, including threatening the life of the woman he loved, and lost, before?

VAMPIRE MAGIC (Blood Genie, books 1 and 2) by Sheri Whitefeather

Two tenderly romantic, wildly erotic stories featuring supernatural hybrids (vampires/genies) who grant wishes for the exchange of blood.


A mandatory vacation lands Agent Sherri Walker in bed with a local werewolf. Asher Hughes walked away from his outlaw pack but couldn't ditch the bad blood. Together they’ll have to pull off one hell of an act to get out of treacherous territory alive.

My rating: /

***ARC provided by publisher through NetGalley***

I went through 6 stories in this 12-story bundle, and all six were less than impressive (if I use a mild expression). So, leery of wasting even more time reading something I didn't like instead of wasting my time reading something I did like, I decided to forgo my foray into the paranormal world created by the imagination of 12 to me more or less unknown authors.

And this is why...


It started with a bang. The first chapter had me nailed to my seat and then I waited with batted breath just what might come next...Not much came next.

The story didn't deliver on the bang it promised. It was all over the place as if the author couldn't decide just what (paranormal) elements to use so she threw (almost) everything into the mix. SO we had a hodgepodge of a ghost town, apparitions of the dead right after they died, death lights, a chasm where supposedly the Devil dwelt, an angry ghost searching for "his share", a couple of other ghosts, a few ghostly possessions, a teenage pregnancy, a motley crew of I don't know what, a love lost and found again, a young man from the wrong side of the tracks, a Romeo&Juliet theme, a couple of dogs, incest, gun-slingers, flashbacks written in first person POV...Sheesh.

It was too much of everything and not enough of anything. The narrative style wasn't engaging, the characters were bland, the events were unrealistic (I know it's supposed to be a paranormal story, but still)...I just kept rolling my eyes, waiting for it to end. Miss

VAMPIRE REBORN by Caridad Pineiro

WTF?! And I thought the first one in this 12-book extravaganza was bad. First of all this wasn't a stand-alone novella, but part of a series. Second, it wasn't the first in the series either, so I ended up in the middle of things and had no idea what was going on. Third, the whole vampire mythology and lore was thrown out the window. Forget sparkly-in-the-sun vampires (blah), the one in this book was apparently reverting back to human.

Plus, there were slayers, and not the funky Buffy-kind, but ones with some kinetic powers of some sort, then there was a thing/vampire/whatever that drained the life force of people, then there were vampire/human hybrids. To me you're either a human, a vampire, or a corpse if the drinker refuses to turn the drinkee...And the cherry on the cake (sarcastically speaking) a human/vampire hybrid FBI agent married to the vampire turning human...and they had a baby. WTF?!

I just didn't feel the story, and in the end I didn't care much about the characters and what had happened, was happening, and would happen to them. Miss

SHADOW FALL by Erin Kellison

Are you kidding me? Another in-the-middle-of-a-series story. And a world I'm supposed to suddenly understand everything from a few sentences thrown in? Uhm, no can do. Besides, I've read better Fae/Shadow/Fairy stories than this, actually a whole series that was written much better, the world was much better presented and built, and it actually had some basis in reality (or legends and myths told through generations).

In this one there was just too much there, Death, Shadow, a rapist wolf, wraiths, angels, a banshee, a ballerina, a guy dead for two years that suddenly comes back to the living, lots of sex, a forest hidden between the worlds, a mention of Persephone, some Giselle thrown into the mix (how can a creature that's not from this world know how to dance the male part in a ballet production?), twins on the way, possessions etc.

Another story with too many elements without anything overly cohesive to bring it all together. Miss

NIGHT ANGEL by Lisa Kessler

Okay, the story is set in Ireland. It's not Scotland, which is my favorite setting, but it's close. The story should be good, right?


A Mayan god living in Ireland speaking with an irish accent, able to shape-shift into a hawk and drinking blood to survive. *eyeroll*
A native "demon" taking the appearance of a handsome guy with a hypnotic voice to lure the girls to the sea shore that then turns into a horse with glowing red eyes taking the girls into the water with him and eating them. *eyeroll*
A deaf florist that ends up being a pawn in the battle between the vampire Mayan god and the Irish Stallion. That wouldn't be so bad if the girl wasn't so annoying. Miss


What in the world?!

I don't even know how to explain this one. It started fine, I actually liked the prologue...And then it turned into a first person POV and it lost its appeal. And then the rest of the story happened and I completely lost interest.

A dueling phantom, a psychic hottie, an amnesiac heroine with boots that turn into vines...What in the world? Miss


Okay, it's official. I'm cursed.

This one started rather promisingly...Until the guy ended up in a coma and started appearing to the heroine...and acting all OOC. The "ghost" didn't seem like a "ghost" of a thirty-year-old man, but more that of a child or maybe a teenager. Add to it other ghosts (at one point it all looked like a Night At The Museum rip-off) and the heroine's penchant for taking baths only to be caught in flagrante by the hero's "ghost", and it all went down the drain rather quickly. Miss

I had to stop here. Enough is enough.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Review: Just In Time For Christmas by Kim Boykin

Title: Just in Time for Christmas
Series: Southern Born Christmas
Author: Kim Boykin
Read copy: eBook
Published: October 27, 2014
Publisher: Tule Publising
ISBN: 1940296919
ISBN-13: 9781940296913

Nobody does Christmas like Miranda Hamilton, and now that she finally has her chance to chair Magnolia Bay's tree lighting and the cotillion, which benefits her late mother’s breast cancer foundation, this Christmas is shaping up to be the best ever. That is until her childhood nemesis Logan Mauldin buys his way on her committee and starts making plans of his own.

Logan Mauldin loves to get under Miranda's very sexy skin, and it's only fair. She's been getting under his since long before their first kiss at 13. Logan’s the last man interested in co-chairing a Christmas committee or participating in a sexy bachelor auction, but since that night he interrupted Miranda on a date and cornered her under the mistletoe, he can't stop thinking about her. Or vying for her attention and bugging the hell out of her.

Christmas cheer isn’t the only thing that heats up between the Miranda and Logan, but, thanks to a lie that is as much her fault as it is his, he loses the woman he’s loved since forever. Logan will need a Christmas miracle for Miranda to forgive him. A grand gesture to melt her heart and win her back just in time for Christmas.

My rating:

***ARC provided by publisher through NetGalley***

There are stories that make you go “awww, that’s so cute” and there are stories that make you do the aww-thing but also tug on a nostalgic heart-string. This was one of the latter.

The hero and heroine were childhood nemesis, all the teasing, pulling of ponytails, barbs, and sometimes anger only a disguise for their true feelings. Having had a childhood nemesis of my own, I know what that’s like. Unfortunately, my story didn’t end up like the one between Logan and Miranda. So, let’s talk about them and their story, shall we?

At the beginning, I was a bit “meh”-ish about it. The heroine ran a B&B was nuts about Christmas, was chair of the Christmas festival committee. Okay, I guess. Well, the “meh”-ishess lasted only until the hero came into the picture. You see, Logan made a generous donation in order to get the co-chair position on the Christmas festival committee. And reading about Miranda’s reaction to that particular development, I immediately knew where the story was headed and just what was going on. With both of them.

It was funny, light-hearted, sexy, cute, and sweet, and I loved the little flashbacks thrown in to make us understand where the “animosity” between the H/h came from. I loved the bachelor-auction twist, although I suspected there was more to the mysterious bidder than met the eye (I just didn’t guess the right person). The story flowed nicely, the characters were well fleshed-out…I just didn’t like the heroine’s reticence. Or more to the point, I didn’t like how she kept juggling with two guys at the same time, when it was obvious, there was only one possible contender in that mess.
Also, where did that guy disappear to in the end? I mean, he was always there and then just conveniently went “poof”? A bit of a loose end there.

I also felt the last “bump on the road to HEA” was a tad redundant, but it served as the fulfilling of a Christmas wish (or a Christmas miracle), so I guess it served it purpose.

But, the last few objections aside, it was a great little novella with wonderful characters, great small-town environment, and a wonderful romantic story.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Review: Holiday At Magnolia Bay by Tracy Solheim

Title: Holiday at Magnolia Bay
Series: Southern Born Christmas
Author: Tracy Solheim
Read copy: eBook
Published: October 20, 2014
Publisher: Tule Publishing
ISBN: 1940296927
ISBN-13: 9781940296920

After a mission goes terribly wrong, ending in the death of a teammate, Navy Seal, Drew Lanham, is forced to take a leave from active-duty. Retreating to his godmother’s beach house in coastal Magnolia Bay, Drew plans to spend the three weeks R&R licking his wounds and catching some rays while the nightmares from his failed op fade. The last thing he wants to do is mingle with the locals. What he doesn’t count on is an early morning encounter with a goddess rising from the sea. His interest is piqued and his body put on alert when he finds out that same woman may or may not be after his godmother’s money.

Marine biologist, Jenna Huntley, has been searching her whole life for a place to call home and Magnolia Bay is that place. Unfortunately, she’s underutilizing her education giving tours at the town’s turtle rescue center. With the help of an octogenarian patroness, she maps out a proposal to develop a turtle hatchery on-site. Everything is going as planned until the older woman’s godson arrives. Suddenly, nothing is as it seems and Jenna’s future is hanging in the balance, with a sexy warrior pulling all the strings. Her natural tendency is to help the damaged hero, but she’s sworn off letting military men in her life ever again.

Will Drew and Jenna be able to put their pasts behind them and learn to trust their hearts long enough to enjoy their Holiday at Magnolia Bay?

My rating:

***ARC provided by publisher through NetGalley***


That was my first reaction after finishing his novella. It was simply awww.

Short, sweet, sexy, funny, a little sad. I loved the initial banter between the heroine and hero, I loved the heroine's spunk, the fact she was a military brat helped immensely in her dealing with Drew (the hero), I adored the hero - the strong, silent type, suffering but determined not to show it, not utterly afraid to show off his vulnerabilities, Navy SEAL ('nuff said)...And the sweet (fairy) godmother playing at matchmaker was the cherry on the cake.

Great author's voice, great story, great characterization, great resolution...To sum it up in one word - awww.

Loved it!