Thursday, January 30, 2014

Review: Maggie's Man by Alicia Scott

Title: Maggie's Man
Series: Family Secrets
Author: Alicia Scott
Read copy: Mass Market Paperback
Published: August 6, 2013
Publisher: Headline
ISBN: 1472209168
ISBN-13: 9781472209160


Three siblings searching for the truth about their past are about to fins more than they bargained for...

When shy and reserved Maggie Ferringer is called for jury duty, she never expects to be kidnapped by an escaped convict. But Cain Cannon, disguised as a prison guard, pulls a gun, and she has no choice but to be taken hostage. Cain claims that he's innocent of killing his girlfriend six years ago, and now he wants revenge on the people who put him behind bars.

Soon Maggie becomes more than just a hostage to Cain. As they slowly begin to share the secrets of their respective pasts, she discovers there's more to him than meets the eye, and that his freedom is worth fighting for, at any cost.

My rating:

The blurb sounds nice, doesn't it? That's why I bought the book. Unfortunately, the book didn't live up to the blurb, and it turns out the person who wrote the book should also have written the book.

There you have it.

I just couldn't bring myself to care about either of the characters or their plights. While the hero was tolerable, I guess, the heroine was a mess. I had to check the original copyright year for this one, because I just couldn't believe it. The heroine was an idiot. I'm a woman and we women should stick together, girl power and all, but I absolutely hated the chick. If I wrote this story, she would've died on page two. The hero should be put on the waiting list for sainthood for not shooting her. Oh, my God!

Thanks to all that, I just didn't care what happened. And for some reason, I just didn't care how the hero's side of the plot ended. I just kept turning the pages, thankful it was a short book.


Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Review: Dark Wolf by Christine Feehan

Title: Dark Wolf
Series: Carpathians (Dark Series), Dark Trilogy
Author: Christine Feehan
Read copy: Paperback
Published: January 10, 2014
Publisher: Piatkus Books
ISBN: 0349401918
ISBN-13: 9780349401911

Skyler Daratrazanoff always recognized the miracle that was Dimitri Tirunul, a man beyond any dream that had ever engaged her nights. But she is human. Vulnerable. He is Carpathian. Nearly immortal. She is nineteen. He is an ancient. Yet she holds half his soul, the light to his darkness. Without her, he will not survive.

Caught between the two warring species, Dimitri has spent centuries hunting the undead to keep his people free and humans safe. He has survived honorably when others have chosen to give up their souls. Now, marked for extermination by the Lycans, Dimitri finds himself alone, and fearing for his life. But salvation is coming...

No Lycan would ever suspect someone like Skyler to dare mount a secret rescue operation. A teenage girl. A human of untested abilities. But she has something no one else does. She is predestined for Dimitri—as he is for her. And there is nothing stronger for Skyler than her desire to see her life-dream come true. Whatever the risk.

My rating:

He knew what she was to him the moment they met. Unfortunately she was too young to be claimed, but most importantly, she was too scarred and too scared. So they made a pact, Dimitri and Skyler, she would let him know when she was ready to be his lifemate in every sense of the word. Until then, he'd wait...

And wait he did, patiently. It's been torture, but he'd waited. For her. For them. Because he knew it would all be worth it one day...However, that day might never come.

He's been captured by the Lycans, sentenced to a slow and torturous death for his sin of being a mixed blood, a Sange Rau. Enveloped in silver, with deadly silver beads rushing toward his heart, he's unable to reach out for help...The only one who can reach him, find him, rescue him, is his lifemate. A human with unbelievable powers, enormous heart, and a will made of steel.

No matter what might happen, no matter her apprehension as to what the future might have in store, Skyler is determined to get Dimitri back. He's her lifemate and she'll die before she lost him.

I've been waiting for this book, the Skyler/Dimitr book, since they met. There was just something about them, the drama, angst, inner scars, Skyler's past, Dimitri's Carpathian nature that demanded he claim his lifemate...The potential was amazing and the possibilities endless.

So it is with a heavy heart that I say this book fell short for me. I envisioned more for this pair, I wanted a story and a book that was all their own. I most certainly didn't want them sharing their book with Dimitr's brother (there was too much Fen and Zev in this one, although I somewhat get the Zev part since he's the hero of the next story), a genocide-conspiracy, and the Lycan species. It was all too much and it took part of the joy of finally reading Dimitri and Skyler's story away.

But what there was, it broke my heart, made me cry, made me smile, and made me sigh. I loved them! I LOVED them! And it pissed me off I had so little time to enjoy them together. Sure, it was romantic, sad, heartbreaking, sweet, tender, and hot, but the conspiracy, the rabid fighting, the death threats, and other Carpathians (and Lycans) kept intruding.

It was a Dark Series book, so it had all the elements of such, a mix of romance, action, and drama, the pacing and writing was good as always, but for this one I expected more. I feel Dimitri and Skyler deserve more that what they were given.

Oh well, we can't have everything, right. And considering everything, I guess nothing would really satisfy me when it came to D/S story. Still, unlike other paranormal series that I've given up on, I'll continue reading this one. The storytelling and writing never lets me down (although sometimes I'm not particularly pleased with a specific story). So I'm looking forward to reading Zev's book. The sneak peek was more than intriguing.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Review: Dark Lycan by Christine Feehan

Title: Dark Lycan
Series: Carpathians (Dark Series), Dark Trilogy
Author: Christine Feehan
Read copy: Paperback
Published: September 3, 2013
Publisher: Piatkus Books
ISBN: 0349402175
ISBN-13: 9780349402178

Tatijana of the Dragonseekers spent centuries encased in ice with her sister, trapped in limbo between life and death, never speaking to a soul other than those who tormented her. Now, she has been freed from her frozen prison by an unknown descendent. Awakened in human form, Tatijana yearns to explore the modern world in which she now lives-a world with more mysteries than she is prepared for.

Fenris Dalka has returned to the Carpathian Mountains after a long absence to be with his brother. He is scarred by centuries of battle, and every hard-won victory. But the real reason for his return home could prove deadly if discovered by the wrong man-or woman. Upon his arrival, he is compelled by a beautiful and enigmatic stranger who carries the scent of fresh earth, of forest, of the night itself.

In time Tatijana and Fenris will discover all that unites them-their secrets and pasts, their predators, and the hot flush of passion that stirs their souls. Yet just as surely, seduced into the silvery darkness of a full-moon night, they'll also discover everything ancient and evil that exists to destroy them.

My rating:

Fenris "Fen" Dalka has been on the run for centuries, hiding his true lineage, his identity in order to protect his younger brother, Dimitri. Because Fen isn't a Lycan, at least not a full-blooded one, he was born a Carpathian, but is now something the Lycans call Sange Rau, a mixed blood, that has to be exterminated. So, as far as they're concerned, he's fully Lycan.

But Lycans don't 'mate' like the Carpathians do, there isn't one woman that holds the other half of their soul, a woman that can restore their emotions and their ability to see color. Tatijana is Fen's lifemate, and when he sees her, hears her voice, he has no choice but to embrace his true nature, that of a Carpathian. Because he can't let her go, not even if he wanted to, not even knowing that what she craves most is freedom...

I wanted to wait to read this new installment in the Dark series, because I knew it heavily featured Dimitri and Skyler, the main couple from the next book in this little trilogy and I refused to spoil my enjoyment of their book by having to wait until it was released to learn what happened. And I'm glad I waited for their book to be released before reading this one.

Having said that, I have to confess I was rather disappointed with this one. It started great, both Fen and Tatijana were amazing, their initial banter a hoot...And they continued being a wonderful couple (with a minimum amount of I+m-the-man-you're-the-damsel-you'll-stay-safe-while-I-beat-at-my-chest convos and situations), I just ended up feeling like I was reading two different books. There was no real connection between the 'romance' part of the story and the 'action' part of the story. They seemed like two separate entities and it made for quite a jarring reading.

Also, the whole new 'species' thingy made me roll my eyes (how many species do we really need?) and the conspiracies for genocide are getting rather old.

Still, it was the usual CF fare, I just wished for a better connection between different elements in the story.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Review: Christmas in Tahoe by Elisabeth Barrett

Title: Christmas in Tahoe
Series: West Coast Holiday
Author: Elisabeth Barrett
Read copy: eBook
Published: November 11, 2013
ISBN: 0991094301
ISBN-13: 9780991094301

Silicon Valley actuary Ann Smith is an expert at calculating probabilities, but lately the odds haven’t been in her favor. Two years ago her fianc√© died a week before their planned Christmas wedding, leaving Ann heartbroken and alone. When a friend suggests heading up to Lake Tahoe for a long Christmas weekend of skiing, wine, and relaxation, Ann thinks it might be just the thing to help get her life back on track. But Ann’s plans go awry when her friend cancels at the last minute, and Ann ends up driving to Tahoe with Chase Deckert, a sexy snowboarder who pushes all her buttons.

Chase Deckert is a man who lives by his own rules. A few years ago his business partner betrayed him by selling out their biomedical research for a quick profit. Chase left science far behind, and now spends his days snowboarding in Tahoe, wanting nothing to do with the dog-eat-dog world of Silicon Valley. Chase has closed his mind and his heart and only believes in one thing: fate. But fate seems to be in a giving mood, because joining him for Christmas is a brave, beautiful woman who shows him the true meaning of the season and helps him rediscover a part of himself he’d long forgotten.

Fueled by the mountain scenery, the season, and their unbelievable chemistry, Ann and Chase end up learning more about each other—and themselves—than they ever imagined possible. Can one long, steamy Christmas help them realize they’re meant to be together? Or when the holiday is over will they be right back where they started?

My rating:

***copy provided by publisher through NetGalley***

This was a cute little read, different from the previous four books by Elisabeth Barrett I've read so far. There was no suspense, no drug-dealing, no killers...Just a couple of strangers coming together for a Christmas weekend in Tahoe and getting a lot more in the bargain that they've expected.

Cute, sweet, short...It hit just the right buttons.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Review: A Basic Renovation by Sandra Antonelli

Title: A Basic Renovation
Author: Sandra Antonelli

Read copy: eBook
Published: February 1, 2013
Publisher: Escape Publishing
ISBN: 0857990209
ISBN-13: 9780857990204

When it comes down to it, rats in the oven trumps Lesley’s desire to never set eyes on another Brennan family member. So Lesley, a pro at property redevelopment, scrambles to Dominic Brennan’s hardware store for supplies. Dominic knows poison — rat and otherwise — and he sees it in Lesley. The woman ruined his brother’s life. Now that she’s back in town, Dominic’s afraid she’ll drag up the past, the secrets, and the pain. They clash immediately, but mix in a teenage boy, a puppy, some white paint, and some loud music, and what starts as cold fury transforms into a nuclear attraction. This basic renovation becomes a major life refurbishment for them both.

My rating:

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

Sixteen years ago she'd been the frumpy nondescript woman who's apparently ruined his younger brother's life and convinced Dominic's live-in girlfriend to abandon him and their nine-month-old son. His family has been blaming her for everything from that point forward...Oh, and she's a lesbian (though his mother expresses herself more harshly in that regard).

And she's back in town, renovating a house, and stirring all kinds of feelings (and other stuff) in Dominic. As if he doesn't have other problems on his mind. Like keeping his sixteen-year old from earning enough money to buy a car...

It doesn't happen often that I stumble upon a decent read in the "ReadNow" section on NetGalley. But this one was a great respite from other not-so-stellar attempts. It had humor (as Kyle observed, bickering adults resemble teenagers), a feisty heroine, a drool-worthy hero (that often came through as a jackass, very realistic, I believe), a wonderful 92-year old grandpa in search for love (he had more luck in that department than his granddaughter), a very believable romance, a small town, two crazy families, a resilient house and loads of rats.

If that doesn't make any sense, I guess you'll just have to read it.

What I appreciated the most was the age of the two protagonists. They weren't teenagers or a foxy lady and a hunk in their twenties or thirties. He was going on fifty and she was pretty much close behind. I love it when authors decide to make their leading couple more mature. It shows us that love and romance truly is possible at any age. Which doesn't happen a lot in Romancelandia (unless you're reading a paranormal romance with vampires or long-lived werewolves).

The pacing was good, the story never got boring, the supporting cast was just right (with that 92-year-old GP the greatest of them all, and the fact he swore in Italian made him even more endearing)...The only hiccup that prevented me from giving it 5 stars was the final hurdle the two mature lovebirds had to go through. It seemed a bit too much in the end, a bit over the top, and seemed like it didn't really belong there and was added just so there could be more drama.

Otherwise everything fit just right.