Thursday, September 25, 2014

Review: New Year's in Napa by Elisabeth Barrett

Title: New Year's in Napa
Series: West Coast Holiday
Author: Elisabeth Barrett
Read copy: eBook
Published: October 7, 2014
ISBN: 099109431X
ISBN-13: 9780991094318

Driven by guilt, biotechnology researcher Amanda Aligheri spends every waking moment in her Silicon Valley laboratory. Desperate for a change, she makes a New Year’s resolution: go to Napa, relax, and achieve some balance. The problem? There’s no chance to soul-search while tempting-as-sin winemaker Liam Flynn is around. Mandy and Liam have history together, and one glance at his easy smile reminds her exactly why she fell for him the first time.

A software engineer at heart, Liam Flynn left a lucrative position at a San Francisco tech company in order to help his dad manage their third-generation family winery, and he’s done his best to take the business to the next level. Two years ago, sparks flew between Liam and Mandy, but the moment he mentioned commitment, she turned and fled back to the safety of her lab. When Mandy shows up at his winery, she’s just as beautiful, intelligent, and stubborn as he remembers…but this time Liam isn’t giving up without a fight.

Will one romantic, wintery week in Napa be enough for Liam to convince Mandy he’s the one for her, or when the new year comes will she forget about her resolution and return to Silicon Valley—and her research—without him?


My rating:

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

If you want a cute, sweet, quick, and sexy read, I'd say go with an Elisabeth Barrett story. You simply can't miss. And she's done it again, with this new West Coast Holiday story, set two years after Christmas in Tahoe.

The hero and heroine of this story actually met in CiT, and created history. He offered, wanted everything in return, and she turned him down. Turns out she had her reasons, which were pretty valid once she shared them with him (and the reader). Maybe she went a bit overboard, but still, she had her reasons.
And she was determined to overcome them, or more specifically, not be all about work, but do something for herself for a change. Be a little selfish, if you will. And Liam, the hero, was more than willing to help her.

I won't give anything more away, so I suggest you read this one as soon as it's available, or request it via NetGalley like I did.

I'll just say this. I loved it from beginning to end. It was emotional, sweet, and sexy. It had two great protagonists, a wonderful supporting cast (I hope Stella gets her HEA in a future story), wonderful scenery of wine country, the requisite little twist toward the end (one that didn't bog the story down, but gave it that touch of realism, because real life isn't perfect as Romancelandia)...

Just read it, you won't be sorry.



Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Review: Kiss Me, Cowboy by Melissa McClone

Title: Kiss Me, Cowboy
Series: Montana Born Rodeo
Author: Melissa McClone
Read copy: eBook
Published: September 9, 2014
Publisher: Tule Publishing
ISBN: 1940296897
ISBN-13: 9781940296890

She didn’t mean to kiss him...

When dude ranch wrangler Charlotte – aka Charlie – Randall kisses Zack Harris in an act of empathy, she falls hat over spurs for the handsome military veteran turned cowboy. Zack has too many demons, however, and refuses to get involved. A year later, he's still stonewalling, and Charlie needs to move on with her life so she can find a fulfilling relationship, not frustrating unrequited love. Putting distance between them seems the best way to get Zack out of her head and heart...but that means quitting the job she loves and accepting a position in Colorado.

He didn’t mean to kiss her back...

Growing up, Zack longed for a real family, and had one with his squad while deployed in Afghanistan. Now, he's back in the States and doesn't want anything messing up his new ranch family, no matter how much he's attracted to the sexy, hard-working Charlie. She could break his heart and ruin the comfortable working relationship they and the other wranglers enjoy. Besides, her friends claim she's looking for the perfect guy, and perfect he's not.

A kiss is just a kiss...or is it?

When Zack learns Charlie's thinking about leaving the ranch, he decides to find her a boyfriend — someone so good, so perfect, she has a reason to stay in Montana. Until he realizes too late that the only cowboy he wants her kissing is him. Can he commit to love and convince Charlie not to leave? Or has she made up her mind to put the past, and the kiss that started it all, behind her and move on without him?


My rating:

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

I just couldn't. Sheesh!

The prologue was nice, made my ears twitch (metaphorically speaking), made me pay attention. Then the attention curve plummeted, and finally completely blinked out somewhere in the middle of the book. And I just couldn't go on.

I. Didn't. Care.

I knew what would happen, of course. I knew how it would end. I just couldn't be bothered with getting there. Because there was just too much thrown into it. Stuff I didn't care. The hero talking to his horse about the heroine while inspecting fences. The heroine musing, and musing, and musing, and endlessly musing about the kiss she and the hero shared in the prologue, about how the hero didn't care for her, about how she wanted no one else but the hero...
Well, girl, do something! Open your mouth and speak! Be proactive instead of bemoaning your fate!

And the musing wasn't done solely on the heroine's part. There was the hero bemoaning his fate, constantly thinking about his crap parents (following the if-my-parent-were-crap-I-cannot-be-anything-but logic), about his inability or unwillingness to commit (again the crap-parents thing)...Yadda yadda yadda!

And the whole fixing-the-heroine-up-so-she-wouldn't-leave ploy was just idiotic. Maybe if the book was shorter, I don't know, by half, it would've been funny instead of pitiful.



Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Review: Cherish Me, Cowboy by Alissa Callen

Title: Cherish Me, Cowboy
Series: Montana Born Rodeo
Author: Alissa Callen
Read copy: eBook
Published: September 2, 2014
Publisher: Tule Publishing
ISBN: 1940296811
ISBN-13: 9781940296814

Working cowgirl, Payton Hollis, has no time for hairdryers, heels and helplessness. She must save her home, Beargrass Hills Ranch. She also has no time for men. She already is boot-deep in blue-eyed cowboy trouble.

City-boy, Cordell Morgan, isn’t who he seems. His fancy suit and slow smile hide dark secrets. Secrets as to why his hands are callused, why he never stays around and why he has really come to Marietta, Montana.

Between a shrewd old rancher, a cantankerous rodeo horse and a stud bull called Trouble, Payton and Cordell have no chance to lead separate lives. No matter how much their futures may depend upon them doing so.

Can a sassy cowgirl lower her guard for a man who will soon be gone? And can a man who believes emotions are nothing but a liability take the ultimate risk?


My rating:

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

Ooh, a little Harlequin-y, but cute, short, and sweet. Loved the heroine, loved the hero (although his penchant for leaving was a bit annoying at times), loved the hero's horse, loved the heroine's neighbor. The pacing was good, the narration flowed nicely, it had a nice little twist toward the end...

The only thing that bothered me was the length. There was (maybe) too much crammed into the 70 pages. The whole side-plot of a would-be suitor and his three ne'er-do-well buddies was a bit redundant and seemed pushed into the sidelines toward the end, where we didn't actually see the 'conversation' unfold, but were instead told about it. Also the fact, the side-plot didn't help the main story progress, screamed of filler to me, and, in my opinion, could've easily be scraped.

Still, I enjoyed it, and was thankful neither protagonists regressed into their high-school selves (as in the previous book), and the main 'conflict', if you will, was resolved without much fuss, whining, or crying.

And enjoyable read.



Sunday, September 21, 2014

Review: Tease Me, Cowboy by Rachael Johns

Title: Tease Me, Cowboy
Series: Montana Born Rodeo
Author: Rachael Johns
Read copy: eBook
Published: August 26, 2014
Publisher: Tule Publishing
ISBN: 1940296781
ISBN-13: 9781940296784

Selah Davis loves her life as a journalist in Seattle (or so she says) but on a rare trip home to Marietta to cover the Copper Mountain Rodeo, she confesses to her best friends over drinks that her one regret in life is not sleeping with her high school boyfriend, Levi Monroe. Into the bar walks Levi, also home for the rodeo. When her friends dare her to proposition him for a one night stand, she's at first appalled...but the more she thinks about remedying her one regret, the less she can get him and their electric chemistry out of her head. Selah's always been her parents' good daughter. Would it hurt for just one night to be a little bad?

Levi Monroe is ready to settle back in Marietta and start his own rodeo school teaching others the techniques that have made him a star. He doesn't want any distractions during his last rodeo where he aims to win All Around Cowboy, but when his high school sweetheart—the one woman he's never been able to forget - comes along and offers to rewrite their history, it might just be an offer too good to refuse.


My rating:

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

I went with the middle ground (in terms of rating) with this one, because I'm firmly in the so-so range when it comes to this story.

I loved the small-town setting and atmosphere, because there's just something 'magical' about small towns. The connections between the population, the shared history and stories, where everybody knows everybody else's business, and where everybody knows your name. I enjoy books set in small town, and this one was no exception.

I loved the supporting cast (the three friends, the old mother figure, the store owner...) and I loved the hero, but I cannot say the same for the heroine. Sure, she provided moments of humor, but she was all over the place with her feelings and inner musings. First she wanted a one night stand, then she was insulted that the guy acted like a gentleman (sure, he had a petty-revenge agenda of his own, but he apologized), then she realized she was in over her head, because she didn't do one night stands, then she didn't know what she wanted...Argh, pick a lane and stay in it!
And don't get me started on the whole reversal back to high-school with the making-him-jealous ploy. Jesus, are we sure she was thirty? Do grown and supposedly mature women truly act like that?

All in all, forgetting the heroine's erratic behavior, it was a cute, quick story of high-school sweethearts finding each other again after many years, and realizing their feelings for each other were still alive and kicking. Ah, Romancelandia.



Review: Desired by Alisa Woods

Title: Desired
Series: True Alpha
Author: Alisa Woods
Read copy: eBook
Published: September 2, 2014
Publisher: Sworn Secrets Publishing
ISBN: 1502293765
ISBN-13: 9781502293763

Shifters live in the shadows of Seattle, just under the skin of the alpha male, dot-com entrepreneurs who are building a new Silicon Valley in the Emerald City.

Mia is just a college girl trying to earn her business degree and dig out of the poverty she was born into—being a shifter is something she hides, hoping her secret won’t sabotage her dreams.

Lucas is a broken alpha, a wolf who lost his mate, his pack, and almost himself—he wasn’t looking to rescue a girl or start a pack war. But now he has to keep her safe or it won’t just be her life, but his whole family at risk...only his inner wolf can’t seem to keep its paws off a girl who has secrets of her own.


My rating:

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

He saves her life, spends the rest of the story protecting her (and telling her he just wants to keep her safe), his wold spends the rest of the story lusting after her, and she spends the rest of the story fretting about her job prospects, and lusting after him.


It started out well (chapter one), but it sort of fizzled afterward. It was mostly due to the boring aspects of Mia's life when she wasn't in a panic or when Lucas wasn't rescuing her. I couldn't help but think that a more experienced author could've made those aspects (most of the book) seem not so boring.

The second thing was the new adult genre, which is just a little bit grown-up version of the young adult genre which I hate with a passion. The heroine in this one was a college student and the mid-twenties hero a dotcommer, which could've easily been swapped for a high-school girl and a college guy with a job. And I had this comparison in mind throughout the story, with was off-putting.

And the cliffhanger in the end just made me grit my teeth and roll my eyes. If you have to end the first story in the series on a cliffhanger so the people will buy your next book, doesn't scream 'confidence in one's own story-telling abilities' to me. If someone wants to read the next story in the series, they'll do it whether the current story ends on a cliffhanger or not.
In my case preferably not. Cliffhangers just piss me off.



Thursday, September 18, 2014

Review: No Rest for the Wicked by Katherine Garbera

Title: No Rest for the Wicked
Author: Katherine Garbera

Read copy: eBook
Published: September 19, 2014
Publisher: Tule Publishing
ISBN: 1940296846
ISBN-13: 9781940296845

Billionaire Sebastian Warren has one simple motto: live fast and don’t look back. He’s never met anyone who makes him want to change. Until he meets enticing, fascinating Celeste Beacon. Celeste believes that there’s a heart of gold beneath Sebastian’s bad boy image, so she challenges him to overcome his demons and be a better man. Will Sebastian lead her down a path to wickedness, at his own peril – and hers? Or is Celeste the one woman who can finally bring him peace?

My rating:

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

I have no idea what this story was supposed to be, but I'm pretty sure it wasn't supposed to be all over the place.

On one side you have an asshole of a hero who got a second chance in life, but the message got a little lost in translation. He realized life was short and decided to live it to the fullest, but lived it to the fullest being a conceited asshole. Because apparently every dead friend wants his still-living friend to live life for the dead friend as well by f***ing as many women as possible, running from one part of the globe to the other (what would've happened if the hero wasn't a billionaire and wouldn't be able to afford all his jet setting? No to mention women would not have flocked to him like they do to a billionaire.), living fast and dangerous while at the same time claiming he wasn't courting death.

On the other side we have a rather bland heroine, a therapist using her vast experience with loss (she lost her parents in a car crash when she was sixteen) to council teenagers in their grief (news flash, everybody grieves differently!), and, despite her professionalism, drooling over the asshole hero, while trying to convince him to let her join him on his dangerous adventures. The first stop to the adventure, naturally being, the asshole hero's bedroom...

So we have a rather PWP setting, a very Harlequin-like development (they suddenly have feelings for each other, after one night of meaningless, or at least that's how I read the particular scene, sex), they find each other again, then she gets to meet the parents who tried to hire her as a grief councilor to the asshole at the beginning of the story, the asshole gets angry, the idiot woman gets upset, there's a near death experience...

And we're supposed to believe all that?! Take all in stride?! I mean, okay, it's Romancelandia, but come on!

Predictable, completely out there in terms of plot, all over the place, with bland characters...and riddled with typos.



Monday, September 15, 2014

Review: Dark Blood by Christine Feehan

Title: Dark Blood
Series: Carpathians (Dark Series), Dark Trilogy
Author: Christine Feehan
Read copy: Paperback
Published: September 2, 2014
Publisher: Piatkus Books
ISBN: 0349401837
ISBN-13: 9780349401836

At long last you are truly back with us...

Zev Hunter was an elite warrior, a dark-blood dealer of death to rogue Lycans who preyed on mankind. He was a loner, never given to personal attachments, and damned fierce at his job. But Zev begins to question his past and his purpose when he awakens in the darkness of the sacred cave of warriors—and is soothed back to consciousness by the sensuously familiar voice of one woman, the woman who has haunted his fantasies for centuries. She was Branislava, member of the Dragonseeker clan...

Mother Earth called the ancients to witness your rebirth...

For this half-mage, half-Carpathian temptress, the ritual of awakening Zev to the council of warriors was the only way to save him. Locked away for his own protection, the time has now come for his rebirth, for his blood to stir with that of the ancient warriors before him. He has been assured by Branislava that their fates are entwined, that their spirits are woven together for eternity and that his new purpose in life is beyond imagining.

Now, with a blood-sworn vow of honor, mercy and endurance, and under the influence of a siren as bewitching as Branislava, Zev begins to wonder what his purpose is, what it means for the future of the Carpathians and what it is about his rebirth that he has to fear...


My rating:

BEWARE, HERE MIGHT BE SPOILERS!



What the fuck?! Pardon the language, but that's what was going through my head (on repeat) while reading this book.

Where is the series I've followed since the beginning, where are the heroes and heroines I've come to expect, where is the compelling story, where is the narrative flow?

What the fuck?!


I was looking forward to Zev's book ever since he's appeared in the series, and judging from the snippet found in the end of the previous book I was in for one hell of a ride.

Unfortunately the preview promised what the book couldn't possibly deliver, and instead I read through almost 400 pages of a disappointing excuse of a book with an abusive hero (no matter the fact Ms. Feehan tried so hard to make me see Branislava was okay with it), an idiotic heroine for putting up with the bastard (lifemate or not), rehashed prose, repetition to no end, cringe-worthy sex scenes, more repetition, more rehashed prose, rehashed action sequences, and an appearance from the past that was the first time the 'what the fuck?!' line was uttered.

I'm sick and tired of Xavier, the High Mage, but now he's suddenly a triplet. And his sicko of a brother is named Xaviero. What the fuck?! Original much. Not. And the third brother is Xayvion (or something like that). Ooh, originality, welcome into the Carpathian world.

Jesus!

When the author has to resort to inventing triplets out of thin air and doesn't even bother with giving them more or less original names, it's obvious she's still writing it only for the money.

And it's high time for me to stop reading. When I started this book, I kept thinking to myself that this was probably the last one in the series. And while I was a little sad, because I loved most of it, I also understood why it was time to end. But when Xaviero (I still can't get over the name) was mentioned, I knew this was the end only for me.

So, thank you Carpathians, for keeping me company through all these years, but it's time we part while the parting is still amicable enough.



Sunday, September 14, 2014

Review: The Scargill Cove Case Files by Jayne Ann Krentz

Title: The Scargill Cove Case Files
Series: Arcane Society, Looking Glass Trilogy
Author: Jayne Ann Krentz
Read copy: eBook
Published: December 6, 2011
Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
ISBN: 1101538805
ISBN-13: 9781101538807

As the director at Jones & Jones, a psychical investigation agency, Fallon Jones solves crimes of a different nature. Jones’s latest case involves a body found in the basement vault of a local bookstore, and scratchings on the inside of the door that seem to be a coded message.

My rating:

Don't let the rating fool you. I liked this one. It was just too short, and written as a case file (from Fallon Jones' point of view), and I didn't really know how to rate it, so I took the middle ground.

It was great revisiting Fallon again, since I have a soft spot for this chaos theorist. And for Scargill Cove where the man's hearth is.

The narrative style offered a special glimpse into the man's psyche and thinking patterns (he was a hoot in this one), we're presented with a small investigation in Scargill Cove during which we learn there are no coincidences, and in the end witness the first meeting of Fallon and Isabella from his point of view.

Now I'm itching to re-read In Too Deep and get to see the two of them interact all over again.



Friday, September 12, 2014

Review: River Road by Jayne Ann Krentz

Title: River Road
Author: Jayne Ann Krentz

Read copy: eBook
Published: January 7, 2014
Publisher: Putnam Adult
ISBN: 1101620986
ISBN-13: 9781101620984

It’s been thirteen years since Lucy Sheridan was in Summer River. The last time she visited her aunt Sara there, as a teenager, she’d been sent home suddenly after being dragged out of a wild party—by the guy she had a crush on, just to make it more embarrassing. Obviously Mason Fletcher—only a few years older but somehow a lot more of a grown-up—was the overprotective type who thought he had to come to her rescue.

Now, returning after her aunt’s fatal car accident, Lucy is learning there was more to the story than she realized at the time. Mason had saved her from a very nasty crime that night—and soon afterward, Tristan, the cold-blooded rich kid who’d targeted her, disappeared mysteriously, his body never found.

A lot has changed in thirteen years. Lucy now works for a private investigation firm as a forensic genealogist, while Mason has quit the police force to run a successful security firm with his brother—though he still knows his way around a wrench when he fills in at his uncle’s local hardware store. Even Summer River has changed, from a sleepy farm town into a trendy upscale spot in California’s wine country. But Mason is still a protector at heart, a serious (and seriously attractive) man. And when he and Lucy make a shocking discovery inside Sara’s house, and some of Tristan’s old friends start acting suspicious, Mason’s quietly fierce instincts kick into gear. He saved Lucy once, and he’ll save her again. But this time, she insists on playing a role in her own rescue...


My rating:

Thirteen years ago Lucy Sheridan was dragged from a party by Mason "Nobody messes with Mason Fletcher" Fletcher, her aunt ushered her on an airplane home, and Lucy hasn't been in Summer River since. Now she's back as her aunt's heir, determined to find out what really happened to her aunt Sara. And the person who could help her find out the truth just might be Mason Fletcher. He's still overprotective, he's still taciturn...and he still makes her blood sing. But the latter isn't important. The discovery in her aunt's fireplace is, and the sudden odd behavior by some Summer River's residents.


I loved it. It had everything. Romance (which was rather realistic, if you ask be, albeit quick), drama (of the family kind), humor (especially the discussion of vegans and murder), and loads of suspense. I loved every single part of it, but I especially enjoyed the suspense. Because it was suspenseful, there's no way around it. I kept wondering and wondering who the bad guy was, even went so far as to think that the ghost might not be a ghost after all, the possibilities were endless, and so were red herrings.

I love a good mystery, I love good intrigue, I love it when the author keeps surprising me, keeps me guessing. And that's exactly what happened in this story. I didn't know the culprit until the end, and in the end it actually made sense as to why a person did what they did.
Everything else, although good, pretty much took a back seat to the suspense part. Which was more than fine by me. I was itching for another good suspense novel.

There were strong romantic elements involved, a great cast, a rather quirky heroine, a brooding, (over)protective hero, some drama, some creepiness (what was truly going down on that party thirteen years ago). All nicely wrapped up in a tightly-plotted suspense package. What's there not to like?



Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Review: The Rogue's Proposal by Jennifer Haymore

Title: The Rogue's Proposal
Series: House of Trent
Author: Jennifer Haymore
Read copy: eBook
Published: November 19, 2013
Publisher: Forever
ISBN: 1455523372
ISBN-13: 9781455523375

Lord Lukas Hawkins, the rakish second son of the House of Trent, has never found a wager he couldn't win or a woman he couldn't seduce—until his search for his missing mother leads him to a mysterious encounter with a beautiful stranger.

Luke's mother has been missing for months, and while his honorable older brother Simon, Duke of Trent, leads the official investigation from London, Luke sets out on a somewhat seedier path. Sources have told him his mother was last seen with a scoundrel named Roger Morton, but their association isn't clear. Was she kidnapped or did she go willingly?

While searching for Morton, Luke meets Emma Anderson, a secretive beauty with her own reasons for hunting Morton. At first Luke laughs at the idea of allowing a woman to join him in his search, but soon Emma's insights into Morton—like the woman herself—prove impossible to resist.


My rating:

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

This one started iffy for me. I just didn't get the whole searching-for-kidnapped-mother thing. I guess it might've been elaborated in the first book in the series, but since I didn't read it, I cannot be sure. And since I haven't read the first book in the series, I had a feeling I'm in the dark somehow.
I know it's tough in series' to concisely summon up what had happened so far for those reader who haven't been with you from the beginning without sounding boring to those who have, but there was nothing. I was simply thrown into the story without much explanation.

Still, I might've stuck around if it wasn't for everything else. It was all tell and no show to me, I didn't like the voice, the story lagged, the characters were boring (yes, boring!), and after 80 pages I just didn't care what happened anymore.

I read the last chapter (and the epilogue), because sometimes those can convince me to continue reading, but it didn't help.

I simply didn't care.



Monday, September 8, 2014

Review: The Hot Zone by Jayne Castle

Title: The Hot Zone
Series: Harmony, Rainshadow
Author: Jayne Castle
Read copy: Mass Market Paperback
Published: August 26, 2014
Publisher: Jove
ISBN: 0515154725
ISBN-13: 9780515154726

Halloween—with its tricks and treats—is a dust bunny’s dream come true. Just ask Lyle, Sedona Snow’s faithful sidekick. But for Sedona, it’s a nightmare. Though her new job managing a small hotel and tavern on Rainshadow is helping her move on from her tragic past, a bizarre disaster down in the catacombs has brought a pack of rowdy ghost hunters to her inn.

And now, Sedona’s ex has arrived on the island, claiming he wants to get back together, just as a newcomer appears to have a strong interest in her. Cyrus Jones is the new Guild boss in town. He has his own agenda when it comes to Sedona, but even the best-laid plans are no match for the passion that springs up on Rainshadow….


My rating:

Oh, wow. These Harmony/Rainshadow books are getting better and better.

Even with the world already built, Ms. Castle keeps adding more and more, but without overdoing it, without piling up too much or maybe descending into 'ridiculous'. There's just enough old to keep things familiar and enough new to keep things interesting.

The rest was the usual fare with two strong leading characters, what is it about men of Harmony that is so appealing? Ms. Krentz has had male characters with supernatural powers appear in both her historical and contemporary novels, yet those men, formidable as they might be, just cannot compare with the men on Harmony.
They're not that different, the man of the past, the present, and the future. They're all dark and sometimes broody, sexy, protective, passionate, sometimes arrogant, self-confident, and not particularly afraid of their feelings or expressing them, yet there is a subtle 'something more' present when it comes to the man of Harmony. Maybe it's the futuristic setting, maybe it's the alien world...I have no idea, there's just something extra there.

Okay, Cyrus Jones, the hero of this story, was no different. And the fact of his 'strange' talent that has resulted in him being nicknamed Dead Zone Jones, made him even more compelling. The only problem was the name Cyrus, but that is a minor hiccup. ;) So it came as of no surprise his heroine would have to be his match—at least on the paranormal levels. I loved Sedona. She was your usual Krentz/Quick/Castle heroine, but without that extra baggage of extra stubborness, arrogance, and opinionated stuckup-edness that irks me sometimes while I'm reading Quick's historicals.
I guess the ladies of Harmony have their charms as well, one of them being the fact they're not annoying, know their limitations, and are not afraid to let the men lead sometimes. I guess that 'knowledge' comes with time, and emancipation of the female gender through history.

I admit this sounds more like an essay than a review, but I just can't help but concentrate on the characters more than the story. Because, unlike in some novels, the characters in this one (and its predecessors) carry the story and not the other way around, they're not just there for the story to be told, and that's what makes me want to return to the world of Harmony again and again. I'm invested.
The characters are the main deal here, and the story is just a means for us readers to get to know them.

The fact that each and every story, although set in the same universe of a far-and-away planet, Alien catacombs, paranormal powers, suspense and intrigue, is different, and I never get the feeling of being-there-read-that, is a major plus.

This story was no different. The suspense was great, and I had no idea who all the bad guys might be, which is always wonderful news to me, the romance was the usual fare as far as romance on the planet Harmony goes (the instant attraction on both sides of the spectrum, the initial knee-jerk reaction on one or both sides, the inevitable slide down that slippery slope, the scorching coming together of two so very different talents that nevertheless end up complimenting each other...), there was even more info as to what makes Rainshadow island so very different (I can't wait to read more about the Wonderland)...One thing I missed was more involvement of the Shadow Bay residents. I've become accustomed to the eccentricities of the town and its inhabitants, and the fact they were pretty much absent in this story, was a bit say.

But there was too much going on, so I'm not disappointed. How could I be with yet another great addition to the series. I'm looking forward to the next installment.



Saturday, September 6, 2014

Review: Almost Like Love by Abigail Strom

Title: Almost Like Love
Author: Abigail Strom

Read copy: eBook
Published: October 28, 2014
Publisher: Montlake Romance
ISBN: 1477825886
ISBN-13: 9781477825884

Television writer Kate Meredith is having the day from hell. First, her show was canceled. Then her fianc√© left her for another woman. Now, she's courting disaster by flirting with the hard-bodied, tattooed, motorcycle-riding bad boy of her dreams…who also happens to be the man who fired her.

If people had told Ian Hart that he'd be firing Kate in the morning and dancing with her that night, he'd have laughed in their faces. Despite her leggy body, the sweet but geeky redhead isn’t his type. At least, that’s what he thinks before spotting her in a club wearing an outfit that reveals her surprisingly delectable assets.

Before he knows it, Ian becomes Kate’s knight on a shining motorcycle, escorting her home to prevent her from running off with some random guy. But when the night is over, “Little Miss Boring” and her sexy former boss just might turn their oh-so-wrong feelings into something very right.


My rating:

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

On the worst day of her life Kate gets fired, dumped, and then convinced by her friend to dress up like a hooker and go to a bar to maybe hook up with a bad boy for a bout of rebound sex. Luckily one of the patrons of said bar is a gentleman and decides to rescue her from her folly. Unfortunately said patron is also the guy who fired her...And even more unfortunately, the guy who fired her is hot as hell.


Well, it didn't end up the way y'all think it did. To know how the encounter in the bar did end up, I suggest you read this book. Because you won't be sorry.

For the first (less-than-a) half it reads like a romantic comedy and I had a smile plastered on my face for the first 80 pages or so (out of 224 shown on my eReader). Then the story loses the ha-ha fun and turns into a straightforward romance with a bit of drama (okay, more than a bit of drama) and a pinch of angst thrown in. But it all turns out fine in the end. I don't feel like that's a spoiler, since this is a romance we're talking about and every romance turns out just dandy.

Maybe there was a hurdle too many for my taste, the hero was occasionally too much of a dick and the heroine occasionally too much of a 'girl', but they were cute together, and the differences worked, so I'm a happy camper.

I liked the voice, I liked the flow of the story (even with a hurdle too many it didn't slow the narrative down), the main characters were nicely fleshed-out, the supporting cast wasn't there just as a background ornament, the 'hurdles' and both the hero's and heroine's 'plight' were realistic...

What more can I add but the fact that I liked it? Nothing. I liked it.