Thursday, October 16, 2014

Product Details

Burn for Me: A Hidden Legacy Novel by Ilona Andrews (Oct 28, 2014)


Burn For Me – Ilona Andrews
"Book DescriptionPublication Date: October 28, 2014
#1 New York Times bestselling author Ilona Andrews launches a brand-new Hidden Legacy series, in which one woman must place her trust in a seductive, dangerous man who sets off an even more dangerous desire . . .Nevada Baylor is faced with the most challenging case of her detective career—a suicide mission to bring in a suspect in a volatile situation. Nevada isn't sure she has the chops. Her quarry is a Prime, the highest rank of magic user, who can set anyone and anything on fire.Then she's kidnapped by Connor "Mad" Rogan—a darkly tempting billionaire with equally devastating powers. Torn between wanting to run and wanting to surrender to their overwhelming attraction, Nevada must join forces with Rogan to stay alive.Rogan's after the same target, so he needs Nevada. But she's getting under his skin, making him care about someone other than himself for a change. And, as Rogan has learned, love can be as perilous as death, especially in the magic world."

 I could not really help myself; while I was reading this book, I was comparing it to the Kate Daniel’s series.  While this novel is fresh and new… I still see some of the writing teams elements of the Daniel’s series in it.  Moreover, I thank my lucky stars for that! This is a sort of mix of  the Kate Daniels books with a small dose of The Edge series thrown in for good measure.
Like I said this novel is fresh and new but I know I have seen a type of plot like this somewhere before. However, if I cannot remember where I read it, it means that the Andrews did it just that much better!

Billed in some places as a romance –it has the elements of one, but the Andrew’s unique style, does not push the story in that direction all too hard.  Oh, you can surely see that it is coming.  This extremely different couple is surely going to fall in love, but the plot will give it to us inch by delicious inch instead of dumping the romance and sex on us in the first half of the very first book!

 The protagonist’s are an interesting mixture, much like Kate and Curran (the Kate Daniel’s series by Ilona Andrews) or Anna and Charles in Patricia Briggs Alpha and Omega series.  Each very strong in their own way, the females can give almost if not better than the men can.

The world is a dystopian one, much like ours but with magic as the added element.  Also, much like our world, their world is broken down to the ‘haves and have not’s’.  To be well respected you must have powerful magic as well as money and to get that powerful magic, families are ‘breeding’ their children by making advantageous, genetically perfect marriages.

This was a fun and dramatic read, with a wonderful underlying layer of the comedy and a HUGE dose of male pigheadedness…you’ll see what I mean in the last chapter.  


Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Product Details

The Fever: A Novel [Kindle Edition]

Megan Abbott

Print List Price: $26.00
Kindle Price: $12.99

Book Description
Publication Date: June 17, 2014
The panic unleashed by a mysterious contagion threatens the bonds of family and community in a seemingly idyllic suburban community.

The Nash family is close-knit. Tom is a popular teacher, father of two teens: Eli, a hockey star and girl magnet, and his sister Deenie, a diligent student. Their seeming stability, however, is thrown into chaos when Deenie's best friend is struck by a terrifying, unexplained seizure in class. Rumors of a hazardous outbreak spread through the family, school and community.

As hysteria and contagion swell, a series of tightly held secrets emerges, threatening to unravel friendships, families and the town's fragile idea of security.

This book is told in three different perspectives: Father, daughter, son - which at times makes for a real difficult read. It was very much like putting a jigsaw puzzle without the benefit of having a picture on the pieces. The writing is choppy at best, confusing at worst with its unfinished thoughts and sentences.

If it had not been for the rave reviews, the high kudos for the author and her style of writing (subject matter, depth of characters, how she supposedly understands teens) I would not have agreed to read and review this novel.

I must say that this should have been a very intense read, but it was not.  The girls, though-out most of the book, are not what I would have called ‘bad girls’, though so many readers are saying that this is was part of the books charm.  I found the girls to be inarticulate and flighty but not bad.

The mystery is another aspect – there are so many red herrings; one that is played on heavily, that are just not very believable.  Perhaps it would be more realistic to a pre-teen or young adult…I think even they have more common sense to understand what the author is try oh so horribly, to do.

So much of this novel was just completely unbelievable –what teen girl would ‘help’ a friend (no matter how good a friend) physically adjust a crooked tampon? 

The ending to the mystery of these girls getting sick was easily predictable –maybe that is just my age and experience and the targeted audience wouldn’t be able to see it coming a mile off.  Frankly, with all the sexual innuendo to be found within these pages, I don’t think this book is even appropriate for the targeted pre-teen audience.

ARC –supplied by publisher

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Heroes Are My Weakness: A Novel
Heroes Are My Weakness: A Novel
Offered by HarperCollins Publishers
Price: $12.99

2.0 out of 5 stars "They Had No Scruples and Every Scruple."August 27, 2014

Book Description
 August 26, 2014New York Times bestselling author Susan Elizabeth Phillips is back with a delightful novel filled with her sassy wit and dazzling charm
Deepest winter.An isolated island off the coast of Maine.A man. A woman.Puppets. (Yes, puppets . . .)And . . .A mysterious house looming over the sea . . .He's a reclusive writer whose imagination creates chilling horror novels. She's a down-on-her-luck actress reduced to staging kids' puppet shows. He knows a dozen ways to kill his characters with his bare hands. She knows a dozen ways to kill an audience with laughs. But she's not laughing now.
Annie Hewitt has arrived on Peregrine Island in the middle of a snowstorm and at the end of her resources. She's broke, dispirited, but not quite ready to give up. Her red suitcases hold the puppets she uses to make her living: sensible Dilly, spunky Scamp, and Leo, the baddest of bad guys. Her puppets, the romantic novels she loves, and a little bit of courage are all she has left.
Annie couldn't be more ill prepared for what she finds when she reaches Moonraker Cottage or for the man who dwells in Harp House, the mysterious mansion that hovers above the cottage. When she was a teenager, he betrayed her in a way she can never forget or forgive. Now they're trapped together on a frozen island along with a lonely widow, a mute little girl, and townspeople who don't know how to mind their own business.
Is he the villain she remembers, or has he changed? Her head says no. Her heart says yes.
It's going to be a long, hot winter.

I think I am the only one here that truly did not love or even really like this book all that much. Don't get me wrong, I liked it but I didn't 'like it' like it (if you know what I mean!) It will not become an automatic re-read as so many of the other books by Ms.Phillips are.

This book combined many excellent ideas from her past books and I really know this to be true because I happened to be re-reading all of Ms. Phillips books before the publication of this one.

The rest of the book follows the authors regular formula - spunky underestimated heroine, broody, misunderstood and uber sexy hero, someone within the community or among the 'beloved' characters friends/family trying to either break them up or drive the spunky heroine/brooding hero away (usually the spunky heroine). They fall in love, but will not admit it to each other...or at least they pretend not to understand what is happening. The heroine grows up and takes responsibility for herself/her career. Hero finally believes the heroine once she has taken her last stand and either leaves or tries to leave.

This book had an added character that past books do not --- an Island off the coast of Maine. This was new. Yes, I really meant that the island is a character all on its own! If you read this, you will see what I mean. The Gothic house was a nice touch, but I really do not understand why so many are calling this a Gothic romance. I do not think anything could be farther from the truth.

The idea of the puppets/dummies and the conversations they held with Annie was too much like Molly and her book characters in This Heart of Mine and because there were so many puppets, the conversations got a little annoying. However, it was very clever to use them as a sort of therapy for the books secondary characters.

This is by no means a horrible book, it just isn’t one of the best or funniest or even sexiest books this author has ever written. I found it difficult to warm up to the characters and the mystery wasn’t that big of a mystery to me. It was a book that was just a tiny bit too predictable.

Happy Reading!

The Highlander Next Door (Spellbound Falls series Book 6)
The Highlander Next Door (Spellbound Falls series Book 6)
Offered by Penguin Group (USA) LLC
Price: $5.49

3.0 out of 5 stars Not the BestAugust 28, 2014

Book Description
 August 26, 2014From the New York Time bestselling Janet Chapman comes this delightful tale of a young woman who's had enough of men...until she meets her spectacular new neighbor.

Legend has it love is carried on the rising mists of Spellbound Falls, and not even time-traveling highlanders are immune to its magic…

Birch Callahan has seen the trouble men can cause. After witnessing her mother’s four marriages, Birch now runs a women’s shelter and doesn’t want a man in her life. But there’s something about her neighbor, Niall MacKeage. Birch can’t figure out how the cop can be so big and gruff and yet so insightful and compassionate—and sexy. Or how she’s falling for a man who acts like someone from the twelfth century.

Niall knows that Birch is attracted to him, even if she seems to distrust all men. Yet he also knows she has a secret—something that drives her to place herself in harm’s way for the women of her shelter. Niall would gladly rush to Birch’s side to protect her from harm, but with their secrets standing between them, he’ll have to reveal his own truth if he wants to keep her…

Janet Chapman has in the past, written so many books that I am constantly re-reading that I could never really believe that she would ever write a book that I am unenthusiastic about. A book that I wouldn't be able to praise to kingdom come. Until now.

The first 15 -18% of the book is pretty much spent recapping all of the past books and you will find that this happens during the book also. The characters and the romance never really seems as fully developed as in the past books. The magic never has to be explained to Birch. Birch; is that a French-Canadian name? I'm not used to non-famous parents naming their children after trees or plants!

The story line is a little preposterous, but then again usually the story is more about the romance than anything else. The mysteries are usually secondary to anything else. However, in this particular book, the romance seemed to take a back-seat to they mystery.

If anything, this book seems to be a set-up for upcoming volumes and it really left something to be desired for me.

I have a feeling this won't be the last time we see these particular secondary characters and the build up of the forest God might lead to the best book yet...I hope. Otherwise this book may just be a bad book and not the stepping stone I hope it to be!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

The Truth About Leo by Katie MacCalister

The Truth about Leo (Noble series)
The Truth about Leo (Noble series)
Price: $5.91

2.0 out of 5 stars Ten Long Years and For What? (Some Spoilers Ahead)August 6, 2014

Book Description

 August 5, 2014
The much-anticipated, brand-new Regency romance from New York Times bestselling author Katie MacAlister.
Can Dagmar flee Denmark
Dagmar Marie Sophie is a poverty-stricken Danish princess whose annoying royal cousin is about to have her stuffed away in a convent. When she finds a wounded man unconscious in her garden, she sees a way out of her desperate situation.

By Lying to Leo?
Leopold Ernst George Mortimer, seventh earl of March, and spy in the service of the king, finds himself on the wrong end of a saber and left for dead. He wakes up not remembering what the care of a beautiful woman who says she is his wife.

Back in London, Leo-with the help of his old friends the eccentric Britton family-sets out to unravel what he's forgotten... Is Dagmar truly the wonderful, irrepressible woman who makes his heart sing, or is she a dangerous enigma bent on his destruction?"

Most reviewers are at times, unhappy with character growth - with this new novel I am unhappy with Author growth. If you took Noble Intentions and slapped different names on the characters (especially the female ones, then gave it a slightly different plot line you could be reading the same book. At least with the first three novels, each couple was totally different.

Yes, there is a difference, but just barely. With The Truth About Leo the female protagonist is an impoverished Princess who connives and manipulates a marriage to get to England.(sound a tiny bit familiar?). The couple is so hot for each other they act like idiots (familiar yet again?)

With Noble Intentions the mystery aspect of the story starts right from the very first chapter and builds the excitement. Not so with this new offering. Halfway through the novel and you are left still wondering when the excitement and mystery will happen, and when will the inane sex talk will calm down. Yes, it is giggle worthy at times, but that quickly fades. I don't think that a whole novel can't be sustained on that one gimmick alone.

I was also disappointed to see that the Brittons didn't play a big role in this book and unfortunately I was unhappy that this book was not about Nick --- I knew it wouldn't be just by the name, but I am still unhappy that we've passed over such good story material. I think he deserved an entire book, not just bits and pieces in this one.

So at 50% I am fighting the urge to go wash my kitchen floor or scrub my toilets; something unheard of with Katie M's other 'can't put'em down' books.

At about 75% we finally get a bit of action going with the Princess companion Julia being accused of murder. There had been some hinting of nefarious goings ons with her early in the book. However, since the writing style is a bit difficult to keep up with; what with no one getting to finish a complete sentence or thought, the reader is left to fend for themselves and try to fill in the blanks.

The scene in the gaol drove me batty trying to figure out what conversation belonged to who! It was like that skit with Abbott and Costello "Who's on First?"!

The last 20% of the book finally dealt fully with the so-called mystery and I felt it was rushed and obvious.

I understand that this is a romance and should not be held to the same principles and 'rules' as a full mystery book, but if a mystery is indeed going to be included then a good job should be taken to make it believable.

I guess what I am saying is that none of these books are going to hold my heart like "Noble Intentions" did. Back then this style was funny and fresh; now it just seems formulaic.

Monday, July 28, 2014

The White Magic Five and Dime by Steve Hockensmith (Author), Lisa Falco (Author)

The White Magic Five & Dime (A Tarot Mystery)

The White Magic Five & Dime (A Tarot Mystery)
Price: $9.59

Steve Hockensmith , Lisa Falco
4.0 out of 5 stars 4.5 Stars Nothing is Really Perfect, But This Book is Close!, July 28, 2014

Book Description

July 1, 2014

Much to Alanis McLachlands surprise, her estranged con-woman mother has left her an inheritance: The White Magic Five & Dime, a shop in tiny Berdache, Arizona. Reluctantly traveling to Berdache to claim her new property, Alanis decides to stay and pick up her mother's tarot business in an attempt to find out how she died.
With help from a hunky cop and her mother's live-in teenage apprentice,  Alanis begins faking her way trough (sic) tarot readings in order to win the confidence of her mother's clients.  But the more she uses the tarot deck, the more Alanis begins to find real meaning in the cards ... and the secrets surrounding her mother's demise.
Praise:  "A charming comic mystery" - Booklist

Have you ever started a book and after a couple of chapters thought to yourself that this drivel just wasn't for you? That is what I first thought about The White Magic Five and Dime, but something kept me reading and I quickly became engrossed in this book.

At first the sarcasm and hidden self pity from Alanis was just a bit too over the top ...until you read further and really get a feel for our protagonist. Initially I was annoyed with see all of the 80's TV and movie references but it soon became fun to try and figure them out.

The story is a mystery and a very good one at that. I wonder how many other readers will have an easier time figuring out who done it and why, than I did, but I didn't catch on until the real killer was actually revealed. Anything else I say about the big reveal will `spoil' the story so I am not going to say anything more.

So many secrets, so many cons...this is going to make an excellent series and I am certainly going to be along for the ride.

Happy reading!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Flight of the Golden Harpy

Flight of the Golden Harpy
Offered by Macmillan
Price: $11.04

"Book Description

June 17, 2014
Kari, a young woman, returns to the jungle planet of Dora after ten years in Earth’s schools determined to unravel the mysteries surrounding the harpies, a feral species with the appearance half-bird, half-human.

The human colonists believe harpies are dangerous animals, which are known to steal women. The creatures are hunted like wild game, their wings considered rare trophies. But Kari distrusts these rumors. When she was attacked by a monster in the jungle as a child, a male harpy with rare golden coloring rescued her.

Constant hunting by men has driven the harpies to the brink of extinction. Is Kari’s savior, the elegant golden harpy, is still alive? If so, how long can he and his flock survive the ravages of mankind?

Susan Klaus's Flight of the Golden Harpy is an imaginative and romantic fantasy novel that questions what it means to be human.

At the publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management software (DRM) applied."
2.0 out of 5 stars A Political Statement, July 18, 2014

This book was just one big statement on animal cruelty/anti-hunting using the guise that animals have emotional feelings like humans do. At least this was my impression on this book. I couldn't see any other point to it. Many other authors try to get away with this type of orating and it doesn't usually work out too well for them...I hope it works better for Ms. Klaus.

This may have been written as a 'fantasy' and and the fact that it is a fantasy is being used as an excuse for its
weaknesses. However, that does not give the author the privilege of throwing out every rule on good writing there is. I am not an author but even I know that characters need to be well fleshed, the reader needs to feel engaged with them no matter what. An author should never make you feel indifferent to or bored with the character. The fact that Kari is so ultra beautiful and desirable and Shail is so handsome, was on just about every other page and soon became a joke to me.

The writing seemed to stutter along, the speech amongst the characters seemed forced and false. I was never sure if the non-usage of contractions had to do with the world Kari lived on or if it was an editing glitch.

In my opinion, if there is no discernible plot by the time you have read 25% of the book then what point is there to keep reading? To read about a world? What was this fantasy world compared to? A Pre-Jurassic earth? I'm sorry, it was just not enough to keep me engaged in this novel.

ARC supplied by publisher for reviewing purposes