Thursday, August 30, 2012

Product Details

*ARC supplied by publisher*

Contrary to the synopsis, I did not see anything of Laurell K Hamilton’s protagonist Anita Blake in this book.  What I did see was an interesting mix of genres blended nearly seamlessly into something a little new, a little different.  It was something that I enjoyed very much for the most part, but I still had some problems with it.  There is very little back-story and I suspect that this will be rectified in upcoming releases.  I enjoyed the lack for the most part since it forced me to use my imagination more than normal while reading a book like this.
We meet Linnet Ellery on her first day of her new job in what is known as a “White Fang” law firm. This firm is headed by Vampires, (only men can be vampires - only men can be werewolves!) so all of the upper echelon are men. Very sexist. Her very first case is a long drawn out inheritance case, which soon proves to be deadly.  Along the way she will make a misstep with one of her vampire bosses that looks like it may be interesting fodder for up-coming books.  A very interesting relationship looks as if it could go the right wasy with the firms Fey P.I. but you’ll have to read the book to see just how that is going to go.  It is another loose end that looks like it will be picked up in the next book
I do enjoy the fact that this was like reading a paranormal James Patterson since I have always been fond of that sneaky, lawyerly type of book.  I did not enjoy all of the horse talk and found that it took my concentration away from the main plots in a very bad way.

The characters are fairly well fleshed, but there is enough room for them to grow and I do hope that with this growth Linnet will mature and season some more.  She seems a bit naïve, at least at first, and she seems as if she may be spending all her time as a damsel in distress.  I think that this will change with subsequent books also.

While Linnet seems to be having a relationship with one man, I have a feeling that there is going to be something between her and one of the other Vamps in the office, later on down the road.

All in all this was a very satisfying read, but the author still has some minor issues to work out in later books

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Product Details

Lifestyles of the Rich and Undead by Katie MacAlister (Sep 4, 2012)

*ARC Supplied by Publisher*

This is a very short story, one that was quite enjoyable if a little confusing to me.  However, once you know that it is only meant to be an introduction to a novella it starts to make much more sense.

This story is meant to introduce us to Grayson  before he meets his beloved (Noelle) in the novella from the book “The Undead Under My Bed “.

In this shorts story we will find out about a television show obviously called Lifestyles of the Rich and Undead and you will meet with not only Grayson the Vampire who is supposed to be interviewed but we will meet with ‘Nosty’ a feisty and funny poltergeist.
As disappointed as I was to find that it only took about 10 minutes to read, it does set us up quite well for the novella.  There is not enough time to give us a deep understanding of the characters, but you do get the point that Grayson is the typical Dark One all broody and angsty and handsome as all get out.  There are enough funny lines to remind me of just why I used to love Katie Macalister’s work so much and to give me hope that she is going to be finding her way back to the path that she somewhat left for a little while.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Product Details

Close Enough to Touch (Hqn) by Victoria Dahl (Aug 28, 2012)

Close Enough to Touch – by Victoria Dahl

This book runs along as theme that is seen so often in romances these days. You take a wronged woman with a HUGE chip on her shoulder, one who is used to ‘the big city’ or ‘the small town’, one who is self-sufficient beyond the norm   and dump her in the exact opposite of where she should be comfortable.  Toss in some extremely caring, selfless people, add some ultra mind blowing (on the characters parts) sex.

  Now make sure that the male protagonist is damaged goods and in this instance literally AND figuratively, but with the patience of a Saint.  Dump them together and watch sparks fly…

 The use of Jackson, Wyoming was interesting and actually kept my attention more than the story…and that is unfortunate because there really wasn’t much of a story. Yes, this was a relationship driven story more than anything else, but every other element was so obvious.  Your first hot, creative sex scene is at about 30% of the Kindle book and there are at least 3 more memorable scenes in it.

This was quite the formulaic story, unfortunately I had such optimism for this new series.   

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Product Details

Bella Fortuna by Rosanna Chiofalo (Kindle Edition - Aug 28, 2012) - Kindle eBook

"In this warm, enchanting debut novel, Rosanna Chiofalo evokes the extraordinary beauty of Venice, the charm of a close-knit New York neighborhood, and the joys of friendship, family, and surprising second chances. . .
Valentina DeLuca has made hundreds of brides' dreams come true. At Sposa Rosa, the Astoria, New York, boutique where she, her sisters, and their mother design and sew couture knock-off gowns, she can find the perfect style for even the most demanding customer. Now, it's her turn. Valentina has loved Michael Carello ever since he rescued her from a cranky shopkeeper when she was ten years old. He's handsome, chivalrous, and loyal. And in a few weeks, she's going to marry him--in Venice.
But just when she thinks everything is falling into place, Valentina is forced to re-examine her life to see what truly makes her happy. And as she soon learns, in a place as magical as Venice, what seems like misfortune can turn out to be anything but, although who knows what may be waiting around the next corner? The chance to enjoy a moonlit gondola ride, to sip Prosecco in St. Mark's Square, to eat mouthwatering gelato, to put aside "sensible" for once and see where the warm Italian breezes guide her as she visits all the sights she's dreamed of: The Doge's Palace, Il Rialto, the little islands of Murano and Burano. And maybe, along the way, to discover that bella fortuna--good luck--isn't what you're given, but what you make."

Bella Fortuna – by  Rosana Chiofolo

*ARC supplied by Publisher*

This was one of the most romantic books I have read so far this year. It is not a novel that mistakes sex  for romance  …in fact, there is only one sexual scene and it is hot without being vulgar.  This is a debut novel and I see that the author still has some seasoning she needs to do, but for a first –wow -  I can’t wait to see what Ms Chiafalo will do for an encore!

This is a book of second chances, of close Italian –American families, of love, friendship and enemies.  It is also a small peek into the bridal industry and the making of what should be the perfect gown. Set in the ethnic area of Astoria (Queens) New York, we follow a mother, Olivia, and daughter, Valentina, as they fall in love both the first time AND the second time. The story mostly concentrates around Valentina and her upcoming wedding to Michael.  I will not bore you with my synopsis since the perfect one has already been written.  I will tell you that Ms Chiofolo has managed to capture that bustling area perfectly and has written some of the most complex and likable characters that I have read in a long time. She has also managed to capture the  heartache that comes from losing the one you love to either death or deceit.

I love ‘happy endings’, and as romance readers, many of us are used to them and sometimes take them for granted.  However in Ms Chiofolo’s novel  I wasn’t positive I was going to get a happy ending and I didn’t even care.  The story just captivated me and I would have went anywhere the author chose to take me without even a whimper.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Product Details

Nine Lives of an Urban Panther (Diaries of an Urban Panther) by Amanda Arista (Sep 11, 2012)

Kindle version on sale now.

Nine Lives of an Urban Panther  - Amanda Arista
3.5 stars
If you have not read the first two books in this series ( trilogy?) I highly suggest that you do. Without the background, you will most likely be lost.

This particular book is full of action, fighting, scheming Ghouls and Zombies. But Violet, true to her cat nature seems to have 9 lives and will bounce back from whatever big bad everyone has planned for her.
In the last two book of this series we have had our heroine, Violet Jordan, become the new Prima of the pack in Dallas and she is kicking butt and taking names.  Oddly enough, she is as enamored of coffee as a panther as she ever was as a full human. Violet is now engaged to the sexy Chaz.

Now in this installment, Violet is gathering her troops, finding out her long lost cousin is more than he originally appeared as a child, becoming a billionaire, is making alliances and is defending all and sundry from various enemies.

These are fun books to read but they can get SO action packed that you sometimes wish that the author would just have her characters take a short break so we could recuperate.   
I will say that I am glad that this novel was dealt with differently than the last installment.  In the last novel editing and grammar was lacking and the story line was walking the fine line of being childish.  This novel proves that with better editing and care, the characters come into their own and reach a new maturity.

The only reason I gave it 3.5 stars instead of the full 4, is that I felt that the action over-rode the character development just a bit too much.


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Product Details

Widow's Web (Elemental Assassin) by Jennifer Estep (Aug 21, 2012)

In this, the seventh Elemental Assassin novel, Gin finds herself almost happy for the first time in years.  Her arch nemesis is finally dead, she has a good relationship with her sister,  only  a dozen or so people have tried to kill her in the last little while and things couldn’t be better with Owen her lover.  On the other hand, are they?

One night while Gin and Owen are out to dinner a blast from Owens’s past shows up…Salina an Elemental Water worker.  Salina is from Owen’s deep past and he had been engaged to her years ago.  Now Salina is back in town and ready to take out all the people that stood around while Mab Monroe killed Salina’s father.  Moreover, it is not going to be pretty.   Now to add insult to injury Salina wants Owen back.  What Owen doesn’t know is what Salina had done in the past to his sister Eva.  But,  Owen’s old friend Phillip Kincaid knows and he would do anything to keep Salina from Eva even hire the Spider to take care of things.

Naturally, though, things will get a little more complicated than I make it sound.  Be ready to get out the tissues at the end of this book because it does NOT end as happily as I would have hoped.  The book is still well written with its finely drawn and fleshed out characters, complicated and vigorous action scenes and a lovely sexual scene…but -  and I hate to say this…things are starting to feel a tiny little bit stale to me. I don’t know where Ms Estep can take this series now that the Big Bad has been eliminated, but I certainly hope that she will come up with a new personal nemesis to be tracked and eliminated 

Product Details

The Ugly Duchess by Eloisa James (Aug 28, 2012)

*ARC supplied by publisher*

Theodora Saxby is not the most attractive young lady coming out this year and James Rayburn has just found out that his father has embezzled from his ward who happens to be Theodora.  James father tries to force his son to marry Theodora, but James has been best friends with Theodora for years.  They are like brother and sister.  Then one night James kisses Theodora and things change.   Don’t forget these two people are quite young in years for today’s   standards which makes this a little difficult to get by.  With this kiss sparks fly like crazy, marriage proposals are given and accepted and with all due hast Theo and James are married without her ever knowing that James Father tried to coerce him into it.   And things are going quite well for a couple of days…until James Father catches them in a rather  compromising situation and harangues James about putting a bag over Theo’s head when making love among other secrets.

So now, Theo knows that James has apparently married her for her dowry and not for love.  Too bad, for Theo since she was really falling in love with James.  No more brother/sister relationship.   And Theodora asks James to leave.  Which he does and becomes of all things - a privateer.   Now he has been gone the 7 years one needs to declare someone else who is missing- dead.  Naturally he is back.  Theodora has certainly turned from the Ugly Duckling into the  Swan during this time.

During the time James has been gone he has not been celibate, and I know that  some people will take issue with this, but we have to remember that this was a different time, place and circumstances.  What is not to be expected or put up with  in today’s man and woman, will likely be de rigueur for this time and period.  If you can get beyond the ‘cheating’ this is a lively and interesting book, although I do not think that this is the best of Ms James writings.  Even thought there is a seven year time passage, the time spent with James and Theo is brief and spent mostly either discussing making love or in bed. Whatever character growth there is has been done away from each other. Theo has changed the most and has become somewhat brittle.  Nevertheless, apparently once they copulate all will be well and we get our happily ever after.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Product Details

Precinct 13 by Tate Hallaway (Aug 7, 2012)

Precinct 13 by Tate Halloway

College graduate Alex Conner, is looking for a new beginning to her life so she lands up with the coroners job in Pierre, South Dakota.  After all she just got finished with accusing her step-mother of being a demon, and at the same time her boyfriend Valentine spends 18 months in jail for assaulting the step-mother (or step-monster) for again…being a demon.  Now everyone thinks that Alex may be a little crazy.  That is until she makes her move out to Pierre and things start going just a tad odd.  Corpses walking away, snakes flying out of someone’s body and attaching itself to Alex’s are as a mobile tattoo . Fortunately for Alex nobody thinks she is nuts…as a matter of fact they think she may be powerful.  A witch.  With a very large familiar.  A dragon familiar.

Now I really was looking forward to this book since I heard about it a while back.  Unfortunately, it just was not what it could have been.  There was so much back-story missing that I could have sworn I had missed at least one other book to this series.  Reading the entire book does not help with the questions, it just brings up more of them that never get answered.  Maybe someday in a later book in the series the author will clue us in, but I’m not too sure I want to chance it.  I love using my imagination, but this book just stretched that idea too much for me to be comfortable.  I love seeing how a writer is going to build her world and to see if we are going to be drawn in, unfortunately this book does neither for the reader.

I have to admit the idea that this part of South Dakota having so much para-normal activity and having so many other worldly inhabitants is fun.  These kinds of stories normally happen in huge cities like NYC or Atlanta.   But as I said, the unanswered questions are too many for me to be comfortable.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Product Details

Sweet Talk by Julie Garwood (Kindle Edition - Aug 7, 2012) - Kindle eBook


Available for Pre-order. This item will be released on August 7, 2012.

Sweet Talk by Julie Garwood *ARC SUPPLIED BY PUBLISHER*

I have read very few of Julie Garwood’s books so I really have nothing with which to compare this novel to.  Other reviewers will be able to compare her style in this book against her others.  All I can give you is how I feel about this book in particular.

I chose this book because the synopsis sounded great. Any female protagonist who would dare to backtalk to an FBI agent who is thrusting his fingers in her face by claiming she is scarier than the FBI- she is IRS -  I thought was going to be my type of heroine.

After all, Olivia has gone through a lot of trauma in her life starting with a childhood filled with cancer and the treatments that go with it and a family that is so horrific that it left me speechless…and curious. In addition to being a lawyer Olivia, is also a child advocate and  came from quite a wealthy family.

Unfortunately, for me my curiosity soon gave away to the nearly numbing effects of reading dialogue that seemed stilted and unrealistic, almost as if Olivia had never dealt with the public before.  She seemed naïve for an IRS lawyer/child advocate.   Naturally, she is so stunning and voluptuous that men are   falling all over themselves just to look at her. and Grayson is so utterly handsome and well proportioned.

Grayson Kincaid is just the typical male ALPHA and a somewhat annoying one at that. He is rich and a bit Blue Blooded  so that can get a little dreary at times, yet it does make him a perfect companion for the ultra rich (as soon as she hits a specific birthday) Olivia.  I can understand why he does things the way he does, but I could not really get behind his manipulations of of Olivia. Both he and Olivia just never seemed to be fully fleshed out to me, leaving them somewhat one-dimensional and a bit clichéd.

The secondary characters are definite caricatures, using hackneyed dialogue for Olivia’s sister, brother-in-law, and father.  These secondary characters are written to look like imbeciles.  Yes, they are supposed to be the antagonists and terrible people, especially her father, but the author did not really make me *believe* it, if you know what I mean.

This was not my most favorite read of the year by any means, but it was not the worst book I’ve read so far this year.   I did like enough “Sweet Talk “to keep me reading until I was finished.    

Dead Is the New Black: Fashion Avenue Mysteries (A Fashion Avenue Mysteries)
Dead Is the New Black: Fashion Avenue Mysteries (A Fashion Avenue Mysteries)
by Christine DeMaio-Rice
Edition: Paperback
Price: $14.99
Kindle Purchase Price:$2.99
Availability: In Stock

2.0 out of 5 stars Yikes - Minutiae to Beat the BandAugust 6, 2012

Amazon Verified Purchase(What's this?)
If you love sewing, "The Devil Wears Prada" or just want to know how clothes are made from the ground up (and I really mean from the ground up)...then this may be your book. If you want to know what a pattern maker does, then you will most likely enjoy this book.
BUT if you are looking for a mystery that makes sense, then you may want to take a pass.

The mystery in this book takes second stage to all the folderol that goes on behind the scenes of a fashion show. It can be interesting to read what goes into the making of an outfit, but when I had to look up too may unknown words and phrases to follow along with the story (for instance, I needed to look up just what does a rabbit have to do with pattern-making)I just stared getting bored.

The time line behind this book makes no sense, the characters are annoying, dis-likable, biased and prejudiced. The mystery is mysterious only in that there are so many red herrings and other people doing dastardly deeds that you just can't keep your mind on the original murder.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

The Care and Feeding of Stray Vampires
The Care and Feeding of Stray Vampires
by Molly Harper
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: $7.99
Availability: In stock but may require an extra 1-2 days to process.
Kindle Price:$7.99 

4.0 out of 5 stars 4.5 StarsAugust 5, 2012

The Care and Feeding of Stray Vampires by Molly Harper

Molly Harper's books never seem to let me down. I love re-reading them when I've had too much of the overly brooding angst that so many of today's speculative fictions book seem to have. While Ms Harpers male protagonists do seem to be a tad dark, there is always a bit of sly wit running through them, you just know that they want to let go of their dark and broody character and let go with a good belly laugh. And as luck would have it, that is just what I found when I read this book.

Iris is going about her job as a Vampire concierge. She makes it through her day and at her next job just around sunset, literally lands on her rear-end tripping over her newest client who is seemingly dead on the floor with blood pooled around him. Fortunately or unfortunately, whichever way you choose to see things, Cal (Cletus) is still very much undead and is suffering from poisoning. He makes a deal with Iris for a place to hide out while he investigates who is poisoning the Vampires and turning them into ravening monsters.

Now of course Cal is a semi-broody vamp who has live a few thousand years and, has seen or done it all. What he has never encountered is a woman like Iris and her teen-aged sister. He finds himself, against his better judgment and his common sense, being drawn to these two sassy women and becoming attached even as he professes that as soon as the job is done he is off to the next job. He has always been footloose and fancy free. But now...not so much!

I loved this book. It is funny, sexy, mysterious, fast paced and I even got to learn a little about botany and botanicals. The characters are well drawn, the narrative is interesting and fast paced, the descriptions are, well, descriptive and really doesn't leave too much to your imagination.

As far as needing to read the novella that is supposed to be the first `book' in this series - it is not imperative. You can easily read this as a standalone. But I think that you will be curious enough about some of the women you will encounter in this novel to go back and read some of the previous books even though they aren't part of this series

Saturday, August 4, 2012

The Sisters Montclair: A Novel
The Sisters Montclair: A Novel
by Cathy Holton
Edition: Paperback
Price: $15.99
Kindle Price:$9.99
Availability: In Stock

4.0 out of 5 stars A Sweeping Southern SagaAugust 4, 2012
The Sisters Montclair: A Novel by Cathy Holton

It's easy to get swept up in this story. I found it to be a little slow at first, but quickly I became engrossed with both Stella the young caregiver and Alice the elderly woman who needs the care.
This is a story of secrets, some so old and horrible that you might wonder if it really is a good thing to revisit and some secrets so new and horrible that it could send you on a journey you might never recover from.

Stella, a young psychology major in college needs a job. At the moment the best she can come up with is being the caregiver to a 94 year old woman who changes caregivers like you would change your socks.

Miss Alice is feisty, temperamental, with a bit of Alzheimer's, an arrogant snotty daughter and a pot load of money! Miss Alice can be a charmer when she wants to be, but we learn via her dreams and reminiscences that she had a wonderful fiery, spirited, sexual side to her, yet never did get to do quite everything she wanted to do in life. She ended up settling, but whether it was for good or for bad will be up to you the reader to figure out.

Stella is a sweet girl but her appearance is a bit unsettling to most of those around her. With tattoos, facial piercings and dyed black hair you would thing she would be the wrong kind of person to be a wonderful caregiver, but you would be wrong. Miss Alice sees the possibilities as soon as she meets Stella. They become something like friends and while they never quite become best pals and trade secrets, they do learn to laugh and trust each other. Until the story culminates in both of their secrets being revealed.

The story flows like a slow southern summer Sunday drive in the country. It sometimes has moments of excitement, and has a surprise or two to keep you a bit off kilter.

Ms Holton does an excellent job of making these two women seem so real and is a deft storyteller with a light hand. Sometimes this story could have been overly melodramatic, but as I said Ms Holton knows when to pull back and give us readers a moment to regroup before making the next revelation

Friday, August 3, 2012

Can't Hurry Love
Can't Hurry Love
by Molly O'Keefe
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: $7.99
Availability: In Stock

3.0 out of 5 stars Too Many Unhappy PeopleAugust 3, 2012

Can't Hurry Love Molly O'Keefe

This is the second book of Molly O'Keefe's series, with a third book "CRAZY THING CALLED LOVE" - Coming January 28, 2013. This series all started with the death of Victoria's father and the fact that Lyle Baker (her father) was using his death and wealth to lure his children back to the ranch and reunite them. So far it has been working quite spectacularly.

With this book we find Victoria Baker, the `bastard' daughter of Lyle helping her brother Luc out. Luc inherited the ranch and now Victoria is going to run it. She is a mousy little thing whose husband created a Ponzi scheme and then took the easy way out of his troubles by killing himself. Now she is up against Eli Turnbull the foreman of the ranch and he wants the land from the Baker family since Lyles family had taken advantage of Eli's when they acquired the land years and years ago.

Of course, tempers flare and sparks fly when Victoria and Eli meet. In fact, Eli and Victoria act like spoiled children over this ranch and its land Soon they will come to an understanding of sorts, one that will be sexual in nature and quite hot at that.

Victoria decides to turn the ranch into a spa and for me that is where the story went downhill. I can understand that fiction writers can and will take a lot of liberties when writing. I can understand why, but the storey of the remodel is for anyone who has ever done something like a remodel is just too unbelievable.

Eli is so damaged from his mother leaving and his bitterness with the Bakers that he nearly becomes a caricature. Yes, a lot of his hurt is understandable, but I think I'm just getting annoyed with books were both characters are dark, bleak, soul-searching, overly inner dialoguing and angsting people who are unsure of themselves and feel as if they don't deserve to be happy or loved. That all they deserve is sex, a lot of spectacular sex to be sure, but empty nonetheless. It's depressing.

Then to get even luckier, we are treated with a secondary story of Luc's mother and her quest for youth and coping with the changes a 65 years old has to eventually face with her looks. She too will be angsting and inner dialoguing to beat the band. She even has a younger and wildly handsome man lusting for her body and wanting her mind and she is still miserable and taking it out on everyone.

I just couldn't take the unhappiness of this book, even though I knew it had to have its `happily ever after' I had to work too hard to finish it. Too many things just seemed off about this book, especially after such a strong start to this series. I read for escape (as I think most people do)and just I don't want my books to star people who are even more miserable than I am!

The sex was smokin' hot and I really wonder what Ms O'Keefe will do in her third book to top this escapade. The sex and sex scenes seemed to increase over the first book

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Gunmetal Magic: A Novel in the World of Kate Daniels
Gunmetal Magic: A Novel in the World of Kate Daniels
by Ilona Andrews
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: $7.99
 Kindle Edition - $7.99
Availability: In Stock

5.0 out of 5 stars Fun, Funny, Sexy, Romantic and HorrifyingAugust 1, 2012
Gunmetal Magic -Ilona Andrews

If you are concerned that you shouldn't read this novel before any of the others (if you are new to the series) have no fear. There is just enough back-story, especially with the prologue, to allow you to read this novel and fully grasp all of what is going on. You will notice all of the character's nuances easily because the author(s) write such vivid, believable and well fleshed out characters.

If you are also concerned that the book will be too short to enjoy since there is also a novella at the end, rest assured that the book comes in at more than 325 pages and the novella is well over 100 pages long. It was a deliciously long, complicated, romantic, sexy, funny, frightening read. This book is filled with all of the things that constant readers are used to from this writing team and then some.

Andrea had been kicked out of the Order of the Knights, the one place in the world where she didn't get physically abused every day. She loved the order, the feeling of belonging and having essentially, a family. Unfortunately this action has left her at sea and has been difficult on Raphael of the Clan Bouda (Hyena) who is the clan Alpha. Now Andrea works as a P.I. with her best friend Kate who happens to be the Beast Lords mate. Soon into the novel, she is forced to work/for with her ex-lover Raphael and things suddenly go from bad to worse. Raphael hasn't gotten over Andrea and is doing everything stupid in his power to show her that he doesn't care anymore. (Men!!!)

The fact that they are forced together will allow themselves to finally clear the air, both about their relationship and the fact that Andrea has to join the Clan. But things go quickly from bad to worse to horrifying.

This was a great look into the lives of some of the secondary characters from the Kate Daniels world. I really thought I was going to hate this book because it was not all about Kate and Curran, but I found I loved it just as much as the other books in the series.
I truly hope that Roman, a secondary character of note from this book gets his own story too as well as Derek and Julie. So many other secondary and tertiary characters deserve a whole book and not just novellas!

What I was a tad concerned about is that there were several inconsistencies although nothing too upsetting to ruin the flow, just annoying enough though, to make me go "huh?"

A fun, funny, sexy, horrifying read that most likely will keep you up all night turning the pages.