Saturday, December 28, 2013

Big Sky Secrets - A Tepid Read at Best

Big Sky Secrets by Linda Lael Miller


Big Sky Secrets (Big Sky (Harlequin)) by Miller, Linda Lael (Dec 31, 2013)

Book Description

January 1, 2014
The "First Lady of the West," #1 New York Times bestselling author Linda Lael Miller delivers the stunning finale of her acclaimed series set in Parable, Montana—where love awaits
Self-made tycoon Landry Sutton heads to Hangman Bend's Ranch to sell his land to his brother Zane. Though he's got cowboy in his blood, Landry plans to return to city life before the dust even settles on his boots. Of course, he didn't count on falling for Big Sky Country…or Ria Manning.
Ria's starting to settle into country life herself…until she has a close encounter of the terrifying kind with a buffalo. Turns out the peeping monster belongs to the cowboy next door—and he has her running even more scared than his bison. She wants a home where the buffalo don't roam, and the men don't either. Could Landry's homecoming be her heart's undoing?

Linda Lael Miller seems to have become a hit-or-miss author for me. “Big Sky Secrets” is a miss for me.

I found no strong plot or story to keep me engaged. There is no action to move the story along. I was able to put the book down as I was reading and feel no qualms about doing so. For me, if a book is good I will tote it with me everywhere so I can keep reading.

The ‘romance’ was tepid at best and comes in very late in the book.

As usual Ms Millers descriptions of the country and cowboy life are engaging, but it just wasn’t enough for me this time.*ARC Supplied by Publisher*

How to Run With a Naked Werewolf = Fantastic Entertainment!

Product Details

How to Run with a Naked Werewolf by Harper, Molly (Dec 31, 2013)

"Book Description (Taken from Amazon)
Publication Date: December 31, 2013
Down, Boy

Anna Moder has just witnessed a shooting, seen her car pulverized, and rescued a wounded stranger only to discover he’s really a werewolf. And by her recent standards, things are actually looking up. Lycanthropes don’t faze Anna. Doctoring a wolf pack outside Grundy, Alaska, is the closest thing to home life she’s known in years. But hitching a ride to Anchorage with long-absent pack member Caleb Graham—that’s a risk. Part of her itches to whack his nose with a newspaper. The rest is trying unsuccessfully to keep her own paws off every delicious inch of him.

The problem is—Caleb employs his lupine tracking abilities as a notquite- legal bounty hunter, and Anna is suspicious of both him and his profession. On the run from her past, with old problems closing in, she’d like to stay far, far away from anybody with connections to the law. Caleb, however, seems determined to keep her close. Are his intentions noble, or is he working a more predatory angle?

Anna has been dreaming of returning to a semi-normal life, but now she’s experiencing a strange new urge . . . to join Caleb in running with the wolves."

Although this is the third book in this series, if you are new to this author, you will not have any trouble reading and following it.   Ms Harper has an uncanny knack for making her books both stick to the  series concept, but also make each of them stand-alone novels.  What you might have problems with, is keeping yourself from buying the first two as soon as you are done with this one!

I read to review this novel as an ARC and I am hoping that with publication the inconsistencies I found in this novel will have been fixed..  That said, this is a typical Molly Harper novel.  I’ve been a fan of hers for years and I have loved or at least liked very much, each and every book of hers that I’ve read.  This one is no exception.  It is in turn, funny and light reading, but this book has a deeper story line to it than most of this genres books do.

Tine (aka Anna Moder) has been running from something for a while now and just as she thought she might be able to stay put for more than a couple of weeks she has the misfortune to have to hook up with a handsome hunk of a PI who just also happens to be a werewolf.  Tina doesn’t let on that she knows he is a werewolf and of course Caleb keeps his own deep secrets from her,
Can a relationship based on many lies be a successful one?  Well you’ll have to read this book to find out.  In addition, I predict you will have tons of fun, shed a few tears and have quite a few giggles while you come to your own conclusions.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Badlands by Jill Sorenson = Bad Book

Badlands (Hqn) by Sorenson, Jill (Dec 31, 2013)

Book Description

January 1, 2014
Love is the most dangerous territory of all
Every day, bodyguard Owen Jackson puts his life on the line—and keeps his feelings for Penny Sandoval locked away. Assigned to protect Penny's father, a presidential candidate, Owen can't get emotionally involved. That is, until Penny and her young son, Cruz, are abducted and taken deep into the California badlands.
Owen knows the bleak territory from his childhood. Worse, he knows the gang leader making ransom demands—his own brother, Shane. When a terrified Penny escapes into the desert with Cruz, Owen has to save her: from the elements and from the gang in close pursuit. Owen has hidden the darkness in his past from Penny. Now his only chance of keeping her alive is to let her see the man he really is—even if it means losing the only woman he'll ever want.

It is difficult for words to even begin to describe this romance novel. I understand that this is a work of fiction and a romance no less...but it is not science fiction, speculative fiction, fantasy or a dystopian society or even where the rules of common sense have no meaning anymore. In these genres you need that lack of common sense sometimes to push the plot along..

In this book, we have the first Mexican American running for president.  One of his daughters had a baby out of wedlock and it makes it difficult for her father to keep his credibility with his 'family values' platform.  The daughter Penny Sandoval and her son Cruz are being guarded by a man who is an ex-con, a past member of the Aryan Brotherhood, can't carry a gun, has no formal training in body guarding and can't even fight properly.

 Penny, Cruz and Owen (the body guard) are taken prisoners during a convention by Owens’s brother (?/!), now they need to escape and find help.

Throughout all of this Owen and Penny each have a huge crush on each other, but angst (very boring...beating a dead horse anyone?) and a false sense propriety keeps them apart.

This book is trite and clichéd... and that can usually be brushed off with this genre, because of what romance is.  Romance seems to be a work that really seems to have some strict rules of writing.

However, this book not only is as I said trite and clichéd; the characters have absolutely no chemistry, the child seems to have been written as an afterthought and the outside evil forces/kidnappers are such that I just wanted to laugh at the stereotypical aspects of them.

I could find nothing that would redeem this novel.*ARC Supplied by Publisher*

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

The Spider by Jennifer Estep - It Should Have Been a Novella



The Spider (Elemental Assassin)

The Spider (Elemental Assassin)
Offered by Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc
Price: $7.59

3.0 out of 5 stars Should Have Been a Novella, December 24, 2013

Book Description

December 24, 2013
How did I end up in a career where I always have blood on my hands? Well, let me tell you a story about an assassin who thought she could do no wrong. . . .
Ten years ago. A blistering hot August night. I remember like it was yesterday. The night I, Gin Blanco, truly became the Spider. Killing people is what I do best, especially now that I’ve honed my Ice and Stone magic. But back then, I had yet to learn one very important rule: arrogance will get you, every single time.

This particular job seemed simple: murder a crooked building contractor with ties to ruthless Fire elemental Mab Monroe. My mentor, Fletcher Lane, had some misgivings, but I was certain that I had the situation under control . . . right up until I exposed my weaknesses to a merciless opponent who exploited every single one of them. There’s a reason assassins aren’t supposed to feel anything. Luckily, a knife to the heart can fix that problem, especially when I’m the one wielding it. . . ."

This was a unique prequel novel that chronicles some of what molded Gin fairly early in her career. It also allows us to get to know Fletcher and also to get to know young Finn better. We also see gin try to deal with her emotions instead of the cold nearly cruel feelings she normally has to most outsiders.

However, this melting of her emotions is what brings us this story. Gin receives a very specific gift wishing her a Happy Anniversary and that is what begins this narrative (for that is what this book very nearly is, one very, very long narrative) of Gins fall from Grace as The Spider. The gift comes while Gin is in the company of her lover Owen at the Pork Pit and it seems to be a simple enough job. Assassinate a building contractor. After all, he is evil and mistreats his child...or does he?

I hate to say it, but if you don't see the ending coming a million miles away I would be very surprised. The author makes it very easy for the fn of this series to figure this book out. It is a perfectly acceptable book to use as book that shows there is going to be a change in a series, but haven't we done that already and shouldn't Gin and Company be ready to take on some new bad guys and bring the series into a different direction? To have Gin grow. I was already to read about Gins' new growth and was sadly disappointed.

This 400-page novel really sped by for me. It read more like it was 200 pages. Most likely because I was able to skim most of the inner dialoging to get to the parts where there was action (typical) or conversation (trite).

Perhaps the NEXT novel will give us some growth, a new villain or a different direction for the series to go into. If I didn't know that there was another book coming out, I would have said that this was the perfect book on which to end this series.*ARC Supplied by Publisher*

Happy Reading!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Chimes At Midnight by Seanan McGuire...Lacking

Chimes at Midnight (October Daye)

Chimes at Midnight (October Daye)
by Seanan McGuire
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: $7.19

3.0 out of 5 stars No Growth and Lacking Excitement, December 21, 2013
  • Series: October Daye (Book 7)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: DAW (September 3, 2013)
  • Language: English
"Book Description

Things are starting to look up for October "Toby" Daye. She's training her squire, doing her job, and has finally allowed herself to grow closer to the local King of Cats. It seems like her life may finally be settling least until dead changelings start appearing in the alleys of San Francisco, killed by an overdose of goblin fruit.

Toby's efforts to take the problem to the Queen of the Mists are met with harsh reprisals, leaving her under sentence of exile from her home and everyone she loves. Now Toby must find a way to reverse the Queens decree, get the goblin fruit off the streets--and, oh, yes, save her own life, since more than a few of her problems have once again followed her home. And then there's the question of the Queen herself, who seems increasingly unlikely to have a valid claim to the throne....

To find the answers, October and her friends will have to travel from the legendary Library of Stars into the hidden depths of the Kingdom of the Mists--and they'll have to do it fast, because time is running out. In faerie, some fates are worse than death.

October Daye is about to find out what they are."

This is supposed to be the book that bumps this series up to a new level of understanding and excitement. It should have shown how October has grown, matured and become better at everything. It did not. If anything I am now worried that October is going to become a Mary Sue type of character. However, don’t get me wrong. I still really like this series and most of the characters and will keep reading the series. I just won’t expect too much in the way of character growth.

What we have here in this book is October and friends still fighting the same villain (The Queen of the Mists) and although things do move along in this book, we never really see a conclusion. The crew is always fighting secondary villains to get to the main one and it is getting a little tiresome. Why? Because I am worried that Ms McGuire is going to be one of those authors that drags things out to a frustrating point by fighting the same thing in every book but in a different way. Very few authors can do this with grace, and even less of them know when to end a series.

Ms McGuire is a very talented author that has created an interesting world. Some of the secondary characters are truly fascinating. Some are just useless as far as furthering the plot line. However, her plots have become predictable. Toby is asked to help someone, she blunders around, is nearly killed, requests the help of The Luideag and of course is told that The Luideag cannot help but of course, there is a lot of hinting involved. Tybalt always comes to the rescue (is he even doing his King activities anymore?) and eventually October seems to blunder her way into saving the day.

-------------------------> Spoiler Alert<------------------ br="">
What happens with Quentin and his parent I could have predicted. I still liked the idea of who his parents are, but it was predictable if you had been paying attention.
The main plot of Treassa (sp) not really being the Queen of the Mists was an interesting one that I didn’t see coming, but it was handled somewhat boringly. To have her escape at the end of the novel just seems a little trite and a way to keep the series going. If the author had wrapped this up a little more cleanly, she could have just come up with some new villains to keep the series going.

-------------------->End Spoilers<------------------ br="">
The romance between October and Tybalt is bland. There was more excitement between Toby and Conner (and sex too) than with Tybalt.

I really had expected and looked forward to ever so much more than what we got in this novel.

PS ---- Could we cool it on the coffee addiction? It is getting a little nerve wracking to read about coffee on what seems like every page. It was funny and endearing the first few books but is now just grating to me!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Fire Light by J. Abram Barneck


Fire Light (Trinity of Mind)

Fire Light (Trinity of Mind)
Price: $2.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Mormon Druids?, December 12, 2013

Book Description

November 20, 2013

Regularly $7.99 but price is $2.99 for a limited time.

Jake is a jeek--part jock, part geek--who finds out he's an unwitting target of genocide against a secret society known as the Druids--a society he didn't even know he belonged to.

O'Brien, one of the last druids, is his mentor. Unfortunately, he is a dud when it comes to magic, but he is ex-military.

As for picking his girlfriend . . . well, that's a split decision. Alexis and Kendra are opposites in almost every way.

If he can just survive the nightwalker, an obsidian-skinned creature with a thirst for blood, an elongated zombie-like body, and a banshee's mind destroying scream, who wears a cloak black enough to make the grim reaper jealous, then he might have a chance.

Ultimately, protecting his loved ones, and himself if possible, becomes his priority

Hey, why NOT Mormon Druids...and Vampires and Dhampir's and other icky creatures that go bump in the night?

No, they aren't all really Mormons, but two of the main characters are and they are the last of the Druids...or at least we think they are the last. After reading this whole book I can't be too sure about that. And don't beleive for one second that Jake is 'just' a Druid...there is something more to Jake than meets the eye!

This was an interesting mix of different styles that you may have seen in other popular authors. Certainly a very interesting one a la Laurell K. Hamilton.(you will understand that if you have read her books and then read this one!) This book is going to be (or at least should be) a hit for adolescent boys and young adult males. It shouldn't be a dud for the females of the crowd too since we are treated to many observations of Jake's fine physique at various points in this book. The female readers will like the kick-butt and take no prisoners style of one of the main female characters, Alexis.

This was a fairy slow book to start with large info dumps through-out the novel, but coming in at over 400 pages made these dumps understandable.

Mr. Barneck did a fine job at building his world, moving his characters around like chess pieces ;-) and creating a fairly believable world/plot-line.

A very minimum on the swearing, no sex and only the mildest of a teen-ages boys semi-dirty thoughts makes this a book that I could recommend for ages 14 on up. Very clean, but very bloody.

For an independently published book, the formatting and lack of grammar issues made this a pleasure to read.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Chocolate Covered Billionaire Navy SEAL - A Hoot of a Parody

Chocolate Covered Billionaire Navy SEAL
Chocolate Covered Billionaire Navy SEAL
Price: $0.00

4.0 out of 5 stars A Wonderful ParodyDecember 9, 2013

Book Description

 July 12, 2013
I hate to be the one to break it to you, but there are probably like three good-looking billionaires on the planet. Generally speaking billionaires look a lot more like Bill Gates and Warren Buffet than Channing Tatum. Don't get me wrong, Bill and Warren are great guys, but no one is breaking out into a sweat thinking about either one of them. Now there aren't all that many Navy SEALs floating around either and the ones that are available are generally so busy being, well, Navy SEALs, that you'd be hard pressed to find one with some free time to date.

If you chuckled at the above and enjoy a little sex related humor, this short parody of all the billionaire and Navy SEAL romance novels may just be for you. If you didn't at least giggle and don't enjoy that type of humor, you probably should keep looking for your next read.

With that out of the way now on to the real book description...

Heir to a chocolate empire, Brock Fullman joins the elite Navy SEAL team in order to avenge the death of his high school sweetheart. With his billionaire family one bad day in the stock market away from the dreaded "Mm Mm Mm..." word (Yes Millionaire... he's the only family member who can actually say it), he's torn between the woman he must marry to guarantee his family's future and the new woman he secretly loves. Out for revenge, will he destroy the company, his family, himself and all those around him in the process?

Chocolate Covered Billionaire Navy SEAL is a short story (approximately 18,000 words) and falls somewhere in genre between a romantic comedy and contemporary romance parody.
The "SEALionaire" is sometimes off-the-wall absurd, sometimes steamy, but always funny. It contains explicit language, sexual content, features a hot, rich, let's call him unique, military man, a bitch we love to hate, lots of chocolate (some might argue too much) and a handful of not so bright terrorists. It's intended for mature audiences and a complete work with none of those pesky cliffhangers!

You MUST understand something before you buy this book------ > Just in case you missed the synopsis and before you buy this book, you must understand that this is a parody of every steamy romance known to mankind. This book wasn't written as a great piece of literature, it wasn't even supposed to be a great and believable romance. It is what it is -- a JOKE!

I want to thank a pal of mine who pointed this book out to me and thought I would enjoy it after I had surgery. I'm sure she never figured I would actually read it, but darn it contained stuff that I just couldn't resist and I'm glad she found this for me.

Dear God I hate to think of the research that Luke Young had to put up with. Every trite stereotype of the romance genre was in here and every mistake a certain type of author could make was in here, all in glorious white chocolate!

I have never seen so many cliches of the genre all rolled into one novella like this. I was simultaneously cringing as I was laughing my butt off while reading this.

In one package we have a billionaire Chocolate mogul who is also a part time navy SEAL out for revenge,he has a HUGE man part and ten-pack abs. He is also handsome and a stuttering sort of simple man who is sort of a virgin and all these traits are rolled up into our 'hero'. We also have a *itch of a fiance,a father forcing his son into marriage, a chocolate company that is going down the tubes, the best friend of the hero's deceased girlfriend who has been known to get it on with almost an entire football one time, and some fabulous but unbelievable sex scenes.

This made me laugh until I almost popped out the new lens I had put during cataract surgery!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Clean Sweep - Possible New Series or at Least (Hopefully) a Trilogy

Clean Sweep

Clean Sweep
Price: $4.99
 Kindle Edition

4.0 out of 5 stars 4.5 Stars - Possible Spoilers in Review, December 8, 2013

Book Description

December 2, 2013
This is a short novel, about 60,000 words.
On the outside, Dina Demille is the epitome of normal. She runs a quaint Victorian Bed and Breakfast in a small Texas town, owns a Shih Tzu named Beast, and is a perfect neighbor, whose biggest problem should be what to serve her guests for breakfast. But Dina is...different: Her broom is a deadly weapon; her Inn is magic and thinks for itself. Meant to be a lodging for otherworldly visitors, the only permanent guest is a retired Galactic aristocrat who can’t leave the grounds because she’s responsible for the deaths of millions and someone might shoot her on sight. Under the circumstances, "normal" is a bit of a stretch for Dina.
And now, something with wicked claws and deepwater teeth has begun to hunt at night....Feeling responsible for her neighbors, Dina decides to get involved. Before long, she has to juggle dealing with the annoyingly attractive, ex-military, new neighbor, Sean Evans—an alpha-strain werewolf—and the equally arresting cosmic vampire soldier, Arland, while trying to keep her inn and its guests safe. But the enemy she’s facing is unlike anything she’s ever encountered before. It’s smart, vicious, and lethal, and putting herself between this creature and her neighbors might just cost her everything.
This review is from: Clean Sweep (Kindle Edition)
I bought this book without reading the synopsis simply because the Andrews team wrote it. I am not sorry I did so. However, had I read the synopsis I may have had an easier time figuring out the sort of world team Andrews was drawing me into. This would have made it easier for me to understand what was really going on. I do admit that when more and more things are revealed, they came as a pleasant shocked and really knocked this genre on its butt!

This is an excellent blend of the two worlds that the Andrews already writes about - a kick-a*s heroine, Dina, a la Kate Daniels - mixed with a really odd world with creatures to fight that are very, VERY similar to the creatures in On the Edge (The Edge, Book 1), you have two really intense and sexy alpha males and they are both interested in Dina,(see On The Edge) a sentient (sort of) inn and a dog that isn't quite what it appears to be (Kates' dog). It is the perfect blending of the Kate Daniel's and The Edge series.

Add to it the most unusual secondary characters, some extremely funny bits (I loved the hidden quip about Eloisa James and the bits about Sean marking the trees)along with the dry sarcasm and you have the makings of a very excellent series.

Unfortunately I don't know if it is going to be a long running series, a trilogy or just a couple of books...but whatever it is I am looking forward to the next one.

The only drawback for me is that it was a very short novel and there really wasn't much time to really develop totally, the world or the characters. Oh, they were developed, but just not in the manner we are used to with the regular Andrews novels.

It also ends on sort of a mini cliff-hanger so I really hope there is going to be a next book.

Now I don't know which series I am most anxious to see a new book from...that is a little bit of a drawback ;-) when you consider that there is usually about a year between Kate Daniel's book. I think the fans would eat this up if we had these shorter novels to take the edge off our appetites, especially if they come out in between!