3.5 star review

ARC Review – Want Me

Want Me

Want Me
by Cynthia Eden

I received an ARC of this book from the Publisher, via Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.

Just let me do my little happy dance, because Cynthia Eden is my romantic suspense crack. This is her second book in her Dark Obsession series, and I really enjoyed the first book, Watch Me. I read and reviewed Watch Me previously.

Sophie, is a tough nut, she is sort of icy and aggressive on the surface but with a soft gooey center that she holds close in her job as a defense attorney. She almost died due to her connections to the supposed villain of the previous story, Ethan. However, life gets even stranger when she discovers she has an obsessed stalker, and current events change the way she views her history. Lex is the alpha bad boy, while he has one briefly mentioned piece of history, he is really just a placeholder male to me, and in my mind all these guys are John McClain and we are in a Die Hard movie.
Willful suspension of disbelief is an absolute requirement, but there’s tons of action, suspense, sizzle, and plot twists that makes this the book equivalent of an action movie.
3.5 stars-it won’t be going on my re-read list, but it was fun while it lasted and I really want the next book in the series and am hoping there will be a fourth book to cover Ethan’s story (I adore morally ambivalent heroes).
3.5 star review, 4 star review

Review – Hot Damned Series

I picked up Robyn Peterman’s Fashionably Dead for free on Amazon. It’s still free, so if you like paranormal romance, definitely pick it up to see if the rest of the series interests you. I should probably write my reviews of books individually, but when I binge like this, it is sort of hard for me to separate out my feelings and thoughts on individual books. So I am going to throw these reviews all up at the same time. I can’t guarantee there won’t be spoilers for previous books in subsequent reviews, so be sure to stop reading at appropriate points if you don’t want to be spoiled.

Fashionably Dead
Fashionably Dead.jpg
Astrid is having a miserable week, month, life, etc. Her grandmother who raised her has recently died, her mother who is horrible continues to be horrible, and her best friend is pushing her to quit smoking resulting in an ill-conceived decision to try hypnotism. The hypnotism works just a little too well, because you can’t exactly smoke if you can’t breathe, and Vampyres definitely don’t need to breath. So now Astrid is thrown into an entire paranormal world she had no clue exists, one with Vampyres, guardian angels, fairies, and a too hot bad guy that makes her now still heart race. And oh yeah, and she’s the prophesied one. But at least she can still be a Prada whore, undead doesn’t mean unfashionable after all.

I see a lot of people who are comparing this to Chicagoland Vampires, but since I haven’t read those (and I am not sure I want to) I can’t speak to that comparison. What I can absolutely say it is like, is Maryjanice Davidson’s Undead series.

-snarky, mostly pretends to be vapid heroine? Check
-fashion obsessed? Check
-horrible parent? Check
-prophesied heroine who doesn’t want the power? Check
-bad boy hero? Check
-plethora of family or friends who are more than they appear? Double Check

Don’t get me wrong, this book is a ton of fun, and after some of the shenanigans of the past few Undead/Betsy books it was fascinating and almost too funny and fun to get back into the ground floor on so much delightful craziness. It’s nothing new, but Peterman did it with such joy that you can’t help but enjoy the people and the ride. This book ends with all kinds of twists and a hell of a cliffhanger, but since the next book is already out, that really isn’t a huge problem to me.

4 stars and I couldn’t wait to get into the next book.

Fashionably Dead Down Under
Fashionably Dead Down Under.jpg
Stop here if you don’t want to be spoiled on the previous book. Really, just stop.

So, poor Astrid, who thought things could finally settle down with her hotter than Hades fiancée, the prophesied baby on the way, horrible family members dead, and all the loving family she never had, winds up in Hell. Turns out that very little of what they thought they knew in previous events was actually true (don’t worry, Peterman didn’t ret-con, it absolutely makes sense to the story). Her father, evil as he was, wasn’t actually a ruler, her mother wasn’t at all who she thought she was, and she has plenty more family with all sorts of supernatural connections. Frankly, she’s a one woman melting pot of paranormal goodness. But as much as the family wants to meet her, really they have a job for her to do, and all Hell is about to break loose.

Paranormal zaniness doesn’t just abound, it bitch-slaps you right through the story. I didn’t get the same punch form this story as I did the first, it was just a little too spread out. But I enjoyed seeing Astrid fully realize her powers and enjoyed how Astrid and Ethan’s relationship developed. Some of the other characters were also really fun and I’d love to get their stories in the future.

3.5 stars and totally on board with the next book.

Hell on Heels
Hell on Heels
Again, let me warn you that you will be spoiled on previous books if you continue reading.

Dixie is a demon, and she’s Astrid’s cousin to be precise. Despite the fact that we learned that demons aren’t the sum of all evil in the previous books, they aren’t exactly good or nice either. Except for Dixie, she’s a sweetie. She falls in love, does her stint on earth, saves the world and her family and discovers her destiny. This one had a bit of a different flavor to me, and it was more new adult romance with granted a ton of paranormal craziness, but still it was a new adult. I didn’t hate it, but it wasn’t my favorite entry into the series, which is sad because Dixie was one of my favorite characters in the last book.

3 stars and a relatively strong closer to the series (updated 12/12/2015-just realized there are more, I’m going to have to catch up.), particularly if new adult romance is your thing.

Overall this is a fun weekend read that you can absolutely gorge on.

4 star review

Review – Syphon’s Song

Syphon’s Song
by Anise Rae

Syphon's Song
This book is the first in the Mayflower Mages series. I picked it up because the second book was too tempting not to snatch up on Netgalley (that review will be coming up in the next couple of weeks), and I just can’t start in the middle of a series.

Let’s start with the fact that I am thrilled with this book, I enjoyed it very much. I just can’t see how to write this review without making it sound like I didn’t like it. And that is for very good reason, because what it most reminded me of is Ilona Andrews, and particularly her new series first, Burn For Me. That is very high praise from me, because I adore Ilona Andrews, but of course I cannot help comparing it – and it falls just a tad bit short of that for me. But, others may really like this book better for the very reasons that it didn’t quite hit all my buttons.

This is an alternate US history where magic and magical ruling families control the world. Magic is passed on genetically and the people who came on the Mayflower ships were mages. There’s some interesting world building going on, and Ms. Rae avoids the info-dumping issue mostly with aplomb, though there are a few places that did leave me scratching my head for a bit until I sorted out the rules. The main focus however is not so much the world building, but the characters and their romance. Bronte Casteel is a Syphon Mage, which in her world is a death sentence since it is assumed that Syphon’s can suck all the magic out of other Mages. So, she lives as one of the downtrodden nons, thrown away from her powerful family. Colonel Vincent Rallis is her hereditary enemy, but a chance meeting when they were teens sets them apart and sets up the situation to bring them back together as adults. Their meeting was what prompted her family to send her away, and was something that gave him both hope and an academic interest to balance his dangerous military career. He’s a powerful mage with a gift that could destroy him, she’s an apparently powerless Syphon with the ability to suck out his magic, but it turns out that is only his magic, and for him that is completely not a bad thing. By all the rules of Romancelandia, obviously these two are meant for one another.

So what did I think? This series is going to be set up as a series of potentially stand-alone books, each featuring a different couple, and it looks like each focusing on a different unfair law or situation in their world. Since their entire relationship has to be crammed into one book, there isn’t quite the character exploration and building that I would have liked to have seen. They are insta-mates from the start, but it worked for me in the context of the world they are in, and he is much more dependent and bonded to her than she is to him, so sexist as that may seem, it worked better for me than it does when the reverse is true. And overall, I liked them as characters and for each other. So, since the only thing I can do is compare this to Burn For Me, here goes. While the world premise is just as compelling, and the supporting cast of family are just as quirky and fun, it just doesn’t have the character depth and tension that I got from BFM, and the plotting and pacing had some rough spots and it just didn’t go as smoothly as I would have hoped. It felt a bit rushed trying to cram so much into one book. However, while Vincent has some rough spots and isn’t above a little manipulation, he was nowhere near the Alpha-hole as Mad Rogan was, so there was, in my opinion, much less to have to work through. There’s also a heck of a twist in this book too, though it is happier than the one in BFM. Selene Glendor is a helluva interesting character and I can hardly wait for her book. So, yeah, it sounds like I didn’t like it, but I really did. I think of it as a softer and more romantic Burn for Me. And for those who were disappointed by BFM, or put off from it, because there wasn’t enough romance or because of what Mad Rogan did, but were otherwise interested, you will probably enjoy the heck out of this book.

4 stars

Thoughts and Opinions

My Most Anticipated Books of 2015

My goal here is to to a) share what I am highly anticipating and b) maybe even compare my end of the year favorites with this list to see what’s what. If everything goes according to plan, these will be in order of release date.

Bound by Flames by Jeanniene Frost

Obsession in Death by JD Robb

Highland Guard by Hannah Howell

Dead Heat by Patricia Briggs*

Prudence by Gail Carriger

The Dangers of Dating a Rebound Vampire by Molly Harper

Total Surrender by Rebecca Zanetti

The Unleashing by Shelly Laurenston*

Garden of Lies by Amanda Quick

Day Shift by Charlaine Harris

Shards of Hope by Nalini Singh*

The Highlander takes a Bride by Lynsay Sands

Siren’s Call by Jayne Castle

Magic Shifts by Ilona Andrews*

Guild Hunter #8 by Nalini Singh

Manners and Mutiny by Gail Carriger

Mind Magic by Eileen Wilks

Sweep in Peace by Ilona Andrews (this is an incomplete serial)

Breakout by Anne Aguirre (no release date yet but I am waiting for the conclusion to read the rest of the series)

Beyond #6 & #7 by Kit Rocha

*These are the books I currently have on pre-order.

These aren’t the only books in my TBR that are releasing in 2015, just the ones with the most excitement, and the ones I am hoping to review.


Eclipse Bay Trilogy – OpenLibrary

Having read Jayne Ann Krentz’s Trust No One, as I said, it reminded me of previous books, which of course inspired me to re-read some of my favorites. The Eclipse Bay Trilogy is set on the west coast and involves basically two families. There is a small amount of non-action packed romantic suspense, and all three tie in to events happening in the small town of Eclipse Bay. This is not one of JAK’s paranormal trilogies, but as JAK is about the queen of Easter eggs in romance novels, there are a few later tie-ins to both her contemporary and her futuristic paranormal series. You don’t need to have read everything to enjoy these books, or vice versa, but it is fun to find them. They were published 2000-2002, but to me they hold up well despite the time that has elapsed.

And all three are available to borrow for free through OpenLibrary. As always, remember to borrow the PDF and not the epub.

Eclipse Bay

Eclipse Bay has grown and flourished on the rugged Oregon coast, where the shore can be rocky and forbidding, full of sharp cliffs and hidden coves. Eclipse Bay by Jayne Ann Krentz, this small town is also filled with secrets as treacherous as the landscape and rivalries as fierce as an ocean storm.

Their grandfathers hated each other.

Their fathers hated each other.

And as the next generation of the Hartes and Madisons, Hannah and Rafe are expected to hate each other too. But Hannah Harte, a successful wedding consultant with a skeptical view of marriage, remembers the long-ago night on the beach that revealed Rafe as much more than just “that disreputable Madison boy.” And Rafe remembers the heroic gesture that proved Hannah’s fierce spirit was stronger than any feud and saved him from near-certain imprisonment.

Now reunited by a surprising inheritance after years of living their separate lives Rafe and Hannah return to Eclipse Bay, and the hostilities that still divide, and bind, their families. And they are discovering something that is at once delightful and deeply disturbing?

They don’t hate each other. Not at all.
Dawn in Eclipse Bay

Nothing was ever simple between a Madison and a Harte. The feud that had divided their families still simmered. Now, only months after their siblings’ wedding, Lilian Harte and Gabe Madison are at each other’s throats.

Successful CEO Gabe had insisted on becoming a client of Lilian’s matchmaking service. And after five disastrous dates, Lilian is at her wit’s end. If she hadn’t already decided to close her business and move home to Eclipse Bay, Gabe would have been the final straw. But when she finds Gabe at her door demanding she fulfill their business contract, the sparks between them suddenly turn personal. Once again, Eclipse Bay will witness a showdown—between a relentless Madison and an irresistible Harte…
Summer in Eclipse Bay

Summer has arrived in Eclipse Bay and things are definitely heating up between the Hartes and the Madisons. It seems that the mysterious new gallery owner, Octavia Brightwell, is thinking about having a scandalous fling with that rogue Nick Harte before she leaves town. As far as Nick is concerned, a short-term affair sounds perfect. But it isn’t going to be easy.

One big obstacle is Mitchell Madison. For reasons of his own, Mitchell has taken it upon himself to play guardian to Octavia. He’s made it clear that if Nick fools around with her, there will be a price to pay. And then there’s Nick’s young son, Carson, who has his own agenda where Octavia is concerned. He doesn’t want his father messing up his plans.

Summer in Eclipse Bay is going to be eventful this year. Some long-buried secrets from the infamous Harte-Madison feud are about to surface. The past and the present are on a collision course. I hope you’ll join me to watch the fireworks.
The second one’s hero, Gabe, is the one that Julius reminded me of. They are cute stories, perfect for curling up on a rainy weekend, which is precisely what I did. They were as good as I remembered them, not spectacular, but definitely cozy.

4 star review

Review – Trust No One

Trust No One
by Jayne Ann Krentz

Trust No One goes back to Krentz’s straight contemporary romantic suspense roots and has all the charm of her earlier heroines and heroes, without all the dated claptrap of her earlier works. Granted, it is formulaic, so you can definitely kind of pick out the mish mash from earlier works, but as I have said before, this formula works for me. It is a little bit of: Dawn in Eclipse Bay, All Night Long, Sweet Fortune, and Deep Water, in my opinion. There are probably novels that would equally apply, but those are the ones that I immediately thought of (and that this book made me immediately want to go back and re-read). Others would probably have other books pop up into their heads. Personally, I think that is part of the charm though, because it makes the reader’s connections to the main characters and setting instantaneous, so that it is just so comfortable slipping right into this world.

More specifically about this story, Grace Ellend is an eternal optimist, with a spunky way about her. She’s a real sweetheart but she is definitely a woman who can handle herself. When she finds her boss murdered, this sets up a chain of events that leads her home. And of course, when you head home, people want to match make. Here she is trying to deal with current events, trying to find a new job, deal with some horrors in her past, and the mystery surrounding right now…so of course her oldest friends are setting her up on a blind date. I laugh, because it is true, no matter what is going on in your life, when you go home to a small town people are almost desperate to marry you off. Which brings us to Julius Arkwright, who might be the most awkward blind date ever, but at least he isn’t boring or useless. He’s got his own past shadows, a successful career, and more money than he needs, what he doesn’t have is the slightest clue about what he actually wants or needs. He’s bored.

I really liked them as a couple. They had their own personal angst and issues, but they weren’t really angsty about each other. They were just kind of cute and the chemistry was there, but it wasn’t as if they needed to save each other, they just bring the balance the other one needs. The suspense part was plenty twisty enough for my tastes with plausible red herrings and a conclusion that made sense. Altogether and fun an enjoyable read, but time will tell whether this one makes it to my re-read stack.

4 Stars

Sale – J. D. Robb In Death Series

The first 8 books in J. D. Robb’s In Death series are on sale for $1.99 each at Amazon. Price matching doesn’t appear to be in effect yet with other retailers.

There’s over 40 books so far in this series, with no real signs of stopping. For the uninitiated, this is a police procedural romance series set about 50 years in the future with a stable long term couple. It’s probably my favorite non UF or SciFi series.

Thoughts and Opinions

Favorite Books Published in 2014

I’ve read at least 469 books this past year, many of them were re-reads or older books, but I had quite a few newly published books that went onto my favorites list. Without further ado, my favorites that were published in 2014, in no discernible order:

5 Star

The Martian by Andy Weir
Everlastingly by Michelle M. Pillow
The Girl With All the Gifts by M.R. Carey
Archangel’s Shadows by Nalini Singh
Magic Breaks by Ilona Andrews
Bite Me by Shelly Laurenston
Unbinding by Eileen Wilks
Darkness Falls by Erin Kellison
Darksider by Erin Kellison
Burn for Me by Ilona Andrews
The Hot Zone by Jayne Castle

4 Star

Beyond Series by Kit Rocha
Lex Talionis by R.S.A. Garcia
Love is a Battlefield by Vivien Arend
Beyond Repair by Charlotte Stein
Silver Tongued Devils by Dawn Montgomery
Sweetest Surrender by Katie Reus
One Sexy Ride by Vivian Arend
Sinful Secrets by Cynthia Eden
Rumpel’s Prize by Marie Hall
The Kraken King by Meljean Brook
Night Shift by Nalini Singh, Ilona Andrews, and Milla Vane (AKA Meljean Brook)
Nobody by Sarah M. Anderson
Moonshine by Vivian Arend
A Dangerous Madness by Michelle Deiner
Festive in Death by J.D. Robb
Better Homes and Hauntings by Molly Harper
Otherwise Engaged by Amanda Quick
Sin Brothers Series by Rebecca Zanetti
The Escape by Mary Balogh
Air Bound by Christine Feehan
Wild Wolf by Jennifer Ashley
Waistcoats and Weaponry by Gail Carriger
Light My Fire by G.A. Aiken
Sheild of Winter by Nalini Singh

Going through the list of all the books I’ve read this year makes me see I’ve been perhaps a bit too liberal with my 4 star ratings, or maybe that’s just hindsight. Nevertheless, I read a lot of great books this year and re-read some beloved series.