3.5 star review

ARC Review – Need Me

Need Me

Need Me
by Cynthia Eden

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

This is the third book in Eden’s Dark Obsession series, and I have previously read and reviewed Watch Me and Want Me. We got to see Julianna and Devlin’s first interactions at the end of Want Me, and it was fairly explosive. I was super excited to get the next book, and Cynthia Eden didn’t let me down. The one thing that truly had me concerned while reading it was that we would not be getting Ethan’s book. I get to the end and even through the excerpt for her next new series, a little disappointed and feeling let down. So let me reassure you, so you don’t have to feel that way as I did. Ethan (the antagonist/anti-hero from the previous books) IS getting his own book, Beware of Me, and it should be releasing Spring/Summer 2015.

So let’s get down to the nitty gritty. Julianna is accused of murdering her husband, and all the evidence seems to point right toward her, but she maintains her innocence. She hires Devlin and V.S.J. to protect her and find out the truth of who is really after her. Devlin is yet another action character (and yes, I still think of all these men as Bruce Willis, which is I am sure NOT the author’s intent, your mileage may vary, but these are action heroes more so than romance heroes). He has just enough tragic back story and emotion to tip him out of alpha-hole caricature status, but really, it’s all about the action, mystery, and smexy times. This story was particularly twisty, and while the twists weren’t over the top ridiculous, they did really keep me engaged in the story.
3.5 stars from me. It requires a lot of willful suspension of disbelief as they are instantly attracted, the relationship spans a very short time, and by the end they are in love and completely devoted. This is par for the course for Eden’s shorter romantic suspense, but they are just too fun and exciting to give up. I adore her books. This is my drug of choice and I can’t wait for my next hit!

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Review – The Immortal Who Loved Me

The Immortal Who Loved Me
by Lynsay Sands

I am absolutely flabbergasted. If I were talking instead of writing, I would be practically speechless. We’re up to book 21 in the Argeneau series, and while Sands has at times struggled to remain fresh and coherent, it has still been an enjoyable series. But this book? I had problems with this book. Don’t even bother reading if you don’t want spoilers, because that is all I am going to be doing here.

The book starts off kind of novel, lots of drama and violence, and Stephanie (the teen Edentate i.e. vampire without fangs who isn’t crazy from previous books) is the heir apparent in finding life mates. And this time, instead of maneuvering, Stephanie is very up front, hey vampires are real and this is your life mate, this is what a vampire is, all of that, it is right out in the open. Consequently, I think a new reader could actually start here, which is unusual for such a long running series. Everything was going along fairly smoothly, and while Sherry and Basil’s chemistry wasn’t the best (nothing like Basil’s bother Lucien and his lifemate Leigh) I was enjoying this more than the previous couple of books, and then we hit the first speed bump: the hero Basil, has been having babies every 100 years or so over the past 3000 years with a friend of his, and as recently 25 years ago. Ok, that threw me for a loop. But he explained and while I was still not precisely thrilled with it, I understood his motivations, life is boring and they found having children fulfilling. So on we went. Then we got closer to the end and we started realizing Sherry had been controlled by a vampire her entire life. Turns out her father, while an effed up drunken immortal 19 year old, used mild mind control to convince Sherry’s happily married mother to have sex with him. Later he found Sherry’s mother in a hospital after she tried to kill herself over a pregnancy from an infidelity she couldn’t understand, and he used mind control on them to try to fix his mistake and he stuck around. When Sherry’s parents eventually divorced, he stepped in as an uncle. As Sherry aged, he wiped his image from her mind to show back up as her best friend. Later he did it again and got her to hire him for her new business. And all the while wen she went off the rails, so to speak, he would control her or wipe her mind to “fix” things. Naturally, Sherry was completely devastated and righteously angered. But then Elvi, who seemed a reasonable and sensible person in her own book, turned into a sociopath and explained how what Sherry’s sperm donor did was alright because mortal parents would do it if they could, and the rape really wasn’t that bad because it wasn’t a violent violation. WTF? Then Basha (from a previous book also) finally had to/got to kill her own son Leo, who is the true villain of this current story arc. And Sherry realized everything is hunky dory and she looks to go rescue her dad from the horrific punishment he is due (violent though the punishment was, it seemed like an appropriate one to me). Sherry and Basil admit their love, they find out Sherry’s paternal grandfather will be showing up, and the book basically ends. 

So basically, I am not at all pleased with this book. I am not pleased with the way this book handles consent, and I am not pleased with this lopped off ending. I honestly don’t know if I am finished with this series, but unless something spectacular is happening in the next book I am doubtful I will continue. I am sorry to say, but this story has negatively colored the entire series for me. No rating from me, only disappointment.

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2 star review

Review – Viper Game

Viper Game
by Christine Feehan

Viper Game


WTF did I just read? No really, WTF? The first chapter or so, I kind of heaved a sigh of relief, I could maybe put this series down. This is almost a spin-off of the spin-off of the series. She’s introducing new characters all the time without finishing the ones we already have. And the evolution of the powers and manipulations have become more and more off the wall. I don’t think I have really LOVED this series since Deadly Game and Conspiracy Game (books 4&5 which I went back and re-read those two this weekend and I still love them).We’re on book 11 now, and all I can say is WTF you guys.

We have viper assassin toddlers, y’all. I’m not even playing with you, so let me say it again y’all – VIPER ASSASSIN TODDLERS. I could probably just stop right there, but that isn’t the end of the WTF-ery. We also have a heroine who is addicted to sex, but the hero can temporarily “cure” her if she gives him blow jobs. Yep, so that happened, and it gave Feehan a reason to amp up the whole why are they even having sex during this TSTL moment? We also have a man who can walk THROUGH walls, and mutant zombie cyborgs. Yep, that happened too. Furthermore, there was virtually no cohesion with the rest of the series or past characters, just a whole bunch of sequel bait potential heroes. And Whitney’s reach has just grown unbelievably vast and his scope so psychotic that I am just waiting to find out that he is being controlled by Xavier, Xaviero, and/or Xavyion, and that the animals he spliced into the Gostwalker genes are actually from the leopards or werewolves, and that Zenith is based off vampire blood. It is THAT crazy.

Unfortunately, for me, I literally could not put this down, and the sequel bait totally worked, because I really must read the next book to see what she pulls out of her hat next. So yeah, I am still in, but I am not exactly happy about it, nor is it for any really good reason.

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3.5 star review

ARC – Enchanter’s Echo

Enchanter’s Echo
by Anise Rae

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

I picked this up because I’ve been in more of a fantasy/sci-fi sort of mood, rather than a paranormal one. The concept was interesting, so I picked up the first book in the series to review as well. And I really, really liked Syphon’s Song. So this may be the very first time in my long life as a reader that going back and reading the first book(s) in a series made things harder rather than better. I read Enchanter’s Echo immediately after Syphon’s Song, and I was just disappointed. It took me a bit to figure out why. And that was because while I became interested in this book based on it’s own blurb, when I went and read the first book, there was a character whose story I wanted more. I really wanted Selene’s story, and this wasn’t it, heck they didn’t even mention her. But that is not the fault of Enchanter’s Echo. So I went back and re-read it for itself, and with that in mind, and I liked it much better.


I enjoy the world building and the premise, and I liked how each main character’s secrets unfolded. They just have such natural balance and symmetry, and the heroine is not remotely weak or dependent. The villain wasn’t obvious, and they weren’t just a cardboard cutout of a person either. They weren’t entirely 3 dimensional, but they weren’t bad either. My one complaint about this book is I consider the ending a bit of a dues ex machina, and it was hard to get past that. I think the author may have written herself into a corner there, but it wasn’t awful. Overall, I am giving this 3.5 stars, and I am more than interested in reading the next book, even though I expect it STILL won’t be Selene’s book.
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ARC – Review Below the Belt

Below the Belt
by Sydney Halston

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

I simply could not do it. This book was impossible for me to get into. While I enjoyed Against the Cage and Full Contact I simply could not get into this book. Antonio was such a spoiled, self entitled, petulent jerk I felt like I had been dropped into a young adult or new adult novel rather than a novel about grown ups. And once the accent started being typed in, I was out. It was like nails scraping down a chalkboard for me. Halston in general seems to write light, fluffy humorous romance, so for the person who can get past this first part (and I am doubting that it is all that much of the book considering I jumped to the end and that wasn’t bad at all), they will probably enjoy it. It just isn’t for me and I just could not do it.

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4 star review

Obsession in Death

Obsession in Death

Obsession in Death
by J.D. Robb

Book 40 (not counting novellas) in this series. I previously reviewed #39, Festive in Death. I do not think it is any secret that I adore this series. As I have said before, it is as much, if not more, a character study, as it is whodunit. So, while each story presents a discrete mystery, and could likely be read as a stand-alone, I really wouldn’t, because otherwise you probably won’t have any incentive to care about these characters.

Obsession picks up shortly after Festive left off and Eve is looking forward to closing out the year, and what better way to do that than with a murderous obsession fan? I kid, but it is a bit ridiculous. And I have to admit the prologue and first bits of dialogue didn’t have me convinced. It honestly started to have me worried that Robb was turning our Eve into the same sort of creepy, supernatural, paragon as Johanson did her Eve. Fortunately I am fairly sure that has been averted, but it will definitely be something I will be watching for in the future. because of the nature of the plot-line (searching for an obsessive stalker) the focus was greatly on Eve’s relationships, and other’s perceptions of them. Not to say the mystery was short-changed, the villain was just as much a cipher to me as she was to Eve and her team, and by the end, both horrible and almost pitiable. We get plenty of Peabody, Roarke, Mavis, and Mira, as well as the rest of her team. So, despite the rocky start, and slightly false note at the end (in my opinion at least) with the villain, overall I consider this a strong entry, particularly for such a long character driven series, so I am giving it 4 stars.

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Thoughts and Opinions

Making room in my budget for books.

No, this post isn’t exactly about books. But, making room in a budget is somewhat crucial to the process for most of us. So, I have been experimenting. One way I’ve managed is by saving or making money on the things I have to do anyway, most notably grocery shopping. There are so many options out there.

Here are the apps I use:

Ibotta

This seems to be the most successful app for people. You unlock offers by performing small tasks, then when you shop at specified stores you scan the items you purchased and then take a picture of your receipt to upload. When they have verified the items they credit your account. When you have reached at least $10.00 in rebates, you can cash out for things like Amazon gift cards. What sets this program apart from the others is the $5.00 referral bonus you can get when someone signs up with your code and redeems their first rebate (full disclosure that link up there puts me as your referrer, but you can just ask a family member or friend for their referral link if you really wanted), and the team activities. Basically your team is made up of everyone who signed up with your referral code, and all your Facebook friends. And each month there are team activity bonuses that make you extra money. The easiest way to do this is to have a lot of friends who are active using Ibotta, and there are a ton of people out there who are thrilled to be Facebook friends with someone else who is active. Check for Ibotta Facebook groups and the like for people to friend request. Pro-tip: If they are only Ibotta friends, make a Facebook list for Ibotta friends, and then add these people to your Ibotta List, Restricted, and then unfollow them. It keeps your Facebook account uncluttered.

Checkout51

Checkout51 is similar to Ibotta, except there are no referral bonuses or teams, and they don’t have as many items, but they do usually have produce and they don’t require specific stores.

Snap

Snap is Groupon’s version of the previous two apps. It has small selections, and the rebates don’t just expire, they can be used up, so you need to be fast. But it frequently duplicates Checkout51’s items, and there is not specific store requirement. There is also a referral bonus, but it is only $1.00. (Full disclosure-that link is for my referral code)

Receiptpal

This app you just scan receipts, basically any receipt though it works better with shorter ones. Earning are much slower to accrue, but it does make a handy space to keep copies of your receipts. And, you can cash out for an Amazon gift card.

Wal-Mart Savings Catcher

This app only works if you shop at Wal-Mart. basically, instead of you bringing in adds for them to price match, you scan your receipt and then they check for you and credit your account. Results are kind of mixed with this, but if you are shopping at Wal-mart, there is absolutely no reason not to do this. Plus the app lets you look at prices for things, so it is handy when you are shopping at other stores.

And the really nice things, is you can use the same receipt for all of these programs. Of course this only works if you are only using them for things you would have bought anyway, OR if you get them ridiculously cheap, or free, or even make money on them. And this is edging into extreme couponing territory, but there are plenty of places besides the circulars and Sunday newspaper where you can get coupons.

Coupons.com

RedPlum

Common Kindness

Krazy Coupon Lady

And check your local stores, because some of them have coupons to print or other offers. I frequently shop at HEB which has an email you can sign up for that sends you great coupons like for produce and meats, and they have manufacturer’s coupons you can print. HEB also has in store coupons that are frequently amazing, but since it isn’t a national store I didn’t want to spend too much time on it.


So this is just what I do. Anyone else out there doing anything different? Do you have any suggestions?

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