Archive | July, 2011

Review: Midnight Fear by Leslie Tentler

30 Jul

Midnight Fear by Leslie Tentler
Harlequin (July 2011)
Mass Market: $7.99; ebook: $6.99
ISBN: 9781459208889

Favorite Lines: “Caitlyn turned to face him, panting and unable to catch her breath. He stood less than a dozen feet away, his gun trained on her. Crimson trailed down the side of his head where she had hit him, dripping onto his shirt collar.” (p. 393, egalley)

“I trusted you, Caity”

The still of the night is once again shattered by Caitlyn Cahill’s recurring nightmare—her brother standing before her, gripping a butcher knife, his eyes black with hatred. Two years ago, the former Washington, D.C., socialite defied her powerful senator father and risked the ruin of her family by helping the FBI link her troubled brother to a string of horrific murders. “The Capital Killer” was sent to prison for life…and Caitlyn’s entire world fell apart.

Now, FBI agent Reid Novak is forced to rend the peace Caitlyn has found on a rural Virginia horse farm. A copycat killer is on the loose and slowly toying with Caitlyn—his ultimate target—in a terrorizing cat–and–mouse game. Almost destroyed two years ago by Caitlyn’s family, not to mention the Capital Killer’s haunting final murder, Reid vows to save the woman he’s never forgotten or die trying.

Book two in Leslie Tentler’s Chasing Evil trilogy, Midnight Fear, follows a woman’s attempt to move forward after her family name was tainted by evil. I thought I was going to love it, but after trying to read the book for three weeks I gave up. I couldn’t get into the book despite the instant kick of action, the murders and the suspense.

I made it to page 124, before I came to a screeching halt and skipped to the final 50 pages. Why? I was bored out of my mind. I loved the previous book in the series, but I didn’t get this story. I didn’t connect with the hero or the heroine. I didn’t understand why the copy cat killer decided to be a killer. I didn’t feel the romance building between the characters. I was ambivalent to everything which didn’t bode well for the book.

I browsed the Internet and found several people who adored the book. But knowing the book is 400 pages and I had trouble finishing 100 pages, it was time to toss in the towel. Look below for a few links to websites where the book is reviewed.

The Readers Table Smokin’ Gun
A Snarky Space
My Escape
Bad Ass Book Reviews

Review: Piper’s Fury by Rachel Firasek

29 Jul

Piper’s Fury by Rachel Firasek
Crescent Moon Press (February 2011)
Trade: $14.99; ebook: $9.99
ISBN: 9780982820056

Favorite Lines: “I followed him upstairs, glad he was leading the way. The fabric of his dark slacks stretched tight across his rear with every lift of his leg. I admired the firm treat. The man was built like an ancient warrior–bronze skin stretched over hard muscle.” (p. 89, ebook)

It’s an empath thing…

Using your “powers” to help the Dark Hills Police Department hunt down serial killers doesn’t leave much time for dating. Not that Piper Anast is complaining. The last thing she needs is some guy brushing up against her and pumping his pornographic thoughts into her head.

When she meets Bennett Slade, a sexy, tormented vampire, Piper stumbles headlong into a telepathic connection with his missing daughter. She can’t leave the kid to the evil surrounding her unwanted visions, nor can she resist her draw to Slade. He’s the first guy she’s been able to touch vision-free in, well, forever.

As she and Slade close in on the evil creature holding his daughter, Piper’s powers morph into a deadly fury. To save Slade’s daughter-and herself-Piper must face down demons she never knew she had and trust the one thing she keeps from everyone.

Her heart.

I found the blurb for Piper’s Fury on GoodReads. Intrigued by the blurb, I contacted the author and requested a copy to review. I usually don’t read books from new to me publishers unless I’ve heard rave reviews from bloggers I trust. This definitely an exception to the norm and I’m glad I read the book. It was a good experience and I plan to check out Crescent Moon Press‘s other books.

Rachel Firasek has written an easy to read, fast paced and entertaining story about a woman who is a vampire’s only hope of ever finding his missing daughter.At the same time a serial murderer is on the loose and the heroine is trying to stop him. The plot lines quickly interweave allowing the heroine, Piper, and the vampire, Slade, to regularly interact.

The author did a great job setting up the meeting between the hero and heroine. It occurred early in the story which made a burgeoning romance possible. There were many aspects of the book that I enjoyed and there were a few things that made me wrinkle my eyebrows in consternation.

For example, I fluctuated between liking the heroine and not understanding why others liked her. Piper is brusk, yet caring woman in her 20s. She is extremely immature despite the things which should have forced her to mature. She can’t touch people or be around people without hearing their thoughts. This ability allows her to assist the police in missing person cases, but makes having a sex life non-existent. She’s seen horrible things and heard nasty thoughts, but they don’t prevent her from lashing out at everyone.

Piper is a bitch. She isn’t nice to the woman who raised her or to anyone else. However, most people go out of their way to do things for her. Things that could get them in serious trouble. It wasn’t even done out of fear. I believe the people truly love her, but don’t see how or why. I think the reason for Piper’s behavior became clear by the end of the book, but getting to a point where I could accept her for who she was took quite a while.

I also had a hard time wrapping my mind around the kidnapped child story line. Why? Because the little vampire girl was kidnapped at the age of one. That was five years prior to Slade meeting Piper. However, the kidnapped child, Evalyn, was so much older in spirit. I don’t know if it’s a vampire thing or a side effect of being a kidnap victim. It felt…wrong. Every time she mad an appearance I was taken out of the story because I’d think this isn’t the voice of a 6-year-old.

It didn’t stop me from reading the book. I couldn’t flip the pages fast enough. At one point I even became emotionally involved. There’s a scene where the heroine is laying in the rain that made me feel horrible. I jumped on the bandwagon with Piper and rational thought had nothing to do with it. (To avoid spoiler territory, I won’t say more. If you’ve read the book let me know how you feel about that scene.)

 

Read it or Skip it? Read it. Firasek is a new voice in the vampire romance genre. The book is a nice way to fill time when you’re waiting for one of the many paranormal must own books to be released.

Warning!!! Piper’s Fury is one of those books that may leave people angry. There is no clean, this story is over, ending. The biggest plot line, rescue a kidnapped child, is resolved. However, resolving that issue created a new problem. That new problem fully manifests in the final pages of the story creating a cliffhanger ending. I’m okay with the ending, but others might not be.

Review: Kindling the Moon by Jenn Bennett

27 Jul

Kindling the Moon by Jenn Bennett
Pocket Books (June 2011)
Mass Market $7.99; ebook: $7.99
ISBN:  978-1-456-2052-8

Favorite Lines: The trek up the stairs was excruciating. Why a thongwhy today? I guess it could have been worse. I mean, yes, the lower half of my rear was hanging out, but at least I wasn’t wearing cheap multipack cotton panties, full of holes with the elastic worn out, like half of my others. When I got the nagging feeling that his eyes were on my naked backside, I wondered if it would look cowardly if I took two stairs at a time.

“Nice ass.” (p. 53)

Meet Arcadia Bell: bartender, renegade magician, fugitive from the law. . . .

Being the spawn of two infamous occultists (and alleged murderers) isn’t easy, but freewheeling magician Arcadia “Cady” Bell knows how to make the best of a crummy situation. After hiding out for seven years, she’s carved an incognito niche for herself slinging drinks at the demon-friendly Tambuku Tiki Lounge.

But she receives an ultimatum when unexpected surveillance footage of her notorious parents surfaces: either prove their innocence or surrender herself. Unfortunately, the only witness to the crimes was an elusive Æthyric demon, and Cady has no idea how to find it. She teams up with Lon Butler, an enigmatic demonologist with a special talent for sexual spells and an arcane library of priceless stolen grimoires. Their research soon escalates into a storm of conflict involving missing police evidence, the decadent Hellfire Club, a ruthless bounty hunter, and a powerful occult society that operates way outside the law. If Cady can’t clear her family name soon, she’ll be forced to sacrifice her own life . . . and no amount of running will save her this time.

I was looking forward to Jenn Bennett‘s first book in the Arcadia Bell series, Kindling the Moon. I read that it was an urban fantasy, but it read more like a paranormal romance because the focus of the book seemed to be on Arcadia and Lon’s burgeoning relationship. I enjoyed the book, but I gotta admit my favorite parts involved Lon’s young, teenaged son, Jupiter, aka Jupe.

Jupe was funny, open and caring. He wanted to know everything, had common sense and a zest for life. He was the opposite of both Cady and Lon in many ways which made him a refreshing character. The adults…well, they were extremely secretive. For Cady, hiding equaled self-preservation. For Lon, the truth was too painful to focus on. Facing his failures as a father and the effects of blindly loving a woman will either bring him closer to Cady or push them apart.

There was much to love about the book. It had a serious tone, but there were sections which made me laugh. The heroine’s grew as a character and the heat between Lon and Cady was satisfying. However, there were moments which made me scratch my head. First of all, Lon is no alpha hero. Cady takes the lead in moments of danger, but never really seems secure in her role as “bad ass.” Then there is Cady’s best friend and business partner, Kar Yee. She doesn’t seem like much of a friend. She feels like a flat secondary character. Finally, I never felt the rush to clear Cady’s parents’ names. The story just sort of meanders until it reaches the conclusion.

About the conclusion: Despite the foreshadowing used throughout the story, it wasn’t until the very end that I saw the hints for what they were. Clues to the murderer’s identity. I can’t tell you how I felt, cause, hey, it’d give too much away. But, wow, I so didn’t see the ending coming. *grinning*

Biggest issue with the book: The back cover blurb sucks rotten eggs! It mentions the Hellfire Club, a place that isn’t even mentioned until page 184. The blurb gives away too much information and the club doesn’t really play much of a role in the story. Well, not the way the blurb makes it sound. Kindling the Moon is definitely one of those stories where you are better off skipping the blurb and just reading the book.

Books in the Series What others think about Kindling the Moon:
Kindling the Moon
Wicked Lil Pixie
Summoning the Night (April 2012)
The Spinecracker
Royally Bitchy

Review: His Darkest Salvation by Juliana Stone

26 Jul

His Darkest Salvation by Juliana Stone
HarperCollins/AVON (July 2011)
Mass Market: $7.99; ebook: $7.99
ISBN: 9780062022639

Favorite Lines: “Stupid, weak woman. Your path was set, the only thing you needed to do was choose wisely. It should have been one of our own, and now…” He spit at her though his voice never deviated from a flat tone. “You’re damaged goods…nothing more than a whore who plays in her resort, fucking anything that moves.” (p. 70, egalley)

After six months in hell, Julian Castille has returned to the world a changed man. No longer the longer the calm, powerful CEO, but a shifter fully embraced by the blood of his clan. Julian has one goal: find the key to the portal that stands between the human realm and unprecedented darkness-in order to win back the pieces of his soul. The last thing he needs is a distraction like the beautiful, enigmatic Jaden DaCosta.

Three years ago, a forbidden night of passion left Jaden forever altered: mated to Julian Castill–bound to a man who despises her. But the temptation to trust this darker, more savage–and more captivating–Julian is overwhelming. And as they fight for their immortal souls, their insatiable desire for each other may prove their fatal undoing…

Book three in Juliana Stone’s Jaguar Warrior series, His Darkest Salvation, shows the dark side of paranormal romance while highlighting the effects of love. I have not read the previous books (His Darkest Hunger and His Darkest Embrace) in the series. I think I’d have been more intrigued had I invested in the characters by reading those books. As it stands, the story was not horrible, nor was it spectacular. It simply was.

References to the couple’s past intermingle with characters from the first two stories to create a beloved atmosphere to those who love the series. For me, it was added information but didn’t really make me feel anything. I didn’t know the man who existed prior to being sucked into hell. I didn’t know the girl who dreamed of love before having her feelings crushed. I met hardened characters. It isn’t a bad thing, I just wasn’t rooting for the couple in the same manner as those who may have met them in previous books.

Jaden, the heroine, is a double agent. She is a complex woman whom I took an instant liking. She survived a vicious home life, heart break and the machinations of those who want her dead. She just can’t seem to catch a break. Julian, on the other hand, was an arrogant ass turned into a deadly man on a secret mission.

My biggest issue with the story was the ease at which Jaden’s family crap was resolved. I expected so much more than I got. I knew Jaden’s father as a brutal man and her brother as a scheming murderer, but the end of their story line quietly slipped away. Sure there was a battle, but not the battle I’d hoped to read about.

The conflict between the two main characters is played out almost to the end of the book. Yes, it’s romance and there’s a happy ending. However, it felt like a lukewarm happy ending. Not all of the plot lines were ended, which left more questions than answers. And what was happy for the hero and heroine, was not so great for those who worked beside them. I guess all you really need to know is that the end of the book sets the scene for book four.

Read it or skip it?: Read it. It’s a mid-road type of book. If you love shifters and moody, alpha men, you’ll prob. adore this addition to the paranormal romance book shelf. For me, it’s not one that I see myself reading again.

Review: Resurrection by Boone Brux

25 Jul

Resurrection by Boone Brux
Entagled Publishing (August 2011)
Trade: $16.95; ebook: $7.99
ISBN: 9781937044060
Favorite Lines: The cavernous throne room loomed ahead. He slowed at the edge of the light that spilled from the archway. His stomach threatened to revolt as the pungent smell of rotting meat slapped him. Demons of every shape and size littered the chamber. They were a disgusting lot, fighting and fornicating like wild animals. Much like parasites, they pissed on and ate everything in sight.” (p. 38, egalley)

Protecting humans is the Bringers’ duty. Sending demons to the Shadow World is their pleasure.

In one night, Ravyn’s life plunges from barely tolerable to deadly. Forced to flee the only home she’s ever known, Ravyn stumbles headlong into the clutches of a powerful demon intent on stealing her powers. Unfortunately for him, she has no intention of cooperating.

When Rhys realizes the woman he rescued from the Demon Bane is no mere human, his obligation as a Bringer dictates he protect and train her in the ways of his people. But he’s unprepared for the intense desire he feels for the fiery Ravyn. To surrender to his need may mean her death.

As the Demon Bane threat escalates, igniting terror and chaos across the realm, Rhys and Ravyn must embark on a perilous journey to unite the last of the Bringers–and explore a passion too powerful to ignore.

Boone Brux introduces us to her writing with her debut book Resurrection. The romantic fantasy follows Ravyn and Rhys as they fight to survive demons known as the Bane.

Resurrection is told in the third person bouncing from Ravyn, Rhys, the demon Icarus and Brother Powell’s point of views. It was interesting to read about the different characters. Brother Powell flickers from a constant evil to regretful, and back to greedy. Icarus is shown as a soul stealing demon, but later is shown to be insecure, devious and empathetic. I don’t really know what to think about him. Rhys is frustrating and Ravyn, well…she changed in many ways.

Ravyn is introduced as a convent raised girl with paranormal abilities. Capable of recognizing evilness, Ravyn  knows little of carnal acts and is innocent. Within days that innocence is almost nonexistent. For example, early on she tells Rhys

“I guess I’m a  little nervous. It’s just–I’ve never been completely alone with a man who wasn’t trying to kill me.”

A few pages later she reiterates

“I’ve never been alone with a man.”

By the time I was halfway through the book, the virgin sought out Rhys for sex. Yep, it was good sex which seemed to strip away her inhibitions. Gone was the innocent woman and in her place was a worldly woman. I’m sure it is meant to show Ravyn’s character growth, but it felt like a different person.

The whites of her eyes rounded as he pushed back the covers and stood, his naked body lit by the moon’s glow. She didn’t retreat. There was no place for embarrassment tonight–not with him–not ever.

Overall, Resurrection is the first book in a series. I would have liked it more if the romance had been pared back and given time to evolve. There was so much time away from Rhys and Ravyn that I didn’t feel the romance or sexual tension build. What I felt was the demons’ urgent desire to capture Ravyn and Rhys tension bleed away while in Ravyn’s presence. I felt Ravyn build friendships and her need to be loved. However, I knew she and Rhys would fall in love. I didn’t feel it happen.

Also, when I started reading the book I thought I was reading a historical romance with paranormal tones. I imagined the world as Earth, but I don’t know if that is what Brux intended. The Bringers (demon fighters) are from another plane of existence and we are never told what year or where the book is set. The setting and time didn’t really bother me though.

Biggest issue: Price. Wow…$17 for paper and $8 for ebook. Just wow.

Review: Rebirth by Sophie Littlefield

24 Jul

Rebirth by Sophie Littlefield
Harlequin (July 2011)
Mass Market: $14.95; ebook: $10.99
ISBN: 9780373803392
Favorite Lines: “I don’t need you. and I won’t thank you. And I won’t care about you. I mean it, Cass–I’ll never care about you.” (p. 65, egalley)

THE END OF THE WORLD

was just the beginning

Civilization has fallen, leaving California an unforgiving, decimated place. But Cass Dollar beat terrible odds to get her missing daughter back—she and Ruthie will be happy.

Yet with the first winter, Cass is reminded that happiness is fleeting in Aftertime. Ruthie retreats into silence.
Flesh-eating Beaters still dominate the landscape. And Smoke, Cass’s lover and strength, departs on a quest
for vengeance, one that may end him even if he returns.

The survivalist community Cass has planted roots in is breaking apart, too. Its leader, Dor, implores Cass to help him recover his own lost daughter, taken by the totalitarian Rebuilders. And soon Cass finds herself thrust into the dark heart of an organization promising humanity’s rebirth—at all costs.

Bound to two men blazing divergent paths across a savage land, Cass must overcome the darkness in her  wounded heart, or lose those she loves forever.

Rebirth is book two in Sophie Littlefield’s dystopian Aftertime series. The first book is Aftertime and the short novella is Survivors (free download). Don’t start the series with this book. You will not understand the world or events that set up the story.

Rebirth picks up shortly after the events of Aftertime. Obviously it’s been a few months because while narrating Cass thinks about her daughter’s hair that was as “short as a boy’s” and remembers while Ruthie was in the convent Ruthie was shorn bald.

Don’t expect to see much of Smoke in this installment. For the most part you get Ruthie, Cass and Dor, and a changing setting. I had wondered at the end of Aftertime how Littlefield was going to move the plot forward. How was she going to get them out of the secure box where they lived? Well, she managed to do so spectacularly.

I love Littlefield’s storytelling. It pulls few punches and tackles the hardness of life. The characters remain true to form. Cassie is a recovering druggie and the underlining issues which pushed her to drugs still exist. Sometimes she wins and other times she loses. She doesn’t turn to drugs though. She has older vices which make her disgusted with herself. How can you not like this damaged heroine who is trying so hard to learn right from wrong while surviving hell on earth?

There are shocking moments filled with violence and self-loathing. Moments which in a  pre-Beater world which would have instantly destroyed hope of a happy family. You’ve got to keep  firm hold of who Cass is and how she became the character you know. Remember her being molested as a child, her using sex as a tool and later as a drug addict. That mentality doesn’t change just because the world has come to an end.

 

Rebirth is an emotional, gritty, down and out filthy look at humanity. The dregs of society seem to survive because they’ve misplaced or ditched their morals in favor of life. It’s not always a good thing though. Hope, dreams and love have no place in this dark world. It’s a barren place filled with danger. Unless you dare to grab hold of a better life. At the end of the book I was exhausted. Through the bad decisions, life threatening situations and the courageous choices, I learned about Cass. Watching her missteps were painful, but by the end of the book I knew those mistakes were necessary for any type of future to occur.

Side note: Those who hate cliffhangers may not be thrilled with Rebirth. Know that the biggest plot line is wrapped up and a new plot twist occurs at the very end. We’ll have to wait months before learning how it turns out, but I’m good with that.

Mirror Image Book Covers with a Twist

23 Jul

I just noticed a few new book covers that I like, but wonder if are part of a new book cover trend. They are semi-mirror images with major twists: Spellbound and The Vanishing Game. Have you noticed any other cover trends?

Review: Breaking Silence by Linda Castillo

22 Jul

Breaking Silence by Linda Castillo
Minotaur Books (June 2011)
Hardback: $24.99; ebook: $11.99
ISBN: 9780312374990

Favorite Lines: “You fucking bitch! I wish I’d killed you, too!” (p. 294)

The Slabaugh family are model Amish farmers, prosperous and hardworking, with four children and a happy extended family. When the parents and an uncle are found dead in their barn, it appears to be a gruesome accident: methane gas asphyxiation caused by a poorly ventilated cesspit. But in the course of a routine autopsy, the coroner discovers that one of the victims suffered a head wound before death—clearly, foul play was involved. But who would want to make orphans of the Slabaughs’ children? And is this murder somehow related to a recent string of shocking hate crimes against the Amish?

Having grown up Amish, Kate is determined to bring the killer to justice. Because the other series of attacks are designated hate crimes, the state sends in agent John Tomasetti, with whom Kate has a long and complex relationship. Together, they search for the link between the crimes—and uncover a dark secret at work beneath the placid surface of this idyllic Amish community.

Book three in Linda Castillo’s Kate Bukholder series, Breaking Silence, is awesome. I read the book in one sitting and despite never having read the first two books had no problem.

The series is set in Painter’s Creek, Ohio, right smack dab in Amish country. The story is told in both third and first person. While in third person the reader gets into the mind hate crime perpetrators and other secondary characters. When the story is told in first person, we are watching events unfold through Kate, the heroine’s eyes.

At first the story seems to be an open and shut who dun it; find out who is committing hate crimes. As the thriller gets underway, we see new evidence that indicates more is going on than meets the eye. The author doesn’t give away much, but I’ve got an evil mind and figured out a particular person’s involvement in the Amish homicides.

If you’re like me, you’ll be saying, “Oh, my God!” as the story unfolds.

I enjoyed the variety of ways Castillo showcased the Amish. They weren’t just separatists. They were friendly and hostile. Some had technology while others did not. And that while being shunned was not a good thing, it didn’t mean the same thing to every Amish family.

I had a problem reconciling myself to not knowing Kate or her lover, John’s back stories. Things are hinted at, but it takes a while to figure out why the crimes are affecting Kate and John so much. Sure they are brutal, but the intense personal investment they make, especially Kate, wasn’t revealed until the end of the book. Those familiar with the series probably knew why, but I didn’t. I’m sure they were discussed in the previous two books: Pray for Silence and Sworn to Silence. Obviously it is my problem and not a failure of the author and it really didn’t bother me too much.

Buy it or Skip it? Buy it. It’s a thriller filled with small, engaging twists. You may think you know what’s going to happen, but in the end you might be shocked. I can’t wait to hear what y’all think about it.

In the meanwhile check out what others are saying about Breaking Silence:

S. Krishna’s Books
Lesa’s Book Critiques
Miss Lynn’s Books & More

Review: Second Chance at the Sugar Shack by Candis Terry

21 Jul

Second Chance at the Sugar Shack by Candis Terry
HarperCollins/AVON Impulse (July 2011)
Mass Market: $6.99 (Aug. 2011); ebook: $3.99
ISBN: 9780062105226
Excerpt: Click here

Favorite Lines: “It’s good to see you again, Matt,” she said barely above a husky whisper.

Ten years melted away as he looked down at her, remembering the last time he’d held her. She’d been naked and warm in his arms and sweet as his Uncle Bob’s huckleberry wine. But those days were gone for good and she’d broken too many hearts along the way.

“Wish I could say the same.” (p. 23 & 24 egalley)

Kate Silver’s back in town, and her dead mother just won’t leave her alone.

Kate usually spends her days dressing Hollywood A-listers, but after her estranged mother dies she finds herself elbow-deep in flour in her parents’ bakery . . . in Deer Lick, Montana. She thought she’d left small-town life far, far behind, but it seems there are a few loose ends.

The boy she once loved, Deputy Matt Ryan, is single and sexy and still has a thing for her . . . and handcuffs.

Her mother, who won’t follow the white light, is determined to give maternal advice from beyond the grave.

And somehow Kate’s three-day stay has, well . . . extended. She never planned to fill her mother’s pie-baking shoes—she prefers her Choos, thank you very much. But with the help of a certain man in uniform, Kate quickly learns that sometimes second chances are all the more sweet.

Second Chance at the Sugar Shack by Candis Terry is a contemporary romance about returning home and letting love find you. It’s an emotional story; don’t look for action because you will be disappointed. The heroine, Kate, returns to small town Deer Lick, Montana, for her mother’s funeral only to find a former lover and her mother’s best-friend who disapprove of her. Kate takes the smart ass comments in stride, but when the ghost of her mother pops into the backseat of her car she freaks.

I’m not the biggest fan of stories which incorporate the paranormal for the sake of having it. This means I really didn’t care for the ghost aspect of the story. However, the ghost allowed Kate to find closure in concern to her mother. It forced her to come to terms with the fact that her mother was human and made mistakes. And that all along, and especially in the end, her mother wanted her to be happy and to find love. Love her mother knew could only be found with Matt.

Matt was a semi-jerk. He wasn’t evil.  He came across as crass and inconsiderate at times. He had been hurt and was protecting himself. It didn’t seem to matter how hard Kate tried, Matt always found fault with her. It really irritated me that Kate was vilified for wanting a life outside of the town and for some perceived insult. As Matt lowered his walls, I began to understand why Kate was attracted to him. Matt wanted the best for his town and the people in it. It didn’t matter who the person was, he wanted them to succeed. Watching Matt balance his need to serve, with his desire to have a loving partner ended up being my favorite part of the story.

I enjoyed watching Kate make a home for herself in the last place she ever thought she’d want to live. Seeing her focus her attention on Matt was pleasurable. The reason for the animosity left me scratching my head. I know it was done out of love, but it was seriously weird. I also felt like the story was wrapped up a little too easy. One minute Kate is bustling around, the next a major decision was made and every one lived happily ever after. I love my happy endings, but sometimes it happens too easily. It doesn’t ruin the book, but it does detract from the story.

Overall, Second Chance at the Sugar Shack is a nice, safe read. It has a touch of paranormal which is more funny and almost played out like a figment of the heroine’s imagination. I’m interested in reading the next book in the series which will be about Kate’s brother and a small town school teacher. That book will be released in November 2011.

I’m not the only person reading Second Chance at the Sugar Shack:

Long and Short Reviews

 

Review: Soldier on her Doorstep by Soraya Lane

20 Jul

Soldier on her Doorstep by Soraya Lane
Harlequin (July 2011)
Mass Market: $5.75; ebook: $4.99
ISBN: 9780373177448

Favorite Lines: “Alex wasn’t sure whether to sit, stand, or just go wait outside. The two glasses of wine had started to help, but now they were just making him even more nervous. Of what? He wasn’t sure. All he knew was that there was something about being in a space alone with Lisa that made him feel in equal parts terrified and excited. Exhilarated, almost. He stood, awkward, in the middle of the room.” (p. 132, egalley)

Soldier Alex Dane promised his dying comrade he’d make sure his wife and daughter were okay, and so he finds himself on a doorstep with his heart in his mouth.

Lisa Kennedy loved her husband, but she must focus on her daughter, Lilly, who hasn’t spoken since her daddy’s death. Still, the least she can do is offer this battle-weary hero a place to rest.

When Lilly’s little hand reaches for Alex’s big, strong one, for the first time Lisa feels her buried emotions begin to stir.…

Are you tired of reading about snippy heroines? You know… the ones who argue for the sake of arguing and feel the need to kick every man’s butt. Well, you don’t find that type of woman in Soraya Lane’s Soldier on her Doorstep.

You find a strong, quiet and caring woman. A healthy woman determined to raise her fatherless child. It’s been several months since the heroine, Lisa’s husband was killed in combat. He was her best friend before becoming her husband, lover and the father of her child. His death hurt, but he was a lifelong soldier. She was always aware of the danger he faced. He was gone most of the year, but that didn’t make his death any less painful for Lisa or her daughter Lilly.

The hero, Alex, is the most damaged character in the story. He had no family or place to go, and guilt was destroying him. He is a lost, little boy trapped inside the body of a grown man. Don’t take that wrong. He is not childish in any way, but he longs for a family and fights his belief that he is undeserving of happiness. Fulfilling a promise to Lisa’s dead husband is the road to life for him.

In the past I’ve had issues with series romance stories because they seem to be the same stories set in different places. I didn’t have any of those thoughts with Soldier on her Doorstep. I loved the characters I met and was pleased to see them find love. There were no surprises in the story. What you see is what you get. I knew how the heroine would react to his big, world-changing news.

Some people might not like how predictable Soldier on her Doorstep is, but I relished it. It is a sweet, classic romance which teaches forgiveness and the healing power of love. The story is not for adrenaline junkies, or those who cannot believe a widow can find love less than a year after her husband’s death. I didn’t have any problems suspending belief. Lisa and his family knew what her deceased husband would have wanted. I imagine he sent the very damaged Alex to Lisa to be healed. I also think he knew Alex could be trusted with his wife and daughter.

If I had to summarize the book in one word, I’d say it is quiet. The characters are quiet, seeking their own counsel. The town they live in is quiet. The romance is a quiet, getting-to-know-you action. The conflict is a quiet, internal battle. What did you think about Soldier on her Doorstep?

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