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Review: Aftershock by Jill Sorenson

30 Dec

aftershocksorenson


4 of 5 scoopers

Aftershock by Jill Sorenson
Harlequin (Dec. 18, 2012)
Mass Market: $7.99; ebook: $7.99
ISBN: 9780373777327

Favorite Lines: “Because we’d both be miserable! I love you Lauren. But I don’t want you to waste a single second of your life on me.” (p. 337, e-galley)

As an emergency paramedic, Lauren Boyer is dedicated and highly capable. Until an earthquake strikes, trapping her beneath the freeway with a group of strangers—including Iraq war veteran Garrett Wright…

Handsome and take-charge Garrett aids Lauren in her rescue efforts, even as the steely look in his eyes seems to hide dark secrets. When a gang of escaped convicts goes on the attack, Garrett’s bravery makes him more than a courageous bystander to Lauren. If they can save the others before time runs out, maybe, just maybe, they can explore the fire igniting between them—if the truth about who he really is doesn’t pull them apart forever….

I thought I was going to pick up Aftershock by Jill Sorenson, read a page and set the book down. I knew I wanted to read it but it was time for bed and I figured I’d read one page to say I started it and finish it later. That didn’t happen. I kept going until the book was finished. Not because of a great romance, but because of the great stories which were being told.

Aftershock tells many stories. From the blurb I thought the main story would be Garrett and Lauren falling in love, but it feels more like a secondary story line to the idea of a group of people trying to survive after a natural disaster. There is also the danger coming from a group of convicts which threatens the survivors. As a story I really liked the book. But I don’t think it’s a good romance.

There is an almost instant attraction between Garrett and Lauren. I totally understand the lust, but I don’t believe in the forever type of love that is supposed to have come from their time together. I want it for them, but there is so much keeping them apart that I don’t believe it’s possible.

Thinking back one of the things I most enjoyed about Aftershock is the characters aren’t perfect by the end of the book. They don’t have this giant epiphany and turn their lives around. They have good moments and they are survivors but they aren’t in perfect situations. A wand is never waved to put a rainbow over their lives so the bad disappears. Sorenson’s characters work with what their given and are very “real” with human failures. I liked knowing that the characters stayed true to that which I was introduced to in the story and at the end were that same individual.

In the end, I’ve got to tell you that as a romance I don’t find Aftershock to be successful. There is a happy ever after, but it is unbelievable. However, as a piece of fiction with tons of action and stories taking place it works. I had to know what was going to happen. I liked it enough to want to continue the series with book two, Freefall which comes out in June 2013. It tells the story of a character we meet in Aftershock but don’t ever really get to know. I’m excited to see where it goes.

Review: Relentless Seduction by Jillian Burns

18 Dec

relentlessseductionburns


3 of 5 scoopers

Relentless Seduction by Jillian Burns
Harlequin (Dec. 18, 2012)
Mass Market: $5.25; ebook: $4.99
ISBN: 9780373797370
Excerpt

Favorite Line: “Wake up and notice the real world. Everyone looks out for number one. You think she’s worried about you? Hell, no. You saw how she treated you back there.” He pulled the coffeemaker out, began filling  the carafe with water. “That’s the way the world is, Claire. People leave you and you can’t count on anyone but yourself. The sooner you learn that, the easier life gets.” (p. 136, e-galley)

Unrestrained.

Unrelenting.
And completely undressed!
When her best friend disappears during Mardi Gras, microbiologist Claire Brookes is determined to find her. Her only lead is a bar called Once Bitten—a haven for the dark, melancholy and vampire-obsessed. And while Claire generally prefers science nerds over the Gothy children of New Orleans, something about the bar’s tall, dark and delish bartender makes her mouth water….

Bar owner Rafe Moreau is pretty sure that there’s more to Claire than uptightness and frumpy clothes. And as they delve further into the dark, seedy underworld of the Big Easy, Claire and Rafe turn to each other, discovering a sizzling hunger that won’t be satisfied.
But will one taste be enough?
Bein’ bad in the Big Easy…

Relentless Seduction is a romantic suspense which takes the ugly duckling, best friend searching for her missing pal and transforms her into the beautiful, but still brainy, woman who men lust after. Toss in a few creepy characters and a bad boy hero and you’ve got a good image of what takes place in this Harlequin Blaze story.

I had a hard time with Relentless Seduction. I was confused for the first third of the book. I didn’t understand who Rafe was: human, vampire or some other creature. For some reason I thought this was a Harlequin Nocturne which features vampires and shape shifters not posers. That’s not the author’s fault, but it did impact my impression of the book since the blurb makes it sound like a paranormal romance. Once I realized there was no real paranormal aspects, I snapped out of it and began taking Relentless Seduction as a romantic suspense which offers a glimpse of the seedy side of life in New Orleans.

The city is filled with all types of people which was a great way to show how two totally different people could come together and find love. The attraction between Claire and Rafe built quickly. I loved how surprised Rafe felt every time he felt something or reacted positively toward Claire. It was nice to see his confusion about the connection he feels for Claire because it prevented me from just assuming he wanted a booty call. Claire came across as self-conscious and needy half the time. Normally this would irritate me, but for some reason it just felt like…her. Like here’s this lady who normally marches to her own beat trying to stay afloat on the cool kid’s boat. Claire’s unsure in an endearing way.

Relentless Seduction didn’t sweep me off my feet, but I enjoyed watching the bad boy find himself worthy of the good girl. For a moment it was like Sandy’s transformation in Grease. You know where she changes from her good girl clothes into her black leather? That’s the moment when the story began getting interesting for me. Comments like “Purr for me, cher” spiced up the sexy moments as the hero took charge in the bedroom but the best part of Restless Seduction was how author Jillian Burns brought the crazy. If you want to watch the loonies come out from all over pick up a copy of Relentless Seduction.

Books I Want: December 2012

1 Dec

The Cat’s Meow by Stacey Kennedy (TBA December)

thecatsmeowkennedyIn Charleston, Libby is an Enchantress—a witch gifted by the Goddess to conjure spells. When a magical presence is detected around a recent string of feline slayings, Libby must take the case to discover the reasons behind the odd deaths. Much to her displeasure, the coven has also sent the sexy warlock, Kale, to assist her.

While having the muscle around proves to be useful, fighting the
attraction between them is worse than a hex, especially considering Kale is keeping secrets. Libby has good reason to believe that Kale is there to evaluate her performance as a witch, and fears her job is on the line. But soon, Libby has bigger problems than the elusive warlock and career stability. Her spells are turning up clues that point to something far more sinister than slaughtered cats, leading her to a threat that could shake the very foundation of her world.

Now Libby lands herself in the midst of an uprising. She trusts no one and isn’t safe. Not from the warlocks stirring up trouble. Not from the worrisome rebellion she can’t escape. And certainly not from Kale who is weaving a very dangerous spell over her. Continue reading

Review: Operation: Endgame by Christi Snow

18 Nov


3.5 out of 5 scoopers

Operation: Endgame by Christi Snow
CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (June 2012)
Trade: $11.99; ebook: $2.99
ISBN: 9781477483787

Favorite Lines: “Jake didn’t respond. He just looked at her with pain-filled eyes which broke Cassie’s heart. She reached up and smoothed his brow where he was frowning at her and then slowly reached up to pull his head down to hers. She gently pressed her lips to his.” (p. 181)

It’s been six months.

Six months since Jake Madsen let Chris Robertson die.

Six months since the passion between Jake and Cassie, Chris’ sister, stepped over the line.

But now Cassie’s being stalked and it’s time for Jake to swallow his guilt, grief, and lust so he can save her life, even if it’s a life without him. He owes it to his dead friend and he owes it to Cassie. He’s fallen in love with her, but she doesn’t have to know that for him to keep her safe.

Book one in Christi Snow’s Mission Ends trilogy introduces us to the Robertson siblings. All are military trained and form a tight unit. Operation: Endgame takes us into their world and that of close family friend  Jake Madsen. This is a friends become lovers, contemporary romantic suspense.

What I liked: Being able to see the characters meet as children and see their history made it possible for me to understand the deep bond the characters share. They’d do anything for one another and I definitely believe Jake and Cassie could make it as a couple.

What I disliked: Since the characters were so deeply intertwined I had a hard time with the way others reacted to Cassie’s take on her brother’s death. We are told of Cassie and Chris’s bond over and over, but no one was receptive to the vibes Cassie was putting out. I don’t want to ruin the story so I’ll leave it at that, but it really irritated me.

Villain: I like me some delusional villains, especially when they are stalkers. I didn’t have a hard time picking out the bad guy; I did have issues figuring out why he had fixated on Cassie. I didn’t see the deeper connection until it was all laid out in front of me.

Overall: I didn’t love or hate Operation: Endgame. It was okay. I’m rather ambivalent about reading more. I wouldn’t purposely seek it out or avoid it. If you can get an e-copy, go for it. Otherwise borrow it from the library.

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It’s Halloween!

31 Oct

Review: Now You See It by Cait Donnelly

27 Oct


3.5 out of 5 scoopers

Now You See It by Cait Donnelly
Carina Press (Nov. 5, 2012)
ebook: $5.99 (85,000 words)
ISBN: 9781426894589
Excerpt

Favorite Lines: “Great. Just great. He finally meets the One, and–God, did he just think that? Even to himself? Brady sat back in the chair and blinked, caught his breath and rethought the last few seconds. Well, damn! It had happened, just the way his aunts had always said it would. Just the way it had hit his dad. With amused and knowing grins, the old women had called it the coup de foudre–the thunderbolt. He’d shrugged it off as just more Indian stories. Served him right.” (p. 20, e-galley)

Former Navy SEAL Brady McGrath has no trouble attracting female attention. But women never stick around long once they learn he can read feelings through touch. When an old Navy buddy hires him to protect his sister, he doesn’t need extra-sensory abilities to know someone wants something from Gemma Cavanagh —something worth killing for.

Gemma’s finally getting a handle on her own unique ability to make things disappear—even making them reappear on occasion. When someone breaks into her house and hacks into her computer, she’s certain her soon-to-be-ex husband is to blame—until the police show up on her doorstep with the news he’s been murdered. And she’s their number one suspect.

After barely escaping a firebombing, Gemma and Brady are forced into hiding—and forced to confront the chemistry between them. As they desperately search for the killer, can Brady help Gemma harness her abilities—and keep her from finding out about his own dark past?

Now You See It is book one in Cait Donnelly’s Inner Edge series which introduces characters who have “abilities” into a contemporary world. Gemma, the heroine, can file things. This means she knowingly–or unknowingly–makes items disappear. As a youth she could make those items reappear at will, but after a traumatic event she lost the ability to control her filing ability. The hero Brady can read emotions transferred to objects, as well as from people. He is a tough guy. He has mad computer skills and federal law enforcement training.

But Now You See It is not so much a paranormal romance as much as a contemporary romantic suspense with paranormal aspects. The drama surrounds a woman in the midst of a divorce whose husband is brutally murdered. Soon after, her home is invaded and her brother sends his buddy over to investigate. That woman becomes prime suspect and happens to have an unusual ability. Not many people in the book have odd abilities and the action isn’t driven by the abilities which is why I consider this more of a suspense. Everyone wants to know “who did it?”.  And the answer has nothing to do with the special abilities of any of its characters.

As a whole, I enjoyed the book. I understand the hero’s quick addiction to the heroine, but her feelings were more of a mystery to me. I guess Gemma burned out on her hubby a long time before the hero made an appearance so I’m okay with her quick interest in the hero. Her emotional flip-flops between irritation, attraction, and anger all of which are directed toward the hero about drove me crazy. I didn’t like Gemma and feeding my dislike were her perplexing reactions to other things. For example, there was a moment when Gemma knew she was a suspect in her husband’s murder when she returned home, I’m talking the day after finding out about her hubby’s death, that she reacted in a way which made no sense to me. She pulls up to a yard full of reporters and “opening the garage door at the last possible minute, she flipped the crowd a happy little wave as she pulled inside.” (p.56) It cemented my early opinion of her character as one with little depth.

Gemma’s brother and would-be lover are another matter. I thoroughly enjoyed all aspects of both men. They were dependable and predictable–great romance heroes. Someone else was predictable…the villain. I knew upon introduction to the villain exactly who he was. I didn’t know why he did the things he did, but it was clear to me that he was a participant.

So my end thought on Now You See It are that it was pretty much what I expected to find in a romantic suspense with the exception of a heroine who I disliked. I never set the book aside which makes it a solid read for me, but it isn’t one I’ll read again. I did like it enough that I’ll be looking for book two which is entitled Helix.

Sweepstakes: Oct. 17, 2012

17 Oct

Enter once a day until Oct. 31 on Kensington’s Facebook page for a chance to win $100 American Express card in honor of the book Kill Switch.

Eastmans’ Hunting Journal is giving away a tent on its Facebook page that’s open until Oct. 22.

You could win a copy of Sylvia Day’s Reflected in You by entering Penguin Group’s Facebook giveaway before Oct. 19.

Giveaways: Oct. 9, 2012

9 Oct

It’s past time I brought y’all a few giveaway links. This time instead of visiting publisher sites I’ve chosen to take it to the blogs. That doesn’t mean that’s all you’ll get, but the majority of the giveaways listed are ones I’ve found at blogs I stalk read.

Fiction Vixen: Enter to win a copy of a Katie Porter book before Oct. 13. Enter to win a copy of Aaron by J.P. Barnaby before Oct. 12.

All Things Urban Fantasy:Enter to win a signed copy of your choice of Diane Duvall’s Immortal Guardian series before Oct. 12. Enter to win a complete paperback set of Karen Marie Moning’s Fever series before Oct. 23.

Book Chick City: This blog is giving away several items and all of the giveaways end Oct. 31. Enter to win a copy of Erica Haye’s Revelation. Enter to win one of five copies of Phillipa Bornikova‘s This Case is Gonna Kill Me. Enter to win one of three copies of Niki Valentine’s Possessed. Enter to win a copy of Amanda Bonilla‘s Blood Before Sunrise. Enter to win a copy of a book written by Delilah Dawson.

A Buckeye Girl Reads: Enter to win a copy of Darynda JonesFourth Grave Beneath My Feet before Nov. 6.

A Tale of Many Reviews: Enter to win a copy of Jenna-Lynne Duncan’s Aftermath before Nov. 2. Enter to win an e-ARC of Melissa West‘s Luminosity or Gravity before Oct. 18.

Addicted 2 Heroines: Enter to win one of two sets of Backstage Pass and Rock Hard before Oct. 15.

Babbling About Books, and More: Enter to win a copy of Lori Foster‘s Run the Risk before Oct. 13.

Book Binge: Enter to win an e-copy of Jessica Scott’s Until There Was You before Oct. 13.

Book Lover’s Inc.:Enter to win a $10 store credit at Riptide Publishing before Oct. 14. Enter to win a copy of Alien vs. Alien and a swag bag before Oct. 20. Enter to win a copy of Natalie Anderson‘s Flirting to Win before Oct. 20.

I’m a Reader, Not a Writer: Enter to win a copy of The Guy Next Door and a prize pack before Nov. 2.

Smexy Books: Enter to win Karen Marie Moning’s Fever series before Oct. 29.

Wicked Little Pixie: Enter to win the five book Fever series by Karen Marie Moning before Oct. 12.

Review: Claimed by the Highlander by Julianne MacLean

8 Oct


3 out of 5 scoopers

Claimed by the Highlander by Julianne MacLean
St. Martin’s (Reissued-August 2012)
Mass market: $4.99; ebook: $4.99
ISBN: 9781250016270
Excerpt

Favorite Lines: “Sometimes, I need you so bad, I just want to drop my sword in the middle of a training exercise and leave the men to their own devices, so I can take you to bed. But when I think about you coming to any harm, I want to pick up my sword again. You pull me in two directions, lass” (p. 170-1)

NIGHT OF CONQUEST
With his tawny mane, battle-hewn brawn, and ferocious roar, Angus “The Lion” MacDonald is the most fearsome warrior Lady Gwendolen has ever seen—and she is his most glorious conquest. Captured in a surprise attack on her father’s castle, Gwendolen is now forced to share her bed with the man who defeated her clan. But, in spite of Angus’s overpowering charms, she refuses to surrender her innocence without a fight…

PRISONER OF PASSION
With her stunning beauty, bold defiance, and brazen smile, Gwendolen is the most infuriating woman Angus has ever known—and the most intoxicating. Forcing her to become his bride will unite their two clans as one. But conquering Gwendolen’s heart will take all his skills as a lover. Night after night, his touch sets her on fire. Kiss after kiss, his hunger fuels her passion. But, as Gwendolen’s body betrays her growing love for Angus, a secret enemy plots to betray them both…

Claimed by the Highlander is the second book in Julianne MacLean’s re-issued Highlander trilogy. It’s told in the third person and set in 1718 in the Scottish highlands. Featuring an alpha warrior, Claimed by the Highlander is about the prodigal son returning home and finding redemption and love.He finds it with an innocent but feisty heroine who happens to be the daughter of the man who killed his father.

Gwendolen is a lot smarter than I initially gave her credit for being. She wanted to fight, but soon realized there was another way to get what she wanted. For the most part she didn’t try to be sneaky or self-serving. She went with the flow and just went after what she wanted–love. It isn’t easy because she seems to have been paired with a man with a stone instead of a heart.

Angus warmed up to Gwendolen before the midpoint of the story. He’s a man who rarely lowers his guard, but when he does it’s magnificent. Unfortunately Angus is just as quick to raise his guard which is frustrating. Happy moments aren’t as pleasant because he’s wondering when a blow is going to strike out at him. I wanted Gwendolen to make him suffer or be spiteful, but she isn’t me.  She stayed true to character which made the happily ever after factor real. I believe that the hero and heroine are the perfect match because they fit together. They know, understand and respect each other by the end of the tale.

Claimed by the Highlander was initially published in March of 2011. It was repackaged, along with the rest of the trilogy, at a cheaper price and released in the fall of 2012. Its passion filled pages made the romance an enjoyable read. I’m not sure I’d have enjoyed it as much if I’d read book one-Captured by the Highlander-in which the hero betrays his best friend. But that’s a moot point, as I didn’t read that book.

This book is a solid romance. It isn’t my favorite, but it isn’t the worst I’ve read either. I recommend Claimed by the Highlander to those in need of a historical Scottish romance. It’s not action packed, but it is filled with lust which turns into love in the highlands.

Winner of Carver Giveaway

6 Oct

Congratulations! Shannonsfun was selected by random.org as the winner of the Cassie Carver giveaway. Thank you to everybody who popped by and participated. I’d also like to send a special thanks to Cassie Carver for the great giveaway.