Friday, January 31, 2014

Fire at Dawn by Lila Ashe


Fire at Dawn: The Firefighters of Darling Bay 2

Synopsis:

Lexie Tindall knows a few things about herself. She's a great fire dispatcher. She looks good in cowboy boots. And she'll never date a firefighter. They're her family, and besides that, she knows from deep personal experience how it feels to lose a man on the fireline. But Coin is different. He's her best friend. Why, then, can't she stop thinking about what it would be like to kiss the handsome firefighter?

Coin Keefe has been in love with Lexie since he first met her in dispatch when he was still a rookie. Now he realizes he can tell her everything except the truth--that he can't think about anyone else.

When Lexie and Coin make a bet on love with a tropical island vacation as a reward, who will win big and who will lose everything?

Review:

I really enjoyed Fire at Dawn. It was a quick read, but really sweet. Even though it is the second book in the series, you don't need to read the first one before this one (I didn't realize it was in a series until I finished it). This is the first book I have read from this author and I will be going back to read more.

Lexie is the cute, fun girl who works in dispatch for the firefighters. Her dad was a firefighter and died on the job, so she doesn't want to date one herself. She is really good friends with Coin though. He comes in and hangs out with her whenever he can and they just get along great.

Coin is the sweet, shy boy. He blushes and is just so cute. He obviously likes Lexie, but she doesn't realize it. One day while they are hanging out in dispatch she decides she is going to set him up on a dating website to get a date. They come up with a bet - whoever falls in love first gets a trip paid for by the other person. They both go through and send messages to someone they think the other will like and then meet up for a double date at Coin's house....only things don't go quite as planned. It was fun, and hot, and I really enjoyed it. Coin is just wonderful. Lexie needs time to figure some things out, but they get there. I definitely want to read more from this series.

Rating: 4/5 

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Sarah Smile by Lori Leger


Sarah Smile (Halos & Horns)

Synopsis:

Now that her abusive ex-husband is out of her life, Sarah Richard is savoring her freedom. Surrounded by people who treat her and her babies like family, the three of them are thriving. Though occasionally haunted by nightmares from her violent past, she struggles to put it behind her. With a loving surrogate family, good friends, and a new career, all she lacks is a man in her life. The question is, will she ever be able to trust another man with her and her twin daughters’ hearts? 

Dr. Tanner Collins is running from his own sordid past. The man has left a trail of women from one end of Louisiana to the other, and through half the state of Texas. Even when this bad boy tries to be good, he has women throwing themselves at him at all hours of the day and night. When his admiration for Sarah turn into something stronger, he keeps his feelings in check, knowing he’ll never be near the kind of man she deserves. 

When Tanner rushes to Houston to be with his parents during his father’s illness, he’s forced to deal with hidden resentments toward his upper crust parents. At some point he accepts the fact that situations aren’t always as obvious as they seem on the surface. 

Review:

Sarah Smile was written like a Christian book, even though I don't think it is. It has that feel good, super innocent everything is magical thing that Christian romances have. I don't know if that makes sense, but that is how it felt to me, and if you have read Christian romances before maybe you know what I am talking about. I kept expecting the God talk to come out, but it never really did. 

This is the first book I have read by this author so I wasn't already familiar with the characters. I don't think that mattered much as you got to know them in this story. Maybe they had more of a back story in a different series, but it was fine. 

The story itself was simple and it was a quick read. I still enjoyed it. Sarah and Tanner obviously like each other, but Tanner doesn't think he is good enough for her. They keep getting thrown together at different times, and once Sarah finally tries to do something about it her brother comes and messes everything up. I didn't really like that as I thought come on Sarah, you are not even going to see what he has to say for himself? You are just going to go with what your brother saw and call it good? Really? I thought you were better than that. I thought you would at least have heard him out. And even if what you thought happened had happened, well so? It is not like you were dating or anything. But of course everything magically works out with everyone involved. Tanner has a rocky relationship with his parents? Fixed. The misunderstanding? Fixed. Everything fixed. Happy ending all around.

Overall this was a quick, light read. Fun, but nothing too amazing. Still enjoyable.

Rating: 3/5

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Beyond Control by Karice Bolton


Beyond Control (Beyond Love Series #1)

Synopsis:

Everything in Gabby Sullivan's life is going according to plan--her father's plan. With a brilliant job in the corporate world, glamorous parties, and a beautiful condo overlooking Seattle, she is thrown into a world she doesn't want to claim. It's not until Jason crashes into her world that she realizes she's not really living. 

Facing his own demons, Jason attempts to piece his life back together after a personal tragedy. Damaged by his ghosts, Jason finally begins to forgive himself whenever Gabby's around. She makes him feel--alive, something he hasn't felt for a long time.

It's only as their love grows and secrets are revealed that they realize a devastating connection from their past might actually tear them apart.

Review:

Beyond Control was not my favorite book. The writing was the style where the author is way too descriptive. Way too many details that don't matter. The style that I really don't like. I can never figure out exactly what it is that drives me crazy, but it is the description. I can never quite figure out what it is, how the author is describing things differently than what I like, but it annoys me. The story is set in Seattle and at the beginning it felt like the author just kept putting in references, or making small scenes that reference something in Seattle, just to be like look! It is Seattle!! See! It is Seattle!! It was like I get it, but you don't have to go out of your way to try and make the location the location. It just seemed a little forced and a few of the things made me pause like really? For instance how bicycles are the main mode of travel in Seattle. Haha. Sure. There is a bike culture there, and some people do ride bikes from outside the city to work, but main mode of travel? It is a laugh. It is not like Copenhagen or anything. The bike storage in the building where I used to work had maybe 6 bikes in a day. Out of a 20 story office building full of tenants, that is definitely not the main way people got to work. I only know one person who rides a bike in Seattle, and that is just for fun usually in the mountains. Just small things like that annoy me.

The story itself...well Gabby was pretty immature and I didn't really like her that much. She doesn't want a boyfriend again after some not so good prior experiences, but nothing insanely horrible. She gets pushed into working for her dad, and her brother leaving when she was younger still troubles her. She meets Jason and is just crazy! She obviously likes him, but then when she finds out he is friends with her brother...well her brother must have sent him! It is the only reason. Um sure. She just is crazy, but they work it out. Then Jason keeps asking her out, and she keeps freaking then being all well he probably has a girlfriend and doesn't really like me. Sure, that is why he keeps asking you out. You can be insecure, but geeze louise maybe listen to your friends once and a while? She was just up and down and all over the place.

They did eventually work everything out and it was nice, but the writing still didn't make me care that much about anything. Plus the heart transplant/fiance's death. It was pretty obvious what would happen with that whole thing, and then it does. I remember when I realized it I just groaned and my husband was like what? I was just like I think I know what is going to happen...and yeah. It did, but still. They work it out and so yey I guess.

Then you get to the very end and oh  my goodness I wished I had a physical copy of the book so I could throw it across the room. Seriously. I was so angry by the placement of where it ended. It was horrible, a terrible place to end the story. I mean if you still wanted to include what happened then fine, end it with the text. Don't end it after that at just a random place, just the exact moment when you find out what is going on. Really? I mean you want a cliffhanger fine, have a cliffhanger. But don't end it there. It is like ending it mid conversation or something. Who does that? It made me so angry! It made me not want to read the next book I was so angry. And by the way, the next book doesn't start where this one leaves off. It goes back to when this book started, or somewhere around there, and tells the story of someone else. So I guess you have to read the entire book to see what happens...super lame! I read the whole stupid book and then it just ends in the middle of a scene? I was not a happy camper at all. Like I said, if it would have ended with the text I wouldn't have liked it, but I wouldn't have been angry with it. So I won't be reading the next book as I am too annoyed to even want to read through another book to maybe find out what happens. Ugh.

Rating: 1/5

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Raw by Belle Aurora


RAW

Synopsis:

***Author Note: This is not a love story. This is a story of love gone wrong.*** 

Growing up the way I did, you’d think I’d be more screwed up than what I actually am. 
Soon as I turned sixteen, I left that bump in the road I called home and took my chances on the street. 
Best decision I ever made. 
Now, at the age of twenty six, I’m educated, employed and damn good at my job. 
My friends have become my family. Like me, they know what it’s like to grow up unloved. 
But the saying is true. 
The world makes way for those who know where they are going. 
That’s me. 
I know where I’m going and I’ll get there eventually. On my own terms and at my own pace. 
But then there’s him. 
I feel his eyes on me. I see him hiding in plain sight. He watches me. 
He makes me feel. 
It’s unconventional. 
But it’s real. 

I’m sure you’re wondering how a person falls in love with their stalker. 
So am I. 

This isn’t a story. 

This is my life.

Review:

I was really curious to read Raw. I loved the Friend-Zoned books and thought they were hilarious. Raw was going to be completely different, so I was curious to see if the author could pull that off as well. Honestly for the first 50% of the book I would have gone with no. I didn't like it, not entirely sure why, but I will get to that. The second half though I loved so...

The story started off with Lexi at 6 helping the neighbor boy when he runs into her backyard. He tells her his name after a bit, saying she will forget it right away, and that is the last time she ever saw him. Cut to the present and Lexi is in Australia helping troubled youth and has a stalker. Not someone she is afraid of, someone she sees watching her often. Then one night she gets attacked and her stalker saves her. Enter Twitch and up until this point I was pretty intrigued by the story. It is obvious Twitch is the same kid. I mean he even says the same lines. If Lexi remembers that little boy so well, why does she not even think for a second how this guy is saying the exact same thing? Throughout the book there were so many not so subtle hints of who he was, and she just never figured it out. I have no idea why.

So Twitch starts sleeping at Lexi's, but he is gone in the morning. They don't talk, or do anything more than sleep until one night Lexi decides she wants more. Here is where something was off for me and I have no idea what. The sex with Twitch is exactly what I like to read, but this wasn't as good as I thought it would be. I really don't know what it was. It should have been great. I just don't get it. So from there until about 50% I just thought man I should be loving this, but for some reason I wasn't. Still don't know why.

I did like Twitch. I kept telling myself this is not going to end in a happy ever after since there is the note that this is not a love story. You can't help but want to have them end up together. I like him even though he is a drug dealer. Even though he does bad things to bad people. Even though he is really messed up, somehow I still like him.

Lexi is like the sweetest, nicest person ever. She helps these kids who need it and seems just great. She then meets Twitch and starts spiraling down. It is kind of sad to watch, but at the same time I wanted them to work it all out. The second half of the book was so much better than the first. Not quite sure why. Twitch was so cute at the end and it was just really great. The end though, the epilogue, man. First it is just so sad I am almost crying, then I am all no! What?! So this book was down then up for me. I would be interested in another book about Lexi.

Rating: 3/5

Monday, January 27, 2014

Carrots by Colleen Helme


Carrots (A Shelby Nichols Adventure)

Synopsis:

Shelby Nichols is an average woman who is married to the only guy she ever fell for. Her life is organized and predictable, revolving around her husband and two children. All that changes the day she stops at the grocery store for some carrots. As the cashier rings up her purchases, a gunman is busy robbing the bank inside the store. When a customer grabs the robber's mask, he is shot and everyone runs for cover. Everyone except Shelby, who finds herself face to face with the killer. The next thing she knows, she's lying on the floor with a bullet wound to her head. Luckily, the bullet only grazes her scalp, and she doesn't suspect any lasting affects until later, when she suddenly 'hears' what people are thinking. With this uncanny ability, her life takes on a whole new dimension. Her kids think she's bossy and too old to understand them, but that's nothing compared to her husband. He says he loves her, but what is it about the redhead at work that he doesn't want her to know? As if that isn't enough, the gunman knows she can identify him, and he's out to silence her forever. In her fight to stay alive, she is saved from certain death by a handsome hit-man with ties to organized crime. This pulls Shelby even deeper into danger, where knowing someone's thoughts can not only hurt her feelings, but get her killed.

Review:

When I first started reading Carrots I thought it was going to be a serious read. I quickly realized it was not, it is more like the Stephanie Plum books, and really enjoyed reading it. It starts off with Shelby stopping at the grocery store for some carrots. At first I was like this book is odd. The descriptions were just a little over the top describing her running for the store in the rain. Again I thought it was a serious book, not a humorous one so that might have had something to do with it. Once I got into it though it was just fun.

Shelby gets shot by a robber and has her head grazed by the bullet. Somehow this now makes her able to hear what people are thinking. The description makes it seem like her husband might be having an affair with the redhead at the office, but really that is not it at all. The redhead is just throwing herself at him, and he doesn't want anything to do with her in that way. It was nice to see the husband and wife together and still in love. It wasn't like super romantic or anything, but more the normal what it would be like after so many years. He doesn't want anyone else, she doesn't either. Yes, they have some issues with the mind reading thing and whatnot, but they work on it.

Shelby does get mixed up with Uncle Joey, but it is kind of fun. Ramos is a great character, and there is some attraction on his part, but Shelby is happily married so...maybe in future books there will be issues with her marriage and something might happen. Kind of like Stephanie and her men. She goes back and forth. We shall see. Uncle Joey didn't seem that bad, but I loved how Shelby kept trying to find a way to get out from under his thumb. She kind of don't know what she is doing so it is fun to watch her stumble through everything. I look forward to reading more of these books.

Rating: 3.5/5

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Just Jane in the Middle of Nowhere by Gloria Barry


Just Jane In The Middle of Nowhere

Synopsis:

When Jane Alton’s parents leave for a summer trip to Ecuador, she finds herself stuck at her grandmother’s house in the small community of Middleton. Worried her eccentric interests and outsider status will get her nowhere with the locals, Jane anticipates a summer of isolation in a town where nothing exciting ever happens. The one bright spot in her future is spending time with her good friend, Mark Littlefield. Jane’s summer takes an unexpected turn when she finds the remains of an ancient Native American woman on her grandmother’s porch. A normal girl would be horrified by such a thing, but Native American history is just up Jane’s alley. She and Mark search for information about the ancient woman, and in their hunt, they discover a cave full of artifacts. Then strange things start happening, and Jane finds herself in one brush with death after another. All the while, her feelings for Mark are changing from friendship into something more. As the stakes get higher, Jane must take action to stop a thief from destroying a valuable part of history. As she solves the mystery, she finds her own strength and she discovers that life in The Middle of Nowhere isn't boring after all.

Review:

Just Jane in the Middle of Nowhere was kind of an annoying read. I think I am too old for the story. Maybe if I were a lot younger I would have enjoyed it. 

Jane is stuck in Middleton for the summer while her parents are off in Ecuador. She has been bff with Mark, the sheriff's son, since she was little. Now he has grown up some and Jane doesn't know what she thinks of that. She doesn't know if she like likes him, or wants to stay friends. There is a lot of awkwardness, but it was nice. It was nice to not have a suddenly we are all in love. Really you don't get anything resolved with these two, which was a little sad. I just wanted to know what would happen with them!

Then the main storyline was the archaeological site Mark had found. After finding a mummy on her grandmothers front door, Jane is even more interested in what is in the cave. For some reason Mark and Jane decide not to tell anyone about their find. At first that is fine, but then once things start happening I kept thinking why are they not telling anyone?? I mean the first time they go up to the cave someone siphons their gas so they get stranded. Then Jane sees someone sneaking around outside her grandmothers house in the middle of the night and it is just like you are not worried to be up in the hills by yourself? You still think you should keep going exploring these caves even though strange scary things keep happening? I mean obviously no one is trying to stop you...I just didn't understand after a while why they didn't tell anyone. Then the end...why didn't they tell anyone where they were going? Why did Jane suspect her friend? And then who was doing all of it didn't make much sense. Plus was working with him? He was really doing everything himself? It just seemed like the end was left open with things unresolved, and by that point I was too annoyed with everything. 

Rating: 1.5/5

Saturday, January 25, 2014

The Truth by Michael Palin


The Truth

Synopsis:

For the first time since his much-beloved tale Hemingway's Chair was published in 1998, Michael Palin pens a new novel featuring the warm and witty story of an everyman, a tantalizing offer, a journey to India, and the search for the truth.

Keith Mabbut is at a crossroads in his life.  A professional writer of some repute, he has reached the age of fifty-six with nothing resembling the success of his two great literary heroes, George Orwell and Albert Camus. When he is offered the opportunity of a lifetime—to write the biography of the elusive Hamish Melville, a widely respected and highly influential activist and humanitarian—he seizes the chance to write something meaningful. His search to find out the real story behind the legend takes Mabbut to the lush landscapes and environmental hotspots of India.
The more he discovers about Melville, the more he admires him—and the more he connects with an idealist who wanted to make a difference. But is his quarry really who he claims to be? As Keith discovers, the truth can be whatever we make it. 


In this wonderful, heartwarming novel, Michael Palin turns his considerable skills to fiction in the story of an ordinary man on an extraordinary adventure.

Review:

The Truth was a fun light read, though I cannot help but be a little disappointed it wasn't a bit deeper though. It didn't dig into the issues just a little bit more. It felt like it just skimmed over everything so.

The  book started off and I was really confused as to what it would be about. It was kind of boring with Mabbut up working on his oil rig story thing. I almost stopped reading it as it was just not that good. Then he gets the job of writing about Melville, who does not give interviews or anything of the sort. He is the golden boy humanitarian who many people look up to. The company offering Mabbut money to write about Melville wants to know if he really is as good as everyone thinks he is. Does he have a dark past? What makes up Melville?

Mabbut knows he has to be sneaky to try and get more info from Melville. He travels to India where Melville is supposed to be, in search of him. He quickly finds him and the two, after a little bit of a rocky start, hit it off and travel a bit together. Melville shows Mabbut some things that are going on in the area and it was interesting. Here is where I wish it would have gone a bit more into the issues. For example Mabbut thinks about the people who live in the small village and whether we should just let them live how they have been living, or should we bring some modern day things in to their village. If the modern day things would be better, help people, should we? Or should we just leave them be? Things like that are interesting. It was really just two sentences in the book, when I would have enjoyed more discussion about things like that. It started to make me think about some of the grey areas, but since it never really went anywhere or even went into the grey areas very much I just pushed it aside.

Then I was kind of sad by the end of the book. For the most part I felt like I should be out there doing more, but then the end...it is just like why bother. I just was a bit disheartening to find out the truth. Maybe that is the way it is, but I like to believe the dream instead.

Overall a fun, light read, but was a little disappointed it didn't go deeper.

Rating: 3.5/5

Friday, January 24, 2014

The Memory Game by Sharon Sant


The Memory Game

Synopsis:

'If there is a hell, I think maybe this is it.' 

Weeks after fifteen-year-old David is killed by a speeding driver, he’s still hanging around and he doesn’t know why. The only person who can see and hear him is the girl he spent his schooldays bullying. 

Bethany is the most hated girl at school. She hides away, alone with her secrets until, one day, the ghost of a boy killed in a hit-and-run starts to haunt her. 


Together, they find that the end is only the beginning…

Review:

The Memory Game was a really simple, odd story. David is killed at the beginning and he wanders around his town as a ghost. No one can see him, hear him, feel him, anything. He cannot move things around or really do anything in our world. Then he is at school one day and notices that Bethany can see him. Bethany the weird kid who everyone hates. Bethany who *I guess spoilers, though it is obvious from the first* is obviously abused by her dad, who obviously killer her mom. The fact that no one will do anything, say anything, even acknowledge this is odd. The adults at her school see her crazy bruises and yet say nothing. Even David looks the other way when he sees all the signs. Or he doesn't see it even if it is right in front of his face. 

David just wander all day and night, sometimes getting together with Bethany so he has someone to talk to. He doesn't see any other ghosts, and doesn't really seem to have a purpose. He just wanders and falls for Bethany, and she him. He realizes that he should have been nicer to her, sees what a jerk his best friend is, stops thinking about the girl he was obsessed with, and gets to know Bethany. I was reading and just kept thinking where is this going? How is this going to end. When it does I just like okay...what? This is his purpose to do what exactly? Maybe I just didn't get it, but the whole thing kind of annoyed me. A lot of things were obvious, but then it was like oh man! This is what is happening?! Which I didn't buy. It wasn't the worst book ever, it was just too simplistic for me. 

Rating: 2/5

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Hush by Carey Baldwin


Hush (A Tangleheart Romantic Suspense)

Synopsis:

A romantic suspense novella from award winning author Carey Baldwin. Coming home has never been this sexy...or this dangerous. Reformed bad boy Charlie "Drex" Drexler returns to his hometown of Tangleheart, Texas hoping to make peace with his dark past and make amends to those he's wronged. He's also looking to reconnect with an old flame. But Anna won't cooperate, new questions tear open old wounds and his best friend's wife and baby disappear. Can Drex and Anna mend their broken hearts while fighting for their lives and racing to bring mother and baby home safely?

Review:

Hush is a novella, which normally I hate. Normally I feel like the author tries to fit an entire novel into a few pages and it doesn't work. This one was fun though. Yes, it moved quickly. Yes, the ending was a little quick and all, but I still enjoyed it.

The story starts off with Charlie and Anna meeting on the way to see Megan. Charlie has just broken up with Megan, and Anna got a call from her sister to come over. Anna obviously liked Charlie, and Charlie likes Anna but doesn't think he is good enough for her. Bad things happen and Charlie runs away without saying goodbye to Anna.

The story then picks up 6 years later. Charlie has been in therapy and worked some things out and has returned for Anna, and to put his guilt over Megan to rest. If only it were that simple. Things on the Anna front are good, but Megan might have been murdered, and as they start to look into it more they get caught up with the murderer! They almost get killed, then run off to hide and figure out a plan of action. Anna's sister is missing and boots is after them. It all moves pretty quick, and the reason why boots did what he did is a little...I don't really understand why he was trying to kill Anna and her sister. It was still fun though, and over quickly. I will definitely be checking out more from this author.

Rating: 3.5/5

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Sojourner by Maria Rachel Hooley


Sojourner (Sojourner Series)

Synopsis:

Seventeen-year-old Elizabeth Moon has been dreaming of her murder her entire life, and in those dreams, a dark presence is there, watching. When she returns home to Hauser’s Landing, the very place her father disappeared, she comes in contact with a gorgeous boy named Lev Walker, and it’s not long before she’s falling in love. But there’s something wrong with Lev. When she realizes he’s the eerie watcher in her dreams, she’ll have to discover the truth. Is he a guardian angel or a sojourner, an angel of death who has come to collect her soul?

Review:

Sojourner was an interesting read. It was alright, but not amazing. It was like a lot of books I have read recently so...maybe if I had read it first I would have liked it more.

The book starts off with Elizabeth and her uncle moving back to his home town, where her mom and dad grew up. I am not sure why exactly they moved back. The uncle hates hates hates it there, and is super worried something will happen to Elizabeth since she is half Native American. Yes they need to sell the house or something, but you couldn't have done that without moving back? If it is such a horrible place you think they could have figured something else out.

Elizabeth herself is kind of stupid. On her first day at the new school she opens her locker to find someone painted half-breed in it. She just blows it off like it has to be some kind of joke. Um...okay. Then when more things happen she keeps thinking oh it is just someone playing a joke. Sure. Someone vandalized your house with horrible things and it is all some big joke.

Then she meets two new boys on day one, Griffin and Lev. Griffin is the popular guy everyone wants to be with, but Lizzie is just like stay away from me. She doesn't like him, but he doesn't give up easily. Lev, on the other hand, stays away from her, but she wants to get to know him. He is the one who has been in her dreams watching her die. So she starts to get closer to Lev and then freaks out on him like why are you in my dreams?!?! How can you be such a horrible person in my dreams, but super nice in real life?!?! Which one is real?!?! Um...real life Lev? I mean you do find out what the dreams are all about, and when you do Elizabeth freaks out on Lev and makes him feel like crap which is just ridiculous. It is like she has never made a mistake ever in her life. It is like calm it down and listen to what he is saying! Geez. She was kind of annoying. Plus she can't seem to not fall into the river, which is just odd. Somehow she gets knocked from behind and that flings her over the railing? Okay. Just go with everything.

Eventually Lev and Elizabeth work things out, but Lev is super worried someone is going to try and kill her. So what does she do? Go off by herself! Of course, I mean nothing can happen in a parking lot or in a public place! No one ever gets kidnapped or anything from public places. She is a smart one, but really I was wondering why Lev wasn't following her anyways. If I were him and were really that worried about her I would not let her out of my sight, even if she didn't want me there. Or stay in the shadows of something. It was just lame. The whole ending was a let down and when you find out who is doing all of this stuff to Elizabeth and why it was just like really? That was the best you could do? Okay. I shouldn't have expected a good explanation...overall a frustrating book, though it started off interesting.

Rating: 2/5




Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Surrender by Melody Anne


Surrender

Synopsis:

Raffaello (Rafe) Palazzo takes what he wants with no regrets. Arianna (Ari) Lynn Harlow has led a charmed life until tragedy strikes her family. He’s looking for a no-emotions attached mistress, she’s looking for redemption. 

They are not a pair that should ever work, but undeniable attraction and devastating tragedies bring them together in the city by the bay where he fights to keep their relationship nothing more than an enjoyable way to meet his needs, and she battles to not lose herself in him. Spending time with Ari starts cracking the hard shell that Rafe has built around his heart, but he denies the affect she has on him until it’s too late to stop the inevitable conclusion that their relationship is headed for.

Rafe once believed in happily ever after, coming from a large Italian family. He’s got the Midas touch, since every endeavor he tries turns to gold. That all ends when his wife walks out the door and leaves him blindsided. His devastation quickly turns to steel when he decides no woman will fool him again. From that point on he treats relationships as nothing more than business transactions where both party’s come out mutually benefited.


Just when Ari has sunk to the lowest she’s ever been she finds an ad in the paper announcing a job that’s too good to be true. It turns out she’s right. She makes it through the intense rounds of interviews only to find out the job is for a mistress to the powerful Rafe Palazzo, owner of Palazzo Enterprises. Rafe gives her a day to think about whether she wants the position or not, and she’s sent on her way, only to find out her mother’s near-terminal position has taken a turn for the worse. Her mom’s only in the hospital because Ari messed up, and her mother’s the one who paid the price. Is Rafe her savior, or will he take her with him straight to the depths of hell?

Review:

I understand why some people don't like Surrender. I get it. Rafe is controlling, but in a way that I like reading. Would I want him in my real life? No. Do I like reading a story like this? Yes. 

Rafe has it all, until he walks in on his wife with his best friend. He then doesn't trust women and won't give his heart away again. He brings women in and has them sign a contract to be his mistress. They do what he wants when he wants. Very controlling. 

Ari is very inexperienced, but she has a mother in the hospital with lots of bills to pay. She sees an ad in the paper for a job that is too good to be true, and it is. She meets with Rafe, but once she knows what the contract is that she would have to sign she cannot go through with it. 

Rafe is used to women wanting to be with him. He is not used to people saying no to him so at first Ari is a challenge for him. He is convinced he can sway her to work for him. They do have a physical relationship at times, which Ari does enjoy but she can't stand him otherwise. Of course Rafe does start to care for Ari, but he is too hurt by his ex-wife to really consider that. He wants no strings, and he does help Ari with her mom without her knowing. 

This keeps going on, them meeting at different times and Rafe taking Ari back to his place and using her for his own gain. The end leaves it a little up in the air. Ari is given an ultimatum and it doesn't really say exactly what she does. It hints at it, but it is not 100%. I can't wait to read the next book, even though this is not really an amazing read. I enjoyed it like I said, but I wouldn't want Rafe in my life. I don't think the author made him a completely abusive jerk, just very controlling. I don't know. Sometimes I like reading these, sometimes I don't when the author doesn't write the characters in a way I like. I wouldn't want this in real life, but I like it in my fantasy life...

Rating: 3/5

Monday, January 20, 2014

Hope's Decree by Angela McPerson


Hope's Decree (The Fated)

Synopsis:

When everything else is lost, there is always hope.

While most teens want an epic senior year, Trinity Whitebone hoped for a normal one. Being seventeen was hard enough. Having the emotions of everyone around you in your head made life more than a little difficult.

Until Blain Heros enrolled.

He screamed hot-god in jeans with just his walk. His intense stare warmed her skin like a thousand suns. Unfortunately, his interest in her seemed to run from blazing to freezing in the span of moments and left her nothing but confused. She could deal with things not being normal, but when life goes from strange to dangerous…


Trinity is the direct descendant of Pandora and fated to rectify the terrors released into the world by her curious ancestor. With powers she didn’t know existed and abilities she never wanted, Trinity tries to walk away from everything her life had become. She thought she could turn her back on her fate, until a band of rogue immortals discover who she is and will do whatever it takes to control her powers. Trinity is left with one decision…Embrace fate or die trying.

Review:

Hope's Decree was kind of a mixed bag for me. I liked the idea of the story, but then it got repetitive at the end and the writing didn't make me as enthralled as I could have been. There may be some spoilers ahead. 

Trinity was alright at first, but she quickly became annoying. Same with Blain and his hot and cold. I quickly tired of the connection, but then Blain is all no I can't and Trinity is all crying because she is so hurt by his rejection. It was just over and over and over again. So then she all goes out with Trevor even though she wants Blain. I hate that. It is so mean to the second guy. No one wants to be the second choice, the person that the other person is only with because the person they really want to be with is not available. Lame. Then when Blain finally caves and wants to be with her, no she lost her memory so she keeps pushing him away. Lame lame lame lame lame. I just got super tired of the one wants to be together the other doesn't. It made me not care about either of them. I really just wanted her to really move on and find someone else. After a while I just didn't see the connection even though it was told to us over and over how much of a connection they have.  

The other issue I had with Trinity? After she loses her memory she turns into such a whiny little brat. But I don't want to! Stomp foot, run off, cry, whatever. I was just like you are almost 18! Grow up some! I know you don't remember everything, but this is not the way you reacted when you first learned of this stuff so why are you now? Did that memory potion also revert you back to a much younger age? Throughout the whole book she is pretty stupid. She doesn't call Blain for backup when bad things happen. I mean why would the evil bad guy do anything in front of someone else? I mean there is no way he would ever kill 2 people...he is not the evil bad guy or anything. Then when Blain points out that he could have killed the other person Trinity is all oh noes! I didn't think of that! I just was like ugh!!! I wish you could use your brain! The end where she keeps trying to fight people without help was stupid as well. If I do this Blain will respect me! Sure he will. He won't be super upset you put yourself in danger. Plus, if she hadn't put herself in danger maybe Blain won't turn evil in the next book (it is kind of obvious that he will succumb to the darkness). Really both of them snapped all the time and were acting not like themselves for the second part of the book. 

The other main issue I had was the writing itself. It was full of unimportant details, or sentence cut up too much. "Inside my mom waited for me in the living room. We watched a movie, but I couldn't stay awake to finish it. I went to bed."That is like too much detail that is unnecessary. It just felt very stiff to me. It made the book drag on a little bit. 

I did not like when Trinity lost her memory at all. Then we had a repeat of a few chapters ago all over again! She has to learn everything again! Who she is, what she can do, etc. Fun. I just read this, so yes I would like to read it once more! I did like Morpheus though in the second half. He was probably my favorite character and I would have loved to have seen more of him. 

I did like the general story though. I found it interesting the mythology and everything. The evil that Trinity has to fight to save humanity. Very interesting, I just wish it would have been written better with better characters that didn't annoy me so much. I would read the next book to see what happens, but it is not something that I am on the edge of my seat waiting for. Not a horrible book, even though I have a lot of complains above, but not great either. Just a so so read for me. 

Rating: 2.5/5

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Swift by Heather London


Swift (Swift Series)

Synopsis:

A girl totally unaware of her destiny.

Two men who will stop at nothing to take her power.

One family who will do whatever it takes to keep her safe.

After graduating from high school, Meredith is ready to leave the place that has been a constant reminder of what happened to her as a child. She was just eight years old when her family died in a mysterious car accident, taking the secret of her destiny with them. It’s not until a new family moves to town that she realizes leaving may not be as easy as she once thought. 

Meredith feels an instant connection towards the Harpers, especially the good-looking, mysterious Blake and his overly friendly sister, Abby. After a series of bizarre events that happen too often to be coincidence, Meredith begins to realize that she is at the center of something larger than herself—possibly the same thing that killed her parents and twin sister many years ago. Nightmarish visions and resurfacing memories push Meredith closer to Blake, leading her to discover her destiny and other buried secrets. 

As Meredith tries to understand her new world, she will be put to the ultimate test, and her strength and courage will be challenged more than she ever imagined.

Review:

Swift started off and it made me think of Beautiful Creatures. I wasn't sure where it was going to go, but it was similar to other stories I have read. It wasn't bad, but then it eventually got to a point where I was so frustrated by it. Some spoilers ahead.

Meredith can't wait to get out of her tiny town. She is planning her escape for the end of the summer. She gets a job at the library and meets the new kids in town in strange circumstances. She quickly is drawn to Blake, even though she doesn't know why. He is sweet and looks out for her, showing up to walk her home from work and stuff, but doesn't feel like he can do more. The story moves slowly and it takes a while to really get going, but I didn't mind it. I was enjoying it until it got very aggravating!

So Meredith is upset and doesn't want to be alone (her aunt is off on a honeymoon) so she calls up Roger, her bff. Note on Roger - he is her best friend, one of two friends she has, and he is pretty much absent from the book. He is in the first chapter, then goes away for the summer about an hour away and they pretty much never talk again during the book. She calls him up and goes to visit, they go out to eat and she gets attacked and taken out to the alley by the bad guy, Isaac (note she was supposed to be using the restroom). Of course Blake shows up and helps her and takes care of her, taking her back to town and making sure she is safe, but she never goes back to Roger or even asks about him. Like a day later Blake brings him up like hey don't worry about your bff, my sister took care of that. She went down there and made them forget you were there once we got back. He must be such a great friend to just forget about him. Yes, you have crazy things happening, but you never once remember the guy who means so much to you? Okay.

Then after the attacks the Harpers start to tell Meredith what is going on, what she is and everything. Well they do so in the slowest, most painful way possible! It is so drawn out and I was just like get on with it! Just spit it out already!! This is ridiculous! It was like well first we lived back in the day. Let's just all sit here and think about this for a bit. Then you have some powers, but we don't want to just say what they are right now. Better to just be as vague as possible so we can really drag this out. It was horrible. Then once they do explain things, they don't really explain everything. It is just like your mom was a witch, you are one of the most powerful witches ever, bad people are after you. Why are they? Who knows. Why were they sent to protect her? Who knows. Who are the people trying to hurt her? Who cares. I was just like wait...I don't get any more? You draw this out and yet you still don't get the answers. I have to wait for another section like this?? Plus Meredith doesn't have any questions as to who these bad guys are and why they want her? Really??? She just is like cool, that is enough info. It was so frustrating. It was like the author was just trying to drag everything out to try and make it more dramatic or something? I don't really know. After the attack by Isaac everything was just very frustrating.

The very end was odd as well. Finally the library comes into play, which I had been waiting for since the start of the book. So Meredith had been practicing her magic, but wasn't very good at it yet. She found something that meant that the Harpers would die, so she suddenly is able to travel back in time, where they had returned, and save the day. It ends with her back in time like yey! Everything is perfect. Who cares if she is back in time and cannot see her family again. Everything is perfect...it just didn't make much sense. It didn't end on a high. The whole last part of the book was very frustrating.

Rating: 2/5

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Love Me Anyway by JL Redington


Love Me Anyway (Passions in the Park)

Synopsis:

There is a serial killer loose in America’s National Parks. Greyson Beauchene, Head Ranger of Alaska’s Denali National Park is certain he will never have to deal with that because his park is too ‘out of the way.’ However, Ranger Beauchene soon finds out he is dead wrong. 

Greyson and his two assistants are flown by helicopter into a remote section of the park where hikers have found a casket, one of the biggest indicators the serial killer has found Denali. Greyson’s team is joined by one incredibly irritating and extremely demanding FBI Profiler and her two Agents. Very good at what she does, Aspen O’Connell sets out to take control of the crime scene and everyone involved in it, and Greyson is having none of it. 

Greyson, Aspen and their teams must work together to find this killer before he kills again. Events move quickly as the group pieces together clues from the crime scene and a profile is established. As they work through abduction attempts and visible threats, Greyson and Aspen struggle to put their growing feelings for each other in a place that will keep them focused on finding an evil, evil man and bringing justice to innocent victims.

Review:

When I started Love Me Anyway I was enjoying the story, but it didn't grip me right away.  After about 20% though things pick up and I was completely engrossed in the story.

The story starts off with Greyson in Denali getting a call that a body has been found. Quickly it looks like the serial killer who has been leaving bodies in national parks so he calls in the FBI. When Aspen arrives she is so rude and demanding, but Greyson just has fun with her. She is used to everyone just doing what she says, but Greyson just doesn't. It was quite fun to read. There were, however, these cheesy super romance things thrown into this section which were odd. They didn't really go with the rest of the writing. It was fun arguing and stuff, then Greyson would think oh man but her lips are so whatever and it was just like wait. What is going on? It just didn't go with the other writing and seemed like it came from a different book. It quickly reconciled though so it wasn't that bad.

Once all of the FBI and crime scene investigators are on sight things start to get pretty good. The killer has changed up some things, and watching all the different people work on the scene. It was interesting watching the tracker pick up on things, and how Aspen finally realizes that other people could be of help to her.

Greyson and Aspen are obviously attracted to each other. They quickly realize that they need to focus on the killer and not be distracted by each other, especially as the killer is getting closer and closer to them. There was a good mix of romance and suspense in the book and the end was quite exciting. One thing I didn't like that much was the very very end. There will be another book with the same killer, but the way he escapes is a little...it felt a little like a letdown to me. I don't mind if he does get away and you continue the story in the next book, but I wanted a better get away. I still look forward to reading the next book.

Rating: 3.5/5 

Friday, January 17, 2014

Own the Wind by Kristen Ashley


Own the Wind: A Chaos Novel

Synopsis:

Tabitha Allen grew up in the thick of Chaos--the Chaos Motorcycle Club, that is. Her father is Chaos' leader, and the club has always had her back. But one rider was different from the start. When Tabby was running wild, Shy Cage was there. When tragedy tore her life apart, he helped her piece it back together. And now, Tabby's thinking about much more than friendship...


Tabby is everything Shy's ever wanted, but everything he thinks he can't have. She's beautiful, smart, and as his friend's daughter, untouchable. Shy never expected more than friendship, so when Tabby indicates she wants more--much more--he feels like the luckiest man alive. But even lucky men can crash and burn...

Review:

I really have no idea why Own the Wind has so many amazing reviews. I read a few of them and I feel like I read a completely different book than they did. Pretty much everything they say I found the exact opposite....so it is odd. 

So what didn't I like? Pretty much everything. I didn't like the way it was written. The time jumps made it difficult to keep track of how old everyone was or when it was. 2 years later....2 months later...3 months later...etc. I just didn't like it. Especially if it was a small jump it felt like you could just continue the story. Then the writing itself....not my favorite. Not sure exactly what it was that bugged me, but something did.

I didn't like the characters at all. Tabby is so lame. She doesn't stand up for herself, even though she keeps saying she is going to be one of those girls who does. She doesn't. She doesn't stick up for herself with the awful doctor who is mean to her all the time, she doesn't stick up for herself with Shy, she just doesn't do anything. When Shy does something she doesn't like she thinks we will have to talk about this later...and then they never do. Or she gets upset, but then realizes that is just the way he is and she just has to accept it. Yey! Way to really be a strong female character by caving to whatever he does cause he is a big bad biker guy so that is just the way it is. Please.

People love Shy and I have no idea why. He is such an asshole. Seriously. Ugh. And people think he is so dreamy. I don't understand. I don't find asshole guys dreamy. Maybe it is just me. He is just it is his way or no way. Like Tabby just has to deal with it. But then there was the scene where it was tense at the clubhouse and the one brother was all dude, deal with your woman. Get her out of here and he is all well I asked her and she doesn't want to go. I don't control her, she does what she wants. Um really? She wants to do something one way and you just do whatever you want anyways. I don't see the mutual collaboration between you two. I mean one small example is Tabby gets sick of doing the laundry all the time. She brings it up and Shy just immediately is all I am never going to do laundry. Ever. So don't ask. Tabby starts to try and have a conversion on okay you do this I do that and it is shut down pretty quickly. Shy had to do chores with his horrible aunt so screw you Tabby, he is not doing them again. Oh so dreamy that they can talk about things. I hated him. I don't get the appeal. Plus I laughed out loud at most of his dreamy romantic declarations as they were so lame. I don't think they were supposed to be funny, they were supposed to be sweet or something. At least they entertained me somewhat.

I didn't like the plot, I just didn't like the book. I kept waiting for it to end. After the first third I thought okay this will be over soon right? I mean what else will happen? Well more does happen, but it is just seemed like filler fluff until the end, and then we don't really get much resolution. The other issue? We don't get to see the action! Shy and some brothers take care of the doctor problem for Tabby. Do we see this? No. We just see the after affects and then they talk about it. The big bad showdown at the end. Do we see this? No, we see Tabby waiting for everyone to come back. Cool. I wouldn't want to actually see anything that happens of importance either. It is way more fun to watch someone sit around and worry. Way more fun. Thanks for not sharing the fun parts so all we have are the boring parts of the story and the characters talking about things that happened. I love when people tell not show what happens...

Overall not a very good book. If this is one of the authors better works I definitely won't be reading anymore. That and it seems people agree the main character men are the same so since I hated Shy I doubt I would like the other ones. The only thing I really enjoyed about this story were Shy's romantic lines as they were hilarious to me. I don't get the huge appeal of this book.

Rating: 1/5



Thursday, January 16, 2014

Shelf Ice by Aaron Stander


Shelf Ice (A Ray Elkins Thriller)

Synopsis:


It's February along the shores of Northern Lake Michigan. A heavy blanket of snow has been building up in the woods since early November and the inland lakes have had a solid covering of ice since December. Shelf ice, stacked ten or fifteen feet in places, has been building on Lake Michigan for weeks. Sheriff Ray Elkins, responding to a late-night home invasion call, discovers the brutal murder of a local artist at her home deep in the woods. Elkins works to understand complex lives and relationships as he pursues a brilliant and brutal adversary.

Review:

Shelf Ice was odd. It was supposed to be a thriller, mystery, whatever but it was just....well it seemed like nothing much happened. The writing was strange to me. Like I was missing pieces or something. Maybe because this is not the first book in the series? I don't know, but it doesn't seem like the missing pieces would be in the prior books. It was just a strange read.

It starts off and someone is killed in their home, and the cops on the way to the home are almost run over by a snow plow. That should have been a pretty exciting passage, but really it was just bland. I didn't really care that much, and the writing just made it so I didn't get as involved.

Then we have Sue who is like super into Ray's love life. He has Sarah, but she moves to Chicago. Then there is the new doctor lady who just starts showing up at his place to go kayaking and stuff with him. She was an odd character as I couldn't get a read on what she wanted, if anything. Just friends? More than friends? A sinister character? I don't know. She was just written in a weird way. Sue was the same. I couldn't figure out if she wanted more with Ray or not. Was she the killer? I don't know. I would have believed either of these women were the ones involved, but no clue why they would have. They both could just want to be more than friends with Ray. It was an odd story to read because I couldn't figure any of this out based on the writing.

So the entire book was just really kind of boring. There wasn't much to hold the readers attention. It seems like a wasted potential. You have this crazy new religious leader who keeps showing up in the story and nothing is really done with him. You have the crazy recluse and he doesn't add that much either. You have all of these characters, but nothing really happens. Then you have the reveal of who did it and it was so anticlimactic. I was just like cool, it was this person. Next book. A weird boring read.

Rating: 2/5

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

In Your Dreams by Amy Martin


In Your Dreams

Synopsis:

Sixteen-year-old Zara "Zip" McKee lives for three things: basketball, books, and bailing out of tiny Titusville, Illinois, where the junior high and high school are in the same building and everyone's known everyone else since birth. But when Kieran Lanier moves to town and passes out on her desk on his first day at school, Zip's life gets complicated in a way she never dreamed. 

Kieran has narcolepsy, and although he sometimes struggles to stay awake, he has no trouble capturing Zip's heart and trusting her with his most guarded secret--he sees bits and pieces of the future in his dreams. 

But just when Zip thinks that maybe she can handle having a boyfriend who sees things before they happen, her budding relationship with Kieran gets a jolt when Kieran's parents reveal that his sleeping disorder is not what it seems and may be putting them in harm's way. And when Zip begins to have unsettling dreams, she must decide if she can live with knowing the future in advance when she's afraid of what might happen.

Review:

In Your Dreams was an interesting read. I was really hoping it wouldn't turn out that Kieran was a Faerie, and thankfully that was not what the big reveal of what is really going on.

The story starts out and I instantly like Kieran. He is so cute and sweet and he is so positive even though he has his narcolepsy to deal with. I can't imagine high school while falling asleep randomly. Add to that how he sees bits and pieces of the future and you have an interesting main character.

Zip was a little more....I didn't hate her, but her obsession with basketball and looking down on girly girls I didn't like. It was like if you like makeup and clothing there is something wrong with you. She definitely thinks she is better than other girls, which I really don't like. There is nothing wrong with being girly, and there is nothing wrong with not being super girly. It just depends on what the person likes, and you shouldn't look down upon the others just because. So I didn't love her because she was kind of close minded.

I did like Zip and Kieran's slowly evolving relationship. It wasn't insta-love which was nice. They just hang out and grow together slowly. So the whole first part of the book I was enjoying. It was nice. Then the big reveal as to what is really going on with Kieran, which was not as crazy as I thought it would be. Kieran is a little unforgiving after that. I understand being upset with your family instantly for keeping such a thing a secret for years, but to hold onto that grudge forever? I just wanted him to get over it. He can't understand why they might do that? He can't understand how they were trying to protect him? He says himself he is 18 now, well maybe he should grow up some and try and see it from their point of view.

Then we have the prom. Slight spoiler alert ahead. Zip keeps having this dream where she is dancing with Kieran at the prom and suddenly the lights go out. She has a bad feeling leading up to prom, and is super worried abut what will happen. So most of the way through the prom and nothing has happened yet so she thinks perfect! Nothing will happen now! I mean no way this could happen in the last 5 mins! It doesn't, but still. Then they go to the after prom party and are dancing there and the lights go out! Zip is terrified, people are leaving, and she is like let's go! Well they get out to the secluded car (people have left already) and she instantly forgets her fear because she has an overwhelming desire to make out with Kieran in the back of the car. I was just like wait what? You instantly go from terrified something horrible is going to happen to super horny cannot think about anything else but getting with my man? Really? I spent the rest of the book thinking about that and just shaking my head. It was so odd...I didn't get it.

Overall I did enjoy the book. The story itself was a little simplistic, but it was fun. The last part though was a bit much so it ended on a low. I still would read the next books, but since the next one supposedly is a cliffhanger I am just going to wait until the third book is out.

Rating: 3/5