I didn’t forget about blogging the rest of the books, but as I told Nicole, I wanted to get the reviews up of Monica’s books while the details were still fresh in my mind! I posted an entry a few days ago and started reviewing the books I’d read while offline. Seems like I started with the stinkers! But here’s the rest of the list, plus two that I finished in the past few days (I’m a reading machine when I don’t have my laptop to keep me company on the floor with the baby). Forgive me if some of these reviews are brief.
I Do (But I don’t) by Cara Lockwood – Now a Lifetime movie (ha, no really!) a chick lit type book, featuring a wedding planner and a firefighter, it was cute and had its moments, but the plot revolved around a plot device that I mostly despise- The Big Misunderstanding. Maybe it’s the counselor in me, but I always think when reading books that feature this- why don’t you just ask rather than assume? Just ask one question, maybe two, and all this heartache would be solved. I didn’t hate this book and actually enjoyed it, but I was irritated by the Big Mis that occurred a couple of times between the hero/heroine. Communication is the key people 😉 But, it was an entertaining, light read and didn’t have any fatal flaws that I noticed. Of course, I wouldn’t say I gave it 110% either.
Grade: B- for sheer entertainment value.
Lethal by Shari Shattuck– Soap star Shari Shattuck found a new publisher for this sequal to Loaded, which was published by Pocket Publishing. Downtown Press has picked up this series featuring heiress Cally Wilde and her sexy lover, police detective Evan Paley. I was really happy to see a sequel to this book as I remember thoroughly enjoying the first one but completely believed that no sequel would ever see the light of day as I heard NOTHING about Loaded among readers. But, the newly impressive Downtown Press, which has published recent hits like Gena Showalter’s Awaken Me Darkly and Julie Kenner’s The Givenchy Code, came to the rescue and gave readers the chance to catch up with Callie and Evan. The book is a romantic suspense, with a cast of fun characters (both new and old), some tension in the somewhat nebulous love affair between Callie and Evan, and a mystery that some may consider mildly predictable but I still thought offered a few good twists. I recommend this book to those who love romantic suspense. It’s not necessary to read Loaded first, but would be helpful. But even further, I recommend keeping an eye on Downtown Press and their upcoming releases. This publisher seems to have shopped out some real talent in some lesser known authors. And interstingly, you can buy their books as ebooks on their site. Instant gratification is a good thing!
The Good, The Bad, and The Undead by Kim Harrison– sequal to Dead Witch Walking and not highly anticipated by me since I was one of the few people on the planet who wasn’t overly thrilled with the first book, I was pleasantly surprised to find that I enjoyed this follow up offering by Harrison much more than I did the first. I believe I bought this second book at RT because Kim Harrison was at the booksigning and I wanted to give the series a second chance. I’m glad I did. And I have just now discovered that Every Which Way but Dead, the third book, has been available since July 1st so I guess a shopping trip at Amazon with my new gift certificate is in order.
Grade: B- (while I would have happily given the first, Dead Witch Walking, at least a C-)
An Angel in Stone by Peggy Nicholson (Bombshell) Ihave been very pleased with the offerings from Silhouette Bombshell. I am not a romance purist, so I’ve enjoyed reading these category books that offer kick-ass heroines, fast paced action, and fun, unique story lines. There have been some that I’ve liked much less than others, but overall I think the selection has been great. This book is the first in The Bone Hunters series, centering around the Ashaways- a family who runs a world renowed archaeological firm. This first book introduces the family via Raine. Passionate about dinosaur fossils, she finds herself placed in direct competition with Kincade, whom she has never met before but who seems to have a personal vendetta against her family and their business. This book also has tones of Lara Croft and Indiana Jones and is very much an adventure romance. I look forward to future books in the series.
Grade: B+ for sheer entertainment value
You Slay Me and Fire Me Up by Katie MacAlister – I have read several books by Katie MacAlister in the past and they received low grades from me. I was never able to get into her writing, although I know she has a very loyal fan base. But when I saw these book, the first two in a series about Aisling Grey, Guardian, I was too intrigued to pass them by. Thanks to bookslostsandfound trading group for finding them for me! I’m glad I read them and would gladly recommend them to those who enjoy paranormals with an unusual twist. No vampires and werewolves here but we are introduced to demons, dragons, sorcerers and more. I also would not strictly call these books romance, as there is no HEA and no promise of one hinted at. However, the romance between Aisling and Drake (a wyvern) is featured in both. I eagerly anticipate the next book (although I looked, I couldn’t find any info on an upcoming book so I guess I better tone that anticipation down some).
The Shadow and the Star and Flowers From the Storm by Laura Kinsale– so much has been said in praise of Laura Kinsale that I don’t feel there’s much use in repeating it, but I will gush for a moment on her unique talent for unusual story lines and awesome characterization. I read The Shadow and the Star first, as Candy recommended that I might like that one more (since my reading tastes seem similar to Sarah’s). Candy was right. I loved it, although, damn her, she forgot to mention that it’s the follow up to a previous book, The Hidden Heart, the story of Tess and Gryphon. I am a series slut and normally my series induced OCD prevents me from reading out of order. But by the time I realized what had happened, it was too late to put the book down. I blame any resulting twitches or neuroses soley on Candy.
Flowers from the Storm was just as wonderful but, yes, less to my taste and I admit to considering not reading it after the first few pages and realizing that Maddy was a Quaker and I was going to have to read a whole book of thees and thous. But the writing is so superb, it wasn’t even an issue once I got drawn into the story (on around page 15 lol).
Grades: The Shadow and The Star: A
Flowers From the Storm: A- (only because I liked it slightly less)
Do You Believe by Ann Lawrence – Okay, first, I have to tell you that I read this book the same day I read In My Dreams by Monica Jackson. Being that both books have a central theme of battling evil, it was a bit of a brain overload for me. It was an odd coincedence since I can’t remember another recent (any time in the past year) book I read that focused so clearly on evil. But I ended up with two in one day.
This book is from the Tor line of paranormals that I’ve been enjoying glomming. So far, the best of the lot is Warprize by Elizabeth Vaughan, but this one wasn’t bad. Rose’s sister, Joan, has gone missing in England and the only real clue to her disappearance is the book by V.C. Drummond she leaves in her cottage, with extensive notes in the margins and the words “I believe” written at the end. Rosie finds the horror novelist to ask him a simple question “do you believe in evil?” Vic has recently buried his aunt Alice and has remained at her cottage to complete his latest novel, a sequel to the book found in Joan’s cottage. But he finds himself the victim of a strange affliction- words that he doesn’t remember typing keep appearing on his computer screen. Scenes, involving his deceased aunt and foretelling his death. When Rose appears, he is at first dismissive but finds himself quickly enraptured with the American ingenue (she manages to be such despite being divorced- go figure). Rose’s journey to find Joan and Vic’s determination to bed her begins their exploration into the world of evil and demons.
The book dragged in places but was overall enjoyable. I had a few minor issues with some inconsistencies in the book (the specifics of which escape me at the moment- that will teach me to write them down) and the characters of Vic and Rosie were a little to…contrived. The who-done-it and mystery part of the plot are predictable but the book gets props for being different (no vampires or werewolves here). Recommended for fans of paranormal romance looking for an easy read with a more unusual story line.