What Are You Reading? (314)

Posted January 20, 2017 by Holly in Features | 0 Comments

WAYR-New

Casee:I’m reading Power Game by Christine Feehan. I’m about halfway through it and really enjoying it so far. I’m also rereading the In Death series and am falling in love with Eve and Roarke all over again.

So far this year has been kind to me.

Holly: My youngest brought home a cold this week, and we’ve both been laid low by it. I hate being sick, but at least I got some reading time in. I did some re-reading. The Gamble, Mystery Man and Ride Steady by Kristen Ashley, and One Fell Sweep by Ilona Andrews. I also read Playing the Player by Amy Andrews. It was a cute contemporary romance, but I though the final conflict was a little contrived. Right now I’m reading Malsum Pass by Kimberley Forrest, which I picked up after seeing Tracy’s review of it. I’m about 40 pages in and so far so good.

Rowena: With all of the rain that we’ve been getting here in Southern California, I’ve really picked up my reading game and that makes me happy. I read Satisfaction by Lexi Blake, which was an enjoyable contemporary romance. I really liked the way that Bran went about getting things done in this book as opposed to his bonehead brother Riley in the last book. Bran was a breath of fresh air and I absolutely adored him. After that, I read Nine Rules to Break when Romancing a Rake by Sarah MacLean because that’s my book club discussion book and book club is on Monday. It was just as wonderful as it was the first time that I read it. <3

Next up, I read Sustained by Emma Chase again for the Totally Doable Challenge that I’m participating in this year and it was my favorite freaking read of the week. I cried, I laughed and I fell in love with Jake Becker and the McQuaid family all over again. I loved them so much that I re-read Sidebarred, too. Oh man, I have so much love for all of those characters. So much love. Next up, I read Accidentally on Purpose by Jill Shalvis and while the story was solid, the characters got on my hot damn nerves throughout too much of the story for me to give it anything more than a 3.

Now, I’m reading Seven Minutes in Heaven by Eloisa James. I’m about a third of the way into the book and I’m enjoying it. Can’t say much about the story yet but it’s going good so far. After this, I’m going to read Fury on Fire by Sophie Jordan and get to know North because I’ve been mighty curious about him since book 1 (his book is book 3). Wish me luck! 🙂

What are you reading this week? Any new favorites or books that drove you crazy? Share!

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Guest Review: Kill Without Shame by Alexandra Ivy

Posted January 20, 2017 by Jen in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: Kill Without Shame by Alexandra IvyReviewer: Jen
Kill Without Shame (ARES Security, #2) by Alexandra Ivy
Series: ARES Security #2
Published by Zebra
Publication Date: December 27, 2016
Genres: Romantic Suspense
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three-half-stars

Five brave military heroes have survived the hell of a Taliban prison to return home—and take on civilian missions no one else can. They’re the men of ARES Security. Highly skilled, intimidating, invincible, and one by one, tested again and again…  Lucas St. Clair’s prestigious family had a political future neatly planned out for him—one that didn’t include his high school sweetheart, Mia Ramon. Under their pressure, Lucas gave her up. But since surviving captivity, he’s a changed man—and a crucial member of ARES Security. When he discovers a dead man clutching a picture of Mia that bears a threatening message, his fiercest protective instincts kick in, and he knows he must go to her.   Mia has never forgiven Lucas for breaking her heart, and she’s convinced her feelings for him are in the past. But it’s soon clear that isn’t true for either of them. Now, determined to solve the crime and keep Mia safe, with his ARES buddies backing him up, Lucas will have to reconstruct the murder victim’s last days—and follow a lethal trail that leads right back to the fate of the woman he still loves…  “A fantastic blend of romance and suspense…thrilling to the end.” --Mary Burton, USA Today bestselling author on Kill Without Mercy

In Kill Without Shame, we meet yet another amazing security team of badasses, this time called ARES. The members are all former military guys who were held prisoner together in Afghanistan. Lucas St. Clair is one of them, though unlike the rough backgrounds most of them have, Lucas comes from a rich political family. He turned his back on that life for good after coming back home, and now he’s rich and successful all on his own. When he finds out his high school girlfriend Mia is in danger, he immediately rushes to her side. He left her once, but he never stopped loving her (naturally), and now he has to convince her that not only can he keep her safe but he wants back in her life for good. Mia and Lucas have to figure out who wants her dead and put a stop to their plans.

This was a fun and interesting book! As you can probably guess, it doesn’t exactly break new ground, what with the secret team, the “I dumped you for your own good but I never forgot you” that Lucas has going on, and the headstrong but smart heroine. Still, I enjoy those stories so for me this one worked. I liked that Mia doesn’t immediately roll over and let Lucas in. She doesn’t trust him at first, nor should she. Well, she trusts his skills at keeping her safe pretty quickly, but she doesn’t trust his intentions and makes him work to regain that trust. Even better, Lucas understands why she doesn’t trust him and doesn’t push her or get mad at her for her reticence. He knows he screwed up, and he knows he needs to earn her back. I did also appreciate that his reasons for leaving her originally aren’t totally bogus (just a little bit, ha). Looking from the outside in, we readers can see neither Lucas nor Mia was really ready to handle their love yet. We can see that time to mature and some tough life experiences for both of them have made them stronger and better prepared to be together.

I liked the mystery in the book. There are some pretty big twists and turns, and even though I could kind of figure out who the villain might be fairly early, that person’s motivations weren’t quite clear at first. The book isn’t action-packed but the pace was fairly steady. Unfortunately, Lucas and Mia do something profoundly stupid towards the end, which was out of character and unnecessary except as a way to allow the villain to get to them in a dramatic fashion.

For me, this was a solid book in a new-to-me series, and I’ll be looking forward to more.

Grade: 3.5 out of 5

*I received a review copy of this book from the publisher.

three-half-stars

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Review: Magic Binds by Ilona Andrews

Posted January 19, 2017 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Magic Binds by Ilona AndrewsReviewer: Holly
Magic Binds (Kate Daniels, #9) by Ilona Andrews
Series: Kate Daniels #9
Also in this series: Magic Shifts, Magic Shifts
Published by Ace
Publication Date: September 20th 2016
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 384
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four-half-stars

Mercenary Kate Daniels knows all too well that magic in post-Shift Atlanta is a dangerous business. But nothing she’s faced could have prepared her for this…

Kate and the former Beast Lord Curran Lennart are finally making their relationship official. But there are some steep obstacles standing in the way of their walk to the altar…

Kate’s father, Roland, has kidnapped the demigod Saiman and is slowly bleeding him dry in his never-ending bid for power. A Witch Oracle has predicted that if Kate marries the man she loves, Atlanta will burn and she will lose him forever. And the only person Kate can ask for help is long dead.

The odds are impossible. The future is grim. But Kate Daniels has never been one to play by the rules…

Kate and Curran have finally set a date for their wedding, but planning a wedding is hard work, especially when you’re trying to grow a business, defend land you never meant to claim and deal with your soon-to-be husband’s former pack.

Now that Kate’s father has moved in at the edge of her land and called a truce, he keeps poking at her, hoping to incite a reaction. She’s mostly able to resist going after him directly until he kidnaps Saimon, a demi-god and former sort-of friend of Kate’s. Roland is bleeding him dry in his bid for more power, and Kate knows she can’t leave Saimon to his fate..especially since that would mean giving dear old dad power over her. The witch oracle has warned Kate she has devastation in her future, but she can’t sit back and do nothing. Plus, she’s changing. Since she claimed Atlanta as hers, she can feel pieces of herself slipping away. She doesn’t like the person she’s becoming, but she isn’t sure how to stop the change from happening.

Of course Curran still has her back. No matter how she acts or what challenges they face, Curran accepts Kate as she is. She also has a lot of support from her friends and psuedo-family. Despite herself – or maybe in spite of herself – Kate has formed stronger bonds and attachments than she ever expected.

These characters are so multifaceted. Take Roland for example. He is Evil Incarnate. The Killer of Innocents. The Scourge of the Earth. The Builder of Towers. Yet he has flashes of goodness, too. It’s clear he cares for Kate in his own way, and wants a relationship with her. I know there’s no way he can ever be redeemed, but a small part of me holds out hope I’m wrong, while another part anxiously awaits the day Curran rips him to pieces for hurting Kate.

This was such a fantastic read. I can’t believe how fresh and exciting this book was, considering we’re 9 books into the series. I was sucked in from page one. There was a surprising amount of humor considering the darker overtone of the book. I literally laughed out loud several times.

My heart hurt, my blood pumped and I was on the edge of my seat the entire time I was reading. I can’t wait to see what Andrews has in store for us next.

4.5 out of 5

 

four-half-stars

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Guest Review: Malsum Pass by Kimberly Forrest

Posted January 19, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Malsum Pass by Kimberly ForrestReviewer: Tracy
Malsum Pass by Kimberly Forrest
Published by Self-Published
Publication Date: December 11th 2016
Genres: Paranormal, Romance
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three-half-stars

After locating some letters her mother had kept hidden from her all her life, Tara Mason journeys to the small town of Malsum Pass, Vermont to find the family she never knew she had and to discover just why her mother had kept this place such a secret.

The town seems idyllic despite the townspeople’s odd habit of staring and… sniffing? And her new neighbor Riley Cooper looks like he could have been conjured from one of Tara’s fantasies, but there is definitely more going on here than meets the eye. Tara is determined to uncover all of the secrets, even if it reveals things she never knew about herself.

Tara is excited and anxious as she drives to Malsum Pass, Vermont.  She was raised by her mother and step-father but whenever Tara raised questions about her biological father her mother shut her down quickly.  She’s always wanted to know about her roots so when her mother dies and her step-father finds letters addressed to Tara’s mother that were never opened she’s more than curious.  It turns out that she has a grandfather that’s always wanted to meet her but her mother had never even opened most of the letters he wrote.  He had finally stopped writing a few years earlier so she’s not sure what she’ll find in Malsum Pass when she gets there.

Tara’s first stop in MP is the diner where everyone seems to stop and stare at her.  She’s freaked out but when she tells the waitress who she’s looking for she sends a runner to go get Tara’s grandpa.  To say that her grandfather is happy to see her is an understatement.  He immediately takes her to the house he has waiting for her and sets her up and then she eventually meets her father (who knew nothing about her existence) and her three half-brothers.

Tara ends up loving the town and its people, although her neighbor Riley Cooper earned the name “rude, arrogant ass” right off the bat.  He is a hot, rude arrogant ass so at least he’s nice to look at.  🙂  Luckily Tara and Coop (as he’s known) become friends and they start falling in love.  There is, however, a secret about Malsum Pass that hasn’t been revealed to Tara  – most of the town can get furry whenever they want to – and when she finds out she may decide that things are just too strange for her to stay permanently.

Malsum Pass was a good paranormal story.  I really liked the family aspect of the story, with Tara finding her long-lost grandfather, father and brothers.  She finally got that sense of family that she’d never felt before. It really seemed like a nice place to live if you didn’t mind that they most of them turned into wolves.

The romance in the book was a little rushed, imho.  Tara went from find Coop annoying but hot to kissing him and then they moved right along.  Coop, when they slept together, moved really quickly to the next phase of their relationship and I felt kind of like I was on a train that had no brakes.  I wanted more build up between the two, that’s for sure.  I wasn’t a huge fan of Coop’s, ever, so I think I needed the extra time (between Tara and Coop) to get to know each other that the author didn’t include in the story.

The story had a decent flow to it overall.  It did get a bit slow in the middle where it didn’t seem like anything much was happening – just showing us day to day living – but it picked up and ended well.

Rating: 3.5/3.75 out of 5

three-half-stars

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Retro Review: Just the Sexiest Man Alive by Julie James.

Posted January 18, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 17 Comments

Retro Review: Just the Sexiest Man Alive by Julie James.Reviewer: Rowena
Just the Sexiest Man Alive by Julie James
Published by Berkley Sensation
Publication Date: January 1st 1970
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 296
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four-half-stars

No woman could resist him—except the one he wanted most...
Cool, Calm, Collected...

Nothing fazes Taylor Donovan. In the courtroom she never lets the opposition see her sweat. In her personal life, she never lets any man rattle her—not even her cheating ex-fiancé. So when she's assigned to coach People's "Sexiest Man Alive" for his role in his next big legal thriller, she refuses to fall for the Hollywood heartthrob's charms. Even if he is the Jason Andrews.

Confident, Famous, Irresistible...

Jason Andrews is used to having women fall at his feet. When Taylor Donovan gives him the cold shoulder, he's thrown for a loop. She's unlike any other woman he's ever met: uninterested in the limelight, seemingly immune to his advances, and shockingly capable of saying no to him. She's the perfect challenge. And the more she rejects him, the more he begins to realize she may just be his perfect match.

******As part of our 10 year anniversary celebration, we’ll be re-posting old reviews that make us cringe, laugh or sigh all over again.

This week, we’re featuring the review of the book that started my love of all things Julie James. Just the Sexiest Man Alive completely rocked my socks the first (and every) time that I read it and I thought it was super cool that Julie James came and commented on my review. If you haven’t read this book, you should. It’s great.*****

This review was originally posted on October 17, 2008

I’m a sucker for those flirty heroes that are cocky and arrogant. You know, the kind of heroes that are bewildered when the heroine’s don’t fall into a puddle of lust at the sight of them. I love seeing them humbled. I loved seeing them so full of themselves in the beginning and then watching as they slowly come to realize that they’re not as great as they think they are. I love seeing them come full circle and wooing their heroines into loving them anyway.

This book was great. It was a fast and funny read and I’m seriously wanting to read another Julie James book. It took me no time at all to read this book and I was sad to finish the story and say goodbye to the characters. They became real to me and I enjoyed getting to know them.

This book is about Jason Andrews and Taylor Donovan. Jason is this big hot shot celebrity actor, think Brad Pitt, a Multiple People’s Magazine’s Sexiest Man Alive and he pretty much got everything that he ever wanted. Women dropped their panties for him at the snap of a finger and people jumped to do his bidding every time he so much as glanced at them. He had that kind of power over people, the celebrity kind of power and he was so used to it that he didn’t bother to think about what other people thought, it simply was and he enjoyed the power he had over people.

Taylor Donovan, on the other hand is a rising star in the law world. She was one of the top lawyers from her firm and she was sent to L.A. from Chicago to help with a big sexual harassment case and she takes her job very seriously. Even if she’s forced to take a job she doesn’t want, no matter who the job is for.

She doesn’t give two flits about Jason Andrews and even though she thinks he’s insanely attractive, she doesn’t see what the big deal about him is, she vows to treat him as anyone else. She was going to treat him like she treats all of her other clients, only he stands her up at their first appointment and then stands her up again for their second appointment. She had cleared her schedule for him and he didn’t even have the decency to call her and let her know he couldn’t make it. He just left her hanging and so she did what any other woman would do.

She got good and pissed. She was so livid with him that when he finally did decide to come in and see her, she didn’t care who the hell he was or anything, she was too busy for him.

That first meeting between Jason and Taylor was the best frickin’ meeting ever. I thought it was hilarious and I loved the way that Taylor handled it. She totally had me crackin’ up and then grinning like a fool, she was frickin’ awesome. The way that she kept putting him in his place always had me laughing my ass off.

The characters were great, the dialogue was easy to follow along with and the plot all made for a really fast and a really fun read. I really enjoyed reading this book, I would really recommend this book to those of you who are looking for a light and entertaining read. This book delivers the laughs, the emotions and a romance that had you cheering the main characters on.

Jason was hawt stuff and I seriously fell in love with him even through each and every one of his boneheaded moves. All of the plans that he came up with to win Taylor over made me want to beat him over the head with something sharp but I never stopped loving the heck out of him. He was such a normal and good guy that with each page that I turned, I fell a little more in love with him until my heart was near to bursting with him. I really enjoyed his character and I really enjoyed his friendship with Jeremy. I hope Jeremy gets his own book, Jeremy seriously rocked my socks!

Taylor was another fantastic character. I don’t really care much for heroines as much as I’m always focused on the heroes and how hot stuff they are but this heroine was strong and she was confident and yet still a little vulnerable. She was everything that I wish I was and she made me want to be a lawyer again. She made practicing the law and researching every little detail of her cases seem so cool and the way that she would not let Jason get away with anything made me love her all the more. She was memorable, not a lot of heroines are like that for me but Taylor was. I’ll remember who she is and I’ll remember how funny, confident and smart she was and I’ll want to read her book again because she was great.

This book is a good one, it’s not a pull your heart strings kind of book but it’s enjoyable anyway. It’s a solid read and I’m so glad that I read it. You guys should definitely put this on your list of books to buy soon and read because I’m sure you’ll enjoy it as well.

This book is available from Berkley Sensation. You can buy it here or here in e-format.

four-half-stars

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