Tag: 4.0 Reviews

Cut Throat by Sharon Sala

Posted November 9, 2007 by Casee in Reviews | 6 Comments

Book description:

He killed her once…

Throat slashed and left for dead next to her murdered father, a thirteen-year-old girl vows to hunt down the man who did this to them—Solomon Tutuola. Now grown, bounty hunter Cat Dupree lets nothing— or no one—stand in the way of that deadly promise.

Not even her lover, Wilson McKay.

Their sexually charged encounters leave McKay wanting more, but Cat is determined to keep her distance. She doesn’t need a man making emotional demands, not now, when revenge is near. Suspecting that Tutuola is still alive, despite witnessing the horrific explosion that should have killed him, Cat follows a dangerous money trail to Mexico, swearing not to return until she’s certain Tutuola is dead—even if it means destroying her very soul….

This has been a week of 4.0 books for me. It’s actually kind of scary.

Cut Throat is the second book (first is Nine Lives) in the series which follows the life of Bounty Hunter Cat Dupree. To say that she’s scarred inside and out is an understatement. A big one. Cat is on seriously effed up woman…with good reason. When she was a little girl, a man broke into her house and killed her father in front of her. He then slit Cat’s throat, leaving her for dead. Miraculously she survived. Since then, her mission in life has been to hunt her father’s killer down and kill him. She thought she did that in Nine Lives. She soon realizes that she was wrong.

Deciding to go after Solomon Tutuloa was a no-brainer for Cat. The revenge she has waited her whole life for is within her reach and there is nothing that will stop her from taking it. If it means pushing away her lover, Wilson MacKay, so be it.

Sharon Sala is one of those authors whose books I love for a reason I can’t name. Sala has never written a heroine like Cat Dupree. She’s an extreme hardass that has gone through life forming few attachments. She doesn’t want a happily ever after. She doesn’t want friends, she doesn’t want to want a lover. She pushes people away and is just generally unlikeable. So I was really curious how Sala was going to pull off a book with a heroine that I didn’t even like. Somehow she did it, though when I finished Nine Lives, I had no idea where she would go with Cat.

In Cut Throat, there were a series of things that happened to Cat that made her question her decisions in regard to Wilson. When she finally takes her revenge, it’s like she’s seeing the world through a different set of eyes. Suddenly she’s trying to be a person that she’s never wanted to be. That’s a rough adjustment, not only for her, but for Wilson as well. I was as incredulous as Wilson when Cat apologized for unnecessary comments. Seriously, I was like “huh?”. It would have ruined it for me if Wilson would have taken it in stride and just accepted Cat for the new and improved person she was.

So even though her values made a 180, the core of Cat was still the same. It was just the intensity in which she tried to avoid an attachment with Wilson now when the other way. She was determined to make an attachment. I think it would have made me like the book a lot less if Cat didn’t remain as fierce of a person as she was in the prior book and for the 1st half of this book.

All in all, I really recommend this series. I’m curious to see where Sala takes it next.

4 out of 5.

On the Loose by Tara Janzen

Posted November 8, 2007 by Casee in Reviews | 3 Comments

Book description:

Keeping cool under pressure is the credo C. Smith Rydell lives by. That’s why he was handpicked by the Special Defense Forces for a mission few men survive. So why has the ex–DEA superstar been reassigned to Panama City, playing bodyguard to a blond in a black string bikini? Except Honey York isn’t your average pampered socialite. She’s the woman Rydell caught smuggling cash into El Salvador four months ago. And now she wants him to take her back.

All Honey has to do is find the guerrilla camp, deliver the goods, and get the hell out of the jungle—all in forty-eight hours. Only one man is up for the job. But sharing an unforgettable one-night stand was nothing next to being stranded with Rydell on some third world mountaintop. And with bullets flying and all hell breaking loose, now is not the time for passion. As if these two could possibly resist it….

The plot of this book is so unbelievable it borders on ridiculous. That obviously didn’t effect me, b/c I started reading it and could not put it down. All the sub-plots that were happening really should have detracted from the “real” plot of the book, but somehow they didn’t. To be honest, I’m not sure I really get what the real plot of the book even was.

Basically, this is what we have (when it comes to sub-plots):

-A lover thought long-dead, who now wants to kill Rydell b/c he knows a secret about her that she thought died when he died (yes, they both think the other is dead).

-A nun pregnant by the (evil) leader of the CNL.

-A drug lord who actually seems to have a conscience.

-A teacher from Albequerque, NM who headed to Panama City with big dreams of making a difference.

This is addition to the main plot, which is somewhat confusing as it is, so bear with me.

Honey York-Lytton never thought she’d see C. Smith Rydell again. After their passion filled night and his subsequent help with delivering money to her sister, Julia (a nun), Honey went home thinking that was that. The end. That all changes when the CIA threatens to charge her with treason (for taking money to her sister in Panama City, which they have photographs of) unless she undertakes a mission. Her mission? Meet Smith, recover a flash drive in a plane that crashed, taking five Louis Vuitton suitcases full of who-knows-what along with a briefcase to Alejandro Campos. Alejandro Campos would be the drug lord with a conscience.

Oh and she must do it in 48 hours. If she fails to accomplish her mission, she’ll be forever exiled from the United States and Smith will be arrested for treason.

As for Smith himself, he is dumbfounded by what has happened to get him to Panama City. After finding out that the lover that tried to kill him is really not dead, Smith has his own set of problems without taking on Honey. He’s not surprised to find out that Honey’s agreement to come to Panama City really has nothing to do with the CIA and everything to do with Julia.

I really enjoyed this book. After reading the cluster that was Crazy Sweet, I really didn’t know if I would like On the Loose. Honey and Smith’s story started in Crazy Sweet and for me, that’s what saved that book. Without them it would have been completely awful instead of just kind of awful.

I loved that there was more to Honey than met the eye. Usually people took Honey at face value. I’m sure the name Honey didn’t help. Smith was really the only person that ever looked past her physical attributes to see what lay beyond. Their banter was highly amusing. I loved the story of what the “C” stood for in C. Smith Rydell. I also loved how Honey teased Smith about it (I would have too).

There was a lot of action and hot sex in this book. Definitely worth the read.

4 out of 5.

Ice Storm by Anne Stuart

Posted November 7, 2007 by Casee in Reviews | 0 Comments

***Warning: May contain spoilers.

Book description:

Behind her mask is a deadly secret…

The powerful head of the covert mercenary organization The Committee, Isobel Lambert is a sleek, sophisticated professional who comes into contact with some of the most dangerous people in the world. But beneath Isobel’s cool exterior a ghost exists, haunting her with memories of another life…a life that ended long ago. But Isobel’s past and present are about to collide when Serafin, mercenary, assassin and the most dangerous man in the world, makes a deal with The Committee.

Seventeen years ago Isobel shot him and left him for dead. Now it looks as if he’s tracked her down for revenge. But Isobel knows all too well that looks can be deceiving…and that’s what she’s counting on to keep her cover in this international masquerade of murder.

Who writes these blurbs for the back? It can’t be the author b/c the back cover is a crock of crap. Tracked her down for revenge? Yeah, not so much. More like he kept track of her for 20 years, even though they parted in the worst possible way.

Seventeen years ago, Isobel Lambert shot her lover, the man she thought she was in love with. Convinced that he was dead by her hand, Isobel shed her innocence that day. Rising from the ashes (how melodramatic is that?), Isobel has numbed her emotions and is known to most as the Ice Queen.

As head of The Committee, Isobel is responsible for bringing in a known terrorist, Josef Serafin. Though he has truly done some atrocious things, he has also saved countless lives. Before she leaves, she reviews everything they have on Serafin the Butcher and learns that he is none other than her long-dead lover, Killian.

The only thing that makes her feel better with coming face-to-face with the man that would have killed her was knowing that he would never know who she was. After shooting him so many years before, Isobel was attacked while she fled. Viciously, brutally attacked. Requiring numerous plastic surgeries, Isobel looks nothing like the girl she used to be.

After meeting up with Killian, who she thinks doesn’t know her, she receives another shock. Not only does he know exactly who she is, but he’s been keeping tabs on her for the last seventeen years.

So revenge? Not so much.

As Isobel tries to get Killian to safety, she has no idea that he has an agenda of his own (again): bring down the Committee. When they almost lose their lives at least three times, Killian forces Isobel to think that the attempts might be on her life rather than his. She’s incredulous to say the least. She’s wrong though. It is her that someone is trying to get rid of.

I really enjoy Anne Stuart’s books. Her heroes are so effed up, they seem irredeemable. As I’m reading one of her books, I’m always thinking that there is no way that she’s going to make me like this hero. How could she? I mean all her heroes will kill the heroine if it’s necessary to their mission, even AFTER they’ve gotten intimate. Yet by the last page, I just love the hero and how much he has sacrificed for the heroine. I don’t think Killian is her “darkest” hero, which is what I’ve read. I still think Peter Masden takes the cake on that one.

In this book, Killian isn’t what he seems. That isn’t much of a surprise. After all, could you imagine a hero that really is a terrorist? Yeah, not so much. This book was different insofar as Killian was the one that had to overcome Isobel’s defenses b/c she refused to take another chance on him. You kind of can’t blame the woman. Finding out your lover drugged you and didn’t argue when his “co-workers” told him they were going to finish her off changes a girl.

I think this is my favorite in the Ice Series thus far. I’m highly anticipating Reno’s book, which should come out in April 2008.

4 out of 5.

All Through the Night by Suzanne Brockmann

Posted November 6, 2007 by Casee in Reviews | 4 Comments

Book description:

It’s Christmastime in Boston, and this year the silver bells will be wedding bells as FBI agent Jules Cassidy ties the knot with the man of his dreams, Hollywood heartthrob Robin Chadwick.

The pair plan a quiet, intimate ceremony, to be witnessed by family and close friends from the FBI, SEAL Team Sixteen, and Troubleshooters, Incorporated, including Sam Starrett and Alyssa Locke. But the holiday season brings more to the happy couple than they expect.

A waterfall coming through their kitchen ceiling, a bat colony in the attic, old family tensions . . . even an international incident can’t dampen their spirits. But add to that a parade of unexpected guests, including a reporter looking for a scoop, an ex-lover hell-bent on causing trouble, and a dangerous stalker, and suddenly the wedding is poised to unravel in chaos.

But nothing will stop Jules and Robin from getting their happy ending, because along with a guest list featuring the most elite counterterrorism force in the world, they have their own secret weapon–true love.

Before I begin my review, I’m going to answer the question that everyone wants to know. Did Jules cry? The answer to that is a big.fat.YES. Dude. What is with Suz and these crying heroes? Men do not have to show their softer side by crying. Geez.

I have been a long time fan of Jules Cassidy. How can you not love Jules? I want a BFF like Jules. That said, I really wasn’t feeling him in this book. I felt like it was more Suz’s voice coming through the character of Jules. I know that Suz is a huge gay rights activist which I think it’s really admirable. Still, this book came across as preachy to me. Jules came across as a whiny crybaby. Not the Jules that I know and love.

So Robin and Jules are in lurve. They’re going to get married. I don’t know how I feel about that b/c I still don’t know how I feel about Robin. When I read Force of Nature, I was kind of hoping that Robin would die. Blasphemy? Maybe. But I was still withholding judgement just like Sam. Come on. The guy was so far in the closet that he didn’t even know he was in the closet. He was a raging alcoholic. He could only have sex when he was so drunk that he wouldn’t have to admit that he liked men more than women. Especially unforgivable is him hooking up with Jules’ ex, Adam. That’s just really, really, really effed up.

It’s not that I didn’t enjoy the book b/c I did. Revisiting Sam and Alyssa is always fun. I love reading about how their relationship has progressed over the last several books. Alyssa is pregnant, which is a huge deal considering how her sister died. Jones and Molly make an appearance, which I loved b/c I love those two. I enjoyed reading the secondary romance between Jules and Robin’s assistant, Dolphina Patel and Will Schroeder. I liked seeing that though Jules is almost perfect, he hasn’t quite made it to perfect. The guy has a major jealousy problem. He hated that about himself which was what made it “aww” instead of “ugh”.

Bottom line, there was too much shoved into one book. It was over the course of a month, but still…

There’s Will Schroeder who crashes a surprise engagement party and pretends to be an invited guest. While talking to Robin, he’s recording the conversation. A few days later, the story hits the National Voice (like the National Enquirer?) which takes everything Robin said out of context. The day after that, the recording shows up on TMZ.com. How did that happen? Will’s computer got hacked. Yup. Hacked. I don’t buy it. The guy is a reported. Pul-lease. Tell me he didn’t have firewalls or whatever crap you have to make sure your shit doesn’t get hacked. Oh and at the party, he falls in love at first sight with Dolphina who obviously wants nothing to do with him after the story hits the media.

Jules is sent to Afghanistan and almost dies w/ Max. All the Team Sixteen wives arrive, along with Gina who is as terrified for Max as Robin is for Jules. Gina tells Robin that Jules made her promise that everyone would be there to support Robin if anything like this ever happened. We also find out that Gina is pregnant. Max tells Jules when it becomes apparent that they won’t make it out alive. Alas, they do make it out. How? Will has a friend who is the only person in Afghanistan that has internet access and sends Jules and Max’s location to Will who alerts Yashi (an Agent on Jules’ team) who then send in the Marines. Huh.

Though Jules and Robin sent an invitation to their wedding to the President and First Lady, they fully expected to receive their regrets. After all, they don’t want their wedding to become a political statement. Of course they RSVP will their thanks and that they will attend. That means that the Secret Service has to run all the guests, one of whom comes back red flagged. Yup, the man red flagged is none other than Jones. Will, being the report that he is, snoops through Dolphina’s files and sees that this Jones person has been flagged. He then does research and deuces that Jones is really Grady Morant, presumed dead. He doesn’t want to out him, however. He only wants his corroboration to right a book about it. In between all that, we find out Molly is also pregnant.

Is there something in the water?

While all this is going on, both Robin and Jules are receiving almost daily calls from Adam. They both don’t tell the other b/c they don’t to upset each other, but they soon both find out he’s been calling both of them. Jules goes all alpha on Adam and tells him that Robin is marrying him and he needs to stay out of their lives. Adam tells him that he’s being stalked and needs help. See, there’s this guy who thinks he’s a robot or alien or something. When the stalker leaves Adam a welcome home gift inside his house, Adam takes the next flight to Boston, leading the killer right to Robin and Jules’ door. At first I thought this was a person that was against gay marriage and wanted to kill Jules and Robin for even presuming to think they can actually marry. But no, he thought Adam was a robot. Jules and Sam, along with Cosmo and the rest of Team Sixteen come and save the day.

Jules and Robin do eventually get married after all this. That’s after Robin leaves the church b/c he forgot a gift he wanted to give Jules. He gets locked in the bathroom (old house, door knobs come off) and seriously digs a hole in the wall to get out. Meanwhile at the church, Jules is trying to stay calm but when he hears everyone is searching local bars, he loses it a little. Eventually he finds Robin and all is well.

As a whole, I did enjoy this story. Suz put in an Author’s Note at the end of the book saying that Robin demanded his HEA before she was ready to give it to him, which is how she ended up writing All Through The Night. I just thank God she did b/c I did not want to see Jules and Robin dragged out over 10 more books.

4 out of 5.

Side note: Suz has donated all of her earnings (advance, royalties and subrights) from this book to MassEquality’s Educational Fund. MassEquality is a group dedicated to preserving equal marriage rights in Massachusetts.

Highlander Untamed by Monica McCarty

Posted October 30, 2007 by Casee in Reviews | 4 Comments

Book description:

Rory MacLeod is a bold and powerful Highland Chief with only one allegiance–to his clan. He vows revenge against the rival MacDonald clan, though duty demands a handfast marriage to Isabel MacDonald–a bride he does not want and has no intention of keeping. But Rory couldn’t have anticipated the captivating woman who challenges his steely control, and unleashes the untamed passion simmering beneath his fierce exterior.

Blessed with incomparable beauty, Isabel MacDonald is prepared to use every means possible–including seduction–to uncover her husband’s most guarded secrets. Instead Rory awakens Isabel’s deepest desires and her sweetest fantasies. Now Isabel has found the happiness she’s always dreamed of with the very man she must betray, and discovers that passion can be far more dangerous than revenge.

I’ve had this book for ages, but was just not in the mood for a medieval. I’m glad I finally picked it up b/c it was really very good. I read it about two weeks ago, so this is really a brief review.

Isabel MacDonald has always wanted approval from her family. After her mother died when she was just three years old, Isabel has strove to get attention from her father and three brothers. Always falling short of the mark, Isabel finally has a chance to prove her worth by handsfasting w/ Rory MacLeod. Given the duty of finding Rory’s secrets, Isabel arrives with vague intentions of seducing his secrets out of him and then leaving after the required year.

Rory MacLeod has his own agenda when it comes to his handsfast bride. Agreeing only to placate the King, Rory has no intention of forgoing his revenge on Isabel’s uncle, MacDonald of Sleat. After a slight to his sister that he can’t ignore, Rory has every intention of not only avenging her, but defeating Sleat once and for all.

Though Isabel commits to Rory with every intention of betraying him, she soon finds herself caring for her husband. Though she doesn’t want to let her family down, she also wants to fight for the marriage that never thought she wanted. Though she wants to confide in Rory, she hesitates b/c she is not sure he would forgive even the thought of betrayal.

I thought this was a very good debut for McCarty. Isabel was a very like able heroine while Rory was exactly what I’ve come to expect in a Highland Laird. Always putting the duty to the clan first, Rory is arrogant and stubborn enough to figure out a way to have his revenge while keeping the bride that he should not want. Though he is at first blinded by her beauty, Rory learns that there is much more to his wife than first meets the eye.

The resolution of the conflict between the characters was believable. That’s always important to me. I don’t like finishing a book and thinking “WTF just happened?”.

I recommend this series to readers who are looking for a good medieval romance.

4 out of 5 stars.