Tag: 4.75 Reviews

Review: Heart of Obsidian by Nalini Singh

Posted September 29, 2015 by Holly in Reviews | 8 Comments

Review: Heart of Obsidian by Nalini SinghReviewer: Holly
Heart of Obsidian by Nalini Singh
Series: Psy/Changeling #12
Also in this series: Caressed By Ice, Mine to Possess, Hostage to Pleasure, The Magical Christmas Cat, Kiss of Snow, Tangle of Need, Slave to Sensation, Tangle of Need, Wild Invitation, Heart of Obsidian, Shield of Winter, Shield of Winter, Visions of Heat, Mine to Possess, Caressed By Ice, Branded by Fire, Blaze of Memory, Mine to Possess, Hostage to Pleasure, Hostage to Pleasure, Shards of Hope, Shards of Hope, Caressed By Ice, Branded by Fire, Blaze of Memory, Play of Passion, Allegiance of Honor, Kiss of Snow, Tangle of Need, Shield of Winter, Shards of Hope, Allegiance of Honor, Allegiance of Honor, Wild Embrace, Wild Embrace, Wild Embrace
Published by Penguin
Publication Date: June 4th 2013
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Paranormal
Pages: 384
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-half-stars

Step into New York Times bestseller Nalini Singh’s explosive and shockingly passionate Psy-Changeling world… A dangerous, volatile rebel, hands stained bloodred. A woman whose very existence has been erased. A love story so dark, it may shatter the world itself. A deadly price that must be paid. The day of reckoning is here. From “the alpha author of paranormal romance” (Booklist) comes the most highly anticipated novel of her career—one that blurs the line between madness and genius, between subjugation and liberation, between the living and the dead.

This book was shrouded in mystery when it was first released. There was much speculation about the main characters, but the author and publisher kept a tight lid on the details. Since some time has passed since the release, I’m going to write this review with full character spoilers. Read on at your own risk.

Councilor Kaleb Krycheck has been an enigma since he was introduced in the second book. From a young age, Kaleb showed signs of being a powerful telekinetic. He was taken from his family at age three and raised at the knee of former councilor Santano Enrique. Enrique was a powerful TK himself, and he also happened to be a serial killer. He kept Kaleb with him as he murdered dozens of helpless young men and women, all while forcing Kaleb to watch, and at times even participate. Through it all, Kaleb remained strong, for one reason only: Sahara Kyriakus. They met by chance when Enrique visited Sahara’s PsyClan on business, and they formed a fast friendship. For Kaleb, it was the first time anyone ever cared for him in any way, which was a powerful incentive. For years they were friends in secret, sharing their present and planning their future together. Until she was taken from him.

Now he’s the youngest Psy to ever advance to councilor, and his past is both mysterious and suspicious. He’s spent the last seven years searching for Sahara, but she can’t remember him. As her mind slowly comes back online, she realizes Kaleb is a mass of contradictions. He rescued her from her prison, but keeps her holed up in his house. Yet when she asks for information, he’s quick to give it to her. He provides her everything she needs, including physical and mental contact. Yet he’s tight-lipped about himself and icy in his Silence. And still her mind insists Kaleb would never harm her.

Sahara has a unique ability; one that made her a target by many. For the last seven years she’s lived in madness as her shields were ripped open and her mind invaded by those who wished to use her for their own gains. She created a labyrinth inside her mind to protect herself, which starts to unravel as soon as Kaleb rescues her from her private prison. She doesn’t remember him, but part of her recognizes and wants to trust him, despite all the abuse she suffered.

Kaleb considers Sahara his. He’ll do anything and everything he can to ensure her happiness…except let her go.

Prior to this, we’d seen glimpses of Kaleb searching for someone, but there was little information given about who or why. I loved the way the story was told with flashes of Kaleb and Sahara’s friendship from the past. As Sahara’s memories slowly return, we see glimpses of Kaleb as a teenager and Sahara as a girl, doing the impossible and coming to care for each other despite all the obstacles.

I loved how they teased each other, and how determined Kaleb was to give Sahara everything she needed.  Not just material items, but physical and emotional as well. He remembered her favorite foods and drinks, kept mementos from their time spent together in their youth and teased her with pieces of her past and his. It was these small details that transformed Kaleb from a dark, evil being into an intense, three-dimensional man.

“Tell me you aren’t evil.” Please. Kaleb’s thumbs moved against her temples.
“I’m sorry.” Shaking her head in a mute refusal to accept what he was trying to tell her, she lifted trembling fingers to his jaw.
“What have you done?”
“Too much that can never be undone.”

He wasn’t just the ruthless cardinal who clawed his way to the top, or just the man who spent his childhood at the knee of a serial killer. He was a man who loved.Of course that doesn’t negate the fact that he is a ruthless Cardinal Telekentic with questionable morals. It’s just that Sahara is the exception to everything.

Sahara’s eyes were haunted when they met his. “Am I so important to you?”
“Yes,” he said. “You’re everything.” The entire reason for his existence

Sarah was 16 when she was taken, so she didn’t have a chance to develop her Psy abilities or, really, her personality. As she comes to trust Kaleb and feel safe with him, she begins to explore the person she’s become. She could have come across as weak, but rather I thought she showed a quiet strength in dealing with her past and Kaleb that was commendable. She faced her fears and trauma head on, and then took on the task of drawing Kaleb out of the darkness.

It’s okay.” Cupping his nape, she murmured the words over and over, having no conscious knowledge of why she did so—but aware in her bones that while he might be the dangerous one in the room, right this instant, she was the strong one. “It’s okay, Kaleb. I’m here.”
And I won’t let it be too late.

While Kaleb is helping Sahara come back to herself, he’s also dealing with a fracture in the ‘Net, the network of minds all Psy must connect to in order to survive. Part of it has become diseased, which is causing people to go mad and succumb to rages He’s also dealing with PurePsy, a fanatical group who wants the Silence protocol to remain in place, and has no problem using mass violence in its agenda to prove Silence is the only way. Bombings, shootings and other terrorists acts force Kaleb to work with the arrows to hunt their enemies, clean up messes and help the victims of the attacks.

Several threads opened in previous books are tugged here. Though there’s no final resolution to the overarching issue of the disease in the ‘Net, the issue of Silence is dealt with in a believable way. I love the complexity of the world. Singh never misses a beat.

While the action and adventure are interesting and brought several key points from previous books together, it’s the romance that really shines. I was fully invested in both Kaleb and Sahara as the worked to come back to one another. Intense, wildly romantic and action-packed. This novel was everything I expected and more.

4.75 out of 5

four-half-stars

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Guest Review: Taking the Heat by Victoria Dahl

Posted September 1, 2015 by Jen in Reviews | 2 Comments

Taking the Heat by Victoria Dahl
Jen’s review of Taking the Heat (Jackson: Girls Night Out #3) by Victoria Dahl

All revved up for bright lights and steamy nights, writer Veronica Chandler chased her dreams to New York City. When she hit a dead end, reality sent her back home to Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Saving her pride and her new gig—writing a relationship advice column!—requires some faking. No one can know the truth about her big-city flop or her nonexistent sex life. But the town’s irresistibly rugged librarian is determined to figure her out… and give her hands-on lessons in every wicked thing she wants to know.  

Gabe MacKenzie’s heart might be in Wyoming, but secretly his future’s tied up in his family’s Manhattan legacy. Getting down and dirty with Veronica is supposed to give him a few memorable nights—not complicate his plans. But the thing about heat this scorching is there’s just no going back… and it might be too hot for either of them to take.

Ah, what a wonderful book! It’s funny and sexy and smart and everything I love about reading Dahl’s books.

The third book in the “Girls Night Out” trilogy (no need to read the other books to enjoy this one) is about Veronica Chandler, author of the “Dear Veronica” advice column in the local paper. She moved back to Jackson Hole, Wyoming after a disastrous attempt to make a life in NYC. She meets brand new librarian (be still my beating heart!) Gabe MacKenzie through a friend, and they soon start a casual relationship. Veronica is trying to figure out how to live more authentically and stop being so afraid, and Gabe enjoys being with her and wants to have fun before he has to move back to NYC to take over the family business. But, he hasn’t told Veronica that he’s leaving, and the closer they get the more problematic his omission becomes. He can’t stay, and she’s realized she doesn’t want to leave, so how could it ever work out?

Can I tell you how long I have been waiting to read a romance about a male librarian? YEARS, that’s how long. I am a librarian, and I love reading romances about libraries and librarians, but I have come across almost no male librarians and none where the job was realistic or an important part of their character, and believe me I’ve looked. So when I heard Dahl was writing a male librarian I was beyond excited. I love to read romances about librarians, even if they are always women, but most authors don’t get the library details right. Dahl does. It’s pretty clear she either personally knows librarians or consulted with some during the writing of the book, because most of the book rang true, far truer than any other books I’ve read with librarian heroines. (And I thought the library details were more well done and important than they were in the last book, about the librarian Sophie.) Makes my heart happy! For instance, Gabe’s friends ask him not just for reading suggestions but tech help, even outside the library. That kind of thing happens to me and other librarians all the time, and lots of us are just as comfortable helping with tech questions as book recommendations! Moreover, librarian really is the perfect career for a guy like Gabe who genuinely wants to help everyone. His job is a part of who he is, which makes his choices about the future even more heartbreaking. Loved it.

But enough about my nerdy appreciation for Dahl’s research. Let’s talk about the characters. Gabe is….yum. He is a sweet beta, though he can still be bossy in the bedroom. Oh, and I can’t forget his dirty talking, flirty banter. Seriously, this guy is my new book boyfriend. He’s smart and kind and sexy and funny and bearded and just wants to do the right thing, sometimes to his detriment. And did I mention he genuinely loves to go down on women and has worked to master his technique? He’s damn near perfect, but I appreciate that Dahl gives him flaws, too. He doesn’t like to cause conflict, doesn’t like people to be upset with him, so he tries to avoid anything that will make the people he loves unhappy. He does it for the right reasons, but unfortunately that conflict aversion means he isn’t upfront with Veronica about his life plans. I personally couldn’t get too upset with it because a) they hadn’t known each other long, b) they were only casually seeing each other so it’s not like he owed her his whole story, even if he did let it go on too long and c) he was making his choices out of love for his family, nothing selfish or cruel. I would have liked a little more groveling from him at the end, but he still did alright.

Veronica was so great, too. She grows a lot during the course of the book, learning to trust herself and stand up for herself and show the world she’s not perfect. She’s in her late twenties but is still a virgin. (I don’t think this is much of a spoiler because you learn it at the start of the book, and I’ve heard Dahl herself talk about it online.) I’m not always a fan of virgin heroines, so I was skeptical, but I should have known better. Veronica’s virginity is largely an outcome of her fear and her tendency to keep herself hidden. She just never lets herself get close enough to people, so of course sex was tricky. She’s not doing it for any moral/religious reasons, hangups, body image issues, etc (not that those aren’t valid reasons to abstain, just not what’s going on with Veronica). She just didn’t get the opportunity, and the longer it went on the more awkward it was for her, the more she tried to hide herself, and the more unlikely sex became. As you get to know Veronica, you see how her virginity totally makes sense and is a symptom of what’s wrong in her life. She’s not sheltered, though, and isn’t afraid of sex. Of course, the thoughtful and talented Gabe is delighted to help her get over that hump! (harhar) Oooh boy, is this book sexy. The tension between Gabe and Veronica is H-O-T, and when they finally get together, I was almost as relieved as they were!

The book didn’t quite make it to perfect for me, though. There were times when Veronica seemed a little too immature to be 27, especially when she was talking about sex. I also thought Veronica was a bit too hard on Gabe near the end. I had no problem with her anger over his omissions, but I had a little trouble understanding why she was so upset that he wanted to move back home to help his family. I didn’t understand the hard nosed ultimatum she gives him (she doesn’t call it an ultimatum, but that’s what it really was). Her reasoning seemed kind of flimsy–they just hadn’t been together long enough for that kind of decree, IMO, and it seemed like forced drama for the sake of drama. Why not give your new relationship time to grow and Gabe time to come to terms with his choices? And as I mentioned above, I wanted to see a bit more from Gabe to make up for his right-reasons-wrong-execution behavior as well. Minor issues, but enough to knock just a tiny bit off my grade. Still, this was my favorite book of the summer, and I’m happy it lived up to my expectations.

Grade: 4.75 out of 5

This book is available from HQN. You can purchase it here or here in e-format. This book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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Review: Sincerely, Carter by Whitney Gracia-Williams

Posted July 28, 2015 by Rowena in Reviews | 8 Comments

Review: Sincerely, Carter by Whitney Gracia-WilliamsReviewer: Rowena
Sincerely, Carter by Whitney Gracia Williams
Series: Sincerely Carter #1
Published by Whitney Gracia Williams
Publication Date: April 30, 2015
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
five-stars

Just friends.
We’re just friends.
No, really. She’s just my best friend...

Arizona Turner has been my best friend since fourth grade, even when we “hated” each other. We’ve been there for one another through first kisses, first “times,” and we’ve been each other’s constant when good relationships turned bad. (We even went to colleges that were minutes away from each other…)

Throughout the years, and despite what anyone says, we’ve never crossed the line.

Never thought about it.
Never wanted to.

Until one night changed everything.
At least, it should’ve ...

Just friends.
We’re just friends.
I’m only saying this until I figure out if she’s still “just” my best friend…

I hadn’t heard of this book or author until Ames brought it to my attention. Then Holly told me that I had to read it because it was super cute so after reading the blurb, I was sold. I wasted no time in getting this book started and the hype around this book was spot on because I loved this book.

Arizona and Carter have been best friends since 4th grade and their relationship was completely platonic…until one night. Their night together was not supposed to turn into a regular thing but there are also some things that you just can’t help. Like, falling in love with your best friend.

Holy cow this book was an enjoyable read. I really liked seeing the foundation of Arizona and Carter’s friendship when they were kids and seeing their friendship grow and grow over the years. I loved seeing how everyone was so confused about their friendship and how Carter and Arizona didn’t care. They were best friends and that was that. When their relationship changes, I enjoyed seeing them struggle to figure things out. I loved that they both had separate lives from each other and weren’t always in each other’s pockets and I really loved what Carter did for Arizona.

Arizona was such a funny heroine. I liked her from the very beginning and even when she’s being a bonehead, I liked her. I liked her personality, her sense of humor and I loved that once her feelings were crystal clear, she didn’t waste time telling Carter. She didn’t care that her timing was off, she didn’t care if it was inconvenient, they were her feeling and Carter was her best friend so he deserved to know.

Carter was such a swoon-worthy hero. I loved how sexy he was and how secure he was in himself. He wanted girls? He had them. He wanted to sleep with his best friend? He did. She wanted to pretend that the explosive sex they had didn’t happen and wouldn’t happen again? He let her. He was such a good friend and all around guy that I loved the hell out of him.

I really liked the way that they took care of each other. It wasn’t a lopsided friendship. If Carter needed company, Ari was there. Arizona needed someone to be on her side, Carter was. Gracia-Williams did a great job of showing us how much love was already between Carter and Arizona before they crossed the line from friends to lovers. She also did a great job of keeping their new relationship status interesting and the sexual chemistry between the two was hot.

I really liked this book. It was a great introduction to Whitney Gracia-William’s works and I’m anxious for more from her. This was a wonderfully entertaining and steamy romance that I adored.

Grade: 4.75 out of 5

This book is available from Whitney Gracia Williams. You can purchase it here.

five-stars

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Review: The Friend Zone by Kristen Callihan

Posted June 15, 2015 by Rowena in Reviews | 0 Comments

friend zone
Rowena’s review of The Friend Zone (Game On #2) by Kristen Callihan.

Gray doesn’t make friends with women. He has sex with them. Until Ivy.

The last thing star tight-end Gray Grayson wants to do is drive his agent’s daughter’s bubblegum pink car. But he needs the wheels and she’s studying abroad. Something he explains when she sends him an irate text to let him know exactly how much pain she’ll put him in if he crashes her beloved ride. Before he knows it, Ivy Mackenzie has become his best texting bud. But then Ivy comes home and everything goes haywire. Because the only thing Gray can think of is being with Ivy.

Ivy doesn’t have sex with friends. Especially not with a certain football player. No matter how hot he makes her…

Gray drives Ivy crazy. He’s irreverent, sex on a stick, and completely off limits. Because, Ivy has one golden rule: never get involved with one of her father’s clients. A rule that’s proving harder to keep now that Gray is doing his best to seduce her. Her best friend is fast becoming the most irresistible guy she’s ever met.

Which means Gray is going to have to use all his skills to get himself out of the friend zone and into Ivy’s heart. Game on.

Before I get into my review for this book, can we please take a moment to admire the greatness that is this cover? How freaking hot is Gray freaking Grayson? Yumm-o. Now, on to the review…

I’ve been looking forward to reading this book even since I finished reading The Hook Up. I adored both Drew and Anna and I knew that I was going to really enjoy getting to know Gray and Ivy. Kristen Callihan delivered yet another fabulous steamy romance that I couldn’t get enough of. I think I read this book in one sitting, it was so good.

Gray and Ivy are friends. Best friends, even. Gray has never had a friend that was a girl before but when he borrows his potential agent’s daughter’s car while she’s overseas, a friendship forms between Gray and Ivy over text messages. Weeks and weeks later, Ivy returns from overseas and their friendship is still in tact…only now they can get together whenever they want because they like hanging out.

Gray and Ivy’s first meeting at the airport was such a great one. I loved how anxious Gray was to get there and how disappointed Ivy was that nobody was there until Gray showed up and her frown turned upside down.

I really enjoyed getting to know both Gray and Ivy. They were both such strong characters and they made this story pop. I stayed up most of the night reading this book because it was just flat out good. I laughed the night away, waking up the kids in my household but I didn’t care because I loved this one.

I really loved the man that Gray grew to be. I knew that he was going to be a good hero when we first met him in The Hook Up and he made Anna some soup. One of my favorite scenes in this book was when Gray stood up for Ivy against those girls that were being shitty. I loved that he chose Ivy over and over again. You didn’t stand a chance with Gray if you made his friend feel like shit. She was important to him and he protected those that were important to him. Another scene that I really liked was at the end when he lands at the airport and sends a text message to Ivy that says, “Big Daddy has landed!” LOL. I love that his sense of humor stayed true to the character that he was throughout both books. I just adored the hell out of him.

Ivy was a great heroine as well. I loved that she was down to earth and she didn’t let Gray’s ego get away from him. She kept him grounded and I loved that she really came into herself. She found out what her passions were, what she wanted to do with the rest of her life and she grew some balls then went after them. I really like the way that her love for Gray grew over the course of the book and that she wasn’t a complete dummy over Gray.

Together, these two were great. I loved that they were legit friends before they started sleeping together and their romance was just too cute for words. You won’t be sorry to have read this book. It’s good stuff. Kristen Callihan shines once more with this book and I cannot freaking wait for Dex’s book. I’m so anxious!

Grade: 4.75 out of 5

This book is available from Kristen Callihan. You can purchase it here in e-format.

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Review: Closer Than You Think by Karen Rose

Posted April 14, 2015 by Casee in Reviews | 0 Comments

9780451466730_p0_v2_s260x420Casee‘s review of Closer Than You Think by Karen Rose.

Psychologist Faith Corcoran is desperate to escape the stalker who’s made her life a nightmare for the past year—desperate enough to run to the one place that has been her nightmare far longer. Both boon and bane, her recent inheritance of her grandmother’s old house in Cincinnati offers sanctuary in which she can start her life anew, but requires that she face the dark memories that still resonate to this day. But she has no idea how close to home her fears still are.Two college girls have gone missing in the area, and FBI Special Agent Deacon Novak is called to work on the case. When his inquiry unexpectedly leads him to Faith, he finds a beautiful and brave woman he can’t help but fall for. Soon they’ll discover that this seemingly simple investigation is anything but. Reaching back decades into Faith’s own past, it will shatter everything she believes to be true and will give terrifying new meaning to flesh and blood.

Closer Than You Think was the best book I’ve read in ages. It actually drove me to write a review. A lot of you don’t remember me, I’m sure, but I actually used to read and review books regularly here at Book Binge. O_o. Now, I hardly read and when I try to review, the cursor just sits there are stares at me. The it’s asks me “Well,are you just going to sit there?”. No, I’m not. I’m turning you off and going to take a nap.

As it happened, Closer Than You Think was a book that I could not put down. I finished it in two days and that’s only because of running my daughter around to soccer. Onto the review…Faith Corcoran has changed her name, took all her money out of the bank and leaves Florida for Cincinnati, where she just inherited a home from her grandmother. After being stalked by the man she put in prison for over a year.

The first night she arrives home, the key doesn’t work to the lock, so he heads back down the winding hill. Coming back the next day after getting the power turned on and the locks changed, Faith runs into what she thought was an animal, but soon realizes is a young, terrorized, horrified woman. Faith’s car goes over the embankment but she quickly climbs up the bank to make sure the woman is all right. Finally the cops get there.

When Deacon Novak arrives at the scene, he doesn’t know what to think. Faith brings out his primal instincts, but he knows she has to be on the suspect list until they can cross. Her off. After all, the victim seemed to come from her house as it was the only one between the accident site and her house. The only problem with the house is that someone has been using the basement as a torture chamber and no one has any idea.

They have multiple suspects; a stalker that may have followed her up from Florida. Two uncles that may have an ax to grind because she alone inherited the house. Or one of the uncles could be working with the stalker. Or it’s someone other than all three of them. All you do know is from the killer’s pov, he wants her dead. Badly.

Karen Rose writes some of the best sociopathic villains I’ve ever read. That’s part of the reason I can never put her books down. I’ve also been waiting to read Deacon Novak since he was first introduced in the books. Karen Rose does write some of the best suspense out there, but she also writes some of the best romantic suspense. Deacon and Faith were drawn to each other from the beginning. Deacon couldn’t help but want to protect Faith. As for Faith, as cheesy as it is, she feels an animal attraction to Deacon which is not like her at all. When you put all these elements together, there is nothing I didn’t like about the book. There is a lot of family stuff I left out, but suffice to say if you don’t read this book, you’re missing out.

4.75 out of 5.

This book is available by Signet.  You can buy it here or here in e-format.

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