Tag: Kira Sinclair

Guest Review: Jingle Spells by Vicki Lewis Thompson, Rhonda Nelson, Kira Sinclair, and Andrea Laurence

Posted December 30, 2014 by Jen in Reviews | 0 Comments

jingle spellsJen’s review of Jingle Spells by Vicki Lewis Thompson, Rhonda Nelson, Kira Sinclair, and Andrea Laurence

To protect Christmas, this family of wizards will have to use a whole different kind of magic…

Part of the Winter clan, the Evergreen family is considered magical nobility. While Evergreen Industries in picturesque Gingerbread, Colorado, might look like an ordinary office building, this is where the magic of Christmas unfolds. Above Santa’s workshop, the Evergreens hold court, manage Christmas and, sometimes against their will and better judgment, fall in love. When it comes to love, the Evergreens know that sometimes you have to play a little naughty to get exactly what—or who—you want from Santa. Celebrate the holidays with Evergreen siblings Cole, Ethan, Dash and Belle in this enchanting collection from New York Times bestselling authors Vicki Lewis Thompson and Rhonda Nelson, Kira Sinclair and Andrea Laurence.

The best way I can describe this book is that if the Hallmark Movie channel wrote a Christmas book, it would be Jingle Spells. Whether this is a good or bad thing probably depends on your feelings about Hallmark style holiday movies. Do you like quick little stories with lots of cute but not much substance? If not, this is not the book for you. In the right mood, I like a cutesy holiday movie, which was pretty much how I felt about Jingle Spells.

The book contains four connected novellas, each one about one of the Evergreen siblings: Cole, Ethan, Dash, and Belle. The Evergreens are wizards who live in Gingerbread, Colorado and are in charge of Christmas. They direct the elves who make the toys, manage the human Santa, keep the world believing in holiday magic, and just generally make Christmas happen.

Though the stories are all connected (and should be read in order), each story is complete and traces a couple. What did I like? The premise is kind of ridiculous, of course, but for some reason at Christmas that kind of ridiculous seems more whimsical than idiotic. It was funny to imagine what it would take to organize Christmas. The siblings have to deal with HR issues (with the elves), a Santa Claus going through a midlife crisis, public relations situations, etc. It’s an entertaining premise. The sex scenes were on the whole hot and interesting, which actually kind of amused me in a book with elves and Christmas cheer. Despite the fact that each story is written by a different author, I thought the style remained fairly consistent throughout. Each sibling did have their own “voice,” but I didn’t notice any inconsistencies or jarring changes between each section.

While I enjoyed myself, the stories are very, very light on world building and character development. Things that are seemingly a big deal, like how if people stop believing in Christmas the magic will die, are never explained, just mentioned. There are supposedly other wizard clans, but they don’t seem to interact or have much to do with the winter clan. There’s no real explanation for why the Evergreens are in charge of Christmas or how the current set up came to be. Each story ends VERY abruptly, too. In some of the stories (notably Cole’s and Ethan’s), there are some seemingly huge obstacles preventing the couple from being together, but then they’re just dispensed with in a couple pages of exceptionally weak explanation leading into a rushed, permanent HEA. I was left feeling frustrated that just when the stories were getting good, they were over (which is often the way I feel about Hallmark style movies, incidentally).

I really only wanted one or maybe two stories–more depth, less breadth. I’m not sure whose story I would like to see most. I was very interested in uber-smart, logical Cole and would have liked to hear more about him, but Ethan was a charmer and really adorable. Dash was sexy and intense and brought a much-needed edge to the book (if you can call a guy who makes Christmas ornaments and enchants the magical sleigh “edgy,” which you probably should not). I definitely thought Belle’s story was the weakest. As a character she was kind of melodramatic, her hero was forgettable, and the plot of that book was a bit too cliche and twee, which is saying a lot in a cutesy Christmas book. I would have preferred a longer story about any of the brothers rather than a rush through all of them like we get here.

I’m glad I read Jingle Spells, but like a made -for-TV holiday movie, the Christmas cheer is fun but fleeting.

Grade: 3.25 out of 5

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

Guest Review: Testing the Limits by Kira Sinclair

Posted May 15, 2014 by Jen in Reviews | 0 Comments

testing the limitsJen’s review of Testing the Limits by Kira Sinclair

Wanting him was wrong, but it felt so right… 

Social worker Quinn Keller sees the best in people…and the worst. When she rescues a prominent businessman’s battered wife, Quinn is targeted by the woman’s violent husband. Her only option is to place her safety in the hands of Ranger Jace Hyland—tattooed, scarred, incredibly hot…and the brother of Quinn’s deceased fiancé. An entirely different kind of dangerous! 

Quinn is the woman Jace has always wanted—and she’s strictly hands-off. But keeping her safe means taking her to his small apartment…and his bed. So for one unforgettable night, Jace will give in to the temptation he can no longer resist. One night of forbidden hunger. One night he prays will be enough to satisfy a lifetime of longing….

In Testing the Limits, we meet Quinn Keller, a counselor at a nonprofit that helps people in trouble, particularly abused women. One of her current cases is Caroline, who is trying to escape her abusive but wealthy, well-connected husband Everett Warren. After getting Caroline to a safe house, Quinn herself becomes the target of Everett’s ire, which quickly turns into threats and intimidation. She needs some protection, so she turns to Jace Hyland, bad ass military brother of her deceased fiance. Even at the start of the book she’s powerfully attracted to Jace but thinks that attraction is one sided. Naturally, it’s not! Jace not only thinks she’s the hottest thing on Earth, but he’s actually in love with her and has been for years. However, as you can imagine, the shadow of his brother looms large between them. Neither can let go of their guilt and regret easily, but neither can they deny the intense feelings between them.

This isn’t the kind of book where we find out that the dead fiance actually was a horrible guy, nor is it the kind of book where he’s a saint. There’s a bit of nuance to his portrayal, which I appreciated. There’s no doubt that Quinn loved her fiance deeply and that they would have had a happy marriage if he hadn’t died from illness, but she and Jace are also clearly compatible in a way she and her fiance weren’t. There’s no value judgment made there–neither brother is “better” for Quinn.

It takes Quinn and Jace a while to stop comparing, though. Quinn, understandably, feels a bit confused and conflicted over her attraction and burgeoning feelings for Jace. It’s completely believable that she would be feeling unsettled and fearful as her heart basically restarts again. And Jace carries around a metric ton of guilt over his brother’s death, in part because Jace is the kind of guy who sees everyone’s problems as his own and in part, I think, because he is still alive loving Quinn while his brother was denied that opportunity. Really, though, I think Jace was simply filled with intense grief that he lost his little brother, but he channels that into guilt over his role and over his feelings for Quinn, who he was attracted to even before his brother’s death. There are lots of complicated, messy emotions in this book! It never feels over the top, though, and for a relatively short book I think it’s all handled believably.

One twist in the book that seems wholly unnecessary is that Jace is an amature MMA fighter. I get that it’s supposed to show how he’s a bad ass and he’s so tortured that he gives little thought to his personal safety, but it’s not explored fully. There’s a scene near the beginning of the book, where Jace brings Quinn with him to a big fight he’s been training for. Quinn is horrified by the violence of it and by the chances Jace is taking (since he only has one kidney and therefore probably shouldn’t be risking injury to it). But that’s really the only time it comes up in the book. It felt kind of forced in there to me, as if someone thought “Hey, MMA fighters are hot now. I should add one to this book!” We already know Jace is tough because he’s in the military and he’s this big, tattooed protector; he didn’t need to be involved in MMA, too. I would have rather seen more of Jace and Quinn exploring their feelings and negotiating their new relationship.

Still, I enjoyed this book. While it wasn’t exactly a weighty story, it did pack more emotional punch than one might expect from a short Blaze title. Combine that with a little bit of suspense and some well done steamy encounters, and I’m a happy reader.

Grade: 4 out of 5

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

Review: The Risk Taker by Kira Sinclair.

Posted January 25, 2013 by Rowena in Reviews | 0 Comments

Rowena’s review of The Risk Taker by Kira Sinclair.

Hero: Gage Harper
Heroine: Hope Rawlings

Subject: Totally buff ranger Gage Harper

Current Status: Walking wounded—both physically and mentally

Mission: Finally get the girl he could never have

Obstacle: She may just be the biggest risk he’s ever taken

All returned POW Gage Harper wants to do is forget, even if he has to let some gym rat beat him to a pulp to do it. He certainly doesn’t want to tell the tale of his heroism to the tabloids. Especially since he’s no hero…. But one journalist is determined to get the inside scoop—and she’s the only girl Gage has never been able to resist.

Hope Rawlings never took Gage’s romantic advances seriously growing up. After all, she was just his buddy, and a guy like Gage could have any girl he wanted. But now she needs his story to get her dream job in the city. And she’s willing to do anything to get it.

I’m all about military men so I was pretty stoked to read this book.  I’m not going to lie, I wanted to read this book because the cover was just so yummy that I couldn’t pass it up.  Add to the fact that the hero was a POW, yeah my interest in this book was sky high.

So I went into this book, very interested in getting to know the hero and meet the kind of a woman that would snare this very troubled hero’s attention.  There has to be a special kind of woman that would catch his attention, right?

Well, let’s just say that Hope got onto my shit list early on and had to dig her way out but even after all was said and done, I didn’t really like her and it had a lot to do with the fact that she was a reporter, looking for a story and that story was Gage.

Gage and Hope were best friends growing up.  They did everything together and Gage was not shy about letting Hope know he was way interested in being more than just friends.  He asked her out time after time and Hope turned him down, each and every single time.  At first, Hope thought that he was just kidding and she refused to be one of the string of girls that Gage took up with but the last time that he asked her out, asked her to take a chance on him, she turned him down and it broke his heart.

I understood why she turned him down but what I didn’t understand was why she wasn’t up front with him about why she turned him down.  They were best friends.  He just professed his love for you and you said no.  A good best friend would have told him why, all of the why and not just what suited you at the time.  He was heading out to the military, to put his life on the line and you were scared that he wouldn’t come back.  You were scared of losing him the way that you lost your mother, alright…TELL HIM!  But nope, she didn’t do any of that, she just let him go off and think that he wasn’t good enough for her so off he goes to war.

Now he’s back in town, recuperating from being a prisoner of war and he’s obviously dealing with some major shit but he’s not talking about it with anyone.  He’s not ready to tell the story to reporters, he’s not holding any interviews because he went through some major shit overseas and just wants to be left alone….but no, Hope needs that story and she’s going to get it.  No matter what she has to do to get it.

Everything ends the way that it’s supposed to end but the way that Hope handled everything surrounding Gage and the story and well, everything left a sour taste in my mouth and though I didn’t absolutely hate this book, I didn’t love it either.  I did like getting to know Gage and I really liked his family, especially Lexie but Hope left a lot to be desired in a heroine.

Grade: 2.75 out of 5

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