Tag: Mira

Throwback Thursday Review/Rant: Shattered by Joan Johnston

Posted October 22, 2020 by Casee in Reviews | 15 Comments

Throwback Thursday Review/Rant: Shattered by Joan JohnstonReviewer: Casee
Shattered by Joan Johnston
Series: Bitter Creek #8
Publisher: Harlequin MIRA
Publication Date: December 29, 2009
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Romantic Suspense
Pages: 423
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one-star
Series Rating: one-star

Nine years ago Kate Grayhawk Pendelton walked into Wyatt Shaw's life--and out of it the next morning. Now Wyatt's back--and has the power to shatter Kate's future with the man she loves.

By reputation, Wyatt Shaw is a brutal killer who always gets what he wants. And he wants Kate and her twin eight-year-old sons.

Texas Ranger Jack McKinley is hot on Wyatt Shaw's trail. The presumed heir to the D'Amato crime syndicate is threatening to steal the woman he loves.

Holly McKinley is fighting to keep Jack from leaving her for another woman. Now the secret she's kept for over twenty years may save their son's life, and cost her the only man she's ever loved.

This review was originally published December 30, 2009

Warning! Spoilers Ahead!

!@#$$%^&!@#$%^&

I can’t tell you exactly what I was saying as I was reading this book. What I can say is that Joan Johnston really screwed her readers on this one. Shattered is the newest book in Johnston’s Bitter Creek series. I have doggedly stuck with it (waiting for Jack and Kate to FINALLY get together) only to end up feeling completely screwed over at the end. I felt like Johnston was giving the proverbial finger to her readers while writing this book.

The Bitter Creek series started way back in 2000. In 2005, The Next Mrs. Blackthorne was released. It was supposed to be the story of Clay Blackthorne and Libby Grayhawk (which it was to a certain extent). It was either in this book or the one before it (The Rivals) that Kate and Jack first meet. Kate is nineteen and instantly falls for Jack. Sparks fly, etc. Jack is older and more jaded. He rejects Kate, which sends her into the arms of another man. Nine years later, they meet again. Kate is widowed (or so she thinks) with twin boys. Jack is going through a divorce. It’s finally their time. At the end of A Stranger’s Game (2009), Kate and Jack are as good as together. Then Kate’s husband comes back from the dead. Obviously you think that is the obstacle that will come between Kate and Jack. Nope.

The bottom line is that Kate and Jack DON’T END UP TOGETHER. OMGWTFBBQ. It’s bull shit. The story would have been good if JACK AND KATE WEREN’T SUPPOSED TO END UP TOGETHER. There is no sense to be made from the fact that Kate and Jack END UP WITH OTHER PEOPLE. And who they end up with is so fucking cliched. Jack ends up with the wife he was going to divorce. Kate ends up with the man she had a one night stand with, resulting in the birth of her twins.

In the midst of all that, Kate’s husband decides that he wants revenge on his bitch of a wife and her lover. Then he decides to blah blah blah, blah blah blah, blabety blah.

The end.

1 out of 5.

The series:

Book CoverBook CoverBook CoverBook CoverBook CoverBook CoverBook CoverBook Cover

one-star


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Throwback Thursday Review: The Heart of a Killer by Jaci Burton

Posted August 8, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 3 Comments

Throwback Thursday Review: The Heart of a Killer by Jaci BurtonReviewer: Holly
The Heart of a Killer by Jaci Burton
Series: The Killer #1
Publisher: MIRA
Publication Date: October 25, 2011
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 407
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four-half-stars
Series Rating: five-stars

No one said coming home would be easy. But for Dante Renaldi, it's murder.

Before the Special Forces hero has even unpacked his bags from twelve years of active duty, he's embroiled in murder—corpses bearing the brutal trademark he's seen only once before—on the worst night of his life.

The last time Detective Anna Pallino saw Dante Renaldi, they were in love. Now, he's part of the connection to a string of fresh homicides and a horrible assault that Anna only survived thanks to him.

More than anything, Anna wants to trust Dante. But as the bodies and the coincidences stack up, Anna will have to decide, and fast: Is the man she owes her life to the very same one who wants her dead?

*** Every Thursday, we’ll be posting throwback reviews of our favorite and not-so-favorite books. Enjoy! ***

Narrator: She was not, in fact, coming out of her romantic suspense funk. It’s still going, some 8 years later…

This review was originally posted on Nov 15, 2011.

It looks like I might be coming out of my romantic suspense funk. I really enjoyed this. It’s a gripping tale filled with twists and turns. I suspected the killer early on but enjoyed watching the rest figure it out.

The main – and secondary – characters were well written. Anna was annoying at times, but then so was Dante. They have a lot of baggage between the two of them. It was hard watching them struggle to get over their past feelings and focus on the present. Especially Anna. She really clung to her hurt and anger over Dante leaving so abruptly.

Aside from that, I found both characters to be well balanced and likable. The trauma they suffered when Anna was attacked followed them through their lives. Burton did a bang up job of showing us how each of them was still dealing with what happened that night. I felt really connected to them, and understood where each of them was at.

The romance was very well done. Anna and Dante had a lot of chemistry, but physical attraction isn’t everything. Their emotional connection was strong despite the long separation. Between the two – the physical and emotional – I was fully invested in them finding their HEA.

I figured out pretty early on who the villain was, but I enjoyed watching the others clue in. I’m really looking forward to the next installment.

Burton balanced the suspense and romance perfectly. Fans of her more erotic romance titles might be disappointed – there isn’t a lot of sex here. Personally I think that worked in the context of the story and didn’t take away from the romance at all.

Overall a well written, chilling suspense flavored with the perfect amount of romance.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

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

four-half-stars


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Throwback Thursday Review: She Drives Me Crazy by Leslie Kelly

Posted May 9, 2019 by Holly in Features, Reviews | 2 Comments

Throwback Thursday Review: She Drives Me Crazy by Leslie KellyReviewer: Holly
She Drives Me Crazy by Leslie Kelly
Series: Walker Brothers #1
Also in this series: She's Got the Look
Publisher: Harlequin
Publication Date: October 15th 2012
Format: Print
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 384
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four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

When she was good, she was very, very good…

When Emma Frasier returns home to Joyful, Georgia, she's greeted with the kinds of winks and lusty grins one might offer…an adult film star?

But when she was bad…

Thanks to small-town gossip and citizens who clearly need to get a life, Joyful's residents think Emma Jean is the "famous star" building a strip club in town. And that her barely concealed…uh, attributes are the ones gracing the new interstate billboard.

She was better.

As if being taken for a blue movie queen isn't rattling enough, there's Johnny Walker, the local bad boy turned good—a man who tempts Emma to be just as wild and wicked as Joyful thinks she is.

Every Thursday, we’ll be posting throwback reviews of our favorite and not-so-favorite books. Enjoy!

This review was originally posted on May 17, 2008

She Drives Me Crazy is the first book in the Walker Brothers Series by Leslie Kelly.

Emma returns to her hometown of Joyful, Georgia with her tail between her legs after getting fleeced for all she was worth by a scummy boss and even scummier best friend. All she has left in the world is a handful of designer clothes, a cute red convertible and her grandma’s house and pecan farm that was willed to her.

But when she gets back, due to town gossip, she’s as shunned as she was the day she left Joyful, a disgraced high school senior who got caught with her pants down with the baddest boy in town, Johnny Walker. And of course, the first person she happens to run into (literally) in the grocery store, with the town looking on, is none other than Johnny Walker himself.

She’s determined to make a new life for herself – if only temporarily – until she realizes that someone has sold her grandmother’s land, without her knowledge. Between ending up in jail and between the sheets with Johnny, she tries to find out who stole her land…and then a murder happens.

Johnny was a great hero. Emma was a good heroine, too, not too flighty and willing to stand up for herself. The residents of Joyful cracked me up, because I grew up in a small town and the people there were just like these ones. In everybody’s business and gossiping about everything. Plus, there was this lecherous old man who played pocket hockey all the time and he had me laughing out loud. Dirty Old Man.

This isn’t some deep, heavy reading material, but it was fun for what it was. I recommend it if you’re looking for a light read for the beach or other summer vacation spot.

4 out of 5

This book is available from Mira. You can buy it here.

Walker Brothers

four-stars


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Throwback Thursday Review: The Vampire Dimitri by Colleen Gleason

Posted October 11, 2018 by Tracy in Reviews | 4 Comments

Throwback Thursday Review: The Vampire Dimitri by Colleen GleasonReviewer: Tracy
The Vampire Dimitri (The Draculia Vampire Trilogy, #2) by Colleen Gleason
Series: The Draculia Vampire Trilogy #2
Publisher: MIRA
Publication Date: April 19, 2011
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Pages: 374
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three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

"Dunkel und dekadent, temperamentvoll und verführerisch... Die Londoner Drakulia werden dich in Atem halten." -- Lara Adrian

“Wunderbar … Ich habe dieses Buch geliebt!” --Heather Graham

“Man kann sich auf Colleen Gleason verlassen, wenn man packenden Lesestoff sucht! --Jeaniene Frost

Dimitri der Earl von Corvindale sollte eigentlich glücklich sein: Endlich heiratet diese starrköpfige Miss Maia Woodmore. Sein sterbliches Mündel (auch Gast in seinem Haus) hat den Drakule Aristokraten schon lange genervt – und längst verzaubert. Mit jedem Tag fällt es ihm schwerer, die normalen Gelüste eines Vampirs zu unterdrücken.

Miss Woodmore hat eine … ungewöhnliche Familiengeschichte, was Vampire anbetrifft, und sie selbst ist mit einem scharfen Verstand ausgestattet, der über weibliche Intuition weit hinausgeht. Die Ehe wird ihr alles geben: Sicherheit, Ansehen, Zufriedenheit. Alles, was eine wohlerzogene junge Dame sich nur wünschen kann. Bis auf Leidenschaft.

In dem bevorstehenden Kampf zwischen den beiden Drakule Faktionen werden alle Lügen entlarvt, und Maia und Dimitri müssen im Angesicht großer Gefahr und in tiefster Verzweiflung ihren eigenen, außergewöhnlichen Pakt besiegeln – kraft einer Leidenschaft, die mit allem bricht.

Every Thursday, we’ll be posting throwback reviews of our favorite and not-so-favorite books. Enjoy!

This review was originally posted on April 27, 2011.

In this book we meet Dimitri again who we met in book one. He is a member of the Draculia – a vampire – and also an peer of the realm. In book 1 Corvindale became ward of three women who were in danger from another vampire. He was at odds with them – especially the oldest, Maia Woodmore but it doesn’t stop him from finding her fascinating. He wants to be in control, he wants her to stop talking, and to stop going into his inner sanctum and organizing stuff – he just wants to be left alone! But yet he finds himself going to a masked ball and there he ends up kissing Maia under the guise of the Knave of Diamonds.

When Maia finds out that Dimitri is the Knave of Diamonds…and she has since found out that Corvindale is a vampire she’s at first horrified that she kissed a vampire! But then she wonders if the kiss was just so memorable because it was done in secret, not knowing who the other person was, or was it wonderful because it was just wonderful? Dimitri is more than up for testing things out and it ends up being hot. lol Yes, the stubbornness of the h/h was a bit much at times but Dimitri hated himself so much for being who he was it was hard to not to like the man for insisting that Maia stay away from him.

But Corvindale is so focused on becoming human again and getting away from Lucifer (especially since it’s been done before) that he can’t focus on Maia and what’s between them. But what if what’s between them, in the end, is the answer to all of his research?

I have to say that I definitely liked book 2 better than I did book 1 in this series. I liked Corvindale so much more than Voss and that made a huge difference for me. I was actually invested in the romance and that helped a whole lot. That being said there was a problem I had with the book and that was the almost redundant first part of it. It was a simultaneous telling of some of the same events in book 1 – they were just happening off page in book 1. We get things from Dimitri and Maia’s points of view. While this was interesting I really felt like I was reading a chunk of book one over again and I didn’t care for that at all. Once we get past the part that was simultaneous and just focused on the current romance I really liked the book so much more.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

The Draculia Vampire Trilogy

three-half-stars


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Throwback Thursday Review: Moonlight Road by Robyn Carr

Posted June 14, 2018 by Casee in Reviews | 4 Comments

Throwback Thursday Review: Moonlight Road by Robyn CarrReviewer: Casee
Moonlight Road by Robyn Carr
Series: Virgin River #10
Also in this series: Virgin River, Whispering Rock, Virgin River, A Virgin River Christmas, Second Chance Pass, Second Chance Pass, Second Chance Pass, Temptation Ridge, Paradise Valley, Forbidden Falls, Forbidden Falls, Angel's Peak, Forbidden Falls, Promise Canyon, Wild Man Creek, Promise Canyon, Harvest Moon, Bring Me Home for Christmas, Redwood Bend, Sunrise Point, Shelter Mountain, Moonlight Road
Publisher: MIRA
Publication Date: March 2, 2010
Point-of-View: Third Person
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 409
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three-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

WITH HER BELOVED YOUNGER SIBLINGS SETTLED AND HAPPY, ERIN FOLEY HAS EMPTY NEST SYNDROME. AT AGE THIRTY-FIVE.

So she's hitting the pause button on her life and holing up in a secluded (but totally upgraded --- she's not into roughing it!) cabin near Virgin River. Erin is planning on getting to know herself ... not the shaggy-haired mountain man she meets.

In fact, beneath his faded fatigues and bushy beard, Aiden Riordan is a doctor, recharging for a summer after leaving the navy. He's intrigued by the pretty, slightly snooty refugee from the rat race --- her meditating and journaling are definitely keeping him at arm's length. He'd love to get closer ... if his scruffy exterior and crazy ex-wife don't hold him back.

But maybe it's something in the water --- unlikely romances seem to take root in Virgin River ... helped along by some well-intentioned meddling, of course.

Reading last week’s Throwback review got me all nostalgic. I started reading all the old Virgin River reviews when I came across my review of Moonlight Road. Last week’s review and this review are so different that I had to share. For real though, what happened to this series?

This review was originally posted on March 16, 2010.

This commenter had it right. The Virgin River books are starting to read more like women’s health manuals for the premenopausal (and even post menopausal) than real romance. There is actually a scene between Mel and Jack where Jack tells her that HE misses HER periods. Why? Because having sex with her during her period was a turn-on. You know, he could show her that he wants her no matter what. SERIOUSLY. What man says that? Even Jack—my favorite VR hero—shouldn’t be able to get away with that. Because men don’t say that. Do they?

I really liked Aiden and Erin. Their initial meeting had me laughing. From each of their perspectives, it’s clear that they both have the wrong impression. Aiden thinks that Erin is an ice queen (i.e. bitch). Erin thinks that Aiden is a homeless bum. As they get to know each other, Erin slowly realizes that Aiden is far from a bum. The Virgin River books tend to move slow. I liken it to life in Virgin River. Nothing ever comes quickly. So it’s over several weeks/months that Aiden and Erin start getting to know each other.

Aiden had been married about eight years ago and for three months. He’s horrified when it’s crazy ex turns up at his family’s place in Virgin River acting like she wants to get back together. The ex is pretending that she wants him back even though Aiden knows it’s a crock of crap. Still, she has a way of making the situation turn in her favor. Then she goes to visit Erin and feeds her a bunch of lies about Aiden.

That’s when it started falling apart for me. Erin knows Aiden, she’s even falling in love with them. He’s great in bed and they have fun together. So the fact that Erin immediately decides that she can’t trust him totally turns me off of her. I understood why, but I didn’t understand how. Aiden warned her about his ex long before she paid Erin a visit. It wasn’t something that blindsided Erin. Yet she’s willing to believe a psycho?

Then there is Mel. Mel—my favorite Virgin River heroine—who went CRAZY in this book. She turned into a character that I didn’t recognize. I understood her reaction to the particular situation she found herself in, but I found her way of dealing with it completely unlike her. She completely tries to railroad Jack into doing something he doesn’t want to do. There’s something even worse, but to tell you would be to spoil it.

This book was just a hot menopausal mess. I liked Erin (other than the whole distrust thing) the best b/c it seemed like she came the farthest. She opened herself up to life and found someone to love.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Virgin River

three-stars


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