Tag: Reviews

Guest Blog: It’s so hard to say goodbye…

Posted November 7, 2007 by Holly in Discussions, Promotions, Reviews | 4 Comments

**My apologies to our readers and Devon. This post should have gone up almost 2 and a half hours ago, but I was delayed at a doctor’s appointment and just got into the office. Next week we’ll be back on schedule**

I’m just getting over a cold. A nasty cold, complete with excruciating sinus pain. Pain which made it difficult to read or look at a computer screen. I had started a book before I got sick, which I had been looking forward to. It started off pretty well, too. But while in the grip of my headache, I found it impossible to read. Every time I tried, I would just put it down, close my eyes and pass out. And a funny thing happened. I just stopped being interested in this book. Its time had passed. Once I felt better, I tried to read it, but no…just not feeling it anymore. And it got me thinking.

Some people might think that us avid readers get a little too involved with our books. And sometimes I would agree. For this particular reader, the proof is in the way I have so much trouble saying goodbye to a book. Sometimes it’s because I loved the book so much, I don’t want to be parted with the world that I have been immersed in for however long. Sometimes it’s because the book just isn’t working for me, but I want to give it a fair shake. Much like with people, there are different ways we sever our relationship with books, with different emotions involved. The following are common book goodbyes:

The “See You Around…Maybe”: Just like people, there are books that we’re just not sure we want to put the effort into. This is what KristieJ calls the “It’s Not You, It’s Me” syndrome. It’s something in the subject matter or the style, or maybe you’re not in the mood for that subgenre anymore. This is a goodbye that I used to have a really hard time with. I would wonder, maybe I’m just not giving it a fair shake…or maybe it will get better…or maybe, just maybe, there’s something wrong with me, not the book. It won’t surprise you to know that I also give people way too many chances. But there comes a time when you just have to put the book down and say, “Hey, maybe one day I will be in the mood.” Just like someday I will be in the mood to give the annoying people a call and arrange a playdate. Then again, maybe not.

The “Later… Nice knowing you”: This is the happy middle ground. It was a decent book, an enjoyable experience, but nothing you’re all that interesting in repeating (say, B- to C range). So off it goes, back to the library, off to a friend or into the UBS bag. Thank you for a good time, onto bigger and better things. No emotion, no turmoil.

The “Please don’t leave me”: These are the keepers. The ones that you close, then open right back up and start over again. The ones that you keep on the night table for a week, to pick up and re-read the good bits. Happily, we don’t have to say goodbye. Many of us have shelves (and shelves and shelves and shelves) devoted to books we can’t bring ourselves to say goodbye to.

The “Don’t let the door hit you in the ass”: And take your bland heroine and your fake rake with you. Sometimes it isn’t hard to say goodbye. Sometimes it’s so easy, you can’t even be bothered to finish the book. Or perhaps you finished it because you wanted to see if it ended as badly as it began. Or it was so bad you needed to review and warn others. Any which way you look at it, you just couldn’t say goodbye fast enough, and never want to see it again. Away it goes, to be remembered only occasionally with a giggle or a shudder (not unlike how we remember old boyfriends).

And so I came to realize that it was time to say “See you around” to the book I had been attempting. Perhaps I’ll be in that mood again, and it will hit the spot. Perhaps I was never meant to finish it. Only time will tell, but for now in the TBR milk crate it remains.

So am I being melodramatic? Do others find that “ending it” with a book can be tough? What type of goodbye do you find yourself saying most often?

– Devon
Is That A Stake In Your Pocket

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Ice Storm by Anne Stuart

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

Genres: Romantic Suspense

***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.

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Lightning Reviews: Yay or Nay

Posted November 7, 2007 by Holly in Discussions, Reviews | 10 Comments

How do you feel about lightning reviews? I have a ton of reviews to do. I haven’t been reading as much as I normally do, but I have been reading. And yet, you haven’t seen any reviews from me, have you? That’s because I don’t have time right now to review. I’m swamped with work, kids, life, blah blah blah.

So I’ve been thinking about doing lightning reviews. Just a quick post with three of four books and what I thought of them. But then I kind of feel guilty, like maybe I’m giving the authors and their stories the shaft. Some of these books are really good, you know? And the ones that aren’t? Well, I think they deserve a full length post about why they didn’t work. But then I’m back to having no time again.

What do you think? Would you rather see lightning reviews or no reviews at all? Or should I just keep them saved for when I do have time? No preference at all? How about a lightning review with a note that says, “If you want to know more, ask” or something like that….

…inquiring minds want to know.

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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.

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Wicked Deeds on a Winter’s Night by Kresley Cole

Posted November 5, 2007 by Casee in Reviews | 5 Comments

Book description:

Bowen MacRieve of the Lykae clan was nearly destroyed when he lost the one woman meant for him. The ruthless warrior grew even colder, never taking another to his bed — until a smoldering encounter with his enemy, Mariketa the Awaited, reawakens his darkest desires. When sinister forces unite against her, the Highlander finds himself using all his strength and skill to keep her alive.

Temporarily stripped of her powers, Mari is forced to take refuge with her sworn adversary. It’s rumored that no one can tempt Bowen’s hardened heart, but soon passion burns between them. Though a future together is impossible, she fears he has no intention of letting her go.

If they defeat the evil that surrounds them, can Mari deny Bowen when he demands her body and soul — or will she risk everything for her fierce protector?

I was highly impressed when I read Kresley Cole’s first paranormal, A Hunger Like No Other. The story of Lachlain and Emma was intriguing from page 1. The world that Kresley created pulled me in immediately and still hasn’t let me go. Wicked Deeds was the long awaited (for me) story of Bowen MacRieve and Mariketa the Awaited.

We first met Bowe in A Hunger Like No Other. Since losing his mate almost two centuries ago, the pain has still not left poor Bowe. It haunts him daily how his mate, Mariah, died. See, she was running away from him on the full moon. Even I know that you probably shouldn’t run away from a Lykae on a full moon, even if you are scared out of your freakin‘ mind. Hello common sense? Anyway, Bowen is obviously very tortured.

We follow Bowe’s tortured journey in No Rest for the Wicked. There, he is competing in the Hie for the chance to win Thane’s key. What is Thane’s key, you ask? Thane’s key is the key which will take Bowe back in time so he can save his mate. When he comes face to face with Mariketa the Awaited, he is disgusted. First by his reaction to her and second b/c she’s a witch. See, Bowe is a major witch hater. In No Rest for the Wicked, we learn that Bowen trapped Mariketa and several other creatures of the Lore in a cave. In return, Mari put a powerful curse on him which will not allow him to regenerate from his injuries. So he’s majorly effed up by the end of that book.

Wicked Deeds brings us back to the Hie, but from Mari and Bowe’s point of view. There is an instant and undeniable attraction between the two. Bowe hasn’t felt attraction for another woman since he lost Mariah and he is convinced that Mari has put an enchantment spell on him. Mari is determined to stay away from Bowen b/c he’s about 200 years older than her and he obviously disdains everything she stands for.

After Bowen loses the Hie, his cousin Lachlain finds him and takes him to his home so he can heal from his injuries. When Bowen insists that all Lachlain needs to do is bring Mariketa to him to remove the curse, he finds out that not only is Mariketa and the others still entombed, but that she’s mortal. If that news isn’t bad enough, he’s just about started a war b/c Mari’s coven wants her back and wants her back now.

The relationship between Bowen and Mari is truly unique. On one hand, Bowen finds his Instinct awakened and will do anything to protect Mari. He’s soon convinced that Mari is Mariah reincarnated (when I read No Rest for the Wicked, I thought that was the case). He wants her, but he hates what she is. He doesn’t trust magic or Mari’s use of it. Mari refuses to believe that she’s Bowen’s mate. Four years before, it was foretold that a male from the Lore would recognize her as his and claim her thus taking her away from the Coven. Since then, Mari has cloaked herself in fabric and magic, at the insistence of her Coven. Mari knows that she could never be with someone like Bowen. Someone that would smother her and not allow her to be who she is.

As Bowen and Mari grow closer, there are obvious forces trying to keep them apart. After a plane crash nearly kills her, Bowe has already realized that he will hold onto Mari with everything he has. She is is mate, reincarnated or not. When Mari finally recovers from her injuries (after several heartbreaking days), who shows up at the door? None other than Mariah. Though Bowen is torn between the two, Mari makes the decision for him and leaves through a mirror. Did I mention that she could walk through mirrors and her reflection would talk back to her?

It’s in this other dimension that Mari will practice her craft and finally fulfill her destiny. It doesn’t take her long to realize that her destiny lies with Bowen MacRieve.

I thoroughly enjoyed the 3rd installment in the Immortals After Dark series. There were several new characters introduced, one of which will have his book come out sometime next year. I believe she has back-to-back full releases coming out in May ’08 and June ’08.

If you haven’t read this series, try it.

By the way, I hate the cover. It looks too cartoonish for me.

4.5 out of 5.

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