Friday, November 30, 2012

Ride with Me by Ruthie Knox

Why I read it:  I've had this one on my TBR for ages and I finally decided to open it.   I think when I bought it I was a bit worried it wouldn't live up to the hype.  All my Twitter friends were saying how good it was.  I think the hype was right as it turns out.

What it's about: (from Goodreads) When Lexie Marshall places an ad for a cycling companion, she hopes to find someone friendly and fun to cross the TransAmerica Trail with. Instead, she gets Tom Geiger—a lean, sexy loner whose bad attitude threatens to spoil the adventure she’s spent years planning.

Roped into the cycling equivalent of a blind date by his sister, Tom doesn’t want to ride with a chatty, go-by-the-map kind of woman, and he certainly doesn’t want to want her. Too bad the sight of Lexie with a bike between her thighs really turns his crank.

Even Tom’s stubborn determination to keep Lexie at a distance can’t stop a kiss from leading to endless nights of hotter-than-hot sex. But when the wild ride ends, where will they go next?

What worked for me (and what didn't): I loved that this book was a straight out contemporary romance.  There were no serial killers, stalkers, explosions or terrorists.  There was just two people stuck together for months, getting to know one another, falling in love and working things out.  Oh joy!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Leave Me Breathless by Cherrie Lynn

Why I read it:  Despite DNFing Unleashed recently, after seeing the Twitter buzz about this book and, especially after seeing Mandi's review, I decided to give her another try.  This was much more successful for me. 

What it's about:  (from Goodreads)  Leather and lace don't strike sparks. Or do they?

It's Valentine's Day, but Macy Rodgers isn't feeling the love. Aside from a torrid, one-night fling in a backseat a few months back, her love life has been sorely lacking, but fortunately she has devious friends who feel like playing Cupid. Wouldn't they be shocked to learn that the match they've made for her is the same one that steamed up the back of that '69 GTO...

Seth "Ghost" Warren has just returned to town after an extended absence. Between his grandmother's failing health, his job as a tattoo artist, his band's gigs, and a crazy ex that won't leave him alone, he's stretched thin. Cautious cowgirl Macy is the last thing he needs thrown into the mix.

She's all country, he's all heavy metal—and Macy knows that if anyone can propel her out of her rut, it's Seth. But when their worlds collide, it's anyone guess if they'll survive with their hearts intact.

Warning: Contains explicit sex, graphic language, road trips, troublemaking exes, emotional baggage, and an unconventional but exceptionally hot hero tatted and pierced for your pleasure...

What worked for me (and what didn't):  I didn't finish the first book in the series and haven't read the second, but I don't think it's necessary to have read them to enjoy this book.   Macy is clearly more on the uptight side of things and Ghost (Seth) is clearly on the other.  It's a case of opposites combusting and they certainly scorch the sheets (and the backseat of his car and various other places too).    

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

I'm over at ARRA...

with a review of Nalini Singh's Archangel's Storm.  I'm a busy girl today!  (I gave it a B+)

I'm Over at AudioGals today

with a review of Julie James' A Lot Like Love, narrated by Karen White.  Come and say hi. :)

Monday, November 26, 2012

Red Hot Holiday anthology by KA Mitchell, Leah Braemel & Anne Calhoun

Wish List by KA Mitchell   

Blindfolds. Handcuffs. Submission.

There's so much Jonah Kendrick hasn't tried, and so much he wants to explore. But just before Christmas he finds a ring box in his boyfriend's desk. Jonah panics. He loves Evan and their sex is hot, but how can Jonah be ready for forever, when there are so many items on his Naughty Bucket List? Desires that might drive Evan away.

Evan's noticed Jonah has been distant. His usually talkative and cheerful boyfriend is preoccupied. The seemingly straitlaced Evan stumbles across Jonah's wish list of sexual kinks, and Evan realizes he may not have to hide his true nature from Jonah after all. The Dom in him wants to see Jonah on his knees, begging, submitting, but Evan isn't sure Jonah's ready to accept what being Evan's sub would mean.

The two lovers must figure out how to share their hidden desires with each other before their secrets permanently damage their love.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Cost of Repairs by AM Arthur

Why I read it: Various of my Goodreads friends have read and liked this one and I bought it on impulse.  Sometimes when I can't decide what to read from what's on my TBR, I just go and buy something else.  (This may explain the size of my TBR *sigh*).

What it's about (from Goodreads): "Fixing the home can heal the heart-if you can find all the pieces."
Police officer Samuel Briggs is getting to know the people on his new, third-shift beat, but he'd prefer they not know too much about him-or the painful past that drove him away from New Mexico to start fresh in small-town Stratton, PA.

All he wants is peace, a manageable routine, and time to fix up his project home. There's no room in his broken heart for a new relationship. It's crowded with too many memories. But there's something about the Dixie's Cup short-order cook, who's flirty one minute, distracted the next, that piques Sam's interest.

Part-time cook, part-time hardware salesman and full-time handyman Rey King lives to work-but not because he loves it. Relationships? No time. Until one glance at Sam's haunted eyes sends a plumb line straight to his wary heart.

One afternoon of impulsive, no-strings sex begins to grow into a cautious friendship. But when Rey is seriously injured protecting a friend, the cracks in their already shaky foundation begin to show. Falling in love wasn't in either man's recovery plan...and this time, the risk could be too great.

Warning: Contains one emotionally wrecked cop, one angsty short-order cook, a few too many secrets, some meddling small-town folk, and plenty of hot man-on-man action.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

2/3 of Midnight Scandals anthology

Why I read it: I'm a fan of all three of these authors so I snapped this one up soon after it was released.  I didn't know what I was in the mood to read and felt unable to make a commitment to a full length novel so I turned to this - which had the advantage of being guaranteed to please as well as not requiring a lot of investment.

Why only 2/3?  I haven't read the Sherry Thomas novella, A Dance in the Moonlight, yet - only because I have her recent novels on my TBR and this story is set after them, so I'm saving it.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The Book Vixen's 2013 Contemporary Reading Challenge

I'm joining The Book Vixen's 2013 Contemporary Reading Challenge.  As contemporary is my favourite romance genre, it's not going to be that difficult!  Details below if you want to play too.

The Contemporary Romance Reading Challenge was originally created and hosted by Pearl’s World of Romance, then was passed on to Romance Book Maven. Due to time constraints, Fatin asked if I would host the reading challenge and I’m honored to do so. I’m keeping the details pretty much the same as to when Pearl and Fatin hosted the challenge, though I did make a requirement that the book be at least 100 pages in length or longer to qualify.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Celebrity in Death by JD Robb - a mini review

Why I read it:  The paperback was finally released locally for not a billion dollars, so I bought it a little while back.  Generally, even as much as I love the audiobooks, I prefer to read these books first and listen later on.  Also, I am caught up on the reading but behind on the listening...

A review in brief:  Anyway, in the context of the series, this is one of the more procedural ones and less angsty - which fits after the drama of New York to Dallas (which I actually listened to first...  yes, I know what I said but I reviewed it for Speaking of Audiobooks).   Eve and Roarke needed a bit of a breather from personal drama so there's not much of it in this one.  They're both being somewhat careful of each other in fact, but in a good way.  There are some special moments with McNab and Peabody which I loved and Nadine has a greater role (which only makes sense when you think about it).  My love of this series has evolved to enjoying all the many secondary characters as well as Eve and Roarke, so even one where there isn't a lot of Eve/Roarke angst still satisfies.    

Monday, November 19, 2012

Dirty Thirty by Cara McKenna

Why I read it: I won a copy from the author on a recent Twitter giveaway.  I needed something short as a "palate cleanser" and thought this might be just the thing.

What it's about:  (from Goodreads)  Despite his scrappy punk packaging, Evan's got a submissive streak in him that's just screaming to be indulged. So on the eve of his thirtieth birthday, Evan's wife Margie arranges for them to ring out his twenties by realizing his darkest fantasy-inviting another man into their bedroom. Margie's found the perfect candidate for Evan's birthday treat. Paul works as a bouncer at their favorite bar, and lucky for Evan and Margie, he's every bit the sexual Dominant his intimidating body suggests. Evan isn't a hundred percent sure he's ready to go to all the places his kinks seem determined to take him, but one thing's for sure-by the time he wakes on his thirtieth birthday, his fantasy will have become reality.

What worked for me (and what didn't): This isn't a romance - it's an erotic short story. There is no courtship or HEA.  The couple are already living their HEA when the story begins.  I don't read a lot of erotica but I do enjoy this author's writing and the story sounded fun.  

Saturday, November 17, 2012

I'm Over at AudioGals with a review of Flat Out Sexy

My review of Flat Out Sexy by Erin McCarthy, narrated by Emily Durante is live at AudioGals.  Come and say hi!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Attachments by Rainbow Rowell

Why I read it:  My book twin Brie told me it was one of her favourite books from 2011 so I had to read it.

What it's about:  (from Goodreads)  Beth and Jennifer know their company monitors their office e-mail. But the women still spend all day sending each other messages, gossiping about their coworkers at the newspaper and baring their personal lives like an open book. Jennifer tells Beth everything she can't seem to tell her husband about her anxieties over starting a family. And Beth tells Jennifer everything, period.

When Lincoln applied to be an Internet security officer, he hardly imagined he'd be sifting through other people's inboxes like some sort of electronic Peeping Tom. Lincoln is supposed to turn people in for misusing company e-mail, but he can't quite bring himself to crack down on Beth and Jennifer. He can't help but be entertained-and captivated- by their stories.

But by the time Lincoln realizes he's falling for Beth, it's way too late for him to ever introduce himself. What would he say to her? "Hi, I'm the guy who reads your e-mail, and also, I love you." After a series of close encounters and missed connections, Lincoln decides it's time to muster the courage to follow his heart . . . even if he can't see exactly where it's leading him.

Written with whip-smart precision and charm, Attachments is a strikingly clever and deeply romantic debut about falling in love with the person who makes you feel like the best version of yourself. Even if it's someone you've never met.

What worked for me (and what didn't): This is an unusual book. Lincoln and Beth don't actually (knowingly) speak or engage with each other until very near the end of the book.  Usually, I'd hate that kind of story.  I hated Sleepless in Seattle with a passion - Tom and Meg had like ONE SCENE together!!  (Ditto with Serendipity).  But, for the most part, it worked for me here.  I think, that is mostly because the book is told from Lincoln's POV.  When I'm reading Beth and Jennifer's emails, he is reading Beth and Jennifer's emails.  Lincoln is very present in the story - in the chapters comprised of emails, the reader IS Lincoln.  In the other chapters, we are in Lincoln's head.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Suddenly You by Sarah Mayberry

Why I read it: I'm a fan of Sarah Mayberry books and when I saw Dear Author had a review up (which I haven't actually read yet) it reminded me that I hadn't bought this one yet.  So I rectified that, stat.  After the previous book I finished reading, I felt like a reliably good contemporary so I opened it up.

What it's about:  (from Goodreads)  The definition of a happy man? The guy who knows exactly what he wants and has it. That's Harry Porter. He's got the perfect job, the best buddies and no commitments beyond the next good time. It's the ideal life.

Then he stops to help Pippa White when she's stranded by the side of the road. He's known—and liked—her for a while, but as the ex of a friend, she's entirely off-limits. And as fun as the banter with her is, Harry knows single moms are out of his league.

So why all the excuses to see Pippa again…and again? And why can't he stop thinking about her? But most puzzling of all is how Harry suddenly wants to swap a night with the boys for one with
only Pippa!

What worked for me (and what didn't): How unusual is it to have working class main characters?  Pippa is struggling to finish her teaching degree and working part time in a gallery as well as raise her 6 month old daughter.  Money is tight.  Harry is a mechanic.  No billionaires or CEO's in sight.  It was a refreshing change to see a couple who could have grown up down the road from where I did get their own story and HEA.  The depictions are realistic - I grew up at the lower end of the socio-economic scale and this felt familiar to me.   Also, my best friend from school married a mechanic. (He still fixes my car).

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Art of Seducing a Naked Werewolf by Molly Harper, narrated by Amanda Ronconi

Why I listened to it: I've listened to all of Molly Harper's other books and realised I had missed this one.  So I picked it up from Audible and pressed play.

What it's about:  (from Goodreads)  Baring It All Generations of werewolves have been secretly residing in a secluded valley a stone’s throw from Grundy, Alaska. So when a snooping Outsider comes to Grundy to investigate rumors of lycanthropic shenanigans in the area, the valley’s pack alpha, Maggie Graham, resolves to chase him away, even if doing so takes a quick bite on the butt. What a pity that researcher Nick Thatcher turns out to be so drool-worthy, and that his kisses make Maggie want to sit up and beg. Maggie just can’t seem to convince Nick to leave . . . and even worse, she can’t convince herself to stay away from him. Cross-species dating is problem enough for a harried alpha female, but on top of that, a rival group of werewolves is trying to move into the valley. With interpack war threatening, Maggie can’t afford to be distracted. Combining romance and a career can be tough for anyone; for a werewolf in love with a human, it may be disastrous. . . .

What worked for me (and what didn't): I actually enjoyed this one more than the first book in the series.  Maggie seemed to have undergone a personality transplant since the events in book 1 and I was grateful as I realy didn't like her much before. 

Monday, November 12, 2012

A disappointing story of 2 DNF reads

I needed to share my pain.  If Brie can do it, so can I.

Book fail
Unleashed by Cherrie Lynn

I wasn't enjoying the structure of the book - the way important things were skipped over and discussed in retrospect rather than taking me through them. Given that the book was about a pair of friends heading to Hawaii for what would have been his honeymoon with the woman who had an affair with her (now ex) husband, why skip over the first 2 days of their week away?

Second, given that I have a (somewhat) legal background, I also had some problems with the heroine saying that she wanted to be involved in family law rather than criminal law because criminal law had "too much grit and violence and pain". Um, hello? Do you know what families can do to each other? Sure, criminal can be brutal but so can family law. If you want away from grit and violence and pain, try corporate or tax law or patent law. Stay far away from family law.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Men of Smithfield: Adam and Holden

Why I read it: I picked this one up from NetGalley.  I have enjoyed the others in this series and I like LB Gregg's writing style.

What it's about: (from Goodreads)  Holden Worthington's globetrotting days are over. Once the host of a popular adventure show, he hasn't ventured past his own front door in more than a year. Then the arrival of a sexy new gardener sparks something Holden hasn't felt in a very long time—an interest in the world outside his window.

Holden tries to resist the attraction. But painfully shy yet definitely interested Adam Morgan has Holden longing to conquer his debilitating anxiety and live again. After a grisly discovery on the grounds of the estate, the town of Smithfield turns a suspicious eye on the reclusive Holden—and the two men must trust in each other to bring the truth out in the open.

What worked for me (and what didn't): LB Gregg has a quirky writing style which mostly suits me I think.  Even though her characters are very different from book to book and series to series, there is an overarching authorial style which bleeds through.  The style is simple and direct and easy to read and funny, sometimes in unexpected ways which make me back up and re-read to fully appreciate it.
The dog gave a miniature bark.  "I need to take the dog out," my brother said as if he owned a dog.
"Holden, I got a dog."

Thursday, November 8, 2012

If I'd Never Known Your Love by Georgia Bockhoven

Why I read it:  I bought this one after seeing a B+ review from Ridley (who doesn't hand out the high grades willy-nilly).  She promised me tears but a happy ending, so I bought it.  She was right.

What it's about:  (from Goodreads)  "I'm going to miss you. Every minute of every hour..." With those words, Julia's husband stepped into his taxi and was gone. Evan McDonald. Julia's lifeline--and the doting father of her two beautiful children. From the moment she'd first spotted him in high school so many years before, Julia had "known" they'd always be together.

Now...Evan's business trip to Colombia becomes deadly when he's kidnapped, and Julia is thrown into a tailspin of horror...and waiting.

For five tortured years Julia does whatever it takes to bring Evan home. Despite her grief and rage at losing the man she loves, she vows to keep struggling. Until she receives a call that shatters her hopes of Evan's return. "But then..."

What worked for me (and what didn't): There were tears.  Julia loves (loved?) Evan so much and they had such a happy marriage - not perfect and unrealistic but genuinely a happy partnership, filled with love and affection and passion.  I've seen them about the place from time to time (- I like to think, in fact, that I have one myself.)  When Evan is kidnapped soon after arriving in Colombia, Julia starts a 5 year long campaign to bring him home.  Her hopes are finally dashed when she is given the news that Evan has died.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

I'm at ARRA with a review of Reflected in You

I'm over at the ARRA blog today with a review of Sylvia Day's Reflected in You.  I gave it a B+. ARRA members who comment go into the draw to win both Bared to You and Reflected in You in print. 

Monday, November 5, 2012

Extreme Exposure by Pamela Clare, narrated by Kaleo Griffith

Why I listened to it: Are you kidding?  I've been haranguing Tantor for ages to try and get them to pick this series up on audio.  I'm sure it wasn't just me but I'm proud to say that I had a small part to play in getting this series onto our MP3 players.

What it's about: (from Goodreads) It's been years since her child's father dumped her, and since then investigative reporter Kara McMillan has kept men at bay—although every day she aches more for a lover's touch. But to get that, the hard-boiled journalist must become vulnerable—a feeling she vowed never to have again.

With his dangerous good looks, charm, and power, Senator Reece Sheridan could have just about any woman he sets his piercing eyes on. But he’s intrigued by only one. This Kara, this gutsy investigative reporter, has a sensuality that arouses him to no end. If she’s a firebrand in print, he guesses, she must be just as fiery in bed…

But this is no fling. A sudden political scandal—and attempts on Kara's life—could very well drive them apart. Or maybe, just maybe, adversity could draw them into a bond even more intense than their steamy sexual embraces…

What worked for me (and what didn't):
I've read the book twice so I know the story well.  Kara McMillan is a reporter for the Denver Independent's "I-Team", covering the environmental beat.  When a whistleblower gives her information about a mining company dumping toxic materials into the water supply, her investigation leads her into danger.  While all this is happening, she meets sexy Senator Reece Sheridan, an idealistic ex-social studies teacher who ran for office on a dare from his students.   Their first meeting is hilarious - Kate has had too many margaritas and she asks Reece some very interesting questions - including whether a woman really does taste like tuna!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Pressure Head by JL Merrow

Why I read it: I'm a JL Merrow fan and had this one pre-ordered.

What it's about:  (from Goodreads)  Some secrets are better left hidden.

To most of the world, Tom Paretski is just a plumber with a cheeky attitude and a dodgy hip, souvenir of a schoolboy accident. The local police keep his number on file for a different reason—his sixth sense for finding hidden things.

When he’s called in to help locate the body of a missing woman up on Nomansland Common, he unexpectedly encounters someone who resurrects a host of complicated emotions. Phil Morrison, Tom’s old school crush, now a private investigator working the same case. And the former bully partly responsible for Tom’s injury.

The shocks keep coming. Phil is now openly gay, and shows unmistakable signs of interest. Tom’s attraction to the big, blond investigator hasn’t changed—in fact, he’s even more desirable all grown up. But is Phil’s interest genuine, or does he only want to use Tom’s talent?

As the pile of complicated evidence surrounding the woman’s murder grows higher, so does the heat between Tom and Phil. But opening himself to this degree exposes Tom’s heart in a way he’s not sure he’s ready for…while the murderer’s trigger finger is getting increasingly twitchy.

Contains a flirtatious plumber with hidden talents, a cashmere-clad private investigator with hidden depths, and an English village chock full of colourful characters with plenty to hide.

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Thursday, November 1, 2012

October Round-Up

My monthly post was getting to ungainly, so I'm going to try a few different things to tizzy it up.  Suggestions welcome. :)

On Paper/eBook

The Emperor's Conspiracy by Michelle Diener - C-  Isn't that a beautiful cover?  I reviewed this one for ARRA.  The short version is that I thought this was a romance but it was an historical with romantic elements.  There is a relationship but the usual romantic ending isn't present.  It isn't NOT there. It's just... absent.   The conspiracy in the book is actually true but I'm not sure how realistic Charlotte's backstory was. 

Archangel's Storm by Nalini Singh - B+  I reviewed this one for ARRA and will post a link when the review goes live.  But, the short version is that I really enjoyed the quieter love story in this book and I thought it suited the covert nature of Jason, the Spymaster.  I liked the way Mahiya chose to live a life full of joy and love rather than become bitter and hard.  I liked the clever way Singh made this an aspect of Mahiya's great strength of will rather than it coming off as being passive and wishy-washy.
The cover does look a bit like a bird crapped on it though.