Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Mystery Man (Dream Man#1)

Title: Mystery Man (Dream Man#1)
Date Published: July 2011
Publisher: Forever
Pages: 528

Gwendolyn Kidd has met the man of her dreams. He's hot, he's sexy, and what started as a no-names-exchanged night of passion has blossomed into a year and a half-long pleasure fest. Sure, it's a little strange that he only appears in her bed at night, but Gwen is so sure he's the one, she just can't turn him away...

Hawk Delgado knows more about Gwen than she could ever imagine. She's gorgeous, headstrong, and skittish about relationships. But Hawk is facing his own demons, demons that keep him from connecting with anyone. Yet when Gwen is drawn into Denver's lethal underground scene, Hawk's protective nature comes out full force. The problem is, when Gwen gets a dose of Hawk's Alpha attitude in the daylight, she's not so sure he's the one anymore....

Oh, do I have a review for this one. I'd like to say that it will be all rainbows and unicorns, but this one is going to get pretty rough.

That being said ... it wasn't a HORRIBLE book ... after all, the premise was pretty interesting: having a relationship with a man for over a year and a half, having only honestly met him once and all other meetings are when he comes to you at night and you (ehem) enjoy each other ... yeah, it's risque but it's interesting. I figured with a premise like that, the book just HAD to be awesome.

Unfortunately, it just didn't hit awesome for me. And I have some extremely nit-picky specific reasons why.

Let's get this show on the road ... I have a lot of ground to cover. Okay ... sometimes there was this weird phrasing in the book ... I don't know if the author was trying to blaze new trails in the literary world or what, but not using pronouns in sentences where they are needed REALLY makes the sentence look like a checklist. And there were a few times when it looked like editing was being attempted ... like someone intended to combine two sentences and instead of removing some words to merge the two, they just literally put them together and removed the period between them. It started off as weird and ended with just being annoying.

Moving on, lets talk about the characters. On one hand, I thought that the character of Elvira was very well established, I loved how spunky/mouthy/sassy she was. She is actually the only character that I felt was ... complete. I didn't wonder anything about her. That could be because of the way she was written - she's a no frills, don't mistake what I'm saying, take it like a man, type of woman. So maybe she commanded that I like her. Now ... on the other hand ... all of the male characters ... had absolutely no depth. It was pretty sad. I didn't understand where any of them were coming from or their motivation or even who in the heck they were. They were just ... shallow. And not shallow = self involved ... I mean shallow = boring. Also, all of the male characters seemed to have been made with a cookie cutter ... they were all so similar. They were bad-asses (the author's word). So they all dressed like a bad-ass and acted like a bad-ass and talked like a bad-ass and combed their hair like bad-asses and walked like a bad-ass and brushed their teeth like a bad-ass. GOT IT! They are all bad-asses. But why?!? For example: Why was Dog a bad-ass? Because he had a gnarly beard? Because he rode a bike? Because he owns an awesome house in the hills? I just don't get it.

Speaking of bad-asses ... if you are truly a bad-ass, would you call yourself a bad-ass? I'm pretty sure that if you're a self-proclaimed bad-ass, then that means you aren't really one. And if THAT is true then this book is full of frauds and that makes it even worse.

Another thing with the characters ... they were all attractive! All I can say is, I want to live in Denver because it sounds pretty amazing. Eye candy on every corner ... every single guy is hot ... with their sultry looks, flowing locks, disarming dimples and manly gaits. There must be some type of secret screening that you have to go through before you can move to Denver ... note to self: look into job specifications for a Denver residence screen-er ...

These last ones, I'm going to list really quickly before this review turns into a novel by itself ... #1. Honey, babe and baby are acceptable nicknames but when every character is called that, it becomes a bit confusing and annoying, honey. #2. Sometimes, the phrases that the bikers used was weird ... for example: "She is in residence now" ... they sound like the military and while that goes with the pic of dog-tags on the cover, the rest of their vernacular just didn't mesh with it. #3. Hearing the phrase "Sorry I cut you" has a different connotation here in Texas ... it means that you cut someone ... with a knife, or a chainsaw or you shanked them ... maybe on accident. In the book, it means that you hurt them ... cut seems pretty specific when you're not actually cutting someone ... #4. No self-respecting 33-year-old says "yowza". Ever. #5. If you're a dude and your dad hits on your girlfriend, maybe by saying that she has a nice ass ... IN FRONT OF HER ... you punch him in the face and leave. You don't chuckle. That was freaking weird.

Last but definitely NOT least, we are going to play a game. It's called Never Have I Ever. It's easy to play, you say "never have I ever" and then name something that you have or haven't done. If any of the players of the game have done it, you have to hit yourself in the face with a book ... preferably one of those hardback editions of the Websters Dictionary that has been sitting on your parents bookshelf for the past 30 years. Now, I get to go first because it was my idea ... and this is really my show right now ... okay ... Never have I ever ... used the word SQUISHY more than 20 times in a book ... unfortunately, at this point, Ms. Kristen Ashley (the author of this book) would have a big knot on her forehead.

Oh, I almost forgot!! The book did have one major redeeming quality ... the characters were Denver Broncos fans. Almost boosted my rating to a 4 star ... then I saw another sentence with the word "squishy" in it ... bumped it back down to a 3 star.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

The Prophecy (The Watchers Chronicles #1)

Title: The Prophecy (The Watchers Chronicles #1)
Date Published: April 2010
Publisher: Zondervan

Remember these words well. It's only a thin veil that separates them from our world. As time grows near, they will return to make their war upon mankind. They will torment, attack, and cause destruction on this planet. They will never hunger; they will never sleep. They will walk amongst us unseen. Invisible to all but those born to see. And each generation of five that sees shall endure more than the last. But the final generation of Watchers will not only endure, not only watch... ...THEY WILL FIGHT.

This book is about 5 children struggling with inner turmoil, demons, spirituality and their fated futures. Do not get discouraged with the first few chapters of this book. It is a bit confusing but it all starts making sense once you get into it. 

I thought that with this being a teen book it would be way too easy to read - I was delightfully mistaken! It is a very mature read. It does reference drugs in the first few pages and teenage pregnancy. If you want to shelter your child from this type of reading, just scan the first few chapters - it's nothing too extreme. The Prophecy surprised me at the end. 

It had a super slow beginning, but in hindsight with all of the information given, it needed to be that way. Good versus Evil has always been a favorite for many authors to write about, but I haven't ever read one quite as good as this.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Prelude to a Scandal (Scandal #1)

Title: Prelude to a Scandal (Scandal #1)
Author: Delilah Marvelle
Date Published: December 2010
Publisher: HQN Books
Pages: 376

Lady Justine is willing to trade her good name, her reputation and her place in London's gossip-hungry ton to secure her father's release from prison. But when the notorious Duke of Bradford counters her offer with a proposal of marriage, the stakes grow higher still. For while the smoldering lord is famous for his conquests, the man is oblivious to both her devotion and her charms. And Justine is soon afraid she has wagered all for naught.

Occasionally, I love a good romance novel. Especially a period one ... you know ... ones that are set back in the mid to late 1800's or the early 1900's. Prelude to a Scandal was pretty good. It wasn't the best book I've ever read, but it was good and I will probably read it again. The story line is unlike any other historical romance I've ever read.

**Little Itty Bitty Spoiler Alert**

The sex addiction problems that the main male character has, I never thought to put it into the era it was written for. Having said that, it felt a little forced. I got a little irritated with how pathetic the male character sounded. I guess I'm a normal woman who wants to read that romance novel with the strong male hero who is flawed but not a loser. I hate begging, so maybe that is my problem with the guy in this story. The female character was well written but something bugged me about her too, I just can't put my finger on it.

Prelude to a Scandal had some twists and turns that surprised me and it was pretty well thought out. To be honest, I couldn't put it down because I wanted to know what happened next, so maybe the character flaws didn't bother me as much when I was reading it as it does now that I've had time to look back on the book.

If you like romance novels, give this one a try - it definitely deserves a shot. You might not feel the same way about the characters as I do. 

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Save the Date

Title: Save the Date
Author: Jenny B. Jones
Date Published: January 2011
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Pages: 312

You are cordially invited to the wedding of the year with the most unlikely bride and groom. Save the date . . . and say your prayers.

When funding for Lucy's non-profit job is pulled, she is determined to find out why. Enter Alex Sinclair, former professional football star and heir to Sinclair Enterprises--the primary donor to Lucy's non-profit organization.

Both Lucy and Alex have something the other desperately wants.

Alex has it all . . . except for the votes he needs to win his bid for Congress. Despite their mutual dislike, Alex makes Lucy a proposition: pose as his fiancee in return for the money she desperately needs. Bound to a man who isn't quite what he seems, Lucy finds her heart--and her future--on the line.
Save the Date was so much fun to read! It was witty, sassy, full of humor and romance. It's not your traditional romance novel. I think that it was better. I haven't read a book that really made me laugh in a long time.

Jones made her characters completely real. The way that the characters interacted with each other was almost like a look into my family. There were a few different plots that were going on in this book but it didn't feel like it. The story flowed so well that I read it in a day and a half and I was wishing that it was a little longer so that I could get more of the back and forth that went between the two main characters.

I have other books that I need to read and review and I don't want to. I want to sit down and read this one over and over and over. It will never be one that I loan to anyone because I couldn't bear it if I didn't get it back. I just can't say enough good things about this book. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE IT!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Retro Demonology (The Demon Trappers #0.5)

Title: Retro Demonology (The Demon Trappers #0.5)
Author: Jana Oliver
Date Published: December 2010
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Pages: 31

A Demon Trapper’s bonus story.

Before Riley Blackthorne can take on Grade Five demons, she has to trap her very first. Her debut solo trapping experience should be a breeze, just a harmless Grade One after all. But throw in some dippy hippies (whose peace signs and Patchouli really aren’t driving any demons away), one mischievous demon, and a run-in with the police, and Riley might not be able to pull it off...

This is a must-read for everyone who is interested in The Demon Trappers Daughter! It gives you a little insight into a couple of days before The Demon Trappers Daughter starts. It's full of colorful descriptions of a hippie couple that Riley encounters on her first solo job. Short and sweet! 

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

True Love (Nantucket Brides Trilogy #1)

Title: True Love (Nantucket Brides Trilogy #1)
Author: Jude Deveraux
Date Published: July 2013
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Pages: 464

Just as Alix Madsen is finishing up architectural school, Adelaide Kingsley dies and wills her, for one year, the use of a charming nineteenth-century Nantucket house. The elderly woman’s relationship to the Madsen family is a mystery to the spirited Alix—fresh from a romantic breakup—but for reasons of her own Alix accepts the quirky bequest, in part because it gives her time to plan her best friend’s storybook wedding.

But unseen forces move behind the scenes, creaking Kingsley House’s ancient floorboards. It seems that Adelaide Kingsley had a rather specific task for Alix: to solve the strange disappearance of one of the Kingsley women, Valentina, more than two hundred years ago. If that wasn’t troubling enough, Alix must deal with the arrogant (and extremely good-looking) architect Jared Montgomery, who is living in the property’s guesthouse.

Unbeknown to Alix, Jared has been charged with looking after her while she lives on the island—an easy task for him, considering the undeniable chemistry between the two. But Jared harbors secrets of his own, which, if revealed, may drive a wedge between the pair.

With a glorious Nantucket wedding on the horizon, sparks fly, and the ghosts of the past begin to reveal themselves—some of them literally. Finding their lives inextricably entwined with the turbulent fortunes of their ancestors, Alix and Jared discover that only by righting the wrongs of the past can they hope to be together.

I am so conflicted with this review. So. Since I apparently can't tell my head from my behind with this one, I'm planning on just going through the list of ... things ... one by one and letting you guys make a decision on your own!

There might be some little mini-spoilers ... nothing serious or story ruining ... I promise!

At this point, you've probably already read the description for this book so you know kind of what is going on. Forget everything that they have posted. Just throw it out the window and hope that a car runs over it, smashing it into oblivion. Now. I'm not saying that the description is false. At least not completely. But when you're faced with a ghost in this book ... Yes. A ghost. One that talks. And people can hear it. A ghost you can have full blown conversations with. Now, maybe I have issues reading correctly or someone is going in and changing the book description when I go to read it ... but I didn't know that ghosts were a part of this book. It was just a weird thing not to include in the description, especially considering that it comes out within the first couple of chapters - so it's not like it was a secret only to be revealed at the end of the book.

Okay ... here come some little spoilers ... you might want to skip this paragraph. So. Reincarnation. I don't have feelings either way on this topic. Reincarnation might be possible, it might not ... who am I to say. But this is another topic that I didn't think would play a pivotal part in the book. But it does. And during a bit of the book, it was a little hard to keep up with who was who in another life and who dated who 5 gazillion years ago before they turned into another person who dated this other person 899 years ago but then fell in love again 458 years ago just to die in a freak space-ship accident but came back as pet leopard of the person they fell in love with back when rocks were forming. Yeah. It's a lot. And maybe how I explained it is a little more extreme than it actually was in the book, but you get my point. It was confusing. Or maybe I'm slow. Both are very likely possibilities.

Onto the last "issue" that I'm going to bring up in the review. Page 318 in my advanced uncorrected proof (or ARC) is where I will be referring to for my current tirade. Let me just take a moment to set the scene on this one ... female main character (Alix) is standing in the bathroom ... male main character (Jared) is in the shower trying to clean off a little boy (Tyler) that they are watching ... Tyler had a messy diaper - the kind that parents worldwide fear - your child has gone poo and then something horrible happened - the poo goes up their back, out of their diaper, getting on anything and everything in it's way while headed to the poor child's neck. Okay. So Jared stripped down (he was covered in transferred poo), Tyler is stripped down and they are standing under the spraying water in the shower and Alix can't get over how beautiful they look. Deveraux goes on to say that Alix was so affected by the sight that she had to hang onto the sink to avoid collapsing. I'm sorry. I'm a mom. I have two boys and the creeping poo has happened to my husband and I more times than we can count. Maybe I'm just weird but never and I mean NEVER have I looked at my do-do smeared boys and thought that they were beautiful. I don't know if that makes me a horrible mom or what but I just don't see the beauty in those situations. It could be that my problem is due to the fact that I'm holding back gags and my eyes are watering so badly from the smell that I can't see the beauty of the scene. Either way, it was just a weird addition to the book and a strange way to convey Alix's visual appreciation of Jared and Tyler.

That all being said, it was an okay book. It's not the worst, not the best. And I might have given it a higher rating if the weird ghost thing had been in the description so that I was prepared. I don't usually enjoy books about ghosts and it just ruined part of the story for me. The interaction between Jared and Alix was great. I thought that the characters were really well written and completely explored - I didn't really have any questions about who they were or where they came from. I don't really know if I'll pick up the next book in the series, but it's not completely out of the question.  

Monday, July 15, 2013

Eloquent Silence

Title: Eloquent Silence
Author: Sandra Brown
Date Published: 1982
Publisher: Vision
Pages: 288

 Lauri is a dedicated young teacher for the deaf. Her past conceals a wound still unhealed, her present is a facade, and she uses her career to hide her loneliness. Drake, daytime TV's most popular star, has two secrets -- the daughter he believes may never have a normal life and the dead wife he can't forget. Jennifer is the beautiful hearing-impaired child who may become a pawn between the man and the woman she needs most. Now, in a chic New Mexico arts community, the three are given a chance to be a family...but first each must find a voice to express the deepest fears and greatest needs of the heart.

Sandra Brown never disappoints. This is one of her older books (1982) but it really reads like it could be a book that was written recently. All of her books are like that. You can't tell that it was written 28 years ago and I think that speaks volumes for the author.

Eloquent Silence was a great story that took an interesting turn at the end. I had no idea of the little twist that I was going to read when I was towards the end of the book. Brown always keeps me on my toes which is why I love her writing so much.

I'll definitely add this Brown book to the re-read rotation.

Friday, July 12, 2013

The Medusa Amulet

Title: The Medusa Amulet
Author: Robert Masello
Date Published: April 2011
Publisher: Bantam
Pages: 464

In this new spine-tingling thriller by Robert Masello, the critically acclaimed and bestselling author of Blood and Ice, a brilliant but skeptical young scholar named David Franco embarks on a quest to recover a legendary artifact: a beautifully carved amulet that was created by Benvenuto Cellini, the master artisan of Renaissance Italy.

What begins as a simple investigation quickly spirals into a twisting, turning tale of suspense and intrigue, a race against time that carries Franco across continents and centuries in a desperate search for this ultimate treasure—and a work of unimaginable power . . . and menace.

Aided only by a beautiful young Florentine with a conspirator’s mind and dark secrets, Franco is soon caught up in a life-and-death struggle from which there is no escape. Relentlessly pursued by deadly assassins and demons of his own, in the end he must confront—and defeat—an evil greater than anything conjured in his worst nightmares.

Full Disclosure: I did receive this book from Goodreads in exchange for an honest reivew.
This is one of the best books I have read in a long time!!! I absolutely love how Masello wove fiction and history together to make this wonderfully mysterious and gripping story. Masello really grabs you by the collar and pulls you into the storyline quite quickly and then yanks you around a little. That sounds really horrible ... but it's amazing!! You really think that the story is going into one direction and then all of the sudden, then you do a 180 and you wondering what in the world just happened.

I really enjoy reading books that pull from history. Masello really knows his stuff. Reading The Medusa Amulet made me research a lot of the facts that he put into his book. Granted, this is fictional, this is not a true story. But a lot of it is based on speculation and actual facts. Fabulous!!

If you like Dan Brown or Steve Berry, this is an author that you'll fall in love with immediately. His writing style is a little different from Brown and Berry, but it's just as enchanting. I wish that I didn't have other books that I need to get through, because I would be rereading this one!

Great book, you have to give it a shot!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Warlord (Alexander Hawke #6)

Title: Warlord (Alexander Hawke #6)
Author: Ted Bell
Date Published: September 2010
Publisher: William Morrow
Pages: 544 

 Counterspy Alexander Hawke races to stop a madman hell-bent on murdering the British royal family in this latest spellbinding action thriller in Ted Bell’sNew York Times bestselling series.

Alex Hawke has all but given up on life. The British-American MI6 counterterrorism operative lost the woman he loved almost a year ago and has sought refuge at the bottom of a rum bottle ever since. But late one night at his home on Bermuda, he receives a wake-up call . . . literally.

His Royal Highness Prince Charles, an old friend, desperately needs his help. The prince has discovered a not-so-subtle threat directed toward the British royal family. What’s more, the evidence reveals an ominous connection to Charles’s god-father, Lord Mountbatten—the beloved family patriarch assassinated by an ingeniously designed bomb thirty years before. A shadowy figure from the past has the British crown in his sights, and has proven once before that his warnings are not to be taken lightly. Several clues point to IRA involvement, but the authorities have little to go on and answers are scarce. This is just the call to duty Hawke needs to get back into action—if the madman doesn’t strike first.

Full Disclosure: I received this book from Goodreads in exchange for an honest review.

First thoughts after finishing Warlord - Why in the world haven't I read Ted Bell before?!?

Ted Bell wove a story line that is intricate and full of little surprises - like including Princess Di - and his knowledge of military/government made this book read like it was coming from a news story. While reading Warlord, I found myself skimming the pages because I wanted to find out what happened next but when I found that I was missing important details, I went back and re-read. This was an amazing book that I will read over and over. Warlord happens to be part of a series ... but if you've not read the other books (like me) you will not be lost in the story line; it just makes you want to go back and read everything you can get your hands on about Alex Hawke. Great book and an exciting series!!