April Reads

On paper/ebook
Chasing Fire by Nora Roberts – Bsee my full review here.
On the Edge by Ilona Andrews – C+/B-. I liked this one but didn’t love it as much as the Kate Daniels series books. It took me a little while to cotton to the world building and get a clear picture in my head of how things work.  I liked Rose and Declan and I thought the kids, Jack & George were very well written.  I wondered that Rose fell in love a bit quickly.  She’d only known Declan about 2 weeks before she told him she was in love.  Now, I appreciate that they were in a pressure-cooker situation but she was someone who’d been burned before in love (and very badly) and hadn’t actually had any good experiences with romance.  I could see that she would love him but the speed of it made me think it was more because the plot needed it rather than that it made sense for the character.
The very end, while fairly predictable, made me smile.
Overall, I liked it.  It’s a good start to a series and I think it will pick up as I get used to the worldbuilding.  I’m looking forward to William’s story.  I liked him too! 🙂
Indulgence in Death by JD Robb – B+ – see my full review here.
**pick of the month**
Hot Pursuit by Suzanne Brockmann – A- I’d forgotten how much I enjoy the Troubleshooters series.   This one has Sam & Alyssa, introduces Jenn to Dan (Gillman), and some Robin & Jules, plus there’s a suspense plot about the serial killer known as the Dentist – first introduced in some of the free shorts Brockmann wrote for fans of Sam & Alyssa.  Sam & Alyssa and Robin & Jules are probably my favourite 2 couples of the whole series (and that’s quite hard to say because really, I have totally enjoyed this series).
I really enjoyed it – the only thing which bothered me was that I really started to notice the author’s habit of saying “And, yeah, okay” variations on those 3 words – after so many books, it’s getting a little old for me.  But really, if that’s the only thing I can think of, that’s saying to me that this is a pretty great book.    In fact, I enjoyed it so much I went back and re-read Hot Target – which is the book where Jules first meets Robin.
**pick of the month**
Hot Target by Suzanne Brockmann – B+ (re-read). This is actually one of my favourite books in the series.  I really like Cosmo Richter and, of course, as I said above, this is the book where Jules & Robin meet  (oh, the angst!) so that’s icing on the cake.  It holds up really well on a re-read.
Brockmann does have an agenda to push gay rights and tolerance – something which is a good thing but sometimes her politics can come across as preachy rather than what the character would actually do or say – I found this in Infamous for example.  Having re-read this one, I realise she’s did it here too but I found it more… organic to the book and less “obvious” (in terms of the author’s agenda as opposed to the character’s) and so it worked better for me.
Force of Nature by Suzanne Brockmann – A-/B+ (re-read). I’ll admit I just read the Jules & Robin bits – I wanted to catch up on their story before I re-read All Through the Night.  If only the bedroom door had’ve been just a little more (or a lot more) open, I’d have been in romance heaven!
All Through The Night by Suzanne Brockmann B+. This one is really for fans of Jules & Robin. It’s a novella (longish at 270+ pages) and it doesn’t pretend to have the usual Troubleshooters story arc.  The story charts the course of Jules & Robin’s wedding from proposal to reception and readers get to have a brief catch up with many of the other TS characters, including Sam & Alyssa.  I enjoyed it as I had done when I first read it.  My only bugbear is that the sex scenes were too tame – in  m/f scenes the author, while not super graphic or anything, usually gives more detail, but most of the m/m was fade to black.  I’m not sure why.
Naked Edge by Pamela Clare- B+.  This is Katherine (“Kat)” James,(the I-Team’s newest environmental reporter)  & Gabe Rossiter’s story  and Book 4 of the I-Team series.  It is a very enjoyable and hot romance with good suspense and a very sexy alpha hero.  The plot involves shady goings on in park lands with a Native American sacred connection. The author’s attention to detail regarding the Native American culture was very interesting without being overpowering or feeling like some sort of message was being delivered – Kat is a half Navajo Indian and her culture is part of her character – these parts felt very organic to the story.  It also made sense that Kat would fall for Gabe – apart from the hotness factor, he is a Mountain Park Ranger (which is actually a police-y type function in the US – here in Australia it’s more about flora and fauna management) – but not only does he do the job, he loves the job.  His love of the outdoors and nature give him his own connection to the environment which serves to connect Kat and he on another level.  The epilogue was a tad saccharin, but I still enjoyed it!
I really don’t know why it took me so long to read this one – it had been languishing on my TBR almost since its release.    I can trust Ms. Clare to deliver a hot sexy romance with a compelling suspense story which doesn’t overpower the relationship aspects.  I can also trust her not to write stories where the hero and heroine are getting it on when they’re bullets flying or something equally ridiculous.    I thought Gabe was an awesome, somewhat tortured hero, a little flawed but nevertheless willing to give up everything for Kat. (awww!)  Having seen some of those rock-climbing types on the TV, I had a fair idea of just how ripped he was too!  I think he’s my favourite “I-Team hero” so far…. bearing in mind that there is a new I-Team book out in May, it’s possible he will be knocked of his perch fairly soon though!
Unlawful Contact by Pamela Clare – B+. (I-Team #3)  A really enjoyable romance, a hero to sigh over, hot sexxoring and a ripping, if slightly unbelievable, plot.  Hero even kills spiders FTW!!  This is Sophie Alton (I-Team Cops & Courts) & Marc Hunter’s story.  “Hunt” escapes from prison (which is the slightly unbelievable – or at least I hope it is – part) taking Sophie hostage in order to find his missing sister and her 8 month old daughter.
Extreme Exposure by Pamela Clare- B+ (I-Team #1).  After reading Unlawful Contact, I was inspired to do a re-read of the first two I-Team books – getting read for the May release of Breaking Point, don’tcha know?  I remembered I liked it but I’d forgotten how much and it held up very well on a re-read, even knowing in advance who the bad guys were.  The story follows Kara McMillan, I-Team environmental reporter and Senator Reece Sheridan – Ms. Clare manages to make an US Senator sexy – well done!!
Hard Evidence by Pamela Clare – B. (I-Team #2)  Another re-read.   Follows the story of I-Team reporter Tessa Novak and Julian Darcangelo, undercover FBI liaison and Russian mafia sex trafficking ring.  Once again, the suspense doesn’t overwhelm the romance and they don’t do the nasty while being shot at or anything silly like that.   The scenes where Tessa is in jail for 24 hours on a felony charge were chilling – they are, I believe, based on the author’s real life experience as a journalist.  Humiliating and scary.   Holds up well on  a re-read.  Julian is a very sexy hero.  Yum.
The Perfect Play by Jaci Burton – C  (Let’s face it, that cover deserves to be extra large….. *sigh*) Best. Cover. Evah.  Sadly, the book didn’t live up to the promise of the cover.  It was okay but not great.  I kept getting the feeling that I knew what the author was trying to get to but it hit just shy of the mark many times throughout the book.  There were some good parts but (and I can’t believe I’m saying this), there was too much sex.  Tara and Mick had sex in just about every encounter – and sometimes it was a bit jarring – like when they were will out of breath afterwards and all of a sudden they’re having a deep and meaningful (D&M) discussion – it just kind of felt out of place.  I also felt Mick’s “secret” (which I won’t give away here as it is spoiler-y) was inconsistent – sometimes it was troublesome and other times it was no big deal. It was by no means awful but I just didn’t love it and I really wanted to.
Animal Magnetism by Jill Shalvis – B.  An enjoyable, fun, sexy read about boarding kennel operator Lilah Young and just-in-town-for-a-month, I-don’t-do-relationships, pilot Brady Miller.
I really enjoy Shalvis’ writing style and it wasn’t many pages before I was highlighting text in my book – the banter between the characters is very very good.
Like this (where Lilah is enjoying a chocolate donut):

“Would you like a moment alone with that?” he asked, amused.  And also a little turned on.

“Everyone has their price”
“Yes, and mine is chocolate.  Offer me some and probably I’d follow you anywhere,” she admitted.
“Well, you’re still a stranger”
“I told you my  name.”
“I’d need more than that.”
He just looked at her, smiling.  They both knew he’d had her at chocolate.

I remember reading a less than favourable review somewhere around the place shortly after the book was released – the reviewer didn’t like Lilah – thought she was too perfect and didn’t have a character arc.  With all due respect to that reviewer (whose name I’m sure I will remember after I publish the post), I disagree.  I didn’t think Lilah was perfect, and while the growth was mainly Brady’s I thought that there was also growth for Lilah in the story.
I did note some copy editiing errors – eg, I don’t think “unstableness” is really a word – wouldn’t “instability” work better? – and there were a couple of scenes where Lilah did something like put the puppy on the floor and then a page or two later, the same puppy was being put on the floor by Brady.  There was a recent kerfuffle about the copy editing of the latest Lora Leigh book which was published by the same publisher – I don’t know if its endemic or not.  Fortunately, I like Shalvis enough not to get too hung up about it even though that sort of thing does tend to grate and throw me out of the story.
I’m looking forward to Adam  and Dell’s stories – I think Dell is next. *rubs hands together*
Demonica: Pleasure Unbound by Larissa Ione – B- Interesting world building, a sexy hero and a kick ass heroine on the plus side. A lot of characters and mythology to keep track of and some forced/dubious seduction at the start and an abrupt end without solving the central suspense plot let the book down a bit but I was nevertheless interested enough to buy and download the reast of the series on the strength of this book.
On audio
First Drop of Crimson by Jeaniene Frost, narrated by Tavia Gilbert – C+.  I think this is my least favourite of the series so far. (Note, it is Bk 1 in the Night Huntress World books but it fits in between Bk 4 and 5 of the Night Huntress – ie Cat & Bones – series). I have a thing about “big misunderstanding” plots – they tend to frustrate me. This story had quite a bit of the h/h misunderstanding each other and not just, you know, TALKING to clear it up. (Bugs me IRL too!). From my understanding of the character in prior Cat & Bones books, I got the impression of Denise as a… well, not slutty but very confident in her femininity and her power to attract men. In this book, even though her husband had died a year earlier and she was still grieving, she couldn’t seem to fathom that Spade was interested in her and that struck me as more of a plot device than it being what I would have expected from the character.
I would have liked more information on how Denise coped with the no children thing – that had been very important to her before. Also, what was going to happen with Spade drinking her blood? The end left me with some questions unanswered. It was a pleasant listen but not my fave.
Eternal Kiss of Darkness by Jeaniene Frost, narrated by Tavia Gilbert –  B-.  Dude! What’s going on with the cover model’s face? He looks like he’s been in a fight. So NOT how I picture Menceres!
I liked this one better than the previous book – no big mis this time. I did guess pretty early what Menceres’ vision/lack of meant, but overall, an enjoyable story. I liked Kira and thought she was a good choice for Menceres’ lady.
This Side of the Grave by Jeaniene Frost, narrated by Tavia Gilbert – B-/C+.Another enjoyable listen. I’m a bit Night Huntressed out now though – 7 in a row is about my limit.  Glad there is some time before the next book so I can re-group and give it my best.
Loyalty in Death by JD Robb, narrated by Susan Ericksen B+. I love this series.  I’ve read the book 2x and now I’ve also listened to the audio.  This is the first book where McNab and Peabody get together – I hadn’t remembered it had taken so many books actually.
Another excellent installment and Ericksen as usual does a sterling job of the narration.
Breaking the Rules by Suzanne Brockmann, narrated by Patrick Lawlor and Renee Raudman  – B+.  Full review here.
Witness in Death by JD Robb, narrated by Susan Ericksen – B.  I’d forgotten how far along in the series it actually was when McNab and Peabody first got together – another enjoyable audio instalment of a great series. 

5 comments on “April Reads

  1. Chris

    So, if a person wanted to only read the Robin & Jules bits of the Troubleshooters books, are those the books that are listed here?

  2. Kaetrin

    Hi Chris *waves*. Yes, those are the books which feature Jules & Robin – Hot Pursuit has some of them too but the main romance arc is in Hot Target, Force of Nature and then ATTN. Jules has featured in some way or another in almost all of the TS books – he started appearing in Bk2. But he doesn't meet Robin until Hot Target. Obviously readers of the whole series will know a lot more backstory about Jules and how he interacts with other team members, particularly the evolution of the friendship between he and Sam – thinking about it now, Sam may come across as just a bit too gooey without all the background for him but if you're not actually reading about Sam, I don't guess that's a problem. The Robin & Jules books are basically stand alones in that they don't have a huge amount of other storylines crossing through the book – others in the series would be that much harder. I can't remember now if Jules & Robin feature much in Into the Fire – I haven't read it in a while, but I think not. The 3 mentioned above are the main ones.

  3. Chris

    Thank you! I've squirreled away your comment, and the Troubleshooters bit of your post, so will be all ready. 🙂

  4. Lori

    Wow. Lots of series rereads. Prepping for the newest books in the I-Team and TS? Either way, it looks like a great month for you.

  5. Kaetrin

    Hi Lori. I'm looking forward to getting my hands on the new I-Team book – I'm just holding off in case I win a copy – it's a long shot I know but I've entered a few giveaways for it. If I don't, then I'll pick up an e-copy in the next week or two.As for TS, I do a bit of reviewing for the Speaking of Audiobooks column over at AAR. I got a review copy of Breaking The Rules on audio and my mini review will go up next week (I think) as part of the next column. The deal with AAR is that I can post my own review but it can't be the same as the one I do for AAR. If you haven't noticed already, I'm long-winded, so my full review of BTR is waayy too long for the SOA column. My lovely editor cut it down even further from what I had done myself (I'm just not ruthless enough it seems) – I will be posting my full review once the AAR column goes up. What was the question again? Oh, yeah. I hadn't read Hot Pursuit and I didn't think it was fair for me to review BTR until I'd caught up – the catching up led me to a mini re-read – it was actually the TS series which led me to re/read the first 4 books in the I-Team series – both are IMO, good examples of Romantic Suspense and I had a hankering for quality RS at the time! 🙂

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