Being the object of a woman-hunt, exiled to Simpson, being terrorized by school kids trick-or-treating, lusing after an around non-talker with superb thighs. It was all too much.
Julia listened to him in rising panic, having a sudden image of herself zigging when she was supposed to zag, driving in frantic loops around the vast empty countryside until the gas ran out and wolves ate her.
Out of Focus by LA Witt – B – see my full review here.
Shattered Glass by Dani Alexander – B – see my full review here.
A Lady Awakened by Cecilia Grant – A – see my full review here. **Print Pick of the Month**
“It would be vulgar to strangle you on the dance floor;” he said. “Yet I am sorely tempted.”
and on the next page:
“My dear duke, only look at the competition.”
“I would,” he said, “but you’re so aggravating, I can’t tear my gaze away.”
“Fascinating,” she said, “You mean fascinating.”
She’d been a fool to imagine she could manage this man. She should have realized that a duke is used to getting his own way, to a certain degree common folk could scarcely imagine. She should have realised that getting his way all his life would affect his brain and make him not altogether like other men.
“Don’t be noble, I beg you,” he said. “I think nobleness of spirit… and morals… and ethics… and scruples… those sorts of things are all very well in thier place. To a point, you know. But beyond a certain point, I think they make me bilious.”
If only the end of the book could have lived up to the rest of it, it would have been superb. As it was, it was still very good, but it could have been…
Teach Me by Cassandra Dean – C- My full review will be on the ARRA blog sometime in May I believe.
Some obvious editing problems let this one down for me – for example, a pony changed it’s name from “Banner” to “Major” in the middle of one scene and then changed back again.
It did make me teary though (sad animal story) and I liked that Trev and Mike did love each other and each was willing to compromise in order to protect their relationship.
Forbidden Fantasies by Jodie Griffin – B+ – see my review here.
The Witness by Nora Roberts – A Review to come closer to the release date. For now, I’ll just say it’s VERY VERY good. 🙂
Horace grabbed his hand, pumping his arm as if his armpit might produce oil.
Warmth pooled in her belly, and spiraled through her body. Her breasts, her abdomen, her knees. Her knees? She’d never really had an orgasm in her knees before.
Because of You by Jessica Scott – C- This book has an average rating of just over 4 stars on Goodreads, so I think I’m an outlier. While I thought the premise showed promise, it didn’t deliver that well for me. Also, in the book, the hero shaves his head – look at that cover. Hair!!
Sgt. Shane Garrison meets trauma nurse Jen St. James shortly before shipping out to Iraq. There is chemistry between them, which is a happy surprise for Jen as she is a breast cancer survivor and a mastectomy has left her feeling anything but sexy. Some 4 months later, Shane is injured and is shipped home where he meets up again with Jen, this time as his nurse. Shane doesn’t cope with his injuries very well and Jen tries to help him come to grips with not being the “god” he believes he should be for the men under his command.
I found the narrative a bit heavy handed and overdone at times, particularly in relation to the “hooah” of the military. In general, deployed soldiers do a great job in extremely difficult circumstances, but I don’t need to be hit over the head with the rhetoric in a romance novel.
There were also abrupt shifts in conversation or narrative which left me feeling disconnected. It felt to me like there were things missed out or skipped over. I had the impression the author knew those bits but for some reason, they didn’t make it to the page, or at least the final edit.
There were some aspects of the story I wanted more information/detail about and I felt their lack. For example, I never did get a full accounting of Shane’s injuries. Mostly, they were alluded to and only some details were parsed out over the course of the story. Another one is a reference in the book to a “line-of-duty investigation and a Fifteen Six”. The very brief explanation contained in the following sentence was not enough for me to understand what this was really about and it felt more like a nod to the author’s military background/knowledge – because it wasn’t properly explained for a lay person (ie, me) it pushed me out of the story. Other things were belaboured (Jen’s worries about her mastectomy scar, Shane’s guilt and responsibility for his men). It’s not so much that they were present in the story that was my problem, it was more that the same issues kept getting repeated with no forward movement. It felt very repetitive.
I also felt there was too much time spent on setting up Laura and Trent’s story (which I think is the next one in the series). The book is only 231 pages. The sequel bait and the suspense subplot (which wasn’t fully resolved and also had a cardboard villain) all took page time from the main romance – which was the story I wanted to read.
I found myself a little frustrated by the end – there was a good story in there that I wanted to read but I felt too much got in the way. I can’t say that I really believed the HEA between Jen and Shane – they didn’t talk all that well together and Shane was significantly banged up for most of their “courtship” for me to feel truly comfortable that they really knew each other. I did feel like parts of the story had been left out.
Still, there was enough in this, that I’m interested in seeing what the author does with book 2 in the series.
Curio by Cara McKenna – A- See my review here.
Moving in Rhythm by Dev Bentham – B- Engaging story about a pathologically shy man (Mark) who is basically a shut in. He moves in with his pregnant sister-in-law when his brother is deployed to Afghanistan and meets Seth, who teaches a Zumba class at the local gym.
Told in first person from Mark’s POV, Seth remains a bit of a mystery, which is a pity because he was an interesting and likeable character I would have liked to know better.
I didn’t get the connection between being gay/coming out and the shyness. I thought they were two separate issues but they were conflated in the book and the characters seemed to accept there was a link. I think I missed something because I didn’t think he Mark was shy because he was gay and closeted. If anything, I thought it was the other way around – he was closeted because he was so shy he saw no point in coming out as he didn’t feel he could ever had a relationship anyway. But that was as far as I saw the interaction between the two.
I did think that Seth and Mark said the “L word” a bit too quickly – did they really know each other that well? But, I did enjoy the story thought it was well worth my time.
Shining in the Sun by Alex Beecroft – B/B+ Moving story about a rich man (Alec) and a poor man (Darren) who are both suffocating in their respective lives. They are both desperately unhappy and both feel powerless to do anything about it. Both see the summer as an opportunity to escape, even if only for a little while, the individual misery of their usual lives. It’s a story of how they learn to be brave together and escape that misery and find their freedom for more than just a month. It has its flaws (Alec’s first line to Darren is terribly cheesy – it was probably meant to be, but still), but I was caught up with the imagery and the story. I was struck by the poverty and desperate sadness of Darren’s life and the feeling, despite his money of utter suffocation and vulneratibility in Alec’s life. I didn’t really understand the character of Alec’s mother. I appreciated that Alec’s fiancee was charming and lovely – if he were straight he would have been very happy with her. I do wonder how Alec and Darren will fit together for the long term – after all, they are from completely different worlds – but I was happy enough to go along with the fairy tale.
…a faint citrusy palate-cleansing tang, and the thought and taste came together into a moment of renewal, of newness. It was a wrong feeling for summer – more of a spring feeling, a start to the year, resolution making, this-time-it-will-all-be-different hope. He shook it off, disconcerted. It was summer he had here, distraction, escape. Not hope. Especially not change.
and this one:
He looked like a man who was turning into paper, folding himself into origami angles, fragile and friable and prone to crumple.
I enjoyed this one quite a bit, I liked the melancholy tone of most of the story and it was, for the most part, beautifully written.
A Lady Never Surrenders by Sabrina Jeffries, narrated by Justine Eyre – C+/B- I reviewed this book for AAR. My review will be up soon.
In Red, with Pearls by Patricia Briggs (from Down These Strange Streets Anthology), narrated by Phil Gigante – B+. Short story set in the Mercy Thompson world from werewolf Warren’s point of view. Someone has tried to kill his lover Kyle and Warren uses both his PI and wolf skills to find the bad guy and keep his mate safe. Warren and Kyle are great characters and I’d happily read/listen to more about them. An excellent little story.
The Rose Garden by Susanna Kearsley, narrated by Nicola Barber B. This is one of my books but I offered the review to AAR so it will be included in an upcoming Speaking of Audiobooks column.
Taking a Shot by Jaci Burton, narrated by Lucy Malone – C I reviewed this one for Speaking of Audiobooks at AAR. My review will be up over there shortly. Can I just say that some sex scenes are better not read aloud.
Angels of Darkness anthology by Nalini Singh, Ilona Andrews, Meljean Brook and Sharon Shinn, narrated by Justine Eyre, Renee Raudman, and Colleen Marlo I didn’t listen to the Sharon Shinn story. I may get to it another time but I haven’t read any of this author’s work before and am not familiar with the world building and I really only wanted this anthology for the 2 books I listened to.
Angel’s Wolf by Nalini Singh narrated by Justine Eyre – C+. Great story (B for story alone) but the narrator bothered me by mispronouncing the hero’s name throughout the book. As his name appears often, it was a problem. His name is not No-El like the Christmas carol. It’s Noel and it rhymes with bowl. Otherwise, it was nice to see what happened to the vampire who was severely injured in the Refuge during the course of Archangel’s Kiss. He finds love in Louisiana with the angel Nimra.
Alphas by Ilona Andrews, narrated by Renee Raudman- B+ A really different story with an excellent narrator. I hear that the Andrews’ had to change up the story a bit and give it a HEA/HFN because it was in a romance anthology and it was originally conceived to be much darker. I liked it as it was I must say – it was quite dark enough for me! And HEA/HFN’s are really a requirement for me as well. Still, it was dark and different and interesting and I’d like to read/listen to more of this world. I really enjoy Renee Raudman as a narrator and with the combination of these authors and her voice, I was happy to go in blind otherwise. It’s kind of hard to describe the story – “normal” mom gets transported into a parallel universe (kind of) with her daughter and is suddenly food for a beast – and he’s the hero! Like I said – different, but I really liked it.