Friday, December 31, 2010

Anybody Wanna Play Pretend Good Cop/Bad Cop? I Do! I Do!

Newly divorced Lacey Meyers wasted too many years yawning through sex in the missionary position. Now she's looking for a hookup with a man who can make her shatter. What she gets is a hot younger cop with handcuffs...and he's not afraid to use them.

Hunter Anderson knows the score—though classy, successful women like Lacey might play with guys like him, at the end of the evening, they walk. But when one night leads to another and then another, he finds himself getting too attached to a woman he can't have.

Lacey knows Hunter—gorgeous, hard-edged and eight years younger—won't want anything permanent. No matter how hot and daring he makes her first public sex, quickie, backseat encounter and secret fantasy role-play, she can't mistake adventurous sex for emotional involvement.

They both know it's got to end, and soon, or someone's going to get hurt. But can either of them go back to life without the other?

Reader Advisory: Lacey's highly erotic "forced" sex fantasy comes true in this book. Lucky her!

Making the Grade: A

For My Thoughts

Tweer pressure strikes again (what can I say I’m a push over). This time I have Mandi @smexybooks for “turning me on” to this fabulous Ebook.

Liberating Lacey by Ann Calhoun could have just been a clichéd erotic story about the latest Cougar looking to land the hot boy-toy. Or a story about how your station in life affects how you relate to people whether your working class or one of the upper class. It could have simply been another erotic story filled with endless scenes of meaningless sex. It was none of those things and to some degree all of those things combined to make one terrific story. This is one of the best books I have ever read in this genre.

I loved both Lacey and Hunter. I connected with both characters particularly Lacey. Being single and on the wrong side of 30 (or 40 but who’s counting!) is hard enough without venturing out into the big bad world of dating especially when you haven’t been on a date in over 15 years (can I relate much?).

Lacey had major insecurities about her age and dating a younger man - ummm he was only 28 - it’s not like 36 is exactly over the hill. In addition, to me Hunter seemed more mature and more responsible than maybe most 28 year old males today. He was a dedicated hard working cop, did double shifts when necessary and helped his dad do home renovations when not working - he was one of the good guys.

On the flip side Hunter was insecure with his place in Lacey’s life. Hard working blue collar cop, living pay check to pay check doesn’t really measure up in the high profile world of investment banking and wining and dining the movers and the shakers. In Hunter’s mind he wasn’t in the same social class as trust fund baby Lacey and it ultimately affected their relationship. I loved that Lacey grew up with wealth, but that didn’t stop her from being one of the top in her field and she actually worked hard for her money (when really with her trust fund she could have totally been a slacker).

First impressions are very important and needless to say they both made a profound impression on each other.

Lacey’s first impression of Hunter the first night at the bar: Broad expanse of chest testing the seam of a black t-shirt, close-cropped dark brown hair, green eyes, angular cheekbones and mouth set in a firm line and from the first touch of his hands on her hips as he moved her out of his way at the bar. Zing-a-ling-a-ling. Holy hot mama!

Then as Lacey continues to check him out and he catches her at it: “Like what you see?” Yes…why Yes I do…panting..drooling…ohh wait that’s me - not Lacey..but her reactions were pretty similar too.

Not to be outdone, Hunter zeros right in on Lacey since she’s not exactly the typical customer to grace Buff the bar-slash-dance club voted the best place to meet someone new and Hunter can spot it right off the bat. She thinks she looks out of place because of her age, but Hunter sets her straight.

“Honey, you can’t hide class under those Fuck-me clothes.

The one place these 2 had NO issues communicating was in the bedroom…hot hot hot, smoking hot behind closed doors action or in the back seat of a car or in the parking lot the first night they hooked up at the bar - no sense wasting any time. Since Lacy is for all intents and purposes relatively innocent about the dating scene, a lot of her experiences with Hunter were “firsts” and they just keep getting better and better . As each new “first” was experienced, the passion and heat just kept increasing and not just for Lacey, but Hunter was equally affected as well by their electric passion. At the start both Hunter and Lacey were just looking for a casual, mutually beneficially, satisfying sexual relationship. As it progresses the chemistry between these 2 is off the charts.

Did I mention Hunter was a cop? With a uniform? And handcuffs? And it turns out someone’s been a very, very naughty girl. The result is a little fantasy role playing encounter hot enough to scorch the skin off your fingers and ohhhhh my forget that good cop crap - I’ll take bad cop Hunter any day of the week! I swear I saw steam coming off my Itouch and thought I was going to have to douse it with water.

Liberating Lacey was amazing and I am so glad I listened to my instincts and downloaded this book and you should too. You will not be disappointed. I will definitely be reading more from this author.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

A Trio of Treasures from Laura Griffin

During the Christmas holidays I found some time to read and went on a reading mini-marathon of Laura Griffin backlist titles. Ms. Griffin excels at writing romantic suspense, a favorite genre of mine and her books have quickly become must see TV read books for me.

For anyone who is even remotely interested in Romantic Suspense then you must add Laura Griffin to your list.

Here's a quickie look at the latest trio I read in record time.

Cecelia Wells knew better than to answer the door the night her Ex Robert showed up after all he was her Ex for a reason. Rumors of his death had been greatly exaggerated and he was definitely not the Chinese food delivery she’d been expecting. Fast forward a couple hours and now the Ex has been found permanently X-d out and in the SUV he stole right out from under Celie’s nose. There will be no miraculous resurrection for Robert this time. Next thing Celia knows the Feds come a-calling and the Saledo crime family wants it’s missing money Robert stole from them and everyone is looking to Celie for the answers. Thanks for nothing dear hubby for dumping your garbage on my doorstep - R.I.P. Thank goodness handsome, hunky reporter John McAllister (a walking, talking impersonation of Matthew McConaughey as described by Celie's neighbor Dax), an old acquaintance of Celie’s has come to her rescue.

Celie's been through a lot recently including surviving a sexual assault, so even though she knows John is extremely interested in her, his playboy ways and her past history means they have some tough hurdles to overcome. Not to mention trying remain alive because things just aren't adding up and the mob ain't fooling around...they want their missing money back - NOW!

Making the Grade: B+

I found Fiona Glass to be one of my favorite heroines to date from Ms. Griffin's books. Art Professor, gifted artist and renown forensic sketch artist. She's the go-to gal, the best of the best when it comes to interviewing witnesses and creating the sketches that catch the bad guys, but the emotions involved in re-creating faces of the monsters who prey on women and children are taking a toll on Fiona. She hates the drawbacks of being a police sketch artist and really just wants to retire so she can concentrate on her own painting and is in fact preparing for her first showing. Then the next phone call comes and the pleading and begging and the desperation she hears in the voices of the law enforcement officials sends her resolve crashing to the ground and she’s right back in the middle of another investigation. Graingerville Police Chief Jack Bowman needs Fiona and he's certain she's the only one who can help solve an 11 yr old rape case that has similarities to a new crime in his district involving a missing girl. No matter how nicely Fiona turns down his request, Jack will not take no for an answer. Jack can be very determined when he puts his mind to it.

Fiona is grace under fire when dealing with the witnesses. I especially like the scenes involving the children she had to interview. There are a couple of different cases running parallel in Thread of Fear and each showcased Fiona to her full potential. Fiona’s a smart, class act but she’s her own worst enemy…she just can’t say no and stick with it, whether it’s Jack doing the asking or her freeloading younger sister Courtney.

Another terrific suspense driven story that keep me riveted right to the end.

Making the Grade: A-

Courtney wasn’t like a lot of the other heroines (professional, poised, highly educated) in Griffin’s books. When we first met her in Thread of Fear she was kind of a wild child, screw-up bumming off her sister Fiona. In this book she’s trying to change and stand on her own two feet, but she‘s barely managing to eeeeek out a living as a hairstylist. At least she‘s finally seen the light since she recently discovered her rich lawyer boyfriend has been 2-timing her…with his wife no less…the nerve of some men! After getting a text from the two-timing douchebag, she agrees to meet him one last time in the park and give him a piece of her mind once and for all. Unfortunately for David - he’s permanently put to rest when a masked bandit high-jacks their meeting, David ends up dead from a gunshot wound and Courtney becomes the prime suspect.

I liked Courtney a lot. She’s a flighty, feisty, fun wise-cracking force of nature. This book had one of the best pick-up lines in a bar ever and it cracked me up. “What’s your sign?” Courtney’s response “Do not disturb.”

Courtney’s also in a heap of trouble with a capital T and no one deserves her brand of trouble more than the lead detective Will Trent. Will’s an ex-marine, the strong, silent, all business type and Courtney just can’t help but try and ruffle the unflappable Detective’s feathers at every turn.

Will’s got Courtney’s number and he knows she isn’t being totally forthcoming regarding her involvement in the shooting of her ex-lover and with the real killer still at large, Courtney is far from out of danger.

Lastly, cutting someone’s hair would not necessarily be considered the greatest set-up for a sexy encounter, but when Courtney’s wielding the scissors and the controlled and contained Detective Trent’s in the chair - the outcome is a sexually-charged hair raising experience.
Making the Grade: A

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Where's a Good Martini When You Need One?

Marketing manager Katherine "Kitty" Katt steps into the middle of what appears to be a domestic dispute turned ugly. And it only gets uglier when the man turns into a winged monster, straight out of a grade-Z horror movie, and goes on a killing spree. Though Kitty should probably run away, she springs into action to take the monster down.

In the middle of the chaos a handsome hunk named Jeff Martini appears, sent by the "agency" to perform crowd control. He's Kitty's kind of guy, no matter what planet he's from. And from now on, for Kitty, things are going to be sexy, dangerous, wild, and out of this world.

Making the Grade: B-

For My Thoughts

I have @bellie7 and @buckeyegirl31 and their love of all things alien to thank for moving Touched By An Alien by Gini Koch to the top of my TBR. I can state with 100% certainty that these two girls have been touched by an alien and his name is Jeff Martini, the gorgeous Armani suit wearing, empath from Alpha Centauri. In fact @buckeyegirl31 got a kindle for Christmas and named it Martini. She’s got a baaaaaad case of alien fever!

Touched By An Alien right off the bat reminded me of a cross between Men in Black meets X-Files meets V. If you are not a fan of aliens, monsters and over-the-top science fiction then you may not enjoy this book. But if you are willing to temporarily suspend belief then there is lots of goodness to be had between the pages of Touched By An Alien.

Let’s talk about the heroine - Miss Katherine Katt. She has an awesome name that lends itself to all kinds of opportunities for some off color cat humor. Kitty is the nickname she's most commonly referred to as but other “pussy” references are bountiful. I was kind of disappointed that the obvious one Ms. Koch could have used Pussy Galore (James Bond character from Goldfinger) was absent - it would have been a purrrrrrfect fit for this book.

Then there’s Jeff Martini..I‘d take him shaken not stirred (another James Bond reference)...hell I’d take him anyway I could get him, but I fear I would have to fight @buckeyegirl31 in a duel to the death for him.

Don’t let it be said that Mr. Martini (or The Horndog as he is lovingly referred to by a certain Miss Priss) doesn’t know what he wants. About five minutes after meeting Ms. Katt he knows beyond a shadow of a doubt he wants to marry and have children with her. Of course this may have seemed all tongue in cheek at first - but Mr. Martini is nobody’s fool he knows a cool Katt when he sees one. And just in case she got any ideas about hooking up with any of the other hunky Alpha Centauri agents, he told her they were all gay (liar, liar pants on fire).

Undeniably Kitty is one smart cookie. After hanging with the Alpha Centauri for a couple of days she had the whole intergalactic puzzle pieces figured out which was something the A-C’s had spent twenty years trying to solve and still couldn’t crack. She’s also fearless in the face of danger. After all who would face down a 12 foot monster infested with a parasite just waiting to take up residence in their body and not bat an eyelash? Why Miss Kitty of course! She's a natural born killer - of aliens that is and the saviour of the human race. Most importantly she knows how to wield a can of hairspray.

I, like Miss Katt know the importance of hairspray when battling beasts. Ok so my beasts are more of the eight-legged variety, not quite in the same league as those Kitty battled, but hey beasts are in the eye of the beholder…or the can of hairspray. I can’t count the number of times over the years I have relied on hairspray to aid my efforts in the elimination of spiders. It really, really works.

Laced with humorous, often sarcastic, rapid-fire banter between all the characters, Touched By An Alien is a fun, out of this world read. Take a Katt with nine lives and Macgiver-esgue skills, give her a ballpoint pen, a can of hairspray, some boiling water and watch her save mankind. It made me smile a time or two and shout Go Kitty! Go Kitty! In addition I may have sighed more than once “I sure could use a good martini“.

Oh and for those of you who were wondering the answer to the age old question - it’s true...once you go alien, you never go back (especially if that alien is Jeff Martini).

Live long and prosper...err go purchase Touched By An Alien.

Next up in the series is Alien Tango...what will the next instalment of the Kitty Katt tales deliver? It’s available now so you don't have to wait to find out.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Willing Victim: Willing or Not?

Making the Grade: B+

For My Thoughts

I decided to read Willing Victim by Cara McKenna because there was a lot of Twitter talk about this book and I wanted to see what all the hoop-la was about. I guess the fact that this book contained some questionable practices in the bedroom (read rape fantasy role playing) was cause for some concern. Color me intrigued and since E-books are only a click away…I clicked it right onto my Itouch (yes it is much too easy to purchase any book at any time with just the click of my mouse).

I thought when I started this book it was going to be all about raunchy, dark, kinky action behind closed doors (mmmm what does that say about me?). Well I was pleasantly surprised - oh don’t get me wrong it had all of the above but it had a story too.

Flynn comes across a bit brash and rough around the edges and he’s definitely a man of few words, but those he does say in his cute Bawston accent are honest and straightforward. Construction worker by day, a fighter in a some underground gym by night, Flynn pulls no punches in the bedroom - he’s a big, bad Alpha all the way.

Laurel was intrigued by Flynn (as was I) from the first moment she laid eyes on him, proceeded to follow him to a sub-shop and join him for lunch. Some light flirting ensued and Flynn tried to warn Laurel or Sub-Shop girl as he nicknamed her ( and I loved it every time he called her that - so cute) that he was not the guy for her. Good thing she didn’t heed his warning.

When these two finally hook-up there are no misconceptions about what Flynn likes and expects in the bedroom. I didn’t have a problem with his proclivities behind closed doors and the fact that he likes his sex rough including a little bondage and some struggling on the woman’s part - call it rape fantasy if you will, but no one got hurt (only in a good way) and everyone had their needs met and exceeded. Fun and games in the bedroom by two 100% consenting adults is totally ok in my book and what happens in Vegas the bedroom…stays in the bedroom.

The surprising part of this story was to see the growth in Laurel and Flynn’s relationship outside the bedroom…yes this book was more than just about the sex. Flynn went from being the kind of guy who was a take me or leave me, I won’t be chasing you or calling you , if you liked what we did in the bedroom kind of guy, then you better be calling me back to actually looking forward to seeing Laurel at the gym on fight night and having her cook for him and even enjoyed her fussing over him after a boxing injury.

Flynn was a cool cat, down to earth, all around good guy and was just the guy Laurel needed to broaden her horizons in and out of the bedroom where she was wallowing in a dead-end job as a waitress instead of using her engineering degree.

If you’re looking for a good exotic read and the blurb or any of the reviews don’t scare you away, then you are sure to be a enjoy Willing Victim.

From Goodreads:

For the past couple years Laurel’s been coasting, hiding in the backseat while her life drifts off course. Then one summer afternoon a tall, built bruiser named Flynn strides in and steers her straight into an infatuation she never saw coming.

Flynn introduces Laurel to things she’s never imagined—to the violent but exciting realm of the underground boxing circuit, to rough sex and even rougher role-playing, and to an attraction she craves even as it intimidates her. As Flynn invites her deeper into his world and his life, Laurel has to make a choice—let fear keep her holed up where it’s safe, or take a chance and fight for the man who makes her feel more alive than she’d dreamed possible.

Reader Advisory: Although all sex acts are 100-percent consensual, Willing Victim contains role-playing scenarios that may upset some readers who are sensitive about rape, even in a simulated capacity

Saturday, December 25, 2010

It's A Holly Jolly Christmas


Hope you are having the best and brightest day this Holiday Season

from TheBookPimp Blogs

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

If You Don't Read This Book? It's Unforgivable

Pages read 387 pages
Riding Time 4 hours 2 minutes
Calories Burned 1537
Distance Peddled 69.32

Making the Grade: A-

For My Thoughts

Laura Griffin is one of my favorite new-to-me author finds of 2010. Unforgivable is the lastest addition to her Tracer series.

Unforgivable is a great suspense driven story with a ton of heart pounding action. The story has a CSI-esque feel to it as the tension builds and keeps you turning the pages to the very end.

A trip to the grocery store late at night for some soul-soothing ice cream was supposed to be a piece of cake...or a dish of ice cream. Mia Voss didn’t plan on running into anyone she knew so no need to change out of those comfy PJ’s. Who knew her innocent outing would result in her being carjacked, kidnapped, witness the shooting of a retired police officer and get shot at herself. And the cherry on top of her ice cream sundae? Detective Ric Santos. Getting interrogated by the sexy Detective was a crappy way to end a day that started out with getting demoted at work. Dang...Mia really needed some ice cream.

Ric does a lot of dancing around his feelings for Mia early on in Unforgivable. They had a “thing” the previous year but Ric cut his ties before things got to serious. Dude has serious commitment issues and he knows that Mia’s looking to settle down and is ready for the white picket fence and 2.4 children and he is so not that guy. He’s all business at first, but when Mia’s assistance as a DNA expert is required on several of Ric’s seemingly related cases, it gets damn near impossible for him to keep treating Mia as just a colleague and keep his blood pressure from spiking whenever she’s within spitting distance. It’s always nice to see a hard-headed guy struggle to fight his feelings and end up failing miserably. The bigger they are…the harder they fall.

As more trouble mounts for Mia, Ric begins to suspect that Mia may not be an innocent by-stander after all but rather the intended victim. And when things turn very personal for Mia and members of her family are caught in the crossfire, she makes a decision that could ruin her career in order to keep her family out of harm’s way. One thing I really enjoy about Ms. Griffin’s stories are the female leads. She writes about women who are smart, strong-willed, independent, professional career women.

If there was one thing I wish I could change since discovering Ms. Griffin's books - it would be to have read her books in order. Although each book does read as a stand alone, there is cross-over and several characters do make guest appearances in each book. One of the characteristics I enjoy in her writing is the way she weaves the secondary characters into the story so that they are an integral component of the story and not just there as page-filler. She does an excellent job of setting them up for their own story in an upcoming book. Next up is Snapped which is Sophie and Jonah’s story. Is it weird that I already have it pre-ordered and it’s not due out til August 2011? No I don’t think so…that’s just an indication of how much I enjoy Ms. Griffin’s style of writing.

 Read an Excerpt

Back Cover Blurb

At first, Mia Voss thinks it’s just bad luck when her already lousy day ends with a carjacking. But what seems like a random incident is followed by another sinister episode. A DNA expert, Mia has made it her mission to put away vicious criminals. Suddenly, she’s become the target of one. And the only way to protect the people she loves most is to deliberately destroy her reputation and risk letting a killer walk free.

Once, Mia trusted Detective Ric Santos. That was before Ric let his turbulent past ruin his chances with Mia, the sexiest, most intriguing woman he’s ever met. But he can tell when she’s lying—and when she’s scared. The key to catching a sadistic madman lies within a long-buried cold case that has haunted Mia for years. Only she can uncover the truth, but first, Ric will have to get her to entrust him with her secrets . . . and her life.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Looking Good In Moonlight

Making the Grade: A-

For My Thoughts

The CeeCee and Max saga continues in Nancy Gideon’s Moonlight series Captured by Moonlight.

This 3rd book brings about more conflict, relationship struggles and trust issues for this duo as they try to work on their complicated relationship and CeeCee always the cop has her loyalties tested yet again.

The conflict CeeCee and Max must endure would test most normal couples, but add in CeeCee’s police status, Max’s questionable business practices and his non-human status plus the fact that Max and CeeCee have a history of keeping secrets from one another and the struggle between these two is only enhanced by their conflict.

Captured by Moonlight focuses more on Max and delves deeper into his past as he deals with his developing shape shifter abilities that even he doesn’t begin to understand and he must cope with discovering and realizing the importance of his potential.

I found Captured by Moonlight to be grittier and darker than the first two. Max undergoes some pretty terrifying changes and given CeeCee’s background, there were times their story was not all roses and rainbows. Thank goodness these two realize that their relationship is worth all the ups and downs because they are a potent couple.

I loved all three books in this series (and this from someone who is not a big paranormal fan) and the fact that it is a continuing series featuring a great couple. I am so glad that there will be a couple more next year and I can’t wait for more goodness from Ms. Gideon. Max and CeeCee are too good together for their story not to continue.

If you love sexy paranormal romance then you must read this series, but please start with the 1st book Masked by Moonlight. You must experience CeeCee and Max’s wonderful relationship from the start. You would be doing yourself a disservice if you miss out on their beginning.

From The Author's Website

A mysterious death begins a dangerous chain of events, forcing choices that mean no turning back as Max’s past catches up to him. But as the unexpected discovery of a family thought lost to him threatens the existence of Max’s paranormal world, his awakening senses strain the bond he shares with Detective Charlotte Caissie.

Driven by instincts he can’t control, Max fights the need to claim his human mate. How can he protect her when she’s not safe with him? She’s strong enough to keep his secrets, but can she survive the test of his love?

Separating business from pleasure just got more difficult. To have Max, Cee Cee must face her greatest fears by accepting who and what he is . . . someone deadly, unnatural and outside the law she serves. Loving Max Savoie isn’t easy, but holding onto him could prove fatal.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Perfect Holiday Stocking Stuffer for Your E-Reader

Elliptical E-Reading
Time 1hr 23mins
Cal 1342
Pages 196KB

Making the Grade: B+

For My Thoughts

Looking for a little holiday read to get you in the Christmas spirit? Well then look no further than Holiday Sparks from Carina Press by Shannon Stacey.

I’ve read three books by Shannon Stacey this year and each one has delivered on the laughs, making me smile from ear to ear, great banter between the main characters and always a great, feel good story. My first Shannon Stacey read, Exclusively Yours is one of my favorite reads of 2010.

I felt a real the electrical emergency sense anyway to Chloe Burke. Turn on the microwave and blow a fuse...yes that has happened to me. I have a fuse panel that I really should get changed over to a breaker system...mmmm I wonder if I call an electrician now I might end up with my very own version of a Scott Quinn? Probably not. With my luck, the hunchback of Notre Dame is likely to arrive.

One of the many charming things about Holiday Sparks was that Chloe and Scott kind of knew each other in high school, but not really. I say kind of because she was the hot chick (and still is) while Scott was the guy in thick glasses and had the bowl haircut who liked her from afar. So while he recognizes Chloe immediately when he shows up on her parents front porch, she has no recollection of him. Seems he’s changed...a lot. Gorgeous, sexy as all get out with his low slung tool belt and some incredibly flat, rock-hard abs. Yummy! No more glasses and nasty haircut for this guy.

Holiday Sparks is a cute, short novella and surprisingly hot. Yes the sparks really do fly between Chloe and Scott but in a truly believable manner considering the course of this book takes place over the period of a couple of weeks. My holiday wish was that their story had been longer. Of course I feel that way about most story stories that I really like. They're over way too soon.

I would be remiss in my review if I did not mention the other character who totally stole my heart. Now this guy’s a bit hairy, but loyal and undeniably lovable (HEY - that could be the title of the next Shannon Stacey novel!) none the less. He’s a little attention hog, always on the lookout for a good belly rub and a quick pat on the head and he’s the best foot warmer evah! Yes I‘m talking about Kojak the German Shepherd, Scott’s 4-legged companion. I want my very own Kojak and well I wouldn’t turn down my very own Scott either (just saying).

Put aside the stress of the holidays and forget about all the baking and shopping and wrapping and cleaning you still have to do before Christmas and enjoy a little Holiday Sparks. It’ll be a lot easier to do all those things with a smile on your face which you can count on after reading this cute holiday novella.

From the Author's Website

House-sitting for her parents seemed like a good idea, until the microwave blew up and the lights went out.

Now Chloe Burke thinks upgrading the electrical system of her childhood home while they are away would make the perfect Christmas gift. Fortunately, there’s an electrician in town who can get the job done by the holidays.

Scott Quinn has wanted to get his hands on the Burkes’ wiring for almost as long as he’s wanted to get his hands on their daughter. Chloe didn’t notice Scott back in high school, but she’s noticing him now, and soon they’re indulging in a little festive fun: no strings, no expectations. After all, Chloe plans to get out of this goldfish bowl of a town and back to her real life in Boston by New Year’s.

But Chloe and Scott discover they enjoy each other’s company just as much out of bed. Could their holiday fling turn out to be the real thing

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Beg Me: I Can Be Your Hero Baby

Elliptical E-Reading
Time 2hr 1mins
Cal 1658
Pages 182KB

Making the Grade: B

For My Thoughts

Beg Me by Shiloh Walker won’t tickle everyone’s fancy since the storyline does involve a lot of naughty behind closed doors smexy action. People be forewarned…this is a very erotic short story that includes some bondage, spanking and rape fantasy role playing. In other words…this book is HAWT. There were a couple of times while I was reading it on the elliptical that I had to stop it was that smoking hot. I kept checking my Itouch to make sure it hadn’t caught on fire. Me - I wasn’t so lucky because hose me down Batman Superman…I was burning up!

If this doesn’t sound like your cup of tea, then you probably shouldn’t read Beg Me but really you’d be missing out on a great story if you decide to skip it. Beg Me is about taking back your life, learning to live and trust again while you fight against your fears to regain everything you’ve lost that matters to you.

Tania Sinclair lost the love of her life, her husband in a tragic car accident. In addition she’s been betrayed by someone close to her…her husband’s twin brother who to add insult to injury used her own dark fantasies to brutally rape and terrorize her. Now the dark, kinky bedroom behaviour that used to bring Tania such joy, leaves her feeling cold and scared to death.

It’s been two long years, but Tania is finally ready to stop hiding and start living again. She’s got a plan...going to start slow…take baby steps…and she’s got the perfect person in mind to help execute the plan…her husband‘s best friend Drake Bennett.

To me Drake made this story. He’s the perfect hero, in fact his nickname is Superman (this has another meaning in Beg Me and if you want to find out what it is - you’ll have to read the story). Besides the fact that he is super sexy, he’s the ultimate best friend a girl can have. Drake is protective, giving, caring, understanding and willing to do and be anything Tania needs him to be to help get over her fears. There is no mistaking that Tania’s needs and wishes are Drake’s number one priority even when she asks the ultimate of him and he has second thoughts about carrying out her request. Don’t get me wrong, Drake is by no means a bystander in their relationship, in fact he can get down and dirty with the best of them given the right incentive.

Everyone needs a superhero in their life…someone to scare away the bogeyman and check for monsters under the bed and every girl should be so lucky to have their very own Superman. Tania was one very lucky girl...ohh and if you're wondering...her plan worked to a T.

Book Blurb:

Beg me…there had been a time when those words made her burn with desire. But now, there was only fear.

Once, Tania Sinclair’s life was almost perfect…oh, it had its ups and downs but she was happily married to a guy that adored her, one who had no problem indulging every kinky fantasy she ever had. But a couple of tragedies later, she’s barely holding it together. A car accident took away her husband, and an attack from somebody she should have been able to trust has shaken not only her confidence, but it’s also stripped away her fantasies and even made it painful to look back on her memories of her husband without fearTwo years after her attack, Tania is determined to take her life back and the first step is taking back herself…her fantasies, her dreams, her memories. There’s only one person she can trust to do it, too. One person she wants enough…Drake Bennett, her husband’s best friend.

Falling for your best friend’s wife—never smart. Drake’s watched Tania quietly for years, watched her…wanted her, knowing he’d never have her. First, she was taken. And then, that night two years ago—a night that still scars her, a night that’s left bruises on her that still haven’t healed. He does what he can, though, because he loves her too much not to. He’s her friend, there when she needs him.

And now she needs him. She’s asked him for a favor…one that just about blows his mind…

Sunday, December 5, 2010

I AM DYING - Wish I Had an IYD Number to Call for Answers

Making the Grade: A-

For My Thoughts

Well the ending as I was forwarded did not disappoint in it's sucky cliff-hangerness. In fact it sucked big red balls! I hated it. And yet it makes me salivate for Jan 18 2011 when the next and final book by Karen Marie Moning Shadowfever releases.

It was all a dream right? I'm talking about the ending. That's why the author named this book DREAMfever right (I have to thank Mandi from @smexybooks for filling me in on this theory)? It's a dream and Mac has a fever because what we are led to believe happens at the end of this book - simply cannot be true.

This was my favorite book of the series so far and part of the reason why is it’s chock full of Barrons goodness. All Barrons - all the time!

Let’s get chapter 4 out of the way. You all know when you think about Dreamfever your mind immediately goes to chapter 4. It’s been 4 books and finally we get some Barrons and Mac action between the sheets. I honestly did not think we were ever going to see these two hook up…well if what they did in chapter 4 can be considered hooking up. I think if Barrons were to explain his motivation for his actions in this chapter, he would deflect and make it seem he was just doing what needed to be done to bring Mac back for the edge..back from being Pri-ya. He was doing a job…it’s a “dirty” job and someone had to do it and ohhhh what a job Jericho Barrons did. We saw a side of Barrons that almost made him appear human..laughing, singing, dancing, and an inexhaustible ability to keep it up (yup that's what I'm talking about).

Mac survived her terrifying ordeal at the hand of the Unseelie Princes and her sex-filled days with Barrons being brought back from being Pri-ya, but she’s no longer an innocent, southern belle Barbie, rainbow girl whose favorite color is pink. She’s now Mac 4.0, stronger, sleeker, faster, hardened and matured by her past experiences. Now her favorite colors are black and red. I was sad to see Jericho and Mac revert back to Barrons and Mrs. Lane after the heat level of chapter 4, but there was lots of snippy, sexual innuendo and tensions filled encounters to keep me entertained.

There is a lot of action as Dreamfever builds towards it climatic cliff-hanger ending.

Mac and Dani develop their Big Sis, Little Sis relationship - I really like the young Sidhe-Seer and loved how Mac protected her and looked out for her at all cost. V’lane is almost non-existent in this book; The Lord Master is as evil as ever and even the missing, lie-detector Christian MacKelter mades an unexpected appearance.

And we finally get to find out what happens when Mac dials the infamous IYD (if your dying) on the pre-programmed cell phone given to her by Barrons.

I will admit that I was a chicken when it came to finishing Dreamfever. I knew the ending would be shocking and unsatisfying and leave me wanting more and full of questions. I stopped reading with about 8 pages left (I know you are all thinking how could you not finish the book), but seriously I knew the ending was bad, it was bedtime and I wanted to be able to sleep and not have nightmares. So I waited until the next day to finish it on my lunch. Those last eight pages were action packed and of course I had the reaction everyone who reads this book must have had. WTF is that ending about?

Is it Jan 18, 2011 yet? Bring on Shadowfever and let's all finally get some fecking answers!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Workout Wednesday: Ho Ho Ho Hot for the Holidays

Elliptical E-Reading
(Changed it up this week)

Time 1hr 32mins
Cal 1484
Pages 448KB

Making the Grade: B-

For My Thoughts

There is nothing better than getting a book by an author whose work I enjoy reading and the book is free! Thank you Amazon and Ms. Kery (pssssst it’s still free until Dec 15 - download it now!).

Holiday bound by Beth Kery is exactly what you would expect from her. Don’t know what to expect? Well this is not your Mother’s romance. Holiday Bound is a short, sexy, sizzling erotic story. This book should have come with a disclaimer. I’m surprised my Itouch didn’t instantaneously combust as I was thumbing through the pages. Yowza I was feeling all hot and bothered and it wasn’t just because I was working out! I could've used a fan and a tall cool drink of water (ok I did have that close at hand) while reading this E-gniting, erotic E-read.

It’s Christmas. They’re snowbound…no electricity…no way out…no help on the way and only each other to warm the long cold night ahead. Is this a recipe for disaster or a wild fire about to burn out of control? Dear Santa: if you’re planning on coming down their chimney - you better watch your boots don’t catch on fire.

Alex Carradine left the big city and his life as a mover and a shaker in Chicago 4 years ago when he decided to chuck it all and retreat to Holiday Valley to run a ski resort. Alex is sceptical and with good reason when his estranged father Mitch wants to visit for the holidays and bring his latest and greatest main squeeze along for the ride. Maybe hell has frozen over, but Alex is willing to give Daddy Dearest the benefit of the doubt and what better time to try and rebuild their relationship than Christmas….a time for giving.

Of all the dumb luck! Alex can’t believe the woman he’s just rescued from the stranded SUV on his property is Angeline Kastakis...this is his Dad’s new girlfriend? Angeline...the woman he fantasized about 4 years ago and hasn’t been able to forget? And where is Mitch? What is his father up to now? Is Father Christmas playing a cruel joke on Alex by tempting him and his willpower with Angeline Kastakis? And to top it they’re home alone for the holidays.

Angeline is conflicted about her feelings for the intense and gorgeous Alex - son of the man she's in a relationship with. She agreed to this little get-away with Mitch so they could explore their relationship and hopefully take it to the next level. But Alex is a force to be reckoned with when he's in full out attack mode...and he’s got his sights on Angeline. I might have had a momentary twinge about how easily Angeline caved to Alex’s aggressive approach considering she was supposed to be dating his father, but I got over it quickly. Alex is a take charge kinda guy.

There is lots of steamy, smexy action including interestingly enough an explicit encounter involving some gym equipment...mmmm...I may never look at that equipment the same way again. It also probably explains why I was breathing a little extra hard.

Want to add a little Christmas present to your E-reader? Download Holiday Bound, sit back and enjoy.

Read an excerpt here

From The Author's Website:

Alex Carradine can’t believe his father wants to come and visit his ski resort. Could it be that after so many stormy years, “slick Mitch” Carridine wants to offer an olive branch? Maybe the old man is mellowing, settling down with the new lover he’s bringing along.

Then Alex realizes the acid truth. This is no warm family visit. His father’s latest conquest is none other than the woman of Alex’s sexual fantasies, meant only to dangle tauntingly in front of his face. At least an unexpected blizzard has frozen his father out of the picture entirely.

Angeline Kastakis was looking forward to taking the next step in her relationship with Mitch. Too late she realizes she’s been led into a familial battle zone. Now it’s Christmas and she’s marooned in a blizzard with an insolent, gorgeous hunk of man whose blazing blue eyes tell her loud and clear he wants her in his bed. Preferably tied to it with a bow.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Faefever: I'm Burning Up With Fever

Making the Grade: B+

For My Thoughts

Faefever is book 3 in the Fever series by Karen Marie Moning. I felt as this story progressed it was building toward an impending sense of doom. Some answers are given, many more questions are raised and the action really ramps up as Halloween - aka D-Day approaches and the walls come tumbling down. The night the lights went out at Barrons Books and Baubles I actually felt anxious while reading wondering what evil was waiting in the dark for Mac and all the people of Dublin. And the cliff-hanger ending? Well - can’t say I wasn’t warned.

For those of you that had to wait a year for Dreamfever to find out Mac‘s fate - you have me deepest sympathies.

My favorite part of this book - well at least the one that made me laugh out loud (and trust me these books don’t have a lot of laughs) was the device Mac created for herself and aptly named the MacHalo to protect herself from the Shades those things that sling around in the dark and eat you, but can’t abide the light. I will admit they scared me. One thing is for sure in this series the dark is very deadly.

The scene with Mac prancing around Barrons Books and Baubles to Bad Moon Rising (a premonition of things to come?) wearing her bike helmet decked out with flashlights glued and duct taped to it so it cast a protective glow around her was priceless especially when Barrons caught her in the act. He couldn’t contain his laughter and neither could I. Who knew the big guy had a sense of humor.

I still have no idea who or what Jericho Barrons is but he is undoubtedly one of the most powerful players in this game.

One thing we do learn in Faefever is that Barrons has some kind of special Druid power called Voice that when used can coerce people to do things against their will. Since Mac has been subjected to Voice from the Lord Master once before, she needs to learn ASAP how to defend herself against this ability.

Barrons = teacher, Mac = student...let the games begin.
Here‘s just a snippet of their first session:

The command hit me like a brick wall and destroyed my mind. I sucked in a violent, screeching breath and ripped my shirt from neckline to hem.
Stop, Ms. Lane.”
Voice again but not the brick wall: rather a command that lifted the brick wall from me, freeing me. I sank to the floor, clutching the halves of my torn T-shirt together, and dropped my head n my lap resting my forehead against my knees. I breathed deeply for several seconds, then raised my head and looked at him. He could have coerced me like that at any time. Turned me into a mindless slave. Like the Lord Master, he could have forced me to do his bidding whenever he’d wanted. But he hadn’t.

“What are you?” It burst out before I could stop myself. I knew it was wasted breath. “Why don’t you just tell me and get it over with?” I said irritably. (YES Barrons - fill us all in please!)
“One day you’ll stop asking me. I think I’ll like knowing you then.

Barrons pulls no punches while educating Ms. Lane in the power of Voice.

All the major players Barrons, V’Lane, Rowena, The Lord Master even the Sinsar Dubh up their games in Faefever. What is to become of Mac - this book did not end on a good note for the Sidhe-Seer. Thank goodness I don’t have to wait to find out.

Off to start Dreamfever. I hear Chapter 4 is full of yummy Barrons goodness - bring it on.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Workout Wednesday: Impulsive - Hooking Up Hawaii Style

I'd like an Impulsive hook-up in Hawaii
instead of doing this read-n-ride challenge

Pages read 245
Riding Time 3hours 1minutes
Calories Burned 1252
Distance Peddled 61.38 miles

Making the Grade: B

For My Thougts

I have been a big fan of HelenKay Dimon ever since I read my 1st book by her - Your Mouth Drives Me Crazy. And with this review she becomes my 1st three-peat offender on the blog. I love her sexy, contemporary stories, great characters and the Hawaii setting provides a great way for me to escape and imagine I'm chillaxing on the beach enjoying a great book.

HelenKay Dimon gives new meaning to “smoking in the boys bathroom" in her latest novel Impulsive and she wastes nooooo time getting right to the action…like page 1.

Katie Long had a simple job to do at the wedding of Deana Armstrong & Josh Windsor (Holding out for a Hero)…well besides helping her sister cater the wedding of the century. Keep her eye on the prize that is Eric Kimura, ex-hubby of the blushing bride and report back on his activities. Sounds like a simple enough task to make a little extra cash on the side except Katie didn’t count on the physical chemistry that ignited between her and the hunky Deputy Prosecutor. Hot sex in the bathroom had definitely not been in the job description.

Eric Kimura was going to put all the rumors to rest once and for all and show everyone that he was well and truly over his ex-wife Deanne. What better way to prove it than by attending her wedding to her DEA agent hubby. The last thing he expected was the hot quickie in the bathroom with one of the catering staff.

On the surface Katie and Eric are not what I would consider a match made in heaven. First of all Katie is much younger, by like 12 years than Eric. She’s barely out of her wild child years, had a brush with the law, has always been considered a screw-up by her sister and is just starting to get her life on track. Eric on the other hand is older, more mature, established in his successful career and has decided to run for the position of Prosecuting Attorney.

Considering that Eric was running for a public and high ranking position, I found the quickness with which these two engaged in hot anonymous sex a little foolhardy. In Eric's position he should have realized that his life was about to be dissected, bisected and probed while his every move was examined under a microscope. Hooking up with the hired help could have derailed his political ambitions before they even got off the ground. Having said that one only has to scan past and current headlines regarding political figures and their penchant for inappropriate sexual encounters to know that - men are men - they aren’t always thinking with the big “head”.

Katie didn’t think that when she agreed to play I Spy on Eric that she would ever see him again but he had different ideas. As her feelings grow and their relationship blossoms, Katie knows she needs to come clean about her part in their supposed first “meeting” before it blows up in her face. Someone inside Eric’s camp however has other plans for Katie “aka their inside source” and isn’t about to let her quit without a fight or take her down in the process.

When he truth comes out, who will Eric believe? Can he get over Katie’s betrayal and the betrayal of someone close to him? Do these two have more between them then hot sex to sustain their relationship? All these questions and more, plus a great story can be answered...don’t this book now!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Bloodfever: You Give Me Fever....FEVER

Making the Grade: B+

For My Thoughts

This is the 2nd book in the fever series. I like to call it Bloodfever: The Hunt for Red October OOP (objects of power). For those of you that don’t know, I caved to all the twitter pressure a couple of weeks ago and decided to move this series up to the top of my TRB pile.

For those of you wondering - yes I am developing a “slight” fever. It’s not quite full blown yet, but I have a feeling after I finish books 3 and 4 (Faefever and Dreamfever) that I too will be in full “fever” mode and will be joining the drooling masses eagerly awaiting the final book in the series Shadowfever which releases in January 2011.

On a side note I have made a surprising discovery - I’m not minding the 1st person narration (maybe you can teach an old dog a new trick?).

I received many warnings and saw many comments and tweets about all the WTF endings Karen Marie Moning employs in these books. The good thing for me about starting this series late in the game is I don’t have to worry about those cliff-hangers - well maybe just a little ( come on book 3 you better get here this week in the mail!).

For anyone who watches a continuing TV series, the cliff-hanger ending is a well known, well used ploy. Watch a favorite show faithfully every week and then come the end of the season get hit with a shocker ending that leaves the loyal fan gnashing their teeth and traumatized at having to wait months for new episodes to return in the fall. It’s a darn good marketing tool - always leave your fans foaming at the mouth wanting more. This series is no different and while Bloodfever did end on a bit of a cliff-hanger, I felt it was more of a whoa moment - didn’t see that one coming about the evil little Sinsar Dubh book.

Bloodfever continues the tenuous relationship forged by need between Mac and Barrons. He’s the muscle and she’s the brains - or the OOP detector. However you describe their relationship, it is clearly evident that they need each other.

Trying to get Barrons to come clean about anything is like trying to pull teeth. He operates on a need to know basis and frankly he doesn’t think Mac needs to know anything - she’s just supposed to trust everything he says and does. We do get some answers, but way more questions arise. I had an epiphany while reading Bloodfever. It’s the literary version of the the TV show Lost. Always teasing us with little tidbits of information before piling on a ton more questions.

I liked that Mac has grown and matured considerably in this book - but it’s not like she had a choice exactly. Mac proves in Bloodfever that she realizes the weight of expectation her powers have placed on her shoulders and she’s willing to step-up to the plate and do whatever it takes to stay alive including eating some pretty nasty stuff.

Like Mac I can’t tell the good guys from the bad. Everyone is using her and telling her things to further their own agenda. She doesn’t know who she can trust and neither do I. I am more convinced then ever that although Barrons is one big question mark - I do believe he is on the good guy side (please don’t let him betray her *bites nails*).

The scenes in the Burren (underground caves) with Mallucé were gross and engrossing at the same time. I could not turn the pages fast enough trying to find out how Mac was going to escape from her seemingly inescapable situation.

Ahh and the angry kiss between Barrons and Mac *sigh*, I wanted more but here’s just a taste of what we got:

 I bit his lip. He tripped me and pushed me down to the stone floor of the cavern. I punched him. He straddled me.
 I ripped his shirt down the front, left it hanging in tatters from his shoulders.
 “I liked that shirt,” he snarled. He rose over me, a dark demon, glistening in the torchlight, dripping sweat and blood, his torso covered with tattoos that disappeared beneath his waistband.
 He grabbed the hem of my shirt, tore it straight up to my neck, and inhaled sharply.
 I punched him. If he punched me back, I was past feeling it. His mouth was on mine again, the hot silk of his tongue, the sharp, deliberate abrasion of his teeth, the exchange of breath and the small, desperate sounds of need.

What’s up next for Mac? I don’t think I can even imagine, but I’m pretty sure I can count on a whopper of a cliff-hanger.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Workout Wednesday: Kowalski Family Chronicles Part 2

Disclaimer: Reading Undeniably Yours may make you long for a big, liberally iced slice of chocolate cake!

E-Pages read 417KB(anyone know how many pages that is?)
Riding/Elliptical Time A lot
Calories Burned A Lot
Distance Peddled A Lot

It's turned into mission impossible to get a book read in a week by just riding at the gym. So I had to pull out all the stops and read on the elliptical as well.

Making the Grade: B+

For My Thoughts

Kevin Kowalski and the entire fun-loving Kowalski clan are back in Undeniably Yours, the follow up to Exclusively Yours by Shannon Stacey.

For anyone who doesn’t already know it, Shannon Stacey is a big fan and supporter of all things Boston sports related and she makes no bones about where her allegiance lies when cheering for her teams. So it‘s no surprise that her characters are huge fans of all things Boston/New England. The many sports references in Undeniably Yours were often a source of comedic relief like when considering names for a new born baby (hello Carl Yastrzemski?? - I think not).

So I wasn’t on the second flip of the finger on my Itouch into this E-book and I already had a big grin on my face….Ms Stacey does have a way with words… you could go all the way. I love a feel good, make me smile like a Cheshire cat book ( I do wonder what people are thinking when they see grinning like a fool while I’m working out - probably that I’m a loon!).

Kevin Kowalski, former cop and current owner of sports bar Jasper’s Bar and Grill has been known to occasionally hit it out of the park with the ladies, but he didn’t expect to hit a customer coming to the rescue of a damsel in distress sitting at his bar. And Beth Hanson can’t believe it when the hot bartender decks her boss and in the process costs her her job as her jerk wad boss yells at her before stumbling out of the bar a la Donald Trump “Your Fired”!

Little did these two realize that the knockout punch delivered that night at the bar would start the ball rolling down a path that would change their lives forever.

What are the odds? A 2 lousy percent! Those are pretty good odds, except if you’re Kevin and Beth. Next up for this unlikely duo: Baby on Board.

I loved that Kevin was so supportive and over the moon excited about the impending birth of the baby. He was like a little kid on Christmas morning. Beth was a little harder for me to warm up to (she reminded me of the Grinch). Maybe that was because I didn’t feel she was giving Kevin a chance and her “neighbours only who are having a baby” rule once she was knocked up? Beth, Beth, Beth…that’s like closing the barn door after the horse has escaped. I felt as frustrated as poor Kevin (and his blue balls and I’m not talking about Patriots Blue footballs) with the cold shoulder treatment she was giving him. At that point - what was the point of denying him? I would have been all over him like white on rice…or like chocolate fudge icing slathered on a big, ole slice of sinfully delicious chocolate cake *wink wink*. I could have used a couple of extra slices of cake in Undeniably Yours.

As was the case in Exclusively Yours, the charm and appeal of Undeniably Yours is more about the sum of the parts rather than just the main focus on the H/h. There is something very heart-warming about the Kowalski family. As I was writing this review it came to me that this family reminded me a family drama on TV - ABC’s Brothers and Sisters. Also the secondary story featuring Paulie and Sam was just as engaging and I looked forward to their time in the spotlight when Kevin and Beth were taking a breather (and that doesn’t always happen where the secondary storyline enhances rather than detracts from the main couple).

You wanna laugh? You wanna feel good? Then pony up to the bar at Jasper’s and enjoy the E-Book.

Ohh and one last think - don’t leave your calling card on one of the napkins at the bar. Kevin Kowalski is no longer accepting resumes to fill a vacancy. That position has been filled by the one woman with all the right qualifications.

Available from Carina Press
Read an Excerpt here

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Twitter Influence: Who the heck is this Jericho Barrons character?

Who are you Jericho Barrons and why do you have a lot of my twitter peeps in a "fever"?

The Twitterverse (or at least my little slice of it) has gone crazy over the last 2 weeks and my twitter timeline has blown up with "talk" about the Karen Marie Moning's Fever series. Everyone's in a furor over the next release in this series Shadowfever (due out in Jan 2011 and holy crap it's 608 pages!), so alot are re-reading the series in preparation for the next book. Just an observation from my point, this series must be awesome because I have never re-read a book in my life.

So I had this book in my TBR pile along with the next book in the series Bloodfever. Why you ask? Well I like books and I probably ordered these two the last time twitter blew up when the last book released in this series. With a TBR pile as big as mine - well there just never is enough time to getting around to all the good books.

I think the straw that broke the camel's back was a tweet from @WickedLPixie on Friday night after she finished reading one of the books - Dreamfever "Okay wtf kind of ending was that?!!?!" and wanted to throw her e-reader at the ending. If this series has the power to influence and cause this kind of reaction in so many people - I had to give it a try.

So for starters, I am not a huge paranormal fan (although I have been reading more of that genre this year), I have never read anything by Karen Marie Moning (although I have read many new to me authors this year) and I avoid stories told in 1st person like the plague - yes this one is written in 1st person from the heroine's point of view. Just a few of the reasons this book probably sat in the TBR pile unread.

I started this book Friday night and although not overwhelmed by the story to start with, there was enough there to spike my interest and keep me reading. One of those things that keep me intrigued was KMM set up a story and a world with lots of questions and unresolved answers. I need answers even if a story is about mystical fae, Unseelie, Seelie, Shi-sadu and  lots of other things I can't say or spell.

Maybe I'm a little long in the tooth to really enjoy a heroine who is a 22 year old good-time "barbie" girl from the deep south.  It soon became clear once MacKayla "Mac" Lane landed in Dublin to investigate the mysterious and heinous death of her beloved sister Alina that there is more to this girl than meets the eye.  Who is Mackayla really?  It's one of the burning questions in Darkfever. She seems to have no idea who or what she is and the powers she possesses in the Emerald Isle. Mac and I did bond over pink. The color pink. It's her favorite color (as the author reminds us of over and over again), but pink is also my favorite color - so at least we had that in common.

And just who is Jericho Barrons? At first I wasn't sure about him and the jury's still out but he must be a good guy right? Who or what is he - I have no idea, but I'm pretty sure after finishing this book - he's not human.

One thing missing for me - there was absolutely no romance at all in this book (you can't count the panty dropping action V'lane seemed to invoke on unsuspecting females).  Barrons and Mac had a strictly business relationship.  They needed what the other had to offer.  Mac needed someone who could keep her safe while she continued her search for her sister's killer and answer her sister's dying wish by finding an all powerful book. Once Barrons realized Mac's potential and usefulness to his own cause their relationship evolved into - if you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours. I really hope that Mac didn't sell her soul to the devil when she put all her eggs into Barrons basket.  I really could have used some smexy action especially featuring Jericho Barrons. Hopefully there will be some in the upcoming books *fingers crossed*.

I am told this book is an example of Urban Fantasy (I have no idea what that really means). If I had to classify this book, it would be as a suspense/mystery/fantasy/paranormal.

In conclusion:

My rating C+

Was this the best book of a new series, by a new author I have ever read? No honestly that honor this year goes to the Moonlight series by Nancy Gideon - I gobbled up those books
Did I catch the Jericho Barrons fever? No, not yet - I need to see some more of the big guy
Am I starting to enjoy reading 1st person narrative? No I don't ever see that happening
Will I continue reading this series? Yes (I already have book 2 Bloodfever)

I didn't hate Darkfever and it didn't rock my world. I am intrigued enough about the characters, the story and the questions left unanswered to continue Mac and Barrons great adventure in the land of the leprechauns.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Changeling Love: Playful and Passionate!

I read passionately while playfully riding this week

Pages read 321 pages
Riding Time 3 hours 47 minutes
Calories Burned 1418
Distance Peddled 67.97

Making the Grade: A

For My Thoughts

They’re baaaack! Yay! The Changelings are back and two members of the SnowDancer pack are holding centre court in Nalini Singh's latest entry in the Psy/Changeling series Play of Passion.

This is the ninth instalment in the series and while it still remains one of my favorite, must-read series, the last two books (Blaze of Memory and Bonds of Justice) featuring mainly the cold, calculating Psy with very little Changeling interaction have not been my favorite. I need my fix of playful, cuddly, passionate Changelings - so once again thank goodness they’re back!

Drew Kincaid is one big, bad wolf you better watch out for cuz this cub will charm the socks (and you’re pants) right off of you and he‘s got his wolf sights locked and loaded on the very delectable Lieutenant Indigo Riviere.

Here’s the rub and boy do these two like to “rub“...if you catch my drift...when you are part of a pack there are rules to the hierarchy.

Indigo has a hard time (or at least her wolf does) of accepting Drew as a potential mate - he just doesn‘t fit the mould for what Indigo believes she needs in a mate. He is younger (ok it’s only 4 years…it’s not like she’s a cougar!) and he‘s a dominant male Changeling, but she is at the top of the pack hierarchy and effectively his superior…his boss. They’ve got a few hurdles to overcome, but Indigo would have to be a cold-hearted Psy to resist the likes of this bad boy charmer.

Drew is like the cool kid of the pack…Mr. Popular who is well liked by everyone and all the ladies are lining up around the den for his affection. But Drew knows what he wants and regardless of all the challenges and roadblocks Indigo throws up, he wants the sexy Lieutenant.

Now I said he was charming, but he’s still a male and when he challenges Indigo’s authority in front of co-workers…she sends him straight to the dog wolf house…do not pass go…do not collect $200.00. Mr. Tenacity has a few tricks up his sleeve though and what girl can resist roses and chocolate kisses for long?

One of the most touching scenes…one that made me go awwwww and tugged at my heartstrings involved a little stuffed bear named Platypus. It brought back all my childhood memories of my own beloved Blankie and if possible made me fall in love just a little more with Drew.

Play of Passion is like 321 pages of one long fun and playful flirtation between Indigo and Drew. They are great together and Singh makes sure we see where their heads are at as they struggle through the ups and downs of their relationship to make it work.

Several changeling favorites make appearances including series favorite Hawke. Seeing this Alpha male meet his match is highly anticipated by everyone who loves this series and his long awaited book is up next…woot woot!

Those sneaky, unfeeling Psy are up to something in this book and Singh feeds up just enough tidbits throughout to know it does not bode well for the Changelings and humans..and they are evil so it can‘t be good. Play of Passion definitely ended almost on a cliff-hanger note, almost as if it should have ended with To Be Continued… It sure seemed to be setting up for a climatic continuation in the next book.

Lastly it’s always hard to recommend if someone who has never read a series should start with a book, in this case #9 in the series. I personally like to start a series at the beginning. That being said, I think it’s fair to say Play of Passion could be enjoyed all on it’s own. But without understanding all the back history and pack dynamics and the influence of the Psy you might not get full value or enjoyment of the story.

Do yourself a favor and start at the first book Slave to Sensation and enjoy all the books in this series.

Play Of Passion
Publisher: Berkley
Available: November 2nd 2010
Genre: Paranormal Romance

Read an Excerpt

In his position as tracker for the SnowDancer pack, it’s up to Drew Kincaid to rein in rogue changelings who have lost control of their animal halves—even if it means killing those who have gone too far. But nothing in his life has prepared him for the battle he must now wage to win the heart of a woman who makes his body ignite…and who threatens to enslave his wolf.

Lieutenant Indigo Riviere doesn’t easily allow skin privileges, especially of the sensual kind—and the last person she expects to find herself craving is the most wickedly playful male in the den. Everything she knows tells her to pull back before the flames burn them both to ash…but she hasn’t counted on Drew’s will.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Workout Wednesday: Untraceable

Pages read 178 of 400 pages
Riding Time 2 hours 4 minutes
Calories Burned 498
Distance Peddled 29.13

Disclaimer: When you start a book this interesting, no way was I waiting to read it just at the gym...not happening!

Making the Grade: A

For My Thoughts

I have a new obsession. I am addicted to the books of new-to-me author Laura Griffin. Nothing makes me happier than discovering a new author whose books rock my socks.

So there are some drawbacks to this obsession especially if the author has a few books in their backlist. I must buy them all - which I did (including the new anthology released Oct 2011 and pre-ordering the new release for Nov 2011). The bank account took the hit, but now I have every book ever written by Ms. Griffin. Now another drawback is…I need to find the time to read all these fabulous books *cries*. There's only been one other time that I have ever read an author and then gone and purchased their entire backlist and that was Karen Rose - so Laura Griffin is in good company.

Untraceable is listed as the 1st book in The Tracers series so even though I later discovered that Alexandra Lovell and Nathan Devereaux actually made a brief appearance in an earlier book (Whisper of Warning), I don’t believe it had any impact on starting my Laura Griffin experience with Untraceable.

The opening chapter of Untraceable grabs you right from the start setting the stage for what is a compelling, well written, highly entertaining story. I love it when a book hooks you right from the beginning and you just want the world to go away and leave you alone so you can lose yourself in the story. It’s one of the reasons I love me a great romantic suspense read.

PI Alex Lovell is good at making people disappear. Her latest case involves helping a woman Melanie Bess disappear from her abusive husband….who just happens to be a well respected cop. Alex needs to build a case but it’s going to be tough since Melanie seems to have permanently disappeared and since the main suspect is a cop, Alex isn’t holding her breath expecting any help from the Austin PD.

I love when the heroine is written as a strong female character and Alex Lovell definitely fits that bill. She’s smart and savvy, independent and more than capable of looking after herself and the clients who need her help. But part of being smart is knowing when to ask for help when you’re in over your head and Alex isn’t above using her connection with hunky Police Detective Nathan Devereaux to solve her case.

Nathan doesn’t buy Alex’s story for one minute about one of his co-workers and a respected member of the Houston PD, but when she presents some compelling evidence, he decides to giver her the benefit of the doubt and agrees to help her on the down low. Besides what better way to get closer to the sexy PI then to help her investigate her case and possibly expose a dirty cop.

Untraceable is a fast paced story, full of nail-biting action that keeps you invested in the story and the characters until the last page is turned. Although billed as a romantic suspense, the romance simmers and builds in the background as Alex and Nathan dance around their undeniable attraction to one another. One of the reasons this book touched a chord with me is that Ms. Griffin writes these characters so that I really came to care about them and their HEA.

If you are a fan of romantic suspense, great storytelling that will keep you guessing and strong, intellectual characters then Untraceable is the book for you.

The Tracers Series, Book 1
Pocket Star Books
November 24, 2009

Read an Excerpt

Be careful what you look for…you might find it.

Private investigator Alexandra Lovell uses computer skills and cunning to help clients drop off the radar and begin new lives in safety. Melanie Bess, desperate to escape her abusive husband, was one of those clients. But when Melanie vanishes for real, Alex fears the worst and sets out to discover what happened. Using every resource she can get her hands on—including an elite team of forensic scientists known as the Tracers, and a jaded, sexy detective who’s helped her before--Alex embarks on a mission to uncover the truth, one clue at a time.

Homicide cop Nathan Devereaux wants to believe that Alex’s hunch about Melanie’s murder is wrong, but his instincts—and their visceral attraction—won’t let him walk away. As a grim picture of what really happened begins to emerge, he realizes this investigation runs deeper than they ever imagined. And each step nearer the truth puts Alex in danger of being the next to disappear. . . .

Monday, November 1, 2010

Everyone Needs a Guardian Angel(ino)

I don’t know if Roxanne St. Clarie plans on writing any more books in her Bullet Catcher series (maybe they’re just on temporary hiatus), but her new series featuring the men/women of the Rossi/Angelino families are sure to entice, excite and get your heart pounding if Edge of Sight is any indication.

So au revoir Bullet Catchers and hello…Bring on the Guardian Angelinos.

Making the Grade: A

For My Thoughts

It’s like a murder mystery dinner theatre gone bad at the upscale Boston restaurant Paupiette the night part-time waitress and future Harvard Law student Samantha Fairchild witnesses a murder for real. This game of Clue gone wrong…it was the assassin…in the wine cellar…with a gun… has a decidedly bad ending for Sam. Now she’s become the #1 target on more than one person’s hit list after it’s discovered that her image - smile you’re on Candid Camera - was caught on the security camera which the killer thoughtfully removed before leaving the scene of the crime.

Tired of being alone, afraid and holed up in her apartment, Sam decides to call in reinforcements and contacts her good friend and reporter Vivi Angelino for help. Showing up under the cover of night at Vivi’s apartment, Sam gets more than she bargained for when she has a run in with a blast from her past in the form of Vivi’s twin brother and the stuff wet dreams are made of...Zaccaria Angelino. Doesn’t that name conjure up a hot, spicy Italian dish? Yummy...I’ll take an Angelino to go!

Sam and Zach share a steamy past. Three non-stop hot, off the charts weeks of sex before Zach shipped out for active duty to Iraq (for the 411 on how this relationship began, check out the prequel, Taken to the Edge here). It’s been three years and in all that time, Sam has never heard from the Zach, not even a measly postcard. It’s very obvious that what transpired between these two in the past is far, far from over.

Zach’s never forgotten the time he shared with his Sammi but he’s not the same guy she knew. He’s not only changed mentally, but physically. A close call with a mortar shell, almost cost him his life and did cost him an eye and left him with a disfiguring scar on his face. Dude’s even sporting a black eye patch a la Captain Jack Sparrow. The last thing Zach wants is to take on the job of Sam’s bodyguard, but deep down he knows there’s no one else he can trust with her protection and safety. And Sam’s going to need Zach on her side since the bad guys will stop at nothing including using friends and family to get at Samantha. Being around each other 24/7 and keeping their hands (and mouths) off each other is going to test even the strongest of wills.

St. Claire writes the Rossi/Angelino family members as real, likable (well except maybe JP) characters that we come to know and care about and have a vested interest in their well-being while giving us just enough information to wet our appetite for future books in the series. She has a lot of characters to draw from as the Rossi family consists of 5 siblings (Gabe, Marc, JP, Nicki and Chessie) and then of course the 2 honorary members of the family, adopted cousins - twins Zach and Vivi Angelino.

With twists and turns Edge of Sight is an emotional roller coaster ride from start to finish. Chills galore, taunt, gut wrenching action and a compelling story that will keep you on the edge of your seat until the last page is turned.

What a fantastic beginning to what is sure to be a great new series from Roxanne St. Claire starring the men and woman of The Guardian Angelinos. Next up is Marc Rossi’s story in Shiver of Fear due out next year.

Read an excerpt of Edge of Sight

Back Cover Blurb

When Samantha Fairchild witnesses a murder in the wine cellar of the restaurant where she works, the Harvard-bound law student becomes the next target of a professional assassin. Desperate for protection the authorities won't provide, Sam seeks help from Vivi Angelino, an investigative reporter who recruits her brother, Zach, to protect Samantha. A Special Forces vet with the scars to prove he's equally fearless and flawed, Zach takes the job, despite the fact that he and Sam once shared a lusty interlude that ended when he left for war and disappeared from her life. Now, as they crack a conspiracy that leads to the city's darkest corners, Sam and Zach must face their fears, desires, and doubts, before a hired killer gets a second shot...