Saturday, May 31, 2014

Review: Dating Cary Grant by Emelle Gamble

This is a very light-hearted story, and I know that's what some people enjoy.  I tend to read things that are a little grittier, I need more angst, more intensity. This book just wasn't the sort of thing I usually read.

I did enjoy the New York City setting and all of the movie references.

I had been looking forward to reading this book because I'm a big Cary Grant fan.  Based on the title and description of the book, I thought the character was going to have an affair with the ghost of Cary Grant or a Cary Grant look-a-like or something like that.  I was sort of hoping for that.

Instead this was more about a woman, Tracy, trying to save her marriage, or maybe escape her marriage.  Escape is how I viewed it in the beginning.  She had a job in New York City, and wanted to be near her job, while her husband was working as a small town mayor in Connecticut.  For someone like me, New York City seems like the obvious choice.  If you have the opportunity to live there, who wouldn't?  Maybe that's just me.

I suppose I hoped this was a story about a woman finding herself and figuring out what she really wanted out of life..  Okay, it sort of is, but what she found and what she realized she wanted wasn't what I would have wanted, so I guess that bothered me.  I wanted her to find what she wanted in the arms of a handsome, Cary Grant-like stranger.

In general, I don't like stories in which women are made to feel guilty because they want to pursue their careers.  I know I'm supposed to understand that she realized love was more important - but I didn't feel like I ever knew enough about her marriage or her husband to accept that.

I felt like there was a lot going on in this story - we have Tracy trying to figure out what she wants and the issues with her job, then there are these strange characters that keep popping up, then it's sort of a romance.  I think I would have enjoyed the book more if there had been a stronger focus on one of those elements - either make it more of a ghost story or more of a romance.  Overall, I didn't have any strong feelings either way about the book.  I didn't love it, didn't hate it.  It wasn't at all what I expected though, so that might have been what threw me off.

I'm sure this book would work just fine for someone who did want a sweet, nice romance that takes place in New York City, with a few appearance from some rather well-known ghosts.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Review: Avenge Me by Maisey Yates

I loved this book.  I really loved this book.  I'm probably going to end up buying a few copies of this book to give to friends who I think will also love this book. 

And before I go on, let me just get this out of the way, because every book out there seems to get compared to 50 Shades of Grey, and I'm sure that will happen with this one as well.  It's almost as if the author knew that would happen, and just to show you she knew, she threw in a few lines - such as the comment that they were too many shades of messed up to be together, and then there's a mention of the sky being a shade of grey. 

There is the element of domination and submission and such but that's where any comparison ends because I believe that even on her worst day, Maisey Yates can outwrite EL James, and she doesn't need the framework of a teenage vampire love story to do so.  Anyway, that said, I usually stay away from books that involve domination.  If I see that in the description or notice that people on GoodReads have tagged a book BDSM, I usually don't even bother to read it.  I found myself cringing for a moment in this book and thinking, no, don't go there.  But I kept reading and I'm glad I did.  This was the first time I've read about these situations and heard it explained in such a way that it made sense to me.  As I said, I don't read a lot of stories labeled BDSM, so maybe there are lots of great examples, but anyway.  Point being, as someone usually a little icked out about this, I wasn't icked out by this - icked, really putting that Master's Degree to work here, aren't I?

Now to the point of my review.  This book is so good.  This is the sort of book, I want all my friends to read, so we can discuss it later.  Intense storyline - dark, gritty, tragic; strong characters dealing with loads of internal angst, including a decade of guilt, as well as some messed up external circumstances with which these characters are having to cope - family problems, work issues, difficult friends - it's all there.  And, of course, it's got the usual elements of a Harlequin Presents - money, power and sex - and in this case, maybe more so than the usual Presents, abuse of all three.  Before I got my hands on this book, I kept reading about how this book was different from the usual Presents -  and it is, mostly in that it's longer, and there's more of a storyline, or rather a more involved storyline.  Usually the books focus on a couple and their relationship.  There is a couple and there is the focus on their relationship, but there's also a lot more happening.  These two people are a mission to destroy a man that ruined the life of someone who was very important to them.  That part of the story continues in the other two books in this trilogy.

I loved the characters in this book.  Strong female character, that's always a necessity for me to enjoy a romance.  Katy's determined and she's not at all intimidated by a guy with a lot of money, and she's very much in control of her life.  But before she can truly begin to live her life, she's got to avenge the death of her sister.  Austin is another big reason to love this book.   Austin wants the same thing as Katy, her sister having been one of his best friends.  For ten years, he's lived with the guilt of not having done more to help her.  But despite wanting to focus on avenging the death of Katy's sister - he also wants Katy, in a way that he feels he shouldn't.  The chemistry between these two is great and the sex, so hot.  I enjoyed reading about the way the two grew to care about each other.

I'd recommend this to anyone who wants a steamy, sexy read with a great storyline.