Friday, June 27, 2014

Review: Flying by Megan Hart

Based on the description of the book - a woman who escapes her life each weekend by traveling and picking up strangers in airport bars - I thought I'd enjoy it.  I travel a lot and well, my travel doesn't involve picking up men in airports, but I find the fantasy interesting.  Who hasn't thought of something like that while spending hours in airports waiting?

I started reading this book while in the airport, waiting to board a flight to London.  Perfect setting right?

But this fantasy was more of a nightmare.  Stella wasn't having hot sex with strangers, she was having sad, pathetic sex with other sad, pathetic people.  It kind of creeped me out.  All of a sudden, I was glad I was sleeping alone in my hotel room if that was the alternative.

I guess that was my problem with the book, the sex in the book wasn't what I would consider to be fun or enjoyable.  It was the result of people who hated themselves and didn't care much about anyone else in their lives.

Eventually, Stella meets a guy with whom she wants more than a one night fling.  Despite the distance they start trying to date and have a semi-normal relationship.  But even that relationship seemed to reek of desperation.  This guy wasn't at all worth the trouble it took to be with him.

For a romance novel, this book was really depressing, and it never got much better.  The happily ever after was possibly more depressing than the story of the couple being without each other.

I didn't like the story all that much.  It wasn't at all what I consider to be hot and sexy.  Just sad.  I don't need to read about sad people in uncomfortable relationships.  I read to escape that kind of thing.

I received a review copy via NetGalley.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Review: Scandalize Me by Caitlin Crews

This book is soooo good!  I usually hate reviews that are nothing but gushing about a story - this is amazing, so hot, et cetera.  But that's how I feel about this book.  Maybe I just haven't been reading the right books because it is rare that I enjoy a book this much.

I put off writing this review because I figured I'd post it closer to release date, and also because I wanted to come up with something other than, "OMG, this book is great."  (See first paragraph, that's what I wrote right after finishing the book.)  But now, months later, book has been out for a while, I've read about twenty other books since this one and I never got around to writing my review.

Anyway, I loved this book. This is the second book in the Fifth Avenue trilogy.   I might have even loved it more than the first book, Avenge Me, which I thought was pretty darn great.  This book continues with the characters doing their part to exact revenge on Jason Treffen for the death of their friend ten years earlier.  I loved everything about this book - the characters were interesting, strong, independent heroine (that's a must for me) with a secret past, and the former football player consumed with his own guilt about past incidents.  They had scorching hot chemistry, and I very much enjoyed seeing their romance develop throughout the book.

I highly recommend these books.  Great story, hot romance, likable
characters, doesn't get much better than this.

I received a copy of this via NetGalley.

Read April 13, 2014.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Pre-review of The Book of Life

Let’s consider this my pre-review of Book of Life by Deborah Harkness, as I’ve been asked to not post a real review until the book is released on July 15.  I’m okay with that because it’s going to take me a while to put together something  a bit more intelligent than, “OMG, I loved it!  You must read this!”  That being said, I did love it, and you really should read it.  But anyway, I digress.

Instead of telling you about the book right now, I’m going to instead tell you about how much I wanted to read this book:

Sunday afternoon, I had a strange, horrible pain in my head.  I have headaches and migraines all the time, but this was something different.  This felt as if there were something small burrowing its way through my head.  For about twenty minutes, I was convinced I was dying.  I thought maybe it was a stroke or aneurysm.  I imagined that the burrowing I felt was a blood clot moving through my head, ready to shut down my brain.  I know this all sounds a bit melodramatic, but it was really bad.

I wondered if this was the sort of pain that I should call 911 about, but decided against that because I wasn’t entirely sure of the location of my insurance card.  And even with insurance, if I survived the pain, I’d wish I was dead after I got the hospital bills.  So I remained on my bed, in the dark, unable to move, my head hurting so much, death would have been welcome at that point.

My life sort of flashed before me.  You know, the way it does when you’re on an airplane and the turbulence is so intense, you’re convinced you’re never going to see land again.  You start making mental lists of things you should have done, meant to do, wish you hadn’t put off until later, grimacing about all the loose ends you never got around to tying up.  Everyone does that, right?  It isn’t just me, is it?  Whatever. Anyway.

As I waited for the end, preparing those lists, I’m glad to say I don’t have a lot of items on my list.  And that’s by design.  I make a point of doing what I want to do, rather than waiting for someday.  So that’s all good.  I’ve traveled, I’ve met people, I’ve done things. 

The first big regret that popped into my aching head:  Damn it, I’m never going to find out what happens to Diana and Matthew. 

Seriously, people, that’s what I thought.  And it upset me, because oh, to wait so long, only to have my head burst a month before the book is released. 

I love these characters so much.  Also, I’d recently finished listening to Shadow of Night, the second book in the trilogy, and so they’ve been very much on my mind.

Well, obviously, I didn’t die.  That was on Sunday, and now we’re in the early hours of Thursday morning and I seem very much alive.  I have no idea what caused that pain in my head.  Even after the initial pain passed, I remained on the bed for a couple of hours, afraid to move.  And my head is still sore in that particular spot and sometimes I have a twinge of sharp pain, but clearly, whatever it was wasn’t life ending. 

But my head is not the important part of this story.  I’m sharing this story to demonstrate that sometimes magic happens.  Sometimes the Universe listens and understands just how much you want something and the Goddess decides to smile on you.

Monday afternoon, I was checking my email and saw an email from NetGalley saying I’d been approved to receive an advance copy of Book of Life.  I was in my bedroom when I read this.  I cheered loudly – in my empty house – and then I’m pretty sure I skipped/ran down the hall to get to my computer to accept the book and have it sent to my Kindle.  Then I spent the next two days reading.  

You know how sometimes you want something so bad, and then you get it and it isn’t that great? – not the case here!  Instead, it was every bit as great as I’d hoped, maybe even better – and I had very high hopes.  Such a good book. 

I finished reading it Tuesday night.  Then I spent Wednesday in a bit of a daze, wondering what I’m supposed to do next.  Already missing these characters.  But it’s okay, because I can revisit them when I want, I know where they are – stored safely on my kindle.  Plus, I’ve got some pretty big travel plans in the near future - like next week - that will allow me to visit the areas where the story took place – Oxford, London, France. 

But yes, point of all this being, my life is now complete, for the moment at least.  And in my mind, it makes the title, Book of Life, seem even more appropriate.  

Actual review to be posted July 15.  

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Review: Burned by Sarah Morgan

This is okay for a quick read. I wasn't enjoying the longer book I'd been reading, so decided to read this before bed for something different.

I liked the main characters, enjoyed their storyline - young lovers who split up and then reunited after five years. (In my own reading and writing, I've noticed that's a storyline to which I'm drawn.)  

I also liked the London setting, the descriptions brought the city to life for me.

But I found the frequent mentions of the sister to be annoying. In general, not a big fan of the best friend/sister thing. The sister kept being mentioned, even when it didn't seem necessary. Things like, "He had a nice apartment, his apartment reminded her of the apartment her sister's boyfriend owned."

I would have rather the focus be on the two main characters - not the sister and her boyfriend - who I understand were main characters in a previous novella by this author.

Also, felt like there was a lot of repetition in the writing. Maybe instead of telling the reader over and over again about how she was clingy when she was younger, or how her parents had a bad marriage causing her sister decided to avoid marriage - we could have learned more about the current characters and their relationship.  Needed some very thorough editing, but I guess that would have made the story even shorter. Also, how many times do I need to be told that her sister has large breasts and she doesn't? Little things like that started to bother me about the writing and caused me to start doing a lot of skimming. I don't usually feel the need to skim something this short.

Monday, June 09, 2014

Review: Temptation in Shadows by Gena Showalter

A couple of summers ago, I was wanting to read more paranormal romance.    The book I wanted wasn't available at the library, so I decided to try Gena Showalters' Lords of the Underworld series, and I was hooked immediately.  I read the whole series - I think there were nine books at the time - one right after the other.  Loved them.  This was sort of the beginning of my return to reading romance novels.

But I haven't enjoyed Gena's latest books.  I don't know if they changed or if my tastes changed.  Temptation in Shadows being an older story, I assumed I'd like it, but I really didn't like it all that much.

It's a novella, only about 80 pages, and for something that short, I expect the focus to be on romance.  But there was quite a bit about some underground society who were turning people's brains into computers.  It's been a while since I read this, so I don't recall the details.  Also, I'm not even sure I understood exactly what was happening while I read the story.  I think it may have been a little too complicated for a novella.

Also, I didn't feel as if the romance was all that well developed.  There was no real explanation as to why they were attracted to each other.  We're just told they are, and then they're in love.  Okay.

But still, for a novella, a quick real that doesn't require much emotional involvement, this story worked just fine.  I turn to stories like this when I need to escape a long read that's dragging or I can't decide what big book I want to dive into next.

I received a copy of this via NetGalley.

Sunday, June 08, 2014

Review: Looking for Trouble by Victoria Dahl

I loved this book.  Once I started reading it, I couldn't put it down.  This was how I spent my first weekend of the summer break - devouring this book.  Even though I'm not usually a fan of small town, contemporary romances - I still love Dahl's books.  Her stories don't have the elements that usually annoy me about small town stories.  Her characters are intelligent and independent.  

I liked the characters in this story and I enjoyed all of the back story about the families involved.  Sophie and Alex both have some messed up family histories, and both are wanting to do whatever they can to avoid the drama caused by their families.  But unfortunately, they can't avoid the connection made years ago between their parents, and all the gossip that accompanied that.  I enjoyed seeing how these two people worked through those issues and how their attraction for each other developed.  Plus, they have great chemistry and of course, the sex was smoking hot.  I also really liked that the happy ending didn't mean marriage and a baby.  Sometimes that's appropriate, but sometimes, when it doesn't fit with the characters, it really bothers me.

Books that I loved are some of the most difficult reviews to write.  I don't know what else to say about the book.  It's great, if you want a good, sexy romance story, you should read this. 

I received a copy of this via NetGalley.

Sunday, June 01, 2014

Review: Break for Me by Shiloh Walker

This is one of those stories that didn't produce any strong feelings in me, good or bad.  When I first started it, I didn't like it much.  I'm not a big fan of small town contemporary stories, and this began with everything I dislike about that type of story - the fifteen best friends (slight exaggeration), everyone knowing everyone's business, the dwelling on past events - never moving forward.

In the beginning of the story, they go to a bar, and everyone there knows that Jensen is upset because it's nearing the anniversary of her mother's disappearance.  Everyone except the new guy in town, and they all get on his case for not knowing.  I guess they forgot to hand him a calendar of special events - things people get upset about in bars for the past decade.

I set the story aside, not planning to finish it.  But then one night, I wanted something short, something I could finish before I fell asleep, so I decided to give it another try.  And this time, I thought the story was okay.  Once the focus was on the two main characters, it got better.  In novellas, I don't want too many other things happening.  But this is also a prequel to a series, so I might have appreciated it more if viewed in that context - as just a small part of a much bigger story.  

I liked it enough that I may pick up the other books in this series, but didn't love it.  

I received a copy of this via NetGalley.