Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Review: Deal with the Devil by Cynthia Eden

Deal with the Devil is the fourth book in Cynthia Eden's Purgatory series. Purgatory is the prison where paranormals are kept. Earlier in the series the prison was infiltrated, but has since been cleaned up and Eric Pate is in charge.

All along there's been something a bit shady about Eric. Sure he's the "good" guy, but it was clear he was keeping secrets and had some ulterior motives.  His intentions were never straightforward. This is the book in which those secrets are finally revealed.

It's been a few weeks since I've read the book, so my memory is a little cloudy, but I believe the heroine of this story, Ella, was first seen and rescued in the third book, Charming the Beast. I might be wrong. I began reading this book as soon as I finished the third, as in on the same flight, and the two stories have sort of merged in my head.

Ella was being held prisoner and she wants to escape, but Eric feels as though she needs to be protected  What exactly Ella is is something of a mystery. But she feels a connection with Eric that she can't quite explain.  She thinks she has finally found someone like her, but she's in for a few surprises.

This book provided some very interesting backstory about Ella and the paranormal creatures origins.

Like all the books in this series and everything I've read by this author, the story was fast paced, action packed, full of suspense and very heavy on some steamy romance.

I liked this book a lot. Highly recommend to fans of paranormal romance.

I received a review copy via NetGalley.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Review: Charming the Beast by Cynthia Eden

I sort of feel like all of my reviews of Cynthia Eden's books sound the same. Fast paced, lots of action and danger, plenty of mystery and suspense and smoking hot sexy times.  Something like that. But if it works, stick with it. That's why I love these books.

Also, they've become my perfect travel companions. Stuck for hours in an airport, long, uncomfortable flight, boring train ride - these books provide the perfect escape. This one I read on my flight from Dallas to Milan and it worked well.  Nice to be able to open up a book and all of a sudden, you're not in some grimy airport anymore, you're running for your life, alongside some sexy as sin werewolf.

This was the third of the Purgatory books, and it's been a few months since I read the first two, but it seems like I enjoyed this one and the next book much more than the first two. Could have just been my mood or the setting in which I was in when reading them.  Not sure.  But thoroughly enjoyed this book.

In this book Connor - who was sort of a bad guy werewolf in previous books - is now having to work with the "good" guys.  He's been assigned to guard Chloe. Chloe just wants to be free, despite her attraction to Connor, she's tired of being a prisoner. But she's not safe on her own.  There are too many people after her and she doesn't know who to trust.  So they're together, reluctantly, at first. But they can't fight their attraction for each other. I think Connor is one of my favorites, something about the bad guy doing good, even though he still sees himself as a bad guy, always gets me.

This book has everything you need for a perfect escape: action and romance, with a heavy dose of paranormal. Highly recommend if that's your sort of thing.  

Sunday, June 07, 2015

Review: Brokedown Cowboy by Maisey Yates

This book didn't work for me at all. I read this because I'd read the first book in the series and for the most part enjoyed it and wanted to see what happened with the rest of the family.

I'm not a big fan of friends to lovers story lines. To me, that seems like a huge betrayal of friendship. It's like someone isn't really a friend because they have an ulterior motive, and that makes me angry. Every once in a while though, I pick up a book with that story line and it is written in such a way that I'm okay with it, but this was not one of those books.  In fact, this book sort of confirmed and emphasized all the this I find wrong with "friends to lovers" story lines. I found the way friendship was abused in this story to be kind of horrifying.  Let me further explain.

Three years ago, Connor Garrett lost his wife, Jesse, in a car accident. She'd been his first and only love, the two having been together since they were in high school.  In one moment he lost his entire future and he's not sure how to move on.  Now it's him and his alcohol in a big empty house, remembering everything he ever did wrong in his marriage and all he'll never have.  He has his family and his friends to help him get through this. One of those friends is Liss.  She was friends with both he and his wife, and now has taken on the role of bringing Connor food on a regular basis, for fear that he won't remember to eat otherwise.

When Liss is thrown out of her rental house and can't find another place to stay, due to an ex ruining her credit (which kind of doesn't make sense if the town is as small as it seems, but anyway), Connor offers to let her stay with him.  This is when things get complicated because turns out, Liss has a crush on Connor.  She's had a crush on Connor since she was a teenager. And even worse, turns out that even though he was dating her friend, when that friend went away to college, Liss harbored hopes of him deciding he wanted her instead of Jesse and was devastated when he proposed to his girlfriend.  She even says she ran off during the wedding reception and cried her heart out, while wearing her bridesmaid dress because good friend that she was, she was, of course, part of the wedding party.  Sorry, that's not a friend. You don't lust after your friend's boyfriend like that. Yuck.

Connor and Jesse are married for eight years. Happily married. Oh sure, they have their issues, but nothing more than typical marriage type issues. Still, Liss is longing for Connor. Finally, Jesse dies and she has her chance. She steps in and tries to play the wife, acting like his house is her own and buying him groceries - even though Connor wants his wife, not a replacement wife. Connor thinks she's just being a friend because she was friends to both he and Jesse.

This is the point where I find this isn't even a "friends to lovers" story but more a Single White Female type story, but maybe that's just me.  Maybe I could have accepted this story if Liss had begun to develop feelings for Connor after Jesse's death. Maybe if they'd grieved together, and grown closer in their shared loss.  But to say she always wanted him? That she ached for him while he was married to her friend? She needs mental help. She should talk to Sadie, Connor's future sister-in-law who is a professional counselor.

After living in the house together for a while, things get a little awkward, Connor accidentally grabbing Liss' underwear when it's in the dryer, and then Liss walking in on him in his underwear.  This is the point where it starts to hit Connor that he's been without sex for three years and now there's a somewhat attractive woman living in his house. Pretty soon, this woman is throwing herself at him. He's a guy, so he has sex with her, but he's pretty clear about it just being sex. In fact, he tells her many times that he wants nothing more than sex, and she doesn't seem to be able to take that answer. She's literally throwing her naked self at him and continues to do so, despite him saying he doesn't love her, doesn't want to love anyone. They finally get to a point in which she says if he doesn't love her, then he'll even lose her as a friend.  She gives him an ultimatum. I guess this is where we're supposed to believe that he sees the light and realizes he does in fact love her. But to me, it read more like, may as well keep her, easier than finding someone else and he didn't want to be alone forever.

Suffice it to say, I didn't find this love story to be very convincing. I thought Liss was kind of pathetic and so very, very desperate. I did not like her at all. She waited around for her friend to die to get her hands on the man she wanted.  (Wouldn't be surprised if she had something to do with the car wreck, but that's just my twisted mind.) Then she took advantage of the fact that he was painfully lonely and sad and wallowing in his grief and hadn't had sex in years.  He settled for her because she was convenient.  He liked having sex with her and he appreciated what she did for him, but I never felt he loved her.

One other thing I didn't like about this book though, and it bothered me a lot, was the need to try to describe the dead wife as having been inadequate in bed. Is that some rule in romance books - the only great sex the characters can have is with each other?  That seemed so cruel and unnecessary. How can you say this man is so sad and grieving, and then try to say the wife he's grieving was kind of boring in bed?

What I'd really like to read would be a novella/prequel about Connor and Jesse, though I suspect that won't happen because well, they don't get a happy ever after, do they?

As much as I disapproved of the romance in this story, there must be something of quality to the storytelling for me to feel this wound up about a story. The characters are interesting, and realistic.  Obviously, I care about the characters, otherwise, I wouldn't get so angry about the things that happen to them.  This isn't by any means a bad book, I just didn't like what happened in the book. I especially liked some of the scenes between Connor and his brother, Eli, thought those scenes were more poignant than any of the scenes between Connor and Liss. I really liked Eli and Sadie from the first book, so was glad to see some of them in this book.

I received a copy via NetGalley.

Wednesday, June 03, 2015

Review: The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton

This was such a good book. A little slow in the beginning, wasn't sure if I was going to like it, but I ended up enjoying it quite a bit.

This is the story of Laurel, trying to figure out the story behind a disturbing incident that happened during her childhood. She was witness to her mother doing something shocking. Now her mother is in her 90s, and nearing the end of her life. Laurel wants to know the story. And what a story it is.

The story is told in flashbacks and revealed through Laurel's research. I thought I'd figured it out mid-way, then was certain I was wrong, only to realize I'd been correct, at least partially.

Great story, completely held my interest.  My favorite scenes were those that took place during the war.  The setting and characters are vividly described.

Didn't have the happy ending I was hoping for, but did have a much happier ending than what I was dreading.

I highly recommend this story for an intriguing, sweet war time romance and mystery.