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Passionate reader of various genres except horror. I was that kid with the flashlight under the covers, reading when I should have been sleeping. I love to read, talk about what I've read and just hang out with other readers.
In all his years as a professional diver, Will Sturman has never encountered a killing machine more ferocious than the great white shark or as deadly as the piranha. Now, off the coast of California, something is rising from the deep--and multiplying. Voracious, unstoppable, and migrating north, an ungodly life form trailed by a gruesome wake of corpses. With the help of the brilliant and beautiful oceanographer Valerie Martell, Will finds himself in a race against time to stop the slaughter--by a predator capable of devastating the world's oceans. Pray it kills you quickly.
A little diversity is good for the reading soul. That's why I decided to give Ryan Lockwood's Below a try. It's a look into what lurks under the beautiful Pacific Ocean. We all know that something as beautiful as the Pacific can also be very deadly. Sharks are what usually come to mind when you think of something pulling you under the water and eating you alive. Turns out, sharks are the least of our worries.
If you're looking for romance, look elsewhere. While there's a little action between the sheets, it can easily be overlooked for the more important plot of what is devouring those foolish enough to swim in the ocean. Will Sturman, full-time diver and part-time drunk, teams up with Dr. Valerie Martell. Martell is a research scientist who prefers spending her time below the water than above. The main characters are developed with enough back story to give the reader insight into what drives them but the central focus is on the terror beneath the ocean.
The plot runs a pretty straight line. I found myself predicting, with a high rate of accuracy, who would be the next meal for the "terror from below". The story still proved to be entertaining and an escape from life's more mundane problems. One thing I did like was the point of view of the "terror from below". I thought it gave the story a refreshing twist.
So not groundbreaking but a story with some action, suspense and a look at what lives Below.
Two of a Kind Susan Mallery Contemporary Romance Fool's Gold/Book 11 Harlequin/June 25, 2013
Felicia Swift never dreamed she'd hear a deep, sexy voice from her past in tiny Fool's Gold, California. The last time Gideon Boylan whispered in her ear was half a world away...on the morning after the hottest night of her life. Her freaky smarts have limited her close friendships, and romance, but she came to Fool's Gold looking for ordinary. Gorgeous, brooding Gideon is anything but that. Black Ops taught Gideon that love could be deadly. Now he pretends to fit in while keeping everyone at arm's length. Felicia wants more than he can give-a home, family, love-but she has a lot to learn about men...and Gideon needs to be the man to teach her. As these two misfits discover that passion isn't the only thing they have in common, they just might figure out that two of a kind should never be split apart.
Welcome back to Fool's Gold where romance will find you whether you want it to or not. It seems to be those who claim to not want a happily ever after are usually the people who need it most of all. Such is the case for Gideon Boylan.
When Gideon Boylan moved to Fool's Gold he thought he could be a hermit, living alone and keeping mostly to himself with the occasional trip into town. His friends, however, have other plans. So they pull him out of his hermi-tude a little at a time. When Gideon runs into Felicia, he's surprised and a little scared, not that he would admit it. I liked Gideon's vulnerable side, how it reflected his past experiences which he also tried to hide.
Felicia Swift is a genuine genius. She practically grew up on a college campus, raised by professors instead of parents. Felicia hasn't let this stop her from wanting a more traditional life for herself, in fact it probably made her crave it that much more. Felicia isn't easy to warm up to, she's full of facts and seems to have a hard time with emotions. In a way, she's very childlike when it comes to relationships. She says what she's thinking, not always realizing what the outcome might be.
Gideon and Felicia didn't come across as a good fit. The attraction was strong but beyond that, it felt like they were basing their relationship on a one-night stand. Gideon didn't want the same things out of life that Felicia did. She wants to become part of the Fool's Gold community where Gideon wants very little contact with the population. He would rather limit his contact to the air waves of the radio station he owns than participate in the various festivals the town is known for.
Fool's Gold is full of all types of people. It's what makes it the type of place readers want to go back to again and again. The problem that can occur with small town romances are those very people who make up the town. They tend to encroach on the romance, taking time away from the hero and heroine that would be better spent showing the development of the relationship.
So not a bad romance but it simply didn't work on all levels for me. It did however, leave me looking forward to reading the next book in the series. So that's always a plus!
Fool's Gold Series ~
Sister of the Bride (novella in Summer Brides anthology)
Only Us (novella in Almost Summer anthology)
All Summer Long
A Fool's Gold Christmas (novella)
Halfway There (novella)
Just One Kiss
Two of a Kind
Three Little Words
Christmas on 4th Street (novella)
When We Met (April 29, 2014)
Before We Kiss (May 27, 2014)
Until We Touch (June 24, 2014)
Yours For Christmas (September 30, 2014/novella)
Fool's Gold Cookbook: A Love Story Told Through 150 Recipes
The Rosie Project Graeme Simsion Contemporary Romance Simon & Schuster/October 1, 2013 (First published, April 1, 2013)
Don Tillman, professor of genetics, has never been on a second date. He is a man who can count all his friends on the fingers of one hand, whose lifelong difficulty with social rituals has convinced him that he is simply not wired for romance. So when an acquaintance informs him that he would make a “wonderful” husband, his first reaction is shock. Yet he must concede to the statistical probability that there is someone for everyone, and he embarks upon The Wife Project. In the orderly, evidence-based manner with which he approaches all things, Don sets out to find the perfect partner. She will be punctual and logical—most definitely not a barmaid, a smoker, a drinker, or a late-arriver. Yet Rosie Jarman is all these things. She is also beguiling, fiery, intelligent—and on a quest of her own. She is looking for her biological father, a search that a certain DNA expert might be able to help her with. Don's Wife Project takes a back burner to the Father Project and an unlikely relationship blooms, forcing the scientifically minded geneticist to confront the spontaneous whirlwind that is Rosie—and the realization that love is not always what looks good on paper.
When applying science to relationships there's always a strong possibility of a completely unforeseen outcome. These are the results Professor Don Tillman discovers. Don is an extremely intelligent person. He's what you would call book smart with his street smarts lagging woefully behind. He doesn't know how to interaction with others and has a hard time relating to most people.
Rosie is a breath of fresh, new air in Don's life. She breaks down his preconceptions of what traits he must have in a wife. She is the catalyst that brings about Don's transformation and she does it all while simply being herself. Rosie was a lot of fun, especially when interacting with Don. It was funny to see his confusion with regards to Rosie. He doesn't expect to enjoy spending time with her, they have absolutely nothing in common, or so he thinks. Their relationship is written in a way that is perfectly believable as it develops into a romance.
Don is someone who can easily becoming that annoying person you try to avoid at all costs. He's an odd duck but as the story progresses Don becomes more than the computer like genius he was in the beginning. The changes may seem small, he still maintains his high intelligence, but those changes have a profound affect on his life.
The Rosie Project is an amusing look at one man's search for a mate. It's a perfect example of the phrase "God laughs when you make plans". Professor Don Tillman makes numerous plans but learns that some of the best things in life are the things you don't plan for.
On a frigid January night, Chief of Police Russ Van Alstyne and Reverend Clare Fergusson are called to the scene of a raging fire, that quickly becomes a double homicide and kidnapping. Which is the very last thing Russ needs...Currently he's struggling with the prospect of impending fatherhood. And his new wife is not at all happy with his proposal for their long-delayed honeymoon: a week in an unelectrified ice-fishing cabin. The vestry of St. Alban's Church has called for the bishop to investigate Clare's "unpriestly" pregnancy. She has one week to find out if she will be scolded, censured, or suspended from her duties. Officer Hadley Knox is having a miserable January as well. Her on-again-off-again lover, Kevin Flynn, has seven days to weigh an offer from the Syracuse Police Department that might take him half a state away. As the days and hours tick by, Russ and Clare fight personal and professional battles they've never encountered. In the course of this one tumultuous week the lives of the Millers-Kill residents have come to love and cherish change forever.
This is a series you need to start at the beginning. Not only because it is so well written but because the characters grow and change as the course of the series progresses. You wouldn't be completely lost if you start with Through the Evil Days but you would lose that sense of knowing these characters and understanding of how they think.
While Clare and Russ have not had an easy romance by any stretch of the imagination, they are finally able to settle into married life, right after a delayed honeymoon. The boundaries they set with their careers and their personal lives are very flexible so a honeymoon in a remote location should provide no interference from the outside world. As much as Russ and Clare try to enjoy their honeymoon, they are both too committed to helping others.
Russ and Clare are not the only ones whose plans are not turning out the way they hoped. Hadley Knox, single mom and California transplant, is dealing with temptation at work and her past coming back to haunt her. Hadley is not a typical cop but more or less stumbled into the job out of necessity. Kevin Flynn might not seem like a typical cop at first glance but he was meant to be a police officer. Between them they actually make a good team. I do like how their relationship is developing in both the professional and personal.
As life intrudes on Russ and Clare's honeymoon, so does mystery and danger. The pace was fairly fast mixed in with some down time but overall, the main plot and subplots, kept moving towards the culmination of good versus evil. There were a few instances of conflict between Russ and Clare that surprised me in that they came from a place I thought had already been resolved. There were certainly some very big loose ends dangling by the end of the book. I just hope we don't have to wait eighteen months for the next book.
In the Bleak Midwinter
A Fountain Filled With Blood
Out of the Deep I Cry
To Darkness and to Death
All Mortal Flesh
I Shall Not Want One Was a Soldier
Through the Evil Days
Lord of Darkness Elizabeth Hoyt Historical Romance/England/1740 Maiden Lane/Book 5 Grand Central Publishing/February 26, 2013 When Strangers In The Night He lives in the shadows. As the mysterious masked avenger known as the Ghost of St. Giles, Godric St. John's only goal is to protect the innocent of London. Until the night he confronts a fearless young lady pointing a pistol at his head—and realizes she is his wife. Become Lovers... Lady Margaret Reading has vowed to kill the Ghost of St. Giles—the man who murdered her one true love. Returning to London, and to the man she hasn't seen since their wedding day, Margaret does not recognize the man behind the mask. Fierce, commanding, and dangerous, the notorious Ghost of St. Giles is everything she feared he would be—and so much more. Desire Is The Ultimate Danger When passion flares, these two intimate strangers can't keep from revealing more of themselves than they had ever planned. But when Margaret learns the truth—that the Ghost is her husband—the game is up and the players must surrender...to the temptation that could destroy them both.
While still trying to conquer my historical romance reading slump, I began reading Lord of Darkness and I do believe Ms. Hoyt has brought me out of the slump for good! By the end of Lord of Darkness, I found myself anticipating the next book in this wonderful series. What a great feeling!
Lady Margaret (Megs) has become quite bold, traveling to London and moving in with her estranged husband after spending two years alone at their country home. Their marriage was not a love match but one made of desperation and blackmail. To say Godric is surprised to see his wife is an understatement. He's under the assumption that she will not be staying long and once she is back in the country, he can resume his lonely life and focus on saving those of St. Giles. Imagine his surprised when she reveals her plans. (Nope, no spoilers.) I loved how very matter-of-fact Megs was in her plans. She does exhibit some shyness with Godric which is understandable since they barely know each other but otherwise she is determined to see through her plan to the end.
Godric, for his part, is almost a bit frightened of Megs. He really doesn't know what to make of her. He has lived a nearly self-imposed exile from life and when Megs arrives, his exile comes to an end. He gives Megs the impression of an older gentleman with very little to recommend to a younger wife. But Godric is good at giving false impressions. He's not what I would considered a typical historical romance hero. He's more subdued in his appearance and manners but once he's dressed as the Ghost, that's when he comes alive. I think that's why it took a little longer to warm up to him, he kept himself closed off to everyone, until Megs.
The romance is the focal point with the Ghost's activities intertwined within the romance. It's not just Godric's connection to the Ghost but Megs has a history with the Ghost as well. This causes conflict in a relationship that seems to have little else going for it. Even with the conflict, I enjoyed how Godric and Megs learn their preconceptions of each other are off the mark. In the end they are pleasantly surprised at how compatible they are.
The story doesn't center around the orphanage as much as some of the previous books, but we do get a chance to catch up with the ladies from the orphanage committee. One of the things I was thrilled to read was the history of The Ghost of St. Giles. The back story is fascinating. In the end, there was a good balance between the romance, mystery and the suspense. It all came together in a delightful story.
If you're not familiar with the series, I would highly recommend starting from the beginning. Hoyt does a wonderful job creating the world of St. Giles as well as the aristocratic society of 1740's London. Lucky for me, I don't have to wait for the next book in this captivating series.
Maiden Lane Series ~
Thief of Shadows
Lord of Darkness
Duke of Midnight
Letters to Nowhere Julie Cross Young Adult Letters/Book 1 Long Walk Press/ August 1, 2013
I've gotten used to the dead parents face. I've gotten used to living with my gymnastics coach. I've even adjusted to sharing a bathroom with his way-too-hot son. Dealing with boys is not something that's made it onto my list of experiences as of yet. But here I am, doing it. And something about Jordan - being around him, talking to him, thinking about him - makes me feel like I can finally breath again. That's something I haven't been able to do lately. He knows what it feels like to be me right now. He knows what it's like to wonder - what now? I think about it constantly. I need answers. I need to know how to get through this. In the gym, if you're struggling, you train harder, you do drills and conditioning. How do I work hard at moving on? At being on my own? And what happens if I might be . . , maybe. . . probably falling for Jordan? I mean we live together now. That can't happen, can it? But kissing him. . . well, let's just say it's not an easy activity to forget.
Big thanks to Li by way of Nath for this great recommendation! This is what I love about the blogging community - finding out about wonderful books I might not have heard of if not for other bloggers.
Letters to Nowhere was such a surprise in number of ways. First off, while I enjoyed watching gymnastics when I was a kid, I wouldn't call myself a big fan. So I was surprised at how much I enjoyed my venture into the world of competitive gymnastics. It's an intense look at the girls and how they their lives center around this highly competitive sport. Cross does a great job of setting the scene and giving enough information about the sport without overwhelming the reader.
Karen Campbell has been working hard for years to reach her ultimate dream of competing in the Olympics. That dream was shared by her parents but now they are gone, killed in a car accident, leaving Karen alone. Karen's grandmother is willing to take her in but it feels like it comes more from obligation than true desire. So Karen's gymnastic's coach steps in and agrees to have Karen live with him and he will act as her guardian. It's an interesting situation since Coach Bentley's home is occupied by himself and his teenage son.
Karen's world is gymnastics. She's had little of what is considered typical teenage experiences. So when she moves in with Jordan she's exposed to a teenage boy with teenage interests and teenage hormones. It's interesting to see Karen experience what life has to offer outside of gymnastics. She also gets to know her coach better and see him beyond his coaching and as someone who has experienced great loss and lived through it.
The development of the romance between Karen and Jordan is a realistic look at teenage romance even thought these teens have experienced very different childhoods from what would be considered typical. I liked how it wasn't this instant surge of hormones. Instead the author allowed Karen and Jordan to slowly get to know each other and become friends first.
The letters themselves are a fascinating look at what Karen wants to say but isn't ready or simply can't. The letters contains emotions and fears she's afraid to let go of as well as documenting her progress in grieving her parents deaths.
Even if you don't usually read the young adult genre, I would recommend giving Letters to Nowhere a try.
Letters to Nowhere Series ~
Letters to Nowhere
Return to Sender (November 15, 2013)*
*The author stated "the remaining books will be released in shorter more frequent installments, basically TV episode style."
Romani Armada Tracy Cooper-Posey Erotic/MMF/UF/Futuristic/TimeTravel Beloved Bloody Time/Book 3 Patchwork Press/September 6, 2013
Justin Edward Kelly, vampire and Chronologic Touring Agency member, hates time traveling and prefers to pretend he’s human. Deonne Rinaldi is human and arm-twisted the Agency into the deal of a life-time: They make her a vampire if she pulls off the PR campaign of her career and make humans like vampires. Everyone was stunned when the mismatched pair became lovers, including Deonne and Justin and neither of them will admit even to themselves how well the relationship works. While Deonne is tucked away in history to protect her from Gabriel’s psi-file army ravages, Justin gets a time-delayed letter from her telling him their affair is over. She is in love with Adán Xavier Santiago, a Romani vampire from ancient Spain who will turn her.
Despite the massive dangers screwing with time this way can cause, Justin travels back to China to confront Deonne, but when he arrives there is no Adán and Deonne knows nothing about the letter. Justin, not used to time traveling, figures he’s averted a personal disaster until Deonne meets a sexy Spaniard who introduces himself as Adán…. WARNING: This book contains two hot, sexy alpha heroes, frequent, explicit and frank sex scenes and sexual language. It includes heart-stopping sexual scenes between the aforementioned sexy heroes, menage scenes, and anal sex.
No vampires were harmed in the making of this novel.
Oh, my. Take the warning to head, this is a very sexy, hot romance. This is the third book in the series and I do wish I had read the first two. I think it would have help get into the story and characters had I read the previous books. But once I did feel like I was caught up, it was easy to become involved in the characters and their lives.
Time travel is now an option for some and vampires are the ones who make it possible. Imagine going back in time to watch a famous battle or visit a historical site. Now imagine taking that journey with a sexy vampire. The author has created a interesting world where humans and vampires coexist although not all humans are happy about sharing their world with vampires nor do they trust them. I really enjoyed the politics of the story and how they continued to develop throughout the storyline.
The romance is a mix of drama, tension and out-right sexiness. I liked the tension between Deonne and Justin. They fit well together making it easy to see them as a couple. When Adán joined in it wasn't as easy to shake off the vision of Deonne and Justine as a couple. Adán didn't feel as developed as a character as the other two. Maybe that's why it was more difficult to have him become part of the romance.
The strength of the story was the world building. It's a fully envisioned world of political strife, tension, courage and love with the added excitement of time travel. I look forward to reading more set in this unique world.
Beloved Bloody Time Series ~
The Arrangement Mary Balogh Historical Romance The Survivors' Club/Book 2 Dell/August 27, 2013
Desperate to escape his mother’s matchmaking, Vincent Hunt, Viscount Darleigh, flees to a remote country village. But even there, another marital trap is sprung. So when Miss Sophia Fry’s intervention on his behalf finds her unceremoniously booted from her guardian’s home, Vincent is compelled to act. He may have been blinded in battle, but he can see a solution to both their problems: marriage. At first, quiet, unassuming Sophia rejects Vincent’s proposal. But when such a gloriously handsome man persuades her that he needs a wife of his own choosing as much as she needs protection from destitution, she agrees. Her alternative is too dreadful to contemplate. But how can an all-consuming fire burn from such a cold arrangement? As friendship and camaraderie lead to sweet seduction and erotic pleasure, dare they believe a bargain born of desperation might lead them both to a love destined to be?
Mary Balogh is one of my favorite historical romance authors. She always brings something a little different, a little out of the ordinary. Which is why I appreciate Ms. Balogh's writing so very much.
With the second book in the survivor's Club series, Balogh lets us into the life of Vincent Hunt. He is young, at twenty-three years of age, and has already had a life changing event. Vincent is blind and has been blind for six years. He left for war when he was seventeen and was injured, blinded in his first battle. I loved Vincent's determination and his patience with his helpful but overbearing female relations. He knows they mean well but he doesn't want to be treated like an invalid. He's become quit capable in dealing with his blindness. Balogh could have made Vincent a drunken, depressed loner who hates the world. Instead she made him a man who will not let his handicap define him but rather chooses to overcome it.
Sophia Fry finds herself lost in a world she has very little experience with. When she has nowhere to go Vincent gives her a place and a purpose. It's not pure altruism on his part, he wants something in return. It's a lovely blend of give and take with neither Sophia or Vincent knowing where it will lead. Their romance is sweet but sometimes it felt lacking in conflict. They are both so very nice which shouldn't be a bad thing and it isn't but it can also be a bit dull.
While the romance came off as being a little too tepid, Vincent's character was a enjoyable change from the dark, brooding rakes we find so often populating historical romances. I'm not sure what is next for the Survivors' Club but I'm curious to see how they all find their happily ever afters.
The Hero Robyn Carr Contemporary Romance Thunder Point/Book 3 Harlequin/ August 27, 2013
In a moment of desperation, Devon McAllister takes her daughter and flees a place where they should have been safe and secure. She has no idea what is around the next bend, but she is pretty certain it can't be worse than what they've left behind. Her plan is to escape to somewhere she can be invisible. Instead, an unexpected offer of assistance leads her to Thunder Point, a tiny Oregon town with a willingness to help someone in need. As the widowed father of a vulnerable young boy, Spencer Lawson knows something about needing friendship. But he's not looking for anything else. Instead, he's thrown his energy into his new role as Thunder Point's high school football coach. Tough and demanding to his team, off the field he's gentle and kind...just the kind of man who could heal Devon's wounded heart. Devon thought she wanted to hide from the world. But in Thunder Point, you find bravery where you least expect it...and sometimes, you find a hero.
In the third book of the series, we see how Spencer Lawson is settling into Thunder Point. He's worked things out with his son's biological father, Hank Cooper, and both Spencer and his son are thriving in their new home. Spencer is still grieving for his deceased wife but because of her prolonged illness, you could say he started his grieving before her death.
When Devon McAllister shows up in Thunder Point, she is in a desperate situation. She lucks out when she meets Rawley, a scruffy old guy with a heart of gold. Rawley is proof that there are good people out there who simply want to help - no strings attached. One of my favorite parts of the book was seeing the relationships develop between Devon, Rawley and Devon's daughter.
The romance between Spencer and Devon start out as a hesitant friendship, with Devon not wanting anything looking like romance. But Spencer is persistent and the friendship moves along into romance territory. While I liked both Devon and Spencer, I had a hard time picturing them together. Whether it was the age difference or the life experience difference, I'm not sure. There was just something missing.
The Thunder Point series isn't what I would call a typical romance where the majority of the focus would be on the hero and heroine but is rather a collective romance, spreading the focus on a few different couples. This sometimes works but in the case of The Hero, it hurt the development of the romance between Spencer and Devon.
The overall series is solid with Carr's writing bringing forth that sense of family and community she's known for. There are some wonderful scenes in The Hero, but the romance felt weak.
Break the Night Anne Stuart Romantic Suspense Silhouette/May 1, 1993
A silent scream, a bloodstained knife...
A century past, the faceless killer had strolled out of the London fog and into history, the most infamous murderer who ever lived. And only reporter J. R. Damien knew he had never died, could never die. It was impossible, and yet it was true--Saucy Jack was back, plying his trade in the back alleys of Venice, California... And Saucy Jack takes another life... Lizzie Stride refused to accept the ravings of this man who swore she was fated to die, again and again, at the hands of a long-dead madman. But J. R. Damien's haunted eyes told her she must follow in a century-old dance of death and desire--with a man who feared he was the reincarnation of Jack the Ripper...
Finally made it! Every month this year I had every intention of joining the challenge. I've enjoyed participating in past years and have been disappointed in myself for not doing it this year. But now, I finally got one off the TBR pile!
While I've certainly heard of Anne Stuart and have a few more of her books, this is the first one of hers I've read. It proved to be an interesting read; past lives, psychic abilities and one creep villain combined for something different. There wasn't a whole heck of a lot of romance, what with the Venice Ripper on the loose and the heroine and hero having an eerie connection to him. But that was okay since it didn't have a romantic feel to it.
Lizzy Stride is pulled into the grisly murders and becomes more terrified as each prostitute is killed. She is also pulled into reporter J. R. Damien's world since he is devoting his life to finding the Venice Ripper. Damien will do anything to catch the killer, even using Lizzy to lure him out. Lizzy doesn't want anything to do with Damien but is giving little choice when her life is in danger and the police can't be trusted to keep her safe. This is where Damien started getting on my nerves.
First he insisted he would protect Lizzy, since in his opinion, the police were worthless. Then he would change his mind and tell Lizzy she needed to get out of town and as far away from him as possible. Then, he decides he can't live without her and he'll protect her. Then, he changes his mind again saying, "you're not safe with me Lizzy". Those voices in Damien's were driving him nuts!
Lizzy, for her part, does a similar dance. First, she is angry at Damien and blames him for putting her in danger. Then she comes to care about this damaged man. Then she wants to get as far away from him as possible. Unfortunately, she wants this when he wants her close to him. While this is going on, Ripper is busy with his killing spree. He was one nasty bastard.
The past lives slant was interesting, but ultimately what kept me reading was not the relationship between the hero and heroine but the Ripper himself. I wanted to find out who or what he really was.