Friday, February 27, 2009

YotC Review: Raintree: Inferno

Title: Raintree: Inferno
Author: Linda Howard
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Series: Raintree Trilogy/Book 1
Published: June 2007
Silhouette Nocturne
Year of the Category Challenge

Cheating is a bad thing, we all know that. And if you're caught cheating in a casino it can get you killed. Watching Lorna Clay on his video monitors, Dante Raintree knows she's cheating, he just doesn't know how. But he's going to find out. When she steps into his office a fire ignites in him and in the room. Literally. Dante is no ordinary man, he contols fire but when he sees Lorna his reaction causes that control to slip. Lorna feels something too but she just thinks he's weird and incredibly good looking. Figures.

Linda Howard is one of my favorite contemporary authors. She seldom writes a book that I don't find at the very least good and quite often wonderful. This is not her usual format of her more recent books, they tend to be full length novels. So reading a shorter length book (266 pages) I wasn't quite sure what to expect. The story was a little slow going and it took me a while to warm up to the hero and heroine, not good when there's less than 300 pages. There were times when the story got to be a little far fetched but I kept reading. I should warn anyone who plans to read Inferno that it leads right into the next book and the true ending, IMO, doesn't happen until the last book of the trilogy.

This first book in the Raintree trilogy introduces the leader of the clan, Dante Raintree. He is the Dranir, or king, of the Raintree clan. They are group of people with magical powers related to nature. Dante can control fire, His brother Gideon can use the power of electricity and their sister Mercy is a powerful empath. Over 200 years ago the Raintree clan and their rivals the Ansara clan fought a deadly battle that almost annihilated the Ansara. Except for the random, lone Ansara, the Raintree clan members have had little contact with the Ansara. But now there's a chance the Ansara are back and they are trying to kill Dante. Since Lorna is with him she ends up in the line of fire.

Dante runs a casino in Reno and also handles the finances of the clan. I would call Dante a typical alpha male with all the protective, "I know what's best" attitude that alpha males exude. Add to that his ability to use mind compulsion on people to do what he wants and it makes for a man accustomed to getting what he wants. His ability works exceedingly well on Lorna and she doesn't like it one bit. He can basically tell her to "be quiet" or "stay here" and she has to do what he says. Yeah, that would piss me off too.

Lorna Clay knew she was different than most people. Her affinity for numbers has led her to the casinos and helped her make a decent living. She sees numbers in her head, dreams of them. Sometimes their meaning isn't always clear. She also has a very strong sixth sense that she listens to most of the time. When she first met Dante her sixth sense was telling her to run unfortunately her body had other ideas.

I liked Lorna more than Dante. He was just too... bossy. Lorna was a survivor and a loner. She was also funny in her frustration of having to do whatever Dante told her. She let him know exactly what she thought of him. Good for her! He did ease up on the orders and they did get to know each other enough to fall for each other. This took place over the course of about a week. With the page limitations it had to be quick. The love story was kind of meh for me. It just didn't seem like there was much more than sexual attraction between the two. It just happened too fast.

So my overall opinion on this one is that it's not Howard's best work, not even close. I did read the other two books in the trilogy and I would say Raintree: Haunted (book 2) by Linda Winstead Jones is by far the best. Book 3, Raintree: Sanctuary was okay. Didn't really care for the hero in that one. If you do plan to read any of these read them in order since they are really just one long story with three couples.

Rating: B-

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Cover Love ~ Bad to the Bone

Jeri Smith-Ready has posted her cover for Bad to the Bone, the sequel to Wicked Game.

Here's the back cover blurb:

Turn On. Tune In. Drop Dead.

If you’re just joining us, welcome to radio station WVMP, “The Lifeblood of Rock ’n’ Roll.” Con-artist-turned-station-owner Ciara Griffin manages an on-air staff of off-the-wall DJs—including her new boyfriend Shane McAllister—who really sink their teeth into the music of their ‘Life Time” (the era in which they became vampires). It’s Ciara’s job to keep the undead rocking, the ratings rolling, and the fan base alive—without missing a beat.

For Halloween, WVMP is throwing a bash sure to raise the dead. They’ve got cool tunes, hot costumes, killer cocktails—what could go wrong? Well, for starters, a religious firebrand ranting against the evils of the occult preempts the station’s midnight broadcast. Then, when Ciara tracks down the illegal transmission, the broadcast tower is guarded by what appears to be…a canine vampire? And behind it all is a group of self-righteous radicals who think vampires suck (and are willing to stake their lives on it).

Now Ciara must protect the station while struggling with her own murky relationship issues, her best friend’s unlikely romance with a fledgling vampire, and the nature of her mysterious anti-holy powers. To make it to New Year’s in one piece, she’ll need to learn a few new tricks…

A puppy vamp folks. How cool is that? I like the colors on the cover and the pup... well, he definitely looks like he could pull off some major vamp-a-tude. If that doesn't grab your interest Smith-Ready has posted the first chapter of Bad to the Bone on her site. Yep, I'll be reading this one. Love those vamp DJs! Release date of May 19.

And if you haven't read the first book, Wicked Game, you can read my review of it here. Smith-Ready is also the very talented author of the Aspects of Crow trilogy (which I still need to read) as well as the novel Requiem for the Devil which I haven't read either but has been on my Amazon wish list for some time.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Review: What I Did for Love

Title: What I Did for Love
Author: Susan Elizabeth Phillips
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Published: January 2009
Contemporary Romance Challenge

What happens in Vegas doesn't always stay in Vegas. Sometimes it follows you home, moves in with you and drives you crazy! At least that's what happens when you are two very public personalities like Georgie York and Bramwell Shepard. The former stars of the wildly successful Skip and Scooter sitcom are now grown up and going through some very difficult times. Waking up to find themselves married and not remembering the wedding night is the least of their problems. They must convince their friends, fans and the paparazzi that they are wallowing in wedded bliss. Pretty hard to do when you can't stand your spouse. But they are actors so they play their parts only to become the characters they merely thought they were playing.

I haven't read all of SEP's books but the ones I have read I thoroughly enjoyed. While What I Did for Love is not my favorite SEP novel it still provided a fun reading experience with the quick, witty dialogue that SEP is known for.

Georgie York is America's sweetheart but now her heart is broken and bleeding all over the tabloids. Her knight in shining armor has ridden off with another damsel who wants to save the world and look good doing it. And Georgie is left trying to sort out her life - both her personal and her career. She wants to get away from the mediocre roles she's been playing and take on more challenging roles. But convincing her manager, who happens to be her father, that she can do this isn't easy. Then there's the not so little complication of her new husband Bram Shepard. Her one time costar is now the bad boy of Hollywood. Georgie can't depend on his help because he only looks out for himself.

Georgie has a heck of a lot to over come. When Georgie was five her mother died so her father raised her, setting his acting career aside so he could focus solely on Georgie's career. So Georgie has learned from a very early age to depend on her father's judgment and leave the decisions up to him. She's now 31 and in desperate need to break out on her own but she doesn't know how. Oddly enough Bram is the one who helps her.

Bramwell Shepard is the type of bad boy women the world over love. He's got the looks, the charisma and the reputation that makes him so irresistible. But his career hasn't been going well. It's been eight years since Skip and Scooter went off the air. In those eight years he's managed to make a name for himself not by the roles he plays but by the trouble he causes. He's known as a playboy who drinks too much and parties the night away.

Bram was a real ass except when he was being nice, against his better judgment. At times it seemed almost painful for him to let Georgie think he was doing something nice for her. He wanted to continue to project that bad boy imagine. It got to the point where he had to convince himself that he needed to continue looking out for number one. It was the reason he went along with the fake marriage, because of what he could get out of it. But then this is a romance so Bram couldn't stay a total ass forever.

Bram and Georgie spend most of their time either hiding from the paparazzi, or the paps as they're referred to in the book, or using the paps to promote their "marriage". The fact that they had this history dating back to when they were teens only adds to the tension. The time they spent on their sitcom was not full of happy memories. So now that they are adults they not only have to pretend to be in love they have this history to get past. Seeing them interact and get to know each other as adults was believable because it happened in increments. And it wasn't always a positive step forward in their relationship. These two characters were very fragile in their ability to trust anyone.

The friends, family members and supporting staff of Bram and Georgie are well written characters with some additional secondary story lines. I especially liked Bram's Goth housekeeper Chaz. She's more than just a housekeeper, she's Bram's protector and champion. Her opinion of Georgie starts out very low but as these two women are forced to spend time together they get to know each other's strengths and weaknesses. I really enjoyed seeing their relationship become more than just adversaries.

While I was reading WIDfL I couldn't help noticing the similarities between Georgie, her ex-husband Lance and Jade Gentry, the woman Lance left Georgie for. Georgie=Jennifer Aniston, Lance = Brad Pitt and Jade = Angelina Jolie. Lance is portrayed as a real jerk and while Jade wants to help the starving children everywhere she treats the hired help like crap. Georgie on the other hand was very likable, funny and genuine a nice person. Coincidence?

So while I wasn't blown away by the story I'm still glad I read it. It does give a lot of insight into the workings of the movie industry. How you're only as popular as your last film and what it's like to be under that microscope day in and day out. If you like reading about Hollywood and the life of the famous What I Did for Love gives an in depth portrayal of how stressful and rewarding the life of an actor can be.

Susan Elizabeth Phillips website has information on all her novels as well as a page full of quotes from her various novels. You can find all that and more here.

Rating: B+

Saturday, February 21, 2009

To Tell or Not to Tell...

I've noticed when reading reviews on various blogs that sometimes the author will post a comment. It's usually thanking the reviewer for reading and reviewing the book. It got me to wondering if reviewers email/PM the author and let them know when they post reviews. Is this common practice? Is it considered a courtesy to notify the author when you write a review? Or maybe when you only write a positive review? This is all still fairly new to me and I'm not sure what the blogsphere etiquette is. Please educate me. :)

So, for example I just reviewed Desire Unchained. It's not an ARC review and I wasn't asked by the author to review it. Should I still email Larissa Ione and let her know that I reviewed Desire Unchained and how much I enjoyed it? I can't help but think that authors have so much going on ~ the blogs, chats, online interviews all on top of actually writing the books we love. Do they really want little ol' me emailing them about a review I wrote? I could see if I was one of the real popular sites like The Book Binge or Lurv A La Mode but it's just me. Any thoughts? Would love to hear them. I've put a poll on the sidebar so vote your opinion if you desire.

Friday, February 20, 2009

ANGELS' BLOOD Contest...

Nalini Singh, the amazing author of the Psy/Changeling Series, is having a contest to promote her new Guild Hunter series. For starters ANGEL'S PAWN, an electronic release, will be available on February 24. Then the first full length novel, ANGELS' BLOOD, releases March 3.

Head on over to Nalini's blog for your chance to enter daily contests for ARCs from various authors. And if you want a chance at $100 gift certificate to an online bookstore post about this contest. All the info and rules can be found at Nalini's blog.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Review: Desire Unchained

Title: Desire Unchained
Author: Larissa Ione
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Series: Demonica/Book 2
Published: February 2009

Runa Wagner's life hasn't been easy. Her childhood was not a walk in the park by any means and her bad luck has followed her into adulthood. She's had one bad thing after another happen to her. Then she meets him. He's hot, sexy and amazing in bed. Just what Runa needs to get her mind off her problems. He's also more than just a gorgeous guy on a Harley. Runa finds out the hard way that Shade is not looking for a long term relationship. After getting her heart broken she's thrown into another world she had no idea existed.

The second helping of Larissa Ione's Demonica series is even better than the first. Pleasure Unbound got the series off to a good, solid start but Desire Unchained cemented the demon world into one of substance and realism. Yes, this is paranormal and fantasy but the way Ione has created her world she's given it a strong flavor of realism. While most of the characters may be demons and mythical creatures they have such powerful presence and emotions you can't help but believe they just might be real. If Mulder read these books he'd probably say "See, told ya Scully."

The heroine in Desire Unchained is a woman just trying to live her life and pursue her dreams. She's someone many of us could relate to. Then her life takes a dramatic change and she's left trying to pick up the pieces. Runa is a wonderful heroine. She's smart, self sufficient with strong survival instincts. No TSTL heroine here. Which is a good thing considering the hell she's been through and still more on the way before she and Shade are safe. She doesn't spend much time complaining about her situation, except to Shade. She does seem to enjoy giving him a hard time. Otherwise she has taken her future in hand and done what she could to make her new reality the best it could possibly be. Runa is also not afraid to fight and prefers to stand at Shade's side in a fight. She's a really good match for Shade because she doesn't let him get away with crap. He tries to giving her the brush off when she's asks about Underworld General Hospital (UGH), his brothers and his curse. She keeps after him and wears him down. Not willing to simply take his lame excuses.

Shade makes no excuses or apologizes for who and what he is. I like that. He's a Seminus Demon. Driven to give females what they need when it comes to sex. It's simply a fact of his life and he deals with it. He may not like all the aspects of it but it's something he can't change so why fight it. His loyalty to his brothers, Eidolon and Wraith, is what gives him strength. His job as an EMT for UGH gives him a purpose in life. Like any EMT, be they human or demon the job gets to him at times. The senseless loss of life he sees. Another example of Ione giving these demons humanity. But don't make the mistake of thinking they are tame creatures. Shade's got his demon instincts in spades. Shade's an alpha male all the way and has a need to protect Runa. But he does come to realize that she is far stronger than he first believed. Not only physical strength but emotional and mental strength.

Shade and Runa have no choice but to work as a team after they are tricked into bonding. And while Runa still cares about Shade, he's determined to keep her at a distance. This proves very difficult because of his overwhelming desire for her. Shade and Runa get very physical and tend to wear each other out. So if you enjoy hot sex scenes Ione without a doubt delivers. Ultimately, Shade's curse lays heavy on his mind and he is left with a terrible decision to make.

There's also Shade's brothers, E and Wraith, who are heavily involved in the story line and yet don't overwhelm the pages. The book is definitely Shade and Runa's story. Ione is able to create a blend of the primary and secondary characters without leaving the reader feeling shortchanged on the HEA. That blend gives us plenty of the continuing world and character development while still maintaining focus on the hero and heroine. And we get to see more of Gem and Kynan from the first book. I'm really hoping they get their own book. There are also more new characters introduced in Desire Unchained which gives this reader hope for many more books in the series.

One thing I want to mention is that I have a pet peeve when it comes to antagonists. I can't stand it when the protagonists are so overwhelmingly stronger and better fighters than the primary antagonists. If you're going to have a big-bad, then have a BIG-BAD. Don't wimp out. With Ione I've got no worries on that score. The antagonists she writes are sick, evil bastards and not easily defeated. The good guys really do have to work at outsmarting and out fighting the bad guys. And things don't always go in favor of the good guys. Shit happens and it happens to them. But that's okay. It makes for much better story-telling. And in the end that's what it's all about.

So, the Demonica series, IMO, is a must read for any paranormal fan and for anyone who's looking for a good story. Another good thing about this series ~ the next book comes out next month! Passion Unleashed is the story of Shade's brother Wraith (yum!). It's release date is March 31. And per Ione's website there are at least two more books in the series with release dates sometime next year.

Rating: A

Monday, February 16, 2009

Review: Unraveled

Title: Unraveled
Author: C. J. Barry
Genre: Science Fiction Romance
Series: Unforgettable/Book 2
Published: October 2003

Tru Van Dye needed to prove herself, to make one of the most amazing finds in the galaxy. In order to do this she must leave the only home she's ever known. To leave the colony where the Majj scientist, like herself, live and work. Tru can't do it alone. She needs help in her quest to prove her theories and locate the find. She decides the help she needs will come from Rayce Coburne. A man whose former occupation was treasure acquisition but now has set his sights on building the most luxurious outpost in the galaxy. But building takes credits, something Rayce is in short supply of. That's Tru's leverage because she's got the funds Rayce needs to complete his dream.

The second book in Barry's sci-fi futuristic romance series gets off to a good start and keeps on going. The hero and heroine are a case of opposites attract. Tru is book smart with her knowledge of worlds and cultures gleaned from data rather than actual experience. Rayce has traveled all over the galaxies. Seeing and experiencing everything Tru has only read about. When these two come together it's like water and oil with a whole lot of physical attraction.

Our heroine, Tru Van Dye, has led a truly sheltered life. She has spent her life on Koameron, the planet where the Majj Institute is located. Raised by her father she was also his assistant in his various projects at the institute. She began at an early age, barely double digits and continued until his death. At that point she needed to prove her worth to the administrators in order to be granted her Charter. If she can not make a monumental discovery very soon she will have to leave and not be allowed to return. It's desperation that drives her to seek out Rayce Colburne.

Rayce has finally decided to give up his adventurous ways and settle down on the spaceport. His idea to open the most luxurious spaceport didn't come without a few setbacks, namely capital for the repairs and upgrades needed for the grand opening. He's done well for himself by earning a reputation as one of the best treasure hunters around but the time has come for this good looking male to give up his dangerous lifestyle. When Tru enters his life he has no desire to take her on as a client but with his finances strained and his investors breathing down his neck he's left with no choice. Then there's the other problem he has with Tru. He finds her extremely attractive. This conflicts with the fact that he hates all Majj and everything they stand for. Rayce has some very strong negative opinions of the Majj and he isn't subtle in his dealing with Tru. He lets her know that he doesn't like the Majj and the only reason he's taking her on as a client is because he needs the credits she can pay him.

Tru and Rayce are a very unique couple. She is sheltered and he is worldly (or would that be worlds-ly?). Tru adapts well to Rayce's world and all the new sights that she is confronted with. She has a wealth of data on the different places they travel to but can now experience all of it for herself. Tru's outlook on the quest is refreshing and her never give up attitude is what keeps the plot going. Rayce provides the sex appeal and the temptation for Tru that she tries hard to resist. Rayce is not adverse to using his looks to convince Tru to pass the long hours on board ship with him in his bunk. Tru, being raised in a very insular environment, has minimal sexual experience. Certainly nothing has prepared her for someone like Rayce.

The secondary characters are few but one in particular must be mentioned. Elvis. He is a lovable black lab that is still in the puppy stages. He was given to Rayce by Tess the heroine of the first book who is an Earthling. As far as I know Elvis is the one and only dog around. Tru and Elvis take to each other which is good since he tends to get on everyone else's nerves. No one is use to having a dog around but Elvis seems to sense that Tru could use a friend in this foreign environment.

The second book in the series for me was stronger and I found I liked the Rayce and Tru more than Tess and Cohl. They seemed to be more accessible and for me easier to get to know. I enjoyed reading about Tru and Rayce and their journeys to the unusual worlds. Watching them get to know each other with minimal interference from others was refreshing. They still had the preconceived ideas they had of each other to overcome but those slowly disappeared as they got to know each other.

Even though Unraveled is part of a series, IMO it can be read as a stand alone. The next book in the series, Unleashed, features an Earth heroine, Lacey Garret and a friend of Cohl and Rayce's and fellow treasure hunter Zain Masters. To find out more about Ms. Barry's books check out her website.

Rating: A-

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentines Day

                  Now go kiss someone!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Review: Just the Sexiest Man Alive

Title: Just the Sexiest Man Alive
Author: Julie James
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Published: October 2008

Taylor Donovan knows that being a lawyer takes a lot of hard work. She has put in long hours, taking work home, working weekends and having very little free time. All of this so that she can reach her goal of making partner. So when she's sent to her firms office in Los Angeles to work on an important case she stays true to form and gives it her all. That is until she's asked to help out one of the firms star clients. And they do mean star. Jason Andrews is an award winning, international movie star. He's also drop dead gorgeous and uses his looks and status to get what he wants. Taylor just wants him gone. But he's not going anywhere until he gets what he wants and what he wants is Taylor.

This is Julie James' first novel and if it's any indication of her talent I'll be keeping her on my list of authors to watch and read. Word in romance land is that the contemporary is a dying breed. Not true. Case in point is Just the Sexiest Man Alive. It's an engaging, quick read with nary a vampire, shape shifter or witch in sight.

Taylor is a born and raised Midwestern gal. The Hollywood lifestyle of the rich and famous is not at all what Taylor is use to. She works in her law firms Chicago office but temporarily moves to Los Angeles to work a case that she hopes will help her towards her goal of making partner. She has neither the time or patience to deal with an arrogant movie star who thinks Taylor should be at his beck and call.

Enter Jason Andrews. Tall, gorgeous, every woman's dream. Except for Taylor - he's her nightmare. Taylor is forced to change her schedule to suit Jason's which causes her extra work. She's tries to get rid of him but it's a no go. He only wants her. So she's stuck with him. As they work together, getting Jason an inside look at the workings of a courtroom, Taylor gets to know Jason better, sees his other, more personal side. She realizes he's not always the arrogant jerk she first thought he was.

Jason Andrews *sigh, scream, swoon*. The Sexiest Man Alive. And he knows it! He also takes his work very seriously. He may be beyond beautiful but he's also one hell of an actor. He likes getting into his roles, researching and figuring out what makes his character tick. So when he meets Taylor Donovan and sees her in action he knows she the one he wants to learn from. He refuses her continued tries at getting him to agree to having another lawyer work with him. He wants her to work and train him on all things about the law.

The book starts out a bit slow but once Jason and Taylor meet it picks up quickly. The dialogue between the two was the best part of the story. They're both quick witted and not afraid to say what's on their mind. There were times when they both act too childish and it did get to be irritating. That and the fawning and swooning of Taylor's friends when they meet Jason were cause for a few eye rolls.

Taylor and Jason make a good pair. The fact that Taylor doesn't treat Jason like the movie star he is but instead treats him like another guy, a guy who she finds extremely attractive, but still treats him like more than just a pretty face. Talk about a role reversal! And Jason at first finds the fact that Taylor doesn't bow down to him frustrating. Once he realizes that she takes him seriously and her interest goes beyond his face he finds he likes how she acts when she's with him. Jason isn't used to people wanting to stay out of the spotlight. Most people he meets want to share that spotlight with him. But not Taylor.

I found Just the Sexiest Man Alive an entertaining, quick read. Ms. James next book Practice Makes Perfect is due out March 3. More author and book info can be found on her website.

Rating: B+

Monday, February 9, 2009

Kill For Me Contest...

Casee, Holly and Rowena over at The Book Binge are holding a contest for the new Karen Rose book Kill For Me. So head on over there and read the rules and regs and sign up to win the new release of Kill For Me.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Review: Dark of Night

Title: Dark of Night
Author: Suzanne Brockmann
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Series: Troubleshooters/Book 14
Published: January 2009

Danger ~ Danger ~ Spoilers Ahead

What's a Troubleshooter to do when the bad guys come knocking and want you dead? You play dead. That's the plan for Jimmy "Diego" Nash when the so called Agency that he's still been doing black ops for wants him gone. But only Tess, Jules and Decker know the truth, that Jimmy is still alive. And they're working to find out just who's behind the attacks against Jimmy. Then the not so ditsy receptionist Tracy figures out the big secret so now she's one of the select few. Now it's a race against time to find out who the real bad guys are and stay alive long enough to bring them to justice or, just kill 'em.

Why do I keep reading this series? Sometimes I'm not sure why. The basic plots are more or less the same. Bad guys go after good guys (Troubleshooter, SEALs). Good guys have some shootouts with bad guys ~ bang, bang, "F***, I'm shot", bandaged wound(s) followed by hot monkey sex. Good guys figure out who the big bad really is and go after him. Oh, and there usually involves some type of rescue of one or more of the good guys. They really need to stop getting captured ~ training people, remember your training! And yet I still keep reading about Troubleshooters, Inc. It must be that in the cast of thousands there always seem to be one or two that capture my attention and I just have to know what is going to happen to them.

In Dark of Night there were four characters that I just had to know how their stories ended. Tess and Jimmy, who have always been my favorite couple. My other favs are Stan/Teri and Jones/Molly. Sorry folks but I never got that into Sam and Alyssa. I liked them but wasn't over the top crazy about them. And now I have a new favorite couple, Decker and Tracy. As far as Tess and Jimmy go I pretty much figured they would resolved their problems and get their final HEA so I just liked "visiting" with them again. But Decker and Tracy had my full attention. Tracy was a character that many readers just didn't like. She was perceived as being beautiful but a ditz. And yes, she did have her moments of ditziness but she was also very perceptive and intuitive when it came to people. Unfortunately, that usually didn't apply to the men she dated. And Deck was such an enigma. Always staying back in the shadows, never wanting to draw attention to himself. I so wanted to know his story, get to know the real man behind that mask.

So there are the two main couples in Dark of Night. Dave/Sophia and Decker/Tracy. Dave and Sophia are already a couple when the book starts, having gotten together at the end of the last book Into the Fire. Decker and Tracy are forced by circumstances to be together 24/7 because of the threat to Jimmy Nash and the fact that Tracy finds out that Jimmy is still alive. Decker can't trust that she won't inadvertently let the info slip. So he decides to stick to her like glue until he can get her to the safe house. So what happens on the way to the safe house? See the above second paragraph; the part with "bang, bang" and "hot monkey sex". Eventually a bunch of Troubleshooters and a few SEALs join together to go after the bad guys and rescue Dave.

Dave and Sophia = boring. I just could not get into them or their story line. Separately they're okay but together... the spark, attraction, love whatever you want to call it seemed forced. I will admit to not really being interested in them before. Sophia, I had indirect interest in when it was thought that she would end up with Decker, who I find fascinating. But pair her with Dave and the snooze factor appeared. And just when I thought Dave couldn't cry anymore, yep, here he goes again. Although to be fair Brockmann had all the guys crying in this one. Except for maybe Lopez but he might have cried when he got hurt and it just wasn't mentioned. And the way Dave said he'd listen to the music Sophia liked and read her favorite books just seemed a bit pathetic.

Decker and Tracy = funny dialogue, fast paced story line and great character development. Anyone that has been reading this series probably wouldn't have put Deck and Tracy together. Tracy is fun-loving, outgoing and talkative. Decker is quiet, reserved and... grim. They seem to be polar opposites and in many ways they are but they work. They fit together so well. The way Decker described what Tracy did for him is that she let him be him. He didn't need to repress his thoughts or feelings with her. And how he had always thought she was smart and didn't talk down to her like other men did showed how perceptive Deck was and that his feelings for her didn't just happen overnight.

I did have a few minor complaints. The fact that the Troubleshooters feel like they can call for SEAL backup whenever they need it. This is one of those times when I just need to suspend reality. It's just not realistic. The SEALs are pretty busy with their own very important jobs. The other thing was some of the slang. Most of the people that work for Troubleshooters are in the late twenties or older and some of the phrases used just came out sounding off. I swear if Decker had said "I'm outtie" the book would have hit the wall. Thankfully that lovely phrase never appeared.

This one was a bit hard to grade. I would have enjoyed it more if it had been more of Decker/Tracy and less Dave/Sophia. But I do need to also consider that I read this one in 48 hours, so bonus points for that. Dark of Night kept my attention and I just had to find out what was going to happen next. So I would definitely recommend it for fans of the series. Lists of both Brockmann's Troubleshooter series and Tall, Dark and Dangerous series can be found on her website.

Rating: A-

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Happy Anti-Valentines Day Contest...

The ladies over at Breezing Through are having a unique contest. It's an Anti-Valentines Day contest and the winner gets 3 books. Pop on over there and grab the cool graphic and read the rules. Then pick your books and remember to leave a comment there. Because any day is a good day for a romance novel.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Review: Unearthed

Title: Unearthed
Author: C. J. Barry
Genre: Science Fiction Romance
Series: Unforgettable/Book 1
Published: May 2003

Just when Tess MacKenzie is about to get her big singing break something out of this world happens to her. His name is Cohl Travers and he's Tess' kidnapper. But this isn't your ordinary kidnapping. Nothing Cohl does is ordinary. He's like Indiana Jones with a twist. The twist is that Cohl is from another galaxy. So just think of him as a inter-galactic Indy.

My first novel by C. J. Barry proved to be interesting. I wouldn't say I was crazy mad in love with the story but it held my attention and kept my interest that I'm reading the next book in the series. I took me a bit to get into the story and at times moved slower than I liked.

The story starts out on Earth where Tess is about to be mugged. She's rescued by a tall, gorgeous hunk of manliness. But her rescuer turns out to be her kidnapper. Cohl Travers is in dire need of a singer but not just any singer will do. He's searched the galaxies to find just the right voice for what he needs. Tess has that voice. So Cohl takes her back to his spaceship and explains to her why he needs her help, leaving out a few details. Tess has some moments of freaking out, which is to be expected but overall she handles the situation pretty well.

Tess was singer who had put her dreams on hold for years but that was about to change. She was about to get her chance at a recording contract. Then fate stepped in and she's now in another galaxy with a gorgeous alien who gets her hot and bothered. At first she wants to just get back to Earth and her life there. Then she gets to know not only Cohl but his planet and some of the people. Cohl's mother and Tess get along well and Tess begins to understand what's at stake. She decided to help Cohl and it turns out they make a good team.

Cohl was a guy who turned his back on the family business, so to speak. He took off to find adventure and profit by earning a reputation for locating rare and valuable treasure and artifacts. Now he needs Tess to help him locate an amulet and exchange it for his father who has been taken hostage by some real nasty aliens. Cohl is a born leader and it shows as he commands his ship. He also attempts to command Tess but that doesn't always work and she shows she can and does get the upper hand.

The tension between the two is well done but I did think they fell a little too quickly for each other. There were time constraints because Cohl only had a certain numbers of days to find the amulet and get it to the nasty aliens who were keeping his father. There was also Tess thinking she wanted to go back to Earth and Cohl thinking he had to send her back. So they thought they only had a set number of days and then they would never see each other again. When what they really wanted was to be together, they just didn't know how it could be done. Talk about long distance relationship!

Cohl also had an interesting relationship with Pitz. Pitz is Cohl's right hand, um man, sort of . Pitz is a robot with a computer for a brain who seems to have more information than Cohl usually wants. Their bond is intriguing because Cohl doesn't treat Pitz like an expendable piece of machinery. He treats him like another person which shows the depth of their relationship. Pitz thinks nothing of giving up his existence to save Cohl but it's something that Cohl wouldn't even consider.

Aside from the plot moving a bit slow in places the overall story was well written. Tess and Cohl worked well as a team and a couple. The sci-fi aspect was not too intense, no getting bogged down in technical jargon that took too much away from the romance. Just enough to let the reader know that this was a science fiction setting.

There are four books in this series with Ms. Barry publishing a new series about shapeshifters in 2010. She also writes romantic suspense under the name Samantha Graves. For more about both C. J. Barry visit her website here.

Rating: B+

Happy Tag...

humorous pictures

Dani from Confessions of a Romance Book Addict was a sweetheart and tagged me for this happy meme. So here's how to play.

The Rules ~
1. Link to the person who Tagged you.
2. List 6 things that make you happy.
3. Post the rules.
4. Tag 6 others and let them know you Tagged them.
5. Then tell the person who Tagged you that your entry is finished.

Six things that make me happy...

My kids ~ yes, they can be real PITAs sometimes but most of the time they make me very happy and so very thankful they're here.

Books ~ of course. Can't live without them. I don't understand people who don't like to read. It's like there from another world. They think I'm from another world because I have so many books ~ 1000+ and counting.

DH ~ I figured I should mention him. lol He supports my book addiction by not saying a word about how many books I have and that I keep getting more. He does give me the occasional "More books?" look but I can deal with that.

Chocolate ~ need I explain?

Music ~ I love music. Always have. I'll listen to almost any kind. It varies with my mood which is what is so great about it. The infinite possibilities there are.

Clouds ~ Seeing clouds in the sky makes me happy. It means there's a chance of rain and living in the desert, rain is always welcomed.

If you want to play along go right ahead.