Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Review: Beauty's Beasts

Beauty's Beasts
Teal Ceagh
Erotic Paranormal Romance (M/M/F)
Guardian Bonds/Book 2
Ellora's Cave/June 2010

Author Requested Review

From the author's website ~

Riley Carson Connors is yanked out of Pittsburgh and coaxed to New York by two tall, sexy strangers. Nicholas Sherwood and Damian are the only people in the world who know anything about her parents, and what they know is terrifying. She must face a powerful enemy who killed both her parents, who were the best at what they did.

But while the truth about Riley’s family history is a powerful magnet, Damian and Nicholas prove to be even more compelling. Former lovers and brought together only because they gave their word to her mother, the two powerful vampires play erotic mind games with Riley, each with a hidden sexual agenda that Riley can’t begin to guess, but seems to involve driving her out of her mind with the sort of pleasure only a centuries-old lover would know how to give.

When Teal Ceagh aka Tracy Cooper-Posey, asked me if I would be interested in reviewing her latest release, Beauty's Beasts, I wasn't sure, not having read anything by the author. Then I read the excerpt she sent and that's when I knew I had to read about Riley and her two vampires. I was intrigued by all three characters and although I've been a bit "off" vampires, I found myself wondering what their story was. What I found was a highly erotic, well written, unconventional love story.

Riley Carson Connors is unaware of her family background or her heritage. She grew up in the foster care system and has learned to rely on herself. When she is approached by two very sexy, very dangerous men she's not about to go with them. Until they tell her they knew her parents. It's the one thing she desperately wants to know. She agrees to go to New York City with them even while wondering what she's gotten herself into. Riley is a heroine that you can't help but feel compassion for. Growing up with no real family, Riley has been on her own for most of her life. She's very no-nonsense and tells you what she thinks even to a powerful vampire that could snap her neck in a heartbeat. I liked Riley for standing up for herself. She went through some life altering experiences but stayed true to her beliefs.

Damian and Nicholas Sherwood, while both distinct individuals, you really can't have one without the other. These two just fit together even if they didn't believe it anymore. They are centuries old vampires (read: stubborn) that have a promise to fulfill. Both are sexy and dangerous but in different ways. Damian is very smooth with a type of European flare and the more approachable of the the two. Nick is the dark and brooding type. He's got a chip on his shoulder and dares anyone to try and knock it off. Damian and Nick were lovers years ago and you can feel that sexual tension between the two. I found myself liking both men, Damian because he's so damn sexy and charismatic. Nick because his closed off, brusque manner made me want to know him better - want to know what the heck made this guy tick.

The men tell Riley that she must train before she can fight the gargoyle Lirgon. The gargoyle clan gave an intriguing slant to the plot. These gargoyles come to life at night, attacking people. It was creepy when Riley was viewing the gargoyles during the day, looking at them and knowing that at sundown they would come alive. Reminds me of a wax museum - I always thought the figures came to life at night.

The training session were intense, sweaty and hot - in a very good way. There was already sexual tension between the men, adding Riley just ramped it up. I loved how the three of them interacted. Damian befriending Riley and making her feel comfortable in the bizarre situation she's been thrown into. Nick on the other hand, tried to keep his distance and maintain a teacher/student relationship. Nick's sense of honor kept him from acting on his need and desire for Riley. Both men have goals in mind for Riley but they go about reaching them in different ways.

The book is fairly short, coming in at 163 pages. The pacing was quick and surprised me how much story the author was able to pack into that length. The love story of Riley, Damian and Nicholas took a different turn that what I had expected but I did like how it all played out. I would have liked more back story on Damian and Nicholas and their history together. Riley's parents story can be found in Book 1 of the series but you don't need to read it before reading Beauty's Beasts. There is a short scene at the end that left me wanting to know what happens with Riley best friend and roommate, Sabrina. That will have to wait until book 3, Sabrina's Clan comes out.

Rating: B+

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

My Quick Trip to Louisiana...

HBO was free this past weekend so I decided to give the very popular True Blood another try. I did see the very first episode but I wasn't impressed. Didn't care for any of the characters except maybe Sookie's boss at the restaurant. Sookie, I didn't care for. Her accent got on my nerves and listening to the voices in her head got irritating.

But I kept hearing about the show on blogs, twitter and of course the ads on TV. So I thought I'd give it another try cause I'm all about the free. :)

Free is not always good.

My first clue of how gross things could get started out with this sulky teenager watching TV with his dad. Sounds harmless enough right? The scary part is the dad is only wearing tighty-whities and those suckers were anything but white! And the camera stayed on the dad as he got up to holler for ma. My eyes, my eyes! But little did I know there was something even more disgusting in store.

I was expecting blood and guts because it's cable and I was fine to a point. That point being when Sookie's vampire boyfriend/fiance fucks another vampire and literally twists her head while doing it. Yes, her head twisted, her neck looking like Silly Putty, no quick snap, just twisting round until she was facing backwards. I found myself reaching out blindly for the remote while desperately trying to pull my eyes away from the screen. Bill, the vampire of the twisting head fetish, was mad as hell with Lorena, receiver of twisted head, but holy crap talk about over the top.

My conclusion - I'll read the books.

Thanks to twitter I did find a link for a recap of the episode which I enjoyed far more than the show.


Monday, June 28, 2010

I'm Not Here, I'm There...

Today is my first post at Access Romance's Readers Gab.

Come on over and talk about names in romance. Names you like, don't like. Gotta a character name you wish authors would use? Or maybe stop using? I'm talking about character names at Access Romance.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Review: Embrace the Night Eternal

Embrace the Night Eternal
Joss Ware
Futuristic Paranormal Romance

Envy Chronicles/Book 2

Avon/February 2010

Library book

*Some Spoilers for Book 1*

From the author's website ~

From the raging fires, five men emerge with extraordinary new powers. They must learn how to survive this dark, ravaged world ... but they cannot do it alone.

Simon Japp will never forget his violent past. But when civilization is all but destroyed, he sees his chance for redemption. Blessed with a strange "gift," he's determined to help the resistance against the Strangers, the mysterious force that stalks them at every turn. He can't afford to get distracted, even by the stunning, soft-spoken woman fighting by his side...

Sage Corrigan has learned to be careful where she places her trust. But she sees something good in Simon, even if he can't see it in himself. Posing as lovers to infiltrate a group key to their fight, they find that their staged affection soon develops into a desire that will leave them fighting for their lives in the night eternal...

Book two picks up where Beyond the Night (book 1) left off. The settlement of Envy (New Vegas or NV) is where Simon Japp and his four companions have taken up residency. The five men were kept in some type of stasis or coma in the caves of Sedona for the past 50 years. During that time things have changed dramatically and the world they knew is gone. Now the men are helping the residents fight the Strangers who are trying to enslave the remaining humans.

Simon Japp is a hero with a dark past. He's trying to get away from that past of lawlessness and start fresh. The chance to redeem himself happens when he meets up with a group of people that are trying to form a rebellion against the Strangers. Simon is willing to use his special ability to help with setting up a computer network and searching for Remington Truth, the man who might have the answers about what happened 50 years ago. Simon also finds himself attracted to Sage Corrigan, computer wiz and resident of Envy. Sage works with Theo and Lou Waxnicki, twin brothers who were alive when the Change happened. They're computer geniuses and are working on setting up a new Internet for this new world.

Sage Corrigan came to Envy from the settlement of Falling Creek. What we find out about Falling Creek isn't good. It's basically a polygamist settlement with men having multiple wives and the main focus for women is procreation. It really gave me an icky feeling when Sage tells of her numerous siblings and the plans that the council elders had very Sage before she got out. Sage is now twenty-eight and has established herself in Envy, developing strong friendships with Jade (heroine of book 1) Theo and Lou. Sage was certainly likable and definitely a survivor.

The search for Remington Truth sends Simon and Sage to Falling Creek. There they learn more about each other while Simon's trying to curb his growing attraction to Sage. I did like the developing relationship between these two I just wish Simon had stopped with his "I'm not good enough for you" mantra. He really needed to just get past his, well past, and realize that the times have changed and this is his chance to make a profound change in his life. Sage was intrigued by her attraction to Simon but also torn because there was someone else that she knew had strong feelings for her.

Once again I found myself fascinated by the post-apocalyptic world Ware has created. It's weird reading about a place I've been to many times (Vegas), and having it described in such different terms. No bright lights or the sound of slot machines filling the air. Instead there is a community of people who live, work and relax all within the secured city of Envy. Most of them live in what's left of the hotel, New York, New York and they all work together to keep the city running with everyone helping out in whatever capacity they can. I liked reading about the workings and politics of the city. How things have evolved from the disasters of 50 years ago when people were in shock and just trying to survive to having working, self-sustaining communities.

I did like book 2 a bit more than the first book. With both, my interest was still more focused on the world and the rebellion than the romance. There are still a number of characters I want to read about, one is a bad guy who is possibility reformed but then maybe not. I don't know but after reading Embrace the Night Eternal I know I'll be reading his book, if he gets one. So, still interested in this series but I don't think the romance is the strongest part of the book. It's more the world building and the cast of characters that I enjoy reading about.

Rating: B

Beyond the Night (book 1)

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

ARC Review: The Making of a Duchess

The Making of a Duchess
Shanna Galen
Historical Romance (1801)

Sons of the Revolution/Book 1
Sourcebooks/June 2010

ARC from Publisher

From the publisher's website ~

A very dangerous attraction…

Julien Harcourt, duc de Valère, is more than willing to marry the lovely young lady his mother has chosen. Little does he know, she’s been sent to prove him a spy and a traitor…

And an even more dangerous secret…

Sarah Smith’s mission is to find out whether the Duc’s trips to the Continent are as innocent as he claims, but the way he looks at her is far from innocent…

Their risky game of cat and mouse propels them from the ballrooms of London to the prisons of Paris, and into a fragile love that may not survive their deceptions…

The story opens with a young boy running for his life and leaving nearly everything and everyone he loves behind. It's a brutal look at what happens when the mob mentality strikes and both the guilty and the innocent are caught up in the violence. I was quickly swept up in the story of what happened after that young boy becomes a man. What happens when the same young boy who ran for his life is now a wealthy and powerful man.

Julien Harcourt is a man with a life mission. He desperately wants to find his brothers. He has to believe that they are still alive and that he has not worked so hard in vain. He will do whatever it takes to find them even if that means placing his trust in a woman whose allegiance he finds questionable. He needs her help and he's willing to use her to get what he wants. I liked that Julien never gave up hope of finding his brothers alive. It's been years since he fled from the Revolution in France and now that he has established himself in England he hasn't forgotten his brothers. He uses his connections and wealth to continue looking for them and following any lead.

When Julien's mother tells him the daughter of an old family friend will be visiting he knows his mother hopes there will be a marriage between Julien and Serafina. Julien accepts the fact that it is time for him to start thinking of marriage and heirs. When he sees Serafina aka governess Sarah Smith, he is a bit surprised. She isn't at all what he was expecting. Their first meeting is certainly memorable with Sarah leaving a distinct impression on Julien. Sarah is a nervous wreck and totally unfit for her role as spy.

Governess Sarah Smith is in shock when told she must act as a French noblewoman to uncover a spy and traitor to the crown. She may speak French but she is far from nobility. She works for the nobility but acting the part puts her out of her element. This is where I had problems with the story. Sarah was so unbelievable in her role as Serafina Artois, noblewoman. She was young, (20ish) so she didn't even have any real maturity or much life experience to fall back on. The reader had to really stretch reality to believe that this young woman was able to continue in her deception of Julien. She kept making one bad decision after another. Her inexperience when dealing with stressful situations and drama was obvious. I think it would have worked better had she been a bit older and more assure of herself. It would have made her character more believable in her role as a would be spy and her deception of Julien.

Julien was a fascinating character whose past shaped him into the man he had become. He could be ruthless when it came to getting what he wanted but he still held enough compassion for those in desperate situations like Sarah was. I did like how Julien treated Sarah, trying to keep her safe while still searching for his brothers. He was terribly attracted to her but didn't completely trust her which made for some interesting sexual tension. And he found that he was not only attracted to her but he liked her. Which took him by surprise. Love when that happens. I enjoyed his honesty and his honor even when he had no reason to trust.

The plot of this French exile doing well in England while still maintaining ties to France was interesting. I liked the way the politics of the time period were woven into the story but didn't overwhelm the characters or the romance. The romance between these two seemingly opposites started out as a business transaction, much like many marriage proposals between aristocrats of that time. In the end they of course, fall madly in love and will do just about anything for each other.

Unfortunately, what started out well didn't hold together as well. It all kept coming back to the character of Sarah and the fact that she just didn't fit. I get that she wasn't suppose to fit the role of spy, since she didn't have any experience and only three days of training but it was more than that. It was the fact that she kept going with the role and began to believe in what she was doing, that she could play the spy when she kept screwing everything up. It was out of character for her and made that aspect of the plot unbelievable.

The next book in the series, The Making of a Gentleman, is due out in October. I will admit that I am curious about it and will probably read it due to who the hero is. As long as the heroine isn't another Sarah, I'm willing to give it a try.

Rating: B-

Monday, June 21, 2010

Review: Kiss Me If You Can

Kiss Me If You Can
Carly Phillips
Contemporary Romance
Most Eligible Bachelor/Book 1
Harlequin/July 2010

From the publisher's website ~

Sam Cooper ('Coop' ) has just become the most eligible bachelor in New York City. Now that he has foiled a jewelry-store robbery and has been rewarded with the ring of his choice, single women all over the city are fawning over the crime reporter. But Coop isn't interested in the admirers sending racy underwear his way. His attention is centered solely on Lexie Davis, the only woman in the city who claims not to be interested in his bachelor status.

Instead, free-spirited Lexie is interested in Coop's antique ring, and its - potentially scandalous - history in her family. But Coop is quickly becoming more than just her route to the ring. When his investigation starts to uncover the truth, will she trust her heart - and her family secrets - to this most eligible bachelor?

The first book in a new series about the sexy and handsome bachelors of New York City and the women they fall. After reading Kiss Me If You Can, I say bring on the Bachelors! Phillips is off to a good start with a heroine who loves to travel the world and a hero who turns out to be a real hero when he stops a robbery. Coop and Lexie were an odd couple with Coop looking for a long term relationship and Lexie only sticking around until the travel bug bit her again. They just go to prove that opposites attract.

It all starts with a ring. Sam Cooper aka Coop, is a writer who works the crime beat for the city's paper. He comes from a family of cops so crime is something he's familiar with. One day his life changed when he goes from crime reporter to superhero, stopping a robber with his quick thinking. Oh, I liked Coop a whole bunch. He's sweet, funny, smart, sexy and has this way of putting people at ease and making them open up to him. He comes from a family of cops but an injury kept him off the police force. So he covers the crime beat while writing novels in his spare time. He's published one novel but is having a hard time getting his butt in gear and getting that second novel written. The gaudy ring he is given in reward for stopping the jewelry store thief gets Coop's imagination rolling and a story starts to take shape.

Lexie Davis is a web designer. She has great vision and is quickly building a name for company. She also loves to travel which is why she lives with her grandmother when she's in the city. Lexie comes from a family of conservatives who hold more traditional jobs. They view her work and travels as eccentric and don't give her much encouragement so it's not surprising that she doesn't have a good, close relationship with her parents. Lexie does have a great relationship with her grandmother, Charlotte. Charlotte Davis is a feisty lady pushing 80 who has got the attitude of someone much younger. She's funny and goes after what she wants. After meeting Coop, Charlotte just knows he's the one for Lexie. Lexie definitely thinks Coop is hot and is wildly attracted to him but he wants a relationship and Lexie doesn't do long term. She lives in the here and now and needs to be on the move which is why she doesn't have her own place. She's a nomad while Coop is firmly entrenched with work, family and friends in New York City.

Coop and Lexie meet up at a dumpster. Not the best start to a romance but they get past the dumpster and Lexie and Coop soon find themselves working together researching the ring and its history. Lexie wants the ring for her grandmother but Coop isn't ready to give it up just yet. He's got this story he wants to write and he wants to keep Lexie around. I liked how Phillips had the hero as the "homebody" and the heroine as the world travel. A bit of a twist on the more traditional characterization. And the way Coop dealt with Lexie's mobile lifestyle was that he tried to be understanding but at the same time he's continuing to fall for her and he doesn't want to lose her. Lexie is stubborn and doesn't want to give up her nomadic lifestyle, especially for a man. She's been burned before and isn't going to let it happen again.

Lexie was a character that while I liked her, she held back. She kept herself at a distance from people. Her lifestyle doesn't permit long term relationships but Coop wants to change that. The byplay between Lexie and Coop is realistic without being overdone. They both have issues with where their relationship is going. Lexie sees it as having a great time until she leaves for wherever. Coop wants Lexie to stay in the city and build a life with him. Two opposites are going to have to make compromises. It's how they come to that compromise that made this such a sweet love story. I liked how neither character made a complete 180 but learned to bend because it felt right not because they felt forced to make changes.

The secondary story lines dealing with the Bachelor Blog and Lexie's grandmother's connection to Coop's ring added an air of mystery and comedy. I loved the way Charlotte and her best bud Sylvia worked behind the scenes to get Lexie and Coop together. Very much a Lucy and Ethel feel to them only far more competent. The Bachelor Blog made Coop even more popular with the public, the women in particular went crazy over him. But Coop only wants one woman.

Overall, a fun contemporary romance and a good start to a new series.

Rating: B+

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Review: Beyond the Night

Beyond the Night
Joss Ware
Futuristic Paranormal Romance
Envy Chronicles/Book 1
Avon/January 2010
Library e-book

From the author's website ~

A man with no future...

When Dr. Elliott Drake wakes from a mysterious fifty-year sleep, the world as he knew it is gone. Cities are now desolate, and civilization is controlled by deadly immortals. Stranger still is Elliott's extraordinary new "gift" – he has the power to heal, but it comes with fatal consequences.

A woman with a past...

Jade barely escaped the immortals and is now hell-bent on revenge. She trusts no one... until Elliott. His piercing gaze and tempting touch shatter her defenses, but the handsome doctor seems to have dangerous secrets of his own. Is it safe to trust him with her heart? If they are to survive in this dark new world, Jade and Elliott must work together to fight the forces that takes them beyond danger.

Beyond desire.
Beyond the night.

A new post-apocalyptic series by Joss Ware aka Colleen Gleason grabbed my interest when Kristie reviewed the three current releases (Books 1 & 2, Book 3). I loved the premise of these present day guys going into a cave in Sedona, Arizona no less (my neck of the woods) and waking up to find the world is vastly changed and fifty years have past. It made me think of the Planet of the Apes movie. (One of dh's favorites). The first one where Charlton Heston is an astronaut and crashes on what he thinks is this strange planet where apes rule. Only in Joss Ware's world it's the Strangers and their crazy humanoid, zombie like creatures, gangas, who terrorize the few humans that are struggling to survive.

Dr. Elliott Drake isn't in Kansas any more. Actually he's from Chicago but he's so far from the ER where he practiced medicine that it's crazy. He still treats the injured but now it's more on-the-go treatments with just the very basic supplies. It's only been six months since he and his friends woke up and the reality of the world he is now in is still sinking in. There's that little ray of hope that somehow, somewhere, the world isn't as totally fucked up as it is in Elliott's little slice of hell. I use the f-word because there was what at first seemed to be a lot of it. Elliott lets it fly quite frequently and I thought it was overused but then I got to thinking that the world he's now in is really fucked up and why shouldn't he use that word?

The story starts off with characters in peril. Right away the reader is thrown into this foreign yet familiar world. Some teens are about to walk into serious trouble and need their asses saved. Good thing the hero and heroine are there to save them. I loved that the women of this world are just as badass as the men. It makes sense that the women, at least some of them, have learned to take care of themselves to the extent that they can kick some major ass. Due to the decimation of the world population one of the more common views on women is that their main purpose should be to repopulate the world. Of course not everyone is fanatical about this but it does make sense. The world needs more people if they are to have any chance of not being killed off or enslaved by the Strangers and their gangas.

I want to mention the gangas. They are some nasty ass bastards that just gave me the creeps. And they say the same thing over and over as the drag/lurch towards their prey. They're slow and not very smart and only come out at night. So with a half-way decent weapon, you can kill them. The problem comes when there are a bunch of them and they basically overwhelm their prey and then tear and claw it apart. Very nasty with a high creep factor. Don't go out at night or the gangas will literally eat you alive!

The "town" of Envy is one of the larger settlements and that's where Jade lives. She and the other townsfolk... hehe, never thought I'd get to use that word in a PNR. For some reason I just love that word. So, the townsfolk have created this fortified oasis out in the middle of nowhere because basically everything is out in the middle of nowhere in this new world. Elliott and his friends go with Jade to Envy and here's where they, and us, get to find out more of what really happened 50 years ago. I liked the way it all came together with the supernatural aspects of the story along with the mythology thrown in. Everyone has their theories of what really happened to cause all the natural and possibly not so natural disasters.

The romance between Elliott and Jade didn't exactly draw me in. I was more interested in the survival/fighting for our lives/when is the real bad guy going to show up plot of the story. I did like both Elliott and Jade and they definitely had some sparks going but I found myself just as curious about some of the secondary characters and the obvious sequel bait. Some of the romance was a bit over the top with the likes of "Oh no, I'm going to die and I never got the chance to tell her/him that I love her/him" scenes. But I did think they made a good couple. Jade is emotionally and physically scared and Elliott is a healer. Jade grew up in this bizarre world and Elliott needs help understand how it all works.

That's not to say I didn't have a few other problems with this book. One thing that got on my nerves real quick was the mentioning of the 50 years that had pasted for the men. It was usually mentioned in regards to sex. Like they haven't had sex in 50 years which really wasn't true since they were in some sort of deep freeze so it's not like the possibility to have sex was there. But Elliott thinks about this a lot, mentions it often enough that I was just like, alright Elliott, we get it. You're really horny because you haven't gotten laid in 50 years. Now go after Jade already!

Speaking of Jade... if Jade thinks she might have a bounty hunter on her trail why would she be singing and putting herself out in the public like that? There are so few people and settlements left that you would think news of a good singer would travel fast. It seems like she would have tried to keep a lower profile than singing in a bar. That bugged me.

One other thing. Note to hero and heroine: Having sex in a room that has the smell of "blood and death lingering," because of the dead woman in the bathroom is not sexy. Please don't.

But even after those problems I was still completely caught up in this new world that Ware has created. The characters are well developed with enough other characters crying out for their stories to be told. There are a bunch of secondary characters that I want need to read their stories. A bunch. I can see this series continuing for some time. So far there are three books in print with a fourth due out next January. I know, unless the series takes a serious dive, I will continue to read the Envy Chronicles.

Rating: B

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Review: I'm Watching You

I'm Watching You
Karen Rose
Romantic Suspense
Warner Books/October 2004
Library book

From the back cover ~


Star prosecutor Kristen Mayhew has a dangerous secret admirer. He seems to know her every thought, her every move. He sends her letters. And he kills the criminals she herself is powerless to stop.


This avenger even knows Kristen's deepest secret - the one that has kept her from surrendering her heart to Abe Reagan, the police detective sworn to protect her. Like Kristen, Reagan is haunted by the loss of something precious that can never be regained. But in the shadow of a calculating serial killer, the two turn to each other and dare to rediscover passion... even as the messages and vicious murders continue. Even as the killer's thirst for retribution makes Kristen a target for murder.

Rose takes the reader back to Chicago where an Assistant States Attorney and a Chicago Police detective are about to find themselves in the middle of a series of vigilante killings. The suspense was kept high this time around with no one knowing who would be the next victim. There is a connection with all the victims, they all faced Kristen Mayhew in court. Other than that, it's random with only the killer knowing who his next target might be.

Abe Reagan has come out of hiding. He was working deep undercover in the narcotics department of the Chicago PD. He's recently switch to Homicide and his first case puts him in contact with Kristen Mayhew when she proves to be an important link to the murder. Abe was recently widowed but his situation is different from most since he was undercover for years. As he's coming out from undercover work and from mourning, he's beginning to think about women and relationships and can't help but notice Kristen. She's smart, kind and very attractive. She's also tenacious when it comes to the law and going after the criminals in court, something that Abe understands. Abe was easy to like. He's had some tough times in recent years and is finally ready to start the next phase of his life. It's pretty obvious that he's attracted to Kristen and would like things to go beyond a work relationship. I liked Abe for the fact that he was upfront with his feelings even when he was unsure of how to handle them. He's still working through some issues with his wife's death and they play a role in how he moves forward in his relationship with Kristen.

Kristen Mayhew is one heck of a prosecutor. She's got a great record for putting the criminals away. Even so, there are those that go free, or plea bargain and do very little, if any time. It's those that Kristen finds herself trying to protect. What a screwed up world she's in. She's also in fear for her own safety when it becomes known that the killer is very aware of Kristen and her personal life. Majorly high creep factor. Then there's the victims friends and associates. They're not crazy about Kristen and they are very dangerous. Kristen agrees to work with the police in trying to figure out who the next victim might be. This puts her and Abe together a lot. And then when Abe appoints himself her personal bodyguard they get even closer.

The way Rose portrayed the killer was that he sees the killings as doing something good for the community. He's getting rid of the scum that the system didn't. The rapist, murders and child abusers that got away with their crimes. Doesn't that make it kind of okay since he's not really killing innocent people? I liked the way it played out with the cops and everyone working the case questioning what this guy was really doing. They know it's wrong, that they can't simply let the vigilante continue murdering people but at the same time... these "victims" are the dregs of society, the criminals the cops want off the streets. So how do they justify stopping this guy from getting rid of the very criminals they go after? It was hard to feel sorry for the murder victims when you know the horrible things they did that brought them to the attention of the vigilante.

Abe and Kristen are kept very busy with both of them working long hours on the case. They have tons of paperwork to go through to find any link the victims may have. Add to that the threats Kristen receives and they are both under a lot of stress. So when to find time for the romance? Actually there isn't a lot of romance going on. Through much of the story it's a more subtle type of romance with a look here, a glance there. A touch here, a kiss there. They find themselves attracted to each other but they've got so very much going on that it's hard to take that attraction to the next level.

The romance does pick up toward the latter half of the book and that was okay with me. I really enjoyed seeing how Kristen got to know not only Abe but his team. They all had different views of Kristen and how much help she might be to their case. She surprised them with her efficiency and her hard work. You could see how the characters changed as they got to work together and get to know each other. They came to care about each other as colleagues and as friends. I thought Rose did a good job on showing the development of those work relationships and how some turned to friendships or had the potential for friendship. Abe and Kristen did get together and it made for some sweet, tender and very sexy love scenes. There just seemed to be less than what I usually expect from a romantic suspense.

The killer wasn't revealed until near the end but I had a pretty good idea who it was before the reveal. Even with knowing that, the suspense of how it would all play out kept me interested in the murder mystery. Rose does a good job keeping all the different storylines from unraveling and made everything come together in the end. Another very solid and satisfy read from Karen Rose.

Rating: B+

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Review: Mind Games

Mind Games
Carolyn Crane

Urban Fantasy
Disillusionist Trilogy/Book 1

Spectra/March 2010


From the back cover ~


Justine Jones has a secret. A hardcore hypochondriac, she's convinced a blood vessel is about to burst in her brain. Then, out of the blue, a startlingly handsome man named Packard peers into Justine's soul and invites her to join his private crime-fighting team. It's a once-in-a-lifetime deal. With a little of Packard's hands-on training, Justine can weaponize her neurosis, turning it outward on Midcity's worst criminals, and finally get the freedom from fear she's always craved. End of problem.

Or is it? In Midcity, a dashing police chief is fighting a unique breed of outlaw with more than human powers. And while Justine's first missions, including one against a nymphomaniac husband-killer, are thrilling successes, there is more to Packard than meets the eye. Soon, while battling her attraction to two very different men, Justine is plunging deeper into a world of wizardry, eroticism, and cosmic secrets. With Packard's help, Justine has freed herself from her madness - only to discover a reality more frightening than anyone's worst fears.

Unique. That's the first word that comes to mind when I think of the world of Justine Jones. As a heroine in a fight, she wouldn't be my first choice. Nor my second. Odd is another word that comes to mind. She's such an odd choice for a UF heroine. She's not savvy in martial arts. Or weapons, even though she's carrying a wicked blade on the cover. Justine is more of a covert heroine. The bad guys don't even know she's the enemy, that she there to take them down. Instead, they welcome her into their homes, into their lives without realizing how dangerous she really is. That's the beauty of Justine Jones.

So how does the average woman become an instrument for justice? I have no idea and neither does Justine because she's so not average. Her hypochondriac existence has taken over her life until she is just one brick(ha ha) shy of losing it completely. Justine has an overwhelming fear of head injuries, specifically anything that might cause an aneurysm and bring on the dreaded "Vein Star Syndrome". The arrival of the deadly Brick Slinger only heights Justine's fears.

Justine is given the opportunity to use her phobia in a positive way. To have that phobia losen it's hold on her is an opportunity she takes, thinking she can always change her mind. After experiencing the powerful high that comes after a "zing" it's nearly impossible for Justine to go back to her old life. This is the brutal truth that junkies discover and in a way, Justine becomes a sort of junkie for the freedom the zing offers. She's free of her phobia, free to pretend to be normal. But it's all just an illusion. Justine can't go back to her old life. She's smart enough to realize it and instead decides to learn everything she can about being a disillusionist and about her boss, Packard.

Packard is the catalyst and he recruits what I began thinking of as the "phobic fighting league". He brings them into his world of delivering justice. He is a mystery to Justine and to the reader. Is he really a good guy or does he have a secret agenda? Or both? I knew Packard was up to something from the start. He's full of secrets and half truths. What I wasn't sure about were his motives. If they were totally selfish or if he really did care about his employees and clients. Was he solely in it for the money or for his unique type of justice. I liked the way we got to see the sides of Packard from the people who knew him or at least thought they knew him. Justine also spends a considerable amount of time with him but is still left with many questions about who he really is. Packard's motives remained in question throughout the book. He's smart and powerful but still seriously flawed.

The story revolves around the group of disillusionists employed by Packard. They are a eclectic group of people with a variety of abilities. Most are very loyal to Packard. He saved them and gave them a purpose. A few are there strictly for the job and the high they get when giving that "zing". The zing is the euphoria that comes after the release of their phobia on the target. It's a physical as well as a mental high that the disillusionist feels. For a time they are free from their phobia, freed from the thing that plagues them. The high eventually wears off and the need to "zing" hits. I liked the whole premise of using the mind or minds in this case, as weapons. Sure, most UF protags are smart but they use guns, blades or magic when fighting. Justine and the gang use their phobias, projecting them onto the targets until the targets believe they are truly inflicted with the disease, the bad habit etc. The disillusionists work this intricate con to get close to the target. It's a very different method of attack. What I wasn't crazy about was Packard and having this one man deciding who the acceptable targets are. He has set himself up with absolute power with no one seemingly strong enough to question him. That's scary and Justine knows it. It's why she continues to question him and his motives. I liked her for that. No blindly following the master here.

There is another power in the mix. The police chief of Midcity is out to clean up the crime element. He's determined to bring down the Brick Slinger and make the city safe again. I got such a kick out of Justine's hero worship of the police chief. She was like a teenager going ga-ga over a pop star. If anyone dared to question the chief's abilities, Justine was there to set them straight. This fixation she had with the police chief gave Justine an element of normalcy. She's so out there with her hypochondria that a crush on the handsome police chief made her seem more relatable. Which helped because Justin isn't easy to relate to. The story is told from her POV, in present tense. Some readers may not be crazy about that but it wasn't any problem for me. There's still more layers to explore and more growing for her to do.

There are a number of things going on under the surface of Midcity, not everyone or everything is what it seems. The mystery surround Packard and his past. The oddities of the restaurant, Mongolian Delites, where Packard holds court. The Brick Slinger. Who the hell throws bricks as a method of killing? The high-caps, with their scary and powerful mental abilities. Add in Justine's crazy-ass, silver wearing, sex starved target and you have both a fascinating and bizarre world that Crane has created.

This is the first book in a trilogy so not all questions are answered and the story of Justine, Packard and crew is far from over. There is also, for me, the question of a hero and if there even is one in Mind Games. I think I've gotten so used to there being a hero or at the least the form of "designated hero" that the fact there really wasn't one in Mind Games threw me a bit. We have Justine as the somewhat reluctant heroine but Packard as the hero just doesn't work for me. I found him interesting but didn't really like him, mainly because I didn't trust him. So I am curious to see where he goes from here and if I will like him in the next book. I really felt like we only touched the surface and there is much more coming our way in the next two installments.

Rating: B+/A- (for overall story/for unique premise)

*Disclosure* I do want to mention that many of you know author Carolyn Crane as Carolyn Jean aka CJ from the blog The Thrillionth Page. I've been visiting CJ's blog for a while now and have enjoyed her posts and getting to know her online. I say this because it was a bit odd (there's that word again) to read a book written by someone I "know" from the web. I read Mind Games a while ago but have had a bit of a difficult time writing the review. I kept going back and editing, trying to make sure I got it right. Nervous. :)

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Review: Countdown

Michelle Maddox
Action Romance (on the spine)
Dorchester/August 2008

From the back cover ~

Kira Jordan wakes up in a pitch-black room handcuffed to a metal wall. She has 60 seconds to escape. Thus begins a vicious game where to lose is to die.


The man she's been partnered with--her only ally in this nightmare--is a convicted mass murderer. But if he's so violent, why does he protect her? And stranger still, what is it behind those haunted sea-green eyes that makes her want to protect him?


No one to trust. Nowhere to run. And the only hope of survival is working together to beat the


Jill at Romance Rookie reviewed this not too long ago and really enjoyed it. It just so happened that on my next trip to the UBS they had it so I picked it up and took it with to Disneyland. I started reading it in the car and didn't want to stop. It's a very quick read with lots of action and suspense. Even during the slow parts there is that element of the unknown.

The story starts out with Kira literally in the dark, a place she really hates being. She's had some tough times in her 22 years. Her parents and sister were killed when she was a teen and she's been living on her own ever since. Her world shares a few similarities to ours but is far more bleak and unfriendly than the Earth we're familiar with. It's a good thing Kira is a survivor because she find herself in a game that losing equals death. Kira's self-preservation is in high gear and her past experiences help her but she does make a few stupid mistakes that had me shaking my head.

Rogan is the hero but he's also a convicted mass murderer. Wow. How to get past that? Not easy and he isn't exactly forthcoming about his past. He says he didn't commit the crimes he's been convicted of but isn't that what all criminals say? He wasn't easy to get to know for Kira or the reader. You know he's hiding a whole bunch of stuff and it does slowly come to light but there is that element of uncertainty when it comes to his motives. I never thought he would kill Kira to win but I didn't think he would play fair either. I wouldn't say I liked him since I didn't find his past very appealing but he did keep things interesting.

Countdown is a game consisting of six progressively difficult levels. At each level there is the potential for death. We get to experience the game from Kira's POV, which worked most of the time. There were times when I would have liked to explore Rogan's POV but that would have changed the tone of the story so I do understand why Maddox chose to keep it to just Kira's POV. While I found Kira and Rogan interesting, in the end, it was the game itself that I enjoyed the most. I kept wondering what would happen next and what new secret would be revealed. I liked the twists that the plot and characters take to get to the end of the game.

If you're looking for something a bit different with a ton of action and romance on the run, then I would give Countdown a try.

Rating: B+

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Review: One for the Team

One for the Team
Jet Mykles
Contemporary Erotic Romance
Loose Id/July 2008

From the author's website ~

Alex dumped her and Jen's not sure why. Okay, he'd been her first, but she thought she'd done rather well, sexually speaking. Why did he all of a sudden tell her that it wasn't working out? What was wrong with her?

Ken, Bart, Davey and Jason--her best friends--all try to convince her there's nothing wrong with her. In fact they seek to prove it to her... by first-hand example. That's all well and good until Jen starts freaking out. She's sleeping with her best friends. All of them. What's up with that?

[Publisher's Note: This book contains explicit sexual content, graphic language, and situations that some readers may find objectionable: Sex with multiple partners.]

Well, I kinda of knew that if I ever got an e-reader I would be downloading some erotica that is either only in e-book format or that I don't feel comfortable having in hard copy. Little eyes might get awfully big if they saw some of those covers or read some of the titles. So off I went, checking my wish lists on Loose Id and Samhain's websites. One for the Team was on my Loose Id wish list and at Barnes and Noble as an e-book - perfect!

Jen is the ideal female friend for a guy or guys in this case. She's a tomboy that loves playing with the boys. She's also suffering from a serious case of questioning her sex appeal when her boyfriend breaks up with her. Her four closest friends happen to be guys. They come up with the plan to show her how much she is wanted. In a way, you could say they court her, quickly but they don't just show up at her home and say "hey, let have sex so I can show you that you're hot". They each use their own approach at letting Jen know they find her very attractive. Isn't that what friends are for?

After Jen sleeps with her friend Bart she gets nervous about the other guys finding out. Bart's the first of the four to make his move and Jen is determined it's a one time thing and that the other friends will not find out. Bart spends the day with Jen shopping. He's what you could call the gentle giant of the group. It's obvious he finds Jen attractive and by the end of the night she's aware of it too.

As the remaining friends spend one on one time with Jen and prove to her that she's sexy and attractive Jen continues to feel guilt for sleeping with each of her best friends and keeping it a secret from the other guys. She also realizes that she's having a heck of a good time! What a great group of friends she has! ;)

The thing about Jen is that she never saw her guy friends as hot, sexy guys. She saw them as her best friends, not as potential lovers. The experiences she had with her male friends are refreshing in that Jen's seeing these guys in a whole new light. I liked the way the relationships were portrayed with each of them evolving from friends to lovers if only for one night. They always maintain the friendship, that never goes away. All five of the characters came across as real and genuine with their own feelings and ideas.

The ending was very hot indeed. Please head the warning above if you only like one on one action. I thought Mykles did a good job making each character unique and the premise while also a stretch of reality was made believable because of the writing. One for the Team was a surprisingly quick read but a full, well written story.

Rating: A-

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

ARC Review: The Wolf Next Door

The Wolf Next Door
Lydia Dare
Historical Paranormal Romance/1816

Werewolf series/Book 3
Sourcebooks/June 2010
ARC from publisher

From the author's website ~

They can't even be in the same room together...

Ever since a disastrous encounter on a full moon years ago, Prisca Hawthorne has taunted, insulted, and in every way tried to push him away. If only her heart didn't break every time Lord William Westfield left her...

But staying apart is even worse...

Lord William throws himself into drinking, gambling, and debauchery and pretends not to care about Prisca at all. But when he returns to find a rival werewolf threatening her, he just about goes berserk...

Can Prisca forgive the unforgivable, or are the mooncrossed lovers going to be forced into a battle of wills that could be fatal...?

Ah, William's book. I've been interested in William since he first showed up in A Certain Wolfish Charm (book 1). He's the rake of the family with a wicked, humorous side that I found so very appealing. He's also crazy in love with his next door neighbor. They have a rocky history full of immaturity and misunderstandings that has played a role in keeping them apart. With William trying to keep his distance and Prisca baiting him at every turn, you wouldn't think they would get a second chance at love.

But there's nothing like a rival to make a man sit up and take notice. That's what happens to Will when he finds another man sniffing around Prisca. He gets all alpha over the new guy on the block and lets it be known that if anyone is going to marry Prisca, it will be him. Unfortunately for William, the new guy doesn't back down which makes for lots of tension. Prisca's brothers also get involved since they have decided she needs to marry. They start scheming towards that end. Prisca decides to use all of this new attention to her advantage by, yep, making Will jealous.

Prisca might be considered spoiled by some readers and I can understand that perception. She's the youngest and only female in a family of men who are not always sure how to deal with Prisca and her antics. But they love her dearly and try to make her happy. She's not at all quiet or demure, but rather outspoken for a woman of her time. Her brothers are such a diverse group of men that I can certainly see some spin-off books down the road. I liked how they had similar viewpoints of their sister but different ideas of how to get Prisca to the alter.

There is also Will's family and they have their own ideas about Will and Prisca. Will's mother, who is ill, adores Prisca and treats her as the daughter she never had. Prisca gets along well with Ben, Will's youngest brother, but the duke is another story. Prisca enjoys irritating Simon, Will's eldest brother and Duke of Blackmoor, who is the pack alpha. We get to see Simon and Lily and Ben and Elspeth, the heroes and heroines from the first two books. I liked catching up with them and seeing how their relationships are progressing. They are skeptical when it come to Prisca but keep an open mind about her and Will, except for Simon. He doesn't like her.

The banter between Will and Prisca was wonderful. You could tell it had become a time honored tradition for them to dispense with politeness and get down to teasing and sometimes sharp remarks. Sometimes they said things that were hurtful towards the other which only showed the pain each of them felt because of their past history. I liked the way they had to work towards looking beyond their past and start to trust the each other with their secret desires and needs.

Once again, the writing team of Lydia Dare (Tammy Falkner and Jodie Pearson) have written a unique paranormal historical romance that left me wanting more. Luckily, they have another book coming out this fall. The Taming of the Wolf is the four book in the series and scheduled for release this November.

Rating: B+

Reviews for first two books ~

A Certain Wolfish Charm
Tall, Dark and Wolfish

Monday, June 7, 2010

Review: Cowgirl Up and Ride

Cowgirl Up and Ride
Lorelei James
Contemporary Erotic Romance
Rough Riders/Book 3

From the author's website ~

Goody-two boots AJ Foster has waited her entire life for her dream cowboy Cord McKay to see her as more than the neighbor girl in pigtails. Now that she’s old enough to stake her claim on him, she’s pulling out all the sexual stops and riding hell-bent for leather—straight for his libido.

Divorced rancher Cord has sworn off all women…until innocent AJ suggests he teach her how to ride bareback—and he realizes she doesn’t mean horses or bulls. Between his responsibilities running his massive ranch, missing his young son and dealing with the sexual shenanigans of his brother and cousins, Cord is more than willing to take AJ up on her offer. On a trial basis.

The fun and games tie them both up in knots. AJ isn’t willing to settle for less than the whole shootin’ match with her western knight. But for Cord, even though the sexy cowgirl sets his blood ablaze, he’s determined to resist her efforts to lasso his battered heart.

Sweet, determined AJ has the power to heal—or heel—the gruff cowboy…unless Cord’s pride keeps him from admitting their relationship is more than a simple roll in the hay.

Warning: This book contains: raunchy sex scenes that'll work you into a lather faster than a winded horse, graphic language, resourceful use of baling twine, ménage à quatage, and yippee! hot nekkid lovin'.

This book had me laughing so much. AJ has a dry, wicked sense of humor. She uses it sparingly, striking when least expected for more impact. God, she was funny! And sad too. My heart broke for her. She loved Cord so much! From the age of five when he "rescued" her, he was AJ's knight in shining armor. Then when she got close to him and got to know him, not just sexually but simply hanging out, that's when she fell in love with the man, not the hero of her memory. This was truly a beautiful love story.

The glimpse of AJ, aka Amy Jo, that we got in Long Hard Ride (book 1) was of a shy, young woman still in her teens with a goody-goody reputation. The AJ we meet now has grown up and is more sure of herself and the new direction her life is taking. She is ready to go for what she wants and what she wants is Cord McKay. She's loved him for years but he's only seen her as a little girl or his younger sister's best friend. Or more recently, his babysitter for his young son. He's never seen her through the eyes of a man looking at an attractive woman. AJ plans to change that and make Cord see the woman she has become. AJ still had this vulnerable side, complete with insecurities, but she went for it even though she was afraid of being hurt. I was surprised at how much I liked AJ. She didn't leave much of an impression on me prior to this book. She wasn't a character I was looking forward to reading about like India or Skylar, but she left a distinct impression on me as I read reading her and Cord's story.

Cord McKay is the oldest of the McKay brood and he has very typical eldest child characteristics. He's responsible and puts family first. His dedication to the ranch and his son are what make him such a great guy. They're what also make him so hard to get close to. He has an ex-wife that left him less than eager to get into anything serious and he has a young son to raise. But right now his son is spending a few months with Cord's ex and Cord is all alone in his big house and missing his son terribly. He's desperate enough to meet his brother Colt at the local bar. While waiting he spies a sexy woman on the dance floor with legs that go on forever. Imagine Cord's shock when he finds out it little Amy Jo Foster!

Cord had such a battle going on inside his poor, confused brain. LOL He still thought of AJ as his little sister's friend while his eyes were telling him she was all grown up and hot as hell! There is an age difference - thirteen years. But AJ is a very mature 22. She knows what she wants and is aware of the consequences of her actions. Cord, he had a hard time letting go of the age difference. AJ is the one that propositioned Cord to teach her about sex. The arrangement was to last only until Cord's son Kyle, got home - 7 weeks. It was also to be kept secret. Too many nosy family members around that might not approve.

AJ was happy to just have Cord and tried to convince herself that if all she got of him was a few weeks, then she'd take it. Cord thought that AJ wouldn't want an old cowboy like him for anything permanent. I loved the way James had these two getting to know each other on a totally different level than they previously had. They had known each other all of AJ's life, had been neighbors but this was very different. They took care of each other after a long day of work and saw to each others needs in and out of the bedroom. You really did get to see them fall in love. They really made a great couple!

There are also a couple of secondary story lines going with Cord's brother Colt and the McKay cousins, Kade and Kane. These cowboys are out of control and it takes a tragedy to get them to see how screwed up their lives are. I like the way the families interact with their joking, teasing and looking out for each other. There is definitely a sense of community running through this series.

There are also a lot of laughs in Cowgirl Up and Ride. I already mentioned AJ's sense of humor. And there is a bachelorette party that AJ attends along with many of the other women in town. I laughed so hard at the bachelorette party scenes. It was girls gone wild - young and old. Lighted penises! Need I say more? :)

James does an amazing job balancing the sexy, the funny and the emotional into a beautiful and entertaining love story. She makes these character, who could end up feeling very similar, all feel very different and unique. Each with their own faults and weaknesses. Each overcoming and dealing with whatever life throws at them while falling in love. Seriously love this series!

Rating: A

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Review: Atlantis Unmasked

Atlantis Unmasked
Alyssa Day
Paranormal Romance
Warriors of Poseidon/Book 4 (plus 2 novellas)
Berkley/July 2009

From the back cover ~

A warrior scarred…

Alexios survived two years of unspeakable torture at the hands of a vampire goddess. Now he’s been ordered to team up with a beautiful warrior and take on the most dangerous mission of his life: to retrieve the Vampire’s Bane. Without it, Atlantis can’t ascend to the surface and take its rightful place in the world. But when evil threatens, will Alexios be led by duty—or his heart?

A descendant of Diana…

Grace is part of the rebellion against the vampires and shape-shifters trying to take over her world. She is deadly with her bow, because when she takes aim, she never misses her target. But suddenly she’s focused on a damaged Atlantean warrior who sees her as a weapon, not as a woman. When thousands of lives are on the line, will passion overrule, or will her aim still be true?

When two worlds collide…Atlantis is unmasked.

Oh, boy did this book have a promising start. Too bad it didn't continue with the good start. I really liked Alexios, the hero, from what I knew of him in the previous books in the series. And I liked him here too until the love bug bit him and he turned into a jerk. The heroine Grace Havilland and her wicked bow and arrow ability was cool. But I didn't get why she kept putting up with Alexios' crap.

Alexios is an Atlantean warrior, one of seven of the elite guard of Prince Conlan. He, along with Prince Conlan, were prisoners of the vampire goddess Anubisa for two years. Alexios bares the scares from his torture. The left side of his face is horribly disfigured. The right side is still beautiful. The two sides of his face represent his life before and after his imprisonment. Alexios is usually the voice of reason. He's the one that can be counted on in a crisis to keep a cool head. He's also someone the younger warriors look up to. He's still coming to grips with the torture he endured and has taken a vow of celibacy as a way to cleanse his soul. That vow becomes difficult to uphold when he begins to have strong feelings for Grace.

One thing I liked about Grace and Alexios' relationship is that they had known each other for some months before giving into their feelings for each other. Alexios didn't get that instance "mine" moment when he first met Grace. He liked her and respected her fighting ability but he wasn't romantically interested. Some of that had to do with his celibacy vow and his need to keep his distance from others. He's very aware of his disfigurement and doesn't let anyone get too close.

Grace is heroine out for revenge. When the vampires came out to the public ten years ago Grace's life was changed forever when she lost her brother to a vampire attack. She then decided to join the rebels and do whatever she could to stop the vampires and shape shifters from gaining power. Grace was a decent enough heroine. She does have an amazing ability when using the bow. This comes from her being a descendant of the goddess Diana. I wasn't crazy about Grace's story with regards to her relationship to Diana etc. It ventured off into an area that didn't really fit with the rest of the story. I would have preferred sticking with the vamps, weres and fae instead of adding a Roman goddess to the mix.

One thing this book had way too much of were alpha males. They seem to be everywhere and always trying to out do each other in their alpha-ness. The sparring and pissing contests got to be annoying. I'm not sure if it was suppose to be funny but for me it felt more stupid and immature than humorous. Some of these guys are centuries old and yet they acted like the stereo-type frat boys with their name calling and childish behavior.

Alexios became another irritant that I could have done without. He made this vow of celibacy when he was saved from the torturous existence he endured. The vow wasn't something he had to do in order to recover, it was something he chose to do for himself to help in his recovery. Then he becomes attracted to Grace and gets all hot and bothered with her. But wait, back off because of the celibacy vow. Then they get all kissing and hugging and touching and feeling and oops! That darn vow again. He seriously drove me nuts and I wondered why Grace put up with it since she was getting all hot and bothered with his mixed signals. Just make up your mind Alexios and quit being a tease!

At this point I was just irritated with the romance but I did find the action scenes interesting. Grace and Alexios are working together to train new recruits to fight the vamps and weres. The fight scenes are good and even the fae get into the action. I do hope we see more of them in future books. I also hope we get more information on Atlantis. The warriors and their mates live in the under-the-sea city and we get descriptions of how beautiful it is. I would like to know more about the social structure and the "ordinary" folks of Atlantis. What the history of the city is and basically what they've been doing all these centuries.

So, probably my least favorite of the series. Just couldn't get into the romance and the eventual HEA of Alexios and Grace.

Rating: C+

Thursday, June 3, 2010

I've Been Kidnapped By A Giant Mouse!

I couldn't believe it was really happening but sure enough a giant mouse wearing goofy clothing won't leave me alone. Lately, he's everywhere I go!

Some of you may have noticed that I've been a bit scarce this week. :) Well Mickey is the reason. We hit the road and are at Disneyland. Can I just say, I am so ready to go home? It's a bunch of fun but man is it tiring! If we could move Tomorrowland on the other side of the park next to New Orleans Square we'd be all set. If I never have to set foot in Fantasyland, I'll be happy.

The drive was okay except for terrible traffic in the Palm Springs area. Hope it's not like that on the way home. The food has been typical park food. We did get cotton candy which I love but have learned to eat in moderation. :D There are these giant turkey legs that everyone seems to be eating. It's weird seeing people walking around eating these huge turkey legs. I'm not the least tempted to try them. My favorite treat is funnel cakes which I still have to get. And the corn on the cob looks good but I'd have to brush my teeth right after eating it. Today we ate at Rainforest Cafe which is always fun. I had a yummy turkey wrap which I'm going to try to make when I get home.

Youngest had a upset stomach yesterday and was always on the lookout for the bathrooms. He likes going on the big rides but gets nervous. He was better today and went on Space Mountain 5 xs in a row! Tonight he was upset at bedtime because he doesn't want to go home, we only have one more day. I felt so sorry for him but explained that we can't stay here forever. He said, "but there's so much more to do here than at home." LOL

On the reading front, not much going on except for flying through Michelle Maddox's Countdown. Thanks Jill for the great review! It's a quick read. Different but in a very good way! Definitely recommend. :)

I was surprised at the few pictures I've taken. I'll have to be sure to take more tomorrow. And it's already June so my June reads is going to be really late! And... I missed a couple of challenge posts. Sorry!

Hope you all are having a great week!