Monday, July 30, 2012

ARC Review: Forever and a Day

Forever and a Day
Jill Shalvis
Contemporary Romance
Lucky Harbor Series/Book 6
Grand Central/July 31, 2012


Grace never thought she’d be starting her life over from scratch. Losing everything has landed her in Lucky Harbor, working as a dog walker for overwhelmed ER doctor Josh Scott. But the day his nanny fails to show up, Grace goes from caring for Josh’s loveable mutt to caring for his rambunctious kids. Soon Grace is playing house with the sexy single dad…

With so many people depending on him, Josh has no time for anything outside of his clinic and family–until Grace arrives in town. Now this brainy blonde is turning his life inside out and giving a whole new meaning to the phrase “good bedside manner.” Josh and Grace don’t know if what they have can last. But in a town like Lucky Harbor, a lifetime of love starts with just one day…

I just LOVE this series!  I love it the way I love chocolate chip cookies warm from the oven or hot, gooey pizza, the first slice from the box.  Shalvis has consistently delivered solid story lines with engaging characters in an enjoyable setting.  With Grace and Josh, we get the added bonus of an annoying but lovable sister, an adorble son and a puppy named Tank who lives up to his name. 

Grace Brooks will take just about any job, even dog walking because really, how hard could it be?  With a dog named Tank, the question is not how hard but how dangerous.  It turns out Tank is a matchmaker in disguise.  Grace's experiences felt very real when it comes to taking on not only dog walking but caring for a precocious kindergartener, a twenty-one year old with self-esteem issues and the doctor himself.  I really liked how we see Grace grapple with the expectations of her highly-achieving parents and her own long hidden desires that conflict with those expectations. And another thing about Grace - she's afraid of clowns.  I totally get her.

Doctor Josh Scott is pretty much every woman's idea of a dream doctor.  As far as looks go, he's go it all.  It's the other parts of his life that need some major work.  Speaking of work, this guy is so overworked it's ridiculous!  Between his private pratice, inherited from his father, working at the hospital and now volunteering time at the new clinic, Josh has very little time for his son and sister.  He somehow manages to make time but when Grace comes into his life, he knows a good thing when he sees it.  I adored Josh!  Aside from his strong work ethic, his devotion to his family and let's face it - his amazing body, he also has a very wicked sense of humor.  It's the only way to deal with such a chaotic life.

Josh and Grace have seen each other around Lucky Harbor but neither has had the inclination or time for romance when the meet.  They still don't want any romantic entanglements but the pull is strong and location is a factor when Grace moves in to Josh's guest house.  But really, can we blame her?  Free rent and some stunning views. :) I loved Grace and Josh together.  It wasn't an easy match and they had some real obstacles and conflicts to overcome but their feelings towards each other continue to develop.  It became obvious these were not the "sex only - no strings" feelings but something far deeper. Shalvis does well in showing Grace and Josh's emotions, insecurities and need for something more when it comes to their relationship

I also liked how both Josh's son Toby and Josh's sister Anna were incorporated into the storyline.  They were an intergral part of Josh's life and as we get to know Josh, we know they are a package deal.  Grace took to Toby easily, the kid was easy to love.  Anna was a different and difficult nut to crack.  She's sometimes mean but she's also hurting inside and dealing with old issues stemming from her parents deaths.  Grace's intelligence came through as she forged relationships with all three members of the Scott family. 

Lucky Harbor wouldn't be Lucky Harbor without it's cast of colorful characters. Familiar faces add to that feeling of coming home and enjoying time spent there.  This series continues to captivate me with smart, funny dialogue, realistic characters and romances that can sweep you off your feet and make you believe in Happy Ever Afters. 

Rating: A

Lucky Harbor Series ~ 

Simply Irresistible 
The Sweetest Thing
Kissing Santa Claus novella in the anthology Small Town Christmas
Head Over Heels
Lucky in Love
At Last 
Forever and a Day

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

ARC Review: Dream Lake

Dream Lake
Lisa Kleypas
Contemporary Romance
Friday Harbor/Book 3
Piatkus Books/August 7, 2012

Dream Lake takes readers once again to the exquisite setting of Friday Harbor, and tells the story of Zoӫ Hoffman, an innkeeper who has all but given up on love. She’s a gentle, romantic soul, but has been so hurt in the past that she dare not trust her heart with anyone. Especially not Alex Nolan. Alex is the most haunted of all the Nolan brothers.

He drinks to keep his demons at bay and not only has he given up on love, he has never, ever believed in it. Zoӫ and Alex are oil and water, fire and ice, sunshine and shadow.

But sometimes, it takes only a glimmer of light to chase away the dark. Dream Lake is classic Lisa Kleypas: romantic, powerful, emotional, and magical.

In the third book of Lisa Kleypas' contemporary series emotions run high as Kleypas tackles two very serious subjects - elder care and alcoholism.  Zoe Hoffman must balance her work and her love for her grandmother, whose increasing needs for care are paralleled by her declining health.  Alex Nolan has avoidance issues that he chooses to drink away.  Both Zoe and Alex face hard decisions and learn that it's okay to lean on family and good friends. 

Alex Nolan's childhood was far from idyllic.   He's the youngest of four who was left home in an abusive household while his older siblings were able to make their escape.  His adult relationships have not been much better with a soon to be ex-wife taking nearly everything Alex owns.  Alex's seemingly one redeeming quality is his work.  He is a builder and developer whose grand dreams for developing have been put on hold.  So now he is hiding out at his brother Sam's home, helping fix it up. 

I didn't think I would come to like Alex as much as I did.  He can and is a real ass at times but as the reader gets to know and understand him, much can be forgiven.  He also has this interesting relationship with a character that surprised me in how much I enjoyed not only the development of their relationship but the two viewpoints as seen through their eyes.

Zoe Hoffman has a gift for making the most delicious creations.   I loved reading about everything she cooked and baked.  Made me hungry and anxious to do some baking myself!  Along with being a goddess in the kitchen, Zoe is also a very devoted granddaughter who is now the caretaker of her ailing grandmother.  Zoe, like Alex, had a childhood that proved to be unstable when it came to adults except for her grandmother.  Zoe and her grandmother, Emma, make a home together and remain close.   Kleypas does well in showing how Zoe and her grandmother's relationship has come full circle with Zoe now the caregiver.  There were certainly sad, heartbreaking moments but overall I really liked these wonderful ladies. 

 Zoe and Alex develop a friendship along with their romance.  The friendship, like most friendships, isn't all sunshine and rainbows and neither is their romance.  But it would have felt off had they had an easy time of it considering all they had to not only overcome with their past but also with their present situations.   I really liked these two together and how Zoe gave Alex room to figure things out for himself.  Alex had alcoholism to first admit to then deal with before he could be part of a serious relationship. 

Dream Lake overlaps the same time period as Rainshadow Road.  I wouldn't say there are spoilers in Dream Lake for Rainshadow but I do think it helps if you read the series in order.  Also, Sam, Mark, Maggie and Holly all make appearances but the main focus is on Alex and Zoe, both separate and together.  Pretty well balanced all around. 

Note:  I wanted to keep this review spoiler free but I do want to mention there is a character some readers may not like.  If you want to know more, you can email me and I'll spoil you. :)

Rating: A-

Friday Harbor Series

Christmas Eve at Friday Harbor
Rainshadow Road
Dream Lake
Crystal Cove (February 3, 2013)

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

TBR Challenge Review: The Conqueror

The Conqueror
Kris Kennedy
Medieval Romance
Kensington/May 1, 2009

England, 1152. Henry II is king. The country is wracked by bloody civil war. Griffyn Sauvage is a valiant knight with a strict moral code of honor. But when his family's estate and vast treasures are seized, he becomes hardened by the betrayal. Now he will go to any lengths for vengeance— even if it means forming a union with his most despised enemy by marrying his daughter, Lady Guinevere de l'Ami. Then, Griffyn lays eyes on Gwyn and is completely disarmed. . .

As war strikes, Gwyn is left alone to fight her enemies who want control of her ancestral lands. When Griffyn comes to her rescue, she is grateful that the mysterious, brave knight has risked his life to protect hers. With each passing day, she finds herself drawn to him even as she senses he's hiding a dark secret from her. And when another dangerous adversary closes in on both of them, Griffyn and Gwyn's trust in each other will be put to the ultimate test. . .

I ventured away from this month's theme of "How did this get here".  While I don't know exactly what prompted me to add The Conqueror to my ever growing TBR pile, whether it was a review, talks on Twitter or the look in the cover models eyes.  It's more than likely someone said "this is a really good medieval romance" and that's all it took for me to add it to my list. 

Griffyn Sauvage has grown up knowing war, fighting and espionage.  He's been away from his home since he was eight years old.  Seventeen years have past and now he's back with a vengeance. Griffyn is such a wonderful hero!  He's smart, brave, wicked quick with a sword and funny.  Yes, he's funny!  For the most part, The Conqueror is a fairly serious story but there are amusing moments, mainly between Griffyn and Gwyn or Griffyn and his men.  Griffyn has this quality about him that lets you know he's in command but he also has a kind side to him which came through well in the writing. 

Lady Guinevere de l'Ami, Gwyn, has suffered a number of losses in her life.  Most recently is the death of her father.  Gwyn wasn't close with her father, he was not a man given to closeness, but she did need him and the protection he offered.  Now she is on her own for the most part and must rely on her wits to keep her and her people safe.  Gwyn does come across as smart but boy does she find trouble easily! It seems like everyone is after her.  It turned out well for her since Gryffin comes to her rescue twice in one night!

The romance starts out pretty good but without any intentions on either Gryffin or Gwyn's part for it to continue beyond that first night.  Circumstances or fate continue to place both Gwyn and Gryffin together and their romance grows.  I did like how their romance was portrayed realistically within the politics of the times.  It's rough going and when you have two people with opposing loyalties trying to be loyal to each other, there is bound to be some difficulties.  Kennedy does well in providing the right amount of growing tension and affection between Gryffin and Gwyn. 

I really enjoyed the setting, time period and political intrigued woven through the story.  It takes me back when I would seek out medieval romances because I loved getting lost in those dangerous times and knights in shining amour.  The Conqueror gives the reader all that and more. 

Rating:  B+

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Review: On the Island

On the Island
Tracey Garvis-Graves
Contemporary Romance
Self Published
September 3, 2011

*Some Spoilers*

When thirty-year-old English teacher Anna Emerson is offered a job tutoring T.J. Callahan at his family's summer rental in the Maldives, she accepts without hesitation; a working vacation on a tropical island trumps the library any day.

T.J. Callahan has no desire to leave town, not that anyone asked him. He's almost seventeen and if having cancer wasn't bad enough, now he has to spend his first summer in remission with his family - and a stack of overdue assignments - instead of his friends.

Anna and T.J. are en route to join T.J.'s family in the Maldives when the pilot of their seaplane suffers a fatal heart attack and crash-lands in the Indian Ocean. Adrift in shark-infested waters, their life jackets keep them afloat until they make it to the shore of an uninhabited island. Now Anna and T.J. just want to survive and they must work together to obtain water, food, fire, and shelter. Their basic needs might be met but as the days turn to weeks, and then months, the castaways encounter plenty of other obstacles, including violent tropical storms, the many dangers lurking in the sea, and the possibility that T.J.'s cancer could return. As T.J. celebrates yet another birthday on the island, Anna begins to wonder if the biggest challenge of all might be living with a boy who is gradually becoming a man.

I downloaded this book back in March when it was listed for 0.99 on Kindle not realizing at the time how it would take off and become a best selling novel.   I simply thought the premise was interesting, had read some positive reviews and at 0.99 it was worth a try.   But then I forgot about it.  Oops.  Fast forward a few months and On the Island is on the New York Times bestseller list and I decided to find out what the fuss is all about.

The premise isn't new.  People stranded on a deserted island.  The plane crashes and Anna and T.J. survive long enough to make it to the island.  It's on the island that their relationship turns from teacher and student to two adults, neither knowing if they will ever see their families again.  One thing I will say about this book - it makes you think! 

Neither Anna or T.J. have any type of survival training but they use common sense and what they've learned in their lives to make their island as safe a place as possible.  As the weeks turn to months the relationship changes as Anna begins to look at T.J. not as someone she needs to take care, as she is the adult, but to someone she can rely on the way she would another adult.  T.J. begins to look at Anna as more than just his teacher.  He doesn't see her as someone old enough to be his much older sister but as the woman who has become his close friend whom he is also attracted to. 

The time Anna and T.J. spend on the island is a study in what to do and what not to do when stranded on a deserted island with little chance for rescue.  They know, as the time passes, that their chances of rescue are disappearing.  I think it's part of that mindset that helps them think in terms beyond teacher and student to become two adults who may not ever see another soul.  There is the reality that they are stuck on the island together for the rest of their lives.  Why not seek comfort in the person who has become your best friend? 

For those that are wondering, T.J. is almost 19 when he and Anna become intimate.  So while in the real world this may still be looked down on but it is not illegal.  I will say he was a very mature 19 given everything he had been through from the cancer to the plane crash.  T.J.'s maturity came through and left me forgetting his age and focusing more on his abilities.  He takes the initiative when needed and doesn't let his youth hold him back or use it as an excuse for not doing his share.  I found I liked T.J. and had a lot of respect for him by the end of the book. 

The way both Anna and T.J. saw their relationship and romance shows how they both had very different viewpoints.  It makes sense since Anna is 14 years older than T.J. and has more experience when it comes to relationships.  I do think having survived cancer and at such a young age gave T.J. the perspective to not care so much what others thought of him.  He knew what he wanted, Anna, and he didn't care what society thought even if that society was thousands of miles away. 

Anna had more concerns about who their family and friends would react when/if they were rescued.  She took those concerns with her when they were rescued but she didn't dismiss T.J. feelings which I thought showed how much she did love him.  It wasn't just a matter of location and being the only ones there on the island, Anna really came to love the man T.J. had become. 

The way the story was handled after Anna and T.J. are rescued had a number of fairly plausible occurrences.  There were some instances of coincidences and self-sacrifice that I found somewhat unbelievable but it didn't take away from the impact of the story. 

Another thing about this book is it has stayed with me.  It has been over a week since I finished reading On the Island but it's impact is still strong and I had no problem remembering many of the details without refering to my notes.  That surprised me since my memory isn't what it use to be and I often find myself referring to my notes. 

On the Island does provide an interesting, often intense look at human nature.  It shows the courage it takes to not only survive catastrophes but the aftermath when life tries to return to normal.  

Rating:  B+

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Review: The Rift Walker

The Rift Walker
Clay & Susan Griffith
Vampire Empire Trilogy/Book 2
Prometheus/September 20, 2011

*Spoilers for Book 1*

Princess Adele abandons duty and embarks on a desperate quest to keep her nation from genocide as the Equatorian Empire and American Republic strategize plans for victory against the vampire clans of the north.  Reunited with her great love, the mysterious adventurer known to the world as the Greyfriar, Adele is pursued by her own people as well as her vengeful husband, Senator Clark. With the human alliance in disarray, Prince Cesare, lord of the British vampire clan, strikes at the very heart of Equatoria.

As Adele fights to bring order to her world, she learns more about the strange powers she exhibited in the north. If she could ever bring this power under her command, she could be death to vampires.  But such a victory will also cost the life of Adele's beloved Greyfriar.

A captivating mix of high adventure and alternate history, the Vampire Empire trilogy brings epic political themes to life withing a tale of heartbreaking romance, sacrifice, and heroism.

The second book in this vampire steampunk trilogy gives the reader more insight to the world of the vampires and the humans.  We see how the vampires think of humans as cattle, much in the same way humans of today view animals - as a food source.  This is shown in graphic detail not only with the feeding from but the hunting of the humans.  Hunting is a sport to relieve boredom with the added bonus of a meal at the end.  This isn't always an easy read but brutal at times.

Princess Adele, recovered from her dangerous adventures in the north, now faces her wedding to the arrogant, overbearing Senator Clark.  Clark sees Adele as a means to an end, a way for him to become Emperor rather than a wife to cherish.  Adele knows this, loathes Clark but doesn't see a way out of the marriage.  She does try to discuss the situation with her father but it leads nowhere.  You can't help feel sorry for Adele but that doesn't last long because Adele is a strong heroine and part of that strength lies in her ability to see beyond the surface and believe in her own powers.

Greyfriar is a fascinating hero.  He goes against his basic instincts of a vampire and instead treats humans as more than just a meal on two legs.  He lives in the north, pretending to be the weaker of the two heirs to the British throne when all along he is just as cunning and intelligent, perhaps more so, than his brother Cesare.   It's interesting to see Gareth aka Greyfriar interacting with other vampires specifically his brother and his allies.  Gareth must play the role of vampire while ensuring no one suspects where his true feelings lie.  He lets his brother think he's weak and no threat to the throne even though Gareth is the eldest of the two.

The story holds much action and adventure which keeps the pace moving along at a fairly quick beat.  There are some slower moments that allow for the political drama to play out.  There were a couple occasions when I became a bit anxious for the faster pace but overall the story was well balanced with action, adventure and political intrigue.  The politics are complex but well thought with a few surprises that leave the reader wanting the next book now!  Each characters has their own agenda, their own vision, for what the world should look like.  For Adele and Gareth, they have similar visions but the means to the end may not be what they had planned.  I did enjoy seeing the actions and reactions each character made and how the authors brought it all together. 

The world building should be mentioned since it is an integral part of the trilogy.  There are plenty of what are considered steampunk elements throughout the story from the descriptions of the clothing to the airships and the battles in the skies.  There is also an urban fantasy feel with vampires, magic and loads of weapons.  I love how this world has been created with the different elements so it is not so simple to place in one genre but a mixture, giving  a decidedly unique feel to it. 

After a little bit of a slow start, the second book in the Vampire Empire trilogy had me racing to the end to see who would live and who would die.  With plenty of revelations and no doubt more to come, the third book can't get here fast enough!

Rating: A-

Vampire Empire Trilogy 

The Greyfriar
The Rift Walker
The Kingmakers (September 4, 2012)

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Giddup Cowboy!

I love cowboys!  From the spur wearing, guns blazing cowboys of the old west to the wrangler wearing, truck driving cowboys of present day.  I love them all!  So when I come across new releases with cowboy heroes, I have to share. :)

The Last Renegade


As the owner of the Pennyroyal Saloon and Hotel, Lorraine Berry is privy to almost everything that goes on in Bitter Springs, Wyoming—including the bloodshed plaguing its citizens. With all of the good men dying at the hands of a local rancher and his three sons, Raine hires a shootist to be the town's protector. But her handsome new employee is more than a hired hand; he's a man that keeps his guns close and his secrets closer.


After a chance encounter on a train, Kellen Coltrane travels to the Pennyroyal to carry out a dying man's last wish. But once he meets the hotel's fiery-haired proprietor, Coltrane finds himself assuming the role of the shootist's accomplice and agrees to protect Bitter Springs. And as he learns more about Raine's own
tragedy, Coltrane can't deny his growing desire for the courageous widow, or the urge to protect her from the threat that draws near.

Jo Goodman is a long time favorite author of mine.  She has written some wonderful historical romance with cowboy and non-cowboy heroes alike.  Her heroines are an eclectic group of women whose strengths are not always as obvious as the heroes.  The Last Renegade is set for release on September 4. 2012

Wild Texas Rose

Twenty-five-year-old Rose McMurray may be beautiful, smart, and capable of running her family's ranch at Whispering Mountain, but she's backed away from marriage three times without giving anyone reasons. Everyone thinks she is a coward, afraid of any adventure, including falling in love. She's never done a single wild or reckless thing in her life...until now. 

Duncan McMurray, like Rose, was adopted into the family. As a Texas Ranger, he swears he'll never settle down and marry. He's been Rose's guardian angel since they were kids but for the first time in their lives he's the one who has caused her to be in danger. Somehow, he has to protect her from an outlaw gang determined to kill her without letting Rose know of the danger she's in. He's convinced that her heart can't take the stress if she knows...the only question is can his heart take the nearness of her.
When opposites collide the adventure begins...

Author Jodi Thomas is another long time favorite of mine.  Sadly, I've fallen behind on her Whispering Mountain series.  I must catch up!  Wild Texas Rose, book six in the series, is set for release on August 7, 2012.

Beauty and the Bounty Hunter

Cathleen Chase is no killer—but as Cat O’Banyon, she is a ruthless bounty hunter who always gets her man. Catching one lowlife after another, she continues her search for the only man she really cares to locate: the one whose voice she will never forget; the man who murdered her husband. She'll stop at nothing to find him.

Con artist Alexi Romanov taught Cat every trick she knows. He is a master of deceit, of disguise and of desire. He’s difficult to trust, and even more difficult to resist, but he has news she can’t ignore. The man she’s after has placed a bounty on her head. To get him before he gets her, she’ll have to team up with Alexi again. And just like before, the two of them together are nothing but trouble.

The name Lori Austin may not sound familiar but you might know this author under the name of Lori Handeland, author of the popular paranormal Nightcreatures series.  Handeland also wrote a number of Harlequin romances as well as her contributions to the Rock Creek Six series with author Linda Devlin aka Linda Winstead Jones.  I know I'm looking forward to reading about a female bounty hunter!  Beauty and the Bounty Hunter goes on sale October 2.



There was a time when Crow Hill, Texas’s notorious Dalton Gang ran wild. Now, as owners of the Dalton Ranch, their partnership in the rundown operation leaves little time for raising hell—except for the right women who can turn on the heat…

It’s been sixteen years since Dax Campbell set foot in Crow Hill—and sixteen years since Arwen Poole had a crush on him in high school. Unfortunately, setting her sights on this irresistible man again has stirred up a lot of unfulfilled desires in Arwen. A few nights in bed with Dax should get him out of her system once and for all. That’s all she wants. And for now, that’s all she needs.

But Dax is looking for something deeper in a woman. So they agree to an unconventional affair: for every no-strings sexual encounter Arwen craves, Dax gets to take her out for a night of romance. While both manage to hold up their end of the bargain, they’re growing closer than either of them can afford. Because Dax has a family secret that could drive him out of Crow Hill for good, and Arwen’s not letting him go without a fight…
Alison Kent writes hot and steamy romances and when you add in a sexy cowboy, I'm there!  Undeniable is the first in a new series being published under the Berkley Heat line so you can expect it to be smoking hot! Undeniable will be on sale October 2,

These are just a few of the upcoming full-length western releases.  Which ones are you looking forward to?

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Audio Review: Celebrity In Death

Celebrity in Death
J. D. Robb
In Death/book 34
Putnam/February 21, 2012


Lieutenant Eve Dallas is no party girl, but she's managing to have a reasonably good time at the celebrity-packed bash celebrating The Icove Agenda, a film based on one of her famous cases. It's a little spooky seeing the actress playing her, who looks almost like her long-lost twin. Not as unsettling, though, as seeing the actress who plays Peabody drowned in the lap pool on the roof of the director's luxury building.

Talented but rude, and widely disliked, K. T. Harris had made an embarrassing scene during dinner. Now she's at the center of a crime scene?and Eve is more than ready to get out of her high heels and strap on her holster, to step into the role she was born to play: cop.

An odd thing happened when I got the hardcover edition from the library a couple of months ago.  I couldn't read it.  You see, I have listened to almost all of the In Death books.  I have read a few but when I first started the series it already had well over 20+ books.  After reading the first few books I realized the only way I had any chance of catching up was listening to the audiobooks, which it turns out I loved.  Susan Erickson is the narrator and as I have mentioned before, she does an amazing job of capturing the different character voices.   So while this book was released months ago, it has taken me and the library a while to get the audiobook but once I did I was reluctant to stop.  

It's like seeing double.  That's what happens when Hollywood takes over New York City and Lt. Eve Dallas' turf.   Eve isn't happy about the media attention and a little freaked at seeing her "twin".  Peabody, as you can imagine, thinks the whole thing is mag.  I love seeing the two diverse reactions to people and events these partners have.   And when Peabody gets a little walk-on part in the movie, look out!  She's over the moon excited and Dallas can't help but roll her eyes but you know deep inside she's happy for Peabody. 

Is it fair to say the series has become a little formulaic?  To a certain degree, yes.  We know Dallas and Peabody will catch a case.  We know there most likely will be some danger involved for one or both of them.  We know Roarke will take time away from his empire to play his role of Expert, civilian.  We know Dallas will give Summerset hell just for the fun of it.  We know the well developed secondary characters will make their contribution.  And we know the candy thief will continue to evade Dallas' traps.  The main reason I continue reading this series is for the characters.  I have come to love them, respect many and just enjoy the heck out of them.   The murder and suspense surrounding the solving of the case(s) is secondary to the enjoyment of catching up with characters who feel like old friends.  So maybe that's why I have come to expect less of the mystery aspect of the series.  This time. I was pleasantly surprised. 

The death of Peabody's look-a-like is not take as hard as you might think.  Sad to say, the actress playing Peabody was not well liked.  It is taken serious by Dallas and Peabody who are, a little freaked when they see what at first looks like dead Peabody.  McNab's reaction is very emotional and Robb does well bringing those emotions through on the page.  Dallas, as always, stands for the victim regardless of whether she actually liked the victim.   The road to finding the murder was interesting and surprising.  Interesting in that I didn't catch on to the who as quickly as usual.  Surprising in the backstory of the killer.  Robb continues to keep the killers in this series from falling into the typical murderer mold. 

I said I read this series first for the characters and that is very true when it comes to my favorite secondary character Detective Delia Peabody.  I am loving the way Peabody and her cohab Detective Ian McNab's relationship is evolving.  Their relationship fits the time period where humans are living a lot longer and therefore have no need to rush into the traditional path of marriage, babies etc. but can adjust to their roles as a couple.  On the surface they seem like such an odd pair, Peabody with her Free-ager upbringing and beliefs and McNab with his outrageous fashion sense and "hey dude" attitude.  But these two can be serious and know when to put their cop faces on.  I love when they put their cop faces on!

Celebrity in Death does focus on the procedural and solving of the murder but it also has much focus on those evolving relationships that I love so much.  Some of the dialog does become repetitive between Dallas and Roarke, same arguments but we do see a little shift as Dallas acknowledges she can't continue to use Roarke as her go-to guy when she wants something done quickly.  She has the NYPSD at her disposal and must go to them first, even if they take longer for results. 

All in all this is another compelling addition to the series.  The smart characters, witty dialogue and extensively developed characters and relationships are the strengths of this incredible series. 

Rating: B+

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Independence Day

Happy Independence Day 

Thank you to all who keep us safe.  

Far or near, you are not forgotten.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Review: Amazon Lily

Amazon Lily
Theresa Weir (Anne Fraiser)
Contemporary Romance
Pocket Books/October 1, 1988


She was white gloves and ice cream socials, a nice midwestern girl who'd come to the Amazon on a mission to aid the native Indians. Then Corey McKinney found herself alone in the thick, steamy jungle with a ruggedly handsome bush pilot who dared her to deny what they both knew: she wanted him.


He was rotgut whiskey and barroom brawls, a street-hardened adventure-seeker who had no time for women with lofty intentions. But Asher Adams was instantly captivated by his passenger's delicate beauty and feisty spirit, and he found himself caring when it was the last thing he wanted to do.

In a jungle teeming with perils, they must band together as they face the most thrilling adventure of their lives --- one that will bring a passion that burns hotter than the South American sun and a love as fiercely beautiful as the ... AMAZON LILY

This was a Kindle freebie not too long ago and while I had hear good things about Weir's writing, I had not read anything by her.  Considering this was written over 20 years ago, it held up well.  The setting, primarily the Amazon jungle, helped in keeping any dated references to a minimum.

I don't think anything can prepare you for the Amazon.  Pictures can give you some idea of what it is like but the vastness is something you have to experience to truly understand how remote and extensive it is.  For Corey McKinney this is the trip of a lifetime that gets off to a rocky start.  Her pilot is an obnoxious ass who makes it clear he thinks she's too frail for the dangers of the jungle.  Corey is usually a calm, thoughtful woman who doesn't let much get to her.  Asher Adams gets to her.  From their first meeting I liked seeing how Corey would react to Ash's remarks, attitude and just down right grumpiness.  They are opposites but in this case opposites eventually attract, after they get past her primness and his less than civilized ways.

Asher Adams is my kind of hero!  He's a man's man, rough around the edges with simple needs.  The reason he's my kind of hero is that there is so much more to him than meets the eye.  He may not give a damn about what many think are important like nice homes and fancy cars but he does care about the people who need him to the point of making it the focus of his life.   Then his Amazon Lily aka Corey comes along and stirs up his life, making him see things from a different perspective.

Weir is able to make the Amazon jungle come alive in all it's beauty and hostility.  I really liked how the setting promoted the romance as well as the character development.  Ash and Corey are faced with some stressful and dangerous situations they would not find back in the states.  It is the jungle that helps break down the barriers and helps show they what is important in life and how short that life can be.

If I had any problems with the story it is the pacing. It is a very slow pace with Ash, and Corey in particular, having far too many self reflective moments.  While these helped in understanding their motives, they tended to become repetitive.  The ending is not much of a surprise and I was happy to see Ash had not lost his assitude - still the same smart ass but now with an added respect for his Amazon Lily. 

Rating: B