Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Books I Read in 2013

Michelle's 2013-read book montage

Montana Sky
The Hunger Games
Catching Fire
Guardian Angel
At Last
First Grave on the Right
Once Burned
Forever and a Day
Like No Other Lover
Since the Surrender
I Kissed an Earl
How the Marquess Was Won
A Notorious Countess Confesses
Exposed to You
Leave Me Breathless
Never Seduce a Scot
Jumping Mr. January

Michelle Kelly's favorite books »

Forever and a Day by Jill Shalvis

Grace Brooks and Dr. Josh Scott's book

Forever and a Day (Lucky Harbor book 6)

By Jill Shalvis

Book Blurb:
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…

What a perfect book to end out 2013. Forever and a Day leaves me with warm and fuzzy feelings.  I have come to love the town of Lucky Harbor and all of their fabulous residents. 

Once again, fantastic characters and the group of townies added to fabulousness of Lucky Harbor. I want to visit this fictional town. Especially since all the male residents seem to be hot and well built. 

I loved the way that Josh and Grace came together. It was a slow build up even though the obvious attraction was there from the get go. Grace moved up from dog walker to babysitting duties and with each day the family situation got more and more involved. I felt overwhelmed reading about all of Josh's commitments and I am not sure how he was able to hold out for so long. I felt really sad for all that he was missing with his son. It was fairly obvious that his son was speaking silly dog language for attention. So hard to be a single parent with the hours that he had to keep being a doctor. 

Even though Josh's sister had a serious attitude, I liked her. She was dealing with a lot and I felt that way she was handling her situation was really true to life. That is what I love about Jill Shalvis' Lucky Harbor series books; lots of real life tossed into a fictional world. 

This quote had me laughing out loud which is a common occurrence when I read this series, 

"What makes you think I screwed up?"
"Because you have a penis"

What I loved also about the story is that Grace didn't just walk into the Scott household and take over and fix everything. She was just learning each day herself. Overall Forever and a Day was simply an awesome read. I fell in love with the couple and also his family. I am so happy to end 2013 with reading a 5 star rated book. 

Teasers: Tank the dog, "The guy code says you get yours first.", steamy pool scene, FREE GRACE

Monday, December 30, 2013

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Hearts in Darkness by Laura Kaye

Makenna James and Caden Grayson

Hearts in Darkness

By Laura Kaye

Book Blurb:

Two strangers…

Makenna James thinks her day can't get any worse, until she finds herself stranded in a pitch-black elevator with a complete stranger. Distracted by a phone call, the pin-striped accountant catches only a glimpse of a dragon tattoo on his hand before the lights go out.

Four hours…

Caden Grayson is amused when a harried redhead dashes into his elevator fumbling her bags and cell phone. His amusement turns to panic when the power fails. Despite his piercings, tats, and vicious scar, he's terrified of the dark and confined spaces. Now, he's trapped in his own worst nightmare.

One pitch-black elevator…

To fight fear, they must reach out and open up. With no preconceived notions based on looks to hold them back, they discover just how much they have in common. In the warming darkness, attraction grows and sparks fly, but will they feel the same when the lights come back on?

What a fabulous story!! Hearts in Darkness is a novella that reads like a full story. What an amazing premise for a plot. I love discovering a story that is new and fresh. I also really liked Laura Kaye's style of writing so I'll be looking up other books that she has created. 

Hearts in Darkness explores preconceived notions that a person could have toward another's appearance. It also shows what could happen if stereotypes are removed. To be able to get to know someone so completely and so intimately but without the benefit of seeing what they physically look like is an alluring thought. What a great premise for a story. 

With only a quick glimpse of the back of a tattooed hand and passing glance of ginger hair, Makenna and Caden are trapped in a darkened elevator for hours. What I loved was that the author Laura Kaye thought of all of the possible light sources and then provided valid explanations for why they would not to work. I have such respect for authors that take that extra time to ensure that their readers would buy into the situation. 

Makenna and Caden start off being politely friendly and then gradually over the hours their conversations morph into highly sensitive topics. The pair really get to know each other and even provide support for each other. If it wasn't for them being in the pitch blackness, I think Hearts in Darkness would make an excellent play. 

Eventually the lights are blindingly thrust on and the story continues. 
I have this novella listed as "Erotic" but Hearts in Darkness is not really an erotic novel. Granted there are some super steamy scenes in the book but the story is much deeper.

Teasers: "Wait. Can you please hold that?", Good Sam, Red, spider bite piercing

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Archangel's Legion by Nalini Singh

Archangel's Legion ( Guild Hunter book 6)

By Nalini Singh

Book Blurb:
Angels are falling from the sky in New York, struck down by a vicious, unknown force.

Vampires are dying impossibly of disease.

Guild hunter Elena Deveraux and the Archangel Raphael must discover the source of the wave of death before it engulfs their city and their people, leaving New York a ruin and Raphael’s Tower under siege by enemy archangels.

Yet even as they fight desperately to save the city, an even darker force is stirring, its chill eyes trained on New York…and on Raphael. Rivers of crimson and nightmares given flesh, the world will never again be the same…

Oh boy what a fabulous story. I could read about Elena and Raphael every day. They have grown so much as a couple and yet they remain true to the original characters that Nalini Singh created in the first book. I would love to add that I totally love Raphael's newly developed sense of humour. Archangel's Legion was outstanding. One of those books where I am sad it ended. I am suffering a book hangover. 

One of the things that I just love about the Archangel Raphael and his Seven is that they are extremely bad ass and yet they are unapologetically, totally in love with their mates and aren't afraid to show it. Not all of the Seven are in a relationship but I just know that when they do each get their own books I can count on reading about that unconditional love. 

Archangel's Legion had a lot going on. There are side stories, stories that have carried over from previous books and outstanding new stories forming.  From the first page to the last chapter it was a true page turner. However there was some real head scratching moments and that happens near the end surrounding this new mysterious Legion. I am right confused. Probably just where Nalini Singh wants her readers. 

The Archangel War, the Cascade is truly on. It has been building over the last few books but it was full blown in Archangel's Legion and it will be continuing in the next book. (Crosses fingers that the next book is Elena and Raphael again) 

Teasers: a new facial marking on Raphael, Wildfire, The Legion, Raphael and Elena are aeclari

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Archangel's Storm by Nalini Singh

Jason and Mahiya's book

Archangel's Storm ( Guild Hunter book 5)

by Nalini Singh

Book Blurb:
With wings of midnight and an affinity for shadows, Jason courts darkness. But now, with the Archangel Neha’s consort lying murdered in the jewel-studded palace that was his prison and her rage threatening cataclysmic devastation, Jason steps into the light, knowing he must unearth the murderer before it is too late.

Earning Neha’s trust comes at a price—Jason must tie himself to her bloodline through the Princess Mahiya, a woman with secrets so dangerous, she trusts no one. Least of all an enemy spymaster.

With only their relentless hunt for a violent, intelligent killer to unite them, Jason and Mahiya embark on a quest that leads to a centuries-old nightmare… and to the dark storm of an unexpected passion that threatens to drench them both in blood.

I'm still playing catch up on the stack of books I had purchased in the past two years. I am so happy that I waited to be in a total UF/Paranormal frame of mind to read Archangel's Storm because I enjoyed it that much more. I was ready to be swept away in the world of angels and vampires. Nalini Singh as always, delivered a great story. 

Jason is a quiet angel with such a strong presence that he really doesn't have a lot of dialogue. I found that he is in his head more than he communicates with his words. I found that this approach completely worked for Jason. It goes hand in hand with his childhood background and at one point in his past, he was considered mute. I so admire Nalini Singh for being true to Jason's character. I would have been very disappointed if his own book came out and all of sudden he was a chatterbox. 

Mahiya is the perfect match for Jason. She too is reserved and even shy at the initial intimate moments with Jason. I found her to be a very quiet heroine. If there was a room full of angels, Jason and Mahiya would be the pair that would be quiet and watching everyone else or being secluded away with each other. Neither are attention seekers. 

It has been awhile since I read the last Guild Hunter book so I found myself trying to get caught up on where the last book left off. These books are not stand alone because there is a true bigger story that keeps expanding with each book. I do wonder where the genius Nalini Singh is taking us. The main mystery in Archangel's Storm was a bit slow for me. It progressed gradually forward and always skirting around the edges was the bigger story to still be told. 

I do like Dmitri and Honor and you get glimpses of an extended story from their previous book but it felt like a badly timed interruption of Jason & Mahiya's story. A chapter would end and I would turn the page eager for their next move and BAM! a short chapter of Dmitri and Honor. I wanted to skip over it but I was worried that it would eventually all be linked. It wasn't. Oh well, I guess it was better than paying for a short novella of Dmitri and Honor. 

On to the next book, Archangel's Legion and I am so excited because the series turns back to Elena and Raphael and I LOVE those two!! Okay if I was being totally honest, I just read Archangel's Storm as fast as I could just to get to Elena and Raphael. 

Teasers: Reminder - Archangels do not think the same way humans do

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Holiday Greeting and A Wish

Wishing you all the best for the holiday season!

I wish for you... some awesome book store gift cards so that you can purchase your favourite reads!

Here's to more great books and exciting book adventures in 2014!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

And Then He Kissed Her by Laura Lee Guhrke

Emmaline Dove and Harry, Viscount Marlowe

And Then He Kissed Her (Girl Bachelors book 1)

By Laura Lee Guhrke

Book Blurb:

Supremely sensible Emmaline Dove wishes to share her etiquette expertise with London's readers, and as secretary to Viscount Marlowe, Emma knows she's in the perfect position to make her dream come true. Marlowe might be a rake with a preference for can-can dancers and an aversion to matrimony, but he is also the city's leading publisher, and Emma is convinced he's her best chance to see her work in print...until she discovers the lying scoundrel has been rejecting her manuscripts without ever reading a single page!

As a publisher, Harry finds reading etiquette books akin to slow, painful torture. Besides, he can't believe his proper secretary has the passion to write anything worth reading. Then she has the nerve to call him a liar, and even resigns without notice, leaving his business in an uproar and his honor in question. Harry decides it's time to teach Miss Dove a few things that aren't proper. But when he kisses her, he discovers that his former secretary has more passion and fire than he'd ever imagined, for one luscious taste of her lips only leaves him hungry for more.

I haven't read too many books around the 1890 time period. It was a nice change to have some "modern" historical conveniences mentioned. It was a really nice change. I liked it so much, I think I will look for other books from around the same time period. 

I was really on the fence about how much I liked the story itself. I found the female protagonist all over the place. Emma was a modern sort of woman being man's secretary and doing a darn good job of it. She was exotic enough to have her own flat and she decorated with her tastes of adventure from the middle east. Yet, she was a spinster of 30 (which her age is constantly mentioned) and she was over the top prim and proper with etiquette. I understood that she really didn't know her own self and she was channeling her deceased Aunt's etiquette virtues but she was such a contradiction. 

I just wanted to be swept away in the romance of Emma unwinding from her spinster status and I wanted Harry to step up a bit sooner. I found Harry's view on marriage a really far reach. With such a long time passing from his first marriage, I would have thought he would not have been so scarred the way he went on. It seemed like every time he decided to discuss his first marriage, the story kept getting more elaborate and made up. I just wanted to tell him to put his big boy pant and move on. I guess I wasn't buying it. 

I did like when Emma and Harry decided to move on to a secret relationship. I found their secret weekends away incredibly romantic and I thought the author did a great job of writing how their little adventurous weekends started to effect Emma. I think that was very true to life and totally believable. 

So for me the beginning of the book was great and the ending was wonderful but the middle dragged a bit for me and I wanted to skip but forced myself to read through. It ended up being worth it but I don't think I am in any hurry to seek out any other books in the series. 

Teasers: peacock fan, sisters, etiquette columns, weekends for lovers

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

A Grosvenor Square Christmas by Various Authors

Four breathtakingly romantic tales of a Regency Christmas from four bestselling romance authors.

Down through the years, enchantment touches a tall gray house in Grosvenor Square. The legend of Lady Winterson’s Christmas ball promises true love and happiness to one lucky couple. Who will feel the magic this winter?

1803 - The Seduction of a Duchess by Shana Galen

Rowena Harcourt, the Duchess of Valère, never forgot the handsome footman who helped her escape the French Revolution. For fourteen years, Gabriel Lamarque has loved Rowena—now at Lady Winterson’s Christmas ball, has fate finally delivered a chance to win her hand?

It was sweet and I liked that the story featured an older heroine with grown adult children. It was a nice change that the heroine wasn't a young virgin and rather a mature woman who is still sexy and desirable. 
A very short story so I was a bit leery on marriage entering into any thoughts or conversations. Oh well. Its Christmas so let the magic work right? 
Teaser: Cute play on mistletoe usage. 

1818 - One Kiss for Christmas by Vanessa Kelly

Nigel Dash is London’s most reliable gentleman, a reputation he never minded until he fell in love with beautiful Amelia Easton. Unfortunately, Amelia sees Nigel as a dependable friend, not a dashing suitor. At Lady Winterson’s famous Christmas ball, Nigel vows to change Amelia’s mind—by sweeping her off her feet.
It is hard for anthology romance novels to have believable love stories but One Kiss for Christmas completely sold me. What a sweet and touching short love story. There was a great couple, true love and even time for an arrogant villain to be added to the mix. Great Christmas spirit throughout the story. I don't recall reading other Vanessa Kelly novels but I liked her style.
Teaser: A good Father Christmas would make a good father

1825 - His Christmas Cinderella by Anna Campbell

At the season’s most glittering ball, a girl who has never dared to dream of forever after discovers a Christmas miracle.
His Christmas Cinderella was starting out to be my favourite of the anthology but near the ending, it lost me. I loved the beginning so much and the "Cinderaellaish" circumstances that brought the pair together. However, the author lost me when she had the "Cinderella", Campion constantly doubt her Scottish "Prince", Laachlan all the way to a ball in a carriage ride. Their entire conversation made me wish that they hadn't spoke a word to each other. That conversation is where their personalities came out and I decided that I didn't like Campion at all and Lachlan seemed like a big wimp.
Teaser: A twist on a Cinderella story

1830 - The Last First Kiss by Kate Noble

Susannah Westforth has always loved Sebastian Beckett – but he’s only ever seen her as a friend. When Sebastian takes his Grand Tour, Susannah transforms herself into a woman he’ll notice. Now Sebastian is back, just in time for Lady Winterson's Christmas ball – but the last thing he expects to see is his little Susie, all grown up...

You’re invited to join the whirling dance at Lady Winterson’s sparkling Christmas ball, where miracles happen and true love shines forever. How can you resist?
Best for last. I loved The Last First Kiss! I totally adore stories when the protagonists have a memorable history dating back to their childhoods. When these types of stories are done right, they are fabulous...and The Last First Kiss was fabulous. 
All through the anthology series the readers are treated to a secondary story starring the Grosvenor Square hostess and her faithful butler. The Last First Kiss brought a completely satisfactory ending to their story. Loved it. 
The main story with Susannah and Sebastian is the story that brought all the smiles though. Great couple! 
Teaser: Childhood adoration turn adult love