Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Third Grave Dead Ahead by Darynda Jones

Third Grave Dead Ahead (Charley Davidson book 3) 

By Darynda Jones

Book Blurb:Paranormal private eye. Grim reaper extraordinaire. Whatever. Charley Davidson is back! And she's drinking copious amounts of caffeine to stay awake because, every time she closes her eyes, she sees him: Reyes Farrow, the part-human, part-supermodel son of Satan. Yes, she did imprison him for all eternity, but come on. How is she supposed to solve a missing persons case, deal with an ego-driven doctor, calm her curmudgeonly dad, and take on a motorcycle gang hell-bent on murder when the devil's son just won't give up?

Once again another fabulous story. In fact, I read and devoured Third Grave Dead Ahead so fast that when I have finished Fourth Grave Beneath My Feet, I am going to go back and re-read it. 

Throughout Third Grave Dead Ahead our beloved grim reaper, Charley is severely sleep deprived and on a permanent caffeine high. Every time she goes to sleep, Reyes mystically comes to her in his incorporeal body and erotic emotions take over both of their sensibilities. Normally all would be sexy, hot and wonderful except that their pairing is not making love but rather angry sex. They are mad at each other for many chapters of the story. As the supernatural Reyes is back in prison, his corporeal self won't even allow her to visit. The situation is both frustrating for all three of us...Reyes, Charley and ME the reader. We all want justice for Reyes!

Charley takes on another case and is looking for a missing married woman. She seems to be working for both the guilt ridden husband and the woman's distraught siblings. The pieces to that mysterious puzzle are strategically plotted together and if all mystery stories were written in Darynda Jones' style, I'd enjoy mysteries way more than I do. I found I was not so focused on what happened to the missing woman and rather just enjoyed the fabulous novel as all of the juicy story all unraveled. 

Of course, Charley is also working on a case for Reyes too. She is out to find Reyes' human sadistic, beast of a father (and that is being kind). He is apparently alive and well which means that Reyes has been imprisoned wrongly all these past 10 years for his supposed murder. The problem with Charley looking for his father is that she stirs up suspicion and places herself in grave danger. 

Third Grave Dead Ahead is chalk full of adventure, mystery and the story this time around stirred up some pretty intense emotions. I found myself being firmly planted as a part of Charley's team. When she was furious at her father, Reyes or any other of the characters, I was furious right along side with her. Simply outstanding. I know that I will re-read this series many times. 

Teasers: a character is shot, Charley learns a bit more about the power she posses, a new guardian, new biker gang friends

Monday, February 25, 2013

Second Grave on the Left by Darynda Jones

Charley Davidson

Second Grave on the Left (Charley Davidson book 2)

By Darynda Jones

Book Blurb:When Charley is rudely awakened in the middle of the night by her best friend who tells her to get dressed quickly and tosses clothes out of the closet at her, she can’t help but wonder what Cookie’s up to. Leather scrunch boots with a floral miniskirt? Together? Seriously? Cookie explains that a friend of hers named Mimi disappeared five days earlier and that she just got a text from her setting up a meet at a coffee shop downtown. They show up at the coffee shop, but no Mimi. But Charley finds a message on the bathroom wall. Mimi left a clue, a woman’s name. Mimi’s husband explains that his wife had been acting strange since she found out an old friend of hers from high school had been found murdered a couple weeks prior. The same woman Mimi had named in her message.
Meanwhile, Reyes Alexander Farrow (otherwise known as the Son of Satan. Yes. Literally) has left his corporeal body and is haunting Charley. He’s left his body because he’s being tortured by demons who want to lure Charley closer. But Reyes can’t let that happen. Because if the demons get to Charley, they’ll have a portal to heaven. And if they have a portal to heaven…well, let’s just say it wouldn’t be pretty. Can Charley handle hot nights with Reyes and even hotter days tracking down a missing woman? Will Cookie ever get a true fashion sense? And is there enough coffee and chocolate in the world to fuel them as they do?

Love love love! This Charley Davidson series has sky-rocked to the one of my favourite series. Love love love. Did I mention that I loved it?

You know when you get a book and you devour it. Like a bomb could go off and you'd not lift your eyes from your iPad to notice. Second Grave on the Left was just like that. I was so wrapped up in reading that when I finally did look up, I realized that (1) the book was done (2) I was really hungry (3) oh wow, it was dark out. 

There is so much content in Second Grave on the Left. Family dynamics, mystery, murder, mayhem, destruction, laughter, friendship, a bit of romance, suspense, seriously the list could go on. There are stories upon storylines yet they are all extremely well plotted out that they don't overlap each other or compete for the reader's attention. 

What makes this series so good (credit to the author, Darynda Jones) is the character she created, Charley Davidson. She is smart but not a genius. She is funny and witty but not ridiculous. She is sexy but completely unaware. She is perfect but with her flaws. Simply put, I adore her. 

Charley's Uncle Ubie describes her perfectly, "You stir up more hornets' nests than a twelve year-old boy with a baseball bat. You're like Lois Lane on crack." So really, with a description like that, how can we not love her? 

The only thing I want to gripe about is the cost of the ebooks. In some cases, the retail price is almost $4 more than the paperback. For someone like me who no longer purchases paper books, it is so annoying. Of course not the author's fault, I just want to vent when I can. 

And oh boy, Second Grave on the Left ends with the reader hanging. Not a major cliffhanger but hanging just the same. Off to read the next book!

Teasers: high school secrets, demons, portals, more abilities revealed

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

New to Me Author - Darynda Jones, Audio Review First Grave on the Right

Keeping up with my New Years Resolution, my "New to Me" author for February is Darynda Jones. 

Charley Davidson

First Grave on the Right (Charley Davidson book 1)

by Darynda Jones

Book Blurb:Part-time private investigator and full-time Grim Reaper Charley sees dead people. That's right, she sees dead people. And it's her job to convince them to "go into the light". But when these very dead people have died under less than ideal circumstances (i.e. murder), sometimes they want Charley to bring the bad guys to justice.
Complicating matters are the intensely hot dreams she's been having about an Entity who has been following her all her life... and it turns out he might not be dead after all. In fact, he might be something else entirely.

I had won the audio book, First Grave on the Right via a blog hop from an awesome audio book reviewer site, Hot Listens and I was saving it for a long car ride or a flight to listen to it. Turns out that while walking fast on a treadmill, the bouncing up and down was making it hard to read a book so I thought that this workout time would be perfect for audio books. Problem was, I got so sucked into First Grave on the Right that I couldn't wait in between workouts just to hear it. So as much as I wanted to savour the audio book, I couldn't. Guess I'll just have to find a more boring book to listen to while working out. *grins*

I am so hooked. I want to ignore the stack of already purchased books and go straight to a store and immediately buy the rest of this series.  The premise of the story is unique and the main character, Charley is as witty and alluring as they come. Chick lit at its best. I found myself laughing out loud and wanting the narrator to talk faster so could absorb the story at record pace. I thoroughly enjoyed First Grave on the Right

Charley is P.I. but that seems to just be her cover. With secret intel being shared to her from the recently deceased, she works with her detective uncle to help solve their murders. Charley is a Grim Reaper but it is not the cliched Grim we are all familiar with. You see, Charley's Grim plays for the good guy and she helps souls crossed into the light. She's had her gift her entire life and she can even remember the day she was born. 

First Grave on the Right had it all. Mystery, suspense, awesome characters, intriguing plot and oh yes, there was a bit of romance. I say a bit because I can tell you that the readers are just given a bare taste of what is to come in that regard. His name is Reyes and I say fasten your seat belts ladies because we are going on a wild ride. 

Teasers: Danger Will Robinson, dreams that will make you want to go to bed early every night, Angel sidekick, Dutch

Sunday, February 17, 2013

February's Fling by Maggie Wells

Sharon Mallory and Chad Holgren

February's Fling (Hot Nights in St. Blaise book 2)

By Maggie Wells

Book Blurb:Having a tough enough time reestablishing her credibility in the wake of the calendar’s success, Sharon Malloy refuses to jeopardize her career for a fling with an inappropriate man. No matter how badly she aches to be flung.
The sexy Finance Administrator may be fresh off the world’s most amicable divorce, but she’d long passed the age of giving in to reckless impulses. The problem is, when Chad Holgren touches her, it doesn’t feel reckless. It just feels right.
Sharon’s determination to play it cool only fuels Chad’s fire. Determined to prove he has what it takes to make her happy, he puts her through her paces time and again, stretching the boundaries of their relationship and hanging on tight when Cupid’s arrow catches them both with their pants down.

Even though February's Fling is book 2 in the Hot Nights in St. Blaise series. Each novella can definitely be read as a stand alone. The connection for the series is the hospital charity calendar that each of the characters modeled for. Good news because as a reader you can get any novella from the series and enjoy without the worry of not being familiar with the previous characters. 

I love the premise of February's Fling where as the female protagonist, Sharon is the 42 yr old divorcee who is being pursued by the smart 27 year old hot body, Chad. Now tell me that didn't put a smile on my face!

One of the personalities traits that I loved about Chad is that even though he is under thirty, he is quite successful and mature enough to know what he wants in life. He knows and he persues with fevour. He wants to be with Sharon and it was perfect that he drove to her house to tell her as such. Oh la la and what a declaration it was. 

"You have no idea… No idea how much I want you,” he murmured against her ear. He pushed her shirt over her belly. “Raise your arms.” Chad's desire for Sharon put me in a constant state of bliss. 

Chad never has doubts nor reservations regarding his feelings for Sharon where as she is not so sure. Even though she is a very tall "Wonder Woman" that has kept herself in shape, she has insecurities that her amicable divorce has left her questioning her desirability. I think a lot of women in their forties would relate. It is not a low self esteem issue but more believing that a gorgeous young man like Chad could be interested in her. I say go for it and take that February Fling!

Teasers: Thank you, Macy, "Everyone goes to the Huckleberry", hot yoga and not the kind you do in a group setting, cool grandpa

Friday, February 15, 2013

Winner of the Love is in the Air Blog Hop

The randomly selected winner of the Love is in the Air Blog Hop goes to one of my followers, Nay Nay

She has confirmed and I have now sent her the $25 Amazon Gift Card to purchase whichever books she wants. 

Stay tuned for more romance book reviews and March's blog hop. 

Thank you to everyone who participated. 

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Montana Sky by Nora Roberts

Tess, Lily and Willa's book

Montana Sky

By Nora Roberts

Book Blurb:In life, Jack Mercy hadn't been a kind man. In death, he was no different. His daughter Willa expected to inherit his ranch, the place she'd put her heart and soul into. But at the reading of the will, she learns that her home has been given not just to her, but to two sisters she barely knows as well. And in order to inherit, they must all live on the ranch for a period of one year.
None of the three sisters are happy with the arrangement. And apparently, neither is someone else as deadly incidents begin occurring around them. Willa, Tess and Lila find themselves fighting for their lives alongside the men who have become part of the lives and their hearts.

Originally Published 1996

Great story with a bit of a romance, sisterly love, mystery and suspense all mixed together.

Montana Sky was broken down into the four seasons and each one was carefully plotted and perfectly paced with a full year of content. I found none of the sections dragged on nor ended too quickly. Even through the cold and blistering winter season, you can't help but be swept up into the descriptive settings so beautifully written by Nora Roberts

Three sisters, who were complete strangers, were forced to live together for a full year as a condition of their wicked father's will in order to earn their inheritance. Jack Mercy was a complete jerk in life and I suppose upon his death he wanted to remain as mean spirited as he lived. I kept hoping over and over again that it would eventually be revealed that he wanted the three sisters to know each other and become a family but it just turned out that he was as mean as ever. The man had no love for anyone except his ranch. 

Montana Sky did not really come across to me as a romance novel. I would wholeheartedly agree about it being a women's novel but the story was more centered around the growth of the relationship between the sisters. Tess, Lily and Willa were fabulous characters. By the end of the story, I felt I had friends. Each were so different and over the course of the year the women's characters and personalities had grown substantially. Tess from a shallow city girl to a horse riding and caring woman. Lily from the shy, scared flower to a woman who could stand on her own two feet and finally Willa the woman who felt she had to prove everything to world could finally accept that she already had everyone's admiration and respect. I also loved that the women each helped themselves get to their special place and it was not from the guidance of a man. 

With three women came three romances and once again each one was different and matched perfectly to the sisters personalities. They were a joy to read. 

Being a vintage romance from the 90's it was awesome to read about about the aged electronics like VCR movies and the clothing styles of the nineties. I loved being able to pick up on those notables and giggle when I read about typing reports or lacey collars on dresses. So authentic. 

Throughout Montana Sky there is a mystery brewing and a brutal murdered on the loose. I had no idea who the culprit was and I was often changing my mind on who the killer could be. It was not until the very end that the pieces of that suspenseful puzzle came together. 

Teasers: Mercy Ranch, fight with mounted animal heads, scalping, Tess with trail of condoms - "I don't know whether to be afraid or flattered."  

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Guardian Angel by Julie Garwood

Jade Redfern & The Marques of Cainwood, Caine

Guardian Angel (Crown Spies book 2)

by Julie Garwood

Book Blurb:The Emerald flew across the seas, carrying the pirate Pagan -- despised by the ton, whose riches he plundered, and beloved by the poor, whose plight was eased by his gifts.
The Marquess of Cainewood vows to hunt down the pirate wretch in revenge for his brother's death. But when Jade, an enchanting vision of rippling red hair and eyes of jewel-green, appears at his door to beg desperately for his protection, the Marquess agrees to keep her safe from the villains who want her dead. Jade is infuriating, exasperating, and gorgeous; Caine is noble, strong-willed, and powerful. No woman has ever befuddled him so, nor so deeply aroused his desire. But as Jade answers his knowing caresses with an innocent, wild abandon, they are drawn into a web of treachery that will test the very heart of their love!

Original Pub May 1990

Hands down Julie Garwood writes the best historical heroines. Even if I don't fall in love with the story, I still adore the heroines. Jade is a great character and I enjoyed reading about her. I have to say though, where as Julie Garwood is generally a slam dunk 5 rating for me, Guardian Angel didn't wow me like her usual stories. 

Guardian Angel is book two in the Crown Spies series and it could definitely be read as a stand alone. I read book 1, The Lion's Lady a few years ago and it was very easy to understand Guardian Angel

Guardian Angel sat on my shelf for a long time because the book blurb mentions a "pirate" and I admit to really needing to be in the mood for a pirate story. In this respect I was delighted in how the story played out. An excellent twist and probably my favourite part of the story. 

I am trying to put my finger on why Guardian Angel didn't amaze me like most Julie Garwood books do. I've concluded that it was because the story was divided into different parts. I didn't mind the mystery that was woven into the romance so much but this time around I felt the novel would have ended perfectly once Jade and Caine were together. Now I know that I am contracting myself here because that is part of the magic with Garwood books that I adore. I normally love that Garwood often pairs up and marries off the couple earlier in the story and in this book, Jade and Caine didn't actually come together until well after the book was more than half way done. By this time, the mystery took over and there were still relationship reservations by Jade. 

Still a great read and I am happy I read it. Julie Garwood still remains one of my most favourite historical romance authors. 

Teasers: white rose calling card, secret Tribunal, Pagan mystery, lock breaker

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Love is in the Air Blog Hop - Book Quotes!

The Blog Hop that Another Look Book Reviews is participating in for February is hosted by book blog, Under the Covers. 

Welcome to our stop along the hop. 

February has to be a romance book lovers favourite month. To celebrate I am offering a giveaway of a $25 Amazon Gift Card (US/CAD) or up to $25 worth of books from Book Depository (INT). 

I wanna talk to you about book quotes. I LOVE book quotes. I get so excited when some phase or declaration of love strikes me while reading a book and I need to save it so I don't forget it. I'd like to share with you some of my favourites. 

Quotes with complete truth...
“Every woman should be told she's attractive. Men are seduced by their eyes, women by their ears."  
Magic Bleeds by Ilona Andrews

Quotes about life....
On marriage..."You gotta love her even when you don't feel like it. Love is a decision, not a feelin', because believe me, you won't be feelin' the love a whole lot of time.”
Too Hot to Handle by Robyn Kaye

Quotes with humour that crack me up...
“Im not looking for marriage here, Zach. I just want to fuck her until one of us dies.” 
Go Fetch by Shelley Laurenston

Quotes that are sexy...
“I'll bet you could make a woman throw out all her toys.” 
Pleasure Unbound by Larrisa Ione

Quotes that are incredibly impactful to the story-line and leave you breathless...
"You're leaving me, Rainbow Girl."
Dreamfever by Karen Marie Moning

Quotes that hit you right in the heart and you want to cry from the shear joy of reading it....
"When the day shall come that we do part, if my last words are not 'I love you'-ye'll ken it was because I didna have time."
The Fiery Cross, Diana Gabaldon

Oh boy I could go on but those above are some of my favourites. Do you have favourites? 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

At Last by Jill Shalvis

Amy Michaels & Matt Bowers' book

At Last (Lucky Harbor book 5)

By Jill Shalvis

Book Blurb:HER LOVE HAS COME ALONG . . . Amy Michaels loves her new life in Lucky Harbor. A waitress in the local diner, she's looking forward to her first weekend hike through the mountains. But when a wrong turn takes her off the trail, she finds herself up close and personal with forest ranger Matt Bowers. And even though she's tempted to kiss that sexy smile right off his face, she won't make the mistake of getting involved with the town heartthrob.
A former cop whose life went south, Matt doesn't let anyone get too close. But something about the feisty beauty caught his eye the moment he first saw her in the diner. After a hot night under a starry sky, Matt can't deny their attraction-or the fact that for the first time in a long time, he feels the stirrings of something more. Now it's up to Matt to help Amy see that, no matter what is in their past, together they can build a future in Lucky Harbor.

Once again another fabulous installment of Jill Shalvis' Lucky Harbor series. I just adore the townsfolk of this Pacific Northwest town. At Last didn't ignore any of the secondary characters that the readers have grown to love. 

Amy's heart is sealed shut. Vaulted tight. Iced over. I honestly didn't know what it was about Amy that Matt thought was appealing. She barely smiled. She was short with her answers and really only had three chocoholic friends surrounding her. I'd like to think that maybe Matt had a hero thing going on and that he figured he needed to save her or something. BUT even when his sexy Park Ranger self had to save a lost Amy, she was annoyingly a "tough girl" and very ungrateful. I wasn't quite sure how I was going to like this heroine. Admittedly it took more than half way through the book before I started to thaw towards her. 

Jill Shalvis' inspiration for Matt
Matt. Oh Matt. Ranger Hot Buns. Enough said? Matt is the quintessential romance book hero. Navy turned cop turned park ranger. Matt and Amy do heat up the pages with some awesome sexual tension. I really liked that Amy was all "don't fall in love with me" and "lets have sex but only sex and not a relationship".  It was Matt who was craving the relationship. Personally I thought Amy was nuts but she clearly had personal issues that she needed to overcome before giving her heart to someone. Amy had major trust issues. 

To help Amy get over her issues I thought it was really interesting that Jill Shalvis used another character, eighteen year old Riley, to reflect and deflect Amy's history. I thought it was a cool angle and it was probably the quickest way to get Amy to discover through her own self recovery how to heal the past without the aid of a man to be the rescue hero. It is very fitting that the book is called, At Last

I do adore this Lucky Harbor series and I can't wait to read the next book, Forever and a Day.  

Teasers: Amy & Matt have the best friends ever, falling down; in the dark; while camping; to sneak away to go pee ends in (me with a smile)