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It’s Monday – What Are You Reading?

monday reading
Have you every had one of those weekends where you know the rest of your work week is going to be long and painful. That was me this weekend – being a Navy reservist, I do one weekend a month of duty – which normally means long hours – case in point, last night (Sunday), I didn’t walk i the door until 7:30pm after leaving at 5:30am. Yes, I know it probably seems a bit whiney and I shouldn’t but some days I get grumpy. I think I may put a grumpy bear warning on my desk at work. Hopefully, reading this week, will put me in a better place.

murder on murray hillMurder in Murray Hill – Victoria Thompson
Frank Malloy has never known any life other than that of a cop, but his newfound inheritance threatens his position within his department. While trying to keep both his relationship with Sarah and his fortune under wraps, he’s assigned to a new case—finding a missing young woman for her worried father, Henry Livingston.

It seems the girl had been responding to “lonely hearts” ads in the paper for months before she disappeared. Her father thinks that she’s eloped with a deceptive stranger, but Malloy fears the worst, knowing that the grifters who place such ads often do much more than simply abscond with their victims. But as Sarah and Malloy delve deeper into a twisted plot targeting the city’s single women, it’s their partnership—both professional and private—that winds up in the greatest peril

I’ve been reading this series in bits and pieces over the last few months. I like the fact that I can easily jump around between books in the series without being too lost – while there is some story arc, it isn’t so detailed that you get lost. I’m only about an hour into this audiobook but I am enjoying it so far and looking forward to listening to it during my commute to work this week.

i shall be near youI Shall Be Near You – Erin Lindsey McCabe
Rosetta doesn’t want her new husband Jeremiah to enlist, but he joins up, hoping to make enough money that they’ll be able to afford their own farm someday. Though she’s always worked by her father’s side as the son he never had, now that Rosetta is a wife she’s told her place is inside with the other women. But Rosetta decides her true place is with Jeremiah, no matter what that means, and to be with him she cuts off her hair, hems an old pair of his pants, and signs up as a Union soldier.
Rosetta drills with the men, prepares herself for battle, and faces the tension as her husband comes to grips with having a fighting wife. Fearing discovery of her secret, Rosetta’s strong will clashes with Jeremiah’s as their marriage is tested by war. Inspired by over two hundred and fifty documented accounts of the women who fought in the Civil War while disguised as men, I Shall Be Near To You is the intimate story, in Rosetta’s powerful and gorgeous voice, of the drama of marriage, one woman’s amazing exploits, and the tender love story that can unfold when two partners face life’s challenges side by side.

I won this book during the Penguin First Reads giveaway about 6 months ago, but like normal, it got added to the mountain range that is my to-be-read pile – but for some reason, it right it looks intriguing, so I’m digging on in. I’ve heard good things about it from people on Twitter, so fingers crossed.

designed by loveDesigned By Love – Kelsey Browning
Ashton Davenport: Hot blonde. Old Money. Off-limits.
That’s how Mac McLaughlin sees her, anyway. And now that he’s enduring a temporary self-imposed exile in tiny Shelbyville, Texas, he’s seeing her way too often. Mac only wants to succeed as the contractor for the Lily Lake development in order to rebuild his reputation and return to Dallas, pronto. A sexy distraction like Ashton was not in the plans.

Mac McLaughlin: Hot builder. Cash poor. Hands-on.
Ashton kissed her trust fund goodbye and left her life as a society princess to prove she could make it on her own. Developing Lily Lake is her big chance, but it’s hard to stay focused working side-by-side with bossy, rough-around-the-edges Mac. Especially when he pulls off his shirt.

When the discovery of an endangered species derails the project, Mac can’t afford to stick around for a stalled job. His and Ashton’s explosive chemistry aside, he’s outta there…unless she can convince him that they just might be able to build something together

I always love getting ARC’s from authors I love – and Kelsey Browning is no different. This is the 4th book in her Texas Nights series and the second one i’ve gotten the opportunity to read/review early. Its actually been burning a hole in my TBR pile for close to a month, but since it isn’t released until November, I wanted to hold off reading it for a little bit while – so my mind was fresh-ish when it came time to post my review

judgmentJudgment – Carey Baldwin
hen a coed falls prey to a sadistic murderer, forensic psychiatrist Dr. Caitlin “Caity” Cassidy and Special Agent Atticus Spenser are called in to testify–one for the defense, one for the prosecution. With warring approaches to justice, these two rivals have been butting heads for years–both inside the courtroom and out. And at first, this case appears to be no different.

But when a brutal attack leaves the accused man dead and Caity in critical condition, petty differences take a backseat to saving lives. As the lone survivor, Caity knows too much, and the killer–a madman calling himself the Man in the Maze–is coming back for round two. Now Caity and Spense must join forces to uncover the killer’s identity before Caity’s time–and luck–runs out.

This is another new to me author – I happened to come across her in a facebook group (I think it was for Avon romance…) and she was looking for reviewers for her new book – I was intrigued enough by the description that I asked her for a review copy and looking forward to reading it.

Wish me luck on my reading week ;)

 
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Posted by on October 20, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

Review – Red – Kate SeRine

redRed
Author: Kate SeRine
Series: #1 in the Transplanted Tales series
Rating: ☆ ☆

Description:
“My name is Tess Little. But everyone calls me Red.”

Once upon a time, a spell went awry, stranding Make Believe characters in the ordinary world. Since then, Tess “Red” Little—a/k/a Little Red Riding Hood—has worked as an Enforcer for the Chicago branch of the Fairytale Management Authority. But, consider yourself warned—she’s not just some waif with a basket of goodies. All grown up and with nothing to lose, a gun and combat boots is more her style. And Red’s new assignment threatens to be short on happily ever afters…

Someone is murdering transplanted Tales in gruesome fashion. The list of fictional characters capable of such grisly acts is short and includes more than one of Red’s old flames. And if that wasn’t bad enough, there’s another complication, in the form of sexy, enigmatic Nate Grimm, the FMA’s lead detective and part-time Reaper. Used to following her own rules and living life on the edge, Red has managed to avoid taking on a partner until now. But Nate’s dark side makes him perfect for a case like this. That is, if she can trust him. Because if there’s one thing Red knows for sure, it’s that believing in the wrong person can have big, bad consequences…

Review:
Every three months I start a reading challenge on goodreads that consists of various tasks (like read a book with a certain element on the cover; or set in a certain location). One of these tasks is a group read – every season 3 books, in different themes, are selected by the group members – you have to read 1 of the books to complete the task. Red by Kate SeRine was selected as the group read for the theme, Fairy Tale Re-tellings (the other two books that were selected were A is for Alibi for First Book in a Cozy Mystery series and All the Light We Cannot See for Modern Literary biggies). Of the 3 books, Red was the only one that seemed remotely interesting – I’d previously DNF’d A is for Alibi and All the Light We Cannot See just didn’t intrigue me.

Unfortunately, while it was the most intriguing to me, overall it just didn’t work for me. It was really hard for me to get to into the book. I found it really easy to put the book down (or move onto another book that was in the pile). When I look back now, I think it was because there was just too much going on with the storyline. I liked the idea of fairy tales who have come to life and live in the real world, integrating much like you see vampires/werewolves in paranormal romance – just being one of the people. But it wasn’t just fairy tales, like Little ‘Red’ Riding Hood (the main character), there were characters from classic literature (Ms. Bennett and Mr Darcy from Pride and Prejudice); the Grim Reaper and even elements from various mythologies. Too many characters, and stories to track, which contributed to my struggle.

The mystery element, by itself, was interesting – tales (as they called) being murdered in gruesome/sadistic ways – and Red, as a character was intriguing (if a bit annoying at times). although she did have a few TSTL moments where I wanted to Gibbs-slap her. I felt like the author did a good job of laying down false pathways to figure out the who did it – but at the same time, I was totally blind-sided by the result. Even reflecting now, I didn’t see any clues that would have tied the mystery back to the person who did it. That was a bit, I don’t know…I like mysteries where I can actually try and guess who it was, not be completely out of the loop.

The overall ending of the book, also left me with questions – i get that its the first book in a series but it needed some more of a conclusion. But the excerpt from the second book caught my eye and I’m not ashamed to admit that I’ll probably try it, even though I’m only giving Red 2 stars (normally below my level for continuing a series).

 
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Posted by on October 18, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Review – Just for You – Rosalind James

just for youJust for You
Author: Rosalind James
Series: #.5 in the Escape to New Zealand series
Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ 1/2

Review Copy Provided by Author

Description:
No shirt, no shoes, no … problems?

Hemi Ranapia isn’t looking for love. Fun, yes. Love, not so much. But a summer fishing holiday to laid-back Russell could turn out to be more adventure than this good-time boy ever bargained for.

Reka Harata hasn’t forgotten the disastrously hot rugby star she met a year ago, no matter how much she wishes she could. Too bad Hemi keeps refusing to be left in her past.

Sometimes, especially in New Zealand’s Maori Northland, it really does take a village. And sometimes it just takes a little faith.

Review:
If you are new to Rosalind James or have previously read her books, Just for You works for everyone. Notionally, a prequel to her Escape to New Zealand series, it focuses on Hemi and Reka who are pivotal secondary characters through the other 5 books in the series. So if you have read the series, like me, you are probably looking forward to their story and if you are new to the series, then it is a great place to start.

Just for You was originally a novella that showed up in one of the Amazon box sets, but the author re-released it as a single title a few months after. So it was also a short read, but I will say that the author managed to put a lot of detail and story into a 33k words. This book, much more than previous ones, really highlighted how much the author knows about rugby – at times I felt like I was actually watching the game.

My biggest gripe was the “big misunderstanding” which is personally one of my least favorite tropes in romance. It just bugs me because most of the time, it could be cleared up with a couple of simple questions. While I liked Reka in previous books, this just kind of irked me – maybe because it wasn’t how I thought she’d act based on previous characterization.

Aside from that, my only other complaint is that I wished it was a little bit longer – I really liked Hemi/Reka as a couple and would love to see more of them as they settled into their lives together. I guess all I can hope is that the author will continue to feature them in more books. Overall, I gave Just for You 3.5 stars and look forward to continuing the series.

 
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Posted by on October 17, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Random Reads – October

random reads

So I’m coming a little bit late to this for October, since I just found the meme, but I love the idea. I’m always really bad about adding books to my TBR list on Goodreads and then they just sit there, until I clean off the list and move them to some other virtual list. Since I use multiple TBR lists on Goodreads, I’m going to stick with my To-Read-2014 List for this challenge. These are books that I have found randomly intriguing throughout the year – I try to keep it relatively up to date (as compared to my general to-read that has 1200+ books on it).

As of October 16, 2014, this list has 405 books on it – by using random.org and the random number generator set between 1 and 405 – I got 345 which corresponds to Bully – Penelope Douglas. I added this to my to-read shelf in July of this year, so its a relatively new one on the shelf, but I’m hearing lots of people talk about it on Goodreads and Amazon – it seems to be a fairly polarizing book – either you love it or you hate it.

bully

My name is Tate. He doesn’t call me that, though. He would never refer to me so informally, if he referred to me at all. No, he’ll barely even speak to me.

But he still won’t leave me alone.

We were best friends once. Then he turned on me and made it his mission to ruin my life. I’ve been humiliated, shut out, and gossiped about all through high school. His pranks and rumors got more sadistic as time wore on, and I made myself sick trying to stay out of his way. I even went to France for a year, just to avoid him.

But I’m done hiding from him now, and there’s no way in hell I’ll allow him to ruin my senior year. He might not have changed, but I have. It’s time to fight back.

I’m not going to let him bully me anymore.

 
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Posted by on October 16, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

In Memoriam – James ‘Jim’ Thompson (1964-2014)

james thompsonIt’s always a sad day when I have to write a post like this. This morning began like every other Monday, dragging myself out of bed, and getting ready to face the world, then I logged into facebook. The first thing I saw was a notification from Naomi Blackburn, a friend and fellow moderator of our Goodreads Nordic Noir group, with a link to an obituary written in Finnish about James death over the weekend.

It hit home for me, James was not only a genuinely good guy, but he would always talk to you about anything you wanted. It was like he had an insight into your world. A writer, born in Kentucky, but making Finland his home for the last decade, Jim was my first introduction to the genre, Nordic Noir when I randomly picked up his book at the library one day. My review of his book Snow Angels was also one of the first that I featured on my blog when I was launched over three years ago. Not only was Jim such a great guy, but, in a round about way, he introduced me to one of my favorite reading friends, Naomi Blackburn, when we both came across a review written about an ARC of one of his books that was chockful of spoilers. It was a match-made in reading heaven.

I’ll miss his books, I’ll miss his witty commentary in our group, on Facebook and on his twitter but most of all I’ll miss him. As bittersweet as it will be, I look forward to reading the final book in his Kari Vaara series. So everyone take some time today and raise a glass to Jim.

james thompson

 
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Posted by on August 4, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

Review – Binding Agreement – Pam McKenna

binding agreementBinding Agreement
Author: Pam McKenna
Rating: ✩ ✩ ✩ ½

Review Copy Provided by Author via RABT

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Description:
A chance encounter on a moonlit beach draws sensible, cautious Kay Denehy into a night of anonymous passion and surrender with a ruthlessly dominant stranger. As John Randall introduces her to the exotic thrills of bondage and discipline, she discovers who she really is under the prim schoolteacher exterior—a sexual submissive who needs the strict and ardent guidance of a take-no-prisoners Dom like him. John carries more than his share of emotional baggage, the result of a tragedy for which he feels responsible. Though he cares for Kay, he refuses to pursue a relationship, certain he could only bring her pain. He pushes her away even as his unconscious dream self turns her into a sex slave to be punished and enjoyed ménage-style by two other zealous and demanding Doms. For the first time in her life, Kay knows what she needs, and who she needs, to be sexua lly and emotionally fulfilled. She knows, too, the path John must take to escape his dark places—if only he’ll trust her to lead the way.

Review:
This is a hard review for me to write, not because I didn’t enjoy the book, but because my opinion of it is split into two distinct trains of thought. Even now, 5 days after reading it, I’m confused on how I wanted to rate it or what to say. So I guess, i’m just going to go with the flow.

It has been a while since I’ve read a book like Binding Agreement – a few years ago, I was reading similar books frequently, but felt myself getting burnt out, so I took some time off. But when the call for reviews of Binding Agreement popped in my email, I was sufficiently intrigued to put my virtual hand up in the air to participate. I will admit that like usual, I did little to no research on the author or the book before hand (mostly because I don’t like others opinions affect my own). But the gorgeous cover caught my eye – I’m a sucker for these types of covers – but I will say after reading, that I don’t think this cover in general (as much as I love it) is a good representation of the story. So after I was done I went back and took a look and after finding out this was a re-release, and seeing the other cover (while cheesy), it fit the theme of the story much better to me.

This isn’t your mothers romance, that is for sure. I won’t argue that the author can write and write well. I was sucked into the story. Unfortunately, I felt that the length (only 111 pgs) was detrimental – there was so much detail packed in, that for me it seemed kind of choppy in places. I think this would have been a great story with another 10k or so words. Just a way to develop the storyline a bit more. It was too sparse in places, which led to some of the other issues that I had with the idea of consent (which seemed almost non-existant – there was no real “discussion” for lack of a better word) and how Kay/John’s relationship progressed. While the writing was hot, it also left me feeling a bit cold (not sure if that actually makes sense or not).

There were also some parts of the storyline that just seemed to be left hanging – I know why they were introducted – to help develop John more as a person and not just a Dom, but to me, there was just no resolution, which I kind of needed. I also wanted to see more of Eric after we were introduced to him, unfortunately, from the authors website, it doesn’t look like he has a story (as of yet).

But when all was said and done, I gave Binding Agreement 3.5 stars – because as I mentioned above, it was well written. I just needed more.

 
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Posted by on July 30, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

Seriously Saturday Series Catch-Up – Update

seriously saturday

So i’ll admit, I’ve been a complete slacker when it comes to doing updates for this challenge. I have been reading, but between work, school and triathlon training, my blog posts have really fallen off, so I apologize. But never fear, here is one of my updates – I’ve read enough of my books over the last few months that I’ll probably spread this out over several updates.

spider bonesSpider Bones – Kathy Reichs

I’ll admit that I was disappointed in this 13th installment in the Tempe Brennan series. While the mystery was decent (bones found believed to be a MIA from the Vietnam but are they really?), but i felt like the drama between the secondary characters took up too much time in the story and kind of started to overpower it. There were also moments where it felt like the author was trying to show the readers just how much she knew, rather than developing the mystery. It was kind of disappointing, since I normally enjoy this series. I did enjoying seeing the insights into the location out in Hawaii where a location of the unknown solider identification goes on, it is something that has intrigued me since I first read about various soldiers who died in wars being identified, it is a place that I would love to visit.

helsinki whiteHelsinki White – James Thompson

I’ve been putting off reading this book because a friend and reviewer that I trust gave it a bad review and then turned around and revised her review – so I was conflicted. Most of her comments revolved around how the character had done a total 180 in his character following the twist at the end of book 2. And now having read the book, I totally agree with her. I finished the book scratching my head and wondering what happened to the Kari Vaara that I had enjoyed in the previous books, in this one, he left a real dirty taste in my mouth – I guess it just goes to show that good and evil can be just a flip of a coin. But I was intrigued enough by how it ended to continue on with the series.

this side of the graveThis Side of the Grave – Jeaniene Frost

I know everyone seems to rave about this series, but I don’t know, for me, yeah, its mildly entertaining but I dunno – I guess I keep reading because I like the mindless entertainment that it gives me enough to be willing to sacrifice the time to read. And this installment was no different – in all honesty, I’m struggling to remember what happened in this book. I remember that it took place after Cat found out about all her cool new vampire powers, and that there were weird stuff going on with ghoul’s and vampires in New Orleans. Hmmm…yeah, I’m sure i’ll finish the series, but yeah…I know that sounds like kind of a downer, but when I really can’t remember all that much of the book, I guess it didn’t impress all that much

come home to meCome Home to Me – Brenda Novak

This was an ARC that I received from the author, but like my other books in this post, it seems like this one was also a disappointment. For me, it deviated too far from a traditional romance and there was too much going on, that it felt like the primary characters kind of took a backseat. Plus there were some actions by the secondary characters that almost made me throw the book across the room, in fact, I may have if I hadn’t been reading it on my kindle…but I persevered even though the book didn’t get a good review (although I wasn’t the only person who apparently felt that way…)

It really seems like all of the books in my series continuation challenge were downers, but they really weren’t, I did manage to read some I enjoyed…they were just few and far between…

 
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Posted by on June 28, 2014 in Uncategorized

 
 
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