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Review – Anthology – Snowy Days, Steamy Nights

SDSNBoxedSetFinalSnowy Days, Steamy Nights
Authors: Katy Regnery, Jamie Farrell, Veronica Forand, Kate Forest, Jennie Marts, Susan Scott Shelley
Series: #.5 in the Glendale Riptide series; #2.5 in the Misfits Brides of Bliss series
Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ½

Review Copy Provided in Exchange for Review

I’ll admit that I always find it hard to review anthologies – because as anyone who has read my reviews know, I tend to like to write fairly detailed reviews and sometimes contributions in anthologies make that hard to do. You want to make sure to include a good review of each book, without going overboard, or having an exceptionally long review. Overall, I enjoyed the various installments and found several authors I’m looking forward to trying again in the future/

FROSTED – Katy Regnery – 3 stars
This is the first book I’ve read by Ms Regency (although I see her name come up quite frequently on book recommendation threads/message boards). Unfortunately, I left her story in the anthology feeling like I was missing something. I was really looking forward to the idea of a romance between an older couple (the main character, Grace, is in her mid-50’s) and a second chance romance to boot (because I’m a sucker for those). But Grace just left me feeling cold – I never really got the feeling that she was ready for a new romance, she was still too preoccupied with her past and honestly, I found her to be quite off-putting. I sort of liked Trey (the main male character), but if I had been him, I would have run screaming from Grace. Unfortunately, Frosted, just lacked overall for me. But I’ll likely give the author another chance, maybe a full-length story will work better for me.

GROUNDED – Kate Forest – 3.5 stars
This is the first book I’ve read by Kate Forest and it won’t be the last. I really liked the idea of being stranded at an airport (since god knows, I’ve gotten stuck enough times). The main character, Julia’s reaction to Chicago weather made me laugh because I have several friends like that and Ms Forest managed to get the irksome nature just right. I liked Jeremy as a character, and seeing him develop/come into his own made me happy. I love how he loved his mom and would go to bat for her – it made me smile. I’d be intrigued to see more books about people who could be linked back to this story (employees for Jeremy’s company, friends of Julia). This could be a good way to start a series, but also works well as a stand-alone.

MELTED – Jennie Marts – 3.5 stars
From reading the description, I was looking forward to this installment in the anthology – since I’m a sucker for second chance stories and for the most part, this was a good read. Unfortunately, I found myself wanting more while I was reading. I like the theme of a rekindled summer romance from when they were teenagers, but at the same time, it also revolved around the big misunderstanding theme which kind of irked me. I think this would have been a better stand-alone story that could have been developed a bit more. Although I had a few issues with Melted, it was a cute read and I will be checking out more books by Ms Marts in the future

REKINDLED – Susan Scott Shelley – 4 stars
If I was asked which of my books in the anthology was a favorite, it would be a toss-up between Rekindled and Smittened (Jamie Farrell) – I have definately found a new author that I am looking forward to checking out and reading in the future. One of the things that I appreciated in this story was that while it was a second chance story, neither of the main characters really had the major woe is me doldrums that comes when a relationship doesn’t work out (meaning that while they still loved each other/missed each other; they tried to move on to the best of their respective abilities. Plus, I loved the dog in the story and hope to see him show up in later books. Bonus is that this story kicks off a new series and i’m looking forward to trying to out.

SMITTENED – Jamie Farrell – 4 stars
I’ve never hidden my love of Jamie’s books (since she is also a friend) and when she offered me the chance to review the anthology, I jumped on it. Her story takes place in his Misfit Brides of Bliss series, which she introduced in her book, The Husband Games. All I can say right now, is that I want some of the sexual connotations ice cream that was featured in the book, I mean Chocolate Orgasm, hello! (although my discovery of wine flavored ice cream may just have to tie me over). Dahlia reminded me of Jamie in a way (I’m sure some of the tales she tells have ended up in her books) and Mikey was just a bad boy looking for love. I can’t wait for the next book in the series to come out (yes, I virtually stalk her).

SNOWED – Veronica Forand – 2.5 stars
Snowed was another story that I thought had potential, but unfortunately for me, didn’t work in the novella format. I felt like the author needed more time/length to develop the story. It seemed rushed and unfinished in places to me. There were a few places where I really found myself rooting for the characters, but then it was like the next scene just happened and I felt like I was missing something. but the ending was at least optomistic, and I’d be interested to see if she could develop the story into more of a series with other people who were featured in the story. However, while I felt like I was missing something with the story, I did like her writing style and am intrigued enough to want to try more of her stuff (and I think I have at least one of her books on Mt TBR).

Overall, I enjoyed the majority of the stories in the anthology and felt like it was a good way to be introduced to new authors. My 2 favorite stories in the anthology were Rekindled and Smittened – but I look forward to seeing what all of the authors do in the future. Overall, I gave the anthology 3.5 with a wide variety of ratings from the individual contributions.

 
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Posted by on January 12, 2015 in Book Review

 

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Review – Headed for Trouble – Suzanne Brockmann (@SuzBrockmann)

headed for troubleHeaded For Trouble
Author: Suzanne Brockmann
Series: #16.5 in the Troubleshooters series

Thanks to Ballantine Books and Edelweiss for providing me with the review copy

Description:
New York Times bestselling author Suzanne Brockmann, whom USA Today calls “the reigning queen of military suspense,” breaks out a rapid-fire collection of pulse-pounding, heart-tugging stories and novellas featuring the intrepid men and women of Troubleshooters Inc., fiction’s hottest ultimate counterterrorism squad.
• Tough-as-nails Troubleshooters operative Sam Starrett learns the agony of loving someone in danger—and the hell of waiting on the home front—as his wife, Alyssa, hurtles into a foreign hotspot that’s about to boil over.
• Navy SEAL Frank O’Leary’s ill-fated holiday reunion with his older brother takes a turn for the better—when a chance encounter on a rainy New Orleans street gives Frank a reason to be thankful after all.
• In a maze of tunnels deep beneath a military base in Germany, Jules Cassidy, Alyssa Locke, and their comrades in arms match wits with terrorists on a mission with explosive consequences.
Plus more never-before-released adventures featuring Jenk, Izzy, Gillman, Lopez, Kenny, Savannah, and other members of SEAL Team 16—along with Suzanne Brockmann’s exclusive interviews with her beloved characters.

Review:
Oh Suzanne, how I have missed thee ;) It was a sad day when I finished the last few pages of Breaking the Rules (#16 in the series), because I knew that it would be the last one (at least for a while). There would be no more yearly anticipation for the release of the new book in the series and then the torture that I put myself through before letting myself read it (because I knew that once I started, I just wouldn’t stop)…so when I saw that there was an anthology coming out – I did a happy dance (and yes, I truely did…around my house).

This book was comprised of a number of little snippets (day of the life kind of deals), a couple of interviews with characters, a few of the shorts that had appeared as bonus excerpts in books and then my favorite – 2 brand-new short stories – that were actually rather chunky (and I loved them for it!) Trying not to be spoilerish, the first one takes place mostly with secondary characters that appears in All Through The Night (#12 – aka Jules and Robin’s story), so there was actually very little of my favorite SeAL’s showing up in it, but it was still super cute. And the second one, what happens when you mix a SEaL, a famous actor, 3 kids and a bout of food poisoning in BFE (in case you don’t know what that means, butt-f… egypt)…hilarity ensues for sure.

I would totally recommend this for anyone who has read and loved Suz’s characters in the past. If you haven’t read the rest of the books in the series, you might get a bit lost, but maybe these snippets will entice you to pick up the other books in the series. I just hope that Suz’s puts us out of our misery and revisits the teams in a few years with some new stories (puleeze!!). 4 stars!

 
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Posted by on January 23, 2013 in Book Review

 

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Review – Naughty and Nice: Three Holiday Treats

naughty and niceI would be remiss if I didn’t actually review a Christmas book on Christmas – so even though it is still a couple of hours away, voila! Now time to go back to NORAD and tracking Santa ;)

Naughty and Nice: Three Holiday Treats
Authors: Ruthie Knox, Molly O’Keefe, Stefanie Sloane

Description:
ROOM AT THE INN by Ruthie Knox
Carson Vance couldn’t wait to get out of Potter Falls, but now that he’s back to spend Christmas with his ailing father, he must face all the people he left behind . . . like Julie Long, whose heart he broke once upon a time. Now the proprietor of the local inn, Julie is a successful, seductive, independent woman—everything that Carson’s looking for. But despite several steamy encounters under the mistletoe, Julie refuses to believe in happily ever after. Now Carson must prove to Julie that he’s back for good—and that he wants her in his life for all the holidays to come.

ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS IS YOU by Molly O’Keefe
Maddy Baumgarten and Billy Wilkins are spontaneous, in love, and prepared to elope the day after Christmas—that is, if Maddy’s family doesn’t throw a wrench in their plans. After all, Maddy’s barely out of high school and Billy’s a notorious bad boy. Maddy doesn’t care about Billy’s rough past—all she cares about is living in the here and now. But after Maddy’s mother stops speaking to her in protest, and a Christmas Eve heart-to-heart with her father leaves her with butterflies, Maddy starts to get cold feet. She loves Billy, but is she taking this big step too soon?

ONE PERFECT CHRISTMAS by Stephanie Sloane
After being jilted by her fiancé, Jane Merriweather turns to her dear childhood friend, the Honorable Lucas Cavanaugh, for support—and unlocks the smoldering desire simmering in the man’s troubled heart. Frightened by his newfound feelings, Lucas flees to Scotland. But when the Christmas season brings them together again, one glance is all that’s needed to reignite his yearning. If Lucas can convince Jane that his intentions are as pure as the falling snow, they’ll turn a dreary December into a joyous Yuletide affair.

Review:
I always have a hard time writing reviews when it comes to anthologies, but an even harder job rating the book – do I rate it overall or do each story separately; should I average out the reviews for an overall (and yes, I know that I am probably overthinking this!) Anyways, I think for this instance, I am going to break them down into individual ratings and then average the ratings out.

The star of the anthology was definitely Ruthie Knox’s book – i have to say that she has become one of my favorite new authors that I discovered in 2012. Her romance set while biking across the US is a top 20 book for me. I loved the tension between Julie and Carson until they finally caved and gave into their feelings that had never really gone away. Carson’s relationship with his father was entertaining – you could see a hint of a matchmaker in him – a bit of deviousness. I have to admit when I saw the title of this story that I was expecting a trite play on the birth of Christ that seems to always happen in books set around Christmas – so I was pleasantly surprised to not have to deal with that. I’d give this story a solid 4 stars.

My least favorite of the three was Molly O’Keefe’s. I think mostly because it was the shortest and I just didn’t feel like I got a chance to know any of the characters. Maddy drove me nuts with her naivity and it was like I could easily see what was going to happen in the future (which was confirmed with the glimpse into the next book in the series that I saw). I honestly don’t know if I will be picking up any books by her in the future – probably only borrow from the library, or with a very strong recommendation from a friend. Overall, I’d only give this story 2 stars

The last book in the anthology fell right in the middle for me. I didn’t like it as much as Ruthie’s, but I am intrigued enough, that I added one of the authors other books to my ever expanding TBR list to read in the future. I liked that it was the only historical in the bunch – it was something different that was needed. The secondary characters/animals kind of made the story for me – especially the donkey – I just laughed as his antics. There were a few moments of stupidity between the main couple (and I wanted to Gibbs slap them for sure) – but they did kind of grow on me. I hope that they appear in other books by her in the future, because I want to know more.

The anthology in general was well-written, and aside from the one disappointing story, it was well worth the read. And even then it wasn’t like the disappointing story was badly written, it was (for me) just too short and lacking omph. Overall, averaging out the ratings, I would give it 3 stars, but making it 3.5 to weigh in the fact that the story I liked the most, was a chunk of the book (I think that is good justification!).

Merry Christmas Everyone! Hope to see you all in the New Year!

 
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Posted by on December 25, 2012 in Book Review

 

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