Monday, April 30, 2012

NYC Giveaway Winners!

Thank you to everyone who entered my giveaway! I probably won't be even attempting the Rafflecopter widget again, but hey we all live and learn. The two winners this time around are:

Andrew - High Energy
Anonymous - Mine to Take


From some question/comments I got on FB Anonymous should be V. Kim, but if you both could send me an email with your shipping address I'll get your books out later this week (readingamidstthechaos (at) gmail (dot) com).


Angel on Fire by Jacquie Johnson *Blog Tour*

All Angela wants is to understand why her father, security specialist Mac McKenzie, dropped dead on a sidewalk in Boston. Instead, she is thrust into the midst of an international conspiracy when she discovers that her father was working on a classified project at the time of his death. Now, the FBI, a terrorist and a killer have her in their sights.

Former Navy SEAL turned undercover operative, Chase Romero thinks his boss is overreacting when he orders Chase to small town America to protect Angela. But he changes his mind when her home is burglarized and "accidents" begin to happen. The real question becomes, how can he keep her safe if he keeps tripping over his own heart?

After shooting an intruder, Angela flees the scene, and the FBI issues a warrant for her arrest. On the run for her life and her freedom, she places her trust in Chase. As they travel from New England, to the nation's capital, to the shores of Lake Michigan, the trail - and their attraction - grow hotter. Together, they team up to prevent a global financial market meltdown and face a killer who will stop at nothing to get his hands on the project Mac protected with his life.

For me this book was saved by the last 1/3 or so. When I started reading about Angela and Chase I wasn't sure their spark was enough for me. All the right words were there, and I wasn't bothered by how they immediately starting lusting after each other even though there were in the middle of a crisis. It's a suspense romance - I've learned to roll with the punches. Still while everything seemed liked it should work on the surface I didn't believe in it. The action was a little lackluster in the beginning and I didn't completely understand why the heroine, who seemed very intelligent and kickbutt in her own right, was following Chase just a little too easily.

Happily I can say that after about halfway through the book things pick up. Chase is still pushing Angela away because he doesn't want to start something he can't finish (a quality of a decent guy, I approve) but they have to go on the run from pretty much everyone after a grisly murder. Again I could wish that Angela trusted her instincts more, but Chase is very much an alpha male and if she was too rejecting of his help I'm not sure their relationship would work as well. Plus the familiarity they have with each other at this point of the story makes their relationship more fun for me as a reader - I believe in it and want them to have their HEA. Add in great supporting characters (who I really hope get their own book later) and you've got a satisfying action romp that's both familiar and fun.

Overall Feeling - B-

Series - None

**Title provided by Lightning Book Promotions**

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Full Bloom by Jayne Ann Krentz

Jacob Stone was part bodyguard/troubleshooter for Ravenscroft International. Over the years, he'd pulled Emily Ravenscroft out of coutless acts of rebellion against her domineering family. Now he'd been summoned once again. Instead of a reckless hellion, he found a woman in charge of her life, who didn't need protection, but needed love. Did Jacob need this new kind of trouble?

I love Jayne Ann Krentz. Even when the description sounds like poop I end up loving the story, and this one definitely didn't have the best description. It's not fully poop but it makes Emily sound like an immature thoughtless woman and paints Jacob as the no-it-all alpha male. It's not my favorite pairing, as the power dynamic ends up getting so skewed that I'm annoyed with everyone.

Thankfully Jacob and Emily are much more than their description, especially when it comes to their relationship. Jacob might have been hired by her family to investigate some shady characters but Emily doesn't sit idly by trying to think of ways to annoy everyone around her. She has a life and goals and her own moral code that she won't let her family run roughshod over. Even Jacob, who she's loved for years, doesn't get a pass and she holds him accountable for his actions and his respect of her as an individual. Add in some of the great sexual tension that Krentz (to me) is known for and the classic 'heaving bosom'-ness of when they come together and I loved the whole thing. If you can get your hands on a copy I consider it totally worth it :).

Overall Feeling - A

Series - None

Thursday, April 26, 2012

This is What Heaven Looks Like

If heaven was a huge library garage sale. Which it probably is

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Wicked as They Come by Delilah Dawson

When Tish Everett forces open the ruby locket she finds at an estate sale, she has no idea that a deliciously rakish Bludman has cast a spell just for her. She wakes up in a surreal world, where Criminy Stain, the dashing proprietor of a magical traveling circus, curiously awaits. At Criminy’s electric touch, Tish glimpses a tantalizing future, but she also foresees her ultimate doom. Before she can decide whether to risk her fate with the charming daredevil, the locket disappears, and with it, her only chance to return home. Tish and Criminy battle roaring sea monsters and thundering bludmares, vengeful ghosts and crooked Coppers in a treacherous race to recover the necklace from the evil Blud-hating Magistrate. But if they succeed, will Tish forsake her fanged suitor and return to her normal life, or will she take a chance on an unpredictable but dangerous destiny with the Bludman she’s coming to love?

Eh, I expected to like this more. The reviews were good, the premise was interesting, but all in all I think I'd have to say it moved a bit slow for me. Maybe as much as I love the fashion I'm not much of a Steampunk girl after all?

What I did like about this book was the slow(er) progression of the relationship between Tish and Criminy. It would have been a bit weird to me if they'd immediately fallen into their HEA because she hadn't been totally unhappy with the world she left behind. She'd gotten out of her abusive relationship and was rebuilding her connection to herself and her grandmother - maybe not ideal, but things could have been worse. Criminy might have known that he and Tish were meant to be together because she found his necklace, but Tish had to have the time to allow her feelings to blossom. Corny sure, but needed as she was also expected to get used to a completely different world at the same time.

I may give the next book a go, we'll see. It might be a library (if possible) read for me.

Overall Feeling - B

Series - 1) Wicked as They Come

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Teaser Tuesdays (4/24)

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

* Grab your current read
* Open to a random page
* Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
* BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
* Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

"She looked doubtful. I considered telling her I have lots of Asian friends, but I was pretty sure that would make it worse. The sad truth is I couldn't tell any of the white women apart either. In fact, at that point I'd had way too much to drink and I wasn't even sure who I was. I dimly hoped I was Evany Thomas. I love that girl."

--pg 178, Let's Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson

Friday, April 20, 2012

Alien Diplomacy by Gini Koch

Being newlyweds and new parents is challenging enough. But Jeff and Kitty Martini are also giving up their roles as super-being exterminators and Commanders in Centaurion Division while mastering the political landscape as the new heads of Centaurion's Diplomatic Corps. Enter a shadowy assassination plot and a new set of anti-alien conspirators, and nothing will ever be the same..

Whoa. Reading Gini Koch sometimes makes me feel like I'm watching Gilmore Girls on crack. I love her stuff but so much is happening all the time! That could be attributed to the characters themselves being bombarded with more plots to kill them than they know what to do with, but I think any reader should prepare themselves for a bumpy ride when they pick this up.

In this particular installment, Kitty and Jeff are trying to find who they are in their new roles as diplomats - diplomats who straddle the line between truth and lie whenever they step out the door. I feel for them, especially as it becomes clear that the 'long game' of diplomatic strategy is significantly different than the action on the front line. Luckily the transition is eased along by our favorite characters - Chuck, James, Amy & Caroline - with some additions from previous books (Pierre anyone?) so it all comes together in one fun, but wild, ride.

I can't wait for the next book, especially since even with all the craziness Jeffy & Kitty still show all lovey dovey-ness their relationship is known for. I'm not sure if all sci-fi romances will make me as happy at Koch does, but this is a damn good series and highly recommended.

Overall Feeling - A-

Series - 1) Touched by an Alien 2) Alien Tango 3) Alien in the Family 4) Alien Proliferation 5) Alien Diplomacy

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Consent to Love by Abby Wood

Twenty-four-year-old small-town girl Ana Reynolds serves beer at the local bar, tries to keep her beater car running, and dreams of a better life as a painter. If she can learn to make a decent steak, she might get promoted to cook- and earn enough for her real heart's desire. Right now, that doesn't include romance.

But when she meets a tall, dark and sexy Native American man named Kane, Ana can't take her eyes off him- or stop thinking about him. But she'd better. Everyone knows the proud Lakota who raises horses wants nothing to do with a townie barmaid who'll bring shame to his people.

Except Kane can't get Ana off his mind. He proposes a red-hot weekend in bed, a no-strings affair to end Monday morning. Yet once Kane brings the outsider onto Lakota land, everything changes....

The is a prime example of a book failed by its description. I requested this from NetGalley almost in spite of myself, as it kind of sounds like Kane is gonna be a dick. Instead what you get is a man who's been burned but is pulled into a relationship despite his doubts because of the way he feels for Ana. It makes for a nice story - maybe not terribly unique, but nice. Kane and Ana circle around each other in the beginning, both of them feeling the pull but worried about how it could end up. While they initially find themselves agreeing to a no strings attached weekend, it's because they're both scared - and really their feelings only let that last for maybe a week or two. 

Kane and Ana both have to grow in order for their relationship to be stable enough to last. Ana learns to believe in herself more and Kane is able to leave the past in the past and trust that their love is enough to get them through. 

Again, not a bad little romance and I'd be interested to see what other kind of books Wood comes out with.

Overall Feeling - B

Series - 1) Consent to the Cowboy 2) Consent to Love

**Title requested from NetGalley**

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Teaser Tuesday (4/17)

Today's Teaser Tuesday is brought to you by the letter 'S'. For Shelly Laurenston and her wonderful newsletter - which this time included an excerpt from her upcoming anthology!

“Like a Wolf With a Bone”
Available August 28, 2012

Quiet little Darla Lewis couldn’t be happier when the most-feared member of the South’s rowdiest pack kidnaps her. A girl gets real tired of being overprotected by her own shifter family, and there’s nothing like an oh-so-big bad wolf to start a pack feud, unleash her instincts—and have her surrender however and whenever she wants…
 EXCERPT: (Unedited/Unproofed)

Monday, April 16, 2012

A little present from NYC! *giveaway*

While I was in NY this time around I had the pleasure of visiting The Strand - a most epic representation of Indie bookstore-ness, and quite impressive if I do say so myself.

Would it make sense to you if I said I felt a little intimidated? There was just SO MUCH, everywhere, that I couldn't imagine seeing every corner of it. At least not in one visit.

What I did get my hands on pretty quickly was a rare-ish copy of High Energy by Dara Joy! Her books are out of print and while you can get an e-copy from her website, for me there's just nothing like having the book in your hands. And since I already own it I couldn't resist picking up a copy for one lucky reader! Joy does a wonderful job at writing lighthearted, feel good romances with interesting characters and hilarious stories. I defintiely consider them my comfort reads and I can't wait to pass that on to someone new. 

Physics. Zanita Masterson knew nothing about the subject, and cared little to learn--until a reporting job led her to one Tyberius Augustus Evans. The rogue scientist was six feet of piercing blue eyes, rock-hard muscles and maverick ideas, and the notion that he was seriously interested in her seemed insane. But a night of monster movies, cookie-dough ice cream and wild love was almost enough to convince Zanita that the passion-minded professor was determined to woo her--with his own masterful equation for sizzling
ecstasy and ...HIGH ENERGY

But wait, what's this? Yesterday at the Arlington Central Library Book Sale I found another Dara Joy book. For even CHEAPER! Huzzah! Again I already own Mine to Take, but why not share?

He was full-blooded and untamable. Sensual and sinuous. Erotically magnetic. A uniquely beautiful creature who could make himself irresistible to women. And he was feral at heart. With his glittering green and gold eyes, silken hair, and purring voice, the stunning captive chained to the wall was exactly what Jenise needed. And he was hers to take...Or so she believed. But she had never heard how dangerous it was to lie down with the cat.

That means TWO lucky people can win books from RAtChaos! One contemporary romance, one paranormal romance, just leave a comment below telling me which one you'd like  Giveaway's running for two weeks, until 12:01am on April 30th, and don't forget to use the Rafflecopter thing-y so I can contact you if you win!

**EDIT**: Apparently people hate the Rafflecopter thing so just leave a comment with an email address I can contact you at. Thanks!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Beneath the Skin by Lauren Dane

Gibson de La Vega is the Bringer, one of the Alpha’s right-hand cats. It is his job to mete out justice and defend the law that holds their jamboree together.

After a contentious meeting with another jamboree, he’s shot—Mia stumbles onto the scene and saves his life. He’s immediately drawn to the female who dug three silver bullets from his body. Even after he discovers she’s a Porter, a family his own harmed grievously half a century before.

Mia has enough in her life. She’s recovering from a vicious hate crime—an attack using silver has affected her ability to do what she loves most. The last thing she needs is a bossy alpha cat like Gibson. A de La Vega no less.

Despite the myriad reasons to stay away, even as they continue to hunt down the would-be killers, their attraction deepens into something else entirely.

The answers they find bring that threat far closer to home than anyone could have imagined and it’ll be up to Gibson to end the mess once and for all. And up to Mia to stand at his side, even as he risks his life…

While this doesn't quite compete with some of my favorite books by Lauren Dane (Chase Brothers, Brown Siblings) it is by no means a waste of a read. I like a mix of contemporary with my paranormal romances because for me the sense of authenticity that results from a good blend just can't be beat. The relationship and the supporting characters that are introduced - everything gets a boost. Dane excels at making the paranormal normal, and so for Gibson and Mia their road to love might have had some bumps but overall it was believable. They didn't jump into bed and 'feel' that each other were the one; they had to work with each others' insecurities, pasts, and family.

Me likey :).

Overall Feeling - B+

Series - 1) Trinity 2) Revelation 3) Beneath the Skin

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Whatever Reilly Wants by Maureen Child

Silhouette Desire
Connor Reilly only has a few weeks to go in his "no sex for ninety days" bet with his brothers - and he figures no woman is safer to be around than his best friend, Emma Jacobson. Until Emma shows up at a bar in a tight skirt and high heels, and suddenly seems anything but safe.

Maureen Child definitely had me going there for a minute. I've read some of her other books (Harlequin? Silhouette? Something, I'm sure) and while I liked her voice here the storyline itself had me shaking my head. Whether it's hero introduced or heroine, revenge stories rarely go well. Even play revenge usually leaves someone hurt and someone with a whole monologue talking about why the other person sucks monkey butt. Not really my idea of a fun time. 

Luckily that doesn't come into play in Whatever Reilly Wants - while Emma is technically trying to get revenge for Connor's dismissive attitude of her, once they do come together he doesn't care. He doesn't seem particularly offended at all, instead more involved with how good it feels to finally give in and be with Emma. My favorite part about this story is probably how much they both learn about each other - especially about not taking each other for granted. It lacked false drama or soap opera-y antics and has me ready to Google for more :).

Overall Feeling - B+

Series - 1) The Tempting Mrs. Reilly 2) Whatever Reilly Wants 3) The Last Reilly Standing

**I read this story in the Kiss Me, I'm Irish anthology

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Teaser Tuesdays (4/10)

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

* Grab your current read
* Open to a random page
* Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
* BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
* Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

"Hi!" she chirped loudly, her arms loose around Crush's neck, her tight butt wiggling on his cock. "So how's my boyfriend? My cute, adorable boyfriend?"

Boyfriend? Crush stared at the woman. "What are you talking about?"

"Don't you remember Sunday morning? You. Me." Her voice dropped lower. "Alone?"

"Yes. I remember. I'm also trying to forget."

"You are so cute. Just as cute as...something." She paused a moment, glancing off. "Hhmmh. What is worthy of your level of cuteness?"

"I am not cute."

"You are cute." She pinched his cheek. "Just adorable with that vicious scowl. Bet you scare all the bad guys."

"Now you're being condescending."

"Can't help it. It's in my DNA. Like my stripes."

--pg 35, Bear Meets Girl by Shelly Laurenston

Monday, April 9, 2012

Rules of the Game by Sandy James

Kathryn West has it all – she’s a confident, bestselling author living it up in New York City. Too bad she doesn’t actually exist, and is only timid Maddie Sawyer’s pseudonym. Determined to attend her high school reunion with a man right out of one of her racy romance novels, she plots to find a sexy bad boy who’s up to Kathryn’s standards.

She finds Mr. Perfect shooting pool in a biker bar. He’s a blue-collar hunk who just happens to look great in leather. But the mysterious Scott Brady has some rules of his own: he won’t agree to her deal unless she poses as his girlfriend in front of his family and friends first.

As the reunion nears, Maddie tries to maintain her carefree fa├žade, knowing she’ll soon face some old ghosts. She’s torn between her growing attraction to Scott and the nagging feeling that he’s hiding something important. Will she still want him when she finds out his secret? What about when he discovers hers?

While this book started out with a decent run towards a fun contemporary romance, ultimately I can't say I was all that happy at the end. Maddie's looking for a date to really wow at her high school reunion - thank goodness she not only finds one at a local bar but tells the truth about why she needs him. For me that was a winner, no lame hidden agenda, instead it was a straight up 'cash for service' arrangement. I wish this story wasn't just told from Maddie's point of view though, as reading what Scott felt when she came up to him or when he introduced her to his family would have been great. Really all the stuff that happened before the couple went to Indiana was not bad, honest conversations between two people working on turning a simple arrangement into something more.

Sadly once it hit Pottsville things go downhill pretty quickly. Annoyingly intrusive family members that I wanted to hit sometimes for a stubborn insistence that somehow they were wronged by Maddie's choices. A preachy attitude from everyone towards Maddie as she works to overcome her 'shame' and 'poor choices' - in general the preachy attitude is what got to me. Maddie made the best choices she could, or at least choices that I understood, with the information she had during various important moments in her life. Rather than ragging on her I would have liked to see a friend that not only challenged her assumptions but supported her as she grew as a person. 

I'd say this book had a lot of potential but the final product wasn't my cup of tea. I took a quick glance at some of the other reviews available for Rules of the Game and it sounds like my opinions could just be me. I have no problem saying that just because a book didn't work for me doesn't mean that it won't work for anyone, but I think this story could have been better.

Overall Feeling - C-

Series - None

**Title requested from NetGalley**

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Tangling with Ty by Jill Shalvis

Harlequin Temptation
Dr. Nicole Mann, a child prodigy who graduated high school at the age of thirteen, has no room in her mind or her schedule for romance. But when the architect renovating her apartment turns out to have a charming Irish accent, all bets are off- and Ty Patrick O'Grady plans to use every trick in his book to stay in her life for good.

I've talked about Jill Shalvis before on this blog as an author I've recently fallen in love with when it comes to contemporary romances. She just has a voice I really connect with and I think this story is no different. All of these characters could be considered stereotypical, corny even, because they're not from first glance spectacular sounding. Yet Shalvis's dialogue between the hero and heroine, plus the introduction of interesting supporting characters always keeps me entertained.

Nicole and Ty set off sparks from the beginning, which causes her some consternation considering the 'single forever' pact that she's made with a couple friends. They circle around each other a bit, each with their own baggage that makes falling in love harder, but with the help of a faulty ceiling find their way to each other. The HEA was of course not unexpected, but sweet just the same - and I can say I had a smile on my face as the story ended.

Overall Feeling - B+

Series - 1) Roughing it With Ryan 2) Tangling with Ty 3) Messing with Mac

**I read this story in the Kiss Me, I'm Irish anthology

Thursday, April 5, 2012

The Sins of His Past by Roxanne St. Claire

Silhouette Desire
For one incredible nigh, Kendra Locke gave Deuce Monroe everything she has. Then he walked away without a backward glance to chase his big-league dreams. Now after one too many daredevil stunts, he's back in his hometown ready to pick up where they left off- but Kendra has no intention of giving in so easily...

This one ended up being the kind of contemporary romance that's pretty blah all around - not bad really, but not all that interesting either. 

After a night years ago left Kendra with an unexpected tragic moment, I would have expected significantly more anger with Duece walked into town prepared to destroy everything she'd been working for. Instead she kind of accepts the fact that she can't win because he's the prodigal son returned from a great baseball career. The fact that Deuce didn't really know anything about what happened after he left made me dislike him less, but he's road to redemption could have been longer and I wouldn't have complained. 

Add in the meddling Dad and Stepmother and I'm just left with a feeling of 'really? You fell for that?'. It works out in the end and probably isn't quite as bad as I'm making it sound but these characters didn't really resonate for me and I think as a whole I'm not sure if I'll be reading any more from this author. 

[shrug] Get it from the library - make your own decision. I'm a fan of that course of action.

Overall Feeling - C

Series - None?

**I read this story in the Kiss Me, I'm Irish anthology

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

March in Review

Not a bad month reading wise! There's still a book or two hanging around that I should be reading (*cough* Kim Harrison *cough*) but for the most part I loved the new releases that I picked up and can't wait for more :). Now let's hope April gives me the time to get through some of my TBR List - it's been very neglected and I feel bad.

On a random aside, is anyone else ready for the beach? I'm headed to NY this weekend but all I can think about is sun, water, sand, and me in a cute two-piece ready to do nothing. I don't need it to be some kind of spiffy beach in Florida or Mexico or anything, just the beach. Mind you I don't want the weather in DC to actually be in the 80's, but I have got to get my head in the game on planning some serious beach time as soon as possible.

Bonds of Justice by Nalini Singh
Mane Squeeze by Shelly Laurenston
Big Bad Beast by Shelly Laurenston
Oracle's Moon by Thea Harrison (A+)
Discount Armageddon by Seanan McGuire (B)
Cry Wolf by Patricia Briggs
Hunting Ground by Patricia Briggs
The Royal Treatment by MaryJanice Davidson
Fair Game by Patricia Briggs (A)
The Royal Mess by MaryJanice Davidson
Spellbound Falls by Janet Chapman (B-)
Beauty in the Beast by Christine Danse (B-)
Doubletake by Rob Thurman (B)
Bear Meets Girl by Shelly Laurenston (A+)
The Sins of His Past by Roxanne St. Claire
Tangling with Ty by Jill Shalvis

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Resident Evil: Afterlife (movie review)

I don't love zombie movies. I don't hate them, but I don't love them. Like a lot of things in life my feelings are completely dependent on the movie itself. 

I did like Resident Evil & Resident Evil: Apocalypse. They had just enough action, blood, gore, and kick-ass female characters to keep me interested without over the top special effects and stupid dialogue. Resident Evil: Afterlife though? Boring, oh god so boring. If I hadn't been watching this with a friend of mine there were would have been many places where fast forwarding was required. Thank goodness I watched it at home so my snarky comments didn't annoy anyone but myself. 

Most of the dialogue in RE:A was blah and then the characters themselves weren't interesting. Plus I had so many damn questions throughout the movie I couldn't even enjoy what action there was. I mean, how do you have a huge weird hooded monster (with rusty nails and a big axe/hammer thing), kill it, and just never address it again? Or where it came from?


I'll probably still watch the next one (Resident Evil: Retribution is scheduled for September 2012) but definitely not in theaters.