Thursday, February 28, 2013

Dream Eyes by Jayne Ann Krentz

The death of her friend and mentor, Evelyn Ballinger, brings psychic counselor Gwen Frazier back to the small town of Wilby, Oregon, and brings back memories she would rather forget. Two years earlier, a killer stalked the members of one of Ballinger's research studies including Gwen. And though she survived while two others didn't, Gwen knows that Ballinger's death is related.

Sent by a friend to help Gwen, psychic investigator Judson Coppersmith arrives in Wilby barely in control of his own talent and his own life, haunted by urgent dreams. His attraction to Gwen is primal, but there are secrets he must keep to protect himself from surrendering to her completely, even as their investigation draws them into dreamscapes, into decades of deception, and into the paranormal fires of a desire too strong to resist. . . .


I can't say that Jayne Ann Krentz is getting different with time but hey - she never disappoints me either. Dream Eyes is another great novel featuring interesting characters, a familiar paranormal element, and a surprise villain (surprise for me anyway). Initially Gwen's just looking for help investigating a friend's death but when Judson ends up being the man sent out for the job sparks quickly find their way into the conversation. Both of them have pasts that haunt them, though Gwen being a psychic counselor she's a little more prepared to deal with her own feelings. This particular story placed more importance on Judson refusing to be seen as a client/patient by Gwen, which I think makes sense for a man who is personally centered by his own protective instincts.

The suspense/murder subplot was well done and I definitely didn't realize in the beginning how everything was going to end up. I guess you could say there are only so many characters introduced so it had to be someone but I still had to back track and think a bit to make sure I understood all the twists and turns thrown in. I didn't read Copper Beach but since I liked everyone introduce here (and can't wait to see who ends up being the focus in the next book) I think I'll backtrack with the help of my local library :).

Overall Feeling - B+

Series - 1) Copper Beach 2) Dream Eyes

Monday, February 25, 2013

Lost in You by Lauren Dane *ARC Review*

It hasn’t been easy for Joe Harris to live down his not-so-honorable past, but the military made him a better man. He’s determined to make up for past mistakes, starting with coming home to care for his ailing father.

Things are going as planned until his best friend’s little sister comes barreling into his life. Funny, quick talking, smart, beautiful, she’s a temptation he tries—and fails—to resist.

When Beth Murphy hears Joe is back in town, she makes sure she’s the first on his welcoming committee. Though he tries to pretend he’s gruff and unworthy of her, she sees the man who spoils his dog, who touches her like she’s precious. Cherished. But there’s one wall she can’t break down—the truth about what’s happening at home.

On the night the nature of his father’s illness becomes painfully, publicly apparent, Joe does the right thing—push Beth as far away as possible. But if he thought she’d go away quietly, he’s about to learn she’s made of sterner stuff.


I'm pretty sure it would take a lot for me to not enjoy a Lauren Dane story - especially one taking place in Petal, Georgia. The Chase brothers (and now the Murphy family) kind of represent all that I love in romance: witty dialogue, Alpha men with a heart (& manners), and a touch of Southern charm. Who can resist all that?! And Lost in You takes it a step farther, since the relationships within which the Murphy clan are finding theirs HEA's are not simple and perfect. Real life problems - divorce, cheating, mental health issues - become major plot points around which both the hero and heroine have to learn to operate. 

There are immediate sparks between Joe and Beth - fantastic sparks. She sees something she wants and goes after it immediately, with a lot of charm and a fun sense of deviousness. It's rare to see the woman as the one who chases but I think the fact that she's good natured-ly cajoling Joe into following an attraction he already feels makes it work. They start as something a step more serious than f*ck buddies and unfortunately getting to the point where can both admit to their feelings isn't easy. Speaking as someone who's got their own complicated family past I like the way Dane writes each of them as real people, who don't always know how to balance family, loyalty, and their own HEA. 

While reading the Chase Series isn't required to enjoy this book I recommend them because 1) they're great on their own, and 2) it makes this books even better :).

Overall Feeling - A

Series - 1) Once and Again 2) Lost in You (3/12/13)

*I won this book in a blog contest*

Monday, February 18, 2013

January in Review (yeah I went there)

I have no excuses for this. I have no idea how this escaped without being posted but you know what? If my favorite YouTube gurus can post their monthly hits and misses during the middle of the next month well so can I!

January was a little sparse as far books go but I'm still - STILL - in shock and I think mourning after Cold Days. If you don't read Jim Butcher's Dresden Files then I'm pretty much ordering you to get your butt over there but I can't say they're the easiest things to read. I can't decide if I'm a fan of the darker tone of the series; yes a lot of it has been necessary for Harry's growth and obviously contributed to a new plot direction in the series but damn! I used to be able to pick these up and expect more laughs then I get now.

Cold Days by Jim Butcher (B+)
Bed of Roses by Nora Roberts
Dark Wolf Rising by Rhyannon Byrd (B-)
Billionaire Bad Boys Club by Emma Holly
Bear Meets Girl by Shelly Laurenston
Zinnia by Jayne Castle
Orchid by Jayne Castle
Tart by Lauren Dane
Yours, Mine, and Howls by Kinsey W. Holley (B+)
Bound by Magick by Eliza Gayle (C)
The Marriage Campaign by Karen Templeton (B+)
Santa Reads Romance by Dara Joy (Mini Me)

To try and pull a favorite from this group was hard because while Cold Days was phenomenally written I ended up a little wrecked. How about The Marriage Campaign? It was a nice familiar story that reminded my why the monthly releases don't always have to frustrate me, lol. 

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Winter's Tale by Emma Holly

Half-faerie, half-elf Hans Winter broke the heart of the wrong princess. Cursed to live as a statue at a school for human girls, only true love—and true bravery—can free him.

December Worth never met a rule she didn’t want to break, as the numerous institutions that have expelled her can attest. Bravery she can handle. Love she’s less sure about, especially if it involves believing in fairytales.

A kiss seems like the last thing these lonely souls would share, until one night in the cemetery where Hans stands trapped, Fate brings stone and flesh together . . . 


If you go into this expecting a little bit of crazy then I think it definitely lives up to being a wonderful fairytale for adults. I'm sure someone out there is going to roll their eyes at kissing a statue (let alone, ahem, other things) but I really think Holly makes it work. 

Eighteen-year-old December is a woman of means who doesn't seem to fit in anywhere and when she ends up at Rackham’s School for Young Ladies she's not interested in doing anything else than what she's always done. This includes a little insubordination, some breaking and entering, and a surprising willingness to believe in the unbelievable.

There's not a ton of emotional build-up between December and Hans - they don't have a lot of time to talk in this short story - but I do think it works. The sexy times are frequent but not boring and Holly lends her usual flair to each encounter. When the final confrontation arrives between the couple and the evil being who cursed him we're treated to a small amount of action (I'm not complaining) and finally a HEA that brings back some of the characters from Move Me. I really enjoy Emma Holly's Hidden Series and I think this is a great addition - highly recommended!

Overall Feeling - B+

Series - 1) Hidden Talents 2) Hidden Crimes 3) Hidden Depths 4) "Date Night" 5) Move Me 6) The Faerie's Honeymoon 7) Winter's Tale

Friday, February 8, 2013

Trickster by Jeff Somers *ARC Review*

Magic uses blood—a lot of it. The more that’s used, the more powerful the effect, so mages find “volunteers” to fuel their spells. Lem, however, is different. Long ago he set up a rule that lets him sleep at night: never use anyone’s blood but your own. He’s grifting through life as a Trickster, performing only small Glamours like turning one-dollar bills into twenties. He and his sidekick, Mags, aren’t doing well, but they’re getting by.

That is, until they find young Claire Mannice— bound and gagged, imprisoned in a car’s trunk, and covered with invisible rune tattoos. Lem turns to his estranged mentor for help, but what they’ve uncovered is more terrifying than anybody could have imagined. Mika Renar, the most dangerous Archmage in the world, is preparing to use an ocean of blood to cast her dreams into reality— and Lem just got in her way. 


This book is one of those stories that starts off slow - you find yourself moseying along, taking your time, getting to know the characters and the world - when suddenly everything starts to happen ALL AT ONCE. The world's about to end, people are dying, everything's pretty much going to sh*t and I was left wondering what could possibly happen next. And I loved it. 

Good, no great, urban fantasy series are rarely about comfortable. Lem and Mags aren't really good people, just ones trying to find a way to their next meal, but when they stumble upon a plot that will end up with most (if not all) of everything living in the world dead they can't simply turn away. Things build and trust is betrayed, and if nothing else I would warn interested readers that this is a dark and gritty world so prepare yourself. I found myself gasping through the end of it and can't wait for what's next - I'm definitely picking up a copy to go on my shelf and will keep an eye out for future releases.

Overall Feeling - A 

Series - 1) Trickster (2/26/13)

*Title requested from NetGalley*

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Teaser Tuesdays (2/5)

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!)

"His fingers were shaking. That was what I focused on, more than anything else. His fingers were shaking."

--pg 352, Ashes of Honor by Seanan McGuire

Friday, February 1, 2013

Yours, Mine and Howls by Kinsey W. Holley

Thirteen years ago, Ally Kendall died defending her young cousin from his werewolf stepfather.

She hasn’t been the same since.

Ally returned from the hereafter with strange new powers, burdened with the secret of why and how she survived. She managed to scrape her life together and raise her cousin, but now he needs a pack to guide him into adulthood. That means pulling up stakes yet again and heading for Colorado to find the only werewolf qualified for the job. A werewolf, she discovers, who tempts her to give up control in a thousand sinful ways.

Cade MacDougall, Alpha of an unrecognized pack, has a tragic history, a sizable ranch, and a daughter who thinks she’s a cat. Time to find a mate? Don’t make him laugh. Until Ally shows up with a smokin’ hot, preternaturally strong body that smells like mine, and introduces him to a nephew who holds the key to unraveling mysteries about Cade’s family—and himself.

But Ally’s holding something back. As Cade’s enemies gather, the cowboy and his secretive new mate must come clean about their mysterious pasts…or else all hope of protecting their newly formed family—and their future—will be lost.

Between Patti's review and the awesome excerpt online I went into this book with pretty high expectations and I can happily report that it lived up to them. How many werewolf 'fated mate' stories can you say begin with the heroine dying? It's a first for me and created an interesting dynamic going in - Ally doesn't want to reveal to Cade how she ended up being his nephew's caregiver but he can tell that their story is total BS. Combine this with Ally's inability to submit to Cade's authority on the basis of his penis and you've got a fun story with great dialogue. 

There are sparks from the beginning between the two of them, and they don't diminish just because Ally doesn't let Cade be the 'asshole alpha'. I loved it because while there was conflict between the two it never felt mean; neither was actively trying to hurt the other, they just both wanted to be in charge, which is impossible with werewolf hierarchy. Ultimately you get a nice romance combined with a bit of supernatural intrigue and action. It works well as a stand alone and I highly recommend it.

Overall Feeling - B+

Series - 1) Kiss and Kin 2) Yours, Mine and Howls 3) Ready to Run