Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Law Man ~ Kristen Ashley

Law Man (Dream Man, #3)Law Man by Kristen Ashley
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

3.5 Stars.

Considering it's Christmas time, and this wasn't my favorite KA book, I will keep this review short and sweet.

I can pretty much sum up what i loved about this book in one word:

I loved him to pieces and was super excited to read his book.

Unfortunately, with as much as I loved Mitch, I really didn't like Mara. At all. I realize she had a lot of issues she was dealing with, but her wishy-washy personality and constant "uh...","um..."'s Her nearly paralyzing emotional problems -which Mitch kindly calls 'shyness' - was OTT, and yes she had a wacky family, but with the exception of Billy & Billie (loved them, despite the names), they didn't feel like the kind of real, three-dimensional characters that are one of KA's trademarks. Also the repeated references to her ridiculous 'rating' system was the thing that forced me to do something I have never done before while reading a KA book; roll my eyes.

So, this one was slightly disappointing for least in the realm of the usual KA-awesomeness.

IMO, Mitch deserved a much better leading lady.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

600 Hours Of Edward ~ Craig Lancaster

600 Hours of Edward600 Hours of Edward by Craig Lancaster
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

5+++ stars.

A beautifully written story about a 39 yr old man suffering from both OCD and Aspergers syndrome. I have so many emotions about this book, and I really need a few days to process them all before writing a proper review. I will say right now that this was one of the best books I have ever read, and that Edward is by far one of the most endearing characters I have ever been introduced to.


I am going to keep this short and sweet, since it has been a few weeks since i finished this book and I am still having trouble putting my thoughts into words about it.

I find it amazing that Lancaster was so successful in keeping the perfect balance between a sweet and touching story about an isolated man very much facing life as a misunderstood outsider, to a silly comedy about a misfit who lacks the people skills needed to navigate through day to day life. And that in a book of less than 300 pages he was able to get both sides of that man's story across so well.

Edward is all about routine. He starts his day by recording the time he opened his eyes and the weather forecast in a notebook he keeps beside the bed. He eats the same food week after week. He watches one episode of Dragnet (only from the last season) at 10pm every night. He writes a daily "Letter of Complaint" to people who anger him (a suggestion by his therapist, who also encourages him to never mail the letters but file them away instead) and is in bed each night by 12am. His life is on a continuous loop until his new neighbors arrive across the street. The way that Edward ends up dealing with that curve ball being thrown into his life is both touching and believable.

The way the author deals with Edward as a character is also damn close to perfect. His obsessive behavior never comes off as pathetic or makes the reader feel uncomfortable. Instead the author makes us fall in love with this flawed and troubled man in a way that makes his quirks only part of his charm.

I am so glad I decided to take a chance on this book, because this was a reading experience that will remain with me for a long time. And Edward is most definitely someone I will never forget.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Holly and Her Naughty eReader ~ Julianne Spencer

Holly and Her Naughty eReaderHolly and Her Naughty eReader by Julianne Spencer
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

6 stars!

What an unexpected surprise this turned out to be!

I had spent the last month reading six Kristen Ashley books back to back. And while I adore her writing, I decided I should change things up a bit in order not burn myself out on her writing. So, I was looking around on Amazon for a quick, fun read and stumbled upon this freebie. I will freely admit to initially only being interested because the main character had my name (silly, i know), but once I read the synopsis, I knew this sounded like a book I would enjoy. And I definitely wasn't wrong.

You know that feeling you get when you're reading a really awesome book and you wish you could just transport yourself inside the story? To experience it as if you were one of the main characters? Well, thanks to a series of hilarious events, our intrepid protagonist Holly gets to do just that. Every time she picks up her beloved Kindle Fire, she literally finds herself inside the books she reads. Talk about a book nerd's dream come true!

Among the adventures we get to experience along with Holly: While diving into Breaking Dawn, Holly inhabits the body of Edward Cullen long enough to nix Bella's plans to name their baby Reneesme. In the gothic world of Wuthering Heights and in the body of Catherine, she steals away for a much needed night of passion with Heathcliff. But the one story Holly finds herself returning to again and again, is called His Golden Shackles. A Fifty Shades knockoff about a BDSM-loving billionaire wizard (yes...he's a wizard. And I really, really, really wish HGS was real because that's a combo I would LOVE to read about). And as with most things that seems too good to be true...there is a dark side to this book lover's paradise. Suddenly the lines between reality and fantasy begin to blur, and some mighty famous (and infamous) fictional characters decide that they want to come out and play in the real world.

One of the best aspects to this book, was the humor. I read the majority of the story with a huge, goofy grin on my face. Obviously from the subject matter the author has a wicked sense of humor and she comes up with some incredibly well done, yet wacky scenarios. The following was one of the highlights of the entire book for me.

At the end of the hall stood a slim man wearing a dark purple robe. He carried a long stick in his hand. "Hello little Muggles," he said.
"Muggles?" I said
The man had an oddly shaped head and was missing a nose.
"Is that...Voldemort?"
And then, I kid you not, the elevator door opened and Yoda stepped out.
"Oh dear, the little green elf has come back for more." said Voldemort.
"Lacking humility you are," Yoda responded before firing up his lightsaber and leaping out of the elevator like a spastic, acrobatic monkey.

Now there's an image that I won't soon forget.

While this book might not be for everyone, i found it to be completely charming and I can honestly say I had more fun reading this book than any other I have tackled in 2012.

If you're going to read something, then read it with gusto. Bring the world to life in your mind with all the vitality, nuance and adventure you can. Those characters are counting on you to make their world an interesting place to live.

This book is a hidden gem. Perfect for anyone who ever read a book and wanted to BE the characters. Which is just about everyone who comes on GR! It's FREE on Amazon. Grab it and read it...thank me later.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Quickie Reviews #5

Ten Shades of SexyTen Shades of Sexy by Shelly Thacker
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

A great premise....take some hot and steamy scenes from a few romance novels and put them all together in an anthology. Unfortunately, with the exception of the first excerpt (by Shelly Thacker) all the love scenes fell flat and ca me off as quite over the top and cheesy. Maybe the scenes need to be read in the scope of the actual book in order to work, but irregardless, this Kindle freebie ended up being very disappointing.

Down To YouDown To You by M. Leighton

*shakes head*


Why do i keep reading these books that so many people are going crazy over? Lately it seems like whenever I do, I end up feeling like I am reading a completely different book than everyone else. Once again, I went into a book with high expectations based on my friends reviews (about both the book and the author) and ended up being extremely disappointed.

I am not going to try and cover the plot, as so many others have already. What I will say is that i pretty much had deja vu reading this book. Despite the fact that most people claim that this book was unique and that the ending was a huge surprise, i feel like I have read different versions of the basic story many times before. It reminded me a lot of On Dublin Street (another book that everyone else seems to love that I did not enjoy at all), in that both books shared the common bond of having truly insufferable heroines. In this book we have Olivia, who has the power to make every man she runs into want her desperately. The whole twin thing with Cash and Nash (hate the names...gah!) wasn't very intriguing to me.

One of these days I will pick up a book that everyone is raving about and be able to share in the excitement. Unfortunately, today is not that day.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Breathe ~ Kristen Ashley

Breathe (Colorado Mountain, #4)Breathe by Kristen Ashley
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Another 6 star book from Kristen Ashley!!

This book was probably the most emotional reading experience I have had all year. So beautiful, so heartbreaking, so uplifting. My emotions have run the gamut, and after reading this book I am completely convinced that Kristen Ashley is a Goddess among women, and has now rocketed up to the top of my favorite author list.

I have to admit, the previous book in this series Lady Luck was my least favorite. Not that I didn't end up enjoying that book, because I definitely did. My main problem was the fact that I wasn't able to connect to the hero Ty, in the way that I had with the leading men from the first two books in the series. But having said that - one of my favorite things about Lady Luck was the glimpse we got to see of police officer Chace Keaton. In fact, one of the best scenes in that book was towards the end when Lexie is having lunch with Chace and notices the way he looks at the shy, quiet, librarian Faye. The level of emotion and longing that KA managed to covey in such a short scene with a secondary character was so moving to me. I absolutely could not wait to dive into Chace & Faye's story.

This may sound silly, but literally from the first chapter I could tell Breathe was something special. So much so that I attempted to read this book slowly in order to truly enjoy the story and the characters. While I am a newbie to the KA universe (this is the 4th book I have read by her) this was without question the best of the bunch so far and I could easily sit here and gush about every little detail that I loved about the book, but I will attempt to keep myself under control. Now, having said that...


Soooo much to fangirl over, so little time....let's start with a girl after my own heart...Faye. KA has a habit of writing amazing female protagonists and I have to say, she outdid herself here. Faye is a librarian by profession, and a book nerd and geek at heart. She constantly has her nose in a book, she adores Battlestar Galactica, Psych & Firefly, has a crazy family and is a 29 year old virgin. And she has been carrying a torch for troubled police officer Chace Keaton for 13 years. I immediately felt connected to Faye for many reasons, especially because of her love for books and all things geeky. She was just a fantastic heroine and I loved her to pieces.

And then there's Chace. *SWOOOOOOOOOOON*

He has a troubled past and many demons. And thankfully KA didn't decide to make us read through hundreds of pages of angst while Chace battled his desire to have something good in his life. Almost from the beginning Chace decides he's not going to let anything or anyone stand in the way of what he wants. And what he wants is Faye.

The love story is pretty much perfect and Chace and Faye's chemistry is off the charts. She's goofy to his serious, and they make the perfect couple you can't help but root for. There are many things standing in the way of their happiness. But once again, I was so happy with the way KA handled the obstacles. All of the ups and downs of their relationship were handled in a believable way, and instead of needlessly ripping the two of them apart again and again just to add drama to the story, Chace & Faye handled everything thrown at them intelligently and most importantly, they handled the problems together.

As always, KA's knack of bringing us a cast of wonderful secondary characters holds true. It was wonderful seeing appearances by the main characters from the previous 3 books in the series (as well as a surprise appearance from a few favorites from another KA series).

I have to make special mention of the character of Miah. He was responsible for a lot of the tears I shed throughout reading this book. The story line involving him and his sister Becky were one of the things I loved most about an already beautiful book. But my gosh...the anguish I felt reading certain parts.

Some of my fave quotes:

"You're beautiful, a good kisser, this is our first date, my bed is in the room, I'm nervous as all heck and I just thought I was going to die after spitting out gum so no, I'm not all right."

He loved her calling him Chace.
But, her calling him honey was something else. Something pure. Something magical. Like the first snow of the season falling at night....
It was a little common miracle but even common, that made it no less miraculous.

"All mine", he muttered. "Christ, finally, all mine."

"You do not sleep without me" he paused then finished, "Ever."

The best heroes always have scars.

Now that i have finished this book, I definitely look at it as a gift. I have stated this in other reviews of KA's books, but she is absolutely responsible for bringing back my love of reading. I am so grateful to have discovered her books, and if there is one downside to it all...I am now a full fledged KA Addict and I know there is no cure in sight. But honestly, this is one addiction I can be proud of. :)

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Roadkill ~ Rob Thurman

Roadkill (Cal Leandros, #5)Roadkill by Rob Thurman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Rating: 6 stars
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Depth of the Characters: 6 stars. Rob Thurman is a master at this.
Where it ranks in the series thus far: #1 - hands down the best and most emotionally engaging book of an already fantastic series.

This book made me cry. Not one or two random tears...this book made me sob like a baby that just had her favorite blanket stolen from her. Not because this was the end of the series (which it thankfully isn't) and not because we ended up losing one of the main characters (which i spent a good deal of the book believing we would, but thankfully once again didn't happen), I cried because this book was

Okay, so crying myself into a massive headache sounds like a strange reaction to a good book. Lord knows it has only happened to me once or twice before. I guess the real reason i cried was due to the characters.I felt the pain and frustration of these characters...for the impossible choices they had to make. The characters of Niko, Cal and Robin have always been some of my favorites in any type of fiction, but with Roadkill we had the added bonus of Rafferty and Catcher. and they were the ones I was most drawn to here. I'm not really going to say anything about them (to avoid another weeping fit) other than to just let anyone reading this know that their relationship was so spot on perfect. And it mirrored the relationship between Cal & Niko...which was part of the reason their story destroyed me on such a deep level.

Rob Thurman has long been one of my favorite authors, but with Roadkill she had vaulted to the top of the pack.

View all my reviews

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Beautiful Bastard ~ Christina Lauren

Beautiful Bastard (Beautiful Bastard, #1)Beautiful Bastard by Christina Lauren
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

*ARC provided by edelweiss & Gallery Books*

*deeep, cleansing breath*

My first thought after finishing this was...

Honestly, I had heard some...shall we say...interesting things about this book, so I didn't exactly go into it thinking it was going to be much more than a fun read. What I ended up with was a hot mess the likes of which I have come across very rarely in my life as a book nerd.

Let me just say, I have nothing against fan fiction. In fact, I have written my fair share of it in the past. So, it's not like I had a problem with this book starting out as Twilight fanfic. But, this book was just beyond ridiculous. I know some people enjoyed it for the mere fact that some of the scenes and dialogue were funny (and obviously not intentionally so), but for me...the enjoyment ended at around the 25% mark. By that point I was so sick of the angry (and not at all erotic) sex scenes and inane dialogue that I had to start skimming in order to make it to the end.

The dialogue....oh sweet muppets in space, the dialogue was horrible. I know this sounds harsh, but I swear sometimes it came off as being written by a demented 5 year old. I mean, in comparison Fifty Shades was eloquent & heartfelt. And I am all for a good smutty read, but I do like a bit of a story line to go along with the sex. The attempt at a 'plot' here was half-hearted at best, and ended up as nothing more than filler to break up what would have otherwise been just one incredibly long and drawn out sex scene.

There is nothing new here. Nothing interesting. Arrogant, rich & impossibly gorgeous businessman finds himself drawn to his beguiling and sassy employee. Both parties half-heartedly try to resist the temptation to hump like bunnies and hold off for all of about 30 seconds. Rinse and repeat.

And a review for this book would not be complete without mentioning Bennett's obsession with panties. He keeps a drawer full of all the ones he's ripped off of Chloe during their angry sex sessions.

I wish i could have embraced this book the way some people have. Maybe the fact that I have burned myself out on all the Fifty Shades clones out there and it clouded my judgement. But this book was just one long, painful fail for me.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Under The Mistletoe ~ Jill Shalvis

Under the Mistletoe (Lucky Harbor, #6.5)Under the Mistletoe by Jill Shalvis
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

First off, this is a novella...a really short novella, which is disappointing since the story felt totally rushed, and just when I felt like I was starting to like the hero, the story ended (color me shocked when this already short novella ended abruptly at 55% - the remaining 45% consisted of previews for other books in the series. I really hate when publishers do that. Grrr).

My second problem was that I was extremely disappointed to realize that Mia's HEA didn't involve her Lucky Harbor boyfriend, Carlos. I thought the two of them made such a sweet couple, and when i saw this was about Mia, I just assumed that this was their story. But no...she has moved away and fallen for another man, and Carlos has another girlfriend. *sniffle* So...I guess because of that, and due once again to the shortness of the story, I wasn't really happy with who she ended up with. Nick may have grown on me over the course of a full length novel, but he didn't make that great of an impression on me in this super quick holiday story.

On the bright side, it was great to see Jax & Maddie. Chloe & Sawyer and Tara & Ford (Mia's parents) once again. I do love the residents of Lucky Harbor and while I have enjoyed the last couple of books in the series quite a bit, it was wonderful to see the original 3 couples once again.

So, this may have fallen a bit flat for me, but I am still a huge fan of the series and beyond excited that there are more adventures in Lucky Harbor on the horizon.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Lady Luck ~ Kristen Ashley

Lady Luck (Colorado Mountain, #3)Lady Luck by Kristen Ashley
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book was definitely my least favorite of the series so far, but overall I still really enjoyed it even though the story line and leading man didn't completely capture my heart.

This book definitely had a different feel to it from the previous two books in the series, The Gamble and Sweet Dreams. The story line was much grittier and a lot darker. We find out pretty early on that our hero is a completely different breed of leading man. Ty is much quieter, and far more serious than either Max or Tate. And his past was far from pretty. He had a horrible childhood (both main characters did), and than this horrible injustice was done to him resulting in his spending 5 years in jail for something he didn't do. So...the man has a reason to be angry. However....he occasionally steps over the line and crosses over into asshat territory more than once. And this was the reason I had a hard time falling under the spell he seems to have cast on many fans of this series. There were 2 instances where he did or said something to the heroine, Lexi, that left me completely speechless by their cruelty. Yes, I realize that he had his reasons, but still...he crossed a line both times and i found it very hard to forgive him.

Having said that, I can say I did end up warming up a little to him towards the end of the book, and was happy with the way that Ty & Lexi's HEA played out.

"My Ty."
Christ. Fuck.
Two words. Just two words. Walker had no clue that two words could mean so fucking much. He'd never belonged to anyone. He'd never belonged anywhere. Never thought he wanted to.
Until he heard those two words.

Because if you don't know how good something can be, you don't how bad you'll miss it when it's gone.

The two best aspects of this book were definitely LEXI (she was beyond awesome in just about every way) & I also loved getting to see Tate, Laurie and some of the other citizens of Carnal that we were introduced to in Sweet Dreams. We even had a bit of Nina & a passing mention of my beloved Max (swoooooon).

So, let me just make it clear. I enjoyed this book. KA's writing style is so engaging and addictive that even when I have issues with the story i still keep turning the pages because I can't wait to find out what happens next. So, even though it didn't rock my socks off as much as the other books in the series did, it was still a good read.

And finally...even though I wasn't the biggest fan of Ty, I did have a certain image of him in my mind, and even though this is probably far away from how KA imagined him....especially considering the hair...this was MY version of Ty Walker.

"Never had light in my life, never, not once. I lived wild but didn't burn bright until you shined your light on me."