Author Archive

Review: “Bad for Me” by Codi Gary [Tour Stop]

“Bad for Me” by Codi Gary

Available from: Avon Romance, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks or Kobo
To Be Released on: 6 April 2015
I received this book free in exchange for an honest review, as part of this book’s blog tour.

Description: Callie Jacobsen isn’t about to open her heart to just anyone. Not so very long ago, trusting someone changed her life forever—and not in a fun way. Now she’s better off focusing on her career, her friends, and her dog. So when former Marine Everett Silverton takes an interest in her, Callie’s more than a little wary. No matter how charming he is, men are a bad idea. In fact, she’s got the scars to prove it. But Everett isn’t convinced Callie should shut everyone out—especially not him. He may be a hero to the people of Rock Canyon, but he’s got his own demons, and he bets they’re not that different from Callie’s. Still, he knows it’s going to take more than chemistry to get her to let her guard down. Everett will do whatever it takes to show her she’s safe with him. All she has to do is take a chance, take a step…and take his hand.

Review: Who lives a life without scars? Not Everett Silverton, the male lead in this story is well written, daring, heroic, understanding and hot. And not Callie Jacobsen, the female lead is tragic and torn, a sweet heart with the inability to accept others into her life due to her past. Their romance is not easy, not is it gentle, as much as Everett tried to make it so. It felt each chapter was him offering all he was and her throwing it back at him through reactions and fear, and if there was ever a man to root for in a romance it was him.

Callie is a DJ with a crush on a male caller, Everett (or Rhett) is infatuated by the woman he hears every morning. Slowly they talk through his calls to her show and make a connection, then one morning he ups the ante and offers to meet her. Callie freezes and then fate (or author’s device) kicks in and suddenly they are bumping into one another at every turn, sometimes literally. Their lives are already so enmeshed that it is almost a surprise they hadn’t met. She was DJ’ing his brother’s wedding, she is an AA sponsor for his father, her friend ran the bookstore he spent so much time in, a small town in which lives usually mix had left these two never meeting until that day he asked her out.

It takes time for him to admit to her that he was her morning caller, and when he does she reacts badly. Her ability to trust had been ripped so thoroughly from her that all he did was being judged and weighed on a scale that he could not begin to see or imagine. From the beginning he was fighting a losing battle as her past was too unsettled to allow for the future to begin. It was clear she could not love or trust as she deserved to be able to until she allowed all the healing processes to work their way through her life. Hiding and dealing with the past as best as you can is not the same as healing.

I struggled with this book because some pieces didn’t fit, minor things really, but enough that I was questioning their place. Callie is an AA sponsor, but then admits she never took the full process of the steps to heart and healed herself through them as they are meant to be, this was one of my main struggles outside of struggling to like Callie. To me addiction recovery like that is an almost sacred trust and being someone’s sponsor when you never gave your all to the program yourself seems hypocritical. Everett hit every key in me that makes me enjoy a good male lead. Callie, on the other hand, had me banging my head on the wall chapter after chapter, making me want to stand up and defend Everett to her over and over and make her get the help she needed to be able to move forward with her life, and their life together. Also, I felt something interesting that could have been used to greater purpose was the original communication in the story, the couple had their first connection through the radio and that line of their relationship just stopped once they met in person. I loved that between them and wished Rhett had kept calling each morning, showing her he still cared about that woman he first began to fall for.

I give this book 3.5 Fireballs because of the details above and because I really struggled to finish the book as I could not bring myself to like Callie. I felt for her, but being empathetic and actually enjoying a character are two different things. Scars can be on the inside or outside, and these characters have both types. Through the book the details of their lives unfold and you see both characters and all their flaws, or the flaws they perceive in themselves. The romance is interesting, the sex scenes are well written, if too few. Codi Gary wove a story of people that both deserve a forever kind of love, and all the struggles that deserving that kind of love brings.

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Review: “Fireworks at Midnight” by Tara Quan [Tour Stop]

“Fireworks at Midnight” (A Witch’s Night Out) by Tara Quan

Available from: Amazon, AllRomance, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, iBooks, Kobo or Decadent Publishing
Released on: 12 December 2014

I received this book free in exchange for an honest review, as part of this book’s blog tour.

Description: Recent college graduate and part-time cat familiar Dulcina “Sweets” Gato is having the worst New Year’s Eve in living memory. End of year expenses trigger serious cash flow problems, and her microwave just went up in smoke. To make matters worse, her best friend’s overprotective big brother is back in town, and his return threatens to put a huge crimper on her nocturnal activities. The only thing she can look forward to is Madame Eve’s 1-Night Stand service. After all, she’s sick and tired of being a 21-year-old virgin.

Enforcement Agent Mikal Knight is a warlock on a mission. Having finally scored a transfer to Washington, D.C., he’s now at liberty to pursue the object of his desires—his baby sister’s best friend. But first, he has a vigilante to track down and a mysterious matchmaking service to investigate. Sent on an undercover operation, he resigns himself to a pointless 1-Night Stand on New Year’s Eve. As luck would have it, his mystery date’s identity might let him kill several birds with one stone.

Review: What could possibly be worse than a morning without coffee? A man as dark as it coming to your rescue who you have avoided for years. Dulcina, or Sweets, as everyone but Mikal Knight called her. was a struggling artist, familiar to a shut in earth mage, and in desperate need of a fun night out. Mikal, or Midnight, is an agent for a magical group called Enforcement, and half-brother to the earth mage Sweets shared a house, and a business with.

The thing I love most about this story is the fact that Sweets has visions of the future, a gift of precognition, very strong visions if something is about to happen, and has spent her adult life altering situations where she would end up connecting with Mikal. I love the lesson she learns that sometimes, in books, authors have a sick sense of humor, and play fate like a harp string. Without giving too much away let me say that the wait was worth it.

Tara Quan writes a fun and steamy romance story, she details every situation well, until you feel like you could be watching a movie, not reading a book. This couple is fun, and addictive. I wish this story was longer, because I could spend days lost in the playfulness between them, and the eroticism her writing offers.

I give this story five fireballs my only criticism would be the length of the story, which to me is not anything more than like standing at the end of a concert and cheering encore.

5fireballs[1]

Review: “Frosty Relations” by Tara Quan [Tour Stop]

“Frosty Relations” (A Witch’s Night Out) by Tara Quan

Available from: Amazon, AllRomance, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, iBooks, Kobo or Decadent Publishing
Released on: 21 November 2014

I received this book free in exchange for an honest review, as part of this book’s blog tour.

Description: Attorney Jack Frost never understood why holidays did weird things to people. His secretary went on vacation, his best friend ditched their annual Aspen trip, and the law firm’s stubborn human resources assistant refuses his clerical support request. What’s a warlock to do on Christmas Eve but go on a 1-Night Stand? But when an oddly familiar empath shows up as his date, this ice mage has a hard time denying the magic of the winter solstice.

Faced with an anemic employment market and financial woes, college graduate and former witch Mina Mao lands an HR assistant job at Frost and Sons. Having spent her day saving Christmas from Frost Junior’s Grinch-like behavior, she accepts the gift of Madame Eve’s service and heads over to the Castillo Capital. When her date turns out to be her childhood crush and workplace nemesis, she braces herself for the sexiest icy ride of her life.

Review: Jack Frost might be an ice mage, but he makes this story blazingly hot. Let me say, I read fast, so when I got a book that was as short as this I was concerned because I would not have time to become invested in the characters, that concern was completely unfounded.

From the opening paragraph you are drawn into the daily life of Mina Mao then receive just enough of her and Jack’s background to tell you what you need to know to make the characters come to life, and entwine you in their lives. The sex scenes (one full on and one quick dream snippet) are hot (and with this main man, deliciously cold at times) well written and the descriptive talent of the author make them come to life. Could I have done with a whole weekend worth of reading about these characters and the terrifically written erotic scenes? Oh yes, but this wickedly perfect short was a satisfying way to curl up in bed on a weeknight.

I like the unique take on magic in a modern world, and how different Tara Quan handles the interaction of magic between the characters. I learned a little mandarin in the book as well, though probably nothing I would wish to use in polite company.

I gave this book five fireballs. It has heat, cold, rich, poor, danger and seduction, such a great depth of description that I was in awe of Tara Quan’s ability to paint a picture with words. If I could add a fireball for the Joss Whedon references I would.

Review: “Venice in the Moonlight” by Elizabeth McKenna

“Venice in the Moonlight” by Elizabeth McKenna

Available from: Amazon or Barnes & Noble
Released on: 3 October 2013

I received this book free in exchange for an honest review.

Description: Considered useless by his cold-hearted father, Nico Foscari, eldest son of one of the founding families in Venice, hides his pain behind gambling, drinking and womanizing.

After her husband’s untimely demise, Marietta Gatti returns to her hometown of Venice in hopes of starting a new life and finding the happiness that was missing in her forced marriage.

When Fate throws them together, friendship begins to grow into love until Marietta learns a Foscari family secret that may have cost her father his life. Now, she must choose between vengeance, forgiveness, and love.

Elizabeth McKenna’s latest novel takes you back to eighteenth century Carnival, where lovers meet discreetly, and masks make everyone equal.

Review: Venice in the Moonlight is a story that brings to life things I loved when I was a young woman beginning in my romance reading life. A dark hero with a past that makes you wish to change him, a strong heroine willing to risk all to right wrongs, a setting in a land I will never see. But I did not find enough original, except maybe the reason for the thriller sub-plot, which made it stand out to me.

It had the makings of a story that could pull you into the intrigue but I felt it always left me hanging on the edge of what could be really good. Carnival in Venice, a city known to be one of the most romantic in world, with Nico, a hero that made you wish to comfort and bed at the same time. A mystery that needed to be solved, and Marietta the woman willing to do all she could to solve it, including putting herself in situations that were not only daring, but fool hardy. Instead of taking the easy way out of having the hero come to the rescue, the author almost always found a way to pull Marietta out of the situation and leave you saying “that was too close.” It was at those points when I felt the story could elevate and give me all the drama and passion I was hoping for, but it didn’t as those were the points it plateaued at.

The secondary characters were not as original as the main characters, but that is forgivable in this length of a book, you did not need them, but they were decent window dressing. The descriptions of the city, the clothing, the masks and even the food were lovely and decadent at times. Painting a lovely word picture in the mind, it was them that lead me to hope for more from the beginning.

Overall I think this book had tremendous potential that kept me holding on and hoping for it to be reached throughout but at the end I was left with a feeling of, “It was nice, but nothing spectacular.” But boy did it raise my hopes for spectacular. I give this book 3.5 fireballs.

3.5fireballs[1]

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Review: “Atlanta Burns” by Chuck Wendig

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Atlanta Burns: Available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble

Released on: January 27, 2015

I purchased this book for my own reading. 

Thank you Bella for giving me a place I can share my reviews.

Description:

You don’t mess with Atlanta Burns.

Everyone knows that. And that’s kinda how she likes it—until the day Atlanta is drawn into a battle against two groups of bullies and saves a pair of new, unexpected friends. But actions have consequences, and when another teen turns up dead—by an apparent suicide—Atlanta knows foul play is involved. And worse: she knows it’s her fault. You go poking rattlesnakes, maybe you get bit.

Afraid of stirring up the snakes further by investigating, Atlanta turns her focus to the killing of a neighborhood dog. All paths lead to a rural dogfighting ring, and once more Atlanta finds herself face-to-face with bullies of the worst sort. Atlanta cannot abide letting bad men do awful things to those who don’t deserve it. So she sets out to unleash her own brand of teenage justice.

Will Atlanta triumph? Or is fighting back just asking for a face full of bad news?

This book is intended for mature audiences due to strong language and violence.

Revised edition: Previously published as two volumes, Shotgun Gravy and Bait Dog, this combined edition includes editorial revisions.

Review:

Atlanta Burns, the book, is hard to like, but easy to love, the same can be said for the character who shares the title. There is much pain in Atlanta and just enough darkness that she can come across as standoffish, and difficult, but her past makes the rough edges understandable and easy to empathize with. The book itself deals with many hurtful subjects causing you to wonder how they can all fit, but they do. Mr. Wendig weaves a tale that draws you through loops and turns, many of which make you want to close your eyes because they are distasteful, until finally it all pulls into a masterful endgame where you find resolution and maybe a little bit of peace.

Atlanta Burns, the young woman, has been through too much for someone her age, but instead of creating a pitiful character she is written into a strong woman, unafraid to do things that others cannot, or will not. Being willing to deal with the rougher sides of life in her town means she has to face the fact she might make herself and those around her targets.

There are not many subjects that cause me to turn away from a book, but the dogfighting in this dealt with one of them. Instead of pushing me away, the manner in which the character and the writer handled it kept me saying “You can get through this.” And I did, and I am glad I did.

Tragedy seems to find this book at every turn and you come out feeling like you have been drug through the dirt with Atlanta. Instead of feeling “justified” in the choices she makes you can see the damage done by them. There is a saying that no good comes without a cost and the story written here is a perfect example of it.

As a new reader of Chuck Wendig’s work let me say that this book has made me ready to read more. His storytelling and perspective make for a well done point of view for bringing an outsider into Atlanta’s darkened hometown. I give this book five fireballs as I really enjoyed it.

 

5fireballs[1]

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