Monday, April 30, 2012

Books We Didn't Finish April edition

The New Girl-This book was just uninteresting to me.  I got about 1/3 of the way through and stopped reading it to read something else.  I tried a couple of times to pick it back up, but never really felt interested enough.  I don't particularly like YA books that involve a lot of drinking and sex and doing nothing but partying and what I read of The New Girl, it seemed like that was pretty much all these people did at school.

Why We Broke Up was really bizarre.  I didn't get it.  I didn't like it.  It just wasn't my thing.  The characters seemed whiny and I think THAT's why they broke up.

I had high hopes for The Kitchen Counter Cooking School, but once I actually sat down to read it, it wasn't very enjoyable for me.  I don't know what it was,  maybe it was a little preachy or something. 

White Satin by Iris Johansen
I picked this one up for a Throwback Thursday.  I am a fan of Iris Johansen so I thought I would love this book.  I could not finish the book at all.  I couldn't get past the fact that Anthony had been lusting after Dany since she was like 8 years old.  OK, the lust started when she was 14, but still.  He knew she would be his when she was 8 and he was in his 20s.  That just creeped me out.  Also, he was very possessive and after he declares he desire for her, he keeps talking to her like she is a child.  That was it for me.  Yuck.

Angelina's Bachelors
I started listening to this one on audio and I just kept losing interest.  I can't really pinpoint why, but I was bored. It may have been the recipes.  I'm not a huge fan of food descriptions in the middle of a story. Even though I know food plays a huge part in this book, it didn't flow well for me.  Also, the story seemed out of place set in the present. This book would have been more relevant had it been set in the 50s or 60s.  In this day and age, who starts cooking for unmarried men in the neighborhood to make money? I didn't buy it.

An Available Man
I  think I need to stay away from stories that involve widows or widowers.  They just don't seem to hold much appeal for me.  I wanted to like this book because it seemed to have positive reviews.  But, I just found it boring.  The narrative was rambling and didn't seem to be going anywhere that I cared to follow.   The main characters was depressed and made me depressed listening to him.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

The Unseen by Heather Graham

Author: Heather Graham
Publisher: Mira
Date of Publication: March 2012

1800s. San Antonio, Texas: In room 207 at the Longhorn Saloon, in the long shadow of the Alamo itself, a woman renowned for her beauty was brutally murdered. Her killer was never found.

One year ago: In that same historic room, another woman vanished without a trace. Her blood was everywhere…but her body was never recovered.

Now: In the last month, San Antonio has become a dumping ground for battered bodies.

All young women, many of them long missing, almost all forgotten. Until now.

Texas Ranger Logan Raintree cannot sit by and let his city's most vulnerable citizens be slain. So when he is approached to lead a brand-new group of elite paranormal investigators working the case, he has no choice but to accept the challenge. And with it, his powerful ability to commune with the dead.

Among Logan's new team is Kelsey O'Brien, a U.S. marshal known for her razor-sharp intuition and a toughness that belies her delicate exterior. Kelsey has been waiting all her life to work with someone who can understand her ability to "see" the past unfolding in the present. Now she has her chance.

Together, Kelsey and Logan follow their instincts to the Alamo and to the newly reopened Longhorn, which once tempted heroes with drink, cards and women. If the spirits of those long-dead Texans are really appearing to the victims before their deaths, only Kelsey and Logan have the skills to find out why.  And if something more earthly is menacing the city's oldest, darkest corners, only they can stop it—before more innocent women join the company of San Antonio's restless ghosts….

The Unseen is the continuation of the "Krewe of Hunters" series that features Jackson Crow and his team of paranormal federal agents.  This time, Jackson Crow is putting together a new Krewe of Hunters team and he wants Logan Raintree to head it.  I liked this story.  The Alamo has a fascinating history and always makes for a good ghost story.  The Unseen definitely has a good ghost story!  The book ends with a nice little twist that I never saw coming so I was as surpirsed as the characters. 

As with most of Ms. Graham's characters, Kelsy and Logan are both very intriguing and each has some kind of "ability".  Kelsey is confident and secure with herself.  Logan has overcome a huge crisis and has been putting his life back together.  For them, the attraction felt very natural and I didn't feel that they were forced together just to fit romance into the book.  I enjoyed all of the new characters that were introduced. While I will miss the other team, I look forward to this new Krewe of Hunters team and seeing what is in store for them.  The next one, The Unholy comes out in June.  Stay tuned!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Blog Tour & Interview: Pulled by A. L. Jackson

Today, we welcome author A. L. Jackson who is promoting her book: Pulled.  Ms. Jackson was kind enough to answer a few answers for us.  Check out an excerpt from the book after our interview!

Publisher: Sapphire Star Publishing
Date of Publication: April 2012

Melanie Winters and Daniel Montgomery shared a love they believed bonded them together for life.  After the tragic loss of their daughter, overwhelming grief and misguided guilt distorts the truth, and their relationship ends in unanswered questions.

For nine years, they drift through life, each unable to forget the one who holds their heart.   

Now, when their lives again intersect, will the power that drew them together be enough to heal the wounds from their past?
Pulled is a story of attraction and separation, of destiny and duty, of a love so strong it refuses to give up even when all others have.

Kari: What inspired you to become a writer?

A. L.: I used to write a lot when I was in college, though it was more poetry than stories.  Then life jgot busy with marriage, kids, and work, and it became something that I didn’t really do anymore. A handful of years ago, I started reading a lot again and that stirred up the urge to write. It was then I started writing Pulled.

Kari: Where do you come up with the idea for your books?

A. L .: So far with all of my books, one character has just shown up in my head. I can see their face and get some kind of idea of their situation. I’m sure there’s something that triggers it, but I haven’t ever been conscious of it. Then I build the story and other characters around that idea.

Kari: What exciting projects are waiting in the wings?

A. L .: I’m really excited for my next book, When We Collide, which is written in the tradition of Pulled and slants a little more in the realm of a supernatural thriller.  The expected release is November 2, 2012.
Kari: Who is your favorite literary character and why?

A. L .: Oh, is it too cliché to say Edward of Twilight fame? In everything I’ve read, he’s the one character that has stuck with me the most.

Kari: Just for fun, if you could be any animal, what would it be and why?

A. L .: I would have to say a cat. Who wouldn’t want to spend the entire day curled up in a ball lounging? 

And now for an excerpt from Pulled:

I glanced at the clock.

Shit—nearly six o’clock. I needed to hurry. I’d lost track of time and Nicholas would be home soon. I wiped the tears from my face before carefully gathering the pictures from the bedroom floor. My chest weighed heavy as I collected each one, cherishing the memories a moment longer as I tucked them away in the envelope.

The memories were all I had and I clung to them as if they were my last breath, knowing that once they faded, there would truly be no reason to go on. I hid the envelope at the bottom of the large jewelry box in the back of the closet, mindful to spread the necklaces out over the hidden compartment. Nicholas had never found them, but I was certain he would destroy them if he ever did.

Drawing in a deep breath, I ran my hands through my hair and dragged myself from the past I had immersed myself in for the last two hours and forced myself downstairs.

My footsteps echoed against the marble floor, each an accent of emptiness. I entered the kitchen, the only sanctuary I had. Every room of this house was gaudy and overdone, designed by the pompous for the pompous, except for this haven. It was no less extravagant, but held a warmth missing from all of the others.

As I worked, my thoughts inevitably wandered back to those beloved pictures hidden away in the back of my closet, but even they weren’t enough to ward off the anxiety steadily building within me as the passing minutes warned of Nicholas’s arrival. At six thirty-one, I heard the garage door open. Bile rose in my throat.

“Melanie?” Nicholas called from the entryway.

“In the kitchen,” I called weakly. Maybe he would go upstairs and spare me a few more minutes, but of course, I never had that kind of luck. I heard his footsteps approaching and prepared myself.

“Dinner ready?” He yanked at his tie as he came through the door.

“Um, not quite, just a couple more minutes,” I said, not meeting his face.

I felt him pause, though I refused to look up. I’d learned a long time ago how to survive in hell. The less I interacted with him the better.

He snorted through his nose, muttering, “Worthless whore,” under his breath.

I gritted my teeth, holding in the anger his accusation triggered.

He set his briefcase on the island next to me and tossed his tie over the top of it. “What time do I get home from work, Melanie?” Nicholas dipped his head, forcing me to look at him.


“Is it too much to ask that dinner is ready when I get home?” he said, “or do you have something better to do with your useless life?”

I cringed but said nothing. He was the one who didn’t want me to work.

“I didn’t think so.” He leaned in closer, his words a low warning. “When I tell you dinner needs to be ready at six-thirty, it means dinner is to be ready at six-thirty. Do you understand?”

I saw the threat in his eyes. He had never hurt me physically, but he made sure I knew who was in charge. I’d given up any control nine years ago when I’d followed him here to Chicago, looking for an escape from the pain.

I knew then what this life would be like. I’d met him at the airport when I’d fled Colorado that final time, the trip that severed the last thread holding my heart together. Nicholas hadn’t seen the broken girl who sat numb with nothing but pain swimming in her eyes. He saw the young, beautiful girl, the one who said nothing at all but seemed to be willing to do whatever he said.

About the author:

A.L. Jackson first found a love for writing during her days as a young mother and college student.  She filled the journals she carried with short stories and poems used as an emotional outlet for the difficulties and joys she found in day-to-day life.

Years later, she shared a short story she’d been working on with her two closest friends and, with their encouragement, this story became her first full length novel, Pulled

A.L. resides in Southern Arizona where she lives with her husband and three beautiful children. Her favorite pastime is spending time with the ones she loves.


Friday, April 27, 2012

Joint Review: The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa

by:  Julie Kagawa
published by:  Harlequin Teen
publish date:  April 24, 2012

Allison Sekemoto survives in the Fringe, the outermost circle of a vampire city. By day, she and her crew scavenge for food. By night, any one of them could be eaten. Some days, all that drives Allie is her hatred of them. The vampires who keep humans as blood cattle. Until the night Allie herself is attacked—and given the ultimate choice. Die…or become one of the monsters.  Faced with her own mortality, Allie becomes what she despises most. To survive, she must learn the rules of being immortal, including the most important: go long enough without human blood, and you will go mad.  Then Allie is forced to flee into the unknown, outside her city walls. There she joins a ragged band of humans who are seeking a legend—a possible cure to the disease that killed off most of humankind and created the rabids, the mindless creatures who threaten humans and vampires alike.  But it isn’t easy to pass for human. Especially not around Zeke, who might see past the monster inside her. And Allie soon must decide what—and who—is worth dying for.

I haven't read anything by Julie Kagawa before.  I know that makes me really behind on the times, but I never got on the Iron Fey train.  I was going to pass on this book because the last thing I wanted to read was another vampire book, but somebody (Kari) said we should read it.  Parajunkee really liked it too, so I reluctantly gave into the lure of yet another YA, vampire series....dystopian at that.  Peer pressure!

The Immortal Rules is the first book in the Blood of Eden series.  I haven't found any information about how many book this series is expected to include.  It's set in a futuristic world that has ravaged by plague.  The concept of a human plague being detrimental to vampires hadn't really occurred to me before, but it makes for a plausible storyline.  Despite all my foot dragging to get to the book, once I got there I did find it an enjoyable read.

I found The Immortal Rules refreshing in that Allison wasn't always giving into her desires.  I appreciated that she was willing to do the right thing even if it wasn't the easy thing to do.

I don't doubt that this will be a huge series for Ms. Kagawa.  The movie rights have already been optioned by Palomar Pictures.

I'll admit, I am a sucker for vampire books. But, I tend to like nice vampires in my books (Can we say Black Dagger Brotherhood?).  When I saw the synopsis for this book, I thought it looked interesting and told Autumn we should do a joint review.  I'm not sure I liked it as much as I was hoping I would.

While I did eventually enjoy the book, I thought it dragged in the beginning and didn't really get interesting until the last third of the book. What I did enjoy about the book wass that the Allie is the vampire and not someone in love with a vampire.  I felt badly for her for the entire book.  She keeps trying to do nice things and help others, but they turn on her once they find out what she has become.   I hope in future books she stays true to herself.  I would be disappointed if she changed too much.

I will pick up the next one just to see how things work out for Allie and Zeke.  But if there is a love triangle, I'll stop there.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Throwback Thursday: Temptation by Nora Roberts

Author: Nora Roberts
First published in 1987 by Silhouette


Socialite Eden Carlbough didn't expect running a girls' camp to be easy, but these little monsters had her wishing she'd just stayed home. They literally drove her up an apple tree -- and she came crashing down into the capable arms of orchard owner Chase Elliot.

Chase knew he'd caught a windfall when he looked at the woman in his arms. The regal beauty was obviously accustomed to a sheltered paradise, and Chase wondered what she was doing in his neck of the woods. He didn't like being cast as a serpent, but how could he resist when she'd just offered him such forbidden fruit?

Temptation is one of the reasons I love to read the older romances by my favorite authors.  It oozes with cheese, but that is what makes it so good. Yes, the clothing and technology is outdated, but the general story isn't.   Actually, Temptation is one of Nora's milder romances.  There is really no sex in it, just hot kissing scenes.   It was kind of refreshing that they didn't hop into bed after the first meeting.  

Eden is a socialite thrown into making her own way in the world and I admired her determination to change herself.  I will admit though that her hot and cold behavior toward Chase got a bit tired after a while.  But, she redeemed herself in the end when she sticks up for herself with her aunt and ex-fiance.   Chase is a great character.   He is confident, funny and comfortable in his own skin.  And he is smitten with Eden from the first minute she falls on him.  I loved the scene when Chase and Eden first meet.  It was so good it had me smiling all day.  I was definitely rooting for these 2 in the end. 

Temptation was recently released on audio.  It's about 4.5 discs long, so a quick listen.  The narrator was fun to listen to.  If you missed it try it out.  You'll be smiling in the end..I know I was!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Cold, Cold Ground by Adrian McKinty

Author: Adrian McKinty
Publisher: Serpent's Tail
Date of Publication: January 2012

The Cold Cold Ground is the start of a major new series from Adrian McKinty, author of the acclaimed Falling Glass, Fifty Grand and the DEAD trilogy.

Featuring Catholic cop Sean Duffy whose outsider status in the mostly Protestant RUC makes it as hard to do his job as the criminals he’s fighting, this is the start of a new series set in Troubles-era Belfast. A body is found in a burnt out car. Another is discovered hanging from a tree. Could this be Northern Ireland’s first serial killer, or another paramilitary feud? 

 Adrian McKinty is a new to me author.  When The Cold, Cold Ground became available for download at my library, it looked really interesting.  I almost didn't finish listening to it as the accent took some time to get used to.  I was having a hard time understanding the narrator at first.  But after a while, I got used to the rhythm of the accent and I was hooked.

I don't remember much about the fighting that occurred in Northern Ireland in the early 80s. This book takes place during the hunger strikes.  After reading this book, I looked up the conflict to help me to understand some of the things in the book.  I don't think it is necessary to do this for a reader to enjoy the story, I just did it because I am a curious person.

Overall, I enjoyed the story.  Sean Duffy is a great character.  He's not the nicest guy but he is a good solid cop who will stop at nothing to find the killer. The mystery was very intriguing and there are a few twists that I didn't see coming. While there seemed to be several paths that the police would take to solve the murders, they all come together to make sense in  the end.  I loved the ending, talk about justice! Mr. McKinty has created a good start to a great new series and I look forward to reading his next adventure.  

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Guest blog: Emily Cale

Today we welcome author, Emily Cale, who is promoting her book Getting Ahead.  Welcome Emily!

Publisher: Breathless Press
Date of PublicationFebruary 2012

Colton is exactly the kind of distraction Amber doesn't want, but he might be exactly what she needs to get back on track.

Recovering from a bad fall during competition, Amber McDonald decides to spend her last week of training before her next rodeo at a Colorado ranch, away from any and all distractions. It'd be the perfect arrangement—if only her fear wasn't stopping her from getting back on her horse.

Then Colt Riley steps in. He's sexy and seems to have incredible insight into her situation, but he's everything she's been trying to stay away from.

Colt knows exactly what Amber is going through...because he's been there before. Forced to give up his riding career after an accident, he sets his mind to helping her get back on track. All that's easier said than done, especially when she discovers his hidden past. Will his efforts be enough to help her get ahead?

Why I Write Happily-Ever-Afters
by Emily Cale

A lot of romance authors can trace their roots back to an old book they stole from their mother, an older sister, or even their grandmother. I stole thrillers, or, more accurately, they were given to me by my mom and teachers. There is nothing wrong with these books and I'm still a sucker for Robin Cook and Ken Follett, but when I sat down to write, I discovered I'm nothing like either of them.

This isn't the story of why I write romance. This is about why I love happily ever after endings and the thought of putting two people together. I'll sum in up in one sentence for you: Life is better when you have someone to share it with.

I came to this full realization on my last work trip out of the country. I was alone in my room and the hot water heater for the shower broke. Again. Since the main tube was off, water was shooting straight from the pipes across the room and hitting the wall. The only way to fix it is to trudge through the water and turn it off at the sources, then put the tubes back in place. By the time I finished this task, I was tired, cranky, and generally annoyed. As I crawled back into bed, I started thinking about performing the same task on my previous visit. That time I hadn't been as careful and ended up with second degree burns on both my hands from handling the hot water pipes. It also took a lot longer since I didn't know what I was doing. Somehow, I still had far more fun that time. The reason? I shared the room with a friend and co-worker who laughed with me the whole time.

Does sharing something with another person make a certain task better for you? I'll pick one commenter to win an e-book copy of Getting Ahead.

About the author:

Emily Cale spent the majority of her childhood as a visitor to the worlds of her favorite authors. With encouragement from her English teachers, she put pen to paper and began imagining her own stories. Preferring the fascinating lives of her characters, she majored in creative writing. When not lost in a manuscript or a good book, she enjoys crocheting, rock climbing, and playing board games. She currently lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, with her husband and a very spoiled cat.

You can find Emily online on her blog ( or on Twitter (

Buy Links:

Monday, April 23, 2012

Guest Blog: M.V.C. Egan

Please welcome author, M.V.C Eagan who is promoting her book, The Bridge of Deaths.  Welcome!

Publisher - AuthorHouse
Release Date - June 9, 2011

Follow Bill and Maggie in London 2010 as they explore the events of August 15th 1939. When at the brink of World War II, an English plane crashed and sunk in Danish waters. Five deaths were reported: two Standard Oil of New Jersey employees, a German Corporate Lawyer, an English member of Parliament, and a crew member for the airline. Bill and Maggie find a conceivable version of the events. 

Ms. Egan writes:

From the introduction The Bridge of Deaths warns the reader that one of the stumbling blocks was my absolute lack of knowledge about history in 1939 and I do not by any stretch of the means consider myself an expert today.  I can absolutely state that I failed history more than once at school. I did however have an affinity for hands-on history through museums and old buildings; I believe that was my gateway to feeling comfortable with researching.

I have been so pleasantly surprised by the feedback of so many readers that feel like they became interested in the history of the era. So far no-one has corrected any of my findings, which I also state could happen in the intro.

The first place available to me was at the Wimberly Library at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, Florida. There I found numerous books, but the most useful tool was the newspaper microfilm and especially that of The London Times.

I spent hours over the years reading and printing articles from the Newspaper and I have to say it never felt tedious. It became a fun hobby, and it immersed me in the era I was researching, because as I looked at the articles that I document in the book I also saw the fun ads for anything from cigarettes to real-estate.

Visiting archives was also an adventure I would not trade. Today many of the files I used are available on-line, but when I began in the early-mid 90s this was not the case. Again the feel of touching history and with original documents was so ‘real’ that it was far from boring.

I am sure that my insecurity and lack of knowledge allowed me the freedom not to take historical facts for granted and as I searched I found that Voltaire was indeed correct when he said, “History is the agreed upon lie”.

My advice to anyone interested in researching any given historical event and wanting find a new perspective is simply to research as though you haven’t a clue.  I believe my ignorance was crucial in finding all I found. This is not only in reference to my ignorance of facts, but also my ignorance in the reputation of the various historians. I trusted and believed no-one and went to original sources, which led me right to The House of Parliament reading room in London. 

There in the Parliamentary Archives I got to find sources that are often quoted in history books, but not in bits and pieces but in full non-edited form. There I must say I got to read a lot of slow boring stuff, a little like watching C-Span, but once I found what interested me, it felt well worth the read. Today this is available on-line.

One of my favorite tools available to everyone is I did pay for a full membership and perhaps that gave me access to more than a free access pass that I think anyone can get for one month. I was able to access archives in the US, UK, Germany, Denmark and several other countries.  In one of the ship manifests  I found that one of the men I was researching had the cabin next to George Prescott Bush and his wife, the father of our 41st and grandfather of our 43rd 
presidents, a little like touching history. Don’t you think? 

About the Author:

M.C.V. Egan lives in South Florida with her husband and teenage son. She is fluent in four languages; English,Spanish,French and Swedish. From a young age became determined to solve the 'mystery' of her grandfather's death, she has researched this story for almost two decades. The story has taken her to Denmark, England and unconventional world of past lives and psychics. The author would like to thank Critical Past for the use of the British Airways LTD. Lockheed14 image above.

Purchase Links:
Barnes and Noble


Blog Tour: Until Next Time by Amy Lignor

Author: Amy Lignor
Publisher: Tribute Books
Date of Publication: February 2012

How does a girl choose between the one who steals her heart and the one who owns her soul?

Matt and Emily were created for a specific job. Raised and trained as the ultimate angel/warrior team, they are sent down to save, defend, judge and forgive, depending on the 'life' they've been assigned. What they don't realize is that the power of human emotions, such as love, anger, passion and fear can take over even the best of souls, causing them to make mistakes and follow paths that lead to confusion and heartache.

When the reason for their training is finally revealed, the angel/warrior team find themselves thrust into a world they know nothing about. Matt takes over the life of Daniel, a young man with a great deal of baggage. Emily becomes Liz, a girl living in a remote village who relies on nothing more than her own strength to survive. A violent storm erupts one night, and framed in the window of Liz's establishment is a frightening face. Let in by the soul of a Good Samaritan, the two visitors bring with them a past full of secrets that could literally change an angel's path and a warrior's plans.

From murder to redemption, this angel/warrior team must find a way to keep the faith they have in each other in a world that's ripping them apart.

When I read the synopsis for Until Next Time, I was really intrigued by the premise of the story.  I liked the idea behind the book.   It looked like a fresh take on the angel story-line.  Emily and Matt are soul mates who have been training in Heaven to be sent down to earth to take over the bodies of 2 people to try to help other people.  The catch is that Emily and Matt have no memory of who they really are once they are back on earth.  

The characters were interesting and I did enjoy the story of the Liz and Daniel as they live in Ireland. In the end though the book was just OK for me.  I found myself with more questions than answers and I was confused a few times.  I wasn't totally sure why Emily and Matt kept going back to Heaven.  Especially when the answers to the questions they asked weren't supposed to help them anyway.  They weren't supposed to have any memory of being angels once they are on earth.  Also, why take away their memories if they have spent their whole life training?  The logic just didn't work for me. 

In the beginning of the book, it seems that something has made Emily disillusioned. She is being forced to read back through her "lives" to try to find out why.  Until Next Time is the first of those lives. I am going to assume that the next books will be more lives of Daniel and Emily.  Perhaps they will hold more of a clue as to why Emily is disillusioned. So, in the end, not a bad start to the series.  I'll give the next one a shot to see where Emily and Daniel end up next.

About the author:
Amy Lignor began her career at Grey House Publishing in northwest Connecticut where she was the Editor-in-Chief of numerous educational and business directories.

Now she is a published author of several works of fiction. The Billy the Kid historical The Heart of a Legend; the thriller, Mind Made; and the adventure novel, Tallent & Lowery 13.

She is also the owner of The Write Companion, a company that offers help and support to writers through a full range of editorial services from proofreading and copyediting to ghostwriting and research. As the daughter of a research librarian, she is also an active book reviewer.

Currently, she lives with her daughter, mother and a rambunctious German Shepherd named Reuben, in the beautiful state of New Mexico. 

Amy Lignor's Website:

The Angel Chronicles web site:

ISBN: 9780983741855
ISBN: 9781465992697
Pages: 295
Release: February 1, 2012

Kindle buy link

Nook buy link

iBookstore buy link
coming soon

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Sunday, April 22, 2012

2 Novellas in 1

Today, I have 2 novellas from Carina Press...enjoy!

Snowbound with a Stranger
Author: Rebecca Rogers Maher
Publisher: Carina Press
Date of publication: May 28, 2012

Dannie Marino is hiking with colleagues when a sudden blizzard separates her from her group. She's rescued by Lee, a dangerously sexy stranger who leads her to a remote cabin to weather the storm.
When the night inevitably ends in an intense erotic encounter, Dannie is both shocked and liberated by her response. But being intimate means letting herself be vulnerable, which isn't her style. Lee tries to reach out to her, but she avoids any emotional entanglement by pushing him away.
Snowed in and unable to hide from each other, Dannie and Lee must both face up to their most closely guarded emotions. When the storm abates, will they be able to stop running from the past and live fully in the future?

Who wouldn't want to be stranded in the a cabin with a sexy guy? For Dannie, it is both exciting and scary at them same time. Both Lee and Dannie find out that ssometimes, it's easier to talk about your issues with a stranger, but is it enough?  Snowbound with a Stranger is one that I think would have worked better as a longer story.  I enjoyed it, but I really wanted to know more about Dannie and Lee.  While I liked them together, I wasn't totally convinced in the end that they had worked out their issues.  But, I did get the sense that a HEA was possible.  I just wanted more.  This is a nice novella when you are looking for a quick escape.

Let Me In

Author: Callie Croix
Publisher: Carina Press
Date of publication: May 21, 2012

On leave for Thanksgiving, the last thing marine lieutenant Talia Barnett expects to find is Liam Brodie waiting for her at the airport. He's had a starring role in her fantasies for the past two years, and although she'd love to make them a reality, she has a dark secret that prevents her from taking things further.
A former marine, Liam's specialty is planning tactical operations, and that's just what he plans to do to win Talia. The woman has kept him at arm's length for too long, and this time he's finally going to claim her-body and heart.
What begins as comfort quickly turns hot. When Liam shows Talia a hint of the dominant nature inside him, the submissive part of her flares to life. Though she desires him, she's going back on deployment and doesn't want to dump all her drama on him. Will he find a way to break through the protective walls around her heart and convince her they have a future that goes far beyond the bedroom? 

I really enjoyed Let Me In.  Even though it was a short story, I felt like the author provided plenty of background so that I was able to get to know the characters.  Talia and Liam also have a history together which made their attraction very believable.  I really felt badly for Talia.  Once you know what her life was like, You can really understand her reluctance to get close to anyone or to believe that anyone would want to be close to her. I have to say, I never would have guessed what secret her mother was hiding.  I was really rooting for Talia and Liam to have their HEA.    The heat between Liam and Talia sizzles right off the page. Let Me In is definitely worth checking out.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

The Inquisitor by Mark Allen Smith

by:  Mark Allen Smith
published by:  Henry Holt and Co.
publish date:  April 10, 2012

Geiger has a gift: he knows a lie the instant he hears it. And in his business—called "information retrieval" by its practitioners—that gift is invaluable, because truth is the hottest thing on the market. Geiger's clients count on him to extract the truth from even the most reluctant subjects. Unlike most of his competitors, Geiger rarely sheds blood, but he does use a variety of techniques—some physical, many psychological—to push his subjects to a point where pain takes a backseat to fear.  One of Geiger's rules is that he never works with children. So when his partner, former journalist Harry Boddicker, unwittingly brings in a client who demands that Geiger interrogate a twelve-year-old boy, Geiger responds instinctively. He rescues the boy from his captor, removes him to the safety of his New York City loft, and promises to protect him from further harm. But if Geiger and Harry cannot quickly discover why the client is so desperate to learn the boy's secret, they themselves will become the victims of an utterly ruthless adversary.

This was another of my random audiobook picks of the week.  I didn't know anything about it when I picked it up, but after I listened to it I went poking around on the internet.  Turns out it's the debut novel of Mark Allen Smith.  I'm impressed, I really liked it.

Geiger is a character that definitely stands alone.  He's a professional torturer.  He's hired by the government, the mafia, corporations, whoever has the money and needs information extracted from an uncooperative person.  His backstory was bizarre and leaves one wondering what exactly was the purpose of his upbringing.  Just when you think Geiger is the most cold hearted person you might meet, in comes his dad. 

Ezra was another great character.  I find that "tweens" don't always come across very well in writing.  They're often whiny and bratty.  Ezra was mature for his age, but appropriately scared for the situation.  I really liked how his character was handled throughout the book.

The Inquisitor is a great addition to the thriller genre.  I will warn that it was really graphic at times, it does talk about torturing people.  There were parts that were really freaking me out.  Overall, I really liked it and I hope Mr. Smith has been busy at his keyboard because I would definitely like to read more from him!
Check out the audiobook clip provided by Macmillan Audio:

Friday, April 20, 2012

Lover Reborn by J. R. Ward

Author: J. R. Ward
Publisher: NAL
Date of Publication: March 2012
Ever since the death of his shellan, Tohrment is a heartbroken shadow of the vampire leader he once was. Brought back to the Brotherhood by a self-serving fallen angel, he fights again with ruthless vengeance- and is unprepared for a new tragedy. Seeing his beloved in dreams—trapped in a cold, desolate netherworld—he turns to the angel to save his former mate, only to despair at the path he himself must take to set her free. As war with the lessers rages, and a new clan of vampires vies for the Blind King’s throne, Tohr struggles between an unforgettable past, and a future that he doesn’t know he can live with… but can’t seem to turn away from.

I was going to wait a few months to read Lover Reborn so that there would be less time between this one and the next one that comes out next year.  Then, it became available on CD at my library and I took that as a sign to read it now.  The upside is that I loved it. Lover Reborn is emotional, filled with action and loads of the humor I have come to love from the Brothers. The downside is that I have to wait an ENTIRE YEAR for the next book.  Which Ms. Ward has announce will be Blaylock and Quinn's story.  Can you say, "about time?" ?  But, I digress.

Unlike the other books, which happen over a much shorter time period, Lover Reborn takes place over an entire year.  To be honest, I think it was necessary for this book to work.  Tohr needed time to grieve and come to terms with the loss of Wellsie, as well as, learn to open his heart to another love.  This is probably the most emotional book for me. The pain he feels, especially toward the end of the book is just heartbreaking.  I loved him and No'One together.  It was nice to see Tohr find a new love and finally some happiness.   But, I will say the road to that happiness is not easy at all.

This book has so much going on in it that I don't want to give too much away.  The brothers are more present as a whole.  More so than in past books. A few relationships become stronger over the year. Xhex and No'One get to know each other more and there is some major healing in their mother/daughter relationship. John and Tohr begin to renew their father/son relationship.

Not everyone who is mated (I won't say who) is having the best of times as a couple and, given who this couple is, it felt like it was the right thing for the author to put them through. It will make for a much stronger relationship in the end.  The Band of Bastards play a huge role in the story and the reader gets to know them a bit better.  Not everyone in the group is what they initially seemed to be.  I could see the potential for future story lines.  

As I have said before, if you haven't had the chance to read the Black Dagger Brotherhood series, you are missing a great set of books!  But, don't start with this one.  Start at the beginning with Dark Lover.  Being book 10, Ms. Ward assumes you know a lot of back history and I think a newcomer would be a bit lost.  I will be anxiously waiting until next March when Blay and Quinn's story hits the shelves.  I can't wait!