Thursday, July 31, 2014

ISN'T SHE LOVELY -- a summary and opinion

Did you know -- Only With You released this week. YAY! You should go out and read it. In fact, I may need to catch up on my Sophie and Gray love, because I miss them and the bounce house. But in the meantime, here's another Lauren Layne book for you to read.

Oh, Lauren Layne, how I love your writing style. I said it with Only With You, and again with Just One Night. In an attempt to not beat a dead horse, I'll try to stop with my gushing fan-girl-dom and just say it this last, third time.

I love your writing style.

I love the quirkiness, the smartassedness... I just love it.

Isn't She Lovely is written in the first person (which we all know is not my favorite, but I hardly even noticed while reading Isn't She Lovely), through the eyes of both Stephanie and Ethan. The book opens in a Stephanie monologue, in which she's discussing with the reader how in romantic comedies, the subjects always meet in a "meet-cute" style.

"The meet-cute is that moment when the romantic couple meets for the first time, and it's supposed to be
amusing or ironic or charming, or some shit like that.
You know, like that scene where the sarcastic, ball-busting character mistakes her handsome new lawyer
for the janitor? Or when the impossibly cute secretary rear-ends the BMW of the guy who turns out to be
her new boss?
Then, of course, love abounds...." (Chapter One)

As you can hopefully see, it's very easy to forget this is in first person. The narrative is like that of a movie (which is slightly ironic, as Stephanie's character is speaking of movies) -- I can hear the voice over as the scene is playing out on the big screen, a popcorn and pretzel bites in hand.

Well, the meet-cute in this book is right away, when gothed-out Stephanie runs into pretty-boy Ethan, except there's no way this meet-cute is going to end up like the movies... right? There's no way, Stephanie thinks, that a guy with money and status could ever fall for a girl like her. Besides (not that she's thinking about a relationship of ANY sort with him, friendship or otherwise), these two are two busy sparing with one another to truly take any notice of the other. Slinging insults... Ah, just the way any future loves want to meet.

Moving forward, the two of them begin working on a screenplay for a class, and while doing this, Ethan decides he needs a live-in/faux-girlfriend, as he has a family party in the Hamptons to go to, in which his cheating ex will be present.

Now, as romance readers, we all know the hero and heroine of the book cannot possibly move in with one another, even under the falsest of pretenses, and not develop feelings for each other, but hey, that's what books are about and the fun part is watching the characters grow and make those realizations themselves.

So yes, true to the genre, they fall for one another. Granted, Ethan essentially changes Stephanie so she'll fit in with the Hampton's crowd, to which Stephanie feels slightly self-concious about -- because again, he can't possibly like the real her, not when he's obviously falling for the well-dressed version of her.

During the Hamptons, though, Ethan accuses Stephanie of being a statue (in relation to their screen play) -- she cannot move past her father's new marriage, her mother's death, and her ex-boyfriend, hiding behind black clothes and gray eyeshadow.

But, as Ethan's ex, Olivia so kindly points out, he's not all that much better -- in all truth of the word, he and she are snobs. They live a fancy lifestyle and have money coming out of the woodwork. His lazy day outfit costs no-less than $500.

In the end, the true question between the two of them is who truly is the statue? Is it Stephanie, who hides behind her gothic clothes, or is it Ethan, who hides behind his Hampton upbringing?

As much as I loved this prequel to the remaining Redemption books, I'm not 100% sure I'll read book one, simply because I don't know how much I like Olivia... Granted, I don't 'know' her so much as I 'know' Ethan's opinion of her (and the dockside conversation between the two)... But then again, curious minds DO want to know and so yeah, I will read the next book...

...and the next...

...because, c'mon, it's Lauren Layne and I love her writing style.

Side Note:

While writing this 'review', I came to the conclussion that when it comes to Lauren Layne books (heck, Claudia Connor's Worth the Fall as well) I get so wrapped up in how the book made me feel, how the writing pulled me in, that it's very easy to forget the 'summary' part of my 'a summary and opinion' -- but I guess I just feel that these books are ones you need to read for yourselves; hopefully my opinion pulls you along...!

Side Side Note:

I love plays on words, as well as trying to figure out how a title fits the book it adorns.
I can totally hear Ethan calling Stephanie 'lovely' in a snarky, condescending tone in the beginning of the book, yet affectionately at the end.  

Side (x3) Note:

I just read Olivia's blurb.

I take back my earlier comment. I so want to read Broken!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

DANGEROUS TERRITORY -- a summary and review

This is my problem with novellas & Harlequin sized books (I may have mentioned this problem in other novella-length book reviews) -- the author has a limited number of pages to give the reader character description and development, emotional context, and a decent plot. Most novellas feel rushed, and at the end of the book, which typically only spans a few days, BAM! they're engaged.

In real life? Yeah, not so much.

What Emmy has done right in this story of Josh and Grace? Introduced them in the prologue, three years before the meat of the story.

Josh and Grace meet in D.C. one Christmas Eve, both stating they're in the city for a limited amount of time. Granted, Grace is going by her psuedo-name of Sally, but regardless, they meet in the city when they're both their for a limited amount of time. Josh sees her sadness, Grace needs someone to lose herself in -- the perfect combination for a no-emotions-required one night stand.

Three years pass.

Whenever Grace is feeling low and trying to go over her mantra to not get attached to people in her chosen profession (reporter of the war, but reporting of the military men and women, the innocent civilians... everyone affected by the war so that the picture the media paints oh so well, doesn't wash over the true happenings that involve the men and women serving and living in it) -- her mind falls back to Christmas Eve, three years past, and to Josh.

Likewise, Josh goes back to that night because she's the 'one who got away' -- not that he wants or needs any emotional entanglements in his lifestyle. Josh is a pararescueman and that is his life -- it is what he strives for. Being a PJ is more than a job for him -- it is the whole of Josh.

Grace, who has spent the last 4 years in Afghanistan, is with her current embedded assignment when things go wrong and they need to be rescued. Unfortunately, while the team is rescued, Grace manages to be left behind. When the PJ's hear they've left someone behind, true to their creed, they turn around to pick up said person.

When the downed team mentions that the one left behind is a reporter, Josh has serious doubts and wants nothing to do with going back. It would serve the reporter well.

In war, reporters are disliked by the men and women serving their country. Reporters are a hindrance, as they slow the troops down, but beyond that, they paint pretty pictures that couldn't be farther from the truth. Once they get to the proper area to rescue said reporter, Josh takes his mark and begins his flight down -- at which time, the helicopter he's attached to becomes target practice and he needs to drop the remaining 8 feet from his rope.

Eventually finding his rescue, he reluctantly follows her to the 'safe' cave she has found; it is only after he has deemed it safe does he realize that his 'Sally', the woman and the night his mind goes to when he needs a moment of peace, is the reporter to which he needed to rescue.

Dangerous Territory follows Josh and Grace as they battle their way to getting rescued, and battle their feelings toward one another. Neither thought they'd see each other again -- Grace cannot afford, mentally at this point, to get attached to another person she could lose to war. Josh wants nothing to do with a reporter (which he makes clear again and again whenever he asks if something is on or off record, and with his paranoia that their time together will become public knowledge, which further aggravates him because they've broken rules by being together and he is not a rule breaker).

I loved every moment of this novella. At times, sure I became annoyed with Josh and his anti-reporter-shtick; granted, I understood where he was coming from, but I really wanted him to take his times with Grace and realize them for what they were. Guys are really good at the on-off switch, and Josh was no exception.

I'm extremely excited to look into what other books Emmy Curtis has put out; I'm even more excited for Beth and Walker's story in the next Alpha Ops book. And because Beth became semi-close with Grace (they need to go out for a drink...!) and Walker is like a big brother flashing around Grace's articles, I'm hopeful that we'll see more of Josh and Grace. Maybe not, but maybe still.

NO RULES -- a summary and opinion

No Rules is book one in the Omega Group series -- yet another in the ever popular (at least to me) military-romance sector. Omega Group, like my absolute favs, Titan & KGI, is a group that does jobs Uncle Sam doesn't want to do; most jobs involving hostages.

In this book, you meet the founder's daughter, Jess. She is a children's book author/illustrator with a number of fears and phobias, to which her psychiatrist acredits to the leaving of her father. He left her (or so she believes) and her mother 15 years ago, after his own hostage situation. Jess believes he is a professor in linguistics, a man who enjoys studying heiroglyphics and Egyptian culture. However, after his death, she learns he is actually a part of this group.

She meets Tyler Donovan through unfortunate circumstances -- the reading of her father's will. At first, she despises him -- here is a man who was able to spend time with her father during his last years. He knew all about him and his wants and desires. He had him while she did not. She is furious to learn that while her father's house was willed to her, all of the artifacts (aside from two) were willed to Donovan.

Donovan assures her that after he looks through them all, he will leave them for her -- not that that's much of a consolation. When Donovan doesn't learn what he wants from the items, he is certain that Jess knows something about her father's death -- even if she doesn't realize it.

One evening, he goes to her father's house, of which she's been staying, to scope it out -- earlier that day, at the funeral, an attempt was made at Jess's life and he's positive they will try to strike again. Sure enough, someone is creeping around. After diminishing that threat, he, for all intents and purposes, kidnaps Jess and brings her to Omega's headquarters... in Chicago, miles away.

There, she meets the rest of the team, as well as the other founder -- Evan Lang, whom she knew as Dr. Lang as a child. The team has Jess go over the last time she'd seen her father, which had been the first time she'd seen him in 15 years and was also just days before his death. They want every word spoken and every move made -- sneezing, coughing, ear rubbing... anything and everything could possibly be code for why he was killed.

To the team's disapproval, the only thing that Jess has to offer is that her father continued to go back to a plot on a new children's story she should write. She's certain that he was in stages of dementia. While explaining her books, Avery, a female operative, is decidedly rude toward Jess. When Jess thinks, Screw you, I couldn't help but chuckle, because in her place I'd have certainly flipped Avery the middle finger.

Donovan was a little more cautious towards Jess's feelings than Avery had been, and when he allowed them to just glance over Jess's medical history (because as Avery manages to pry out, it is rather important), I gave him major brownie points. That was the point that I started to like him.

I also knew that even though Avery was quite the bitch, I could feel that Avery and Jess would become tolerable toward eachother -- perhaps in future books, they'll even be friends.

I enjoyed this book -- I enjoy most military romances, let's be honest. I liked how much detail Starr put forth -- it wasn't so much that I got bored, but it was painted enough that I could see the picture while I read it. I did, however, get a little bored in the middle of the book, which is why I ended up giving No Rules a 4 of 5.

Regardless, I look forward to other books in this series! I loved that Donovan pulled Jess out of her fearful bubble, and I loved that Jess really used fear as a safety net -- she really was a kickass kind of lady when she needed to be.

Friday, July 25, 2014

THE SOLDIER'S E-MAIL ORDER BRIDE -- a summary and opinion

I was first introduced to Cora and this series through a 99 cent SEAL set of books. I mean, you can't really go wrong with a collection of 5-6 books for only 99 cents. Some of the stories were good, some mediocre, but when I stumbled into The Navy SEAL's E-Mail Order Bride... well, I was engrossed.

The idea behind this series is this: Aunt Heloise is giving the family ranch to her son, Darren, if the Hall boys don't get a snap in their behinds, and by snap, she means wives and at least one child, all in a year's time.

The Hall boys are all military men, each of them in a different branch. In Mason's book, a novella introducing this series, he came up with the plan to put out a Wife Wanted ad. Through this ad, he found Regan -- who really only answered it because it was funny and couldn't possibly be a real deal.

With The Soldier's E-Mail Order Bride, we meet one of the middle-of-the-pack brothers, Austin. He's getting out of the Navy, but with some deep regrets and a ton of emotional turmoil. But, to hold his end of the four-ended bargain, he puts out his own ad -- because Mason's ad just isn't giving him any luck.

Austin doesn't want a wife in the real sense. He wants someone who is ok being married in name only, who just wants to live a quiet, hardworking lifestyle for the next nine months. They would put up a ruse and so long as Heloise believes them, all is good.

Ella is an actress who just had her world crash down around her. On a whim, and as a way out of the tabloid eyes, she answers the ad and meets Austin in Montana. They get married quickly and quietly -- but when Heloise finds out about it and starts to look as if she's catching on to the game, they quickly add that they were planning on a reception in a month's time, too, to include the family that missed out on the church (yes, their wedding was still held in a church) wedding. When Heloise still isn't buying it, Ella throws in that they were renewing their vows, too.

As the days progress, Austin and Ella have a hard time sticking to their rule of 'no sex' -- they did it once, it was great, but there was no way it could happen again. But looks and touches and respect keep leading them back to each other. The more he feels happy with her, the more his survivor's guilt takes over his mind -- even though that same survivor's guilt throws thoughts in his head of his buddy, Donovan, giving him the go-ahead to be happy with Ella.

I enjoyed the banter and fighting between Regan and Mason as they stumbled around to make their Wife Wanted ad work. I really, really loved Ella and Austin.

...and I thought I enjoyed Regan and Mason's run through the Obstacle Course but... Ella and Austin have them beat. Guess you'll have to read to figure that one out.

While perusing Pinterest, I stumbled across this quote and all I could think
was this was totally Austin -- yes, Ella is Hollywood beautiful, but he sees so
much more in her. No matter how hard he tries to stay away, he just can't. 

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

DELTA: RETRIBUTION -- a summary and opinion

I need to go to bed.


I woke up at 2:30 pm yesterday afternoon, saw an apartment, went to the gym, worked a night shift, and here I am, ready for bed.... (except I'm still in my scrubs so maybe just mentally I'm ready for bed).

Except I read a really good book and I just have to write about it, because if I don't, I'm afraid I'm going to lose all the excitement I have about it and the review will just fall flat.

...which is what I should have done with all the Cristin Harber books I've read, but guess I'll just have to re-read them specifically for this here blog. Such a hardship. Mia and Colby? Cash and Nic, times two? Rocco and Cat? Yeah... I think I can maybe handle another round of them.

But they're Titan. Let me tell you about Delta.

Delta: Retribution is the first book (novella) in a spin-off of the Titan series Cristin is writing (Roman and Parker still need full-time permanent loves). But while Roman and Parker are moseying about their business, Jared, aka Head Honcho, Mr. Boss-man himself, has put together a new team -- a ghost team. To lead said team is his once-second-hand-man, Brock (who wronged Jared once upon a time, but I'll go into all that jazz when I go back to the rest of them Titan boys). Brock and Jared go and search out a certain Trace Reeves, former SEAL who has some emotional baggage and a rather large demon that is keeping him as firmly away from four-walls as possible.

Hit the brakes. Let's go back a bit. How about to where we first meet Trace?

Trace first meets this fiery red-headed lady (Mallory?) and after a hot night (why is it with this unknown woman he can finally breathe again, that everything slides back into place?), and promise of more in the morning -- well, he gets walked out on. Women don't walk out on men. It's the other way around... So why is he so jilted over this girl's leaving?

While it nags at him, he moves on. He's not a forever-and-ever, fairy tale guy. NOW.... Now, here come Jared and Brock pounding on his door and offering him a pass to pretty much do whatever he has to do to fight his demons. He just needs to answer to Titan, and Uncle Sam will let him go and revenge his twin brother's death.

Reluctantly... with some outside prompting... he joins the team. However, much to his dismay, the team is grounded nearly immediately into this newest unwanted adventure and he's given keys to a fancy car and a townhouse. Nice... but four walls that close in on him.

Not what he signed up for.

Luckily for him, the team is called in for a mission before he can tear down the walls. As a ghost team, Delta is given little detail -- they get the information they need to perform their extraction and that's it. No need for personal information.

Go in, get the girl, get out.

But when they get the girl, her voice is familiar.

Her stance is familiar.

The attitude of the woman holding a gun in his face is familiar.

Turns out Mallory, or rather Marlena, is pretty brilliant in the science department and has the ability to produce a pretty dangerous virus.

Marlena has grown up with a belittling father who leads her to believe she will never amount to anything. No one will love her, no one will appreciate her, she's stupid, and has nothing to offer to anyone or anything. When a person is told that enough, they believe it.

So yes, she walked out on Trace... but there wasn't anyway in hell he actually had wanted her to stay anyway.

So why, then, after they part ways when this gig is up, does he keep calling her? And when she hangs up on him, he shows up? Or why when he hangs up on her.... she shows up by him?

The two are drawn to one another -- both are pieces of a whole. Both have issues. Both have moments of crazy. But when the two are together, Marlena feels a little bit like the fairy tale princess Trace calls her, and Trace doesn't feel the walls closing in on him.

They work well together.

...even when they have a little tift (which Rocco would have loved to witness, no doubt in my mind, because there are so many holes in the conversation), they keep up with eachother:

"You're a hot, bossy mess, Cinderella."
"I said I was sorry," she said.

"Doesn't mean I can't call you on it."
"What the hell are you two talking about?" Ryder asked.

In Titan fashion, Ryder would be Rocco... but really, Rocco just watches, amused, with his head volleying between the sparing participants. He enjoys a good soap opera.

Anyhow, I digress.

I love how Mar, as insecure as she can be, is truly courageous around Trace. He makes her a stronger person. When he starts pulling her emotions around (come here, do this, I want you, I don't want you, we don't work), she calls him out on it and accurately pins him as selfish, stating he's 'the one fucking with [her]'.

And maybe it just takes Cinderella to run out on him one last time, fires blaring and words haunting, to make him realize the fairy tale could actually work for him.

Trace, as secure in himself as he is, needs Mar to ground him. She makes his life make sense. With her, he's happy. He was happy right away around her, but he felt like he was dishonoring his brother by being happy and moving on with his life. Mar helps him past that.

I did also enjoy the non-conversation Trace had with Brock, when Trace was trying to be all manly and prove it was ok for him to have a girl at home, because hello, Brock had a girl at home, too. ...and then Brock put him in his place by throwing out the accurate title of 'wife'.

... ... ... to which after a few seconds, he then backed up by saying that yeah, maybe they met when he and she were Trace's age.

And while it wasn't a full conversation (because Brock's own demons aren't ones I see him airing out to the new guy on his team anytime soon), I think it definitely helped push Trace in the direction he ends up.

I once wrote Cristin, begging for an ARC of one of the Titan books, saying that I loved her style of writing, and that she was my new Maya Banks. Titan is right up in the ranks with my love of KGI.

Delta, I am 1,000% sure, will live up to it's hype.

I'm so very extremely excited to read more.

Photo: Here's the cover!!! 

DELTA: RETRIBUTION --a novella -- Fallen Navy SEAL and Titan Group's Delta recruit Trace Reeves wants nothing more than a one-night stand to forget that his twin brother was killed-in-action. But when his one-time fling becomes his high value target, the lines blur between her rescue mission and saving himself.

It will release in the Hot Alpha SEALs: Military Romance Megaset. Pre-order on Amazon Will be available on other retailers as well.
Currently found in the Hot Alpha SEALs Megaset:

Sunday, July 20, 2014

ACCIDENTALLY MARRIED ON PURPOSE -- a summary and opinion

First off -- this is the first blog post attached to the Facebook page associated with it. Both the blog and Facebook need a facelift of sorts, but give a girl some time, and they'll get there. They'll be pretty in no time ;) Well, in some time... I do work 60 hours a week (and find time to read... I will always find time to read). You should show some love and like my on Facebook? Maybe..? It's cool if no ;)
Secondly, I literally just posted a review of Seven Day Fiance, another book in this series. Let me explain.
I was in a reading rut -- I have 1 paperback book I'm in the process of reading (that I actually really like, but I've gotten a bit behind on my NetGalley account, so those books are taking the precedence to my "books I read by authors I love because I'm already invested in those authors/books/series'"), another paperback I picked up yesterday at Target by Cherry Adair (that I read the last 30 pages or so of at Target and fell in love with), yet another paperback I need to read because it's KGI and Maya Banks and it's Swanny's book, and I just need to read it. Beyond those 3 books (4 if you count the fact that the Cherry Adair book is a two-in-one), I have 3 open and in the process of being read, as well as about 10 more on my To Read list on my NetGalley book shelf. Of my open 3, I like them all -- I love the characters, the plots, the ideas... I just am having a hard time staying focused. Couldn't really figure out why.
So in my venture to get out of said rut, I opened yet another NetGalley book that's been on my shelf for a bit: Accidentally Married On Purpose. A few paragraphs in, and I frowned: "...from Bon Terre", and "...Cane and Angie were headed to Cajun country". Bon Terre? Cane? I've read these recently (one of my favorite series that I read years ago had a character named Cane {except his name was Kane with a 'K' and it was written by Jennifer Blake}).
So I Googled the author and pulled up her book list. Front and center was Seven Day Fiance.
A book that I liked, but didn't love.
I almost put the book away. Like I said, I wasn't invested in the series; it's not that Rachel did a bad job writing Seven Day Fiance, I just hadn't been able to get 100% into it.
Let me tell you, I'm glad I stuck it out.
Accidentally Married on Purpose follows Sherry Robicheaux, town wild-child with her purple hair, as she mistakenly takes Tyler Blue (lead singer for country act Blue) as a roadie and allows herself a fun, flirty, no-holding-back weekend with him. When she mistakes him for a roadie, Tyler doesn't correct her. She's spending time with him for him, not for the country singer. However, as the drunken weekend in Vegas progresses... well...
What happens in Vegas doesn't necessarily stay in Vegas.
Especially when you get married.
...especially when you get married to a country superstar.
While Tyler has hits up and down the charts, and a phenomenal fan base, he is known as the country play boy -- more so simply because all the other big country singers are married and he is not.
At the prompting of his publicist, Sherry and Tyler decide to stay married for the time being; obviously, with rules.
One of their first "moments" is when Sherry brings him to her family's home; beforehand, though, she teaches Tyler to (literally) dance in the rain. This was probably one of the first moments in the book that I felt both Sherry and Tyler molding into one another. They were playful and laughing and could have been very much in love -- if it all hadn't been such a farce. But really, was it? This was most definitely the moment Tyler started falling for Sherry, if his next number one single had any say.
Now, the first time (maybe really the only, because I don't recall another part, nor have a noted another part) I had any questioning in Rachel's writing was during this scene, when Sherry dances up to him and says, "'I've never seen you let go and be utterly silly before'". note says, no joke, "....because she's known him so long......."
Sherry doesn't do country music. She mistook Tyler for a roadie. This is only days/weeks into the act. Sure, she has spent time with him, and he is a pretty serious guy, but the way it's written is more of a long-time-friend making a statement. Regardless, if the paparazzi were around, it made for good press.
While their relationship is very much for the public eye, Tyler still manages to do the little sweet things that would make any girl swoon -- the daily Post-Its on her mirror (because she has a 'pea sized bladder' and is in the bathroom often, it would get looked over in the kitchen, and the living room is unorganized at best) were extremely sweet.
The very last Post-It, which I'll leave for you to read, made me cry. Heck, during the entire epilogue I was crying, it was so flipping sweet.
So like I said.. I'm super glad I stuck out this book. It was a quick read, it was a book I didn't want to put down, and I absolutely, 100%-ly, loved loved LOVED Sherry and Tyler. Loved them.
Did I mention I loved them?
Yeah. Thought so.
I kinda sorta maybe hope that Charlie gets a story, too, so I can see more of them... Like Sherry predicts, Charlie could really be a keeper if the right lady came and caught him.

SEVEN DAY FIANCE -- a summary and opinion

Preface: this is a book I read probably a month or two ago with the thought that maybe I'd review it...... and I didn't add any highlights or bookmarks to my Nook app. Luckily, a book I just finished today helped refresh my memory on Seven Day Fiance.

Angelle uprooted her life and moved from her Cajun home, to Magnolia Springs -- still Cajun and southern, but not the way home is. In the few months she's been there, she's made a really good friend in Sherry Robicheaux. Unfortunately, said good friend has a really attractive older brother.

The book begins with an event Sherry puts together every holiday season, but this year she's added a twist -- the bachelor auction also has an abs contest, and every participant must walk the stage shirtless and in a Santa hat.

When the auction begins, a crazy lunatic of an ex starts to bid on Cane Robicheaux -- Sherry's older brother and the guy Angie is half in love with. With his pleading eyes in her direction, Angelle ends up bidding and winning him. Sweet, shy, introverted, extremely quiet, can't-look-him-in-the-eyes Angelle bid on him and won him.

When she's passed the shock of that, she decides he can actually help her out -- her family may kinda sorta think she's engaged, and as it's Thanksgiving and the time of family get-togethers and town cook-off... well, now's the time to bring the fiance home.

Cane ends up agreeing to the ruse and spends the week with Angelle in her hometown, and needless to say, falls a little bit more for her with every passing day.

I enjoyed Cane and Angelle's story, but I wasn't fully into it. I found my mind wandering at times, but that was ok. It was a free Nook book by an author I didn't know, so I was ok with it. It was a good book considering I had no clue who the author was.

I didn't want for more... the book hit all the points it needed to. I enjoyed the plot and the characters. It just wasn't 100% my book... If that makes any sense.

Friday, July 18, 2014

ROUGH AND TUMBLE -- a summary and opinion

Rough and Tumble is the story of Cash and Molly, two very different people from two pretty different worlds.

Cash lives on the road, playing poker and picking up odd jobs whenever he needs the money. Molly is an introverted good-two-shoes, if you will, who after being hit on by her 'Creep-o-meter: DEFCON freaking 1' boss decides to go on a trip with her best girl friends to Vegas. It's an attempt to open up and be a Molly she really isn't -- afterall, isn't that was Vegas is good for?

I could relate with Molly in 99.9% of this book. She's shy, she's introverted, she puts everyone else in front of her own self and needs. She watches the cute guy but can't imagine that he's actually looking back at her. Molly is me in paperback form.

Except when her friend loses her in a poker game and cute guy at the end of the bar who couldn't possibly be watching her decides that if friend can't pay the money, he wants a night with Molly.

Now, my friend's would never agree to such a thing.

They wouldn't agree to it in our home town, let alone in a place like Sin City.

Molly has her reasons as to why she shouldn't, but ultimately she goes through with it because it saves her friend's hide (there she goes again, helping everyone else out before thinking about her self *cough*hersafey*cough*).

With phone check-ins in place in case he really is some creepy guy, Molly goes on this one-night-date with Cash. Halfway through it, though, Cash gets frustrated because apparently Molly is really only in it for the helping of a friend. What happened to the girl at the bar who kept looking at him? Granted, Molly isn't his normal quest (there would be no threesome with Molly), but he's drawn to her.

This meet-up, which doesn't end as Cash wanted, leads to another, which leads to another, which leads to a mini-roadtrip in which Molly's growing feelings start to scare Cash.

So like any romance novel hero, he pulls a dick move and breaks her down some.

But, like any romance novel hero, he pulls off the groveling pretty well at the end too.

I enjoyed the book. I liked Cash and Molly. I am interested in the coming books of the series. The only reason why this book is a 4 (a solid 4, mind you... not an 'almost 3, 4') is simply because I can relate to Molly so flipping well, but this spur of the moment, "Sure I'll go out with you tonight, you creeper" totally isn't something someone with this personality would do.

...but maybe I related to her wrongly.

Regardless, I enjoyed Cash and Molly. 

...and I love that Cash ends up following Molly in the end, too.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

COMING HOME -- a summary and opinion

Romance writers live in 'happily ever after'. I, as an avid romance reader and 'wannabe' romance writer, was once told that, and I quote, "Romance writers write romance because their romance life sucks and what they write is what they want. They are stuck in the imaginary world".

...needless to say, I was a little perturbed by this comment and I told her my piece. (When I pointed out specific authors and their blogs and their musings, this person went on to say these writers were lying).

While Coming Home isn't about a romance writer, persay, it is about a romance writer's three sons -- namely the oldest, Ryan.

Rachel Porter writes romance, and fully believes that each person has one true soulmate out there, and if a person were open enough to accept it, they would find their one true person. Ryan, while growing up hearing this, doesn't truly believe it. Afterall, he's slowly learning his parents have been next to seperated over the years (which is what he believes to be true, not what is).

When an accident involving his father brings him home, Ryan puts his life in New York on hold -- hoping it also gives him an out with a live-in girlfriend that really isn't who he wants. Kimmi doesn't really get this picture, and even though Ryan tells her to stay home, it's not the right time to meet his parents, she sneaks to his childhood home, anyway.

Back home, Ryan meets Tyra, a redheaded beauty who he is completely drawn to. She is no Kimmi. She is someone he could see himself with -- if he were looking to settle down; which he's not. And even though he knows that Tyra is friends with his youngest brother, Henry, seeing them touch and hug puts fire in Ryan's eyes.

Tyra, though, has a secret. She's known of Ryan for years; she is, afterall, Rachel's assistant and has heard stories about Ryan and about everyone's one true love. When Ryan learns that Tyra knows his mom (who everyone calls 'mother', much to my distaste...), he gets much more defensive that I thought was necessary -- granted, his father just passed away, so emotions are always heightened at those times. But I still didn't think it was warranted. He did take the news of Tyra's daughter very well, though.

...if my biggest gripe with this book was that the boys called Rachel 'mother', perhaps it deserves more than 4 stars. And for a novella length book, it covered most of the bases. But for an erotica... it could have used more meat to the meat and potatoes (....I'm really not a sassy pun kind of gal, but it sort of fit *blushing*).

THE GIRL HE KNOWS -- a summary and opinion

For a book written in the first person, I was gripped into this story from the get-go... hence the 5 rating.

If this were in third person, maybe it would be a 4... or maybe it would be a much stronger 5. To have Hank's point of view added to the story....?


It would be a stronger 5.

So. The Girl He Knows.

This book follows Paisley as she is learning to be single, post-divorce. Unfortunately, she ends up in bed with her best friend's brother, a Navy sailor who she's been good friends with for years. Paisley's not looking for commitment, but she gets the vibe from Hank that he is -- not necessarily from her, but she doesn't exactly want to stick around to see him fall for another girl.

When they nearly get caught in the guest bedroom of Hank's parents' house, Paisley nearly has a heartattack -- what will Gigi, her friend, think? What would his parents think?! This needs to be strictly between the two of them.

When his mom comes almost comes into the room to give Hank a cup of coffee that first morning, with Paisley rolling around on the floor trying to dress and hide, I nearly laughed out loud.

"'You get a second change,' she told me. 'A second chance to do it right. Pick wisely
and do it for those who are stuck.'" -- Gigi

While at this point in the story, this quote was simply something one best friend says to another in the midsts of a divorce, but it truly was a bit of prelude to the fact that Paisley was going to get a second chance -- and while Hank may not have been her first choice (for silly reasons such as he's her best friend's brother, and the alebit logical, yet still silly, reason of losing a good friend out of him if things went south), he is most certainly one who would stick -- heck, he'd stuck all these years, what's few more?

Throughout the book, Paisley tries dating a few other men, much to Hank's distaste. He doesn't truly pick a fight about it, but you, as a reader, can sense his anger toward the situations -- even if Paisley cannot. Later, when Paisley is pushed around a tad too hard by the bartender she starts seeing, Hank has finally had enough -- he can't be a bystander, and if Paisley doesn't want what he has to offer, he's finished.

This book was cleverly written (mind you, I didn't read Hunger Games until after the movie was cast, simply because it was in first person), and I was thoroughly engaged even with only the insight of the lead female. I would be curious to learn what happens after 'The End'...

Thursday, July 3, 2014

SHARE THE MOON -- a summary and opinion

The book starts out with Sophie trying to fix her family's now vandalized kayak yard. While waitinf on her 15-year-old son to come and help, she slips on the frosted grass and ends up on the ground, staring up at stars (which remind her of her firstborn, Henry) and tree tops -- in comes a handsome stranger, who introduces himself as Carter. He states that he used to visit the town when he'd been growing up (he doesn't say it, but he knew Sophie then, too, but she doesn't recognize/know him now).

While talking, Sophie brings up how she had wanted to buy a chunk of land (Tate Farm) and with the help of her brother and father, revive the vineyard/winery (she has personal stake in the land, something to do with passing of her Henry); however, her bid fell through and another company's bid (for a resort) was accepted. At a town meeting later, a meeting in which Sophie is doing a news article on, she finds that the handsome stranger, Carter, is actually the head of the group with the highest bid -- first name, Duncan, middle name, Carter.

Duncan, however, has his own stake in the land -- the land is actually that of his older (adopted) brother, Trent's, biological father (or so is said during a family dinner; later the reader finds more dirt on the whole Trent situation). Duncan's family sent him out to buy the land at the semi-urging of Trent's therapist, who believes the troublesome Jamieson likely feels inadequate in his adopted family and could use something to tie him to his biological family.

Duncan is a cool, calm, collected kind of guy, but Sophie brings out the heat in him, namely when she's cold and straightforward in getting her story and leaving him behind, as she's pissed that he didn't mention he was the opposing bid:
"'I think you've answered all my questions, Mr. Jamie-'
'Stop being so formal!' A blast of heat rushed up his cheeks. Damn her!"
She was, indeed, slightly rude in the parking lot trying to get her "interview" from him. Twenty-four hours later, in reflection, she admits to herself the rudeness, and when seeing if her story is good enough (and that it would be one thousand times better with quotes from Jamieson) she attempts to call his office, in which she learns he has asked that all her questions go through the company spokesperson, Carl. Ouch. Burn. The rudeness was certainly there, she realizes. However, where she felt she was rude, it actually brought back ill-harbored feelings as an awkward teenager on Duncan's part. His reaction to her 'rudeness' was to retaliate with his own pettiness (having her speak to Carl and Carl only).
The next time they meet is under the orders of the paper, to which Duncan calls her into his office to speak with her. She admits she needs to apologize; Duncan says the same -- however, Sophie beind Sophie, jumps in and adds a sarcastic remark, which in turn seems to put Duncan's hunches up again. However, he pushes through and finishes his apology with a statement as to why he deceived her -- Sophie wants to believe the apology, but her trust has been broken. 
At this meeting is when Sophie learns that she and Duncan knew eachother years back -- it is the reason why Duncan wanted and agreed to the meeting on this day. He first met her when he'd been thirteen; she'd been about the same age.
Sophie receives a mailing warning her of the Jamiesons -- in a crazy, stalker sort of fashion (a letter made up of newspaper and magazine clippings, the single letters all made out to full words and sentences).
.......and here is where I stopped even skimming. I loved the first 2 chapters, and I buckled down and read the last 3 chapters -- loved them too. For some reason, the middle lost me. It wasn't lack of information, nor too much information... it just lost me.
But anyways...
Sophie is relatable. Like myself, she can be defensive and over-analytical of things, often seeing the worst in a situation without seeing the entire picture and finding the truth. She sees what she wants to see and often starts the fight right away.
While I've never been in the shoes of a mother who has lost her child, I wonder how healthy Sophie's grief is. Years later and Sophie still wonders about Henry constantly and cries easily when things her other two children do, remind her of her firstborn. I understand that it's extremely hard to lose a child; I understand that losing a child is one of the main reasons for many divorces. I get that Sophie's life has been turned upside down over the past chunk of time. But at some point, you need to keep moving forward and living. Her children seem to be doing so. Her ex appears to be doing the same.
Have to be honest -- I nearly put down the book right away. Being a mid/late-20 year old, I like my heroines to be in their twenties or early thirties. Sophie is forty-four... but I thought I'd stick it through and was happy (at least initially) that I did.
As is my fashion, I try to figure out why books are titled as they are. This book is titled Share the Moon. The lake's name is fashioned from the moon; my only assumption then is that the author was going for Sophie and Duncan sharing the lake...
I did have to stop reading the book about 1/3 of the way in. My interest level waned off and I had a hard time even skimming for key events to try and piece the rest of the summary together.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

INDECENT PROPOSAL -- a summary and opinion

Ah, the Molly O'Keefe I know and love. Welcome back.
But maybe Between the Sheets (the ending, anyway) was just a fluke.

This book... hmm, where to begin.

First thing's first: our female lead is Ryan, a thirty-two year old bartender from Philly. One night, she's tending bar with a co-worker when the gentleman she and her co-worker Lindsey have dubbed Ken Doll comes in -- he'd been frequenting the bar that entire week. Ryan, being the kindhearted woman she is, decides to figure out why he's seemed so sad. She attempts humor ("My name is Ryan....apparently I'll be the woman getting you drunk tonight"). He introduces himself as "Harri....Harry" -- the first sign that maybe he's holding something back. But Ryan doesn't really catch it, or at least she doesn't think about it.

After talking briefly (nothing too deep, just that he's angry, sad, and looking for his sister), Ryan decides to go against her own code and takes him home (or rather, goes to his hotel room). After the night was over and Harry left (with a note), Ryan quits her job -- then finds out a few weeks later she's pregnant.

Determined to keep it to herself (even after learning that Harri....Harrison, is actually a man running for office -- woah, political scandal), Ryan's brother Wes takes matters into his own hands and confronts him. Due to his family's public disgrace in the political world, Harrison offers Ryan an "indecent proposal" (I always love when the title makes it's way into the book) -- shotgun wedding before news of the pregnancy comes out. They will have a contract and she can leave after 2 years. After hemming and hawing, Ryan comes up with her own contract, a prenup of sorts. She'll agree but only on the terms that the baby is hers, and while she doesn't want anything from him, he needs to pay off her family's morgage and her sister's schooling. Agreed.

After also agreeing that the lies are in public and they will be truthful to one another in private, the world of political lies begins. They put on a phenomenal show to the press and public, but the moment they hit the limo, they're on opposing sides, quiet, and either looking at notes (Harrison) or looking out the window (Ryan).

As with any romance novel, feelings get hurt (Ryan gets frustrated when Harrison doesn't recognize the baby, to which he responds he hadn't really thought about it -- but after that point, oh, did he start thinking about it).

I loved Wallace... He's Harrison's assistant who doesn't like Ryan (at first) who wears crazy-ugly ties (which are actually a sentimental piece from his mother) -- but she grows on him very quickly. As Ryan points out, and then Wallace points out to Harrison as well: when Ryan and Harrison met, they were in the room together and one knew the truth, the other did not. The hard feelings towards Ryan are unneccesary and if anyone should be upset, it's Ryan towards Harrison.

I also loved Harrison's "making up" scene at the end. This nicely dressed, well-to-do man, hands deep in deer guts. Doesn't get better than that ;)

I made a lot of notes and highlights in this book, so I could probably go on and go over each and every one, but I won't.

This is definitely a must-read Molly O'Keefe book.

However, there are still things that I wish were cleared up:
*I would like to know more about the Ryan/Paul disaster. Maybe I'm sadistic that way, but I want to know what the report stated, I want to know Ryan's full thoughts on the matter... I kind of want Harrison to comfort her on the entire matter.
*I would like to know more about the whole Wes/DHS thing...