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Currently Browsing: Rating B
Sep
17

Listen Up! Nice Girls Don’t… #Audiobook Review Part 3

Listen Up! Nice Girls Don’t… #Audiobook Review Part 3 Welcome to my weekly feature that focuses on audiobooks. It’s time to… What I’m Listening To: Title: Nice Girls Don’t Live Forever Author: Molly Harper Narrator: Amanda Ronconi Audio Speed: 1.25x Series: Jane Jameson #3 Genre: Paranormal Romance, Contemporary Chick-Lit Source: purchased/Audible Audiobook Review: Nice Girls Don’t Live Forever After suffering much of the downside of being turned into a vampire in the previous two books, I feared that Jane Jameson was going to be one of those characters who never learns, doesn’t really change, and is the unfortunate recipient of lots of bad luck. So, I’m happy to report that things turn around for Jane in her third adventure, Nice Girls Don’t Live Forever. While there are still several less desirable things that happen in Jane’s life, overall, this book marked a significant turning point for Jane. The book begins with Jane determined to make the most of her relationship with Gabriel as they tour Europe; however, Gabriel has grown distant, while acting extremely suspicious. I frankly did not like the man he’d become and cheered Jane on as she walked out on him, although my heart also broke for her. Moving on without Gabriel, Jane successfully opens her bookshop, but her life takes several bumps along the way, and now Jane doesn’t have Gabriel to help her through. Nice Girls Don’t Live Forever follows Jane as she navigates her romantic relationship, meddling family, friendships, running her own business, and protecting herself from a stalker. Like the previous two titles, the story bounces all over the place, reflecting Jane’s own thoughts and actions. She’s a bit spastic and neurotic, making her enduring, but a bit hard to follow at times. There are scenes, which initially felt a bit random, only to have Jane come back around to that issue/topic down the road. Sometimes it felt a little overwhelming, but overall the story flowed well, especially with Amanda Ronconi narrating the tale. And Jane’s sarcastic wit stoled the show, allowing me to laugh away any little irritations. I will admit, I was initially a bit frustrated with Jane and all the crap tossed her way. But then Jane started standing up for herself and making better decisions. I cheered as she was able to find herself, while continuing to stick her foot in her mouth from time-to-time. I especially enjoyed watching as Jane grew closer to her own family, despite the obstacles that were in the way. By the end of the book, I felt that Jane reached a...
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Sep
16

Review: Crucible Zero by Devon Monk

Review: Crucible Zero by Devon Monk Crucible Zero Author: Devon Monk  Reviewers: Gikany and Una Rating: B+ What We’re Talking About: Gikany and Una are a little sad that the House Immortal trilogy has come to an end.  We really loved the world and characters and although this novel wrapped up a little too quickly for our tastes, we still liked it. We have to say that Ms. Monk really took us for a ride in this world.  The story never went where we expected it to and we really liked how the story unfolded and the directions it went.  The characters were endearing and the world was fascinating.  We are sad that what we thought was a series in this engaging world turned out to be only a trilogy.  The slowly burning romance between Matilda and Abraham was as gripping as their fight to mend time and thwart the antagonist. Una found herself much more easily immersed in the mythology than Gikany, who reads much more science fiction.  Gikany found herself sidetracked by the details: why are the alternate worlds so similar, and why are the characters in the alternate worlds so similar to each other (have the same names, similar backstories, etc)?  Wouldn’t they be different due to the different timelines?  Would all of them still exist?  Shouldn’t the political structures be more different?  It was fascinating to Una, who was able to understand Gikany’s point of view, but accepted that the author’s purpose was to only show the timelines that were the most closely linked.  Maybe there were other timelines that were completely different, but we don’t know about them since we were only exposed to two timelines. However, Gikany and Una both agree that Crucible Zero would have benefited from having several more chapters.  The ending was abrupt.  The final confrontation with the antagonist seemed to be over in the blink of an eye, especially considering the immense build up to it.  In addition, since this was the last novel, we would have liked to have experienced more of the aftermath.  It wasn’t until the end of the novel that we realized that this was the completion of the over-arching plot arc.  Although it does resolve the series, we still hoped and wished for more.  The world was fascinating and we wonder what will happen in the future for Matilda and the rest of the galvanized.  We’d love to see a novella that shows Welton and Foster, or a follow-up of...
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Sep
8

Review: Midnight Hunter by Kait Ballenger

Review: Midnight Hunter by Kait Ballenger Midnight Hunter Author: Kait Ballenger Reviewer: Jen Twimom Rating: B- What I’m Talking About: Midnight Hunter is the third book in Ms. Ballenger’s intense and action-filled Execution Underground series. Mixing both traditional and unique paranormal mythologies, the author has constructed an exciting world that successfully pairs opposites to create dynamic romances. Dr. Shane Grey is a popular professor of Religious Studies at the local college and serving as a Witch Hunter for EU on the sly. While equally as rough and tough as his EU counterparts, Shane has that straight-laced, nerdy professor vibe going for him. He’s attracted to one of his students-a former black magic practitioner at that-which causes him endless internal strife, especially since he needs her help on a case. Vera Sanders has worked hard to distance herself from her notorious father and get over her addiction to black magic. In a moment of weakness, she falls off the wagon and indulges in spell-casting with a dark coven. When her heart-throb-of-a-professor comes seeking her help to find the very coven she’s recently met with, Vera tries hard to help without revealing her secrets – or act on her desires for Dr. Shane Grey. Overall, I enjoyed the story and premise behind Midnight Hunter. The mythology of magic was interesting, and thankfully, wasn’t nearly as complex and confusing as the were and demon mythologies found in the previous two stories. I liked how everything was pretty straight forward. I also loved how the EU team worked together and had a camaraderie which has been building over the course of the past few books. I found the author did a good job creating a likable hero. I liked seeing the more personal side of Shane via his home life. I felt like I understood his motives and actions, even his uptight, stick-to-the-rules personality. Similarly, we got to see Vera, but she had a less three dimensional feeling. For too long, her primary motives revolved around hiding her black magic nature, understandable so, but it didn’t allow me to see as much of her character. She was very defensive and felt immature at times, making it harder for me to connect to her character. While I enjoyed watching each of the primary characters grow and work to uncover the truth behind some gruesome deaths, as a couple, they fell a bit flat. The fact that each worked so hard to maintain a professional distance and fight their mutual lust,...
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Aug
27

Listen Up! Nice Girls Don’t… #Audiobook Review Part 2

Listen Up! Nice Girls Don’t… #Audiobook Review Part 2 Welcome to my weekly feature that focuses on audiobooks. It’s time to… What I’m Listening To: Title: Nice Girls Don’t Date Dead Men Author: Molly Harper Narrator: Amanda Ronconi Audio Speed: 1.25x Series: Jane Jameson #2 Genre: Paranormal Romance, Contemporary Chick-Lit Source: purchased/Audible Audiobook Review: Nice Girls Don’t Date Dead Men Nice Girls Don’t Date Dead Men picks up the story of Jane Jameson’s newly turned vampire life shortly after the conclusion of the previous book. Listeners discover that Jane’s BFF, Zeb, and his beloved, Joelene, are getting married, and Jane is the maid of honor. We also discover that Jane and her mom have found some sort of peace, but that her sister is suing her. The book generally follows the day-to-day going-ons of Jane’s crazy life, tossing in Jane’s familiar humor and quirky observations. Overall, I enjoyed the second offering in the Jane Jameson series. I love Jane’s snark and the general humorous mood of the story. Jane’s life is one crazy event after another, and generally, she handles everything with a sense of humor and a few tears. However, both Jane’s and Zeb’s family are overly cruel, making some of the story difficult to digest with the lightness intended in the story. Jane’s grandmother and sister are outrageous and mean. The same goes with Zeb’s mom, Ginger, who does everything and more to get Zeb and Jane together. It got to the point where I could no longer listen to her manipulations; they went beyond outrageous and straight into despicable. Although Jane handles herself with her typical sarcasm, it got to the point of annoying, and I was frustrated at how much Jane put up with. Don’t get me wrong, I really did like the book, and fortunately, those scenes weren’t as numerous as the good ones. I did like seeing Jane learn how to maneuver in the vampire world and learn to stand up more for herself. I also liked seeing her somewhat odd romance with her sire Gabriel evolve and grow. My favorite parts of the book were those interactions between Jane and her boss/surrogate-grandfather, Mr. Wainwright. Additionally, I found Dick Cheney to be my favorite character as he matures just enough to be lovable but retains his core personally. Amanda Ronconi turns in another excellent portrayal as Jane, along with the host of other southern characters. She nails both the charm of a southern lady, as well as the guilt of the southern mama. And the few things that slightly bothered...
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Aug
26

Review: Blood Sky by Traci L. Slatton

Review: Blood Sky by Traci L. Slatton Blood Sky Author: Traci L. Slatton Reviewers: Gikany and Una Rating: B- What We’re Talking About: When we started The After series, it was a trilogy, but as book three ended, it was obvious that the trilogy had turned into a series.  Gikany and Una thought that the fourth book, Blood Sky, would be the end of the story.  It is not; it is a transitional novel that sets up another novel. Blood Sky flowed well even though it languished a bit in some parts.  Although many of the stops along Emma’s journey were necessary to the overall plot, some of them could have been cut.  We understand that in the After, they are traveling by horse and it takes a lot of time to get across long distances.  We do not need it illustrated in such a detailed manner.  It would have been nicer if some of the traveling were summarized while the story moved more quickly to the next milestone. This novel began and ended with Emma in the same place.  That is not to say that it was not engaging and that nothing happened.  Along the way Emma does confront Haywood and, though it isn’t surprising how it ends, there is some hope for Emma and her relationship with her children.  We continue to hope that if Emma can complete the mission she has chosen, she will succeed in eradicating the deadly mists from the Earth.  We wish that Emma would start to toughen up a bit more in her thinking.  In the After, she has got to understand that she does have a choice.  Even when the choices are between awful and horrible, there is still a choice.  Emma needs to learn to accept the responsibility for her choices and stop claiming she didn’t have a choice. One aspect that we continue to struggle with is Emma and her two love interests: her husband Haywood and her seemingly soul mate Arthur.  We struggle because Haywood continues to demonstrate he is a selfish and cruel man, even though we can understand his heartache at Emma’s adulterous relationship with Arthur.  Although we can see that her relationship with Haywood is over, we don’t quite understand why she hasn’t had a discussion with him regarding how to end it and keep a relationship with her children.  We dislike Arthur and can’t seem to understand why Emma is compelled to be with him.  Arthur is arrogant and deluded.  We...
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Aug
25

Review: When to Hold Them by G.B. Gordon

Review: When to Hold Them by G.B. Gordon When to Hold Them Author: G.B. Gordon Reviewer: B. Rating: B+ What I’m Talking About: Some people are their own brand of trouble, regardless of whether they mean to be or not. Though he has a good heart and is trying hard to make amends after being put in jail because of his gambling addiction, Doran Callaghan easily falls into that category. Talented and artistic, yet often aimless, what he really needs is someone strong to look after him and help keep him on the right path. But, wishing they could fight your battles for you and having them beside you while you face your problems yourself aren’t the same thing, and learning to stand on his own might be the only way to hold on to the most perfect relationship he’s ever had. Resilient, protective, and strong-willed, Xavier Wagner was always taught to stand his ground with a gentle hand. More comfortable in the forest where he works as a park ranger than among the residents of Bluewater Bay, he keeps to himself for the most part, content in his loyalty to the land and his parents. But, something about the young, secretive, hoodie-loving web designer with a serious crush calls to darker desires within Xavier, and redefining what it means to be a “good man” could very well give them both everything they desire. One of the things that made When to Hold Them different from other stories that explore BDSM I’ve read is that the two main characters are just beginning to discover that they possess an inclination towards either dominance or submission. For Xavier, who is kind and generally conscientious in most areas of his life, acknowledging that he might have a sexually dominant nature is an extraordinarily difficult thing to do. Doran, on the other hand, doesn’t experience any internal conflict over his desire to submit to Xavier as much as a profound relief that the man he’s attracted to is actually a thoughtful and nurturing lover. Their biggest problem is that, while Doran may crave the feelings he gets when he gives himself to Xavier, the latter isn’t at all convinced that he can still be a “nice guy” while indulging his own newfound urges. The combination presented an undeniably erotic dilemma for them both, and I enjoyed watching them work their issues out. While I enjoyed this aspect of the story a great deal, When to Hold Them is about far more...
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Aug
19

Review: Energized by Mary Behre

Review: Energized by Mary Behre Energized Author: Mary Behre Reviewer: Una Rating: B+ What I’m Talking About: I’m happy to say that some of the critiques I had of the previous novels in the Tidewater series have been smoothed out, making Energized my favorite so far.  Niall and Hannah’s story was gripping, heartwarming and enjoyable. I really did enjoy Niall and Hannah’s journey.  Hannah is funky and flexible – open to life and anything really.  Her optimism is refreshing even when faced with continuing overbearing negativity.  Her determination and strength of character was admirable and I enjoyed that though she is a strong independent woman, she does need Niall.  Someone to watch over her and protect her from the dangers her visions pose to her sanity. Niall and Hannah are true compliments to each other.  Where Hannah is hope and honest Niall is cautious, careful and reserved.  I liked how Niall’s post-traumatic stress issues didn’t keep him from living life, though it does affect his daily life.  I feel that their relationship was helped by the fact that they had met previously.  Though they did have this one-night stand, I liked that they took time to get to know each other once they reconnected.  It was not all just lust and passion.  It was truly touching to watch them heal each other, especially in ways that they didn’t realize they needed. Though some of the characters were a little flat, overall the supporting characters were fascinating.  The mysterious serial killer plot was engaging and nerve-wracking.  I enjoyed how it played out, but I will say, it was uber-creepy.  The suspense of figuring out who Mercy is, as well as the race to save the latest victim, was gripping.  What I loved most about the mystery was the inclusion of Ian and Ryan, the private detectives (*ahem* private security specialists as they prefer to be called).  I hope that the series continues or spins off so we can see more of Ian and Ryan and their adventures.   I loved how the police procedures were improved along with good ‘ole Plan B between the private detectives (security specialists) and the police detectives. I hope the Tidewater series continues, as it seems to get better and better.  Though the premise of the three sisters appears to be finished, I can’t help but feel there are plenty of other characters that can continue the series (possibly some half siblings out there?).  Naill and Hannah’s story was the...
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Aug
17

Review: Bound to Darkness by Lara Adrian

Review: Bound to Darkness by Lara Adrian Bound to Darkness Author: Lara Adrian Reviewer: Jen Twimom Rating: B What I’m Talking About: Bound to Darkness continues the story arc, which was first introduced in Edge of Dawn, of a world where vampires (Breeds) and humans exist side by side. As the thirteenth title in Ms. Adrian’s highly successful Midnight Breed series, Bound to Darkness is not the place for new-comers to begin. While the author does a good job bringing in enough world-building and background to keep readers up to speed, I feel that much of what makes this series so good would be lost if one started with this book. This time around, the romance focuses on Carys Chase (daughter of Chase and Tavia) and Rune (cage fighter), both of whom were introduced back in Edge of Dawn. The pair has been a couple for just under 2 months, which puts the entire time line since Edge of Dawn at about the same. It’s hard to believe so little time has passed over the course of three books and two novellas. Since the pair has been together for a few titles, I felt the quickness of their romance and falling in love worked better than had they just met. I enjoyed Bound to Darkness for several reasons, most of which stem from this book being a bit different from prior titles. When misunderstandings could have caused problems for the couple, the strong, smart characters utilized the seeds planted along the way to figure out the truth. I can’t tell you how refreshing this was. Other factors that made this a good book include: 1) the couple was together in the previous titles. They are already in love and the focus is more on shedding the past and growing into the person each was meant to be. 2) The “I’m not worthy” trope, which is one overused in the Midnight Breed series, isn’t a factor in this one – in fact Rune FIGHTS for Carys and to be with her. Even after things turn south, he never gives up the idea that eventually they will be mated. 3) Carys kicks major butt and Rune supports her fully. I LOVE how totally badass Carys is and that Rune doesn’t pout or whine about it. Generally, the sexy times are hot and heavy, but never overdone. There is a good balance between the smex and action. And dialogue… finally we have a couple that talks about their secrets and...
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Aug
13

Listen Up! Nice Girls Don’t… #Audiobook Review Part 1

Listen Up! Nice Girls Don’t… #Audiobook Review Part 1 Welcome to my weekly feature that focuses on audiobooks. It’s time to… Audiobook Review: Nice Girls Don’t Have Fangs Author: Molly Harper Narrator: Amanda Ronconi Audio Speed: 1.25x Series: Jane Jameson #1 Genre: Paranormal Romance, Contemporary Chick-Lit Source: purchased/Audible What I’m Listening To: Jane Jameson lives a pretty low-key life in her hometown, Half Moon Hollow. She loves her job as the juvenile librarian at the local library, so when she’s let go due to budget constraints, Jane has one too many drinks at the local bar. Although a mysterious stranger helps her sober up, on the way home, Jane is mistaken for a deer and shot dead by another local. Luckily, Gabriel, the stranger, was following Jane to make sure she made it home, and he offers her the choice of eternal life as a vampire. Rather than die, Jane accepts his offer and begins her life as one of the undead. Having already read and/or listened to the Molly Harper’s spin-off Half Moon Hollow series, I’ve already met Jane, Gabriel, her BFF Zeb, and most of the other characters who appear in Nice Girls Don’t Have Fangs. So it was a bit odd at first, listening to Jane talk about becoming a vampire and having so many awful things happen to her. And she does run into a lot of bad luck within the first few months of being changed over to a vampire. Someone is out to get Jane, but who? and why? It took listening for a few hours to feel comfortable with Jane’s persona and how she tells her tale, and I think that’s partly because I’ve read/listened to books that chronologically come later in the world, but it’s also Ms. Harper’s narrative style. It’s as if Jane as ADD and jumps from one subject to another while telling her story. At first I didn’t like when Jane would suddenly jump into a recollection or, worse, telling us something that was yet to come, but by the midway point, this jumpy story-telling didn’t happen as often and/or didn’t seem to bother me at all. Nice Girls Don’t Have Fangs is the story of Jane’s life after being changed into one of the undead. There is romance involving her sire, Gabriel, but it’s not the primary storyline. Gabriel finds himself fascinated by Jane and doesn’t always understand her crazy ways, but he’s completely head-over-heels for her. Unfortunately, he just doesn’t know how to let Jane know this in a way she understands....
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Aug
10

Review: The Veil by Chloe Neill

Review: The Veil by Chloe Neill The Veil Author: Chloe Neill Reviewer: Jen Twimom Rating: B What I’m Talking About: The Veil is the first book in the new Devil’s Isle urban fantasy series by Chloe Neill. The story, told from the first person point-of-view of heroine Claire Connolly, describes a post-war New Orleans (NOLA) that is recovering from a battle between humans and Paranormals (Paras). While the barrier between worlds has now been closed, several Paras remain on Earth. Additionally, it was discovered that some humans have a hidden aptitude for magic; however if they absorb too much, the magic will overwhelm their bodies, turning them into mindless wraiths. Clare is hiding the fact that she is a Sensitive, someone who can wield magic, fearful that if discovered, she’ll be sent to Devil’s Isle with the other Sensitives, wraiths, and Paras. As the first book in a new series with a unique mythology, The Veil takes the time necessary for extensive world development. However, the book doesn’t drag and there are plenty action scenes and tense moments. While I wouldn’t label the future NOLA as dystopian because there is hope for recovery, they do live meagerly, and some like Claire live with the fear of being discovered as a Sensitive. Yet overall, the humans who remained in NOLA live simple and happy lives. I like that it’s not all doom and gloom in this alternative future. Through a series of events, Claire learns that she’s not alone, and that not all Paras are the inhuman beasts mythology and the recent war would make them to be. As Claire uncovers more, her friends’ loyalties are tested. I throughly enjoyed the dynamics between Claire and her closest friends as they navigate what looks to be the beginning of new ways of thinking. Claire has to decide who to trust, and this includes newcomer hottie, Liam Quinn. He throws a bit of chaos and clarity into Claire’s world. Additionally, the pair has major chemistry, which poses an emotional conflict for Liam, a bounty hunter responsible for taking wraiths to Devil’s Isle for containment. I appreciate the juxtaposition of Claire’s desire and her need to what is best for her emotional well-being. These scenes provide the emotional backbone of the story. Generally, I enjoyed Claire and her development over the course of the tale. Unfortunately, right from the beginning, Claire felt on the younger side to me – more like a teenager than her twenty-something self. I’m not...
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