Thursday, February 14, 2013

Review: Glory in Death by J. D. Robb

Glory In Death by J. D. Robb
Published by Berkley, 1995

It is 2058, New York City.  In a world where technology can reveal the darkest of secrets, there's only one place to hide a crime of passion - in the heart.

Even in the mid-twenty-first century, during a time when genetic testing usually weeds  out any violent hereditary traits before they can take over, murder still happens.  The first victim is found lying on a sidewalk in the rain.  The second is murdered in her own apartment building.  Police Lieutenant Eve Dallas has no problem finding connections between the two crimes.  Both victims were beautiful and highly successful women.  Their glamorous lives and loves were the talk of the city.  And their intimate relations with men of great power and wealth provide Eve with a long list of suspects--including her own lover, Roarke.  (Summary from Goodreads)

This book is the second in the In Death series and I enjoyed it as much as the first.  I am so glad to have a new series to glom, especially one with as many wonderful entries as this will keep me busy for a good, long while!  

In this second entry, Eve is facing another high-profile case, one with ties to the police world as a prosecuting attorney has been found murdered.  Then an actress if found...Eve is able to successfully guess some of the motives for the murders including a need for attention and she sets herself up as bait.  This leads to an event that she did not see coming and which she has a hard time dealing with.

Eve is the same gutsy, determined woman who is dedicated to getting justice for the dead.  She is still dealing with her childhood demons and more of her history is revealed.  She is also finding her footing in her new relationship with Roarke, including how to deal with her new place in the spotlight which comes with being connected to someone like Roarke.  

Roarke, oh man.  He made such a romantic move in this book that gave me goosebumps!! I hesitate to say too much, but wow.  You will know it when you read about it.  And then, when he and Eve reach some really bumpy, rough times?  My heart was in my throat and I almost wanted to walk away from the book because I did not want to read about them hurting.  How I can care so much about two characters in the space of a book and a half is amazing to me. J.D. Robb does not take the easy road with her characters, she makes them feel, even when they would prefer not to.  Eve and Roarke have both dealt with issues that they would much rather shove into a closet and leave.  And yet, they don't.  They do the hard thing and that is why I love them so much. 

Watching both of these strong characters begin to bend and compromise is beautiful.  I like the mysteries, I enjoy the secondary characters, but I am reading these books for Eve and Roarke. What an amazing couple!

This book rates a 4/5.

I bought this book with my own funds from my local used book store.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Review: Naked in Death by J.D. Robb

Naked in Death by JD Robb
Published by Berkley, 1995

In a world of danger and deception, she walks the line--between seductive passion and scandalous murder...Eve Dallas is a New York police lieutenant hunting for a ruthless killer.  In over ten years on the force, she's seen it all--and knows her survival depends on her instincts.  And she's going against every warning telling her not to get involved with Roarke, an Irish billionaire--and a suspect in Eve's murder investigation.  But passion and seduction have rules of their own, and its up to Eve to take a chance in the arms of a man she knows nothing about--except the addictive hunger of needing his touch.

Okay, this part is for my mom: You were right, I should have read these books a long time ago...I am sorry for not listening to you.  I should never doubt you as time has shown that you are (almost) always right.  Now, on to the review...

As you can see, these books have been highly recommended to me by my mom for years...I finally read the first one and man.  I should have listened to my mother.  This book was fantastic (and so was the second...and the third but that is for another review).  J.D. Robb (aka Nora Roberts) can sure write some fantastic characters--Eve Dallas is a very strong woman who has suffered horribly in her past, much of which she refuses to really think about.  She dreams about her childhood and wakes up shaken and denying that she is broken or damaged.  Her past has only increased her determination to make something of herself and her chosen way to do that is to ensure that the dead get justice.  Eve is a homicide detective and she is among the best there is...this is why she is hand picked to take over the case of a high-profile murder that threatens to bring political heat down on the heads of all those involved.  

The murder victim is a licensed companion, a prostitute, as well as the granddaughter of a very conservative senator with whom she had a falling out years before.  Her chosen profession along with her relationship to the senator puts Eve and her colleagues in the spotlight not only of the senator who has no problems pulling strings and calling in favors but also with the news media.  Neither spotlight is comfortable for Eve.  Nor is her attraction to one of the prime suspects, Roarke.

Ah, Roarke.  What a fabulous male lead...he is mysterious, uber-rich, has a sexy accent, and has great repartee with Eve.  I really enjoyed the interactions between Eve and Roarke and seeing Eve slowly lower her shields even when she didn't always mean to.  She doesn't lose any of her strength, but she does learn to lean on Roarke's at times.  Roarke doesn't make things easy for Eve because easy isn't what she wants nor is it anything that Roarke could ever be.  Watching them both fall for each other was the best part of the book for me.

One of the many things I appreciated about the writing is the fact that every character feels real, even the most minor.  The attention to details that allows for this is amazing--each character gets fleshed out, even if they are only in a scene or two.  This made me very invested in figuring out who was the murderer and I was very satisfied with the who-done-it, although I did guess it before the book was over which I wasn't expecting.  It didn't take any of my enjoyment away, though.  After I finished reading the first book I immediately went searching for book two.  I couldn't wait to spend more time with these fabulous characters!

This book rates a 5/5.

I borrowed this book from my local public library.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Review: Firelight by Kristen Callihan

Firelight by Kristen Callihan
Published by Forever (Hatchette Book Group), 2012

Once the flames are ignited...

Miranda Ellis is a woman tormented.  Plagued since birth by a strange and powerful gift, she has spent her entire life struggling to control her exceptional abilities.  Yet one innocent but irreversible mistake has left her family's fortune decimated and forced her to wed London's most nefarious nobleman.

They will burn for eternity...

Lord Benjamin Archer is no ordinary man.  Doomed to hide his disfigured face behind masks, Archer knows it's selfish to take Miranda as his bride.  yet he can't help being drawn to the flame-haired beauty whose touch sparks a passion he hasn't felt in a lifetime.  When Archer is accused of a series of gruesome murders, he gives in to the beastly nature he has fought so hard to hide from the world.  Now, to save his soul, Miranda will enter a world of dark magic and darker intrigue.  For only she can see the man hiding behind the mask.

I so enjoyed this book--I had been reading a lot of positive reviews for it along with the other books in the Darker London series and knew I had to check it out for myself.  I am so glad that I did! 
Miranda Ellis is a strong woman who has had a lot to deal with--her gift (or curse depending on how she views it) of creating fire has caused her some real grief, she inadvertantly burned down a warehouse housing a lot of goods her father was using in his business causing a reverse in their fortunes that led her to a life of petty theft.  In addition, one of her best friends and her first love, can't handle dealing with the reality of her abilities and leaves her at the alter as well.  Her father, who is not a nice man, emotionally berates Miranda for losing control and finds fault in most everything that she does.  Miranda would do a lot to get out from under his thumb.

Benjamin Archer hides his face behind masks, just as he hides his past from all but those closest to him.  He sees Miranda one evening and vows to make her his.  Three years later, he is finally in the position to do so and does all that he can to see that she is made comfortable in his life--knowing that he will be hiding a large part of himself from her, both literally and figuratively.  Despite all of the things that Benjamin is determined not to share with Miranda, he really does want a wife to love and care for...he is just not sure how to do that while still protecting them both from the consequences of getting too close.

Watching these two fall for each other and slowly open themselves up was beautiful.  I very much enjoyed their interactions together--they are level headed people who know that life is not all lollipops and angels.  They are trying to do their best to deal with the cards that they have been dealt.  They are both so worried about how the other might react to their "idiosyncracies" (although that word is not quite right as they are both dealing with some serious issues) that they fall into a two-steps-forward-one-step-back pattern that was both realistic and frustrating.  The great thing, though, was that the reader was not the only one frustrated...Benjamin and Miranda both had to deal with confusion and frustration as they tried to get their relationship to a place where they could both be happy. 

I don't want to give too much away, as this really is a story best uncovered by the reader...but trust me when I tell you that it is definitely one worth reading!

This book rates a 4.5/5.

I borrowed this book from my local public library.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Review: Touched by an Alien by Gini Koch

Touched by an Angel by Gini Koch
Published by DAW Books, 2010


Marketing manager Katherine "Kitty" Katt had just finished a day on jury duty.  When she stepped out of the Pueblo Caliente courthouse, all she was thinking about was the work she had to get caught up on.  Then her attention was caught by a fight between a couple--a domestic dispute that looked like it was about to turn ugly.  But ugly didn't even begin to cover it when the "man" suddenly transformed into a huge, winged monster right out of a grade Z science fiction movie and went on a deadly killing spree.  In hindsight, Kitty realized she probably should have panicked and run screaming the way everyone around her was doing.  Instead she got mad, searched her purse for a weapon, and, armed with a Mont Blanc pen, sprinted into action to take down the alien.

In the middle of all the screeching  and the ensuing chaos, a tall handsome hunk of a guy in an Armani suit suddenly appeared beside her, examined the body, introduced himself as Jeff Martini with "the agency," called out to an Armani-clad colleague to perform crowd control, and then insisted on leading her to a nearby limo to talk to his "boss."

And that was how Kitty's new life among the aliens began...

This book is a know that feeling when you are click-clacking your way up that first rise, anticipating the free-fall to come and then whoosh!! you are screaming, laughing, flying with the wind whipping your hair around, adrenaline pumping.  You reach the end of the ride and climb out of the car with shaking legs immediately ready to get in line and go again...well, this book is just like that roller-coaster ride.  What a rush!

Kitty Katt (gotta lover her parents' sense of humor!) is leaving the courthouse after jury duty when she sees a fender bender, and as the drivers get out of their cars, it becomes clear that the drivers are spouses.  Not so crazy, until the man sprouts wings and begins ripping his wife apart--and then his wings start shooting knives into the nearby buildings, many of which have glass walls.  Kitty doesn't have time to think, she searches through her purse (that practically becomes a character in this book) and comes up with a pen that she uses to stab the alien in this, gelatinousy-pulsating-blob attached to its back.  Why she does this, Kitty doesn't know--it's instinct as much as anything, but it works and the alien dies.  About this time some seriously attractive men in Armani suits show up taking over the scene and ushering Kitty into a nearby limo.

Then things get, weirder.  Kitty meets Jeff, who instantly wants to marry her, Christopher who is really good at glaring, Paul Gower who tries to keep the peace, and Richard (never Dick) White who seems to be in charge.  They begin initiating Kitty into their world, that of the Alpha-Centaurions who have immigrated to Earth in order to protect both it and their home world from the parasitic creatures that take over host bodies to wreck havoc.  Kitty catches on very quickly that there is more to the story than that and makes it her hobby to ask questions and assimilate information. She learns that there is one parasite in particular, Mephistopheles, that needs taking out.  It has hosted in the body of a terrorist leader named Yates, and is much harder to kill than the others. And it has taken a special interest in Kitty.  Now, Kitty and her new alien companions need to come up with a plan to save Kitty, the Alpha Centaurions, and Earth itself.  

Kitty is a hoot, she is quick on her feet and extremely snarky but in a very fun way.  Jeff, who is an empath, immediately decides that he wants Kitty and makes that fact very clear to her, which disconcerts her to a degree, although she decides to roll with it.  Christopher, Jeff's cousin, is harder to get a handle on as he tends to snap and glare, but he has his reasons and when the chips are down he is very dependable.  James Reader, a retired Calvin Klein model and fellow human, gets Kitty in a way that the Alpha Centaurions can't and I loved him.  He acts as a driver for the A-C's as they have super-fast reflexes and have trouble with vehicles of all kinds due to this...which leads to a very interesting scene later in the book involving Kitty, Christopher, and a fighter jet.  Just saying, there were times I thought I was going to hyperventilate, I was laughing so hard!

I haven't even mentioned Kitty's parents who have secrets of their own, Lorraine and Claudia, two A-C's who become great friends and colleagues with Kitty, Tim, another driver who is slower to warm up to Kitty's place of authority, or a group of pilots who literally fly in to help save the day.  

Oh gosh, this review is so piece-y but I don't want to give away too much of the plot because you just have to experience it for yourself.  And, the characters?  Even the minor ones have great quirks and well-developed personalities.  Gini Koch is a genius with dialogue and character development.  Yes, she made me laugh out loud multiple times (not a great book to read in public for that reason) but she also writes great tension and there was one part where I fell apart.  I was so caught up on the story and then something happened that broke my heart (and Kitty's) and I lost it.  I was a sniveling mess but bless Kitty's heart, her reaction, which was very true to who she was, had me cheering through my tears.  She is such a take-no-prisoners, balls-to-the-wall character when you threaten someone she loves.  

Writing a match for such a strong character could not have been easy, but Jeff Martini is absolutely fabulous.  An empath who recognizes Kitty as the one he wants from the first time he sees her, he makes it clear that he wants to marry her and have lots of kids.  This should have been creepy, but his laid-back humor made it sweet instead.  Jeff comes off as very easy-going but he has layers that are slowly peeled away to reveal the strength and sexiness that are a result of some very harsh experiences.  There is a reason he was chosen as a leader of his people, he is capable of making the hard decisions that not many would want to have to live with.  He fits with Kitty so well providing her with the strength and love she needs to keep going. The story takes place over a fairly short amount of time, but I believed the emotions between Jeff and Kitty.  I will be glad to spend more time with them in sequels, although I wish that I could get a book about Christopher.  At least he should continue to be a major character in upcoming stories--I just hope he gets an HEA of his own.  

This book rates a 5/5.

I borrowed this book from my local public library.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

What I've Been Reading (Feb 2. - Feb. 8)

Another week, another batch of great books!  Let's see what I enjoyed this first full week of February...

I read two novellas from the Must Love Hellhounds anthology and enjoyed them both quite a bit.  First, I read Angels' Judgment by Nalini Singh.  My understanding is that this book takes place (at least chronologically) first in Nalini's Guild Hunters series.  Having had these books on my to-be-read pile for a long while and being blown away by Angels' Blood, I really wanted to go back to read this series opener.  And, boy am I glad I did!  Sara has been pegged to take the director's position in the Guild--this leaves her in a precarious position as the angels want to make sure she is strong enough to handle such a post and are not above setting her up to see her performance.  Adding to her stress is a hunter who is killing vampires leaving the Guild open to all kinds of problems, not the least of which would be a breach of trust with the angels.  Fortunately, Deacon steps in to help.  Sara is a strong woman (any person being considered to as the director of the Guild would have to be strong) who really loves her friends--she is super loyal!  This makes the idea that a hunter is killing the vampires they are charged to collect using non-lethal force hard for her to swallow.  Deacon, who is a loner due to the nature of his job, is sent to protect Sara from any "tests" the angels might use to judge Sara's ability to handle the guild.  This puts him in the perfect position to help her hunt the rogue hunter--something Deacon has a lot of experience with.  This novella was tightly plotted and fast-paced...I really enjoyed it.  A lot.

I then read Blind Spot by Meljean Brook.  In this book, Maggie is a butler (at least in name, although it seemed that her duties extended beyond those of a normal butler) to a vampire whose niece has been kidnapped.  Maggie finds Geoff (who seemed to be in some type of trouble himself) and allows him to work with her to track down the missing girl (who also happens to be Geoff's sister).  Geoff is blind but has a cool "power" that helps even things out.  And this story featured Sir Pup, an amazing hellhound who stole the show.  I enjoyed this book quite a bit...enough to try reading Demon Angel again.  And I DNF'd it, again.  I'll try book 2 Demon Moon and see if I like it more.  

After Must Love Hellhounds, I read Kiss of Crimson (review here) which I mistakenly believed was the first book in the Midnight Breeds series.  It is actually the the time I figured that out I was sucked into the story so decided to let it go.  That is a pretty strong recommendation for Kiss of Crimson as I DO NOT like to read series out of order but this time I had to make an exception.  After I finished this book, I immediately went on-line and put books 1 and 3 on hold.  Book 3, Midnight Awakening, came in first so I went ahead and read it...after all, my series rule had already been broken so why not?  I liked it quite a bit, but there was a little to much wishy-washy back and forth on the part of the male lead.  A review will be coming soon.

I laughed my way through Touched by an Alien  by Gini Koch (review coming).  I absolutely loved this book and have thought about it off and on all week.  This book was followed by the very enjoyable Firelight by Kristin Callihan (review coming soon).  

Lastly, I started the In Death series by J.D. Robb.  This is a very big deal...I have been wanting to read these books forever but worried that they would not live up to the ideal I had built up in my head.  Oh foolish am I!  The first two books are fabulous and easily reached and then surpassed my expectations.  Reviews coming.

I am really looking forward to reading more In Death books and continuing with the Midnight Breed series.  I also would like to read the next book in the Guild Hunter series.  We'll see what the upcoming week brings me. 

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Review: Kiss of Crimson by Lara Adrian

Kiss of Crimson by Lara Adrian
Published by Dell, 2007


He comes to her more dead than alive, a towering black-clad stranger riddled with bullets and rapidly losing blood.  As she struggles to save him, veterinarian Tess Culver is unaware that the man calling himself Dante is no man at all, but one of the Breed, vampire warriors engaged in a desperate battle.  In a single erotically charged moment, Tess is plunged into his world--a shifting, shadowed place where bands of Rogue vampires stalk the night, cutting a swath of terror.

Haunted by visions of a dark future, Dante lives and fights like there is no tomorrow.  Tess is a complication he does not need--but now, with his brethren under attack, he must shield Tess from a growing threat that includes Dante himself.  For with one reckless, irresistible kiss, she has become an inextricable part of his underworld realm and his touch awakens her to hidden gifts, desires, and hungers she never knew she possessed.  Bonded by blood, Dante and Tess must work together to thwart deadly enemies, even as they discover a passion that transcends the boundaries of life itself...

This is book two in the Midnight Breeds series...which I did not realize when I checked it out from my public library.  I thought it was the first book (which is actually Kiss of Midnight) and almost did not read it when I discovered it wasn't.  I really prefer to read series in order.  However, I thought I would at least start it and if I was lost, I'd set it aside until I could get back to the library.  Later that afternoon, I put it aside very happy that I made an exception to my reading-in-order rule.  I commend Lara Adrian for being able to give enough back ground info to keep me from being confused about her world without ever feeling like I was struck by an info-dump.  

Tess Culver is a vet in one of the less-well-to-do parts of Boston who often discounts her work in order for her customers to be able to afford her services.  This often leaves her paying the clinics bills from her personal savings which are running out fast.  She knows she won't be able to keep it up much longer and she is pondering if it is time for her to move on, as she lives a fairly isolated life.  Her vet tech, Nora and ex-boyfriend, Ben are her only friends and both of these relationships are changing; Nora, who is training be a vet herself, isn't sure how much longer she will be able to work for Tess and keep up with her studies.  Ben, who loves Tess, continues to pressure her to take him back, while Tess knows it would not be fair to either of them.  Their relationship is, understandably, strained.  

Dante is a breed, a vampire warrior who hunts Rogues, or vampires who have given into blood lust and become killers.  Dante has been haunted by visions of his own death, a legacy from his mother who accurately predicted the deaths of herself and Dante's father.  Dante dreams of fiery flames and the visions are getting stronger, hitting him while he is awake.  One night while hunting Rogues, Dante comes across something new, a vampire caught up in blood lust who does not die upon contact with the Titanium blades of Dante's knives.  Dante, versed in battle, is still able to dispatch the Rogue-like vamp, but is soon ambushed by four more Rogues.  He escapes and ends up hiding in Tess' vet supply room.  When Tess hears him, she is, to put it mildly, surprised to see someone who looks like they came from the losing side of a battle.  Covered in burn marks, cuts, scrapes, and the proud owner of two bullet wounds, Dante doesn't make the best first impression, especially when he feeds from Tess, bringing her to believe she is being attacked.  

Dante removes Tess's memories of his feeding (which bothered me, as it didn't seem to be a fair balance of power-and every time they interacted after that, I was upset that Dante was keeping this secret from Tess).  It is then that he notices a birthmark that marks Tess as a potential Breedmate--and Dante's feeding has completed half of the mate bond.  As if that hasn't been a busy enough evening for Dante, when he returns to the Breed compound, he finds out that the vampire he killed was hopped up on a new designer drug, Crimson and Dante has been partnered with an agent to try to find out the supplier to end this epidemic before it gets more out of control.  There is a subplot involving Dante's partner and a Breedmate widow which was very emotionally charged and I hope that later books give us more information as to what happens with them both.

I don't want to get too much further into the plot as there would be major spoilers, but suffice to say that this was an action packed book with lots going on.  Tess eventually regains her lost memories, for which I was very thankful, I would not have been happy if she never recovered them and would have doubted any future for Dante and Tess.  As it was, her reaction was suitably ticked and working through the issue deepened her and Dante's relationship.  I will definitely go back and read the first book...and then I will happily sit down with the rest of the series, too.  In order, of course!  Luckily for me, it looks like there are at least a dozen books in this series.  

This book rates a 4/5.

I borrowed this book from my local public library.  


Review: Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
Published by Little, Brown, and Company, 2009

Lena Duchannes is unlike anyone the small Southern town of Gatlin has ever seen, and she's struggling to conceal her power, and a curse has haunted her family for generations.  But even within the overgrown gardens, murky swamps and crumbling graveyards of the forgotten South, a secret cannot stay hidden forever.

Ethan Wate, who has been counting the months until he can escape from Gatlin, is haunted by dreams of a beautiful girl he has never met.  When Lena moves into the town's oldest and most infamous plantation, Ethan is inexplicably drawn to her and determined to uncover the connection between them.  

In a town with no surprises, one secret could change everything.

I remember the blog world blowing up with reviews of this book when it first came out in 2009...but I never got around to reading it.  With the movie coming out in a couple of weeks I decided to rectify that.  I bought a copy of this at a book sale for a dollar last year (a dollar! for a hardcover! in great shape!) so I just had to located it in one of the many possible book piles, once that was done I settled in.   

Ethan Wate is our narrator (which I was not expecting but found to be enjoyable) and he is counting down until he can leave the small town of Gatlin.  Gatlin is one of those small towns where families have lived for generations, everyone knows everyone (and their business) and few people ever leave.  Or move in.  So when a new girl arrives, especially one who moves in with the local shut-in, Macon Ravenwood, in a house that is commonly believed to be haunted, it is a big deal.  

Lena Duchannes is not what Ethan Wate was expecting, not only because she dresses very differently from all of the local girls, but because she is the girl of his dreams...literally.  Ethan has experienced disturbing dreams for years, waking up muddy, sweaty, with twigs in his bed...with no idea how such a thing is possible.  His mother died a year ago, his father shuts himself in his study and has withdrawn almost completely from Ethan's life, and his Amma is superstitious and knows more than she shares.  So when Ethan discovers that he and Lena share dreams and can speak telepathically, he is determined to become a part of her life.

Lena is an interesting character.  She has moved around (a lot), she has a charm necklace that is filled with physical representations of her memories, writes poetry in a spiral notebook that she shares with no-one, and has a countdown to her sixteenth birthday on her hand.  Lena is a Caster and on her sixteenth birthday she will be claimed for the Light or the Dark...however, there is a curse on her family so unlike most Casters, the choice is not hers and she has no idea which side will claim her. 

Lena is also struggling to control her powers...when she is made a target at her high school this control becomes more difficult to maintain.  Incidents arise that make her all the more isolated from her peers.  Except for Ethan who crosses lines to support her although at times I wondered why he bothered as Lena never seemed very appreciative.  She was so used to being alone that having Ethan's support was uncomfortable and she tried to sabotage it until she finally became convinced that he wasn't going anywhere.  

There is a lot going on in this book including finding a cameo that throws Ethan and Lena into visions of past events that shed light on the curse currently surrounding Lena's family, a modern day witch hunt led by longtime residents of Gatlin, a mysterious difficult relationship between Lena's Uncle Maven and Ethan's Amma, Lena's cousin Ridley who was claimed a year before coming back to wreck havoc, and more.  This was definitely needed as the book weighs in at almost 600 pages.  The majority of the plot(s) move at a good clip, with just a few instances where the story drags just a bit.  The ending, however, was action (and emotion) packed and definitely had me looking for the second book ASAP!

Oh, and just a quick shout out to my favorite character who will hopefully continue to provide some much needed levity--Link!

This book rates a 3.5/5.

This book is a part of my personal collection and was purchased with my own funds ($1!!).  


Review: Warrior's Cross by Abigail Roux and Madeleine Urban

Warrior's Cross by Abigail Roux and Madeleine Urban
Published by Dreamspinner Press, 2009

Cameron Jacobs in an open book.  He considers himself a common waiter with normal friends, boring hobbies, harmless dogs, and nothing even resembling a secret...except a crush on the tall, dark, devastatingly  handsome man who dines alone at his restaurant on Tuesday nights.  All it takes is one passionate night with Julian Cross to turn Cameron's world on its head.

Julian's love and devotion are all Cameron could have hoped for and more.  But when his ordinary life meets and clashes with Julian's extraordinary lifestyle, Cameron discovers that trust and fear can go hand in hand, and love is just a step away from danger.
(Summary from Goodreads)
Wow...I have had a free sample of this book on my Kindle for awhile and when I finally got to it, I immediately had to download the ebook.  It was so good!! I really loved the first two-thirds to three-fourths of this book and then some events occur at the end that slightly tarnished my pure love for this book.  I'll explain why (as much as I can without spoiling anything) in a bit.

Cameron Jacobs is such a sweet, kind, loving man.  I want to be his best friend (and I would always be up to puppy-sitting his sweet little doggies, too!)  Cameron is a waiter at a restaurant named Tuesdays.  He really enjoys his job, but looks forward to Tuesday nights when a mysterious patron, named Julian Cross, sits in his section.  He always orders the special and a glass of wine and Cameron wonders what his life is like outside of Tuesday nights as Julian is mysterious.  Slowly Julian opens up a little bit more to Cameron and they end up heading back to Cameron's apartment one evening after the restaurant closes.  

This slow build-up, where we only know as much about Julian as Cameron does, is very skillfully written.  We feel Cameron's fascination (and at times frustration) with Julian and I couldn't help joining Cameron in trying to dissect every action and word spoken by Julian in an attempt to learn more.  When Julian and Cameron finally get together, it is hot.  And this is the second place that this book shines--as we begin to see the different sides of Julian and he opens up (to some extent) to Cameron.  We also get to experience some things through Julian's eyes but these scenes didn't always clarify issues, they sometimes served to raise more questions.  Julian is definitely intriguing but I never doubted his feelings for Cameron (although some characters in the book certainly felt it was their right to question them...) although I did wonder if they would be able to have their HEA.  

This leads to my main issue with the book, and I might have to dance around with my words a little bit to avoid spoilers, so fair warning.  Julian is involved in a dangerous job which he worries could lead Cameron into harm's way.  Cameron's boss, Blake, knows about Julian and has been friends with him for a long time and is able to fill Cameron in on some things but not much...mostly he helps to alleviate some of Cameron's worries and/or tries to help him see things from a different perspective.  Julian, meanwhile, falls into that trap of wondering if Cameron would be better off without him (granted, there is some real evidence to suggest that Cam might indeed be safer without Julian in his life, but come on...this is a romance!) and this leads to some waffling that looks to Cameron to be more of a trust or lack of caring issue as there is still a lot about Julian that he doesn't know.  

Cameron and Julian go through a lot to be together and since most of the book is from Cam's point of view, I felt his pain the strongest when things were not going well--although we are given just enough about Julian to know that he feels deeply as well.  When I finished the book, I was left feeling satisfied and believing that these two would make it considering all the obstacles they had already overcome.  I have heard that these two play a role in at least one of the Cut and Run series books which I have never read...I will definitely have to look into them soon.

This book rates a 4.5/5.

II purchased with book for my Kindle with my own funds.

Friday, February 1, 2013

What I've Been Reading (Jan. 26 - Feb. 1)

Wow, how did it get to be February already?  I swear it was just New Years the other day...wasn't it?  On to what I read this week and boy were there some good ones!

I began with Angels' Blood by Nalini Singh (review here).  This was a great read!! I don't know why I was so hesitant to begin this series...I suppose I wasn't sure how Nalini Singh could have anything else as good as the Psy/Changling series.  I still don't know how she does it, I just know that I am a fan for life.  The characters in this one are amazingly multi-faceted and while there are some very dark and gritty passages this book still made me smile and dive right into the next one...which I still haven't done.  Maybe this next week??

I followed Angels' Blood with Dragon Bound by Thea Harrison (review here) and then Storm's Heart (review here).  I have read both of these books before but find them so comforting and such a great way to spend time.  I am looking forward to reading the rest of the series which I have not read before.  The world in these books is fabulous and I cannot decide if I enjoy Dragos and Pia or Tiago and Niniane more.  Luckily I don't have to choose, I can have them all!  

I then went on a Kindle kick and read Beowulf and Roxie by Marisa Chenary which was interesting but kind of a mess at times, Before Dawn (a short story by Ann Bruce) which I enjoyed, Widdershins by Jordan L. Hawk which I really liked, Zero at the Bone by Jane Seville which I loved, and Warrior's Cross by Abigail Roux and Madeleine Urban which I very much enjoyed until the last third and then I felt it went awry somehow (I am planning at this point to write a longer review to post soon).

Lastly I read Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl.  With the movie coming out soon, I wanted to read the book (I always read the book before seeing the movie).  This book is a chunk and I sped through it in two nights and passed it on to a friend who also wants to read it.  I was sad that I did not own the second book in the series because the ending to this one???  Definitely made me want to dive right into Beautiful Darkness.  I have it on hold at my library and should be able to pick it up this weekend.  I plan on doing a longer review of this book although I may end up just doing a series review.  We'll see how it goes.

And that was my week.  Pretty great, huh?