Tuesday, March 31, 2015

March Month in Review and Pages Read Challenge

March Month in Review and Pages Read Challenge

March felt like a great reading month although I still working on getting a posting consistency going.  I hope to get ahead on my written reviews so that I have less lag time between posts.  If I don't write a review right after I read the book, the odds that I will come back to lessen drastically!  However, my first rule is that blogging must remain fun so I am not stressing about it, just aware that is an area to focus on as I continue finding my feet as a regular book blogger.  I have officially completed one more month than my last foray into blogging so that is a great step for me to celebrate as well!  Here is what I read this month: 

Book                                                                              Pages
The Mystery Woman by Amanda Quick                     357 
Otherwise Engaged by Amanda Quick                      342
Crazy Wild by Tara Janzen                                         386
Biker's Pup by Sean Michael                                       74
Catching Fire by Nora Roberts                                  431
Drawn by Sean Michael                                              228
Christmas Angel by Sean Michael                              38 
Dominated and Claimed by Bellann Summer           86
Controlling His Men by Bellann Summer                    95
Brad's Rock by Bellann Summer                                 93
Solitary by Sean Michael                                            174
Reaching the Edge by L M Somerton                       112
Living on the Edge by L M Somerton                        112
Dancing on the Edge by L M Somerton                    112
A Double Edged Sword by L M Somerton                157
Rough Around the Edges by L M Somerton             145
Rough Around the Edges by L M Somerton             145
Stroke Rate by L M Somerton                                    121
Absent Minded Astrophysicist by T N Tarrent           136
Mountain Rescue by L M Somerton                            95
Royal Line by Sean Michael                                         57
Spot the Difference by Sean Michael                         57
Working It Out by Sean Michael                                  71
Play Me by Blue Ashcroft                                             105 
A Betting Man by Sandrine Gasq-Dion                       90
A Marrying Man by Sandrine Gasq-Dion                   133
A Fighting Man by Sandrine Gasq-Dion                   103
A Working Man by Sandrine Gasq-Dion                  129
One Boy's Shadow by Ross McCoubrey                   432
Last of the Summer Tomatoes by Sherrie Henry      246
Guarding January by Sean Michael                          205
Nanny Dearest by Shawn Bailey                                 94
His Risk to Take by Tessa Bailey                             123
Black Wolf by Jade Buchanan                                    57
Duck Fart by Jade Buchanan                                     108
Hedgehog's Delight by Jade Buchanan                     74
The Best Damn Thing by B. A. Tortuga                      14 
Timber Pack Chronicles by Rob Colton                   252
Enforcer by Rob Colton                                             206
Echo by Sol Crafter                                                    104
Marked by Kaylea Cross                                           226
Courting Jealousy by Kimberly Dean                        26
Hot Package by Lynn Raye Harris                             83
A Wing and a Prayer by Andrea Laurence               56
The Table and Mr. Tensdale by Rebecca Milton      31
A Place in Her Heart by Trish Milburn                       50
The Gift by Lisa Mondello                                            50
Her Dakota Man by Lisa Mondello                             190
Dragonfly by Leigh Talbot Moore                              264
The Gift by V S Morgan                                              34
Worth Waiting For by Amber Ridge                          36
Off Guard by Marion Tee                                           21
Woman on the Run by Lisa Marie Rice                    326
Murphy's Law by Lisa Marie Rice                            281
Forever Mate: Yuri and Lian by Stormy Glenn         82
Navy Seal's Promise by Soraya Lane                      85
Icebound by Julie Rowe                                               164
Undercurrent by Sara K. Parker                                 208

Total Number of Pages Read: 8324
# of pages YTD: 37,586

I am still working towards level 3 (52,000) and towards my personal goal of 75,000 pages.  Here's to a happy month of reading!  

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Icebound by Julie Rowe

Icebound by Julie Rowe

Dr. Emilie Saunderson is driven to finish her husband's research.  Her quest brings her to Antarctica, where she hopes to find a measure of peace in the isolated and icy wilderness. It's the last place on earth she expects to be given a second chance at love.  

Tom Wolinski loves his work at the bottom of the world.  Damaged by his dark past, he has vowed never to get close to anyone--a promise that's easy to keep in place with no permanent residents.  That is, until Emilie arrives, and he's irresistibly drawn to her warmth and inner strength.

Emilie has no desire to get involved with another adventurer, and Tom has made it clear he's not interested in putting down roots.  But as they work together to survive in the harshest of climates, they turn to one another for comfort.  Is the heat between them enough to melt the ice around their hearts, and bind them together forever?  

This book should have been amazing.  A scientific research station based at the South Pole, one woman trying to carry out her late husband's research project while also attempting to heal from the deep wounds his passing left on her psyche, and a man whose past leads him to believe that he can never have a family.  Add in some amazing secondary characters and the danger inherent in being at the coldest point on Earth should have made this a home run.  Instead, this book felt shallower than I would have liked; the shorter length most likely attributed to this feeling but it also might have been a case of having so many problems crop up that the pages in existence weren't enough to adequately deal with them all.  Whatever the issue(s), this was an okay story that had so much unrealized potential...

Emilie has dealt with a lot in the past year, the loss of her husband and unborn child topping the list.  She is excited to be the new medical doctor at the South Pole science research station but knows she has a lot of healing to do.  Tom is the more-than-capable station manager who always seems to know what the people around him need: an ear to listen, a shoulder to lean on, some words of wisdom, or ways to let off steam.  What Tom doesn't want is a steady relationship and when he finds himself wanting more with Emilie, he does what he often does.  He runs.  Which isn't easy in the limited space of the research station!  Emilie is more level-headed than some of the heroines I've read about lately and it was such a nice change to read about a mature, good-head-on-her-shoulders woman who is capable of listening to reason and compromising when needed.  Tom was also enjoyable but I was less patient with the main issue he was trying to resolve.  Probably not fair of me, but there it is.  

There were also several secondary characters that had varying amounts of story time and not all was sunshine and roses as would be expected when working in such an extreme environment with a large group of individuals who are confined within a small space.  At one point I thought this might be romantic suspense and one of the researchers might be vandalizing the station but as I read on, it became more clear that the plot points were meant to show the unpredictability of working in Antarctica.  Julie Rowe does a great job of bringing secondary characters to life while not spending too much time away from the MC's and their developing relationship.  I felt that she brought enough of them to life to make for a well rounded cast while not developing so many that it became difficult to keep them all straight.  All in all, I am glad I read Icebound but doubt I revisit it as a reread.  

Reading Challenges
Alphabet Soup
Around the World
Contemporary Romance
eBook Reading Challenge
Full House
Read Your Freebies

I downloaded this book for free from Amazon.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Married to the Bad Boy by Letty Scott

Married to the Bad Boy by Letty Scott

I didn't marry him out of love, nor because I liked him.  I didn't marry him for his family money or wealth, or for popularity.  Truth be told, I could care less about this guy and who he was.  I Married the Bad Boy for protection.

Kami Van always stayed to herself at school and not very many people knew who she was.  She was scared to let anyone close to her and feared going home to an abusive stepfather who used her as a punching bag daily.  That was until the bad boy found out and stepped in.  He took her away from it all, but it only brought more danger into her life.

Holy drama, Batman!  This book reads like a really bad soap opera--the one that everyone makes fun of but are also secretly watching because it is so bad it's good.  This book needs therapy--or maybe I do for reading it.  Either way, something needs to give.  Here are the pertinent bits (by the by, this is incredibly spoiler-ific!): 

  1. Kami Van gets beaten daily by her stepfather while her mother laughs and her stepsister eggs it on.
  2. Brandon, the school bad boy, sees Kami's bruises one day and decides he will save her by beating up her abuser; this leads to relentless nagging, bullying of school staff to get his schedule changed to match hers, making an announcement on the intercom for everyone to back off of his "girlfriend", and other girls insulting Kami for taking the epitome of male perfection away from them.
  3. Kami's stepsister spies on her at school, sees Brandon helping her, rats her out to the stepfather; stepfather decides he needs to show Kami who is boss by raping her; stepsister assists with tying Kami up before advising her stepfather to enjoy himself.
  4. Brandon arrives in the nick of time, beats stepfather unconscious, locks stepsister in the closet and removes Kami from the household of hell.
  5. Upon passing a chapel, Brandon decides to marry Kami because Kami needs to graduate from high school in order to inherit money from her grandmother and get away from her family.  Obviously marrying Brandon would be the perfect reason for Kami to live with him and not have to return home--every reader is probably thinking it!
And that is the first 25%.  What happens from 25% to 50%?  I am so glad you asked...

  1. Kami is hesitant to tell Brandon's parents they are married because...well, even she realizes this plot is insane!  Brandon goes all he-man, his parents throw a hissy for a few sentences, see Kami's bruises and are staunch supporters of their son's nuptials and new bride.  
  2. Kami reassures Brandon she realizes she is nothing compared to the girls he usually goes for and gives him permission to continue to sleep around; Brandon manfully declines in order to better protect Kami;  they head down for dinner.
  3. Brandon insists they share a bed (even though the house is huge with lots of guest rooms) so Kami can feel protected.  Kami (frequently abused physically and hours out from sexual abuse) climbs right into bed with him.  
  4. The following sentence occurs, "I watched as Brandon gets up from the bed and walk over to me..." are there three different tense issues there?  
  5. Kami insists on space--she doesn't want to get attached to Brandon.  Brandon agrees with the following caveat: that he always be right by her side.
  6. A super-popular girl corners Kami at school saying she knows why Brandon married Kami as Brandon told her while having sex with her in the custodian's closet...Kami believes her and faints out of despair.  Kami finds out that--gasp--popular girl was lying.  
  7. Kami joins Brandon and his parents for his godmother's wedding--the groom is a mysterious guy none of them have met.  He's also Kami's biological father--you know, the one who abandoned her to her mother and abusive step-father?  Who immediately recognizes Kami even though he hasn't seen her since she was ten...Kami cries and runs away.  Brandon decks him.  They then return to the reception;  after all, leaving would be rude!  But not as rude as the way Kami publicly shames her father when he requests a dance from her at his own wedding...a dance she gives to Brandon along with their first kiss.  
  8. What better to follow an altercation with your long-lost father at his wedding than a walk on the beach?  And who should they run into but Kami's stepfather.  And Brandon's biological dad.  Who was also abusive.  And who both demand Kami be turned over to them immediately so she can be taken to...their master?!?
Yikes!  Okay...50% - 75%, here we come!
  1. Brandon tries to fight both men, gets hit in the head with a rock and is out for the count.  Kami runs but is caught.  She blacks out and wakes up in a hospital with amnesia about the event that put her there.  Kami and Brandon both demand to be taken to their spouses immediately!
  2. Daddy dearest (who apparently has stone cold eyes) shows up and threatens the lovebirds with lawyers and annulments.
  3. Brandon can't remember who attacked them either (or can he? Kami notes his shifty eyes...)
  4. Kami's father (and new bride) come over for dinner rather than leave on their honeymoon; Kami calls him out for abandoning her which is apparently news to the new Mrs.
  5. We get this wonderful sentence: As the weeks went by, so did the first month.  
  6. Some street racing commences.  Jasmine's there and commences with the bitchiness but is put in her place by the married lovebirds.  Brandon punishes her by making out with Kami in front of her.   Brandon wants sexy times after his win but settles for getting drunk instead.
  7. Brandon's parents send them on a honeymoon as school is out for the week.  On the plane Brandon is blatantly propositioned, just in case the reader has forgotten how irresistible he is to ALL girls.  Brandon makes out with Kami to punish mean-girl (notice a pattern?)  Also, a random man from the plane ride says threatening remark about Brandon to Kami...mental spazzing on her part commences (or continues, she mentally freaks a lot).  Guy and gal from plane are heard arguing about "the plan" by Kami...who says nothing at all about it to Brandon.
  8. Brandon professes his love and confesses to being under Kami's spell since they were in elementary school--a quick back story to make this plausible is explained.    Kami tries to tell Brandon she loves him but he won't let her; so she says it while he is asleep, except he isn't.  Sexy times commence.
We're in the home stretch kids--75% to the end: 
  1. Crazy plane guy and gal show up and an altercation commences at the beach.  Brandon and Kami decide to Jet Ski, they are followed by the crazy couple and another altercation commences.  Except this altercation involved lots of men with guns...including Kami's father.  
  2. Kami blacks out (of course) and wakes up tied hand and foot, alone in a shack.  Haley (crazy plane girl) taunts Kami about getting Brandon.  Later, Kami's father shows up with the "Story of Why He Hates Kami and Must Ruin Her Life." Summary: Kami's mother died having her, her father paid another woman and her family to raise Kami (although how that works with Kami's father not leaving until she was ten I can't figure out), Kami's grandmother (psycho dad's mother) left everything to Kami giving Daddy the driving need to kill her to reclaim what was rightfully his--and also to punish Kami for "killing" her mother.  
  3. Gunshots sound.  Dad starts choking Kami.  More gunshots as someone starts fighting Kami's dad.  Kami (once again) blacks out just after a body falls lifelessly near her.  
  4. Kami (once again) wakes up in a hospital.  Apparently she has just woken up from a coma.  No Brandon to be seen (or heard).   Instead some random girl that Kami recalls seeing around Brandon at times who turns out to be his cousin April.  Brandon is in ICU with life threatening gun shot wounds and is getting worse instead of better.
  5. Kami blames herself.  
  6. While sitting at Brandon's side, his mother reveals that her father's new wife just happened to be an FBI agent who sensed something off about hew new husband's behavior and followed him (to the Dominican Republic!!), found out his devious plan and called for back-up.  She saved Brandon during a gun fight among the gang members, found Emily being choked and fatally shot her new hubby (but not before he shot Brandon).
  7. There is this sentence, "...knowing she had to kill him is most likely eating at her."  Gee, you think??
  8. Brandon wakes up, they return home, Kami moves into the guest room (completely second-guessing everything from Brandon's feelings for her to his motives for marrying her), and blames herself for everything that happened.  
  9. Kami asks for a divorce; Brandon agrees but vows to get her back.
  10. They graduate.  They sign divorce papers.  Kami inherits.  Brandon informs her he will be attending her college and asks her to be his girlfriend.  She agrees, knowing he loves her and that she loves him.  She hopes to marry him some day...The End.
Reading Challenges
105 Challenge
Around the World
ebook Reading 
New to You
Read Your Freebies

I downloaded this book for free from Amazon.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Woman on the Run by Lisa Marie Rice

Woman on the Run by Lisa Marie Rice

What's a girl to do?  Sophisticated urbanite Julia Devaux loves her life.  What's not to love?  A fabulous job in publishing, wonderful friends, gorgeous apartment, the company of her beautiful though temperamental Siamese cat Federico Fellini--she's got it made.  And then Julia has the bad luck to witness a Mob murder and her life goes straight down the toilet.  Under the witness security program, Julia is relocated to the boondocks, a hundred miles from the nearest bookstore and Estee Lauder outlet, where the only fast food is deer and the only entertainment is sex with a laconic local rancher.  Luckily, talking isn't what Sam Cooper does best...

Former SEAL Sam Cooper can't believe his luck when mystery woman Sally Andersen hits town.  Simpson, Idaho can't even offer a decent cup of coffee let alone gorgeous new grade school teachers.  The instant Cooper sees Sally, he stakes her out as his own.  Granted, he's not much good at talking, but he does his best to keep her happy.  When he discovers her life is in danger, he'll stop at nothing to keep her safe and with him.  He's not alone.  The whole town of Simpson wants to keep her.  

Julia Devaux is looking for some gritty photos for her photography class, wanders through some rough parts of Boston, stumbles across a Mob killing and is the only person who can put Santano away.  Santano puts a five-million-dollar bounty on her head (which he wants delivered to him, literally) and Julia is quickly put into Witness Protection as Sally Andersen in Simpson, Idaho.  She is now a second grade teacher in a town that is declining and will be a ghost town within the decade. 

Sam makes Sally's acquaintance when she breaks a Halloween jack-o-lantern over his head.  He has come to her classroom to talk about one of her students; he got a bit more than he bargained for.  Coop and Sally soon fall into a relationship (or at least into bed together) and all is smooth sailing.  Sally takes rejuvenating Simpson single-handedly, breaking the Cooper curse, and charming all she meets.  However, a mysterious person called the professional is closing in on Julia ready to collect on the growing bounty.  

When it appears that Witness Protection has been hacked, Cooper steps up to keep Julia safe.  He rallies his buddies (two of his former SEAL buddies very conveniently work on the ranch with them although no mention is made of them until they are needed) and works out a protection detail for Julia.  When danger comes to Simpson, the whole town is ready to take it on to protect one of their own. 

I really love Lisa Marie Rice's style of writing but this title was not my favorite.  If this had been my first book by her, I don't know that I would have sought any of her other titles out.  Luckily, I know that the majority of her works are more to my liking and this particular book can be marked off my TBR.  

Reading Challenges
eBook Reading
Foodie Challenge
Men in Uniform
Reading Assignment 
Reading Road Trip
Romantic Suspense

Freebie Friday, March 27th Edition

Freebie Friday, March 27th Edition

A Wing and a Prayer by Andrea Laurence: This short story is one of the Harlequin More Than Words stories that celebrate women and the causes that matter most to them.  Harlequin authors choose real life women who make a difference and donations are given to charities of the winners' choices.  The charities are also featured in the stories written by the authors.  A Wing and a Prayer highlights Miracle Flights for Kids which provides free medical air travel for children and their families.  In the story, Joann Nichols' son has been receiving flights from Dylan Alexander for herself and her son, Zack.  Zack has a tumor on his spine and the flights provided by Dylan are a literal life-saver.  Dylan and Jo have some chemistry between them but both are hesitant for different reasons.  Zack's father couldn't handle his cancer diagnosis and split; Dylan's ex-girlfriend had a little girl and Dylan isn't sure he should get involved with another single mother as he misses that little girl as if she had been his own daughter and yet he has no legal rights to her.  For a short story, this one really packed in the emotions but had a fairly realistic HFN by the end of if.  I would recommend checking this one out.

The Table and Mr. Tensdale by Rebecca Milton: Emily Hazel is excited to finally be living on her own after years of roommates through college.  She rents her own apartment in a building and meets one of her neighbors, Mr. Tensdale.  Through her interactions with Mr. Tensdale, Emily feels that he almost acts as if her were two separate people; shy by day and wild by night. Before too long Emily finds out the real deal about Mr. Tensdale.  Short and not exactly a super surprise when the big reveal occurs.

A Place in Her Heart by Trish Milburn: Katy McShea is having a bad day...her car has broken down on the side of the road and when the tow truck arrives it is driven by her childhood friend and teenage crush, Callum Walsh.  Cal, who left for basic training, breaking Katy's heart and when he returned, he brought back Terry whose attentions turned Katy's head leading to a marriage that quickly turned abusive.  Katy is late for her volunteer work at Women's Lunch Place, a shelter that gave Katy the sense of safety she needed as well as a home off of the streets after she left Terry.  Cal quickly realizes that he has missed Katy and wonders why she seems so closed-off from him; Katy is worried that Cal will tell Terry where she has been hiding, having no idea that Cal hasn't seen him in years.  In a short number of pages, all is resolved although Katy makes Cal work for her trust as much as possible in such a short time frame.  When all is said and done, I feel that this one is just ok. 

The Gift by Lisa Mondello: Allison Jones is running late for work when she spots a pristine, white envelope caught in a crack of pavement by the sidewalk.  She picks it up and recognizes a card for a child's wish item to be bought and donated for a charity gala event.  As a child, she was the recipient of such a gift and knows how much the children can rely on such gifts to brighten their spirits and their lives.  Meanwhile, Derek Holden realizes he has dropped his envelope containing the request as well as a thousand dollars.  When he sees Allison holding the envelope he assumes she has stolen the money.  This set up allows Allison and Derek to dance around each other on their way to a HFN although Allison was a little too good to believe and Derek's natural distrust for a stranger was constantly nagged at for being too cold-hearted. Not my favorite.  

Her Dakota Man by Lisa Mondella: Poppy loved Logan as a teenager; Logan loved Poppy;  Poppy was best friends with Kelly who also loved Poppy.  When Poppy's parents sold their house in the South Dakota badlands and moved the family to Long Island, Poppy and Logan swore they would find a way to be together.  Instead, Logan married Kelly, had a son and mourned her death from cancer eight years later.  When Poppy suddenly shows up after a severe storm offering to help clean up, Logan isn't sure what to think.  Poppy is trying to keep a deathbed promise to Kelly knowing that she is about to take everything Logan though he knew about Poppy and his wife and turn it upside down.  This book stuffed too much story into too few pages.  I didn't truly believe in the HEA at the end--it was too quick of a turn around for Logan to deal with so many emotions.  Poppy admitted it took her a year to get her head around what had happened and yet I was supposed to believe that Logan could do the same (when he had arguably been more affected than Poppy) in two days? I didn't buy it.  

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Dragonfly by Leigh Talbert Moore

Dragonfly by Leigh Talbert Moore

Anna Sanders expected an anonymous (and uneventful) senior year until she crossed paths with rich-and-sexy Jack Kyser and his twin sister Lucy.

Pulling Anna into their extravagant lifestyle on the Gulf Coast, Lucy pushed her outside her comfort zone and Jack showed her feelings she never experienced...Until he mysteriously withdrew.

Anna turned to her internship at the city paper and to her old attraction for Julian, a handsome local artist and rising star, for distraction.  But both led to her discovery of a decades-old secret closely guarded by the twins' distant, single father.

It's a secret that could cost her the boy she loves and permanently damage all of their lives.

This book is angsty.  It has all the earmarks of books that I typically avoid--the pull you closer, push you away relationship that is based more on lust than any real knowledge of who each partner is as a person.  The cliche of the hero saving the heroine from his own damaged psyche.  The badly treated heroine walking in on the hero with his ex...And in this case, the poor (read: stupid) girl melts into his arms when he comes to apologize and when he tells her he will only hurt her again she says that is her choice to make even though she left town in order to wallow after the first incident...She really thinks she can handle more and/or worse?? and why would she want to?  She knows so little about him that nothing is really holding her to him except hormones.  

Even more infuriating, she has another guy who is interested in her.  A guy who has a plan for his future and is busting his butt to earn it--a guy that she admits she would have easily loved if not for Jack.  Crikey.  It's maddening.  Especially when Julian repeatedly is there for her when Jack lets her down.  And then, when she ignores his overtures and he makes moves towards another girls, Anna gets jealous over it.  I know Anna is only 17 but she often read younger to me.  At this point, I can very close to DNFing and deleting the book off my Kindle; instead I remembered it was series and went scoping for more info on goodreads.  What I read about later books in the series gave me enough hope to keep reading...While I don't usually do that, sometimes I just need to know (especially in potential love triangles).  

And I'm glad I gave the book, and especially Anna a second chance because she finally seemed to get that what she was doing wasn't working and that she might be missing out on the right guy by chasing the wrong one.  And she took her time to really know her mind and her heart...While also discovering a secret that could totally derail all of them.  And while she backtracks a couple of times (driving me crazy with her wishy-washy self), overall the writing was good enough that I couldn't completely abandon the book.  I don't think I will pursue the rest of the series as this book left me with too many mixed feelings.  

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Timber Pack Chronicles by Rob Colton

Timber Pack Chronicles by Rob Colton

The object of Parker Montgomery's crush is big man on campus Colton Butler, who is much more than he appears to be.

Colton has been watching Parker from a distance, patiently waiting for the day when he will be able to claim his destined mate.

When Parker is threatened by a rogue wolf, Colton's instincts take over and he finds that his actions have consequences that threaten to tear his pack apart.

Timber Pack Chronicles was my introduction to Rob Colton's work and I have since sought out and read many more of his stories.  Rob Colton has a way of telling a story that really works for me.  Parker is the only child of very successful parents who don't really pay much attention to him; he is virtually invisible at school with the exception of his one friend, Shell, who is also his neighbor.  Parker doesn't mind his invisibility status much as when he is seen it is usually by bullies who make him miserable.  Parker is used to his life and doesn't do much to rock the boat.

Shell convinces Parker to try out to be the mascot for their high school and he gets the part.  Parker used to be in gymnastics and was on the swim team until an incident with another player caused some friction and the coach asked him to leave the team.  So now, Parker just has Shell, his mascot gig, and his crush on Colton who is so far out of his social sphere he almost needs binoculars to see him...except that in happy-romancelandia fashion, Colton has his eyes firmly set on Parker as well.

Colton is new to the school and is also a werewolf.  After getting caught with the Alpha's son in his old pack, he and his father joined a new pack.  Soon after the move, Colton recognized Parker's scent as that of his mate.  However, gay matings are not viewed favorable by most (although Colton could care less, he has already cleaned the clock of Seth, the Alpha's son and used-to-be-biggest-man-on-campus) and Colton is worried about moving on Parker before he is eighteen.  

It isn't long before Colton and Parker have hooked up but not all is sunshine and roses as they have to traverse prejudices and roadblocks from Colton's pack and both of their families.  Not only that, but a strange rogue wolf has been threatening Parker's safety pushing Colton's already dominant tendencies to the extreme.  With Parker dealing with the knowledge the lycans exist and Colton having to deal with showing his own Alpha tendencies in a pack that doesn't need or want another Alpha, both boys are dealing with much more than your average high school student.  

Reading Challenge
Hard Core Re-read 

I purchased this book with my own funds.   

Saturday, March 21, 2015

What I Read, March 16 - 21

What I Read, March 16-21

  1. Timber Pack Chronicles by Rob Colton
  2. Enforcer by Rob Colton
  3. Echo by Sol Crafter
  4. Marked by Kaylea Cross
  5. Courting Jealousy by Kimberly Dean
  6. Hot Package by Lynn Raye Harris

Birthday Month Reading Challenge: Bad Girls by Jane Yolen (Belated)

Bad Girls by Jane Yolen

Harlot or Hero?  Liar or Lady?  There are two sides to every story....

Contemplate clever Cleopatra and bear in mind brazen Bonnie (Clyde's girl) as you consider the circumstances that inform the guilt of innocence of twenty six infamous female felons.

Society has long looked at tough, smart, ambitious women and written them off as bad.  But whether it's a criminal act or a moral lapse, wrongdoing needs to be viewed within the context it occurred.  Then again, bathing in blood, poisoning pesky husbands, and axe-murdering your parents doesn't usually win a girl any fans! 

I loved this book co-written by mother-daughter team Jane Yolen and Heidi E. Y. Stemple that focuses on the bad girls of history.  I learned a lot, the writing was crisp and informative while also being just darn addictive, and the illustrations and graphic panels by Rebecca Guay were perfect for the topic(s) at hand.  There were several women that I had heard the names of but didn't know the history (Mata Hari, Jezebel, Ma Barker), several I had never heard of (Peggy Shippen Arnold - maybe my favorite of the book, Madame Alexe Popova, Tituba) and more that I knew some about but was able to deepen my knowledge base (Typhoid Mary, Bonnie Parker, Lizzie Borden.  Overall, I would highly recommend this book!

Reading Challenge
Birthday Month
105 Challenge
Authors A to Z
Full House
I Love Library Books

I borrowed this book from my local public library.

Nanny Dearest by Shawn Bailey (re-read #34)

Nanny Dearest by Shawn Bailey

Cosmetician Hunter Monroe is the busy single father of a precocious one-year-old son, Chase.  When his nanny resigns, Hunter is left in a lurch until his friend, Adam, suggest the short-term solution of using their family’s babysitter while interviewing new candidates for the position.  To Hunter’s surprise, Adam’s solution is a handsome twenty-three-year-old male college student named Terry—not the type of person Hunter expected to have watching his son. 

While other applicants for the position fail to meet Hunter’s expectations, the temporary babysitter impresses with his cooking skills and childcare knowledge.  Chase makes the decisions that Terry is the one he wants, but has Hunter also grown attached to the attractive nanny?

This novella is a lot of fun!  When Terry shows up to babysit on short notice, Chase, Hunter’s son quickly falls in love with him.  Terry is almost too good to be true but not so goody-goody that you don’t root for him.  He has obviously worked hard to get where he is and I wanted to see Hunter sweep him off his feet, Cinderella-style.  And by the end of the story, all three of them have gotten their happy-ever-afters!

Chase is a cutie pie who felt fairly realistic as a character considering the story was short enough that none of them got to feel that deep.  He loves to put the ties out of Terry’s hair and calls Terry “Mama,” much to the delight of everyone except Terry (although I personally believe that Terry secretly liked it).  Terry is also “beautiful” and he and his friend and roommate at college, Joel are conveniently able to step in as fresh-faced models for a make-up advertising blitz for Hunter’s company.  Furthermore, Hunter’s in-laws make noises about wanting custody of Chase but after meeting the super-amazing Terry, decide that Chase is best left with Hunter.  This was a bit eye-ball-roll inducing but overall, I still enjoyed this story quite a bit…and this is after having already read it a couple of times before.  While silly in places, this is a true comfort read for me because of the sweetness and the happy ending.

Reading Challenge

Hard Core Re-Reading Challenge  

I purchased this book with my own funds.

Friday, March 20, 2015

His Risk to Take by Tessa Bailey

His Risk to Take by Tessa Bailey

The greater the risk, the hotter the reward…

Homicide cop Troy Bennett had a reputation on the Chicago PD for being fearless and in control—until the night his daredevil partner is killed during a raid.  From that moment on, he swears he’ll never again be responsible for the loss of a loved one.  To escape his demons, Troy transfers to the NYPD, bringing him up close and personal with Ruby Elliott, a beautiful, street-savvy pool hustler.

Reckless and stubbornly independent, Ruby embodies everything Troy’s avoiding, but when she walks into O’Hanlan’s Pub and blows his carefully laid plans to hell, Troy knows he has to have her—risks be damned.  But there’s a connection between Ruby’s shadowed past and a case Troy’s working involving a notorious Brooklyn felon, throwing her safety into jeopardy.  Confronted with his biggest fear, will Troy push Ruby away to keep her safe or fight to keep her in his arms where she belongs?

While going through and thinning out some of the many (MANY) free downloads on my Kindle, I opened this book and read the first few paragraphs, then a few more, and pretty soon I was sucked into the fairly fast-paced and very sexy story that Tessa Bailey had penned.  While the latter half let me down, this book was a pleasant way to spend an hour or two. 

Troy is with a couple of fellow NYPD cops, his mentors in fact, at a local watering hole when in walks Ruby and Troy is interested.  Very interested.  He is pretty open with his appreciation of both Ruby and his need to be in total control of any sexy-times they might have—and he figures they will have plenty of them. 

Ruby is a born hustler who has a distaste for cops and can’t believe the hottie she sees in the bar got past her cop radar.  She ends up going home with him and leaving him before he wakes up the next day.  This begins a back-and-forth between the two which keeps tensions high without getting frustrating and then the coincidences begin. 

Troy’s case hinges on one person who is the father of Ruby’s best friend.  Ruby decides that she can “help” Troy and gets fairly deep into TSTL territory only to be saved by Troy whom she then kicks out of her life.  He decides to be stubborn—she secretly likes it but refuses to show it.  She believes he gives up on her and gets ticked.  Oops, he hasn’t really given up on her—Happy Ever After commences. 

Great opening, weak ending.  I’m not unhappy I stuck with it but I have no desire to read others in the series.

Reading Challenges
Read Your Freebies

Men in Uniform

I downloaded this for free from Amazon.

Freebie Friday, March 20th Edition

Freebie Friday, March 20th Edition

Courting Jealousy by Kimberly Dean 
This short story was quick and cute.  Noelle, not wanting to have to deal with her ex Barry and his newest date du jour, hires an escort from Luxxor Limited.  She gets a total hottie and sparks fly.  Pretty soon she and her "date" Dane are sneaking into a dark room for some quickie sexy times and who does she run into on her way back to the formal shindig?  Barry the butthead.  Noelle decides to go for it and asks Dane for a date; Dane admits it is his last night as an escort as he has finally gotten his dream job and is pleased to accept a date and a potential future with Noelle.  Happy Endings for all except Barry.  

Wolf Creek Series by Jade Buchanan (re-reads #31-33)

Wolf Creek Series by Jade Buchanan

Black Wolf – Adam is in trouble.  He has woken up after being beaten by his boyfriend/landlord, most of his possessions are lying in pieces around him, and he doesn’t know when Scott, the jerk his did this to him, will be back.  Oh, and he’s late for work.  Adam manages to make his way to his place of employment, the Wolf Creek Bar and Grill.  Also, at the Bar and Grill, after being away from Campbell River for a while, is Marcus, one of the brothers who own the establishment.  Marcus is a wolf so one of the first things he does is “mark” his territory—knowing it will hack off his brother, Rick, who has been holding down the fort while Marcus has been away.  Adam comes limping in, Marcus is intrigued, Rick decides to play matchmaker and the story created is a highly entertaining one.  One of the strengths of the story is the way that the characters show their animal selves while in human form.  For example, Adam is extremely limber and has a way of being able to move through crowded rooms without difficulty.  Marcus is territorial and relies on his sense of smell quite heavily.  Marcus and Adam are quick to jump into the relationship with Scott getting his heartily-deserved just desserts from both Marcus and Adam.  Marcus’s family is very enjoyable and I love the game of “hide and seek” they play and what happens to Adam. 

Duck Fart – Besides having a VERY memorable title, Duck Fart is my least favorite of the series at this point.  I believe it is due to the lack of time spent with the characters so when one of them is prickly and doesn’t let you see past his veneer, it is easy to get frustrated.  While this may have been on purpose, to highlight the issues with mating someone you don’t really know, it was not so much fun for this reader, either.  Keith, a cousin to the brothers who own the Wolf Creek Bar and Grill, is a laid-back woodworker who is enjoying a drink.  Bailey, a Siamese cat, has come to the bar to tell his good friend Adam (from book 1) that he wants more than friendship.  Drake, a duck, is just tired.  He is working hard on a degree, has a short temper, and feels like he is always being picked on without anyone sticking around long enough to get to know the real him.  These three are on a collision course as fate has said they are all mates.  This particular title had lots of misunderstandings, impatient characters acting irrationally, and loads of drama.  It is not a bad book, but I have to be in a particular mood to read this one.

Hedgehog’s Delight— Easily my favorite book in the series so far!!  There are several laugh out loud moments due to Ethan (the hedgehog) and his hysterical way with words.  Ethan has transferred to Campbell River to get away from a clingy ex.  Rick, the bartender who plays matchmaker in the other books in the series, is Ethan’s mate.  Rick, who smelled Ethan in a Tim Horton’s a few weeks earlier, knows he is Ethan’s mate but Ethan whose sense of smell is not as developed is in the dark about this fact.  Ethan, who is extremely cautious after his experiences with a stalker-ish ex, Tasors and then tranquilizes Rick, then proceeds to keep Rick unbalanced with his wacky views on life and everything in it.  When Ethan’s ex shows up, the entire incident is handled in such a mature way that I just want to cheer!  No TSTL acts on the part of either of the characters, although it easily could have gone that route.  This is hands down my favorite book in the series.  I hate to give away too much because this one is best experienced for yourself!  

Reading Challenge
Hard Core Rereading Challenge

I purchased these titles with my own funds.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

The Brac Pack #5-8 (Re-reads #27-30)

The Brac Pack #5-8 by Lynn Hagen

Stormy Eyes – Kyoshi and his young cousin Keata have been kidnapped by human traffickers.  They are able to run away and hide out on a boat with a sympathetic fisherman.  Maverick, having had another of his prophetic dreams, sends Storm out to talk to the fisherman.  Storm is stunned to find his mate in Kyoshi and becomes very protective of him and Keata.  Kyoshi is a slow to trust (understandably so), and Storm struggles to find common ground they can use to build a relationship on.  This is not one of my favorites from this series as Kyoshi is completely overshadowed by his more precocious cousin. 

Oliver’s Heart – Oliver has burned a lot of bridges since he has been removed from his abusive father’s house and into Maverick’s pack house.  His anger has manifested itself in angry outbursts aimed at his brother and the mates and warriors alike.  Micah, Oliver’s mate, is at the end of his rope trying to remain patient with his angry mate while still protecting the mates of his friends.  Everything comes to a head when Oliver makes an overature towards another warrior only to be spurned; Micah is so upset that he leaves Oliver to his own devices while he gets his head on straight.  Oliver realizes that all he has worked so hard to throw away is exactly what he needs in order to regain some of the happiness he hasn’t felt in so long.  This title is higher in angst than those that have come before and while it is still extremely over the top, this seriousness stands it in good stead. 

Keata’s Promise – Oh Keata, how you steal every scene you are in!  While his broken English can be a bit much, his character is a delightful one as long as you take Keata with a LARGE grain of salt.  Keata is naïve to the point of ridiculousness, and yet I love him and his story.  Keata’s mate has been kept a mystery although some clues have been given.  If you haven’t read the books, I don’t want to spoil them so I won’t say much more.  I will say that the reasons for said mate to wait so long to claim Keata make some sense although like many things in this series, the drama was exaggerated beyond what was necessary.  Read this one as it is classic Brac Pack.  If you like it, you will like the series.  If you don’t, I would pass on the others as well.

George’s Turn – George was done wrong by his no-good, lying, in-the-closet cowboy ex so he has packed up and moved to Brac Village in the hopes that he can get on with his life.  He gets a job as a cook in the café and starts to settle into his new life.  Tank eats at the café a lot so it is no surprise when he runs into the new cook.  What is a surprise is that the cook is his mate.  Tank looks forward to finally having what so many of his warrior brothers have but there is a catch.  Both Tank and George are tops and neither wants to submit to the other.  When George is attacked by vampires, a tense situation gets worse.  

Reading Challenges
Hard Core Rereading 
Literary Pickers

I purchased these titles with my own funds.

The Brac Pack #1-4 (Re-reads # 23-26)

The Brac Pack #1-4  by Lynn Hagen

Maverick's Mate: Maverick is the alpha of the Brac Pack, a pack consisting of gay wolves who (it is implied) aren't welcome in their birth packs.  Maverick is tired of the same old routine when he heads out to a coffee shop to indulge in a secret cup of hot tea.  While there he smells his mate, follows him to his apartment, does some mojo thing to keep his mate from freaking out, and sleeps with him.  He then has one of his sentries (soldiers) guard his mate.  Cecil, the cutie mate, is in an abusive relationship and when his douche bag boyfriend shows up and starts threatening violence, Cecil is shocked when a very large man comes to his rescue. Maverick shows up soon after and takes Cecil away to his house.  Cecil shakes up the pack house by bringing in video games and pretty soon everyone loves Cecil and Maverick can't imagine his life without his mate.  Add in a bad guy who is literally described as "beady eyed", lots of sequel bait characters, and some over the top alpha moves and you have what should be the most ridiculous story ever written.  And yet, for whatever reasons, I still love this book and the series as a whole. 

Hawk's Pretty Baby: Hawk is Maverick's warrior--the head of the sentries and as such is one scary guy.  When Cecil is rendered unable to show up at the community center where he volunteers every week, one of the adults that he has befriended has a meltdown and is hospitalized.  Hawk volunteers to check on this young man and finds his mate.  Johnny has been abused by his brother for years and has only recently come to trust and depend on his friendship with Cecil.  When Cecil doesn't show, Johnny has  panic attack.  While trying to figure out how to keep his brother from freaking out about the newest hospital bill, he sees Hawk.  He is immediately drawn to the big man and feels protected and loved in short order.  Unfortunately, Johnny's brother is not ready to let his brother go so easily.

Sunshine's Savior: Kota, Maverick's beta, is in a new city trying to track down a person of interest when he is approached by a young hooker who turns out to be his mate.  Blair, who was kicked out of his house when he was too old for his sick father to want to molest anymore, has been making his way the only way he knows how.  When Kota pays him for a night and only sleeps with him--no sex--he isn't sure what to expect.  Something about Kota makes him take a chance on trusting him and he heads back to Brac Village with him.  Feeling ashamed about how he has had to survive makes it hard for him to take up offers of friendship from the other sentries and their mates.  Kota is very protective of Blair and has to deal with misunderstandings while also trying to figure out how to save Blair's younger brother who was left behind with Blair's abusive father.

Remi's Pup: Remi has been going crazy trying to find his mate.  Remi knows his mate was last seen at the mall and that he is most likely a drug addict.  With little to go on and less still that doesn't consume him with worry, he finally tracks his mate down and witnesses first hand a drug transaction.  He is able to follow Drew, his mate, to Drew's apartment but when Drew begins to go through violent with drawls, Remi decides it would be best to take Drew back to the pack's house--Remi and Drew are going to need all the help and support they can get.  Drew knows he has a problem and he wants to stay clean now that he has Remi in his life, but it isn't as easy as all of that--not everyone is so happy for them and will do anything they can to drag Drew back into his former addiction.

This is not a series to take too seriously, but rather one to enjoy as is without looking to deeply into the shaky foundations holding the whole thing up.  It is over the top more often than not with gigantic timber wolf shifters meeting (generally) tiny twink-type guys--but it also showcases mates who would do anything for their partners and tries to take on serious issues such as domestic abuse, drug addiction, and homophobia in surprisingly sensitive ways.  

Reading Challenge
Hard Core Rereading 
Literary Pickers

I purchased these titles with my own funds.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Ten Things I Love About You by Julia Quinn

Ten Things I Love About You by Julia Quinn

Ten Things You Should Know About This Book
  1. Sebastian Grey is a devilishly handsome rogue with a secret.
  2. Annabel Winslow's family voter her The Winslow Most Likely to Speak Her Mind AND The Winslow Most Likely to Fall Asleep in Church.
  3. Sebastian's uncle is the Earl of Newbury, and if he dies without siring an heir, Sebastian inherits everything.
  4. Lord Newbury detests Sebastian and will stop at nothing to prevent this from happening.
  5. Lord Newbury has decided that Annabel is the answer to all his problems.
  6. Annabel does not want to marry Lord Newbury, especially when she finds out he once romanced her grandmother.
  7. is shocking,
  8. is delicious, and
  9. is downright wicked, all of which lead the way to 
  10. Happily.  Ever.  After.

I loved this book!  Annabel is delightful with her full laugh and common sense.  She wishes everyone would speak plainly.  She knows there are a lot of undercurrents to conversations and that there are entire histories that others allude to in conversations that she herself is unaware of.  She does not want to wed the Earl of Newbury who is old, can't keep his hands to himself, and has never had a single nice thing to say about his nephew.  However, Annabel also knows that her father is dead, she is the oldest of eight, her sisters need a governess and her brothers need someone to pay for their terms at Eton.  

Sebastian is perfection...he is funny and charming and witty (I know those sound the same, but they aren't there are nuanced differences but Sebastian personifies them all).  He writes under the pseudonym Sarah Gorely, loves his cousin Harry and Harry's wife Olivia, is happy to be a rake and can't help but be attracted to Annabel.  At first he has no idea who she is to his uncle and when he finds out he is hurt and disappointed but he pulls on his big boy pants when Annabel needs his help.  

Both Sebastian and Annabel bring out the best in each other and they get each other in ways that no one else does.  The reader can see them falling in love and while they are aware of becoming friends, the depth of their feelings for each other tends to catch them off guard.  How are they going to have their happily ever after when there is a persistent earl (and Annabel's grandparents) who keep showing up to muck up what should have been a straight-forward path to marriage.  The relationships between Annabel and Sebastian, Annabel and her cousin Louisa, Sebastian and Harry, Sebastian and his brother Edward, etc. are another strength to this book.  I enjoyed everything about this book from the first page to the last.  Now I'm off to check my bookshelves for some more un-read Julia Quinn's.  Maybe I'll get lucky and find another delightful couple to fall in love with.

Reading Challenges
Literary Pickers
Alphabet Soup
105 Challenge
A to Z Authors
Around the World
Historical Romance
Full House
TBR Pile

I purchased this book with my own funds.

TBR Reduction Extreme: February

TBR Reduction Extreme: February

I have given up trying to keep on top of my Kindle downloads, reads, deletes, etc.  I have tried to come up with a system that works for me but have been unable to create something that is not more work that it is worth.  Therefore I will be only counting my physical books.  This will make my life much easier and I am all for that!  

So, in February I read one book (Ten Things I Love About You) and DNF'd one book (The Secret Diaries of Miss Amanda Cheever).  I did not add any books to my library so I decreased my books by exactly two which is my goal.  Yippee! 

Began: 381
Ended: 379
Met my goal!!