Friday, May 27, 2016

Reading Assignment Challenge: Savage Love by Sandrine Gasq Dion

Reading Assignment Challenge: Savage Love by Sandrine Gasq Dion

Six years ago, Chaz Savage was on top of the world: Beloved NFL star, filthy rich, great friends--and a man he was close to falling in love with.  Lev Chirkoff was smart, funny, sexy, and freaking adorable.  Then, one night he was gone with no explanation.  Chaz is devastated, left wondering what happened to the only man who ever had his heart.  Eventually, hurt turns to anger and then to rage.  If he EVER sees that man again...

Lev Chirkoff has an impossible job forced on him by the mob boss his father works for.  It involves a professional athlete he has worshiped since the first time he saw him, and the very thought of it sickens Lev.  He meets Chaz and they seem to be made for each other.  Soon, his only plan is falling in love.  When a traumatic night forces Lev out of Chaz's life, he disappears.  But Chaz Savage never leaves his heart.

Six years later, Lev returns to Seattle, makes new friends and finds a purpose in life.  A Halloween party puts him in Chaz's orbit again, and unsportsmanlike conduct doesn't begin to cover the big man's reaction.  With the mob after Chaz, Lev is assigned to protect him as they go into hiding.  But Chaz Savage isn't about to make it easy for the man who devastated him.  Once old feelings stir, he finally has a chance to discover the truth about Lev's betrayal.  Lev falls even more deeply for the man who is so much more than just a football star---but surely his secret will cost him Chaz's love forever.

They say it takes a village, but in this case it's a reservation--and as Chaz and Lev come to an uneasy peace, they discover that the people around them are more than willing to give their lives for the safely of their family.

Whew--this was one of the more confusing entries in Gasq Dion's Assassin/Shifters series.  Part of it is my fault, I think I accidentally read it out of order but part of it is the fact that the cast of characters is getting HUGE and it seemed like almost all of them showed up at one point or another in Savage Love.  AND...several incidents that happened in previous books were referenced in this book but I didn't always remember the details clearly enough for everything to make sense.  As a result, I spent much of the books understanding 75% of what was going on.  I also felt that Lev and Chaz's personal story was rushed and somewhat sacrificed so that the larger overall battles and continuation of the Assassin/Shifter world at large could move forward and even expand.  This book saw the addition of at least two more factions into the already huge cast of characters and realms.  As a result, my enjoyment of this particular entry was not as strong as it has been for previous books.  I am hoping to go back and reread two or three books that take place right before this one and then reread Savage Love and hope that it clarifies the bits I was a bit fuzzy on.  If you are new to the series, you absolutely CANNOT begin with this book...if you are up to date, give it a go as it is one action scene after another from start to finish. 

Friday, May 20, 2016

Reading Assignment Challenge: Rock Redemption by Nalini Singh

Reading Assignment Challenge: Rock Redemption by Nalini Singh

Kit Devigny could have loved rock guitarist Noah St. John.  Their friendship burned with the promise of intense passion and searing tenderness...until the night Noah deliberately shattered her heart.

Noah knows he destroyed something precious the night he chose to betray Kit, but he'd rather she hate him than learn his deepest secret.  All he has left is his music.  It's his saving grace, but it doesn't silence the voices that keep him up at night.  Chasing oblivion through endless one-night stands, he earns a few hours' sleep and his bad boy reputation.

When a media error sees Noah and Kit dubbed the new "it" couple, Kit discovers her chance at the role of a lifetime hinges on riding the media wave.  Wanting--needing--to give Kit this, even if he can't give her everything, Noah agrees to play the adoring boyfriend.  Only the illusion is suddenly too real, too painful, too beautiful...and it may be too late for the redemption of Noah St. John.

Whew--this book is one emotional ride.  The heartache that both Kit and Noah feel at different times throughout the book (and the reasons behind the brutal emotions) felt like a fist in my gut and after the second or third literary punch, I felt myself tensing any time it seemed like Kit and Noah were approaching anything even resembling a hitch in their complicated relationship.  And even then, I knew, through and through, that I was only feeling a tenth of what Kit and Noah were actually experiencing.  And yet, like both of them, I couldn't just walk away--I had to stick it out because if these two could figure out how to do it, how to make their relationship solid enough to weather the very real storms that came from Noah's past.  Because if they could do that, it would be an HEA for the ages.  And oh, when things finally came around and Kit and Noah were able to not only experience, but believe in and trust their future together, to enjoy what they had both worked so hard for, it was beautiful.  I had the sappiest grin on my face when I finished the book.  But the road to that HEA...oh lordy, was it a rough one! 

Kit has worked hard to get where she is, on the cusp of making it as one of Hollywood's A-list actresses.  She is up for a meaty part with a multi-Oscar winning director when she and Noah are mistakenly reported as a couple do to a friendly "date" which in reality is Kit going with Noah to a charity do his Aunt is hosting.  When photos imply something more personal than friendship is between them, the media coverage threatens to undo Kit's progress.  If it comes out that the relationship isn't real, the fallout could harm Kit's standing with fans which in turn could cause the director to steer clear of any negativity from the media touching his film.  Noah is pleased that he has a chance to redeem himself after hurting Kit multiple times, both purposefully and accidentally.  Being around Kit is as wonderful as he always knew it would be but his past makes it almost impossible for him to believe in any kind of future.  However, he never realized how determined Kit would be or how their friendship would come to mean so much to him that he would take chances that would have seemed impossible before he met her.

Kit and Noah's story was by far the toughest one for me to read but it was also, in the end, the most rewarding.  While I personally still found myself enjoying Rock Hard the most of the four stories I have read so far, this one made me feel the strongest.  And it wasn't always because of the angst or the drama.  There were many times that both Kit and Noah made me laugh, smile, wince, giggle, just plain feel a wide range of emotions and I truly believe that they will make it long term but I know that there are still going to be landmines that they will have to work over, under, or around.  The fact that they will turn to each other when these unpleasant blasts from the past arise is a very hard-earned but very much deserved victory for both Kit and Noah. 

Friday, May 6, 2016

Reading Assignment Challenge: Samurai Game by Christine Feehan

Reading Assignment Challenge: Samurai Game by Christine Feehan

In an underground club, a high-ranking public official spends his secret nights indulging in fantasies as exciting as they are depraved.  For a seductive employee of the Dungeon, it's her job to fulfill them.  But she's playing a far more dangerous game--one of blackmail, politics, and murder that reaches into the shadow world of the Ghostwalkers, and the creation of a spectacular, one-of-a-kind new weapon of defense.

But when a dictator makes his own catastrophic moves, the Ghostwalkers have no choice but to bring in two major players--a man and woman both driven by passion and revenge.  Both expendable.  Both with nothing left to lose.

I pretty much loved everything about this book!  Azami Yoshiie and Sam Johnson are so perfect for each other.  Azami and her two brothers are going to the Ghostwalkers compound in order to set up one of their company's satellites--although she is really there to see if Peter Whitney's daughter Lily is working with her father and if her son Daniel is being used for experimentation like Azami was as a young child.  

Azami is so strong and Sam allows her to be her own woman and his equal in every way.  Sam has his own difficulties as he is being set up to die by his own government and perhaps even by the man he considers his father.  He knows there is something more to Azami than meets the eye the moment he meets her, although the other Ghostwalkers don't seem to feel anything amiss.  Soon after meeting they are forced to trust each other with their very lives and quickly bond on multiple levels including mentally and emotionally.  

Azami's past history with Whitney, when she went by the name of Thorn, was absolutely horrific and seeing the wonderful, full life she has built for herself and watching her discover love with Sam really was watching the best revenge possible.  Sam has always been a trusted member of the Ghostwalker brotherhood and seeing this wonderful man find a woman who is his perfect match in every way was fabulous.  I don't want to say too much about this book as it is best experienced firsthand.  I am very much looking forward to seeing if Viper Game can live up to the high level Christine Feehan hit with this one.