Thursday, March 6, 2014

Big Sis' Books: September 2013 - February 2014

(Edited: Can't figure out the spacing on this post; since I was cutting and pasting from Amazon I think it made everything a bit wonky. Sorry!) This will be probably the longest post you'll ever see from me.  I've been a bit incommunicado lately, at least with regard to the books I've been reading, but not because I wasn't reading.  I was.  I just wasn't updating it here.  So I'm going to just list them all, in the order I've read them, without specifying months, but with my usual short and sometimes sweet commentary!

Let Me Go, Chelsea Cain - The next in the series, Archie Sheridan faces his worst nightmare, Gretchen Lowell, again.  This time we go to a masquerade ball on a private island - the perfect way for Gretchen to be there but not seen - someone is killed (naturally!), Susan Ward is in danger - it's the usual pretty gross, pretty scary suspense thriller.  I don't know if Ms. Cain has written any non-Archie-and-Gretchen books.  I should make a note of that...

The Last Kiss Goodbye, Karen Robards - Charlie sees dead people.  Nope, not a punchline to a joke, and not a reference to a Bruce Willis movie where I got the character name wrong...  She really does.  But she takes it one step farther with one particular dead person, Michael Garland, and starts to fall for him.  Yea, you read that right.  And they have a very passionate relationship.  And he helps her solve a mystery and put away The Gingerbread Man, a sadistic predator who just happens to cross her path.  Again.

The Final Cut, Catherine Coulter and JT Ellison - Although Special Agents Dillon Savich and Lacey Sherlock are part of the story, they're there to help Scotland Yard's Nicholas Drummond find out who killed his colleague here in the States.  And find out they do.

Christmas at Cardwell Ranch, BJ Daniels (Net Galley, Kindle edition) - Here's Amazon's synopsis, since I really didn't like this book too much at all:  "It had been years since Tanner "Tag" Cardwell's boots touched Montana soil. This Christmas he was determined to change that. Until a run-in with local Lily McCabe revealed dark secrets from his past and deep trouble for his future. Cowboys came and went in these parts. But Tag Cardwell caught Lily off guard in more ways than one when the two became entwined in a murder mystery. What was it about Tag? The dreamy eyes… The rugged physique… The protection she felt in his strong arms… But before they could lose themselves in each other they had to trace a killer. Or risk finding a crime scene under the Christmas tree."

Fearless, Tawny Weber (Net Galley, Kindle edition) - Again, good thing I didn't have to pay for this one.  From Amazon:  "There's just one thing missing from Gia Renyard's life: sexual adventure. And the one man she'd like to have it with is her hot coworker Luke Monroe. If only company rules didn't prohibit her from asking him out… So Gia comes up with a plan: make herself over into a fantasy seductress, follow Luke to a convention in Sin City and have her way with him for one erotic weekend. The man will never even know who did him.  Everything is going according to plan—until Gia discovers that Luke is perfect for her outside the bedroom, too. And suddenly she's no longer content to let what happens in Vegas stay in Vegas….
  Everything You Need to Know, HelenKay Dimon (Net Galley, Kindle edition) - I didn't pay for this one either (someone is looking out for me!).  From Amazon:  "Dating in D.C. is like navigating an apocalyptic wasteland populated by men in expensive suits with zero mating potential. Need to Know provides all the information a savvy single woman like you needs to avoid dating disasters.  By night, Jordan McAdam is the proprietor of a popular website that rates D.C.'s hottest bachelors—everything from how quick they are to email you back, to their skills in the sack. She's been burned once too often to accept any man at face value. By day, her job as an office temp puts her in the perfect position to do a little fact-checking on her rich and powerful subjects. When her latest assignment brings her face-to-face with the sexy but mysterious Forest Redder, Jordan decides to do a little "hands-on" research of her own. To Jordan, he seems like the perfect man—but she knows there is no such thing. Moreover, there's a big problem: Forest knows Jordan's the woman behind the scandalous site—and Jordan knows he knows. Will he expose her secret—or find his own posted on Need to Know?"   Silencing Eve, Iris Johansen - Eve is dead.  We know she is.  After all, we went to her funeral.  But Ms. Johansen has a GREAT plot twist for us, as usual.  Even Eve's top-brass colleagues aren't sure if her death is a hoax or not, but leave it to Catherine Ling to dig deep enough to find out...   Deadline, Sandra Brown - I haven't read a Sandra Brown novel in a while, and I liked this one so the wait was worth it:  Dawson Scott gets a call from a source within the FBI. A new development has come to light in a story that began 40 years ago. It could be the BIG story of Dawson's career one in which he has a vested interest.  Soon, he's covering the disappearance and presumed murder of former Marine Jeremy Wesson, the biological son of the pair of terrorists who remain on the FBI's Most Wanted list. When Jeremy's wife Amelia's nanny turns up dead, the case takes a stunning new turn, with Dawson himself becoming a suspect. Haunted by his own demons, Dawson takes up the chase for the notorious outlaws. . .and the secret, startling truth about himself.   Cake, Lauren Dane (Net Galley, Kindle edition) - The unfortunate thing about this book is that I liked the premise, but not the final draft:  Wren Davis wants Gregori Ivanov, rock star of the Seattle art scene. With his tattoos, piercings and sensual sneer, Gregori is the ultimate bad boy. She's gotten to know the man behind the image, and she knows he's basically a womanizer but after she experiences just how great sex with him is, well, she wants forever.  I wish the author was a better writer but you get what you pay for, right?  I got it for free, but it's a digital original that sells on Amazon for $3.99, when it's not on sale for $3.03.   Accidentally in Love with... a God?, Mimi Jean Pamfiloff (Net Galley, Kindle edition) - Nothing to say but yuk.  If I'd actually read the description, I wouldn't have even downloaded it for free.  Not my cup of tea.  I read it, and there was actually one or two decent scenes in the story, but that's about it.   MacNamara's Woman, Alicia Scott (now Lisa Gardner) - LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Lisa Gardner's suspense thrillers with a hint of romance.  I found out, though, that she had written some formula romances earlier in her career under the name Alicia Scott and Signet was re-releasing them.  So I will read them...  Ten years ago, Tamara learned that she had no one to rely upon except herself. Now her existence was threatened but this time C. J. MacNamara was there if she needed help.

Expecting a Bolton Baby, Sarah M. Anderson (Net Galley, Kindle edition) - Bobby met Stella. Bobby and Stella had wild and crazy sex.  Stella left.  Now Stella is back, and pregnant with Bobby's baby.  She left to protect Bobby, but is back and will hopefully protect him again.

Heating Up the Holidays 3-Story Bundle (Net Galley, Kindle edition) - contains 
Play with Me Lisa Renee Jones - Kali is a reporter undercover, looking for the truth about casino boss Damion, who of course, she falls for, only to find out he's kind and generous, to say nothing about sexy...
Snowfall, Mary Ann Rivers - Jenny is slowly losing her vision.  Sure, she's doing therapy but it seems inevitable that she will eventually go blind.  She meets "C" online and they begin a relationship.  Will they ever meet?  Could she ever meet him?  In the meantime, Evan, her OT, is there, in person, and what a person!  Which should she choose?
After Midnight, Serena Bell - Have you ever kissed THE one on New Years Eve?  The ONE who you just met?  Well, Nora and Miles are just waiting for midnight, but midnight never comes for them.  Then they meet, a year later.  Oh, the possibilities...

Yours to Keep, Serena Bell (Net Galley, Kindle edition) - Ana is from the Dominican Republic.  Her family is here.  But if ICE ever finds out her work visa has expired...  She starts tutoring Ethan's son, and they all become very close.  Close enough to fake a marriage to keep her here in the US?

Christmas on Main Street - (Net Galley, Kindle edition) - contains
Christmas in Shelter Bay, JoAnn Ross - Kelli and Cole were friends. Now the entire town seems to be conspiring to make sure they become more than just friends.
A Seaside Christmas, Susan Donovan - There really is such a thing as a mermaid, especially on Bayberry Island. Nathaniel falls (literally) at Annie's feet - well, in front of her home/shop - and the mermaids rescue him and the rest, as they say, is history.
Mistletoe on Main Street, LuAnn McLane - Not my favorite story in the book, but our hero's name is Clint, so...
The Christmas Gift, Alexis Morgan - Christmas, pastries, and a nice stranger.  Okay.  Done.

Hard to Handle, Jessica Lemmon (Net Galley, Kindle edition) - Sadie and Aiden happened.  Aiden broke her heart.  She now never lets a man close enough to break it again.  Now he realizes what he lost threw away, so he's back to change her mind.

A Cold Creek Christmas Surprise, Raeanne Thayne (Net Galley, Kindle edition) - I keep telling my husband that cleaning the house is dangerous, but he just doesn't want to believe me!  Sarah winds up cleaning Ridge's house, post party, even though it wasn't her job, and she falls down his stairs, and eventually meets the handsome single dad.  And it's Christmas, for cryin' out loud, so you know we're going to have a happy ending...
Cross My Heart, James Patterson - There are a lot of people upset with Mr. Patterson for writing a cliffhanger ending - Alex Cross' family has been kidnapped, he's facing one of the most ingenious criminal minds...  Why be mad?  Who shot JR?  This has been done, folks, more than once.  It's not a gimmick, it works!  I read book after book after book by Iris Johansen where Eve was looking for her daughter who disappeared, and died, and appeared to her mother so all Eve wanted to do was find her daughter's body...  and the series didn't end when they found Bonnie.  Leave James alone - I can't wait for the second book!

A Basic Renovation, Sandra Anonelli (Net Galley, Kindle edition) - You get what you pay for, and I got this for free.  I guess the idea could have been cute:  Lesley comes home, decides to stay and renovate a house, meets up with hardware store owner Dominic, who just happens to be her ex-brother-in-law.  He thinks her marriage to his brother failed because - well, I won't go there - but he soon finds himself attracted to his ex-SIL.  It took way too long, by a writer I didn't think was very good - to get to the ending.  I'm SUCH a romance fan, and I spent thousands of dollars on Harlequins, and Candlelight Ecstacy series titles, and Loveswept Contemporaries...  They were just better written.  I feel as though it's too easy to self-publish, or there's so little quality that the publishers are just printing any old thing...  Sorry, Sandra, but me no like...

Hostage, Kay Hooper - Now these books I like.  Some mystery/thriller, a little bit of the supernatural (not so much as to be unbelievable, but just enough), some interpersonal attraction but no gratuitous sex.  This is part of a series, and all I can complain about is that I lost track of one of the character's names at the start - he's named ABC, but called XYZ by the voices in his head - but once I went back and figured it out, it was fine.

Wilderness, Dean Koontz (Kindle single) - Amazon calls this short story "darkly intriguing."  I'll say!  Addison is born, lives with his mom in a house in the woods, but she can't look at his face, and if she can't stand the sight of him, he has to stay in the woods and not go home. He's never seen another person, until the day the other person saw him and started chasing Addison through the woods, angry at what he saw.  Intrigued?  Yes, siree, Bob!  Can't wait to read Innocence.

White Fire, Preston & Child (Kindle) - It's a Pendergast book, so it didn't really matter to me what the storyline was...  I was surprised to find it took me a bit longer to get into the story - it felt a bit disjointed at the start - but soon I was totally intrigued.  Corrie goes to Colorago and finds herself the target of a killer - eventually.  And the outcome?  I didn't see it coming.  I thought I did, and to a degree, I was right, but for the most part I was surprise.  As I always am.

Before We Fall, Courtney Cole (Net Galley, Kindle edition) - Nope.  Done with this author.  Here's Amazon's description, since I don't want to waste any more time on this story:  One dark moment was all it took to turn twenty-four-year-old Dominic Kinkaide's world black. On the night of his high school graduation, a single incident changed him forever, and he became a hardened man-famous in the eyes of the world, but tortured inside. Now all he cares about is losing himself in the roles that he plays.  At twenty-three years old, Jacey Vincent doesn't realize how much her father's indifference has affected her. She is proof that sometimes it isn't one specific moment that wrecks a person, but an absence of moments. She tries to find acceptance in the arms of men to fill the void-a plan that has worked just fine for her, until she meets Dominic.  When jaded Dominic and strong-willed Jacey are thrown together, the combination of his secrets and her issues turns their attraction into the perfect storm. It could change their lives for good-if it doesn't tear them both apart . . . (By the way, this description makes it sound better than I thought it was.)

A Christmas to Remember (Net Galley, Kindle edition) - contains
Dream a Little Dream, Jill Shalvis - Melissa + Ian = friends with benefits, but of course, what story would there be if one of them didn't want more?  The fun part?  It's IAN that wants more!
Every Year, Kristen Ashley - I'm sure there's another story floating around out there, or coming soon, but two brothers, one's married, the other's not, and this story is about the couple.  You just KNOW there's another one on its way.
Silent Night, Hope Ramsay - Single mother Maryanne comes to Last Chance, and gets hers, in the arms of a sexy doctor.
Have Yourself a Messy Little Christmas, Molly Cannon - I'd hoped Christmas + organizing would = a good read, but this wasn't my favorite.  She's an organizer, and his Christmas present from his mother.  Nah, don't bother.
A Family for Christmas, Marilyn Pappano - Ilena figures she's going to be alone, after all, she's a young widow.  But there's something someone else out there for her.

Along Came Trouble, Erin Kern (Net Galley, Kindle edition) - This one was okay, but I'm not sure if it's because it's good, or because I was reading it that first week at the gym, when ANYthing would be a distraction from the bike and the treadmill!  Elisa and Brody fall for each other, but they fight it.  She caves sooner than he does, but she still winds up leaving and he has to go chasing her to Mongolia!  Yea, that part was a stretch, but it was still okay.  I liked the problems he faced with his ex-wife and his son; being a stepmom, those types of stories appeal to me and feel like real life.

Home to Seaview Key, Sherryl Woods - For some reason I always think of Sherryl Woods as a young author, and I guess she was, when she wrote her first of over 100 books!  I've been reading her for easily 30 years or so...  In the preface, the author admits she hadn't planned to write more about Seaview Key but her readers begged for it, so here's the story of Abby and Seth.  Abby and Hannah and Luke were friends all those many years ago.  Abby and Luke dated, neither really aware that Hannah liked Luke.  In one of the books I have not read, Hannah and Luke got together, later in life.  Now Abby's back, Hannah's worried even though Luke is madly in love with her, and Abby?  Well, she's sure not there for Luke, but his young friend Seth? Mm-hmm, he could be a distraction!