[Review] Taking Fire by Cindy Gerard

About the book

Taking Fire
(One-Eyed Jacks #4)
by Cindy Gerard

ebook, 384 pages
Pocket Books
Publication Date: February 23rd 2016
ASIN: B010MHAFXW

Betrayal. Retribution. Redemption?

Six years ago, tough-as-nails military contractor Bobby Taggart met the woman of his dreams in war-torn Kabul—a sexy, whip-smart war correspondent who approached him at a local bar, took him to bed, made him fall in love…and then mysteriously disappeared. In her wake, the terrorist leader he’d been mining for valuable intel was assassinated—then Bobby discovered his phone had been bugged. And he’s pretty damn sure he’s been played for a fool…

review~ Book generously provided by NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion

It’s confession time, guys: I have had the ARC of Taking Fire since around January and only just finished it. My reason for being so late was the fact that I was afraid. Afraid of not liking it. I loved Cindy Gerard’s BOI’s series and I didn’t want to be disappointed by Taking Fire. Also I haven’t read the three previous books of the One-Eyed Jacks series.

Now after reading it I wish I could travel back in time and scold my old self for not starting this book earlier. Except for the overly long prologue – lasted till 27% – I liked Taking Fire a lot.

It was action-packed, the suspense was high and I really like the pair this book featured.

I can’t really say anything about the story without it being a major spoiler, except maybe that I liked how it and the characters developed. The ending was really awesome.

What I also liked was though this is an action book it focused more around the character relationships then other books of the same genre I know. I liked it.

Cindy Gerard’s writing style was as captivative as ever and I really like how she writes the bantering between the team members, hilarious.

Overall a really interesting book I’d wished I picked up earlier, but better late than never, right, guys?

Rating: 4 stars

About the authorCindy’s writing has netted her spots on bestseller lists, numerous RT nominations and awards, the Colorado Romance Writers Award of Excellence, a National Reader’s Choice Award and two RITA nominations.

Between writing and working full time you wouldn’t think Cindy would have much time for anything else. And while she does find her work and her writing rewarding, there does have to be more. Cindy has more. Much more. She is happily married to the perfect man. Tom’s a cowboy, ladies!

Cindy has a passion for pink depression glass — she always has her eye out for the special piece to add to her collection. Cindy’s down time often takes the form of the classic “busman’s holiday.” She loves to read and most of all, she loves to read at their summer place, a cabin in the woods on Lake Kabetogama in northern Minnesota.

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[Review] Island Kisses by Krista Lakes

About the book

Island Kisses
(The Kisses series #9)
by Krista Lakes

ebook, 247 pages
Publication Date: July 20th 2016
ASIN: B01IMIJLNI

After hundreds of catastrophic dates, she never expected to find love.

Harper Thomas loves bad dates. She goes on hundreds of them a year, and then blogs about them online to make her living. When her sister signs her up for a new dating service, Harper’s not expecting to find anything other than more ridiculous men. She certainly isn’t planning to meet him…

Gabe Honors is one of the billionaire owners of Kindling Dating. He also happens to be Miami’s most eligible bachelor, but his search for love has never been successful. That is, until he decided to use his own dating service. The first time he meets Harper, he knew that she was the one. However, in order to make sure that it really was love, he kept his identity a secret. He soon finds out, secrets never mix well with love…

Can a billionaire CEO finally stump this bad-date-blogger? Can Harper look past the money and find the man? Or will they only be left with memories of their island kisses?

Island Kisses is the ninth book in a series of standalone billionaire romances. If you like sweet stories on the beach, then you’ll love this story of a regular girl and a handsome stranger falling in love.

review~ Book generously provided by the author in exchange for my honest opinion

Island Kisses is one of these books that you will end with a smile on your face. It was the right amount of cheesy, drama and spark.

The “twist” was a bit obvious, because I, as the reader, already knew what Gabe’s job was, so if the synopsis would have been different it would have probably worked a bit better. But since that twist was the only thing Krista Lakes could work with, it was ok.

Gabe’s and Harper’s interaction was quite funny and I found myself often chuckling. Also along the way of reading Island Kisses I asked myself if there was a way to purchase a creature as good-mannered and funny as Gabe. If someone has one and doesn’t want it anymore, send that creature my way 😉

What I also liked was the fact that Harper was a blogger. Her post about bad dates were hilarious, but at the same time I felt kind of sorry for her and was glad when Gabe came along, finally a good date for Harper.

Island Kisses can perfectly be read as a stand-alone romance and is really easy to understand. The writing style of Krista Lakes was nice and I was surprised at how fast I was through with the book.

So if you’re in the mood for a funny, billionaire romance, you might consider giving this a try.

Rating: 4 stars

About the authorKrista Lakes is a newly turned 30 year old who recently rediscovered her passion for writing. She loves aquatic life and running marathons. She is living happily ever after with her Prince Charming and her bouncing baby boy.

[Review] Son of Thunder by Libby Bishop

About the book

Son Of Thunder
(Stand-Alone)
by Libby Bishop

ebook, 140 pages
Entangled Publishing
Publication Date: July 25th 2016
ASIN: B01HW6Z2XE

Rune is the grandson of Thor, and just as strong. Exiled to the realm of Earth for nearly killing his brother–it was a little misunderstanding– he has to find a way to redeem himself so he can get back to Asgard. And when he lands—literally—in the bed of a fiery redhead with an FBI badge, he realizes that she may be the key to going home. But helping Liv hunt a killer has one big consequence—chemistry. He can’t keep his hands off her, and there’s no way they can ever be together.

Six years ago, FBI Special Agent Liv Winter’s best friend was murdered. Since then, she’s taken a two-week vacation around the anniversary of the death to try and solve the case. She’s used every available resource. Yet, her friend’s killer is still on the loose. She refuses to give up—willing to do almost anything to bring the person to justice.

Apparently, almost anything includes trusting a god. And while she might need Rune’s help with her case, there’s no way she’ll ever trust him with her heart.

review~ Book generously provided by NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion

When I saw this book on NetGalley and saw that it was about a descendant of Thor I knew I had to request it, because Chris Hemsworth, duh!

As much as I liked the premise of the book, I was quite disappointed. By 50% of the book I was convinced I would mainly write a real negative review, because of the following points.

The sex scenes were uncomfortable to read and normally I don’t have any problems with sex scenes, but these ones had something about them that just made me cringe.

Then the fact there was not so much as a drop of chemistry between Rune and Liv. You can’t tell me there was because there sure wasn’t any. Did I mention this is kind of an Insta-lust book?

Then there is the feeling I got that the main story wasn’t really important for most of the book. But it was the whole reason why I requested this book, so I was quite bored by the missing plot.

Also I had this huge question for like 40% of the book, then it finally got answered, kind of… Not really. I just needed a little info about how Liv knew that gods exist.

But! Remember when I said at the beginning of my review I was convinced I would give this book a completely negative review, I was wrong. At 60% the story finally developed. The suspense rose and I was finally invested into the story. So I have to give the first 60% of the Books 2 stars and the last 40% 3.5-4ish stars. Makes a totally of 3 stars for the whole book.

I think if you’re ok with all the points I named above this could be the perfect read for you. For me if was just averaged, but I liked the idea.

Rating: 3 stars

[Review] Hidden Deception by Colleen Helme

About the book

Hidden Deception
(Shelby Nichols #9)
by Colleen Helme

ebook, 303 pages
Publication Date: August 12th 2016
ASIN: B01IMIJLNI

Just back from Paris, Shelby barely has time to get over her jet lag before she is right back in the thick of things. Uncle Joey, the local mob boss, needs her help to find out what his son is hiding from him. Detective Harris, AKA Dimples, has an unsolved homicide on his hands, along with a missing engagement ring. Shelby’s husband, Chris, just got promoted to partner in his law firm, and she has yet to see his new office or meet his new secretary. Add to that the opportunity to purchase a beautiful home, and Shelby is racing from one thing to the next while trying to keep them all straight.

When a courier in Uncle Joey’s organization turns up dead, it’s up to Shelby and her mind-reading powers to find out who killed him and why. The house Shelby wants to buy has a few problems that go beyond the building code, and the murder she’s helping Dimples solve has ties to Chris’ law firm. Even using all of her skills, Shelby finds one hidden deception after another. And if she’s not careful, it might be the one she least expects that will kill her.

review~ Book generously provided by the author in exchange for my honest opinion

Can you believe this is the ninth Shelby Nichols book?! Nine books and I still love this series as much as I did when I first read Carrots five years ago.

I’m currently on summer break and I intended to read all my other review copies, but when Colleen offered me the chance of reading Hidden Deception I put everything else aside, grabbed some popcorn and enjoyed the show. By the way, thank you, Colleen!

It always amazes me how Shelby can, even though she can read minds, get in such a mess all the time and still be alive. A fun mess I have to clarify. Even after eight books, reading Shelby’s new adventure is for sure anything but boring. I laughed so much, sometimes I found myself shaking my kindle thinking “why, why, why, Shelby”. Shelby is such a magnet for trouble. Complicated situations are her forte. I don’t know how she juggles them all, but it’s fun to see her try.

Then there is her family. I love Shelby’s relationship with her husband. In fact I think this is the only series I’m reading where the main character started off in a commited relationship. I’m normally more of a “find and get together”-romance book type of reader, but with Shelby and Chris… let’s say, I’m jealous and I want such a good marriage myself someday in the future.

Shelby’s relationship with the mafia will – of course! – be mentioned in this review as well. Since book one I’ve been a fan of Ramos, hitman of the mafia, and I think that will never change, maybe should he somehow double-cross them all, but I doubt that will ever happen. In regards of Shelby’s relationship with Ramos… I love that Colleen never went down the road of Shelby with Ramos, meaning cheating on Chris, because those two definitely would have the potential for that. Big plus for staying away for that “twist” since I hate cheating in books.

Uncle Joey, head of the mafia and not really Shelby’s uncle, but she calls him that way, had to deal with a lot of problems in Hidden Deception and I liked that he appeared in a lot of scenes. Also he had to deal with some personal problems and I can’t wait to see how that works out in the future books. What those personal problems are, I can’t say without spoiling the previous books for you 😉

All these cases Shelby works on this time are interesting and I love how some of them are somehow connected or just helping Shelby to solve a different one. I enjoyed reading how she works together with Dimples, err…. Harris? Was that his real name? Shelby infected me with her way of only thinking of the Detective as Dimples.

I’m always wondering how Colleen can come up with these crazy ideas and how she keeps them all straight in her head. I know I would have lost my thread a long time ago. Kudos to you, Colleen!

Then can we talk about the cover of Hidden Deception? In fact, let’s talk about all the covers of the Shelby Nichols series. Aren’t they gorgeous? Did you know my favourite colour is orange? I especially loved the one of Hidden Deception, because orange ;). What I also love about the covers is the fact that they are always designed in relation to the stuff that happens in the book itself. I love that. Not many covers are that way. Never change them, do you hear me, Colleen? 🙂

Like always it was a joy to read another Shelby Nichols book and I can’t wait to see what chaos awaits Shelby in the next book. The downside of finishing Hidden Deception so earlier… I have to wait at least a year or so till the next one comes out. The tenth (!!!) one. We are moving to the double-digits. Exciting!!

Rating: 4,25 stars

About the authorAs the author of the Shelby Nichols Adventure Series, Colleen is often asked if Shelby Nichols is her alter-ego. “Definitely,” she says. “Shelby is the epitome of everything I wish I dared to be.” Known for her laugh since she was a kid, Colleen has always tried to find the humor in every situation and continues to enjoy writing about Shelby’s adventures. “I love getting Shelby into trouble…I just don’t always know how to get her out of it!” Colleen lives in the Rocky Mountains with her family. Besides writing, she loves a good book, biking, hiking, and playing board and card games with family and friends. She loves to connect with readers and admits that fans of the series keep her writing.

[Review] Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine

About the book

Ink and Bone
(The Great Library #1)
by Rachel Caine

ebook, 352 pages
NAL
Publication Date: July 7th 2015
ASIN: B00OQS4BQQ

In an exhilarating new series, New York Times bestselling author Rachel Caine rewrites history, creating a dangerous world where the Great Library of Alexandria has survived the test of time.…

Ruthless and supremely powerful, the Great Library is now a presence in every major city, governing the flow of knowledge to the masses. Alchemy allows the Library to deliver the content of the greatest works of history instantly—but the personal ownership of books is expressly forbidden.

Jess Brightwell believes in the value of the Library, but the majority of his knowledge comes from illegal books obtained by his family, who are involved in the thriving black market. Jess has been sent to be his family’s spy, but his loyalties are tested in the final months of his training to enter the Library’s service.

When his friend inadvertently commits heresy by creating a device that could change the world, Jess discovers that those who control the Great Library believe that knowledge is more valuable than any human life—and soon both heretics and books will burn…

review~ Book provided by NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion

The premise of the book sounded interesting, because who doesn’t like a book about books, but once I opened the book and read the first few pages I knew that I wouldn’t be able to finish it. The writing style threw me of too much. Still I gave Ink And Bone a chance and made it till 20%, but I just couldn’t.

English isn’t my first language, but normally I don’t have as big problems as I had with Ink And Bone. I had to re-read so many lines and ended up still not understanding them. I don’t know why the author thought this writing style is the way to go. Or is this her regular writing style? I’ve only ever read her Morganville Vampire series, but I read the german translation, so I can’t really say anything about her writing style regarding other books.

What also bothered me, apart from the way the sentences where written, was the fact that this book had so much description… so freaking much. Pages after pages after pages. Give me a break. I want some freaking dialogue once in a while.

Also the main character Jess… couldn’t really connect with him.

I guess this book is a clear case of “it’s me, not you” since I’m not smart enough to understand it.

Love the cover though!

Rating: DNF

Tell me, did you read Ink And Bone? How where your experiences with it?

About the authorRachel Caine is a pen name of Roxanne Longstreet Conrad.

Roxanne Longstreet Conrad is the slightly insane (and very tired) author of a bunch of books, including paranormal fiction, mystery, suspense, science fiction, romance, and young adult novels. Oh, and she also writes short stories. And essays.

[Review] Hex On The Beach by Gina LaManna

About the book

Hex on the Beach
(The Magic & Mixology Mystery Series #1)
by Gina LaManna

ebook, 247 pages
Publication date: April 26th 2016
ASIN: B01DQ143AW

Lily Locke has never believed in witches and wizards, ghosts and magic, shifters and vampires—especially cute blonde vamps with blood-intolerance issues. A rising star at a hotshot marketing agency in Minneapolis, Minnesota, all Lily knows is that she’s a PowerPoint guru, an Excel ninja, and a coffee-maker extraordinaire. Not to mention she’s next in line for a huge promotion.

All that changes when Lily’s assistant delivers a strange quiz to her, one titled A Magical Assessment for Normal Folks. With it comes the promise of a land she’s never known existed. A land where Lily not only discovers her biological family for the first time, but a place where she can make a difference, change lives, and step into the role she’s destined to fulfill.

But first, Lily must admit she’s a witch. Then, she has to acknowledge that the tall, dark, and mysterious man who offers his help is strictly focused on business…at least, for now. When a body turns up dead and the next target is Lily, she must trust her powers and accept the help of her newfound friends. Otherwise, she’ll never survive the trials of the magical island tucked far, far away in the frigid waters of Lake Superior.

Welcome to The Isle.

** **

This novel is a full-length, humorous cozy mystery featuring a splash of magic, a handful of witches, and a dash of romance. It’s rated PG-13 due to mild language and some romance.

review~ Book provided by the author in exchange for my honest opinion.

Going into Hex On The Beach I didn’t know what to expect exactly, because it was my first book by Gina LaManna and I just knew that this wouldn’t be a typical book about witches.

I really liked the idea of a girl – Lily – being the fated mixologist on a weird island with weird people, for example a vampire who has a blood intolerance and a shifter, who is unable to shift into anything scarier than a kitten, aka her cousins.

Lily’s interaction with her family was quite funny, because most of her family isn’t right in the head, they are all a little insane. Also Lily wasn’t stupid, she knew she had to work to fulfill her potential and I’m quite impressed that she could memorize the whole book she had to study in only 2 days. I wish I could to that, school would be so easy.

Then there Ranger X – I’m really intrigued about what his real name is and why he calls himself Ranger X in the first place – and the potential of a love interest. Hex On The Beach is definitely a slow-burner in that department. Not that that is a bad thing.

I’m actually surprised about how light a read this book was, even in the “dark scenes” there was something to laugh about. It for sure was a great read for a lazy sunday evening.

Also the moment when the title of the book makes sense – best feeling ever!

I really enjoyed Gina LaManna’s writing style, the only thing that bothered me a bit was that some scenes were made up of so much description, sometimes I would have liked a bit more dialogue. But I guess you need a bit more description in the first book of a new world, otherwise how would you describe it properly? 🙂

I definitely can see me reading the next book Witchy Sour.

Rating: 3,75 stars

About the authorOriginally from Minnesota, Gina LaManna has also called Italginay & Los Angeles home, although she’s never quite lost her Midwestern accent. She loves whipped cream and marshmallows more than anything! When she’s not writing books, she’s often hanging out with some of the best “book buddies” on Facebook or training for a marathon.

Gina’s Social Media Links:
Facebook Author Page | Facebook Fan Page | Instagram | Twitter | Amazon | Goodreads

[Review] City Of Shadows by Pippa DaCosta

About the book

City Of Shadows
(London Fae #2)
by Pippa DaCosta

ebook, 236 pages
Bloomsbury Sparks
Publication Date: July 7th 2016
ASIN: B01BO8ZH68

Alina knows she is not real – the fae queen spun an evil web to create her – but she wants more than to spend her days feeding off humans’ energy to survive. She isn’t content to lose herself in the dangerously attractive Reign. She wants a life of her own making.

People are going missing from London’s streets. Convinced that the general of the Fae Authority is playing a part in their disappearance, Alina vows to help find them. She infiltrates the organisation and gets close to their strongest fighter. But while Samuel’s tormented soul and masterful touch stirs in Alina a feeling of being human again, her loyalty to Reign makes her Samuel’s enemy. Who should she trust?

This New Adult urban fantasy is packed with action and suspense and will have you yearning for more forbidden fae romance.

f6c05-goodreads-buttonreviewI requested this on NetGalley without knowing that this is book two in a series – the synopsis read like a stand-alone – and I had some bad luck with starting at the second book. So I was prepared for the worst, for not understanding anything, for being annoyed because I was too stupid to check first. Now imagine my surprise: I understood everything perfectly well. I had no problems with catching up because Pippa DaCosta recaps the previous things quite well and this did indeed read like a stand-alone.

Another thing I was quite surprised about: I actually liked the stupid fae in this book. And normally I hate everything fae-related. I still try fae books again and again and again, to find one I like.

And while I liked the fae theme, I did not like the characters. Maybe “not like” is too strong of an expression, it’s more like I couldn’t connect with any of them and I did not feel and see any chemistry between Alina and Samuel or heck even between Alina and Reign. There was no chemistry whatsoever.

I made it to 60% before I decided to quit. Not being able to connect to the characters made me not want to read this book. Also if I’m quite honest, I wasn’t really hooked to the story either, but that’s probably because I couldn’t relate to anyone.

Still, for me being able to understand it, though it’s book two, and it making it tolerable to read a fae themed book I will still give it:

Rating: 2 stars (but DNF)
About the authorBorn in Tonbridge, Kent in 1979, Pippa’s— “Wait a second. Let’s cut to the chase. I write kick-ass urban fantasy & sci-fi novels with conflicted characters, breathless action, and no-holds-barred dialogue. My books may not leave you feeling all fluffy and warm inside, but they will excite you. There will be plot-twists, angst, probably a few dead bodies, and very likely your favorite character will turn out to be the bad guy. Don’t say I didn’t warn you…”

[Review] Rule by Jay Crownover

About the book

Rule
(Marked Men #1)
by Jay Crownover

ebook, 369 pages
Harper
Publication Date: May 23rd 2013 by Harper
ASIN: B00CR42N3Y

Sometimes opposites don’t just attract – they catch fire and burn the city down

Shaw Landon loved Rule Archer from the moment she laid eyes on him. Rule is everything a straight-A pre-med student like Shaw shouldn’t want – and the only person she’s never tried to please. She isn’t afraid of his scary piercings and tattoos or his wild attitude. Though she knows that Rule is wrong for her, her heart just won’t listen.

To a rebel like Rule Archer, Shaw Landon is a stuck-up, perfect princess – and his dead twin brother’s girl. She lives by other people’s rules; he makes his own. He doesn’t have time for a good girl like Shaw – even if she’s the only one who can see the person he truly is.

But a short skirt, too many birthday cocktails and spilled secrets lead to a night neither can forget. Now, Shaw and Rule have to figure out how a girl like her and a guy like him are supposed to be together without destroying their love…or each other.

f6c05-goodreads-buttonreviewA lot of people recommened Rule to me and I also heard a lot about it in a Facebook group I’m in and though I liked it, I did not love it.

The main reason being that I did not always like the character Rule, after whom this book is named. He was a bit of a jerk sometimes. I get that he has issues, but that’s not a reason to pull all the shit he did. I liked though that he pursued his dream to become a tattoo artist and how close he is to his friends. Then there was Shaw, the other main character. I didn’t like her either. She felt flat and was a bit annoying sometimes. I respect her persistence though. Whatever Rule did, she did not give up on him. That makes her more likeable than Rule.

The biggest problem I had with Rule – the book – was that I was more interested in the side characters and in the story of the dead twin brother of Rule. I mean – what? Should I be more interested in the story of Rule and Shaw? Since it’s their book?

Another issue I had with this book is the fact that there was as good as no chemistry between Shaw and Rule. At least I thought so. They developed this spark and then – snap – it was gone again.

If I have to put this book on a scale which goes from “boring as hell” over “average” to “awesome, awesome, awesome”, I would put it somewhere around average. I wasn’t blown away, but I wasn’t bored to hell either. It was an ok read to fill a boring evening.

Rating: 3 stars

About the authorI’m supposed to share interesting details about myself so that my readers get to know me so here we go in no particular order: I’m an natural redhead even though I haven’t seen my real hair color in years, I’m a big fan of tattoos and have a half sleeve on either arm and various other pieces all over the place, I’ve been in the bar industry since I was in college and it has always offered interesting insight into how men and women interact with each other, I have 3 dogs that are all crazy, I live in Colorado and love the snow, I love music and in all reality wish I could be a rock star not a writer or a bartender but I have zero talent so there is that.
I love to write, love to read and all I’m interested in is a good story with interesting characters that make the reader feel something.
Thanks for taking the time to check my stuff out….
Jay Crownover

[Review] On The Brink by Kate Willoughby

About the book

On The Brink
(In the Zone #0)
Kate Willoughby
ebook, 95 pages
Publication Date: 28 June 2016
ASIN: B01ELRCV3Q

Due to popular demand, Kate Willoughby brings you Hart Griffin and Jeremy Fenton’s origin story. Find out how these two met and fell in love…

Holtzer University junior Hart Griffin won’t let anything interfere with his future as a professional hockey player. No way, no how. He’s the star forward of his college team and a first round NHL draft pick.

One hot night with a male super fan calls into question everything Hart thought he knew about his sexuality and launches him on a soul-searching journey in which nothing is as it seems and his entire world is turned upside down.

review~ Copy provided by NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion

Actual rating: 3,5 stars

On The Brink was an interesting, short read and is apparently the prequel story to the In The Zone series. While all the other books are about “straight” couples, I decided to read this because this was LGTB, which I like to read from time to time And always try out when hockey is a theme in the book.

I liked both of the guys and I liked to see that Jeremy, who is openly out, was willing to make some sacrifices for Hart, who’s still in the closet.

I would have liked the book to be a bit longer, since I felt the story was a bit rushed. Overall I liked reading it though and I guess we can find out more about Jeremy’s and Hart’s story in the following books.

About the authorKate is in love with the sport of hockey. And the entire Los Angeles Kings team. Having lived most of her life completely uninterested in professional sports, she is surprised at the intensity of her enthusiasm and her growing collection of Kings merchandise.

he has held a variety of jobs—podiatrist’s assistant, telemarketer, typist, gift wrapper, painter, illustrator’s assistant, paste-up artist, calligrapher, teacher, transcriptionist and barista—but her favorite by far is author. She resides in Los Angeles with her husband, their two sons, and a Chihuahua named Mochi.

She is also a member of the Romance Writers of America and Los Angeles Romance Authors and winner of the 2009 EPPIE Award for Best Fantasy/Paranormal Erotic Romance.