Category Archives: Advanced Reader Copies

Feast, by Merrie Destefano


From the Publishing Blurb:   Release date June 28th, 2011

ARC from Netgalley

Madeline MacFadden (“Mad Mac” to fans of her bestselling magical stories) spent blissful childhood summers in Ticonderoga Falls. And this is where she wants to be now that her adult life is falling apart. The dense surrounding forest holds many memories, some joyous, some tantalizingly only half-remembered. And she’s always believed there was something living in these wooded hills.

But Maddie doesn’t remember the dark parts — and knows nothing of the mountain legend that holds the area’s terrified residents captive. She has no recollection of Ash, the strange and magnificent creature who once saved her life as a child, even though it is the destiny of his kind to prey upon humanity. And soon it will be the Harvest. . . the time to feast.

Once again Maddie’s dreams — and her soul — are in grave danger. But magic runs deep during Harvest. Even a spinner of enchanted tales has wondrous powers of her own

 

Rating :  C –  or about 2.5 out of 5 stars.

Sounds good right?  It should be better, and I hope some more editing before the release will help.

I had a very hard time with this novel.  I’m not even sure how to start this review.

It was all so confusing.  First, I guess I’ll start with some questions for the author, then some points.

1) What is a Darkling?  How did they come to be, where do they come from, and what the freaking heck are they!!

~After reading this novel, I STILL HAVE NO IDEA!!! That is not good.  This novel needs tighter editing, more information available for the reader, and to plug the major plot holes that are pretty glaring.

2) What is a Guardian, why are they necessary, what exactly was this Curse, and what did it entail. The details were sketchy at best.  We really need more information.

~Ash is the Guardian of Ticonderoga Falls.  OK. Good for him.  What does this mean?  What is his job, why is he there, what does he do?

3) What is this legend Keeper Business?

~The term was just tossed out there, and we were expected to understand.  With no concept of what the Darklings even are, how can we fathom what a Legend Keeper is?  Also, When Joe is Telling Maddie the Legend, WHY did you do it off-screen?  That would have answered SO many questions for the reader!!

4) What exactly is FEASTING.  How do the Darklings harvest dreams?  This is not explained and the readers have to try to extrapolate the information between the lines, and it is difficult with so much conflicting information. 

~They are not vampires?  Why does the Sheriff point out the two holes on the neck, and a seemingly empty body that is ‘flat”.  OK, so these Darklings–do they use their fangs to drink the blood, and with the blood they also get dreams, hopes and aspirations from their victims?  The blood is incidental?  If so, it would be nice to know that. There was too much telling, and absolutely no showing of how this works.  It went like this “We harvest the dreams.”  “Mmm I am harvesting” “Oh, I harvested too much, now he/she is dead” 

5) Pretty much each chapter was in a different point of view.  From every character in the novel.  EVERY. ONE.  Maddie, Ash, Thane, River, Elspeth, Sage, Sienna, Joe, The sheriff, The dog, It was a revolving door of characters, and took away my interest. 

~ Since we had so many story lines being interwoven, it was hard to connect to any one character.

6) There really is no love in this novel.  I didn’t feel the romance.  At all.  I’m sorry, but it didn’t work for me.  It came out of left field, at the very end, and it wasn’t believable.  This aspect of the story needs work.  The interest needs to be throughout the novel. 

The writing style was nice, I liked how Merrie Destefano writes.  Her words are poetic, and lyrical.  She paints a vivid picture.  But this picture just didn’t work for me.

Seduction and Scandal by Charlotte Featherstone


From the publisher:  In Stores June 21st, 2011

His love could save her…

In more ways than one.

With the scandalous nature of her birth to live down, Isabella Fairmont dreams of a proper marriage – even if a passionless one. She saves her deepest desires for the novel she dares to pen, wherein a handsome lord with dark powers seduces her. But then her courtship with an appropriate suitor is threatened by the sudden attention of the Earl of Black …whose pale blue eyes and brooding sensuality are exactly as she described in her book.

Isabella tries to resist the mysterious Earl of Black. Yet as he pursues her with inexplicable knowledge of her past and kisses that consume her, Isabella fears she will succumb.

If only the earl could tell Isabella the truth. With very real and treacherous thieves endangering her life, Black will need to protect Isabella from the very people she trusts the most…

Review completed May 25th, 2011

Grade: C or 3 stars

Took me SIX days to finish this novel when usually I can read a book in a few hours.

This is a well written novel. There are no glaring errors or things of that ilk. The characters were well written. They each had their own personalities and eccentricities. I actually liked all the characters themselves. For me though, this novel was rather boring. I was also a bit confused.

Our heroine wants to be a “Lady Novelist” So she is writing her own story, and telling it to her cousin Lucy for much of the novel and it focuses on the passages she writes, which seem to correlate to what is going on in the story, like she is a precog. Which, as far as I could tell (would have been cool!)she wasn’t. It was used as a plot device and it drove me batty.

The hero, Jude Black (Oh, and BTW, I love his name *Jude* mmmm) Is broody, moody, and secretive. Charged with a secret Holy mission he no longer believes in, for he has lost his faith. I liked him. I like scary, Alpha men with a heart of gold and secret longing and passions 😆

The writing is very lyrical, and often times too flowery. I think I needed to be in the right mood in order to fully appreciate this novel, and the writing style of Charlotte Featherstone. She writes well, it just wasn’t for me at this moment.

The first 150 pages, were very slow for me. The action picks up at the end, but I would have liked to have had more action scenes. Also this novel is setup for a sequel, and many questions go un-answered. Which is the latest trend in authors I see. I really hate it.

Anyways, if you are a fan of lyrical prose, 18th century worlds, with a hint of Religious Artifacts that could doom the world if they are united together, then you will love this novel.

It’s gothic, a bit dark, but also slow.

Savor the Danger, by Lori Foster


Release Date: June 28th, 2011

What happens when you wake up naked–and in bed– with the woman you have been pining for; for a year, but you can’t remember how you got there?  Ask Jackson Savor.  Our favorite cowboy from the previous Novels When you Dare and Trace of Fever, Jackson Savor is a hard edged, yet honorable man of mystery and intrigue.  I know, it sounds cliché, but I loved Jackson and his “Darlins”  He could hog tie me up and have his wicked way with me all he wanted.  Apparently, sweet and innocent Alani as well.

Alani Rivers, Trace’s sister, and victim of sex traffickers in the first novel, has learned some tough life lessons.  No longer the sheltered, pampered little sister, she is struggling to be a grown woman, and overcome her past trauma’s.  Why Jackson is the man that stirs her blood, she doesn’t know, but she wants him.  When she wakes up after the most memorable night of her life and see’s the burning questions in Jackson’s eyes she is distraught and devastated when he bolts from the room and gets violently ill in the bathroom.  Alani can’t take the regret she sees in Jackson, and she takes off, leaving Jackson to fend for himself.

Point here:  Alani was a virgin before she made love to Jackson.  I really felt for her situation.  She is confused, upset, humiliated angry and yet her body is burning for more of Jackson. What’s a confused, angry girlie girl to do?  Shop of course!

Jackson figures he bumbled the morning pretty heavily, and isn’t sure how to fix it.  After his head stops pounding he makes his way to Alani’s house and proceeds to lie on her porch and wait for her to come back home.

After his violent episodes in the bathroom, Jackson figures out he has been heavily drugged, and cannot remember anything from the previous day and night.  So he begins looking for truth, and goes in search of Alani.  Together they try and piece together who is out to get Jackson and Alani, and fighting the attraction between them.

“Don’t make me chase you, darlin”

Suddenly her casual, comfy sundress felt insubstantial.  Around Jackson, she needed a damn suit of Armor.

The concentrated scrutiny left her fidgeting, too warm and vulnerable.

In a rough whisper, he said “God’s truth, darlin’, I don’t mean to ride roughshod over your feelings, but I need to see you again” and before she could react to the hunger in his tone, he added, “I don’t suppose we could put this little confrontation on hold long enough for me to appease my curiosity?”

This novel was fantastic.  I loved Jackson and Alani.  It was fun to see Dare and Trace, and their protective and alpha maleism when it came to Alani.

There were a few twists in the story and a few new characters were introduced.  Arizona, and Spencer.  Whom I believe will probably be the couple for the next novel, and I can’t wait!!

Write faster Lori Foster, I’m eating up these awesome alpha’s who walk that edge so well!

Green Eyed Demon, by Jaye Wells


This is the third novel in the Sabina Kane series and it was…stilted. The book started out well, minus a few too many “Bitches” and other words that were used far too often.

This is not a stand alone novel, and you need to read the previous book to figure out what on earth is going on.

Sabina, Adam and Gigi are on a mission to find and rescue Maisie from the clutches of Lavinia.

It was good in the beginning, really slow in the middle, and really fast at the end.

I did get a little teary at the end, with what happens to Adam, Maisie and Sabina.

The end was open, not exactly a cliffhanger, but it means there are more books planned now I guess. I originally thought this was a trilogy.

For most of this novel, I didn’t like Sabina. She yelled at everyone, bitched at everyone, and still kept everyone at arms length. She finally figures her shit out at the end, but by then, it’s pretty much too little too late.

Interested to see where this goes in the future, but this is being taken off my “Must buy the day the book comes out”, shelf

The Girl in the Steel Corset, by Kady Cross


Review Below!

From the Publisher: Release Date May 24th, 2011

She thought there was something wrong with her. She was right.
Finley Jayne has known for quite some time that she isn’t ‘normal,’ but when she beats up the son of her employer and is forced to flee, she stumbles into a world where there are bigger freaks than her. They take her in, treat her like family and demand her trust. How can Finley trust them when she can’t trust herself? And why is she drawn to the powerful Griffin as well as the dangerous Jack? She has to get herself under control before she gets into trouble she can’t get out of.

Griffin King is one of the most powerful men in Britain but he couldn’t save his best friend from almost dying. He is determined to save Finley and help her become the person he knows she can be, but there’s evil afoot in London. Machines have attacked humans under the orders of a nefarious criminal called The Machinist. He has sworn to protect his country against such a threat, but he’s never faced any foe like this. However, when he discovers The Machinist’s connection to his past, Griffin vows to end the villain once and for all — but he’ll need the help of all his friends, including the beautiful Finley Jayne – the girl in the steel corset

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3.5/5 (I downgraded after thinking about this novel some more)
This book was totally cool, interesting and compelling. The steam punk aspects were fantastic, integrated well, and weren’t trite.

However, there were a lot of inconsistencies. Historical inconsistencies and character interaction inconsistencies. One such example would be Finley running around town (1800’s) alone and unchaperoned wearing pants and riding a motorcycle like object, sparring with a shirtless man, but when Griff shows her his tattoo, and wants to tattoo her she is all a flutter about impropriety and indecency!

One of my qualms? No romance. Not even a kiss between our Hero or Heroine. They did think about kissing though, so I guess that counts =)

Also, the characters were all in their teens and I think Griff may have been 20, but they all talked really old. I don’t think we are told Finley’s age either. That bugs me now.

However, I don’t think this novel has exactly ONE hero or ONE heroine. All the characters were pretty darn fantastic! A metal man, a genius, a dual natured ass kicking chic, a telepath, and an aether wielder = AWESOME!

So, if you are a fan of steam punk and YA, put this on your buy list!
If you are a fan of awesome characters who remind you of X-men, the League of Extraordinary Gentleman and the Wild, Wild West, then put this on your buy list!

Inside, by Brenda Novak


From the Publisher:  Release Date June 21st 2011

Virgil Skinner served fourteen years for a murder he didn’t commit. He’s finally been exonerated, but he can’t escape the gang he joined in order to survive. They’ll do anything to keep him from telling what he knows. And if they can’t get to Virgil they’ll go after his sister and her kids.

The California Department of Corrections needs someone to infiltrate another gang, one that’s taking control of the state’s most notorious supermax. Virgil’s the perfect candidate — and he’ll do it in exchange for his sister’s protection.

Assistant deputy warden Peyton Adams is opposed to having Virgil in her prison. How will she protect him if things go bad? Besides, she’s attracted to him; she might even be falling in love with him. That makes her all the more desperate to keep him safe — and it gives him someone else to lose

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This book captivated me from the very start. My first Brenda Novak novel, and if all her other books are as good as this one, I will be starting her back list right away!

I haven’t read a prison novel quite like this one before. Our hero, Virgil spent 14 years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit. After his exoneration, he is “recruited” for an inside job as an informant on gang issues at Pelican Bay given his extensive background in prison and a member of “The Crew”.

Peyton, our heroine is a Chief Deputy Warden at Pelican Bay Prison. I liked her, but something about her irked me. She felt almost too idealistic, but I admired her will to change things inside prisons.

What I liked about this book, were the flaws of the characters. The tortured hero and his survivalist attitude, his reservations about any affection shown to him, his gruff and secretive manner. Always looking over his shoulder and trying to decipher ulterior motives in everyone around him.

If you are a lover of novels featuring hero’s who walk the line, and are tortured and flawed, then you will enjoy this novel.

The ending/climax was pretty surprising as well. I hope we see more of a certain “Crew” member in the second book!

The Ideal Man, by Julie Garwood


Release Date August 9th, 2011

from the publisher:

Dr. Ellie Sullivan has just completed her residency at a large urban hospital. While jogging in a park nearby, she witnesses the shooting of an FBI agent in pursuit of wanted criminals, a couple identified as the Landrys. The only person to see the shooter’s face, Ellie is suddenly at the center of a criminal investigation.

Agent Max Daniels takes over the Landry case. A no-nonsense lawman, he’s definitely not the ideal man that Ellie has always imagined, yet she’s attracted to him in a way she can’t explain.

Ellie heads home to Winston Falls, South Carolina, to attend her sister’s wedding. Shortly after she arrives, though, she receives a surprise visitor: Max Daniels. The Landrys have been captured, and she’ll be called to testify. But they’ve been captured before, and each time the witnesses are scared into silence—or disappear before they can take the stand. Max vows to be Ellie’s shadow until the trial, and it isn’t long before sparks fly

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This was my first Julie Garwood novel. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t good either.

My first reading loves are thrillers/crime drama and Paranormal and Romantic Suspense. The premise of this novel sounded wonderful, but it was heavy on the relationship and lacking in the suspense and plotting.

Julie Garwood writes very well, I enjoyed her descriptions of people and places, it wasn’t an overly wordy novel, which I like. I can’t entirely put my finger on why this novel bothered me. Our heroine Ellie is a prodigy, gorgeous and the best at what she does, trauma Surgery. She didn’t have any flaws that were portrayed, other than being a doormat for her family.
The hero Max,was OK. Nothing particularly awesome about him, he was sexy, gruff and demanding.

The climax of this story was over and done with in two pages.
There were two congruent villains. One, a creep who has been stalking her since she was 11, and the new hit man after she witnessed an FBI agent getting shot.

It was too much. Had the plot just been about one or the other and explored further it would have been better. As it was, I felt disconnected to the heroine, and only slightly sympathetic to the beating she received from her stalker when she was 12. The hit man plot was a joke for the most part.

I would likely read more by this author, but probably not after I read more reviews.

Trace of Fever by Lori Foster


From the publisher:

Release Date May 31, 2011

CAUGHT IN THE CROSSFIRE OF VENGEANCE AND DESIRE

Undercover mercenary Trace Rivers loves the adrenaline rush of a well-planned mission. First he’ll earn the trust of corrupt businessman Murray Coburn, then gather the proof he needs to shut down the man’s dirty smuggling operation. It’s a perfect scheme—until Coburn’s long-lost daughter saunters in with her own deadly plan for revenge.

With a smile like an angel and fire in her eyes, Priscilla Patterson isn’t who she seems to be. But neither is the gorgeous bodyguard who ignites all her senses. Joining forces to plot Coburn’s downfall, Priss and Trace must fight the undeniable heat between them. For one wrong move, one lingering embrace, will expose them to the wrath of a merciless opponent…

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3.5/5
We first meet Trace in [book:When You Dare|9758743] after his sister is rescued from Sex traffickers by Dare. Driven by his need to rid the world of these vile scumbags  who sell women to the highest bidder, he goes undercover and infiltrates a sex trade organization.

He proves himself invaluable and capable to the boss Murray, and finds himself in a right hand man position.

Our heroine Priscilla was a conundrum for me.  On one hand she portrayed the fierce ass kicker; and on the other hand, she played the virginal, sheltered, but mouthy woman.  I felt like she was a schizo.

While I loved Trace, I didn’t love Priss. There were multiple instances of the classic “too stupid to live” that just annoy me in books.  Where the heroine defies common sense and charges into the fray and will most likely end up dead if she isn’t saved by someone else :insert eye roll here:

The plot was OK, it wasn’t a suspense plot, more of a “will they kill him or not” plot.  There were a few twists coming you don’t see until the end, and that was interesting.

I enjoyed seeing Dare and Molly, Chris and Matt, the dogs and Alani and Jackson.

I don’t want to go into much more, the writing is solid, I enjoy the way Lori Foster tells a story.

I also like the way she did Trace and Priss’s romance/love.  It didn’t feel rushed, even though it was only a few days they were together.

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