Review: 4 stars for Seizing It

 

Seizing It,  is a terrific story that’s centers on two interesting characters, Kit Hall and Dale Miller.  Kit is the receptionist at a veterinary clinic.  Much to his family’s dismay the young man as become withdrawn from others because of his epilepsy.  The fact that he has also been dealing with an abusive ex hasn’t helped matters much. Having known people who have suffered from epilepsy, as well as those in abusive relationships, it was easy to see the author had done her research.  This made the story more realistic and made for a better all around story.

Dale is the new vet taking over the clinic where Kit works.  The way that these two first meet is intense and makes for some oops moments later in the story.  There is a chemistry between the two men that’s hard to miss. But in order for them to have a relationship Dale has a lot of hurdles to over come where Kit is concerned.  With his history, it is easy to see why Kit behaves the way he does, and I like that Dale knows just what to do to help the young man.

Between the actions of Kit and Dale, as well as the many wonderful secondary characters, readers will enjoy this fast paced story that will grabs their attention from page one.  Seizing It, was my introduction to author Chris T. Kat, and this story made me a fan of the author.  I can’t wait to see what the she plans on next.

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Review: 4 stars for Rougaroux Social Club: Bayou’s End

 

Lynn Lorenz authors several different series, each one polar opposite of the others.  Her series, Rougaroux Social Club, centers on a pack of werewolves located in the Louisiana bayou.  The pack dynamics are slightly different than want we usually see, which gives the series a fresh feel for those that like to eat these types of stories up.  The newest addition to this series is titled Bayou’s End, and is the story of Peter Graham and BillyTrosclair.

Those that read the first story may remember these two.  Peter is the young artist who made several unsuccessful passes at Ted, the pack alpha’s mate, before hooking up with a visiting art instructor.  Billy is one of the alpha’s deputies and is currently in charge while Ted and Scott are out of town on a much needed vacation.

After leaving his ex, Peter goes looking for Ted, hoping the private detective would be willing to help him.  What he finds in St. Jerome is more than what he ever expected.  The first meeting between Peter and Billy is intense and one of Peter’s secrets is revealed right away.  I did not see this little twist coming and liked that it made the connection between Peter and Billy that much stronger.  I was also surprised by the way Peter was treated by his ex, who I wanted to smack.  Unfortunately, Peter is one of those characters that trouble just loves to follow.  This of course makes things a little difficult for Billy who is trying to juggle his pack duties, his work duties, and now the duties of being a new mate.

Although the passion between these two burns up the pages, the author does not make everything easy for them.  There continues to be discord among pack members concerning same sex mating’s.  This leads to a few twists and turns that soon pull Peter into the cross hairs.  While the way Peter’s problems were resolved surprised me, I did like the way in which the author wrapped everything up.

Readers may want to keep in mind that this story touches briefly on the subjects of date rape and physical abuse.  While the author does not throw these subjects up constantly they are important to the background story.

Ms. Lorenz has a new addition to this series coming out soon, and I for one can’t wait.

Review – Wishful Drinking

Wishful Drinking

by Carrie Fisher

This short little memoir was hilarious, even though it doesn’t seem like it should be since it is full of family disfunction, drug addiction, mental illness and electric shock therapy.  Basically she says “If my life wasn’t funny it would just be true, and that is unacceptable.” (pg 17)  I guess she has had a one woman show which is basically the contents of this book which she claims started out as a “singles ad – a really, really detailed personals ad…” (pg 149).  Chelsea Handler is doing something like this too.  I read one of her books about her insane sex life.  Funny.

If you are at all interested in Hollywood intrigue, she explains how her daughter and Elizabeth Taylor’s grandson might be related since they were dating at the time.  She includes a marriage chart and everything, which I had to flip back to quite a few times!  She also expounds on how being Princess Leia changed her life in many interesting ways.  She definitely gets TMI from some of her fans, young male fans especially.  She includes a few funny parts about filming the movies, such as, did you know why there is “no underwear in space according to George Lucas?”  Find out what she wore under that white flowing dress.  Ultimately, it is a fun read to laugh along with a woman who could just as easily be crying with all the crazy stuff that has happened in her life.

It is funny, a bit moving, interesting, though fairly surface about certain things and super short short.  It made for an enjoyable afternoon.  3 stars.

Review – Speechless

Speechless

by Kim Fielding

If you are looking for a sweet little romantic love story, look no further!

Travis is working a crappy machine shop job in Portland, OR.  He has no friends, no car and not much of a life.  Every day on his way home from work he passes a handsome man playing guitar on his front steps.  Drew has aphasia and cannot speak or write.  The boys meet, become friends and have a wonderful romance.

You would think that because Drew can’t speak that you don’t understand what he is thinking.  But Fielding is great, we get expressions, gestures and Travis figuring it out.  It works really well and Travis talks enough for the two of them.  But the dialogue doesn’t overwhelm the story either.  It is quiet, thoughtful and lovely.  It makes you slow down and realize there are many ways to communicate, we just tend to talk too much to notice.

Speechless is a short story, around 60 pages, but it doesn’t feel rushed in any way.  The romance is adorable but there isn’t much smexing.  It happens but there isn’t much description or play by play, so if that is what you are looking for, you won’t find it here.  Instead you find two men, who both have disabilities, that find love and acceptance.  But while they have disabilities they aren’t disabled.  They don’t allow it and find ways to be better and stronger than what other people “see” and expect.  This novelette was well written and even though there isn’t a ton of conflict, there isn’t meant to be.  It is more of a “don’t stand in the way of your own happiness” type thing due to fear or expectations.

I read another review of this story who said it was “cute with a side of angst”.  I couldn’t say it better myself.  So sweet!  4 star short story.  It even gave me little happy tears (though I warn you that I am a sap!).

Review – A Kiss Before the Apocalypse

A Kiss Before the Apocalypse

by Thomas E Sniegoski

Dusty gem from my bookshelf

This is the beginning of a series about Remy Chandler, a private investigator who also happens to be an angel.  He lives on earth like a human because he wants to, which is a big deal.  Remy normally hunts down cheating spouses and during a routine case finds the husband of the woman who recently hired him, but the case takes a dramatic turn when the man recognizes his angelic nature, then kills himself.  But he can’t die regardless of the trauma.  The Angel of Death is missing and neglecting his duties.  Seraphim visit Remy and ask him to find the Angel of Death, the missing scrolls and to stop the Apocalypse.  The Four Horsemen are on their way, heaven wants to stop it and a host of others want to see it happen.

Quick side note:  There are a whole bunch of fallen, exiled and hiding angels living in Boston – is that why it is a fun city, or are they there because it is?  Something to ponder…

This was a gritty adventure and the apocalypse is just around the corner.  Remy has a dog, who he can converse with (angelic superpowers and all), which is a very sweet relationship.  The conversations were well done.  Also, as an angel Remy is immortal but his human wife is nearing the end of her life.  It is interesting that this first book in the series is about both the end of the world and the end of his married life.  But I think it opens the field to Remy taking on dangerous jobs in future novels.  Most of the other characters Remy deals with are immortals of some type, usually angelic or fallen.

The story is full of action, but it really made me think about love. If you lose someone you love, how do you cope? What would it be like to be immortal and how they may eventually desire for life to end. What are angels really like? Are they emotionless? Do they need to be to live as long as they do? What would happen if they felt emotion? Sniegoski plays with the concept of angels, their motivations and their desires. What event may have turned an angel to live amongst the humans instead of the heavenly host? The book is bittersweet…there is another book in the series, so I am sure you can guess whether the apocalypse happens, but his wife is dying and there is no stopping death once he is doing his job.

I cried a couple of tears at the end and look forward to picking up the next in the series.  I give it 3.5 stars.

Teaser –

“His eyes burned like pieces of the sun, jammed into the fleshy sockets, but he did not cry.  He never could cry.”

Review – The Art of Racing in the Rain

The Art of Racing in the Rain

by Garth Stein

borrowed

If you want a quick read that makes you weep and gives you pointers on life, this is the book for you!  It is narrated by Enzo, a philosophical dog and is about his family and his life.  His owner, Denny, is a race car driver who knows how to drive well on a wet race track.  There is a special art to racing in the rain which can be applied to how you live your life as well.

So, to add rain to this man’s life, a whole sh*t load of problems and horrible things descend upon him.  How he reacts to the rain in his life, his focus to make it through the curves leads to whether he will crash and burn or make it through for the win.  It is allegorical and all that good stuff.  It is told simply and well.

So, I read the first 3/5’s of this book in one sitting, then I threw the book down in an emotional tizzy because I felt so manipulated because so much crap gets piled on this poor guy.  It is a little heavy handed, so I suggest you read this for the interesting POV and the emotional rollercoaster it takes you on.  I picked it up again to finish it and didn’t have another freak out, so that was good.  I enjoyed it.  I think if I read it in smaller chunks I would have had a better time of it.  Since it goes so quickly and the chapters are short and easy I ate too much of the book all at once and got a tummy-ache.  I wept, dang it, I laughed, it was nice and it ultimately makes you feel good.  3 stars.

This sort of summed up the book for me:

“No race has ever been won in the first corner,” he said.  “But plenty of races have been lost there.”  …

“That’s right,” he said to me, “If we’re going to be a cliche, let’s be a positive cliche.”

Review – Black Wings

Black Wings (Black Wings #1)

by Christina Henry

Purchased

Madeline Black is an Angel of Death.  She has a gargoyle friend who protects her house, her mother died when she was 13 and she never knew her father.  Her mother’s job was passed to her when she died, so Maddy is part of the bureaucracy that helps ferry souls to the ever after.  And a bureaucracy it is.  There is paperwork, supervisors and she doesn’t get paid.  Luckily she can rent out the bottom floor of her house.  She rents it to a gorgeous guy, Gabriel Angeloscuro (nice last name, hint hint).  But right after she rents it to him demons begin showing up trying to kill her.

This was an enjoyable book, I read it quickly and with zeal.  It is jam-packed full of action, world building, demons, souls, blood and mayhem.  Her lineage is revealed to her, and it is colorful and an important part of the story.  There was a little romantic tension, but she is a virgin, so don’t expect much there.  It makes me wonder what Henry has in store for Maddy.  It also ends looking like there will be a love triangle in the next book.  Hmmmm.

There is a lot of action and a lot of names to remember.  In fact a couple of times I got a little lost but just kept reading.  When the bad guy puppeteer is revealed, I wasn’t really sure if I should have known more about them already, but I soldiered on and the story made perfect sense.  I found I did that a lot with the Cassie Palmer stories too, I would get lost but keep going and things tended to straighten themselves out.  It was a good start for a new paranormal urban fantasy and I will be looking for the next book in the series, Black Night.  I liked it, 3 stars.

Review – The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

by Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows

Source: Purchased (reading for bookclub)

I really enjoyed this book.  It was simply lovely.  It is a historical fiction but books and discussing books bring the characters together.  Because it is told through a series of letters between the characters it reminds me a lot of 84 Charing Cross Road, which I also loved, but there is more history and meat to this story.  WWII recently ended, Guernsey (part of the Channel Islands across from London) had been occupied during the war, and the people on the island created a literary society to have a reason to assemble and avoid trouble from the Germans.  Juliet, the main character and an author, receives a letter from one of the islanders asking for a bookshop recommendation, her name and address was in one of the books he now owns.  This opens up a friendship between the society members and Juliet, who asks they write to her to tell her their experiences during the war.  You really get to know the characters, and they are strong, determined, amazing and funny and feel very real.  There is not a huge amount of action but instead is a quiet, reflective type of book.

Besides being interesting history and character driven, they share a love of books that I can so understand!

“That’s what I love about reading: one tiny thing will interest you in a book, and that tiny thing will lead you onto another book, and another bit will lead you onto a third book.  It’s geometrically progressive – all with no end in sight, and for no other reason than sheer enjoyment.” (pg 11)

Ultimately, Juliet decides to write a book about Guernsey and the Society and goes there to interview everyone properly.  It is so interesting to see how much you can learn about people from their correspondence.  It is happy, sad, romantic, funny and heart-warming.  It had me laughing and crying, for both happy and sad and horrifying reasons.  It discusses WWII and the atrocities the people faced and lived to tell about or not.  It does take a little work to get to know all of the characters because there are a lot of them.  I spoke to one of my friends who compiled a list of characters and who they are to keep her straight as she reads.  I just plowed on through and figured out who characters were as I went.  I was a little confused a time or two, but it didn’t really matter.  Things are revealed as you dig through the letters, so you have to have patience and an open mind going in.  But it really is worth it if you like historical fiction, ever read and enjoyed Griffin and Sabine (though this is without magic) or 84 Charing Cross Road.  Read it!!  For me, it is a 5 star book and a keeper.

Review – Immortal in Death (In Death #3)

I have been on a mystery kick lately.  These are always good and I think I have 30 or so to swim through…

Immortal in Death (In Death #3)

By JD Robb

Borrowed from a friend

These are mystery/police procedurals set around 40 years the future.  The police detective lead, Eve Dallas is about to marry her intense romantic interest Roarke.  They are really hitting their relationship stride in this book.  Eve fights his love less and since she is of course too busy to pick out dresses, flowers and the like, her best friend Mavis is helping.  Mavis brings Eve to Leonardo, a talented designer who will create her dress and who also happens to be Mavis’ new boyfriend.  I love Mavis, she is a free spirit, outrageous and has a heart of gold.  Unfortunately, Leonardo’s previous girlfriend Pandora wanted to end the relationship, (no one ever leaves her!), so she is going to start trouble for him.  Since she is a high powered model with tons of connections, she can ruin Leonardo before his career truly takes off.  Before you know it, Pandora is murdered and Mavis is in the wrong place at the wrong time and all the evidence points to her.  Eve is the lead investigator for the case, even though she is emotionally involved.  She has to use all of her skill to figure this one out.

“Eve’s life had never been easy.  In her career as a cop she had seen and done too many nightmarish things to count them all.  But nothing had ever been more difficult for her than taking Mavis into Interview.” (pg. 47)

I really enjoy these books.  I get a great mystery with police procedural with some steamy romance and it takes place in 2058, so things are just different enough from my world that it satisfies my love of fantasy/UF.  They are my new go-to for when I don’t know what else to pick up.

So this mystery was great.  There are only a few players and still figuring out who did what is difficult.  Helping Mavis, coupled with Eve’s remembering of the abuse she suffered as a child, this is the most emotion we get from her in the series so far.  She isn’t pushing people away as much and has almost come to terms with loving and being loved.  (So sweet and I think at one point I had tears in my eyes.)

There is a new drug on the street, this one with regenerative effects, but two big drawbacks.  It will kill you with repeated use for 4-5 years and it is highly addictive.  Models, street folks and designers all are interested in this drug.  Someone, with ties to the new drug, is killing people, Pandora included and Eve, with her team and Roarke’s occasional help, figures out the link and search for the supplier and ultimately the killer.

When the bad guy reveals him/herself I thought “Yes!  I knew there was something weird about that character”…they never sat easily with me, but I didn’t KNOW.  But the reveal doesn’t come easily and the last few hours before the wedding are touch and go.

These books keep me riveted.  What is the genre, Mystery/romance?  I like the combo, whatever it is.  Eve is growing on me, and Roarke is the ultimate fantasy man, gorgeous, loving, self-made super rich, brilliant and a bad boy.  Sigh.  I will be picking up the other books eventually, 4 stars.

Review – Jaidee, Out of the Ashes

Jaidee, Out of the Ashes

by Clint Morey

Book received from the author

Jaidee is a thriller/mystery about a PI who normally exposes philandering spouses but gets caught up in the sex trade handled by the mob.  Josh busts a husband found with an underage prostitute which causes him to get involved with Jaidee (a 14 year old) and soon finds them both fighting for their lives.  Unfortunately, Jaidee has entertained some powerful movers and shakers and they don’t want her to be able to ID them.  The cops place her in a home to help her start a new life, but when Josh finds out about a hit on her life, he extracts Jaidee just in time, which brings him and his friends to the center of the bulls eye.  There is a mole in the police department and Josh isn’t sure who he can trust.

This was a mystery/thriller with practically non-stop action.  Just when you think you can relax, something new happens.  You know who the bad guy is pretty quickly as the POV alternates between Josh and his crew and the bad guys and their machinations.  We don’t know who the mole in the police department is and it was a little bit of a shocker and super tension filled when they are revealed.  Love that.

Morey really worked the setting, Las Vegas was a perfect place for this novel as he utilizes construction sites, rollercoasters, wind tunnels, casinos and wedding chapels.  But, no Elvis impersonators were hurt during the book in case you were worried.

Jaidee is a strong character, funny, a bit misguided but loving and sweet.  I am excited to see how she develops as the series continues.  She and Josh have a funny back and forth dialogue and you can tell that these characters will be able to help heal the hurt that exists in both of them.  Morey really hits the idea of what a family is, both in a positive and a way to manipulate.  It really made me think about who I consider family, blood relative or not, and what I would do for them.  This was an enjoyable and tense book filled with intrigue, politicians and the mob.  Good stuff!  I give it 4 stars.

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