Review: Dead Heat by Patricia Briggs

18941694 I love the Alpha & Omega series and this book definitely didn’t disappoint! This may even be my favorite in the series so far. Charles and Anna are able to take a vacation to visit an old friend of Charles at the same time as they are going to look at a horse for Anna. But when they get there they discover that a dangerous Fae is kidnapping children and leaving an imitation in its place. So of course the hunt for the culprit is on.

What was so great about this book was all the interesting side characters. Joseph is the old friend they go to visit and I thought the friendship between them was fascinating to see. Joseph’s family makes up the rest of the most interesting side characters. I like this series even more than the Mercy Thompson series actually. Charles and Anna are just different than most of the couples in paranormal romances. While I love badass females, I read a lot of them and Anna is a badass but one that is just quietly like that in her own way. Her relationship with Charles is incredibly sweet to see. Charles is a very alpha male and the two of them together have one of the best relationships there is in romance books.

The plot in this book, as in all of Patricia Briggs books, is quick to pick up and very fast paced. Due to that I had a hard time putting it down and I wanted to finish it in one sitting pretty much. Other things I like about this book is that there wasn’t so much emphasis on Charles’ enforcer status role in the pack. It was definitely mentioned but his pack wasn’t really even a character in this book, which is another thing I like about this series – it’s able to be about the actual couple as opposed to the Mercy books which are about the whole pack. I also enjoy seeing Charles’ softer side, which we always get with Anna but we also get with Joseph and his grandchildren here. I love seeing Alpha men being tender and almost nice.

If you haven’t read the other books in the series you really need to because this won’t make much sense without those. This book is being released March 3rd.

ARC received via Netgalley on behalf of the publisher in return for an honest review.

5 Stars

~Melinda

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Book Review: The Deal by Elle Kennedy

Garrett Graham is the captain of the hockey team at Briar University. He also just flunked his Philosophy Ethics midterm. He needs to maintain a C+ average to keep playing. Luckily, his professor is allowing students to take a makeup exam.

Hannah Wells is a singer/songwriter at the same Ivy League School. She just aced her midterm.

Their meet-cute happens when Garrett helps Hannah gather her items after she stumbles outside of the classroom. He spots her grade on the exam and tries to charm her into tutoring him.

“C’mon, do me a solid. If I fail this makeup, my GPA will implode. Please?” I flash a smile, the one that makes my dimples pop out and never fails to make girls melt.
“Does that usually work?” she asks curiously.
“What?”
“The aw-shucks little boy grin…Does it help you get your way?”
“Always,” I answer without hesitation.

Well, it doesn’t work on Hannah. But Garrett doesn’t give up. He comes into her workplace and again tries to charm her into tutoring him. When that fails, he texts her. There’s a cute exchange between them which involves Garrett sending her a pic of his chest. Yet again, she declines to help him.

They meet again at a frat party. Garrett figures out that she has a crush on Justin Kohl, wide receiver for the football team. He doesn’t think Hannah has a chance with Justin because she doesn’t have social status. Of course, Garrett offers to help change that.
He takes her to huge bash and she to tutor him. She reluctantly agrees.

Through the tutoring sessions, they get to know each other and a friendship builds along with a growing attraction. One of Hannah’s secrets is that she was raped in high school and can’t obtain an orgasm. Garrett helps her with this, in stages. Which she doesn’t like.

“Let’s have sex,” she announces.
“No.”
“What do you mean, no?” she demand.
“Tonight was a big step for you, but I think that’s how we need to handle it from now on. In steps.”

Garrett also has secrets of his own which involve his father. He has told no one but eventually opens up to Hannah about it.

This book may sound like many of the NA books out there, but what makes this book shine how Elle Kennedy writes it. There is cute, funny banter between Garrett and Wellsy (the nickname that Garrett gives her.) Yes, they have tragic pasts, but they don’t allow it to rule who they are. It’s also very sweet and heartbreaking as Garrett and Wellsy try to decide if what they feel for each other is just an intense sexual attraction or possibly something more.

There are so many great scenes in this book, from the interactions with Hannah and Garrett’s friends, to Garrett Googling how to help Hannah with her first orgasm to the penis locker room.

I was charmed by Wellsy and Garrett’s story and smiled and chuckled through most of it. Fortunately, this is the start of series and I can’t wait for the the next book.

4.5/ 5 stars

ARC provided by author.

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One Breath away by Heather Gudenkauf

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Augie and PJ Baker are staying with their grandparents in Broken Branch Iowa after their mother was burned in a fire back in Arizona. While their grandmother has travelled to Arizona to look after their mother in the hospital they stay with their grandfather, who is a cattle rancher. While PJ settles in and gets along with his grandfather Will, Augie isn’t fairing well and hates being there. Word gets out that there is a gunman in the school and it’s a scramble to find out not only who it is but also why he has taken a classroom of student’s hostage.

There are quite a few characters who feature in this book and while the bulk of the story takes place in the school there are a lot of flashback story telling by the main characters. While it helps with who is who and why they are where they are and how they got to this point in their lives I thought it went too deep into some things that just didn’t matter. The story dragged on and I felt that the book was too long to get to the thrust of the story, which was who was the gunman. I did figure out about a third into the book who it was and once you find out why he did it, the story fell flat.

I was captivated at the start of the book but at the half way point I got bored and it just wasn’t holding me as much as it did at the beginning.

There have been many books written about school shootings and I have read a few of them. The best non-fiction one was Columbine, which I guess is the definitive one. As far as fiction ones, Nineteen Minutes and The Hour I First Believed were two of the better ones, this one just fell flat and it was tedious. This is the first book I have read by Heather Gudenkauf and I wasn’t impressed.

2.5/5 stars

Crash

 

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Review: Soulbound by Kristen Callihan

22395684 This is book #6 in Kristen Callihan’s Darkest London series. And it is such a dark series filled with awesome, dark creatures – some of which we’ve all heard of before and some that seem totally new and unusual. Which is why I completely love this series. It started out with creatures such as werewolves and vampires which felt familar and has moved into GIM’s or ghosts in the machine which are hard to describe but pretty amazing to see brought to life in these books.

In Soulbound the story is focused on Adam who is a completely unusual hero in this world in that he is actually a human, albeit a cursed one. His curse means that he is immortal but cannot truly live. He was cursed by the Fae queen but an Angel lightened the curse by allowing for Adam finding his soul mate and if he does he can break the curse. 700 years later Adam has found that soul mate in Eliza May but in trying to hold her so tight to him – literally in chains – she chose to escape him at the end of book 5.

Eliza does not believe for a second that she has a soul mate in Adam and she hates him for how he treated her while in captivity. She’s been living with the Fae queen who is actually her grandmother but things are not great for her here either. Eliza can’t stomach the things that happen at the hands of Mab and when Mellan, Eliza’s old nemesis shows up that is her last straw and she realizes she needs to leave. When she finds that Adam has been kept chained in Mab’s basement she has to do something.

Adam and Eliza’s roles are very much reversed in this book from the last one. Adam is literally the one in Mab’s chains for a large portion of the story and he realizes he has to make up for how he treated Eliza previously. I appreciated this because I was not feeling Adam until this book. Eliza has many secrets she’s holding in and doesn’t want to share any of them because she feel she can’t trust Adam with her secrets, much less her heart. I really enjoyed getting Adam’s back story here too because he was one creature that I didn’t understand much at all initially.

We do get to see appearances by a few of the others from the previous books, which I always appreciate. On a side note – I absolutely NEED Lucien’s story at this point, although at the end I felt that we’re going to get Sin’s sooner. Which is admittedly intriguing but Lucien’s more so for me!

The ending surprised of these books always manage to surprise me. There is a huge build up and then a lot of action I don’t expect but it didn’t disappoint. I really liked what it delivered.

4 Stars

ARC received via Netgalley on behalf of the publisher in return for an honest review.

~Melinda

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http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/soulbound-kristen-callihan/1119678097?ean=9781455581658&itm=1&usri=soulbound+kristen+callihan

Review: Try With Me by Elyssa Patrick

21955018 Quick Disclosure: I’m twitter friendly with this author. I really enjoy her books which is how I became twitter friendly with her but I think the whole disclosure thing is important in reviews.

I have personal experience with breast cancer so I have trepidation when it comes to any book that deals with the subject matter. While this book is definitely in the NA genre as part of Patrick’s With Me series, it is also solidly about breast cancer. Many books have breast cancer as a side story to add something to the story and I’m just sensitive to those situations because not done well they just piss me off quite frankly. Even worse is when the author tries to use medical knowledge and uses it completely incorrectly. That drives me insane!! Happily NONE of this happens here!! I was so relieved with every page turn that the cancer both made complete sense within the story and was told in a logical and medically correct way. That was important to me and it was done really well.

That being said Zelda is pretty alone in the world besides her mother, who has metastatic breast cancer. Zelda had put aside her dreams of college and moved around with her mother looking for the best treatment for her. She’s working 3, possibly 4 jobs – it’s hard for me to keep track as she is running from one to the other at all times, of course worrying about how she would make ends meet for herself and her mother. It’s at one of these jobs that she runs into Jamie, who she knows from high school. Jamie who she had a huge crush on in high school but Zelda has no time for things like that now.

But Jamie has other plans for Zelda. I don’t want to give you the impression that this book is only a horribly sad thing to read. The romance that blooms between Jamie and Zelda is sweet and rich. The intense feelings they have for each other create some really hot interactions between them. I absolutely loved how Jamie would not back down with Zelda in pretty much all ways – in the bedroom and with helping her and her mother in any way that he or his awesome group of friends can. Which is a beautiful thing to watch. Zelda has never had that kind of strength in her corner since she’s had to be her own corner this whole time.

I’m not going to lie – this is a heavy book in places. But it felt balanced to me. I absolutely did cry but the romance and the laughter really made it feel very well rounded to me.

I also want to add that I JUST got done reading another new release that had breast cancer as a sub topic and I finished that book being so LIVID at how the subject was done because almost all of the information they used in the book was completely not correct. Nothing made sense to me about what they were saying about it. So in my head I was comparing the two and so happy that Elyssa Patrick go it so right.

ARC received in exchange for an honest review.

5 Stars

~Melinda

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Review: First Frost by Sarah Addison Allen

21853633 I had not read the prequel to this book, Garden Spells, prior to reading First Frost. But the synopsis intrigued me and I’ve heard good things about her so I decided to read it. I’m so glad I did.

The story focused mainly on 15 year old Bay Waverly and the other Waverly women. Autumn’s first frost is greatly anticipated for the Waverly women as a time when good things happen and bad things can finally be righted. All of the women have things going on in their lives that need to be righted and they can’t figure them out. Bay is yearning for a certain boy to pay attention to her, her mother is longing to be pregnant and her Aunt Claire wants to get back to her baking business and out of the candy business that had overtaken her life.

What I loved about this book was seeing how each woman used her natural Waverly magic in their lives. None of them have any inclination to do anything negative with this power and are wary of anything like that happening. bay was my favorite character. Seeing her struggle with dealing with her power, school and boys seemed very real to me and made me root for her.

What I loved less about this book was the weird old man that came to town to try to ruin the Waverly women. I got the addition of a villain to the story to add extra panache to the story but I didnt love this one. I also went back and read Garden Spells after I got done with this one and liked it just as much.

4 Stars

ARC recieved via Netgalley on behalf of the publisher in return for an honest review.

~Melinda

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Mrs. Sinclair’s Suitcase by Louise Walters

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This book weaves between two timelines of a family. Roberta works in a bookstore, she finds bits of paper, old letters and photos in old books brought in for sale and keep them. When her father brings in a suitcase filled with her grandmothers books, her grandmother being 109 and placed into a home, she finds an old letter that is a bit of a mystery as it was written by her grandfather who was thought to have been dead before the letter was written.

In the mid 30’s Dorothy marries a man who her mothers disapproves of. She suffers a series of miscarriages and her husband isn’t happy as he is being ridiculed in the village. She is desperately unhappy and longs to be a mother. WW2 breaks out and Albert, Dorothy’s husband, joins the army. A series of events introduces her to Jan Pietrykowski, a Polish Squadron Leader quite a few years younger than her. Dorothy is alone and longs for love and the advances of Jan are a balm to her aching soul.

Back in today’s timeline Roberta is happy in her work but not in her life. She hasn’t been very successful when it comes to relationships and longs to be loved. She suffers a series of tragedies and realizes that what she wants is love but it seems to elude her. She tries to figure out what secrets are behind the letter to her grandmother, but as her gran is suffering from dementia, answers are hard to get.

The weaving of the stories lines is wonderful. You really feel for these women and what they endure, especially Dorothy. She and Roberta long for something that for a long time eludes them both.

I also loved that Roberta’s parts in the book start with a letter or a photo that she finds in an old book. What I didn’t like was the desperation to be defined as a mother or as a lover. While both of these women are strong in their own ways their need, and in the case of Dorothy scheming, to achieve their dreams is a bit manic. Roberta’s story seems get pushed aside in favor of Dorothy’s and I would have like to have heard more of hers. There are many secrets in this book and loss as well.

3/5 stars

Crash

 

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