Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Taking It All by Maya Banks

Publisher: Penguin
Date published: August 2014
ISBN: 9780425272985
Contemporary Romance
Reviewed by Gabrielle
Obtained via publisher

Rating: 3 Hearts

This new and last book in this trilogy gives us Chessy and Tate’s story. The two must find a way to balance their relationship and their lives. Tate is so focused on his business that it seems that he is leaving behind the fire and passion of their relationship. Chessy has needs of her own and begins to lose faith in their love. Can their relationship stand the test of time or has Tate let things go for too long already?

I enjoyed how this book wrapped up this trilogy. It was nice to get to read this couples story after seeing them in the previous two books. Not only do we get their story but the two previous couples are also in this book. We are given a look at where they are now and see them come to help Chessy in her time of need.

This story is an intense read with a very big problem with Chessy being put in danger. Some readers may not be comfortable with what happens to her but this is the catalyst that brings Tate back.  While I did enjoy this book Tate and Chessy are far from my favorite couple. I felt that Tate has much more to atone for and was let off to easily. He really should have known better and does not always stick to his word until something painful happens. Years are a long time to neglect something as precious as what they have. Chessy is not perfect either. She refuses to talk to her husband about her feelings for some time and does not push things as much as she should. Putting all that aside the two make a good couple. Their love is still there, it just needs to be rekindled and trust needs to be earned once again.

All in all this was a nice conclusion to this trilogy.  Readers are treated to each of the couples and their lives as they continue in their relationships.

This is an objective review and not an endorsement of this book.


Monday, September 15, 2014

Josh of the Damned Triple Feature #2: The Final Check-Out by Andrea Speed

Riptide Publishing
April 27th, 2013
M/M Paranormal, Comedy
Reviewed by Dawn (love2read28@gmail.com)
Obtained by Publisher
5 Hearts

Josh Caplan thought he discouraged the Quik-Mart’ corporation’s expansion into hell but sometimes company CEO’s need a good swift kick in the butt to show them that they are not wanted there. Josh just never anticipates being told he is now a guardian for Hell and that Medusa’s work for him is never done. Take a ride with Josh as he navigates being a guardian as well as stopping the Quik-Mart from trying to kill him once and for all. Can Josh be able to use his new found guardian powers to stop the one thing that stands before him and death- a money hungry CEO?

Let me say that I absolutely adore this series by author Andrea Speed. The stories are a comedy of fun that has left me laughing until I cry as I cheer on Josh at his night job at the Quik-Mart. In the final three stories in this series, readers are taken on the ride of their life as Josh battles a nasty CEO, keep Quik-Mart’s expansion out of the Hell universe called Dev and keep his job all at the same time. Add in some intriguing characters, a fun storyline and you got the makings of one book that will take the reader for the ride of their life, all the while laughing hysterically and rooting for the main characters to survive.

Meet Josh Caplan. Night time Quik-Mart clerk, monster magnet and has a vampire boyfriend. I got to admit. Josh made me laugh at times with his one liners as well as his acceptance of life with an ease that astounded me when I read his adventures in the Josh of the Damned series. Josh grows within each book of the series and in the end, he turns out to be one heck of a guardian…even if he has no idea what the heck he is doing at times, which made me think that was what the author wanted to convey within this final triple feature in the series. Add in some spectacular secondary characters such as Mr. Kwon, Josh’s necromancer boss, Medusa, leader of the hell world Dev, Colin the vampire boyfriend and more leave the reader eager to see what happens next with each page and I, for one, love the adventures Josh has with these characters at one time or another in the series. Add in a love-sick Yeti stalker, Medusa’s insane sisters and you got some plot twists that leave you giggling like crazy. Andrea Speed’s world building is just flat out amazing. Her characters shine in a world where monsters come to the Earth through portals and grab snacks at Quik-Mart, meet humans and just shuffle on back to Dev with the world none the wiser. Not too many details keep the story from being bogged down when we switch over to Dev. It was just enough of a glimpse to make me want to know more about that world and the monsters that call it home.

The final three stories keep the reader spellbound and as you find out what happens when Josh takes on the CEO of Quik-Mart Corporation, Medusa’s sisters and trying to stay alive while doing all this is a fun romp in the paranormal world Ms. Speed as created. The reader will laugh, snicker, root for Josh and all his friends and then laugh some more as the final three stories show the reader how Josh can save his life, his job and find a happy ever after that makes it to the next day. I can’t say more about the final three stories in this amazing series without giving too much away. Just be warned, you should read the series in order as each story to make sense to and to meet the characters that all make an appearance in these final three stories.

If you enjoy a good laugh while reading a paranormal book, then try the Josh of the Damned series and settle in for one hell raisi8ng adventure from start to finish. I look forward to seeing where this author will go in the future for her readers to enjoy.

This is an objective review and not an endorsement


Sunday, September 14, 2014

MIRROR X by Karri Thompson

The Van Winkle Project, #1
Entangled Publishing, July 2014
Obtained via:  publisher
(ISBN13: 9781622660582)
Young Adult/Dystopia

Karri Thompson’s MIRROR X is a young adult romance set in a post-apocalyptic world.

Cassie Dannacher has spent the last 1,000 years in a cryogenic state after a helicopter accident leaves her near death.  She awakens to find that 600 years ago a plague struck the earth, killing more than half the world’s population and leaving its women infertile.  In order to survive, cloning of humans from buried DNA has been perfected, but there is a finite supply and it is slowly running out.  Cassie finds that she has been awakened to repopulate the planet.

Karri Thompson’s imaginative future world populated by clones dying out for lack of fertile women was extremely clever and fresh.  Cassie wakes up in a world where everyone she knew has died hundreds of years earlier and she is being told that she is earth’s last hope for continuing.  For a teenager, or anyone really, these revelations are mindboggling.  And the surprises just keep coming, while poor Cassie just wants her freedom back.  The setup for this story is excellent.  However, for this reader, things start to unravel after that.

This reader felt the story pace was uneven, moving fairly slowly until the end of the story nears and then it picks up before simply ending, leaving readers in a state of confusion and disappointment.  Then there is the romance that just simply doesn’t work.  While Cassie is trying to get her feet under her in this new world where she has such incredible responsibilities foisted upon her, she finds a kindred spirit in the cloned young geneticist that is leading her project, Michael Bennett.  Their instant romantic relationship came out of nowhere and really seemed out of place and inappropriate.

Lastly, Cassie was simply difficult to like.  She was more concerned with getting free than saving the planet and it came off just plain whiney.  And while it was understandable to some degree as more and more shocking news arises and Cassie realizes she is a pawn to politics, just as the story started getting interesting and this reader was looking forward to how her situation was going to be resolved, the story just up and ended.

If you are looking for some terrific world building, MIRROR X may be just what you are looking for.

Reviewed by T. Barringer

"This is an objective review and not an endorsement of this book."

Saturday, September 13, 2014


Publisher: Torquere Press
Date published: 7/2/14
ISBN: 978-1-61040-770-0
Fantasy, Adventure, Gay, Lesbian romance
Reviewed by Helen
Weblink: http://www.prizmbooks.com/zencart/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=1&products_id=87
Obtained via publisher
Rating: 3

Aviva, the second cook, and Queen Shulamit of Perach are in love, when Aviva finds a wounded prince and brings him back to the castle. Shulamit loves peace and justice, and is determined to help the prince.

Prince Kaveh, from the City of Red Clay, is in love with his engineer Farzin. But Kaveh’s father the king slashes the workers’ wages and imprisons Farzin, threatening to execute him.

Each chapter has a unique and expressive title, which is a nice introduction to a book that is quite different from what the reader might be expecting. This is a longer book, with a detailed and complicated story of two neighboring countries and their very different rulers. Add in dragons, other more unexpected shapeshifters, and warriors, people who aren’t necessarily what they seem to be, and a huge cast of minor characters, and you have a fantasy/adventure/romance with lesbian, gay, and bisexual protagonists, as well as straight characters.

The start of the book is a bit slow and rambling with unnecessary detail and the real action more described that shown, but it warms up as the book progresses, and the reader becomes embroiled in the convoluted situation and the many appealing people they meet. I also found some of the details a little clinical. I understand the problems the queen faced and agree the author overcame them cleverly, but it wasn’t at all romantic for me.

However, some of the action was wonderfully written and there are certainly plenty of unexpected twists and turns in the story. Very different and interesting to read.

This is an objective review and not an endorsement of this book.

Friday, September 12, 2014

NOTHING SPECIAL by Jay Northcote

Pages: 184
Date: 21/08/2014
Grade: 4+
Details: Received from Dreamspinner Press

The blurb:

“Noah thinks he’s nothing special. Average height, a bit on the skinny side, and cute but rather geeky, he’s relentlessly ordinary. He certainly doesn’t expect to be noticed by Sol, the gorgeous dark-haired stranger Noah sees on his commute home most days. But when Noah’s friend, Dom, persuades Noah to take a huge risk in a bid to get Sol’s attention, things turn out better than Noah dared to hope. Noah and Sol start dating, and much to Noah’s surprise, his feelings seem to be reciprocated.

But Noah’s insecurities make him doubt Sol. He doesn’t believe he’s interesting enough or sexy enough to hold Sol’s attention, and as Sol tries to get closer, Noah’s instinct is to pull away to protect himself. If their relationship is going to survive, Sol needs to convince Noah that he sees Noah very differently than Noah sees himself. Because to Sol, Noah is something very special indeed.”

My thoughts:

This is a cosy read. The author draws you in and before you know it you’re at home in Noah and Sol’s world. The two young men feel natural and real from the moment they are introduced. They are recognizable which makes it very easy to become invested in their developing relationship. Noah and Sol are the sort of men you would love to be friends with. The fact that they are also very hot together is a very nice bonus.

 It is also an easy read. The story doesn’t tackle deep or shocking issues, what angst there is, is small scale, recognisable and not at all protracted. Reading Nothing Special is like wrapping yourself in a woolly blanket on a cold night or like an open fire in winter. It is pure comfort.

I have endless admiration for an author who tells her stories so well that the ordinary becomes special. Jay Northcote’s words paint a captivating picture. In fact, I found it impossible to put the book down once Noah and Sol got together. I had to keep going until I could be sure they were going to be happy.

And all of that made this a delightful reading experience. Of course there are times when I want my books to challenge me or push at my comfort levels. But there are at least as many occasions when I just want to lose myself in a story, get captured by the romance and enjoy the beauty of it all. Nothing Special is the book for such moments. It delivers a well written, easy to read and utterly charming story. For me it meant a few hours of pure reading bliss. And it also means I’ve found myself an author to add to my ‘comfort read’ list.