Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Book Review: The Chase

Author: Janet Evanovich & Lee Goldberg
Title: The Chase
Publisher: Bantam
Publish Date: Feb 25, 2014
Review Copy Provided By: Net Galley
Buy: Amazon
Book Blurb: 
Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg, New York Times bestselling authors of The Heist, return in this action-packed, exciting adventure featuring master con artist Nicolas Fox and die-hard FBI agent Kate O’Hare. And this time around, things go from hot to nuclear when government secrets are on the line. Internationally renowned thief and con artist Nicolas Fox is famous for running elaborate and daring scams. His greatest con of all: convincing the FBI to team him up with the only person who has ever caught him, and the only woman to ever capture his attention, Special Agent Kate O’Hare. Together they’ll go undercover to swindle and catch the world’s most wanted—and untouchable—criminals. Their newest target is Carter Grove, a former White House chief of staff and the ruthless leader of a private security agency. Grove has stolen a rare Chinese artifact from the Smithsonian, a crime that will torpedo U.S. relations with China if it ever becomes public. Nick and Kate must work under the radar—and against the clock—to devise a plan to steal the piece back. Confronting Grove’s elite assassins, Nick and Kate rely on the skills f their ragtag crew, including a flamboyant actor, a Geek Squad techie, and a band of AARP-card-carrying mercenaries led by none other than Kate’s dad. A daring heist and a deadly chase lead Nick and Kate from Washington, D.C., to Shanghai, from the highlands of Scotland to the underbelly of Montreal. But it’ll take more than death threats, trained henchmen, sleepless nights, and the fate of a dynasty’s priceless heirloom to outsmart Fox and O’Hare.

Review:  The Fox & O'Hare series is a bit different from what I'm used to reading by Janet Evanovich, but it does leave me feeling like I'm having a case of deja vu. When you toss Lee Goldberg into the mix, Evanovich's crazy style ends up looking like a cross between several USA Network dramadies (Covert Affairs, Psych and White Collar)

Nick Fox is so much like Neil Caffrey that it is hard to believe I'm not reading a White Collar tie in book (except they don't write those ..at least I think they don't write those)

I think the highlight of the book is Boyd, the actor they hire to help with the cons. He's hysterical. He has that wacky crazy that you get in the Plum novels, kinda like Lula!

The book was full of action and Kate is definitely a kick butt kind of girl. More so, than any of Evanovich's other characters.

There's a lot of chemistry between Kate and Neil, but I can't picture them ever together, which is in a way kind of cool. There are too many love triangles in these books, and the way this series is written, I don't think romance between Kate and Neil would really work.

As for the con? It felt like it was going on and on and on. I knew when they completed the first part quickly that things were going to go wrong, and did they ever.

I'm going to file this series under guilty pleasure reading, even though I have no guilt about it. It was light fluffy fun.

Rating: 4 flowers



Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Book Review: Explosive Eighteen

Author: Janet Evanovich
Title: Explosive Eighteen
Publisher: Bantam
Publish Date: Nov 22, 2011
Buy: Amazon
Book Blurb: 
Bounty hunter Stephanie Plum’s life is set to blow sky high when international murder hits dangerously close to home, in this dynamite novel by Janet Evanovich.

Before Stephanie can even step foot off Flight 127 Hawaii to Newark, she’s knee deep in trouble. Her dream vacation turned into a nightmare, and she’s flying back to New Jersey solo. Worse still, her seatmate never returned to the plane after the L.A. layover. Now he’s dead—and a ragtag collection of thugs and psychos, not to mention the FBI, are all looking for a photograph he was supposed to be carrying.

Only one person has seen the missing photo: Stephanie Plum. Now she’s the target. An FBI sketch artist helps Stephanie re-create the person in the photo, but Stephanie’s descriptive skills are lacking. Until she can improve them, she’ll need to watch her back.

Over at the bail bonds agency things are going from bad to worse. Vinnie’s temporary HQ has gone up in smoke. Stephanie’s wheelman, Lula, falls for their largest skip yet. Lifetime arch nemesis Joyce Barnhardt moves into Stephanie’s apartment. And everyone wants to know what happened in Hawaii?

Morelli, Trenton’s hottest cop, isn’t talking about Hawaii. Ranger, the man of mystery, isn’t talking about Hawaii. And all Stephanie is willing to say about her Hawaiian vacation is . . . It’s complicated.


Review: Every so often I have to visit my old pal Stephanie Plum. I have to admit, 18 books have taken the sparkle off of Steph and the gang, but that doesn't mean I don't smile through the books.

It's been awhile since I visited Trenton, NJ, but I'm glad I took the time to read Explosive Eighteen. It was fun and funny and oddly, I don't think Stephanie had any cars blown up. When did that stop? OK, nothing gets blown up, but one of their skips...who Lula ends up hooking up with, sure likes to steal them, from her!

Not to worry, she still has a hard time doing her job, but what fun would it be if she actually could catch most of her skips? She also still hasn't decided between Morelli and Ranger, and to tell you the truth, I don't think I could decide either. I like the extra tension in this one that is a result of her Hawaiian vacation that went terribly wrong and leaves her with a tan line where a wedding ring used to be.

La La La...no spoilers...but the reason for that tan line is a little less satisfying than I was hoping, especially as things are a bit chilly from one of her two guys.

Then there's the matter of this photo that's getting her chased by lots of thugs and the FBI as well as an issue with Joyce. And of course there's a funeral or two. This book is a little light on Grandma Mazur and the rest of Steph's family, which is a little disappointing, because they really bring on the laughs, but when Grandma appears she always steals the show, especially with her friend Annie who makes love potions. (Lula and the love potion = hilarity!)

There's lots going on in this book, maybe too much, but it was still a good time and it has put me in the mood for more Plum.

Rating: 4 flowers




Monday, April 14, 2014

Tasty Book Tours Book Blast & Review: Kissing The Maid Of Honor



Kissing the Maid of Honor
A Secret Wishes Novel
By: Robin Bielman
Sale Price of $.99 for a Limited Time

Blurb
Sela Sullivan is resolved to be the best maid of honor ever, even if it means tolerating the best man. Insufferable, too-handsome Luke Watters is not only the guy who humiliated her at a kissing booth in high school, but he also happens to be her best friend’s older brother. Positive he’s the same arrogant jock, Sela vows to focus on her duties and steer clear of the frustrating—and frustratingly tempting—Luke.
As a world-renowned extreme-sports photographer, Luke is used to undertaking life-risking adventures. But risking his heart for the beautiful Sela Sullivan, who clearly still hates him for his rejection all those years ago? He didn’t see that coming. Sela inspires a passion he’s never known, and the more time they spend together, the more he craves her. But can he prove to the maid of honor he’s become a man of honor?



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Review: This book was so cute. Sela and Luke have a not so good past. Well, Sela has a not so good past with him. They both, though more Sela than Luke, focus on something that happened in their high school days. (I have to admit I'm always a little wary of heroines that carry and torch and a grudge for guys that hurt them in some way...but in Luke's case it was just some thoughtless thing he said as a kid)

Still it made for some friction between the two, besides the chemistry that is so obviously there from the start. And there are some scenes that will leave the air in the room sizzling, like when they are at the cake tasting and the bachelorette party.

Sela and Luke are two very different people. She's a nurturing type, a nurse at a hospital's pediatric ward and Luke is a dare devil photographer. He's come home for the wedding after a accident that could have killed him.  Opposites?  Maybe, but these are two people that need each other.

The only thing I wasn't keen on was the whole thing that kept them apart and caused the stupid comment that both characters carried with them since school, the whole being friends with the other's sibling.

This is the second book of Robin's that I've read, and I really like her writing style. If you haven't read from the Bliss line, it is similar to Harlequin's Romance line. The stories are sweet and not too spicy. Robin leaves it to your imagination, but still manages to light up the pages with some heat.

It is a sweet contemporary romance that is perfect for a sunny afternoon of reading.

Rating:  4 flowers



Author Info
Robin Bielman lives in Southern California with her high school sweetheart husband, two sons, and crazy-cute mini Labradoodle, Harry (named after Harry Dresden from Jim Butcher's Dresden Files books). When not attached to her laptop, she can almost always be found with her nose in a book. She also likes to run, hike, and dip her toes in the ocean. Filled with wanderlust, she longs to visit many different places and fulfill her curiosity. She wouldn’t mind indulging her sweet tooth in every location either. She’s a lover of sticky notes, cable television shows and café mochas. Writing is a dream come true, and she still pinches herself to be sure it’s real.
She writes contemporary and paranormal romance and loves to connect with readers. Learn more and sign up for her newsletter on her website at http://robinbielman.com. She can also be found online here:




Sunday, April 13, 2014

Book Review: File M For Murder

Author: Miranda James
Title: File M For Murder
Publisher: Berkley
Publish Date: January 31, 2012
Buy: Amazon
Book Blurb: Athena College's new writer in residence is native son and playwright Connor Lawton, known for his sharp writing- and sharper tongue. After an unpleasant encounter, librarian Charlie Harris heads home to a nice surprise: his daughter Laura is subbing for another Athena professor this fall semester. It's great news until he hears who got her the job: her old flame, Connor Lawton...

Fearing competition for Connor's affections, one of his admirers tries to drive Laura out of town. And then, before Connor finishes the play he is writing, he is murdered- and Laura is the prime suspect. Knowing she's innocent, Charlie and his faithful sidekick, Diesel, follow Connor's cluttered trail of angry lovers, bitter enemies, and intriguing research to find the true killer before his daughter is forever cataloged under "M"- for murderer.


Review: File M For Murder is book 3 in the Cat In The Stacks mystery series. I have to admit, I fell in love with the kitty cat on the cover. I'm a sucker for cozy mysteries with cats or dogs in prominent roles. I loved Diesel from the start, but Charlie was harder for me to warm up to. I give props to Miranda for writing the cat as a real character with a great kitty personality.

Having a male character as the amateur sleuth in a cozy series is something different. I was intrigued by that, however, I found Charlie to be a bit bland and his two children Sean and Laura to be very unrealistic and a bit too good to be true.

What I did like about the book was the mystery. Miranda definitely kept you guessing and at the end she leaves you a little bit shocked too, by a secret that's revealed. There's also more than one mystery to solve as the story goes on, and that's what really kept me turning the pages, even though I didn't really like Charlie.

Now to qualify why I'm not too terribly keen on Charlie. He's an overprotective father, but his actions just don't come across well. He also feels a lot older than he actually is. A man in his 50s really shouldn't be such a fuddy duddy and that's really how Charlie feels to me. He should still have spunk or at least appear with it.

This is fairly early on in the series, so I will probably check out the newer books. Plus I really love Diesel. (That's the crazy cat lady in me!)

Rating: 3 flowers


Thursday, April 10, 2014

TLC Book Tours Book Review: The Time Traveler's Boyfriend

Author: Annabelle Costa
Title: The Time Traveler's Boyfriend
Print Length: 250 pages
Publisher: Dev Love Press
Publish Date: February 2, 2014
Review Copy Provided By: TLC Book Tours
Book Blurb: Claudia’s geeky boyfriend Adam has just invented a time machine.

No, really—he has. She doesn’t believe it either until Adam provides her with definitive proof that he does, in fact, have a functioning time travel device sitting in the living room of his Manhattan brownstone.

But instead of getting ready to accept the Nobel Prize, Adam has very different plans for his groundbreaking invention. He wants Claudia to use the machine to travel back in time and stop the accident that landed him in a wheelchair over a decade ago, and prevent the trajectory of events that he believes ruined his life.

When Claudia reluctantly agrees to become the first human time traveler, she knows she’s making a big gamble. If she succeeds, she could have the happy ending with commitment-phobic Adam that she’s always dreamed of. But if she fails, it could mean the end of the universe as she knows it.

Review:  I've read a lot of really deep thoughtful books lately and I'm really glad this book was on my list to be read.

It was so funny.

And cute, it was super cute.

And it appeals to the geeky girl in me.

This was a book I picked up and read straight through and wished it weren't ending.

Claudia's boyfriend invents a time machine and he wants her to use it to go back in time to prevent the accident that landed Adam in the wheelchair.

Messing with the time space continuum is not a good thing....you can't change fixed points in time...or so says The Doctor, my favorite Time Traveler...but maybe Claudia can!

Definitely a light fun read, perfect for the warmer weather.

Rating:  4 flowers


Tasty Book Tours Book Review: Moonlight On My Mind


Moonlight on My Mind
By: Jennifer McQuiston
Releasing March 25th, 2014

Blurb

To ruin a man’s life once takes a regrettable mistake.

To do so twice takes a woman like Julianne Baxter.
Eleven months ago, Julianne’s statement to the authorities wrongly implicated Patrick, the new Earl of Haversham, in his older brother’s death. The chit is as much trouble as her red hair suggests, and just as captivating. Now she has impetuously tracked him to the wilds of Scotland, insisting that he return home to face a murder charge and save his family from ruin. A clandestine wedding may be the only way to save her reputation—and his neck from the hangman’s noose.

Julianne has no objection to the match. More and more she’s convinced of Patrick’s innocence, though when it comes to igniting her passions, the man is all too guilty. And if they can only clear his name, a marriage made in haste could bring about the most extraordinary pleasure…




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Review:  First of all, I have to say, OMG this cover is gorgeous. That alone would have been enough to make me buy this book.

I wasn't sure how I was going to feel about the book going in, Julianne wasn't a heroine I quickly warmed too. Patrick on the other hand...I absolutely loved. 

I loved that this was a good part mystery to go with the romance. I love historical mysteries so this book really ended up being right up my alley. 

This is the third book in a trilogy, but not to worry, it is a stand alone. (However, now I have to find two more books!)

I loved how the characters grew and evolved in this book. You really do come to love Julianne by the end of the book.


Rating:  4 flowers


Author Info
A veterinarian and infectious disease researcher by training, Jennifer McQuiston has always preferred reading romance to scientific textbooks. She resides in Atlanta, Georgia with her husband, their two girls, and an odd assortment of pets, including the pony she promised her children if mommy ever got a book deal. Jennifer can be reached via her website at www.jenmcquiston.com or followed on Twitter @jenmcqwrites.

Author Links

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OR, 

Great Escapes Book Tours Book Review: A Killing Notion



A Killing Notion: A Magical Dressmaking Mystery (Magical Dressmaking Mysteries)
Cozy Mystery
Published by Obsidian (April 1, 2014)
Penguin Publishing Group
Mass Market Paperback: 320 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0451417206
E-Book ASIN: B00F9EZBXS
GoodReads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18492490-a-killing-notion
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Synopsis:
Harlow Jane Cassidy is swamped with homecoming couture requests. If only she didn’t have to help solve a murder, she might get the gowns off the dress forms…. 
Harlow is doing everything she can to expand her dressmaking business, Buttons & Bows—without letting clients know about her secret charm. When she has a chance to create homecoming dresses with a local charity and handmade mums for several high school girls—including Gracie, whose father, Will, has mended Harlow’s heart—she is ready to use her magical talents for a great cause.
But when Gracie’s date for the dance is accused of murder, Harlow knows things won’t be back on course until she helps Gracie clear the football player’s name. If Harlow can’t patch up this mess before the big game, her business and her love life might be permanently benched.

Review:  Another cozy series that I've fallen in love with! I admit I try to go for the books with recipes, cos I'm that kinda girl, but I love magic too.  This is book 5 in the series. (Now I have 4 more books to buy!) Of course I was always a girlie girl too, and love fashion, so there's definitely some appeal for that here too. It doesn't always have to be about food!

Melissa takes all the elements of a good cozy and sprinkles fairy dust on them to make her series different. She has characters that you will love and a mystery that will keep the pages turning. It was full of plot twist, but not to many to make you wish that you'd just find out who the killer is.

I love love love Harlow and the town of Bliss! Definitely a series to continue on with!

Rating: 5 flowers




Melissa-Bourbon-Ramirez-_2
About The Author
Melissa Bourbon, who sometimes answers to her Latina-by-marriage name Misa Ramirez, gave up teaching middle and high school kids in Northern California to write full-time amidst horses and Longhorns in North Texas.  She fantasizes about spending summers writing in quaint, cozy locales, has a love/hate relationship with yoga and chocolate, is devoted to her family, and can’t believe she’s lucky enough to be living the life of her dreams.
She is the Marketing Director with Entangled Publishing, is the author of the Lola Cruz Mystery series with St. Martin’s Minotaur and Entangled Publishing, and A Magical Dressmaking Mystery series with NAL. She also has written two romantic suspense novels, a light paranormal romance, and is the co-author of The Tricked-out Toolbox, a practical marketing guide for authors.

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