Friday, October 28, 2011

Book Review: Merciless by Diana Palmer

Book Review: Merciless (Long, Tall Texans Series)
By: Diana Palmer
Publisher: HQN
Contemporary Romance
2 Heart Review

Tall dark and eligible? That’s all that matters to the women of Jacobsville when it comes to handsome and aloof FBI agent Jon Blackhawk. But if it were up to him, he would never settle down. Luckily, Jon has the best gatekeeper: his efficient and reliable assistant, Joceline Perry. Without her help, he’d be at the mercy of husband hunters — but the more he comes to rely on her, the more he notices how invaluable she really is....

While Joceline can’t deny that her boss is attractive, as a single mother with responsibilities she’s determined to be professional. But when Jon is accosted by a criminal seeking revenge, she comes to his aid — fueling the spark that is growing between them. As the attempts on Jon’s life increase, Joceline stands by his side. But when the smoke clears, will the man who avoided love realize that all he ever needed was right there all along?

*Note* - This was one of my hardest reviews to write because I had to wonder if my reaction to the book was really about the writing or about a difference of beliefs. After going over and over it I believe that it really was the writing.

If you're a regular reader of Cheeky Reads you might remember that I read my very first book of hers a little while back and it wasn't exactly to my reading taste. But, so many of you are fans that I decided to give it another try with her newest book Merciless. I hate to say it, but I'm still not a huge fan.

What I did like about the book was that Mrs. Palmer creates a very nicely connected family and does well with threading their stories together. Sorry to say that's about all I found that I liked about the story.

Mostly what I didn't like are things that are mainly personal preference and I'll try to touch on them here without giving away any spoilers. First, I read romances that that touch on religion and enjoy many of them. Debbie Macomber is a favorite and she does an excellent job of including religious sentiments in her stories and characters without it feeling forced or overwhelming.

I didn't feel that way with this book. It felt like religious beliefs were thrown around as an excuse for bad behavior, prejudice and plain out rudeness. I won't go into details for spoilers sake, but in the real world I've lived in some small religious towns and in none of them would they act the way some of these characters did toward a woman who had a child out of wedlock. They might not like it, but the actions in this book were so over the top it stunned me. Was this book set in the 1950's?

My main issue with this book were that I felt most of the characters were one dimensional. Especially the hero's mother. She so flat as a character in this book and I felt like her dialogue could have been that of a 6 year old kid for all the maturity and depth it had. She and her lack of a real motive for her hateful actions really annoyed me.

In fact, this book would have been more of a 3 Heart Review if the mother could have been thrown out. She really was totally unnecessary to the plot and what little she contributed could have been figured out some other way. This character tainted the entire book for me both in her actions and the utter lack of her being a fleshed out character.

All in all, I felt like the characters were teenagers in their maturity level and I questioned the decisions of the hero and heroine at every single turn in the story. This just wasn't a story for me.

Which leads me to the conclusion that Diana Palmer is just not an author that will work for me. I know she has legions of fans so obviously she works for others! If you are a fan of hers, I think you will like this book because it has much of the same feel of the previous book of hers that I read.

I don't see myself picking up another Diana Palmer book to read and review because at this point I know it won't work for me and I'm not here to review books just to bash them. I might have one of our other reviewers read her work and see if it's only me who can't seem to connect with the stories.

What about you? Have you read this book and if so, what did you think? Do you love Mrs. Palmer's books and think I'm a stupid head for not getting the appeal? Or are you like me and had trouble with it? I really want to know!

Friday, October 21, 2011

LIVE CHAT & GIVEAWAY TODAY

Mystery Author Rhys Bowen

ON FACEBOOK

8:30 pm East Coast --- 5:30 pm West Coast


Mystery Author Rhys BowenJoin Best Selling Author Rhys Bowen on her FaceBook Page where she will be discussing how she approaches writing a Mystery Novel and creating a strong Heroine in a Series. Come and leave your questions on her wall and she will respond live to all questions, or as many as she can.

If you can not make the Chat and Giveaway live make sure to drop in afterward and check out the discussion anytime. One lucky commenter between now and Sunday will win a copy of Royal Blood, A Royal Spyness Mystery. Comment on Fan Rhys's FaceBook Page between now and November 15th and be entered to win the newest book in the Royal Spyness Series, Naughty in Nice.

Find out more about Rhys Bowen Online

FACEBOOK GIVEAWAY:


Royal Blood By Rhys Bowen
(A Royal Spyness Mystery #4)

Penniless and thirty-fourth in line to the throne, Lady Georgiana Rannoch finds herself in a truly draining state of affairs. To escape her hateful brother, Georgie accepts an invitation from the Queen to represent the royals at a wedding in Transylvania. But at the macabre-looking castle, Georgie finds the bride with blood running down her chin, and a wedding guest is poisoned. Now it’s up to Georgie to save the nuptial festivities before the couple’s vows become “to love and to cherish, till ‘undeath’ do them part...”

Amazon Kindle* Paperback * Audio
Barnes & Noble Hardcover * Paperback * Nookbook

About Rhys Bowen
Rhys Bowen is the Bestselling Author of the Royal Spyness Series, Molly Murphy Mysteries, and Constable Evans. Awarded the Agatha Best Novel Award and nominated for the Edgar Best Novel Rhys’s titles have received rave reviews around the globe.

Rhys Bowen is a transplanted Brit who now divides her time between California and Arizona. She currently writes two mystery series, the Molly Murphy novels, about an Irish immigrant in 1900s New York City and the lighter Royal Spyness mysteries about a penniless minor royal in 1930s Britain. Her books made bestseller lists, garnered many awards, nominations, and starred reviews.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Throwback Book Review: A Perfect Darkness by Jamie Rush

Throwback Book Review: A Perfect Darkness (Book 1 of the Offspring Series)
By: Jamie Rush
Paranormal Romance
Published By: Avon Books
5 Heart Review

Before I posted L.A.'s review of this book I wanted to include part of the email she sent me with it because I thought it added to the great review she did:

Hey Sabrina,
Here is the review for Jaime Rush's A Perfect Darkness.  It get 5 hearts.  OMG I loved this book.  I read it in 4 1/2 hours, one sitting. (Cute right?)

Book Blurb:

They live ordinary lives, but they are extraordinary.  They are the Offspring, children of a mysterious experiment gone awry – and they are in terrible danger.

A sexy stranger awakens Amy Shane in the dead of night.  Lucas Vanderwyck barely has time to whisper a few words before three men burst into her bedroom and drag him away.  But what Lucas reveals shatters Amy’s safe little world forever.

Lucas and Amy share a psychic gift – a fight that could put them in mortal danger.  And as they share night after night of savage passion, as a shadowy government conspiracy tracks their every move, they will fight to save each other.  But only with their powers of second sight can they escape the terror of a perfect darkness.
This book took off from the very first chapter and left me glued to the page until the last word.  It was fast and exciting with just the right amounts of romance and suspense.  I devoured A Perfect Darkness in one sitting, and I can’t wait to see what happens next.

The main plot was simple enough to be resolved in one book, but had so many possibilities and open-ended questions that I can see this easily being a hit series.  I was a little taken aback when the action started right away.  Actually I found myself feeling a lot like Amy was at the time, like the world had spun and suddenly I wasn’t sure I knew the truth of anything anymore.

Jaime, the author, achieved what every paranormal writer strives for – believability.  The paranormal aspects of this book have a solid background and believable origins, all set within the world we live in.  That being said, they are also open for growth.  The characters themselves are learning the extent of what they can do, and I have a feeling there’s a lot more to come.

The characters in this book aren’t perfect, and that’s just how I like them.  Most of them have to make hard decisions on what is right and wrong, and they don’t always do the right thing.  I immediately liked Lucas, even though part of me wished he could have played a larger role in general.  Amy was also likable and I loved watching her surprise herself with how strong she really can be.  I was impressed that Petra and Eric got part of their story told in this first book – it isn’t always that way for side characters– and I have a feeling their stories are only going to grow throughout the series.  I also want to see more of Ozzie, Amy’s neighbor.  His role was small in this book, but he has a lot of potential.

I’m super excited to see where this series goes.  I can tell more and more characters are going to be introduced in future books…this is only the beginning.  If you’re looking for a fast paced, original story that keeps you on your metaphorical toes, you can’t go wrong with A Perfect Darkness.

My advice: get real comfortable before you open this one…you may not be getting up again until you’ve read it all.

Happy Reading!
Cheeky Girl L.A.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Welcome Guest Author Misty Evans!

Hi Readers!  

I'm Misty Evans, one of the eleven authors who contributed a short story to Entangled, a Paranormal Anthology, which features vamps, weres, ghosts and more for Halloween. All of the stories, cover art, and foreword by Stacia Kane, were donated to the anthology, and all of the proceeds go to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF). My story, “Sweet Demon”, is the prequel to my new demon series. The first book, Revenge is Sweet, will be out later this fall.  

I'm excited to be part of this project because breast cancer has touched my family and friends. One of my aunts died from breast cancer, and one of my childhood friends recently underwent a double mastectomy. I’ve felt helpless at times, watching these brave women battle this disease, and I want to find a cure.  

One of the fun parts of working on Entangled is getting to be in a book with my friend (and best-selling author) Nancy Haddock. Her vamp books rock! Cesca, the heroine in the Oldest City Vampire series, is addicted to HGTV just like I am. And besides the fact that Nancy can write a kickass heroine, she’s one of the most gracious ladies I know.  

Hear from Nancy Haddock tomorrow at Romance in the Backseat.  

Want to know more about my short story in Entangled? Here's the “Sweet Demon” blurb and the link to an excerpt!  

SWEET DEMON by Misty Evans (author of the Witches Anonymous series) —When Chicago’s vampire king insists Kali Sweet join his empire, the vengeance demon must rely on her ex – the half-human, half-chaos demon who left her at the altar three hundred years ago – in order to escape the vamp’s clutches.  

Read the excerpt! http://bit.ly/rcCV2n   

Want to know more about my books or tell me what you think about “Sweet Demon”? Find me at all these places:

website: http://www.readmistyevans.com
Facebook: http://on.fb.me/mnoJz6

Friday, October 14, 2011

WINNERS!

The Winner of Cat O' Nine Tails by Patricia Leever s...

Jennifer Lane!

The Winner of Lucky Girl by Cate Lord is....

Amy!

I will email you ladies the information about how you'll get your books. Congrats & Happy Reading!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

New Release & Giveaway! Cat O'Nine Tails by Patricia Leever

I dropped the ball on an author interview and I have to send my sincere apologies to Patricia Leever! Since I don't have the interview to share with you, I wanted to tell you all about her book Cat O'Nine Tails and link you out to a few other blogs for reviews and interviews!

New Book Release: Cat O'Nine Tails
By: Patricia Leever
Historical Romance
Omnific Publishing

When pirate hunter Orrin and his brother Kale are hired by Queen Winifred to hunt down Aeron and her band of miscreants, Orrin never dreamed he’d fall in love with the beautiful she-pirate nor the kind, accepting people of her island hideaway. As Orrin learns of Aeron’s jaded past with the Queen, he allies himself with the pirate captain and her crew. Joining forces on the high seas to bring Winifred’s evil reign to an end, Aeron and Orrin soon discover that the strongest weapon in their combined arsenal is the love they have for each other.  

Check out the Book Trailer:


Check out the latest review at a Tale of Many Reviews.

There's a fun interview with some of the characters over at Readaholics Anoynomous.

GIVEAWAY at Kelsey's Book Corner & review here.

Finally, I'm doing an ebook giveway of Cat O'Nine Tails too! All you have to do to enter is leave a comment letting us know who your favorite pirate is or if you'd like to have sailed the high seas yourself! Open Internationally. I'll randomly draw a winner on Friday the 14th. Happy Reading!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

5 Heart Review: Rising Freestyle by Vivian Arend

Book Review: Rising, Freestyle (Xtreme Adventures Series)
By: Vivian Arend
Contemporary Romance 
Published by: Samhain
Rating: 5 Heart Review

Stuck between a rock-solid man and a hard place…

Melanie Dixon’s body may have recovered from a horrific climbing accident, but her nerve is long gone. So is the natural enthusiasm for life she took for granted. Tired of being scared, beyond ready to conquer her fears, she pulls up stakes and moves to her brother’s new hometown to start over. Her first step is the most terrifying—to tackle the wall at the local climbing center.

Derrick James is mesmerized by Melanie’s dark beauty, and equally impressed with her climbing abilities and determination. Watching her retune rusty skills spurs a desire to partner with her—on and off the ropes. Melanie’s a compelling mix of wit, sensuality and vulnerability, and it’s his delicious task to convince her the scars on her body are no match for the heat rising between them.

Then a man from Melanie’s past shows up, pushing their relationship to the edge. Nathan King wants photographs for a “where are they now” series, but his side agenda is more personal in nature. A proposal that brings her out of her sensual shell and onto a precarious sexual ledge. Where trust is crucial…and too easily shattered.

Rising, Freestyle is a novella about a woman, Melanie, trying to find and be happy with herself again. She had a rock-climbing accident and was hurt and scarred. She had a lover reject her for her scars and she is not happy with herself anymore. That is until she meets Derrick who is teaching her to rock climb again. Then, enter Melanie’s childhood crush, Nathan King. He is totally into Melanie, but she’s with Derrick.

The story is about Derrick and Nathan healing Melanie. She needs to feel better about her body. She needs to feel beautiful again. Derrick has healed her most of the way, but she needs another man to show her that she is attractive as well. Nathan is that man.

The book has quite a few very well written and steamy sex scenes (of course, it’s Vivian Arend!) I found myself loving the voyeurism scenes; you can feel the passion between all of the characters. There are quite a few scenes leading up to the actual voyeurism, due to Nathan’s photography.

Vivian Arend has a way of telling the story from differing viewpoints so that you don’t dislike Nathan for his role, and so that you understand why he acts the way he does. You certainly won’t feel creeped out by the voyeurism. I think Vivian does a great job of writing voyeurism so that it can appeal to everyone, even people that are not typically into scenes or scenarios that contain it.
Read An Excerpt

Happy Reading!
Cheeky Girl Meagan

Monday, October 10, 2011

Monday Morning Cuteness!

We are finally getting some Fall-esqe weather in Florida and it's made me so happy! Now if the rain would go away and it would drop another 10 degrees it would be prefect. Here's to an awesome Fall!

Funny Pictures - Cute Kittens
see more Lolcats and funny pictures, and check out our Socially Awkward Penguin lolz!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Smart Bitches Live Chat Today!

I received this awesome news from Sourcebooks, the publisher of Everything I Know About Love I Learned From Romance Novels:

This Thursday, October 6, you can chat with Sarah Wendell, author of Everything I Know About Love I Learned from Romance Novels on the Sony eReader Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/ReaderStore. The chat will begin at 3:30 pm EST and last about an hour.

Sarah will be chatting about her new book, Everything I Know About Love I Learned from Romance Novels, in stores this month! Come with your questions about romance fiction, relationships, or anything you’ve always wanted to ask Sarah. 

For more information, you can follow us on Twitter:

Danielle @SourcebooksCasa
Sarah @SmartBitches
Sony @SonyReaderStore

And check out the Sony Facebook Page www.facebook.com/ReaderStore, Sarah’s page http://www.facebook.com/TrashyBooks and the Everything I Know About Love… page http://www.facebook.com/EverythingIKnow.

Seriously Romance Peeps - I'm sure this is going to be a hilarious and fun chat with Sarah! Be sure to join in. :)

Happy Chatting!
Cheeky Girl Sabrina

3 Heart Book Review - Sasha's Calling by T.C. Archer

Book Review: Sasha's Calling
By: T.C. Archer
Sci Fi/Fantasy Romance
Publisher: Loose ID
3 Heart Review

Nothing can stop freelance thief Sasha Smirnov from saving her planet -- except, Dirk, the gorgeous ambassador with polychrome eyes. Is it lust or designer pheromones? He is hot, too hot to resist -- or forget. A single, sizzling kiss burns him into her memory, and her body, but she can't afford to stop for passion, let alone love.

Sasha needs to get as far away from Dirk as possible and take the classified data she stole with her. So she stows away on a ship outward bound, only to discover Dirk's the pilot. Now she can't get away from him, or the system, but he will let her into his bed...

I am not usually one for Sci Fi based books or TV shows, (I mean, really what is a parsec?!) which this book defiantly is, but surprisingly enough, I really liked it.

I can proudly say that I read every single word of this book, which is unusual for me as I have been known to scan over extra words, such as overly long descriptions of things. This book doesn’t have that problem, yes it describes things, such as Sasha and the other characters etc but it doesn’t go on about it for so long that I lose attention and skip over it.

Yes, okay, the books plot is not the strongest or the most complex, but it gets the job done. The story is set out in a way that isn’t confusing, you always know what’s happening but can still be surprised by twists and turns.

Plus this book has some a fair few steamy sex scenes that will blow your metaphorical socks off. Although be warned, if graphic, very minutely explained sex scenes aren’t for you then give this book a miss. I do have to say, they are very good!

All in all, I’m a big fan of the book, and of Sasha, it’s nice to have a kickass female lead for a change instead of some airy fairy girl that constantly runs away screaming. Yeah, the plot is not overly complex or mentally taxing, but if you’re after something fun, interesting, well written and rude, then pick up this.

Happy Reading!
Cheeky Girl Kerrie

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

4 Heart Book Review: Enemy Lover By Karin Harlow

Book Review: Enemy Lover
By: Karen Harlow
Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Pocket Star
Rating: 4 Hearts

When you have no alternative, then you call in L.O.S.T.   Because with the Last Option Special Team, it’s do or die…

It’s Jax Cassidy’s first mission for L.O.S.T. – one that will give the former cop who went rogue a chance to prove herself.  Her assignment: gain the trust of assassin Marcus Cross…eliminate him…then take down Marcus’s mentor, Joseph Lazarus, a man with a bold eye on the White House.  But the woman who’s known by her team for being a femme fatale succumbs to passion, only to discover Cross’s deadly secret.  He’s a vampire, and Joseph Lazarus is his creator.

Left for dead by his platoon in the violent hills of Afghanistan, Special Ops sniper Marcus Cross was given a second chance at life.  His newly heightened skills make him the perfect killing machine, and as Lazarus’s right-hand man, he’s quickly rising to the top of his dark empire, purging enemies with speed and precision.  Only when dangerous beauty Jax Cassidy is sent to bring him in does he begin to question Lazarus’s motives and his own actions.  But when Jax’s life is threatened by the one thing that can destroy them both, Marcus must make a bitter choice – her death or his.
I was a little skeptical about this book after reading the cover.  The concept of Marcus being a vampire was unexpected, and I wasn’t sure how it would fit into the premise of the story.  On the other hand, I knew this book would be mixing my two favorite types of stories – urban fantasy and secret agent.  I was either going to love it or hate it.  Let’s just say I’m really glad I didn’t miss this one.

From the first chapter, I knew I was going to like Jax.  She is strong, resourceful, and a smart-ass.  However, she isn’t without her vulnerabilities – but that’s what makes her realistic.  The author, Karin Harlow, certainly didn’t pull punches with Jax.  She is a heroine who has had a tough life, and it’s about to get tougher from the moment she sets eyes on Marcus.

Marcus is all kinds of yummy.  He’s controlled, focused, and determined to be on the side of right.  This man has a tighter hold on his emotions than most women keep on their purses.  And yes, he is a vampire…not that he needs the heightened senses or special skill-set that comes with being an undead considering he would be a force to be reckoned with as a plain human.
Watching these two spar words and rough each other up – in more ways than one – was a lot of fun.  Especially since Karin didn’t make this just a book about two enemies falling for each other.  The plot is intricate and fast-paced.  There are plenty of twists and turns to keep you guessing all the way to the end. 

The one thing I wish Karin would have paid more attention to is the vampire aspect.  I didn’t really get to connect with the world that Marcus lives in, because I didn’t really get to see it.  It’s there…but its background noise.  I would have liked a more in-depth look at the paranormal world and the rules that govern those who live in it.  I felt a little taken aback by how rationally everyone seemed to accept there being vampires.  It was so fast and easy for L.O.S.T. to figure out how to handle them – I’ve read a million vampire books, but if I ever ran across one in real life I’m still not sure if my best bet is wood, silver, perhaps a cross and some sunshine. 

I also felt a little sorry for Gage.  He appears to be a central character at first, getting some page time at the beginning, but sort of disappears through a lot of action.  He obviously has a thing for Jax, and if it weren’t for Marcus, I would say they’d make a great pair.  I guess all I can hope for is that Karin will write another L.O.S.T. book and Gage gets to find himself in his own sticky situation.  I’ve definitely got my fingers crossed.
If you like urban fantasy, suspense, and SEAL-like men, you’re going to love Enemy Lover.  It’s like a s’more…all your favorites in one place and hot!  

Happy Reading!
Cheeky Girl L.A.

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