Confess: Colleen Hoover

ConfessAuthor: Colleen Hoover
Book Name: Confess
Series: *
Order: *
Genre: Romance
Rating:  Really Good


Blurb:  At age twenty-one, Auburn Reed has already lost everything important to her. In her fight to rebuild her shattered life, she has her goals in sight and there is no room for mistakes. But when she walks into a Dallas art studio in search of a job, she doesn’t expect to find a deep attraction to the enigmatic artist who works there, Owen Gentry.

For once, Auburn takes a chance and puts her heart in control, only to discover that Owen is keeping a major secret from coming out. The magnitude of his past threatens to destroy everything important to Auburn, and the only way to get her life back on track is to cut Owen out of it.

To save their relationship, all Owen needs to do is confess. But in this case, the confession could be much more destructive than the actual sin.

Review:  I hadn’t even made it beyond the prologue, wasn’t at even 3% yet and I already had enough tears going that I could hardly read the words.  This is a pretty emotionally intense book, though it does let up enough to not leave you feeling constantly torn up.

The only reason I didn’t rate this higher was because I really kind of needed more at the end.  It just felt unfinished.  Sure, there is an awful lot that a reader can assume, but I prefer things to be tied up a bit more than this rather than left open, so I was just a bit frustrated by that.  More so because this is a new adult book and the point in our characters’ lives is kind of unsettled anyway and not getting some idea as to how that resolves irritated me.

The story itself, outside of the lack of full resolution (which other than my personal preference wasn’t a bad thing), was beautifully written.  It is probably because I was enjoying both Owen and Auburn’s characters so much that I wasn’t thrilled with the end. I wanted the chance to get to know them more.

Phantom Evil: Krewe of Hunters, Book 1

Phantom EvilAuthor: Heather Graham
Book Name: Phantom Evil
Series: Krewe of Hunters
Order: #1
Genre: Paranormal/Suspense
Rating:  Good

Blurb:  A secret government unit, a group of renegade paranormal investigators…and a murder no one else can crack

Though haunted by the recent deaths of two teammates, Jackson Crow knows that the living commit the most heinous crimes.

A police officer utilizing her paranormal intuition, Angela Hawkins already has her hands full of mystery and bloodshed.

But one assignment calls to them too strongly to resist. In a historic mansion in New Orleans’s French Quarter, a senator’s wife falls to her death. Most think she jumped; some say she was pushed. And yet others believe she was beckoned by the ghostly spirits inhabiting the house–once the site of a serial killer’s grisly work.

In this seemingly unsolvable case, only one thing is certain: whether supernatural or all too human, crimes of passion will cast Jackson and Angela into danger of losing their lives…and their immortal souls.

Review:  One of the peeves I have with the suspense/mystery genre is that it is incredibly rare that the story doesn’t end with a big Scooby Doo moment.  Sadly, this book really wasn’t an exception so it slammed that peeve button hard for me.  Seriously!  Why can’t the characters be intelligent enough to figure it out through hard work and smarts rather than having the bad guy just dump it all into your lap?  I’m just not a fan of that.

The other part that kind of annoyed me was the dialog.  When there was dialog in the less intense parts of the book, it came across as awkward and clunky because there wasn’t much background reference for the conversation to flow naturally.  Again, another peeve of mine.  I don’t think I noticed this as much when there was a lot of drama going on because that is what I was focused on, so it wasn’t a horrible distraction as a whole, but just obvious in the less intense places.

I can say that outside of those kind of big irritants, I did like this.  I like the concept of this group that has come together and what they are doing.  I like the fact that the paranormal is a big part of what they do, but it isn’t the entirety of their purpose.  I’m not usually a fan of books that fall into the horror or seriously scary end of things and this just skirted that for me (really wish I’d not read parts of this right before bed), but didn’t cross the line or I wouldn’t have finished it.

Considering that this is the first in the series and things can improve over time with an author’s experience, I do want to read more of these, though I think I’ll need some lighter material in between.

Owning Violet: The Fowler Sisters, Book 1

Owning VioletAuthor: Monica Murphy
Book Name: Owning Violet
Series: The Fowler Sisters
Order: #1
Genre: Romance/Erotic
Rating:  Okay


Blurb:  I’ve moved through life doing what’s expected of me. I’m the middle daughter, the dutiful daughter. The one who braved a vicious attack and survived. The one who devoted herself to her family’s business empire. The one who met an ambitious man and fell in love. We were going to run Fleur Cosmetics together, Zachary and I.

Until he got a promotion and left me in the dust. Maybe it’s for the best, between his disloyalty and his wandering eye. But another man was waiting for me. Wanting me. He too has an overwhelming thirst for success, just like Zachary–perhaps even more so. He’s also ruthless. And mysterious. I know nothing about Ryder McKay beyond that he makes me feel things I’ve never felt before.

One stolen moment, a kiss, a touch . . . and I’m hooked. Ryder’s like a powerful drug, and I’m an addict who doesn’t want to be cured. He tells me his intentions aren’t pure, and I believe him. For once, I don’t care. I’m willing to risk everything just to be with him. Including my heart. My soul.

My everything.

Review:  It is incredibly difficult to rate a book that has good and bad things going on.  This is absolutely one of those books.

Violet’s character started out as this terribly needy, insecure and desperate person and Ryder was basically a sociopath.  Both pretty horrible characters.  So much so that I came extremely close to just putting it down, they were that bad.  It was also incredibly difficult to see how any chemistry at all would build between the two.  I stuck with it and they got much better, though they still had horribly contradictory character traits, both fluctuating back to what we saw at the beginning.

When the chemistry did finally hit, it was pretty good.  The middle to late part of the book got a little bit more emotionally intense and the steamy parts were pretty steamy, hence some of the good parts.

Then we kind of get tossed right back out and into the bad when the book ended.  The only thing that got resolved was that Violet and Ryder end up together.  Well, we kind of figured that would happen, but all of the things that were in their way?  Didn’t actually get resolved.  The drama and threat of Pilar, both with regard to her hold over Ryder and what she had going on behind the scenes, got totally dropped.  Absolutely nothing happened with it.  We get zero reaction from Zachary when Violet walks out of the party, with Ryder, after Zachary announces, in front of her father and other coworkers, that he will be marrying her.  Again, that thread of the story just gets dropped.  The build up about Violet’s past and her attacker is also another issue that gets dropped.  We get no reaction from her supposedly uncaring and unsupportive father (who is another character that is extremely contradictory) about her relationship with Ryder.  There are so many pieces to this story that just do not get addressed or dealt with at all.  This all just kind of ends.

I get that there are pieces that are more than likely going to be addressed in the next book as the series follows the other sisters, but since so much of this was tied directly to Violet, it was beyond frustrating to not have any of that even remotely addressed, which turned what had gotten to be a much better story into one that I just was really annoyed and frustrated by.  The whole thing felt like it wasn’t fully fleshed out and then it was left unfinished.

Hold On: The ‘Burg, Book 6

Hold OnAuthor: Kristen Ashley
Book Name: Hold On
Series: The ‘Burg
Order: #6
Genre: Romance
Rating:  Really Good


Blurb:  Since she was young, Cher Rivers knew she was not the kind of girl who got what she wanted. A girl who could hope. A girl who could dream. She knew a happily ever after just wasn’t in the cards for her.In love for years with the last bastion of the ‘burg’s eligible bachelors, Garrett Merrick, Cher worked hard at making him laugh. Being one of the guys. Having him in her life the only way she could. All this knowing he was in love with another woman.The Merrick Family is known for loving deep. So when Cecelia Merrick was murdered, it marked the Merricks in a way none of them recovered. Both Cecelia’s children found love. Both turned their backs on it. But Garrett “Merry” Merrick knew in his soul the woman he divorced years ago was the one for him.Until the night when Cher took Garrett’s back and things changed. The Merrick family loves deep. They also protect fiercely. And with his eyes finally open, Garrett sees the woman who truly is for him and he goes after her.

Review:  Way better than book 5.  The characters and story in this book are more along the lines of what we see in the majority of the Colorado Mountain or Dream Man series than what is seen in most of this series, which is a huge plus as far as I’m concerned.  There is a bit less on the suspense side than in those series, but the rest is similar.

I wasn’t sure how I was going to like this one as I wasn’t a fan of Merry in Rocky’s story, Golden Trail.  I also wasn’t so sure about Cher’s character from what bits about her showed in previous books either.  Merry’s character is much better presented here and Cher actually comes out way stronger than I expected, so I was relieved.

The suspenseful aspects in this book seemed a little bit more random and almost forced into the romance parts to give it that extra we expect, but they just kind of frustrated me a bit.  The part of the story line about Ethan’s dad was really intriguing initially, but then it kind of falls flat.  Same thing with the ex, Mia.  Either of those would have been fine, if lacking a more fully rounded out line, but I wasn’t a big fan of the major drama really getting only lightly touched on and then, bam!  That is where the forced feeling kind of blew up because it just didn’t make a ton of sense.  It is as though there needed to be a tie to the first book, so there was this random thing that got tossed it there to make it work.

I loved the romantic line of this story, though.  The Merry and Cher characters came out way more balanced in their relationship than we’ve seen from other pairings in this series and their story absolutely worked for me.  Both having their issues, but neither one really having those issues become a huge thing for either of them just emphasized their strength as characters.

It was also really great, since this was the last book in the series, that we kind of got a last taste of all the other characters in this series and how their lives ended up.  Totally teared up several times to the point where I couldn’t see the words for a bit in places, it was just that awesome.  It was a great way to finish this off.

First Rider’s Call: Green Rider, Book 2

First Rider's CallAuthor: Kristen Britain
Book Name: First Rider’s Call
Series: Green Rider
Order: #2
Genre: Fantasy
Rating:  Really Good


Blurb:  Karigan G’ladheon had been a Green Rider, one of the king of Sacoridia’s elite magical messengers. In the messenger service she had been caught up in a world of deadly danger, and though she had defeated the Eletian who cracked the magical D’Yer Wall—which had protected Sacoridia for a thousand years from the dark influence of Blackveil Forest, and Mornhavon the Black’s evil spirit imprisoned within it—she had nonetheless been tainted by his wild magic.

Exhausted in body and spirit, Karigan had returned to her home in Corsa. But Karigan’s determination was no match for the Rider’s call. Ghostly hoofbeats echoed in the deep regions of her mind, and she returned to the court to find the Green Riders weakened and diminished. Rider magic was becoming unreliable, and she herself was having ghostly visions of Lil Ambriodhe, First Rider, and founder of the Green Rider corps. But why was she appearing to Karigan? And would Karigan be able to seek the help of a woman who had been dead for a thousand years?

Review:  As is expected out of a second book, there are more things left unresolved by the end of this book than in the previous book, but not anything that is really a major cliffhanger.  There is an awful lot that is going on in this book and we get bits from lots of different character perspectives, so at times it seems as if things are dragging along when, as a reader, you are more than ready for something to actually happen.  

I’m not sure that I liked this one as well as the first one because the pace did seem on the slow side, but I did enjoy it.  This one left me anxious to find out how things are going to play out in the next book, especially with regards to the relationship between the king and Karigan as well as if we are going to see an influx of new riders.  I do hope that the pace picks up a bit, though.

Killing Time: One-Eyed Jacks, Book 1

Killing TimeAuthor: Cindy Gerard
Book Name: Killing Time
Series: One-Eyed Jacks
Order: #1
Genre: Romance/Suspense
Rating:  Really Good


Blurb:  An exciting new series featuring Mike “Primetime” Brown, a character from her popular “Black Ops, Inc.” series.

For the seven years after Operation Slam Dunk went south, Mike Brown got drunk on each anniversary. The eighth year was no different–until he was drugged by a woman and woke up to her questions about what had happened eight years ago in Afghanistan. CIA attorney Eva Salinas has her own theory behind what happened to Mike’s team–which included her husband–in Afghanistan eight years ago, and she’s determined to prove foul play. Though she doesn’t trust him, Mike is the only person she can turn to for help. Under an assumed name, Eva convinces Mike to assemble a new team and go after the traitor who screwed up both their lives. As they track down the rogue who started it all, Eva and Mike discover they can’t live without each other. But can they stay alive while an enemy is still on the loose?

Review:  Yeah, this had the insta-love thing going on since the time frame this book takes place in is only about a week, but…  this is really kind of one of those times where it does work as there is just a serious crap ton of intense drama going on in that span of time.  It is a little borderline, but it stays just on the side of working so it wasn’t something that drove me nuts.

Both Mike and Eva’s characters come across as genuine and real.  They have great chemistry, though the focus of the book is more on the suspense rather than the romance.  There was also a bit of a big reveal for the bad guy and his motivations, but the story that surrounded it all is written well enough that this was a minor annoyance instead of a huge one.

All in all, I really liked this one and already have the next one in the series on hold.  Since I haven’t read the Black Ops series that this apparently was spun off of, I’ll probably be grabbing those books as well as soon as I finish this one.



Tough Love: Ultimate, Book 3

Tough LoveAuthor: Lori Foster
Book Name: Tough Love
Series: Ultimate
Order: #3
Genre: Romance
Rating:  Okay


Blurb:  Vanity Baker loves a good, clean match, but she’s not above playing a little dirty. She’s wanted Stack “The Wolf” Hannigan from day one. Seems as though the best way to corral the famously commitment-phobic fighter is to insist on keeping it casual. And her plan works–deliciously well–until Stack’s past steps out of the shadows.

Stack learned early to stay free of attachments. But with sexy, forthright Vanity, he’s the one always left wanting more. Then his troublemaking family comes back into the picture, threatening everything Stack cares about–Vanity included. Suddenly he realizes they’re much more than friends with benefits. He’s ready to go to the mat for her…but will it be in time to protect the woman who’s tamed him for good?

Review:  Okay, I need to preface this with the fact that it has been a while since I read a book in this series, but I was not impressed.  This didn’t seem like it was even near the same level as far as being interesting and well written as other books in this and the other loosely connected series.

I wasn’t a fan of the main characters in this one at all.  Stack really came across as a jerk and I didn’t see anything about him that would be considered attractive other than his physical looks.  Vanity, just didn’t make sense.  She is this supposedly strong, self sufficient person, yet she has zero self esteem with regards to her looks and potential for relationships.  We get a tiny little bit of history on her to explain it, but it wasn’t enough to really understand her character at all.  She runs around practically begging Stack to be in a relationship with her and he seems to really only be in it for the sex all the way up until the very end.  With the lack of anything all that interesting from either character, the romantic aspect of the story was rather lackluster.

The antagonistical part of the story line also felt really off and made little sense.  What made it worse is that we didn’t exactly get any kind of real resolution.  Sure, we found out what was going on and why, but we didn’t get to see how it actually got wrapped up.  The police got informed of what the PI heard and they said they’d look into it, but then the story ended without finding out what, if anything at all, happened with Whitney.  That was just weird.  I don’t remember any of the other books just cutting off like that.

What made it even worse was after this huge upheaval in the romance between Vanity and Stack (which both seriously overreacted to in the first place), it was all “I was an idiot.  Sorry.  Let’s get married instead” situation that left me wondering what the hell I’d just read as it didn’t fit the rest of the story at all.  It was like the author got close to the total for the word count for this book and had to toss an ending in there to get it done.

It is seriously weird because I’d swear that I’ve really enjoyed the rest of the books in this series and I’m not sure this even qualifies as being okay.  So, yeah, very much not impressed.


Falling Into You: The Falling, Book 1

Falling Into YouAuthor: Jasinda Wilder
Book Name: Falling Into You
Series: The Falling
Order: #1
Genre: Romance/Erotic/New Adult
Rating:  Really Good


Blurb:  I wasn’t always in love with Colton Calloway; I was in love with his younger brother, Kyle, first. Kyle was my first one true love, my first in every way. Then, one stormy August night, he died, and the person I was died with him.

Colton didn’t teach me how to live. He didn’t heal the pain. He didn’t make it okay. He taught me how to hurt, how to not be okay, and, eventually, how to let go.

Nell Hawthorne is in love with her life-long best friend, Kyle Calloway. Things are great, and they’re in love, young, full of promise. Then Kyle dies in a tragic accident and Nell is forever changed. She meets Kyle’s older brother Colton at the funeral, and there’s a spark, but it’s wrong and they both know it. The moment passes, and they both move on with life. A couple years later, they meet again in New York City, and Colton realizes that Nell has never really gotten over Kyle’s death, and seems to be harboring a deeply rooted pain, something like guilt, perhaps. He knows he shouldn’t get involved, but he can’t help himself. Trust doesn’t come easily for either of them, and they both have demons, Colton especially. Together, they learn the purpose of pain and the meaning of healing, and the importance of forgiveness.

Review:  The first 1/3 of this book focuses on Kyle and Nell’s  relationship, which really kind of falls more into the young adult genre in the beginning.  I came close to putting it down as I’m really not much of a fan of books that fall into that age range with their characters.  I’m really glad I stuck with it though, because this really isn’t a YA book at all.

This book has all the things that I really love in a great romance, solid characters that are not perfect but work through and with their imperfections, a relationship where both side are equal and balance each other out and support each other.  I absolutely fell in love with Colton.  He is this guy who has been through hell, but is has this great big compassionate heart.  Nell is just as messed up and caring.  I love that they don’t expect to fix each other or that the other person should fix them.  They care about each other as they come, scars and ghosts and all.  It is beautiful.

The only reason this didn’t the full 5 star rating for me was because, even though it was necessary to understand the rest of the story and Nell’s background, I wasn’t a fan of the early part of the book.  As a 40 something adult, I outgrew the thought that bumbling, awkward, first time teen sex was cute and interesting a long time ago and I really don’t want to read about it.  I loved the rest of the story, but I could have done with a whole lot less of giggly teeny bopper parts.


Don’t Tell: Karen Rose

Don't TellAuthor: Karen Rose
Book Name: Don’t Tell
Series: *
Order: *
Genre: Romance/Suspense
Rating:  Really Good


Blurb:  It was a desperate plan. But Mary Grace Winters knew the only way to save herself and her child from her abusive cop husband was to stage their own death. Now all that remains of their former life is at the bottom of a lake. Armed with a new identity in a new town, she and her son have found refuge hundreds of miles away. As Caroline Stewart, she has almost forgotten the nightmare she left behind nine years ago. She is even taking a chance on love with Max Hunter, a man with wounds of his own. But her past is about to collide with the present when her husband uncovers her trail and threatens her hard-won peace. Step by step, he’s closing in on her- and everything and everyone she loves.

Review:  This is the first book by this author that I’ve read and I was impressed, which isn’t an easy feat for me when it comes to the romantic suspense genre.  The suspense aspect of the story was done really well.  As a reader that often reads and walks at the same time, it is rare that I NEED to walk because of the story.  This one was intense enough to get me up and moving because I just couldn’t sit still.  It was either move, or put it down and walk away for a bit, and I wasn’t putting it down.

I did like the romantic aspect and thought it was well balanced with the other part of the story without one piece being heavier than the other (which is something I like).  I wasn’t quite such a huge fan of the fact that the time frame for the romance, the characters meeting and falling in love to the point of talking marriage, happens in about 2 weeks.  That took away some from some of the details going on in that part of the story.

I got frustrated with the date, time and location timeline that went along with the story.  It was great to help understand where everyone was at at the different points of the story, but I ran into at least one that had a typo or misprint in it that put the date way wrong and that yanked me out of the story forcing me to flip around to try and figure out what was going on before I realized it was actually a mistake.  After that, I quit reading them because they weren’t all that reliable.

Overall, I really did like this one and look forward to the next one.  Hopefully the smaller issues in this one that bugged me won’t be in the next one.

Crash Into You: Loving on the Edge, Book 1

Crash Into YouAuthor: Roni Loren
Book Name: Crash Into You
Series: Loving on the Edge
Order: #1
Genre: Romance/Erotic
Rating:  Didn’t Like


Blurb:  Brynn LeBreck has dedicated herself to helping women in crisis, but she never imagined how personal her work would get, or where it would take her. Her younger sister is missing, suspected to be hiding from cops and criminals alike at a highly secretive BDSM retreat-a place where the elite escape to play out their most extreme sexual fantasies. To find her, Brynn must go undercover as a sexual submissive. Unfortunately, The Ranch is invitation only. And the one master who can get her in is from the darkest corner of Brynn’s past.

Brynn knows what attorney Reid Jamison is like once stripped of his conservative suit and tie. Years ago she left herself vulnerable only to have him crush her heart. Now she needs him again. Back on top. And he’s all too willing to engage. But as their primal desires and old wounds are exposed, the sexual games escalate-and so does the danger. Their hearts aren’t the only things at risk. Someone else is watching, playing by his own rules. And his game could be murder.

Review:  There were so many things that I considered problems with this book that it forced me to to give this a pretty low rating.  The biggest problem I had overall was with the approach to the BDSM lifestyle.  Not the subject itself, but how it was presented and handled.

I’ll admit that I’m not in the lifestyle and do not claim that I have any level of accurate or expert knowledge on the subject of BDSM other that what I’ve read here and there.  That said, it seems as if there are two types of books that get written in this genre.  The ones that are serious about their approach and how they present that lifestyle and that do so in a very clear way or the ones that play at it.  I’ve read both kinds and both kinds work if done right.  This book wants to be the first kind but comes across as the second.  Either be serious about it or do it on the lighter, just for fun side that doesn’t require the rules, but don’t try to straddle that line.  It does not work.  Don’t just throw it in there to use it strictly as a plot device because those kinds of books seem to be the in thing.

Just because you get off on having the guy be pushy in the bedroom, does not mean you are into BDSM and are serious about the lifestyle.  When I say serious about it, I’m talking about what are considered standard rules about being safe and making good decisions because you are in a healthy mindset.  The so called club in this book had so many things that struck me as wrong in it, that I had a hard time getting beyond that to pay attention to the rest of the story.  The fact that members could touch any other member in any way without permission was just wrong.  If a sub is collared, you don’t touch without the dom’s permission even if that dom is not around.  That opens the door to a totally unsafe environment, which a BDSM club should never be.  The fact that the guy running place finds out that Brynn has some pretty obvious fears because of a past rape, then lets her go to blindly pick out someone to be her dom for 3 days without any kind of protection for her (3 days for someone who is brand new to the club and that they will be with total strangers the entire time) or ensuring that she is with someone who he knows she will be safe with, absolutely blows my mind.  With all of that and more, this club seemed like a bunch of spoiled, rich, hedonists that wanted to play at the BDSM lifestyle without really adhering to any of the rules.

The fact that it isn’t taken seriously is proven even more with the characters during the menage’ scene with Reid, Brynn and Jace.  Reid, who is supposed to be Brynn’s dom, doesn’t pay attention to her pleasure or the fact that she slips out of that mindset because he is too focused on his own.  It took Jace bringing it to his attention to figure it out.  That is so not playing it safe when you are talking about being in situations that could become harmful in a second.  Again, that is just so wrong as far as I’m concerned.

I also had a huge problem with the whole recreating the rape scene as a way for Brynn to “reclaim” her body and have Reid “own” her, down to him biting her on the bite scar from the rape.  I have a problem with how a lot of author’s handle characters dealing with and recovering from rape in the first place, no matter how realistic it is for people to learn to live with the after effects of violence in their own ways.  This just made it incredibly hard to believe that Brynn wouldn’t have at least one uncomfortable moment, especially after a freak out earlier in the book.  I’m sorry, there just isn’t this single moment or situational change and everything that was an emotional minefield before is suddenly okay and not a trigger.  It does not work that way.

Beyond all of that, and those were huge for me, Reid was an awful character.  The stereotypical rich kid who doesn’t want to rock the boat for fear he won’t have that privileged life anymore.  At the point in the “then” part of the story with Vanessa (the back and forth between the “then” and “now” parts drove me nuts) and the day Brynn got raped, he just proved that beyond all doubt.  Sorry Reid, there is this thing called saying “No” and walking away that works wonders.  Oh, and the fact that he continually lies and expects Brynn to just accept it later is also utter BS and makes her this spineless door mat and that makes me not like her character either.  He proves, yet again, that he is a crap dom when he agrees to go without a condom at the end of the book without at least a discussion about testing.  For crying out loud!  Protection during sex is NOT just about preventing pregnancy.  The pill isn’t going to keep you from getting something nasty so just because someone says their on the pill, it doesn’t make the sex suddenly safe.  Your job as a dom is supposed to be taking care of your sub, protecting them from harm and ensuring their pleasure.  Reid is only concerned about what gets him off.

Sadly, those are only the big issues I had.  There were lots of smaller, less important issues (Scooby Doo reveal) in comparison that just weren’t worth the time to list.



Warlock Unbound: Hearts Desire, Book 4

Warlock UnboundAuthor: Dana Marie Bell
Book Name: Warlock Unbound
Series: Hearts Desire
Order: #4
Genre: Fantasy/Romance
Rating:  Okay


Blurb:  If he had a choice, Daniel Beckett would wait to cast the Beckett family mating spell until his life is more settled. But his brothers, worried he’s losing himself to his wolf, aren’t giving it to him.

Daniel doesn’t need a spell to know Kerry Andrews is his mate. With the last of the Godwin warlocks still on the loose, Daniel crosses his fingers that the willful, stubborn, beautiful woman will allow him to protect her.

Kerry is tempted to make Daniel wait, like he’s made her wait for so long. But the decision is taken out of her hands when things start going horribly wrong. A sleeper hex is activated, putting her life in danger—and the only safe place to run is Daniel’s waiting arms.

Once there, Kerry finds a whole new world to explore with her magical mate. But Arthur Godwin is plotting to rip away their newfound happiness. Women who look like Kerry are turning up dead…and it’s only a matter of time before the killer’s weapon hits its intended prey.

Review:  I usually enjoy a Dana Marie Bell book better than this.  This one just didn’t seem to be up to the same level as many of her other books.  It felt kind of rushed and as if it was missing quite a bit of substance as there just didn’t really seem to be an awful lot going on in this one.   The two sides of the story, the romantic aspect and the suspense aspect, just didn’t quite fit together right either.

I kept getting tripped up over the twin’s names when that topic came up because they were so similar.  There was even a time or two where I’m certain they even got flip flopped around, when it should have been one name but was the other instead, and it got missed in the editing process, which made the confusion even worse.  It also didn’t help that the names of the twins’ partners were similar to each other either.  Kerry and Kelly, then Daniel and Dennis.

I don’t know if I just wasn’t really in the mood for this or what, but I wasn’t a fan of this one at all.


Tempest: Playing the Fool, Book 3

TempestAuthor: Lisa Henry & JA Rock
Book Name: Tempest
Series: Playing the Fool
Order: #3
Genre: Romance/LGBT/Suspense
Rating:  Excellent


Blurb:  Something wicked this way comes.

FBI Agent Ryan “Mac” McGuinness and con man Henry Page are on the run again. This time they’re headed back to where it all began: Altona, Indiana. Population: some goats. Henry’s not happy about lying low at the McGuinness family farm, but they’ve got nowhere else to go.

While Mac fights to clear his name and Henry struggles with whose side he’s really on, a ghost from the past threatens to destroy everything. And those aren’t the only storms on the radar. Cut off from both sides of the law, Mac and Henry must rely on their tenuous partnership to survive.

If Henry can convince himself to let Mac see the man behind the disguises, they’ll stand a chance of beating the forces that conspire against them. The course of true love never did run smooth, but for the two of them, it might be their only hope.

Review:  This was a great ending to this little series (at least I’m pretty sure it is the end based on how this book finished up).

I will be the first to get all critical when it comes to Scooby Doo endings and resolutions, but not here.  This is a first for me with this book because we do get some of that, with it spread a bit more than as a single dump in one scene to clear up all the mysterious bits of the story, but what we got was done in a way that totally mocked how that plot trick is so overused.  This is something that normally drives me nuts and I end up dropping a book rating when it is used because I dislike it so much.  But in this case?  I’m loving it because our guys are literally looking down the barrels of guns and Henry is doing this whole monologue in his head about how ridiculous the situation is, how much he always made fun of it in the past, how that would never happen in real life and here he is experiencing that ridiculousness right before he is most likely going to die.  It took this overused cliche of a plot trick and turned it completely around making it new and hilarious in a situation that should have been seriously tense and stressful, not funny.  It was awesome and kind of genius.

I’d have to say that both Mac and Henry are probably one of my favorite MM couples from all the books I’ve read from that genre.  They are perfectly genuine and fallible.  Plus, they have their own dose of seriously cute crazy that I can’t help but love.



The Merchant of Death: Playing the Fool, Book 2

The Merchant of DeathAuthor: Lisa Henry & JA Rock
Book Name: The Merchant of Death
Series: Playing the Fool
Order: #2
Genre: Romance/LGBT/Suspense
Rating:  Excellent


Blurb:  All’s fair in love and war.

There’s something rotten in the state of Indiana. When con man Henry Page takes it upon himself to investigate the death of an elderly patient at a care facility, he does so in true Shakespearean tradition: dressed as a girl.

FBI Agent Ryan “Mac” McGuinness has more to worry about than Henry’s latest crazy idea. Someone is trying to send him a message—via a corpse with a couple of bullets in it. He needs to figure out who’s trying to set him up before he gets arrested, and he really doesn’t have time for Henry’s shenanigans. Then again, he’d probably be able to focus better if Henry didn’t look so damn distracting in a babydoll dress and a wig.

But when Mac discovers that Henry has been keeping a secret that connects the cases, he has to find a way to live on the right side of the law when he just might be in love with the wrong sort of man.

Review:  Still love Mac and Cheese… uh, Henry.  This second book in the series is just as entertaining and funny as the first one, though we got to go a little deeper emotionally while getting to know Henry’s history a little bit more.  He really is this great guy doing not so great things to try and do the right thing.

Mac is awesome.  Seriously!  That scene in the car with the Rocky song?  Cracked me the hell up.  The guy is absolutely losing it, talking to himself, making up these crazy rescue scenarios and singing (or rather mumbling) to the Rocky theme song at the top of his lungs and yelling at other drivers on the road while I’m laughing hysterically.

Like book one, we get an excellent blend of both actual, great story line and well executed romance, which outside of the amazing characters is one of the reasons I’m really loving these books.


Autumn Moon: Celtic Wolves, Book 3

Autumn MoonAuthor: Jan DeLima
Book Name: Autumn Moon
Series: Celtic Wolves
Order: #3
Genre: Romance/Fantasy
Rating:  Good


Blurb:  The heart of a warrior, the soul of a wolf, and the desires of a man…

For centuries, Cormack has lived between worlds—a man trapped in the body of a wolf, shunned by humans and shifters alike. Only one person has ever welcomed his company: Elen, a kindred outcast who is feared by others of her ancient Celtic race for her strange healing abilities.

Cormack has always valued Elen’s kindness and understanding, but after a desperate act of friendship causes Elen to free him from his curse, he realizes he wants more. He wants all of her—completely and forever.Except before Cormack can win Elen’s heart, Pendaran, the evil leader of the Guardians, captures her, determined to manipulate her incredible power to aid him in his twisted war against the shapeshifting tribes.

Now Cormack must use all of his skills as a warrior and a wolf to save the woman he loves—before Pendaran’s vile schemes destroy them all…

Review:   There are lots of parts to this series to recommend, like the great world this is set in and the background for the stories themselves, but it is missing just enough extra to push it into the what I consider really good.  I think it is because I would like to see a bit more going on.   In this book, we got a couple of higher level drama moments, either within the romance aspect of the story or in the confrontation with the bad guys, but outside of those bigger moments there doesn’t seem to be a lot going on.  I don’t think I liked this one quite as much as I liked the first two, but it has been a little while since I read them so I’m not 100% positive on that.

I was glad to get Cormack and Elen’s story with this book.  Cormack having been stuck as a wolf for centuries to only find himself able to finally shift and Elen and her powers continuing to grow and develop make them some of the more interesting characters in this series so far.  I was a little disappointed because of the previously mentioned, not a lot going on in between the bigger moments thing.  I guess I just expected this to have a bigger emotional impact than it did.  It was still good, but not as good as I hoped.



Tell No Lies: Oyster Point, Book 2

Tell No LiesAuthor: Tanya Anne Crosby
Book Name: Tell No Lies
Series: Oyster Point
Order: #2
Genre: Romance/Suspense
Rating:  Okay


Blurb:  New York Times bestselling author Tanya Anne Crosby returns to the teeming marshes and crumbling plantations of Charleston, where a gruesome murder and kidnapping reawaken fears of a serial killer on the loose. . .

Augusta Aldridge believes in Ian Patterson’s innocence, even after he was arrested for killing two young women and mutilating their corpses. Because she was with him the night one of the crimes occurred, hidden in the shadows beneath a beachside pier, locked in a wild, unthinking embrace with the man whose dangerous fascination may have fatally lured the other victims. Now that another body has been found, the police suspect a copycat killer, but Augusta is sure they have the wrong man behind bars. She’s going to risk her reputation, and her life, to prove it. . .

Review:   As the second book in this series, I didn’t see any improvement over issues I ran across in the first book.  There were some problems with character history that ended up being contradictory between book one and book two.  Some were small, but not insignificant, like getting one of the victims last names wrong at one point.

Another was quite a bit bigger and really bugged me.  In book one we have a line about Augusta’s past…

“She’d traded the vice for both her smoking and drinking habits about five years ago, after she’d realized she was turning into her mother – running around permanently anesthetized and sucking on cancer sticks as though she had a death wish.”

Yet early on in book two we get this line…

“In that way, she was a lot like her mother, and if it weren’t for Augusta’s intense dedication to being nothing like Flo, she might have ended up a pill-popping alky like their mother.”

While they do not 100% contradict each other, there is enough there to throw a reader into thinking that they read something wrong.  The fact that there are multiple times in both books where Augusta is shown as drinking in larger than light social amounts either negates the first statement from book one or means that the second statement is more a lie she told herself.  Either way, they don’t add up to a solid background for her character.

As in the first book, I really struggled with the believably of the romance aspect of this story.  Augusta blindly believes in someone (who she doesn’t know jack squat about) who has been suspected of not just child molestation, but been ex-communicated from his church, as a priest no less, and been arrested for murder and the attempted murder of her sister.  Not only that but she manages to totally fall in love with him after only having been in his presence about 3 times over a few weeks.  Instinct and believing in following your gut only takes you so far and this takes me right into not happening land.

The other big issue I seemed to struggle with here, well more than one actually, are the number of times the police not only share important information about the case with public sources but they really jump to conclusions without really investigating and confirming the evidence.  The way the investigation and crime solving aspects of the story have been presented really made this one even harder to like than the first one.

I was also a bit shocked at where and how this ended, not so much the actual resolution, but the fact that we actually got one.  I really thought that this would extend into a third book as there are 3 sisters and we didn’t get anything of Savanah’s story.  There may yet be another book, but since the main part of the suspense line of the story got resolved here, I can say there is probably a good chance I won’t bother because the personal side to both book one and book two were lacking enough that a book three without the suspense/mystery line just won’t be enough to draw me in.

So, yeah, this was just okay, but even that might have been pushing it a bit.


Speak No Evil: Oyster Point, Book 1

Speak No EvilAuthor: Tanya Anne Crosby
Book Name: Speak No Evil
Series: Oyster Point
Order: #1
Genre: Romance/Suspense
Rating:  Good


Blurb:  Lifting the veil of secrecy on a grand Southern family in decline, author Tanya Anne Crosby explores the lives of Caroline, Augusta, and Savannah Aldridge, three sisters who share a dark past and an uncertain future. . .

Caroline Aldridge was surprised by the number of mourners at her mother’s funeral. Evidently the newspaper heiress who had caused her children so much pain was well-loved by everyone else in Charleston. Now she was gone, leaving behind countless secrets–and a few demands: Caroline and her sisters must live together for one year or lose their inheritance. And Caroline must take over The Tribune. But a killer is making headlines, and Caroline may have unwittingly stepped into the crosshairs. . .

A series of kidnappings and murders resurrect the sisters’ memories of their brother’s disappearance as a child–and Caroline fears she may be next. Yet in the midst of her turmoil, she may be rekindling a romance she’d extinguished long ago. With Jack back in her life and the tattered bonds of sisterhood slowly mending, Caroline hopes the family can restore its position in Charleston society–unless a sinister force beyond their control tears them apart forever. . .

Review:   There were things I really enjoyed about this and things that ended up being annoying because they hit on points that are kind of standard irritants for me.

Caroline’s character was flaky, indecisive and yo-yo’d on her feelings towards Jack to the point that it made it incredibly difficult to like her in any way.  Jack’s character didn’t seem all that genuine or believable to me.  He was pretty unprofessional as a police officer and after 10 years apart, he still is absolutely in love with Caroline.  10 years is a long time to be apart and still actually know the person.  People change at least a little bit in 10 years.  You would think that there would need to be time to get to know the person that they’ve become since you last saw or spoke to them.  It is even less believable when there was zero contact between the two of them in that entire time.  Both the wishy washy attitude and the long term distance, but still love the person no matter what issues are things that kind of drive me nuts.  Fortunately the romance aspect of this story wasn’t the main focus.

The rest of the story, the suspense and murder aspects were much better presented.  I had a few issues with what seemed to be a smudgy timeline.  There were points where it appeared that a whole lot more time had taken place between events, then another event would happen that would make that timeline shrink considerably.  I’m not sure if this was an actual error or if it was just written unclearly, but it was enough to pull me out of the story a couple of times to try and figure out what was going on.

While we got a resolution to the murders, there were quite a few details that were left unfinished.  Again, not sure if that was just a messy finish or if it is leaving the door open for book 2 to mess with what we got in this book.  I’m kind of thinking that it is the second option.  Actually, I’m really hoping it is because that would make this as a series a whole heck of a lot more interesting.


Beast Behaving Badly: Pride Series, Book 5

Beast Behaving BadlyAuthor: Shelly Laurenston
Book Name: Beast Behaving Badly
Series: Pride Series
Order: #5
Genre: Romance/Fantasy
Rating:  Excellent


Blurb:  Some men just have more to offer. Like Bo Novikov, the hard muscled shape shifter hero of this wildly funny, deeply sexy new novel from Shelly Laurenston, part polar bear, part lion, pure alpha. . .

Ten years after Blayne Thorpe first encountered Bo Novikov, she still can’t get the smooth talking shifter out of her head. Now he’s shadowing her in New York, all seven plus feet of him, determined to protect her from stalkers who want to use her in shifter dogfights. Even if he has to drag her off to an isolated Maine town where the only neighbors are other bears almost as crazy as he is. . .

Let sleeping dogs lie. Bo knows it’s good advice, but he can’t leave Blayne be. Blame it on her sweet sexiness or his hunch that there’s more to this little wolf dog than meets the eye. Blayne has depths he hasn’t yet begun to fathom, much as he’d like to. She may insist Bo’s nothing but a pain in her delectable behind, but polar bears have patience in spades. Soon she’ll realize how good they can be together. And when she does, animal instinct tells him it’ll be worth the wait. . .

Review:   This was another reread for me.  I seriously needed something I knew I was going to enjoy so this was a perfect choice.  There are quite a few books in this series that I like, but Blayne is probably one of my favorite characters of the series, so I had to pick her book for this reread.

My first time around reading this book when I hit a part that had my hubby looking at me like I’d lost my mind because I busted out laughing, I knew that wouldn’t be the only time I’d read this book.  It is so rare for any book to crack me up like that.  I’m not really sure any other book or series has even come close.  These, I’m snorting and cackling and laughing the whole way through.

Blayne is insane.  Seriously, crazy, but in such a cool way that if you had the chance you would totally be her.  Everyone thinks she is this cute, crazy, but harmless girl and she normally is.  Do not ever piss her off, though, or that crazy turns into something not so cute and very deadly.  I love that she can be an absolute ditz but that isn’t all she is.  Bo is his own brand of crazy.  When paired with Blayne, you’d think that they were completely wrong for each other, but they absolutely work.

In a way, I’d kind of forgotten how much I loved this series.  Every single character is really their own brand of crazy.  I love how this shifter world creates an environment where all the things we wish we could do in the real world, but don’t for societies sake is totally okay for these shifters.  Like that jackass that pissed you off by cutting you off in line?  It is totally okay to shove them on their ass and stomp on them on your way by.  What better way to get out your aggressions than with shifter roller derby or shifter hockey?

I don’t have this series in my personal collection, but after this reminder I think it might just have to go towards the top of my wish list because just one read isn’t going to be enough.


Reaper’s Legacy: Reapers MC, Book 2

Reaper's LegacyAuthor: Joanna Wylde
Book Name: Reaper’s Legacy
Series: Reapers MC
Order: #2
Genre: Romance
Rating:  Didn’t Like


Blurb:  Eight years ago, Sophie gave her heart—and her virginity—to Zach Barrett on a night that couldn’t have been less romantic or more embarrassing. Zach’s step-brother, a steely-muscled, tattooed biker named Ruger, caught them in the act, getting a peep show of Sophie he’s never forgotten.

She may have lost her dignity that fateful night, but Sophie also gained something precious—her son Noah. Unfortunately, Zach’s a deadbeat dad, leaving Ruger to be Noah’s only male role model. When he discovers Sophie and his nephew living in near poverty, Ruger takes matters into his own hands—with the help of the Reapers Motorcycle Club—to give them a better life.

Living with outlaw bikers wasn’t Sophie’s plan for her son, but Ruger isn’t giving her a choice. He’ll be there for Noah, whether she wants him or not. But Sophie does want him, has always wanted him. Now she’ll learn that taking a biker to bed can get a girl dirty in every way…

Review:   I’m not sure if I’ve just read one too many books where the male character isn’t so much an alpha male but rather a domineering ass, but I just didn’t like this.  If I were to rate soley on writing ability or style, this would have a much higher rating because it is well written.  I just really didn’t like the characters in this at all.

Yes, I have read other Joanna Wylde books and liked them okay, but I think I’ve just had enough.  I’m kind of tired of reading books where the only redeeming factor for the guy is that he is hot and good in bed or where the female loses every last brain cell when sex is involved and cannot manage to think for herself.  I just do not find that attractive or sexy in any way.

I’ve read my share of MC romance novels.  I’ve really enjoyed some of them, but a chunk of them are like this one.  I get that this is probably pretty realistic for the culture, maybe even sugar coated for entertainment.  That doesn’t change the fact that I don’t like to see what I consider hugely unhealthy relationships where the guy is essentially a bully and the girl is a doormat.  Sadly, this book falls right into that slot and I just didn’t enjoy it because of that.

In this book in particular, just because Ruger finally agrees to not be a dick and to no longer sleep around (after demanding that Sophie not even look at anything with a dick) that doesn’t change the fact that he believes that it is totally okay to have that kind of a relationship.  He is still a dick, just one willing to keep it in his pants with anyone but Sophie, and she is still a doormat because even though his lifestyle put her life at risk, she is willing to accept that even if that lifestyle also puts her son at risk because he is good in bed and willing to bury the bodies.

If that is the kind of thing you enjoy, then by all means, this is a great book.  It just wasn’t for me.

I will also note that a large part of this book happens at the same time as Devil’s Game (which is marked as #3 in this series), which I have already read.  You don’t need to read either in any particular order, but it will kind of feel like you’ve already read a lot of bits even if they come from different perspectives.  That may have contributed to the not so awesome feelings I had for the book because it did feel like there was a lot of repeat going on.

A Red-Rose Chain: October Daye, Book 9

A Red-Rose ChainAuthor: Seanan McGuire
Book Name: A Red-Rose Chain
Series: October Daye
Order: #9
Genre: Romance/Fantasy
Rating:  Excellent


Blurb:  Things are looking up.

For the first time in what feels like years, October “Toby” Daye has been able to pause long enough to take a breath and look at her life—and she likes what she sees. She has friends. She has allies. She has a squire to train and a King of Cats to love, and maybe, just maybe, she can let her guard down for a change.

Or not. When Queen Windermere’s seneschal is elf-shot and thrown into an enchanted sleep by agents from the neighboring Kingdom of Silences, Toby finds herself in a role she never expected to play: that of a diplomat. She must travel to Portland, Oregon, to convince King Rhys of Silences not to go to war against the Mists. But nothing is that simple, and what October finds in Silences is worse than she would ever have imagined.

How far will Toby go when lives are on the line, and when allies both old and new are threatened by a force she had never expected to face again? How much is October willing to give up, and how much is she willing to change? In Faerie, what’s past is never really gone.

It’s just waiting for an opportunity to pounce.

Review:   As a series, this has all the pieces need for an excellent fantasy book.  Incredible, richly crafted world, amazing characters with loads of depth on both the good and the bad side, and intricately built stories that keep readers interested from the start and never leave them bored for even a moment.

This addition to the October Daye series is no exception.  I have always loved October’s character as she is totally imperfect but is strong enough to both stand on her own and accept help in the times she needs it.  We continue to see that in this book, especially with her relationship with Tybalt.  He has power and strength of his own, but chooses to use that in support of Toby rather than to make her do what he wants or put her on a lower footing than him.  This is an example of a balanced relationship that you so very rarely see in any genre of story that it puts this into a special category all by itself.

Even though it had been a while since I last read a book in this series, I had no problem dropping right back into the story.  I didn’t even really have too many issues with trying to remember bits of the previous stories, which is another nice aspect to this series and how it is written.

This is one of those stories that I have a somewhat difficult time articulating what I liked about it because I honestly pretty much loved the whole thing.  The only even remotely negative thing I can say is that it ended way before I was ready to leave that world behind.  I just want more.


Covet: Tracey Garvis Graves

CovetAuthor: Tracey Garvis Graves
Book Name: Covet
Series: *
Order: *
Genre: Romance
Rating:  Okay


Blurb:  What if the life you wanted, and the woman you fell in love with, belonged to someone else?

Chris and Claire Canton’s marriage is on life support. Downsized during the recession and out of work for a year, Chris copes by retreating to a dark place where no one can reach him, not even Claire. When he’s offered a position that will keep him away from home four nights a week, he dismisses Claire’s concern that time apart could be the one thing their fragile union can’t weather. Their suburban life may look idyllic on the outside, but Claire has never felt so disconnected from Chris, or so lonely.

Local police officer Daniel Rush used to have it all, but now he goes home to an empty house every night. He pulls Claire over during a routine traffic stop, and they run into each other again at the 4th of July parade. When Claire is hired to do some graphic design work for the police department, her friendship with Daniel grows, and soon they’re spending hours together.

Claire loves the way Daniel makes her feel, and the way his face lights up when she walks into the room. Daniel knows that Claire’s marital status means their relationship will never be anything other than platonic. But it doesn’t take long before Claire and Daniel are in way over their heads, and skating close to the line that Claire has sworn she’ll never cross.

Review:  When I skipped over this several times in favor of other books on my to read list, I should have taken the hint that this one probably wasn’t really one I was going to like much.  I’m not a fan of books on infidelity, but I’ve read a few that write it in a way that is really interesting and thought provoking.  This wasn’t one of those books.

This had a few things with regards to the secondary characters and a few scenes with them that were really kind of ridiculous and at least one or two that made Claire seem like such a pushover.  Sorry, but no one should ever touch another person without permission in the first place, but to do so and not get a knee to the balls and an in your face confrontation just doesn’t work for me.  Not only did she not do anything, she maintained a friendship with those characters.  That doesn’t make a whole lot of sense in my book.

I’m not one of those types that thinks that once you’ve married someone, you have to stick with it no matter what.  If there are problems, absolutely, work through them.  If you can’t, then you do what you need to do to move on to a healthy relationship.  I absolutely do not agree with becoming involved with another person while you are still married to another person.  If you find that you are drawn to someone, for whatever reason, that isn’t your spouse, then you need to think long and hard about why that is and see what you need to do about it.  Use it as the wake up call that something in your relationship isn’t right.  You do not pursue it until you are free to do so

This book hits a few gray areas in how I feel about that kind of situation and I honestly didn’t like the characters because of that.  It speaks really highly about Claire’s character that she’d get into any kind of relationship, even if it wasn’t ever physical, instead of having the conversation with her husband that needed to be had to attempt to resolve her issues.  It makes her seem shallow and unwilling to do any actual work, she only wanted the easy way.

The issue with Chris’ job and the travel kind of pissed me off as well.  Yes, you absolutely have to do what you have to in order to take care of family, but you still always have choices.  His choices seemed to be more about keeping his social status than actually doing what was best for his family.  Again, this makes the character seem shallow and materialistic.

Daniel doesn’t come across as any better than the rest because he knowingly pursued a woman that was married.  Sorry, no excuse at all.  It would have been different if he didn’t know, but he did.  That and it seemed a bit crazy that the main reason for his attraction was that Claire reminded him of his ex-wife.  That is really kind of twisted.

Even with all of those things that bugged the crap out of me about this story, the rest was just very slow and not all that interesting.  If I could manage to set aside my personal feelings on the subject, I’d say that this was a decent story, but far from great.  As it stands, this was really just kind of a lukewarm story that didn’t have much to make it worth my time.

The Enchantment Emporium: Gale Women, Book 1

The Enchantment EmporiumAuthor: Tanya Huff
Book Name: The Enchantment Emporium
Series: Gale Women
Order: #1
Genre: Romance/Fantasy
Rating:  Really Good


Blurb:  Alysha Gale is a member of a family capable of changing the world with the charms they cast. Then she receives word that she’s inherited her grandmother’s junk shop in Calgary, only to discover upon arriving that she’ll be serving the fey community. And when Alysha learns just how much trouble is brewing in Calgary, even calling in the family to help may not be enough to save the day.

Review:  There were a lot more things about this book that I liked than I didn’t, but it was a frustrating read because there is a whole heck of a lot that is left really vague.

Obviously, the Gale family has some form of magic available to them, even a bit of shape shifting for the men, but we never actually know what they are or get a more definitive understanding of what they are capable of so you never really understand why they are a power that is so heavily respected by others.  You see examples of that power, but you are never allowed to actually understand it.  There is a kind of throw away comment made by the bad guy at one point that may hint at a history, but it is done in a way that you can’t exactly take is seriously.

It is also left pretty far open and unclarified, but heavily suggested that there is a level of non-monogamous relationships in the gale family.  Again this is left implied, but vague because there are apparently exceptions to that rule.  Oh and there isn’t an actual sex scene in the book (which seems a little odd for a group of characters that are apparently highly sexual) and that only emphasizes the heavily suggested and implied.  Not only is there a level of open sexuality, but those open sexual relationships appear to exist between cousins as well.  It doesn’t outright say it, but again, heavily implied (which kind of felt way on the ick side to me).  All of that kind of just muddied the waters of what is already a vague set up for the Gale family and their dynamics.

There was a bunch of random jumping from character perspective to character perspective and it wasn’t always something that the reader could even easily determine which character’s perspective they were getting, at least for the first 1/3 of the book or so.  After that, character identity was a bit easier to pick out, but it made it difficult to get into the story early on.

All of that said and once you got past the vagueness to the parts that were clear, I really did love the story and what I could figure out of the main characters.  The world created here is intriguing and I want to know a lot more about it than what I got in this one book.  Same thing with some of the secondary characters.  I’m just hoping that book 2 clears some things up.