Friday, April 27

Review: Doubletake by Rob Thurman

It has become a tradition for me to buddy review Ms Thurman's books here on Breezing Through... and I'm glad to announce that the latest in the Cal Leandros series, Doubletake, will be no exception! :) Joining me today are my two usual accomplices: Hilcia from Impressions... and Leslie from Leslie's Psyche! Thank you very much for joining me, ladies! And I'm just glad it didn't take me a year to put this one together... just a month :)

Find out how much we liked Doubletake below! Enjoy!

Doubletake by Rob Thurman
published by ROC (New American Library) in March 2012
Half-human/half-monster Cal Leandros knows that family is a pain. But now that pain belongs to his half-brother, Niko. Niko's shady father is in town, and he needs a big favor. Even worse is the reunion being held by the devious Puck race-including the Leandros' friend, Robin- featuring a lottery that no Puck wants to win.

As Cal tries to keep both Niko and Robin from paying the ultimate price for their kin, a horrific reminder from Cal's own past arrives to remind him that blood is thicker than water-and that's why it's so much more fun to spill.
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Series: Cal Leandros series, Book #7

Nath: Wow, it’s hard to believe Doubletake is the 7th installment of the series!! It seems like yesterday since we all started this series LOL.

So ladies, what did you think of Doubletake?

Leslie: I had some very strong emotions while reading Doubletake, not all good. I was mad, sad and in shock. I won't say more for now...

Hilcia: I was a bit ambivalent about Doubletake. As always I loved the characters and the action gripped me, but found that I had quite a few concerns when I turned that last page.

Nath: Can’t wait to hear your concern, Hils! And ha, I hear you Leslie! Ms Thurman sure didn’t hold back her punches in this one! But I think that’s what made Doubletake such a great book! One that I really had a great time reading :)

So where should we start? Perhaps with Cal since he’s the main character :) Poor Cal, still seems to have a split personality ^_^;The whole “new” Cal was confusing at times!

Leslie: The new Cal vs Old Cal reminded me of Blackout. In Blackout we had the "normal" Cal working in a diner vs Auphe Cal fighting monsters. Now we have Grimm being the "what might have been" vs the Cal being raised by Niko. But you're talking about new Cal being Cal with the Auphe/gating abilities being suppressed vs old Cal who was teetering on the edge before Rafferty fixed him right? Is it any wonder Cal is a bit schizo? LOL

Nath: Yep @_@

Hilcia: This whole "new Cal vs. old Cal" bit was a bit confusing for a while, particularly with the voices going back and forth. In that I agree with Nath. Eventually this whole thing was cleared away and what I got out of it is that Cal supposedly found a balance between Cal and Caliban in Blackout -- we knew that already. In Doubletake, instead of being ashamed of the monster, Cal embraces his inner monster as well as his humanity, and supposedly has better control over Caliban (the monster). That’s where I see the difference.

Leslie: It seemed to me that Grimm brought out that acceptance of the monster in Cal. Accepting his Auphe side worked as an advantage when battling Grimm. Niko’s father emphasized the fact that while Niko and Cal might be brothers, Cal was also part monster while Niko had a human father. Which we learned isn’t always good since humans can be monsters too. I really liked how it played out showing that family isn’t always just about blood with Niko’s loyalty firmly with Cal, his half-brother instead of being loyal to his father. Actions speak louder than words has never been more true than with Niko’s relationship with his father.

Nath: I think you nailed it, Hils. I’m still bit @_@, LOL, mostly because the voices of the different Cal weren’t distinct enough. However, I’m going to disagree with you, Leslie. I think Cal acceptance of his monster side had nothing to with Grimm. I feel it happened at the end of Blackout when he saw the other half-Auphe in the cages.

It’s good that you’re bringing up family, because it was clearly the theme of this book. It’s always been about family, about brotherhood between Niko and Cal, but it was nice to see the influx of family feelings from other sources. Cal has always felt lucky that Niko has been on his side, but it seems to me Niko was also happy to have Cal as his family... because his parents? All I can say is poor Niko :(

Hilcia: This whole story was about family for our characters: Niko, Cal, Robin. It's interesting because in some ways I also felt that this storyline was a rethread. Family, family, family. I'm beginning to worry that Thurman is circling back to the beginning, and starting all over again with this series. Family, Cal losing it slowly, Georgina, the Auphe, except that our main characters Cal and Niko are more mature and can deal with situations better this time around. But think about it! Thurman takes away Cal's ability to gate and then he gets it back, the Auphe are all wiped out and then return (in another form), Cal goes too dark, lightens up and progressively goes darker again, plus we dealt with the family issues for Promise, Cal, Niko (with the Rom), and Robin with Hob before. And although this book had some great details, it's a rethread and I'm getting worried.

Nath: Nod nod, it’s one of my worries as well. It seems Ms Thurman has undone everything Cal and Niko have gone through and accomplished so far. I understand that the Auphe is the biggest threat possible for Cal and Niko, but she needs a different kind of villain to make readers sit at the edge of their seats. Right now, it seems we will walk down the same line in the next book; the storyline has a sense of deja-vu.

Hilcia: Nath, you got the sense of deja vu for the future books, and I had the sense of deja vu while reading Doubletake. I kept wanting to go back to our reviews to see exactly where I'd read this before! Then decided to wait until after I was done with the book (and the review) to do so. But that sense of having been through these same paths with our boys before was there from the moment I read that line: "Family... it is a bitch."

Leslie: Yes it did feel a little too much like a repeat of what’s been covered before. I don’t expect Thurman to move away from the family focus since Cal and Niko are at the center of the series but I do think the emphasis has become a little too strong and could maybe be taken back a notch. It’s already been established that Cal and Niko are as tight as two brothers can be and they trust Robin completely. I’m still not sure about Promise, one wrong step and she could be outta there. I think the brothers would give Robin a lot more leeway before cutting him loose

Nath: I can’t imagine Promise getting the boot. I feel the guys need a female influence LOL. But more important, Niko needs someone he can rely on and they have gone through so much already. think Promise will remain there no matter what.

What did you think of Grimm? I think he’s an interesting villain and his hatred for Cal is totally justified. I would have been happy if Ms Thurman had stopped there instead of having Grimm building an army to overtake the world, because his motives to go after Cal would have been different than the first wave of Auphe. By the way, are Cal and Grimm psychically linked in your opinion? They seem to share certain dreams... Also, I wonder why Cal didn’t sense Grimm before? Seems like Grimm has been on his tail since Nevah Landing. Does it have to do with proximity?

Hilcia: I do think that there was some sort of psychic link between Grimm and Cal. At the beginning of the story Cal began thinking the same thoughts that Grimm was thinking "Family... it is a bitch!" And then later on, he had the same dream that Grimm had... it might be that Cal has inherited some sort of Auphe psychic ability? Don't know.

Leslie: The whole Auphe sensing each other must have had some effect on Cal and Grimm. I do think it's possible we have not seen all of Cal's Auphe abilities he even he doesn't know everything he's capable of. Grimm embraced his abilities so he might have been able to project his thoughts to Cal or like Hils said, Cal has some psychic abilities when it comes to other Auphe or half-Auphe.

Hilcia: It seems like we got carried away, so let’s go back to family. What did you ladies think of Kalakos as a character, and of Niko's reaction to him? Now, that part of this story is the one that really made me sad.

Leslie: Kalakos was interesting. I didn’t trust him but was surprised with how far he had gone to achieve his goal. His heart was totally black. Poor Niko. Do you think Niko will now wonder if he might become more like his father? Possibly train even hard and become even more Zen so he doesn’t go down that path? It’s similar to what Cal’s gone through with worrying that his Auphe side might takeover.

Nath: I hope Niko won't doubt himself. Throughout his life, he’s shown how different he was from his parents. Cal and himself are living proofs that there is a difference between nurture and nature.

I have to say, I didn't expect much about Kalakos, but overall I was happy with how Ms Thurman handled this part of the story, because it really fit the Leandros brothers :) At the end of the day, it's still the two brothers and Goodfellow and Promise... as it should be.

Hilcia: I guess Kalakos didn't fool any of us, just like he didn't really fool the boys. :) The extent of his evil doing’s another thing altogether and the Vayash "burden" really caught me by surprise! I was very sad for Niko throughout the whole story though, and was devastated for him at the end. A parent is a parent and the outcome was horrific. I do think it should affect him somehow. I don't know how, but he's such a stoic and straight up kind of guy that we'll have to wait and see. The one line that stands out for me regarding this subject comes from Cal: "My brother hates..." I wish we could have experienced some of Niko's thoughts through this time.

When it comes to Kalakos, (besides his evil nature) his name caught my attention. He's Rom, yet he and Niko have Greek-based names. Then Thurman focused on Hephaestus and Janus as villains and brought up Achilles, all Greek and Roman mythological figures. Through Goodfellow, the pucks (Pan), Greek mythology is already a part of this series, but again she expanded on it by making the main villain part of this mythology. Hephaestus is the Greek god of technology and Pan the Greek god of nature, natural enemies. Achilles is a human Greek hero, which is perfect for Thurman’s purposes, and Janus was the Roman god of "beginnings and transitions." I think that was a rather extensive and interesting usage of mythology in this particular book. Very apropos.

So far Thurman has introduced so many different creatures and mythologies, Egyptian culture included, that I'm used to it by now, and I really enjoyed the use of the mixed mythologies in Doubletake. I am wondering if or when she will go back to some of those other entities she has introduced, or if they will just be part of the background. For example: what happened to that super secret human society? Where's the Kin in all this? Just wondering.

Nath: They all need to regroup and restructure after meeting Cal LOL. It's actually interesting that you bring up the extent of Greek mythology in this book, Hils. I didn't really pay attention. I feel that a lot of UF series nowadays are mixing up so many mythologies, but it is indeed interesting. Wonder if she'll take it a step farther. Sigh, that’s what she should do instead of bringing back the Auphe!

What I really liked about Kalakos appearance is that we found out more about Niko’s background and I'm glad we got some explanations as where Niko's warrior prowess comes from. Archilles’ descendant! Isn’t that awesome? But I’m wondering, it's always been said that Robin was attracted to Niko at first because he reminded him of Ishiah... but it seems that Robin actually knew that Niko resembled Achilles... wonder if there's something else in there :)

Leslie: I'm like Nath and don't pay much attention to the different mythologies and how they relate. But seeing how you linked up the Greek mythology is very creative. I'll need to pay closer attention from now on. As for the Kin, my guess is that they smelled the Auphe in Grimm, saw the destruction of Janus and decided to stay out of town for a while. I don't think we've seen the last of Delilah. *sigh* I don't like her with Cal.

I think Doubletake would have been a perfect book to have both Cal and Niko's POV. It would have been interesting to hear what Niko was thinking when Kalakos helped save Cal. Did he hold out any hope that maybe Kalakos really wanted a relationship? It felt a bit off balance with only Cal's POV since Niko's father played such a pivotal role in the story.

Nath: I would have loved to hear Niko's POV... but I think in such a book, it would really have been difficult for Ms Thurman to capture it.

Hilcia: I don't like Delilah for Cal either. So far, I don't like anyone for Cal, lol!

Nath, Thurman has done an excellent job using multiple POVs in one book (Roadkill), so I think she would have done the same in this book if she had chosen to give readers Niko's perspective as to his feelings for his father. But... that's water under the bridge, lol! It was just a wish on my part.

Nath: I do agree that Ms Thurman did a great job at using multiple POVs in past books, but I think there was so much going on in this book, it would have detracted and I don’t think Doubletake would have had the same impact.

Something else I enjoyed in Doubletake was the action :) It was pretty much awesome as usual :) But I think it took a backseat to all the storylines going on.

Hilcia: Really? I thought it was pretty much non-stop. Even while they were dealing with all the storylines, they were fighting and getting hurt left and right. Grimm was relentless and so was Janus.

Leslie: I thought Thurman did a good job keeping a balance between the action and the storylines. My only real complaint was a little too much time spent on Cal's introspective musings. It began to feel too repetitive and I did begin to wonder if the purpose was for readers who have not read any or all of the previous books.

Nath: The action was non-stop, but it was always in short sequences to me - except for the fight with Hephaestus. As Leslie said, there was a lot of Cal’s musings and they seemed much longer, slower.

Speaking of Hephaestus, I thought his feud with Robin about Aphrodite was hilarious LOL. And I really liked that Robin went back... It really shows how much of a friend Robin has become to the Leandros brothers.

Hilcia: Ah Robin! As always, I loved Robin Goodfellow in this installment. The Panic was fun! I enjoyed it, but it was too short and with not enough substance. It did serve to clarify some great points about Robin and the pucks though and that's great for his character. I liked that Robin was not always the easy going guy in this installment and that a few times he was actually scary.

Leslie: I loved seeing that other side of Robin! I don’t think he could have survived as long as he has without having that scary side to him. The whole Puck reunion was a bit of a letdown. After the build-up, I was expecting there to be more to it but it was over rather quickly and that was that. It was funny while it lasted though. :)

Nath: I agree the Puck reunion was a bit of a let-down, simply because it wasn't longer and not better integrated in the storyline... but what there was, I really enjoyed LOL. It was so funny to see Cal being tricked :P Although it’s interesting that Cal seems to be able to recognize older pucks.

I always like discovering new information about Robin and I thought it was awesome to learn that Robin was the second puck to walk the Earth LOL. By the way, the Hob that died... was that the real Hob? I have to say, I'm getting a bit confused ^_^;

Leslie: Yep, the Hob that died was the first original Puck.

***HUGE SPOILERS AHEAD, read at your own risk!***

Nath: So I kept the best for the end, Georgiana! What did you two think about it? It was such a shock! Though it does answer what's been going on with her, because I was wondering.

Leslie: I think Georgiana will be back. Yeah, I know you two probably think I'm being stubborn about this (and I am, just a little) but she vowed, she'd find a way.
"I'll find a way to change it. I don't care if it's never been done. The world can't stop me. No one can stop me."
page 157 of 339
I think both her and Grimm, of course, will be back.

Hilcia: Georgie's scene as seen through Grimm bothered me. It now seems that we are getting Georgie back at some point in the story, as a ghost? Really? A ghost of some sort? She was a coward with Cal, but supposedly redeemed herself by facing Grimm and now she'll "be back" to help Cal. Sigh... If that's the case, I won't be happy about that. Sorry. I wish she would have redeemed herself with Cal personally and not as some sort of ghostly, insubstantial being. I wouldn't have minded that at all. However, I do like that Thurman went back to Georgie. Hers was a loose thread that I wondered if it was going to be left hanging.

Nath: No, no, no!! No ghost! I mean, there’s going to be a lot of drama surrounding Georgie once Cal learns of her death, the last thing we need is her coming back as a ghost... or being reincarnated now that I think about it. She was killed for a reason...

Leslie: It’s interesting that you thought Georgie might come back as a ghost. I didn’t go in that direction but it’s certainly possible. I hope not though, shades of Vishous & Jane we do not need. I was thinking she might turn to black magic and use a spell to either alter the past or do some time traveling. But I would expect her to come back as either herself or possibly inhabit someone else’s body. I do think she’ll come back in some form, just not sure what or who it might be.

Hilcia: I don't know Leslie. Georgie is dead. Unless Thurman comes up with a way to resurrect the dead in this series, Georgie's not coming back as herself. She has to be some sort of ghost or something "not human." Hopefully nothing like Salome, lol! I just wish she had made her peace with Cal in person before meeting her "destiny."

Nath: LMAO!! Oh gosh Hils! I can't imagine anything like Salome LOL. I have to say, I wonder what was Georgie's future when Cal asked her to look.

Leslie: By the way ladies, I just found out that Rob Thurman tweeted about Georgina ~
"For the last time to all those who thought Georgina died in Doubletake, you didn't read the chapter closely enough."
So now I need to re-read that chapter and of course now I can't find my copy of Doubletake! LOL

Nath: Oh crap, no! I mean, in that case, why even bother with the whole scene? Sigh. I’m going with the “she’s dead, boohoo” LOL.

Hilcia: I’ll have to re-read as well. I can’t believe that the whole scene was so unclear that all three of us “missed” whatever it is that we missed. I’ll go with the fact that she’s dead ( “boohoo” indeed)... since that was my initial take on the scene, and see where Thurman goes with this character. And hmm..I guess we were all right and Georgie will be back! (Leslie) We just didn’t know it would be so soon. Muahahah!

Nath: One thing I just don't get is why Georgie basically let Grimm kill her. She saw the future and knew Grimm would kill her and she still went knowingly? How is that going to help Cal? I find the whole thing a bit stupid and all she achieved was burdening Cal. Like Hils, I’d rather seen her facing Cal. I don't know how Ms Thurman will turn this around... For now, I find Georgie's sacrifice to be worthless.

Leslie: I think Georgie allowed Grimm to kill her because she hadn’t figured out yet how to stop him or because she had figured out but it had to happened that way in order for her to come back. Maybe she made a deal with the devil and gave up her soul to come back to Cal. In this series it’s hard to say.

Nath: I’m still bummed out to find out she’s not dead :( So what, Grimm is keeping her in the cave?!? Now, I feel like no matter what happened, whoever is introduced, Cal will end up with Georgie because he owes her... And I still don’t like her for Cal!!! I thought her death was good news for me because it meant Cal would have a new love interest. I even believed she was introduced in this book! Remember the lady that looked like him at the black market. She’s definitely not simply a woman and the fact she knows Trixa and Goodfellow makes her intriguing to me :) By the way, I was happy to see Trixa mentioned! I really wish there’ll be a cross-over between the two series in the future and it feels like Ms Thurman just opened the door wide :)

Leslie: Well, I’m glad Georgie didn’t die but I’ve been a Georgie fan from the beginning.:) I do agree with Hils that the chapter/scene with Georgie and Grimm must not have been very clear if all three of us interpreted it wrong. (I still need to re-read it.) I was thinking the woman Robin knew, and was a little afraid of, in the black market is possibly another Trickster. That was an odd moment but I agree, I like how the series link.

Nath: That’s what I think as well, that she’s a Trickster. I just hope she’s not Trixa’s mother LOL.


Nath: Well I think it’s time to wrap up this looong review LOL. What grade are you giving Doubletake? For me, this was an A- read :) I just thoroughly enjoyed myself even though it seems we’re back to square one.

Leslie: I’m going with an A- too. It’s not my favorite of the series but I still enjoyed it and can’t wait for more Leandros brothers.

Hilcia: Well Nath, Leslie, for me Doubletake was definitely a mixed bag. I loved the characters and the action, and as always I got caught up in the story. Unfortunately, throughout this whole book I couldn’t shake the sense of deja vu and somehow this story did not feel fresh to me. In the end it felt like a case of “been there, done that,” or a bit of a rehash. So my final grade is a B-.

Nath: Awwww, a B-? Although I totally understand where you’re coming from Hils, Doubletake gripped me enough I could overlook its shortcomings :)

Before ending this review, I want to thank you both again, Leslie and Hilcia, for buddy reviewing Doubletake with me! Hope you’ll agree to buddy review the next one too! :) I’m sure we’re all looking forward to the next book to see where Ms Thurman is taking us!

Thursday, April 19

Review: We'll Always Have Paris by Jessica Hart

One of the reasons I love blogging so much is the people you get meet and the friends you make :) It's really just awesome to have this instant connection with someone. Just the fact that you mention character names and that other blogger immediately knows the book you're talking about... It's an incredible feeling! So today, I'm happy to introduce my newest blogger friend, Brie from Romance Around the Corner, as my buddy reviewer!

Brie and I met because we visit the some of the same blogs :) Actually, the book we've reviewed today, We'll Always Have Paris by Jessica Hart, is the best proof LOL. We both read Wendy's recent post about comfort authors and ended up buying Ms Hart's newest release LOL. When we realized it, we decided to buddy review the book :) And voila! Enjoy!

We'll Always Have Paris by Jessica Hart
published by Harlequin Romance in April 2012
I've done it! Thanks to my awesome powers of persuasion, elusive-but-dreamy TV star Simon Valentine is starring in our new romance documentary!

It wasn't easy, though—Simon thinks his status as prime-time financial guru turned celebrity is ridiculous! He says he now steers well clear of affairs of the heart, but surely he must have one romantic bone left in his body?

Much as I'd like to find out firsthand, I've sworn off men after a disastrous ending with my last boyfriend. Must remain professional—though it won't be easy…we're filming in the most romantic city of all...
Genre: Category romance, contemporary romance
Series: None

Brie: How did you like it? I enjoyed it a lot, the heroine not once got on my nerves, surprising considering that she had all the ingredients to be annoying. She was silly, obsessed with musicals and too happy for my taste (I know, I’m weird that way). But underneath it all, there was this honest and hardworking woman trying to deal with heartbreak. My favorite thing about her was that even though she was deeply hurt by her ex, she never regretted loving him. I found that to be such a refreshing attitude. Usually in romance when one of the characters has bad luck in love they swear off romance for life and just engage in meaningless sex. Not the case here, she kept looking for that one person to love her just as much as she deserved.

Nath: LOL, too happy? You are definitely weird, Brie!

Actually, I very much enjoyed the characters in We’ll Always Have Paris. Going into the book, I knew the main theme was “happy-go-lucky heroine thawing stuff hero” - one of my favorite which is why I picked up this book - and I have to say, the H/H were as I expected :) I like heroines that are happy and cheerful like Clara. I think there’s a fine line between being silly and being an airhead. In the case of Clara, she chooses to see the good sides of things in life. It’s not as if she’s not aware of the bad or ignoring it, but she decides to build her life on the positive... And as such, I think she’s a lot stronger and braver people than people give her credit for. It’s easy to be angry or to give up, but to be genuinely cheerful is much harder in my opinion.

I have to agree with you that her attitude towards love was refreshing. I liked that she didn’t want to settle, that she was looking for someone who would love her the way she deserved. Another thing I liked? The time frame... If I’m not wrong, when We’ll Always Have Paris opens, she has broken up with her ex-boyfriend for almost two years right? I liked that Simon wasn’t a rebound relationship...

What did you think of Simon, Brie?

Brie: I loved him! I’ve got a soft spot for aloof and clueless heroes, and he was definitely that. I found his character to be slightly cartoonish, with his take on life and his inability to believe that true love was real. But he wasn’t bad, and his background gave him depth and a reason to be that way.

Nath: Yeah, Simon was a good hero. I like the way Ms Hart developed his character. She gave us enough background so readers understood why he was the way he was and that was key to the story I think. Something else I liked is that although stuffy, Simon was not cold :) He obviously loved his mother, although she exasperated him. He agreed to help Clara out, because he felt he owed her. Despite his inability to understand romance, he was a good guy :)

However, you know why I like the “happy-go-lucky heroine thawing out stuffy hero” theme so much? It’s because I love seeing the heroes being puzzled by the heroines, the changes that occur and when they find themselves so out of their depth :) I find it endearing... But in the case of Simon, I don’t feel there was enough of those moments. Yes, he was puzzled by Clara, but I don’t feel like she drew him out of his shell enough :(

Also, I thought the beginning of We’ll Always Have Paris was really good. However, I didn’t like that there were so many stretches of time that Clara and Simon weren’t together. As readers, we didn’t get to see it, but it was there. Although the plus side of the way the story takes place is that Clara and Simon got to know each other and also miss each other. Still for me, the book started losing a bit of momentum after Paris :( And I’m not totally happy with the way the relationship blossomed.

I did like the ending though :) The grand gesture by Simon was just sooo sweet!! :)

Brie: I’m not a fan of “the grand gesture” in romance, but I think it was fitting for this particular story. And also, it wasn’t really that grand, only the heroine gets to see it, so I wasn’t that embarrassed by it!

Nath: True, true, it wasn’t such a “grand” gesture, but it was definitively meaningful to the two of them... and such gestures are so much better :) I don’t really care about people declaring their love to the whole world and seriously, it is sweeter when it’s embarrassing? I don’t think so. Here, it was just perfect :) A good way for Clara to know Simon really understood her.

By the way, what did you think of the fact that Clara’s parents were scholars and she didn’t fit in? I thought that was a bit superfluous.

Brie: I thought it was just the same old plot device. The carefree, slightly airheaded heroine who doesn’t fit in her family of intellectuals. Because we all know that carefree people can’t have intelligent conversations and intellectuals only think about books and science. It’s a very common stereotype that I’m used to reading in romance and in chick-lit in particular. Speaking of which: Did you think that this book read a bit like a chick-lit novel? The heroine had a bad breakup, she finally found a job that she likes but she has to jump through a lot of hoops, and lots of funny and silly things keep happening to her. It reminded me of British authors like Sophie Kinsella and Jill Mansell. What did you think?

Nath: I know what you mean. It’s true that often, the carefee heroine is often portrayed as the “black” sheep of the family. And in this case, It kind of made me think of I’ve Got Your Number by Sophie Kinsella - perhaps because I’ve recently read it. In We’ll Always Have Paris, it just wasn’t developed enough and therefore why I thought it was superfluous.

Hmmm, I know where you’re coming from with the chick-lit comment and it’s true when you break the book down like that, it does sound like a chick-lit novel. However, I wonder if it’s not because the heroine is carefree that gives this book a chick-lit feel more than the storyline overall? Know what I mean?

Brie: I agree, I think her personality is what gave her that chick-lit feel. This could easily be labeled as a romantic comedy for that same reason. It was a fun, light read, with a sweet romance and a charming heroine.

You know who I didn’t like? The hero’s mother. She dumped all this responsibility on his shoulders and he acts like he owes her so much just for doing her job as a mother. And then as soon as he was old enough to support her, she quits her job and completely relies on him. The way she was written, I’m sure she was meant to come across as funny and lovely, but I found her annoying, and she was one of the reasons why he was so uptight.

Nath: LOL, I thought Simon’s mother and Clara would get along well. It’s true that by getting a job, she did what a mother should do... At the same time, it doesn’t stop Simon from being grateful. If you think about it, Simon’s lucky because his mother was strong enough to step up and keep it together for the two of them. Plus, at that point, her life had completely changed. It must not have been easy for her either, so I can see why Simon feels like he owes her. You’re right though that it’s been a bit overly done through in the storyline.

I think what baffles Simon the most though is that after what she went through, his mother hasn’t wised up - falling in love with inappropriate men ^_^; Simon being an economist is because his father died, leaving them in debt... while him being uptight is due to seeing his mother being vulnerable time after time because of “her feelings.”

Brie: I agree. He can’t believe that after everything she went through his mother keeps making the same mistakes over and over, choosing the wrong guys. There’s an obvious parallel there between Simon’s mother and Clara, they both have similar takes on life but one does everything wrong while the other knows not to make the same mistake twice.

Overall I think it was great story. I was thoroughly entertained, the hero was standoffish but good and the heroine was cute and fun. I would recommend this to fans of contemporary romance looking for a quick read. What about you? Any closing thoughts?

Nath: I think there were some great elements about We’ll Always Have Paris. As I said, I loved the characters and I think the first half of the book was very strong. However, I had a few issues and as a whole, the book didn’t totally measure up to my expectations. I wanted more, especially when it came to the development of Clara and Simon’s relationship. I wish there had more scenes of them as a couple. It would have made the ending more believable in my opinion.

Taken all together, my grade is C+ (3.5/5).

Brie: It gets a 3.5 from me also. It was good but not great, however, it is an enjoyable read. And as usual for the Romance line, there’s one fade-to-black sex scene, in case some of our readers are interested in the sensuality level.

Wednesday, April 11

Review: Rainshadow Road by Lisa Kleypas

Hello everyone!

Guess what? Today, my buddy reviewer is Ames!! Woohoo, it's been so long since we both read the same book! LOL. It all started when Ames read Christmas Eve at Friday Harbor. She enjoyed it so much that she immediately picked up Rainshadow Road and you have to know, with Ames, that's pretty rare LOL. She's usually behind on series :P Seeing how much she enjoyed the two books, I decided to give them a try too... and voila, a buddy review! Hope you enjoy it!

Rainshadow Road by Lisa Kleypas
published by St. Martin's Press in February 2012
Lucy Marinn is a glass artist living in mystical, beautiful, Friday Harbor, Washington, with a boyfriend, Kevin, who she believes is her soul mate. She has always had a magical side - a gift that finds its way into the breathtaking glasswork she creates - and she struggles to keep it contained. But when Lucy is blindsided by the most bitter kind of betrayal, she questions many of her choices. Her boyfriend leaves her and his new lover is none other than Lucy's own sister. Lucy's bitterness over this devastation is multiplied buy the fact that she has constantly made the wrong choices in her romantic life.

Meanwhile, facing the severe disapproval of Lucy's family, Kevin asks his friend Sam Nolan, a local vineyard owner on the San Juan Island, to "romance" Lucy so that she can more easily move on. But when Sam and Lucy begin to feel real sparks between them, Lucy must ask herself if she can easily risk her heart again.

As Lucy questions her beliefs about love, loyalty, and old patterns, mistakes, and new beginnings, she explores the possibility that some things in life - even after are being broken - can be re-made into something beautiful. And that is the only by discovering who you really are that you can find the one who truly deserves you.
Genre: Contemporary romance
Series: Friday Harbor series, Book #2

Nath: So Ames, what did you think of Rainshadow Road? I find I enjoyed it more than Christmas Eve at Friday Harbor. One big reason was that Rainshadow Road was longer and therefore, was more developed and detailed. We finally got to a better picture of the Nolans family as well. In Christmas Eve at Friday Harbor, the three Nolans men kept saying they didn't know how to be a family, how to take care of someone and they didn't believe in marriage because of their parents example, but we were never really given details and that bothered me!

I was also surprised at how Sam turned out to be. Quite frankly, my first impression of Sam in Rainshadow Road wasn't very favorable, because he seemed not to want to have anything to do with Holly. It got better, because obviously, there was a bond and he loved her... But I liked finding out that behind the womanizer, there was a geek :)

Ames: Ok, I was somewhat surprised by how much I enjoyed Christmas Eve at Friday Harbor and found it very light and fluffy. Because of that, I enjoyed it a bit more than Rainshadow Road. But just a smidge more. The lack of background didn’t bother me because I felt it was enough at the time. But I see your point with Rainshadow Road: it was good to get a more in-depth history of their childhood. But Sam’s childhood differed from Mark’s in that he had the neighbours who gave him an escape from his situation.

Your reaction to Sam is funny. I didn’t have an unfavourable opinion of his character. To me it was that the siblings weren’t very close and Sam felt like he didn’t know how to be a ‘normal’ family and especially how to raise a little girl. He supported Mark though so that showed his true character. And in Rainshadow Road, he’s a very yummy character.

Nath: Oh, Sam stepped up to the task in supporting Mark - no question about that! And it was really great to see! I loved Holly’s interactions with her two uncles! How she wrapped these two bachelors around her fingers :) Actually, I have to say, Holly is my favorite character so far in the series. She’s just adorable! I think it’s just fun to see how innocent and happy she is :)

But I digress. You’re right, Sam turned out to be a yummy hero :) I really liked him. I didn’t feel he was that “scarred” by his background story. I mean, he wasn’t looking for one-night stands relationship. All he wanted was keeping things casual. I guess he simply wasn’t what I expected LOL.

I did find it kind of funny how each Nolan man had a different childhood. For Mark, being the oldest, when growing up, the situation wasn’t as bad... and when it became really bad, he was at an age where he could move out. Sam had the neighboring couple and poor Alex, he had no one. It would have been interesting to know how it was for Victoria.

Ames: I can’t wait to read Alex’ book, to see how his childhood compares to his brothers. I’m thinking he got the worst from their parents because he’s such a troubled character now.

So what did you think of the whole Alice thing?

Nath: I’m looking forward to Alex’ book too. I think it’s going to be interesting :)

As for the whole Alice thing,I think it gave us a good perspective into Lucy’s life. How they grew up with different standards. I liked that Lucy was angry at Alice and seriously, I wanted to slap Alice for being so selfish and such a bitch!! It was all about “me-me-me” with Alice... And the worst is that the idea to introduce someone to Lucy came from Alice. I find that aside from showing how selfish Alice was, it also showed that Alice didn’t respect Lucy and I really find it hard to believe that she “loved” Lucy or considered her as a sister.

Although I have to say, I’m really not surprised at how the whole fiasco turned out. One good thing that came out of it was that for once, Lucy’s parents side with her and it really made them, or at least the mother, take a good look at how they had spoiled Alice and made her the person she is.

Ames: I loved how Rainshadow Road started with Lucy’s childhood and how Alice’s sickness changed everything. It was a great set up even though the outcome was predictable. I still like reading stories like that! I don’t know why. But yeah, Alice was a selfish bitch and her mom - I just wanted to strangle her mom and tell her to wake up! I’m glad that her parents stood up to Alice when the whole situation became known.

Now the thing with Alice’s plan to find someone for Lucy to fall in love with. I thought it would happen a certain way that would lead to a big misunderstanding but Lisa did an awesome job with making Lucy and Sam discuss Alice’s scheme!! First of all, it’s not predictable. Second, it shows that these are two mature characters that are communicating with each other. I really appreciated that.

Nath: I totally agree with you, Ames! I was glad Ms Kleypas didn’t go the usual route and have the big misunderstanding. I think the key here was really the fact that Lucy and Sam had already met and were attracted to each other.

What did you think of the romance? I liked how slowly it progressed, that they got to spend time together and got know each other. And while I’m not crazy Lucy entered this romance knowing that Sam wasn’t looking for long-term commitment, it worked out well at the end. Oh and I really liked the ending, the fact that Lucy didn’t give up the scholarship. They worked through it, had a long-distance relationship before their HEA ending. I would have liked Lucy to discuss her plans with Sam a bit earlier though. The only other niggle for me in this romance was Sam’s reaction when he woke up with Lucy. I thought the way he freaked out was ridiculous ^_^;

Ames: I liked the romance. I liked the timing of it as well. Yeah Lucy meets Sam the day she finds out her boyfriend was cheating on her with her sister, but it was all good. They did get to know each other first. Now with the ending, I’m glad Lucy kept her scholarship too. And I like that she didn’t tell Sam about it earlier. He wanted the distance so when she gave it to him, he realized he didn’t like it. And I agree, that freakout was a bit overdone, but I liked Lucy’s reaction. I think he was more freaked out because it didn’t freak him out, waking up with her. Know what I mean?

Nath: Yeah, I know what you mean. Although I would like for a man who wasn’t into commitment to one day wake up, realize he is in a relationship and not freak out. Things change, people change and situations change.

Now, let’s address the elephant in the room... The magic ^_^; I read reviews of Rainshadow Road, so I was aware of it. I think overall, Ms Kleypas did a good job with it. I mean, she kept it simple and in little quantities, so it didn’t overtake the book. However, I have to say, at the end of the day, I thought it was superfluous. The book would have read really well without it and I don’t think it added much to the storyline.

Ames: I didn’t mind the magic. I wasn’t surprised by it. I mean it’s right there in the beginning with Lucy. It’s not like it came out of nowhere. It didn’t hurt the story so although it was somewhat superfluous, it’s another aspect where Sam and Lucy had a connection. If it was anyone else, they wouldn’t get it. I mean, Lucy never told Kevin about it. I think that’s a sign that she didn’t really open up to him, so didn’t really love him. And with Sam she’s completely open. Also, I like that Holly didn’t question it. And the window! I liked that window, I thought that was really cool.

Nath: That’s one thing I found too convenient about the story though. That Sam “suddenly” has magic :( Like you say, it gives Sam and Lucy another connection... and it’s a bit too obvious a purpose. It also seems to me Alex will have his own gift. I hope Ms Kleypas will keep it at a minimum as well.

By the way, what was your favorite part of the book Ames? Surprisingly for me, it didn’t involve either H/H. Instead, it’s the scene where Holly asks Mark if she can call him ‘Dad.’ It was such a sweet, innocent, touching and honest scene! Really brightened the whole book for me :) Actually, I’d say I loved every scene with Holly! As I mentioned earlier, she is my favorite character of the series and I actually wished we’ve seen more of her in the second half of the book. I just loved her interactions with everyone :)

Ames: I know in the past I said I didn’t like children in my romances, but I’ve lightened up in my attitude the last couple of years and I have to admit, Holly is the best character out of this series. Which is a really good thing since she brings all the brothers together and is indeed the glue of the family. Wouldn’t you agree? And yes, that scene with Mark was touching. I also like that we still got to see Mark in this book. That his story wasn’t finished at the end of his book.

Nath: Yes, I agree! If it wasn’t for Holly, I think the relationships between the three men would really have fractured. And it was indeed nice to see Mark again... although I was a bit surprised at the turn of events. Things are really going quickly for him!

Ames: Ok, before we wrap things up, I wanted to include this blurb. It just made my geeky heart happy:
Lucy looked down at the periodic table that covered the front of her shirt. “Where is glass?” she asked, trying to read the chemical elements upside down.
“Not on the periodic table. Glass is a compound. It’s mostly silica, which is...crap, I can’t think straight. It’s SiO2. Here...” He touched the Si, which happened to be located high on the right side of her chest. “And here.” The pad of his thumb brushed the O on her left side, close to the tip of her breast.
“Glass also has sodium carbonate,” she said.
“I think that’s...” Sam paused, struggling to concentrate. “...Na2CO3.” He studied the front of the shirt and shook his head. “I can’t show you sodium carbonate. Dangerous territory.”
“What about calcium oxide?”
His gaze scanned the shirt until he found it. He shook his head. “I’d have you on your back in about five seconds.”
Nath: LOL, great passage Ames! Yup, Sam was just a great blend between geek and womanizer :P

So what’s your grade for Rainshadow Road? I’m giving it a B. It was a nice and enjoyable read :)

Ames: I’m giving Rainshadow Road a B as well. It wasn’t as fluffy or sweet as CEaFH but still a good read.

Sunday, April 1

New Releases - April 2012

Finally a really good release month!! Yay! I mean, in the past couple of months, there were some good books coming out, but they were all either at the beginning or at the end of the month and as a result, I was going through withdrawal in between... But April has releases coming out every week! Isn't that awesome?! Plus, there's a lot of a heck of them LOL.

Are you ready? You sure, can your wallet take it? :P Here we go!

April 1

Take a Bow by Elizabeth Eulberg
published by Scholastic
Chasing Fame.
Chasing Love.
Chasing a Future.

EMME has long lived in her best friend Sophie's shadow. She writes songs, and Sophie sings them. It's always been like this, and feels like it always will be.

SOPHIE will stop at nothing to be a star. Even if it means using her best friend and picking up a trophy boyfriend, Carter.

CARTER is a victim of a particular Hollywood curse: He's a former child star. Now all he wants is a normal life. But being normal is about as hard for him as being famous.

ETHAN has his own issues -- a darkness in his head that he just can't shake. He's managed to sabotage every relationship he's even been in. Emme's the only girl he's ever really respected... but he's not sure what to do about that.

Emme, Sophie, Carter, and Ethan are all students at a performing arts high school, where talent is the normal and fame is the goal. But sometimes, being in the spotlight isn't as important as the people you're sharing it with -- as the four of them are going to find out in Take a Bow, which is about the auditions life puts us through every day, both big and small.
Genre: YA, Contemporary
Series: None

Ames: I really enjoy Elizabeth's writing and this one sounds right up my alley. I've already pre-ordered it!

Nath: I like her writing, but I don't know. I don't think I've been in the mood for contemporary YA lately. Going to wait to see how much you like it, Ames :)

Thou Shalt Not Roadtrip by Antony John
published by Dial Books
One crazy road trip full of rejection, redemption, and romance.

When sixteen-year-old Luke's book, Hallelujah, becomes a national best seller, his publisher sends him on a cross-country tour with his unpredictable older brother, Matt, as chauffeur. But when Matt offers to drive Luke's ex-crush, Fran, across the country too, things get a little crazy. Luke thinks he's enlightened, but he really needs to loosen up if he's going to discover what it truly means to have faith, and do what it takes to get the girl he loves.
Genre: YA, Contemporary
Series: None

Ames: I haven't read this author before but I know Nath has and I love a good road-trip novel. This one sounds good.

Nath: I'm curious about this one. When I was attracted to Five Flavors of Dumb because the protagonist was deaf. For Thou Shalt Not Road Trip, it's the road-trip aspect :) But still the same problem as with Take a Bow, not really in the mood. So I'll be on the look out for reviews :)

April 3

About that Night by Julie James
published by Berkley

Though Rylann Pierce tried to fight the sparks she felt for billionaire heir Kyle Rhodes the night they met, their sizzling chemistry was undeniable. But after being stood up on their first date, Rylann never expected to see him again. So when she finds herself face to face with Kyle in a courthouse nine years later, she’s stunned. More troubling to the beautiful Assistant U.S. Attorney is that she’s still wildly attracted to him.


Just released from prison, Kyle Rhodes isn’t thrilled to be the star witness in a high-profile criminal case — but when Rylann comes knocking at his door, he finds she may be the one lawyer he can’t say no to. Still as gorgeous and sharp-tongued as ever, she lays down the law: she doesn’t mix business with pleasure. But Kyle won’t give up on something he wants — and what he wants is the one woman he’s never forgotten...
Genre: Contemporary romance
Series: FBI series, Book #3

Ames: Thanks to a wonderful friend who lent me her ARC, I've already this. And believe me, you're going to want to too! I am buying my own copy though so I can re-read it. :P

Nath: I really enjoyed Ms James' previous release, A Lot Like Love. It feels like Ms James has finally found the right balance for contemporary romance and I hope it continues with About That Night! Looking forward to read the Twitter Terrorist's story! LOL.

Just Down the Road by Jodi Thomas
published by Berkley
Harmony, Texas, is a place where dreams are born. As the townspeople face unexpected endings and new beginnings, they also come face to face with themselves—and what’s most important in life...

When Tinch Turner lost his wife, he gave up on living. Now he spends his nights brooding, boozing, and brawling. When one of his escapades lands him in the ER, he finds himself staring up at the beautiful new doctor in town. For the first time in years, he feels a spark, but Addison Spencer wants nothing to do with the unruly rancher—or any man for that matter. She’s only in Harmony four months, long enough for the trouble she left behind to be over. But then a vulnerable little boy barrels into both their lives, forcing them out of the past—and into a future where love is just down the road...

In the meantime, as Reagan Truman grieves her beloved uncle, she finds comfort in the makeshift family she’s made in Harmony—and in a new baby, the first born in the Wright Funeral Home in 45 years, proving to everyone that life does go on...

Since Tinch Turner lost his wife, he's spent his nights brooding, boozing, and brawling. When one of his escapades lands him in the ER, he finds himself staring up at the beautiful new doctor in town, Addison Spencer-and for the first time in years, he feels a spark. Meanwhile, Reagan Truman finds comfort in the makeshift family she's made in Harmony-and in a new baby, the first born in the Wright Funeral Home in 45 years, proving to everyone that life does go on.
Genre: Contemporary romance
Series: Harmony series, Book #4

Nath: Another book I'm really looking forward to! I can't wait to reunite with the characters from Harmony! I simply love this series and this town :) I actually read an excerpt of Just Down the Road and it looks promising to me!

The Duke's Perfect Wife by Jennifer Ashley
published by Berkley
Lady Eleanor Ramsay is the only one who knows the truth about Hart Mackenzie. Once his fiancee, she is the sole woman to whom he could ever pour out his heart.

Hart has it all--a dukedom, wealth, power, influence, whatever he desires. Every woman wants him--his seductive skills are legendary. But Hart has sacrificed much to keep his brothers safe, first from their brutal father, and then from the world. He's also suffered loss--his wife, his infant son, and the woman he loved with all his heart though he realized it too late.

Now, Eleanor has reappeared on Hart's doorstep, with scandalous nude photographs of Hart taken long ago. Intrigued by the challenge in her blue eyes--and aroused by her charming, no-nonsense determination--Hart wonders if his young love has come to ruin him... or save him.
Genre: Historical romance
Series: The Highland Pleasures series, Book #4

Ames: I've only read the first two books in this series but Hart has always intrigued me. Jennifer's historicals are auto-buys for me so yeah, definitely going to read this one! (After I reread Lady Isabella's Scandalous Marriage...LOL)

Nath: I wasn't sure if I was going to get this one and in the end, I couldn't resist. I can't wait to find out what happened between Hart and Eleanor! Plus, I really enjoyed Cameron's book... Hoping this one will be as good!

Monroe: I LOVE this series and I'm counting down the hours till this one is on my ereader!

If I Fall by Kate Noble
published by Berkley
Every great romance comes with a risk...

After a duke's betrayal, the resilient Sarah Forrester reinvents herself as the Golden Lady: society's leading light, the beautiful and witty life of the party. It's all a façade of course-one that protects her from another intimate disloyalty. When her old friend, Lieutenant Jackson Fletcher, returns to London, he is determined to rediscover the true and trusting Sarah he once knew. It'll take more than a kiss and a promise. It might even call for an innocent and necessary deception.

Then Jackson is enlisted to help capture the lead suspect in a murder— a man who happens to be Sarah's most ardent suitor. Jack must continue the deception, and weathering this newest and gravest betrayal will be Sarah's ultimate test. But as Jack's passion for her grows, he must also reveal his own secrets. And as the killer turns his attention to his pursuers, more than love and trust is put at risk.
Genre: Historical romance
Series: Connected to Follow My Lead

Ames: Sarah is a character from Follow My Lead and I think it will be interesting to read the overthrown girl's side of the story. Plus I just LOVE Kate's writing. I can't wait to read this.

Nath: I like Ms Noble's writing too :) I find her historical to be refreshing... something with the tone and her writing I think. However, I don't like the cover :( It's not just that we see the model's head, it just doesn't fit anymore with the previous books.

April 10

Royal Street by Suzanne Johnson
published by Tor
As the junior wizard sentinel for New Orleans, Drusilla Jaco’s job involves a lot more potion-mixing and pixie-retrieval than sniffing out supernatural bad guys like rogue vampires and lethal were-creatures. DJ's boss and mentor, Gerald St. Simon, is the wizard tasked with protecting the city from anyone or anything that might slip over from the preternatural beyond.

Then Hurricane Katrina hammers New Orleans’ fragile levees, unleashing more than just dangerous flood waters.

While winds howled and Lake Pontchartrain surged, the borders between the modern city and the Otherworld crumbled. Now, the undead and the restless are roaming the Big Easy, and a serial killer with ties to voodoo is murdering the soldiers sent to help the city recover.

To make it worse, Gerry has gone missing, the wizards’ Elders have assigned a grenade-toting assassin as DJ’s new partner, and undead pirate Jean Lafitte wants to make her walk his plank. The search for Gerry and for the serial killer turns personal when DJ learns the hard way that loyalty requires sacrifice, allies come from the unlikeliest places, and duty mixed with love creates one bitter gumbo.
Genre: Urban fantasy
Series: Sentinels of New Orleans series, Book #1

Nath: Well you all know my love of witches and wizards, so this sounds right up my alley :) Although I've read mixed reviews so far. Ah well, I won't know till I read it, right?

Monroe: Awesome cover!

Nath: I know! That's what caught my eye first! :)

The Calling by Kelley Armstrong
published by Harper Teen

Maya Delaney’s paw-print birthmark is the sign of what she truly is—a skin-walker. She can run faster, climb higher, and see better than nearly anyone else. Experiencing intense connections with the animals that roam the woods outside her home, Maya knows it’s only a matter of time before she’s able to Shift and become one of them. And she believes there may be others in her small town with surprising talents.

Now, Maya and her friends have been forced to flee from their homes during a forest fire they suspect was deliberately set. Then they’re kidnapped, and after a chilling helicopter crash, they find themselves in the Vancouver Island wilderness with nothing but their extraordinary abilities to help them get back home.
Genre: YA, Urban Fantasy
Series: Darkness Rising trilogy, Book #2

Nath: Yay, the second book! I hope this one is much better than The Gathering and we find some answers :)

April 12

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
published by Orion
"Bono met his wife in high school," Park says.
"So did Jerry Lee Lewis," Eleanor answers.
"I’m not kidding," he says.
"You should be," she says, "we’re sixteen."
"What about Romeo and Juliet?"
"Shallow, confused," then dead.
"I love you," Park says.
"Wherefore art thou," Eleanor answers.
"I’m not kidding," he says.
"You should be."

Set over the course of one school year in 1986, ELEANOR AND PARK is the story of two star-crossed misfits – smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try. When Eleanor meets Park, you’ll remember your own first love – and just how hard it pulled you under.
Genre: Fiction
Series: None

Ames: Attachments was one of my top books from 2011 so it's a no-brainer that I'm soooo looking forward to Rainbow's next book. And it sounds super cute!!!

Nath: It does right? I find it's fun that the author is going back in the past, choosing times that aren't that far away, but so different because of the lack of today's technology. I think this book will be very good :)

April 17

The Witness by Nora Roberts
published by Putnam
Daughter of a controlling mother, Elizabeth finally let loose one night, drinking at a nightclub and allowing a strange man's seductive Russian accent lure her to a house on Lake Shore Drive. The events that followed changed her life forever.

Twelve years later, the woman known as Abigail Lowery lives on the outskirts of a small town in the Ozarks. A freelance programmer, she designs sophisticated security systems--and supplements her own security with a fierce dog and an assortment of firearms. She keeps to herself, saying little, revealing nothing. But Abigail's reserve only intrigues police chief Brooks Gleason. Her logical mind, her secretive nature, and her unromantic viewpoints leave him fascinated but frustrated. He suspects that Abigail needs protection from something--and that her elaborate defenses hide a story that must be revealed.
Genre: Contemporary romance, romantic suspense
Series: None

Ames: Netgalley is a friend. I highly recommend this one. It was so good.

Nath: Really looking forward to The Witness! It's La Nora after all :) Plus, did you see what Ames said? It's good! Yay!

Twisted by Laura Griffin
published by Simon & Schuster
Motive, opportunity, and no alibi—it seems close to a slam-dunk. But while rookie detective Allison Doyle’s department has ID’d a suspect in a young woman’s vicious murder, she is uneasy. Then legendary FBI profiler Mark Wolfe shows up with a startling theory: if he’s right, the real murderer is an elusive psychopath just days away from another kill.

Using Allison’s contacts at the Delphi Center crime lab, Wolfe is finally in striking distance of the monster he’s pursued for ten years. Except that as they work together, Wolfe finds the ambitious, stubborn woman a tempting distraction. And with this brutal predator, every thread of evidence can make the difference between being the hunter... and the prey.
Genre: Romantic suspense
Series: Tracers series, Book #5

Nath: I've been craving for some RS, so chances are high I'm going to be getting this one :)

Paris in Love by Eloisa James
published by Random House Publishing
In 2009, New York Times bestselling author Eloisa James took a leap that many people dream about: she sold her house, took a sabbatical from her job as a Shakespeare professor, and moved her family to Paris. Paris in Love: A Memoir chronicles her joyful year in one of the most beautiful cities in the world.

With no classes to teach, no committee meetings to attend, no lawn to mow or cars to park, Eloisa revels in the ordinary pleasures of life—discovering corner museums that tourists overlook, chronicling Frenchwomen’s sartorial triumphs, walking from one end of Paris to another. She copes with her Italian husband’s notions of quality time; her two hilarious children, ages eleven and fifteen, as they navigate schools—not to mention puberty—in a foreign language; and her mother-in-law Marina’s raised eyebrow in the kitchen (even as Marina overfeeds Milo, the family dog).

Paris in Love invites the reader into the life of a most enchanting family, framed by la ville de l’amour.
Genre: Memoir
Series: None

Ames: I really enjoy Eloisa's writing, so much so I'm willing to follow her new direction, a memoir. And really, who hasn't thought of packing up and moving to a foreign land? (Mind you, I lived in Germany as a teenager, but as an adult, it would be a completely different experience.)

Nath: I think this is going to be very interesting. It reminds me a bit of Blame it on Paris by Laura Florand. That book was simply delicious and I'm hoping this one will be as well. Plus, we know that Ms James can write :)

April 24

Deadly Descendant by Jenna Black
published by Simon & Schuster
As a living descendant of Artemis the Huntress, private investigator Nikki Glass knows how to track someone down. But when an Oracle shows up, warning the descendants about wild dog attacks in Washington D.C., Nikki is afraid it might be a trap. The Olympians believe the “dogs” are jackals, controlled by a blood-crazed descendant of the Egyptian death-god Anubis. Whatever... If Nikki hopes to muzzle Dogboy, she’s got to catch him in the act. But when she stakes out a local cemetery, she ends up face-to-snout with a snarling pack of shadow-jackals whose bite is worse than their bark. These hellhounds are deadly—even for an immortal like Nikki. “Dog” spelled backwards may be “god,” but that won’t stop Nikki from teaching these old gods some new tricks. Like playing dead.
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Series: Nikki Glass series, Book #2

Nath: I enjoyed the first book, Dark Descendant, and I'm looking forward to the sequel :) I hope we find out more about the world!

Summoning the Night by Jenn Bennett
published by Simon & Schuster

After narrowly escaping her fate as a sacrificial scapegoat, Arcadia Bell is back to normal. Or at least as ordinary as life can be for a renegade magician and owner of a tiki bar that caters to Earthbound demons. She’s gearing up for the busiest day of the year—Halloween—when a vengeful kidnapper paralyzes the community. The influential head of the local Hellfire Club taps Cady to track down the fiendish bogeyman, and now that she’s dating red-hot Lon Butler, the Club’s wayward son, she can hardly say no. Cady and Lon untangle a gruesome thirty-year trail of clues that points to danger for the club members’ children. But locating the person behind the terror will require some metaphysical help from Cady’s loyal bar patrons as well as her potent new Moonchild powers—and she’d better figure it out before the final victim disappears and her own darkest secret becomes her biggest enemy.
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Series: Arcadia Bell series, Book #2

Nath: Once again, I'm not sure I'll be picking up this book. The first book, Kindling the Moon, was a solid read and had potential, but I didn't really connect with the H/H. I'll be checking the reviews first.

Tricked by Kevin Hearne
published by Random House Publishing
Druid Atticus O’Sullivan hasn’t stayed alive for more than two millennia without a fair bit of Celtic cunning. So when vengeful thunder gods come Norse by Southwest looking for payback, Atticus, with a little help from the Navajo trickster god Coyote, lets them think that they’ve chopped up his body in the Arizona desert.

But the mischievous Coyote is not above a little sleight of paw, and Atticus soon finds that he’s been duped into battling bloodthirsty desert shapeshifters called skinwalkers. Just when the Druid thinks he’s got a handle on all the duplicity, betrayal comes from an unlikely source. If Atticus survives this time, he vows he won’t be fooled again. Famous last words.
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Series: Iron Druid Chronicles, Book #4

Nath: I still haven't read Hammered ^_^; This series started out really well, but now, it lost a bit of its shine :( Another one I'll need to check reviews for before making a decision. But for now, it's on my radar :)

Into the Dreaming by Karen Marie Moning
published by Random House Publishing
Between the Highlander and Fever worlds lies a place beyond imagining.

For the first time in hardcover, here is #1 New York Times bestselling author Karen Marie Moning’s novella Into the Dreaming, a tale of Highland fantasy, star-crossed lovers, and the timeless manipulation of the ancient, immortal Unseelie king. This is Moning at her romantic, funniest finest.

Free him from his ice-borne hell...

Stolen from his beloved home in the Highlands of Scotland, imprisoned in the Unseelie king’s dark, frosty kingdom, Aedan MacKinnon endured centuries of torture before becoming the icy, emotionless Vengeance, the dark king’s dispatcher of death and destruction in the mortal realm.

And in his century you both may dwell...

Aspiring romance novelist Jane Sillee has always believed that she was born in the wrong century, but she’s managed to make a decent enough life for herself—if only she could stop having those recurring dreams about a man too perfect to exist.

In the Dreaming you have loved him...

Haunted every night of her life by a devastatingly sexy Highlander who comes to her while she sleeps, Jane tries to write him out of her head and heart. As a child he protected her, as a woman he loves her.

Now in the Waking you must save him...

When an ancient tapestry bearing the likeness of her beloved Highlander arrives on her doorstep, Jane is whisked back in time to fifteenth-century Scotland, to the castle of Dun Haakon on the isle of Skye, where she is given one chance to save her dream lover... or lose him forever to the Unseelie king.

Caught in a deadly game between the light and dark courts of the Fae, Jane must find a way through the ice to the heart of her Highander. But will the love of one mortal woman be enough to defeat such ancient and ruthless immortal enemies?
Genre: Paranormal romance
Series: Highlander series, Book #0.5

Ames: It's been ages since I read Moning's Highlander series but it'll be interesting to go back.

Unmasking Kelsey by Kay Hooper
published by Random House Publishing
All is not as it seems as a daring undercover agent and an unconventional southern belle mix business with pleasure in this classic story of romance and suspense from New York Times bestselling author Kay Hooper.

Kelsey has come to the idyllic southern town of Pinnacle to investigate a shady company called Meditron, which has a ruthless way of getting what it wants—or so claims the desperate caller who contacts the FBI. The locals won’t talk about Meditron. But Kelsey is an expert interrogator, prepared to use his seductive charms to his every advantage. He just hadn’t counted on falling for the beautiful witness at the center of his investigation.

Elizabeth Conner is too proud to ask for any sort of assistance. She never needed help raising her three willful younger sisters. But now her family is in serious trouble, and Elizabeth’s stubborn independence is a deadly liability. And then Kelsey sweeps her up—and into his arms—like a force of nature, promising to protect Elizabeth and her sisters from a relentless enemy. Elizabeth never imagined letting any man get too close, let alone one who can’t even disclose his full name. But daring to trust this tempting stranger is a danger she must embrace.
Genre: Romantic suspense
Series: Hagen series, Book #6

Nath: Another re-print. What can I say, die-hard fan of Ms Hooper! Did you know she finally has a new FBI SCU book coming out this summer? Now that one, I can't wait!! :)

Sunrise Point by Robyn Carr
published by Mira (Harlequin)
Tom Cavanaugh may think he wants a traditional woman, but in Virgin River, the greatest tradition is falling in love unexpectedly....

Former marine Tom Cavanaugh’s come home to Virgin River, ready to take over his family’s apple orchard and settle down. He knows just what the perfect woman will be like: sweet, decent, maybe a little naive. The marrying kind.

Nothing like Nora Crane. So why can’t he keep his eyes off the striking single mother?

Nora may not have a formal education, but she graduated with honors from the school of hard knocks. She’s been through tough times and she’ll do whatever it takes to support her family, including helping with harvest time at the Cavanaugh’s orchard. She’s always kept a single-minded focus on staying afloat...but suddenly her thoughts keep drifting back to rugged, opinionated Tom Cavanaugh.

Both Nora and Tom have their own ideas of what family means. But they’re about to prove each other completely wrong...
Genre: Contemporary romance
Series: Virgin River series, Book #19

Nath: I was a bit confused as which Tom the hero was... At first, I thought he was Vanessa's brother, but he is not! Yay! Anyway, I've read 18 books in this series... Why stop now? LOL.

Somebody to Love by Kristan Higgins
published by HQN Books (Harlequin)
After her father loses the family fortune in an insider-trading scheme, single mom Parker Welles is faced with some hard decisions. First order of business: go to Gideon's Cove, Maine, to sell the only thing she now owns—a decrepit house in need of some serious flipping. When her father's wingman, James Cahill, asks to go with her, she's not thrilled…even if he is fairly gorgeous and knows his way around a toolbox.Having to fend for herself financially for the first time in her life, Parker signs on as a florist's assistant and starts to find out who she really is. Maybe James isn't the glib lawyer she always thought he was. And maybe the house isn't the only thing that needs a little TLC…
Genre: Contemporary romance
Series: None, but loosely connected to Catch of the Day and The Next Best Thing

Ames: I enjoy Kristan's writing and even though I haven't read her last two releases, I'm still gonna get this one. haha

Nath: I enjoyed Until There Was You and I hope that Ms Higgins is on a roll now that she's finally writing her book at the 3rd POV :) So far, I know one person who loved this book and another who thought it was okay. Hey, if my opinion falls in between, I'll be happy :)

Monroe: Oh I just got Catch of the Day (haven't read it yet) so depending on how I like it I may just get this one! =)

The Fireman who Loved Me by Jennifer Bernard
published by Avon (Harpercollins Publisher)
Captain Brody has been badly burned by his ex-wife. When he orders Ryan, his star fireman, to participate in a bachelor auction, little does he know he’s the one who will lose his heart.

Melissa McGuire is a brainy local news producer trying to get her career back on track. She can’t believe she’s being set up by her grandmother, who bid on a date with a fireman at the auction. She prefers the artsy type, not the tough, commanding , though clearly attractive, fire chief.

And yet, they can’t resist each other, especially once her ambitious news anchor assigns her the “Thanksgiving with the Firefighters” news special. Add in her grandmother’s matchmaking and the combined efforts of Captain Brody’s crew…can Brody help being the first bachelor to succumb to love, and the crazy rollercoaster ride of the Curse?
Genre: Contemporary romance
Series: The Bachelor Firemen of San Gabriel series, Book #1

Nath: New contemporary series featuring firemen. Need I say more? LOL.

Monroe: Cute cover yeah I second Nath...Firemen...YUM! ;)

The Story of Us by Deb Caletti
published by Simon Pulse (Simon & Schuster)
Cricket’s on a self-imposed break from her longtime boyfriend—but she’s picked a bad week to sort out her love life. For one thing, her mother’s romance is taking center stage: After jilting two previous fiancés, her mom is finally marrying Dan Jax, whom Cricket loves. But as wedding attendees arrive for a week of festivities at a guesthouse whose hippie owners have a sweet, sexy son—Ash—complications arise: Cricket’s future stepsisters make it clear they’re not happy about the marriage. An old friend decides this is the week to declare his love for Cricket. Grandpa chooses to reveal a big secret at a family gathering. Dan’s ex-wife shows up. And even the dogs—Cricket’s old, ill Jupiter and Dan’s young, lively Cruiser—seem to be declaring war.

While Cricket fears that Dan is in danger of becoming ditched husband-to-be number three, she’s also alarmed by her own desires. Because even though her boyfriend looms large in her mind, Ash is right in front of her...
Genre: YA, Contemporary
Series: None

Ames: This one sounds interesting. Deb's writing is good although sometimes her plots don't work for me.


So what do you think? Did we miss anything?