Second Bookses

It's like second breakfast. Only with books.
Sky's End - Lesley  Young Reviewed for RT Book Reviews November 2013 issue:
Warrior of the Nile - Veronica  Scott Reviewed for RT Book Reviews November 2013 issue:
The Naughty Corner - Jasmine Haynes Reviewed for RT Book Reviews October 2013 issue:
Pregnesia - Carla Cassidy Incredibly horrifying title to the contrary, Pregnesia is pretty much your usual fair for a Harlequin Intrigue novel: fairly easy-to-figure out mystery, pretty much instalove on the part of the hero and heroine, and a happily-ever-after ending. Sorry if I spoiled it for you.Jane is pregnant and has no memory of who she is. She's found by our erstwhile hero when he's repossessing a car as a favor for someone. He's an ex-Navy SEAL who's now in the "getting things back" business, but it's usually high-ticket items and important people.Because of reasons, he doesn't want to take her to the hospital or the police, so he takes her to his sister. Who's a nurse studying to be a doctor. So she patches up the cut on the woman's head and they end up getting attached to her. Lucas, our ex-SEAL, gets his partners involved in trying to solve the mystery of who this Jane Doe is and why some guys try to hie off with her in a white van with a symbol of a church at the local Walmart. Then, naturally, she turns up on the news TEN DAYS LATER with people looking to retrieve her. You can probably figure out the rest from here.Like pretty much all category romances, the book skates over things like research and plugging plot holes, and drops clues like anvils. As a friend stated, "They pretty much write themselves." It's a quick read, possibly a fun read if that's your thing, but it's not earth shattering. And the title alone is probably still selling this book four years out from publication.

Sins & Needles (The Artists Trilogy, #1)

Sins & Needles (The Artists Trilogy, #1) - Karina Halle Well, I can't say I wasn't warned.On paper, this book has absolutely everything I should love: a grifter heroine (Hello, one of my favorite movies of all time); a tattooed, pierced, ex-nerd hero; broken pasts for both of them; and an author I've previously enjoyed a LOT via her Experiment in Terror series.Unfortunately, all these fantastic things combine to create a book I wanted to love but simply couldn't.The story here is told through jumps between present-day and the past. The tl;dr version is that Ellie, our heroine, is back in her old hometown hoping to go straight. She applies for exactly one job and is turned away before she meets our hero, Camden. She and Cam go way back to high school, having had a complicated relationship, and between the flashbacks and Ellie's near-instant decision to steal from him instead of continuing her job hunt, if you can't see the writing on the wall, you've probably never read a book before.From there, the two team up in the most convoluted deal I've probably ever seen. And oh, BTW, they have sex.What really depressed me about this book is that Halle has written characters with great chemistry before. These two? Have exactly none. It's all explained why they are together, might want to be together, etc. but you never really get a good feeling that they SHOULD be together. There's no chemistry, no reason to root for them, and the deus ex machina ways they get out of corners just frustrated the hell out of me.By the end, I didn't care enough about either of the characters to want to know what happens next in this series. While the writing was good, the rest of it left me cold.Here's hoping Halle goes back to the great stuff she was doing with the horror books.
Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth - Reza Aslan If there's one thing my lapsed Catholic self is always going to jump on, it's a book that compares the historical facts about the life of Jesus to the religious beliefs that surround him.Like most academic books, Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth is dense with information. This isn't a quick read, and I don't think author Reza Aslan intends it to be. As the introduction notes, the author was raised Muslim, embraced Christianity after a camp experience, and finally developed a more academic approach to religion.For those raised to appreciate the Bible as a literal report, Zealot will be a difficult book to internalize. We're taught to believe that the Gospels are pure fact, that there is no confusion about Jesus' intentions, that certain tenets of the faith are indisputable. Aslan cites historical knowledge about the region and culture at the time Jesus would have lived, and compares it to Biblical verses, showing ways in which Christianity may have been molded to better fit the political climate it found itself in at the time.For those willing to look at Christianity with an open mind and interested in its evolution, this is a can't miss read, and far more preferable to the inanity of a Dan Brown novel.This book was provided by the publisher and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Fire Inside  - Kristen Ashley The Chaos series is fast becoming my guiltiest pleasure reading of all time.The second book in the series, Fire Inside features the couple alluded to in Own the Wind: Hop and Lainie. Hop is a member of the Chaos Motorcycle Club, while Lainie is a friend of club president's "old lady", Tyra. The couple is meant to be a serious opposites-attract pairing, with Hop a divorced biker and Lainie a high-class society woman running her own business. Of course, they both have enough baggage to sink the QEII, and the fights and misunderstandings are nearly as plentiful as the hot sex.And boy, is it hot. The best part about this book is that author Kristen Ashley writes alpha heroes the way they should be written: bossy without being abusive. There seems to be a trend where abuse is considered "hot" but there's a huge difference between a hero controlling a heroine's every move and one who wants to do that because he's over-protective, but then realizes when he's gone overboard and backs off.Hop is the second type, and it's just one facet of a great character who has fantastic chemistry with his heroine. You want to slap them both at times for some of the stupid things they fight over, but wow, are they combustible. If I have one quibble, it's that Lainie's dialogue falls too easily into the biker lingo. For someone who's been raised with a silver spoon in her mouth and wears designer everything, her dialogue often veers off into more "biker chick."I received a copy of this book from the publisher and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Captive: The Forbidden Side of Nightshade

Captive: The Forbidden Side of Nightshade - A.D. Robertson Reviewed for RT Book Reviews October 2013 issue: was probably the most difficult review I've ever written for RT. If the publisher weren't marketing this as erotic romance and was instead categorized it as paranormal? My review might have been different. This is just NOT an erotic romance. At all.
When Life Gives You Lemons... At Least You Won't Get Scurvy! - Madge Madigan It's taken me ages to getting around to writing this review, mainly because I didn't know how to frame it. I'm going with Facebook status "It's complicated" for this review.I first "met" Madge Madigan on Twitter, after hearing some local buzz about When Life Gives You Lemons... At Least You Won't Get Scurvy and naturally, I wanted to read anything by a local writer.It took a little bit, but then she retweeted her daughter and I realized she had to be the ex-wife of a cousin I haven't seen in years. And I'd never met her. So with that frame of reference, I have to state that it's just a little bit odd reading about things that happened involving a cousin you knew since birth but haven't seen in probably 15 or 20 years. And obviously, it makes it just a little awkward reviewing the book.Madigan takes a brutally honest yet humorous look at life -- specifically hers as a single mother of three teens. As those of us who've been down that road know quite well, the whole Carol Brady routine doesn't exactly work out that way in real life. We're often doing the bulk of -- or in Madigan's case, all of -- the parenting, have to field questions we never thought we'd have to answer (boy things), and do all of that on what's probably a severely reduced income.Madigan's voice is likeable and very easy to read, and the essays she includes in the book are quick reads, yet make it easy to put the book down and come right back to where you were. I read it over a couple of days in small chunks, and once I got past the inherent awkwardness in knowing a lot of the players as she described her married life, found it both poignant and humorous. I relate all too well to many of her stories. If I have one quibble, I'd like to have seen more flow through the book tying the essays together. Most of them are reprinted blog posts, and while they have introductions, I'd love to see more of a continuous flow. Unlike most humor books, this one is about the reality that is a divorced single mom's life, and I found myself wanting to have more information, especially as it related to the timeline of events. That's a small quibble however, and I'd recommend this book for anyone, not just those of us who are single moms, although I think we're the ones who'll "get it" more.
Love Letters Volume 4: Travel to Temptation - Ginny Glass, Christina Thatcher, Emily Cale, Maggie Wells Reviewed for RT Book Reviews October 2013 issue:
Slammed - Kelly Jamieson Reviewed for RT Book Reviews October 2013 issue:
John Dies at the End (John Dies at the End, #1) - David Wong John Dies at the End may very well be the book I can't review. I have no idea what to say about it, nor what I feel about it.Ostensibly, this is a horror book, if you are judging by the copious amounts of gore and flowing body fluids that abound. You could also say it's a bit of a sci-fi novel; after all, the idea is that the "soy sauce" is some sort of drug that allows access to another dimension. That's in the blurb, which makes about as much sense as the book does in that regard.It took me longer to read John Dies at the End because I was constantly torn between loving it and hating it, and I never could decide which it was. Was it brilliant? Possibly, but then the sheer amount of dick and fart jokes made me feel at times like I was talking to an 11-year-old boy (something I can assure you I'm an expert at doing). Sometimes the writing seemed genius, but at other times, it felt like an attempt to create an atmosphere others have done better: Victor LaVale's Lucretia and the Kroons, for example.There's a sequel, but I'm unsure I want to read it. Part of me does, but the other part doesn't. In other words, this review is probably helpful to exactly no one, least of all me. I'm left shaking my head and wondering what on earth I just experienced.


Thunderstruck - Kendall Grace Reviewed for RT Book Reviews October 2013 issue:
Marrying Mari - Elyse Snow Reviewed for RT Book Reviews 2013 issue:
This Man Confessed (This Man, #3) - Jodi Ellen Malpas Reviewed for RT Book Reviews September 2013 issue:
Beneath This Man (This Man, #2) - Jodi Ellen Malpas Reviewed for RT Book Reviews:

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