Teaser Tuesday

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I stumbled across this a while ago through a link Serenity posted and I liked the idea. Some of the fellow Book Charmers have jumped right in as well! Teaser Tuesday is hosted by MizB over at Books and a Beat.

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The book I chose for this particular edition of Teaser Tuesday is Silence of the Grave by Arnaldur Indriðason.

The baby put it in her mouth and calmed down again.

“The thing she’s gnawing,” he said. “I think it’s a human bone.” (Chapter 1)

 

 

This is the fourth book in a longer series, translated from the original Icelandic into English from book three onwards. For those of you who read German, the entire series, starting at book 1, is available in German.

While it is always nice to start a series from the beginning, it isn’t absolutely necessary with the Inspector Erlendur series. The writing style is quite particular, usually straight to the point without a lot of fluff, which gives the story a more unique feeling. For any crime enthusiasts, I can only recommend this series.

 

 

Too Hard To Forget Review

31423491Although this is the 3rd book in Romancing the Clarksons it can easily be read as a stand alone. Now let me say this “Hang in there, if you feel anything like I did then the first part of this book can be hard to get through and you won’t like Elliot!” But if you just keep going and push through the second half makes it all worth while.

This book is intense in a lot of ways. It’s hot and sexy and not a book I would read it public as it had me squirming a bit. It’s also gets a bit uncomfortable with Elliot’s Catholic guilt. Peggy is a senior in college and Elliot is the football coach who’s wife just died. Elliot and his wife didn’t have a good relationship at all and he wasn’t there when she died. When Peggy inspires such strong emotions (emotions he didn’t have for his wife) in him so shortly after the death of his wife he doesn’t handle the guilt at all well. He thinks of Peggy as a temptation and a sin and the way he treats her isn’t pretty. Thank goodness we get this is flashbacks spread out throughout the first half of the book because to be honest if I was reading it real time I don’t think I would have stuck with the book and I’m so glad I did!

This book starts 3 years after the end of Peggy and Elliot’s relationship when she comes back for Alumni week. The connection/chemistry between Peggy and Elliot is instant but Peggy is back with a plan. She wants to get Elliot out of her system and to make him miserable and regret breaking up with her. Through the first half of the book we see Peggy pursuing Elliot and through the flashbacks we see just how much pain Elliot caused Peggy and the repercussions of that in her present. Just as Peggy starts to find her closure and accept that Elliot is bad for her, he wakes up and realizes with the help of his 12 year old daughter that he has been an idiot. The second half of the book the tables have turned and Elliot has to fight for Peggy. He has to prove to her that he can be the man for her and that the past was his failure and not hers. He sets out to show her that she is a wonderful woman and that he not only accepts his feelings for her but doesn’t want to live without her.  So the Elliot I didn’t like became a character I was rooting for and I ended up loving him.

I love a good second chance romance and when a hero is as big of a jerk as Elliot in the first half I want to see him grovel. This book did that in spades. Elliot had to work hard to get his second chance and Peggy didn’t instantly forgive him. At the same time, Elliot’s realization that his actions due to his guilt because of his devout Catholic beliefs had truly harmed Peggy and his remorse was beautiful. Sometimes the timing of meeting someone is just wrong and that was the case in this book. Elliot wasn’t ready for his feelings for Peggy and he wasn’t ready to let go of his guilt. This book is a beautiful picture of getting through the tough times to find the wonderful at the end.

An emotional and satisfying book!  I give it 4 charms.

M/M Monday Back Piece Review

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There were some things I really liked about this book and a few not as much things. So after pondering it I finally settled on a 3.5 rating.

This book centers around Daniel who joined the Navy to escape his childhood town and get away from his very religious, homophobic family. He is out of the closet to his Navy friends but not to his family and he’s a virgin. Colin, a tattoo artist, is the opposite of Daniel. His family is very accepting of who he is and he has a lot of sexual experience. He however was in a bad relationship and is still dealing with some of the repercussions from that (mainly an eating disorder). When the two meet up there is instant chemistry and they agree to have a friends with benefits relationship.

I really liked both Daniel and Colin and I thought both back stories where interesting. However, the backstories don’t really come into play for a large portion of the book. In fact, Daniel really didn’t weigh in with Colin’s issues at all. I wanted Daniel to be more involved in that aspect of Colin’s life. In fact this book has very little plot. The two characters talk, have sex and there’s a lot of information about Daniel getting his tattoo. There’s a lot of internal monologues where one or both of them is feeling insecure but not a lot happens. I did like the slow burn of the relationship. They didn’t jump right into falling for each other and the beginning was really just a sexual relationship that turned into something more.

What I really liked about this book was the very realistic way that Daniel’s family was portrayed. Yes, they were extremely homophobic but they loved Daniel. They weren’t an evil family and the book showed a closeness to the family when they interacted. It made Daniel’s decision not to reveal his sexual orientation to them very believable since although heartbreaking Daniel knew that they just wouldn’t accept it.

I enjoyed this book although I felt the ending was a bit abrupt and they definitely ended with a HFN not a HEA. Although this looks to be the first book in the series so maybe we will have more Daniel and Colin in future books.  This was my first book by this author but I will definitely read another one.

This book releases tomorrow on April 25th, 2017.

 

One Book Two Views – April

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One Book Two Views this month brings together two of the Book Charmers to read Into the Fire by Jeaniene Frost, the last of the four book Night Prince series, spinoff of the fabulous Night Huntress series.

Here is what we thought:

afgypsysoul: Into the Fire is the 4th book in the Night Prince series and I wouldn’t recommend reading it as a stand alone. It takes place right after the events of the 3rd book (which in hindsight I should have re-read because it’s been a while and it took me a bit to remember exactly what had happened and reorient myself).

In the 3rd book a spell has linked Leila with Vlad’s step son, a powerful necromancer named Mircea. Mircea hates Vlad and yet craves his attention/approval which he never got as a young boy. Vlad and Leila are trying to find Mircea because whenever he is hurt or hurts himself Leila suffers the same. Vlad will stop at nothing to make sure Mircea can’t hurt Leila and to find a way to break the spell so that he can kill Mircea and stop the threat to Leila once and for all.

I did enjoy this book but I was also a little disappointed. This book was very violent. I expect that from Vlad given his past experience and the time frame he lived in but Leila also ended up being really violent in this book as well and I just didn’t expect nor am I sure I liked the degree of it coming from her character. I had a bit more trouble with her level of violence/cruelty, not to mention it didn’t give the reader a “rest” from it. There was a ton of action and fighting and really very little romance.

In this book we learn more about Leila’s past although I would have liked even a few more details. Vlad was who I expected and really I wouldn’t have believed it if his character had any major changes since he has been around so long and his time with Leila is very short compared. However, Vlad and Leila as a couple didn’t seem to grow in this book and maybe even regressed. There was a lot of secret keeping from each other and although it was clear that they would do ANYTHING for each other it didn’t feel romantic or even loving to me (maybe because I didn’t like that each was willing to sacrifice long-term relationships/loyalty to family) but more like obsession.

Ian was a great addition to the book and brought at least some lighthearted moments to break up the darker aspects. I’ve always enjoyed his character and I’m looking forward to more from him. This book was obviously part set-up for his books which will be next and there were plenty of plot points/questions that were left open to drive his books. There is more to Ian then the facade he presents and I’m looking forward to reading it.

This entire book was a big lead up to the final battle between the necromancers and Vlad/Leila and friends but it seemed just a bit anti-climatic. The epilogue was written as if to be a “romantic gesture” from Vlad but it didn’t seem to be a “big” thing to me and was a bit too little to balance the amount of romance versus action. So while I very much enjoyed it – I was also just a little bit disappointed but then I have high expectations for these books. That won’t stop me from looking forward to/reading The Night Rebel books coming next! I give this book a solid four charms.

Cocktail Phoenix: As far as finales go, this was leading up to a great one. I expected a big fat boom at the end, but that didn’t exactly happen. There was a lot of great fighting – wow, I did not expect Leila to become this cruel this fast – and some interesting reveals about Leila’s past, which I would have loved to hear more about. I’d go into more detail about this latter part but that would unfortunately ruin the surprise for those who haven’t yet read the book.

Ian was a great addition to the cast of this book, as long as he kept his mouth shut. He was too crass for his joking and leering to still be considered even borderline tasteful. What I loved however was the opening of a lot of plot material for the Night Rebel books (with this much to go on, it will have to be at least two books) and I enjoyed catching a few glimpses here and there from underneath his façade.

Vlad and Leila drove me nuts at times. All this secrecy and not-telling-each-other things… I mean, come on, either you trust your partner or you don’t! I know that several centuries of doing things one way isn’t going to make anyone change from one month to the next, but at least Leila could have stopped keeping secrets from Vlad. I got the feeling that she developed backward, returning to her former self, rather than growing as a person. She also developed a somewhat frightening tendency for violence and this in a very short time. I can understand the need to do whatever it takes to protect the ones you love, but Leila stepped way past that line in this book.

All the violence did serve a purpose plot-wise though as it was all leading up to the final fight with the necromancers who worked against Vlad and used Mircea, with his link to Leila, to make them all suffer.

I missed the big boom at the end though – fight-wise and romance-wise. The fighting fell a bit flat despite the action. (Frost definitely manages to keep the action going at all times!) It felt somehow anticlimactic after the huge build-up. In addition, Vlad’s final words in the book somehow weren’t enough for me to consider them a big fat romantic boom. There was precious little romance in this, truth be told, and the last few pages seemed to be tacked on just for the sake of having a “romantic” scene.

Despite all the above though and despite the distinct lack of typical Vlad-snark, I did enjoy the book quite a bit. Four charms from me.

 

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M/M Monday: Imago and Imagines by N.R. Walker

This week’s M/M Monday features two books instead of one, but only one story. I read these both back-to-back, in just one day, and it didn’t feel right to not include them both in this post.

In Imago Jack and Lawson meet. Lawson has been asked by a professor to come find a butterfly he saw decades earlier, but the problem is the butterfly is not native to Tasmania, and everyone thinks the professor made it up. On the flight over, Lawson sits on the other side of the aisle from a gorgeous guy. Jack.

They are instantly attracted to each other and unlike in so many other stories, they don’t beat around the bush. Lawson is in Jack’s hometown for just one week, and if they want to get to know each other, they don’t have time to waste. So there are five dates in five days. Each a little more romantic and each making it just a little more obvious for both the men that this isn’t just a quick fling.

Jack and Lawson seem almost polar opposites on the outside. Jack is a rugged and built bear of a man whereas Lawson is lithe and smaller. Jack’s outdoorsy – he’s a Parks and Wildlife officer – and Lawson is a scientist, who studies butterflies. Not a match made in heaven? They are in this book.

Insta-love? Some would say so, but I’m a little hesitant to use that term. Yes, they do essentially fall in love with each other within less than a week from when they first meet, but. I felt that Jack and Lawson actually learned to know each other as well. Yes, parts of the story are very sappy and so, so sweet – I actually thought, “Hey, I’m smiling!” just a few pages into the story! – but they are living their actual lives while starting to build their relationship.

The title, Imago, is very fitting. In the beginning of the story Lawson is described as kind of geeky and introverted, and this image is further enhanced by his way of speaking and how he dresses – bow ties and all. But at the end of the story he’s blossomed, almost transformed, into a more open and not-so-proper-after-all man.

“Imago. It’s the final and fully developed adult stage. When a caterpillar emerges as a butterfly.”

This part of the story ends happily. Lawson gets a job offer in a nearby town and decides to take it. Alas, he and Jack can continue building what they’ve started.

Imagines takes places six months later.

Lawson gets an urgent call for help from another lepidopterist, who’s concerned that a butterfly is going extinct, and they can’t figure out why. Jack has been hoping to take a little vacation with Lawson, and they decide to combine the two.

This part of the story is a little less romantic than Imago, in a way. There’s not that “will they, won’t they” guessing, and we already know they are in a relationship. Now, very often this book would be the one where one of them is tempted by another and drama ensues. In Jack and Lawson’s case? Nope. (Thank you, N.R. Walker!)

In Imagines what they started only grows deeper and they truly learn they are IT for each other.

Lawson nearly dies. Jack carries him through a rainy, muddy forest and won’t leave his side at the hospital. He realizes he wants to marry Lawson and really build a life with him, as husband and husband.

Until now, Lawson hasn’t even wanted to move in with Jack. He’s thought it’s too soon, that everything happened too quick. But almost dying changes his mind. He wants to belong to Jack, body and soul.

“In entomology, we have a term we call imagines. It’s the plural of imago. And if imago is one butterfly reaching its full potential, then surely we, together, would be imagines.”

Maybe I’m sappy, but I utterly enjoyed Jack and Lawson’s story. Sure, a lot of it is kind of trope-y and just a little too convenient, and there’s no way nobody is this perfect for another person, but I don’t care. I had a dopey smile on my face the entire day and I felt hopeful. (Mind you, my next read needs to be a little less sweet…)

I can’t help but wonder if these two books could have been somehow combined into one, and the story told in one go. The way they are written now, it doesn’t fit, but a few changes to the middle… Perhaps. Still, both books are decently priced for their length and you get your money’s worth even now, so they are well worth a few bucks.

Both Imago and Imagines get four charms from me.

Visit N.R. Walker

Buy Imago from Amazon | Buy Imagines from Amazon

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The Baby Bombshell Review

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I absolutely loved the first book in this series so I was a little worried that my expectations were just a bit too high — they weren’t and this book was just as wonderful, emotional and satisfying as the first book! Although it’s the second book in Shadow Creek it can easily be read as a stand alone, however; the first one was an amazing book so start with that one and then move on to this one.

I love second chance romances if they are done right and this one was! There are a couple of things that make a second chance romance really work for me and that’s if the hero had at least a decent reason for leaving (and it wasn’t some stupid miscommunication issue) and that he grovels a little and the heroine doesn’t give in right away. Well this book had all of that and a bonus that the hero, Jack stayed faithful to Lily the entire time he was gone. Yes, he left her and yes he has a lot to make up for but he never stopped loving her and he never tried to “move on”. I loved how completely honest he was when he came back. No beating around the bush just true, honest emotions and letting her know right up front how sorry he was for hurting her, that he loved her and wanted her back. I also loved Lily, even though she still loved Jack she didn’t just roll over and forgive the fact that he hurt her because she didn’t trust him anymore. I loved that it was trust that was the issue for her because it was a very believable and honest reason.

I’m not big on accidental pregnancy plots but it worked in this book. The overall plot was so much more than an unplanned pregnancy but more about both Jack and Lily healing and learning to forgive and find a way back to each other. The pacing was spot on and once I started I couldn’t put this book down. It made me laugh and it made me cry. I once again enjoyed the secondary characters and can’t wait for the next book.  I give this 5 heartfelt and emotional charms!

 

Somebody’s Baby Review

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This book is the 3rd book in the series but can easily be read as a stand alone (I haven’t read the previous books). Overall, this was a really sweet book and I loved Buster (I have a soft spot for dogs).

Oaklee and Rory have known each other since they were kids and Rory was Oaklee’s brother’s best friend. Both have had serious heartbreaks and have chosen not to get involved seriously again but have handled that aspect in completely different ways. Rory is a serial dater and Oaklee doesn’t date at all. (Just once I’d like it if it was the opposite way around but it didn’t bother me that it wasn’t).

Both went away to college and have moved back and started careers. They haven’t really spent any time together until Oaklee accidentally hits a dog and takes him to Rory who is the town vet. This was definitely a slow burn romance with lots of starts and stops. Rory and Oaklee are complete opposites in a lot of ways. Oaklee is very much into social media while Rory doesn’t have much of a use for it, Oaklee is fancy business clothes and heels while Rory is a jeans and t-shirt guy, Oaklee doesn’t really do pets while Rory is a vet and loves animals, Oaklee is a bit of a slob while Rory is a neat freak and so on. So while neither of them think they would really work in a long term relationship they are hesitant to get into something less that could ruin the friendship they have. They also care about each other and don’t want either one of them to get hurt.

I enjoyed the characters and the interactions between the two. I thought the pacing was a bit slow in a few parts but it never lost my interest. The scene where Oaklee returned Buster was heartbreaking to read and very well written. My one minor irritant was that both Oaklee and Rory can’t cook and have no issues with that until the end when all of a sudden it seems Oaklee decides she needs to have more “homemaker” qualities and so both her mom and Rory’s mom offer to teach her to cook. It just bugs me a little that the woman suddenly decides she needs to learn to cook and it didn’t really fit the rest of her personality IMO.

Overall, a sweet and cute story with an adorable dog.  I give it 3 charms.

 

M/M Monday – Captive Prince Review

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Wow I’m still not sure how I feel about this book. Was I captivated? Yes. Could I put it down once I started it? No. Did it make me feel things? Yes. Was I intrigued? Yes. Did I enjoy it? Well I’m not sure enjoy is the word I’d use. This book made me cringe and it made me uncomfortable but it was very well written and I know I’ll dive into the second book.

In Volume 1 Dominus the Prince of Akielos and rightful heir is sold into slavery to Vere, the enemy of Akielos by his brother after a political coup.  Dominus (Damen) knows he can’t let anyone know who he is because he would be killed so he must play the role of slave but it’s obvious to everyone he will not be easily controlled.  He is given to Prince Laurent who once he comes of age will become the ruler of Vere.

This book had a lot of violence, treachery, slavery, subjugation, political machinations and alliances.  It also had loyalty and strength and a character (Damen) I really loved. It also had Laurent who I really didn’t like but I also could tell that there is a lot more to him than Damen thinks and since this is told in Damen’s POV we don’t get to see it except in a few hints here and there. Damen is such a strong character who won’t break but yet his emotions are out there for everyone to see. Laurent is the opposite. He wears a mask and it’s obvious that he’s been involved with political intrigues and plots for a long time and therefore doesn’t let anyone really know what he is thinking or feeling. I found his character to be very complex and intriguing although again at this point I really didn’t like him. There were a few scenes that made me cringe a bit and I’m not sure how the author will manage to bring these two men together after some of the occurrences in Book 1.

Bottom Line, I’m definitely in for book 2!  I give this book 4 charms.

Hurricane Review

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I haven’t read the previous books in the series but this was enjoyable as a stand alone and I don’t feel like I missed out on much from not reading the previous books. I did find the suspense to be a bit outrageous and the villain was definitely OTT but it was an enjoyable book. There were things I really liked about it and a few that drove me crazy.

This book centers around Rydell who has had more bad luck than one person should ever have to face. He’s a treasure hunter who’s wife left him, his ship was highjacked and crew killed and he’s having financial issues with his business. When this book starts Rydell needs a ship to salvage a treasure to save his business and he wants to win back his wife so he decides to use his wife’s ship.
She’s stubborn and feisty and decides to go along on the salvage.

This book is full of love/hate for the first half and the couple was plagued with miscommunication (which is a trope I really don’t like much). I really loved Rydell’s character and I actually liked Addison until everything was revealed and then she came across as more of a spoiled character who had no judgement when it came to people. She knows her mother is a horrible person who hates her husband and wants her with the prince but apparently when he acts in a manner which is not at all like him she chooses to believe her mom and the prince instead of facing her husband. I understand she’s in emotional pain and shutting down makes a bit of sense but not with people that you clearly know don’t have your best interests at heart. What drove me even crazier was that after she finds out how much effort Rydell actually put into trying to track her down and talk to her she’s still mad at him for eventually giving up. In fact, she says that if it had been her she never would have given up. That just makes no sense – it was her as well and she gave up right away on him. So this part of the plot took my enjoyment level down quite a bit.

Although I thought the story would be more about the treasure salvage it’s really about Rydell and Addison’s relationship and the miscommunication between the two and how they solve those issues and find a way back to each other. There is a suspense plot weaved throughout the book and some crazy action at the end. If you don’t mind the miscommunication trope that tears a couple apart in a book with lots of action, some suspense and humor than Hurricane is a book I’d recommend.  I give this book 3 charms.

72 Hours Review

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The premise of this book sounded really interesting unfortunately unlikable characters and TSTL moments had me cringing to get to the finish.

Lara was probably the most weak and whiny heroine I have ever read about through most of the book. There was nothing I liked about her and I just wanted to slap her upside the head. She cried constantly and if she wasn’t crying she was whining. Noah was angry through most of the book and although we were supposed to believe he loved Lara and wanted to get back together with her I never felt the connection between the two. Unfortunately, the villain wasn’t any better. His inner dialogue just didn’t ring true to me and had me rolling my eyes. Not to mention he basically spelled out exactly what he was up to so the reader didn’t get to try to figure anything out and it took most of the suspense out of the book.

Then there were the TSTL moments. Noah bashes the villain’s head in with a rock and then runs away not once but twice. Either finish bashing his head in until he’s dead or grab his gun and shoot him. He also steals the motorcycle at one point but do they ride until they reach help or run out of gas – nope. We are supposed to believe they are so far away from civilization that they can’t get to help (even with a stolen motorcycle) but then it’s completely contradicted by the way they are rescued at the end. Not to mention the fact that Noah gets seriously injured a few times (including being shot) but is still able to run, climb and swim.

When they finally get away we get several chapters of Noah and Lara handling the aftermath where Lara vacillates between whiny and weak again and overly tough. Honestly, there just wasn’t anything in this book that worked for me.  Unfortunately this book is only a one charm book for me.

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