Saturday, September 5, 2015

Melting Point, by Kate Meader

Melting Point, by Kate Meader

Melting Point is a short e-novella in the Hot in Chicago series by Kate Meader. This story is one that I was surprised to find myself looking forward to. I don't generally read a lot of books dealing with same sex relationships, but this one got my attention.

Gage Simpson is one of the Dempsey foster kids. These kids grew up together in the home of Sean & Mary Dempsey and found a family. The foster Dad was a firefighter and all of the children followed in his footsteps. Together, the kids work at the same firehouse.

We first met Gage in the first book of the series, Flirting with Fire. He is the most happy-go-lucky guy I have ever met in a book. He was also a bit of a man-whore. With a great physique and an over abundance of charm, he has no trouble finding another guy to hook up with. That is, until he meets Brady Smith.

Brady Smith is a chef and owner of the Smith & Jones restaurant. He is a brooding, former Marine, with a complete dislike of being touched. When Gage is taken back to the kitchen to meet Brady, the sparks flew instantly.

Brady is a wounded soul. Having been captured and tortured while serving in the Middle East as a Marine, he has scars both inside and out. He avoids people as a much as he can. What he didn't count on was the persistence that Gage has as he pursues Brady.

Their relationship isn't easy. Each has past issues that they are dealing with. The biggest obstacle however is the effects that Brady's time as a captive has on his perceptions of self worth. Gage is patient and understanding of what Brady is dealing with up until an event challenges that steadfast support.

There is a lot of sex involved in the story. For the amount of it though, it didn't seem too over the top. I found that overall their story was one that felt so natural. Unlike some stories that make same sex relationships look like two people in constant heat, this story really had a strong emphasis on the relationship over the physical side of things.

I thoroughly enjoyed the story. It was good to see these two have a happy ending.


Advance review copy provided by Simon & Schuster publishing for review.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Book Review: The Last True Vampire, by Kate Baxter

The Last True Vampire, Kate Baxter
Release Date: June 2, 2015

In some ways, I am conflicted as I write this review. Did I enjoy the book? Yes. I can honestly say that I did. This is also where the conflicted feelings come in. Almost immediately, actually within the first chapter, there was something familiar in the story. Soon, I realized what was bothering me. The basics of the story is extremely similar to the Dark Prince book written by Christine Feehan. The more I read The Last True Vampire, the more similarities I was finding. Let me explain in the following breakdown.

The Last True Vampire by Kate Baxter
The vampires in this story are born but are considered “dhampir” until they are transformed by a true vampire. At the time of transformation, the vampire loses their soul. They must find their mate, who carries their soul, to have their soul restored to them.

Vampire leader/king is named Mikhail
His mate is a human female, Claire
Fear that if he transforms her into a vampire that she will become deranged and die/be killed
Upon meeting Claire, his soul is restored
Blood bond is necessary between Mikhail and Claire to strengthen the bond between them for her safety
Mikhail's right hand is named Ronan
Nemesis of the story is a secret society bent on the total genocide of the vampire society
Key Nemesis is named “Gregor the Black”
Claire is nearly killed by a secret society member who uses a knife to assault her
Mikhail is forced to risk transforming Claire into a vampire to save her life

Dark Prince (Dark Series) by Christine Feehan   Released Date Aug. 1,  1999
Carpathians are immortals, similar to vampires but are not evil nor kill their prey. Once a Carpathian male kills his prey, he loses his soul and becomes vampire. A Carpathian male, as he becomes an adult, loses his ability to feel emotion and see colors. He must find his lifemate, she is the light to his darkness, to become whole again.

Prince/Leader of the Carpathians is named Mikhail
His mate is a human female, Raven
There is fear that converting her to become Carpathian will cause her to be deranged and have to be killed
Upon meeting Raven, Mikhail's emotions/soul is restored
Blood bond is needed to help keep Raven safe
Mikhail's father's, Prince Vlad's, second in command was named Roman
Nemesis of the Carpathian series is a secret society bent on complete genocide of the Carpathian race
Mikhail's second in command is named Gregory, also known as the Dark One
Raven nearly dies after being attacked with a knife by a secret society member
Mikhail is forced to risk converting Raven into a Carpathian to save her life.



As I read the story, The Last True Vampire, I simply could not separate it from Christine Feehan's book. Though the specifics or details of the story were different, the theme and flow of the book was eerily familiar. So much so that when I talked about The Last True Vampire to my husband, he thought I was talking about Ms. Feehan's book. Which leads to my conflicted feelings. Did I like this book on it's own merits? Or did I like it because it resonated so strongly with the Dark (Carpathian) series which I have been a fan of since its beginning? I honestly cannot say. What I do know is that I truly wish that the book was more original in it's content. It would make reviewing a lot easier. Bottom line is that the book is good, but I wish it had something that set it apart from another author's work. 

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Review of the Anthology book, Way of the Warrior

I have been having fun the past couple of weeks.  There are so many great books coming out that it is hard to choose which to read first.  One book that I absolutely had to read is an anthology called, Way of the Warrior.  Due out on May 5, 2015, this book is one that you are going to want to buy.


The book summary on Amazon reads as follows:

EIGHT PASSIONATE LOVE STORIES ABOUT AMAZING MILITARY HEROES BY BESTSELLING AUTHORS:
Suzanne Brockmann, Julie Ann Walker, Catherine Mann, Tina Wainscott, Anne Elizabeth, M.L. Buchman, Kate SeRine, Lea Griffith
To honor and empower those who've served, all author and publisher proceeds go to the Wounded Warrior Project.
The Wounded Warrior Project was founded in 2002 and provides a wide range of programs and services to veterans and service members who have survived physical or mental injury during their brave service to our nation. Get involved or register for programs and benefits for yourself and your family online at www.woundedwarriorproject.org.
"It is a proud privilege to be a soldier." ―George S. Patton Jr.
"We sleep safely at night because rough men stand ready to visit violence on those who would harm us." ―Winston Churchill


My Thoughts:

I absolutely loved this book.  Though the stories are short, they each are complete and do not leave you hanging.  The writing is engaging and in each and every story, I felt drawn to the characters.
The stories each featured a warrior as a main character.  Each one had challenges to deal with that were the results of their experiences in military service overseas.  Each is a reluctant hero.  Humble in their service and willing to sacrifice all for their battle buddies.

I loved that the book included a female hero in one story.  She both broke my heart and had me cheering.  It was wonderful to see a story where the character who served and sacrificed in the military was a woman.  With so many women serving in the armed forces today, it was a welcome change to see a woman take the hero role.

One thing that I have always loved about anthologies is that I read stories written by some favorite authors while also being introduced to new to me authors.  Actually, that is one of the joys of reviewing books.  I am able to share what I read and often will stretch my own comfort zone.  There are times when an anthology is a hit and miss.  Some stories connect with me while others fail to hold my interest.  Not so with Way of the Warrior!  Each story was a pleasure to read.

An added incentive for me was the fact that all proceeds from the sales for this book will be donated to the Wounded Warrior Project.  This organization has done great things to help our veterans to transition after serving in combat and being wounded.  The help these warriors receive is a critical part of their recovery as well as improving their quality of life.

Though I already have this book on my Kindle, I plan to purchase the paperback as well to support both the authors and the Wounded Warrior Project.   I applaud the authors for their generosity of sharing their talent to benefit such a worthy cause.  It says much about the character of each of the authors that they are willing to give up their income from the book sales to benefit our warriors who sacrificed so much for us all.  Buying the book is just one other way that we can all honor them and give back.  

I highly recommend this book both for its stories and for the fund raising that it is doing for the Wounded Warrior Project.  

Monday, March 30, 2015

New Facebook Page & Update

Hello!

It has been a crazy week here.  We live in a rural area and as you may know from my blog title, we live off of the grid, which means not using any electricity from a power company.  With spring finally here, we are scrambling to get homestead tasks going in between rain storms.

I am reading as much as possible to keep up with the demand and will have many more book reviews coming soon.  Currently, I have about 9 books on the shelf ready to be read & reviewed.  I am choosing to do them in order of which one is going to be published first.

I have started a Facebook page to help connect readers with this blog as well as announcements of  upcoming books and events that I read about on author websites.  If you would like to check out my page on Facebook, you can find it at Off-Grid-Momma's Bookshelf.


Friday, March 27, 2015

Book Review: Until You, by Jeannie Moon

Until You, by Jeannie Moon

Book Summary:

When newly divorced Kate Adams is approached on the sunny deck of a California hotel by hockey star David Burke, and he invites her to dinner, she almost says no. He’s obviously younger than her. And charming. And drop dead gorgeous. But there’s also something sweet about David, so Kate—who hasn’t done anything spontaneous in a very long time—accepts his invitation.
It is, after all, her fortieth birthday.
However, a real romance with thirty-year-old David, whose picture is in the gossip pages as often as it’s in the sports pages, is out of the question. No matter how much she wants him, it’s just too risky.
But meeting Kate has been David’s lightning strike. She’s the one for him, and he has no intention of giving up on her.
So while Kate guards her fragile heart, David sets out to win her over with the same determination that drives him on the ice.
And he’ll break every rule in the book if he has to.

My Thoughts:
This story was pure entertainment to read.  I felt for Kate as she struggled with a divorce after 20 years of marriage.  It wasn't an easy divorce and she definitely has some baggage to work through. She meets David while on a conference trip and the chemistry between them is quick to ignite.  
Without giving too much of the story away, I wanted to mention a few things that stood out.  First, the story has several things going on at the same time.  Kate's ex is an abusive jerk that thrives on tormenting her.  Kate's teenage daughter, Laura, plays heavily in that situation.  Second, Laura has her own personal issues to work through when she has her first significant crush.  Third, we have David, who has a reputation of being a player with women, having to face the consequences of his past behavior, and lastly, Kate has to face her insecurities caused by her past marriage & divorce as well as the age difference between her and David.
I absolutely got a snarky pleasure from some of the interactions between Kate and her ex.  My heart broke for her at first, but as she gained her inner strength, I cheered her on.  I loved the protective side of David and his devotion towards Kate when a tragedy happened.  His supportive and true caring towards Laura was also heart-melting. 
This was a great read and I literally could not put it down.  The story gripped my attention and I loved every moment of it.  I am hoping that there will be future stories about some of the other characters in the book.  Especially one somewhere down the road with Laura and her first love.   The way they are written, it would be easy for that story to be revisited later on.  

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Book Review: Flirting With Fire, by Kate Meader

Flirting With Fire, by Kate Meader

Book Summary:

The first installment in Hot in Chicago, a brand-new, sizzling series from Kate Meader that follows a group of firefighting foster siblings and their blazing hot love interests!

Savvy PR guru Kinsey Taylor has always defined herself by her career, not her gender. That is, until she moved from San Francisco to Chicago to be with her fiancĂ© who thought she wasn’t taking her “job” of supporting him in his high-powered career seriously enough—and promptly dumped her for a more supportive and “feminine” nurse. Now, as the new assistant press secretary to Chicago’s dynamic mayor, she’s determined to keep her eye on the prize: no time to feel inferior because she’s a strong, kick-ass woman, and certainly no time for men.

But that all changes when she meets Luke Almeida, a firefighter as searingly sexy as he is quick-tempered. He’s also the second oldest of the Firefightin’ Dempseys, a family of foster siblings who have committed their lives to the service—if Luke’s antics don’t get him fired first. When Luke goes one step too far and gets into a bar brawl with the Chicago Police Department, Kinsey marches into Luke’s firehouse and lays down the law on orders from the mayor. But at Engine Co. 6, Luke Almeida is the law. And he’s not about to let Kinsey make the rules.

My Review:

This book was hard to put down.  I love stories where the couple don't get along at first and have to work their way into a relationship.  For me, it just seems more believable if the story isn't all puppies and posies from the beginning.  

Luke Almeida is a walking, talking, in your face alpha-male.  Short tempered, he uses his fists more often than diplomacy in tough situations.  A bar room fight gets Luke in major trouble with the city mayor.  His job threatened, as well as the possibility that his foster siblings will be split up into other engine companies, Luke has to get with the program and follow the suggestions of Kinsey Taylor, a PR worker from the city offices.  Not an easy task since Kinsey has a way with pushing Luke's limits.

Kinsey Taylor at first comes off as an "I am woman, hear me roar" personality but we soon learn that she has her reasons.  Her take-charge attitude goes against the grain with Luke and sparks fly immediately.  The verbal sparring between these two keeps you entertained.  Typically, I will connect with one character over the other in the sparring situations.  In this book however, I found myself changing sides quite often.

From the beginning, Luke and Kinsey feel an attraction for each other but fight it. Because of past relationships, each of them has trust issues and must work through them.  Eventually, they do and then the real sparks start flying.

There is a secondary story started in this book.  Gage, who is one of Luke's foster siblings, begins to lay the foundations of a relationship with a chef.  I am looking forward to reading that story later in the series.

This is the second title by Kate Meader that I have read and before finishing, I had already purchased two more of her titles for my Kindle.  That doesn't happen often for me.  It is a rare thing for me to enjoy a book so much that I start loading up my Kindle with more of that author's work.  Ms. Meader's writing does it for me.  The character development is spot on and she doesn't fill in gaps in a storyline with sex just to get her daily word count.  The intimacy between Luke and Kinsey is something that seems to come in a natural timing for the story and isn't awkward. 

I am looking forward to reading the next book in this series, Playing With Fire, due out in late September, 2015.


*Complimentary copy received for honest review.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Falling for Jillian, by Kristen Proby - A Book Review



This title is book #3 in the Love Under the Big Sky series.  I haven't read the first two titles, so was thrilled that this book is a stand alone.  

The story is about Jillian Sullivan has returned to Cunningham Falls, Montana, after a bad divorce.  She is dealing with a personal humiliation stemming from her ex-husband's cheating during the marriage, along with other issues from the marriage.

Jillian faces another heartbreak in Cunningham Falls.  Her best friend is related to a man whom Jillian had a one night stand with, Zack King.  Zack, an Army veteran, is a divorced, single Dad with a preteen age son, Seth.  Zack and Seth are working through some issues of their own past when we meet them in the story.  Seeing Zack again has brought to the surface feelings which she has tried to keep hidden ever since their night together.  

The chemistry between Jillian and Zack leaps off the pages from the word go.  The interplay and verbal sparring in the beginning has you alternately cheering for them and wanting to knock their heads together.  I loved watching the progression as they face their own history and deal with the miscommunications that lead to their parting after their one night stand.

Once they are able to sort through their feelings and deal with their past, you see them helping each other to face their own private demons.  I loved how they also brought Seth into the picture by making him such an integral part of their relationship.  They made sure that Seth was okay about their relationship before letting it go too far.

I loved the "real" factor of this book.  I was able to connect to the characters and looked forward to reading more.  It was a hard book to put down, in spite of daily tasks that I needed to be doing.  After reading this, I sought out the previous two titles in the series.  As always, it is a complete joy to find a new series to read.  Especially when the series hits you right in the "feels" and makes a connection with you.


Saturday, March 21, 2015

Viper Game by Christine Feehan, A Review


Viper Game is book #11 in Ms Feehan's Ghostwalker series.  It takes place in the Louisiana bayou and introduces us to a new team lead by Wyatt Fontenot.  We first learned of Wyatt when he was a supporting character in book #3, Night Game, which is the story of Wyatt's brother, Raoul "Gator" Fontenot.

In this story, Wyatt has come back home to the bayou at the request of his beloved Grandmere, Nonny.  There are strange happenings taking place in their bayou and Wyatt has come to help.  Upon his return, Wyatt learns that a new manufacturing business, with shady dealings, has set up next to Nonny's medicinal herb field.  When she was gathering herbs, the guards assault her.  Wyatt is enraged that anyone would torment his 80 year old Grandmere.  So, along with a few members of his team, he goes out to investigate and teach some manners to the guards.......Cajun style.

Early in the book, we learn of a new ghostwalker character,  Pepper is a young woman who was taken and adopted by Dr Whitney when she was a toddler.  She was taken to France and along with others there, she was used for experimentation.  The ending results is that she is as lethal as any ghostwalker but lacks the desire to be a soldier.  She is sent to the bayou, along with a set of triplet baby girls who share her animalistic enhancements.  When she refuses the demands of her handler, the order is placed that the babies will be terminated.

This story is one of discoveries and was a pleasure to read.  My heart broke for Pepper's plight as she had to deal with the painful aspects of the enhancements that Whitney forced upon her physiology.  The emotional torment she also went through over her inability to rescue all three babies was a palatable one that you could feel through the telling of the story.  Most heartbreaking was the complete lack of knowledge that she had in how to live in the world outside of the lab.  As Wyatt helps her through these challenges, he faces many of his own.  The enhancements that he went through from Whitney have brought upon him an emotional state that is raw in that he has to tame the animal side of his nature.  Already a hot-headed Cajun, Wyatt now faces the territorial and possessive nature of his cat physiology.  

One of the major climaxes of the story is the attempt to rescue the babies still in the lab facility.  They are out numbered but these ghostwalkers have a deep conviction that the babies will not remain in the lab to be treated as lab rats in the schemes of a man who has lost all sense of humanity.

By the end of the story, we have learned new things about the elusive Dr Whitney.  There are other revelations as well that were a surprise that I enjoyed learning about.  In the end, we are introduced to another female who is now on her own.  She is a ghostwalker as well and will certainly have her own story in an upcoming book.  I cannot wait to read more about her.

As always, Ms Feehan has scored high on my list of favorite authors.  I am always amazed at how she can have long running series that never lose their attraction.  With Viper Game, she has come through again in a big way.  

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Darker Than Desire, by Shiloh Walker - Book Review



This book was a very difficult read for me.  I got the book without any description or summary to give me a clue what it was about.  That was my first mistake.  Never, ever, EVER, again will I read for review a book without a description.  Had I been given any indication what the book was about, I would never have read it for review.

This story is dark from page one.  It begins with a funeral and a wounded soul.  The main character, David, is a man who has been hiding within the Amish community for 20 years,  Known as Caine to the Amish, he is able to avoid the outside world's horrors.  Caine/David was severely traumatized as a young man and is dealing with the emotional aftermath.  With the death of his mentor in the first pages of the book, Caine's world is turned upside down.

He returns to the world outside the Amish community to face the demons of his past.  It is a horrid place that he must travel through to eventually find peace.  A major portion of the book is about the grizzly murders that are taking place in the small town.  Someone who knows of Caine's past is systematically killing everyone involved in his trauma.  No one is safe from this retribution.

As I read this book, there were parts that just made me want to puke.  The graphic nature of one murder scene in particular was far too graphic and detailed for me.  While others might not be bothered by it, I seriously had to put the book down for a few days before I could stomach reading further.

The sex scenes in the story between Caine/David and his lady were no more than a booty call.  There was nothing loving or tender about it.  This is one area that bothered me as well.  Caine/David and this lady had a long history of these booty calls.  She had feelings for him, but he denied his feelings for her up until the very end of the book.  There was no developing of a true relationship between them.  Their relationship screamed of the "friends with benefits" status and never went further, even though at the end the author tried to make it all sweet and nice.

I have not been familiar enough with Ms Walker's books, so have no idea if this book is typical of her writing style.  Unfortunately for me, this book hasn't left me feeling inspired to seek out more of her books.  Others who are not bothered by the graphic violence may enjoy the book.  It just wasn't something that I enjoyed nor could recommend.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Back in Routine

What a crazy few weeks it has been!  Started off with my hubby taking a fall and breaking his shoulder blade.  Yikes!  Lot's of shuttling him and the kids around has caused me to fall behind in my blog posts. But, I am back to reading again and will be posting a review very soon.

The reading bug has caught up to our daughter.  Her only request for her upcoming 9th birthday is a Kindle.  So, looks like a new generation of avid readers is on the horizon.  She absolutely devours books.

One thing that I love about reviewing is that I am trying out new-to-me authors.  I am definitely a creature of habit.  Typically, I will find a few authors whose work I love.  I then buy and read everything they publish.  One librarian once told me that I am a difficult person to recommend books to.  I definitely have a set idea of what I like.  Doing the reviews, I am finding that there are a lot of authors out there who write books that I thoroughly enjoy.

Something that has been mentioned to me is the lack of negative reviews on my blog.  There is a reason for that.  If I really don't like a book, I will send the review directly to the publisher through a review site.  I have often read bad reviews for books that I totally loved.   I have also had the experience of reading a review of an author I was unfamiliar with, then not purchasing the book based upon that review.  I would not want to have someone possibly not purchase a book based upon something that I wrote.  What I will be doing in the future however is make a suggestion for books I haven't liked.  If in doubt on whether you would like a book, rent it from the library first,  Then, if you like it, buy the book to add to your home library or eReader.


Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Below the Belt by Sidney Halston, a Review




Below the Belt is the 3rd book in Sidney Halston's Worth the Fight series.  It is the story of Antonio "Scarface" Marino and Francesca Silva.  On Amazon, there is the following book description.

Once one of the most sought-after names on the mixed martial arts circuit, Antonio “Scarface” Marino watched his career go down for the count as he chased skirts and made tabloid headlines. Now he’s finally making a comeback, and it’s all thanks to Francesca Silva, a Brazilian bombshell as tough as any of her fighters. But who’s the real Francesca: the trash-talking trainer who rides him hard, or the vulnerable woman who blushes at his touch?
 
Francesca went to the mat to sign Tony because she believes he still has the potential to bring big success to her gym—if she can keep his head in the cage and out of her personal life. After a short-lived marriage soured her on love, a one-night stand is all she can handle. Now Tony’s kisses are stirring up complicated feelings—especially when he agrees to face her ex in the ring. Francesca’s used to freezing guys out. But Tony’s tempting her to give in to the heat.


I read this story after having first read the book, Full Contact.  It was a new series to me and I wanted to give it a try.  Now, just a word of caution.  If you are easily embarrassed by stories that are very carnal in nature, you need to know that your comfort zone may be stretched in this series.  Unlike Full Contact, which was highly sexual in nature, this story focuses even more on the relationship outside of the intimacies.

I loved getting to know the characters better.  We learn about them in Full Contact and are able to see the beginnings of the dynamics between  Antonio and Francesca.  In this book, their story is one of overcoming the obstacles that we often place upon ourselves.  Each had struggles within their own hearts to overcome.  Francesca had to face the past and her failed first marriage.  We learn just how deeply that experience had affected her outlook on life.  Antonio, on the other hand, had to face the demons of his own heart.  He had to come to terms with his choices in his MMA career and face the fact that he had some decisions to make about his future with MMA.

Together, these two characters are an entertaining mix.  The sarcasm and snarky wordplay between them was fun.  Each being determined in their own mindset.  One wanting to have a relationship and the other running from it.  After reading so many stories where the man is the reluctant party, it was refreshing to read a story where the man has to really chase after the woman.  

This couple has you guessing all the way through to the end.