Monday, March 30, 2015

New Facebook Page & Update


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.