Category Archives: Military

Book Review: Love on a Summer Night (Pine Harbour#4) by Zoe York

5 gems

love on a summer night

Oh boy… This was by far. The. Best. Book in the series. #TheZanderEffect was in full swing in this book.

Zander Minelli has found his way back home to Pine Harbor after dedicating 20 years of his life to the army. In six months he’ll be out and needs to figure out what his future will be. What better place to do that than home sweet home. While on this two-week leave from the army, he meets the most delicious kind of woman, Ponytail Girl. She is beautiful, smart and has lots of questions on how to use deadly weapons and kill people. Fortunately for Zander, she also shares  his love for apple pie.

Faith Davidson is a widowed, single mother and a full-time author. She is ready to dip her feet back into the dating pool. Her only conditions: no tattoos and no bad boys. Only stable, boring men. While spending her time writing at the neighborhood diner, Greta’s, Faith encounters a tall, dark and handsome biker dude, who has her blood boiling and thinking dirty thoughts. He also happens to speak the language of weapons quite fluently, so she racks his brain for all the available knowledge. There’s just one catch. The hot as hell guy is the exact type of man Faith did not want; tattooed-bad boy. Except the attraction is strong and somehow they end up bumping into each other everywhere they go.

Zander and Faith were such amazing characters. Both strong in their own rights. Though they had instant attraction, there’s was by no means an insta-love story. Their relationship developed over the two-weeks Zander was in town and then later, when he was away. I loved seeing the way in which Zoe York dealt with the long distance relationship. A long-distance relationship is not easy, and Ms. York made sure that she included the difficulties that come with it, rather than making it all hunky dory. She also didn’t make Faith and Zander’s relationship full of fights, which I must say is very well done.

Faith was no meek woman, but after the death of husband in a skiing accident she has grown a lot more reserved and overprotective about her son Eric. She dulled her life, suppressed her desires, so that Eric wouldn’t have to grow up without either of his parents. She got a lot of help from her mother too. Faith, Eric and Faith’s mother shared  a very good relationship. Her mother too is a widow and knows how Faith feels.

Zander is indeed a tough, responsible guy. He loved his family, but the army is his life. He is in a dilemma when the book starts as to what to do with his life after his army stint comes to an end. But when Faith enters the picture, his priorities shift. He wants to stay with her and Eric, rather than being gone for months at a time. The six months they spent apart from each other while Zander was gone was difficult for both of them. The best thing about Zander was that he never took Faith for granted. He knew what her insecurities were, dealt with them in the best away possible. He never rubbished her fears, but rather coaxed her out in the open.

As expected from a typical Zoe York book, the chemistry was sizzling between Faith and Zander. They made a really good couple who shared a certain ease with each other. Every time they came together, sparks were flying. It was beautiful to see how caring Zander was towards Faith. He took care of the minutest details. He made her feel special and loved.

while Zander and Faith’s relationship was amazing, what was even better was Zander and Eric’s relationship. Now that took the cake. That man was meant to be a father. #ZanderEffect. Oh man!! The way Zander dealt with Eric, such love and care, I doubt even his biological father would have been capable of that. Zander was friend, a mentor, a comrade, a father, everything humanly possible to Eric. And the relationship all three of them shared together, Faith, Eric and Zander, a perfect family.

A special mention should also be given to Jake and Dani. They finally got married and man, oh man, their wedding vows…. I would be lying if I said that I didn’t shed a few tears. It was just PERFECT!! Everything about this book was just plain amazing. There was nothing wrong that I could find about this book. Since it was an ARC, there were a few typos, but even those were disregarded in favor of the awesome story-line and beautiful characters. I know that every time a new book by Zoe comes out, I say it’s my favorite, but THIS BOOKS WAS PERFECT! This was absolutely mesmerizing in the beauty of the relationships depicted and the story touched my heart.

I’m crossing my fingers that the next book in the series, which is Dean’s book was will as amazing as this, if not better.

This review was first published on The Ever Romantic Arts.


Book Review: Witness to Passion (Guarding Her Body #1) by Naima Simone

4 gems

witness to passion

Fallon Wayland hates birthdays. After all nothing good has happened to her on any of her birthdays. On her tenth birthday her dad stood her up because he was on a business trip, on her fifteenth birthday, her mom took her puppy to the pound and on her eighteenth birthday she kissed her childhood crush and got rejected. If you think all this was bad till you hear what happened on her twenty-fifth birthday. She gets dumped by her boyfriend on twitter, witnesses a mob hit and gets fired from her job. And now her life is all turned around.

Shane Roarke has avoided his baby sister’s best friend, Fallon for the past seven years after sharing a hot as hell kiss with her. But now that Fallon’s life is in danger, he can’t stay away. I doesn’t matter if just seeing Fallon turns him on. Her life is more important than his need to stay away.

With Fallon’s life endangered at very turn, Shane takes it upon himself to keep her safe. With both of them cooped up in a safe house, desires flare, clothes come off and hearts are at risk. Even when the clothes are flying off, danger is creeping in. Fallon and Shane need to survive if they must have a chance at love.

Fallon and Shane have a love-hate relationship, more hate than love. Being rejected does not sit well with Fallon after all. After avoiding her for almost eight years, when Shane shows up at her doorstep ready to be her knight in shining armor, she is skeptical.

“If you were truly ‘here for me,’ you would have a Kahlua in one hand and Henry Cavill’s number in the other. Since I’m not having drunken phone sex with Superman, there must be another reason you’re darkening my living room.”

Their banter is what made me love Fallon and Shane. Their back and forth was fun and oozing chemistry.  Both came from similar emotional backgrounds. While Fallon’s parents had money and never love to give her, Shane’s mom had loads of love, but was reckless and self-involved. They never tried to see the people behind the masks, and now that they do, they might not survive long enough to act on it.

The suspense in this book was good. I figured out who the traitor was once a couple of hints were dropped, but otherwise this book was majorly unpredictable. The characters were strong, the sex was hot and Addy, Shane’s sister and Fallon’s best was friend was super fun.

Witness to Passion was a good blend of romance and suspense. The action in the book kept me on my toes, and the author did not disappoint.

This review first appeared on The Ever Romantic Arts.


Book Review: Wilde at Heart (Wilde Security #3) by Tonya Burrows

4.5 gems

wilde at heart

I was so happy to receive an early copy of this book, ’cause since the day I finished Wilde for Her,  I was looking forward to Reece and Shelby’s story. And Tonya Burrows didn’t disappoint.Wilde at Heart was by far my favorite book in the series.

Though Cam and Jude were the most fun Wilde brothers and they are, except, Reece is better. He is adorable, sweet and sexy as hell. Reece and Shelby together were amazing together. Tonya Burrows had me laughing from the very first page. And considering that the heroine was Shelby, this book was guaranteed fun.

Shelby as usual spoke her mind and was fun as always. She is an independent young woman who knew her strengths and weakness. People never gave her a chance to be anything other than the flighty, reckless girl that she was. She tried so hard to be the responsible adult, but people’s views including that of her sister Eva and the Wilde brothers, including to some extent Reece, never changed.

While I loved Eva for the kick-ass woman that she was in Wilde For Her, I strongly disliked her in this book. She never really understood Shelby and she didn’t try to. She was always the first one to point out Shelby’s shortcomings and reprimand her. She was also the very last person to believe Shelby could make a sane, responsible decision. True Shelby was impulsive, but even behind her impulse she had good reason.

While I loved Reece for the kind-hearted, geeky nerd that he was, I was sometimes disappointed with him for his behavior with Shelby. He too never saw behind the mask of Shelby’s impulsiveness. He tried to change her from what she is to what he thinks she should be. But on the other hand he also didn’t want Shelby to change. His complexity and duality made for an intriguing read.

This book was suspenseful, fun and mostly unpredictable. There were two tracks working parallel in the story- one was Reece’s blackmail and the other was Shelby’s. While it was easy enough to guess who had a bone to grind with Reece, I honestly couldn’t predict who the villain in Shelby’s life was till the end. The sex as usual in Tonya Burrows style was hot has hell. Burrows has made sure to pave a footpath for both Vaughn and Greer Wilde. Tonya Burrows made sure to throw us crumbs about the upcoming books. I can already feel the fun and intensity in Lark and Vaughn’s book.

The surprise element in this book for me was Reece. In the previous books he came across as uptight and snobbish. But in this book Reece truly shined. He was just a lot more shy and reserved than his brothers. Trying to shoulder the weight of his brothers took a toll on him. Shelby was the perfect woman for him. She brought out the fun, geeky, artistic guy that he was. But what really threw me was the fact that Reece was a virgin!! I NEVER and I mean NEVER expected that. Thank you Ms. Burrows for surprising me!

Wilde at Heart truly encompassed what both Reece and Shelby were, and they were incredibly wild. This book is undoubtedly my favorite book in the series. Can’t wait for Vaughn and Greer’s story to come out.

This review first appeared on The Ever Romantic Arts.


Movie Review: G.I. Joe: Retaliation

1gem

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**********MAJOR SPOILER ALERT. PLOT DISCUSSED IN DETAIL**********

Sequel to the 2009 film G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra, and a reboot to the franchise, G.I. Joe: Retaliation was released in 2013. Directed by Jon M. Chu (Step Up 2, Step Up 3 and Justin Bieber’s concert biopics), and written by Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick (Zombieland).

I’ve heard that a lot of people did not like the first movie G.I. Joe Rise of Cobra, and I still can’t figure out why. Most of them were faithful fans of the original cartoon series. I get not liking a movie franchise of an old favourite, but really it wasn’t so bad. It had a consistent plot, good character sketches, and good action sequences. You felt for the characters and believed in their camaraderie. There was a cohesive story, with all elements coming together. Maybe not great, but a decently well-made movie.

Whereas previously I liked the movie and enjoyed watching it, I will forever regret watching Retaliation. It made me fall in love with Rise of Cobra and appreciate it even more. Two hours of my life wasted, staring in horror and bewilderment at the screen, wondering the entire time what the hell was going on.

First, where are the characters of the previous movie? There is no explanation of what happened to them. Even Duke doesn’t mention them! It’s like they never existed. Flint replaces Ripcord, Lady Jane replaces Scarlett and Breaker and Roadblock replaces Heavy Duty. The changes were apparently made to make the story more authentic, but what is the point when there’s no chemistry and the characters are distasteful?

At the beginning of the movie you have a friendly, homely scene between Duke and Roadblock, trying to establish their friendship and loyalty. It came and went, I felt nothing. That was my first clue that I shouldn’t continue. I waited, fifteen minutes into the film, wondering when it would actually start and things will get clearer. Finally it does and how. In a sudden burst of explosion, with no preamble, Duke gets bombed and dies. The scene is pathetic because the direction fails to make it impactful and you feel nothing for the character’s death other than horror as you suddenly realize that the movie is a failure.

Another jarring moment: Roadblock is apparently deeply hurt and heartbroken over losing his partner; he even takes his dog tags, and I felt nothing. I didn’t feel his emotions. And usually, in Dwayne Johnson’s movies, I don’t have to work hard at feeling something for his characters. He’s a surprisingly decent actor. But in this movie, he failed to rouse any reaction apart from dismay.

I also blame this on the fact that it’s hard to feel for a friendship or character you’ve only seen for ten minutes. For death and broken relationships to make any impact, one has to witness them over a period of time in various scenes, so you get a chance to know, like, and connect with them, like in the first movie. I felt more with Ripcord when Duke was in trouble than I did at Duke’s death! Frankly I was and still am horrified. How could they just kill him? Like that? In the first ten minutes?

Dwayne Johnson taking over as lead and leader did not sit well with me. I also disliked the other two members. There was no substance, no personality as such and the little romance they tried to show also seemed to have been thrown in for the heck of it.

How does Storm Shadow survive? Why save Destro only to kill him? How has Cobra gained such loyalty and following when he’s been imprisoned since he ‘came out’ as the Cobra? What happened to the Baroness? What happened to the story of Duke and Baroness? No answers, zero explanations. One thing after another keeps happening, all action, without sense, or plot, or story or reason! The deeply hurt and out for justice soldier act slides off my skin. It’s not convincing, rather forced. The trio express gravity which is not supported by the plot, direction, writing. When there is nothing to give weight to their seriousness and hurt, the grave, heavy, mournful, serious expressions and body language only feel odd, boring and affected; evoking no emotions.

The coolest things in the whole movie are the firefly-bombs. That’s it.

Throughout the first half of the movie I kept waiting for Snake Eyes to turn up, as by then he seemed to be the only hope for an otherwise pathetically dead and dismal movie. He came, I rejoiced, he went into the mountains, I despaired. Because the revelation in the mountains makes an already horrifying movie worse. Storm Shadow did not kill their master. He was framed. By whom? Zartan!

Of all the characters to name (I was even open to the possibility of Cobra), Zartan? But, unfortunately, I predicted it before it happened, because of all the places to use logic, here, logically, Zartan was the only one who made sense out of the existing villains, the only one who would have been old enough. But, it makes absolutely no sense that Zartan saw potential in Storm Shadow for his own purposes. Or that he just happened to be the one to corrupt his life. Since I don’t know the stories of the comics and cartoons, I think it’s quite fair for me to expect some explanations.

I kept asking myself why I don’t just leave, but sometimes, even with the most horrible, senseless, painful movies, there is a perverse desire to know how they’ll end it, what else can go wrong. Turned out, everything.

There’s a scene of sword action in a house in the mountains between Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow which was good. But after that you have an elaborate, bizarre CGI scene where ninjas are swinging between Himalayan Mountains, on cables, carrying and fighting over a body bag (!), which looked like a video game. I could actually imagine holding a remote control, and the sensation you get when you make your characters leap and fly in a video game! It blew my mind with its ridiculousness.

After that I had no hopes at all, and the movie delivered. We had the same old problem of nuclear weapons as the threat of destruction, and stopping them at the last possible second. Only this time it’s President Zartan who is playing nuke the nukes with the leaders of the world. You have a forgettable appearance by Bruce Willis which only manages to decrease his stature. Cobra, for all his attitude and importance as villain only manages to be a prop. He walks in, delivers one line, and walks out, in every scene. And there are just three. Zartan had more screen time and presence as a villain.

Also you have a seemingly defining moment in the movie when Storm Shadow switches sides and helps the Joes after finding out that Zartan set him up. I wish it could’ve happened in a plot where you could appreciate it, since he and Snake Eyes deserve to be in a better story. Here everything was too predictable to make a difference. In a movie where a simple fist bump/handclasp thing falls flat, what more can be said? They even managed to screw up the most universal, basic gesture seen in every movie or serial at one time or another between every other male character!

I wish I could erase this movie from my mind, but alas. I would not recommend it for anything. Senseless action in a plot less movie with forgettable acting and hollow, generic dialogues that fall into empty silences (there are a lot of them) when nothing is happening in the movie; all smoke, no fire. I reluctantly gave this movie a gem, which is for the firefly bombs and Zartan. The director should stick to dance musicals and the writers’ previous collaboration, Zombieland, was ten times better. The movie is a good example of when not to change directors and writers for sequels.