Category Archives: Read to Review

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.

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ARC Review: Magic Shifts (Kate Daniels#8) by Ilona Andrews

5 gems
 magic shifts

First off, thanks a lot to Alexis Nixon and Ace Publishing for allowing me to read this book.

Now this is what I felt like when I got a mail telling me ‘Why yes, you can obviously have an early copy of Magic Shifts. You didn’t even have to ask.’ (okay she did not say that, but you get the idea)

fangirling hard

and yes i did this too…

yay2

There are going to be some spoilers of Magic Shifts in this review. They will be minor in the grand scheme of things, but any Ilona Andrews fan knows that any spoiler is a big spoiler when it comes to the Kate Daniels series.

It’s been a couple of months since Curran stepped down as the Beast Lord and Kate claimed the city. The suburban life is as good as their life can be, though it’s an adjustment. While Kate and Curran are happy that they don’t have to get sucked into the Pack politics anymore, Curran misses the challenge of making the Pack run like a well-oiled machine.

When the Pack offers them an ailing Mercenary Guild, Curran has found a new challenge for himself. Except the Guild is in shambles, the Clerk is gone, there’s no one to man the tables so to say, and all the mercenaries have a bad attitude to boot. The mercenaries don’t need Curran coming in and saving them, but then again Curran never cared much for what others wanted.

This time around Kate and Curran are supposed to save Eduardo, the were-bison form the Pack. With no sign of Eduardo, his fiancee, George, is in a turmoil. So she goes to the two people she knows can help her. True to their nature, Curran and Kate do everything in their power to help George and save Eduardo., sometimes going above and beyond to help them. With hoards of ghouls in town and the strange gigs the Kate and Curran are doing for the Guild, they know that their unknown enemy is one of the strongest they’ve ever met.

With one of the oldest supernatural creatures in town wreaking havoc in Atlanta, Kate and Curran don’t have much time to play house or just be. For them, it’s a race against time to save a friend’s life and keep Atlanta whole without losing their lives in the process.

Let me just say this: Holy sh*t! This book was bloody awesome. Kate and Curran are in full form, fighting death, vanquishing enemies, saving friends and meeting Roland for dinner when they have some free time. While I love all the books in the Kate Daniels series, Magic Breaks wasn’t my favorite. I was disappointed with the lack of Curran for half the book, but that is not the case in Magic Shifts. I also forgot how much I loved Kate the Mercenary rather than Kate the Consort, and I was reminded of that in this book. Kate kicked ass in this book. Totally and completely kicked ass.

Magic Shifts took me thorough a whole concoction of emotions. I obviously loved Kate’s kick-assery. Put Kate and her sword together and there’s bound to be magic. I enjoyed Kate being the family woman. Interacting with Curran and Julie, making them breakfast, asking about their day. And when Kate went up to her neighbour and told her to leave Curran alone, all I thought was ‘You go girl’.

Kate’s sarcastic humor is an unsaid favorite. But what I loved most in this book was that there was a point when I wasn’t sure if Kate and Curran are gonna make it. And not like in Magic Rises. I honestly thought they were on the verge of being over, but then they found their footing and worked their way through their problems. Then there was a point when I was crying my eyes out and saying ‘NO! NO, YOU CAN’T DO THAT! That’s so unfair. What am I gonna do now?’ That was a total *headpalm* moment with me literally crying buckets. That was also the epitome of Kate’s strength and to some extent her powers.

I was also glad to find out that all the characters I thought would leave with Kate and Curran did leave with them. Yayy me!! Some were unexpected, but all were welcome. Christopher makes an appearance in this book too and like always I enjoyed Kate’s interactions with him. Saiman too graces us with his presence, and honestly, that man needs to stop doubting Kate. When is he gonna realize that Kate is THE BOMB?  Watching Julie turn into a mini-Kate was fun in itself, but she too is getting stronger with each passing day. I’d love to know her role in defeating Roland in the future books.

As with all the Kate books, there was her trademark humor, her banter with not just Curran but also other people. Her intrinsic loyalty towards her family and friends. Walking into trouble headlong and saving lives. This book has all the elements that are present in the classic Kate Daniels books by Ilona Andrews.

There’s not a single thing in Magic Shifts that I didn’t like or that I’d like to change. This book, for me was perfection. I have already read it twice and when it comes out tomorrow, I’m gonna be reading it again. This book is Ilona Andrews at their best.

This review also appears in The Ever Romantic Arts

 


Book Review: All for You (Shore Secrets #2) by Christi Barth

3.5

All For You

***I was provided an e-ARC by the author in exchange for an honest review***

After a year of reading mediocre and boring romances, I was glad to read All For You. Once again, Christi Barth’s writing was a refreshing surprise. While I liked the first book by her, the second book has raised my expectations for her works.

This book focuses on Casey Hobbes (forest ranger) and Zane Buchanan (author/professor). Casey is used to flirting but she has never let her heart get involved seriously. Her past left her scarred and even though she recognises that fact, she has never been tempted to risk her heart. With the arrival of Zane, everything changes. Casey is the ‘forest flirt’, and she flirts with Zane as well. To their surprise, the fireworks between them are off-the-charts. Instead of hopping into bed at the first chance, they both choose to take it slow. Maybe its more because Zane’s persuasion that they give each other a serious chance, but Casey lets herself be persuaded for the first time.

But this development doesn’t come without its own slew of complications. After her affection for Zane grows, Casey discovers that he belongs to the same group of people she has been hiding from forever. Further, Zane has a broken marriage behind him, it is bound to make him a bit wary. Still, his baggage is nothing compared to hers and while he loves making her smile, the secrets of Casey’s past might just be the end of them.

I have read romance novels with similar plots. What made this one different are the characters. Though it might take a bit of time, one still connects with them. The author pens them in a manner which provides a certain depth and it doesn’t go unnoticed. There is no childishness to suffer here. They are mature and over the course of the novel, they grow more so. Tiny amounts of banter involved at almost every other incident in the novel grants the story a lightheartedness that is refreshing. This story delves into serious issues but it never overwhelms, making it a fun read.

Casey and Zane’s relationship might have been doomed from the start, as the author clearly portrays. With Casey’s nature (due to necessity) for keeping secrets and Zane’s penchant for exploring and exposing them to the world, it is hard for them to find harmony. Both are human and both have their faults and they are equally blind to their faults as well. So where does that leave them? With both of them taking a step towards each other. It’s a romance between two people who came together because of a rarest of all chance meetings and ends with the rarest kind of happy ending.

Unlike the last time where I chose a favourite, I was happy with both the central characters this time. Zane’s honesty, his funky persona and easy sense of humour was charming, and Casey’s amusement and her reactions to almost every character in the novel was something I could connect to. I was afraid that Casey might be one of those pathetic characters who follow the two-steps-forward-one-step-back routine. It would have been justified in this situation but I would have still disliked her. But Casey never did that. If anything, she kept her fears and doubts aside because she knew and appreciated the importance of the moment and where the events were leading her. I also found Zane’s viewpoint and ability to see through the truth quite commendable.

The book has some elements of angst but once again, they are perfectly balanced with the bouts of laughter. The author has a great grasp of non-romantic relationships as well. Dawn and Casey’s relationship was sweet and full of warmth. I admired Dawn and it was only at a later stage that I realised that the story with all its bonds and web of small town connections is very intricate in its form. To pull on a single thread means creating a huge ripple effect. In this book, I actually got to see and understand what that meant.

Which reminds me, I finally came face to face with the characters involved in the romance brewing in the journal. That was a huge and adorable surprise. Now I am eagerly looking forward to what happens next.

I found the ending of All For You a bit open-ended but I think it was more because there wasn’t an epilogue than anything else. So the questions I have will be answered in the next novel, I guess. Since I am not one of the most patient people, it doesn’t sit well with me but it is something I can live with. I am eagerly looking forward to Ward’s story and Joel’s story. I loved the revelations about both of them (direct or indirect) and I can’t wait to see more of the amazing characters that Barth has created. Though it has been written from multiple points of view, this book still retains distinguishing qualities for the narrative views of different characters.

On a side note, I was happily surprised to realise how apropos the cover and the title is to the story. I felt something similar for Up To Me, but it was more apparent for All For You.

I was eagerly anticipating the arrival of All For You and I am glad I got my hands on its ARC. My anticipation was not in vain. All For You was a fun read with exactly the perfect amount of emotions, angst and laughter.

Click here for the review of Up To Me(Shore Secrets#1)

Book Review: Frostbitten by Heather Beck

3 gems

frostbitten

It’s been four months since I read this book and I’m still conflicted about it. I don’t know if I should appreciate the effort made by the author, or to disparage the immaturity of the characters. I think the book largely suffers from the first-book-in-the-series syndrome. Hopefully the upcoming books in the series will be better.

When Anastasia Lockhart starts getting into trouble at school, her mother ships her off to Cedar Falls to live with her grandparents. The small picturesque town is pretty much the same as it was when she visited four years ago, with the exception of a strange, but good looking guy, Frost. Anastasia soon realizes that Frost is somewhat of a recluse and the students at the school avoid him like the plague. The town too warns their children off Frost and his family. All this just intrigues Anastasia and she is curious to know more about Frost.

The majority of this book was very high-school-ish. A lot of high-school drama and bitching going around. Some of the students were so bitchy; I was thanking the stars that I wasn’t studying there. People claiming to be friends were backstabbing each other, and then they were spreading vile rumours just out of spite. So basically a high-school worth a T.V. serial was portrayed in the book.

Another thing that did not work for me was that I just couldn’t connect with the characters. They were so immature and sometimes I thought Anastasia was just plain stupid. When she finds out Frost, by then her boyfriend is a werewolf, she decides to elope with him. Who does that? Usually when you find out the person you’re dating is a monster, you run away from them or at the very least are wary of them. You don’t elope with them!! And after Anastasia and Frost elope, she is worried he is not being his true self, because he isn’t hunting and eating raw meat! Seriously? Who the hell says that? And to top it off, she is worried Frost is not being a true werewolf! Oh the horror!!

I did enjoy the last bit of the novel though. When the townspeople are looking for a rogue werewolf killing people, things get a bit more interesting. The book gets fast-paced and there is more action then and it’s actually enjoyable. We also find out more about Frost’s past and there is also a hint of something supernatural going on with Anastasia.

Though the book majorly lacked to connect with me or impress me in some places, I did enjoy it in other places, enough to read the next book in the series, if the author decides to write it. I like the writing style, no complaints with the grammar or the way the book was written, but I think the characters needed a little more depth.

This review first appeared on The La La Land of Books


Book Review: Love on the Boardwalk by Christi Barth

3.5 gems

love the boardwalk

***I was provided an e-ARC by the author in exchange for an honest review.***

Summing up this book in one word is quite easy. Sweet. Love on a Boardwalk  was a sweet, light-hearted and fun read that left me feeling all happy and gooey. There was no unnecessary drama whatsoever in this book and that just endeared it me more. Not to mention Trina Trimble. For me Trina was the essence and the center of this book. It is so so hard not to love her. She is the kind of person who you look at and start smiling for no reason. She is the kind of person who makes you happy and good about yourself. An independent, and self-sufficient woman, Trina was the best part of this book for me. She can easily crack you up and show you a gala time. A true happy-go-luck chica. She lives life king-size with no regrets.

“I try things and fail at them all the time. It’s called living with no regrets.”

Trina flits from career to career. She changes careers as frequently as women change shoes. She has done it all from being a dog walker to being a shoe designer. And she’s loved every moment of it. Currently she is a private-eye in training. And of course she’s having the time of her life here too chasing bad guys and donning different disguises. While working undercover in a strip club, Trina runs into the-hottie-who-could-have-a-been-a-summer-fling, Brad Hudson. Brad is celebrating his “un-honeymoon” with some cold bears and fake boobs. What else is a man supposed to do when his fiancee has dumped him for a JOB. Though even the bountiful breasts and asses hanging out of their underwear are not enough to get Brad out of his funk. But in walk a exuberant girl with a 1000 watt smile, a girl he actually knows, Brad’d mood soars. What ensues is a whole lot of fun.

The book never gets too serious. Ever. It’s all fun and games. There are a couple of conversations that are serious in nature, but Trina makes it a lot of fun. Trina is a very intuitive and observant woman. She easily picks up on Brad’s mood and cajoles him into talking his heart out. Brad on his part too, being the great cop that he is, knows how to wheedle her secrets. Their chemistry is good and with the entry of their friends Cooper and Darcy, things get a lot more fun. There is a conversation between Bradley and Cooper (oohh Bradley Cooper) that I very much enjoyed. Cooper tells Brad outright, that he should get over his ex and that the blame at least part of it, of his failed relationship lies with Brad too. Brad does try to keep that in mind and looks back at everything he did wrong, and everything he wants to do right, now, with Trina.

Brad does get a bit patronizing with Trina, but largely he supports her and understands her and even helps her. Trina on her part doe get pissed off at Brad, but the next day she comes back with a big smile on her face. I love the way Brad describes Trina:

“You take ordinary things and turn them rainbow bright. It’s what makes you so special.”

I also loved how easily Brad could pick up on Trina’s insecurities and help her get rid of them, not just with her career, but her relationships too. Trina is a bit insecure about her looks. She believes that she is just a rebound fling for Brad. The way Brad just tells her it’s not so is beautiful.

“I’ve been thinking about what this would be like, too. Ever since that night I almost kissed you on the beach back in June. Say you’re right. Say I can have any woman I want. The woman I want is you. Because you’re perky and fun. Because you’re adorable and you make me laugh all the time. And because you’re far more beautiful than you give yourself credit for. I want you, Trina. You’ve got adaptability and smarts that can’t be measured by essays and bubbled answer sheets. I don’t want a distraction. I don’t want a random hook-up. I want you.”

Trina is a very optimistic person who lets bygones be bygones. Her philosophy in life is very simple:

“If you try, you’ve got a chance at succeeding. Failure isn’t guaranteed. If you don’t even try at all, you’ve already failed.”

And that’s a lesson Brad learns from her. On the surface Love on a Boardwalk is a fun and  fluffy romance, but there are a couple of things like the aforementioned quote that we can very well imbibe in our day-to-day life.

Seeing Cooper and Darcy together made me want to read their book too. And the best part Trina and Brad are a part of that too. One of the best things I liked about Brad other than him being a total sweetheart and accepting Trina as she is, was *shhh it’s a secret*, Brad is a dancer! The way he confesses that to Trina is so sweet, not to mention the naked tango. I would’ve loved to see them dance together. Trina being Trina manages to turn Brad’s insecurities into dust and accepts him as he is. In fact she loves that he is a dancer. She even wants to enter a dance competition with him. She is like a dream come true for Brad. The perfect woman.

Over all the book was engaging a a complete roller-coaster ride of laughter. It was so hard not to smile or laugh at all times reading this book. Trina’s sarcastic and witty humor and Brad’s funny nature stole the show. With the addition of Cooper and Darcy things only became more fun. A great read. Now I know where to go when I want to laugh my heart out. Christi Barth you are an absolute winner for me!


Book Review: Erased by Margaret Chatwin

4

Erased book cover

 

*** I received a copy of the this ebook through Read-It-And-Reap (Goodreads) for an honest review.***

After a long and tiring day, I was about to sleep but decided to just have a look at the book I was planning to read next. An hour and a half later I realised that sleep was a foregone thought. I could not let go of the book, it was that captivating.

Book Description (This blurb is what got me interested) :

There’s that moment – you know the moment – when you emerge from sub-consciousness and enter full awareness. Now imagine reaching that moment with a pounding head, throbbing body, hospital ID band around your wrist, and no memory. No idea why you hurt the way you do, or how you got where you are. No clue what your own name is, or who the people next to you are.

I’m seventeen-year-old Ryan Farnsworth, and that’s what happened to me. Now I have to walk a mile in my own, unfamiliar shoes; view myself through the eyes of a perfect stranger; live the life a former me chose. I also need to figure out why that former me tried to kill me.

As the blurb suggests, Ryan Farnsworth is a seventeen year old who has survived a suicide attempt but has lost all his memories in the process. This novel takes us through his journey as he rediscovers himself and  makes amends for his past sins.

The novel opens at the suicide scene and instantly sucks you in. It is a scene that could have easily been under-or-overwhelming. It was perfectly executed. And it was a good beginning. The author is to be applauded for her realistic narrative in the book. Written from the POV of a seventeen year old, it is a believable and empathic voice .

This was not my first time reading a novel in which the protagonist lost his/her memories. But it was one of the best I have read so far. Ryan is broken, not only because of the emotional strain but also because of the physical pain. He used to be a football jock, he now has the strength of a baby. He has to accept the fact that even a simple push can land him on his ass (and it does, many times).

Ryan’s painful struggle is palpable and his emotional pain potent through each and every page. There were moments when I wanted to introduce a few of the characters to a hammer. Really, he has so many broken bones (on the mend) and no memories, and they are just interested in him reclaiming his position on the game field! Seriously?

Ryan’s father was such an a**hole at times that you just wanted to beat the guy over the head to make him see the point and decide. He was also willfully blind. Ryan’s brother Lucas is a different case altogether.

We get only one life to live, Ryan is blessed to get two. In the first he is almost a monster. In the second we see him trying to make reparations, because even though he can change himself, he cannot change the past. Though I knew of his atrocious acts, I could not bring myself to hate him. Nor could I hate Luc, though his reactions seem unjustified for a part of the story.

I personally thought that the title is appropriate in more than one way.  Not only is Ryan’s memory erased, his whole personality is too. He is virtually a blank slate with a strong conscience. I also think that the title also stands true for Luc, though I won’t go into details.

For those who love a romantic angle, Ryan does have a sweet and innocent relationship. But what made this book special is the part about Luc and Ryan.  It is both painful and beautiful to witness.

This is a good book. I usually tend to avoid this genre (I am not fond of high school dramas and such), but not once did I feel that this book was a wrong pick. I wouldn’t mind getting my hands on another novel(same genre) by Maragret Chatwin. Enough said.