Just finished reading . . .

March 30, 2009 at 2:15 pm 16 comments

The weekend, and the days leading up to it were hectic! A lot of family activities, including the visit of my big sis and her partner from up north, my dad’s 83rd birthday, and furious knitting to finish a birthday gift for my niece’s boyfriend. At least the e-books and audiobooks were convenient to read/listen to while I was knitting, since I could enjoy them from my laptop (my iPod is still MIA,) with my knitting sharing lap space.

Because I’m so behind on my reviews, I decided to just do brief ones, so I don’t get overwhelmed (I’m still finishing my review for the Re-read Challenge, due tomorrow!)

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White Witch, Black Curse (The Hollows series, book 7) by Kim Harrison AUDIOBOOK

I was in the middle of this book when my iPod went missing, so it’s taken me a while to accept reality and acknowledge that the only way I’d finish the book is to listen to it on my husband’s iPod when he wasn’t using it, and on my laptop when he was. It was a cumbersome process, but well worth it!

Here’s the book description:

Rachel Morgan, kick-ass witch and bounty hunter, has taken her fair share of hits, and has broken lines she swore she would never cross. But when her lover was murdered, it left a deeper wound than Rachel ever imagined, and now she won’t rest until his death is solved . . . and avenged. Whatever the cost.

Yet the road to hell is paved with good intentions, and when a new predator moves to the apex of the Inderlander food chain, Rachel’s past comes back to haunt her.

White Witch, Black Curse by Kim HarrisonThis was definitely a book that is impossible to read if you haven’t read the previous books in the series, but very rewarding if you have. Rachel pursues the killer of her lover, and (as usual) the process reveals much about who she is and where she goes from here. It felt like a transitional book, wrapping up old business and creating new relationships and situations for future Hollows’ books.

I loved the re-introduction of Pierce, whom I find a really intriguing character. I really liked him in the short story, “Two Ghosts for Sister Rachel” from the Holidays are Hell anthology, and am glad that he will be around in the future. One thing I found interesting was that a lot of the storylines from Hollows short stories figured prominently in WWBC. Not just “Two Ghosts”, but also “Dirty Magic” from Hotter Than Hell and “Undead in the Garden of Good and Evil” from Dates from Hell. The book is enjoyable without reading these stories, but I definitely got more out of the book because I had read 2 of them. While listening to WWBC, I kept wanting to stop and read “Dirty Magic” which I had started but never finished, knowing I would have more understanding of “apex predator” Mia, a fascinating character who was introduced in the short story. I never did stop and read it, but will definitely go back to my tbr shelf and read it now.

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Smooth Talking Stranger (Travis family series, book 3) by Lisa Kleypas. 3/26/9 AUDIOBOOK

Much anticipated, I was thrilled when I saw it offered in audiobook format at Audible before its release on March 31st.

Here is the book description:

Ella Varner has it all–a successful career as an advice columnist, a handsome boyfriend, and a circle of friends in Austin. When anyone has a problem, Ella knows the answers.

But one night she receives a call that changes everything. And as Ella’s world is turned upside-down, she meets a man who is the opposite of everything she ever wanted . . . a man who will offer her the most irresistible challenge she has ever known . . .

Smooth Talking Stranger by Lisa KleypasWhile I was listening to this book, I could not stop. There’s just something about Lisa Kleypas’ contemporaries that are utterly compelling and truly distinctive. However, as I thought about the book over the weekend, I realized it was one of those books that just isn’t going to “stick” with me like Blue-Eyed Devil and Sugar Daddy have.

I had to really work hard to recall details about the book. It happens that way for me, sometimes. What I do remember, however, is loving Jack’s intensity and drive, especially once he knew that Ella was the one for him. Ella, OTOH, faded a little for me. I wasn’t really crazy about some of the decisions she made regarding Luke’s father, and she tended to adapt to boyfriend Dane’s lifestyle (and then Jack’s) rather than develop her own, which rankled a bit.

However, overall it was a really good romance, though it may have suffered a bit for my exceptionally high expectations of a Kleypas romance.

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Wolf Signs by Vivan Arend 3/27/9 E-BOOK (Novella)

I saw this novella over at Amy C’s Romance Book Wyrm, and really liked the premise.

Here’s the book description:

Robyn Maxwell doesn’t care that her brother has to cancel out on their backcountry ski trip. She can do it alone. The fact she’s deaf doesn’t make her survival skills any weaker. The chance to get away from it all and relax in the Yukon wilderness is just what she’s been craving.

Meeting wilderness guide Keil at the cabin starts cravings of another kind. Keil’s one hot hunk of ripped, tasty male. Now she has to deal with raging hormones as well as strange questions about wolves and mates and challenges to the death.

Keil was trying for a nice reflective retreat before challenging for the Alpha position of his Alaskan pack. He wasn’t planning on meeting the woman destined to be his mate, or finding out she’s not aware she has the genes of a wolf.

Between dealing with his accident-prone younger brother, a deaf mate with an attitude and an impending duel to the death, his week — and his bed — is suddenly full.

Far from the relaxing getaway any of them had in mind . . .

Wolf Signs by Vivian ArendFor me, this had the elements of an enjoyable paranormal: sexy weres, steamy chemistry between the protagonists, and a little bit of drama with pack politics.

The format meant that things moved swiftly (it was under 130 pages.) At times things were resolved very conveniently (like Robyn’s brother, Tad’s acceptance of Robyn’s new mate) which of course was a necessity, due to the novella’s brevity.

On the whole, a good read, and I’d love to read more about the world Vivian Arend created in Wolf Signs. (Maybe a mate for Tad or Keil’s brother, TJ?)

  • Vivian Arend’s site.
  • Excerpt for Wolf Signs (scroll down.)

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Irresistible Forces by Brenda Jackson 3/28/9 EBOOK

This was a Kimani Romance category romance I downloaded free (scroll down, on right) from eHarlequin, in celebration of their 60th Anniversary. I haven’t read much category romance in the last few (15?) years, but this was one that intrigued me.
Here’s the book description:

One week of mind-blowing sex on a beautiful Caribbean island. Of all the business proposals financial tycoon Dominic Saxon has heard, Taylor Steele’s is definitely the most tempting. All Taylor wants in return is for Dominic to father her baby. No strings, no commitments . . . just a mutually satisfying arrangement. Make that very satisfying. For a man with no intention of marrying again, it sounds ideal.

Taylor wants a baby, not a relationship. And sexy, intelligent Dominic seems like a man with perfect genes. Turns out, Dominic has perfect everything. Their “procreation vacation” is a whirlwind of sensual ecstasy. But when it’s over, will either of them be able to say goodbye?

Irresistible Forces by Brenda JacksonTaylor is a career woman who has decided she wants a baby, but not a husband, or even a short-term lover who could provide one. She makes a business proposal to successful businessman, Dominic Saxon, whom she knows is also interested in children, but not romance.

Their week of baby-making become much more complicated than Taylor and Dominic bargain for when they both find themselves falling for the other, in direct contradiction to their agreement.

While I missed a more meaty story (which is impossible in a 250 page category) Irresistible Forces was enjoyable and extremely sensual. I loved reading Dominic’s perspective, especially when it came to the love scenes. Overall, a satisfying read!

  • Brenda Jackson’s site.

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I hope you had a fun weekend, and have a great week!

Are you looking forward to reading any books this week?

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Entry filed under: Category Romance-Contemporary, Just Finished Reading (Review), Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy. Tags: , , , , , , , , , .

Excerpt up for Tempt Me at Twilight by Lisa Kleypas 2009 Re-read Challenge (March): Mistress of Mellyn

16 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Lea  |  March 30, 2009 at 2:50 pm

    Hi Renee!

    Wow, you’ve been busy. Lots of great reads there.

    Actually, I am looking forward to reading “A Wtich’s Beauty”, by Joey Hill this week. I’ve also got an e-book on the go.

    My weekend was very busy and tiring too.

    All the best to you
    L

    Reply
  • 2. AmyC  |  March 30, 2009 at 2:55 pm

    Hey Renee, sounds like you did have a busy week/weekend! It’s so nice to have family visit :).

    I’m glad you liked Wolf Signs. You’re right that some things were resolved rather quickly, due to the shortness of the book. But sometimes, I like that! I enjoy short quick reads.

    I want to read Blue Eyed Devil. Some say it should be read after Sugar Daddy, but I just don’t want to read both of them. I don’t know.

    Reply
  • 3. Renee  |  March 30, 2009 at 3:06 pm

    Lea: Yeah, I’ve been sort of scarce blog hopping, and I’ve really missed it! I’m hoping to “catch up” over the next couple of days, cause I really feel I’ve been missing out.
    I haven’t read any Joey Hill, tho’ I’ve been tempted by the Vampire Queen series, but haven’t taken the plunge.

    AmyC: Yes, it was nice, but hectic.
    I agree, for the most part: I’d rather be left wanting more, than feel like the book is going on and on for no good reason.

    I think you’d enjoy BE-D without reading Sugar Daddy, but there’s a lot more understanding of the hero if you do read Sugar Daddy first. I think I’m one of the few who actually liked Sugar Daddy better (tho’ B-ED was great, too,) though I understand why most people prefer BE-D. I really enjoyed the audiobooks of both tho’ some have complained about the inaccurate accents. (I couldn’t tell.) ;-)

    Reply
  • 4. AmyC  |  March 30, 2009 at 3:10 pm

    Well someday when I’m not sure what books to get I’ll pick up both Sugar Daddy and BE D.

    And well said…better left wanting more than reading something that is going on and on for no good reason!

    Reply
  • 5. Stacy ~  |  March 30, 2009 at 5:21 pm

    I was lucky enough to get an ARC for STS and have to agree on Ella. This one was all about Jack. I’m posting my review tomorrow.

    Reply
  • 6. orannia  |  March 30, 2009 at 5:30 pm

    Thank you for the round-up Renee! WOW, you have been busy! Am looking forward to reading STS. I really enjoyed Sugar Daddy but LOVED (yes, with capitals) BED. A lot of what Haven went through I’m working my way through – it was so nice to read a book and really relate to the heroine. Plus, reading the book made me take a good hard look at my life and realise it wasn’t actually normal… :)

    I’m just finishing off Salvation in Death. Then I’ll be picking up the sequel to Howl’s Moving Castle and then *drum roll* The Virtu!

    Reply
  • 7. Renee  |  March 30, 2009 at 5:42 pm

    Stacy: I’ll look forward to reading your review! :-)

    orannia: Oh! I’m so glad you liked them. Yes, I had the impression that BE-D would have a special place for you. :-) I’m glad it really spoke to you. Isn’t that the wonderful thing about some books?

    Cool, about Howl’s. I’ve only seen the movie (incredibly beautiful and fascinating.) I look forward to reading what you think. Very cool, that you’re reading book 2! I think The Virtu is also really wonderful.

    Reply
  • 8. Barbara  |  March 30, 2009 at 7:20 pm

    That Brenda Jackson book sounds cute!! I’m not that huge on contemps but I like the premise of that story.

    Reply
  • 9. Renee  |  March 30, 2009 at 7:59 pm

    Barbara: It was! And, some of the love scenes (::fans self::) Of course, in keeping with the category genre, it was very “lifestyles of the rich and famous,” but fun for a quick fantasy! :-)

    Reply
  • 10. vivianarend  |  March 30, 2009 at 8:44 pm

    Wow- you have been reading a lot!

    I’m glad you enjoyed Wolf Signs, Renee. It was tough to try and get a complete story into such a small package without resorting to a few magic twists. :wink:

    I’m returning to the world in the future with Tad’s story. TJ is going to have to wait because right now he’s far too dangerous for a woman of his own…

    All the best,

    Vivian Arend

    Reply
  • 11. Renee  |  March 30, 2009 at 9:12 pm

    vivian: Thanks for dropping by! Yes, the short form does necessitate a few tricks and turns, doesn’t it? Also, thanks for such a fun story. I really enjoyed it, and am so excited to hear that Tad’s story will be coming out soon. I’ll definitely be reading it. I loved TJ! He really cracked me up. :-)

    Reply
  • 12. Eva S  |  March 30, 2009 at 11:35 pm

    I have Sugar Daddy in my TBR pile, but I’m not a huge fan of contemps and I love her historicals…I’ve been a little afraid…Perhaps I’ll start the book this week, if I can put down Anne Bishop!

    Reply
  • 13. AmyC  |  March 31, 2009 at 11:26 am

    I know have Sugar Daddy and Blue-Eyed Devil in the TBR! Borders had both of them :).

    Reply
  • 14. Renee  |  March 31, 2009 at 11:43 am

    Eva S: One of the things I really liked about Sugar Daddy, was that it was really Liberty’s story. The romance is important, but a lot of it is about her growing up-the story actually begins when she is a teenager, and how she becomes the person she is. Ooh, Anne Bishop! I’ve been waiting for Shadow Queen to come in at the library. I’ve been on the waiting list for ages, since I requested it well before it came out! Hope you like it!

    AmyC: I’ll keep my fingers crossed that you’ll like them when you get around to reading them! :-)

    Reply
  • 15. Shannon C.  |  March 31, 2009 at 7:44 pm

    Renee,

    I have no desire whatsoever to read Smooth Talking Stranger, but I may have to buy Sugar Daddy on your rec. I love love love heroine-centric romance.

    And I have that Brenda Jackson book TBR as well. I’m glad you liked it. Will have to move it further up on the TBR.

    Reply
  • 16. Renee  |  March 31, 2009 at 8:39 pm

    Shannon C: If you love stories with a strong emphasis on the heroine, then SD is definitely for you! It is my all time favorite contemporary. :-)

    I liked the Brenda Jackson enough, it’s making me want to dig into the rest of the categories I have, but haven’t gotten around to reading!

    Reply

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