Friday, October 24, 2014

Friday Memes: The Gift of Darkness by V. M. Giambanco

Happy Friday everybody!
Book Beginnings on Friday is now hosted by Rose City Reader. The Friday 56 is hosted at Freda's Voice. Check out the links above for the rules and for the posts of the participants each week. Don’t dig for your favorite book, the coolest, the most intellectual. Use the CLOSEST.


This week I am spotlighting The Gift of Darkness by V. M. Giambanco. I got this thriller from Edelweiss. It will be released on November 4. Here is the description:
In Seattle's upscale Blueridge neighborhood, James Sinclair, his wife Anne, and their two small boys are found brutally murdered in their home. Their bodies are carefully laid out: blindfolded, hands tied, and crosses drawn in blood across their foreheads. Above the bedroom door, the words "thirteen days" are scratched into the frame. At the same time, a card with the words "thirteen days" written on it is delivered to the office of powerful lawyer Nathan Quinn, a partner at Sinclair's law firm.

From the evidence found at the scene, rookie homicide detective Alice Madison and her seasoned partner Detective Sergeant Brown determine that the prime suspect is John Cameron, a fugitive long wanted for the infamous Nostromo killings. But only Cameron's attorney knows his whereabouts, and though the clock is ticking, he seems more interested in protecting his client than preventing another murder. That attorney is none other than Nathan Quinn.

Madison and Brown discover the three men are linked in other ways, too. Years ago, when they were just boys, Sinclair, Cameron, and Quinn's younger brother David were abducted. Blindfolded and taken to the woods near the Hoh River, on the picturesque Olympic Peninsula, the three boys endured a night of terror. Only Sinclair and Cameron survived. With no other witnesses, the case went unsolved and David's body was never found.

After a savage attack that leaves Brown in the hospital and Madison working alone, she discovers a flaw in the investigation that puts her at odds with the department brass. To stop the killer, Madison must go back into the woods and confront the unsolved mystery of the Hoh River Boys. She must forget her training and follow her instincts to the terrifying end, even as enemies become allies in the fight against the terrible darkness descending over them all.
Beginning:
On a good night you can smell the sea from way up on University Hill. 
Friday 56:
What would be more helpful? Telling the man that they suspected his neighbor of at least four brutal murders, would that get them his cooperation?

Thursday, October 23, 2014

ARC Review: Burn for Me by Ilona Andrews

Burn for Me
Author: Ilona Andrews
Series: Hidden Legacy (Book 1)
Publication: Avon (October 28, 2014)

Description: #1 New York Times bestselling author Ilona Andrews launches a brand-new Hidden Legacy series, in which one woman must place her trust in a seductive, dangerous man who sets off an even more dangerous desire . . .

Nevada Baylor is faced with the most challenging case of her detective career—a suicide mission to bring in a suspect in a volatile situation. Nevada isn't sure she has the chops. Her quarry is a Prime, the highest rank of magic user, who can set anyone and anything on fire.

Then she's kidnapped by Connor "Mad" Rogan—a darkly tempting billionaire with equally devastating powers. Torn between wanting to run and wanting to surrender to their overwhelming attraction, Nevada must join forces with Rogan to stay alive.

Rogan's after the same target, so he needs Nevada. But she's getting under his skin, making him care about someone other than himself for a change. And, as Rogan has learned, love can be as perilous as death, especially in the magic world.

My Thoughts: I was completely blown away by BURN FOR ME which begins an new urban fantasy series. The main character and the narrator of the story is Nevada Baylor. She and her family - mother, grandmother, younger sisters and younger cousins - run a small private investigations business. She isn't a member of any of the magical houses that have divided up Houston and she isn't known to be a powerful magic user.

When her father was dying, the family mortgaged the business to Montgomery International Investigations. Now MII has invoked one clause of the contract and has demanded that Nevada locate a powerful Prime named Adam Pierce and turn him over to his family. MII knows Nevada is overmatched; they want her to fail.

Adam's magical power is fire-starting and he is on a rampage through Houston. Houston cops are eager to shoot him on sight. Nevada has no choice but to try to track him down and convince him to surrender to his House.

Mad Rogan is also interested in finding Adam Pierce. Rogan's cousin's son was with Pierce when he firebombed a bank and killed a guard. The boy is now also wanted for murder. Rogan's loyalty to his family is his trigger. Rogan is an immensely talented magic user who can bring down buildings. He had a successful military career and has become an object of fear to most.

Nevada isn't interested in working with Rogan, especially when their relationship begins with him kidnapping her and trying to force her to tell him what she knows about Pierce. Nevada uses her own not-inconsiderable magical talents to thwart him.

The two do work together despite gross reservations on Nevada's part. She is fascinated by him and sexually attracted to him but she doesn't like him or the way he lives his life. She can't trust him and believes that he is a psycopath. Beyond the action scenes which were very prevalent and dramatic, the whole book is a flirtation between the two of them. They are learning about each other and getting to want each other more with each page. Many of the scenes between them are super hot and packed with romantic tension.

I loved Nevada's voice and her determination to protect her family. I liked her strong values and her determination to be able to look herself in the face at the end of each day. This determination guides her actions and illuminates her character.

The only bad part about reading an October release in July is that I will have to wait so terribly long for the next book in this series. I wonder if I can pre-order it yet?

Favorite Quote:
My wrists and ankles were bleeding. My knees too--I must’ve scraped myself trying to draw the circle. So far today I’d seen a woman almost die, I’d shot a person, I’d killed another person with my shockers, I’d been strung up on wires and almost crushed by a car, and now I was bleeding all over the place. If I could, I would punch today right in the face.
I got this ARC through Amazon Vine. You can buy your copy here.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Book Review: Festive in Death by J. D. Robb

Festive in Death
Author: J. D. Robb
Series: In Death (Book 39)
Publication: Putnam Adult (September 9, 2014)

Description: Eve Dallas deals with a homicide—and the holiday season—in the latest from the #1 New York Times bestselling author.

Personal trainer Trey Ziegler was in peak physical condition. If you didn't count the kitchen knife in his well-toned chest.

Lieutenant Eve Dallas soon discovers a lineup of women who’d been loved and left by the narcissistic gym rat. While Dallas sorts through the list of Ziegler’s enemies, she’s also dealing with her Christmas shopping list—plus the guest list for her and her billionaire husband’s upcoming holiday bash.

Feeling less than festive, Dallas tries to put aside her distaste for the victim and solve the mystery of his death. There are just a few investigating days left before Christmas, and as New Year’s 2061 approaches, this homicide cop is resolved to stop a cold-blooded killer.

My Thoughts: In this 39th book in the In Death series Eve is getting ready for Christmas when she catches a case. Her hair and body consultant, the terrifying Trina, discovers the body of a personal trainer who had just broken off a relationship with a friend of hers.

The more Eve learns about the murdered Trey Ziegler, the less she likes him. He was a narcissistic user who drugged, raped and blackmailed. The list of women he did wrong and the men in their lives is really, really long. She has quite an array of suspects. As she and Peabody interview the variety of cheating spouses, Eve takes the time to articulate her views of marriage and the promises that are its core.

As the list of suspects narrow and Christmas gets closer, Eve is determined to get things done before the holidays. I love Eve's relationships with her friends. She is still getting used to the idea of having friends, of letting people into her life. I love how well she knows them and how she manages to get each one the perfect Christmas gift despite waiting until the last minute to get them.

I also love Eve's relationship with Roarke. Neither one of them takes the relationship they have for granted. Both are willing to work to keep it. I love the way that they continue to surprise and delight each other.

This is a marvelous series. I read it because I love Eve and Roarke. The mysteries are a side issue for me. This one had an intriguing one that kept me guessing up until the end. I can't wait to see what comes next.

Favorite Quote:
"I wouldn't have cheated in the first place."

"Well, yeah, but—"

"There's no 'but.'" Eve pulled open the car door, slid in. "You go into marriage, you plow a road. You're going to hit rough patches, and some may be rougher and last longer than others, but you've got choices to make. You work to smooth them out, you hold until they do, or they don't. You stick with the road, or you get off. But you don't do something to make it worse, don't do something that maybe makes you feel better for the short term while it sucker punches the person you're married to."
I bought this one. You can buy your copy here.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Teaser Tuesday: Burn for Me by Ilona Andrews

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
Share the title and author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Teaser:
"It's time to expand your repertoire. You're showing a ninety percent success rate with your cases. You have our complete confidence."

We showed a 90 percent success rate because I didn't take a case unless I knew we could handle it. "He's a Prime pyrokinetic. We don't have the manpower."
I was so excited to get an ARC of Burn for Me by Ilona Andrews from Amazon Vine. I am a huge fan of their work and am eager to read this beginning of a new series. Here is the description:
#1 New York Times bestselling author Ilona Andrews launches a brand-new Hidden Legacy series, in which one woman must place her trust in a seductive, dangerous man who sets off an even more dangerous desire . . .

Nevada Baylor is faced with the most challenging case of her detective career—a suicide mission to bring in a suspect in a volatile situation. Nevada isn't sure she has the chops. Her quarry is a Prime, the highest rank of magic user, who can set anyone and anything on fire.

Then she's kidnapped by Connor "Mad" Rogan—a darkly tempting billionaire with equally devastating powers. Torn between wanting to run and wanting to surrender to their overwhelming attraction, Nevada must join forces with Rogan to stay alive.

Rogan's after the same target, so he needs Nevada. But she's getting under his skin, making him care about someone other than himself for a change. And, as Rogan has learned, love can be as perilous as death, especially in the magic world.

Monday, October 20, 2014

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (Oct. 20, 2014)

It's Monday, What Are You Reading? is a meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journey.

It’s Monday!  What Are You Reading, is where we gather to share what we have read this past week and what we plan to read this week.  It is a great way to network with other bloggers, see some wonderful blogs, and put new titles on your reading list.

I had a great reading week. My post-conference break let me read a couple of extra days. It was wonderfully relaxing to not be travelling for eight hours over the break. I got some organizing done at home too. Reluctantly, I packed away the summer clothes and hauled out my winter wardrobe. No more capris until May, I'm afraid. I didn't tackle my cupboard reorganization project though. It's too daunting a task. ;-)

Next week we begin with a teacher in-service day. Luckily, it is being hosted by my school district. So I don't have to drive to one of the neighboring schools to start my Monday. Unfortunately the offerings don't seem to have much that is relevant to a Media Specialist but, with enough Diet Pepsi, I can survive a few irrelevant hours.

Tuesday night a friend and I are driving up to the Cities to meet author Kendare Blake at the Red Balloon. At least this time, I know that my tires are in fine shape. I haven't read Blake's books because I'm not a big fan of horror but I do know that many of my students enjoy them. I'll be eager to get our books autographed and get her latest for our collection.

I suppose I'll also be spending a good part of next week watching the World Series. My team didn't make it but I'll still watch. I think I'll be rooting for Kansas City since they haven't been to the World Series for so long.

Read Last Week
Last week I read two middle grade books from my stack that, coincidentally, both had main characters named Jax.

The Secret Box by Whitaker Ringwald tells the story of a twelve-year-old girl named Jax who has an adventure when she tries to find out about a birthday present that her mother has taken away from her. Her journey leads her to ancient evils, dastardly villains, and a relative she didn't know she had. My review will be posted on Nov. 8.

The Eighth Day by Dianne K. Salerni tells the story of 13-year-old Jax who is an orphan living with a guardian he doesn't really know when he wakes up one morning to discover that he is living in the eighth day - a day between Wednesday and Thursday. There he encounters others like himself, members of the Kin who want to eradicate humanity, and a young girl who holds the spell keeping the Kin confined. My review will be posted on Nov. 13.

I have the sequels to each of this stories on my review stack and can't wait until they get to the top of the list.
I started Deeper than the Grave by Tina Whittle which was on my review stack but then decided that I needed to read the first book in the series to really appreciate it.

The Dangerous Edge of Things by Tina Whittle introduces Tai Randolph and Trey Seaver. Tai is new new owner of a gun shop in Atlanta. Trey Seaver works for a security firm. When Tai discovers a corpse in front of her brother's house, Trey is assigned to protect her. I especially enjoyed the character development in this story. My review will be posted on Nov. 6. 

Deeper than the Grave by Tina Whittle is the couple's 4th adventure. This time Tai discovers a skeleton when looking for a missing one after a tornado. Unfortunately, the one she finds isn't a civil war soldier but of much more recent vintage. I really enjoyed this story. The mystery was compelling and so was the relationship between Tai and Trey. My review will be posted on Nov. 8.
I finished two more mysteries from my review stack.

My Sister's Grave by Robert Dugoni is for a blog tour. I thought this thriller about a woman trying to find out what happened when her younger sister disappeared twenty years earlier. She has become a homicide detective and puts her skills to use when her sister's body is found in a shallow grave. This one deals with police cover ups and trial procedures and also features a new romance with a childhood friend. My review will be posted on November 13.

Mrs. Kaplan and the Matzoh Ball of Death by Mark Reutlinger was very different from My Sister's Grave. This one was a cozy where two elderly ladies living in a Jewish retirement home investigate the death of another of the residents. It was filled with Yiddish expressions and lots of humor. The narrator plays the role of Dr. Watson to her friend's Sherlock Holmes. It was a fun story. My review will be posted on November 15.
I got a chance to choose something from my TBR stack this week. Trust Me, I'm Lying by Mary Elizabeth Summer was a contemporary YA thriller similar to Ally Carter's Heist Society but with less humor and more emotional impact. I really liked it. My review will be posted on November 15.

Currently
I am currently reading A Call to Duty by David Weber and Timothy Zahn. This is the newest science fiction novel in the Honorverse but it takes place well before the events of the rest of the series. I am enjoying it so far. 

Next Week

I have a small gap in my blog calendars without review books. I am able to look at my TBR mountain for most of next week's choices.
Unbinding by Eileen Weeks is the most recent in her urban fantasy series. I enjoy the World of the Lupi books and am eager to read this one despite the fact that it isn't about the main characters in the series.

Closer to Home by Mercedes Lackey continues the story of Mags who is a new Herald in the early days of the Collegium. I enjoyed the trilogy where he became a Herald. This one should be interesting too.
I have heard great things about Afterworlds by Scott Westfeld and am taking this opportunity to fit it into my reading schedule.

On the Edge by Allison van Diepen is a YA contemporary that is my last November review book. 

Reviews Posted
Want to See What I Added to My Stack Last Week?
What are your plans for the week? Leave me a link and I'll be sure to visit.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Stacking the Shelves (Oct. 19, 2014)

Tynga of Team Tynga's Reviews has a meme to spotlight the books we receive each week. Visit her site to check out the linky and see what everyone gets. I guarantee that your TBR pile will grow.

Here is what I got this week.
I took advantage of two Kindle Daily Deals.

I bought Fatal Decree by H. Terrell Griffin. It sounded good but I didn't realize that it was the 7th book in the Matt Royal series. I haven't read any of the rest of the series.

Wickedly Charming by Kristine Grayson was also a Kindle deal. This contemporary romance based on fairy tale tropes sounded like fun.
I bought The Dangerous Edge of Things by Tina Whittle because I have the 4th book in that series for review. I felt like I need to, at least, know how the series started before I could appreciate book 4.

Too Hot to Handle by Katie Rose arrived at my house via a NetGalley email. I really can't resist romances where one character is a professional athlete. This review book will be released on Jan. 27.

What did you add to your stack this week?

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Book Review: Rock Addiction by Nalini Singh

Rock Addiction
Author: Nalini Singh
Series: Rock Kiss
Publication: TKA Distribution (September 11, 2014)

Description: A bad boy wrapped in a sexy, muscled, grown-up package might be worth a little risk…

Molly Webster has always followed the rules. After an ugly scandal tore apart her childhood and made her the focus of the media’s harsh spotlight, she vowed to live an ordinary life. No fame. No impropriety. No pain. Then she meets Zachary Fox, a tattooed bad boy rocker with a voice like whiskey and sin, and a touch that could become an addiction.

A one-night stand with the hottest rock star on the planet, that’s all it was meant to be…

Fox promises scorching heat and dangerous pleasure, coaxing Molly to extend their one-night stand into a one-month fling. After that, he’ll be gone forever, his life never again intersecting with her own. Sex and sin and sensual indulgence, all with an expiration date. No ties, no regrets. Too late, Molly realizes it isn’t only her body that’s become addicted to Fox, but her heart…

My Thoughts: ROCK ADDICTION was an excellent, spicy romance that I couldn't put down. Molly Webster is determined to live an ordinary life as a librarian. She has overcome the scandal of her teenage years when her politician father was caught in an affair with one of her classmates and when her parents died in a car accident in a car driven by her alcoholic mother. Molly is determined never to be in the public eye again.

However, she has long had a crush on rock star Zachary Fox whom she knows only from the gossip magazines she likes to read. When she attends a party with her sister, she catches his eye. He takes one look at her and decides that she is the one for him. He talks her into a one-night stand and then a one month affair but has no intention of ever letting her go.

Fox has issues of his own. Childhood abandonment by his mother has warped his view of love and relationships. He has, however, created his own new family with his band mates and a few other select friends. Forming a relationship with Molly won't be at all easy.

I liked the way both characters were strong, but damaged, people. I liked the way they gradually built their relationship. I liked the way each of them had built families by choice since their birth families had proved to be so disappointing. I liked the way Molly and Fox stood up to each other to get what they needed.

Fans of spicy romance with well-rounded characters will enjoy this story. I'm eager to read the stories of the secondary characters too.

Favorite Quote:
No, she didn't want excitement. What she wanted was blissful normality: a job she liked; a steady, faithful man; a house on an ordinary suburban street; a sedate minivan with room in back for the slobbering family dog. But...when she was living that safe, stable life, the memory of her night with a smart, sexy, roughly tender rock star would be a hidden treasure, a quiet acknowledgment of the other Molly. The Molly who might've lived a life more adventurous and less ordinary in another time, another place...a Molly who, in this world, was a little too broken to ever be permitted to hold the reins.
I bought this one for my Kindle. You can buy your copy here.