Friday, November 28, 2014

Friday Memes: Wake to Darkness by Maggie Shayne

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 Wake to Darkness by Maggie Shayne. This is the second book in the Brown and DeLuca series. I received my copy for review from Amazon Vine. Here is the description:
Stranded with a murderer…

Rachel de Luca's uncanny sense of perception is the key to her success as a self-help celebrity. Even before she regained her sight, she had a gift for seeing people's most carefully hidden secrets. But the secret she shares with Detective Mason Brown is one she has promised to keep. As for Mason, he sees Rachel more clearly than she'd like to admit.

After a single night of adrenaline-fueled passion, they have agreed to keep their distance—until a string of murders brings them together again. Mason thinks that he can protect everyone he loves, including Rachel, by taking them to a winter hideaway, but danger follows them up the mountain.

As guests disappear from the snowbound resort, the race to find the murderer intensifies. Rachel knows she's a target. Will acknowledging her feelings for Mason destroy her—or save them both and stop a killer?
Beginning:
If the bullshit I wrote was true, I wouldn't have been standing with my back to the man I'd most like to bone, saying "No."
Friday 56:
The scene was already swarming. The state police forensics team was already there, and Rosie was waiting for him on the shoulder, hunching into his police-issue overcoat and wearing a completely non-regulation furry hat with earflaps pulled down.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Book Review: Sleep with the Lights On by Maggie Shayne

Sleep with the Lights On
Author: Maggie Shayne
Series: A Brown and De Luca Novel
Publication: Harlequin MIRA (September 24, 2013)

Description: Through the eyes of a killer… 

Rachel de Luca has found incredible success writing self-help books. But her own blindness and the fact that her troubled brother has gone missing have convinced her that positive thinking is nothing but bull.

Her cynicism wavers when a cornea transplant restores her sight. The new eyes seem to give her new life, until they prove too good to be true and she starts seeing terrifying visions of brutal murders—crimes she soon learns are all too real.

Detective Mason Brown's own brother recently died, leaving behind a horrific secret. In atonement, Mason donated his brother's organs, though he's kept the fact quiet. Now he wants to help Rachel find her brother, but when he discovers the shocking connection between her visions and his own brother, he suddenly has to do everything in his power to save her from a predator who is somehow still hunting from beyond the grave.

My Thoughts: This romantic suspense title was heavier on the suspense than the romance. Rachel de Luca lost her sight when she was twelve and now makes her living as an author of self-help books with a positive message. Rachel is really a positive person herself. She is sharp-tongued and rather cranky. When she gets a chance to have a cornea transplant to restore her sight, she is first hesitant. Previous operations had not been successful. This one works remarkably well. At least it does until she starts have dreams and visions of murder and starts to believe that she is seeing through the eyes of a serial killer.

Mason Brown is a police detective. His brother has recently committed suicide and left notes and evidence that he was the serial killer who caused the disappearance of thirteen young men - among them Rachel's brother. Mason decides to cover up his brother's confession to protect his brother's wife who is expecting a baby and his two young sons. Mason decides to donate his brother's organs in some attempt to make up for his brother's crimes and to ease his own conscience. Rachel is one of the recipients.

Rachel and Mason meet when she goes to the police station to put pressure on them to keep investigating her brother's disappearance. Still blind, she steps out into traffic and Mason hits her with his car.

I had some trouble with this story because of the large number of coincidences. I mean, cop's brother is serial killer; heroine's brother is one of his victims; heroine gets tissue from killer and starts having visions. Mason is put in charge of the investigation to track down the serial killer. Mason knows who the killer was but things change when the killings start again. He doesn't believe that she is seeing things when she first tells him but gradually becomes convinced.

My favorite character in the book is Rachel's newly-adopted, blind, elderly bulldog. I loved it each time Myrtle appeared in the story. I loved how much of a softy Rachel became around Myrtle. I could just see her with her car goggles and yellow scarf around her neck sitting in the passenger seat while Rachel drove her classic yellow Thunderbird.

While I could believe that they were attracted to each other, I had more difficulty believing that they could overcome the obstacles to any sort of relationship. Neither one of them seemed ready to begin a new relationship. Since this is the first book in a series, I am eager to see how their relationship plays out.

Favorite Quote:
I felt like an idiot, like a stereotypical helpless female calling on a man for help over the nightmare. But I knew—way down deep, where you know the things you don't really know you know—I knew this was not just a nightmare. I knew, somehow, that what I'd seen had been real. 
I got this book for review through Amazon Vine. You can buy your copy here.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

ARC Review: Her Grave Secrets by Kendra Elliot

Her Grave Secrets
Author: Kendra Elliot
Series: Rogue River Novellas (Book 3)
Publication: Montlake Romance (November 4, 2014)

Description: There are no secrets in a small town—until someone has one worth dying for.

Local cop Stevie Taylor and police chief Zane Duncan have startling new proof that a deadly street drug is expanding its poisonous grip on their small town: a skull found on the banks of the Rogue River has two bullet holes in the back. Still caught up in the excitement of their new relationship, Stevie and Zane are determined to track down the drug’s source before more lives in Solitude, Oregon, are lost.

Then one death strikes especially close to home, leading to heartache and confusion for Stevie. As the drug distributers strike hard and the body count in Solitude grows higher, she and Zane must hunt down the deadly killer—but are they the predators, or the prey?

Filled with unexpected twists, Her Grave Secrets is the third exciting Rogue River novella in the romantic suspense series from Kendra Elliot and Melinda Leigh.

My Thoughts: The action is ratcheting up in this third of four novellas in the Rogue River series. Stevie and Zane are trying to find the drug dealers who are selling C-22 in their town. It has been confirmed that Stevie's father, the former chief of police, was a victim on the drug too. That just increases the sorrow that his family is feeling.

Stevie and Zane are also building their relationship. I like the mutual respect they have for each other along with the love. I like that they can work together and not let their relationship interfere. I like that Zane is beginning to feel more like he belongs to the town.

When Roy's body is found Stevie and Zane learn that he must have been involved in the drug sales too. He was shot execution style. Both Stevie and Zane find it hard to believe that a man they thought they knew so well could have done something so out of character.

I do have a guess about the source of the drug problem but it is just a guess and I could easily be wrong. I can hardly wait for the final novella to learn the resolution of this story.

Favorite Quote:
We don't have a drug problem.

Roy's words from the night the teen died at O'Rourke's Lake echoed in her brain. The boy had clearly died from something he ingested or injected, but Roy had been absolute in his insistence that Solitude didn't have a drug problem. Even while the evidence lay dead at his feet.
I received this eARC from Montlake Romance. You can buy your copy here.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Teaser Tuesday: Sleep with the Lights On by Maggie Shayne

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:
Being able to see was so damn good, I almost started believing my own bull. I mean, really, you've gotta give me some leeway here. After being blind for twenty years, getting your sight back is a pretty big deal, and even the bitchiest of skeptical bitches would start to waver a little.
This week my teaser comes from Sleep with the Lights On by Maggie Shayne. I chose this 2013 release from the Amazon Vine program. Here is the description:
Through the eyes of a killer… 

Rachel de Luca has found incredible success writing self-help books. But her own blindness and the fact that her troubled brother has gone missing have convinced her that positive thinking is nothing but bull.

Her cynicism wavers when a cornea transplant restores her sight. The new eyes seem to give her new life, until they prove too good to be true and she starts seeing terrifying visions of brutal murders—crimes she soon learns are all too real.

Detective Mason Brown's own brother recently died, leaving behind a horrific secret. In atonement, Mason donated his brother's organs, though he's kept the fact quiet. Now he wants to help Rachel find her brother, but when he discovers the shocking connection between her visions and his own brother, he suddenly has to do everything in his power to save her from a predator who is somehow still hunting from beyond the grave.
Is paranormal thriller a genre?

Monday, November 24, 2014

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (Nov. 24, 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.

Last week was a quiet, cold week. It should have allowed for lots of reading time. However, I was distracted by television programs (The Voice, The Biggest Loser, and anything on the Food Network) and by computer games and didn't read as much as I should have. I'm on the board of directors for my town-home association and we had some work to do this week too that ate up more of my reading time and will eat up still more in the coming weeks. I also chose two quite long books from my stack that were both less than completely engaging.

This coming week is a short one at work. We have students on Monday and Tuesday and then have the rest of the week off for Thanksgiving. The weather is supposed to be good this week too. No snowstorms will mar holiday travel. I have been planning the menu as I am the cook this year. I am eager for my brother to arrive on Wednesday. I haven't seen him since August.

I also hope to fit in some extra reading time this week since I will not be taking part in any pre- or post-holiday shopping. In fact, I intend to avoid any shopping venues all weekend. Hopefully, I'll be able to get shopping and errands done on Wednesday while much of the world is still at work.
Read Last Week
I thought Undercity by Catherine Asaro was a very entertaining entry into her Skolian Universe books. I really liked the main character and can't wait to read more stories about her. My review will be posted on December 11. The book will be released on Dec. 2.

I also read Talon by Julie Kagawa this week. While it was a good story, I was a little disappointed because I had such high expectations for the book. My review will be posted on Dec. 11 for this books too. 
I devoured Archangel's Shadows by Nalini Singh this week. I really enjoyed Ash and Janvier's story. My review will be posted on Dec. 13.

Currently
I am slogging my way through Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas. I don't know if the problem is that is has been too long since I read the book before this one, the sheer size of the book, or the huge number of viewpoint characters, but it is going slowly. 
Next Week
Next up are a couple of books from by TBR pile. 

Heist Society by Ally Carter is one that I have been eager to re-read before going on to read the rest of this series. 

Garment of Shadows by Laurie R. King sneaked by me when it was published. I love this series and didn't realize I had missed one until I got the latest for review from NetGalley. 
Then it is back to my review stack.

Cajun Nights by D. J. Donaldson is a re-release of the first book in a series that I have been meaning to read for quite a while. It was released on Nov. 13 but arrived after my calendar for November was full. 

This Shattered World by Amie Kaufman and Megan Spooner is the sequel to a review book I enjoyed last year. It will be released on December 23. 
Reviews Posted
Want to See What I Added to My Stack Last Week?
I hope everyone has a great week. Leave me a link and I'll visit to see what you have planned. 

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Stacking the Shelves (Nov. 23, 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 are the books I added this week:
I bought a print copy of Shattered by Kevin Hearne. It is my plan to give this one to my brother for Christmas. He has read all the books before this one in the series. I have a copy of this one on my Kindle but I am still three books behind. 

I added two books by Laurie R. King too. Touchstone and The Bones of Paris are the first two books in the Harris Stuyvesant series. I am a huge fan of the Mary Russell/Sherlock Holmes series but these are new to me.

What did you add to your stack this week?

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Book Review: Unbinding by Eileen Wilks

Unbinding
Author: Eileen Wilks
Series: World of the Lupi (Book 11)
Publication: Berkley (October 7, 2014)

Description: In the newest Novel of the Lupi, the human and elven worlds are both about to come under attack…

After questing through the sidhe realms with her ex-hellhound lover, Nathan, Kai Tallman Michalski has finally returned home. But she knows Nathan will eventually be called back to serve his queen—and Kai will have to decide whether to enter her majesty’s service as well. Sure, the job comes with great bennies, but there’s one big downside: she would have to swear absolute fealty to the Queen of Winter.

For now, though, Kai is glad to be home, and glad that Nathan completed his mission for his queen with surprising ease. But what seemed to be a quick conclusion turns out to be anything but. The two of them helped thwart the sidhe god of chaos—and he is not happy about that. He’s got plans for them. Plans, too, for the sidhe who killed him some three millennia ago. Nor has he abandoned his plans for Earth, as they learn when chaos begins bursting out all over...

My Thoughts: This story shifts focus from Lily Yu and Rule and concentrates on Kai Tallman Michalski and her lover Nathan who happens to be a former hellhound and a servant of the Winter Queen. Having spent some time in faerie, Kai and Nathan are back on Earth. Kai is trying to decided if she should pledge herself to the Winter Queen too.

Kai has a rare Gift. She is a mindhealer. That gift is particularly handy when a mad god of chaos decides that he wants to gather a whole new bunch of human worshipers. Kai, Nathan, the lupi and the FBI are all kept busy as the god begins kidnapping humans in pairs and sowing chaos in multiple places in the San Diego area.

Things get even more difficult for Kai when Nathan, Benedict and Cullen and kidnapped and taken to the godhead. Kai is sick with worry and left alone on Earth to figure out what the god wants and how he can be stopped. Meanwhile, Nathan is trying to figure out how he can manage to kill the god now that they are in the same world. This is complicated by the fact that the god has pitted Nathan and Benedict in a fight to the death with the fates of their ladies as the prize.

The story is filled with action and deals with of lot of magic. It had, perhaps, more explanations of magic than I cared about or could understand. The strength of the characters carried me through some of the more complex bits. Wilks has a talent for making characters that I can and do care about.

Fans of this series won't want to miss this episode.

Favorite Quote:
"Let me tell you the true lesson, then, to supplant the false one. You will live a long time, my beautiful Nadrellian. Not as long as I, but long enough to grow weary, as many of my people do. Remember this: the only way to live is to live—and death is always, always, part of living. We die over and over. Oh, the big death comes but once, but a thousand deaths arrive with every turn of the seasons—the death of a day or a lover, of a friend or a dream, death piled upon death. The slow sundering of years parts us even from who we once were and from the memories which parented us. Live anyway."
I bought this one. You can buy your copy here.