Thursday, March 26, 2015

ARC Review: Holding Strong by Lori Foster

Holding Strong
Author: Lori Foster
Series: Ultimate
Publication: HQN Books (March 31, 2015)

Description: An up-and-coming MMA fighter wants more than just one night from a woman fleeing her past in New York Times bestselling author Lori Foster's irresistible new novel

Heavyweight fighter Denver Lewis plays real nice, but he doesn't share. That's why he's been avoiding top-notch flirt Cherry Peyton. But a man can only resist those lush curves for so long. Their encounter surpasses all his fantasies, bringing out protective urges that Cherry's about to need more than she knows…

Denver's combination of pure muscle and unexpected tenderness has been driving Cherry wild. Yet no sooner does she get what she's been craving than old troubles show up on her doorstep. And this time, Cherry can't hide behind a carefree facade. Because the man by her side is one who'll fight like hell to keep her safe…if only she'll trust him enough to let him…

My Thoughts: This is the second novel in the Ultimate series. This time it is the romance between Denver Lewis and Cherry Payton. Though they are part of the same circle of friends, Denver has been successful at avoiding Cherry. He thinks she is just a flirt and he wants a woman who wants only him. But when danger comes after Cherry in the person of the three foster brothers she ran from when she was seventeen, all of Denver's protective instincts rise up and he is determined to protect her.

Cherry has rebuilt her life since running away and now is a cheerful and confident woman who is really in love with Denver. When trouble comes, she is just as eager to protect Denver as he is to protect her.

The love scenes are spicy and the tension palpable in this fast-paced romantic suspense title. I liked Cherry very much. Denver was less likeable for me. He read as much older than he was with his chauvinism. I was surprised when I did the math to find out that he was only 26. I would have thought he was in his mid-forties. His penchant for calling Cherry "Girl" seemed odd for someone who was only three years older.

Once I got over Denver's quirks, I really enjoyed the story. I also liked seeing characters I knew from earlier books by the author. I look forward to reading more about this group of friends and watching these tough, masculine fighters find their loves.

Favorite Quote:
Did she think he got this involved with every woman he'd slept with? Soon he'd have to explain a few things to her.

Once he'd figured them out himself.
I got this eARC from NetGalley. You can buy your copy here.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Book Review: The Mystery Writers of America Cookbook edited by Kate White

The Mystery Writers of America Cookbook: Wickedly Good Meals and Desserts to Die For
Editor: Kate White
Publication: Quirk Books (March 24, 2015)

Description: Hard-boiled breakfasts, thrilling entrees, cozy desserts, and more--this illustrated cookbook features more than 100 recipes from legendary mystery authors. Whether you're planning a sinister dinner party or whipping up some comfort food perfect for a day of writing, you'll find plenty to savor in this cunning collection. Full-color photography is featured throughout, along with mischievous sidebars revealing the links between food and foul play. Contributors include Lee Child, Mary Higgins Clark, Harlan Coben, Nelson DeMille, Gillian Flynn, Sue Grafton, Charlaine Harris, James Patterson, Louise Penny, Scott Turow, and many more.

My Thoughts: These recipes run the gamut from three ingredients found in every kitchen to a dozen that I swear I'd have to buy over the internet. I liked the introductions of each recipe by the author who linked the recipe to one of their books or to a family memory.

While I'm going to pass on Sue Grafton's Peanut Butter & Pickle Sandwich, I think I might give Louise Penny's recipe for Tourtiere a try some day. I liked the nice assortment of recipes from appetizers to desserts and drinks.

Mamma's Pimento Cheese as given by Susan M. Boyer sounds great even though I haven't heard of some of the cheeses she calls for. I'm also a little intimidated by the idea that it makes 3 quarts. I don't think I know enough people to share that amount with. I can't wait to try David Housewritght's Corn Chowder recipe.

I liked the variety of authors whose recipes were included. I've read many of them including Charlaine Harris, Carolyn Hart, Diane Mott Davidson, Laurie R. King and Catherine Coulter. I was also encouraged to try books and series by other authors because I liked the recipes they included and want to meet their characters.

People looking for a cookbook to go with what they're reading would be the perfect audience for this collection.

Favorite Quote (about Sue Grafton's Peanut Butter & Pickle Sandwich):
I've received letters from readers who are completely aghast at the notion of eating this culinary wonder. Others actually try it despite their misgivings.
I received this book for review from Quirk Books. You can buy your copy here.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Teaser Tuesday: Holding Strong by Lori Foster

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of A Daily Rhythm. 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:
The redhead stopped in front of Armie and touched a finger to his chest. "You're Armie Jacobson."

"Guilty."

"So are the rumors true?"

"Sure."

Denver stifled a laugh; Armie hadn't even asked her what rumors she meant. But when it came to Armie, just about anything was possible.
This week my teaser comes from Holding Strong by Lori Foster. I got this book for review from NetGalley. Here is the description:
An up-and-coming MMA fighter wants more than just one night from a woman fleeing her past in New York Times bestselling author Lori Foster's irresistible new novel

Heavyweight fighter Denver Lewis plays real nice, but he doesn't share. That's why he's been avoiding top-notch flirt Cherry Peyton. But a man can only resist those lush curves for so long. Their encounter surpasses all his fantasies, bringing out protective urges that Cherry's about to need more than she knows…

Denver's combination of pure muscle and unexpected tenderness has been driving Cherry wild. Yet no sooner does she get what she's been craving than old troubles show up on her doorstep. And this time, Cherry can't hide behind a carefree facade. Because the man by her side is one who'll fight like hell to keep her safe…if only she'll trust him enough to let him…

Monday, March 23, 2015

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (March 23, 2015)

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.

Other Than Reading...

This week was a busy and exciting one at school. Our girls' basketball team was in the playoffs and went to State. We got out of school early on Wednesday (which messed up some plans for lessons) so that they and their fans could get to the Twin Cities for a 6 PM game. Rather than riding the bus up to the Cities, I listened to the game on the radio. They won and then played again on Friday night. They won again and played on Saturday afternoon for the Championship. It was a hard fought game but our girls triumphed and are now the Class AA Girls Basketball Champions for the state of Minnesota. I listened to all of the games on the radio. My bad back made the idea of riding up to the Cities three times unimaginable. They had a welcome home Saturday evening that I went to. It was a packed gym to welcome the girls home.

I did have to drive up to the Cities on Thursday afternoon myself to attend a counseling session at the Teacher Retirement Association. Everything looks good for me to retire this year and then return to my job on a part-time basis. I'll be meeting with my Superintendent on Monday to see if we can work out the details with the school district. If we can, I'll be filling out the retirement paperwork this year to officially retire on June 5. I am hoping everything works out. Partial retirement sounds really good to me.

I did have time to read five of the books from my review stack this week too.

Read Last Week
Archie Greene and the Magician's Secret by D. D. Everest was really similar to Harry Potter. Young readers who like that sort of thing will find things to enjoy here. My review will be posted on April 18.

Darkmouth #1: The Legends Begin by Shane Hegarty was another middle grade fantasy. While I liked the main character, I really disliked the main character's father. This is clearly the first book in a series because there is lots of set up for things to come. My review will be posted on April 22.
The Secrets We Keep by Trisha Leaver was a young adult contemporary with an interesting concept. One identical twin takes the place of her sister who died in a car accident. It was an interesting story about what one will do to assuage guilt and for love of a sister. My review will be posted on April 23.

Flirty Dancing by Jenny McLachlan was a middle grade book about a girl who enters a dance contest, gets over her shyness, overcomes the school bully, and finds romance. It was cute and funny. My review will be posted on April 25.
Drive Me Crazy by Terra Elan McVoy was a middle grade review book. It is a about two girls thrown together on a road trip with their honeymooning grandparents. Both girls are dealing, in very different ways, with things going on in their lives. I liked it. I will be posting my review on April 30.

Currently
I am almost finished with Ferals by Jacob Grey. This middle grade fantasy features an orphaned crow speaker named Caw who makes a friend and gets involved in a fight with the evil feral who killed his parents. It is the first in a series and is entertaining. 

Next Week 

After a week of focusing in middle grade review books which were releasing in April, I am eager to get back to alternating adult books and young adult books. All of these adult books are from my TBR mountain.
Hot Lead, Cold Iron by Ari Marmell was an impulse buy for my Kindle. I want to give it a try this week.

Deadly Spells by Jaye Wells is the third in the Prospero's War series which I am eager to read.
Clockwork Heart by Dru Pagliasotti was on a recommended book list that Gail Carriger made. I had read and enjoyed most of the others and thought this one sounded good too.

I love Patricia Briggs' books and am eager to read Dead Heat. I got it on my Kindle on release day and have been trying to fit it into my reading schedule ever since.

Here are the next ones on my YA Review stack.
Crimson Bound by Rosamund Hodge and The Novice by Taran Matharu are both fantasies being released on May 5.

The Cost of All Things by Maggie Lehrman and The Heat of the Moment by Lauren Barnholdt are both young adult contemporaries being released on May 12.

  Reviews Posted
Want to See What I Added to My Stack Last Week?
What was your week like? Leave me a link and I'll come visit.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Stacking the Shelves (March 22, 2015)

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. 

Just two new books this week.
Prudence by Gail Carriger for my Kindle. 

Lighting Their Fires by Rafe Esquith from Amazon Marketplace after a strong recommendation by a colleague at work.

What did you add to your stack this week?

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Book Review: Demon Hunting in the Deep South by Lexi George

Demon Hunting in the Deep South
Author: Lexi George
Series: Demon Hunter
Publication: Kensington (July 31, 2012)

Description: Shy, self-conscious Evie Douglass tries to stay under the radar, especially when petite socialite Meredith Starr Peterson, aka The Death Starr, is anywhere around. Meredith and her bitch posse of skinny girlfriends have tormented Evie about her size since seventh grade. Unfortunately, it's hard for a plus-sized gal to stay invisible in a small town like Hannah, Alabama. And then Evie finds Meredith brutally murdered. Suddenly, she's the number one suspect in a sensational murder case. Worse, Hannah is infested with demons, and the only thing standing between them and Evie is a hunky blond demon slayer named Ansgar. Evie could swear, though, that Ansgar is interested in more than demons. She could swear that he's interested in her...

My Thoughts: This book was a fun urban fantasy - rural fantasy? - and paranormal romance. Evie Douglass is used to staying under the radar and being dissed by socialite Meredith Starr Peterson. But, when she finds Meredith's body in her office, things start to change. It looks like Evie is being framed for the crime and it is up to her and her Dahlvahni lover Ansgar to save her.

Apparently, in the first book of this series, Evie and Ansgar had a relationship but when Ansgar was forced to shoot her to get a demon to leave her, he killed her. Then he brought her back to life, made her a Dahlvahni, and erased her memories of their past. He's been gone a couple of months but now he's back. To Evie, he is someone new in town. Someone really, really hot but, also, someone she doesn't know.

When Evie learns that she is now Dahlvahni and that all her friends have been keeping secrets from her, she was really angry. She goes out with another character and tries to get drunk but isn't having any success until the owner of a shady bar gives her chocolate. Turns out alcohol doesn't affect Dahlvahni but chocolate makes them high.

The story is filled with hot romance and all sorts of funny "Southernisms." I laughed out loud a number of times. I also really want to read the first and third books in this series to learn more about the stories of the other characters. The town is full of all sorts of characters from prissy Southern ladies to demons, demonoids, and fairies.

I first heard about this one when it was suggested for fans of Charlaine Harris's Sookie Stackhouse series. There are some common factors - Southern setting and paranormal creatures - but this one has a slapstick humor that makes it quite different. This was a fun book to read.

Favorite Quote:
Oh, dear, Bitsy just dissed poor Nicole big time. In the South, you could say anything about another person, no matter how horrible, as long as you tacked a "bless his or her heart" on at the end of it. Like, she's so ugly, she'd make a train take a dirt road, bless her heart. Or, if brains were leather, he wouldn't have enough to saddle gnat, bless his heart.
This one is from my TBR mountain. You can buy your copy here.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Friday Memes: Demon Hunting in the Deep South by Lexi George

Happy Friday everybody!
Book Beginnings on Friday is now hosted by Rose City ReaderThe 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 Demon Hunting in the Deep South by Lexi George. This was Kindle Daily Deal in January and was compared to the Sookie Stackhouse books. Here is the description:
Shy, self-conscious Evie Douglass tries to stay under the radar, especially when petite socialite Meredith Starr Peterson, aka The Death Starr, is anywhere around. Meredith and her bitch posse of skinny girlfriends have tormented Evie about her size since seventh grade. Unfortunately, it's hard for a plus-sized gal to stay invisible in a small town like Hannah, Alabama. And then Evie finds Meredith brutally murdered. Suddenly, she's the number one suspect in a sensational murder case. Worse, Hannah is infested with demons, and the only thing standing between them and Evie is a hunky blond demon slayer named Ansgar. Evie could swear, though, that Ansgar is interested in more than demons. She could swear that he's interested in her...
Beginning:
Blood. There was so much blood, especially on the dead woman sprawled across her desk.
Friday 56:
Do you eat peaches?

Evie groaned and slid deeper into the clawfoot tub, letting the scented water lap at her chin. Did she really ask him that?