Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Book Review: Armed & Fabulous (Lexi Graves Mysteries, 1) by Camilla Chafer


Book Description:

All Lexi wants to do is get through the day at her boring temp job with Green Hand Insurance. That’s until she discovers the vice president, Martin Dean, in a pool of blood and herself at the center of an investigation into insurance fraud.
Millions of dollars are missing, the chief suspect is dead and her mysterious, sexy, new boss is not what he seems.
Recruited by the joint task force working on the case, all Lexi has to do is work out who killed Dean and where the missing millions are. That’s easier said than done when her sister insists upon the baby shower to end all baby showers, her wise-ass cop family just wants to keep her safe, someone keeps leaving her creepy gifts, and all the clues point to a seedy sex club on the wrong side of town.
As the bodies start to pile up, Lexi is on a race against time to find the killer and the money, before she’s the next one in the murderer’s sights. (from amazon.com)



Prior to finding this book on a list of free books, I had never heard of this author. I read a lot of indie authors or not really very well-known authors and sometimes they are good and sometimes, eh, not-so-good. This book was one of the really good ones.

Lexi is the youngest of 5, born into a family of police officers. She is smart and capable, though she hides this well, personable, but has no place to really direct her energies, so she works as a temp.

Adam and Solomon are on the task force with her and provide an interesting love triangle. I hope the author doesn’t drag that aspect out too much. I enjoy a little love triangle as much as the next person, but they can be drawn out too much. Adam is the good-guy cop, boy scout-ish, Solomon is the bad-boy, dangerous. Another reviewer compared this series to Stephanie Plum by Janet Evanovich and that’s a pretty accurate assessment. Adam=Joe Morelli, Solomon=Ranger. At least it seems that way from the first book.

Things I really enjoyed about the book:

1. Lexi’s friendship with Lily. I love that the author didn’t throw the best friend under the bus because some hot guys were around.

2. The dialogue/inner monologue was great. The humor was fantastic (I laughed out loud many times). There was only one time I felt it was over-done.

3. Believable sexual tension build-up between Lexi and both Adam and  Solomon.

4. I Loved her family. The protective older brothers and the too-perfect older sister provided some comic relief as well as some genuine displays of caring. The author did a fantastic job portraying family commitment and exposing faults (and setting up future books).

5. I enjoyed the mystery aspect of the book quite a lot and was a little surprised at the ending. The author did a good job building the tension.

Things I didn’t care about:

1. I would have liked a bit more information about her past. I realize the author is stretching the story out a bit over a few books, but darn it, I want answers now! (just kidding). Specifically, I want to know about “the army incident” and why she can’t be a police officer. I have a feeling the 2 are related.

That’s it for what I didn’t enjoy about the book. Seriously. It was a great book. Well-edited, dialogue great, pacing great, believable characters and actions.

If you like funny mysteries with a similarity to the Stephanie Plum novels, you will probably enjoy this as well. I’m looking forward to reading the next book in the series (I’ll be buying the next installment as soon as I post this review) and highly recommend this book.

Sensuality: a few kisses and some sexual tension, references to sex. It would fine for a teenager to read.

Rating: 5 stars

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Book Review: Subtle Magic (Subtle Lovers, Book One)


Book Description

Publication Date: October 13, 2008

Duse Ammadon has been without Skylar for over four hundred years and he'll not wait another minute. His life mate is the first to be reincarnated since the depraved Watcher, Asmoday, killed his brother's mate, forcing her into a sexual response, which robbed her of her magic essences. Now a whole world of criminal possibilities has opened to the once innocent race of Watchers. Because Duse knows Skylar could be the next target for Asmoday's depravity, he doesn't have the luxury of re-introducing Skylar to Watcher ways or for a slow, patient seduction. To set the protection spell, he has to make love to her immediately. If only she could remember him from one lifetime to another. Skylar Halifax always knew she was different. She could see auras and manipulate subtle matter to promote healing. She sensed there was something unique about Duse, something beyond his god-in-man form and phenomenal good looks. Duse can't waste any time convincing Skylar that he is different. So different, in fact, that he's not even human. Will Skylar accept Duse as her life mate or will Duse have to use other means to convince her that he is her destiny?


This was a mildly entertaining book, worth a quick read, but not much more than that. While I appreciate the author working to provide a backstory and an introduction to the way her world works, especially since it’s the first in a series, I felt it was a bit over-done on the description of the subtle bodies and some of the chakra information. Some of the past life story regarding Skylar was interesting, as she had been a healer, wise woman, village leader previously.

I would have liked a little bit more build-up before the hero and heroine had sex the first time. Sex scenes were pretty steamy; if you are reading the book just for the sex, this will probably be a good choice for you. I just didn’t like the way all the sex scenes jumped right in without much other play (could very well be personal preference on that one).

One of the things the author could have done to make it more of a story was to make the danger a bit more apparent. That part of the story felt rushed and contrived. I would have liked more page time with Jax and maybe a bit more with the bad-guy. We know he’s evil, but I just didn’t feel the importance of what he was doing besides that he was killing these young women to keep them from “feeding” other Watchers. I also would have loved for the author to explore what appeared to be a budding relationship between Ainge and Sherry, who, btw, was probably my favorite character in the book. A retired police officer, smart, attractive (if a VERY young grandma), she kind of steals the show in the end.

I liked parts of the book, but feel like it fell short of what it COULD have been. Bottom line: read if you are in the mood to read something sexy and not particularly interested in the story.

Sensuality: explicit sex, adults-only

Rating: 3 stars

Book Review: When Libby Met the Fairies and Her Whole Life Went Fae by Kirsten Mortensen

Book Description

Publication Date: May 10, 2011

Biologist Libby Samson wants only one thing: to rebuild her life after an ugly divorce.
So she quits her job and buys an organic farm.
Then, one evening, a two-foot tall man stands up out of the shadows and greets her by name.
It’s hard enough for Libby to come to terms with the fact that “little folk” exist.
But when word of Libby’s experience leaks out onto the Internet, her peaceful farm soon swarms with kooky strangers. The media shows up. Her annoying sister shows up. And her horrified boyfriend thinks she should be on meds.
Libby finds one person she can confide in: Dean, her solitary (but sexy) next-door neighbor.
But what if trusting Dean is a huge mistake?


This was a well-constructed book. I felt like the characters were well-drawn and mostly realistic while some of them felt a bit cartoonish (Gina, Libby’s sister).

Things I liked about the book:

1. The premise. Libby, a biologist, wants to be an organic farmer. She is a nice woman who just wants to have a quiet life in the country after she goes through a divorce and is laid off.

2. Maizey and Dean. Maizey is the niece, Dean is the sexy neighbor. Maizey’s kind of a breath of fresh air, exuberant. Dean is a quiet beta-type hero who has a heart of gold under a slightly crusty exterior. His dog, Bo, is awesome.

3. The fairies. I think there should have been more in the book about the fairies, not about people who attempt to capitalize on Libby’s experience with them. They were an interesting little group.

Things I didn’t like about the book:

1. Libby displays passive aggressive behaviors. Instead of dealing with her problems, she hides from them.

2. She allows people to walk all over her on her own turf and almost allows these people to steal her dream of organic farming. I could not stand Gina. She was pushy, belittling, and then made it seem like Libby was in the wrong. I hate bullies. I wanted to jump into my Kindle and punch her in the face. However, I also don’t like in books when people don’t stand up for themselves.

3. I also didn’t like her boyfriend, Paul (selfish jerk). I thought she stayed with him entirely too long (a great example of rationalizing her problems and hiding from them).

I realize some people may think some of the good things are bad and vice versa. It’s worth a quick read, but it’s not a book I will re-read. I’d recommend this for people who like “train wrecks.” You know, that TV show or movie that you are watching and can’t stop because you know it’s going to be bad. I have a difficult time with that sort of thing and usually just walk away if I can tell it’s going to be painful.

Overall, it’s a good book, pretty enjoyable to read.

Sensuality: references to sex and some kissing, not descriptive, safe for younger teens, though they probably won’t be very interested.

Rating: 3 stars

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Book Review: Tempest’s Fury by Nicole Peeler

Book Description

Publication Date: June 26, 2012

Jane's not happy. She's been packed off to England to fight in a war when she'd much rather be snogging Anyan. Unfortunately, Jane's enemies have been busy stirring up some major trouble -- the kind that attracts a lot of attention. In other words, they're not making it easy for Jane to get any alone time with the barghest, or to indulge in her penchant for stinky cheese.
Praying she can pull of a Joan of Arc without the whole martyrdom thing, Jane must lead Alfar and halflings alike in a desperate battle to combat an ancient evil. Catapulted into the role of Most Unlikely Hero Ever, Jane also has to fight her own insecurities as well as the doubts of those who don't think she can live up to her new role as Champion.
Along the way, Jane learns that some heroes are born. Some are made. And some are bribed with promises of food and sex. (from amazon.com)

Book Review:

I’ve been following the adventures of Jane True since the beginning (late 2009), watching Jane grow from a girl with a tragic past to a young woman with a mission to save the world. At times funny, endearing, touching, horrifying, sexy, this series delivers a wide range of experiences from Jane’s point of view.

It took me a little while to sit down and actually write this review, even though I read it on Release Day. I enjoyed the book, I’ll say that right away, because I don’t want people to think my criticisms stem from a lack of enjoyment of the book.

If you haven’t read the first 4 books in the series, stop right now, head to the book store or download and read them on your e-reader. You will not be able to grasp the character motivations or some of the implications for actions taken. This book will be much more enjoyable after you’ve read the other books in the series.

This book felt more like a transition book than anything else. Lots of small things happened and a  HUGE cliffhanger ending. The author ended up posting her reasoning for the way she ended the book on her website because she’s fielded a LOT of comments about it. It’s HUGE, did I say that before?  Well, it is! My main complaint about the book is the cliffhanger, leaving us stranded for at least 6 months. I get so impatient!

I did enjoy several characters from past books visiting with Jane. Grizzie HAS to be one of my favorite characters, so colorful! Also, Jane’s dad is fun now that he’s better. But neither of them hold a candle to Jane and Anyan; it’s been so much fun watching as they became a couple.

I can’t really say much more about the book because I don’t want to give anything away. I can’t wait for the 6th (and final) book. I expect it to be epic.

Sensuality: a sex scene and several “close calls”

Rating: 4 stars

Book Review: Gabriel’s Inferno by Sylvain Reynard

Book Description:

Enigmatic and sexy, Professor Gabriel Emerson is a well respected Dante specialist by day, but by night he devotes himself to an uninhibited life of pleasure. He uses his notorious good looks and sophisticated charm to gratify his every whim, but is secretly tortured by his dark past and consumed by the profound belief that he is beyond all hope of redemption.
When the sweet and innocent Julia Mitchell enrolls as his graduate student, his attraction and mysterious connection to her not only jeopardizes his career, but sends him on a journey in which his past and his present collide.
An intriguing and sinful exploration of seduction, forbidden love and redemption, “Gabriel's Inferno” is a captivating and wildly passionate tale of one man's escape from his own personal hell as he tries to earn the impossible...forgiveness and love.

Book Review:

This book was pretty strange and I can’t quite decide whether or not I really enjoyed it. It had some good parts to it, was well-written, editing was pretty decent, but I didn’t really like the main characters. Oddly enough though, that doesn’t necessarily mean I can’t enjoy a book. For example, I’ve read the Twilight series oh, about 5 times but I really didn’t like Edward OR Bella. I just loved the story.

A few things bothered me about Gabriel’s Inferno. 

1. It felt like the author was trying to write a “literary novel” (and didn’t quite succeed). References to paintings and works in other languages abounded. I guess this could be just me, maybe I’m not “cultured” or “smart” enough to enjoy this (I don’t think that’s the case as I do enjoy literature and going to museums, etc.)

2. It took waaaaaay too long for us to discover what Julia’s issues involved. She should have told Gabriel much sooner. I got the gist of what had happened earlier, but I felt like the author delayed divulging the information much longer than the story warranted.

3. The relationship was a little bit troubling (professor-student) but the author did a good job with keeping them apart until that was not an issue (but it does set up the conflict for the next book), also pointing out that they had been in contact before, kind of family friends.

4. The way Paul, a fellow student, and Gabriel treat Julia was weird. I realize that’s not really very descriptive and I realize the author was attempting to convey how much these men valued her and would cherish her but it felt kind of creepy. Paul called her “Rabbit” and treated her like a porcelain doll. Gabriel treated her also like a porcelain doll but the cherishing part was a bit overplayed in my opinion. I honestly can’t believe I am saying that, because I ADORE feeling cherished (husband is awesome at making me feel cherished) and am a sentimental sap when it comes to reading romances and seeing the man just take care of his woman. I eat up old-fashioned stuff like that! I say all this to say that if I say it felt overdone, I’m not speaking from a position of feminism. 

I did enjoy the end. Honestly, that’s why I’m even contemplating reading the next book, Gabriel’s Rapture. The author wrapped up the story with Julia’s past and set the stage for the next book.

The chemistry between Gabriel and Julia was well-done, the dialogue was enjoyable for the most part and felt pretty natural (not much worse than reading an adult book that read like a middle-schooler wrote the dialogue).

If you enjoy books that deal with more literary topics, you will probably enjoy this book (for that kind of audience, I would probably give the book 4 stars). For people like me, probably 3 stars. For people who want a quick, uncomplicated story, probably 2 stars. This is a pretty lengthy book (I took 2 days to read it and I’m usually a book-a-day kind of gal). This is a complex book, entertaining at times, but it is not one I would recommend for everyone.

Rating: 3 stars

Sensuality: many kissing/petting scenes, one sex scene. Well done, probably not a book for teens, especially early teens.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Book Review: Grave Memory by Kalayna Price

Book Description

Publication Date: July 3, 2012

When the dead need to talk, Alex Craft is always ready to listen…

As a Grave Witch, Alex solves murders by raising the dead—an ability that comes at a cost, and after her last few cases, that cost is compounding. But her magic isn’t the only thing causing havoc in her life. While she’s always been on friendly terms with Death himself, things have recently become a whole lot more close and personal. Then there’s her sometime partner, agent Falin Andrews, who is under the glamour of the Winter Queen. To top everything off, her best friend has been forever changed by her time spent captive in Faerie.
But the personal takes a backseat to the professional when a string of suicides occur in Nekros City and Alex is hired to investigate. The shades have no memory of the days leading up to their brutal endings, so despite the very public apparent suicides, this is murder. But what kind of magic can overcome the human will to survive? And why do the shades lack the memory of their deaths? Searching for the answer might mean Alex won’t have a life to remember at all… (from amazon.com)


Book Review:

I marked the release of this one in my calendar months ago. For some reason (OK, OK, many reasons), this series really sticks to me. I finished the book this morning and I just want to go back to the first two and re-read them. Not that I was lost in this book’s storyline as it relates to the other two books because the author did a fine job of reminding the reader about past occurrences without sounding like a broken record, but because I want to re-experience the introduction of Death and meet Falin again. Surprisingly, I also want to go back to read parts about her dad. Now there’s a mystery I want solved!  The author leaves much unexplained and open for future development.


While the case takes up a lot of page time, we do get to visit with her friends and keep up with them as well, the revelry during the Equinox was very interesting and I find myself wondering which court she will choose. I hope the next book develops the fae storyline a little bit more, because there is a LOT the author could explore. The Winter Queen is an awesome character to hate!

We meet a new character, Briar, who is um, an interesting character. I kind of hope we see her again. The author’s development of the ghost characters reminds me a little bit of Karen Chance’s Cassandra Palmer series (one of my all-time favorite series), but it never felt “copied.” I loved it when Roy asked if he could have the broom closet for his office.

Ms. Price threw in some unexpected (yet hoped-for) events and really knocked it out of the park with this one. It will probably be about 9 months before the next one comes out. I can guarantee the release date will be marked on my calendar the moment I see the date.

I highly recommend this book for people who enjoy urban fantasy that’s a little bit different, with a bit of a mystery, a bit of romance and a strong female lead who seems like a real person. Alex messes up, stumbles around, uses her magic, and pays the price for her magic (with her eyesight), no perfect Miss here. She’s grown quite a lot since we first met her in Grave Witch and has taken the reader along for the ride. Do yourself a favor, though and read the first two books in the series before you dive into this one. Grave Memory will be all the richer experience if you do.

Sensuality: some kisses and a sex scene, a little descriptive, probably OK for older teens.

Rating: 5 stars.