Sunday, August 25, 2013

Seeing Red by Jill Shalvis

"Seeing Red" is one of a trio of color-themed titles about firefighters. The H/H are Joe (formerly fat high school friend, now fightingly fit arson inspector) and Summer ("Red" apparently flighty world-traveler who is never home for long.
Their friendship seemed unbreakable in high school. Joe used to sneak over to Summer's house when his dad was drunk and they were fairly inseparable at any point. Until the fire. Summer was with her crush in the basement of her family warehouse while Joe was trying to figure out a way to let them know he was there, without revealing his breaking heart. Fire erupted and Summer's father died and everything changed.
Now Joe is battling a fire at the same warehouse. One that brings Summer home for a short stay. One that is extended when a fire at her family's main shop occurs.
Joe is gobsmacked. He doesn't want to go through the same pain of losing Summer. For her part, Summer is realizing just what an m-a-n Joe grew up to be. She's interested in a quick fling but has no interest in long-term plans.
A good book. Not one that measures up well against current Shalvis books but okay. And the characters show good common sense when using protection during sex. While Summer's issues are fully explored, Joe's aren't which was a disappointment but didn't destroy the book for me.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Lady Jenny's Christmas Portrait by Grace Burrowes

Image from Goodreads
Lady Genevieve Windham is the last in married hold of the Duke of Windham, the man who has worked so hard to marry off his children in the previous seven books of the series. She's resigned herself to being alone and taking care of her parents because she will never marry. Unlike her sisters who all had the *exact same reason* for not wanting to marry, Jenny is an artist and knows that if she marries, she'll be forced to stop.
She comes into contact with Mr. Elijah Harrison who is trying to get accepted into the Royal Academy of Arts when he's hired to do the portraits of her nieces. Well, meets him *again* (she saw him... ALL of him... when she was an art student and he was a model). And now he wants her help with painting the children. She agrees, but only if he'll pose for her again and give critiques.
There is an obsession in this book (as with the others in this series) about family and having children that just rubs me a little bit. Also, Burrowes reliance on a Big Misunderstanding but it's overall a pretty fun read and perfect for the holiday season.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Yip/Tuck by Sparkle Abbey

Image from Goodreads
When I read the first book, Desperate Housedogs, I loved it so much that I immediately gobbled up the second. I had to skip book three because I couldn't get ahold of it before my NetGalley ARC for Yip/Tuck had been on my ereading bookshelf for what felt like too long.
I do feel like I'm missing parts of the story having not read the third and I'm worried about spoilers when it finally comes so I would recommend reading the series in order but it's not an absolute deal-breaker.
Melinda's at it again. This time, the body of plastic surgeon Dr. O'Doggle has been dumped in front of her shop door. The man ha been dating Melinda's enemy, lingerie model Tova. But he also had a secret life. One that earned him a lot of enemies. It's not up to Melinda to solve the crime, but she sticks her nose in anyway. And the results are a fun, fun read.

Christmas on 4th Street by Susan Mallery

Image from Godreads
I don't know why but Gideon's (one of the heroes from Fool's Gold #12, Two of a Kind) twin brother captured my imagination even from the one throw away conversation he had with Mayor Marsha. I couldn't wait to read this book.
It turns out Gabriel is also in the army, a doctor. He knows he's been slipping a bit lately, even going so far as to accidentally injure himself badly enough not to be able to work on a patient. Of course, Gabriel has his demons (what good hero doesn't?). His father was career military and very harsh to an artistic dreamer. Coming back to the States to visit Gideon and his new family seemed like a good idea even though Gabriel will also have to face Christmas with his parents (who have visited Blackberry Island!) as well.
But then he meets an umbrella-wielding Noelle. She was just trying to feed Felicia's puppy (Felicia is Gideon's fiancee) and didn't realize Gabriel was in the house. The two fall into a nice patter and Gabriel decides to help fill the void left by Felicia's college students (she has a Christmas store and they're more interested in skiing than in working) thinking that will be an excellent way to avoid family complications.
Usually Susan Mallery books are a firm three-stars for me but I really enjoyed this one and bumped it up to for stars. Why not five? The HEA was a little rushed and the ending was a wee bit twee, though Eddie and Gladys saved it from being over the top sweet.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Naked Once More by Elizabeth Peters

Image from Goodreads
I know I'm in a minority but, for me, there is only one Elizabeth Peters mystery series and it's not Amelia Peabody.
Jacqueline Kirby is the woman I want to be when I grow up. Former librarian turned world famous romance writer who has a quick quip for every situation. A little brash yet able to charm. Maybe without so many dead bodies though...
I read the Kirby books about ten years ago and enjoyed them immensely. When I saw this book on NetGalley, I immediately hit 'request' to see if they were as good as I remembered.
Oh, they are. Or, at least this one is. Yes, it's a bit dated (word processors anyone?) but most of it holds up amazingly well.
Jacqueline jumps at the chance to finish the last two books in a trilogy. The author wrote one fabulously received book and then, one rainy night, vanished. Seven years later, she's now officially been declared dead and authors are vying to be the one chosen to finish out the series. Some are in deadly earnest, though that doesn't throw Jacqueline off her stride. She tries to finish the next book but is distracted by what happened to the original author. Okay, and a little distracted by the increasingly dangerous "accidents" that seem to be occurring to her.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Declan's Cross by Carl Neggers

STOP! Do NOT read this book if you haven't read the other two in this series. You will not understand most of what is happening. You might still get some enjoyment but really, not as much has having the more extensive background of earlier books in the series.
Julianne is one such character we met in Saint's Gate and Heron's Cove. She dated Colin's brother Andy for awhile before he inevitably broke her heart. When offered a chance to study marine life in Ireland, Julianne jumps at the offer, even though she just met Lindsey. One problem, Lindsey isn't there to pick her up. Well, Julianne is a big girl who can get herself up to the cottage where she's staying. But Lindsey never shows up. At least, not alive.
Declan's Cross (Sharpe & Donovan, #3)Luckily, Emma and Colin are in Ireland and on their way down. Not to check up on Julianne, at least not ostensibly, but it is quite the coincidence that she ended up in the same small village where a spectacular art theft (a running theme in the books) took place decades earlier. 
Like the other Sharpe and Donovan (and really, any of Neggers' books) series, this book is a tangled series of intersecting stories. I sometimes have to put these books down and just think for a little bit and read something less complicated. But don't put it down for too long or you'll have to start back at the beginning.
I probably would really rate this at a two and a half but bonus points for the grand descriptions of Ireland. There are too many rehashings in this books, not just from the other two books but from this story as well (Andy's love her/don't love her, Father Finn's past) and also some story leaps (Lindsey's father might be connected to the art theft?) that just strech a little too much.
Will I stop reading this series? Probably not. I loved the first book too much and hope that I can find that level of enjoyment again.