Death AngelSometimes characters surprise me.

When they also do things that make me root for those who would normally be considered the “bad guys” – then it surprises and delights me.

Put together a drug lord, an assassin and a blonde bimbo and tell me honestly how I’m going to care about the outcome of two of those main characters.

Well, the drug lord is truly a scumbag with no redeeming qualities.  The Assassin has his own unique code as his hits are those who are far, far worse human beings than he is.  And the blonde is not dumb at all, in fact she probably has as much, if not more, smarts than both the men.

Drea Rousseau was a self created woman.  Perhaps self-centered could also be said of Drea.  Born poor and abused, she had recreated herself using the talents she naturally possessed beauty, willingness and charm – along with a serious dash of cunning, intelligence and a determination to never go back to being Andie Butts ever again.  She’d been poor, rich was so much better even if her choice of being mistress to Rafael Salinas was perhaps not the wisest long term.

Drea’s world turns upside down with one request from Rafael’s paid assassin.  While Rafael offered the assassin a bonus of one hundred thousand dollars for a successful assignment, the only bonus the assassin wanted was “One time with her.”

Tribute

Settling into a comfortable chair on a Saturday morning, I opened up my hardback copy of Nora Roberts’ novel Tribute, prepared to immerse myself in another excellent escape from one of my favorite authors.  I was not disappointed.

The Little Farm had finally come into Cilla McGowen’s hands.  The rural property that had once been the backdrop for Janet Hardy’s lush summer parties, and a get-away haven when the pressures of being a famous or even an infamous actress became too much.  The place where her grandmother escaped to, and where it was believed she took her own life was finally, completely Cilla’s.   Oh, it didn’t look so glamorous now.  The house itself was falling apart, the barn behind it wasn’t in much better shape.  The once beautiful gardens were clogged with weeds and debris.  The pond where  famous stars often skinny-dipped on starlit nights was full of overgrown lilies and thick with pond scum.  Yet Cilla saw it for what it could become once again with time and a lot of effort, mostly hers.  She’d been flipping houses for years now, she could do the same to The Little Farm – if she stayed beyond that or not, was yet to be seen.

There’s just something about a truly ugly dog named Spock.  Ever see something just so darned ugly that it was kinda cute, that was Spock.  But his master, now that was another thing.   Ford Sawyer looked more like the super heroes he creates for his graphic novels…or comic books for those not familiar with the term, with a good ole boy’s charm and a lazy, devilish grin Ford sets out to learn more about his new neighbor across the road.

I liked the way Cilla and Ford’s romance developed.  Steadily growing, pushed a bit here and there by events yet a constant building that felt to me totally natural for these characters.

As Cilla’s renovation work continues, word spreads quickly that Janet Hardy’s grand-daughter is back and returning The Little Farm to it’s past glory.  The rebuilding requires several contractors to wander about the property so that several characters come naturally into the storyline.  So naturally that not much attention is paid to them…at first.  As the mystery of this story took a stronger focus, I found myself going back and re-reading some parts in the hopes of finding clues that I might have overlooked.

The lighthearted tone of the novel changes when Cilla discovers a packet of letters sent to Janet.  Letters tenderly stacked and tied with ribbon, obvious mementos important to her grandmother.  As she reads the aged letter Cilla is shocked to discover that her grandmother was pregnant when she supposedly took her own life and that her lover appeared to be a married man.  Why would Janet end not only her own life but that of her child’s as well?  Or did she…

acheron dark hunters sk

Acheron  – A Dark-Hunter Novel –

I’ve waited for this book for a very long time.  Being a fan of  Sherrilyn Kenyon’s many series insures that on publication day I’ll be at the nearest bookstore.

Like millions of fans worldwide, I had been wanting Ash’s story.  He is a strong, compelling character and the more he was on the edges of stories the more I wanted, no even needed to understand him.

I was not in the least bit disappointed.  In fact, once I began reading Acheron I literally could not put it down.  I started it on a Saturday afternoon and stayed at it into the wee hours of Sunday morning when I turned the last page, fully and completely satisfied.

In the world of ancient gods and demi-gods, we of the modern world must trust the author to transport us to that reality, to take our hand and guide us through an unknown territory in a completely believable way.  I left my world and entered Ash’s.

In Acheron we actually have two stories.  We finally discover where Ash came from, what happened to him to mold him into the man he is in the modern day series.  And we have his modern day story, where finally Ash discovers his own unique soulmate.

I don’t want to give away any of the story.  Perhaps that’s unfair in this type of blog – but on this one I honestly feel to do so would take away from your own reading experience.

I Johansen Eve comboI wish, I really wish that I could say I loved the middle and final books of this “one huge book” trilogy.

But I didn’t.

I had hopes at the first book but then… *sigh*

I have yet to write a “this is horrible, don’t waste your hard earned money” type of a review… but I would strongly suggest borrowing this series from your local public library.  Then if you don’t like it – it won’t hurt so much.

Diehard Eve Duncan fans will probably love this continuous story trilogy.  I called myself a diehard fan, once upon a time.

In my opinion, these three books minus the fluff fill-ins, the recapping of the previous book(s) – condensed into one hardback book would have been awesome, and told the story better.  Again, my opinion.

But I would have given that “condensed” novel high praises.

I JohansenTaking Eve

Evil rarely wears a twisted, ugly face.  Why give itself away too soon?

A kind, helpful face is not always what it appears to be either – evil can be found behind any face.

James Doane is not at all what he seems.  He shows an extraordinarily jovial, kind face to the world.  What he plans to do makes a mockery of that face.

Eve Duncan has spent years tracking down the man who kidnapped and killed her 5 year old daughter, Bonnie.  At long last, Bonnie’s killer has been dealt what he deserves.

Eve continues her forensic sculpting to help bring murdered, lost children that have been stolen back to their families.  When she works her magic on the skulls of unknown children closure of sort can finally be given to their waiting families.  It is her life work, it brings her purpose and comfort.

It also brought her to the attention of James Doane.

While Eve is a strong woman, strong willed some might add, she is surrounded by those who love her and see her as the center of their world.  Joe Quinn, former Navy SEAL, has stood beside Eve through her battle to find Bonnie.  He took the longest time to actually see Bonnie as Eve does, but he loves them both with a deep commitment that nothing can stand against.  Jane MacGuire came into Eve’s life during the search for Bonnie.  A street-wise kid, she was adopted by Eve and has named herself Eve’s guardian ever since.

Eve is one of the lucky ones.  She is surrounded by those that love her and would fight the demons of hell for her.  And they are about to go into battle.

James Doane has set into motion ways to separate Eve from her protectors.  Jane’s faithful dog, Toby has suddenly become ill.  The half wolf companion needs the special help that only one doctor can give to save his life.  And Jane will stop at nothing to be certain that Toby lives.

Pure luck sent Joe out of state – poison kept Jane at Toby’s side while he fights for his life.  Eve is alone.

A red pickup truck holding a burned skull and James Doane has made it’s way to Eve’s home in Georgia.  Soon she will be under the control of pure evil.

ID-10031514And a very, very Happy Book Lovers Day to each and every one of you!

The 9th day of August, every single year, is officially National Book Lovers Day.

How cool is that?

Finally I’m rewarded for all those years of having my nose buried in a book.  (but, sadly, it’s not a paid holiday) — we should work on that fellow book lovers.

🙂

Books are my passion, my love affair,  have been and always will be, my friend.

They are my escape from my own troubles.  They teach me the basics of just about anything I could possibly need to know.  They transport me out of the now into the vast reaches of my imagination.

Each book is… personal.  Some I will love with a passion and revisit often, other are passing fancies and even those that I should have tossed on the trash pile (but couldn’t bring myself to actually do) have shown me what I don’t like.

I honestly cannot imagine my life without a book in my hand.  Yeah, really.

So Happy Book Lovers Day to all my fellow book devourers – go treat yourself to a new one…  just because.

 

Image courtesy of dan at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Whiskey Beach - NREli Logan was close to being a broken man.  Being accused of, but never charged with killing his soon-to-be ex-wife had shattered his life.  His career was pretty much destroyed, after all who would want a lawyer who was suspected of butchering of his ex-wife.  Friends slowly drifted away,  no longer so sure about the man they once knew.  The press, the gossips and especially one police detective were certain he had gotten away with murder.

He did not kill her.  But what did truth matter?

Eli left the bustle of Boston, with all of it’s memories and accusations and returned to his family’s home – Bluff House standing above the shores of Whiskey Beach.

Abra Walsh is a Jill-of-all-trades.  Her interests are varied and she makes a living doing what she loves most.  Yoga is her main focus, but that never stopped her from tending to Bluff House while Eli’s grandmother was recovering from a fall down the stairs.  Keeping the place clean and stocked with food for the returning grandson wasn’t a difficult task.

Shadow Woman LHowardStepping from the shower, Lizette Henry grabs a towel to wrap around her wet hair and one to dry off with.  Tossing on a robe she ventures into the kitchen for that desperately needed first cup of coffee.  Wandering back to the bathroom to dry and style her hair she catches a glimpse of herself in the mirror.

But.  That wasn’t her reflection in the mirror.

So begins Linda Howard’s Shadow Woman.

We are drawn into Lizette’s panic as she tries to understand what is happening to her.  She remembers her life, of course she does.  So why doesn’t she look like she should?

Her first instinct is to reach out for help from her friend – but halfway to the phone she thinks, “No, if I call someone they will know”.

Drenching sweat, nausea rolling through her stomach and a blinding, pain filled headache follow that thought.

Rousing herself enough to call in to her manager that she was ill yet another shock hit her.  It seems in her 3 years of work she has never used a single sick day.  But wait – she had been with the company for 5 years.  Why would her supervisor say only 3 years… and why couldn’t she remember those missing 2 years?

It took me a long time to finally give in to the temptation to pick up any of the Fifty Shades of Grey novels.

Fifty ShadesI’m not offended by the material – whatever thrills you in the bedroom (or any other room) is your choice, not mine.

I was put off by some of the reviews I had read.  Mainly that the novels weren’t worth the paper they were printed on.

Then… all three showed up on the shelves of my local library.  And I thought… hmmmm.  I’d have to walk up to the checkout counter with them.  They’d always be in the records that I had read them… but, I was tempted.  So tempted.  Mainly that I wouldn’t be spending any hard earned cash on a totally “Ify” to me series.  So I bravely grabbed all three and marched up to the checkout only to have the librarian say “Oh, I loved these.  I read them before they went out on the shelves.  But shhh I didn’t say that.”  And she laughed.  I have to say I granted my small town librarian an upgrade in the “adventurous” column.  *wink*

I didn’t expect to “love” this trilogy.  I expected to be shocked, surprised, maybe mutter a few *ewww’s* — but I did not expect the one thing I found under all the bondage, sex slave talk, really screwed up hero and untried virgin heroine – A Love Story.

Underneath all the surface sex stuff, I found a couple who each brought damage to their relationship.  Yet they each loved the other enough to get past their boundaries and accept the other for what they were, completely.  They grew individually and as a couple throughout the three novels to the point where, if not a totally normal couple, at least an accepting, totally in love with each other couple.

If you give them a chance I believe you could find the love underneath all of the surface oddness of Fifty Shades of Grey,  Fifty Shades Darker,  Fifty Shades Freed.

 

live to see tomorrowI have long been an “Eve Duncan” fan.  I was so pleased to discover that one of the characters from that series got her own novel, well another novel – and that is just fine with me.  I enjoy the development of secondary characters in an ongoing series.  They often pull me in to the main series more deeply as I better understand all of the characters and their backgrounds and motives.

Meet Catherine Ling.

from Goodreads:

Live To See Tomorrow

Catherine Ling: raised on the streets of Hong Kong, she has been a shadowy CIA operative since she was fourteen years old. There are only a few things in life she cares for. One is her son, kidnapped when he was two. Catherine has only recently been reunited with him and the vow of her heart is never to let him face danger again. The other is her mentor, Hu Chang. Mysterious, brilliant, and deadly, Hu Chang taught Catherine everything she knows and she is loyal to him.

Now Hu Chang is calling Catherine to a new task: rescue an imprisoned journalist in Tibet — a woman who has been subjected to unspeakable horrors. Her connection to Hu Chang is unknown. What’s also unknown is that Catherine will be going up against a man whose crimes have stretched back into this area for forty years. Is Catherine being used as a pawn by Hu Chang? Can she save a woman she’s never even met? And will either of them live to see tomorrow?

  • Series: Catherine Ling
  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin’s Press; First Edition first Printing edition (April 29, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1250020042
  • ISBN-13: 978-1250020048
  • Library

No true spoilers ahead – continue on for my review of Live To See Tomorrow.

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