Friday, June 13, 2008

Recent Reads

If you haven’t seen me around quite as much lately, it’s because I’ve been on a great reading binge lately. And boy am I happy that I have been. I haven’t read this many books so quickly in a long time! Giving up TV has proved to be very beneficial to the reader in me.

Not Another Bad Date by Rachel Gibson

Why this one: I’ve read all her other books and some I love, some not so much, some I didn’t like at all – but except for one – Daisy’s Back in Town. That one was a hot button for me – heroine has secret baby but decides not to tell the daddy. See Jane Score is one of my all time favourite books so I’m always going to at least give her a try.

Steam Level: Nice and warm, the kettle could have boiled a little bit more though

Author Web site blurb: Adele Harris has never had a problem finding a man it’s finding a good man that’s damn near impossible

Adele Harris has dated them all-geeks, nerds, liars, losers. Egomaniacs, nymphomaniacs, and just plain maniacs. She's been set up and stood up, and now she's had it up to here with the jerks of the world. Its enough to make a girl give up dating forever. If only she could find a guy that made her heart flutter like her first love, Zach, the college quarterback who swept her off her feet senior year... before dumping her to marry someone else. Okay, so he wasn't perfect. But when Adele heads back to Cedar Creek, Texas, for a family emergency, she discovers that her hometown heartthrob is still as sexy as ever and now hes single.

It could be the end of Adele's streak. After all, forgiving Zach for breaking her heart years ago and learning to trust him again will take everything she's got, but Adele can handle anything... anything but another bad date.

My Thoughts: I’ve said before that while I love a good hero, it’s the heroine that can make or break a book for me. Cough – The Defiant Hero by Suzanne Brockman – Cough. This one is the opposite of that one that came out while I was coughing. I really did not like Zach, but the book wasn’t broken because I did like Adele. First off, Zach. He came across to me as real jerk. I did not like him – at all. First off, he broke Adele’s heart years earlier when he just dropped her to go on and marry his previous girlfriend when she became pregnant. He acted like it was such a noble thing for him to do – then proceeded to cheat on her. Real swell guy he was. Mind you his first wife, Devon, wasn’t all that great. She got pregnant on purpose.

Then, later in the book, when he finally says he feels bad about hurting Adele those many years ago, he does the “but” thing and says he would do the same thing again. What a prince. I also didn’t like him because he just struck me as being real stuck on himself – god’s gift to women – that kind of attitude. Adele was the only woman who didn’t drop dead at his feet and he really didn’t like that. He also pretty much ignored his daughter for years so he could do his own thing and screw other woman. Excuse me – he married her mother because he was the father – and then made a real rotten one for years.

On the other hand, Adele really worked for me. She gave up her own life – reluctantly – to come back and help her sister and niece out when they needed her. She wasn’t the best aunt – she felt. She wasn’t all motherish and I liked that about her. She was anxious and looking forward to getting back to her own like, which I felt was pretty realistic. She floundered and she had moments of resenting the sacrifice she made. I found that to be believable too.

Another thing that kind of had me scratching my head was the inclusion of the first wife. For the life of me, I couldn’t really figure out why that was in there at all. On top of that – having said one thing, I couldn’t help but notice the rather large almost double spaced font in this book. While it made it easier to read, it almost seemed like it was done just to make a certain page count. I could be wrong though.

Overall, it’s kind of hard to grade this one. The ‘hero’ was a jerk, but the heroine was great. And it was very readable. I finished it in a day and a half and even though I didn’t like Zach, it was no hardship to read. I’d give it a better grade but really, even though it’s the heroine that makes or breaks the book, still it helps a lot if you can like the hero, and I didn’t in this one. Hopefully I will like her next hero, because I will read her next book.

Grade: 3.5 out of 5

Thumbs Up

Kiss of Crimson by Lara Adrian

Why this one: I read her first book, Kiss of Midnight and really enjoyed it. I went out and bought all the other ones so far in the series. Plus it’s not too bad a cover to take to work.

Steam Level: Although there weren’t a lot of love scenes, the ones that were in the book were smokin’

Blurb from Author Web Site: He comes to her more dead than alive, a towering black-clad stranger riddled with bullets and rapidly losing blood. As she struggles to save him, veterinarian Tess Culver is unaware that the man calling hims

elf Dante is no man at all, but one of the Breed, vampire warriors engaged in a desperate battle. In a single erotically charged moment Tess is plunged into his world--a shifting, shadowed place where bands of Rogue vampires stalk the night, cutting a swath of terror.

Haunted by visions of a dark future, Dante lives and fights like there is no tomorrow. Tess is a complication he does not need--but now, with his brethren under attack, he must shield Tess from a growing threat that includes Dante himself. For with one reckless, irresistible kiss, she has become an inextricable part of his underworld realm . . . and his touch awakens her to hidden gifts, desires, and hungers she never knew she possessed. Bonded by blood, Dante and Tess must work together to thwart deadly enemies, even as they discover a passion that transcends the boundaries of life itself . . . .

My Thoughts: I don’t know how I avoided it – becoming addicted to JR Wards BDB series. I’ve read the first two so far and while I really enjoyed them, especially Rhage’s story, somehow I haven’t become what Katie calls a BDB crack addict. Now the Midnight Breed series are almost a different story. I may be one of a very few, but I actually am enjoying this series more. I find the world building better, the heroines much stronger, the villains not nearly as obnoxious and thank the stars – no silly Scribe Virgin.

Dante is the kind of hero who wants no entanglements. His prophetic mother predicted a bad ending for him and he’s almost just putting in time until his number is up. He is badly injured in a fight with some Rogues – the bad guys

in this series, vampires who have succumbed to blood lust and gone over to the dark side. He stumbles into the veterinary clinic of the heroine, Tess, and in a weakened state, drinks her blood, only to discover much to his horror that she is a blood mate – a rare kind of human female that can mate with and give birth to one of the Breed heroes. He is more than dismayed because this creates a bond between them that can only be broken by death and he wants nothing to do with having a mate.

I really liked this book; I thought both Dante and Tess were great characters. Tess was a fairly strong character, much more so than the heroines in the BDB books I think. As I said there weren’t that many sex scenes, but th

e sexual tension between the two was very good. I mentioned in my previous post on Kiss of Midnight, that I kind of like the idea that these vampires are actually from another planet that ended up on earth a long time ago.

Grade: 4.5 out of 5

Bigger Thumbs Up

Moonstruck by Susan Grant

Why this one: I’ve loved Susan Grant’s books for years and she’s an autobuy author for me.

Steam Level: Had to blow on my fingers, they were pretty crispy

Blurb from author’s website:


And Coalition starship admiral Brit Bandar is one tough woman. A mere intergalactic treaty could never get her to trust the Drakken Horde. There was too much bad blood between the Coalition and the Horde and, for intensely personal reasons, Brit wasn’t sure that she was through spilling it! But now a peaceful accord has made Finn Rorkken, a notorious Drakken rogue, second-in command on her starship – and through some grand cosmic irony – front and center in her thoughts…and her heart.


Either title sat easily on Finn’s battle-hardened shoulders. Though second-in-command to “Stone-Heart” Bandar? That would take some getting used to. Peace required as much sacrifice as war, so he’d comply even if his reaction to the gorgeous admiral fell decidedly outside protocol. But would he end up kissing or killing her if the galaxy’s tentative truce turned into all out war?

My Thoughts: It’s books like this one that make me glad I read Sci Fi Romance!!! If Katie and I had had our favourite books of 2008 after I read this one – this is one I’d be saying is on my list for sure and I’d be URGING Kate to read. In fact – Kate – READ THIS BOOK!! READ IT I SAY. I know you love Linnea Sinclair so you and everyone else who love Ms. Sinclair's books should enjoy this one!

Wowzers this book is good! Brit Bandar is one of the strongest heroines I’ve read! Think Captain Janeaway from Star Trek Voyager and you get kind of a feel for Brit. She is an admiral and the captain of a ship. She is tough when she has to be, but is still loved by her crew. She suffered a great tragedy earlier in her life and rose from the ashes to become a tremendous success. She is admired by her friends and feared by her enemies. She is unapologetic in her sexuality, though she is discreet. She is tough, but fair and doesn’t make hasty decisions she will regret later. She has zoomed right up to the top and become one of my favourite heroines.

To give a bit of the storyline, she has been the captain of her own space ship and been a very successful commander in the ongoing war between the coalition and the Horde, their enemies for years. But peace has been declared and she is given command of a much bigger ship. But much to her dismay, her second in command is Finn Rorrken, a former War Leader of the Horde. Brit hates the Horde and with good reason and is not a happy camper that she must accept Finn and his crew. But, she reluctantly agrees to take them on and as I said, she is fair in her dealings with them.

Finn Rorrken is a great hero. Although he has suffered greatly himself, he is more than willing to let bygones be bygones and has actually long held great admiration for Brit, though he’s never met her. He is grateful to be given such a great opportunity and fully sees that the truce is a good thing. The Coalition has always had a higher standard of living than the Horde. Once he meets and slowly gets to know the woman behind the mask, he is totally and completely smitten with
her. I love when that happens with the hero. Despite being despised by many of the crew because of the bitterness left behind due to the war between the two races, he slowly earns their respect with his leadership qualities. Even though he is second to Brit, he is not bothered by it at all. In fact his previous admiration for grows into a deep love although Brit is most reluctant. Theirs is a great love story.

And I have to mention too, how multi-dimensional the secondary characters are, in particular her assistant Hadley Keyren, a young woman who a total fangirl of Brit and Bolivvar, one of Finn’s crew. Theirs is a tender secondary story I enjoyed very much.

I’ve loved many of Ms. Grant’s books and Moonstruck is one of the best! This is the first in a new series and if the rest are as good as the first, we are in for a real treat! And if you don't want to take just my word for it *g*, Jayne at DA really enjoyed this one too.

Grade: 5 out of 5

Biggest Thumbs Up

So - that's three good books I really enjoyed. I'm on a roll I tell you - and I like it!

All three get my seal of approval


Jace said...

Hey Kristie,

I'm so pleased that you like the Adrian series. *huge grin* Not that I have vested interest or anything. *grin* Oh boy, are you in for a treat with Book 3 ... I thought it was the best of the lot.

I've been debating with Kat and Mel about reading Moonstruck. After reading Grant's Star King and Contact, my only complaint was the lack of heart-pounding sci-fi action-adventure, thus I found both to be a bit slow-moving. Should I try Moonstruck if I'm expecting a fraction of the Star Wars kind of action-adventure?

Kristie (J) said...

Hey Jace: there is definitely more action in this one then in Contact and The Star King. I think you would really enjoy it. There isn't quite as much as in Linnea Sinclair's books. I think she is a bit more Sci-Fi than romance whereas Susan Grant is a wee bit more romance than Sci-Fi - but that's fine with me and I enjoyed Moonstruck very, very much!
Did that help?
And I'm reading Midnight Awakening right now and really enjoying it.

kmont said...

I love that you loved Moonstruck! I agree--I think it's her best to date as well! I'm a huge fan though, so I do treasure all her books, but there really is something extra wonderful about Moonstruck. It'll be a definite re-read for me.

Ana said...

Gosh, all of these sound amazing. I have Moonstruck on my Amazon cart. And I actually just bought the first Adrian book - I am a bit scared of starting it, can't really tell you why, but your review of book 2 made me actually want to finally read it. Hummm....

Stacy~ said...

Now between you and Kati I have to go back to Lara Adrian. I only read book 1. And I've never read any of Susan's books, but I'm convinced I need to try "Moonstruck". Thanx Kristie!

MaryKate said...

Kristie - Count me as one who enjoys the Adrian books faaaaaaar more than the Ward books. For a lot of reasons, but mostly because I think Adrian does a good job of sticking to her mythology and she focuses on the romance.

Adrian writes my favorite contemporary vampire romance series and I look forward to each book's release.

Misty G said...

One thing about the Gibson book that I didn't understand was that it was made out like the first wife did something to Adele where the hero was concerned, but if she got pregnant, it seemed like she did it before he and Adele got together, but told him she was pregnant while they were dating. I didn't really see how that was the first wife's fault unless they cut something out of the book in editing, like she knew he liked Adele before he broke up with her and that was why she got pregnant on purpose, but it was never really explained very well.

Kristie (J) said...

Misty: It was kind of fuzzy wasn't it and not explained very well? Zach did flirt with Adele quite a bit before they started going out. Maybe Devon picked up on the fact that her boyfriend wasn't as attentive as he used to be and allowed herself to get pregnant on purpose because she thought he was losing interest in her. That's not the first time a woman has done that.

MK: Oh good - I'm not the only one. I find the hero/heroine in her books are much more balanced and the heroines have more power over the heroes than JR Wards. And we don't have the silliness of the names and the lingo that IMO takes away from the BDB. And I find Adrian's world easier to understand too. I loved how in this one, Dante was willing to be fried to a crisp to rescue Tess.

Stacy: *laughing* Katie is the same - she's only read the first one too and prefers JR Ward. The trick is to not compare them (*chuckle* like I just did) but to read them as too different worlds. And another thing to tempt you - much stronger heroines.
And yes *g* you should read Moonstruck - I LOVED it - as you can tell. It's related to her previous series - but you don't have to have read them to enjoy this one.

Ana: Isn't it funny that we have some books in our TBR pile that for some inexplicable reason we are reluctant to get into? I mean, we wanted to read them, that's why we bought them, but then we sit and look at them and think,'mmmnnn no, not today'. Then when we finally do take the plunge and read it - we wonder why we took so long??? I have books like that too.
Alls I can say *g* is go ahead - Adrian a read. And with Moonstruck - go ahead an push that order button. You will be glad you did :)

Kmont: Yep - Moonstruck is a good one!! I've read and reread a few of her books now - Contact and The Star Princess are two of my rereads, but this one is a certainty reread. I'm so tempted to reread it again right away in fact - cause I read it so fast the first time. It's not often that I go back immediately and do a reread.

Carolyn Jean said...

That moonstruck sounds great! I put it on my list to buy. Also, I agree with you about Lara Adrian. As a sort of BDB crack addict, I might actually pick up a Lara Adrian before a BDB at this point.

azteclady said...

Ah kristie(j) you temptress you! :sigh:

:adding titles to wish list:

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Katie(babs) said...

Kristie you are pimping me hardcore for Susan Grant! I am weak my captain... someone help meeeeee....

C2 said...

I loved Moonstruck! I have high hopes for this new series. :o)

Did it remind you a bit of Skypirate? I love that book. *sigh*

Kristie (J) said...

C2: It did a bit - although Dax came across as a bit more tortured. And I LOVE Sky Pirate too. In fact Dax was one of the heroes I picked. Dax Silverbrake - best hero name evah! It just rolls of the tongue. Try saying it everyone
Dax Silverbrake.
They are both of the pirate order and have a loyal crew.

Katie: Well - I know who much you love Linnea Sinclair so.......

AL: I can't help it. I read, I love, I share that love *g*

CJ: I have about 20 pages left in the Adrian book I'm reading and then on to the next one. It's great having them all so I can read them so close together. But then alas, there's a bit of a wait until the next one. And Moonstruck is a great one to add to the collection.

JenB said...

Fantastic reviews, Kristie! I didn't really "feel" the first Lara Adrian book, but I've heard KISS OF CRIMSON is wonderful. You're the second person to recommend it this week. I might have to jump back on that wagon.

And the Susan Grant book looks fabulous! I'm just now getting to where spacey books interest me, so this one looks cool. I'll put it on my list! One question it part of a series, or do her books stand alone?

Kristie (J) said...

Hi Jen: The Susan Grant book is the first of a new series - The Borderlands. It's briefly related to her previous series. I have them but I've only read the first one so far - now I'm going to go back and read the other two. So even though they are loosely connected, Moonstruck works fine without having read the previous series. I don't think any of the characters are in this one although it's mentioned briefly that the head of the Coalition married and Earthling which is why Earth is the third part of the new unified Coalition.
Hope that helps *g*
And yep - Kiss of Crimson was a Most Excellent Read.

Amy said...

Now I'm beating myself up for not picking up the new Rachel Gibson book yesterday at Books-A-Million. I haven't read one of her hers in a few years.

Julia said...

Now you've made me be afraid to pick up "Not Another Bad Date" by Rachel Gibson LOL ! After reading "Tangled Up In You" and really like it, I went back to get all the books that was connected with "Tangled Up In You". Now that I got them (I've not read it yet!) I was waiting to pick up "Not Another Bad Date" but I hesitated. I knew eventually I'm going to get the book, but not sure...when. *grin*

Glad at lease you give the book thumb up :) And thanks for the great reviews on all recent books you've read :)

Jace said...

Kristie, just so you know, I ran out and bought Moonstruck yesterday. LOL

Kristie (J) said...

Jace: *gulp* now the pressure is on. And if you are looking for other older good SciFi romance books - I've got a good list I can give you.

Julia: LOL - just 'cause I didn't care for the hero, doesn't mean other readers wont' find him as big a jerk as I did. And other parts of the book made up for him for me - an odd thing to say considering it's a romance. But there have been other Rachel Gibson books I've really disliked - and this wasn't one of them.

Amy: I'm still hoping for one from her that I enjoyed as much as See Jane Score. This one wasn't it - but I'm ever hopeful :) As I said to Julia, other readers might not mind Zach as much as I did so this would be a better read for them.

Amy said...

LOL Jerk heroes makes me think of what we call alpha heroes in RS and historicals. In contemps, they're just commonly referred to as jerks. ;-) Weird thing is, I don't mind alphas as much as others do.

Julia said...

Kristie - I always tell people that just because I don't like something, does not mean other people won't too. I always encourage people to read the book no matter if I don't like the books. Because maybe those people would like it more then I would. Thanks for reminded me that LOL ! You know - some jerk heroes, as Amy said, are alphas and I like alphas men, so I weren't mind either ;) :)