Saturday, September 06, 2008

What I read on my summer vacation - Part 1

I'm late getting around to this but better late than never.

These are just three of the books I read while up at the cottage.

Trial by Fire by Jo Davis

Why this one: I read a couple of good reviews and it sounded interesting.

Steam Level: This one is going to burn you but good!!

Amazon Blurb: Lieutenant Howard “Six- Pack” Paxton loves three things: being a firefighter, riding his Harley, and his bachelorhood. That is, until the curvaceous Kat McKenna falls into his arms at the scene of a fire—and melts the six-foot-six tower of bronze muscle… But just as passion ignites between them—and they explore new heights of ecstasy—a ruthless arsonist with a deadly secret and a thirst for vengeance becomes their worst nightmare.

My Thoughts: This one has gotten good reviews from other bloggers. I'm glad of this because alas it's not going to get a glowing one from me.
First off, the shallow me can just not accept a hero with the name Howard - now way, no how. I know, I know, I can be shallow. But for me the name Howard is not a good name for a romance hero.
Second, the introduction between Howard and Kat seemed a bit off to me. They met while his fire team responded to a fire at her parents neighbours home, but is seemed that they spent more time flirting with each other then being concerned about the fire and what else was there. There was a body discovered but that fact almost seemed brushed off.
Then later in the story, it turns out that Howard was being targeted by some villain and through him, Kat was also in danger. So his solution was to have her stay with him. That just struck me as crazy - let's bring our heroine right into the circle of harm.
And I couldn't quite figure Howard out. At times he seemed pretty Alpha, then switched to Beta. I'm not sure if there is a combo of both or not but if there is, he would fall into it.
Howard had a tragic childhood and it really affected him in adulthood. I couldn't help but think that he probably need counseling - and a lot of it.
Now for the good news. The love scenes. Smokin' hawt. Although there was one back door scene that made me somewhat uncomfortable but then that's me.
Howard was a fairly well written hero except for the above mentioned quirks. And Kat - she was a great heroine. She wasn't pencil thin and she was just fine with that. Excersicing and dieting were hot on the top of her priority list and that was quite refeshing.
On a final note, these are a bunch of messed up firefighters - head wise - but I'm more than willing to read the next one in the series. I think she is a new author so I'm willing to gamble on her again. She has a lot of potential and besides, Stacy, Kate and Kaitlin all love this book.

Grade: 3 out of 5

Flashback by Jill Shalvis

Why this one: I've really enjoyed 99% of her books and since I was looking to read a few books while I was off, this one suited just fine.

Steam Level: Not enough to start a fire, but good enough for me

Amazon Blurb: Firefighter Aidan Donnelly has always battled the flames with trademark icy calm. That is, until a blazing old flame returns—in the shape of sizzling soap star Mackenzie Stafford! Aidan wants to pour water over the unquenchable heat between them. But that just creates more steam….Kenzie is not the delicate, fragile female she looks like. She has one clear objective, and nothing will stand in the way of her goal—well, nothing but the red-hot touch of a certain dangerously sexy fireman, that is!

My thoughts: It seems I went on a mini firefighter kick doesn't it? Two in one week. This is the second in a series and I meant to bring the first one since I have both but picked up the wrong one by mistake. It's a good thing I don't mind reading out of order.
I liked this one much better than Trial by Fire. Aidan (a much better name than Howard) and Kenzie had a past. She was the younger sister of a good friend of his and they had one night of passion and then she never heard from him again.
Again, as in TBF, they run into each other when he is responding to a call. He saves her from being destroyed by a bomb on a boat owned by her presumed dead brother who was accused of being an arsonist. She has come back to town to find the real truth about her brother. Aidan was quite convincing when he apologized and said how bad he felt for hurting Kenzie – which made him quite acceptable. Now I have to go through my tons of books and look up the first one in this series.

I really enjoy her books and look forward to the 3 or 4 I have by her in the TBR pile

Grade: 4 out of 5

Sweet Talk by Susan Mallery

Why this one: She is an up and down author for me. When she is up she is really good -but when she isn't - sigh - it's not pretty

Steam Level: To be honest, I don't really remember

Amazon Blurb:
Is there anything sweeter than a first love?
Don't ask Claire Keyes. The twenty-eight-year-old piano prodigy has never had a regular boyfriend, much less a real romance. Her music career has left little room for friends or family—which is just part of the reason she hasn't seen the family bakery or her two sisters in years.
But now Nicole is sick, and Jesse is AWOL. Despite the fact that Claire can't boil water, she's determined to play caretaker. Connecting with her sisters tops her to-do list…along with falling in love, or at least in lust, for the first time.Ruggedly sexy Wyatt just might fit the bill. Although he keeps saying that he and Claire come from entirely different worlds, he lights up hotter than a bakery oven whenever Claire is near. If this keeps up, she just might sweet—talk him into her bed…and her life.

My Thoughts: Gads I hate saying this about a book, but for me, this one was just plain bad. And what was bad about it you ask? Um…. Everything.
Claire was one of those doormat type heroines who just scream ‘beat me!’ She’d been taken from her family when she was very young as she was a young piano protégé. When her youngest sister calls to ask her to come back to help her other sister she can’t seem to get there fast enough – only to be treated like dirt by her sister and her good buddy Wyatt. Yet sweet, ‘beat me’ Claire keeps coming back for more abuse by the two of them. And if that weren’t enough, she suffers abuse at the hands of Nicole’s employees. I just couldn’t understand her reasoning at all.
And Wyatt – what a prize her was. Not. He was a grade A asshole. At first he’s just as nasty to ‘beat me’ Claire as Nicole. Then he decides he wants to snog her. And once he does, he’s ready to let her go onto someone else. What a prince. Then of course he decides almost out of the blue that he loves her. I don’t know why Claire cared about either her mean spirited sister or Mr. Jerk Wyatt.
Claire is the definite stereotyp 'virgin' herione we all love to hate. I rolled my eyes a number of places
at her unbelievable naiveté.
I have the next book in this series and hopefully it will be a better one. I'm not sure when I'll get around to reading it since this one was such a disappointment. It's a shame because some of my favourite books are written by this author

Grade: 2.5 out of 5


And in other news........... Kate emailed me yesterday with some awesome news!! It seems Ramblings on Romance, etc. has been nominated for one of the "Most Chatty" blogs for the Book Blogger Appreciation Week run by My Friend Amy!!! What a thrill I got when she told me that!!
A BIG THANKS to whoever it was who nominated us - and thanks to whoever votes for us *big grin*
Since I tend to ramble - it broke me up that we were nominated in that category.


MaryKate said...

Kristie - Sorry to hear Trial By Fire didn't work so well for you. It is one of my favorite reads this summer. I loved it. It's one of those books that I finished and immediately started again. I dunno, firefighter + BIG MAN + hot love scenes just totally works for me.

Stacy~ said...

I'm totally with Kati (as you know). I devoured this book, LOVED Howard (name and all) and can't wait for more of her firefighters.

little alys said...

Congrats on the Nomination!!! :D

Christine said...

I just picked up Trial By Fire last week--I was sold by Stacy's review. I hope I like it! :)

Anonymous said...

I have "Sweet Talk" by Susan Mallery tbr. It's there because I want to read the second one, "Sweet Spot," and I'm not good with reading series out of order. Your review is the second one I read that wasn't positive, and this: "Claire is the definite stereotyp 'virgin' herione we all love to hate" ... uh-oh. I still hope it turns out all right somehow but I definitely need to get rid of my urge to read series in order. :)

Congrats on the nomination!

Kristie (J) said...

MK: It did work enough for me to read the next book in the series and if I hadn't read it I'd be dying of curiosity anyway - so I'm fine with not liking it as much as you and others *g*.

Stacy: I know :) The whole time I was writing up my thoughts I was wincing because I know you and MK and Kaitlin loved it. That's why I linked your reviews - 'cause I'm a minority on this one. And like I said to MK - I liked it enough to read her next one. And she does write great love scenes!!!

LS: Thanks! I was shocked as all get out when Kate emailed me and sent the link. Shocked and thrilled!

Christine: So far it's got 3 most excellent reviews that I've noticed from bloggers and one not so excellent - so odds are you'll really like it :) Although AAR gave it 2 not so good ones too I noticed. While Ellen gave it a D+, this is what she said:
"This book is what I’d call a good bad book. It has lots and lots of flaws, but it also has verve and liveliness. The next book in the series is going to feature Zach, the paramedic who is a virgin. Since I am also a pushover for virgin heroes, I will probably check it out."

I agree with her. So even the negatives have positives.

Taja: From what I've noticed around Blog land it seems to be a consencis on this one. But a number of people have liked the second one better. I was a lot more disappointed in this one then TBF for example because Mallery is an established author whereas Davis is quite new.
And thank you too. At the risk of sounding 'hollywood' *g* being nominated was in itself a big thrill.

Katiebabs said...

Kristie, the first time I saw the nomination for us, I thought it said Most Catty Blog. LMAO!!
As you know we are the main biotches of the blogs. ;)

Kristie (J) said...

Katie: ROTFL - yep we are the scary bloggers aren't we? Authors and fellow bloggers must quake in their boots when the visit - afraid of our mean girl 'tude.

Dev said...

Is it bad that I was glad to see you didn't like Sweet Talk either? Only because I just gave my copy away, and then I started seeing all of these positive reviews for it. I was starting to second-guess myself :-)

ames said...

Congrats on the nomination!

I can't wait to read the Jill Shalvis book - I don't have time!! (yes I'm whining a bit. LOL)

I'm glad you liked it and the Jo Davis one, as I have them in my massive tbr pile. :P