Changing for the Better?

I noticed that J.R. Ward’s Dark Lover has a new cover. The old one is on the left, the new one on the right.

Dark Lover Olddarklovernew

I am willing to concede that the old cover looks a little dated and the image is a little blurry. But it has a really distinct look. I think they could have played with that image a bit to maintain the look while still updating it.

The new one is just so much like so many other covers out there. Plus I don’t really picture Wrath like that.

What are your thoughts about the covers (whether you’ve read the book or not)?

The Party Girl

Party Girl

I picked up Tamara Morgan’s The Party Girl after reading a little about it on Rosario’s blog.

Kendra Khuso isn’t looking for long-term. Her traditional Indian family believes it’s time she settled down with a parent-approved husband. Instead, she’s focused on building her business by day and then enjoying all the nightlife has to offer . . . until she meets Noah.

Noah Walker is happy with a solitary, sustainable life on a plot of land outside of town. He left a high-maintenance relationship behind him and he just wants to keep his head down and his hands busy, living off the grid and making no plans . . . until he falls for Kendra.

The attraction is mutual and their chemistry is electric. There’s just one problem: Noah’s best friend, Lincoln, is head-over-heels in love with Kendra even though she’s keeping him firmly in the friend zone. Noah refuses to break the bro code by pursuing a woman his best friend professes to love—but Kendra is determined to get her man, even if it means giving up the social scene for the simple life.

The main strength of the book is this: Morgan writes good chemistry. Kendra and Noah have a tangible attraction that practically leaps off the page. I loved reading them discuss their attraction and what to do about it in light of Lincoln’s feelings. The way this played out was ultimately very satisfying.

I was super intrigued by the idea of a hero that lived off grid. I was a little disappointed because of his reason why. I won’t go into details to avoid spoilers, but it’s basically in response to a previous relationship. *Sigh.* I realized I was judging the book based on the expectations I had going into it. Once I let those go and enjoyed the book for what it was, I liked it very much. The ending in particular was moving. The Party Girl: 4 out of 5.

Still, if anyone knows about any books where a character goes off grid (and not for some romantic suspensey reason), let me know.

E-Reader Scare

I had a bit of a scare with my e-reader last week. The latest books I bought were not syncing to my reader, and I’ve come to depend on my regular syncing. After doing some research on one of my favorite forums, I ended up uninstalling Kobo Desktop and reinstalling it. Everything transferred over fine, so all is well. It was a rough 24 hours or so, though, until I figured everything out. LOL.

In other news, yes, I’ve got yet another blog design. I was really missing the purple of the original design. I thought about having a new one made with my old image, but I decided that it is a little dated. So, a bit regretfully, I decided to set aside the old image and go with a new design altogether. I’m really liking it so far. Designer Blogs has some great templates for both Blogger and WordPress, so I definitely encourage anyone to check them out.

Take What You Want

Take What You Want

I picked up Jeanette Grey’s Take What You Want after reading Rosario’s review of it, and I’m glad I did. I’ve been reading several angsty new adult books lately. Don’t get me wrong–I like angst–but this turned out to be a sweet story about two nice people who turn a one-night stand into something more.

College senior Ellen Price spends every spare minute studying to get into medical school. Until spring break yawns before her, as empty as her wallet.With no money to hit the beach, she fills her empty to-do list with a plan: for just one week, she will become the kind of take-no-prisoners woman she secretly wishes to be, starting with the hot guy at the bar. It’s a no-risk situation: at the end of break, he’ll head back to his campus, and she’ll go back to hers. No muss, no fuss.At first, Josh Markley isn’t sure what to think when the quiet, intense beauty from his pre-med classes approaches him for a night of casual sex. Even more mystifying, she doesn’t seem to return his recognition. But if she wants to play “strangers in a bar,” he’s game.Their passionate night is a welcome respite from life’s stress, but afterward, Josh realizes he wants more—from himself, from life, from Ellen. Except she still thinks he’s a one-off she’ll never see again. Confessing the truth now—before she figures it out on her own—could shatter the fragile beginnings of just what the doctor ordered. A forever love.

The chemistry between Josh and Ellen is palpable, so their initial encounter is very believable, and this read is plenty steamy. But I also liked their interaction outside the bedroom and the way these two changed for the better because of their relationship. Josh’s interaction with his parents is another aspect I enjoyed. So many new adults have problematic issues with parents, so this positive relationship was quite refreshing.

A couple of things struck me as weird–Ellen asking to meet Josh’s family after just a few days, for instance. But for the most part, I enjoyed Take What You Want: 4 out of 5.

 

Our Little Secret

Our Little Secret

Time for a true crime review of Our Little Secret by Kevin Flynn and Rebecca Lavoie.

For twenty years Daniel Paquette’s murder in New Hampshire went unsolved. It remained a secret between two high school friends until Eric Windhurst’s arrest in 2005. What was revealed was a crime born of adolescent passion between Eric and Daniel’s stepdaughter, Melanie–redefining the meaning of loyalty, justice, and revenge.

I was drawn to this book because I remember the Unsolved Mysteries segment about it. The case seemed so strange and mysterious. The book makes it a lot less mysterious, in part because the back cover reveals who committed the crime. Still, Our Little Secret is an interesting glimpse into how so many people could know what had happened but yet nothing was done about it for so long. Several people had small pieces of the puzzle, and those who actually knew the truth were family members who weren’t about to turn anyone in.

This book is also an interesting glimpse of what happens to a person who does something like this. Neither Eric nor Melanie is able to put it behind them. Eric in particular is weighed down by what he did. And truly, he should be. Whatever Paquette may have done to his stepdaughter–and nothing has been proven there–killing him was not the way to go about resolving it.

Our Little Secret was an engaging read that offered intriguing glimpses into the people involved: 4 out of 5.

Lengths

Lengths

New adult? Free? Yes, please. And that’s how I ended up reading Lengths by Steph Campbell and Liz Reinhardt.

When Deo meets Whit, she’s all sexy makeup and fierce, smart-ass fun. It doesn’t take him long to see past her tough shell. And when he gets a good look at what’s under all the superficial stuff that usually gets his attention, it leaves Deo wondering if there might be more to life than living fast and free.

Too bad Whit has a past she doesn’t plan on sharing—no matter how hot Deo is. She might want him, but she knows better than to let her guard down.

Deo falls for Whit, and falls hard. But everything about her, down to that mysterious tattoo and the way she thrashes in her sleep, tells him that the girl he loves is hiding something. And the more he pushes for answers, the more Whit pulls away.

I liked Deo quite a bit–he’s such a vivid, real character. I loved seeing his relationships with his family and best friend, Cohen. Whit was more problematic. I certainly sympathized with her backstory, but after a while I got tired of her hot/cold treatment of Deo. Whit is definitely a woman of extremes, and even when I understood it, I at times lost patience with it.

Can I just say how much I liked Deo’s mother, Marigold? She could have been a stereotypical hippie but she ends up being so much more. I loved the talk she and Deo had about how her choices affected his beliefs about relationships. And she made me laugh with her endless euphemisms for sex.

Despite my appreciation for the characters, I realized something that affected my ability to connect with this book–the fact that many things happen off page. A chapter will end just as a confrontation is about to begin, and then the next chapter starts with one of the characters thinking about what happened. This was a pattern, and I really wanted to see some of the moments rather than hear about them after the fact.

Lengths had a lot of nice elements but I didn’t completely engage with it: 3.5 out of 5.

An Incomplete Reading List for January 2014

I’m going to try and keep track of my reads. Here’s my best guess about what I read in January 2014:

Our Little Secret: 4 out of 5; review is here.

Our Little Secret


Lengths
: 3.5 out of 5;
 review is here.

Lengths
All of You: 4.5 out of 5
I absolutely adored this hero and really liked the heroine as well. I’m ready for the next book in this series, please.

All of You
Almost Real: 4 out of 5
Don’t love the cover. The story is great, though. I am happy as long as I get a few books a year from Ms. Stein.

almost real (158x260)
Before Jamaica Lane: 4.5 out of 5
I’m not sure how I went so long without reading this author. She is awesome! I immediately picked up the previous books in this series after reading this one.

before jamaica lane (175x260)
Believe: 3 out of 5
This was an easy read with several problematic elements. I may write a review about this to try and work some of this out.

believe (161x260)
Deceptive Innocence, Part 1: 5 out of 5
How am I going to wait for the next two to be released? I need to remember it’s better to wait until the last one is done before buying the first.

deceptive innocence 1 (168x260)


Lord of Darkness
: 4.5 out of 5
Hoyt’s books have been piling up, so I decided to dive in. Why did I set them aside for so long? After reading this one, I can’t remember.

lord of darkness (161x260)
Ripped: 4 out of 5
A nice, solid read.

ripped (164x260)
Take What You Want: 4 out of 5: review is here.

take what you want (174x260)

 

Ten Tiny Breaths: 4.5 out of 5
Really, really good.

ten tiny breaths (167x260)


The Theory of Attraction: 3.5 out of 5

theory of attraction (164x260)


Depths
: 3 out of 5.

I liked it well enough, but I don’t feel a pressing need to continue reading this series. It’s more a writing style thing than a problem with the story.

Depths

All I Want for Christmas Is a Duke

All I Want for Christmas Is a Duke

I collect Christmas stories throughout the year and save them to read at the end of the year. All I Want for Christmas Is a Duke looked promising, but I couldn’t finish it. And I won’t be picking it back up.

“Merry Christmas, Mrs. Robinson” is Delilah Marvelle’s contribution to the anthology, and it had a lot of things going for it. Older woman, younger man–I love this trope. Woman falls in love with letters written by another man is another idea I like. So I jumped into this story with great expectations. Unfortunately, it just didn’t work for me. I think Marvelle’s writing simply isn’t for me. It’s quite melodramatic, and I couldn’t suspend my disbelief. The story opens at a party where Jane Robinson discovers that her husband didn’t write the letters she fell in love with. She confronts him; they argue; he dies. Afterward, she sells all her belongings and moves to a rooming house where Martin’s aunt lives. Martin, of course, is the man who really wrote the letters.

I liked Martin well enough, but Jane was another matter. I don’t get how she flitted through any social circle she wanted. She’s also quite prickly with Martin, a man she knew in their adolescence. I guess she was supposed to be spirited, but I didn’t understand why she couldn’t be a little courteous. And how realistic is it that she would turn down money from her dead husband’s brother because she wants to make her own way? I kept reading for a little while, but I soon realized I didn’t care what happened to Jane, so I stopped reading.

Enter Maire Claremont’s “The Twelve Days of Seduction.” It begins with Adriana on the verge of losing her position as governess to a duke. The duke, it seems, has learned that she “is nothing like a governess should be.” She is *gasp* a novelist. So she can’t be governess to his ward. But he will consent to having her as his mistress. And he kindly states that she can still see his ward, because they care too much for each other to be separated. For some reason it’s not appropriate for her to tutor the child any longer, but she can spend time with her after she becomes his mistress.

Ick.

I gave both stories a try, but this is a DNF all around.

Reading Marathon

After a rather-long reading drought, I am back to lots of reading. Yay! It feels great. Here’s what I’ve been doing to keep things fun.

  • I have accepted that I am so SICK of paranormals. I read (and loved) them for so long. The problem is I overdosed. So I’m on a paranormal hiatus.
  • I have stopped pressuring myself to finish a book that doesn’t keep my attention. Some books I stop reading because I’m not in the mood for them. Others clearly don’t work for me. Whatever the issue is, I simply stop reading once it stops being fun.
  • I’m reading lots of new adult books. These are the books I wish had been around when I was in that demographic. Since they weren’t, I’m catching up on them now. For now, I can’t get enough.
  • I break things up by reading in a few genres. I’m reading more true crime these days. By the time I finish with them, I’m ready to get back to romance (and vice versa).

I’ve had the urge to write about what I’m reading again, so I’m going to do it.

Locked Out . . . but I’m Back

I’ve been locked out of this blog for months after my PHP was upgraded last autumn. Turns out I had a number of features that didn’t work so well with the new PHP, and that led to a bunch of error messages where a dashboard should be. Lots of searching turned up a solution, finally. And I celebrated by updating the look of the blog. I kind of miss my reading girl heading, but I needed a refresh. Designer Blogs is my go-to place for a new look these days because they offer a nice range of premade designs for WordPress.

I want to start using this blog again, even if it’s just to log what I read without providing much commentary. And I plan to write about a variety of things. For instance, Free Comic Book Day is coming this Saturday, so check to see if your local comic store is participating.

I am about halfway through Dancing with Death, a true-crime book about the murder of Jay Orbin.

Dancing with Death

It’s a fascinating read so far. It helps that the author was able to interview the suspect as well as many of the peripheral characters. It creates a fuller picture of the people involved. More on that when I finish the book.

Thanks to Dear Author, I just picked up Sandy James’ All the Right Reasons. Yet another e-book on the TBR . . . my Kobo is packed with books, but this one sounded good (and is free!) so it’s on my reader now.

Not sure if anyone out there is reading this, but if so, tell me what you are reading these days.

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