Category Archives: Realistic

Promise Not to Tell (Cutler, Sutter, & Salinas, #2) by Jayne Ann Krentz

Promise Not to TellPromise Not to Tell by Jayne Ann Krentz
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Title: Promise Not to Tell
Author: Jayne Ann Krentz
Series: Cutler, Sutter, & Salinas, #2
Pages: 304
Publisher: Berkley
Date: January 2, 2018

Summary:

A painter of fiery, nightmarish visions throws herself into the sea—but she leaves her secrets behind . . .

Seattle gallery owner Virginia Troy has spent years battling the demons that stem from her childhood time in a cult and the night a fire burned through the compound, killing her mother. And now one of her artists has taken her own life, but not before sending Virginia a last picture: a painting that makes Virginia doubt everything about the so-called suicide—and her own past.

Like Virginia, private investigator Cabot Sutter was one of the children in the cult who survived that fire… and only he can help her now. As they struggle to unravel the clues in the painting, it becomes clear that someone thinks Virginia knows more than she does and that she must be stopped. Thrown into an inferno of desire and deception, Virginia and Cabot draw ever closer to the mystery of their shared memories—and the shocking fate of the one man who still wields the power to destroy everything they hold dear.

Review:

This is the second book in what will be a trilogy about three brothers who survived an early childhood in a cult. The first, When All the Girls Have gone, came out in 2016 and was wonderful. Of course, all of Jayne Ann Krentz’ books are wonderful.

In my opinion, these two books are a little darker than her earlier works. The focus is on the suspense rather than the romance. Make no mistake, the romance is there. It is just not the focus. As with all of her books, there is a strong, alpha male and a strong female that takes no guff from him. And, in my opinion, that’s where the humor comes into this book.

There is one scene where Cabot is upset with his family. He accuses Virginia of taking their side. She tells him:

“I’m not taking sides. I’m offering advice.”

“I don’t need advice.”

“Doesn’t mean I’m not going to give you some. Don’t worry, it’s free.”

In an earlier scene, Virginia is “having words” with her grandmother and Cabot proves his intelligence.

He kept his mouth shut. A smart man did not step between two quarreling lionesses.

It is these moments of lightness that I consider a trademark of a JAK book right along with her alpha males and strong females.

Although this is the second book in a trilogy, it could be read without the first. I don’t recommend it, but you could. -grin- The mystery in this book is resolved, but there is an overarching plot which is not. It all goes back to the cult.

This book was sent to me by NetGalley in return for an honest review.

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Misconduct (Birmingham Rebels, #4) by Samantha Kane

Misconduct (Birmingham Rebels, #4)Misconduct by Samantha Kane
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Title: Misconduct
Author: Samantha Kane
Series: Birmingham Rebels, #4
Pages: 288
Publisher: Loveswept
Date: July 25, 2017

Summary:

Rookie running back Tom Kelly loves the perks of football stardom. Men, women—there’s no shortage of companionship for a pro athlete who’s hot, young, and willing, and Tom is definitely willing. But deep down he wants a committed three-way relationship, especially if the female in the middle is Carmina de la Cruz. The undeniably sexy Army veteran may not say much, but her body speaks loud and clear.

After a traumatic tour in Afghanistan, Carmina is struggling to regain her speech and rebuild her life. More than anything, she wants to feel like a woman again. Tom may be a wholesome All-American, but he knows just how she needs to be touched—and he’s not the only Rebel who arouses her interest. With his scorching intensity, Tom’s best friend leaves her wondering if two players might be better than one.

Danny Smith is no stranger to his team’s kinky reputation. He gave in to temptation once, but he’s not going down that road again. Sure, Carmina’s curves promise pleasure, but her eyes guarantee it comes with baggage—and Danny has enough of his own. Still, giving up control can feel so good. And when it comes to everything Danny craves, Carmina and Tom make the perfect team.

Review:

Although I am a big Samantha Kane fan (Brothers in Arms is the GREATEST!), I never expected to like the Birmingham Rebels series. I don’t like team sports, and I especially don’t like football, but these books are wonderful. And that says something . . . if I enjoy books that take place in a setting that I have no interest in, they must be good.

This one, which is book four, is no exception. Samantha Kane’s books have a continuing storyline, but there are no cliffhangers. It’s just that situations from previous books come up again and the team members and their mates show up as well. This entire series is like a story of an extended family. Obviously, it would be best to read them in order.

Anyway, Tom is the All-American-Boy who everybody loves. Carmina is recovering from injuries she received as a soldier in Afghanistan and is very self-conscious about the disability she is striving to overcome. Danny is angry. That is the best way to describe him. He has good reasons, but he has let his anger control everything in his life.

And that’s why this is a four star and not a five star book. Tom is great, but Carmina and Danny are still too focused on the past. Carmina considers herself broken and in need of fixing. Those are her words. She keeps poking herself in the head when she talks about her problems. Danny needs to get over the past. Yes, something terrible happened, but get over it and move on.

Of course, most of this works out at the end, and a wonderful thing about Samantha Kane’s books is that everything isn’t tied up in a beautiful bow. Life is not perfect. However, her characters are willing to work to make things as good as they can be.

This book was sent to me by NetGalley in return for an honest review.

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The Pretenders (Pretenders, #1) by Lisi Harrison

Title: Pretenders
Author: Lisi Harrison
Series: Pretenders, #1
Pages: 293
Publisher: Poppy
Date: October 1, 2013

 

Summary:

It takes place at a high school in New Jersey. Summer is over. Sophomore year begins tomorrow. Outfits are being planned. Lunch buddies are being secured. Texts are flying. All seems normal when…ping! Everyone in the sophomore class gets an email.

SUBJECT: The Phoenix Five: License To Spill.

Attached is a mega document.

A letter from a mysterious student starts the book. It explains that at the end of each year the school yearbook- The Phoenix- names the five most outstanding freshman. She (or he) always suspected that last years’ five (3 girls, 2 boys) were phonies. She (or he) always thought they tried too hard to be popular. But she (or he) never had the proof. Until now. She (or he) stole the secret diaries they were asked to keep by their English teacher. She (or he) has compiled them into a book.

This is that book.

Review:

I don’t even know where to start. There are so many things I didn’t like about this book that it’s hard to pick one.

Let me say first: the book is YA. I can see the appeal to teenage girls and if I was still a high school librarian, I would probably add it to the collection. However, personally, I had a hard time finishing it.

Now, why don’t I like it.

It’s written in first person which I generally don’t like.
Not only is it first person, it is first person from multiple viewpoints. Five to be exact. I never was able to keep everyone straight.
I was waffling between giving it a two or three-stars until I got to the end. It has a cliffhanger ending which I ALWAYS hate. Two-stars it is.

Anyway, as an adult reading this book, I can appreciate the idea that people hide things from others. Whether it is to impress or to stay unnoticed, people rarely if ever tell the truth about themselves. In this book, which is supposed to be a compilation of five students’ private journals, all those truths come out.

And that is the one thing I like about it. I like the idea that teenage readers (and yes, I am talking primarily about the girls) will see that everyone has something to hide. No one’s life is perfect no matter how it looks on the outside.

So, yes, I would put this in a school library, but I am not in the least tempted to read the sequel even though there was a cliffhanger ending.

This book was sent to me by NetGalley in return for an honest review.

Blogger Shame

I was supposed to have reviewed this book when it was released and did not.  I am trying to clear up my back log of reviews owed.

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Quote-tastic Monday: Lost and Found Sisters by Jill Shalvis

Lost and Found Sisters (Wildstone, #1)Lost and Found Sisters by Jill Shalvis
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Title: Lost and Found Sisters
Author: Jill Shalvis
Series: Wildstone, #1
Pages: 400
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
Date: June 20, 2017

Summary:

They say life can change in an instant…

After losing her sister in a devastating car accident, chef Quinn Weller is finally getting her life back on track. She appears to have it all: a loving family, a dream job in one of L.A.’s hottest eateries, and a gorgeous boyfriend dying to slip an engagement ring on her finger. So why does she feel so empty, like she’s looking for a missing piece she can’t find?

The answer comes when a lawyer tracks down Quinn and reveals a bombshell secret and a mysterious inheritance that only she can claim. This shocking revelation washes over Quinn like a tidal wave. Her whole life has been a lie.

On impulse, Quinn gives up her job, home, and boyfriend. She heads up the coast to the small hometown of Wildstone, California, which is just a few hours north, but feels worlds apart from Los Angeles. Though she doesn’t quite fit in right away, she can’t help but be drawn to the town’s simple pleasures…and the handsome, dark-haired stranger who offers friendship with no questions asked.

As Quinn settles into Wildstone, she discovers there’s another surprise in store for her. The inheritance isn’t a house or money, but rather something earth shattering, something that will make her question everything she thought she knew about herself, about her family. Now with a world of possibilities opening up to Quinn, she must decide if this new life is the one she was always meant to have—and the one that could finally give her the fulfillment she’s searched so long for.

Review:

Sometimes you read a book that is a great book, but there just aren’t any specific lines that stick out. Sometimes a book has some good lines, but overall it isn’t that great of a book. And then there are the books that are just great: great plot, likable characters, and terrific lines.

Jill Shalvis’ new book Lost and Found Sisters is one of those books. It was an easy five star book. I didn’t have to waffle between is it really a five star or should I just give it a four and a half. This one is a five star all the way through.

I have to admit I was a little worried about this book. Shalvis said herself that it is a different direction for her. I have given up on authors before because they no longer give me what I fell in love with their writing for. Thank goodness, Lost and Found Sisters is just as wonderful as everything else she has written.

Now for some of the quotes that I loved. They either were “laugh out loud” lines or “Oh my god, that’s me” lines. Sometimes both.

“Hey, darlin’, how’s life today?” “Good,” Quinn said. She didn’t want to brag, but she’d totally gotten out of bed today with only two hits of the snooze button.

Now this one really wasn’t me. One thing I have no problem with is getting up in the morning.

So here was the thing. There were days where Quinn surprised herself with her abilities, and others where she put her keys in the fridge.

This one however is a “she must be looking in my window because it is so me” line.

“You’ve got nothing to apologize for,” Skye said. “If it’s got tires or testicles, it’s gonna give you trouble.” Wasn’t that the truth . . .

Enough said.

She pulled back out into the street, and her GPS—programmed to find the town of Wildstone—wasn’t sure what to do with itself now that they were here. “In half a mile turn right,” it intoned in an irritated female voice that insinuated Quinn was an idiot.

I actually argue with my GPS. Unfortunately, she gets the last laugh because I can end up anywhere.

She put a hand over the screen of his phone and he yelped, pulling the phone free to stare at it. “Ah, man. You made me lose a life.” “Want to lose another?”

Definitely me. I love my cell phone. However, I hate when people won’t put theirs down when I am talking to them.

“Are you always so rude?” “Yes, one hundred percent. It’s called sarcasm and attitude, which are both so much cheaper than therapy and bail. What can I do for you?”

Love it! Love it! Love it!

There should be a weather app for people with social anxiety, like “Today life will be partly crowdy with a 70 percent chance of having to deal with people.”

This one makes me think of Anna Cade over at the book blog Herding Cats & Burning Soup. Okay, it speaks to me too.

I made it through the day without beating anyone with a chair. I’d say my people skills are improving.

Not to mention, I don’t look good in orange or stripes.

Quote-Tastic Monday” is a meme hosted every Monday on Herding Cats & Burning Soup.  Head on over there to see what everyone else is posting about this week.

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Quote-tastic Monday: Curious Minds (Knight & Moon, #1) by Janet Evanovich and Phoef Sutton

Curious Minds (Knight and Moon, #1)

Okay, this is a redux of a review I posted in July of last year.  I have just re-read this book because its sequel, Dangerous Minds, is due out next week – June 20, 2017.  Let’s be honest though.  I re-read this book because it is great.  I have read it three times now and it deserves the five stars I gave it from the start.  The plot is hysterical, the interactions are hysterical, and it has some of the funniest lines I have ever read.

If you never had a chance to read it, grab it.  It will definitely get you out of any reading slump you may be suffering.  And yes, I’m talking about me.

Curious Minds by Janet Evanovich
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Title: Curious Minds
Author: Janet Evanovich & Phoef Sutton
Series: Knight & Moon, #1
Pages: 336
Publisher: Bantam Dell
Date: August 16, 2016

Summary:

Emerson Knight is introverted, eccentric, and has little to no sense of social etiquette. Good thing he’s also brilliant, rich, and (some people might say) handsome, or he’d probably be homeless. Riley Moon has just graduated from Harvard Business and Harvard Law. Her aggressive Texas spitfire attitude has helped her land her dream job as a junior analyst with mega-bank Blane-Grunwald. At least Riley Moon thought it was her dream job, until she is given her first assignment: babysitting Emerson Knight.

What starts off as an inquiry about missing bank funds in the Knight account leads to inquiries about a missing man, missing gold, and a life-and-death race across the country. Through the streets of Washington, D.C., and down into the underground vault of the Federal Reserve in New York City, an evil plan is exposed. A plan so sinister that only a megalomaniac could think it up, and only the unlikely duo of the irrepressibly charming Emerson Knight and the tenacious Riley Moon can stop it.

Review:

I loved this book – absolutely loved this book. Five stars is not enough. I cannot wait for the next one and there’s not even a title yet on Goodreads. I want it NOW!

UPDATE:  BOOK TWO, DANGEROUS MINDS, IS DUE OUT ON JUNE 20, 2017.

Okay, I have that out of my system.

This is the first book in Janet Evanovich’s new series and it is cowritten with Phoef Sutton. It’s really funny just like the Stephanie Plum books, but for some reason doesn’t read like a Plum book. The zaniness and humor are there, but it just doesn’t seem the same. I can’t really explain it.

The book is written from Riley’s point of view, but Emerson is my favorite character. He is so brilliant and so rich that he doesn’t follow normal societal rules and that’s what makes him my favorite. When he is told he can’t do something, his response is not “why not?”, but “I’m already doing it.”

I don’t normally use a lot of quotes in my reviews, but I’m making an exception for this one. None of them are spoilers and you have to see why I think this book is so great.

“You don’t seem especially worried,” Emerson said. “I drink a lot,” Irene said. “And I smoke dope. It keeps me more or less happy.”

That will do it.

In this next quote, Riley wants her breakfast and has told him she gets irritable if she isn’t fed.

“I like you fine.” “I’m not irritable yet.” “You’re not?” Emerson said with surprise. “Very funny.” “I wasn’t trying to be funny,” . . .

Emerson can definitely try anyone’s patience.

Riley reminded herself that she was a professional, and stabbing Emerson with her nail file wouldn’t be appropriate.

And just throwing this one out there,

“Attempted murder is something a lot of couples can’t get past.”

Emerson is not inexperienced with women.

“You have that look,” Emerson said to Riley.
“What look?”
“Squinty eyes, jaw clenched, shoulders hunched. I’ve seen that look on women before and it’s never turned out well.”

And this is a workout program I could get behind.

Irene Grunwald got up early every morning to work out. And by “work out” she meant have a pitcher of sangria while lying in a lounge chair in her backyard and watching the sun rise over the river.

Read this book. You will not regret it.

This book was sent to me by NetGalley in return for an honest review.

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Quote-Tastic Monday” is a meme hosted every Monday on Herding Cats & Burning Soup.  Head on over there to see what everyone else is posting about this week.

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Blackout by Marc Elsberg

BlackoutBlackout by Marc Elsberg
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Title: Blackout
Author: Marc Elsberg
Series: n/a
Pages: 320
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
Date: June 6, 2017

Summary:

One night, the lights go out across Europe. The electrical grids collapse on an epic scale and unleash a devastating chaos in the total blackout. And unbeknownst to the general population, nuclear reactors are starting to overheat…
When a former hacker and activist who knows a thing or two about infiltrating networks starts investigating the cause of this disaster, he soon becomes a prime suspect. As threats to the United States start to emerge, he goes on the run with a young American reporter based in Paris, racing desperately to turn the lights back on. Because if they stay off, tomorrow may be too late.
Review:

Although I rated this book as a three, it is really a 3-4. My main criticism is the multiple points of view. I finally got them mostly straight, but I had no idea who was who in the first few chapters. I’m not even sure if some of the characters were necessary to the plot. I’m still not sure that I didn’t mix characters up, but it didn’t matter in the end.

I had a hard time getting into the book. I thought it was slow to develop, but since it was for review I stuck with it. I’m glad I did. It turned out to be a really fascinating story and the societal breakdown due to an international power outage was not something I had ever considered. I do have a hard time believing that things got as bad as they did in only a couple of weeks of no electricity. Maybe because I live in an area where power outages happen on a regular basis. Nothing like what happens in the book because I can always go somewhere that power is available, but still. I kept thinking that these people were so unprepared. Apparently, no one had more than a day or so of food in the house.

Now, after sounding so smug, one thing I had not thought about was the need for cash. It doesn’t matter how much money you have in the bank if you can’t access it. I don’t ever keep more than a few dollars on me because I just use plastic. Well, if there is no power, that will not work.

And that’s why this book is almost a four. It made me think. We all know that we should be prepared for emergencies, but I am guilty of just knowing I should and not actually doing anything about it. This book has made me think about how dependent I am on the infrastructure and how I need to better protect myself.
So yes, I definitely recommend this book. After the slow start, I couldn’t put it down. I had to know what was going to happen next and who the bad guys were. There was a twist at the end that I did not see coming and it made the book even better. This is definitely a great book if you enjoy suspense and to a certain extent apocalyptic themes.

This book was sent to me by NetGalley in return for an honest review.

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The Girl Who Knew Too Much by Amanda Quick

The Girl Who Knew Too MuchThe Girl Who Knew Too Much by Amanda Quick
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Title: The Girl Who Knew Too Much
Author: Amanda Quick
Series: n/a, but I hope so
Pages: 400
Publisher: Piatkus
Date: May 16, 2017

Summary:

Amanda Quick, the bestselling author of ’Til Death Do Us Part,transports readers to 1930s California, where glamour and seduction spawn a multitude of sins…

When Hollywood moguls and stars want privacy, they head to an idyllic small town on the coast, where the exclusive Burning Cove Hotel caters to their every need. It’s where reporter Irene Glasson finds herself staring down at a beautiful actress at the bottom of a pool.

Seeking the truth, Irene finds herself drawn to a master of deception. Oliver Ward was once a world-famous magician—until he was mysteriously injured during his last performance. Now the owner of the Burning Cove Hotel, he can’t let scandal threaten his livelihood, even if it means trusting Irene, a woman who seems to have appeared in Los Angeles out of nowhere four months ago.

With Oliver’s help, Irene soon learns that the glamorous paradise of Burning Cove hides dark and dangerous secrets. And that the past—always just out of sight—could drag them both under…

Review:

The 1930s is a new time period for Amanda Quick, aka Jayne Ann Krentz. I was a little nervous about this book because this period is not a particular favorite of mine. However, it is an Amanda Quick book, so I had to read it as soon as I could get my hands on it. I was thrilled to score an early reviewers copy MONTHS ahead of time.

I don’t know why I had any doubts. Of course, the book is great. I have never read one of her books that wasn’t. Oliver is an alpha male who is used to people doing what he tells them and Irene is an independent woman who doesn’t let anyone tell her what to do.

Yep, classic Jayne Ann Krentz.

Poor Irene. The bodies keep dropping around her. It’s not her fault, but it’s obvious that she is going to be one of them soon if they don’t find the “bad guy.”

And Oliver never wanted to be involved in finding a murderer, but when one of the bodies is found at his very private and exclusive hotel, what’s he going to do? He’s not completely sure Irene is not involved. She is a journalist after all.

Both Irene and Oliver have secrets in their past that they are not sharing. Could they have anything to do with the current string of murders?

I guess you’re going to have to read the book to find out.

It’s a great book with plenty of plot twists and strong supporting characters. There’s one in particular that I want to have his own book. There’s no mention of a sequel, but I really, really want one.

-sigh- And now I have to wait FOREVER for another book by JAK. Whatever it is and whichever name she uses, I know it will be wonderful.

This book was sent to me by NetGalley in return for an honest review.

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