Saturday, February 7, 2015

Obsession in Death-Fabulous #40 in the series!

What can one say about the 40th book in a series other than Wow!; how does J.D. Robb keep doing this? 

Obsession in Death is a page turner about a murderer who offers their kills as an homage to Lt.  Eve Dallas.  Eve knows that this type of fixation will eventually turn against her and has to solve the case before that happens. 

What I really liked about this book was how it showed the personal growth that Eve has made since the first book in being able to let go of her need to only count on herself. All of the favorites are in the book, Mira, Nadine, Mavis and some new names are added in Cop Central. As the killer keeps moving closer to a confrontation, Eve has to rely on her friends and coworkers to shoulder some of the load she carries. She and Roarke have a couple of sheet burning episodes in this book and the cop and her civilian consultant have their teamwork down working to catch the killer.

This is such an amazing series. The little touches, like Eve and baby Bella interacting, add so much to each book and keep you hooked. The continuity is perfect.I loved reading it and now I'm stoked to listen to the amazing Susan Ericksen audio version.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Re-reading old favorites.....why do I do this?

So, I have a gazillion eARC's that I should be reading and reviewing,  but,instead I am re-reading the entire Fortune Hunters series by Christina Dodd.  
It started when I began listening to the audio version of Tongue in Chic in my car  I decided that I needed to read the other books in the series and also the series before that connects to this one, Lost Texas Hearts.  I have all of the books so off I went.

I love listening to audio books! but sometimes they just go too slow with my short commute, so I find myself listening to books I have read before. Sometimes it's a book I read really quickly and want to revisit. Other times it's a book by a favorite author that I usually enjoy but found this one book not up to par.  When I listen to it, I often find that I enjoy it more than when I read it. 

The other thing that happens, is what happened this time, it triggers the need to read all of the other books in the series just because! Oh, well, it's a long weekend and it's only time..... 

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Julia Quinn writes another book that is a perfect blend of romance and humor!

This book begins with the dreaded Smythe-Smith music recital. For Sir Richard Kenworthy, one of the unfortunate musicians seems to be the answer to a problem he has. For reasons unknown, he has to get married and soon. Iris Smythe-Smith catches his eye and he determines to marry her. Iris is a smart cookie and she is rightly suspicious of Sir Richard's motives when he comes courting. But, they did have a good time talking at the recital and he doesn't seem to mind her outspokenness so Iris finds herself falling for him. When Richard compromises Iris and forces the wedding, they both hope for the best. Things seem to be working out well until Iris finds out what a big secret Richard is keeping.

This book has all of the humor and romance that one expects from a Julia Quinn story. Iris is a perfect Quinn heroine, full of spunk and very intelligent. Richard just barely keeps from falling over into the cad category with his motives for marriage but he really is a man with a good heart which redeems him. There is just the right amount of spice in the story and lots of clever conversation. One of the best parts for me is when we finally get to see a rendition of the infamous 12 act unicorn play written by Frances Pleinsworth in "A Night Like This".

This book is a wonderful addition to a great series but can be read by a new reader with no problem. But I have to say, if you can,  read all of the books in the series because you won't regret it!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Sports themed romance novels- more and more popular!

I just finished reading Covering Kendall, a football themed romance novel about a woman GM of a football team.  She begins a relationship with a player from another team and all kinds of trouble occurs. The author, Julie Brannagh, has written 3 other popular books in her Love and Football series. I have really loved all of the books and actually learned quite a bit about football which was not one of my favorite sports. In this latest book, the issue of domestic violence is a part of the book which was written well before the latest NFL issues began to surface.  One thing about the romance writers, they have covered women's issues well before mainstream fiction ever did.

Sports themed romance novels are gaining in popularity. Romance novels of all types generated over 1.4 billion dollars in sales last year (the top rated fiction genre followed by Mystery/crime). As genres change in popularity, sports heroes seem to be hot right now in sales and on covers. There are series about hockey -Deirdre Martin's New York Blades, Rachel Gibson's Seattle Chinooks, Toni Aleo's Assassins etc. There are football series, Susan Elizabeth Phillips' Chicago Stars series was one of the first to hit really big. Since then, Jaci Burton, Julie Brannagh, Bella Andre and Jami Davenport all have well read series. There are writers like Lori Foster who is currently writing about MMA or Kat Latham who writes about rugby.

All of the books have a lot in common.  The heroes are usually pretty stand up guys who are loyal and committed to their teams.  Some are mansluts and some are homebodies. Some are self centered jerks and some are gentlemen. They are usually in great physical shape (see the picture above) and also financially well off. What is interesting is that in a lot of the books, the women work for the teams in some capacity or are strong fans of the featured team.  There are a lot of books with female athlete heroines but that's another blog post.  Avid female sports fans are gaining in numbers. NASCAR worked with Harlequin on a series of books a few years ago that contained a lot of information about how NASCAR worked and what the rules are.  I'm sure they gained some fans because of those books.

I guess all of these hunky athletes are today's versions of the medieval warriors, foreign billionaires, and English lords who were the norm years ago when I first started reading this genre.  Goodreads, Amazon and Barnes & Noble all have pages devoted to sports romance fiction so readers can find authors to enjoy. I know that I am certainly enjoying reading all of these books!  Maybe I'll start watching football.....or hockey.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Audiobooks- the reader will make or break them.

I have had two experiences recently that made me think about how the narrator of an audio book can improve your enjoyment of a book or ruin the book for you. I recently read that Ralph Cosham, the reader of all of the Louise Penny audio books, has passed away. I almost cried when I read that. I love the Three Pines mystery series and I own the print, eBook and audio version of all of them. I remember listening to the end of one of the books in the parking lot of the library where I work  and sobbing at the ending.

Ralph Cosham is the voice I hear in my head when I read the books. He will be very hard to replace. It has happened before. I am a long time fan of Susan Elizabeth Phillips (SEP) and she had a reader, Anna Fields, who read the majority of her books. Ms. Fields was killed in her home by a mudslide and all of the Seppies( fans of SEP) were devastated because she made the already wonderful books that much more enjoyable.  It was hard to listen to the next few books but we persevered.

Another long time reader is Susan Erickson who does the J.D. Robb series of futuristic mysteries. Again, when I read the books, I hear her voicing of the characters in my head. They have come to life for me through her.  There are lots of great readers out there who take a favored book and really make it special.

On the other hand, there are times when the reader absolutely ruins a book by their narration. I started to listen to a favorite book  in my car the other day and I had to turn it off after 10 minutes. The story takes place in France and the hero is an alpha male in a food profession. The reader had a very annoying habit of ending each sentence on an upnote so it felt like I was listening to a comedy. The worst part was her voicing of the hero was in a high pitched horrible French accent that kept making me picture a cartoon character. I had to stop listening before the book was forever ruined for me. Other books in the series were narrated by other readers and I loved those versions. I learned a lesson- LISTEN to the sample before you buy.

It will be very hard to listen to the next Louise Penny book and not hear Ralph because he is the voice of Armand Gamache to me. He will be greatly missed by all of his fans.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Heroes are my Weakness too, especially SEP's heroes!

I read my first SEP book in 2001 with This Heart of Mine. I loved it and it was like finding buried treasure when I realized there were several earlier books. Since then I am awash in anticipation when her newest book is due to come out. I can say that Heroes are My Weakness does not disappoint. It has all of the elements of an SEP book that I love. A feisty heroine who is temporarily down on her luck or in some predicament, a hero who on the surface is a jerk or a cad, and an interesting setting with other quirky characters. 

Anna is a puppeteer who has to stay on Peregrine Island for two months in order to fulfill the terms of a trusts that allows her to keep her cottage. since she needs to find a place to stay while she rebuilds her financial resources, the cottage is a godsend. Theo is the privileged and mean spirited son of the owner of Harp House, a large house on the island. Anna's cottage will revert to the Harps if she breaks the conditions of the trust. Anna and Theo were budding almost lovers until he turned on her and made her life miserable when they were teenagers. She has never forgotten his treatment of her and is dismayed to find him on the island. As they are forced to spend time together, old feelings reawaken and old secrets are revealed.

Anna discovers that there are sides to Theo that she never knew about and that he is not the man she thought he was. Yes, he is hot and broodingly handsome and he makes her  want to jump in the nearest bed with him but that is not all he is. She also finds that she has a new direction for her own life that will encompass the things she loves but  in a way that can be productive and meaningful.

I loved, loved,loved this book and hated to see it end.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Then Came You by Jill Shalvis- another great read by this author!

When Emily Stevens walks into her new veterinary internship, she thinks the worst part is going to be that she is stuck in Sunshine, Idaho instead of LA. However, she soon discovers that the bigger problem is that sexy vet Wyatt Stone, the man she had a one night fling with at a conference, is her new boss.

Emily tells herself that she can resist Wyatt and that she is just ticking off the days until she gets a big well paying job at a bigger city location. Wrong, wrong wrong!

The chemistry between these two characters is so strong that it is amazing that they aren't doing it like rabbits through the whole book. Emily has issues due to the lackadaisical way her veterinarian father handled his practice and family obligations. Wyatt has issues with being moved from pillar to post during his childhood. She is counting the days to leave Sunshine and go for financial security. He is convinced that Sunshine is the place for him to settle down. There is a big divide for them to cross if they are going to end up together.

As usual in a Shalvis book, there is a nice mix of romance, humor and even menace in this book. The secondary characters are interesting and add a lot of movement to the story. I can't wait to see what happens with Wyatt's sisters, hopefully in a future Animal Magnetism series book. Oh well, I guess I'll just have to settle for the next three Lucky Harbor books while waiting ... such a lovely dilemma.