Book Hoarders Anonymous

I have too many books. There, I admit it. I'm working on it though.
Santa Assignment - Delores Fossen

cover commentary:  What's with the alien arms and dorky expression?

 

A point off for keeping it in the family. Ewww.

 

Another point off for a tangled web of whodunit

 

So the heroine, her sister, and three boys - two of which were brothers - grew up together. heroine dates the third wheel amongst the boys. Sister marries a cop. Both girls are attorneys. The brothers beat up the third boy - the boyfriend of sorts. Heroine, for whatever reason, represents one of the brothers. Boyfriend is pissed off, brother represented is pissed off. Someone kills sister, brother-in-law takes upset out on heroine, someone starts stalking heroine (or was that already happening, unsure). Heroine disappears herself.

 

This is the setup.

 

Not quite 3 years later, former BIL sicces PI on h because his son - her nephew - is in dire straits and needs a donor. Sibling is the last hope.

 

Of course, they do try the clinical method, and it may have even worked in spite of the stalker's burning down the clinic. They also try the old fashioned method - as clinically as possible. Eventually, h is grabbed. Eventually, they have a less impersonal encounter, eventually, h is grabbed again...

 

Because two of the three boys from her childhood held grudges and were after her.

The Ghoul Vendetta - Lisa Shearin

Fast paced as per usual. Am a bit surprised that we have elves, goblins, and... apparently we have fae as well. Huh. Oh, and Fomorians. The latter were banished millennia ago by what turns out to be Ian's ancestor...who wasn't human. Nobody's sure how Ian feels about that. Ian isn't saying though. Ian would have remained in the dark so to speak about his ancestry if the bad guy hadn't left a little trinket that lit up like the Bat signal when he picked it up.

 

Of course, the bad guy is trying to get a curse lifted that Ian's ancestor placed on the Fomorians, and to do that, he's gotta remove Ian.

 

Much investigating ensues, with Rake declaring his intentions to Mac just prior to the latest war to stave off Armageddon. Of course the good guys win.

Immortal Unchained - Lynsay Sands

I dreaded this book. The prologue was in another book as a teaser, and skimming the end had them escaping. I had this uneasy feeling they were going to spend the entire book in cages being tormented or something.

 

Fortunately, I was wrong about that.

 

Unfortunately... in spite of the h being a cop and trained in martial arts, she only demonstrated this particular skill like, once. She had plenty of opportunity - walking into the lab and finding a man cut in half, with the mad scientist and his lovely assistant there. She could have taken both out right then. Instead, she assisted in the reassembly of the poor bastard and gave the lunatic the opportunity to drug her. And then there was the other island, where she, upon finding herself swathed in chiffon and thongs, the H downstairs, chained down, etc., failed to do things like oh, unchain him, toss the blood on his lap, run back upstairs and see how flammable all that useless excuse for clothing was. She had the right idea with grabbing the knives, but burning the house down, hiding in the jungle, and taking out goons might have been more productive.

 

The H...was thinking with his dick. At one point, she went after him to drag him outside to tell him about all the cameras, and he pounced. If he hadn't managed to tug at an injury and cause her pain... Her slapping the snot out of him was a high light. And it never occurred to him NOT to talk about his family around the cameras. He whispered about going outside to do some planning, but the thought that he might be putting people at risk never crossed his mind.

 

I miss the early books where the characters spent time doing stuff before getting busy (maybe why I rather liked the last one).

 

And finally, at least some of this happening is due to arrogance - nobody wears contacts around mortals, nobody reads minds to make sure people around them are safe. They read each other's mind with impunity but can't be bothered to keep an eye on the mortal world. Jackie and her father knew, but apparently Pablo didn't, and was also unethical in that he shared info from another client.

How to Tame a Beast in Seven Days - Kerrelyn Sparks

A pleasant surprise. I don't know what I expected but fantasy wasn't exactly it. And, an interesting fantasy. I liked that the world building occurred in the setting of the stage, and that new character introductions were kept to a minimum after a certain point - some authors scatter both throughout the story, causing disruption of the storyline.

 

Characters: the h, hidden twin, is pressed into service to fill in for her recently deceased sister. She sees dead people. Occasionally she sees the future...like once. Mostly she sees dead people. And converses with them, which makes everyone wonder about her. She doesn't even make an attempt to hide this, which is kinda dumb given that her country has laws about "gifts". Some of her oddities - and the other special snowflakes she grew up with - lead the H to figure out that something was off, and suspect what it was.

 

H, also gifted but in a way that makes him exceedingly dangerous and hard to kill, is nephew to the king. He's at some point, relieved he can actually touch her and well, that in and of itself means he's going to be exceedingly protective.

 

Various others - Brody, gifted shifter. Not sure whether he's just a shifter or another chameleon. He's not saying.
Nevis, friend. Not sure that he has any gifts
Nevis' dad. Practically raised H
Heroine's dad. hid h away because twins are outlawed too.
An assortment of ghosts including the h's twin, their mother, a kid... they acted to some extent as spies for the h

 

Villain - officially the H's uncle who coveted the h's family land and wanted an excuse to steal it *and* possibly get rid of the H in the process. Unofficially, turned out to be a non-issue as he, and his mostly harmless son, were done in by a chameleon who, though zapped by the H a couple of times, still got away.

 

Nits - that chameleon appearing out of nowhere, conveniently making the H king.
The H's choice of explicatives - holy shit - seemed incongruous in the context of the story. His first encounter with the h, he said several times "I like that". Made me think of Angel in Maverick. Found it distracting.

Falling for the Highlander - Lynsay Sands

I strongly dislike humor that makes characters look dumb. The H and his interactions with the three stooges accompanying him made me roll my eyes. The h and her mount of choice...right. The H's lack of control at the sight of a bit of skin was ridiculous.

 

When sex occurred just a few hours after she'd regained consciousness *4* days after getting shot with an arrow, all because he got sidetracked by a bit of boob when changing her bandage, I almost threw the book.

 

And nobody talked to each other. She saw someone twice on the trip, and didn't say anything. This after she'd gotten hit in the head. They only figured that out after the H almost took advantage of her drunken state, she sulked off back to camp, and he went hunting her and spotted the other person. And even though they were suspicious about the rash of dead people in her life, they still discounted that her getting shot had anything to do with anything. She found a scrap of strange plaid at the lodge, didn't tell anyone.

 

Nor did anyone at any time think someone should maybe stay with her. It was luck and her half-brother's stupidity that they even noticed her missing.

Hard to Handle (Gargoyles Series) - Christine Warren

More of a 3.25 I think.

 

I wanted to like this one, if only because the Guardian was a female. Alas, it was done in by secondary characters.

 

I almost felt sorry for the H but... he was so whipped it was almost embarrassing and really, if I had a family like that, I might have run screaming into the night. Why he still lived close enough for certain ones to show up on his doorstep, I dunno.

 

His kid sister, spoiled manipulative little brat. I was like, "oh well" when she got grabbed. I wanted to punch her in the face pretty much every time she opened her mouth.

 

Of course we get Kylie and Wynn (those two give me a headache - they converse with each other like 4th graders).

 

Thought to ponder, has any of the wardens accepted his or her new lot in life *in the context of this series?* Seems every one of them has been in some form of denial. That sort of plot device gets old after a while, as does the snarky/bitchiness every woman of power seems to possess.

 

And of course #5 is now free. Since this particular series has a sell-by date, and there's two more, I'm assuming the last one will feature some anti-climatic battle between the forces of good and evile that somehow gets shoehorned into half a chapter.

 

Remind me again why I'm reading this? Oh; right. Gargoyle romances are rare as hens' teeth. Too bad that none seem to actually be all that. :/

Wild Embrace: A Psy-Changeling (A Psy/Changeling Novel) - Nalini Singh

Funny that right after I started this, I saw one of my friends' reviews of it. I don't know whose idea it was to put it in trade pb (and pricy trade at that) but being cheap, I waited 'til Amazon had it for less than an mmp and got it then. I feel much better about reading 3 novellas and a "slice of life (that perhaps should have been stashed at the end of another book) when I didn't pay as much as I would have for 3 full length novels.

 

Ok...
Stefan...it's always funny that these seemingly Silent Arrows cave so quickly. I think Judd held out the longest. Stefan didn't really try. He held back mostly because the heroine's upbringing didn't really allow for intimacy outside of marriage...and also because he had no idea where to start.

 

Dorian... while I found the bits and pieces interesting, I also felt they would have been better utilized in other books, either tacked on at the end or integrated into the storyline. (or in his own)

 

Felix and Desi... now that's an interesting one. I think I would have liked to see that one expanded a bit.

 

Kenji and Garnet... Funny how in Allegiance of Honor there was some mental speculation about what would happen if mates refused to accept each other. Also, I find it puzzling about changelings being in a long term relationship if they weren't actually mated. Then again, I guess Riaz is in one. This particular couple though... I find it amazing she stayed in the pack after that.

Allegiance of Honor (Psy-Changeling Novel, A) - Nalini Singh

First off, where do you classify a book like this? It's not exactly a romance. In some ways, it's more like a reader's guide, but it's a real book with a real plot instead of a character/location list.

 

Second, it took me a while to read it because unlike most of the books I've read of late, you can't skim this. Well, you could, but you'll miss a lot.

 

Interestingly enough, I suspect there were several scenes pulled from other books but they were done so seamlessly that they just fit.

 

And because frankly I'm a little speechless at the moment, I'll leave it at that.

Magic Binds - Ilona Andrews

Hmmm...

 

I would hazard a guess that the threat of war, an impending wedding, oracles predicting either the death of your beloved or your as-yet unconceived child might make you a little...disjointed.

 

Sure made for a disjointed book. And yet, the wedding interruptions were vastly amusing.

 

That said, after all that drama, the battle seemed to be...almost an afterthought. Which is odd considering how all-encompassing it actually was - all of the People, the shifters, mercs, several random mythological beings, etc., all uniting to fight against Kate's dad...and a considerably larger force. I mean; I get that spending very much time on the battle would make it boring. Just seemed like there should have been more.

Her Majesty's most unobservant spy

The Duke - Kerrigan Byrne

could have saved himself, and the h, a lot of heartache if he'd noticed one little thing about that virgin prostitute - the carpet didn't match the drapes. Alas, he didn't so spent years looking for what was right under his nose. Oh, this was never mentioned in the book itself but really, he spent all this time looking for a dark haired woman when he knew she wore makeup and used a different name. It never crossed his mind that she wasn't actually dark haired. And...how could you not know? Couldn't use the excuse that her drawers covered all since he ripped them off.

 

Sorry. I just find it laughable that he went years and 300+pages under the illusion the woman he was looking for was actually a brunette.

 

Regarding their relationship, I got the feeling he avoided her. She lived next door. And he avoided her. Much of the book took place over the course of...a week maybe? That's a danged long time to avoid your neighbor, particularly when you find yourself becoming irritably attracted to her so quickly - that week or so. You'd think as cranky as he is, he would have confronted her during those several years that were written off-page.

 

As for her, some of the things she did were downright irrational. Really? You live in London, neighbors on both sides, and you strip down to your undies while outside painting? It never occurs to you that others can see you? The wall may go over your head, but does it block the upstairs window?

 

Other things - the villain. It took 'til now for the inspector to notice the connections of these dead women. And...they started after the nutburger realized the h was actually a strawberry blond. Why then, why not before? I find it difficult to believe that he hadn't killed before.

 

The h's sister - considering their background, she seemed terribly sheltered.

 

The h's mother - why was she letting her daughter handle all her late husband's problems? Why was she oblivious to what was going on? She wouldn't have been THAT old; why did there seem to be this impression that she wasn't in much better shape than the elderly gent who married the h.

 

Beyond that, there's the usual keeping of secrets from the soul mate, the harsh reactions when they come out (even though if the soul mate had been a little more observant, there wouldn't have been any secrets.) Lying isn't ok, but neither is being willfully blind. The resulting attack on h while H is off nursing his pride...yeah; these are a bit formulaic when you think about them.

 

OTOH, it is nice that you have a H who is actually capable of being the villain's worst nightmare when provoked. Too many - historical and otherwise - have heroes whose fitness is as improbable as their fighting skills (or their ability to discern danger). It's a bit harder to feel anything other than an eyeroll when a foppish H is trying to defend his h from the sort who'd have him for breakfast - and somehow he comes out on top. And while at some point, I'd hope the author creates a H who hasn't had the need to learn how to maim and kill. Of course, I'd hope she doesn't put said pampered prince in a position where he needs to fake it to save his h.

Falling Angel (Harlequin American Romance) - Anne Stuart

I was moved to hunt down a pair of Levis to see where that silly tag is located - inner right cheek pocket. Artist put it on the outside of the left cheek pocket. Also, based on this story, I doubt the h would have owned a pair of Levis - too expensive.

 

I actually read this one three times - once out of curiosity when I pulled it from the bin to the anticipation spot, once when I deliberately left the book I'd started in the living room so I wouldn't be tempted to read and stay up too late (so much for that, huh?) and finally, when I actually read it.

 

So why the 3 stars? Let's just say that in a less capable author's hand, it likely would have been DNFed.

 

Ok.
The H is dead - no really - and is in what amounts to purgatory, waiting for...something. It was unclear but I guess he needed to give them a reason to move him on. He gets sent back into a new body, and I have this mental image of the NSA going apeshit about a truck magically appearing in the middle of nowhere (ALIENS!!). It's either that or he's possessing someone else's body. He's charged with fixing 3 lives he ruined in his previous existence. The h is obvious, the family who he ends up boarding with is the second, and there's some kid whose issues are indirectly his fault. It's odd that he never really goes back to his old habits. His new body is preprogrammed to be a carpenter...from Boston...that finds itself in bumblefartnowhereville Minnesota

 

The h wears a hairshirt made of...I dunno...porcupine quills, poison ivy, and doghair from some wirecoated critter. She got on my nerves so bad... See, she was a dancer, went to college and studied dance (uh...that's all?), took off to NY - as you do - to show off her talents, only to fail miserably and rather than come home, get a job as a secretary...with the H as her employer. She falls for him because she's sure she can fix him (uh oh), and because she's naive and has no clue what he really does, offers up the one company in her home town for his expertise. Then she catches him drunk, sleeps with him, discovers the next day that he'd closed the company after gutting it for its equipment, also discovers she's fired (because he doesn't sleep with the help - one point in his favor I suppose) and storms out in front of a taxi. Now she's running herself into the ground, in penance, refusing help. Because it's all her fault you see. Too wrapped up in her martyrdom to see that her behavior is causing her friends and neighbors distress. Oh, she's aware of it, but if anything, frustrated because they keep worrying. Well dear, if you don't want them worrying about you, make an effort to take care of yourself.

 

Things that bug me - and this isn't unique to this book - why does everyone with a bit of talent run off to NY in hopes of being discovered? All larger cities, and quite a few smaller ones, have centers for performing arts.

 

Why, upon discovering you aren't as good as you thought you were, would you remain in a city like that? See above - smaller pond = greater chance of success.

 

Secretary? Really?! Doesn't that require at least some clerical skills? Typing at the very least. He thought of her as incompetent. Was she hunting and pecking? She said she'd focussed so much on her dancing she hadn't learned any other skills. Uh...

 

And yet, she sells quilts. That's a skill. Why, with that in mind, didn't she apply at an alteration shop? Or as a waitress or sales clerk...see, these sorts of jobs would make sense. A secretary, not so much.

 

And yet, it was very readable, mostly because we were in his mixed up noggin most of the time.

Have Mercy (Harlequin Blaze #398) -

Cover commentary - H is in 30s, h in late 20s. Cover appears to be a high school cheerleader and some kid who's having difficulty growing proper facial hair.

 

It had its moments but...

 

There was the whole inconsistency of the h's characterization - she's written as socially awkward in the beginning. Not shy, not suspicious; socially awkward. And yet, later she's acting perfectly normal.

 

The H is a reformed grifter who lies through his teeth to the h while getting into her pants.

His grandmother is out for revenge as some distant cousins who'd sent her late husband to prison are in the process of pulling a con.

 

It is a comedy of errors featuring the improbability of a heroine living in the closet of a crack house, having time to keep her hedge trimmed, and bouncing between being unable to talk to people and acting the consummate professional, a gypsy who broke character and abandoned his family, and of course, an old bat who resents the hell out of him going legit and while she doesn't want him to rot in prison, almost scorns his desire to avoid legal issues.

 

I found some of it funny, the language a bit crude for a harlequin, and well... I mostly finished it because I didn't really want to just DNF it but at the same time, I didn't want to linger - there are better books out there.

Father On The Brink - Elizabeth Bevarly

Cover commentary - is it just me or does he look like he's about to barf in her ear?

The epilogue was the best part of this one. It was pretty funny.

 

So the H, paramedic, working a blizzard, gets misdirected to a house where he finds a woman in labor rather than an elderly kidney patient. The woman has just discovered her marriage is a fake, and was in the process of bolting when her water broke.

 

She lists him as the father on the birth certificate...and bolts.

 

Shows up on his doorstep 2 months later, and finally tells him. Sperm donor tracks her down. She bolts again. H tracks her down, and tells her what he found about sperm donor. Convinces her he's serious about the whole marriage and family thing. Epilogue is 13 years later.

After Dark (Harlequin Blaze #446) - Wendy Etherington

It was entertaining anyway. The h, local librarian, sheriff's daughter, and member of the preservation society, invades the H's sphere of existence because he's bought the local mansion. The H, hiding and grieving from his parents' recent murder, reluctantly finds himself being pulled into the open, and falling for her.

 

Adding to the story is the rest of the preservation society, and the murder of a local handyman. Also, the return of the h's ex who wanted to take up where they left off (which would be his breaking up with her and going after some secretary).

 

As said, it was entertaining.

Raintree: Inferno - Linda Howard

Well, that sucks. Here I am, trying to read down this mountain and at the same time attend to that stash of numbered romances I'd picked up for varying reasons and I pull out one that's so interesting that I feel the need to hunt down the other 3. This is the opposite direction of reading down; this is adding to. (mutter)

 

Oh, it had its issues...

 

Our H, powerful fire mage or whatever, runs a casino. A suspiciously successful player is spotted and dragged into his office. The h - gifted in ways she's not really sure about and trying to ignore - finds herself meeting him, getting tested by him, questioned by him, etc. A fire breaks out in the casino. He drags her with him, forcibly links her power to his to help put the fire out, and drags her home with him.

 

Or rather, compels her to go with him. He manages to forget things like the need to relieve oneself. She's understandably pissed off (and he was almost pissed on, but don't think he thought about that)

 

This takes half the book - issue one.

 

Somehow over the next couple of days, they manage to fall for each other (or perhaps it was insta-love, not sure). - issue two

 

And they figure out there is a bad guy and he starts heading for the home fort.

It ends in a cliff hanger - issue three

 

And I wanna know what happens next.

Lone Star Prince (Texas Cattleman's Club) - Cindy Gerard

So 4 years ago, the princess of some fictional country ran away, met some marine, had a fling that bore fruit, and left him 4 days later to go back to her duties. Now she's called upon him to save her, her kid, and her late sister's twins from a creep who is trying to force her to marry him.

 

Long separation - check
Hidden baby - check

 

Hero tries to keep her at arms' length. Fails. She tells him the kid is his, and goes home. He gets over his rage and comes after her. Yep; bout sums it up. Oh, there were paparazzi thrown in to force him to face her in the first place, and there was his mother who figured out instantly what he was oblivious to (the kid's paternity). And there were her parents - a princess forced to marry out of duty, and the asshole she was stuck with. The h called forth a meeting of sorts and forced her father to step down. I am trying to imagine the first two floors of Buckingham palace turned into a casino to finance the country. Can't do it.

Currently reading

The Colorado Kid (Three Cowboys & A Baby, #1)
Vicki Lewis Thompson