vrijdag 25 juli 2014

Recommendations from Karin for July 2014.

In order to bring some more variety to my blog, I have asked some of my bookish friends to tell about the books they have in the past month, and to give us a recommendation. Today’s post is made by Karin from Austria.

Karin:

I have read 8 new books this month and there are more than three that I would like to recommend. Still – I have to make choices. So I settled for:

Mary Balogh: The Arrangement

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Carolyn Jewel: My Immortal Assassin

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Sherry Thomas: The Burning Sky

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I decided I would recommend Mary Balogh’s “The Arrangement” as the best book because although hero and heroine are a little bit too young for my liking, Balogh delivered a delightful story of two young people growing to love each other and also growing up. This book is part of a series (Survivor’s Club) and I liked this second installment a lot better than the first one. I will definitely keep on reading this series about six men and one woman who suffered horribly during the Napoleonic Wars and are on the way to heal their terrible wounds (bodily and mentally), helping each other and – of course – finding the loves of their lives.
Carolyn Jewel is a jewel I discovered by chance. “My Immortal Assassin” is also part of an ongoing series called “My Immortal” and I liked this book a lot, so much so that I will continue to read this series.

“The Burning Sky” by Sherry Thomas came as somewhat of a surprise. I have a love-hate relationship with Sherry Thomas (although she wouldn’t know that of course). Her books either appeal to me from the blurbs or they don’t. If I buy a book against my better judgment, I end up thinking, “Not bad, but she has done better.” Now this book is labeled as YA and I’m not really a fan of this genre (I’m wayyyyyyy too old to enjoy that usually!!!). But although the book has a certain simple writing style I have to confess I enjoyed it a lot. I’d even go so far as to say I’m waiting for the next installment- it’s going to be a trilogy.

I’d like to talk a little bit more about Sherry Thomas if you don’t mind. Actually I will do it even if you mind. So, if you are not a fan of Sherry Thomas, you had better stop reading now. This author intrigued me from the first book I’ve read by her. It was not a keeper but I keep checking out her website because I end up finding gemstones like “Not Quite a Husband”. She writes historical romances that take place at the end of the 19th century and she writes them in a most unusual way. I highly recommend checking out her book list on her website – you might find something worth reading.
She is going to publish a duology in the next two weeks. “The Hidden Blade” seems to be self-published and will be as e-book only as far as I could gather. It’s a companion to “My Beloved Enemy”. I read the excerpt and was intrigued ever since. I can hardly wait for August 5th to come around.

Also I would like to draw your attention to C.L. Wilson’s “The Winter King” which is finally going to be published on July 29th.

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So this has not really been a recommendation for one book in the good old sense but I still hope you might find something that you would like to check out. Happy reading!!


Aurian: Thanks for the recommendation Karin! I have also been waiting many years for the Winter King, and I will only believe it is coming when I find it on my doormat.
I do have many books by Mary Balogh, but I don’t think I have read one since I started reading in English. Sherry Thomas is also on my shelves unread. One day ...
I have read some Carolyn Jewel books, and have many more on my shelves to read some day.




© 2014 Reviews by Aurian

donderdag 24 juli 2014

Heather Graham – Deadly Harvest

The second book in the Flynn Brothers Trilogy series, published October 21, 2008.
Genre: paranormal romantic suspense, ghosts
Cover: creepy

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When a young woman is found dead in a field, dressed up as a scarecrow with a slashed grin and a broken neck, the residents of Salem, Massachusetts, begin to fear that the infamous Harvest Man is more than just a rumor. But out-of-town cop Jeremy Flynn doesn't have time for ghost stories. He's in town on another investigation, looking for a friend's wife, who mysteriously vanished in a cemetery.
Complicating his efforts is local occult expert Rowenna Cavanaugh, who launches her own investigation, convinced that a horror from the past has crept into the present and is seducing women to their deaths. Jeremy uses logic and solid police work. Rowenna depends on intuition. But they both have the same goal: to stop the abductions and locate the missing women before Rowenna herself falls prey to the Harvest Man's dark seduction.


These books get creepier and creepier! This killer sure is something else. I read this story in little bits and pieces at a time, to avoid nightmares. But it sure was good!
The formula was the same though, as the other books I have read. A woman with paranormal abilities who denies it, and a man who refuses to believe in anything paranormal, even though he has a touch of it himself as well, but that is just “good instincts”.
Jeremy Flynn is a former police diver, who quit his job after a horrible find of a van full of foster children. He thought he had rescued one boy, only to loose him later on the way to the hospital. To garner money for his brother’s charity, Jeremy has been doing radio talkshows with Rowenna, pro and con paranormal events. Rowenna only tells about proven stories, never claiming she actually believes in the paranormal herself. She lost her fiancĂ©e three years ago, and Jeremy is the first man she has been interested in since then, but Jeremy sure keeps her at arms length.

Until after their last show, when they go out for a drink together, and one thing leads to another. When Jeremy finds out that Rowena lives in Salem, he immediately thinks she is a witch herself. But Rowenna denies it, she is not Wiccan, but she does have Wiccan friends. Then Jeremy gets a call from his former partner, whose wife has gone missing in Salem, asking for his help. Brad is of course the number one suspect and he needs Jeremy’s help to find his wife and to clear his name. And so Jeremy and Rowena meet again in Salem, where they will both help the local police to find the killer, and start having a relationship.


Yes, a formula, but it works if you space the books out. Very creepy this book, as we do have cornfields and scare crows here in Holland as well. I could picture it all way too easily. Still, a good book and I really liked Rowenna from the start. She does not accept Jeremy’s disbelief and sneers, if he does not accept her as she is, she will walk away from him.
Jeremy grows very protective and possessive of Rowenna, especially against the main detective, and her almost father in law. But eventually they reach an agreement, as it all concerns Rowenna’s safety.

Rowenna sure has some weird and highly suspect friends and acquaintances, and I had my pick of suspects. I did not guess the real one though, and that was the creepiest part.

If you like creepy, this sure is the book for you. The romance part, and the love scenes, are good and I enjoyed it all. Not certain if I ever would want to visit Salem though, with its very dark past.

8 stars.



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© 2014 Reviews by Aurian

dinsdag 22 juli 2014

Robin Kaye – Call me Wild

The second book in the Wild Thing series, published August 7, 2012.
Genre: contemporary romance
Cover: not impressed

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She doesn’t know a single thing about relationships...
Unemployed sportswriter Jessie James plans to make a killing writing a bestselling romance novel. She’s never read one, but really, how hard can it be? Moving cross-country to a borrowed house in Idaho, Jessie starts her research with the first gorgeous guy she runs into...
Luckily, he knows everything...
Sports doctor Fisher Kincaid notices Jessie right away – the transplanted easterner sticks out like a sore thumb in the small town. When he discovers she’s researching attraction and romance, he graciously offers himself as a test subject. That’s when everything starts to go wrong, and they both need a few good lessons in love...


Sports reporter Jesse James gets the pink slip by email late at night, after having interviewed a sports team. Without a pay check, she certainly can’t afford her nice New York apartment. Her best friend has the solution though. He is living in LA at the moment but he still has a house in Boise, Idaho. She can live there rent-free and finally write the novel she was set on writing in college. Jesse thinks writing a steamy romance novel will be an easy sale, and so she sets out to become a best selling author. But that is not as easy as she thinks it is. Especially when Jesse does not believe in romance or true love.

Sports doctor and easy going guy Fisher Kincaid notice Jesse on her first day in Boise in the local Starbucks, and makes a play at her. But even though he is insanely handsome, Jesse is just not interested. She has no time, she is here to work on her book, and to apply for a job at the Starbucks to earn enough money for groceries and gas and such. All the locals think her nuts for turning down Fisher, especially his younger sister Karma.
She becomes fast friends with Jesse, and does her best to set the two of them up together in the remote mountain retreat of their older brother Hunter. Fisher is furious with his sister though, sending Jessica up the mountain in an inadequate car and without even an emergency kit. If he hadn’t found her when she went in search of a cell phone signal, she could have died there.

Being thrown together makes them finally act upon their mutual attraction though, Fisher has never met a woman who could run him into the ground each morning when he went jogging behind her, or who kept up with him and wanted to learn how to fly fish. They rescue each other, and Jesse ends up having to take care of a severely concussed Fisher, with the blessings of his family.

She has never been the nurturing type, after a horrible experience in high school she gave up on romance and relationships for good. She has only had some loose dates and one night stands ever since. Her best friend Andrew is there with advice though, and he enjoys seeing her fall. If only she had fallen for him ... But he wants her to be happy, and if Fisher makes her happy, he will do whatever he can to get them back together again. Somehow, their relationship will have to work with Fisher happily living in Boise, and Jesse getting a high profile new television job ...


I enjoyed this book very much, Robin Kaye has a very humorous writing style and very vivid characters. The only thing I severely dislike are the names: Fisher, Hunter, Trapper and Karma. Of course there is a story behind it, but still. And I do want to read the first book in the series. Yes, it is totally possible to read this series out of order. I do wonder if there will be more books, about the third brother and Karma herself. Perhaps with Andrew?

It was fun to see how Jesse kept turning Fisher down again and again, and how she thought he was a worthless bum, living with his mother (because his house is pristine!). Usually the couple jumps into bed in the first few chapters, or right after their first meeting, but not here! Fisher is a health freak, and he really hates how Jesse eats, she doesn’t cook so she gets a lot of ready to eat meals at the grocery store. Even offering to cook for her doesn’t change that. Fisher’s uncle is a real treat, I enjoyed him very much, and he is much more than he appears to be. That was fun to discover.

All in all, a fun novel, perfect for a hot summer’s day. It took me a while to understand the joke here: I will see you around. Not if I see you first. Jesse says that, and it means that if she sees Fisher somewhere first, she makes certain he does not see her. She does believe he is a stalker at first after all.
Original, not very predictable or cookie cutter. I do look forward to more Robin Kaye books, and can certainly recommend her Domestic Gods series as well.

8 stars.



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© 2014 Reviews by Aurian

zondag 20 juli 2014

New additions to my addiction

Stapel boeken

My 12th new additions post for 2014. Not much happened in these 10 days since the previous post, but I do try to post on the 10th and 20th of each month now. I have already started the Susannah Sandlin book, and I really like it so far.

From Bookdepository:
Susannah Sandlin – Lovely, Dark and Deep
Laurell K. Hamilton – Affliction (read as ebook, but I do collect the paperbacks)
Catherine Coulter – Bomb Shell
Maya Banks – When day breaks. This book will tell me if I will keep reading the series or not.



© 2014 Reviews by Aurian

dinsdag 15 juli 2014

Recommendations from Peggy for July 2014.

In order to bring some more variety to my blog, I have asked some of my bookish friends to tell about the books they have in the past month, and to give us a recommendation. Today’s post is made by Peggy from Belgium.

Peggy:

I have read 2 books in the past month, and those 2 books are:

1. Sweet dreams - Kristen Ashley

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2. The will – Kristen Ashley

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The one I can recommend to all Aurian’s readers is:

Kristen Ashley – Sweet dreams

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She's ready for the ride of her life . . .
Lauren Grahame is looking to reinvent herself. After leaving her cheating husband, Lauren moves to Carnal, Colorado, and gets a job as a waitress in a biker bar called Bubba's. It's a nothing job in a nowhere joint . . . until Tatum Jackson walks in. Lauren has never seen a man with such good looks, muscles, and attitude. But when he insults her, Lauren doesn't want anything to do with him. Too bad for Lauren he's also the bar's part owner and bartender.
When the rough-around-the-edges Tate meets the high-class Lauren, he thinks she won't fit in at Bubba's. Yet there's more to Lauren than meets the eye, and Tate soon sets his mind on claiming her as his own. Before long, the desire burning between them is heating up the cold mountain air. But when violence strikes the town, Tate must reveal a dark secret to Lauren-one that may put an end to their sweet dreams.



Due to a project I was working on, I haven’t had much time to read this month. The books that I have read were from Kristen Ashley, one of my favorite writers. ‘The will’ is one of her new books and ‘Sweet dreams’ is a book of the Colorado Mountain series. This series isn’t new but the books are only now coming out in print (paperbacks). So this means that every month I will have a book coming my way from ‘The Colorado Mountain series’. That makes me a very happy woman.

Lauren Grahame wants a fresh start in life. After ten years of marriage she has discovered that her husband was having an affair with her best friend and this for five years!! So she has divorced him and now she’s looking for that one place where she can start a new, simple life.

After months of travelling she comes to Carnal, Colorado, a small town in America. There she finds a job as a waitress in a biker bar. This is something completely different from what she did in her ‘old’ life but she likes it. Everything is going well until she meets rough, handsome, tall Tatum Jackson (Tate for friends). He’s a bounty hunter but also the bar’s part-owner and bartender. So they have to work together in the bar and that wouldn’t be a problem if Tate didn’t said something hurtful the first time they met. Something that hurt Lauren so much, now she will have nothing to do with him.

Tate’s first impression of Lauren is one of a high-class woman that will never fit into Carnal or the bar. But after to get to know her better, he’s falling for her and now Tate is set on claiming her. But Lauren hasn’t forgotten their first meeting so now Tate has to convince her in his own way that they can be together. That’s however, not an easy thing to do when you have a past like him with a crazy ex, you have to travel around for your work as a bounty hunter and other men are flirting with your woman in your absence.

When he finally convinces her that they belong together, he has a new problem, there’s a serial killer at work. Someone’s threatening all the women in his life. So now he has to protect Lauren and he will do anything to keep her save. But will he succeed?

Sweet dreams is the second book of The Colorado Mountain series.
You don’t have to read the first book to read this one but the first book ‘The Gamble’ is also a great book.
One of the many things I like of Kristen Ashley her books is that most of her characters are in their thirties or even in their forties. They’re older, have more live experience, have ex-partners and sometimes they have children.
Just like in her other books they’re a lot of secondary characters and I really love them! They’re crazy, funny, loyal…and did I mention crazy?
Kristen Ashley has a special writing style and I know not everyone likes it but I do.

One little note: The book has 638 pages but I was never bored, not one minute of it. I couldn’t stop reading.

Aurian: Thanks for the recommendation Peggy! I know you have recommended her before, and I really will read one of her books someday. Which one is your favourite? How about you, reader, have you read this author yet? What is your favourite?




© 2014 Reviews by Aurian


maandag 14 juli 2014

Jane Porter – Flirting with Forty

A stand alone novel, published September 7, 2006.
Genre: women’s fiction
Cover: fun

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He got the second home and the Porsche. She got the kids and a broken heart. Now Jackie Laurens, post-divorce and heading toward the big 4-0, is on vacation in sunny Hawaii and facing her upcoming birthday – alone. But not for long. She’s soon falling for Kai, her gorgeous, much younger surf instructor, and their wild passionate fling becomes the biggest surprise of her life.
Back home in Seattle, Jackie has to struggle with single parenthood and her memories. Kai hasn’t forgotten her, yet thousands of miles of ocean and an age difference that feels even bigger lie between them. And, of course, Jackie’s friends disapprove. When a choice must be made, can she, will she risk everything for her chance at happiness?


I am not a big fan of woman’s fiction, but I met Jane Porter at LLC Berlin 2014, and so I wanted to read one of her books. I found this one second hand, and as I am around this age myself, I just had to read it.
I have to admit I did struggle with it some times, as Jackie is going through some severe depression and gets lots of critique from her friends. She is divorced, because her husband cheated on her, and they had grown apart. Jackie has two young children to take care of, the housework of course, and has her own career in decorating other people’s houses. She lives in Seattle. One of her best friends convinces her to go on a vacation, just the two of them, to celebrate Jackie’s 40th birthday. But when Jackie is waiting in the airport (the kids are with their father and his girlfriend), her friend calls that she can’t make it, as her husband is suddenly very ill. (The same husband who never wants her to do anything that does not involve him). And so Jackie goes to Hawaii alone.
At first she is at a loss what to do, making a schedule and sitting at the hotel’s swimming pool pretending to read a book. But a persistent man who thinks she will be a good fit to be his fourth wife drives her away. And the very attractive young surf instructor captures her attention ... When she keeps running into him, and he offers to teach her how to surf, to her own astonishment, she agrees. Jackie is very self conscious though, how can he admire her with her sagging body when all those young tight girls in itty bitty bikinis are throwing themselves at him? But there is just something between them, and they end up spending a lot of time together.

Back home in Seattle, Jackie can’t stop thinking of Kai, and when he calls her, she is determined to go back soon. Her friends disapprove, he was just a vacation fling, they live thousands of miles apart, and nothing can come of it. But Jackie is learning to do what she wants and needs, and not to be subjected to other people’s wishes and expectations of her. Her ex-husband of course finds out as well, and he ridicules her. But Jackie doesn’t care about that, there is a reason they are divorced.

And so Jackie lives her life in Seattle, and travels to Hawaii a few times. Until her daughter is in a car accident with the sitter she hired (against her ex-husband’s wishes) and she can’t get back soon enough. After that, she is so guild ridden, that she decides to give up on Kai. He will get over her soon enough ...


Jackie is a woman who lives mainly for her children. She has some good friends, who are all still married, and also live for their husband and children. She has a nice house, a nice car, and her own small business, her husband derogated all the time. Her little hobby. But Jackie wants more out of life, she wants to be happy. Her friends don’t understand that, they are content with their lives as they are.
The book is a lot about the feelings Jackie is having, she does love her kids to pieces, but she wants more. Eventually they will be grown up and living their own lives, and where will that leave her? She is reasonably pretty and has kept in good shape. When she hires a part-time nanny, that will give her more time for the job she enjoys, and land some new clients. But still.

Finding Kai in Hawaii changes her life, she starts questioning things she has always taken for granted. That you have to have things, a nice job, a nice house, a nice car, nice friends, and of course nice kids. Kai takes life easier; he came from a background like hers, so he knows what he has left behind. He loves the easy and relaxed life in Hawaii. He is a professional surfer in winter, and a surf instructor in summer. I like how he makes Jackie feel more confident about her self, and how he takes her all over the island. She is more to him than just a short fling, but Jackie doesn’t dare to believe in that, even though she has never had better sex in her life. She is very much hung up on the age difference, but I liked it.

Even though it sometimes felt like it took soooo long, and I got a bit tired of Jackie continuously questioning herself and her feelings and her thoughts, she grew a lot in this book, and I am proud that she choose herself, and happiness instead of settling for what she had. And I am sooo glad that the book has a happy ending, a truly good ending and one that I did not really see coming or expected. So I was happy when I closed the book, and it will make me read the other Jane Porter book I have, The Frog Prince.

7 stars.



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© 2014 Reviews by Aurian

zaterdag 12 juli 2014

Lisa Shearin – The Grendel Affair

The first book in the SPI Files series, published December 31, 2013.
Genre: urban fantasy
Cover: nice

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We're Supernatural Protection & Investigations, known as SPI. Things that go bump in the night, the monsters you thought didn't exist? We battle them and keep you safe. But some supernatural baddies are just too big to contain, even for us…
When I moved to New York to become a world famous journalist, I never imagined that snagging a job at a seedy tabloid would change my career path from trashy reporter to undercover agent. I'm Makenna Fraser, a Seer for SPI. I can see through any disguise, shield, or spell that a paranormal pest can come up with. I track down creatures and my partner, Ian Byrne, takes them out—usually saving my skin in the process.
Our cases are generally pretty routine, but a sickle-wielding serial killer has been prowling the city's subway tunnels. And the murderer's not human. The fiend in question, a descendant of Grendel—yes, that Grendel—shares his ancestor's hatred of parties, revelry, and drunkards. And with New Year's Eve in Times Square only two days away, we need to bag him quickly. Because if we don't find him—and the organization behind him—by midnight, our secret's out and everyone's time is up.


Welcome to a world filled with all the supernatural creatures you have ever read about. They live alongside humans, and often look human enough to be able to mingle in the streets. But this is caused by magic, by a spell or potion or a natural ability and even through modern technology. Makenna Fraser is a rare Seer, someone who can look though a veil, and see the true creature underneath. She grew up knowing about ghouls and vampires and werewolves and more.
She always wanted to be a journalist, but the only paper that hired her in New York, was one of those tabloids that loves outrageous tales, and if there aren’t any, they just make them up. Makenna was good at her job, because she could write about the truth of what she saw, and no one would believe it. But now she has a new job, working for the SPI. It is just the kind of job her family has, and she loves it. And perhaps she has a tiny crush on her partner Ian, who is fully human, a former cop who ran afoul of ghouls who killed his partner.

A new monster has let loose in New York City, with the sole purpose of exposing the preternatural world to humanity, taking over as the biggest predator of the food chain. SPI wants to prevent that from ever happening, and they have been working worldwide for ages to keep the monsters secret from humans. It would mean war between them, and millions will die, and hatred will rule.
The new, unknown monster is very strong and very fast, and also hidden from security cameras and sound. When Mac is on a private mission for a friend, trying to capture a nachtgnome hunting in his pawnshop, she is in more trouble than she thinks. The nachtgnome is more devious and more capable of keeping his liquor than she though, and she really does need Ian’s help. And when they discover there is someone upstairs in the office, and Ollie certainly would not be present, they are almost walking into the monsters paws. And just when they are investigating the crime scene, the normal police shows up, and they have to answer some questions about the presence. Someone must have called it in beforehand, it all just happened a few minutes ago.

The SPI’s most important lawyer quickly has them released though, and takes them in for questioning by the boss lady herself. Mac managed to take some vital evidence from the crime scene though, and soon the scientists have figured out that the monster they are looking for, is a real life Grendel, thought to be extinct by now. They will need the help and expertise from the Scandinavian branch to capture and kill it.
But before they get that far, the boss lady, who is a dragon in disguise, receives a note telling her that the appearance of the Grendel is not a coincidence, but a plan to expose them all on New Year’s Eve, Times Square. The Grendel hates noise and his favourite food is people, and both of those are in abundance at that time in Times Square, when the eyes of the world are focused on the massive celebration.

Time is running out for Mac and Ian and their teams to find the Grendels, and their offspring, especially when they discover a doppelganger has been posing as Mac for a while now, and she has left some nasty surprises in headquarters...

What follows is a fast paced story, filled with action and monsters, and only a few minutes breathing time for Mac to get something to eat.


After falling in love with Lisa Shearin’s Raine Benares series, earlier this year, I was eager to start reading her new series. It certainly did not disappoint me. Although Raine Benares is fantasy/fantasy romance, and this is urban fantasy, it was good. I really liked Mac and her co-workers, and can’t wait for more stories in this fascinating world. Again it is told in first person.

I enjoyed the adventure, the hidden world of tunnels underneath New York is teeming with all kinds of monsters, but so are the streets. The book is fast paced, and I really like that Mac’s co-workers are mostly preternatural, each with their own strengths, and part plain human. Although Mac is a Seer, she has no superpowers whatsoever, and has to rely on her wits and her water pistol filled with tequila. Until her partner confiscates it. And how can they fight a monster they can’t see? And that is too fast to be hit by bullets? Mac will have to make it visible and she does so in a brilliant and fun way.

The Grendel legend was very nicely worked into this story, but no, I have never been tempted to read Beowulf myself. I did like the crazy Scandinavian warriors that came over to hunt the Grendels.

I look forward to learning more about it all, and find out what will happen next for Mac.

9 stars.



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© 2014 Reviews by Aurian