What to Expect

February

Good morning fellow readers and happy February! It’s time for the monthly ‘What to Expect’ post.

So what type of book reviews can you look forward to in February? I honestly have no idea because I’ve been a genre jumper for the last couple of weeks. For those who have never experienced this frustrating situation it goes sorta like this…

What would I like to read today?

movie hunt science fiction i made lost in space

A sci-fi book? Oh yeah! I love sci-fi! But maybe not right now…

love 80s retro 1980s 80s movies

A romance novel? Yuck. But it is the month of love so maybe I should….

beautiful creatures

Oh, how about a YA?! (nose crinkles in thought) Maybe….

television mtv manu bennett the shannara chronicles allanon

Fantasy? Hmmmm….

bored boring tv red sherlock

A mystery? Yeah! A good mystery! Eh, I don’t know…

It’s INFURIATING! I just want to sit down with a good book that can keep my attention for more than a few minutes! So we all get to live on the edge this month, wondering what review will turn up next.

The one thing you can be certain of is I will be participating in my friend Liz’s #nerdslove challenge on Instagram. Check out my daily posts here and be sure to check out Liz’s account for the topic list and her nerdy posts.

That’s about it from me. What books do you have in the works this month? Anyone binge reading romance books? Anyone reading Pride and Prejudice and Zombies to prep for the movie release? Let me know!

Lindsay out!

Fire and Ice

Fire and Ice

by Julie Garwood

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Fresh from her incredible smash-hit historical romance Shadow Music, New York Times bestselling author Julie Garwood returns to contemporary romantic suspense with this wonderfully sexy, exhilarating blockbuster. Filled with sizzling passion and breathless adventure, Fire and Ice features a feisty heroine whom Garwood’s devoted readers already know and love from her hugely popular novel Murder List.

Sophie Rose, a tough and determined newspaper reporter, is the daughter of Bobby Rose, a suave, charming, and handsome gentleman who also happens to be a notorious big-time thief sought by every law-enforcement agency in the country. When the major Chicago daily where she works insists she write an exposé about her roguish father, Sophie refuses, quits her job, and goes to work at a small newspaper. Far from her one-time high-powered crime beat, she now covers local personalities such as the quirky winner of several area 5K runs whose trademark is goofy red socks.

Those red socks with Sophie’s business card neatly tucked inside are practically all that’s found after runner William Harrington is killed near Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, seemingly the victim of a brutal death by polar bear. The Alaska cops want to know why Harrington carried Sophie’s card. With an unerring nose for a good story, she heads north. What Sophie doesn’t realize is that on her journey from Chicago to Prudhoe Bay, danger follows in her wake. After one attempt on her life, she’s been assigned brash but sexy Jack MacAlister as a bodyguard by the cautious FBI. Amid great peril and deadly intrigue in the unforgiving Alaskan terrain, she and Jack form an uneasy alliance sparked with sensual attraction. But they will soon be fighting more than their growing passion for each other. Powerful forces will stop at nothing to prevent the exposure of the sinister conspiracy Sophie and Jack are about to uncover.

This will be my last winter romance thriller for a while. Nothing wrong with the story; I’m just tired of certain genre traits. And because of this I’m starting off with a negative point. I don’t like to do it but this one point was holding me back from sharing this review.

Fire and Ice is a well developed novel with an intriguing complex plot, but I probably wouldn’t have finished it if I wasn’t listening to the audio book. It’s because of how the main character, Sophie Rose, was handled. I really like Sophie despite not sharing her love for designer items. I like her spunk and her stubbornness. Garwood spends the entire novel insisting Sophie Rose can take care of herself. Sophie has a sharp tongue and is a gifted writer. She trusts few people so she falls in love slowly while remaining a firecracker in the bed. Sophie demands to have her own gun when being attacked in the Alaskan wilderness. She even punches a guy who slaps her. Sophie is an awesome woman, and yet; she still constantly comes off as a damsel in distress. Time after time she is rescued by Jack. I would have liked Sophie to fight back. I just wish she had tried to pull the trigger or threw a couple more punches. Nope, she still had to be saved by the rugged man which is a prominent romance staple. This is why I’m taking a step back from the genre.

Now that my mini rant is over….I feel I should point out that I’m just being picky so on to the positive points. Fire and Ice includes a number of interesting storylines that will please mystery readers. First: there is the mystery of what happened to William Harrington. This takes our two leads, and readers, from the Chicago to the wilderness of Alaska in search of answers. Second: the Alpha Project…and that is all I will say about that one. You need to read it for the rest of that intriguing mystery. Third: the fate of Kelly’s Root Beer! This keeps the story grounded and provides a humorous background for all the drama and violence. All three mysteries are well developed and written in a way that leaves you yearning for answers.

I definitely recommend Fire and Ice for readers looking for a complex romantic mystery. Sophie and Jack were both fun characters to watch fall head over heels with each other. And the supporting characters are all well developed, allowing readers to feel like they are tagging along with Sophie on her adventures.

Has anyone else read Fire and Ice? Any Julie Garwood fans out there?

Lindsay

Ice

Ice

By Linda Howard

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’Tis the season for mistletoe and holly, Santa . . . and suspense. And the gift that keeps on giving is Ice: premier thriller author Linda Howard’s breathless tale of a man, a woman, and a battle for survival against an unforgiving winter–and an unrelenting killer. Oh what fun it is to read.

Gabriel McQueen has only just arrived home on holiday leave from the service when his county-sheriff father sends him back out again with new marching orders. A brewing ice storm, and a distant neighbor who’s fallen out of contact, have the local lawman concerned. So he enlists Gabriel to make the long haul to the middle of nowhere, and make sure Lolly Helton is safe and sound. It’s a trip the younger McQueen would rather not make given the bitter winter weather–and the icy conditions that have always existed between him and Lolly.

But there’s no talking back when your dad is the town’s top cop. And there’ s no turning back when night falls just as Gabriel arrives–and discovers that the weather outside isn’t the only thing that’s frightful. Spotting strangers in Lolly’ s home–one of them packing a weapon–is all it takes to kick Gabriel into combat mode. And his stealth training is all he needs to extract Lolly from the house without alerting her captors. But when the escape is discovered, the heat–and the hunt–are on. And the winter woods are nowhere to be once the ice storm touches down, dropping trees, blocking roads, and trapping the fleeing pair in the freezing dark.

So my books of choice the last few weeks have been arctic romantic thrillers….don’t ask me why. Just go with it!

Ice was the perfect book to get me fired up for winter weather. I listened to the audio book and the short gripping passages left transfixed during my drive and frustrated upon parking.

The main characters, Gabe and Lolly, aredecently  developed and relatable. Both must deal with their past and budding attraction for each other while also attempting to survive the icy Maine wilderness.  I enjoyed reading Lolly’s introspection about her personal growth since childhood and I loved that they stuck battling both the elements and two drug addicts. I like that Howard had the bad guys be simple meth addicts. I feel that too often these type of stories try too hard to make the villain over the top, like a professional thief, spy, or professional killer. I am pleased Howard opted for a couple that are too high on drugs to feel pain and too greedy to care about survival. She perfectly captured the frantic thinking of their drug addled minds, the intense self obsession of the addict, and their insane ability to survive the elements thanks to the drugs.

Lily and Gabe’s struggle to survive the ice storm is intense and its good Lolly isn’t an outdoors and survival guru. This makes her character even more relatable for the majority of readers.

Their relationship was a little awkward, which makes sense in this situation but I felt that Howard was trying to keep it steamy while the characters are fighting for their lives against drug addicts and the weather. It’s good they don’t have instant love and romance, but it still felt a tad awkward at times. Ice is a tad repetitive as well, especially during Lolly’s moments of introspection. Yes, I know that our minds tend to be repetitive when we are focused on our insecurities and future, but it was a little too much for my liking.

Ice was a great book to read during my work commute! I enjoyed the short survival thriller and recommend the book if you enjoy the genre. You’ll definitely enjoy the frantic escape attempts through icy Maine. Happy New Year’s Eve!

Lindsay

Starry Night

Starry Night

by Debbie Macomber

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’Tis the season for romance, second chances, and Christmas cheer with this new novel from Debbie Macomber.

Carrie Slayton, a big-city society-page columnist, longs to write more serious news stories. So her editor hands her a challenge: She can cover any topic she wants, but only if she first scores the paper an interview with Finn Dalton, the notoriously reclusive author.

Living in the remote Alaskan wilderness, Finn has written a mega-bestselling memoir about surviving in the wild. But he stubbornly declines to speak to anyone in the press, and no one even knows exactly where he lives.

Digging deep into Finn’s past, Carrie develops a theory on his whereabouts. It is the holidays, but her career is at stake, so she forsakes her family celebrations and flies out to snowy Alaska. When she finally finds Finn, she discovers a man both more charismatic and more stubborn than she even expected. And soon she is torn between pursuing the story of a lifetime and following her heart.

Filled with all the comforts and joys of Christmastime, Starry Night is a delightful novel of finding happiness in the most surprising places.

A couple of weeks ago I was in desperate need of a Hallmark style holiday romance read since I can no longer actually watch Hallmark movies (no cable). I knew Debbie Macomber was pretty much the queen of Christmas romances so I picked up Starry Night at the local library.

It was the perfect choice! Starry Night tells the love story of reclusive author Finn and vivacious reporter Carrie. I loved the snarky relationship development between Carrie and Finn while they are stuck in his Alaskan cottage. The nightly conversations between them and the dog kept me giggling and I love how sweet Carrie is despite Finn’s moodiness. I even love how protective she is over his feelings and privacy. I just couldn’t quit reading!

I finished Starry Night in one sitting but the best part of the story is Finn and Carrie in Alaska. I’m a sucker for the rugged snowy outdoors setting despite being a winter wimp in real life. I don’t like cold, but the setting was perfect. The story just kinda faltered for me once the main characters were back in the city. I think it’s because I identify more with Finn instead of Carrie. The magical aspect of building a relationship in the city together did not feel all that magical for me. There interactions were just a little too forced for me. I also wouldn’t have hesitated to relocate to Alaska, especially if, like Carrie, I wasn’t happy with my job and already planning on moving.

I did enjoy the read and found the relationship between the main characters sweet. It was cute story that focused on love, compromise, and the small important things. All wonderful points in my opinion. Plus, I wish Finn’s novel was real because I want to read it!

So, definitely pick up Starry Night if you’re in need of a sweet winter romance to chase away any holiday blues. Any Debbie Macomber fans out there? What is your favorite?

Lindsay

Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving

By Janet Evanovich

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When Megan Murphy discovered a floppy-eared rabbit gnawing on the hem of her skirt, she meant to give its careless owner a piece of her mind, but Dr. Patrick Hunter was too attractive to stay mad at for long. Soon the two are making Thanksgiving dinner for their families.

So anyone who consistently reads Sand Between the Pages knows that I am just not a romance reader. But surprisingly, I do enjoy a good rom-com story on occasion. And I am a sucker for holiday themed stories. This is how I found myself reading Thanksgiving  by Janet Evanovich last month.
Thanksgiving is one of Evanovich’s first romance novels which were written before bringing us the Stephanie Plum series. It is a quick easy read and the perfect way to spend a lazy afternoon overstuff with turkey and pie. Just know that Thanksgiving is not for someone interested in a serious romance or a novel with a complex plot.
The story is cute and contains a number of enjoyable Evanovich attributes. Quirky characters: check. Cute male character you can’t help but crush on: check. Over-the-top Evanovich antics: check. Well developed plot: not so much. Thanksgiving just lacks the well developed plots we see in her later works. The story jumps along too fast from plot point to plot point, with the relationship between Meg and Pat going from basic sexual tension to a real proposal in less than a month. So yeah,  it can feel a bit unbelievable. Just keep this in mind when reading because there is a lot of unbelievable aspects of the novel besides the romance.
It is still a fun novel. I adore sweet Dr. Pat Hunter. His puppy dog personality is just so darn loveable. I mean the man has a pet bunny and sews up his tennis shoes. He is endearing and I like how honest he is about his feelings (the good and the bad) for Megan. I also emphasize with Megan’s stubbornness and self assertiveness. She has no problems standing up for her ideals, despite how everyone else views her decision. Plus, she is pretty straightforward when it comes to what she wants. I find that an impressive trait in anyone. The two fit well together and this made the read enjoyable. I found myself giggling at their antics throughout the story.
I definitely recommend Thanksgiving for rom-com fans in need of a light read. Sit back and enjoy the antics of the doctor, potter, their crazy families, a lost baby, a bunny, and a clueless ex-fiancé. Don’t take it seriously and let me know what you think.
Lindsay

Wicked Appetite

Wicked Appetite

by Janet Evanovich

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For centuries, treasure hunters have been eager to possess the stones, undeterred by their corrupting nature. The list is long — Genghis Khan, Alexander the Great, Napoleon, to name a few. Now the Stones have found their way to Salem, Massachusetts, and so has Gerwulf Grimoire, adding himself to this rogues’ gallery of power seekers. He’s an uncommonly dangerous man, with a hunger for the forbidden, and a set of abilities that are way beyond ordinary. Abilities that he feels entitle him to possess anything he might desire.

That would include Elizabeth Tucker, the woman he needs to find the Stones. She’s freshly transplanted from New York City to Boston’s North Shore. With a new job as pastry chef at Dazzle’s bakery and an old house inherited from her Aunt Ophelia, her life is pretty much on track …until it’s suddenly derailed by a guy named Diesel, a rude monkey, and a ninja cat.

Lizzy can handle the monkey and the cat. She’s not sure about Diesel. He’s offering up his own set of unusual talents, promising to protect her from Grimoire. The kind of protection that Lizzy suspects might involve guarding her body day and night.

The Seven Deadly Sins are pride, greed, lust, envy wrath, sloth and gluttony. That pretty much covers everything that is wicked. Diesel thinks it also pretty much covers everything that’s fun. And Lizzy thinks Diesel and the Seven Deadly Sins cover everything her mother warned her about.

Wicked Appetite is the first book in a relatively new series by Janet Evanovich. Some of the main characters were initially introduced during her in-between-the-numbers Plum novels, but Stephanie is absent this time around. The Lizzy and Diesel series is different in that it doesn’t stick with the normal romance or quirky mystery storyline that is typical of Evanovich’s novels. Instead, Wicked Appetite takes a stab at a supernatural semi-romance story and I enjoyed it. 

I love the characters and they are one of the reasons I find myself coming back to Evanovich’s novels time after time. Lizzy is just an ordinary girl who can make extraordinary cupcakes and has the ability to find certain unmentionable items. Diesel, a ruggedly handsome stranger, needs her help to find seven stones that embody the Seven Deadly Sins. A rude monkey, ninja guard cat, bakery full of witchy women, knight, and mysterious bad guy make up the quirky supporting cast. Yep, it’s an Evanovich novel!

I love how naive and openly honest Lizzy is about her life. She has no problem telling Diesel how she feels and I found it endearing. I also love everything about Diesel and how he interacts with Lizzy. He is sweet, assertive, and yet perfectly protective of our sweet damsel. Diesel is my kind of guy and I plan to finish the series just to hear more about him! Plus, I LOVE how Evanovich portrays the glutton   attributes of the Moore family. Her humorous twists left me giggling constantly during my tedious drive.

I still do not get where Evanovich is going with this whole Unmentionable thing. It doesn’t seem to have any basis in any predetermined paranormal storyline and it just lacks the information I need to really enjoy the story. It just seems like everyone is ok with the lack of information (except Lizzy, she isn’t ok with any of it) and that lack left me a tad confused at times. I need more history and background to wholeheartedly jump onboard. If anyone gets the Unmentionable thing please feel free to enlighten me.

Also, I do not find Wolf attractive. At. All. The dark, dangerous vampire vibe is fine but it isn’t something to leave me swooning like the women in the novel. To be honest, their reactions made me rolling my eyes. I’m not about to jump in to bead with a cruel guy like Wolf so I don’t get the appeal. I am also wary of the whole ‘one of us will loose our unmentionable powers if we sleep together’ plot line. WHAT?!? I know there needs to be something keeping Lizzy and Diesel from jumping in the sack by chapter three but this has bad idea written all over it. What’s going to happen by the end of the series? Which character is willing to give up a part of themselves for sex? Eh….

Overall, it was a fun book to listen to during my commute. I love the characters and Diesel is my type of guy, but it will not be making my list of favorites. Have you read Wicked Appetite? Let me know what you think!

Lindsay

The Cage

The Cage

by Megan Shepard

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The Maze Runner meets Scott Westerfeld in this gripping new series about teens held captive in a human zoo by an otherworldly race. From Megan Shepherd, the acclaimed author of The Madman’s Daughter trilogy.

When Cora Mason wakes in a desert, she doesn’t know where she is or who put her there. As she explores, she finds an impossible mix of environments—tundra next to desert, farm next to jungle, and a strangely empty town cobbled together from different cultures—all watched over by eerie black windows. And she isn’t alone.

Four other teenagers have also been taken: a beautiful model, a tattooed smuggler, a secretive genius, and an army brat who seems to know too much about Cora’s past. None of them have a clue as to what happened, and all of them have secrets. As the unlikely group struggles for leadership, they slowly start to trust each other. But when their mysterious jailer—a handsome young guard called Cassian—appears, they realize that their captivity is more terrifying than they could ever imagine: Their captors aren’t from Earth. And they have taken the five teenagers for an otherworldly zoo—where the exhibits are humans.

As a forbidden attraction develops between Cora and Cassian, she realizes that her best chance of escape might be in the arms of her own jailer—though that would mean leaving the others behind. Can Cora manage to save herself and her companions? And if so . . . what world lies beyond the walls of their cage?

I REALLY wanted to read a young adult science fiction novel that was not dystopian or centered on an angsty love story. Yeah, I know. I can hear your laughs from here because such novels just don’t exist! Right?

Wrong! These books are out there and I now have a nice list from Facebook friends that I am eager to check out. Surprisingly, Goodreads recommended The Cage and I couldn’t say no to the premise. I mean, come on! A human zoo! Who could say no to that?!

I’m not going to provide a summary because the above synopsis does a pretty thorough job, so lets jump straight in to the review. I loved it! I couldn’t put The Cage down because, like Cora, I needed to know what was going on! My favorite character was Cassian, the alien Caretaker in charge of Cora’s habitat. I love how earnest he is to learn about human nature and I enjoyed the relationship that develops between him and Cora. Many readers have stated distaste at the alien/captive relationship because it just seemed weird. I had no problem with it because 1. it wasn’t a surprise as it is obviously stated in the book blurb (I have no earthly idea why they were shocked and disgusted. *eyeroll*) and 2. the connection between Cora and Cassian was far more tangible than the supposed relationship between her and Lucky.

Shepard is a master at world building. I was immersed in the habitats, tasting the odd food, and slowly going nuts as the same song blared repeatedly from the jukebox. Shepard also perfectly displays the effects of captivity on the human mind. Yes, the human teenagers are erratic. Yes, the insta-love/lust between them seems unrealistic. Yes, Cora’s almost psychotic drive to escape can be overwhelming. But, they are all realistic mental responses to imprisonment and experimentation. I can definitely see myself reacting in a similar fashion to Cora because there is no way I would be a willing test subject. A number of reviewers remarked on the annoyance of the character interactions, but I thought it was one of the more impressive aspects of the story construction. Annoying, but also shockingly realistic in my opinion.

Unfortunately, Cassian was the only fully developed character in The Cage, which was disappointing. Shepard created a vivid background for the captives but that depth did not encompass the six captives. I was hoping to have sympathy and compassion for each of them but they read two dimensional despite Shepard including chapters from each captive’s perspective. Even Cora was less developed than I hoped. She was all over the place and two plots points left me irritated with her.1. Her response to Lucky coming clean about their shared history contradicts what we learn about said history later in the story. I actually yelled ‘WHAT!?’ at my Nook. 2. Her dependency on her necklace was irksome as she wouldn’t have been allowed to wear in juvie and therefore would not have developed such a dependency on it. These two points decreased my connection with Cora and left me easily annoyed by her actions. I would have been more on her side if these two details were handled differently.

Dont let that deter you from The Cage. I stayed up late because I NEEDED to know how it ended and I was so darn wound up upon finishing that I had a difficult time falling asleep. I was left wanting, needing, to know more about Cassian and the Kindred and the fate of the captives. I will definitely be reading book two when it comes out next year! I wish I could provide more information on the story/plot but no spoilers! Read it and let me know what you think!

Lindsay

Risky Business

Risky Business

by Nora Roberts

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Liz Palmer runs a dive business in the quiet tranquility of a Caribbean island. Tranquil, that is, until a routine trip over the reef reveals the body of her newest employee – diver Jerry Sharpe. But when his brother, Jonas, shows up asking questions, Liz can’t see how she can help. She barely knew Jerry. Then someone breaks into Liz’s apartment, intent on her murder. Liz realizes that she is already more involved in Jonas’ quest to unravel Jerry’s murky past than she wanted to be. And now Jonas and Liz will be drawn into a dangerous criminal underworld that could cost them both their lives…

I decided to read Risky Business because I was drawn in by the promise of SCUBA diving and a grisly murder mystery. I can’t say no to a goodmurder mystery and Liz, the leading lady, actually finds her missing dive master by seeing his body through the bottom of her glass bottom boat. I was hooked with that scene! What can I say? I guess I’m morbid.

Unfortunitely, that is where my enjoyment of the story also died a grisly death. I’m still going to start with the few positive notes. I loved the mystery of Risky Business. The drug smuggling storyline was interesting and I was kept guessing throughout the story. I also enjoyed the SCUBA diving scenes. Cozumel Mexico is one of my favorite dive sites and these passages brought back some wonderful memories of crystal clear waters and vibrant sea life. It had me ready to jump on a plane and head out on a dive trip.

That’s it though. I’m sad to say that finishing this book was akin to pulling teeth thanks to the romantic relationship between Liz and Jonas. It. was. so. annoying. To sum it up: Liz is damaged and stubbornly refuses to allow herself to be happy. Jonas is spoiled and pushy and goes way out of line to seduce Liz (like going to Texas to secretly meet her daughter). Liz gets mad. Jonas gets mad. But they are sooooo in love with each other. Major eyeroll and gag me moments. Every moment just seemed so forced.

I realized, half way through the book, that Risky Business was originally published in the 1980s. This could explain why the romance is so forced, but still…nope. The majority of the book was dedicated to this romance and the mystery was just a side note instead of a major plot line. Risky Business just wasn’t my type of mystery.

What do you think about romance in your mysteries? I prefer it to stay a subplot. What is your favorite Nora Roberts novel?

Lindsay

Hot Stuff

Hot Stuff

by Janet Evanovich

& Leanne Banks

Hot Stuff (Cate Madigan #1)

Dear Reader,

If you like hot men, hot action and hot attraction you’re going to love this HOT new series! HOT STUFF introduces Cate Madigan, a Boston native from a large and crazy Irish family. Cate has far too much going on to get involved in extracurricular activities, like men and marriage. She spends all day in school, earning her teaching degree, and all night working as a bartender in Boston’s South End. Ex-cop Kellen McBride has decided to make Cate’s bar his nightly haunt. He likes Cate’s sassy Irish spirit and wild red hair. He also has an ulterior motive for getting close to her. Cate has sworn off all things romantic, but when she comes home to a ransacked apartment, a roommate who has flown the coop, and a sleeping bullmastiff named Beast, Cate has no choice but to ask Kellen for help. Can Kate resist the charming Kellen McBride while keeping herself out of danger? Or will Kellen turn up the heat on Cate and everything in her life?

We know you’ll have a blast with HOT STUFF !

May the month of mystery continues, though I’m sure most of you may consider my absence the last weeks to be the real mystery.  That one is simple to solve.  I’ve been sick and   am still trying to adjust to my crazy night schedule!  The good thing is that I am finally getting some reading done so the last few days of May will be jammed full of book reviews.

I’m jumping back on the reviewing wagon with another Janet Evanovich story.  Evanovich partners with Leanne Banks to bring us Hot Stuff.  This is a fun stand alone mystery novel that follows Cate Madigan as she is thrown head first in to a jewel heist mystery involving her drag queen roommate, loveable guard puppy, and hunky ex-cop Kellen McBride. The story is fast paced, fun, and makes for the perfect book to take to the beach!

Hot Stuff is one of my favorite summer reads. I usually listen to the audio book every year and I picked it up again last week after a string of lackluster audio reads. The quirky characters are what keep me coming back time after time. I like Cate and her spunky determination to make it on her own and not fall for Kellen. I have no problem swooning over the ex-cop thanks to his blunt nature and earnest feelings for Cate. 

I enjoy the cast of supporting characters! Julie’s stories crack me up and it’s funny watching calm and efficient Sharon brought down by the mystery man in 2B. Their friendship with Cate is just sweet and loving. Marty is just well…who couldn’t love a six foot tall Judy Garland?! I can even deal with the annoying stalkerish Pug. The mystery is very light but I read Hot Stuff for the laughs and Evanovich and Banks definitely deliver! The sweatpant bedroom scene kills me every time!

Now I do have to include a disclaimer: I’ve noticed that many readers really dislike Hot Stuff for all the reasons I just stated liking. I can understand where they are coming from. The characters can be too quirky for some and they do read very two-diminsional at times. They could all be a little better developed. And Hot Stuff it’s not much of a thinker. You will quickly figure out the mystery so it’s not for those want a plot that will keep them up at night wondering whodunnit.  Nor is it the quality of Evanovich’s Plum novels, which will likely disappoint diehard Plum fans. 

Some times you just need a story that makes you laugh and Hot Stuff will having you giggling. That’s why I enjoy it! So grab a copy and head to the beach!

Lindsay

The Night is Alive 

The Night is Alive

by Heather Graham

The Night Is Alive (Krewe of Hunters, #10)

MIDNIGHT IN SAVANNAH

It’s a city of beauty, history, hauntings. And one of the most haunted places in Savannah is a tavern called The Dragonslayer, built in the 1750s. The current owner, Gus Anderson, is a descendant of the original innkeeper and his pirate brother, Blue.

Gus summons his granddaughter, Abigail, home from Virginia, where she’s studying at the FBI Academy. When she arrives, she’s devastated to find him dead. Murdered. But Abby soon learns that Gus isn’t the only one to meet a brutal and untimely end; there’ve been at least two other victims. Then Captain Blue Anderson starts making ghostly appearances, and the FBI’s paranormal investigation unit, the Krewe of Hunters, sends in Agent Malachi Gordon.

Abby and Malachi have a similar ability to connect with the dead and a similar stubbornness. Sparks immediately begin to fly; sparks of attraction and discord. But as the death toll rises, they have to trust each other or they, too, might find themselves among the dead haunting old Savannah!

I like Heather Graham. I enjoy her quirky female leads and how she smoothly integrates her paranormal characters in to her mysteries. But, I will not be reading any more of her Krewe of Hunters books. The Night is Alive is the second Krewe of Hunters novel reviewed on Sand Between the Pages.  You can check out Phantom Evil here.

I grabbed the audio version of The Night is Alive, Krewe of Hunters #10,  from the local library, drawn in by the promise of Savannah history and pirate ghosts. I never say no to pirate ghosts y’all!  I just wish I actually liked The Night is Alive.

Let me start with the positive points. The Night is Alive delivered on Savannah history. The detailed passages of the city streets, the historic buildings, and underground tunnels had me ready to book a vacation. I had no problem feeling like I was exploring alongside Malachi and Abby. Graham also didn’t disappoint when it came to pirate lore. My husband and I are both big fans of pirate history and Blue’s scenes were definitely my favorite.

Now on to why I will not be reading any more Krewe of Hunters novels. I do not like the Krewe characters.  They are undeveloped, leaving them to read very two dimensional and forced.  I can’t get invested in their stories.  Abby is a new FBI agent driven to prove herself and we are constantly reminded of this fact by EVERYONE in the story.  She never actually acted like a trained FBI agent until she faced off with the killer so we definitely needed all those reminders, but it gets old fast.  Her relationship with Malachi didn’t feel remotely realistic.  They went from hating each other, to hooking up, to maybe dating, and then to discussing marriage in the course of three weeks.  ARE YOU KIDDING ME!? This is the second time insta-love has been a major plot device in my Krewe of Hunters reading.  No, just no.  Don’t worry, I didn’t give away any spoilers.  You know where Abby and Malachi’s relationship is going the minute they meet.  Here are some actual spoilers though, so avert your eyes if you must!  I do not like what Graham did with her serial killer.  She did everything she could to divert suspicion from this character so that the reveal would be all the more shocking.  No, it wasn’t shocking.  It was irritating and I was rightly pissed when I realized whodunit.  And then, THEN, she kills off the serial killer before explaining his motivations.  I know this happens in real life, but it just felt lazy coupled with the complete lack of character development throughout the entire story.  UHG!

Now don’t let this review deter you from Graham’s stand alone and Harrison Investigation novels.  I enjoy many of them and they are pretty well developed!  I just can’t get behind her Krewe of Hunters series.  Are you a Heather Graham fan?  What do you think of her new series?

Lindsay