Friday, September 7, 2012

Mystery Man by Kristen Ashley (Dream Man #1)

While drinking cosmopolitans, Gwendolyn Kidd meets the man of her dreams. Then she takes him home. Then she wakes up alone. But her fear that she lost her dream man turns into a relationship with a mystery man when, night after night in the dead of night, he comes back for more. Hoping it will blossom into something real, she lets him. But she doesn’t even know his name. Gwen’s struggling with the decision to end their crazy non-relationship when her sister-from-hell, Ginger’s best friend pays a visit and warns Gwen that if she and her sister don't get smart, they'll both get d-e-a-d, dead. Gwen has no clue what’s going on but she’s used to Ginger’s antics and decides to lay the problem on her sister’s biker boyfriend's doorstep. Bad choice. She hits the Denver Underground radar with a big, loud ping. This means Gwen’s Mystery Man, Cabe “Hawk” Delgado has to step in to keep her safe. But when Hawk gets a dose of Gwen in the daylight, he makes the decision that he finally wants real with Gwen. However when Gwen gets a dose of badass, bossy, straight-talker Hawk in the daylight, she decides she’s done. Thus begins the head-to-head of the Commando vs. Cosmo Girl as Hawk woos Gwen in his own unique way, Gwen survives firebombs, drive-bys, kidnappings, hot pursuits by biker hotties and gorgeous police detectives and discovers the heartbreaking reason why Hawk kept her at arm’s length. And as all this happens, Gwen finds that her sister’s troubles are serious trouble and she must decide who to keep alive: her sister-from-hell or the man of her dreams.

First Impression:
I really liked the Colorado Mountain Man series, so this series was next up on my list. And it had a martini on the front. I like martinis.

The Pros:
This book was pretty much the Colorado Mountain Man series set in Denver. If you liked CMM like I did, you'll like this one too. If not, then this isn't the one for you.

Hawk. HAWK. I mean, come on. His name is Hawk. Can't get much hotter than that.

I liked the underlying theme of family, and what family means.

Tack seemed scary at first, but he was actually a good guy. He looked out for Gwen when she needed him, and didn't push any boundaries.

Epilogue. Incredible. Loved it.

The Cons:
Gwen was a bit stupid. But we can't have a macho man without a tad stupid heroine, right?

Ginger Kidd. Seriously? Of all the things you can name a person, Ginger Kidd? 

I wasn't a huge fan of Mitch Lawson. Something about him just annoyed me.

The whole mystery man aspect in the beginning of the book was a bit too weird for me. Sneaking into her house? She never knew his name? But he knew everything about her? Creepy.

The Wrap Up: 3.5/5
Another solid Kristen Ashley novel. It has all of her normal themes: macho men, kind of stupid heroine, action, kidnapping, sex. I docked it a half star just for the whole creepy stalkerish beginning.

Favorite Quote:
"You live in your head too much, you curl up and shut shit out and spend so much time doing it, you forget to live your life. You can't live your life in your head. That isn't living."

Buy Mystery Man by Kristen Ashley on Amazon.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

Deep in the stacks of Oxford's Bodleian Library, young scholar Diana Bishop unwittingly calls up a bewitched alchemical manuscript in the course of her research. Descended from an old and distinguished line of witches, Diana wants nothing to do with sorcery; so after a furtive glance and a few notes, she banishes the book to the stacks. But her discovery sets a fantastical underworld stirring, and a horde of daemons, witches, and vampires soon descends upon the library. Diana has stumbled upon a coveted treasure lost for centuries-and she is the only creature who can break its spell.

Initial Thoughts:
This has been on my wish list on Amazon since I got my Kindle a year and a half ago. It had great reviews, but as soon as I saw the word "vampire" I was turned off. It felt like everyone and their mom had a vampire book out last year. I went through my wish list recently and decided that it was time I gave it a try.

The Pros:
It felt like this book was a mixture of Harry Potter, a romance novel, and a dash of Twilight. I think that's good? Pretty sure it's good.

The historic detail in this novel was fantastic. I'm a big historical fiction fan, so this was awesome for me.

Harkness is a fabulous writer. No Stephenie Meyer nonsense here. Her descriptions left you feeling like you were in the book, not just reading it.

We read about vampires and witches all the time. Harkness adds daemons to this list. No werewolves. No fairies. No hobbits. Thank god.

I liked the scientific aspect of this book. Taking supernatural beings down to a DNA level was fascinating.

The Cons:
I was confused about the daemons. What were they really? Do they have a different lifespan than humans and witches? Do they live forever like vampires? What were their talents, other than being slightly inclined to higher IQs?

The book had a slow start. Slow starts are not good for me. I tend to lose interest and walk away from the book. Luckily, I stuck with it, which was rewarding in the end.

Diana is an intelligent woman (she DOES have a PhD in something fancypantsy after all), but she acts like a child multiple times in the book,

Matthew was a bit overbearing for my taste. And I like macho men in my novels. So that's saying something.

The Wrap Up: 3.5/5
I liked the book, but I think it could have been trimmed down a little. It was a monster sized book (just under 600 pages!) and I think the attention to detail, while good, could have been cut back a little. Less overbearing with Matthew, and more strength from Diana, and this book would have been perfect.

Favorite Quote:
"My life now has a beginning, middle, and an end. Everything before you was a preamble. Now I have you. One day you will be gone, and my life will be over."

Buy A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness on Amazon.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Rock Chick by Kristen Ashley (Rock Chick #1)

Indy Savage, cop's daughter, rock chick and used bookstore owner, has been in love with Lee Nightingale, once bad boy, now the man behind Nightingale Investigations, since she was five years old. No matter what ingenious schemes Indy used to capture his attention, Lee never showed an interest and Indy finally gave up. Now Indy's employee, Rosie, has lost a bag of diamonds and bad guys are shooting at him. When Indy gets involved, Lee is forced to help. Complicting matters, Lee has decided he's interested, Indy's decided she's not. But she can't seem to keep Lee out of her life when she's repeatedly stun gunned, kidnapped and there are car bombs exploding (not to mention she's finding dead bodies). Indy's best bet is to solve the mystery of the diamonds before Lee. Lee's challenge is to keep Indy alive and, at the same time, win back her heart.

Initial Thoughts:
Kristen Ashley has become one of my favorite authors, and Rock Chick is the first in her bestselling Rock Chick series. Badass girls and macho men? I'm SO in.

The Pros:
I loved how this story has a history. It's not a boy meets girl, girl falls in love with boy, boy realizes he can't live without the girl, they live happily ever after, kind of story. Indy and Lee have known each other their entire lives. That adds a special something to the book.

Nightingale Investigations... can I work for you? And hang out with your bevy of macho men hotties?

Indy and Ally are hilarious. And huge troublemakers. This book had me laughing at many points.

Kristen Ashley's use of language varies between characters. It feels like they are really speaking to you.

The Cons:
Indy could be annoying at times. I wanted to just grab her by the shoulders and say "STAY OUT OF IT!"

I didn't quite get the whole "Rock Chick" thing. Are they groupies? Are they not? Are they stuck in the days of 80's hair bands?

The Wrap Up: 4/5
I really liked this book. Funny, action packed, with a side of romance. I couldn't wait to read the next in the series.

Favorite Quote:
"Your grandmother used to say that you were two souls separated in heaven. She mainly meant you were both trouble and deserved each other."

Buy Rock Chick by Kristen Ashley on Amazon.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Knight by Kristen Ashley

Anya Gage has learned that to get anything good in life, you have to work for it. She has no expectations, no dreams. Then she finds herself at a party where she doesn’t want to be and she meets Knight. Knight Sebring knows who he is, what he wants and what he likes. And he gets it. But he never expected something as sweet as Anya Gage to wander into his bedroom during a party he did not expect to be having to borrow his phone. Knight tries to leave Anya to the life she deserves of white picket fences and a man who watches football on Sundays – good, normal and clean. But when Anya comes to his nightclub and finds herself in a situation, he knows someone has to look after her, he can’t fight it anymore and he decides that man will be him. Knight teaches Anya that, just as with the bad, in life you should also expect the good. And he teaches her this by giving it to her. But Knight has a dark past and just as he desires Anya for exactly who she is, he fears when she finds out exactly the man he has become and always intends to be, she’ll leave him for good, normal and clean.

Initial Thoughts:
I have grown to LOVE Kristen Ashley books. I have read the entire Colorado Mountain Man, Mystery Man, and Rock Chick Series. I'm currently working my way through the 'Burg series, but this one by her caught my eye, so I took a break from the 'Burg to read this one.

The Pros:
This book was completely different than Ashley's other novels. It was a refreshing change of pace for her.

Ashley left behind her normal Denverite speak for this one. I can't decide if that's good or bad, I think I've grown to like it.

Knight was MUCH hotter than KA's other novels. Much. Much. Much much. 

There were some really sweet quotes from Knight that made me go all "awwwwww!" 

The Cons:
Anya calling Knight "Daddy". Um. Ew?

It felt like a Fifty Shades knock off, and not in a good way.

Knight's actual  business was SHOCKING. And how could Anya stay with him after that? She barely even thought about it.

The whole novel felt a little rushed. Maybe she should have broken it down into two books and took a little more time on character development.

The Wrap Up: 3/5
I think I like Kristen Ashley's typical novels better. This one just seemed a little too forced for me, and the "Daddy" bit creeped me right out.

Favorite Quote:
" 'Wars fought over a face like this,' he murmured like he was talking to himself, my heart stopped beating and his thumbs moved lightly across my cheeks. 'A man would work himself into the ground for it, go down to his knees to beg to keep it, endure torture to protect it, take a bullet for it,' his eyes came to mine, 'poison his brother to possess a face like this.' "

Buy Knight by Kristen Ashley on Amazon now.