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bananatricky

Sitting on the edge with my Kindle

I am a voarcious reader who resents the time she spends sleeping and working as it leaves less time for my kindle

Currently reading

American Gods
Neil Gaiman
The Dream Hunter
Sherrilyn Kenyon
Dragonswan
Sherrilyn Kenyon
Taking Chase
Lauren Dane
Don't Let Go
Marliss Melton
Bait
Annie Nicholas
Second Grave on the Left
Darynda Jones
Last Man Standing
Cindy Gerard
One for the Wicked
Karina Cooper
Kill Shot
Liliana Hart
Million Dollar Wife - Margaret O'Neil There was nothing really wrong with this book barring a couple of minor typos (Marja becomes Mara at one point for example).

Bryce is a world-famous film star, a widower with twin daughters he is still in love with his wife and has resisted all lures from other women –his sister has set him up with any number of women but he is not interested.

One night at a party at his sister's house Bryce is hiding in the library when he is joined by Marja – she is overwhelmed by the party and trying to hide out too. Bryce is dismissive of Marja, too tall, too thin looks like a school teacher – pretty sure she was wearing glasses too although they seem to disappear after this scene.

What is apparently a year later (time seems a bit vague in this book), Bryce comes home from work at midnight to find Marja in his kitchen. Apparently his daughters have driven off yet another nanny and there is no time to hire a new one so his sister, Anne, has roped in Marja who has a degree in child psychology (or something) and is a college professor (presumably between tenures?).

Within a day Bryce decides that Marja would make the perfect mother for his daughters – they need a mother not a nanny – and proposes a deal. Marja to marry him and be a mother to his daughters for 10 years, at US$1 million a year. Although she is horrified, Marja is already half in love with the twins so she agrees, but there are stipulations, after 12 months she wants to adopt the twins and there will be no sex – Bryce counters that after 12 months there will be sex.

Everything after this was a bit wishy-washy. Marja has a bit of a make-over, Bryce realises he finds her very attractive. She has been rejected and humiliated by her first husband which makes her wary of men. He has a bad temper. Blah, blah.

And then, out of nowhere, at about 80% there is a random suspense plot WTF?

There were also hints at supernatural with Bryce feeling a cold breath against the back of his neck more than once.

Also, there seems to be a storyline where Bryce realises his first wife was not such a nice person – but it doesn't go anywhere. Why can't he just find love a second time rather than suggesting that his first wife was somehow undeserving?
So, as I said, nothing intrinsically wrong with it, I didn't LOVE either of the characters or the twins and there seemed random plots which appeared out of nowhere. The love scenes were old school Mills and Boon – in fact I couldn't swear hand on heart that they actually did IT!
Upon the Midnight Clear - Sherrilyn Kenyon Short story akin to Scrooge
Devil May Cry - Sherrilyn Kenyon The story of Kat and Sin.

Remember Kat from a few books back - she was Artemis' handmaid who was acting as a bodyguard for Cassandra? Anyway there was something hinky about her and Ash - he wasn't allowed to see her or hear of her presence. Well now we know why!

Kat is the daughter of Ash and Artemis. Artemis tried to tell Ash about his daughter but this was immediately after she betrayed him so he first refused to talk to her, then she presented the baby in such a way that he felt it was a generic baby left as an offering to the gods rather than his daughter. So for thousands of years Artemis and Kat have kept her existence a secret from all.

Sin is a former Sumerian God, posing as a Dark-Hunter, his role in life is to kill the Gallu demons – a menace to humans which none of the other gods seem to care about. His powers were stripped from him by Kat, on Artemis' orders, under the mistaken impression that he had attacked Artemis.

Finally, book 12 and I awarded a four star rating. We finally got to hear some of Ash and Artie's backstory, get the 411 on Kat and see Daimons being nice. By this stage I am starting to mentally tick off each character and think, 'yep, gonna get his/her story soon'. I liked the banter between Sin and Kat, I liked the way in which the inevitable uncovering of betrayal was not overblown, I liked that the (also inevitable) self-sacrifice was short-lived and less angsty than usual.

I also enjoyed the insight into Ash' motivations and why all the gods are so, quite frankly, awful. Apparently, it is only (and I am paraphrasing wildly) some deeply cataclysmic event like losing one's god-powers which teaches gods concepts like compassion. Presumably this is why each of the Dark-Hunters had such appalling lives!

Still having 'issues' with the Dream-Hunters, hence book 11 is still listed as 'currently reading' but I will soldier on.
Pick Your Poison - Roxanne St. Claire Short but sweet story
Pick Your Poison - Roxanne St. Claire Short but sweet story
Fear the Darkness (Dark-Hunter Universe #11.5) - Sherrilyn Kenyon Wow, this was really too short for a review, less of a short story and more of a snippet.

Nick Gaultier comes back to New Orleans to see the devestation. He is approached by forces for good and evil (for want of a better description) and each tries to sway him.

Which one will he pick?

I have issues with Nick's hatred of Ash - I just don't get it, it doesn't 'feel' genuine for a man to turn against his best friend and hate him so much and refuse to listen/believe in anything good about him.
The First Alpha - K.A.  Taylor Urgh I kept at it but at 60% I pulled the plug when I came across this horror:

Cassie chewed her lower lip and clutched handfuls of hay between her fingers as Adam slid slowly forward, spreading her tightness with his enormous member. She gasped with surprise as her dripping wet lips spread smoothly open to allow him to enter, shocked at how hard and hot he felt inside her. I was sitting on a commuter train when I read that - the shame!

Adam changes his name to Robert at one point.

The book has spelling mistakes and bad grammar. It's a pity because I kind of liked the story with Adam being THE Adam and her mother's scheming but it was badly written. Who in their right minds refers to a man's phallus and/or member? I mean really?
Vampire State of Mind - Jane Lovering So I really enjoyed this - it felt like the start of a series, the world building was looking that way and then bish, bash, bosh it's all finished...

In 1910 a magnetic field shift resulted in beings from other worlds crossing to earth - beings such as vampires, werewolves, ghouls etc. In 1927 the Otherworlders and the humans engaged in a global war which only ended with the treaty of Aberystwyth in 1988.

Jessica is a put-upon council employee of York. Her job is to make sure the Otherworlders stay in their designated areas. Underpaid and overworked she and her colleague Liam are holed up in a grotty council office with substandard equipment.

Jess obviously has a 'thing' with one of the vampires, Sil, the ruler of York no less. A lot of strange things start to happen, a mild-mannered vampire deliberately leaves his territory to warn Jess. Two Enforcement Agents try to kill her and a strange Otherworld competition is mysteriously moved to York - all in a matter of days.

I enjoyed the York setting and the world building but everything felt a bit rushed, maybe because I was reading this in short bursts over a couple of days, things that would otherwise have taken at least several chapters are done in less than one. It felt as though all that world building had gone to waste.

Jess was well-written as a character, I understood her fears and anxieties but I didn't really feel the same about Sil. He seemed to be a mishmash of three or four different characters (or do I just mean he was inconsistent). I didn't understand his motivations or why he behaved the way he did – maybe I just thought his 'issue' was weak?

Anyway, but for the abrupt ending I would have given this a four star review but the unsatisfactory Sil situation together with the rushed ending dropped it down to a three – maybe three and a half.

This is the third of Jane Lovering's books that I have read – all are very different but very enjoyable.
Vampire State of Mind - Jane Lovering So I really enjoyed this - it felt like the start of a series, the world building was looking that way and then bish, bash, bosh it's all finished...

In 1910 a magnetic field shift resulted in beings from other worlds crossing to earth - beings such as vampires, werewolves, ghouls etc. In 1927 the Otherworlders and the humans engaged in a global war which only ended with the treaty of Aberystwyth in 1988.

Jessica is a put-upon council employee of York. Her job is to make sure the Otherworlders stay in their designated areas. Underpaid and overworked she and her colleague Liam are holed up in a grotty council office with substandard equipment.

Jess obviously has a 'thing' with one of the vampires, Sil, the ruler of York no less. A lot of strange things start to happen, a mild-mannered vampire deliberately leaves his territory to warn Jess. Two Enforcement Agents try to kill her and a strange Otherworld competition is mysteriously moved to York - all in a matter of days.

I enjoyed the York setting and the world building but everything felt a bit rushed, maybe because I was reading this in short bursts over a couple of days, things that would otherwise have taken at least several chapters are done in less than one. It felt as though all that world building had gone to waste.

Jess was well-written as a character, I understood her fears and anxieties but I didn't really feel the same about Sil. He seemed to be a mishmash of three or four different characters (or do I just mean he was inconsistent). I didn't understand his motivations or why he behaved the way he did – maybe I just thought his 'issue' was weak?

Anyway, but for the abrupt ending I would have given this a four star review but the unsatisfactory Sil situation together with the rushed ending dropped it down to a three – maybe three and a half.

This is the third of Jane Lovering's books that I have read – all are very different but very enjoyable.
Dangerous Desires (Collection) - C.J. Lyons,  Debra Webb,  Vicki Hinze,  VR Marks,  Peggy Webb,  Regan Black,  Kathy Carmichael OK, I've only read the first two but enjoyed both very much.

The Amazon blurb

Chasing Shadows by CJ Lyons
Going undercover, playing the part of a disgraced former Marine, is easy for Chase Westin--until a Christmas Eve mission takes him back to his hometown and face to face with his estranged brother. When KC, an undercover FBI agent, flies into Chase's life with her Doc Martens, purple, punk-rock hair, and Hollywood-hype leather and chains, Chase realizes that falling in love is more dangerous than catching bullets.

Dirty by Debra Webb
Jackie Mercer can't abide deception. A woman who single-handedly built the Mercer Detective Agency from the ground up has a right to expect honesty in a relationship. Tell that to the creep who, only this morning, she thought might be Mr. Right. Wrong! Her day only gets worse when an ominous message arrives accompanied by the photo of a man she hasn't seen in ten years: You were the last one to see him alive. She's in real trouble when a second message, this one including a dead body, drops into the mix. Jackie does what any smart Texas woman would do: she kicks butt and takes names, while the mystery spiraling around her long lost lover and her attraction to Derrick Dawson plunge her into a tangled web of shocking secrets and deadly deceptions.


Chasing Shadows was great, fast-paced and well-written I will be looking out for more by CJ Lyons - definitely up there with the better military-special ops/thriller romances.

Dirty was a different change of pace with a sassy female PI, 45 with a son at University, uncovering a 10 year old mystery.

I will review the others later
Dangerous Desires (Collection) - C.J. Lyons,  Debra Webb,  Vicki Hinze,  VR Marks,  Peggy Webb,  Regan Black,  Kathy Carmichael OK, I've only read the first two but enjoyed both very much.

The Amazon blurb

Chasing Shadows by CJ Lyons
Going undercover, playing the part of a disgraced former Marine, is easy for Chase Westin--until a Christmas Eve mission takes him back to his hometown and face to face with his estranged brother. When KC, an undercover FBI agent, flies into Chase's life with her Doc Martens, purple, punk-rock hair, and Hollywood-hype leather and chains, Chase realizes that falling in love is more dangerous than catching bullets.

Dirty by Debra Webb
Jackie Mercer can't abide deception. A woman who single-handedly built the Mercer Detective Agency from the ground up has a right to expect honesty in a relationship. Tell that to the creep who, only this morning, she thought might be Mr. Right. Wrong! Her day only gets worse when an ominous message arrives accompanied by the photo of a man she hasn't seen in ten years: You were the last one to see him alive. She's in real trouble when a second message, this one including a dead body, drops into the mix. Jackie does what any smart Texas woman would do: she kicks butt and takes names, while the mystery spiraling around her long lost lover and her attraction to Derrick Dawson plunge her into a tangled web of shocking secrets and deadly deceptions.


Chasing Shadows was great, fast-paced and well-written I will be looking out for more by CJ Lyons - definitely up there with the better military-special ops/thriller romances.

Dirty was a different change of pace with a sassy female PI, 45 with a son at University, uncovering a 10 year old mystery.

I will review the others later
Make Her Pay - Roxanne St. Claire for the surprise factor 3.5 stars

So the last in my marathon run of Bullet Catchers novels. It concerns Con (with the unpronounceable surname) and Lizzy. Con is a former high-end thief given a second chance by the Bullet Catchers. His mission? To join a secret dive mission and identify a thief. Lizzy is the daughter of a world-famous diver, part of the secretive dive mission with secrets of their own.

Not that anyone has been following my reviews, but if hypothetically you had, you will know that I have an issue with Ms St Claire's novels in that she has a penchant for having two separate criminals with different agendas both plotting at the same time (sometimes ostensibly together and other times oblivious to each other). Well, you'll be pleased to know that she hasn't changed, but … I completely got one of them wrong! Yep, didn't see it coming at all, totally gobsmacked. So 10 out of 10 for that one.

As to the romance, meh. Con only got introduced yesterday (and I do mean yesterday because that's when I read book 7 where he was first mentioned), so we had no real for him and I don't think we got much more in this book. Thief with a heart of gold, misunderstood and falsely accused seeking a way back to the good guys is a bit hackneyed and heaven save me from one more Alpha male who says he can't be trusted or isn't who she thinks he is – puhlease! Similarly, I really didn't understand Lizzy's mission – I mean really does anyone really give a rat's arse about what their ancestors did or didn't do over a 100 years ago? Why would you make it a family mission to clear the man's name when what he was being accused of would be something that most people would brag about: "oh, my great, great, great grandfather was a famous pirate!"!

As always, I have a number of logistical questions about some of the plot – some may be because I don't read carefully enough. Others because they seem to get glossed over.

1. Did Dave kill the bimbo diver (forgot her name Atila?)? Or did the son? And why was she killed?
2. How did Dave get the snake into Lizzy's house – was he also a master thief?
3. How did everyone get to Corvo so quickly? Con had the Bullet Catchers' private jet (natch) but how did Sam and Charlotte and Dave get there so fast when Lizzy thought it would take three days?
4. Why did Dave kill Solange?
5. What was the plot about Solange and her husband in New York and why on earth did she think that getting the sceptres would make him take her back?
6. If Solange had so much money why didn't she leave Corvo?
7. I don't understand the ownership issue over the sceptres. Surely, either proof of ownership or salvage rights takes precedence and I don't see why that would necessitate a lengthy court battle. Moreover, I think a museum would gladly fund the litigation if it were going to be the recipient.
8. Would all the dodgy art dealers and collectors in the world REALLY agree not to buy the treasure just because a thief asks them to? No quid pro quo?
9. How did all those convenient ownership papers happen to end up hidden on Corvo? And why would copies of the manifest be in Mexico/Cuba/Brazil (nope that either)?

Hunt Her Down - Roxanne St. Claire Dan Gallagher's story.

So Lucy has fallen in love with Jack and Dan is leaving the Bullet Catchers - everyone thinks it is to (metaphorically) lick his wounds but he tells them its personal.

Indeed it is. Fourteen years ago he was an FBI agent undercover to bring down a Venezuelan drugs family, whilst undercover he had a torrid affair with a young (18 years old) girlfriend of the Don's son. As part of his cover his death during the FBI raid was faked and she has believed that he died for the past 14 years. But now the Don and his son have been released from prison and Dan has to make sure that the woman is safe and/or warn her that they are free.

When he visits the woman, Maggie, at he rbar in Florida he finds the old attraction is still there - but Maggie has a very big secret. It seems like everyone wants something from Maggis - something she knows nothing about - and only Dan and the Bullet Catchers can keep her safe.

Again this was pleasant enough, Ms St Claire does love her two competing villains tropes (is it a trope if its personal to her?) and this one is no excpetion. I cna never work out with these romantic thrillers whether the bady guy's identity is meant to be obvious (because its a romance first and foremost) or whether I just find them too well-signposted.

Having said that, the romance was kind of lacking in this too. Maggie's never stopped loving Dan deep down (although she also hates him for being an FBI narc and [she thinks] using her to get information). Dan thinks it's just lust and fully intends to walk away. And then suddenly, he changes. No gradual realisation, actually no sudden realisation, just suddenly he loves her.

So, I realise that I always focus on the negatives. The story was well-constructed, some inconsequential throwaway details are brought back into play later in the book vey cleverly. I'm happy to keep on reading but I didn't really warm to Dan.
The Path to Freedom - Lisa Pietsch Wow, I read these out of order because books 2 and 3 were free on Amazon UK - I liked them so much I circled around and bought the first book, a short story and the fourth book.

A solid 3.5 stars - no, you know what, I'm going to make it 4 stars - I liked it that much.

Our heroine gets booted out of the airforce for being overweight, despite several warnings. Devastated she goes to visit her boyfriend, only to find him in bed with another man - apparently he thought she knew she was his beard! The airforce hasn't paid Sarah enough to live so she is now seriously oveweight, jobless, boyfriendless and soon to be homeless. Before he kicked her out of the airforce her commanding officer gave her a business card for a fat camp which would be free to ex-military - with nothing else to lose she decides to go, at lest she won't have to worry about food or accomodation.

It turns out that the fat camp is a secret CIA training camp for Dark Ops work. 13 weeks later and 75 pounds lighter Sarah is a changed woman - at least on the outside. And she has been recruited as a honey-trap for Task Force 125.

Reading the books out of order the first book did feel a leetle over-explained (certainly when compared to the second and third) but what a great set of books. Sarah is a kick-ass heroine WHO DOESN'T CHANGE. Yep, you heard it, she starts off a foul-mouthed, argumentative, hard-smoking woman and she stays that way.

Throughout the book Sarah holds her own, she fights, she wins, she picks up men and drops them with no hard feelings, she stands no nonsense from anyone. And she sows up a group of ex-marines, SEALs, Army Rangers etc.

I would recommend this for fans of Kate Daniels who also enjoy military romances and don't mind swearing. Ms Pietsch has gone onto my "buy anything from this author" list.
A Taste of Liberty (Task Force 125 - Book 2) - Lisa Pietsch This was the first one of Ms Pietsch's Task Force 125 books that I read (free from Amazon UK). It clearly is a sequel but was easy enough to read as a stand-alone.

Task Force 125 is a Dark Ops team, based out of Las Vegas, operating in Europe. Sarah is the honey-pot that they use to obtain intel on/from various international lowlifes before the team eliminates them - permanently. Along with Sarah is a group of drop-dead gorgeous former military types (one is FBI, one a Recon Marine, one a SEAl etc).

What is refreshing about this series is that Sarah is a REALLY strong female character. In the first book she gunned down pirates (dressed in a bikini) whilst the rest of her team were pinned down without weapons, she also murdered two arms dealers in close physical quarters - one of whom she found very attractive and had been sleeping with for several weeks. She is a hard-drinking, smoking, swearing woman who speaks her mind and stands up for herself.

In this book Sarah is tasked with getting close to "Mr Big" in the arms dealing business and placing bugs to allow the team to identify his entire network before they wipe him out.
Freedom's Promise (Task Force 125 - Book 3) - Lisa Pietsch Another great addiiton to the series.

Vince has been captured by Nikolai and Task Force 125 need to rescue him.

What I like about this series, aside from Sarah's character which is so refreshingly different, is that Ms Pietsch seems to really know her stuff. She bandies around makes of helicopters and guns easily - I know nothing about either but since Ms Pietsch is a USAF veteran I imagine she knows her stuff. Ms Pietsch is also clearly well-travelled and her familiarity with Europe and the Middle East (as well as Australia) shines through her writing - unlike some authors who "set" their books but know nothing about the countries they write about.

To sum it up - this is a book about grown-ups written by a grown-up and I loved it. Yes, it is light-hearted but none the worse for that.