3 Followers
21 Following
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
SPOILER ALERT!
Drive Me to Distraction - Caitlyn Nicholas

So I don't think the Amazon blurb does a very good job of describing the book because it refers to something that happens quite near the end as if it is the start of the story - very confusing.

 

So Alex is a fantastic driver and wants to drive formula 1 cars, but of course she is a girl and so no formula 1 team will give her a chance, even though she is winning every single formula 3 race she enters. At the start of the book she is giving driving lessons at a race track in performance cars - think stag day racing!

 

Rob has just inherited a formula 1 team, plus his father's toy factory (which apparently operates from inside the family home?). He has resigned his position as CEO (I think) of a lingerie company to come back and run the family businesses. To get a better feel for the formula 1 business he books a test drive with Alex's company. He drives badly, she mocks him (not realising that he could give her a dream job) and she drops him off in the village to get a cab. For some reason despite the mocking and anger between them Rob kisses Alex as he gets out of the car.

 

In order to shore up the failing formula 1 business the company decides to try to win new sponsors and gain publicity by hiring a female driver (a move suggested by Rob after his meeting with Alex). The catch? The driver must contribute £200,000 personally.

 

Then Alex's mother announces she has a rare form of cancer, treatment for which is only available privately for £80,000.

 

Alex's ultimate boss, MacCameron, is a creepy rich guy who keeps hitting on her. He offers her the money for her mother and the buy-in to the formula 1 team so long as Alex does what he asks. As they are agreeing the contract terms he slips a date-rape drug into her champagne and tries to molest her. Whilst under the influence of the drugs she signs the contract.

 

Most of the story concerns Alex's trials and tribulations as a racing driver with a management team who treat her like a bimbo and dress her in sexy revealing clothes rather than the safety clothing she should be dressed in. For one reason or another Alex spends a lot of time in press conferences apologising for her behaviour.

 

Rob and Alex become friends but she discovers MacCameron is even more sinister than she first believed. How can she and Rob become close when MacCameron is out to ruin Rob and his family?

 

MacCameron is killed and there are a whole host of suspects.

 

So, plot summary over (at last). I enjoyed the book. It did read a bit like a cross between an Agatha Christie whodunnit and a chicklit novel with a nod to Downton Abbey with ocassional nods at James Bond/the Bourne trilogy.

 

It was well-written and engaging, I would definitely read more from this author although the killer's identity was fairly predictable.

A promising start to a new series

Bound By Night (Moonbound Clan) - Larissa Ione

I'm hearing a lot of meh from other reviewers on GR which may have influenced my views...

 

But I rather liked it. It was lower key than the Demonica novels - set in a world that is more similar to our own, albeit with vampires. Somehow (and another reviewer made the point that this was highly unlikely), humans have subjugated the much stronger vampires and are using them as domestic slaves.

 

The blurb:

 

<blockquote><i><b>A WOMAN OUT FOR BLOOD</b>

Nicole Martin was only eight years old when the vampire slaves rose up in rebellion and killed her family. Now she devotes her life to finding a vaccine against vampirism, hoping to wipe out her memories - along with every bloodsucker on the planet. But there's one thing she cannot destroy: her searing, undeniable attraction for the one man she should hate and fear the most . . .

 

<b>A VAMPIRE OUT FOR REVENGE</b>

A member of the renegade vampire MoonBound Clan, Riker is haunted by demons of his own. When he recognises Nicole and remembers how her family enslaved his loved ones, his heart burns for vengeance. But when he kidnaps Nicole and holds her in a secret lair, his mortal enemy becomes his soul obsession, his greatest temptation, and, perhaps, his only salvation - a hot-blooded lover who could heal him with her touch . . . or bury him forever.  </i></blockquote>

 

Nicole and Riker are pleasant enough, she has been naïve about her family's business and the experiments they have been doing on vampires. She has also been labouring under a misapprehension about what really happened the day her nanny died and Riker's involvement in her death.

 

When Nicole is kidnapped she quickly realises that all her so-called specialist knowledge of vampires is woefully inadequate and that her belief that they are no better than animals is erroneous. Riker has spent the past 20 years mourning the death of his mate (Nicole's nanny) and has not let another female close to him so why would the first female he feels any interest in be the CEO of the company responsible for vampire slavery?

 

This is quite light and fluffy, Riker has issues with humans and Nicole has issues with vampires but they slowly move closer together and I felt that they both had a few moments where they got cold feet (understandably).

 

What I found most intriguing were the glimpses into the world-building that lay below the surface. Things like how did vampires get created – things that are vaguely alluded to and then a huge leap occurs close to the end – won't say more because I don't want to spoil.

Acheron - Sherrilyn Kenyon

Hmm, a vaguely unsatisfying book.

Over half the book was set 11,000 years ago - ok a little bit was 9,000 years ago but don't quibble. The trouble is we knew a good 80% of what had happened already and since none of it was written from Ash's POV I'm not sure we really got much more. And it was unrelentingly depressing.

Then when we FINALLY get to the present day it was all a bit hurried. Tory and Ash's initial sparks seemed really fun and just what Ash needed but all too soon things had moved on. Honestly the thing he liked most about her was that she didn't lust after him like the rest of the human race - for about 2 days! And maybe I'm not getting the "I'm a whore" angst but it seems he puts up with all and any humiliation (physical and mental) from a variety of sources yet he doesn't want anyone to know he was a prostitute? Except it was more of a sex-slave anyway!

And all the other Dark-Hunters are just merging into a big amorphous mess, I can't recall who is what anymore - strangely unless they haven't found their life partners, them I remember fine!

Guessing from other half-reviews I've seen (or is that reviews I've half-seen?) I'm not alone with the meh. So - on with the new, what's next? More Dark-Hunters or something completely different?

 

EDITED for typos - and I spell-checked! Also, I went on to Larissa Ione's new series

Black Blood - Melissa Pearl Another great book in the trilogy.

The Blurb:

Gemma's parents have put enough rules around her relationship with Harrison that she feels like she's living on parole. But she wins one battle—a summer job working for Harrison's step-father. It is the perfect chance to spend the steamy, hot Florida days with her boyfriend. It's also a great distraction from the cellphone hiding in her underwear drawer—her only contact with Gabe, the mystery man who's stalking her.

When she confronts Gabe, he tells her that her parents are not who she thinks they are, and Harrison has the gall to believe him. Surrounded by conflict, Gemma doesn't know what to believe, and it takes a trip back in time for her to glimpse the sickening truth.

Thanks to her parents, she returns to the present to find the love of her life no longer exists. His family line was broken and now, so is she.

This betrayal forces her to seek out Gabe. Setting aside her fear of the truth, she must trust this man and learn what he can teach her... otherwise, she'll never get her boyfriend back.


So this book reminded me a little of Back to The Future Part III. Harrison is missing for most of the book, erased from history by Gemma's parents. I loved how evil they became in this book – Gemma said there was nothing they could do to stop her seeing Harrison, she was wrong!

In this second book of the trilogy Gemma learns more about her family and the mysterious Gabe. She also learns more about her time-travelling abilities but this is very much a "middle" book in the trilogy setting things up for the grand finale.

There are the same small spelling issues in this book – in fact some of the ones I quoted for book 1 may have been from book 2 – but they are few in number (less than five) and don't spoilt the overall enjoyment of the book.
Golden Blood - Melissa Pearl Well I don't know how to categorise this - I just know that I loved it, so much that I bought the second and third books and read all three over the course of two days!

The best part is that the first book is free on Amazon for Kindle users (in the UK at least).

The blurb:

Gemma Hart never knows when her father is going to whisk her back in time. Her toes start tingling and she has a few minutes to find a secret haven where she can disintegrate and appear in another time and place. While “across the line,” her training and skills are put to the test as she completes a mission that will change history for the lucky few her father has selected.

Gemma's parents are adamant that secrecy is paramount to her family’s safety. If people knew what they were capable of, they could be "used and abused", as her mother always says. Afraid she might accidentally utter the truth and break the ancient oath of her people, Gemma spends her school days as a loner. Only one thing can throw her sheltered life askew... Harrison Granger.

Harrison never expected to talk to the strange Hart girl, but after a brief encounter he can't stop thinking about her. He begins a campaign to chisel away her icy veneer and is met with unexpected consequences. As he slowly wins this girl over, he enters a surreal world that has him fighting to keep his newfound love and his life.


The blurb tells you everything and nothing. Gemma's fmily go back in time to right wrongs, to save good people from untimely deaths etc. In order to do what they do the family trains rigorously and has a strict diet - no fizzy drinks and no junk food. It is a cold, spartan existence for Gemma and her older siblings. Gemma had previously told her best friend the family secret and the family had been forced to move across country. Consequently, she is terrfied of interacting with others in case she betrays her family again.

Cue typical teenage story - new boy Harrison intrigues Gemma and vice versa. They meet accidentally a couple of times then Harrison sees her disintegrate into a shower of gold dust as she travels back in time (she is drawn back by her family with only a few seconds' warning).

Together Harrison and Gemma find out more about her time-travelling abilities and the different factions of time travellers and their opposing agendas.

The book isn't perfect, there are a few homonymic errors (vile instead of vial and peaked instead of piqued type of thing)but otherwise this was an intriguing story, well-told with good characterisation and lots of action.

Perhaps I can best compare it to the Vampire Academy and Bloodlines series (although it is completely different). It is a PG-rated story about 17 year olds with strong school elements, which is far more about 'odd' elements (time travelling vs vampires) and has a romantic element.
Don't Hate the Player...Hate the Game - Katie Ashley Hmm, what to say.

Well first this feels like a bit of a rip off of the film A Walk to Remember (albeit that was based on the Nicholas Sparks novel and is a five-hanky weepy). Maybe it's just the bad boy and the preacher's daughter.

I find it hard to believe that Katie Ashley taught English when the book is peppered with misuse of that tiny preposition "a". All I can assume is that she is channelling a dialect? The characters say things like "you got cut over your eye" – OK, that's not a great example because in that case "cut" could be a verb. But in a lot of sentences the word "a" was missing and in others the word was inserted inappropriately. Such a small word but so crucial!

So, there was a lot of talk about man-whores and bad boys but actually the book was very PG (not an issue just an observation).

Noah's best friend, Jake, dies in a freak accident leaving a mystery – who is the girl he was in love with? Jake apparently slept with most of the girls in High School so Noah's quest to find her is difficult. Could it be Presley the town's party girl? Or her arch rival in the "popular girl at school" stakes? Or could it be Maddie the sweet, innocent daughter of the pastor who tutored Jake? Add in a sick child, a single mother and a dead-beat dad to spice the mix up.

So there are no real surprises, there is a lot going on which makes everything just a bit shallow – Maddie asks Noah how he feels a few times and charges him a quarter every time he curses [irrelevant question here why does Noah get pulled up for saying "shitty" but "crappy" is deemed a suitable alternative? They mean exactly the same (excrement)!]. Apparently that is enough for a teenage boy to fall in love with you.

There is also the requisite getting drunk at a party and stripping off/propositioning scene – it seemed completely out of character and random.

All in all, I think it was a pretty short book for Noah to deal with finding out the truth about his best friend change of heart, finding out who his best friend was in love with, reconciling himself to his grandfather's death, reconciling himself to his mother's marriage and pregnancy, reconciling himself to developing a relationship with his absentee father and having feelings for Maddie. And everybody was just so nice, even the nasty girls were (relatively) nice.

Katie Ashley tells her story well, although I doubt many teenage boys are quite so articulate about their feelings, but she doesn't have enough depths, enough light and shade, or correct use of the word "a". I didn't really empathise with Noah and Maddie was an enigma – I had no feelings about her at all.
The Assassin's Curse - Cassandra Rose Clarke And another 4 star review - I've gone soft.

So I love this story pf the Pirate captain's daughter who runs away from an arranged marriage to a rival clan's Captain's son. The rival clan call down an assassin to avenge their honour and she is on the run.

By a strange twist of fate she saves the assassin from a snake and suddenly he is bound to protect her - but the binding is a curse which means they can never be far from eahc other without him bein gin terrible pain.

Together they travel to try and break the curse.

I loved Ananna, not beautiful or educated, she has a natural intelligence and is a skilled fighter. I also loved the way she spoke.

Neji, the assassin, is a whole different kettle of fish. Badly scarred on the face he obviously has "issues" yet to be revealed and a history that we hear little of.

My only concern is that this 'concludes' in the next book whereas reading the book felt the first in a longer series - maybe like the Belgariad or something where there are lots of places to visit and tasks to accomplish - I don't know how it is all going to be wrapped up in one more book.
White Balance - Ainslie Paton I don't know what's wrong with me - a bit of bitterness in my personal life and suddenly I' overflowing with the high ratings!

So I started this a few days/weeks ago and dropped it after only reading a chapter. I thought it was yet another YA/NA book about a girl who has a terrible tragedy in life which she hides behind a veneer of conformity until she meets the bad-boy rocker with tattoos and bad language who shows her how to feel, and they both have stupid names and it's written in the first person POV.

But anyway, I started reading this again, from the beginning, and it is NOTHING like I imagined, indeed it isn't even NA/YA.

So, Bailey posts a daily photo to her blog. On her way to having a major operation on her back she takes a picture of a man sitting by the beach early one morning – a picture of devastation and loss. Feeling that she has intruded on something private she never uses the picture but files it away with all her other rejects.

Aidan is a hot-shot in advertising. His young wife has died tragically and he is struggling to do anything other than work. His home is a pit and he is unable to enter certain rooms.

Aidan's best friend Blake (OK, they have stupid NA/YA names but I forgive them because they are Australian) is also in advertising. He is married to Aiden's wife's best friend. Blake has a whole lot of ambition but lacks the talent to deliver. He is also an old colleague and friend of Bailey's.

Blake's plans draw Aiden and Bailey together. So, it's a fairly typical contemporary romance. What makes it different is the way that Ms Paton weaves her story, the details of trying to win business, the Big Brother scheme that Aidan has been roped into by his dead wife and a delightfully obtuse social worker. There are no larger than life villains here, the only person who is too good to be true is Blake's wife Olivia. Everyone else comes in delightful shades of grey – most of the time I loathed Blake and couldn't see why either Aidan or Bailey could be his friends, but he had redeeming qualities – and he was still an arrogant, self-obsessed twit at times. Light and shade all the way.

There were a few great lines – and more than a few typos – I have checked and I paid £2.66 for this so I am surprised to see so many silly typos (she'd for she's etc) but it didn't detract from the sheer joy of reading this novel. It was different, adult and yet, despite the circumstances, light-hearted.

I will look out for more of Ms Paton's books.
The Ugly Stepsister Strikes Back - Sariah Wilson I toyed with the 3.5 stars but I'm going with 4 stars just because of the John Hughes references.

The blurb What happens when you’re the ugly stepsister and your obnoxiously perfect—read pretty, smart, and, worst of all, sickeningly nice—stepsister is dating the charming, tall, devastatingly handsome guy you’ve had a thing for since you were nine years old?

Quirky, artistic and snarky Mattie Lowe does not lead a charmed life. Her mother is constantly belittling her on Skype. Mercedes, the school mean girl, has made it her personal mission to torment Mattie. But worst of all? Her stepsister Ella is the most beautiful, popular girl in school and is dating Mattie’s secret longtime crush, Jake Kingston.

Tired of being left out and done with waiting for her own stupid fairy godmother to show up, Mattie decides to change her life. She’ll start by running for senior class president against wildly popular Jake.


NA/YA authors please take note this is how to do it well. With more than just intertextual references to John Hughes' body of work and The Princess Bride (inconceivable) this book had me from the word go. OK, the villain kids were a bit too evil to live but then sometimes kids are mean just because they can be!

I loved Mattie, and Ella, and their Dad, I even loved Mattie's evil Japanese mother.

Highly recommended
Frigid - J. Lynn,  Jennifer L. Armentrout 3.5 stars

Well I'd sworn off NA/YA books because I was starting to get a tad homicidal at the sheer predictability of it all but I kept looking at this one and hesitating so I took the plunge.

Yes. there are some of the stock elements of the genre. Man-whore boy with tattoos, semi-virginal nerd girl, both have stupid names, first person POV (although it does alternate between them).

But there the NA/YA-ness that I have come to hate ended. The story was different. There were really no friends/no bars/no fights (well except from those friends, those nights drinking Jose and those fights!).

So Kyler is a man-whore, he looks like a Greek god but (apparently) with better man-parts. A kid from a trailer park his mother has built up a successful bar restoration (nope, not a clue) business but (for some reason) he still feels like the poor kid that everyone looks down on.

Sydney has been Kyler's BFF since they were 6 (or 9, anyway young) and she has been in love with him pretty much since he pushed her off the swing. But she is allegedly frigid after one sexual experience.

A group of friends agree to visit Kyler's mother's lodge just before Christmas for their ritual ski holiday. But a snow storm starts up and only Kyler and Syd arrive before the blizzard sets in. Add in unfriendly locals and tequila ...

I really enjoyed this book, OK the premise was a bit far-fetched but then Syd's friend said, and I paraphrase when girls are in love with a guy they can't have they tend to avoid other guys, when guys are in love with someone they can't have they try to block it out with meaningless sex with a parade of one-night stands. Given that premise the story hangs together.
The End of Me - Tara Brown I L.O.V.E.D this.

I was expecting a light fluffy, soccer mom investigates nefarious goings on at the PTA - shoulda read the blurb more carefully!

Evie is a former CI agent whose husband has died, she finds out that her marriage was a sham, he was shagging anything that didn't stand still. More worrying, he was also an agent for CI but apparently he had been turned. Evie is now being held responsible for his mistakes by EVERYONE!

Can Evie forget hot yoga and the PTA and remember her training? Who can she trust and what is the truth?

Evie is 36 and a mother of two. She is grieving the loss of her marriage and lost in a world she left a decade ago. Yet she brings her 'marital skills' to bear in her interactions with international drug dealers and the alphabet agencies.

There were a few typos but overall - woo-hoo what a great book, funny and grown-up.
First Grave on the Right - Darynda Jones Not sure how to rate this one. On the one hand I liked Charley's sarcastic voice but on the other hand it all just felt like a bit of a front. Being so far behind the curve reading these books I knew who Reyes is/was from various Alpha showdowns so I didn't have a great reveal. The plot/mystery seemed to take a back seat to the world-building/backstory- I'd got to 60% and there wasn't really a mystery to investigate.

I'm still not clear how Charley earns her money given her pro bono PI work and her work for the police - do they pay her like an informant?

Also I didn't think the being in thrall to Reyes gelled with her sarcastic persona.

However, I will assume this is a typical first novel and the series settles down

Maybe 3.5 stars?
Dream Chaser - Sherrilyn Kenyon Moving away from the Dark-Hunters and Ash and the were-hunters (don't know why I've decided to capitalise one and not the other).

The story of Xypher and Simone. He's dream-hunter gone bad, sent to Hades for eternal punishment but given one month of freedom as a reward for helping Kat. Simone is a human Medical Examiner who sees ghosts and other "weird" things.

Bound together by magic bracelets which will kill them if they are more than few feet apart Simone gradually shows Xypher that not everyone is self-centred.

There is also a plot with the Gallu and the Dimme - there are now way too many species, mythologies and characters with names comprising many of the less-used letters of the alphabet.

I'm still liking the sories but the characters are starting to meld together - I can barely remember the names of the characters from the last book. Also all the tortured souls are starting to get a bit wearing - how can all the books be so different and yet so similar?
Bluegrass Undercover - Kathleen Brooks Annie is a small curvy DEA agent who is a little too handy with her fists. After she punches a drug dealer (deservedly since he had fondled her and hit her first) she is transferred to a small town where apparently the latest steroid-replacement is being manufactured and sold to impressionable boys to improve their athletic performance.

Annie comes across well, she is a fighter from start to finish and has great self-confidence. Of course she has a sob-story to explain why she has no friends or family - don't they always.

Cade, the coach of the football team, is a bona fide national hero, a former ranger with a drawer full of medals, he is also the local science teacher. Annie mistakenly rescues him twice when she first arrives in the town - believing him to be incapable.

The story was reaosnable enough - I guessed the identity of the Boss in the first few chapters, although I did waver and think there might be two villains with different motivations about part way through.

However, there is one aspect of the book that I can't decide whether I liked or whether it made the whole thing descend into the realms of the absurd. In this small town everyone knows everyone. Cade is one of six, his sister is engaged to an FBI agent, one of his brothers owns a security business, one is incredibly wealthy and one is simply mysterious. All of them were rangers (I think). There is also a prince who lives in town, together with his bodyguard and wife. Oh and there is some mysterious lawyer who knows everything. The entire town (except the baddies, natch) knows that Annie is an undercover DEA agent but keep it quiet, even though keeping it quiet only means finding out from your cousin's wife's second cousin's nephew! Hell even the local police in this tiny place are sharp as tacks.

It gave a feeling of unreality to the story. Added to this the story didn't really have any depth. It was as if it was a very long summary of a story - not a whole lot of emotion, not a whole lot of action, not a whole lot of cute rural life, not a whole lot of football - just summaries of all of them.
The Dream Hunter - Sherrilyn Kenyon Moving away from the Dark-Hunters and Ash and the were-hunters (don't know why I've decided to capitalise one and not the other).

The story of Xypher and Simone. He's dream-hunter gone bad, sent to Hades for eternal punishment but given one month of freedom as a reward for helping Kat. Simone is a human Medical Examiner who sees ghosts and other "weird" things.

Bound together by magic bracelets which will kill them if they are more than few feet apart Simone gradually shows Xypher that not everyone is self-centred.

There is also a plot with the Gallu and the Dimme - there are now way too many species, mythologies and characters with names comprising many of the less-used letters of the alphabet.

I'm still liking the sories but the characters are starting to meld together - I can barely remember the names of the characters from the last book. Also all the tortured souls are starting to get a bit wearing - how can all the books be so different and yet so similar?
Praying For Rain - Jay Kristoff A (very) short story

I only downloaded the free book to get an idea of Mr Kristoff's writing as I read a favourable review of The Lotus War series.

The world building is good, based in a modern world where Shogun are at war with (presumably) the West and the earth is polluted.

I feel these books are not going to have happy endings ...