Monday, September 30, 2013

SUNNY: BOOK REVIEW "Midnight Lies" by Ella Grace

SUMMARY:
IT’S ALWAYS HOTTER AT MIDNIGHT.

The winds of fate have blown cruelly on a family that once had it all: money, power, prestige. The lives of three beautiful daughters were forever changed when, on a sultry night in Midnight, Alabama, a murder-suicide shattered the Wilde family. The girls grew up to live separate lives but now have returned home, each to face a danger no one can see coming.

Former homecoming queen Samantha surprised everyone by going into law enforcement, but beneath her tough fa├žade lies a wary heart. The tragedy that struck her family is an ever-present reminder that nothing is ever as it seems. When the man she loves, Quinn Braddock, a doctor and Iraq war veteran, is accused of murder, Samantha assumes the worst. Brokenhearted, her confidence shattered, she returns to Midnight. Though exonerated, Quinn still feels the sting of Samantha’s doubt, but he can’t forget his feelings for her and follows her. Soon after his arrival, a shocking murder terrifies the town, and once again, Quinn is under suspicion. This time, Samantha will not turn her back on the man she loves—even if it means walking into a killer’s trap



REVIEW:
Midnight Lies is book 2 in the Wildefire series by Ella Grace (aka Christy Reece).  The first story, Midnight Secrets, was a good read, this one is not-to-be-missed.  

Things I liked about this story:

1. There is dynamic chemistry between the two characters.  Quinn Braddock is a veteran doctor, and a stoic, alpha male.  He has tightened down his emotions stronger than a surgical clamp.  Samantha is a new homicide detective.  She is romantic.  And although she escaped Midnight to live in the big city, she considers herself a small-town girl with traditional values.  She is happily in love with Quinn but unfortunately for her, he is a "no commitment" kind of guy.  

When Quinn gets accused of murdering his ex-wife, both their worlds turn upside down. I liked how this relationship developed.  There is instant attraction but that happens before the book starts.  The first obstacle facing the couple is trust.  How well does Sam know Quinn?  He is so emotionally closed, he's told her virtually nothing about himself.  Without that foundation, doubts can and do sink in.  On top of that, Sam carries with her family history in which her father committed a murder-suicide of her mother.  The lack of trust fractures their relationship and circumstances are such that they break up but both end up in Midnight.  The relationship is back and forth, up and down.  It doesn't take a straight path and that keeps me involved. 

When the two finally resolve their relationship issue, it is so sweet (*sigh*):

Do you want me to say that staying away from you for more than a minute is painful for me? That the thought of not having you in my life tears at my soul?  That just seeing your face creates a peace inside me I've never felt before?  That having you in my arms is like coming home?

2. There is a tense murder mystery.  The story is layered and complex.  I enjoyed very much how it unraveled. The author keeps the suspense tight and the story moving. 

3.  I really enjoy the relationship between the Wilde sisters - Samantha, Savannah, and Sabrina.  They are protective of each other, but have no qualms about calling bullsh*t on one another.  With each new book, we see another level of their relationship.

4.  I love that it takes place in the small Southern town of Midnight.  In some ways, Midnight is a character itself.  The townsfolk are busybodies.  But they stick their noses into things because they care.  It is both comforting and suffocating - like a hot summer day.   

IN A NUTSHELL:
I would highly recommend this book for the sweet and satisfying relationships and the intense, keeping-you-guessing, mystery.  Yup, this one is great balance of both - guaranteed to keep you up late and leave a satisfying sigh at the end. 

Thank you to the author, Random House Publishing Group - Ballantine, and Netgalley for the opportunity to read this ARC in exchange for an honest review. 

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

SUNNY: BOOK REVIEW "Garrison's Creed" by Cristin Harber



SUMMARY:
A SPY RUNNING FOR HER LIFE
Nicola is an injured CIA agent on the run from a failed undercover operation. Her escape plan shatters when she slams into the man who buried her a decade ago. Cash Garrison. Her first and only love. Now, sexier than her best memory and cradling a sniper’s rifle, he has questions she can’t answer. Why was she alive? And armed?

AND THE MAN SHE COULD NEVER SEE AGAIN
Cash is an elite member of a black ops organization, The Titan Group. He thought Nicola died his senior year of college and swore off love to focus on a decade of military missions. But when she shows up behind enemy lines, bleeding out and wielding a weapon, his heart and mind are unsure how to proceed.

BATTLE BETRAYAL TO SAVE THEMSELVES
Titan and the CIA join forces to uncover a mole hidden in a network of international terrorists and homegrown mobsters, teaming Cash and Nicola again. They fight old wounds and re-ignite sparks while closing in on a double agent. When disaster strikes, Nicola’s hidden past makes her the hunted target and Cash’s best kill shot may not be enough to save them.


REVIEW: 
Garrison's Creed is book 2 in Cristin Harber's Titan Series.  This story follows Titan's resident gigolo (do people even use that word anymore?), Cash Garrison.  We are reminded from the first book, Winter's Heat, that Cash is THE player of the TItan Group, a covert operations organization that does the work that the government can't or won't do.  We learn that Cash erected his wall against emotional involvement after he lost the love of his life, who also happens to be the younger sister of his spotter and best friend, Roman. So imagine his surprise when he finds her alive during an operation.  Where has she been?  Why did she not contact her family?  Is she a friend or foe? Will he feel the same for her as he did when they were young lovers?  Can they re-kindle their love?  Does he even want to?

As a huge fan of romantic suspense, especially of the black ops variety, it takes very little for me to like a book from this genre.  Mostly, I'm easy to please as long as it is well written and has likeable characters.  However, it take a lot more for me to be impressed by a book.  I really enjoyed this second chance story.  Nicola is really a character I can get behind and root for.  She is a female agent in a male dominated profession.  She is constantly having to prove herself and throw off the mantle of needing to be protected by the males in her life.  She is smart, can think on her feet, and kick some major ass.  So when she is forced to partner with her former lover, how will this partnership work? Figuring out this solution is the fun part - I appreciate the back and forth tension between the two characters. 

Garrison's Creed departs from the first book in one very important manner.  We avoid a serious case of insta-love.  Because the main characters already have an established relationship, we avoid the implausibility factor.  I also appreciate the fact that it doesn't take too long for the characters to decide that they are going to be together.  The conflict is less about whether Cash and Nicola are going to be together or not, but rather how they are going to make it work.   I like it that when Cash decides he's in, he is all in. So for being such a tough guy, we see Cash's sweetness and soft heart.  

IN A NUTSHELL:
Liked it a lot.  This one works for me.  Can't wait to tackle the next book. 

Thanks to the author, Mill Creek Press, and Netgalley for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, September 23, 2013

SUNNY: BLOG TOUR, AUTHOR INTERVIEW, REVIEW, AND GIVEAWAY "Come Together" by Jessica Hawkins


Welcome to the Come Together, book 3 in the Cityscape Series, Blog Tour.  We are so pleased to welcome Jessica Hawkins to Love Affair with an e-Reader for an author interview.  Stay tuned for a review of the book and a Giveaway from the Author. 

Book Blurb: 

With a single decision, Olivia Germaine’s fantasy has become a reality. Now she is faced with two commitments: one she must make and one she must break. But in order to accept a love she never thought possible, Olivia will have to let go of the broken past that defines her - and of deeply-rooted fears that could ruin everything.

Everything is what David Dylan wants to give her, and it’s what he wants in return. He must prove to Olivia that despite his playboy ways, he’s worth leaving behind the stable future her husband can offer her. David is a man who always gets what he wants . . . but this time he may be fighting for something unattainable.

Can Olivia escape the past that threatens to consume her?

And can David break through to her before it does?


FIND THE BOOK:
 

AUTHOR INTERVIEW 
Love Affair with an e-Reader is so proud to welcome Jessica Hawkins, the author of The Cityscape Series.  Thank you, Jessica for joining us to share some insight into your stories. 


JH: Thank you for having me! I’m very excited to be here.


This is such a provocative series, what was your inspiration for the story?


JH: I’ve always been fascinated by infidelity and the motives behind it. I hoped to take the reader to the brink of it where they’d ask themselves: would I or wouldn’t I? Also, I’m inspired by eye contact, connection. Something happens when you meet eyes with another person, but only the two of you can understand it.


How did you go about doing your research?


JH: I spent a lot of time reading through online forums. The Internet is great for that because anonymity can encourage honesty. I read about people who cheated and people who were cheated on. I wanted to understand it from more than one angle. And not all of what I read was retrospective – many posters were in the middle of their own storm. They might be involved with an affair and want to get out but can’t. Or their spouse had just confessed, and they’re questioning how it’s possible to move forward. I had other methods of research too, but real-life experiences were the most informative and heartbreaking.


Your third book was a more of a character study (still, with plenty of drama).  Without giving too much away, there is loss, redemption and renewal.  What was your favorite part of the story to write?


JH: Great question. The answer might surprise you. There are scenes that made me cry, that twisted my gut, that really got to me. I both love and hate writing those. But the scene that sticks out is in the last chapter. Olivia is watching movies in the den when David comes back to the apartment late. In that scene we see a sort of desperation in David, where he’s finally crumbling from carrying the relationship. I don’t want to give anything away either, but he needs to hear things from Olivia that she could never say before – because of her past and her stunted relationship with Bill. We think of David as strong and masculine; he always gives and can survive on what little she gives back. That scene is a crack in his composure where he needs Olivia to be the one who asks for what she wants instead of the other way around. It could go many different ways.


If you could cast your characters with any actor from the past your present, who would you choose? I’m especially interested in who you would cast in the role of David Dylan, who is such a charismatic and dominating character. 

JH: I think it’s important to start by saying that I have these images in my head that
could never really be completely accurate. But, it sure is fun to try and make them real. I see Olivia as captivating: Amber Heard, Olivia Wilde, Ashley Greene. Bill is a little goofy, gangly. Maybe Josh Hartnett or a young Bill Pullman (think While You Were Sleeping). David is more difficult. Physically, I think Reynaldo Gianecchini best embodies my vision – jet black hair, light brown eyes, huge, sexy smile. David is manly and mature, so I envision an established, older man. Jon Hamm, when he puts on his Don Draper suit, is up there in my list. I like that he’s a no-bullshit type. A fan suggested Matt Raimo, and I think he’s just about perfect.


My dream man is Henry Cavill, but I’d prefer to write a character based on him rather than try to fit him into a character like David. They’re each too big for that.

I noticed that this is called the Cityscape “series”, not trilogy.  Will there be more books?  

JH: I don’t anticipate any more books. Originally the series was only two books, which is why I opted not to call it a trilogy. But as you can see, a third book is great because it wraps up a lot of loose ends. I like that it’s not required reading – those who want to continue can, but they don’t have to. And although I would never recommend it, it could potentially be read as a standalone.

What can we expect from you next?

JH: I’m asking myself the same question! I want to keep writing, and I have an idea. When? That I don’t know. What? Like The Cityscape Series, it has to do with forbidden attraction.

Thank you, Jessica for sharing your time and insights with us.  We look forward to all your future works!

Thanks again for having me!


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jessica Hawkins grew up between the purple mountains and under the endless sun of
Palm Springs, California. She studied international business at Arizona State University and has also lived in Costa Rica and New York City. Some of her favorite things include traveling, her dog Kimo, Scrabble, driving aimlessly and creating Top Five lists. She is the helpless victim of an overactive imagination that finds inspiration in music and tranquility in writing. Currently she resides wherever her head lands, which lately is the unexpected (but warm) keyboard of her trusty MacBook.

AUTHOR'S LINKS:


REVIEW 

Now that Olivia has made her decision, it should be all wine and roses, right? Not quite.  In book three of the Cityscape series, Jessica Hawkins delves further into the relationship between Olivia Germain and David Dylan.  The first two books took us into the sizzling attraction and the agonizing choice Olivia must make.  Now, Ms. Hawkins looks into the aftermath of that decision.  Relationships are difficult enough without the extra baggage of guilt, judgment, and loss.  Olivia's choice changes everything for her.  If she is going to make this work, she is going to have to overcome her own insecurities, her use of being "sensible", "practical", and "stable" as a shield, and confront her relationship with her parents.  David becomes the conduit in which Olivia grows and changes.    

For me, this book is about learning to go "all in."  Everything Olivia does up to her relationship with David is safe.  Everything is muted.  David offers her the opportunity to really live, take risks, and see the world in full technicolor. The struggles they face, I would suspect, are the norm given how their relationship starts.  It's difficult to build trust when you begin your relationship from an affair.  It is an interesting character study about building something new from a fractured foundation.  This book reminds us that Happy Ever After takes work.

My only critique of the book is the side story involving Gretchen and Greg.  Given how well the other characters are presented, this part of the narrative feels under developed.  We never really get to know Greg and his attempt to connect with Gretchen is mostly "off scene," so it is difficult to gain any insight into the situation.  Nonetheless, it is not distracting, only a missed opportunity.  

IN A NUTSHELL:
Because of the core of the plot, the pace in this book is a little less frantic and the tone is less anxious than the previous two books. It is a nice and necessary wrap up to the trilogy.  


BOOKS IN THE SERIES

Come Undone

Olivia Germaine has already found love. Devoted wife, loyal friend, determined career woman - she’s created the life she always envisioned.

But when Olivia locks eyes with a handsome stranger across a crowded room, he peers a little too closely and sees emotions she thought she’d buried long ago.

David Dylan, alleged playboy and eternal bachelor, challenges Olivia to confront the life she’s built and to make decisions that could either lead to happiness . . . or regret.

Will Olivia be able to draw the line between lust and love?

And can David respect that line?


Come Alive

Determined to move on with her life, Olivia Germaine has vowed to forget David Dylan. Struggling to keep her head above water, she focuses on her new promotion and refuses to drown in the memory of their night together.

But when Olivia realizes what life without David means, she must decide if she is willing to risk everything for him . . . and if she is ready to reopen the wounds of her past.

Can Olivia move forward with her marriage despite her feelings for David?

And can David stay away like he promised?
  
For my dual review of these two books, click here

A special treat,Come Undone is on Sale!


GIVEAWAY
Enter for your chance to win a $50 Amazon Gift Card and a Signed Set of The Cityscape Series (open internationally)

a Rafflecopter giveaway


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