Tag Archives: Romance

You gotta admit, Navy SEALs Are Some Kind of Hero. (Yeah, it’s a book review)

Some Kind of Hero by Suzanne Brockmann (Audobook/Ebook) Omigosh, I’m a pretty big Suz Brockmann fan, but seriously, she outdid herself with this one. I was a little wary because I didn’t think that the plotline of a guy trying to find his runaway daughter and the pretty neighbor helping him out was going to be exciting enough to hold my interest, but I was turning pages with reckless abandon.

23303664One thing I totally enjoyed was the neighbor is a romance novelist, and she helps by analyzing everything like it is a scene in a book, and she also has one of her characters stuck in her head and talking to her like a conscience. It’s pretty darn funny. Of course the dad is a Navy SEAL, so when the daughter turns from runaway to kidnapping victim, the bad guys are in for a whole lot of whoop-ass. The situation is believable though. I didn’t find myself rolling my eyes in the action scene at the end. The only thing I might subtract a star for happened in the beginning. Dad calls the police because his daughter is missing. The police blow him off and tell him she’ll probably come home. Say what? The first 24 hours are the most important in a missing child case. Statistically, after 24 hours the chances of ever finding a missing child drop at a heart-wrenching rate. I do understand that we needed no police involvement so Dad and the nice neighbor-lady could set off on their adventure together, but the lack of police support left me feeling like the start of the novel seemed forced. So, prepare to suspend your disbelief on that one point. After Dad gets in the neighbor’s car though, and the adventure begins, you are in for a really fun time. This might be my favorite Troubleshooters book yet.


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Let’s Get Wrecked! (Or Maybe Not) A Review of Wrecked by Sherilee Gray

Wrecked by Sherilee Gray (Ebook) I need to give this book three stars and I feel really bad about it. The author is a very talented writer. The words stream freely and are easy to read, and everything about the story “flows”. However, I think this book was a poor match of reader to novel.

I try to read a couple contemporaries a year to keep up with trends in Romance. Once in a while I grab one and shake my head in wonder.

There are some great tortured characters in this book. A wonderful alpha male with issues over a past mistake, and tons of scars to remind himself about it every day. We also have the heroine, the hero’s best friend’s baby sister, who has been in love with our hero since she was a kid, and we find out the feeling has been mutual. The characters were great, but the hero constantly pushing the heroine away because “she deserves better” got annoying after a while. Seriously, I wanted to smack him. Even when they do get together, he is still whining about it won’t ever work, because she deserves better. (And this is probably half the book.)

Also, there was this creepy factor where he watches the girl from out the window, and does inappropriate things to himself. And when he admits it, she is okay with it.


I also had a problem with the way he talked to her. I mean, I guess I’m a prude, but I found just about everything about this guy offensive and I would have drop kicked him out my front door. Now, that being said, I understand that there might be women out there that want to be reduced to a piece of meat and spoken to like trash… so I am trying very hard not to judge…

Also, there was this added tension of a real estate guy trying to buy her house that was never resolved. We also have a on-line-date she goes on to try to make the hero mad, but it backfires… this leads to what I had hoped would be an epic confrontation at the end. But just when the excitement started, it was over as easily as locking a door.

WAAAAY too easy, and a big disappointment.

It is a shame. This author’s writing was pretty good. I might have been inclined to pick up more of her books, but I would be afraid to find more of the same.

HOWEVER-if you are rolling your eyes at me and thinking that you like stuff like this, then please pick it up! This author is talented… just not a good match for me.

This is me, reaching for some nice, safe, well-developed, not-foul-mouthed YA for my next few reads.

Sorry. I feel bad on this one. [Big sad face]

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Ashes and Fire2You can find Fire in the Woods and Ashes in the Sky at all these awesome bookish places!

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Whoa Nellie, was this a fun ride! A review of Devil and the Deep by @JAWalkerAuthor

Devil and the Deep by Julie Ann Walker (Ebook)

(Adult content warning)

This is a book two in a series. I did not read the first book, but what I needed to know was covered flawlessly so I was not lost at all. This book can stand on its own.

Plot: Maddy, an oil heiress, is snatched for ransom on a tiny island she is camping on. Luckily for her, she told her hot Navy SEAL friend where she was camping, and asked him to meet her there. Boy, are those kidnappers sorry when Bran and his buddy show up!

Whoa Nellie was this a fun ride!

It reminded me of the hey-day of action hero movies (If Bruce Willis or Arnold Schwarzenegger were turbo-hot Navy SEALS.) There was one small point where I rolled my eyes. It came when the two Navy SEALS and the heroine, Maddy, were trying to save three kidnapped girls. Maddy is very hot for ex-Navy SEAL Bran (after he apparently saved her life in the first book) and while they are in a very precarious situation, she starts making amorous advances on him. For a second, I thought this was going to be one of “those novels”, but that was the only ridiculous “overly romancy” scene. The rest is one fun thrill ride after another.

Note: This IS A ROMANCE so there is a lot of that “lovey dovey” stuff, but this is also an awesome high action thrill ride. I really loved the blend of the two, and I am interested in reading the first book in this series to find out how the characters met. I’d give this 4.5 stars, losing half a star for inserting a romantic scene where (in my opinion) it was unrealistic to have one.

Great fun!
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Learning from someone else’s mistakes – How to NOT write a novel

I’ve been reading a lot of romance novels lately. Not because it is my favorite genre, but to help strengthen my skills in writing inner-thought and making an emotional connection between the reader and the character.

I recently read a book that was AWESOME at this.  I was totally engaged. I liked the heroine. I cared about her. I liked the hero even more. They were both complex characters with faults that drove their characterization, and I completely believed them and felt like part of their lives. It was everything I wanted in a novel. This author totally deserved the “bestselling author” splash on her advertising.

At the end of the novel, there was one of those lovely magic buttons nice and handy so I could buy the next book.

Did I buy the next book? No.

Wasn’t I interested in the story? Didn’t I want to know more?

Yes. I totally did. I was ready to stay up late and read more.

So why didn’t I buy the next book?

The author, despite being incredibly talented, lost my trust. The story was not complete. Not by a long shot.

The heroine is being threatened by her brother and a former boyfriend who raped her. She had been in hiding for years, but they found her. She needs to go home and face them because her mother is dying. The hero of the story agrees to go home with her so she is not alone. BAM. It’s over. If you want to see what happens, you need to buy the next book. There isn’t even a neat, tidy closing thought to make the novel feel like it ended, like “I would be fine, I knew I would be fine because we would face this together.”

Nope—a closing line like that was not there. The chapter just ended, and the next page prompted you to buy the next book.


Now, if this had been a free read, I totally would have cut the author some slack. I would have purchased the next book. Call me snobby, but I expect a story to be complete when I pay $5.00 for it.

But maybe I was wrong. Maybe I misunderstood. So I checked to make sure there was not a worded warning like “part one” that I overlooked.

Nope. Nada.

I went from being a wildly enthusiastic fan to a lukewarm, disappointed reader in a matter of seconds.

But the novel was great. Why wouldn’t you buy the next one?

Like I said, she has lost my trust. Will the next book finish the story, or will I be prompted to buy another book? I don’t know. I cannot trust that I will ever see a satisfying ending.

For now and probably forever, I will see this author’s name and red flags will pop up all over the place.

Why not just tell the truth?

Now, if it was stated up front that this was an add-on series, a work in progress available in installments (and priced at $.99 rather than $5.00 each) I would have totally slipped the next book in my cart. In fact, I think that’s an awesome idea.

But you just need to be honest about it.

Don’t lie to your readers.

Would I recommend this book? No. Absolutely not.

I sure did learn from it, though.

What would you think if you finished a book, and it totally left you hanging… Holding you ransom until you paid to find out what happened?


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An Example of Nailing the Setting

I recently picked up a historical novella to clear my head between longer novels.  Terri Rochenski wrote a short story in the Make Believe anthology that I really enjoyed, so I reached for her newest work “Alone No More”.

From the title, you get the gist.  Our MC is alone in love, and at the end she gets her man.  Romance never has a surprise ending, does it?  It’s probably the only genre where this is completely acceptable.  It’s the journey to the couple getting together that is the fun.

So, let’s talk about the setting.  Rochenski has a way of drawing you into her world in the first few pages, and never letting go.  Be it the costumes, technology, language, or just the general feel of a world or time period, Rochenski nails it.

Normally for me, this would be a drag.  I hate too much detail, but Rochenski is one of those authors who has figured out how to gently weave in the important parts of the world without slapping you in the face with laundry lists of details.  You envision a character walking through a room and noticing things around her, or you travel down a dirt road in a swaying cart. The details are interspersed inside the action.  Very well done. I like to read works like this on hopes that some of that setting flair rubs off on me.

If you are looking for a short, quiet historical I would highly recommend this.  Adrenaline junkies would find the middle of  “Alone No More” a bit long and uneventful, but this does happen in love sometimes… especially in an authentic historical setting.  I would recommend this book for the setting in itself.

Pick up a copy of “Alone No More” for some quiet holiday reading (Only $1.49 on sale at the White Rose Web Site.)  Everyone loves a sale this time of year!

AMAZON   /  The Wild Rose Press


Don’t sleep with him/her? Rule #19 of 32 Simple Rules to the Writing the Best Novel Ever


I’m dissecting the article Hunting Down the Pleonasm, by Allen Guthrie, using it as a cattle prod to search for little nasties in my manuscript.  Yep, you can join in the fun, too.  Let’s take a looksee at topic #19

19: Don’t allow characters who are sexually attracted to one another the opportunity to get into bed. Unless at least one of them has a jealous partner.

Umm…. What?

I’m staring at this, and trying to think about novels that were good, where there was a little bedroom time, but no jealous lover.

I have to admit… there are a lot… and they are fine. A sexual triangle just is not the main conflict of the story.

Sometimes the strong relationship between two characters makes the overall conflict (not necessarily a jealous partner) a deeper conflict, because the characters really care about each other.

Maybe Allen Guthrie has never read a romance novel? Maybe he just doesn’t like to read bedroom scenes?

What’s your take on this?


Related articles

A Review of “The Romance Novel Book Club” by Kastil Eavenshade

After crying my eyes out over the last novel I read, I REALLY needed a light fun read. I’d heard great things about “The Romance Novel Book Club” so I decided to give it a whirl. It ended up being a combination of everything I wanted, and also what I was trying to avoid.

Very mild spoiler alert: I will try not to give too much away.

“The Romance Novel Book Club” starts out as a whimsical story told in a great voice. We have a woman who reads a lot of Romance novels, and is looking for a whirlwind relationship like that in real life. The comparisons she makes to romance novels are truly hysterical, and for quite a long time I was reading with a smile on my face.

Then…. There was this shift.

Same girl. Same plotline, but after messing up her umteenth relationship, she begins dealing with an addiction problem that was a bit disturbing to me.

Addiction of every kind makes me want to yack. I find it truly sad that anyone could become totally dependent on anything. (Other than chocolate… that’s okay in my book. 🙂 )

Anyway… same great voice… same joking… but I began to seriously dislike the main character. At one point, she picks on a wayward waiter that she sets up as the “bad guy” – Normally I would have thought of this person as the bad guy, too… but I just ended up feeling sorry for him. I was considering stopping reading, until – quite to my surprise – the character admitted to her friend that she thought she might have an addiction.

For some reason, that admission – and also having the warm and fuzzy that the author MEANT me to have all those uncomfortable feelings, made me feel better. So I kept reading.

Thanks goodness that from that point forward, things started to get better. Once she had admitted to the addiction, she had the will to try to fight it, and I started to like her again.

So, yes, this is a book that will put a smile on your face, but it will also scare you a little bit. The author tackles a very serious subject. This is NOT a Romance novel. You might consider it an Anti-Romance novel. But there is a romance in it as well… and a happy ending, thank goodness.

Oh… and this is DEFINITELY for the 18 and over crowd.

Scratch that. 21 and over.

Maybe 25 and over.

Not for the kiddies. Get it?


A Review of Crossing Hathaway by Jocelyn Adams

I decided to give this book a whirl because I saw a few internet posts from the author saying it was a great seller for her, and she wasn’t sure why.

I think this is one of those classic cases of a beauty queen thinking she’s ugly or something… or maybe she just doesn’t have a mirror (or reading glasses in this case.)

Crossing Hathaway is a Contemporary Romance (not my favorite genre) But it had just enough of an “out of the ordinary” twist for me to make it interesting, and for me to really feel the peril that our Main Character is in.

Eva is an IT specialist who has to spend a week working for the obnoxious owner of her company when her immediate leader has to leave for a family emergency.  She ends up dealing with more than a jerk boss, though… In the end, her life is at stake.  Heart pounding!

Jocelyn Adam’s writing is extremely fluid, and far too easy to read.  For instance, you sit down to read for ten minutes, and two hours later you realize you are still reading.  It’s one of those “annoyingly good” things.

Tiramisu anybody?

And I imagine that the Tiramisu scene has probably had some chatter on the internet and other Romance circles.  I believe this is the longest love-making scene I have ever read… and it didn’t even seem like overkill.  I honestly don’t think I will be able to order tiramisu at a restaurant again without a snicker.


The chemistry between the two main characters and the MC’s best friend is flawless.  I easily could place myself in her situation.  I believed it all.

Was this the perfect book?  Well… no.  For one thing, there were no explosions, but I’ll forgive her that because the rest of it was so dern good.   There were two flaws though.  The more minor flaw was that I saw the climax coming from a mile away.  I was concerned about what was happening, but since I’d figured it out, I was just waiting for “it” to happen.  The good thing was that the book didn’t end there, like I thought it would.  It kept going in a way that I didn’t anticipate, and I felt completely satisfied with the ending.

The only real flaw that bothered me (and this won’t bother most at all) was the Main Character’s mouth in the beginning of the novel.  Her language did clear up by the end, and the author was probably using it as a plot device, but it didn’t resonate with me.  Okay, yeah, I may be a prude, but I can understand if someone stubs their toe and says “oh Sh*t”, but curses just hanging out there for really no reason at all bothers me.  In fact, I mentally deleted them completely, and the narrative read fine.  It almost seems like they were inserted after the fact, which I found odd.

So I’m going to dock this story one star just for that, but feel free to give it five stars in your mind if you don’t mind erroneous cursing.

Oh, and Jocelyn Adams – If you are still wondering why this novel sells so well – it’s because it is AWESOME. And well… Tiramisu probably has a lot to do with it, too. 😉

Purchase link:  Crossing Hathaway


A Review of “Dipping in a Toe” By Linda Carroll-Bradd @lcarrollbradd

I was just floored by this short story.  This little tidbit did everything it was meant to do.  It wet my appetite, and left me screaming for more.

Normally, I don’t like shorts, because I always feel like there is more to the story that I have not been told.  To an extent, this is no exception to that. However, this was so superbly written that I was left feeling satisfied with the ending, and not wanting to chuck my E-reader at the wall.

This is a very simple story about a single mother being attracted to her kid’s much younger swim coach, and what happens when he returns her attention.

While this is a very sweet story. (Not even any kissing) I found myself submersed in the heat between these two characters, and feeling every sensory perception relayed by the author.

My only fault is how short it is (I read it in two nights, but I could have gobbled it in one sitting if I wanted to)  I would love to read more about this new couple, and if there is a part two, I am reaching for it.

In general, I like fantasy or chase novels, and romance bores me.  This story, though, just blew my socks off without any TNT.  For the first time in a long time, I am looking up an author to see what else she’s written.

I can’t find any reason in this book not to give it five stars.  This is sweet romance at its utter and complete best.

Review of “The Glass Man” by Jocelyn Adams

Strap yourself in.  It’s going to be a bumpy ride.

I actually finished this book last year, and it was in my top five reads for 2012.  I never got around to reviewing it, so here’s a quick overview.

My opinion? I want to be Jocelyn Adams when I grow up.  Well, not completely, but I would love to have the “flow” that her writing style has.  She is really “readable”.

Have you ever read a great book, but it was easy to put it down?  Well, Glass Man is a great book that your husband has to pry out of your hands to make sure you go to bed at night… I call that “flow” because there is no hard break in the writing… as a reader, you just keep reading without knowing what’s going on.

Glassman is a story about a girl with supernatural powers and has no idea why she has these powers.  She is being chased by “The Glass Man” – a man who killed her entire family when she was young, and has been hunting her ever since.  Yep, this is one of my favorite tropes – the CHASE NOVEL.  Wahoo!  Action abounds!

I thoroughly enjoyed this novel from beginning to end, with a few very minor nit-picks.

Nit Picks:

#1 is the language. Yeah, yeah, stamp me a prude, but I cannot relate to a heroine with a gutter mouth.  I’ve said before, using the word sh*t or even the F-bomb if you fall and hurt yourself is okay.  It’s natural.  But riddling the dialog with profanity bothers me.  I have to subtract a star for this.

#2 is that the main character is wearing a ridiculous outfit for a long time during the climax near the end of the story. Why Why Why? Is all I have to ask.  The narrative, which is otherwise outstanding, high energy and tense, is challenged, and at times ruined by the dumb outfit that the bad guy made her wear. I just don’t know where the author was going with that.  Maybe it was supposed to be comic relief, or maybe titillation… for me, it just made me roll my eyes.  So for this, I need to subtract another star.

Now let’s chat for a second about the character of the Glass Man.

Best Villain I have ever read

 Like EVER

Wanna lesson on how to write a villain?  Pick up Glass Man.  I mean DANG.  I actually found myself rooting for him most of the time.  He is just so darn bad you have to love him… and I just love a hot sexy villain.  He’s not bad… he’s doing the right thing!  Who cares if everyone else thinks he’s a psychopath?????

Pure brilliance on the villain, and I would LOVE to see a prequel that was based solely on his character.  There is a mention of an earlier event with the MC of this story where the villain actually “won”.  I would LOVE to see that made into a book.  Let’s cheer on that bad guy. Yahooooo!

Okay, so, if you didn’t catch my enthusiasm, I was trying to say that the villain was awesome, and for him alone, I will give this book an extra star.

So that’s a total of four stars for the Glass Man.  If you like paranormal stories, and can get in to a chase novel with a dash of romance and two supernatural being kicking the crud out of each other, you will just LOVE this.