Thursday, August 21, 2014

Elizabeth Hunter - The Scribe

Hidden at the crossroads of the world, an ancient race battles to protect humanity, even as it dies from within.
Ava Matheson came to Istanbul looking for answers, but others came looking for her. A reckless warrior guards her steps, but will Malachi’s own past blind him to the truth of who Ava might be? While ancient forces gather around them, both Ava and Malachi search for answers.
Whispering voices. Deadly touch. Their passion should be impossible... or it could be the only thing that will keep them alive.

Comment: This is the book chosen for this month's read at the book club where I participate. I had more but we've taken a stand by. This book club aims to read paranormal but we've
decided to read more genres from this year on. Some months I don't read and comment because the books chosen are titles I've already read and I prefer to read new things.
Anyway, this month the book we picked was this one and I had absolutely no idea of what it was about so I've started it without any preconceived ideas.

This is Ava's story. She has been different all her life foe some unknown reason and she hears voices in her head, always strange and seemingly foreign but she has sought help and no one could help her get rid of them.
Ava goes to Istanbul looking for a doctor who might help her and there she meets Malachi, someone she first thinks is her new body guard but after finding out her father called the last one, she wonders who is this guy she was even starting to be friends with. After trying to confront him, Ava embarks on a voyage of self discovery and love...

Not knowing what to expect, I have to say I was very entertained by this story. It has many new elements not seen all the time in paranormal and quite the fresh take on the whole angels angle. 
In this story, the main issue is the fight among fallen angels. Some fell and wanted power so they seduce humans and their offspring are evil, the called Grigoris. Some of those who fell asked for forgiveness and their reward was the protection of their children, so they are called Irins and Irinas.
This story focuses on how their battle is on and how the Irins, whose numbers aren't growing anymore keep trying to save humans and to kill as many grigoris as possible.

Ava is special and in Istanbul she meets Malachi, a Irin who catches her eye because she can't hear his voice the same she hears the other people's. His voice in her head is calmer, more subdued and infuses her with peace. But as the Irins are curious about Ava and how she can be human but showing characteristics unseen for so long, so do the grigories and the action develops mostly in the running from danger and the romance.

This is a new author for me, so her style could be something I might not like much, but I liked reading this book. I just think the romance happened a bit to fast although this has become such an expected trait in paranormal romances, once barely blinks the eye these days. Still, it would have been nice to see some more time passing by.
Plus, this is supposed to be first of a trilogy and by the way this book ends and the blurb from book #2 -which I've gotten already - I assume this will be a series about this couple, Ava and Malachi and how their relationship will be important for the Irins in the long haul...but in this first book we've met interesting characters I'd love to see having a story of their own and maybe they won't so, let's see what happens, but if they don't, what a pity.

As for the plot, I liked it, it has some fight scenes that I passed, it's not my thing, I prefer the dialogs, but mostly it had many clues about Ava and her role in all this and how the Irins numbers got so low and it's quite the interesting world the author created, I was very curious about all the new information about everything that developed throughout the story line.
The romance was god, even tough it started slow and developed fast, I liked the sexual tension between them and the doubts each one had but that were overcome by a certain special attraction and the knowledge what was happening to them was meant to be. I liked how we got that idea.

All in all, a great debut for me with this author, although I hated the end and hopefully it all gets sorted and solved in the next one.
The best thing were the details about the Irins and how they write things in their skin, from safety spells to love was quite interesting.
I'll read the next book soon, probably this year still.
Grade: 8/10

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

TBR Challenge: Lena Matthews - I Never

Thanks to his friend's thirtieth birthday, Tripp Kowlaski is forced to face the two people he's been avoiding for the last year — Skylar Daveigh and Gideon Foley. At one time the three of them had been part of a close-knit group of friends, but that all changed thanks to one game of I Never.
Some things can't be forgiven or forgotten. Unfortunately for Tripp, Gideon isn't in the mood to do either. He and Skylar are happy now together. The last thing either of them needs is to be reminded of what they can't have.
Skylar is conflicted. She's in love with two men who can't move past their anger or fear to admit their love for one another. All she wants is the three of them to be happy, together, but some wishes aren't meant to come true. The birthday surprise is on them though, because they're receiving a gift none of them will ever forget. The only question is, will they make the same mistake the second time around?

Comment: Here we are again, at another book for the TBR challenge. This month, the theme is luscious love scenes, which means - for most people - erotic stories where it is the focus. 
I picked a book I've had since 2009 or 2010 which I got during my times of discovery of MM romances and how I've read several MMF to see if I would enjoy MM on its own. Like many readers out there, nowadays I kind of prefer MM instead of MMF which I tend to find mostly boring and uninteresting because I like the MM parts better.
This story was no exception, in particular because it was on the short side and didn't allow much development the way I think it could use, but well...

Anyway, this story is the second of a trilogy of shorter stories the author has written for Ellora's Cave. The trilogy is set on the idea of naughty games, those games teenagers play but this time a group of seven friends played it with consequences for them all. 
In this story's case, Tripp, Gideon and Skylar, who were best friends, took their friendship further with a game of I never, which proved to them all how attracted they all were with each other, but Tripp wasn't in the best place emotionally and he left the other two. Now, two years after, they are told by another friend to try to mend their problems and to see if what they still have between them is worth it all.

Despite being part of a trilogy, all stories apparently take place at the same time and one doesn't have to read the others to understand everything.
I thought this story would focus on the erotic part of their relationship, which I imagined would be developed with some structure. I think the fact this is short, I'd say it is a short story, didn't leave much room for progress. There are sex scenes and we have scenes from two years ago, when things went bad. I understand this was a device the author used to show the reader why these three have things to deal with, but obviously it took some time from the current working out of things. And I don't think that knowing how sexually tuned with each other was that necessary to understand their issues, because after all they were always supposed to be good together.

So, there's a short story and a good part of it is showing a sex scene from the past before things went wrong. The major issue here happened between Gideon and Tripp because Tripp wasn't ready to tell himself he had important feelings for Gideon, the same he had for Skylar. They had sex and Tripp got scared and he said things that hurt Gideon. A this point it became rather obvious the main problem was between the boys, and I have to say, the conflict wasn't that badly done, their issues had some merit.
The biggest thing for them to solve then, was how Tripp would accept their relationship and how Gideon would forgive Tripp. Eventually everything worked out well, although I still had the feeling it was all too fast.

In fact, I had some trouble believing things could be dealt that fast even more when Gideon and Tripp had serious things to talk about. I really think a bigger story where we could see the nowadays time going slower and where they could talk better would suit them. In a way, this story was about the two guys and how what they would do would affect the trio.
So, where was Skylar in all this, she had a good relationship with both guys, even if Tripp hurt her too, but she was quicker to forgive, like her presence was there to just balance the guys. There were times where I even thought she was redundant, just to allow a different erotic level, but honestly her presence wasn't such a big win for me. If this is the story itself or my better opinion of just MM romances, I can't really say for sure.

Then the sex, this is labeled erotic, it has sex scenes, it has menages and sexual situations usually addressed in erotic stories. Still, I can't say the sex parts were that important. I think if we removed them the story would still be there, with its interesting points and lac of solid development because of how short it was and because it doesn't have the feel of a well developed story. At least to me. Perhaps I picked an unsuitable story, but the truth is, the sexual content wasn't that impressive, at least for the type of story it was supposed to be in. I still think the best scenes were between Gideon and Tripp...

In the end, not only was the story short, it didn't convince me in terms of structure, it wasn't that sexy or sensual and it was more focused on the guys than the menage itself. After all the things I found fault with, the good aspects weren't enough to me.
I don't plan on reading more by this author. She can be talented, but based on this story alone, I wasn't convinced.
Grade: 4/10

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Sandra Schwab - Castle of the Wolf

Celia Fussell's father is dead, and she is reduced to the status of a poor relation in the house of her brother, the new baron, and his shrewish wife. A life of misery looms ahead.
But, no. There is hope. Deep in the Black Forest, in the Great Duchy of Baden, stands Celia's inheritance. Among fir trees so dark they almost look black, The Castle of Wolfenbach rises. It is a fortress of solitude, of secrets, of old wounds and older mysteries. But it is hers. And only one thing stands in her way: its former master, the hermit, the enigma . . . the man she is obliged to marry.

Comment: Although the first book I've read by the author wasn't exactly what I imagined, I still wanted to read more by her and got this book as well. I liked the blurb and the possibility it might be entertaining. And I wasn't wrong.

This story presents us Celia Fussell, a young woman who leaves her home in England to travel to a castle her late father bought in Germany in order to avoid living with her brother and annoying sister -in-law. She is supposed to marry the previous owners son if he's still unmarried to gain full ownership of the castle, otherwise in 4 months it will go to another owner.
In Germany, Celia finds everything she didn't expect, and most of all, a surly future husband who wants nothing to do with life and light and happiness...but with time, will Celia prove him wrong?

First of all, I was quite happy with the fact this historical takes place in Germany. Usually most historical books are set in England (writer's preference probably) so it was quite refreshing to read about descriptions of German landscapes and culture, even if only to create atmosphere. I was still quite entertained by it.

Well, this book was very good, in my opinion. I still think there were times when it was a bit obvious how certain things had to go on the way they did to make the story work, like how the villains were depicted and their motivations and how the romance had to take some time to develop and be believable. I think the need to follow certain "rules" in romance development were just a bit too out there to make it something subtle enough not to be noticed, but apart from that, I managed to enjoy reading the story and knowing the characters quite well.

I really loved the tone of the book, especially in the first half of the story, because I found it so funny and full of wonderful scenes, like when Fenris, Celia's intended husband, wanted to get rid of Celia and her older friend who is with her for a while to support her, and how epically he fails when Celia's friend proves to be an unexpected woman and kills rats on her own! I really laughed at those funny scenes. And there's more, cute scenes where we see Celia's inner confidence and how she isn't just a scared young woman, she has a heart of gold and she isn't pushed away easily.

The romance is quite good because not only they fall in love and we see it in small things all the time, but they grew up to be both more confident and to accept love for who they are. I liked how balanced they were in that aspect.
Celia was afraid of being alone until she was old but she found out that Fenris was honorable and worthy of love and perfect for her.
Fenris has had a terrible experience and he lost a leg during the war against Napoleon so he's afraid of rejection and has to deal with the experience of seeing people disgusted by his looks. It takes him time and lots of reluctance to accept Celia's love but int he end their relationship becomes true and it's the best lesson to learn, everyone can be worthy of love and there's a special person for everyone.

I liked how the villains' were dealt with. It's still complicated to really judge or to understand easily how that happened like that, but who knows what's inside the people around us, and it was good to see how Celia wasn't easily distracted and got her intelligence to work and realized what was in front of her wasn't as perfect as that and how Fenris wasn't the terrible person everyone said he was.

In the end, this book reads like one of those gothic novels, but in a much lighter tone and development. I think the sensitive issues were dealt with a lighter dose than what I thought it might, but it worked so I can't really complain, although a bit more character development might have helped with that.
Still, a good story and I intend to read more by the author in the future.
Grade: 8/10

Monday, August 18, 2014

Beatriz Williams - Overseas

A passionate, sweeping novel of a love that transcends time.
When twenty-something Wall Street analyst Kate Wilson attracts the notice of the legendary Julian Laurence at a business meeting, no one's more surprised than she is. Julian's relentless energy and his extraordinary intellect electrify her, but she's baffled by his sudden interest. Why would this handsome British billionaire--Manhattan's most eligible bachelor--pursue a pretty but bookish young banker who hasn't had a boyfriend since college?
The answer is beyond imagining . . . at least at first. Kate and Julian's story may have begun not in the moneyed world of twenty-first-century Manhattan but in France during World War I, when a mysterious American woman emerged from the shadows of the Western Front to save the life of Captain Julian Laurence Ashford, a celebrated war poet and infantry officer.
Now, in modern-day New York, Kate and Julian must protect themselves from the secrets of the past, and trust in a true love that transcends time and space.

Comment: I got my eyes on this book don't remember exactly when but it was after seeing it was one of the most talked about books in GR from 2012. I got curious about the blurb and decided to read it. I also don't remember when I got the book, probably by the end of last year...anyway, this month it was up to be read.

This story follows Kate Wilson's POV throughout the book, and how her life changes after she meets British legend of business Julian Laurence in a conference on Wall Street where she works. From that moment, Kate's life takes a turn she never imagined and it gets weirder the more she falls in love with Julian and how their fates are connected in a much more serious and deep way she never thought possible.

I liked this book. I think it had many good scenes and moments within the story line and despite the could-be-better things, it was overall, a good and positive work, considering it was the author's debut.
The story is divided into two time lines, the present, where most of the action takes place, and the past, 1916 where see small scenes at a time of what happens to the main characters during that time. This is a time travel story, so expect time travel things, although I must say this isn't the focus of the story, at least not in a way we might think would take over the story.

In the past we see Kate trying to save Julian's life and how she attempts to convince him - and how she does it - in order to save him from what will happen in the future.
In the present time, where most part of the action happens, we see their relationship develop, step by step, mystery after mystery, until they reach the point where the past actions make sense.

I liked the present time story line a lot, especially int he beginning. I was very curious and interested in seeing them fall in love and there was a time where we could almost feel what it was like for them to be at the point before they admitted their feelings were changing and getting stronger. I think that was the most successful part of the book, because after everything comes up in the open between them and who they really are, at least who Julian really is, I think the story started to drag a bit and even more, it started to sound a bit more unbalanced, which I think is due to the lack of polish, I think the author could have refined better certain passages and scenes because I really felt the tone and the consistency of what I was loving about it going down a bit.

There's a resolution to all this and this aspect of the story could have been also better presented. I felt it a bit rushed at the end, although I understand the way the author thought about things. There are many things to wonder about until the end, but surprises and finales apart, I think it could have been done better, in particular the hows of the whole thing.

The romance between Julian and Kate started really amazing, even despite the aspects other readers didn't like about it (the so called stalker scenes and the bossy moments). Personally, I liked it and thought it was developing greatly, but it all got confused and rushed at the end, which was a pity.
Julian is the most intriguing character and the parts of him that are doubtful and a bit inconsistent between time lines have an explanation I think wasn't that bad for the story, after all, people change and adapt to what surrounds them, right?
Kate is likable heroine although I think she exaggerated her reactions times enough to make it memorable, thus making her less attractive in general, something she didn't need, but whatever.

In the end, this is a very interesting romance, many wonderful possibilities and good scenes, but some things weren't done well enough to make it perfect. Still, I enjoyed it and hopefully will read more by this author in the future.
Grade: 7/10

Kelley Armstrong - Stolen

It was in Bitten, Kelley Armstrong's debut novel, that thirty-year-old Elena Michaels came to terms with her feral appetites and claimed the proud identity of a beautiful, successful woman and the only living female werewolf.
In Stolen, on a mission for her own elite pack, she is lured into the net of ruthless Internet billionaire Tyrone Winsloe, who has funded a bogus scientific investigation of the "other races" and their supernatural powers. Kidnapped and studied in his underground lab deep in the Maine woods, these paranormals - witches, vampires, shamans, werewolves - are then released and hunted to the death in a real-world video game. But when Winsloe captures Elena, he finally meets his match.

Comment: I got this story not long after having read the first book, Bitten. At the time I wasn't impressed with the story due mostly to the main female character's behavior. But that wasn't the only thing leaving me unhappy with it, although my main focus was Elena herself. However, some readers who enjoyed the story a lot convinced me Elena changed in book #2 and I should read, and the series was good, and so on. Now more than two years later I finally read the second story to ease up my conscience and to get it over with. As for my opinion, it wasn't different from what I expected.

This installment follows Elena and Clay and Jeremy to a meeting with other supernatural beings, after some abductions. Throughout the book, we see how an organization ruled by humans but where some supernaturals participate, abducts and wants to study the abilities of the supernatural beings they imprisoned. But some people have second intentions and when things go wrong is up to Elena, abducted and forced to act according to her captors' wishes, to help and to solve things. Nothing ends up easy and there are some loose points - probably to future books - but in the end, Elena and Clay save the day after Elena's escape from the prison she was in.

Well, I do have to say I liked Elena a bit more here than I did in the first book. But I don't think it was enough to captivate me into reading more.
I think my biggest problem with this world is I simply don't care for it. The characters, the way things were build, it doesn't appeal to me in such a way I can't help reading more. In fact, it's the opposite, I don't mind not reading anymore. 

Like it says in the blurb, the main action in this story is Elena's experience in the hidden lab and how that influences her actions there. In a way, the story seemed interesting, not because I liked it but because it offered an opportunity to see how the author would deal with the existence of supernatural beings living together int he same environment, but despite some interesting notions here and there, I wasn't impressed.

So, the story wasn't as amazing as I thought. The characters were done in quite a precise way, though. I think it was well done how different everyone was and more important, how each person had a certain role to play. Nevertheless, it's obvious this is a development in progress series, so we don't have all the layers about every character, there's still an air of mystery in everyone. This is great for those who will read further along, but I wanted a bit more closure, which didn't happen. No problem, things are like this and that's it. I don't feel bad about not knowing what will happen to the guys.

As for Elena, she seemed more approachable and wise in this story, but her relationship with Clay still bothers me for its intensity and apparent unbalance - at least to me - but I will be honest, I wasn't that invested in them to actually care.
The progress or development in their characters and in their relationship wasn't impressive enough for me to change my mind about them or what they made me think since book #1...

I can understand why so many readers love this series, it's shaping up to be intense and full of turnabouts and discoveries..but for me, there isn't any special detail, any amazing characteristic that seduces me to want more.
For me this was it. This book has its moments, some scenes were quite impressive, but overall, it's barely enjoyable.
Grade: 5/10

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Joanna Chambers - Enlightenment series

Book 1:
Lowborn David Lauriston lacks the family connections needed to rise in Edinburgh’s privileged legal world. Worse, his latest case—defending weavers accused of treason—has brought him under suspicion of harbouring radical sympathies.
Troubled by his sexuality, tormented by memories of a man he once platonically loved, David lives a largely celibate life—until a rare sexual encounter with a compelling stranger turns his world on its head.
Cynical and worldly, Lord Murdo Balfour is more at home in hedonistic London than dingy, repressed Edinburgh. Unlike David, he intends to eventually marry while continuing to enjoy the company of men whenever he pleases. Yet sex with David is different. It’s personal, intimate, and instead of extinguishing his desire, it only leaves him hungry for more.
As David’s search for the man who betrayed the weavers deepens, he begins to suspect that his mysterious lover has more sinister reasons for his presence in Edinburgh. The truth could leave his heart broken…and more necks stretching on the gallows.

Book 2:
David Lauriston couldn’t be less interested in King George IV’s first visit to Edinburgh. But with Faculty of Advocates members required to put on a minimal show of patriotism, David makes an appointment with his tailor for a new set of clothes—only to run into a man he hasn’t seen for two long years.
Lord Murdo Balfour.
Much has changed since their bitter parting, except their stormy attraction. And when Murdo suggests they enjoy each other’s company during his stay, David finds himself agreeing. After all, it’s only a temporary tryst.
Amidst the pomp and ceremony of the King’s visit, Murdo’s seduction is more powerful than David ever imagined possible. But when other figures from David’s past show up, he is drawn into a chain of events beyond his control. Where his determination to help a friend will break his body, threaten his career, and put at risk the fragile tenderness he’s found in Murdo’s arms.

Book 3:
Five months ago, David Lauriston was badly hurt helping his friend Elizabeth escape her violent husband. Since then, David has been living with his lover, Lord Murdo Balfour, while he recuperates.
Despite the pain of his injuries, David’s time with Murdo has been the happiest of his life. The only things that trouble him are Murdo’s occasional bouts of preoccupation, and the fact that one day soon, David will have to return to his legal practice in Edinburgh.
That day comes too soon when David’s friend and mentor takes to his deathbed, and David finds himself agreeing to take on a private mission in London. Murdo is at his side in the journey, but a shocking revelation by Murdo’s ruthless father leaves David questioning everything they’ve shared.
As tensions mount and the stakes grow higher, David and Murdo are forced to ask themselves how far they’re prepared to go—and how much they’re prepared to give up— to stay together. And whether there’s any chance of lasting happiness for men like them.

Comment: I've had the first book of this trilogy to read for a while now and this month decided I had to read it. I was so glad I started it because it was an amazing read. I am familiar with the author's writing style but I wasn't prepared to love the first book as much. I would grade it an 8 in my personal scale mostly because the end is a bit of a HFN and doesn't leave things solved between the main characters. The story is rich and well developed and to my wonderful surprise, not focused on how many sex scenes there could be and was more concerned about their relationship. All these things we could see through little scenes and conversations throughout the book. There's sexual tension and chemistry which I think was really well done.

There's a main plot which is the base of each installment. In the first book David defends some radicals who want more rights to everyone and we see how devoted and honest and professional he is. 
In the second book David tries to help an old friend from an awful marriage and in the third story David and Murdo face the consequences of being together. But calm down, everything is don in such a beautiful and structured way, one can't help but accept and understand why everything happens that way.

The two characters, David and Murdo meet by chance in the first book, bt each one leaves a mark on the other and when they meet again, it's impossible to hide the feelings that have started to develop between them As there's time passing between each story, we also have the idea nothing happes in a rushed way and is actually more than awaited and hoped for.
David is an idealist and doesn't compromise his beliefs and honesty for anything, even the possibility of loneliness and love. Murdo is the opposite, he's cynical and knows he's superior, but the wonderul thing about this trilogy is this is a romance, so we see the two guys change a bit who they think they should be in order to follow love. David remains the same but he finally accepts he can still be happy even if everyhing around him tells him he shouldn't. And Murdo embraces David and love and the idea that nothing else matters if you have that special person to be with you.

I really loved the romance, all the aspects of it, loved the pace of the story, which allowed me to dream with them and to follow their small steps towards love, it's really beautiful and amazingly romantic!!
Of course nothing happens fro free and to achieve the HEA we hope for during the books, there's some sacrifice to be done which made me cry a tear but honestly, it' nothing dangerous or definitive and it's just the way things were at the time. I was quite happy with the way the story ended in book 3.

I can't praise these books enough. This isn't a perfect 10 only because in the first book things were a still doubtful and the way it ended seemed a bit cold...but I couldn't wait to see what happened and jumped to the others one after the other. This trilogy is really one of the best things I've read this year and I hope anyone who likes the genre would give it a chance to see if this devotion I'm feeling for the characters and their story is contagious! I loved this and after finishing the three books I thought about it for a long time...this is so wonderful and beautiful and deeply romantic I can't even make an informative or polished comment, it's all about how much this is amazing and how much I loved it and you all should read if you want!

I loved this, I can't say it enough. So many wonderful scenes in the stories, wonderful moments caught in a page, it's a wonderful romance, really beautiful. 
My favorite scene? In a carriage, Murdo and David are sitting together and Murdo is nursing David's leg after an accident that left him hurt. Murdo is rubbing David's leg and David tells him his leg is ugly...after a moment, Murdo replies: "There's nothing about you that is ugly"...arghhhh oh my God, come on, go read these books!!!!
It's so great when you find something that just melts and energizes you at the same time!
Grade: 9/10

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Ilona Andrews - Magic Breaks

As the mate of the Beast Lord, Curran, former mercenary Kate Daniels has more responsibilities than it seems possible to juggle. Not only is she still struggling to keep her investigative business afloat, she must now deal with the affairs of the pack, including preparing her people for attack from Roland, a cruel ancient being with god-like powers. Since Kate’s connection to Roland has come out into the open, no one is safe—especially those closest to Kate.
As Roland’s long shadow looms ever nearer, Kate is called to attend the Conclave, a gathering of the leaders from the various supernatural factions in Atlanta. When one of the Masters of the Dead is found murdered there, apparently at the hands of a shapeshifter, Kate is given only twenty-four hours to hunt down the killer. And this time, if she fails, she’ll find herself embroiled in a war which could destroy everything she holds dear…

Comment: This is the most recent installment in the Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews, the known team of husband and wife. I thin this is one of those series whose books I devour the moment I get them in my hands.

In this new adventure, Kate has to deal with some pack business because Curran is traveling. Kate thinks this is just another of the boring but demanding tasks that came with the job and she's hoping everything ends fast because she has Roland to worry about.
But something goes wrong and a shape shifter is accused of murdering someone from The People. Kate now has to find that shape shifter and solve the problem before her father shows up and destroys everyone and everything she cares about.

Well, I liked this book. Usually I like anything this team of writers give to the reader. There are things in the story I wish could be different, way different but I don't think they changed Kate's character like some other readers out there seem to think.
I think Kate is a strong heroine and honestly, her show off near the end of the story was quite the scene, like a movie.
Another thing, this was supposed to be the last book in the series, like the authors say in a note at the beginning of the book. But since they have a contract to write three more books, I'm not disappointed, I'm actually very eager to see what comes next.

This book is another classic Kate Daniels story, with many turnabouts and cliffhanger scenes we can't seem to avoid even knowing it might not end well. Of course Kate saves the day and she is a team with Curran, which I found the best thing ever, because Kate always seemed alone and with Curran she is so much more. Kate isn't a vicious killer although she could be. What I love the most about her is that even when she seemed reluctant in the past to care for people she did and now that she loves even more, she wants to protect and take care of those she cares about, I think her softer side is as interesting and vital as her warrior one.
Kate has a lot to worry about in this story and I think she did the best in the circumstances she was dealt with. I still consider her one of the best heroines ever.

What annoys me just a little bit is the amount of deaths that occur int he books. Sometimes it's hard to read because obviously things are written in a way to make us care about what happens and I confess I cried fr those who died and for those who watched. I understand the way the series is shaped for, but it's still something I don't enjoy reading about.

Curran and Kate are in love. I love their scenes together and how each one has something that complements the other. The end of the book is a bit of a shock but I have hopes the next books to come will show them happy and still in charge.
I also liked seeing everyone else and I especially enjoyed seeing another side of some characters that weren't as key players in the past and now were shown a side I really was interested in seeing develop. I have to say I love the rats alphas a lot!

In the end, I still loved this book. It had plot elements I think were a bit over the top, namely the fighting and the need to say how things would go wrong if a certain step was taken and so on, but this series isn't about rainbows and unicorns so it's better to enjoy the good things because they have to matter more than the bad things.
I have high hopes for the next stories. This one, for me, was still great!
Grade: 8/10

Abigail Roux - Cross and Crown

When Nick O'Flaherty arrives at the scene of a double homicide to find he has a witness to the crime, he thinks it’s his lucky day. But when he realizes his witness is suffering from amnesia and can’t even remember his own name, Nick wishes he’d gone with his gut and put in for vacation time.
Then Nick’s boyfriend and former Recon teammate, Kelly Abbott, joins him in Boston, and Nick finds his hands a little too full as the case and his personal life collide. The witness he’s dubbed “JD” is being tailed by Julian Cross, a retired CIA hitman. To complicate matters further, JD forms an attachment to Nick that Nick struggles not to respond to as they search for the key to JD’s identity.
Trying to determine whether JD is friend or foe as they investigate the crime puts them on the trail of a much older mystery. When multiple attempts are made on their lives, Nick is forced to turn to old enemies and new allies to solve a centuries-old crime before he and Kelly get added to the history books.

Comment: I am a fan of the author's work and in particular of th Cut and Run series. This Sidewinder spin off comes from that series and features Nick and Kelly, two friends in arms of Ty, from the military times. 

This story is the first full length one in the spin off, after the short story Shock and Awe.
In this book we see how Nick works and how he deals with a case in Boston, while welcoming Kelly for a time together. 
Nick and Kelly's relationship is new but already working full speed. But is the distance something they can deal with?
Is Nick's job what he needs after a troubled mission in Iraq?

Well, I don't think this series has the vitality the original one has, but I can't say this is a disappointment. Actually I liked the story and plan on reading further when the books come out.
I think people's biggest issue with this series is how closely connected to Cut and Run it is and how someone new to the author couldn't really enjoy this without having read the other. I understand why, after all many of the interactions mention or make references to things that happened in books from Cut and Run. A new reader might find this too much to enjoy the book as it is. From a POV of someone who has read Cut and Run, this one is good. But I have to admit, for a new reader is might be too much. However, I also have to say, readers are warned of this, so I guess it depends on how much interest someone really has...I won't defend either side, but in the end it's always a matter of personal choice and how can that be the author's fault?

Anyway, the story was quite all over the place in my opinion. Nick works as a cop and has a case on hands and there's so much happening plus Cross from Warrior's Cross shows up and plays a part. Then there's Nick and Kelly, then the case, then the different connections because of the case...I think it was too much to deal with in just one story. That I think the author could have worked out better.

While the case helps to understand personal actions and states of mind pertaining the characters, I can't say I was deeply invested on it, even though I recognize the author's research work and efforts to make this sound reasonable and professional, the same she does in all her books. But in the end the case wasn't what really caught me and moved me, I was more interested in the personal side of the main character's experience within the plot development.

Nick and Kelly's relationship is the factor that made me read the story. They are very different in terms of personality and their fast and sudden sexual interest that started in the short story seemed too new and out of the blue to be sincere. I wanted to see how the author would go with them, considering they have been friends for s many years but nothing ever happened. I think this is the detail that makes the reader more unsure, if they wanted each other sexually why didn't it happen before? While this aspect is addressed in the short story, I wanted a better explanation and hopefully it would happen here, but it wasn't so. In this book they are in the beginning of their relationship yes, but things are steady between them. I liked the banter and funny moments, even better were the romantic ones, but part of me is still waiting for a more solid clue or something. This might not happen so I enjoy the story and despite my doubts I still liked reading this and still enjoyed seeing their romance so in the end I can't really say it was badly done.

The story felt a bit full and the relationship is new but after all things considered, I still had a good time with it, therefore a good grade. But I hope the following books might be deeper, emotionally speaking.
Grade: 7/10