30 April 2012

Review: Nora Roberts - The Witness

Format: Paperback, 757 pages
Published April 17th 2012 by Putnam Adult (first published April 1st 2012)
ISBN 0399159371 (ISBN13: 9780399159374)
Language: English Title: The Witness
Characters: Abigail Lowery aka Elizabeth Fitch, Brooks Gleason
Setting: Bickford, Arkansas (United States)
Read a copy from my personal library.

Summary (Goodreads)
Elizabeth Fitch's short-lived teenage rebellion began with L'Oreal Pure Black, a pair of scissors, and a fake ID. It ended in blood...
Daughter of a cold, controlling mother and an anonymous donor, studious, obedient Elizabeth finally let loose one night, drinking too much at a nightclub and allowing a strange man's seductive Russian accent to lure her to a house on Lake Shore Drive. The events that followed changed her life forever.
Twelve years later, the woman now known as Abigail Lowery lives alone on the outskirts of a small town in the Ozarks. A freelance programmer, she works at home designing sophisticated security systems. Her own security is supplemented by a fierce dog and an assortment of firearms. She keeps to herself, saying little, revealing nothing. 
Unfortunately, that seems to be the quickest way to get attention in a tiny southern town.
The mystery of Abigail Lowery intrigues local police chief Brooks Gleason, on both a personal and professional level. Her sharp, logical mind, her secretive nature, her unromantic viewpoints leave him fascinated but frustrated. He suspects that Abigail needs protection from something, even if he doesn't know what - and that her elaborate defenses hide a story that must be revealed. Accustomed to two-bit troublemakers, Gleason is about to walk into the sights of very powerful and dangerous men. And Abigail Lowery, who has built a life based on security and self-control, is at risk of losing both.


11% “So far its old skool NR and I'm having a ball reading it!" 

That was the first thing that came to mind when I read the first stage of the book. Nora Roberts gave the best of her suspense and action along with a protagonist whom was intriguing from the get-go. She grabbed me with the plot but most of all she grabbed me with this incredible but rebellious girl who was so very recognizable. She made Abigail come to life with all her confusion and hunger for experiences. There was a mother who was so cold, so very self-absorbed that she gave me chills and made me sympathize all the more with Abigail. The stories I love most of Nora Roberts like; Birthright, Carnal Innocence, Caroline Moon, The Villa, Sanctuary, River’s End etc, all have these lifelike characters full of warmth, humor and passion. The villain is truly evil and the romance just wraps you up in its sexiness and blooming love. It has been a while for Nora Roberts to give that in the proportions that resonate with me.

I was skeptical when reviewers told me via their review they couldn’t stop reading. I was reluctant to buy The Witness simply because I did not want another disappointment in reading a story from this author. But sometimes I need to gamble and while reading this story I learned this gamble paid off. I got much of what I love from Nora Roberts. An attention grabbing and suspense rife opening. Great characters I could fell in love with. A romance that was sigh worthy and dialogues that made me smile or laugh. The suspense dwindled very quickly after the first stage but it was the effect it had on Abigail’s life that kept it a small thread throughout the story. With a payback angle and getting the bad guys their comeuppance it flared back to life towards the end.

The one person whom made this story for me is Abigail. She has an IQ of 210 and an analytical mind. For example:

18% "Quote; She understood the concept of pursuit and conquer. The male felt challenged, driven to persuade, capture, conquer. Perhaps she should reconsider having sex with him. With sex the pursuit would end, the challenge would be removed. His interest would begin to wane. Those were logical reasons. “ 

She gets completely confused if she feels too much, has a strict order in her daily routine and a loveable companion in the form of a well-trained guard dog named; Bert. Her quirks just make her such a likeable character and I needed to find out if she could shed her victim shield.

If Abigail is very structured Brooks is all easy-going charm. Chief of a small-town, which is a setting Nora Roberts can bring to life like no other writer!! Brooks is charismatic and a people person coming from a warm and tight-knit family. In his job he stands his ground and can be commanding but he uses his people skills as well. The minute Brooks meets Abigail sparks fly and I just gobbled up their dialogues. Here are a few quotes that just got to me:

15% "Quote: His eyes were amber in the late-afternoon sun, and his smile appealing. She thought he owned that easy, conversational style the way other men owned socks. “You think you’re charming.” “Yeah. That’s probably a flaw, but who wants perfect? “

This just made me smile – from start to finish I enjoyed Brooks’ quick quips.

15% "Quote; “I can’t eat all the pie. It’s too much for one person.” “Shame to waste it, too.” She stowed the protective gear in the seat of the bench. “All right. You can have the pie and the wine. But I won’t have sex with you.” “Now you hurt my feelings.” 

Classic Abigail/Brooks interaction :)

17% "Quote; “I planned to watch a movie with dinner.” “I like movies.” “I was going to watch Steel Magnolias.” He let out a long, long sigh. “I probably deserve that.”

Served you right Brooks *grin*

22% "Quote: They’d charmed her, seduced her. The man, the mother, even the little dog. She’d let herself be swept along. Conversation, invitations, pie, sex. 

Me too, Abigail...me too!!"

31% "Quote; “You’re in love with me. 
I can see it, and I can feel it. Why don’t you try the words?” 
“I don’t know. I want to know.” 
“Just try them out, see how it feels. I won’t hold you to it.” 
“I … I’m in love with you. Oh, God.” She closed her eyes. “It feels real.” “Say it again, and kiss me.” “I’m in love with you.” She didn’t ease in, but flung herself. Starving for that knowledge, the gift, the light of it. Love. Being loved, giving it. 

I'm getting all mushy here!

100% “She trailed off, stopped. “There’s a bench,” she murmured. “There’s a beautiful bench exactly where I wanted one.” 
“That’s your surprise. Welcome home, Abigail.” Her vision blurred as she stepped forward to run her hands over the smooth curve of the back, the arms. It looked like a log, hollowed out, polished to a satiny gleam, and on the middle of the back was a carved heart with the initials A.L. and B.G. in the center. 

This is romance which makes me all warm and bubbly happy inside. Loved it!

There is also another small suspense plot that adds enough tension and conflict to keep it interesting. There were inhabitants to make this flamboyant artist/tourist town feel real and Brooks’ family added a warmth of their own. Even though the sensuality was mild, there weren’t any secondary romances or a suspense that was kept at an all-time high, I still was very invested in the characters and the outcome of this story. I was enamored by this highly intelligent woman and her first romantic experience that ultimately gave way to a sigh-worthy conclusion.

Nora Roberts gives romance which warms you from the inside out and leaves you a bit dreamy and starry-eyed at the end!

4 stars

Nora Roberts on the www:
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26 April 2012

Review: Sylvia Day - Bared To You

Format: Paperback, 360 pages
Published: April 3rd 2012
ISBN: 0985114606 (ISBN13: 9780985114602)
Language: English Title: Bared to You
Series: Crossfire #1
 Characters: Gideon Cross, Eva Tramell
Setting: New York City, New York (United States)
Read e-book from personal e-library.

 Summary (from Goodreads):
 Our journey began in fire... 
 Gideon Cross came into my life like lightning in the darkness—beautiful and brilliant, jagged and white-hot. I was drawn to him as I'd never been to anything or anyone in my life. I craved his touch like a drug, even knowing it would weaken me. I was flawed and damaged, and he opened those cracks in me so easily... Gideon knew. He had demons of his own. And we would become the mirrors that reflected each other's most private wounds... and desires. The bonds of his love transformed me, even as I prayed that the torment of our pasts didn't tear us apart.. 

My Review:

After reading Bared To You I can honestly say it’s the best dollar I ever spend on a book. At the beginning however I did not have that feeling because everything was seemingly picture perfect. There were beautiful people to meet and they were rich, there were loyal friends and a cool boss. When Eva Tramell and Gideon cross paths for the first time there was sexual attraction on steroids between two beautiful people. This all gave some irksome moments. I don’t like picture perfect. I like flawed. I like difficult. I like almost insurmountable problems. I like conflicting emotions. Little did I know what Sylvia Day had in store for me!!

That there was an instant attraction going on between Gideon and Eva is an understatement. There was a current of undiluted sultry heat whenever they were in the vicinity of each other and it made me fan myself many times! Gideon Cross exudes a raw magnetic sexual power and he can be very much in your face with an arrogant confidence. There was definitely a time or two I could smack him one across the face! Yet underneath that attitude I found a complex man whom mesmerized me. He instantly captures the attention, he seems arrogant yet charming and is also difficult to love at times. There is something inexplicable mysterious about him and the slivers of information I got kept me on my toes, rapidly flipping the pages for more about him. Eva Tramell is a nice woman with insecurity issues, lives with her male bff, Cary Taylor and has a suffocating mother to deal with. I liked her on the spot, especially in her easy-flowing  dialogues with Cary and her boss, Mark.

At first there is nothing more than a handful of distinctive characters and one hell of an attraction which cranked up the sexual intensity. There is a push-pull between Eva and Gideon which contains a cadence all of its own. Yet, as I got chapters further in to the story, the author slowly began to unravel secrets and a past that created such conflicts of the heart and soul. That’s when Sylvia Day hooked me, there were powerful emotions in the mix and I didn’t make rhyme or reason of it at first. That’s when I got a whiff of the intricate layered characterization for me to unravel and that’s when these two characters got their hooks in me.

I marveled in the mystery surrounding Gideon, I was mesmerized by the romantic conflicts which were so dark and painful at times. The romance and the eroticism was entwined in a complex manner and it fascinated me. I was wondering with the push-pull and sometimes clashing moments between the couple what direction this relationship would take. The intimacy issues added an edge to the rip-roaring desires between the main couple and it affected me. It wasn’t just this breathy lust they felt. It gradually went deeper, uncovering so much more then I initially perceived at the beginning. Sylvia Day slowly forms a connection between the reader, her characters and the story they have to tell. At the end I was invested, deeply moved by all the adversity and on pins and needles for the sequel.

While there is a small cast of equally well-defined supporting characters and there are even secondary storylines which are equally intriguing it all supported the main storyline. It was the emotionally scarred Gideon and Eva in their relationship development that sucked me in and baffled me by the end. The dialogues were bold, intense yet also with a touch of humor between characters who leaped of the pages with their personality, making each of them distinctive. If the ending would have been a happily ever after instead of a happy for now this would have probable been a five star read.

Sylvia Day put me through the emotional wringer and I love her for it. Bared To You is a contemporary romance with great storytelling, depth in characters whom will intrigue you, sultry heat and a love that will pull at all your heartstrings!! This is romance with a capital R where an intense emotional gratification is to be found!

4.5 stars

PS: What I also liked was the information that there is a sequel coming to Bared To You revolving Gideon and Eva. It prevented an overwhelming feeling of disappointment regarding the end.

Quote Gideon;
"I'm going to tell you all the ways I want you to please me, Eva, and you're going to do it all...take it all, and we're going to have explosive, primal, no-holds-barred sex. You know that, don't you? You can feel how it'll be between us."
Quote Gideon;
"You forget who submits, Eva," he said gruffly. I've given up control for you. I've bent and adjusted for you. I'll do anything to keep you and make you happy. But I can't be tamed or topped. Don't mistake indulgence for weakness."

Sylvia Day on the www:
website | Facebook | Goodreads | Twitter | Buy @ Amazon

15 April 2012

Sunday's Brunch; Desperately Wanted!!!

This is going to be a short Sunday’s Brunch because I am summoned by the World of Warcraft master a.k.a my brother to come play. I never say no to a few hours of quests, laughter and showing of my immortal powers as a mage, druid or warlock! My week has been blessedly uneventful until Friday the thirteenth. Until that day I tried to do my household chores and read a bit. But then Friday came and I thought to tweak my blog design a bit. You all know me, every four months or so I get the jitters and tweak my header, change the colors and via Artisteer it isn’t all that much work. But Artisteer has been failing all my friends save me. How was I stupid to believe I was saved from any Artisteer disaster?! I worked my new bloglook with gusto and an hour later I was finished and via Artisteer you can immediately upload your new template. So I did, backed up my old one and then all hell broke loose. When the transfer was finalized the HTML was present but when I saved template I got an error message. Huh? What? WTF!!! So I copied and pasted my old template HTML code into blogger again and got the same error message. That’s when I lost my cool. I swear, nothing pisses me off more than when I go play with blogger and it doesn’t wanna play nice. It’s a mean, vicious, old hag sometimes that flips a finger that says it all. So then I had to work with Blogger’s template design option and yeah…I’m not a fan, I want options damned. Lots and lots of options. But for the basics it ultimately worked. It makes me frown though that I have the same template layout as I did when I started my blog four years ago.

So here’s my wanted add;

~Wanted~ One nifty skilled blog designer who is intrigued by my three word inspiration for my design:

Burlesque meets books.

I also want the option where the blogdesigner can at least help me with the migrate to Wordpress. I tried it on my own but with my own domain thing and stuff I failed miserable :((

Does anyone know of a blog designer who is reasonably priced and has great experience with?
Hook me up with a link.

This week I have also two reviews scheduled:
S.C. Stephens – It’s All Relative
Belinda McBride’s – Uncommon Whore

I am reading: Sylvia Day’s; Bared To You , Alma Katsu’s; The Taker and Laurann Dohner’s; Fury. Whimsical much?? I normally read one book at a time but not this week. Have a great Sunday everyone!!

09 April 2012

Easter Brunch: Wicked me ;)

This is the Easter version of the Sunday’s Brunch post and it has been a few weeks since I wrote one. I must admit I’m very much struggling with my mono. These days doing the dishes simply tires me to a point of sleeping for two hours. Or when I’m doing something social I know I’m conked out the entire next day. Since my brain is in its normal chaotic state I want to do lots of things but my bodies energy level isn’t cooperating *sigh* It’s frustrating for me not to be able to do things in my own pace. But, I have to deal with it somehow so I try to quit whining and share some of the good stuff I’ve done the last three weeks.

First of all I’ve visited my parents and sister up North and as we all went out to diner the conversation took a turn towards pet dogs. As many know I still have my two shih-tzu diva’s; Romy and Esme.

As my parents invited a few friends I took out my iPad and showed them some pictures of my diva’s and of course had to show them my god daughter and son as well. Then however, my mother’s friend noticed another folder and it showed a snapshot of some tights abs. Always willing to share the hunky goodness I had no problems showing what was in the folder. I warned them it was sexy to the ninth degree but there was no objection coming from anyone at the table and there was a fun filled vibe. So I touched the folder icon...and there we went!!

I worked the table with a few pictures, it went from totally innocent to complete debauchery:

Then my sister told me I was giving the table behind us a great view. I looked behind me and noticed a guy grinning very wickedly at me. Yeah, I shaded a color of red a fire engine would be jealous of! As I quickly showed my last picture the handful of guys in their twenties at the table to our right asked if I had anything on my iPad that would make them grin too. Again, I was tongue-tied for a witty answer but well…that teaches me to bring my iPad to dinner and give the ladies at our table a bit of wicked delight!! In my enthusiasm I do not always note that other people can hear and see as well *headdesk*

On March twenty-seventh it marked the release of Lover reborn. Book Depository, or better said, the Dutch mail delivery sucks big hairy balls these days with delivering book packages. Packages that need to be hand delivered are quite on time and thank the Lord Lover Reborn got delivered on release day. Got it in the afternoon and for two days inhaled the Black Dagger Brotherhood again. Really enjoyed it!! But now I’ve been on pins and needles for Wicked As They Come but that’s mailbox delivery and its taking forever. It’s really irritating the crap outta me. I have such little patience when it comes to things I order. I want it….NOW!

On Saturday I did my grocery shopping and as I went to the bakery I got confronted with this:

For a chocolate junkie that is sooooo hard to ignore. I was salivating but I was strong, plus the price tag of twenty-five euros made me think twelve times harder if my taste-buds would actually need it. Okay, that was stupid of me cause my taste buds craved the chocolate of course *wink* In the end I was strong though and twenty-five euros can buy me a whole lot of M&M bags!!

Anyhoo, I’ve been doing a lot of re-reading; Nalini Singh’s; Psy-Changeling series, Kresley Cole’s; Immortal’s After Dark series, Deidre Knight’s; Butterfly Tattoo, Lisa Valdez’s; Passion. It’s Easter weekend and I’m in a total contemporary romance mood and via twitter convo’s I’ve discovered S.C. Stephens. She’s been getting good rating but she also comes from fanfiction land if my google info is correct. I’m going to read this author with It’s All Relative, the blurb really spoke to me and enticed my curiosity.

I just hope it’s an original novel and not based on book/TV/movie characters. This really turns me off!!

So what are you up to this Easter?

04 April 2012

Cover Gallery: A cover-gasm leads to a new series...

Last week I visited amazon UK to place some reviews and I noticed a cover. You all know me, if one things triggers me to investigate further then its the visual tease which triggers the female purr of delight ;)!! So instead of quickly adding my reviews I clicked on the cover and noticed it was the third instalment in a series. So I googled the authors name and yeah...it entails dragon shifters *thud* and the inevitable group of warriors. The blurb hits me with; "A blend of action, fantasy, and steamy romance..." I'm very weak when it comes to this kind of blend!! So whats a gurl gotta do??!! Yeah...the titles have entered my must-buy list for April!
Are you al curios what the cover is that lead me to more book spending??
Here it is:

It's the tattoo, the pose of the man, the turqoise green, oh yeah, it entices my visual senses!!
by Coreene Callahan
On Sale October 2nd, 2012
These are book number one and two:

by Coreene Callahan
On Sale Feb. 7th, 2012
Goodread reviews

When duty calls, a warrior answers—no matter the consequences.

A clandestine race of half-dragon, half-humans known as dragon-shifters lives among us. Bastian, leader of the Nightfury dragon clan, is sworn to protect humankind at all costs. For him, honor and duty always come first. When the clan dictates he take a human mate to sire a son, he falters, aware that for a human to birth a dragon-shifter she must die. Myst, the woman given into his care, is the most extraordinary he’s ever met, and though he can’t bear the thought of harming her he is bound by duty.

Myst loves her life in the human world, but Bastian has captured her heart in an instant of electric connection. But Bastian and his warriors are in the middle of a deadly battle with the Razorback dragon-shifters, intent on killing every Nightfury clan member—and the humans they protect—the fate of their world and ours hangs in the balance.

An extraordinary blend of action, fantasy, and steamy romance, Fury of Fire brings to life a dangerous new world intertwined with the survival of humanity, all while exploring the meaning of honor and the nature of true love.

by Coreene Callahan
On Sale June 5th, 2012

Homicide detective Angela Keen thrives on the city’s rough streets. But when she becomes the prize of all prizes in the dragon-shifter world due to her “high-energy” status, she gets more than she bargained for. Kidnapped by Lothair of the Razorback clan, Angela barely survives captivity before managing to escape. Hurt and alone with nowhere to hide, she faces certain death when Lothair uses the trace energy she leaves in her wake to hunt her down. But before he can reach her, a mystery dragon-shifter intervenes and saves Angela’s life.

Now a guest of the Nightfury clan, Angela regains her strength as her rescuer, Rikar, the last living frost dragon, gradually breaks down her mistrust. Surrendering to her desire for Rikar, but still uncertain of her feelings, Angela goes against his wishes and agrees to be used as bait to lure Lothair into the open. As the battle commences, the true struggle comes from within: Will Angela return home to the life she loves, or forsake it all to be with Rikar?

Has anyone read the first one in this series; Fury Of Fire? And what did you think of it. Please dish ;)

Coreene Callahan on the www:
website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Buy @ BookDepo