Susan Elizabeth Phillips - Heaven Texas

Publisher: Avon

ISBN: 978-0380776849

My rating: 3/5


Come heck or high water, Gracie Snow is determined to drag the legendary ex-jock Bobby Tom Denton back home to Heaven, Texas, to begin shooting his first motion picture. Despite his dazzling good looks and killer charm, Bobby Tom has reservations about being a movie star—and no plans to cooperate with a prim and bossy Ohio wallflower whom he can't get off his mind or out of his life. Instead, the hell-raising playboy decides to make her over from plain Jane to Texas wildcat.  (www.susanephillips.com)


My thoughts

Dang!!! She's done it again. SEP has written a book that made me cringe for reading it and at the same time not wanting to stop.

Main characters of this story is Bobby Tom Denton, a retired (though unwillingly) football player with the Chicago Stars (not to mention extremely sexy!!!) and Gracie Snow, a little wall flower who’s just escaped her life so far only to get the almost impossible job to escort Bobby Tom to the movie set – the two couldn’t be more opposite.

The main issues as I see them were Bobby Tom’s struggle with coming to terms of his retirement at only in his early thirties; Gracie’s strive for wanting to change her life and in a more secondary plot, Bobby Tom’s mother’s grief and romance in her fifties.

I’ve got to say, the start was again a bit of a turn off, but once these two got onto their road trip I loved their bickering and teasing – it was funny, witty and sometimes even thought-provoking. But then it went slowly downhill. There was a lot of repetitive “thoughts” mainly Bobby Tom’s struggle with his retirement or Gracie’s self-doubt about her appearance or the lack of it. Though doing her best in trying to characterise Bobby Tom as a generous, intelligent and good-natured person, I thought he was still quite selfish and superficial. I would have wished for a more obvious change in him and his attraction towards Gracie.  I also couldn’t warm up to Gracie and her self-doubt, but liked the way she verbally hit back at this ueber-guy as well as she blossomed after the make-over, though I was hugely disappointed when she showed up in her old clothes again when it was most important to demonstrate growth.

All in all a nice romance, but too long in some and too little in other parts.

Read here what I thought about Susan Elizabeth Phillips - It had to be you







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Janet Evanovich - Plum Lucky

Publisher:  St. Martin's Press

ISBN: 9780312377649

My rating: 3/5



A Between-the-Numbers Novel
Looking to get lucky?

Stephanie Plum is back "between-the-numbers" and she's looking to get lucky in an Atlantic City hotel room, in a Winnebago and with a brown-eyed stud who has stolen her heart.

Stephanie Plum has a way of attracting danger, lunatics, oddballs, bad luck... and mystery men. And no one is more mysterious than the unmentionable Diesel. He's back and hot on the trail of a little man in green pants who's lost a giant bag of money. Problem is the money isn't exactly lost. Stephanie's Grandma Mazur has found it, and like any good Jersey senior citizen she's high-tailed it in a Winnebago to Atlantic City and hit the slots. With Lula and Connie in tow, Stephanie attempts to bring Grandma home. But the luck of the Irish is rubbing off on everyone. Lula's found a job modeling plus size lingerie. Connie's found a guy. Diesel's found Stephanie. And Stephanie has found herself in over her head with a caper involving thrice stolen money, a racehorse, a car chase and a bad case of hives. PLUM LUCKY is an all-you-can-eat buffet of thrills, chills, shrimp cocktail, plus-size underwear and scorching hot men. It's a "between the numbers" treat no Evanovich fan will want to miss! (evanovich.com)



My thoughts

Another quick in-between Plum read for a rainy day. This one was much better than the previous one. Funnier! Though still not a Stephanie Plum, but I had quite a few good giggles.

Grandma Mazur is missing and Stephanie Plum, with the help of Diesel, Lula and Connie tracks her down in Atlantic City, where she's been gambling with what turns out to be a Lou Delvina's money (a mob guy). Add Snuggy O’Connor who thinks he's a leprechaun and Doug, the horse and you have a group that is guaranteed to not only cause chaos, but get the job done as well - in their own special way.

I liked it and if you a fan of Evanovich, I'd definitely recommend this one as the best of the in-betweens so far.


Jean C Joachim - Sunny Days, Moonlit Nights

Publisher: Astraea Press

ISBN:  9781936852048

My rating:  3/5

Caroline Davis White is a well-known artist and married to a wealthy, controlling man. She has everything money could buy except one thing: Love. Brad refuses to give her a divorce she so desperately wants. With no money, family, or friends, she flees to the Catskill Mountains where she spent her summers as a young adult.
Mike Foster has achieved success and made more money than he could have thought possible, but it destroyed his marriage and cost him his son. He is wary of every woman he meets, knowing his money may be more attractive than his good looks.
Caroline reconnects with the life she had and friends from long ago. Mike stepped out of her teenage dreams into her life again, looking more handsome and tempting than ever. Caroline knew Mike back then, but is he still the man she fell in love with? (www.astraeapress.com)


My thoughts

This is a beautiful love story of two people who enjoyed a wonderful friendship in their teenage years and then find each other again after twenty years living a separate life.

Sunny leaves house and husband behind to start a new life. Marrying a rich man was in her eyes a big mistake. She starts a new life at a cabin she inherited from her mother and going back to a place where she was happiest as a young girl gives her the inner peace she needs to adjust to her new situation. But she also reconnects with Mike, her friend and the one looking after her when they were kids.

This is a wonderful story which makes you want to read and forget about your chores at home. Yet I have to admit I felt a bit let down her and there. For me I thought Jean Joachim rushed through the story too quickly - I would have wished for more depth in the characters who I couldn't really connect to, and I thought the confrontations were dealt with too quickly and in my humble opinion would have done better with a bit more oompf.

And what about Harry? Why did he do the things he did. Jean Joachim never tells the reader the details of his actions. Or did I miss that?
All in all, still a very sweet and interesting read if you love a romance within a good story.



Janet Evanovich - Hot Stuff

Publisher: St Martin's Paperback

ISBN: 978-0312531607

My rating:  3/5

Evanovich fans will be delighted with this new novel, co-written with relative up-and-comer Banks. Working her formula to its fullest, Evanovich conjures the large, close, gently eccentric Madigan family that 26-year-old college student Cate calls her own. An aspiring teacher, Cate studies by day and bartends by night, living in the arty South End of Boston with an often-absent drag queen named Marty (Marta) Longfellow. The perfect living arrangement-"a big strong roommate...not interested in women," plenty of alone time and low rent-turns wholly suspicious when Marty disappears, leaving behind a lovable bullmastiff. Cate's sexy love interest, barroom regular Kellen McBride, is an "independent recovery agent" who believes that Marty is responsible for a string of one-of-a-kind jewelry heists; after Marty's place gets tossed, Cate teams up with him to track down the missing Marty before whoever's after him comes after her. Like other Evanovich novels, there's a madcap race to the finish while mysteries are solved and hearts are stolen; also like other Evanovich novels, it makes a highly satisfying read. (amazon.com)

My thoughts

"Hmmm" comes to mind, but I think I will settle with I liked it. It kind of has the first Plum ideas in it even though I shouldn't compare the books or story lines.

I liked Cate and her family which with an Irish background is easy to do. Being the youngest in the family, not only the parents still worry about the mid-twenties Cate, but her brothers as well.

Cate sublets a room from Marty, who seems to be in trouble. Add Kellen McBride who is supposed to investigate, but does not only that, he falls in love with Cate as well. There's also Julie and Sharon, Cate's neighbours and to make the crazy bunch complete - there's Pug, the man Cate's mother had invited to introduce him to Cate as possible "boyfriend" material.

It's an extremely easy read, but quite funny, especially Pug! You've got to like Evanovich's stories otherwise you won't enjoy this one. If you do, give it a try for a nice weekend read with a cup of tea in front of the heater. It's got a few good laughs, a nice love story and a decent plot !!

Suzanne Brockmann - Bodyguard

Publisher:   Fawcett (December 7, 1999)

ISBN:  978-0449002568

My rating 2.5/5 


YOU CAN LOOK . . .

Threatened by underworld boss Michael Trotta, Alessandra Lamont is nearly blown to pieces in a mob hit. The last thing she wants is to put what's left of her life into the hands of the sexy, loose-cannon federal agent who seems to look right through her yet won't let her out of his sight.

BUT YOU BETTER NOT TOUCH . . .

FBI agent Harry O'Dell's ex-wife and son were tragic casualties in his ongoing war against organized crime. He'll do whatever it takes to bring Trotta down--even if it means sticking like glue to this blonde bombshell who unwittingly married into the mob. She needs him if she wants to stay alive. But staying alive is nothing next to the explosive attraction that threatens to consume them both--and puts them into the greatest danger of all . . . falling in love
(amazon.com)


My thoughts

I’ve got to say, trusting my friend who’s given me “Infamous” by Suzanne Brockmann (which I’m still reading) I kind of expected more from this one.

The plot sounded interesting, though overused. The story’s downfall was –in my opinion- the characters, which were boring or in the case of Alessandra plain annoying.

Plot is very simple: Alessandra was married to a Mafia guy who was murdered and now the underworld boss Trotter wants her dead as well. FBI Agent Harry O’Dell is supposed to protect her and falls in love with her at the same time. You get the gist of it.

It was slow and dragging along. The subplot with Harry’s partner George seemed to be a tad more interesting, but in the end couldn’t hold the story.

I’ll give it 3 / 5 because the end was neatly finished with the reason for Trotta’s persistence to have Alessandra killed – not a surprise, but I had no idea.

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Susan Elizabeth Phillips - It had to be You

Publisher:  Mass Market Paperback

ISBN-13: 978-0380776832

My thoughts: 3/5


The Windy City isn't quite ready for Phoebe Somerville—the outrageous, curvaceous New York knockout who has just inherited the Chicago Stars football team. And Phoebe is definitely not prepared for the Stars' head coach Dan Calebow, a sexist jock taskmaster with a one-track mind. Calebow is everything Phoebe abhors. And the sexy new boss is everything Dan despises—a meddling bimbo who doesn't know a pigskin from a pitcher's mound.

Chicago Stars Book #1   (http://www.susanephillips.com/)

My thoughts

I accidently got hold of this book a few weeks ago and even though I had read a few reviews I started it not knowing what to expect. I’m not fond of the AFL here in Australia, hoping I didn’t need any knowledge about American Football for this book. I did okay.

Reading the book was a constant battle of putting it aside and wanting to keep reading. I disliked Phoebe Somerville and at the same time really liked her. We’re getting to know her as a “Bimbo” who has just inherited her father’s football team, with a serious of conditions. Initially Phoebe is running off ignoring the football team yet Dan Calebow is able to convince her to do her job – and so she does, with finesse that makes you shake your head and leaving a smile on your face.

A few things ... I would have liked for SEP to develop the side characters a little more, the Kindergarten Teacher and the angry father, but more importantly I would have loved to read more about Phoebe and Molly’s relationship.
Overall – the start was ridiculous and I nearly placed the book back onto the shelf. I persisted and liked the idea of the story, especially Phoebe’s background and how she’s handled life and was going to tackle the future. Yet, over the I-don’t-know-how-many pages we have to go through quite a few intimate scenes between Dan and Phoebe and their constant teasings and bickering as they both are slowly getting to know the truth about each other’s past. In my opinion – it took too long!

Janet Evanovich - Plum Lovin'

Publisher: St. Martin's Press

ISBN: 9780312306342

My rating: 2/5

A Between-the-Numbers Novel
A Stephanie Plum novel that takes adventure, action, suspense (and maybe even true love?) to new heights...
WATCH YOUR BACK  ... LOOK BOTH WAYS  ...  BECAUSE LOVE IS IN THE AIR  ...  AND THAT MEANS BIG TROUBLE!
Mysterious men have a way of showing up in Stephanie Plum's apartment. When the shadowy Diesel appears, he has a task for Stephanie-and he's not taking no for an answer. Annie Hart is a "relationship expert" who is wanted for armed robbery and assault with a deadly weapon. Stephanie needs to find her, fast. Diesel knows where she is. So they make a deal: he'll help her get Annie if Stephanie plays matchmaker to several of Annie's most difficult clients. But someone wants to find Annie even more than Diesel and Stephanie. Someone with a nasty temper. And someone with "unmentionable" skills. Does Diesel know more than he's saying about Annie Hart? Does Diesel have secrets he's keeping about Stephanie and the two men in her life-Ranger and Morelli? With Stephanie Plum in over her head, things are sure to get a little dicey and a little explosive, Jersey style! (http://www.evanovich.com/)

My thoughts

Not much I can say or want to say .... nice read as an inbetween BUT you do need to love love love Evenovich, if not, give it a miss. The storyline is far fetched and not even funny, it's hectic, it's .... I don't know .... an inbetweener that says it all !!!




Sigrid's Writing Tips !

Be Your Own Editor

One day at a time.

A heart of gold.
Slow and steady wins the race.
He just got a slap on the wrist.


These are all clichés that you don't want to use in your writing because they’re trite and overused.

I always recommend writing the first draft of your story, article, essay, blog post or manuscript in a loose style. Get those thoughts out of your head and down on paper. Don't worry about grammar, facts, or details that may slow you down. Having a completed work is such a great feeling; it makes it much easier to return to refine your material. That’s when you want to go through it with a fine tooth comb—just testing you. That's a cliché! Let's paraphrase that: that’s when you want to assess your material to remove too many adverbs, adjectives, and stale or outdated expressions.

By trimming your work and using crisp and unique terms, you’ll take a good piece of writing and make it brilliant.

Read more about punctuation in my third book, Be Your Own Editor.



Jill Shalvis - The Sweetest Thing


Publisher: The Hachette Group

ISBN: 978 0 446 57162 3

My rating: 4/5



Tara has a thousand good reasons not to return to the little coastal town of Lucky Harbor, Washington. Yet with her life doing a major crash-and-burn, anywhere away from her unfulfilled dreams and sexy ex-husband will do. As Tara helps her two sisters get their newly renovated inn up and running, she finally has a chance to get things under control and come up with a new plan for her life.

Bu a certain tanned, green-eyed sailor has his own ideas, such as keeping Tara hot, bothered .... and in his bed. And when her ex wants Tara back, three is a crowd she can't control - especially when her deepest secret reappears out of the blue. Now Tara must confront her past and discover what she really wants. If she's lucky, she might just find that everything her heart desires is right here in Lucky Harbor. (from the back of the book cover)

My thoughts

It's a real shame that I didn't have the time to read the book in one go, but over a few days (quite a few days!). I'm sure I would've enjoyed the story even more. Simply Irresistible is the second book in the Lucky Harbor series. The first one was dedicated to Maddie, who I loved for her strength. This book is all about Tara, the one I couldn't warm up to in the first book.

"The Sweetest Thing" does not disappoint. It's written in true Shalvis style with wit, humor and lots of romance.

I found Tara a character hard to warm up to and I'm still not a 100% Tara-lover but then again, it's hard to imagine having had a past like hers - even more credit to Shalvis to make the Tara character believable. I love Ford - how can someone not like Ford? He's easy going, taking each day as it comes and yet in all his casual appearance has Tara figured out to the dot.

Adding Mia to the story was a nice touch by Shalvis and in my opinion she put the thoughts and complications of Mia's character nicely onto paper - even more though when Mia seems to go down the same road as Tara and Ford had seventeen years earlier.

My favourite quote (amongst so many others):
 "My own personal miracle," Ford said with feeling.

As I like Chloe very much I cannot wait for Head Over Heels to be released at the end of the year!

You can read "my thoughts" on Simply Irresistible here :-)


      

Kathy Reichs - Death Du Jour (Brennan #2)

Publisher:  Pocket Star (August 1, 2000)

ISBN:  978-0671011376

My rating:  3/5


In the bitter cold of a Montreal winter, Tempe Brennan is digging for a corpse buried more than a century ago. Although Tempe thrives on such enigmas from the past, it’s a chain of contemporary deaths and disappearances that has seized her attention — and she alone is ideally placed to make a chilling connection among the seemingly unrelated events. At the crime scene, at the morgue, and in the lab, Tempe probes a mystery that sweeps from a deadly Quebec fire to startling discoveries in the Carolinas, and culminates in Montreal with a terrifying showdown — a nerve-shattering test of both her forensic expertise and her skills for survival. (http://www.kathyreichs.com/)


My thoughts

This is number two in the Temperance (Tempi) Brennan series. Like the first book I found this book long and difficult to read as well.

The plot in its basic was well thought of, but the execution, if I may use this word, was odd. It turns out that one would like to stay away from Brennan the same way one wants to stay away from Jessica Fletcher – it was Brennan’s friend in the first book, this time around it’s Brennan’s sister. But I can live with that, because after all it’s a story and not real life – what I did have problems with though were the coincidences where the killings were happening.

The book starts with the exhumation of a nun’s bones (I still haven’t figured out the relevance of that storyline), then the killing a family and then I lose track ... yet wherever Brennan is in the USA there’s a murder and she’s there as well – and all murders are tying into a religious cult.

Oh yes and for the romantic in me, there’s also a bit of snogging with Ryan – but I’d recommend for Reichs to keep concentrating on what she does best: writing crime novels.

Nuff said!