Such A Pretty Face

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Such a Pretty FaceSuch a Pretty Face by Cathy Lamb
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Such A Pretty Face is the story of Stevie Barrett, a woman trying to find her true self after a traumatizing childhood and enduring life-changing events as an adult. The story is told from Stevie’s point of view and it flips back and forth between the present and her childhood. Two years after having a heart attack at thirty-two, Stevie Barrett is trying to gain a new perspective on life now that she has lost over two hundred and fifty pounds. The problem is that her childhood has had a major impact on how she has lived her life up to this point. Her past follows her like a shadow because she has not found a way to cope with it due to life with her unstable family.

What’s most amazing about this book is the fact that almost all of the characters have a serious issue affecting them and those around them but the author portrayed this in such a way as to not overburden the reader. It is what you would expect to find behind the public persona of a family that has been dealt a major tragedy but has not been allowed to heal from it.

There are moments in this book that wrench your heart and others that make you laugh out loud. Cathy Lamb makes you feel for the characters and hope for the best for each of them. There is at least one character in this book that every reader can identify with. It makes you wonder what is beneath the surface of those around you who seem to have it all figured out.

There is not enough I can say about Such a Pretty Face to convey the depth of emotion it inspires. Read it…you will smile at the end.

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Vampire, Vampire

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Vampire, VampireVampire, Vampire by Heather Killough-Walden
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What’s not to love about an H K-W story??

And Vampire, Vampire is a double feature. Heather Killough-Walden gives readers a heads up that these are novellas and that there is no major build-up of romance to go with the overdose of lust.

First up is a reinvented version of Thorn and Grace where they have with fangs. Not having read the original story, I cannot draw comparisons. However, this one had plenty of thrills and enough backstory to leave the reader feeling satisfied that they got a complete story as opposed to feeling bereft like the morning after a one-night stand. Grace is dealt a super raw deal for over two hundred years of her life. Thorn has spent that time thinking she left him at the altar while also searching for her. After their reunion, they are forced to fight those that would try to keep them apart. This is one fairytale where the happily ever after is not guaranteed until the last page.

The second novella is the story of Patrick Sinclair and his quest to claim his queen. In spite of the fact that Patrick was supposedly crazy in love with his queen, he was very mean, almost cruel, to her at times. In his desperation to have her at his side, he went to extreme measures to coerce her into staying as opposed to telling her how he felt. However, once she realizes all of his actions have been to get and keep her at his side, she willingly chooses to pledge her life and love to him.

As usual, H K-W does not disappoint.

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Prior Sins

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Prior SinsPrior Sins by D.J. Gross
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

DJ Gross has created very likable characters and an antagonist you can actually feel sorry for.

With Sarah, you realize early on that she couldn’t help but fall victim to her dreams and hallucinations since her mother drilled into her that she would be put away if she ever told anyone. Hadrian, dark angel good looks with a British accent to complete the package, is just the right person to come along to dig into Sarah’s past and help her realize she wasn’t going crazy because her dreams had a very real, very horrifying origin. As for the antagonist, (I won’t state the name as that will be a major spoiler)throw in some mythology to go along with the unhealthy obsession and tormented childhood and you have a certifiable crazy person that passes as normal during his interactions with the other characters.

One really nice aspect of the book is that you never actually know who the antagonist is until the characters do. It’s very easy to have suspicions about a couple of the characters but you never actually know until you’re told. Many times as a reader you are privy to information the characters are not and you’re just waiting for them to be enlightened; not so in this case. As soon as you think you know who it is beyond a doubt, you find out you’re wrong.

If you’re looking for some mystery and suspense with a little romance thrown in, Prior Sins fits the bill.

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Dark Taste of Rapture

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Dark Taste of Rapture (Alien Huntress, #6)Dark Taste of Rapture by Gena Showalter
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The main focus of this Alien Huntress installation was the relationship between Hector and Noelle as there wasn’t really an otherworlder to hunt; the main nemesis was human. We get very brief glimpses of Hector and Noelle’s equally tortuous childhoods. With the buildup of their characters in previous novels I was rather disappointed not to get more of their backstories. At the end of the book we still know absolutely nothing about Hector’s ‘ability’ other than the fact that he can now control it.

The constant role reversal of who is being seduced and who is being the seducer was somewhat refreshing. It lets the readers know both characters are equally invested in the relationship even before they do. Hector had a sound reason for trying to resist the attraction while Noelle was equally justified in wanting to pursue it.

The investigation they were working on actually helped overcome their glaring differences as those differences were needed to help work the case; Hector’s childhood history of being forced to do things against his wishes and Noelle’s place in upper class society.

All in all this is a good addition to the Alien Huntress series. It does leave you with a whopper of a cliff-hanger…what happens to Dallas now that one of two visions has occurred. Is he ruined or saved? Hopefully we find out in the next installment.

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The Strangler

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StranglerStrangler by William Landay
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Murder and mayhem in 1960s Boston.

The story centers on the Daley brothers and how they are each affected by the events of 1963 through mid-1964 and their roles. With Joe Daley, the oldest Daley brother, we see his decline from a shady cop to becoming a crooked cop. Middle brother and lawyer Michael goes from being the weak link in the family to being the one everyone turns to for direction. Ricky, master burglar and youngest of the Daley clan, is the most mysterious of the brothers even at the end of the book.

Mob-based crime, murder, deceit, betrayal, this book has it all. You are almost instantly sucked into the two plot lines of the story. You can’t help but follow along and try to figure out if they will find the real strangler. With the other plot line you want to know how organized crime is playing a role in the development of the ‘new Boston’ and what it could possibly have to do with the Daley’s.

William Landay’s Defending Jacob was very well written but a little slow. The Strangler on the other hand reads at a faster pace. You get quality time with each of the main characters which gives you time to develop a true investment in each of their outcomes. Watching the subtle change in the characters was very rewarding and a critical aspect to make the story work. A good, intriguing read.

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Northern Lights

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Northern LightsNorthern Lights by Nora Roberts
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I’m going to open by saying it took me a long time to read this book. There was a good plot and a sweet subtle romance; the story just didn’t jump up off of the page at me.

Chief Ignatious (Nate) Burke’s story will break your heart and make you want him to have a happily ever after. His wife leaves him after telling him she was having an affair, he gets shot, his partner gets killed. It he had a dog it would have been run over by a truck. In the throes of depression, he decides to take a job at the end of the world in Lunacy, Alaska.

Meg Galloway is a bush pilot in Lunacy who catches Nate’s attention right from the start. She is about a prickly as a porcupine which actually appeals to Nate. Nate starts off his career with a few minor things like drunken disorderly, traffic violations, until a search and rescue for some teenage boys turns up a body that has been hidden in an ice cave on a mountain for sixteen years. Turns out the body belongs to Meg’s father. The appearance of this body rattles the town to its very core. The only sleepy Alaskan town is suddenly riddled with murder and mayhem.

The story moves at a very slow pace and contains a lot of extraneous subplot. On a positive note, you are not left with a lot of questions at the end of the story. Nora Roberts definitely appears to have done her homework on what enduring Alaska weather would be like for a newcomer. This book would appeal to someone who loves a book with a plethora of detail and multiple storylines to follow.

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Wicked Nights

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Wicked Nights (Angels of the Dark, #1)Wicked Nights by Gena Showalter
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Wicked Nights is the first installment of the Angels of the Dark series which is a spinoff of the Lord of the Underworld. If you follow the Lords of the Underworld, you have met Zacharel first in Amun’s story and most recently in Paris’s story. Now we get an entire series on the elusive angels who have been mentioned before and left us wanting to know more about who they are.

Zacharel has become the leader of a misfit army of angels who are all on the brink of losing their wings and falling. His is about as emotionless as they come. He radiates coldness and even his wings have snow falling from them.

Annabelle has been locked away in an institution for the criminally insane for four years, accused of butchering her parents. Claiming a demon killed your parents will cause people to question your sanity, especially when you later insist that more are tormenting you.

Unbeknownst to either of them, the demon that killed Annabelle’s parents and all of the subsequent attacks against her are directly tied to Zacharel. Gena Showalter did a great job of tying Zacharel and Annabelle’s lives together before they meet and did an even better job of helping them uncover the connection throughout the story.

This story showcases two people who desperately need to love and be loved to move beyond their past and embark on the future they were meant to have. There is a nice balance of action and emotion leaving you a nice sense of satisfaction at the end. Those of you who have been ensnared by the Lords of the Underworld will not be disappointed with this spinoff series especially since the Lords will be making some key cameo appearances if this first installment is anything to go by.

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