PJV Quickie: Wow! I took a chance on His Witness (I don’t normally start with the 4th book in a series) and was not disappointed. His Witness starts off strong and grabs your attention immediately. I had a few issues that I’ll discuss below, but I spent most of the book fascinated with the characters, especially the Hero’s mafia life.
All Melanie Ronaldo wanted was to go to college and have a normal life like her friends. Instead, she’s running her father’s club and working with the mafia. Her father’s restaurant business was failing and he made some bad decisions, now they can’t get out because the mafia uses the club. She hates when the guys come in and store their drugs and money.
Tommy O’Sullivan is a half-Irish, half-Italian mobster. He was taken in by Jack, the mafia boss, when he was younger, and he found that being the mob’s butcher (in more ways than one) helps with his anger issues. He’s taken with Melanie, the girl who runs one of the clubs – she’s got a sassy mouth and doesn’t take shit from anyone. And she’s sexy as hell. Unfortunately, he can’t convince her to go out with him.
When Melanie is trapped into being the government’s star witness against the mafia, Jack needs her to recant her testimony. Tommy knows this is his chance to grab her…and keep her.
I am a sucker for mob romance, kidnapping stories, and BDSM stories, so of course I hit the “one click” button. I have to tell you the story jumps right in on page one – Tommy is doing what he does best, which is killing people for the mob. He’s the best at what he does and he takes pleasure in making people suffer before they die. I have to be honest, Tommy fascinated me: he’s sick and twisted and vulnerable and volatile and is a pretty complex character. Melanie is a good match for him: fiesty and furious but an overall nice person. I liked the way their story progressed…up until the kidnapping.
Once the kidnapping occurred, I feel like the story lost some of it’s complexity and attention to detail. Tommy wants to break her and make her dependent on him, and we get glimpses of that but the story skips over a lot of the details and lets the reader fill in the blanks themselves – the blurb says “day by day” but I feel like we only got a few days here and there. The good thing about His Witness is that I was so into the story that I did fill in the blanks and went with it, but I did feel like it weakened the story.
I don’t know anything about mob life or the RICO act or how the FBI handles their undercover cases, so I can’t vouch for any accuracy or non-accuracy in the story. I found it to be interesting and couldn’t stop reading to find out what was going to happen next.
I’m always leery of reading a new-to-me self published author because usually the grammar and editing is bad, but that’s not the case with His Witness. I think there were 2 or 3 spots where I had to re-read a sentence but other than that, grammar and spelling were not an issue.
This is book 4 in the series but can be read as a stand-alone; I didn’t read the first three and I don’t feel like I’d missed any back story. Now that I’ve read His Witness, however, I am going to go back and read the first three books in the series.
If you read and enjoyed Kresley Cole’s The Professional, or Jill Myles and Jen Frederick’s Last Hit series, I’d recommend giving His Witness a try. For 99¢ it’s definitely worth the read. Also, I never watched the show Dexter, but from what I heard about it, I think His Witness might appeal to fans of the show.
At parajunkee.com we accept books in exchange for a review, we also use affiliate links for Amazon.
PJV Quickie: I have a weakness for Rock-Star heroes, but sometimes it feels like I really have to dig to find the gems. You Really Got Me is one of the gems: with just the right amount of rock-industry lifestyle, sexual chemistry, angst, and romance, You Really Got Me really grabbed me.
Emmie Valencia is a personal assistant for a record label bigwig. She’s been working with him for eight years and what she really wants is a promotion and to go find new bands. When a disagreement lands her in Austin for six weeks, she arranges to live with her brother and his band, Snatch. Snatch is big on the college scene but they want to go national. Emmie has a few tips and offers to help them work on getting signed.
Slater Vaughn is the carnally sexy front man and songwriter for Snatch. He’s got a reputation as a raging man-whore, but his passion is writing songs and playing his music and he’s focused on getting the band noticed by a label.
Emmie has ‘been there, done that’ with a rockstar boyfriend, and he broke her heart. She’s vowed to stay far away from all the sexyness that is Slater and concentrate on finding ‘the next great band’. Slater isn’t interested in a girlfriend that’s only going to complicate his dream of musical success and superstardom. No matter how hard they fight the attraction, they both seem to click, even though a relationship between them would be doomed before it started.
You Really Got Me was a surprise hit for me. I’ve been let down a few times with Rock Star heroes, and I’m so glad I took a chance on You Really Got Me – you know how sometimes a book just grabs you from page 1? Yup, that’s exactly what happened here. I like Ms. Kelly’s writing style; her characters were interesting and I liked the overall flow of the book. She really hit just the right balance of industry lifestyle, sexy stuff, and relationships (not just the H/h relationship, but their lives before they met). I was never bored or felt like skimming ahead.
I love a good romance where there’s a breakup and both parties are miserable -Love it! And in You Really Got Me the angst and uncertainty between the hero and heroine was well done, both towards each other and involving other people in their lives. I definitely closed the book wanting more, and am already making grabby hands for the next book in the series, I Want You To Want Me.
If you like Kylie Scott’s Stage Dive series or Olivia Cunning’s Backstage Pass series, I’d recommend giving You Really Got Me a try. Sexy, fun, rock-star goodness.
Patti’s Favorite Reads of 2014
Hey all! Patti here – I can’t believe it’s almost 2015 already! I thought about the books I read this year and made a list of my favorites. Not all of them were published in 2014 but they are books I read in 2014. I hope some of them are also your favorites or that you discover a new favorite through my list.
My list is a bit eclectic this year – I feel like I mostly read Contemporary books (adult and NA) but most of my favorites this year are Paranormal. Go figure… I had resolved last year to try more new authors in 2014, and I did, a few of them even made my list! So, without any further ado, and in no particular order, I give to you my favorite Romance reads from 2014:
(links through book covers are amazon affiliate links)
Beauty and the Mustache by Penny Reid: The first book in this series, Neanderthal Seeks Human, made my 2013 list. This series is so good and in my opinion, underappreciated. I love the characters and the books are so freakin’ funny. The fourth book, Beauty and the Mustache, is my favorite so far. I’m not really a beard fan but this book may have changed my mind!
Silver Shadows by Richelle Mead: I love this series more than the series it spun off from (Vampire Academy for those who haven’t discovered the cracktasticness of Richelle Mead). I love Sydney and Adrian as main characters and the end of Silver Shadows had me yelling “Oh SNAP!” I cannot wait for the last book, The Ruby Circle. Love, love, love.
Archer’s Voice by Mia Sheridan: I don’t know how to express how much I loved this book. The hero is not your typical romance hero, and I loved him. The writing was absolutely beautiful and I was sorry when it ended. Absolutely excellent. (This was a new-to-me author)
The Charley Davidson series by Darynda Jones: So I may have just discovered this series in the fall, and then proceeded to glom all seven books in a row. Fifth Grave on the Right though is probably my favorite of the bunch. A funny, quirky Grim Reaper who’s in love with the super-sexy Son of Satan? Yes, please. I’m crying because Book 8 isn’t out until May 2015. #moremoremore (This was a new-to-me author)
The Professional by Kresley Cole: I had no idea how much I love reading Mafia heroes (anti-heroes?) until I read The Professional (The Game Maker #1). I HATE serials, but I bought this one; I just couldn’t wait until it came out in one book. A sexy Mafia enforcer whisks a college student to Russia to save her from enemies and she ends up falling for him. So freakin’ sexy. After finishing The Professional I may have gone on a ‘mafia romance’ binge…
Transcendence by Shay Savage: I mentioned this book a few weeks ago in a reading update post. I absolutely loved this story featuring a Neanderthal hero, told entirely from his POV. It sounds bizarre but trust me, you want to give this one a chance. This is one of those books I kept thinking about long after I finished it. (This was a new-to-me author)
Burn for Me by Ilona Andrews: I was super-excited that Ilona Andrews had a new series out, and as expected, it was fabulous! I like the world-building and the hero and heroine. If you’re already a fan, I definitely recommend Burn for Me, and if you haven’t read anything by Ilona Andrews yet, be prepared to glom their backlist once you’re done!
The Arcana Chronicles by Kresley Cole: I don’t know why but I checked out the first book, Poison Princess, twice before I actually read it. I fell in love with the characters and the unusual premise of this series. It’s a YA dystopian with romance and intrigue and I have been counting the days until the next book, Dead of Winter. I know already this is one of those books I’m going to want to race through but need to force myself to take my time and make it last: The first two books were published in 2012 and 2013, with nothing new until January 2015. That’s too long!!!!
Lead (Stage Dive #3) by Kylie Scott – love this NA series of guys in a rock band. I think Jimmy’s story might be my favorite so far.
The Best Kind of Trouble (Hurley Boys #1) by Lauren Dane – Hmmmm…rock stars again, I’m sensing a theme here Seriously, Lauren Dane is such an amazing writer. I loved this story and am currently reading the second book, Broken Open.
Bite Me (Pride #9) by Shelly Laurenston – I love this series and Bite Me was so funny. A honey-badger shifter and a bear/tiger hybrid shifter make the BEST couple. If you haven’t been reading this series, you need to start it!
The Colbana Files by J.C. Daniels (aka Shiloh Walker) – I’ve only recently discovered this series (recently, as in last week) and have torn through the series so far. A half-human/half-Amazon heroine and a feline shifter hero. A nice urban fantasy with romantic elements. Be warned though, the books do wrap up the main story but each ends with unfinished business – not a cliffhanger, but close.
What were your favorite 2014 reads?
What are you looking forward to in 2015?
PJV Quickie: I picked up the first book in this series on a whim. I figured it was a risk-free read – if I hated it, I was only out $0.99. The price-point worked and I was sucked in to this series of shapeshifters and magic – I went through this series in a week!
I love “woman falls for older brother’s best friend” stories and had been looking for a good shapeshifter romance read, so when I saw the blurb for the first book, Seven Years, I went for it. Seven Years is Lexi and Austin’s story: Austin was Lexi’s brother’s best friend, but left town after he died and never contacted her family after he left. Seven years later, he’s back, and he’s got his eye on Lexi.
Sounds good right? And it was pretty good. There were a few spots where the world-building wasn’t very clear, or the character’s motivations didn’t make total sense to me, but I was interested in Lexi and Austin, their family histories, and the secondary characters; not only Austin’s pack but some of the other shapeshifters as well. And that’s why I kept reading – I wanted to know more.
In book 2, Six Months, Austin’s brother Reno is the hero, and he falls for a human. Again – book crack for this paranormal romance lover I liked their story and was even more interested in the pack. I tore through this one in a day.
Book 3, Five Weeks, has a rock-star hero (he’s a former addict) and the heroine is The One Who Got Away: yes, please! Again, I enjoyed the main characters, and I love that not only do we see how the previous hero/heroines are doing, but the pack is moving along too, and we’re learning more and more about their world.
Book 4, Four Days, features a hero who is the Alpha from another pack, and the heroine is the strong, silent type. Four Days is the best in the series so far, in my opinion.
Ms. Dark’s writing is getting stronger with each book and there are some differences from shapeshifter world-building that I’m used to reading, but I like it. I plan to continue this series to the end. I don’t want to give away spoilers, but I will say that I’m hoping book 7, the last in the series, will feature one particular human and a very old werewolf.
If you’re looking for a fun, sexy werewolf romance and you’ve read the “bigger” authors out there, give The Seven Series a try. The first book is still $0.99 right now, and although the story is good, the writing is weakest in this book, so I’d definitely recommend giving at least the first two books a try. You might be pleasantly surprised.
At parajunkee.com we accept books in exchange for a review, we also use affiliate links for Amazon.
PJV Quickie: Boomerang was a quick, fun read. I had a few eyeroll moments, but ultimately enjoyed the story and was happy with the way things turned out. The story had a definite ending (not a cliffhanger) but when I saw who’s going to be in book 2, I’m interested in continuing the series.
Mia Galliano wants to be a filmmaker more than anything. She’s just been accepted as an intern for Boomerang, a national e-dating-type service. She celebrated a little too hard, and wakes up in a strange apartment not remembering the hottie in the bed’s name and she’s late for her first day of work.
Ethan Vance is a soccer phenom who’s been permanently sidelined due to injury. But he’s landed an internship that will lead to a paid position at Boomerang. His bank account is empty and he’s got student loans adding up; he really, really needs this job.
As they both rush to get to their first day of work…you guessed it – they’ve both been hired as unpaid interns at Boomerang, competing for the paying position at the end of the internship. And the first rule of employment at Boomerang? No dating between co-workers. Which would be awkward anyway, because they both want the job.
I had no idea that Noelle August is actually Veronica Rossi and Lorin Oberweger. I’m not familiar with Ms. Oberweger but am a fan of Veronica Rossi. That being said, Boomerang is very different from what I’ve previously read.
I liked Mia and Ethan both, and I wanted them both to get the job. And I really liked that Mia didn’t stand back and bow out, which I feel is often a theme in this type of storyline – the female selflessly gives up her dream or decides it’s not really what she wanted. I’m not going to give away any spoilers and say who won, but I liked the twists to the story and the way their competition ended because of them. The romantic tension between them, due to the internship, was well done.
Boomerang’s side-characters provided a nice backdrop for the story, from Mia’s artist mother and grandmother with Alzheimers to Ethan’s young soccer team that he coaches after work. Because of that, I felt like I had a good grasp of the main characters’ motivations and reasons for their actions, whether or not I agreed with said actions.
I had a few quibbles, but nothing that made me want to throw the book against a wall. I’m happy to say that the next book features Boomerang’s owner, Adam – I think his story will be pretty interesting *winks*
If you’re looking for a fun, contemporary New Adult read, Boomerang is a fun way to spend a few hours. Fans of Chelsea Cameron and J. Lynn may want to give Boomerang a try.
Beth Flynn, Ilona Andrews, Penny Reid, Shay Savage, Tracey Garvis Graves
Genres: Contemporary, Fantasy, Fantasy & Magic, Girls & Women, Paranormal, Romance
I try to review one book a week here at Parajunkee’s View, but in between I read whenever I can. Here are a few of the highlights over the last few months, with just a “PJV Quickie” to tempt you. I may not have rated them all 5 stars on GoodReads, but the stories stayed with me long after I read them, and that’s the kind of book I love to read.
(links through book covers are amazon affiliate links)
Clean Sweep by Ilona Andrews (Innkeeper Chronicles #1) December 2, 2013/NYLA
On the outside, Dina Demille is the epitome of normal. She runs a quaint Victorian Bed and Breakfast in a small Texas town, owns a Shih Tzu named Beast, and is a perfect neighbor, whose biggest problem should be what to serve her guests for breakfast. But Dina is…different: Her broom is a deadly weapon; her Inn is magic and thinks for itself. Meant to be a lodging for otherworldly visitors, the only permanent guest is a retired Galactic aristocrat who can’t leave the grounds because she’s responsible for the deaths of millions and someone might shoot her on sight. Under the circumstances, “normal” is a bit of a stretch for Dina.
And now, something with wicked claws and deepwater teeth has begun to hunt at night….Feeling responsible for her neighbors, Dina decides to get involved. Before long, she has to juggle dealing with the annoyingly attractive, ex-military, new neighbor, Sean Evans—an alpha-strain werewolf—and the equally arresting cosmic vampire soldier, Arland, while trying to keep her inn and its guests safe. But the enemy she’s facing is unlike anything she’s ever encountered before. It’s smart, vicious, and lethal, and putting herself between this creature and her neighbors might just cost her everything.
PJV Quickie: I really, really enjoyed this. I listened to the audiobook, so there were a few spots I missed, but I’ll definitely buy the ebook. (This is why I usually only listen to books that I’ve already read, sometimes you have to pay attention to the road while driving, not the audiobook you’re listening to.) Not a romance but enough of a possibility in the future to make me happy, and the narrator was terrific. 5 stars.
Nine Minutes by Beth Flynn (Nine Minutes #1) July 23, 2014/Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
On May 15, 1975, fifteen-year-old Ginny Lemon is abducted from a convenience store in Fort Lauderdale by a member of one of the most notorious and brutal motorcycle gangs in South Florida.
From that moment on, her life is forever changed. She gets a new name, a new identity and a new life in the midst of the gang’s base on the edge of the Florida Everglades—a frightening, rough and violent world much like the swamps themselves, where everyone has an alias and loyalty is tantamount to survival.
And at the center of it all is the gang’s leader, Grizz: massive, ruggedly handsome, terrifying and somehow, when it comes to Ginny, tender. She becomes his obsession and the one true love of his life.
So begins a tale of emotional obsession and manipulation, of a young woman ripped from everything she knows and forced to lean on the one person who provides attention, affection and care: her captor. Precocious and intelligent, but still very much a teenager, Ginny struggles to adapt to her existence, initially fighting and then coming to terms with her captivity.
Will she be rescued? Will she escape? Will she get out alive—or get out at all? Part psychological thriller, part coming-of-age novel, filled with mystery, romance and unexpected turns, Nine Minutes takes readers into the world of one motorcycle gang and inside the heart of a young girl, whose abduction brought about its fall.
PJV Quickie: I was looking for a good MC romance when I saw Dear Author tweet about this book. She reviewed it this weekend. Although I wouldn’t say this was a romance, I also couldn’t put it down. There were some problems, but overall an absolutely riveting story. Dark and totally fucked up, but I couldn’t turn away and will be reading the second book when it comes out! 4 stars.
Beauty and the Mustache by Penny Reid (Knitting in the City #4) August 28, 2014/Caped Publishing
There are three things you need to know about Ashley Winston: 1) She has six brothers and they all have beards, 2) She is a reader, and 3) She knows how to knit.
Former beauty queen, Ashley Winston’s preferred coping strategy is escapism. She escaped her Tennessee small town, loathsome father, and six brothers eight years ago. Now she escapes life daily via her Amazon kindle one-click addiction. However, when a family tragedy forces her to return home, Ashley can’t escape the notice of Drew Runous— local Game Warden, reclusive mountain man, bear wrestler, philosopher, and everyone’s favorite guy. Drew’s irksome philosophizing in particular makes Ashley want to run for the skyscrapers, especially since he can’t seem to keep his exasperating opinions— or his soulful poetry, steadfast support, and delightful hands— to himself. Pretty soon the girl who wanted nothing more than the escape of the big city finds she’s lost her heart in small town Tennessee.
This is a full-length novel, can be read as a standalone, and is the fourth book in the ‘Knitting in the City’ series.
PJV Quickie: Absolutely fabulous – a really great story that made me laugh and made me cry (chap 19/20 – have a tissue handy). Excellent writing; I think this may be my favorite book in the series. It’s got a different feel than the previous books but is just as good and my can’t-put-it-down meter is off the charts. If you’re not reading this series, why not? Fans of Alice Clayton should give it a read. 5 stars.
Transcendence by Shay Savage February 13, 2014/Shay Savage, LLC
It’s said that women and men are from two different planets when it comes to communication, but how can they overcome the obstacles of prehistoric times when one of them simply doesn’t have the ability to comprehend language?
Ehd’s a caveman living on his own in a harsh wilderness. He’s strong and intelligent, but completely alone. When he finds a beautiful young woman in his pit trap, it’s obvious to him that she is meant to be his mate. He doesn’t know where she came from; she’s wearing some pretty odd clothing, and she makes a lot of noises with her mouth that give him a headache. Still, he’s determined to fulfill his purpose in life – provide for her, protect her, and put a baby in her.
Elizabeth doesn’t know where she is or exactly how she got there. She’s confused and distressed by her predicament, and there’s a caveman hauling her back to his cavehome. She’s not at all interested in Ehd’s primitive advances, and she just can’t seem to get him to listen. No matter what she tries, getting her point across to this primitive, but beautiful, man is a constant – and often hilarious – struggle.
With only each other for company, they must rely on one another to fight the dangers of the wild and prepare for the winter months. As they struggle to coexist, theirs becomes a love story that transcends language and time.
PJV Quickie: Jill Myles makes me wish for all the strange books, so this was on my wishlist and when it went on sale for $.99 I snagged it. I’m so glad I did! This was quite different from anything I’ve read. I didn’t realize the entire story was told in the caveman’s POV. There were some spots I rolled my eyes (ie “that’s convenient”) but so many other spots made me laugh. I did enjoy it, and the end made it worth the read, especially when I thought about the story knowing what I knew at the end. My co-worker ended up reading it the same weekend and we spent that whole Monday walking past each other’s office saying “Ehd luffsBeh” and “ksszz”. 4 stars.
Uncharted by Tracey Garvis Graves (On the Island #1.5) July 2, 2013/Dutton Adult
Tracey Garvis Graves – and Anna and T.J. – return in this companion novella to the New York Times bestseller On the Island.
When twenty-three-year-old dot-com millionaire Owen Sparks walked away from his charmed life, he had one goal in mind: get as far away as possible from the people who resented his success, or had their hand out for a piece of it. A remote uncharted island halfway around the world seemed like a perfectly logical place to get away from it all.
Calia Reed wasn’t part of Owen’s plans. The beautiful British girl – on holiday in the Maldives with her brother, James – made Owen wonder if getting away from it all might be a lot more enjoyable with a carefree girl who didn’t know anything about the life he left behind.
But Owen had no idea how much his carefully detailed plans would go awry. Nor did he realize that a decision he made would have such a catastrophic effect on two passengers who boarded a plane in Chicago.
And when Owen shows up at Anna and T.J.’s door with an incredible story to tell, everyone involved will learn just how much their lives are intertwined.
PJV Quickie: I started listening to an old favorite last week, On the Island by Tracey Garvis-Graves (read my straight-talking review here), and ended up reading the rest of the book when I was away from my audible. I was looking over my wishlist and realized I’d never read the companion novella, Uncharted, so I bought it and tore through it in a day. We get to see how Anna and T.J are doing in the future, and we learn about Bones, the mysterious skeleton on the island, and another character I won’t mention because spoilers. If you read and enjoyed On the Island, I highly recommend this companion novella.
What books have you read recently that knocked your socks off?
Anything you want to recommend?
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