Review Tuesday: Idol by Kristen Callihan

When I heard that Kristen Callihan had a new series coming out, I was very excited. I had read and loved her Game On series (they’re all very good, but book 3 The Game Plan? *swoon*), so I couldn’t wait to give Idol, book 1 in her VIP series a try.

idokFrom Goodreads:

Libby

I found Killian drunk and sprawled out on my lawn like some lost prince. With the face of a god and the arrogance to match, the pest won’t leave. Sexy, charming, and just a little bit dirty, he’s slowly wearing me down, making me crave more.

He could be mine if I dare to claim him. Problem is, the world thinks he’s theirs. How do you keep an idol when everyone is intent on taking him away?

Killian

As lead singer for the biggest rock band in the world, I lived a life of dreams. It all fell apart with one fateful decision. Now everything is in shambles.

Until Liberty. She’s grouchy, a recluse—and kind of cute. Scratch that. When I get my hands on her, she is scorching hot and more addictive than all the fans who’ve screamed my name.

The world is clamoring for me to get back on stage, but I’m not willing to leave her. I’ve got to find a way to coax the hermit from her shell and keep her with me. Because, with Libby, everything has changed. Everything

Unfortunately, this book fell flat to me. I gave it a 2 star rating on Goodreads because it was fine, and there were some fun moments, but overall, it just didn’t do it for me.

I didn’t enjoy the way the book was written – usually I don’t mind the switching of perspectives, but this time I didn’t like it. I didn’t like the tense/stream of conscious way it was written. There was something about the words were coming at it that just kept throwing me off and was jarring to me.

I also hate the name Killian, because of course its gets shortened to Kill. Really? What self-respecting human being names someone that? But in the grand scheme of the book, this is a minor detail.

What I couldn’t get over is that for most of the book nothing happens. Killian is hiding out, Libby is in a way hiding out, and overall the plot does not progress really for a good chunk of the book. Finally, we end of getting some momentum, but by the time that happened I just didn’t care anymore. Killian and Libby are cute, but for me, not cute or entertaining enough (oh the irony) to keep my attention. There was also an over-the-top amount of sex scenes that I eventually just started skimming because they weren’t aiding the plot or the character development in any way shape or form.

It was an okay read, but truthfully not one that I will ever read again. Like I said at the beginning of this post her Game On series is beyond better. Definitely give that series a go.

Now, for all that I didn’t really like this book. I am going to be reading book 2. Why you ask? Because there was a teaser chapter of book 2 at the end of this book, and let me tell you, that was intriguing. Plus, the banter! Oh, I love me some good banter. So, I have hopes that this book was a strike out for me, that it’s just a blip on the radar and that for book 2 she’s gonna come out swinging.

Review Tuesday: The Job by Janet Evanovich

The Job by Janet Evanovich is book three in the Fox and O’Hare series.

From Goodreads:

Charming con man Nicolas Fox and dedicated FBI agent Kate O’Hare secretly take down world’s most-wanted and untouchable felons, next job Violante, the brutal leader of a global drug-smuggling empire. The FBI doesn’t know what he looks like, where he is, or how to find him, but Nick knows his tastes in gourmet chocolate. the job

From Nashville to Lisbon back alleys, from Istanbul rooftops to Thames, they chase clues to lookalike thefts. Pitted against a psychopathic bodyguard Reyna holding Kate hostage and a Portuguese enforcer getting advice from an ancestor’s pickled head, they again call driver Willie for ship, actor Boyd for one-eyed Captain Bridger, special effects carpenter Tom, her father Jake – retired Special Forces, and his talent – machete-wielding Somali pirate Billy Dee. This could be their biggest job – if they survive.

The Job – like the other two books in this series – reads very much the same as Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series. The books are an incredibly quick read, lots of danger and excitement, but for all that there’s danger and excitement you know that nothing terrible is going to happen to any of the characters. They will be fine in the end. There isn’t much – if any – character development or emotion either. These are books where the plot drives the book forward.

Fox and O’Hare are a very funny tag team, and the crew that was assembled in book 1 shows up again, and makes the reading of this book a fun one. Kate’s Dad is actually one of my favourite characters. He always makes me laugh.

For all that there isn’t any depth to this series – or any of her series that I’ve read – they are highly entertaining and a perfect beach read.

If you are looking for a light hearted silly book I would suggest starting with book one in the Stephanie Plum series – One For the Money. (The movie for that by the way was terrible! Also did anyone else notice that Katherine Heigl was the only character with a ridiculous accent? No one else had it!). If you like One For the Money then be excited because she’s written a lot of books in that series and in other series, so you’ll definitely have some things to read!

 

Review Tuesday: Armada by Ernest Cline

Oh that’s right! The book published today, I’ve already read it! When I was in San Francisco in June attending ALA (the American Library Assocation) Annual Conference one of the freebies that I was able to grab was an advance copy of Armada by Ernest Cline. (I was actually able to snag 2 copies – one for me, and one my bestie Jay – definitely a perk of the job). I did a massive fan girl dance when I got it, texted Jay letting him know, and then proceeded to tell everyone that I got the book. I didn’t start reading it until I got home from my trip, and man oh man, I was not disappointed. Armada

From Goodreads:

Zack Lightman has spent his life dreaming. Dreaming that the real world could be a little more like the countless science-fiction books, movies, and videogames he’s spent his life consuming. Dreaming that one day, some fantastic, world-altering event will shatter the monotony of his humdrum existence and whisk him off on some grand space-faring adventure.

But hey, there’s nothing wrong with a little escapism, right? After all, Zack tells himself, he knows the difference between fantasy and reality. He knows that here in the real world, aimless teenage gamers with anger issues don’t get chosen to save the universe.

And then he sees the flying saucer.

Even stranger, the alien ship he’s staring at is straight out of the videogame he plays every night, a hugely popular online flight simulator called Armada—in which gamers just happen to be protecting the earth from alien invaders.

No, Zack hasn’t lost his mind. As impossible as it seems, what he’s seeing is all too real. And his skills—as well as those of millions of gamers across the world—are going to be needed to save the earth from what’s about to befall it.

It’s Zack’s chance, at last, to play the hero. But even through the terror and exhilaration, he can’t help thinking back to all those science-fiction stories he grew up with, and wondering: Doesn’t something about this scenario seem a little…familiar?

At once gleefully embracing and brilliantly subverting science-fiction conventions as only Ernest Cline could, Armada is a rollicking, surprising thriller, a classic coming of age adventure, and an alien invasion tale like nothing you’ve ever read before—one whose every page is infused with the pop-culture savvy that has helped make Ready Player One a phenomenon.

Now before we go any further if you haven’t read Ready Player One do that first. It’s the first book by Ernest Cline (it has zero bearing on this new book) and it’s one of my ultimate favourites.

Armada was an awesome read. I flew it through it, and I was entirely entertained the whole way through. The book was action packed and moved quickly from one situation to the next. You discover things as you go along, and I will admit that while there were some things that I guessed might happen that did end up happening, the end took me by surprise. I wasn’t expecting that at all. It also does leave room for a sequel, or a couple of sequels if we’re being honest. And I’m totally okay with that because I enjoyed Zach and this world that Ernest Cline built.

The main drawback (if you can consider it a drawback) is that the gimmick that makes Ready Player One so interesting (all of the 80s trivia and references etc) is the same gimmick that he uses in Armada only with sci-fi. In that regard the books are very similar. So as my friend Jay was telling me when we were talking about Armada – perhaps don’t read Ready Player One and Armada one right after the other.

This is a fabulous read overall though. It has some awesome situations, some kick ass scenes, and is overall a book that I will definitely be reading again.

Review Tuesday: Takhini Wolves Series by Vivian Arend

I have a couple of romance authors that I really love, and Vivian Arend is one of those. Vivian has a couple of series that I love like Six Pack Ranch, Thompson & Sons, and Granite Lake Wolves.  But now I can add the Takhini Wolves series to my list as well.

I read these four books in less than a week. They were impossible for me to put down.

The books are about a group of characters that are shapeshifters – wolf shapeshifters specifically, though there are different kinds like bears and cougars – and them essentially finding their perfect match or mate. It’s romance and fantasy in once nice entertaining package and made it impossible to stop reading. Black Gold

Book one in the series is called Black Gold and it’s about Shaun and Gem. You meet Shaun in the Granite Lake Wolves series and I really like both of the series intertwine with each other. It’s nice to hear about characters that you read about earlier and what they’re doing and how they’re doing.

Silver Mine is book two and it’s about Chase and Shelley. There was a slight overlap in character I found between Shelley of this book and Maggie from Wolf Games as they were both in the habit of denying who they are because of bad past experiences, however I enjoyed Chase – he’s a great character, and Chase and Shelley together were great. I do wish in their story though it went into more detail about the disease that was spreading through the province – I thought it was a bit abrupt how that was sorted.

The third book is Diamond Dust, and is about Tyler a bear shifter and Caroline a human. Caroline has been in the series since book one, and she’s a fire cracker. She is strong, resilient, and runs her world and the world of the Takhini wolves with such control and power it’s awesome to read. Tyler, is a bear shifter and a major contender to be their ruler in their next election. The two of them together are dynamite and explode a couple of times as they try to get themselves sorted out. It’s one of my favourite of hers. Diamond Dust

The fourth and, sadly, last book in this series is Moon Shine, and is about Evan the Alpha wolf of the Takhini pack, who you’ve met in book one and read about all the way through the series, and his mate Amy. The two of them are Alpha’s over two separate packs and they have to get through a ton of past history, as well as some future problems before they can be together.

My biggest complaint about these books is that I wished that they were longer (which is really a good complaint to make). Sometimes I did feel like things ended too abruptly or weren’t explained in as much detail as I wanted, and other times I just wanted to read more about the characters.

If fantasy and romance are genres that you like to read, then you should definitely check out this series as well as the Granite Lake Wolves series. These are books that I will definitely be reading again.

Review Tuesday: Last Call by Alice Clayton

Last Call by Alice Clayton is the finale in the Cocktail series, and the last tale of Caroline and Simon who are two of my favourite romance novel characters.

You first meet Simon and Caroline in Wallbanger, which is my favourite book in the series. Their banter is legendary and they are written so well that it’s now one of the books I go back to when I need a pick me up.

Last Call follows their story line but also the story line of the other characters that you meet in the Cocktail series. It’s a book that shows you how everything is doing and where they are in their lives. last call

Description from Goodreads:

“From NEW YORK TIMES & USA TODAY bestselling author Alice Clayton, known for her “deliciously addictive” (The Book Vixen) novels, this Cocktail series novella reunites readers with Caroline and Simon from the wildly successful Wallbanger.

Simon and Caroline are back for another round of baking, banging, and big life changes. Settling in, but never settling down, Caroline has finally struck a balance between the professional and the personal. As one of the top interior designers in San Francisco, she travels all over Northern California between nook time with Simon.

Perpetual globetrotter Simon has cut his frequent flyer miles in half over the last year, preferring to balance his professional and personal life, as well.

The next step in their lives seems preordained—toasts, veils, and the aisle of rose petals. But when an accident on a photo shoot in Southeast Asia brings Caroline the most terrifying phone call she could ever imagine, she has to ask whether “till death do us part” is a more realistic prospect than faces most couples.

It’s been a grand adventure, and Caroline and Simon wouldn’t go out without the best surprise ending ever. One part sexy, one part laughter, a dash of exotic locales, and one pink nightie, mixed with passion, and you’ve got Last Call. Served with a side of Clive.”

 

It’s really a novella, and it’s totally worth every penny.  I love the series, and this book as well. Cute, short, entertaining, with lots of good banter, and well written sex scenes. If romance is your genre then this is a series you need to read 🙂

Review Tuesday: Yes Please by Amy Poehler

I really enjoy biographies, and for some reason this year I’ve read more celebrity biographies than I usually do. Nonetheless, I really enjoyed Yes Please by Amy Poehler. Yes Please

It was obviously a funny and entertaining read. It was interesting reading about her experiences with improv and SNL. I, for instance, didn’t know how close she and Seth Meyers are, though now that I know that, it makes complete sense to me.

I also found it at times very insightful about life in general, which took me a little by surprise, though it shouldn’t have. She had some good advice about sticking up for yourself, about apologizing when you make a mistake, and about essentially being brave and trying new things.

I also really liked the fact that she didn’t talk about her divorce. It is no ones business but her and her ex-husband’s, and I’m glad that she didn’t go into it, and when she briefly mentioned him, I’m glad that she did in a respectful manner. Too often that doesn’t happen when it comes to divorce.

Lastly, the physical book itself. The book was heavy. It’s the paper it’s printed on – it’s gorgeous, crisp, fantastic for images, and so damn heavy after a while. I found that ever now and again mu wrist would get sore from holding up the book, which sounds so pathetic when I write that out, but it is something I noticed when I read.

If you like biographies, Amy Poehler, and/or funny people this is a book that you shouldn’t miss, and that you’ll most likely enjoy at least as much as  I did.