Monday, 18 August 2014

Review: Exchange of Fire by P.A. DePaul

Exchange of Fire (SBG #1) by P.A. DePaul
Publisher: Penguin InterMix
Publication date: August 19th 2014
My rating:  3 stars 
Amazon | Barnes & Noble


https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18755773-better-homes-and-hauntings

Faking her death was easy, living with her past is harder, but nothing is more dangerous than falling in love…

Sandra Walsh was a deadly sniper for the Sweet Briar Group, a covert agency with assassins for hire, until her last mission went horribly wrong, accidentally killing an innocent girl. Knowing she’s a danger to her team, Sandra goes off the grid, becoming a Shade—an agent declared dead but secretly hiding among the living. She intends to honor her vow never to pull another trigger or have contact with the spy world again. Until she meets Casper Grady…

Grady is a former Marine with a troubled past and a debt to pay. His life mission has gone from protecting the nation to helping local children and their families. The moment he meets Sandra, he knows there’s more to her than meets the eye, but he can’t help but be drawn to the mysterious femme fatale. And when Sandra’s past suddenly catches up to her, Grady is determined to protect her at all costs, no matter how dark and dangerous her secrets are.

As the danger increases, so does their intense attraction. But when they’re forced to choose between each other and the people they’ve sworn to protect, their growing love might not be enough to keep them together—or alive…



My Thoughts:
I do enjoy romantic suspense so I was looking forward to Exchange of Fire, and while it did deliver in some ways, it disappointed as well.

Sandra left her position as a sniper for the clandestine black ops group, Sweet Briar Group, after she accidently shoots and kills a fourteen year old girl who gets in the line of fire. In order to protect her team she faked her death, and is now hiding out in the small town of Ridge Creek, North Carolina; working at the Gradwick Adventure Center for an ex-marine hottie, Casper Grady, and she’s been slowly falling for him. Sandra knows she can never act on the simmering attraction because she doesn’t even know how long she’s staying in Ridge Creek and right now all her senses are screaming to get out and run while her heart is protesting.

Grady was attracted to Sandra the minute she walked in for her interview.  Now it’s a matter of when not if he makes a move on her.  When danger sets Sandra off to run, Grady chases after her in an attempt to get her to let him in and help, but when he finds out the full extent of the threats against her, he’s angry she lied and brought this shitstorm to his door.

I had high hopes for Exchange of Fire and the thrill and action did not disappoint. There was danger at every turn making a good portion of this book an exciting read. Unfortunately, the romance was a huge disappointment filling me with frustration.  I adored Sandra. She was a great character and I could totally get behind her actions and motivations.  Grady was another story entirely. 

From the synopsis, supposedly Grady won’t leave Sandra’s side once he finds out she’s in danger, but that’s not the way it happens at all. Yes, he does chase her down to help her, but once he finds out her secrets, Grady’s ticked off and leaves!  He also tells Sandra she’s no longer welcome or employed at Gradwick. I get that he was frustrated by Sandra keeping dangerous secrets, but what did he expect? They knew each other for a total of four months and they weren’t even involved romantically yet.  Was she supposed to divulge her past when the knowledge could put him in danger or worse, marked for death?  I was annoyed Grady wasn’t more sympathetic and the fact that he was downright mean when Sandra came to apologize.  I was sort of hoping she’d forget him and move on with Talon, a teammate clearly in love with her! This played out for so long without Grady pulling his head out until the very end of the book! By then I really didn’t care if they worked things out, like I said I would’ve totally been on board for Sandra waking up to feelings for Talon, someone who was a whole lot more understanding and went to bat for her several times.

I’m hoping the next book in the series continues on with the thrill ride and delivers more in the romance department.
 


Sunday, 17 August 2014

Showcase Sunday #57



Showcase Sunday is a weekly meme hosted by Vicky at Books, Biscuits and Tea. The aim is to showcase our newest books or book related swag and to see what everyone else received for review, borrowed from libraries, bought in bookshops and downloaded onto eReaders this week.  

Hey all! Its been a while since we last shared a book haul post with you, we've both had some pretty neat books in over the last few weeks, but will just be sharing a few of the books we received. With so many pretties, I really am struggling with deciding what I should read next, I think that takes most of my time than the actual reading does! 



                       
                                                   
                                                      (Click cover for Goodreads link)

  
  

I have the lovely Siiri from Little Pieces of Imagination to thank for the first picture, she was such a doll in sending me Things You Kiss Goodbye, which had been high on my wish list and The Evolution of Mara Dyer, a series that Siiri thought I needed to get back to. The Kiss of Deception has piqued my interest for the last few weeks, the reviews have been a mixed bunch, but I'm hoping that I will end up loving it. And the last three books need to introductions, I'm getting excited just thinking about them now!

Lets see what Rachel received.



(Click on cover for Goodreads link)

Hope Burns (Hope #3)  Carolina Blues (Dare Island, #4)  Burying Water In Her Wake (Ten Tiny Breaths, #0.5) 

Worth the Fall (The McKinney Brothers, #1)  Broken (Redemption, #1)

After having a hard, busy week at work I was happily surprised to come home to this lovely book package from my lovely co-blogger Jasprit!  These books and bookmarkers are signed by Sarra Manning and Mila Gray as well. This immediately cheered my mood! From the books below, I think I'm most excited for Burying Water by K.A. Tucker. After enjoying her Ten Tiny Breathes series, I can't wait to dive in.  This is a memory loss/mystery/romance so I'm really intrigued. I think Worth the Fall would be a great cover/book to participate in Top Off Tuesday that the lovely Mary @The Book Swarm participates in frequently, and I always have and/or drool at the covers she presents.  Those are some very nice abs, right?

How about you? Did you get some awesome reads this week?  Link us up and we'll come check it out!

Saturday, 16 August 2014

Bout of Books 11: Sign up and Goals

Bout of Books

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, August 18th and runs through Sunday, August 24th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure, and the only reading competition is between you and your usual number of books read in a week. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 11 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. - From the Bout of Books team

Bout of Books is back for another read-a-thon which starts on Monday! I am super excited to be taking part in this read-a-thon once more, firstly because I always have so much fun taking part; getting to know other bloggers and readers through the chats, completing new challenges every day and pushing myself to read more than what I normally would (which hasn't been a lot if I'm honest with myself) so this read-a-thon couldn't have come at a better time. I've picked the following books that I will most likely be reading over the next week (this list could change depending on my mood), but I have heard that a number of these books will evoke all the feelings, which I'm quite happy about!. 





Goals:

To read at least three books this week.
To take part in one Twitter chat
To complete three challenges
To comment on at least five new blogs each day
To have fun!!

I really want to get to know more enthusiastic readers like myself this time, its always great when you get chatting to someone who likes similar books to yourself or even will be planning to read the same books as you. I shall be updating my progress on this page every morning. But you're likely to find my most current updates on my Twitter profile here and see some neat photos of the books I'm reading on my Instagram profile here. If you're taking part in this Bout of Books leave me a link to your goals in the comments. And I'd love to know what you think I should start off with first! 



Friday, 15 August 2014

Review: Up at Butternut Lake by Mary McNear

Up at Butternut Lake (The Butternut Lake Trilogy #1) by Mary McNear
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
Publication date: April 8th 2014
My rating:  4 stars 


https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18755773-better-homes-and-hauntings

In the spirit of Kristin Hannah and Susan Wiggs, comes this debut novel-the first in an unforgettable new series by Mary McNear

It's been ten years since Allie Beckett crossed the threshold of her family cabin at Butternut Lake, Minnesota. Now, newly widowed after the death of her husband in Afghanistan, she's returned with her five-year-old son.

There, she reconnects with the friends she had in childhood-best girlfriend Jax, now married with three kids and one on the way, and Caroline, owner of the local coffee shop. What Allie doesn't count on is a newcomer to Butternut Lake, Walker Ford.

Up at Butternut Lake follows these four unforgettable characters across a single summer as they struggle with love, loss, and what it means to take risks, confront fears, and embrace life, in all of its excitement and unpredictability.

Allie Beckett could never have imagined, when she ran away from her old life, that she was running into a whole new life, up at the lake….



My Thoughts:
Up at Butternut Lake was a story of finding love again and overcoming problems with the support of good friends. While the description makes it sound as if the story centers only on Allie, there are two other women with their own dramas that take up a good portion of the novel as well.

Allie Beckett has had a hard time moving on since the death of her husband, Gregg. He was killed in the line of duty two years prior.  Staying in the town where she was married meant pitying looks and reminders everywhere, and it was just too much for Allie to bear.  So she takes her five year old son to Butternut Lake to lead a simpler life where no one knows her history first hand, and where she has wonderful memories, staying at the family cabin. Allie finds a couple of good girlfriends, and the support she needs with Jax and Caroline.  She also meets Walker Ford, a new resident and owner of the big, ostentatious (by her standards) cabin directly across the lake from her.  They get off to a rocky start when he makes a few choice comments that come off arrogant, but there’s definitely a spark there, and it completely takes Allie by surprise, waking up a part of her that’s been long dead.

Walker has his own scars to bear as far as relationships go.  He married a woman he barely knew out of obligation and they had a miserable, lonely time together.  They parted ways, and Walker’s not sure he’s cut out for a relationship or marriage.  That is until he lays eyes on Allie.  She gets under his skin immediately and he can’t stop thinking about her. 

Jax and Caroline factor heavily into the book as well. Jax is a native of Butternut Lake and when Allie would visit they would hang out and have fun together.  Jax is now grown up and married to Jeremy, owner of the town hardware store, with three girls and another on the way.  Jax loves and appreciates the happy family she and Jeremy have built, and she loves him to pieces.  After being raised by two drunks with no inclination for parenting, she values her family like a treasure. But Jax is harboring a secret that could destroy it all.

Caroline factored a little less in the story because her story continues in the next book, but she still plays a large part.  She’s a forty-something owner of the town coffee shop, and a single mother. She raised her daughter, Daisy by herself when her cheating husband took off.   Caroline has basically put her romantic life on hold, choosing to focus on raising her daughter, but now that Daisy’s off at college, Caroline can’t seem to get out of that rut.  When a nice customer starts visiting the diner and showing interest in Caroline she’s uncertain about starting anything.  While she vacillates back and forth on that, Caroline is a caring friend to both Jax and Allie, providing a listening and supportive ear, and sage advice.

These three women bond and share strength, and it was lovely reading about positive female relationships, instead of women only being the source of competition and jealousy in a story.  Of course, it was the romances that held center stage for me.  Allie and Walker’s was the main one, and it was full of longing and passion.  Allie did struggle with guilt at the thought of moving on, and Walker’s had a smidge of cold feet, but nothing that was drawn out or frustrating. For the most part, this was a satisfying story of two mature people falling in love.

I really enjoyed Up at Butternut Lake, but I have to say that I’d rather have my romance more focused on one couple rather than parceled out between three women. I like having well fleshed out secondary characters, but I wanted more time spent with just Walker and Allie.  The ending was a little abrupt, but I have a feeling they’ll play a large role in the next book, just like Jax and Caroline did in this one.  This is really, just a very small complaint. In the end Up at Butternut Lake was a lovely, easy read! 







 

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Cover Fever #11 One Plus One by Jojo Moyes

Jasprit and I are back with another Cover Fever and I'm featuring a book I just recently read and loved: One Plus One by Jojo Moyes.  Wish I could say the same for the US cover, which in my opinion doesn't fit the story and doesn't attract readers to pick it up. But maybe that's just me.  Jasprit and I will weigh in with our choice, but we'd love to hear your opinion, too!  Let us know what you think in the comments below

US Cover                                 UK Cover

One Plus One      The One Plus One 



Australian Cover                     Swedish Cover


The One Plus One      Etthundra mil



Rachel: 
Well as I said I don't care for the US Cover and I think it does little to attract readers.  It fit the story at all.  The UK version is a little better because at least we have all the characters represented, but it wouldn't call to me at a bookstore.  The Australian Cover is actually prettier, and it might catch my eye, but still, I'm not sold.  The Swedish Cover is the most suited to the story with the open road (it's a road-trip book) and the little girl doing math problems fits well with Tanzie being a math whiz.  I like the road hugging the water and beautiful countryside, and I'd be tempted to pick this book up to read the description.

Rachel's Verdict:
The Swedish Cover.

Jasprit: I actually haven't read this book yet, so don't really know which cover would suit the book best. I'm really weird when it comes to book covers, sometimes I'm all for the cover matching the story and sometimes I just want a pretty cover. I think the UK one is just a bit too simple for my liking, the Swedish cover is pretty neat, but I don't think I would be the tempted to pick it up in a book store, the Australian cover is quite pretty too, but again I'm not finding the cover that appealing. The US cover is really bright and in your face with its big fonts, but I like it, I think I've seen a few of JoJo's covers like this and wouldn't mind having a matching set on my shelf!

Jasprit's Final Verdict:
The US cover.

I like how Rachel and I have really differing opinions this time around, which cover do you prefer?
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