December 21, 2013

Book Review: LOVE A LITTLE SIDEWAYS by Shannon Stacey

Book Title: Love a little sideways
Author: Shannon Stacey
Publisher:  Carina Press
Category:  Contemporary Adult Romance

“I don’t want to come between you and Mitch.  You’ve been friends for as long as I can remember.”- Liz
“You know I want you.”- Drew
“You’re still young, Drew.  You’ll find the right woman.”- Liz
“It’s hard to find her when all I can think about is how much I want you.”- Drew

Description via NetGalley:

Liz Kowalski is heading home to Whitford, Maine—this time for good. Eager for her family, a fresh start and some fun, she doesn't count on being rescued by the chief of police her very first night back in town. Drew is everything she's not looking for…so why is she still so attracted to him?

After a brief, forbidden rendezvous at her brother's wedding, Drew Miller expects Liz to return to New Mexico and stay there. He's searching for someone to settle down with, not a casual fling with his best friend's sister. But when they're stuck together on the annual Kowalski camping trip, things start going a little sideways. Keeping their hands off each other proves just as impossible as keeping their secret from becoming public knowledge.

Amid family, mud and melted marshmallow, Liz and Drew try to fight what's growing between them. But a little time alone, a lot of chemistry and too many opinions might be just what it takes to bring together two people so determined not to fall in love.

My Summary:

Liz is home.  After many years away from her family to be with her lazy boyfriend, she finally came home.  Sure she would need to start all over in the very town she grew up in but hey, her brothers are there to back her up.  What she didn’t expect was for her past to bite her in the ass on her first night home.

Drew has never forgotten Liz.  She ceased being just his best friend’s little sister the night they got together at her brother’s wedding reception. But he knew nothing long term would come out of it.  He still needs to find THE ONE. The person who would give him what he has always dreamed of: Children, A complete family to love forever.

But from the moment he laid eyes on Liz again he knew they could never go back.  For the sake of his friendship with Mitch, Liz’s oldest brother, he would try to stay away from her.  But how could he when he can barely keep his hands, and thoughts, off her?  How would he when Liz herself can’t stay away from him?

Implosion is inevitable and that happens at the worst time with Mitch there to catch them in the act.   When everything settles, her family automatically assume an eventual marriage for the two.  But Liz isn’t ready.  She still needs to find herself.  And while doing so, she just might lose the only man who’s ready and willing to give her his forever

My Review:

Having been a Kowalski family fan, I expected a lot: that this would be funny, a fast read and a hot, enjoyable book...

In some ways it was...but it
fell short of my expectations compared to the previous Kowalski stories.  Granted all the Kowalski characters featured beforehand were all men, and this is the first and only woman, I should be more flexible in my judgment.  But then again, Drew, the main man here, is as good as a Kowalski since he grew up practically glued to one.

As main characters go, both Liz and Drew are solid.  They love their families and are loyal to a fault, but they also have insecurities and questions, particularly when it's about continuing a relationship with the other.

What I didn't like here was the wait.  It took more than half a book before all hell broke loose and they decide to go with what they feel.  Before that, it was all should I, should I nots.  After a few chapters of that I wanted to stop.  It was frustrating.  But then again the antics of the family, especially the kids with their Games of Doom, saved a bit of it for me.  As for the support characters, namely the Kowalski men Mitch, Ryan, Sean and the others, they are still the same hot and humorous men I met in their own stories. 

My favorite here is Mitch.  He is a great friend and an even greater brother, torn between being one, the other or both.  I liked when he threatened Drew, even though he loves him like a brother, should he break Liz's scarred heart.  It just shows how much thicker blood is than water.  As for Ryan, the only other person who knows about Drew and Liz's one nighter, he tries his hardest not to get involved but how can he not when his only sister's happiness is on the line?

The ending came too fast after the main conflict and it felt like the author tried to rush their happy ever after ...and this after a VERY slow build up too!  It's just too unbelievable, even for a romantic like me.
I’d never been disappointed by Shannon Stacey but this book certainly proves that there is always a first time for everything.  I don't know if there will be more Kowalski books in the future but I still look forward to reading them.  I will just consider this a dip in an otherwise straight, and exciting, line.

Check out the author’s website for a list of these books:

For my reviews on the Kowalski books, click:

All photos lifted from Publisher's site.

October 26, 2013

Book Review: THE IRON TRAITOR by Julie Kagawa

Book:  The Iron Traitor (Call of the Forgotten book #2)
Author:  Julie Kagawa
Publisher:  Harlequin TEEN
Category:  Young Adult Fiction

 “He has no idea what this means, what it has started.  Neither of you realize what could happen now….”- Meghan

“I don’t care what the courts say;  I cannot stand by and watch you fade from existence…I will stop this….the price doesn’t matter; I will do whatever it takes…”- Keirran

“You can’t save everyone.  You have to make the decision to let them go.”- Guro


In the real world, when you vanish into thin air for a week, people tend to notice. 

After his unexpected journey into the lands of the fey, Ethan Chase just wants to get back to normal. Well, as "normal" as you can be when you see faeries every day of your life. Suddenly the former loner with the bad reputation has someone to try for-his girlfriend, Kenzie. Never mind that he's forbidden to see her again. 

But when your name is Ethan Chase and your sister is one of the most powerful faeries in the Nevernever, "normal" simply isn't to be. For Ethan's nephew, Keirran, is missing, and may be on the verge of doing something unthinkable in the name of saving his own love. Something that will fracture the human and faery worlds forever, and give rise to the dangerous fey known as the Forgotten. As Ethan's and Keirran's fates entwine and Keirran slips further into darkness, Ethan's next choice may decide the fate of them all.


Ethan is finally home.  He left The Nevernever believing he would never have to go back to the place he loathes, the world that stole his sister away from him, one where beings from his nightmares live and thrive.  He hates The Nevernever and everything in it..... Except perhaps his sister Meghan, The Iron Queen and her son, Keirran, the Iron Prince, who has become a friend.

Then the inevitable happens.  Keirran has once again disappeared, leaving Meghan distraught.  Ethan doesn't want to get involved but he couldn't refuse when asked to help by Annwyl, the beautiful exiled fey Keirran left the kingdom for.  She is fading fast and Keirran is desperate for anything to save her.  Anything..... even if it means sacrificing his own life.

Ethan tries to leave Kenzie safe with her family, but his strong willed yet very sick girlfriend follows him back to the other world... Unfortunately she now also has the gift of Sight, which allows her to see what Ethan has been seeing since he was a small boy, the fey.

The three find Keirran and eventually find a way to temporarily halt The Fade on Annwyl with the help of Guro, Ethan's (Filipino martial art) Kali master, who happens to believe in magical creatures and is skilled in making amulets of light and dark arts.  But the price for this is very high, a part of Keirran's soul is disappearing along with Annwyl's.  They have to find a solution fast or The Iron Prince will die.


I have had a copy of this book for weeks before I pushed myself to read it.  Why?  It is not that I thought this would disappoint me.  In fact it is the total opposite.  I knew, being a fan of the author, that I would not only be satisfied, I would be devastated.  I knew this would break my heart.  I was right.

I have always said that Julie Kagawa is amazing.  From the author's very first book The Iron King, she has immersed me in the world of the fey, so much so, that years later, I am still enthralled with the story of Meghan, Ash and Puck.  I have never let go of this world, and The Iron Traitor is just another reason for me to continue living in it.

The twists and turns in this book are unpredictable, shocking and even deadly.  The very end made me stop breathing and shout at nothing.  There is now a void that can only be filled once I get the 3rd and supposed conclusion of this story next year.

What made this book extra special is the presence of my beloved Iron Fey.  Meghan, Puck and (my forever crush) Ash.  Any story involving Ethan, Keirran and The Nevernever can not possibly be complete without the three and once again my need for the them is temporarily sated by the author's inclusion in this book.

Keirran.... what can I say? He is what I expected him to be based on his father's love and loyalty to his mother.  The apple does not fall far from the tree.  However, Ash, for all his faults and failings, never made me hate him.  Keirran is imperfect, yet he is the most powerful fey who is predicted to destroy their world; Powerful but also weak. There is a quote that says "the sins of the father shall be visited upon the son a thousand times" and that holds here.  But who is truly at fault? The one who unknowingly began or the one who willingly ends?

As for Ethan.... I admire his strength of character and loyalty to those he loves.  The depth of his hate for Ash just shows the opposite of his love for Meghan and her son.  But at what cost?

A special mention for Guro which means teacher or instructor in Filipino. He, who helped Ethan become a hero and is instrumental for Keirran losing his soul.

Ahhhhh.... so much to say but I'm afraid I have to stop for letting you know more of the story would be an injustice to the author and the wonderful book she has written. 

Just know that Julie Kagawa has done it.........AGAIN.

An advice to those who want to read this series.  Begin with The Iron king (The Iron Fey series). But get the complete set on the get go, because once you start, you wouldn't want to stop.

You may visit the Author’s site at:

My review of Julie Kagawa’s other books:

All photos have been lifted from the Author's site.

October 02, 2013

Book Review: THE REUNION LIE by Lucy King

Author:  Lucy King
Publisher:  Harlequin KISS
Category:  Contemporary Adult Romance

“So what do you want Zoe?”- Dan
“Ok well, the thing is I rather think I want you.”- Zoe
“What for?”- Dan
“Some fun.”- Zoe

Description via Goodreads:

It was only meant to be a little white lie.

Inventing a fake fiance was an act of desperation for Zoe Montgomery; a knee-jerk response to her horrifying high school reunion! But now that she's convinced London's most unattainable bachelor to play the part, her little white lie is spiraling out of control. 

Because everyone wants a piece of tycoon Dan Forrester. Including Zoe! Especially once she's seen the view from his bedroom; this might be a fake engagement, but she's certainly not faking anything else. 
Now the reunion is over, and Zoe and Dan have convinced the world they're meant to be! But convincing each other? A whole different challenge.

My Summary:

Zoe is desperate.  With teenage demons and insecurities popping out at her class reunion, she could only do one thing; Invent the boyfriend of her dreams and jump the first good looking man that entered the bar.

A stranger’s unwelcome and unexpected kiss was shocking enough but more so was Dan’s instinctive reaction to Zoe’s assault.  He liked it! And the aftermath was so unlike him too.   Instead of leaping out of the bar, he played along and helped Zoe pretend to be the happy and loved-up woman she claimed to be.

Everyone believes their instant relationship…. including the whole nation, which happens to be invested in Dan as he is the country’s 2nd most eligible bachelor.  But playing a couple is much easier than being one, especially when both know nothing about the other.

My Review:

The whole premise, though much used, had promise.  But alas, the author failed to live up to my expectations.  From the very first chapter, I wanted to drop the book and stop reading.  But a review had to be written so I plunged ahead.

Long windedWordy. Exhausting to read.  Getting to any point I had to go through seemingly endless pages of self-doubts, questions and realizations on both Zoe’s and Dan’s part.  The entire thing was tiring to read.  I had to skip pages that the book could have done without.  If edited better, the book would have been cut into half.

In other words, I didn’t like it.  The chemistry between the two protagonists were forced at best.  The pace was hurried and I felt no love lost for both Dan and Zoe.  Sweet?  Romantic?  Sexually enticing? Not quite.  Repeat reading material? Definitely Not.