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Monday, May 11, 2015

REVIEW: The Rosie Project and The Rosie Effect by Graeme Sim

The Rosie Project is breath of fresh air. The story is of an unconventional romance.  Dr. Don Tillman is a forty something genetics professor.  Throughout the narration, readers easily perceive that Tillman might be described as an odd duck -- think The Big Bang Theory's Sheldon meets some else you might know on the autism or Asperger's spectrum.  He is regimented, logical, literal and socially awkward but in a delightfully charming way.

“I haven’t changed my mind. That’s the point! I want to spend my life with you even though it’s totally irrational. And you have short earlobes. Socially and genetically there’s no reason for me to be attracted to you. The only logical conclusion is that I must be in love with you.” ~ Don Tillman

Determined to discover if he is capable of true love, Tillman embarks on the 'Wife Project'.  Having never been on a second date but often been told that he'd make an ideal husband, he develops a survey and list of qualities which his perfect partner must exhibit --be logical and punctual--but NOT a barmaid, a smoker, a drinker, or perpetually late.

Enter Rosie Jarman, who ironically is all of these things as well as intelligent, passionate and the complete opposite of Tillman in every way.  Rosie is on a mission of her own --to find her biological father.  It just so happens that Tillman might know a thing or two about DNA and so the 'Father Project' takes shape.  What transpires is an often hilarious yet heartfelt and unique portrayal exploring the nature of human interactions, the ways in which each of us are different and also how it is possible for anyone to find love -- especially a love that might not be what some might call conventional.

Final rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars.

“I thought you were happy about having a baby.’ I was happy in the way that I would be happy if the captain of an aircraft in which I was travelling announced that he had succeeded in restarting one engine after both had failed. Pleased that I would now probably survive, but shocked that the situation had arisen in the first place, and expecting a thorough investigation into the circumstances.” ~Don Tillman
I just finished The Rosie Effect (Don Tillman #2).  As the follow up to what I thought was a quirky, fun read, I have to say that I was fundamentally disappointed with the second book.  In truth, Tillman's eccentric behaviors are intact. Having moved to New York with his now wife, Rosie, he is learning to balance his quirky personality traits through social interactions and how to share his life in a long term commitment.  All this progress it put to the test when he learns Rosie is pregnant. Rifts develop as Tillman attempts to adjust to 'bud's' impending arrival.

While there are several humorous scenes as Tillman prepares for impending fatherhood, I found the character portrayals and other plot developments grating.  As a reader, I realize that Tillman's actions manifest in accordance with previously established thinking and behaviors; however, the effect soured my affection toward him.  Furthermore, as much as I enjoyed Rosie's feisty personality in the first book, she's quite flat and uninteresting in this novel.  

Final rating: 2 out of 5 stars.

#therosieproject #therosieeffect #dontillman #autism #aspbergers #fiction #reading #books #humor #relationsips #graemesimsion #review

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

REVIEW: Bound by Flames by Jeaniene Frost

How does a former carnival performer with a dangerously electric touch  and psychic abilities manage to find herself

                 a) a newly turned vampire

                 b) married to none other than Dracula


Released in January 2015, Bound by Flames is the third in Frost's bestselling Night Prince series. The previous book left readers happy, yet disconcerted by key events.  After many turbulent up and downs (i.e. our heroine's kidnapping, torture, and murder), Vlad saved the day by turning Leila into a vampire.  And hey, they get hitched too!!

Leila and Vlad are still married but not all is wedded bliss. Passions rise and tempers flare--and with Vlad's penchant for pyrotechnics that is often figurative AND literal.   Vlad's ultimate nemesis, Szilagyi, is determined to destroy Vlad --using what he holds most dear, Leila, to do it.

The story which unfolds is characteristically fast paced, full of drama, sexiness, and some surprise revelations.  Fans of both the Night Prince series as well as the Night Huntress series will love the arrival of beloved and notorious characters featured in other books.  

I will say that the torture seen (you'll know when you get there) was particularly difficult to get through. It is brutal for anyone --real or fictional--however, reader's closeness and love of Frost's characters made the description of the events harder to swallow.  I give kudos to Frost for her ability to write such scenes and for the character's emotional ups and downs following the incidents. 

Overall, I give this a 4 out of 5 stars.  It is a strong standalone but melds well with the other books.  I had thought it would be the final of the series but was pleasantly surprised to learn that readers should expect more Vlad and Leila in 2016!

Follow the author on Twitter:  @jeanienefrost

#ineedmore #loveherbooks #nightprince #vlad #dracula #romance #read #vampires #paranormal 

Saturday, May 2, 2015

REVIEW: Burn for Me by Ilona Andrews

Burn For Me is the first in an all new urban fantasy series (Hidden Legacy) by bestselling author Ilona Andrews. The novel blends itself well as a hybrid between UF and paranormal romance.

Female protagonist, Nevada Baylor is a twenty something PI, who is fiercely protective of her large family.  Her talent as a 'Truth Seeker' - brandishing a kind of magic where she can detect and compel others to tell the truth, proves useful in her line of work. Since the untimely death of her father, Nevada has worked tirelessly to maintain the family business and reputation despite the looming mortgage to one of Houston's wealthiest businesses. Unable to break that contract, she is forced to find and deliver one of the city's most dangerous Primes -- a high level magic user -- back to his family.

If that wasn't already an impossible task, Nevada is kidnapped by the equally deadly and devastatingly sexy Connor "Mad" Rogan, an ex-military billionaire, who is a formidable Prime as well. They decide that they'll work together on the case for mutual gain and to more importantly stay alive. However, as the danger heats up, it becomes increasingly difficult for both Nevada and Rogan to deny their electric attraction.  Rogan has never met such a strong willed, sassy woman able to resist he alpha persona; whereas, Nevada knows full well to steer clear less she give in to temptation only to have her heart broken.

What I loved about the book aside from the overall UF world-building, story, and action packed pacing was the character development.  I've long been a fan of this husband/wife writing team who have brought readers not only the Kate Daniels books but also The Edge books.  They have a truly unique and magical way of balancing romance and action while providing substance. These rank right up there with my love of The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher, The Hollows by Kim Harrison and The Women of the Otherworld by Kelley Armstrong.

The novel has a satisfying conclusion to the primary plot; however, readers learn that more is at stake for Nevada and the world she lives in.  I love the slow burn of the growing relationship between her and Rogan.  It is reminiscent of the relationship development between Kate and Curran in the author's other books.

Final thoughts: This was a fantastic read and I can't recommend reading it for its notable writing prowess or listening to the audiobook enough.  It's fast paced with great action, well-developed characters, humor, memorable snark and a whole lotta sexy angst. I cannot wait for the next book, White Hot, to be released on October 27, 2015.

5 out of 5 stars - I'd give it higher!

Check out the author on Twitter: @ilona_andrews

#burnforme #hiddenlegacy #ilona_andrews #urbanfantasy #paranormalromance #sexy #magic #whitehot #thehollows #kimharrison #dresden #dresdenfiles #jimbutcher #longshotauthor #kelleyarmstrong #otherworld