I used to read Carolyn Crane fantasy books the Disillusionists series and had a hell of a time swooning over Packard. When I found out she had a new series, I just know I had to get my hands on them.
Angel Ramirez is retired safe-cracker, the best in the business. Currently working her own interior design company, she got dragged back for a job with her best friends when their Aunt Aggie got kidnap. The last thing Angel expect is to be trace by one of Borgola's security guy, the one who flirted with her at the party and being blackmail to work for him.
Cole is a brainiac undercover agent from the Associate. With his glasses and deadly stealth, he reminds me of Camden from TAT. Hah! He is looking for a breach into Borgola's secret safe to acquire intel and Angel is his way in.
Cole proposed to have Angel act as his girlfriend in order for him to bring her into Borgola's mansion. They have to make up stories and compare notes and it was freaking hilarious the way they negotiate about it. She thought he is Borgola's business rival. A total nutjob. He thought she is a no good cat burglar who deserve to be sacrifice for his mission.
"I'm not your girlfriend."
"If you want to blend in somewhere, the first person you have to convince is yourself. You care about me. Right now, you'd be thinking, I want to make my hot, virile hunk of man meat comfortable and happy."
"I'm going to be a little different in there. More possessive."
"Do you open doors for me?"
"Yeah. A little bit caveman."
"And do you have an unnaturally high opinion of your sexual prowess?"
"Be serious, Angel.
Cole is totally badass even with his glasses on. He is torn between going through with his mission while trying to keep Angel safe or sacrifice her like a lamb. The way he blackmail and handle Angel sounds so crude and matter of fact. He keeps telling himself that she is just a means to an end. His Plan B involve throwing her under the bus, if it comes to that. His mission in saving lives is much more important than a life of a woman, a thieve at that.
Angel is also not just a thieve as Cole presume her to be. She had enough regrets in her life and for once she wanted to do something good and take pride on. She suppose to hate Cole for the way he used her, she hated herself even more for being attracted to another self-destructive man.
In the end they both make the ultimate sacrifice for each other. Cole had me swooning over his kickass-ness. Is just something about a man who can fight brutal that makes me feeling hot all over. This is a lighthearted action-packed romantic suspense full of bullets flying, fist pouncing, safe-cracking, lies and sacrifices. I'm at the edge of my seat most of the time wanting to see how both Cole and Angel are gonna to come out safe from all the chaos. I thought the epilogue is really clever of Carolyn for giving us a different type of HEA. Macmillan who happens to be Cole's colleague will have his story next. Can't wait for December.
I love this Book 2 of Battered Hearts, it is much more emotional engaging that its predecessor. I guess the groundwork on the character development from Book 1 did help to make this read much more engaging because before I even started with this book I feels like I already know Jules Conner and Romeo Wellings. Jules is Clay's best friend and Wyatt's twin sister, who is a lawyer, a part time cop and also a self-defense trainer. She is a hardass and seriously intimidating chick. Romeo is Clay's archrival during the UFC champion title fight where Romeo lost to Clay. He is presume to be cocky and flashy, a total opposite from Clay.
This can work as a standalone as well because some of things that happen in Book 1 was explained clearly. Despite losing the title to Clay, Romeo stepped in to rescue Clay's girlfriend, Melody at Las Vegas when she was nearly kidnap by her psychotic ex-husband. We were then brought to the aftermath of the shoot out incident with Romeo at the hospital treating his minor injuries and then meeting Jules for the first time. When he found out her name is Juliet, he feels like moth being drawn to the flame. Despite the anymosity between them, Jules was grateful for Romeo for saving Melody and she decided to buy him dinner.
Jules was surprised to find out that Romeo is not what he seems in the public eye. He is not cocky and flashy, he is surprisingly down to earth and she feels attracted to him and make her interest known. After the supposingly fantastic one night stand they share, it surprises me that they continue a long distance 'relationship' despite going separate ways after leaving Vegas. They initial texting and phone calls turns into sexting and phone sex. Oh my. Unknowingly, Jules had been subconsciously having something special with Romeo over the distance for almost three months. There is so much longing and yearning between these two. Things turn interesting when Romeo decided to train with Clay at Garnet Town and Jules had to finally face her real life crush in flesh. She needs to play it cool, of course. She can't admit that he turn her into this lovesick puppy.
"Three rounds in the cage with me and you'll be running back to New York with your tail between your legs. I'm a scary bitch."
"Bruises don't scare me. Hurt me, baby. I like it."
Honestly, I just can't wait for Wyatt and others to find out about Jules' affair with Romeo. They decided to keep their relationship as a dirty little secret because of Romeo's past and Wyatt's obvious dislike at him. They are not really sworn enemy as painted in the blurb, more like petty rivalry and dislike of each other.
We were also introduced to Romeo's brothers, Cassa'Nova' and Valen'Tino' that had a great part in the story. Loves their name, by the way. Kele Moon really did have a knack for making us fall in love with these secondary characters. Nova is the genius brother who is working for their Italian mob family, while Tino is the youngest brother who still doesn't know where he stand. Romeo had an ugly past dealing with the Moretti's family and he wants his brother away from the mess. I'm already half in love with Nova. I feels like he is the misunderstood soul that is doing his damnest to keep his family safe despite doing things he abhor. These thightnit and affectionate Italian brothers makes my heart ache for them. You know without doubt they will kill and die for each other.
Things that happened towards the ending was pretty intense. Much more intense that I anticipated. Romeo's life was threaten by his tie-in to the mafia family and he had some drastic choices to make. I know the classic Romeo and Juliet's romance suppose to crash and burn, but I never thought we will face a similar life threatening tragedy that pull at all my heart strings. The climax has so much more emotional and intense scene not only between Romeo and Juliet, but also between Romeo's brothers.
Jules' love and devotion to Romeo is simply amazing. I guess when a Conner fall in love, they fall hard. Nothing Romeo do will deter her away from him and she is adamant at keeping this man.
"You're the only chich I know who carries a .45 in her glove compartment and a shotgun in her trunk."
"You can never be too prepared."
"For what, World World War III?"
This is afterall a romance and we get our prerequisite HEA. I also can see a lot of potential for every secondary characters to get their story. The epilogue tease us on Wyatt and the apperance of his old flame. I'm anticipating whole load of angst and not quite sure whether I would have enjoy it. But so far, Kele Moon yet to dissapoint me. I'm hoping to catch up on Clay and Romeo too.
Tino summed it up well for me. Love that boy.
"For a town without nightlife it seems like lotsa interesting shit happens around here. Never a dull moment in Garnet."
5 'sweetness and humorous' stars
This is another classic 'never judge a book by its cover' line. Seriously, the author need to get rid of that awful cover. I rather she just put a white backdrop with black title. Awful cover aside, this book is full of humorous laugh out loud moment that I nearly peed my pants and roll on the ground. I never had such a good laugh since reading the epic 'Tangled' by Emma Chase. Nick Santino inner monologue is nearly on par with Drew Evans. Maybe not really there yet, but definitely close.
Initially the book started of feeling like a 3 stars read because the writing was pretty mediocre and mostly fluff, but half way through I had such a great time laughing my ass out, I bumping it up to 4 stars. Past second half though, Nick turns into a totally adorable, sweet and swoony guy, I'm sold. 5 stars for Nick Santino!
Delilah Sampson is single and jobless after finding out her boyfriend banging her boss during lunch hour. She is a frumpy girl who doesn't dress up, easy-going, a dedicated employee and had a tough backbone. I absolutely love the way she dump her douche of a boyfriend within minutes flat.
Nick Santino is a lawyer who is looking for a new secretary. He wants to hire a secretary that is capable and smart and someone that he wouldn't end up banging. He reminds me so much of Daniel Meade from Ugly Betty. He ended up hiring Delilah for the specific reason that she doesn't look attractive at all. Surprisingly, Delilah turns out to be the best secretary he ever had. She is on time, organized, hardworking and etc.
All that, and I still don't want to fuck her - I have found my perfect work wife.
In the beginning, Nick was painted as an absolutely manwhore. But we didn't get to see that side of him. I thought he is the best hot boss that I ever dream of having. He is so nice and respectful to Delilah and really appreciate her. Before long, he is subconsciously attracted to her overall personality.
She's not supposed to look good. She's supposed to be frumpy and unattractive! That's why I hired her, so that she wouldn't tempt me.
Meanwhile, Delilah was thrilled to have such a fine ass of a boss for her to ogle everyday. Although she is having some wet dreams of him, she knew she can never land herself such a fine specimen. The best part with this dual POV is that we can see both Nick and Delilah is obviously attracted to each other and trying their damnest to be professional.
"Did you just sniff me?"
"I wouldn't exactly classify it as 'sniffing' you. I happened to take a breath when you leaned past me."
"There is no way I am eating a fucking salad when this pizza is in front of me smelling better than a hooker after a shower."
Nick pretty much drives the whole story and all his POV is freaking hilarious. He keep convincing himself that he is a bad guy and he absolutely will not care for another, yet his action said otherwise. I expected to see him do something douchey, but he completely baffle me with his awkwardness of trying to be a nice guy to Delilah.
Note to self: from now on, book your own hotel rooms for doing the nasty.
I'm thinking about getting a nice juicy steak, needing something manly to eat since I've been having all these sappy emotions lately.
The whole Club Masquerade debacle was pretty far-fetch, but I'm glad it didn't drag on too long. The rules of the club is: keep your mask on and no talking, even during fucking. So in order to get his mind off Delilah, Nico aka Nick scout the club and zero in on Lala aka Delilah. Lala reminded him so much of Delilah that he ended up screwing her for weeks on every Saturday. I don't buy the whole not knowing who you are screwing shit when you actually work with the other person on such close proximity. Thank God, they actually found out later and that confrontation scene was another laugh out loud moment.
"I thought you guys were doing some kind of secret role-playing shit."
I found out that Nick tends to say this whenever being confronted,
Aww... Nick, defensive much? He is too damn adorable sometimes.
I find myself enjoying the book much more after they get over the Nico/Lala debacle. He is on full on grovel mode that I totally soaking it up. What is it about a guy being miserable that make me so happy? Delilah had him completed wrap within her fingers.
"Quit ogling my ass and get back to work."
"Ogle your ass? Me? Never."
And then Nick work on his charm and swoon me out of my panties with his flirtatious text messages and overall devotion to Delilah.
Nick: I had a great time. ;)
Delilah: Are you winking at me?
Nick: No, I had something in my emoticon eye :)~
And then the best part that had me rolling over.
Delilah: I'm sorry, who is this?
Nick: The man of your dreams.
Nick: Guess again, doll.
Delilah: Gideon? Ethan? No, no... this must be Jess.
"I don't think you will be able to kick any of their asses, sweetheart."
"What? You don't think I can take them?"
"Because they live in my Kindle, dumbass."
This book is full of sexiness, humor, charm and a totally sweet and swoony hero *sigh*. Total worthy of a reread just get to kick of another laughing session. I will never be able to listen to Plain White T's song 'Hey there, Delilah' without thinking of Nick Santino. This is a standalone with a HEA.
"Hey there, Delilah" *swoon*
If God makes all our faces, did he laugh when he made me?
This is an absolute sob-fest for me. Unlike some books that they only make me cry during the last chapter, this book manage to make me cry throughout the entire book. Don't get me wrong, is not sad or depressing. Is the good kind of crying that I wish I could do-over and reread it again for the first time. I'm moved and touch by this incredible story.
The blurb of this book make it sounds like a typical romance between a scarred hero and heroine who saved his tortured soul. Although I enjoyed the blossoming love story between Fern and Ambrose, this book is so much more than that. Told in a multiple POVs, Making Faces is a very emotional, touching, uplifting story about love, friendship and family.
"Maybe everyone represents a piece of the puzzle. We all fit together to create this experience we call life."
Fern Taylor is a pastor's daughter and also happen to be Bailey's cousin cum best friend. Her view of life is simple and normalcy. She enjoyed reading and writing romance novels, she had a teenage crush on Ambrose, she take care of Bailey and manage to see the silver lining in everything around her. After being persuaded by her friend Rita, Fern decided to help her friend to write love notes on her behalf to Ambrose. From then on, Fern and Ambrose develop a deep connection that didn't fade despite the passing of time.
Blind or deaf?
Kite or balloon?
Smart or beautiful?
Bailey Sheen is one those character that make me want to be a better person. Diagnosed with muscular atrophy disease since young, every year that Bailey live on, he consider it a blessing. Despite his disability to walk or even lift up his arm, he is optimistic and living his life in stride. He wants to kiss a girl, wrestle, be a hero etc and he make them happen. He makes me feel ashamed of myself whenever I wallow in self-pity.
Bailey makes me laugh, he makes me cry. I admire his courage and I hope I have a Bailey in my life to tell me I need to face the shit and make things happen.
"You just need to acknowledge it. Face the shit. Accept the truth in it. Own it, wallow in it, become one with the shit."
Ambrose Young is the golden boy of Hannah Lake. He is handsome, athletic and humble. He is the guy who got everything in his hand including a full scholarship to Penn State. But against all odds and shocked to the family, he decided to enlist to find a place to just be himself. Along with his best buddies, they went to Iraq but Ambrose is the only one who came back. Ever since returning a damaged man, Ambrose has been a recluse, hiding away from probing eyes, feeling guilty for the death of his friends and wish he had die along with them.
"If God saved my life, why didn't he save their lives? Is my life so much more valuable? So I'm special... and they're not?"
Fern and Bailey seek Ambrose out and show him that he is still the boy they know, the one who help them buried a spider and wrestle like a mythological figure. Fern teach him how to love and see things beyond the beauty and Bailey teach him how to live again.
"I've loved you since you quoted Hamlet like you understood him, since you said you loved Ferris wheels more than roller coasters because life shouldn't be lived at full speed, but in anticipation and and appreciation."
"There isn't heartache if there hasn't been joy. I wouldn't feel loss if there hadn't been love."
I was reading the final chapter while waiting in my car for an appointment. When I reach the end and cry my heart out, blotting my nose, I look out the windscreen at the people who are busy carrying with their lives, the first thing that came to my mind was 'what the hell am I doing here?' My chores right now seems so inconsequential. I'm having the worst kind of book hangover and feeling reluctant to start a new book because I still want to savor the lingering taste that still present in my mind.
I wrote your name across my heart
So we could be together
So I could hold you close to me
And keep you there forever
Wow! This is absolutely fan-freaking-tastic!
I had one hell of a wild ride and stayed up to 2am to finish it up. Cloak and Dagger is full of action-packed moments, a lovable anti-hero at his worst/best, a heroine that causes whole loads of mayhem and a villain that is so sick he makes Javier looks normal.
Christina Parker is like any normal high school senior minding her own Spanish studies and dealing with an over demanding mum. Her mum is one wicked woman, yet I find her hilarious most of the time. Her normal life turned upside down when both her parents goes missing and she got captured by a masked man.
My mother's religion was thinness; it was her false idol, her golden calf - and she was determined to convert me.
Michael Boutilier is an IMA agent assign to handle Parker's case. Their security had been hacked into by Parker and now he need to capture his daughter as hostage. Now you must be thinking, another Stockholm story again? Well, kind of. But it didn't make the book any less entertaining.
"You always threaten me. You don't respect me. You're violent, and cruel, and sadistic, and -"
"No - "
"Too bad. Game over. Insert new fucking quarter."
From the blurb, my first impression of Michael Boutilier is that he is an assassin with a heart of gold. How wrong that turn out to be. From his POV, he sounds like a normal lad who might be working for a government agency. Turns out he is like one of those Anne Stuart's gamma hero that we should loathe, but we ended up loving him anyway. He is a killer for hire and he acted like one. Non of those hallmark bullshit and chick flick moments. I abhor some of the things he did to Christina, but that's what make their time together felt realistic. That's normal procedure for a captor, anyway. The author didn't romanticize the situation and she gives us the raw and gritty bits of being captured.
His is full of sarcasm, which I later learn he use to hide his own emotion.
"God, for a moment I thought - "
"What? That I've started my own BDSM club and your invite got lost in the mail?"
Christina is suppose to be an easy job. Held her hostage to flush out the parents, but luck is not on Michael side and things just turn complicated for him. With a paranoid boss, a sadistic colleague who wants to take him out and a young hostage that looks at him as if he is a devil incarnated, Michael has his plate full of ugly worms. One wrong move, he will be dead. And so is Christina.
Where the hell had she gotten her education? A parochial school? Remembering the name of it - Sacred Heart, or something like that - I suspected that might not be too far from the truth. And here I thought Catholic schoolgirls were supposed to be kinky.
Considering the things that happens in the book, this sounds like something dark like 'The Dark Duet'? But is not. I find this quite a light-hearted read with both the hero and heroine full of sarcasm, is action-packed ala Hollywood style, whereby you know the protagonist is going to come out on top.
"I'm sorry! Are you in a lot of pain?"
No I'm just lying here because I feel like it.
Overall, I find this is one hilarious read with a lot of action and suspense that kept me at the edge of my seat bed. Michael had a lot of one liner that makes me laugh or roll my eyes. Although he is kind of a villain in itself, I find him totally likeable from the start. Okay, there might be seriously something wrong with me. But even if you hated him in the beginning, I'm sure by the end he is going to win you over.
Things sorta died down in the end and they no longer in imminent danger. We are treated to a bittersweet ending that seems fitting, although it did make me shed some sad tears. I can't wait to read the next book, of course. I'm so glad I have all 3 books with me right now. I can't wait to read more on Michael and Christina shenanigans to bring down the bad guys.
One of my favourite Michael's line.
"Stop that gasping. You're not in a porno, for fuck's sake."