Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Review: No Sunshine When She's Gone by Kate Angell

Disclaimer: I've received No Sunshine When She's Gone as an eARC from Netgalley

No Sunshine When She's Gone by Kate Angell
published by Kensington in April 2014
Life's a Beach

Though his family owns the charming beachside town of Barefoot William, Aidan Cates is as down-to-earth as the locals. He's also practical to a fault and doesn't believe some psychic on the boardwalk can predict his future.

Jillie Mac is as free as an ocean breeze, so when the hot stranger and his date mistake her for a fortune teller, she's ready to have some fun. But one devastating secret told, one mistaken identity revealed, and numerous long summer nights later, it's Jillie and Aidan who discover that sometimes love comes with a simple twist of fate.
Genre: Contemporary romance
Series: Barefoot William, Book #3

The Story: I think the blurb for No Sunshine When She's Gone was a bit misleading. Here are some of the details that were left out...

Jillian Mac and her best friend, Carrie Waters, both work for the Community Affairs department of the baseball team, the Richmond Rogues. With the new Richmond Rogues Spring Training Facility being built in the Gulf Coast, they have been sent to Barefoot William and Saunders Shore to connect with the locals and drum up interest for the new spring-training facility. In order to do so, she will be working closely with the Cates family who own Barefoot William, and more particularly, Aidan Cates whose construction company has been hired to build the spring-training facility. However, she never expected to meet him when he and his date mistake her for a psychic and ask for a reading!

From their first meeting, Aidan is attracted to and intrigued by Jillian. He wants her and for more than a fling... However, Jillian doesn't have the best track record with relationship and therefore avoids them. How to convince her?

My Opinion: From my reading experience and reviews on blogland, Ms Angell has a writing style that either works for you or doesn't. It has to do with the fluffiness of her writing, the lack of research sometimes and the secondary characters and romance taking too much pages. I have to admit that the third factor has been a constant complaint of mine with her books and it's no different with No Sunshine When She's Gone ^_^; Despite that flaw, I like her writing style and books and this time was no exception, I enjoyed No Sunshine When She's Gone immensely :)

Funnily enough, it's not the usual elements that stood out in No Sunshine When She's Gone for me ^_^; Sure, Aidan and Jillie Mac were nice characters and their romance started out quite strong. I liked how they didn't fall into bed right away, it just increased the sexual tension between them which was great! It's unfortunate that once they got together though, the romance kind of fizzled out ^_^; Mainly because Jillie Mac had the weird notion that a relationship wouldn't work out. It was too bad because I would have enjoyed scenes of Aidan and Jillian together as a couple, settling into a routine. Oh well. What I did like was Aidan's attitude. He didn't beg Jillian to give it a try, didn't trick or manipulate her into a relationship. Instead, he left her alone to figure it out... and she did :) Had she not, I'm sure he would have gone after her eventually... but I have to say, I liked that he gave her space.

As usual, there was a secondary romance in No Sunshine When She's Gone. This one was between Carrie and Aidan's friend and second-in-command in the construction company, Mike Burke... And no, it didn't outshine Aidan and Jillian's romance. Carrie and Mike's romance was okay. Mike had an interesting back story, but his attitude made it hard to sympathize with him. On one hand though, I liked that he was who he was and didn't apologize for it... On the other hand, I wonder if he was always like that or his injury changed him. I wished Ms Angell had developed his character a bit more and the romance as well. This one was quite rapid and hard to believe in because of how fast it happened. Especially since Mike and Carrie didn't seem to have much in common.

All right, so what stood out for me if it weren't the characters and the romances? First, the setting. Ms Angell really makes Barefoot William and Saunders Shores come alive and oh, how I wish I was there. You can almost feel the sun shining, the sand between your toes, the salty air, the carnival sounds. LOL. Secondly, there was also the tie-in between this series and Ms Angell's previous one, the Richmond Rogues series. It was nice to see some old characters... and there was a nice twist involving Psycho. Also, the baseball atmosphere fit right in the series :) Last and not least, Olive the parrot just stole the spotlight in No Sunshine When She's Gone :) She was first introduced in No Tan Lines and makes a comeback in here. She was so much fun! LOL. Makes me almost want a parrot :P

There's not much that scream more summer than beach and baseball... and as a result, it made No Sunshine When She's Gone a great summer read :) Especially after the long and rough winter we've had! Seriously, this book just cheered me up and that's why I am willing to overlook some of its flaws.

My Grade: B.

Monday, April 28, 2014

April = curling!

Hi everyone!

Wassup? Sorry I've been absent ^_^; I didn't mean it, but April just turned out so busy with curling. There was the end of our regular play as well as two in-club tournaments. Anyway, I was running on very little sleep and when you added in work, the burglary  and so on, I just wasn't in shape to string more than a few sentences together. Definitively a month to forget blogging-wise ^_^;

However, now that the curling season is over, I'm going to focus on the blog :) Hopefully, I'll be able to catch up on some of the reviews I wanted to write!

Otherwise, how is everyone doing? Has spring arrived where you live? What good books have you read?!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

TBR Challenge 2014: Sea Glass Winter by JoAnn Ross

Yay, I made it!! Okay, this was close one! LOL. With everything that happened in the past month, I didn't Sea Glass Winter by Ms Ross. I read Castaway Cove not long ago and it reminded me Sea Glass Winter has been on my radar, so I decided this was it. So read on to find out what I thought of it :)
think I would make it. Especially since I had so much difficulty choosing what to read :( It's crazy to have such a big TBR pile and not know what to read. The worst is that this month's theme was easy! I'm a huge fan of contemporary romance, have tons of them and yet... Curious to know what I picked in the end?

Sea Glass Winter by JoAnn Ross
published by New American Library (Signet) in December 2012
He was used to getting what he wanted. And what he wanted was her.

As an Explosive Ordnance Disposal Specialist, Dillon Slater had one of the most dangerous jobs in the military. Now, he’s enjoying the pace of life in Shelter Bay, where he teaches high school physics. He still gets to blow things up, but as the school basketball coach he also gets to impart leadership skills. His latest minefield: fifteen-year-old Matt Templeton—and Matt’s irresistible mother…

Claire Templeton moved her troubled teenage son to the small town of Shelter Bay to escape the bad influences at his school in L.A. But when his attitude earns her a visit from the handsome basketball coach, she wonders if this role model might be too much of a temptation—for her. Because though she isn’t looking for a relationship, she can’t seem to resist Dillon’s playful charm. But what she doesn’t realize is that Dillon isn’t playing games—he’s playing for keeps…
Genre: Contemporary romance
Series; Shelter Bay, Book #5

The Story: Basically, the blurb has it right. Claire Templeton is a jewelry designer and single mother who's had a difficult year during which she lost her mother and her teenage son started hanging with the wrong crowd. She hoped moving from L.A. to Shelter Bay would give her son Matt a better environment for a fresh start. A basketball star, Matt is not thrilled at the move to this quiet little town, especially given the basketball team's losing record... and not everyone in the team is happy to get a savior.

Dillon Slater used to be an Explosive Ordnance Disposal Specialist. Now, he's a physics high school teacher as well as the new basketball coach at Shelter Bay. He's a bit wary at Matt's arrival because he doesn't want a savior. He never expected to change the tide in one year, what he had planned was to teach his players leadership skills as well as teamwork spirit which a star as talented as Matt still lacks. He also didn't expect to find Matt's mother so attractive...

In Sea Glass Winter, we also catch up with past couples; in particular Ethan and Paige and Sax and Kara who are expecting babies.

My Opinion: I've read this series on and off, mainly because all the heroes used to be military men and I'm just way past military men turned civilians whether it's in contemporary romance or romantic suspense ^_^; I don't know, they just don't do it for me anymore :( I'm tired of the same issues being brought up and approached the same way, the alpha-ness and the fact they are "more" because they used to be military men. I understand that all this is a reality, but to read it books after books, heroes after heroes... It just takes away something :( Anyway, all this to say I haven't read all the books in the Shelter Bay series; however, I was interested in Sea Glass Winter because of the positive reviews and the storyline. I liked that the hero was the basketball coach and was hoping for some good mentor-trainee moments.

All in all, Sea Glass Winter wasn't a bad book... However, it didn't have anything to really make it stand out. The writing was good as usual- it made for a nice read, and I liked the small town that Ms Ross has created, mainly because it wasn't too stereotypical. I also thought the story had potential... but it felt to me it lacked focus. I would have been really happy if Sea Glass Winter had only been about Claire/Dillon and Matt/Aimee. Given that the heroine had a teenage son, I expected him to have a storyline, even wanted  it... and it looked promising. I liked the insights he had about his new life, his friendship with Aimee. I actually would have loved to read more about Aimee, she sounded like a cool girl :) It would also have been interesting to see more of his growth, the basketball team coming together, etc. Unfortunately, everything was cut short to give more time to the secondary characters and their storylines. Perhaps it's because I didn't read Ethan and Paige's book, so I didn't particularly care about the new development in their relationship. Honestly though, I thought it was superfluous, especially given the way it was solved. Seriously, it's no use to introduce a problem if it's going to become a non-problem!! That seems to be the new trend lately in books... but I digress. There was also a big part of the book towards the end that was about Paige and Kara both giving birth during a storm and really, I could have done without it. I wished that part instead would have been dedicated to Claire and Dillon's romance which was developed a bit too fast to my taste. I mean, Claire and Dillon were attracted to each other at first sight and they are thrown together a few times because of Matt. Then, the first chance they get to be alone, they jump on it and on each other and the next thing you know, they are a couple and Dillon is asking Matt's permission to marry his mother. It's not that I wanted more conflicts, but I wished I was shown more interactions between all the main characters.

From this review, it sounds like I didn't enjoy Sea Glass Winter and that's not true . I'm just frustrated because the whole story got side-tracked by the secondary characters. As a result, it feels unfinished. It seems there were a lot of issues brought up only to be forgotten with two romances that didn't get enough developments :(

My Grade: C-. Sea Glass Winter did have its moments, but not enough to make up for the lack of focus on the H/H and their romance, turning this into an okay read only.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Review: Third Degree by Julie Cross

Hi everyone!

Things have finally calmed down and gone back to normal :) Hopefully, that means I'll have more time for books and reviews :) To start things with, I have a buddy review up over at Breezing Through. Ames and I are discussing one of my new auto-buy author's latest release, Ms Cross' Third Degree. Click here to find out what we thought of Third Degree :)

Let's hope this review will kick my mojo into gear!

Third Degree by Julie Cross
published by Random House Publishing (Flirt) in March 2014
I used to be “Isabel Jenkins, child prodigy.” As lame as that sounds, at least it was an identity. But now I’m not sure what I am. I just failed the most important exam of my life—the emotional readiness test required to get into a medical residency program—and it turns out my parents can’t stand each other. Now I’m trying to figure out how to pick up the pieces of my life, and that means re-enrolling as a college freshman, but this time I’m shutting the books and majoring in being eighteen.

But so far, my roommate hates me and I’m not into the party scene. The only good thing about school has been getting to know my insanely hot RA. Marshall Collins makes me wonder about everything I missed while I was growing up too fast. Pretty soon we’re hanging out constantly, but for the first time, I find myself wanting more than a no-strings-attached physical relationship. And the lesson I really need is one Marsh definitely can’t teach me: love. Because I’m going to be alone forever if I don’t learn fast.
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary
Series: None

Monday, April 07, 2014

All well, but tired...

Hi  everyone :)

How are you doing? Once again, I apologized for the lack of posts :( The past week have been quite grueling. Long story short, we got robbed two Fridays ago and since then, we've been dealing with cops, insurance and everything and anything that can make our house feel more secured and safer. I don't want to go into too much details, but the most important is that we're all safe :)

Aside from that, well there's been a lot of curling. The season is winding down... I only have one more regular game this week and then, it'll be the club closing tournament the last week of April. On one hand, I'm glad because the season has been quite long... but at the same time, I know once it's over, I'm going to miss it. And really, it's too bad because I've really been playing quite well...

Other than that, there's the election campaign going on. I've taken the habit to listening to the radio on the way to work, just to stay current with what's happening. I don't like politics, but it's good to know a bit about it. Have to say though this year's campaign, I really didn't care. Listening to the candidates bicker like kids was just tiring. Sigh.

Finally, I'm in a bit of a reading slump. Hopefully, I'll get out of it soon.

So yes, I'm well, but just tired. What about you? Better than I'm doing I hope :)