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review 2017-06-13 23:16
Wired (Buchanan-Renard #13) by Julie Garwood
Wired - Julie Garwood




Author: Julie Garwood


Series: Buchanan-Renard

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Allison Trent doesn’t look like a hacker. In fact, when she’s not in college working on her degree, she models on the side. But behind her gorgeous face is a brilliant mind for computers and her real love is writing—and hacking—code. Her dream is to write a new security program that could revolutionize the tech industry.

Hotshot FBI agent Liam Scott has a problem: a leak deep within his own department. He needs the skills of a top-notch hacker to work on a highly sensitive project: to secretly break into the FBI servers and find out who the traitor is. But he can’t use one of his own. He finds the perfect candidate in Allison. Only, there’s one problem—she wants nothing to do with his job and turns him down flat.

What Liam doesn’t know is that Allison is hiding secrets that she doesn’t want the FBI to uncover. But Liam will do nearly anything to persuade her to join his team, even break a few rules if that’s what it takes. A temptation that could put his job—and both of their futures—on the line…
and longing for more .







If you haven't read the previous books in this series it won't leave you feeling left out or unable to follow along. Wired reads like a stand alone without so many entanglements in previous plots. It wasn't difficult to relate to the arrangements of Liam and Allison's relationship but after awhile it got a little old and the flip into sudden love felt a little rushed.

I would have liked to have Ali be stronger than she was but she felt like a push over when it comes to everyone she's involved with. She has a lot of brains and strength but she just lets everyone shove her around and dominate her and tell her how to think and what to do and makes excuses for everyone and their actions.

I wish we had gotten more from Liam too because he felt a little too hollow and one sided. Despite the fact that I disliked Ali as a character the story itself was okay.




Until next time book lovers...



Krissys Bookshelf Reviews received a print copy in exchange for an honest review from Berkley Publishing. All thoughts, comments and ratings are my own.

If any of Krissy's Bookshelf Reviews has been helpful please stop by to like my post or leave a comment to let me know what you think. I love hearing from you!

Thank you so much for stopping by!



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text 2017-05-16 06:06
Fast Track – DNF at 30%
Fast Track (Buchanan / Renard / MacKenna Book 12) - Julie Garwood

Everyone says that to learn writing you have to read bestselling authors and analyze what they are doing. Julie Garwood is a bestselling author, with millions copies of her books sold in various languages. I tried to read her book. Unfortunately my analysis didn’t help me learn anything useful for my writing development, except maybe what NOT TO DO.

Her story was boring, and her writing was terrible, banal and descriptive, utterly amateurish. It was painful to read even as much as I’ve managed. I’m not sure how she got her book past an agent or an editor, much less why she is a bestseller. I don’t know who could like this garbage. If I were an editor I wouldn’t let such a manuscript anywhere near a printing press. I would’ve have been ashamed to sign off such a sloppy, unprofessional work.

But she is a bestseller anyway, despite my negative opinion. Maybe she was better in her earlier works. Or maybe other factors were in play besides the quality of her writing. Maybe I should look for those factors instead of concentrating on my narrative, on story structure and character depth, on pacing and suspense. Maybe there is a secret ingredient to being a bestseller other than the writer’s ability to craft a solid piece of fiction.

What is it?   

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text 2017-04-25 18:14
Fast Track (Buchanan / Renard / MacKenna Book 12) by Julie Garwood $1,99
Fast Track (Buchanan / Renard / MacKenna Book 12) - Julie Garwood

 by Julie Garwood


Cordelia Kane has always been a daddy’s girl—her father raised her alone after her mother died in a car crash when Cordelia was just two years old. So when he has a serious heart attack, Cordelia is devastated, and the emotion is only intensified by the confusion she feels when he reveals the shocking truth about her mother.

Cordelia can’t suppress her curiosity about the woman who gave birth to her, and when she discovers the answers to her questions lie in Sydney, Australia, she travels there to get them.

Hotel magnate Aiden Madison is Cordelia’s best friend’s older brother. He’s oblivious to the fact that she’s had a crush on him for years. When he gets railroaded into taking her along to Sydney on his company jet, he’s unwittingly drawn into a volatile family drama.

Aiden wants to help Cordelia get answers about her mother, but threats from her wealthy, high-powered family are quickly becoming dangerous. Sparks are flying between Cordelia and Aiden, but after multiple attempts are made on Cordelia’s life, Aiden realizes he must put a stop to the madness before he loses the thing he values most.

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text 2016-05-07 08:00
My TBR List -- May 2016 Voting

My TBR List is a monthly meme hosted by Michelle @ Because Reading.

The basic gist of this activity is to have others help decide on which book out of three I'm selecting from my TBR pile I should read for the month via votes.  Posts for voting, the winning book, and the final book review will go up on Saturdays.

Click on the above links for more information.

Join This Month's My TBR List -- May 2016



In a similar theme to last month, I would like to continue working on series I've started reading over the past couple of years and this year.  This is the Let's Work On That Series edition #1, and it is basically a choice from three books in ongoing series that I'm still in the process of reading.  In an ideal world, I would sit and keep reading these series, book after book, until I reach the very last one available.  Then I would sit in anticipation until the next book in said ongoing series gets published.


These are also all books that I currently own on my shelf, so it's another win-win situation wherein I will be able to continue whittling down the books I own on my shelves.




Thanks to everyone for stopping by and voting!



The Books

(Book covers link to their Goodreads book page.)


Fire and Ice by Julie Garwood

-- Book 7 of Buchanan-Renard-MacKenna series


Sophie Rose is a crime reporter at a major Chicago newspaper and the daughter of Bobby Rose, a charming gentleman and big-time thief.  When asked to write an exposé about her notorious father, Sophie quits and goes to work at a small newspaper, covering local personalities such as William Harrington, the 5K runner whose trademark is red socks.  Those socks--with Sophie's business card tucked inside--are practically all that's found after Harrington is killed near Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, seemingly in a brutal polar bear attack.


Sophie heads north to investigate, but danger follows in her wake.  After one attempt on her life, she's assigned brash but sexy Jack MacAlister as a bodyguard.  But Sophie and Jack will soon be fighting more than their growing passion for each other.  Powerful forces will stop at nothing to prevent the exposure of the sinister conspiracy Sophie and Jack are about to uncover.



The Dragon and the Pearl by Jeannie Lin

-- Book 2 of Tang Dynasty series


Former Emperor's consort Ling Suyin is renowned for her beauty; the ultimate seductress. Now she lives quietly alone--until the most ruthless warlord in the region comes and steals her away....

Li Tao lives life by the sword, and is trapped in the treacherous, lethal world of politics. The alluring Ling Suyin is at the center of the web. He must uncover her mystery without falling under her spell--yet her innocence calls out to him. How cruel if she, of all women, can entrance the man behind the legend....



Lucky in Love by Jill Shalvis

-- Book 4 of Lucky Harbor series


Mallory Quinn has had enough of playing it safe. As a nurse and devoted daughter, she takes care of everyone but herself.  And as the local good girl, she's expected to date Mr. Right.  But for once she'd like to take a risk on Mr. Wrong.  And who would be more wrong than Ty Garrison?  The mysterious new guy in town has made it clear that he's only passing through, which suits Mallory just fine.  Besides, his lean, hard body and sexy smile will give her plenty to remember once he's gone...


For the first time in his life, Ty can't bear to leave.  Helping this sexy seductress-in-training walk on the wild side is making him desire things he shouldn't--including leaving the military for good.  As their just-for-fun fling becomes something more, Mallory and Ty wonder if they could really be this lucky in love.  After all... anything can happen in a town called Lucky Harbor.



Let's Vote!

**For BookLikes members reading this in the BookLikes dashboard view:  Click here to generate the voting box on another page if you would like to vote.  I don't know why the voting box doesn't show, though it appears in blog view just fine.

**For everyone else voting via BookLikes blog view or at the Book Abyss's Blogspot home:  You may ignore the above tangent.  The voting box shows just fine.

Again, thank you for stopping by and voting!



Previous My TBR List months at Ani's Book Abyss can be found at the Bookish Memes page.

Source: anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2016/05/my-tbr-list-may-2016-voting.html
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text 2015-12-25 12:00
Packaged Thoughts 2015: All the Books I Didn't Review

One of my resolutions as a blogger/reader is to review as many books as I can, if only because I enjoy doing so.  But like any other blogger out there, sometimes you just can't think of anything to say outside the scope of:  "I really liked this book.  It was awesome!"  or "I didn't much care for this book.  It was kind of boring!"  or "This book was just... *shrugs*".


There are a lot of books I had always meant to review the entire time during the reading process, but just never got around to doing so for one reason or another.


And so I decided to try what a lot of other bloggers will sometimes do:  Make a simple, one time post for the sole reason of giving extremely short and generic opinions of a bunch of books, whether I liked them or not.  (Knowing me, I'll probably end up getting carried away resulting in enough paragraphs to present a full review anyway, though, so my apologies in advance.)


In making this decision, I realized that there are several other books I had never meant to review that I wouldn't mind giving a shout-out about in this post.



The following books are in no particular order, though they may be organized in a fashion that makes sense only to me.  If I wanted to be logical about it, I would probably just list all the books in order by the author's last name or in the order of which I read them this year... but whatevs.



Career of Evil (Cormoran Strike #3) by Robert Galbraith (aka Queen Rowling)

-- 3.5 Stars


This book started out very slow.  As per usual, the writing is excellent and the characters are excellent.  But the book started out very slow.  I might have fallen asleep at some point, but, as is with every other book I may have fallen asleep reading, it could just be my own lack of healthy sleep cycles that's the problem.


But the book still started out very slow.  The flashbacks and the sudden inclusion of character histories to help propel the rest of the main story line (because I understand that that's why all of that was included), DID manage to elicit some wavering attention on my behalf.


But then all the set-up is taken care of and we dive into the rest of the book and it starts getting excellent.  Except, then I realize that this book is still trudging along with mostly set-up and side tangents and other such nonsense that barely focuses on the murder plot.


Career of Evil isn't a bad book, don't get me wrong.  And it's far from boring or uninspiring.  HOWEVER, it is definitely a step down from its predecessor, The Silkworm.  And that makes me sad, because I had hoped that, even if Career of Evil could not surpass The Silkworm's genius, it would at least still be an excellent work by Queen Rowling.


It kept me hooked, if only because of the character interaction and growing relation between Strike and Robin.  But it also bothered me because of a lot of side details and backstories that we probably could have done without.  And then Robin is given a downgrade in her character development when a much unnecessary cliched plot device is used to color her character's past.


This book could have been brilliant like The Silkworm.  But it was merely good and serviceable without the brilliance I'd hoped for it.  Did I mention it started out really slow?



by Tara Janzen

Steele Street books

#3) Crazy Wild -- 4.0 Stars

#4) Crazy Kisses -- 3.5 Stars

#5) Crazy Love -- 4.0 Stars

#6) Crazy Sweet -- 3.5 Stars


As far as the Steele Street books go, they involve the same formulaic story line with each and every book I've read.  There's a lot of haphazard narration that switches from one set of characters to another, a big military mission going on in the background, one crime thriller conspiracy going on in the foreground, lots of talk about cars and fixing up cars, lots of talk about sex, and lots of talk about the Steele Street guys and their strange quirks.


All packaged together, it's hard to grasp or follow if you're looking for anything inspirational or substantial.


But there is no doubt that I somehow manage to really, really enjoy reading these books if only because they are so much crazy fun that I don't care about substance or logic or any other kind of realism.  There's an underlying comedic tone to these books that make them extremely enjoyable.


Crazy Wild... it was interesting.  I much preferred the sexy, steamy romantic sexcapades of Creed and Cody (in comparison with Crazy Kisses' Kid/Nikki pairing)--as per usual, there's an amusing undertone of humor between these two and their developing relationship that just makes it fun to follow. 


Crazy Kisses didn't exactly turn out the way I'd wanted it to, but I still found some kind of entertainment with it.  I had looked forward to Crazy Kisses because of the ongoing Kid/Nikki, on-again-off-again romance that has been teasing us since the first book... but it felt slightly lackluster when it finally came around.


Crazy Love brings us to the long awaited Dylan Hart and Skeeter Bang romance.  It wasn't as exciting as I had hoped it would be, considering the build-up to their romance since two books previous, but it still delivered in the nonsensical quips, the strange, comedic atmosphere, and the action and the badass action.


Crazy Sweet rounds off the first part of the Steele Street series with the newest SDF member, Travis James, who has been present since the first book as Nikki McKinney's naked angel model for her artwork.  This guy has probably had a crush on every other girl introduced throughout these first six books, with his desires unfulfilled and lots of pent up frustration.  So it's his turn to have a romance now.


In Crazy Sweet, Travis's girlfriend/friends-with-benefits/lover/SDF-soul-mate-partner, Gillian Pentycote is on a revenge mission, and Travis is basically her keeper.  And really, not much actually happens in this book aside from the revenge mission and some sort of side mission featuring C. Smyth Rydell and a girl named Honey in El Salvador...


Really, all these books really suffer from is a case of haphazard "I don't know where this plot is going and I'm not even sure there's a main conflict in here".  Although all the craziness and the humor and the mindless fun and the hot sex more than makes up for the lack of direction in each book.  In the end, I realize I have so much fun reading these books that I don't care that I have no idea what's really going on.




by Paige Tyler

X-Ops books

#1) Her Perfect Mate -- 4.0 Stars

#2) Her Lone Wolf -- 4.0 Stars


I didn't expect much from Her Perfect Mate when I first decided to pick it up.  I had kind of subconsciously blown it off as a guilty pleasure romance read with erotica disguised as a military romantic suspense novel.  But I was pleasantly surprised by how much I ended up enjoying it, even in spite of some of the tacky dialogue and some of the weird content.


I didn't really have to suspend disbelief.  However, I DID have to overlook how quickly the "I love you"s came around and how readily our non-shifter human male was able to accept his cat-shifter female partner just because he had a thing for Catwoman.  It was a little incredible to believe that he wouldn't have freaked out first, but I got over that pretty quickly.


Still, my enjoyment of Her Perfect Mate lead to picking up Her Lone Wolf, and in this particular story line and instance, the suspension of disbelief was a little easier to grasp.  The romance was also a little more readily acceptable since the main couple had been lovers previously, before the timeline of the book.  The flashbacks were a little distracting, but they helped.


I will definitely try to pick up the next few books when they are made available, but I won't trip over myself trying to get a hold of them.  I DO like the brief background scenes of the ongoing major conflict that's propelling the series overall.  Lots to look forward to, that's for sure.




11 by Kylie Brant -- 4.0 Stars


Kylie Brant is one of my more favorite romantic suspense authors, if only because I really enjoyed what she did with the women of the Mindhunters series.  They were all competent, independent, skilled investigators who never really had to rely on a male partner at all times.  And also, Kylie Brant goes easy on the damsel-in-distress scenarios (except with her most recent, Secrets of the Dead... I'm still trying to figure that one out).


The point is: the heroines from Mindhunters typically kept themselves well out of trouble as their jobs dictated, and rushed into danger to save the day as their jobs dictated.  And they were always prepared to get themselves back out of danger if it came around to that.


When I discovered 11 as a new book listed under Kylie Brant's Amazon page, I got pretty excited and jumped on that one pretty quickly.  11 is set in the same world as the Mindhunters series, as we learn when Adam Raiker appears in the first (second?) chapter of the book.  But from that moment forward, it's kind of a book on its own and quite enjoyable at that.


The only unfortunate response I have, however, is that it's not very memorable.  You've got a P.I. and you've got a woman in hiding and you've got a resident baddie, psycho serial killer.  Action ensues, romance ensues, sex happens... and then Happily Ever After™.


And that's pretty much it.  After finishing the book, I barely had anything to say about 11 because there really wasn't anything to say about it.  I know I enjoyed it and gobbled it up like I would any other exciting romantic suspense.  But otherwise, I've got nothing.




by Rachel Hartman

Seraphina duology

#1) Seraphina -- 5.0 Stars

#2) Shadow Scale -- 4.5 Stars


Serephina was, hands down, one of the best high fantasies I had read back in 2013 (it was published in 2012).  Granted, this was back before I started making a thing of blogging my reviews more regularly, so I didn't subject the book to the same amount of note-taking and subconscious analysis that I do to books I read now.  However, I DO recall that I loved it so much that I immediately put the next book on my TBR... and then proceeded to wait forever... and then give a little whimper each time the release date for the second book got pushed back.


Seraphina had a lot going for it: a strong, unique, multi-layered heroine; a complex, intricately created world that interwove a dragon culture into it seamlessly; a sweet, subtle romance that had developed from a respectful admiration and friendship between two people; and a wonderfully narrated story with a rich, complicated conflict.  And characters, colorful, creative, unique, non-standard side characters and background characters and minor characters, all with their own multi-layered backgrounds lightly hinted out.


Rachel Hartman created a wonderful world and a wonderful story and a wonderful cast of characters for lovers of high fantasy.


This year, in preparation for the release of Shadow Scale at the beginning of the year, I wanted to re-read Seraphina.  Instead, I ended up buying the Audible and listening to it instead and once again found the experience a good one (with some minor drawbacks during those moments my attention might have drifted).  Seraphina was just as great as I had remembered it two years ago.


Then I finally picked up Shadow Scale.  And I devoured it.  While there was some questionable story progression flow and a conclusion that wasn't the most ideal, I still found the world of Seraphina wonderfully created.  We get to travel outside to the rest of the worlds and see the rest of the cultures only hinted at in the first book.  And on top of that, we get to continue following the same beloved characters as well as meet new characters.


The only issue I had with Shadow Scale, which made it a little less likable than Seraphina was that it had more moments of drag than the first book... and also the romantic resolution was just not what I had been expecting after all of that build-up between Seraphina and Kiggs.  Which was more disappointing than I like to admit, because I often don't like when a series dwells too much on romances... but Seraphina was never a story that based its happenings around a romance.  Instead, it serenaded us with the love story in the background, making sweet and beautiful little promises with the very subtle build-up between our main couple.


Color me shallow, but that had been enough to really damper my initial "I don't care about a lot of the flaws this book might have, I'm giving it a straight out 5 Star rating!"



Magonia (Magonia #1) by Maria Dahvana Headley -- 3.0 Stars


Really, Magonia was just a strange, strange book and I'm not even certain how I felt about it.  Even now I'm still not sure.  I read a review about it that carefully dissects the book into two separate story parts, wherein the first half is like typical, trendy "Sick Lit" and the second half is a weird paranormal high fantasy akin to something of the Castle in the Sky variety.


I'm inclined to agree.  Although I loved Castle in the Sky and thought that the fantasy part of Magonia wasn't really THAT much like it... or maybe it is.  I think I may have likened it to a Castle in the Sky doped up on an acid trip of some kind, what with the whimsical fantasy telling and all, but with more WTF-like strangeness than I could handle.


And now apparently the book is being formed into a series...


Do we really believe that's necessary?



Gimme Some Sugar (Pine Mountain #2) by Kimberly Kincaid -- 2.5 Stars


I've already said it once in my Turn Up the Heat review:  I liked the Line books by Kimberly Kincaid when I first picked up Love on the Line on a whim.  The food porn was pretty awesome and the romance was sweet and simple and had its moments of breezy.  The next two Line books were serviceable, even if not the best, because I was enjoying Kimberly Kincaid's humorous, easygoing writing style.


Turn Up the Heat was okay, but not the greatest contemporary romance in the world.  And then Gimme Some Sugar rolled around... and it was just... kind of... weird.  Don't get me wrong, it was cute and breezy in a way.  But the relationship and romantic development felt a little juvenile for an adult contemporary... and the repetitive "Feed her," thing was a little creepy.


And the main romantic conflict, when revealed, was just kind of... sad.


Whatever the case, Gimme Some Sugar just didn't seem to work for me, which ended up putting the Pine Mountain books squarely in my "I don't know if I'm going to continue reading this series" pile.  Though I may read one more book just to see where we go with it.



by Julie Garwood


#5) Slow Burn -- 4.0 Stars

#6) Shadow Dance -- 3.5 Stars


Julie Garwood's romantic suspense series seem to get better as each book progresses... and yet, in a way, they don't, really.  Enjoyable as they are, I can't help but notice that these past two books were a little less memorable than the previous two.  Although to be fair, even Murder List (book #4) wasn't quite memorable either.  Of the series, Killjoy (book #3) is my favorite--the character's stand out and I liked them.


Slow Burn was different from the other Buchanan-Renard-MacKenna installments in that the murder mystery remains a one-sided investigation throughout the book.  We honestly do not even get to see the main baddie at all and things remain a mystery up until the end--which is actually quite nice, because I could do without those trips through our mystery villain's twisted minds.


Of course, what stood out the most about Slow Burn was the beginning of the book in which a Wonderbra gets the most unique introduction I'd ever expected.  And, as usual, Julie Garwood's humor shines.


Shadow Dance is a little less entertaining if only because the narration seems to take a turn for the tedious.  There is entirely too much telling in this book and a lot of side mutterings by all the characters.  Of course, the typical Julie Garwood humor is still present, but the bantering between Jordan and Noah feels slightly more irritating than fun.


And, of course, I'm a bit disappointed, because, for some unknown reason, this is the installment I'd been reading my way towards.  Since the Buchanans are such a big law enforcement, badass family, I had been expecting Jordan Buchanan to be a badass law enforcement type as well, and if not, at least a badass female super woman of some sort.  I'm not even sure I know where I got that impression, really...





I might continue this feature every year if I can remember to do so.  Maybe it should also be another Bookish Resolution of mine.  We'll see.


With this, have a Merry Christmas everyone!  Hope every had a great year and will continue on to have another great one in 2016.




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