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review 2014-07-22 00:39
Emotionally draining, yet ultimately amazing read.
Chase in Shadow - Amy Lane

Opening line: “Did you have fun?" Mercy asked as Chase negotiated the slick Sacramento streets in the dark."


 My first from author Amy Lane but not my last for sure, however it may take a while before I’m up to facing this sort of angst again. Yeah Chase In Shadow is heartbreaking and beautiful and damaged and gorgeous and just such a freaking hot mess, I won’t be forgetting him for a long time to come.

As much as I came to love this story I should tell you though that I had a hell of a time getting into it, and quite honestly almost gave up more than once. My initial problem was sorting out the huge cast of characters, most of whom had two names (which wasn’t explained right away) Chase is also Chance, his love interest is Tommy or Tango then we have childhood friends, porn industry friends, directors, fiancées, it took me ages to figure who was who. Compile that with a very unique style of writing that jumps from past to present with real events, dreamed events, desired events and directors cut type filmed events. The dialogue also takes some getting used to because in almost every circumstance Chase includes a “wished” internal response to what he actually says.

“Is there something wrong?” Donnie asked, like he was afraid of the answer.

I fell in love with a guy I met on a gay-for-pay porn set, and he cheated on me when we weren’t really a couple, because I had to leave him for my girlfriend

“Mercy had my dad over last night. It…it didn’t go real fuckin’ well.”

At some point though everything just clicked for me and fell in love with both the story and the uniqueness of the writing. Add to that one of the most emotionally damaged, frustrating, contradictory characters I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading, a heartbreaking romance including love scenes that defy a hotness category and well, Amy Lane‘s got herself a new fan-girl.

Chase “Chance” Summers has it all….from the outside He’s young, popular, good looking and athletic with a beautiful fiancée and supportive friends. Which is just how he planned it. In between studying for his engineering degree, playing baseball and saving for a house Chase has also managed to hide an abusive, messed up childhood behind the red door (in his mind) -which, throughout the course of the book slowly gets opened. His farce of a life seems to going along just fine until he adds one more lie to his already toppling house of cards. Telling himself that it’s for the money and that he’s straight, I mean he’s got a fiancée right? Chase decides to try out the gay porn industry.

Entering “Johnnies” is a revelation because for the first time in his life Chase “Chance” feels free. In fact when he’s with another man he’s flying, but the house of cards is starting to sway. Keeping his alternate life from his girlfriend is almost too easy, which of course just makes him feel like a dick but then again he can hardly contain himself once he starts thinking about who and what he’s going to be doing during the next shoot.

Enter Tommy “Tango” Hallaron, fellow porn actor and the one Chase has been inadvertently waiting for his entire life. They fall fast and hard and Chase’s life trisects, and the house of cards shakes a bit more. His abusive father, his mother’s suicide, his porn life, his straight friends, the fact that he’s really gay, the cheating on both Mercy and Tommy. Secrets upon secrets upon secrets, something’s got to give. Throughout the utter chaos of Chase’s ‘perfect’ life he hates what he’s doing to those he loves but can’t stop, can’t change and he hates himself more and the house of cards falls and the red door opens.

As you’ve assumed this story goes to some very dark places, I mean on page one he’s attempting suicide so you know you’re in for a roller coaster ride. But I never really expected the level of grief, torment and self abuse that we get to see here. Towards the end there’s a huge surprise (that I didn’t see coming) and it helps in what (Thank God) is a well, well earned HEA. Cheers

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review 2014-06-22 01:53
Christian loses control and Ana takes it.
Fifty Shades Freed - E.L. James

Opening Line: “I stare up through gaps in the sea-grass parasol at the bluest of skies, summer blue, Mediterranean blue, with a contented sigh.”


Well I don’t know what all the haters are on about but I loved this final book in the Fifty Shades trilogy. In fact for me each book just got better, with “Freed” becoming my favourite. Granted I had a few issues, like the constant Mr. Grey/Mrs. Grey every single time they addressed each other, which was all cute and newlywedish at first and then just proceeded to drive me crazy. But I still had trouble putting this one down; I'm such a sucker when it comes to the tortured hero so I understood my falling for Christian but Ana surprised me and I came to appreciate her as she grew a backbone and learned how to handle her man and his many moods.

Plus there’s an actual story here; I mean stuff happens other than in the playroom. We get car chases, assorted stalkers, blips, kidnappings, bar fights, car accidents, drunk Christian, out of control Christian, raging Christian, playful Christian, needy fucked up Christian it was just such an all-out emotional journey and managed to leave me shocked several times. I also found it fascinating to watch Christian lose control and for Ana take it, not what I was expecting as all his shades finally made sense.

Ana’s hilarious inner goddess is still with us and I was happy to see the inclusion of more sexy, fun, playful or in this case argumentative e-mails as Ana tries to stand her ground against a very controlling and used to being in charge Christian. These things were part of what separated Fifty from the Twilight universe for me and also why James’ writing grew on me since that first book which felt immature, you could really hear her voice here and I now can’t wait to see what she writes next.

I also loved the ending which finally “freed” Christian and left me in a very happy place; it just felt so complete, like okay you guys are going to make it, thanks for the journey. Of course this could have something to do with the many assorted epilogues we get, my favourite being the inclusion of Christian’s Midnight Sun-ish POV first meeting of Ana. As a friend said, I would read the whole series again from inside his head -as fucked up as it might be. Laters.

“I need control Ana. Like I need you. It’s the only way I can function. I can’t let go of it. I’ve tried… And yet, with you…” He shakes his head in exasperation. I swallow. This is the heart of the dilemma -his need for control and his need for me. I refuse to believe these are mutually exclusive.”

“Do you want a drink?” I ask super sweetly. “No thanks” he says not taking his eyes off me, and I know that he’s helpless. He does not know what to do with me. It’s comical on one level and tragic on another.”
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review 2014-06-03 02:41
Wanted to like it more than I did
Don't Go - Lisa Scottoline

Opening Line: “Chloe woke up on the floor, her thoughts foggy.”


This was pretty good, but I wanted to like it a whole lot more than I actually did. The story premise had me excited and the cover is great but the execution was just all over the place, with too many story ideas all thrown together so that ultimately none of them really work. I’ve also yet to figure out what this book was trying to be; a murder mystery, a child custody story, a military memoir, a PTSD recovery, a legal thriller? It’s all of these things.


And while I’m also new to author Lisa Scottoline I’d still been expecting more, or maybe just a more polished story from a “bestselling” author. As it was this felt like a first book, with immature writing and stilted, repetitive, painful dialogue that I struggled to get through without rolling my eyes. There are also several obviously placed red herrings throughout and this is coming from someone who doesn’t usually read mysteries, but I was often like, yeah that’s probably a bad idea. 

That’s not to say this was entirely terrible, mostly just disappointing because it had so much promise and so many good ideas.

Don’t Go starts with our main characters wife dying on her kitchen from a knife wound, (this is not a spoiler) someone comes to the door but instead of helping they leave. We then switch over to our main character Dr. Mike Scanlon, who is a serving as an army doctor in Afghanistan. I really enjoyed the army sections of this book (which take up a large section) they’re obviously been well researched and you get a real feel for the living conditions, the surgeries, the comradely with the other doctors and the hardships and horror. 

So while Mike is operating on a wounded soldier his wife dies and within 24hrs he finds himself back in America trying to figure out what happened and how exactly he is going to care for a baby who was only a month old when he deployed and now doesn’t know him and screams at the very sight of him. He also discovers that the medical practice he took leave from is in jeopardy and that his wife was not only a closeted alcoholic but having an affair…

So what does Mike do? He signs some papers that give his sister-in-law and her husband temporary guardianship of his daughter and goes back to finish his tour in Afghanistan. This part lost me a bit; I mean wouldn’t the military have granted him some kind of compassionate leave?? Anyways I can’t say much else without getting heavily into spoiler territory but some bad stuff happens to Mike and the second half of the book is spent with him solving his wife’s death/murder, making bad decisions and trying to piece his life back together because nothing was as it seemed.

Definitely an emotional, compelling read with more military issues that I expected, well there was more everything than I expected LOL. I did like the character of Dr. Mike even if he was a bit stupid in his actions. Can’t say that I would actively seek out anything else from this author though. Cheers.
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review 2014-05-13 00:47
Great broken hero, plenty of suspense, a few issues
Missing - Sharon Sala

Opening Line: "That inner part of a soldier that tells him when he’s being watched was going off big-time in Wes Holden’s head.”

This was actually my first book from author Sharon Sala but I can see now why she’s so popular. It was a very good read, well parts of it were; I mean the beginning is just excellent, grabbing you right away as we watch Army Special Ops soldier Wes Holden struggle with PTSD before losing his wife and son in an on-base suicide bombing and then subsequently giving up his hold on reality. If you have a thing for the tortured heroes (like I do), then it doesn’t get much more heartbreaking than this.

On the other hand right after the gripping opening chapters we jump straight into the heroines head and I suddenly felt like I was reading a different book. Her POV’s (before she meets the hero) read like a historical romance. Ally Monroe lives in an isolated mountain community and spends her days cooking and cleaning for her strict father and two brothers. Attending church on Sundays and trying to get out of marrying any of the potential suitors her Pa brings home in an attempt to marry her off before she’s completely passed her sell by date and despite her club foot. It all just seemed a little far-fetched, and I honestly wondered how these two were going to have any kind of romance.

Speaking of which… just when I’m getting on board with these two fitting together in a slow-going courtshipy kind of way it was like Sala suddenly ran out of page time and thought I better get these two into bed and wrap this up. There was zero chemistry pre getting-it-on and therefore all the ONE love scene did was make me uncomfortable because it was so out of the blue. Poor naïve virgin Ally, her first night in a hotel and she has to spout lines like “are we going to make love now?” Yeah I was surprised too honey, especially with Wes still missing his wife, barely able to function in the world and without any condoms. Anyways, it was pretty horrible.

On the other, (other) hand, the mad scientist, bad guy in this was excellent. Well actually he wasn’t all that interesting but the bioterrorism he engages in scared the shit out of me. Creating a “super weed” that is so toxic and addictive that it makes anything that touches it go mad (animals, insects, stray deer, the men paid to harvest it) trying to get more, more, more before they die an agonizing death. This plot line was clever and interesting and realistically scary.

So yeah, I would definitely give Sharon Sala another shot. MISSING was well written with engaging secondary characters, plenty of suspense, some twists and surprises and a great broken hero.

Oh, one other thing; I agree with another reviewer who questioned the title. Nobody is “missing” in this book unless you count the heroes mind but that’s just misleading, anyways Cheers.

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review 2014-05-04 01:28
Yeah, I drank the cool-aid.
Fifty Shades Darker - E.L. James

Opening Line: "I have survived day three post-Christian, and my first day at work."

Okay now I get what all the fuss has been about. I’m so glad I decided to continue on with this series after the confusion and bizarreness of ”Grey”. That book was just all over the place for me, very juvenile, and well weird, I think I actually called it YA erotica. Thankfully the characters and writing has matured here and because of this “Darker” turned out to be just a fantastic read. Granted I am a sucker when it comes to the tortured, messed up heroes and with Christian I couldn’t ask for any more shades of f-d up. Especially with his past slowly being reveled throughout, yup, I fell hard.

His lifestyle choices and need for absolute control finally made sense to me so that he didn’t just come across as overbearing and stalkerish. His actions actually made me sad. That scene where he falls to his knees and begs Ana not to leave him and submits to her… Jeez so unexpected and heartbreaking. I actually fell a bit in love with him myself there. Up until that point his over protective, stalker tendencies had kept me wary. Even Ana grew on me here, finally having grown a pair she at last became a worthy companion for Christian and ultimately the one in control of the relationship. Who woulda guessed?

I liked that this story involved a bit of suspense, and I enjoyed a return to the emails which as well as being fun and playful were a way for our characters to show their true selves while hiding behind the mean machine and Blackberry. Ana’s triple axel, back flipping, pouting, cheering inner goddess again kept me in stiches.

On a personal note I would have kept Ana and Christian broken up a bit longer. I mean what was it, like 5 days? Hardly worthy of all the angst and weight loss, plus a longer separation would have made their getting back together that much more meaningful and explained how they were able to grow and be willing to change for each other to not have to face that pain again. I guess I’m also just a bit twisted because I wanted to see them heartbroken, making bad decisions and missing each other longer.

My only real issue with “Darker” would be the very last scene which felt tagged on solely for the purpose of introducing a third book, it was unnecessary. We the readers were already going there. Cheers

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