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review 2017-07-13 16:09
Dead by Midnight by Pamela Clare
Dead By Midnight: An I-Team Christmas (I-Team After Hours) - Pamela Clare

Kara and Reece Sheridan, Sophie and Marc Hunter, and Kat and Gabe Rossiter find themselves attending different Christmas parties at the same hotel, alongside the employees of Denver Independent. But what starts as a pleasant night out among friends, soon turns into a nightmare when members of a Colombian drug cartel seize the hotel and take more than 300 people hostage.

Now, it’s up to those inside and those frantically trying to help them from the outside to keep one step ahead of the terrorists and make it out of the hotel alive.

I’m so glad this series went off with a bang instead of a splutter. This is what I expect from a I-Team story. A good dose of romance (multiple in this case), a heaping pile of action and suspense, with just the right amount of drama, danger, and angst.

It was lovely seeing the gang (more or less) together again. The relationships and friendships that have developed between the characters were always tangible and realistic, but the extremely dangerous situation in this story brought them even more to the fore. These people are not only friends, they’re family, and they’re willing to do anything in their power to keep their family from getting hurt.
It was especially heartwarming seeing the bond between Julian and Marc, knowing how it had grown throughout the books, until they finally acknowledged it in words not only in action and exchange of good-natured insults.

The action was gripping, intense, and edge-of-your-seat, the danger more than real, a few situations rather dire, making me think it was all over...But it ended as it was supposed to. With a happily ever after not only for each individual couple, but for their large family as well.

Loved it.

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review 2017-03-01 08:27
All Through the Night by Suzanne Brockmann
All Through the Night: A Troubleshooter Christmas - Suzanne Brockmann

Jules Cassidy has been one of my favorite characters in this series, and although I had my reservations about him being paired off with Robin in all his self-destructive glory, those doubts are gone ever since the ending of Force of Nature and this book only confirms that.

This installment is more of a collection of vignettes detailing the little episodes in the lives of this wonderful, head-over-heels couple as they move closer and closer to the big day when they'll tie the knot. Short stories, ranging from funny, sweet, to sad and even suspenseful, with a plethora of old characters coming back for a (sometimes not very) welcome visit, but with Jules and Robin (and their big day) serving as glue and main arc.

I loved revisiting old couples—and why is everybody seemingly pregnant at the same time?—but this collection also had two big problems. The biggest was Adam butting in when he was neither needed nor wanted (and I didn't particularly care about this collection sawing the seed for his story, albeit short), the second being Dolphina and Will who weren't that "inspiring", and mostly hoarded "screen time" that would've been much better spent with Jules, Robin and even the rest of the gang.

Still, this was a great little "longer novella", sweet, cute, lovable, and romantic. A perfect coda to the Jules/Robin storyline, marking the end of one era, and the beginning of another for this wonderful couple.

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review 2017-01-30 14:07
The Twilight Before Christmas by Christine Feehan
The Twilight Before Christmas - Christine Feehan

Matt Granite has always loved Kate Drake, the second oldest of the seven Drake sisters, but he never had the guts to tell her, always feeling inadequate and clumsy in her presence. She's perfect, poised, aristocratic, kind, polished, and he's an utter clod with a bunch of brothers constantly giving him grief about his “crush” and laughing their little black hearts off.

But now, maybe his chance has come. Kate has bought an old mill and needs a contractor to restore it. Matt's a contractor, you do the math. But when they inspect the old house, merely a day after an earthquake, there's something strange in the cellar. Something that looks like a seal with symbols on it. Symbols foretelling a great danger. The seal is cracked, and something has obviously escaped. Something malevolent, something that's gunning for all the seven sisters. Something only the seven sisters can put to rest.

Kate Drake is the “normal” one of the Drakes. Or at least the most normal that seven magical sisters can get. She's not adventurous, although she travels a lot, she doesn't look for excitement, preferring the company of a good book... And she got the least “normal” story (so far). While the rest of the series is romantic suspense with some paranormal elements (namely the seven magical sisters) thrown in, this shorty was a straight-up paranormal. And while I obviously liked it the first time around, I wasn't so lucky on this second reading (eight years later).

Maybe I've become jaded where Christine Feehan is concerned, maybe I should not have started reading this series again, maybe I should've left my brain to roam freely instead of looking for something that isn't there... Because something was definitely missing in this book.

Maybe it was the lack of “normal” characters (I hate it how “perfect” the Drake sisters are, because no one is that perfect), the only regular Joes being the three ex Rangers, Matt, Jonas (still my favorite character in the series beside Ilya that is, and I feel sorry for him to be saddled with the bratty Hannah), and Jackson (my third favorite character in the series and future father of the next generation of Drakes). And this lack of relatable, flawed, layered, realistic characters is starting to bug me.

The second problem was the romance, which was yet again lukewarm at best. Yes, there was this whole back story of how they knew each other forever, fancied each other from afar etc., but when it came down to business (so to speak) the spark was missing and they were simply going through the motions without much feeling or purpose beside creating yet another “perfect” romance for the “perfect” Drake sister.

And the third problem was the paranormal subplot with the malevolent being escaped from the seal in Kate's new house, gunning for Christmas. It would've worked better if the entity was actually evil, and not something easily put down by giving it peace. There was no actual feeling of suspense or danger, because we're talking about the “perfect” Drakes and they can walk on water.
I wanted more of a fight, a more ominous feel to everything, instead I got a goodie-feely Christmas story where love, friendship and a “perfect” family saves the day.

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review 2016-12-20 16:35
Home for Christmas by Nora Roberts
Home for Christmas - Nora Roberts

After ten years, Jason Law is back in Quiet Valley. But seeing his first (and only) love again after all this time, isn't easy, especially since she broke the promise she gave him before he left. Faith didn't wait for him, but married someone else, bore another man's baby...But Christmas is a time for miracles, and just maybe both Faith and Jason might get what they always wanted.

This was a wonderful story of second chances both in life and love. A little bittersweet, and a whole lot of lovely with two lovers reunited after a decade finding happiness together at last.

The "big secret" wasn't only predictable, it was out in the open, but I didn't mind. It worked perfectly well. The characters were well fleshed-out, their story tugging at the heartstrings at appropriate moments, the small town feel was just right and perfectly complimented the story, although I could've done without the missing-kid scene. It wasn't bad, but the story could've easily done without it.

Still, a wonderful second-chances story.

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review 2016-12-20 16:32
All I Want For Christmas by Nora Roberts
All I Want For Christmas - Nora Roberts

Mac Taylor's twins decide to make a wish for Christmas. Only not any regular wish...They wish for the mom. Someone pretty, kind, with yellow hair, who loves dogs, and makes cookies. And once school starts, they know Santa listened and granted the wish, because the mom turns out to be their cousin's music teacher.

Now, it's only a matter of time before she becomes their mom. Unfortunately neither the boys nor Santa have counted with Mac's reluctance to see anyone, not only Nell, in the role of mother to his two boys.

A short and sweet Christmas story, with two cute little munchinks intent on finding the perfect woman both for them and for their father, a cautious dad knowing what it feels like to get cut at the knees by a woman and determined not to subject his two boys to any unnecessary heartache, and the woman who teaches him it's okay to trust and fall in love, while making sure Santa grants the wish of two little boys.

Maybe Mac was a tad too grouchy and "mean" that his back story warranted him to be, and Nell was definitely too upbeat, slightly naive, and too trusting for her own good, but they worked well together (when Mac wasn't being an ass), the twins were super cute, the story flowed nicely, and even though the whole wish and sleigh bells thing was a bit too sugary, I liked the story just fine.

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