RoloPoloBookBlog: It’s Aliiiiiiive

Hello Blog ‘o Sphere!

I can’t believe this day has finally arrived: December 30, 2012! While most of you are totally stoked for it almost being New Year’s Eve and such I am stoked for the launch of my blog, RoloPoloBookBlog.  Although I am totally new to the whole owner/operator of  a blog thing, I have been in the game for the last two years as a reviewer and worker monkey for my long-time friend (since 1st grade), Julie at A Tale of Many Reviews and A Tale of Many Book Reviews.  Yes, that is a shameless name drop with hyperlinks and I will totally do it again 🙂

By way of introduction, I thought it might be nice if I showed you around the space and place where this little gem of a blog was created.  In my non-blogging life I am an art history professor who, after seven years on-site went totally online.  Once you figure out exactly how technologically inept I really am, the previous sentence will be all kinds of funny.  I digress.  Since I teach online, I work from home (yes, I teach in my pajamas nearly every day!) and have managed to turn the front room of my home into a lovely little nest where all my brilliance spills out into the universe.  Maybe not brilliance per se but I am awfully efficient and get alot of work done despite being surrounded by all kinds of awesomeness.  Take a look for yourself ;

DSCN1380

    I am just old-school enough that I still use a large paper calendar; all the post-its are reminders about upcoming bloggy-type stuff 🙂

My students know me as “The Queen” and the pink sign above the bulletin board reads “I didn’t ask to be Queen but hey . . . if the crown fits!”

DSCN1381

Of course there are bookshelves!!  Although most of my for pleasure reading is done with my iPad (whose name is Sheldon after the Big Bang Theory character) I still need the bookshelves for all my art history books and collectibles.  I am a fiendish collector of all things Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Yoda, and Einstein.

DSCN1383 The super-awesome fish tank is the latest addition to my office.  It is a 29-gallon monster filled with all manner of fish that entertain myself and my two cats.  See the little step-ladder in front of the tank?  That’s for one of the cats; no kidding!

Notice how I conveniently located the fish tank directly under the five degrees earned by myself and my husband 🙂  Tricksy!!

DSCN1382

I always have company while I am working.  This is my twelve-ish year old black Lab, Duke.  He is spoiled rotten and spends his days looking out our two large front windows from the comfort of his overly large pillow.  Notice the window sills are conveniently located at chin level; the rat bastard doesn’t even have to get up to bark and growl at the mailman!

DSCN1388

 This wretched little beast is Cooter Brown.  Yes, I know her name sounds naughty, get over it!  She is roughly thirteen and once thought to be the dumbest cat on Earth.

DSCN1387

This is Booger Ray, the dumbest cat on Earth.  Thank goodness this one is sweet and pretty!  Booger is actually my daughter’s cat but can often be found hanging with me in the office during the day.  I think this is primarily because of the presence of the fish tank; remember the step-ladder from above?

DSCN1235

Last, but in no way least are the two people who have helped make all of this possible.  This is my husband Ray and our daughter, Piper Ray.  Ray was the first person to ask me why I don’t have my own blog and Piper has been there to help me clean the office and interrupt me while writing nearly every book review I have written.  🙂  These two make me smile every single day and I am grateful to them for supporting me on the home front.   I am also grateful for you, dear reader, for taking the time to read this post and hopefully, for following my fledgling blog.

Cheers!!

White Witch by Trish Milburn: Review

Format: Paperback, 188 pagesPublished: March 1st 2012 by Bell Bridge Books (first published February 15th 2012) ISBN: 1611940834 (ISBN13: 9781611940831)Edition language: EnglishSeries: The Coven #1

Format: Paperback, 188 pages
Published: March 1st 2012 by Bell Bridge Books (first published February 15th 2012)
ISBN: 1611940834 (ISBN13: 9781611940831)
Edition language: English
Series: The Coven #1

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13485625-white-witch

http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1335180.Trish_Milburn

Synopsis from Goodreads: “Witchcraft Is Her Family’s Business.
No One Quits The Family And Lives To Tell About It.
“Jax” Pherson has power, enough power to know her future will end in service to the dark coven her father controls. Unless she can stay hidden in a small community in the mountains of North Carolina. She must find a way to live without magic and deny the darkness she feels welling up inside her-the same dark power that fuels the covens around the world.
All she wants is a normal life. A boyfriend. Friends. Some place to belong, but all too soon Jax’s barely begun new life hangs in the balance when she discovers that the boy she’s attracted to is sworn to kill her kind. He’s a hunter with good reason to kill everything that goes bump in the night.
Even the most fleeting use of her power is tantamount to signing her death warrant and will bring both hunter and coven down on her. But can she walk away when her friends are threatened by an old evil? Something created by the magic of witches? Jax’s only hope of survival is to convince the boy she loves to forget everything he’s ever been taught and help her find a way to fight the covens. To believe there is some good in her.

Source: Netgalley

My Rating: 4½ 5 stars

My Review: I have pretty much always loved the paranormal genre but on my mental list of likes and dislikes, witches have always been toward the bottom of the list.  However, over the last few years I have discovered that I am a bigger fan of witch and with-related books than I initially thought. Good thing I made this discovery because otherwise I might have bypassed Trish Milburn’s excellent first-in-a-series novel White Witch.

Jax is a witch and I don’t mean this in the “I’m trying to clean up my potty mouth” kind of way.  Jax really is a 16-year-old witch as well as a member of a very large and powerful coven based in Miami.  Jax has known since the day her coven killed her mother in front of her that she doesn’t belong in her coven or any coven at all.  Jax is more like her mother, a witch with a predisposition for white magic rather than black and absolutely no desire to kill or manipulate people so that her coven can become even wealthier and more powerful than they already are.  But Jax also knows that leaving the coven is forbidden and any attempt to do so brings with it an instantaneous death warrant.  Jax doesn’t care; she has to get out and so she runs.

Settling in Baker Gap, North Carolina is about as normal as a girl can get; especially a girl who is on the run and desperately hoping she can hide her presence from her family and the local paranormal hunters.  The hunters aren’t nearly as cheesy as that last sentence makes them sound. J  Using only the tiniest bit of her considerable power, Jax manages to get herself enrolled in the local high school, secures a place to live, and even begins to make some new friends.  Although Jax is always cautious and alert she enjoys her new freedom and the new life she is trying to make for herself.  But, as you might expect, White Witch just wouldn’t be a great or even good read without some serious drama.  Here’s the drama:

1)   Keller: super-hot high school hunter that Jax knows she shouldn’t become involved with but just can’t seem to help herself.

2)   Egan: an old friend from another powerful coven who, like Jax has flown the coup and has shown up on Jax’s doorstep.

3)   The Beginning Book: Egan found this long-thought-lost book of witch history and has discovered some shocking secrets. Secrets all coven leaders have desperately hoped would never ever see the light of day again, ever!

4)   Jax’s family/coven: Jax knows from the beginning if she uses too much power her family will find her and kill her but in a town like Baker Gap, not using her power is virtually impossible

The Bottom Line: Although a bit slow in the beginning, once this book really starts moving it is hard to put down.  With the exception of a couple of minor characters, I really liked the cast of White Witch.  Jax is fierce, loyal, and though afraid of what her family may do to her is still willing to risk everything in order to escape a life she knows is wrong.  Keller is cute, mostly sweet, and somewhat conflicted over his feelings for Jax.  Once he pulls his head out of his butt, Keller gets much better and significantly more likeable.  Egan and Toni are two of my favorite characters and two that I am hoping will make much larger appearances in future installments of the series.  The only thing keeping me from bumping this book up to a full five stars is the slow pace of the novel’s beginning.  White Witch is well worth the read so find the patience to get past the slow start.  It is absolutely worth it in the end!

The Weight of Night by C.L. Stegall: Review

Format: Paperback, 300 pagesPublished: January 25th 2011 by Createspace ISBN:  1456575856 (ISBN13: 9781456575854)Edition language: English

Format: Paperback, 300 pages
Published: January 25th 2011 by Createspace
ISBN: 1456575856 (ISBN13: 9781456575854)
Edition language: English

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/10476984-the-weight-of-night

http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4455528.C_L_Stegall

Synopsis from Goodreads: When her mother is taken from her in a terrible accident, Alexis finds herself facing some previously unknown truths. Her best friend, Keats, is her only confidante when she is faced with an apparent stalker who claims that Alexis’ entire life is built around a lie. Alexis is suddenly thrown into a whirlwind world of danger and secret agendas, of demigods and deities.
When a brutal, self-righteous god decides that Alexis is his best hope for retrieving an ancient artifact, she finds herself on the self-discovery journey of a lifetime – tracking a killer and a kidnapper – and facing conniving and dangerous foes along the way.
She will have to come to grips with who she truly is and just what she might be capable of if she is to survive long enough to save the one person in the world for whom she cares most.
Ancient Greek mythology comes to life in this unique coming-of-age tale that spans the globe and the heart of a girl who only wants to be normal. But, just what is normal in a world like this?

Source: Author for a fair and honest review

My Rating: 4/5 stars

My Review:

**Spoiler Alert**

The Weight of Night is CL Stegall’s impressive first offering in what will become the Progeny Trilogy. Although written for a young adult audience, this contemporary version of Greek mythology will certainly appeal to adults as well. With that being said, this novel has a bit of a slow start. Once you get past the start, though, the read is absolutely worth the wait!

Eighteen-year-old Alexis Rain lives a charmed life. She’s been accepted to Oxford, drives a BMW, has two parents who adore her, and a best friend, Keats, who is her absolute other half. Here’s the rub: Alexis Rain isn’t a normal teenager, but is, in fact, the daughter of Nyx, the Greek goddess of Night. She kind of doesn’t know about that. Along with her newly discovered maternity, Alexis also notices that she glows when experiencing extreme emotion, can teleport, and knows any and every bit of information that has ever been written or spoken. Sweet!! Super-powers rock!!

Or not. Turns out, Alexis isn’t the only child of the Greek deities, but one of many who are spread across the globe. Smallish side note: most of the other kids are bat-crap crazy and lethal. Alexis is forced to track down these demigods, befriending some and fighting others, in order to find out who killed her father and, just as importantly, who kidnapped Keats. This portion of the novel, right on through to the end, is where the action and drama really kicks into high gear. It’s fun and fast-paced. As a character, we really see Alexis begin to develop; she is smart, cunning, lethally skilled, and wonderfully sarcastic.

As Alexis comes to the completion of her task, she begins to understand and embrace not only her true nature, but also the nature of the demigods. She gets to meet her mother, as well as another deity or two. To top it all off, Alexis also discovers that the person behind the killing and kidnapping is just a pawn in a much, much larger game. What that means for us, dear reader? More books to come!!

The Bottom Line: just suck it up and get through the slow start because the middle and ending are well worth the wait. Alexis is a fine, strong female that is wonderfully balanced by her best friend, Keats. I LOVE Keats! Keats is calm, cool, collected, intelligent, funny, and hot. I also love the fact that Greek mythology is making its way back into mainstream reading markets. Greek mythology is fun, devious, naughty, complicated, and flat-out interesting. Stegall’s re-invention or re-imagining of the old myths is a great new trend that I truly hope continues.

Review: Undeadly (Book #1: The Reaper Diaries) by Michele Vail: Review

undeadly

Undeadly (Book #1: The Reaper Diaries) by Michele Vail.  Paperback, 272 pages, published November 20, 2012 by Harlequin Teen. ISBN: 0373210469

22451-goodreads-badge-add-plus

Synopsis from Goodreads: The day I turned 16, my boyfriend-to-be died. I brought him back to life. Then things got a little weird…
Molly Bartolucci wants to blend in, date hottie Rick and keep her zombie-raising abilities on the down-low. Then the god Anubis chooses her to become a reaper—and she accidentally undoes the work of another reaper, Rath. Within days, she’s shipped off to the Nekyia Academy, an elite boarding school that trains the best necromancers in the world. And her personal reaping tutor? Rath.
Life at Nekyia has its plusses. Molly has her own personal ghoul, for one. Rick follows her there out of the blue, for another…except, there’s something a little off about him. When students at the academy start to die and Rath disappears, Molly starts to wonder if anything is as it seems. Only one thing is certain—-Molly’s got an undeadly knack for finding trouble….

Source: Netgalley

My Rating: 3/5 stars

My Review: The first book in a series is often the hardest to write (and read!) because the author so much to accomplish in a relatively small amount of time and space.  As a reader, I need the first-in-a-series book to:

  1. introduce me to an interesting cast of characters with backstory and an explanation for how these characters have come to be in the pickle they’re in
  2. establish both a short- and long-term plot line
  3. create enough interest through the characters, plot, and unanswered questions to make me want more

If an author can accomplish all of these things they are virtually assured a successful series and will have readers not only wanting more of their work but begging for more.  Sadly, for myself, Vail’s Undeadly has missed the mark and I likely won’t be coming back for more.  Here’s the trouble:

*The first part of the book is exceedingly slow and filled with what you later find out is a lot of extraneous detail which doesn’t really inform or enhance the overall plot.  To be fair, this part of the book also introduces Undeadly’s primary character, Molly and offers a small bit of insight into her particular talents and skills.

*I fully appreciate Undeadly is a paranormal read and weird situations are going to occur.  However, the situations Molly finds herself in and allows herself to be pulled into are often inexplicable and unbelievable even in a paranormal novel.  While these scenes are unusual, they do offer further insight about Molly and the full range and extent of her powers.

*Molly’s powers are another source of frustration.  It is clear Molly is special and in possession of powers only spoken about in myth and legend.  The problem?  Molly has no idea who she is and what she is capable of because it has all been kept from her for her entire life.  Additionally, no one in Molly’s life seems willing to cough up any information about her powers or her destiny unless forced to do so and even then, the information is limited at best.  The end result of this lack of information is a very powerful and naïve kid fumbling around in dangerous situations.

*The abundance of unanswered questions.  Of course any first-in-a-series book should have unanswered questions but Undeadly has far, far too many.  For example: why hasn’t anyone ever told Molly about her powers or her destiny?  Why is the topic of Molly’s mom completely off limits?  Why has Molly been kept from her grandparents her entire life?  If her Aunt Leila is so super-awesome and well-liked how did she become both a shadow and a minion of Set?  Why does Molly meet with so much resistance from other students and some of the faculty/administration at her new school?

The Bottom Line: There are some good moments and elements in Undeadly including Molly’s suck it up and drive on attitude (she doesn’t do angst!), her ghoul servant, Henry, Rath, the surly reaper with a good heart and good intentions, and the use of Egyptian history, religion, and mythology.  Unfortunately, these good elements are just not enough to balance out the frustrating elements and leave me begging for more.

Totally Fishy by Gale Borger: Review

Title: Totally Fishy Series: Book #2: Miller Sisters Mysteries Author: Gale Borger Published: July 6, 2011 by Echelon Press LLC  ISBN:  001140535X (ISBN13: 2940011405358)

Title: Totally Fishy
Series: Book #2: Miller Sisters Mysteries
Author: Gale Borger
Published: July 6, 2011 by Echelon Press LLC
ISBN: 001140535X (ISBN13: 2940011405358)

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/12099235-totally-fishy

http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4367540.Gale_Borger

Synopsis from Goodreads: Buzz Miller is up to her hip waders in trouble…again.
Two South American scientists swim in dangerous waters while assassins stalk them. A world-famous tropical fish collector is on a mountaintop involved in something very shady and totally fishy.
In White Bass Lake, two bargain basement hit men keep knocking off the wrong guys, and Buzz and her sister Fred find it more and more difficult to separate their criminal cases from the basket cases as 80-year-old Mary Cromwell is pole dancing on a parking meter in a blue go-go dress and orthopedic shoes!
Eventually, Buzz and Fred, along with the two scientists and a limo driver from Queens, try to reel in the bad guys while dodging bullets in the Venezuelan jungle. They dig up more than dirt when people and fish are dropping dead all around them, and they find themselves in danger of swimming with the fishes–permanently!
Can the Miller Sisters snag the bad guys hook, line, and sinker, or are they just cutting bait?
Welcome back to the zany world of the Miller Sisters where the brats are on the grill, the bait is on the hook and the Miller Sisters reel in another bad guy while leaving you up to your gills in laughter!

Source: Author for a fair and honest review

My Rating: 5/5 stars

My Review: Welcome back Miller sisters!  Totally Fishy is the second installment in Gale Borger’s hilarious Miller Sisters Mysteries series. (Say that five times real fast, I dare you)  As with the first book in this series, Totally Buzzed, Totally Fishy opens up funny, reads smoothly, keeps the reader totally engaged, and ends perfectly.

Totally Fishy opens in the middle of the Venezuelan jungle with the completely scrumptious Dr. Evo Castillo trekking through the mud, bugs, and unexpected torrential rain with is assistant Luis.  We learn quickly that Evo is a brilliant scientist with a very short temper and a passion for protecting the environment.  (FYI: Evo’s little tantrums are one of the highlights of this novel. Never underestimate the value of a good hissy fit!)  The two men have been sent on a simple and routine assignment: go to the company’s oil well site and ensure that all environmental policies and procedures are being followed.  This routine assignment quickly turns into anything but routine when the men discover a small yet remote lagoon that is absolutely covered in mostly dead fish.  Evo’s mood continues to deteriorate when he and Luis are shot at while trying to collect samples of the water and the fish.  Huh?  Apparently the environmental codes aren’t being followed and someone desperately wants to cover up this fact.

Halfway across the world in southeastern Wisconsin is Dr. Sam Fernandini one of the world’s leading ichthyologists or as Evo prefers to think of her the Bitch-thyologist who is happily on vacation and visiting her good friend and old college roommate Fred Miller.  Evo knows that the only way to really find out if his employer is to blame for the dead fish is to meet with Sam and work together; a prospect that leaves him both cranky and a bit horny J  Evo enlists the help of his younger brother Tony (coincidentally Sam’s assistant), his own assistant Luis and Luis’s brother, Alfredo to get the water and fish samples to the States.  The four men arrive in Wisconsin in short order and are immediately welcomed into the Miller sister’s world.  Unfortunately, right behind the weary travellers are two completely inept assassins tasked with killing all four men and Dr. Sam.

It may seem odd that this large group of people, many of which are strangers to one another should mesh so seamlessly and so quickly but Borger makes it work.  Fred and Buzz are the most personable of the Miller sisters and have no problem jumping right in to help solve the dead fish mystery.  Luis and Alfredo, although minor characters in the grand scheme of things are delightful and immediately loveable, and then there is the rest of the cast and crew including the Miller sister’s mom and her geriatric circle of gossip mongers, Buzz’s love interest, sheriff J.J. Green, and the dogs, Hilary (who still has gas issues) and Wes.  It is the character interaction and witty dialogue that really drives the plot forward.  All of the cast and crew are involved in what becomes a much larger problem than a few dead fish. In fact, the problem becomes so large that Buzz, Fred, Sam, and Evo must travel back to South America, dodge numerous life-threatening moments, and patch one another up as they work to clear an oil company’s name, discover why there is an undocumented mining project near the dead lagoon, save the remaining fish from extinction, and bring down two assassins.  Holy hell that’s a lot of drama!

While it sounds like Totally Fishy has a lot to deal with, it really all gets dealt with in a most satisfactory and amusing way.  Borger simply doesn’t leave any loose ends.  In dealing with all the drama and the various issues, Borger creates some truly magical and often hilarious moments.  There is the swimming pool incident, the shopping trip to Gander Mountain, the car bomb, the kind of dead cat, the big reveal, the crazy old lady who pole dances for the entire town, and the movie scene at the end with Buzz, J.J. and the dogs.  All of these moments are woven almost perfectly into the major plot line; they are not tangents by any means.

The Bottom Line: to be completely punny, I’m totally hooked on this book!  I love the Miller sisters, I adore the humor, and find the mystery/crime portion of the plot to be a nice balance of believable and crazy.  As with the first book in this series, Totally Buzzed, Totally Fishy will appeal to a wide range of reader’s and provide you with a hard to put down distraction.  Happy reading!

Totally Buzzed by Gale Borger: Review

Title: Totally Buzzed Series: Book #1: The Miller Sisters Mysteries Author: Gale Borger Format: Paperback, 268 pages Published: August 1, 2010 by Echelon Press Publishing  ISBN:  1590807901 (ISBN13: 9781590807903)

Title: Totally Buzzed
Series: Book #1: The Miller Sisters Mysteries
Author: Gale Borger
Format: Paperback, 268 pages
Published: August 1, 2010 by Echelon Press Publishing
ISBN: 1590807901 (ISBN13: 9781590807903)

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/9352983-totally-buzzed

http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4367540.Gale_Borger

Synopsis from Goodreads: Trouble seems to follow Buzz Miller, and this time it finds her outside the town of White Bass Lake, Wisconsin, where the dead body of a neighbor woman turns up stashed under her mother’s house! The retired detective is reluctantly roped into finding out “who dunnit.”
In order to snag the bad guy, Buzz, along with her Biology teacher sister Mag, “The Maggot” Miller, have only to find the murderer by following the trail of a dead horse, uncovering the illegal importation of rare plants, breaking up an international drug trafficking ring, uncovering a designer drug lab, and avoid being bumped off by the bad guys.
Simple enough, right? That is, until her mom’s wacky “Geriatric S.W.A.T. Team” cronies turn the crime scene into a neighborhood barbeque and Buzz’s 160 pound Newfoundland chews up most of her initial investigation!
After a shoot out at the Not-So-OK-Corral, Buzz has to explain to Sheriff Green why his only solid suspect was now pushing up daisies while lying dead in the petunias!

Source: Author for a fair and honest review

My Rating: 5/5 stars

My Review: Let’s just call a spade a spade: I’m a funny person and I know funny when I see, hear, or read it. I also hate being told something is funny and/or good and it turns out not to be. I was told Gale Borger’s Totally Buzzed was quite funny and no one lied to me about this! The first Miller Sister’s Mystery, Totally Buzzed is an excellent read that is both funny and very cleverly written.

As a reader I’m generally looking for solid and interesting characters, witty in a book, right? Borger delivers on all fronts! Totally Buzzed opens with two chapters of introduction: the introduction of the Miller clan and the introduction of the dead body that sets up the entire novel. There were several moments in these first two chapters that I laughed out loud. In many ways, these two inspired introductory chapters set the tone for the entire novel. Here’s the skinny: news travels fast in a small town and before the Miller sister’s know it, the entire town is gathered (with food) at the Miller’s to check out the dead lady. From this point forward, Borger weaves a fascinating tale of murder, champion horses, exotic plants, drug running, and a little romance on the side. All of which features two of the four Miller sisters, Buzz (DUH) and Maggie.

While it may seem like none of these elements really go together, Borger makes them work in an interesting and convincing fashion; nothing feels forced or out of place. It helps immensely that Borger knows how to write good dialogue: the story moves forward through the dialogue and the interaction between the characters rather than the author simply explaining everything. Each and every character, both major and minor, has distinct characteristics and personalities that the reader can really grab on too. With the exception of the bad guys, there is really not a character in the book that is not likable or the very least interesting. Again, to beat a dead horse, this is accomplished through the author’s ability to write good dialogue.

Where Borger really grabbed my attention was in her attention to detail and how she presents that detail. Very often authors fail to realize that their readers are not experts in every field imaginable; their failure lies in the fact that they try to inundate the reader with details that are complicated and, to be frank, boring. Borger does not fall into this trap! She easily and simply explains the details of the case so that the reader is intrigued rather than put off. By novel’s end, the reader has learned a little something about police work and forensic botany – both of which are punctuated by scenes of humor and budding (HA!) romance.

The Bottom LineTotally Buzzed is a very entertaining and satisfying read. None of my questions about the characters or the plot were left unanswered and the ending was absolutely perfect. There wasn’t a rush to the end to tie everything up in four pages. In fact, Borger took her time with a wonderfully paced unraveling of events that explained everything.

The Wild Ones by M. Leighton: Review

Format: Kindle Edition, 330 pagesPublished: August 1st 2012 by M. Leighton Books ASIN: B008QYHILGEdition language: EnglishSeries: The Wild Ones

Format: Kindle Edition, 330 pages
Published: August 1st 2012 by M. Leighton Books
ASIN: B008QYHILG
Edition language: English
Series: The Wild Ones

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/15761241-the-wild-ones

http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1152263.M_Leighton

Synopsis from Goodreads:

**MATURE CONTENT ADVISORY: May not be suitable for younger readers**

Passion as hot as midnight in the South and love as wild as the horses they tame.
Camille “Cami” Hines is the darling daughter of the South’s champion thoroughbred breeder, Jack Hines.  She has a pedigree that rivals some of her father’s best horses.  Other than feeling a little suffocated at times, Cami thought she was pretty happy with her boyfriend, her life and her future.
But that was before she met Patrick Henley.
“Trick” blurs the lines between what Cami wants and what is expected of her.  He’s considered the “help,” which is forbidden fruit as far as her father is concerned, not to mention that Trick would be fired if he ever laid a hand on her.  And Trick needs his job.  Desperately.  His family depends on him.
The heart wants what the heart wants, though, and Trick and Cami are drawn to each other despite the obstacles.  At least the ones they know of.
When Trick stumbles upon a note from his father, it triggers a series of revelations that could ruin what he and Cami have worked so hard to overcome.  It turns out there’s more to Trick’s presence at the ranch than either of them knew, secrets that could tear them apart.

Source: Author for a fair and honest review

My Rating: 4/5 stars

My Review: For no particular reason, I never use passages/lines from the books I read in my reviews.  Today, I am going to throw caution to the wind and lead with a super-awesome excerpt.  Hold on boys and girls, this one is kind of hot.

“Another of whatever Cami is having.”  He turns back to me, a wicked gleam in his smoky eyes.  “Sorry about your drink.  Not so much about your shirt, though,” he admits candidly.

Willing myself not to blush again, I tilt my head.  “So, do clumsy strangers have names in this place? Or are you just called ‘bull in china shop’?”

The lopsided grin comes back.  “Patrick, but my friends call me Trick.”

“Trick? As in trick or treat?  That kind of trick?”

He laughs and my stomach flutters.  It actually flutters.

“Yep.  That kind of trick.”  He sobers and leans in close to me.  “Cami, can I ask a favor?”

I’m breathless again.  He’s so close I can count every hair in the stubble that dusts his tan cheeks.  For just a second, his clean manly scent overrides the cigarette smoke and stale beer smell of the bar.

I lose my voice – again – so I nod.

“Pick ‘treat.’ Please, for the love of God, pick ‘treat’.”

Like an idiot, I say nothing.  I do nothing.  I simply stare.  Like a . . .a . . .well, like an idiot.

He makes a disappointed noise with his lips and then starts shaking his head.  “Too bad.  Woulda made my night.” (Kindle, 1%)

With that dear reader, I was totally and completely head over heels in lust with Trick!  Little did I know this naughty exchange was the first of many throughout The Wild Ones and set the tone for the entire book.  Trick is a bit down on his luck but is in no way giving up on his dream of becoming a veterinarian.  He has come home to help out his mom and little sister and until he can get back to school, he has taken a job as a stable hand at the local horse ranch which just happens to be owned by Cami’s dad.  Trick sure didn’t see that one coming and daddy has already warned ‘the help’ to stay the hell away from his daughter.

Here’s what I liked about The Wild Ones:

*Trick: absolutely, positively, and without doubt one of the best male leads I have come across in quite some time.  For me, the entire plot and novel is carried by this single character.  Trick is just good: he puts his own dreams and goals on hold for his family; he is gifted and passionate about horses – creatures he treats with the utmost care and respect; he is intelligent; he is confident and; he is smokin’ hot and knows how to turn a girl on.

*the almost naughty bits: I have to admit this is one of the hottest books I have ever read that has no actual sex scenes.  Yep, you read that correctly, there are no actual sex scenes but there are some mouthwatering flirtations that leave everyone all hot and bothered.  Trick and Cami do eventually do the big dirty but not before a lot of smoldering and frustratingly incomplete moments.  To be frank, there is a butt-ton of sexual frustration for Trick, Cami, and the reader 🙂

*the plot: this is a novel where the past and present come hurtling toward one another and crash violently in the present.  Cami and Trick’s respective parents absolutely forbid their children to see one another and neither has any idea why this would be so.  Once the past comes to light everything in Trick and Cami’s world comes apart and their tenuous relationship is threatened.  The secrets that come to light are as interesting as they are surprising and certainly enhance the plot.

The only thing I really didn’t care for with this novel is Cami.  I really wanted to like Cami but her fickleness and penchant for secrets in the beginning is as off-putting as her indecisiveness about her actual boyfriend and Trick.  I get it, Cami is young and doesn’t want to disappoint her daddy but her actions with regards to both her boyfriend and Trick are just wrong.  Cami leads both men on while waiting for the universe or someone to provide her with the one bit of evidence or truth that will allow her to make the “right” decision.  In the end, all Cami gets and causes is pain.

The Bottom Line: I really did enjoy The Wild Ones and think it would be a more than acceptable and certainly entertaining read for adults interested in both romance and a tiny bit of mystery.  For me, the entire novel was carried by a single character – Trick – and I am absolutely OK with it.  Trick is a character worth cheering for, the plot is fairly fast-paced, and the almost naughty bits are every bit as good as actual naughty bits.  Pick this one up and I swear you won’t be disappointed.