Friday Booktalk

I hope everyone had a lovely New Year! Welcome to the first Friday Booktalk of 2009! I’ve got some really good stuff to talk about so here we go!

Jill Sorenson’s Crash Into Me

I got an ARC of this one and I really loved it. Sonny Vasquez is an undercover FBI agent. She’s tough and strong but she’s got a lovely softer, wounded side too. She’s sent in to investigate Ben Fortune, a retired world class surfer who’s suspected of a string of serial killings of women in San Diego.

Crash Into Me has the perfect combination of suspense, action and romance. The chemistry between Sonny and Ben is really well done and believable. Certainly there’s physical attraction right off but Sonny makes Ben work for something he’s taken for granted. His seduction skills are rusty because he’s shut himself away from women and dating after the murder of his wife some years before. I love that Sorenson has him still in love with her, has him riddled with guilt that he wasn’t as good a husband as he could have been. I love that he was a parent and struggling to walk that line between giving his daughter room to grow and make mistakes and being too strict.

In fact that’s really where this book stood out for me. I loved Ben – I loved that the presence of a child in this book was real and not an accessory the way it can be in other books. His struggle rang true and Carly, his daughter, had her own issues and hardships. I think Sorenson gave this angle a really modern edge and she did it very well.

Crash Into Me is going to do really well for Sorenson – a great contemporary with the right mix. A fabulously hot surfer hero who’s a dad (and how sexy is that!), a street smart but fair FBI agent with her own demons to fight – the romance is sweet but also sexy and hot. The mystery well done. The setting was interesting. A very good read!

SJ Day’s Eve of Darkness. This one is another ARC because Sylvia Day is sparkly and she sent it to me before I had to break down and weep and beg.

Eve of Darkness is, well, sigh, really damned good. Sylvia Day is an excellent writer. She can tackle historicals and paranormals with ease and now, urban fantasy as well. Not so much a surprise because like I said, she’s an excellent writer.

This is book one of her new Marked series featuring Evangeline Hollis or Eve – who is given the Mark of Cain and made into one of God’s warriors to pay off penance. She’s also teamed up with Alec Cain who is the man she’s not been able to forget over the last ten years and she’s his only weakness. A weakness which has all the infernals and not a few Marked, on her tail as well.

Eve is a wonderful character. She’s prickly, yes, but not stupidly so. She’s not so damaged she throws tantrums every five minutes (my least favorite UF and romance device). She’s freaked out by her circumstances yes, but she deals because there’s no other choice. I like that.

Alec Cain, holy cripes – smoking hot. I love that he’s the one who has pined for her for ten years. I love his angst and guilt over her being marked and his teetering between wanting to free her and wanting her at his side too.

Reed Abel – yes, Cain and Abel and yes they are at each others’ throats. But Day has done such a great job in creating this rivalry based on biblical story turned on its ear that you really feel for both men, even as Reed is trying to seduce Eve right out from under (um, no pun intended) Alec.

It opens with some pretty wonderful and scary action, complete with an edge of tragedy and takes you back in time. But the story is seamless in this and Day’s timeline, her momentum is really excellent. You care about her world and she’s taken something many of us are familiar with and has put her own spin on and made it her own.

Eve of Darkness is a fabulous read and I can’t wait for the next installment.

Anne Stuart’s Fire and Ice. said at the end of my review of Ice Blue that I was hoping the most magnificent Anne Stuart would have a book in store for Jilly and Reno and here it is. Let’s get the “up front” portion of the review out of the way – I love Anne Stuart, like big love. She’s an author who always takes chances and gets away with it because she has magic. I admire her talent, I admire her guts and I love her books as much as I love Gerard Butler in tiny leather undies and nothing else.

So here we’ve got Stuart giving us a hero with tats, face tats even, a Japanese grandson of Yakuza royalty with a braid of flaming red hair and cowboy boots and he’s off the charts sexy. Like, whew, sigh, guh sexy. And tough. And you know he’s falling for Jilly and you know he’s risking himself for her over and over and part of it is for honor, which is only sexier, but another part is because he loves her and that’s so apparent, even as he fights it.

The action is fab. The overarching story of the younger gen Yakuza battling older gen is really well done and interesting and kept me glued to the pages.

Jilly, well listen, like I said, I adore Anne Stuart but her heroines really drive me crazy sometimes. Jilly less so than some others but holy moly did I want to smack her about a dozen times in this book. Girl, you either think he’s yours or you don’t. Stop your freakin whining! I did like that she wasn’t stupid. She knew Reno would protect her and she let him. There was one running off scene but she totally paid for it and even better, she KNEW she was stupid for it.

Anne Stuart really does it again with this one. I loved it and as always, I await her next title totally greedily.

8 comments to “Friday Booktalk”

  1. Juliana Stone
    January 2nd, 2009 at 11:22 am · Link

    Hey Lauren…glad I read your blog today…I just remembered that I have SJ Day’s ARC…I’m gonna have to go through all the books I brought back from San Fran and get it…it totally sounds like my kind of read!

  2. Jill Sorenson
    January 2nd, 2009 at 12:25 pm · Link

    Hi Lauren! Thanks so much for reading Crash Into Me. I’m so glad you enjoyed my characters, especially the relationship between Ben and Carly. Yay for sexy single dads! Who surf!

    Coming from another author, it means a lot. Thanks again.

    P.S. LOVE Anne Stuart! Jilly isn’t my favorite heroine either, but what an awesome series. The best.

  3. Fedora
    January 2nd, 2009 at 12:48 pm · Link

    Wow–Lauren, some of these I don’t think I would have picked up but with your prompting… thanks for adding to the list of must-gets this year!

  4. S. J. Day
    January 2nd, 2009 at 3:11 pm · Link

    Lauren –

    I’m SO excited by your review. 😀 Thank you so much! I’m thrilled that you enjoyed the book. (and relieved *g*)

    Juliana –

    The copy you picked up at Nationals was an ABM (Advance Bound Manuscript) which is my raw, unedited ms that Tor distributed in hopes of early buzz. The ARC / final book is a bit different, but the jist of the story is the same. I hope you enjoy it!

  5. Karin
    January 2nd, 2009 at 3:25 pm · Link

    Lauren, thanks for posting about these books. They all sound fabulous.

  6. ShellBell
    January 2nd, 2009 at 9:48 pm · Link

    Lauren .. have you read Married To It? It is a short story that is available on Anne Stuart’s website – covers the short period of time when Reno and Jilly met.


  7. Ann Aguirre
    January 5th, 2009 at 11:19 am · Link

    Hm, now I want to read CRASH INTO ME even more. I’m not usually into suspense, but it sounds like Jill is like Annie Solomon in that she can combine the romance with the suspense in a believable way.

  8. Debby
    January 5th, 2009 at 7:36 pm · Link

    Hmm, I need to go looking for some of these books