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Death, love and redemption await.
Talking with the Dead: Michael O’Rourke’s days are filled with ghosts and guilt. A psychic who can connect lost souls, his life is about finding justice for the dead. Enter Sheriff Daisy Crandall-she sees him, she wants him, but he’s in the middle of a crime scene and she can’t trust him.
Vicious Vixen: Graeme lived a hard life. His afterlife isn’t any easier. Betrayed, murdered, he has one chance at redemption-redemption for the woman he loved, the woman who killed him. How can he keep Vixen safe when she only wants her own death?
I’ve had several Shiloh Walker books on my To Buy/TBR list for a while (most notably: “Hunter’s Need”, which I’ve been panting over for months), and I finally found a copy of “Taking Chances” at my local Barnes & Noble (which was literally the only Shiloh Walker book at the store – I’ll have to have a talk with the manager about their stocking habits). I immediately snatched it up, did a happy dance right there in the aisle, and bought it (so I could take it home with me without being arrested). I cracked it open the minute I got home and made BF order a pizza because once I started reading, I couldn’t stop!
Talking with the Dead
“Talking with the Dead” opens with Michael O’Rourke and his brother Lucas. Their childhood sucks (to say the least) thanks to a junkie mom who cares more about Lucas than Michael (poor kid! My heart broke into a million little pieces for him) because Lucas was blessed with a gift and Michael is simply ordinary. After tragedy strikes, Michael is left with the ability to talk with the dead, and a ghost that will follow him around for (presumably) the rest of his life.
Michael works for a division of the FBI that reminds me of the X-Files. He works too hard and is on the verge of a burn out/breakdown. When he finally takes a break, he manages to stumble on a murder mystery that only someone with his talents can solve (kind of convenient, but it’d be mighty difficult to have a story with no plot, so it works).
When Michael and Daisy meet, she’s obviously immediately suspicious (good girl!) but is easily placated by a phone call to his superior. It’s probably the fact that I spent entirely too much time working with law enforcement or that I’m just super paranoid, but I want to say “BAD COP!” Still, he offers the help that she’s desperate for, so how can she refuse?
They’re attracted to each other and don’t really holy back on it for too long. Their scenes in the bedroom are smokin’ hot and the chemistry between them is enough to light a fire if I get my book too close to a spark.
Overall, I really liked”Talking with the Dead”. It caught my attention quickly and kept it until the last word.
The second novella in “Taking Chances” was kind of difficult for me to get into. The pacing was a bit slower, and with the stress of school and motherhood, it wasn’t easy to keep my attention if it wasn’t something that threw you into the action immediately.
I couldn’t really tell why Graeme was so in love with Vixen… they were together for years and she never once gave him an indication that she loved him back. In fact, she’s the one who killed him! Which… she had trust issues, and there looked to be a serious breach of trust, so I guess I can’t really blame her too much.
I liked the idea behind the novella – Graeme’s purpose for coming back from the dead was to help Vixen from going to hell (irony, much?). The reasons for their actions weren’t always clear, but eventually it all lined up and made sense thanks to Shiloh’s brilliant storytelling.
Even after finding his betrothed in the arms of another man, Nicholas, Viscount Lancaster, knows he must wed. Propriety–and the dire state of his finances–decrees it. At least a visit to his country estate provides relief from playing the role of loving fiance, as well as a surprising encounter with Cynthia Merrithorpe. Once his childhood companion, Cynthia has grown into a lovely, alluring woman–one who’s undertaken a daring ruse to avoid being sold into a miserable marriage.
When Nicholas left for London to assume his new title, Cynthia was forced to put aside her girlish infatuation. Now he’s returned, more wickedly attractive than ever. And this time, Cynthia is determined to experience the pleasure she’s dreamed of for so long. But with a man like Nicholas, seduction is only the beginning of a sensual journey that will tempt them both to defy convention, and uncover the very heart of desire…
I will be the first person to tell you that I don’t read historical fiction (on a regular basis). There’s just something about the genre that I’m not a fan of… which is weird, because I love historical movies.
That being said, I decided to give One Week as Lovers a try. Mostly because so many people told me “YOU HAVE TO READ VICTORIA DAHL! OMFG, I CAN’T BELIEVE YOU HAVEN’T YET! WHATISWRONGWITHYOU?!” Like KC of Smokin’ Hot Books, I succumbed to peer pressure and picked up the book. Ok, I already had two other Victoria Dahl books on my TBR list, but really that’s beside the point.
I have to say that I love the premise of the book – they’re both trying to escape arranged marriages that neither wants to be a part of. I have to say, I’d probably do the exact same thing… sorta. I’m not sure I’m brave enough to fake my own death. So, you go Cynthia!
Overall, I liked the book a lot. The characters were engaging and funny. I really enjoyed the interaction between Nick and Cynthia – how they were so back and forth about being “proper” and falling into old habits from childhood. And while I can’t relate to suffering an arranged marriage, I still managed to feel a connection to Nick and Cynthia, and I grew to care about them a lot.
The secondary characters were amazing and added much to the story (Mrs. Pell is my favorite housekeeper in the history of fictional housekeepers – even surpassing Alice from The Brady Bunch!) but didn’t detract from the main storyline.
The only issue I had was that the blurb on the back of the book didn’t mention Nick’s dark past (which was likely not mentioned for space constraints or so that too much of the plot wasn’t given away) or that the book contains some light bondage scenes. It’s not so much that I don’t enjoy books that contain bondage, but it’s nice to have some kind of warning beforehand so you know what you’re getting into.
Bottom line: Great read by a terrific author. I will definitely be picking up more of Victoria Dahl’s books in the future.
Lucy Lang isn’t looking for fireworks.
She’s looking for a nice, decent man. Someone who’ll mow the lawn, flip chicken on the barbecue, teach their future children to play soccer. But most important: someone who won’t inspire the slightest stirring in her heart…or anywhere else. A young widow, Lucy can’t risk that kind of loss again. But sharing her life with a cat named Fat Mikey and the Black Widows at the family bakery isn’t enough either. So it’s goodbye to Ethan, her hot but entirely inappropriate “friend with privileges” and hello to a man she can marry.
Too bad Ethan Mirabelli isn’t going anywhere. As far as he’s concerned, what she needs might be right under her nose. But can he convince her that the next best thing can really be forever?
I picked The Next Best Thing up on a trip to the grocery store when I was sick. I’ve said it a few times before: I should never be allowed near a place that sells books when I’m sick. I have zero willpower and I have absolutely no issue buying 10-20 books at a time. Well, that time I only bought three, but that’s really beside the point… I am so very glad that I picked up this book.
When the book opens up, Lucy is holding her new niece and is absolutely enthralled with her. It’s sweet and endearing and utterly adorable. But it’s also the catalyst for the whole plot of the book: it makes Lucy want a baby of her own. The only problem? Her husband died five years ago.
Lucy is a rollercoaster of emotions and sometimes seems like she needs to be in the nuthouse instead of a bakery (where she works with her mom and two of her aunts – collectively called “The Black Widows” because of an unfortunate surname and the propensity for the husbands in the family to die young). You manage to feel pity for Lucy, who somehow manages to be both strong and utterly broken at the same time.
I felt more for Ethan though… her “friend with privileges”, who also happens to be her dead husband’s brother. He goes through so much in order to be with her, occasionally looking like a doormat while she works through her (understandable) issues. He still managed to be an awesome father to his son (from a previous relationship), and that of course made him even more swoon-worthy. My heart went out to him more than once throughout the book.
Lucy’s mom and the aunts made me laugh out loud more than once (I will never refer to Starbucks as anything but “The Starbucks” ever again), but also made me so angry that I nearly threw the book across the room a few times. Yes, they’re old and they’re set in their ways, but they blatantly ignored Lucy’s suggestions and statements more than once and it just pissed me off.
I don’t want to give too much away, because this isn’t a book you want to pass by. It’s funny, heart-warming, and an all-around good read.