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Saving Raine (The Drone Wars) (Volume 1)
Saving Raine (The Drone Wars) (Volume 1)
by Frederick Lee Brooke
Edition: Paperback
Price: $14.02
7 used & new from $11.95

3.0 out of 5 stars Good Reading, July 25, 2014
It’s easier to make a promise than it is to keep it, but Matt has never been the type of person to go back on his word.

Dystopias are one of my favourite sub-genres of science fiction. Projecting how current trends could go horribly wrong in the future is fascinating, especially when the author isn’t afraid to criticize more than one political party in the process. The world-building in this one was strong, consistent, and occasionally pretty scary.

The antagonists in this story are fairly flat characters. In some cases their reasons for opposing Matt were hard to understand because their actions didn’t match what they seemed to want from him. Everyone has contradictory moments, of course, but with such limited information about their personalities I had trouble understanding why they made certain choices.

Matt is a well-developed and sympathetic protagonist. What I found most interesting about this character is how his flaws interact with the plot. He has more than his fair share of them, but because they’re so well-integrated into everything else that’s going on they felt like natural extensions of the complex personality of a guy who has seen more than his fair share of troubles.

There were so many shifts in perspective that they occasionally slowed down my perception of how fast the plot was moving due to the extra time I needed to figure out who was speaking now. I understand this is the first book in a series, and I suspect that some of these shifts might make more sense in the future. As it was written, though, this particular tale would have worked better for me if it had limited itself to one or two speakers.

The romantic subplot fits in well with everything else that’s going on. Matt and Raine’s relationship has had to adjust to a lot of changes , but it was easy to imagine how they interacted with each other before she moved away due to the letters and other written forms of communication they’ve swapped.

Saving Raine is an adrenaline-soaked adventure that kept this reader’s attention from beginning to end. If you like dystopian fiction, give it a try!

originally posted at long and short reviews


The Captive (Captive Hearts)
The Captive (Captive Hearts)
Price: $4.80

3.0 out of 5 stars Good Reading, July 25, 2014
Gillian knew that society expected her to be in mourning over her late husband, but instead of mourning, she found herself intrigued and pinning for the Duke, Christian Severn, so damn what society would say.

Christian’s captivity certainly changed him, in some ways the worst, in others for the better. I am not sure if this is what made Gillian want to know more about him, but it made me interested. It was clear that he came to appreciate things such as family, honor and freedom a bit more than he previously had. It also made a made suspicious of those around him, and in need of some physical healing. In some ways he reminded me of stubborn toddler in need of assistance, but determined to do things on their own. Luckily Gillian seems to be up to the challenge, and as a bonus she loves children including Christian’s daughter.

Gillian was a character that I had mixed feelings about. I liked her new founded independence, but with it seems to come a disregard for her own welfare. It seemed at times she was so worried about standing on her own two feet, that she failed to seek or accept help when needed. For example, there are a few times when her life is possibly in danger, and she seems to just brush it off, or not want to admit the severity. This frustrated me, because I just could not imagine someone being so careless with their life.

The romantic development with this story was right on point, and I really enjoyed how the author incorporated Christian’s daughter in the story. In more than a few cases Christian even used Gillian’s love for the girl to help win Gillian’s heart, which I found amusing. It seemed as if Christian new exactly what to do when it came to winning Gillian over, except when it came to him seeking revenge, but even then he tried to keep it from Gillian, and protect her at all costs, even if from himself.

While the story was a bit difficult to follow in the beginning, once I figured out the characters, I was able to enjoy the story. I even got to meet a few supporting characters that I really enjoyed and hope to see more of. This is a true redemption story, which kept me entertained for hours.

originally posted at long and short reviews


Getting Down To Business
Getting Down To Business
Price: $2.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Good Reading, July 25, 2014
Stuck with no cell service and a flat tire on the hottest day of the year, Jessie Knutson is not having a good day. When Bernard Spencer – BJ – drove by and offered to help, relief warred with her instant attraction to the sexy man. Taking BJ up on his offer of shelter as a storm comes through, one thing leads to another and soon Jessie has forgotten all about her business trip and is enjoying the sensual heat in BJs arms.

A fast moving, fun romp of a book, this was a great read. I loved how despite the fact outwardly Jessie appeared like a helpless female she knew her way around a car, she just not keen to change a tire in a tiny miniskirt. I also appreciated the manners and almost sweetness of BJ. Blushing at a few innuendo-laden comments and raised with strict etiquette, BJ wasn’t your average rough around the corners mechanic. I was a little disappointed at how BJ kept a few secrets, and equally surprised and sad that Jessie didn’t call him out on it. That part didn’t feel very realistic to me. While a tantrum or over-the-top anger also wouldn’t have suited the situation it felt really as if instead of exploring the hurt/conflict the author glossed over it to give us more sexy chemistry. I also felt BJ and Jessie cooling things down mid-book, while understandable, was a bit off. This did increase the conflict and sexual tension between them, but also felt a little stilted or contrived to my mind. This didn’t detract from my enjoyment of the characters or the situations they found themselves in.

I thought the author did an excellent job of the chemistry and relationship building between BJ and Jessie and while I felt the plot lacked in certain areas the sex and affection between the main characters was very well written. Readers looking for a highly charged, erotic story should really enjoy this story to my mind. The plot was interwoven between the romance and while the scales tipped a little toward the “more sex” side, the book read quite balanced to me. A fun read with great characters and pacing.

originally posted at long and short reviews


Together Always: Spirit Travel Romance (Vicarage Bench Series)
Together Always: Spirit Travel Romance (Vicarage Bench Series)
Price: $2.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Good Reading, July 25, 2014
Fascinating idea! I loved the concept of a terminally ill woman switching bodies with another woman who’s been declared brain dead, especially when the woman suffers from a physical disfigurement and has never felt beautiful, and the body she’s taking is just amazingly lovely. Since Grace is gorgeous on the inside, she deserved for her outside to match.

I also liked the idea that the husband of the brain dead woman, Vanessa, hated her passionately and wanted nothing more than to see the plug pulled. It certainly added plenty of conflict, especially when his “wife” comes back to life and has a completely different temperament.

The secondary characters certainly added flavor here. Comic relief of a sort came from Mrs. Dorn and occasionally from Grace’s dearest friend, Tobias, who’s the man behind the idea for the switch. My heart absolutely broke for Lucas and Vanessa’s son, Samuel. He’s the sweetest child and when we hear why he took his mother’s picture, and the punishment he received for the theft, well … it certainly didn’t endear Vanessa to me and helped me understand why Lucas felt as he did.

The only struggle I had came when Vanessa entered the picture. I truly hated her passionately, possibly more than Lucas did. What she did and her previous behavior was unforgiveable. Clearly Grace is a much kinder person than I am, as she strove to help Vanessa get past all the things that made her the way she was. But my negative feelings for her were so strong, it was all I could do to read through those portions where she participated. And there’s a significant part near the end where it’s all Vanessa. Had I not been reading for review, I might have been tempted to put the book down. On the other hand, it’s a testament to the author’s skill that I became so involved with all the characters and felt as strongly as I did. If they hadn’t been so realistically written, I wouldn’t have cared so much.

The author has a descriptive way with words that I appreciated and the story was cleanly edited and enjoyable. I truly think most romance readers will completely enjoy Together Always, especially if you don’t feel as vehemently as I. The romance between Lucas and Grace is lovely, and watching Samuel learn to trust again was a glorious thing.

originally posted at long and short reviews


Blame it on Texas
Blame it on Texas
Price: $2.66

4.0 out of 5 stars Good Reading, July 25, 2014
This review is from: Blame it on Texas (Kindle Edition)
Everything is not just bigger in Texas, it seems everything is also more complicated. At least, that’s how it seems when Shelby comes home to get her husband to sign the divorce papers.

The author managed to show the tension between Ritt and Shelby very nicely; there’s attraction but also the insecurity and fear that they feel because of the events from seven years ago. Both are presented as complex characters, with believable development and complicated emotional lives. The other characters were well-written despite having very small roles.

The novella was the perfect length to tell the story with an effective pace. I was slightly disappointed by the ending (I’m referring to Ritt’s secret) that felt a bit out of character and threw a shadow on an otherwise fitting resolution. It made the ending less believable and therefore less satisfying. The wonderful characters deserved better.

The story could benefit from better copy-editing and fewer clichés, but the characters and the story were compelling enough to help me ignore that. The conflict between the main characters was especially strong because it originated in a misunderstanding that was based on Ritt’s and Shelby’s emotions. The progression from their doubts and fears to realization and acceptance was nicely shown through the story and it made it easy to identify with them.

I wished for the story to never end, I couldn’t get enough of Ritt and Shelby. This is a hot summer read.

originally posted at long and short reviews


Stairlift to Heaven: Growing Old Disgracefully
Stairlift to Heaven: Growing Old Disgracefully
Price: $3.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Good Reading, July 25, 2014
Bodies fall apart when people get old. Eventually they stop working altogether. You can’t stop it, but you sure can laugh while it’s happening!

Mr. Ravenscroft has a incredibly dry, British sense of humour that relies heavily on irony and sarcasm to get his point across. This works particularly well when he’s discussing all of the body parts that have betrayed him over the past few years and what he’s done to attempt to fix them. What I liked most about his take on the world is that he is just as likely to make fun of himself as he was to use other people as ammunition for his anecdotes.

There were a few times when I thought that the author went too far in his descriptions of certain conversations with his wife. Most of their interactions were really funny, but some of his comments about her appearance came across as unnecessarily snide to me. I suspect that I would have had a far different reaction to these scenes had they been part of a stand-up routine or some other form of comedy that also relies on tone of voice and body language. After all, the exact same string of words can be affectionate or snarky depending on how they’re delivered!

By far the best part of this book for me was the discussion about how everyone magically becomes a wonderful person as soon as they die. In this scene Terry attends the funeral of someone who was known to be incorrigibly mean-spirited and prejudiced when he was alive, but who was made out to be a saint at his burial. There is a lot of truth to this observation, and it was thought-provoking and funny to wonder why people do this.

Stairlift to Heaven kept me grinning from beginning to end. I’d recommend it to anyone who enjoy British humor.

originally posted at long and short reviews


Christmas with Caden
Christmas with Caden
Price: $2.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Good Reading, July 25, 2014
Paige hates her annual office Christmas party. Everyone goes to a club and gets completely drunk, then tries to either screw each other silly or pick up random strangers. Totally unprofessional and a pain in the ass, in Paige’s mind. The fact Harry Davis, her boss, and one of her boss’s sons both love such social events doesn’t make working life easier for Paige. But Caden Davis, Harry’s other son, is completely different. He’s sexy in an understated way and far more Paige’s style. They get talking and suddenly the evening of the Christmas party doesn’t seem like something to merely be endured anymore.

This fun short story is full of holiday cheer and a cringe-worthy Christmas party that turns unexpectedly good. I was a little surprised at how quickly things moved between Caden and Paige. There was no middle step or breathing room between Paige fighting off Caden’s brother’s unwanted advances and then Paige and Caden sexy dancing together and getting in the mood. As a reader I felt I needed a bit more time between those two events to get my head around the scenes, especially as they were both emotional scenes but in totally different ways. Having said that, I thought the rest of the story was really well paced. Caden and Paige don’t just jump right into bed, there is some seriously sexy dancing and what I felt was a decent exchange of conversation for two people who already knew each other superficially.

For a very short story I thought this ticked many boxes. Caden and Paige are interesting characters that are well drawn for the small word count. I found the sex scene to be hot and descriptive and although the plot is thin, for such a quickie I can understand how difficult anything more complex would have been. A delicious little bite of a story for when you only have an hour or so to enjoy a quick read.

Originally posted at long and short reviews


What Echoes Render (A Windsor Series Novel Book 3)
What Echoes Render (A Windsor Series Novel Book 3)
Price: $3.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Good Reading, July 25, 2014
Thoroughly enjoyable, What Echoes Render is a well written story with one foot solidly in both the romance and suspense camps.

Jesse, the heroine of our story, is a great woman. She’s strong, smart, determined. She’s a great mom, but not without her flaws or without a troubled backstory. I really liked Jesse, though I wasn’t completely sold on her reasons for keeping her budding relationship with David a mystery.

David was pretty amazing, too. Much like Jesse, he’s strong (but compassionate and caring), smart, determined, loyal and a good dad. But also with a difficult past in both the personal and professional sides. He puts up with a bit of an emotional yo-yo from Jesse, but sticks it out because he sees what’s underneath her insecurity. I liked, too, how he involved her boys in much of what was going on with their relationship. As a single dad, he really understood that area.

The mystery was intriguing and had plenty of clues, both real and the red herring type. I was certainly engaged in trying to find out whodunit and why. I suspect many true mystery buffs will figure out the villain before our protagonists do, but even so, I absolutely enjoyed this part of the book. In fact, despite being very much a romantic, I chomped at the bit when the author turned away from it and turned to the community building.

What community? Well … this is a small town story, so there are plenty of secondary characters to liven things up. However, as entertaining as they were, I admit I tended to skim past the parts that weren’t directly involved in either David and Jesse’s relationship or the mystery. Maybe if I’d read the first books in the series, I would have been more engaged in those folks, since it’s clear they figured in previous stories. But since I didn’t already know them, I just wanted to get on with the story I was reading!

Even so, What Echoes Render really sold me on the author. Her skill with prose and plot is undeniable, and I’m betting this book (and the entire series) will be a hit to other romantic suspense fans.

originally posted at long and short reviews


Masks of a Tiger (Club Ink Book 3)
Masks of a Tiger (Club Ink Book 3)
Price: $3.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Good Reading, July 25, 2014
Neeve has a whole bag of issues to sort through. At first meeting her I could see she is hurting and a very angry young woman. She covers up her feelings with snarky and rude comments and walks around with a personality like a shield maiden. Little does she know she will be meeting her match.

The reason I really enjoyed this short read? It’s because of Grisha, his personality, the way he was able to read Neeve and be there for her, giving her the gift of being able to unwrap herself from her demons. Grisha showed his Dom style by taking the sub’s needs and putting them foremost.

As always because of the lifestyle, any book that shows checking the restraints, asking about safe-words and mentioning aftercare will always be on the top of my A-list. The scenes were both hot and I could tell the writer didn’t just put words down. This is book three so for readers who jump into the middle of the series, a bit of Grisha’s reasons why he is like he is might be missed. But it really didn’t take from the actual story, so it may be able to be read as a stand alone.

I picked up this book, because of the fire play, which turned out to only be a small scene but the content of the story made up for the small bit of fire. Readers who look for some variety in their BDSM but also want the love and erotic romance should give this novella a try.

originally posted at long and short reviews


Chase Tinker & The House of Destiny (The Chase Tinker Series Book 3)
Chase Tinker & The House of Destiny (The Chase Tinker Series Book 3)
Price: $3.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Read, July 25, 2014
Chase Tinker is suffering agonizing guilt because he had to kill his evil cousin in order to save his brother. However, eight months later that guilt becomes the least of his problems. He and his family must fight the Marlowes, not only the Tinkers’ greatest enemies, but the world’s as well. The Marlowes are pillaging magic from all magical beings, bringing destruction and despair on everyone, and it is up to Chase and his family to stop them.

This is the third novel in a wonderful series. I have read the other two, but this novel may also be enjoyed as a stand-alone. The author provides enough background so that a new reader will have no difficulties getting right into the story. That being said, the series is a very strong and exciting one, so personally, I’d recommend reading all the books in order.

The characters are well defined and I really found Chase to be a very sympathetic character. He has to make some very hard decisions, and he makes them with care. The contrasts between his family and his cousins’ is dramatic, and I was pulling for Chase and his friends every inch of the way.

The magical spells seem very real and plausible. I had no difficulties at all believing that Chase could make himself invisible or shrink an unexpected and unwanted visitor so that the visitor would fit in a water bottle.

The story speaks to more than just the fantastical adventures. It also speaks to issues of determining good and evil, figuring out who to trust, acting honorably, and looking out for others. The lessons Chase learns are valuable lessons for our world as well.

The pacing is wonderful and I really wanted to read this novel in one sitting. As I neared the end, I began to worry. There was no way this could end. Sure enough, I came to the end of this novel and discovered that the fourth in the series is the concluding book. The House of Destiny has a reasonable ending, but it also is obvious that things are not resolved, and all I can say is that I hope the author is ready to release the final book in the very near future. I, for one, am sitting on the edge of my chair waiting.

Fantasy lovers will delight in the adventures of Chase and his family and friends. The action is hair-raising, the antics are fun, and the entire adventure is absolutely delightful.

originally posted at long and short reviews


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