I generally review romance, paranormal and urban fantasy. I tend to pick review books that I want to read, so generally my reviews will be positive. I always give my honest opinion: good, bad, and indifferent.
Note: on my blog I use a letter grading system. I've listed the ratings below. For sites with stars, I have listed the equivalent rating. If I didn't finish the book, I will not rate it with stars.
A+ Personal Favorite (5 stars)
A Loved It (4.5 or 5 stars)
A- Enjoyed A Lot (4 or 4.5 stars)
B+ Liked It A Lot (4 stars)
B Liked It -- Recommend (4 stars)
B- Liked It -- But I had a few small issues (3 or 3.5 stars)
C+ Liked It -- But I had issues (3 or 3.5 stars)
C Finished It -- Liked some, didn't like some (3 stars)
C- Finished It -- Liked a little, didn't like a lot (2 or 2.5 stars)
D Not A Big Fan (2 stars)
E Don’t Waste Your Time (1 star)
TW: Reading this book was like watching a Train Wreck
DNF: Did Not Finish
updated July 9, 2015
Taking the Heat is one of the books that I eye’d for review, but knew I’d be over-stretching myself, so I passed it up. But the reviews were so good, I ended up one-clicking it from Amazon and found some time to read it. OMG! I am SOOOO glad I did. I just loved this story. Gabe and Veronica have the I-couldn't-put-it-down kind of romance that got me to fall in love with the pair. Gabe and Veronica are so freakin' cute and completely real. I easily related to both characters in more ways than one, creating complete investment in their wellbeing. I wanted them to grow, succeed, and fall hopelessly in love.
While the overall story is nearly predictable, I couldn't stop the flow of tears, trembling hands, and pounding heart reactions to many of the key moments. Simply, I was touched and moved by these characters and their story. Ms. Dahl turns something that could easily have been ordinary into something sublime and special.
Veronica is insecure and feels she is a fake in her job as a newspaper advice columnist. But what she doesn't see is that she's really, really good at what she does. While her insecurities could have been a put off, the author doesn't overburden the reader (or Gabe) with non-stop self-flagellation. She lets out just enough of her doubt, both orally and privately, to let us know her fears and concerns without creating someone with no self-respect. Most of us have been where Veronica is, and she pulls it all off with charm, a sparkling personality, and genuine compassion.
Gabe. Sigh. A hunky yet nerdy dreamboat. And he's totally smitten with Veronica. He has a caring soul, which gets him into trouble. He's so concerned with making sure others are happy that he tends to leave out details he finds uncomfortable or difficult. He's not perfect, and I think that's what puts him over-the-top attractive, and also what adds the ideal amount of heartbreak. Watching the pair struggle and figure it out added an emotional depth that a lot of lighthearted contemporaries are lacking. Additionally, the pair's passion burns off the pages. They have palpable chemistry and enthusiasm, making for some steamy scenes.
Overall, I absolutely adored Veronica and Gabe, making Taking the Heat one of my favorite reads of 2015. It hits all the right notes I want in my romance novels, including an emotional connection that left me wanting more from this couple and Jackson, Wyoming.
My Rating: A, Loved It