Friday, June 22, 2012


If you are not a soccer fan, you may not know that the 14th UEFA European Football Championship is being held in Poland and Ukraine right now (until July 1). Sixteen national teams compete in 31 matches to be crowned European champions. At stake: national pride and bragging rights. And, trust me, in Europe that’s serious business.

Today, the Germans sent the Greeks home. In an exciting 4:2 game, Philipp Lahm, Sami Khedira, Miroslav Klose and Marco Reus struck with greater skill. Go, Germany! 

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Review: I OWN THE DAWN, The Night Stalkers, by M.L. Buchman

Not too long ago I reviewed ML Buchman’s THE NIGHT IS MINE, the first book in a four-book series (because there’re four seats on a Black Hawk helicopter) featuring “women pilots who fly for the immensely secretive, real-life U.S. Army SOAR.” I loved it and eagerly anticipated book two in the series. 

Book two, I OWN THE DAWN, revisits the sunbaked, forward SOAR operations in Pakistan and doesn’t disappoint. I may actually like it even better than book one. Sergeant Kee Smith is an immensely flawed and very human character. A volatile firecracker always on the verge of explosion, she is wonderfully offset by cool and collected First Lieutenant Archie Jeffrey Stevenson who can’t believe his luck when Kee strolls into camp.  

At first, their relationship is a turbulent, hot, hotter mess, but they navigate it like they navigated everything else in their lives: with 100% “Night Stalkers Never Quit” commitment. 

I love Buchman’s warrior women. He has an undeniable way with them; they’re tough, capable, oh so deadly, and yet completely female (not feminine so much). His men are often exasperated by their chosen mates, a very endearing trait that robs them of none of their masculinity.

Fair warning: I OWN THE DAWN is a military romance set in the world of a forward deployed group of elite fighters, but there’s nothing romantic about the setting of war. People die. Lives are in constant danger. Love is a luxury. I loved all the technical, military details that dealt with SOAR, the helicopters and Kee’s job as a gunner, but if you’re not a closeted military enthusiast, the technical aspects of the novel could become a tad bit overbearing. 

If you enjoyed book one, you’ll love book two. If you’re hesitant to jump into a new series, don’t worry about needing to know previous events; I OWN THE DAWN can be thoroughly enjoyed as a stand-alone. 


Review: SECRET OF THE WOLF by Cynthia Garner

I have to admit I didn’t read Cynthia Garner’s first book in this new paranormal series, but that didn’t lessen my enjoyment of her second book in the series, SECRET OF THE WOLF. In fact, enjoyment is a woeful understatement. I loved this book. Garner (a pen name for Sherrill Quinn) has earned a definite spot on my to-read and pre-order lists. 

In SECRET OF THE WOLF, events set in motion in book one have consequences for sexy werewolf Tori and human detective Dante. Their professional relationship, which already includes a healthy dose of attraction, grows as the two work to solve the puzzle left to them by the vampire and half-demon in book one.

While they do their best not to be obvious, neither Tori nor Dante hide their attraction to each other. Dante, ever the gentleman, struggles with his need to commit fully. Thinking he’s too busy to enter into a relationship, he’s honest with Tori about his reluctance to date her. Tori, thoroughly modern in her approach to men, sees nothing wrong with a bit of fun on the side, but she can’t hide her longing for a deeper connection for long.
You have to give Dante credit for knowing full well that Tori is much better equipped to protect herself than he ever could, yet he still walks her to her car to see her safe. His very healthy male ego isn’t the least bit put off by the fact that he’s the prey and she’s the predator. I enjoyed this relationship dynamic immensely; it’s not often the guy relinquishes the top spot as gentlemanly as Dante. 

Their romantic relationship sizzles as paranormal violence threatens to tear them apart. The identity of the bad guy isn’t much of a mystery for long. It’s Tori’s understandable reluctance to confirm what her instincts tell her that drive the conflict here.

Even though Tori and Dante solve the puzzle left to them in SECRET OF THE WOLF, what they uncover only sparks further questions. Garner’s next offering in this series will see demon Finn and fairy princess Keira try to get one step ahead of the bad guys out to dominate mankind (and I’m pre-ordering).