The Fireman Who Loved Me (The Bachelor Firemen of San Gabriel #1)

The Fireman Who Loved MeBy Jennifer Bernard

Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: April 24, 2012
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Source: Publisher

Captain Brody has been badly burned by his ex-wife. When he orders Ryan, his star fireman, to participate in a bachelor auction, little does he know he’s the one who will lose his heart.

Melissa McGuire is a brainy local news producer trying to get her career back on track. She can’t believe she’s being set up by her grandmother, who bid on a date with a fireman at the auction. She prefers the artsy type, not the tough, commanding , though clearly attractive, fire chief.

And yet, they can’t resist each other, especially once her ambitious news anchor assigns her the “Thanksgiving with the Firefighters” news special. Add in her grandmother’s matchmaking and the combined efforts of Captain Brody’s crew…can Brody help being the first bachelor to succumb to love, and the crazy rollercoaster ride of the Curse?

Goodreads Summary

This was probably a bad idea even before I started reading. My brother is a fireman and I guarantee you, there are not a lot of hot bachelors just sitting around his firehouse. I’ve met one that I’d call “interesting,” but he was older than me and frankly, that would make him prehistoric. I have to give it to the author, she did get a lot of the technical stuff right but the rest of the story was tangled, cluttered and a little lacking in romance.

Melissa McGuire’s grandmother is tired of waiting for her stop seeing men who are all wrong for her and is taking the bull by the horns – or the hose – and is going to buy her a date at the auction of the Bachelor Firemen of San Gabriel. Maybe Nelly wasn’t quite…clear when she asked Melissa to meet her at the hotel for her birthday that this would be a beefcake auction, but what’s a grandmother to do when she needs to get her granddaughter settled down? Melissa turns tail and never sees Nelly plunk down a huge amount of money on the supremely gorgeous Ryan who is a little, uh, dismayed at the thought of a date with a woman of her vintage, not knowing the date is for Melissa.

Ryan puts on the puppy dog eyes until his Captain finally agrees to take the date in his place. Harry Brody is a bit of a legend, known for his calm in the face of danger and the fact that he’s never lost a man. He’s shocked – pleased – when he finds out the date is with Melissa, although his plans included the Senior Specials. The thing is, as attracted as they are to each other, they also manage to push each other’s buttons and they go from biting each other’s heads off to sucking each other’s faces off. No happy medium. Then into their relationship, a million complications arise and that’s where the plot went haywire.

Melissa is a television news producer at a small-market station and her main job seems to be corralling the high-maintenance, rather trampy anchor Ella. Ella pretty much becomes Melissa’s shadow for the story, hanging out with her at the firehouse where one of the major plotlines develops then for two more at the television station where more drama is happening. I didn’t like her – if she had to be the villain, fine. She still didn’t need to be everywhere especially when you added in large appearances by Harry’s ex-wife and Melissa’s sleazy ex-boss. Then there’s a started, dropped, picked up, dropped and picked up news story that Melissa was supposedly passionate about that was pretty important. I can give you another half dozen semi-significant storylines that also were running, all at the same time Harry and Melissa’s story was going on.

I really could have liked Harry and Melissa’s romance if it had been allowed to develop outside of all of the noise of the rest of the story. Harry was my kind of hero – not too alpha but strong enough to know how to be. He’s kind, caring, loyal and protective by nature and yummy and sexy without even trying. I liked Melissa too – she was damn good at her job and at managing Ella without her figuring it out. She’d had a big blow to her ego and took a lot of things too personally but she made it all better nicely. They just never had time for romance. It was, “you’re a pain,” to “you make me hot,” to “let’s have sex all the time,” to the bad stuff to the good stuff. No sweet romance, no fun times talking. The air was sucked out of the story by everyone else.

My Summary: If I knew the next book in the series focused more on the couple and had far, far fewer distractions, I’d probably pick it up because I did like the way the author wrote the couple. I just could not enjoy this one because I was constantly distracted by all of the other stuff happening, mostly Ella. I’ll even let it go that there are no scuzzy-looking guys in this firehouse and they don’t swear like sailors or tell morbid jokes, just please give me some romance!

My Rating: C

The Selection (The Selection #1)

The SelectionBy Kiera Cass

Publisher: Harper Teen
Publication Date: April 24, 2012
Genre: Young Adult Dystopian
Source: Publisher

For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth. To be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels. To live in the palace and compete for the heart of the gorgeous Prince Maxon.

But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her. Leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn’t want. Living in a palace that is constantly threatened by violent rebel attacks.

Then America meets Prince Maxon. Gradually, she starts to question all the plans she’s made for herself- and realizes that the life she’s always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined.

Goodreads Summary

My review may be more spoilery than usual because I’m going to get a little ranty down below and some of what I’m upset about are general things that happen throughout the book. I’m not going to go into specifics unless you’re a good guesser, but be warned anyway.

When a Prince of Illea reaches a marriageable age, the cattle call goes out to the kingdom – if you’ve got a daughter of a certain age, ask her if she’d like to sign up to try to win his hand. Rich, poor – it doesn’t matter what social standing you have, they’re all eligible as long as they fill out the form and have their picture taken. Then the best 35 of the bunch are announced on television and sent to the palace to try to impress Maxon into proposing.

America and her family are artists – painters, singers, sculptors – and they’re poor. Being chosen to be part of the Selection would mean a huge check and likely a big boost in their family’s status. She doesn’t want to sign up though, because she has a secret. She’s in love with a boy who’s even poorer than they are, a match they’d never condone. But she gives in and is shocked to hear her name announced as one of the 35.

Now under a lot of circumstances, I could like a character like America. She’s feisty, loves her family and is intensely loyal to her boyfriend. But Cass took things way too far and made America an absolutely perfect caricature of a character – she’s beautiful and unique but doesn’t know it, kind to everyone, intelligent enough to offer economic advice to the Prince, sweetly humble, the Queen loves her despite having never met her, etc., etc. I’m sure if she wandered into the woods, butterflies would alight in her hair, birds on her finger and deer and rabbits would gather ‘round her skirts.

I’ve only seen a handful of episodes of The Bachelor, but my guess is Maxon is pretty close to those guys, just dressed up as a Prince with some palace sekrits he only shares with America. He’s not terribly deep, talking mostly about how much he hates not being taken seriously as a Prince by his dad one moment, complaining about how boring meetings are not long after that.

So the characters bothered me and oh, there are more issues coming. But even if I liked them, Cass’ writing style drove me crazy at times. If ever there was a perfect example of telling and not showing, this is it. Especially for the first quarter or so of the book, it was non-stop telling. The author also has a tendency to use the characters’ names over and over in close proximity – I guess she doesn’t like pronouns? In one paragraph, in the retelling of an incident between two characters, each character’s name was used twice, a pronoun once. In one paragraph.

I don’t rant, not really. And this is going to be pretty tame because it’s tempered by the fact that overall, the book wasn’t the worst thing I’ve ever read. But there were some things that just made me angry in ways that I can barely figure out how to fit them into the review in a coherent way. So I’m just going to throw them out there.

This was not a dystopian. Was the label slapped on there because the palace was attacked a few times by some literally unseen Northern or Southern troops? They either bombed from afar or invaded, and while everyone cowered in a secure room, they ransacked bedrooms and were driven off by the guards. Really? As far as the caste system, that hardly qualifies. So there are rich people who have money and there are varying social levels of other people who have less, down to people who have trouble finding work and education and occasionally steal to eat. And this is different from our current society how?

The depiction of the girls is so stereotypical, it’s offensive. Cold, rich, bitchy girl who wears too much makeup, clings to the guy and sabotages the other girls? Check. Little mousey girl who’s small, quiet, timid? Check – her name is even – wait for it – Tiny. There’s the smart geek who’s afraid to interact with anyone, the super-friendly middle class girl who befriends America because she recognizes a kindred super-friendly spirit. While not part of the Selection group, there are America’s three maids who of course include one girl who was traumatized and once America soothes her, she earns their eternal devotion. So we have America as just “one of the girls” with her maids.

Prince Maxon all but declares to America that she’s the one he plans on pursuing. If she wasn’t totally oblivious, she’d have seen it, but okay. So his first kiss is with her and it’s very sweet. And the next day? He’s kissing someone else? It seemed like there was some confusion about what qualities make an attractive hero or heroine. Maxon and America are both faithless and loose with their affections.

The ending was the most exasperating type of coy little teaser meant to keep a breathless romantic biting their nails until the next book. Look, I am a breathless romantic and under a lot of circumstances, I would be one of those people but I was so offended by the behavior of all of the parties involved, frankly they all deserved each other and I don’t care who “wins” who.

My Summary: So I didn’t love this, I think you can tell. Even if you take out the plot areas that made my blood boil, there were the storytelling problems and if you take out the style problems, you have the hair-burning issues, so I feel pretty secure with my opinion. It didn’t get an F because in spite of everything, I couldn’t help but keep reading, even though I hated myself and was cursing the entire time. I’d like to take the cover off and frame it so I have at least something pleasant to refer to when I think of this.

My Rating: D

Masque of the Red Death (Masque of the Red Death #1)

Masque of the Red DeathBy Bethany Griffin

Publisher: Harper Collins
Publication Date: April 24, 2012
Genre: Young Adult Dystopian/Steampunk
Source: Publisher

Everything is in ruins.

A devastating plague has decimated the population. And those who are left live in fear of catching it as the city crumbles to pieces around them.

So what does Araby Worth have to live for?

Nights in the Debauchery Club, beautiful dresses, glittery make-up . . . and tantalizing ways to forget it all.

But in the depths of the club—in the depths of her own despair—Araby will find more than oblivion. She will find Will, the terribly handsome proprietor of the club. And Elliott, the wickedly smart aristocrat. Neither boy is what he seems. Both have secrets. Everyone does.

And Araby may find something not just to live for, but to fight for—no matter what it costs her.

Goodreads Summary

It’s possible that I was initially drawn to this by its cover. Maybe. But I loved the synopsis and it’s inspired by the Edgar Allen Poe story so I was sold in triplicate. I’ve had it sitting here for a couple of weeks now, taunting me and to be honest, I’ve been sort of afraid to read it because I’d been anticipating it for so long. I can stick it on my reread shelf now, since I got it done and it was the keeper that I’d hoped.

If Araby Worth had more courage, she might just end her life. Instead, she separates herself as much as she can from the real world in her parents’ luxury apartment or with her friend April and trips to the Debauchery Club behind her porcelain mask to protect her from the deadly plague. When her normal defenses don’t work, Araby looks for escape in drugs, not particularly caring who she scores from or even what they are.

It’s through the club that she meets Will and Elliot. They’re practically polar opposites: Will is dark, tattooed and poor while Elliot is blonde, refined, wealthy and April’s brother. Araby lost someone very close to her and had vowed never to kiss, hold hands – fall in love – with anyone because he wouldn’t have that chance either. Both boys rouse emotions she’s tried to suppress – romantic interest, hope for their crumbling society and renewed fears and worries about her family. There isn’t really the dreaded Love Triangle, although there’s romance. I know that’s sort of contradictory, but within the story and all the turmoil, the push and pull of the guys and Araby, it doesn’t come off as any kind of triangle at all. So…breathe out. Heaven knows I did.

Araby narrates the story, so obviously the city and people get translated through her. In the beginning, she’s doing everything she can to be detached and other than some brief flares of extreme emotion, she does seem pretty disaffected. Griffin writes with a slightly staccato style and it suits Araby perfectly. Later in the story, the writing gets looser as Araby’s emotions start going haywire. I think some people might find Araby dull or a little stupid with some of the decisions she made but I think given her age, the state of society and her desire to make things right, I understood her and even liked her. Even if she made some horrible choices, in a city where breathing bad air could kill you within days, she did make those choices instead of hiding and did things that put herself at risk when she didn’t have to because she thought she was doing the right thing.

Even in its lighter moments, this is still a grim story. The threat of death hangs everywhere, from the despot leader, Prince Prospero and the maniacal revolutionary Malcontent to the Weeping Illness and the Red Death. Every moment, everyone has to ask themselves – should they ever take their mask off and where, who can they touch, what do you do if you cut yourself? People who can’t afford the expensive porcelain masks don’t leave their houses or they risk using a flimsy fabric mask and possible death. Historic incidences of the plague are a sort of macabre interest of mine and Griffin really did her homework for more than just the emotional despair. I was torn between being fascinated and a little grossed out by her detailed descriptions of the latter stages of the disease and its mutated cousin. Grossed out is meant to be complimentary.

I’m not going to give away the ending, only say that Griffin knocked the wind out of me with it. I don’t know if I just was enjoying the story so much that I wasn’t paying attention or she just threw something in there that that hadn’t had any clues dropped about, but it completely wiped out the conceptions I had about nearly all of the characters. It was a devious, cruel, torturous twist that delighted me in a completely warped way since I normally hate those, “you figure it out,” endings with a passion and now I’m so anxious to read the next book, it’s crazy.

My Summary: I’m starting to open books with so-so expectations right now, and even though I had really been waiting for this, I tamped down my hope and just started reading – and was engrossed almost immediately. The dark world controlled by disease, the contrast of the disaffected, passionate and forgotten people and the suspense storyline hooked me. 2013 seems very, very far away for the next book.

My Rating: A

Wide Open

Wide OpenBy Deborah Coates
Publisher: Tom Doherty Associates
Publication Date: March 13, 2012
Genre: Paranormal Suspense
Source: Publisher

When Sergeant Hallie Michaels comes back to South Dakota from Afghanistan on ten days’ compassionate leave, her sister Dell’s ghost is waiting at the airport to greet her.

The sheriff says that Dell’s death was suicide, but Hallie doesn’t believe it. Something happened or Dell’s ghost wouldn’t still be hanging around. Friends and family, mourning Dell’s loss, think Hallie’s letting her grief interfere with her judgment.

The one person who seems willing to listen is the deputy sheriff, Boyd Davies, who shows up everywhere and helps when he doesn’t have to.

As Hallie asks more questions, she attracts new ghosts, women who disappeared without a trace. Soon, someone’s trying to beat her up, burn down her father’s ranch, and stop her investigation.

Hallie’s going to need Boyd, her friends, and all the ghosts she can find to defeat an enemy who has an unimaginable ancient power at his command.


Hallie Michaels has been called home from Afghanistan by the news that her sister is dead. She’s stunned to find out people actually believe Dell could have committed suicide, even when it becomes apparent that her sister had been behaving oddly right before her death. Hallie thinks it has to do with the company her sister was working for which in turn seems responsible for the bizarre weather the town is experiencing.

There are several paranormal twists in the story, but the main one is that Hallie can see ghosts. After an incident in Afghanistan, not only can she see them but one in particular is attached to her – a friend and fellow soldier. When she arrives back home, her sister joins them and eventually, more women associated with the sinister company.

On her first day back home, Hallie meets deputy sheriff Boyd Davies, who came to town while she was gone. He’s a regular Andy Griffith, nice and helpful, neat as a pin – he just won’t tell her a thing about Dell’s case which infuriates her. Boyd keeps popping up to help her or save her from herself, most often the latter until eventually Hallie is sort of nice to him. Sort of.

Therein lay the general issue I had with the story. Hallie could have been a pretty good character to root for – I actually liked how reckless she was, how willing she was to deliver a punch to a jerk that was ready to punch her. But dang, she was also abrasive enough that I actually winced at some of the things she said to poor Boyd who had only ever been nice to her. She was painfully rude sometimes and if it had been delivered to someone who was giving her a hard time, I could have been fine with it, but most of the time it was directed at some schmuck who hadn’t done a thing.

As vivid as Hallie is, the rest of the characters remained a bit hazy. Boyd was at least physically clear – he’s described as bony, young-looking and a bit of a neat freak. He’s a nice guy, determined to save Hallie from the bad guys and maybe a little from herself. He has his own big secret that he hides from her and it was interesting – I wish it has been more clearly defined. The bad guys also suffered from a lack of focus but I think in this case it’s because the mystery was focused on the “thing” that was the secret rather than the “who” that was behind it for too long. The only nasty guy that stood out is one who liked to threaten Hallie and smack her around once in a while and that’s probably not a good thing.

On to what worked. I liked the way the author handled the ghost angle of the story. These weren’t pantomiming ghosts communicating with Hallie, they just were. She didn’t particularly want them there either, not even her sister. There were stories of missing girls that came into the story of Dell’s death and they made the story even creepier. What Boyd added to the story was unexpected – I’m not sure if it helped or not, but it was an interesting twist. I liked the South Dakota small town feel of the story, the setting was perfect and the author did a great job conveying the “where” of the story without going into an obvious rundown of detail.

My Summary: This story has a lot of promise – a truly interesting paranormal story that only needs a bit of fleshing out, a great setting that works well with this type of mystery With a little bit of tweaking. I thought the ending was great, leaving the story open-eneded: is there another story to tell?

My Rating: B-

Cross My Heart

Cross My HeartBy Sasha Gould

Publisher: Delacourte
Publication Date: March 13, 2012
Genre: Young Adult Suspense
Source: Netgalley

Venice, 1585.

When 16-year-old Laura della Scala learns that her older sister, Beatrice, has drowned, she is given no time to grieve. Instead, Laura’s father removes her from the convent where he forcibly sent her years earlier and orders her to marry Beatrice’s fiancé, a repulsive old merchant named Vincenzo. Panicked, Laura betrays a powerful man to earn her way into the Segreta, a shadowy society of women who deal in only one currency—secrets. The Segreta seems like the answer to Laura’s prayers. The day after she joins their ranks, Vincenzo is publicly humiliated and conveniently exiled. Soon, however, Laura begins to suspect that her sister’s death was not a tragic accident but a cold-blooded murder—one that might involve the Segreta and the women she has come to trust.

Goodreads Summary

For the past six years, letters from her older sister Beatrice have been a source of joy for Laura della Scala. That all ends when her father sends for her and she returns home to find that Beatrice has been killed, drowned in one of Venice’s canals. Laura isn’t allowed time to grieve – with her family’s money all but gone, she’s now expected to step into her sister’s place in an arranged marriage that will give their father wealth and position and her a miserable existence with a lecherous, smelly old goat of a man.

She’s given a glimpse of the life she could have – her sister’s best friend and her cousin have befriended her again and are happy, and she has a sweet encounter with a handsome young painter – before being jolted back into reality by her disgusting fiancé. She’s befriended by an older woman who tells her not to lose hope and that there are those that will help her – for a price. At a secret location, she meets the women of La Segreta and in exchange for disclosing a secret worthy of admission, her problem will be taken care of. Laura does have a big secret to tell, one she learned during her time in the convent about the most powerful man in Venice and it’s enough.

There’s an overriding theme in the story and it’s that no situation or person is necessarily what they appear to be. It made for good suspense, especially by the mid-point in the story when Laura was becoming paranoid about La Segreta but by the three-quarter mark, I really was wondering if anyone was going to be sacrosanct (the answer: barely). Most of it I could figure out later but it always seemed to come out of the blue and eventually I just rolled with it and accepted that like Mulder from The X-Files, my motto had to be, “Trust No One.”

Laura’s romance with Giacomo was a little rushed and insta-love but I think it probably was one of the most historically accurate parts of the book if you ignore the likelihood of a daughter of her standing consorting with a simple artist. I don’t think courting took that long before everyone was professing their undying love to each other back then, especially girls of Laura’s age and young handsome men. I admit to wondering who exactly Giacomo was when he was talking about painting chapels and developing his own special paint colors but I never guessed the weird little twist that put him squarely into the thick of the story and a decades-old inter-family feud.

Much of what I thought of the characters was tempered with what I questioned about them. I liked Laura’s dedication to her loved ones, even those that didn’t deserve it. She adored her sister to the point of foolishness, something she transferred to Giacomo. Then again, I had to wonder how a girl who’d been in a convent for six years could be dropped into complex Venice high society and not make any mistakes or who wouldn’t look twice at a well-dressed sixteen-year-old girl running around unchaperoned in the middle of the night through the streets of the city (one she was utterly unfamiliar with even).

If the story suffered from anything, it was that it tended to be pretty evenly shallow. There was an abundance of ideas, opportunities for historical detail and a lot more suspense but there didn’t seem to be any one area that was emphasized. Some things never made sense to me, like why in such a staunchly patriarchal society did Laura’s father openly despise his son (who never even appeared in the book) over nothing and why would that son basically abandon his family? All in all, the story did build to something of a big bang scene, if one that again had Laura running around unescorted. There was a nice confrontation and then things kind of faded away into one of those endings where the reader can decide some things. I liked the very last little bit because I think it was nice for the tone of the book but it did feel a little anticlimactic.

My Summary: In the end, this was more than the sum of its parts for me, mostly because I enjoyed Gould’s lovely writing style and in spite of the fizzled ending, wanted to see how the mystery of La Segreta, Beatrice’s murder and Laura played out. I do love historical fiction so I might be more inclined to pick something like this up but I think I’m also more inclined to be harder on some of the details. Overall, I wish this book had been longer and had more focus but I look forward to seeing what Gould comes up with next.

My Rating: B-


KatanaBy Cole Gibsen

Publisher: Flux
Publication Date: March 8, 2012
Genre: Young Adult Paranormal
Source: Netgalley

Rileigh Martin would love to believe that adrenaline had given her the uncanny courage and strength to fend off three muggers. But it doesn’t explain her dreams of 15th-century Japan, the incredible fighting skills she suddenly possesses, or the strange voice giving her battle tips and danger warnings.

While worrying that she’s going crazy (always a reputation ruiner), Rileigh gets a visit from Kim, a handsome martial arts instructor, who tells Rileigh she’s harboring the spirit of a five-hundred-year-old samurai warrior.

Relentlessly attacked by ninjas, Rileigh has no choice but to master the katana–a deadly Japanese sword that’s also the key to her past. As the spirit grows stronger and her feelings for Kim intensify, Rileigh is torn between continuing as the girl she’s always been and embracing the warrior inside her.

Goodreads Summary

I grew up with Bruce Lee and David Carradine practically in my living room. If I heard, “I am Caine, I will help you,” once, I heard it a million times – and not from the television during Kung Fu – out of my dad’s mouth, because he thought it was hilarious to use it when any of us kids would come to him for something. But then…then there was Kill Bill.

When a katana-wielding Uma Thurman as The Bride took a whack at Lucy Liu’s head, I swear, I fell a little bit in love. I wanted my own katana. I had dreams of slicing sawdust dummies in pieces, imagining they were enemies (don’t get all judgy). Of course, putting me near very sharp objects usually results with me needing a transfusion so I was never going to be a samurai, you know (hey, no judgy!). My point? From the title to the description to the cover art – this was screaming, “read me, read!” me from the second I saw it and it was everything I hoped it would be.

It’s just a normal, if kind of rushed, shopping trip for Rileigh at the mall with her BFF Quentin when they’re attacked by muggers. Rileigh hears a voice in her head, feels her body doing impossible things and manages to beat all of them up – badly. Her new ability to knock down criminals with a flurry of chops and kicks draws some attention, from a mysterious man named Kim Gimhae, a doctor who gives Rileigh the creeps and Whitley, a boy she’s been trying to get to notice her for ages. Kim cryptically warns Rileigh that she’s in danger, girl, and she needs to come meet him at his dojo.

Rileigh’s response is an emphatic no until she starts getting attacked and weird powers start manifesting. At the dojo, she’s confronted with something more shocking than just what she’s going through herself – there are things bigger than her own fears and issues, things that will be affected beyond just her life if she doesn’t choose to accept this destiny of hers. This is the best twist of the book so I really don’t want to spoil it. I absolutely loved the way it united the past and present so clearly.

Speaking of past and present – the story is told mostly in Rileigh’s present day but there are some small flashbacks to 15th century Japan. It’s mostly of the final samurai battle where Senshi (Rileigh) and Yoshido (Kim), who were in love with each other, were killed. Senshi was very powerful, very much in love with Yoshido and very protective and proud to be a samurai. I could perfectly believe the way Kim told Rileigh a person’s essence could transcend from one body to another through time. It was all pretty romantic (not that it didn’t hurt because they were Yoshido and Senshi) but also the mechanics of it were pretty fun. Lots of weaponry involved.

Every story like this has to have a bad guy and there were a couple to choose from. I wasn’t sure until almost the reveal which one, the author did such a good job of making both of them slimy. The big confrontation had absolutely everything – all of Senshi’s power, Rileigh’s thoughts, attitude and spirit, a power-hungry nutball, huge cinematic action and a weird clueless mother. I had so much love for it, I read it twice.

My Summary: Even though Rileigh’s character is only a junior in high school, she reads much older, so I wouldn’t necessarily think much of that. Yes, this is loaded with some very fun action – I totally cheered all of the beat-downs this girl delivered because they were creative and always well-deserved. There’s also a more dangerous edge, as Senshi manifests to protect the people she loves and the villain tries yet again to separate Yoshido and Senshi. This also has a very sweet, slow romance with a bit of tender aching on Kim’s side. I picked this up mid-afternoon and read straight through dinner without even looking up.

My Rating: A