Skin Deep by Pamela Clare

Skin Deep

by Pamela Clare

Genre: Western, Crime, Romance, erotica, Drama.

Kindle Edition, 181 pages, Published May 15th 2012 by Pamela Clare
Book 5 in The I-Team series, althought it can be read as a stand alone.
Megan Hunter has worked hard to get back on her feet, leaving the nightmare of her teenage years behind. The last thing she wants or needs in her life is a man. But when she is attacked by someone from her past, a scarred stranger intervenes, saving her life and that of her little girl. Looks can be deceiving, for despite the man’s rough appearance, she feels safe with him. And for the first time in her life, she knows the stirrings of desire.  Nathaniel West paid a high price serving with the Marines in Afghanistan. He returned to his family’s ranch in the Colorado mountains to heal—and be alone. Disfigured as he is, he has put all thoughts of sex and romance aside. But something about Megan brings him back to life, heats his blood, makes him feel like a man again. As danger pursues her, and the truth about her past is revealed, he vows to protect her—and to heal her wounded spirit.  But confronting the past is never easy—especially when it’s carrying a gun. Megan will have to learn to trust Nate to survive and to claim a passion that is much more than …  Skin Deep.

There is something about a scarred and broken hero; I fall for them all the time.  (See Z in BDB, V in V for Vendetta and The Phantom in Phantom of the Opera for examples of scarred and broken men who own me.)  Add in the fact that the male character in this book is not only scarred but ex-military AND a cowboy and well, I never stood a chance.  I was in love with Nate before I even read the first page of this book and luckily he didn’t disappoint me.

I really liked this story.  It was short, sweet and had all the elements needed for a good book.  I loved the story line even though I have seen similar stuff before.  What is different with Skin Deep is the way the characters handle the situation they are in.  There is no unneeded angst or drama.  Megan isn’t some self-pitying, dramatic victim that we are all used to reading about.  Nate is not some over protective borderline abusive Neanderthal.  In Skin Deep the characters act like actual human beings, which was really refreshing.

All the characters are likeable in this book apart from the bad guys who are just awful.  They were all well-rounded and believable.  The author has also managed to write a child character that is not teeth grittingly annoying, instead she is cute.

I loved the romance in this book.  It was not about sex; instead it was about two people learning to trust again, it was about rebuilding your life after losing everything.  I liked Megan and Nate apart but I loved them together.

I have read a lot (and I mean A LOT) of western/rancher romance this year and so far Skin Deep is by far my favourite.  I look forward to reading more from this series and more from this author.

My Rating 4 out of 5 stars 

Check out the links: Goodreads, Amazon, AmazonUK, Authors Webpage

Let me know what you think in the comments!

Blackbirds by Chuck Wendig (Arc review)

Title: Blackbirds (Miriam Black book 1)

Author: Chuck Wendig

Genre: Urban Fantasy, Adult, Fantasy.

Expected publication: April 24th 2012 by Angry Robot    

My rating: 4/5

*The publisher provided me with this book for review, via Netgalley.*

Blurb: Miriam Black knows when you will die. She’s foreseen hundreds of car crashes, heart attacks, strokes, and suicides.  But when Miriam hitches a ride with Louis Darling and shakes his hand, she sees that in thirty days Louis will be murdered while he calls her name. Louis will die because he met her, and she will be the next victim.  No matter what she does she can’t save Louis. But if she wants to stay alive, she’ll have to try.

 

Blackbirds has a fair amount of hype circulating around it.  There is a lot of expectation here.  The cover alone promises the reader multiple things and for the most part Blackbirds delivers.  I was intrigued by this book long before I requested it for review but I was scared that it would just not do it for me but in the end I really, really liked it.

The best thing about this book for me is that it dares to be different.  This book takes the Urban Fantasy genre and turns it on its head.  If you took every urban fantasy book you have ever read mix it with some Sin City and add a splash of Tarantino, Blackbirds is what you would create.  It is smart and engaging yet manages to be philosophical at the same time.  Behind all the violence and swearing Blackbirds actually asks some pretty big questions about death and fate, about good and evil.

The characters in this are full of life (which is funny considering this book is essentially about death) and at the centre of it all you have Miriam.  Miriam is a fighter, a survivor.  I think as a reader you don’t exactly like Miriam.  She is the type of person you wouldn’t associate with, a person you would look down your nose at.  She is white trash, an alcoholic and a criminal.  She is unlikable.  But it doesn’t matter because in some way you admire her.  She is strong and sassy.  She can hold her own and there is something to appreciate in that.  Yet, behind all the sarcasm, and nonchalant attitude you can see a glimpse of who she really is underneath all the layers of hurt and grief and you know that inside she is not a bad person.

Then there is Louis.  He looks like a criminal he is a scarred hulk of a man.  But really he is soft, caring and kind and he just might be the one to show Miriam that life doesn’t have to be as dark and dreary as she makes it.  He is instantly likable, he is someone you can root for and to be honest I wish there was a little more of him in this book.

The other characters are great but are mostly dislikeable (apart from Frankie who, despite everything, turns out to be impossible to dislike) they are villains of the most disturbing kind.

I have heard a lot of fuss about how this book would have been better if it was written by a woman.  I could not disagree more strongly.  Some have said ‘don’t read this book unless you are a guy’ well, I am a girl and I really liked it.  I have heard that this book is just to ‘man.’ Well, so what? There is nothing wrong with a male voice in fiction, and just because the story is about a girl it doesn’t mean that it has to be less gory or about love.

But I should warn you that this book is not for the faint hearted.  It is grim and grimy (something I imagine you will hear a lot in reference to this book).  It is violent and gory.  There is sex (not the swoon worthy, erotic kind) and swearing.  There is also a decent amount of characters (mostly male) that you want to drop kick.   Be warned if that is not something you can handle then this book, unfortunately, is not for you.

But if you can handle that and you feel like you like could use a little darkness in your life then I strongly recommend this book.

Goodreads / AmazonUK / B&N / Authors website / Authors twitter