Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Review: These Old Shades

These Old Shades These Old Shades by Georgette Heyer
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I think I'm too much a product of my time. Having a hero who was 40yrs and a heroine who was 19, combined with the hero constantly calling her infant and for 80% of the story portraying her as very young, innocent, and wide-eyed, I couldn't and didn't want to buy into their romance.

If you liked Val from Hoyt's Maiden Lane series, you're going to love our hero Justin, definitely an inspiration for him. I was a big fan of Justin and his wit, he's constantly miles and moves ahead of everyone else. Leonie was kept so young, guileless, and precocious without much emotional maturity growth, I have to be that person and say I wasn't a big fan of the heroine.

The father figure falling for the young girl who hero worships him but written very well with tangled weave drama.

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Release Day for The Right Kind of Rogue by Valerie Bowman #Excerpt

Valerie Bowman’s Playful Brides novels are:

“Wholly satisfying.”—USA Today
“Smart and sensual…readers will be captivated.”—RT Book Reviews “Smoldering.” —Booklist


Can two star-crossed lovers come together—until death do they part?

Viscount Hart Highgate has decided to put his rakish ways behind him and finally get married. He may adore a good brandy or a high-speed carriage race, but he takes his duties as heir to the earldom seriously. Now all he has to do is find the right kind of woman to be his bride—ideally, one who’s also well-connected and well-funded. . .

Meg Timmons has loved Hart, the brother of her best friend, ever since she was an awkward, blushing schoolgirl. If only she had a large dowry—or anything to her name at all. Instead, she’s from a family that’s been locked in a bitter feud with Hart’s for years. And now she’s approaching her third London season, Meg’s chances with him are slim to none. Unless a surprise encounter on a deep, dark night could be enough to spark a rebellious romance. . .for all time?

“How in Hades’s name can you drink at this hour of the morning, Highgate?”
Hart tossed back his brandy, swallowed, and laughed at his brother-in-law’s words. The two sat across from each other at Brooks’s gentlemen’s club. It was decidedly before noon. The only reason Hart was up at this hour was because he’d promised to meet Lord Christian Berkeley. His brother-in-law rarely asked for favors and Hart suspected this meeting was his sister Sarah’s doing, but he would humor the viscount just the same.
“Berkeley, old chap, you don’t know the half of it.” Hart clapped the viscount on the back. “Helps with the devil of a head left over from last night, don’t ya know?”
Berkeley lifted his teacup to his lips. “No. I don’t. But I’ll take your word for it.”
That reply only made Hart laugh harder, which made his head hurt more. Hart liked his brother-in-law a great deal, but the man was decidedly humdrum when it came to amusements. Berkeley rarely drank, rarely smoked, and preferred to spend his time at his estate in the north of England or his hunting lodge in Scotland. Berkeley enjoyed quiet pursuits like reading or carving things out of wood much more than the amusements London had to offer. But Viscount Berkeley was a good man and one who clearly adored Hart’s sister, and that was what mattered.
The viscount had gone so far as to dramatically interrupt Sarah’s wedding to a pompous marquess and claim her for himself, thereby not only proving his commitment to Sarah but also saving Hart from having the self-involved Marquess of Branford as a brother-in-law. Overall it had been quite a fortunate turn of events for everyone. Everyone except Hart and Sarah’s enraged, thwarted parents, that is.
Berkeley tugged at his cravat. “How are your—ahem— parents getting on?”
Hart cracked a smile. “Still angry, of course, even after all these months. You and Sarah made a good decision, staying up north for the winter. Gave Father and Mother time to calm down.” His father’s anger at having a scandal mar his family name and his daughter marry a mere viscount as opposed to a marquess who had the ear of the Prince Regent had barely abated over the winter, but no need to tell Berkeley as much.
Berkeley leaned back in his chair and crossed one silk-stockinged ankle over an immaculately creased knee, his hands lightly clutching the arms of his chair. He shook his head. “They’re not calmed down, are they?”
“A bit.” Hart stopped a footman and ordered another brandy. “Don’t worry. They’ll be civil when they see you. For Sarah’s sake.”
“Well, that’s something. Are you seriously ordering another drink?”
“Are you seriously surprised?” Hart scratched his rough cheek. He’d been running late and hadn’t bothered to ask his usually drunken valet to shave him this morning. For Christ’s sake, that man drank more than he did. Not exactly someone he wanted near his throat with a straight razor. “Besides I have quite a good reason to drink today.”
“Really?” Berkeley tugged at his cuff. Ever since Sarah had taught him how to dress properly, the viscount was much more attentive to his clothing. He was downright dapper these days. “Why is that?”
“I’m getting married.” Hart emitted a groan to accompany those incomprehensible words.
Berkeley’s brows shot up. He set down his cup and placed a hand behind his ear. “Pardon? I must have heard you incorrectly. I thought you said married.”
The footman returned with the drink and Hart snatched it from the man’s gloved hand and downed nearly half of it in a single gulp. “I did,” he muttered through clenched teeth, wincing.
“You? Married?” Berkeley’s brow remained steadfastly furrowed, and he blinked as if the word were foreign.
“Me. Married.” Hart gave a firm nod before taking another fortifying gulp of brandy.
“Ahem, who is the, uh, fortunate lady?” Berkeley lifted his cup back to his lips and took a long gulp, as if needing the hot drink to banish his astonishment.
“I haven’t the first idea.” Hart shook his head. He was giving serious thought to the notion of ordering a third brandy. Would that be bad form? Probably.
“Now you’re simply confusing me,” Berkeley said with an unmistakable smile on his face. With his free hand, he pulled the morning’s copy of the Times from the tabletop next to him and scanned the headlines.
Hart took another sip of brandy and savored it this time. “I haven’t made any decisions as to the chit yet. I’ve merely announced to Father that this is the year I intend to find a bride. The idea of marriage has always made my stomach turn. After all, if my parents’ imperfect union is anything by which to gauge the institution, it’s a bloody nightmare.”
“Why the change of heart?” Berkeley asked.
Hart scrubbed a hand through his hair. The truth was, he wasn’t less sickened by the prospect of marriage these days, but he couldn’t avoid the institution forever. At some point he’d have to put the parson’s noose firmly around his own throat and pull. Wives were fickle, and marriages meant little other than the exchange of money and property. His own father had announced that fact on more than one occasion. His parents treated each other like unhappy strangers, and his father had made it clear that they were anything but in love. That, Hart supposed, was his fate. To live a life as his parents had in the pursuit of procreating and producing the next future Earl of Highfield. So be it, but was it any wonder he’d been putting it off?
“Seeing Sarah marry had more of an effect on me than I expected,” Hart admitted, frowning at his notquite-empty glass. “And if you ever tell anyone I said that, I’ll call you out.” He looked at Berkeley and grinned again.
“You have my word,” Berkeley replied with a nod. “But may I ask how it affected you?”
Hart pushed himself back in the large leather chair and crossed his booted feet at the ankles. “I started thinking about it all, you know? Life, marriage, children, family. I expect you and Sarah will be having a child soon, and by God I’d like my children to grow up knowing their kin. My cousin Nicole was quite close to Sarah and me when we were children. Nicole’s marriage isn’t one to emulate, either. She hasn’t even seen her husband in years. Last I heard, she’s living somewhere in France, childless. By God, perhaps I should rethink this.” Hart pulled at his cravat. The bloody thing was nearly choking him what with all of this talk of marriage.
Berkeley leaned back in his seat, mirroring Hart. “Perhaps you should focus on the positive aspects of marriage. I assure you, there are many.”
“Believe me, I’m trying,” Hart continued, reminding himself for the hundredth time of the reasons why he’d finally come to this decision. God knew it hadn’t been an easy one. “Whether I like it or not, it’s time for me to choose a bride. Sarah is my younger sister. While she wasn’t married, it all seemed like fun and games, but now, well, seems everyone is tying the proverbial knot these days what with Owen Monroe and Rafe Cavendish marrying. Even Rafe’s twin, Cade, has fallen to the parson’s noose.”
Just this morning when Hart had woken with a splitting head for the dozenth time in as many days, he’d thought yet again how he needed to stop being so reckless. He wasn’t able to bounce back from a night of debauchery nearly as quickly as he used to when he was at university. Seeing Sarah marry had made him consider his duties, his responsibilities, and his . . . age. For the love of God, he was nearly thirty. That thought alone was enough to make him want another brandy. It was his duty to sire the next Earl of Highfield, and duty meant something to him. What else mattered if he didn’t respect his duty? Hadn’t that been hammered into his head since birth by his father, along with all the dire warnings not to choose the wrong wife?
“It’s true that several marriages have taken place lately in our set of friends,” Berkeley replied, still leisurely perusing the paper while sipping tea. “But I thought you were immune to all of that, Highgate.”
“I have been.” Hart sighed again. “But I’ve finally decided it’s time to get to it.”
Berkeley raised his teacup in salute. “Here’s to the future Lady Highfield. May she be healthy, beautiful, and wise.”
“Thank you,” Hart replied. He tugged at his pythonlike cravat again.
Berkeley regarded Hart down the length of his nose. “Any ladies catch your fancy?”
Hart shook his head. He braced an elbow on the table beside them and set his chin on his fist. “No. That’s the problem. I’m uncertain where to begin.”
Berkeley let the paper drop to his lap. “What sort of lady are you looking for?”
Hart considered the question for a moment. What sort of lady, indeed? “She’ll need to be reasonable, well connected, clever, witty, a happy soul. Someone who is honest, and forthright, and who isn’t marrying me only for my title. Someone who doesn’t nag and has an indecently large dowry, of course. Father puts great stock in such things. Not to mention if I’m going to be legshackled, I might as well get a new set of horses out of the bargain. I’m thinking a set of matching grays and a new coach.”
“Oh, that’s not much of a list,” Berkeley said with a snort. “
I don’t expect the search to be a simple one, or a quick one.” The truth was Hart had no earthly idea who he was looking for. He only knew who he wasn’t looking for . . . someone like his mother. Or the treacherous Annabelle Cardiff. He wanted the exact opposite.
Berkeley tossed the paper back onto the tabletop. “Knowing your father’s decided opinions on such matters, I’m surprised he hasn’t provided you with a list of eligible females from which you may choose.”
Hart rolled his eyes. “He has. He’s named half a dozen ladies he would gladly accept.”
Berkeley inclined his head to the side. “Why don’t you choose one of them then?”
Hart gave his brother-in-law an are-you-quite-serious look, chin tucked down, head tilted to the side. “I’m bloody well not about to allow my father to choose a bride for me. Besides, after seeing you and Sarah, I hold out some hope of finding a lady with whom I’m actually compatible.”
“Why, Highgate, do you mean . . . love?” Berkeley grinned and leaned forward in mock astonishment.
“Let’s not go that far.” Hart took another sip of his quickly dwindling brandy. That’s precisely what confused him so much. He knew love matches existed. He’d witnessed one in his sister’s marriage. On the other hand, her choice had so enraged his parents, they still hadn’t forgiven her. Hart didn’t intend to go about the business of finding a wife in quite so dramatic a fashion. Love matches attracted drama. However, his parents’ unhappy union was nothing to aspire to, and he’d nearly made the mistake of marrying a woman who wanted nothing more than title and fortune before. It was a tricky business, the marriage mart, but he’d rather take advice from Sarah and Berkeley than his father. The proof of the pudding was in the eating, after all.
Berkeley laughed. “What if you fall madly in love and become a devoted husband? Jealous even. Now, that would be a sight.”
“Jealous? That’s not possible.” Hart grinned back at Berkeley. “I’ve never been jealous. Don’t have it in me. My friends at university used to tease me about it. No ties to any particular lady. No regrets.” He settled back in his chair and straightened his cravat, which was tighter than ever.
“We’ll see.” Berkeley took another sip of tea. His eyes danced with amusement.
“I was hoping you and Sarah might help me this Season.
Sarah knows most of the young ladies. She also knows me as well as anyone does. Not to mention, the two of you seem to have got the thing right.”
Berkeley glanced up. “Why, Highgate, is that a compliment on our marriage?”
“Take it as you will.” Hart waved a noncommittal hand in the air. He avoided meeting Berkeley’s eyes.
Berkeley settled further into his chair. “I shall take it as a compliment, then. I have a feeling Sarah would like nothing more than to help you with such an endeavor. She fancies herself a matchmaker these days.”
“Will you two be staying in London for the Season?”
“Yes. Sarah wants to stay and I, of course, will support her, at least as long as I can remain in the same town as your father without him calling me out.” A smirk settled on Berkeley’s face.
Hart eyed the remaining liquid in his glass. “I’ll be happy to play the role of peacemaker to the best of my ability.”
“I’m glad to hear that.” Berkeley inclined his head toward his brother-in-law.
“Who else is Sarah matchmaking for?” Hart sloshed the brandy in the bottom of the glass.
“She’s not merely matchmaking. No. To hear her tell it, she has an important mission this Season.”
Hart set down the glass and pulled another section of the Times off the table and began scanning it. He’d talked enough about marriage for one day. Odious topic. “A mission? What mission?” he asked, merely to be polite.
“To find Meg Timmons a husband.”
Hart startled in surprise, grasping the paper so tightly it tore in the middle. Tossing it aside, he reached for his glass and gulped the last of his brandy.
Meg Timmons. He knew Meg Timmons. She was Sarah’s closest friend, the daughter of his father’s mortal enemy, and a woman with whom Hart had experienced an incident last summer that he’d been seriously trying to forget.

Copyright © 2017 by Valerie Bowman and reprinted by permission of St. Martin’s Paperbacks.

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Author Bio:
VALERIE BOWMAN grew up in Illinois with six sisters (she’s number seven) and a huge supply of historical romance novels. After a cold and snowy stint earning a degree in English with a minor in history at Smith College, she moved to Florida the first chance she got. Valerie now lives in Jacksonville with her family including her mini-schnauzer, Huckleberry. When she’s not writing, she keeps busy reading, traveling, or vacillating between watching crazy reality TV and PBS. She is the author of the Secret Brides and Playful Brides series.

Social Links:
Twitter: @Valeriegbowman
Facebook @ValerieBowmanAuthor

Review: No Other Duke Will Do

No Other Duke Will Do No Other Duke Will Do by Grace Burrowes
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

3.5 stars

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

With her two younger sisters getting married, Elizabeth is starting to feel familial pressure to give up her notion of spinsterhood.
Julian may be a duke but the lofty title won't save him from penury.
A houseparty may be the final downfall for them both.

Third in the Windham Brides series, our oldest sister Elizabeth is the focus. New readers could comfortably start here as the story takes place in Wales, away from Elizabeth's large family clan that has previously starred in their own books. Family members are mentioned and our head of family Duke and Duchess make small appearances but nothing to make a newcomer feel lost.

What a lovely smile he had. A little off center, a bit conspiratorial, and---who would have thought?---a touch dashing.

Julian was teased a bit in the last book and I found myself very curious about this recluse duke with a treasure of books. It is quickly learned that his grandfather and father have spent more money than advisable on building their famous library and sent the family deep in debt, something Julian has been trying to fix for years. Most of the time historicals deal with the heroine's family in debt and selling her off and even when it’s the hero, it’s usually quickly solved with dowry. Burrowes gives us a deep portrayal of what being short of funds does to Julian; his quiet desperation as he tried to keep all his responsibilities afloat. The tenets livelihood, his sister, his brother, and the Haverford legacy were all dependent on him and gave the reader a deeper sense of what being a duke entailed; not all balls and gaming clubs. Julian was a quiet, deep, and weighty character.

For the gracious, unassuming Miss Windham hid volumes worth of indignation and passion beneath her quiet exterior.

Elizabeth was our strong, level headed, and yearning for more heroine I have come to enjoy from Burrowes. Elizabeth follows the rules but is also deeply angry that if she doesn't marry soon, her identity and worth would be boiled down to a "spinster". The little nuances Burrowes never fails to impart on her characters give them such a real and rich feel. The reasoning behind Elizabeth's love of books and the importance she places on them is revealed to have come from her feeling lost in such a large family and how she used it to gain a unique identity to be noticed. Elizabeth wants to be loved and seeing her vulnerability with Julian when she sees it could be possible with him was heartwarming.

This was how it was supposed to be between a man and a woman, both comfortable and daring, a private adventure.

Burrowes sometimes has a tendency to just have our couple connect or love right away, I thought she did a better job of having Elizabeth and Julian talk their way into it. Through their discussions we see Elizabeth testing Julian and Julian slowly coming alive as if Elizabeth is a shock to his system. As Elizabeth notes, Julian listens to her and their gentle teasing and probing one another made me sigh along in happiness.

One of Burrowes strongest talent is her ability to provide secondary characters to not only fill out the story but enhance it. Julian's brother, Griffin, has an intellectual developmental disability and their relationship and Griffin's struggle to have some independence and navigate the world he's in brings a wealth of emotion. Radnor has a beautifully showcased friendship with Julian along with a "just get together already" relationship with Julian's sister Glenys. There's also a small romance blooming for Elizabeth's aunt, a married couple trying to find each other again, and Elizabeth's sister Charlotte putting off some nice sparks with the villain of this piece working his way to redemption, Sherbourne, who look to be gearing up for their own story. Each character has a small part to play in the overall story but added such poignancy to the story.

The ramifications and worry over money is the center piece of this story with the characters emotions and relationships swirling around it. You'll get a great feel for the time period and descriptions of a castle that will have you dying to explore it. More importantly, the natural and flowing interactions and conversations with their little humorous spices, wit, sass, spark, and warmth will have you wishing this world and these characters Burrowes has created were real.

"I don't want to be the duke now, Elizabeth. I want to be solely and completely your lover."

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Monday, October 30, 2017


No Other Duke Will Do (Windham Brides) - Grace Burrowes
Where a gentleman's library was concerned, size mattered to Elizabeth, and Haverford's library was enormous.

Copy a Romance Cover

Our weather not as nice, bridge not as picturesque, and our flowers not as bountiful but we had fun :)

Release Week - Totally His by Erin Nicholas #Giveaway

TOTALLY HIS by Erin Nicholas
Part of the Opposites Attract series
will be published on October 31, 2017 from Forever.

Goodreads | Mass Market Paperback: $7.99 | eBook: $3.99 | ISBN: 9781455539727

“Moving and inspiring.” --  Publishers Weekly

About the book: Sophia Birch loves nothing more than the spotlight--as long as she's playing a part. A theater geek from an early age, Sophia now runs a little hole-in-the-wall playhouse that feeds her passion... even if it sometimes makes it hard to feed herself! And then one night it all nearly goes up in smoke. Desperate to save the only copy of an irreplaceable script, Sophia rushes back into the burning building.

Police officer Finn Kelly knows crazy when he sees it. And a woman running back into a burning building definitely qualifies as crazy. She also happens to be incredibly sexy. But when he finally finds her ruffling through drawers and refusing to leave, his only option is to carry her out over his shoulder....and then decide whether to arrest her. 

Finn would have noticed her even if she hadn’t been wearing hot-pink lingerie. And nothing else.
He really would have. She was totally his type—brunette and curvy and, apparently, a little crazy. As evidenced by the fact that she was trying to sneak into a burning building. He did seem to be attracted to crazy. No matter how hard he tried not to be.
He watched the woman stop at the east corner of the Birch Community Playhouse, the one farthest from where the firefighters were working. Then he frowned as she slipped into the shadows along the side of the theater and out of sight.
Dammit. He started after her.
As one of the cops on scene, he had to keep the area clear for the firefighters and keep the crowd of onlookers safe. If one of them happened to have a great body and be dressed in nothing but a pink bra-and-panty set, well, he’d just call that a perk. And as he jogged across the street, Finn couldn’t help but wonder if she was in costume or if the alarm had caught her in the midst of a wardrobe change. If that was her outfit for the show, he might need to buy a ticket.
He turned the corner to the back of the building and looked around. He didn’t see her. She’d gone inside. Dammit. He climbed up the four steps that led to the back door of the theater.
Finn touched the door and found it cool. It seemed that the flames were still contained to the wall on the other end of the theater, but it was a mistake to assume anything when fire was involved.
He stepped inside and pulled the flashlight from his belt, then shone it back and forth. He turned a full circle, not sure where to go next. Just then Finn heard a door slam somewhere behind him. He swung toward the sound just in time to see the woman step out from a room.
Her eyes went wide when she saw him.
“Boston PD! Stop!” Finn shouted.
She had covered up. Kind of. She now wore a robe, short, sheer, and unbelted. Which really did nothing to cover his view of her panties and bra. Or all that skin.
And maybe that was why she suddenly took off at a run.
Finn stared after her for a moment, a little stunned. She was actually running from him?
The woman made it to the other end of the lobby and through one of the doors leading into the main theater before Finn got to her. He grabbed the door as it was swinging shut, nearly smashing his fingers. The lights were off in the inner theater but, as he plunged into the darkness, he got a big whiff of whatever body spray or perfume she wore. He took a deep breath. It was nice. Lemony. Sweet and…
Jesus. Finn scowled and turned his flashlight back on. He was thinking about how she smelled? How about the smell of smoke that was going to be chasing them both pretty soon?
“Hey!” he called into the theater. You have to come out, ma’am. It’s not safe for you to stay in the building.”
“Just give me a damned minute!” she shouted.
“I’m sorry, ma’am, I can’t do that,” Finn said.
“I have to find something. Then I’m coming right out.”
 “Ma’am, I will have to remove you myself if you don’t come out immediately.”
“Oh, for fuck’s sake!” he heard her exclaim.
“Ma’am, this is your last warning. Stop what you’re doing and come with me.”
Enough of this. Finn stalked over to her, put a hand around her upper arm, and turned to remove her from the building.
She dug her heels in, though, pulling against his hold. “Hey, you can’t—”
“Oh, yes I can,” he told her calmly, careful to keep his eyes off her body. The heat from her skin had immediately soaked through the thin robe, and Finn felt it traveling from his palm up his arm. “I’ve given you several opportunities to cooperate.”
“You’re arresting me?” she asked.
“Are you doing something that you need to be arrested for?” he asked, moving her toward the door, even with her resisting.
“No! I need to get something. It’s very important. It belongs to a friend of mine. It’s irreplaceable.”
“Ma’am,” he said calmly, “don’t make me carry you out of here.”
She pulled against his grip and leaned all her weight into fighting the forward motion across the room.
Well, shit. He’d kind of figured it would come to this, but he wasn’t sure he was ready to touch her more. Still, it didn’t look as if he had a lot of choice. Reminding himself that he was a professional, he bent and hooked an arm behind her knees, looped the other around her back, and lifted her.
She gasped, and for a moment she didn’t fight. And he thought maybe the hard part was over. But as he headed out the door, trying to ignore how warm and soft and fucking lemony she was, she started to wiggle.


Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/2vVOttR

Google Play: http://bit.ly/2wBmYD1

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About the author: Erin Nicholas is the New York Times bestselling author of sexy contemporary romances. Her stories have been described as toe-curling, enchanting, steamy and fun. She loves to write about reluctant heroes, imperfect heroines and happily ever afters. She lives in the Midwest with her husband who only wants to read the sex scenes in her books, her kids who will never read the sex scenes in her books, and family and friends who say they're shocked by the sex scenes in her books (yeah, right!).

Follow Erin Nicholas:
Twitter: @ErinNicholas

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Sunday, October 29, 2017

Review: Watchers

Watchers Watchers by Dean Koontz
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

3.5 stars

I read this for the '80s Horror square for Halloween Bingo

When the telephone rang, it startled her. She put down her pencil and reached for the receiver. "Hello?"
"Funny," a man said.
"Excuse me?"
"They never heard of him."

I know this story has monsters, psycho killer, semi-curses, awful bitter aunt, and government agents, but this was the moment that sent a chill down my spine.
Nora's aunt that kept her just about child protective services needed isolated dies and leaves Nora alone and fearful of the world. When a tv repairman comes and seems to be hitting on her, she can't believe it and thinks she misinterpreted things. Of course she was right because no matter our upbringing, us women seem to have an innate sense of dude's up to no good. TV repairman turns out be a sexual harasser and stalker to the nth degree. Hence, the phone call where he lets her know he checked up on her she has a husband and is a police officer lie. This stalker plot introduces us to Nora and is a way to connect her with Travis and Einstein and then fades into the distance pretty quickly.

In the distance, very far away no, something shrieked, something that was not of God's creation.

Travis is out hiking contemplating his life as a cursed man. His mother, father, and brother are all dead, dying from circumstances that seem to be his fault, his delta force platoon all perished while he was only shot in the leg, and his wife only last a year before she died of cancer. He thinks he's cursed and has stayed away from making connections with people for the last couple years. When a dog comes out of the woods and warns him away from some noise that has Travis' neck hair rising, he finds himself the owner of a dog. The Travis curse thread fades out a bit too but he occasionally worries about it later with Nora.

Einstein our lovable Golden Retriever is on the run from government agents who are trying to bring him back to the lab he escaped from. Well him and The Outsider, an animal mixed DNA mashed up monster created to be a kill machine. The Outsider hates Einstein because he was the beloved smart dog in the lab and people couldn't bear to look at The Outsider because he was so ugly, so he is driven to kill Einstein.

If that wasn't enough for you there is a contract killer who is being paid by the Russians to kill the scientists responsible for Einstein and The Outsider. Because they're jealous? Angry? The Russian connection was a bit muddled. Anyway the contract killer thinks every time he kills someone he absorbs their essence, but he also values the dollar because he puts two and two together and figures out the scientists he has killed created Einstein and he wants to capture the dog and ransom him back to the G-men or Russians.

The contract killer plot could have been left out as we get pov's from him early on but then he basically disappears until the very end and then gets a very rushed ending. I thought the beginning was interesting but then the middle sagged a bit as the focus on Nora and Travis falling in love was focused on more and them trying to figure out a way to communicate more concisely with Einstein. I wanted more of the suspense and horror feel we go from The Outsider but I was reading this for Halloween Bingo and was probably looking for something slightly different from the book.

What man had begun, man now ended.

I enjoyed the themes of morals in science, relationships, society, and oneself and I delighted in Einstein, the only thing that could have made him better was if he was a Rottweiler :) I wish the ending hadn't felt so rushed with all the villains being dealt with at once, it really made the pacing feel even more off kilter. A few technology and culture references show the story's age but otherwise, this hold up nicely.

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Friday, October 27, 2017

Review: A Change of Heart

A Change of Heart A Change of Heart by Sonali Dev
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

God, they were such a mess. No. He was a mess. She was just far too tangled up in his mess.

This was my first Sonali Dev book, so I was new to her style and composition and I think that might have hurt the rating a bit.
At first I thought this was going to have a scifi/paranormal component but then quickly learned it was going in the more slow burning criminal thriller arena. I would categorize this more as fiction with romance; definitely not your typical romance genre read.

Our heroine Jess purposely collides with our hero Nic. Nic lost his wife two years ago, she was helping with a police case involving a blackmarket organ transfer business. He was forced to watch while they raped and then murdered her. Jess tells him that she received his wife's heart in a transplant and that she can "hear" his wife telling her to find important evidence for the case. Jess has her own issues with surviving a rape when she was seventeen and the emotional fallout that comes with that.

The first half is mostly Nic's pain over losing his wife, dealing with her death and how she never told him she was helping with the case, putting her life and her pregnancy in jeopardy. We get insight into why Jess is doing what she is and how Jess and Nic are experiencing some chemistry but are too tied up in their pain to fully acknowledge or know how to act on it.

Why had he started this? Why couldn't he look away from her eyes? Those eyes. He wanted her to stop, wanted to take back ever wanting to know. But those eyes were so filled with the need to have someone see and not turn away, he couldn't turn away from them.

Even with such a start, the second half of the story I think is even more painful. We get a deeper insight to what Jess has lived through and there was some incredible dialogue and thoughts on how Jess deals with the pain and rape culture. We also get a breakthrough with Nic and Jess allowing themselves to reach out to one another. This was a bit hard for me to fully connect with. Even though Nic has been in pain for two years, as the reader, I'm new to it and even though his healing starts here I had problems transitioning from the pain to new romance; it didn't flow completely smooth for me.

Nic's family are from the previous books in the series and their connection and relationships filled out the story beautifully. There were also povs from Rahul, the cop Nic's wife was helping and who helps explain the criminal mystery part and is clearly being set-up for a book of his own and from the villain. The villain pov gets pretty dark and graphic at times and was another component of the story that didn't quite mesh with every thing else for me.

I don't want to talk too much about the criminal thriller part or all of Jess' motivations because I don't want to spoil certain points that I think have more impact if you go in blind. If I knew this read more like fiction, I would have skewed my mind that way but I was expecting something a little different. All the components didn't jive for me and the ending seemed a bit rushed but I'm definitely going to be on board for Rahul and Kimi's story. I'm a sucker for love/hate and this couple seemed to positively vibrate with it.

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A Change of Heart - Sonali Dev

Reason #5,678 I read romance: The safe space it provides to have women reflect, speak, listen, express, and share our collective anger, frustration, and hurt. 

I could have quoted three pages of this discussion but I knew I had to cut myself off somewhere.

Maybe she was shouting, but she couldn’t tell. “What could she have done differently, Nikhil? What? Stayed home? Stayed in places where you could have taken care of her, where you could have done with her as you pleased?” Sold her, starved her, told her who could and could not touch her.
She spun around, shaking so hard she could barely manage it. She couldn’t stand to be in the same room with him. Her skin felt too tight around her. Her scar felt like it would split at the seams, unable to contain the rage inside her. In all they’d done to her, she’d never questioned the colossal injustice of it. Of walking down the streets of her town and needing to wrap herself in her own arms, behind books, under layers and layers of clothes. She had done every single thing she could. Always.
And she had never, not for one moment, thought it was her fault.
She’d never for one moment not known it was them. The bastards who had taken everything. Her uncle who had taken her home by never giving her one. The man who’d bought her and taken her childhood. Those monsters who had taken her body. She’d never blamed herself. She’d felt only anger. ANGER. Such intense anger it had seared the wounds shut. Cauterized them.
But to hear Nikhil blame Jen for what those bastards did to her, to watch him be what she told herself every day all men couldn’t possibly be, someone who shoved all responsibility on women because he could, someone who stood apart and took comfort in not bothering to understand—it made the anger unbearable. Because there was Joy. And he would never be this. Because how could she stand it if he were?
“You okay?”Nikhil said behind her.
She was standing at the kitchen counter. The hard concrete clutched in her fingers. She hadn’t noticed herself move. That level of anger was unacceptable. It took away her awareness, her control. She tried to loosen her grip but couldn’t.
“I didn’t mean it was her fault,”he said behind her.
Actually, that’s exactly what he had meant.
It was easy to blame Jen. So he did. It wasn’t just him. The rest of the world did it too. All the time. Blame those who had been hurt. So they could live in the world that didn’t know how to stop those who did heinous things. In a world that let them get away with it.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Reading Update: 15%

This has little bit of a Ghost (movie starring Demi Moore and Patrick Swayze) feel to it.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Review: Dark Prince

Dark Prince Dark Prince by Eve Silver
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I read this for the Gothic square for Halloween Bingo

Jane Heatherington studied the horizon, dread gnawing at her with small, sharp bites. The sky was a leaden mass of churning gray clouds that hung low on the water, and the ocean pummeled the shore with a strength that heralded the furor of the coming storm. Breathing in the tangy salt scent of the sea, Jane clenched her fists, making the edges of the delicate pink shell in her hand dig into the skin of her palm, grounding her as she struggled to hold her misery at bay.

We've got a heroine walking on rocky cliffs on a windy, dark, and gloomy day, a dark mysterious stranger, and murder mysteries. The first couple chapters felt like the author went through a Gothic list and was crossing them off as a lot of dark and gloomy elements were relayed.

The story is told from the heroine's pov and this helps to keep the hero dark and mysterious but even before the half way mark he is pretty much revealed to basically be fairly benign. The hero and heroine had good chemistry, if their love felt a little rushed.

The second half and whole revenge story felt somewhat cobbled together and I'm not sure I felt the emotional pull from it. The description of weather and the hero wearing a dark capped coat seemed to be the biggest Gothic themes and therefore, I was a bit let down with the Gothic feel.

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Saturday, October 21, 2017

Review: The Diabolical Miss Hyde

The Diabolical Miss Hyde The Diabolical Miss Hyde by Viola Carr
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I read this for the Darkest London square for Halloween Bingo

In London, we've got murderers by the dozen. Rampsmen, garroters, wife beaters and baby farmers, poisoners and pie makers and folk who'll crack you over the noddle with a ha'penny cosh for the sake of your flashy watch chain and leave your meat for the rats. Never mind what you read in them penny dreadful: there ain't no romance in murder.

This was a mashup of steampunk, Victorian, Gothic, and classic horror. Our heroine is Dr. Eliza Jekyll AND Lizzie Hyde. She helps Inspector Griffin study crime scenes to catch the killers, currently trying to find The Chopper, and works/studies at Bedlam. Captain Lafayette comes on the scene, he works for the Royal Society. The Royal Society works to keep fey/magical people from society, they burn them when they find them. We also have a Mr. Todd who currently resides in Bedlam courtesy of Eliza, Finch who makes Eliza's elixir that helps keep Lizzie at bay, A.R. who is Eliza's mysterious benefactor, two doctors at Bedlam who may be up to no good, Johnny the mysterious fey boy, a Penny Dreadful writer, and a bunch of characters I'm probably forgetting because holy cow. All those characters I mentioned bring with them previously created horror themes. We've got Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (of course), Frankenstein, Werewolves, Sweeny Todd, Jack the Ripper, and a sort of Silence of the Lambs relationship. Again, I'm probably forgetting something.

It took me until around the 15% mark to get any sort of footing because of the amazing amount of characters and story threads happening, I felt like I was starting in the middle of a series. The Chopper plot started off the strongest and I thought that was the main one but towards the middle, it starts to get left behind as we focus more on Eliza and issues in her life. All male characters seem to be in love with her, which was sort of annoying and the few female characters seemed to be jealous of her.

I pull his hand beneath my skirts, between my thighs, an inch above my garter where the stiletto sings. "See?" My breath is sultry against his neck. "Told you I had a weapon."
"Consider me ambushed."

Eliza, Inspector Griffin, and Captain Lafayette had fun chemistry when they went back and forth in their conversations but then Griffin heads more to the sides and a romance teases around Lafayette and Eliza and Lizzie. This is clearly the first in a series that will follow Eliza and I'm sure there will be a deepening of this relationship as we just get the start here.

Most of this was in first person pov from Eliza, with Lizzie cutting in and as so, when action scenes happen it was sometimes hard to follow along. I'm sure the author had a clear picture in her mind of what was happening but as a new to the scene reader, it was far from being clear and some of it breezed by me, it would have been nice to have a third person overview.

Basically, this story was jammed packed with characters and storylines (Sir Isaac Newton makes an appearance and starts a storyline that I'm not sure was ever really explained) and I spent a lot of time feeling lost. It was different and interesting and I might try the second now that I have at least an introduction to the world and characters.

(If anyone has read this, who is supposed to be on the guy on the cover?! Johnny?)

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Friday, October 20, 2017


"Wanted men hide in evil places,” he explained. “Bloodthirsty holes where the demons that devour us are made real."

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Reading Update: 5%

The Diabolical Miss Hyde: An Electric Empire Novel (Electric Empire Novels) - Viola Carr
A woman lies dead, in a bleak slum alley just yards from the glittering theaters and smoking purple arc-lights of Haymarket. He's bunched her petticoats around her thighs, a black mess of blood. And above the knee, smart as a slice o' bacon, he's hacked her legs clean off.

Talk about a good seasonal read :)

Spotlight: Twisted Truths by Rebecca Zanetti #Giveaway

TWISTED TRUTHS by Rebecca Zanetti
Part of the BLOOD BROTHERS series.
November 14, 2017 | Trade paperback: $14.99 | eBook: $5.99 | ISBN: 978145559431

"TOP PICK! 4 1/2 stars! Zanetti proves that when it
comes to RS, she is in a class by herself!" RT Book Reviews

One year ago, Denver Jones blew up his life and left everything behind. To stay alive, he had no other choice. But now, when video footage of the woman he could never forget goes viral, begging for his help, he has no choice but to go to her. Her niece has been kidnapped and Denver and his blood brothers are the only people she can trust. 

But Denver isn't the only one watching that video. The deadly forces from his past see it too-and they'll use anything--and anyone--they can to lure Denver out of hiding to exact their revenge. 



Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/2xPyMG4

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Google Play: http://bit.ly/2gPLWIQ

Indie Bound: http://bit.ly/2l02mmb

Short Excerpt
Slowly, numbly, she shrugged.  “I knew you were dangerous and relentless in pursuing somebody,” she whispered.  But a killer?   Her search for him had held a romantic element, and she knew it.  This guy was all edge—no romance.  “Am I in danger?”  Her voice quivered, but she had to know.
“Yes.”  He didn’t move.  Didn’t even seem to breathe.
She blinked.  Rapidly.  “From you?”                   
His eyes darkened.  “No.  The only thing I’m capable of breaking is your heart.”
Cold swam through her.  The arrogance.  “You think you broke my heart?”
His lip twisted.  “I know I did.”  His tone was low with what seemed like self-hatred.  Dark and raw.  “I’m sorry.”
Those words.  She’d needed those words and hadn’t realized how badly.  “Thank you,” she said, going on instinct.  “Then how am I in danger?”
“I’m in danger, and anybody close to me is free game for an enemy who will keep coming until I’m dead.  Until everything I care about, everything I dream about, is taken away and I want death.”  He looked back down at the computer, intensity pouring from him.
Whoa. Okay.  Denver didn’t have one bit of hysteria in him.  His words scared her, but curiosity still rose up.  “Who?”
“Irrelevant.  As soon as we get Talia back, you have to forget me.  Now.  Back to Richie.”
She could live forever, and she’d never forget him.  Not for one second had she been able to pretend he didn’t exist.  But he was right.  They had to find Talia, but he still needed to explain more.  She had a right to know everything.  “I have files on everything.”  She threw her pack at Denver, and he easily caught it before it smashed him in the face.  
He didn’t so much as frown.  “Thank you.”
She swallowed.  They were in the same room.  After a year of hurting for him, he was right there in solid form.  More than solid.  She hadn’t imagined his hard body or intense charisma.  He owned every room he walked into with no effort.  She’d never met anybody like him, and here he was.  Her body tingled, her heart ached, and her mind spun.  Yeah.  Denver was definitely there.  “What now?” she asked, her eyes gritty and her throat scratchy.
“I’ll do some research.”  Slowly, numbly, she shrugged.  “I knew you were dangerous and relentless in pursuing somebody,” she whispered.  But a killer?   Her search for him had held a romantic element, and she knew it.  This guy was all edge—no romance.  “Am I in danger?”  Her voice quivered, but she had to know.
“Yes.”  He didn’t move.  Didn’t even seem to breathe.
She blinked.  Rapidly.  “From you?” 
His eyes darkened.  “No.  The only thing I’m capable of breaking is your heart.”
Cold swam through her.  The arrogance.  “You think you broke my heart?”
His lip twisted.  “I know I did.”  His tone was low with what seemed like self-hatred.  Dark and raw.  “I’m sorry.”
Those words.  She’d needed those words and hadn’t realized how badly.  “Thank you,” she said, going on instinct.  “Then how am I in danger?”
“I’m in danger, and anybody close to me is free game for an enemy who will keep coming until I’m dead.  Until everything I care about, everything I dream about, is taken away and I want death.”  He looked back down at the computer, intensity pouring from him.
Whoa. Okay.  Denver didn’t have one bit of hysteria in him.  His words scared her, but curiosity still rose up.  “Who?”
“Irrelevant.  As soon as we get Talia back, you have to forget me.  Now.  Back to Richie.”
She could live forever, and she’d never forget him.  Not for one second had she been able to pretend he didn’t exist.  But he was right.  They had to find Talia, but he still needed to explain more.  She had a right to know everything.  “I have files on everything.”  She threw her pack at Denver, and he easily caught it before it smashed him in the face. 
He didn’t so much as frown.  “Thank you.”
She swallowed.  They were in the same room.  After a year of hurting for him, he was right there in solid form.  More than solid.  She hadn’t imagined his hard body or intense charisma.  He owned every room he walked into with no effort.  She’d never met anybody like him, and here he was.  Her body tingled, her heart ached, and her mind spun.  Yeah.  Denver was definitely there.  “What now?” she asked, her eyes gritty and her throat scratchy.
“I’ll do some research.” 

Rebecca Zanetti is the author of over twenty-five romantic suspense, dark paranormal, and contemporary romances, and her books have appeared multiple times on the New York Times, USA Today, and Amazon bestseller lists. She has received a Publisher's Weekly Starred Review for Wicked Edge, Romantic Times Reviewer Choice Nominations for Forgotten Sins and Sweet Revenge, and RT Top Picks for several of her novels.  She lives in the wilds of the Pacific Northwest with her own alpha hero, two kids, a couple of dogs, a crazy cat...and a huge extended family.  She believes strongly in luck, karma, and working her butt off...and she thinks one of the best things about being an author, unlike the lawyer she used to be, is that she can let the crazy out. Find Rebecca at: www.rebeccazanetti.com

Author Information
Author Website: http://bit.ly/2dh9aFd

The Series
Series Page on Goodreads: http://bit.ly/2dcQsPD
#1 - My Review
#2 - My Review

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