Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Monday, January 29, 2018

Reading Update: 30%

True to You - Jennifer Ryan
“You want her to think that so she’ll stay away from you.”
"As far away as possible.”

I'm really enjoying this so far! Rom suspense that doesn't feel hokey, solid plot, solid characters, multifaceted villain, and building underlining sexual tension. Know only 30%, but this has me jonesing, y'all. 
Anyone read the first in the series? Why haven't I heard more about this author and series?!?

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Review: Dark Under the Cover of Night

Dark Under the Cover of Night Dark Under the Cover of Night by Jayne Castel
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

If you have read Kathryn Le Veque books because you want to read some Medieval books but found them "too much" (too many characters, series tie-ins, too historical) this might be a good alternative. It is hard to find Early Medieval period books and this one doesn't deal with Vikings, so I was excited to download this one as a Kindle Freebie.
The vernacular mostly reads as more modern, with historical appropriate terms and titles, which makes it more "readable". The author incorporates real historical figures to give it more feel which I liked.
The book is a bit top heavy though with good story and character building, the ending is rushed with characters acting in ways that feel forced for angst because of previous set-ups. I really enjoyed the first half but character make-ups kind of took a dive in the second half and left them feeling only 70% complete instead of fully fleshed out.
The women definitely don't have it easy in this one, one sexy-time scene between hero and heroine (other sex scenes), and not a fully completed romance.
Started off promising but kind of fell apart in ending second half. Definitely a win for a Kindle freebie and fun to visit a different time period.

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Saturday, January 27, 2018

Review: Live By The Team

Live By The Team Live By The Team by Cindy Skaggs
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was in the script and had elements of Elite Ops - Lora Leigh (sexy times take over a lot), Hard Ink - Laura Kaye (military men having to band together to fight corruption), and Sin Brothers - Rebecca Zanetti (enhanced soldiers).

The enhanced soldiers aspect wasn't explained the best, not a lot of detail about how the hero's elite group was given a medical cocktail to not feel fear, just needed to be flushed out more to be grasped and willing to follow along. One of the hero's friends is featured a lot and the hero of the next book but the others in his group are introduced towards the end and that's all we basically get.

The hero and heroine's romance begins before the book begins (they are already married), so I definitely missed the falling in love aspect. The romance leans heavily on sexy times and "I can't live without you! But it's too dangerous to be together! But wait, I can't live without you!" that the hero ping pongs back and forth.

There's the main storyline of the hero possibly being in danger from the shady black ops company that medically enhanced him and his group and some foreclosure and meth lab criminal group that is endangering his wife. Yeah, the foreclosure/meth storyline felt a bit unneeded and as it was the most focused on plot, I can't help but feel what was really the point since we already have a pretty interesting super soldiers and shady government company being nefarious. Obviously, we'll get more about the shady government/super soldiers storyline in the next in the series but I still feel like I didn't get enough here.

This was interesting but the other series I mentioned that this had elements from kind of did it better and since those went for many books, I have a bit of fatigue about this plot. This was well written, lacked a bit in the romance department but was entertaining, a win for a Kindle Freebie download but not really anything that was new or makes me want to rush out to buy the next in the series.

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Friday, January 26, 2018

Review: While the Duke Was Sleeping

While the Duke Was Sleeping While the Duke Was Sleeping by Sophie Jordan
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I read this in between doses of NyQuil, so my memory is a bit fuzzy but suffice to say, it did not live up to its inspiration of the move While You Were Sleeping.

I was not a fan of the "hero" in this one. He is basically constantly telling the heroine that she wants it. I still read bodice rippers of old but heroes like this in modern romances get my foot on their bum and kicked out the door.

Follows the movie's script pretty closely, even some same lines!, but because of the hero, the story was meh for me.

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Review: The Earl

The Earl The Earl by Katharine Ashe
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I'm emerging from a sick cocoon that lasted 5 days, I wanted to write a solid review for this book because I had thoughts and feelings reading it but I barely had the energy to leave the bed to lay on the couch.

I see a lot of people had a problem with the heroine but I thought she was the better flushed out character of the two (hero). Yes, her grudge against the hero for "abandoning" her was forced and not quite up to snuff but I thought her brusque hard exterior and attitude towards the hero wasn't anything we haven't seen many anti-heroes or broody heroes pull on heroines in other stories before.

I think my main problem with this was the utter lack of chemistry between the two that came from the characters themselves not feeling fully sketched out or deep. For two characters I have been reading sassy corresponding over several books, I was shocked at how they felt like two stiff boards interacting.

This felt like the author was trying to recreate the magic of How a Lady Weds A Rogue, an adventurous road romance but yeah, the whole two stiff boards thing. I'm going to keep trying with this series because Ashe has given some of a my favorite books/characters/romance but these last few have been a bit disappointing.

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Monday, January 22, 2018

Review: The Vixen and the Vet

The Vixen and the Vet The Vixen and the Vet by Katy Regnery
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

She’s a beautiful, young, talented writer. She doesn’t want some hopeless, deformed man touching her.

Inspired by Beauty and the Beast (the hero's housekeeper/caretaker is named Miss Potts) this was a sweet, at times very ooey gooey, story. The hero is a war veteran who was physically scared pretty badly and when he came back home his hometown shunned him. The heroine is a gorgeous reporter who was conned by her boyfriend, ended up losing her job, and going back home to lick her wounds.

This definitely has a southern vibe and as a solid Yankee gal, I definitely had some side-eye and back up moments. These moments (not involving police in an attempted rape because that is what a Yankee girl would do, take care of it in house) weren't presented as right or wrong by the author just giving it her spin on a southern world. The southern vibe along with the sugar sweet, very sympathy inducing hero, and baked goods talk made this a nice little escape. The sweet tone does come along with some sexy little scenes, so don't take it to mean a bedroom door shut book.

If you enjoy Beauty and the Beast tropes, southern vibes, and spun sugar, this was enjoyable escapism.

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Friday, January 19, 2018

Reading Update: 40%

You look handsome.”
“You’re a liar.”
"Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, Asher. And I’ve seen the way Savannah Carmichael beholds you.”

We all need a Miss Potts in our life at times to comfort, scold, push, and love. Love this tough kindly character

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Review: A Study in Scarlet Women

A Study in Scarlet Women A Study in Scarlet Women by Sherry Thomas
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

How had they managed to not realize, for so long, what they meant to one another? And why then must they see the light when it was too late, when they could possess no more than a few moments of ferocious mutual awareness?

With more historical mystery elements than romance, this new spin on an old classic character was immensely intriguing. The beginning was a bit schizophrenic to me and I had a little tougher time sliding into Thomas' world. Our main character Charlotte Holmes takes her time coming to the forefront but after I finished the book, I think this choice really worked, but I needed hindsight to appreciate it.

There's one main mystery case needing to be solved with other little ones sprinkled in as new characters get introduced. There's a handful of main stay characters, an Inspector that brings the reader through the main mystery case, Charlotte's sister Livia who welcomes us into the world, Mrs. Watson ;) who helps to set-up our Sherlock Holmes, and Lord Ingram who weaves in our little thread of romance. There are a two handfuls of secondary characters who serve the mystery case or help to fill out the world.

This is obviously a first in a series book and should be read as such, as most of this could be considered an introduction to characters and relationships. Thomas does an amazing job with all the myriad intricacies in everyone's relationships but just be aware there is not much typical romance here. Charlotte and Lord Ingram have a past and obvious tension between them but if there is any payoff to be found, it is definitely in future installments.

I didn't really settle into this until the second half of the book and I missed more romance but the intrigue, refreshing spin, and genuine stimulating writing kept me engaged.

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Reading Update: 15%

“By your standards it isn’t rational, I know. But you can’t expect to be treated rationally when you are a woman, Charlotte. I can’t explain why—that’s just how it is. And you must learn to accept it.”
Charlotte was quiet. Livia thought that perhaps for once, she’d put some sense into her little sister’s head. But as they walked back into the house, Charlotte turned to her and said, “I will try to understand why. But I will not learn to accept it. Never.”

Be a Charlotte.

Review: You Make Me

You Make Me You Make Me by Erin McCarthy
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

1.5 stars (writing was readable)

Holy freaking buckets of New Adult shit. The DRAMA, the MELODRAMA, the POSSESSIVENESS, the ANGST, the first person pov from only heroine, just the absolute (personal taste) please go away recent fad of horrible tropes that we don't want younger women/girls to read, y'all.

I read the whole thing (some fast time skimming) but I hope no younger girls do because this is absolutely NOT how relationships should go between couples.

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Saturday, January 13, 2018

Review: The Sheriff Catches a Bride

The Sheriff Catches a Bride The Sheriff Catches a Bride by Cora Seton
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

2.5 stars

More focus on the over encompassing cast of characters, including past and future heroes and heroines, and the small town relationship drama. Also a pretty big secondary storyline following a girl from Afghanistan trying to escape the Taliban, felt a bit out of left field.
This was my first foray into the series, which you could start here because there is nothing confusing but you won't feel emotional attachment to the characters.

Wanted the hero and heroine to spend more time together and didn't feel like I ever got to know the hero but writing was good and as a Kindle Freebie, it did its job of interesting me enough to look into other books in the series.
Takes place in Montana but still had a slight western feel.

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Friday, January 12, 2018

Review: Beyond Scandal and Desire

Beyond Scandal and Desire Beyond Scandal and Desire by Lorraine Heath
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.

Mick grew up knowing he was illegitimate and experienced all the society pitfalls because of it. All he has ever wanted is for his father to publicly acknowledge him but when his father refuses, he decides to ruin his half-brother heir.
Aslyn has been the Duke of Hedley's ward for most of her life after her parents died. With it understood that she would eventually marry Hedley's son and their very protective nature, Aslyn has been sheltered. Starting to feel stifled, she begins to push for more freedom. After meeting Mick, she senses a freedom she has never thought to experience.
Mick wants revenge but how far will he be willing to get it?

"I intend to take from him everything he holds dear---including the lady at his side."

The first in a new series, Beyond Scandal and Desire focuses on the eldest child of Widow Trewlove, a woman who took in unwanted babies. While we are introduced to Mick as a very successful business man, he alludes and mentions how tough it was growing up poor and with the taint of being a bastard. The revenge he seeks is a bit different; he simply wants his father to acknowledge him and hopes this will open higher society doors to him. It's a little heartbreaking that Mick obviously just wants to feel acknowledged by his father, making him feel meaningful since he was given away. Mick was the hero where circumstances force him to have a tough outer shell but is angry and hurt over feeling abandoned. He was somewhat romance hero trope (a bit more sensitive) but how he fell for heroine made him very enjoyable to read.

Why did this man have such an effect on her?
Why did everyone else seem so small in comparison?

Our heroine Aslyn starts off very sheltered and buttoned up but with some inner thoughts that hint at a will striving to break free. I, personally, thought Aslyn stole the show a bit with her living in quiet desperation. Her journey and growth from accepting her gilded cage, to starting to question, finding herself, and finally expressing and owning what she wanted was so satisfying. Usually it is the hero who stands tall during the declarations of love but, here, oh the heroine brings it and I was cheering her on. Aslyn could have taken the easy road but she spoke her truth and I delighted in following along on her journey.

Never before had he ever been so weak-willed.
He was a man of strength, and yet he thought for her he'd go to his knees.

With a mysterious painful beginning, I was sucked into the story right away. I took pleasure in the slow buildup and burn Heath provided, we get to know Mick and Aslyn (does start to feel a smidgen too slow as the anticipation for reveals starts to settle in). There are some scenes with Mick interacting with his family that helped fill out his character (and introduce future series heroes/heroines) and I wished there had been more for Aslyn. The Duke and Duchess of Hedley don't get as flushed out as I would have liked and their son definitely gets too much of a thinly veiled villain w/ maybe future redemption arc. While I enjoyed the slower buildup, the story had too much of a top heavy feel, the ending felt rushed. I would be lying if I didn't say I started watching the page count after I got around 60% waiting for a reveal that would have repercussions in Mick and Aslyn's relationship. The reveal was extremely needed too, but with how late it finally happened, I was left feeling a bit bereft and missing some crucial emotional angst and growth between the two; my favorite romance components. At minimum, this story needed to be 100 pages longer (my old romance reading heart would have delighted in a full sequel book finishing Aslyn and Mick's story with working things out after full reveal).

The buildup and getting to know characters first half will have you engrossed into the story but the very late reveals give the ending a rushed feel. Some secondary characters felt too thin but Aslyn's growth and journey along with her instant connection and simmering romance with Mick will have you appreciating and taking pleasure in the story.

All his life he'd been searching for acceptance, and here it was in the form of a woman with a tilted-up nose and crooked smile.

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“Associating with him, no matter how innocent, will lead you along the path to ruin.” 
She bloody well didn’t care.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Reading Update: 10%

He’d been scheming for far too long to cast it all aside now. He’d climbed as far as he could up the social ladder. To reach the higher rungs, others had to fall—far and spectacularly, like fireworks burning out on their way down. He would be paid what he was owed. And God’s mercy on anyone who stood in his way.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Review: Her Enemy Protector

Her Enemy Protector Her Enemy Protector by Avery Flynn
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

2.5 stars

Was a bit jumbled beginning with some confusion because I didn't read the first in the series and I couldn't quit place the fictional country and the who and what of their MI-6 like organization.
This is a little bit of a wham-bam, thank you, ma'ma with some insta-lust and a suspense storyline that you maybe don't want to examine too closely.

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Review: A Daring Arrangement

A Daring Arrangement A Daring Arrangement by Joanna Shupe
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

2.5 stars

The basis for this is a fake engagement, which I can usually get behind but the heroine was in "luv" with another man for over half of story which is what I can't usually get behind. I had a really hard time feeling it between the hero and heroine. The hero felt a little same old, same old and his family relationship with his mother and sister had them feeling like caricature villains. The heroine had some incredible obtuse moments with not understanding how situations could be dangerous to her and why she might not want to fully blacken her reputation.

I really enjoyed the different Knickerbocker time period and the author did a great job describing the over-the-top grandeur. Relationships between characters felt forced or didn't flow well to me but there was something to the author's writing, I just need it to break free from the paint-by-numbers feel.

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Saturday, January 6, 2018

Copy a Romance Cover

Raiden and I wanted to make sure expectations were kept low for the new Copy a Romance Cover year but couldn't help setting the mood to start this new series.
Also, tilted cushions are apparently traumatic to lay on.

Friday, January 5, 2018

Review: A Most Extraordinary Pursuit

A Most Extraordinary Pursuit A Most Extraordinary Pursuit by Juliana Gray
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book kind of defies convention, it's historical mystery, splash of romance, paranormal, and time travel. It is also, most definitely, a starter book; we get an introduction to characters and the arc here but you will be left with more questions than answers.

This is labeled as #1 in the series, although there is .5, which I was wishing I had read because for the first 20% of this, I felt hopelessly lost. However, I'm not sure there are elements from the .5 book that would help clue you in for this one. If anyone who has read .5 could give an answer if reading the first would help here, would appreciate the comments.

The paranormal factor (if curious what this is (view spoiler)) really threw me for a loop, it is never fully explained and felt pretty awkward at times.

I want to say this is more historical mystery and travel with occasional leanings toward attraction, connection, and romance but there is no ending HEA. The story is told in first person from our heroine and she is not a forthcoming narrator about her feelings or past. Our hero is the affable with a sense of hidden depths mystery man that we never fully get to know.

The time travel element is hinted at in the prologue and then you kind of forget about it until towards the end where the beginning arc for it is started.

Look, you will definitely end up with more questions than answers and a sort of HFN(I'm not ever sure I can call it that) as this is more starter book, you'll have to read the next in the series to get answers (hopefully! I haven't read the next yet).

The writing is pretty engaging but I didn't feel the closest to the characters as I said, first person and not forthcoming. I am going to read the next in the series though because the historical mystery (myths and time travel!) has captured my attention.

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The American laughed again. “Listen to you. Jesus. It’s like watching f——ing Downton Abbey.”

Wait, WHA...?!?

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Reading Update: 30%

Perhaps it was more like the lifting of a curtain, the opening of an eyelid that had, until now, remained willfully shut. “A trained agent,” I said slowly. “A trained agent, did you say, sir?”

Oooh, Miss Truelove beginning to suspect what I've been sensing.

2017 Romancies Wrap-up and looking forward to 2018

Happy New Year everyone! With a final close to 2017, a quick recap of my Romancies Awards

*clicking on book cover brings you to the post with all the nominees

Best Cover               Favorite Secondary Character         Best Scene
33574179     110296                                  25820440

Favorite Quote                      Best Heroine and Best Hero
32798151                  110296    29776219

Best Couple               Best Contemporary and Best Historical      
29422692       29422692    110296     

Best Book of 2017

2016 Romancies Wrap-Up

2015 Romancies Wrap-Up

On to 2018 and my top ten most anticipated reads (Considering I'm still working on my 2016 New Release list, these seem like a glowing distant light)
*clicking on cover brings you to their Goodreads page

35447375   36576080   35297489

35723631  31933394  35889106

35271238  35695972  

(The thirst is so really for this one)

What were your favs from the year and what are you most anticipating in 2018?

Wishing a happy and 5 star reading New Year for you all :)