Category: Book Reviews

Oct 21

Beast’s Beauty – sci-fi alien abduction romance

Book Reviews 0

Beast’s Beauty – sci-fi alien abduction romanceBeast's Beauty by Laney Kaye, Christina Wilder
Published by CrossWorlds on September 20, 2019
Genres: Romance, Science Fiction
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Goodreads

A beauty stolen from Earth.Gifted to an alien Beast.Can love set them both free?

Amelia: Abducted by aliens and taken to their ship, my best friend and I are desperate to escape and return to Earth. I'm tossed into a cell with a reptilian alien and told I must satisfy him or they'll hurt my friend. I never thought giving in to his needs might satisfy my own...

Then they put me with a new beast and say we're going to compete in a deadly game called the Rampage. Alien Hunger Games anyone?

The beast is snarly and ferocious, and he could rip me apart with his tusks and claws. Yet in his eyes, I sense something vulnerable. Lonely. With hints of something I found with the other alien.

I'll do whatever I can to soothe the beast and convince him to help me win the Rampage. Because losing means death.

Jrecatoa: I was once a man, a Krakarian warrior.

That's all gone now. Hidden beneath this abominable exterior, far more Beast than man. Not only in appearance, either; because the scent and the sight of this female does things to me. Things that surely no man would ever feel.

Of course, I've wanted women before. Had women before.

But I've never needed them like this.

She's awoken my Hunger.

But maybe that's just as well--without the fury of the Hunger, neither of us has any chance of surviving the Rampage.

***Beast's Beauty is book one in our new Scifi Alien Abduction Romance Series, Fractured Fairytales & Mangled Myths. Look for Book two, Minotaur's Mate, releasing soon!

Our alien romance series guarantees hot males, fierce women, steamy, on-the-page romance, and a satisfying happily-ever-after. Each book features new characters and can be read as a standalone though they may be more fun if read in order.

Say WHAT?!? I was skimming through some book titles and came screeching to a halt at the tagline on this one. I’m a complete sucker for Beauty and the Beast retellings, but…alien abduction romance?? I’ve never been much of a sci-fi reader, but I did pick Garrus as the romantic interest when I played through Mass Effect years ago so I thought why not, I can give anything a try once.

Garrus was just so sweet and awkward, and he was awesome backup in a firefight.

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“Act with honor, integrity, and respect, lest the Beast control you and destroy all that you are.”

Things I Liked

  • The action never stopped – if they weren’t in mortal danger and running from aliens of ever-varying and ever-weirder shapes and sizes, they were making the pages sizzle. I love books where you never have time to sit and twiddle your thumbs. A moving plot will cover many sins, and it did in this case.
  • I was very interested in the world the authors were creating, with so many different races of aliens and cultures. There just needed to be more of it! More detail, more time spent showing the world, not just the little patch of ground the characters happened to be standing on at the time.
  • I really liked Jrec. He’s the typical alpha-male hero type, military, super sexy and fit and with a penchant for protecting those weaker than himself (which is pretty much everyone). He has a darker side to his past that is only hinted at, maybe that will show up more in future books. He really seems to get the short end of the stick as the Beast in this story, but he still tries to hold onto the better part of himself.
  • The sex scenes were actually pretty well done – at least as well done as I could imagine for sex with an alien, albeit a very human-like one.

Things I Didn’t Like

  • Okay, as I feared/thought when I read the description…the cheese is strong with this one. I got a very strong original-series-Star-Trek vibe, with all the grimacing and eye-rolling that usually comes with watching one of those old shows. I haven’t seen much Star Trek, so I’m not entirely sure if part of this book was supposed to be a spoof on it or not. But yes…much cheese.
  • The whole reason Jrec and Amelia “fall in love” so quickly is because of some idea of “one true love” in the Krakarian culture. If you like that sort of thing, great, you’ll be right on board with this. I despise the idea that we’re fated to have one true “mate” and if we miss that one person we’ll never experience true love…bullshit. I know it’s just a story and sort of a plot device here but ARGH. On top of the insta-love…it was just super annoying.
  • Amelia has no back story! Her friend Lily has even less, and even Jrec’s is barely hinted at. It’s like they just dropped onto the highway at the beginning of the story, fully formed, but with no parents or family…because they definitely never spare THEM a second thought.

2.5/5 stars

Rounded up to 3 stars. I might continue with the series. I like a little more substance to my books even if they are focused mainly on the romance, but I did enjoy aspects of the story.

 

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Oct 18

How to Capture a Duke – Giveaway and Review!

Book Reviews, Book Tours 0 ★★★★

How to Capture a Duke – Giveaway and Review!How to Capture a Duke by Tina Gabrielle
on October 14, 2019
Genres: Historical, Romance
Pages: 150
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads four-stars
four-flames

Lady Olivia, the youngest sister of the Earl of Castleton, has no patience for the boring gentlemen of aristocratic society. She longs for a more adventurous life like the ladies who visit the Raven Club. But her plans are thwarted when her family drags her to a country house party to meet the elusive Duke of Keswick.

Tristan Cameron, the Duke of Keswick, finds Olivia in his stables. She believes him to be the stable master, and he doesn’t dissuade her of the notion. He has no interest in entertaining one of the spoiled, self-indulgent ladies who’ve invaded his home. Except, Olivia is neither of those things, and their shared kiss during a ride results in combustible passion.

And a potential scandal.

Olivia is relieved when the handsome stable master comes to her aid as her alibi, but that relief fades to anger when she suddenly finds herself betrothed to the harsh, foul-tempered duke.

Tristan believes he’s been trapped by a scheming, title-seeking lady. To make matters worse, she’s utterly captivating. He plans on leaving her behind in the country immediately after their vows, but Tristan soon finds himself battling temptation and Olivia’s stubborn determination to be the Duchess he doesn’t believe he deserves...

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

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Regency romances aren’t really my thing, but I was drawn in by the synopsis of this one. When the request for extended blog coverage came out I jumped on it. I’m very excited to say that I really loved it!! Totally surprised myself, and well done to the author! How to Capture a Duke is the third book in the Raven Club series, but it can completely be read as a standalone. The other two books are based around Lady Olivia’s brother and sister, and after reading this one I really want to read their stories – but it is definitely not necessary to have done so before diving into this one!

I loved Olivia’s spunk and the way she continually made the best of a bad situation, and my heart absolutely ached for Tristan. Despite his privilege as a duke, his heart and soul have been badly trampled by society. It’s really a wonder he didn’t turn out to be a complete ass! Oh, and they’re completely hot for each other. There are a couple of SIZZLING sex scenes. You have been warned! Also, Tristan’s grandmama is the bomb. I love her so much. She is absolutely amazing and I want to be her when I grow up.

I have a lovely excerpt to share, so I’m keeping my review short and sweet. You really don’t want to miss the excerpt so be sure to keep reading! There’s also a giveaway at the end of the post, so be sure to enter that as well. 🙂

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HOW TO CAPTURE A DUKE
A Raven Club Novel

Copyright © 2019 by Tina Gabrielle

 

“I don’t want my drunken duchess to cause a scene in a casino,” Tristan said.

Olivia felt her temper rise. “Your duchess!” she screeched. “You do not want a duchess.”

He leaned forward, his face inches from hers. “Now that I have one, I’ve decided to keep her.”

“Keep me? What on earth does that mean?”

“It means I expect my wife to behave like a lady, not a tavern doxy.”

He caught her hand before it made contact with his cheek. His dark gaze narrowed. “I suppose I deserve your outrage, but do not seek to strike me again.”

Perhaps if the world didn’t spin, Olivia would be afraid. But she had never feared physical harm from him. Other things, yes, but not physical harm.

She licked suddenly dry lips. His gaze lowered to her mouth, and she felt as if he’d touched her there, his stare had turned so heated. The air shifted in the carriage, like a storm that blew away. She was left with a heightened awareness of lightning about to strike. She felt warm all over, as if he’d hauled her against his chest. She should be furious. What was wrong with her?  

“You drive me mad.” He released her wrist but didn’t move, and neither did she. They stayed suspended in their seats, inches apart, eyes connecting.

“Why do you care? If you refuse to consummate our marriage, am I to stay untouched forever?” 

“No,” he said, his voice rough. “You are young and lovely and should experience passion.”

It must be the whisky that was making her bold, but she didn’t care. “Do you prefer I seek a lover, then?”

“No. The thought of you with another does not sit well with me.”

Olivia’s pulse leaped. Oh. She’d never expected him to say such things. Never expected him to make such an admission. “Why?”

“It’s my right to bed you and your right to be with me. For me to make love to my wife. To make you cry out with passion.”

Oh my.

She could get lost in the longing in his eyes. For a brief moment, she imagined things had been different between them. He wasn’t a duke, they weren’t forced to marry, and their pasts had no consequence. They were simply two strangers ensconced in the intimacy of a carriage. 

“I’d start here.” Tristan reached for her hand and drew back her glove to place a kiss on the pulse point of her wrist. She stifled a gasp at his gentleness and the brush of his lips on the sensitive spot. Then, slowly, he peeled off her glove and kissed the center of her palm. 

She watched the top of his head, and she longed to bury her fingers in the dark locks, to see if they were as soft as they appeared. Then he lifted his head and met her eyes. He was close, so close, and she wanted to kiss him so badly she ached. 

“And then?” she asked.

“Then I’d kiss your lips.”

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Tour Wide Giveaway

To celebrate the release of HOW TO CAPTURE A DUKE by Tina Gabrielle, we’re giving away a paperback copy of How to Best a Marquess by Tina Gabrielle to one lucky winner!

GIVEAWAY TERMS & CONDITIONS:  Open to internationally. One winner will receive a paperback copy of How to Best a Marquess by Tina Gabrielle. This giveaway is administered by Pure Textuality PR on behalf of Entangled Publishing.  Giveaway ends 11/6/2019 @ 11:59pm EST.  CLICK HERE TO ENTER!

About Tina Gabrielle

Best-selling author TINA GABRIELLE is an attorney and mechanical engineer whose love of reading for pleasure helped her get through years of academia. She often picked up a romance and let her fantasies of knights in shining armor and lords and ladies carry her away. She is the author of adventurous Regency historical romances for Entangled Publishing and Kensington Books. Tina also writes best-selling cozy mysteries as Tina Kashian for Kensington Books.

Publisher’s Weekly calls her Regency Barrister’s series, “Well-matched lovers…witty comradely repartee.” Tina’s books have been Barnes & Noble top picks, and her first book, Lady Of Scandal, was nominated as best first historical by Romantic Times Book Reviews. Tina lives in New Jersey and is married to her own hero and is blessed with two daughters. She loves to hear from readers. Visit her website to learn about upcoming releases, join her newsletter, and enter free monthly contests at www.tinagabrielle.com

Website  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Goodreads  |  Amazon

This promotion is brought to you by Pure Textuality

four-stars

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Oct 17

Heirs and Graces (Her Royal Spyness #7)

Book Reviews 0 ★★★★

Heirs and Graces (Her Royal Spyness #7)Heirs and Graces (Her Royal Spyness Mysteries, #7) by Rhys Bowen
Published by The Berkley Publishing Group on August 6, 2013
Genres: Cozy, Historical, Mystery
Pages: 295
Goodreads four-stars

As thirty-fifth in line for the throne, Lady Georgiana Rannoch may not be the most sophisticated young woman, but she knows her table manners. It's forks on the left, knives on the right, not in His Majesty's back.

Here I am thinking the education I received at my posh Swiss finishing school would never come in handy. And while it hasn't landed me a job, or a husband, it has convinced Her Majesty the Queen, and the Dowager Duchess to enlist my help. I have been entrusted with grooming Jack Altringham, the Duke's newly discovered heir fresh from the Outback of Australia, for high society.

The upside is I am to live in luxury at one of England's most gorgeous stately homes. But upon arrival at Kingsdowne Place, my dearest Darcy has been sent to fetch Jack, leaving me stuck in a manor full of miscreants, none of whom are too pleased with the discovery of my new ward.

And no sooner has the lad been retrieved than the Duke announces he wants to choose his own heir. With the house in a hubbub over the news, Jack's hunting knife somehow finds its way into the Duke's back. Eyes fall, backs turn, and fingers point to the young heir. As if the rascal wasn't enough of a handful, now he's suspected of murder. Jack may be wild, but I'd bet the crown jewels it wasn't he who killed the Duke.

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Heirs and Graces is the 7th in Rhys Bowen’s Her Royal Spyness series, and I’m happy to say it continued in the vein of the 6th book, which I think was the best in the series so far.

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“Nothing more dangerous than an educated woman.”

Things I Liked

  • We got more of Darcy and Georgie together! This made me so happy, as I feel like Darcy was really in the background unnecessarily for several books.
  • Jack, the Australian heir, was a breath of fresh air to the stodgy British household of his grandmother. I loved it.
  • The mystery was one of those that was clearly a framing of another person from the very start, but I was really unsure of who I liked for the actual culprit until much closer to the end. I love mysteries like this, because it’s just not as much fun if you figure it out a quarter of the way through the book!

Overall 4/5 Stars

  • This was another solid addition to the series! Nothing spectacular, but a very enjoyable read with mostly characters we’re familiar with – which is exactly what I want out of a cozy mystery!

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four-stars

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Oct 14

He’s a Brute (Tough Love #1)

Book Reviews 0 ★★★★

He’s a Brute (Tough Love #1)He's a Brute (Tough Love, #1) by Chloe Liese
on May 6, 2019
Genres: Romance
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads four-stars
five-flames

Every good scientist knows the second law of thermodynamics: the universe's disorder, entropy, is always increasing. Professionally and personally speaking, Nairne’s familiar with the principle. After a streak of costly fame, now she’s set on saving the world, microscope in hand, and there’s no time for romance. Problem is, when a rude, despicably sexy Adonis shows up to run their board meeting, chemistry and its ensuing chaos become more than a formula—now they’re a burning hot reality.

Mafia prince. Professional footballer. Bad boy demeanor and a reputation for being as talented between the sheets as he is on the pitch. Rumors are the man's an absolute brute. And he turns out to be just as demanding, controlling and vicious in person as he is on paper. The Law of Attraction’s proven true, as Nairne finds herself accepting Zed’s proposal: rough, wild stress release, more orgasms than she can count, and most importantly—no falling in love.

Agreement in place. End date secured.

No attachments. No forever.What could possibly go wrong?Book One in the Tough Love Series—an enemies to lovers, suspenseful romance, full of sexy Italians, bedroom negotiations, feisty heroines, and an ending that’ll both satisfy you and leave you ready for more!

**CONTAINS SEXUAL CONTENT & EXPLICIT LANGUAGE 18+**

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

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He’s a Brute was Chloe Liese’s debut novel, and wow did it pack a punch! I did admittedly read these books out of order (read She’s a Spitfire, which is Tough Love #2, first), and while technically that’s fine I would definitely recommend starting with the first book. This is a three book series involving the same couple. I enjoyed the first two books so much that I bought hard copies of all three, even though I had eARCs of the first two!

A lot of reviews said this was a 50 Shades-esque novel. I’ve never read 50 Shades, so I can’t say either way. There is dominant/submissive kinky sex between Zed and Nairne, but it is completely consensual. Zed is rough around the edges, arrogant, and emotionally closed off, but he makes sure Nairne is 100% okay with whatever he does before he does it. There’s a contract and everything.

Things I Liked

  • Consent! Consent! Consent! For this type of kink to sit well with me consent has to figure in immediately, not as an afterthought, and it totally did. Made the steamy scenes even hotter. And they were HOT. Phew!
  • Zed! I like alpha males, what can I say. Muscles and confidence. Mmmhm yes please. Besides being a pro soccer player, he’s also in the ruling levels of the Italian Mafia. Realistic? No. But romances around pro sports players AREN’T realistic, in my opinion, because they are so rare. So it didn’t bother me.
  • NAIRNE. I love Nairne so so much. She’s turned on by Zed’s dominance but she doesn’t let him push her around outside of the bedroom and I am HERE for it. My girl!! Also, she is such a strong person. As a star football (soccer) player herself, she suffered a traumatic injury that left her in a wheelchair. While this understandably caused her a great deal of mental and emotional anguish, she doesn’t let it completely consume her. She struggles – who wouldn’t – but she keeps fighting.
  • The relationship between Nairne and her best friend, Elodie! They have each other’s backs, no matter what. I loved them together so much. It was good to see a book with positive female friendships.

Things I Didn’t Like

  • There was a LOT going on in this book. I think it was because the author is introducing all of this crap that Nairne and Zed have to go through in the series of three books, but it was just like…whoa, Nellie, slow down!!
  • Zed’s older, female mentor/lover. Yick. I know things like that happen, because bad people do bad things…which would have been fine, but I didn’t feel like it was dealt with well. Zed never really did deal with it, and I feel like he needs to because that’s really messed up. Maybe in the later books? I hope so.
  • The whole thing with Nairne’s father was a little too wrapped-up-in-a-bow. It felt completely out of place and unnecessary and unlikely. I was glad it occurred at the end of the book instead of the beginning because I’m honestly not sure I would have finished it!

4/5 stars overall.

I love Zed and Nairne and if you enjoy romance with lots of steamy sex, a little danger, and a lot of banter, this one is for you!

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four-stars

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Oct 10

The Twelve Clues of Christmas (Her Royal Spyness #6)

Book Reviews 0 ★★★★

The Twelve Clues of Christmas (Her Royal Spyness #6)The Twelve Clues of Christmas (Her Royal Spyness Mysteries, #6) by Rhys Bowen
Published by Berkley on November 6, 2012
Genres: Cozy, Historical, Mystery
Pages: 311
Buy This Book from Book Depository, Free Delivery World WideBuy on Amazon
Goodreads four-stars

She may be thirty-fifth in line for the throne, but Lady Georgiana Rannoch cannot wait to ring in the New Year—before a Christmas killer wrings another neck…   On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me—well, actually, my true love, Darcy O’Mara, is spending a feliz navidad tramping around South America. Meanwhile Mummy is holed up in a tiny village called Tiddleton-under-Lovey with that droll Noel Coward! And I’m snowed in at Castle Rannoch with my bumbling brother, Binky, and sourpuss sister-in-law, Fig.   So it’s a miracle when I contrive to land a position as hostess to a posh holiday party in Tiddleton. The village is like something out of A Christmas Carol! But no sooner have I arrived than a neighborhood nuisance, a fellow named Freddie, falls out of a tree dead.  On my second day, another so-called accident results in a death – and there’s yet another on my third.  Perhaps a recent prison break could have something to do with it…that, or a long-standing witch’s curse. But after Darcy shows up beneath the mistletoe, anything could be possible in this wicked wonderland.

Includes an English Christmas companion, full of holiday recipes, games, and more!

The Twelve Clues of Christmas completely rekindled my interest in this series! I was starting to debate whether or not I wanted to continue with this series after Naughty in Nice, which was lighthearted and fun but not much mystery or substance and nothing really progressed in the main plot. I’m so glad I kept reading! Book 6 was soooo much better. There was a real mystery in this one, and things kept happening at such a pace I could barely put it down and even though I had suspicions about the killer throughout the book I didn’t actually figure it out until about the last third.

Things I Liked

  • Darcy had some more page time! He and Georgie seemed to work things out a little better and I liked that.
  • Georgie is, per usual, trying to find somewhere to live and somehow to support herself and this time instead of the queen coming through with an “assignment,” she actually finds a job that suits both herself and the royal relatives. Her mother just happens to be nearby, being her usual flighty but charming self.
  • The murders – yes, more than one this time – just kept coming and getting stranger and…is it weird that I really liked that? 😛

Things I Didn’t Like

  • Thoroughly enjoyed this one, honestly, but some of it still felt a little unrealistic and a tiny bit corny. I think it’s really hard for cozy mysteries to avoid that entirely.
  • Georgie, for all her talk about wishing she was more experienced in the ways of the world and envying her carefree friend Belinda, is ridiculously straitlaced. I guess I shouldn’t be expecting anything else, given how careful she is to not bring any shame to the royal family, but still. Then again, maybe her character is written that way to keep the story’s romance in the “sweet” category.

If You Like…

…the Amelia Peabody series, or the Maisie Dobbs series, you’ll probably enjoy the Her Royal Spyness series as well!

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Oct 07

Magnetic by Anya J. Cosgrove

Book Reviews 0 ★★★★

Magnetic by Anya J. CosgroveMagnetic by Anya J. Cosgrove
on August 8, 2019
Genres: Paranormal, Romance, Urban Fantasy
Pages: 209
Buy This Book from Book Depository, Free Delivery World WideBuy on Amazon
Goodreads four-stars
five-flames

Who said life was a fairy tale? Because I’d gladly slice that jerk’s head off.

I’m Vicky, though that’s not really my name.

I never expected to end up half-naked in the woods with my guts hanging out. I didn’t plan to stumble upon the most powerful shifter clan in North America and three of the sexiest men I’ve ever laid eyes on.

Dominic, the fun and reckless new wolf. 

Sam, the hot doctor with glacial-blue eyes.

And Gabriel, the intense, secretive alpha who wants nothing to do with me.

My real name is a one-way ticket back to hell, and my secrets need to stay buried like the girl I used to be.

Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, Red Riding Hood—I can be all three.  I can use my powers to earn a place in their werewolf town, away from the bite of my past mistakes. I can use them—and their bodies—to survive.

The only thing I can’t do is fall for them.

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

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So, I was on the blog tour for this a couple of months ago, but when I went back to copy the review and add it to GoodReads…apparently the review part of my post wasn’t actually there?!? *cue much embarrassment* I’m not sure what happened, but….here it is.

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“I play the cool cucumber, but I’m more of a distraught apple.”

Magnetic is Vicky’s story, a spinoff from the Bloody Hearts series. Vicky is a vandella – a supernatural creature that needs sex to survive. And lots of it. She’s phenomenally attractive (to both sexes, though only M/F relationships are in this book), and amazing in bed…but her heart is bruised and broken from constant rejection of herself. People either at worst call her a slut and a whore, or at best only want her for sex and status. She presents a hard, brittle front, but inside she wants to love and be loved.  I’ll be honest, I thought she was awful when I read her brief part in Shadow Walker, but seeing her entire story was pretty awesome and it totally changed my mind. I’m hoping for a sequel or two!

Things I Liked

  • This book was a HUGE improvement over the only other reverse harem novel I’ve read (which was so horrible I’m not even linking it). The way the author made having multiple lovers acceptable was interesting (i.e., Vicky needs a LOT of sex just to maintain a normal life, one person shouldn’t have to fulfill ALL of her needs).
  • The guys are all different. They’re not identical except for their hair color or height. They have different personalities, different styles, different needs of their own. Oh, and yes, they’re all hot. Which one you like best will depend on your own preferences. 😉
  • There was a plot! This wasn’t just a sex-fest, even though there was A LOT of sex. The whole reason Vicky meets the three guys is because she’s running from a group of vampires that wants to control her and use her.
  • Vicky goes through hell, and yet doesn’t let it break her. She puts up with SO MUCH SHIT, emotionally (especially this), mentally, and physically, and yet she never gives up. She WILL rise, and she WILL get vengeance on the one who most cruelly used her. Yessssss.

Things I Didn’t Like

  • There’s one BIG secret that stays a secret until almost the end, and it just didn’t seem to make a whole lot of sense to me. Can’t say what exactly without giving a lot away, so I’m just saying it kind of jolted me out of the story and made me sit there and frown for a bit while I tried to figure out exactly how this could have been such a THING…

Overall

4/5 stars. Thoroughly enjoyable, recommended if you’re a RH fan or looking to try the genre.

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four-stars

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Oct 03

Naughty in Nice (Her Royal Spyness #5)

Book Reviews 0 ★★★½

Naughty in Nice (Her Royal Spyness #5)Naughty in Nice (Her Royal Spyness Mysteries, #5) by Rhys Bowen
Published by Berkley Books on September 6, 2011
Genres: Cozy, Historical, Mystery
Pages: 328
Goodreads three-half-stars

The national bestselling author of Royal Blood whisks her heroine away to the French Riviera for fun-and danger. Lady Georgiana Rannoch has once again been called into service by Her Majesty the Queen. This time she's sent to Nice on a secret assignment that's nothing to sneeze at-recover the Queen's stolen snuff box.

As much of an honor as it is to be trusted by Her Majesty, an even greater honor awaits Georgie in Nice-as Coco Chanel herself asks Georgie to model her latest fashion. But when a necklace belonging to the Queen is stolen on the catwalk, Georgie has to find two priceless items-and solve a murder. How's a girl to find any time to go to the casino?

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“Please don’t go and die on me, my lady,” she said. “If you go and die, nobody else will employ me, as you bloody well know.”

If you haven’t read the previous books in this series, they are very enjoyable cozy mysteries with a long-running plot regarding the main characters, and I highly recommend you start with the first book, Her Royal Spyness. 🙂 I apparently started up reviewing this series under the impression I had already posted reviews of the first three books, and I have not. Bad book blogger. I do have a review up of the 4th book, but that’s not very helpful…sigh. I will remedy that shortly, but it has been a VERY long time since I read those!

Things I Liked

  • Georgie seemed to come a little more into her own in this one, become a little less of the naive schoolgirl. I was happy to see her lose a little of her reserve, even if it ended up being a moot point.
  • Even though most of her family things of Georgie as an ornament at best and a useless nuisance at worst, the Queen somehow thinks the world of her and sends her off on these strange and sometimes exotic assignments…always “cracking” fun!
  • I love how Rhys Bowen brings actual historical figures into her books, like Coco Chanel in this one. Even though of course it’s still fiction, it’s fun to imagine them as they might have lived and acted.
  • We also got a little more of a glimpse into Georgie’s long-dead father’s life, in a rather SHOCKING reveal at the very end! Holy crap. I really hope something plays out of that in future books.
  • There were a lot of witty moments and in this one, which one expects from Rhys Bowen, but this story seemed to have more than the usual number of zingers.

How Binky could have plucked up enough courage to have created a first child with Fig is still a matter of speculation. Why he did it a second time indicates insanity in the family.

Things I Didn’t Like

  • Can Darcy never give Georgie straight answers? I mean, he seems to like her well enough, why not trust her a little? And why does he keep showing up in these strange places and making her question his regard for her?
  • The mystery aspect seemed slightly lacking in this one, but I was interested enough in Georgia’s doings with her mother and her friend Belinda, and also the general atmosphere, to keep reading.
  • This one just seemed to flounder a bit. Still enjoyable, but without the best punch.

If You Like…

…the Amelia Peabody series, or the Maisie Dobbs series, you’ll probably enjoy the Her Royal Spyness series as well!

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three-half-stars

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Sep 30

Moon Called (Mercy Thompson #1)

Book Reviews 0 ★★★½

Moon Called (Mercy Thompson #1)Moon Called (Mercy Thompson, #1) by Patricia Briggs
Published by Ace Books on January 31, 2006
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 289
Buy This Book from Book Depository, Free Delivery World WideBuy on Amazon
Goodreads three-half-stars

Mercedes Thompson, aka Mercy, is a talented Volkswagen mechanic living in the Tri-Cities area of Washington. She also happens to be a walker, a magical being with the power to shift into a coyote at will. Mercy's next-door neighbor is a werewolf. Her former boss is a gremlin. And she's fixing a bus for a vampire. This is the world of Mercy Thompson, one that looks a lot like ours but is populated by those things that go bump in the night. And Mercy's connection to those things is about to get her into some serious hot water...

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“I have a degree in history, which is one of the reasons I’m an auto mechanic.”

Somehow, I am only now getting into the very popular and long-running Mercy Thompson series. It’s been recommended to me for years, but I put it off…and now I am in the fortunate position of having 11 books to binge if I so choose…my library has all of the main books, but I think I’ll have to hunt down the many, many side short stories.

Can we just take a moment and lament this unfortunate cover? *eyeroll* I really, really hate cover art of this style. I literally refuse to buy physical copies of books with covers that use solely sex appeal to sell. Thankfully, there is an alternative cover version of these, which I did buy after deciding this was a series I could enjoy over the long term.

“Honey,” he drawled, pulling on his Southern roots. “When a wolf watches a lamb, he’s not thinking of the lamb’s mommy.”
I grinned. I couldn’t help it. The idea of Bran as a lamb’s mommy was too funny. “I’m not much of a lamb,” I said.

Things I Liked

  • There is just so much wit infused through the entire book. I chuckled so many times and belly-laughed a few times as well. Mercy has such a dry sense of humor, I loved it.
  • The age-old werewolves vs. vampires thing is present, which makes it easy for anyone remotely familiar with that mythology to jump into this story.
  • Politics, brawls, and feelings – there’s a mess of all three, and I feel like there is SO MUCH backstory for all the main characters yet to be explored.

Things I Didn’t Like

  • I was not entirely convinced of the attraction between Mercy and Bran. It felt a little forced. Also, I’m kind of terrified it’s going to turn into something a la Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum and her never-ending-on-again-off-again relationship.
  • The guys don’t seem to entirely respect Mercy. They’re forced by circumstances to let her participate, but they keep trying to baby her. ARGH!

If You Liked…

Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files, you’ll probably like this series. Very similar in setting, but with a female main character and different tone.

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three-half-stars

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Sep 26

House of Salt and Sorrows

Book Reviews 0 ★★½

House of Salt and SorrowsHouse of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig
Published by Delacorte on August 6, 2019
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Pages: 416
Buy This Book from Book Depository, Free Delivery World WideBuy on Amazon
Goodreads two-half-stars

In a manor by the sea, twelve sisters are cursed.

Annaleigh lives a sheltered life at Highmoor, a manor by the sea, with her sisters, their father, and stepmother. Once they were twelve, but loneliness fills the grand halls now that four of the girls' lives have been cut short. Each death was more tragic than the last—the plague, a plummeting fall, a drowning, a slippery plunge—and there are whispers throughout the surrounding villages that the family is cursed by the gods.

Disturbed by a series of ghostly visions, Annaleigh becomes increasingly suspicious that the deaths were no accidents. Her sisters have been sneaking out every night to attend glittering balls, dancing until dawn in silk gowns and shimmering slippers, and Annaleigh isn't sure whether to try to stop them or to join their forbidden trysts. Because who—or what—are they really dancing with?

When Annaleigh's involvement with a mysterious stranger who has secrets of his own intensifies, it's a race to unravel the darkness that has fallen over her family—before it claims her next.

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

Am I the only person who didn’t love this book? It has a 4+ star rating on GoodReads! I just don’t see how…I wanted to like it. I wanted to LOVE it! Come on, just look at that cover. It’s stunning. Sadly though, the cover was really the only thing I could 100% get behind with this book.

The Good

  • The writing itself was quite good. I would read something else by this author without hesitation. It was just the actual plot and storyline I didn’t care for.
  • As I’ve already said, the cover!
  • The creep factor in the last half of the book really amped up and was extremely well done. I completely doubted the conclusions I had already drawn, haha! The author was great at dragging the reader right along into all the confusion and dream-in-a-dream confusion of reality along with the characters.

The Bad and the Ugly

  • Our heroine, who is built up as this fearless, snarky, go-getter in the first few chapters of the book, takes one look – LITERALLY one look – at a handsome man and becomes a tongue-tied, bumbling, helpless girl. She’s had a sheltered life, has met very few men outside one of her family’s servant’s sons and her father, and all of a sudden she sees a stranger and completely falls for him. Really? This is 2019, I thought we were past this sort of ridiculousness.
  • The first half of the book is almost all dancing and balls and fancy dresses and shoes. I wanted to stab my eyeballs out. How many descriptions of dancing shoes and ballgowns does one really need? Like nothing was happening except they were dancing. I get it, it’s a retelling of the 12 Dancing Princesses…but COME ON.
  • The villain of the story was SO OBVIOUS and it was such a worn-out trope I wanted to fling the book across the room (except, I was reading on my iPad, so I couldn’t). Can stepmoms catch a freaking break already?
  • At the very end, I actually thought the author was going to redeem the story by not wrapping everything up in a pretty little bow as far as the romance. BUT OH NO! There must be a romantic interest and there must be a pairing up or I guess it’s not a good YA story.

2.5/5 stars. If you’re a die-hard fan of retellings you might enjoy it more, also if you’re more of a love-at-first-sight person than I am. Otherwise I’ll have to recommend you skip it, but keep an eye out for other books by the author!

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two-half-stars

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Sep 24

Pawsitively Poisonous (Witch of Edgehill #1)

Book Reviews 0 ★★★

Pawsitively Poisonous (Witch of Edgehill #1)Pawsitively Poisonous on June 10, 2019
Genres: Cozy, Mystery
Pages: 201
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads three-stars

Amber Blackwood, lifelong resident of Edgehill, Oregon, has earned a reputation for being a semi-reclusive odd duck. Her store, The Quirky Whisker, is full of curiosities, from extremely potent sleepy teas and ever-burning candles to kids’ toys that seem to run endlessly without the aid of batteries. The people of Edgehill think of the Quirky Whisker as an integral part of their feline-obsessed town, but most give Amber herself a wide berth. Amber prefers it that way; it keeps her secret safe. But that secret is thrown into jeopardy when Amber’s friend Melanie is found dead, a vial of headache tonic from Amber’s store clutched in her hand.

Edgehill’s newest police chief has had it out for Amber since he arrived three years before. He can’t possibly know she’s a witch, but his suspicions about her odd store and even odder behavior have shot her to the top of his suspect list. When the Edgehill rumor mill finds out Melanie was poisoned, it’s not only the police chief who looks at Amber differently. Determined to both find justice for her friend and to clear her own name, Amber must use her unique gifts to help track down Melanie’s real killer. A quest that threatens much more than her secret …

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

Pawsitively Poisonous is the first in a new series of cozy paranormal mysteries by Melissa Erin Jackson, and it’s a very quirky little trip through a town famous only for its obsession with cats! I was somewhat suspicious but intrigued by the premise, and the main character, Amber, sounded like a cool sort of person. 😉 Hehe. As of right now there are two books published in the series with a third coming out later this year.

Things I Liked

  • As I thought I would, Amber! She makes toys for kids, has an insatiable curiosity, and weird things happen around her. At least she can blame magic, mine is usually just sheer clumsiness.
  • What’s up with the sheriff’s intense dislike of Amber? I was super intrigued by it and it’s never entirely explained, so maybe in later books.
  • Amber’s cats are cute and hilarious and the author MUST have cats because they totally DO carry on conversations with their owners. All without ever saying a word.
  • I loved that Amber uses her magic to run a toyshop. It’s so cute, and sweet, and she seems to genuinely like kids.

Small Complaints

  • It’s so stinking short! As a result it really felt rushed. Only just over 200 Kindle pages. Why? I mean sure, it’s a super quick read but…so much left unexplained. I’m hoping for more from the next book!
  • Pretty predictable. The bad guys were unlikeable and “bad” from the very beginning. The “big secrets” were all your typical small town secrets, nothing truly earthshattering.

3/5 stars overall. I’ll be reading the next book as well, hopefully we get to go more in depth with Amber’s backstory!

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three-stars

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