4 star review

OpenLibrary Review – Julie Garwood’s Crown’s Spies

Here’s a treat that won’t break the bank. Julie Garwood’s entire Crown’s Spies series is available at OpenLibrary. Julie Garwood has always been a reliably entertaining historical romance writer, for me, and this series is one of my favorites. These books were published from 1988 to 1993, so you can expect the usual purple prose during intimate moments, when it is not fade to black. This seems especially timely because as I was working on this review, up popped a post about when classics don’t remain relevant. It may be the nostalgia talking, but these still work for me. What keeps Garwood relevant for me is the humor, engaging and quirky heroines, and alpha heroes who aren’t alpha holes. Yes, they are still dictatorial in acting the heroine’s best interest, but they tend to be sweeter than most heroes (especially the old school ones), and as often as not realize their love for the heroine sooner than she does. These 4 are only loosely connected, and really only by shared characters rather than overarching plot lines, so theoretically they could be read as standalones, but since they are all available, there’s no reason not to read the whole set. Plus, take a look at those fabulous retro covers, her publisher really picked a theme and went with it. They’ve all been updated many times, but I still really love those old covers. These books have been around a long time, so there are blurbs and reviews of these out the whazoo, so I am just going to post a bit about what I enjoy with each of them.

Lions Lady

The Lion’s Lady

This book is unusual in that each chapter starts out with a passage from the heroine’s mother’s journal. They give the reader background and a sense of how Christina ended up in her unusual predicament. You see, she was raised by the Dakota tribe after her mother’s death, and due to a promise made to her mother she has now been returned to England. Due to her upbringing there was plenty of room for cultural and linguistic confusion, It probably isn’t politically correct, but I found it humorous. While Christina definitely has some issues fitting in, she was a very bold heroine, and Lyon was so sweetly befuddled by her. And there is one scene where she “divorces” him that is an absolute must read. I adore this story every time I read it.

Guardian Angel

Guardian Angel

This one starts out with a beautiful, but injured and terrified ingénue. She walks up to the notorious Robinhood like pirate, Pagan, and requests he shoot her right in the heart. Only problem? He’s not Pagan, and Jade’s no ingénue. She’s way more…entrepreneurial than that. (That’s makes her sound like she’s a pro, which isn’t the case, but you’ll see what I mean if you read it.) She’s funny, and savvy, and smart, and she can spin a heck of a yarn all while playing out the most outrageous understatements. There’s also a nice convoluted mystery, a dictatorial butler, and a blind pirate. It is a fun story.

The Gift

The Gift

The courtship started with a kidnapping, but that was perfectly fine because the kidnapper was her husband. Granted, she’d not seen him since she was 4, and she was running away to find him anyway, it was still a rather dramatic beginning. Sara is an intriguing blend of intrepid and Pollyanna. But she was almost ridiculously naive too, so setting her on a ship resulted in a litany of pratfalls.

Castles

Castles

This book has the most mystery and intrigue out of the series. Alesandra and Colin are the most combustible of the 4 couple, and Alesandra is something of a genius. I really enjoy reading about smart heroines, who aren’t afraid to work a system to their advantage, even if it requires deviousness. Colin on the other hand is somewhat oblivious, but he isn’t by any means portrayed as a buffoon as a foil for Alesandra’s intelligence, so it works for me. Plus, they have their own dictatorial butler, which is always a plus. This might be my favorite book out of the series.


Having reread the entire series all in one go, I will suggest not glomming them all in one weekend. But, they are fun stories with satisfying happily ever afters. 4 stars and highly recommended to anyone who likes classic historical romance.

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4 star review

Review – Deal with the Devil by Cynthia Eden

Deal with the Devil

by Cynthia Eden

Deal with the Devil

I received an ARC of this book from the Publisher, via Netgalley; this does not affect my opinion of this book or the content of my review.

This is book 4 in the Purgatory series, and the one I have been waiting for ever since the first book. Eric Pate has been a devious, manipulating, by any means necessary SOB. This is the kind of man who will shoot his own sister in the heart if he thinks it is for her own good. Oh yes, I’ve been waiting for his comeuppance.

So it isn’t a stretch to find he’s locked a woman up “for her own good”. Only, the last thing Ella needs is to be contained again. The last thing she can tolerate is being caged, and she doesn’t need him or anyone else to protect her. Ella is kind, and compassionate, and a little bit evil, and a lot filled with rage. Needless to say, I really liked her. Eric, not so much, he’s kind of an emotionally stunted idiot. But don’t worry, Ella absolutely gets to whollop him with a great big “I told you so”, and that was glorious.

There’s also plenty of action, a twisty ridiculous mystery, and off course an evil villain. That villain at first seemed to be a bit of a McGuffin, but it turns out, he explains everything. All the crazy sauce we’ve seen thus far had a very interesting backstory, we just didn’t know it at the time. Some readers may think it goes too far in tying things up, but for me it just worked and made previous events make so much more sense.

The only thing keeping this from being a 5 star book for me is the ending, something-and I’m not sure what, just fell a little flat for me. Otherwise, it was a fun and satisfying read. Crazy creatures, hot romance, and a happy ending. A perfect read for after a long day at work. 4 stars

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4 star review

ARC Review – Midnight Secrets by Lisa Marie Rice

Midnight Secrets
by Lisa Marie Rice

Former Navy SEAL Joe Harris nearly died—twice—on a medevac helo after being blown up by an IED. He’s not moving too great these days, but if there was ever a woman designed to jump start a man’s hormones, it would be his new neighbor.

Meeting Isabel—loving Isabel—brought Joe back to life.
Isabel Delvaux came from one of America’s foremost political dynasties, until the greatest terrorist attack since 9/11 killed her entire family. She barely survived the Washington Massacre, only to become prey for rabid reporters. Fleeing to Portland and changing her name was a way out, a way to start over. The only way.
She knows she’s safe with Joe Harris. Not just because he’s big and strong, not just because he’s part of a security team that obliterates threats on the regular, but because he’s been to the abyss and back.But as they help each other heal–through talk, through touch, through spectacular sex—the past comes back to play. When Isabel’s memory starts to return and a mysterious stranger sends Joe emails indicating she’s in imminent danger, he’ll do anything to help her uncover the truth. Even if that truth is the most terrifying thing of all…

I received an ARC of this book from the Publisher, via Netgalley; this does not affect my opinion of this book or the content of my review.

I am just like an excited puppy when it comes to Lisa Marie Rice’s Midnight series, and the excitement has not died down as I stare at book 6. Just picture the excited little puppy having a full body shake and wriggle over a milk bone. Yeah, that is me when it comes to this series. There is a repeatable format that just works for me. Damaged (in some way or another) hero who is totally sweet and protectively alpha. Damaged (in some way or another) heroine with a heart of gold. Some mystery or Machiavellian scheme that needs solving and/or thwarting where they save each other or at least each save the day, and then happily ever after. Honestly, with as much serious trauma and drama as these former Special Forces security consultants have in their personal lives, it is just amazing they can be so successful financially. But it is a heck of a ride.

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2 star review

Review: The Guardians (books 1-5) by Lola St. Vil

1.The Girl 

2.The Fallout

3.The Turn  

 

4.The Triplex   

5.The Quo

Lola St. Vil seems to have perfected the art of the cliffhanger. The first book of this series was a free download offered on Amazon, which I downloaded on a whim. After reading the first in this series, I was hooked and had find out what happened to these characters. I went ahead and read the next four installments. My addiction did not stem from an enthrallment with the life altering literary skills portrayed {insert heavy sarcasm} by St.Vil, but more so out of frustration that there was no resolution in the first book. After reading the second and third books, and starting the fourth, I hoped that the conclusion was finally near! I was once again let down. For every minor revelation, a catastrophic conflict arises.

I can’t say that I would strongly recommend this series, unless you were looking for a simple and quick read to fill some time. There are numerous spelling and grammatical errors that can be irritating at times. These books were written as a YA series, and if I had known this prior to reading, I probably would have passed it by. The excessive use of slang by Jay was distracting and took away from the story, while adding little to the character development. Emerson’s constant emotional meltdowns and temper tantrums painted her as a weak hero, who could not be taken seriously. While her background story was a little dark, her closeted upbringing resulted in an immature high school student who seemed to expect to receive everything she wants, including someone else’s “husband”. Ameana was a b*tch from the very beginning. Playboy Marcus is a confused teen who wants his “wife” and girlfriend too.

In the end, I can say that I have no interests in pursing the remaining three or four books in the series. Between the ever-changing storyline focus, spelling errors and poor character development I can easily say good riddance to you Guardians.

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Thoughts and Opinions

Tearing Hair Out

This is a very sad day. Very sad. I really do want to cry, or tear my hair out. My Nook Simple Touch has developed an insurmountable problem. The SD card will no longer stay engaged. This is a problem as it only has 512 mb available for side-loading, if that. So now I am not sure what to get, as I have literally thousands of books in my library and I am a fickle flights of fancy rereader. If google would have gone ahead and released an android eink device, I wouldn’t be in this situation. I blame you Google, know this, I blame you. And yes, I buy mostly on Amazon NOW, but that wasn’t always the case.

And if I can’t have the Google Play Store, there aren’t any other fancy dancy upgrades I want or need. I certainly don’t want a backlight as that defeats the purpose of having an ereader for me (sleep disorders are a pain), so the Kindle Paperwhite with its freaking never turning off light, is really a no go for me. I’d probably happily take another another Simple Touch or look at the old Kobo Touch, if I could find them, but alas, neither seems available. And I certainly don’t want to pay extra for features I neither want nor need. Heck, I probably would have let Onyx gouge me for a Boox T68 if those were in stock right now too.

Unless someone out there has a better option, I guess I am looking at a refurbished Kindle at 69.99 with their stupid offers. Which irks me because I bought my Nook ST for only 49.99. Somebody help me out, because I would really like a better option.

My Nook Simple Touch is Broken :(

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5 star review

Review – Shards of Hope by Nalini Singh

Shard of Hope
by Nalini Singh

Note: This is not a standalone book and there are likely to be spoilers for previous books in the series.
At 14 books into a series, one would be forgiven for thinking things might have grown stale. But Nalini Singh is magic when it comes to both world building and characterization. She took a group of almost formless and what appeared at first glance to be homogeneous components in the Psy world, and then bit by bit is giving them back to us as a mosaic of individuals. And it is fascinating how she takes all these people who seemed as though they should have been the same, and gives us different people and different stories. Not just different plots and backstories, but different personalities and different needs and different responses to those needs. Not to denigrate those authors that keep telling the same story with only minor twists, because I think anyone who has read my past reviews can tell I have great love for those types of stories and those authors, and they have a significant place in my reading life. But this series is special to me for how very intricate and layered it is, and I had been worried that the fall of Silence and the resolution of the infection would cause it to stagnate. That couldn’t be further from the truth.

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3.5 star review

ARC Review Spiraled by Kendra Elliot

Spiraled
by Kendra Elliot

I received an ARC of this book from the Publisher, via Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.

This is third in the Mason Callahan series, and thus far, I’ve really enjoyed reading about the lives of adults, and I really like her monsters (of the human variety).

This book though, I am really struggling on how to rate it. I enjoyed it, I really couldn’t put it down, but it did frustrate the beejesus out of me.

The story starts out with a bang, literally. Agent Ava McLane is on vacation and with a friend at the mall when a mass shooting breaks out. The reader is dragged head first into the drama and suspense. And poor Mason is stuck outside waiting to find out if Ava is safe. It was an exciting start to say the least.

But then it slowed back down to the more contemplative pace that I have come to expect from Kendra Elliot, which threw me out of the story. It took me a minute to dial back down to it, but once I had, I was back into enjoyment mode. There is quite a bit of headspace time for both Ava and Mason, and the suspense was more cerebral than action oriented. And despite Ava’s vacationer status, she was very much on scene for most of the procedural parts. Following the cops and the FBI as they tracked through the clues was interesting, and I didn’t initially guess the villain, though I knew something was going on. It was pretty tricky, in a good way. And then it all blew to hell in a way I am not entirely sure I was expecting. Family is the damnedest thing isn’t it?

And then the denouement went right back to being action packed and explosive. It was a hell of an ending for the monster. But we were left with a remarkably broken Ava.

I think that may be what bothered me the most about this book. While Bridged felt like a complete book, this one feels very much like we need another book to have any sort of resolution for Ava and Mason, despite the relatively high note.

3.5 stars and somewhat reluctantly recommending it until the next book comes out.

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