Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Big Nate: A Good Old-Fashioned Wedgie by Lincoln Peirce

Big Nate by Lincoln PeirceNate is back in a book that mostly covers the summer. He's playing baseball again but Chester isn't their pitcher this year. Instead, Nate's dad calls one of Nate's old preschool playmates to come in and help out. Nate is crushing on her pretty hard until he finds out that Jenny has moved back to town. There is a storyline with Nate being astonished that Chad is getting so many signatures in his yearbook. Toward the end, we get a few strips with Mrs. Godfrey. Because how could this be a Big Nate book without her?

Four stars
This book comes out August 29

Monday, August 21, 2017

Holiday in the Hamptons by Sarah Morgan

Holiday in the Hamptons by Sarah MorganToward the end of New York, Actually, we learned that Felicity Knight had an ex-husband who had turned up in Manhattan. Felicity had married Seth Carlyle when they were both too young and divorced him soon after. She has tried to face the sexy vet but has been unable to do so. Instead, she grabs the chance to leave town and head to the Hamptons when her grandmother calls for help.
Unfortunately, (at least in Fliss's eyes) Seth was only in Manhattan for a short stint before he returned to the Hamptons where he immediately runs into Fliss who panics and claims to be her twin sister.
Seth still has feelings for Fliss and is delighted to have this chance to get to know her now. If only she'd cooperate...
And, ufda, was Seth a totally bland bulldozer. We know nothing about him except that he seems to be an all-forgiving saint who doesn't want to give up on their love. He's not an alpha-hole because he does give Fliss a little bit of space but other than the fact that he's missing his father, we really don't get to know him. Nor does he have any discernible flaws while Fliss is described as being just riddled with them (and not just in her own head). At the end, I'm really not sure that these two people are getting an HEA.
I am hoping for better in the next book because I know that Morgan can write in-depth characters and fun-to-read books.

Two stars
This book comes out August 29

Thursday, August 17, 2017

You Say It First by Susan Mallery

You Say It First by Susan MalleryThis was a charming offshoot of the Fool's Gold series. I didn't have the frustration from that series that SO MANY people recurred in the stories. Don't get me wrong, there is a LOT of sequel-bait in this book but they were woven in well, and there is a nice, built-in explanation for why we'd see some of these people again.
It seems in the 1960s, our heroine's grandfather, wanting to help the town's economy, made up a story about a stagecoach breaking down and the load of women falling in love with the men in town and opting to build the town now known as Happily Inc. Pallas Saunders knows it's a load bull but she still enjoys her role in town providing weddings in a box (or, at least I think she does. All her friends tell her so but she doesn't seem convinced). She needs help though. She's just barely breaking even and she's trying to figure out how to change that. One way is to restore the exquisite wooden panels that divide some of her rooms.
That's where Nick Mitchell comes in. We saw two of his brothers get married in the Fool's Gold series but he's not going to fall into the same trap. He's seen the marriage between his father and mother and seen how much passion can lead you to pain. So, though he's interested in Pallas (and in restoring her panels), he's not going to fall in love.

Three and a half stars
This book comes out August 22
Followed by Second Chance Girl

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Thief's Mark by Carla Neggers

We've learned a lot about Oliver York in the previous 6 books in this series. In this book, he comes into even more focus when one of the man who kidnapped him as a boy, returns. And then dies in Oliver's arms. Oliver is the easy person to pick as prime suspect. But there is, of course, more to the story.
Thief's Mark by Carla NeggersEmma Sharpe and Colin Donovan are on the last day of their honeymoon when the call comes in that Oliver is once again embroiled in a mystery. Also on the scene, Oliver's gardener, Henrietta, (a former British secret service agent) and a man who has been with him since childhood, Martin.
 Weaving together the characters that Ms. Neggers has created in the Sharpe and Donovan universe, the dead man visited Father Finian the day before he died. I like that there is a concrete reason for previous characters to be woven in, they're not just plugged in willy-nilly to remind you that this is a series.
Books can always be read out of order in a series but I definitely wouldn't recommend it for this one. I think regular Neggers readers are going to be pleased with this addition to the series.

Three and a half stars
This book comes out August 29
Follows Liar's Key

A Duke in Shining Armor by Loretta Chase

A Duke in Shining Armor by Loretta ChaseI am so excited to read the rest of the books in this series. Loretta Chase, for me lately, has not been the writer I so enjoyed when reading Lord of Scoundrels. This book gets quite close. And it's mainly, again, because of the characters.
The Duke of Ripley is back from the continent for the wedding of one of his two best friends, the Duke of Ashmont. Along with the Duke of Blackwood (Ripley's brother-in-law) the men are known as Their Dis-Graces. Unfortunately, Ripley is the one that finds Ashmont's bride-to-be, Lady Olivia Hightower, climbing out the window of her own wedding. Rather than carting her back and forcing her to wed his best friend, Ripley decides to make sure she makes it to... someplace... safely so that they can regroup. And I appreciated that about him, that he seemed to understand Olivia even from the beginning. As they travel, eventually ending up with Ripley's aunt, we get to see them falling in love.
The ending, I didn't love. I also wish we had seen more of how Blackwood and Ripley came to be rehabilitated. They seem to have played all of these pranks but then there seems to be a gap in the story as to why they stopped. I also really hope that the next book in this series is the one between Alice and Blackwood. I'd love to know why she seems to be avoiding her husband and it will give Ashmont some time to grow. I'm really hoping we get either a B story or a novella featuring Uncle Fred and Julia.

Four stars
This book comes out August 22

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

The Duchess Deal by Tessa Dare

The Duchess Deal (Girl Meets Duke, #1)Oh my. This book starts with one of my favorite first chapters ever. We meet the hero, we meet the heroine, we get a nice snapshot of them both, their attitudes, their personality, and a little bit of their background. Emma Gladstone is a seamstress, a vicar's daughter, who worked for months on a dress for the Duke of Ashbury's fiancee. When he was wounded in the war, his fiancee decamped and never paid for the dress. But Emma needs that money. So she shows up at the duke's residence. In the wedding gown. And he proposes.
The Duke of Ashbury (name currently in dispute), was horribly disfigured in the war. His fiancee was horribly disgusted by him and the wedding was called off. But he needs  a wife because his current heir is... well, a prat. When he meets Emma, he's charmed by her and... well, he proposes.
The rest of the story is the two of them finding their way to an HEA with some delightful twists and turns along the way.
Emma's friends are most definitely sequel bait - animal loving Penelope, the clock winding Alexandra and the mad scientist Nicola - but not in an obnoxious way. They were handled with the lightest of touches. There are a lot of romance tropes (including a ripped "bodice") and some modern, but not overt, references (false news, anyone?). There are two potentials for One Last Big Misunderstanding and they are deftly avoided. This book is the best kind of mix of Beauty and the Beast with a touch of Batman and a soupcon of Gone With the Wind, I  read this book in one fast and furious sitting, grinning fiercely the entire time. Absolutely delightful.

Five stars
This book comes out August 22

The Ethical Slut, Third Edition by Janet W. Hardy, Dossie Easton

The Ethical Slut, Third Edition: A Practical Guide to Polyamory, Open Relationships, and Other Freedoms in Sex and LoveI've had this on my TBR list for a long time so when I saw the third edition as a NetGalley ARC, I jumped at the chance to read it. It took me a long time to get into the rhythm of the book. A lot of the things that were possibly shocking in the first book seemed a little more tame now. However, the book is open and accepting of all relationships (sexual and nonsexual; even including monogamy). All of the relationships and orientations are described in a frank, knowledgeable, non-judgmental manner that makes the book easier to read. Is this book for everyone? Probably not. It would probably best serve in a sociology class on sexuality but is also a good primer people who are starting to explore sexuality outside the bounds of one-man, one-woman.

Three and a half stars
This book came out August 14