Tuesday, December 30, 2014

As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust by Alan Bradley

Image linked from Goodreads
While I generally stick to romances on this blog, I actually tend to read across many different genres. This book, is part of a series featuring a young girl in 1950's England. I would most definitely read the whole series in order.
I think Bradley might be trying to avoid the Cabot Cove effect (i.e. how do so many bodies keep turning up in such a tiny village)
The book opens with Flavia boating across the ocean toward Miss Bodycote's academy in Toronto, the alma mater of her mother. She is being escorted by the school's chairman who has not really taken to her, nor she to him. When Flavia is dumped at the academy, she finds it cold and lonely. She's woken up to another girl attacking her. When that girl hides up the chimney, she dislodges a body which immediately sends Flavia onto another adventure.
We meet a lot of new people in this book. A LOT. I think that I may have confused some of them sometimes but I didn't let that worry me too much. This book didn't capture my imagination like the last one in this series but it didn't completely turn me off either. It leaves me, like the last book, wondering where Flavia is going to go from here.

Followed by The Grave's a Fine and Private Place

Saturday, December 27, 2014

The Importance of Being Alice by Katie MacAlister

Image linked from Goodreads
While the romance in this story is a little fast for me and the "madcap adventure" just a teeny bit too madcap for me, I overall enjoyed the story.
Alice is about to get engaged to Patrick. Well, they were about to get engaged. They even bought tickets to a cruise in Europe, but then Patrick found somebody new. That somebody is his friend Elliot's sister.
Elliot is in sort of a hash himself. He's inherited a falling-down castle and doesn't want to accept help. His family is the general sort of crazy that you see in this type of story. And sequel bait (but bait I definitely look forward to being baited by.) As a writer, he needs quiet so he jumps at a chance to take Patrick's ticket, on the understanding that Alice is not going to be there.
But that is where Patrick has once again done his almost-fiancee wrong. Alice shows up for the trip. Now, she's generally a go-with-the-flow type of gal. But finding out that her trip of a lifetime is on a boat that's falling a part and there's a lordly gentleman with a stick up his ass already in her room... she's not to excited. Until she gets to know the lord a little better.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Husband Hunters by Genevieve Gannon

Image linked from Goodreads
Three women come together at a society wedding. They've all given up hope of true love. Clementine's boyfriend is married. Which makes it hard for her to believe that her work as a marriage psychologist is doing good things. Daniela has found her true love -- but he just sees here as a friend and business partner. Annabel is an ex-model (I know, poor her) but most men only want her for her looks.
Throughout the books, each woman has to work through her own issues to find the man that she truly belongs with. They decide to make lists of what they want in a husband, but is that what they truly need?

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

A Bride for the Season by Jennifer Delamere

Image linked from Goodreads
James Simpson is enjoying a light flirtation with Emily Cardington. At least, it's light on his part. For her part... well, she follows him to a seedy bar, bribes his mistress to take her shawl, and then forces herself into a compromising situation with James. Not lucky for James and even more unlucky for her near-spinster sister Lucinda who followed her there that a gossip columnist catches it all.
Emily's father is not amused. But - he promises to increase her dowry if James can find a husband for Lucinda before the he marries Emily. James isn't an idiot. He knows that Emily is not the kind of wife that he wanted, that she's too young. And he's realistic enough to know that they're going to need money to live. But, of course, in true romance fashion, he discovers that Lucinda is maybe more his type...
I wish that this had been labeled as inspirational (Christian Romance) in NetGalley. I don't have anything against the genre but it's not one of my favorites. The book was also a bit... slow. If you like the genre, prefer a book that's fairly clean (no sex/dirty talk) and don't mind a slower-paced book, you might enjoy this book. Otherwise, I think there are others out there.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

The Duke in my Bed by Amelia Grey

Image linked from Goodreads
Bray Drakestone is not a happy duke. His best friend has just died in a carriage accident. But before he died, Prim made Bray promise not only to take his dog, but also wants Bray to marry his oldest sister.
Two years later, all of London is agog to learn that Miss Prim is in town. Does that mean that she and Bray are finally going to marry? Bets are being laid everywhere.
Well, a lot of people are going to be disappointed, because Louisa (MIss Primm)has NO interest in being married to the man who helped hasten her brother to his death.
This was a good story that really brought the characters of Louisa and Bray to life. I wish there had been more talking about their pasts and where each was coming from, but overall, this was one of my favorite Grey books.
Followed by The Earl Claims a Bride.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Christmas at Carriage Hill by Carla Neggers

Image linked from Goodreads
Designer Alexandra Rankin Hunt is going to Knights Bridge, Massachusetts to bring Olivia Frost her wedding gown. The fact that she gets to simultaneously avoid Ian Mabry is just a bonus. The handsome RAF pilot was nothing more than a fling, no matter what her heart says.
Except... Ian is in Knights Bridge when she gets there. And he seems
pretty serious about making sure that her heart wins out over her head...
A lovely addition to the Swift River Valley series.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Turkey Trot

Okay, it was running one mile and walking one mile. But it counts. I live in a great little town where over 50 people showed up for a fun run, bringing around 30 dogs. My own dog, close to 12-year-old, not only ran the whole time, she was more than a little disgruntled when we started walking. On the one hand, I'm grateful for a healthy older dog. On the other, I wouldn't mind if she slowed down just a little bit.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Yours for Christmas by Susan Mallery

Yours for Christmas (Fool's Gold, #15.5)Bailey's story, Bailey's story, we get to read Bailey's story. And Kenny Scott's. But,whatever. I have loved Bailey ever since we learned about this single mother with a charming daughter. I don't know what about her appealed except the awkwardness. And I just loved the crush that she and Kenny both had. And his back story as to why he wouldn't date women with kids was... interesting, but not unrealistic. Of course, Mayor Marsha has a lot to do with the connection, but it's a great read watching how these two come together to find true love.
Even those readers who, like me, are somewhat annoyed with the shoehorning of characters that happens in every Fool's Gold novel will like this book because it doesn't happen!

Followed by Fool's Gold #16 Hold Me

Friday, November 21, 2014

Strong Female Protagonist by Brennan Lee Mulligan

Image linked from Goodreads
Wow. I almost gave this book three stars because of the sheer unreadability on my Nook. I don't know if it will be better on other ereaders but... oofta.
What happens if a teenage super hero doesn't particularly want to... hero anymore? That's explored in this comic book. There's some sense of the X-men in this book -- heroes are out in the open, the government programs trying to control them, the rampant fear and hatred of the normal folks. It's a wonderfully deep look at the ethics and morality of those who are stronger than the regular population.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The Other Harlow Girl by Lynn Messina

Image linked from Goodreads
Le sigh. This was a good book (after the first quarter) but still not as good as my first Messina, The Harlow Hoyden. 
In this book, our heroine is the twin of the first book in the series. Lavinia, Vinnie, Harlow has always been considered the "good" twin, though a pallid copy of her sister. She is a gifted horticulturalist but it still comes as a surprise  when her name is put in for the British Horticultural Society.
The Marquess of Huntley (BFF of The Hoyden's husband) isn't sure why he put Vinnie's name in for the society. Women are not forbidden to join, but they aren't really encouraged either. Though the first meeting between Huntley and Vinnie isn't particularly auspicious (she soaks him with a hose), as the two are thrown together more and more often, they begin to find the ways in which they are compatible.
The first part of the story was both scattered and drag-gy. We got the same event from both character's point of view. Which, when done well (Mary Balogh), can be a wonderful way to get a glimpse of deeper character. In this case, I just wondered why we were getting almost a complete re-hash of the events. There was nothing added. Luckily, it straightened out and I started enjoying the story more. While the ending also had me a bit underwhelmed, I overall enjoyed this book.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

The Prince Who Loved Me by Karen Hawkins

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I normally don't like the historicals set in Scotland (why, I couldn't tell you. I think I OD'd at some point and haven't gotten back to them.) So why request this book from NetGalley? I really do like Karen Hawkins and didn't notice the setting. But I still enjoyed this book.
We have two strong characters, Prince Alexsey Romanovin and Bronwyn Murdoch. When they first meet, neither knows who the other is. It's a really sweet meet-cute.
Alexsey is only interested in Bronwyn because he thinks she's a maid (someone he can dally with.) Bronwyn, at twenty-four, with a disastrous season behind her, is not at all interested in marriage but her station makes her out of his reach.
The prince was a bit overbearing and the machinations of both their families were a bit much for me. Also, I would have liked to know more about their life once they got back to the gypsies, but I overall liked Bronwyn and Alexsey overall and think that regular Hawkins readers will as well.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

The Shocking Secret of the Guest at the Wedding by Victoria Alexander

Image linked from Goodreads
Oh man. I really wanted to like this book. I really did. But I never really connected with Teddy or Jackson (where's Lucy's story? She's got some spunk) like I did with them in previous books (at least with Teddy). And the ending was... weird. What was the point? I'm not sure why I couldn't give this two stars. Maybe residual Victoria-Alexander-feels. Or maybe I did like it more than my initial paragraph would indicate.
Lady Theodosia Winslow, Teddy, is a wedding planner. While she and her mother present it as a sort of hobby, the truth is, her father left them in a bit of a financial disaster.
Jackson Quincy Graham Channing, on the other hand, has just discovered that he has a father. His mother sort of... tacitly let it be assumed that the man was dead. Now that it's discovered to be untrue, Jackson is anxious to learn more about the man. So he travels to England and meets Theo.
Lots of witty dialogue, just not a lot of action.
I definitely won't stop reading Alexander, but I would definitely skip this book in favor of the others in the series.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Only Enchanting by Mary Balogh

Image linked from Goodreds
Balogh just keeps hitting it out of the park with this series. If you've enjoyed this series so far, I can guarantee that this one will be a good pick.
We've met Flavian, Viscount Ponsonby, in other books. He was broken both physically and mentally during the war. When he got home, his fiancee married his best friend. Now that that friend is dead, his family (and hers) seem to expect that they will marry. But Flavian doesn't want to do that. He's not sure why, but his upcoming meeting with the Survivor's Club should help him relax.
Their meeting also brings him back in touch with Agatha Deering who he met on a previous visit. All of their meetings are just sweet and wonderful in ways that only Balogh can paint.
The character development is wonderful and the way the relationship builds between Agatha and Flavian is wonderful. They don't communicate completely from beginning to end but there aren't any Big Misunderstandings and it's wonderful.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

First three Hope Street Church Mysteries by Ellery Adams

Image linked from Goodreads
Path of the Crooked
An interesting series from an author whose "Books by the Bay" and "Charmed Pie Shoppe." I was able to get all three from NetGalley. These are updated versions of the author's earlier books printed under the name Jennifer Stanley. Even with the updating though, the language seems stilted and not quite as well-edited as the other series. Oh, and it's religious. Very, very religious (I didn't see the series title "Hope Street Church Mysteries" until after I had downloaded the book. In retrospect, the title is something of a giveaway.)

Cooper Lee's boyfriend has just left her for a woman who bailed him out of jail and then made him go to church (this just struck me as odd). Cooper's family are all church goers (even if her sister goes more to be seen) but they're not pressuring her to join. When a client suggests that Cooper should come and try out the Hope Street Chruch, Cooper agrees to come. The client, Brooke Hughes, is a nice lady who seems to be having a hard day. One that should end better since her husband is coming to pick her up for their anniversary date. So it comes to a complete shock when Brooke ends up murdered and her husband is accused. Even her bible study  group doesn't believe that can be the case. It's the same bible study that Cooper ends up accidentally joining. A group that she helps to figure out who the true killer is.

Image linked from Goodreads
Way of the Wicked
The Hope Street Church bible study is at it again when they decide to help volunteer for a program similar to Meals-On-Wheels. Cooper is excited to help start but she starts to get nervous when she overhears the head of the program talking about some suspicious robberies from various program patrons. Add to that the fact that there have been some mysterious deaths and Cooper's friends have their work cut out for them.

Though I gave them the same rating, I enjoyed the first book slightly more. The ending of this one felt a bit muddled. Also, I didn't feel like the reader had a chance to guess at who the killer really was. Would still recommend the other two Ellery Adams series over this one.

Image linked from Goodreads
While I can't find myself warming to this series as much as the other Ellery Adams books, I think that people who enjoyed the first two books will enjoy this one as well. Do you need to read the first two? I don't think so. This seems to be a good standalone.
In this third book of the series, Cooper, and her family and friends, find themselves at a crossroads. Cooper is torn between two men, one dangerous and new, one comfortable but seeming to move away. Her sister's husband is moving further away than ever in this book. Cooper's friend Trish is going through chemo and another is fascinated by a new woman at their church.
There is, of course, a mystery, but it seems like this book is more about character development than the mystery. Not a bad thing, just something to note.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Make My Wish Come True by Fiona Harper

Image linked from Goodreads
Books about sibling interactions are always interesting to me and this book was no different. It's the typical story of an overachieving older sibling with a younger sibling who was always the "favored child."
Well, older sibling Juliet is tired of always being stuck with making things perfect for the family. Younger sibling, Gemma, was always the one adored and cosseted while Juliet had to make sure that the family stayed together. This year, Juliet's juggling a divorce as well as trying to create the picture-perfect Christmas. She really needs Gemma's help but her sister is too busy running around glamorous movie sets to be of any help. And now she's booked a fantasy vacation in the Caribbean. When Juliet freaks out, Gemma suggests (rather forcibly) that they switch Christmases.
During their time, each sister learns a little about the other. While the ending was a bit... more than I thought it needed to be, I overall came away with very good feels for this book. Liked the character development, liked the characters, and, even if this wasn't an entirely new take on sibling relationships, it was at least an entertaining one.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Twelve Dates of Christmas by Susan Meier

Image linked from Goodreads
Eloise Vaughn needs a job. Badly.
Ricky Langley needs a date. Badly
He's rich and desperate, she's poor(ish) and willing to help out. I don't generally like or gravitate toward category romance (too short for a real story) but this one wasn't bad. It's a trope that's been used before but with a twist that I hadn't read before. There were issues
He just wouldn't TALK. Oh my god, the wallowing. And then a slightly sudden change of heart? It's too short a story to do any real growth, and we did see some, but I was sort of shocked how quickly his brain finally got it all together.
The ending was a little too over the top. But this was overall a pretty good book. I'm glad to have gotten this book from NetGalley and will keep a look out for Laura Beth's story (how slimy was the guy she was dating? Eww.)

Monday, November 3, 2014

Her Holiday Man by Shannon Stacey

Image linked from Goodreads
I hesitate to call this a novella; it feels more like a story taken out of a romance anthology. In it, we meet single-mother Christina and her hunky new neighbor, Will. Christina's husband cheated his friends out of a lot of money and left Christina with no money and no discernible skills. She was lucky to find a job at a convenience store and a neighbor kind enough to watch her son when he came home from school. Then, Gail's son comes home from his travels. He left after his wife and unborn child were hit by a drunk driver.
They both have their issues. Can they get beyond their pasts to find a new future together?

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Christmas with a Billionaire: Anthology

Image linked from Goodreads
I really need to stop reading books with "Billionaire" in the title. I know these stories aren't my cup of tea but every once in awhile, I try to read them again. Alpha males, helpless females (who are supposedly super-capable but we don't actually see that in the stories), hot sex. Basically, if you like the more old-skewl-romances, you'll enjoy this book (Skip my review and read his review tfrom Veena at "The Good, The Bad, and The Unread." She gave it an overall "B"). But if you're not a fan, skip this one.
Billionaire under the Mistletoe by Carole Mortimer
I know that I'm under no obligation to read and review the books I get as ARCs, but I DNF very few books (my one-star Goodreads reviews), and somehow having gotten the books this way gives me a little extra impetus. Plus, in an anthology, there's always the chance that one of the stories might be to my liking.
It wasn't this one.
Sophie overhears her cousin Sally's boss ordering Christmas. She decides that, since Sally and her parents aren't going to be in town and she has nothing better to do, she might as well get the money that Max Hamilton is offering up. Besides, she's smarter than Sally's last friend. Sophie's not going to fall in love with Max.
Except that, as soon as he shows any interest, she falls into his arms and offers no resistance when he starts ordering her around. Blergh.

Snowed in with her boss by Maisey Yates
Amelia has just found out that her long-time boyfriend isn't really going to be making their marriage a done-thing. Now that she's more or less single, and snowed in with her boss, she's ready to mingle. With her boss. Yep. A man she knows has a bad past but she jumps into bed and into love. Luckily for her, this is a romance novel.

A Diamond for Christmas by Joss Wood
Another boss/employee relationship. But -- not a direct boss and between two people who have a relationship that pre-dates their work relationship. Riley is also James' sister's best friend. So they have a past history that really makes this book more interesting. Best of the three stories. Bumped the entire book up a star.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Heart of Christmas by Brenda Novak

Image linked from Goodreads
Eve isn’t the kind of woman to wake up next to a stranger, and yet, on the morning of her 35th birthday, she does just that. It’s embarrassing enough but she has the complicating factors of Noelle Arnold (vindictive gossip) dropping them off at her house and the man staying at her B&B. Rex isn’t in a place to create relationships. He really just wanted a night to forget about his problems. But Whiskey Creek seems like a place that he can not only hide out from his own problems, but also protect Scarlet Jones, a photographer with a stalker. I liked Eve. She was aware of the fact that her parents might hear about her escapade, and rather than create some kooky plan to prevent them ever hearing it, she ‘fesses up immediately. Rex... was a little more mysterious and hard to nail down. He was a nice enough guy "with a past" One minor comment. I liked the name Brent. I wish that had been his real name and Rex the alias. It makes more sense in my head. But I did have some larger issues
I like Novak's books so much better when everything isn't SUCH A BIG DEAL. And how many times could she point out that Cheyenne's baby was her husband's brother but she wasn't going to tell and only four people knew? Good freaking lord. Maybe that will change before the book goes into print. I certainly hope so. And what was up with the Scarlet Jones subplot? Was it there to get Rex back to his house? It made no sense for this long build up and then nothing actually happens.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Maybe this Christmas by Sarah Morgan

Image linked from Goodreads
If you are looking for a story with a slow build, this will certainly satisfy your urges. If you aren't, this could be something of a slog.
I was very much looking forward to Brenna and Tyler's story. They have been minor characters in the last two books and everyone has commented on Brenna's love for Tyler. One that he doesn't seem to reciprocate.
They are both good people. Tyler was sliding toward not being a very good person but, one bad turn on the ski hill, and the champion skier became a "former." He can still ski, and still do hard hills, but he isn't up to championships.
Brenna has always loved Tyler. And not in a "friend" way. But she doesn't want to push any harder, afraid that she'd lose even that tenuous connect.
But everyone else is tired of seeing both Tyler and Brenna unhappy. They all think that the two are perfect for each other. So... some machinations ensue. For as many people that are pushing these two, it is a long, slow story where the tension is dragged out for far too long. Great character development and nice to see the characters again.

Previous Books in the Series: Sleigh Bells in the SnowSuddenly Last Summer

Friday, October 24, 2014

One in a Million by Jill Shalvis

Image lnked from Goodreads
While the last few books in the Lucky Harbor series haven't exactly tripped my trigger (they were okay, but not my favorite Shalvis books), this book finally got back to the things I love about this author, her character development and their witty banter. I could have used less shoehorning of characters from early in the series (Shalvis has remarkably avoided this in the past) but overall, I really did like this book.
 Callie Sharpe is back in the town where she grew up. Though the proprietor of a very popular wedding site as well as being a wedding planner, Callie doesn't believe in true love. Not since her first crush left her at the altar on the day of their wedding. Now she's checking up on her grandmother (town gossip and social media maven, Lucille) and starting to develop some majorly grown-up feelings about her high school crush.
For his part, Tanner Riggs is not in a good place for love either. His fifteen-year-old son, one conceived in a heated night of high school sex, is back in town. And, not only does he have the regular teenage mulishness, he has his dad's bad attitude. I absolutely adored the morning meetings that Callie and Tanner were having. Doughnuts and coffee while Callie is professionally dressed for Skype conferences and in comfort clothes from the waist down? Majorly cute.
Boy, was I getting ticked toward the end of this book. Callie, who protested throughout the book that she didn't believe in love was ticked off that Tanner didn't introduce her as his girlfriend. When Lucille pointed out this hypocrisy (and Callie admitted it), I could have cheered. An absolutely awesome way of dealing with a trope that needs to Go The Fuck Away.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Change of Heart by Jude Deveraux

The best thing I can say about "Change of Heart" is that, between this book and "For All Time," I'm finally ready to give up Deveraux as a Must-Read. I will probably never be able to give her up fully (Sweet Liar alone keeps my hopes up) but the last few two and a half miler books have gotten rounded up to three stars based on sentiment alone.
I actually squeed and did a happy dance when I realized that Eli and Chelsea were getting a story. Children from an earlier Deveraux short story, the two drifted apart but are now ready to find each other and their own HEA.
Wow. Just. wow. I kept reading to see if Chelsea would really put up with all of Eli's shit. I was so hoping that she'd just pop him one. I mean, Eli heads straight past Alpha and sails into Asshole. He sees Chelsea in a picture, decides she's not happy and that he's going to fix her life. She's too skinny, so he changes her restaurant order. She hates camping so he takes her into the woods (and then gets pissed off when she complains). He pours the guilt on her for their childhood friendship ending and her never noticing him as a male, when he never stepped up to show her how much he loved her. And then tells his teenage doppelganger Scully that he knows she would have just laughed at him. And she puts up with all of this shit. I wasn't too impressed with Chelsea either. She complains that no one ever expected anything of her because she was so pretty. This is after Deveraux has clearly shown that her parents did expect more of her and then goes on to explain that Chelsea wasn't even the prettiest of her sisters. Pilar- she doesn't want to work with Eli and doesn't really like him but then they're portrayed to be friends. She helps out disconnecting lights and stealing papers but then tells Chelsea that she's never given any responsibility. And what school in this day and age would let unknown adults attend prom? I just... I can't even... My level of suspended disbelief was so beyond stretched at that point that I... argh.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

A Pretty Mess by Carla Caruso

Image linked from Goodreads
This was on the low end for a three-mile book for me. I can't quite remember what was annoying to me about this story since most of the parts I can remember were things I would have liked (thus the three stars) but the main character was irritating to me. She was a stereotypical "klutzy mess" but was supposed to be a big-time organizer? Eh. Celeste Pretty has just opened her new business, "Professional Organizer on Pink," the initials of which she only just realized. And her first huge client is a fitness professional, Natalia Samphire. But Natalia's life is not all the peaches and cream it seems to be. In fact, Celeste finds blackmail notes that threaten to unveil the truth of Natalia's past.
And the ending... should have been triumphant and climactic with Natalia outing herself, but it felt sort of felt flat. I also wasn't feeling the romance. Was this book a mystery with romantic elements? Or a romance with some cozy mystery added? I guess it doesn't really matter but both aspects suffered from trying to be in equal parts.
Definitely the ending is sequel bait. Secondary characters were pretty good, though.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Once Upon a Christmas Kiss by Manda Collins

Once Upon a Christmas KissI didn't realize this was a novella when I requested it from NetGalley. I keep thinking that I'll like Manda Collins but her stories have never really gotten above "Meh" for me. Until this one. I really liked this story. I was grateful that Sir Lucien Blakewell and Miss Winifred Nightingale were given a really complete back story. I got about 60 pages into it and was thinking about how most short stories weren't so thorough about establishing a prior relationship, and only then noticed this was only 126 pages. So anyway, Sir Lucien has gotten to know Winifred since she is the governess at his friend's house. The differences in their positions has been a little awkward, so when she's a guest at his other friend's Christmas house party, he's excited that they are closer to being equals. Winifred, on the other hand, isn't so sure. Her parent's marriage was one where they came from different classes and it ended badly. But when threats start popping up, she's grateful to Lucien for his help. And their relationship has a chance to grow. This book came out on the 14th. Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

On the Naughty List (anthology)

Image linked from Goodreads
Christmas Bonus by Lori Foster
Eric Bragg is worried that his boss won't realize that he's a desirable man. He's been in lust with the long-legged Maggie since she was nineteen, but of course that was just too young. But, just when he thought he might make a move, her father died and now she's in charge. But he's ready to make his move.
This story irked me and I kept thinking that it was old-school and that I had read it before. It's not as old as I would have thought given the character ages and the "Me he-man, I'm right" attitude of the hero (2000). Can't remember how I felt when I read it the first time but this time I flew through the pages, just trying to get done so I could read something else. Probably would have skipped if it hadn't been and ARC.

Naughty Under the Mistletoe by Carly Phillips

And... I've read this one before too! I hate when they repackage books and don't put on the cover that these are reprints. 
Antonia Larson is ready to make a play for her boss (sound familiar) but ends up kissing his twin instead. Good thing the twin, Max, is eager to be kissed.
I know this is a short story but the whirlwind romance of it didn't appeal to me. They knew each other barely 24 hours and are in "Twu Lurv"? Meh.

Some Kind of Wonderful by Beth Ciotta

Daisy Monroe, cupcake baker extraordinaire is back in her home town to celebrate Christmas. And her childhood best friend, Zach, is also back. Will visits from a few ghosts and an unexpected storm help them to reconnect in a more visceral manner?
Liked that the penpal confusion didn't last. No Big Misunderstanding for the whole story. But the ghost aspects left me cold. 

Have Yourself a Curvy Little Christmas by Sugar Jamison

I loved the first book in this series but the second book left me cold and the third, disgusted. Again, I probably wouldn't have read this story if it hadn't been an ARC. And I would have missed the story that dragged this book into three star territory for me (well, high two but I'm rounding up).
We learned about Dina Gregory in the first book. She was the mean and evil sister of that heroine and now she's getting her own HEA. I was a bit irritated by her seemingly quick turnaround ("I had a baby! I'm wonderful (and somewhat pudgy) now!"). It would have been nice to learn about more of her hardships that led to this attitude change. 
But, now she's calling on the man who impregnated and then dumped her. But he's gone and his widower brother is there in his place. And Ben doesn't want to let her go.
Again, a fast falling in love and a lot of big emotions that were dealt with impossibly quickly, but I rather enjoyed the story.

Lems Sweet Jane Cordova

Okay, I haven't talked much about sportwear (or, at all) on this blog, but thought I'd branch out. Now, these shoes aren't technically sportwear, they're for everyday.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

The Christmas Wedding Ring by Susan Mallery

Image linked from Goodreads
A Susan Mallery book that isn't set in Fool's Gold? No shoehorning every ex-hero/heroine into the book by hook or by crook (hee, I rhymed)? If this story had had better protection worked in (and Goodreads allowed it), it would've rated a four and a half.
Molly fell in love Dylan when he was dating her older sister. He was the bad boy who left when her sister married someone else. As he was heading out of town, he gave her the wedding ring he had bought, and promised that, when she grew up, they could have a grand adventure.
Well, now she's grown up and having a REALLY crappy life at the moment. When the ring pops out of her lingerie as she's packing, she figures, "Well, why the heck not?"
Dylan, now a super successful motorcycle designer, is at a crossroads himself. A two week vacation seems like a great way to clear his mind.
There were many things about this book that should have annoyed me but
I really like the way the breast cancer scare was handled. Molly does a monthly check (which we ALL should be doing) and, granted, she ends up not having it but that has happened to a couple of my friends now so I could buy it. Also, these two fall in love so fast but it wasn't insta-lust, at least on Dylan's side.
Published on Oct. 7, 2014

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Season of Desire by Theresa Romain

Lady Audrina is NOT having a good day. She's been drugged and kidnapped by the same man who took her only commodity.
Giles Rutherford isn't exactly in a good mood either. His father has dragged him across the Atlantic after a puzzle box that supposedly holds a diamond parure owned by Giles' mother. And Giles is starting to feel the same symptoms of arthritis that crippled his mother.
But the two are forced together when Audrina's father forces Giles and his father to help rescue her and then to take her to the wilds of York so that he can ensure her kidnapper arrives in London separately and she can arrive later, suitably chaperoned by the sharp-tongued Lady Irving.
But while in York, Audrina and Giles get to know each other in a way they couldn't have if they were merely highly-ranked lady and brash American.
It was lovely to see a heroine who was bold about what she wanted and a hero who was willing to hold back. Their story was fun as were the secondary romances (though one was really only hinted at.) All of the characters were well-rounded and this was just a fun read.
Comes out today!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

He's So Fine by Jill Shalvis

Image linked from Goodreads
Oh man, I think I'm going against the grain by not giving this five stars. At least for the Advanced Readers. But I can say that regular readers of Jill Shalvis will like this book.
When the story opens, Cole Donovan is working on one of his company's boats. He gets distracted and slightly electrocuted and ends up in the water. That's when Olivia sees him, assumes he's drowning and jumps in to save him.
She's in town to disappear. See, Olivia Bentley isn't the name she was born with. Or even the name she's known by. But it is the name she's using to rebuild her life. Which could be a problem since Cole is incredibly rigid... especially about people lying to him.

I just couldn't connect with Olivia. She never really grew as a character. And we didn't really see past growth either. She was a child star, then a wild child, then, magically, she's an adult. An adult who keeps her lips sealed every single time Cole reveals something.
Cole, who we're shown (and told) over and over, is an easygoing guy... until we're told he's really actually very rigid. Wha huh?
And, oh, I'll probably get some comments from this... I thought the opening scene was over the top. And for me, not in a cute way. More in an excruciating sort of "people don't really do this" kind of thing.
The thing I like about Jill Shalvis is that not all of her endings are over-the-top, massively public proposals. Except... that they have been for this series. It's like each boating partner has to outdo the last.

Previous Book in this Series: It's in His Kiss

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Murder in Real Time by Julie Anne Lindsey

Image linked from Goodreads
I didn't read the first two books in this series but it wasn't absolutely necessary. It might've helped a little but I didn't feel like I was missing any of the story.
Why grab this book? The cover reminded me of Ellery Adams' books and I like those so...
Patience Price lives in a tourist town. Living in one myself, I really appreciated the description, especially the relief that comes at the end of the season. I'm a little doubtful about the number of food trucks, but since an actual number was never mentioned, it might have been three or so and that could work.
But the mayor of the town doesn't like down time. He wants more profit for his people. So he allows a reality show to film on the island. Which turns out to be a problem when Patience's boyfriend rolls back into town and discovers two of the cast members dead in his normal room.
This sets off a chain of events where (refreshingly) the heroine doesn't want to get involved. She's been involved in two murders recently (maybe more, this is the third book) and just wants some down time. But when shots start flying at both her and her friends, she gets reluctantly pulled in to investigating.
This book came out yesterday and I would recommend giving it a chance.

Monday, September 29, 2014

In your Dreams by Kristan Higgins

I absolutely devoured this book. Read it all in one sitting. While I was reading it, I was loving it. But thinking back, I have a few issues. I'll hide those behind spoilers in case other people don't share my opinions. I don't want to infect you if you didn't notice them.
First things first. What was with the prologue and epilogue. It would have been a good hook had it been done in the rest of the series, but it just seems odd coming up now. The good news is, you don't have to have read the rest of the series to get into this book.
Jack Holland is the perfect man. Built like a Greek god, good to his family, a conscientious entrepreneur (wine, hello!), and honest-to-God hero. It's that act of heroism that's currently haunting him. When Emmaline Neal, policewoman, part of his hockey team, needs an out-of-town date, he's only too happy to leave town.
Definitely in line with the rest of the Blue Heron series. The past characters are involved, but in ways that totally make sense with te story, nobody shoehorned in. Definitely worth reading.

I had this nagging feeling that Jack was too perfect. But then I remembered how he dicked Emmaline over when it came to his ex-wife being locked in a cell. I guess that was my problem. He was soooo perfect in every other aspect and then comes up a dick? It was jarring.
And Emmaline, though a strong woman, we saw waaaaay to much of her issues. It's fine for real women to have issues. It's good for fictional heroines to have issues. But when she stutters, can't get over her ex, is a little too whiny, and her relationship with her family is just painful... especially in comparison to the Greek god. It just didn't seem like an equal match.

Followed by: Anything for You (posts on Dec. 22)

Friday, August 29, 2014

Miss Fellingham's Rebellion: A Regency Romance by Lynn Messina

Image linked from Goodreads
Whoo. The beginning of this story was a little rough. But if you can soldier past the first twenty or so pages, it's a really fun story.
 The book opens with Miss Catherine Fellingham finally having her eyes open to her family's dynamics - and it's not pretty. Turns out her father is gambling at a pace that puts the family's finances in order and her mother thinks that selling commissions (a treasonous effort) is the way to recoup their fortunes. Her younger, much more beautiful sister has been so cossetted by the family that she is a vapid and insensitive person and her younger brother, though supposedly an adult at nineteen, doesn't seem to have grown up much at all. It is up to too-tall, too-serious, wall-flower Catherine to save the family.
But when she meets a handsome stranger while visiting the Elgin marbles (against her mother's wishes) with her youngest sister (possibly the only other pragmatic family member), she doesn't realize that she may be meeting her fate. However, the next time she sees the Marquess of Deverill, it's while he's talking with Lady Arabella. I'm pretty sure we met her in The Harlow Hoyden making the books loosely related. For Catherine, this discussion is mortifying. Lady Arabella is instructing Deverill to make Cathy "popular." Telling him that he is the only one with enough consequence to do so. Something to cure his boredom. We don't see much of the Marquess' thoughts until the end of the book, which I really liked. Being with Catherine, not really knowing his motives (although, as a removed reader, we're better able to guess than our protagonist), was a nice smooth reading with only one POV. Something you don't get to see in every book.
The big misunderstandings at the end were overdone. There were way to many.
A good book. I liked the Harlow Hoyden better but I definitely can't wait for the next ":A Regency Romance."

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Harbor Island by Carla Neggers

Image linked from Goodreads
I would most definitely read this series in order. There's a mystery that's been building since book one and, while you can maybe drop in, I wouldn't recommend it.
The story starts off with Emma Sharpe getting a phone call from filmmaker Rachel Bristol, saying that she (Rachel) has information that can help solve a decades-old art theft. But when Emma gets to the meet site, Rachel has been killed. We then spin into one of Neggers books, neither better nor worse than the previous books in the series. If you've read the first three in this series, you're well-prepared for this book.
We get new insight into old characters as well as meeting new people. The cast of characters is getting a bit unwieldy but it's not as bad as some other series. At least the people all fit in with out being shoehorned.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Not Quite a Wife by Mary Jo Putney

Image linked from Goodreads
Oh, man. I love Mary Jo Putney. I love the Lost Lords series. And this book... was just not up to the standard set by the previous five. It was really, really not at the same level. This was an ARC, and while the technical (proofreading) editing was fine, the story-line (line and substantive editing) really needed some work. Maybe some of this will be cleaned up before the book is put into print.
A lot of Putney's books start with some action, but this one starts with our hero falling ill, getting mugged and beaten, ending up on the heroine's door, and then a passionate encounter after eleven years of separation. What the what? The story then slows considerably before continuing in odd fits and starts, culminating in a realization that would be fine in a Christian/Inspirational romance novel but seemed odd in a more mainstream book that had heretofore only infrequently (though with heavy, heavy hand) referred to the heroine's religion.
Anyway, the story - Lauren and James married young and then separated when James did something So Horrible that Lauren just couldn't stand to be with him anymore. So she left and went to Bristol with her brother (a doctor) to help him with his work. They also opened a home for abused women. When Lauren... encounters... James, she comes up pregnant. Which can happen. And they decide to reconcile. Okay. But it all seems so... forced. And somewhat boring. The middle of the book reads more like a regular Putney novel. More exploring the characters than a ton of action which is good. But...
There is exposition. Dear God. The exposition. It's like some newbie editor said, "We need to know everything about the other couples in this series, can you do a mini-recap for each and every one of them? Yeah, that's what readers want." This is not the way to entice people to read other books in the series at it cuts each character down to two dimensions from the wonderful pictures that were painted in their own stories.
And while we do get to learn more about Laurel in this middle part of the book, none of it seems to fit very well. It's like her personality traits were plucked at random from some jar and had to be wedged into the story. At least for Laurel. She's supposedly this rigid, almost Methodist, person but she is also incredibly wild in the bedroom for someone who left her husband eleven years earlier and only after their honeymoon (deciding to fall into bed with him after their absence.) She left her husband but is ready to forgive. Even when he repeats his actions, which she finds out were justified, but she still can't get over it.
And what was the point of meeting Laurel's parents? We're already hammered over the head with the fact that she wants their approval. Again, it seems that someone decided that every... single... thing... had to be explained.
If the book had started out with the scene that caused Laurel to leave her husband, then jumped to the start and proceeded chronologically from there, had excluded the rather tedious exposition, this could have been a very good book. This is still a very high 2 for me, but I just couldn't give it a three miler, especially since the rest of the books in the series were so good.
Previous book: Sometimes a Rogue

It's in His Kiss by Jill Shalvis

Image linked from Goodreads
Becca Thorpe has literally moved across the country to get a new start. A currently-blocked jingle writer, she's landed in Lucky Harbor, hoping to find someplace to find out who she really is. See, up until now, her role in life has been to keep her brother on the straight and narrow.
Sam Brody likes living in Lucky Harbor. Even being on the Pinterest board of Hotness run by the town's unofficial mayor has it's perks. When Becca moves to town, he's by turns annoyed with, intrigued with, and bemused by her.
Both of our characters have had rough family lives. Sam, on the other hand, lost his mother at an early age and had the type of father that got him landed in foster care. A lot. His only saving grace came in the form of his partner Cole's mother, Amelia. She saw Sam and decided she was his son. Becca was always put in charge of her younger brother, he always came first. And when his life and career went down in flames, she felt the guilt.
I loved that these two characters were able to have some just-for-fun sex. Yes, they ended up getting tangled but it didn't start out that way, and neither one of them felt any guilt for it.
It looks like most people are absolutely loving the book and I can unequivocally say that, if you like Jill Shalvis, there is no reason to skip this book.
Unfortunately, I had some issues with the book.

What was the deal with Sam fixing all of Becca's parental problems in, like, 10 minutes? Or at least the space of a couple of sentences. This was a lifetime of problems and one low-toned conversations has her mother with a teary-eyed request for forgiveness and Becca just caving. And I can't stand when female characters talk about wanting to have a no-strings relationship and then get all pissed off when the man doesn't reciprocates. I'll admit that Sam's actions seem to indicate that he has stronger feelings but you can't blame a guy for backing off when there's been no deeper discussion. YET EVERYONE IN TOWN DOES. Of course, am does match it with, "I won't sleep with my employees" and then totally doing it so maybe it does balance out? And the rape? What the heck was up with that glossing over?

I will also add that if you don't like excruciatingly embarrassing, public declarations of love, this book will not have an enjoyable ending for you.

Next Book in the Series: He's So Fine

Friday, August 22, 2014

Suffragette Scandal by Courtney Milan

Image linked from Goodreads
What an absolutely lovely book. Courtney Milan is a past master at weaving together history and romance in such a way that her characters practically leap off the page.
Frederica, Free, Marshall is a newspaper owner. One of the radical women you read about in history books, subjecting herself to untold horrors that women in England faced at that time and then exposing the truth.
She is having some current difficulties though. Someone keeps stealing her proofs and then having a male author rewrite her articles. When the false articles go into print first, it looks like her paper can do nothing but copy their male counterparts. And that's just the tip of what's going on.
Edward Clark has a history with the man who is messing with Free. And he starts helping with her so that he can get revenge but soon falls under her spell.
I liked that we saw a gradual progression of falling in love. The story took place over a long time with both Free and Edward trying to move toward a mutual compromise.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Seeing is Believing by Erin McCarthy

Image linked from Goodreads
I saw a review for this book on Book Binge that intrigued me. Unfortunately, I hadn't read the first two books in the series and I think that was a handicap. Also, the line editor did not do a very good job. There were at least three different instances where I was pulled out of the story as I puzzled over what a sentence could mean. Also, it had a LOT more sex than the cutesy cover might lead you to believe. Like, from page one. Maybe two. So, Piper Tucker, former bald-headed waif who was dumped on her father's driveway, is now all groweds up and babysitting for her friend's eight-year-olds twins. And who comes a-knocking on the door, needing a place to stay while he regroups from a recent layoff? Why, it's her childhood crush, Brady Stritmeyer. And there's immediate lust. Immediate. I was disappointed that there wasn't more interaction with the psychic connection that Piper had with the ghosts. And that story, as well as the story of Brady exploring his new place in the world, now that he was laide off, were laid aside for so much of the sexxing. It was a fun story but not as much character development as there could have been.

Monday, August 18, 2014

How the Scoundrel Seduces by Sabrina Jeffries

Image linked from Goodreads
I was so unsure of this book, and, a week later, I'm still not sure how I feel. Jeffries writing is fantastic. She took a storyline that I didn't particularly like and created a story that made me finish even though I was having doubts the whole time. If you've read the other two "Duke's Men" stories, I'd definitely read this one as well.
In a previous story, Lady Zoe Keane, daughter of the Duke of Olivier,did a favor for the Duke's Men. And now, she wants to call it in. Specifically, she wants them to investigate who she is.
Tristan Bonnaud wants nothing more in life than to ensure that his titled half-brother doesn't bother him anymore. He just wants to be an investigator and definitely doesn't want to deal with the upper classes. Lady Zoe... she intrigues him. And so does her mysterious background.
If you like Sabrina Jeffries, I think you'll like this book. She's a wonderful writer and this is a series I'll definitely keep reading.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The Truth about Leo by Katie MacAlister

Image linked from Goodreads
If this hadn't been an ARC from NetGalley, there is no way I would have made it past the first chapter. I just plain do not like Dagmar (Dagmar?). She is headstrong as well as ignorant and just something of a spoiled child. Yes, I get that is supposed to be her character, but we don't really see any evolution. She just magically becomes a good person... or maybe her negatives were just over-emphasized and then suddenly de-emphasized. It was odd. Anyway, she needs to escape her current situation so when she finds a near-dead English soldier in her garden, she marries him.
Only it turns out he's not just any soldier, he's an earl. The seventh earl of March, Leopold Ernst George Mortimer doesn't know what's going on. He's not in heaven because it seems he's surrounded by harpies. Luckily, those harpies save him. And one is even his wife! That's a surprise.
While there were a lot of issues with this book (a LOT of issues), Katie MacAlister overall weaves a wonderful story as long as you can really, really suspend your disbelief (e.g. use of the word recap which didn't come into the current use until the 1920s. Even the first use wasn't until the 1850s).
Overall, an enjoyable story. Not as good as the first book in the series but definitely better than the third.
It's coming out on August 5.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Why Lords Lose Their Hearts by Manda Collins

Image linked from Goodreads
I'm not sure why I liked this book so much better than the first two. Perhaps it is because we got to meet Perdita and Archer in previous books. Or maybe it's because I'm such a sucker for the friends-to-lovers trope. Either way, I quite enjoyed this book and was glad it went out with a bang. At least for me. There is at least one part of this story that I think other readers will take issue with and I'm looking forward to reading other reviews.
Perdita, the widowed Duchess of Ormand (never called the dowager, perhaps because her husband's grandmother is still alive?), became the duchess one night when her husband was trying to kill her and he was killed instead.
Her husband's secretary, Lord Archer Lisle (fifth son of a duke), wasn't in the room when death occurred but he learned of the circumstances soon after. He is ashamed that he didn't realize sooner what the duke was doing to Perdita, especially because he loves her. But, as the fifth son of a duke, he has hopes that he can marry Perdita but is realistic about how society will view the marriage. Plus, there's the inconvenient fact that Perdita will not marry for love (look where that got her the first time!)
Of course, the two are forced together, working to discover who blames Perdita for the duke's death and why they're trying to thoroughly discredit her before they kill her.

I really don't know what to think about the kidnapping. I mean, Perdita's friends conspired with the man who was wanting to "rescue" her so that they could get her out of town. Collins did a good job of running through Perdita's thoughts on the matter so I guess I could sort of buy that part of the story but... it still didn't sit quite right. And having the killer be a deranged woman who just so happened to be the daughter of the duke's grandfather as well as the lover of the present duke...? I just don't know. If this were a mystery story, I'd be disappointed that the killer was so clearly pointed at but this is a romance so that didn't factor into my rating.
Previous books: Why Dukes say I Do, Why Earls Fall in Love

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Why Earls Fall in Love by Manda Collins

Image linked from Goodreads
At the beginning of this book, we once again recap exactly why the three widows who are heroines in this series are so closely tied together. Georgina Mowbrey is forced to work for a living. She rather likes Lady Russell. That makes it hard when Georgie starts receiving mysterious threats against her life. She doesn't want anyone else harmed just because she helped a friend.
Lord Coniston "Con", is Lady Russell's nephew so he's also in Bath to attend her 70th birthday celebration. After meeting Georgie in London, he was intrigued. And after seeing her more in Bath, hes even happier to be a part of the party.

I was a bit disappointed that in both of these books, it was the husband's mistress that was trying to kill the wife. Can't there be a different sort of villain? Is the mastermind of the whole thing the former Duke of Ormond's mistress? And why do attempts on these women seem to stop as soon as they get married? You'd think the mastermind would keep trying.

Previous book: Why Dukes Say I Do

Next book: Why Lords Lose their Hearts

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Why do Dukes Say I do? by Manda Collins

Image linked from Goodreads
Isabella, her sister, Perdita, and their friend Georgie have formed a friendship based on the fact that they were all abused wives. With Isabella's husband being gone, she is enjoying her society lifestyle. For the most part. There are these annoying anonymous letters... and somebody might be trying to kill her. But that just seems silly. Why would anyone want to do that? 
Now her godmother, the grandmother of Perdita's husband, is blackmailing her into going to the country to bring back a reluctant duke (in fact, the man taking over after Perdita's husband passed away). While there, Isabela may learn a little bit more about herself as well as discovering that not all men are controlling bastards.
An okay story but I really had to slog through it. Neither Isabella nor Trevor was a compelling character. I was mostly reading to find out how MC was going to tie in the "I know what you did last season" to the movie.

Books after this one: Why Earls Fall in Love, Why Lords Lose their Hearts

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Then Came You by Jill Shalvis

Image linked from Goodreads
This book had so many tropes that I hate in books. The heroine is all, "I can't do this - but I want to - but you're my boss - but you're so hot." So annoying. And the hero was all, "I am amused man who wants you and will have you." And, yet... I really liked this story. Really, really. I tore through it in a couple of hours, even laughing out loud a couple of times.
p. 38 "Calories." Emily said on a sigh. "The evil tiny creatures that live in my closet and sew my clothes a little tighter every night."
Emily Stevens has her life figured out. She's going to finish vet school and then continue taking care of her father and her sister while simultaneously getting her college study partner to fall in love with her. She just has to get through this internship, which is not in L.A. like she had planned. Nope, it's in Sunshine, Idaho. Well, at least it looks like it's going to be interesting, since she just walked in to the waiting room and saw "a golden retriever, a collie mix, two pissed off cats in carriers, and... a Shetland pony." (p. 9)
Too bad the guy she's going to be reporting to is her hot one-night stand from the veterinarian's conference in Reno, Dr. Wyatt Stone. He of the glasses and T-shirts with funny sayings.
Wyatt has his own issues. He lives with both his sisters and they're trying to drive him insane. Well, they're trying to help him fix up their grandparents house but it seems like they want to drop him off at Insanity along the way. It doesn't help that his hot new intern is helping him as well.
Jill Shalvis fans, rejoice. This is an excellent addition to her canon and a book not to be missed.This book had so many tropes that I hate in books. The heroine is all, "I can't do this - but I want to - but you're my boss - but you're so hot." So annoying. And the hero was all, "I am amused man who wants you and will have you." And, yet... I really liked this story. Really, really. I tore through it in a couple of hours, even laughing out loud a couple of times.
p. 38 "Calories." Emily said on a sigh. "The evil tiny creatures that live in my closet and sew my clothes a little tighter every night."
Emily Stevens has her life figured out. She's going to finish vet school and then continue taking care of her father and her sister while simultaneously getting her college study partner to fall in love with her. She just has to get through this internship, which is not in L.A. like she had planned. Nope, it's in Sunshine, Idaho. Well, at least it looks like it's going to be interesting, since she just walked in to the waiting room and saw "a golden retriever, a collie mix, two pissed off cats in carriers, and... a Shetland pony." (p. 9)
Too bad the guy she's going to be reporting to is her hot one-night stand from the veterinarian's conference in Reno, Dr. Wyatt Stone. He of the glasses and T-shirts with funny sayings.
Wyatt has his own issues. He lives with both his sisters and they're trying to drive him insane. Well, they're trying to help him fix up their grandparents house but it seems like they want to drop him off at Insanity along the way. It doesn't help that his hot new intern is helping him as well.
Jill Shalvis fans, rejoice. This is an excellent addition to her canon and a book not to be missed.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

The Trouble with Harry by Katie MacAlister

Image linked from Goodreads
Harry, Marquise Rosse, is in a bit of a pickle. He has five children (including a daughter on the brink of womanhood.) So, he decides to advertise for a wife. And, ooo, does he get a woman.
Plum, Fredericka Pelham, has a rather scandalous past. Now forty, she is anxious to create a family of her own. She seizes the chance not realizing exactly what she's getting herself into.
Are the children plot moppets? Yes. Yes they are. Sometimes annoying and occasionally adorable but plot moppets.
While I liked Plum, I hated that she and Harry never talked (common Romance trope, right?). More than one of their conflicts wouldn't have been conflicting
if she had just asked Harry how he thought she was doing
. I did like that Harry was so accepting of Plum's "secrets."
Not as good as the first book in the series but worth a read for the unconventional heroine.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Until we Touch by Susan Mallery

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I have been waiting to read this story. Larissa Owens and Jack McGarry have been features in the Fool's Gold series for so long with their relationship that is obviously more than just friends, that I couldn't wait to see how it resolved.
Well, it starts out with Larissa's mother telling both that Larissa is in love with Jack. Something neither of them had acknowledged. Mostly because neither Larissa nor Jack believe it to be true. 
Larissa is a bleeding heart. In earlier books she's rescued snakes (poisonous, buy hero of that book), puppies, and any number of other animals. In this book, she's adopted a cat. A very fancy cat that probably would have been her last choice for when she adopted an animal of her own. 
Working for the guys and Taryn at PR firm Score as their private masseuse/Jack's personal assistant has been the perfect job. She was nervous about their move from LA but it's turned out to be a good thing. She's got her friends on the job and is making friends in town as well. Friends that are quick to back up her mother's assertion. 
Again, I have to wonder how small this town is supposed to be. Small enough that everyone knows everyone but large enough to have a university? Not just a college. And one that's big enough to have football team at that. I know I should suspend my disbelief, but living in a small mountain town makes it really hard to read about "small mountain towns" that seem to grow exponentially for plot points. Granted, the characters do talk about the town expanding but this seems awfully fast. 
But, if you like Susan Mallery's books, especially the ones in this series, I think that you will enjoy this one as well.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

The Fault in our Stars by John Green

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This book scared me. There is just so much love for it out there and I often don't like books with just so much love. And then I get scared of people coming after me with pitchforks. I know it's never happened but even metaphorical pitchforks can hurt, people.
But, no, this is a lovely, lovely book about two teens who have faced, and still have to face, their own mortality at a time of life where most people feel immortal.
Oh, the feels that this book pulled out of me. I'm a little scared to see the movie (see how the pattern perpetuates?) but I'll probably wait for some night when I need to cry and pull it up for a weep-fest.

Why not five stars? Because, while the book was very, very good, I kept getting pulled out of the narration. Some of it was maybe the editor's fault more than the author's but that doesn't change my review. A few times it was because of word choice.
Reclusive - is an adjective. The noun is recluse. Or reclusiveness depending on what you're going for.
p. 51 Isaac was still throttling the wall with the pillow. -- Um, how would that work?
Other points it was the narrative arc that seemed a bit far-fetched, even for a reader who is soooo ready to suspend her disbelief.

One last note, it's funny to me that An Imperial Affliction ends in the middle of a sentence from the female narrator because, before Hazel even read the book, that's how I assumed that this book would end.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

The Scandalous Adventures of the Sister of the Bride by Victoria Alexander

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When I clicked on this book and realized I was auto-approved through NetGalley, I squeed so long and high that my dog started barking.
Long story short, this book was not as good as the first two in the series but still quite enjoyable.
Delilah, Lady Hargate, is enjoying getting to know her sisters. When they were younger, her twin sisters tended to leave her out of things but they're trying to rectify that now. In defense, Delilah became the "good sister," able to look down her nose at her sisters. But, recently, she's slipped. Just a little. While in New York, Delilah pretended to be someone she wasn't and spent the night with a handsome stranger. A handsome stranger who has just shown up for her sister's wedding. It turns out the man, the American, Samuel Russel, is the groom's best friend.
While Delilah tries to hide a number of secrets (she's not as perfect as everyone thinks, she's not as rich as everyone thinks) she also tries not fall in love with a man who is so completely wrong for her. So what if she wants to jump right back into bed with him? So what if she's feeling something a lot like love?

Saturday, May 17, 2014

The Unexpected Duchess by Valerie Bowman

The Unexpected Duchess (Playful Brides, #1)Lucy and her friend Cass are on the verge of being labeled old maids. They are dangerously too close to being put on the shelf. But Cass has a suitor. A very... determined... suitor. A newly minted Duke, a war hero, has set his eyes on her. Derek Hunt, the Duke of Claringdon, has promised his (dying) best friend that he will come back and marry Cass. Ever since he was young, Derek has been taught that the only way to live life is to make a decision and then follow through. So he's going to marry Cass. And, hello, he's a duke so her parents aren't letting him get away.

However, Cass and her friend Jane both think that Derek would be much happier with Lucy and they're going to be working to see if they can't help the two warriors find their HEA.
Okay, issues. Lucy is supposed to have this sharp tongue. We're told that over and over. But it's not really demonstrated in her conversation. And the ploys, would a twenty-three-year-old former deb really stand behind her friend and try to imitate her voice. And I think the author was trying to draw a parallel between Lucy and Derek and Beatrice and Benedick. But the slap-slap-kiss relationship would better describe Lucy's brother and her friend, Jane (can't wait for that story). Great use of Shakespearean themes (butler named Shakespierre?) though; I do see Lucy and Derek as Kate and Petruchio. But in an ending where Petruchio realizes that he doesn't especially want to change the woman with whom he first fell in love.

Followed by Playful Brides #3 (I DNF'd the second book) The Unlikely Lady

Friday, May 16, 2014

Suddenly last Summer by Sarah Morgan

Image linked from Goodreads
I'm quite enjoying Sarah Morgan's (SM) books. It's always lovely to find a new contemporary author that you can enjoy. Especially one who hasn't jumped on the BDSM bandwagon. The sex in this one is hot, but not super-explicit.
We are re-introduced to two characters from the first book, Elise and Sean. Elise is a French chef, both by nationality and cuisine She's had a hard life, including losing the only person who was her real family, her mother while they were in the midst of an argument. But she was rescued from a bad situation by Sean's twin, Jackson, and has created a new family for herself at Snow Crystal Resort.
When Walter, the family patriarch (Sean's grandfather), collapses from a heart attack, Sean is called home, to the place he hates most to go. Even with the promise of returning to Elise with whim he had a torrid one night stand last summer, Sean does not want to go back. The place his grandfather loves was a burden to Sean's father and the place Sean only wanted to escape from. Even becoming a well-known surgeon hasn't lessened the disappointment Sean sees in his grandfather ever time he returns to Snow Crystal.
This is a great story where Sean and Elise are going to have to meet halfway in order to find their HEA. And I liked that SM was really able to get them to that point in a believable and fun manner.

Previous Books in the Series: Sleigh Bells in the Snow
Next Book in the Series: Maybe this Christmas