Saturday, October 31, 2015

Silent Nights edited by Martin Edwards

Containing some well-known favorites (Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's "The Blue Carbuncle," Dorothy L. Sayers "The Pearl Necklace," etc." as well as other short mystery stories set around Christmas. Some are more Christmas-sy than others but it is a nice cozy collection that will help get you in the holiday spirit.

Friday, October 30, 2015

The Sport of Baronets by Theresa Romain

The Sport of Baronets (Romance of the Turf, #0.5)Hannah Chandler and Bart, Sir Bartlett, Crosby are part of a generations long family feud. So when they both claim a colt that is then stolen, they have to work together to get back a potentially family-saving colt.
For a novella, I really enjoyed getting to know as much of the characters that we got to see. Can't wait for the rest of the series.

Four stars

Followed by A Gentleman's Game

Thursday, October 29, 2015

The Irresistible Rogue by Valerie Bowman

The Irresistible Rogue (Playful Brides, #4)The start of this book really didn't draw me in. I felt like it was a bit havey-cavey what with all the action that we're just dropped into the middle of. which can be an interesting way to start a book but didn't work here. And then there's a couple of info dumps that aren't as well done as previous Bowman books.
It seems that Daphne Swift, our heroine, married Rafe Cavendish because she can speak Russian and her brother wanted her to help. 
I'm not sure if I just had a harder time suspending disbelief or if this book truly was as silly as I was finding it. I won't quit reading this author but this book wasn't quite as good as the previous in this series.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Haunt Couture and Ghosts Galore by Rose Pressey

Haunt Couture and Ghosts Galore (A Haunted Vintage Mystery #3)This is definitely not a series to be read quickly one after the other. What is kooky and fun well-spread apart just becomes predictable and repetitive. I really hope our characters move along in the next book because I didn't see much growth from Cookie in this one. It may not have been as annoying if I hadn't read all three within a few months of each other.

But our intrepid ghost-seeing Cookie is back. This time the ghost is a former private investigator who is tied to a hat. And the victim is a not-so-nice fashion designer who ends up dead in an alley with no shortage of suspects.
Three stars

Followed by Haunted Is Always in Fashion

Sunday, October 25, 2015

What Happens Under the Mistletoe -- Anthology

<i>The Heiress and the Hothead</i>by Sabrina Jeffries
Whoa. I mean, whoa. Never has danger boner been so egregious. And yet, still -- this was a solid three and a half star story. Alexandra Keane, Jeremy's sister and a mill owner, is shocked when an unknown man kisses her at her brother's Christmas house party. Even more so when she discovers that he is Lord Stephen Corry (younger brother of sequel bait Warren and, I can only assume, Warren's ward, Clarissa) who is a reformer who writes exposes on various... English mills. So she's immediately suspicious about his motives. But they find out that they might have more in common than they think and that might include love.
>> <i>Twelve Kisses to Midnight</i> by Karen Hawkins
>> Marcus is not happy to see his former fiancée standing at the Christmas house party he's attending. Kenna left him a month before their wedding then married a man nineteen years her senior. It's been ten years but he's having a hard time remembering that.
>> And, of course, they've both changed. Luckily, an unexpected snowstorm gives them time to explore those changes.
>> I definitely liked this, warts and all. 4 stars.
>> <i>By Any Other Name</i> by Candace Camp
>> Rylla is worried about her brother. He's been missing for weeks and she just wants him home for Christmas. So she does what any good romance heroine would do and dresses like a man and heads to a gambling establishment to find him. Luckily, when she is robbed on the way out, she is rescued by Mr. Gregory Rose who not only promises to help her brother, he falls in love.
>> Cute. A bit whirlwind but enough for 3 1/2 stars.
>> <i>Sweetest Regret</i> by Meredith Duran
>> Two years ago, Lucas Godwin started to court Georgie but then abruptly left Munich. She has never forgotten that. But now a diplomatic mission to find a lost letter gives them a second chance at love.
>> A little trite maybe, but a cute story. 4 stars.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Say You'll Love Me by Ally Broadfield

I assumed this was the author's first book because it seems somewhat unpolished (according to Goodreads, it looks like it's her third). Of course, I did read an ARC so maybe some of the jerky story telling will be smoothed out in the final product.
Say You'll Love Me by Ally BroadfieldLady Abigail Hurst is delighted to be engaged to her childhood friend. At least until her engagement ball (when the book opens) and she sees her fiance trying to seduce one of his sister's maids. She's heartbroken. Even more so when the made later turns up dead and her fiance is the main suspect.
There was a LOT going on in this story and some parts of the story seemed like they were just stuck in to various pages. What with Abigail deciding that she's going to investigate the murder and then falling in love with her best friend's brother (a relationship that never felt developed) etc., etc.
Overall, an okay book with bones that make me think that this author might produce some great stories soon.
Comes out 

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Hot Holiday Nights by Jaci Burton

Hot Holiday Nights by Jaci BurtonHoly menage, Batman! Warn a woman, NetGalley! This book suffered for me because this is NOT one of my favorite romance tropes. I generally like Burton's writing, even if it does get a little more explicit than I like. For the rating, this is my personal opinion. Do I think that regular Burton readers will enjoy the story? Probably. Do I like that Victoria was the leader in initiating this triad? I gave it a whole extra star because of that. I liked that she was confident in herself and her men.
When Victoria Baldwin finally takes a vacation, little does she suspect that she'll be falling in love. And falling in love.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Santa Claus Man by Alex Palmer

The Santa Claus Man by Alex  PalmerGenerally, I try to avoid biographies written by family members who aren't children. People tend to be glamorized. And while that did happen in this book, it was still a well-written book. And an entertaining read about an interesting con man.

Snoopy: Contact! by Charles M. Schulz

Snoopy by Charles M. SchulzSnoopy rides again! Mainly stories connected to the Red Baron, this is a fantastic look at the work of Charles M. Schulz. And so many of the stories still work today. Simple, awesome. Definitely worth a read.

Will come out next week, October 20.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Mrs. Roosevelt's Confidante by Susan Elia MacNeal

Regular Maggie Hope readers will love this book. I think beginners to the series will be able to fall in pretty easily be able to fall in as well.
Mrs. Roosevelt’s Confidante by Susan Elia MacNealPearl Harbor has been bombed and Maggie's joining Prime Minister Churchill in his trip to help American and Britain become firm allies.
She's relieved to be back in America (partly because austerity measures are not yet in place). She's also excited to rekindle her romance with John... but fate steps in. It seems that Mrs. Roosevelt's secretary has committed suicide. But we readers know that something else entirely has occurred. It seems the secretary was caught up in a scheme to discredit the president's wife (and thus, the president). But was she killed in order to further the scheme or prevent it? It seems that Maggie's skills in protection and detection will come in handy here. She'll also lend her help to defending a black man put on trial (lots of period-consistent but terribly un-PC language used herein) for killing a white man.
A lot of character development in this book. I think some people may be disappointed by some of the movement but I am actually enjoying watching Maggie grow as a person and can't wait to read the next book.

Friday, October 9, 2015

A Winter Wedding by Brenda Novak

Oof. I'm so glad I got to read this book. The last two in the series were hard reads (because Brenda Novak tends to write outside the lines of your stereotypical romance stories, maybe not quite real life but definitely some harder emotions than a lot of romance novels) and this one was no less hard but maybe just a little less on the unending "feels" which made for a nice change-up in the Whiskey Creek series.
In this book, Kyle Houseman finally gets his HEA. And it's not with the quiet homebody that he always thought he wanted. Instead, his life is invaded by Lourdes Bennett, a country star whose star is somewhat on the wane.
A Winter Wedding by Brenda NovakNeither actually wants to get involved with the other. For one thing, Lourdes is engaged to the man (her manager) she's been dating for three years. Even if he has been distant lately and more concerned about an up-and-comer than Lourdes.
And Kyle isn't interested in someone who's almost a decade younger than he is. Especially someone who certainly isn't going to want to live in Whiskey Creek, a place he can't imagine leaving. Besides, he only seems to attract crazy women (e.g. ex-wife, Noelle who can't seem to leave him be) and is still in love with his step-brother's wife, Olivia (even more complicated, she's Noelle's sister).
Like a lot of the books in this series, there is a lot of build-up to what seems to be a fairly fast ending which can be a bit disconcerting. But I'm really glad I've stuck with the series because it's one that doesn't fall into the stereotypical romance lines (which, by the way are most of my favorite books). I really, really hope that we're going to get a Baxter story. There aren't really any other friends in their group left and I'd hate to see him be left out.

Followed by Discovering You

Thursday, October 8, 2015

The Adventuress by Tasha Alexander

The Adventuress by Tasha AlexanderJeremy, the Duke of Bainbridge, Emily's dearest friend has finally gotten engaged. To an American heiress no less. But Emily's not sure she can like the girl. Not because she's an American, rather because the woman can't seem to hold an opinion of her own. Instead, Amity (the fiancee) transforms to agree with whoever is talking to her.
The book opens with the death of one of Jeremy's closest friends. The authorities presume suicide but Emily isn't so sure. And there seems to be some darkness lurking underneath the cheerful facade of this honeymoon party.
The story is told in alternating first person (Emily, in the "present") and third person (Amity, snippets of the months leading up to the party). It's an interesting way to sow some red herrings quite nicely into the story.
I think regular Alexander readers will be quite satisfied with this book.
This book comes out next Tuesday, October 13, 2015.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Hot Toy by Jennifer Crusie

Hot Toy by Jennifer CrusieNew Crusie book from NetGalley? Unfortunately, I hit "request" before I realized this was actually a novella that had already been published. And for being a 2006 story, this isn't really the Crusie I've come to love and know. And on re-reading... it wasn't any better..

Trudy Maxwell is rushing to find a toy for her nephew so that he can have the latest for Christmas. While at the toy store, she runs into an old associate of her father's and discovers that he too is looking for the season's hot toy. They find one left and Trudy discovers that this may be an extra special toy as it gets her into a mess of trouble with spies who want it almost as badly as she does.
I really did not like Trudy in this story. She is pushed around by her sister and more than a little flaky. Yes, it's nice that she's getting this toy for her nephew for the first Christmas after his father ran away with the secretary but, dear God in heaven, it's a toy. And hold her up to Crusie's uber-competent Agnes (Agnes and the Hitman) or self-confident Minerva (Bet Me) and this story suffers. A LOT.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

The Mutts Winter Diaries by Patrick McDonnell

The Mutts Winter DiariesA collection of winter strips, all in one place. it makes you realize how great Patrick McDonnell is at recycling jokes but giving them new little twists each time. Earl and Mooch are trying to figure out how to survive the long cold winter. One storyline involves hibernating while others include various types of clothing, or trying to find identical snowflakes. 

A very cute book that any comics reader will enjoy.
Will be published on October 13.

Monday, October 5, 2015

The Duke and Miss Christmas by Amelia Grey

Louisa’s sister, Gwen, finds her match in this novella. She just doesn’t know it at first.

The Duke and Miss Christmas by Amelia GreyCrispin, Duke of Hurst, is visiting his uncle when he spies a young girl sitting underneath a tree. Since it’s close to Christmas, and presumably chilly, he walks over to talk to her and discovers that she has injured herself falling out of a tree trying to pick holly to decorate her home. While he’s trying to get the girl on his horse, Gwen (it’s one of her younger sisters he’s helping) comes along, believes that he’s up to dastardly deeds and proceeds to whack him with her basket.

Though this is a novella, Grey deftly adds notes about time passing so this isn’t quite a fall-in-love-at-first-sight-marry-soon-after novel. Nice addition to the series. Three and a half stars.

Comes out October 13, 2015

Follows The Earl Claims a Bride

Friday, October 2, 2015

Perfect Match by E. D. Baker

The Perfect Match by E.D. BakerThis was some interesting world building, setting up Cory Feathering in the land of Fairy Tales and Nursery Rhymes as a cupid who also does miscellaneous jobs on the side. Oh, and she's dodging the Fairy Guild which is after her because... she caused a problem for her in the first book. I honestly can't remember what at this point. Which, to my mind, is not a good sign. And, oh yeah, this is a sequel, but I don't think you need to have read the first book to enjoy this one.
Here, Cory is trying to figure out what's going on with her woodchuck, housesit for the three bears, and find a match for Goldilocks. These stories (and more), unfortunately start to overlap with each other to the detriment of all of them. I was slogging through some sections and flying through others. And, while I've read other stories where Guilds or similar entities become the Big Bad, for whatever reason, this book made me think of comparisons to the unions which made me wholly uncomfortable, especially in what appears to be a young adult novel. 
Two and a half stars.