Wednesday, March 30, 2016

A Scandalous Proposal by Kasey Michaels

A Scandalous Proposal by Kasey Michaels
In the first book, An Improper Arrangement, we met Cooper Townsend who was recently given the title of Baron for work he did at a battle outside Quatre Bras. According to the pamphlets currently flooding London, Cooper is a hero who saved a pack of children who had wandered onto the field of battle. A blonde-headed, green-eyed hero. Too bad that's not quite the truth. And too bad he's being blackmailed.
Three Stars

Also being blackmailed? Miss Daniella "Dany" (what's with that spelling? SO distracting) Foster's sister, a countess. Who's going to help them? Well, a bona fide hero of course.
I did NOT like the initial description of Dany. It made her sound like she was twelve years old. She's twenty-one but good God, she sound like a child. Which makes the romance in this just super ooky.

Three stars
This book came out today
Followed by A Reckless Promise

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Love Walks In by Samantha Chase

For me, Samantha Chase can be uneven. Some of her stories I really enjoy, others I can barely finish. The book before this one, Made for You, I didn't enjoy so much. This one, I liked.
When we meet Hugh Shaughnessy, he's a rebellious teenager whose biggest act coincides with the night his mother dies. That completely changes him and he swings to the other extreme, becoming very rigid.
Love Walks In by Samantha ChaseWhen we meet him again as an adult, he's the owner of twelve resorts and in a panic because his events planner (the same person for all twelve) has just left. No two weeks notice. Just gone. And Hugh does NOT deal well with change. He is definitely not amused to find pink luggage not attached to a person on the resort's immaculate lawn. Nor is he later amused to see a woman with a proclivity for tiny underwear.
Aubrey is a Runaway Bride who has just had the luck to meet the man who is about to make Hugh a LOT of money. The man, an eccentric, immediately decides he loves Aubrey and he demands that she be the new point person for the events he is having at Hugh's resorts. An immediate reason for Aubrey and Hugh to spend more time together without being gross because he's not really her boss.
I wish we had seen Hugh open up to Aubrey about his OCD (though we didn't really see any evidence of actual OCD except with the dinners, mostly he just talks about having it). It was almost like love magically cured him of all his issues with the past. So, either his issues were overstated or we have a magic hoo-ha situation here.
There were issues, as I've noted, but the pacing was nice, I liked both Aubrey and Hugh and this was a sold "OK" book for me.

This book comes out April 5, 2016
Three stars

Followed by Always My Girl

The Semester of our Discontent by Cynthia Kuhn

The Semester of Our Discontent by Cynthia KuhnLila Maclean is a new professor at Stonedale University. Specializing in American Literature, she is one of two first-year teachers, the other one being Simone who doesn't seem to like Lila very much. Another person who doesn't like Lila? Roland Higgins, the chair of the department. He's a martinet, very much against any author who isn't white, male, and long-dead. Unfortunately for Lila, who is studying a female mystery novelist from the 1970s, this puts her firmly in his "does not like it" category which she finds out to her dismay on her first day of work. It's too bad that that day coincides with his murder. And Lila (along with her advisor Judith) is first on the scene. And then another body turns up. Then her cousin is arrested for murder. And it's up to Lila to get her out.
A nice first book in a series. There were some issues but overall a very good book and one for which I can't wait to read the next in the series.

Followed by The Art of Vanishing

Monday, March 28, 2016

The Bitchy Waiter: Life on the Other Side of the Menu by Darron Cardosa

The Bitchy Waiter by Darron Cardosa
I had not read this blog before but I was a server so I thought I'd give this book a chance. Having been a blog, it took some getting used to reading. Almost 30 pages in, I was seriously considering DNF'ing this book. It was just too choppy. But I'm glad that I stuck it out. It was a good book. I could have done without the fiction section but I have definitely had those afternoons where no one comes in and your mind wanders.
If you've been a server, you'll enjoy this book. If you've never been a server, welcome to the world of food service.

This book will be published on April 5th

Sunday, March 27, 2016

The Norths Meet Murder by Frances Lockridge, Richard Lockridge

The Norths Meet Murder (Mr. & Mrs. North #1)When I requested this book from NetGalley, I assumed it was like the recent Nero Wolfe that I had read -- a new book by a recent (currently alive) author. I know the Norths from old time radio stories and was confused when they met Lieutenant Weigand. Didn't they already know him? Oh! This is a reissue is the first book in the series!
It starts when Pam decides to throw a party. She's been to quite a few parties and "owes" her friends. She decides that it might be nice to use the empty apartment in their building. And it seems fine when she goes up to visit in the afternoon. But after Jerry comes home and they go to check it out together, they open the bathroom door and find a body.
Thus opens their eyes into the world of crime. This book is very fairly clued, especially if you know the Norths, it will be easy to figure out who the killer was.
I loved the exchange between Weigand and Mullins, "He could of" "I think you mean would have" "That's what I said." One of my pet peeves and in a book from  1940.

This book was reissued on March 8
Four stars

Friday, March 25, 2016

Foxing the Geese by Janet Woods

There is definitely a Trigger Warning for this book.

I hadn't read this author before so I was willing to give her the benefit of the doubt. And this was an okay book. Vivienne was a strong character who knew her mind and I mostly liked her although she did fall in love with... well... Yeah. Alex was a pretty big asshat. He got better at the end. Mostly.
Foxing the Geese by Janet WoodsVivienne Fox has inherited a fortune. Lord Alex LeSayres needs a fortune. But he doesn't know that she has a fortune and seems to be falling in love. The two met when they were younger and Alex dumps her in a pig sty. Now he's going to help lend her some countenance during the Season and in return, he gets some time to pay back some of her father's debts.
The more I think about it, the more problems I have with this story (her uncle starts off as a menacing character but ends up benign for no good reason, Alex really is an asshat, etc.) but I had an overall good feeling reading this story so it ends up being a three-star for me.

Three stars
Book comes out April 1.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires

The Most Magnificent ThingI requested this book from Edelweiss and was surprised to see it a little later featured on the Mighty Girl Facebook page. And this is definitely a story about a mighty girl. One who is a regular (unnamed) girl who likes to hang out with her dog doing the normal things (racing, eating, exploring, relaxing) and also creating. Until the day that she thinks of the *Most Magnificent Thing.* But this time creation doesn't go so smooth. "It was not her finest moment." I can just see two- and three-year-olds parroting that and being absolutely adorable. The language is not too difficult but it wasn't dumbed down either.
I loved the lessons about learning from your mistakes and adored that the little girl was an inventor. The illustrations were fabulous as well and fit the story perfectly.

This book comes out April 1, 2016

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Six Degrees of Scandal by Caroline Linden

Six Degrees of Scandal by Caroline Linden
I have been wondering what the heck was up with Olivia Townsend and we finally get to find out. I definitely preferred this book to the last one in this series though.Olivia Townsend has loved James Weston for most of her life. They grew up together and then fell in love. But after a romantic interlude... James decides that he knows what's best and wanders off rather than immediately asking for her hand. Because Olivia's family is in dire straights, they can't wait to get her married. Especially now that she's "damaged goods." So Olivia marries another. It's been two years since her husband died of the flu and she's not sure what's going on. Not only has all of the money from his inheritance mysteriously disappeared, one of her husband's friends is getting more and more insistent about pressing his intentions. And now she's got this mysterious book that just showed up. It seems to be one of her husband's diaries (according to the back cover, but really it sounds more like a ledger). When she takes it to a lawyer, he not only denies knowing exactly what it is, he claims that it was supposed to be burned. Going to her cold and lonely cottage (where she's hiding to get away from her would-be suitor), Olivia is beset upon by a shadowed man. One with a very familiar voice. It's James. He's been recruited by his sister Penelope to come to Olivia's rescue.As readers, we travel with James and Olivia to find out what her husband was really up to all while watching the two of them fall back in love. Or acknowledging that they still love each other. Parts of the story were a little too smooth and other parts dragged on a bit but overall a fairly good story.

This book comes out March 29, 2016

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Fortune Favors the Wicked by Theresa Romain

Fortune Favors the Wicked by Theresa RomainWhen I requested this book as an ARC, I didn't realize that this was part of a new series (I hope) and not part of the "Romance of the Turf."  I was really looking forward to that next book and that may have dimmed some of my excitement in this book. But, hey, blind hero, courtesan heroine... this is definitely not your average romance novel.
There was a LOT going on in this story though. Both Charlotte Perry (also known as  Charlotte Pearl, La Perle, and Mrs. Smith in the course of this novel) and Benedict Frost, currently on half-pay from his Majesty's navy, are looking for the gold recently stolen from the royal treasury. The reward for finding said gold is 5,000 pounds, a princely sum. Charlotte could retire and set her daughter up for life. Benedict would like to sell his stories but the London publishers have all told him that, though based on his own life, no one will believe that a blind man could travel the globe. So instead, he's hoping to get the reward money and set himself and his sister up for life.
There is also a villain plotting against Charlotte, a murder, and, oh, just a LOT going on in this book. It was still worth a read and I am very much hoping that we will see more of what happens between Georgette (Benedict's sister) and Lord Hugo (Benedict's friend, younger son of a duke).

This book will be published March 29.
Followed by Passion Favors the Bold

Monday, March 21, 2016

Nobody But You by Jill Shalvis

Damn it Jill Shalvis. Another book that I loved so much I read it too darn fast. And even a day later, thinking about the things I didn't like, this book still gives me warm fuzzies.
Sophie Marren knows she isn't perfect. And she's too impulsive. Why else would she have asked for her husband's boat in the divorce proceedings rather than some money. Or her car. Or something that didn't make her seasick. And it's just her luck not to have thought about the fact that she'd need both day and night permits on this darn lake. Oh. And that a sexy ranger seems to have stumbled upon her latest "secret spot."
Nobody But You (Cedar Ridge, #3)Readers will probably know Jacob Kincaid as the absent brother from the first two books in the series. He ran away from the family, including his own twin brother, when he was eighteen and hasn't really checked in since. But now his best friend from the army is dead and he needs to be home. Even if that means going back to Cedar Ridge without really letting his family know. Thank goodness there's a spunky redhead out on his boat dock, distracting him.
The first 3/4 of the book were a definite four-and-a-half-stars for me. Then came the last Big Misunderstanding. And it wasn't really as dramatic as your regular BM, but for these characters, it seemed out of proportion to how they had been set up in the rest of the book. A discordant note that threw me off for the rest of the book. Especially since it seemed like it was such a Big Deal but was resolved super-quickly.
And I really didn't like the epilogue for a couple of reasons but mainly because it makes me suspect we're not going to get Kenna's story. What's going on between her and Mitch? What gets her from grumpy ex-ski star to happy in love?

This book comes out March 29, 2016

Follows: My Kind of Wonderful

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Stop the Presses by Robert Goldsborough

Stop the Presses! by Robert GoldsboroughThis was an ARC so I didn't count against it that there was a really weird back and forth of whether  contractions are used. On one page, you'd have "you are" and a few pages later it would be "you're" with no rhyme or reason. Very distracting.
I requested this book because a)I love Nero Wolfe and b)I was excited that Lon Cohen, our favorite press junkie, is featured. Specifically, he's very worried that one of their more... contentious reporters seems to be getting increasingly threatening letters. Muddling the issue is the fact that Clay has pissed off so MANY people. But he's narrowed it down to five people who are the most likely to want him dead.
And then... Cameron is found shot to death. The police say it's suicide but the newspaper's owners aren't so sure.
Close to the Rex Stout voice and certainly better than "Black Coffee" but the mystery was a bit week and the characters didn't... seem like themselves (can you say that about fictional characters?) I did  really like page 35 ,the juxtaposition of loath and loathe.

This book came out March 8
Three stars

Friday, March 18, 2016

Raiders of the Lost Bark by Sparkle Abbey

Raiders of the Lost Bark by Sparkle Abbey
I requested this book from NetGalley with the vague remembrance that I had enjoyed the Pampered Pets Mysteries. I couldn't remember any of them but started into Raiders of the Last Bark anyway. About halfway through, I sort of remembered pieces of the earlier books and went to check out my reviews. It's been about three years since I last read a PPM which explains why it's a little foggy in my memory. I've also skipped three of the books apparently which was fine. A lot of the back story, like Mel's feud with her cousin Caro over their grandmother's broach, was inserted neatly into this story without too much fanfare or over-explaining. I'm not sure if I'll go back and read the three I've missed but it was nice to be able to jump back in without too much trouble.
Mel is the first-person narrator of this book (my reviews reminded me that the books switch between her and Caro). This time she's heading out to a glamping event. One that she's been blackmailed into attending by the resident pet chef (is this a thing? Good lord I'm glad I live in a small town in the back of beyond). When said pet chef turns up with a fork sticking out of the side of her neck, somehow Mel ends up as the main suspect. I say "somehow" because it seems very odd that the police would immediately zone in on her and not let up. Maybe not in real life but at least in this kind of series mystery.

This book comes out March 25
Three stars

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Snoopy: Party Animal by Charles Schulz

Snoopy by Charles M. SchulzIn this book, the strips gathered mainly feature Snoopy. There are an inordinate number with just Snoopy on his doghouse. It's absolutely amazing how much Schulz was able to do with so little, just a dog on a small building. And LOTS of strips with birds. I knew Snoopy and Woodstock were good friends but I didn't realize that he liked ALL birds. At least, what look like blue birds.
As with other Snoopy/Peanuts books I've enjoyed, a nice blast of nostalgia. Great for Shulz fans and neophytes alike.

Four stars
Book comes out March 22, 2016

Monday, March 14, 2016

The Jewelled Snuff Box by Alice Chetwynd Ley

Somebody compared this book to Georgette Heyer and I can sort of see it. The WTFery is a little lower (a little) but it is a historical with very little physical interaction but a story that is continuously on the go.
The Jewelled Snuff Box by Alice Chetwynd LeyWe start with a poor, but moral, young woman, Jane Spencer. She is on her way to London via public conveyance when the stage is stopped by snow. Lo and behold, she stumbles over a body in the snow. It's a man who has lost his memory. When she finally gets him to London, he apparently wanders off again without even a thank you. So Jane goes on her way, becoming a companion to the same girl that used to torture her in boarding school. Oh, but that same girl is now married, but seems to be having an affair with... bum bum BUM... Jane's amnesiac. Who doesn't remember her.
A fun story full of classic romance tropes that regular romance readers will love.

This book came out on March 4
Three and a half stars

Sunday, March 13, 2016

The Study of Seduction by Sabrina Jeffries

The Study of Seduction (Sinful Suitors, #2)It's time for the man with the crusty exterior and marshmallow insides (Edwin Barlow, the Earl of Blakeborough) to meet his match. Well, technically, he's already met her. Clarissa Lindsey, described on the book cover as his friend Warren's ward, is under Warren's protection, but more because she's being stalked, not really because he's her guardian.
So, while Warren goes to check on Clarissa's exiled brother, Niall, Edwin's going to hang around and make sure that Count Durand (of the French embassy) doesn't get handsy with her again (the Count is obsessed with Clarissa and seems like he will do anything, ANYTHING to get her to marry him, even assault her).
Since they're thrown together, Edwin and Clarissa have no choice but to get to know more about each other. A happenstance that helps them see past the prejudices that they have built up toward each other over the years.
Those that love Sabrina Jeffries will definitely enjoy this book.
I wish I had seen more of their relationship growing and a little more at the end but generally a good book.

Book comes out March 22, 2016
Three and a half stars
Follows The Art of Sinning

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Loving the Odds by Stefanie London

Loving the Odds by Stefanie LondonThis was a novella so it's hard to connect to the characters, especially when they fall into bed so fast. But there was some quick world-building and the sketches of the characters made them fairly believable. A risk analyst (Bailey Reuben) who decides to throw caution to the wind and chase after her grandfather's watch. A watch she had given to her ex only because he implied they were getting married (what a smarmster!) Then she meets a playboy PR guru who decides to through his woman-loving ways aside to help Bailey. And, yeah, she's sort of helping him too but it's mostly about her.
Would I read another book in the series? Yes. In fact, I have both her "Behind the Bar" books in my TBR and I'm looking forward to them both.

Three stars
Comes out March 14

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

The Forbidden Duke by Darcy Burke

The Forbidden Duke by Darcy BurkeMiss Eleanor Lockhart had resigned herself to living with her father after her first (disastrous) season ended in scandal. But he's lost all of his money in a ill-fated scheme and Eleanor must go to work. IT is just her good fortune to have been hired/adopted by the Countess of Satterfield. Instead of a companion, the Countess seems determined to set Eleanor set up for a second season. At least it's keeping her off the back of the stepson she so desperately wants to see married.
That stepson, Titus, known more colloquially as the Forbidden Duke, is ecstatic. Until he meets this new companion and feels an instant connection. Even his newly acquired mistress loses flavor. Though he tells himself that he is just trying to help her have a wonderful season, how can he ignore his feelings for her?
As a slightly-longer-than-usual novella, this book felt a bit rushed, like major conversations were jumped over. But it was an okay book. I didn't love the set up for the next trilogy but understand why it was added.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Pumpkin: a Cindermama Story by Ines Johnson

Pumpkin by Ines JohnsonI got this book as an ARC last week but it looks like it's already been published. I'm really hoping that the fact that it's in NetGalley means that it's going to be re-released with some better editing. This was a fairly charming story (heh, charm-ing?) but the grammar/spelling mistakes started pulling me out of the plot. I don't mind one or two mistakes, especially in a book that hasn't been released yet but this looks like it's already out. Hopefully the second book (which I can't wait to read) has a better editor (although the fact that Midori refers to "Jimmy Chu's" and "has that affect" in the sneak peek doesn't give me hope.)
Malika "Pumpkin" Tavares has always thought her life was that of a fairy tale. She's a modern-day Cinderella, complete with two evil cousins and an aunt standing in for the traditional "steps." 
Manny Charmayne knows that his life is charmed, literally. Descended from a long line of gypsies, it's his destiny to see gold when The One appears. So why is he so attracted to Pumpkin?
To be honest, if this hadn't been an ARC, I would have rated it two stars because of the issues noted above. I also didn't love that Manny hurt his friend Darrell just because Malika was his Twu Lurv. He's supposed to be a good guy; he could've talked to Darrell first.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

The Perfectly Proper Paranormal Museum by Kirsten Weiss

What a charming novel! I've been reading a lot of "niche" mysteries with quirky, young heroines and this is one that actually steps out (if only a little) from what seems to be the blueprint of these stories. First, Maddie actually seems to have a brain in her head. And she's not driven to solve the murders but she's not dragged into either. The paranormal aspects are a light touch and the characters are interesting. There is a hint, just a hint, of the inevitable love triangle but I really hope Ms. Weiss doesn't fall into that trap.
The Perfectly Proper Paranormal Museum by Kirsten WeissMaddie Kosloski has been, ahem, "downsized," from her most recent job after she refused to bribe a government official. She comes, by her own words, from a family of overachievers so she's not in a rush to explain why she's in between jobs. That's why her friend finds it so easy to push Maddie into taking over the town's second best tourist attraction, the paranormal museum. But that's before Maddie and her friend find the woman who was schtupping the friend's fiance dead in the museum. And the race is on.

Four stars
Book will be published March 8, 2016
Followed by Pressed to Death