Thursday, June 29, 2017

Cutie and the Beast by E.J. Russell

Cutie and the Beast by E.J.   RussellDavid Evans is a temp who would love to work in the healing fields but so far, every opportunity has ended in disaster. In fact, he's been forbidden by his boss from helping in any doctor's office. But when she's out sick he jumps at the chance to work for Doctor Alun Kendrick, he of the hot voice, David jumps at the chance. Even if it means that he might never work again. He's just seduced by The Voice.
Alun Kendrick is only starting to get used to his hideous features. After 200 years with this curse, you'd think he'd be more at peace but every look in the mirror reminds him of the love he lost. The love to whom he brought death. Not only to the lover, but to the man's entire family. So Dr. Kendrick got some major guilt going on. Of course, that guilt leaks over to his love life. It's too darn bad he's so attracted to David. And, amazingly, David seems to feel the same attraction.
There are a lot of complicating factors. Like the fact that he has to go back to Seelie Court and swear fealty to his Queen. But only the most beautiful are allowed in and he is most certainly not that. 
A fun story that I mostly enjoyed. The writing was not my favorite but that is definitely a personal preference but I am still very much looking forward to the next book.

Four stars
This book comes out July 24
Followed by The Druid Next Door

Wired by Julie Garwood

Allison Trent is a college student. No, she's a computer hacker. No, she works for the FBI. No, she's a model. Oh wait? She's all of these things? And also, she's under fire from an aunt and uncle who want her to make money to keep her cousin out of jail? Oh, but there's also an FBI agent who's angry at her. Well, someone's trying to kill her but it could be anyone really. Good thing Liam Scott is there to keep her out of danger. Or put her in danger. Or... something?
Wired by Julie GarwoodThere was a lot going on in this story. Which is not unusual for a Julie Garwood book. And the heroine is young. Really young. Not unusual for a Julie Garwood book. And she's TSTL. Like, really. She's this hotshot computer hacker but can't figure out how to block her aunt and uncle on the phone? Again, not unusual for a Garwood. But sad that this book seems like such a cookie cutter version of every book in the Buchanan-Renard series.
I have a lot of fond reminiscences of Garwood but I feel like her more recent books are intermittently rewarding. Allison drove me nuts, I never felt like we knew that much about Liam, and there was so much going on in this book it was hard to keep up and it felt like nothing was really wrapped up satisfactorily. I don't think I can ever really quit reading Garwood because when she's good she's very, VERY good but this is NOT one of those times. The only reason this didn't get one star is because I save those for DNFs and I waded my way through this whole damn book.

Two stars
This book comes out July 4

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

The Incredible Crime by Lois Austen-Leigh

The Incredible Crime by Lois Austen-LeighThe beginning of this book started off so well. A feisty heroine set in amongst the dons of Prince's College, Cambridge -- catnip. And a good portion of the book is highly enjoyable. Ms. Austen-Leigh describes her characters and the setting very well. But then she introduces more characters. A lot of characters. And Prudence Pinsent turns out to be not as feisty as introduced (part of the times, I guess). The mystery was not at all fairly clued so if that is part of what you like in a mystery, this will not be the book for you. It was generally an okay book but not as good as the usual ones reproduced by the British Crime Classics.

Three stars
This book comes out July 4

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Dog Night at the Story Zoo by Dan Bar-el

Argh. I feel so bad because somebody spent a lot of time on this book and I just didn't enjoy it. I couldn't figure out who it was supposed to be geared toward. It had fun pictures and a cute premise (animals coming out for open mike night) but the stories seemed like they were more geared toward adults. It was an interesting dichotomy what one that made the stories work a little less.

Two and a half stars
This book comes out

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Scandalous Ever After by Theresa Romain

Scandalous Ever After by Theresa RomainI really liked the first book in this series and was looking forward the second. In this book, Kate Whelan is visiting her father, hoping to borrow money to shore up the estate her late husband decimated with his gambling. While there, she sees that Evan Rhys is doing a lecture and decides to go  and see her husband's best friend. The three of them used to be great friends, but then came the steeplechase when her husband died and she hasn't seen Evan since.
Evan didn't feel like he could stay when he felt such guilt over the accident that took his best friend. But now that it's years later? He's ready to go after woman he's always loved. Of course it's never just that simple. Problems from both the past and the present rear up to make the course of Twu Lurv not so smooth.
And, while this was a nice story, there were a LOT of rocks on the path to HEA. Some of those rocks? Kate and Evan themselves. There's a lot of angst in this book. Will regular Romaine readers still enjoy it? Probably. But not as much as the first book.

Three stars
This comes out July 1

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Down Home Cowboy by Maisey Yates

Down Home Cowboy by Maisey YatesBoth Alison and Cain are familiar to regular Copper Ridge readers but I don't think you'd need to have read the whole series to dive into this book.
Alison was introduced as having been helped out of an abusive relationship by some of our previous H/H in the series. In subsequent books, we learned about her opening a bakery and reaching out to help other women in similar circumstances. This time, she's helping out the daughter of one of the Donnelly brothers. Violet's mother left her and Cain without a word and Cain then moved his daughter from Texas to Oregon. She's been sullen and withdrawn (few teenagers aren't) but Cain is only just starting to realize how much she's acting out.
Even though Cain and Alison agreed to have a no-strings affair, Violet and their own emotions are getting in the way. Can they
I didn't love the ending and there were some other plot points that bothered me but I really appreciated the adult conversations (the main characters talked to each other? No way!)

Four stars
This book comes out June 27
Follows Slow Burn Cowboy

Friday, June 23, 2017

Yellowstone Country by David Skernick

A book full of beautiful pictures from Wyoming, Idaho and Montana. The term "Yellowstone Country" is a bit of a stretch since many of the pictures come from way, way outside the Greater Yellowstone Area (yes, this is a defined area). I would suggest getting this book in print as it did not seem as impressive on an e-reader.

Three stars
This book comes out June 28

Thursday, June 22, 2017

If the Haunting Fits, Wear It by Rose Pressey

If the Haunting Fits, Wear It by Rose PresseyCookie Chanel is on the road helping a client, Danielle, dress for the Kentucky Derby. While attending one of the parties, she discovers the dead body of Danielle's jockey, Ramon. Of course, his ghost starts following her around. He joins regular ghost Charlotte and another woman who had joined earlier in the book, Maureen.
Cookie decides to stick around to see if she can help solve Ramon's murder. While there, both of her beaus (Love-triangle alert! Seriously?) follow her and try to help out. Not helping out? Heather, the woman who owns the B&B where Cookie is staying. Also not helping, the fact that Ramon doesn't seem to have been a nice guy. It makes it hard to find out who murdered you when there are a number of people lining up for the chance.
In comparison it to other books in the series, this book was just not as good. The love triangle with Cookie took up a lot of space (and didn't really add to the mystery), Maureen took up a lot of space (and definitely didn't add to the mystery), and there just wasn't enough room to develop the main mystery.
And don't even get me started on that horrible ending. I hope it gets changed before publication.

Two and a half stars
This book comes out June 27
Followed by A Passion for Haunted Fashion

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Duke with Benefits by Manda Collins

Duke with Benefits by Manda CollinsThis book picks up immediately after Ready, Set, Rogue. Lady Daphne Forsyth and Dalton Beauchamp, the Duke of Maitland, have been circling around each other. She is a genius at mathematics. She's also very wary because she's been burned by men before. First, her father who would use her to win money at cards. Then her tutor's son who... well... that's a bit of a spoiler but when he shows up, she's not happy.
Dalton is taken aback by this woman who says what she thinks and is willing to have sex with him without the sanctity of marriage. He knows that she's smart at math, but he also knows that he's a genius with people (we're told this over and over again.) Together, they are going to be able to not only solve the riddles his aunt left for them both, but discover the location of some long-lost gold.
Like the first book, this is a fast trip between introductions and Twu Lurv. We get a little more time since Daphne and Dalton met in the first book but that book didn't cover much time. We also got two characters who were nice enough but we got more "tell" than "show" in character development.

Three stars
This book comes out June 27
Follows Ready, Set, Rogue
Followed by Wallflower Most Wanted

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

The Day of the Duchess by Sarah MacLean

The Day of the Duchess (Scandal & Scoundrel, #3)We met Seraphina in the first book when her sister, Sophie, pushed Sera's cheating husband, into a decorative pond. I was wondering how Ms. MacLean would let a blatantly philandering husband and his (at the time) pregnant wife find an HEA. Well, it's done in flashbacks. Going from when Malcolm and Sera fell in love, why they got married (is it true that she tricked him?), when he followed her to America, all interspersed with the present day when Sera is petitioning Parliament for a divorce. But is that what they both really want?
The problem with these two is that they really hurt each other. And we get to read about that hurt all throughout the book. There is some growth but I never really connected with either. Still an interesting trope to take on and I certainly won't quit reading MacLean because of it.

Three and a half stars
This book comes out June 27

Monday, June 19, 2017

Death of a Bachelorette by Laura Levine

Death of a Bachelorette by Laura LevineI had read a few Jaine Austen books but ended up giving up on the series.  There are a lot of cozy series I really enjoyed and this one didn't really hook me. I liked the premise for this one though. Jaine becoming a writer for a TV show based on The Bachelor. Not far-fetched since shows seem to have been chasing that dream ever since the show started.
Jaine is on more of a "Bachelor in Paradise" show where the women are competing to marry a prince, er, a man who is 87th in line for the throne. She's replacing the last writer who gives her a cryptic warning about the show. Well, not so cryptic. Basically, Jane lands and is told that the job sucks and she better be prepared for the worst. Well, having packed up herself and her cat, Jaine is ready to dig in. Even if it means dealing with three bitch contestants. And a room on the third floor where there is no air conditioning. In a tropical climate. And the food is unused airline meals. Dessert is from a vending machine. Oh, and one of the contestants just got murdered. While dealing with all of that, Jaine has to also fight off the king of the island who wants to make her his twelfth wife (his first wife is none to happy about that).
This was a fun and fluffy story. Jaine is still just slightly annoying to me and the whole subplot of the island king seemed superfluous. For readers who enjoy the series, I think this will be a book they enjoy.

Three and a half stars
This book comes out June 27

Thursday, June 15, 2017

The Pleasures of Passion by Sabrina Jeffries

The Pleasures of Passion by Sabrina JeffriesWe've heard about Niall Lindsey in all of the other books in this series. He was forced to flee the country after he killed a man in a duel over his sister's honor. But nobody except his sister and her husband know that. Everyone else thinks that it is because he slept with the wrong man's wife. You see, he was a bit of a scoundrel. Or, he had been until he met Brilliana (oh, I had such a hard time with this name) Trevor. But theirs was a secret affection. He tried to get her to come with him, but she stayed to be with her dying mother.
Now it's seven years later and they both have lingering resentments. Bree believes that Niall had another lover while Niall thinks that Bree was just trying to capture a rich husband with the evidence being that she married mere months after he left, rather than waiting for him. The pair will have to work together though to discover who is passing counterfeit bills. Niall owes the man asking them to do this and Bree just wants to clear her father's name since he's the person that they know has been passing around the bills.
A nice addition to the Sinful Suitors series, the romance was a little rushed for me and the Big Misunderstanding a little bit to drawn out. Definitely still looking forward to Ms. Jeffries' next book.

Three and a half stars
This book comes out June 20
Follows The Danger of Desire
Followed by The Secret of Flirting

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

The Big Bad Fox by Benjamin Renner

Poor fox. He just can't seem to get it right. When he goes over to the farm he's expected, but not feared. No one is afraid of him, not the pig, not the rabbit, not the chickens. And the guard dog doesn't even work up a sweat about seeing him in the farmyard. Even help from the wolf doesn't work. Until the wolf helps him distract the farmyard dog so that the fox can steal some eggs. But then the wolf thinks that they should hatch the eggs to have something more substantial to eat. Too bad the chicks think that the fox is their mother.
A cute story that went on a bit long. I thought from the cover that this was a children's book but would put it at a slightly more advanced reader. The jokes/story went on a little long but this might be fun for a somewhat reluctant reader who would be able to understand the jokes and read the short snippets.

Three and a half stars
This book comes out June 20

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

The World's Greatest Chocolate-Covered Pork Chops by Ryan K. Sager

The World's Greatest Chocolate-Covered Pork Chops by R.K. Sager Zoey Kate is twelve-years-old and she's an adventurous chef combining things like chocolate and pork chops. So she's decided to take on some debt. Fifty thousand dollars to be exact. Why does she want to do this at such a young age? In order to win a prestigious cooking award. Adventures and mayhem ensue.
There was a lot of pop culture in this book. A lot. I'm not sure what felt off about this book for me but I felt a hard time connecting. It's possible that I'm not in (in fact, way out of) the age range this book is meant for but that doesn't usually bother me. Zoey was just a little too annoying, too perky, too sure of herself.

Two and a half stars
This book comes out June 20

Monday, June 12, 2017

The Totally Unscientific Study of the Search for Human Happiness by Paula Poundstone

The Totally Unscientific Study of the Search for Human Happiness by Paula PoundstoneWith the absolute mountain of self-help books out there that are promising happiness to everyone, it seems like there are also a mountain of books offering to test those books and let you know how it goes. I love Paula Poundstone and was excited to see how she would approach the topic. I think I set my expectations a little too high.
Each chapter is set up as a science experiment with descriptions of conditions, hypothesis, procedure, environment, etc. She tries things like exercise, being positive, going into nature.
Part of my problem with the book was that it was so fragmented by chapter. Ms. Poundstone took a long time to write the book so there wasn't a lot of flow.

This book came out May 9
Three stars

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

The Best Max Carrados Detective Stories by Ernest Bramah

The Best Max Carrados Detective Stories by Ernest BramahThe claim to fame of Max Carrados is that he is blind. Blind detective, it's been done but Max was one of the first. His adventures are somewhat interesting but some of the solutions seem like great leaps of logic. I enjoyed the first few stories in the book but then it got sort of... convoluted. Good example of the time period but maybe not my faves.

Three stars
This book came out May 17

Monday, June 5, 2017

Death Around the Bend by T E Kinsey

Lady Hardcastle and her trusty sidekick/maid Florence "Flo" Armstrong are leaving home and heading to the country estate of Lord Riddlethorpe, also known as "Fishy." He is a racing man and the two ladies are sure they can talk him into letting them drive his cars. It turns into even more fun when he sets up a ladies' race and Flo gets to take the place of one of the lady guests who doesn't want to participate. But neither lady gets a turn behind the wheel because the male guests end up racing first and one of them dies. 
The man wasn't inoffensive but he certainly didn't deserve to have his brake lines cut. Lord Riddlethorpe asks Lady Hardcastle (and his butler asks Flo) to investigate. One more person will die before the culprit is found but Flo and Lady Hardcastle prevail.
Even though the feint was obvious, I still enjoyed this book. The ending was a bit... meh.. but overall a fun, fast, and easy read.

Four stars
This book comes out June 8
Follows In the Market for Murder

Sunday, June 4, 2017

A Sky Full of Stars by Samantha Chase

A Sky Full of StarsMy favorite of the series so far, this book lets socially awkward and braniac astrophysicist Dr. Owen Shaughnessy  meet his match in the beautiful former beauty queen, former head cheerleader, and former mean girl, Brooke Matthews (a lot of jokes about her being named after a famous model, never quite figured this one out). She's now an artist obsessed with the night sky. Owen is about to take some students out to Red Rock to study the stars and his mentor/her uncle thinks Brooke would not only benefit from being able to go out with a group, Owen would get a go-between to help him with the students.
The two meet and have an immediate attraction. Brooke feels an affinity to Owen right away, being able to talk to him how she would have talked to her older brother, also a genius. But she feels a little insecure because her parents pushed her and her brother so much into the roles of Beauty and the Brain. There is a swift romance that involves a whirlwind trip from Chicago (where they met) to Las Vegas and then on to meeting Owen's family in North Carolina.
And it's here that I start to have some issues with this book. I think we start to move away from Brooke and Owen's story to the set up for the last Shaughnessy sibling, Darcy. The last Big Misunderstanding also felt a little forced and unnecessary. It just dragged out the story.

Four stars
This book comes out June 6
Follows This is Our Song
Followed by Holiday Spice

Saturday, June 3, 2017

An Unnatural Vice by KJ Charles

The book opens with journalist Nathan Roy going undercover to expose spiritualitsts, not only because his boss has commanded him to but because he hates people who prey on others. And Justin Lazarus is one of those people. We know that because Charles lets us into his point of view, seeing that this is the only way that he knows how to make money. But when the two meet, there is an undeniable attraction.
An Unnatural Vice by K.J. CharlesNathan lost his partner in a hideous accident and hasn't been with anyone since then. Hasn't even wanted to be with anyone since then. The attraction he has for Justin is not only inconvenient, it's making him question his own mind.
Justin doesn't really care who he sleeps with -- men, women, clients. It's all the same to him. For sure there is something about Nathan that calls to him (the description of Nathan's hairiness made me see the attraction for the first time). But can he get involved with a man who hates him so much?
There is the search for a missing earl and someone killing to keep that earl secret. The killer is after Justin now so Nathan and Justin are on the run at Nathan's family home.
This is a fun series that I am enjoying and the sex... oofda. But I never really warmed to Justin, he was sort of an ass. And I never got why these two would stay together. Magic sex parts?

Three and a half stars
This book comes out June 6
Follows An Unseen Attraction

Friday, June 2, 2017

A French Wedding by Hannah Tunnicliffe

A French Wedding by Hannah TunnicliffeIt took me awhile to get used to the rhythms and the writing of this book. For the first couple of pages, I really thought I was going to DNF this book. But then I got caught up in the story of Juliette (why the blurb seems to focus on Max, I'm not sure since the POV switches up and, really, I thought hers was really the story they all seemed to orbit around.)
Juliette is back in her hometown; rather than cooking in Paris at her own restaurant, she's the housekeeper for rocker Max who is just about to turn forty and has invited his six best friends to celebrate with him. Two are involved with each other and bring their rebellious teen daughter, but we're given hints that it is not a halcyon relationship. One of his friends, Rosie, is married to a man the rest of them hate. Eddie is bringing his very young girlfriend along. And Helen, the one that got away (from Max), is coming and bringing her sister.
It's a book that has it's issues, but it still drew me in and made me care about the characters. I wish we had learned more than the rather thin epilogue and that the beginning was a little less rough  but I overall thought three and a half stars.

This book comes out June 6

Thursday, June 1, 2017

There, There by Tim Beiser

There, There by Tim BeiserIt's rainy outside and Rabbit has a case of the grumps. Bear is trying to cheer him up but isn't having much luck. At least, until he drags Rabbit outside and shows him the life of a worm.
The verse this is written in is a little hard to follow. And I didn't love this story. But the illustrations are fun and it's a cute book..

Three stars
This book come out June 6