Friday, April 20, 2018

Review: A Treacherous Curse

A Treacherous Curse A Treacherous Curse by Deanna Raybourn
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I luuuuuurve Veronica Speedwell! Unabashedly sexual, going boldly where few Englishwomen dared, the equal of her enigmatic partner, she's the Victorian heroine I didn't know I needed! This third book is delightful with its Egyptian artifacts skulduggery, interesting characters and a glimpse at Stoker's troubled past. I loved it and I look forward to more Veronica in my reading future.

I do recommend readers start with the first book and read them in sequence to get the full appreciation for Miss Speedwell and her no-holds-barred life.

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Monday, April 16, 2018

Review: Cherish Hard

Cherish Hard Cherish Hard by Nalini Singh
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It was a refreshing change to read about a blue-collar hero and a rich heroine (even though she supports herself as a teacher), but what I really appreciated about this book was how well drawn the secondary characters were. Each person who appeared on the page seemed very real and not just a plot device, from the BFF to the siblings of the H&H.

The New Zealand setting was also a nice change for a North American romance reader, confirming my desire to see the hunky Kiwis in their native habitat in my future travels.[g]

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Review: The Sins of Lord Lockwood

The Sins of Lord Lockwood The Sins of Lord Lockwood by Meredith Duran
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

One of the best historicals I've read this year. We were introduced to Lord Lockwood in Duran's debut novel and readers wanted to know his backstory. Why was he so mysterious? Why was he estranged from his wife?

We get the story here and it takes a strong stomach to read the details of Liam's missing four years. What I loved about this book was the deep characterization. The motivations and goals were shaped by trauma and very real issues, not lame big misunderstandings. The resolution of dealing with the villain was especially elegant in its complexity and execution.

Ms. Duran has been an autobuy for me from her first novel, and she brings her characters full circle with this latest effort. Her loyal readers will not be disappointed.

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Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Review: His Convenient Marchioness

His Convenient Marchioness His Convenient Marchioness by Elizabeth Rolls
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed it. It was the kind of solid Regency I don't read enough these days, and I appreciated the older protagonists acting like the grown-ups they were. I especially enjoyed their being in love with their first spouses. This kind of "second chance at love" tale is harder to write than one where the protagonists have never been in love before and the author did a great job. There wasn't a lot of drama over big misunderstandings that could have been settled with one conversation, their self-doubts rang true and the problems were very real.

Some of the secondary characters seemed just a touch over the top, but in general I not only was quite satisfied with this book, but I'm going to look for more in this series.

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Monday, April 02, 2018

Review: This Fallen Prey

This Fallen Prey This Fallen Prey by Kelley Armstrong
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The latest Casey Duncan novel hits the ground running and doesn't let up. In fact, I highly recommend picking up the other two novels first, as this would be difficult to read as a stand-alone without knowing the characters.

Life in the off-the-grid community of Rockton is becoming more and more difficult to maintain. Casey's a good cop with good instincts as a detective, but she's still answerable to the powerful Committee that dictates who is sent to the wilderness town. Now she has a suspected serial killer on her hands and plenty of push-back from the Rockton residents.

It was a fast paced page turner of a read, but I found myself struggling to remember details about some of the characters introduced in previous work. That's no an indictment of the author, more a reflection on my poor memory skills, but it still kept the reading experience to be five star.

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Review: The Wedding Date

The Wedding Date The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was my pick on an overwhelmingly busy holiday weekend and it was exactly the getaway-between-covers I needed. A "meet cute" romance with two engaging characters with interesting lives, lots of food-love, great BFFs and some real-world issues for an interracial romance.

Alexa and Drew seem made for each other in so many ways, though neither of them can see it initially. They're high-powered people with intense careers engaging in a long distance romance (with a lot of flight time.) I enjoyed them very much, and I liked that the author didn't shy away from Alexa reminding Drew to check his privilege.

The only thing that kept if from five stars was the lack of communication. There wasn't a clear reason why Drew couldn't seem to maintain a long term relationship and both of them danced around their relationship issues too much for my taste. But the ending was satisfying and the couple was cute, and when I'm looking for a good escape read, that's sufficient. I would definitely read more by this author.

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Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Save the manatees!

The manatee swam closer and bumped up against the boat, threatening to swamp it. Julia held on to the sides and rocked with the boat, but the manatee was not put off by the collision, and instead swam back a few feet and watched her placidly, looking for all the world like, well, like a large wet cow blocking her path.

“Shoo, shoo.” Julia took off her bonnet and waved it at the creature. The manatee must have considered it an invitation, for it swam back to her and before she realized such a monster could move so quickly, snatched the bonnet out of her hand. Soon the calico was being chewed alongside the greens, a colorful sea salad.
“Aaargh! Go away, you beast!”

“Now, that’s not a polite way to say good morning, darlin’.”

--Smuggler's Bride

Today is #ManateeAppreciationDay, though I like to think in Florida we appreciate our official state mammal every day. Manatees are gentle creatures, a valuable part of our ecosystem. Sadly, their biggest threat is from humans, especially human boat propellers.

Some years are better than others for the sea cows, but we're hopeful that with enough (human) education and protection of their habitats that the manatee will be with us for many more years.

Monday, March 26, 2018

Review: Hellbent

Hellbent Hellbent by Gregg Hurwitz
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Another non-stop roller coaster ride featuring "The Nowhere Man", Evan Smoak, and his unique still set. Part Batman, part Jason Bourne, Smoak dropped out of the blackest of black ops agencies and left behind his Orphan X identity. Now he helps people in desperate need when the call on The Nowhere Man.

But the Orphan Program isn't done with Evan, and he's pulled back in when his mentor leaves him a mysterious package to protect.

Orphan X has become my new favorite suspense series and I love how Evan tries to interact with regular people in the normal world, with limited success. When it comes to stopping the bad guys though, there's no one who can compare with The Nowhere Man.

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Sunday, March 25, 2018

Review: The Infernal Battalion

The Infernal Battalion The Infernal Battalion by Django Wexler
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Shadow Campaigns comes to a satisfying conclusion with The Infernal Battalion as the battlefield is filled with existential forces of good and evil for the soul of humankind. Secrets are learned, friends are lost, some old friends reappear--all the elements that make for a rousing good story.

If readers are looking for a fantasy based on the Napoleonic wars rather than the overdone medieval milieu they'll enjoy The Shadow Campaigns. The world-building is satisfying and the battle scenes are mapped out so well you can practically see them from overhead. Highly recommended for fans of military fantasy.

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