Thursday, April 5, 2018

Review: At Bertram's Hotel

At Bertram's Hotel At Bertram's Hotel by Agatha Christie
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A Christie I haven't read yet! Surprised that I missed this one somehow. My only excuse is while I like Miss Marple, I love Hercule Poirot.

Instead of being in the quiet village of St. Mary Mead, we are in London. Miss Marple is on a bit of a vacation, staying at Bertram's Hotel. She's pretty much ignored, as usual, and then she drops truth bombs when the police decide to ask her if she knows anything. Spoiler, she does.

A poor old clergyman disappears, we have an estranged mother-daughter team staying at the hotel (Coincidence? Of course not), and everyone is acting like they have secrets to keep. But you don't keep your secrets when Miss Marple is around. The plot on this one is a bit outlandish and I really didn't like a single character, but even an average Christie is good. Still 3 stars.

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Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Review: Nerve

Nerve Nerve by Dick Francis
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A very early Francis, but just as enjoyable as all of his others. This time, our everyman hero is young steeplechase jockey Robb Finn. Robb is working hard to find rides and establish himself in the sport. He's just gaining ground when he get's a chance to substitute for an injured top jockey, and he's finally where he wants to be.

But someone is spreading bad rumors about jockeys, Robb included. And he's not going to stop until he finds out who and exacts his revenge. There is also an odd kissing cousins subplot that I'm not too sure about, but Robb is charming enough that I'll allow it.

As usual, 3 stars.

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Saturday, March 31, 2018

Review: The Madman’s Daughter

The Madman’s Daughter The Madman’s Daughter by Megan Shepherd
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Having never read The Island of Dr. Moreau, I went into this very blind. It was not my usual fare, but it was pretty good. Especially if you like love triangles, medical horror, and weirdness.

You see, Juliet is Dr Moreau's daughter. He's disappeared in disgrace and her mother went to great lengths to keep them alive and well, and once she died Juliet was on her own. A series of farfetched circumstances brings her smack into her past, and off to the island we go.

Some disturbing things happen on the island, and no one is actually safe. We get the angsty love triangle, part and parcel of the young adult genre, but I strangely don't hate it here. And an ending that wants you to pick up book 2 and keep going. I'm going to refrain, although I'm sure I'll get to it eventually. Just not today. Juliet, it's not you, it's me. Still, good enough for 3 stars.

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Friday, March 30, 2018

Review: Matched

Matched Matched by Ally Condie
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I have had this on my shelf to read forever. I finally worked it into my reading list. It was pretty good.

It's standard fare for YA dystopian. The world isn't extremely fleshed out, though. I got to the end and was shocked there wasn't more. Yes, we have the expected cliffhanger to lead you right into book 2, but the story just seemed...lacking, maybe? You get the obligatory love triangle, of course. I didn't mind this one, though. Cassia is just discovering who she is, so she waffles, and that is ok. Ky and Xander are both good dudes, and she loves them for different reasons. Like I said, standard YA dystopian fare here, and that's ok. It hits its mark.

Enough good stuff to get me into book 2. Eventually. 3 stars.

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Thursday, March 29, 2018

Review: The Cat Who Went into the Closet

The Cat Who Went into the Closet The Cat Who Went into the Closet by Lilian Jackson Braun
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Back to Pickaxe, and we are getting ready for the big snowstorm that is always promised but never delivered. This time it hits.

Qwill and the kitties move from the charming apple barn to the Goodwinter mansion for the winter. He claims it is because he doesn't want to plow the drive, but you know it's so he can keep an eye on Polly, who is living in the carriage house. These two are ridiculous. Junior's grandmother moved to Florida and then died, and Qwill and Koko think foul play might be involved. What else is new? They see murder everywhere. Koko is exploring the hundreds of closets in the mansion, and keeps bringing up treasures that are clues. Or not, because he's a cat, not a person. We never know with him. Yum Yum is just there, being pretty and touching Qwill's mustache. And eating like the pampered queen she is.

The mystery doesn't always make sense but the characters are charming so we roll with it. On to the next. 3 stars.

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Review: Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake

Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake by Sarah MacLean
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I absolutely adored this book. No surprise there, but have found a new author to explore. I'll be reading more by Sarah MacLean.

Lady Calpurnia, Callie, to her family and friends, is a spinster. Gasp, at 27! She is definitely on the shelf. And she always does the right thing, but now she's had it. She's made a list of rules she is going to break, since she is firmly in spinsterhood anyway. Reputation be damned. And she's been crushing on Gabriel St. John since he was kind to her way back in her first season, so he is her choice for first passionate kiss. He's a man, so he obliges. In fact, he's ready to oblige her in the whole list. Misunderstands abound, as usual, but in the end we get our HEA, which is why I'm here, folks. I'm all about the HEA.

Callie and Gabriel are the perfect match, and the plot is lots of fun. Happily headed to book 2. 4 stars.

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Sunday, March 25, 2018

Review: A Test of Wills

A Test of Wills A Test of Wills by Charles Todd
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I've been waiting to start this series. While I think I like Bess Crawford more, I still enjoyed my time with Ian Rutledge.

Back from the Great War and dealing with some ghosts, Inspector Rutledge is sent to investigate a case that triggers some of his issues. He able to keep it together and eventually crack the case, though, because he's quite good at his job. I confess, I was actually surprised by the villain and didn't see it coming. If you did, good job, because it came out of left field for me.

Solid start to a new series for me. I like my men smart, strong, and a little messed up, so I'll be reading on. 3 stars.

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Thursday, March 22, 2018

Review: Proper Gauge

Proper Gauge Proper Gauge by Hugh Howey
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Coming back to the silo after the cleaning. I must say, I enjoyed this installment more than the first one. I might be hooked.

Things I loved: The Mayor, The Deputy, and their relationship. Jahns and Mames, sitting in a know the rest, but not really. It's still sweet though. Finding out more about the silo.
I'm torn on Juliet. I part love her, part not, but we will see how she fleshes out in part 3.

And that cliffhanger ending? I can see why people are hooked on this book series. 3.5 stars.

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Sunday, March 18, 2018

Review: The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I've been sitting on this for a few days, trying to gather my thoughts. Super torn about how to rate this one. On one hand, I enjoyed the mystery. I thought it was quite interesting, but I do like stamps. I have a collection myself, but nothing really rare or valuable like in this story.

I liked how dysfunctional the de Luce family is, and how Dogger and Mrs Mullet just roll with it all. It was all quirky in a good way. They are a strange combo of odd and normal. And while I liked Flavia, and her genius wrapped up in immaturity, she played older than 11 years old. Had she been just a few years older, I think I would have been in love. Genius or no, she just didn't feel eleven, if that makes sense.

However, I give full kudos to the narrator for the audio. She was delightful and actually bumped my rating up from 3 to 4. Definitely will read book 2.

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Saturday, March 17, 2018

Review: Opal

Opal Opal by Juliet James
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I adore mail-order bride books. I think I must have been one in a past life. But this one just wasn't great. Perhaps it was too short to really flesh out the characters? Perhaps I shouldn't have started with book 7 in the series? We may never know.

The Sheriff. Oh, the sheriff. He has hints of being amazing. But I needed more. And Opal? Yes, she was strong and could stand on her own. But why did it take her so long to do it? Plus, the silliness of their pasts was a deal breaker for me.

2 reluctant stars, but you know I'll go back and read the other ones too. Eventually.

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Friday, March 16, 2018

Review: Under Orders

Under Orders Under Orders by Dick Francis
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Back in England with my good friend Sid Halley. Sid is one of my favorite investigators. Strong, flawed, and unfailing honest.

This time Sid is digging into the world of online gambling and the death of a jockey. He's got a new love interest, and I think this one is for keeps. Finally! Sid has so much bad crap happen to him that it's exciting to see him happy. We get the usual band of characters in this one, and decent dose of Charles, the ex-father-in-law and pretty much the best retired Naval officer ever. I must confess, I have a slight crush on Charles. We get to see Jenny in a different light finally. Danger abounds, and, without giving too much away, they all lived happily ever after, as they do. Or some version of it.

Standard enjoyable mystery by my good friend Dick Francis. Three solid stars.

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Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Review: Stillhouse Lake

Stillhouse Lake Stillhouse Lake by Rachel Caine
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

What to rate? Oh what to rate! I am so torn. I really liked it, even though I wasn't a huge fan of Gwen. I like gritty, what would you do, scary situations. I like to think, "would I do that?" She made some questionable decisions in my book, but I get it.

I stayed engaged in the mystery. I wanted to know more, and it was unwrapped a little at a time. However, there were a few too many things thrown together for my liking. A few questions left unanswered (probably to get you to read book 2). And some overly telegraphed plot points, which I won't list here for fear of spoiling you. But yes, I guessed the bad guy from the first introduction. The red herrings were not convincing enough for me, so I never suspected them at any point.

I know I sound like I didn't enjoy it, but I really did. You should read it. I'm going to land on 3.5 stars, but not sure if I'm rounding up or down yet.

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Sunday, March 11, 2018

Review: The Cat Who Wasn't There

The Cat Who Wasn't There The Cat Who Wasn't There by Lilian Jackson Braun
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

We're off to merry old Scotland with Qwill. Sadly, the kitties are staying home. But worry not, they get some action in the story, too.

Qwill, Arch, Amanda, Polly, and the gang head to Scotland on a tour. You know, Qwill's mother was a Mackintosh, so he can't resist a trip to the motherland. Dr. Melinda, Qwill's former flame, is back catting around because she inexplicably just can't resist the mustache. Then the tour guide tragically dies, and there is a mystery to solve, friends. Just like you would expect, Qwill and Koko are on the case. He's so good he solves it all in his apple barn mansion, which sounds amazing and I'm a little jealous. Plus there is a plot about teddy bears that I feel like was totally unresolved. Am I wrong?

Plus, sounds like Arch Riker is finally going to get a love interest who isn't crazy and abrasive like Amanda. No offense, Amanda, but you really sound awful. He needs a little love in his life.

P.S. Qwill, I'm sure the ladies were annoyed that you bought them all the same gifts. I called that last book. Glad it came back to bite you in the butt. No wonder you are single.

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Review: Pretty Poison

Pretty Poison Pretty Poison by Joyce Lavene
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Cozy mysteries really can be hit or miss for me. This one had some high points, but when you find the quirky affectations of the main character particularly annoying, it doesn't bode well for the series.

Peggy Lee is a quirky gal with spirit. She's got a green thumb, and she owns a garden shop. She's widowed, still misses her cop husband, wears a purple cape (I wish I were kidding) and rides her bike everywhere because she is environmentally conscious. She's even converting her old Rolls Royce to hydrogen. Plus she teaches at the university. She does it all in her fabulous 50s.

The plot is thin...dead body in her shop overnight. Poison. Flowers. A sexy vet next door who is a (gasp) younger man and he's definitely interested in Peggy. A cast of characters in her shop who are nearly as annoying as she is. And an awesome, awesome dog. Honestly, I'm going to read book 2 because of the dog and the vet.

2.5 stars, and I just can't bring myself to round up. Sorry, Peggy, but you are trying way too hard to be quirky for me. Dial it back and you might get the third star in book 2.

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Saturday, March 10, 2018

Review: When Beauty Tamed the Beast

When Beauty Tamed the Beast When Beauty Tamed the Beast by Eloisa James
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Well, yes, of course I loved this book. I do have a type, and this fits it perfectly.

Step one. Smart, sassy MC. She doesn't have to be pretty, in fact, oftentimes she doesn't realize her beauty, but this one is gorgeous. Step two. Strong, smart MC who is a bit prickly on the outside, but with a soft marshmallow center. He is usually handsome, but this one has (gasp) a disability! He walks with a cane because of a leg injury and is a real a-hole to the world. But he is a brilliant doctor, so you know he isn't all bad. Now how much money would you bet that she is able to break through his hard exterior? Bet it all, friends, because you know we are driving directly towards an HEA.

Lots of good banter between the MCs and a very wonderful side plot with the Duke. All-around a winner for you historical romance lovers. 4 stars.

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Thursday, March 8, 2018

Review: The Governess Affair

The Governess Affair The Governess Affair by Courtney Milan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Very pleasantly surprised by this one. Glad I read it.

Hugo Marshall, will you be my book boyfriend? You are exactly my type. Strong on the outside, soft on the inside. Smart (very important). And a strange mix of safe and dangerous. He's the perfect match for Selena, and she was damn lucky to find him.

Really fast read and hits all of the right historical romance notes for me. I'm quite excited to see how book 1 holds up against the backstory. It's going to be tough to beat Hugo, and I hope he makes an appearance.

Really loved it. 4 gooey stars.

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Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Review: Faith

Faith Faith by Leighann Dobbs
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Pretty standard fare for a mail order bride western romance. Cute, but it could have been a few chapters longer to really flesh out the characters. Maybe we get more in book 2.

Faith is a mail order bride / spy. She's being blackmailed into finding out the dirt on her rich new husband. He has a broken heart but needs to have a wife to be viewed as a respectable businessman. Ok, not sure why this makes him respectable, but we'll go with it. It was the Wild West, folks. Just roll with it. He's handsome. She's gorgeous but doesn't know it. He's brave. She's stronger than she looks. Together a match made in heaven? Probably. The real stars of the show are Robertson, his driver and Maisie, his cook / household runner / boss of everyone. I would read a series just about these two precious gems.

Yes, I will read the next book because I have an addiction to mail order bride western romances. I have no idea why, but I do. Stop judging me. I must be a reincarnated mail order bride from 1880.

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Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Review: Mated to the Meerkat

Mated to the Meerkat Mated to the Meerkat by Lia Silver
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

So imagine you are talking to your son about shifter romances, and he asks if there are any about meerkats. Well, any good mother would be obliged to find one, and then read it, right?

This one was surprisingly cute and funny. I don't read a lot of shifter books, but I liked it. Recommend if you like shifter romances with sparks and you can suspend disbelief enough to enjoy the story. Plus, it's short but sweet. 3 stars.

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Sunday, March 4, 2018

Review: Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone

Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone by Brené Brown
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I absolutely love Brené Brown. She inspires me with real talk to take a hard look at my life, my decisions, and own who I am. Sometimes I need a kick in the butt, and she's right there to give it to me. No sugar-coating things, just no bullshit, be the best person you can be regardless of the hand life dealt you. You are in charge.

Inspired yet? Probably not, because I'm not Brené so my words aren't as powerful. But grab the book, or better yet, the audio, and start making positive changes for yourself. You deserve it, friends. Life is short, so embrace the 168 hours you get every week and take charge of your destiny. Love you all. And so does Brené. 3.5 stars.

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Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Review: The Fever of 1721: The Epidemic That Revolutionized Medicine and American Politics

The Fever of 1721: The Epidemic That Revolutionized Medicine and American Politics The Fever of 1721: The Epidemic That Revolutionized Medicine and American Politics by Stephen Coss
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Interesting look into the smallpox epidemic, the early history of vaccinations, and the beginnings of America before the revolution. With a good dose of my boy Ben Franklin and freedom of the press.

Do you think we shouldn't vaccinate people? Please, read this book. Smallpox, and the other eradicated diseases, were no joke. Do you believe the press should be regulated and controlled? Please, read this book. It's so interesting to see how times have changed, yet stayed the same, over the past nearly 300 years. Plus we get a glimpse of the Franklin family and other pre-revolutionary players and the lives they led prior to the revolution coming in 50 short years.

Recommend if you enjoy American history, a look into diseases and epidemics, or the history of early newspapers and politics in America. 3 stars.

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Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Review: A Man Called Ove

A Man Called Ove A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I truly loved this book. I thought, at the beginning, that I was going to hate it. Ove was crotchy and a really grump about everything. Very unloveable, right? But this book was such a gift. Highly recommend!

Each chapter helped you solve the mystery that is Ove. I kept thinking, Sonya was a saint to live with him for so long. But then the pieces start to fall into place. You see why she loved him. You better understand why he is the way he is. You see him through Parvaneh's eyes, and the eyes of his neighbors, and you are left with a character who is complex, yet exceeding simple at his core. A paradox? Yes, but a good one.

The ending wasn't what I expected, and it made me cry. The real star of the show was the cat annoyance, which is no surprise if you know me at all.

So very glad I finally read it. It gets a very rare 5 star rating from me.

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Sunday, February 25, 2018

Review: Lord Dashwood Missed Out

Lord Dashwood Missed Out Lord Dashwood Missed Out by Tessa Dare
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Back to Spindle Cove one more time. This one isn't about a resident, but our favorite players make an appearance so we are assured of their HEA.

Miss Elinora Browning, independent, sassy authoress, is invited to read her book to the ladies in Spindle Cove. It sounds more like an essay or editorial, but sure, I'll buy it. She is calling out "Lord Dashwood" for passing her by, a completely fictional character not to be confused with her first love, Lord ASHWOOD. The names are a complete coincidence. Now Lord Dashwood, I'm sorry, Ashwood, is back in the country and very much offended. We get the contrivance of a snowstorm, a silly, underused side plot of our favorite Spindle Cove heroes fighting robbers in an inn, and some steamy scenes.

Wish this one had been a full-length novel, because there was lots more to explore, but we'll take the novella. 3 solid stars.

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Review: Behind Her Eyes

Behind Her Eyes Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Not a lot I can say about this book without spoiling it. But man, do I want to tell you everything.

Yes, there are twists. The publisher created a whole media campaign for this book with #WTFthatending, for crying out loud. I almost would have enjoyed it more if they hadn't though. It's a slow plot, winding back and forth from the past and the present, jumping from character to character. At times you have to stop and wonder what is going on--what timeline are we in? Can we believe the narrative? And with a whole host of unlikeable characters, it's easy to take away a star.

I was intrigued through the end, and then it was ruined for me. I was with you, oh dark, psychological suspense. Bad people doing bad things. Never knowing who to trust. But I like being able to piece together the clues afterwards to see what I missed, and I just wouldn't have been able to get there with this one. Much like Adele, this book suffers from an identity crises.

I wanted to give it 4 stars but the ending pissed me off. Sticking with 3 for the gimmick more than anything.

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Review: Countdown

Countdown Countdown by Mira Grant
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Did you ever wonder about the lead up to Feed? Want more details about the mutated virus that ended the world as we knew it? Welcome to Countdown.

It's just a tease of the details. You get a tiny bit of how the Masons came to be who they are, but not really. You get a tiny bit of how the two mutations came to become one, but not enough. Like I said, just a tease. Plus the cuteness of Marigold. Be ready to get just a tiny bit upset once you read it.

I recommend not reading this until you've read the main trilogy, but that's just my opinion. 3 stars.

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Saturday, February 24, 2018

Review: Alone

Alone Alone by Lisa Gardner
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Settled in for a re-read of this one. I first read it in 2011 and while I remember liking it, I didn't remember any of the plot details. Sticking with my original rating of 3 stars.

Bobby Dodge, broken knight in shining armor, is called in for his sniper duties in the Boston SWAT team. He's super talented, natch, with a secret darkness inside. He sees a domestic disturbance and does his job. Afterwards, the fallout wrecks his life.

Do you like manipulative characters? This book is full of them. People you wish who were real so you could punch them in the face. Lots of dark, depraved people here, too. People who you wish only existed in print because the alternative is just too much to bear. Crimes against kids and animals really turn my stomach, so be prepared, although it's mostly glossed over, so thanks for that, Lisa. I guess. Also, don't expect too much D.D. Warren even though it says this is book 1. I feel like this was a standalone novel that she built into a series later, and that's ok because I do like D.D.

Anyway, sticking with my three star rating. Give it a read, because it's a solid series.

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Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Review: The Duchess Deal

The Duchess Deal The Duchess Deal by Tessa Dare
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

My goodness, but I loved this book. Exactly my kind of story. If you know me at all, this is no surprise. I'm predictable in that way. Plus it's a slight retelling of Beauty and the Beast, and that is my jam, too.

Emma is great. Strong, sassy, smart, and a talented seamstress to boot. She works hard and speaks her mind. Ash is equally great. He's prickly on the outside. Scarred, both emotionally and physically. He's returned from "the war" you see, and is hideously burned on one side of his body. Scary and monstrous looking. People are screaming and vomiting when they see him. Seriously, this was part of the reason I didn't give it 5 stars. He couldn't have been so monstrous, really. It's not like his nose was chopped off, ala Tyrion Lannister. Anyway, he is a broken, bitter man, but you just know he's a softy inside. And he is. One of those brave protector, alpha males that I love in my fiction. He pretends to be tough but Emma breaks through his asshole exterior, and we are on the road to HEA, which is my favorite destination, friends.

Are there obstacles? Of course, this isn't a 20 page novella. You need them to work for it so the payoff is that much sweeter. The nonsense about the Monster of Mayfair was a stretch, but it's ok. I still was rooting for those crazy kids.

4 stars. Can't wait for book 2.

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Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Review: I Scream, You Scream

I Scream, You Scream I Scream, You Scream by Wendy Lyn Watson
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

We get it. You live in Texas. I've lived there, and it's not that great. Calm down.

Welcome to Dalliance, Texas. Did I mention this book is set in Texas? Because it isn't going to let you forget it. And then you will be forced to read so many trite Southern-type sayings. Because if you live in a small town in Texas, you talk like it. Tallulah, who everyone calls Tally, is newly divorced and owns an ice cream shop called "Remember the A-La-Mode". It's clever, I'll give you that. It made me chuckle. Sadly, Tally did not. She was the queen of bad decisions and not thinking things through. Super annoying. But her bad boy high school sweetheart is back in town, and of course sparks fly. He seems way too good for Tally. And Tally's ex seems just as dumb as she is, so I can see why they were married for 17 years. Oh, and if you like pages and pages of descriptions of stupid things like carpeting, drapes, and shoes, you will love this book. Seriously, if you removed the dumb sayings and descriptions this book would be a novella.

Anyway, I didn't want to throw the book across the room at the end, so I am giving it 2 stars instead of 1. It was only ok because of Finn Harper, a shining light in a dim town.

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Monday, February 19, 2018

Review: Reconstructing Jackson

Reconstructing Jackson Reconstructing Jackson by Holly Bush
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Well, well, well. Some interesting twists and turns here.

Meet Jackson. He's recuperating from his Civil War injuries. He's lost one leg and can't use the other one, so he's in a wheelchair. He has done his best to stay independent and stubborn, though. He also has some long held ideas he needs to let go to make it in post-war Missouri.

Meet Belle. Man, her life is pretty bad. Her family (especially her brother) is crap, she can't read, and she is basically their slave. But speaking of slaves, she befriends some former slaves who love her for who she is, teach her to read, and show her that she can have a different life.

Now throw these two together. Yes, you guessed it; love at first sight. And he's got a reason to live, and she has a reason to stand on her own two feet. And in the end, a very satisfying HEA, because what else would you expect?

3.5 stars. Holly Bush has a formula, but it's a good one.

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Sunday, February 18, 2018

Review: Silver Storm

Silver Storm Silver Storm by Cynthia Wright
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Not bad, not bad. Came for the pirates, stayed for the romance. What? I can't help that I'm a marshmallow inside. Shut up.

This book combines things I love. The Revolutionary War. A fiesty heroine. A strong male with a soft side hidden deep inside. Pirate ships. Battles. And the HEA wrapped up with a bow. I know this makes me cheesy, but I don't care.

Three stars. I'll read the next one.

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Thursday, February 15, 2018

Review: The Cat Who Moved a Mountain

The Cat Who Moved a Mountain The Cat Who Moved a Mountain by Lilian Jackson Braun
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Qwill and the kitties are away from Moose County again, and it falls a little flat.

Qwill is officially a milllionaire. He stuck it out and has his hands on the Klingshoen fortune. What does this fool of a pompous ass do? He decides to rent a house in a the mountains for the ridiculous amount of $1000 a week to reflect on what his next move should be. Now, please keep in mind that this book is like 30 years old, so with inflation that makes this all the more ridiculous. Qwill is dumb. He waits until the middle of the night to make his long distance calls so it will be cheaper, but spends $1000 on a huge house for him and the 2 cats. Remember when long distance rates were a thing? Remember when we cared about stuff like that instead of using our cell phones with unlimited minutes? Or even made phone calls at all? Also, Qwill does no real reflecting, gets caught up in a mystery, and tries to put his mack down on multiple younger women. Polly is way too good for you, dude. You sicken me. In the end, he heads back to Pickaxe, as he should. With a tiny cliffhanger that I'm sure will be dropped by the time I roll into book 14.

2.5 stars, but I am rounding down because Qwill gets more insufferable by the day. He's an ass, but I stay for the cats and the colorful cast of characters in Moose County.

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Monday, February 12, 2018

Review: The Wife Between Us

The Wife Between Us The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Lots of twists and turns here. I confess I was completely thrown for a loop at the end of part 1.

You get a tale of obsession, jealousy, and messed-up relationships. I can't say much because I want you to go in unspoiled. In fact, don't even read the book description, just go in blind. I though it was good, obviously, so go get yourself a copy and dive in. Then let me know what you thought once you are done.

Beware, though. There are some pretty unlikeable characters here. Not to the extent of Gone Girl, which I hated with the fire of a thousand suns. Those characters were the WOOORSSSTTT and got less than they deserved in the end. The mystery hung together well and I was surprised a few times enough to stop and say, "What???" so well played, book. Well played.

3.5 stars but rounding up to 4 because I like being surprised.

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Sunday, February 11, 2018

Review: Romancing Olive

Romancing Olive Romancing Olive by Holly Bush
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Just what I have come to expect from Holly Bush. An unconventional love match set in the West. Slow burn. Strong hero, but sensitive inside. He doesn't fall for her immediately. Oh no, but just you wait. They'll get there in the end. There will be drama. Misunderstandings. And some tears. But the heroine is made of steel. Soft on the outside, but strong inside. Yin and yang, folks.

This one is a little different. Olive is a spinster who comes to take her brother's children home to raise. Poor little orphans. Luckily they were taken in by the hot young widower who is raising three children of his own. You can guess the rest, and add in some surprises for spice.

Three stars, as you might expect.

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Saturday, February 10, 2018

Review: Before We Were Yours

Before We Were Yours Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What a pleasant surprise! I went into this book knowing nothing but it was recommended to me by friends. And they were right. Of course.

It hits all the right boxes for me. Historical fiction, check. Family drama, check. A dash of romance, check. We meet a family living on the river near Memphis during the Great Depression. The unthinkable happens, and then happens again, and the family is torn apart. We alternate between past and present, and you get to see the mystery of what happened unfold slowly, yet mostly satisfyingly. Not all questions are answered, and since this is based on true happenings in Memphis in the 1930s-1950s, not everything should be tied up with a bow at the end.

Highly recommend. 4 stars.

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Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Review: Tell No One

Tell No One Tell No One by Harlan Coben
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Harlan Coben, you write good stuff. It fits a pattern, but I like it.

This one begins with a grieving widowed doctor. It's been years, so he's not maudlin all the time, but you can tell he hasn't put his heart away. His wife died in super weird, terrible attack and he was lucky to come out alive himself. But now someone is stalking him with the past and making him doubt his sanity.

Intriguing, right? It's a fast-paced journey with lots of twists and turns. There were times when I couldn't put the book down. But if you have read other Harlan Coben books you can probably guess at some of the the twists, and that's ok. I was still entertained.

4 stars. Good stuff.

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Monday, February 5, 2018

Review: Murder in a Mill Town

Murder in a Mill Town Murder in a Mill Town by P.B. Ryan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I loved this book just as much as book 1. Why did I wait so long to read it? No clue, because I love everything about the series.

First, Nell is my favorite type of heroine. She is strong, yet still vulnerable. She isn't perfect--there is quite a past to this lady--but she has come through the flames and made her life her own. Will is my favorite type of man, too. Strong, brave, yet very flawed, with a gooey marshmallow center.

Anyway, in this one Nell continues to be a kick-ass governess and even better amateur sleuth. She's called in to help a friend of the family, gets reunited with black sheep Will, and saves the day. And the ending made me immediately want to get book 3. But you know I will wait, because I can't seem to read 2 books in a row by the same author. I have challenges to finish, people!

Good stuff, and a solid 3.5 stars that I will round up to 4 because Goodreads refuses to listen to reason.

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Sunday, February 4, 2018

Review: Death and Judgment

Death and Judgment Death and Judgment by Donna Leon
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Boy, oh boy, do these books make me want to visit Venice.

Guido dives into the dirty underbelly of Venice's sex trade and saves the day. This one stayed with the same successful formula, with interesting twists and turns, and just the right amount of family interactions.

Really looking forward to book 5.

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Thursday, February 1, 2018

Review: The Cat Who Knew a Cardinal

The Cat Who Knew a Cardinal The Cat Who Knew a Cardinal by Lilian Jackson Braun
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Qwill and the kitties save the county again! So many bodies following him around, I'm starting to question Chief Brodie's talents.

Anyway, same formula that my gal LJB always follows, and it mostly works. Qwill gets a taste of his own medicine when Polly steps out on him in her own independent, yet innocent way. You saucy librarian minx, you. She buys a bright blue dress, and doesn't tell Qwill. Egads! And she attends a wedding without him and dances the night away, and goes out on a secret brunch date. But all is resolved by the end, as you would expect. And Qwill is happily living in the renovated Apple Barn, which sounds kick ass, and I'm a bit jealous.

As always, 3 solid stars.

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Saturday, January 27, 2018

Review: Her Scandalous Wish

Her Scandalous Wish Her Scandalous Wish by Collette Cameron
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Pretty decent historical romance. Strong, but still insecure on the inside, female. Strong, yet soft on the inside, male. Separated by circumstance and misunderstanding. Brought back together and we get the HEA we all want.

Not the best written book ever, but still my marshmallow insides enjoyed it. I especially enjoyed the hero and his aunt. 3 stars.

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Friday, January 26, 2018

Review: Snowed Inn

Snowed Inn Snowed Inn by Kate Palmer
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This is a dumb one, but I knew it would be going into it. Contemporary romance is just not my thing.

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Thursday, January 25, 2018

Review: Bolt

Bolt Bolt by Dick Francis
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Dick Francis rarely came back to the same characters besides my main man, Sid Halley, but I do get to go another round with Kit Fielding. He's a good chap, too.

Kit is still a champion jockey. His love life is up in the air, and we have danger both on and off the course. Kit is riding for the Princess, and her horses are being killed in. I can hardly stand it. Kit is bound and determined to stop the killer, as you would expect. He is brave, and smart, and has so much common sense that I am a bit in love with him myself. Danielle, run, don't walk, to the altar with this man.

Some great surprises in this one and all of the great details you expect from my main man DF. 3.5 stars but rounding down because I have to choose one or the other.

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Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Review: Changes

Changes Changes by Jim Butcher
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Well, well, well, Jim Butcher. I would say I'm angry, but I totally saw it coming. The only thing that surprised me is that it took 12 books to get here.

I can't say much if you haven't read it yet, so do me favor and get caught up, ok? Because I totally want to talk about this book and I don't want to spoil you. Suffice to say, my favorites were all here: Mouse, Mister, Thomas, Murph, Ezekiel, Molly, and Sanya. We even get a tiny bit of Ivy and Kincaid, although I always want more of them. What we also get is Susan, who is my least favorite character. Sorry, Susan, but you totally suck. And just when I thought I couldn't hate on you more, this book comes along. You really are the worst.

Anyway, Harry is brave, reckless, bold, and dangerous. He make a whole lot of bad decisions, is a total smart-ass, as usual, gets his ass kicked, and saves the day. What you have come to expect from Dresden, in spades.

P.S. Thanks for the sucker punch, Butcher. You had better have a damn good plan to write your way out of this in book 13. And don't leave me hanging about Mister, either.

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Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Review: A Thief of Time

A Thief of Time A Thief of Time by Tony Hillerman
My rating: 0 of 5 stars

More Leaphorn. More Chee. A partnership made in heaven? Well, I guess we will see.

In book 8 we FINALLY get the boys together on a more permanent basis. It's going to be good. Leaphorn is in mourning at the loss of Emma and wants to retire, but the job just keeps pulling him back in. Chee is still wet behind the ears, idealistic, and his own man. We are chasing illegal pot hunters (as in pottery, not the plant) and murders abound.

Hoping the "full moon" plot thread doesn't get dumped in the next book. Curious to see what happens there. A good mystery, as always. 3 stars.

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Saturday, January 13, 2018

Review: Smokescreen

Smokescreen Smokescreen by Dick Francis
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

South Africa. Horse racing. Gold mines. Dick Francis, you never disappoint me.

We get a great everyman hero in Edward Lincoln. Super movie star, but he is also a super nice guy. Very grounded for all of his fame. He is asked to go to South Africa to look into some horses, so he does, and gets himself into perilous situations, nearly dies, and saves the day in the end.

Love the setting for this one, the interesting facts about mining, and the movie set slice of life. Dick Francis, you were a master of mystery and I am sad I will never get to meet you.

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Friday, January 12, 2018

Review: Trophy Hunt

Trophy Hunt Trophy Hunt by C.J. Box
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Back to spend a little time with my second-favorite Wyoming lawman, Joe Pickett. Joe continues to be Joe, standing up for both man and beast. This time, we have a string of terrible animal mutilations. It's bad. And it's escalating. Joe is on the case, naturally, and the race is on to solve it while keeping everyone safe.

We've got land deals, and big game, and intrigue. And Marybeth, who every time I start to tolerate her says or does something annoying to make me mad. And I didn't suspect the ending until it crept up and stared me in the face. On to the next! 3 stars.

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Thursday, January 11, 2018

Review: The Cat Who Lived High

The Cat Who Lived High The Cat Who Lived High by Lilian Jackson Braun
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Qwill and the kitties head back down below. Back to the big, crime-ridden city to save a historic hotel Junktown. That pesky, sexy mustache keeps him in high demand with the ladies, as usual, but could it be that Qwill is finally ready to settle down? Polly is too good for him. The cats are too good for him. But the mystery was ok and I was surprised to see how it all played out.

Qwill remains a pompus ass, but I love this series regardless. Glad we will be back in home for the next book. 3 stars.

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Monday, January 8, 2018

Review: Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore

Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore by Matthew J. Sullivan
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Unsure how to feel about this one. I liked it, loved it in parts, and hated it in others. Also, I thought it was going to be a mystery set in a bookstore, but it really wasn't. False advertising, book!

The characters are oddly unlikeable. I wanted to feel for all of them, but could only muster up the curiousity to keep reading through the mystery. I felt the worst for the MC's best friend in the end. Poor girl.

Lots of bad decisions happening here from beginning to end, and no one to blame but the characters themselves. I know I sound like I hated this book, but I swear I didn't. Three stars. Read it and let me know what you think.

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Friday, January 5, 2018

Review: Plum Island

Plum Island Plum Island by Nelson DeMille
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Starting another read-through of my favorite smart-ass investigator, John Corey. A man who would be so fun to hang out with on the back porch and drink a beer. Maybe grab some dinner, or whatever. A real stand-up guy. However, not convinced he could be long-term love interest for me. Smart, though, headstrong and brave. Rushes into danger without a second thought.

John, as we meet him, is currently convelescing at his uncle's vacation home in New York, away from the bustle of the city. Johnny boy got shot in a pretty life threatening way by some drug dealers, and the NYPD sent him away to heal up while his partner tries to track them down. You might think that would be what this book is about, but the joke is on you. John has made some friends who are scientists on spooky Plum Island, where biowarefare and vaccines are made to protect and save the world. They end up getting themselves murdered, and John Corey can't back down from the case.

If you like smart-ass detectives who skirt the rules, you should take John Corey on a date. 4 stars.

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Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Review: Death of a Greedy Woman

Death of a Greedy Woman Death of a Greedy Woman by M.C. Beaton
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Hamish, you did it again. You might be lazy, but you are certainly smart and clever. Priscilla is a fool.

This book changed titles. It was originally Death of Glutton, but was switched to Greedy Woman. Why? Not sure. Maybe for the American audience? Either way, the title is apt. She was a glutton, she was greedy, and wholly unlikeable. M.C. Beaton draws very polarizing characters. And she dies, as the title might lead you to believe. Not to worry, folks, because our man Hamish is on the case, and he will puzzle it out, then head home to the station and relax. Because that is what he does best.

Fun series. Obviously if you aren't reading it yet, you need to start with book 1. 3 stars.

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