Thursday, June 28, 2018

Review: One Foot in the Grave

One Foot in the Grave One Foot in the Grave by Jeaniene Frost
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Well, well, well. Welcome back to the Cat and Bones nonstop banter show. Book 2 is just as good as book 1.

Holy time jump, Batman. We fast forward FOUR years from the end of Halfway to the Grave. I guess you've got nothing but time when you are a vampire, or half-blood vampire, or whatever. Cat is running her crazy assassin task force and Bones has been completely off her radar. Until a big bad drops the bomb that he's still around and boom, back into her life.

Lots of sparks fly between Cat and Bones, they bicker, they make up, and they kick all kinds of paranormal ass. It's about what you would expect if you read the first book, and it will springboard you right to the next one. 3.5 stars and I'm rounding up to 4 because I liked it enough to possibly read this series more than once.

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Review: Love Finds the Way

Love Finds the Way Love Finds the Way by Barbara Cartland
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Shockingly, this book wasn't terrible. I mean, it wasn't great, either, but it wasn't terrible.

We have a bit of a "meet-cute" when Gina (quite the modern name) needs a ride and John is headed that way. He's the newly inherited Duke of the rundown castle in her village (hamlet? county?) and she is supposed to be going to get a teaching job, even though she is a secret heiress. You can see where I'm going with this, as Babs was phoning this plot in while she laid on her fainting couch eating bon bons.

Misunderstandings abound, ridiculous things happen, and they all lived happily ever after. Especially Evelyn, who I was happiest for of all of them. Way to keep getting it, girl.

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Review: Ruby

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

I keep telling myself if I hadn't read these books completely out of order, I would like them better. But I'm totally wrong. The characters might have made a bit more sense, yes, but the stories would still be stinkers.

We go to the first story in the "Come-By-Chance" mail order bride series, where we get to know most of the players in the series. Ruby and Lettie are the main focus, as they both answered ads for mail order brides and got on a train to Montana. Let me tell you something, Lettie lost that lottery because Slim Jim is a real piece of work. That will come up in future books, though, so not going to spoil you.
Ruby decides on a very nice fella and they live happily ever after. But he has 2 single brothers so you know they are headed towards the altar in future installments.

No one is memorable, the dialogue is painful, and for some insane reason I keep reading these books. Going to give this one 2 stars because I read it quickly and it's over now.

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Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Review: Fish & Chips

Fish & Chips Fish & Chips by Abigail Roux
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Damn, that was hot. Ty and Zane have the best of everything. Best jobs. Best partnership. Best relationship. I love everything about this series.

This time our favorite special agents are undercover as, get this, a gay couple. Gasp! However will they get into character? They reluctantly take the case, because it's their job. Plus, free cruise vacation. Because their last vacation went so well. It goes about like you would expect. Bad guys everywhere. Things about their covers don't necessarily work out. But in the end, Ty and Zane always get their man.

This is one of my favorite series for so many reasons, but mostly because I love the boys. 4 stars.

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Saturday, June 23, 2018

Review: Wicked and the Wallflower

Wicked and the Wallflower Wicked and the Wallflower by Sarah MacLean
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I adored Felicity and Devon. But especially Felicity. I enjoy stories about quirky, unconventional women who aren't seen as attractive, but always seem to end up with a passionate, devoted man. I definitely have a type, and this is it.

Felicity Faircloth, shunned by the ton for something that happened in a book series I have yet to read, outrageously blurts out that she has landed the new Duke, who she has yet to meet. The mean girls group jump on her like a wild pack of dogs, but luckily she runs into Devil, who can help her land him. And he does, but you just know they are going to end up falling in love with each other because sparks were flying from scene 1. And every scene afterwards.

Pretty standard historical fare but the characters are so interesting that I gave this one the 4 star treatment. Great start to a new series for me. Hope the others don't let me down!

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Review: Love Became Theirs

Love Became Theirs Love Became Theirs by Barbara Cartland
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

If you follow my reviews at all, you know how much I like to destroy my extensive Barbara Cartland collection. However, color me pleasantly surprised by this one.

Rona is a rich girl and her daddy wants to marry her off to a titled man who can get him into the best clubs. Rona, however, wants to marry for love. Who doesn’t, girl? She has a chance encounter with a harlequin at the costume ball and decides, after a short conversation and a brief kiss, to run away and take a governess position under an assumed name. As you do, back in the day. Will she find her happily ever after? You know she will. Babs doesn’t write them any other way.

Rife with the insta-love that you know will be there, we also get some intrigue, and a mostly smart, self-assured heroine that is a rarity in Dame Barbara’s works. We get a dashing harlequin and a very nice Earl who doesn’t get what he deserves, but I’m hoping he makes an appearance in one of her 700 other books. I really liked him.

Far better than most of her other novels. Maybe this one had a ghost writer. 3 stars.

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Review: Greenwich Killing Time

Greenwich Killing Time Greenwich Killing Time by Kinky Friedman
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Hop in my time machine, kids, because we are headed back to the 80’s!

Greenwich Village, New York. Early 80’s. No cell phones. No internet. Not as progressive or health-conscious. Smoking, drinking, discrimination. And a misplaced cowboy detective and his band of irregulars.

Funny, irreverent, and extremely dated, you can tell this is Kinky’s first book once you have read any of the others. He’s ridiculous. But what do you expect from a guy who ran for governor of Texas with the slogan, “Kinky for governor. Why the hell not?” He didn’t win but I still have the T-shirt. 3 stars.

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Review: Bonecrack

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

Another great one by Dick Francis. This time, our Everyman Hero Neil Griffon is abducted and bullied into putting an amateur jockey up on the favorite mount for the big race. Just covering for his father after a serious car accident, he has no experience running a stable and is quickly in over his head.

Classic Francis at his best, we have the intricacies of a strained father / son relationship, empowered, strong women well ahead of their time, and a great Everyman main character in Neil. Yes, we have horses, and racing, and insights into the everyday operations of a racing stable. But we also have a smart mystery that will leave you guessing until the end.

I just love his books. 3.5 stars.

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Review: The Aeronaut's Windlass

The Aeronaut's Windlass The Aeronaut's Windlass by Jim Butcher
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Jim, I want to apologize in advance for this review. Still best friends?

I can't put my finger on why I didn't fall in love with this book. I liked most of the characters. I liked the plot. I didn't mind the steampunk setting. But I tried the book, and I tried the audio, and it still took me forever to get to the end.

High points: Grimm. Rowl. Folly. I adore Benedict, and I want him to fall madly in love with Bridget and run around kicking all kinds of ass in the universe. I didn't mind Gwen, although the consensus among my book-reading friends is they don't like her. I think she's fine, and she and Grimm should join forces forever and ever. No real low points, but again, the book just wasn't a smooth, fast read. I didn't tear through the pages like I do with your other books, Jim, and I can't tell you why.

Still, I enjoyed the ride, but dang, this book was a commitment. 3 stars.

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Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Review: Killman Creek

Killman Creek Killman Creek by Rachel Caine
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Gwen and family just can't catch a break, but we knew it was bad from the end of book 1.

Mel has escaped from jail and is stalking Gwen. His dear Gina makes a series of bad decisions, asks near strangers (seriously, you barely know these two, Gina/Gwen) to keep her kids safe, and runs off with Sam to...find Mel? Uncover Absalom? Use herself as bait? Not sure about her decision quality in this entire book. And as the acorn doesn't fall far from the tree, her kids both make some questionable decisions as well. Connor, this side-eye is especially for you, but Lanny doesn't get a pass either.

Lots of bad things happen, as you might expect. Gwen and Sam both put themselves in danger. Connor and Lanny put themselves in danger. And Sam is lucky to have such a loyal friend in the FBI to help them, because they need it.

The ending is fairly satisfying and I think she should have ended the story here, with no need for the final scene. It will have to be an absolutely unbelievable explanation for this story to continue, because this one stretched my belief to the very limit.

Still enjoyable, though. 3 stars but I don't think I'll be back for book 3.

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Review: Strawberries and Strangers: A Cozy Murder Mystery

Strawberries and Strangers: A Cozy Murder Mystery Strawberries and Strangers: A Cozy Murder Mystery by Leena Clover
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

My goodness, but this book was a chore to get through. The dialogue, the characters. I kept hoping a hurricane would sweep the whole town off the map, but alas, no weather incidents this time.

Jenny is going through a rough divorce and is staying with her aunt. She is crushing on the Sheriff, but not really, and they fight. All. The. Time. So you just know it is going to be true love always. I'm guessing around book 3. Anyway, a dead man is found on the beach and her hippie artist aunt Star is taken in for the crime. Of course she didn't do it. Of course Jenny investigates it and sticks her nose where it doesn't belong. Haven't you ever read a cozy?

And a lot of nonsense happens, the crime is solved in an unbelievable way, and I knew who was guilty but I didn't know why. Because there were no clues to lead us to a motive. And that is why this book gets 1.5 stars. I won't be taking a return trip to Pelican Cove.

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Saturday, June 16, 2018

Review: Howl's Moving Castle

Howl's Moving Castle Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

What a fun book! I've never seen the movie but everyone always told me I would love this story so I gave it a try. Not at all what I was expecting.

Wizard Howl has a floating castle that moves around the land. He has a bad reputation for eating young ladies' hearts. Sophie is the eldest daughter, and a series of unfortunate events changes her life. Not going to spoil it for you, because I think you should go into this book blind and just let the story unfold. It's better this way, I promise.

And at the end, nothing it what it seems, yet it will all be completely satisfying. Very glad I read this one. 3 stars.

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Thursday, June 14, 2018

Review: Dark Lover

Dark Lover Dark Lover by J.R. Ward
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

So glad I finally started this series. I liked it a lot. Very pleasantly surprised.

We start with Beth, mere mortal, or is she? She's the daughter of a vampire, and she needs to know this before she goes through the weird vampire puberty change. She's never met her father, and has no clue of her lineage. He's been watching from afar, making sure she is safe. Enter Wrath, King of the vampires. He's been asked to protect Beth and help usher her through the change. He's reluctant, but eventually comes around. And that's where our story begins to gain lots of steam. I'm not just talking about momentum and action, folks. Steam of all kinds. Wink wink.

I like the character evolution in this book. I think it sets up future books in the series to explore everyone's backstories, and continue moving forward. I'm especially interested in seeing how Butch's life changes in the next books. He and Fritz were my two favorites, so I'm glad to see they are sticking around.

Vampires, action, and true love always. What's not to like? 3.5 stars.

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Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Review: Magic Bites

Magic Bites Magic Bites by Ilona Andrews
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

It took me a while to get through this one. Not because I hated it, or the writing was bad. I just wasn't in the mood for this type of book right now. But I did enjoy it, and will read the next one.

Kate. Oh, Kate, you prickly pear. You are hard on the outside, but soft and possibly magical on the inside. Curran, you alpha alpha male. You are all the things I love in a hero. Strong on the outside, but I can tell you are a fierce protector and a bit of a softy, too. Don't worry, your secret is safe with me.

The world building was a bit vague. I have so many questions still, but I guess they will be answered in future books. I think the story could have been another 50 pages to flesh things out, but I'm good with the story, characters, and where we left things. But Kate is a mysterious being and I'm looking forward to finding out more about this weird version of Atlanta. Maybe my boy Harry Dresden can visit and we will really shake things up.

3 stars. Pretty decent start to things.

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Saturday, June 9, 2018

Review: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

On my first few times reading this, it was my least favorite of the series. I'm not sure why, because I loved everything about it this time. So much to appreciate here. Professor Lupin, the search for Sirius Black, Buckbeak, the Marauder's Map. It's a great ride.

Harry, Ron, and Hermoine are all back at Hogwarts for year three. Other than a few additional classes (several, in Hermoine's case), things are as usual. The Chamber of Secrets is closed, Malfoy is still a jerk, and Wood is still obsessed with Quidditch. What's new, you might ask? Well, Hogsmeade, for one, and Sirius Black has escaped from Azkaban, for another. And dementors are guarding Hogwarts and making Harry miserable.

That's all I'm giving you for a sneak peek, friends. If you haven't read the series, you shouldn't start with this one. If you have, you already know what is going on. And if you've only seen the movies, you need to stop reading this review and pick up the books, because you are missing out on so much. 3 enjoyable stars. Almost 4 because I love Professor Lupin so very much.

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Friday, June 8, 2018

Review: Devil in Spring

Devil in Spring Devil in Spring by Lisa Kleypas
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I loved this book! This has been my favorite of the three so far.

Pandora and Gabriel are perfectly matched, and I love how she was able to tie in my love of the Wallflowers as well. I adored Evie and Sebastian's story, and it was perfect to read about one of their children. Made my marshmallow heart sing inside.

I love how Pandora was accepted as herself from the beginning, not just from Gabriel but also from his family. After years of her feeling like a weirdo, she finally has found her spot. A smart, independent business-minded woman who isn't willing to compromise (well, maybe a little) and knows what she wants. And Rhys is such an enabler! He is part of the reason she has blossomed like she did. I still adore him.

And I appreciate how Kleypas writes unconventional female characters. They are all different in their own way, but unique and you want to see them succeed. She has quickly become my favorite historical romance writer.

Great story! 4 stars for me. Can't wait to read the next one.

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Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Review: 10 LB Penalty

10 LB Penalty 10 LB Penalty by Dick Francis
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Another winner by my boy, Dick Francis. He never lets me down.

In this one, we have a wonderful everyman in Benedict Juliard. Responsible, not flashy, but definitely a great combo of smart, shrewd, and forthright. What Francis does best, in my opinion. We meet young Benedict at the tender age of 17, ready for his gap year to ride races and hopefully never return to school. Unfortunately, his rather absentee father has other plans, and Benedict is thrust in the gritty world of politics. People indeed do want to vote for the elder Juliard, and there are people who are just as intent on stopping him from climbing the political ladder.

Unlike most of his books, this one actually spans 5 years, and the story takes some interesting twists and turns. Not to worry, though, because our everyman stays lawful good until the end, and we get a rushed, but satisfying ending. 3.5 stars.

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Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Review: The Good Daughter

The Good Daughter The Good Daughter by Karin Slaughter
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

My goodness, I ended up loving this book. It was my first Karin Slaughter but it definitely won't be my last.

Are you ready for tragedy? Because it's coming in spades. A family wrecked by a home invasion of sorts, ripped to shreds with the fallout and and just trying to put their lives back together. A time jump, and we slowly pick up the pieces of the past and try to understand what got them to these places. An interesting current crime to help them all finally understand what happened 28 years ago.

I loved it. I loved the way the story unfolded, the family dynamics, and how we finally got to the conclusion. If you like crime thrillers, you should read this one. 4 stars.

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