Pages

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Review: More or Less a Countess (The Somerset Sisters #2) by Anna Bradley



Print Length: 252 pages
Publisher: Lyrical Press (August 7, 2018)

From Goodreads.com: Finding a worthy husband should be simple for three beautiful debutantes in Regency London. But the Somerset sisters have a way of making it delightfully complicated...

Violet Somerset has always preferred a library to a ballroom, but to please her grandmother she agreed to one London season. With nothing to show for it but heartbreak, she's reconciled to spinsterhood. Until a notorious rogue known as the Devil of Dare requests an introduction to her timid, gentle youngest sister, Hyacinth. Violet will do anything to stop the match—even if it means posing as Hyacinth herself.

Nicholas Balfour, the Earl of Dare, is enjoying the life of a rake far too much to take a wife. But he must keep his promise to his grandmother. He'll simply choose the meekest bride he can find, install her at his estate, then carry on as before. Hyacinth sounds perfect—until he discovers that her sweet demeanor hides the tongue of a viper and the mind of a bluestocking.

As Violet's ruse threatens to unravel, however, she may find the tables turned. Soon she may have no choice but to tolerate her handsome fiancĂ©e—or fall in love with him

                                                 *******************


My Rating: 3 stars out of 5

Let me begin by saying that although this is book number two in a series, you don't have to have read the first novel in order to enjoy this one. In fact, other than the mention of her sister (and her best friend) and the matches they made, there is nothing that would make this story hard to understand. 

I have read other stories by this author and have enjoyed all of them, but thus far this new series, to me, is not as good. Don't get me wrong the author does write a good story with strong characters, but they seem to be missing a crucial element that would drive them from "forgettable" to "wow". 

Let's begin with Violet. I wanted to like her. I'm all for a good blue-stocking woman, and a woman who writes is even better. But I found it hard to believe that she could (and would) so willingly risk her reputation (not to mention her very life) in order to obtain sketches for a book that she seemingly had no intention of ever actually publishing. 

Then there is Nick, I could sympathize with him to an extent taking on a role he never thought to possess, but to mistake one sister for another? Come on, Violet and Hyacinth are not twins, there is no reason they looked so much alike he couldn't tell them apart. I also felt that he was too quick to jump to the wrong (and worst) conclusions imaginable that much of this book could have been avoided if the pair of them could just put their pride aside. 

Now this last bit of my opinion may very well be an unpopular one, but I felt like this book had too much drama. In fact, it seemed like every time these two (once married) started to come to a mutual understanding, something would happen that would cause the other to lash out. After the majority of their marriage being this way, I must admit it got old. 

However, all things considered, I do think this story will still appeal to fans of historical romances, and I would read more from this author. 

DISCLAIMER: I received a complimentary copy of this novel in exchange for my honest review. This has not affected my review in any way. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are 100% my own.

                                                         *******************

                           More or Less a Countess is available from Amazon.com

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Review: What Ales the Earl (Widow's Brew #1) by Sally MacKenzie



Print Length: 352 pages
Publisher: Zebra (July 31, 2018)

From Goodreads.com: Scandal does not define the "fallen" ladies of Puddledon Manor's Benevolent Home. Instead, it's a recipe for an intoxicating new future as the women combine their talents—to operate their own brewery and alehouse...

When Penelope Barnes arrived at the Home with her young daughter, she discovered a knack for horticulture—and for cultivating the hops needed to produce a superlative pint. She put her scandalous affair with Harry Graham firmly in the past, along with the wrenching pain she felt when he went off to war. After all, she'd always known a farmer's daughter had no future with an earl's son. Now she has the pleasant memory of their passion, and she has little Harriet, for whom she would do anything—even marry a boring country vicar.

Harry went off to fight for the Crown, unaware that his delightful interlude with his childhood friend had permanent consequences. Now he's back in England, catapulted into the title by his brother's untimely death. He sorely misses his former life of unfettered adventure, so when he has reason to explore Little Puddledon, he jumps at the chance. But what he finds there is something—and someone—he never knew he'd lost, and a once forbidden love whose time has come, if only he can persuade Pen he's home to stay.

                                                 *******************

My Rating: 3 stars out of 5

I had previously been introduced to this author via her Spinster House series, which I adored! So I was excited to join her on this new journey... only to be let down. Unlike her Spinster House series, I found it almost too easy to put this one down and walk away from it. It was just missing ... that spark. 

Normally I enjoy a second chance romance, and that is exactly what this was. However, Pen was lacking the backbone that I expected from heroines this author produces. She claims to be "offended" and "mad" about the way her daughter (and later herself) are treated, but she does little to stand up against the bullies (especially the ones against her daughter). In fact, after building a life she "cannot leave" she certainly considers leaving it to marry the Vicar and take on the duties of his wife. 

And then Harry comes back into her life and ...... he is going to marry someone else. This is not unusual per-say, but the amount of emphasis the author placed on it was a bit much. Not only was Harry consistently thinking of the woman he was going to marry, but Pen thought of her as well. In fact Lady Susan made a much bigger role in the overall story than the character actually played. 

While on the subject of that particular character, I find it hard to believe that he did not see Lady Susan for who and what she was before it came to a head in Little Puddleton. There were also a few other details that I felt were not keeping in tune with the time period. 

On the whole however, I do think those who enjoy second chance historical romances may enjoy this one and I would read more from this author.

DISCLAIMER: I received a complimentary copy of this novel in exchange for my honest review. This has not affected my review in any way. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are 100% my own.

                                                         *******************

                          What Ales the Earl is available from Amazon.com


Monday, August 13, 2018

Review: All the Hidden Sins by Marian Lanouette


Print Length: 304 pages
Publisher: Lyrical Underground (July 31, 2018)

From Goodreads.com: When it comes to crime, homicide detective Jake Carrington plays for high stakes . . .
 
Assigned a missing persons case, Lieutenant Jake Carrington investigates a local Mob boss. The trail goes cold, but the Mafioso isn’t taking any chances, and soon the heat turns up from another quarter. Turns out there’s more than one dangerous suspect . . .
 
Kyra Russell is drop-dead gorgeous and Jake is only human. But despite their mutual attraction, Jake’s suspicion deepens when he learns about her gambling problem—an addiction that cost her both husband and son. Even more disturbing is Kyra’s day job. She runs a crematorium—and it’s tied to the Mob. Now Jake will have to navigate a firestorm of treachery to get to the truth . 


                                                 *******************


My Rating: 2 stars out of 5

Let me begin by saying that I have not read the first book in this series, so I do not know the ins and outs of Jake's previous relationship with Mia. All I can base my opinions on is this novel. 

It was...... meh. I can't classify it as a mystery novel as we all know who is behind what, and I can't really classify it as a thriller as I wasn't thrilled. It tries to have elements of a thriller novel, a police thriller with a dash of romance, but it just missed the mark. 

None of the characters are especially likable except maybe Kyra's son Trevor. Now don't get me wrong, I'm all for flawed characters, but there was just something one-dimensional about all of these ones. Kyra is a gambler who is in too deep, and manages to get in deeper. And while she does have a bit of a conscious, its not enough to endear her to anyone. Her soon-to-be-ex-husband Tommy is no better whose character we see go from someone who cares about his son to a jerk that tries to assault his ex. Then we have mobster Phil who is seemingly ever cliche I've ever read drawing more attention to himself when he should know better. And finally good old Jake. Who even though he admits he is still in love with his ex, finds himself with feelings for Kyra too. Even though he knows something doesn't add up with her, and knows she has flat out lied to him. 

There was just too much to overlook, between the characters and the story-line, things were just too unbelievable even for a work of fiction. I do believe there are people who will enjoy this novel (as evidenced by the 4 and 5 star reviews it has accumulated), however this one was just not for me.

DISCLAIMER: I received a complimentary copy of this novel in exchange for my honest review. This has not affected my review in any way. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are 100% my own.


                                                         *******************

                        All the Hidden Sins is available from Amazon.com

Friday, August 10, 2018

Review: Wedding the Widow (The Widows' Club #2) by Jenna Jaxon




Print Length: 337 pages
Publisher: Lyrical Press (July 31, 2018)

From Goodreads.com: Widowed by the Battle of Waterloo, the ladies of Lyttlefield Park are reentering London society, where they’ll learn how to live—and love—again . . .

Of all the widows of Lyttlefield Park, Elizabeth Easton seems least likely to remarry. Though many gentlemen would love to get to know the charming Mrs. Easton better, she is devoted to the memory of her late husband. Which is why she’s so shocked to be overtaken by passion during a harvest festival, succumbing to an unforgettable interlude with the handsome Lord Brack . . .

After enduring years of war, Jemmy, Lord Brack, plans to defer matrimony in favor of carefree pleasure. But who could resist a lifetime with Elizabeth Easton, a woman as marvelously sensual as she is sweet? Yet despite their mutual desire, she refuses to consider his proposal. With scandal looming, and their families bitterly opposed to the match, Jemmy must find a way to convince Elizabeth to risk her wary heart on him—and turn one infamous night into forever . . .
 


                                                 *******************


My Rating: 3 stars out of 5

Let me begin by saying that although book number one introduces the characters (especially the widows), and this book references some of the happenings from the prior novel, you do not need to have read it in order for this one to make sense. 

In fact, I rather enjoyed the first novel more than this one, and that is a shame considering how much I usually enjoy this author and her stories. 

However, this story was such a mess that it was at times hard to get through. The sheer amount of obstacles thrown at this couple was ludicrous, and frankly downright boring at times. We get it, his father holds a grudge for reasons I cannot explain without giving away spoilers. However, the lengths he goes to (kidnapping, forced imprisonment, arranged marriages, blackmail) seemed a bit too extreme ESPECIALLY when he finally gives his blessing for the smallest and stupidest condition ever. 

Don't get me wrong, parts of this story were good. And others seemed like words on the page to increase the overall word count. I also had trouble fathoming how Elizabeth could spend such a great deal of time away from her six year old twins when they were all she had left of her late husband. These were her children, and she had no qualms leaving them for days or weeks at a time. Instead of the ridiculousness of having their nuptials denied and thwarted so many times, I would have instead rather have read about how Jemmy won the affections of her children (especially Colin who was so against his mother re-marrying in the first place).

I do think this story may still appeal to fans of historical romances, and I would read more from this author. 

DISCLAIMER: I received a complimentary copy of this novel in exchange for my honest review. This has not affected my review in any way. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are 100% my own.

                                                         *******************

                                 Wedding the Widow is available from Amazon.com

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Review: Baby Teeth Zoje Stage


Print Length: 320 pages
Publisher: St. Martin's Press (July 17, 2018)

From Goodreads.com: Sweetness can be deceptive. 

Meet Hanna.

She’s the sweet-but-silent angel in the adoring eyes of her Daddy. He’s the only person who understands her, and all Hanna wants is to live happily ever after with him. But Mommy stands in her way, and she’ll try any trick she can think of to get rid of her. Ideally for good.

Meet Suzette.

She loves her daughter, really, but after years of expulsions and strained home schooling, her precarious health and sanity are weakening day by day. As Hanna’s tricks become increasingly sophisticated, and Suzette's husband remains blind to the failing family dynamics, Suzette starts to fear that there’s something seriously wrong, and that maybe home isn’t the best place for their baby girl after all.

                                                 *******************


My Rating: 1 star out of 5

I requested to read this novel after seeing countless advertisements which contained a plethora of five star ratings. I thought this was going to be my one great read for the summer.

I thought wrong. 

This novel.. I don't even know where to begin. The characters were unbelievable, the plot line weak and to put it bluntly? It seemed as though this author was more about the "shock value" than they were about putting together a well crafted story. Take Hanna for instance - there is seemingly no reason given for her to act the way she does. For one, her thoughts and actions are better suited to a much older person rather than a seven tear old (I mean come on imagined devil sex and wanting her father in a completely inappropriate way)? There was just nothing that could save this. I barely made it to the end, and I only forced myself to finish because I hate marking a book as a DNF (did not finish).

While there are people to whom I believe this story would appeal, it was definitely not for me. At this point, I am doubtful as to whether or not I would read anything else by this author.

DISCLAIMER: I received a complimentary copy of this novel in exchange for my honest review. This has not affected my review in any way. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are 100% my own.


                                                         *******************

                                      Baby Teeth is available from Amazon.com

Monday, August 6, 2018

Review: They Won't Be Hurt by Kevin O'Brien



Print Length pages: 544 pages 
Publisher: Pinnacle (July 31st, 2018)

From Goodreads.com: Never take a killer at his word . . . 

ONCE YOU LET THEM IN
The lights are on at the Singleton vacation home on Lopez Island, Washington, illuminating the horror within. Scott Singleton, former NFL star turned television evangelist, lies dead. The bodies of his wife and four of their five children are found on the second floor, bound, gagged, and stabbed repeatedly. The oldest daughter was shot in her boyfriend’s car. And the police’s main suspect—the property caretaker—has disappeared.
 
THEY WILL NEVER
In her secluded vineyard home two hours away, Laura Gretchell is on edge. Her husband is out of town on business, and the children are understandably shaken. Laura tries to tell herself there’s no reason to fear. Then the door handle rattles, and the real terror begins.
 
LET YOU GO
They’re in her house, holding her children hostage, and Laura has only one option: do exactly what the intruders say. But as Laura races to find the information they seek, she realizes that the enemies within her own home are only part of the nightmare. Because someone wants to keep the truth hidden at any cost, no matter how many more must die . . .



                                                 *******************


My Rating: 3 stars out of 5

This book started off really strong, so nuch so that I was convinced I had a 5 star read on my hands, but then things just ..... fell apart. Laura acts and reacts in a way that I could never imagine a mother as doing, not even under the duress she was in. As a mother myself, I could not imagine behaving nor speaking in the manner that she does. 

I will say that this story is full of the unexpected, there were times when I was surprised at the direction the author took when I was so sure the book was heading in a different direction entirely. There was also a lot to this book that I felt could have been condensed or left out altogether - something that I feel would have helped with the flow of the story making it less repetitive, and also that would have helped keep and hold the readers interest. Unlike other books I have read in this genre, I found this one easy to set down and come back to at a later time. 

I do believe this story may appeal to fans of psychological thrillers, and I would read more from this author, however this particular story was just not for me.

DISCLAIMER: I received a complimentary copy of this novel in exchange for my honest review. This has not affected my review in any way. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are 100% my own.


                                                         *******************

                           They Won't Be Hurt is available from Amazon.com

Friday, August 3, 2018

Review: Watch the Girls Jennifer Wolfe


Print Length: 320 pages
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing (July 10, 2018)

From Goodreads.com: I've been watched all my life. I'm used to being stared at. Observed. Followed.

Fame and obsession collide in this darkly twisted novel from an incredible new voice in suspense.

SOMEONE IS WATCHING
Washed up teen star Liv Hendricks quit acting after her beloved younger sister inexplicably disappeared following a Hollywood party gone wrong. Liv barely escaped with her life, and her sister was never heard from again. But all this time, someone's been waiting patiently to finish what was started...

FOUR MISSING GIRLS
Now fifteen years later, broke and desperate, Liv is forced to return to the spotlight. She crowdfunds a webseries in which she'll pose as a real-life private detective--a nod to the show she starred on as a teen. When a mysterious donor challenges her to investigate a series of disappearances outside a town made famous by the horror movies filmed there, Liv has no choice but to accept.

FOLLOW THE WHITE WOLF
Liv is given a cryptic first clue: Follow the white wolf. And now a darker game is about to begin. Through social media, someone is leaving breadcrumbs to follow. As Liv makes increasingly disturbing discoveries, her show explodes in popularity. A rapt internet audience is eager to watch it all--perhaps even at the cost of Liv's own life...


                                                 *******************


My Rating: 4 stars out of 5

This book was everything I didn't know I needed! 

To be honest, I didn't know what I expected when I began reading this novel. I had a general idea from the synopsis, but at the same time I've had a run of bad luck where "thriller" novels are concerned having them not live up to my expectations. This one not only lived up to them, it surpassed them. 

Watch the Girls was one of those books that you can't seem to put down. The author has a strong writing style, and weaves together a tale (that yes can get pretty dark and disturbing at times) that just draws you in and keeps you guessing. There were several times I thought I had it figured out, only to find out I was so off base it was laughable! I do wish that ALL the loose ends had been tied up as this book does leave the reader with some questions, but on the whole I would read more from this author! 

I believe this book will appeal to those who love a good psychological thriller novel. 

DISCLAIMER: I received a complimentary copy of this novel in exchange for my honest review. This has not affected my review in any way. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are 100% my own.


                                                         *******************

                           Watch the Girls is available from Amazon.com