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Review: Guilt by Association (Rachel Knight #1) by Marcia Clark

Thursday, September 25, 2014




Print Length: 373 pages
Publisher: Mulholland Books (April 20, 2011)

From Goodreads.com:  Los Angeles D.A. Rachel Knight is a tenacious, wise-cracking, and fiercely intelligent prosecutor in the city's most elite division. When her colleague, Jake, is found dead at a grisly crime scene, Rachel is shaken to the core. She must take over his toughest case: the assault of a young woman from a prominent family.

But she can't stop herself from digging deeper into Jake's death, a decision that exposes a world of power and violence and will have her risking her reputation--and her life--to find the truth.

With her tremendous expertise in the nuances of L.A. courts and crime, and with a vibrant ensemble cast of characters, Marcia Clark combines intimate detail, riotous humor, and visceral action in a debut thriller that marks the launch of a major new figure on the crime-writing scene.

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 My Rating: 2 stars out of 5

My Review: Another novel with a solid and intriguing concept, that spends way too much time on details that don't need to be given. 
Much like her second in this series (which I actually read first), there is a lot of attention paid to what the characters are wearing, eating and drinking. Not to mention we have to hear Rachel's guilt over eating practically anything, and how much time she is going to have to spend in the gym to work it off. For some, this attention to detail may be just their cup of tea, but for me, I found it to take away from the overall plot, and become too mundane, and well, boring after awhile. I get it, you worry about your weight, I understand you had a really rough day at the office, but I don't want to hear about every little detail.  

When there was action, it was good. When there was a twist or a surprise, it was a good one. Unfortunately, these did not happen often enough in the story to really make it a page turner for me. 

I did find myself chuckling at one point, but not for the reasons you would probably expect. Rachel finds herself needing to get a good night's sleep, so after a glass of wine she takes her boring, "insomnia curing" murder mystery book to bed, and promptly fell asleep. I had to laugh, because I found myself using this novel for just that purpose. 


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. 


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Guilt by Association is available from Amazon.com

Review: Never Marry a Viscount (Scandal at the House of Russell #3) by Anne Stuart

Tuesday, September 23, 2014





Print Length: 319 pages
Publisher: Montlake Romance (September 23, 2014)

From Goodreads.com:  She’s crept back into the home she lost. He’s crept into her heart.

Sophie Russell was once society’s darling. But after the disgrace and death of her father, she now finds all doors firmly shut to her—including those of her family home. To discover the secrets now hidden within its beloved walls, she’ll pose as a cook and spy on the estate’s new owner, a broodingly handsome viscount, who may have schemed against the Russells. Instead of dishing up the truth, the viscount tempts Sophie with delicacies of his own…

Viscount Griffiths suspects that there is more to his new cook than meets the eye—especially since it was a mistress he hired sight unseen, not a cook. With the hope that her passion in the kitchen will extend to his bedchamber, he humors the beautiful interloper. But when that passion burns to brightest love, revelations may shake both of their wary hearts…

The final sensuous book in the Scandal at the House of Russell trilogy will lay the truth bare.


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 My Rating: 3 stars out of 5

My Review: This novel was the first that I have read by this author. And unfortunately, for this author's works set in this time period.. it will be the last. 


I wish I could say it was because I was reading book #3 in a series, and it didn't make sense, but alas, that is not the case. As the third in a series, the book made perfect sense. You didn't miss out on any details, you understood the history well enough, and to be honest, the book was well written. 


My problem comes in the fact that this is supposed to be a "historical romance", and yet, I found it to be too vulgar to accurately fit into that time period. To start with Alexander not only wishes one of his visitors "would shut the f*ck up", he uses that word again and again to describe his desires for the things he wants to do to Sophie. Now I have read many a novel where the main hero (in this case Alexander) has gotten more than he had bargained for, but even in those, when referring to "loose women" that word didn't come up near as often. Now I'm not against that kind of language at all, but to me, it does not "flow" well with a historical novel. 


Other than that, I really enjoyed this novel. The banter between the characters was great, and even though I found the "build up" to be a bit slower than other novels (as far as the overall plot, not the relationship between the characters), the way everything was tied together in the end, not only made perfect sense, but made me glad that I read this one until the  end.


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. 


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Review: Guilt by Degrees (Rachel Knight #2) by Marcia Clark

Saturday, September 20, 2014



Print Length: 449 pages
Publisher:  Mulholland Books (April 30, 2013)

From Goodreads.com:  Someone has been watching D.A. Rachel Knight--someone who's Rachel's equal in brains, but with more malicious intentions. It began when a near-impossible case fell into Rachel's lap, the suspectless homicide of a homeless man. In the face of courthouse backbiting and a gauzy web of clues, Rachel is determined to deliver justice. She's got back-up: tough-as-nails Detective Bailey Keller. As Rachel and Bailey stir things up, they're shocked to uncover a connection with the vicious murder of an LAPD cop a year earlier. Something tells Rachel someone knows the truth, someone who'd kill to keep it secret.

Harrowing, smart, and riotously entertaining, GUILT BY DEGREES is a thrilling ride through the world of LA courts with the unforgettable Rachel Knight.


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 My Rating: 2 stars out of 5

My Review: This author came highly recommended, so I jumped on the chance to read and review her entire collection of Rachel Knight stories. I began with this one, not realizing at the time that this novel is actually book two of the series. However, that wasn't a problem at all. While there was some mention of characters and plot details from book one that were "spoilers" for that book, it wasn't crucial to the plot of this one to have read them in order. 


I felt that the character of Rachel was well-developed enough to make her part in the story interesting (a good thing as she is the main character), however while the rest of the cast was diverse, I came away still feeling like I didn't know who they were. I couldn't tell you (with the exception of Rachel) who the rest were deep down, or what they did, or why they reacted the way they did to certain situations. 

On the flip side, there was a little too much attention paid to the main characters going out to dinner, and drinking their "favorite" Ketel One martinis. I felt that rather than build up the plot, or at least keep it moving, these sections of the story actually took away from what was going on and made the book drag on longer than it needed to. In fact, this entire book seemed to drag on, with short spans of actual action happening. 

My biggest problem with this novel (and also what I would consider to be the biggest downfall) is that one of the main conflicts in this novel is not resolved by the end of the novel. While I hope this means that it will be resolved finally in the next book, as the first book by an author that I have ever read, it does not leave me with high hopes for her other novels. 

I did sign up to read the rest of the Rachel Knight novels, and I plan to finish them, I just hope they not only redeem this author, but also answer questions that this novel left hanging.


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. 


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Guilt by Degrees is available from Amazon.com

Review: The Midnight Side by Natasha Mostert

Wednesday, September 17, 2014


Print Length: 254 pages
Publisher:  Portable Magic Ltd (December 15, 2013)

From Goodreads.com:  A phone call from the dead. Lucid dreaming. A ghost manipulating the London stock exchange. And a truly frightening story of love gone wrong. 

THE MIDNIGHT SIDE is a chilling tale of a seductive woman who, even from the grave, is able to manipulate events to her satisfaction. A haunting story of obsession and revenge, Natasha Mostert’s novel is an intricate psychological thriller with an ending that will leave you breathless.


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 My Rating: 3 stars out of 5
After reading Ms. Mostert's novel Season of the Witch, I had very high hopes for this novel, and in the end, I am feeling somewhat let down. 

Unlike her other novel, I was not immediately engaged by this one, in fact I often found myself putting it down, or reading other books and then coming back and trying this one again. The premise was there, but there was just something off about this book. 

To start with, I didn't really feel the same connection to these characters the way I did in Season of the Witch. There was something immediately "off" about the character of ] Alette, which made me not like her even though she was dead, and to be perfectly honest, not care about her in the slightest.  

Throughout the book, I found myself actively trying to guess what was going to happen next, at which point I became annoyed when I was proven right.

Overall, this will not discourage me from reading more from this author as I know her potential is there, but I would not recommend this one to someone just hearing about 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. 


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Review: Intentions of the Earl (Scandalous Sisters, Book 1) by Rose Gordon

Monday, September 15, 2014



From Goodreads.com  When the impoverished Andrew Black, Earl of Townson, hits rock bottom, he makes an agreement that will end his eight year poverty streak once and for all. In order to gain his fortune he must do but one simple thing: ruin an innocent girl’s reputation enough to make her flee to America. Brooke Banks isn’t interested in marriage, or so she thinks. She came to London to have a good time, and that’s exactly what she’s doing. Widely known for her tendency to flout the rules, she suspects nothing when a handsome stranger appears on her doorstep. Thirteen days, a handful of kisses and one scandalous situation later, Andrew and Brooke will have to choose to stick to their original plans, or decide if a life together is worth the risk.

WARNING: This book contains content considered unsuitable for young readers 17 and under, and which may be offensive to some readers of all ages.
                                                      
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 My Rating: 4 stars out of 5

I have been a fan of Ms.Gordon's for a long while now, so I had extremely high expectations for this novel. I was already (sort of familiar) with the Banks sisters; Brooke, Liberty & Madison after seeing them pop up in some of her other works. 


Andrew is not your typical "romantic hero" which was a refreshing change. After Brooke refuses the advances of another man (Benjamin, the Duke of Gateway), he calls upon Andrew to "ruin" the reputation of one of the Banks' sisters (he doesn't care which), in a feeble attempt to leave the family no choice but to leave England and flee back to America. After some reluctance, Andrew realizes that by accepting Benjamin's offer he stands to gain more than he dreamed possible - a reconciliation with his mother. He eventually agrees, and turns up soon thereafter on the Banks' doorstep, intent on courting whichever of the sisters he thinks will be  the easiest. 


He encounters Brooke first, and immediately the chemistry is apparent in the way they play off each other (their first meeting was hilarious)! And after a few dates, some secret kisses, a plot, a guilty conscious and one very hot scene (no they do not have sex out of wedlock for anyone wondering), Andrew succeeds in ruining Brooke's reputation. 


However, Andrew quickly realizes that he's taken on more than he ever bargained for when he realizes his feelings for Brooke are real and not part of the role he has chosen to play. Now the question becomes how does he win over Brooke and prove to her that his love is genuine? And what of his wager with Benjamin? Thankfully, Ms.Gordon wraps all of it up in a believable (and nicely written) way. There was another major plot twist revealed in this novel that had my mouth falling open, but it definitely fit in with the overall plot and explained why certain characters acted the way they did. 


As is typical with all of Ms.Gordon's books, Intentions of the Earl is a fun and engaging read. I have already devoured the next two books in the series (reviews coming soon) as I found once I started - I couldn't stop! I just HAD to know what was going to happen next! 


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Intentions of the Earl is available for purchase currently FREE from Amazon.com

Review: Wyoming Wildflowers: The Beginning (A Novella) by Patricia McLinn

Friday, September 12, 2014


Print Length145 pages
  • Publisher: Craig Place Books (January 15, 2014)

From Goodreads.com: Before the bestselling and award-winning Wyoming Wildflowers series, there was another love story, one that laid the foundation for all those that came after.

Ed Currick’s and Donna Roberts’ worlds couldn’t have been any more different – a rancher from Wyoming and an up-and-coming Broadway musical actress on a national tour. What could have been a momentary encounter sparks desire . . . and more


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 My Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Let me start off by saying that this is not only a novella, but it is also a "back-story" of the Wyoming Wildflower series which includes "Almost a Bride" and "My Heart Remembers" . 


That being said, as a novella the story is fairly faced paced, and even though the characters come with their own stories, the overall feel of the story is that it should have been longer. As a reader, I feel that I missed out on so much detail simply due the fact that this was a novella and not a full length novel. 

All of that aside, this was something that I could not put down. I felt a strong connection to Donna in her theater setting (being a member of the drama club in high school), so I completely understood her drive and desire to be on the stage and exert herself as not only an actress, but as the star. The romance between her and Ed was not without it flaws (two people from entirely different background both wanting completely different things from life), but they each brought something to the romance that was utterly sweet and endearing. I found myself not questioning their romance, but encouraging it even though they seemed to be from two entirely different walks of life. 

I will definitely be checking out the rest of the Wyoming Wildflower books to see what happens next!


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Wyoming Wildflowers: The Beginning (A Novella) is currently FREE on Amazon.com

Review: One of Us by Tawni O'Dell

Tuesday, September 9, 2014


Print Length: 304 pages
Publisher: Gallery Books (August 19, 2014)

From Goodreads.com: Dr. Sheridan Doyle, a fastidiously groomed and TV-friendly forensic psychologist, is the go-to shrink for the Philadelphia District Attorney's office whenever a twisted killer's mind eludes other experts. But beneath his Armani pinstripes, he's still Danny Doyle, the awkward, terrified, bullied boy from a blue-collar mining family, plagued by panic attacks and haunted by the tragic death of his little sister and mental unraveling of his mother years ago.

Returning to a hometown grappling with its own ghosts, Danny finds a dead body at the infamous Lost Creek gallows where a band of rebellious Irish miners was once executed. Strangely, the body is connected to the wealthy family responsible for the miners' deaths. Teaming up with veteran detective Rafe, a father-like figure from his youth, Danny, in pursuit of a killer, comes dangerously close to startling truths about his family, his past, and himself.
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My Rating: 2 stars out of 5

My Review: This book had such an amazing premise, that I was super excited to be chosen to review it. However, the overall product was not as amazing as I had expected it to be. 


To begin with, the characters did not seem as well developed as I would have expected. There were a lot of characters that, in my opinion, were so shallow that it was laughable (I mean lets be honest here I really don't care about all of the name brand clothing and other items that you own. To me, that's just a lot of name dropping to make the author look like they know more than they actually do).  

Then, the "mystery" portion of the plot so thin that it was easy to figure out early on what was going on. There were no plot twists, or suspense filled chapters that I have come to expect from a novel such as this.

All that aside, I think one of my biggest issues was that just as I began finding what I like to call the "rhythm" of the book (where I start feeling like I connect with the characters), it suddenly switches to a completely new point of view, that I felt was not only confusing, but should have been introduced sooner as I found myself not wanting to be "disrupted" by a new person. I think that had the character been introduced sooner, and their point of view added throughout the story, that it would have made it better instead of being such a distraction. 

DISCLAIMER: I received a copy of this novel in exchange for my honest review. This has NOT altered or changed my review in any way. All thoughts expressed in this review are 100% my own.

One of Us is available for purchase from Amazon.com

 

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