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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

Review: A Lot Like A Lady by Kay Springsteen & Kim Bowman

Saturday, September 6, 2014



Print Length: 288 pages
Publisher: esKape Press (August 25, 2014)

From Goodreads.com: Ladies’ maid, Juliet Baines has gotten herself into a pickle by agreeing to go to London and taking the place of her mistress and best friend, Annabella Price, stepsister to the Duke of Wyndham. After all, what does a servant know about being a lady? But Juliet soon finds that pretending to be a lady isn't nearly as hard as guarding her heart against the folly of wanting a man who’s completely out of reach.

Graeme "Grey" Roland Dominick Markwythe, Sixth Duke of Wyndham, approaches his duties as a nobleman with great dedication and meticulous care. And he’s a man who is not easily fooled...except when he tries to convince himself he's not utterly and madly in love with the beautiful imposter who has turned his life upside down. Will society and his responsibilities to his noble  status keep him from opening his heart to the woman he loves?


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My Rating: 4 stars out of 5

My Review: Let me begin by saying that overall, I really enjoyed this novel. The plot moved just fast enough that it didn't become stale, but not so fast that it became confusing. I enjoyed the main characters, watching them go from strangers to tentative friends, and finally more was an endearing journey that made the pair seem that much more realistic. Also, I absolutely adored Lord Percy, he added just the right amount of over-the-top comic relief to the story without it being too much, and his friendship with Juliet was one of the sweetest things I had ever seen (plus it gave her ample opportunity to enjoy getting under Grey's skin).

I do have to admit that I was a bit disappointed in the loose ends that were left after the book ended. I found myself wondering what happened to Annabella? Did she eventually find a love of her own? I sincerely hope that these author collaborate again as I definitely wouldn't mind seeing more of these characters. 

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.


A Lot Like A Lady is available for purchase from Amazon.com

Review: No Mercy by John Burley

Monday, September 1, 2014



Blurb: When a brutally murdered teenager is discovered in the woods surrounding a small Ohio town, Dr. Ben Stevenson—the town’s medical examiner—must decide if he’s willing to put his family’s life in danger to uncover the truth. Finding himself pulled deeper into an investigation with devastating consequences, he discovers shocking information that will shatter his quiet community, and force him to confront a haunting truth.

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My Rating: 1 star out of 5

Review: This novel left a lot to be desired, even though the concept held definite promise. To begin with, in the first chapter, the Ben is thinking about going to see his son's baseball game, he even goes so far as to talk about how his arm was so good he had been promoted to pitcher. The whole thing is brought on by the fact that traffic is backed up and he hopes he'll even make it on time to see his son play. A few sentences later, and that baseball game has suddenly become a wrestling match, before going back to a baseball game.. only this time Ben is at home telling his wife not to worry about the safety of their son because he was going to be at an "away" baseball game. All of the sudden, it seemed that Ben (the Father) never had an intention of attending his son's game, even though that was one of the first things on his mind. This kind of oversight in editing usually does not bode well for the rest of the book, and I almost quit reading then and there.

On the plus side, these were the only errors of this type that I came across while reading this novel. 

On the other-side? There was a lot left to be desired. 
To begin with, there was a lot of medical jargon. Which, yes I get that the main character worked for the coroner's office and therefore would know all of the proper terms, however, I found it very annoying to have to repeatedly use the dictionary feature on my kindle to determine what a particular word meant. I wish the author would have found a way to both keep the "proper medical terminology" as well as a "layman's term" so that those of us without a lot of medical training would be able to understand the extent of some of the injuries. 

Then, the plot of the story was (to me) completely unrealistic. I don't want to say too much and give too much of the story away, however, I will say that it seemed as though the author really didn't have a set "killer" in mind when the story was written, so they had to think quick and alter the story to have someone be guilty. And even when that happened, there was no justice, no real ending or closure for the reader. 

Overall, it was a definite disappointment considering all of the rave reviews and the promise of the blurb. 

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.



 

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