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Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Review: (Detective Erika Foster #1) by Robert Bryndza


Print Length: 396 pages
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing (April 24, 2018)

From Goodreads.com: Her eyes are wide open. Her lips parted as if to speak. Her dead body frozen in the ice…She is not the only one. 

When a young boy discovers the body of a woman beneath a thick sheet of ice in a South London park, Detective Erika Foster is called in to lead the murder investigation. 

The victim, a beautiful young socialite, appeared to have the perfect life. Yet when Erika begins to dig deeper, she starts to connect the dots between the murder and the killings of three prostitutes, all found strangled, hands bound and dumped in water around London. 

What dark secrets is the girl in the ice hiding? 

As Erika inches closer to uncovering the truth, the killer is closing in on Erika. 

The last investigation Erika led went badly wrong… resulting in the death of her husband. With her career hanging by a thread, Erika must now battle her own personal demons as well as a killer more deadly than any she’s faced before. But will she get to him before he strikes again?

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My Rating: 2 stars out of 5

What I expected from the synopsis? A strong female lead with a dark and troubled past barely managing to stay one step ahead of a ruthless killer. 

What I got from the book? A mess that was harder to get through that trying to trudge uphill through quicksand with ten pound weights attached to your ankles. 

To begin with Erika as no business being the lead investigator on anything much less a high profile investigation. She's brash (she butts heads with everyone including the victim's parents), she has no respect for authority, and she goes off into dangerous situations half cocked. Its a miracle she wasn't killed (actually it was sheer luck, but that's a different story). 

The story was slow moving, even for a police type novel. And key pieces of information were easily overlooked (without giving too much away, all I can say is the minute the words au pair came up during her investigation a critical piece of information should have immediately been recognized and wasn't). The ending again seemed to be more about luck than any solid leads (and again it blows my mind how the information that eventually lead to the arrest of the subject was overlooked before that point). 

Overall, this story may still appeal to those who enjoy this type of novel, it just wasn't 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.


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                                 The Girl in the Ice is available from Amazon.com

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Review: Co-Ed by Rachel van Dyken


Print Length: 350 pages
Publisher:  (April 24, 2018)

From Goodreads.com: Four guys. 

Constant moaning. 

And a revolving door across the college suite I somehow ended up in because my first name is Shawn. 

They don't discriminate. Girls. Guys. Grandmas. Plants (okay maybe not plants) all walks of life stroll in stressed to the brim, and leave so satisfied I'm wondering what sort of talents lie behind that door. 

My roommate calls them the pleasure ponies. 

But the rest of the college campus? 

They just call them the new face of Wingmen Inc. A paid for relationship service that makes big promises. 

Breakup? They'll glue you back together again. 

Depressed? They have the magic pill. 

Lonely? Just spend a few minutes while they rub you down and you'll forget all about it. 

And broken hearts? Well, that's their specialty. They'll fix you.

For a price…

I swore I wouldn't get involved. 

But apparently they like a challenge, and a girl who doesn't put up with their BS is basically like waving a red flag in front of a bull. 

They. All. Charged. 

But one holds my attention above the rest. 

Knox Turner looks like a Viking — and getting pillaged is starting to look more appealing by the day. Though he's hiding something — all of them are. And the closer I get. The more I realize that some things are left better in the past.

You've read reverse harem books before — but you've never read one like this. It's not what you think, or is it? Dive in and find out…

Knox, Leo, Finn, and Slater are waiting, and they aren't patient men. 

Welcome to the new face of Wingmen Inc — You're welcome.



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My Rating: 3 stars out of 5

It's a sad day when you realize that you're starting to fall out of love with a favorite author. Unfortunately, it feels like that is what is happening to me. I don't know if maybe she's pushing herself too hard to be an author that writes across multiple genres, or if my expectations of her are too high, or if she's just feeling burned out. But as of late I have divided my love of her books into "Old Rachel" and "New Rachel", but more on that in a minute. 

To begin, I wanted to like this book. I LOVED the original Wingmen Inc books. But this.. whatever this was? Fell so far below what I expected that it was a struggle to finish it. I'm going to try and attempt now my reasons without giving too much away. 

Let's begin with the fact that our heroine is named Shawn. I don't have a problem with her name at all. What I do have a problem with is a college campus mistaking her for a male and placing her in an all-male dorm with a male roommate. Then telling her oops sorry, but there are no other open dorms on campus. Pretty sure that's just asking for a sexual harassment lawsuit. 

The men are all gorgeous though so Shawn's cool with it. Even if the three across the hall do keep her up at all hours of the night with the moaning she can hear coming from their room. Apparently they give excellent massages. Or something. 

I guess being an exceptionally good looking man really does entitle you to better privileges considering a short time later, Leo thinks its perfect acceptable to pull back the curtain while Shawn is showering, and have a conversation with her. I mean he keeps his eyes on her eyes, so that totally doesn't make him freaking creepy does it? Oh, and did I mention she doesn't even know his name? But instead of getting upset, or mad, she enjoys the attention. Not very realistic to me, and an ultra-dickhead move on his part, but to each their own. Also, having two characters have sex in a classroom on campus when one is a student and one is the TA? Not technically wrong, but tacky regardless. 

Now I'm going to admit that I have zero firsthand knowledge of reverse harem books. I had thought however, that the purpose of them was a single female having a connection with several men and having sexual relationships with each of them. To that end, this to me, is not a reverse harem. Sure she has a connection with the guys, but with three of them it's a friendship. She only really has a relationship with one of them. I feel like some fans of the true reverse harem are going to be strongly disappointed with this one. 

My final complaint with this story is the fact that it seemed like the author seemed to insult people from the south. No I am not naive enough to think that racism doesn't still exist. I know it does. But when a direct line from the story reads "My parents warned me that not every place was as progressive as New York. I hadn't listened. Not until going to LSU" I tend to get a little irate. Suddenly I was left wondering if this was a book that was supposed to be taking place during the height of segregation. Or maybe she just feels like racism is more prevalent in the south than anywhere else? I don't know.  Whatever the case may be, I feel like a lot of her recent books have lost the spark that made me enjoy her writing as much as I did. I keep hoping that will change.

That leaves us with my earlier statement "Old Rachel" vs "New Rachel". When I first began reading books from this author it seemed like she had a handful of releases a year (maybe 3-4 if that). Each book was witty, well-executed and the characters were as unique as the story-lines. I eagerly awaited each new story and typically loved all of them. And then something changed. Instead of having to wait months for new releases, it seems they are being released every other month (so far I've reviewed 3 others not including this one and I know she has a release scheduled for June as well). A look back at my blog? A release in January, one in February, one in March and now this in April. It seems like its more how many can I publish, not what am I giving my readers? And from an AUTHOR standpoint it makes sense. More books + More Genres = More Money. But when the QUALITY of the books suffers? Maybe not. Being completely honest? Some of the newer books? Seem like I could re-use an old review and just change the names and a couple of key plot details. That THING that made them Rachel van Dyken books is absent. It makes me sad as she was one of the first authors I took an active interest in. 

Overall, there are people to whom this book may still appeal. And I'm sure this story will even bring in some new readers/fans. I would classify it more as a rom-com with a secret than a reverse harem though. 

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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                                       Co-Ed is available from Amazon.com

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Review: When a Lady Desires a Wicked Lord (Her Majesty’s Most Secret Service #3)


Print Length: 337 pages
Publisher: Entangled Publishing (April 23, 2018)

From Goodreads.com: Brilliant Egyptologist Alexandra Quinn is stunned when the man who’d shattered her young heart rescues her from an intruder at the last minute. Forced to work with the rakish Lord, they must identify a cunning murderer who’s left a blood-drenched trail from Cairo to London. Alex knows better than to trust Benedict, but the wicked promise in his kiss tempts her.

Benedict Weston, Viscount Marlsbrook, never wanted to be a hero. For years, he’s plundered antiquities in his quest to restore his family’s debt-ridden estate. Now, a killer has targeted the only woman he’s ever loved—the woman he craves with a soul-deep hunger. He’ll do whatever it takes to protect Alex—even from himself.

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My Rating: 3 stars out of 5

Let me begin by saying that I definitely think this book will appeal to fans of historical romance novels, and especially those who have read the other books in this series (you do not have to have done so in order to enjoy this one however). I enjoy this author's writing style and the way she is able to blend in romance with mystery and just a bit of danger. In that aspect, this book was very pleasing. 

However, this story didn't seem to have the same attention grabbing flow that her other novels had. Instead of being glued to my kindle desperate for more, I found it easy to put it down and go do all the adult things I should have been doing in the first place. The plot was good, the characters were interesting (and it was nice seeing characters from the other two stories pop in as well), but there was just something missing with this one that made it more tedious than exciting. 

I will say this story did have its moments, and on the whole I am positive I will most likely be in the minority with my thoughts and opinions on this one.

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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                   When a Lady Desires a Wicked Lord  is available from Amazon.com

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Review: The Perfect Duchess (The Macalisters #2) by Erica Taylor


Print Length: 392 pages
Publisher: Amberjack Publishing (April 17, 2018)

From Goodreads.com: Andrew Macalister, oft regarded as the Stone Duke of Bradstone, hates his annual birthday ball tradition. He dislikes facing those around him who only see him for his title, and has given up on a chance to live a normal life. That is, until he spots Lady Clara Masson across the ballroom. Clara's twin sister is the woman who infamously jilted Andrew at the altar five years ago, but little does Clara know, Andrew had been smitten with her since childhood, and he finds her presence a ray of sunshine in a dreary dukedom. 

When Clara's life is threatened by her evil brother, Johnathan, Andrew must do the only thing he can think of to save her: propose marriage. Between Clara's trust issues and Andrew's battle with societal norms, two find romance under dangerous circumstances.



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My Rating: 3 stars out of 5

Let me begin this review the same way I have began many others. Although this is book number 2 in a series, you do not have to have read the other novels in order to enjoy this one. 

I thoroughly enjoyed the first novel in this series, A Suitable Affair, so I was very excited to be chosen to read this one as well. Unfortunately, while this was a good story in its own right, it didn't have quite the same appeal as the first. There was still an element of danger, and the unknown, and I quite liked how the author was able to bring those different elements together, and there was definitely some chemistry between Andrew and Clara, but my goodness did those two get on my nerves! 

Its understandable to an extent why they were guarded around each other, but after awhile, I found myself quite annoyed with Clara. Andrew tried again and again to prove his feelings for her, while she consistently doubted him. Given their history, I wouldn't have blamed Andrew if he had washed his hands of her entirely. 

I do believe this author has a strong and engaging writing style, and I do highly believe this novel will still appeal to those who enjoy historical romance novels. I will read more from this author in the future! 

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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                               The Perfect Duchess  is available from Amazon.com


Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Review: The Duke Who Ravished Me (Rebellious Brides #4) by Diana Quincy


Print Length:  pages
Publisher: Loveswept (April 17, 2018)

From Goodreads.com: Adam Fairfax, the Duke of Sunderford, happily enjoys a different woman (or two) every night—or he did, until his wards landed on his doorstep. Ever since Sunny took in the seven-year-old twin girls and their prim and proper governess, Isabel Finch, his love life has been a shambles. But, as time goes by, Sunny catches himself getting lost in Isabel’s haughty blue eyes, or following the curves beneath her unbecoming dress. An unexpected kiss ignites a passion that shocks him into realizing how thin the line between love and hate can be.

If Isabel’s hidden past were revealed, she could lose everything. Oddly enough, only when “Sinful Sunny” is near does she feel safe—or safe enough to speak up in defense of the girls. The duke’s decadent lifestyle is a disgrace, and clearly he considers Isabel a nuisance. Still, she can’t help admiring his sculpted cheekbones, strong-cut jaw, and tousled chestnut hair. When their lips meet, it’s almost as if he could kiss the secrets right out of her. Worse, she’s tempted to let him. . . .


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My Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Let me begin this review the same way I have began many others. Although this is book number 4 in an established series, you do not have to have read the other novels in order to enjoy this one. I have not read them, and I had no trouble enjoying The Duke Who Ravished Me with the information contained within this book. 

And wow what a book this was!! I was immediately drawn into this story, and these characters, so much so that I had trouble putting it down! 

Adam and Isabel have a very interesting (and realistic) relationship. They despise each other - and for good reason. Isabel cares deeply for her twin charges, wanting only what is best for them, and Adam is a self-described rake who has been known to host orgies in his home. Obviously, he is the worst possible choice to two impressionable young girls, who he calls brats from the start. 

I think the best part of this story was watching the relationship between Adam and the females in his life blossom. It was one of the "slow burn" kind of stories that I adore, and it was great fun watching him start to warm up to Prudence and Patience (his twin wards). Seeing him grow as a character, and as a man, was something I haven't seen to this degree in a very long time. It was was also refreshing to see that this change in him didn't come about overnight, and despite his best efforts, he still slipped up from time to time.

I will say that the author managed to throw a couple of twists into this story that I did not see coming at all, both of which made this story an unforgettable one! I strongly believe this story will appeal to those who enjoy well written historical novels, with a touch of erotica thrown in. I will definitely 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.


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                       The Duke Who Ravished Me  is available from Amazon.com

Friday, April 13, 2018

Review: Lord of Temptation (Rogues to Riches #4) by Erica Ridley


Print Length:  pages
Publisher: Webmotion (March 30, 2018)

From Goodreads.com: Be careful what you wish for...

When Lord Hawkridge inherits a penniless marquessate, he must abandon his courtship of the lowborn girl he loves. Years later, she rises from commoner to textiles heiress. Hawk has never banished her from his heart. Here's their chance to share his home! But how can he convince a woman whose trust he destroyed that he desires her far more than her money?

Faith Digby's chaotic world is too full to bother with men. She controls half a boarding school, one life-endangering secret, and two recently gentrified parents. There's no time for the old flame roaring back into her life. Not when admitting she still loves him would imperil everything and everyone she holds dear...


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My Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Let me begin this review the same way I have began many others. Although this is book number 4 in an established series, you do not have to have read the other novels in order to enjoy this one. Yes, characters from the prior novels do make an appearance in this novel, however there is enough background information given that even if I had not read the other novels I would have had no trouble understanding this one. 

I enjoyed this second chance romance, even if I did on more than one occasion wish I could physically throttle Hawk and Faith. They each had their own reasoning for their behaviors (both past and present), but I felt like Hawk especially was quick to anger and hurl unfair accusations even though a blind man could have seen that Faith essentially did the only thing she could have at that point. I wish we would have seen more of Faith winning over Hawk's mother as well as she (the dowager) seemed to go from one extreme to the other and while it was explained what had happened, I would have liked to actually "see" the interaction between the two women. There are a few other things I would have liked to experience with these characters as well, but on the whole I think this is a great addition to the series and will appeal to those who enjoy historical romances. I will definitely 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.


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                               Lord of Temptation is available from Amazon.com

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Review: Scandal in Spades (Lords of Chance #1) by Wendy LaCapra


Print Length: 289 pages
Publisher: Entangled Scandalous (April 9, 2018)

From Goodreads.com: The Marquess of Bromton has just learned that he’s a bastard. Feeling his honor is at stake, he attempts to bestow his estate upon a rightful heir by manipulating a high-stakes card game. But the winner demands more than Bromton bargained for—a marriage…to his spinster sister. Lady Katherine may be the least marriageable lady in all of England, but a child of their union would be a rightful heir…

Scandal has hardened Lady Katherine and narrowed her world to duty and family. There’s nothing to be trusted in the Society she left behind…especially not the imperious marquess with his single-minded pursuit. Or his knee-weakening kisses. 

Except, the more their connection deepens, the more Bromton surprises Katherine. But the truth about their courtship could destroy everything…

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My Rating: 4 stars out of 5

This was an interesting read that I could not put down! One of the things I enjoy more about any good novel is when the characters are interesting (bonus points if they are also flawed, as that means they are human) - and this story had that in spades (pardon the pun). 


Seriously though, the author brings to life delightful characters with personality (I can't wait to read Lady Julia's story although I think I may pity the man who ends up with her), and places them into a world that simply draws you in until the satisfying ending. Giles' honor shows through time and again in this story, not only when he tries to do the right thing by returning his lands to Markham, but also in his treatment of Katherine. He manages to make her smile yes, but he also gives her the hope that she had let go of so long ago. I enjoyed watching them find their way into love, even if I do wish he had been as honest with her as she had been with him. 

I believe this story will appeal to those who enjoy a well written historical novel with interesting characters and well developed stories. I can't wait to 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.


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                             Scandal in Spades is available from Amazon.com