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Monday, November 12, 2018

Review: Picture Perfect Cowboy (The Original Sinners #10) by Tiffany Reisz


Print Length: 233 pages
Publisher: 8th Circle Press (November 5, 2018)

From Goodreads.com: Jason "Still" Waters' life looks perfect from the outside—money, fame, and the words "World Champion Bull-Rider" after his name. But Jason has a secret, one he never planned on telling anybody...until he meets Simone. She's the kinky girl of his dreams...and his conservative family's worst nightmare.

"Picture Perfect Cowboy" is a standalone erotic romance from Tiffany Reisz, set in her bestselling Original Sinners series. An abridged version was previously published in "Exposed: A Romance Anthology" as the novella "The Watermark."

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My Rating: 3 stars out of 5

While I definitely enjoyed this story, I did feel like there was something missing. Maybe it was too short? Maybe I expected too much having been a fan of the Original Sinners since the beginning? 

Jason and Simone were both undeniably interesting and complex characters. I enjoyed how they opened up to each other and how she helped him to embrace what he was. I do wish we could have seen more of her actually "winning over" his ultra-conservative family. Maybe that was it - we didn't really see much growth between these two. They went from strangers to lovers to being "in love" in the span of about a week. And while I am not against love at first sight, I do enjoy seeing certain obstacles actually being overcome in "real time" and not just reading about them after the fact. Simone definitely had a long road ahead of her winning over the Waters family, but I know she was up to the task. 

There were a lot of romantic moments in this story, and I loved the appearance of Nora and Søren, so overall I do think this story will appeal to long-time fans of the series. For a first time reader? This may be a hit or miss, but I would definitely recommend that they pick up The Siren (Original Sinners #01), or even another in the series so that they can fully experience what a gifted author Mistress Tiffany is. I would 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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                            Picture Perfect Cowboy is available from Amazon.com


Friday, November 9, 2018

Review: Kiss Me at Christmas (Playful Brides #10) by Valerie Bowman


Print Length: 299 pages
Publisher: St.Martin's Press (October 30, 2018)

From Goodreads.com: A spirited lady facing spinsterhood. A common man with a noble mission. And a surprise that just might be waiting for them under the mistletoe. . .

Bow Street Runner Daffin Oakleaf abhors Christmas. Carol singing and holiday cheer only remind him of a dark time. When a close friend calls on him for help, Daffin is happy to capitalize on the distraction. But when he learns the lovely Lady Regina is the one in danger, he’s to become bodyguard to the captivating woman…

Regina has one mission: to find a night of passion in the arms of a gentleman. Considered firmly on the shelf, Regina has given up on marriage—but that doesn’t mean she wants to be denied the pleasure married ladies experience. Daffin has long captured her attention…and when a threat calls him to her side, the sparks between them ignite. But how can a hired bodyguard find his way into Regina’s noble heart?

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My Rating: 3 stars out of 5

Let me say right off the bat that while this is labeled as book #10 in a series, I do believe I have only read three, maybe four of the others in this series. And while for me, I don't think this fact kept me from enjoying this one, I will say that the couple from book #9 do play a very large role as "support" so it probably would help to know at least a bit about them. 

I very much enjoyed the romance between Daffin and Regina - but again - we got to see the majority of their friendship develop in a prior novel. If you can overlook the specifics and simply be content with the fact that they did know each other, and they did have a flirtatious relationship prior to this story, then again, you should enjoy this one very much. There is more banter between them, and a lot of sharing of secrets and really getting to know each other on a deeper level - both of which I enjoyed. 

Where this one fell flat is with the mysterious person who wishes Regina and/or Nicole harm. When all is said and done and the culprit revealed, it made no sense. Nor did I feel any real sense of closure. Sure one person had been apprehended, and perhaps with Regina finding a bit of romance with Daffin and Nicole happily settled with her husband, the "bad guy" would just move on with their life, but I wanted more. I wanted the person actually accountable to be held as such and I don't feel as though we got that. 

All things considered I'm sure there are a number of people who will enjoy this story, and some that will not. 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.

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                               Kiss Me at Christmas is available from Amazon.com

Monday, November 5, 2018

Review: The Craftsman (The Craftsman #1) by Sharon J. Bolton


Print Length: 432 pages
Publisher: Minotaur Books  (October 16, 2018)

From Goodreads.com: Florence Lovelady's career was made when she convicted coffin-maker Larry Grassbrook of a series of child murders 30 years ago in a small village in Lancashire. Like something out of a nightmare, the victims were buried alive. Florence was able to solve the mystery and get a confession out of Larry before more children were murdered., and he spent the rest of his life in prison.
But now, decades later, he's dead, and events from the past start to repeat themselves. Is someone copying the original murders? Or did she get it wrong all those years ago? When her own son goes missing under similar circumstances, the case not only gets reopened... it gets personal.
In master of suspense Sharon Bolton's latest thriller, readers will find a page-turner to confirm their deepest fears and the only protagonist who can face them.


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My Rating: 3 stars out of 5

I have mixed feelings about this novel. On one hand, I feel like the synopsis is very misleading. In a vague sense, things happen like promised, but I only remember one person actually being found buried alive (as far as I know the other two were never found). Added to that, after he died, the only event to repeat was the disappearance of her son. I feel like it was hyped up to be something that in the end, it was not. And that was very disappointing. 

But on the other hand, what we were given was such a complex, and interesting read that it was enjoyable. I still don't quite understand why certain people acted the way they did when nothing came of it, but there were definitely some surprising twists that I did not see coming! I enjoyed how the book spent time focusing on the events of the past, allowing the reader not only to experience the crimes, but also the dynamics of the team and all of the players. I felt that it was because we had lived that with them that it made what happened in the present more edge-of-your seat. 

There are some paranormal elements in this that may not be everyone's cup of tea, but I felt for this particular story they worked. I would read more from this author, and I did notice that this book is part one. I am just curious enough I would read more in this series to see what else the author can do with it.

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 Craftsman is available from Amazon.com

Friday, November 2, 2018

Review: Dangerous Exes (Liars, Inc. #2) by Rachel Van Dyken


Print Length: 318 pages
Publisher: Skyscape (October 30, 2018)

From Goodreads.com: Isla made one teeny little mistake. Now she and her PI company, Dirty Exes, are being targeted by one seriously angry and furiously sexy ex-quarterback. Jessie freakin’ Beckett. But there’s no way some NFL superhunk is going to take her business away. If only he didn’t make her so hot—and bothered.
Jessie wants payback for a ruined reputation. His plan? Top secret. His hard-to-hide arousal for Isla? Not so much. Especially when they let down their guards and sneak a kiss. Like any juicy scandal, it goes so viral, so fast, that only a good lie can combat the bad press. Mortal enemies in a fling? No way. Um…this is love!
Actually…could it be?
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My Rating: 3 stars out of 5

This was classic RvD. There were parts that were laugh out loud funny, parts that were steamy, and parts that ...... had me shaking my head.

Let me start off with saying that I love the classic slow burn enemies to lovers story. And while yes, we did get a glimpse of them being friends in the first book, I don't feel it necessary to have read in order to enjoy this one. While there is some definite "Throwback" to the first, I feel enough "backstory" is given as well that it makes this story easy to follow. 

However Isla and Jessie fell flat. To begin with, I feel like he "caught feelings" entirely way too soon which was out of character for someone that burned (both by his ex and by Isla's company). When they fight, its great. When they compromise, it's amazing. The in. between? Ehhhhhhhh.

Goo-Pah is a stand out character, but what she is not is another Grandma Nadine. Where Nadine was funny, Goo-Pah is creepy. Delivering chickens and marriage beds along with what is basically date rape tea? Not cool. No wonder Isla has such a hard time dating. Any sane man would definitely be scared off. Ok...ok.. let me clarify. The date rape tea is and isn't exactly what you think. It's made to enhance certain things (think Viagra but in tea form) but Isla doesn't spike his drink. In fact, he makes it willingly, but he THINKS it will cure his headache, and Isla is all too happy to reap the benefits of it. So to me... to-MA-to... to-ma-TO.... same thing just worded differently. 

I feel like while this was for the most part a funny, and cute read, there was too much that didn't add up. A fake engagement is one thing. A fake pregnancy? Maybe not something that should be joked about. 

All things considered I'm sure there are a number of people who will enjoy this story, and some that will not. 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.

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                                        Dangerous Exes is available from Amazon.com

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Blog Tour & Review: First Earl I See Tonight by Anna Bennett


Print Length: 352 pages
Publisher: St. Martin's Press (October 30, 2018)
Genre: Historical Romance
Tour Organized by: St. Martin's Press

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. 

From Goodreads.com:  An heiress with a daring proposal. An earl who’s determined to resist her. And a love that just might be written in the stars… 

Recently jilted by his fiancée, David Gray, Earl of Ravenport is not in the market for a wife. Even if Gray didn’t have his hands full renovating his crumbling country house, it would take more than a bold marriage proposal from a headstrong young beauty to thaw his frozen heart. Gray is confident that spending a week at his ramshackle estate will change her mind about marriage, but every passionate moment he spends with her tempts him to change his…

A talented artist, Miss Fiona Hartley desperately needs her dowry money to pay off a blackmailer set on ruining her sister. The handsome earl seems a sensible choice for a husband…if only she can convince him that romance will play no part. But marrying in name only may prove difficult for Fiona. Gray can’t help but be dazzled by her genuine warmth. Yet as their feelings deepen, Fiona’s deadline looms. Will her secrets destroy them, or is true love their final destiny?


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My Rating: 4 stars out of 5

This is one of those unfortunate stories that manages to be both good and forgettable. I feel as though with a couple of changes this would have been a five star read. There are some things that don't make sense, some things that are just downright overplayed, and unfortunately some things that are downright irritating. 

Let me begin by saying that the characters are well written, complex, and fun to read. I adored Fiona's determination to do anything to save her sister, and I loved Gray's slow transformation from jaded Earl back to the person I imagine he would have been had his life not been wrought with tragedy. Lily and Sophie do not thankfully fade away as background characters, rather they hold their own as secondary characters, and I very much hope to see them both receive their own happily-ever-afters. 

No, my problem with this story is in the execution. Fiona's father is rich. This is well known, and yet instead of going to him directly and threatening to expose his youngest daughters secret, our blackmailer instead chooses Fiona. Knowing she cannot access the kind of money they demand. Perhaps they thought she would ask her father, but if they had studied her at all, they would have known that Fiona is just the type of head-strong person to try and find a solution by themselves. And while the romance between Fiona and Gray is just the type of slow burn romance I adore, the way the author tied up the loose ends (the identity of the blackmailer, his ex-fiance suddenly coming back into the picture, the anticipation of wedding vows, etc), it just seemed rushed and altogether reminiscent of a lot of the other historical romance novels on the market today.

Overall, I do still think this story may appeal to those who enjoy historical romances now and then (especially the slow burn kind), and who are able to overlook certain things. 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.


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About the Author:
 Anna Bennett started swiping romances from her mom’s bookshelf as a teenager and decided that books with balls, dukes, and gowns were the best. So, when she had the chance to spend a semester in London she packed her bags—and promptly fell in love with the city, its history, and its pubs. She dreamed of writing romance, but somehow ended up a software analyst instead.


Fortunately, a few years and a few careers later, Anna found her way back to writing the stories she loves and won the Romance Writers of America’s Golden Heart®. She lives in Maryland with her husband and three children, who try valiantly not to roll their eyes whenever she quotes Jane Austen.
Anna's books include of the Wayward Wallflowers series and the Debutante Diaries series.


You can learn more about this author by visiting her websiteFacebook or Twitter


                            First Earl I See Tonight  is available from Amazon.com

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Review: Leverage in Death (In Death #47) by J.D. Robb


Print Length: 385 pages
Publisher: St.Martin's Press (September 4, 2018)

From Goodreads.com: Lieutenant Eve Dallas puzzles over a bizarre suicide bombing in a Wall St. office building in the latest in the #1 New York Times bestselling series…

For the airline executives finalizing a merger that would make news in the business world, the nine a.m. meeting would be a major milestone. But after marketing VP Paul Rogan walked into the plush conference room, strapped with explosives, the headlines told of death and destruction instead. The NYPSD’s Eve Dallas confirms that Rogan was cruelly coerced by two masked men holding his family hostage. His motive was saving his wife and daughter―but what was the motive of the masked men?

Despite the chaos and bad publicity, blowing up one meeting isn’t going to put the brakes on the merger. All it’s accomplished is shattering a lot of innocent lives. Now, with the help of her billionaire husband Roarke, Eve must untangle the reason for an inexplicable act of terror, look at suspects inside and outside both corporations, and determine whether the root of this crime lies in simple sabotage, or something far more complex and twisted.
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My Rating: 3 stars out of 5

After 47  books in a single series, it isn't uncommon for one or two of those books to miss the mark in one way or another. And unfortunately that seems to be the case with this one. 

The characters, while still the same ones we have come to know and love seem somehow stilted in their stories this go-round. There seems to be less of the witty, engaging and sometimes downright romantic dialogue and behaviors we are used to and more of a general impression. This is like buying the cheap knock off instead of the name brand just to save a few bucks. 

Also, I truly believe she missed a golden (no pun intended) opportunity by not having a certain event come into play sooner. Even if thwarted, it would have been an edge of your seat, heart pounding thrill ride had she chosen to take it in that direction. Unfortunately due to spoilers, I can't say anymore about it than that. 

I still do enjoy the way Eve's mind works and how she can look at the details and see the bigger picture without losing anything. It's always fun to see Eve in action and in that aspect this was no different. 

Overall, I would recommend this story to those who have enjoyed the other books, and I will read more in this series. However, due to the fact that we are now 47 books in, I would not recommended reading this one if you have NOT read any of the prior novels as you are missing out on a ton of information. 

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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                            Leverage in Death is available from Amazon.com


Thursday, October 25, 2018

Review: It Only Takes a Kiss (Once Upon a Bride #2) by Wilma Counts


Print Length: 233 pages
Publisher: Lyrical Press (October 16, 2018)

From Goodreads.com: Best friends since their schooldays, Henrietta, Harriet, and Hero are wise and witty young ladies, embarking on the sometimes bumpy road to happily-ever-after, each in her own brilliant way...

Hero Whitby has harbored long-buried fears since a devastating attack by two young men of the privileged class. Now, while her peers aspire to husband-hunting, Hero pursues her passion to be a doctor, working alongside her father, a respected Devonshire physician. But when a badly beaten stranger is carried in to his practice, Hero is stunned by her reaction. Over three days of tending to the man, along with her instinct to heal, she finds herself intensely drawn to him.

Robbed and left for dead for highwaymen, Alexander Sterne has no memory of his past as a soldier in Wellington's army—or as a carousing playboy. But as he becomes aware of his surroundings and the plight of the locals, Alex realizes only he can break the corrupt hold of an evil land steward. And when Hero's tender kiss awakens him from sleep—and restores his identity—he knows that he must regain not only his strength but a newfound compassion...which can only be ignited by Hero and a meeting of hearts that may heal them both.
 


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My Rating: 4 stars out of 5

While I do feel as though there were times when the pace of this story slowed to a crawl, and there were other times when details were added that were wholly unnecessary, on the whole, I very much enjoyed it. I liked that Hero was not only encouraged to help her father in the medical field, but respected all the more for it. I loved how strong-willed and independent she came across. This was truly a woman who was in charge of her own life, and who knew her own mind. 

I feel similarly about Alex. He has been through the horrors of war, still in face relives them in his dreams, but even then he is determined to do what is right to help others. Once he learns how dire things are on his estate, he jumps in with both feet to see they are fixed (or least on the path of being fixed). 

Their romance was an interesting one. On one hand I can understand Alex's reasons for some of the things he did, but it was because he didn't share those reasons that I can also understand why Hero reacted the way she did. There was a lot of drama and angst between these two that could have been resolved had they both not been so bloody stubborn.

All in all, I do think this story will be enjoyed by those who enjoy historical romances with strong characters, and intriguing story-lines. 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.

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                           It Only Takes a Kiss is available from Amazon.com