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Friday, December 8, 2017

Review: The Tangled Lock (The National Crime Agency #3) by Bill Rogers


Print Length: 376 pages
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer (December 14, 2017)

From Goodreads.com: Can SI Joanne Stuart find the killer—before he finds her?
A serial killer haunts the streets of Manchester, targeting vulnerable working girls in the dead of night. His signature: a tangled lock of hair in his victims’ throats.
As the body count rises, pressure mounts for the Greater Manchester Police and the National Crime Agency’s Behavioural Sciences Unit. For Senior Investigator Joanne Stuart, the race is on to catch the twisted killer before he strikes again.
With DCI Gordon Holmes on her back and the press following her every step, Jo will stop at nothing to bring the murderer to justice. But her separation from her partner, Abbie, is a distraction she can ill afford. As the hunt continues, will Jo be able to focus on the case or will her personal troubles have disastrous consequences?
When Jo finds herself targeted by the killer, she realizes that the game of cat and mouse she is playing could turn deadly…for her.

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My Rating: 3 stars out of 5

Let me begin by saying that I have not read any of the prior novels in this series, and while I don't feel that made this story hard to follow or understand, I do wonder if maybe I would have a better understanding of the main characters had I read the earlier books. 

I found this story to be an accurate depiction of police work. Tedious, unfulfilling, big build up for a let down, lucky break and finally action. I'm not saying there is anything wrong with that, merely that parts of this story drag on. So much so that I constantly found myself distracted by other things. Once the investigation actually starts moving however, I was glued to my kindle in an attempt to find out what would happen next. It's just a shame it had to take as long to get there as it did. 

Overall, I am sure this story will definitely appeal to those who enjoy a well written police procedural novel. I will 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 Tangled Lock is available from Amazon.com

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

COVER REVEAL: SPIRAL OF BLISS THE COMPLETE SERIES


The professor and his beauty... From an exhilarating crush to the intensities of marriage, Liv and Dean West embark on a passionate lifelong journey together. As the medieval history professor and his beloved wife face both personal challenges and painful battles, they never lose sight of the hope, humor, and devotion that belong only to them. Liv and Dean's everlasting romance will melt your heart, turn you on, and enchant you with the power of a love to end all loves.        



  New York Times & USA Today bestselling author Nina Lane writes hot, sexy romances about professors, bad boys, candy makers, and protective alpha males who find themselves consumed with love for one woman alone. Originally from California, Nina holds a PhD in Art History and an MA in Library and Information Studies, which means she loves both research and organization. She also enjoys traveling and thinks St. Petersburg, Russia is a city everyone should visit at least once. Although Nina would go back to college for another degree because she's that much of a bookworm and a perpetual student, she now lives the happy life of a full-time writer. Website | Facebook | Twitter | Newsletter   

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Review: A Beauty for the Scarred Duke by Bridget Barton


Print Length: 503 pages
Publisher: Bridget Barton (September 17, 2017)

From Goodreads.com: As young girls, Lady Isabella Tate, daughter of the Earl of Upperton, and her friend, Esme, told each other terrifying tales of the monster. But not just any monster. This monster was alive and living in his old mansion behind a tangle of overgrown hawthorn trees in the very same county. This monster was none other than Elliot Covington, the Duke of Caldwell.
The Duke of Caldwell, scarred for life in a fire which claimed the lives of those dearest to him has been hiding in his mansion for almost eighteen years. He knows he is a figure of fear and speculation in the county and chose many years before to live a life of self-imposed isolation. But he is the loneliest Duke in all of England. When the Earl of Upperton sells his daughter off as a bride for the disfigured Duke, Isabella has never been more terrified. Due to marry a man she has never met and always believed to be a monster, she truly believes her life is over.
But is life with the Duke really something to be afraid of? Will Isabella be able to get past her own prejudice and see the man beneath the scars? And will the Duke be able to let go of the pain and guilt that has swallowed him whole for almost two decades and find a new life with a new love?
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My Rating: 3 stars out of 5

I will be the first to admit that I am a sucker for a story that features flawed characters - either physically or emotionally. So I was SOLD by the premise of this story. It even started off strong, albeit slightly unbelievable. And then it just kind of... stalled. 

It felt like the characters were never really entirely fleshed out. And instead of meaningful character or story development we got page after page of "Elliot would't face her head on" or "Elliot kept the scarred version of his face averted". The female of our story, as I loathe to call her a heroine, wasn't much better. It seemed like she had no backbone or thought of her own. She couldn't seem to come up with an idea or a plan unless it was suggested to her by someone else. 

The whole story was more them dragging their heels, supposedly falling in love without giving any cause to have done so, and seemingly random roadblocks thrown in their paths. One of the biggest letdowns of this entire story was the mention of an annulment. Acting as though it wouldn't in some way, harm the reputation of Isabella. 

Don't get me wrong it had it's moments, however I feel like it could have been vastly improved if we had a little more depth to the characters. 

Overall, I do believe this story may still appeal to those who enjoy slightly unconventional historically romance novels. 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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A Beauty for the Scarred Duke is available from Amazon.com


Thursday, November 30, 2017

Review: A Good Day to Marry a Duke (Sin and Sensibility #1) by Betina Krahn


Print Length: 336 pages
Publisher: Zebra (November 28, 2017)

From Goodreads.com: Daisy Bumgarten isn't thrilled to be trying to catch a duke's attention while dressed like a flower pot caught in a swarm of butterflies. But, after all, when in Rome (or in this case London society)... Since her decidedly disastrous debut among New York's privileged set, the sassy Nevada spitfire's last chance to "marry well" lies across the pond, here in England. If she must restrain her free spirit, not to mention her rib cage, so be it. She knows she owes it to her three younger sisters to succeed.

Now, under a countess's tutelage, Daisy appears the perfect duchess-in-training...Until notorious ladies' man Lord Ashton Graham, a distraction of the most dangerous kind, glimpses her mischievous smile and feisty nature—and attempts to unmask her motives. Daisy has encountered snakes on the range, but one dressed to the nines in an English drawing room is positively unnerving—and maddeningly seductive. When a veiled plot emerges to show up Daisy as unworthy of the aristocracy, will Ashton be her worst detractor? Or the nobleman she needs most of all?



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My Rating: 3 stars out of 5

I tried really hard to love this novel. The synopsis sounded good, the story started off strong, and I thought for sure this would be a four or five star read. Initially I loved Daisy. She was the kind of head strong, I-do-what-I-want kind of girls that I can't help but adore. Sure, she made some mistakes, but what young person doesn't? 

And then Ashton appeared. And time and again, it was all about the carnal pleasures with these two. No, they didn't have sex, but they were constantly kissing, and touching, and just generally being inappropriate with each other. And yes, ok,  I get it they are attracted to one another on a primal level. They have chemistry. But every time they get together? It was too much. I think the story would have been more enjoyable if these two did exactly what they did in terms of getting to know each other, without trying to paw each other EVERY TIME they came in contact. Once or twice? Sure! 

Finally, there is poor Arthur. He deserved so much more than what he got; yes with Daisy, but more so with his own family. I loved seeing him finally stand up to his uncles and really come into himself as a character. I think out of all the characters he had the biggest story ARC, and I hope to see him get his happily ever after in a future story. I would also like to see more of Daisy's sisters, and Ashton's friend -appropriately nicknamed the fox. We got a glimpse of these characters (some more than others), and I would love to see what happens with them.

Overall, I do believe this story will still appeal to those who enjoy slightly unconventional romance novels. 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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A Good Day to Marry a Duke is available from Amazon.com


Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Review: The Bachelor Contract Rachel Van Dyken


Print Length: 336 pages
Publisher: Forever (November 28, 2017)

From Goodreads.com: She's everywhere.

Ex-wife.

Love of his life.

The last person in the world he wanted to see...ever.

And now that he's working beside her every day, he can't escape her. Her scent, glimpses of her smile, even the tension in the air that makes his body hum with the kind of need he'd only experienced with one person-all of it is driving him over the edge.

Brant Wellington was certain of three things: 

Alcohol wasn't going to solve this. 

He really was losing his F-ing mind. 

And his gorgeous ex-wife was going to be the death of him.


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My Rating: 3 stars out of 5
This review has been giving me some trouble for awhile now. There were some aspects of this story that I really enjoyed, some that had me shaking my head, and others that just simply made me mad. But before I get into the reasons why, let my start off by saying that yes this is book three in a series, yes characters from those books do appear in this one as well, but no, you do not have to have read the others in order for this one to make sense. I read the first one, but not the second, and still had no trouble putting things together. 

One of the biggest problems I had with this story is that it seems as though a lot of authors, Rachel included, have as of late fallen into the trap of making their lead male characters complete and utter jerks. I seriously spent half of this story wanting to smack him in the head with the nearest blunt object, and the other half wishing Niki would just wash her hands of him and be done with it. I understand that they were young when they married, and that they went through some traumatic things together, but after four years of being separated the way Brant treats her is abhorrent. He is prone to bouts of irrational, and often misplaced anger, usually directed at Niki. I've honestly lost count of the number of times he made her cry, or otherwise acted like the lowest of scum towards her.

Speaking of Niki, as far as I'm concerned, she is weak and deserves to be fired from her job. No, she doesn't deserve to lose her job because she allows Brant to treat her horribly, but because during one session with Brant (during which the lights were off) this supposedly professional masseuse not only allowed her client (whom at the time she not only did NOT know it was Brant, but also thought he was a married man) to kiss her, but also engaged in other completely unprofessional and inappropriate behavior. It wasn't cute, or funny. 

And while I am on the subject of completely unprofessional behavior, after Brant once again treats Niki in the worst of ways, probably the worst way of all, the staff of the resort starts treating him poorly. While it was much deserved, the fact that they did so in front of the OWNER's of the resort reflects badly on them and not Brant. If I were the owner, I would have been tempted to fire the lot of them. Regardless of how much someone deserves what happens to them, when you are in a professional setting, you need to act professional. What happens the next time an employee gets their heart broken? 

And because I like to end things whenever possible on a positive note, let me end this review by saying two words. GRANDMA NADINE. Yes, everyone's favorite wine drinking, matchmaking, take-no-prisoners Grandma is not only back, but up to her old tricks! She will forever be one of my favorite Rachel characters.

Overall, I do believe this story will still appeal to those who enjoy romantic comedies. 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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The Bachelor Contract is available from Amazon.com





Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Review: Redeeming Lord Ryder (Cotswold Confidential #3) by Maggie Robinson


Print Length: 218 pages
Publisher: Lyrical Press (November 21, 2017)

From Goodreads.com: After two months of treatment at Puddling-on-the-Wold, Mary Nicola Mayfield has shown no improvement, and her condition seems impervious to rehab. But Nicola is not the typical guest of Gloucestershire’s destination village for the wealthy and wayward. The trauma of surviving a horrific train wreck has rendered her mute; her injuries have healed, but try as she might, she cannot utter a sound. With her family and fiancĂ© at their wits’ end, Nicola knows Puddling is the resort—the last resort—that holds any hope for her recovery.

Lord Jack Ryder—baron, businessman and, some say, mad genius—has gone from the heights of success to hit rock bottom, after a faulty girder from his iron foundry caused a dreadful bridge collapse. Nothing has assuaged his guilt over the passenger train that crashed or the lives that were destroyed. The stringent regimen at Puddling is not doing much for his deep depression—until he meets his mysteriously silent neighbor. Their fiery affair breaks all the rules, but will the unspoken truth be too hot to handle?
 

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My Rating: 3 stars out of 5
Let me begin this review as I so often begin reviews of stories that are part of a series. You do not have to have read the prior stories in order to understand and enjoy this one. 

This story had such a beautiful potential, that it was really a let down to see Nicola end up behaving the way that she did. Originally, I loved both of these characters. They were witty, unconventional, and independent. I enjoyed the thoughtful way that Jack brought Nicola a notebook and colored pencils so that they would easily be able to communicate. They had some laugh-out-loud moments together, and it was easy to fall for Jack's charming ways. So I can understand why Nicola fell for him, and why she initially offered to take him to bed. 

However. 

**********BEGIN SPOILERS********

The moment Jack turns her down was the moment where my enjoyment of Jack increased, and my enjoyment of Nicola severely decreased. The man repeatedly told her that while he was attracted to her, and would like nothing more to take her to bed, his honor demanded more of him. He spurned her advances in (mostly) the nicest ways possible, but Nicola just could not take the hint. She even went so far as to turn up at his cottage at night wearing nothing but her shoes, stockings and cloak. And at another point basically demanded that Jack disrobe in her room so that she could look at him. She was pushy, and honestly that is when I started to wish Jack would turn his attentions elsewhere. He deserved better than someone who claimed to have affection for him, but who repeatedly tried to coerce him into doing things he wasn't comfortable with, and whom tried to force him into carnal pleasures when he made his position on the matter quite clear. 

**********END SPOILERS********

Overall, I do believe this story may still appeal to those who enjoy slightly unconventional romance novels. 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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Redeeming Lord Ryder is available from Amazon.com


Sunday, November 19, 2017

Review: The Chase by Sara Portman


Print Length: 320 pages
Publisher: Lyrical Press (November 21, 2017)

From Goodreads.com: According to his father's terms, Michael Rosevear's duty is to be ignored—until such time as he is useful. Now that the earldom is in need of funds, Michael is to be sold off in marriage to the daughter of a crass but wealthy merchant willing to pay for any connection to nobility—even one from the wrong side of the blanket.

En route to his fate in London, Michael does not plan to board an extra passenger. Yet there is something in the young miss's desperate plea that tugs at his conscience—though he is certain her story is a fabrication.

Juliana Crawford has fled her father's cruel home. Using a false name to evade pursuit, she must find a private traveler with whom to complete her escape. Chance matches her with a dark and wounded young lord who guards his own secrets just as carefully. The unlikely pair embark on a journey filled with revelations and unexpected adventure—one that may lead them to question whether to part at their destination—or change course entirely.
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My Rating: 4 stars out of 5
This was a cute, stand alone story that I believe will be enjoyed by those who enjoy historical romances with strong characters. 

I enjoyed both of these characters, even if there were times I wanted to smack them. Julianna was head-strong, although emotionally scarred by the acts of her cruel father. While I found it admirable that she set off alone to claim her inheritance and start a life of her own, it was obvious that she had no idea how the world works. Especially towards women during that time. At times, I found her independent streak and head-strong nature to be more of a hindrance than a help. 

Michael on the other hand, was physically scarred, and very much set in his ways, such as they were. He loathed to be called away from his beloved brewery, but resigned himself to do what it was his father asked. I enjoyed seeing these two interact with each other and watch their carefully constructed walls begin to come down, and their heavily guarded secrets begin to come to light.  

Romance was the least thing on either of their minds, in fact both had resigned themselves to their respective fates, so to see them go from strangers, to tentative acquaintances was a lot of fun. The romance that blossomed only did more to heighten my enjoyment of this story. 

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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The Chase is available from Amazon.com