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Monday, September 17, 2018

Review: Drawn to the Marquess (Imperfect Lords #2) by Bronwen Evans



Print Length: 223 pages
Publisher: Loveswept (September 4, 2018)

From Goodreads.com: Stephen Hornsby, the Marquess of Clevedon, has one goal: to see every exquisite thing he can before he goes blind. His greatest joy, watching a woman shuddering in the throes of passion, will be gone. But before the darkness descends, he is determined to seduce a magnificent widow, Lady Penelope Fisherton. Unfortunately, his rakish reputation has preceded him; Lady Penelope spurns his advances. Being a man who relishes a challenge, however, her reluctance adds only luster to his desire for the last beautiful sight he’ll ever see.

Considered the belle of London society, Lady Penelope was married to a scoundrel who cared for no one but himself. Now that she’s free, she wants nothing to do with love, passion, or desire—emotions that abandoned her with a cruel husband. So why does her body react when Stephen smiles? As much as she’d like to avoid the rogue, her brother-in-law wants her fortune, and he’ll kill to get it. Stephen is willing to help, but he’ll take only one thing in return: Her. In his bed.


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My Rating: 3 stars out of 5

Let me begin by saying that this book can be read as a stand alone if you have not already read Addicted to the Duke. And while Alex and Hestia do make an appearance in this story, there will be nothing lost by not having read it beforehand. 

There is much to be enjoyed by this story. Pen is a strong willed woman who knows what she wants (and more importantly what she doesn't want). The fact that Stephen had a genetic condition gave him a depth that isn't often seen in historical romances (usually its a war injury or a carriage accident, etc). 

What kept me from fully enjoying this story however is the fact that there were just some things that did not make sense. Stephen worked for the crown - he was one of the best at what he did - and yet Pen didn't think to entrust him with the entire story? Instead she allowed herself to be made to look like she had a part in it. I also feel like there were too many loose threads left hanging (take the magistrate for instance - why was his inquiry missing so much important information? How could they turn a blind eye to what was happening)?

However, on the whole I do believe this story will be well received by those who enjoy this author as well as those who enjoy stories where things are not always as they appear to be.

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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                            Drawn to the Marquess is available from Amazon.com

*9/kg fx

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Review: Lies by T. M. Logan


Print Length: 
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer (June 26, 2018)

From Goodreads.com: WHAT IF YOUR WHOLE LIFE WAS BASED ON LIES?
When Joe Lynch stumbles across his wife driving into a hotel car park while she's supposed to be at work, he's intrigued enough to follow her in.

And when he witnesses her in an angry altercation with family friend Ben, he knows he ought to intervene.

But just as the confrontation between the two men turns violent, and Ben is knocked unconscious, Joe's young son has an asthma attack - and Joe must flee in order to help him.

When he returns, desperate to make sure Ben is OK, Joe is horrified to find that Ben has disappeared.

And that's when Joe receives the first message . . .
 

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My Rating: 1 star out of 5

The first chapter or so of this story started off with intense story-telling and an engaging story. And then.... it all fell apart. And rather quickly at that. To begin with, there is very little even likable about these characters. Ben comes across as a pompous jerk, Mel is just fake and unbelievable, and maybe, just maybe, if Joe actually put his brains to good use he would have figured things out a lot sooner. For Pete's sake the answer to one question was literally glaring him in the face and it took him until the end of the story to put two and two together. For someone who was supposedly a teacher, it was easy to see why (as Mel pointed out), he hadn't been promoted. 

There were certain parts of this story that showed potential, but they were often quickly overshadowed by other elements that just seemed completely unfeasible. I am all for suspending reality to an extent - after all isn't that what fiction is all about? But even the police force in this story seemed more bumbling than actually efficient. 

The ending I'm sure will not come as a surprise to anyone that reads this story and actually follows the clues. However, I'm sure their eyes will get a good work out from all the rolling they will likely do - if they even make it this far. Also, let me point out that for two people who were so intelligent and tech savvy as these two were purported to be, the fact that they didn't notice things going on with their own electronics (and that of those around them) was just too far-fetched. 

I do believe there are people who will enjoy this novel (as evidenced by the 4 and 5 star reviews it has already accumulated), however this one was just not 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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                                      Lies is available from Amazon.com

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Review: Perfect Silence (D.I. Callanach #4) by Helen Sarah Fields



Print Length: 432 pages
Publisher: Avon (August 23, 2018)

From Goodreads.com: When silence falls, who will hear their screams?

The body of a young girl is found dumped on the roadside on the outskirts of Edinburgh. When pathologists examine the remains, they make a gruesome discovery: the silhouette of a doll carved in the victim’s skin. And when a macabre ragdoll is found nestled beside an abandoned baby, DI Luc Callanch learns the killer’s horrifying game plan – cutting out dolls from the flesh of his victims.

When a series of drug-users are brutally branded with the letter Z slashed into their foreheads, Luc and his partner Ava must risk both their jobs and their lives to unearth the truth. Is this the merciless work of the same assailant?

As the killer’s twisted games persist, Luc knows it’s only a matter of time before he strikes again. Can they stop another victim from being silenced forever – or is it already too late?


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My Rating: 3 stars out of 5

Let me begin by saying that I have NOT read the prior three novels in this series. And while I had no trouble following this one, I do feel as though I missed out on some key points from the prior novels in terms of character development and relationships. 

This is one of those novels that I feel sticks very close to actual police work. There is a lot of butt kissing (especially to those in charge), a lot of late nights, and a lot of boring details in between the good stuff. And while this story was engaging enough that I often had trouble putting it down, I do believe there are ways that would have been able to cut out the useless parts and still keep the story intact. There were just enough loose ends character wise that I want to know what comes next! Although I am slightly unhappy at the way certain things ended (without giving full closure), I feel like this author set up the next book(s) in the series rather well. The religious aspect to the dolls was something I also something that I had not seen before, and I am wondering if the missing aspects of this story will somehow tie into the next.

Overall, I feel that the way the author delivered this story is sure to appeal to those who enjoy thriller novels and police procedural fiction novels. I would definitely read more from this author (and from this series)!

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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                                Perfect Silence is available from Amazon.com

Monday, September 3, 2018

Review: Lord of Vice (Rogues to Riches #6) by Erica Ridley


Print Length: 243 pages
Publisher: Webmotion (August 31, 2018)

From Goodreads.com: Appearances can be deceiving… 

Vice merchant Maxwell Gideon is wickedly handsome, sinfully arrogant, and devilishly ruthless. Rumor has it, his gaming hell has the power to steal souls and grant miracles. Truth is, Max only owns half of The Cloven Hoof. He’d buy out his silent partner if he knew the man’s identity. But it’s hard to focus on business matters when a fallen angel tumbles right into one’s lap… 

Miss Bryony Grenville has a well-earned reputation as an unrepentant hoyden. But even the gossipiest of the pinch-faced matrons ruling High Society could never imagine the daughter of a baronet secretly financing the ton’s most infamous gambling parlor. Its maddening, sexy proprietor doesn’t suspect a thing… and two can play at temptation! 


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My Rating: 4 stars out of 5

What an absolutely perfect end to this series! I have read each of the novels in this series (although, don't be mislead, you do NOT have to have done so yourself in order to understand and enjoy this one), and they never fail to disappoint! 

Max and Bryony were evenly matched both in their stubbornness and in their feelings for each other (and about society as a whole). I loved the way these two verbally sparred with each other, and watching their bemusement turn into affection was truly a joy to watch. I also very much enjoy the way the author doesn't hold back from the realities of the time, they were very unevenly matched in terms of how society viewed them, and there was no shortage of people waiting to point this out. However, despite the odds being stacked against them, they still found a way to make things work. 

There were a couple times where I did worry about their reaching a happily ever after due to the stubborn nature these two possessed. And while I understand a lot of their reasoning for what and why they did things (or why and how they reacted to other things), and while there were times I wanted to smack them both, I'm glad the author kept them true to themselves. 

I do wish her mother hadn't been such a dragon, but again, its understandable why. The thing I am most sadden by is the fact that I do believe this is the last book in this particular series, and I have enjoyed getting to know all of these characters and getting to spend time in their world. I look forward to what is coming from this author next!

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 Vice is available from Amazon.com

Saturday, September 1, 2018

Review: The Duke's Holiday (The Regency Romp Trilogy #1) by Maggie Fenton



Print Length: 434 pages
Publisher: Montlake Romance (April 7, 2015)

From Goodreads.com: The Duke of Montford, cold, precise, and more powerful than the Prince Regent himself, wants things the way he wants them: cross-referenced, indexed, and at his beck and call. And he always gets what he wants. 

Until he meets Astrid Honeywell. And a giant pig. And a crooked castle in the middle of Yorkshire. 

Astrid Honeywell, staunch bluestocking, has struggled for years to keep her family together by running the estate and family brewery after her father's death. She is not about to let the tyrannical Duke of Montford steal away all she has worked for because of some antiquated contract between their families. So when the priggish Duke comes to call, she does everything in her power—including setting the family pig on him—to drive him away. 

She didn't expect him to be so... well, infuriatingly attractive. Every time he scowls at her, she has the most improper desire to kiss him—and a whole lot more. 

Montford can't decide whether to strangle Astrid or seduce her. The one thing he knows for a fact is that he must resist his powerful attraction for her at all costs. He has a very proper, very demure fiancĂ©e waiting for him back in London, after all. But when Astrid is kidnapped by a disgruntled suitor and whisked off to Gretna Green, Montford will do anything to get her back. 

Will these two drive each other to Bedlam... or can they make it to the altar without killing each other? 

Includes a fiery heroine, mistaken identities, errant livestock, pompadours, drunken declarations, a touch of smex, and enough witty banter to sink a ship. 

NOTE: This is a sexy historical romance. Recommended for 18+ due to adult content.



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My Rating: 3 stars out of 5

This story was... interesting. I feel as though the author showed a lot of potential, however this story didn't quite achieve the levels I think the author intended. 

To begin with Astrid was not the intelligent person she thinks she is. She can't just tell a property owner that he has no right to his property just because she's been taking care of it. She doesn't give a fig for her reputation, nor that of her family (because lets be honest the two youngest siblings are out of control a fact that she even encourages as an attempt to be rid of Montford). She thinks she's cunning when in fact, in the eyes of the law, she's a liar and a thief. Being forward thinking does not mean you are right. Especially not in this time period.

Montford is no better, coming across for the better part of the story as someone who is spoiled by his own self-importance (honestly, who descends upon a household and declare what they will and will not do and expects that to end well?) 

As to the supposed romance between these two? I wish there had been something other than kisses to show for it. He spends most of the book wanting to throttle her, or thinking (or actually telling her) that she is wrong. Because she has two different colored eyes, red-hair and freckles. Even when he supposedly loves her, he's still complaining that she looks wrong. Because that's romantic. But she distracts him from his weak stomach for traveling, and his severe OCD, so I guess she can handle being wrong looking.

There were a few laugh-out-loud moments, and just enough over all plot to keep me interested, so I don't feel like this was a waste of time. In fact, I'm nearly certain some of the things that kept me from fully enjoying this novel, other people will be able to overlook. All things considered, I would read more from this author.

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                          The Duke's Holiday is available from Amazon.com

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Review: Behind the Door (Kathy Ryan #2) by Mary Sangiovanni


Print Length: 190 pages
Publisher: Lyrical Underground (August 28, 2018)

From Goodreads.com: Some doors should never be opened . . .

In the rural town of Zarepath, deep in the woods on the border of New Jersey and Pennsylvania, stands the Door. No one knows where it came from, and no one knows where it leads. For generations, folks have come to the Door seeking solace or forgiveness. They deliver a handwritten letter asking for some emotional burden to be lifted, sealed with a mixture of wax and their own blood, and slide it beneath the Door. Three days later, their wish is answered for better or worse.

Kari is a single mother, grieving over the suicide of her teenage daughter. She made a terrible mistake, asking the powers beyond the Door to erase the memories of her lost child. And when she opened the Door to retrieve her letter, she unleashed every sin, secret, and spirit ever trapped on the other side.

Now, it falls to occultist Kathy Ryan to seal the door before Zarepath becomes hell on earth . . .



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My Rating: 3 stars out of 5

Those of you who have been following my reviews since I first began blogging know that I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with this author. The two other novels I read by her left me less than impressed, so I was hesitant to take a third chance on her. 

However.

This story was everything the synopsis promised it would be. I was drawn into this town, and these people from the very beginning. One thing I have noticed about her novels is that there are a lot of characters. Each one with their own stories and their own problems - and sometimes that does lead to a bit of confusion, and the overall feeling that with the exception of one or two of these characters there has been no real character growth. It was also, at least for me, missing the crucial part of the after story. How did these people move forward from what happened to them? 

Despite that, I found myself enjoying this story and I do believe this novel will appeal to those who enjoy a well written horror/thriller story. 

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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                           Behind the Door is available from Amazon.com

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Review: Face Off (The Evelyn Talbot Chronicles #3) by Brenda Novak



Print Length: 
Publisher: St.Martin's Press (August 28, 2018)

From Goodreads.com: Tortured and left for dead at sixteen, Evelyn Talbot turned her personal nightmare into her life’s work—studying the disturbing psychopathy of some of the world’s most vicious serial killers. Now a leading psychiatrist at Hanover House in a small Alaskan town, she tries to believe the past will never come back to haunt her—until a woman goes missing from a cabin nearby, and every clue points to the man who once brutalized her…

As her boyfriend, who is the area’s only police, begins to investigate—and finds not one but two bodies—Evelyn can’t forget that her would-be killer, Jasper Moore, was never caught. But there are no new faces in tiny Hilltop, no one who seems suspicious or potentially violent. In this twisted game of cat and mouse, Evelyn is certain of only one thing—Jasper must be hiding in plain sight. And if she can’t find him before he comes for her, she won’t be lucky enough to survive twice…


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My Rating: 3 stars out of 5

This is my first time reading a story in this series, and to be honest, I'm not sure exactly why it fell flat for me, but it did. I had no trouble understanding these characters - their motivations, their histories, etc. I feel like there was a lot of repetition, and although this author definitely has a strong writing style, I feel like it took too long to get from point A to point B. For example - the author brings Evelyn's sister to Alaska and there are some things said, done, etc - and choices made - when all of the sudden the sister goes back home and nothing comes from the earlier hubbub. It seemed like a waste of time to include most of it. Also, for someone as intelligent as Evelyn, and someone who has been hunted most of her life, she sure makes some pretty dumb choices. 

I will say the ending definitely had me on the edge of my seat - I totally did not see that coming, nor did I think it was going to end the way that it did. 

Overall, I think this story will appeal to those who have read this series already, as well as those who enjoy complex stories. 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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                                       Face Off is available from Amazon.com