Whatcha Reading Wednesday

 


In an effort to get to know my followers better, I am launching a new segment called Whatcha Reading Wednesday! Tell me all about the book currently on your kindle (or in your hand). Are you enjoying it? How far into it are you? Are you likely to continue, or will this be relegated to your did not finish pile? Have you read this author (or series) before? 



GENRE: Thriller

PAGE LENGTH: 347 pages

PUBLISH DATE: March 14, 2023

FORMAT: Kindle

PERCENTAGE: 6%

READ THIS AUTHOR: Yes

READ THIS SERIES: No


CURRENT THOUGHTS: So far it’s interesting. I have read this author’s Devlin & Franco series and enjoyed that, and while I could have sworn I read the first book in this series, it would appear I have not. However, I’m not having any trouble understanding the two main characters and their history and I am intrigued as to how this one is going to play out.


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Review: Lady of Fortune by Mary Jo Putney

        


Print Length: 373 pages
Publisher:  Zebra (February 21, 2023 - originally published September 6, 1988)

From Goodreads.com: A countess turned servant...

Forced to escape the French Revolution, resilient young Comtesse Marie-Christine D'Estelle flees to London. But when she finds herself unexpectedly penniless, Christa hides her aristocratic background to become a lady's maid... Until rebuffing advances from both her tyrannical mistress’s husband and her lover gets Christa cast into the street—directly into a hero’s arms...

A Royal Navy commander...

After a long absence, Captain Lord Alexander Kingsley has returned to England on medical leave. Now head of his family, he must take charge of his younger siblings. He feels a special duty to his sister Annabelle, a shy debutante in need of a maid. So Alex is delighted to discover that the intriguing, outspoken, and lovely young woman who serendipitously landed in his arms is in need of just such a position...

The heart of a household...

With her warmth, charm, and surprisingly refined intellect, Christa soon wins the hearts of all the Kingsleys—especially Alex. And while their mutual attraction deepens to something more, the gap in their social stations seems an impossible obstacle. Only when Alex and Annabelle become the targets of fortune hunters, will the truth about Christa have a chance to be revealed. But will it mean a chance for true love to triumph?

                                                         *******************


My Rating: 2 stars out of 5

This book was slow-going to the point that I found it easy to skim several pages at a time and not feel like I had missed anything (especially when it came to Alex working at the admiralty and all of the talk about his time in the Navy). And while I enjoyed both Christa and Alex as characters when they were together, I didn't feel anything in particular for them one way or another. It was easy to see they had chemistry, but the build-up to them actually getting together took forever. 

This novel also requires you to suspend disbelief on more than one occasion. I mean, I get it; stories are, after all, mere figments of an author's imagination, but come on! First, they have Christa performing (what they call a minor surgery) on a man to remove a piece of shrapnel from a long-ago injury that has worked its way closer to the surface without any type of pain med, laudanum, nothing, but then we are expected to believe that after being on his "death bed" for at least one day before the surgery, and not out of the woods whatsoever after the surgery, he is able to make love to Christa not once but TWICE the same night/next day? I don't think so. 

There was a lot of drama surrounding not only these two (including a lot of things that could have been worked out much sooner had they only confronted one another instead of running away), but also surrounding most of the secondary characters as well. I am still confused as to why the author chose to make the uncle out to be some sort of brute of a man only to have him be perfectly normal later on.

I know this story originally came out in the 80s, and the writing style obviously reflects that, I just feel as though it could have undergone another edit or two to make it shorter before the kindle version was published. The story wouldn't have lost anything, and in fact, it would have been more enjoyable (at least for me).

DISCLAIMER: I received a complimentary copy of this novel from the publisher. 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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                                               Lady of Fortune is available on Amazon.com
                                         
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Review: Desperate Acts (Pike, Wisconsin #4) by Alexandra Ivy

        


Print Length: 352 pages
Publisher:  Zebra (February 21, 2023)

From Goodreads.com: Teenager Lia Porter shouldn’t have been anywhere near the railroad bridge that night. Sneaking home after a party in the fields outside Pike, Wisconsin, she glimpsed a woman in a leather jacket, running in terror. Lia puts the incident from her mind—until a body is found near the same spot fifteen years later, wearing the same jacket. The police rule it a suicide. Lia knows different. The woman she saw was trying to save her own life, not end it. But whatever she was fleeing from found her first . . .

The stranger who arrives at Lia’s store shares her suspicions. Hollywood stunt driver Kaden Vaughn has come home to Wisconsin to learn the truth about what happened to his brother’s fiancĂ©e years ago. The leather jacket, the timing—he believes the dead woman is Vanna, and that Lia may be the only person who can help. Together they retrace Vanna’s steps, but the more they dig, the darker the secrets become.

The killer is still out there, stalking the streets of Pike again, willing to do whatever is necessary to keep the truth locked in mystery. One by one, all those who know something about that night must be silenced, until there is no one left to tell . . .

                                                         *******************


My Rating: 2 stars out of 5

Despite this being book number four in the series, it can be read as a complete stand-alone without any issues. I had only read the one prior, and I had no problems following along with this one. However, getting through this novel was a struggle for me as I had issues with it holding my interest.  

For one thing, this story has a very slow pace to it. And while there is no shortage of action (and murder), I never felt any sense of urgency to it. It felt more like okay... another person is dead, what does this person have to do with what happened to Vanna? Or what connection does this person have to that person? For all that action, I felt very bored through most of it. 

Another big issue I had with this is the way that store owner (and entrepreneur) Lia, along with stuntman turned motorcycle builder, were given carte blanche to run around throughout the entire novel investigating the crimes and collecting evidence (even if that was more often than not done unintentionally). It seemed as though people with something to say had no qualms whatsoever talking to these two without question, and I mean, I get it. The acting sheriff of the town wanted to keep things quiet; years had gone by with no answers, but it still blows my mind that not once was it even hinted at that things they learned (or were given) couldn't be introduced as evidence anyway because there was no chain of custody. 

Although there was a twist at the end that I didn't see coming, by the time it arrived, I just wanted the story to be over. That being said, I'm sure there will be lots of people who enjoy it far more than I did. 

DISCLAIMER: I received a complimentary copy of this novel from the publisher. 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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                                                Desperate Acts is available on Amazon.com
                                         
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Teaser Reveal: Battle of Hearts by Stella Holt

         




In a city where connections are everything, who will prevail as political and police royalties collide?

Ainsley Nash just got her big break with a story on insider trading that’s causing political elites, including her senator father, to sweat. As her story gains momentum, the threat of someone shutting her down looms. But Ainsley is headstrong, and no one is going to stop her from discovering the truth—especially not the smoking hot SWAT sergeant assigned to protect her.

Coming from a family full of cops, Rory Maguire didn’t join the D.C. SWAT team to babysit socialites. But Ainsley surprises Rory with her down-to-earth personality and drive to do what’s right. Keeping Ainsley safe from harm isn’t easy. Attempting to ignore the surge of desire he feels every time she’s within reach is an even bigger challenge.

Ainsley and Rory have enough sexual tension to light up the city, but can they let their guards down long enough to admit they’re a perfect match before it’s too late?





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Freebie Friday!

 


Every other Friday, I will be sharing a (small) collection of books that I have added to my to-be-read pile. At the time of posting, all of these books will be FREE from Amazon (but I highly encourage you to double-check the price before you purchase, as we all know how quickly these things can change). 

I don't know about you, but the first thing I notice about a book is the cover; if the cover doesn't catch my eye for one reason or another, I won't even bother looking for more details. In the spirit of this - all books will be linked BY their covers; simply click on one if it catches your eye to be taken to the appropriate link on Amazon. 


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Review: Never Seduce a Duke (The Mating Habits of Scoundrels, #5) by Vivienne Lorret

       


Print Length: 384 pages
Publisher:  Avon (February 21, 2023)

From Goodreads.com: After being jilted, Margaret Stredwick has sworn off men and marriage. What she needs is a holiday. But a detour along the way takes a surprising turn that leads Meg to him. And soon she starts to wonder if she should indulge in one grand flirtation before she's firmly on the shelf.

The instant Lucien Ambrose, Duke of Merleton, finds a strange woman touring the halls of his ancient estate, he knows the minx is up to something. So, when a family heirloom is stolen, it's clear who the culprit is. She may tempt him beyond reason, but he isn't about to let her get away, even if he has to chase her across the continent.

Meg never imagined that anyone would mistake her for a notorious thief, known for seducing men to distraction. It's the most thrilling thing ever! She eagerly plays along. . . until she finds herself falling in love with a man who has no idea who she really is. And by the time she returns to her ordinary life, she discovers that her grand flirtation won't be a secret for long. Apparently, she brought home an unexpected souvenir...

                                                         *******************


My Rating: 2 stars out of 5

I had a lot of issues with this one. But sadly, I still saw enough potential here that I decided to overlook my 2023 resolution that when a book just wasn't doing it for me I would just DNF it and move on. 

To begin with, seperately these characters were okay. I found Meg to be a bit annoying in that she constantly complained that the man she was in love with married someone else, even though it was obvious that not only did the man not love Meg in the slightest, but she was almost infatuated with him than she was in love with him. However, I did enjoy watching her attempts at flirtations with Lucien (even if she does come across more of an accomplished flirt than she actually is). I also ejoyed how analytical Lucien was in his manner of speaking (although seriously? For someone as smart as he was supposed to be he really was quite obtuse when it came to the matter of Lady Avalon). 

When you put them together however? My goodness, I wanted to shake them both. Their entire relationship (if you can call it that as I never bought into them actually having feelings for each other beyond lust), was build on lies, misunderstandings and half-truths. I mean for crying out loud the only reason he persued her in the first place was because he believed she had stolen something from him. Meg was no better, she played into the role he cast her in making it so that even when she told him the truth, she did it in such a way that she knew he wouldn't believe her. 

Then their two year seperation happened. And when they were reunited? Meg continued to keep a huge secret from him. Something she should have told him about immediately. It made me dislike her (and their so-called relationship) even more. 

All in all, while this one didn't work for me, I can see where it may appeal to other readers. If this book sounds like something you would enjoy, then I encourage you to give it a shot! 

DISCLAIMER: I received a complimentary copy of this novel from the publisher. 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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                                         Never Seduce a Duke is available on Amazon.com
                                         
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Book Blast! Sins of the Father by Franca Storm

        


Title: Sins of the Father
Author: Franca Storm
Genre: MC Romance


We don’t bend.

We don’t break.

We’re tried and tested warriors.

War is on our doorstep.

The enemy is coming for everything we have, everything we are.

They’ll use what we love against us.

Old blood feuds are resurrected, vengeance reigning unchecked. They want us to pay for our sins.

We stand united with our allies.

But we’ll fall with them if we make one wrong move.

It’s all on the line.

The stakes have never been higher.

It’s not about winning territory this time.

It’s about survival.

If we falter, it’ll cost us everything.

Our clubs.

Our families.

Our lives.

Franca writes emotional and gritty reads about alphas with a dark side and the kickass women who turn their worlds upside down. 


A Marvel and DC fan, you’ll often find her binging on superhero shows and movies. Away from that heart-pumping action, she’ll relax with a good book, or work on conquering her next 1,000-piece puzzle. 


She writes to alternative and hard rock with her storyboard of inspiration by her side and some tasty snacks along for the ride. A cross between a pantser and a plotter, she’s happiest when she’s fully immersed in crafting her fictional worlds. 


 She created Franca Storm United Universes in 2021, which brought together her different book universes under one umbrella. 



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Freebie Friday!

 


Every other Friday, I will be sharing a (small) collection of books that I have added to my to-be-read pile. At the time of posting, all of these books will be FREE from Amazon (but I highly encourage you to double-check the price before you purchase, as we all know how quickly these things can change). 

I don't know about you, but the first thing I notice about a book is the cover; if the cover doesn't catch my eye for one reason or another, I won't even bother looking for more details. In the spirit of this - all books will be linked BY their covers; simply click on one if it catches your eye to be taken to the appropriate link on Amazon. 


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Review: Dissolution (Eagle Elite #12) by Rachel van Dyken

       


Print Length: 238 pages
Publisher:  Van Dyken Enterprises (February 20, 2023)

From Goodreads.com: "There is always a beginning—I will be their end."

For ten years the Cosa Nostra has ruled with an iron fist in Chicago—their reign is about to end, and I'll be the one to bring them down.

One more job for the Italian Americans, and I'm done.
Except this "one job" involves saving the boss's brother and sister.
When things go horribly wrong, and a price is put on all of our heads from my Family back home—I'm forced to stay in Chicago, offer not just my gun but my protective services to the young girl I saved while also making sure nobody touches her.
Myself included.

My own Family has splintered.
Half want me dead, half want me alive, and the only people willing to protect me are the very ones I hate—her included.

I'm the Grim Reaper of the Sicilian mafia, and I bow to no one, not even her, so when she asks me to teach her to fight, when she tells me she wants to be made, I give in just so I can piss off the bosses.
Only I made one mistake.

I protect her from the world.
But who protects me from her?

One more battle remains between the families in Italy and in the States.
One more battle where I'm torn between both sides.
And I'm left protecting the one girl who has the potential to wreck us all.

It all started a decade ago at Eagle Elite University—the beginning.
It will end on the streets of Chicago—with me as the end.

I, Santino Sinacore, am their end.

                                                         *******************


My Rating: 2.5 stars out of 5

Man, this one was a ride. I have been a fan of the original Eagle Elite series since I read the first one back in 2013. For the most part, I have enjoyed them, usually giving them a 4-5 star review. 

However, I struggled with this one. A lot. 

To begin with, this one is a lot darker than I remember the others being. There are a lot of threats towards Katya of raping her. There might even have been some sexual assault that happened to her off the page, as the girl was well and truly traumatized (which, given how she was rescued, would be understandable even if no sexual assault occurred). 

The second issue I had was the fact that Santino had no qualms about having sex with Katya two days after he rescued her. It can be packaged any way that author wants to package it, but she was beaten, traumatized, and had just seen her twin brother killed in front of her. Putting her into a sexual relationship that soon with the man who rescued her nonetheless just came across as in bad taste to me. 

And while I understand that this is supposed to be a mafia romance and the mafia is definitely more bloodshed and anger than it is sunshine and roses, I definitely had an issue with them ordering Katya to take a knife to Santino as part of his punishment. Hasn't the poor girl been through enough? And then to threaten to kill the man she claims to love (I say claim because, again, it's only been like two days since the met) when she says she doesn't have the stomach for it? It comes across less about loyalty and family the way the others did and more... well, torture porn. 

At the same time, Dissolution also had some hard-hitting quotes, my personal favorites being "Weakness is in staying exactly where you are at" and "Only the strong know when it's time to walk aware, and have the balls to actually do it." I also enjoyed Katya's overall arc, where she learned how to be her own hero and became someone who, instead of hiding behind others, learned to stand beside them. I just wish there had been more of a build-up to this side of her as the book seemed to take place over the course of a matter of days once she met Santino and that to me, was in no way believable. A person just doesn't become an expert marksman with no training, and that's exactly what seemed to happen here. 

One final issue I have with this one is more a personal one than anything wrong with the series. I wish Rachel would have finished Eagle Elite before moving on to the spin-offs involving the children. It would have, in my opinion, given this one a bigger sense of fear where the fates of our beloved characters were concerned. It was hard for me to feel any sense of danger when I knew all of the OG characters were alive and well in the spin-off books.

Overall, I think it was a solid finish for the series, and I look forward to seeing where the author takes this world next as it was stated that even though the Original series might be done, the spin-offs are not. 

DISCLAIMER: I received a complimentary copy of this novel from the publisher. 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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                                               Dissolution is available on Amazon.com
                                         
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Review: All Hallows by Christopher Golden

       


Print Length: 336 pages
Publisher:  St.Martin's Press (January 24, 2023)

From Goodreads.com: It’s Halloween night, 1984, in Coventry, Massachusetts, and two families are unraveling. Up and down the street, horrifying secrets are being revealed, and all the while, mixed in with the trick-or-treaters of all ages, four children who do not belong are walking door to door, merging with the kids of Parmenter Road. Children in vintage costumes with faded, eerie makeup. They seem terrified, and beg the neighborhood kids to hide them away, to keep them safe from The Cunning Man. There’s a small clearing in the woods now that was never there before, and a blackthorn tree that doesn’t belong at all. These odd children claim that The Cunning Man is coming for them...and they want the local kids to protect them. But with families falling apart and the neighborhood splintered by bitterness, who will save the children of Parmenter Road?

                                                         *******************


My Rating: 1 star out of 5

I have read other stories from this author and enjoyed them immensely, but (in my opinion), there were just too many problems with this one. To start, there were just too many characters and too many points of view that it was incredibly hard to keep up with who was supposed to be narrating what part. There were also some characters that stood out for all the wrong reasons (purposely acting a certain way and then being surprised when people judged them for it, or characterizing nearly every man in the book as a pervert). 

In my opinion, I would have liked to have seen more of the supernatural plot. Tell me more about these children (and really, did no one even care about them because it seem like they would show up and be seen, and people would then just go on about their day)? 

Tell me more about the urban legends surrounding the town. Do something that makes it interesting other than have more family drama than an episode of Jerry Springer. 

On the whole, I think with another round of editing (which, as I received an ARC of this book, there might have been), I think this story could still be salvaged. There just needed to be less drama and more horror for it to really live up to what it promised. 

DISCLAIMER: I received a complimentary copy of this novel from the publisher. 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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                                                 All Hallows is available on Amazon.com
                                         
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