Tag: 3.75 Reviews

Throwback Thursday Guest Review: Seduced by Silver by Gwen Campbell

Posted March 26, 2020 by Ames in Reviews | 5 Comments

Throwback Thursday Guest Review: Seduced by Silver by Gwen CampbellReviewer: Ames
Seduced by Silver by Gwen Campbell
Publisher: Ellora's Cave
Publication Date: February 19, 2010
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 102
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three-half-stars

When Meadow accompanies her boyfriend home for a weekend, she expects to try to rekindle their romance. Instead, she meets his father Keefe—mature, sexy and Alpha enough to claim her as his own. And claim her he does. The heat that flares between them quickly turns to something more and their passionate joining leads to a deeper connection. But Meadow’s father is Keefe’s biggest business rival, and Meadow’s a daddy’s girl through and through—and her daddy’s not going to like this.

Reader Advisory: While the world in this book has the traditional werewolf pack structures, social statuses and hot, animalistic sex, the characters aren’t shapeshifters.

*** Every Thursday, we’ll be posting throwback reviews of our favorite and not-so-favorite books. Enjoy! ***

This review was originally posted on March 7, 2010.

First of all, that cover makes me blush. LOL

Second, I enjoyed Seduced by Silver. The set-up of the Eupanorian world is different enough (humanoid beings with a culture based on wolf pack structure) that it totally makes sense that if someone isn’t Alpha enough for their woman, someone else is. And that it’s Meadow’s boyfriend’s dad? Hey, he’s the Alpha! And she’s an Alpha bitch! LOL

This kind of thing would not work for me in a contemporary or even a historical, but Gwen has created an interesting world and I bought it.

Killian and Meadow have been dating for a while. But after they reach final maturity, something that happens when a Eupanorian reaches their 20s, Meadow realizes that Killian isn’t her equal in the pack social structure. He’s mid-level. And she’s an Alpha. The trip to his childhood home is in an effort to rekindle their romance, a chance for Killian to prove he can handle her. Unfortunately, Killian couldn’t…but his father can. Meadow and Keefe don’t back down from each other and are constantly challenging the other. Perfect chemistry for two Alphas.

But can Killian live with the choice he made? And does Keefe want Meadow for life or for the rest of the trip?

I liked Meadow. She definitely was an Alpha and I loved that she was equal to Keefe. In shifter stories, the Alpha male is so alpha, and the heroine kind of isn’t. LOL So I really liked that these two were equal. And the hot sex doesn’t hurt. I wouldn’t have minded a bit more conflict, because there really wasn’t any. But for pure escapism with some Alpha-ness, I’d recommend Seduced by Silver for sure. 3.75 out 5

This book is available from Ellora’s Cave. You can buy it here in e-format.

three-half-stars


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Throwback Thursday Review: Taming the Highland Bride by Lynsay Sands

Posted March 12, 2020 by Holly in Reviews | 4 Comments

Throwback Thursday Review: Taming the Highland Bride by Lynsay SandsReviewer: Holly
Taming the Highland Bride by Lynsay Sands
Series: Devil of the Highlands #2
Also in this series: Taming the Highland Bride
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: January 26, 2010
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher
Point-of-View: Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 371
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three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

She was ready to let her heart run wild . . .Merry Stewart has had enough! Enough of her brothers, whose behavior would make even the most improper lady blush. Enough of their Highland home, which would surely have fallen to ruin were it not for her. She dreams of escaping into the arms of her betrothed, Alexander d'Aumesbery, even though they haven't yet met. But when they do, Merry is devastated. It seems he's no better than the men in her family.

So beautiful, so brazen . . . From the moment he meets Merry, Alexander is determined to make her his. Desperate to convince her he's nothing like the members of her roguish clan, he will prove he is every bit the well-mannered gentleman. Yet, beneath it all beats a heart as intense and uncontrollable as hers. And finally, when his life is threatened, Merry realizes he's the husband she's been waiting for . . . and their passion becomes the one thing that cannot be tamed.

*** Every Thursday, we’ll be posting throwback reviews of our favorite and not-so-favorite books. Enjoy! ***

This review was originally posted on March 24, 2010.

I only just discovered Sands’ historicals last year. Prior to that I though she wrote only paranormals. Since discovering her medievals I’ve gone on a buying binge, gobbling up her backlist. I’ve found her novels to be quick, light reads. While this was more of the same, I wasn’t quite as satisfied with it.

I think many of the actions of the heroine were supposed to be kind of cutesy but they were kind of dry instead. I wasn’t laughing or smiling over her antics as much as I have in the past. I’m not sure if it was my mood while reading or a reflection of the book but there you go. I think the problem might have been that they just went on too long. There were a ton of instances where she had to be clever and find solutions to problems (carting her husband around after he’d been bashed in the head or drugged) and that didn’t leave a lot of time for the romance.

I really liked the way Alex tried to make Merry understand he wasn’t like her father and brothers. Because of a series of misunderstandings and the actions of outside forces, Merry thinks he’s a drunkard like her family. His disappointment over her feelings for him and the way he tries to fix it were sweet. It did bother me that Merry was so much in charge during the book, though. I like my medieval warriors to be just that..warriors. Because Alex was hurt so much Merry was mostly left in charge of running the keep and training the men. This bothered Alex quite a bit, but he wasn’t able to do much about it since he was always drugged or recovering from beatings.

The mystery plot annoyed me only because no one seemed to take the threats seriously. Every time something happened to Alex it was explained away or considered an accident. I wasn’t surprised at who the villain was, though the reasons behind it were interesting.

Something that really bothered me, and I’m sure this will prove just how shallow I am: the first time Merry sees Alex he’s falling down drunk. He isn’t normally a drinker, but he had a bad tooth that was causing him pain so he drank whiskey to dull the pain of having it removed. But..it was never mentioned why it had to be removed, or what tooth it was. Was it one of his front teeth, so now when he smiles he’s gap-toothed? Was it infected because he doesn’t believe in personal hygiene? I wondered about it all throughout the book. I guess it was just a little bit too much reality in my fiction.

Still, it was readable and I enjoyed the main story. I’m also looking forward to reading The Hellion and the Highlander, Merry’s oldest brother’s book.

3.75 out of 5

Devil of the Highlands

Book Cover Book Cover Book Cover

This book is available from Avon. You can buy it here or here in e-format.

three-half-stars


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Guest Review: The Vanishing by Jayne Ann Krentz

Posted March 3, 2020 by Tracy in Reviews | 2 Comments

Guest Review: The Vanishing by Jayne Ann KrentzReviewer: Tracy
The Vanishing by Jayne Ann Krentz
Series: Fogg Lake #1
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: January 7, 2020
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: Third
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Pages: 294
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three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

From New York Times bestselling author Jayne Ann Krentz comes a new gripping romantic suspense trilogy fraught with danger and enigma.

Forty years ago in the small town of Fogg Lake, "The Incident" occurred: an explosion in the cave system that released unknown gases, causing peculiar effects on its residents, such as strange visions and ominous voices. Not wanting the government to get involved, they chalked it up to the hallucinogenic effects of mushrooms. Little did they know these effects would linger through the generations....

Residents Catalina Lark and Olivia Dayton have been best friends for years and own an investigation firm together, using what they call the "other sight" to help with their business. When Olivia goes missing, Cat frantically begins the search for her alone when the town does nothing about it. When scientist Slate Trevelyan shows up, she has no choice but to accept his help even though there's something about him she just can't trust. The duo discovers someone is hunting the two witnesses of a murder in Fogg Lake fourteen years ago—the very one Cat and Olivia witnessed as teens, one that they couldn't prove happened. Cat and Slate's search for Olivia takes them down a rabbit hole that is far more dangerous and mysterious than they ever expected, and with a killer in their midst, neither of them can foresee who will come out alive.

Fogg Lake is an isolated town.  Forty years earlier there was an “incident”and the residents of the town developed paranormal abilities.  They passed these on to their descendants.  Going into the caves near Fogg Lake and staying the night is a right of passage for the kids who grew up there.  Catalina and Olivia did this 15 years ago and ended up witnessing a murder.  When they got back to town the next day after hiding from the murderer in the cave system, no one believed they saw what they saw.

Catalina and Olivia are now investigators and they use their paranormal abilities to get results.  When Olivia goes missing, Catalina is determined to find her.  She didn’t want, nor did she seek out help from “The Foundation,” but she ended up with it anyway.  She’s not sure about The Foundation, but she’s pretty sure she’s liking their scientist Slate Trevelyan.  After they find Olivia, maybe they can figure out if their relationship is going anywhere.

This is the first book in the Fogg Lake series.  I think it was a good start, but there definitely A LOT of information packed into this story.  You definitely have to have your focus button turned to “on” when you read this one or you’ll miss something important.  I found some of it confusing at first, just because there was SO much happening, but I soon found my stride and sailed right through.

I can’t say I loved the story but it was good.  I really liked Catalina and Slate and the budding of their relationship. The dangers they faced while trying to find Olivia kept me interested and I liked the suspense of it all.

Overall I think it was a good beginning.  I’ll be curious to see where this goes in the next book and how it will be centered around Fogg Lake.

Rating: 3.75 out of 5

three-half-stars


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Throwback Thursday Review: Fantasy in Death by J.D. Robb

Posted February 13, 2020 by Holly in Reviews | 6 Comments

Throwback Thursday Review: Fantasy in Death by J.D. RobbReviewer: Holly
Fantasy in Death by J. D. Robb
Series: In Death #30
Also in this series: Creation in Death, Strangers in Death, Suite 606, Salvation in Death, Kindred In Death, Naked in Death, Glory in Death, The Lost, Rapture in Death, Immortal in Death, New York to Dallas, Celebrity in Death, Brotherhood in Death
Publisher: Penguin
Publication Date: February 23rd 2010
Genres: Fiction, Suspense
Pages: 368
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four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Bart Minnock, founder of the computer-gaming giant U-Play, enters his private playroom, and eagerly can't wait to lose himself in an imaginary world—to play the role of a sword-wielding warrior king—in his company’s latest top-secret project, Fantastical.
The next morning, he is found in the same locked room, in a pool of blood, his head separated from his body. It is the most puzzling case Eve Dallas has ever faced, and it is not a game...

NYPSD Lieutenant Eve Dallas is having as much trouble figuring out how Bart Minnock was murdered as who did the murdering. The victim's girlfriend seems sincerely grief-stricken, and his quirky-but-brilliant partners at U-Play appear equally shocked. No one seemed to have a problem with the enthusiastic, high-spirited millionaire. Of course, success can attract jealousy, and gaming, like any business, has its fierce rivalries and dirty tricks—as Eve's husband, Roarke, one of U-Play's competitors, knows well. But Minnock was not naive, and quite capable of fighting back in the real world as well as the virtual one.

Eve and her team are about to enter the next level of police work, in a world where fantasy is the ultimate seduction-and the price of defeat is death...

*** Every Thursday, we’ll be posting throwback reviews of our favorite and not-so-favorite books. Enjoy! ***

This review was originally posted on February 22, 2010.

The last few In Death books have kind of been off for me. It isn’t that I didn’t enjoy them, it’s just that I didn’t enjoy them as much as I expected to given the previous 5 billion books in the series. I went into this book with some trepidation because of that.

I really enjoyed Eve’s case. A young entrepreneur is found decapitated inside his locked holo room. Security indicates he was the only one inside the room, and in fact his whole apartment. Investigation shows the weapon to be a broadsword. Eve knows it takes two to murder..one to do the killing and one to die. Since he didn’t cut his own head off, there hasn’t be a missing factor.

Some cases are better developed than others, and some are just more interesting to me personally. I’m not sure if this falls into the former, but it definitely falls into the latter. I was truly interested in seeing Eve puzzle her way through the case. It wasn’t long before I figured out who the killer was – it generally doesn’t take me long – but that wasn’t the appeal of this case anyway. It wasn’t the who, but the why and, more intriguing, the how.

As for Eve and Roarke’s relationship, I wasn’t as impressed. After taking a minute to reflect on the overall relationship arc, I’ve decided that’s to be expected. That doesn’t necessarily mean I’m happy about it, but I am going to work on being more forgiving. They had a couple arguments, but they seemed kind of contrived.

The focus in this book was more on the case than the personal relationships, but most of our favorites made appearances or were mentioned. There is quite a bit of humor in this book. Eve is still battling it out with the Candy Thief, which always cracks me up. But Roarke is what killed me in this scene:

She took a tool from her desk, then squatted in front of her recycler. After a few twists, she removed the facing and pulled an evidence bag from the back.

“Your guile and wit contest causes you to keep candy in the recycler, with the trash?”

“It’s sealed.” She broke the seal with a little pop and whoosh to prove it, then took out one of the three chocolate bars. She tossed it to him, then bagged the remaining two with a fresh seal before hiding them again. She glanced back to see him studying the candy.

“If you’re going to be so dainty give it back.”

“There was a time I rooted through alley garbage for food, without a thought. Things change.” He unwrapped the candy, took a bite. “But apparently not that much.”

Not only is this particular quote hilarious, but the scene it comes from shows some vulnerability in Roarke, and Eve’s way of taking care of him. Relationships and how they work is one of the underlying themes of the book. Eve puzzles over the various relationships in her life throughout.

Another example is Eve’s relationship with Peabody. Peabody and McNab have to go to a gaming conference and Peabody brings a gift back for Eve. It just illustrates how well they know each other (and offered the added bonus of amusing me):

“What is it?”

“It’s a toy gun. A derringer – like cardshaprs and saloon girls carry in western vids. It’s like a clutch piece.”

“Hmmm.”

“And check it.” Peabody cocked it, and a sultry female voice purred out of the barrel. Put those hands where I can see them, cowboy.

“It has all sorts of audio streams- male, female. I figured you’d want the female. Plus -”

She aimed it at Eve, pulled the trigger even as Eve said: “Hey!”

The little gun let out a brave little bang. Next one goes lower, and you won’t be poking a woman with that stick of yours for the rest of your miserable life.

“Isn’t it cute? You could play saloon girl and Roarke could be high-stakes gambler, then…and that’s entirely none of my nevermind.” Peabody offered a big smile.

“Yeah, it’s cute, no, it’s none of your nevermind.” Eve took the derringer, recocked it. You’d better hightail it before that tail’s sporting another hole.

“It could use better dialogue, but it’s apt enough. Hightail it.”

“Yes, sir.”

“Peabody? Thanks.”

Eve studied the gun, shook her head. Unable to resist, she shot her computer, her AutoChef, amused by the lame insults that followed.

That was another thing about partners, she decided. They knew what would make you laugh, often before you did.

And just because I love Peabody’s crush on Roarke (this comes from later in the book):

“Roarke might be late. He’s working on something for me.”

“Wouldn’t mind if he worked on something for me.”

“Excuse me?”

“Hmm? Oh, just talking to myself,” Peabody sang. “You know how it is.”

Eve strolled over, clipped the back of Peabody’s head with the flat of her hand.

“Ow.”

“Oh, sorry, just an involuntary reflex. You know how it is.”

There is an inconsistency I found. Eve is telling Roarke about the first time she took a life as a police officer, as it segued into how she murdered her father. She’s talking about how she felt when she killed him (her father) and she says:

She let out a breath. “I’m the one who aimed and fired. Fifteen years between. It took me that long to be sure, absolutely sure, I wouldn’t feel that excitement, or that guilt, or that hardening when I had to take another life.”

But until Eve met Roarke, she didn’t remember having killed her father. So this didn’t ring true for me. There was also some inconsistency in the language. Some of the things sounded more modern-day and weren’t in keeping with the time period and the way Robb has written prior books. For example:

[…] She pushed in, slamming her fist in his face. Blood erupted from his nose.
“That’s how we do it in New York!”

Although a good line, this isn’t how Eve normally talks. It kind of pulled me out of the story, because I can’t imagine her saying it.

Still, I enjoyed the book. As Casee noted awhile back it seems like some books focus on the personal relationships and some focus on the cases. This book falls into the latter category.

3.75 out of 5

See a full list of the series here.

This book is available from Putnam. You can buy it here or here in e-format.

four-stars


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Review: Love Lettering by Kate Clayborn

Posted January 23, 2020 by Rowena in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: Love Lettering by Kate ClaybornReviewer: Rowena
Love Lettering by Kate Clayborn
Publisher: Kensington
Publication Date: December 31, 2019
Format: eARC, eBook
Source: NetGalley, Purchased
Point-of-View: First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 320
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Rowena's 2020 Goodreads Challenge
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three-half-stars

In this warm and witty romance from acclaimed author Kate Clayborn, one little word puts one woman’s business—and her heart—in jeopardy . . .

Meg Mackworth’s hand-lettering skill has made her famous as the Planner of Park Slope, designing beautiful custom journals for New York City’s elite. She has another skill too: reading signs that other people miss. Like the time she sat across from Reid Sutherland and his gorgeous fiancée, and knew their upcoming marriage was doomed to fail. Weaving a secret word into their wedding program was a little unprofessional, but she was sure no one else would spot it. She hadn’t counted on sharp-eyed, pattern-obsessed Reid . . .

A year later, Reid has tracked Meg down to find out—before he leaves New York for good—how she knew that his meticulously planned future was about to implode. But with a looming deadline, a fractured friendship, and a bad case of creative block, Meg doesn’t have time for Reid’s questions—unless he can help her find her missing inspiration. As they gradually open up to each other about their lives, work, and regrets, both try to ignore the fact that their unlikely connection is growing deeper. But the signs are there—irresistible, indisputable, urging Meg to heed the messages Reid is sending her, before it’s too late . . .

Love Lettering has been on my TBR list for a while now and I’ve been hearing such great things about it so I was really looking forward to reading it. I read the entire thing in one day and while I enjoyed the book as a whole, I thought the beginning really dragged and it took me until chapter 9 before I started warming up to Meg, to Reid, and to everything that was happening in the book.

Our heroine, Meg Mackworth is the Planner of Park Slope. She’s made a name for herself with her custom planner business. She’s a hand-lettering specialist who handwrites party invitations, personal planners and she used to handwrite wedding invitations but her during her last wedding invitations job, she did something she shouldn’t have and so she made sure it wouldn’t happen again by quitting the wedding invitation side of her business. From now on, she’s only doing custom hand-lettering for clients who want custom planners, she’s working on a portfolio of ideas for a stationary line that she’s hoping to get a big sponsorship contract for. She tries not to think about the hidden pattern she wrote into that last wedding invitation and it’s been a year so she thinks she’s moved on from it until the groom shows up, wanting to know why she wrote that hidden code into his invitation.

Meg and Reid spark up a friendship that begins with Meg needing to find inspiration for her stationery line. She invites Reid along with her on walks around New York City so that she can find inspiration for her line and so Reid can discover the beauty of New York for himself. Reid is not happy in New York and Meg wants to show him that if he gave New York a fair shot, he would come to love it just as much as she did. They got to know each other on these walks around New York. They played games while they searched for signs around the city and ultimately, they fell in love on these walks.

Like I said before, it took me quite a while to get into this story. I just wasn’t all that interested in the beginning and that’s weird for me because I LOVE planners. I love all things planning and hand-lettering but I really struggled with this book at the start. I’m really glad that I stuck with this book though because I really came to love Meg, to love Reid, and to love New York. I’m a West Coast girl through and through but while I was reading this book, I could totally see myself moving to New York and falling in love with the city and the signs. This was a slow burn romance and I guess I was too anxious for the romance to pick up but Kate Clayborn has a writing style that flows nicely. This story unrolls slowly and picks up steam with each passing chapter. When I finished the book, I had a big ol’ grin on my face and I loved the heck out of Reid and Meg. I loved seeing Meg come into her own and I really enjoyed seeing Reid and Meg come into their feelings for each other. This was a good romance and I definitely recommend.

Final Grade

Grade: 3.75 out of 5

three-half-stars


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