Review: Blind Spot

Review: Blind SpotBlind Spot (The Evelyn Talbot Chronicles, #4) by Brenda Novak
Series: The Evelyn Talbot Chronicles #4
Published by St. Martin's Paperbacks on August 27, 2019
Genres: Contemporary, Romantic Suspense
Pages: 384
Goodreads
four-stars

FINAL DECISION: This book is really a coda wrap up of the series after the resolution of the Jasper story line. I liked this one but it was my least favorite of the series because I missed the Evelyn and Amarok relationship here.

THE STORY: Evelyn and Amarok finally look to have their happy ending. Preparing for the birth of their child and their upcoming marriage, the two believe that with the incarceration of Jasper, the serial killer who has stalked Evelyn for years, they can relax. Just at that moment, Evelyn is kidnapped.

OPINION: This book is organized as having three points of view as others in the series: Evelyn, Amarok, and Jasper. The characters are placed in a new situation so their viewpoints are fresh here. I didn’t like this book as much as others in the series because I missed Evelyn being an active driver of the story rather than being the victim. It’s an interesting perspective solving the issues from the “victim” but I didn’t think Evelyn was as compelling here. Also, I missed Evelyn and Amarok together which was my favorite part of the series. Too much time apart that could have used a few extra scenes at the end of the book to resolve. I did like that this book wrapped up a bunch of loose ends from the series. I also thought this book was scary, but not too graphic. I am sorry to see the series end.

WORTH MENTIONING: Amarok was my favorite part of this book. I thought we got more insight into him here than in any of the other books in the series.

CONNECTED BOOKS: BLIND SPOT is the fourth and final book in the Evelyn Talbot Chronicles. This book can be read as a standalone as the story is self-contained but the story is a continuation of plots from the prior books.

STAR RATING: I give this book 4 stars.

four-stars

Review: Archangel’s War

Review: Archangel’s WarArchangel's War (Guild Hunter, #12) by Nalini Singh
Series: Guild Hunter #12
Published by Berkley on September 24, 2019
Genres: Paranormal
Pages: 478
Goodreads
five-stars

FINAL DECISION: Fabulous book that was with action and heart from the first page to the last. Singh just gets better and better. Highly recommend!

THE STORY: Beginning immediately after the events of ARCHANGEL’S PROPHECY, this book reveals what has happened to Elena and Raphael after they attempted to defy fate in making Elena a blank vessel for Raphael’s power.

OPINION: This is a book where it is infinitely better to stop reading reviews and just get to the book.

Just about everything that can be said is a spoiler, so my comments will remain general.

I loved the scope, the action, the romance, the heart of this book. It fulfills all the promise of the prior book. It is a long book, but it never drags and I can’t imagine any moment, any scene, any character that could have been excised. I loved every moment and immediately went back to re-read whole sections.

Singh is a master of these complicated multi-character worlds and this book brings the entire scope of the series to New York. The threads of the story are multifaceted and it manages to be amazingly fulfilling to those who have committed to the series. Singh knows her characters inside and out and each one sparkles on the page.

This book had high stakes and it was better than I could have wished.

This book was the best new book I have read this year. It was such a great reading experience, I can’t imagine that any other book will be able to top it.

WORTH MENTIONING: I wish these books were available in hardcover.

CONNECTED BOOKS: ARCHANGEL’S WAR is the twelfth book in the Guild Hunter series. This series should be read in order.

STAR RATING: I give this book 5 stars.

five-stars

Review: Seduction on a Snowy Night

I received this book for free from Netgalley in order to prepare an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Seduction on a Snowy NightSeduction on a Snowy Night by Madeline Hunter, Mary Jo Putney, Sabrina Jeffries
Published by Kensington on September 24, 2019
Genres: Historical
Goodreads
four-half-stars

 

This is an anthology of three novellas connected only by theme of snow and Christmas holidays.

A CHRISTMAS ABDUCTION by Madeline Hunter: Caroline Dunham abducts Adam Prescott, Baron Thornhill intending to bring the notorious rake to heel for his deeds. But Thornhill turns out to be different than she though. I enjoyed this story especially because of Adam who turns out to be a pretty decent guy. I especially liked that he has made mistakes and this story deals with those issues. It has a nice holiday theme. Rating: 4 stars.

A PERFECT MATCH by Sabrina Jeffries: Cassandra Isles and Colonel Lord Heywood end up spending Christmas together when Cassandra and her cousin are escorted/kidnapped by Heywood in order to protect Cassandra’s cousin (and his best friend’s sister) from a man with evil intentions toward her. I thought this story was enjoyable as Cassandra is a woman with a fortune who wants to only marry for love and so she hides the existence of her fortune. Of course, Heywood is a man in need of a fortune to rehabilitate the estate he has inherited. That leads to difficulties and definitely enriched the interaction between these two characters. I enjoyed the working out of this story which was well constructed for such a short novella.  Rating: 4.5 stars.

ONE WICKED WINTER NIGHT by Mary Jo Putney: Lady Diana Lawrence returns to England after seven years of traveling the world. She is the guest of honor in a masquerade ball where she unexpectedly encounters the man she loved and fled, Anthony, Duke of Castleton. This book was filled with some of my favorite catnip: older woman/younger man, second chance at love, opposites attract and catnapping. This was my favorite of the anthology because I just loved Anthony. He was in love with Diana and he had never forgotten her. Given a second chance, he has no intention of allowing her to slip through his fingers again. He is so accepting of her and is supportive of her even though she broke his heart in the past. Lots of cats in the book as well. Rating: 4.5 stars.

NOTE: I received an ARC of this book via Netgalley. I was not required to write a review or to write a positive review. All opinions contained herein are my own.

 

four-half-stars

Review: Lethal Nights

Review: Lethal NightsLethal Nights (Brute Force, #3) by Lora Leigh
Series: Brute Force #3
Published by St. Martin's Paperbacks on November 26, 2019
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 288
Goodreads
four-stars

 

FINAL DECISION: My favorite of the series, this one is sexy and action filled. I loved the interaction between Emma and her “Dragon” in this one. Dark and sexy man totally undone by his woman.

THE STORY: Emma Jane Preston is in the midst of a divorce when she meets Ilya Dragonovich who is setting up the security for the safe house. A year later, someone breaks into her home and almost kills her. There was an intense attraction between Emma and Ilya a year ago, but she wasn’t going to get involved with him while she was still married. Now divorced, the two end up spending pressure time together as Ilya tries to figure out who wants to kill the sweet Emma.

OPINION: I really enjoyed this book because of the relationship between Emma and her Dragon. There is something really sexy between them made better by Emma’s total acceptance of Ilya despite his past which he believes makes him inappropriate for Emma. There is a bit of suggestions which makes it feel almost like a shifter paranormal but gives it a taming the beast feel that I especially enjoyed.

The action story was interesting and had some dramatic moments which pushed the story along, but for me the relationship between Emma and Ilya was the focus and I enjoyed the fact that they were the center rather than the plot.

Definitely my favorite of the series primarily because of the mashup of various genres which made this feel fresh and interesting between the characters.

WORTH MENTIONING: This book has some slight paranormal elements.

CONNECTED BOOKS: LETHAL NIGHTS is the third book in the Brute Force series. While there are side appearances from characters from the other books, this book can be read as a standalone without a problem.

STAR RATING:I give this book 4 stars.

NOTE: I received an ARC of this book via Netgalley. I was not required to write a review or to write a positive review. All opinions contained herein are my own.

 

four-stars

Review: Dreaming of You

Review: Dreaming of YouDreaming of You (The Gamblers, #2) by Lisa Kleypas
Series: The Gamblers #2
Published by HarperCollins e-books on October 13, 2009
Genres: Historical
Pages: 384
Goodreads
five-stars

Dreaming of Derek

DREAMING OF YOU is the sequel to THEN CAME YOU. It tells the story of Derek Craven, the bigger than life owner of the premiere gaming shell in London, and the sweet but not naive, Sara Fielding. Sara is an author who is writing about the lower classes in London and after meeting Derek wants to use his hell as research. Derek is attracted to Sara but because of his hard upbringing, he turns away from anyone who is could possibly care about. In this book, Derek struggles with his feelings and the jealous rages of an ex-lover.

I love DREAMING OF YOU. Sara captures Derek by being himself. The real conflicts in this book deal with Derek’s past and his unwillingness to make himself vulnerable. Sara catches him by just being the strong but gentle soul that she is. Her ability to accept others and not be strangled by class divisions make her the perfect mate for Derek. The characters are big and the plot keeps the reader engaged. The emphasis here is one the changes that the relationship between Derek and Sara brings to them. The two characters grow and change and become a perfect match.

For fans of THEN CAME YOU there is a great update for Lily and Alex who have more than cameo roles in this book. While it isn’t necessary to have read THEN CAME YOU first, doing so adds to the depth in this book.

I love this book and highly recommend it.

five-stars

Review: Atticus

Review: AtticusAtticus (Steele Protectors #2) by Carole Mortimer
Series: Steele Protectors #2
Published by Carole Mortimer on April 12, 2019
Genres: Contemporary
Goodreads
four-stars

FINAL DECISION: I enjoyed this story. Atticus and Jenna are a combative couple and there is plenty of angst around the fact that Jenna is pretty much a sister to the other Steele brothers. As the two navigate a new relationship there is also drama over Jenna’s hidden past.

THE STORY: Atticus Steele is the oldest brother and takes his responsibility seriously, especially towards the family’s unofficially adopted daughter Jenna Riley. Atticus’s problem is that he doesn’t see Jenna as a sister. After Jenna’s abduction, Atticus has become even more protective towards Jenna, but Jenna is ready to show Atticus that she doesn’t see him as an older brother but as the man she wants.

OPINION: This was an enjoyable entry in the series. Atticus is definitely an alpha male combining his desire for Jenna with his intense protectiveness. What makes it good is that Jenna is no doormat and is definitely going after the man she wants even as he tries to protect her from everyone — including himself.

Even though the novella is short, the story sets up the characters so that the relationship seems more complex than what we get to see. Because of their existing relationship, their familiarity works well. The book picks up right when their relationship is changing to a romantic one so the quick turn to sex feels just right.

The story is animated by new dangers to Jenna and the revelations regarding her past. That part of the story works but isn’t the focus or purpose of the book.

WORTH MENTIONING: This is a novella length book.

CONNECTED BOOKS: ATTICUS is the second book in the Steele Protectors series. The romance here is self-contained, but the characters overlap and Jenna’s story begins in the first book in the series.

STAR RATING: I give this book 4 stars.

 

four-stars

Review: Scandal

Review: ScandalScandal (Regency Lovers 6) by Carole Mortimer
Published by Carole Mortimer on July 31st 2019
Genres: Historical
Pages: 164
Goodreads
two-half-stars

FINAL DECISION: Just okay for me. The story is hot, but I never got any connection between Rachel and Grayson personally. She doesn’t know anything about him that would explain their relationship other than lust.

THE STORY: Rachel Banford is fascinated by Mr. Grayson Long although he is of lower class, being the steward of her friend’s fiance and he is also much older than Rachel. Despite their explosive initial meeting, the two circle around one another. Grayson has a secret and he certainly doesn’t intend to become involved with an innocent aristocratic young woman.

OPINION: I never got any connection between Gray and Rachel and so the rest of the book was just okay for me. I don’t expect much from these stories which are mostly hot sex in with a slight story and character, but this one just didn’t do anything for me. It was an okay read but I wanted more connection between the characters.

WORTH  MENTIONING: This book is novella length.

CONNECTED BOOKS: SCANDAL is the sixth book in the Regency Lovers series. The books are connected with couples and characters starting in one book to the next. This book can be read as a standalone although there is overlap.

STAR RATING: I give this book 2.5 stars.

 

two-half-stars

Review: Guarding the Countess

I received this book for free from Netgalley in order to prepare an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Guarding the CountessGuarding the Countess (The Scandal Sheet, #5) by Jess Michaels
Series: The Scandal Sheet #5
Published by Passionate Pen on September 3, 2019
Genres: Historical
Pages: 79
Goodreads
four-half-stars

FINAL DECISION: Enjoyable interplay between the characters made this completely satisfying for me (even though I’m not a fan of novellas). The new relationship combined with the angst and history between the other two worked great here.

THE STORY: Naomi Barnaby, Countess of Walridge has turned to two men to find out she is just unlucky of whether someone is killing her husbands. Her third one has just died and Naomi is sure that something is wrong. Captain Marcus Ridgeway and Everett Bryant, Marquis of Glenmarrow take Naomi’s case but things heat up between the three of them immediately. While Marcus and Everett are both attracted to Naomi, there is lingering tension between the two of them that also must be resolved.

OPINION: I really enjoyed this story. There was an interesting balance between the unresolved feelings and long term relationship between Marcus and Everett and the entirely new relationship that happens when Naomi comes into the guys lives. Especially in a novella, it is difficult to develop intense emotional relationships because of the short length. I thought the angsty difficulties between Marcus and Everett was the highlight of the story. I would have read a full length novel about these two. Naomi is a nice catalyst to force the guys to finally resolve their relationship.

This is my favorite of this series and the one that I would definitely read again.

WORTH MENTIONING: This is a MMF menage romance.

CONNECTED BOOKS: GUARDING THE COUNTESS is the fifth book in the Scandal Sheet series. These books are really only connected by the theme so each can be read as a standalone.

STAR RATING: I give this book 4.5 stars.

NOTE: I received an ARC of this book via Netgalley. I was not required to write a review or to write a positive review. All opinions contained herein are my own.

four-half-stars

Review: The Bridge Kingdom

Review: The Bridge KingdomThe Bridge Kingdom (The Bridge Kingdom, #1) by Danielle L. Jensen
Series: The Bridge Kingdom #1
Published by Context Literary Agency on August 13, 2019
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 354
Goodreads
four-half-stars

FINAL DECISION: Great world building, political espionage, combined with a strong woman lead and romance, I enjoyed this book, but it is only part of the story, so I’m withholding final judgment until I see what happens next.

THE STORY: Lara is a princess trained from childhood to be a spy and ultimate destroyer of the Bridge Kingdom. Sent in marriage by her father to the King of the Bridge Kingdom under the pretense of a peace agreement, Lara is determined to complete her mission. In the Bridge Kingdom, however, Lara meets her new husband Aren. Her experiences eventually make her question what is the truth in the conflict and where her ultimate loyalty should reside.

OPINION: I read this book because it came as part of a book of the month package I get. I didn’t expect much, but ended up really enjoying it. I thought the strongest points were Lara’s character and the intrigue and mystery over what is happening with the Bridge Kingdom.

Lara is both devious and desperate. Her loyalties are unclear from the start and she is challenged by her experience with Aren in the Bridge Kingdom.  I liked her strength and her cleverness and her willingness to challenge her own views. She makes some mistakes but she also learns.

The book has great world building, but I thought the questions about who is lying in the story was the highlight. I wanted to know what the truth was.

The relationship of Lara and Aren was also quite good as the romance was more slow burn than I expected. The romance is a heavy element here which makes me happy, but might be unexpected for those looking for a pure fantasy novel.

WORTH MENTIONING: This book ends on a cliffhanger. I’m rating this book a little lower because of that because I’ve been burnt by bad sequels of fantastic good books quite a few times.

CONNECTED BOOKS: THE BRIDGE KINGDOM is the first book in the Bridge Kingdom series.

STAR RATING: I give this book 4.5 stars.

four-half-stars