Wednesday, February 28, 2018

ARC Review: Marriage of Inconvenience by Penny Reid

Series:     Knitting in the City #7
Pub. Date:March 6, 2018
Length:506 pgs

Marriage of Inconvenience is the seventh book in Penny Reid's fun and quirky Knitting in the City series featuring a group of intelligent and slightly crazy woman who like to knit, imbibe in libations, and have panty dance parties. The series really makes you realize the importance of friendships among women, and makes me nostalgic for my former girl posses as I have moved around the country.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

ARC Review: Hello Stranger by Lisa Kleypas

Series:     Ravenels #4
Pub. Date:Feb. 27, 2018
Length:384 pgs

Hello, Stranger is a much-anticipated book in the Ravenel series featuring an unconventional heroine and a dark and dangerous hero. I was captivated from the first page to the last, and now I want to read it all over again in audio.

Monday, February 26, 2018

ARC Review: My Once and Future Duke by Caroline Linden

Series:     Wagers of Sin #1
Pub. Date:Feb. 27, 2018
Length:384 pgs

My Once and Future Duke kicks off a new series by Caroline Linden, Wagers of Sin. I believe this series will revolve around gambling at the exclusive Vega Club. Our heroines will be girls with similarly-situated childhoods who met and bonded at their boarding school, dubbed Ms. Upton's Academy of the Unwanted. This was a good start to the series with an independent heroine who was the perfect person to thaw out our stuffy and proper duke.

Friday, February 23, 2018

Audiobook Review: I Like Big Dragons and I Cannot Lie by Lani Lynn Vale

Series:     I Like Big Dragons #1
Pub. Date:Jan. 18, 2018
Publisher:Tantor Audio
Narrators:Mason Lloyd
Kendall Taylor
Length:5 hrs 44 min

You guys all know that I am a sucker for dragon stories, so this book (title and blurb) intrigued me. When I saw that the hero would be the Prince of Dragons, I thought dragon shapeshifters. But this story involves dragon riders... and the dragons are sentient and communicative with the humans. I loved that aspect.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

ARC Review: The First Kiss of Spring by Emily March

Series:     Eternity Springs #14
Pub. Date:Feb. 27, 2018
Publisher:St. Martin's Press
Length:368 pgs

I'm not gonna lie - I was totally sucked in by this cover. I just love the look of the colorful house in a small town Colorado setting... the whole thing is just appealing. I have not read any of Eternity Springs books, and I have not previously read Emily March. So I was trying something new here. And I'm glad I did! I want to move to Eternity Springs now... and I definitely need Celeste working her matchmaking magic to set me up.

Side note - while I didn't feel lost without having read the earlier books in the series, there is a ton of character crossover and maybe some spoilers for previous books. There was probably also some world building having to do with the town as the series has progressed. So you may want to start at the beginning instead of jumping in at Book 14 like me.

Monday, February 19, 2018

ARC Review: True to You by Jennifer Ryan

Series:     Montana Heat #2
Pub. Date:Feb. 27, 2018
Length:384 pgs

True to You is the second book in the Montana Heat series. I have not read the prequel, Protected by Love, or the first book, Escape to You. I don't think its absolutely necessary to read the earlier books to keep from feeling lost, but there is discussion and maybe some light spoilers about the earlier books in this one.

I have been very curious about areas of the Northwest lately - particularly Montana and the Dakotas. I hope to visit now that I'm living on this side of the country. I wish this book had focused more on the setting, but I understand that the main focus was our romance and the hero's undercover assignment. I was just expecting a little more of that cowboy feel based on the cover.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Audiobook Review: Marrying Winterborne by Lisa Kleypas

Series:     Ravenels #2
Pub Date:May 31, 2016
Narrator:Mary Jane Wells
Length:10 hrs 59 min

I can't believe it's taken me so long to get to the second book in the Ravenel's series, especially when I loved Reese Winterborne so much in Cold-Hearted Rake. I do recommend that you read these books in order as Helen and Reese's story really begins in the first book.

Helen Ravenel is an oddity in her family, the meek and genteel sister in a family of outspoken and wild siblings. In Marrying Winterborne, we see Helen come out of her shell and go after what she wants most in the world - freedom and Reese Winterborne. I was so proud of Helen for the courage and tenacity she displayed and truly went after what she wanted. I was even more impressed when she discovered a horrible secret and she was inclined to put her integrity and the well-being of others before her own happiness. 

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

ARC Review: Rough Ride by Kristen Ashley

Series:     Chaos #4.5
Pub. Date:Feb. 13, 2018
Publisher:1,001 Dark Nights
Length:273 pgs

Rough Ride is the latest book in Kristen Ashley’s Chaos series, and you definitely don’t want to skip this novella in the course of your reading.

If you have been following the series, you may remember Rosalie from early on, as the ex-girlfriend that Shy scraped off when he got with Tabby. Hurt and looking for her slice of happy, Rosie got involved with another motorcycle club, Bounty, through her new man, Throttle. Only Bounty is not on the right side of right like Chaos, and they have gotten embroiled in crazy ol’ Benito Valenzuela’s crime syndicate. In an effort to get her man free and clear of the mess, Rosie began informing on the club to Chaos. As you can imagine, things did not go well for Rosie when Bounty discovered her perfidy. On the mend and vowing off men, Rosie is not ready for the whirlwind of the Chaos family. I liked Rosie and what we learned of her character. This was a short novella so there was not a ton of character development, but I liked what I did see. She was loyal to her family and had good role models in her parents. It seems like Rosie’s dad was something special, and she was looking for a man to follow in the same footsteps. Like many of us, Rosie made some wrong choices, but she recognized the good when it was finally in front of her. I was glad that she didn’t try overhard to push it away, and was brave enough to accept what Chaos and our hero were offering.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

ARC Review: Shot on Gold by Jaci Burton

Series:     Play-by-Play #14
Pub. Date:Feb. 13, 2018
Length:344 pgs

In the latest Play-by-Play novel, Jaci Burton has moved slightly away from the realm of professional athletes and provided us a story involving Olympians. I believe this is the first story I have read involving Olympic athletes, so it was a nice change of pace. While I don't typically watch the Winter Olympics, this story coming out during the start of the games has me curious enough to take a gander.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Audiobook Review: Dirty Scoundrel by Jessica Clare

Series:     Roughneck Billionaires #2
Pub Date:Nov. 21, 2017
Publisher:Berkley Intermix
Tantor Audio
Narrator:Rudy Sanda
Chandra Skyye
Length:222 pages
9 hrs 15 min
Source:NetGalley / Hoopla

This is another book from my blogger shame pile. This one appears to have fallen through the cracks in the midst of my move. I remembered enjoying the first book of this series, Dirty Money, so I wanted to make sure that I read this one. If you haven't read the first book, you will want to know the the Price Brothers are small town Texas roughnecks. They grew up dirt poor in a trailer, then got lucky and it it big in the oil business.  That's how we now have four roughneck billionaires who haven't been so keen to move out of the trailer park.

Friday, February 9, 2018

Audiobook Review: The Lady and the Highlander by Lecia Cornwall

Series:     Highland Fairytale #3
Pub Date:Sept. 20, 2017
Publisher:Tantor Audio
Narrator:Ruth Urquhart
Length:9 hrs 30 min

The Lady and the Highlander is a recognizable retelling of Snow White. The Highland setting gave the story a unique twist, as did the villainous scheme of our heroine's evil stepmother. As this series has progressed, I have noticed more of a magical nature to the stories. While When a Laird Finds a Lass only had a touch of magic, this installment of the series was infused with magic and poison and a truly evil villain.

Laire Macleod is one of the twelve daughters of the Fearsome Macleod of Glen Uhler. When Laird Macleod marries again, strange things start happening. Laire's sisters are drinking all night and sleeping all day, and acting oddly birdlike. Her father is so besotted with his new wife than he can't spare a glance for his beloved daughters. And there is definitely something scary and unnatural about Laire's new stepmother (Bibiana) and her servants, even the intriguing huntsman. When Laire realizes what is happening, she has no choice but to flee the danger and find help from someone more experienced. Laire was a good heroine, determined to help her family no matter the danger to herself. I admired that. She was also able to see beneath the facade erected by our hero to see the good and honorable man beneath.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

ARC Review: A Devil in Scotland by Suzanne Enoch

Series:     No Ordinary Hero #3
Pub. Date:Jan. 30, 2018
Publisher:St. Martin's Press
Length:320 pgs

I started this book when I was sitting on an airplane last week (right before I got the dreaded flu from one or more plague passengers), and I had to put it down. The prologue made me feel a bit like I was missing the backstory, so I was worried that this was not a series that you could read out of order. However, I gave it another shot today and I read it in one sitting! For anyone else who hasn't read the earlier books... you are fine reading the series out of order. The prologue confused me at first because you come into the story in the middle of an argument. But that was cleared up and I understood the structure once I got to the first chapter (which takes place 10 years after the prologue).

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

ARC Review: The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah

Pub. Date:Feb. 6, 2018
Publisher:St. Martin's Press
Length:435 pgs

This book is outside of my normal genre, but I have been wanting to try this author for quite a while. When I saw the blurb was about Alaskan homesteaders, I knew that I wanted to step out of my comfort zone and start with this one. I get sucked into those Alaskan Bush People type shows from time to time, and I have always wanted to go to Alaska, so I knew that the subject matter would be interesting. I have to say that Kristin Hannah is a master storycrafter and I will definitely be adding more of her books to my TBR.

The Great Alone is not a happy story by any means, but it is poignant and captivating. The narrator of the story is Lenora "Leni" Albright, whom we followed as she came of age in the 1970s following the Vietnam War. Leni's father, Ernt Albright, has returned home a changed man after years as a POW in Vietnam. As he suffers from (likely undiagnosed) PTSD, Leni and her mother, Cora, do everything they can to appease Ernt, including following him to the Alaskan wilderness to get away from what he sees as the deterioration of society.

Monday, February 5, 2018

Audiobook Review: The Charmer by Avery Flynn

Series:       Harbor City #2
Pub. Date:Nov. 31, 2017
Tantor Audio
Narrator:Tatiana Sokolov
Length:282 pages
7hrs 35min
Source:NetGalley / Hoopla

This is my first time reading Avery Flynn, and I have to apologize for this review being way late. This is one of the books that fell through the cracks when I was moving across country, so I've pulled it from my blogger shame list with one of my new year's goals to get caught up.

I haven't read the first book in the series yet, and I didn't feel like I was lost or missing information. So if you are reading these out of order, you should be fine.

Hudson Carlyle is our wealthy and artistic hero, and younger brother to Sawyer (hero in The Negotiator). Hudson is a fun-loving and smooth-talking flirt, who hasn't met a woman whom he can't charm. Well, that was the case until he met our confidently nerdy heroine, Felicia Hartigan. When Felicia doesn't fall for his alluring wit, Hudson devises a scheme disguised as an experiment to make Felicia redirect her interest his way. I really liked Hudson. He was a lot of fun and a little dirty, and definitely got things steamy when it counted.

Friday, February 2, 2018

Audiobook Review: Dirty Magic by Jaye Wells

Series:      Prospero's War #1
Pub. Date:Jan 21, 2014
Publisher:Recorded Books
Narrator:Morgan Hallett
Length:11hrs 52min

I've had the Prospero's War series on my TBR for quite a while, so I was happy to find this audio copy at my library. I was able to get my print books of the series signed by Jaye Wells last year... but I can't read those! So I will probably be doing this series in audio unless I can find room in my ebook schedule anytime soon.

The Prospero's War series takes place in a magical urban environment, in a city that sounds much like New York. There are the magical (adepts) and the mundanes, and both clean magic and dirty magic at play. The world building wasn't extensive (and didn't need to be) but the magical development will prove to be interesting as the series progresses.

So Kate Prospero is our heroine and main character in this series. Kate is patrol cop who has met her glass ceiling it appears due to her sordid history of growing up in a dirty magic coven. When Kate is given the opportunity to join the Magical Enforcement Agency (MEA) task force, she thinks things are going to start going her way. Only her life is about to get much more dangerous. I really like Kate as a heroine. She is not perfect and is relatable in her imperfection. Despite this being an urban fantasy, I found Kate's character to be somewhat realistic and I could see myself hanging out with her if she jumped off the pages of the book. Her struggle with magic, and the relationship with her brother gave Kate enough vulnerability to soften the edges of her character. However, Kate also proved herself to be a capable law enforcement officer and willing to put herself on the line. I also liked that the author didn't make our heroine invincible. I think her injuries and struggles helped make her character more realistic.

One thing I was missing in this story was a defined love interest. I think there are two possibilities, but there was no movement in one direction over another. While I don't need romance in every urban fantasy... I think the stirrings of a relationship would have given me something to look forward to in future books. (Not that I'm uninterested, I will definitely be continuing the series.)

There are an abundance of secondary characters. Between Kate's friends and teammates, plus a few acquaintances and a dubious love interest, there are lots of personalities mixing it up. It wasn't overdone, however. None of the characters seemed superfluous, and each one has his or her defined role to play in the story.

If you are a fan of urban fantasy or strong female heroines, I would recommend this series. 

Purchase Links

Prospero's War