Thursday, May 25, 2017

ARC REVIEW Nothing Like A Duke by Jane Ashford

Book four in the Duke's Sons series and I have been waiting for Robert and Flora's story since the first book. Every other book has teased at their attraction and the bickering it's all foreplay. Jane Ashford has lead us on a merry chase with these two, in the last book the only mention was how bad humor Robert has been in since he left Oxford and Flora. The nice thing is that while it would be beneficial to have read the previous books (at least to get a feel for the past history of Flora and Robert and the other books are worth the read) it is not entirely necessary.

I love the writing style of Jane Ashford she's focused on the romance and the character building and does so in a way that is funny, romantic, and heartfelt. Both characters balance each other out and bring out the qualities they never thought they had. Robert is the pink of the ton very popular, fashionable and very sociable. Flora is a bluestocking who spent most of her life living up the the standards of her father who never got the boy he wanted. Flora never learned to socialize, she sees these girls act dumb and it irks her to no end that they do that and that men expect their women to act that way. There is no place in Flora's world for stupidity and no love for the high society that rejected her mother for marrying a poor scholar. But Robert changed her perspective on things he made her think things were possible and that she was willing to try going into society.

Robert could not fathom why Flora's opinion mattered to him, why he tried so hard to prove to her that he wasn't just a pretty face in society but that he was intelligent as well. However Flora just kept pushing him and making cutting remarks that Robert left and he thought to put the whole thing behind him and continue has he always had but he couldn't stop thinking about Flora. Getting into society at one of the better house parties before the season started he thought was the perfect place to forget about Flora, until she shows up and takes his breath away. Flora initially planned to go to the house party to experiment and learn about how to act in society so she can finally have her season. She hurt that Robert left she thought better of him but giving up and going back into society kind of reaffirmed everything bad she thought of him. Throughout the span of the house party through the childish actions of a manipulative young woman who has her sights set on Robert to the desperate actions of a cruel and money hungry gambler both Robert and Flora learn a lot about each other.

Overall, this was a good read. The side characters are a hoot, they made the story much more enjoyable.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

ARC REVIEW Never Trust a Pirate by Valerie Bowman

Even though it is book seven of Valerie Bowman's Playful Brides series it is a perfect stand-alone. Never having read any of the previous books only the mentioning of  Rafe and Daphne past gives any inclination that this is part of a series and since they aren't the main characters and their book was book four, it really has no precedence in this story all the pertinent information is given and really very easy to follow.

The descriptive playful in the series title is also a good descriptive for the writing style. It kind of reminded me of the older pirate romance with a playful twist on it. I love the direction it went and how the story played out the characters were all very likable and easy to empathize with.

Danielle came from a good family and high in society but her mother was disowned when she married a Frenchman for love. It didn't end well and Danielle ended up becoming a spy for the English crown. Danielle just wanted one thing in return for her service to get vengeance against the man who ruined her life. Getting closer than she has ever been before to the pirate she just needs to bide her time until the right moment until then she was been charged with keeping an eye on Cade Cavendish and see what he's up too.

Cade faked his death years ago for his brother's protection but he's back now and with one last thing he needs to do before he can settle down but the intriguing french lady's maid that his sister in law just hired has piqued his curiosity and stirred his lust. The attraction is instantaneous which Danielle thinks is horrible because she thinks he is his brother. Thankfully that quickly gets straighten out and against her better judgment she falls under his spell and allows the seduction. But things are not always what they seem and in the end Cade and Danielle have a common goal.

Overall, this was a quick and witty story. A joy to read, seriously this book made me happy. The whole Black Fox thing was very clever.      

ARC REVIEW No Easy Target by Iris Johansen

No Easy Target by Iris Johansen a spin -off novel of the Eve Duncan series. The main character Margaret was previously in an Eve Duncan novel. I use to read Eve Duncan but I got burned out because it seemed just the same ole same ole. It really feels like this is suppose to be the replacement for Eve, especially with the ending. (that's all I'm sayin' on that, draw your own conclusions). It started off really good, very exciting a bunch of sexual tension tied with animosity. John and Margaret don't like each other at the start. Margaret is on the run from a sadistic sociopathic arms and drugs dealer and she will do anything to not go back to Nicos. To John, Margaret was just suppose to be a means to an end; the key to getting back his mentor back from Nicos who is holding him to torment John and to teach him a lesson.

John learned everything he could about Margaret, he tracked her down and planned on trading her for Patrick, the one person who understood John and helped put him on the path of special forces to CIA to multi-millionaire. But once John finally caught Margaret and understood how scared she was to go back he changed his plans to that she would never have to go back to Nicos. Margaret's empathic ability that allows her to communicate with animals also lets her feel powerful emotions from people so when she feels the terror and desperation coming from John she agrees to help, but she tells him she will never return to the island, unfortunately sometimes things can't go the way they are planned.

Margaret has to face the man who causes her nightmares. Margaret thought she learned her lesson about getting close to people but Nicos reinforces that lesson in a way she will never forget. It didn't work like Nicos planned however Margaret didn't break she got stronger. Face to face with him again she is stronger than she has ever been. She has keep people at a distance however for her to escape Nicos she must rely on John to help her out. Despite the rocky start Margaret knows she can count on John and his team of security experts to pull her out safely.

Overall, I enjoyed it but it almost felt like I had read the book before the characters reminded me way too much of Sarah Patrick and John Logan and the overall situation reminded me of The Search. I found myself asking if the Eve Duncan series was being rebooted or on an alternate timeline or something.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

ARC REVIEW Ararat by Christopher Golden

Ararat is a horror, mystery, monster-ish book. It's not what I thought it would be, but that is not a bad thing. It was well written and even though I really didn't like the overall plot it was written engaging enough to keep me wanting to read it and finding out what happens. It wasn't bad just not my usual cup of tea. Don't get me wrong I love creepy, scary, paranormal, and horror stories but demonic possession stories don't really do it for me. I was expecting something a little more monstrous and abominable, so yes I was disappointed there. I did like the creep factor Christopher Golden inserted into the whole Noah's Ark story, that was a good twist. I halfway expected all the characters introduced in the first chapters to die at the end of the those chapters.

Earthquake in Turkey reveals a cave opening with a giant ship inside it. Locals and scholars believe it to be Noah's Ark. Advanced teams are sent up the mountain Ararat to discover the truth.

Adam, Meryam, Feyiz, and Hakan made a deal with the Turkish government that who ever made it to the cave first would have the rights to the cave. Adam and Meryam are adventurist and authors, they record all their adventures and put them out on the internet and finding Noah's Ark, if it is indeed The Ark, would be the big break they needed. Feyiz and Hakan are sherpas they know the mountain better than anyone else. In a race against time these four start ascending the mountain hopefully to get their before the other team. Three weeks later specialist Dr. Ben Walker, Dr. Kim Seong, and Father Cornelius Hughes are called up the mountain for their expert opinion, but on what they don't know yet. Once they get there it's immediate, a dark feeling surrounds them. Something isn't right with the cave or the ruins of the ship. Once they see what Adam and Meryam found in the ruins of the ark strange things start to happen. The sarcophagus with a demonic looking corpse makes everyone uncomfortable. Rumors are running rampant and the workers are getting scared of the creature but a blizzard she them trapped inside the cave until the next morning at least. But people start disappearing and people keep behaving out of the norm. Can the crew make it past nightfall or will they be forced to leave the cave and face the blizzard instead of the thing inside it.

Overall, like I said not normally my kind of read but was written in a way I needed to find out what happened.      

ARC REVIEW Falling Hard by Stacy Finz

Book 9 in the Nugget series by Stacy Finz stars the intelligent Annie Sparks whom we first met in the last book along with Logan Jenkins the illegitimate son of Ray Rosser, the convicted murder and no good sonovabitch of Nugget who died in prison. Logan didn't even know who his biological father was until he was contacted by a lawyer about being named in his father's will. Logan out of curiosity went to the ranch that use to be his father's, it now belonged to Gia Trendwell, he didn't care about any of that he just wanted to  know more about his father. Annie moved on to the Rosser ranch when she walked out on her boyfriend. She had enough with lazy moochers who did nothing but waste her time and this included her brother who continually made bad decisions and cost their parents lots of money and this time collateral on the farm they could not afford to lose. Annie wanted nothing more than to help Gia's tree farm succeed especially the part of the plan that helped women get back on their feet, learn money management and business.  

It was just suppose to be temporary, it was just suppose to be a fling until he left to San Diego and then Annie would get on with her life wherever that was heading and that was it. Annie and Logan never intended to fall in love, but they did and hard and neither of them knew how to handle that. It's hard enough trying to figure out where your relationship is going when moocher brothers cause problems and then there is Raylene, Logan's half sister who if you've read the other books you know how she is, getting in the picture just to rock the boat and stir up trouble for Logan. Logan, omg, he's such a freakin' sweetheart; even though it's "casual" he ends up buying Annie new boots because she needs them and a pair of cowboy boots just because he knows she'll like them. Logan is the opposite of what Annie normally goes for but he is exactly what she needs. Logan is the opposite of his father, he was raised by a good man and it shows he even goes out of his way to help Raylene after she acted like a twat.

Overall, this is another great read. I love this series it is one of my favorite small town romance series and they just keep getting better and better.

ARC REVIEW Reed by R.C. Ryan

Reed is book three of the Malloys of Montana series by R.C. Ryan. Reed is the youngest of the three brothers and even though he has the playboy image he takes one thing very seriously, his cattle. He is trying to raise a herd of free range organic cattle that has been a money pit, until now. This latest herd is doing surprisingly well and if he can get them to market he has a buyer who will pay very well for them. Ally Shaw and her son Kyle needed a do over. Kyle's father was a military man who died overseas. After it happened a coworker of Ally's started acting weird, and possessive. Ally wanted to get away from him and everything else. She moved to Glacier Ridge and into her uncle's home. Uncle Archer reluctantly let them stay until Ally could get the apartment upstairs from her new business liveable. Archer had some strict rules for them to follow and half the time it was difficult for a four year old Kyle to remember them. It was the wrong time for them to meet, Ally needed to worry about her store and her son and Reed needed to concentrate on his keeping his livestock healthy until roundup. But once Reed saw Ally, no matter how much he tried to convince himself otherwise, he knew there would be no other woman for him.

Trouble followed Ally to Montana, it started as little things but the closer she got to Reed the worse things got. Even her relationship with her Uncle which was precarious already got worse. But she had lots of good things going on that outweighed the bad, her business was successful the towns people loved her, and she even acquired a new assistant a young girl with a knack and passion for vintage clothes. She also had the love and support of the entire Malloy family especially Reed. The only thing bringing her down was the crazy stalker and her temperamental Uncle.

Ally is, of course, hesitant to start anything with Reed, after what happened with Kyle's father she was worried about a relationship with any man. I loved the slow but constant seduction Reed goes through with Ally, the not so subtle reminders that he is there for her, and willing to wait until she's comfortable but not letting her forget how much he wants her. Reed is great with Kyle and with dealing with all the crap that followed her Ally can't resist the charm and the attraction.

Overall, this was an enjoyable read. I like R.C. Ryan her style of writing is smooth and easy well balanced between the suspense, emotional and the romance. OHHHHHH and the continuing story arc is finally concluded! I really enjoy reading R.C. Ryan western romance and I can't wait for more.    

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

ARC REVIEW Lord of Pleasure by Erica Ridley

Lord of Pleasure is book two of Erica Ridley's new series Rogues to Riches. This is another great story by Erica Ridley, the characters are likeable and the whole situation is humorous. It's a fantastic Cinderella type story. Camellia is the perfect daughter she does as she's told, she sings when they want her too and what they want her to sing, she's also the sensible one, but her parents go too far when the arrange her marriage to a much older gentleman who doesn't even have the courtesy to actually ask her, then leaves for a month. Lord Wainwright, Michael, is tired of getting his image drawn as a caricature in the paper linking him to all sorts of gossip and rakish behaviour, sometimes it's true but he's tired of being made fun of, as a joke his friends bet him he couldn't stay out of the gossip column for 40 days.

In an atypical act of rebellion Camellia accepts the invitation meant for her sister to the notorious Lambley's masquerade ball. Once there she is swept off her feet by a masked man who seems to not only listen to her but enjoys talking to her. She has four weeks until her fiance returns and has the banns announced so she decides to enjoy her time with the masked man and returns to the masquerade ball every week.

So far Michael is succeeding in avoiding the gossip rags, he's seen in all the right places and attends his duty in the House of Lords and is terribly bored the only thing keeping his interest is Lady X a wonderful woman whom he has no idea who she really is. The other perplexing thing he comes across is the obvious dislike the Grenville sisters have for him. He has no idea that he made one off hand remark that caused the backing out a charity that was run by one of the sister and out of loyalty all the sister must hate him too. It doesn't take very long before Camellia discovers her masked man is none other than Lord Wainwright. Camellia is despaired that the man she has fallen in love with the same man who is a notorious seducer and who inadvertently hurt her sister. Camellia needs the strength to finally stand up to her parents and shake things up a bit, but can she find the courage Michael knows she has or will it all be for nothing.        

Overall, it is a great Cinderella retold story.