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review 2016-05-31 13:06
Quick Thoughts: Wait Until Midnight
Wait Until Midnight (Jove Historical Romance) - Amanda Quick

Wait Until Midnight

by Amanda Quick

 

 

Adam Hardesty has a serious problem: a diary containing his family's darkest secrets has been stolen and, in the course of investigating his would-be blackmailer, he discovers the dead body of a prominent psychic.

His only lead is a list of the psychic's last visitors. The most likely suspect is a young woman named Mrs. Caroline Fordyce, whom he confronts in her parlour only to discover an inconvenient attraction to this beautiful young widow. But Caroline has secrets of her own and will do anything to avoid another scandal, even if it means journeying deeper in the the shadowy world of psychics, mediums and con artists, to help the enigmatic Mr Hardesty catch a killer.



I guess it’s entirely possible that I subconsciously recalled the heroine of Wait Until Midnight being a sensational novelist when I had read the summary blurb; but the truth is, it’s kind of coincidental that I read two Amanda Quick books in succession and both involved a novelist as one of the main characters. What’s more astounding is that Wait Until Midnight proved to be the engaging, enjoyable, and entertaining historical mystery and romantic suspense book that I had been expecting from Amanda Quick when I had picked up her other book, ’Til Death Do Us Part.

Especially when I hadn’t really been expecting much more than something similar to ’Til Death Do Us Part.

I’m not entirely sure why I feel this way. Both books had their faults and neither book was entirely, one hundred percent perfect. Neither were either of the books really all that terrible either. But while one ended up being a slightly less than mediocre read, the other was a very enjoyable, very likable story.

I can’t entirely pinpoint why it is that I liked one over the other, but there was definitely a different feel. While ’Til Death Do Us Part felt like a rush project through and through, Wait Until Midnight actually felt like there was plenty of thought put into the story’s entire process, from the writing, to the progression, and especially with the characters.

Even the murder mystery was pretty intriguing. Sure, there were a lot of over-dramatic twists and secret reveals that were a little more over hyped than I would have liked, but all in all, this was the far superior of the two books. I found that I enjoyed the tidbits about psychical investigations and what it was like during historical times. I like the way our couple goes about their discreet investigations much more so than the awkward partnership from the other Amanda Quick book.

But anyway, enough of the comparisons. This should be a post about Wait Until Midnight. Except that I don’t really have much else to say about it.

Character-wise, I loved Caroline’s eccentricities and loved that she didn’t let any of society’s restrictions on women hamper her ability to live life the way she needed to live it. I loved that she wasn’t just another meek little woman, or that even though she IS innocent in some ways, in other ways she’s technically more experienced than many others who would be in her position.

Adam was hard to like in the beginning, and being that he exhibited every bit of carbon-copy main male hero trait that could be possible, I didn’t expect much from him. And while he DID start off as a bit of an ass, I’m satisfied that he and Caroline end up being a great couple and a great set of partners during their investigations. The romance COULD have been a little steamier or a little spicier, but I actually kind of found the first sex scene a bit more pragmatic than you would typically see in most category romances.

Not that the love story and the sex didn’t also exhibit some dated ideals, but this IS historical fiction after all and I’ll take what I can get when I’m thoroughly enjoying the book, even if there are a lot of things that DID make me wince or roll my eyes. It didn’t escape my notice that both Amanda Quick books I have read have had a heroine who is a virgin, and who neglects to tell the man she’s about to have sex with that she is a virgin… and then awkward moments ensue for a little bit after they still manage to have breathtaking sex. Frankly, I found the similarities of both scenes in the two different books (both written a decade apart) glaringly obvious and kind of distracting.

Nonetheless, setting aside some of the tackiness and the cheese, Wait Until Midnight was extremely enjoyable!


***

2016 Reading Challenges:
Goodreads Reading Challenge
BookLikes Reading Challenge

 

 

Source: anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2016/05/quick-thoughts-wait-until-midnight.html
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review 2016-05-28 14:00
Thoughts: Lucky in Love
Lucky in Love - Jill Shalvis

Lucky in Love

by Jill Shalvis
Book 4 of Lucky Harbor


My TBR List -- May Winner!
See Other My TBR List Reviews (link coming soon) @ Because Reading



Jill Shalvis has always been a hit or miss with me when it comes to her books, although I will admit that there was a mediocre semi-hit at least two years ago. Lucky in Love is an enjoyable romance with the same humor and wit that embodies a Jill Shalvis contemporary romance. However, I can’t say that I was a hundred percent in like with this book even though it was fun to read from beginning until the end.

Certainly, there were a few things here and there that didn’t really sit well with me, least of all some of the annoying antics of certain characters.

Nonetheless, I’d give Lucky in Love an average rating, anyway.


The Story:
Mallory Quinn has always been the Good Girl of Lucky Harbor and everyone knows this. She’s the stable rock keeping her crazy family from falling apart. She’s the girl next door who’s willing to keep an eye on your home when you’re away. She gives her all, with passion and spirit, to helping people all around her.

But deep down, Mallory is tired of trying to live up to everyone’s expectations, especially her own.

With a little help from her new found friends, Amy and Grace, she is encouraged to “take a walk on the wild side”. And who best to do that with than sexy and hot Mysterious Cute Guy--a man who settled in Lucky Harbor temporarily to nurse some physical wounds?

Ty Garrison has lived his life for adrenaline and action and can’t see himself settling with anyone, anywhere--least of all in the small town of Lucky Harbor where everyone knows everyone’s business. He’s ready to go back to his job as a contract warrior, ready to jump back into the fray of action.

But his plans change when he meets Mallory the Good Girl. And while he’s showing Mallory how to play like a bad girl, Mallory might be showing him a thing or two about life as well.


My Thoughts:
It’s a cute little romance, when you think about it. And it’s not like I don’t like how the romance continues to develop. But underneath all that wit and banter and steamy sex, there’s a very thinly veiled “meant to be” factor that doesn’t escape my notice. On top of that, the whole “Good Girl” vs. “Bad Girl” ordeal is a little dated anyway--the terms are relative, after all.

And I can’t seem to help but notice that for all the “backbone” and “meanness” everyone claims Mallory has developed, she STILL felt like a pushover to me. It was frustrating in some ways, but in other ways was actually quite realistic. Nobody goes from being the meek kitten to a bold bitch overnight. And even if Mallory lets her inner snark out to play every so often, that doesn’t necessarily mean that she’s gotten to be a mean person. It just means that she DOES have a personality underneath all that Nurse Nightingale persona, after all. And this isn’t a bad thing, if only Mallory could be a little more consistent with it.

I don’t have much to say about Ty, because he’s no different than most of the broody, alpha, commitment-phobic main male heroes in every other romance book. He’s a good man despite his bad boy reputation… and that’s really all there is to him.


Final Thoughts:
I was a huge fan of the first three Lucky Harbor books. Maddie, Tara, and Chloe made a wonderful set of dysfunctional half-sisters learning to get along with each other, and finding themselves along the way.

I’m not entirely sure I can say the same of this new trio of friends, self-named The Chocoholics. While they embody the same kind of snark and wit that typical Jill Shalvis characters tend to have, their friendship seems strained and not as… well, not as fun as that of the three half-sisters from the first three books. And I was even quite frustrated with the three of them for some time.

Then again, who am I to judge how most friends interact with each other.

Also, for some reason, a lot of the other Lucky Harbor residents got on my nerves as well. I’m not sure why, but what seemed to have been written in as supposedly funny background character antics just felt annoying to me. Maybe it’s just me.

Nevertheless, Lucky in Love was still a fun and enjoyable book, and I hope I enjoy the next one a little bit more.

 


***


2016 Reading Challenges:
Goodreads Reading Challenge
BookLikes Reading Challenge
Bookish Resolutions Challenge

 

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text 2016-05-27 09:37
First Impression: Wait Until Midnight
Wait Until Midnight (Jove Historical Romance) - Amanda Quick
He looked reluctantly fascinated and, perhaps, bemused. "You took notes about my appearance and attire so that you could apply them to the hero of your story?"

"Heavens, no," she assured him with an airy wave of her hand. "Whatever gave you that idea? Edmund Drake is not the hero of my tale. He is the villain of the piece."


I was thoroughly tickled by this last quote in chapter two, if only because the main "hero," Mr. Adam Hardesty had been such an ass up to this point.  But I had a good single "Ha!" moment.  Because the entire time that Caroline was jotting down her notes and getting so excited about this new character muse, I also thought that she'd intended to use Adam Hardesty as a mold for her book's hero.

It's so nice to see him brought down a slight peg, even if off-handedly.  I'm sure there's more to him than the dark, dangerous, and broody, but to be totally honest, he'd been nothing short of rude since his appearance, so I'm looking forward to seeing how this relationship turns out.

Having recently finished Amanda Quick's most recent 'Til Death Do Us Part and finding it a little lacking (review to come soon), I kind of decided to run out and check out another of her books, one that had a lot of good reviews and more praise.  I noted that many others were also disappointed with a lot of her most recent work and there is a lot of good critique about her backlist.  Wait Until Midnight seemed to have a good number of positive reviews, so I wanted to give it a go.

Of course, I wasn't going to start reading it until a bit later since I had a tentative reading list with two other books I need to finish first... but I couldn't help myself.

Anyway, it's only chapter two, so I haven't formed an concrete opinions yet.  Again, I was just kind of tickled by the exchange above between our hero and heroine.  However, I am finding that I like Caroline Fordyce's eccentric behavior, what with her excitement over getting a visitor with a matter of "grave importance" baiting her curiosity.

Hopefully this book turns out to be interesting.  I'm finding this new foray into historical fiction kind of interesting, and I DO find Amanda Quick's (a.k.a. Jayne Castle, Jayne Ann Krentz) writing style likable.

Source: anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2016/05/first-impression-wait-until-midnight.html
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text 2016-05-26 15:00
Cover Crush: The Bride Wore Size 12 by Meg Cabot

Cover Crush is a feature originally thought up by Erin at Flashlight Commentary.  Every Thursday, she publishes a post featuring a book jacket/book cover that she really likes with a short commentary about it.  I discovered this weekly feature via It's a Mad Mad World  and decided to join in the fun!

Judge a book by it's cover?  Absolutely!

 

***

 


Okay, so this isn't the best cover illustration in the world.  In fact, it's kind of weird and not exactly unique either.  But I have reasons for liking it and not only because the bride-groom figures are in a rather risqué pose.

There is a pistol tucked into the bride's garter belt.

I know.  I'm very easily amused.  But I like it.

The rest of the covers in the Heather Wells series aren't really anything to write home about.  But they're cute in their own way, too.



Source: anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2016/05/cover-crush-bride-wore-size-12-by-meg.html
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review 2016-05-25 14:00
Thoughts: This Shattered World
This Shattered World - Amie Kaufman,Meagan Spooner

This Shattered World

by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner
Book 2 of Starbound

 

The second installment in the epic Starbound trilogy introduces a new pair of star-crossed lovers on two sides of a bloody war.

Jubilee Chase and Flynn Cormac should never have met.

Lee is captain of the forces sent to Avon to crush the terraformed planet's rebellious colonists, but she has her own reasons for hating the insurgents.

Rebellion is in Flynn's blood. Terraforming corporations make their fortune by recruiting colonists to make the inhospitable planets livable, with the promise of a better life for their children. But they never fulfilled their promise on Avon, and decades later, Flynn is leading the rebellion.

Desperate for any advantage in a bloody and unrelentingly war, Flynn does the only thing that makes sense when he and Lee cross paths: he returns to base with her as prisoner. But as his fellow rebels prepare to execute this tough-talking girl with nerves of steel, Flynn makes another choice that will change him forever. He and Lee escape the rebel base together, caught between two sides of a senseless war.



I’m not entirely certain whether I liked This Shattered World more or less than the first book in this Starbound trilogy. And maybe that’s not what I should be concerned about. But the comparisons are there, nonetheless. Because much like These Broken Stars, this second installment of the Starbound trilogy starts off kind of slow and shaky, and took a good long while before I could get into it.

It’s disconcerting, especially since I had thought that I would end up enjoying This Shattered World more than These Broken Stars. The beginning of This Shattered World was actually quite exciting with a lot of potential for forward progress and conflict reveal. Jubilee Chase and Flynn Cormac are more the case of star-crossed lovers than Tarver and Lilac had been, but there was so much more depth in their opposing sides. With Tarver and Lilac, it was a class difference as well as a lot of pre-judgments on each side.

With Jubilee and Flynn, however, it’s years and years of war, fighting, tragedy, and death between two groups of people. It’s something that’s hard to fight pre-existing opinions and reflex actions against.

And also, I found that I liked the whole first fight scene between Jubilee and Flynn, wherein a hot pink cocktail sword pick gets stabbed into someone’s thigh. Now if THAT hadn’t been a sign of fun times between our destined couple to come, I don’t know what would be.

Except, after that initial excitement, the story seemed to mellow out for a duration… like say, up until the midpoint of the book. Again, like These Broken Stars, a lot of things happen. But at the same time, the action felt dragged out to non-action and I found myself wondering where this book was trying to head. The consistent back and forth of military against rebels was kind of overdone, to be honest. It’s expected in books like this, but it was also dragged on for too long.

I wanted Jubilee and Flynn to start working together soon. But soon just didn’t seem to get here soon enough.

The book picks up towards the middle of the book. And as predictable as the plot seemed to be, it was still enjoyable for the latter half, able to keep my attention (finally)... before moving into some strange left-field conclusion that kind of made sense, but kind of didn’t. I don’t even know what I’m talking about anymore.


Anyway…

This Shattered World was enjoyable. To be honest, it’s more enjoyable after a duration, but it was enjoyable nonetheless. It was nice to see Tarver again, even if he didn’t comprise much of the action. And for those reading this series after it is already completely published, it looks like we get a slight, hinted at introduction for the next two players for the concluding installment of the Starbound trilogy. I’m quite intrigued, even if I’m not a hundred percent going to jump on that last book.

After all, there’s an ongoing conflict that reeks of Big Corporation Conspiracies (because it IS a big corporation conspiracy), and I’d like to see how it plays out. I just also have a feeling I know exactly how it’s going to play out.


***

2016 Reading Challenges:
Goodreads Reading Challenge
BookLikes Reading Challenge
Bookish Resolutions Challenge


Source: anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2016/05/thoughts-this-shattered-world.html
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