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text 2017-07-01 00:32
Can You Read a Series in a Month? June 2017 Wrap Up

See Also:  Wrap Up posts & link up @ Because Reading
See Also:  My Can You Read a Series in a Month? Summary Post

Once again, I had great fun reading a wonderful series.  Although I had already read the first book prior to the challenge, the remaining three books were still great new experiences for me!

As a refresher, I'm re-posting the series I chose along with my updated review links.  For the Goodreads series page screen shot, please scroll to end of the post.

I look forward to any other book by Courtney Milan.  And also, until the next time our lovely hosts have this challenge!



My Series Pick


Brothers Sinister by Courtney Milan

Completed Reviews: (updated on 6/28/2017)
1.  The Duchess War -- Read Pre-June 2017
2.  The Heiress Effect -- 06/04/2017
3.  The Countess Conspiracy -- 06/07/2017
4.  The Suffragette Scandal -- 06/20/2017
novella 0.5:  The Governess Affair -- Already Read
novella 1.5:  A Kiss for Midwinter -- Read Pre-June 2017
novella 4.5:  Talk Sweetly to Me -- 06/26/2017

*Click on series title for GR series page. // Click on book title for my review.



GR Series Page Screenshot


And as requested by our lovely hosts, here is a screenshot of the Goodreads series page, showing all the books I read for this series!


If you go to the actual series page at Goodreads, there are two other entries:  One is an anthology collection that includes the prequel novella, The Governess Affair.  The other is a complete boxed set for the whole series.



Source: anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2017/06/can-you-read-series-in-month-june-2017.html
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text 2017-06-30 07:00
Booklikes-opoly | Roll #24! and Free Friday #3!
Booklikes, the book blogging social platform


The reading gods have been generous these past few rolls.  I've been finishing books left and right like "Whoa!"  Even the turns were I have a double roll and end up with two books.  Though to be fair, I suppose since I've been limiting myself to a lot of COYER Summer Reading List books, they are books I've been wanting to read, as well as books that are kind of short in page length... well some of them are.

For Roll #23, I landed on a BL Square, which then netted me the BL Task #1: "Let a BL friend choose your book!  Post a list of 4 books - first one to comment chooses your next read."

And so the following book was chosen by Tea, Rain, Book:


Secret Agent Secretary by Melissa Cutler is a 248 page book, adding $6.00 to my Bank Balance, increasing the total to $131!

So I think I liked this second ICE book more than the first.  The heroine was all sorts of geeky fun, what with her overactive imagination about what super secret agents do, admitting that maybe she's watched and/or read one too many spy novels.  Some of the items on her bucket list include:  1) Assisting in the capture of an international criminal mastermind, and 2) Getting herself a super spy fancy gadget.

But her obsessive fascination with all things secret agent doesn't negate the fact that she's pretty cool and quick on her feet in explosive situations.

Click the title above for my short review!

And now Roll #24:


I rolled an 8 (which seems to be my favorite number since I've rolled it so many dang times!), and landed on New Orleans Square 18.


I think we've been here before, Monkey.  I'm hazarding a guess that we're running out of tricks...

By the way, I've rolled the number '8' only 5 times, which is surprising since it feels like I've been rolling it on a regular basis.  Instead, it looks like the number I've rolled the most is '7' at 6 times.  I have rolled all the other numbers an almost equal number of times except for '2'.  It has been rolled zero times.

But anyway... moving along...

This is a first landing for me on either of the New Orleans squares... and to be honest, I would have done a lot better with the other New Orleans square, the one for an island or ocean.  I've got a longer list I can select from.  Lots of books that take place in England, or some other random island.

Gothic books, or even ghost stories, have never really been my cuppa, though I will admit that I've enjoyed my fair share of them recently.  I played with the idea of buying an extra roll, but then decided that I needed to break out of my shell and continue trying something Gothic.

I've recently read such gems as The Moonspinners by Mary Stewart and The House at Riverton by Kate Morton, both by authors I plan to continue reading at some point.

There are a few Simone St. James books that I'm still interested in, and just as well, I picked up some Victoria Holt from a book sale not long ago out of curiosity.  I might even be persuaded to read another Deanna Raybourn book, because I think there's a particular one I haven't read yet.

HOWEVER, in the end, I suddenly made a decision to read something else entirely.  It is neither a book I own, nor an author I ever thought to read previously, but the title caught my attention, and the summary sounds quite interesting.  And apparently there's archaeology involved.


The Shadowy Horses by Susanna Kearsley, is tagged Gothic at Goodreads, and the summary mentions ghostly sightings.  So I became curious and decided to just go with it.  The book is set at 430 pages, Kindle version, that I am checking out from the library e-book collection.  That will be a $10.00 increase to my Bank Balance upon completion.

I have never read Susanna Kearsley before, but as I've been picking up so many new authors already this year, why stop now?  I've read a lot of good things about many of her other books, so hopefully I'll like this one.

And while I'm at it, since it IS Friday, I will also be announcing my third Free Friday Read!

Originally I was going to continue with the ICE series, so I could finish it up, with the last book, Hot on the Hunt, since I read Secret Agent Secretary for the last BLopoly roll (see above).  But while I was surfing Goodreads, I came across a Pamela Clare blog update about her newest installment of Colorado High Country.  And because Pamela Clare has been an auto-buy author for me ever since I read her I-Team series, I made a last minute decision, right before posting this blog post.


Tempting Fate is 322 pages (Kindle version) and will net me +$6.00!  And also, I couldn't pass up the chance to read this now that it's out.  I'm not even sure I know how I missed this book's release, since I've been trying to follow Pamela and her news updates regularly.  But I guess this just goes to show how little I actually follow my Goodreads news feed.

Hot on the Hunt will just have to wait for another roll...

Current Bank:   $131



Source: anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2017/06/booklikes-opoly-roll-24-and-free-friday.html
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review 2017-06-30 02:56
Brief Ramblings: Secret Agent Secretary
Secret Agent Secretary (ICE: Black Ops Defenders #2) - Melissa Cutler

Secret Agent Secretary
by Melissa Cutler
Book 2 of ICE: Black Ops Defenders



Tops on Avery Meadows's bucket list is assisting in the capture of an international criminal mastermind… from the safety of her desk as an ICE Agency secretary.  But when fate catapults her into the arms of sexy, brooding Ryan Reitano — an undercover ICE agent with dangerous secrets and a past he's desperate to hide — Avery's dream of saving the world takes on a whole new twist...

I think I liked this second ICE book more than the first.  The heroine, Avery Meadows, was all sorts of geeky fun, what with her overactive imagination about what super secret agents do, admitting that maybe she's watched and/or read one too many spy novels.  But that doesn't negate the fact that she's pretty cool and quick on her feet in explosive situations.

Much like the first book, however, there's a lot of forward movement, and a lot of excitement, so you don't really get much time to stop and dwell on any of the events.  So, to be honest, aside from waxing poetic about how much I loved Avery and her quirky, all-things-secret-agent-obsessed nerdy personality, there's not much else to say.

Main scenes that I found fun and that stood out the most were:

1)  Avery's construction of a paperclip chain in order to zip up her super expensive bright pink dress, and then being unable to unhook said paperclip chain from her dress zipper, so she just stuffs it down the back of her dress.  I also found the very first scene of her turning in circles trying zip up her dress from behind kind of amusing as well; this before she finally came up with the paperclip chain.

And all of this was done at the ICE office.

2)  Avery playing with Ryan's whip, playfully whapping him in the chest why they chat about being a secret agent; this taking place moments after they detain two thugs.  Then she claims the whip for her own.  The whip thing is actually a lot less kinky than it sounds.

3)  The two of them groping a Remington XM2010 sniper rifle.  Okay, this scene was super hot... even if I have no idea what kind of firearm that is.

Believe me, Avery does a lot of things that are both cringe-worthy, in a nerdy way, and also super awesome... in a nerdy way.  She was the life of this book.

Ryan was great as the standard broody alpha male.  He had his moments that endeared him to me, but, to be honest, he didn't stand out like super spy Avery Meadows did!




Roll #23:
BL Task #1 says:  "Let a BL friend choose your next book!"

Page Count:  248
Cash Award:  $6.00

Updated Bank Balance:  $131




Source: anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2017/06/brief-ramblings-secret-agent-secretary.html
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review 2017-06-30 02:16
Quick Thoughts: Her Wild Hero | and companion stories
Her Wild Hero (X-Ops) - Paige Tyler

Her Wild Hero

by Paige Tyler
Book 3 of X-Ops



Name: Kendra Carlsen
Rank: Trainer, Dept. of Covert Ops
Objective: Get out of the office and into the field

Name: Declan MacBride
Rank: Munitions Expert, Dept. of Covert Ops
Status: Bear Shifter
Objective: Protect Kendra at all costs

The steamy Costa Rican jungle brings out the bear in Declan MacBride when he and new operative Kendra Carlsen are ambushed.  In the midst of relying on each other to survive, and fighting his explosive attraction to Kendra, this shifter is about to lose control...

Her Wild Hero is just as enjoyable and exciting as the previous two books in Tyler's X-Ops series.  I was sorely disappointed in my library for skipping Book #3 of this series after I finished reading the first two books--they just kept adding on other Paige Tyler books, and NOT this one, going straight to Book #4.

But enough of that rambling about my library--because I can never stay upset at them for long.  Aside from being an enjoyable, exciting survival suspense, the book continues the background conspiracy concerning experimental testing of shifters and creation of human-shifter hybrids by injecting animal DNA in a human vessel.  And apparently, the plot continues to thicken with each book.

I like that the book doesn't spend the entire story detailing the romance, since, obviously, our main characters have more important things to worry about--such as staying alive in hostile territory.

But little bits of jealousies and lust sneaks into a few scenes here and there... and then suddenly there's a huge disconnect when our main couple finally hop right into the romance and sexy times part of the story as if they aren't being chased by packs of bloodthirsty, violent hybrids, bent on either killing or capturing them.  Then we return to the regularly scheduled program, and our couple is back to running from the threat, fighting and killing their way out of the Costa Rican jungles.

I mean, I don't begrudge an author her right to insert sexy times into her books, but the time and place was just a little inappropriate (in a cave, of all places... however, Declan is part bear, so maybe it was fitting?).  Her previous two books at least brought the sexy times when no one was running from danger and it was just another day before the rest of the action got started again.

But aside from that little snafu, where the world kind of stops turning so our main couple could jump each other--meanwhile their rescue party is having a hell of a time trying to locate them and getting injuries and exhaustion while they're at it, which I found kind of amusing for some reason--the rest of the book was quite entertaining.




Roll #22:
This book is tagged 'fantasy' on GR; a book about shifters.

Page Count:  334
Cash Award:  $6.00

Updated Bank Balance:  $125






Meanwhile, I also went ahead and read the two companion short stories the author had written for Declan and Kendra.


Declan and the Disney Elves is a short story that is set in a timeline pre-Her Wild Hero.

It was pretty cute, though I'm not sure what it has to do with Disney elves.  Because there are Disney elves, and then there are Santa's elves.  But whatevs.  This was a cute read and some of the humor was giggle-worthy.

Rating:  4.0 Stars

Click on the above banner to read the story.



An X-Ops Honeymoon is set post-Her Wild Hero, following Declan and Kendra (as the title states) during their honeymoon in New England.

It's a nice follow-up to the main story, with a kidnapping and more politics to deal with.  A great treat for fans, that's for sure, but doesn't seem to add onto what we know of the ongoing background conflict of X-Ops.  Still, worth a go when you're at a standstill on what to read.

There were just a lot of typos in the context, and a lot of schmaltz and repetition in the dialogue.  About what you'd expect of a free read, so I'm not complaining much.

Rating:  3.5 Stars

This short story is only available via Paige Tyler's newsletter subscription, and I was lucky enough to sign up at about the time she started mailing the first chapter.


Source: anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2017/06/quick-thoughts-her-wild-hero-and.html
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review 2017-06-28 22:45
Brief Thoughts: Pushing the Line
Pushing The Line (Line Series) - Kimberly Kincaid

Pushing the Line

by Kimberly Kincaid
Book 4 of The Line series



Free-spirited artist Harper McGee is happy to go wherever the wind takes her… until her flight pattern sends her back to Brentsville, New York for her beloved grandmother's funeral.  Harper’s grief turns to shock, however, when she discovers her grandmother has named her sole proprietor of her candy shop, Luscious.  But she has no intention of being anchored to one place, and anyway, she doesn’t know the first thing about running a kitchen or a business.  Selling Luscious is the only viable option— until the shop catches fire due to old wiring.  Fixing the damage requires major work, and if Harper wants to put it on the market, she needs major help.

Thrill-seeking firefighter Aaron Fisher has never walked away from a challenge or a friend.  So when a fellow firefighter is hurt on a call and can’t complete a side job for his contracting company, Aaron’s quick to jump in.  He’s done plenty of fix ‘er ups for his buddy in the past, and despite his silver spoon upbringing and his no-holds-barred attitude, swinging a hammer suits Aaron just fine.  That is, until he discovers the client is the same impetuous woman he forcibly dragged from the flames of Brentsville’s local candy shop.

The more time Harper and Aaron spend at Luscious, the hotter their attraction burns, daring them both to shed their tough outer layers to reveal the tender desires beneath.  But when a buyer makes Harper the offer of a lifetime, she must choose between roots and wings.  Can two people who live in the moment learn to see past the moment, or will Aaron and Harper always live their lives pushing the line?

I hadn't reviewed any of the previous books in The Line series, as they were also short, novella-length stories with light and breezy, cute romance, with a touch of sexy... and it was enough to satisfy a couple hours of my day.  Not much to think about, but readily enjoyable.

The Line series was where I had been introduced to Kimberly Kincaid for the first time, finding that I immensely loved her writing style.  I remember calling it enjoyable and witty-good, or something to that effect when I reviewed a book from a different series of hers.

Simply put, Kimberly Kincaid is a fun author to read.

Pushing the Line is a great addition to the four book series (which was originally a trilogy, by the way, so don't know if more books are in the make).  It feels like a wrap up for the series, however, since all the couples from the previous three books were brought back in a very Couple Curtain-ish manner, despite the fact that their presence DOES kind of fit.

Like the previous books, Pushing the Line was fun and flirty, enjoyable and cutesy-sweet, with a nice dose of steamy hot.  If it's one thing I would have loved for this short book, it would be a more fleshed out, better developed story line.  There was so much potential to the events and the conflict in this book, but a lot of the action took place in time skips.

I would have loved to see Harper start to realize her love for making candies with her grandmother's recipes, and maybe a scene or two of her slowly softening to the idea of remaining in Brentsville.  I would have liked to see her get along with everyone in town and find that she loved being in Brentsville.  Instead, Harper and Aaron make their first batch of pecan clusters, and then suddenly we're a week later--feelings have grown deeper, and Harper has made batch after batch of her grandmother's candies for all her new friends.

And then the ending was rather abrupt, truth be told.

And that's really the only thing I would have wanted about Pushing the Line:  More.  Because Harper and Aaron are interesting characters, fun to be around.

And I like firefighters and would have loved to see more of that aspect of Aaron's life...




Roll #22:
Start Space says:  "Read any book!"

Page Count:  122
Cash Award:  $4.00

Updated Bank Balance:  $119




Source: anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2017/06/brief-thoughts-pushing-line.html
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