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review 2017-05-31 01:32
Brief Thoughts: The Perfect Poison
The Perfect Poison - Amanda Quick

The Perfect Poison

by Amanda Quick

Book 6 of Arcane Society

 

 

Plagued by rumors that she poisoned her fiancé, Lucinda Bromley manages to live on the fringes of polite society, tending her beloved plants—and occasionally consulting on a murder investigation.  For the notorious botanist possesses a unique talent: she can detect almost any type of poison, especially ones that have their origins in the botanical kingdom.

But the death of a lord has shaken Lucinda to her core.  At the murder scene, she picks up traces of a poison containing a very rare species of fern.  So rare, in fact, that only one specimen exists in all of England—and it was stolen from her conservatory just last month.  To keep her name out of the investigation and to find the murderer, Lucinda hires a fellow Arcane Society member.  Caleb Jones runs a psychical investigation agency.  A descendant of the founder of the Society, he is very good at protecting its secrets—and frighteningly good getting at the truth.  Immediately, Lucinda senses both a raw power and undeniable intensity in the imposing man.

But as a nearly overwhelming desire blooms between Caleb and Lucinda, they are drawn into the dark heart of a deadly conspiracy that can be traced to the early days of the Arcane Society—and to a legacy of madness that could plunge Caleb into the depths of his own tortured soul…



The Perfect Poison is probably the first historical in Jayne Ann Krentz's Arcane Society that I actually, really, really liked.  For whatever reason, I'm not entirely certain, since it doesn't stray far from the story lines of the previous two historical installments in this series.  Could be that, while I didn't really have any problem with the previous two books' characters, I didn't really care for them all that much either--I think it was the romances that didn't do it for me, even though I did like the characters as individuals.  This made them kind of 'meh' books.

But in this installment, the characters were great and I DID find that I really liked both.  Caleb Jones was not the typical, broody, alpha lord type, and he had a few moments that might have endeared him to me.  Lucinda was the typical strong, and independent, and eccentric heroine, but I also loved how readily she just stands up to Caleb in spite of his intimidating glowering all the time.

And also, the romance actually developed a little bit more ideally--it was definitely not a typical Amanda Quick formula, I'll give it that.

Meanwhile, the story line felt more substantial, rather than just being another add-on to the ongoing background conflict between the Arcane Society and that mysterious, secret cabal of rogue psychics.

As per usual, the book was addictive and easy to read; the side characters were also great.  And aside from some typical romance cliches here and there, I really didn't have a whole lot of objections pertaining to this book.

I DO like how we continue to see certain parallels between the contemporary books in this series, as well as connections to JAK's futuristic Harmony series.  It just gets me all excited!


***

 

Booklikes-opoly


In celebration of Memorial Day Weekend, the Booklikes-opoly Prison Library is accepting donations of up to 100 pages.

I read and donated 100 pages from this book to the Prison Library.

 

 

 

 

 

Source: anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2017/05/brief-thoughts-perfect-poison.html
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review 2017-05-29 00:46
Finished: The Perfect Poison!
The Perfect Poison - Amanda Quick

I really did enjoy this book, and it's probably the first historical in Jayne Ann Krentz's Arcane Society that I actually, really liked.  For whatever reason, I'm not certain.  The characters were great, and the romance wasn't entirely formulaic Amanda Quick.

 

I will post a more thought-out review later.

 

But first, as it is still Memorial Day Weekend, I wanted to take the pages in this book and donate them to the BL-opoly Prison Library.

 

My understanding of the way this is working, is that we can donate between 1 & 100 pages to the library, which I took to mean ONLY up to 100 pages.  If that isn't correct please let me know.  Depending on how this is done, I will either be donating 100 pages only, or donating 364 pages to the library.

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review 2017-05-22 03:18
Brief Thoughts: Under the Mistletoe
Under the Mistletoe - Jill Shalvis

Under the Mistletoe

by Jill Shalvis

Lucky Harbor #6.5 (novella)

 

 

JUST ONE MORE KISS

There's no place like home for the holidays.  And the Lucky Harbor Bed & Breakfast is bursting with festive lights and good cheer.  But for Mia, Christmas is turning out to be anything other than merry and bright.  Her recent break-up with her boyfriend Nick has made her return bittersweet.  But then a surprise arrives, when Nick follows her to town bearing gifts-and asking for forgiveness.

Nick grew up without a family of his own so he's overwhelmed by the love that Mia receives from all her relatives, gathered together to celebrate the season.  Under their watchful eyes, Nick finds earning back her trust the hardest thing he's ever had to do.  If he succeeds, he will receive the greatest gift of all, Mia's love for a lifetime.



I feel a little mean giving this novella such a meh rating, especially since it DOES also give us a brief glimpse of Chloe and Sawyer--my utmost favorite Lucky Harbor couple.  Unfortunately, the glimpse is simply too brief for my liking.

I know, I know.  Chloe and Sawyer already got their book.  This novella is about Mia and Nick.

It's a cutesy and teeth-achingly sweet short romance story, but the events and our main couple's behavior was so over-dramatic that I found myself rolling my eyes on several occasions.  To be totally honest, I was never really able to relate with Tara and Ford's daughter, Mia in the third Lucky Harbor book--her development wasn't entirely fleshed out.  And while I'm glad that she gets a nice Happily Ever After in a short story, I don't feel like this story was totally necessary.

AND it infringed upon Chloe and Sawyer's wedding day as well, which makes me a bit disappointed.  As my favorite Lucky Harbor couple, I would have liked for these two to get a special epilogue or novella for their wedding...

Er... yeah...  Moving along...

Anyway, like I said, the novella is cute and sweet, but I just couldn't find myself understanding what the conflict truly was, though I DO see what we were trying to make of the conflict.  That whole thing where Mia was always the one to pick the people in her life and never the other way around, and for once, she wanted someone to pick her.

Except, as an adopted child, even with feelings of abandonment, it doesn't escape my notice that... well, didn't her adoptive parents pick her to be a daughter, part of their lives?

Anyway, this short seemed like a pretty flimsy plot, with some super cheesy dialogue in the end when Nick was trying to win Mia back.  Still, once again, it's cute and it's sweet, so we get points for that.

Source: anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2017/05/brief-thoughts-under-mistletoe.html
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review 2017-05-22 03:10
Thoughts: Forever and a Day
Forever and a Day - Jill Shalvis

Forever and a Day

by Jill Shalvis

Book 6 of Lucky Harbor

 


While there were a lot of things about this book that bugged me, such as some characters' behaviors, or the almost too deliberate "Meant to Be" vibe coming off our couple in spades--actions, thoughts, and dialogue from both Grace's and Josh's POVs overtly mirroring each other--I found that I actually, really enjoyed this book.

Nonetheless, there were still a lot of loose ends left unwrapped, and some side tangents left unfollowed.  I feel satisfied, but at the same time... well, not quite.  If ya know what I mean.


The Story:
Grace has spent her entire life trying to live up to her adoptive parents' standards, the two of them being rocket scientist over-acheivers.  While she cannot follow in her parents' footsteps to take on a career in the sciences, Grace has found her niche in numbers, financials, accounting... the like, and is determined to be the most successful financial manager for any prospective business that will hire her.  Unfortunately, her goals are dashed when she takes a position in Seattle, only to find that her boss is more interested in what she can do for him on a more personal level, if she wants to keep rising in her field.  With that, Grace walks away from that job and arrived in Lucky Harbor, hoping to find herself and figure out what her next steps will be.

In the meantime, she finds herself taking up all forms of odd end jobs in order to survive her day-to-day, including an impromptu dog-walker job for Lucky Harbor's favorite young doctor, Joshua Scott.  In no time, she's also babysitting Dr. McHottie's son, trying to help counsel his paraplegic baby sister, and generally worming her way into somehow managing to help organize his personal life for him.

After all, as an ER doctor who also inherited his father's practice, Josh doesn't seem to be able to find an extra hour anywhere in his day to spend with his sister or his son; something that has been looming over him as a source of regret.  But Grace's presence seems to start a cascade of change in his life; not only is he uncontrollably attracted to her, but her passion for everything she does seems to help him figure out how to finally balance his work and personal life...

... or something like that...


My Thoughts:
There's no good way to really summarize a book when, to be totally honest, very little happens outside of the developments between our main couple.  Sure, there are also developments between Josh and his sister, but those almost feel picked over in favor of the romance.  And then there's even the nonexistent interactions between Grace and her parents--I would have really loved to have seen something happen between them, such as an understanding that Grace doesn't have to become as "perfect" as her rocket scientist parents.  But this subject was never really touched upon outside of Grace's own misgivings and self-doubts.

I would have loved to see that maybe Grace's adoptive parents were never truly that stuck on Grace being the best or the perfect, ambitious over achiever.  I would have loved to see whether or not all of these obligations she's set for herself, were maybe just her own, and not her parents'.

Coming back to the relationship between Josh and his sister, Anna--the story behind the animosity stems from Anna's anger after a tragic car accident that kills the Scott parents and leaves Anna paralyzed.  But as we can see, Anna seems perfectly capable of taking care of herself, but has made it her life's mission to make her elder brother miserable in order to sate her feelings of anger, unable to truly express her self-doubt about her own life.

I thought there could have been so much more development between these two; a way in which they could come to some sort of understanding.  After the death of their parents, Josh was also thrown into a whirlwind of chaos, because not long before his parents died, he was left with little Toby when the little boy's mother walks away, never looking back.  On top of that, Josh had just started his career as a doctor.

The two Scott siblings had so much going on between the two of them, in their lives, and to add onto that, we learn that they are too stubborn for their own good to initiate taking a step towards working out their issues and fixing their relationship.

Even with Grace's presence as a catalyst, I think there could have been so much more potential between Josh and Anna's sibling relationship development.  The version in this book feels kind of deflated, truth be told.

Anyway, Jill Shalvis still manages to deliver a very enjoyable romance, though she DOES tend to focus too much on the romance, at the detriment of other tangential story lines that would have been awesome if expanded upon.

Nonetheless, Forever and a Day is probably my favorite of this second trio of books in the Lucky Harbor series.  Grace's unabashed show of ogling and groping Josh was actually kind of entertaining.  This is one couple whose romantic development actually felt fairly down-to-earth, with an insta-lust slowly growing into a full blown relationship, and then to love.

It's just unfortunate that their relationship still suffers from that same ailment that all romance novel couples suffer from--lack of proper communication.  No matter that Grace DOES spend a lot of time trying to pry into Josh's stubborn, tight-lipped secrets, whether to be helpful in figuring out how to take care of him and his family, or just out of pure curiosity.  The two still spend a lot of time second-guessing what each other want for their lives without once trying to talk it out until the end.

Meanwhile, Anna tended to get on my nerves with her bratty behavior--some of it that could have even been quite dangerous to a five year old little boy--and so did the way that Josh treated her.  These siblings could really use some good counseling, mainly on how to stop purposefully pissing each other off.  Then again, being one fourth of a set of siblings myself, I know perfectly well that there is no such thing as logical discussion when it comes to siblings and rivalry and the like.  Sometimes, you just fight for the stupidest reasons... because you can.  It's what siblings do.  Because at the end of the day, you're still related to each other.

On a side note, the best part of this book was probably the ornery duo of Josh's son, Toby, and their little devil of a pug puppy, Tank.  These two were so much adorbs that I couldn't help smiling every time they presented in the story!

 

Source: anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2017/05/thoughts-forever-and-day.html
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review 2017-05-20 21:10
Brief Thoughts: A Kiss for Midwinter (novella)
A Kiss For Midwinter (Brothers Sinister, #1.5) - Courtney Milan

 A Kiss for Midwinter

by Courtney Milan

Brothers Sinister #1.5 (novella)

 

 

Miss Lydia Charingford is always cheerful, and never more so than at Christmas time.  But no matter how hard she smiles, she can't forget the youthful mistake that could have ruined her reputation.  Even though the worst of her indiscretion was kept secret, one other person knows the truth of those dark days: the sarcastic Doctor Jonas Grantham.  She wants nothing to do with him...or the butterflies that take flight in her stomach every time he looks her way.

Jonas Grantham has a secret, too: He's been in love with Lydia for more than a year.  This winter, he's determined to conquer her dislike and win her for his own.  It all starts with a wager and a kiss...



There was a lot about this novella that I loved, but then there were also a few things I didn't quite care for.  The characters were fun, up to a certain point, and while I DID sort of like their banter, it didn't escape my notice that both had a way of doing or saying things that kind of frustrated me.  Jonas tended towards condescending prick at times, but I DO like how straight-forward and no-nonsense he is.  Lydia got frustratingly irrational at the beginning, jumping to conclusions, and imagining slights where there were none; but she had her good moments as well.

I can't say that this was an entirely awesome and wonderful story, having recently coming off of the magnificent high that was The Duchess War.  Although since I hadn't been particularly enamored of the prequel novella, The Governess Affair, it wasn't like I was entirely disappointed.

Truth be told, while I did like Lydia from when she was simply a side character, as Minnie's best friend in the first book, I'm not quite sure I really needed a Lydia story.  I'm happy for her Happily Ever After, but I'm guessing I probably could have gone without this novella and would have been fine.

It was enjoyable to read, but nothing spectacular.

 

 

Source: anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2017/05/brief-thoughts-kiss-for-midwinter.html
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