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review 2018-08-21 04:29
The Duchess War (Brother's Sinister #1)
The Duchess War - Courtney Milan

An historical M/F where the woman isn't a meek little mouse and the man isn't an alphabrute and they're both sophisticated and evenly matched? What is this magic??? There was a point at around 80% where I thought the author was going into Big Misunderstanding territory to drum up (even more) drama, but like every other instance of "tired trope" that nearly came before that, Ms. Milan managed to sidestep it and let her adult characters be adults. Amazing, isn't it?

 

I really enjoyed Minnie's and Robert's interactions. They start out rivals, since he's spreading around seditious flyers that she's blamed for distributing, and they're each determined to keep their secrets. Robert, being a duke, isn't really in danger if his secret is let out, but Minnie's secrets and fears run deep and could really do serious damage to her.

 

Robert's maybe a little too perfect at times. Sure, he fumbles in his flirtations and machinations because he's a clueless duke for all that he's considered "woke" for his time period. He has no practical understanding or application of what it means to be working class or anything less than what he is. He may be progressive, but he can only see things through the eyes and privilege of a duke. I'd also expect a guy with his background to have at least a few hangups that manifest themselves negatively - he really should be the jealous type but he isn't, for instance - but I'm willing to overlook that since it worked thematically for the characters and their different but complementary issues and strengths. And I didn't have to put up with an alphabrute, which is always a win. 

 

I especially liked that there wasn't any insta-love. They like each other. They really, really like each other. But they don't confuse that with love and they have to work towards that like any other couple.

 

The supporting characters were all fully fleshed out, and there's even a subplot with Robert's mother that's quite well done. Lydia's a great bestie, and I'm going to assume she ends up with one of the Brother Sinisters - who are actually comprised of Robert, his half-brother and a cousin. Sebastian was an unholy terror and hilarious, and Oliver was as sweet as can be. 

 

I'm eager to read the rest of the series, and thankfully my library has them all. Yay! If they're as well-written as this one, they'll be fun and interesting reads.

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review 2018-08-21 03:54
The Three Musketeers (d'Artagnan Romance Series #1) (Audiobook)
The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas

This was fun! I've been slowly but surely trying to get around to all the old classics I avoided when I was a kid. I saw a couple of the Musketeer movies, neither of them very good, and I recently saw a few episodes of the Musketeer show on Hulu, but I never read the book, and after the enjoyable but somewhat rambling The Count of Monte Cristo, I wasn't sure what to expect from this book.

 

It's still enjoyable and still somewhat rambling, lol. The book lost some momentum after the race for the diamond studs and doesn't really recover, pace-wise, until the introduction of Milady, who gives whole new meaning to the word diabolical. This was often silly, and often fast-paced. I can see how this was originally published as a serial, and I can just imagine the people reading this in real time impatiently waiting for the next installment. The three Musketeers are great friends and have varied backgrounds and personalities, and they adopt d'Artagnan into their group despite some awkward and hostile beginnings. I adored their friendships and how they looked out for each other - which is why it felt so disjointed that d'Artagnan then had to wait to be told to go look for his friends who may or may not have given up their lives to he could go fetch the queen's diamond studs. Like, bro, WTF? 

 

Simon Vance knocked this out of the park and his impression especially of Porthos was a hoot and a half. I think my love for Porthos is about 110% due to Vance's reading of his lines. So over the top. So adorably obtuse. Planchet was pretty adorable too. Though as great as Vance was, these are the most British-sounding French dudes ever. :D I guess French narrators just refuse to read this in English? After a lifetime of hearing British accents for French characters, it didn't bother me at all, just added to the fun. 

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review 2018-08-20 23:49
Rewrite the Stars by Julieann Dove
Rewrite the Stars - Julieann Dove

 

They were meant to be together, yet destined to be kept apart. Claire is the good girl from the wrong side of the tracks. Colin is the chosen one. His path has been determined by his last name. Thrown together for countless summers at a young age, it's only in adulthood that love takes hold of their hearts and disrupts their lives. Will they be able to survive the stones tossed their way? Rewrite the Stars is a modern twist on a classic plot. Despite the obviousness of the tale, Dove appeals to the heart with a serenity and sincerity that makes for a wonderfully sweet read.

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review 2018-08-19 18:18
I Am No One You Know ★★★☆☆
I am No One You Know - Joyce Carol Oates

This is my first experience with Joyce Carol Oates, so I’m not sure if this is typical of her work. I found it both compelling and frustrating. The stories were mostly character portraits, and those characters were usually damaged, isolated, seeking to explain or understand themselves. Pretty grim reading, in other words. As for frustrating, they were structured almost like flash fiction, where there is no narrative arc. Every story just… stops. I could have been okay with this through a handful of stories, but I was weary of the whole thing long before I got through all nineteen.   

 

eBook, purchased via kindle.

 

 

Previous Updates:

6/24/18 – 1%

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review 2018-08-19 15:03
Review: “King Mai” (The Lost and Founds, #2) by Edmond Manning
King Mai - Edmond Manning

 

~ 5 STARS ~

 

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