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review 2013-10-06 11:14
Lark's Quest (The Deeds of the Ariane Novellas, #1) by Barbara Cool Lee
Lark's Quest - Barbara Cool Lee

12/08 - Just like another reviewer I tried countless times to win a GR giveaway for this book, but I was also unsuccessful.  Thankfully I found this and its two sequels for $0.99 each on eBay, a fair price for a short, four star book.  I liked Lark's physical strength, the way she could laugh at a young boy's offer to walk her home because she knew that no matter who she encountered she could look after herself.  I was a little surprised at the hint of romance brewing between Lark and Raven, although now that I think about it I probably should have guess considering the number of romances Lee had listed in the GR giveaways.  Lark's Quest had good-to-great dialogue and evocative descriptions, especially of Lark's Ariane uniform and her training routine.  I'm looking forward to the rest of the series, it's just a shame all three books are so short, they have such promise they could easily have filled Tolkien or Paolini sized tomes and still left us wanting more.

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text 2013-10-01 21:08
Free E-books to Soothe the Pain of Government Shutdown

Since the Republicans in the House of Representatives have decided they wanted a role on the show Hostages and are trying to extort  the president and the country at large, many people out there are not going to be paid.  With all the stress of having to continue to do your jobs (something that Congress doesn't know how to do anymore), you're going to need some escapist literature.  Fortunately, for you, there are a number of e-books available for free from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Ibooks, and other sites.


1. The Honeymoon Cottage by Barbara Cool Lee.


InD'tale Magazine gives The Honeymoon Cottage 4 stars: "This first novel in the Pajaro Bay romance series promises great things to come! It is written well, with interesting characters that are easy to like. The novel holds the reader's interest with romance, intrigue, danger and murder. The author's theme of redemption and forgiveness is well thought out. One will love getting to know the characters in this story where everyone has a secret! Also, the author has 10% of all profits going to charities. With all that, what's not to love?" You can read the entire review at indtale.com/reviews/honeymoon-cottage


Camilla Stewart desperately needs to make a fresh start: her despicable ex-fiancé stole her life savings, embezzled from her job, and then disappeared without a trace--leaving behind nothing but his eight-year-old son, Oliver.

But when she arrives in the little beach town of Pajaro Bay, she immediately runs into local sheriff's captain Ryan Knight, and finds escaping her past won't be as easy as she planned.


This book is available on Amazon through October 3rd.


2. All the Blue of Heaven by Virginia Carmichael


Eight years ago, Allie Hathaway scandalized the wealthy elite of Chicago when she ran away to San Francisco. Now a world-renowned portrait painter, her life is filled with laughter and friendship, including being a mother to her orphaned niece. Life is perfect, so why can’t she forget her first love?


Thomas Bradford has come a long way from being the Hathaway family’s carriage boy. A veterinary degree, ambition and hard work have made him one of Chicago’s most sought-after bachelors. If only he could forget those stolen moments with Allie, Thomas might be able to enjoy his success.


The Great Quake of 1906 stuns the nation and Allie’s art studio burns to the ground, destroying years of valuable work. She’s forced to return to Chicago with little Janey, the only spark of hope in a life reduced to ashes. Her faith is crushed by her tragic reversal of fortune.


Thomas knows better than to fall for the beautiful young painter again, but he’s never been very wise around Allie Hathaway.


The carriage man’s son is all grown up and Allie doesn’t expect a second chance at a love that was refused eight years ago. Her life is in shambles and she has a child to support, so why won’t her heart accept the truth?


Once their love was torn apart by circumstance, but Thomas and Allie must decide whether to forge a future of hope together.

This book is available through Amazon until October 4th.


3. Blood for Ink by L.L. Muir


If he unmasks her, she's as good as dead...

As the mysterious writer who exposes gentlemen's secrets, it is not the first time The Scarlet Plumiere has been hunted. But this time it’s different. This time, she interferes with one of the Four Kings, and the brotherhood will not rest until they marry her off and place her securely under a man’s thumb. Only they have to catch her first.

The Earl of Northwick is falling for this writer, sight unseen. Will she be pretty? Will she have all her teeth? In his rush to claim her for himself, regardless of who she might ultimately be, he places her in grave danger — her desperate enemies are watching closely for the moment her mask is removed.


This book is available until October 2nd on Amazon.


4. The Reluctant Amazon by Sandy James


The last thing Rebecca Massee expects on her wedding day is to go from jilted kindergarten teacher to Amazonian Earth warrior. But when she causes an earthquake after her groom says I don’t, she discovers that not only does she possess incredible powers, she is one of four lost chosen sisters who must fight to keep humanity safe from rogue gods and demons. Luckily she has help: ruggedly handsome Scottish warrior Artair MacKay, her protector and teacher.

An immortal, Artair has trained countless warriors for more than four hundred years. He understands Rebecca’s confusion at the new world she’s been thrust into and worries she is too emotionally vulnerable, but that doesn’t stop his growing feelings for the beautiful and fearless woman.


When an evil force threatens to destroy the Amazons, Rebecca must claim her full powers — but they come at a cost. Can she sacrifice the man she loves if it means saving the world?


2013 Heart of Excellence Readers’ Choice Awards Finalist
2013 National Excellence in Romance Fiction Award Finalist
USA Today Recommended Read


This book is available on Amazon and Apple through October 6th.


5. Broken Build by Rachelle Ayala


Bestselling Technothriller & Romantic Suspense


When a woman wrongs a man... can a man forgive and love?


Jennifer Cruz Jones thinks she can lay her past to rest. She’s landed her dream job at Silicon Valley’s hottest startup. Instead, she’s caught in a web of blackmail, murder, and broken code.


Startup founder David Jewell refuses to dwell on his past. When a man last seen with Jennifer is found dead, he takes a closer look at her. With investors losing confidence and his company in jeopardy, he is forced to protect Jennifer when she is attacked.

Together, David and Jennifer must thwart a killer while rescuing a victim from their past. Love blossoms, but a damaging revelation points straight at Jennifer and threatens to tear them apart forever.


Broken Build is a dramatic, multicultural romance mixed with a huge dose of chemistry, an unsolved murder, a missing child, and a relentless adversary.


This book is available through AmazonBarnes and NobleAppleSmashwords, and Kobo through October 6th.


6. Waking Up Married by Mira Lyn Kelly


From USA Today bestselling author Mira Lyn Kelly comes Waking Up Married, a free book in Harlequin’s brand-new contemporary romance collection — Harlequin KISS.


Her first thought: “Who are you?”

It’s the morning after her cousin’s bachelorette party in Vegas and Megan Scott wakes up with the mother of all hangovers. Even worse, she’s in a stranger’s penthouse having woken up with something else as well — a funny, arrogant, sexy… husband!

Up until now, finding even a boyfriend had seemed impossible — been there, got the broken heart, sworn off men for good. Then a few martinis with Carter… no, Connor Reed and she’s gone from first meet to marriage in one night!

Megan wants a lawyer. But Connor’s shocking bombshell?

“I don't want a divorce.”


This book is available on AmazonAppleGoogleBarnes and NobleSony, and Kobo indefinitely.


7. Murder in the South of France by Susan Kiernan-Lewis


Maggie Newberry is sheltered, privileged, but also a whip-smart advertising copywriter who’s fast on her feet and a little stunned to realize that she’s 32 years old and still hasn't found “the one.” When her long-missing sister ends up dead, Maggie flies to the south of France to find the little niece that no one in the family even knew existed. Along the way, she finds handsome Laurent Dernier, a sexy if nefarious Frenchman who it’s not clear is there to help or hinder Maggie’s search for the girl. Meanwhile, her sister’s murderer sets his sights on the little girl — and Maggie.


This book is available through AmazonAppleBarnes and NobleKoboSmashwords, and Sony until October 11th.


Hopefully, the government shutdown will be over long before these deals expire.

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review 2013-03-24 00:00
Lark's Quest (The Deeds of the Ariane Novellas #1)
Lark's Quest (The Deeds of the Ariane Novellas #1) - Barbara Cool Lee I'm not quite sure what to make of this. Initially I loved it, but changed my mind the more I read. I'll try to sum up what I felt below:

* It's very well written, in terms of the story telling style and the descriptions of the setting. I have problems with the characters and the unsatisfactory amount of back story, but the way the story is told is lovely. I guess that makes no sense, but what I mean is the prose flows mostly well and I felt immersed in the setting. Very descriptive, beautiful writing.

* There's definitely chemistry between Raven and Lark, which I liked, but what seemed like a hint of romance near the start seemed to dissolve. I'm not sure if there will be a romance between them in the other books now. That's unfortunate. There most likely is a romance but there didn't seem to be much passion between them by the end.

* The backstory - I don't feel we learned strongly enough about why the Royal family was killed and how Raven escaped. Things were hinted at here and there but for such a short novella we really needed to get to the point. I don't have a clear image of how bad the Royal family was, what Raven used to be like, and about the revolution, so I don't understand very much about Raven and his motivations now.

* Lark's backstory - I like Lark very much. If we weren't TOLD she was the most hated and most powerful of the Ariane warriors, I'd think she was a lower class warrior who is searching for the King, and totally understand her character. Naive, brave, driven, emotional. But we are TOLD she is the most hated and most powerful warrior, which doesn't at all fit with this young emotional girl. It doesn't work. What we SEE is great. Adding a tagline and her thoughts about her reputation irritated me, because it didn't fit. It just didn't fit.

I didn't hate this book - I'd give it 3.5 stars if I could. Not bad at all, but needed some work on the back story and the characters. Such a shame, because the writing is so good that this could have been amazing. It's just my opinion - others seem to like it - but it could have been so much more. I don't think I'll read the others in the series, as I'm not emotionally invested. But not bad.
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review 2013-03-12 00:00
Lark's Choice
Lark's Choice - Barbara Cool Lee The Choice had a much faster pace than either The Search or The Secret did. The plot zoomed by, and closed everything up pretty well, with the exception of the romance, though I'm pretty sure that the next series will work more on that. The romance in this half of the series took a back seat to the action, and Raven's return to the throne, which is what it was supposed to do. That was always the main focus of the story.

I felt smart as I neared the end, though. It wasn't until I was halfway done with this book that I realized that everybody was named after an animal, or something else in nature. Raven, Lark, Fawn, Willow, Lotus, Wolf, Kestrel, Mouse, Oxen...I probably should have realized that sooner, but for some reason it didn't even cross my mind until this book. I think the only exception was Raven's mother, the Queen, who was named Melody.

The book definitely gets credit for the conflict. I didn't see that one coming at all...although I've already admitted to how observant I was while I was reading, so that statement should probably be taken with a grain of salt.

I enjoyed reading the first half of this series, and hope that the next three books are just as well done. I was pleased that the books were actually edited properly - I think there was only one typo I found, and even that wasn't a terrible one.
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review 2013-03-11 00:00
Lark's Quest: The Secret: Deeds of the Ariane Novellas #2 (The Deeds of the Ariane Novellas)
Lark's Quest: The Secret: Deeds of the Ariane Novellas #2 (The Deeds of the Ariane Novellas) - Barbara Cool Lee The Secret wasn't quite as good as The Quest in my opinion. The story ventured from the Lark/Raven perspective that was the set up of the first book, so now the story is following four characters instead of just the two. I think it might have been a bit stronger if it had stuck to Raven and Lark, but it was a break that was needed to set up more exposition. So, I can forgive it that.

You get to learn more about the royal family and the Ariane in this novella, which was interesting. Nearly the entire book was focused on politics: between the kingdom and the Var, between Raven and the people, and between Lark and the other Ariane.

I was surprised by what Raven ended up deciding, although I suppose I really shouldn't have been surprised. It makes sense. I hate the cliffhanger that it ended on, though!

And now, I'm starting on the third one...after which I'll have to wait for the second half of the series to be published.
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