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review 2018-01-16 23:17
The Duchess Deal - Tessa Dare

 

The Duchess Deal has everything that normally gets on my nerves:
_It has an insane plot (Ema decides to confront a Duke in order to get paid for a dress she made for his ex-fiancée... but here's the thing, she's a seamstress that works for a modiste -_-?
_It has an alpha douchebag, a scarred alpha douchebag with a LOT of emotional baggage
_The story focus solely on a few number of characters with only a few descriptions of the surroundings... unless we're talking about what drapes Emma is planning to destroy...
_Once again _ because it's Tessa Dare _ we have goats; okay I don't mind the goats...
_ Every single person in the book is slightly deranged; in a endearing kind of way, but still deranged.
_ The main characters spend a great number of pages acting like horny rabbits. o_O
Cute, with a great chemistry, horny rabbits... okay, this may have to go in the positives as well...

As for positives, well the banter is pretty good in a passive aggressive/did I mention insane/ hilarious way.
There's a cat. So bonus point for the cat.
(...)
Oh, Ash's sidekick is pretty funny, LOL

Negatives yes, again... oh the drama that lasts a few pages towards the end, but which is so lame. And pointless... and did I mention lame?
But you know what?
Most of the time I did have fun reading it, lol
 
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review 2018-01-16 18:31
Review: The Hanging Girl
The Hanging Girl - Eileen Cook

I received a copy from Netgalley.

 

A fun twisty YA mystery novel.

 

The heroine, Candi “Skye” Thorn, goes by her middle name “Skye” (can’t say I blame her there) does tarot reading for her classmates at school as a way of making some extra cash. She and her best friend Drew have this idea that when they graduate they’ll finally be able to ditch their small home town and head off to New York and live in an apartment together. BFF comes from a wealthy family, Skye lives in a crappy apartment with her mom and money is an issue.

 

So Skye has a regular job and reads tarots for extra cash. Skye is fake, she reads off intuition and good guesses. She’s not part of a crowd, pretty much a loner and has a somewhat blunt personality I quite liked. She’s a lot more down to earth than most girls her age, and has a fairly logical sense of reality. (I.E. not all convinced that this dream of going to New York is really going to happen) Skye does come across as rather cynical. But given her circumstances it’s believable for her character arc. Her mom is actually convinced she is a real psychic. And appears to be kind of a flake.

 

When a popular, rich girl of a local very important Judge, Paige goes missing, Skye starts having “psychic” visions relating to Paige and her disappearance. She winds up working with the police one really grumpy and dismissive detective and one who seems a lot nicer and more inclined to listen to what Paige has to offer. Especially when some of Skye’s “visions” start panning out and yielding actual results. Basically the old good cop, bad cop routine. And of course Skye’s mom is thrilled her daughter is exhibiting “psychic” abilities.  And eventually Paige’s parents come into the plot.  Along with an angry ex boyfriend of Paige’s who doesn’t believe a word of what Skye says and is convinced there is more going on.

 

He’s not far wrong.

 

Skye has gotten herself involved in something that turns out to be darker than she had ever imagined. Initially it seemed like a good idea to make a bundle of money. Only the drama has escalate and things are going badly wrong and people are turning out to be nothing like she expected. Nothing goes according to any sort of plan and then a dead body turns up. And now Skye is thrown into a murder investigation.

 

Which reveals even more twists. It was quite a tense and fast paced plot, and very well written. Interesting characters, and I will say I didn’t actually guess what was going on in this one. The last few sort of twists were pretty damn good, and I liked the way it all wrapped up and concluded.

 

I’ve liked everything I’ve read by this author so far so this is definitely one that will be going on my auto-buy list.

 

Thank you to Netgalley and Bonnier Zaffre/Hot Key Books for approving my request to view the title.

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review 2018-01-16 01:04
Release Day Review: The Hockey Player's Heart by Jeff Adams and Will Knauss
The Hockey Player's Heart (Dreamspun Desires Book 50) - Jeff Adams,Will Knauss

I liked this story about an out hockey player who in his teens nursed a crush on his older sister's best friend who was also his geometry tutor. Who's now a teacher at the same school where his sister is the principal. 

After an injury, hockey player Caleb Carter returns to his home town of Foster Grove to recuperate and hang out with his sister before going back to NYC to play for the Rangers. He doesn't realize that his one-time teenage crush Aaron Price now works as a teacher for his sister, but is shook when he finds out. That teenage crush he thought he was over - yeah, not so much. So Caleb pursues Aaron - inviting the slightly older man on a date and makes his interest clearly known. 

Aaron is a bit gun-shy to date another athlete after one broke his heart back in California, but Caleb is persistent, and every argument Aaron brings up that a relationship between them wouldn't work, Caleb counters. And obviously, there's a spark for Aaron too. 

The plot doesn't have any big misunderstandings nor any obvious miscommunications, and both men are open and honest about their interest, even if Aaron isn't convinced this thing between them will be anything more than a short-lived romance. 

We get a glimpse into Aaron's life as a teacher, and Caleb's life with his hockey team (gotta love Dimitri, what a great friend), and also the school's hockey team. The kids were an added bonus, and I enjoyed watching Caleb and Aaron interact.

The drama in this story comes primarily from Aaron, shy, cautious Aaron, who doesn't think he fits in with Caleb's life as a star hockey player, so he finds excuse after stupid excuse to not fully give the relationship a real chance. 

I liked Caleb a lot. He was so honest and straight-forward, and so open about how he felt and what he wanted, but also not pushy - he gave Aaron time to come around to his way of thinking. And really, three hours drive isn't a deal-breaker for most people, especially since there's an off-season to consider. Aaron is just gun-shy, which I could understand, but I also didn't think it was fair of him to think that all athletes are alike. Aaron had some self-esteem issues too - again, understandable, after being treated like so badly by the California jerk. 

There is definitely chemistry between the two men, and we are treated to some steamy yet emotional scenes between them. This being a Dreamspun Desires title, I expected a grand gesture toward the end - and yeah, I got that. Lovely scene, that.

The entire story and relationship development takes place in just a few weeks' time, which might be too fast for some, but in this case, I believed the timeline from meet-cute to HEA, because the two men knew each other from high school, and both had a bit of a crush on each other - it was easy to see how that spark might be kindled to burst into flame. 

This was my first read by this author team, even though I own the Hat Trick series by Jeff Adams in paperback, which obviously I need to read. Apparently, there will be another book which will be about Dimitri, Caleb's friend and teammate. And judging by how Dimitri feels about romance and long-term relationships in general, I cannot wait to read that one!

Give this a try. While there's a lot of hockey in the book, the romance and relationship take center stage.


** I received a free copy of this book from its publisher. A positive review was not promised in return. **

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review 2018-01-14 00:58
Lois Murphy’s SOON defies genre categorisation

 

An utterly gripping debut novel. Just like the work of Transit Lounge stable mates Jane Rawsonand A S Patric, Lois Murphy’s Soon defies genre categorisation.

 

Despite containing fantastical story elements, Soon feels uncommonly gritty and grounded. Murphy’s character development and evocation of both the natural environment and small town setting is first class — a reader cannot help but become invested in their plight. The sense of foreboding is at times gut wrenching. 

 

Read our full review of SOON at bookloverbookreviews.com >>

Source: bookloverbookreviews.com/2017/11/soon-by-lois-murphy-book-review.html
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review 2018-01-13 15:02
Review: Bad Girls with Perfect Faces
Bad Girls with Perfect Faces - Lynn Weingarten

I received a copy from Netgalley.

 

A dark YA thriller about friendship, obsession and jealousy taken over the top and everything going horribly wrong. Sasha and Xavier have been best friends for years. Sasha is not the most likeable character in the world, she’s cold, blunt and frankly, kind of a bitch. The only person who gets her moods and can handle her is her BFF Xavier. Who this reader found kind of dull and rather bland. But he and Sasha connect pretty well, they hang out, have their own sense of humour and inner jokes. They get each other.

 

It’s worked for years, they live in a small town, are outcasts at school and pretty much just have each other. Until Xavier got a girlfriend, Ivy. Ivy was even more of a brat than Sasha. Ivy came from a very wealthy family, she has an outgoing personality, but she’s also the type of manipulative bitch who knows how to push people’s buttons and wrap them around her finger and make them think everything she does is okay, no matter how wrong it actually is. She plays with Xavier pretty much breaks his heart.

 

At the start of the novel what Sasha doesn’t know is that Xavier has started seeing Ivy again. What Xavier doesn’t know is Sasha has fallen for him and has no idea how to tell him. Naturally she’s worried that if he doesn’t feel the same way their friendship would be ruined. And it doesn’t help that Ivy is now back on the screen.

 

Sasha and Ivy can’t stand each other. Not surprising really, their personalities clash and they are both epically jealous of the other’s relationship with Xavier which in a way is kind of understandable as both girls get different sides of him. Only made worse by Sasha’s feelings now boarding on obsession as she worries over what Ivy’s going to do to him this time.

 

So Sasha comes up with a plan. She invents an online profile of a guy to trap Ivy and convince Xavier finally that she is a cheater and no good for him. Which is sort of cringe-worthy to read and with the feeling of malice and foreboding in the story, it’s clearly all going to go wrong at some point. The novel is told in three different viewpoints – Sasha’s, Xavier’s and Ivy’s. Then when a plot twist happens another mysterious view point appears with no name, someone else who knows something has gone wrong and is doing their own investigation.

 

The psychological mind sent of the three different characters was quite interesting over how Xavier, and Sasha both displayed obsessive behaviour, while Ivy was obsessing over the fake profile guy she was getting to know and revealing sides of herself she usually keeps hidden.

 

Of course everything goes hideously wrong and Sasha finds herself in a very bad situation she doesn’t know how to handle at first. It all gets a bit ridiculous here. Xavier ends up tagging along without realising what’s really going on, Sasha’s got another secret she knows she’s never going to be able to keep for long without giving some sort of explanation and that it could potentially ruin her friendship with Xavier. To make things worse someone else has figured out Sasha is up to something and is on their trail.

 

The drama is a bit over the top but there is a definite rise in tension in this bit. Nerves are stretched to breaking point and it comes through clear in the writing and makes things very uncomfortable. I was quite impressed with the ending. Didn’t see it coming, and the way it concluded was actually quite believable.

 

It’s definitely a page turner, and while a little silly in some of the plot twists, there’s a compelling element about it that makes you have to keep going to know what’s going to happen. It’s a great example of a good book about unlikeable characters. The characters are well fleshed out and well written even though they are mostly horrible people.

 

I wasn’t overly impressed with the first book I read by this author, but I really liked this one. I bought a finished copy from iBooks.

 

Thank you to Netgalley and Electric Monkey/Egmont Publishing for approving my request to view the title.

 

 

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