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review 2018-10-04 18:21
A Notorious Vow (The Four Hundred #3) by Joanna Shupe (4.5 stars out of 5)
A Notorious Vow: The Four Hundred Series - Joanna Shupe

After a series of tragic events, Oliver becomes reclusive and apathetic. His only concerns are his sweet sister and his work. That all changes though after an unexpected encounter with caring and bashful Christina.
I had always thought that opposites make the best couples but Christina and Oliver proved me wrong. Christina was one of the most timid, introverted, fearful heroines I’ve ever read. Although I prefer my heroines to be more witty, self-assured, and even proactive, her tender heart and innocence made up for whatever traits I might have thought were lacking, not to mention her steel determination when it came to protecting Oliver made her a well-rounded character. 

The story kept the perfect pace. I was particularly happy that the budding romance between the main characters didn’t feel rushed or forced and I loved the way Oliver went from a grumpy recluse to a more pleasant man. And his world! It was fascinating to say the least, but unfortunately it was also ignorant and unjust. The treatment of “unorthodox” people in those days was truly appalling and if someone thinks otherwise needs to open a history book and educate themselves – At least that’s my story and I’m sticking to it ¯_(ツ)_/¯

It was such a wonderful story and definitely my favorite in the series so far. If you love stories with plenty of heart, a troubled yet swoon-worthy hero, and a heroine that may seem meekly at first but proves to be a worthy opponent when she sets a mind to it, then this is the book for you. 

I received this book from the author at no cost to me and I volunteered to read it; this is my honest opinion and given without any influence by the author or publisher. 

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review 2018-04-24 18:33
A Scandalous Deal (The Four Hundred #2) by Joanna Shupe
A Scandalous Deal - Joanna Shupe

When Eva and Phillip first meet he comes off as the brooding type. A next encounter lets Eva discover he’s got a fun-loving side that she’d have loved to know more of but her dreams of becoming a well-renowned architect stops her from pursuing more with him.

I liked the chemistry these two developed from the start. It was fun to see how the relationship goes from ardent strangers, to a cold employer-employee status, to passionate lovers.
As Eva tries to prove she’s the capable professional she professes to be, she has to overcome many obstacles, some created by the people that want to see her fail, and some by her own doing. All in all she faces everything with temper and grace. I liked that about her character. I think she could have come across as a fearful woman but instead her decisiveness let us see she’s no wilting flower.


Overall it was an enjoyable and fun read. The thing is I think so many things could have been prevented if they had only told the truth from the start or at least not keep so many secrets. However that might actually be on me because the “concealed truth” trope is one of my least favorites. Either way I still recommend this book to anyone that likes strong heroines, charming billionaires, and a scorchingly sexy, engaging story.

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review 2018-03-30 02:42
Let me just start by saying 3.5 stars is not that bad...unless...
Guns n' Boys: Gilded Agony - K.A. Merikan

everyone else is giving it 5 stars?


In the scheme of things I just couldn't connect with Seth and Dom this time around and in a strange way I think it kind of speaks to how good the author are because for much of this story Seth and Dom were at odds and they just weren't connecting with each other. So maybe I was just being overly empathetic...I don't know.


First off I'm just going to say if you haven't read the previous books in this series...well, seriously I'm not sure I understand you because I love this series and these guys are seriously hot...broken in so many ways but hot!!!


While this story does have its fair share of action and suspense in it...Dom's lost a five million dollar gun shipment and to add to his matters he's got to deal with the mysterious Diago who seems to rub on Dom in all the wrong ways while trying to rub on Seth in all the ways that could get a man dead if Dom has his way and then there's the issue of what exactly he thinks he's up to where Mark's concerned...so can we just say 'this guy is a jerk...total, absolute jerk.


At the end of  it all for Seth is a very old lesson to be learned and learned at a price that Seth never wanted to pay...'be careful what you wish for'...Seth wanted to not be part of the violence that had become their life. He just didn't want to know. So Dom took him at his word and in so doing has isolated Seth not just from the world but from Dom, himself. 


Seth knows this and because it's what he wanted he doesn't feel that he can complain about it now that he realizes that what he wished for and what he wanted aren't the same thing and sometimes when wishes come true the price we pay is more than we're willing to give up, the question becomes how to fix things. It's going to take some hard work on both of their parts to get back to where they were and with everything that's going on it becomes questionable as to whether or not Dom and Seth will survive much less keep their relationship in tact.


Meanwhile, Mark's playing the field and making some poor choices as to who he's playing with. It seems that Mark either wants who he shouldn't or gets who he's not suppose to. Both lead to disastrous results for Mark and ultimately the objects of his desires.


While this may not have been one of my favorite books to date I was definitely fascinated with  the look that we got at Dom and Seth's relationship now that they've been together for a while and given how explosive things can get between these two men seeing what happens when the outside world pulls and tugs at them drawing each in a different direction until priorities become unclear and things often times get taken for granted or are just assumed to be a certain way by one or both of them was definitely a huge contributing factor to how events played out. 


I honestly liked and enjoyed reading this story, but I just never felt connected to things like I have in other books from this series. However, I did get enough of a glimpse at what's coming next to know that I'm totally on board for the next one.  As for 'Gilded Agony' given how much so many of my friends loved it...I'm going to say that this may have been a case of 'right book, wrong time' for me but 3.5 stars is a far cry from "why did I read this?" Well, I already know that answer to that one. I read it because overall I love this series and I'll see you all for whatever comes next  because I'm not going anywhere.



An ARC of 'Gilded Agony' was graciously provided by the authors in exchange for an honest review.

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review 2018-03-17 00:00
Guns n' Boys: Gilded Agony
Guns n' Boys: Gilded Agony - K.A. Merikan All the stars!!

"Sometimes I think it's impossible for two people to be so closely connected.Maybe we've met in a different life."


Seven books in and this series just gets better and better and how many series can you say that about?After years of reading MM romance books,Dom and Seth are still my favourite couple.In this book K.A. Merikan once again grab your attention and don't let go in what is my favourite book in the series so far.


This one is brutal in terms of Dom and Seth's relationship....

Seth seems to have the perfect life.Lazy days spent with their daughter Angelica,tending to his beloved chickens and hours spent in his beautiful kitchen creating wonderful food for his family.And,really,whatever he wants he eventually gets from Dom.But resentment is starting to creep up on him.Is he really happy being Dom's Trophy husband?....he might have the T shirt but is it enough?

For his part Dom is determined to keep the ugliness out of Seth's life as far as his work is concerned.After all Seth made it very clear he wants no part in any violence but is Dom's over protectiveness about to back fire in the worst way when a new face arrives at their home turning their world into chaos.

No matter how strong their love is will it be enough this time?

As usual,these Authors don't hold back.....they are never afraid to go there... and there are some shocking moments here but I wouldn't have it any other way.

Reading a new chapter in Dom and Seth's life always,without fail,makes me happy because along with the violence and self destruction it's a powerful love story,definitely not always pretty but completely compelling.......

Review copy provided by the Authors.

My reviews are posted on DirtyBooksObsession

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review 2018-02-10 21:32
Real History in Fictional Form (The Gilded Years)
The Gilded Years: A Novel - Karin Tanabe


The true story in fictional form of Anita Hemmings, a black woman who graduated from Vassar in 1897, a full half century before Vassar officially allowed black women to attend. While this is mostly just an interesting story about the Gilded Age, women's education and race, it does best when race is confronted and lays bare the huge change some people suddenly see in people, just because they now know more about someone's racial background.


The book is preoccupied with describing Vassar, New York society of that era, mannerisms, and even some unrealistic frivolous romantic interludes for the majority of pages. It's a good way to show the change in behavior once the climax occurs, but it made the book less effective overall.


The high point starts with Anita's best friend and roommate (Lotty Taylor, a fictional name) finding out that Anita is black. The vitriolic hate spewed at a woman who had not changed one bit is terrifying and upsetting. Lotty feels that Anita's race is something Anita "did to her." That she's ruined the roommate's life by being black. When Anita finally tries to speak to the roommate's "modernity," Lotty spits, "Separate but Equal. Not equal and in my parlour." Where she had previously loved and doted on Anita, now:


"I see the negro in you. It's all I can see...I look at you and a dirty,

ugly, lying colored face looks back at me."


When Anita's whole college education is at risk, she says, "I was never asked whether I was a negro, so I never addressed it. If I had been asked, I would not have lied." This is something the white world doesn't grasp often. The default is white, so if one looks more white than black, you may get asked "what are you?" in 2018, but not in the polite society of 1897. Nobody ever questioned her race. Why would they? She was in the top of her class at Vassar year after year. But when the head of the college calls her in, "She watched him looking at her, plainly searching for negroid features."


Vassar pulled the ultimate CYA by graduating Anita (as white,) demanding she not speak of it, pulling all of her post-grad opportunities, and then in the real world not admitting an openly black woman until 1944. Meanwhile, Anita's own daughter had graduated from Vassar in the 1920s, so clearly they were fine with black women who could pass as white, just not black women who looked black. Even the first three women who graduated in the 1940s are all extremely light-skinned.


Even if you never plan to read this book, Anita Hemmings is an interesting person. Her great-granddaughter, Jillian Sim, wrote an article about tracing her family called for the American Spectator: "Fading to White". Monticello family tree research indicate that this Hemmings family is related to the Elizabeth Hemings family, which is also Sally Hemings' branch. An interview with Jillian Sim includes a photo of her holding photos Anita and her brother Frederick John Hemmings (who graduated MIT -- admitted as a black student -- the same year she graduated from Vassar.)

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