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review 2018-09-19 02:16
Mrs. Brodie's Academy for Exceptional Young Ladies by Shana Galen & Theresa Romain
Mrs. Brodie's Academy for Exceptional Young Ladies - Shana Galen,Theresa Romain

Mrs. Brodie's Academy for Exceptional Young Ladies - Shana Galen,Theresa Romain 

 

I'd describe this duo as one of those that give you an AWWWW! feeling and that feeling stays with you long after you put the book down. Both stories are about second chances. 

The Way to A Gentleman's Heart by Theresa Romain stars Marianne, a lady of society-turned cook, and James, a man with plenty to regret but willing to make amends and hoping for forgiveness. I always find this author’s stories kind of hard to understand in the sense that I don’t connect with the characters right away. At first I thought James had hurt Marianne too much and grueling for the rest of his life wouldn’t be enough to deserve forgiveness, however once Marianne’s musing put their relationship in a different light and she realized he was a worthy man I too realized just as much. 

Counterfeit Scandal by Shana Galen intertwines characters from No Earls Allowed, book 2 in her The Survivors series but you don’t need to read that book first in order to read this one. Bridget and Caleb were forced to part ways at a moment when Bridget needed him the most. Fast forward several years later and Caleb seems to be the only one to help her find what she once lost but loves the most. I liked this story a lot. The author was able to pack plenty of character development, emotions, action, and redemption in only a few pages. The fact that Caleb was willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for Bridget was kind of the cherry on top. 

I think this set perfectly represents what each author is about so if anyone's thought about trying something by either one I encourage you to give these novellas a go. 

I received this book 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 2018-09-15 01:25
Great Book and Great Characters
My One True Highlander (No Ordinary Hero) - Suzanne Enoch

Rugged highlander Graeme has one thing on his mind—take a stand against the horrible Englishman Lattimer and he will be rewarded with enough money to be set for life. But when his reckless younger brothers take it one step too far and kidnaps a young woman on her way to see Lattimer, Graeme has to intervene. Unfortunately, trying to protect his brother keeps leading to more and more trouble.

This was a very cute story. There were times when I wanted to yell at Graeme for his assumptions about Marjorie, but I felt a little silly when I was yelling at my tablet and it didn’t change his misconceptions:) The side characters were so engrained into the story that they were just as interesting to follow. I can’t wait to read another book by Suzanne Enoch! I really loved it and highly recommend it.

**I voluntarily read and reviewed this book

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review 2018-09-13 18:05
The Mad Countess by Erica Monroe
The Mad Countess (Darkest Regency Book 1) - Erica Monroe

Claire has been in love with Teddy, her best friend, for ages, it seems, but he only wants to be friends. Which is good for her, since she's going to go crazy like her aunt and mother did—it's a family curse.
But it turns out, Teddy doesn't only want to be friends with Claire and he also has no intention of letting her go mad. He's willing to break the curse no matter what, even if it means cavorting with a coven of witches.


I only read one book by this author previously, and I loved it, so I expected the same mix of suspense, romance, drama and humor in this one. Sadly, I was disappointed. It tried, it sure did, but it failed to deliver.

I didn't really care about the main protagonists; they came across as rather juvenile for people in their twenties, I hated the hero's nickname of Teddy (what is he, twelve?), I disliked the heroine's woe-is-me attitude, and their romance left me cold. I didn't understand why they loved each other, since both came across as rather flat, boring characters.

Then there were the gothic/suspenseful aspects of the story, which also fell flat. It turned out there weren't really any ghosts, just a crazy woman locked up in a castle, the curse thingy didn't inspire much confidence, sounding really made-up, while the final banishing of the curse with the help of the coven of witches seemed more like it was added as an afterthought.

Thankfully, this was a novella, so the "pain" was fleeting.

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review 2018-09-05 13:08
A reluctant hero and an old-fashioned mystery in a world of small-town politics and corruption
The Mountain Man's Badge (The Mountain Man Mysteries Book 3) - Gary Corbin

I was provided an ARC copy of this book by the publisher and I freely chose to review it.

I am always in two minds about reading books in a series, especially when I do not catch it right at the beginning, but when I was offered the opportunity of reading and reviewing this book, I was intrigued and could not let it pass. It was, I guess, a combination of the unusual protagonist (a mountain man, as the series title proclaims), the details of the case (who can resist a good dose of local politics and corruption these days?), and the details about the author, who is an experienced and well-respected writer who has written for a variety of media, including the stage.  This is the third book in the series, though, but I was reassured that it could be read independently from the other books. So, what did I think?

Gary Corbin is a skilled writer, with a talent for creating unforgettable characters and settings and convoluted plots. Clarkesville, Oregon, is not one of those enchanted little towns we find in some heart-warming books, but quite the opposite. The descriptions of the mountains and the surrounding area are compelling and appealing, but this is a town with a terrible coffee house, sleazy strip clubs,  ignorant and prejudiced inhabitants, and rampant corruption (from low-level civil servants all the way to the top). The novel follows on from the adventures described in the two previous novels (from what I gathered while I read the book), and the main protagonist, Lehigh Carter, is one of those mythical American literary (and film) figures, the reluctant hero.  In the two previous books he became involved in several mysteries that ended up in the removal of the long-term sheriff and, after things don’t work well for the replacement (I’m trying to avoid spoilers, in case people want to read the three novels in order), he is asked to step in. But he is a lumberjack (with his own business) and not a professional sheriff —as he keeps being reminded by the elected assistant DA, the media, and plenty of others. And he has not been elected either. His job is further complicated when there is a new murder (in a town where such crimes are almost unknown), and the evidence accumulates against his fairly recent father-in-law (and their relationship was anything but friendly even before that). His relationship with his wife suffers, he is kicked out of the marital home, and he is pushed and pulled in all directions, pestered by those who should be working with him, and enmeshed in a spider web of lies and deception. There are enemies and betrayers all around him and he has his own doubts and insecurities to fight against as well. He has no qualifications to show for the job, makes beginner mistakes at times, lacks modern equipment and technical skills, and is being taunted by the commissioners for not having been voted into the job and being an amateur, even when they were the ones signing his appointment.

Although I lacked the background into the protagonist and other important characters in the novel (that I guess would give a more rounded pictures of the relationships between them and the motivations for their actions), I still liked his honesty, his humility, his self-doubt, and his willingness to put everything on the line to do the right thing and to protect his constituency, no matter how much it might cost him. This is not one of those action heroes who never miss a shot or put a foot wrong. He feels real and by the end of the novel, I thought I would happily have voted for him as the new sheriff.  I also liked his collaborators, Wadsworth, in his mentor-like role, and especially Ruby Mac (she is fabulous!). His wife is caught up in a difficult situation but eventually, I got to understand and empathise with her and her predicament (and I think she is one of the characters that have grown over the series, so I missed much of that). The politicians, the rest of the sheriff department, other inhabitants of the town, and Bailey —the TV news anchor— are all well-drawn and distinct, and they run the whole gamut of human emotions, qualities, and vices. Some have bigger roles than others, but they give a bit of variety to a place that is portrayed as mostly stuck in its traditions and not very tolerant or diverse.

The plot reminded me of the old-fashioned mystery books and series we all know and love, and, in my opinion, it works better as such than as a detailed police-procedural investigation. As mentioned, Lehigh is an amateur and does not always follow due procedure. He has a good nose and intuition but sometimes misses things and is let down at times by his insecurity and his lack of knowledge. Although the book is set in the present, the sheriff department seems to be stuck in the past, and other than using his mobile for taking pictures, very little technology is in evidence or regularly used; even the computers are ancient and keep malfunctioning, so this is not a story for those fascinated by the latest techniques and the most accurate point-by-point investigations. Much of the police work consists of walking around, interrogating people, and setting up traps to catch suspects and double-crossing staff. There is also an overreliance on evidence that has been overheard and later reported by witnesses. This requires regular readers of detective novels and thrillers to suspend their disbelief to a certain extent, as baddies are overconfident and reckless, and the witnesses never seem to think about taking pictures or recording anybody’s conversations, which is unusual in this day and age, when everything anybody does is recorded and shared, but it gives the mystery a timeless feel, and there are plenty of plot twists and red herrings to keep readers turning the pages at good speed.

The book is written in the third person by a limited omniscient narrator, a technique that works well to allow readers to learn more about the characters, their feelings, and motivations (and some are not nice at all), while at the same time keeping the information necessary to solve the case under wraps, and helping to maintain the suspense and keep us guessing. There is an effective use of description and credible and lively dialogue that add to the characterisation. The book flows well, and there is sufficient information about the previous events to fill in the gaps and allow a reader starting here to follow the plot, although I have the feeling that those who have read the previous books will enjoy it more fully. (I am never sure how much information about previous books might be enough for new readers but not too much for those already familiar with the books. My experience reading series is that, unless you read all the books in quick succession, you need reminders of the previous plot, no matter how well you think you remember it, but different readers will be different on that respect). Although there is some violence, it is not extreme or shown in detail, and there is a good mix of intriguing, creepy, and light-hearted and humorous moments to suit most readers.

I enjoyed the book and feel curious, both about what had happened before and about what the future will bring Lehigh and his team. I was also intrigued by the samples of some of the author’s other books included at the end. I recommend this book (perhaps the whole series, but I cannot comment on the previous books) to readers who like mysteries in non-standard settings, with a good mix of characters and plots, and with a background into small-town politics and corruption that feels eerily relevant.

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text 2018-09-01 19:05
August Re-Cap
Away from the Dark (The Light Series) - Aleatha Romig
Gentleman Nine - Penelope Ward
Hero at the Fall - Alwyn Hamilton
Alex, Approximately - Jenn Bennett
Like Never and Always - Ann Aguirre
The Empress - S.J. Kincaid
Ready Player One - Ernest Cline
The Scorpio Races - Maggie Stiefvater
Paradox (An FBI Thriller) - Catherine Coulter
All Your Perfects - Colleen Hoover

 

 

What a crazy month, but I did read some good books.  Well, mostly I listened, because, wow, 13 Audio's for this month. 

 

 

 

(Audiobook) Away From The Light by Aleatha Romig

Finish Date:  08/01

☆4.7☆STARS - GRADE=A

 

(Audiobook) Gentlemen Nine by Penelope Ward

Finish Date:  08/02

☆4.3☆STARS - GRADE=A-

 

(Audiobook) Hero At The Fall by Alwyn Hamilton

Finish Date:  08/06

☆3.7☆STARS - GRADE=B

 

(Audiobook) Alex, Approximately by Jenn Bennett

Finish Date:  08/07

☆4☆STARS - GRADE=B+

 

(Audiobook) Like Never And Always by Ann Agguire

Finish Date:  08/09

☆2.8☆STARS - GRADE=C-

 

(Audiobook) The Empress by S.J. Kincaid

Finish Date:  08/13

☆4.2☆STARS - GRADE=B+

 

(Audiobook) Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

Finish Date:  08/15

☆4.7☆STARS - GRADE=A

 

(Audiobook) The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

Finish Date:  08/19

☆4.3☆STARS - GRADE=A-

 

(Netgalley e-ARC) Paradox by Catherine Coulter

Finish Date:  08/19

☆3☆STARS - GRADE=C

 

(Audiobook) All Your Perfects by Colleen Hoover

Finish Date:  08/21

☆4.5☆STARS - GRADE=A-

 

(Audiobook) The Naturalist by Andrew Mayne

Finish Date:  08/23

☆4.2☆STARS - GRADE=B+

 

(Audiobook) Warcross by Marie Lu

Finish Date:  08/27

☆4.5☆STARS - GRADE=A-

 

(Audiobook) The Swan & The Jackal by JA Redmerski

Finish Date:  08/29

☆3.5☆STARS - GRADE=B-

 

(Audiobook) Bad Mommy by Tarryn Fisher

Finish Date:  08/31

☆5☆STARS - GRADE=A+ 

 

(Kindle eBook) Speak Easy, Speak Love by McKelle George

Finish Date:  08/31

☆3.5☆STARS - GRADE=B-

 

13 Audiobooks, 1 Kindle eBook, and 1 Netgalley eARC, for a total of 5,510 pages.  That's my most read pages in one month, ever.

 

and since I tend to pick books based on there covers...best cover of the month goes to:

 

 

 

 

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