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review 2019-10-23 08:50
REVIEW BY MERISSA - Succubus Soul: Veras Academy (Succubus Sirens #3) by Lina Jubilee
Succubus Soul: Veras Academy (Succubus Sirens #3) - Lina Jubilee

#Action/#Adventure #Romance, #Erotic, #Ménage or #more, #Paranormal, #UrbanFantasy, 4 out of 5 (very good)


SUCCUBUS SOUL: VERAS ACADEMY is the third book in the Succubus Sirens series, and we meet Bry, along with Derek, Zeke, Rio, and Trey. Three of the men are princes, and one is her best friend.

This was an easy read, with most of the drama coming from Bry as she resented being 'forced' to meet with the princes with a view to marriage. Of course, that changed once she actually met them. As for Derek, she thought she shouldn't be having the feelings she was for her best friend. There was a slight twist to it as Xerxes (from book 2) made a reappearance and tried to mix things up a bit.

With a great storyline, a bunch of brilliant characters (both main and supporting), plus some very steamy bits, this was a great book to read to while away the hours. Definitely recommended by me.

Source: www.theromancereviews.com/viewbooks.php?bookid=29240
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text 2019-07-03 02:03
Booklikes-Opoly! - Roll & Book Selection
The Clock Strikes Twelve (Miss Silver Mystery) - Patricia Wentworth
Skeletons: The Frame of Life - Jan Zalasiewicz,Mark Williams
The Lady Vanishes - Ethel Lina White
Queen of Scots: a Play in Three Acts - Gordon Daviot

I finally finished Bats in the Belfry, and am ready to move on. So very ready!


You rolled 2 dice:

4 6

Timestamp: 2019-07-02 23:27:09 UTC


...which takes me to:


19. Spending some lazy days at the lake house sounds like a wonderful summer vacation!
Read a book with a cover that is more than 50% blue, or by an author whose first or last name begins with any letter in the word L-A-K-E.


My kindle copy of Patricia Wentworth's The Clock Strikes Twelve has a very blue cover!



And then we also had Moonlight's announcement of the 3 extra rolls of the Independence Day weekend:



You rolled 2 dice:

4 1

Timestamp: 2019-07-02 23:36:46 UTC


...which takes me to:


24. BL square. For which I spin the wheel to decide, and the wheel brings me:


"Move to the space of your choice"


So, I pop to:


17. Why?
Read a book that is non-fiction or a book with the word "why" in the title.


I'll use our new Flat Book Society read Skeletons: The Frame of Life for this one.


Next roll:

You rolled 2 dice:

4 5

Timestamp: 2019-07-02 23:57:07 UTC


...which takes me to:



25. I look forward to the summer blockbuster movie releases every year!
Read a book that has been adapted for a film.


Excellent! I am leaning towards a re-read of The Lady Vanishes for this one.



Third Roll:


You rolled 2 dice:

6 3

Timestamp: 2019-07-03 00:13:24 UTC


...which takes me to:

33. The summer after I graduated from high school, A group of my friends and I took a European Tour, and London was one of our favorite stops.
Read a book set in the UK, or that was written by an author whose first or last name begins with any letter in the word L-O-N-D-O-N.


I am leaning toward Queen of Scots for this one, which is a play by Gordon Daviot, aka Josephine Tey. I have this as a library loan and I really need to get reading.


Date Bank Square Title Pages DNF DNF @ Page # Rating Notes
May 20 $20             (Starting Bank Balance)
May 20 $3 5 Death on the Nile 320     5  
May 22 $0 Jail Ladies' Bane 237     3.5  
May 24 $3 15 Savage Summit 303     4  
May 24 $1 25 Bel Canto 319 1 50 1 Memorial Day Bonus Roll # 1
May 24 $3 35 The Division Bell Mystery 254     4 Memorial Day Bonus Roll # 2
May 27 $5 Go! - -     - Passed Go
May 27 $3 4 Ways of Escape 309     3.5  
May 30 $3 11 The Singing Sands 246     4  
June 1 $3 15 Annapurna 246     2 Doubles roll
June 1 $5 23 My Traitor's Heart 416        
June 6 $2 36 Who Spoke Last 187     4  
June 8 $5 Go! - -       Passed Go
June 8 $2 10 The Wind Blows Death 199     3 Doubles roll
June 8 $3 Why! The Butchering Art 304     4.5  
June 10 $5 25 Rebecca 441     5  
June 12 $2 35 The Age of Light 375 1 114 1.5  
June 14 $5 Go!           Passed Go
June 14 $3 3 Death on the Cherwell 288     2  
June 16 $0 Jail Various from my ongoing reads to make up the jail fund contribution          
June 18 $3 19 Scarweather 272     3.5  
June 20 $5 How? Wedlock 502     4  
June 22 $5 Go!           Passed Go
June 22 $5 3 Gaudy Night 502     5  
June 26 $3 10 Bats in the Belfry 240     2.5  
 Totals: $97     5960 2 164    


Cards in pocket:


The Cat

Scottie Dog

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review 2019-05-05 23:19
Needs a lot of work
First Lessons (A Medieval Tale #1) - Lina J. Potter

It reads like one of those ambitious, great-ideas fanfictions written by a painfully young person. Acceptable grammar, cool premise, needs serious editing.


This is, at best, a first rough draft, and it is a real pity that it was published as is. There are other issues (Mary Sue, general shallowness, a judgemental omniscient POV that is a stand in for the author's opinions), but they are not real drawbacks from what could have been a solid 3 stars comfort read, so if there was an editing team on this publishing house, they did this work a serious disservice.


Because I'm a sucker for this type of adventures, I'm still reading, and can say that the worst of the bloating gets a bit pared down by book three. Quality of writing is still the same, but it's neater.

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text 2018-12-30 00:02
24 Festive Tasks: Door 19 - Festivus, Task 1 (Airing of Grievances)
The Red Queen - Margaret Drabble
The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs: A New History of a Lost World - Stephen Brusatte
Get Well Soon: History's Worst Plagues and the Heroes Who Fought Them - Jennifer Wright
The Lady Vanishes - Ethel Lina White
The Cutout - Francine Mathews
The Lake District Murder - John Bude
Candy Cane Murder - Leslie Meier,Laura Levine,Joanne Fluke,Suzanne Toren

I've been blessed with a pretty amazing reading year in which disappointments were few and far between -- so it was fortunately not difficult at all to spot the small number of candidates for my "grievances" list when scrolling back through my BookLikes shelves.  They are / were, in no particular order (except for no. 1):


Margaret Drabble: The Red Queen

Pretentious, artificial, historically incorrect and, most of all, monumentally self-involved.  If this is the type of book that Drabble's sister A.S. Byatt criticizes under the byword "faction", then I'm with Byatt all the way -- and that statement is far from a given where Byatt's own fiction is concerned.  Someday I'll seek out the actual memoirs of the Crown Princess whose story inspired this poor excuse for a novel.  I doubt I'll go anywhere near Drabble's writing again anytime soon, however.

Original review HERE.


Stephen Brusatte: The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs

Speaking of monumentally self-involved, this wasn't much better than Drabble's book in that particular department.  It does contain the actual bit of paleonthological information, but that bit is essentially hidden between tales of Steve the Great and his almost-as-great famous friends and acquaintances, as well as Brusatte's pet theories -- pun not intended -- and a lot of generalization on subjects that don't necessarily lend themselves to same.  (Also, Brusatte obviously loves T-Rex ... and his obsession with the Rex's "puny arms" has me wondering about the wider psychological implications of Brusatte's fascination with the big bad  boys (and girls) of dino-dom.)

Original review HERE.


Jennifer Wright: Get Well Soon

Our third candidate under the "monumentally self-involved" header.  Leaving aside that the book's subtitle ("History's Worst Plagues and the Heroes Who Fought Them") is a complete misnomer, this, too, is chiefly about the bright and sparky Ms. Wright and her opinions, frequently at best shallow research, and largely inappropriate oh-so-clever (NOT) quips, asides, and pop culture references.  At least two of the "plagues" mentioned in the book actually are not epidemics at all (which shows that indeterminate "medical horrors" is what Wright was truly after), and on the epidemics that do get mentioned, entire chapters of medical research and the world-renowned scientists chiefly responsible for that research don't even get so much as a passing mention.  Virtually the book's only saving grace was Wright's stance against anti-vaxxers and similar superstitious nonsense -- the sum total of which, however, would easily have fit into one of the magazine articles that Wright produces when she's not pretending she is a science writer.

Original review HERE.


Ethel Lina White: The Lady Vanishes

One of the rare examples where I like the movie adaptation (by the one and only Alfred Hitchcock, no less) vastly better than the literary original.  "Woman in peril" stories aren't my cup of tea to begin with, but leaving aside that I rather like Hitch's spin on the conspiracy at the heart of the book, most of all, the two protagonists (Margaret Lockwood's Iris and her "knight in shining armour", portrayed by Michael Redgrave in the movie) come across as much more likeable and believable in the screen version -- the guy in particular is nothing more than a pretentious prick in the book, for however much he's supposed to be the Hero and Iris's big savior and love interest.  All in all, Hitchcock elevated what seems to amount at best to B movie material on paper into one of his early masterpieces -- no small feat on his part.

Original review HERE.


Francine Matthews: The Cutout

Not strictly a disappointment, as I was a bit skeptical going in anyway; however, it had an interesting premise and started well and thus got my hopes up to a certain extent -- only to deflate them pretty thoroughly, alas, before it had really gotten going.  Totalitarian political machinations in a post-collapse-of-the-Wall Europe may have sounded interesting when the book was written in the early 2000s -- and sound even more up-to-date these days, in fact -- but it would have required a different writer to pull this off convincingly.  Matthews has no understanding of Germany, German society and politics, nor that of the Eastern European countries where her book is set (if she ever lived in Berlin or any of the book's other main locations, she obviously had virtually zero interactions with anybody other than her American intelligence colleagues), and unfortunately, name-dropping half a street atlas' worth of names of tourist sites and major traffic arteries is no replacement for a believable reproduction of local atmosphere. Similarly, not one of the characters is anything other than a two-dimensional cipher, and by the time the book reaches its end, it degenerates into the cheapest of cheap spy thriller clichés once and for all.

Original review (of sorts) HERE.


Honorable mentions:

(Or would that be "dishonorable mentions"?)


John Bude: The Lake District Murder

I already used this for the task of finding something redeeming in an otherwise disappointing book (International Day of Tolerance / Door 6, Task 1), so I won't formally use it again in this particular context -- besides, unlike the five above-mentioned books it didn't actually make me angry ... it just fell flat of what it could have been.

Original review HERE.


Joanne Fluke / Laura Levine / Leslie Meier: Candy Cane Murder

A huge disappointment only considering how popular these three ladies' books are (particularly so, Fluke's) -- ultimately, I guess this was nothing more than a confirmation of the fact that cozy mysteries aren't actually my kind of thing (with the sole exception of Donna Andrews's Meg Langslow series).  Of the three entries, Meier's was by far the weakest, but I neither cared particularly for Fluke's nor ultimately for Levine's, either -- though in the sense of "amongst the blind, the one-eyed man is king", Levine's was the strongest entry in an overall weak threesome.

Original review HERE.


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review 2018-02-28 00:00
Chasing The Sea
Chasing The Sea - Lina Langley Chasing The Sea - Lina Langley Hunter, a trust fund baby, has a crush on his friend and fellow frat brother Valentine. Allusions are made that Valentine is likely Latino (it's never outright stated) and not as well off as Hunter, who pays to fly him down to the Keys with his cat, Grandpa for Spring Break. There are all kinds of plot holes here. Hunter's Dad knows he is gay and on the boat with one other person, but he's afraid if he gets caught on the boat with a man his Dad will disinherit him? He had a driver take them to the marina and he removed money from his trust fund to pay for it all but his Dad wouldn't know (and he already has access to his trust fund)?
This is the first time he's been alone captaining the boat and he hasn't been out on a boat at all in two years but his Dad lets him take it out? We are told "he was barely confident enough in his steering ability when he was stone cold sober" and yet no one sees disaster written all over this? If Hunter graduated two years ago, he is likely 20 and not even old enough to drink in the first place yet this is what he does when he is trying to fly under the radar. Ok. He is 20 and we all did stupid things when we were 20. Right? And that's the problem: I am not the target audience for this book at all because it's chapter three right now and I so don't care. Now we're given the impression from Valentine that Hunter's Dad pays for school and Hunter is afraid of him. Hunter himself has already said he is very controlling. None of this really makes sense; it's just a way to get us to the emergency moment as an excuse for conflict. When they need help Hunter is afraid to call the Coast Guard, since his Dad worked for them before he retired and he would find out. He's going to find out anyway since he legally owns the boat! Speaking of which, you don't get that kind of money retiring from the Coast Guard. There is just not enough mature, fleshed out, believable detail for the reader to connect with the characters and care what happens to them. If in the first chapter his Dad knew he was on board with one other person, why in chapter five does his Dad think it's a frat party on board?! There is a huge info dump on Hunter's family, which includes his coming out to his Dad. The thing is, Hunter is out with his frat brothers, who all seem to come from wealthy families, some of whom must know his Dad so I'm still not sure why this is all a big deal. Now Valentine and Hunter are talking, as an actual idea being muted, about pushing what was the "biggest boat in the marina" off a sandbar from behind, whilst swimming. This is just not ready for publication, in my opinion. I think I am going to have to DNF.
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