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review 2017-10-23 15:00
A Hope Divided
A Hope Divided (The Loyal League) - Alyssa Cole

Author: Alyssa Cole

Series: The Loyal League #2 

Rating: 3.5 stars

 

Book Blurb: For three years of the War Between the States, Marlie Lynch has helped the cause in peace: with coded letters about anti-Rebel uprisings in her Carolina woods, tisanes and poultices for Union prisoners, and silent aid to fleeing slave and Freeman alike. Her formerly enslaved mother's traditions and the name of a white father she never knew have protected her--until the vicious Confederate Home Guard claims Marlie's home for their new base of operations in the guerilla war against Southern resistors of the Rebel cause.

Unbeknowst to those under her roof, escaped prisoner Ewan McCall is sheltering in her laboratory. Seemingly a quiet philosopher, Ewan has his own history with the cruel captain of the Home Guard, and a thoughtful but unbending strength Marlie finds irresistible.

When the revelation of a stunning family secret places Marlie's freedom on the line, she and Ewan have to run for their lives into the hostile Carolina night. Following the path of the Underground Railroad, they find themselves caught up in a vicious battle that could dash their hopes of love--and freedom--before they ever cross state lines.
 

 

 

****I received this book free in exchange for an honest review****

 

Not as good as the first book, but to be fair - the first book was a tough act to follow. Still - it was a good read. This book focuses on minor characters from the first book.  While I did read this in two sittings as it was fast paced - I did have a been there/done that feeling that I couldn't shake. The two stories are similar with the first being better developed. Also the romance seemed to take a back seat to the other themes throughout the book. I'm not complaining at all, but if you came to this book looking just for that you could be slightly disappointed. And I enjoyed that in both books, Ms. Cole fleshes out parts of the Civil war and Underground Railroad that aren't often explored in historical fiction. You can see the research. There's meat to this story as well as in the first book in the series.

 
 
If you like historical romance, this is a good read. So I'd recommend it. 
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review 2017-10-23 01:07
Review: Murder Game (Detective Ruby Preston #3) by Caroline Mitchell
Murder Game: A gripping serial killer thriller you won't be able to put down (Detective Ruby Preston Crime Thriller Series Book 3) - Caroline Mitchell

Published by: Bookouture (31st October 2017)

 

ISBN: 9781786811622

 

Source: NetGalley

 

Rating: 5*

 

Synopsis:

A killer is playing a twisted game of life or death with his victims. After he captures them, a countdown begins. He marks the time by sending clues to the whereabouts of the women he has taken in three disturbing images: alive, tortured, dead. 

In a race against the clock, East London Detective Ruby Preston must play the killer’s terrifying murder game and decipher the clues before more women die. 

But this isn’t the first time the police have seen such a sickening crime. The notorious Lonely Hearts Killer, Mason Gatley, was put behind bars ten years ago for murdering six women in exactly the same chilling way. Desperate for more information, Ruby asks her gangster boyfriend, Nathan Crosby, to set up a dangerous meeting to allow her to see into the twisted mind of a murderer.

But the closer Ruby grows to the dark and charming Mason Gatley, the more worried her team becomes. Is he really helping her catch the killer? Or is he lining her up to be his next victim?

 

Review:

Wow! Every time I finish one of Caroline Mitchell's books I'm aware that I've spent the most part on the edge of my seat, mouth hanging open in shock and my heart hammering away! This was a real page turner with such a captivating plot. You can't help but like the fantastic Ruby Preston, who I absolutely ADORE. She's intelligently written and utterly captivating. I really like how her relationships with Nathan and daughter Cathy are interwoven with the case. It gives such a personal perspective in contrast to the professional side of Ruby and makes for a superbly well rounded character.

 

The case is shocking yet fascinating, like the scene of a car crash. The author is an expert at those twists and turns we just don't see coming...and there are plenty here. The story is intricate, dark and gripping, with great attention to detail. I was more than a little annoyed when life interrupted my reading time (much too often!) and I'm now eagerly awaiting my next fix of Detective Ruby Preston! Thanks to Bookouture for providing an ARC via NetGalley in return for my honest review.

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review 2017-10-23 00:23
Deal Breaker (Billionaire Bosses) by Tara Leigh
Deal Breaker: Billionaire Bosses - Tara Leigh

 

There are times when the worst moments in life can lead to an unexpectedly happy ending.  Deal Breaker is dangerous, intriguing, steamy and emotional, but the thrill is that the characters are not easily forgotten and the tale itself is hard to resist.  Nixie is caught in the cross hairs of a chaotic life, a controlling ex and mysterious hero that needs a bit of rescuing of his own.  A romance on the edge, a life on the run and attraction that is as sneaky as the danger is hot on their heels, Deal Breaker is a full on force of nature that once unleashed is hard to contain.

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review 2017-10-22 22:59
The Dark Interest
The Dark Interest (The Dark Choir) (Volume 4) - J.P Sloan

I've been procrastinating on this review for months, to the point that I've even been avoiding BookLikes and Goodreads. No matter how it looks, I don't enjoy writing negative reviews, particularly of series that I previously enjoyed. I really wanted to like The Dark Interest. I've relished the rest of the series: I like the magic system that Sloan sets up, the affectionate familiarity with the city of Baltimore, and I even enjoy disliking jerkish antiheroic protagonist, Dorian. The series has routinely gone in directions I didn't experience, often leading to the tarnishing and darkening of Dorian's character. I've found it fun because it's so unexpected.

Sure, there were some rough elements, some moments that made me wince, particularly in the first book. But this book took it to a whole new level, and in ways that can't simply be dismissed as a jerkish protagonist's warped perspective. Fair warning: because some of my issues with the book are major aspects of the plot, there may be spoilers from here on out.

In recent years, Baltimore has been central in a nationwide struggle over race, police brutality, and equal justice. In 2015, following the death of Freddie Gray in police custody (and Tyrone West in 2013), the city erupted into mass protests that led to a declaration of emergency, enforced curfew, deployment of the National Guard, dozens of fires, and hundreds of arrests. For years afterwards, national news was riddled with stories of mass demonstration, civil unrest, and arrests of protesters. Despite it all, all six police officers associated with the tragedy were acquitted or had charges dropped against them. More recently, Baltimore police have been arrested for racketeering and caught on the bodycams they thought were turned off planting evidence to incriminate suspects. Long story short, like many cities in the US, a conversation on equal justice is an inescapable part of the reality of the city. 

In The Dark Interest, Sloan brings up that conversation, but in the most tonedeaf way imaginable. A riot erupts when the story starts, and Dorian being Dorian, his major concern is whether his restaurant will be destroyed or whether the riots will generate "a vibrant dinner rush." . Much of the subsequent plot involves the Baltimore riots, without ever quite saying as much. More specifically, he appropriates them as a plot point and attributes the anger to supernatural forces:

"Even though all of this was very real, this uprising wasn't a natural process. Long in coming though it may have been, this violence was engineered. Angry, ancient forces were pushing this city over a tipping point it might not pull back from."
"That's what this Summer of Blood is all about. Don't you see it? They're cranking up the heat."

I'm generally uncomfortable with this sort of twisting and belittling of history, but when the wounds are still so raw and the struggle is still ongoing? There are tragedies it is utterly unacceptable to appropriate, conflicts that it is repugnant to twist and debase and minimize and devalue. America's current conversation about race and justice is one of them.

The problems with this book don't stop there. Much of the story involves the "Jokomo Gang," a Black gang from New Orleans "displaced by Hurricane Katrina" . The members are described as "into drugs and guns" . Their brand of magic is described by Dorian as follows:

"It's not African voudou. It's Louisiana flavor, which blends lots of horrible shit from the Catholic Church, Santeria, and basically anything else the Dark Choir decided to toss into that gumbo pot."

The practitioners are termed

"Reckless dabblers. They stir up primal beings that rage unrestrained and unstewarded into our world."

The leader, Lasalle, is called a "wannabe crime lord" "a hoodlum" "an outright criminal" , and the "lead thug" . Lasalle is portrayed as a slow-witted, surly, angry, immature Black man who Dorian actually castigates a "acting like a child." Just in case you're in any doubt about the dog whistles going on here, Dorian later casually accuses the gang of "Get[ting] their free ride in Baltimore." 

When the gang confronts Dorian, questioning him about his recent actions, the "good cop" protagonist appears to "save" Dorian by harassing and belittling them without apparent cause, going so far as to refer to them as "boys": "You boys raising a ruckus out here?" If you don't understand why referring to African-American men as "boys" is toothclenchingly offensive, I'm happy to point you to some references. But in the book, this is portrayed as a heroic rescue against a gang of "your basic street thug[s]" . At another point, Dorian ends up in a police station and assumes that everyone else behind bars-- all African-American-- are "probably wondering what a man like me was up to in a police station." (emphasis mine).

Things began less than optimally when Dorian stops a kid--poor and African-American, naturally-- from committing a theft, and they have a conversation in the author's attempt at dialect. It went downhill from there. I was mystified when Dorian jumped to the conclusion that the kid from the intro was running with the Jokomos-- the only thing I can imagine is he assumes all Black kids are muggers and gang members and all of "them" stick together. There is absolutely no other reason to think that. And of course, naturally, a Black kid is the mugger. Of course, there were other things that pissed me off about the book. Dorian has always been a jerk, and his level of jerkhood in this book is over the top. He decides he deserves to run the city because he can trust no one else. He has no principles other than self-preservation. He decides that he "had to betray Choi" to save himself. Why not just take consequences for his own actions rather than destroying someone else's life? At the very least, he shouldn't pretend he was forced into that choice-- he could have chosen to accept responsibility.

(spoiler show)


I wanted to like this book. I really did. And actually, even though it infuriated me, I found it interesting to explore the perspective of a character so imbued with white privilege that his only thought during a mass protest against police brutality is whether he'll get a dinner rush. But what I have real trouble with is the unexamined nature of much of the prejudice; the thoughtless, caustic nature of the white privilege that imbues it. 

Maybe if you understand what this book is going in, you can get past all this, but I couldn't. That doesn't mean I won't give the next book a try; I'm constantly fascinated by how far down Dorian can be dragged, and the ending is a zinger.

Okay, that's all from me. At least now you know why I've been procrastinating and avoiding Goodreads for these last few months.

~~I received this ebook through Netgalley from the publisher, Curiosity Quills Press, in exchange for my (depressingly) honest review. Quotes were taken from an advanced reader copy and while they may not reflect the final phrasing, I believe they speak to the spirit of the novel as a whole.~~ 

Cross-posted on Goodreads.

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review 2017-10-22 22:55
Review: Nailed It by Cindi Madsen
Nailed It - Cindi Madsen

 

I'm Ivy Clarke. Bartender, best friend, and disbeliever in love. And now I'm in over my head, trying to flip a house all by myself. Thanks, HGTV. I'm not too proud to admit I need some help. Too bad the only one who can help me is the same man I want to throw out this house's second-story window. Jackson Gamble and I can't be in the same room together for more than a minute without devolving into a sparring match. Except for that one time… But enough about that. Jackson's looking for forever, and I don't believe in love, remember? Get in. Renovate. Get out. Keep my heart firmly in tact. Because it's much easier to fix up a house than a broken heart.

Full of humor and dripping with delicious tension, Nailed It proves that every heart can be ready for a little rehabilitation, if only you're willing to open it up

It is no secret by now that I’m a huge Cindi Madsen fan and read pretty much any book she writes and always look forward to her books. I’m also a sucker for second chance romance so when this came up for review it was a no-brainer for me. I enjoyed the characters, they both were well written , although Ivy at times seemed a bit more on the annoying site. But overall I enjoyed her and she was easy to relate to. Jackson was also enjoyable and very swoon-worthy, who also happens to be a funny but yet a bit cocky. I really enjoyed his side of the book/ The side characters were as much part of the story as the main, but didn’t take away from the main couple but perfectly complemented the main storyline. Overall. I really enjoyed this book. Some parts were a bit slower and a bit to predicable but still very fun to read. Another win for Cindi Madsen. I rate it 4 ★

 

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*I received a free copy from the publisher via Netgalley and chose to leave a voluntary review. Thank you!*

Will be available October 23rd 2017

  

cindi

USA Today Bestselling author Cindi Madsen sits at her computer every chance she gets, plotting, revising, and falling in love with her characters. Sometimes it makes her a crazy person. Without it, she'd be even crazier. She has way too many shoes but can always find a reason to buy a new pretty pair, especially if they're sparkly, colorful, or super tall. She loves music, dancing, and wishes summer lasted all year long. She lives in Colorado (where summer is most definitely NOT all year long) with her husband and three children.

Visit her at www.cindimadsen.com, where you can sign up for her newsletter and learn about upcoming releases.

Cindi is the author of YA books All the Broken Pieces, Cipher, Rift, Resolution, and Demons of the Sun, and adult romances Falling for Her Fiancé, Act Like You Love Me, Resisting the Hero, Cinderella Screwed Me Over and Ready to Wed.

Links

Facebook***Facebook Group***Twitter***Website***Amazon

Snoopydoo sigi

 

Source: snoopydoosbookreviews.com/review-nailed-cindi-madsen
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