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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 2018-09-18 18:22
How to Tempt a Rogue Without Really Trying: Heart of an Heiress (Regency Hearts Book 4) by Ava Stone
How to Tempt a Rogue Without Really Trying: Heart of an Heiress (Regency Hearts Book 4) - Ava Stone

Sweet, cute story with plenty of light moments and interesting characters. 
Cait is a strong-willed woman but not to the point of being annoying, and that is something I like in heroines. She has trust issues when it comes to men, mainly because one broke her heart not long ago but also because she’s tired of being treated like a witless person just for being a woman. I liked the way Daniel treated her from the beginning. He had an easygoing personality that didn’t clash with Cait’s strong one. If anything, I think they brought out the best in each other and complemented each other flawlessly. The one thing I didn’t like about Daniel, and as usual this is a personal preference, is that I like my rogues to be more roguish in action and not so much in description. He spent too much time smiling wolfishly and winking wickedly but other than that he wasn’t much of a rogue. That being said, I liked how they took their time to know each other and how the pace of the relationship felt real. I was glad that even though there was an instant attraction, neither one of them rushed into anything. As a side note, there are no graphic intimate scenes in case you were wondering. Just a peck here and there and some harmless flirtation, nothing more. 

Other characters helped moved the story along but to be honest, there were times there was too much going on and I felt I needed to read the other books (which I haven’t read yet) to understand better what was going on. Thankfully, that was later remedied when all knots were tied, so I think I can safely say this can be read as a standalone. 

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 2018-09-16 17:47
Caligula by Simon Turney
Caligula: The Damned Emperors #1 - Simon Turney

 

I thought this was a very believable and refreshing way to portray the life of one of the most reviled emperors that ruled Rome. It was a sad look into his life through the eyes of one of his sisters, Livilla, and the events that led to his decent into cruelty and madness. Very well done.

5 stars and a favorite and highly recommended for historical fiction fans.
I will definitely be reading more from this author

 

 

 

 

 

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review 2018-09-15 19:22
Color of Grace (Cost of Repairs #2)
Color of Grace - A.M. Arthur

Warning: Grumpy review ahead.

 

Don't let my rating or review sway you from reading the book. Most of the issues I had with it are of the personal taste variety. And one thing at the very end that ticked me off. ... Two things. ... Maybe three things, lol.

 

The writing is strong, and Barrett and Schuyler (pronounced Skylar) are interesting characters who despite their various flaws and hangups might just be perfect for each other. I didn't completely feel the love connection between them, since half of their "relationship development" that took place seemed to happen in the bedroom. But when we did get actual relationship development, it was pretty well done.

 

Since it's been so long since I read the first book in this series - and the primary thing I remember about it was that ridiculous drama-ridden fourth act - I didn't recall if I had issues with Schuyler or not. I know there was a reason I initially decided to skip this one, but lord help me if I can remember it now, lol.

 

I should have listened to my former self.

 

For the most part, I really liked Barrett and Schuyler, and there was certainly enough there in their backgrounds that could have made a truly compelling story, but most of what we get is a watered down contemporary romance that doesn't distinguish itself from the mainstream m/m genre. Barrett had the most interesting background, so of course we only get snatches of it. Schuyler's backstory is... well...

 

Ok, so Schuyler's cousin, Matty, drowned in the lake when they were teens. Schuyler was there when it happened. He drinks himself into oblivion every year on the anniversary, blaming himself for what happened. For 85% of the book, that's all we know about it. Then we find out a couple of Matty's friends were also there. And then it just gets stupid because

despite every indication that Danny is seriously unstable, Schuyler decides to just drive down to the lake when Danny leaves a note on his car requesting a meeting with him there. Without telling anyone where he's going. Or who he's going to meet.

 

So he drives down there like a buffoon and confronts Danny, who is upset that Schuyler still exists. And then we find out what really happened that fateful night: Danny started bullying Schuyler for being gay, taunting him to kiss Danny's girlfriend - why the girlfriend was all for this idea, who knows; she's incidental to the story and never appears on page except as a blurry fuzzy afterthought on this backstory - all because ... wait for it ... Danny's also gay, but in the closet and hates himself for it. So of course he HAS to bully Schuyler for also being gay. And of COURSE his teen self has to attack teen Schuyler for being around and TEMPTING him and making him feel his horrible gay feelings. And of COURSE Matty ends up in the lake during this fight and no one notices until it's too late and Matty was too drunk to get himself out of the lake on his own.

 

And that's how Matty died. And that's why Schuyler blames himself. Because showing up when Matty asked him to come and having Danny bully him clearly makes it his fault. (Guilt isn't logical, I know that, but still. Put the blame where it belongs.)

 

But that's not all! Danny isn't torn up about accidentally knocking his friend into the lake and killing him. NO! He's been tormented all these years by his gay feelings. That's what keeps him up at night. That's why he's so maladjusted. That's why he's a walking blowhole.

 

So naturally, since he's got this horrible crush on Schuyler he's got to call present-day Schuyler down to the lake, then ask him why he was always around back them - um, because Matty was his cousin????? - and attacks him again!

 

And then - AND THEN - after all this goes down and Schuyler's released from the hospital and Danny's locked up, Schuyler finally sits down to tell his aunt Dixie, Matt's mom, what actually happened that night 15 years ago. AND WE DON'T GET DIXIE'S REACTION! We just go from him saying "There's something I need to tell you" to jumping six weeks ahead to the epilogue so Schuyler can get a fracking tattoo to memorialize Matty. You know, that's sweet and all, though why he'd want angel wings made out of water to remember how his cousin died is beyond me. You know what I wanted to know though: What did Dixie say or do when she found out? It's only her son that she lost, right? Her one and only child. So who cares what she thinks about all this. (We also don't get Barrett's reaction but his really doesn't matter here.)

 

AND THEN Schuyler doesn't even press charges. And neither does Dixie apparently, so the only thing that happens to Danny is he has to go to therapy for a few months and do some community service. Oh, and he's getting a divorce. Oh, and Danny's therapist thinks it would be a really good idea for Schuyler to go and see Danny again so Danny can get closure. ... HE NEARLY BEAT A MAN TO DEATH BUT HE DESERVES CLOSURE.

 

 

And of COURSE Schuyler is an absolute saint about all of this. Why should he be angry about nearly dying? Or all those years he was bullied as a teen? And all those years he was scared into silence about that night Matty drowned because Danny threatened him?

Thank God we didn't get a scene of him actually going to see Danny again, so there's that.

(spoiler show)

 

So anyway, all that aside this was a decent read. Except that 20% in the middle of the book that had practically three or four sex scenes in a row. I ended up skipping most of that. I did like the one toward the end though, before all the stupid happened.

 

I might be rating this too highly, lol. But I didn't hate all of it, and most of it was decent, and some of it was even nice and sweet. So 2.5 stars it is.

 

P.S. You can't open both eyes wide when one of them is swollen shut.

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review 2018-09-15 17:08
Mardi Gras Murder: Not Your Typical Murder Mystery
Mardi Gras Murder: A Cajun Country Mystery - Ellen Byron

I can’t really give much about this book (without spoiling it, that is) but what I can give you is this set of keywords on what you need to know and expect about the book: murders, traitors, secrets, lies, lineage, Mardi Gras, festivities, celebration, mystery, and issues. (because supposedly everyone has them.)

 

I haven’t read any book by Ellen Byron yet, or any installment from the Cajun Country mysteries series either so I’m really new with their writing and the setting of Cajun Country. Because I’m a clueless human, the book introduced me to new things such as Mardi Gras and the orphan train to name a few. Her writing is also simply amazing.

 

By reading the story, I got a small glimpse of the Pelican culture and some snippets on history. The story may be fictional but part of me felt that. :)))

 

One thing I really really really liked was the flow of the story. The transitioning of each chapter makes me smirk every time. It’s just begging me, inviting me to read the next chapter immediately, and I did.

 

Most chapters ended in a cliffhanger (spoiler!) which, for me, was frustratingly good (if that makes any sense). I started slow but quickly picked up my pace when the cliffhangers began, continuing one chapter to the next. I just had to.

 

Onto the characters… (yayyy!) I absolutely, genuinely adore the characters in Mardi Gras Murder. I felt that most of them had character development. You can see how each character is well-rounded and that each one has a different story to tell. You can’t really point out who is good or bad, innocent or guilty, at fault or not.

 

Here’s one thing I can tell you: We can’t really say who did what because we don’t really know know everyone. We all have our secrets but at some point, they’ll be revealed. Someday, one way or another.

 

It's a chill book that gives chills. So settle in and ready your little tiny heart for some murder action and mystery in a town where it seems fun and light on the outside but secretly hides quite a lot of darkness on the inside.

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