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review 2020-05-25 09:14
The Benefactor (See No Evil Trilogy Book 2) by: Nana Malone
The Benefactor (See No Evil Trilogy Book 2) - Nana Malone

 

 

 

 

The Benefactor by Nana Malone

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Ben and Livy are back and unpredictable as ever. Nothing says page-turner like power, greed and danger. Malone never backs down from a challenge, so why should her characters be any different. Big Ben was only the beginning. The Benefactor is a revelation. From out of the shadows comes perhaps the biggest twist of all. The healing power of love. 

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review 2020-05-18 18:26
The Next Always
The Next Always (Book One of the Inn Boonsboro Trilogy) - Nora Roberts

Well this is my second attempt at reading this book. I tried back in 2017 and just gave up at that point. I think it was all of the information provided about the renovations and decorating. Sorry, I just didn't care. And this was before my whole house needed to be renovated in 2018 and even then I have to say I doubt I would have cared this much still about decorative details. For readers who don't know. the Inn BoonsBoro is a real live place that Roberts owns and operates. And yes the inn does have rooms based on romantic literature pairings. There is an Eve and Roarke room which...I am sorry, still makes me laugh. The book itself was solid though when you ignored the decorating and renovation stuff. I liked the characters of Beckett and Clare. I thought that Roberts did a great job with a widow moving on so this had shades of 'second chance' romance since Beckett and Clare knew each other as kids, but not quite since they only became involved in this book. That said, this book borrows a lot from previous Roberts trilogies. I wonder at all of her single mom characters having three kids (see "In the Garden" and even "The Chesapeake Bay series" that had three boys initially which expanded to four boys.)

 

"The Next Always" follows Beckett Montgomery (shout-out to Jude Deveraux's Montgomery series) and Clare Brewster. Clare returned to BoonsBoro after the death of her husband. She owns a bookstore and is raising her three young sons with help from her parents and her in-laws. She thinks about romance, but no one has touched her the way her dead husband Clint did. That is until Beckett Montgomery. Clare has known Beckett for years. She now wonders about him and feels heat when he is near. As for Beckett, he had feelings for Clare way back in high school but never stood a chance with her when she fell in love with her husband. Now he has a chance with her and wants to make it work. Throw in Clare's three sons, a ghost, and a stalker, and you have "The Next Always."

 

I really did like Clare, I loved how open she was with still loving her husband Clint, but realizing she was developing feelings for Beckett. I hate romances which either make the dead spouse a louse and or just make it that the woman or man in question was not as big a love as the new one (looking at you Cedar Cove and Virgin River series). I think that is why most romance readers stay away from widow/widower romances, because you have to wonder at the person finding love again when the first time sucked so bad. Clare's three sons were adorable and cracked me up.

 

Beckett was great and we get some insight into him and his brothers, Ryder and Owen. Have to say that I loathed Ryder in this one. Him refusing to call a woman by her first damn name and just her job description ticked me off. I also liked Beckett realizing he was dating a single mother and she came in a package. He also didn't get his back up about Clare's first marriage.

 

The secondary characters such as Owen, Hope, and Avery were great. As said above, I hated Ryder. Can Roberts not always include some random asshole that no one calls out for his assholiness? I noticed in her later book she has pretty much done away with the alpha male trope (thank God). I am remembering how much I loved "Currents" for this very reason. We get a male who can actually discuss his feelings and not be a jerk to the woman he supposedly loves.

 

The mom in this one was pretty absent besides popping in and demanding her sons change things. She needed way more development.

 

The writing was pretty good, think the whole stalking angle was a wash though since it didn't really fit in the book, I imagine Roberts did this to add in some tension.

The setting of BoonsBoro sounds pretty cool. I have driven past this area before (I live in VA and my family is back in PA) so I have to admit I am tempted to go by it to just see if it matches what is in my head. Onto the next book in the series when it is available via the library!

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text 2020-05-15 21:04
#FridayReads--May 15, 2020
Her Perfect Life - Rebecca Taylor
The Inn Boonsboro Trilogy: The Next Always / The Last Boyfriend / The Perfect Hope - Nora Roberts

My Friday reads are the following two books:

 

 

 
Her Perfect Life by Rebecca Taylor
 
Her Perfect Life
 
The Next Always (Inn BoonsBoro Trilogy #1) by Nora Roberts
 
 
The Next Always (Inn BoonsBoro Trilogy, #1)
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review 2020-04-26 17:00
The Steampunk Trilogy
The Steampunk Trilogy - Paul Di Filippo

by Paul Di Filippo

 

 

This book is comprised of three stories reportedly in the popular Steampunk genre, all written by Paul Di Filippo.

They are decidedly mock-Victorian alternative history, lack any of the attendant steam technology which is the defining factor of Steampunk.

 

I found the first story, Victoria, immediately atmospheric, though some descriptions seemed overly complicated and a few sentences near the beginning were overly long. I soon got involved in the story and established that it is about Queen Victoria and an entity called a 'Hellbender' that might explain some of the conspiracy theorists' speculations that the Royal Family are actually lizard people.

The book displayed a more extensive vocabulary than many modern books exhibit and a rather fantastical plot wherein the Alchemically transformed newt-creature (ala Dr Moreau) impersonates the queen.

There are cameo appearances by such entities as Dickens, Tennyson, Lord Byron and John Ruskin as well as a Parody American character called Nails McGroaty, though the story is mostly from the point of view of Mr. Cosmo Cowperthwait, a tongue-in-cheek version of a Victorian English gentleman who experiments with a method of Uranium based transportation, with predictably disastrous results.

 

The story is rather whimsical, yet most of the research rings true, keeping in mind that liberties have to be taken in Alternative Histories. There is only a time or two when an American term sneaks in to give away the author's nationality. The prolific use of guns also reflects a particularly American attitude.

 

There was a surprising twist near the end of this story and it did hold interest, if not believability. It was actually rather fun.

I didn't quite know what to make of the second story, Hottentots. It is about a rather extremely racist scientist who compares mixed-race breeding with cross-species taxidermy and finds himself dealing with a back woman who has been a side show for nothing more than looking different from the average Caucasian. He refers to "Negroes" and I wasn't sure if the author might be racist or whether he was incredibly brave in creating such an offensive character.

 

He is accompanied by this woman and her husband, an associate of his that has a dodgy mock-Germanic accent as they go on a voyage to find a Fetiche which is supposed to relate to some form of black magic. As Rosicrucians and Satanists were mentioned in the same sentence, followed by a reference to 'Hand of Glory' (from Santeria) and then "Hermetic herbs", bringing Alchemy into the equation, I have to conclude that research about magic for the story was non-existant.

There were cameo appearances by Herman Melville and Darwin, but none of the characters were likable, except perhaps the black woman who seemed to have an amused attitude about it all.

 

The third story, Emily and Walt, involved a relationship between the two poets, Emily Dickenson and Walt Whitman. I'm not overly knowledgeable about the lives of poets, so I don't know if such a liaison could or might have ever taken place. This one also involved not one but two abortions from the hapless Emily Dickenson and a spiritualist quest to seek communication with her unborn children. It was all a bit surreal.

The writing itself is very good, but I found the second and third stories a little disjointed, too obsessed with genitalia, and generally less interesting than the first story, which I quite enjoyed despite the fact that there was not an airship in sight or any form of alternative steam technology that would have justified labeling the book as Steampunk.

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review 2020-04-19 15:27
Savage Love (Savage Trilogy, #3) by: Lisa Renee Jones
Savage Love (Savage Trilogy, #3) - Lisa Renee Jones

 

 

 

Jones continues to change the way I view romance. The Savage Trilogy refuses to tiptoe around the tragedy of romance. Candace and Rick are a firestorm of emotion. From steamy to heartbreaking to downright dangerous, Jones makes sure that you feel ever word that she writes like a dagger to the heart. Savage Hunger fascinates, Savage Burn captivates and Savage Love is the catalyst of a challenging, unpredictable and unforgettable series.

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