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review 2018-04-24 18:04
The Iron Rose by Marsha Canham
The Iron Rose (Pirate Wolf series Book 2) - Marsha Canham

Juliet Dante, daughter of the notorious Simon Dante, comes to the rescue of an English envoy ship about to be blown to smithereens by the Spanish. On board is the twelfth duke of Harrow, Varian St. Clare, who saves Juliet's life and then gets knocked unconscious by a blast...Only to wake up on board of Juliet's ship, the Iron Rose and bound for the secret island where the pirate wolf reigns...


I liked this one. The story flew nicely, the tempo was spot-on, increasing with each and every chapter, the action sequences were gripping, the sea battles intense (especially the heart-wrenching last one), and it was nice seeing old friends again and learning of their life beyond their story.

The only major problem this book had were the two leads. There was a glaring imbalance of power between the two from the beginning. He was injured and then spent chapter upon chapter coming across as a weak, spoiled English aristocrat, while she, unlike her mother, spent the majority of the book in full bitch mode.
I like my heroines strong and spunky, yet Juliet's bravado and obstinacy truly grated on my nerves. There's a difference between a strong, self-assured and resilient woman and a pig-headed, obstinate, unbending bitch.
I didn't like her, and I especially didn't like the imbalance of power between the two in their "romance", as the hero was forced to do all the work, while she kicked and spat almost the entire way.
I wished there was an apology scene or some grovelling thrown into the mix in the end.

Granted, I didn't care much about the two protagonists or the romance aspect of the story, but the rest more than made up for it. I'm also looking forward to Juliet's brother's stories.

P.S. Something else pricked me in this story—the glaring continuity error of Lucifer, the hulking black, scimitar and loincloth loving behemoth Simon Dante rescued all those years ago. In Across a Moonlit Sea Lucifer communicated through sign language and grunts, since, according to Simon, the Spanish had cut out his tongue. In this book, the man spoke without problems. Which one is it? Was the tongue thing a lie? Or is the speaking part in this book a mistake?

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review 2018-04-18 19:26
The School for Psychics
The School for Psychics - K. C. Archer

[I received a copy of this book through Netgalley.]

An enjoyable fast-read when it came to the ‘psychic powers’ theme. I really liked the premise: a young woman who’s been making questionable decisions, and gets a second chance in a school for people with psychic abilities, where they’re trained to protect and server… but a few people on the inside have different agendas, and it’s a constant game of trying to figure out what’s at stake, and if it’s going to be a bunch of revelations, or something much more lethal. The powers the students have are varied, ranging from precognition to telepathy and even pyrokinesis, and I liked how the novel tried to bring a scientific approach to it: after all, they’re training people who’re going to end up working for the FBI or NSA.

The first scene also engaged me from the beginning, what’s with Teddy being banned from Las Vegas casinos, but still sneaking into one, disguised as a different woman, to hopefully win the money she owes a Russian crime boss, because otherwise her own parents will be targeted. Well, OK, nevermind that she should never have let things go that far, all the more if she’s so good at reading people at the poker table, but ‘questionable decisions’ being a key here, alright, I can go with that.

On the other hand, I never really got a good feeling for Teddy, or for the other characters. Some of them had a sort of ‘larger than life’ vibe, with their quirks (the animal medium who likes doing yoga naked, the ex-cop who’s a charmer and can literally set things on fire, the hacker who’s also an empath…); but they remained fairly one-dimensional. Teddy barely thought of her family except in the beginning, we know nothing of the others except for a couple of things like ‘his family’s rich and he has a boat’, and so when the story took a more action/heist-oriented turn, it was hard to root for them.

The other thing I didn’t like—and which contributed to my not enjoying the sotry as much as I hoped—was the globally juvenile aspects. These people are 20-something (Teddy’s 24, and Pyro must be at least 25 considering he served in the police for some time, and I doubt you just start there at 15 or so), but the whole Whitfield academy had a strong high school feeling, and I constantly thought I was reading a YA novel when in fact it was marketed as geared towards adult, with adult characters. I don’t mind YA in general, even though I have my gripes about a lot of books; I don’t think that ‘because it’s YA, it’s necessarily stupid and uninteresting.’ This said, the aforementioned gripes involve a certain number of tropes that I find cringe-worthy, such as the mandatory romance and love triangle, the professor who immediately favours certain students and begrudges the heroine and her friends, or the whole ‘school stars vs. misfits’ aspect. And those tropes were clearly present here, to the point of making me forget that those characters were, uh, two years from going to work for the FBI? Suspension of disbelief was then shattered every time forensics or the shooting range was mentioned; it’s like the story couldn’t make up his mind about whether it was meant to be about teenagers or about adult people.

Not sure if I’ll be interested in the sequel.

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review 2018-04-18 13:43
Legacy of the Diamond by Andrea Kane
Legacy of the Diamond - Andrea Kane

The black diamond, a gem of unfathomable wealth and beauty, has plagued the Huntley family for generations. It prompted the feud with the Bencrofts, it supposedly brought a curse upon the Huntleys...and now resulted in Aurora Huntley being kidnapped and held for ransom.

Slayde Huntley is more than happy to give up the diamond if it means saving his sister's life...Only it's not his sister that he saves, but Courtney Johnston, a sea captain's daughter whose ship had been attacked by pirates and whose father had been forced overboard. Aurora, on the other hand, had merely been in London for a short trip with a longtime family friend...



This book was a huge disappointment.

From the characters (the heroine and the hero's sister acted like children instead of young women and the hero was a curse-believing idiot for the better part of the story) to the suspense which could've worked if the story wasn't overburdened with the drama and angst of the characters. As it was, the big reveal of who the villain was, came as a huge surprise (the only plus of the book), while the motive ended up sounding rather idiotic, and the whole thing was resolved too quickly (a matter of pages).

It wasn't badly written, but was unfortunately weighted down by the characters and poorly developed suspense plot.

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review 2018-04-15 11:34
Echoes in the Mist by Andrea Kane
Echoes in the Mist - Andrea Kane

Six years ago, supposedly for causing a woman to commit suicide, Trenton Kingsley, Duke of Broddington, has moved to his estate in the Isle of Wight, into self-imposed exile. Now, he's back, determined to forever ruin the man he deemed responsible for the ruination of his life, Baxter Caldwell, the brother of the dead woman. Trenton is willing to do anything to accomplish his revenge, even using Caldwell's younger sister, Ariana, as a pawn.

Ariana Caldwell has grown up on stories about Trenton Kingsley's ugly character, but even though she's supposed to fear him, she doesn't. There's something in him that draws her in, convincing her all he needs redemption for whatever happened six years ago, and she's willing to provide it.

But someone doesn't want Trenton to be happy and that someone is determined to accomplish what the incident in the past has obviously failed to do. Utterly ruin Trenton Kingsley, no matter what.


Oh, wow.

It might sound presumptuous, but hey, it's my review. This story was a psychological drama disguised as a romance. And it worked. All of it.

The characters were engaging and realistic, deeply-layered and nicely drawn and developed. The story progressed at a perfect pace for the relationship and romance to grow slowly and organically; as Trent and Ariana slowly grew to know each other so did the reader and it is from that knowledge (mostly through observation, since words can sometimes be deceiving) that the romance, no, love, blossomed.

What worked most was the ambiguity. Ariana was the guide in the story, and the reader knew as much as Ariana did. The reader shared her apprehension, her doubts, her reasoning, and her thinking process. Who is Trenton Kingsley? What drives him? Did he really have a hand in her sister's death? What is the truth? What is a lie? What is an illusion? Who to trust?
The truth is hidden for most of the story, so the apprehension, the doubts as to the hero's true nature and/or intentions are real. The wondering, whether he's capable of what he's accused of, is incessant, even though instinct dictates there's more to it that meets the eye.
And in the end, it takes both observation, instinct and truth from his lips (as trust is finally established) to put the fears and doubts to rest, and for a man to finally find redemption and love.

But of course, that's not the end of the story. There's also an evil villain, their unwitting accomplice, and a nefarious plot to ruin Trenton (and Ariana in the process) out of pure spite, might I add.
The psychological torture was exquisitely done, finding both intended targets with chilling precision.

Intense, intriguing, chilling and alluring, this story is definitely a keeper.

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review 2018-04-13 16:23
Adam by Jacquelyn Frank
Adam - Jacquelyn Frank

On Samhain in 2008, Jacob and Bella are killed in front of their daughter's eyes and nothing will never be the same again. Families, friendships and alliances are broken, while the crazy Demon bitch Ruth and her Vampire mate Nicodemous continue wreaking havoc...Until they accost Jacob and Bella's daughter, ten years after her parents' deaths.

But instead of letting the pair kill her and drench themselves in her power over the element of Time, Leah does what she's been planning for quite a long time...Travel back in time to fetch her father's older brother, Adam.


When I read this series in 2009, there was no Adam book on the horizon, so I mistakenly thought Noah was the last book, and I was rather perplexed at how the main story arc about the crazy Demon Ruth was never resolved.

It is resolved in this one, though the story left much to be desired.

First of all, the resolution and the final battle came across as rather easy, almost as an afterthought, which left a rather bitter aftertaste after all the trials and tribulations the heroes and heroines of the series have been through so far.
There was no imminent threat of danger, no edge-of-your-seat, bite-your-nails gripping intensity and suspense. It was pretty much a given from the start and it left me rather disappointed.

The second problem was the rather hole-y plot thanks to all the obvious tweaking of timelines. And somehow it didn't really make sense. If Adam disappeared in all the timelines, then why did Jacob and Bella die in the first place only for Leah to go back in time and fetch him, creating a different timeline?
And who was the mysterious Demon female helping our many good guys and gals?
In the end, there were many loose ends left dangling and many questions left unanswered. But I'm quite behind in my reading, maybe I'll get my answers in Ms. Frank's other works.

And the third problem was the two protagonists. I never really warmed up to Jasmine (I still hate her guts, to be honest). She was a bitchy and selfish creature lashing out at almost everyone (except Damien) due to her own insecurities and no one really took her up to task. Even at the end of her story, there were many apologies and quite a bit of groveling that was needed on her part, yet they never came.
I don't have much to say about her counterpart, her mate/Imprinted/Bonded or whatever you want to call him. Adam simply failed to make an impression. After many great heroes that came before him, Adam was rather bland and without much personality, if you ask me.
But that's probably due to the fact the story (rather short for the "final showdown") was overcrowded with new and old characters, tweaking of time, and final-minute information.
The result was a barely lukewarm and very rushed romance that quickly stepped over the line into unrealistic and unbelievable.

Still, it was good seeing old friends, learning that quite a few dreams would be realized once Ruth was vanquished...And I'm looking forward to seeing them in future books and series in the Nighwalker realm.

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