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review 2019-04-09 20:38
Series Thoughts: Lake & March
Slightly Shady - Amanda Quick
Don't Look Back - Amanda Quick
Late for the Wedding (Lake/March, # 3) - Amanda Quick

Lake & March

by Amanda Quick
Book 1: Slightly Shady | Rating:  3.0 Stars
Book 2: Don't Look Back | Rating: 3.0 Stars
Book 3: Late for the Wedding | Rating: 3.0 Stars

Average Series Rating:  3.0 Stars

 

So I thought I'd be able to slide individual reviews for each of these books out as I read them, but after finishing Slightly Shady, I was under the impression that I had little to say about the book.  Lavinia was the standard Amanda Quick heroine, Tobias was the standard Amanda Quick hero... albeit he DOES tend to get on your nerves with a bit of his neanderthal, broody, overprotective behavior.  And he started off as a jackass altogether.

And upon finishing the rest of the series... well, while very enjoyable with all the usual Amanda Quick charm, there really wasn't anything altogether outstanding about this series.  Although I think this is probably one of the few Amanda Quick series wherein she follows the same main couple throughout, only introducing new characters on the side as the books progressed.  The only other one I recall was a duology, Whispering Springs.

The side characters were really only okay, as far as characterizations stand, though I will admit that I DID really like Priscilla in the last book, whereas she barely stood out in the first two as a very, very background character, friend to Lavinia's niece, Emeline.  I had my issues with Anthony and Emeline, and couldn't quite figure them out, so they made okay supporting characters as part of the Lake & March investigating team.

The mysteries, overall, were rather standard and predictable, especially the in the last book, Late for the Wedding.

But in the end, I was still rather entertained and enjoyed myself, so on a scale, this series gets an average rating from me.  Another enjoyable Amanda Quick series finished!

 

 

 

From the moment he burst into her antiquities shop in Rome, Lavinia Lake knew the stranger was nothing but trouble.  He said he was in pursuit of a killer.  He swore he was only trying to save her.  Yet no matter what he claimed, Lavinia was convinced that Mr. Tobias March was bent instead on destroying her.  And when the self-described spy hustled her and her niece out of the shop and back to England, Lavinia could only hope that one day she would would find a way to repay Mr. March in full.

But Lavinia never imagined the shocking circumstances under which they would meet again ... or that soon he would become more deadly — and more compelling — with each passing day.

In the business of making private inquiries, Tobias March had been hired to trade down a powerful villain who even now was intent on assuming control of a vast criminal organization.  Yet in his search he had found nothing but one dead end — and one dead body — after another.

And then, just as his investigation was heating up once more, he found his mission and his life complicated by the most ungovernable, unpredictable, exasperating woman he had ever met.

Faced with a tangled web of deceit and danger, Tobias had no choice but to form a partnership with Lavinia, a lady whose past could only be described as slightly shady.  Yet when he persuaded her to become his associate, neither Tobias nor Lavinia realized that their heated disputes would spark a sizzling desire — or that the deeper they kept digging for the truth, the deeper they were digging their own graves....

 

 

 

As if a head for business and a nose for trouble aren’t enough to distinguish fiercely independent Lavinia Lake from the other women of London’s fashionable Claremont Lane, there is one more feature to set her apart.  Lavinia is also well versed in the practice of mesmerism, an extraordinary gift that far surpasses mere charm and physical appeal.  Nobody knows this better than the usually cool-headed Tobias March, who seems to have fallen hopelessly under her spell.

Fortunately for all, however, Lavinia uses her powers for good.  And ever since a tragedy involving one of her subjects, she has even retired them in favor of her work with Lake and March, a joint venture providing “discreet private inquiries for individuals of quality.”

Celeste Hudson, the stunningly beautiful young wife of a family friend and fellow mesmerist, would surely count herself among such individuals--were she still alive, that is.  While mythology’s Medusa could turn men to stone, lovely Celeste was more accustomed to turning them to jelly.  In fact, unbeknownst to her husband, Howard, the ambitious Celeste was planning to use her talents to forge a new future in Society--one that would not include him.  Sadly, her plans were cut short when she was murdered.  Only a gentleman’s cravat wound around her lovely neck remained for evidence--small compensation for the strange and priceless bracelet that may have been snatched from her wrist as she drew her last breath.

As a result, Lake and March are soon in Howard Hudson’s employ on the trail of the killer.  But Tobias is convinced the dashing widower is more interested in tracking down the missing relic.  If so, Howard is not alone.  Any number of ruthless types are after the very same antiquity, whose centerpiece is an unusual blue cameo of inestimable value and supposed legendary powers--powers of immeasurable worth to anyone in Howard’s line of work.

Together, Lake and March undertake a tantalizing investigation that leads them from the glittering ballrooms of the ton to London’s seediest taverns to a mesmerist whose therapies include treating ladies suffering from “hysteria” is a a most unconventional method--and, not least of all, to the darkest reaches of men’s psyches.  Along the way, Don’t Look Back becomes a completely mesmerizing read as the irrepressible Lavinia and Tobias mix business with pleasure....

 

 

 

An invitation to a country house party at Beaumont Castle provides a perfect solution to Tobias and Lavinia’s most exasperating challenge: how to escape the chaos of London for a remote, relaxing--and above all romantic--retreat from prying eyes and wagging tongues.  But the lovers’ plans are foiled when their first cozy interlude of the weekend is disrupted by the appearance of a stunning woman from Tobias’s past.  Aspasia Gray’s beauty is as haunting as her connection to Tobias.  Her long-deceased fiancé was a friend of his--in addition to being an eccentric assassin.  The mysterious nature of the bond between Tobias and Aspasia makes Lavinia more than a little uncomfortable.  Especially as her first encounter with Aspasia occurs when she finds her in Tobias’s bedchamber...

It seems Aspasia is seeking protection--and solace--after receiving an ominous message that eerily recalls the past.  Suddenly the obstacles standing between Tobias and Lavinia appear greater than just a little London gossip--and far more deadly.  When events at the castle suggest someone is imitating the dead killer’s methods, the team of Lake and March fervently pursue the investigation--and each other--as their leads take them from Society’s most elegant haunts--and most discreet hideaways--to London’s shadiest backstreets.  As their relationship heats up, so does the intrigue.  Soon Lavinia will have to employ all her talents to flummox the scoundrel who so rudely interrupted her rendezvous.  And then she and Tobias can get back to more pleasurable affairs.

 

 

Source: anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2019/04/series-thoughts-lake-march.html
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review 2019-02-04 03:25
Wonder - R.J. Palacio

Wonder by R.J. Palacio is about a kid with a facial deformity starting school for the first time. The story follows a young boy as he goes through the hills and valleys of being the student that stands out because of his face. I believe that there is a lot of symbolism to be taught to 6th graders with this book. There is so many opportunities for students to connect to the main character of the book. I know that this story will be one that I share with my future students. There are so many life lessons to be learned on every page of the book. 

 

Lexile: 790L

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review 2018-12-23 02:16
Book Review: The Art Of Falling In Love by Eli Summers
The Art Of Falling In Love - Eli Summers

There be spoilers. I'm pretty pissed off at the moment. What a waste of time this was.

CW: Homophobia, racism, cheating, and sexual assault.

I only liked Holden. And even he was an idiot. But I could empathize with this struggles - coming to terms with his feelings for another boy, figuring out that he's bi-sexual (though I'm not sure why he'd think that, since he hasn't even had a girlfriend), and dealing with being bullied at school, on top of living with an asshole father and a doormat mother, unable to live up to his Golden Boy older brother, who was much less an asshole than I expected based on how his character was initially set up. Holden's best friend of 14 years (Tiffany) is abandoning him for a boy, though I'm honestly not even sure why Holden thought of her as his friend in the first place - she was nothing but a bitch to him. 

All the characters in his book are one-dimensional card board cutouts. You have the rich boy jerkface who thinks he can throw his daddy's money in everyone's face, the bitchy-only female, the pedophile principal (ew, ew, ew, what the fuck was that shit, touching Holden inappropriately, talking about blow jobs to make a record go away, and then comparing his dick to Aaron's whose dick he presumably knows NOTHING about), and the cheating daddy fucking Holden's best friend, who's - you guessed it - suddenly pregnant.

None of the characters, including Aaron, the love interest, made any fucking sense with their actions. Not a single one. Not Holden thinking he can just go to the city and enroll in college, and find a job that will pay him enough to cover his cost of living, not Aaron, whose pillow talk was the most ridiculous thing I've ever read in a romance novel, not Jeff, the jerkface, not Tiffany, the bitch, not the principal (what the FUCK was that shit), and not Holden's parents. 

At one point Aaron's father leaves for a conference of some sort in Seattle - which, super convenient, amirite, so Aaron and Holden can have a sleepover and sex it up (virgin ass and all), and we're supposed to believe that a small town mechanic goes to a conference, leaving no one to work on the cars in the shop? 

This book was an utter mess, and I don't just mean the stilted, unrealistic dialogue and ridiculous plot. The editor was MIA, and the proof-reader took a vacation, I guess. Grammar seemed optional. 

Men don't have a g-spot. A virgin like Holden, never having even CONSIDERED gay sex, has likely not heard of the prostrate. And he sure as fuck wouldn't call it a g-spot. 

At one point, Aaron says "Open Says Me". I suppose the author meant OPEN SESAME. How was that not caught? Then a few pages later, Aaron opens the condom and puts it on, with HIS TEETH. On himself. Uhm, sure, whatever floats your boat. I guess you're super bendy. Never mind the holes you just made with your teeth, you moron, which sort of defeats the purpose of putting on a condom in the first place. 

And to top off the editorial proof-reading fuckery, in one instance HOLDEN is called AARON. 

And, and, and... there's no HEA, not even a HFN - the couple has broken up at book's end because Holden is leaving town and Aaron isn't. We get a "To Be Continued" as if that isn't something you should tell your readers up front.

Not recommended. Possibly the worst book I've read this year. JFC. Yeah, I know it's YA, but young adults would like to read good books. And this isn't a good book. 

I'm so sorry, Secret Santa. I was swayed by the blurb and the positive reviews, and I now regret putting this book on my wishlist. I kind of hate that you wasted your money on this, even though I truly appreciate you getting it for me. 

Not recommended.

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review 2018-11-20 13:49
Again
You’re the One I Don’t Want - Carrie Aarons

This is book #2 in The Tenth Girl series.  This book can be read as a standalone novel.  For reader understanding, and too avoid spoilers, I recommend reading this series in order.

 

Annabelle is on the verge of getting everything she has worked so hard for.  The only thing that seems to be stopping her right now is the mad feelings she has for her ex-boyfriend who just moved back to town.  Can she move past it when she sees him everywhere?

 

Boone cannot get past the fact he literally ran into his ex.  She left a scar he is not sure he can get over.  He needs to concentrate on his new job.  Easier said than done.

 

The characters just bring the heat!  The sparks are jumping all around these two.  I absolutely loved the heartfelt emotions that these characters showed.  I loved that they learned to talk and more again.  I really thought this was a good book and a stunning addition to an already amazing series.  I give this a 4/5 Kitty's Paws UP!

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text 2018-10-12 19:40
Treasure trove? Don't quite know yet.

There are about 20 boxes of books in the workshop.  I know some of the boxes contain old westerns and there's at least one with old science fiction/fantasy/horror.  By "old" I mean pre-1990.  I already know where there's one with old mysteries.  The rest are general fiction, some non-fiction.  I haven't touched any of them, except the one box of mysteries, since moving here 12 1/2 years ago.

 

I don't know why I didn't think about the gothics until 2:30 this morning.

 

Most of the boxes are relatively inaccessible.  I'd have to move other things out of the way to get at them.  Only two boxes are out in the open, one on top of the other.  The one on top -- a copier paper box -- is starting to fall apart.  When I lifted the lid, all the joints came open.

 

Inside that first box are between 80 and 100 gothics. 

 

Yep, the first box.

 

The books are dusty, so I'll have to take a couple of rags out there and clean them up.

 

 

 

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