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text 2018-09-20 06:32
Mistress Spy by Pamela Mingle
Mistress Spy - Pamela Mingle

DNF @ 12%

The synopsis made me think of Nikita in the Elizabethan era.

Intriguing, right?

Wrong.

The first chapter was a battle scene, but you couldn't tell. It was all about the heroine, her rage, her need for vengeance and her utter hopelessness as a "soldier". Instead of putting the reader in the thick of things, where you can feel the cold nipping at your skin, where you can smell the blood and sweat of your fellow soldiers, the author spent the best part of the battle inside the heroine's head. And let me tell you, it was a very boring place.

The boredom proceeded with the next few chapters where absolutely nothing happened (no torture, no boiling oil, nothing), but for the heroine to notice just how attractive and gentle her captor was. Foreshadowing much?

So I went and read the last few chapters, to see if it was worth it...It wasn't. The last few chapters were as boring as the first few. The characters were rather bland, the pacing was plodding, and as original as the synopsis sounded, the story was nothing but.

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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 2018-09-18 10:21
Wie viel Sympathie ist erlaubt?
Der goldene Handschuh - Heinz Strunk

„Der goldene Handschuh“ ist ein Tatsachenroman des Autors Heinz Strunk, der den Serienmörder Fritz Honka in den Mittelpunkt stellt. Honka war in den 1970er Jahren in Hamburg aktiv und ermordete mindestens vier Frauen, deren Leichen durch Zufall entdeckt wurden. Seine Opfer waren gescheiterte Existenzen ohne soziales Netz, weshalb niemand sie als vermisst meldete. Honka gabelte sie in den übelsten Kneipen im Bezirk St. Pauli auf, darunter auch das Lokal „Zum goldenen Handschuh“. Er wurde im Juli 1975 verhaftet und im Dezember 1976 zu einer Freiheitsstrafe von 15 Jahren verurteilt. Das Gericht ordnete eine Unterbringung in einer psychiatrischen Klinik aufgrund verminderter Schuldfähigkeit an. Er starb 1998. Zu Recherchezwecken erhielt Strunk Einsicht in Honkas Prozessakten, die bis dahin verschlossen im Hamburger Staatsarchiv lagerten. Der daraus entstandene Roman ist eine von Kritikern gelobte Milieustudie, die mir von einem Kollegen empfohlen und ausgeborgt wurde.

 

Fritz Honka ist ein Frauenmörder. Innerlich verkommen und äußerlich entstellt, findet er seine Opfer am untersten Bodensatz der Gesellschaft. Er ist ein Verlierer, der von einem besseren Leben träumt und seinen verstörenden Fantasien nicht entkommen kann. Er weiß, er ist ein Säufer, ein bedauernswerter Tropf, eine Niete. Doch Frauen lassen sich selbst für einen wie ihn auftreiben. Die Verlorenen. Die Verzweifelten. Diejenigen, die längst nicht mehr auf bessere Tage hoffen. In der Hamburger Kneipe „Zum goldenen Handschuh“ geht Honka auf die Jagd. Dort kreuzen sich die Wege aller sozialen Klassen. Arm und Reich trinken Schulter an Schulter, Jung und Alt begegnen sich in den ranzigen Schatten der schäbigen Kaschemme. Im „Handschuh“ ist das Elend zu Hause. Und es ist kein Privileg der Unterschicht.

 

„Der goldene Handschuh“ ist ein literarisches Experiment, dessen zweifelhafter Reiz meiner Meinung nach in der starken, unerwarteten Bindung an den tragischen, grenzwertigen Protagonisten liegt. Heinz Strunk porträtiert Fritz Honka, genannt Fiete, als ganz und gar abstoßenden Mann mit widerlichen Neigungen und Fantasien, der von Beginn an zu Grausamkeiten gegenüber Frauen tendiert. Er ist Alkoholiker und ein Sozialversager, wie er im Buche steht. Sein Umfeld ist ebenso degeneriert wie er selbst, seine Stammkneipe „Zum goldenen Handschuh“ ein Moloch menschlichen Elends und Scheiterns. Der Vorhof zur Hölle. Dort ist mal jemand auf einem Barhocker gestorben und niemand hat es gemerkt. So weit, so scheußlich. Ihr könnt euch nicht vorstellen, wie entsetzt ich war, als ich beobachtete, dass Fritz Honka an meinem Herzen zupfte. Ich hatte Mitleid mit ihm! Heinz Strunk nötigte mir Mitgefühl für einen brutalen, ekelhaften Frauenmörder auf! Ich musste feststellen, dass mich die Charakterisierung seines Protagonisten als jämmerliches Würstchen keineswegs kaltließ. Schriftstellerisch ist das ein beeindruckender Geniestreich. Ich drückte Honka während seines Versuchs, vom Alkohol loszukommen, die Daumen und als das nicht funktionierte, erwischte ich mich dabei, auf irgendein Erfolgserlebnis für ihn zu hoffen, sei es nun eine heiße Nacht mit der Putzfrau seiner Arbeitsstelle oder die Verwirklichung seiner abartigen Fantasie von zwei Frauen. Ich wünschte ihm Glück, ich wünschte ihm Befriedigung, obwohl er es nicht verdiente. Ich erforschte meine Emotionen und fand eine erschreckende Bereitschaft, mich auf Honka einzulassen. „Der goldene Handschuh“ ist ein provokantes Buch, weil Heinz Strunk darin die Beziehung zwischen Leser_in und Protagonist ungeniert in Frage stellt. Wie weit darf Sympathie gehen? Für mich ergab die Lektüre, dass meine persönliche Schmerzgrenze sehr hoch angesetzt ist. Ich habe durch diesen Roman etwas über mich selbst gelernt: meine Fähigkeit, Mitleid zu empfinden, wird durch drastische, schockierende Schilderungen nicht beeinträchtigt. Die Hauptfigur kann abscheulich wie Fritz Honka sein, drückt der Autor oder die Autorin geschickt meine Knöpfe, kann ich trotzdem mit ihr fühlen. Heinz Strunk gelang dieses Kunststück, weil er sich auf jeder Seite des Romans um Authentizität bemüht. Ich fühlte mich nicht manipuliert, ich sah der ehrlichen Realität der Hamburger Kneipenszene der 70er Jahre ins Auge, die Strunk durch einen direkten, unzensierten Schreibstil illustriert. Der „Handschuh“ ist ein Schmelztiegel, ein Knotenpunkt, den man vielleicht als deprimierendes Wartezimmer für Suchende beschreiben kann. Was die einzelnen Akteure in der Kaschemme suchen, ist natürlich sehr unterschiedlich: Ablenkung, Zuflucht, ein Bett für die Nacht, ein wenig Gesellschaft. Daher überraschte es mich nicht, dass fast alle auftretenden Figuren, auch diejenigen, die standesgemäß weit über so einer Kneipe rangieren, irgendwann dort aufschlagen. Am Rande der Gesellschaft ist eben immer Platz. Um es mit Tolstoi zu sagen: „Alle glücklichen Familien gleichen einander, jede unglückliche Familie ist auf ihre eigene Weise unglücklich“.

 

„Der goldene Handschuh“ ist ohne Zweifel ein interessantes Buch, weil es Leser_innen herausfordert und sie vor die Frage stellt, wie viel Zuneigung sie sich für einen verabscheuungswürdigen Protagonisten erlauben. Es ist eine ungeschminkte Milieustudie, die den Mikrokosmos der Hamburger Kneipen im Dunstkreis der Reeperbahn in all seiner Hässlichkeit abbildet. Nicht schön anzuschauen, aber ehrlich und echt. Intellektuell schätze ich sehr, was Heinz Strunk mit diesem Roman zu demonstrieren versucht, ich kann jedoch nicht behaupten, dass mir die Lektüre Freude bereitet hätte. Obwohl sich beim Lesen eine gewisse Faszination des Grauens einstellte, empfand ich das Buch insgesamt als zu trostlos. Daher empfehle ich „Der goldene Handschuh“ an experimentierfreudige Leser_innen, die sich gern selbst beobachten und nicht allzu zart besaitet sind. Betrachtet es als mentale Übung, um eure eigenen Grenzen auszuloten.

Source: wortmagieblog.wordpress.com/2018/09/18/heinz-strunk-der-goldene-handschuh
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review 2018-09-17 21:58
Book Review of Hell & Gone: Volume 3 (The Heckmasters) by Allison Merritt
Hell & Gone - Allison Merritt

Tell Heckmaster has always known the day would come when his demon blood overruled his human emotions. Years of searching for a miracle to overcome the name curse placed on him as a child have been fruitless. Now, after Berner has finally found peace, his worst fears are coming to light—he begins to manifest strange new powers and his finely honed control is slipping. Sylvie Duke has enjoyed the hard-won peace her sister and friends fought for. She has almost everything her heart wants—a successful seamstress shop, a loving family, a devoted suitor, and all the flouncy material she can stand. The one thing she doesn't have is Tell. With his powers growing out of control, his attempts to push her away only make her fight harder to stand beside him. The curious thing is, the closer Sylvie is, the less demon-like Tell becomes. A cryptic warning from an old ally will help her protect their loved ones, but if Tell loses all control, even Sylvie's love might not be enough to save them.

 

Review 5*

 

This story is the third and last book in The Heckmasters series. I loved it!

 

First off, I absolutely love the new cover! It fits the story wonderfully, although the original cover did too. Initially published as Tell, the author received her rights back from the publisher when it closed, and she had a new cover made and re-published it herself with a new title: Hell & Gone. I have noticed this series is no longer available in Kindle format, so not sure if this book is going through another round of edits to be re-published in the near future through another publisher.

 

Tell Heckmaster is a wonderful character. I liked this taciturn man when I first met him in the first book, Hell & A Hard Place. Tell is one of three half-demon brothers who police the portal to Hell in the small town of Berner. Unfortunately, his real name was cursed long ago, and if anyone said it, all Hell would break loose. Literally. Fearing his demon-side, he finds that the only thing that holds it at bay is Sylvie Duke, who also happens to be his sister-in-law.

 

Sylvie Duke is another wonderful character. She is just as stubborn and determined as she was when I first met her. No longer a pre-teen, she has always had her sights on Tell, though the idiotic male seems oblivious to the signs. While Tell struggles with his darker nature, Sylvie finds herself drawn even closer to him.

 

This series is a fantastic supernatural/paranormal romance! The book, set in the late 1800s/early 1900s, quickly swept me up and carried me away. The story is shown through the eyes of both Tell and Sylvie; this made it very interesting. There is excitement, danger, mystery and suspense mixed in with the hot romance.

 

The story continues several years after the events that saw the end to the portal. The town of Berner has now grown, populated with humans as well as the demons' that originally lived there. I loved meeting all of the characters again: Wystan and Rhia, Eban and Beryl, amongst others. The siblings' father, Seneca, and an imp called Dochi are included as introduced characters and add to the cast. Seneca is now the ruler of the Gray Lands, a world created by the god El, and Dochi is one of his subjects.

 

The story is full of twists and turns. The mystery of how Tell's real name became cursed becomes revealed, and what it is. I could tell you what it is, but then it would ruin the surprise, so will not do it - I try not to add spoilers to my reviews. There are also several emotional moments which drew tears to my eyes. Dochi, however, had me grinning. His eagerness in serving the youngest Heckmaster reminded me a little of Dobby from Harry Potter, though he does not look like him. He is extremely loyal to the Heckmasters, and his obsequiousness annoys Tell significantly; this gave the story a little light relief from the danger that threatens. The end of the book left me with mixed feelings. I love how the story took me on a fantastic adventure, but it also made me feel sad that this series has now come to an end. I will miss these three couples, as they have become my friends.

 

Allison Merritt has written an exciting paranormal/supernatural romance. Her characters come alive on the page, and her descriptions of the scenes made me see them in my mind's eye with ease. I love her writing style, which is fast paced and exciting. I also love the flow of the story; the scenes flowed seamlessly from one to another. This author has found another fan! I would love to read more of her books in the future.

 

Due to scenes of an explicit nature, I do not recommend this book to younger readers under the age of 16. However, I highly recommend this book if you love erotic wild west type supernatural romances filled with sexy half-demons, or paranormal romances with strong, likeable characters. - Lynn Worton

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