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review 2017-06-28 01:10
"The Great Fruitcake Quest"
The Wedding Ring Quest (Harlequin Historical) - Carla Kelly

... should the more appropriate title. :P

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review 2017-06-27 03:14
After Dark (Harlequin Blaze #446) - Wendy Etherington

It was entertaining anyway. The h, local librarian, sheriff's daughter, and member of the preservation society, invades the H's sphere of existence because he's bought the local mansion. The H, hiding and grieving from his parents' recent murder, reluctantly finds himself being pulled into the open, and falling for her.

 

Adding to the story is the rest of the preservation society, and the murder of a local handyman. Also, the return of the h's ex who wanted to take up where they left off (which would be his breaking up with her and going after some secretary).

 

As said, it was entertaining.

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review 2017-06-26 23:30
Brief Thoughts: The Substitute Sister
The Substitute Sister (Harlequin Intrigue) - Lisa Childs

The Substitute Sister

by Lisa Childs

 

 

Ghostly Whispers

Rocking chairs moving to and fro in the night... and an inherited house straight out of the eeriest of ghost stories.  These were the things Sasha Michaelson found when she arrived on Sunset Island to collect the body of her identical twin... and take charge of her newly discovered niece.

But even more frightening to Sasha than her sister's shadowy presence in the old house, and the killer still running loose on the small island, was the fact that Sheriff Reed Blakeslee stopped her breath and made her heart pound fast.

But was the brooding lawman's determined search for answers caused by a love that hadn't stopped with death...or by a desire - for Sasha - that he couldn't deny?



The Substitute Sister had a pretty intriguing premise that had drawn me in.  And the book started out pretty good.  It had a creepy enough feel, and the additions of a hostile house staff as well as strange noises in the night was a nice touch.  The not quite there paranormal elements were also a lovely add-on, giving the book itself that Gothic feel of being set in a huge mansion on a scenic island.

But the moment that Sasha meets love interest Sheriff Reed Blakeslee, the entire story seemed to automatically slide into "Romance, First and Foremost" territory.  The insta-lust picked up, and despite there having been a murder on the island, and other matters that Sasha now had to attend to, the two of them kept coming back to "growing feelings" that went from insta-lust straight to insta-love.

I feel like I'm repeating myself lately, but I suppose my selection of reading material just hasn't been all that varied.  Although much like some other books I've quite recently read (To the Rescue, The Mysterious Twin), The Substitute Sister is bite-sized and didn't take long to finish.

Don't get me wrong:  The writing style is serviceable and the progression was smooth, actually outlined pretty well on the murder mystery side of things.  Even our main characters had a bit more personality to them than the other romances I mentioned.  And while the main culprit wasn't a surprise, I WILL admit that the book kept me guessing about the entire fiasco--even about whether or not Sasha's twin sister, Nadine, was really dead.

I would probably give this book props for atmosphere, that's for sure.

And as silly as it is to be complaining about how this Romance novel had too much focus on the romance, with an uneven development in our main couple's relationship...  Honestly, that was really the biggest quibble I had about it.  The murder investigation was a bit weakly constructed, but overall effective.

Despite my low rating and my few disappointments, I'm actually interested in continuing to keep Lisa Childs on my radar as an author to check out other books for.


***

 

Booklikes-opoly

Roll #20:
Water on book cover.

Page Count:  240
Cash Award:  +$6.00

Updated Bank Balance:  $109.00

 

 

 

Source: anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2017/06/brief-thoughts-substitute-sister.html
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review 2017-06-16 01:59
Release Day ARC Review: Romancing The Ugly Duckling by Clare London
Romancing the Ugly Duckling (Dreamspun Desires Book 36) - Clare London

On the isolated island of North Uist, which is apparently off the coast of Scotland, there lives a man all by himself in a smallish house after running away from his assholish brothers and his neglectful parents to paint, dive for scallops, and be mostly a recluse, keeping to himself.

His four brothers, one of whom I hated on sight, all somewhat famous for some reason or other, hope to make a deal with a TV company to create a reality show a la Kardashians, but they can only get the deal if the 5th brother appears as well. Greg Ventura, gentle, kind giant, wants nothing to do with them or the TV show.

Poor Perry Goodwood (lulz at that last name), ambitious and fashionable, is sent by his boss to the island to convince Greg to come to London to participate. After a make-over, of course. He flies to Scotland and catches a boat to the island, and is then stranded at the port before being fortuitously delivered to Greg's doorstop, looking like a drowned rat. The team that was supposed to meet him to convince Greg to come to London is nowhere to be found, and Perry's boss is giving him a bunch of excuses.

Great start, amirite? City slicker meets backwoods grump, and opposites attract - excellent trope!

This book is full of cute and sweet and quirky, and as Perry slowly falls in love with the island and Greg, so does Greg fall for Perry. The setting is perfect, and rather well described, so much so that I felt like I was right there on the small island. There be heather and bogs and cold, cold lochs, and beautiful nature all around.

I really liked both Perry and Greg. Perry impressed me because despite his city roots, he really tried hard to fit in on the island, and he seemed so appreciative of everyone who gave a helping hand. He wanted to learn from Greg and experience island life for himself. Greg is a bit rough around the edges, and grumps a lot, but I could tell that this was mostly to protect himself. He was kind and gentle, if somewhat clueless on occasion. The chemistry between the two men was there from the start and truly believable. There are certain parameters for this series as far as on-page sexy times are concerned, and the author delivered within those parameters, but also managed to infuse a lot of emotional bonding outside of the bedroom scenes.

The locals on the island play a huge role in this book as well, and I just loved how the author gave them all unique personalities and characteristics. Dougie, Bridie, and Louisa were perfect in their roles, and I enjoyed especially Bridie's easy banter with Perry, and how she was ultimately... well, you read this for yourself.

The Scottish brogue comes across well in the writing, and I had no trouble reading the dialect.

Quirky. Cute. And utterly adorable. A perfect addition to the Dreamspun Desires series. I had a grand time reading it. The author did a fantastic job with the characters, the setting, and the pacing, giving us a really emotional romance between two men who are complete opposites at first sight, but turn out to both want the same thing after all.

Fabulous!!


** I received a free copy of this book from its publisher. A positive review was not promised in return. **

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review 2017-06-13 09:28
Local Hero by Nora Roberts
Local Hero (Silhouette Special Edition #427) - Nora Roberts

It started with a pizza delivered to the wrong door, but then he fell in love with her son...and her legs, and Mitch Dempsey knew life would never be the same.


What a lovely, heart-warming, a little sad at time, and slightly exasperating, thanks to the heroine, romantic little story this was.

I loved Mitch (the hero) for his steadfastness, comfort with himself and around other people, for his stubbornness when he knew he was doing (and demanding) the right thing, and his love and care for Radley. I loved Radley for his openness, his optimism, and his love for his mom and his new hero. He looked at life as full of possibilities, unlike his mother who looked at life as full of obstacles, especially when it came to her and men in her (and Radley's) life.

I understood her reservations given what she's been through with Radley's father, but as the story progressed and the reader (and her) got to know Mitch, I couldn't help but find her a tad annoying in the way she kept using Radley's no-good father and her poor experience (a long time ago, mind you) with him as a crutch to push the more-than-decent guy away.

Luckily, Mitch was just stubborn enough and he had help in the form of his little Corporal, and the conflict (that shouldn't have been there in the first place) was resolved rather quickly...

Loved it.

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