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text 2018-01-19 17:38
Friday Reads - January 19, 2018
Hamilton's Battalion: A Trio of Romances - Alyssa Cole,Rose Lerner,Courtney Milan
The Lotus Palace - Jeannie Lin
The Jade Temptress - Jeannie Lin
Gambled Away: A Historical Romance Anthology - Rose Lerner,Molly O'Keefe,Joanna Bourne,Jeannie Lin,Isabel Cooper

*bookish meme created by Nothing But A Good Book

 

As I said in my previous post, this has been a week. As such, I am finding only pockets of time to read. So I am still reading Hamilton's Battalion, but I just started the last story and hope to finish it sometime tomorrow.

 

Then it is off to start the Pingkang Li mystery series by Jeannie Lin, starting with The Lotus Palace and The Jade Temptress. I already read the prequel novella, Capturing the Silken Thief, a long time ago and the last novella is in the anthology Gambled Away, so that will hopefully take me into next weekend's 24 in 48 Read-a-thon.

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text 2017-12-25 16:00
Even More Festive Tasks and Books
Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race - Margot Lee Shetterly
I Know I Am, But What Are You? - Samantha Bee
Dime Store Magic - Kelley Armstrong
[(Butterfly Swords)] [By (author) Jeannie Lin] published on (October, 2010) - Jeannie Lin
A Rose for Major Flint (Brides of Waterloo) - Louise Allen
Echoes in Death - J.D. Robb
Emma And The Outlaw - Linda Lael Miller

Square 15 - Newtonmas

Book: Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race by Margot Lee Shetterly (5 stars - HIGHLY RECOMMEND)

 

Task: I am appreciating the alchemy that Arizona Diet Green Tea, apple liqueur from a local vineyard, and Jack Daniels' Honey whiskey has on my spirit while I peruse my dashboard while the holiday dinner is prepped and cooking. No reason for the diet version of the tea other than I like it a little more than the original formula. Next glass I am going to substitute mead for the whiskey.

 

 

Square 12 - Festivus

Book: I Know What I Am, But What Are You? by Samatha Bee (3 stars)

Task: Perform the Airing of Grievances

 

The books chosen for this task all have something in common - hype for the series or author that elevated my expectations, and that in reading these books my expectations were not only met, but plummeted to their death in the most gruesome way. And yet I read these books all the way to the end in desperate hope that they would end better than the 90% of the story. I was wrong to hope.

 

1. Dime Store Magic by Kelly Armstrong

     Weak-ass witches, dumbass villains, and a plot centered on a 13 year old girl's first menses. I should have taken the DNF and just not read for that Halloween bingo square. I don't understand how this author is so popular in the paranormal romance sub-genre - the writing was as weak as the witches.

 

2. Butterfly Swords by Jeannie Lin

     Aka A Walking Tour of Tang Dynasty China. Horrible first book except that readers get a small taste of the MCs in the second book (which was great! seriously, skip the first book and just start with the second). The only thing the dumbass heroine knew how to do well was runaway. So. Much. Walking.

 

3. A Rose for Major Flint by Louise Allen

    The first two books, written by other authors, were wonderful so I got my hopes up that the final book in the trilogy would send the series out on a high note. It failed miserably. This was basically a Harlequin Presents dressed up in early 19th century clothing. I was very much looking forward to Major Flint's story, but by the end I wished I didn't bother starting the book. I was so bored for most of this book that I would put it down to do household chores. A shallow, self-absorbed, manipulative brat of a heroine that is a dime a dozen in Regency romance. But it's too late as she and Adam have intimate relations and now Adam feels he has to marry the twit. Adam should have left her on the battlefield, honestly. 

 

4. Echoes in Death by JD Robb

    It's at this point in the series (book #44) that I am ready for the series to be done. Just give Eve her captain bars and let her ride the desk until retirement. The ghost writing is so strong in this novel and nobody wants three books worth of damn house renovations. The side characters were out of character (*side-eyes Peabody*). I am also tired of the crimes in the series - seems like the plot lines are ripped from Law & Order: SVU, just raping and brutalizing women and children. Of course the killer is a serial rapist and murder with Mommy issues (well, technically, Auntie issues). 

 

5. Emma and the Outlaw by Linda Lael Miller

    Old skool romance that is just too crazy to make it a "so bad it's good". Originally published in 1991, I read a 2014 reprint that wasn't updated at all. Once the sex starts between Steven and Emma it doesn't stop. EVERY CHAPTER after Steven takes Emma's v-card in a field of daisies has at least one sex scene. Steven really likes Emma's breasts;  so much nipple sucking and licking. Seriously after a while, the sex scenes were just repetitive nonsense. And there is endless threats of rape and one attempted rape of the heroine. But it is the not so subtle racism in this book that made me want to throw my NOOK at the wall. Memo to publishers/authors: before reprinting old romances, revise/update/edit the fuck out some shit that you got away with earlier, for modern readers are going to red flag that shit. Between the racism and the constant verbal rape threats/real sexual assaults by Macon and Fulton on Emma, I started to become sick and couldn't wait for the book to end (I was curious about the killer's identity).

 

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review 2017-12-19 18:29
Christmas in New York series
This Christmas - Jeannie Moon
Christmas Light (Christmas in New York Book 3) - Jolyse Barnett
All I Want for Christmas - Jennifer Gracen
Goodness and Light - Patty Blount

This Christmas by Jeannie Moon ***

 

***copy provided by publisher through NetGalley***

Ten years ago Jake broke Sabrina's heart by marrying a woman who carried his child, never knowing Sabrina was also pregnant.
It turned out, his wife's child wasn't his and they divorced, but Jake never returned...And Sabrina never told him about his daughter.

But now he's back, he's connected the dots and he wants to make amends. Will Sabrina let him?



This was a sweet little second-chances seasonal romance with a drool-worthy sweetheart of a hero, a cute little fruit of his loins that was definitely smarter than her mother, and set in a picturesque, idyllic little village.

It would've been much, much better if the heroine at the beginning wasn't a selfish and whiny bitch, and her family and friends had possessed a little more sense than just going along with whatever her reasoning for not telling a guy he was a father and then blaming the guy for not being there for the child he never knew he had.

And when she finally got over her selfishness, she was still a whiny scaredy-cat not trusting him because he abandoned her all those years ago (he thought he was doing the right thing) and not allowing him into her heart until her friends and family talked some sense into her.

It was cute and sweet, but it would've worked better with a different heroine. But then, a different heroine would've probably told the guy everything and we'd have no story.

 

 

Christmas Light by Jolyse Barnett *

 

***copy provided by publisher through NetGalley***

Jade Engel is back in her hometown, just for a month, and hooks up with her childhood friend whose pre-teen heart, she'd so callously broken twenty years ago...But soon the friends-with-benefits agreement starts chafing.


Is a bitchy heroine a new norm in the contemporary romance category? Because you can be strong and independent without being bitchy. The problem was, Jade wasn't strong or independent, since everybody treated her like a doormat and she let them. She even ruined her friendship with Ben back in school because she was worried about what others thought.
So, since she was obviously unable to make decisions, let everybody dictate her life (she was thirty and still obeyed her mother!), and almost ruined her and Ben's love lives the second time around, no wonder she was bitchy.

Poor Ben for having to put up with her...And doing all the work in the end.

 

 

All I Want for Christmas by Jennifer Gracen **

 

***copy provided by publisher through NetGalley***

Seven years ago, he broke her heart and left... Now she walks into his bar just before Christmas and it just might be the best present of all.


Yet another second-chance romance that would've worked better if it wasn't a constant mope-fest. I got the gist. He left for her own good devastating them both. She was afraid of trusting him again. He was trying to make her see he's changed. I got it! There was no need for repeating the same spiel over and over and over again.
The story was short as it was, the space could've been better spent with some character presentation and development instead of constant repetition.

In the end the characters were one-dimensional husks merely going through the motions.

I liked the premise, though.

 

 

Goodness and LightThis Christmas - Jeannie Moon  by Patty Blount *

 

***copy provided by publisher through NetGalley***

They met thirteen years ago when he gave her a crystal snowflake on the first Rememberance day. Now they meet again and he knows it's a good sign. She's not that optimistic.


This was a cute and sweet romantic story of (self)forgiveness, friendship, family and hope, yet it was completely ruined by an idiotic and extremely selfish heroine. Everything was about her, no one loved her, she was a black hole, she didn't deserve happiness...Boohoohoo.

Instead of romance we got drama, drama, drama.

What a pity.

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review 2017-12-13 01:37
This Christmas by Jeannie Moon - My Thoughts
This Christmas - Jeannie Moon

This is a charming novella-length love story filled with romance tropes which I didn't mind at all.  The heroine, Sabrina, Bree, is the single mother of an almost 10-year old daughter and the hero, of course, is the father, Jake Killen, pro hockey player. 

There's not a lot of real angst as Bree and Jake readily admit their past and the fact that their feelings haven't died.  Well, not to each other of course.  We need a bit of conflict!  The electricity between them is still there.  Their daughter, Charlie (Charlotte), has inherited her mother's looks and her father's hockey talent.  She loves her mom and she quickly comes to love her dad.  Her one wish for years has been to have her father back and whatddya know, this Christmas it happens!

We have Bree's parents who are suspicious of Jake at first and Bree's crew of girlfriends who have her back.  There are the obligatory confrontational scenes between them and Jake.  There is also an obligatory ice-skating scene.  A father-daughter dance.  Some not-really-needed bullying at school and a side sort-of plot concerning the local lighthouse that I thought could have been built upon more.

All in all, it was a charming read but I found myself wishing there had been less introspective inner-dialogue and more action.  And maybe a little more conflict?  Bree was a little too nice for me, I guess.  *LOL*  Anyway... a sweet holiday read. 

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review 2017-11-01 09:27
Very Brief Thoughts: The Liar's Dice
The Liar's Dice: A Lotus Palace Mystery (The Lotus Palace Mysteries) - Jeannie Lin

The Liar's Dice by Jeannie Lin
The Pingkang Li Mysteries, #2.5 (novella)

 

 

Tang Dynasty China, 849 A.D.
Lady Bai, called Wei-wei by her aristocratic family, has always been the perfectly obedient daughter--but only on the outside.  Inwardly she dreams of freedom.  When she dares to pay a forbidden visit to a public tea garden in men's clothing, only Gao looks close enough to notice her borrowed robes.  Alas, looking closely at the enigmatic Gao tells Wei-wei only one thing: he's a scoundrel.

When the pair witness a fatal stabbing, Gao surprises her by staying at her side as she investigates the brutal crime.  Together they uncover more secrets, somehow tied to her brother and the seedy gambling dens he's been visiting on the sly.  Gao seems to know far too much about the brutal ways of the street, but Wei-wei is drawn to him and his habit of seeing through all her disguises.

Wei-wei revels in her newfound independence and her growing feelings for her mysterious companion, but all too soon she's faced with a cruel choice -- discover the truth and bring the killer to justice, or protect her family at all costs.



A lovely short read for a character I'd been interested in since the first book.  Wei-wei is wonderfully crafted to be smart, bold, and beyond her times; while at the same time she's unassuming enough to understand her own faults.  I wish the "disguised as a man" part of the story would have been a bit more fleshed out, since it is one of the classic romance tropes I love; but as a novella, I suppose it'll have to do.

The romance in this novella was understated, with the focus being more on Wei-wei's self-revelations about herself and her role in her family.  I would love to see more of Wei-wei and Gao, as their relationship is one that would definitely be disapproved of enough in the traditional, historical Chinese sense to be an interesting development if allowed to progress.

 

 

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