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review 2018-01-22 19:43
Southern Fried Fairy tale
The Vixen and the Vet - Katy Regnery

She’s a beautiful, young, talented writer. She doesn’t want some hopeless, deformed man touching her.

 

Inspired by Beauty and the Beast (the hero's housekeeper/caretaker is named Miss Potts) this was a sweet, at times very ooey gooey, story. The hero is a war veteran who was physically scared pretty badly and when he came back home his hometown shunned him. The heroine is a gorgeous reporter who was conned by her boyfriend, ended up losing her job, and going back home to lick her wounds. 

 

This definitely has a southern vibe and as a solid Yankee gal, I definitely had some side-eye and back up moments. These moments (not involving police in an attempted rape because that is what a Yankee girl would do, take care of it in house) weren't presented as right or wrong by the author just giving it her spin on a southern world. The southern vibe along with the sugar sweet, very sympathy inducing hero, and baked goods talk made this a nice little escape. The sweet tone does come along with some sexy little scenes, so don't take it to mean a bedroom door shut book.

 

If you enjoy Beauty and the Beast tropes, southern vibes, and spun sugar, this was enjoyable escapism. 

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review 2018-01-19 03:57
New spin on a classic
A Study In Scarlet Women: The Lady Sherlock Series - Sherry Thomas

How had they managed to not realize, for so long, what they meant to one another? And why then must they see the light when it was too late, when they could possess no more than a few moments of ferocious mutual awareness?

 

With more historical mystery elements than romance, this new spin on an old classic character was immensely intriguing. The beginning was a bit schizophrenic to me and I had a little tougher time sliding into Thomas' world. Our main character Charlotte Holmes takes her time coming to the forefront but after I finished the book, I think this choice really worked, but I needed hindsight to appreciate it. 

There's one main mystery case needing to be solved with other little ones sprinkled in as new characters get introduced. There's a handful of main stay characters, an Inspector that brings the reader through the main mystery case, Charlotte's sister Livia who welcomes us into the world, Mrs. Watson ;) who helps to set-up our Sherlock Holmes, and Lord Ingram who weaves in our little thread of romance. There are a two handfuls of secondary characters who serve the mystery case or help to fill out the world. 

 

This is obviously a first in a series book and should be read as such, as most of this could be considered an introduction to characters and relationships. Thomas does an amazing job with all the myriad intricacies in everyone's relationships but just be aware there is not much typical romance here. Charlotte and Lord Ingram have a past and obvious tension between them but if there is any payoff to be found, it is definitely in future installments. 

 

I didn't really settle into this until the second half of the book and I missed more romance but the intrigue, refreshing spin, and genuine stimulating writing kept me engaged.

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review 2018-01-18 20:39
Nope
You Make Me - Erin McCarthy

1.5 stars (writing was readable) 

Holy freaking buckets of New Adult shit. The DRAMA, the MELODRAMA, the POSSESSIVENESS, the ANGST, the first person pov from only heroine, just the absolute (personal taste) please go away recent fad of horrible tropes that we don't want younger women/girls to read, y'all.

I read the whole thing (some fast time skimming) but I hope no younger girls do because this is absolutely NOT how relationships should go between couples.

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review 2018-01-14 02:31
Small town rom
The Sheriff Catches a Bride - Cora Seton

More focus on the over encompassing cast of characters, including past and future heroes and heroines, and the small town relationship drama. Also a pretty big secondary storyline following a girl from Afghanistan trying to escape the Taliban, felt a bit out of left field. 

This was my first foray into the series, which you could start here because there is nothing confusing but you won't feel emotional attachment to the characters.

 

Wanted the hero and heroine to spend more time together and didn't feel like I ever got to know the hero but writing was good and as a Kindle Freebie, it did its job of interesting me enough to look into other books in the series. 

Takes place in Montana but still had a slight western feel.

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review 2018-01-13 02:48
Beyond Scandal and Desire by Lorraine Heath
Beyond Scandal and Desire: A Sins for All Seasons Novel - Lorraine Heath

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Mick grew up knowing he was illegitimate and experienced all the society pitfalls because of it. All he has ever wanted is for his father to publicly acknowledge him but when his father refuses, he decides to ruin his half-brother heir. 
Aslyn has been the Duke of Hedley's ward for most of her life after her parents died. With it understood that she would eventually marry Hedley's son and their very protective nature, Aslyn has been sheltered. Starting to feel stifled, she begins to push for more freedom. After meeting Mick, she senses a freedom she has never thought to experience.
Mick wants revenge but how far will he be willing to get it?
 
"I intend to take from him everything he holds dear---including the lady at his side." 
 
The first in a new series, Beyond Scandal and Desire focuses on the eldest child of Widow Trewlove, a woman who took in unwanted babies. While we are introduced to Mick as a very successful business man, he alludes and mentions how tough it was growing up poor and with the taint of being a bastard. The revenge he seeks is a bit different; he simply wants his father to acknowledge him and hopes this will open higher society doors to him. It's a little heartbreaking that Mick obviously just wants to feel acknowledged by his father, making him feel meaningful since he was given away. Mick was the hero where circumstances force him to have a tough outer shell but is angry and hurt over feeling abandoned. He was somewhat romance hero trope (a bit more sensitive) but how he fell for heroine made him very enjoyable to read.
 
Why did this man have such an effect on her?
Why did everyone else seem so small in comparison?
 

 
Our heroine Aslyn starts off very sheltered and buttoned up but with some inner thoughts that hint at a will striving to break free. I, personally, thought Aslyn stole the show a bit with her living in quiet desperation. Her journey and growth from accepting her gilded cage, to starting to question, finding herself, and finally expressing and owning what she wanted was so satisfying. Usually it is the hero who stands tall during the declarations of love but, here, oh the heroine brings it and I was cheering her on. Aslyn could have taken the easy road but she spoke her truth and I delighted in following along on her journey.
 
Never before had he ever been so weak-willed.
He was a man of strength, and yet he thought for her he'd go to his knees.
 

 
With a mysterious painful beginning, I was sucked into the story right away. I took pleasure in the slow buildup and burn Heath provided, we get to know Mick and Aslyn (does start to feel a smidgen too slow as the anticipation for reveals starts to settle in). There are some scenes with Mick interacting with his family that helped fill out his character (and introduce future series heroes/heroines) and I wished there had been more for Aslyn. The Duke and Duchess of Hedley don't get as flushed out as I would have liked and their son definitely gets too much of a thinly veiled villain w/ maybe future redemption arc. While I enjoyed the slower buildup, the story had too much of a top heavy feel, the ending felt rushed. I would be lying if I didn't say I started watching the page count after I got around 60% waiting for a reveal that would have repercussions in Mick and Aslyn's relationship. The reveal was extremely needed too, but with how late it finally happened, I was left feeling a bit bereft and missing some crucial emotional angst and growth between the two; my favorite romance components. At minimum, this story needed to be 100 pages longer (my old romance reading heart would have delighted in a full sequel book finishing Aslyn and Mick's story with working things out after full reveal). 
 
The buildup and getting to know characters first half will have you engrossed into the story but the very late reveals give the ending a rushed feel. Some secondary characters felt too thin but Aslyn's growth and journey along with her instant connection and simmering romance with Mick will have you appreciating and taking pleasure in the story.
 
All his life he'd been searching for acceptance, and here it was in the form of a woman with a tilted-up nose and crooked smile. 

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