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review 2020-07-13 21:04
The elements are there but nothing connects them in any reasonable sense
Her Highland Devil - Barbara Bard

 

I like Barbara Bard, I really do but this book is as dry as the Sahara desert, definitely one of her worst that I have read.


There is nothing to connect to and no characters to really care about, motives make no sense and people change just because the plot needs them to, without any growth or logic behind it.

 

(*examples given below might be SPOILERS*)


The storyline. If I just write it in a few short points, nothing looks amiss but then you read the book and you see nothing actually connects the plot threads and there is no logic behind things happening and everything happens just to connect one point to another disregarding any common sense known to humans.
Example: So this kidnapped woman who was taken deep into Scotland allegedly writes home to telltale about the weakness in the defence of this estate and her father receives the letter and rides of to see the king to get support and gets back home with it and manages to go rescue his daughter in the span of three days and he somehow manages this great feat and since the highlanders were surprised and unprepared they weren't really defending and instead of the English (remember, the King's troops are also there) invading and fully defeating them after their Laird has been beaten to a bloody pulp in front of everyone (and they don't kill him for some reason), no, they just get this insignificant woman and leave. Ah, yes, makes sense (notice the irony).

 

 

The characters. What a bunch of dry stale cookie cutter characters. They are not believable, they are not like real humans, we do not connect to them, they are just cardboard printouts to stand there as the so called plot happens around them. I have no idea how this good author have managed to spit out such bland idiotic pieces of s... *coughs... let's be civil here. How she managed to produce these, these ehm... characters in name only. There is nothing about them that makes them believable, it's horrible. They are awful people and only act a certain way when the plot needs them to.
Example 1: Gabby, the main female character, is supposed to be some kind of a progressive thinker in the area where she lives but then people tell her that Highlanders drink blood and eat human flesh and she believes it fully without a second thought. Or she is supposed to be a strong woman who was kidnapped and forced into marriage but then resists and all we see how upset she is that the husband doesn't immediately boink her right there and then.
Example 2: Callum, the main male character, is supposed to be this scarred wounded Highlander whose love died some years back and his world crushed then and he was left a shell of a man and then we see he immediately boinked the dead woman's best friend and kept on boinking her until this English woman disrupted his life somewhat. Such an upstanding good man that is. Totally don't want him to die a horrible death, nope, totally not.
Example 3: Callum's father needs his son to marry so he will secure his future Laird position and it has to be done immediately for some inexplicable reason and so instead of him trying to find him a Highlander woman and takes a bit more time, he just raids an English estate and kidnaps a woman there and thinks that is a good idea. How is that logical to begin with? When bunch of things just make no sense to begin with, how am I supposed to care about any of it?

 

 

Characters continuously do a 180 turn whenever the plot calls for it and it's painfully aggravating.
Example 1: Gabby's fiance whom she was supposed to marry (forcefully as well) was her childhood friend whom she saw as a brother. He wanted her and pushed himself on her much worse than the Highlander later on. He did not want to listen to one word she said, no objection or complaint. When Gabby is kidnapped and taken he told her she must be glad she is being kidnapped to get her adventure and laughs evilly. When she is mistakenly brought back, he pushes himself on her again and basically forces her to marry him, again. And then on the wedding day when she is already there somewhat willing, he does a 180 and just says that there are people outside who will escort her back to Scotland. What the actual f*ck? He did not develop as a character in the meantime and nothing happened to him to change his awful almost-rapey behaviour from before. He just becomes a saint so she can be delivered back to her husband.
Example 2: Callum does not give two s$its about Gabby when she is married to him, he even goes to be with his mistress (the dead fiancees best friend if you remember), and tells to Gabby that it is normal for men to have mistresses and he can do as he pleases, then he suddenly loves her a chapter later. Ah yes... love at a hundredth sight that must be.

 

 

I could go on and on like this for the whole night. Characters do things just because the plot needs them to. There is nothing to them, they are hollow, empty, non-existent.

There are so many plot points that lead to nothing and waste time that keep coming back to me as I write that I still don't understand how is this possible coming from the great Barbara Bard. Absolutely dumbfounding.

 

Skip if you can, if you must read it then be prepared to be extremely annoyed. I am not giving it a 1* because it is still written better than some other things I have read, looking more from a technical standpoint but there are really no good points I could now think of and point out. I am just so disappointed and... well... unhappy.

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review 2020-07-13 19:58
A wonderful discovery in the form of a web novel
Mr. Tycoon's Daring Wife - Xincerely

 

If you love a good love story, with a dark past and plenty of hardships to overcome and a thoroughly satisfying ending then this one is a must.

 

What happens when you live through a horrific trauma? It changes you. There is no other way. You either succumb and die or you get stronger and you live, but you are a different you. And that is what our strong heroine is, she is a changed person who changed for the better, for the stronger and for the smarter. And she kicks as$ (quite literally).

 

Zhao Lifei has never had a good emotional upbringing but she was raised in wealth and that is what made her conceited and arrogant. When she survived something terrible and managed to work through her trauma and her mistakes, she was built up as a new, improved version of herself. With this still struggling version of herself she meets her destiny in the form of an amazingly hunky and dangerous CEO Yang Feng, oh and by the way, he also rules the shady part of town. When they meet they grow as people - into people whom they are then proud to present to the world. All of that happens with a world of suffering, torture, deaths, humiliation, struggle, kidnappings, resolving their pasts etc. It is a struggle worth going through because it is written in a very compelling and smart way with a dark undertone.

 

The characters are flawed, as well as they should be. I hate characters that are cookie cutter characters lacking any realism. These characters are flawed, yes.

Zhao Lifei is too stubborn, bottles up her feelings, builds walls around herself and projects things from her past into current situations.

Yang Feng is a bit obsessive and possessive and stubborn as all hell when it comes to things and people he loves.

They both have a dark past and are dealing with their demons. What matters is that they grow, they mature, they lessen their bad characteristics as they spend more time with each other. They help each other. I see plenty of reviews saying the male lead character is too possessive, he is like this and like that but what they fail to mention is that his first thought is like that yes, but then he is actually much more considerate in his actions albeit still a bit too possessive and then he gets burned by our kickas$ female lead and he learns, and he adapts and he realises he can do better and he does. Isn't that the point? Going through hardships and misunderstandings to actually accomplish something, realise something, grow and mature? I certainly think it is.

 

The storyline is great, the plot keeps getting more and more complicated and the mystery is compelling and you just want to keep reading and discovering and enjoying the process of getting to that sweet wonderful ending.

The characters are wonderful, flawed and full of battle scars and you care for them every step of the way.

The pacing is also done well, there weren't any long scenes that you'd feel like you wanted to skip or that you'd look later at and say that was completely unnecessary. It all has a meaning, gives clues and ties the loose ends in the end.

 

One thing that I found quite amusing was the ending itself and no, I won't spoil it. I'll just say that it has more endings than The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King XD I kept thinking my goodness, that is amazing, ah this was so good, so that is how it ends and then you turn another chapter and then there is more, and then another and another and another and in the end I might as well say that no stone was left unturned, everyone's story had a proper ending and kudos to the writer for managing it. Well done.

 

All in all, it was a wonderful experience and a journey I'd sign myself up for at any time.

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review 2020-07-13 14:02
A Court of Thorns and Roses
A Court of Thorns and Roses - Sarah J. Maas

by Sarah Maas

 

This is my first Sarah Maas book and despite some challenging format on the ARC, it drew me right in, Fayre is one of three sisters who live in reduced circumstances after having known a comfortable life. Their mother is dead and their father is crippled and often in a world of his own, because it was some nasty creditors who crippled him in painful ways.

 

Fayre hunts for food, since the family is destitute. The forest is dangerous, full of hungry wolves as well as fae shapeshifters, and when she encounters a large wolf stalking the same deer she's hunting, she can't be sure which it is. The tension of her attempt to hunt food without becoming prey herself got the story off to a good start.

 

I wondered many times if this was meant to be a re-imagining of Beauty and the Beast, as there were a lot of similar elements. Fayre is a strong but fearful character, mistrusting the Fae effectively as monsters despite their physical beauty. These are not your fairytale Fae! She encounters some chilling creatures in the course of the story.

 

The first half kept me riveted, but then it started losing me. The standard gratuitous sex scene that seems to be a feature of New Adult books was better written than most, but still the same old actions. There was some inconsistency in characters and somebody needs to explain to the author that villages don't have 'blocks', an exclusively American term used by city dwellers.

 

There were also several occasions where the use of a word in a sentence would klunk, just not quite fitting. Despite that, the imaginative encounters with various supernatural characters and especially in the trials Feyre had to face were well done. The end was fairly predictable, but fit the story.

 

I don't think I'll be continuing the series, but overall I did enjoy the read.

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review 2020-07-06 05:00
His Pretend Amish Bride Review and GIVEAWAY!
 

About the Book

 


Book:  His Pretend Amish Bride

Author: Rachel J. Good

Genre:  Amish Romance

Release Date: June 30, 2020

In a small Amish town like Bird-in-Hand, Pennsylvania, one solution to an indiscretion is to get married. Or perhaps, fake a respectable engagement . . .
 
Priscilla Ebersol has a fulfilling life teaching special needs children—until her boyfriend’s humiliating betrayal ruins her reputation and threatens her job. Shunned for something she didn’t do, Priscilla throws herself into a project on the benefits of camel’s milk for autism. Her research leads her to a newly opened Amish camel farm, where she discovers far more than she bargained for. . .

When a pushy Englisch company shows interest in shy, handsome Gabriel Kauffman’s camel farm, he struggles to get out of a sticky negotiation. Lovely, well-spoken Priscilla appears at the perfect moment and defends Gabe’s business so well that she is mistaken for his wife, a pretense they both secretly wish could be true. But though their bond deepens, Priscilla’s heart is still wounded, and Gabe battles with a troubling secret. And when a misunderstanding comes between them, it will take faith, honesty, and trust in God to overcome the past—and to allow their partnership to blossom into something more.


Click HERE to get your copy!


About the Author

 


USA Today bestselling author RACHEL J. GOOD writes life-changing, heart-tugging novels of faith, hope, and forgiveness. She grew up near Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, the setting for her Amish novels. Striving to be as authentic as possible, she spends time with her Amish friends, doing chores on their farm and attending family events.

Rachel is the author of several Amish series in print or forthcoming – the bestselling Love & PromisesSisters & FriendsUnexpected Amish BlessingsSurprised by Love (2021), and two books in Hearts of Amish Country – as well as the Amish Quilts Coloring Books. In addition, she has stories in many anthologies, including Love’s Thankful Heart, Love’s Christmas Blessings, Plain Everyday HeroesLove’s Truest Hope, and the forthcoming Amish Christmas Twins (September 2020) with Shelley Shepard Gray and Loree Lough. She is also the coauthor of the Prayerful Author Journey: Inspirational Yearly Planner.


More from Rachel

 

A few years ago, I passed Amish camel farm in Bird-in-Hand, PA. As an author, seeing anything new or different always piques my interest, so I went for a visit. Not only did I explore the farm and store, I bought camel’s milk to drink. I think it’s important to do in-depth research for the settings and information I include in my Amish novels.

I was fascinated to discover camels usually bond to one milker, only give a little milk each day, and are extremely expensive to buy. All of those are reasons why camel’s milk is so expensive. It costs $15 for a pint. Much pricier than cow’s milk.

And if you’re wondering how camel’s milk tastes, the best way I can think of to describe it is a slightly salty version of powdered milk. It’s more watery than cow’s milk.

Because I grew up drinking powdered milk during my early childhood years when we lived in Africa, I’d always vowed never again to drink it once we moved back to the United States. A vow I’ve kept. That was never a problem living in Pennsylvania, where there’s plenty of farmland, cow, and Amish, of course.

The camel’s milk was enough like powdered milk to make me gag. But because I want to be sure my books are authentic, I drank it. So, readers, now you know how much a I care about you.

My concern for you also extends to more than just getting factual information correct. I pray for each and every one of you as I write my stories. I hope that they will touch your heart and bring you closer to God.


My Review

 

Although it’s been several years since I’ve been there, one of my favorite day-trips is visiting Sugarcreek and Berlin, Ohio, known where I live as simply Amish Country. Something that surprised me within the last decade or so was the growing market of Amish organic and specialty products, as I did not associate these with the Amish people. I suppose that I never gave much thought to them needing gluten-free, dairy-free, or other specialty items because their lifestyle and diet seems in my mind to be healthier and relatively free of chemical ingredients. This is part of the reason that I loved “His Pretend Amish Bride” so much. It made me think and opened my eyes to the similarities between their culture and ours.

Rachel Good always writes an absorbing story that I find difficult to put down and often end up reading in a few sittings. Whether intentional or not, I think that “His Pretend Amish Bride” releases at the perfect time because it highlights how much we actually have in common with the Amish, rather than how different we are, dispelling the large-scale “us vs. them” mentality that is currently tearing our nation apart. This was the first time I had heard of camel’s milk and it being used for those with specific health conditions, particularly autism. I find this information fascinating and exciting because it is a natural alternative. I also had no idea that the Amish might own camel farms, or that such places even existed in the US, for that matter! The issues that Gabriel Kauffman faces with his camel farm due to problems with Englishers demonstrate that the Amish are not immune to being taken advantage of either. Their approach, however, to such situations and to life in general, is often much different from ours, although it shouldn’t be. We should also seek to live at peace with others and to do what is right, whether we end up benefiting from it or not, and we should learn to trust God more instead of trying to take control ourselves.

This novel offers a heartfelt glimpse at romance and special needs, also. As Priscilla tells Alyssa, the Amish aren’t perfect either and need Jesus just as much as everyone else, including us. Good points this out to readers right from chapter one with Matthew’s betrayal, but goes on to show how one can still respond out of God’s love. I loved that Priscilla works at an Amish special needs school, which is something else that I did not realize existed, and the inclusion of the hippotherapy program (which is the focus of book one in this series) toward the end of the narrative tied in nicely. All of the elements that Good incorporates blend into a beautiful story about how God uses what seems to be our darkest moments to bring our greatest joys when we trust Him and live to honor Him.

I received a complimentary copy of this book through Celebrate Lit and was not required to post a favorable review. All opinions are my own.

 

Blog Stops

 

Through the Lens of Scripture, June 29

The Avid Reader, June 29

Among the Reads, June 30

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, June 30

Texas Book-aholic, July 1

Blogging With Carol, July 1

Inklings and notions, July 2

Batya’s Bits, July 2

She Lives To Read, July 3

Little Homeschool on the Prairie, July 3

Splashes of Joy, July 4

reviewingbooksplusmore, July 4

For Him and My Family, July 5

Books, Life, and Christ, July 5

For the Love of Literature, July 6

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, July 6

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, July 7

deb’s Book Review, July 7

Blossoms and Blessings, July 7

Older & Smarter?, July 8

Jeanette’s Thoughts, July 8

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, July 8

Reading Is My SuperPower, July 9

Bigreadersite, July 9

Locks, Hooks and Books, July 10

Maureen’s Musings, July 10

Pause for Tales, July 11

Lighthouse Academy Blog, July 11 (Guest Review from Marilyn Ridgway)

Artistic Nobody, July 12 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)

Vicky Sluiter, July 12

 
 

Giveaway

 

 
To celebrate her tour, Rachel is giving away the grand prize package of an autographed copy of the book and $25 Amazon gift card!!
 
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.
 

 

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review 2020-07-05 20:49
Seconds
Far Away - Bryan T. Clark

Noah meets Spiro after he comes to stay with his Grandmother for the summer before he goes off to college. At first he is just in awe of the good looks, great body, and superior smile. Then as they become friends it has the potential to turn into more.

 

Spiro has to watch himself. He is reminded at every turn by his uncle that he is there at the courtesy of this family who owns it all. Can he help it if they have such an amazing person such as Noah in their family? He is struggling to hide his interest in such an amazing young man.

 

This story takes you through the beginning of first love, and off to the reunion as well. While not normally my style, I found my self intrigued by the story itself. These two lives being brought back together as one was almost magical. It is refreshing, honest, and felt very sincere. I think it is the way we look through most of the story through Noah's innocent eyes. I give this read a 3/5 Kitty's Paws UP!

 

 

***This copy was given in exchange for an honest review only.

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