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Search tags: mystery-and-suspense
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review 2018-08-19 16:54
Unseen by me
An Unseen Attraction - K.J. Charles

My friends' list has nothing but love for this author and book and I have a bad feeling this could be one of those "Everyone but me" moments. This is the first time I have tried this author, so I'll give it another chance but this really just did not hit the mark with me.

 

The synopsis starts off with stating this is a "slow-burning romance". Our couple have their first sexual experience/play/moment by chapter four; that is not my personal want from a slow-burning romance. What I do like seems to have happened before our story starts off,  Clem and Rowley's relationship has already developed to the point of friendship with attraction and we the reader's are coming in when they are finally ready to act on it. I mostly favor the initial spark and building rather than the finally acting sexually on it. 

 

Another personal dislike was Rowley's taxidermy, the author does a great job describing, explaining, and realistically weaving it into the story but for someone who loves human slasher movies, I just can't read about people wanting to stuff their pets and Rowley explaining the process. Greatly appreciate the research and depth but bowels and skinning animals is not for me, but like I said, didn't seem to bother the majority of people.

 

I think this would be better to be described as a slow-burning mystery, as the building, plot, and pace slowly reeled you in, I also think the mystery dominated the story more. Their chemistry wasn't as sparking as I usually like but missing that beginning building probably hurt this for me.

 

The mystery isn't fully solved in this but I'm not sure I'm going to continue with the series, I think I might try another of hers in a different one. I hope this isn't one of those everyone loves but me authors :/

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review 2018-08-17 00:06
Single Malt by Layla Reyne - My Thoughts
Single Malt - Layla Reyne

This book hit the spot.  You know, that spot you have when you can't decide for your life which book you want to read next, even what genre you want to read in!  Why I chose this book, I don't know, but it was the right move.  I really liked it!

I'm a sucker for these buddy/lovers/partners books.  Ty and Zane (Abigail Roux) are my total OTP couple and Prophet and Tommy (S. E. Jakes) are right close behind.  And now Irish and Whiskey or Aiden and Jamie if you prefer, can be added to that list. 

Filled with action and puzzles as well as some intense interaction between the two main characters, Single Malt was a quick read for me.  A page-turner if you will.  The chemistry is undeniable between the two and I really enjoyed how their banter could go from playful and teasing to intense and sexy and then right into kick-ass get-'er-doneness.  I liked both of them. 

I also liked the cast of secondary characters.  Especially Aiden's younger brother, Danny.  He has a book later in the series, I believe. 

I'm intrigued by the mystery which I assume will arc over multiple books. 

So, yes, I will be picking up the next book in the series very soon!

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review 2018-08-11 20:52
On fire heroine
An Extraordinary Union - Alyssa Cole

She was Ellen Burns, and she was going to help destroy the Confederacy.

 

I'm wait late to the party on this one but, oh yes, do I agree with the majority of you all, this is my highest rated book of the year. Our heroine Elle definitely is the stand-out character, the hero Malcolm was very overshadowed in the beginning but began to shine brighter in the middle and end. Working on behalf of the Union in a ring of spies called the Loyal League, Elle is placed in a southern senator's household as a mute slave to gain and pass on as much information as she can. Malcolm spies for the Pinkerton Agency and is currently posing as a Union soldier. Malcolm is immediately drawn to Elle, a bit insta-lust, but what saves their romance from my personal dislike of insta, is Elle's thoughts and feelings. When they first meet, Elle is a slave and Malcolm a Union soldier but even after their undercover roles are revealed, Elle is a black woman and Malcolm a white man in 1862 America.

 

[...]one wrong word from him and she would lose her life, whereas his sex and skin color inoculated him from harm at her hand.

 

I've complained many times about forced angst or conflict in stories contrived to keep heroes and heroines apart, yeah, nothing forced here. The author deeply provides us with Elle's thoughts and emotions about the danger of having feelings for Malcolm. This is shown not only personally, the immediate bodily danger to Elle and the personal stake she has in the Civil War but also outwardly, the encompassing work they are doing for the Union and the importance of the information they have to pass on. In beginning notes I took, I mentioned that the heroine was crotchety, which I appreciated because the heroes always get to be the surly ones fighting the romance and struggled with because of personal thoughts of just accept this sexy awesome dude already. As the story went on though, the author does such an amazing job putting you in the historical context, place, and time, and it becomes felt how the stakes are very real for Elle. This isn't a light falling in love but a hard hand gripping leap of faith.

 

“Help me to understand,” he said. He was still asking of her when he should be giving, but he didn’t know how else to proceed.

“We don’t want revenge, Malcolm.” She looked at him like he was the densest bastard to ever walk the earth. “We want life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, just like any damned fool in these United States is entitled to so long as he isn’t Black or Red. So you can keep your outrage. All I can do is try to make a difference.”

 

This didn't have a lot of overall reaching Civil War tidbits dropped in, it is more of an immediate spotlight on how networks of spies could gain knowledge and help their side and one take on how a women in Elle's position could have fallen in love. I don't often mention how a character's emotions and thoughts help set the time period for me but Elle was a huge component for placing me in the story. The clothing, atmosphere, incidentals, and society were all there, too. Tied into the spying for information battle and danger, was some awesome ironclad ships and blockade talk. This may seem like a weird thing to get excited about but this is why I read historicals, to get little nuggets of information to gain knowledge and understanding with a feel of the time.

 

This was who she was when she was allowed to be free from fear.

 

Malcolm didn't quite leap off the pages for me, due to spying being a waiting game for info at times there was some slowness, and I would have liked some outer happenings (more big Civil War happenings going on, more of the Loyal League people, structure, and happenings). I know this is first in series, so maybe some information was held back about the Loyal League but in a contrarily way (I complain a lot about first in a series syndrome and how authors focus too much on setting up characters for future books) I could have stood for more character presence from ones that will star or appear in future installments in the series. Secondary characters gave without stealing the show, this "little" line from Mary: “I was just worried, is all,” she said, adjusting the ragged lace trim on Elle’s sleeve. “You remind me of my daughter sometimes. She had eyes just like yours . . . Caffrey sold her down South to pay off a debt. Every time I look at you, I wonder if she gonna grow up to be as pretty as you. And I hope she won’t.”

"I hope she won't", devastating. There was also Timothy, who Elle feared his judgement about her relationship with Malcolm but he informs her that he is part Seminole and a host of other characters that show that "kind" people can participate and be blind to atrocities.

 

This book made the list of several best of 2017 lists and I completely see why. The historical richness is great, there are some awesome emotional and thought provoking on fire comments/commentary, and the consequences, angst, and attraction between Elle and Malcolm are felt, but read this book for Elle. Her anger and underlining pain give way to such a well of strength; she's the heroine you want to read about, hope you're a little bit like, and inspire to be.

 

(The author notes that some of her characters were based on real life people:  Elle was based on Mary Bowser, Malcolm by Timothy Webster, and Robert Grand by Robert Smalls. There was also a reference guide of books the author used for research in the back. Historicals with history! Give me more historicals like this)

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review 2018-08-07 05:45
Review: The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton
The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle - Stuart Turton

Reviewed for Wit and Sin

 

Evelyn Hardcastle is going to die; that much has been foretold. But who did it? That is the question Aiden Bishop must answer if he ever hopes to be free of Blackheath. He has eight hosts – each a player on a deadly chessboard he can’t fully see. Eight different points of view, eight chances to solve a mystery before time runs out…

The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle is an intense, evocative, intricately-plotted tale that will keep you on your toes. From the start, I was drawn into the rich imagery of the decaying world of Blackheath, its inhabitants unique and vividly drawn. There are so many secrets in this complex mystery, so many puzzle pieces and point of view jumps that it’s no wonder our protagonist needs eight hosts to even have a glimmer of a chance at solving Evelyn’s murder.

The more you know about a mystery going in, the less enjoyable it is, so I’m loathe to say much about what happens in the story. I will say that I loved watching Aiden put the pieces of this sizeable puzzle together. It’s no easy feat, as he’s hindered as well as aided by the hosts chosen for him. In the hands of another author, this story might have been a tangled mess. But Stuart Turton has done an exceptional job of weaving together a massive number of threads to form one solid mystery. The worldbuilding in this book is fantastic and I loved that I couldn’t tell what would happen next. With so many personalities swirling about, no one can be entirely predictable. There’s also a sinister presence dogging Aiden’s steps that adds a slightly chilling quality to the story, which I enjoyed. The only thing that kept me from absolutely loving this book was the ending. When it comes to stories like these, you really have to stick the landing or it’s a bit of a letdown and while the ending was satisfying enough, it did leave me wanting a bit more. That being said, I still highly recommend The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle to anyone looking for an original, engaging mystery and I’m looking forward to seeing what Mr. Turton comes up with next.


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

 

Source: witandsin.blogspot.com/2018/08/review-7-deaths-of-evelyn-hardcastle-by.html
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review 2018-07-15 03:11
Applauding author trying a different style
Retreat - Jay Crownover

His look, the way his entire face tightened in hungry, appreciative lines made me feel like something more, made me feel like I deserved to be worshiped and maybe even loved. If that was how he looked at his girl, then I never wanted to be anything else.


Cyrus Warner had just as many control issues as I did, which was why we both liked to test the other’s limits and neither one of us liked to fail.
 



This was pretty different from the usual Crownover stories I have read and I not only applaud the author for trying something new but I really enjoyed it.

Mostly first person from heroine's pov, she's a bit cranky, has some trust issues, and been burned but I liked her tough cookie act up against our hero. Hero's a cool, straight-shooter, sexily self-assured, and wary of love cowboy who wears motorcycle boots. They played off each other well and had some hot scenes (who knew campground showers could be such a scorching sex setting). 

Hero's brothers with heroine's bestfriend feature heavily, they're stars of the next books in the series and worked great to add and round out the story. There's some mystery/action/suspense that will keep the pages turning. I thought the last 1/3 or so of the ending was slowed things way down and there were even some sex scenes I started to skim, I felt like the story dragged on a bit too much and the action and danger our characters found themselves in got fantastical and instead of feeling sad/worried, it lost me. 

Otherwise, this was a great something different and I'm definitely going to continue reading in the series.

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