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review 2017-12-15 01:43
Homecoming by Beverly Jenkins
Homecoming - Beverly Jenkins

This is the first novel by beloved doyenne of the historical romance genre, Beverly Jenkins, that I have read.  I was concerned.  Everyone loves her so much and my track record with hugely loved and highly touted works is iffy at best.

Well, I liked the premise.  A second chance at love type of thing, with a school teacher, headmistress, and a buffalo soldier.  Mature characters both.  Lydia comes back to her childhood home from Chicago and crosses paths with Gray Dane, her first love.  Turns out that his love for her as well as hers for him hasn't dimmed, but most probably grown.  So we have some angst, some winsomeness, sexiness, and some humour.  It should all work.  Yet...

I wish I could say I adored the book, but colour me not overly impressed. Mostly with the style of writing.  Very flowery, especially in the love scenes.  For instance, I don't think I'd ever heard/read about one's nipples being dazzled by a lover's fingers, but now I can say that I have.   Also, some of the dialogue didn't work for me, at times I found it stilted and at times it just sounded a wee bit too modern.  And I don't know, there was just something about the writing that felt dated and unrefined (?) to me.  (And not because it's a historical, sillies!)  So I checked.  This novella was published in 2007 according to the author's website, as part of the Gettin' Merry anthology.  Okay, 10 years ago.   Maybe that's why.

Anyway, I have another Beverly Jenkins in my TBR, a more recent one - Forbidden- from 2016.  Hopefully I'll enjoy it more.  :)

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review 2017-12-09 02:31
Christmas at Whisper Beach: A Whisper Be... Christmas at Whisper Beach: A Whisper Beach Novella - Shelley Noble

I received an arc courtesy of the publisher. I was in the mood for a Christmas story, so when I was offered a copy by the publisher for review, I decided to try it.  I did not realise it was part of a series, until I was ready to read the book. However, I had no trouble following the story.

Christmas at Whisper Beach is a continuation of Van and Joe’s romance. Van is settling in to her new life with Joe but she has issues, which were a product of her past she needed to overcome. Issues, which had the potential to derail the life she has built with Joe. Thank goodness, for Joe’s family who opened their hearts and home to her. This act of kindness and acceptance helped in her journey towards healing.

Joe’s love for Van shined through the pages of the story.  His actions proved how much he cared for her. He had big plans for her for the Christmas However these plans would be tested when he took in three children, whose mom became ill, for the Christmas holidays.

I enjoyed the camaraderie Joe shared with his family. I loved how they included Van and made her feel liked she belonged.  I loved that family and Christmas traditions were the highlight of the story. It brought back childhood memories of Christmas.

The ending was a huge disappointment.  Not only was it abrupt, but it left me with many questions.

Conclusion and Recommendation

Overall, an ok read. I will be picking up a copy of the first book in the series so I can learn how Joe and Vans’ story began. Looking for a heart-warming Christmas story, Christmas at Whisper Beach will give you all the feels of Christmas.

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review 2017-12-09 00:00
The Cowboy's Special Christmas: A Short Novella
The Cowboy's Special Christmas: A Short Novella - Barbara McMahon Here's to new beginnings, happy endings and all the heartaches in between. Don't blink because you just might miss something special. Like the healing of a broken heart. Betrayal seems to be the dish of the day for cowboy, Cole and veterinarian, Jennifer. Not only are there broken hearts, but ruined reputations in the mix. One fresh start later and the possibilities are endless, if these two lost souls are willing to go the distance. I have been reading Barbara McMahon for years and her ability to write sweet stories of second chances and hot romances are why I keep coming back.
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review 2017-12-06 03:41
An Interesting Look at a Road not Taken for Rankin's Rebus
Death Is Not the End: A Novella - Ian Rankin

I used Goodreads' ordering of the Rebus series to determine when I read this novella -- other sites might have led me to read this before Dead Souls, as it was published. I might have gotten more out of this book if I'd read it in that order, but it might have hurt the novel. I'm not sure.

 

Basically, this is one of the subplots of Dead Souls -- Rebus' looking for the missing son of a people he knew in school -- in its original form. It'd be modified, expanded, and given a different ending in the novel. There's a subplot, mildly related, involving organized crime and gambling -- in much the same way that other crimes were associated with the missing person's case in Dead Souls.

 

It is interesting to see how Rankin wrote something, and then came back a couple of years later and repurposed it. But that's about all I have to say for this. It was interesting -- but the version in the novel is better. The subplot didn't do much for me, either. It was okay, but it really didn't seem necessary.

 

The completist in me is glad I read it, but I think I'd have been okay with missing it, too.

 

2017 Library Love Challenge

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review 2017-12-05 17:18
Wonderment in Death by J.D. Robb
Wonderment in Death (In Death Series) - J.D. Robb,Susan Ericksen

A young woman walks into her brother's apartment, stabs him in the chest with a pair of shears, and jumps off the balcony. It looks like a regular murder/suicide, but people who knew the girl, keep repeating she wouldn't hurt her brother, so it's up to Lieutenant Eve Dallas to figure out what happened.


This is one of those short stories/novellas, you wish were turned into a full-length novel. There was just so much there to explore, from the Alice in Wonderland theme to the possibility of mind-control through drugs and suggestion.
Add to it a deliciously mad villain and you get quite a potent combination.

The way it played out, on the other hand, came across as slightly rushed and pretty lucky investigation-wise. Still, a pretty solid story with the always solid cast.

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