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review 2017-07-25 05:34
Sweet Romance Novella
The Pirate and I: A Novella (Devil's Duk... The Pirate and I: A Novella (Devil's Duke) - Katharine Ashe

Summary:

Years ago, Miss Esme Astell fell hopelessly in love with Charles Brittle, an unassuming and highly respectable London bookmaker.

Then he disappeared without a word.

The last thing Esme ever dreamed was to meet Charlie again —

In a dark alleyway —

In a drenching rain —

In a chase with the police —

In Scotland.

Can she resist falling again, this time for the dangerous scoundrel he’s become?

 

Review:

This picks right up from another novella of the author titled The Scoundrel and I. I realized this about 20 pages into the book and went back and re-read that novella out of curiousity but this was really not necessary at all. The book can stand-a-lone for sure. I actually liked it better than The Scoundrel and I - the characters were more likeable and relatable and had great chemistry. I really liked Esme. She was so spunky and vibrant that it was fun to discover more about her personality and the reader wasn’t the only one as the hero, Charles, was discovering her to be a revelation as well.

 

The story was very complicated and hard to follow at times. I marveled at where the idea must have come from to include a quest for a dog in exchange for freedom. I have to say though that many of Katherine Ashe’s books contain creative and complex plots and this really makes her unique. It’s hard to know what might happen next and I appreciate that as too many times books are so predictable.

 

This is a pleasant, sweet and endearing book that I tremendously enjoyed. It wasn’t too short and actually felt like a full and complete novel. Absolutely worth reading!

 

Received an ARC from the publisher

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review 2017-07-23 07:50
Stone Cold by Andrea Kane
Stone Cold - Andrea Kane

Lindsey Hall has known who her father is for a long time, while her father's two children have only recently found out about her...At the reading of his will. A will that stipulates she's to receive a hefty sum, and an old mansion. Determined to refuse the house, and maybe even the money, Lindsay visit the old, abandoned, vacation home, and falls instantly in love, already thinking of way to restore it, and make it a home for her mother. To make the decision to keep the house even stronger, is Nicholas Warner, a real-estate developer wanting to buy the house only to demolish it, and build condos on the land...No way in hell, Lindsay will allow that.

But while Nicholas seems to accept her decision, there's someone else who's determined to make Lindsay change her mind about accepting her inheritance. By all means necessary, it seems. But who is this shady figure? Is it one of her step-siblings, determined to protect the family name, both of them? Or is it Nicholas himself, the very man who's seduced his way into Lindsay's heart?


Ooh, this was one heck of a story. Pity, it was so short, since the romance didn't really have time to evolve properly. As it was, it felt a bit rushed, and very whirlwind without much character development involved. It felt more like it came out of the left field, while, by the time it was finished, the two would've worked better as very close friends on their way to being something more.

But maybe that's just me.

Let's face it, the romance didn't have much time and space to take off, because most of that time and space was occupied by the mystery (yes, this was mostly mystery with a very suspenseful final part). And the mystery, let me tell you, was masterfully done. Although I suspected who the baddie was from quite early on, I don't know what gave that particular character away, there were still enough misinformation, red herrings, and sinister clues to make me suspect everybody. I even had my doubts about the hero (his seemingly about-face also came as a surprise without much intro, info, or buildup—it felt hasty and awkward), which is saying a lot.

I liked the characters, as much as I got to know them, I liked the pacing (spot-on and perfectly balanced between the calm and the storm), and I loved the mystery. The romance could've used some working on, or a few extra pages, though.

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review 2017-07-22 23:53
His Quiet Agent
His Quiet Agent - Ada Maria Soto

I really enjoyed this one. It's my first by this author, but I'm certainly interested to read more.

 

This is a very quiet story and a very slow build. Martin is highly shielded and Arthur is socially awkward. They're both considered weird by their coworkers and Arthur tries to find out if they're weird compliments each other. 

 

The cover made me think this was going to be historical Brit fic rather than contemporary American, so that took a couple of chapters to adjust to. I did like the quiet tone of the book and how Martin and Arthur's relationship developed. It's difficult enough to show relationship development when the characters are talkers, even more difficult when they're not, yet somehow this author manages it. The small gestures, the show of trust and caring - it's all convincing. I was especially surprised and pleased when both MCs were revealed to be asexual and this didn't become a "fix the ace" travesty. (So those who want sex in your books, you're not going to get it here.)  

 

There are a lot of unanswered questions, which is a given considering their jobs, and I'm ok with those. I would've liked to get to know more about Martin's backstory, but he doesn't really start to open up until the very end. The hints we get are intriguing though and opens the room for a lot of reader speculation, which in a way is more fun than getting it all spelled out for you. (Still, if ever there was a book that needs an epilogue, this is it.) There's some handwaving that needs to be done in regards to the Agency and how it appears to operate, but it didn't detract from the tension or suspense in the last quarter of the book at all. It was actually used to some great effect. 

 

There were a few more typos than I would overlook normally, things like verb tense changes and at one point even character names get mixed up, and general typos that wouldn't get caught by spellcheck but should've been caught by an editor.

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review 2017-07-22 11:24
Gladiator: A love story by Zara_Zee
Gladiator: A love story - Zara_Zee
An engaging fanfic set in ancient Rome with J2 as gladiators fighting for the same ludus. Reminded me of the Spartacus TV series.
Source: archiveofourown.org/works/11470233?view_full_work=true
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review 2017-07-21 16:57
Seven Stones to Stand or Fall
Seven Stones to Stand or Fall: A Collection of Outlander Short Stories - Diana Gabaldon

A few of these I've read already, so I'll be lazy and link to those reviews. ;)

 

The Custom of the Army - 2 stars


https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/524842810?book_show_action=false&from_review_page=1

 

The Space Between - no rating

 

I didn't bother getting this when it was originally released solo and I'm glad I didn't. I don't have much interest in Joan, and even less interest in the Comte St. Germain, nor did I ever once wonder what happened to the guy or what his backstory was. So this was one long bore and I skimmed a lot of it to get to the important plot points. It was nice to see Mother Hildegard, but her role here is pretty much just cameo and doesn't make up for the rest.

 

A Plague of Zombies - 4 stars


https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1900984342?book_show_action=false&from_review_page=1

 

A Leaf on the Wind of All Hallows - 5 stars


(No review for this one though. Sounds like a good reason for a reread.)

 

And reread I did and loved it just as much as the first time. Roger's father, Jerry MacKenzie, is unexpectedly launched back in time when his plane crash lands, and he goes through hell and back to get back to his time and his family. We get a few scenes of what's going on with Marjorie and baby Roger, but most of this is focused on Jerry. It's beautifully and heartbreakingly written, because if you've read the Outlander books you already know what everyone believes to have happened.

 

Virgins - 3 stars

 

Jamie and Ian are mercenaries in France. There's a lot of anti-Semantism in this one, as Gabaldon doesn't shy away from the prejudices of the time, and even our protags are guilty of it. The Jewish characters themselves though do not appear - at least to me - to be caricatures or stereotypes. Some of the Scottisms seemed strange - Ian's constantly referring to Jamie as a "wean" - I didn't think their age difference was all that great, so it felt odd. There's also this whole subplot with one of the other mercenaries who makes Gregor Clegane look like a fluffy kitty.

 

A Fugitive Green - 4 stars

 

Minnie and Hal's first meeting! I was intrigued by the backstory we got about Minnie in The Scottish Prisoner, so getting to see a more detailed telling of it was great. Minnie's wonderful and resourceful, and we even get a brief (too brief, I thought) subplot of Minnie's mom and her quest to find her. That was rather melodramatic - the mom's backstory that is - and I kept feeling like there was something more there going on than we heard

because nuns getting pregnant is not exactly unheard of so why exactly did Minnie's mom go mad because of it?

(spoiler show)

 

The ending also felt a bit rushed, so I hope this isn't the last exploration we get into these characters' backstories.

 

Besieged - 4 stars

 

Man, John can't even leave an assignment without getting pulled into a war. :P This is an interesting follow up to A Plague of Zombies, as John's still temporary military governor of Jamaica and trying his darnedest to resign that post. Enter his stepfather with some harrowing news. Loved seeing Tom Byrd again, and it was neat to see how Rodrigo is dealing after being zombified. There's your ingrained racism of the time, what with the slavery and all. I've never liked John's pragmatic view of slavery, but it is what it is, I guess? At least here, that pragmatism is a help to them.

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