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text 2017-08-21 21:13
Oh No, Another Walking Tour of China
[(Butterfly Swords)] [By (author) Jeannie Lin] published on (October, 2010) - Jeannie Lin

The book starts out with a trip from the southern province to Changan. It takes the MCs to the 50% to get to Changan. Then at 60% they are on another trip, this time to Longyou. All by foot/horse/sometimes cart. A whole lot of walking and nothing else. And I don't like either MC. I'm drinking my last bottle of hard cider (I finished off the whiskey reading the historical romances over the weekend). All I have left is a bottle of grapple and lemonade.

 

Hubby is TDY this week and has the ration card. :(

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review 2017-08-21 12:55
Review: The Bootlegger's Daughter by Lauri Robinson
The Bootlegger's Daughter (Daughters of the Roaring Twenties) - Lauri Robinson

*sigh* I should have DNF at 30%, but I already DNF'd two other books on my COYER reading list and didn't want to start a trend.

 

Norma Rose Nightingale was an unlikeable heroine - cold, unforgiving, mean. She wasn't that great of a business woman, even though the reader is told over and over again how the resort turned in massive profits due to her work. She was a caricature of the "hard dame" type of woman of the Jazz Age. Although she was smart and had opinions about Prohibition failing which turned true, she was pretty dumb when it came to people. Tyler Bradshaw wasn't much better - he had a single mission that gave him all the motivation for everything he did. Both had tragic back stories that rang false (Norma Rose doesn't want to nurse anyone if they are sick because she had to take care of her dead mother and brother during the Spanish flu outbreak; Tyler had his family massacred by the mobster he is searching for at the resort).

 

The plotline and scenes were really disjointed; the author seemed not to understand the balance of suspense and romance. Plot threads were brought up and drop with frequency. The whole point of the plot was for Tyler to bring Ray Bodine to justice....and the reader got one paragraph about how Tyler took him done after the fact. This was the major plot line, the whole reason for Tyler to be there at the resort in the first place, and it was resolved away from the resort and with no details. The ending was very abrupt and unsatisfying.

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review 2017-08-20 13:14
Review: Emma and the Outlaw (Orphan Train #2) by Linda Lael Miller
Emma And The Outlaw - Linda Lael Miller

The cover attached to this review is for the original book, published in 1991. I read the 2014 reprint.

 

Emma Chalmers is a seven year old girl who, along with her two sisters Caroline and Lucy, are sent on the orphan train by their biological mother at the request of the mother's newest lover. Caroline is adopted first, leaving Emma and Lucy to continue on the train west. Emma is adopted by a woman who is hoping to get a free domestic servant for her household and possible sexual servant for her husband. Lucy continues on the train west. Emma is rescued at the train station by Chloe, a brother. and saloon owner who wanted a daughter and paid off the vile woman. Emma ends up in a nice home and has a good upbringing.

 

Chloe decides to open up a public lending library so Emma has a job after coming home from normal school (teachers' college). Even though Emma loves and defends Chloe, Emma also wants respectability. She feels her life is stained twice over with a biological mother who was weak for men and brandy and being the daughter of the local madam. Hence her courtship with Fulton Whitney, the banker; yet he leaves her cold. Emma hasn't given up on the dream of re-connecting with her sisters.

 

One day, a drunk decides to celebrate his birthday by bringing a stick of dynamite into another saloon and an explosion leaves many saloon patrons injured. One of those patrons is Steven Fairfax, a former Confederate soldier and an outlaw wanted in his home state of Louisiana. Chloe takes Steven into her home so that he can heal; Emma does nurse him back to health in between shifts at the library. There is a lot of lust from Steven's side already. A few days of nursing and they are having make out sessions. Steven decides to stay in Whitneyville and court Emma, Fulton be damned. Emma decides to play Steven against Fulton so she can be rid of both of them, but ends up falling for Steven.

 

Once the sex starts between Steven and Emma it doesn't stop. EVERY CHAPTER after Steven takes Emma's v-card in a field of daisies has at least one sex scene. Steven really likes Emma's breasts;  so much nipple sucking and licking. Seriously after a while, the sex scenes were just repetitive nonsense.

 

Macon, Steven's half-brother and technically the real villain (although Fulton gives that role a real shot), is searching for Steven so he can bring Steven back to New Orleans to stand trial for the murder of Dirk (Macon's bastard son) and Mary McCall (Dirk's lover who wanted Steven....it's complicated). Macon uses Emma to get to Steven; they travel back to New Orleans, more family secrets are discovered, Macon repeatedly promises that he will rape Emma over and over again after Steven is hanged for his crimes, Macon actually attempts to rape Emma while the rest of the family is at Steven's trial, Lucy (Macon's wife) mental illness....Old skool romance crazy sauce is HIGH in this book. Being a romance, the true killer is found, Steven is cleared of all charges, Emma has a baby, finds one of her sisters, and Macon takes off for Europe.

 

Daisy, the African-American cook and house cleaner that works in Chloe's household is the only POC character that is treated with respect. The Fairfax plantation owners treat it's household help as if blacks were still slaves. Emma is the only one to show any respect for the workers. A few black characters are physically described by their hair and size/whiteness of their teeth. The black servants of other households in New Orleans were also given a crappy hand; the one black servant to the McCall family goes home to her husband who is the epitome of black angry man and abuser. And then there is this gem, courtesy of Lucy Fairfax:

 

"Please tell Miss McCall that Mrs. Macon Fairfax and Mrs. Steven Fairfax have come to pay a visit," Lucy said in a business-like tone that belied her odd ways. "And kindly don't leave us standing out here in the midday sun while you dillydally."

The woman hurried away, and Lucy turned to Emma and confided "You must be firm with people of color. After being told what to do for so long, they can't always be trusted to reason for themselves." (pg. 305)

 

It was at that moment that the book became intimately acquainted with the wall opposite my reading chair. Reminder: this book was published in 1991.....not 1891. Memo to publishers/authors: before reprinting old romances, revise/update/edit the fuck out some shit that you got away with earlier, for modern readers are going to red flag that shit. Between the racism and the constant verbal rape threats/real sexual assaults by Macon and Fulton on Emma, I started to become sick and couldn't wait for the book to end (I was curious about the killer's identity).

 

Maybe it's just bad timing reading this book after the IRL events of the last couple of weeks, but the bitterness held by the Southern characters over the Civil War was the last thing that I needed. Not a book I can recommend.

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review 2017-08-14 13:32
Review: A Promise by Daylight by Alison DeLaine
A Promise by Daylight (Hqn) - Alison DeLaine

DNF at 35%

 

Reasons:

1. The heroine is doing a half-ass job of disguising herself as a man. No voice alteration, no alterations in movement, just clothes and a prosthetic penis that is way too big for her body or to be believable. The hero knew from the jump she wasn't a man because of the bulge.

 

2. The hero is a creep; he went into a secret room so he could watch the heroine take a bath in her dressing room.

 

3. Hero is Over The Top Rake - everything is sex with him and its at the point I think he has a sex addiction.

 

4. Heroine is hoping that indulging in his sex addiction, the hero would be heading back to Greece (his original destination, before the accident in Paris); the reason she took the job was that this was her free trip to Greece, where she could go to surgeon's school. Since the duke decided to return to England instead, she is hoping that a parade of women would improve his mood enough to head back to Greece so he can indulge more kinky stuff. Hero really likes his orgies. Heroine does not care about hero's health, she just wants a free ride and wages to pay for school.

 

5. Hero's man servants are pissed that the hero hasn't been up to his usual orgies and they haven't gotten any of his sloppy seconds or willing traveling maids of hero's visitors. The man servants (Harris and Sacks) are just gross, especially in their conversations with the heroine (who they think is a like-minded male).

 

6. All the female characters in this book are only mentioned in their purpose of satisfying the hero. There is the stereotype of Parisian and Spanish women being slutty and objectifying on a absurd level. The only woman character to come out as anything but a fuck toy is (OF COURSE) the English heroine.

 

7. It is set in Georgian England, but you wouldn't know that because there are NO period details whatsoever. I guess that would take away from the SEX! SEX! SEX! details.

 

Give this a hard pass.

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review 2017-08-13 22:55
Review: The Baby Barter by Patty Smith Hall
The Baby Barter (Love Inspired Historical) - Patty Smith Hall

I read one other book by this author and that was a DNF. I picked up this book during Harlequin's October sale, so that was prior to the DNF. I struggled at times to get through this book, but it was a decent inspirational romance.

 

Sheriff Mack Worthington is trying to handle the changing times in his small town of Marietta, Georgia while also trying to adopt a baby girl named Sarah. Sarah was born with a mouth deformity (read to me like it was a cleft palate). The changing nature of his small town was due to the war ending (sending GIs home) and the bomber plant cutting jobs (mostly women employees). The judge for the adoption is not looking favorably on Mack's lack of marriage prospects. Lucky for Mack, his high school friend/crush has come home from the war along with the GIs.

 

Thea was an Army nurse during the European campaign and is home only to help out her dysfunctional family. Thea left Marietta eight years ago (for nursing school, then the Army) and her presence has the whole town buzzing. Thea's goal is to find her recently deceased sister's baby and raise it as her own. Her high school friend/crush just so happens to be trying to adopt the baby.

 

There was a lot to like about this story. Mack and Thea had a history that was based on friendship and honesty. Thea was a capable nurse and had a wonderful bed side manner. Ms. Aurora Adair is an angel and the confident both Thea and Mack needed individually. She was my favorite character in the book. The pacing was slow in the first half of the book, but picked up when Thea agreed to a marriage of convenience to Mack.

 

There were some lackluster parts to the story. For one, all the answers to the question of Sarah's birth parents can be found in Ms. Williams' letter that neither Mack or Thea ever opened or read. That was the major plotline behind the stalled adoption and it was never resolved. Mack's cousins and his lawyer were cloying and annoying, especially Beau (Mack's conversations with Beau is what I struggled with). For a book that took place mere weeks after the end of WWII, there was hardly any world building or period details. The religious tone and actions/words from the characters felt very performative and shoe-horned in and not natural to the story or the characters.

 

I am glad I kept reading this book, but I don't think I want to read anything more from this author. I just wasn't "Wow"ed by the writing.

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