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review 2020-06-29 20:26
Review: Hometown Hero by Liza Kendall
Hometown Hero - Liza Kendall

Reviewed for Wit and Sin

 

A baseball star with a reckless streak meets his match with a nurse who can’t be swayed by his charm in Hometown Hero. Mia Adams cannot catch a break. She’s working multiple jobs to try to pay off the debt her scumbag ex left in her name before skipping town. She’s a nurse, takes care of so many with compassion and kindness, and has a side business she’s trying to expand on top of it all. She doesn’t have time for Ace’s attitude, but she definitely could use the money his team is paying her to be his babysitter. Andrew “Easy Ace” Braddock works hard and plays harder. But his luck and bad boy charm can’t get him out of the latest pickle he finds himself in. Injured and laying low in Silverlake while he heals, Ace basks in being the hometown hero at first, which makes him a bit hard to like. He’s overly impressed with himself and doesn’t see past his own nose more often than not, which is frustrating, especially when you see how hard his actions have been on Mia and his brother Declan. Fortunately, around the halfway point Ace has a breakthrough. I enjoyed watching him become a better man. He screws up – a lot – but when he does it in the second half of the book it comes from a good (if misguided) place. Ace has a lot of lessons to learn in Hometown Hero but once he starts to grow his journey is one worth reading.

Attraction sparks immediately between Mia and Ace, but that doesn’t mean the romance is an easy one. Mia is at the end of her rope and I wanted her to not only find love but find someone she can depend on, can lean on in the hard times. I liked that she didn’t just fall all over herself with Ace. Part of that is due to her own issues with him stemming from her father ignoring her and focusing on Ace, the son he never had, when they were growing up. Mia takes a lot of hits in this book that just tug on your heartstrings. But watching her find support and love with Ace just warmed my heart.

Hometown Hero is the third book in the Silverlake Ranch series, but it can be read as a standalone. I loved Mia’s friendship with the Braddock siblings and I enjoyed watching the strained relationship between Ace and his brother Declan start to heal. And speaking of the eldest Braddock… Man, I hope author duo Liza Kendall have a book in store for Declan. The often stoic rancher grabbed my heart in the first Silverlake Ranch book and hasn’t let go since. So while I finished Mia and Ace’s book a satisfied reader, I am seriously on the edge of my seat, hoping Declan gets a book.


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/2020/06/review-hometown-hero-by-liza-kendall.html
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review 2020-04-02 17:29
Review ~ Awesome!
A Bad Day for Sunshine - Darynda Jones

Book source ~ NetGalley

 

Sunshine Vicram is back where she grew up. Coming home again is not all sweet apple pie though. Sunshine has somehow been elected Sheriff of Del Sol, New Mexico. While she has no idea how that happened in her absence, she strongly suspect her parents are behind it. In any case, she has to take on the job to serve and protect. However, she’s failing on the protect front when a teenage girl goes missing and Sunshine suspects a kidnapper is on the loose. While organizing a manhunt she has to deal with a multitude of other wacky small town shenanigans. And cursed muffins. Who says you can’t go home again?

 

If you are a fan of the Charley Davidson series then look no further. This series has everything that is awesome about Charley. Well, except it only has a little of the paranormal stuff. Just a hint. But otherwise it’s all action, humor, and suspense. I love it. Sunshine is a great character, her daughter Auri is adorable, her parents are great, secondary characters shine, and there are a couple of hunky hunks for some bubbling sexual tension. Yum. Pick this one up then strap yourself in because you’re in for a fast and exciting twisty turny ride.

Source: imavoraciousreader.blogspot.com/2020/04/a-bad-day-for-sunshine.html
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review 2020-03-24 19:52
Review: Home with You by Liza Kendall
Home with You - Liza Kendall

Reviewed for Wit and Sin

 

I adored Liza Kendall’s first Silverlake Ranch book, Walk Me Home, so I couldn’t wait to see what the authors had in store for the billionaire Braddock brother, Everett. I eagerly dove into Home with You ready to fall in love with Rhett and Jules. The good news is, I did love Rhett. The bad news? I didn’t love his story or the woman he fell in love with.

To start things on a positive note, Rhett was far more endearing than I thought he’d be, given the way his siblings talked about him in the previous book. After the death of his parents, Rhett was forced to leave Silverlake and attend a boarding school in order to capitalize on his brilliant mind and set him up for success. Unfortunately no one ever asked Rhett what he wanted, which was to be at home with his remaining family and become a rodeo cowboy. Still, Rhett became a glowing success, a self-made billionaire who uses his wealth and status as armor. He’s smart, hardworking, and super sexy, but also quite vulnerable. It was easy to fall in love with Rhett. Is he perfect? No. But his mistakes come from an honest place of trying to do right by everyone, even if sometimes misunderstands what the right thing to do is.

One of the things Rhett does is return to Silverlake and buy Holt Stables as a favor to his best friend, Grady, and his family. Only no one told Julianna Holt, Grady’s sister and Rhett’s one night stand that went horribly wrong the morning after. Jules is furious that her dream of one day taking over the family business has been shattered, even though she’s guaranteed a lifetime job as manager. I understood why she was furious at first because her parents and brother treat her like a child and don’t listen to her ideas for the stables. The problem is, the longer the book went on the more I realized that maybe the Holt family treats Jules like a child because she acts like one. She’s selfish, rude, and can’t even be bothered to take care of basic things all other adults do, like buy necessities. I gave Jules a lot of leeway to begin with (1) because of her history with Rhett and (2) I don’t mind deeply flawed characters so long as they grow. To me, Jules never grew as a character. The only time she considered anyone other than herself was when her aunt advised her, but even that was problematic. Her aunt Sue has a terrible and tragic backstory that has made her cynical and though that’s completely understandable, Jules should be aware enough not to follow Sue’s advice. Honestly, Jules’s love of animals was pretty much her only redeeming quality.

The romance between Jules and Rhett is a struggle for me to believe. I don’t understand why he falls for her and there’s a plot twist you can see coming that was aggravating because it forces their hands rather than requiring them to act like adults and come together naturally. There was so much false drama and quite a bit of sexism coming from secondary characters that I grew frustrated. I hate to say it, but I finished Home with You feeling like Rhett would be better off without Jules. Perhaps if they had spent some actual time as a couple their love story would have been more believable. Instead, it felt like their happy ending was shoved in at the end in a rather tone-deaf way given the incredibly emotional, heartbreaking scene that preceded it.

Despite the fact that Home with You made me angry at some points, I’m still looking forward to reading more Silverlake Ranch novels. There were things I enjoyed about this book: Rhett repairing his relationship with his siblings, his love for his old horse that made me cry buckets, and I do like the authors’ writing. But this book simply wasn’t my cup of tea and I wish Rhett had been given a more satisfying love story.


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/2020/03/review-home-with-you-by-liza-kendall.html
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review 2020-03-05 00:40
Under the microscope
It Takes One - Kate Kessler

Continuing with the theme of 'murder murder murder' I picked up It Takes One by Kate Locke which is a psychological thriller taking place in a small rural town. (Looking at the descriptions of some of Locke's other books it seems like 'small town murder mystery' might be a specialty of hers.) Audrey Harte is a criminal psychologist who is frequently asked to lend her opinion on true crime shows where a professional analysis is required. Unbeknownst to her colleagues, she has a dark past that she's been trying to leave behind for years. You see Audrey murdered her best friend's father when they were kids and spent several years at a juvenile facility for violent girls. O_O So when she goes home for the first time in several years and a body turns up...you can imagine where the fingers start pointing. Now Audrey has to find the killer before either she's found guilty or dead. I will say that when you find out whodunit it is a SHOCK to say the least.

 

This is the first in a series featuring Audrey Harte as the main character but I think I've probably had my fill after reading this one. (She's not particularly likable if you want my opinion and the explicit sex scenes are not my cup of tea.) A surprising ending doesn't override the fact that I've read better psychological thrillers. 5/10

 

What's Up Next: The 7th Victim by Alan Jacobson

 

What I'm Currently Reading: Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo

 

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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review 2020-02-17 12:02
Creature horror with a nostalgic feel
Highway Twenty - Michael J. Moore

I write this review as a member of Rosie’s Book Review Team, and I freely chose to review an ARC copy of this novel.

This is the first book by this author I’ve read (no, he is not “the” Michael Moore we have all heard about), and I was attracted by the description and the genre. It reminded me of TV series and movies I’d enjoyed, and it delivered on its promise.

I think the description shares enough information for most readers to get a good sense of what the story is about. I guess readers of horror would classify it as “creature” horror, and as I read it, quite a number of titles, mostly of movies and TV series, came to my mind: The Invasion of the Body Snatchers, V, Slither, Star Trek’s The Borg, The Blob, and a novella I read a while back that I thoroughly enjoyed, Broken Shells. Although I love horror, the more I read in this genre, the more I realise I haven’t read yet, and I must admit not having read many in this subgenre, so I am not sure what its usual fans would think, or how original they would find it. As I said, for me it brought to mind some aspects of many movies and TV series I had watched, and it grabbed my attention and kept me reading. Is it scary? It’s creepy, and rather than making one jump or scream, imagining what it would be like to fall victim to these creatures is the stuff of nightmares and it will keep playing in one’s mind.

This book is pretty action driven, with short scenes that keep the story moving, and although like many stories about alien invasion they can be read in a variety of ways, and they seem to pick up on underlying fears (issues of identity, what is true and what is not, what makes us what we are, illnesses and epidemics, the end of the world…), the book does not delve too deep into any of those and it never makes openly acknowledges such connections, or veers into conspiracy theory terrain. It is just what it is, and that’s pretty refreshing.

Although the book follows a number of characters, the two main characters are Conor Mitchell —a man in his early twenties, who loves his car, enjoys his job as a mechanic, has a sort of girlfriend, some family issues, and does not appear to be hero material—, and Percly, the town’s homeless man, who sleeps in a disused train and does not bother anybody. The figure of the reluctant hero is a common trope in literature, and particularly prominent in American Literature, and these two are prime examples of it. They are thrown into a critical situation, and by a fluke of fate, both of them seem to be in a better position than most to fight the creatures. We learn more about them both as the story progresses, and they are fairly likeable, although, as I said, not standard heroes. We get snippets of other characters during the story, but due to the nature of the story, we don’t get a chance to learn much about them, and other than because many of them end up being victims of the events, we hardly have time to feel attached or even sorry for them.

The story is narrated in the third person, from alternating points of view. In fact, this is what most made me think of movies and TV series in this genre when I was reading this novel, because suddenly there would be a chapter where a new character would be introduced, and we would follow them for a while, learning how they feel about things, and perhaps thinking they would become a major player in the story, only for the rug to be pulled from under our feet. Yes, nobody is safe, and like in movies where a murderer picks at characters and kills them one by one, here although some of the characters keep “returning”, and we even peep into the minds of the creatures, we are not allowed to get comfortable in our seats. Readers need to be attentive, as the changes in point of view, although clearly marked, can be quite sudden. Ah, and I must admit the prologue is fantastic. For all the advice on writing books against including a prologue, Moore here clearly demonstrates that when used well, they can drag readers into the story, kicking and screaming, and keep them firmly hooked.

I’ve mentioned the short scenes and the cinematic style of writing. There are no long descriptions, and although there is plenty of creepy moments, and some explicit content, in my opinion the author plays more with the psychological aspects of fear, the fact that we don’t know who anybody is and what is real and what is not, and he is excellent at making readers share in the confusion of the main characters, and in their uncertainty about what to do next. Run, fight, hide? Although there is the odd moment of reflection, that allows readers to catch their breath a bit and also helps  fill in some background details about the characters, mostly the book moves at a fast pace, and it will keep lovers of the genre turning the pages.

The ending is particularly interesting. I enjoyed it, and it ends with a bang, as it should, but there is also an epilogue that puts things into perspective, and it works in two ways: on the one hand, it fills in the gaps for readers who prefer a closed ending with everything settled; on the other, it qualifies the ending of the story, putting an ambiguous twist on it. (And yes, I liked the epilogue as well).

All in all, this is an action book, with fairly solid characters who although are not by-the-book heroes are easy to warm to, with a somewhat disorienting and peculiar style of narration that enhances the effect of the story on the reader. I’d recommend it to those who love creature horror, and to people not too squeamish, who enjoy B-series movies, and who love to be kept on their toes. An author to watch.

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