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review 2018-11-26 18:00
Romantic Comedies Deserve Better
Dashing Through the Snow: A Christmas Novel - Debbie Macomber

Well at least this book counted toward something. Dash is ex-Army intelligence. He is also very stupid. So is Ashley. But that is neither here and there. Look I love romantic comedies. You know how many times I have watched "To All the Boys I've Loved Before?" I laughed and weeped my way through "Crazy Rich Asians" and "The Big Sick." This book tried so hard, and it just didn't work. 

 

Dashing Through the Snow has Dashiell Sutherland and Ashley Davison trying to fly out of San Francisco to get to Seattle. When Ashley is weirdly told that she can't get a flight, but Dash is being told he can, Ashley leaves in a huff talking about sexism and just because Dash is "eye-candy" doesn't mean he should get prioritized over her. Usually I would be all rah rah for the sister-hood but I loathed Ashley throughout this book. From there Ashley goes to a car rental place and runs into Dash again (they offered standby, he said no) and she is encouraged to rent a vehicle with him via the car rental agent. Why the hell a stranger would tell a woman on her own to get in a car with some dude she doesn't know baffled me. Eventually Ashley is forced though since she is 24, she can't legally rent a car to drive (which has never made any sense to me). Dash agrees to take her, though Ashley demands to speak to his mother first. Of course Ashley can't believe that Dash is not married and that is the first question she peppers his mother about and why doesn't he have a relationship.

 

GAHHHH!


Anyway, the story moves slowly and poorly from this plot point. I maybe screeched at one point that these two idiots didn't even think about taking a train from San Francisco to Seattle. Recall me saying that they are not that smart. 

 

Map from San Francisco, California to Seattle, Washington

 

Anyway Ashley acts butt-hurt that a total stranger doesn't want to talk about his personal life with a 24 year old woman (she acts 12) that he just met. And Ashley spends most of this disastrous road trip trying to get Dash to admit he is attracted to her and she's upset when he doesn't seem to be. This fool also decides to adopt a puppy when they get to a stop just because. The person trying to offload the puppy is a Vietnam vet, and it's weird that it was a thing in the book, but moving on. And frankly I was not on Ashley's side at all, because who does shit like this? 

 

GAH!

Things get worse when Macomber transitions over to two FBI agents who are hot on this duo's trial and I can't even with this whole story-line. One of the older agents has a case of I am older and wiser than you and denigrates the younger agent the whole time.

 

We also get a motorcycle gang that is just there that makes my head hurt. 

 

Ashley and Dash are chemistry rejects. They had no type of chemistry with each other. It didn't help that though I think Dash is 30, he is written to sound even older and Ashley acts like a hare-brain half the time. 


The writing was so-so and the flow was awful.

 

"By age thirty Larry and I had had both our children. These days kids don’t feel the need to make a commitment.”

Ashley lowered her voice. Really, this wasn’t any of her business, but she was curious. “He isn’t involved with anyone?”

 

Why is this any of her business? Seriously. Anyone?

 

“Well, I’m not, either.” Ashley bristled, refusing to admit she was disappointed. The men she met at school and the diner were often not worth the effort.

 

Yep, Ashley is angry that Dash isn't attracted to her. We go back to this a billion times in this book. 

 

“You named your dog Pickles?”

She brightened. “Cute, isn’t it?” She didn’t mention that she’d been the one to choose his name.

He shook his head. “It’s ridiculous. Poor dog probably died of embarrassment.”

That was a nasty thing to tell someone who just told you their family dog died. Gah. 

 

Dash hadn’t been any better.

The bottom line, she realized, was that she’d wanted Dash to like her, to enjoy her company because she’d enjoyed his.

She took it personally that he hadn’t felt the same way about her.

Like I said, she's 12. 

 

When the FBI eventually catches up to them, the whole book just stops and we had a FBI agent asking Dash is he in love with Ashley and keeps pressing the point and I felt embarrassed for this mythical character.


The setting of the book moves around a lot, though Seattle ends up being the final destination. No place really sounded real though. Most of the book is just terrible dialogue between Ashley and Dash, the two FBI agents, and jumps back and forth.

The ending was hilarious (to me) and not in a good way. 

 

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review 2018-09-28 11:00
Blog Tour with Excerpt & Review! Taking Control: Rick's Story (Love In Control #2) Morgan Malone!

 

 

About the Book:

 

Title: TAKING CONTROL: RICK’S STORY
Author: Morgan Malone
Publisher: Independent
Pages: 170
Genre: Contemporary Romance

 

 

BOOK BLURB:


Summer on the Jersey Shore and all Rick Sheridan wants is some solitude at his beach house. Then he spots a lean, leggy blonde coming out of the surf and his plans are shot to hell. And the dangerous looking knife strapped to her arm tells him this is no damsel in distress. As a not-so retired Marine, at 51, Rick’s learned that nothing is for certain, plans can spin out of control and shit happens.

 

Wounded and weary from one too many wars, Britt Capshaw thought a summer at the Shore, hanging out in her family’s beach cottage, would help her heal. And figure out what to do with the rest of her life. Out of the military, disillusioned and distrustful of any two-legged male, Britt’s one love is Alex, the yellow Labrador retriever she rescued from Afghanistan.

 

Rick and Britt are immediately attracted to one another, but after years in combat, they are wary of letting down their guard, of giving up control. The summer heats up and fireworks are flying between them even after the Fourth of July. But, ghosts from their pasts haunt them and finally bring them face to face with some dark secrets that may destroy the fragile trust they’ve built.

 

Can Britt trust Rick with her dangerous past? Will Rick be able to let go of the rigid control he needs to keep Britt and himself safe from more heartbreak? These two brave souls fight against surrendering their hearts and finally finding love. Who will win?

 

 

Scars from the past play a big part is heartwarming contemporary romance with strong, compelling characters that grabs readers’ attention and ensures that they want to know the story and as they get to know the story, the readers can’t help but admire them for the past, their courage and their strength. The relationship between Rick and Britt is sweet but full of emotional turmoil that tugs at heartstrings and a past full of strength, courage and some dark turbulence due to their time in the service that that adds to the heart jerking emotional atmosphere of the story, while the chemistry between the two is undeniable these issues have them holding back from each other. Readers can’t help but become caught up in the story as Rick and Britt both try to overcome the past that haunts them and they face dark secrets that threatens destroy the fragile trust between them. The plot is steady paced with an adorable dog that helps this couple reach for their happily ever after.

 

 


Add to your shelves at –

 

Goodreads - https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/40590496-taking-control

 

BookBub - https://www.bookbub.com/books/taking-control-rick-s-story-by-morgan-malone

 

 

Taking Control: Rick’s Story is the 2nd book in the Love in Control series –

 

Amazon - https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07DXZ4XQQ?ref=series_rw_dp_labf

 

 

which includes –


1 Out of Control: Kat's Story

 

 

AVAILABLE in print or ebook at

 

Amazon – https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07FG9LSQ9/ref=series_rw_dp_sw

 

B&N - https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/taking-control-morgan-malone/1128935792?ean=9781717351449

 

Kobo - https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/taking-control-rick-s-story

 

iBooks - https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/taking-control-ricks-story/id1400572588?_bbid=10184597&mt=11

 

 

He stood before the French doors to the deck, with a large mug of steaming black brew cradled in his hands, letting its warmth take away some of the chill that had surrounded him for the last several months. I’m freezing. And it’s not the air-conditioning. It’s my damn frozen heart. Rick pushed the doors open, letting the heat of the sun and the smell of the ocean sweep into his house. He stepped outside, breathing deep, relaxing just a little. Yeah. This is what I need. A summer at the Shore, a few projects, and plenty of quiet—then I’ll be back to my old self. Chuckling as he mentally reminded himself of just how “old” his self was, Rick raised the cup to take a long sip of coffee.


He saw the figure emerging from the waves almost directly in front of his cottage at the same moment he heard the loud barking of a nearby dog.

 

What the hell?
She was a modern-day Botticelli’s Venus, with the waves foaming around her legs. Long, long legs, lean and tan, disappeared into a bright blue bikini bottom, just visible under the blue and white swim T-shirt that covered a long, muscular torso. Her arms were raised, her hands brushed back sodden strands of platinum blond hair. A swim mask dangled from her left elbow, dropping down into her hand as she lowered her arms. When she stepped from the surf, the woman gave an all-over body shake, drops of ocean water flying off her, glistening for an instant like diamonds in the early morning sun. Then she dropped to her knees so suddenly that Rick lurched forward, splashing coffee as he looked down for a place to leave the heavy mug before he rushed to her aid.

 

He needn’t have bothered. From the deck of the cottage to his left, a huge yellow dog was bounding down the wooden stairs two at a time in a mad dash to the woman. She stretched out her arms to the animal just before the happy hound collided into her, rolling her into the sand. The woman’s laugh floated on the ocean breeze. Rick straightened, still grasping his cup of coffee and stepped back into the shadows cast over his deck by the second-floor balcony. From his vantage point, he watched the woman ruffle the dog’s fur, the animal prancing and shaking in spasms of pure pleasure. When had he ever experienced such unfettered joy? Rick couldn’t remember. A long, long time ago…maybe.

 

Who was she? The owners of the cottage next door were an older couple who spent half the year in Florida and half the year on the Shore. Could she be a granddaughter or niece? Or had the couple decided to rent this year? Rick made a mental note to contact his property manager who handled many of the shore homes and make inquiries. He had not planned on having to deal with a stranger; he just wanted some peace and quiet.


The woman and dog were walking up from the water’s edge. Rick eased toward the open doors of his living room, thinking to disappear into the shadows. He just didn’t feel like an early morning encounter with anyone, certainly not the mermaid with those incredible legs who was ambling slowly in his general direction. He stopped suddenly when something caught the corner of his eye. A glint of sunlight on metal. He reached for his pistol, but his waistband was empty. Damn. What is that woman doing with a diving knife strapped to her right bicep? Who the hell is she?

 


ABOUT MORGAN MALONE

Morgan Malone is the pen name of a retired lawyer who turned in her judicial robes to write romantic memoir and sexy contemporary romance, which always features silver foxes and the independent women who tame them.

 

Morgan fell in love with romantic heroes after reading her mother’s first edition of “Gone with the Wind” when she was 12 years old. Rhett Butler became the standard by which she measured all men. Some have met the mark, most have failed to even come close and one or two surpassed even Rhett’s dark and dangerous allure.

 

Morgan lives near Saratoga Springs, NY with her beloved chocolate Lab. She can be found on occasion drinking margaritas and dancing at local hostelries, but look for her most often in independent book stores and the library, searching for her next great love in tales of romance, history, adventure and lust. When she can’t find the perfect man, she retreats to her upstairs office and creates him, body and soul, for her pleasure and for yours. Remember: love, like wine, gets better with age.

 

Her recent novel is the contemporary romance, Taking Control: Rick’s Story.

 

 

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:

 

Website - http://morganmaloneauthor.com/

 

Twitter – https://twitter.com/mmaloneauthor

 

Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/MorganMaloneAuthor/?ref=aynt_homepage_panel

 

 

 

 

 

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review 2018-07-12 04:06
The Soldier's Scoundrel (The Turner Series #1) (Audiobook)
The Soldier's Scoundrel - Cat Sebastian

Story: 3.5 stars

Narration: 5 stars

Overall rating: 4.25 stars, rounded down

 

That cover looks like it belongs in a gay Halloween magazine, and it's the main reason I avoided this book for so long, despite everyone telling me that the story hiding beneath that hideously cheesy cover is actually good. And now I can join their number and say that the story is actually really quite good. Brilliant even, and if it were for a couple of my pet peeves that appear here, it would have gotten a higher rating.

 

So let's get the pet peeves out of the way first:

 

~Smexy times after an injury. *sigh* I just went through this with the last book. At least it was more realistic here, being "just" a flesh wound. 

~Gay-okay history. Like many an M/M historical romance, they want all the modern conventions like HEAs but don't want to put up with things like taboos. There is some consideration given to the fact that sodomy was a crime in these days, but that sure didn't stop Jack and Oliver from being reckless at times. But more than that, I would expect more of the side characters to have a more negative reaction to their relationship than they do. Look, people have a hard enough time finding that kind of positive reception in today's world, much less the 1800s. Is it too much to ask for more realistic reactions, even if they would be depressing as hell?

~The term "dating" wasn't coined until 1898 in America. Pretty sure a noblewoman of the early 1800s in London wouldn't be using the term. She would say courting. That one little word really threw me out of the book.

 

Those matters aside, I really enjoyed how Sherlockian this was. Nearly 99% of the mysteries out there involve murder from the get-go - even all those Sherlock knockoffs. But there are just way more mysteries to solve out there than that, and this story has a classic case of stolen letters kept by a married lady from her one-time suitor. 

Why would she have her own letters though? If she mentioned why or how she got them back from her former suitor at some point in the story, I missed it.

(spoiler show)

 

Jack Turner is a rogue, street tough and no-nonsense. He helps women who have no one else to help them (so long as they can afford to pay), and he'll do so by any means necessary, though he does have his limits. He has no time for stuffy aristocrats. Oliver Riverton is the youngest son of an earl just returned from war and desperate for the ordered life of society after the chaos and destruction he witnessed during the war. When he finds out his sister had paid Jack for a job, he's determined to make sure his sister hadn't been taken in by a charlatan. Instead, he gets entangled in Jack's world, in more ways than one.

 

Jack and Oliver are perfectly matched and I enjoyed watching them circle each other as they got to know one another. Lust was pretty immediate, but they don't fall into each other's arms right away. Trust needs to be built, and they need to start seeing each other as people instead of just assumptions based on class, or lack thereof. Jack's determination to keep the upper hand and constantly failing to do so was amusing, and Oliver is just naive enough to be charming but savvy enough to not be annoying, which is not an easy combination to achieve. They've grown up in different worlds that have different laws that govern them, and they actually learn from each other how to see the world in different ways.

 

Gary Furlong, who does the narration, did a fabulous job. He managed to convey the POV switches with ease and kept the MCs voices distinct from each other. I could visualize the story just as easily listening to him as I could have if I'd read it myself. He even managed to make some of the sex scenes fun - though I still thought there were a few too many of those. 

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review 2018-03-03 22:05
Whistling in the Dark (Audiobook)
Whistling in the Dark - Tamara Allen

This is true Tamara Allen sweetness here: a quiet little story full of hope in a bleak time.

 

Sutton and Jack are WWI veterans trying to figure out how to get back into civilian life after the war. Jack runs an emporium which is struggling because of the economic times. He's also suffering from PTSD, unable to sleep most nights. Sutton suffered a hand injury that has prevented him from getting back to playing the piano, and he's running out of ways to make it on his own in NYC.

 

I really liked the way Ms. Allen took her time with this story and building up these characters and their relationship, so that while this is another one-month romance, it didn't feel rushed at all, and it actually felt like a lot more time had passed. She really pays attention to the details, like the "treatments" for PTSD and the "health advice" for influenza, and makes sure the characters feel like they're from the time period. Normally, when this many side characters are tolerable of Jack and Sutton's relationship, I'd bemoan "gay okay" revisionist history in M/M, but Ms. Allen never loses sight of the consequences, not just of the general public but of the law as well, if the wrong people find out or decide to spread the word. Plus, it's New York, where almost anything goes. There's also a variety of different ways that the characters react to it when they find out, so they're not exactly 100% on the Rainbow Train even when their responses are mostly positive.

 

I also liked that Sutton wasn't the wide-eyed country boy, and that Jack wasn't the "corrupting" influence his friends teased him as being. Though they'd both served in the army, they didn't come out of it tough-as-nails warriors like you see so much of in contemporary stories. You can see the weariness on them both, and Jack especially had a hard time forgetting the things he saw or the people who died so he could do his work. They were tired of fighting and eager to put it behind them.

 

The narrator, Meral Mathews, has a nice old-timey quality to his voice that suits the story. I do wish he'd made more of a distinction between the various voices, but I was still always able to keep track of who was speaking and which POV we were in.

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review 2018-02-21 04:31
Hero Dad by Melinda Hardin
Hero Dad - Melinda Hardin,Bryan Langdo

Hero Dad by Melinda Hardin is a lighthearted yet meaningful children's book. This book highlights the heroic characteristics of a soldier from the perspective of a child and does an excellent job of highlighting their duties as a soldier. It is child friendly while still being informative. The illustrations do an excellent job of showing the meaning behind the text for readers who may not understand the vocabulary.

 

I would use this book in class when students are learning about descriptive words or even when discussing occupations. This book could also be used during a lesson discussing the military around Veteran's Day.

 

Lexile Measure: AD610L

 
 
 
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