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review 2020-11-06 21:30
Killer Wedding (Madeline Bean, #3)
Killer Wedding - Jerrilyn Farmer

I love this book, it holds up so well to re-reading.  Part of what makes the story so fascinating is what the author shares in her acknowledgements at the start of the book.  A chance meeting with a fascinating gentleman in a crammed hotel breakfast room, and the background of this book is born.

 

Maddie and friends are temporarily shut down while they battle a non-compete clause being upheld by the company that bought out their now defunct catering business.  The premiere wedding planner in LA wants out and thinks if she acts like Maddie is buying her out, then Maddie actually will.  All of this culminates in Maddie and co. being invited to a wedding at the Natural History Museum, where she finds a dead body draped over the main dinosaur display.  Trying to be nice and lend a helping hand to the deceased's family, she stumbles on an amazing story involving smuggling and a fabulous treasure, of sorts.

 

What also makes this a great story is that it was written at a time when a cozy could be a cozy without being so far up its own prudish backside that it doubled as a See Jane Run story for children.  Sex scenes are modest, but the author isn't afraid to use f bombs judiciously and where they're most effective.  This book's characters read like they could be real people in the real world, and they're the kind you'd see yourself liking.

It's nice to see an old favorite can remain a favorite after 20 years.

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review 2020-11-04 21:16
Immaculate Reception (Madeline Bean, #2)
Immaculate Reception - Jerrilyn Farmer

I read this book when it first came out over 20 years ago, and I loved it.  I've re-read it since a couple of times, but never after I started writing my thoughts down, so I picked it up again this week and I have to say it ages perfectly.  Farmer was a talented writer who wrote great mysteries and very real characters you'd be happy to call friends.

 

Immaculate Reception is the re-imagining of the very real happenings of the Catholic church in the 1930's, specifically a document called Humani generis unitas (On the Unity of the Human Race).  This document was a draft for an encyclical planned by Pope Pius XI before his death on February 10, 1939. It condemned antisemitism, racism and the persecution of Jews. Because it was never issued, it is sometimes referred to as "The Hidden Encyclical" or "The Lost Encyclical."  Farmer also ties some Nazi stolen treasure stories into the mix for a breathtaking ending.  This might all sound over the top and Indiana Jones, but it's definitely not.  But it's a great story that can leave invested readers questioning the line between heroism and villainism.   It's also - in between all that - a fun, lighthearted book.

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review 2020-06-24 15:30
A New Life (West Meets East #1) by Merry Farmer
A New Life (West Meets East) (Volume 1) - Merry Farmer

Title: A New Life

Series: West Meets East #1

Author: Merry Farmer

Publisher: Self-Published

Published Date: July 14, 2017

Format: E-book

Page Count: 92 pages

Source: Own copy

Date Read: May 25-26, 2020

 

Review

 

Millie Horner is a Old West saloon girl who gets the chance to move to England (Cornwall) and get a job as a junior maid for the estate known as Starcross Castle. There she meets Own Llewellyn, a footman with dreams of becoming a foreman on a mining crew. They fall in lustful love pretty damn quickly, but the book was only 92 pages long. There are some obstacles, namely the Lord of the castle's nephew (and heir) and the senior maid Jane. The baddies are stereotypical in their actions and words; there is no depth there. The "love" between Owen and Millie is pretty superficial, but the way the head butler and head maid help the lovebirds make their way. I will say Owen was a fine, if bland hero; Millie cried at the drop of a hat and needed to grow a damn spine - she was a constant damsel in distress looking for someone else to solve her problems. 

 

I was not convinced that this series is for me and I am not interested in the spin-off/ interconnected series that come from this first book. 

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review 2020-05-25 15:01
Smith of Wootton Major / Farmer Giles of Ham ★★★★★
Smith of Wootton Major / Farmer Giles of Ham - J.R.R. Tolkien

I admit I'm biased, but I loved these two short stories as much now as I did when I was a little kid just discovering Tolkien. I feel as though they represent both his love of the heroic and the mysteriously romantic nature seen in LotR, but also his affectionately scathing take on human nature seen in The Hobbit. With SoWM illustrating the first and FGoH the second. I think these would be a good intro to Tolkien for anyone hesitant to make the larger commitment to his novels. 

 

Paperback version, found at my public library's Friends of the Library sale. 

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review 2020-04-30 03:01
Take a Pass on Haskell
Howard Haskell Takes a Bride - Merry Farmer

Title: Howard Haskell Takes a Bride

Series: The Brides of Paradise Ranch #0.5

Author: Merry Farmer

Publish Date: July 20, 2016

Publisher: Self Published

Format: Kindle

Page Count: 91 pages

Source: Kindle store, personal copy

Date Read: February 2-14, 2020

 

Review

A waste of time and effort, both on my side and the author's side. Seriously this is a contemporary erotic romance crudely and sloppily disguised as a historical novella. Even the cover is way too contemporary. Everything about this novella annoyed me - the characterizations were so shallow, you didn't want to jump into the pool for fear of hitting your head; the plot was so thin I wondered why the author bothered with having one at all. 

 

Elizabeth is the spoiled brat of wealthy Cincinnati high society parents who wants adventure on the frontier and keep her money at the same time. Her parents were pushing her to accept and move forward with an engagement to one of her father's young business associate. This young associate gave a big whiff of being possibly gay, so yet another historical romance with an evil, possibly gay boyfriend coming in between the hero and heroine - I do not like this trend at all. 

 

Elizabeth meets her "hero" Howard Haskell at a ball. There is a crap ton of telling about how physically attracted the two are to each other and how they found their one. This goes on for pages. One dance and then more monologuing about how attracted they are to one another. Howard is a blowhard egotistical ass, but honestly, Elizabeth is no prize either so I could see them having a HEA - for the rest of us not having to be in a relationship with either of them. There is a ton of sex scenes, mostly the outdoorsy type. There is a ridiculous foot race between bad boyfriend and hero to prove who was more worthy of Elizabeth's hand in marriage *eye roll*

 

There is no connection between this novella and the series it supposedly was the prequel for. So there is no reason to read this story to complete the series; there is no reason to read this dreck at all.

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