2018 Book #69 – BuzzBooks 2018 Romance Sampler

51qDFDwEZCLTitle: BuzzBooks 2018 Romance Sampler
Author: Various – see below
Date finished: 8/12/18
Genre: Romance
Publisher: Various
Publication Date: July 12 , 2018
Pages in book: 241
Where I got the book from: NetGalley
NOTE: I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. I finished this book for ARC August 2018! Love this reading challenge. And this year I’m especially excited because as part of the challenge they added one of my favorite things, reading Bingo! This book will be checking off my “FREE! Happy ARC August” box.

These are the samples that are included in the BuzzBooks Romance collection – each excerpt I’ve scored on a scale of 1-5 on my interest in reading the whole book:

  1. Time Bridge: Cassie by Annie Becker (Oct 16, 2018) – The book summary sounded a little dark, but the time travel aspect was interesting. The book reminded me a lot of books I’ve read in the past by John A. Heldt. Score: 3.5
  2. Tempt Me with Diamonds by Jane Feather (Jan 29, 2019) – I don’t particularly like the race horse aspect that seemed to be a part of the book’s plot. Also the heroine sounds kind of drama-loving, it didn’t sound like it was for me but who knows based off of two chapters. Score: 1.75
  3. Unchained by Helen Hardt (Blood Bond Saga Book 1) (Oct 2, 2018) – Sounded pretty interesting, maybe a little cliched (vamp falls in love with a human) but the characters sounded good. Score: 3.75
  4. The Memory House by Rachel Hauck (April 2, 2019) – I liked the puppy and the mystery baby, story peaked my interest a good amount. Score: 4.25
  5. On Magnolia Lane by Denise Hunter (Last book in the Blue Ridge Romance series) (Nov 6, 2018) – I didn’t find anything in the excerpt overly intriguing, it was ok but didn’t seem exciting. Score: 2.5
  6. As Good as the First Time by K.M. Jackson (Sugar Lake novel) (Oct 30, 2018) – This one sounded interesting, I was eager to learn about what had happened to Clayton and his previous relationship. Score: 4.0
  7. In a Badger Way by Shelly Laurenston (March 26, 2019) – I’ve never been a huge fan of the whole shifter thing. Also there were just so many characters within th efirst two chapters I couldn’t keep everything straight. Score: 1.0
  8. Intercepted by Alexa Martin (Sept 11, 2018) – I got pretty hooked in the story, I’m interested to see what happens with Marlee (even though see was acting a little like a doormat). Score: 4.25
  9. The Sweetest Thing by Judith McNaught (Oct 23, 2018) – First couple chapters seemed pretty cheesy but I’d be interested to hear more about what the TV show was about. Score: 2.75
  10. Their Perfect Melody (Matched to Perfection) by Priscilla Oliveras (Nov 27, 2018) – Seemed ok. Nothing overly thrilling in the first couple chapters. Score: 2.5
  11. Ignite by Angel Payne (Volume 2 – Parts 4-6) (July 31, 2018) – This seemed super interesting, I’ve never read a romance novel with a super hero before. The first couple chapters of this were interesting and steamy. Score: 4.0
  12. The Rancher by Kate Pearce (Nov 27, 2018) – It sounded ok but there were a LOT of characters introduced in the first couple chapters, I could barely keep it straight. It probably would’ve been easier if I had read the previous books. THe characters sounded interesting though. Score: 3.0
  13. Say You’re Sorry by Karen Rose (Feb 12, 2019) – LOVE the involvement of the cult aspect, that always gets me interested. This one sounded like it would be really interesting! Score: 4.5
  14. Solace Island Island by Meg Tilly (Nov 6, 2018)  – I loved how fierce the main character was, she had so much spark! And I loved that she gave her ex what he had coming to him, the first couple chapters really had me hooked. Score: 4.25

 

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2017 Book #96 – Deja New by MaryJanice Davidson

517ZtT8pyKLTitle: Deja New
Author: MaryJanice Davidson
Date finished: 11/29/17
Genre: Fiction, fantasy
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: November 7, 2017
Pages in book: 320
Stand alone or series: #2 in the Insighters series
Where I got the book from: NetGalley NOTE: I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

Leah Nazir lives in a world where the past can and will come back to bite you in the ass. No, not teething ghosts—reincarnation! As an Insighter, it’s Leah’s job to delve into the murky and (often) deadly former lives of her patients. And she knows a thing or two about danger after killing her mother’s murderer with the help of new beau, Archer Drake.

Isn’t he the best?

Now, it’s time to take their relationship to the next level, but not in any way Leah could have predicted. She and Archer head to Chicago to meet his parents—and try to figure out why Archer’s dad killed his brother decades ago. When someone tries to sabotage their investigation, Leah must decide if the Drake family past is a deal breaker…

My rating:  4.0 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. This book continues the story of Leah Nazir and Archer Drake, whose relationship began in the last book in the series, Deja Who. It’s hard to pin down exactly but it sounds like this book picks up a few months to a year after the last book left off. Leah and Archer are visiting Archer’s family, hoping that Leah’s Insighter ability will be  what makes the difference in solving a years old mystery: why Archer’s father (Dennis) killed his brother (Donald – Archer’s uncle). Angela Drake is Archer’s cousin and is thrilled that he’s bringing Leah home to meet the family. An Insighter herself (but with far less strength to her abilities than Leah’s) Angela is having a bit of celebrity shock over meeting one of her heroes. It’s this and the new detective on the case, Jason Chambers, that Angela hopes will finally help settle the family’s questions once and for all. But Dennis does not want to cooperate. He’s serving what he feels is a just sentence and has no interest in being freed. The family is quite convinced that he didn’t kill his brother though, so why is he so determined to stay in jail? And why is Angela’s mom been a ghost ever since that fateful day so many years ago?

Overall I liked this book a good amount. Similar to the last book in the series this book has a really creative plot, and this book has a great twist ending! Also similar to the last book, the conversations can get a bit confusing since they’re so fast paced and there’s usually multiple people involved. But that’s part of the charm of the book, I think, is that there is so much going on in it. And the characters are all really funny too, and the situations they all get into are pretty comical as well. I liked that we got to hear more about Leah and Archer, while also seeing a relationship develop between Angela and Jason in this book. I thought this was a great continuation of the story line and I love meeting the different members of the Drake family. I would be interested to see what happens with Leah and Archer’s situation in the future or to hear more about one of the brothers/cousins, I hope for the possibility of more books in the series! I’d recommend giving this one too try, it’s fun and light and I think very interesting.

The bottom line: I liked this book a lot, it was funny and fast-paced and has a very interesting plot. I would recommend giving this one a try!

Link to author website

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

2014 – Book #102

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The hundred and second book I read in 2014 was Blood Magick by Nora Roberts. This is the third book in her Cousins O’Dwyer trilogy. I read the first book in 2013 and it is therefore not on this blog yet, the second book I read in 2014 and you can see the review here. I finished this book on 11/16/14. I rated this book 3.25 stars out of a scale of 5. This book tells the story of Branna O’Dwyer and Finbar Burke. Branna is the last of the three Dark Witches of Mayo. She has been in love with Finbar Burke since she was young but after they had sex for the first time when they were eighteen Fin woke up one morning with the mark of Cabhan.

Ever since that day, Fin has remained in Branna’s life but they haven’t been together as they both longed to be. In the previous two books we hear the story of Iona, Branna’s cousin from America, and Connor, Branna’s brother. We hear much of Branna and Fin’s back story through the first two books but we learn about some interesting developments in this third book in the trilogy. To be honest I thought it was a little weird that all of a sudden in this book Branna trusts Fin and decides to have a slumber party with him after all the inner turmoil she put herself through in the first two books.

Overall I thought this was an ok book. The ending went a little fast for me. It was a three book build up to this ending that was only about 10 pages, it just felt a little anticlimactic. It may have also been that i was looking forward to the book so much that I psyched myself up for it a bit too much. I did a WOW post on this book previously, which you can see here. And also I had trouble getting emotionally involved in the story, I didn’t feel like the characters had a lot of depth to them. Other than that it was a good read and I love the magical twist and also the glimpses into and connection with the past and the first three Dark Witches.

Link to author website: http://www.noraroberts.com/

Link to Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Blood-Magick-Cousins-ODwyer-Roberts/dp/0425259870/ref=tmm_pap_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1416355039&sr=8-1

2014 – Book #100

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The hundredth book I read in 2014 was Long Time Coming by Edie Claire. This book was recommended to me by my cousin, Stephanie Gorman. I finished this book on 11/9/14. This was the first book I’ve read by this author. I rated this book 3.5 stars out of a scale of 5. This book tells the story of Joy Hudson, who after 18 years away returns home to Wharton, Kentucky to care for her father and mother, both of which are not in the best of health anymore. Joy left home a long time ago and never looked back, too scarred by traumatic events that occurred at the end of her senior year to think of Wharton as home.

When Joy returns to Wharton though she is forced to face a variety of issues that she had up until then successfully avoided. Like why she feels so guilty about her best friend’s death in high school. And why she’s scared of Jeff Bradford (her best friend’s high school boyfriend) and how he makes her feel, even now eighteen years later.

Overall I did enjoy this book. I was interested in the story line and liked the mixture of paranormal and suspense in the plot. I thought that the characters could’ve been developed a tad bit more and had more depth. As much as we delved into Joy’s psyche I found her character to be a bit flat I guess. Other than that I liked the story well enough. Though I wouldn’t consider it one of my favorites, it was interesting and also free on Amazon Kindle!

Link to author website: http://www.edieclaire.com/

Link to Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Long-Time-Coming-Edie-Claire-ebook/dp/B004RJ7Y8Q/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1415646021&sr=8-1&keywords=long+time+coming

2014 – Book #86

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The eighty-sixth book I read in 2014 was The Hot Zone by Jayne Castle. This is the fifteenth book in her Harmony series and the third book in her Rainshadow series. I finished this book on 9/27/14. I rated this book 3.5 stars out of a scale of 5. This book is about Sedona Snow (descendant of Arizona Snow from one of Jayne Ann Krentz’s earlier novels) who was the victim of kidnapping and a subsequent awful medical experiment. After she escapes the mad scientist’s lab in the catacombs, she retreats to the island of Rainshadow to try and start over.

Cyrus Jones is the new Guild boss of the newly formed ghost hunter Guild on Rainshadow. While he is exciting to take on this new challenge, he is also there to check up on Sedona Snow. Jones is also a member of the Jones from the Arcane society. Cyrus was sent by Arcane to see if the “formula” worked on Sedona and she has developed some kind of second talent as her ancestor had also done. Multi-talents can sometimes become unstable and dangerous but Cyrus finds Sedona to be not only stable but extremely intriguing.

There’s a lot of other stuff going on in this story, all of which adds to the intrigue of the plot. I do have to say though that if you haven’t read the other Harmony books (or at least one) then this novel might be kind of hard to understand. Harmony is another planet. Apparently at some point in the future a “curtain” will open up between Earth and Harmony. Some people traveled over to Harmony to colonize it and then all of a sudden the curtain closes. The colonists on Harmony are stranded and all of a sudden when the curtain closes all their technology stops working. Also after living on Harmony for awhile amongst the Alien’s psi-strong tunnels, all the citizens of Harmony start to develop natural powers. Most citizens have low-level powers and all citizens need tuned amber to rez their talents, but Sedona and Cyrus are off the charts talents.

Overall I thought this was a really good book. I like this series a lot because its creative and interesting and completely out of the box. Who would ever think of this other planet where everyone has powers and there are underground tunnels that you get lost in unless you have tuned amber on you? Crazy. I would never think of that on my own. So, good book. Nothing outstandingly exciting but overall solid plot, well-paced, and interesting.

Link to author website: http://www.krentz-quick.com/

Link to Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Hot-Zone-Rainshadow-Jayne-Castle/dp/0515154725/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1411829348&sr=8-2&keywords=hot+zone

2014 – Book #37

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The thirty-seventh book I read in 2014 was The Midnight Witch by Paula Brackston. I finished this book on 5/9/14 and it was the first book I’ve read by this author. I rated this book 2.5 stars out of a scale of 5. This is the story of a necromancer witch, Lady Lilith, set in London in the early 1900’s. She falls in love with a young artist, Bram. Together they are faced with what seem to be insurmountable obstacles that get in the way of their love.

This was a hard read for me. There was a lot of very lengthy descriptions that weren’t necessary to set scene. Also the story randomly jumped forward years at a time twice towards the end of the book. And the narration was constantly jumping from Lilith’s point of view in the 1st person and Bram and various other points of view in the 3rd person. Between all of this the story was honestly a little hard to follow. The plot line itself was interesting and could’ve resulted in a much better story I think. Of course there were some parts of the story that I didn’t like. Lilith is described as having such a strength of will and character and she twice defied the creed of the Lazarus Coven. I just found that surprising and couldn’t reconcile these facts.

I considered giving up halfway through this book. At that point I knew there was very little possibility that I would end up loving this book. I decided to finish it to see what happened and how it ended. I have to say that I am glad I finished it because the 2nd half of the book was slightly better than the first. However, the first half of the book was not what I would call fantastic so it would’ve been hard not to have it improve. I just had so much trouble being drawn into the story. I couldn’t get involved in the characters or what drove them. And there are so many loose ends and unresolved issues. Violet is lost to the Darkness in the beginning of the book and is never recovered. Lilith’s dad isn’t heard from at all in the second half of the book. I feel like the soup kitchen and the nuns were important to the story but they were mentioned so little that I had trouble understanding. I feel like there could’ve been more development of the relationship between Lilith and the nuns through conversations and what not. And pieces of the story were so dark. And (**SPOILER ALERT**) at the end Lilith comes back to life and then her and Bram live happily ever after? Even though she’s living in a dead body now and will have to drink the Elixir regularly for the rest of her life.

Overall I was just disappointed with this book. It was definitely not one of my favorites. I read on Amazon that other people were disappointed with this book and said her other two books were much better. I might try one of her other books in the future to see for myself but I’m not sure I can risk it just yet.

Link to author website: http://www.paulabrackston.com/

Link to Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Midnight-Witch-Paula-Brackston-ebook/dp/B00FCR3QUC/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1399690241&sr=8-1&keywords=midnight+witch

2014 – Book #31

 

ShadowSpell

The thirty-first book I read in 2014 was Shadow Spell by Nora Roberts. This is the second book in the Cousins O’Dwyer trilogy, I read the first in 2013. I finished this book on 4/28/14. I rated this book 4 stars out of a scale of 5. This book tells the story of Connor O’Dwyer and his lifelong friend Meara Quinn.

As the cousins O’Dwyer and their friends recover from their last battle with the evil Cabhan and try to plan for their next attack, Connor finds himself attracted to his sister’s lifelong friend Meara. But Meara has scars from her past that close off her heart from Connor’s love, and leave her susceptible to Cabhan’s sorcery.

One of the things I love most about this series is the interwoven back story back to the original Three Dark Witches, children of Sorcha. The story from long ago used as a backdrop for the journey of the Three Dark Witches now is very interesting. This book was fairly riveting, I didn’t want to put it down once I started it.

Though this was a simple story, it was one full of love, friendship, and family. It was a very touching story and I think I may have even liked it better than the first in the series. I am looking forward to the third book so I can find out if Fin and Brannan are finally able to work out their issues and be together.

Link to author website: http://www.noraroberts.com/index.php

Link to Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Shadow-Spell-Cousins-ODwyer-Roberts/dp/0425259862/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1398736504&sr=8-1&keywords=shadow+spell