Thursday, June 30, 2016

Review--Her Every Wish (The Worth Saga, #1.5)

Her Every Wish (The Worth Saga #1.5)Her Every Wish by Courtney Milan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Another winner from Ms. Milan, this time with a simply adorable tale of a young woman striving to better herself, not by marrying a marquess, but by starting her own business. Daisy is everything we want in a heroine--plucky, brave, determined, and not willing to settle for less than her due in love or in success.

Crash is a great hero, and an unexpected one. At first he comes across as a ne'er do well, light hearted and not serious about life or Daisy. But the more we get to know him, the more we realize how much deeper he is. He's a mixed race bastard in Victorian England, and finding his spot in society will take his own brand of hard work and determination.

The secondary characters also shined, and I especially adored the aunties. But there was an appearance by a heroine of a previous Milan novel who makes the reader re-think what a HEA is, and how one achieves that.

Can't wait for more from this talented author, who's always an auto-buy for me.


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Sunday, June 19, 2016

Happy Father's Day!


... as they rose from the table Justin asked Julia to join him in his study.
He did not seat himself behind his desk, but instead perched on the edge, and watched her for a moment, a different silence from that used on [redacted for spoiler(g)]. Nonetheless, Julia's hands were clasped in her lap as she looked up at her father.
"Julia." He hesitated, and she braced herself for a long overdue lecture on her hoydenish ways.
"Julia. I am so thankful you are safe. If I live to be one hundred, I will never be able to express to you how much it meant to me to find you alive and unharmed in that cabin."
This was so far from what Julia expected that before she realized what was happening, tears were flowing down her cheeks. Her father pulled her into his sheltering embrace as she clutched his lapels and sobbed into his jacket.
"Oh, Papa, I was so afraid," she sniffled after soaking his shirtfront. "I was so afraid that you and Mama would be ashamed of me!"
"Here, blow," the earl said, pressing his handkerchief into her hand. "Ashamed of you? My darling girl, your welfare is my sole concern! And far from being ashamed of you, your mother and I admire your resourcefulness. Few young women would have dealt so well with your situation."

--SMUGGLER'S BRIDE 

Happy Father's Day to all the dads out there who understand their daughters and sons, and love them, no matter what trouble they get themselves into. (Look for the re-issue of Smuggler's Bride in ebook, coming this September!)


Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Flag Day!

“You underestimate the will of the American people, Doctor,” he poked his finger in the air for emphasis. “When you push us, we push back. Hard. John Bull cannot bully America into surrendering now any more than you could 40 years ago. Have you already forgotten the lesson of Fort McHenry?”

He rummaged in his desk and pulled out a tattered newspaper, much folded and creased.

“My mother sent this to me with the letters, a newspaper from home. A Mr. Key wrote a poem about the battle, Doctor, titled ‘The Defence of Fort McHenry’. Look here–‘the land of the free and the home of the brave’. That’s America, Charley!"
---SEA CHANGE

June 14 is Flag Day, the day the United States honors our nation's star spangled banner.  If you've got a flag, fly it proudly!



Monday, June 13, 2016

Review--Hot in Hellcat Canyon (Hellcat Canyon, #1)

Hot in Hellcat Canyon (Hellcat Canyon, #1)Hot in Hellcat Canyon by Julie Anne Long
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Another winner from Julie Anne Long as she moves from historicals to contemporaries. Scenes made me laugh out loud, and the characters came alive with all the color and personality we've come to expect from this talented author.

There were two things that stopped me from giving it five stars, much as I loved the story and the writing. The first is, I have a hard time with a contemporary romance where characters who are sexually active hop into the sack without any discussion of birth control or use of condoms to prevent disease. Carried away by passion the first time I can buy, but repeated sex acts without protection makes me twitchy.

The second thing is a personal pet peeve, although it used to be an industry standard: I don't like head-hopping where the scene shifts point of view between characters in the middle of the action.

However, Hot in Hellcat Canyon is an excellent summer read, hot like a June afternoon, refreshing like a dip in a hidden pond. I'm looking forward to the next book in this new series.


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Review--Trust No One

Trust No OneTrust No One by Gregg Hurwitz
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A novel of political corruption, murder and secrets. Seems especially appropriate during this election cycle.


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Tuesday, June 07, 2016

Review--Duke of Sin (Maiden Lane, #10)

Duke of Sin (Maiden Lane, #10)Duke of Sin by Elizabeth Hoyt
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

He's mad, bad, and definitely dangerous to know.

Valentine Napier, Duke of Montgomery, has been haunting the Maiden Lane series as a villain--deadly, a kidnapper and a spoiler, which makes reading his own story that much more delicious. Val specializes in blackmailing the aristocracy, but his prim housekeeper, Bridget Crumb, is hiding intriguing secrets of her own and Val will uncover them.

We've followed these characters through the series, and while Duke of Sin is a standalone novel, it's best enjoyed in conjunction with the other books. Characters weave in and out, and motivations become clearer.

I enjoyed this book immensely, as I have all of the Maiden Lane novels, and I look forward to the next one.


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Sunday, June 05, 2016

Review--The Program (Tim Rackley, #2)

The Program (Tim Rackley, #2)The Program by Gregg Hurwitz
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I have a new hero--Postal Inspector Owen B. Rutherford! Sure, he's no matinee idol, but when it comes to protecting our mail, he's the man! Dang, I had no idea what postal inspectors do for us. They're clearly the unsung heroes of the federal system.

However, he's not the hero of The Program. Tim Rackley is back, with a shot at redeeming himself with the U.S. Marshal's program. This time it's undercover infiltrating a cult, and it's spooky how the cults suck people in. You can read this and understand how it could happen to almost anyone.

Tim's got to walk a tightrope of staying in character while looking for ways to crack the cult open, but The Teacher, the leader, is very good at covering his tracks with legalities.

It's a snappy read, and once again people who you don't expect to have much depth surprise you. I'm becoming a real fan of Hurwitz's work, and I intend to read more this summer.


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Thursday, June 02, 2016

Review--Navy Maverick: Uriah Phillips Levy

Navy Maverick: Uriah Philips LevyNavy Maverick: Uriah Philips Levy by Donovan Fitzpatrick
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I was doing some research and Commodore Levy's name popped up. I knew the general outlines of his story and as a youngster and adult read Juvenile biographies, but this was, naturally, far more comprehensive. Levy was a fascinating character, and his legacy of fighting anti-Semitism in the US Navy, ending flogging, and saving Monticello lives on.

I would have rated it higher, but I didn't find it as engrossing as other biographies I've read. It wasn't the subject matter but the writing I fault. However, the book is a valuable addition for any writer dealing with naval matters during the early 19th c.


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Review--The Summer Before the War

The Summer Before the WarThe Summer Before the War by Helen Simonson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I wanted to give this book five stars, but it didn't capture me the same way Major Pettigrew did. However, it's a moving, thoughtful novel about the beginning of World War I, the War to End All Wars.

What the war ended was a generation of young men in Britain and Europe, along with a sizable contingent of ANZAC troops, and at the end, Americans. People went into the war in England blithely thinking it would be a short conflict, and no one could imagine the carnage by war's end. Simonson captures the joys and frustrations--mostly the latter--of small town English life as we see the conflict mostly unfold from the village of Rye. The petty squabbles, the backbiting and gossip and judging others, it's all on display. But there are also moments of beauty and joy, and good people doing the right thing.

While Simonson's fans may feel a slight disappointment, The Summer Before the War is a book that deserves to be judged on its own merits as a portrayal of a world 100 years gone beneath fields of poppies.


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