Sunday, January 13, 2019

Review: Nightchaser

Nightchaser Nightchaser by Amanda Bouchet
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Here's a space opera I could really sink my teeth into! Evil Overlords! Plucky rebels! Enigmatic and hunky space rogues! Booksellers! It had a lot going for it and was a perfect weekend read. Ms. Bouchet played with Greek Mythology for her Kingmaker Chronicles, but now she takes the action to the stars with a new SF series and I'm on board with this new direction.

Captain Tess Bailey is a wanted woman, Shade Ganavan is a SRP (space rogue phenom--seriously, he identified himself that way and it made me snicker.) Tess needs Shade to fix her disabled ship, Shade needs Tess...well, that's a predictable but fun spoiler so I'll leave it to the reader. Oh, and there's a kitten named Bonk because every vessel needs a ship's cat and a cast of supporting characters worthy of their own stories.

It was good fun and I'm eagerly awaiting the next Endeavor novel from Ms. Bouchet.

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Review: Not the Duke’s Darling

Not the Duke’s Darling Not the Duke’s Darling by Elizabeth Hoyt
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Elizabeth Hoyt is an autobuy for me and will continue to be so going forward, but for some reason this one book didn't hit all the right notes. It's the start of a new series and I suspect part of what threw me off were the subplots and characters crammed into what was an extremely interesting premise, a society of Wise Women who are branded witches for their actions.

While helping a mother and baby escape an abusive family situation, Freya de Moray encounters Christopher Renshaw, her girlhood crush and the man she believes destroyed her family. Sparks fly when they're thrown together at a house party. The relationship between the two of them is intriguing enough that it could have been fleshed out for an entire novel, but so many other characters with problems are introduced that the focus shifts from the protagonists and their issues.

Again though, I'm optimistic about the series going forward. I'm already intrigued by Messalina's tale, though that character's name threw me off to flashbacks from I, Claudius. Nonetheless, the quality of Ms. Hoyt's novels means she's still very much on my autobuy lists.

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Monday, January 07, 2019

Review: A Midwinter Night's Dream

A Midwinter Night's Dream A Midwinter Night's Dream by Tiffany Reisz
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

For fans of the Original Sinners, a holiday novella that is, as the title promises, a dream. It's Victorian England with Baron Soren Stearns, his ward Eleanor, and his valet (and literal whipping boy), Kingsley.

I'm not certain how this would read to people unfamiliar with the long-running (but enjoyably erotic) Original Sinners saga about the triad relationship of Soren, Nora and Kingsley, but I found it a delightful winter interlude. There's enough of a story to entertain, the dialogue is as witty as one would expect from this author, and the sex is steamy but doesn't overwhelm the narrative.

The only reason I wouldn't give it a whole-hearted recommendation is that I'm so familiar with the characters and their intertwined lives. I recommend readers new to Reisz's series start with The Siren, not the first book in the characters chronology, but the first book in the series.

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Sunday, January 06, 2019

Review: The Earl I Ruined

The Earl I Ruined The Earl I Ruined by Scarlett Peckham
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A Georgian story with its fabulous clothing (for men and women) was a nice change of pace, and I enjoyed how the characters in this tale revealed their motivations. The heroine could have been dismissed as a silly socialite but her story unfolded like a delicately painted fan. We knew from the outset that the hero had deep secrets, and how they worked out their problems together, sometimes at loggerheads, other times in tandem, kept me reading late into the evening.



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Review: Clarissa and the Poor Relations

Clarissa and the Poor Relations Clarissa and the Poor Relations by Alicia Cameron
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I was in the mood for a traditional Regency and wanted to like this one more than I did. The constant head-hopping within scenes threw me out of the story, especially because there were so many POV characters.


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Monday, December 31, 2018

Review: Regina

Regina Regina by Clare Darcy
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A delightful classic Regency with all the elements that make this genre enjoyable. It had been sitting on my TBR shelf for far too long, and when I finally picked it up it was exactly what I wanted. Clare Darcy is a true heiress to Georgette Heyer and should be read by all Regency fans.

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Review: The Death of Mrs. Westaway

The Death of Mrs. Westaway The Death of Mrs. Westaway by Ruth Ware
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

It was good, but sometimes I found the heroine's decisions bordered on TSTL. Yes, she was desperate, but allowing herself to be housed in a room with barred windows and a bolt on the outside of the door seemed beyond what a reasonable person would do.

However, she was plucky and the story had enough twists and turns to keep me reading.

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Review: Half Past

Half Past Half Past by Victoria Helen Stone
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

An intriguing story about how we define our lives, and family, and the secrets that can change anything. Hannah is middle-aged and has never felt she truly fits in anywhere. It takes a trip to California to search her family's history to help her understand more about herself.

Thoughtful, disturbing, and more women's fiction than any other category. It was a good, worthwhile story with a conclusion I found satisfying.

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Thursday, December 20, 2018

Review: Past Tense

Past Tense Past Tense by Lee Child
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was vintage Reacher, with complicated interwoven storylines, sociopathic villains, a surprising MacGuffin, and lots of "I'm a big killing machine and you really don't want to mess with me" interactions between Jack Reacher and all sorts of ne'er-do-wells.

If you've never read the books, this would be a weird place to start. It requires a certain suspension of disbelief. But if you're a fan, you'll enjoy the ride.

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Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Review: Black Flags, Blue Waters: The Epic History of America's Most Notorious Pirates

Black Flags, Blue Waters: The Epic History of America's Most Notorious Pirates Black Flags, Blue Waters: The Epic History of America's Most Notorious Pirates by Eric Jay Dolin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

You can never have too many pirate books (in my opinion), and this one is a valuable addition to my library. It's thoroughly researched and emphasizes piratical activity in North America, highlighting the close relationship (at-times) between government, commerce and pirates. Recommended.

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Monday, December 17, 2018

Review: Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup

Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup by John Carreyrou
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I stayed up way past my bedtime last night finishing Bad Blood by John Carryrou, a fascinating page-turner about the failed Theranous blood testing company. I remember when that start-up was in all the news, thinking that it sounded too good to be true.

It was.

Carreyrou, an investigative journalist with the Wall Street Journal lays it out like a murder mystery unfolding, how the charismatic founder Elizabeth Holmes sold her vision to her staff, to investors, to venture capitalists and Washington insiders, all of whom seemed to suffer from FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) as this shiny tech unicorn made its appearance.

If you want to read a book that will keep you engrossed and applauding the valuable work of investigative journalism, I highly recommend this one be on your reading list. Even if you're not involved in tech or finance you'll appreciate the story and the writing.


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