Reviews

Heat by Holly S. Roberts

Ruth West - Thursday, September 14, 2017

Title: Heat
Author: Holly S. Roberts
Publisher: Four Carat Press
Published: Jan 18, 2016
Genre: Romantic Suspense




Heat was a well-written, fast paced book. Madison Kinlock was very relatable as a former policewoman turned PI, who was attracted to bad guy Catch Xavier Moon. Moon was beyond hot and sexy, plus smart and powerful. I was rooting for these two characters to find a happy ending from just about the first moment they met. The progression of the story made sense and it was hard to put the book down because I wanted to find out how things would turn out.I really enjoyed this book and want to find (and read) others by this author.
Reviewed by Robin


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Mermaid by Jodi Picoult

Ruth West - Friday, September 08, 2017

Title: Mermaid
Author: Jodi Picoult
Publisher: Amazon
Published: July 25, 2017
Genre: Contemporary





Mermaid isn't the first Jodi Picoult novel that I've read. I loved My Sister's Keeper and wanted to dive into this short read. Having discovered that it's a different kind of Kindle book, a Kindle in Motion, I was curious what the differences would be. I read the entire book in a matter of minutes and I read it on my laptop using the Kindle Cloud Reader, where the Kindle in Motion was not functional and offered no benefit. Which was probably good so that I could review the story without being influenced by the technological aspects. For starters, the beginning of the book is bland and there is too much telling instead of showing that is happening. I suspect the author was influenced by the idea of making this book incredibly short with the benefit of doing something "unique" and in doing so the beginning wasn't strong. As the story progressed however, I did feel the writing was more on par with what one would expect from Jodi Picoult or any author that is well-versed in writing fiction. Mermaid follows the story (although it does jump in spots and is strangely choppy in some scenes) of Hope Payne, a professional Mermaid that trains at an aquarium theme park. I do know that such a place exists, I recently learned about this from someone and it is interesting and a unique job. Don't expect for Hope to be a real mermaid or for the story to dive into an Ariel or Siren tale of fantasy. In fact, the prose though flowing nicely while in chapters, was also choppy in sections where there were breaks, making the story break up and feel disjointed. As a story, it doesn't offer a strong resolution, though there is an ending. Hope's husband is a marine biologist and he has filled a pool with flounder, ten of them, only to discover they are vanishing. What happens to them is quite fantastical but also leaves us rather open ended with what it all means. Mermaid would have made for an interesting first chapter in a longer story. As a book, solely, without any gimmicks it's not a strong story. I was never able to complete downloading the book on my phone. It hung up around 80 percent and never let me read or open it, which made it impossible for me to see the Kindle in Motion features.
Reviewed by Melanie P.


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Not Your Sidekick by C.B. Lee

Ruth West - Thursday, September 07, 2017

Title: Not Your Sidekick
Author: C.B. Lee
Publisher: Duet, Interlude Press
Published: Sept. 8, 2016
Genre: LGBT, YA, Superhero




A diverse story that suffers from stylistic issues in the writing. Littered throughout the book are awkward sentences, not fragments or incorrect punctuation but sentences that just feel awkward. The story, although predictable suffers mostly from not having a decent round of strong edits to fix the phrases that don't feel natural. How best do I explain this? I feel like the book is being told to me, read by a voice that isn't my own. In most instances of reading you imagine the characters. Personally had the book been written in past tense the writing may have smoothed out some of the inconsistencies and awkwardness. I do recognize that many YA books are moving toward the trend of present tense, but this book clearly suffers because of it. Perhaps if it has been written in first person and the many instances of show don't tell removed, it would have been a better, stronger book. Third person present tense just doesn't work for this story. 

Here's an example that tripped me up while reading. I just felt like I was being tossed out of the book:

They gossip about Captain Orion's romantic life and then get into a silly discussion about the most attractive heroes in the League. The movie is playing but they aren't paying much attention. Jess lost track of the plot a few minutes in. She's enjoying her time with her friends as they argue about who is hotter: Starscream or Copycat.

I wanted to love this story, everything about the plot seemed great but the struggle of reading the style was too much for me. I recommend reading a sample before buying.

Reviewed by: Laura


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The Jewel by Amy Ewing

Ruth West - Wednesday, September 06, 2017

Title: The Jewel
Author: Amy Ewing
Publisher: Harper Teen
Published:Sept. 2, 2014
Genre:YA, Dystopian, Romance



The Jewel feels a bit like The Handmaid's Tale without the story being nearly as heavy. Though the author does create a world that is dystopian and well-crafted, there seems to be the oppressive sense of fear and terror missing. Being slapped isn't great, by any means, but it's not the constant concern of ever-present death either. Yes, living in the Jewel where royalty is and Violet, a mere number no longer a name is nothing more than a slave, auctioned as a surrogate is dark and a dreaded thought, the book is still far lighter that one might think and that could be perhaps because it was written for young adults. That's not to say there aren't deaths that occur, but being only an outsider to the deaths (hearing about it but not witnessing it makes them seem far less horrific). Whereas a book like The Hunger Games found itself to be controversial due to the violent nature of what was depicted, the story also was darker. That's not to say The Jewel isn't a good story. At the end of every chapter I dreaded putting the book down. I wanted to read more, even when it was time for bed and I knew I wouldn't get enough sleep. The story flows nicely, the plot moves along quite well, yet it took more than 150 pages (paperback version) for me to finally meet the potential love interest of Violet. The Jewel is a strong book, the biggest flaws to me were engrained in the lack of fear in what should be a dystopian society and the world itself.
Reviewed by Kate

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Devious Maidens by Maryse Dawson

Ruth West - Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Title: Devious Maidens
Author: Maryse Dawson
Publisher: Blushing Books
Published: July 19, 2017
Genre: Historical, Medieval




I used to read medieval novels all the time, but haven’t picked one up in a while. I was excited to read this collection of short stories. First off, the “old world” language was very distracting. It almost made me not want to continue. Once I got passed that, the stories were entertaining, light but kind of forgettable. These stories have spanking in them, so if this is not your thing then don’t pick it up. Overall I give it a 3 star rating with probably my favorite the 2nd story in the lot.
Reviewed by: Noni Fro


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The Demon Duke by Margaret Locke

Ruth West - Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Title: The Demon Duke
Author: Margaret Locke
Publisher: Locked on Love Publishing
Published: June 6, 2017
Genre: Historical, Regency




I love Regency Romance novels but was a little skeptical of the title because I don't like supernatural. I started reading this book and became intrigued by the Duke's sense of honor and Grace's desire to read in peace. I have four children so reading in peace is not something I get to do unless it is late at night. I found myself skipping laundry, dishes, and meal prep to wander back to Clarehaven and spend time with them instead. I loved this book so much that I went out and bought the books before this one and can't wait for the next one in the series. Margaret Locke's story telling reminds me of Julia Quinn's Bridgerton series which is amazing. The characters in this book tie into the other books in the series so now I find myself wanted to reread them all again because I missed the references to the characters I didn't know yet. Thank you Margaret you are amazing. Gotta go headed back to Clarehaven like Eliza (read them and you will understand too.)
Reviewed by: Michelle Roderick


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A Love To Remember by Bronwen Evans

Ruth West - Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Title: A Love To Remember
Author: Bronwen Evans
Publisher: Random House
Published: August 29, 2017
Genre: Regency





This was a very engaging story. I felt a little like I was plunked down in the middle of a series - of which, I'd LOVE to read more! Our heroine, Rose, is easy to relate to. All she wants out of life, really, is to love someone and have them love her back. I really loved the wounded hero, Lord Cumberland, and felt like his back story made him a better character with that annoying desire to be honorable. And let's be real, it makes him more swoon-worthy. There's a prevailing theme of duty vs love, which always reminds me of Wuthering Heights. But this story is far less dark, and more pure romance. I was surprised to learn who the enemy was as well. I would've loved for that piece to have been explored in greater detail. But for a romance novel, I was satisfied. There's certainly too much detail in the love scenes for younger readers. But as long as you know that in advance, it makes for a very interesting read. I loved it. I'd love to read more in this series and by this author.
Reviewed by Liz


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Awaken My Heart by Maria K. Alexander

Ruth West - Thursday, August 17, 2017

Title: Awaken My Heart
Author: Maria K. Alexander
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press, Inc.
Published: May 10, 2017
Genre: Contemporary




A sweet romance with plenty of sexual tension and a definite page-turner. Detective Nick is written with a sexy tone and a male that every straight girl will want to bring into the bedroom. He's charming and honest and the chemistry shared with his one-night stand fourteen years ago is like ever-present fireworks. He's relentless in asking her out again and she's tentative to say yes, given past and the secret she harbors. There's no having to wait or guess the secret too long, which I appreciate. There's tons of sizzle and plenty of plot to make this a well-rounded story. Pleased to find this an easy read to get into and one that I didn't want to put down, Awaken My Heart is the first book I've read from Maria K. Alexander and I happily look forward to reading anything else she writes. Fast paced, full of heart-racing contemporary style drama, you will love this book if you love sweet romances.
Reviewed by: Melanie P.


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Under the Stars by Kendra Delugar

Ruth West - Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Title: Under the Stars
Author: Kendra Delugar
Publisher: Kendra Delugar
Published: June 4, 2017
Genre: Contemporary




This was a sweet, well-written book. Sophie and Gabriel were very real characters and I could relate to what was going on for each of them. The pace of their relationship development made sense and I enjoyed the story. I am looking forward to reading other books by this author.
Reviewed by Robin D.


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Flood by Elaine Cantrell

Ruth West - Monday, August 14, 2017

Title: Flood
Author: Elaine Cantrell
Publisher: Wings ePress, Inc.
Published: June 1, 2017
Genre: Contemporary




This story was fantastic, with plenty of plot surprises that I didn't expect! At first, I didn't understand how Dr DeLuca could trust an ex-con so easily. But the story line moved quickly and answered my questions. It's really a story of a woman meeting and falling for the guy from the wrong side of the tracks. He's got a heart of gold that even the animals at her shelter recognize. It's the kind of story that stays with you because of the intensity of the circumstances and you remember the characters. I also liked that the author left some of the romance up to my imagination.
Sometimes less is more, and in this particular story, it would've been distracting, especially with regards to the unfolding drama.
The only thing I had any trouble with was being sure I had the right pronunciation of the heroine's (and her mom's) names.
I really enjoyed reading this story and hope to read more from this author.

Reviewed by Liz


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