Rachel's books

I'm a registered nurse.  Reading gives me that escape I need.  I read primarily romance in all genres.



Once Bitten, Twice Burned

Once Bitten, Twice Burned - Cynthia Eden
It's been awhile since I've read book 1, but this read like it was taking place (at least the first 1/2) at the same time as book 1. The Genesis facility is a paranormal research facility in a world that the paranormals are "out." The ethical issue is no one is there voluntarily.
Sabine is a phoenix. She was abandoned as a baby and adopted by a human family. She has no knowledge of what she is. Ryder is the first vampire and has the most power.
I was disappointed in Sabine. She started out as a very naive character and I didn't feel like she grew all the much over the course of the book. Anytime she didn't want to do something she asked Ryder to do it. As with Ryder, he was a little too alpha and blood thirsty for my taste. I also didn't really feel the romance, it was more I *have* to have your blood and *please protect me!* 
I hated what Sabine asked Ryder to do to her brother. Nice twist with a family member knowing what Sabine was (and not telling her of course!).
On fence about book 3.



Nightfall - Robyn Bachar
Talena is a freed Cy'ren who runs her own shop on a tourist (space) ship. Enter Mordackai (or Dack) who is also a Cy'ren and is injured and running from trouble. Talena helps him and Dack, thinking she is a slave, rescues her and takes her to his ship. It turns out Dack is part of the resistance to freed the Cy'ren from slavery. Add in Talena and Carmen's history and this was interesting.
This would have been a 4* read for me (except for 1 thing that just pissed me off and I HATED). Talena, Dack, and Carmen are likable and I like what they are trying to do. I liked the writing and the plot (well most of it). I thought the love triangle was done very well (this is a F-F-M menage BTW).
This is what ruined this book for me: All Cy'ren woman go through a "phase." The best way to describe it is like a female cat in heat. They want to have sex with anyone and everyone, no matter if it's someone they hate (or like). And the men are turned into sex crazed monsters by the scent. "Most males would take a female in a phase without hesitation...." This is rape. Plain and simple.
It's sad because this didn't add anything and it took away from what was a good book. This would have been such a better book without it IMO. I thought the character development was there and the sex scenes would have been glorious for that reason (and that reason alone- without the "phase" bullshit).
Oh and this: The cover is totally wrong. The Cy'ren are purple.


Lost Wolf

Lost Wolf (Curse of the Moon Book 1) - Stacy Claflin

So why did I keep reading this? I blame Romanceopoly. I needed a new adult set in college and this one was that AND it was paranormal (with amnesia!). My track record with most NA sucking (IMO) continues.....
This was so ridiculous. Victoria is a freshman at college with no memory of anything about her past. I thought she treated her amnesia (at least at first) in a "no deal big, I'll make new memories!" kind of way. She was shallow. It made more of a difference when her credit cards didn't work/assets frozen. She drives a Jaguar. She meets a guy named Carter Jag whose family owns a hot club named "The Jag." There's kidnapping and numerous different paranormals added to the mix. 
This just didn't work for me. I didn't like Victoria and I was ambivalent about Toby and Carter.

Magic Binds

Magic Binds -  Ilona Andrews

Props to the author-duo for keeping KD fresh and exciting. Yes, I am sad the series is winding down. I think it's important to end on a high note instead of continuing just because and the books becoming less interesting/more frustrating, etc.
While this was much more serious in tone, the banter/affection the characters have is all there. Nice surprise regarding Christopher. Kate showed her humanity in this one and had some fumbles and struggles to overcome. There was a birth, death, Ghastek choosing where his (and the other navigators) loyalty lay, a battle.
This was hinted at during the book: 

Kate finds out she is pregnant at the end. This set-up is on for the daddy dearest battle; Roland disappeared when Kate gunned for him. Nice twist was Erra

(show spoiler)

Magic Stars

Magic Stars  -  Ilona Andrews

Derek! Julie!
Kate and Curran are occupied with something else. Derek and Julie are on the hunt for the one who ordered the murder of a human family. This was nice and satisfying. Julie is very intelligent and I'm enjoying her test her strengths and learn her limits. For 16, she very mature and I tend to forget her age. Julie does have a crush on Derek and I'm pretty sure ditto for him. I do think he is respectful and acknowledges her age.
I do want to read more stories about Julie and Derek (ideally of an 18 or older Julie). I think they know each other so well and the respect they show each other is awesome.

Alejandro's Sorceress

Alejandro's Sorceress: A Cardinal Witches Novella (The Cardinal Witches Book 1) - Alyssa Day
Rose is a witch, Alejandro is an agent with the paranormal FBI. Alejandro and his partner are tasked with removing a basilisk in Rose's family's garden. After it turns Alejandro's partner to stone, things get interesting. 
While I liked the writing and the banter/interplay between the characters (grandma is funny), there was no world building. It mentioned the paranormal were "out" and Atlanteans, but not anything else. I would have liked more on Alejandro's background too.


Courting Trouble

Courting Trouble - Jenny Schwartz
Esme is a suffragette and feminist. Jeb is her suitor who fluctuates between supporting her and being too alpha. Both are very independent and have to learn to compromise. I did think Esme was a bit judgmental of women at times. Some kissing only.


Duke of Midnight

Duke of Midnight - Elizabeth Hoyt
I thought Artemis was such a kick-ass heroine. She does what she can for her brother and later Maximus. I thought Maximus started out just okay. It took most of the book for him to get his head out of his ass. Did get answers about Maximus's parents murder that he blames himself for. 
He was a spoiled brat whose 14 yr old self threw a hissy fit. They were in St Giles looking for him when they were killed.
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I am interested in Apollo and am interested in finding out what happened the night he was drunk (and 3 of his friends bloody bodies were found next to him). Does he clear his name? I also really want to read Phoebe's story (I think her book is after Apollo's....).
Asa made a brief appearance at the end. He appears to be friends with Apollo.


Absolutely, Positively

Absolutely, Positively - Heather Webber
Better than book 2. I liked the mysteries and how they tied into each other. I really liked Lucy's full acceptance of her abilities and how she slowly is learning more it herself. I wish Sean would open more for Lucy- he does in this one, but I think he stills to do more since Lucy is pretty much an open book.
Sean is a former foster kid. His brother Sam isn't his biological brother, but rather chosen family. Lucy's parents are back together- for now. I also still think that while Cupid Curse may have had power at one time, it's power lies mainly in the individual's mind. Do they believe it or not? 
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Indigo - Beverly Jenkins

As someone who enjoys historical romance, the majority of the books are set in England with titled people meeting and falling in love. As a Lover of Romance (LOR) if I want to read a different setting, time period, etc, I have to look for it. So when a Buddy Read was announced, this was the perfect time to pick this one up.
Hester (or as Galen calls her, Indigo) was born a slave. She was found and freed by her aunt. She sees love as a weakness and something to be avoided because her father gave up his freedom to marry her mother who was a slave. Slavery killed him and separated her from her mother. However, her mother at the foresight to cut off part of her pinky so someone could identify her. Her feet and hands are indigo from working on an indigo plantation.
Her aunt was an active participant with the Underground Railroad and Hester continues her work. That's how she meets Galen. I understood her resistance to him at first, but he proved to be serious and eventually earned her trust. If memory serves, he also professed his love first too. I didn't like the circumstances of their marriage. 

After proposing more than once and Hester telling him no each time, he publicly proposed in church and forced Hester's hand. 

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Someone in their community is a traitor. After learning who it was, I liked that it wasn't straight up "this person is bad!" There were (realistic) reasons for their actions, with both the opportunity to make it right and have forgiveness. 
Both Hester and Galen are relate-able, strong, empathetic and I loved reading their story. The time-period and background is one I haven't found in historical romance. I also learned some things (the Free Produce Movement). 
I would like books for Raymond & Gail
One thing that took me out of the book was being consistently reminded of Hester's innocence/virginity. "virgin's curiosity" & "virgin's body." I. Get. It.

Nasty Women

Nasty Women: Feminism, Resistance, and Revolution in Trump's America - Meredith Talusan, Sarah Hollenbeck, Nicole Chung, Jill Filipovic, Sarah Hepola, Samantha Irby, Sarah Jaffe, Samhita Mukhopadhyay, Kate Harding, Randa Jarrar, Katha Pollitt, Rebecca Solnit
This took me awhile to get through; mainly because I opted to read 1-2 each day. As someone who did not vote for this asshole (I refuse to say his name), but know many people who did (and continue to think he is doing a great job!), it's refreshing to know there so many out there who think as I do. I loved the varied viewpoints in this (Asian, Black, Latino, Native, White, gay, non-binary, straight). At the end, I had to ask myself what essay stuck out to me? I can't do a top 3, so here are the top 5 (and this was hard, but these are the ones that resonated the most with me): 
Trust Black Women by Zerlina Maxwell (Black women show up and vote for the Dems)
As Long As It's Healthy by Sarah Michael Hollenbeck (disability)
All American by Nicole Chung (who is an American?)
Nasty Native Women by Mary Kathryn Nagle (discrimination of Native Women)
Dispatches From a Texas Militarized Zone by Melissa Arjona (living along the border)
That being said, all of these have something worthwhile to say. In a perfect world, this would be mandatory reading before the next election.


Rock Hard

Rock Hard (Rock Kiss Book 2) (Volume 2) - Nalini Singh

This is Charlotte's story (Molly's BF from Rock Addiction). While this is part of a series, this stands by itself just fine. It was hinted at a something traumatic happening to Charlotte in RA. As a result, I enjoyed the slow burn romance (and could believe the attraction) as Charlotte slowly builds confidence. I could see Gabriel and Charlotte together as they each help the other out. I think they complimented each other very well. Enjoyable.

Forever Wicked

Forever Wicked - Shayla Black

I'm surprised at how much I liked this; it had a lot of my pet peeves. A couple who do not talk, trust, and make assumptions about each other. Jason got Gia benched (which could make case she would have been benched anyway since she wasn't following protocol- or got dead. But either way it was high ended and I didn't like it). All that aside, I was pleasantly surprised.

Part Time Cowboy

Part Time Cowboy - Maisey Yates

Sadie's teenage-self was a bit of a wild child. She got arrested (not charged) at 17. She left her small town as soon as she could. Now an adult, she's moved around. A lot. She's decided she needs to put down roots and stay in one spot. Back to her small town she goes, signing a 5 yr lease and planning on opening a B&B. 
Eli's family happens to own both the B&B and land. Eli is a full time deputy (running for sheriff) and part time rancher. He also happens to be the one who arrested wild child Sadie at 17.
I did not like Eli. I thought he threw Sadie's arrest in her face one too many times. Judgmental asshole. I also thought he was controlling and unwilling to change. Sadie was a little better, but I thought she was a little too "all over the place." Maybe flighty is a better word.

The Real Thing

The Real Thing (Sugar Lake Book 1) - Melissa Foster
Zane took Willow's virginity prior to her going off to college. Willow had a huge crush on Zane only to believe she was just a booty call. Through the years they've kept in touch via text.
Having both POV alternating worked. Without Zane's I would have had questions how much was acting on his part vs real feelings. It did take me some time to warm up to Zane. Willow has a wonderful, supportive family.



Adam (Cyborgs: More Than Machines) (Volume 6) - Eve Langlais

I'm glad to say I was right and Adam's book picks right up where Seth's book left off.  Adam is the leader of the cyborg resistance on earth.  He has infiltrated a military installation where nanotechnology is being tested and it is suspected a cyborg is being held prisoner.  At the start of the book, his job is providing guard duty to Laura, a human scientist working on the nanotechnology.  Laura is tasked with trying to find a way to re-animate the nanos when they die.

This had a little bit of a slow start.  Once Seth, Anastasia, and Avion arrive, it picked up.  There was more to Laura then met the eye and she was a good match for Adam.  There is an event that happens to Laura when she is given live nanos to work with. 

I assume from One who is the source of all the nanos.  Laura will probably prove the nanos don't need a BCI to work and enhance the human body all by themselves.

(show spoiler)

  While Adam and Laura get the HEA, the underlying story-line ends in a cliffhanger. 

What is going on?  Who is One and what can she do?  Will Avion be cured?  (This being a romance book you can bet your ass that will be a resounding YES).

Currently reading

The Mueller Report by The Washington Post
The Secret History of Wonder Woman by Jill Lepore
How to Win at Feminism: The Definitive Guide to Having It All—And Then Some! by Sarah Pappalardo, Reductress, Anna Drezen, Dr Elizabeth Newell Berglund
The Visitor (Graveyard Queen) by Amanda Stevens

Professional Reader2016 NetGalley Challenge Reviews Published 80% Romanceopoly 2019 Participant