Rachel's books

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




Evernight - Kristen Callihan This was another really good book in this series. Both had appearances in the previous books. Holly is an elemental (human with fae heritage) and controls metal. She's an inventor for the SOS. Will is a sanguis demon (think vampire). In the previous book, both were kidnapped. Holly for her abilities and intelligence, Will as an experiment. Will was given a platinum heart and is now after Holly. I liked the twists and turns. I liked seeing Adam (the founder of the GIM) and look forward to his story which is next. The last book features Holly's "cousin" Sin (St John)- Daisy, Miranda, and Poppy's brother. I read this for Romance-opoly Coffee Shop I'm also using this for Ripped Bodice Summer Bingo violet eyes square (Queen Mab).

Alice in Zombieland

Alice in Zombieland - Gena Showalter

Alice lost her parents and younger sister in a car accident when she was 16 (on her birthday). Her dad saw things that no one else could see. After the accident, she moves in with her grandparents and changes schools.
While Ali went through a horrible time, she was a hard person to really like. I was more annoyed with her and her reaction to Cole. I thought Cole was awful. (But, hey, it's okay 'cause he's a hunter). Just more angst, angst, and more angst. Disappointed.
I read this for the Ripped Bodice's Summer Bingo and will use it for the broken nose square (it was mentioned once). It will also work for violet eyes (Cole's).

Brownies and Brownsticks

Brownies and Broomsticks - Bailey Cates

Katie is fresh out of a breakup and in a position at her job that really isn't going anywhere. When she receives an offer to join her aunt and uncle at the bakery they are opening, she jumps at the chance. She moves south to Savannah. She's always had a good relationship with her aunt and uncle, but has never really "known" them. This will shock you, but Katie has always felt different. It turns out she is a hereditary witch. (And of course now she fits right in!)
I liked the characters; both Katie and the multiple secondary ones. I do wonder at the love triangle (Declan- a firefighter and very close to Ben, Katie's uncle and Steve a journalist and also a witch. The boys have a history (of course they do!). I don't really like Steve (Katie girl- thought this was condescending). This has a slow start, but picked up.
I read this for Romance-opoly Coffee Shop moon track

Declan's BFF was also a firefighter and died in a fire by not following instructions. He was Steve's brother and Steve blames Declan for death.

(show spoiler)

Darkness Falls

Darkness Falls - Erin Kellison

Reve is the "It" thing. It's a shared experience when dreaming. Anything can happen, likely without real-life consequences. It's pleasurable, fun. Jordan's talent gets exposed while she is trying to support her sister (who you know is being stupid). Malcolm is tasked with recruiting those that have talent and can navigate the Reve. He is a chimera and is a type of law enforcement for the Reve. This was interesting, but it was confusing for awhile. Once I figured out the concept, it was more interesting. The ending was decent, but a bit abrupt.

I Want It That Way

I Want It That Way - Ann Aguirre

Nadia is a junior majoring in special education. She and 3 of her friends rent an apartment off campus. A single dad lives right below them. His name is Ty.
I liked both Nadia and Ty. They each get to know each other slowly over evening on his patio and her deck above him. It graduates to friends with benefits. And you know where it then goes. I thought this was realistic in it's portrayal of college going adults who are serious about their studies (and the balance that happens with school, work, friendship). My only issue was it was slow at times and time-wise it would jump forward a week or 2.
I have no interest in reading Lauren's story.
I read this for Romance-opoly New View moon track

Let It Shine

Let It Shine - Alyssa Cole

Sofronia and Ivan knew each other growing up as kids. Her mom worked for his mom. After her mom's death, they lost contact. They reconnect as adults at a meeting for civil rights and how to conduct non-violent sit-ins.
This was amazing. I loved this book. I adored Sofie and Ivan. This highlights the struggle for freedom, the basis human right to be treated as a person. To sit where you like. To be treated with respect. To be treated with dignity. The violence and hate.
The strength of this book (IMO) is it highlights we ALL have prejudices. We need to acknowledge them and learn from them to be better. Do better.
(Sofie is Black. Ivan is Jewish. Ivan's family escaped the Holocaust, but his father doesn't sympathize with the Civil Rights Movement. Sofie's father doesn't like Ivan because he is Jewish.)
The ending hints at an acceptance, a reconciliation. The ending is also realistic.

Drifting to You

Drifting to You: Cape Fear Shipworks - Kianna Alexander

Rosaline has dreams of owning her own bakery. Will builds ships. These two have been eyeing each other for months. Both are former slaves. This past shapes their present too.
This opens with Rosaline getting a huge opportunity. She is to provide the cake for the Juneteenth celebration on a ship hosted by one of the richest women in her community. If people like her cake, it will get her name out there. Since they both on the ship, Will makes his case.
I didn't quite connect with the romance between Rosaline and Will. It felt rushed.
This works for Ripped Bodice Summer Bingo "I'm on a boat."

Amazing Grace

AmazingGrace - Lena Hart

Gracie and her parents found freedom through the Underground Railroad when she was 4. Now 18 she is heading west to get married to support her family. Logan, an ex-confederate soldier is also heading west.
This short story tackles serious subject matter. I wasn't sure how an ex confederate soldier (and former slave owner) would work as a hero. There is a discussion (as much as you can have in a novella) and this is addressed. I really liked Gracie, she stood up for herself. Would like like more at the end, it felt rushed.

The Hook Up

The Hook Up (Game On Book 1) - Kristen Callihan

Drew is the star football player and so is super popular. He can have any woman he wants. Then he meets Anna. Anna who isn't impressed. And it appears she does not like him. Or does she?
I admit to being super confused (at least at first) at what Drew saw in Anna. He is interested, but Anna shots him down, multiple times. She eventually gives in and they have lots of sex. But, no kissing on the lips. Because that would be too personal. (Not making that up).
Then Feelings leading to Misunderstandings (by not talking). But then, Something Happens to Drew. This leads to Anna owning up to her issues and they talk. Then, it's Drew's turn to push Anna away. Anna's growth through the book shows in this moment. She stood up her herself, Drew, and they as couple. It was so nice.
But, really did I need all that drama? If some of it have been cut out (it really wasn't necessary) this would have been a better book. Gray's story is next.
I read this for Romance-opoly New View sun track
This also works for Ripped Bodice Bingo Summer 2020 for the "smells uniquely like themselves" square.
(Anna's describing Drew: "...because he smells fantastic—like warm pears and crisp air." and "...because I can smell Drew’s clean, tangy scent now."
Drew describing Anna: "...who smells of exotic spices, warm skin, and home."

Mister Rogers' Neighborhood: A Visual History

Mister Rogers' Neighborhood - Melissa Wagner

This book has it all. There's information from behind the scenes, info about the various guests/characters, interviews with those that did the voices, info about the set, the art, the "why."
If you watched Mister Rogers' Neighborhood as a kid, this book is for you.

The Traitor

The Traitor - Grace Burrowes

Sebastian (known as Girard at the chateau) was the villain in the previous book. Towards the end of The Captive, Sebastian was humanized, but I was curious if he would become a likable character. While in France, through no fault of his own, he was trapped when war broke out and did what he could do to survive. More is revealed in this book regarding his efforts to save the captured British troops under his care. And the help he had.
Millicent (Milly) was a poor relation thrown into an engagement not of her choosing. With her elderly aunts she comes up with a plan to avoid said engagement. That plan was, to go into service as a companion. She become the companion to Sebastian's aunt Freddy.
This was a wonderful slow burn romance. I could get behind the romance. Sebastian I could understand. I loved how they talked to each other. There was no big misunderstanding. I really liked Aunt Freddy, Micheal Brodie (whose story is next). Brodie's "mission" is revealed in this one.
My only complaint was Henri Anduvoir. The villain got his off the page and I wanted more regarding his punishment. I think he got off too easily.

Serpent's Kiss

Serpent's Kiss - Thea Harrison

So, back in the previous book, Rune had pledged a favor to Carling in exchange for saving Tiago's life. Now, it's time for him to pay up.
Rune was an intriguing character from the previous books and I was looking forward to his story. Man, was it disappointing. I didn't particularly care for either character. Carling, the vampire (oops I mean vampyre!) was eh and Rune was pushy, bossy. The whole not trusting Dragos was stupid, weird, and didn't make any sense what-so-ever. This is someone that has been in Rune's life for centuries. Someone, that before all this, he trusted completely, and was partt of his family (for all intent and purpose). It didn't wash. Stupid Rune.
I also found this a bit boring and hard to really get into. The 1st book was good, the 2nd less so, and this one even less so. Not feeling #4 per the synopsis (although both characters (Grace and Khalil) were in this one and look to be interesting- but the last 2 were disappointing and were about characters I previously found interesting). I have too many books I *want* to read, and to read one I'm lukewarm about? Nah. I'm done.

Touched by an Alien

Touched by an Alien - Gini Koch

So this book was fun! It kicked off with action and more action. This was perfectly escapist for all the shit going down right now in the US.
In other time I might have been annoyed with Kitty. While she has some flaws and was honest, she also was a little too perfect (being able to able a gun without practice, hang upside down, and other feats of strength) and knew exactly what to do most of the time. But honestly, I really, really didn't care. Go Kitty! I enjoyed all the secondary characters and loved the humor. There was a little bit of a love triangle (but didn't last long). Kitty fell a little too fast for Jeff (days), but what the hey? I really didn't care. Kitty's family (both human and animal) was hilarious.
Read for Romance-opoly moon track

Black Wings

Black Wings - Christina Henry

Maddy (Madeline) is an Agent of Death (think grim reaper). She has been working and living on her own since her mother's murder at the age of 13. She is 32 at the time this book occurs. The AoD job an an inherited one, one can't chose to do or not do.
Interesting concept, I thought the world be interesting. However, there was too much I was either ambivalent about or just didn't like. I found Maddy annoying. She is 32 old virgin and all the guys are drawn to her (because of course). I thought she acted a lot younger than she was. She has a forbidden love thing going on with her protector, Gabriel.
This is a world that has ghosts (check), werewolves (check), fairies (check), vamps (check)......but not demons or angels. Because they couldn't possibly exist! Yeah, right. Eye roll there. That didn't make sense to me, but was part of the plot (Maddy not knowing some of her heritage). Maddy's SPECIAL.
I didn't care for the secondary characters either. Beezle, a gargoyle and who she considers friend and family, was supposed (I think?) to be cute and maybe get a laugh or two. But, he wasn't. I didn't think he was all that funny, supportive, etc. I was just annoyed.
The rest of this series? Pass. I was probably generous with the 3, but it did keep me entertained even if I did roll my eyes more than I could count.

The Sweet Spot

The Sweet Spot - Heather Heyford

Hank owns his family's winery that his been in his family for decades. Jamie is a music teacher from Philly that just got a big promotion (but does she really want it?). Jamie's a big wine fan and travels to OR for a getaway at her favorite winery- The Sweet Spot.
While I liked the writing and learning about wine, the romance was so slow paced. I think this could have been shorter. Hank was frustrating- he blew hot and cold and I don't think he even knew what he wanted (until the end of the book of course). He was also very bland and didn't have much personality. One moment he was keeping the winery and the next he was selling it. He was unhappy on moment and the next not. I really didn't understand or believe their romance/attraction.
Jamie was a little better. She was settled- or thought she was. She made the necessary changes to her life to make things happen.
Read for Romance-opoly Farmer's Market moon track

Loving Cara

Loving Cara - Kristen Proby

Cara (Carolina) is a teacher and takes a summer job tutoring the 12 yr old nephew of a boy she had a huge crush on in high school. Josh's (the crush) brother Zach is in the military. Zack's soon to be ex-wife is a piece of work. Josh works the family ranch.
Seth (the nephew) has an attitude from the treatment he got from his mom, things she has told him, and the treatment of his mom's various boyfriends.
Even though they knew each other (kinda), I thought Josh came off too strong. It's "honey," "sweetheart,"and "Carolina" even though she has said she prefers Cara. Since technically Cara is his employee, his comments and heavy flirtation just rubbed me the wrong way. But hey, since Cara was crushing on him, it's okay, right?! (I guess?? Haha.) The alternating POV helped me get into Josh's head and was helpful to know where each was at. It was annoying all the jealous, stuck up women in this small town (yes, really). Josh is a catch (did you know that?!). The spanking (actual and threatened) got on my nerves. He'd threaten to spank Cara whenever she did something he didn't like. WTF?
I read this for Romance-opoly Farmer's Market sun track

Currently reading

Allegiance of Honor (Psy/Changelings) by Nalini Singh
The Laird by Grace Burrowes
Where the Wild Things Bite by Molly Harper

Professional Reader2016 NetGalley Challenge Reviews Published 80% Romanceopoly 2019 Participant