Rachel's books

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

 

 

Free Falling

Free Falling - Sandy James

Better than the first book.
I liked that there's a lot happening; a rescue, mistaken identity, a stalker, a 2nd rescue, and a mystery. I have to admit the "mistaken identity" is one of my favorite tropes. Laurie and Ross do fall quickly, but it felt believable. I liked the 1920s style mystery. I liked Ross and Laurie's comprising. I liked Laurie rescue of Ross in the beginning. Laurie's ability was also a cool one.
What I didn't like/annoyed me: Laurie's stupidity. And her roommate's. The whole, we forget to lock out door! Or if we have to carry a key around we will lose it! Really?! Then, after the office gets ransacked, someone (walks right into) breaks into her home and does the same to her bedroom, and she gets pushed down the stairs; she STILL forgets to look the door? What?! And this leads to an event that later happens to Laurie and she needs to be rescued. 
I also thought the ending was a bit rushed. I would have liked to read about Ross and Laurie arriving to the conclusion they did. Earlier in the book, I thought that was a viable solution to Laurie's issue (not the door locking; she's promised her parents she will take over the chair of her family's charitable Foundation when she turns 30). It would have been interesting to read about the "light bulb" moment.
Bruiser, Sheila, Deepika, and Andrew were all decent supporting characters.

Ripped Bodice Bingo: Free Space

A Case of Possession

A Case of Possession - K.J. Charles

This picks up soon after the first book. Lucien and Stephen are still seeing each other, but both each have their own lives. Each have feelings that have gotten stronger, but do not know how the other feels. (Don't worry- they TALK in this one and are honest with how each feels).
Complicating matters are Lucien's family history and the power there. Because they are sleeping together, Stephen can draw on that power, leading his partner, to suspect he might be turning to the dark side. Stephen's partner, Esther has a decent roll in this one and I'm glad to read about her on the page.
One thing I liked was Stephen's friends, they loved and accepted him just as he was. I am interested in how they continue to progress.

Ripped Bodice Bingo:  Queer+Historical square

Lighting the Flames

Lighting the Flames: A Hanukkah Story - Sarah Wendell

A Hanukkah romance! Winter holidays in July!
I wanted to like this more than I did. The author's creation (with another person) is a website I adore (smartbitchestrashybooks.com). I liked Wendell's non-fiction books. This was her first romance.
I didn't really connect with Gen and Jeremy. I felt that they were immature. Definitely reads as a NA romance. 
What I did like was the Hanukkah aspect, I learned a bit.
For Ripped Bodice Bingo I am using this for the Summer Camp square- while I know this wasn't set exactly during a summer camp, it was set at location that hosts a yearly summer camp and both MC were attendants as children and staff as adults. The secondary characters were attendants/staff at previous summer camps (and now the special winter camp in which this is set).

Death Defying

Death Defying - Nina Croft

This opens with how Tannis met Rico.  It had been hinted at, but it was good to read about her background.  Their first meeting explains so much of their friendship.  More about the Church, the Council, Meridian, Trakis Seven, Trakis One.  Callum's character was an interesting one.  He started out as an asshole, I didn't like him, but gradually eventually I did.  Tannis and Callum have a bit of a slow burn romance (if you count about a week).  There are new characters in this one and the death of 2.  I'm enjoying this series.  I like how each is about a couple, but there is a huge underlying story-line the connects each book.  I also love how the characters are in each one.  Think Firefly.  This is a chosen family.

Spoilers behind page break (mainly for my memory to help keep things straight).

For Ripped Bodice Bingo I am using this for the Extreme Location square (Space in the distant future)

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SPOILER ALERT!

Calamity Jayne

Calamity Jayne (Calamity Jayne Mysteries) - Kathleen Bacus, Gemma Halliday

Spoilers and a rant.

Was a Kindle freebie at one time.

Spoilers next 2 paragraphs.

 

 

 

Tressa is also known as Calamity because she is clumsy and a bit like the village idiot. She also lacks ambition and doesn't know what she wants to do with her life. I wanted to like her, I did. But, really? How can someone be so TSTL? Some clumsiness, is fine, but Tressa is extreme. Very extreme. She takes the WRONG car. She talks about how broke she is, but does she save money? Hell no! "Hey a girl can go without eating, but she must have a new pair of shoes at least monthly." She doesn't lock her car and has a gun stolen out of the glove box. She STILL doesn't lock her car and Joe surprises her from the backseat. I had to rant to my husband about this one. The envelope that was missing and she swore she didn't have- being in her work VEST the whole fucking time!

I also strongly disliked the love interest, Rick, or as Tressa calls him, Townsend. Rick is the one who came with the Tressa's nickname Calamity. He is the first one to suggest she was imagining a dead body. He clearly thinks she's an idiot. Sorry no. Tressa deserves better than that jackass. Manny had the perfect nickname for Rick: "Rick the Dick." 

So why did I keep reading? I liked the writing. I thought it was humorous, I admit to laughing out load a few times. I kept hoping, hoping Tressa would just stop being such an idiot. And easily distracted by a hot body. She does get a little better. I thought- maybe- a little- of her aimlessness/stupidity was just an act. Maybe? The secondary ones were fun- Joe and Hannah!
I won't be reading the next. I really don't like either main character - for different reasons. 
And then at the very end of the book:
"Enjoyed this book? Please leave a positive review and a 5 star rating on Amazon.com."
So, if I didn't like it, don't review it? Leave a rating? Only 5 star ones count? Excuse me?
I was thinking a 3*, because it kept me entertained and as I said above, I liked the writing. But now, after that? It's a 2. 
 
Ripped Bodice Bingo:  Damsel in Distress
 

 

 

A Lady's Guide to Passion and Property

The Lady's Guide to Passion and Property - Kate Moore
Lucy inherited her father's inn after his death. She is content to live, work, and care for Adam, a blind elderly man. But, her friends, believe she should sell the inn and get married. Enter Harry, ex-military, now spy. He is tasked with finding out Adam's story (after 20 years).
This one was okay. There were moments where I felt I was missing something (some of the relationships were already established- Nate and Miranda, the club are examples). I really didn't see the romance between Lucy and Harry. They didn't have much dialogue IMO. 
I did like and I also thought the romance between Nate and Miranda was better. It felt like they talked more than Harry and Lucy. I could see them together. Harry and Lucy? Nope. 
I liked the mystery of who Adam was (and one of the main characters as well), but I felt let down by that too. It was never really explained what happened to Penelope (I know what happened- but the why was left hanging). Penelope's offspring just found out they have family still living. Nothing happens with that. It was just wrapped up too quickly and too many loose ends. 
While I know this was the 2nd in a series (I haven't read the first one), because this had a new couple getting their HEA, I expected things to be wrapped up more than they were. Oh, and Harry found a glove in the woods that had been there 20 years (moved a pile of leaves and there it was!). And the hidden compartments in the coach I expected to have a place in the mystery/story. 

eARC courtesy of NetGalley and Kensington Books
Published July 3, 2018

Silver Shark

Silver Shark - Ilona Andrews

I liked this more than the first book in this series (Silent Blade). For the length, I thought this was well paced. Claire and Venturo are both fairly likable. My only issue is I would have liked more at the end. It felt rushed. Interesting world. Meli and Celino make an appearance in this one.

Suddenly You

Suddenly You - Lisa Kleypas

This was a very enjoyable book. I liked the unconventional meeting (Amanda hires a prostitute on her 30th birthday, the madam sends someone that is not). I really liked that both are average, everyday people. I loved Amanda's intelligence and Jack for seeing that intelligence. Having said that, it was a little disappointing when Amanda would say something like, "Oh a woman can't do that." On one hand, I understood that, but on the other, it would have been nice if she had run with it. Luckily, Jack doesn't have that opinion.
I liked that this wasn't an insta-love story. It is an insta-lust with a gradual "falling in love." While I understood Amanda's not wanting to tell Jack something big, I also thought she was underestimating him. I'm not a huge fan of that plot-line. I also thought Charles was an amazing character for his support of Amanda.
One of the best lines ever:
"Good," he said softly. "Set the world afire. Just let me hand you the matches."

For Ripped Bodice Bingo, I am using this for the heroine older than the hero square.
It would also work for the carriage sex square.

The Magpie Lord

The Magpie Lord - K.J. Charles

This was enjoyable. My first historical, paranormal M/M (I think). I liked that Stephen and Lucian were completely opposite (Stephen is short and squat, Lucian tall and lean). It will be interesting how their relationship develops- there was no declaration of love in this one. In addition, the societal norms and their different stations/ranks. Lucian will be able to get away with far more due to his title and wealth. 
I liked that Stephen and other individuals were able to see that Lucian is not his father or his brother. I am curious about Merrick. And Stephen's partner Esther.
This works for "Birds are somehow involved" square for Ripped Bodice Bingo and, you guessed it, that's the square I'm using this for!

Murphy's Law

Murphy's Law - Sandy James
Whelp. That's done. I really liked the 80's movie "Maid to Order," with Ally Sheedy. This is similar, except it's a guy who has to work for a living (and there are other differences, but the concept is the same). I wish I could say this worked for me.
My main issue is Seth. Yes, he's an Asshole. He had moments, for example, he got attached to the horses and I would think, he's changing! But, then, he'd open his mouth and something shitty would come out. (An example: "No woman's worth that much money.") While he does get better, it wasn't enough for me. I also didn't like how he *suddenly* got so good at the job. Going from groom to trainer to driver? Really? 
While I liked Katie, I thought she got weak at the end. Here is this strong, ambitious, driven woman, who (why???!!!) decides to marry someone that she loves as a friend only. Eh? I really didn't understand how fast she fell for Seth. I also have to point how the plot-line: "I was told I would have a difficult time getting pregnant." Horseshit. That might be true in Real Life, but in Romancelandia? Yeah, not a problem at all! It's a plot device.
All my nitpicking aside? I stayed up this morning until 1230am to finish it. I did like that it took place in Indiana, where I lived from 1986-2006. I lived Indianapolis and worked at Methodist Hospital. Dan Patch Raceway I imagined was like Hoosier Park in Anderson. 
I did like Ross and will read his story. (It's also got one of my favorite tropes).
 
 Ripped Bodice BIngo: Forced Proximity square!

 

Hate to Want You

Hate to Want You: Forbidden Hearts - Alisha Rai

Livvy and Nicholas were childhood sweethearts. They grew up together. Their grandfather's founded at grocery store that became successful and became a small chain of stores. Things are happy. Until an accident kill's Livvy's dad and Nicholas's mother. Nicholas's father (Brendan) does something underhanded and takes over Livvy's family's control of the business. Livvy and Nicholas break up. For the next ten years, they see each other for sex on Livvy's birthday.
Having just turned 30, Livvy decides it's time to try and reconnect with her family. Her mom had a fall and broke her hip, this gives Livvy a reason to come home too. The accidental effected every single person in both families. One exploited the situation and used it to control others, while others members retreated and dealt with it in their own way.
I LOVED this book! Both Livvy and Nicholas had so much depth. While this is a romance book with a HEA ending, there are some serious issues in this book. I do admit to some frustration with how some characters allowed Brendan to dictate their lives, but I also think that was realistic given ages/circumstances. I liked the moment Tani and Livvy talked (at least a little). I would have liked more on that front. 
I wonder about Eve's paternity; there was a moment that made me wonder. Luckily, she gets her book! Sadia and Jackson are next! And I admit I am curious about Jackson. Just what has he been doing? And was he framed? Maybe by Brendan?
Ripped Bodice Bingo: I'm using this for the enemies to lovers square. (L&N are lovers to enemies to lovers).

Wild Thing

Wild Thing - Robin Kaye
Hunter loves the outdoors. He hikes, kayaks, skis, you name it, he does it. He also owns his own outdoor company. Toni, on the other hand, is a city girl. She's the manager for a modeling company. 
The outdoors freak her out. Not to mention, fashionable shoes are so much more important than practical ones. (Snark).
I admit to being a bit confused. I'm really, really not sure what Hunter saw in Toni. This was definitely an opposites attract, insta-love story. 
I also felt I missed something with the (brief) Ben/Gina/Rafael story-line. Huh?
But, it was kinda cool to read a story that happened in Idaho. 

This works for fashionista for Ripped Bodice Bingo; Toni is unconventional in her fashion choices. She is a manager for a modeling agency.
 
 

 

Spirited Away

Spirited Away - Cindy Miles
This was an enjoyable read. Tristan and his knights were murdered (and cursed) in 1292. Fast forward to present day. Andi, a forensic archaeologist, is tasked with excavating a skeleton and weaponry buried underneath a tree that goes uprooted by a storm. What ensues next is a nice mystery. If you like your romance clean, with some paranormal, I would recommend this one.

I will use this book for the time-travel square for Ripped Bodice Bingo. (It fits, kind of- it IS shelved 13 times as time travel on GR).
 
 

 

SPOILER ALERT!

Updrift

Updrift - Errin Stevens

I would have DNF'd this had I not needed a mermaid book for Ripped Bodice Bingo. I owned this one and have too many books to go and buy something new I knew I would like and would fit this category. 
I'm hiding this behind a page break because I can't review this book without spoilers. Rant ahead.

 

Ripped Bodice Bingo!!!!!: Mermaids

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Dark Oracle

Dark Oracle - Alayna Williams

So, this has so much information at time, my eyes crossed. I was bored. I stuck with this one, because the hero is named Harry and I need this for Ripped Bodice Bingo! I would have liked this better had it not been so damn descriptive. I did like Tara and felt her character was realistic for someone who had been through a trauma and subsequent PTSD. I do wish she had been a less resentful. Harry, was okay.

 

Ripped Bodice Bingo:  Hero named Harry!

Her Super-Secret Rebound Boyfriend

Her Super-Secret Rebound Boyfriend - Kerri Carpenter

Lola's boyfriend just broke up with her. Her best friend, Frankie, comes up with an idea to cheer up her and get her out of the rut she fell in. That idea, taken from an episode of the Golden Girls (yeah!), is to crash someone else's high school reunion. While there, she meets Luke. Luke happened to know the person whose name tag Lola was wearing. Busted! But wait, Luke has a family reunion to go to and needs a fake girlfriend.
While this was predictable, it was exactly what I was in the mood for. This was fun, flirty, lighthearted and doesn't take itself too seriously. Both have Issues. Luke with his dad, Lola with her mom. Lola was a little naive. She also had some self-esteem issues. I didn't like how being nice was equated with being a doormat. 
I really like Lola's friends and Luke's family (I suspect a story might be brewing for Oliver and Winnie; and then maybe one for Frankie?). I loved the Golden Girl quotes. I do wish more had been said that, while there are many families that are related, there are many more that are chosen. Lola thought too much about how alone she was, when she had a chosen family right there (like the Golden Girls). 

eARC courtesy of Entangled Publishing, LLC (Lovestruck) and NetGalley
Publishes on June 11.

I'm going to use this for Ripped Bodice Bingo for the Heroine's eyes are described using the ocean; "the crystal blue hue of her eyes." and "Her eyes sparkled..."

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Professional Reader2016 NetGalley Challenge Reviews Published 80%