Rachel's books

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

 

 

(eARC) Misadventures of a City Girl

Misadventures of a City Girl (Misadventures Book 1) - Chelle Bliss, Meredith Wild

Madison, recently divorced from an upcoming Hollywood hotshot actor, decides to get away. She chooses a remote mountain retreat to lick her wounds. Luke, ex-SEAL, lives in a one bedroom cabin in the mountains by choice. She meets Luke while soaking in a hot spring by his cabin. Insta-lust happens. Later, they end up together in his cabin, stuck due to a snow storm. Even more insta-lust (I mean love!!) happens. I do like the trope of being trapped/forced proximity with someone (through weather, missed flight, whatever). They can know each other or be strangers, I've been able to get on board with either. 
I like sex in my books. That's no secret. But, I like sex with a plot. This was little plot and a whole lot of sex. For the most part, I didn't really like Luke or Madison. I thought the way Luke watched Madison was creepy. They do talk, a little, as the book progresses, so they were a little more believable as a couple by the end. I did think the way they comprised at the end was nice. More plot would have made this a better book. 
I did take quite a bit of the book to figure out what Madison did for a living (for the record, a make-up artist). Luke, conveniently, invested his money while in the military and inherited land. Afterwards, he lived simply (and no job). 

eARC courtesy of Waterhouse Press and NetGalley
Release date: Sept 12th

eARC: Defending Hearts

Defending Hearts (An Atlanta Skyline Novel) - Rebecca Crowley

Oz is a Swedish, of Turkish ancestry, soccer star playing for a US professional team. He was able to both play and attend college at Harvard. He also happens to be Muslim and because of that was harassed and got threats. Which lead to his introduction to Kate. Kate was in the Army for 8 years and then spent time in Saudi Arabia is a security contractor. Now she is back home in Atlanta working for a private security company.
I really liked this one. Enough so, that I went and bought the first book in this series. Both Oz and Kate are likable, vulnerable, and each had their insecurities. I liked the start, both were indifferent to each other before it, slowly, developed into more. They had their share of differences to work through and compromise on. I also really loved Oz and his decision to wait on sex. The role reversal was a pleasant surprise and one that I enjoyed. Kate is more of an Alpha to Oz's Beta and that worked. 
I liked the addition of religion and hate crimes in this book too. Considering who is sitting in the Oval Office, this was relevant to our current environment.

eARC courtesy of Kensington Lyrical Shine and NetGalley
Release Date: Sept 19th

Dark Currents

Dark Currents (The Emperor's Edge #2) - Lindsay Buroker

Mutilated bodies appeared in the city aqueducts, luckily found by Books and Maldynado. A little later, people in the city are getting sick. Wondering if the 2 things are related, Amaranthe and her gang investigate.
One thing I liked about this was the interplay between the characters. They are a chosen family. Amaranthe (a former enforcer and one the first women), Books (a former university professor), Sicarius (assassin- for the Emperor), Maldynado (disowned by his family), Basilard (former slave), and Akstyr (former gang member currently learning about magic). Amaranthe is a bit idealistic and naive. The strength of their shared relationship is what made this book work for me.
I thought there were moments that should have been explored more (for lack of a better word). Like when Maldynado hit Akstyr and bloodied his nose. It was to see and prove if he could heal himself. There was a brief mention of his face later and then nothing until he needed to heal someone else. There was also the issue of foreign-run businesses in the city being framed; mentioned, but nothing came from it. Unless book 3 tackles that?
A map and list of countries/nationalities would also be helpful. There are the Turgonians, Kendorians, Mangdorians, Nurians, and Kyattese. It was impossible to keep anything straight. (At least for me). The Turgonians are the main inhabitants of the city/empire/the conquerors (I think). 
At least I know I'm right when I write that Basilard is Mangdorian!!!
I do wonder if there will be any romance between Sicarius and Amaranthe later in the series. 

Down for the Count

Down for the Count (Dare Me Series, #1) - Christine  Bell

Lacey walks in on her husband, on their wedding day, just after exchanging vows. With one of her best friends. Her other best friend, Cat, has an older brother, Galen, whom Lacey secretly had a crush since she was a little girl. Both are present and step in to help her out. Lacey ends up going on her honeymoon with Galen. 
I can be forgiving, but there were a few things that took me out of the story. There was Lacey's low self-esteem. Her lack of ability to stand up for what she wanted. Of course, she's lovely and has no idea, blah, blah. Galen consistently would call Lacey "squirt." Yeah, really. Not for fun once or twice, or as a joke, but as an endearment. Oh hell no.

The Duke of Snow and Apples

The Duke of Snow and Apples (Entangled Select) - Elizabeth Vail

Frederick is a duke in hiding. As a servant. Charlotte wants to land a husband. I picked this up because it sounded interesting, a gender-swapped Cinderella/Snow White, and I happen to really like fairy tale retellings. Plus, I bought this when it came out a few years ago.....and forgot all about it. Then I needed a book for one of the Bingo games/challenges I'm in (debut author shelf).
This really didn't work for me. There wasn't anything that I really liked. The characters, mainly Charlotte got better as the book progressed. (Okay, that's *1* thing). This read more like a historical romance with fantasy (magic/fey) elements thrown in. I couldn't decide what it wanted to be: a historical romance or a romantic fantasy. While there are overly descriptive moments (oh very many, my eyes crossed), I thought the world building could have been more. It was slowly paced. 
Frederick was okay. He finely got some assertiveness towards the end. Charlotte, my first thought was: Spoiled brat. I. Did. Not. Like. Her. It took all of the book to somewhat like her. Or I should say, dislike her a little less. I can be quite forgiving when I adore the main characters. 
When I'm on the fence about a rating, I really should write out what I want to say first and then star rate. A 2 is too high. Changing this to a 1. This would have been DNF'd but for the Bingo challenge.

Off topic- 2017 Solar Eclipse

This post is a little long!

The Hubs and I were able to drive to Ola, Idaho (north and a little west of Boise) and see it in its totality!  Boise was 99.5% of totality.

We have two telescopes.  The top picture was taken from the smaller one.

This one was from larger telescope.  The color is a little different d/t the filter.  At least that's my guess.  The sun spots show up better on this one.

The top was taken from smaller telescope.  All the totality pictures were also taken from the smaller telescope.

Top picture was taken without telescope; camera on full zoom.

Back to larger telescope.

Selfie time!  Making use of the timer!

The Hubs with his precious....

That's all!

Arm Candy

Arm Candy (Real Love) - Jessica Lemmon

Davis and Grace were both introduced in the last book. Davis was/is Vince's best friend. Grace is one of the bartenders at their favorite bar. Grace and Davis have bantered back and forth and this has been going on for a few months since Grace started to work there. However, she has always seen him leave with a different, blonde woman just about every night he is there. She bets him that he won't date someone who isn't a blonde. Davis asks Grace (a redhead) out.
I expected to not like Davis. Davis is a manwhore. But, surprisingly I did. They both a jaded about love and relationships. I thought Grace was a bit more (her parents are divorce lawyers and are- you guessed it- divorced!) jaded and was the one that took longer to come around. When a certain person from Grace's past showed up, Davis was there and supportive. This was a sweet, gradual fall-in-love book. 
Next book features Dax, the bar's owner. (He had a brief appearance in this one. Very brief. I don't know anything about him. Except he owns the bar.)

eARC courtesy of Random House Publishing Group (Loveswept) and NetGalley
Release date: Sept 5th

Black Diamond

Black Diamond - Susannah Sandlin

Glad that Jena has her own book.
Jena, recovering from the events of book 1 is finally back on duty. She is self-conscious about her scars. Cole had something Bad happen and he decided to move and live off the grid. He succeeds until the arrival of drugs in his backyard.
I thought Jena and Cole were a good match because of things that happened to them. (I surprised to read about what happened to Cole- I thought he was hiding from someone). I liked the secondary characters- Ceelie and Gentry make appearances (and Paul, Mac). Decent plot and the villains (while guessed about 1/2 through), were good ones. I would liked a bit more at the end, I thought it was a bit rushed.
Jena's parents are TOXIC.

Sins of the Demon

Sins of the Demon - Diana Rowland

Warning, book ends in a cliffhanger.
It's been about a year since I read the last book. I remembered enough/enough reminders in this one and I was able to pick right up. So, 3 people have had things happen to them. It turns out there are all people who wronged Kara in the past. Add to that a mayor who has it out for her and she is a murder suspect. 
I enjoyed that one for the dynamics between all the characters. Jill, Zack, Ryan all have decent roled to play in this one. Add to that, what was suspected about Ryan is, IMO, pretty much confirmed in this one. The rouge summoner was a surprise. Eilahn was definitely my favorite character in this book. Her enthusiasm for getting a pet, Christmas decorations, etc just made me smile. I really hope she makes an appearance again. What's poor, little Fuzzykins going to do?

 

More for my memory- (spoiler behind page break) just in case:

 

 

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Trust in Me

Trust in Me - Samantha Chase

I liked this slightly better than the last one.
Maggie used to be an executive assistant, until she was sexually harassed and almost assaulted by her boss. William Montgomery happened to be there at that time and offered her a job. Fast forward 3 years later. William thinks it's time she got a promotion, started living, and stopped hiding. He also wanted to match her with his son, Jason. Jason, on the other hand, has been hit on by multiple women. (He blamed it on Emma and Lucas). Problem is, Maggie has pretended to be married for last 3 years to keep men away from her. What ensues next is friendship, than attraction.
It was sad that her ex-boss had so much power over her. It does get resolved, but I would have liked Maggie to have been more involved in it. (I think that those who have read the book will know (and agree) to what I refer to).
Jason, a workaholic, was able to be more balanced. I did think the ending was more rushed and I didn't appreciate how he handled the ex-boss situation. 
Clean romance. Kissing only.

A Hidden Fire

A Hidden Fire  - Elizabeth   Hunter

Dr. Giovanni Vecchio is a vampire and a rare book dealer. Beatrice De Novo or as she prefers "B," is an information sciences major with plans to be a librarian. Through individuals in their past, their present is mingled. 
As is usually the case, Gio is an older vampire, wise in the way of the world. B, by contrast, is young and naive. Man, this book was boring. It got better in the last half. The ending sucked. No closure.
I did like how they first meet. (A library where she was working and he researching). I liked how bookish both were. The secondary characters were also good one. The vampire affinity for elements was also unique and concept I liked.
I didn't care for the pacing. It was slow as molasses. While I liked the slow burn of the romance, I didn't like the ending. I didn't like that Gio was insistent on calling her Beatrice when she preferred "B." Then there was the fuck-up on her age. If she was born July 2nd 1980, she should have been 23 since this started in September of 2003. If was mentioned several times she was 22.

Wait for Me

Wait For Me - Samantha Chase
Emma is the executive assistant to William Montgomery, president (patriarch) of Montgomery Enterprises (okay, I admit I don't remember the name of the company- but it may not have even been mentioned either). William's youngest son, Lucas, used to play in the NFL before a career ending injury. Since that time, he has become a recluse only coming into the city once a month for the family business. William sees attraction between Emma and Lucas and decides to play matchmaker.
I liked Emma and Lucas only somewhat. Lucas was annoying and immature at times. I thought it was ridiculous that he didn't want pity from anyone, but (essentially) threw himself a pity party for one for 2 years. I thought it was ridiculous he would rather be in pain (and not be able to play football) vs no pain/mild discomfort (and not be able to play football). But, that is me. 
I thought the relationship buildup was nicely paced. I appreciated that Emma was able to call bullshit on Lucas. More than once. Their relationship had very obvious highs and lows. The events also led Emma to get the courage to pursue her dream. I liked the idea of the family patriarch being the one to set his kids up too. 
I did think the resolution was rushed and weaker despite the good start. 
For those that like closed door sex scenes, this book would work for you! I'm assuming the rest of the series (and maybe most/all of the author's works too) is like that as well. (I personally like steam, but not at the expense of plot. 90% of the time anyway. Haha). 

I am also counting this for #rippedbodicebingo for the "heroine inherits a business" square. "...because I can't think of anyone better to take over this business for me." and "It wasn't every day that you got handed what you wanted without really trying." This was a nice, unexpected surprise since I needed this square!
 
 

 

SPOILER ALERT!

Traitor in Her Arms

Traitor in Her Arms: A Scarlet Chronicles Novel (The Scarlet Chronicles) - Shana Galen

Lady Gabrielle McCullough's husband racked up lots of debt and then died, leaving Gabrielle to find a way to pay it off. She learns how to pick locks and steals from the nobility to gradually pay off what is now her debt. Ramsey Barnes, the Earl of Sedgwick, also is good at picking locks and thievery. He has a Secret and is being blackmailed because of that Secret. 
I liked that this historical romance was different; lock picking hero and heroine, French Revolution, the Scarlet Pimpernel?! Both characters are likable, relate-able, and I understand their motivations and where both came from. I would have liked Ramsey to trust Gabrielle earlier than he did. It was nice to see a woman villain. (Make that women). 
While this is definitely a historical romance, I thought the action and suspense of the "quest" took center stage. I think that worked due to the subject matter. I am interested in seeing if this becomes a series, Alex was memorable and I would like to read her HEA. 

eARC courtesy of Random House Publishing Group (Loveswept) and NetGalley
Out Aug 22nd

I am using this for rippedbodicebingo "Broke AF Hero" square. This is a spoiler:

 

 

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Myriah Fire

Myriah Fire - Claudy Conn

Meh. That's my thought on this book.
Myriah gets caught kissing a suitor. Suitor (of course) has other motives (he's broke and needs cash). Her father catches her and expects her to marry. So, what does Myriah do? She runs away! She then makes a wrong turn and finds a young man who had been shot. (Go her, she saves him). She finds out he is William (Billy) and his brother is Lord Christoper (Kit) Winborne. She fibs and gives them a different last name. Things are off....are they smuggling? Are they poor? 
What was (really) going on wasn't a surprise. I had a hard time getting over Kit and Myriah's first meeting. (She was sleeping in his room and he came home. He thought he could do whatever he wanted since he thought she was a whore and had been paid for. Whatever you fucking asshole!). 
The writing style threw me off as well. On one page I counted 8 (or was it 7) exclamation points.

I also read this for the published pre-1980 square for #rippedbodicebingo (first published in May 1978).

I have another older work by this author, hitting the delete button.  I have zero desire to read it.

The New Deputy in Town

The New Deputy in Town - B.J. Daniels

Nick Rogers takes the Deputy Sheriff position in Whitehorse, MT. He has something to hide. And is that his real name? Laney is an accountant in town for her annual summer trip back home to see her family. 
So, first off, I liked both Nick and Laney. This was good and held my attention. However, there was too many things going on. There's the murder, attempted murder on someone else, bar assaults, theft, and let's not forget Nick's Secret. 
This also had characters that I adored (Prince and his owner Chaz!) and hated (Arlene). Arlene certainly lived in a different century. 

for #rippedbodicebingo: person in uniform on cover

Wild Man's Curse

Wild Man's Curse (Wilds of the Bayou Book 1) - Susannah Sandlin

Gentry Broussard is a wildlife agent. During patrol, he catches a poacher and notices a boat outside one of the remote cabins. That cabin belongs to Eva Savoie. The boat being unusual, he decided to investigate. He then sees someone leaving. Shocked and surprised because the person leaving looks a lot like his older brother. Who is/was supposed to be dead. Gentry then finds Eva murdered. 
Ceelie left Louisiana after she promised her father she would. Barely eking out a living in Nashville, she gets the call that her Aunt Eva was murdered. She does back to Louisiana to settle her aunt's affairs. While there, she meets Gentry and his partner, Jena. (I hope Jena's is the next book).
I enjoyed this book. Both characters are likable, well-fleshed out. I liked the depth of Ceelie's family and her realization to do something she wanted to do vs trying to live up to a promise she made her dad. I thought the secondary characters were also well done. Here's hoping Jena gets a book. (And yes she does- it's the next one, just looked!).

Currently reading

On Fire (Shadow Stalkers #4) by Sylvia Day
Arresting Desire by Shayla Black
Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race by Margot Lee Shetterly
The Chase (Brides of Beadwell) by Sara Portman
Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah

Professional Reader2016 NetGalley Challenge Reviews Published 80%